My First Taste of Startup Life

When I graduated with my MBA in 2007, I landed in sales in a pharmaceutical startup. During my time there, I wore multiple hats, developed high-level marketing strategies, and reported directly to the owner and entrepreneur. I helped grow that company to over $100 MM in annual revenue and gained confidence in my ability to run my own business.

I didn’t know what that business would be, and I was determined to find out.

While I enjoyed success in my pharmaceutical career, it never felt like my forever path. I remember vividly attending an industry conference with a fancy, seated dinner. As a highly-influential, Fortune 100, C-suite, female executive took the stage, I remember wondering why I had no desire to follow in her footsteps. I realized that climbing the ladder in that industry would not feed my soul. Still, since my salary was well above where I ever imagined it would be in my 20’s, I stuck it out, telling myself that fulfilling work would emerge later in my career.

Last Woman Standing

Then, in 2011, the company fell on hard times. I survived rounds of layoffs and was the last person standing from the sales team. I’ll never forget the August day when the owners abruptly announced their plans to close the company and open a new one. I was offered the same salary and similar role. All I had to do was return my signed employee agreement by Friday.

When Friday morning came, I took my time getting ready. There was no rush to be there by 8:30am because I knew I wouldn’t be sticking around. When I arrived in the office, I went to the president’s office, thanked him for the invaluable experience I’d received during my time there, and shared that I would not be joining them in their new venture.

Trading in Cash for Control  

I’ll never forget how I felt getting in my car after I that meeting. I drove in the sunshine of that day with a weight lifted off my shoulders. I vowed to never again work that hard to put money in someone else’s pocket.

I took a $40,000 pay cut in order to work in my father’s medical practice. Even though Dad lived and worked 5 hours away from me, I commuted to his office several weeks out of each month to help run his operations and revamp his marketing.

It was exhilarating to feel ownership in the success of the business. My brothers worked there, too, so it was a family affair. It was extra special because our family was not close growing up. We would all spend the day in the office, grab dinner out, and go to Dad’s house to strategize over coffee at the dining room table. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

Motherhood

Once I found out that I was going to have a baby, I knew the 5 hour commute wasn’t going to work. Around the same time, a former colleague connected me to an opportunity to return to the pharmaceutical industry as an account manager with a company based in California. I would be able to work from home. While I knew it wasn’t the job, I was grateful for the opportunity to work from home when my baby arrived.

You have a lot of time to think when you’re a new mother. Late-night feedings, rocking back and forth, looking at this precious little angel and wondering what kind of example I was setting for him. What would my son learn from my life? What did I need to do in order to find my purpose and follow my true path?

I had no clue at the time, but Eli was another important piece of my journey to reclaim my power. It didn’t happen overnight, but like laying the foundation for a house, brick by brick, my transformation began.

Giving Voice to My Big Vision

In 2014, I started listening to a podcast series that featured interviews with entrepreneurs. As I immersed myself in hearing about this new community of trailblazers and their stories, two feelings emerged: (1) I need to figure out my unique gift and start doing work that lights me up, and (2) I think launching a podcast is part of that journey.

I refused to let this idea turn into a big dream I never pursued. While listening to the interviews, I learned about the power of creating a Mastermind group – a small group that meets regularly to provide accountability and exchange ideas. I needed one.

I asked a small group of friends to hold me accountable to my vision by checking in with me over a Google Hangout every other week. And it worked! First, I launched my blog and then, on April 21, 2015, I debuted the Mastermind Your Launch Podcast on iTunes.

I could never have foreseen what happened next!

Connections rolled in as people shared the show and recommended trailblazers they wanted to see featured. I found myself recording 30 minute conversations with serial entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The invitations I emailed to entrepreneurs whom I admired, but had no connection to, came back with enthusiastic yeses. It was a whirlwind.

Fast-forward to 2017 when the Mastermind Your Launch Podcast first aired as Mastermind Your Launch Radio on the Business Radio X syndicated platform. Over the next 10 months, listenership climbed to over 130,000 listeners per episode.

Into the Spotlight

My growing visibility through the podcast led people to live events, a growing community, and invitations to be interviewed, speak, and emcee entrepreneur events around Atlanta.

Inspired by the emerging startup environment, I niched my content and services to focus on and feature technology startups. Before long I was invited to train startups on marketing concepts and mentoring startups on their go-to-market strategies.

I embraced the Atlanta startup community and it embraced me. Everything looked beautiful on the surface…. But deep within, another transformation had been set into motion.

Deep Clearing

I often remark, “While I was building it, it was rebuilding me.” I had claimed so much power over my career, that every aspect of my life shifted.

I could no longer ignore or accept the areas of my life that were disempowering. They had to either raise their vibration or disappear.

So I began my personal journey to restore power, self-love, and worthiness. As I healed, I connected to new and profound truths about the unique dynamics we women experience along our journey, both personally and professionally.

I knew instinctively that my experiences and epiphanies required a new mission in my work, but jumping from the male-dominated tech industry to women-only seemed like a shift that would take time. (Are you noticing a trend here?)

From Startup Influencer to Women’s Empowerment Disciple  

I wish I could say that WOE (Women Only Entrepreneurs) was part of some master business plan that I deliberately mapped out. That would have been my masculine energy wanting to build, organize, and execute.  

The opposite is true. WOE exists because I listened to my intuition, trusted with an open mind, and took a massive leap of faith. I surrendered to my path, and magic found me along the way.

While I’d hosted over 50 events for Atlanta entrepreneurs under the Mastermind Your Launch brand, a pivot around the time of my “deep clearing” had me taking a pause from the action. I hadn’t hosted an event in over 6 months.

But I was feeling called more and more to jump back in and work with women. Again, I just thought it would be further down the line.

The Power of a Great Question

Until one day I someone asked me “What would you have to put into an event to help women experience the same transformation you’ve had?”

GREAT question. Here’s my response.

I said that there would have to be an interview with an amazing female founder. One who would inspire us with her story of success, but one who would also be honest and transparent about the struggles and woes of her own journey.

I said that there would be dancing. I’ve been a dancer since I was 3. It’s not only my go-to form of soul expression; it’s also been a huge part of my healing and self-discovery process. I was determined to create a safe space where female founders, who spend so much time in their masculine energy as they hustle and build, could feel soft and feminine.

I said there would have to be affirmations. My soul-work and expanding mindset have been critical to surviving the challenges in both my life and career. I wanted a moment for each woman to close her eyes and lock in her intention.

And, finally, I said there would have the be champagne.

Galvanizing Unstoppable Women

I’ll never forget walking off the stage at the very first WOE Main Event on April 25, 2017 – nearly two years to the day since launching the podcast. A woman came up to me and said, “I feel like I’m home.” Her comment and the comments of other women that night showed me that WOE was something special – something critical to the growth of the women there that night. And, it was my responsibility to keep it going for the countless other women it’s meant to serve.

Since the launch of WOE, I have had the honor to be named an Atlanta Startup Wonder Woman, to be recognized as Brenau University Women’s College’s Young Alumnae of the Year, invited to keynote women’s leadership conferences like She Runs the World and Grrrl PowHer Hour, and so much more.

It’s been a journey, but as I reclaimed my power, I feel blessed to turn around and share that same gift by building a community where women can find their village, own their voices, and embrace the vulnerability that comes with stepping outside their comfort zones.

It’s all encompassing. The outward success we experience reveals to us the women we are deep within. You can’t experience one journey without the other.

For guidance along your journey of Brave Action and Brave Voice, sign up for my 5-day challenge here

Wishlist Member WooCommerce Plus - Sell Your Membership Products With WooCommerce The Right Way .
Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software