Jill Johnson

Underdog Jill Johnson is an award-winning management consultant who has personally impacted more than $4 billion worth of business decisions. One of the first women ever inducted into the Minnesota Women Business Owners Hall of Fame. Also, she is one of the first women named to the Top Women in Finance Hall of Fame by Finance & Commerce.

Jill has a proven track record of dealing with complex issues and getting results by focusing on developing effective market-based business strategies that are grounded in reality. Her clients are located throughout the United States, as well as in Europe and Asia.

A Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. She has the rare ability to effectively present complex and challenging information. She is an accomplished professional speaker to corporations, associations, as well as to business and professional organizations.

The clients of Johnson Consulting Services range from sophisticated organizations to entrepreneurial ventures with leaders who are success-oriented and ambitious. They share our passion for results and are prepared to act boldly to attain them. Our clients make significant decisions based on our work. They value the comprehensiveness of our research, along with our analytical ability, candor, integrity, and view our objectivity as being instrumental to their organizational and financial success. www.jcs-usa.com.

Jill is the author of the international award-winning bestseller “Compounding Your Confidence” which has been named as One of the Top Books Every College Student and Recent Grad Should Read. Her articles on business topics have been published in more than 120 publications and trade journals.

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Underdog Jill Johnson Shares How She Influenced $4 Billion of Business Decisions

Pamela Bardhi
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the underdog, thank you so much for being here today. I have the honor of having the fabulous underdog Jill Johnson on our podcast. Welcome, Jill.

Jill Johnson
Hi, Pamela, I’m so glad to be here. I’m looking forward to our conversation.

Pamela Bardhi
I am too. I’m so blessed to have you here today. So, Jill, my gosh, where do I start with your amazingness between your 4 billion in business decisions that you’ve influenced, and just the rock star that you are, I think it would probably be best if you started out where you are now and sort of how you got there, however, which way you think.

Jill Johnson
Well, I’m at a place where I’m able to pick and choose the clients that I work with. I say no to a lot of people. I add a point where I’m looking at how can I leverage my insight and content in other avenues beyond the management consulting work that I do for the clients that I work with. And it’s about building relationships with old and new friends like you and really looking at as I’ve lived to try to make a difference every day. So spending some time rethinking what does making a difference mean to me and where and how do I show up in the world. It’s not quite that deep-seated hunger has been filled a bit. So I find that I’m at more ease in where I’m at now. But it was a very long journey of trying to find that.

I come from very humble beginnings, a very small-town background, and the world I work in today is sea level. I work with amazing clients that you would recognize and you wouldn’t, but each in their own right makes a difference. Working with clients of that scale and caliber as Mayo Clinic, work with one of their divisions, with one of their regional offices, and then national and international associations and organizations. So the scale of clients has evolved over time. Even though mentally I felt like I was ready when I was 26, intellectually I was but I didn’t have the gravitas. Didn’t have the chops to be able to play in those rooms and to control that room and influence decisions in those big rooms. And so it’s been a big arc so we can go to whichever, wherever you’d like to start from there.

Who is Jill and How She Get Started

Pamela Bardhi
Yeah, so my number one question is always How did you get started?

Jill Johnson
Well, I think it’s more of me. I knew when I was very young, I wanted more than that small-town life. And part of that was fueled by my mother. But I had a very interesting childhood. My father was an entrepreneur, he started an auto body repair shop with his father, in our little small town. My mother worked as an executive secretary at the world headquarters for three years. So I had this really odd balance of entrepreneur dreamer and executive-level thinker. My mother really ran the division for the guy she worked with just truth be told, but back in that era, you know if when you got pregnant, she couldn’t come to work.

Pamela Bardhi
Really?

Jill Johnson
Yeah, back when my mom got pregnant with me she had to stay home. She could not go to work. In my lifetime, lots of things have changed. But what was so interesting is that my mom, because of what she was exposed to, in that professional corporate world, was able to bring that back. And fortunately, they hired a woman to take care of me. They called it babysitting. But in reality, Margaret was like a tutor, she was a retired school teacher. So I was reading when I was three and a half. And for me, reading really was what opened up the entire world for me, of places and possibilities.

I was reading books about a girl in England who had a horse. And what I looked at too, read as a kid were books about people overcoming an obstacle, like the girl in England had polio and her horse helped her get over the physical difficulties of having polio, and she saved the day.  Then there was a boy who had a German Shepherd, who was his guide dog because he’d been holding firecrackers and they had gone off, he lost his sight. So his dog was what helped him back. So there was a parallel of overcoming obstacles. As I was growing up, I was being stimulated and challenged on these two different parallel ends.

My mother, I didn’t realize until many years ago, so much of what she was trying to teach me about strategy. She actually bought these board games that I just played. We were looking for them about a year ago on the internet, trying to figure out now which ones were they and, you know, I wanted to get them because we’re gonna do some board game stuff. And I was looking at, like, Oh, my God, these board games are all strategy games, every single one of them that she brought home for me to play.

So when I was in high school, there was a program back then called Junior Achievement. Back in that era, JA you would go like every Wednesday night, and you would set up a company and you manufacture, you’d pick a product, you’d manufacture the product. People in the company would sell the product during the week, we would come back the following week and manufacture some more product to sell. And, then at the end of the year, we would liquidate, and then there were competitions. So my mother encouraged me to participate in the competitions.  I won pretty much every major award they had at Junior Achievement and St. Paul. I was their top achiever. And with JA, I was being exposed to kids who were thinking bigger, who loved business, love the competitions and that was the game-changer.

By then I had been doing Harvard Business Review case studies, for fun, and I love the analysis. I love analytics and I knew the four Ps of marketing. And I was just so immersed in business, and it was everything about it. I found it so stimulating and so full of opportunities. So when I was going through the preparation for the JA conference for the president of the year competition, I happened to reach out to a friend of mine in Chicago to who I had co-chaired a conference. So I spoke in front of 1500 people when I was 17 years old.

My voice was like nothing and it was great. So we co-chaired this huge conference. And so I’m speaking in front of all these people, and I called him I said, Tony, I’m getting ready for the competition.  He said, Jill, I have a meeting set up and I need you to get here. So I go to my mom. And I said Mom, I need to get to Chicago because Tony has a guy he wants me to meet.

The guy was a management consultant. I found out years later, he was the senior vice president of one of the 10 largest manufacturer management consulting firms in the country. At the time, we had that launch. And I by then knew myself so well and understood so much of the fundamental foundations of business, that I knew that’s what I wanted to be. But I had no idea how I would make it happen. You talk about being an underdog, I was under the dogs under. I had no connections, no silver spoon. I didn’t at that time, have an education, but I knew I was going to college. And I didn’t know how I was going to open this up. But I ended up double majoring in business and I went to get my MBA.

And one day in the middle of class, the first semester of MBA graduate school, my finance professor said, Hey, this Small Business Development Centre, at our university is looking to hire some MBA students to be consultants working with small businesses. He said they’re looking for students that will do it. I think I knocked over three people to get out of the classroom to get up the stairs to put my name in for consideration. I remember when Lou Wood interviewed me, the look on his face was so hilarious because he was just blown away. And he stopped me about 10% of the interviews like just stop, and I said, Oh, no, what’s wrong? What’s wrong? He said, Oh, no, he said, I’m hiring you. Because you’re unlike any other MBA in here, and that was the start of it in October of 1982.

I just crushed it. We figured out how to cash flow, some businesses that were on the verge of the families losing their homes, we help manufacturing companies that were trying to figure out how to find new markets. You know, we didn’t have all the glamour clients. But trust me, I worked with everything from a hypnotherapist to a chimney sweep and everything in between. And surely she was teaching how to use a microwave. Now you have to understand back then, microwaves were a new gadget that was like funky new technology that nobody knew how to use. So she was going into stores and they were hiring her company so, she would go in and do demos in their kitchen appliance area, showing housewives who were coming through shopping, how to use this newfangled gadget called a microwave.

She’s now 84 and living in South Dakota. She unfortunately never fully impacted me on my culinary skill. But again, it was so amazing.  So I had this litany of really crazy clients, some really impressive some, yeah, whatever. And I remember there was this one woman who came in, and she so badly wanted to buy a franchise like a donut franchise. As I was talking to her, I just said, you know, why do you want to do this, you work on the factory line at a glove factory? Help me understand how your experience will translate? And so we had a really hard conversation about her preparation to quote-unquote, fulfill that dream because my goal was I didn’t want her to spend the hard-earned savings that she had to buy a business that she knew nothing about and wasn’t going to be successful in running.

But doing that, in that gentle mutual discovery kind of way. And after we were done, and she came back and she said, I just have to thank you because I’ve decided I really shouldn’t be doing that. There are other things that I need to focus on. She gave me this little wishing well, and it was a brass wishing well she bought for me I still have it in my office because she found a different dream.

And so even back in those early days, I was starting to explore what it meant to be a consultant, to have an impact, to be able to interact and be truthful with a client, which all these many years later are the foundation of the essence of what I do best, but now I’ve got augmented skills with research and analysis and more sophisticated planning. It was embryonic but when I finished my graduate program, that was when the rubber really met the road. Because now how was I going to take this part-time job as a consultant and convert it into a career? And everyone said, Jill, you’re too young, and you’re female, no one will ever hire you.

Pamela Bardhi
Tell me what they won’t do. I dare you. Right.

Jill Johnson
But you know, I’m a persistent little cause. And I think that’s one of the things that any underdog who is able to move beyond the under, is able to pursue, despite the things that people tell them that are designed to keep them in the place that they’re in them. My advisor in college told me, I didn’t need a double major or an MBA, I remember walking out there, and I was so mad, Oh, my gosh, I was so angry. Like, you don’t even know my flipping name, you do not get to decide what my future will be. And so I went to the admissions office, and I got the course catalog. I spread out on the table and I mapped out, how could I get my double major in two years.

I was able to try to figure out how to get through four years of school, so there was no extra money. And so I wanted to get that double major within that time period.  I did. Then I figured out how to get my MBA and I got almost my entire MBA paid for by fellowships that I’d earned. And it was another notch in the quiver. Then you know, the MBA opened up the first store. I could say, well, how do I get started? What can I do? How do I need to prepare myself? Well, okay, so I’m young, and I’m female, I can’t change either one of those things. So what else can I do? How? What would be the next step?

This one guy named Jerry reached out to a local management consulting firm in Des Moines, which is where I was at the time. And he said, so Jill, they said, they’ll talk to you. I’m like, Yes, yes, I became the first woman they had ever hired for the professional consulting staff. I was more than 30 years younger than the next closest in age. And I had more formal business education than the other people on the team. But what was so great about that experience, even though it was miserable as hell, I’d go in learning. But again, I believe, and I think most underdogs will know, even the most miserable experiences can be the catalyst for moving forward. And they could also be deeply and richly filled with insights about what to do and what not to do.

Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore. I asked my parents if I could come home, and they were laughing. And they’re like, we wondered how long it would take. You’re not mad. And they said, No, you lasted longer than we thought you would. So I came home, it was very clear. I wasn’t ready to start my own practice yet. But I knew I wanted to stay in consulting. So I ended up at a library called the hill reference library. Eventually, many years later, I served on their board of directors and the executive committee of the board and, and it was a Business Research Library.

So I researched who hires consultants and I came upon an epiphany. And that was that public accounting firms hired a lot of MBA students for their consulting division. The way accounting works was, if you were a CPA, you went to tax and audit. And if you were an MBA, that was the credential that earns you a place in the consulting side. Now I have to tell your audience, I got a D in accounting 12 my second time through as an undergrad, and I was like, how is this gonna work but I did much much better in graduate school, I got an A on my first graduate school because it was managerial accounting made more sense to me than debits and credits. You know I was always gonna have somebody else do that. So I am in this library, and I have this list.

I got the top 25 CPA firms in the Twin Cities area. And I wrote a cold letter of introduction with my resume because back then again, you did all of this by snail mail.  I sent my resume to all these firms and I ended up getting hired by one of the largest CPA firms in the country. That was back in the era of the big eight, they were number nine, but they were among the 20 largest management consulting practices in the world, at the time that I worked for them. And again, it was, so hard. That’s the thing about an underdog is you’re willing to do the hard work, you are willing to slog through the mud to reach your dream and goal. So for me, it was learning to overcome any potential fear of numbers.

It was understanding complex finance, the biggest deal I worked on. Then was doing a market study for a $200 million, three project development, real estate development. I still have the big trophy, it’s in my office as well. You know, $200 million, 30 some years ago, that was a lot of money in today’s world, but it was such a huge deal. It was a project that my manager had screwed up. So he came and dumped it on my desk, he said, figure out how to do it.  By then, what I knew about myself is that I was really wickedly resourceful. And I would be able to figure it out and I did, and they got their financing.

And I was learning so many things. I was learning things technically, learning about internal politics, about business development. I was overwhelmed with the things that I was learning that I knew were going to take me a long time to distill down. But I was like a Hoover vacuum cleaner, sucking all of it.CPA management consulting practice firm was going to be the game-changer that set the stage for the rest of my career. And it absolutely was. As I look back all these years later, every time they said, no, I found another way. But I also was prepared. I think that’s another part of it. You can’t just have a big wish, you have to do the work to earn the credential, to earn the right to be in the room.

Like so many of the people that I’m sure watching us, we went through another weird economic blip. And my manager came in and said, well, I’m laying you off. I’m like, Okay, then I think he thought I should be like, curled up in the fetal position on the floor. But what he didn’t know is I had been freelancing for almost a year. I got a business plan, I had been saving, I knew that I was going to go out on my own one day, and I knew if I was going to do that I needed financial reserves. I want to pull this extra out every pay period. And we set up a separate account at the bank that the banker and I laughingly called jbf Jill’s business fund.

So I had been saving money for a year. I had been freelance for a year, and I made a sale my first day out, and I haven’t looked back since, funny part of the story is the firm I worked for is no longer in existence. The manager that I work for, has had a very challenging career since he left the firm because I was the one that carried all of the best projects he was screwing up. And so when he didn’t have that cover any longer, he had nowhere to hide. So all of those things together created a really unusual experience of being that underdog every step of the way. I was most of the time, the only woman in the room, I was almost always dismissed because I was young. And I’m five, one and a half.

You know, I will never ever be that leader that everyone looks up to height-wise. And so you know, all of those things that by every stretch of the imagination should have been a deal-breaker for any potential success for me. I made work to my advantage. So as things progressed, by the time I was 29, I was named Minnesota’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the US Small Business Administration. I parlayed gender and business. And I got involved with the National Association of Women Business Owners. I became the youngest-ever president in the history of the Minnesota chapter, and then serve four years on the National Board of Directors when I was, you know, in my early 30s.

I was exposing myself to really sophisticated leadership, and then that parlayed into the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce Board and Executive Committee. Chaired a committee for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce in my mid-30s. And I parlayed into a seat on their board of directors for the Minnesota State Chamber of Commerce. I earned my seat at the table.

So my message for the underdogs listening is I want you to think about your mindset, and recognize the truth. Yes, you are lacking in these five things. Okay, what are you going to do to work on that? What are you going to do to fix it? And how are you good, earn your stripes so that you can earn your place at the table. And so it just went from there. All these many years later, I’m now in a couple of business halls of fame and sustain that level of success and have continued to level up with the clients that I work with and it’s been an amazing journey.

Pamela Bardhi
It’s incredible. Oh, man. I have questions for you.

Jill Johnson
Go for it. I’ll be safer.

Pamela Bardhi
Well, I’ve got to ask you threw out your time. In the beginning, especially because obviously, that’s the hardest part. Because after you get over that hump, it’s like you crawl, you walk, and then you hit the ground running, right? And that’s exactly what you did.

Jill Johnson
But I’m gonna tell you, and then when you move to that next level, you start all over again. So you’ve never fully arrived, if you continue to aspire to more, I think that’s part of the challenge, but I had the skills of Okay, oh, I know how what it feels like to crawl through mud. And it didn’t take as long on some of the other things, if you will, to crawl through the next layer. So what’s your question? What do you want to know?

Pamela Bardhi
Yes. How did you keep your mentality balanced in the beginning? Because it’s, that’s the hardest part is the beginning is starting, like you said, you know, you had just been laid off, and then you don’t have a track record, right. I mean, I guess you could

Jill Johnson
I had a year and a half, roughly two, almost two years working for the Small Business Development Centre. I had a year at Batten. Actually, I was one of the world’s most highly recognized organizational development consulting firms in the world. It just happened to be based in Des Moines. And Joe Batten, who was one of the co-founders wrote the first business book that ever made the New York Times bestseller. And of course, I was too young and too dumb at the time to fully understand what an opportunity I had created for myself because I was so fixated on what it wasn’t. Wish I could go back and leverage a few more opportunities from that. I had almost four years at a public accounting firm. So I actually had deep experience.

I’d worked with a wide cross-section of clients, and because I volunteered at the CBA for I would work on anything and everything they would let me touch. So just like in the SBDC, I work with the microwave lady to the hypnotherapist to the pharmacy at the CPA firm. I did everything from feasibility studies for high stakes Indian bingo Casino in the state of Washington, to restaurant feasibility studies, hotel feasibility studies, both full service and economy lodging, which was a brand new concept back then. And because no one else would do it, I offered to work in the senior living space. And so I was working with the top people in our firm.

I ghostwrote for our national managing partner, the major article, the firm used to submit a comparable study every year to people in the industry. I did the research and wrote a major strategy article that he put his name on, he didn’t change a single punctuation mark or word in what I submitted. But he put his name on it. And I remember being really mad. I’m like, how could he do that? I don’t get credit for it.  Then I realized, Oh my god, Do you realize how good that was? That he couldn’t find a single thing to change. And for me, it was like, it was light bulbs going, Wow. I do know my stuff. So I had earned all of that credit before I went out on my own.

What I didn’t have fully developed at that point when I left was business development. I was like, oh, and this was, you know, wishing on the star. But you know, at the end of the day, you still had to step into the rank and battle for the opportunity.

Underdog Jill and Her Mantra In Life

Pamela Bardhi
You had all this background, you had everything. But what mentality kept you moving forward? Did you have a mantra that kept you because you were like plowing through stuff? You’re like, Oh, my God, because to have unshakable confidence like that, you know, being the only woman in the room. I know now for me, it’s changed. It’s shifted. But, you were there at that stage where literally was just you. And how do you maintain that confidence? And how do you stay unshakable, especially in the beginning, when you were starting off on your own, and you’re learning all these different things about operating it on your own and building your first client base? I mean, of course, you had the existing network and all that, but you still had a lot of hard work to do to keep it to get to the next level.

Jill Johnson
Well, and even though I’d work with all those clients, a big firm, I as a solopreneur, not someone they desired to work with, there’s a lot of liability and they need a big flag. So that’s why people will go to a public accounting firm, or they’ll go to a McKinsey, or they’ll go to a bank, they’ll go to a company that’s got what I call a flag, a recognizable flag, and Johnson consulting services was not recognizable to anyone. But what I had was a mother, who was a cattle prod. Okay, now, what are you gonna do? nothing was ever enough for my mom. And it’s like, okay, now what? Now, what it was always What’s next? And so there was that push from her.

My father didn’t really understand this business world that I was in. But he understood about customers and client relationships. So when I was thinking about my business name, I was thinking about, like, seagull consulting, BS like that. He took me and he just said, No, if you’re going to start a business, it needs to have your name in it. And it has to be good enough to have your name on it for the report to go out the door. That was how he had viewed his own business. Wow. And even all these years later, if I try and sign the transmittal letter a little early when I’m working on a project, I always mess up the signatures. So it’s like dad was right.

I also found a network of like-minded people. So one of the other reasons I had been going to the women business owners’ meetings, several years before I started my business was because I wanted to put myself in to be around other people who were doing what I dreamed of doing one day. I was volunteering to score the service corps of retired executives, as was called back then. I’ve regularly every month was one of the speakers that they had for their going into the business workshop. Most of the time in the early days, I did the marketing planning section. Then you know, many years later, it was the business planning piece.

Here’s the other part of it, Pamela, I was practicing my speaking skills. So I took that opportunity and then took it to the next. But there were many days of panic and terror. There were so many days when I didn’t think it was gonna work. You know, consulting is often a business feast or famine. I still have days where nobody ever gonna call me again, I feel kind of whiny. And then I smack myself and go for pizza, really. But we get into those headspaces, and it’s how you get out of them. And it’s finding trusted advisors that you can be truthful with, because a lot of times when I would be stuck, it was because there were things that I either wasn’t doing or was conveying some level of lack of ability to move forward.

Finally, I had hit the wall, and I needed to develop a new skill. And sometimes we’re too close to that. So my philosophy on mentoring is that anybody can mentor me. Very early on I have had developed an ability to really look at how can I learn from everyone who crossed my path, good or bad. Sometimes what the best learning was the I’m never gonna do that, too. I like how they handle whatever it was. Then you can have professional coaches. I’m very selective about the people that I pull into my orbit, I tend to be very private. But I also really need to have that trust factor. And there were a lot of people that I had gotten to know in the business community. I have a superpower, would you like me to tell you what my superpower is of them?

Pamela Bardhi
Please? Yes.

Jill Johnson
Even though I’ve been doing all the talking here. My superpower is people tell me the things that they wouldn’t reveal. Normally to other people, I can’t tell you the number of times I have people throw their hands over their mouths. I’ve never said that. So, to have that ability to get to the deep-seated truth, then the piercing insight to understand what that means. I didn’t understand how unique those skills were until I had more seasoning.  So being able to draw in for me, the people who could provide those layers of insight. Sometimes I found it is the most unusual of places. One was a voice teacher, I have a four-octave singing voice. And in my mid-20s, I started taking voice lessons because I had a heckler and so I was going to overcome that fear.  And I had a meltdown on stage.

But what I needed to do was to learn how to not do that. I was starting to do so much speaking that I needed to be able to know how to handle the room. And so I decided to blend the two together. I would practice walking onto the stage, would practice what would it feel like if I had someone who was deliberately trying to throw me off my game, and who was trying to sabotage my performance. Well, all of that translated into the business world for me, even though I was using it through that quote, the unquote, hobby of saying, and so I just sought out people who could give me the truth in deeper insight into myself, when I wasn’t having days of feeling all that, I would think of something they had said.

You asked about mantras, I’ve had a variety of mantras over the years. You know, one for determination was I can, I will, I am and I’m gonna, and I would mantra. As I got older, the mantra for me became, why not me? I’m wicked smart, I’m good with people, I could read a room, got great skills, all that why not me? You know, I need to make a coffee mug or a pillow with a brethren on it. But whatever it is, it becomes that second thing that you do. But I also think it’s the quality of the people around you. And when I say around you, I don’t mean they have to be physically in your space. So it can be people that you interact with back in the old days, we use the thing called the telephone.

I stay for the whole thing because even though it’s maybe an unrelated industry, I’m working on directly with clients, I still see parallels and patterns and insights that I then look at, well, how could my clients draw what I just learned, and you know, I’m able to take it to spin, but it keeps me current, it keeps me stimulated, it keeps pulling me into bigger insight and understanding. And so I just don’t stay in that comfort zone of what reinforces my already pre-determined opinion. I’m looking for things that stretch me and for an underdog to succeed, they have to move beyond that framework, and that the voices surrounding them that only know what they know.

if you want to be and do more, you have to move out of that comfort zone, you have to challenge the confirmation bias that you’re getting, you have to challenge the decision bias that is being given to you. That requires a fearless willingness to put yourself in vulnerable and I don’t mean physically vulnerable, but vulnerable to fail your positions. And then looking at and learning how you can leverage those to maximize and it’s through the learnings that you have the ability to have the bigger success.

Pamela Bardhi
Absolutely. And now that’s going to tie me in directly into your books because you’ve written some amazing books on practical steps on how you can get there. The great behind you is the career confidence workbook. And I believe that’s the latest and greatest, right?

Jill Johnson
That is the latest and greatest, over the years, I mentored a lot of people. But the reality is I just can’t mentor everyone who calls. So I decided to do a speech a few years back. It was one of those speeches that you dream of as a speaker. I had 450 people in the audience and I nailed every element of that presentation. They were laughing, they were, you know, doing calm and repeat with me. They were fully engaged in interacting. And it was really ultimately about how do you build your confidence.

I had senior-level execs from major fortune 100 firms that were in the audience that came up, that sought me out afterward that I really need to talk to you. And it was because I had just shared so many truths about how hard that journey is and how you build your confidence and get your legs straight land in a straight line, then you do it on a balance beam that’s a floor beam. So it’s right on the floor, then you do it on a one-foot beam, and then you do it on a four-foot beam and master the skill there.  Then you start all over again.

The framework that I created was the whole concept of practice, you have to put yourself in a variety of different rooms so that you can learn how to handle them. And for me, I broke down my confidence as a business owner executive. So sometimes I’ll be working on my speaking skills, and stage presence or movement on a stage or vocal intonation. Then I’m learning about boards and what does it mean to be a board member, what board members think about so I can offer deeper insight to the clients that I’m working with.

Now my latest is technology. Well, in each one of those, I build my confidence through the progression of working on the skill, but more importantly, I’m looking for arenas and places to practice. So we’re practicing today using technology to convey insight and information.  Then the third part is the presentation. How do you bring yourself to the world? Are you like, Oh gosh, analyses. I’m not that good at it. Well, I’m really not sure how you know exactly what to do. They talk around a topic, and they never get to the point. So by the time they get to the point, nobody’s listening to them, because there was no point to hear. And they’ve lost their audience, that just blows me away to think about.

Some little girl in Germany or some executive and in the UK is reading this because it’s resonating with a much wider age group than I ever envisioned. So we have done an initial workbook, and we expanded it. And we took a lot of the insights out of the book to share with the career confidence workbook, which is on Amazon, now. It’s brand new. We went back through and we got everything in the main book, that was a story. We pulled out to anything that wasn’t advice, there was so much advice in there, I had enough advice to create a tip.

You’re an old-school management consultant, you’re doing competitor intelligence and secret shopping and all sorts of, real consulting stuff, you’re not a coach, you’re not a life coach, and you don’t intend to be. Why on earth did you take the time to put so much effort into writing about confidence? And the reality is, I see it all the time, in the mid-level managers that work for my C suite clients. I see it in my clients themselves. This economic instability that we’re in right now is undermining the confidence of a lot of people. And so, helping people to have this framework that they can go back through, I’ve told a lot of funny stories in there about, really interesting things that have happened over the years. You know, it’s part of creating something that’s entertaining, it’s won a bunch of awards.

I’m so proud of that one speech. Betty Pogrebin wrote a book called ‘Games mother never taught you and that was like my Bible, during the early days of my business career. And, and it was about, you know, women coming into the workforce, and it was such a new phenomenon. And even though the younger generations have had all kinds of different educational opportunities and everything else, there’s still so much to learn.

Pamela Bardhi
So Jill, where can everybody find you?

Jill Johnson
You can reach me on my website, which is www.jcs-usa.com. It’s j for Johnson see for consulting s for services. So jcs-usa.com. And I’m also on social media. I’m on Twitter and Instagram is @jilljohnsonusa. And you can find me on LinkedIn under that same search engine too.

Pamela Bardhi
I love it, Jill. Thank you so much for your time today.

Jill Johnson
It was such a pleasure. I so enjoyed the opportunity to share with you and with your audience.

Pamela Bardhi
Thank you so much, Jill. And everyone’s got to go out there and check out this career confidence workbook that Jill has put out, it’s really phenomenal stuff.  Thank you again, so much for being here. We can’t wait to see where you’re gonna be working on next because I’m sure there’ll be another interview soon.

Jill Johnson
Ooh, I like that idea.

Pamela Bardhi
Jill, thank you.

Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with underdog Jill Johnson