Conversations

Channeling Adversity into Living a Life on Purpose

Elissa Fisher Harris is an inspirational example of how channeling adversity into living a life on purpose provides fulfillment and resilience. Her own experience growing up mostly homeless until the age of 13 taught her how uncertainty can make you fearful at a very young age; an autoimmune disorder in her 20’s taught her to seek out her own methods for holistic cures; being a victim of rape at a young age and losing two husbands from the same rare cancer taught her that life circumstances can’t be controlled. And all of it taught her that reaching out to others in the spirit of humanity and love heals in purposeful ways.

She founded her podcast, “A World On Purpose” to explore the stories, lessons, and innovative actions from changemakers who align their lives and careers with purpose, highlighting the key “Pivot To Purpose” that unleashes a positive, measurable impact on humanity. Elisa pivoted on a daily basis as a child reaching out to other children who needed help, which began her journey of “taking adversity in life and channeling it into vehicles for good.”

Today, Elissa is also a global leader, working as a partner and Chief Impact Officer with 5th Element Group, where she directs the company’s impact initiatives for their clients and develops omni-win strategies that help sustain and make the world a better place for all of us.

The 5TH Element Group—from Chief Impact Officer to Chief Storyteller

Elissa says that she didn’t really know what she was when a friend observed that she is a “strategist.” She says, “I knew how to put people together in situations where they could help each other and advance causes that they cared about.” Her career path was not linear, but she has consistently helped people “unify and do something great for the world.” She felt that she had found her niche as Chief Impact Officer, but she says that being Chief Storyteller is “profoundly important because stories create movements.”

She points out how social media has allowed people to tell their stories, and while there have been negatives, there have also been numerous positives—putting people together with services and each other for mutual benefit. Companies are now telling their stories and that is where the 5th Element Group comes in. Elisa says, “We are an impact-focused external board of advisors that are hired by donors, brands, impact investors, nonprofits, people that want to basically have strategies and advisory opportunities.” She points out that their clients are already great, but 5th Element creates strategic partnerships to amplify their impact in the world. With seven partners who have incredible skill sets and different backgrounds, they can grow that impact ten-fold beyond what one person in-house can do. They are involved with the Skoll World Forum that supports The United Nations Sustainable Initiatives, The Nobel Peace Prize Forum and many others to make a worldwide impact and truly effect change.

Ikigai—Reason for Living

Elissa says that she follows the Japanese precept, ikigai, and says that it resonated with her because the mere fact “that we’re alive means that we matter.” She says, “There’s something really unique and special when we make a conscious decision to say, I’m going to step outside myself and do something for someone else. And even if it’s one person, it doesn’t have to be serving hundreds of millions, which is great, too.” When your purpose is appreciating others for being human no matter what their background or income level, you are able to have compassion and be a sister, a brother, a friend, and love them until they prove you wrong.

Listen or watch this conversation for more powerful ideas and stories from Elissa and Dr. Nancy. Elissa says that Dr. Nancy was the first person to ask, “How can I help you?” A question Elissa is used asking. Check out her inspiring guests on her podcast, A World On Purpose, and learn more about how 5th Element Group’s initiatives are making an impact on the world.

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How My Friend Helen Makes the World a Better Place

After her fourth cancer diagnosis in March of 2020, Helen Knost examined her life and decided to create her own consulting business, My Friend Helen, with a mission to leverage her diverse experience to support dynamic teams and inspiring innovators to help them achieve success and create enduring social impact. How she got to that point begins with her parents who opened the world for their children showing them that there was a lot out there beyond their own little corner of it. They also instilled in Helen a need and responsibility to give back and support family and community. So instead of caving into any of the cancer diagnoses, she fought back, and so far, is winning.

Helen was working as a wilderness ranger at the age of 24 when she noticed a lump in her throat. With no health insurance through her job, she moved to Santa Barbara where her family was living and got a job that provided insurance benefits. It took three months to get insured, then another two months to get the diagnosis and her first treatment for thyroid cancer. She was told that she was cured, but in six months there was another tumor, and another surgery, and in another six months a third one. This time, they paralyzed her left vocal cord, and she was told she might not talk again. She said she doesn’t sing, but obviously she did talk again.

The biggest hurdle during this time was that in 1995 there was no support system for people with cancer. She knew no one her age until she heard from some triathlete friends that they knew a young man in his 20’s that was “kicking cancer’s ass.” It was Lance Armstrong, and she was inspired by his fight and survival, and wanted to give back to the cancer community. She moved to Austin, Texas, to volunteer for the Livestrong Foundation, where a number of things happened: she met her husband, and was hired to work for the foundation. The skills she acquired in her 14 years there are just a few of the diverse experiences that Helen plans to use in giving back with her new business, My Friend Helen.

Cancer Warrior Told She Couldn’t Run Again

Dr. Nancy calls Helen “a cancer warrior,” observing that Helen had to learn what qualities she had that could help her be resilient and live past the cancer. One of the doctors’ predictions for Helen was that she would never run again. Helen said that she really wasn’t much of a runner, but when they told her she couldn’t, she decided to run a marathon—even though she had never done that before. When she crossed the finish line of the New York Marathon, she looked at the man who crossed on her right and he had a prosthetic leg; then she looked left and there was “a man about 5,000 years old.” Helen says, “Anyone can run a marathon. If I can and these two guys can, it’s what you put in your head. Don’t tell me you can’t run a marathon because I’ve seen the people finishing.” She promptly wrote a postcard to her surgeon from the finish line.

Services of My Friend Helen

When Helen considered what she wanted to do with the rest of her life, using her talent, gifts and experiences to give back were at the top of the list. She also wants to do about “a bazillion different jobs.” But she has boiled it down to three buckets. One is philanthropy.  She’s helping foundations design major gift programs by identifying their top donors, teaching them how they can make a major impact with their gift and how they can improve their relationships by showing donors how their gifts impact the mission of the organization. A second bucket is the chief of staff role. Helen likes working behind the scenes in support of people who want to make a social impact. Her third bucket is project management. Helen says that if it doesn’t require an advanced degree, she can probably do it.

She traveled widely with the Livestrong Foundation, and did all of these things with them and elsewhere. She has worked as a nanny, a kindergarten teacher, and landscape designer. But most of all, her strongest skill is being a friend, which is defined as “someone that supports and gives assistance; is authentic and trustworthy; a person that is dependable, loyal and has your best interest at heart.”

Listen to this conversation to hear more about her friendship with Dr. Nancy and her courageous story. Then check out her website www.myfriendhelen.com to see a list of services and to contact her directly at helen@myfriendhelen.com.

Drawing Hope from Women Writing History Project

Libby Tyson is a life-long learner who describes her ideal work as something that challenges her to think in different ways while making a lasting impact in the world. That is why Libby is a doctoral student the Department of History at American University and 2021 Graduate Collections. That is also why she applied to be an Archival Fellow at the National Women’s History Museum, where she heads the “Women Writing History Project,” which is gathering stories from women during these historic times of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Libby said that it wasn’t until her undergraduate program that she fully realized that people in history were just people dealing with issues like us. Before that, she says historical figures were more like two-dimensional action figures and regrets that she didn’t realize earlier that history basically is “about being human and what it is to be human.”

The Women Writing History Project is anything but 2D. Libby says it shows the resilience and creativity of how people behave during a crisis. And this gives her hope for the future. This creativity has been expressed in a multitude of ways. Libby said that no format was required for the submission of journals. While some women submitted traditional diaries, others made films, recorded memos on their cell phones, or recorded conversations with their families. One person submitted a woven project to express her thoughts about the pandemic, and another simply shared how having her favorite tea gave her joy. The stories are as different as the people who submitted them, but they all contain a common thread of creativity and the resilience necessary for weathering the worst of times.

That common thread, Libby says, “is that the journals speak to bigger themes, but also allow for smaller moments of how people are finding peace within harder times.” Dr. Nancy said, “I think that’s what the pandemic will show that some of the things that were most important are always important. And that we should never forget where we come from and really what makes us strong and what makes us healthy and what gives us joy.” Libby agreed, and said, “There isn’t one overarching story because there are so many and they are so vast, but at the same time, they are really beautiful.” She concludes, “That’s the underlying thread, I guess, they are really beautiful and very intense.”

The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM)

Founded in 1996, NWHM is the nation’s leading women’s museum. Although it still only has a virtual presence, there are plans for a physical location in Washington, D.C. in 2022. NWHM is dedicated to uncovering, interpretating and celebrating women’s diverse contributions to society through preserving history and through educational outreach. All of its activities shed light on the countless untold stories of women throughout history. Libby says, “It also serves as a base for everyone to inspire and experience and collaborate and amplify women’s impact in all time periods.” The Women Writing History Project was the museum’s response to the pandemic, recognizing that while the pandemic affected the entire world, it had/has a special impact on women, with jobs going virtual, childcare concerns and an abundance of layoffs and furloughs. The museum created a space for people to donate their pandemic and coronavirus journals to reflect the changing times and pressures brought on by the pandemic and contribute to a larger archive of pandemic stories.

The Women Writing History Project

Libby says that NWHM plans to have a virtual library for viewing the journals by summer 2021. Until then, you can submit a journal or find out more information by clicking on the public programs and events tab on their website womenshistory.org to see the Women Writing History, a Coronavirus Journaling Project. You can also access the project on social media #historyisnow. The NWHM social handles are @womenshistory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Libby also invites anyone with specific questions to e-mail her directly at fellow@womenshistory.org.

Listen to this interview for more of Libby’s personal story and to learn why she believes museum archivists and curators are not only preserving our experiences and archiving our stories, but doing some of the most important work for the future.

Life, Work and Meaning—A Thoughtful Respite for Our Times

Michele Weldon Head Shot 2020Encore from October 2020

Michele Weldon is a storyteller and lifelong journalist, whose new book of essays reflect a theme of life, work and meaning—a thoughtful respite for our times. This is her sixth book; it has already won an award for best essay, and it’s titled after her father’s guidance for his six children, Act Like You’re Having a Good Time. Her father used this admonition to stop childhood bickering and stubborn refusal to behave well. Its result was to give Michele an overall view of “living life with intended optimism,” which is exactly what we need as an antidote for the uncertainty of COVID, outrage over racism and the “us” versus “them” political atmosphere. As Michele says in this conversation, “I think we need to treat each other on every level – from in our homes to the highest political divisions – with respect. The name calling and finger pointing and all of that needs to stop at every level, and to understand that there are a lot of people really hurting right now.” So Michele has offered a collection of essays to allow us to take a break from the pain and chaos, examine our own lives, reclaim the dreams that we’ve misplaced along the way, remember our humanity and hope for a better future.

Why Act Like You’re Having a Good Time?

Act Like Youre Having a Good Time Book CoverMichele says that she has been an essay writer for decades but had never put them all in one place. So for five years, she had this goal of doing just that. The theme, “Life, Work and Meaning” came about because she is a 62-year-old woman thinking about her life, reflecting on her accomplishments (or perceived lack of them) and her purpose for the future. She created the book to speak to women like herself, which she describes in the book as having “a big personality, which is code for women who say what they think, express ambition, and show an intolerance for systems and their enforcers that are biased, unjust, and limiting,” and also for younger women and men. It’s time to take inventory and plan how to make an impact. She hopes people who read the book will feel the respite from these challenging times and think, “oh, I think that way too—or I never thought of that.” She writes about memories from childhood, so it’s a friendly companion. She says, “It’s not intellectually challenging, but it can be emotionally comforting.”

 

Purpose—The Import of Life, Work and Meaning

 

With her work as a journalist, Michele is fortunate to be able to work from home, with the added benefits of not having to commute or travel. All of this extra time has led her to think about what she can do with it. She has rediscovered painting and is taking a weekly Plein Aire class, but this book, in combination with COVID, has made her think about her own life and what advice to share with others.

Michele currently serves on five advisory boards, each with a different mission, and a lot of people are asking for help right now. To answer that call, she is mentoring young journalists, who she might have turned down a few months ago, and thinking about writing another book just for them.  She says that some people are choosing to be really safe and insulated right now while others are reaching out to connect globally. Michele sees this extra time as an opportunity to figure out how she can create change in the world beyond her small circle of friends and family.

Michele advises, “The best we can be is empathic and kind and generous with ourselves and other people and not be quick to judgement, and definitely not try to hurt people or compete too hard at the expense of anyone. Just sort of calm down and recognize the humanity in everyone.”

Listen to this conversation for more of Michele’s personal story and learn how she embarked on a career in journalism. Check out her website www.micheleweldon.com for more about her books, keynotes, interviews, access to essays, and to contact her.

You Have All You Need to Achieve Your Life’s Purpose

Auntie Anne Beiler is no overnight success. Her journey as one of eight children growing up in a loving Amish household to later found the world’s largest hand-rolled soft pretzel franchise is one of epic proportions. Anne has found healing and her life’s true purpose in confessing—telling her story, and the lessons she learned to help others tell their story and find their life’s purpose. In 2005, she sold Auntie Anne’s Pretzels to pursue writing and speaking to audiences around the world, inspiring people with her authentic stories and life experiences. Her mission is to help women overcome the pain, blame and shame of their past by sharing their stories. And she is pleased to announce her newest book, Overcome and Lead, available today from Amazon and her website.

Anne tells Dr. Nancy that she lived a fairy tale life, marrying her “Eighth  grade graduation sweetheart” and pursuing the life she had been raised to have as a wife and mother, when tragedy struck, and her life was changed forever in the blink of an eye. Her 19-month-old daughter was killed in her parents’ lane when Anne’s sister ran over her with a Bobcat. Not knowing how to cope with such a massive trauma, the young couple existed and went through the motions of life when Anne sought help from her pastor. Instead of helping, the pastor seized on her vulnerability and abused her. Anne hid the shame of it for nearly seven years before telling her husband. The subsequent healing caused both of them to want to help others. So, Anne bought a stall at a local farmer’s market and rolled and sold the pretzels she learned to make as a child. This early effort grew into Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and earned her awards for being among an elite group of women who have founded national companies and owned an international franchise company. She was also named as one of America’s 500 Women Entrepreneurs by “Working Women” and Entrepreneur of the Year by “Inc. Magazine.”

There’s Only One Auntie Anne in the Whole Wide World

Anne said that where women get in trouble is we compare ourselves to one another. She said we look at famous women who are doing great things in the world and think, “I’ll never be a Dr. Nancy. I’ll never be Oprah Winfrey. I will never be somebody else, no matter how grand and glorious they are and how much I wish I was.” When she started Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, she went from being a stay-at-home mom to operating two stores in one year, 12 stores the next year, then 35 the next year. She was overwhelmed and started feeling fearful because she looked around at others with successful businesses. She didn’t have what they did: formal educations, start up capital, even a business plan. But she couldn’t articulate her fear and whined to her husband about what she didn’t have. Finally he said, “Hon, why don’t you stop complaining and stop wishing that you were like someone else, because there is not another Auntie Anne that I know of in the whole wide world. And so, you are chosen to do this. And since you were chosen, God has equipped you. You’re going to learn as you go, and God will equip you as you go.” With this wisdom in mind, she began to focus on what she had: a great product, wonderful people working for her and a purpose in life. Anne says that is the great truth. When you find your purpose, it puts “fire in your bones.”

Overcome and Lead

Anne starts her new book by saying her greatest success is not Auntie Anne’s the pretzel franchise, but Auntie Anne the person. “In order to overcome our obstacles, we must overcome ourselves.” She goes on to explain that once you overcome the obstacles (doubts and fears) you’ve put in your own way, opportunities open up. And the more opportunities present themselves, the more there are. Understanding that she has unique gifts to achieve her life’s purpose was her most powerful truth. Then she relied on many of the things she was taught as a child. To value people, as she says in this interview, value everyone the same—from the top management to the person sweeping the floor. And do not shirk any aspect of work. Don’t ask anyone to do anything you won’t do yourself. Respect everyone’s gifts. She found that trusting, valuing, and respecting her employees created ownership within them. And when people feel they own the company, they build a strong company.

A Miracle Story

Anne says that her story is a God story, a miracle story. She found success in her life and business out of the deepest, darkest despair. She felt that she had lost herself. She warns others not to be gullible and believe the pack of lies that point you to an easy fix. She says that when you discover who you are, “which is a beautiful person that has talents and gifts and has a great purpose that only you can fulfill…you will overcome any obstacle that comes your way.”

Listen to this conversation for more of Anne’s compelling story and Dr. Nancy’s philosophy about seizing on our talents and abilities. Check out all of Anne’s books, The Secret Lies Within, A Twist of Faith and her new, Overcome and Lead. Each one tells different aspects of Anne’s story and shares wisdom and triumphs of faith and love. Go to her website, AuntieAnnneBeiler.com, to find out about bonuses you can get if you buy Overcome and Lead during the first week it’s available on Amazon. That week starts NOW.

https://www.amazon.com/Overcome-Lead-Anne-Beiler/dp/0578851393/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1JLHUK7G36MOS&dchild=1&keywords=overcome+and+lead+anne+beiler&qid=1618857703&sprefix=Overcome+and+Lea%2Caps%2C304&sr=8-1

 

How Sheroes Promote Positive Change for Women

Dr. Barbara Walker-Green says that all women are sheroes and when we come together to promote positive change for women, we create collective power. That power will become “the inevitable rise of the shero nation,” which is also the title of her new book. She was inspired to write about this rise while doing her doctoral research in business management. Dr. Barbara says that her father taught her to be accountable for what you do and do the best you can every day of your life. If we all do our best, accept accountability for it—right or wrong, and unite together as sheroes, we will create positive change not only for ourselves and other women, but for everyone.

We don’t have to do anything to become sheroes. Dr. Barbara says, “We are innately sheroes. We were born sheroes.” No specific qualities or actions are required. She says that whether a woman is quietly raising her family and working to provide for them, or is more visible and using her celebrity to create change, we’re all sheroes. What we face on a daily basis is a culture that describes us as weak and emotional and has us convinced that we need powerful men to lead us. None of that is true. Dr. Barbara says that when we shed “the noise” that bombards us daily, we understand our own power and can use it to promote good and support each other in the Shero Nation.

The Inevitable Rise of the Shero Nation

Dr. Barbara’s new book, The Inevitable Rise of the Shero Nation, is a call to action for women to understand their worth and come together to make positive change. She says that her book reaches out to that silent shero who is caring for elderly parents or babysitting when she really doesn’t want to. That amazing shero doesn’t realize the impact she has on others. Dr. Barbara says, “You carry a torch inside of you as a female that only a female carries–nothing against men. It’s not about that. It’s about understanding and shining and allowing your light to shine, for what the Lord has put into you to be able to give to the world. And just do it the best that you can.” She explains that we aren’t all going to agree, that we’re supposed to be different and walking in our own truth, but by uplifting one another, working together, and promoting positive change for women, we create a Shero Nation to support everyone.

Overcoming Challenges We Face

Listen to this conversation to find out how Dr. Barbara describes “the glass cliff” that women CEOs face when promoted to that top position in a troubled Fortune 500 company. In her book, she writes about the successes and failures of these women leaders, and warns women not to try to join “the old boy network.” She is not bashing men and is grateful for the men who also support the Shero Nation. It’s not about men at all, it’s about women, seeing themselves and their success by acknowledging our God-given talents and using them to do our best, “standing side by side” to create a better world.

She invites you to join and find ways you can contribute to the rise of the Shero Nation on her website, SheroNation.life, and explains that the extension, “.life” was intentional. Dr. Barbara describes the Nation as a lifestyle, not just a movement trying to penetrate the male organizational culture. She says, “That’s the point of what we are doing, create a female organizational structure that we feel proud about and that we embrace as women—as emotional creatures. There’s power in emotion.” Dr. Barbara and Dr. Nancy agree when women come together there is power in their unity, absolute power to promote positive change.

Telling Lilly Ledbetter’s Story to the World

As a female Hollywood filmmaker, Rachel Feldman faced many of the same issues trying to direct movies as Lilly Ledbetter did as a female night supervisor in an Alabama tire factory. Both were excluded and outed in their industry; both were underpaid, yet both persevered. Lilly Ledbetter sued the company that paid her 40% less than the young men they’d hired the month before and took it all the way to Congress, where both houses passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and President Obama signed it into law. Now Rachel has written a screen play, titled LILLY, telling Lilly’s story and plans to begin production in the fall.

Just as Lilly triumphed in her struggle, Rachel’s grit and determination has earned her over 70 credits in TV series, beginning with “Doogie Hawser, MD” and including the pilot and first season of “The Baxters,” and several episodes of “Blue Bloods,” “Criminal Minds” and “The Rookie,” and writing and directing several movies for Lifetime.

Women Are Finally Making Progress in Hollywood

Rachel says that this year’s Academy Award Nominations are history-making. Two women were nominated in the Best Director category and one of those was a woman of color. Rachel says, “In 92 years, there have only been five or six women nominated, two or three that have won.” When she came up in the industry there were only a handful, three to five women working in the industry. She said it was so rare, and bias was such a way of life that everybody bought into it. When Harvey Weinstein was arrested three years ago, the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns began. Rachel was involved in a lawsuit – as part of the leadership of the Directors Guild of America – investigating hiring practices in Hollywood.  She says there was a confluence of events and everything came together in a “gender quake,” a term she attributes to Melissa Silverstein of Women in Hollywood. Rachel says, “Things really changed very quickly in the last couple of years.”

LILLY—The Movie and the Impact Campaign

LILLY” is based on the Lilly Ledbetter’s memoir, Grace and Grit, written by Lilly and Lanier Isom. Rachel calls it a political thriller in the tradition of other movies about heroic women fighting for social justice, like “Silkwood” and “Erin Brockovich.” Rachel was attracted to Lilly’s journey because it has all the hallmarks of a great story. She had an epiphany when she heard Lilly speak about fair pay at the Democratic Convention that nominated President Obama. She says, “I heard her voice and I saw her face and I heard her ferocity and I thought I’ve got to know what this woman’s story is.” Discovering how Lilly worked for 20 years in an abusive workplace where she was not only underpaid, but where the men filled her car with tobacco juice, punctured her tires and demeaned her in a thousand ways, Rachel was driven to tell Lilly’s story to the world. Rachel says, “I believe that a great story and a powerful film that has heartbreak and euphoria and makes you sit on the edge of your seat and makes you want to eat popcorn and is entertaining while it influences you is the most powerful form of persuasion that we have.”

Now that Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner, Patricia Clarkson has signed to play Lilly, Rachel is very excited. Patricia Clarkson is the daughter of a New Orleans councilwoman, so has the political will to speak up for women. And “LILLY” will be a very strong voice. Several organizations, including Women Connect4Good, Take the Lead, The Geena Davis Institute of Gender in Media, The National Women’s Law Center, The Female Quotient and many others have come on board to help support “LILLY.” After the film comes out, they will also begin an impact campaign to continue the message of fair pay and equity for women in the workplace that Lilly Ledbetter’s story of personal and psychological sacrifice drives home.

People are donating to the film with non-profit (social-profit) contributions through The Film Collaborative. Rachel says that they are talking to investors also. You can find out about all of this on their website, LillyMovie.com.

Listen to this conversation to hear more of Rachel’s story—her career as a child actress, post college non-events, being part of Take the Lead’s 50 Women Can Change the World in Media & Entertainment cohort and her views on mentorship and collaboration. Check out Rachel’s website, rachelfeldman.com for more about Rachel’s directing career, her activism and personal views on “LILLY.” For everything about “LILLY,” and how you can get involved, be sure to read all about the history and the people at LillyMovie.com.

Why Change Your Conditioning about Money

Award-winning financial journalist Stacey Tisdale says that we are conditioned with “childhood scripts” that formulate our identities and behaviors about money. Just like actors on a stage, we follow those scripts into adulthood unless we accept responsibility to change them. Stacey says, “Our financial choices have got nothing to do with numbers.” While we are learning what’s right and wrong, Stacey says we’re also being conditioned–women as nurturers and men as providers. That also affects our attitudes about who handles the money and what roles we play. There are also scripts that create a bias about race and money. Blacks are perceived as being financially illiterate and other races are perceived as being good with money. Stacey says it’s important that you know and own your biases and manage them for your own benefit. She says, for example, that she personally doesn’t value money, so she knows to research average pay for a job before going into wage negotiations. This is important because research shows that only 7% of women negotiate their first job, verses 52% of men, and not negotiating your first salary costs you $500,000 by the time you’re 60 years old.

As CEO of Mind Money Media, Inc., Stacey uses her journalistic background to create programs and content to bridge our deepest truths, share information that limits mind-made beliefs and foster our understanding of each other to build empathy and create partnerships. Her most recent partnership targets the Black community and is called “Team Wealth Wednesdays,” co-hosted with Angela Yee, the co-host of iHeartMedia’s “The Breakfast Club.” Stacey urges people to take the pledge to take control of your finances and receive free information and resources weekly to help you with your careers or entrepreneurial pursuits.

Women Control the Wealth of the World

Stacey says that women are going to gain control of more wealth because we’re living longer than men, so we’ll inherit more also. However, Stacey says, “Only 7% of women feel capable of making strong financial decisions. So, it’s really a confidence gap. Nothing can make you forget who you are quicker than money.” Her career as a financial journalist revealed some core truths: first that few things work as simply as money. “Don’t spend more than you have; don’t borrow more than you can afford to pay back and don’t invest more than you can afford to lose.” But, Stacy says, “Money is the leading cause of substance abuse, the leading cause of suicide, the leading cause of depression.” So, she concluded that there was a lot more to this than dollars and cents. She embarked on a six-year research project, which became the book, The True Cost of Happiness: The Real Story behind Managing Your Money, to find out what drives financial behavior. One of these keys is that men and women value money differently, which is one factor behind the pay gap. But women are goal-oriented about investing, rather than return-oriented and we are conditioned to caring for the community. With the added wealth in women’s control, we are accumulating power to make real change.

The recent surge in Game Stop investing taught us a lesson about what happens when people come together collectively and organize their financial power. Stacey says, “It’s not that we need the world to change; we are the change. We have the power within us. Owning it–owning the power that we have. My favorite money mantra is ‘You’re already perfect. If you don’t believe that it’s due to a poverty of your understanding. Get rid of that understanding and you will become rich.’ We have the power. If we only invested in companies that were respectful of us and only invested in companies that had inclusive corporate cultures, we could change that tomorrow. People listen when there’s a financial organizational structure behind it.”

LEARN TO ENGAGE YOUR SUPERPOWER

Listen to this conversation for more wisdom about how to overcome mind-made biases on every level. Stacey believes that we’re all perfect in the beginning, with all the creativity and problem-solving skills we need. Then we are conditioned to behave in certain ways. Stacey’s goal is to teach people to navigate their own conditioning, because she says, being biased is natural. We just have to manage that part of ourselves.

Check out her website, MindMoneyMedia.com for information about her other programs, her book The True Cost of Happiness, and her newest event series, Team Wealth Wednesdays. Stacey says that we are far more than what we are conditioned to believe, and we need to accept responsibility to reach beyond it and empower ourselves.

Women–Use Your Voice and Be the Leader You Want to Be

Felicia DavisFelicia Davis is a riveting speaker, author and award-winning leadership coach who works with emerging and experienced women leaders to develop effective leadership brands, compelling communication skills and the confidence to show up and be the leader they want to be. But she wasn’t born that way. She tells Dr. Nancy that she was born to 14 year-old children, then nurtured by her grandmother and an array of aunts, her father, teachers and friends (who both challenged her and supported her) until she emerged from college committed to help women take a stand for what they believe in.

Today, she offers that transformation for women leaders through her Branding Institute, with the “Brand Your Brilliance” workshop for high velocity leadership, and a hundred more initiatives. She calls her propriety branding process a “change catalyst” and agrees with Dr. Nancy that you have to find comfort in discomfort in order to grow. Felicia says, “I tell you Dr. Nancy, in every single big initiative I’ve taken on for myself personally, you can bet your bottom dollar, two things are sure. Number one is it scared the be-Jesus out of me. Number two, I didn’t have everything figured out.” She explains that she doesn’t start with a 10-point plan (no one does), but figures out step one, then step two and the rest evolves along the way. If you’re feeling stuck by life’s circumstances, read this post to see how Felicia pushed past her own roadblock to lead even more powerfully than before.

Why Women Don’t Use Their Voices

Felicia did a seven-city empowerment tour to support women to step up boldly and use their voice. But she also had many small group and one-on-one conversations with women to learn what stopped them from using their voices. She found it all hinged on three big things:

  1. Hiding out and thinking results alone would get them a seat at the table
  2. Ambivalence in decision making and being unwilling to trust their inner voice to make a decision
  3. Risk-aversion and not forming the personal self-confidence to get things done.

These open, honest conversations helped Felicia understand what shaped their identity and thinking. Dr. Nancy brought up the question that people asked her along the way, “Who does she think she is?” And Felicia said the real problem is when you say that to yourself. The self-critic and internal biases begin within and are the first roadblock to using our voices.

How to Succeed in the Post-Pandemic World

Felicia says there are three things we need to do to lead and succeed whether we go back to our jobs or try something new:

  1. Be able to have courageous conversations to speak up about what has weight in your heart.
  2. Have full-on clarity around why anyone should be led by you. This means you have to have a common goal or issue to get thing done. Felicia asks, “What is your vision for your industry in a post-pandemic world?”
  3. Gather your collaborative crew. She suggests that you find a diverse mix of people to serve as your allies, co-conspirators, supporters and mentors.

Both Felicia and Dr. Nancy agree that our biggest strength is to support one another—and that’s everyone. Black, white, male, female, all identities, cultures, ages and races must identify as “we.” Dr. Nancy says, “It’s richer and more fluid; it’s more creative. It makes more sense”

Listen to this conversation for more words of wisdom and guidance about how to shed your barriers and find your voice, and the other missions that Felicia supports:  Take the Lead, whose mission is Parity for All Women by 2025, and the Black Women’s Collective that she founded after the Black Women’s March to remind black women who they are, to amplify their voices and give them more space to be seen in the right rooms, at the right time and in the right places. Visit Felicia’s website for the Branding Institute, her inspiring blogs and other programs to help women become the leaders they/you are destined to be.

Diversity and Inclusion—The Way Out of Systemic Racism Together

Dr. Sheila Robinson became an expert in diversity and inclusion, and learned firsthand how racism holds Black women back during her 14 year career at a Fortune 100 company, working her way from the factory floor to the executive office. After stepping away from that career path, she founded her company, Diversity Woman Media, to reach other Black women, support them, and build awareness and education to promote diversity and inclusion in business. Having built her company to national prominence, she sees the way out of systemic racism by following the lead of the over 100 corporations she partners with.  They know that integrating a diverse culture of all colors, races and backgrounds results in more profits, greater business success and more engaging employees, and that’s why they have made it part of their mission and growth to be more inclusive organizations.  She says, “If we can learn from that as a government and society, then globally we can become more competitive and understand that we are the greatest country in the world.”

Black History Month—Awareness Through Sharing Stories

Black History Month has been celebrated every February since its founding in 1925. Dr. Sheila says that it provides a focus on Black history for 28 days that Black people have 365 days of the year. She hopes the increased awareness will educate everyone not only about historical stories, but also the inequities that still exist, prompting them to work together to abolish the systemic racism that continues to persist in this country. She lists the inequities and barriers to equality throughout our systems: education, health care, the criminal justice system, housing. But most of all, her work focuses on empowering and valuing people equally in the workplace. Dr. Sheila says:

Let’s acknowledge that a problem exists, and that McKinsey research shows that Black women are at the bottom of the workplace from entry level all the way up to the C-Suite. Of every demographic, of any race, of any color, Black women are at the bottom. And that’s a problem because we already know that there are so many Black women that have done some extraordinary things in life. They continue to soar and contribute to greatness and there’s no reason why—well, there’s only one reason that Black women are not valued for their worth, and that’s racism.

The extraordinary things Black women and men have done throughout our history are largely omitted from our history books. Dr. Sheila points out that we have mandatory American history classes throughout high school, but there is nothing for Black history. That’s also part of the systemic racism. Black History Month celebrates those extraordinary things that extraordinary Black people have contributed to our American history, so we can learn their stories and honor them in the way they deserve.

Black History Month Theme: The Black Family

Dr. Sheila says she sees two aspects of the Black family. One is love and the other is resilience and all of the things they mean to families. While there is much to celebrate, part of her aches for the Black family, because they are up against so much and even have to tell their children to be careful when they are walking outside. She points out, “You know our child can be shot down for wearing a hoodie or certain article of clothing.” She says that Black families are not allowed access to the same health care and housing as others because of systemic racism that exists in America. And she says that the Black family is suffering. People have come to her and said, “You’re not suffering. They’re just not working as hard as you.” Dr. Sheila says that is not true at all and told a story about Oprah Winfrey going into a store and being treated like a criminal because they didn’t know who she was. It doesn’t matter who you are or how hard you work or how much money you have when people have biases about the color of your skin, they‘ll treat you accordingly. Dr. Sheila sums it up, “This is a human race problem. This is about dignity and respect for all people.”

Resources through Diversity Woman

Listen to this conversation to find out more perspectives on how we can get more done together. Dr. Sheila talks about the initiatives of Diversity Woman Media, and how she thinks if we educate enough people, we can create systemic change that creates excitement about having more jobs and economic growth. Then we can focus on how great we can become—together—instead of struggling through fear.

Visit her website and register for the new “Wellness Wednesday,” a free workshop at noon every Wednesday to help women navigate through the challenges we’re having with COVID. Sheila says, “We love to give and we love to help.” One of those ways Diversity Woman gives is with the annual Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference, the conference that Dr. Nancy completely changed the way she sees diversity and inclusion. Dr. Sheila says that she started the conference to connect CEOs with entry level women and it has succeeded beyond her dreams. It’s the corporations that give her hope of pushing past systemic racism. She says, “Corporations have policies in place to focus on putting more Black leaders into management roles, to advancing more women—getting more women on boards, investing in non-profits to help do this work. So there are some great things happening, but we have work to do.”

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