A coaching approach to leadership on the job, on the field, and on Zoom

By Jenny Clare

Paulina Lee, MBA 22, cheerfully admits to being a tad obsessive about her calendar. She says she “ruthlessly prioritizes the best ROI and value for the time I spend on schoolwork, my job, social life, and community work.”

Work is demanding these days. She is a sales director at Procter & Gamble working with Walmart’s ecommerce division to make sure “crucial products like Charmin, Bounty, and Puffs reach the consumer.” She does that by getting hands-on with data and the supply chain.

“I have been given a lot of ‘white space’ roles at P&G, where I could define my responsibilities and influence. As I rise in my career, the skills I’m gaining at Berkeley Haas will position me to help P&G adapt as the economy shifts and shoppers change their habits,” she said.

We have a finite period of time in the program, but your growth can be exponential if you really go for it."

Paulina is highly involved on campus. She was selected as a social rep by her cohort, elected as EVP of Marketing/Secretary for the EWMBA Association, and is a host/producer for Here@Haas, a student-run podcast sharing the stories of current students and faculty.

When evening & weekend MBA classes shifted online in March 2020, Paulina organized weekly online high-intensity interval training sessions open to all EWMBA students. “The Haasie HIIT sessions took on a life of their own, sometimes drawing as many as 20 people. But really,” she says, “they are a continuation of activities we’ve always done as a program, like yoga during weekend lunch breaks or hikes.”

Paulina Lee HIIT

Going beyond as a leader and coach

Paulina describes her leadership style as a “coach approach. I enjoy helping people find their own process for growth and supporting them. I value the Haas emphasis on self-reflection and use it in my own process.”

Her preference for a coaching leadership style may be rooted in her love of sports. As an undergrad, she co-captained her Central Michigan University Division I field hockey team. While she continues to play on a couple of adult teams, she also coaches for San Francisco Youth Field Hockey. “I love being able to hone my own coaching style and spread love of field hockey,” she said.

She also goes beyond herself by volunteering with Reading Partners as a tutor at an elementary school near her Bay Area home. “Growing up, I needed some additional help with reading,” she said, “So helping kids fall in love with reading as I did is really important to me.”

Getting the most from every experience

Paulina’s eye on her calendar reminds her that “We have a finite period of time in the program, but your growth can be exponential if you really go for it. I want to get as much out of this experience as I can while I’m still in it.”

She already is bringing her MBA experiences back to her job at P&G. Taking classroom lessons into the workplace gives her the confidence and the vocabulary to ask the right questions. “You have to recognize that innovation isn’t just about the next new thing,” she said. “It’s about asking what we can do differently to have a better impact on the community and on the world.”

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Posted on November 12, 2020
Jenny Clare
Jenny is Senior Associate Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals. She hopes these blog posts provide you with useful insights into the Berkeley MBA experience and answer questions you may have about the MBA in general.