106 Fierce C-Suite Competitors Now Collaborate: Paula Brown Stafford and Lisa T Grimes Lift Other Women In Business
Paula Brown Stafford and Lisa T Grimes spent their 25+ years in the C-Suite as wary competitors innovating in biotech. Now they are partners, paying it forward for women in business coming up, with a new management consultancy called Habergeon and as co-authors of the new book, Remember who YOU are: Achieve Success, Create Balance, Experience Fulfillment.
Melinda Wittstock: Paula and Lisa – Welcome to Wings.
Paula Brown Stafford: Thank you. This is Paula.
Lisa T Grimes: Thanks, glad to be here, Melinda.
Melinda Wittstock: You know, it’s so exciting to talk to two entrepreneurial ladies who have been there, built that, run that, multiple times. What are some of the biggest takeaways that you’ve had over the years that you would perhaps pass on to your younger selves?
Paula Brown Stafford: So this is Paula, and I started as the 23rd employee in company. When I left, there were 35,000 and it was a 4 billion dollar company, and throughout that experience, it really came down to delivering X+. So for me, it was differentiating myself from others and not just doing the job that I was asked to do, but doing more than I was asked to do. It wasn’t about a job, and it was turning the job into a career.
Lisa T Grimes: And this is Lisa, I think there are way too many lessons I have learned through the various companies that I have started, but I would say the top two would be making sure from the very start that I am much more focused on my individual team members successes and their getting ahead than trying to push forward myself for that next promotion, and that was probably a lesson, Melinda, that I learned before even launching into the first startup that I did back in the 90s. Secondly, I would say making sure that earlier in my career, I took a little time for personal reflection and balance, because as we are in, well right now, we’re in the launch phase of our book and it’s a little more challenging to stay balanced because we have a lot of demands on our time, and so I think it’s much easier for me to carve out and say, “You know what, this is my hour this day,” or “I’m going to do this to take care of myself personally,” or do something that’s fun for me, and I wish I had practiced that a little earlier in my career, and I certainly agree with what Paula said, I mean, you’ve got to always go the extra mile.
[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]I am much more focused on my individual team members successes and their getting ahead than trying to push forward myself for that next promotion. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness[/tweet_box]
Melinda Wittstock: You know, it’s true, because we do feel this need to go the extra mile, to differentiate ourselves, all of these things that are so important to show excellence, but sometimes as women, I don’t know what it is, but we feel that we need to over-deliver or perhaps please everyone, and then sometimes there’s not much time left for ourselves. And so Lisa, when you were saying that you wish you’d had more balance, how does that manifest in your life for you now?
Lisa T Grimes: In a few different ways. Well, I get up every morning, some mornings a lot earlier than others, but my goal is around 5:30 or 6, I get up and I start my day with a quiet time, just of reflection and planning and prayer. I spend my day kind of, I get my day organized that way. I would say at least on an average week, I try to have at least two lunches that are dedicated to something that either someone I am helping or mentoring or working with or a friend or a charitable cause, something that is not what I would call a pure business luncheon. I would say, you know, Paula and I, in addition to being business partners, are the best of friends, and so taking the time to go for a walk, and we might do business while we’re walking, but we might just go for a fun walk.
I think just carving out time for exercise and taking care of myself, it often gets crushed into 30 minutes a day, but I aim for closer to an hour a day of, and that’s each day, that I kind of plan on my calendar, to get physically fit. It’s interesting, I think when I get all of my priorities in order, I can fit in the other things that I need to do, it’s just a matter of that mindset that if I take care of me, which sounds selfish, and I think back to what you said, Melinda, a lot of times we can feel guilty over taking care of me, but I think if we don’t take care of ourselves and we’re not very refreshed, we’re not going to do our best work, so I think that there is some psychology in there that gets a little twisted and we feel bad having me time, but we’re actually a lot better.
And we see it in our employees, we encourage them, you know, I have set up rules in startup companies that I’ve run before where I mandated people to take their vacation. They couldn’t use it or lose it, they had to use it, and that was just a rule, because I inherited a bit of a team that was used to never taking vacation, and they thought that was good and should be rewarded, and it’s like, “You know, it’s not good for you and it’s not good for the company.” I’ll pause there, it’s probably a very long answer, but I think it’s a loaded question, and I think is something that a lot of women deal with.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, my goodness. It’s really true, and thank you so much for saying that. I mean, I think when it’s one thing to carve out that time for ourselves, but also when we’re growing and well, starting and growing and scaling companies, to be in alignment and kind of walk our talk, so to encourage other people to do it I think is fantastic.
Paula Brown Stafford: So in our book, this is Paula, in our book, we have a chapter called The Juggling Act, and in that, we share the different balls that we juggle and categorizing them as the highest being the crystal ball that you just don’t want to drop, because it will shatter and it will shatter your life, and then there’s glass balls and rubber balls and plastic balls and then there’s just the lead weights that we need to just drop and not pick them back up, because they’re things that weigh us down. So there’s a very detailed description of the juggling act and how we think people need to know what their priorities are and put them in those categories and think about that and the rubber balls, sometimes you can drop them and they’ll bounce back, but you can drop them for a little bit and you know that they’ll come back, and they’re different seasons of your life when you put different things in different categories.
Lisa T Grimes: Exactly.
Melinda Wittstock: My goodness, I love how you describe that, you know, it’s really a wonderful and memorable and really visual reminder of kind of like getting your priorities straight, but what I love about those lead balls that you mentioned, is that we all have these limiting beliefs, these things in our head that we really do need to clear or get rid of. And so along your entrepreneurial journey, both of you, did you find yourself tested in such a way that it ultimately led really to personal growth, like stuff that you’re like, “Wow, why am I carrying around this lead weight? I’ve got to let this go.”
Lisa T Grimes: Well sure, there are plenty of them, and we could probably fill up our time with it, but I would say, I’ll do a couple and then we can do a couple, but you know, we often carry around the “if only’s” and certainly in startup companies, you are faced with what feel like life-altering choices on a weekly basis, if not a daily basis in the early stages, and they truly are life altering for are life of the company because they’re startups for a reason, they don’t all start. So I think taking the time to make the best decision you can without getting into analysis paralysis, and we do talk about that a bit in Remember Who You Are, as well, but making the best decision you can and then moving on, because we carry around that lead ball of the “if only’s” and spend so much time, “Well, if only I hadn’t made that choice, then this might not have happened,” but it weighs us down and holds us back.
I think the other is carrying around guilt over a poor choice, perhaps, and you know, none of us is perfect, so we’re not always going to make the right choice, and feeling guilty when we do something that is wrong or harmful to someone is healthy and normal and allows us to hopefully not do such a thing again, but feeling false guilt or accepting guilt for something you couldn’t control is something we really have to work on and a lesson that I learned maybe 15 years ago is that is a real lead weight that can cloud your judgment and can hold you back and can weigh you down for no reason because society, you know, says, “Well, gee, why weren’t you at your kid’s softball tournament?” “Well, I was traveling on a business trip because that was a priority,” and I mean, it just goes into it and Paula’s got a couple of really good stories there, so maybe I’ll stop there and you talk about the hurricane or …
Paula Brown Stafford: Yeah, or the, you know, missing the 4-year-old preschool graduation, and it’s one of those things that I knew that I was going to miss it, I was traveling for work and my son was graduating in his little blue cap and gown and walked over this bridge, and I remember it so vividly because even though I wasn’t there and my husband recorded it, and I got home and rather than saying, “I’m sorry,” to my son and apologizing and taking on it as feeling guilty and then giving him an emotion of, “Oh, I’m supposed to be sad,” I came in the door and said, “Wow, let’s see that video. I want to see that, your graduation,” and so we sat as a family and watched it, and we didn’t talk about the fact that I wasn’t there. So in some sense, I’m not sure he knows I wasn’t there, because we just-
Lisa T Grimes: You had two celebrations.
Paula Brown Stafford: … moved forward, and we had another celebration with him. So you know, I think that there are ways that you can not take on the guilt by agreeing that at that time in my life, my career was a priority, as was my family, but how could I do both and be successful at both, so you found tricks and you found things that you dealt with. Now, Lisa talked about the hurricane, and that was just a situation where I was out of town and a hurricane came and my husband went out and bought ice cream sandwiches and I told him to get the essentials and I guess that was essential-
Lisa T Grimes: There’s dairy in there.
Paula Brown Stafford: But my daughter was one year old and yes, a tree hit the house, another one went across the drive. I was in Houston, they were in North Carolina. There were no phone lines up. They didn’t hear from me, I didn’t hear from them for two days while I fought my way back. I had to go to an airport three hours away and drive and just watch the devastation as I got to the house, and you want to feel guilty because I knew a hurricane was coming, but you think, “Oh, it’s going to be fine,” but again, you just have to not take on that guilt. You were doing what you said you were going to do, you had someone to support you, and you move forward, but you have good stories to tell later.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, it’s so interesting about the guilt and what you were saying about like accidentally transmitting that to our children. I think there’s a very important point there for anyone listening that has young kids that’s feeling that sense of, you know, “Oh my goodness, when I’m here I should be there and when I’m there I should be here.” One of my businesses I launched, my daughter was only six weeks old, and I remember feeling the judgment of other women, which was painful but kind of doing it anyway, because it’s kind of who I am, but I tried to make sure that when I was with my daughter, I was 100% with her, and when I was in my business, which was an early stage company obviously at that time, I was in the business, but it didn’t always work out.
Lisa T Grimes: Well, I think we’re not perfect, but I think it’s one of those that you learn to juggle and you do need to be mentally present where you are. We talk a bit about that, I mean we both come out of the outsourcing industry in terms of pharmaceutical product development, but we believe that it’s important to learn to outsource, you know, at home, as well, whether you are in a position that you’re outsourcing can afford to hire somebody to do certain chores or meet obligations for you or whether it’s trading with another friend who’s in a similar situation and doing something like that, but we believe in getting creative.
Paula Brown Stafford: Creative.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. You do absolutely have to get creative. So as entrepreneurs starting out, do you mind me asking when did you first, both of you, realize that you were entrepreneurial? That you were going to go trail blaze and start your own company? Did you both have the proverbial lemonade stands as little kids or did you know that you were going to do this, or what was the aha moment that put you on [crosstalk 00:14:10]?
Lisa T Grimes: Well, I made potholders and sold them as a little kids if anybody remembers those little, do you remember those little things?
Paula Brown Stafford: Absolutely. I have one at home that I kept.
Lisa T Grimes: So the town I grew up in wasn’t big enough to have a lemonade stand, but I would say I don’t know that I had the drive until after probably my second or third position. I really saw myself as being in sales but then learned to grow and see that I wanted to do things like at that 110% level and help give people greater responsibilities, so it was something that evolved. I would say when I was 13 years old I was working at a nursery, like a flower garden nursery, not a child daycare, and the owners of this large nursery left and left me in charge for the whole week managing everybody there, so-
Melinda Wittstock: Wow!
Lisa T Grimes: That was a wow, and I look back and think, “Oh, my goodness. Would I let my kids do such a thing?” But I guess that was the first inkling of.
Paula Brown Stafford: Yeah, and this is something we share is that at the age of 13, I started working in the family restaurant, and I think I got my first inkling of really business and what I wanted to do because I spilled a little coffee when I was pouring it in this gentleman’s cup, and when we finished and I bused my own tables and I got a penny tip, I understood what service meant, and what it meant to please those that you are serving, et cetera, and so I think in growing up in the family business, I knew that I wanted to own something, run something, make a difference, and not spill the coffee.
Melinda Wittstock: Ah, interesting. Not spill the coffee. So both of you have scaled companies and what’s interesting, when you look at the stats of how many women start businesses but never get to the million dollar mark, often end up with practices. They’re very, very good at something, so they create a business around something that they’re very, very good at, but then take too long to hire or get out of their own way or get that support they need at home or whatever it is that stops them from getting to that one million mark. What made the difference for both of you, that you were able to take companies and scale them?
Lisa T Grimes: Resilience, persistence. I got 23 job rejections out of college for the job that I wanted, so fortunately, I did not give up and the 24th time, I got hired, and I think that principle applies. I think going back to what I said earlier about startups, you know, they are startups because they require a whole lot of energy to get going and they don’t always continue. They’re not called finish-ups, they’re not called continuing-ups. They’re called startups, and it is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the possibilities and the options.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the, “Well, what if we had just done it this way?” And it’s difficult to let go of things you’ve always done yourself as you scale the team. So I think you can just get into a pattern of, “Well gee, I don’t know that this is going to get any better,” or as a really good person and you’re starting along, it’s all too easy to have one of your vendors or former employer say, “Well, why don’t you just come back and we’ll let you do that here”, so I think a lot of times the temptation on a not so good day is, “Well, maybe I’ll just do that.” So I think it’s a whole host of reasons.
Paula Brown Stafford: Yeah, and I’ll just add that I think also you take risk obviously in a startup. It is a risk to begin a startup, but then there are calculated risks that you take within that. So sometimes it’s having 80% of the information and saying, you know, and Lisa said earlier, analysis paralysis, I’ve seen somebody just wait until they have so much information, that they have to have 100% of the information they need to make a decision, and I think when you’re in a startup, you’ve got to sort of sometimes have 80% of the information and go ahead and make that decision and know that 80% of the time, you probably going to have made the right decision but 20% of the time, you might have made a wrong decision, but you’ve got to move on and you’ve got to be willing to know that there’s going to be some good decisions and bad decisions, make the best decisions you can, but you’ve got to take some risks and you’ve got to just go on out there. You took risk in starting up the company and then it’s just that calculated risk within, so I’ll stop there.
[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]You’ve got to be willing to know that there’s going to be some good decisions and bad decisions, make the best decisions you can, but you’ve got to take some risks and you’ve got to just go on out there. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness #8020Rule[/tweet_box]
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, well I love the 80/20 rule, because I think women do tend to fall into the perfection trap, right. We want to make everything just even look pretty, right, and if you’re the person who’s fixing the link on your website, that’s probably not the best use of your time. You’re probably the highest paid person doing that kind of thing, so really trying to make sure that yes, you get out of your own way in that sense.
Paula Brown Stafford: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: Sorry, I’m just going to pick up there. I just wanted to have a little sip of water here. Hold on a second. All right. Okay. So now both of you got together to create a company, a management consulting company, about a year ago. What brought you both together?
Paula Brown Stafford: Well, so we were in the 90s, we were competitors. We were at these two pharmaceutical product development services companies, the two top, they were just starting out. We would see each other in the lobby at pharmaceutical companies bidding on the same multi-million-dollar contract, and we, from afar, did not like each other very much.
Lisa T Grimes: You might say the claws came out.
Paula Brown Stafford: And so for seven years, we knew of each other, had met each other in passing, but never thought we would actually sit down and have lunch together, but we had a mutual friend who for several years said, who knew both of us and said, “You must meet. You’re the same person. You would really like each other, you would both support each other, you need to meet each other,” and we both for a while kept saying, “No, that’s okay.”
Lisa T Grimes: Yeah, “No, thanks. I already met her. I don’t really need to meet her again.” Long story short, he set up a luncheon for us. We’d both caved in, and then he did not show up for the luncheon and there the two of us were at the table and he was right. About 10 minutes later, we were finishing each other’s sentences-
Paula Brown Stafford: And we still are, so since 2002, we started a friendship, and in 2006, we talked about writing a book. When I retired at the end of 2015 from a long career with a company that had grown from, I was the 23rd employee and when I left, we had 35,000 employees, I left that company and Lisa said, “We’re either going to finish this book or we’re never talking about it again.” So we put our pen to paper in January of 2016 and then finished the book in mid-2017, and here we are having launched it in March of 2018.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, congratulations on that. That’s wonderful. So I imagine that both of you, I mean, you have all this in common, not only were you both in the kind of life sciences area, pharmaceuticals, biotech, in all these different areas and you had that in common. What you probably also had in common that you were often the only woman in the room. Did both of you have female mentors coming up, or were most of your mentors men?
Lisa T Grimes: Neither of us had female mentors, and I think that is an excellent question, and I think that that was one of the things that really attracted us to each other once we finally sat down together was the ability to co-mentor each other because we did not have female mentors, and I do believe that, and not one’s better than the other, but men and women are different and we missed, it would’ve been great to have had a female mentor that I could’ve gone to early in my career, and ultimately, that’s one of the reasons we wrote Remember Who You Are. It’s one of the reasons at the end of each chapter, there’s a “Dear younger me” letter. It’s a letter from a female executive to her younger self as to what she wished somebody had told her, because I think a lot of people, you know, we both have over 30 years in the industry, and I think a lot of people in that age bracket did not have the opportunity for female mentors.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, my goodness. Give me some examples of what some of those letters to my younger self say.
Paula Brown Stafford: So the interesting thing, we did not give any instruction, and some are one page letters, some are two page letters. There are nine of them. They’re from, we have one from Germany who’s a physician and we have one who is with a very large corporation out in California, and then we’ve got banks in New York, and what they share, they get very vulnerable. I mean, when we read two or three of them, we literally had tears in our eyes, because we thought, “Wow, these people really opened up and shared what was hard for them.” Some of it was the balancing with family. One was the loss of a very good friend and her college roommate to breast cancer, and so she shares her journey as a result of that after, and it’s just, they’re all different and that’s why we felt like we had two voices, but we didn’t have all the answers, so we wanted to have the voices of other women and what did they think was important to share to women who wanted a mentor.
Lisa T Grimes: And if you don’t mind, I’ll just read a couple of different-
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, yes.
Lisa T Grimes: So one is, “A chameleon is a viable leadership style. By moving on a career lattice instead of a ladder, you will learn how the industry is connected and gain important, diverse perspectives. The future will need people who are agile learners to quickly adapt to current needs. Your curiosity and willingness to change are authentic. Do not be afraid to have all the answers. Learn to like organizational politics.”
Paula Brown Stafford: And I have one here from another woman, “You’ve come a long way from a difficult childhood, moving all the time, living in public housing and never quite feeling accepted. By being determined and resilient, you have overcome those obstacles and achieved more than you dreamed.”
Lisa T Grimes: And from just a different letter, this will give you perspective, we’re just pulling sentences out, but, “Focus on being the most in tune person to the nuances of a meeting, a relationship, a circumstance, and turn those observations into valuable insights, attributes that will lead to workplace value.”
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that’s just beautiful. Thank you for sharing those. I’m curious what you both think about what special talents do women bring to the table in the 21st century, how just the demands or just corporate cultures are changing and we have, I call them our super-shero powers, they’re a little bit different, they’re some things that perhaps we undervalued or perhaps we bought into thinking that they were somehow weak, but they’re actually strengths. How do you see leadership changing as influenced by women, and what are those things, those special super-shero powers we have that differentiate us?
Lisa T Grimes: I’ll start with one that I didn’t have, and I have had the build, and so it’s very familiar to me, and that is, and we talk about it a lot, but confidence. And I think I did not start out with a lot of confidence, and I’ve had to work on building that and using some tricks to get me through being defensive, for instance, and that was a result of my lack of confidence or insecurity. So in terms of shero powers is building that confidence, and I think part of building confidence is setting short term goals and going out and hitting those goals so you can celebrate and know that you set out to do something you had, maybe it’s a small dream, maybe it’s a big dream, but as we achieve those dreams, those goals, then we build confidence in ourselves, and that is is shero power.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, absolutely. Well, confidence is critical. It’s one of the things that sometimes we undervalue ourselves, so learning to actually understand what those unique value drivers, you know, we talk about valuations of companies, we can think about valuations of ourselves, and so … right?
Paula Brown Stafford: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: You know?
Lisa T Grimes: Yeah, and I think, Melinda, to add to that, I do think in general women are often able to multitask at a different degree, and certainly that has its pros and its cons, like most things do. I think that we often are able to read between the lines or have a deeper sense of what’s going on at some different levels besides just what maybe is verbally spoken or what’s in black and white, and I think that as women, you mentioned it earlier, like we kind of like things to look pretty, it’s almost like we have somewhat of a hostess mentality, of a, “Let’s make things nice, let’s try to make things comfortable, let’s do those things, let’s,” you know, it’s something that we haven’t always been told to leverage that, but I think we can leverage it for corporate good.
Melinda Wittstock: I think that’s interesting when you talk about the power, really, in serving. As entrepreneurs, we’re really all about creating value and solving problems for other people, and everyone I’ve ever talked to, women who’ve built billion-dollar unicorns or are on their way to doing that or certainly eight and nine figure businesses, have done so by putting others first, you know, it hasn’t just been like, “I’m just doing this for the money,” there has been a mission around it.
Lisa T Grimes: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Paula Brown Stafford: Absolutely.
Melinda Wittstock: Are we better when we’re in alignment with a mission, a true purpose?
Lisa T Grimes: I think absolutely.
Paula Brown Stafford: Absolutely.
Lisa T Grimes: Yeah, I think it goes back to having that dream, setting those goals, working toward them and for us, we both started working at 13. We know about serving others, and I don’t think I realized it when I was the president of the service club in high school, I didn’t put it together and then I joined a consulting firm that served pharmaceutical companies. All my life, I’ve been serving in different ways and I remember and you mention the problem solving. I went to a customer and we left a meeting and it was myself and I brought in a statistician and I was selling at the time and we were there and at the end of the meeting, the CEO of the company, and he was a startup company, he took us aside, he said, “You know why I liked you guys? Because you provided solutions to problems, not answers to questions.”
Melinda Wittstock: Right. That’s important. Yes, solutions to problems, not answers to questions. Yeah. I mean, that’s powerful. That’s very powerful, just think about that for a moment, everybody. You’re really right.
So moving on now, what’s next for both of you? Where are you going next, where are you taking your company? What are you going to be doing five years, ten years from now?
Lisa T Grimes: Hopefully in five or ten years from now, we’ll be promoting our next book. But we, you know, we like to get out and about and help women to see that complimenting other women beats competing with other women. That was ultimately what led to the genesis of this book, was-
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, bless you, though, for saying that. I mean, that’s why I began the podcast.
Lisa T Grimes: So, you know, to be able to get out there and over the past couple of weeks, we probably had a dozen or more speaking engagements and people are like, “You all seem to really like each other and you’re not competing,” we aren’t fighting over who’s going to get the microphone, we aren’t fighting over, “Well, who can tell the better story,” we’re trying to help each other be better, and we’ve gone there from being competitors, and we want other women to see that, too.
Paula Brown Stafford: And we want to be role models for how women complement other women and not compete, and so that’s why we don’t compete on the stage; we don’t compete personally except for the Fitbit, I have to say. That’s the only place we compete. Other than that, we complement.
Lisa T Grimes: That’s right.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, you know, one of the things that’s been really interesting about the past year and everything from the #MeToo and the Time’s Up and all of that, is that when women support each other, right, when we do collaborate, we say on Wings that we all soar higher when we fly together, you know, hence this whole idea of Wings, which is really just catalyzing this ecosystem where women show up and help each other. I mean, throw business to each other, mentor each other, and invest in each other, and I mean, it’s a personal goal of mine to encourage that ecosystem where women are actually investing in other female-founded startups, and that’s beginning to happen kind of more and more, but even now, it’s interesting, women of tremendous wealth tend to still want to write checks for charities and nonprofits, but won’t necessarily support women in the startup world. What do you think is it going to take to change that?
Lisa T Grimes: Well, I do think a couple of our friends, I mean, one of our friends just left to go run a company in New York, and she’s a very successful female, to run a company who invests in female businesses, and I think it’s going to take people like you bringing up the point with your followers and then people starting to see that there are a lot of successes. Women, I don’t think we always do a really good job of bragging on our successes, it’s not the most fun thing to do, so I think getting some successes out there and saying, “Well, this woman started this and it did end up as a multi-billion-dollar company,” and then just getting the awareness.
Paula Brown Stafford: Yeah, I think it’s positive stories. There’s too many negative stories in the press and outside of the press, we seem to focus on the negative, and that’s women tend to do. We focus on the things that are areas we need to improve, rather than taking our strengths and trying to focus on them and leveraging them, and so it’s leveraging the positive stories and it’s very interesting, we spoke about two days ago and then yesterday, I haven’t even told Lisa this, ran into a woman that was at one of our events, and she’s older than we are, which I’ll just say puts her in her 60s, and she said to me yesterday that she’s really thinking about her story, because we talked about our one-word and our six-word stories, and she said, “You know, I’m really thinking, I’m really reflecting. I’m this age and I’ve retired, but I don’t know my story,” and it was making her think about how she could tell her story to others, and we helped get her there.
Lisa T Grimes: And that goes back full circle, Melinda, to what it is we hope we’re doing, because a similar thing that I have not shared on the other end of the age spectrum, I bumped into a lady yesterday who had brought her college-age daughter to one of our events last week, and she said, “I want you to know immediately following your speaking engagement, she went home and she has already come up with her six-word story and her one-word story, and she’s ready to go back after spring break and share this with her friends.”
Melinda Wittstock: I think it’s so important to be paying it forward in that way. I remember my daughter in fifth grade at her Montessori class just saying, “Hey, Mom? Can you come and talk to all my friends about entrepreneurship?” And I said, “Sure, Sydney, absolutely,” and then she did this really funny thing. She said, “Well Mom, my friends all think it’s like this,” and she did the hockey stick sort of thing with her hand-
Melinda Wittstock: Where it goes like straight up? “But I want you to tell them the truth, Mom,” and she just-
Female: Yeah, there are some inverse hockey sticks in there along the way, too, right?
Melinda Wittstock: Well, because she’s seen me, and my son, as well, you know, really go through that, because that is the territory, as you were saying in the beginning of the interview, sometimes massive changes within the hour at those early stages certainly of a startup. And so exposing them to this, but also, I think your point about us being able to value ourselves enough to sing our praises without fear of judgment or, “Oh, my goodness, I’m not going to be liked if I say something good about myself,” we’re also reticent about that, so really getting out of our own way.
Lisa T Grimes: Yes, yes, and I think there’s that fine line, because you can inspire others just like you do with your podcast, you can find people whose stories can be told to inspire others, and I think when you do it that way, you can use your strengths and your experiences to encourage others, versus being on some ego trip-
Paula Brown Stafford: And intimidate-
Lisa T Grimes: … and intimidating them.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely right. Yes, it’s the difference between wanting to be in the spotlight and being the lighthouse.
Female: Great analogy.
Melinda Wittstock: Thank you. And so how can people find you and work with you?
Paula Brown Stafford: Yes, we’d love for them to visit us at www.habergeon, H-A-B-E-R-G-E-O-N, .com, that’s the name of our book. We’ve got a welcome page with here Melinda and Wings at wings, and we’d love for you to visit us and we’d also love for you to buy our book, which is now available in stores and also online with most of the normal houses, and it’s called Remember Who You Are, by Paula Brown Stafford and Lisa T. Grimes.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, thank you both very much for writing the book. Everybody go out and get that, and taking the time to spend today on the Wings of Inspired Business. Thank you for putting on your wings and flying.
Lisa T Grimes: Thank you.
Paula Brown Stafford: Well, thanks very much for having us, Melinda, we’ve enjoyed talking with you.