Use Your Voice, Build Your Brand

Use Your Voice, Build Your Brand

Earlier this year I discussed what I have learned about my Mission in the 9th Year of Business. It was difficult for me to pinpoint one clear lesson. However, one of the most important ones I learned over the years was the importance of using your voice. Communication is our voice and one of the most valuable tools we have in our toolbox.

  1. Use Your Voice for Marketing

Your website, marketing materials, ads, etc. can only do so much design-wise. It is essential you learn how to use your voice to make each of these stand out. It is important that you not only show you understand your business but have a love for it as well. The voice must be clear and consistent in everything from your mailed pieces to even text messages. Be a thought leader in your industry by sharing your unique message. Don’t forget social media posts as they are the easiest to create but the ones that can make the most difference in certain scenarios. For example, I don’t see myself as Charli on social media. I see myself as front and center in my industry with the experience and knowledge to help others empower themselves.

  1. Learn Voice Lessons From Others

No doubt there are at least one or two people in your industry whose voice you can learn from. One of my favorite voices is that of Shannon Bumgarner, the new host of the Empowering Women Podcast. She combines 20 years of experience in a male dominated manufacturing world with a background growing up in textiles and furniture. Her “blue collar roots,” engineering degree, and love of products and services that make our world better define her voice. Better still, she is a voice for women in the industry who may think they are alone. She started #Femspired to see gender parody in the technical fields by 2040. As you can probably tell, she focuses around thinking big and her voice follows. It not only makes her distinct, it makes her bold.

  1. Don’t be Afraid to Present

Public speaking may be a top fear of yours, but you should get past it. I know many professionals, especially women, who made their mark on the industry by using their voice by giving presentations, panel participation, keynote speeches, and more. In fact, I heard about Shannon through an amazing presentation she gave. It had her peers a buzz about her, and the word eventually reached me. You also have a unique, knowledgeable voice, so don’t be afraid to share it in as many venues as possible. My goal on all the Empowering Brands is to give people the power and authority do something. It starts with a voice, a story, and can be so empowering in the end.

Feel free to sign up for the Empowering Women Podcast already on our third season. You may subscribe to get the latest episodes or click here to get the episode featuring myself and Shannon.



Understanding the Mission in my 9th year of Business

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This week, I took some time to reflect on my last nine years of being a business owner. I found it hard to pinpoint one lesson or theme to the journey.  I believe it is because I constantly grow and change each year. So, I’ll focus on this last year and three things that became very clear to me.

Understanding Mission

I have always felt that I didn’t quite fit in this industry.  Not because I am a woman, WOMEN fit here. ( my staff edited Girl to Woman here… I love thinking of myself as a girl… Just a girl underestimated but determined to shine – I think that is why I love Gwen’s song, “Just a Girl”).  I had felt at odds because I didn’t make or design anything. I often join organizations where I am listed as a media partner without “real” membership, a right to vote, or permission to be present in certain settings.  This created doubt in my mind if I truly belonged. I questioned if I could truly make a difference in the industry. This had been my limiting belief. After much reflection, I know I create and design things all the time. Having said that, I think my asset to the industry is my voice.  Communication, our voice, is one of the most valuable tools we have in the toolbox! I understand now the value of communications and how much our community needs media to share stories where the world can understand them.  It is also our job to use our voice to share the hard stories and to let leadership know when something is important to our industry.  As I worked with my team to create the #EmpoweringIndustryPodcast, I felt myself come alive. The voice of industry… a mission that I could proudly champion.  I am truly interested in the lives of the people who help our world run. I have met so many people over the last 17 years in the pump & equipment industry, and I am happiest when I am giving back to this community.  Connecting engineers and operators, sales and marketing, CEOs to interns, and welders to fashionistas!  This really inspires me, and I can see the difference it makes in the lives of others.  So my purpose hasn’t changed – I am still very much a part of this industry, and I love connecting and sharing stories of the amazing workforce that makes up… Industry!

Taking Care of myself

Ok. I am not expert in self-care, but I have made time to study it and improve. To be able to improve, we must be able to focus.  If you want focus, your brain must get the H2O it needs to work!  Otherwise, there will be no real focus happening… So, drink more water! It’s a habit worth forming! That wasn’t the hard part for me. My biggest challenge was giving myself permission to rest. I like to work. I like to travel. I like to meet with the best in our industry, but I found that I didn’t make time each day to reflect or reset.  Looking back, I think breathing was just too much of a pause sometimes 🙂 I have been learning how to stop and take time to just breathe. As a woman of faith, I start my day with a moment with God.  It is wonderful to know there is a purpose for your life each day and that you are loved without having to earn that love through works. If you start your day looking at how you can add value to other people’s life, it really makes a difference in your conversations and your work. Then, I plan my breaks throughout the day.  As a person who doesn’t like routine or stopping when a project isn’t finished, it was hard. But, I realize I am a better thinker when I shift gears for a bit when I feel my body tiring.  This doesn’t even have to be just sitting and doing nothing (this is stressful for me).  I can just do something different for a while. Usually I walk outside and check on my roses or go play a quick tennis match with my daughter (this is me just running after balls really). Sometimes I take a moment to paint or color, or take a good nap with my NapBar box! Then, I can come back to the project refreshed and with a renewed mind.

Encouragement from a network

I think the number one reason for our company’s success is the power of our network.  This Community has embraced my #charlimagic and continues to support me every day.  They have also supported our team, and for that I am truly thankful! I have an amazing team who loves our community as much as I do and enjoys serving the needs of our customers each day.  I am truly thankful for everyone who has helped me grow the Empowering Pumps & Equipment platform where we connect, inform, and educate the industry with purposeful content. We will continue to be your information and connection hub for the pump & equipment industry!  I would also like to recognize the women and men who have joined the Empowering Women in Industry Community! You have encouraged and inspired me this year to chase those big dreams and know that I absolutely belong in this industry with all you amazing leaders. I am truly thankful for you and look forward to another amazing year together!

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

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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 on Episode 10 with Shereen Yusuff, Production Petroleum Engineer

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Shereen Yusuff… what a fascinating human!

Shereen is a Production Petroleum Engineer who has held positions in Project Management, Business Development and Customer Success through her 15 year career in Oil and Gas. Within oil and gas, she has worked on Production, Drilling and Reservoirs. This is a unique experience in the context of oil and gas professionals because she has worked on both the service and operator sides of the industry.
When listening to Mel and Shereen talk openly about Shereen’s life, I am again reminded about the power of storytelling! The talk of Oil & Gas took me back to my first time walking on a fracing skid (not in the field), I was fascinated by the equipment and this industry!   I recently found out my dad had been a Derrickman (A derrickman is a person who sits atop the derrick on a drilling rig to help guide the stands of the drill pipe into the fingers at the top of the lifting device.  He also worked on the piston pumps and diesel engines!) before I was born, and I felt a sense of pride rush over me!  It is a tough job, but very rewarding… so I’ve heard!  I was actually working on a media brand for the Upstream Oil & Gas industry when I faced my largest career struggle.  I had such high expectations for myself and my team, and I didn’t have the skills nor opportunity to manage the situation.  This is part of the reason I am so determined to teach these skills to the future generation.
I have been thinking a lot about Change and it’s power to increase or decrease an organization’s success. As I listened to Shereen’s story about facing culture change at an early age, I believe her quote “You must adapt” is the key to her success and ours!  We have to adapt to people, places, roles, and expectations.  I remember facing similar challenges and opportunities as a young woman in this challenging male-dominated industry.  I LOVE the challenge of this industry, and I’d like to keep the good while improving on the bad.  To do this, we must listen to learn and then use our voice.
Shereen has lived in many different countries and cultures.  Her stories reminded me of my time in college when I was the historian for the International Student Association!  I loved this group and it introduced me to many different cultures.  One of my tasks was to cover the “Flavor Fest” event. On this day, students showcased their culture with food and dancing… What’s not to love there! I remember the bellydancers and beautiful Indian clothes during the festival! ( I still want to be invited to an Indian wedding!)  I love fashion and any type of dancing… but I have a special place for Bolly which I learned from this amazing group!  I have never been to India.  My first time across the sea was to Australia.  This was such a transitional moment for me (22 at the time) as I planned the trip, secured the funds myself, and traveled alone.  When I was there, I faced adversity with the host family and had to adapt to my surroundings. I created a stronger relationship with my internship verses the family.   It was there my eyes were truly opened.  It was the first time I saw a room full of women all from different countries leading the meetings.  Similar to Shereen, I had a moment when I thought, “WOW! I want to be like her!”
Shereen’s story about a leading lady that impressed her with such graceful leadership reminded me of two women in the pump industry that stood out to me early in my career. With such  graceful presence, Janet Jessen and Gretchen McClain impressed me.  I didn’t have enough direct access to these ladies early in my career, but I still have their image of leadership in my mind.  Controlled. Graceful. Success.   I feel I have a lifetime to go to attain this level, but at least I was able to see them at the top, so I know it is possible.
I will close by restating my favorite quote from Shereen and the mission we are on today…
“You can do a lot just exactly where you’re at. Even if you’ve been in the company for 6 months. Even if you’re in college. Even if you are in school. Even if you’ve been at the company for ten years. It doesn’t matter what space of life you’re in, what your career path is, or where you’re at. I think you can make a difference no matter where you’re at…. You are a walking talking role model for all of the women around you. “
Join us and #BeTheChange!  Hope to see you September 26th in Chicago at the Empowering Women in Industry Conference & Awards Gala.

Reflecting on Episode 9 of the Empowering Women Podcast with Taralinda Willis, Co-Founder & CEO of Curate Solutions

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Taralinda earned her MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a focus on operations and project management. She has experience in large-scale public project management, overseeing the creation of a $94M multi-use facility for the state of Wisconsin, sales and account management at a performing arts venue, and customized client solutions as the owner of a consulting business. At Curate, Taralinda leads customer acquisition and business operations.

It was so refreshing to hear another CEO talking about the trials of running a business. It brings a truth to the profession when most of the time we are trying to put our best face forward to be our most effective advocate for the business. The truth is… it’s not all “sunshine and puppies” as she reminds us! Having said that, it’s very rewarding to have built a career in an industry you love with a mission you can be proud of every day!

The most notable quotes from Taralinda’s interview, I found are:

“If you’re trying to get contracts through, they might have a 20% success rate. So, when you get to 8 ‘No’s’ out of 10, celebrate that – because you know you’re getting close. You have to celebrate those and you also have to celebrate the small stuff and the wins. Being comfortable celebrating both sides is really valuable…if 8 people tell me ‘no’, then I will take myself to dinner and have a glass of wine.” “Fundraising is very similar to the sales process. It’s all about your follow-ups. It’s all about making connections with people and being able to share the vision.” “Building a company takes a village…so many people have had an incredible impact on me personally, as well as the company that have made us successful.” “You have to optimize for both the wins and the losses.”

I’d also like to highlight the summary Mel gave us with her statement “Letting go of the answer being tied to your own validity.”

I would, also, like to point out how helpful Curate could be to the Pump & Equipment industry. I have heard so many stories about vendors trying to get on an approved list or even know when bids are happening. I will have to follow up with Taralinda to learn more about this technology! I like the way she invests in “doing what you say you are doing.” Having her team vote on the municipal water polices is one of the examples she gives. This is truly inspiring.

I’d lastly like to comment on and thank her for qualifying the need for building a community of women. She talks about the need for women support groups and how important it is to have someone at the end of the day to talk to about the challenges. I will add that we must also celebrate our wins, together. Whether it’s a sale, a project, a prayer answered, or a job offer, this is life and we are the best at encouraging and celebrating each other! Cheers to more of that!

I normally close these reflections thinking… I hope you will come and celebrate with us at the Awards Gala on Sept 26th. I mean it…I truly hope to see you there!

Listen to more empowering women!