How To Level Up Your Leadership Skills-with Chelsey Reschke

When it comes to leadership, are you ready to take to the Olympic level?

If so, then you’re going to really enjoy listening to episode #141 on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

That’s because our guest on this episode is Chelsey Reschke, an energy sector advocate and leader who has built up a substantial resume, not only as a successful entrepreneur, but who is now working for a global engineering firm as well.

In this interview Chelsey shares some of her best leadership suggestions including:

  • How leaders can deal with meeting new teams
  • Why self awareness is worth investing in with your own money
  • Ensuring that your meetings always have a purpose
  • How to improve your meetings by addressing the finest details (including setting the right lighting levels to inspire creativity)
  • Why you should keep a picture of your biggest achievements nearby and more

So get ready to get inspired as you learn from Chelsey!

Chelsey Reschke

Chelsey Reschke - Meeting Leadership Podcast - Effective Meetings

From toughing out subzero Canadian winters and blistering Australian summers to leading major business pursuits, Chelsey embraces her work fearlessly and wholeheartedly.

Named one of Alberta Oil Magazine’s “Top 35 under 35” Chelsey has over a decade of experience in midstream oil and gas operations, including technology development and commercialization, project management, and quality control consulting. Following a 420 km long adventure through the centre of Queensland’s Surat and Bowen basins on a high-profile LNG pipeline project, Chelsey returned to Canada to lead numerous business expansion and diversification initiatives, and plans to use her specialized knowledge and skills to drive the advancement of energy projects in Canada.

As a thought leader, Chelsey participates in various Canadian Standards Association, Canadian Heavy Oil Association, National Association of Corrosion Engineering, and Young Women in Energy initiatives. She also enjoys backcountry hiking and camping.

You can get in touch with Chelsey at

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Gordon Sheppard: If you are a leader who is really ready to level up your skills, take them up to an Olympic size level, then you’re going to get a lot out of today’s episode on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. That’s because our guest is Chelsey [Rashkey 00:00:12], an explosive entrepreneur and corporate leader who’s going to give you all her best suggestions today.

Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for practical tips from the coach, with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast, with Gordon Sheppard.

Welcome to another episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast. My name is Gordon Sheppard. I want to say thank you for being here. Thank you for coming along for the ride while you listened to this show, to get your leadership skills to grow. You want to learn how to run effective meetings and you know that those things go hand in hand. You can’t be a leader without being able to run a meeting, and you can’t run a great meeting without being a great leader. It is really good to have you here.

I’m also proud to say that the sponsor of today’s episode is the Meeting Leadership Academy. Now if you are a leader who wants to up their game when it comes to running a great meeting, you want to take your team up to the next level. Then there you’re going to find all the online and live training options that you need to really, really do that. If you want to learn more, just visit

If you are a leader who is ready to grow even more, you’re going to get a lot out of today’s show. That’s because the title of today’s show is; how to level up your leadership skills. We have a guest, her name is Chelsey Rashkey. Let me take a moment to read a little bit out of Chelsey’s bio. It says this, “From toughing out subzero Canadian winters and blistering Australian summers, to leading major business pursuits, Chelsey embraces her work fearlessly and wholeheartedly.” The fact is, Chelsey is a woman who is making it to the highest levels in the oil and gas industry.

On today’s episode, you’re going to hear exactly why and how she did that. As you listen, you may want to get out a pen and paper to take notes. There are just so many valuable things that Chelsey brings forward. Including the idea of being able to take your meetings right to that subtle level where you’re actually considering things, like the lighting as a way to actually improve creativity. She has got so many different things going on when it comes to building great teams, addressing large groups of people. You’re just going to want to write everything down.

With that in mind, I’m not going to hold you back any longer. Here’s the great interview with Chelsey. Chelsey, welcome to the show.

Chelsey Rashkey: Hi, Gordon. Nice to see you again.

Gordon Sheppard: It is so good to have you on this show because there are so many things from your background on through entrepreneurship into the high level corporate world that you’re going to bring to this interview, but there’s a lot of people that haven’t met you. If you had to introduce yourself, what would you say?

Chelsey Rashkey: My name is Chelsey. I’m a passionate Canadian energy advocate, an entrepreneur turned corporate business developer and trying to marry those two worlds together. On the side, I run a project called the

Gordon Sheppard: Well, I’m going to want to be able to break all of this down. I know when we met in terms of getting ready for this interview, you’ve got this really interesting arc in terms of your own leadership development. Take me back to the beginning of your career, I’m going to say in the energy area. Describe a few of those things and your leadership beginnings, and then maybe get us through to this time now. But what was happening in the beginning when you first got started in the industry, which maybe doesn’t have a lot of women in it. Is that fair?

Chelsey Rashkey: It is pretty fair. I fell into the world of pipeline construction at a pretty young age, and founded a business within the first couple of years of being there. It was definitely a story of being in a nontraditional work environment for women. Although, I really have to say that, a lot of my success was tied to the fact that I had such a tremendous amount of male allies and I really enjoyed my time in the field for about five years.

Then moved up into the world of entrepreneurship and joined another company who wanted to get some technology off the ground related to construction. We were very successful in that realm and it led me to a job at Stantec, doing business development for their oil and gas team.

Gordon Sheppard: We can hear you’ve had your own ventures, you’ve worked for folks and now you’re working for obviously a multinational, in terms of Stantec, in terms of the work that they do. Take me back to … You said you were in the field. Anybody going into the field and pipelines has got some early stories. This is not all, you’re making it sound like elegant and simple. This is not that. What were your early days like being out there? Are we talking like field shacks and in the mud, and this kind of stuff?

Chelsey Rashkey: Absolutely, yeah. Getting dropped off by a helicopter in the middle of nowhere and getting picked up again eight hours later. No, it was wild. It was absolutely the frozen tundra, all the way to the extremes of the middle of the desert in Australia. It was varied in that capacity. It ruined me for being back in Edmonton and being in the cold, but essentially it was a lot of working with a construction company, doing inspections on pipelines. With that, having to be very decisive, having to work with a very large array of people and ultimately having to break some of the molds that were in place.

I think a lot of that really led to me understanding the world of energy a lot better and making some extremely good allies along the way. Not without its challenges, like you said.

Gordon Sheppard: What do you mean when you say breaking molds?

Chelsey Rashkey: Well, my first day on the job, I think we’ve talked about this was very much, “I think you’re lost. I think you’re in the wrong room.” Folks would try and usher me to a different trailer because they didn’t think that I had found my way to the right meeting. Although, I was actually there to be their leader.

Gordon Sheppard: This is by title, right? They looked at you and they thought you were something else, what did they think you were?

Chelsey Rashkey: Usually more in the administrative aspects of the project, not necessarily in the decision making and having a team.

Gordon Sheppard: You walk into the room and they’ve said, “We think you should be somewhere else.” Did you run away screaming at that point? There’s a real moment there for any leader coming into that first team moment, what was it like there for you? You didn’t obviously, but what happened for you that gave you the confidence to continue?

Chelsey Rashkey: This is a unique situation because projects are usually only a couple months. This first day on the job happens every six months to a year, let’s call it. I have a lot of different variations of this. It started off with me being totally red-faced and very insecure. I think that was a huge thing to overcome because in the early days, I didn’t have as much of a voice. But slowly over time, I started to realize that I was very prepared. I came with a lot of repertoire, I came with a lot of knowledge and eventually that confidence grew to the point where I was extremely good at laughing it off.

I have a great sense of humor that I’ve applied to these situations, and it usually has led to those same folks who really didn’t give me enough credit being really close friends and allies, that I still keep in touch with from all over the world. I think there’s a sense of needing to have a very foundational approach and forgiveness, in the sense that, this is an evolution that’s taking place in the industry. It’s not an overnight an event, where all of a sudden, everyone recognizes each other has just as much capacity.

If I had kind of gotten defensive or if I had gotten a lack of relationship built from that point forward, it would’ve led to definitely a much worse outcome. However, like I said, you laugh it off, you start to work to find common ground. Essentially, you assert yourself as their leader and show them why you’re there, provide them the evidence in your actions.

Gordon Sheppard: I can hear the confidence in your tone of voice looking back, and thank you so much for painting a picture, showing up in a job shack somewhere. When you’re walking into this room full of people and they don’t think you’re the right person to be there, but you overcame that and you started to work through that. There’s a leveling up then in your leadership that you described, there’s this arc, this journey. I heard well-prepared, you knew your material and then you also started to gain the self-awareness to know when to apply, I’m going to say laughter in the right moment, and build these relationships. How would you describe yourself at your leadership moment now? At what period of time is this over, is this 10 or 15 years?

Chelsey Rashkey: Yeah, it’s about 10 years.

Gordon Sheppard: That’s pretty short to rise in a sense through the energy industry for any leader. I’ve heard this in the construction industry as well, where folks are in there almost in their teens in a sense, and they’ve sort of racked up as much experience as they need to be superintendents of large highrise constructions. Again, you can hear the levels that you’re getting to for the projects that you’re working on. How would you describe your leadership these days, again, when you walk in for the first time to a room?

Chelsey Rashkey: Well, I think that because I was very fortunate to have such an array of interactions with all kinds of different people, I am very much, I would say a chameleon in the sense of my style. I could go in a single day from speaking to 150 of our field staff that are about to go out into the frozen winters to do pretty dangerous construction work, to being able to completely change my tone and style, and present to a CEO. I think it’s, you nailed it. That sense of self-awareness has been one of my biggest strengths and one of my biggest developmental aspects.

It didn’t come all organically, I did hire a coach in about year six of my career that I personally paid for out of pocket as an investment to myself. She worked a lot with me on how to have difficult conversations, how to challenge people that aren’t used to maybe being challenged by a woman. I hate to say that, it’s not all about gender, but it is true. It is my experience. I think that both the lessons over time and the self-awareness, and the investment in a proper resource external to these companies and my own experience was really foundational. I was great working with Barbara, she’s out of Houston.

Gordon Sheppard: Wow, that’s fantastic that you went and you were proactive. So many leaders get isolated, they get stuck, they get stuck in titles. I can tell you, I meet them over and over again. You’ve got these titles and they don’t know where to turn, but you had a proactive step to say, “Pay out of pocket,” just for fun. Not even describing the amount of money that you spent on that kind of leadership coaching. What would you say your return on investment is for that investment of dollars?

Chelsey Rashkey: Oh, well, this is an easy one because it was actually that same coach, Barbara, who encouraged me also to get my MBA. She encouraged me to apply for some awards that led to an elevation of my own personal capital and brand. The MBA itself was at her recommendation, I went into the exact school she told me to. I think the investment paid for itself in the next year, honestly. The return on investment is easily 1000:1, in terms of what I paid for the coach.

Gordon Sheppard: I can’t get enough of this, 1000:1. Some people are funny enough, they’ll get price-sensitive in that moment. If they’re honestly ready to invest, and I would say this for individuals, and I heard you say, “Paid out of my own pocket.” It doesn’t matter to me where those resources come from. I can tell you for me, when I help companies learn about the importance of meetings, essentially it’s the importance of communication. But this idea of when you actually let people have the time that they need to invest in their own development and you actually show them the dollars, and the dollars … The funny thing about these amounts, usually they’re in, I’m going to say low thousands, kind of thousands. But those people can for productivity, just shoot through the roof in terms of the return that they can bring back once they gain those skills.

Chelsey Rashkey: Well, Gord, you’re in the business of capacity building and the human experience, and the immense amount of potential that our lives have. Especially in North America, we are so very lucky to be in a country like this. You nailed it. I think it’s really about making sure that you’re leveling up continually. So many people that I’ve worked with stumble upon, “I don’t want to pay for this $2,000 course, even though I know, in the first week of this job that I’m going to get, I get paid $1,000 a day.”

It doesn’t make any sense that the immediate expectation is that the company will continue to help you level up. Corporations do the best they can, business owners do the best they can. But it’s like leading a horse to water, you can’t make a horse drink. You have to come and be really a part of that overall solution, and have a really clear idea in your mind where you want your life to take you eventually, through those steps.

Gordon Sheppard: Well, in terms of percentage, you’d be in that upper single digit percent of self-aware type of leaders. Folks can, I’m hoping hear this and more people can go to the trough to drink, because they really need to. So many organizations could just use this. A lot of my work for example, it’s one thing to do a long program change, like change management programs for example. Where you tackle, I don’t know, all kinds of teams and this kind of thing and you move them through a multi year process. I find those things often aren’t sticky. It’s very difficult to get culture change at scale.

But when I hear individuals where they can tackle it with themselves and their immediate teams. When they can put it into hours instead of years, and get at least some momentum into the situation. Then like you’re saying, if you have those options to go MBA, funny enough, I was 42, I went back, I did an MBA at that age and had a transformational experience to bring me to the work I am at now. But I can’t get enough of the critical thinking package that came from that. Some people might say, “Wow, that costs like, I don’t know.” It wasn’t expensive, it was like $24,000. But again I can’t tell you the impact that I’ve had from being able to be in the room then in any given situation with those tools in my tool belt, to help leaders move forward.

I know we could talk on and on about this specific area in self-awareness. One of the other pieces that we’d like to do with the guests that come on the show, is actually get some of your best, I’m going to say meeting leadership tips. These days when you are working with someone in your company or you’re encouraging somebody, or you can bring forward … I love this chameleon piece because it sounds like you’re very adaptable. What kind of tips practically would you pass forward to people to help them to improve their meetings?

Chelsey Rashkey: I think that I have a unique perspective because I came from a small and medium size enterprise, and have just recently in the last half a year stepped into a 22,000 person organization. There’s very different cultures and I’m learning both have their advantages. As it comes to meetings, there is definitely overall in all sizes of businesses, a lack of a sense of purpose around why are we meeting. Even down to having some notes in the actual invite saying, “The purpose of this meeting is to determine whether or not, we are going to do this or that,” two options. Maybe that’s not always the ease of having more complex problems to tackle.

But I think that there is a purpose of every meeting, whether it’s just to check in and have a progress update, or to actually make a decision that is going to be used for some other decision. It’s cascading. I think that we need to be focusing on purpose a lot more in setting the tone for these meetings. Especially if you’re the organizer, that’s your duty.

Gordon Sheppard: I could not agree more and I like this phrasing that you’ve got. It’s funny, I work with all kinds of people again across age levels and experience levels. Literally saying, “Write these words down on your agenda. The purpose of this meeting is,” just that. If they took that away from this conversation right now, I’m going to say, most people don’t even do that. The next piece of my work is, I actually think that every meeting that you’re in should be connected to your strategic plan. I actually get people to write the strategic objectives from the StrAP plan onto their agenda for the right meeting.

Chelsey Rashkey: Oh, I like that. I like that a lot.

Gordon Sheppard: Absolutely. Right. What we can do is, you could do it with the Stantec, you could do it with your own StrAP plan, whatever that is. That’s the piece that gets me really excited because so often, those strategic plans sit on the shelf, right? Consultants get paid a lot of money, there’s about five folks at the top of the food chain. They get all excited about it and say they did a 360. The communication and I worked for a 20,000 plus person organization as well, and those StrAP plans worked well on high. But for a multibillion dollar organization, how do you get that sort of manager that I was, eight layers down with their little team working together to really make it their own?

We had to do that in a clunky way. Now, my inspiration is to go out and say, “Know why you’re meeting, but pull the language from the StrAP plan into the situation.” I think I’ll take away from what you just said, which is just that simple wording, “The purpose of this meeting is,” and if they can get that on their agendas, it’ll make a big, big difference. In terms of facilitation, what do you suggest for folks to do as well, in your own experience?

Chelsey Rashkey: We’re a pretty docile society that sits all day. I think you need to also consider the environment. The environment being the corporate environment that you’re working in, try to vary it, try to have shorter meetings that have the clear sense of purpose standing. I think a lot of the time, we are already at our desks for way too long. Having a standing meeting, you would not believe how quick people are to get to the point when they are standing. I don’t know what it is psychologically, but as soon as you can give people the opportunity to lean on a boardroom table or recline on a chair, it just changes the energy entirely.

Some things that we’re starting to experiment with, is using the various unique spaces that we have within Stantec that are more organic, meeting pods, open areas, even some sitting that we have that’s a little bit more like a classroom to do a workshop, so that we have just a change of scenery. I think it’s even down to lighting. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but there’s a lot of evidence that shows that having dimly lit and darker lighting in an environment provides creativity. The outcomes that you’re trying to solve, a more complex problem that you’re asking for, creative brainstorming, consider dimming the lights a little.

These are all things that are psychological cues. If you are going to have the most high performing team, you need to start doing some research like that. It is such a limited amount of hours in a day, so why not pull that extra 10% out by experimenting with some use of color, space, standing, sitting, physical interaction, the types of tools that you’re using. Especially if you have a shy audience, try and get some written feedback, post in notes, that sort of thing. There’s a list, we could go on forever.

Gordon Sheppard: Well, that lighting thing is a breakthrough for myself and the people listening. Because what you’re talking about is that’s Olympic athlete coaching level, right? Hey, wait a second.

Chelsey Rashkey: Yeah. That’s like the Michael Phelps, [crosstalk 00:00:19:31].

Gordon Sheppard: -that’s totally that. That’s what it is, right? We found out what the lighting Kelvin temperature is, Kelvin is 3,200 degrees for indoor, and 5,400 degrees for outdoor in the sun. We’re going to dial it down to 28, 27 or whatever, because that’s the optimal creative thing. That is so exciting because, and especially when you think about the environment that you’re in. But this is something that people can apply anywhere, obviously. Not get back to, “Well, this is how we’ve always done it this way.” I can’t tell you again, when I worked with teams, it’s trying to help them say, “Don’t sit in that same chair and that same way every time.” In fact, I often say, “Get rid of the chairs if you can,” because the standup thing is being proven over and over again. Thankfully, you’re reinforcing even that.

Chelsey Rashkey: Yeah, I’m definitely trying. I’ve got a pretty high performing team as it is right now. We have recently gone through some additional workshops for capacity building, to work on communication within meetings. The purpose, process, payoff, that sort of idea, those three elements that are stitched into how you start and walk through a response. Especially in an interview setting, where we’re addressing multi-million if not a hundred million dollar opportunities. We have a really great set of resources that, to help us all of this research and all of this life lesson into a pretty organized package.

Gordon Sheppard: Wow, I wish this interview format was like six hours long because I can hear, we could keep going. I just need to roll on to the last third of what we’d like to cover when folks come on the show. It starts with a very simple question and it’s this, what inspires you?

Chelsey Rashkey: I am a builder, I love building things. In life, I’m always at my best and the most inspired, if you want to call it that. When I’m able to see the product of what I am doing, form some sort of asset benefit process. I think that anything that I can do to get my hands on, building things, people or teams, that’s when I’m just at my best.

Gordon Sheppard: Take me to a moment when you … Quite literally, did you stand there, and I don’t know, burning Australia or the tundra somewhere, and look at a piece of pipeline and go, “I did that,” is that what you’re talking about?

Chelsey Rashkey: Yeah. I’ve actually physically have some pictures of me with my hand on the pipe, welded 400 kilometers long. Some of it’s in the ditch, some of it’s above ground still. But there’s just such a sense of awe for how many hands have had to touch that aspect of the job to get it to where it’s at. I’ve been some pretty interesting places and a few very favorite photos still sit on my walls.

Gordon Sheppard: Wow, You can hear the inspiration in what you’re doing. Thank goodness you’re a builder of not only pipeline, energy projects, but teams as well. It sounds like you’re not even halfway through your own leadership development journey. It has been just great to have you on the show, thank you so much for being here.

Chelsey Rashkey: Thank you. This is great. I’m really glad to talk to you, Gord.

Gordon Sheppard: If people want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to do that?

Chelsey Rashkey: They can email me. It’s Chelsey, C-H-E-L-S-E-Y,

Gordon Sheppard: You’ve got to spell that out for us.

Chelsey Rashkey: Oh, it’s the, 6-0-4-0,

Gordon Sheppard: Another great opportunity for any leader listening to this show to be in touch with you, to learn from this high integrity, high energy approach. So good to have you here.

Chelsey Rashkey: Thank you so much. Talk to you soon.

Gordon Sheppard: No, I think you’ll absolutely have to agree that that was a very valuable interview from a leadership learning perspective, right? This idea of really being courageous when you encounter your firsts. The first time that you meet new teams, and being able to get over that red-face thing and put sort of a procedure in place. You can actually go out, learn and get the skills that you need to become a stronger, more confident leader. Chelsey has done that in spades. I also really appreciate that Chelsey keeps those photos nearby, you can just see her standing beside that pipeline that she helped to build. That’s the kind of reminder that every leader needs, now again, to make sure they keep moving forward.

If you want to keep moving forward on your leadership journey, you may want to check out a few other episodes from the Meeting Leadership Podcast that were related to the things that Chelsey was talking about today. In episode 38, you’ll learn how to make a great first impression in a meeting. You can get that episode by going to Then because Chelsey mentioned that it’s a good idea to bring in professionals as needed to grow your leadership situation, I wanted to let you know about episode 29 on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. It’s called, seven tips to help you hire a professional meeting facilitator. Now that can be very valuable at the right time when you are in a situation where you want to really enhance something with your team. You can get that episode by going to

Finally, because I shared Chelsey’s passionate about meeting rooms, I think you should check out episode 52 on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. It’s called, 13 practical questions to answer before you book a meeting room. This is another one of those episodes that will help you take it up that 10%. You can get that episode by going to For all of your other meeting leadership needs, check out the Meeting Leadership Academy. There, you’re going to find some one-on-one training options, some group training options and some online training options as well, that will help you grow your leadership skills and take your meetings up to that Olympic level.

You can learn all about that by going to For everyone who is already a subscriber, thank you so much. If you haven’t done it, hit the subscribe button, we would really appreciate it. Also, if you get a chance to leave a rating and review for the show, we will definitely respond and we will definitely take that in as we move into future episodes. As always, thank you so much for listening. We’ll see you next time on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

Thanks for listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies that help you become an outstanding leader. Don’t forget to rate and review, so we can bring you even more great content. We’ll see you next time, right here on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

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Gordon Sheppard

Gord is on a mission to change the world, one meeting at a time. Over his 25+ years in business Gord has run or participated in more than 2000 meetings! Not only is Gord the CEO of Business Expert Solutions Inc. (owner/operator of Meeting Leadership Inc), but he is also a Facilitator, Trainer, Business Consultant, Author, Speaker and Podcaster who helps leaders learn how to have great meetings, so they can build outstanding organizations and serve their clients at the highest possible level.

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