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Paying it Forward @ M33

I have been fortunate throughout my career for the stars to align — to engage with highly accomplished senior executives who are willing to invest in me, including challenging me and providing me critical feedback. None were formally established as my mentors. Rather, they were all people who were highly accomplished in their own right and saw something special in me — perhaps initiative, intellect, tenacity, familiarity or work product…or something totally different. Either way, through informal conversations built around shared priorities, they shared insight gained through their experience to help accelerate my own trajectory and shortcut the path.

To be clear, both coaching and being coached are difficult. I often think of the descriptor, “relentless”, to describe the consistently challenging nature of the discussions that most helped me excel. And while difficult to hear at times, the habitual feedback, advice and relentless coaching helped me fundamentally develop and/or change my leadership behaviors and form leadership habits required at the most senior executive levels.

Since I retired from St. Jude Medical and Abbott, the first question I get is typically “What are you going to do next — what company are you going to lead?” It has been a pleasure to use this transition to reflect on my tenure at St. Jude Medical and frankly across the various companies, industries, businesses and functions — the various roles I’ve had, the teams I’ve built and led, the organizational transformations I’ve architected and implemented. It was terrific to hear from those I’ve touched over my tenure at St. Jude Medical and how our working together has influenced their careers and perspective.

Upon reflection, the most eye opening observations have been:

  1. Most leaders are so busy running the business, they overlook coaching their talent and getting coaching for themselves.

  2. Leaders who can inspire followers can achieve much more and have greater business impact through pure scale and reach. ​​

  3. Coaching is hard and a skill to develop. It is hard both for the coach and the protégé. But, it really is the secret sauce for success — leaders develop leaders.

  4. Gaining insight from leaders who have navigated the senior executive levels before you is invaluable in accelerating your career trajectory.

So, M33 is about just that — it is an opportunity for me to “pay it forward,” in honor of all of those who have invested in me, and use my business experience coupled with a global leadership data repository to help the leaders of today build an even better tomorrow.

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Lisa Andrade is founder and CEO of M33, an executive coaching and leadership development company proven in both the “executive” and “coaching” in executive coaching. M33 leverages the art of leadership and advanced leadership science to create an executive blueprint tailored to you and your organization. For an initial consultation with Lisa, contact M33 at

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