Transferable skills, those that can be used for many jobs in a variety of industries… we all have them. Maybe you cataloged digital assets for a tech company or interfaced with customers for an apparel brand. These are both skills that can transfer into a social media manager position. Your organization, attention to detail, and time management skills could also make you an excellent project manager. The question is, do you know how to leverage these skills in any new career path you choose to take?

Che Watkins, Executive Director of the Atlanta division of Braven, is an expert on just that. She was able to leverage the skills she developed during her time as a banker into a career in the nonprofit world, where she eventually found her way to Braven, a nonprofit organization focused on the educational and economic development of underserved youth of color in the community.

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  1. How to start a region of an organization from scratch by leveraging past relationships, having the support of your CEO and building a team
  2. How to learn from the past to lead you to the future
  3. Taking on big challenges that are difficult and risky but realizing that is where you learn the most
  4. Che’s Fun Facts – Dinner, Sweat Cycling, Golden and New Orleans

“You get a better solution when there are a variety of voices at the table.”

- Che Watkins


    [03:29] Get a sneak peek into the life of Che Watkins

    [5:35]  Learn what the team at Braven is so passionate about and why

    [10:09]  Che’s entry into the LATTOYG Playbook: Hear about Che’s journey on building the Atlanta Braven team and lessons along the way

    [20:33] See what it takes for Che to lead at the top of her game.

    [24:06] Signature Segment: Which of the leadership tactics most resonates with Che

    [26:11] Why you should consider participating in a loaned executive program

    [28:29] Why being open to failure is vital to success

    [31:06] Signature Segment: Full Disclosure

    [38:17] Signature Segment: Karan’s Take


    Che D. Watkins is the Executive Director – Atlanta for Braven. Ms. Watkins served as President & CEO of The Center for Working Families, a nonprofit focused on workforce development to create economic success for hard-working families and their children. Ms. Watkins has more than 30 years of experience in external affairs, public policy, business development, community engagement and development and finance.

    Ms. Watkins spent more than four years with the Metro Atlanta Chamber as Vice President of External Affairs where she leveraged her skills to develop relationships with local government officials, metro area Chambers, regional and community nonprofits, corporate leaders and other community voices. She also managed the Chamber’s Greater Grady Task Force and served as Education and Campaign Manager for the 2012 Metro Atlanta Transportation Referendum that executed a $9 million voter education and advocacy effort to draw 300,000 voters to the polls to pass an $8 billion transportation referendum for the metro Atlanta region.

    Ms. Watkins began her career with J.P. Morgan & Co. in Accounting before moving into client interfacing leadership positions at Bank of America and Wachovia. Ms. Watkins holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Spelman College and her MBA from New York University.




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    Click the plus button on the tab to access the written transcript:
    Episode 11 | Transferring Your Skills To Better Lead New Opportunities with Che Watkins

    Che Watkins  00:00

    And a lot of that has to do with making sure that you can tell your story to people, making sure that your professional portfolio is on point, and building a social network because we know that it’s, a lot of times, about who you know and who you can connect with.


    Voiceover  00:19

    Welcome to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast, where we equip you to more effectively lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. Each week, we help you sharpen your leadership acumen by cracking open the playbooks of dynamic leaders who are doing big things in their professional endeavors. And now, your host, leadership tactics and organizational development expert, Karan Ferrell-Rhodes.


    Karan Rhodes  00:57

    Hey there, superstars! This is Karan and welcome to today’s episode! You know, transferable skills are talents and abilities that can be used in many different jobs and career paths. For example, once you learn how to develop and manage a budget, you can use that expertise in almost any role that you obtain during your career. From my research, I have found that great leaders not only keep their skills sharp but they also find a way to use them to lead new assignments and opportunities. Our guest today is a master in leveraging her skills and expertise to lead efforts in a variety of industries. Che Watkins is the Executive Director of the Atlanta Division of Braven, which is a nonprofit organization focused on the educational and economic development of underserved youth of color in the community. I’m sure you will be fascinated by how she transferred the skills she picked up from her time in the Financial Services industry to make huge impacts in the public policy and nonprofit arenas. Be sure to listen to Che’s addition to our leadership execution playbook and my closing segment called “Karan’s Take”, where I share a tip on how to use insights from today’s episode to further sharpen your leadership acumen. And now, enjoy the show! Well, hello, superstars! Welcome to today’s episode of the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast. This is Karan and on today’s show, we have a tremendous guest that I absolutely know you’re going to enjoy. We’re so happy to have Miss Che Watkins, who is the Executive Director for Atlanta for an organization called Braven. And she’ll give you a little bit more information about that, but they’re doing some absolutely tremendous things within our community. And so I would just like to say welcome Che! We’re so happy to have you.


    Che Watkins  02:59

    Thank you for having me today!


    Karan Rhodes  03:02

    Are you ready to crack open that leadership playbook to help our listeners?


    Che Watkins  03:06

    Absolutely, I got a lot of nuggets in there.


    Karan Rhodes  03:10

    Alright! We’re ready to delve into them. But before we do so, Che, for as much as you feel comfortable, would you mind just giving us a sneak peek into, you know, where you grew up, a little bit about you personally, and just tell us also a bit about your professional journey to best for?


    Che Watkins  03:29

    Sure, I am from Detroit, Michigan; really Southfield, Michigan because I know Detroit people are like, “You’re not really from Detroit.” Southfield, Michigan, which is a suburb outside of Detroit. I grew up there with my parents and my younger sister, went to Spelman College is… after I graduated high school, which was one of the best decisions I made in my life. I majored in economics with a focus on management and accounting. And after college, I moved to New York and worked for JP Morgan, and did all variety of auditing and accounting at JP Morgan and was there for about seven years, and then decided I had done my time in New York and I wanted to be somewhere where I felt like I can establish my roots. So I moved back to Atlanta in 1998, and worked in commercial… in the commercial banking space for a long time. I also was a banker for nonprofits, specifically churches in Atlanta. So financing church growth and development, and while I was in banking, I established myself on a number of boards and organizations just to make sure that I was out there in the community, and I was tapped to come to the Metro Atlanta chamber to the public policy space as they were trying to save a Grady Hospital—the safety net hospital in Atlanta. So I ran that project, stayed on with the chamber and did a number of things in public policy, lobbying at the state legislature, working on transportation legislation; I ran a transportation referendum. After that, I wanted to move into the nonprofit space so I ran a workforce development nonprofit. And now, I am at Braven, which is a full circle moment for me, because I am now working with my alma mater, Spelman College.


    Karan Rhodes  05:36

    Wonderful! And just to give a little (unintelligible) out for Braven, will you… can you share a little bit about the purpose and the impact you all are making in the community?


    Che Watkins  05:44

    Sure, when I was running the nonprofit in the workforce development space, we were really focused on economic stability for people that were unemployed or underemployed, and making sure that they got into entry level positions at a competitive rate, and have progression and mobility. But what I realized is that I’m really passionate about economic mobility—moving people across the spectrum and making sure that people have access to growth and development in the economic space. So Braven essentially works with colleges and universities to bridge the gap between higher education and careers and graduate school for students of color, low income, first generation, and all students of color. So we provide a career accelerating course that is for credit and for a grade at our college emphasis, and really help them to build their skill sets in order to be competitive in the marketplace, and, then, we help them get internships and move on to their strong first job. So we launched… Braven launched in Atlanta in January of this year with Spelman College, and every sophomore is required to take this course. So when I say it’s a full circle moment, it’s a full circle moment because I remember when I was in their seats trying to figure out what I wanted to do in the future and what I wanted to do with my degree. And I just feel like I am helping them figure that out and exposing them to all the opportunities that they really have available to them in today’s society.


    Karan Rhodes  07:29

    Talk about truly becoming full circle. I was almost exhausted listening to your professional story about how much you’ve done, “Oh, my gosh, how did you find the time to do that?”, but now, the impact that you all are making through Braven, you’re basically building the foundation for our leaders of the future and especially those who are underserved that may not get those type of opportunities or eye-opening experiences to know what’s even possible out there. It just gives me chills.


    Che Watkins  08:00

    Absolutely, and especially for a school like Spelman. Yes, it’s the number one historically black college and university in the country, but we know the disparity in terms of earnings between black women and white men. Black women would be like 50 cents on the dollar, compared to a white man, and a lot of that has to do with making sure that you can tell your story to people, making sure that your professional portfolio is on point, and building a social network because we know that it’s, a lot of times, about who you know and who you can connect with, and, then, building the confidence to be able to say, “I have these skills. I can do these things. I don’t have to have 100 percent of the things on the job description, I can have 70 percent and I will be fine.” because a lot of people will look at it and say, “I have 20 percent.” and will still apply. So we just have to have the confidence to know that we can do whatever we want.


    Karan Rhodes  08:55

    Absolutely, and sometimes it’s just as, you know, as succinct as just telling them and letting them know, opening their eyes, because, you know, being… coming from the, you know, HR world, there are extremely few candidates that have everything that’s on that job description. And a lot of organizations and companies hire if even if they have 50 percent, and they hope to like help skill up or train, you know, once a person gets there, especially if they have some… some good character and some good basic skill sets. You know, it sounds like you are doing that. That is fantastic. Well, Che, one of the things that I was super excited to have you share with the listeners is that you had quite a bit of experience in building an organization from scratch, and I don’t know a single person that’s in an executive or even a mid-range leadership role who hasn’t had to do that and that is very hard. It’s something they don’t teach you, you know, in college. You’re having to figure it out on your own or with colleagues. So I would love for you to talk a little bit about your story on building an organization from scratch, and what were some of the lessons learned? And what were some things you wish you would have known and know now? Just… let’s delve into that topic just a bit.


    Che Watkins  10:27

    Sure, I think if you look at my experience managing the Grady Hospital project, that was… that came out of nowhere, my experience managing a transportation referendum–we had never done that before in Atlanta–and now building my team here in Atlanta for Braven, I think what is consistent about the three of those is taking the time to understand the landscape in which you’re building. So for Grady, I had to start to learn about safety net hospitals. For transportation, I had to start to learn about campaigns, and how you sell people on your campaign. And for Braven, because it’s a new organization in Atlanta, I really had to understand what the value-add was to our region, in order to tell that story to the broader community. The beauty about the… building for Braven is there was literally nothing so I was able to choose my entire team, and…


    Karan Rhodes  11:35

    That sounds like a good thing, right?


    Che Watkins  11:36

    That’s… that’s a wonderful thing because I was really clear about what I was looking for, and… not just in a skill set perspective, but from an emotional intelligence perspective, since we will be working with black women, and it turned out that my entire team ended up being black women. Just incredibly proud of that, and having the ability to not only work with them, but to teach them and lead them as well. The other thing that I would say when building from scratch is if there’s somebody above you like a board or your CEO or something like that, just being in constant alignment with them. Our CEO is Aimee Eubanks Davis, and she’s from the south side of Chicago, and she started Braven in 2013; another wonderful dynamic black woman. And I just knew during conversations with her that we weren’t in alignment in terms of what we wanted to create on the ground in Atlanta. So that’s also key, and, then, leveraging relationships. So in all three of those scenarios, whenever there was something I didn’t know or that I needed, leveraging relationships that I have built in the past always was a factor, and, especially, in building Braven. I could just go back to all of the relationships I have built over my number of years here in Atlanta, and really start to get support and build ambassadors for what I was doing.


    Karan Rhodes  13:18

    That is fantastic, and a couple things I just want my listeners to understand if you’re not from Atlanta, first of all, Grady is a hugely influential critical hospital for the Metro Atlanta area. And, you know, you could use Google to, you know, learn about how critical they are. So even that initiative itself, I’m sure was… was something to say, you know, something to really tackle. And the other thing about Atlanta is that we are a hub for the nonprofit and charitable communities. It’s almost… you can’t be a leader here without being a part of… volunteer for one or a board. That’s where you make your connections in Metro Atlanta so I’m sure with braving Braven coming into the city sphere, you know, establishing the organization within the cities network, making those right connections to help support the causes and… and get sponsors and what have you for the causes you are trying to achieve, I’m sure that was a huge undertaking because Atlanta is extremely connected, I mean, in that area. Would you agree or no?


    Che Watkins  14:34

    Absolutely, you know, Atlanta has their favorite nonprofits that they like to support and engage with so coming into the market was new and different, but I… I recognize that Braven can solve a problem that Metro Atlanta has. Metro Atlanta has always been number one, two, or three around economic… lack of economic mobility for people of color in the city. And Atlanta has been talking about that for years, and how do you… how do you solve that problem. So I definitely worked to connect what Braven was doing with solving the problem in Metro Atlanta. And, you know, Braven’s a nonprofit, so I have to raise money, but I also understood that I couldn’t ask for money until I proved outcomes, right? So for the first semester, I just wanted to make sure that people were volunteering from the community and engaged in a deep way with Braven so that they could actually see it and feel it and touch it, and, then, I had outcomes to show after the semester was over. So I think that sometimes, you have to go slow to go fast in order to bring people along and make sure that they understand the value that you’re bringing to the community. And that’s what we’ve done, and I think we’ve established a really strong Ambassador footprint here in little over a year.


    Karan Rhodes  16:09

    And that is amazing. I am so proud of the work you all have done, and congratulations to you and your team, because that wasn’t an easy feat…


    Che Watkins  16:17

    No, it was not.


    Karan Rhodes  16:20

    …but you live to tell the story, and I’m so happy to have, at least in one small way, be able to amplify your platform here on the podcast. I have another question for you, we talked about how you were in the fortunate position to be able to build your own team, meaning you could target the right kind of dynamic skill sets and backgrounds, and, as you know, Atlanta is a very diverse city. My question to you is, even though I think you said almost all of your staff are women of color, people of color, how do you coach and guide them as they interact talking about, you know, stakeholder savvy and understanding your networks? How do you coach them to reach out to others that, you know, may not look like them or think like them? Because you’re going to need those partners and the support of other demographics to help Braven be successful. How do you all think about expanding your networks and making everyone feel welcome (unintelligible).


    Che Watkins  17:31

    Absolutely. In terms of my team, I think I do that by example. So when we have events and the people that I invite, they can see that my network is extremely diverse so I try to lead by example. And I do have a very diverse network, and I think that’s… that’s invaluable to me, and I always say, you know, I just like cool, well-rounded people, and whatever they look like or whatever background they come from is fine with me so I think I try to lead by example on that. And, then, when we worked with Spelman, one of the features of the course is that we recruit leadership coaches that work with a small cohort of the students. And at first, I said to myself, “Oh, I want every leadership coach to be from Spelman.” But, then, I thought about it and said,  “No, they need to have exposure to different people from different backgrounds, from different companies, from different organizations.” And we’ve really been thoughtful about making sure that we recruit leadership coaches that don’t necessarily look like the students, and not only do the students get that experience but the leadership coaches get that experience of leading a diverse team, right? And, you know, leading a team of all black women. And we have had such success with that, and the leadership coaches has… have just learned a lot about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and how to engage with these students.


    Karan Rhodes  19:11

    I love that. And what I was bringing out, I needed an excellent job explaining, is that it is okay to focus on a certain underserved demographic and have that as your focus, while also finding ways to include others of diverse backgrounds in your initiatives, cause, programs, processes. There’s a great way to mix those so that you can get ultimate success, and you… you all have done an excellent job at that. So, congratulations again on that!


    Che Watkins  19:43

    Absolutely. I mean, one of the things we say about diversity and inclusion is that you get to a better solution when they’re variety of voices at the table.


    Karan Rhodes  19:53



    Che Watkins  19:54

    And so, you know, one of my very dear friends is Katie Kirkpatrick that runs the Metro Atlanta chamber and we grew up together in the chamber, basically, and she’s a white woman, but we are… we call each other twin because we have, you know, similar thought processes. And, you know, she’s been just a wonderful friend, mentor, leader in the community, and, you know, I couldn’t have done some of the things that I’ve done without her.


    Karan Rhodes  20:23

    Oh, that’s amazing. Well, treasure those friendships and networks there. It’s hard to find some, you know, great, great friends like that.


    Che Watkins  20:30



    Karan Rhodes  20:31

    So… Well, Miss Che, let me ask you this question. What does leading at the top of your game mean to you? Like when you are, you know, leading your team at Braven, what is… what is all involved in preparing yourself to lead at the top of your game?


    Che Watkins  20:50

    So part of this preparation, whether it’s, you know, understanding the details or whether it’s just taking time at the beginning of the week and looking at the week and saying, “Okay, what do I have to do? What do I have to accomplish?” and setting yourself up for that because, you know, you don’t know what’s coming at you during the week so at least you can be prepared on the basics. Making sure that my team is always learning and developing and growing, and also having fun. I definitely try to live from a place of ease and engagement, and not kind of the heavy hand of leadership. And, also, what I feel like when I’m at the top of my leadership game, I almost feel a vibration inside of me. Like… it’s like my body telling me like, “This is it; this is what you’re supposed to be doing.” You know, “You’re doing much great work.” because what I’m doing resonates with me so deeply. So that even when we have challenges, I can approach it from a different place because I know that I’m still… I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. And I am leading in the way that I need to be leading, I just need to make some adjustments.


    Karan Rhodes  22:12

    Absolutely. That vibration you mentioned, I call that the “zone of genius”.


    Che Watkins  22:18

    I love that.


    Karan Rhodes  22:20

    I know exactly what you’re talking about. You may not have had everything figured out but you know when you’re in the right place and doing the right thing, it aligns with your passions and your goals, and it’s almost like you blink your eyes and 24 hours has passed because you’re so zoned in and excited about what you’re bringing to the table. So…


    Che Watkins  22:43

    Absolutely, and it takes time to get there. Sometimes, people are lucky enough to get that early on in their career, but in reality, it takes a while it takes a while for you to try different things. You know, I just knew I wanted to be in accounting. I just knew I wanted to be in banking, and, then, once I moved into the public policy and nonprofit space, I said, “Oh my gosh, this is it. I like to solve big problems.” And nobody else wants to tackle. So that’s when I really started to feel… feel that vibration.


    Karan Rhodes  23:16

    And you know, another thing listeners should know is the ebbs and flows, too, because you sometimes there are different seasons in your life where at that point in time, you’re very passionate and feeling that you’re in your space, but humans evolve, right? And so they may find themselves maybe, you know, five years from now in a different space. So I just advise clients to be very forgiving of themselves and give themselves space and grace to figure out what is in alignment for them at that moment in time. And, yeah, I love that.


    Che Watkins  23:52

    And don’t… and don’t be so hard on yourself. Take your time. Every experience is a lesson that you can take something from but just… just kind of let things flow.


    Karan Rhodes  24:03

    That’s right, that’s right. So, as you know, I’ve written a book on leadership execution tactics of some of the most effective… world’s most effective leaders, and I was just curious if any of those seven really popped out for you. And if so, can you share one of them, at least, with us?


    Che Watkins  24:22

    Yes, my number one is “courageous agility”.


    Karan Rhodes  24:26

    Oh, okay. Tell me why.


    Che Watkins  24:28

    Just in terms of like when I made the transition from banking to public policy, I had been invited to work on the Grady project as a loan executive and, then, I would go back to banking. And I thought about it and said, “You know, this is a good time for me to just make a big shift.” And I left banking and took this role, which was a short term role, but that took a lot of courage because I am typically quite risk averse, but I had a feeling it was going to lead me on a different path that I would be excited about, so the courage to be able to do that. When I ran the Workforce Development nonprofit, I went into it knowing that it was a turnaround situation, and there was risk of failure, and we did fail in a lot of ways, but boy, did I learn a lot about myself and about my resilience. And I have a story to tell, in terms of what I’ve learned that a lot of people had not had that experience, and I take all of the experiences that I’ve had to build to a better place. So being courageous in terms of taking risks, being courageous in terms of using your voice, and being confident in your knowledge when you use your voice, I think all of that is about courageous agility. And I think if I had not built that throughout my career, I would be in a different place if I had not taken calculated risks.


    Karan Rhodes  26:11

    Oh, I love that that is such an awesome story. And if I could just give a quick plug for loan executive programs, they are kind of rare, and it’s amazing that you were courageous enough to be a part of it. But, listeners, if your organization, or if you come across an opportunity to be part of a loan executive program, it… I have found it to be a tremendous crash course in skill building and leadership because… and it’s in a safe space to do so because the other organization is so happy and thankful that you’re there to work with them. You’re… they’re hungry for your expertise while you’re also hungry to understand how you can contribute to the organization, and it’s usually in a finite period of time, as well. So when you have those types of opportunities to really stretch and grow, I encourage you to do it. Che has done take advantage of that opportunity, because those are few and far between, but they are just accelerators in leadership.


    Che Watkins  27:21

    Absolutely. And what… especially if you’re coming from the corporate space, one of the things that… and iif you do work in nonprofit, nongovernment organizations, what you’ll start to learn is the difference in decision making processes. So corporate is pretty much tapped out like if the CEO says we’re doing it, then we’re doing it.


    Karan Rhodes  27:40

    We’re doing it, right?


    Che Watkins  27:42

    Public policy and nonprofit decision making is completely and totally different. It’s about building a coalition. It’s about talking to everybody and kind of moving the cats and hurting the cats to the same place, and you have to learn how to come at your argument from a variety of different angles for different constituencies in order to get to where you need to be, and I hadn’t learned that skill. You know, I came into it saying, “Well, this is the answer. I don’t understand why everybody is just not reacting.” And I learned that, you know, especially if you’re tackling hard, meaty issues, it doesn’t work that way. So building that skill was just really valuable for me.


    Karan Rhodes  28:29

    That’s incredible, absolutely incredible. And Che, in your opinion, where is one area that you see many aspiring leaders stumble?


    Che Watkins  28:42

    Hmm. I think it’s not being open to failure. I’m not saying that you have to seek out failure, but you have to seek out opportunities where you might fail. And, then, if you do, the lessons, like the analysis that you do afterwards, is so valuable and so key. That’s just something that I’ve really learned to embrace when it happens, and, then, learning to be resilient and bouncing back and being able to tell your failure story in an effective way so that people are just in awe of how you did something, tried it. It was hard, very hard. Maybe it didn’t work out but you have a story to tell and you’ve learned from the experience.


    Karan Rhodes  29:41

    Absolutely, tell the failure story—that’s what’s key. I so agree with that because no one in any kind of organization is perfect. Now, they do have to do your research, right, and, you know, make calculated risk based on the (unintelligible).


    Che Watkins  30:00

    Absolutely, and (unintelligible) looking for failure opportunities.


    Karan Rhodes  30:05

    But however, if you attempt it, and there, you know, it didn’t go quite as you had hoped, but bringing that knowledge back to the organization and key decision makers is absolutely priceless. And many times they value that even more than a success. It… that gives you air cover to be able to do the next big thing that you would like to do. So being able to effectively tell the leadership story, or the failure story out of that, leadership effort is extremely important.


    Che Watkins  30:39

    Absolutely, and the other thing I would add is just empathy for everyone that you’re… that you’re dealing with, and just approaching people from a place of, you know, assuming goodness first, and being empathetic and being curious and inquisitive. I really think that that’s how you build strong relationships that will take you as far as you want to go.


    Karan Rhodes  31:06

    It is, absolutely. Alright, Miss Che. Well, before we close out our episode, we have our final segment, what we call “Full Disclosure”, And now, my listeners know we don’t ever have any gotcha questions. These are just a few interesting tidbits that we asked you to share about your life, and I’m just curious, is there a hobby that you have that you enjoy? And if so, would you mind sharing?


    Che Watkins  31:35

    Um, well, I realized this was a hobby during COVID because I couldn’t do it which is going out with my friends to different restaurants and eating good food. So that was a hobby.


    Karan Rhodes  31:48

    It is a hobby.


    Che Watkins  31:50

    And also, this sounds really crazy, but I take a class called “Sweat Cycle”, which is cycling class, but it’s… the room is set to 85 degrees.


    Karan Rhodes  32:04

    Oh, so you’re sweating hard while you’re cycling.


    Che Watkins  32:07



    Karan Rhodes  32:08

    That’s like double workout.


    Che Watkins  32:10

    That is. That’s my jam.


    Karan Rhodes  32:15

    I love to try that. I’ve never heard of sweat cycle. I’ve heard of cycling and I have heard of like hot yoga, and you know…


    Che Watkins  32:22

    (unintelligible) the two so I take it every Sunday, and once I finish I say, “Okay, that’s the hardest thing I will have had to do this week, so I’m ready to go.”


    Karan Rhodes  32:34

    (unintelligible) the two so I take it every Sunday, and once I finish I say, “Okay, that’s the hardest thing I will have had to do this week, so I’m ready to go.”


    Che Watkins  32:50

    My walk-into-the-room song is “Golden” by Jill Scott.


    Karan Rhodes  32:51

    Yes, girl, anything by Jill Scott, I’m there.


    Che Watkins  32:56

    Living the life like it’s golden.


    Karan Rhodes  32:58

    Amen to that. What is one of your favorite meals since you to eat out a lot with your friends? What is your go-to cuisine of choice?


    Che Watkins  33:10

    Oh my gosh, anything from New Orleans. Crawfish, etouffee, shrimp etouffee, gumbo, anything from New Orleans.


    Karan Rhodes  33:20

    Wow. And, you know, that… I think you’ve probably noticed this, there have been an influx of restaurants between Louisiana cuisine in Atlanta.


    Che Watkins  33:30



    Karan Rhodes  33:30

    Yes, so I’m sure there’s a ton that could be on your list to try if you haven’t tried them all already.


    Che Watkins  33:37

    Absolutely, love that gumbo!


    Karan Rhodes  33:42

    Alright, and because you have been such a good sport, I’m gonna turn the tables and let you ask one question with me.


    Che Watkins  33:52

    Um, who has been your favorite interviewer… interview, and who would you love to interview?


    Karan Rhodes  34:03

    You’re putting me on-the-spot.


    Che Watkins  34:04

    You don’t have to answer the favorite one, you might be in trouble.


    Karan Rhodes  34:06

    I don’t know what to say.


    Che Watkins  34:09

    Who would you love to interview that you haven’t?


    Karan Rhodes  34:13

    Ah, let’s see. That’s a great question. Ah, I struggle because I have so many interests in different areas and people that I want to interview for different reasons. You got me on this one. I guess, I’m like, “Who do I want to call out?” Maybe… I’m always fascinated by leaders who have made a big impact in their industries, and this might not be a popular choice, but I would love to interview them just to understand their dynamic, but I don’t know if you’ve heard of Jamie Dimon. He’s a titan in the finance industry. He and his peers who navigated through the… the financial crisis in 2008, I would love to interview he and his peers about that time period. I mean, there’s been movies and all kinds of things about that, but I’m sure there were negotiations and things that happened for probably above board and under board, and level board as well, to keep the financial system intact, but what really hit me was that if some of those moves hadn’t been made, whether they were above board or not, we would have… could have hit rock bottom and then off of financial cliff and been destroyed as a company. And we underestimate the impact that our financial institutions how we just accept that there is banks around, you know, lending sources around, and all kinds of things, but I’ve always been fascinated in documentaries, period, but that period of time, and what really truly happened behind the scenes more than what was sensationalized in movies, I would love to understand.


    Che Watkins  36:33

    Absolutely, and if you do that interview, I want to be a fly on the wall. I would have so many questions.


    Karan Rhodes  36:43

    I’ll have you as a co-host.


    Che Watkins  36:45

    What if I say during the first meeting like everyone is sitting there like, “What is going on?”


    Karan Rhodes  36:52

    I know! What in the world did it feel like? What did it feel like to have all the Titans come together, you know, with lawmakers, and they’re all trying to figure out what in the heck are we gonna do? And we only have a few minutes to do it, you know,  to keep us over board. That was a fantastic question. Of all the turn the tables, I think that one caught me when most others don’t so great question. I think you need to co-host this podcast with me. Alright. Well, Che, it has been an absolute pleasure to have you join us in the podcast. There were so many nuggets of information that you shared, and, listeners, we will have information in the show notes about Braven and some of the other… how to find Che on LinkedIn and a lot of other resources that we mentioned in today’s show, so be sure to check out the show notes, and subscribe if you haven’t already, because there are some other fantastic guest episodes that are coming up similar to Che. But thank you so much for listening, listeners, and we’ll see you next episode. Take care, and bye, Che!


    Che Watkins  38:14

    Thank you so much, Karan!


    Karan Rhodes  38:17

    I hope you enjoyed our conversation today with Che Watkins, the Executive Director of the Atlanta Division of the nonprofit organization called Braven. Links to her bio, her entry into our Leadership Playbook, and additional resources can be found in the show notes, both on your favorite podcast platform and at the website Now, for “Karan’s Take” on today’s topic of transferable skills. Today, I wanted to share a few tips on how to best leverage your transferable skills to become a more accomplished leader. First, you’re gonna have to identify what those transferable skills are. You can start by taking a look at your resume and performance reviews. Make a list of all the skills that you have used or have been commended for. Then, select the top 3-5 that you feel best help highlight your professional story. If you need a head start, the 7 most common buckets that transferrable skills fall into are the following: Technical or Functional expertise, Communication, Critical Thinking, Multitasking, Teamwork, Creativity, and Leadership. My second tip for you today is that once identify your skills, you’re gonna need to become adept in articulating how those skills are both applicable and valuable to your current business or employer. When a leadership opportunity arises, be sure to map your skills and expertise to the discussion. Tell your story by giving insights that may not be obvious to others. Great leaders really do a great job of connecting the dots for those they are trying to influence. And f you don’t take the lead in making your leadership mark, who the heck will? So if you enjoyed this topic, more information on developing stronger leadership acumen can be found by clicking on the Signature Program link on our website, And in the meantime, thanks for listening and see you next week.


    Voiceover  40:36

    And that’s our show for today. Thank you for listening to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast where we help you lead your seats at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. You can check out the show notes, additional episodes, bonus resources, and also submit guest recommendations on our website at You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn by searching for the name Karan Rhodes with Karan being spelled K-a-r-a-n. And if you liked the show, the greatest gift you can give would be to subscribe and leave a rating on your podcast platform of choice. This podcast has been a production of Shockingly Different Leadership, a global consultancy which helps organizations execute their people, talent development, and organizational effectiveness initiatives on an on-demand project or contract basis. Huge thanks to our production and editing team for a job well done. Bye for now!

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