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‘Unapologetically Ambitious’: Shellye Archambeau Joins Startup Savants

Adriaan Brits



Shellye Archambeau is an entrepreneur, a former IBM sales executive, and a former CEO of Blockbuster Video with a long history of high-powered management roles. She joins Startup Savants to talk about her new book, “Unapologetically Ambitious,” which explains how to get what you want out of life both personally and professionally.

  • Startup Savants is a business podcast that tells the stories behind up-and-coming startups and influential people in the startup ecosystem.
  • Shellye Archambeau joins Startup Savants to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur and CEO, as well as her book “Unapologetically Ambitious.”
  • “Unapologetically Ambitious” explains how to get what you want out of life both personally and professionally.

Reaching the Masses With Her Message

During her interview with Startup Savants, Shellye said the impetus for “Unapologetically Ambitious” stemmed from her desire to share hard-won lessons from her long business career with more people than she could one-on-one, especially people of color.

“I wrote the book because early on, I tried to be really accessible,” she said. “There aren’t many Black women in technology doing the things that I’ve done, and therefore I wanted people to be able to touch me. If they touch me, they realize, ‘Hey, I’m a real person. If I can do it, you can do it.’”

Shellye believes everyone can succeed – whatever that looks like for them – if they consistently apply the right approach. “The book is really about how to get what you want out of life, professionally and personally, by improving your odds every step of the way,” she said. “Unapologetically Ambitious” talks about what she did during her career that worked and what didn’t. “I wanted to share what I never saw, which was a book that really talked about life holistically … [to] have a life that you want.”

The Importance of Goals

Shellye said during her interview that one of the most vital lessons she has learned over the course of her career is how important it is to set goals and deliberately do whatever it takes to achieve them – even if you have to start from scratch. She emphasized this repeatedly in her book.

“I wanted readers to walk away with the perspective that if they’re intentional about what they want to do, if they set goals and really are intentional about the steps they take to get there, that they really can improve their odds,” she said. “A lot of people set goals, and some people think about plans for their goals, but very few people make decisions every day consistent with what they’re actually trying to do. And that’s where the power lies.” 

From the beginning, Shellye applied this approach to her own long-term goal of becoming a CEO – a personal aspiration since high school, where she discovered she enjoyed leading student clubs. Businesses were similar, she decided, and the people who lead them are CEOs. So that’s what she wanted to be. “Audacious and ignorant, I had no clue what that really meant. But I did know that I needed to do some research to figure it out,” she said.

Startup Savants Podcast 

The Startup Savants podcast is a business podcast created by The Really Useful Information Company (TRUiC). Listeners can hear the stories behind startups, as told by their founders, that are in the midst of growing their companies.

Ethan, an entrepreneur, and Annaka, a branding expert, host the Startup Savants podcast. They bring disparate skills and life experiences to their interviews, providing listeners with important business insights and a holistic perspective on the startup ecosystem. 

Hear from a variety of real startup founders from around the globe and with varying backgrounds, making their startup idea a reality. Learn from experts sharing their industry knowledge on venture capital, securing funding, and more on the Startup Savants podcast. 

Final Thoughts

In her interview on Startup Savants, Shellye Archambeau discussed how she rose through the ranks of IBM and went on to helm Blockbuster Video and start her own tech company. Her book, “Unapologetically Ambitious,” contains crucial lessons for business and for life that entrepreneurs of all stripes will benefit from.

You can find the Startup Savants podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.


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