One of the keys to effective communication is the skill of active listening. At Junto, we teach generous listening as a method of fully absorbing what other people are saying as opposed to just “hearing” them speak. Junto Alum Nikki Martin and Mentor Chad Cooper have each had to develop this skill to succeed in their careers and have a more peaceful personal life. Your first lesson in active listening begins with this episode.


“I would say having confidence is really key. Making sure that you’re feeling comfortable talking about the technology and being confident in what you’re actually talking about…Also confident that you’re going to probably be the only woman in the room most of the time.” – Nikki Martin

The telecommunications industry is dominated by men. In addition to the difficulty of the actual work, women holding leadership positions in the telecom space also have to deal with unwanted interactions. Nikki Martin, a Junto alum and Client Happiness Officer at Eclipse, breaks down what it’s like as the only woman in the room and also speaks candidly on her struggles with anxiety.

Next, Chad Cooper, CTO of LandscapeHub and Junto mentor, talks about how having kids helped him achieve clarity and balance in his working life. Chad mused, “In a startup, you’re going to have a list longer than you can ever achieve. But if you have clarity, you can achieve the right things.”

One of the key themes running through both conversations is the idea of active, generous listening. Being a generous listener is the trait that has helped both Nikki and Chad cultivate happy, efficient teams.

  • [01:07] – Nikki Martin interview

    • [01:49] – Emotion wheel

    • [03:30] – Nikki’s first recollection of leadership

    • [05:25] – Emerging in a male-dominated industry

    • [12:53] – Coping with anxiety

    • [18:21] – Active listening

    • [24:29] – What men can do to help women excel

    • [28:55] – Closing appreciations

  • [30:24] – Chad Cooper interview

    • [31:11] – Emotion wheel

    • [33:20] – Chad’s first recollection of leadership

    • [35:33] – Love for coding

    • [37:05] – Solving problems as a technologist

    • [40:06] – Co-founding Landscape Hub

    • [42:55] – Bringing the family together on the farm

    • [47:42] – Achieving clarity

    • [48:55] – Improving communication

    • [52:24] – The importance of leadership

    • [58:05] – Closing appreciations

Nikki Martin is the Client Happiness Officer at Eclipse and a Junto Institute alum. Prior to her time at Eclipse, she worked at It’s Just Lunch.

Chad Cooper is the CTO and co-founder of LandscapeHub and a long-time Junto Institute mentor. Chad was previously CTO at Grubhub and GiveForward.

The Junto Institute is the only place where leaders and their companies grow together, helping them get to their desired next stage. Its leadership programs are built on a proven system of deep mentorship, emotional intelligence training, and teams learning together.

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This podcast episode was produced by Dante32.