#114: Phaedra Ellis – CEO of Promise on How to Build Power and Take Control of Your Career

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Phaedra Ellis is the CEO of Promise, a startup that uses technology for good in the process to change the criminal justice system.

Prior to this, she was the leader of the South Bay Labor Council, managing over 110,000 members.

Before that, Phaedra was also the CEO of Green for All and is known as a music industry icon for having helped Prince get his master’s back as his manager, without having any legal background.
What’s interesting is Ruben met Phaedra when he worked with her at Honor. She became his mentor and also was responsible for hiring former podcast guests Rita Henderson and Natasha Vianna.

Lives In:

San Francisco Bay Area

 Current Job: CEO of Promise
Date Recorded 06/3/2018

Show Notes:

[01:50] Finding magic in people so they manifest into greatness: Phaedra’s first impression of Ruben upon entering Honor.

[02:55] The power of organizers: Phaedra illustrates what organizers are all about as well as building collective power to make that happen.

[05:00] Why Phaedra thinks of POWER as choices and the ability to execute on those choices

[06:40] Phaedra shares organizing events and lifting people up, especially people in color; as well as her views on having contractors and how to best prepare for retirement.

[11:40] Here’s an overview of a labor union, what happens, how it happens, and why it’s important.

[14:33] The power of self-destiny: Phaedra recalls working with Prince and what she learned from him. She also admires Jay-Z for creating space for people to manifest great things.

[19:00] Hiring and assessing talents: Traits she looks for in people from non-traditional backgrounds

[23:40] Building relationships: Phaedra shares the importance of having a crew that’s “down for you” in its truest sense and lifting each other.

[30:55] Dealing with disagreements: Don’t show your disagreements in meetings otherwise you’re showing your weakness. Remember, you’re building power.

[33:45] Leadership as a black woman: Phaedra shares her insights into leadership as a black woman and the power of creating spaces for other entrepreneurs.

[37:55] Phaedra talks about how Prince’s death broke her and she shares her experience founding a company with other second-time founders.

[41:05] How and why Honor got started in the hope of improving the criminal justice system and the role of technology.

[46:30] Support vs. Punishment: For instance, Portugal, which has legalized drug use, has actually reduced drug use because people can now ask for help.

[50:20] Creating authentic opportunity: How to unify influencers out of tech to break into tech

[52:30] Phaedra explains the psychology of trauma, how to deal with chaos, and creating a safe space for people with trauma issues.

[56:15] Phaedra shares her daily routine to set herself up for success!

Contact Info:

Phaedra Ellis

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/phaedra-ellis-lamkins-9b51206/

Twitter: @phaedrael

Instagram: @betterat43

Articles & Mentioned Resources:

Learning Resources

Breaking Into Startups Episode 23: Rita Henderson

Breaking Into Startups Episode 37: Natasha Vianna

Personal Projects/Partnerships:



Green for All

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