1707 – The Most Valuable Investment: Professional Development for Mid-Career Professionals with ClearPeg’s Todd White

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Owner & Founder of ClearPeg LLC, Todd White.

Todd's background is as diverse as it is impressive. He started as a mechanical engineer before transitioning into strategy consulting and global HR. His experience working across various industries and functions allows him to have a unique approach to coaching individuals at all levels.

Todd's company is laser-focused on professional development, particularly working with the C-suite to help them build the tribe of their future. The question that naturally arises is, why should companies invest in professional development for their future leaders?

Todd emphasizes the importance of investing in the development of mid-career professionals. These individuals, according to Todd, are often the most coachable and valuable assets to the company. If they are not given the opportunity to grow and develop, they may be easily swayed by other offers or become disengaged.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Introduction of Todd White, founder and CEO of ClearPeg
  • Importance of investing in professional development for future leaders
  • Todd's background and experience in coaching individuals at all levels
  • Bridging the gap between the C-suite and technical-minded engineers
  • The middle third of careers as the most crucial for investment
  • Advantages of bringing in an outside consultant for professional development
  • Providing a safe space for confidential and non-judgmental discussions
  • ClearPeg's website and resources for further assistance

About Todd White:

Todd White is a seasoned professional with more than 30 years of expertise in engineering, software, and management, spanning 20 diverse industries and several countries.

Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME), Todd is deeply committed to nurturing emerging talents, shaping them into adept leaders known for their trustworthiness, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

His passion lies in effecting positive change through his distinctive storytelling approach. Todd excels in handling the intricate challenges arising from the dynamic resource demands of today's complex business landscape.

With his wealth of experience and dedication, Todd White stands as a beacon of leadership, guiding organizations and individuals toward success and innovation.

About ClearPeg LLC:

ClearPeg is a distinguished boutique Coaching and Development firm renowned for its personalized one-to-one coaching experience. Specializing in aligning with individual business needs and desired outcomes, ClearPeg offers a judgment-free environment for professional growth.

Their approach is tailored to cater to unique requirements, ensuring comprehensive support for personal and business development. With a focus on fostering meaningful connections and understanding client goals, ClearPeg stands out for its commitment to delivering tailored coaching solutions.

Whether it's enhancing leadership skills, improving communication, or achieving specific business objectives, ClearPeg's expert coaches provide targeted guidance. Clients benefit from a supportive and empathetic coaching environment, enabling them to navigate challenges, sharpen their skills, and achieve their professional aspirations.

ClearPeg's reputation as a trusted coaching partner is grounded in its ability to empower individuals and businesses to thrive in today's competitive landscape.

Tweetable Moments:

06:34 – “If you're not building your tribe and building the people that want to follow you, want to fit your culture, if you leave that to chance, don't be surprised if you lose them.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out ClearPeg LLC website at

Check out ClearPeg LLC on LinkedIn at

Check out Career Catalyst for Professionals – A Proven Success Model at

Check out Todd White on LinkedIn at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now. Todd white. Todd, you are the founder CEO of clear P&G. You're found on the web at clear P&G. Todd, thank you so much for joining us.

Todd (00:01:09) - Thank you for having me, Josh.

Josh (00:01:10) - All right. Well, Todd, give us an overview of the work you do and what you do with clear P&G.

Todd (00:01:17) - We're focused 100% on professional development. We work specifically with the C-suite to help them build the tribe of their future that they desire.

Josh (00:01:29) - Why is that? So if there's someone right now and within the organization, you know, they're kind of the sea level. Um, why would a company. I mean, it sounds like a silly question to ask, but let's ask it anyway. You know, why invest in professional development for your future leaders?

Todd (00:01:48) - Oh, that's a great love that one. Because if you're not, if you're not investing in your future, who is? If you've left, if you've left the development of your mid-career professionals that are there, your top people, in most cases you want to invest in them. And if you're not doing that, who is? You've left it to chance. They're relegated to the internet. Whatever they can pick up by big, by beg, borrow or steal. And what we know is there's different places where people are in terms of their career, but people in that middle third of their career, they're often the ones that are most coachable.

Todd (00:02:24) - They're if somebody approaches them, you can assume they're safe, but if they get a little bit of sideways or questioning whether they're wanted or I'm in the right place investing my time, somebody approaches them and they they steal them from you or you're like, oh, I wish that hadn't happened.

Josh (00:02:40) - Yeah. And tell me about share a little bit about your background because I know you've been you've been in this world for quite a while. You've got some longevity and certainly some some, some authority and experience. Give us a little bit of background about like where you've come from and you know what makes you you know, obviously you've got some really great clients today, but you know, how is your past prepared you for the work that you do today?

Todd (00:03:05) - Well, that's a dangerous question, Josh. I will I will attempt to answer that, but I'm a recovering engineer. My first my first 10 to 15 years. Boots on the ground mechanical engineer, a bit of a knuckle draggers kind of a derogatory term, but that's how you learn.

Todd (00:03:20) - That's where you get dirt under your fingernails. Understand how things work. My last 15 and 20 been strategy consulting, business assessments. I've done those globally. More than 50 across the world. I've lived in Dubai, lived in China, went to China, set up operations over there, specifically growing the territory. And then it was time for me to move, move, move away, get back to the States. Was asked to take over global HR did that for a couple of years. So I've reinvented myself no less than five times. I've worked across more than 20 different industry verticals hands on, with a lot of just pretty much every function you can imagine. And that's what enables me to have a specific or unique approach to working with any individual coaching. Top to bottom. Bottom to top. Comfortable with any conversation. Meet people where they are and help them grow from there.

Josh (00:04:13) - You've worked in environments where and this is a really interesting conversation here. It a question I think we'll see. But you know, this idea of, you know, when you've got and I think we can all identify with this, you know, let's say you've got an organization or a company, you've got a culture and you've got kind of like your white shirts, you know, in the corner offices and, you know, kind of the C-suite.

Josh (00:04:36) - And then you've got all of these amazing, very technical minded engineers, you know, just technical, both doers and leaders. And I think sometimes there in organizations, there can kind of be a bit of a chasm there. Can you address that? Because I know you've got experience with that.

Todd (00:05:01) - Well, like think mentioned earlier, we look at careers in thirds. So your first third in a lot of cases this is where HR fundamentally lives. And HR will dispute this. But compliance commitment regulatory here's your seat. Here's your role. Here's your function. And you've got a lot of people there that are just figuring things out for a period of time. And you've got people that's all they want to do. They're fine. Leave me alone. Work 9 to 5. Don't bother me. I'm comfortable. And then you got folks that are moving beyond that. So they've earned their bona fides, they've got their degrees, they've got a little bit of experience. They're moving their way to the second, the middle third of their career.

Todd (00:05:39) - And then you got the folks like the white shirt you're talking about up to the last third of your career. And at that point they're kind of like, leave me alone. I'm maybe trying to figure out my white horse into the sunset. I've been there, done that, those elements. And then you got the ones, they're on fire, you know, they're working 4050. They're just consumed. Right? So they they've got their own path, their own desires. Doesn't mean they don't need a helping hand and some guidance here there. But between the the first third and the last third is this middle third. And they're the ones. Am I making enough money and my valued? Am I appreciated and am investing my time in the right company for the right reasons? And if they ever get to this thing, am I wanted their potable, their risk, and they're the ones that are largely left to chance. Everybody assumes they're safe. But in today's, particularly if you're a high knowledge technology worker, you know, you're you're on fire.

Todd (00:06:34) - You're you're into a lot of technical call them technology workers. They're very, very approachable. And so somebody can just swoop in very quickly and and offer them a nice, a more attractive compensation package or make them feel valued and they'll jump ship. And it's a surprise to leadership. How did we lose that person now we got to find somebody to replace them. They're not easily replaceable. I'll have to spend time, energy, money, find somebody. Then I got to re-educate those people. So when you look to what it actually cost you to replace one of those high performers that are growth mindset, it can easily be my experience. It's probably at least one times their annual salary, maybe more, and it takes you six months or a year to get them ramped up to speed. And guess what? In today's there's such a gap in expectations between employers and employees, they may join your organization, never physically meet anyone because they're remote, they're not getting the attention, and they'll quit before you get a chance to onboard them.

Todd (00:07:35) - So it's you asked. It's it's a very dynamic situation. But if you're not building your tribe and build your the people that want to follow you want to fit your culture. If you leave that to chance, don't be surprised if you lose them.

Josh (00:07:48) - Yeah, yeah. I want to talk just a bit, Todd, about when you are working with a an organization or working with a client, what does that typically look like? What does professional development look like with clear P&G?

Todd (00:08:02) - What we do is we work with the C-suite and we help them identify, work with them, or give them the characteristics that, you know, where do you invest your money? Where do you invest if you're buying stocks or companies or whatever you invest where you honestly believe you're going to get the best return? And so what we do is we we've established it. If you probably look to the growth mindset with Carol Dweck, there's another couple of people, but there's there's 10 to 15 things that identify a growth minded person.

Todd (00:08:29) - But what we look to there's five specifics that we we look to and share with leadership. So one of the things they're the people are becoming or they already are subject matter experts. So they bring something specific to the party. So they're valued for that particular thing. They're also accountable. These are the people. They don't make excuses. They're accountable. They they're they're going to get the job done. They don't. They're just going to get it done. You know they're going to get it done. They're also not afraid of failure. They don't want to fail backwards, but when they failed, I fail fast. They learn fast, they fail forward. They keep going. And you recognize those people? Oh well, wish they hadn't have done that. But I'm glad they did. Because they needed to fail. Because now they understand what it takes and we can help them. We can build them to grow. The other thing is really it's only effort side. People ask me, well, hey, what's the return on investment of this professional development executive coaching? Well, it might be zero if it's not, it's not so much the coach as it is the coach.

Todd (00:09:30) - When they're willing, they care. They're willing to put in the effort. They listen. They adopt whatever needs they're taking. Ownership again accountability. They're care. They're putting in the effort. And that makes the difference. So it's really return on effort. You have to have congruency there. And leadership recognize that that's not that's you can't really measure the most important things. You just kind of know it based on those people and how they engage, but they're willing to put in the effort. And the other thing, the fifth element that we look to in a growth minded individual, they're not consumed with considering or jealous of what others have. Somebody else got this opportunity, somebody else got a new car or a new relationship. They're not consumed. They're not eat up with others. And so if more of that fixed mindset is it's always somebody else is holding them back or somebody got something, it's just we did nothing we do is in context of remediation or being punitive or I know some organizations that get selected for coaching, and they only find out later when they're reporting back to their boss or their manager.

Todd (00:10:36) - Oh, wow. You made it through that. We didn't think you were going to make it.

Josh (00:10:41) - You know, and I know we talked about this earlier, but, you know, just kind of painting a vision for, you know, we can put a pin on and say ROI, you know, but, you know, just thinking about, you know, what is the what is the type of organization we want. Oh, I do want to ask you about this, Todd. It's the advantage of bringing in an outside consultant versus trying to do it in-house with, let's say, a book club or something. And I don't mean to make light of that, but I mean, you know, the value of having an independent voice, someone who's kind of be a little bit more, maybe less married to some ideas, maybe a little bit more objective. Sorry. I don't mean to lead the witness here. That's kind of what I would immediately think of why that's so valuable. And this consultants that we've brought into our organization.

Josh (00:11:29) - Right. Again, I'm so sorry. I feel like I'm answering your question, but I just want to throw this in there. Right. It's it's amazing when you do bring someone in from who can read the label. I mean, we're inside the bottle. I can't read the label. Right. And we're it's hard for us to sometimes be objective to different ways of looking at things or new ideas and also to I know how we do things. I don't necessarily know the intricacies of a lot of other organizations, including organizations that are going to be a few steps ahead of us that, you know, I'm totally well, Josh, it's been great having you as a guest here. Oh, hey, Todd, just let me get you. Go ahead and your point of view on that.

Todd (00:12:15) - Go ahead and reveal your pain. We'll we'll work through that solution. There we.

Josh (00:12:19) - Go. There we go. Now. I'll let you I'll let you take that on. Yeah.

Todd (00:12:25) - Well there was there's a whole lot to unpack with that one, but love it because you immediately flipped in to your pain and what you see and the value of bringing in an outsider.

Todd (00:12:34) - Yeah. As an outsider, you don't have, as we say in the South, if you can't tell but don't have a dog in that fight, right? I can come in, I can see I can tell you the truth. I'm not. You can. You can say certain things as an outsider that an insider wouldn't necessarily get away with the the other, the significant value that we bring. And this is specifically on our B2B side, once we select the coaches with the with executive team, it's a third party, hands off client, doctor, attorney privilege, those types of elements because the the true leading the, you know, leading with authority or leading brilliantly or whatever you want to call it, the true leaders out there. They know my people need a safe place to have a conversation. And we all know been there, done that. What's what's, uh, what's the third what's non-judgmental today becomes career limiting or relationship ending tomorrow. We've all said something that somebody to a family member or significant other or somebody that oh, you said such and such a year ago when they don't forget.

Todd (00:13:41) - So you need that third party, private, confidential conversation and you can meet people where they are. You can have consultative as well as prescriptive conversations and dialogue, but you need to diagnose and then you understand this person need to have based on their maturity, can have a very consultative piece of dialogue. But others, they they've not been there, done that, had that experience. They can be very technically adept, but now they're in a different, different set of waters to swim in, and they're having to build and grow a team. So they've gone as an individual contributor of one to now they're leading a team of who knows how many or they were functionally in a role doing successful. Now they're completely different area. But it's listening, engaging with people where they are feeding them in real time what they need. It's not a cookie cutter. It's not. I was talking with a guy one time. He said, yeah, was using a coach and first conversation was, well, name three things that you're really afraid of.

Todd (00:14:38) - And a guy named him off and, and the guy says, well, you have to recognize those three things could never happen to you. And Lewis just hung up the phone. He's like, I don't need that. Yeah, but engaging with people where they are, it's amazing the conversations. We bundle these people up say bundle, but we work with them for a year. It's a weekly 50 minute conversation. Lots of times it's. Good morning. How are you? What's going on? The world is great. Other times it's like the the wheels have fallen off the bus. I'm stuck. Right. And people need a conversation when they need it about what's important to them.

Josh (00:15:16) - Yeah. So, Todd, your website is clear. Someone's been listening to a conversation like, okay, I feel like they've been talking to. I feel like Todd's been talking directly to me. Josh has been talking a little bit too much sometimes to me, but, um, we're, you know, someone's been listening to our conversation.

Josh (00:15:33) - Like, listen, at least I'd love to have a conversation. You know, kind of maybe pick your brain and see if maybe there's an opportunity to, you know, have you help out in some way. What do you recommend to folks? It's kind of that next step.

Todd (00:15:45) - Well, Claire Peckham is an excellent place to start. There's you can learn about you learn about Claire, but there's a there's an insights tab on there that don't know. It's more than 30 different articles things like that that it's information you can grab. You can go there. You can also schedule time on there for, you know, grabbing a spot on my calendar. You can find me on LinkedIn. You can look to Todd White, or you can just do hashtag clear peg, love meeting people on LinkedIn. Another if you want to just ping me direct, I'm okay with that. Is Todd at Claire? Com.

Josh (00:16:22) - Yeah. Todd White again founder CEO of clear Peg on the web at clear. Com. Todd, it's been great chatting with you.

Todd (00:16:30) - Thank you. Josh, it's been a pleasure being with up my influence.

Josh (00:16:33) - Thank you. Take care. Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our listener Facebook group. Just search for the Thoughtful Entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love, even if you just stopped by to say hi. I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together, we are empowering one another as thoughtful entrepreneurs. Hit subscribe so that tomorrow morning. That's right. Seven days a week you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed. I promise to bring positivity and inspiration to you for around 15 minutes each day.

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