Tips for Managing Successful Virtual Teams with Liz daRosa


How to navigate in the new normal? How to work in the virtual space? These are questions I asked Liz daRosa, a Performance Coach and Digital Marketing Strategist.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How to move from face-to-face consulting to online meeting.
  • How to live with this new normal.
  • How to successfully manage virtual teams.

About Liz daRosa:

Liz has over 20 years of experience supporting organizations as they pivot and maintain relevance in this high-growth economy. 

Career highlights include presentations on 3 continents on various aspects of the changing nature of work and career development. Liz has been published in peer-reviewed and regional journals and has provided ghost content for organizations spanning the world of work, compliance, and leadership. 

She has extensive experience in designing and executing strategies that improve team and organizational performance by incorporating compliance and diversity & inclusion into all aspects of culture from talent acquisition, training & development, through succession planning. Liz often consults on actionable strategies to maximize performance in virtual environments. 

Liz has worked in the following client verticals: 

  • Start-ups (high-tech, K-12 education, and food & beverage)
  • Government Contracting 
  • Healthcare 
  • Higher Education
  • Information Technology
  • Professional Services

Liz leverages her 57k connections on the major social media platforms to assist organizations in branding as a component of their organizational culture shift and move to a new normal in the virtual space. 

In addition to coaching and social media optimization, Liz shares her expertise with education start-ups to assist them in navigating the accreditation process and work toward targeted future growth. Liz has held appointed positions with the Maryland Higher Education Commission as a member of the Faculty Advisory Council and was a member of the 2013 Maryland State Plan for Post Secondary Education. 

Liz lives on an island in the Chesapeake Bay outside of Annapolis. 

Connect with Liz:


TP: Today, we are speaking about virtual working spaces, and my guest is Liz deRosa. Welcome to the podcast.

LdR: Thank you, I'm so glad to be here.

TP: Yeah, it's glad to have you. Finally, we have attempted this interview for three months.

LdR: Right. You know, life happens.

TP: Life happens. You have started your career in universities and colleges. Can you please share what it took to become a performance coach, a digital marketing strategist, and also have your own business?

LdR: Sure. Absolutely. So it was really you know, I've been really lucky in my career and that it's taken several different turns. And I thought I was going to do one thing that was my dream. And then I ended up doing two other fabulous things. And so I actually got into teaching by I got a note, a handwritten note in the mail from my department here. And he said, I couldn't find your phone number. Will you come teach? Amazing. And I wish I would have kept that handwritten note. I mean, I can remember what it looks like. And so that got me into that that career space. Amazing. Just different ways I've been able to interact with students and other educators. That's that's been truly amazing. And then the pivot to the performance coach and digital strategist piece was after I had been in education for a while and I was laid off. And that was almost seven years ago. And I thought, you know what, I still want to teach a little bit, but I'm a little burned out from the administration piece. So let me go in a different direction. And I loved interacting with the students and really helping to mentor them. And I thought, what could I do? And so I jumped into the digital space and slowly started to grow, grow there and then and then do coaching. And so that was really a way to kind of add the skills that I had learned in education just with a different population. And so it's just it's been great. But again, it wasn't anything that I just I was growing up thinking, I want to be a performance coach. I want to do digital strategy or or even, quite honestly, to be an educator. You know, I mean, it's amazing when you look back on your life and think, I wonder what it would have been if it would have been what my dream was. And, you know, and I'm using air quotes with that. Right. I mean, the dream may not have been as great as my reality. So that's that's all I have to look at it not as what I missed, but what I would have missed if I didn't have the life that I have now.

TP: That's really good.

LdR: Absolutely.

TP: So most businesses have had to reinvent their business. In March, when lockout established what was on your to do list back then?

LdR: Sure. Well, it was definitely going into companies and doing face to face consulting, right? It was doing presentations to large groups because I'm used to doing that with teaching. I love doing that. It gives me a lot of energy. And so immediately I thought, oh, my gosh, what am I going to do? Right. And of course, everything went digital. And it's like, well, I've already got this great presence online. So that was a very easy pivot to just then reach out to different organizations and different people in my network and say I can do presentations this way on Zoom or on teams or on Web apps or anything like that to be able to help bring value to their organization by then sharing my skill set. So I was very lucky in that I did have that digital presence to be able to tap into. But I know that to so many people didn't have that to be able to make that jump into you delivering their content almost seamlessly. So really, really grateful and blessed to be able to to do that, because, of course, nobody could have foreseen that we would have all had to go online for everything.

TP: It was quite a surprise for so many people. And for some, the business has been really flourishing. And for others, they are considering bankruptcy.

LdR: Right.

TP: So what actually is this different thing? What difference in between those two sites -- flourishing and bankruptcy?

LdR: Right, know, and I think on our daily basis, right, we're sort of in our life, if we look at ourselves, maybe not our business per say, but our life, not every day is you feel at the top of the mountain, but not every day you also feel like you're in the dumps, right? It's we're in that middle range, you know? And I think that's part of having happiness in your life is realizing that there's going to be real, real highs and there's going to be real, real lows. But enjoying the middle ground, which is hopefully the majority of your life, that you can just wake up and be grateful and and and look around at the people and the things that you have and be grateful and help elevate that middle that middle feeling to maybe not reach the high highs. Because, I mean, those are amazing, right? That's things like having babies getting a great career bump in our pay or meeting the love of our life or a great trip around the world. But those aren't everyday things. Right. And so it's finding the gratitude in the normal right, in whatever your normal is, and being able to look and say, you know what, I'm grateful that I had the presence online, that I could still earn money to support my family. Right. And that's that's something that brings me great happiness. Of course, I'm just going out. Right. And as everybody does and just going and doing this and that. But it's more focusing on what I've been able to continue and just and elevate that into more of a more happiness and gratitude moments.

TP: You mentioned gratitude and you mentioned this new normal. What are your tips, tricks and strategies for navigating the new normal?

LdR: Sure. Absolutely. Well, it's definitely and maybe people don't look at it in terms of gratitude. And I know not every day I have moments of gratitude. Right. I mean, a few people do, but it's it's really looking around and I look around and see what extra things my husband is doing as a result of this new normal. And he may have, quite frankly, been doing them before. Right. But I didn't notice it. But now we're together all the time and I'm and I'm seeing it, so it's opened my eyes to contributions that he's probably always made, to be honest with you, and that it's also opened my eyes to being closer to my children because we have that we've really gotten to know the kids, because your day in, day out and you have the struggles and you're talking about things you probably wouldn't have talked about, we wouldn't we didn't talk about world events, you know, and and health and like global health issues before with the kids. And so it's really having the kids then asking us questions they wouldn't have asked before. So it's nice to be able to talk to them about these issues and really being able to appreciate what we've probably all done. And we just didn't realize it because we were so busy. Let's go to soccer. Let's go here. Let's go there. And so it really is also helped us then to slow down. And we realized and especially when the holidays were here and when you and I were initially trying to connect that, what I noticed is and we love our family, we love going and we're grateful that we have local family that we can get together to again before the pandemic. But when the holidays came, instead of rushing to get out the door to go to their house. We were slowly getting ready. And slowly this and slowly that and just enjoying the getting dressed up and enjoying the preparing the food and setting the table, and we didn't have to rush out the door. And of course, we missed the being together with our family and we miss being together with friends and things like that. But it's really allowed us to look at each other and say we're pretty cool, you know, we love each other. And this is why, you know, and it kind of gets you a little emotional, right? Because it's like these are really some neat people that I live with. And I am thankful that I'm not living alone because I do think about people who have been living alone this whole year and and really haven't had that isolation. So I try not to think about the isolation that I feel because I do have other people. So that's really been kind of the new normal. That's. You know, I think it's kind of I hope that's here to stay that piece of it, that we slow down and say, you know what, if we don't get there for 30 more minutes, it's OK. If we're late to something, it's OK and not get back to the speed of everything is just go, go, go. And we're enjoying family meals and all of that stuff that before it was like, hurry up, you got to get fast food because you got to go to soccer and then you have to go to this. You have to go to all of us did it in some way, whatever the sport was, or activity. And just to say, you know what, now we're trying these great gourmet meals because we can't go out. So it's like we're still eating the great food. It's just we're creating it together. And it's nice because then, like, our kitchen table is actually like the place to be, right? And it's where we're sharing everything and it's nice to be able to slow down because I think especially as, you know, women and as business owners, you know, you're constantly pulled in many different directions and you don't feel like you can slow down because something is going to fall. Well, I mean, quite frankly, everything felt right for everybody for a couple of months and then everybody kind of picked it back up. And so it's now, you know, it's almost being a forced to prioritize, you know, and we've all had to kind of prioritize what's physically right in our immediate area, you know, so so that's really been what the new normal is for me.

TP: How about working with teams? You mentioned that you had to do those what normally would be in face to face meetings. Now everything went into virtual space. Do you have any suggestions or tips how to manage that one? Because we cannot live in total isolation only with our family. That business still requires some connection with others.

LdR: Yeah, absolutely, and yeah, definitely working with teams can be challenging because there's always somebody on the team that isn't as tech savvy as everyone else. Right. But the trick with that is you need to know that beforehand and work with that person to say, OK, this is how you log in. This is how you turn on your video. This is how you need to have your lighting. So they need some coaching beforehand just on the setup piece. Right. And then to practice with them so they feel comfortable. Right. And then showing them this is how you turn your video off or this is how you do this or this is how you do that. Because if they feel comfortable navigating it, then when they're joining with the rest of the team, it's going to be a better experience for everybody because otherwise than people are going to be rolling their eyes because they're waiting for the one person. And you don't want that, right. You don't want somebody to be singled out because maybe they don't have the tech savvy. And so really, it's leaders, managers, you know, the people on your team who's not up to speed even after a year. Right. To be honest. I mean, there's some people that maybe you haven't taken the time to really have that discussion and say, you know what, I know you're struggling. Let's have fifteen minutes or pair them with the person in IT. Right. It's not necessarily your job to do it. Pair them with somebody else in the company to say you mentor this person on how to feel comfortable using whatever video platform you're using or using whatever texting or if you use Slack or Asana or whatever digital components that you're using to help increase productivity, help the folks that aren't just naturally, you know, just great with that or they've really been shying away from it because their job really isn't technical. Right. And so they haven't maybe they're the paper and pen people and the technology is overwhelming to them. And so, you know, if you don't have the time or the skills to help them pair them with somebody else, whether it's IT or somebody else on the team or a different team, and just say, you know what? And it gives that other person an opportunity then to mentor somebody. And so that's an amazing opportunity for both because it's a win win. And then that person will feel more confident on the meetings and then will be a better teammate and perceived like more of an equal on the team as well.

Working with teams can be challenging because there's always somebody on the team that isn't as tech savvy as everyone else. - Liz daRosa, Podcast Step Up & Thrive

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TP: Thank you for that one. And now it's time for our "Quick Tip" section. This is something, what we do on our podcast. And my question is, what is your biggest revelation about working in the digital space?

LdR: My biggest revelation is that everyone has been pretty accepting of it, which is amazing because I've been doing this for a long time and 18 years I've been working online. And it's like when I first started doing it, people were like, oh, you teach online or you coach online. There's a little judgment like, oh, you're not going Face-To-Face. And I would do that. But it's like everybody now is like, oh yeah, online is the place to be. And so it's it's accepted now, right. It's not looked it was almost looked down on I think is that people thought like online wasn't as serious or you couldn't get things done online. So I think just didn't seem like the light bulb moments with people that they're able to successfully run their company or they're able to have meetings, they're able to do all of these things. It's like, yeah, and there's a lot more that we can do, right. That we haven't yet done just because I think now we're kind of all reaching our stride and people are settling into it. So I think that just seeing the light bulbs with people when they're posting things on LinkedIn or Facebook or anything like “I did it, I was able to do this.” And it's like, of course you can. It's just like being Face-To-Face.

TP: Thank you. Yes, that's true. Online hasn't been so popular than during this one year.

LdR: Yeah.

TP: So thank you so much for joining us and sharing all those tips. And if our listeners would like to know more about you and follow you where can they do so?

LdR: Sure. So on all the major platforms and I'm either at Dr. Liz DaRosa or at Liz DaRosa and, you know, love to connect with everybody, you know, anybody who is just looking for positivity, just looking to network, just looking to follow each other. That's all great. You know, love to just learn more about different people and, you know, wherever they live and whatever they do, we can all take something wonderful away from each other.

TP: Oh, yes. And we are online.

LdR: Absolutely.

TP: Thank you so much again. And all the links you'll find on our show notes. So please come and check and please contact Liz.

LdR: Thank you so much.

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