in the spotlight with lena west on ceo dna

In the Spotlight with Tanya Geisler is a weekly live show that shines a light on some of the biggest mindset challenges facing leaders and entrepreneurs today in their lives and in their work.

This week’s guest is Lena West. Lena is the leading expert on how women entrepreneurs can successfully and sanely grow a business on their own terms. She is also the Founder of Crescent: The Mastermind Experience, the only business growth mastermind program created specifically for women entrepreneurs over 40 and CEO DNA, a custom methodology for helping entrepreneurs determine their most effective business model based on personality, values, strengths, and other self-knowledge factors.


  • Many people (especially entrepreneurs) still believe there is a one-size-fits-all road to success. 
  • You don’t have to fit into a formula to be a successful CEO. You can create your own brand of CEO.
  • If we don’t know who we are and what our strengths and gifts are, we might end up “hiring ourselves” and failing to execute our vision.
  • Be willing to meet yourself for who you really are and don’t beat yourself up for what you are not.
  • Be aware that some people will cling to you because they want to siphon your energy.

in the spotlight with lena west ceo dna


  • Everyone has a gift of marketing. You just need to find out what your gift is.
  • You can be your own brand of CEO. Don’t exclude yourself from that pool because you’re not a dude who’s working in Silicon Valley. The definition of CEO has got to change.
  • For the past two or three years, women have really been stepping in and stepping up, and I want to continue that onto the business front. I want to say, “Listen. You can be your own brand of CEO. Whatever it is that you want to be your brand of CEO, it can be that for you. It doesn’t have to be somebody else’s stiff, cold, patriarchal definition of what someone who runs a company looks like and is like.
  • [Your personal CEO DNA] gives you the freedom to walk away from things that aren’t working and embrace things that will work. It is not based on my opinion of you, it is not based on what I think you can do, it is based on who you are.
  • You don’t have to suffer for success. You don’t have to do the “should’s.” 
  • You can build your business however you want. Are there best practices? Are there rules of thumb? Absolutely. Are there guidelines? Sure. Does success leave clues? Absolutely. But you can build your business however you want.
  • I want women to release the feeling that they have to do things a certain way.
  • You don’t have to do a damn thing you don’t want to do. I tell people all the time: I do a lot of things I don’t like to do, but I don’t do anything I don’t want to do. And I don’t want that for anybody else.
  • People will want to be around you not because they love you or because they love who you are, but because they want to siphon. They want to draw from your energy because they have not yet learned how to cultivate their own. It’s your job to as the CEO to protect your confidence and to really exercise discernment.
  • We hire ourselves because we don’t know who to hire and we don’t have a system for hiring.
  • When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re not a “finisher” typically. Some people are “finishers” but I think there's a lot of shame… There’s a lot of articles out there that say, “You need to be able to execute, and you need to be able to get it done, and you should be able to wake up early in the morning, and you need to be able to finish your projects, and you need to be able to ship.” You don’t need to be able to do anything other than figure out how to get the stuff shipped, okay? Sometimes that’s you and sometimes, that ain’t you. Sometimes that’s you delegating the shipment to somebody else on your team.
  • [The person you hire] needs to be able to execute if you’re not an execution person. If you hire yourself, who’s executing?
  • Be willing to meet a side of yourself that you’ve never met and be willing to accept her, be willing to leverage her, and don’t resist anything that you might see that may be different than what you thought you knew about yourself.
  • People who want to drain your energy say things like “I just want to be around you. I just want to talk to you. Let’s just talk about anything.” Nope. If you just want to grab onto the coattails of my energy, I can’t have that. I need my energy for me, I need my energy for my family, and I need my energy for my work. 


  • One of the things you said [to me in my own session] that has been really helpful was, “Be mindful of the people who just want to be around you just because of your energy.” That has been tricky and it has been extremely helpful and clarifying for me..
  • From the impostor complex lens, people pleasing (super tricky, it’s one of the coping mechanisms for the impostor complex)... For the people pleasers that also have this kind of DNA, it’s tricky [to discern].
  • I think that oftentimes we give being in [our head] a pretty bad rap. Sometimes it’s appropriate to be in the head. Get into your body.




Each week Tanya and a guest star (an expert in their zone of genius) take on a topic that is UP in their work, or in the work of their clients. (Can’t step into your starring role when perfectionism, procrastination, boundaries, comparison, people pleasing, diminishment, and overwhelm are in the way, right?)

We’ll take your questions and bring our best answers. It’s part coaching, part exploration, part Q+A, all delicious.

It is hosted on Crowdcast and simulcast to Facebook Live.

Listen to In the Spotlight with Tanya Geisler on iTunes or where you listen to your favorite podcasts!