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Meet Molly Winding Dewey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Winding Dewey.

Molly, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The story of how Mettacool began is a really personal one. I was going back and forth between Denver and New York for my editorial job at a big media company; I was constantly stressed out and overwhelmed, both my mental and physical health were suffering, and I kind of came to a breaking point, which I later realized isn’t all that uncommon for women like myself. At the same time my co-founder, Natalie, was going through something similar. She had been in a pretty demanding sales role for a large tech company for almost ten years and made the decision when she got pregnant with her son that something had to give — there was no way she could be a mom and continue at the pace she was going without completely burning out.

So on separate sides of the country, not having met each other yet, we both enrolled in the Integrative Health Coach program at Duke Integrative Medicine. I don’t think either of us had much of a plan at that time other than that we knew that we were passionate about wellness and that we needed career changes. What we found at Duke was so much more than either of us ever could have imagined: when we met during our first on-campus session in Durham it was one of those instant soul connections, like we’d known each other forever, and then we both were so blown away with the coaching process and the psychology behind how we all choose to live our lives that an eventual partnership of some kind felt inevitable. It became clear to both of us very early on in our coaching careers that we didn’t want to work alone. Humans in general, but women especially, need a sense of community and connection to really thrive personally and professionally, and we were no exception. I missed that rush you get from collaborating with others and I felt the need to create again, but I also had this fear about getting back into the corporate world, since it kind of ruined me the last time around.

The question became, “how can I more strategically craft my professional life in a way that allows me to be healthy, happy and whole?” and then it quickly evolved into, “how can I do this for other women?” So I called up Natalie on a random Saturday afternoon and she was in Home Depot with her husband and son, who was only a month old at the time, and I proposed that we combine forces to bring our newfound passion for coaching into the corporate space. I always say that I’ve made two great decisions in my life: the first was to marry my husband, Carl, and the second was to choose Natalie as my co-founder. They are both infinitely smarter than I am, challenge me to grow and push my limits every day, and they are why Mettacool exists today.

Since Natalie and I officially launched the company in 2018, we’ve developed an entire suite of career stage-specific programming for professional women, all of which include coaching, of course, as well as experiential learning and community. We’ve grown to a team of six, not including our wonderful advisors, and we are continuing to grow! While running a startup is certainly not an easy task, I like to think that our whole team, myself included, is really living out that initial vision for being professional women that are also healthy, happy, and whole, in addition to helping other women do the same.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
If there is a startup founder out there who can say it was a smooth road, I need to meet that person! I think that a few (or maybe a lot) of ups and downs are just the nature of the beast, and probably why it takes a really special, really tenacious person who is willing to weather that because they believe so fiercely in what they’re trying to bring to the world.

So while my answer is no, it has not been a smooth road, that’s what I signed up for when my co-founder and I decided to do this thing, and it has been the most challenging, fun, and exciting time of my life.

The biggest struggle initially was leaving stable, secure jobs to take this huge risk. It was one that, of course, involved getting my husband on board and making sure that if I took some time to try to get Mettacool off the ground that we would be okay financially. This required a bit of math and the decision to live smaller than we were used to — no more $6 matcha lattes on a whim! But it felt — and still feels — worth it, especially as the company grows and we get closer and closer to being back to the regular matcha latte life (although I’ve gotten pretty good at making my own at home!).

The other struggles we’ve dealt with since starting the company have been in figuring out how to run an actual business, which I’d never done before. Getting answers to questions like, “should we start out as an LLC or an S-corp?” or “do we file corporate taxes differently than personal taxes?” There’s certainly been a learning curve to that, and it’s a lot when you’re working on that stuff while also trying to design talent development programs, hire coaches, and focus on business development. Luckily we were able to assemble an amazing team to help us with all of this pretty quickly — never underestimate the value of outsourcing! As a result we are able to be less bogged down by the semantics of keeping the business running and really focus on our clients and our team.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Mettacool provides female-focused talent development solutions, with programs customized to women’s needs during each career stage and major life transition, enabling their advancement and an organization’s ability to retain, advance, and attract valuable female talent.

Unlike most talent development solutions, our programs take a whole-person, holistic approach to development, integrating experiential learning, coaching, mobile community, mentorship, and consulting to ensure female advancement and cultural transformation that translates to a proven business advantage.

As a company, we are really proud to be championing and empowering working women, who truly bring so much to the table and are far too often overlooked and undervalued. What’s so cool about our programs is that our ability to effect change is multidimensional: we help professional women gain the confidence and skills to advance in their careers without compromising on other really important aspects of life like motherhood, and we help the organizations they work for better understand what their women need to thrive professionally and advance into leadership. At a time when women are dropping off left and right the higher up you get in an organization, companies everywhere are scrambling to patch this leak in the pipeline, and we are the patch.

There are a few things that really set Mettacool apart from our competitors. The first is that each one of our programs maps to a specific, crucial stage in a woman’s career and life, so that companies are able to invest in women from the get-go as opposed to only focusing on leadership, and they’re able to support women and hang onto them through major transitions when a lot of women simply bow out. The second big differentiator, which is a cornerstone of our programs, is that we provide community and mentorship for women in these large organizations who, a lot of the time, are isolated within their own teams, don’t have the opportunity to connect with other women across their company, and feel intimidated to ask for a mentor.

Through Mettacool’s partnership with the Building Brave app we build private communities for the women going through our programs and work with each organization to identify leaders willing to serve as “mentors” within the virtual community. Another niche is our “Consistent Coaching” model, in which we work with these women and their companies for a minimum of 12 months to ensure long-term, lasting change, as opposed to providing a powerful one-day workshop or one-time coaching session that feels great in the moment but is quickly forgotten. Lastly, we take what we call a “whole person approach” to female talent development that encompasses so much more than just what happens at the office. Productivity and engagement hinges on everything from how stressed a woman is at home to what she puts in her body to her overall emotional health, so our programs are all based on that.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think the quality that has been most important to my success has been that I have a growth mindset. I would be nowhere today if I weren’t constantly learning, open to constructive criticism, and always wanting to be a better version of myself — as a woman, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a coach, and a CEO. I try to have an open mind to new ideas, ways of living and working, and how to best have a positive impact on others. The one thing I am most certain of in my life is that there is so much out there that I don’t know. And really, I just want to know as much as I can in order to be the best person I can be, and I think that translates to any success I’ve had life, both personally and professionally.

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