Allison Mairena on career transitions, self-advocacy, peer support, and standing out on LinkedIn (#52)

Allison Mairena

Today, we’re talking with Allison Mairena, VP of People for NewGlobe, an international education company.

We talk about career transitions, self-advocacy, the importance of peer support, some great advice for what to do (and what not to do) to uplevel your LinkedIn profile, and so much more. 

Contact Allison

LinkedIn: @peoplexenthusiast

About Allison

Allison Mairena (she/her) specializes in building and scaling People Operations practices, particularly for rapidly-growing startups and international teams. Currently, she serves as the VP of People for NewGlobe, an international education company providing innovative curriculum and transformative technical services to public schools. 

Recently leading the People & Talent function at connectRN, she led the organization through COVID-19 and the transition to remote-supportive work. There, Allison developed and executed the HR strategy as the company grew 4x YoY. Prior to connectRN, Allison served as the Head of People at CozyKin, a tech-enabled childcare service, and talent acquisition teams at EF Education First and Cengage, hiring globally and nationally respectively.

Being a very mission-driven professional, Allison has worked predominantly for companies which make a societal impact in the edtech, healthtech, famtech spaces. She believes in a human-first approach, advocating for employee wellbeing and amplifying voices from underrepresented groups.


The Culture Map by Erin Meyer
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[03:18] Allison introduces herself to the audience
[05:56] How working internationally differs from the US
[07:26] Allison’s experience with guanxi in China
[09:23] Navigating the eight cultural dimensions outside of the US
[11:43] How to be your best advocate at work
[16:46] Going after your goals
[17:24] Career coaching from ChatGPT
[19:28] Understanding when you’re out of alignment with your boss’s values
[21:44] Can you ensure you’re in alignment during the hiring process?
[25:47] Understanding your goals when transitioning careers
[27:37] Using self-promotion effectively at work
[32:45] Knowing your audience and how to speak their language
[35:29] What to do when your boss isn’t advocating for you
[39:01] Using LinkedIn strategically for career search or networking
[42:52] The bare minimum requirements for visibility on LinkedIn
[44:23] What to avoid in your LinkedIn profile
[47:06] The mentor who made a significant impact in Allison’s career
[48:37] The routine that Allision attributes her well-being to
[50:20] The song Allison puts on when she needs a pick me up
[51:22] The one thing <$100 that’s made a difference in Allison’s life
[52:21] The last piece of advice Allison wants to leave with the audience
[52:48] Where you can find Allison


“I think the, the biggest kind of cultural difference that I experienced in the workplace related to communication styles.”

“I needed to adjust to more of the Chinese communication style and their principle of guanxi, which is kind of like being very reciprocal. So, if you do this for me, I’ll do this for you type deal. And you have to really read the air and start to listen for what is the meaning behind what they’re saying that they aren’t actually saying.”

“I learned early on in my career that you’re always going to be your best advocate.”

“Don’t rely on your, your surroundings. You are the only one who can get after your goals. And so to position yourself for what you are looking to do, you may need to seek additional education or training or certification programs, and. You should check to see if your company does have a professional development budget, because sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t.”

“And so, you know, if your goal is, for example, to climb the corporate ladder, for example, right? You really need to think less about self promotion and more about knowing your audience and speaking their language. So if you can use data and highlight how business results came as a result of things you specifically did, that will do all of the promotion you need in a lot of cases, right?”

“I will say one way to kind of get around that to hopefully be seen by those outside of just your direct manager can be to have a strong peer group at the same level as yourself and not self promote but promote your friend and have your friend promote to you. So if your company has some kind of like recognition system, right? If I go and say, wow, Michelle, you absolutely crushed that last marketing campaign, I saw that we had, you know, X amount of clicks and shares. That is helping your sister out.”

“Building out your LinkedIn presence can really only help you with regards to your growth and development from a learning perspective, and maybe even challenge ideas and perceptions that you had by reading some content, right? You don’t have to agree with everything. It’s, it is ultimately the internet, but also make those introductions for, for future opportunities.”

“If you are job searching, even if you’re not job searching, Stay away from buzzwords or a lot of adjectives or having your title on LinkedIn be anything other than what your actual job is. Like Purple Squirrel Finder, as it turns out, does not come up in a search string if a recruiter is trying to recruit another recruiter, right?”

“If anyone tells you if you’re looking for work, don’t use the green open to work banner. That is fake news. It is not desperate. Recruiters are looking to search and hire people who are open to work. Don’t be afraid to use it. The people who are trying to spread a bad name to the open to work banner are not people who you actually want to work with.”

“The best advice I can give, and I share this with all of my team, is control the controllables. You can control your own reactions and emotions, but there will always be things that you cannot control, so just be mindful of that.”





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