Exclusive with Carrie Allen, Founder of The Human Array
Carrie Allen is the founder of The Human Array, a leadership development and mentorship company. After nearly 20 years cultivating talent and teams at start-up, growth, and mature organizations, Carrie founded The Human Array to support individuals and teams seeking to enhance their leadership capabilities and skills through her human mentorship-based method.
For more details, visit their website here.
Here we sit down with Carrie, to know a bit more about her journey as a business and leadership coach.
Q. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Carrie: I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Throughout my career, I have found myself in roles where I am building something new. At a certain point, I started to recognize this and started referring to myself as a builder. I had the amazing role models of my father and uncle who built their own company and about 4 years ago I knew I wanted to do the same.
Q. How did you get started?
Carrie: People have always been my passion. I have been managing teams since I was 25 years old. As I grew in my career, I was always looking to marry the marketing work that I love with managing a team. For me, seeing a team member succeed is ultimately what fills me up. I can’t get enough of helping others find their strengths, passions, and the skills to achieve their goals. I finally had a lightbulb moment that I could have a greater impact if I focused on this full-time rather than only working within one company.
For several years, I have been rolling the idea of mentorship around in my brain. I knew that it was ultimately what had given me the skills that I used to be successful but that it was hard to come by. I want to change that by bringing the ability to have mentorship and the skills you acquire through mentorship to everyone. I was finally spurred into action because I was in a toxic work environment that started to take a toll on my body. It took me almost a year to recognize that a poor leader could create that much impact on my mental and physical health. As soon as I saw it, I quit and started The Human Array. I want to change the way we work because no one should ever feel the way that I did.
I was already working with a business coach to get me started when I had the epiphany that I needed to get out of the toxic situation. She helped me recognize this and pushed me to get going ASAP. I would have been stuck in a whirlwind of ideas without the direction of Geri Paige Butner.
Q. What was your biggest startup challenge? What steps did you take to overcome it? What did you learn?
Carrie: My biggest challenge thus far has been fear. I was afraid of putting myself out there. I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough. I was afraid of not making money. I was afraid that I couldn’t turn all of the thoughts in my head into something valuable. However, I have an amazing business coach that guided me through my thoughts and fears to create a foundation for myself and The Human Array. Now I approach everything with a learning mentality as I did as a leader in a company. I don’t know everything nor will I do everything right. That is ok because we are all learning and my desire to support others is what people are drawn to.
Another challenge that I have had and still have each and every day — I am not a writer! I have always enjoyed speaking more than the written word. I write in a stream-of-consciousness style that certainly doesn’t meet a lot of people’s standards. And I am verbose. It takes a lot of my energy to write social media posts, blog posts, newsletters, etc. So I have been learning a lot and have found that I just keep one document going with all the ideas that pop into my head. I write and write until I have written all of my thoughts on the topic. Then I walk away. I come back and edit my thoughts down into something that is shareable. I spend a maximum of 5 minutes critiquing it and then I send it on its way. I could spend days and weeks tweaking things, but the reality is I shouldn’t. My content should sound like me and there is no such thing as perfect. It has actually been very freeing to do this. As a recovering perfectionist (as I like to say), this is the growth of which I am super proud.
Q. What is the Most Memorable Thing You’ve Done Since you Started your Business?
Carrie: I am only a couple of months into building this business, but something that I am extremely proud of is achieving my first revenue target in my second month! It is definitely a rollercoaster of emotions being a founder. But what has kept me going is the number of people that I have spoken with who have said “Yes! You are meant to do this. You are the perfect person to support others in their leadership journey.” That is what keeps me going every single day. I know that some days will be hard and defeating, but the net is so positive that I keep building and learning.
Q. What is one book you recommend, and why?
Carrie: Right now I have to recommend West of Wheeling by Jeffrey Tanenhaus. It is a book about one man’s adventure to find a fresh start. He takes you on a wonderful journey across the United States where you start to see life in a new way through his eyes. As a founder who recently took the plunge to strike out on my own, this book gave me inspiration and grounding. Not every day is going to be great, but in finding myself and aligning my passion to my work, I feel fulfillment even on the hardest days. Like Jeff, I never want to turn back. I believe this book can be an inspiration for so many.
Q. What are your top 3 favourite online apps, tools, or resources and what do you love about them?
Carrie: Motion — I just started using this to prioritize my tasks, manage my calendar, and book meetings. I really like the meeting booking capabilities and how intuitively it helps me manage my tasks. Others are, Canva, Sendible, and Asana.
Q. In terms of legacy, what is the mark you’d like to leave on the world?
Carrie: I want to change the way we work. So many people go to work each day and are unhappy. I believe a huge part of that is because of how we work together as humans. If I can help change the way we think about success at work and improve our interpersonal relationships, then the world can be a better place for everyone.
Q. In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?
Carrie: Take action.
The biggest personal hurdle I had to overcome was not overthinking everything that I do. I am a recovering perfectionist and it is easy when you work alone or are the genesis for an organization to overthink every decision, every word, every test you do. But at the end of the day, you learn from everything you put out there. So, if it feels right at the moment, do it. Then you can learn from it and apply that knowledge the next time.