Michelle Berg is a no-bullshit, magic-making female force. She is committed to building meaningful experiences both professionally for her clients, and personally, because after all… who has time for anything less than that? She isn’t scared to disrupt an industry in order to walk a path that she believes in. She is this week’s Woman of Ace.
Ace: What are you up to? ( Your current hustle )
Michelle: I’m the Leading Lady and CEO of Elevated – an employee experience agency in Calgary, Alberta that is designed to enhance and improve the way people approach work.
Ace: Why is this important to you? ( Where did this passion come from? )
Michelle: I was the Senior Vice President of HR for a land development company, and realized how much I literally hated work and the approach I was forced to take as it related to people and culture. I wanted to change that.
Ace: What was your dream job growing up? How do you think this has influenced who you are today?
Michelle: My mom recently brought out a journal I used to keep in Grade 1. Back then I wanted to be a writer. And honestly, I’m still a natural story teller. This doesn’t mean I’m a great writer, but I’ve always loved stories, drama, details and…well dirt. It’s probably why I’ve always been attracted to people and culture practices in organizations.
Ace: If you could describe yourself in only three words, what would they be?
Michelle: Gritty. Determined. Passionate.
Ace: Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?
Michelle: I always struggle at this answer because I like being unique. But admittedly – it’s my mom (insert cheesy “aww” track / violin music here). She’s a fighter, and yet no one would ever know it - she is the most competitive person with herself, she doesn’t allow herself to succumb to insecurities or regrets, and she has always moved forward even when it seemed like the world was against her.
Ace: What does the term “Boss Babe” mean to you?
Michelle: It’s when a woman just owns who she is, regardless of where she is in life, or what position she holds in an organization.
Ace: How do you empower other women?
Michelle: Oh man. I’ve never actually thought about this. Now I’m all worried that I don’t. But uhhhh…. up until this year I had a 100% female only company. I’ve recently introduced Pablo to our lot and that’s actually been pretty incredible to add that diversity.
At the end of the day, I guess I get more excited to see women doing well and refuse to compare myself – instead, it inspires me and pushes me to that next level.
Ace: What is the best advice you’ve ever received from another woman?
Michelle: Fuck Sheryl Sandberg and her leaning in bullshit. Just be you. I have become so exhausted trying to be the perfect wife, the perfect friend, the perfect mom, the perfect boss. I’ve learned to just be more conscious about all the priorities in my life, and understand it will never be perfect at the exact same time.
Ace: Can you share the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a failure?
Michelle: You know what – I think we’re starting to become a culture that is celebrating “failure” a little too much. Failure sucks. I haven’t grown from failure – I’ve grown from risks. Taking a risk that didn’t turn out how I wanted isn’t failure.
As such, I really don’t like failing. Like ever. So I guess the biggest lesson I’ve learned is – stop doing stupid shit.
Ace: When you are feeling overwhelmed, what do you do to find peace?
Michelle: Travel. The ability to get on a plane with no WIFI is scary, but holy cow do you get things done. I love traveling alone. Even when I’m with friends, I tend to want to sit in a different row, away from everyone and everything but my thoughts.
Ace: What legacy do you hope to be remembered for?
Michelle: Do you mean, what do I want on my tombstone? That’s easy. “Well behaved women rarely make history”. I want my daughter Madeline (my biggest legacy) to remember me as gritty and determined, and to never be afraid to make some ripples. Also, I hope Madeline will be a well adjusted woman. I just have this feeling though, given the level of sass she has a four year old means I’m in big trouble.
Ace: Where can we find out more about you so we can continue to support you?
If you want to catch Michelle in real life, join us at this month’s Calgary Babes Who Brunch. January 2019 marks The Ace Class's 2nd Anniversary, and to celebrate, Michelle will be host of the special occasion as she was our first ever brunch speaker. Grab your tickets here.