Mel Ross: Mastering Modern Leadership

Mel Ross
Mel Ross

The wave of digital transformation is progressive and dynamic. Within this fluid domain, Mel Ross, the innovative and visionary Founder of Adapt2Digital is a source of guidance for leaders managing the complexities of today’s corporate environment. Driven by a strong desire to explore new places and an insatiable curiosity about how technology and people interact, she has skillfully combined executive coaching, change management, and digital marketing.

With the advent of Adapt2Digital, a company committed to assisting leaders in devising effective digital strategies, Ross’s journey into change and transformation began. Her knowledge serves as an instruction manual for aspiring leaders and executive trainers in an era where modernization is not an option but a must.

Her story inspires leaders to impact the rapidly evolving digital landscape significantly. It’s more than just a story of personal success. She shed light on her remarkable journey in the industry while discussing with us.

The Education View had an interview with Mel Ross.

Below are the excerpts from the interview:

Could you share your journey to becoming a prominent figure in your industry and the pivotal moments that shaped your career?

I have always had an affinity for adventure and the future, coupled with a curiosity about what drives people to behave and act the way they do. My early career combined these two things by working in the emergent digital marketing space. I have also been lucky that my career and life have allowed me to work and live in different countries all over the world.

My marketing career allowed me to explore how digital technologies can bring value and benefit to the human experience and ethically provide data to keep enriching and evolving that experience over time. I guess that’s how I got into change and transformation. Having experienced different places, environments, and situations with a thirst for the future, curiosity around the potential of technology, and a deep connection to humans and humanity drove my interest and development as a mentor and coach.

Adapt2Digital was a company set up to support leaders in creating effective digital strategies. But something strange was happening. Whenever we were working with a client, the CEO or senior leader would often speak to me confidently, asking for guidance to learn and develop their modernity.

That was when Modern Mindset Theory became a thing—working with leaders as mentors to help them explore their beliefs around the future and digital and data.

What is the overarching mission and vision that drives your work?

In 2013, these areas of experience and expertise came together when we founded the business that is today Adapt2Digital. The premise and belief have remained unchanged: that the gift of our age is our ability to reconnect with humanity using digital and data for good.

The only difference is whether this is passive or active. Most importantly, we can all agree that culture shifts by looking up. For me, this is key. Our leaders often do not realize the power they wield when it comes to the success of change or transformation. It is not just the decisions they make; it is how they show up and how they role model the future in the eyes of the workforce that is the actual driver of success in my experience.

If culture eats strategy for breakfast, mindset eats culture for lunch!

What are the primary aims and goals you have set for yourself in 2024 and beyond?

In 2024, I aim to work more closely with individual leaders, CEO entrepreneurs, and business owners who have a passion and belief in the future so I can help them make that a reality for their path and that of the organization they lead.

I am also keen to expand my volunteering work as a mentor and coach, helping SMEs here in the UK thrive and working with passionate people worldwide who have a dream and need some support to make that real and change their lives forever. This year, I also launched a passion project focusing on female entrepreneurs, leaders, and business owners navigating some of the challenges of reaching a mid-life point, often coupled with menopause.

What are some of the most significant challenges you’ve encountered, and how have you overcome them?

The seed of self-awareness has defined effective leadership for decades. This remains one of the biggest challenges working with leaders in the change and transformation space. The certainty of modernization is absolute. However, it’s a challenge to help leaders translate that into practice, into how they show up in the eyes of others.

I also think that the complexity and pace of change can often drive leaders to react and rely too heavily on the past to make critical decisions instead of being more responsive and leaning into what’s possible. Mentoring and coaching are fundamental support mechanisms that should be more readily available to leaders to make this shift. Of course, I am biased when asked how best I can overcome these challenges because my answer would lie front and center with developing a modern mindset to show up as a current leader.

Have you received any noteworthy awards or recognition for your field contributions?

I am not really into shiny things, to be honest. For this reason, I tend to stay away from accolades. However, based on customer feedback and research, I have been awarded the most innovative executive mentoring organization this year.  For me, recognition is something that is given, not sought.

I am incredibly proud that a recognized leadership book published this year, Reimagining Leadership: Empowering Growth and Performance Through Purposeful Change and Constructive Culture by Dr. Elie Daher, has two chapters dedicated to Modern Mindset and my work.

Can you share some insights into your plans?

I think a massive amount of support is needed to help bridge the gap between leaders and modernization. Assisting leaders to recognize who they are drives success in a modern world, less what they do, and bringing the three tenets into leadership practice.

If we can continue to work towards normalizing the human side of leadership and the imperative of role model leadership in culture work, we can have a positive impact.

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