Pamela Meyer on Using Your Passion to Solve Problems

February 13, 2019

Headshot of Pamela Meyer

We're so excited for Pamela Meyer to speak at the 2019 Simmons Leadership Conference!

Pamela Meyer is an internationally known expert on trust and deception. As founder and CEO of Calibrate, Meyer provides business executives and human resource professionals—particularly at financial institutions, insurance companies, and law firms—the tools and techniques they need to root out lying, cut down on fraud, and identify inside threats.

Was there a moment when you realized that you needed to alter the course of your career?

Yes! I chose to become an expert at deception detection and trust specifically when thinking through the next steps for a career that I was eager to pivot into a new direction.

I had just exited out of the social media world, had sold my social networks and was looking for something with more human interaction and less focus on search engine optimization, coding, and software testing. I was sitting at a Harvard Business School reunion with my roommate Ellen Guidera. We watched in amazement as a room full of 500 career over-achievers sat transfixed listening to a professor talk about his research on deception. Here were all these captains of industry who normally are in the hallway on conference calls, reading the Wall Street Journal, texting vigorously throughout a presentation—and they were all looking up paying attention! 

I realized in that moment that the findings on deception were fresh and new for a group of savvy professionals for whom nothing was ever new! I dug further and discovered a treasure trove of well-funded research on deception. I made it my mission to raise the moral bar by translating this complex material previously only found in academia, law enforcement, and the intelligence world for everyday people.

What did you learn from that experience?

I learned that when something is fascinating to you, and to others—that there is usually an unsolved problem people need help with. There are so many products and businesses in the world that one can start. But first you must ask if you are solving a problem that actually exists! If you want your endeavor to succeed ask yourself two questions: 

  • What problem does it actually help solve?
  • Am I truly interested in this? 

If you get ambiguous answers to both, don’t move forward. You need to offer up something useful and you need to be engaged enough in it to suffer hard and work hard when there are big hurdles. Don’t waste your time on a solution to a problem that does not exist.

Any tips for work/life integration?

Hire people who make you laugh—life is short and there are plenty of talented people out there but few who will really make you enjoy your work. When you laugh with your team mates, your work and your life will feel integrated in subtle but powerful and transformative ways.

People would be surprised to know that…

I am exceptionally good at pinball, am a lifelong classic rock girl, and am a huge fan of eating the unexpected for breakfast.


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Valerie Plame

Simmons Leadership Conference

Every spring over 3,300 women come together for a transformative experience with celebrated role models and experts in their fields.