5 Questions with Mary Prefontaine, President & CEO of ICAN Global

September 8th, 2012 by lewis

Mary Prefontaine is the president and CEO for the Institute of Career Advancement Needs. Ms. Prefontaine is a noted leader in executive management and coaching. We had an opportunity to interview Ms. Prefontaine and get her opinions on how emotions play a role in the marketplace.

How did you decide to get involved with ICAN?

There are some things in life that come along exactly when you need them – and for me the opportunity to lead ICAN was one of those things. I had recognized my passion for evoking transformation in people, organizations and community – and really wanted to explore what that meant. My values around evolving human consciousness for the betterment of humanity and the planet mirrored the core values and mission of ICAN – and the people engaged around the work of ICAN reflected what both my heart and intellect was longing for.

Why are emotions important in the marketplace?

We are emotional creatures – it is in our emotions that we feel the depth of being alive. And when we feel deeply alive – when we connect to the things that bring us joy or sorrow or shifts in our consciousness – we are into our emotions. Emotions are energy and it is our emotional energy that makes us move into action and make things happen. Those emotions bring resonance, inspiration, innovation and genius. And it is in that place that we evolve our humanity.

In Anne Kreamer’s book, you recommend that employees use an emotional journal to document what they are feeling, a few times a day. Why is this important, and what kind of results do you see?

We are consumed by the “doing” – and by intellectual demands – so much so that we are often oblivious to our emotional state. Our emotions take a back seat in our life experience.

Journaling is a path to enabling consciousness – to providing a level of self-awareness of what is happening to us on an emotional level – to our level of stress, happiness, or pain. That knowledge can be instrumental to the choices we make and to our quality of life in every moment.

Do you recommend that employees manage their emotions in the workplace? If so, what are your favorite tactics?

Yes. However I view this as “self-management” and that take emotional intelligence. Self-management is critical to how we navigate successfully in our careers, our parenting and in all of our relationships. It is a honed skill, and one that I am still working on! And I don’t mean that we need to hide or fake what we are feeling – it is about having the capability to identify what I am feeling and then express myself in a manner that is honest, clear and without harm to others. My favorite tactic is to practice the art of letting go – letting go of my ego, my need to be right, my desire to be respected or loved.

Do you have any other tips on how employees can have a happier, more fulfilling career?

So glad you asked:)

There is often tension between what we long to do – and what we get paid to do. Some of us are fortunate enough to get paid to do what we love. I have learned that always have as much of what you LOVE to do in your work as possible – so that you can truly be happy every day.

Be clear about who you are and take an interest in others. We follow leaders who care about not only the mission, but also about us. Show you care in ways that connect with the heart of those around you.

Do things that might put you in a bit of a scary place…and volunteer…give to those who are in need.

Know what you uniquely bring to the table or the job – and be sure to let others know what talents and passions you possess that will bring value to the work.

Know what is important to you and set an intentional direction towards what you really really care about. Margaret Wheatley describes it this way – follow the energy of yes!


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