Partnering with Michelle Segrest of Navigate Content


Michelle Segrest has been part of my story for over a decade! We have experienced the rewards and challenges of careers in media and entrepreneurship.  Through all of this, we stand firm in our passion for the equipment and manufacturing industry and agree it is time to support each other.  As Empowering Pumps & Equipment continues to focus on highlighting the real side of industry through storytelling and #EBIndustryTours, we are excited to bring in Michelle to join us!  Michelle brings a wealth of experience and her ability to tell a story captivates us every time. During this time, Michelle will continue to be the captain of her ship with her own company Navigate Content.  If you are wondering, yes, she’s a real sailor!  She is just back from a year long voyage across many seas…  I recommend a cup of cocoa and enjoying her adventures of Sailors & Seadogs which is also available in an eBook.

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Self-Discipline… Finding a Way to Rest

Finding A Way to Rest

Thank you Liz, owner of Chicago Boudoir, for allowing me a way to rest during such a busy week!  For someone who must do something outside of the norm to rest, I appreciate you helping me find a new way to see the gorgeous, brave, and fearless woman within me so I could have energy to empower others!

My struggle…

A couple years ago, I started having real health issues. My blood pressure was too high and my mind was foggy.  Instead of taking time to care of myself and my stress level, I started taking a blood pressure pill. This was problematic to say the least…

Early on in my career, I had a vision of standing on the stage motivating others.  I would constantly push myself to get up and speak in front of people during conferences and meetings.  My body would react with a “fight” response that would cause me to sweat, my heart would beat fast, and my throat to seemingly close up. Because fear of public speaking is common and these symptoms normally present themselves, I didn’t realized the stress of my career choices were affecting my health. 

It literally took a Jeep slamming into the driver side of my car to make me slow down!  I had just dropped my kids off at school. “Shame on me!  Driving my children while exhausted!”  Mommas, you know this negative self-talk all too well. When something terrible happens because we haven’t had rest and couldn’t react in time, we blame ourselves. The reality is… I should’ve asked for help.

After the wreck, my health got increasingly worse. I had this numbness and tingling in my arms and legs which cause me serious anxiety.  Fear was surfacing, and I did not like it! After I had a headache for three days in a row, I went to the doctor.  We started taking a holistic approach to my wellness.  The testing found I was extremely low on B12 and D vitamins. I started taking weekly B12 shots which really seemed to help.  I also began a regular routine of Chiropractic care and supplements to ensure I was at my best…  I thought this solved the problem.  However in a short time, it was back. I spent thousands of dollars in testing but nothing concrete was found.  I was almost wishing for something to be wrong with me… I just wanted to know what I was dealing with so I could get back to work!

I was searching for answers everywhere on what could be causing these problems. It wasn’t until I attended the John Maxwell conference that everything became clear to me.  There were several speakers on how the brain and body work together.  Also, a speaker mentioned prescription drugs were one of the top causes of death. After much thought, I quit my blood pressure pill. I know those pills had destroyed my gut health and it was negatively affecting my body and mind substantially! I decided I would find other ways to control my blood pressure.  I would start by allowing myself time to rest!

 I urge you to listen to your body as it warns you when you are neglecting it.

When you are in pain, SOMETHING IS WRONG.

When you are tired, REST.

When you are hungry, Stop & EAT.

When you are sad, allow yourself time to HEAL. 

When you are overwhelmed, allow someone to HELP.

At the same time all this was happening, I had started a new women’s group at my church.  We all picked words for the year.  My word was Wisdom. I believe I found wisdom through the women who God put in my life to show me how women can truly support women in their time of need.

Last March while planning the Empowering Women in Industry Conference & Awards Gala, I was watching the news coverage of the women’s march. I saw a sign that said, “Women belong in the kitchen” with the verse 2 Timothy 1-7 under it.  I decided to look it up and educate myself on why this person would think this. I believe he was mistaken because this is what I found: 

“God didn’t give us a spirit of fear or to be timid but of power, love, and self-discipline”.  

As I studied more about the verse, it inspired me. I knew I understood the Power & Love part. I feel pretty courageous, and I love everyone! But Self-Discipline, I questioned my capacity!

Since I was going through a lot of health issues, this study started with Self-Care.  I set out to learn how-to take care of myself.  I took up kayaking, and I cut out a lot of the bad things I was putting into my body. I also looked for ways I could put good things into my body including positive self talk.  I constantly told myself, “ I am strong, I am a leader, I CAN with God’s help!” This made all the difference in pulling me out of the darkness. 

I learned Self-Discipline doesn’t come easy.  It takes work.  IT ALSO TAKES REST! It takes being kind to ourselves.  Celebrating small steps forward and rewarding a job well done.  It takes setting clear goals and being honest about whether you are able to accomplish them.   Self-Care is just one area of Self-discipline and it is truly fascinating to see the power the mind has over the body. 

This is what self-care looks to me… NO stress on my face!Charli Smiles

I encourage you to study what it looks like for your life.

I would like to thank Rebekah Mechtensimer for being a wonderful example for me.  Seeing her use self discipline to overcome obstacles while becoming this “best version of self” has made me believe so much more is possible.

I’m wondering… How do you use self-discipline to improve your life? 

A moment to reflect on #WEFTEC and #EmpoweringWomen2019

Empowering Women 2019

Last week was one of those weeks you want to replay over and over! Every year, we prepare for WEFTEC like we are preparing for a marathon.  We know it will be tough both mentally and physically.  There are so many people to see and technologies to learn about. There are service projects and networking events that leave you feeling energized and exhausted all at once.  I was so incredibly proud of my team.  Each person knew their role and executed it with excellence.  As we focus on improvement and innovation in our company daily, we know we could do better with more resources and better planning.  Having said that, we will continue for a few more days admiring a job well done before we move on to all the tasks that must be done… Y’all believe that right LOL… My team is already executing the follow ups!

We do have more to celebrate!!!  Not only did my team master #WEFTEC week, we also executed the Empowering Women in Industry Conference & Awards Gala, successfully!  I have been to a lot of events over my 16 years in the industry, and I will say this one is my favorite!  Not because I got to see the vision I had come to fruition, though that was unbelievable, it was because I watch women’s lives change!

I watched a timid engineer transform into a speaker and even a dancer (before any champagne, I might add).  I watch women connecting with women they had never met; sharing some of their most intimate and challenging stories. The best thing about this was the energy!  It was not an energy of male-bashing or judgment.  It was a group of women actively working to find solutions and help their fellow women in industry succeed!

I am so incredibly grateful that God allowed me to be the one to put a team of empowered women together to #BeTheChange we want to see in the world! The verse that drove me all year was this…

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear or to be timid, but of Power, Love, and Self-discipline”.  

I hope it will also help motivate others to action! We must do the work… we are courageous, we are loving, and we can become our BEST SELF through self-care and education!

I am so thankful for all the women who shared their stories and expertise with our industry… I can’t wait to see everyone again in New Orleans on Oct 8, 2020!

Of course, after an event that touched so many, we have a lot of interest.  If you want to be involved in Empowering Women in Industry, please contact me sooner rather than later at

Reflections on Episode 12 with Tish Berge, General Manager of Sweetwater Authority

You_got_this photo with podcast

What a great interview to round out our first season!  Before I get into my reflections, I want to take moment and thank Mel Butcher for putting together such a wonderful experience for our listeners.  When I had the idea to reflect on each podcast as a way to share the message with others, I had no idea how much it would touch my life.  Actively listening to these women for how our lives might align was a true blessing.  I invite you to take time to reflect as well; there is something about listening to a story…

In Episode 12, we hear from Tish Berge who earned a B.S. in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College and an MBA with a focus in Finance from the University of California. She has over 25 years of experience in the environmental industry, from private chemical manufacturing, to consulting, to public service. Currently, Tish serves as General Manager for Sweetwater Authority, a water provider in California.

As you know by now, I am fascinated by engineering and have a deep respect for public service professionals. Tish shares her love for the water industry and great pride she receives from making a product that we, the consumers, will always need.  I loved her conversation about Water being essential to Life and she enjoys making sure we have clean water…

I really appreciate her quote, “You can be feminine and strong… I think it does take a unique person to have the confidence to be able to handle it.”

Part of my mission is for women to feel comfortable being women, and I believe Feminine and Strong is the perfect definition of that.  I was just listening to Halle Berry on InStyle IGTV talking about when she felt most beautiful, sexy, and like a woman was when she was pregnant.  It pains me to think of all the engineering stories where they felt they couldn’t have a career and be a mom. Whatever Feminine and Strong means to you, I want you to have the confidence to be just that!  I can also relate to Tish’s quote:

“I remember trying on a lot of different personas. And maybe it’s because I didn’t feel like I had role models. I would try them on, and then they didn’t work. For example, back when I was in technical sales, I used to try to be a guy. I used to tell jokes like a guy, I used to hang out with the guys, do shots with the guys… I wish I could have found a way to get to know myself earlier better and get more comfortable in my skin, instead of bumping around so much as far as — what works for me?

I too have tried on several personas.  I used to think it was just the sales person in me trying to put the customer first.  Now I know, I just didn’t know what I liked, needed, or deserved.  I remember dressing up like some nautical golf pro (whatever that is) when I first accompanied my husband to the golf club.  I don’t know how he didn’t bust out laughing at first sight of me… I still laugh when I think about it.  I do think it takes some trial and error to know how to grow in our careers, but I think having a strong role model is key.  To find a role model as a woman in these male-dominated industries is hard…

But I plan on helping to change that! Join us September 26th in Chicago for our first annual Empowering Women in Industry Conference & Awards Gala and help #BeTheChange!


Reflections of Episode 11 with Charli K. Matthews, CEO of Empowering Brands

Cieana and Charli smiles


Author: Cieana Detloff

When I participate at Pump Industry events, I frequently hear, “Oh, I Know Charli!” She is a leader in this industry and (almost) everyone has either met her, seen her online, or knows of her. Starting out as an ‘underdog’, Charli K. Matthews has likely surprised some folks with her ability to stay in this industry – which, by its very nature, is competitive and slow to adopting change. Charli has been leading change in this industry since 2011 (on August 11th, Empowering Pumps & Equipment turns 8!). She has educated people on how to use social media; she created a platform for people to CONNECT (which has continued to grow); and she is constantly searching for ways to EMPOWER people, companies, and brands.

Even though I have known Charli since 2012 and have worked closely with her since 2015, it was still an eye opening experience to listen to her thoughts, feelings, and insights on Episode 11 of the Empowering Women in Industry Podcast. For example, the fact that she has to defend her decision to host the Empowering Women conference & gala on September 26th was surprising to me. I did not realize that she gets comments, daily, about this effort. In the interview, Charli talks about inaction being one of the motivators for this initiative. This idea around “inaction” or ‘waiting too long’ really resonated with me and I’ll tell you why…Bear with me… because I’ve recently been engaged in an online discussion around ‘ambition’ in the CollabSuite group (graciously hosted by Mel the Engineer on Facebook). In that group, I commented that motherhood had been the thing that had knocked my level of ambition down to a ‘zero’ (sleep deprivation puts you in complete survival mode – so Rockstar mode is something I had to work back up to ::grins::). What I realized is that there are many things that can deeply affect a person’s level of ambition and INACTION is one of them.

When a person feels like they are ‘stuck’ in a job, and even ‘stuck’ in a relationship, it can kill a person’s ambition. The minute we recognize that inaction (including inaction from an employer or someone we’re looking toward to lead the way), our power comes back. We realize that something needs to be done, and we make the choice to either stay stuck, or DO something about it. The ‘doing something’ is always the hardest part – because there will always be people questioning your every move, even as you are trying to self-validate. In the interview, Charli states, “It’s disappointing to have to defend the need for a women’s conference.” She shares a story about feeling push-back, which creates a lot of self-doubt internally – even when you’re defending something externally, it can be easy to still feel the need for that validation internally (and I think this is a feeling that has been felt by both men and women alike – so very easy to relate).

I appreciated her sharing the importance of having confidence, being direct, and practicing Mental Toughness (a topic that will be covered at the conference!). Charli is very vocal about where she stands and what she is about, and yet, there were statements she made that I was surprised to hear her say. When she said, “I don’t see myself as a Leader”, I was shocked. In my eyes, she’s always been The Leader. Then, she clarified – “I’m still learning how to be a leader” – and then I realized that her statements are coming from a place of humility (which is an attribute of some of THE BEST Leaders in the world).

It is hard to be the Leader, but she shares her realization that “I need to become a leader to empower others”. She talks about the confidence that is needed to overcome limiting beliefs and that challenging those doubts are necessary to grow in a career.

Another point that is discussed is that women are not brought along the steps of leadership the same way male counterparts are, and this inadvertently, and often unintentionally, sets women up for failure. This discussion is not ‘dissing’ or condemning men, but once again, points out *the need* for a program that highlights Women who are making a difference in the industry. Women who can be role models – who can attract other talented women into an industry that needs a more diverse workforce to tackle the problems it’s facing (skills gap, loss of workforce due to retirement, etc.).

About 30 minutes in and Charli is talking about her experience earlier on in her career “feeling like they don’t want you to be there…feeling like I needed permission… I didn’t know how to ask to grow.” This was a lightbulb moment for me…seeing the inner workings of a leader – the experiences that have helped shape Charli into the Leader she is today. Charli is constantly asking me questions about what I’m passionate about, things I like to do, the parts of my work that get me really fired up. And she does this with all the other members of our team too because she is trying to keep a pulse on making sure every member of her team loves what they do and that they have a path to grow. Charli talks about not originally having a “career development path” – sharing “I was drifting, happy with my job then given more responsibility. I was not thinking about a career path.” I think many people can relate to this experience. I certainly do. I did not set out to join the Pump Industry – I fell into it! And just like Charli, I fell in love with the people – Charli being one of them. I mean, how could you not love her?!

Of course I smiled when Charli mentioned that “Cieana leads me a lot of the time.” It’s very nice to be called an “Empowered, Confident Woman” (and I know that I am!), but I am probably one of her more challenging employees to work with (for reasons I will not go into ::smiles::). What I am grateful for is that despite my shortcomings, Charli continues to Lead. For example, when I mentioned one of my “weak spots” performance-wise, she corrected me…responding with “you mean learning spot.” Now that is Powerful. How many bosses do you know do that? Take an employee’s acknowledgement of falling short, and turn it around with a response that makes a person feel better about themself… A response that inspires a person to DO Better. To BE better….that is Powerful to me and further reinforced by her statement that “We’re stronger when we work together.”

“One of the most important things I could do is contribute to another person’s life for good.” Charli is not talking about me in this story, but I know who she is talking about, and it makes my heart swell.  Charli is on her own journey, but while she is learning and growing, she wants to help others “be the real you…and grow in confidence and leadership”. She admits she doesn’t have all the answers, but that’s the beauty of being real. That’s the beauty in what she is working to build. And I, for one, look forward to being part of it.


Authors note: If you’re curious about what we do at Empowering Women in Industry, Empowering Brands, and/or Empowering Pumps & Equipment, don’t hesitate to ask…every position from every single member of our team is “how can we help you?”. It’s never been about what our team can get, or how much money can we make – we are not driven by money. We are driven by collaboration for mutual benefit. So if you’re wondering how we can be partners and support each others’ missions, just ask! As Charli says…. It’s better when we work together!

Originally posted