Creating an intentional career and life with alter egos (with Meg Niman)

Many leadership initiatives in education need to come from the top…

But change can happen when direct service providers emerge as leaders on their teams without waiting for permission from someone else. 

School administrators and other people making decisions at the district and policy level are constantly pulled in different directions. The further up the chain you go and the more people you’re managing, the longer it takes to make things happen.

Good leaders WANT their teachers and therapists to come to them with ideas and show initiative. In fact, they often need their team members to show this leadership. 

But this can be scary to do if you don’t see yourself as a leader

When I first considered adding the school administration credential to my doctoral program, my initial gut response was “I’m not cut out for that” 

Seeing myself in that position seemed really difficult, and I don’t think this experience is unique to me. 

When people don’t pursue career transitions or leadership roles, it’s often NOT because they aren’t interested in the work. 

It’s often because they don't think they’ll be successful or they aren’t sure what their options are. 

It’s both a confidence issue and a clarity issue. 

That’s why I wanted to invite Meg Niman to the “De Facto Leaders” podcast to talk about working in education and the tech world, as well as the concept of an alter ego. 

Meg Niman (she/they) is the facilitator and founder of The Alter Ego Project. Her session, "Design Your Alter Ego: Who do you need to be?," was one of the most popular workshops at SXSW 2023. She works with companies as well as individuals to bring play, creativity, and curiosity to professional and personal development.

Meg was a user experience designer for 17 years in San Francisco, Seattle, and Philadelphia. She worked for Microsoft, Fitbit, LeapFrog and many startups. Prior to tech, Meg taught elementary school with Teach For America.

The Alter Ego Project blends Meg’s expertise in design thinking, personas, and creativity with her passion for helping people pursue a more authentic life.

In this conversation Meg shares:

✅What it was like working with Teach for America and why teaching is the hardest job she’s ever done.
✅How she transitioned from education to tech, and how to leverage transferable skills and experiences. 
✅Why many K-12 education problems are really just “human problems” that also exist in other agencies and fields.
✅How team members can separate work-related disagreements from their personal relationships outside of team meetings.
✅The Alter Ego Project: How to use alter egos to decrease burnout, level up in your career, and live a more intentional life.

You can connect with Meg on LinkedIn at and at

In this episode, I mention the School of Clinical Leadership, my program that helps related service providers design services that support executive functioning in K-12 settings. You can learn more about the program at

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Creating an intentional career and life with alter egos (with Meg Niman)