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Eileen Scully: Be prepared to put building your dream ahead of every other priority

Be prepared to put building your dream ahead of every other priority in your life. I had to curtail my social life, my travel, my expenses, and redirect it all towards my business. I had the pleasure of interviewing Eileen Scully, author, international speaker, and founder of The Rising Tides (therisingtides.com), a consulting firm focused on improving […]

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Be prepared to put building your dream ahead of every other priority in your life. I had to curtail my social life, my travel, my expenses, and redirect it all towards my business.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Eileen Scully, author, international speaker, and founder of The Rising Tides (therisingtides.com), a consulting firm focused on improving the workplace for women.

In June of 2016, she was honored to be invited by the Obama White House to participate in the United State of Women, one of five thousand global advocates for women and girls. In August of 2018, she keynoted the IEEE’s first Women’s event in Tunisia, and delivered her first TEDx Talk in September 2018 in Sfax, Tunisia. In June of 2019, her book, “In the Company of Men: How Women can Succeed in a World Built Without Them,” will be published by Publish Your Purpose Press.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

After 25 years working in and around some amazing companies, clients and colleagues, I figured it was time for me to apply all that I’ve learned in an exciting new way. The Rising Tides is focused on accelerating the success of women in the workplace.

My goal with The Rising Tides is to share what I’ve learned from working with dynamic, accomplished, intelligent women so that our associates, our daughters and our mentees can rise the tides in their organizations and lift each other, collectively. We will all benefit from sharing and improving on our own sense of professional generosity.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

There are so many, but the biggest surprise was when a piece I wrote about Susan Fowler’s UBER expose, where I shared my own experience with sexual harassment, went wildly viral. Overnight, I was flooded with opportunities for consulting work and speaking gigs, when I just thought I was sharing a personal reflection on sexual harassment.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

My website was terrible. Just awful. I think it probably turned people away. My site is so much better now, and it can also get much better.

Can you describe how your organization is making a significant social impact?

We’re definitely in the middle of a massive inflection point for women, globally. I like to think the work I am doing now is part of that movement, moving women closer toward a place of true equality in every element of our lives. The work we do with corporations to make their workplaces better for women is making material impacts not only on the women that we serve but on the organizations and every employee within them. When we shift the perception from women being less than to women being equal to or greater than, it affects how we perceive the women in our home, in our school, in our community, in our government. That’s powerful.

Wow! Can you tell me a story about a particular individual who was impacted by this cause?

I’ve heard from many women after they’ve heard me speak that they summoned the courage to go for the stretch job, ask for the promotion and/or raise, or found a better way to support more women around them. When you do the work that I do, you rarely hear the personal impact stories but I’m so grateful for each of them when they take the time to seek me out and share it. Makes the exhausting days less so!

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Pass the Equal Rights Amendment in the United States.

Mandate paid leave in the United States.

Extend the Violence Against Women Act.

Improve child care subsidies and/or tax exemption for all families.

Elect more women into every level of public service.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leaders are those with passion and purpose. Leaders are often those who rise within an organization around a cause or a value, and bring it forward in a way that brings others with them. Inviting everyone to participate in a movement, giving everyone a voice and a seat, believing in the potential and power of each individual are the qualities that make a leader.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. To maintain flexibility in my offerings and business plan. Where I am today looks nothing like where I thought I would be when I launched in 2015, and it’s so much better than I imagined. Learning from and moving with the market is essential to being successful and fulfilling what your customers need and want from you.
  2. Be prepared to put building your dream ahead of every other priority in your life. I had to curtail my social life, my travel, my expenses, and redirect it all towards my business.
  3. If you’re not 1000% obsessed, you’re not ready. Wait until you are (that’s my same advice for parenting).
  4. Do it alone, but build a team of trusted advisors. Don’t take on partners or investors until you really know what you’re doing. Tap into your advisors for advice and clarity when you get stuck.
  5. Take big risks and play the long game. Be humble with your clients and prospects and let them help you build something great. Have a three to five year vision at all times, and allow yourself to adjust it every quarter as your business builds.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Women who have full control of their reproductive health are better positioned to plan deliberately their education, their careers, their families, and their finances. If we made birth control 100% reliable, 100% reversible, affordable, and accessible, more women could fully participate in their local and global economies, have healthier families, and own the decisions regarding their futures.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One of my most popular talks is titled “Always Say YES” — so many of us are really good at talking ourselves out of things, rather than taking risks and chances that oftentimes lead to bigger and bolder experiences than we may have dreamed. If I hadn’t said YES, if I had stayed in comfortable, predictable jobs, relationships, experiences, my life would not be full of the amazing people I’ve met along the way, the incredible adventures I’ve had all over the globe, and the remarkable things I’ve learned about myself and the world by doing so. Saying NO is easy, but saying YES is what makes life unforgettable.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Abby Wambach, (@abbywambach) former USWNT player, because her leadership style and her ability to draw out the best in each of her teammates to produce win after win in the very competitive world of women’s soccer. She’s a fierce advocate for women, equality, and helping women realize their power.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter: @eemscully

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/therisingtidesconsulting

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eemscully

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/therisingtidesconsulting/

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/eemscully

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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