Why I Took a Step Back to Leap Forward

Mar 28, 2022

Q&A with ACWConnect Live! Keynote Speaker MeiLee Langley

Alliance of Channel Women is excited to welcome MeiLee Langley front and center to this year’s ACWConnect Live! as our keynote speaker. MeiLee has a reputation for success in channel marketing and strategy, building channel programs at three cloud market leaders from early days to industry-wide success. At the age of 35–and with numerous industry awards, accolades and a recent promotion in hand–she knew she needed to take a terrifying leap…and resign from a job she loved to refocus her life and prioritize herself.

That choice taught her incredible lessons about resiliency, conviction (boundaries!) and actively (and wisely) choosing how to spend our time. The process gave her new energy and control over her mental and physical health (how many of us never get that workout in or take that actual day off?), and she emerged from her sabbatical ready to take on her next challenge as Senior Director, Global Channel Marketing for LiveVox. Today, she achieves that previously elusive balance by enjoying Colorado’s outdoors adventures and lively wine bars with friends or her fiancé, Jeremy.

MeiLee gave ACW a sneak peek at her remarks and message in this exclusive Q&A. Don’t miss the live event, save your seat for ACWConnect Live!, 4-7 p.m. April 11, during Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

Q: The last 2+ years have been challenging; what advice can you offer ACW members about how to learn and grow from those experiences?

Many of us got lost in our jobs during the pandemic. Due to shutdowns, we no longer had external obligations or distractions pulling us away from our computers in the afternoons, so we filled that time by working. The end of our workday began stretching from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. then 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and we got used to doing nothing but sitting with our faces buried in our laptops.

Now that the world is emerging (fingers crossed) out of the pandemic, and I encourage all women to put effort into making space to reintegrate those non-work activities back into your week. Make time to go to happy hour or the gym, to take a walk outside, to be present (and not on a call) as you drive your kids to and from school, to cook and enjoy dinner with your partner or even by yourself while watching your favorite reality show.

Change your mindset and be intentional in making time to close the laptop and forget about work so you can focus on yourself, your loved ones and your passions. And while it may sound simple enough, I can assure you that it will not be easy. Change is hard, and setting boundaries is even harder, but it’s time to recalibrate how you prioritize your time and recapture your life.

Q: How have you evolved personally and professionally over the last 2+ years?

Honestly, I am a completely new woman. Going into the pandemic, I was constantly tired from overworking, isolated from friends and loved ones because I didn’t make time for them, and completely lost in my job as I had no bandwidth for my hobbies and passions. I have emerged on the other side of both the pandemic and my decision to leave that life behind, as a woman who makes time for the people I love, who can pursue hobbies, travel, and time outdoors, and who has found the balance to succeed and achieve in my career while maintaining the conviction to not lose myself in my job. I know my worth and what I want, and I have the confidence to pursue what matters most to me.

Professionally, I decided to step back into the corporate cloud world and lead the Global Channel Marketing team at CCaaS provider, LiveVox. When deciding on that next career move, I was upfront in my prioritization of balance and my expectations of the leadership team to support and enable a proper work/life balance.

While more challenging, I am slowly shedding my “white knight” armor, unafraid to tell a colleague “No” or “Not right now.” Most importantly, I have the confidence to prioritize myself by setting boundaries and expectations. I push back on meetings to ensure that I have time to get work done during my workday, so I don’t get stuck catching up on emails or action items in the evenings or on the weekends (I know we’re all guilty of that). This enables me to close my laptop on Friday afternoon and not reopen it again until Monday morning, so I can be truly present to connect with family and friends, explore new places and activities, or simply rest and rejuvenate.

Q: What are three points that you would like attendees to take away from your presentation?

First, if you feel you’ve gotten lost in your job or career the past few years, you’re not alone. Whether due to imposter syndrome, white knight syndrome, or some other social construct, many of us women found ourselves pressured (even if self-imposed) to overwork and overdeliver to maintain our seat at the table. This is NOT a YOU problem! However, this does require YOU to be the solution. You must be accountable to yourself and fight for your life balance. It’s no one else’s job to give it to you.

Second, as women, we need to remember to consistently and continuously prioritize ourselves, our health and our happiness.

And third, change is hard; it won’t naturally happen on its own. Stop kicking that can down the road. Be intentional and put mental effort and time into taking steps to create change and space in your life. Review, Reframe, Recapture.

Q: Why does ACW Membership matter to you?

As the ACW adage goes: “Membership Matters.” It matters to me because it has connected me to women that I have leaned on during challenging times (as well as those who have leaned on me). As I wrestled with the difficult decision to quit my job last year, I reached out to a handful of ACW members for their insight, experience and advice. Every one of them took my call without hesitation and gave me things to think about while also offering thoughtful and honest guidance and support.

ACW empowered me to take this step back, which empowered me to leap forward. It’s also giving me a platform to share my story in hopes that I can pay it forward to any members who might be in the same place I was just a year ago.