O slideshow foi denunciado.
Seu SlideShare está sendo baixado. ×

Nikki Gal | Influential Women Leaders | Exeleon Magazine

Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Embracing Excellence
www.exeleonmagazine.com
Nikki
Gal
The
Kindness
CauseStory
IN - FOCUS
C H A S I N G
D R E A M S
IN - F...
Copyright © Exeleon Media LLC. All rights reserved. The design, images, and content in this issue should not be reproduced...
C O N T E N T S
NIKKI GAL
12
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio
Anúncio

Confira estes a seguir

1 de 74 Anúncio
Anúncio

Mais Conteúdo rRelacionado

Anúncio

Nikki Gal | Influential Women Leaders | Exeleon Magazine

  1. 1. Embracing Excellence www.exeleonmagazine.com Nikki Gal The Kindness CauseStory IN - FOCUS C H A S I N G D R E A M S IN - FOCUS Make Millions with Government Contracts KARWANNA D INFLU NTIAL E WOMEN LEADERS OF THE YEAR MeettheFilm Festival Doctor RebekahLouisaSmith
  2. 2. Copyright © Exeleon Media LLC. All rights reserved. The design, images, and content in this issue should not be reproduced in any manner or by any means, i.e. mechanical, electronic, recording, photocopying, or otherwise, without any permission from Exeleon Media. For any advertising related information, please contact info@exeleonmagazine.com. Submissions as well as contributions to the magazine are welcome. Take a moment and let us know about our magazine; whether it be about the design or a possible mistake, we would appreciate any feedback from your end. You can reach out to daryl@exeleonmagazine.com. 600 N Broad St 5 Middletown, DE 19709, United States +1 (302) – 569 – 9387 Editor-in-Chief – Art Director – Managing Editor - Creative Director – Contributing Editors – Content Curator – Daryl Yeung (Story-Tailor) Naomi Lam (Design Ninja) Matt Reis (Wordster) Adam Waring (Grafista) Ian O'Shea, Matt Hale, & John Riggs (Three Musketeers) Cathy G. (Explorer) Sales Josh Wilder (Cultivator) Mike Jackson (Marketeer) Katherine Price (Sustainer) Richard Dann (Facilitator) Project Manager – Marketing Manager – Senior BDM – BDM – Embracing Excellence
  3. 3. C O N T E N T S NIKKI GAL 12
  4. 4. C O N T E N T S APRIL WHITE 28
  5. 5. C O N T E N T S LAUREN IMPARTO 56
  6. 6. N G FOUNDER SEE THRU NIKKI 12 EXELEON MAGAZINE
  7. 7. Nikki Gal C H A S I N G D R E A M S WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 13 C O V E R S T O R Y
  8. 8. For Nikki Gal, the belief in her inevitable journey in entrepreneurship was what led her to the heights of success. She believed in her dream of selling her own art someday and the universe conspired to turn it into a reality. Today, Nikki Gal is a pioneering entrepreneur and digital creator who is spearheading See Thru Nikki, a digital art company specializing in custom artwork such as portraits, logos, and animations. Encouraging others to follow their own dreams, Nikki mentions “You can never give up on your dreams, dreams do come true if you put the dedicated work in. If you really want something to happen, it will happen. You have to believe.” In this exclusive Cover Feature of Exeleon Magazine, we 'see through' the journey of Nikki and beyond. COLORING BOOK It is said that creativity takes courage. Creativity forces one to think, imagine, and dream. For Nikki, creativity was her language of dreams. Growing up in a small town in Massachusetts, Nikki developed her passion for the field of arts at a young age. Soon she realized it to be her calling and was determined to pursue her dream of becoming an artist. “It was something at the time that I didn't know, or think was possible, but I still kept the option open. I never gave up on that dream,” she recalls. Nikki recalls her days in her parent's living room scribbling through a coloring book and hoping to sell her own art someday. “Now at 24, my inner child has given me motivation, inspiration, and continuous clarity within my art and my business life.” OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD Nikki's artistic bend of mind led her to the fashion industry. It caught her attention at a young age and remained on her radar as she grew up. “Fashion is a lifestyle, as it is expression - it's hard to ignore. Fashion is not only a creative outlet, but it is also an outlet of diversity, artistic vision, innovation, and liberation.” Nikki carved her path into the modeling industry at the age of 15. In order to manifest anything, one needs to believe in its inevitability. 14 EXELEON MAGAZINE C O V E R S T O R Y
  9. 9. By the time she turned 17, she was signed by two modeling agencies. However, Nikki chose to quit her modeling stint a year later as she wanted to seek further opportunities and work outside the industry. She remembers, “Although that decision was difficult for me to make, changing my path was a necessary decision for both me and my career.” Nonetheless, Nikki gained a lot of valuable life lessons from her time in the industry and leverages the same in her day-to-day entrepreneurial journey. LEARNING ON THE GO Talking about what she would change if she were to start again, WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 15
  10. 10. #SAYHERNAME EXELEON MAGAZINE 16
  11. 11. Nikki mentions “Looking back, I would have not taken everything on so much all at once- my career, my clients, my craft.” When Nikki first launched her company, she never gave herself room to set boundaries. As her company continued to boom, she struggled to find a moment to catch a breath for herself. She recalls, “I realize that setting boundaries back then would have saved me much time from exhaustion. It's not about how fast you can go; it's about how far you can go. I have a bittersweet relationship with how I operated my company a few years back.” Nikki explains by adding “Working 12+ hours Monday-Sunday was great at the time because it gave my business the momentum that made it what it is today. Things are different now, and I have grown immensely from that experience.” According to her, in business, it is common to hit a point of fast momentum and take off. However, it is imperative for one to remind themselves from time to time – You are a priority! Learning to navigate and balance one's life in a healthy way is one of the most strategic things that one can do for themselves and their mindset. As her business continues to grow and expand, Nikki has realized the importance of this balance. She has now learned to take life one day at a time; “you cannot overwhelm yourself.” SEE THRU NIKKI At the age of 20, Nikki's creative exploration led her to launch her very own digital art company – See Thru Nikki. “Launching a company at 20 years old was never the plan for me, it just happened so I took control.” She adds, “A friend of mine knowing I had a passion for art requested me to do a digital design for her to post on her social media. After my digital art was posted on her social media page, it went viral. Her inbox was full, my inbox was full, and at that point that's when I knew I had a product and a business to pursue.” Today, See Thru Nikki is well on its way to truly becoming a legacy. A legacy of creativity and the ongoing power of self-expression. Since launching the company in 2019, it has gained over 4,000 clients, sharing a common passion and interest in Nikki's artwork. For Nikki, art is form of expression and she started using her art to convey powerful messages that impacts people and facilitates conversations about subjects of relevance. 'In June 2020, I created a dedicated art piece in honor of the #sayhername movement, honoring the women who lost their lives due to police brutality and racial injustice. Knowing that I was speaking through my art on this matter while also spreading awareness and education was one of my proudest moments as an artist. That one piece gained over 8 million social media impressions worldwide” Her work caught the eyes of American actresses Tracee Ellis Ross, Marisa Tomei, Amber Riley, Zoë Kravitz, music talent Sheila E., Ice Cube, Afropunk, as well as American author and anti-racist activist, Ibram X. Kendi. “I wish for my clients to see their own vision through my eyes; therefore, you are seeing through me, Nikki.” WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM C O V E R S T O R Y 17
  12. 12. Leadership wit a Vision “I choose to remind myself throughout my days that even though my ongoing persistence is valuable, it can only get me so far. Overworking myself will not do me any good, so I set necessary boundaries.” Nikki's thoughts and ideas echoes the growth and maturity she has grasped over the years as an entrepreneur. GOING FORWARD In the coming years, Nikki wants to practice and produce the same ongoing momentum within both her creative journey and mental health advocacy. Nikki wants to reach more individuals within the mental health community, not only within her art but also within her voice. Furthermore, Nikki passionately asserts “I wish to meet more individuals while gaining inspiration and spreading inspiration. I wish to spread the ongoing power of creativity for our future. Personally, I strive for all to gain some type of artistic voice within themselves- creativity is a light that I believe everyone can have the power to hold- you just have the power to hold- you just have to see it.” Much of Nikki's journey can be attributed to her belief. She advices emerging women leaders to stick to this very belief to achieve their individual dreams. “Stand your ground. There are going to be the nonbelievers, naysayers, and people that just don't understand you or your dreams. And that's okay. Learning to accept that not only makes you a stronger entrepreneur, but it makes you a stronger human.” A powerful woman in every right, Nikki believes female leadership is defined not only within the mind, but also within the eyes. She explains, “You have to envision a concept to truly capture and feel the empowerment within.” For her it has always been about controlling her own narrative; her own idea of success. She encourages others the same with her concluding line “At the end of the day, you control your own success. Don't let someone else define it.” EXELEON MAGAZINE C O V E R S T O R Y 18
  13. 13. th AT THE END OF THE DAY, YOU CONTROL YOUR OWN SUCCESS. DON’T LET SOMEONE ELSE DEFINE IT. EXELEON MAGAZINE “ 19
  14. 14. We Embrace Excellence! Exeleon Magazine features some of the leading players in business and shares their journey of excellence to inspire aspiring leaders across the globe. SUBSCRIBE
  15. 15. www.exeleonmagazine.com
  16. 16. EXELEON MAGAZINE IN – FOCUS 22
  17. 17. eKndnes Caue Story – Written By Mandy Cordia have a photo on my desk of a Ibright-eyed, eight-year-old me. That little girl was so full of hope and determination to make a difference. She wanted to change the world. Somewhere along the way, someone made her believe she was too small and insigni icant to make a difference, so she set that dream aside. My irst love in life was fashion. The glitz and glamour I saw in fashion magazines were very different from my hand-me-down, small-town, Missouri life. I always wondered what it would be like to walk into a store, buy whatever I wanted, and never worry about how much it cost. That very idea seemed outside the realm of any possibility I knew. I was taught very young that you have to work for everything you want in life. I got a job in retail at age 15 and never looked back. I managed to turn my love of shopping into a full-time career. I had the pleasure of helping others ind love and joy through the clothes they wear every day as a corporate retail fashion buyer for companies like Zappos.com, Dillard's, and The Home Shopping Network. My career as a corporate retail buyer allowed me to live out my childhood dreams of attending fashion shows, traveling the world, and working with brands that had previously only been within my reach in the pages of fashion magazines. I was living out my dreams, but those dreams came crashing down quickly with the onset of the pandemic. The pandemic was my wake-up call. I realized I wasn't that same little girl anymore. Over the course of my career, I got married and had two beautiful children. My job required me to travel frequently, which meant I missed out on irst birthdays, picture days, and far too many other important events to count. If you were to ask my children, “Where does mommy work?” They would almost always reply, “New York,” even though we live in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prior to the pandemic, I did my best to separate home and work. I made it a point to be WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 23
  18. 18. present with my family, and my kids rarely saw me working. The pandemic changed that; they saw mommy working all day, pulling all-nighters, and working on the weekends to keep from drowning in the workload. I was one of the “lucky” ones who got to keep my job in retail when many were laid off or furloughed. My job was already demanding, but now I was taking on the work of 3 other people. Whenever I received a phone call from an Account Executive to tell me they had been laid off, I secretly wished I could trade them places. The workload was becoming more than I could handle, and it wasn't long before I crash-landed in burnout. My breaking point was a day I will never forget. I was at home frantically working to meet a last-minute deadline. I heard my 3-year-old son playing in his room, and something he said caught my attention. I got up and peeked around the corner to watch. My son had set up his stuffed animals around his table. He made a computer out of paper and pretended to work just as he saw me do every day. After a few moments, he turned to his stuffed animals and yelled at them to be quiet. He said, “I'm on an important call and need to inish my work.” I cried. My heart was broken. This was not the example I wanted to set for my children, and I knew something had to change. I didn't know what that change looked like, so I started with therapy. Little did I know then that those therapy secessions EXELEON MAGAZINE IN – FOCUS 24
  19. 19. would change everything. One of the most signi icant discoveries was that I had been neglecting my passion for giving back. Before having children, I volunteered my time to several charitable organizations. Life had become so busy that I no longer had time to volunteer. We were still in the middle of the pandemic, so volunteering in person wasn't an option. Plus, I couldn't bring myself to take a lunch break away from my computer, let alone enjoy helping others, all while knowing the work is piling up (don't worry, this was also addressed in therapy). As a mom, I felt like every time I turned around, I needed to buy another gift for a birthday, housewarming, or wedding. I started to buy gifts for my friends and family that supported charitable organizations as my way of giving back. The gifts became conversation starters about important issues and a way to learn about different nonpro its. However, it often took a lot of work to uncover and learn about the nonpro it bene iting from my purchase, and the giveback was often vague. As a product person, I didn't always love the selection offered. There had to be a better way. I decided that my many years of retail experience, coupled with my love of helping others, put me in a unique position to tackle the problem head-on. I launched my business, The Kindness Cause, in March of 2022 with three main goals: (1) make giving back easy when life is busy by incorporating giving into the things we do every day, like buying gifts for our friends and family; (2) provide transparency around funds donated with purchase and transparency around the charitable organization bene iting from the sale; and (3) create a platform to educate, bring awareness, and raise funds to support the incredible work of smaller, regional nonpro it organizations. Getting to merge my love of fashion, advocacy, and philanthropy is an added bonus. The causes and issues that I am passionate about is an extensive list. However, my initial nonpro it partnerships for The Kindness Cause focus on human rights, women empowerment, the LGBTQIA+ community, children, cancer, and environmental issues. It was vital for me to launch with the right partners. I utilize Charity Navigator, GuideStar, and tax returns to vet and hand-select the organizations for partnership. Once I partner with a nonpro it organization, I create and curate merchandise around their mission for a “Cause Collection.” These collections are speci ic to one nonpro it organization, and the merchandise is only available for purchase for a period of 60-days. In every product description on the website, I state how much we donate to charity with purchase, along with the nonpro it organization bene iting from the purchase. The Kindness Cause also features a great assortment of merchandise themed around kindness and WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM IN – FOCUS 25
  20. 20. positive af irmations that are sold throughout the year in our “Kindness Collection.” Like the Cause Collections, every purchase donates to a charitable nonpro it organization, and we transparently share how much we donate and the organization bene iting from the sale. So far, I've had the distinct honor to partner with, bring awareness, and raise funds for some incredible charitable nonpro it organizations, including but not limited to: Ÿ Birmingham, Alabama, nonpro it GASP, whose mission is to advance healthy air & environmental justice in the greater-Birmingham area through education, advocacy, and collaboration. Ÿ St. Louis, Missouri nonpro it, Zugunruhe Experience believes that to understand the world, you must see the world and that education through travel has the power to be the most in luential factor in inspiring a life illed with meaning. They provide opportunities to travel for underserved youth to discover their limitless potential. Ÿ Las Vegas, Nevada nonpro it, The Remissonaries, positively impacts women ighting breast cancer by providing comfort during and after chemotherapy treatment with their comfort crates. Ÿ Westlake Village, California nonpro it, My Stuff Bags Foundation provides new belongings, comfort, and hope to thousands of children each year rescued from abuse, neglect, abandonment, and homelessness across the United States. The new belongings address the immediate physical and emotional needs of rescued children and help support the agencies caring for them. I've discovered that life only gets busier. When we have the inancial means to give, we often do not have the time. When we have time to give, we often do not have the inancial means to give. How we give back evolves over time. It doesn't matter how we give; it just matters that we do. One of my favorite quotes is by Mother Teresa. She said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Every day when I sit down at my desk to start my day, I see that photo of 8-year-old me and smile. I no longer feel small and insigni icant. That photo is my daily reminder of the beautifully broken journey I've taken to ind my voice, my worth, and to be here doing what I love today. The work I do makes a meaningful difference daily, and the best part is I'm just getting started. I know that 8-year- old me would be so proud. EXELEON MAGAZINE IN – FOCUS 26
  21. 21. Bringing back Trust into PR he PR industry has gone through Tconsiderable changes in recent years. PR is no longer limited to publishing press releases or articles and keeping track of media. Today, PR agencies work with established and emerging brands to deliver integrated marketing and communication strategies. However, cut- throat competition and ight for relevance among brands is drawing the industry out of its core trait – authenticity. When April White came to this realization, she wanted to bring forth a change in the industry. This change came in the form of “trust relations.” The term coined by herself, April explains “Trust Relations is the art of conveying a brand's authentic actions, value, and goodwill, and illustrating them through great storytelling and creative brand activations that demonstrate how the brand serves its target audiences.” In this Interview, Founder and President of Trust Relations Agency, April White talks about the PR industry, her own journey, and much more. What according to you makes one a powerful woman? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? I am a powerful woman because I'm an introspective, empathetic, ambitious person who wants to make the world a better place by being a servant of mankind. I am iercely committed to making a difference and creating a EXELEON MAGAZINE IN – FOCUS 28
  22. 22. A P R I L W H I T E FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT | TRUST REL ATIONS AGENCY WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 29
  23. 23. company culture that I always wish had existed before founding my own agency. My agency is equally devoted to making a difference for both employees and clients. We are continuously improving to maximize results and retention. Talk to us about your growing up years. What is your earliest memory as a leader/entrepreneur that you remember? I never thought of myself as a leader but, looking back, I can see that I was always the one in high school who led group projects (and sometimes, I even did them alone). I have always felt a responsibility to make the world a better place, and frequently carried my own opinions and ideas about how other agencies and agency leaders could improve. Eventually, rather than complaining about what they did wrong, I viewed these pain points as an opportunity to build a better agency model that addressed the issues I saw. What prompted your interest and subsequently your foray into the public relations space? I initially wanted to be a writer. I always loved stringing together words to create ideas, feelings, concepts, images, and emotions for as long as I can remember. I started my career as a journalist – which my parents convinced me was the most reliable career path for a writer – but I quickly realized that it was not the right path for me. After a few years as a newspaper reporter, I switched to PR and found my true calling. What was the idea behind Trust Relations? Talk to us about the signi icance of its name. I irst entered the ield of journalism and mass communications in college because I was interested in sharing information, I believed people needed to hear – but I realized over time that PR had many roots in the art of persuasion and wasn't always based in authenticity or reality. I began to think that the entire premise of PR needed a paradigm shift, since trying to convince someone you are something, which you aren't is a fool's errand at best or manipulation at worst. This is true whether you're an individual or brand. You must do what you say before you can say what you do. This realization inspired me to coin the term "trust relations." In technology, trust relationships are an administration and communication link between two domains. In communications, I believe they are a bond of mutual respect between a brand and the people it serves. In other words, trust relations is the art of conveying a brand's authentic actions, value, and goodwill, and illustrating them through great storytelling and creative brand activations that demonstrate how the brand serves its target audiences. What are the biggest challenges in PR in the current marketing landscape? How are you tackling the same? The biggest challenge in PR today is that the lines between earned and paid media are getting blurrier with every passing year. As a result, one year ago, Trust Relations introduced marketing services to its offering, delivering a 360-degree, integrated solution. At the onset of every campaign, we conduct a proprietary Trust Analysis so that we can better align clients' storytelling with story doing. EXELEON MAGAZINE IN – FOCUS 30
  24. 24. As the Founder, what role do you play in the day-to-day proceedings of the company? Beyond honing the vision for the company, I'm heavily involved in the agency's business development and marketing. I spend most of my time speaking with prospective clients and reviewing new business proposals. I also participate in podcasts, media interviews, and speaking panels, in addition to writing contributed content on business and PR insights. I also continue to oversee all of the other company operations, inances, client relationships, and staf ing needs. Looking back at your journey, what would you have done different when starting out? I would have taken more time to ind a inance expert I could trust to help me forecast and budget, to ensure the business decisions I was making wouldn't inancially stress the company to potential breaking points. Finally, what would be your advice for women entrepreneurs and leaders in the PR space? PR is and always will be a services industry, which means that the pro it margins will always be modest and capped because, as an industry, there is no current way to automate the (wo)man hours required to do the job well. This is a client services industry that will always be illed with challenging personalities, unrealistic expectations, stiff competition, and unfair demands–and the talent pool is also inite (and increasingly expensive, as a result). You have to truly love PR and be very savvy to igure out how to create an agency that is sustainable and pro itable. WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM IN – FOCUS 31
  25. 25. What according to you makes one a powerful woman? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? According to me, I feel that if you are a woman who truly knows what she likes and pretty much can identify it when you see it, can be a very powerful thing. It can save a lot of valuable time! I also truly believe that it is very powerful to be blessed in feeling accepted wherever you go, in so many different settings or situations. I am the kind of person that chooses to share and teach by example. By presenting questions irst and then moving on into conversation. Talk to us about your growing up years. What is your earliest memory as a leader/entrepreneur that you remember? From a very early age I have always loved being outdoors and playing sports. I was part of a lot of different sports teams and, more often than not, did very well. I do remember very clearly starting my sewing class in home economics in the seventh grade and falling in love with it. I loved working with fabric, patterns, and embellishment so much so that I took it all the way through high school. I would love spending so much time in fabric stores searching out fabrics and patterns to begin a garment design. I would also love drawing on newspaper sketches to create my own design for what I was envisioning. Eventually stepping away from what I truly loved doing, I entered into the workforce. What is the vision of the Louise Lynette brand? How are ensuring optimal client satisfaction? My vision for the Louise Lynette brand is to help make women feel comfortable and beautiful in so many different settings. With many choices of colors and fabrics and embellishments for their choosing for the event they would like it for. I would love for it to be spread across the United States, Canada & International as well. But as a real dream come true, I would Love to be able to use some of my earnings for supplying clean water to people who do not have this. As for us ensuring optimal client satisfaction, we strive very much so, to stay on top of good communication with our customers EXELEON MAGAZINE IN – FOCUS 34 I N T E R V I E W W I T H Lynette Williams F O U N D E R | L O U I S E L Y N E T T E
  26. 26. WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 35
  27. 27. EXELEON MAGAZINE 36
  28. 28. and send things out as soon as we can and make sure packages are received. As for my design styles and optimal client satisfaction, it is very important that my garment pieces are as comfortable on the inside with wonderful linings in most pieces and the embellishments are not scratching the skin. We try our very best to supply size charts on our website for the best possible it for our customers. It also means so much to us that we share really nice pictures of the garment designs so that you can have a wonderful idea of how it is looking. What does life look like for Lynette Williams look like? How do you ensure work-life balance? As for what my life has looked like over the past two years, it has been an awful lot of late-night work hours, energy, thought and heart and soul. Truly a labor of Love! Learning so many new things, and it would be an understatement to call it a learning curve. But loving all that I do! In asking about the work- life balance, this is quite the struggle, especially when starting a new business. So many hours are truly required of you and sometimes you just don't think that there are enough hours in a day or a week. But I do believe that we must take good care of ourselves, eat well and get exercise as often in a week as we can. We are able to work better if we do! What have been the biggest challenges for you in your entrepreneurial journey? My biggest challenge in my entrepreneurial journey was when I started my collection, Louise Lynette, and the pandemic hit. There were so many decisions that needed to be made and things needed to be scaled back and new ways of meeting with people had to be achieved. My factory is in India and as you know, India was hit very hard by the pandemic. The factory lost many of their workers and ultimately put timelines way behind. But you have to try and make the best decisions possible with the information that you have at the time and stick with your true calling and passion and keep moving forward. Looking back at your journey, what would you have done different when starting out? When looking back I wish that I would have had a little better view of how much everything was going to cost me. Because this has not been an inexpensive journey. It is expensive! Try to know exactly what you want to do and the cost of what your endeavor might be. Finally, what would be your advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs struggling to take that leap of faith? Delve into all the information on the internet about what you are interested in, talk to as many people as you can that are in the business that you would like to pursue, attend conventions or tradeshows and most of all be prepared inancially as best as you can. Seek the Lord's guidance as to what his plan is for your life and follow it as best as you can! At the age of 70, you went on to pursue your life-long dream of designing clothes. What prompted you to take this route? It came to a point and time in my life that I really did want to know my true purpose and what I was here for. So, I put everything on hold and took time off to try and ind the answers to my questions. After a few weeks had gone by, I was on my way out the front door to go on one of our last walks with my dog who was dying of cancer. Walking across the front lawn, a strong revelation came over me. I was to apply my designs to fabric. Suddenly there were so many pieces of the puzzle of my life falling together in my mind. It all seemed to make so much sense. That evening I shared my experience with my husband. The coming January we attended our irst textile convention in New York and that was seven years ago, and I was in my early sixties. For the past two years we have been working very hard to bring my new collection to the market as Louise Lynette. WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM IN – FOCUS 37
  29. 29. I n t e r v i e w o f K a r w a n n a D EXELEON MAGAZINE 38
  30. 30. Make Millions with Government Contracts rowing up as a natural-born Gleader, Karwanna D. always envisioned herself as someone who makes an impact on the lives of others. For her, success was a collective endeavor, instead of an individual pursuit. With this same thought, Karwanna has impacted the lives of hundreds of entrepreneurs. As a Government Contracts Strategist, Karwanna D. is helping businesses grow and scale by pitching and winning government contracts. Find out more about this impactful leader in this Exclusive Interview. What according to you makes one a powerful woman? A powerful woman is one that is willing to do the work to achieve success or whatever they want to achieve. How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? I was not born into success, I had to work hard, shift my mindset, and invest in myself to get to where I am now. And I always tell my clients, success doesn't just fall into your lap, you have to do the WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM E X E L E O N E X C L U S I V E 39
  31. 31. work and put in the work because nothing comes for free. “Free” doesn't just mean monetary. It also means time. There's always going to be a cost attached to success, whether it be time or money, or sometimes both. What is your earliest memory as a leader/entrepreneur that you remember? I remember I wanted to get up on the pulpit as an inspirational speaker and share my knowledge of scriptures as a minister in our church. It was made to be a joke as if I wasn't approved for leadership in that capacity. But yet there were boys as young as 10–12 years old who were praised for getting up on the pulpit to share their knowledge in scripture and leadership. What I learned from that experience is that there is a time and place for everything, and it was just not the place nor the time for me to be great. I didn't let it deter me from developing into the leader I am today. Also, the con idence that I had as a little girl, made me realize now that I was a natural-born leader. How are you helping entrepreneurs grow their business with government contracts? Government contracting is the most untapped resource when it comes to growing and scaling a pro itable business and I simply teach entrepreneurs the step-by-step process on how they can make millions pitching and winning government contracts as a small business. By showing how businesses can play their cards right, they can easily add 5, 6, or even 7- igure income in just one contract alone - doing the things they are already doing with their business. As a Government Contracts Strategist, what are the roles and responsibilities that you are needed to shoulder? Many entrepreneurs spoil their success by not taking action on opportunities because they disqualify themselves by thinking that it's not for them or they think they just don't it the bill. Hence, my role as a Government Contract Strategist is to make sure that my clients have the tools, knowledge, and strategy to land a contract where they can do it themselves all they need to do is to take action. I believe in the principle of teaching a man to ish so that they never starve again. While it's good to do all the work for someone on their behalf, that's not really a sustainable business model. That's why I always empower my clients to win contracts on their own, it actually helps them to grow and develop in their own professional space where the sky is the limit. Being an established entrepreneur, what according to you are the most essential things when it comes to building a business? 1. Foundation Like building a house, having a solid foundation is important. And I always talk about building a business around government contracting and having the right foundation with your business will attract government agencies, which will open up a pool of opportunities for your business to land a lucrative contract. 2. Invest You must plant seeds to reap a harvest. Many entrepreneurs think they have to save to get ahead and that it's better to get something for free or cheap rather than make a serious investment into something. This is the principle I've learned while building my business and it helped me to turn my struggling business into a multi-million-dollar empire. Invest in yourself - get a coach. Invest in your business - build a website, buy that software, hire people or really anything that will elevate your business. What have been the biggest challenges you have faced in your entrepreneurial journey? I use to be very shy about sharing my success stories with others because I didn't want people to think that I was bragging, or they might get the idea that I was better than them. And this is one of the biggest challenges I had in my entrepreneurial journey. So I have to overcome my own thought, change my mindset, and stand boldly in my greatness, and evolve into the philanthropist that I am now where I am impacting the world by sharing not only my knowledge as a government contract expert but also my success EXELEON MAGAZINE E X E L E O N E X C L U S I V E 40
  32. 32. “Success doesn’t just fall into your lap, you have to do the work and put in the work because nothing comes for free.” WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 41
  33. 33. stories knowing that somebody needs to hear my experience and be inspired by my story and transformation. Looking back at your journey, what would you have done different when starting out? I used to really undervalue myself and my business offer and I didn't ever see myself either making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year or generating millions of dollars as a solopreneur until I did the math. I realize that being goal- oriented in business, especially when it comes to forecasting predictable income…. requires math as well as a roadmap to get there. It was just a few short years ago, that I was at a conference full of motivated women entrepreneurs whose goal was to make their 1st million in business. The presenter broke down so clearly what was required to achieve that goal that it literally changed my life forever. She shared the million-dollar math. To make a million you have to sell a $1000 product or service 1000 times, or a $10,000 product or service 100 times, or a 100,000 product or service 10 times, and so on... The more the premium price, the less hard you have to work, and that simple concept made my head spin off the wall. To sell at a premium price, you have to have a premium offer to sell to premium buyers and you know what? The government is a premium buyer! And so are corporations! So, this is de initely something I could've done differently when starting out. Finally, what does the future look like for you, both professionally and personally? Professionally, I am looking to train more coaches to coach my clients with a team to run all the operations. Ultimately getting my business to run ef iciently on its own. Personally, I will continue to expand my reach as a philanthropist and make a global impact. Write more books. And at the same time have more quality time with my family while we cross out more things on our travel goals and vision board. EXELEON MAGAZINE E X E L E O N E X C L U S I V E 42
  34. 34. EXELEON MAGAZINE 44
  35. 35. EMPOWERING LIVES WITH STORYTELLING YVETTE BODDEN FOUNDER | AWAKENED WOMAN t our core, we are all stories. Stories Aof love, death, and life. Stories that make us smile as well as cry; stories of success and failures; stories of black, white, and grey. Story is a journey; a journey of truth and false, of hope and death, a journey of one within and one beyond. For Yvette Bodden, stories are that powerful medium that can impact the lives of countless people and guide them towards a journey of being better. From her own journey of healing, Yvette Bodden leveraged the power of stories to empower the lives of many. Read this exclusive interview with the Founder of the Awakened Woman, wherein she shares her 'story'. What according to you makes one a powerful woman? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? Power comes in different forms. A powerful woman owns who she is, uses her voice to empower herself, and inspires others to do the same. She freely shares her thoughts with self-con idence but does it with humility and kindness. Good leadership isn't only about making dif icult decisions. It's about managing a team of people and making them feel valued. Bringing out the best in them and encouraging everyone around you to contribute skills and share ideas. Lastly, having the courage to listen is just as important to ensure you are staying in touch with the people with ears on the ground. We all have a superpower, think about how much stronger we can be working together than apart. I try to integrate this thought into my leadership style to remind myself, I couldn't do what I do as ef iciently without my team. WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM IN – FOCUS 45
  36. 36. Talk to us about your growing up years. What is your earliest memory as a leader/ entrepreneur that you remember? I am the daughter of Dominican immigrants who believed in the American Dream. They passed on their strong work ethic and like many parents, ingrained into our brains that education was the key to a castle. "You had to become a lawyer or a doctor," anything other than those careers was a waste of energy. Growing up, there was no space for alternatives. They wanted the best for me and thought these were the only roads to success. Around the age of 19 or 20, I had a burst of creativity when I began to draft ideas about a bilingual magazine. A platform that would educate and cater to women that looked like me since I had not seen anything like it. Eventually, I gave up the dream since I had no clue how to begin to build the vision. Looking back, I don't think that I was ready to challenge my parents, or the world or have enough experience to understand this type of responsibility but it was the irst time, I was thinking outside of the box. What prompted your interest and subsequently your foray into writing? Journaling has always been an outlet for me. Whether writing a song, poem, or passage, these have all been my way of letting the ideas low, purging toxicity and pain, or organizing my thoughts. However, for as long as I remember, it has been a private space. Writing a book and articles for the world to read is a very different experience. Opening oneself up to opinions and letting others be witnesses to your vulnerability is scary. The decision to share my story with the world came from a desire to help others, What according to you is the impact of storytelling? How important of a role does storytelling play in your vision? Storytelling is one of the best tools we must connect with others. Think about the power of emotion when you read, listen, or watch someone whose story is similar to yours and what they've overcome. We can't help but feel inspired or consider the possibility that we have the same power. Telling these stories in a way that honors the person sharing and helps someone else is everything when it comes to playing out my vision. There is a common thread in all our stories, the human experience. I want to tell stories that make people feel like they can be better and can do better. EXELEON MAGAZINE 46
  37. 37. sparking me to begin writing about my journey and inding other powerful voices to share theirs. What was the idea behind Awakened-Woman? What is your vision through this? Depression triggered by a painful divorce forced an introspective period in my life. I was grateful to have resources such as family, friends, and therapy to get me through this dark time. The journey to mental, spiritual, and physical well-being took a lot of work and time. Millions of people around the world do not have the same access or freedom to do the same. Finding healing is never easy, while some know they need help there are many that may not realize there is anything wrong or prefer to suffer in silence. I wanted to create a platform that came at no cost to reach women and men around the globe and inspire their journey. AW seemed like the next natural step, it began with the Awakened- Women.com digital platform illed with hundreds of articles and interviews. Today, we have the AW Con idential podcast and YouTube channel to supplement because we understand that people absorb information differently. We don't want anyone to be left behind in their journey to better themselves. What does a day in the life of Yvette Bodden look like? How do you ensure work-life balance? Work-life balance is the goal! If Covid has shown us anything, it's that life is not only about work; love, laughter, and the bonds that make life extra special deserve our attention, too. Soon as I open my eyes, the day begins with gratitude and a 10-minute meditation to ensure I get centered. Once that part is done, I can be ready for the day ahead. The morning consists of a small but healthy breakfast and a written to- do list which I review every day. I'm always learning to do things more ef iciently and being able to pivot at any time is incredibly helpful with the different interruptions throughout the busy day. The visual of getting things on and off the list is key for me. The life of an entrepreneur demands we wear different hats. We do not have the luxury of getting frazzled when a landmine goes off. Stay prepared for the unexpected but don't lose yourself in the process. Looking back at your journey, what would you have done differently when starting out? Honestly, I can't say that I would have done anything, differently. Were it not for the decisions made, I would not be here, today. However, if there was one thing I'd do better, it would have to be asking for help, earlier, in my journey. I trained myself to believe that I have to do it all, but it is not humanly, possible without losing my sanity. Knowing when to ask for help and understanding that I can do everything but not simultaneously has been a lesson that took a case of burnout to learn. What would be your advice for young and aspiring women leaders? Whatever your dream is - give it a go! You will be afraid and that is okay. The greatest growth that will take place in your life will come from taking on the challenges and doing the things you didn't think you could do. Early on in my journey, a friend said to me, "It is better to wake up with that little feeling of regret than to wonder, what if I had done that thing, I wanted to? What would my life be like now?" People are often discouraged by the thought of failure, but these are only lessons disguised by disappointment. Finally, what does the future look like for you and Awakened Woman? The beauty of the future is that I'm writing it every day. Never imagined being an author, having a book published, and building AW as a multimedia platform that inspires others. Currently, I'm working on a second book and leveling up the platform to increase awareness on issues that affect our mental and spiritual health. As we grow into the shoes of leaders, entrepreneurs, and life changers, it is critical to nurture overall wellness. I want to continue creating great content that empowers women to do the same. We have the power to create the life envisioned and practice self-care that promotes longevity. Thank you to Exeleon Magazine for the opportunity to share AW's message. WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM IN – FOCUS 47
  38. 38. Meet the Film Festival Doctor For Rebekah Louisa Smith confronting herself about her passion for academia led her to a life-changing realization. She realized that she didn't really have the emotional connection with the ield. Neither did she felt excited about it. “I knew I did not want to do it for the rest of my life,” she recalls. This was the moment that facilitated the journey of Rebekah Louisa Smith – an inspiring entrepreneur, award-winning ilm festival strategist, producer, published author, speaker, and more. Rebekah is the Founder of The Film Festival Doctor, a company that helps ilmmakers get their work seen by audiences around the world. An In luential Women in all regards, read this exclusive interview of Rebekah Louisa Smith where she discusses her journey, her book, and much more. What according to you makes one a powerful woman? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? A powerful woman integrates diplomacy and kindness into their leadership while asking for help when needed. Admitting you need help as a leader does not mean that you've failed; instead, it opens the door to new solutions and possibilities that help you grow as a person and as a CEO. As soon as I asked for help and showed my vulnerability, I didn't feel like I was stuck anymore. I felt strong. EXELEON MAGAZINE IN – FOCUS 50
  39. 39. R ek Louisa Smith WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM IN – FOCUS 51
  40. 40. Diplomacy also makes a powerful woman shine. I work with creative types who can become emotionally attached to their ilm and have dif iculty taking criticism. Instead of responding with anger to their challenges, I respond with patience. I explain to these clients how prioritizing a growth mindset can help their ilmmaking and offer them constructive criticism. I gently encourage them to view the feedback as a gift to gain new skills which can help them become more successful in their careers. What is your earliest memory as a leader/entrepreneur that you remember? I will never forget April 17th, 2011; I submitted my Ph.D. thesis at 9 am and had the plan to build my business and live the life I created for myself in England. Building my business was quite a dif icult time in my life. I was lonely as I was trying to build up a business from scratch with no previous business experience and create something very niche and new. However, after eight months of building up my social media presence and attending networking events, people in my industry began to notice me and trust my brand. At this point, a community that wanted to help me grow my business and work with me formed, and I felt supported. What prompted your interest and subsequently your foray into the ilm and media space? This is what I call the 'Ah–Ha' moment! While I was writing my Ph.D., I could tell I was not waking up every morning excited to work on it and only somewhat enjoyed writing it. I then got asked to co- produce a Film Festival; I realized I was in my element and felt much more alive and inspired. Suddenly, this made me question whether academia was my passion. After consideration, I realized that, deep down, I did not love the world of academia; I had no emotional connection to it, nor did it excite me. I knew I did not want to do it for the rest of my life. I'm grateful for the Ph.D. process, it strengthened my project management skills, and I would never have known how to create award-winning ilm festival strategies for my clients if I hadn't irst started down the path of academia. What was the idea that led you to start The Film Festival Doctor? What was your vision through this platform? I caught the ilm festival bug while co-producing the 2009 Abertoir Horror Festival in Aberystwyth, Wales, where I was living and studying for my Ph.D. As mentioned, I realized my career ambitions were not in the world of academia but within the ilm industry, and my specialist niche area was ilm festivals. The skills I learned and developed while writing my Ph.D. helped me identify a gap within the ilm industry. A common problem for ilmmakers was that they needed help getting their ilms seen at festivals; they didn't know how to do it, how to create a festival strategy, or whom to turn to for help resolving the problem. At that time, USA-based Film Festival Secrets was the only company actively providing a ilm festival strategy service and had an internet presence. I knew I could also help my target market resolve this pain. While working behind- the-scenes co-producing a ilm festival, I traveled around Europe and met with festival programmers to learn how they curated their festivals. I discovered which type of ilms ilm festival programmers wanted to screen. There was a global market of ilmmakers who needed help, and I needed to turn my knowledge into a thriving business, so I learned what a festival strategy looked like and how to create one. Talk to us about your book – Born to Do It – and how it can help emerging entrepreneurs take the leap of faith. Unexpectedly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I became very inspired to write. An Indian publishing company was compiling a book called "Unique: Positive Stories to Inspire You," they approached me and wanted to include my story. When the Unique book went live and was available to buy internationally, a publishing company called Butter ly House approached me about writing my own book to inspire others. After having a long hard think, I knew that writing a book was exactly what I wanted to do. I was thrilled that people had engaged with my story and resonated with it. I received feedback from business owners who now felt motivated to keep going and no longer feel alone. EXELEON MAGAZINE IN – FOCUS 52
  41. 41. I was not interested in writing a dry "how to start your irst business" book that was very formulaic and had been done to death a million times. Instead, I wanted to write a book that showed people how to launch their irst business using essential business practices that draw upon spiritual techniques which would help them discover their soul purpose and teach them how to co-create with the Universe. My book is designed to help others pondering the leap into entrepreneurship or are already on the journey but yearning for more success and pro itability. WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 53
  42. 42. What does a day in the life of Rebekah Louisa Smith look like? How do you ensure work-life balance? I am at my most creative and feel most inspired in the mornings. I get up at 6:30 am, do ive minutes of meditation and stretching, put the kettle on, and make my hot water and lemon. Then I respond to all my emails, text messages, Facebook, and What's App messages. There tends to be a lot upon waking as I am six hours behind the UK. I have a large client base in the UK, and several of my staff are based there too. After breakfast, at around 8 am, I dig into more creative stuff, which includes creating festival strategies & Zoom meetings. Around 11 am, I'll be able to get up and get showered. After that, I get back to more emails until lunch, then back at it until I begin to wind down for the day. I always take an hour off for a long walk to detox from my iPhone. The evenings will be staying in and relaxing, or if I am going out, it will be seeing friends or attending the opening of a ilm festival. The good thing about the time differences between the UK and USA is that after 5 pm in Dallas, the East coast is winding down, and over in the UK, they are asleep, which gives me a nice bit of space to ind that balance as it is very peaceful to catch up on some me time. Looking back at your journey, what would you have done differently when starting out? Looking back, I would have hired a business coach in the beginning. I wish someone had told me to work with a coach before I launched my business, as it would have saved a lot of migraines and loneliness! When I began working with my business coach Gerlanda, she immediately identi ied what was missing from my company: an infrastructure. She helped me to create a sales forecast, pipeline, and monthly key performance indicators. I thought I was doing well when closing deals, but as it turned out, I needed to re ine my sales pitch to work with more clients. And it's thanks to her expertise that I now have this knowledge. Finally, what would be your advice for women entrepreneurs and leaders in today's business environment? My advice to women entrepreneurs and leaders is to ignore the imposter syndrome and adopt a perpetual positive mindset. Keeping a positive mental attitude is very important; by adopting this mindset, you can let your enthusiasm, self-belief, and passion for your business, clients, and industry shine through. Having the right mental state will help you igure out how to position yourself, as it is critical to present yourself as an expert in your ield, even when you are starting out. Always remember that you know you have the knowledge and skills and are good at what you do. EXELEON MAGAZINE IN – FOCUS 54
  43. 43. EXELEON MAGAZINE IN – FOCUS 56
  44. 44. What according to you makes one a powerful woman? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? I really think that being a powerful woman comes from the core values instilled in you that you can't see and don't exactly talk about. In essence, a powerful woman shows integrity and sticks to their word; not just for others, but to be true to themselves. If you promise yourself that you're going to do something, ensure that you're meeting your own expectations and following through, whether it's with your own projects and ambitions, embracing the drive to strive ahead in your career, or focusing on self-care so you can wake up and do it all over again. Leadership comes from within - it shouldn't seem forced, trite, or repetitive. In life and business, I'm very much myself. Raw Lauren is what you see and what you get. If you work for me, with me, alongside me, or you're a client, you'll get the same version of me. That's something that I know resonates with many people. What is your earliest memory as a leader/entrepreneur that you remember? Ironically enough, my earliest memory as an entrepreneur was my irst lemonade stand in the summer. And I can say without a doubt, I learned more about entrepreneurship in those moments than you can imagine. I spent that entire summer getting my irst lesson on pro it and loss, ethics, making in-the-moment decisions, and catering to the customer. My second foray into leadership was at the high school where I grew up in Northern California. Lacrosse was an east coast sport that many of my cousins played, and I envied them. I wanted to play that sport at my school. I decided to campaign at my high school and ended up starting the irst female lacrosse team in Northern WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM IN – FOCUS 57 T H E W O M A N W I T H A VISION LAUREN IMPARATO Innovator | Socio-Entrepreneur | Best Selling Author
  45. 45. California. It took months of hard work; petitions, budgeting, and actually teaching people the game. During lunch, I'd hold clinics throughout the year and try to convince women to play this as a spring sport instead of the other typical options my high school offered. We ended up winning a bunch of championships. A few years ago, I saw a woman on the streets of New York wearing a sweatshirt with my high school alma mater that said, “Women's Lacrosse” and it made me proud. At a young age, I had to igure out how to take an idea and bring it to fruition, convince a bunch of people, and make it happen. What were the biggest challenges when you took the leap of faith and started your entrepreneurial journey in 2009? Fear. I'm not personally afraid that often, but I was remarkably afraid. I hadn't been ired or laid off during the inancial crisis and was doing well. I went to a good school, and I loved it; overall, I was comfortable. The idea of getting over the fear of quitting was the hardest thing for EXELEON MAGAZINE 58
  46. 46. me. The day I quit, I was a ball of nerves, and my palms were sweaty. I was risking something I was good at where I was inancially stable to go off into the unknown. But I knew that fear is something that you face and it's natural to be afraid, and you really have to battle through it or else you won't get anywhere. What would be your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs struggling to take that leap of faith? Entrepreneurship is romanticized these days. So many people say if you do a good job and follow your passions, everything will work out. But truthfully, it's more complicated than that. You have to have a business plan and be meticulous about it. You need to know that your plans might change, and it will be hard, diligent, and repetitive work. If you're ready to work hard and stick to a plan, know that being in the trenches on a day-to-day basis is a reality. But if you have the drive and passion, trust your gut and jump in head irst. Talk to us about your global leadership organization – The Association and what it stands for. The Association is a irst-of-its-kind global leadership organization for career-driven women that uses data science and a proprietary leadership methodology to create a vetted group of Elite, extraordinary women. The Association curates 'Your Personal Board of Directors' for each member to help these women assess and achieve their greatest goals, challenges and opportunities in their career and life. We have of icially rolled out 20 boards across the globe in cities including New York, LA, the Bay Area, London, Boston, Madrid, Miami, D.C., Philadelphia and more, and will continue to debut new cities quarterly. What it stands for is simple: it's a non-girls club female organization. Yes, we are women, but we're not just a girl's club where you can chat and complain. We make a point with our structure and methodologies to see how you can extract value spending time with The Association. It's less of a sisterhood, and more of an organization. We've built The Association into something that works for women by women in a way that's applicable to society. What does a day in the life of Lauren Imparato look like? How do you ensure work-life balance? Having just had a baby in September 2022, I have a different day-to-day life than I did even two months ago. But whether it was pre- or post-baby, I know that work-life balance is a tough thing to ind. That said, I make sure I talk to somebody I love every day, share a meal with loved ones and exercise every day. Usually the second I'm up, and often times before I start anything like having a glass of water in the morning, I'm talking to my co-founder, Janelle Hallier, who is based in Spain and 6 hours ahead of me. After we connect, I try to get some exercise in before I get back to The Association because we have teams on the west coast just about to start their day. My days don't have structure, but it's emblematic of the life of a founder. Chaos can happen within minutes and things change quickly. As an entrepreneur, you need to pivot and be lexible, whether that's in your personal life or with business. I also make it a priority to turn off. In my irst business I founded back WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM IN – FOCUS 59
  47. 47. in 2009, I never turned off or took a vacation. I worked seven days a week and was constantly on the edge of burnout (and trust me, I got there). Now with The Association, I make a point of learning from my mistakes and ensuring that when I'm on vacation, I'm 100% on vacation. That means I'm not on my phone between dinnertime and my coffee in the morning and instead I'm focused on being present. I trust my team I've built to keep the momentum and know they can do it without me while I take the time to regroup. Looking back at your journey, what would you have done differently when starting out? Honestly, I wouldn't have done anything differently. Not because I think I did it perfectly, but because the way I did it taught me so much along the way. The irst business I did alone and didn't have a co- founder. I purposely didn't work with investors and turned down various opportunities. That led to a lot of extra work, challenges, and stress, but it taught me how to man the ship of a skilled business. Now my cofounder, Janelle, and I work great together as a team. Looking back, I wish I would have had my own personal board of directors or an unbiased place to discuss balancing business, answer my questions, face challenges, and how to look at opportunities. But that's why we created The Association, so women can now access that whether they're an entrepreneur, VP, CFO, or artist. Finally, what does the future look like for The Association? What are you most excited about? The Association is in a big moment of growth. We have 20 boards across the globe which is incredibly fast in comparison to how long we've been at it and how meticulous we are with member acceptance. We're about to hit a tipping point for growth which will really help change the fabric of working women and their careers. I'm most excited about the fact that we're launching our irst app and are planning our irst global retreat. We have members around the globe that will meet for the irst time which will add exponential power to the organization and these women, personally and professionally. I'm most excited to be able to bring The Association to life for women who have been seeking out opportunities to connect with like- minded innovators in the way that both Janelle and I were looking for in our own lives. While there are countless women's groups out there, there are very few that cut through the noise of negativity and competition to actually empower and energize each member to be the best versions of themselves. At The Association, we're hyper- focused on uplifting the individual and the collective. EXELEON MAGAZINE 60
  48. 48. EXELEON MAGAZINE IN – FOCUS 62
  49. 49. READING LIFE RENEE BACHNER Founder | Renee’s Readers Leadership is a continually evolving medium. There is no set de inition or thumb-rule to leadership. Much like life itself, leadership is ever evolving. Thus, it is imperative for a leader to stand out and attain success, they need to evolve; evolve with time, technology, culture, and so on. Renee Bachner is an example of a leader who has continually evolved her leadership approach to garner success in her entrepreneurial venture. In this Interview, Renee Bachner shares how she built her eyewear business – Renee's Readers, her relationship with her parents, and the challenges she has faced in her journey. What according to you makes one a powerful woman? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? Quite honestly, I never thought of myself as a powerful woman but now that I think of it – maybe I am. Many people have told me I am a strong woman. I think you need to be a strong before being powerful. There are many strong women who get through tough times simply because they have no choice. Their strength transforms into power when they use those experiences to motivate, set goals, and give to others with insightfulness and compassion. WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM IN – FOCUS 63
  50. 50. Looking forward but not forgetting how I got to this point cultivates a motivating, respectful environment, a key ingredient to how I approach leadership. BTW, when the day gets crazy and I ind myself feeling frustrated just wanting to get things done, I remind myself to step back and think of the phrase that I must have repeated a hundred times while raising my children – “treat others the way you would like to be treated.” Respect is powerful. Talk to us about your growing up years and your relationship with your parents. My parents were immigrants. They came here with no money, and they were determined to make a life for themselves, so they worked very hard and were very resourceful. We weren't wasteful with food and or anything else and we repurposed whatever we could. Through hard work, opportunity, sacri ice and determination, my father grew a very successful small business. My mother was fashion savvy, an extremely talented dressmaker and homemaker. That laid the foundation for my entrepreneurial spirit and their outside-the-box approach to many things in their lives now lives in me. The desire to create started when I was very young. I sewed my own doll clothes, made jewelry from household and food items, and spent hours poring over the Sears catalogue, at the time the only “fashion magazine” I knew. As a little girl, I remember on my frequent NYC subway rides with my mother I would observe the other passengers and reimage them in fashions of my own pretend creation. Even back then, I had a vision for coordinating style with comfort – and here I am almost Medicare eligible doing the same thing but with reading glasses! What prompted you to start your own business? What was the inspiration behind RENEE'S READERS? I had a store front optical business where I sold other companies reading glasses and my customers would complain about them. They were supposed to be better quality than what you would buy in a drug store, but the lens clarity and it still wasn't good. So, I started to think what I would do if I were to make reading glasses. During that time, my father had died, and my mother's Alzheimer's progressed considerably until she passed 4 years thereafter. Losing my parents, made me think about my life and all the things I wanted to do – RENEE'S READERS was one of them. With an undergraduate degree in Marketing and English and lots of determination I got to work. My inspiration was the easy part, it was all around me. In my optical store customers, friends, family, and many times complete strangers. Throughout my working life I've seen time and time again how the things that we experience throughout our lives surface in our product picks and just by adapting our own method of wear forms a style that is unique to every one of us. What has been the biggest challenges for you since starting this venture? There have been many challenges since starting the brand, but one of the biggest is iguring out how to continuously evolve the business to communicate with both your existing loyal consumer base and a newer, younger consumer. How you as a business communicate with the newer and younger generations can be a challenge, as trends come and go and so do social media channels. Instagram and Facebook may not be the primary socials your target audience uses but staying relevant among the younger demographics is also crucial. I work to overcome these challenges by reading, researching, monitoring, being hands-on, but also outsourcing where needed. Then, I step back and evaluate and analyze to identify trends and what works and what doesn't work for my business. How do you ensure work-life balance? When you have your own business, often there are no borders especially when irst starting out. Looking back at your journey, what would you have done different when starting out? I am not sure I could have done things differently because I had other responsibilities that I could not just walk away from. I was a mother of three, a caregiver and a small business owner. That kept me back from devoting the exorbitant EXELEON MAGAZINE IN – FOCUS 64
  51. 51. amount of time it takes to conceptualize, design, develop, manufacture, market and sell a new product. Talk to us about your thoughts on giving back and your works with the Alzheimer's Association. As a one-time caregiver, I unknowingly found myself sinking into a mentally and physically exhausting, depressing world. I was too consumed with caring for my mother and my family and working that I didn't realize that I was slowly being swallowed up by fatigue and sorrow. Those were the worst years of my life. As a support group facilitator, with training from the Alzheimer's Association, I draw from my own experiences to help the other caregivers. A shortage of quali ied caregiving help has left many caregivers with the burden of care 24/7. They are going through the same thing that I went through. Sometimes just a hug or an empathetic ear can be comforting. To say I know what you are going through, and I am here for you… you are not alone. There is a community at the Alzheimer's Association that will help you. If I could help, I wanted to be a part of that. Support services such as my caregiver group are a lifeline. It is hard to go through their grief with them, but I feel their appreciation for the comfort I bring to our group meetings. It makes me feel good. Finally, what would be your advice for women entrepreneurs when it comes to starting a new business? By nature, I have always been a very practical, fashion conscious and detail-oriented person – which translates into the quality and thought that goes into every pair of my reading glasses. At the heart of RENEE's READERS, my focus has always been on providing high- quality reading glasses that's enduring in style and wear with a purposeful aesthetic inspired by the personality and needs of my customers. If anything, creating RENEE'S READERS has taught me that sometimes we don't realize our own strengths. As a mother, I raised my children to believe in themselves, work hard to accomplish their goals, and when they fall trying, not to give up and treat others the way they would want to be treated. My own words empowered me, and I hope they will empower women entrepreneurs as well. Starting a business, today more than ever before requires a huge commitment in every way imaginable. The one bit of advice I can offer is if you want to make it a success be prepared to give it everything you got! WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 65
  52. 52. How to win at entrepreneurship a n d parenting want to be honest about Isomething I haven't shared before. I've got two kids — age 3 and age 20 months. And I coach some incredible entrepreneurs who are also parents. We all want to win at entrepreneurship and at parenting — without compromising our success or sanity — so how can we do it? The same solution comes up: WORK. LESS. IN. YOUR. BUSINESS. Yes, you need to work less hours if you want to win at entrepreneurship and parenting. Hear me out. We need to screw the idea that you can work the exact same as before you had kids and everything in life will be smooth sailing. You'd be lying to yourself or you're actually not there for your kids or for your partner or for yourself. HERE'S ARE 8 WAYS TO WORK LESS WHILE GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: 1. Double your prices and cut your clients in half. 2. Finally stop F***ing around half the day and focus. 3. Hire a team member (or 100) and delegate the small stuff that doesn't move the needle. EXELEON MAGAZINE IN – FOCUS 68 Written by Tracy Livingstone
  53. 53. WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM IN – FOCUS 69
  54. 54. EXELEON MAGAZINE Tracy Livingstone IN – FOCUS 70
  55. 55. 1. Stay in your zone of genius. Do work that matters. Do work that brings in the money! 2. Fire sh** clients and people that don't add value to your life. 3. Work a 4-hour day (or week) in peak performance, low-states, and elevated emotion. 4. Automate as much as possible. 5. Understand that being easy on yourself, taking time off, sending your kids to day-care, sharing parenting duties, is completely normal and necessary. Do it more often. BEFORE KIDS, I WORKED ALL THE TIME MAINLY TO FILL UP MY LIFE. I'd bum around London to coffeeshops, networking events, coaching at all hours of the day, coming home late at night. I loved it. And then in my irst four years of business — I had two kids. That comes to 32 months (!!) out of 48 months experiencing pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and postpartum recovery. I stopped being an all-hours entrepreneur. I stopped illing up my time with stuff that didn't move the needle. And I implemented these 8 solutions that allowed me to increase my revenues every year. I don't work on Fridays. I'm with my boys 5+ hours every day. And I sleep 8 hours at night. WHY NOT DESIGN THE NEXT CHAPTER OF YOUR LIFE FROM A PLACE OF STRENGTH? POSSIBILITY? UPLEVELING? That's how you will win at entrepreneurship and parenting. What do you think? Agree or disagree? Email me at tracey@livlitceo.com to share what does it take to win at entrepreneurship and parenting, from your perspective? I'd love to hear your experience and wisdom. ABOUT TRACEY LIVINGSTON Tracey Livingston Howard is the Co- founder of Liv.Lit! and is a coach for high- growth entrepreneurs and trainer in con lict resolution. Her coaching philosophy blends the science of peak performance with spirituality because she believes that: "leading a high growth company requires a high-growth version of you." She has coached and trained over 2,500 people across 31 countries in 5 years. Her roster of clients include: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, CVC Capital Partners, Deloitte, numerous YPO Members, Corporate Connections Members, and Forbes 30 Under 30 members. Tracey is joyfully the mother to two young boys, Liam and Henry, and her husband Chris is also the Co-Founder and CFO of Liv.Lit!. She loves reading, writing, and running by the ocean at her current place of residence, Curacao. WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM IN – FOCUS 71
  56. 56. w w w. e x e l e o n m a g a z i n e . c o m

×