Connecting Business, Industry, and Life via Podcast

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In the Summer of 2016, I wrote a blog under the same title, Connecting Business and Life. I actually wrote about this in 2013 as well.. I guess it is my thing!  I’d like to begin this blog the same way I began the one in 2016…

“One of my favorite sayings is “There is no work-life balance, there is just life!” I say this because I live it everyday. I enjoy my work, but it is more than that. I am blessed to get to work in an industry that shows me daily how my business, the pump industry, is vital to life. From drinking water to manufacturing, none of it would be viable without pumps.”

This year I felt called to connect my business and life more closely. I have been debating a podcast for a few years now, but I didn’t want to “start something new.” But after Bethany visited Alabama in February, I told her my idea and she was excited for it. She encouraged me and help me take the next step toward this vision. I wrote down all my thoughts in my journal about who I could interview and what topics I would want to cover. Then, I sat on it. Late Feb, I attended the Hydraulic Institute’s conference and I felt something nudging me to use my voice. I heard it several times while I was there. Seems like this event is a right of passage every year. I evaluate my growth by the conversations and events that occur. I think this event means so much to me because I truly care about the pump industry. This time was not different, I felt I had information to contribute and if we work together we can solve them. But there seemed to be an extra “voice” in my head telling me to speak up.

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ONE… the number denoting unity, the first in a set or series

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Some would argue that a word has one meaning. I believe words change depending on who uses them and how they are used. This year we will look into the power of one. What impact can ONE have on our world? I think we forget how much power we have as individuals. We have the power to affect change, to innovate, and to accelerate. We must look inward for the passions and purpose we are called to do. Then, we must share it. Your idea, thought, vision, technology is “the first in a series” and when you find others with this common mission, then we have unity. (the song U N I T Y, that’s a unity is now playing in my mind). I have seen this firsthand with Empowering Women in Industry. My search to find role models turned into a circle of women supporting women everyday.

We just completed our first conference series on #BetheChange! It included power women such as Barbara Trautlein and Shannon Bumgarner who discussed Change Intelligence and the Imposter Syndrome! After two events, we have trained and encouraged 320 women to be a better version of themselves as leaders in their communities! Our next conference theme will be #MakeanImpact. I hope you will plan to join us in New Orleans for #EmpoweringWomen2020 and support women in unity everyday! You can learn more at EmpoweringWomeninIndustry.com

As I continue to focus on how to make an impact, I look for ways I can draw attention to others creating positive change. What mission are you on? Drop me a note in the comments below!

Doing Good Things in 2020

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What will 2020 look like?

I chose this photo to allow our minds to fill in the blank… Who do you see around your conference table? Who will lead your team?  Take a moment and imagine who is around your table.  

Now, who else should be invited to join you there?  

I also chose this photo because the text, “Do Good Things” spoke to me.  As we look to make an impact in our industry, it must be done with a mindset of doing good work.  We must focus on coming together to share knowledge and experiences for the good of our industry. There is much work to do, but if we work together we can create change!

As I research leadership and workforce development, I am becoming acutely aware when things seem out of place. I feel a responsibility to act when I see things that should be done differently.  As many of you know, the challenge starts with knowing one’s own leadership style (or leading one’s self) and then understanding how best to be a catalyst for change.  As I work on developing my skills, I challenge you to do the same.  I challenge you to try to see things from another’s point of view and try to reach them where they are.

I have an experience to share that shines a light on the change I would like to see in our industry…

Earlier this year, I walked into a leadership group discussing how we could improve our workforce. This sounds like a great situation to walk into, but at a closer look I saw a challenge that needs our attention. The group around the conference table were all older white males dressed in suits. I don’t think this represents our workforce and I think we should work toward creating a group that better represents the workforce. There were no people of color.  No women. No young professionals. No facility workers.  As much as I respect those men in the room and value their insight as successful leaders in industry, I believe we could benefit from additional insight from a diverse group.  Now, building a diverse group of senior leaders is not easy.  We must recruit and explain why it is important to have a diverse and inclusive group.  These aren’t easy conversations.  It takes courage from leadership and the willingness to listen to others who may think differently.  We must also be willing to invite leaders who may not necessarily have the traditional titles associated with the C-suite. Statistics show the C-suite is not diverse, so how can we adapt and solve this problem.

I understand that an initiative to be diverse and inclusive doesn’t happen overnight. I do believe we have a responsibility to point out when we see things need to change, so that we can improve. As I learn how to do this more effectively, I hope this blog will inspire others to look at how they can be change agents as well.  The rest of this story is an example of something that “in my opinion” needs to change. 

As I turn to leave, I noticed there actually was a woman in the room.  She was a member of the event staff at the director level.  She sat on the edge of her chair leading forward to hear…  This image of her sitting in the back corner along the wall, the only one not at the table, is forever burned in my mind… 

In 2020, WE MUST DO BETTER!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to improve diversity and inclusion in the workforce. Comment here or feel free to send me a direct message.

Marrying Your Networks

Carter & Charli smiling

Carter & Charli smiling

While I was listening to the Empowering Women Podcast, I heard the phrase “Marrying Your Networks.”  I thought, this is another way of describing my passion for connecting.   I enjoy the challenge of taking two seemingly different groups of people and finding a common bond. I also think we can learn so much if we take the time to listen to other point of views.  So many times, people see “different” and avoid the situation completely.  I see difference as an asset.

Sometimes I do find myself with an uncomfortable feeling around a stranger.  Now, I am not talking about the “RUN, you are in Danger!” uncomfortable. (This should be given immediate attention!)  I’m talking about the person looks different or views the world differently than me, and I don’t know what to say to them uncomfortable.

I think about this a lot in my own business and family.  Each of my children are on a completely different wave length…

To tie this into our daily work, I’ll use Carter and I as an example.  When it comes to Sales & Marketing, we are like oil & water. We usually agree with the final result or goal, but we go about the work completely differently.

Me: Focused on customer at all times and how they feel about working with us.

Carter: Focused on the details of customer expectations and measurable results.

Now, both of these are very important to ensuring success in the overall customer experience. However, these differences can cause some confusion at times.  If we take into account the other person’s goals and how they process information needed to make a decision, we can learn how to communicate in a language the other person can understand better.

Thinking of the other person’s communication style and goals:

Carter could say to me, “I think the customer would feel better about their program if they received________.”

I could say, “Based on this stat, we should be doing more ________.”

This is a simple example of how we can communicate differently with people just by taking in their point of view.  As we look to grow our networks to grow industry, I challenge you to connect with a person outside of your normal “looks like me, thinks like me” circle.  You will be surprised what you learn about yourself while listening to another person’s story.  Also, if you go into these networking opportunities with a mindset of helping the other person accomplish their goals, this is where the magic happens!  Marrying networks with a common goal make us better, faster, and stronger!

I’d love to hear your tips for better communication with people outside your comfort zone.

Reflecting on episode 7 of the Empowering Women Podcast

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I really enjoyed the last two episodes because they opened my eyes to additional career paths that are meaningful and have an element of responsibility to our communities.
Drena’s story makes me feel like I am getting something right in terms of leadership. Fascinated that STEM careers can include things like makeup counters which I do spend time at from time to time.  So many areas to talk about, but I’ll focus on these areas: Mentoring, Leadership, Belief.
One reason Drena was successful in her career was because she actively seeks mentors and sponsors strategically along her path. As she looked to grow in an area or skill, she would look to a leader in that space to sponsor or educate her in the skills she needed.
I loved how she discussed how her career was mostly influencing others’ behaviors. She discussed how influencing is basically done through storytelling and listening for pain points or problems that can be solved.  Communication is key to the success of a business.  The better we can communicate with others, the better our workforce becomes.
I believe her leadership style aligns with mine. I am also very focused on continuous learning.  I call it continuous improvement, but I see the only way to improve is to learn from our failures and successes.  She also asks people to stretch.  I am always pushing my team outside their comfort zone while focusing on building strengths.
“Tackling today’s challenges” – I make sure my team is involved in the strategy of our company and consistently check in with them to make sure they are working on something they are passionate about.  I believe we are all more driven when we feel we are making an impact on something we care about in our core being.
This was probably my favorite quote Drena stated:  “As a leader, we must trust our own voice and opinion and stop undervaluing it or playing small.”  I still struggle with this, but I am improving.  I am thankful to Drena for sharing her challenges so I feel less alone in those feelings.  Thank you, Drena!
I also wanted to highlight the importance of being bold and having the courage to (like Drena says) “Make the Ask.”  Whether you are trying to climb the ladder, obtain hands-on experience, just get an Ally! Go ahead and ask for it.