img_5632First, the short version of my introduction:

I’m a business owner, mother, power networker, serial optimist, world-traveller, and a handful of other labels that would defeat the purpose of a short version. I started my company  over seven years ago and have learned numerous lessons along the way.

So what exactly is the business you ask?  Empowering Brands is a versatile, digital media and marketing services company with a strong industrial focus. We bring fresh thinking across strategy, creative, and technology to develop innovative and integrated digital media marketing campaigns for clients of all sizes.

Our media brand is Empowering Pumps & Equipment.  It is more than a hub for professionals to exchange ideas, it serves as a vehicle to achieve my vision of empowering people.

Now if I haven’t lost you yet, you should read the long version (trust me, it’s worth it)
The Story of Charli K Matthews

A few years ago, I completed a Ministry of Strengths assessment to learn a little more about myself. While all of these values are very accurate in describing me and provide a little insight into Charli K Matthews, there’s more to it than that. People are complicated, yet simple at the same time. Our experiences play a huge role in shaping us. I’d like to share a few experiences from my life that shaped Charli K Matthews into who I am today…and will be tomorrow.

My name is an important part of the story because it shows that we evolve as we experience life. In my case, it’s just a little more dramatic and obvious.

I can tell when I first met someone based on how they refer to me by name. The “K” in Charli K Matthews stands for Kassandra, and I was called “Kasey” really until after college when I started my professional career. Kasey represents the first phase of my life and is generally associated with just hanging out with friends and having a good time. The Charli you know is more focused on her career and family and is really who I am today…but I like to think that a large part of Kasey remains inside me today.

As you spend some time with me, I hope that you learn more about me from the things that I cherish the most: Family, God, Children, Travel, People, the Pump Industry and Social Media.

Family is the starting, middle and end point of my story. My three, crazy siblings and I were raised by a single mom who was and is still the hardest working person I know. She is a teacher, nurse, parent, grandparent and friend to many. I am forever in her debt for teaching me how to love unconditionally with your whole heart. To this day, my siblings remain my best friends, and I cherish every laughing and crazy moment with them, especially playing games like Taboo.

My family taught me when to listen and when and how to get your point across. And, you will hear my voice get louder and louder when making my point. So if that happens…I’m not upset…it’s just my passion taking over to make sure you hear me…loud and clear.

Faith is also an important part of my life. I believe we are all connected and that there is a much bigger and better force working that we can’t possibly imagine or understand. I have seen this at work so many times in my life…And I never really get over it. I have this image of God looking down at us and moving us around as if we are characters in a play to interact with each other at just the right time. That’s why some people enter our lives at a specific time for a specific reason so it’s important to greet new friends with open eyes. It’s a perfect example of how we are all connected. I am a Christian and believe God came to us in the form of a baby… what could be better… which brings me to my passion for children.

Children are a gift from God. I have experienced this gift four times in my life. And each time I learned I was pregnant…I knew the joy this gift would bring me. I am thankful for all my children and those parents that share their children with me. It is a true blessing to get to sit and watch a child’s face light up over the simplest of things. Maybe that’s why I have a child-like fascination with new adventures and opportunities and love being with others who share my same enthusiasm. That never gets old.

And I find that there is no better place to experience life with open eyes than on than on the road. I absolutely LOVE to travel, with and without my family. Let’s be honest, some trips are just better experiences while the children are spending quality time with Grandma.

Travel defines and inspires me. It started as a defining moment in my life when I was just 22, and I decided to visit Sydney, Australia for five weeks. I never would have admitted it at the time, but I was a fragile, unconfident person unsure of her future at that time. When I came home…I felt I could accomplish anything.

Every experience was new to me in Australia. Every day was a new lesson in life and business. The ladies were fierce, driven, and some of the most stylish women I had ever met before. The men were strong, direct, and respectful. I still vividly remember a woman leading a board meeting and I was star struck by her style and confidence. I wanted to be just like her! I carry that vision to this day.

While in Australia, I also learned that it’s possible to have fun while working. We spend a lot of our lives at work so it’s important to have a laugh and enjoy what we do and who we are with. I’ve always found the end results are better when I’m actually enjoying my task or project. That’s why you will often find me having a glass of wine or two with lunch depending on the celebration. It’s ok.

Australia taught me that travels, much like life, are not scripted. Things can and will go wrong. So, when I make a wrong turn, I just keep going and enjoy the adventure.

Whether scripted or not, people will help you through those adventures and make them richer experiences. I’ve always loved the saying, “Whatever the journey, it’s not only the destination that matters, but the person with whom you travel.”

I love being around people. I can feel their radiant energy.

To be honest, I’m not sure what I was like as a child. But, I often look at my own daughter and think the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. No one is a stranger. Everyone is a friend. I can do anything, especially things my brothers can. Always wanting to entertain others.

When I meet someone for the first time, I want to walk away from that conversation and know that person well enough that I can make them smile…anytime I want. I love to use small talk to learn the little things about someone….get them to open up and reveal a part of themselves to me. I often joke with people that you will be hooked after we spend time together. I really mean that I am hooked! I want to know and learn more you.

One way to learn is that I like to surround myself with people who are smarter than me. They force me to elevate my game and thinking. The secret is in listening. Even though I will be the first to fill the silence. I love absorbing someone’s passion with my eyes and ears. Just seeing that childlike passion is intoxicating.

By peering into a person, I’m in a better position to help and actually serve them.   In business, this is called customer service. You assess needs first before jumping to conclusions on what they need. In life it’s just service. Do something for someone else…commit an act of kindness.

Which brings us to Pumps… my passion for pumps was learned. I wasn’t born into the pump industry, but I came to love the people in the industry.

Engineers are typically pretty reserved people. However, I love seeing the excitement in their eyes when they talk about their latest product design or project. It’s like they are opening a present on Christmas morning…every day. Even though pumps are a piece of hardware we can kick and touch, it’s the people that make the difference….it’s the reason I continue to work in this industry.

The Power of PUMPS is amazing and vital to our lives in so many ways that most people take for granted. Water. Food. Energy. Transportation. Nearly everything.

I started EmpoweringPumps.com as a voice for the pump industry in the digital world. We have a lot to say! I feel this is becoming more important as we try to attract the next generation of talented engineers into the industry. It is one of my goals to make the industry a sexier industry for our young engineers looking to start their careers.

And Social Media is the platform to drive that change and it combines all of my passions. I am so thankful for the God given vision to connect all of my passions into a career.

I started with social media while working at Pumps & Systems Magazine. I used LinkedIn to identify sales leads and build my own network. Then, as I learned more about social media, I began teaching others at the company about its powers.

In the beginning, I understood the power of social media in my personal life. But, I needed to translate that into the professional world…and the pump industry.

I was not always a pro at social media… I had to work at it… I had to learn it…I had to make mistakes. It took time to learn Twitter (@CharliKMatthews), which is my favorite social media channel now, but the one that gave me the most fits at the start. I remember when I first created a profile and left it at that. I was proud because I had a Twitter account, but I didn’t know what to do next. But as with all social media, you can play with it and learn about it and get better at it.

Then I got my first message from a customer on my smartphone. Woo hoo! I was on my way!

So when it was time for my next career challenge, Empowering Pumps, LLC was born by combining my passions of travel, the pump industry and now mixing in social media.

Social media allows companies to target an audience, build a company brand, and to get to know our customers on a personal level. If anything, I think the social media revolution has reemphasized the importance of corporate and personal brands. Brands are defined by experiences. Social media is a great extension of our brands and can help define a brand…when done properly.

I still find joy, and am flattered deeply, whenever someone mentions one of my posts. FYI: Continue to “Like” my posts or anyone else’s if you like what you read. That way, we know someone sees it and that comment will inspire us to create more content. At EMPOWERING Pumps & Equipment, we are connecting, informing and educating others. It’s a happy day when we make that connection! We also very much love sharing your news and educational materials, so keep them coming!

Social media allows you to virtually connect with people all over the world. You can look for business opportunities and learn about a person in minutes. It’s amazing. If you don’t get it, please give me a call and I’ll teach you.

So as @CharliKMatthews continues to promote the industry one tweet at a time, I will continue to evolve without forgetting my core values. My unwritten story continues to evolve, and I look forward to hearing your story.