Female Disruptors: Tiffany Anderson of Tiffany’s Naturals On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up…

Female Disruptors: Tiffany Anderson of Tiffany’s Naturals On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

Three of the best words of advice that I have gotten is “Don’t Give Up!” These words have helped me manifest and cultivate my passions. It has helped me get over hurdles that I looked at as being unattainable. These words have allowed me to go beyond my past and open the door that serves my purpose. When you give up you leave a space for someone to come and share from a selfish place and not a genuine space. Everyday I have story behind these words but those also propel me to continue the process.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tiffany Anderson.

Tiffany Anderson is an author, certified trichologist, natural hair stylist, and motivational speaker, who uses her passion for natural hair to develop amazing hair care products and provide preventative services that help women with hair loss and restoring their natural hair.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I wanted to be an Attorney — that was going to be my contribution to the world and how I was going to change society and make an impact. I was in college and even landed a job as a legal secretary right before I was arrested for bank robbery. I was truly living a double life. I never anticipated getting arrested but when I did, I was scared and didn’t know what I was going to do. After serving three years, I knew I had to channel another trigger in me that was going to allow me to help people and make a difference.

As a child, I was always good at doing hair. I learned how to braid at an early age and whenever I would alter one of my barbie’s hair instead of getting “why did you cut your dolls hair?,” I would get praised for how the style turned out. I even did the ladies hair while incarcerated and was encouraged to pursue my skill as a goal. And that’s absolutely what I did! I came out on fire wanting to make a difference, making women feel good and look good. I also wanted to feel better about the turning point in my life that I had chose and what better way to do it than to be surrounded by Black women doing phenomenal things and me piggy backing off the same energy to inspire me. It became more than a fascination but a desire to transform people’s energy with my hands. I was here and ready to see what I could do to make this industry better. I started in the salon as a braider, moved my way up to becoming an apprentice working under the main stylist to get my cosmetology license but that wasn’t enough for me. I was not enthused by the chemicals, in fact, I developed bronchitis after my first year of working in the salon. I wanted to do more. I saw the need in natural hair and wanted to help women value their own hair and show them how their hair was enough, and the chemicals was just an illusion of what will never be.

I traveled to different states to learn different techniques and I attended classes. I figured out that cream base products were the gift to our Black women’s natural hair and that the cream created a real moisture for our hair to retain. I learned that our hair was never nappy but curly. I stopped referring to our hair as such and would not allow my clients to use such derogatory words when referencing their crowns.

After five years of working in someone else’s salon, I felt it was time for me to take a leap and open my own salon that offered services that were not being envied, specializing in natural hair services. From there I became a Trichologist — the study of hair and scalp disorders — and I went from encouraging women to love their hair to educating them that thinning and balding is not solely based on age and hereditary but the number one factor is your daily routine. From there I got an itch to reach more people, so I started writing books for kids and women to embrace and be proud of their natural hair and to teach them how and what it takes to really grow and prevent the stages of thinning and losing their hair. I had to formulate products that were going to combat these issues.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

When you are trying to get people to change their thought process it is very disruptive. The way you learn something is the way you live and no one wants to be told that they are doing something wrong and for a long time. People don’t want to be corrected unless they are looking for correction. So, I come along telling women that shedding, thinning, and balding does not have to happen to your hair, if you don’t contribute to it by doing X,Y, and Z, you are in control of your hair results. This is hard to receive especially when you don’t see it. So, I became disruptive by creating before and after experiences by writing books and doing speaking engagements on behalf of educating women on not taking part in any negative language and patterns that is not going to serve or represent how wonderful our hair is.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started traveling to learn new techniques, I was anxious to get back and show everyone what I had learned. One particular style I was so excited about, the Senegalese Twist, also known as the two-strand twist w/hair added. I finally convinced someone to be my walking model. After 8 long grueling hours later the style was finished, and I just needed to seal it in with the hot water and rollers setting the ends in place. In just 20 seconds of the water touching the hair the style begins to unravel, every twist dissolving with the hot water. Imagine the anticipation she felt in seeing the end result and my face as all my hard work came to an end in the sink. That taught me that perfection is underrated. You have to perfect your technique and really know what you are doing and talking about before you share it.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I am a big fan of Talijah Waajid, a natural hair entrepreneur that inspired me to emulate her blueprint. I was trolling her before social media. I would travel to take her classes; I followed her journey with shows and I still knew I needed my own niche to set myself apart. I added Trichologist and Author to my list.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disrupting is good because it’s a breaking point in a system that is not working. Even though we don’t know the amount of pressure it takes to end a flawed system, we do know that pressure has to be applied to resolve it. We know that systems put in place are supposed to benefit everyone, not just a group of people. We also know that certain positions are abused and that abuse has to be exposed. There is no comfortable way to disrupt but we can stay prepared and ready by not settling in complacency.

For me, I knew I had to disrupt the beauty industry by telling the truth and when you tell the truth you get backlash from people not ready to grow, so you don’t get the support you need but you hear the words that you have shared without getting the recognition. I felt like we were definitely taking our hair for granted and not reaping the benefits of how beautiful it is and we were embracing a movement not meant for us. I knew we relied on our hair as a self esteem builder and I wanted us to value it by the way we cared for it.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Three of the best words of advice that I have gotten is “Don’t Give Up!” These words have helped me manifest and cultivate my passions. It has helped me get over hurdles that I looked at as being unattainable. These words have allowed me to go beyond my past and open the door that serves my purpose. When you give up you leave a space for someone to come and share from a selfish place and not a genuine space. Everyday I have story behind these words but those also propel me to continue the process.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

When you are an influencer you kind of already know that your work will never be done. I have created a cookbook designed with recipes that are solely to promote hair growth and to prevent damage to the hair. We do know growth starts on the inside and what your body intakes reflects how it looks on the outside.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

In my opinion, the biggest challenge faced by “Women Disrupters” that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts are our voice. A woman’s voice is not welcomed like a man’s voice and that can be used to our advantage. When you are not expecting something, you don’t prepare for the impact. That’s why we are able to come in like a wave and wash away the BS. We are underestimated but we don’t underestimate ourselves and we can’t especially today.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

I love reading autobiographies and one of my favorite autobiographies is Malcolm X. Malcolm X decided to go against his odds and to grow beyond his circumstances and in doing so he had a revelation that he did not respect people who did not wear watches. He felt that they did not respect time. Chadwick Boseman also had a profound claim with time he said, “take your time, but don’t waste time”. These are significant disclosures that individuals held onto while navigating through their time while on this earth realm. It was time that held their attention to continue their works and it was also their time exit and be revered for their works. In knowing how precious and necessary time is, I move in appreciation for what it allows me to accomplish and I move towards it embracing the present and not focusing on the past.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, it would be the “Black Love” movement, not just between a man and a woman but for our culture. Our love goes beyond the resistance of defeat, it transcends to a language that is unspoken that allows us to influence other generations and replicated by societies that lack the depth.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

A life lesson quote is “keep your head up.” I was huge Tupac fan back in the day and still. I felt like by doing hair would make more women keep their heads up. I realized early on that hair was an esteem builder and that’s how Black women made themselves feel good by making their hair look different. That’s how we channeled our pains by going to get our hair done. It was our freedom.

How can our readers follow you online?

Your readers can follow me at the following social media handles:

Instagram @iamtiffanyanderson @tiffanysnatural @ilovemynaturalhairkids

Twitter @tiffanysnatural

Facebook Tiffany Anderson

www.tiffanysnatural.com

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


Female Disruptors: Tiffany Anderson of Tiffany’s Naturals On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Davis Clayton Kiyo of Myster: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis…

Davis Clayton Kiyo of Myster: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis or CBD Business

Authenticity. The Cannabis Industry is highly regulated so therefore you want to stand out in a good way. Create products and ideas that have not been done before. Set yourself apart from the competition.

As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business” I had the pleasure of interviewing Davis Clayton Kiyo.

Davis Clayton Kiyo hoped to go down in history as the disruptor of pot culture. To him, cannabis culture is “business-class and gainfully employed.” Kiyo is the founder of Myster High-End Accessories, a company that specializes in modern and innovative cannabis hardware. Davis’ mission has always been to change the negative stigma associated with being a cannabis user. He opened his first Myster shop in Petworth, DC, and his next one in Bethesda, MD and things were going well; until the cops showed up.

Police raided Kiyo’s Bethesda shop, seizing $53,000 worth of inventory. He was then charged with three felonies based on his CBD operation-Maryland law states that THC is a controlled substance, and Kiyo’s CBD products contain it, even just trace amounts. This was not his first run in with authority on a cannabis-related charge.

In his early 20s, Davis had a clash with the federal government pertaining to cannabis, where he ultimately beat the charges leading him to double down on his passion and dive headfirst into the industry, spending years on product development and advocacy. Myster was born out of his frustrations with the lack of clean-cut products and brands in the industry. Myster is a high-end accessories company that elevates cannabis culture by designing accessories that look classy, feel good, and work well. Beyond innovative design, Myster is on a mission to reframe outdated stereotypes about being a cannabis enthusiast. Today, people from all walks of life use marijuana medicinally and recreationally. All of their products are designed with professionalism and sophistication in mind so you have products that you’d be willing to show off, but that you can also store discreetly. Myster’s signature product is the Stashtray Bundle where the kit includes everything you need for an efficient ritual — a container for your flower, a grinder, an ashtray, a magnetic lighter case, and a magnetic rolling tray. Having all the parts magnetically attached to the tray makes it effortless to use on the go and less likely to have things get dropped and spilled.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the cannabis industry?

In my early 20s, I had a clash with the federal government about cannabis where I ultimately beat the charges. After that, I decided to double down on my passion and dive headfirst into the industry, spending years on product development and advocacy. Myster was born out of frustrations with the lack of clean-cut products and brands in the industry.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

“Based on my own experience, and luckily, my co-founder Ben Kovacs and some of my other friends work in the legal cannabis industry, so I had great insight into the challenges of the industry since we started. This includes 280E, banking, compliance, licenses, and the list goes on. We purposefully focused on hardware in part due to the strict regulations in the cannabis industry.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are currently working on new products and accessories, expected to launch in 2021, so visit https://www.getmyster.com/ or follow us on Instagram for new product launches and updates.

Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. You are a “Cannabis Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the cannabis industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each.

  • Authenticity. The Cannabis Industry is highly regulated so therefore you want to stand out in a good way. Create products and ideas that have not been done before. Set yourself apart from the competition.
  • Finances. Banking and marketing have been a challenge because of our industry. We’ve had multiple payment processors drop us because of it.
  • Marketing. We must be very creative with most of our marketing because we can’t spend money on traditional online advertisements, therefore, we make content that gets attention organically.
  • The industry is more complicated than it seems. It’s very difficult to deal with customers that own brick & mortar retail outlets. I didn’t realize how time consuming it would be selling into stores, collecting payments, merchandising, etc.
  • Don’t be naive. This industry can be very judgmental. You can’t just come into the game and throw money at it and expect to win. Since the world hasn’t opened up yet to cannabis legalization, it is important to be strategic yet authentic.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the cannabis industry?

  • Endless possibilities. I often joke there are so many opportunities and not enough time to accomplish them all. Even though the industry is exploding, I believe it is only 5–10% of where it could be. Some day, it’ll be bigger than the tobacco and alcohol industries.
  • Creating new products. It’s a hard, yet exciting process to think of something, prototype it, mass produce it, sell it, and ship it around the world to customers. It’s not about the money for me, I just want to change the way the world gets high. Innovation is out there, and i am so excited to see these opportunities emerge in the next coming years.
  • United States moving towards federal legalization. It is about time cannabis is removed from the banned list. Accepting cannabis and it’s benefits is the first step.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

  • The stigma around cannabis. It is important for the world to be educated about the endless benefits of this plant. We’ve made a huge mistake by prohibiting and criminalizing this amazing plant. People don’t really talk about the practical utilities that are possible with hemp and hemp-based materials.
  • The taxes. Taxes are disproportionate compared to other industries and that limits growth.
  • The lack of standardization. One main example of this is edibles. People overestimate and underestimate how much to consume/the power the product has. Nightmare situations are reportedly common for those who are experimenting or trying for the very first time. What is important to remember is strains can differ vastly. One high for someone can be a totally different experience for another. The lack of standardization and legalization allows for inconsistent experiences.

What are your thoughts about federal legalization of cannabis? If you could speak to your Senator, what would be your most persuasive argument regarding why they should or should not pursue federal legalization?

If I was talking to a friend, we’d discuss research and medical benefits, loosely. If it was a Senator, I would discuss revenue. We are going to miss a large opportunity to become the cannabis capital of the world if we don’t act sooner. Similar to how Germany is known for having the best beer in the world, the United States should be known for being the leaders in cannabis legalization. California is known for having the best cannabis but we need to hurry and legalize to be known as leaders. If we don’t step up and do this first, someone else will beat us to it.

Today, cigarettes are legal, but they are heavily regulated, highly taxed, and they are somewhat socially marginalized. Would you like cannabis to have a similar status to cigarettes or different? Can you explain?

In my opinion, cigarettes have far more health repercussions than cannabis. I find cannabis to be creative. Cannabis is a different status than cigarettes and there are numerous health studies that show the benefits of cannabis use. Cannabis saves, cigarettes kill. Weed is natural, cigarettes are not. The world needs to start thinking like that.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My own favorite quote is “you’re either a maker or a taker.” We used to be a super industrious country and seeking opportunities left and right. Now, it seems there are a lot more middlemen becoming more successful than before (i.e bankers). Produce more and be proud of what you make.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Cannabis changed my life. I’ve always felt it was important for the world to be educated about the endless benefits of this plant. My mission has and always will be to change the negative stigma associated with being a cannabis user.

Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you only continued success!


Davis Clayton Kiyo of Myster: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Disruptors: Dr Teresa Purzner of Cerebelly On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Ind

Female Disruptors: Dr. Teresa Purzner of Cerebelly On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

It feels like more and more, we are defining ourselves by our differences rather than our shared challenges and opportunities. If I could inspire a movement, it would be to shift our perspective away from considering how the person beside you is a threat to your values and ambitions, and instead, towards how the person beside you can inspire / augment your vision/passion/interests and you, theirs.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Teresa Purzner.

Dr. Teresa Purzner is a mother of three, practicing neurosurgeon, developmental neurobiologist and the Co-Founder of Cerebelly. While studying at Stanford, Purzer led the development of a new treatment for the most common type of infant brain cancer which is currently in human clinical trial and through this, found that various regions of the brain grow and peak at different times — each having their own nutrient needs to give children the best possible start in life. In 2019, Purzner developed Cerebelly which is the first and only baby food brand on the market that combines up-to-date early childhood nutrition with developmental neuroscience to provide veggie-first, science backed food with brain-supporting superior ingredients. Purzner ensures that Cerebelly employs robust processes to ensure the highest possible quality for all its products, and is the first ever shelf-stable children’s food brand to receive The Clean Label Project Purity Award, an honor only bestowed after products are tested for over 400 contaminants and heavy metals and meet the organization’s highest standard. In addition to Purzner’s medical accolades, she has been recognized as a Bio-X and SIGF Fellow, as well as a SPARK Scholar. Watch Teresa Talk Here

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I’m an MD neurosurgeon with a PhD in developmental neurobiology, but I am first a mother of three. While doing my research at Stanford I had my own babies and realized there was a huge gap in the market when it came to providing specific nutrients during key windows of brain development. Not only did the foods on the healthiest grocery store shelves miss out on these nutrients, they were missing out on the basic nutrients a developing brain and body needs. So, I guess I decided to set out and change that with Cerebelly. I knew if I didn’t do that, there was a high likelihood of no one else doing it.

There aren’t a lot of practicing neurosurgeons that step aside from operating to start a business. And to be honest, there were many moments that I questioned what I was doing. But there is a greater good involved in being able to put out a superior product that is accessible to all that motivated me to push myself.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

I think there are three major ways Cerebelly is being disruptive — for the better! One, of course, is the brain-focused aspect. I wanted to build a brand that offers nutrition that grows with a child’s developing brain. There is not one other brand on the market today that offers that to parents — and it’s the single most important differentiator between us and the other brands available. A child’s brain develops in extraordinary amounts during the first 18 months, so it is critical to be able to provide the nutrients it needs to best support that growth and development.

Secondly, which I think is really big, is the fact Cerebelly’s products are all vegetable-based. The great majority of baby food out there, even if the pouch has spinach, kale, or another veggie on the front, actually only contains a small amount of vegetables. When shopping for my own children, I would see these pouches with big green leafy pictures of spinach on the front, but when I would flip the pouch and look at the ingredients, I would find that there was the equivalent of ONE calorie worth of spinach in there. That was alarming to me and not acceptable, so we made the decision to have all our pouches be veggie-first, always.

And then the third one is that Cerebelly goes above and beyond in every aspect of the development of our products. When I was at Stanford, I also developed a drug for kids with cancer, and that’s a very rigorous, extremely intense process… whether it’s brain surgery or drug-development or science, I approach things very rigorously and very thoroughly. So, with Cerebelly, I took that same sort of attitude and put it to baby food development. Things like heavy metals — I have a real problem with the fact that there are heavy metals in baby food. So, we made sure the soil in which our ingredients are grown are the right type of soil, that it’s organic and non-GMO… Our DHA, I wanted it to be a non-meat-based DHA and I wanted it to be water-extracted… Every aspect of it, we did it at 110%. And I think that is a very different way of approaching baby food in general, but a very normal way of approaching brain surgery. It’s this transparency that awarded us the Clean Label Project award for all our products, which is extremely exciting and something I am very proud of.

How are you and Cerebelly going to shake things up next?

Our mission as a company and as individuals, is to change the way we nourish our kids. The standards we have in this country are simply not good enough, and we are going to push and fight hard to change that. Because we know we can. And it’s time. I definitely want to keep growing with our “Cerebelly babies” because while the window for critical brain development is in the early years, the brain never stops growing. There are many, many ways for us to continue to support healthy cognitive development as your little ones grow. So be on the lookout for more delicious and nutritious options from us in the coming months and years!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Haha I think when you’re this early, and growing, it’s hard to think of anything as a funny mistake — little bumps are more like the spice that helped make a more complex soup and big bumps aren’t so hilarious!! Here’s a funny little moment, I guess — occasionally (ok, often…) I will run out of time before an important call / interview and won’t have time to change into a proper outfit. Given that this happens more often than I’d proudly admit, I keep a scrub top beside my desk because while scrubs wear (and wash!) like pajamas, they are socially accepted as reasonable attire even in pretty serious situations. I’ve also found that people more readily excuse a somewhat disheveled appearance when paired with scrubs (score!). Once my 2-year old came bombarding into the room during one-such scrub-adorned call. I was stuck between a rock and hard place — let the kid disrupt the call, go off video during a critical moment, or get up and reveal my sweatpants. Since then, I keep a scrub top AND bottom beside my desk.

Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

The most impressive leader I’ve met is Dr. Jim Rutka. He’s a pediatric neurosurgeon who’s loved by his patients, a phenomenal researcher and a luminary in organized neurosurgery, having led many of the neurosurgical societies and served as editor of the most prestigious neurosurgical journals. While the strength of his CV is undeniable, what actually stands out to me most is his humanity. Simply put — he’s a wonderful person with a really great family. Even as a medical student, he would take time to talk with me in the halls and as a resident he was always up to date with my researcher and family life. When I got home after having my first child there was a huge gift basket waiting for me — from Dr. Rutka! I was out of the country and living in a small house in the woods, but there it was when I walked up to the front door. I’m not sure how he does it — in part I think it’s that he leads with confidence, clarity and kindness — but overall, I don’t think he’s the kind of person that can be replicated. I’ll settle with just being grateful to have spent my formative years under his guidance.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

In short, no — I do not believe that being disruptive is always good. In fact, I think it’s often not good. Disruptive undertakings can create distractions, disorder or chaos in an otherwise stable, prolific environment. Occasionally, disruption can cause serious harm — I think we can all think of several recent examples where a significant change to normal protocol was not for the better.

Think of it from a brain surgeon’s perspective. If you have a problem with your brain, who do you want doing the operation? The surgeon who has done the same operation, the same way, with the same good results hundreds of times, or the surgeon who is going to think outside the box and get creative in the OR? Well, if you have a common disease with a well-established treatment protocol, you want the former. If you have a very rare disease that has no established protocol, you want the latter.

I feel this can be applied well beyond the OR. If you’re trying to do something unprecedented you probably need to be disruptive: a disease that has no cure, a colony on a new planet, a phone as a means of connecting to the world rather than just the person on the other end. Similarly, if there is a big gap between what we know and what we are doing, you need to be disruptive: a baby food that brings modern-day developmental neurobiology onto your child’s plate through a vegetable-first, adaptive meal-plan. Because no one has tried to do it at all, you are necessarily unprecedented and disruptive. But if you have no new information, no new technology, no unprecedented ambition — then maybe disruption is less helpful than a solid, meaningful improvement.

Just be honest with yourself when it comes to your motivations — are they egocentric (to make money or elevate yourself as a creative thinker) or is it because the situation really does call for innovation? If it’s the former, I suggest you simply take the time to find the latter.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I will start by saying that things are getting much better. There has been a tremendous change in environment from when I started medical training in 2004 until now. I am incredibly appreciative of the women before me (in neurosurgery and outside) — their courage and strength have made an enormous difference. Is there still a long way to go? Definitely. Am I still underestimated, spoken over, winked at and asked for bedpans by patients who think I’m their personal support worker and not their neurosurgeon — sure, almost every day. But I also believe that some of my greatest challenges — mainly related to being a parent and a surgeon — are becoming increasingly shared by all parents (fathers included).

Here’s a funny story. I’m often told “you’re too young to be a surgeon” and I’ll normally respond with a lighthearted “…it’s because I haven’t left the OR in 10 years, so I don’t get any sun”. Once though, while waiting for a coffee after a very long day of operating and over 30 hours without sleep, a man beside me very visibly looked me up and down then said, “so you’re a nurse?”. I responded, “I’m a doctor haha”. Normally it ends there, but this man would not be swayed and continued with “no way, you’re way too young to be a doctor”. Now normally here I’d simply stop responding, but it had been a very long day in the OR, over 30 hours without sleep and at least 18 without eating. So instead of saying nothing, I looked him right in the eye and said, “Old enough for three kids, two doctorates, two patents, a company, a drug trial and a dozen years of post-graduate training”. The barista grinned ear-to ear (she had seen me skirt around similar questions a zillion times). I smiled sweetly, wished him a good night, and went off to enjoy my coffee.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

It feels like more and more, we are defining ourselves by our differences rather than our shared challenges and opportunities. If I could inspire a movement, it would be to shift our perspective away from considering how the person beside you is a threat to your values and ambitions, and instead, towards how the person beside you can inspire / augment your vision/passion/interests and you, theirs.

From the start, my mission for Cerebelly has been to serve as a catalyst that elevates the standard of the entire baby food industry. I wanted to make a product so scientifically rigorous, superior and accessible that it became impossible to ignore. If another brand embarks on a similar mission with conviction and rigor, then I consider them allies. I am not competing with other brands — I’m competing against childhood obesity and the unacceptable, sugar-laden, nutritionally void offerings we have become accustomed to offering our children during their most vulnerable and influential years. When you compete against something real, then when you win it is meaningful.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Keep on keepin’ on” — In other words, just…. keep….showing…up. In my earlier years, winning often meant getting to the finish line first. Now I find, more and more, the winner is simply the last one to give up — the person who has that one extra idea, that one extra ounce of energy or conviction. There have been many days where I found it hard to keep going, to face, once again, a seemingly impossible problem or to push against an increasingly insurmountable inertia. Those days I forced myself to get out of bed and show up. Even if it means I just sit and stare at my computer, I still show up. Gradually, showing up becomes easier and more rewarding. Eventually you become excited to be there again. The key, though, is when you least want to show up — that’s when it’s the most important that you do.

How can our readers follow you online?

Cerebelly.com and on Instagram @eatcerebelly


Female Disruptors: Dr Teresa Purzner of Cerebelly On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Ind was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Ashley Shutt of ARO Creative: “They Told Me It Was Impossible And I Did It Anyway”

Get comfortable with sacrifice — Nothing, and I do mean nothing, comes easy. Anything that is worth having is going to be hard and require sacrifice. Believe me, it’s worth it!

As a part of our series about “dreamers who ignored the naysayers and did what others said was impossible”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Shutt.

Ashley is the President and Co-Founder of ARO Creative Inc. With over seven years of agency experience, her background includes work in creative production, marketing strategy, and content for B2C and Fortune 500 companies. She has also implemented product brand strategies to assist the joint-venture of two Fortune 200 companies and produced content for Clorox, General Electric, Camelbak, Goodwill, and other major brands. Among her professional accomplishments, she has received a prestigious 40 Under 40 award, is featured in “Who’s Who In America, Top Professionals” and has received multiple, regional awards for entrepreneurship and business excellence in Tennessee.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit better. Can you tell us your ‘backstory’?

I grew up a little bit of everywhere. Texas, Georgia, Southern California, North Carolina, and eventually landed in Tennessee, where I graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in Marketing.

From about the time I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a CEO when I grew up. People would ask “CEO of what?” to which I replied, “it doesn’t matter.” Looking back on that now I giggle to think what 8-year-old me naively believed a CEO was….I guess you could just say I’ve always had a determined attitude. Determined to get good grades, determined to make captain of my sports teams, and determined to be successful in life — whatever that looked like.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Everyday is new and exciting in some capacity. Whether it’s signing a new client or designing the next Disney logo (we haven’t gotten that account just yet… but this article IS about dreamers….).

Since day one, we’ve made it our mission to support other entrepreneurs in their endeavors. Working with startups is both a passion, and a creative outlet for us because the future is wide-open for them. There’s no rules or perimeters to follow, no existing brand to work around. It’s full creative freedom to turn someone’s dream into a reality. And we love seeing the look on their face when we do.

In your opinion, what do you think makes your company or organization stand out from the crowd?

Being fearless in our ideas has created a market for us to stand apart from a part of the country that is typically more traditional. I think having a true passion for our work and our clients helps too! People can see through the egotistical agency jargon pretty easily. We hope to be a refreshing change from that.

Ok, thank you for that. I’d like to jump to the main focus of this interview. Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us? What was your idea? What was the reaction of the naysayers? And how did you overcome that?

I am a part of the 1%…. Less than 1% of advertising agencies are woman-owned — which is an impossible figure itself. Particularly daunting to a 20-something, first-time entrepreneur… in rural Tennessee, no less! Made even more impossible by the statement I can remember making for most of my adult life: “I would never start a company… it’s too risky.”

In truth, my biggest naysayer has always been the tiny voice in the back of my head listing all of the things that could go wrong. Wrong financially, relationally, personally, and intimidating figures like “less than 1%”. Trying to find my voice and fiercely pursue it was something that I wish I had learned earlier in life. But now we’re 4 years in to ARO and I have traveled more, laughed more, cried more, celebrated more, and been liberated more than I ever had when I listened to that little tiny voice. My best advice to overcome that? Just ignore it.

In the end, how were all the naysayers proven wrong? 🙂

I’ve never really been one to follow the crowd (or even the rules) when it comes to making decisions — always wondering what “could be” instead of what “might be.” My competitive nature makes me stubborn at times, which I suppose lends itself to my relentless pursuit of proving cliches, statistics, and naysayers wrong. Woman or not, I knew when I started ARO that there wouldn’t be any glass ceilings — statistical or otherwise — in my future anytime soon.

In the end, I proved myself wrong. And I think that’s the greatest victory a person can have. In 4 years, we have continually doubled our revenue, our client portfolio, and our national reach. The only voice I listen to now is that one that says “what else can we do.”

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have been incredibly lucky to be surrounded by people who are much, much smarter than I am. The person who stands out the most is my business mentor and consultant — Heath Guinn. He’s a serial entrepreneur with master-level skills in connecting dots and accelerating startups. Without his guidance and belief in me, there would be no ARO.

In the same breath, my co-founder, Samantha Culbertson, has been an absolute rock and beacon of light through navigating the stormy waters of starting a business. Her mastery in the art of design continues to leave me (and our clients) speechless. She is everything you need in a best friend and a partner.

It must not have been easy to ignore all the naysayers. Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share the story with us?

Resiliency is developed through failure. Everyone is resilient because everyone experiences failure. The key is how you allow your failures to shape you. There’s always a reason to give up. A bad childhood, poor choices, toxic circumstances…. I just chose to compete with mine and allowed them to make me stronger.

Every single person has to deal with failing at something. Be the one courageous enough to see every obstacle as an opportunity.

Based on your experience, can you share 5 strategies that people can use to harness the sense of tenacity and do what naysayers think is impossible? (Please share a story or an example for each)

Believe in yourself — everything else depends on this

Grow in silence — No one needs to have an opportunity to criticize what you’re doing. Be quiet about it.

Evaluate your circle — Pay attention to who claps when you win… keep those people and get rid of the rest

Get comfortable with sacrifice — Nothing, and I do mean nothing, comes easy. Anything that is worth having is going to be hard and require sacrifice. Believe me, it’s worth it!

SPEAK UP — If you don’t like something, say so. If you love something, say so. Your opinion is unique and important and valued. And if it’s not, have the courage to find something else (see #1 strategy).

What is your favorite quote or personal philosophy that relates to the concept of resilience?

“Whether you think you can, or you cannot… either way, you’re right” — Henry Ford

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Something that encourages bold creativity for the purpose of community impact or promoting ideals that change behaviors for the better. Marketing isn’t just for selling a product. If I could inspire a movement, it would definitely be a campaign for a greater acceptance for people and beliefs, and ideas. That would be awesome.

Can our readers follow you on social media?

Yes! You can follow me personally or ARO Creative Inc. Lots of good tidbits on both channels. We also have an “ARO Vlogs” channel on Youtube that I tend to neglect but am making a conscious effort not to! It shows behind the scenes of our creative adventures, travel, and general happenings.

Thank you for these great stories. We wish you only continued success!


Ashley Shutt of ARO Creative: “They Told Me It Was Impossible And I Did It Anyway” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Gene Bruno of NutraScience Labs: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your Wellbeing

Choose a “peace zone” in your home — My wife and I agreed that one room in our house (our bedroom) was a peace zone. No arguments, no stressful discussions, no political discussions, no negative discussions of any type are allowed there at any time. This is a great way to assure that you can always have a place of peace in your house. Of course, once in a while we have to remind each other if one of us forgets, but that’s okay too. Best idea ever!

As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gene Bruno.

Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG) possesses 42 years of dietary supplement industry experience. With a Master’s degree in nutrition and a second Master’s degree in herbal medicine, he has a proven track record of formulating innovative, evidence-based dietary supplements. Mr. Bruno currently serves as both the Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at Twinlab Consolidation Corporation and Professor of Nutraceutical Science at Huntington University of Health Sciences.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

Back in the 1950s (before I was born), my grandmother had cancer. At that time there was no radiation or chemotherapy, just surgery to cut out the tumor. She had surgery a few times, but the cancer kept growing back, so they told her she had 6 months to live, and that she should put her affairs in order. Instead, she sought the services of an M.D. named Max Gerson who had a therapy he was using with cancer patients, including detoxification, juicing, a healthy diet and supplementation. To make a long story short, my grandmother didn’t die from cancer. Instead, her tumors disappeared, and she got well. I was born in 1960 and had the pleasure of getting to know my grandmother. As I got older, I was fascinated with her story and decided I wanted to learn more about how nutrition and natural medicine could have a positive impact on health, fitness and wellness. That’s how I got into this business.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

That’s a tall order, considering I’ve been in the business for 42 years, but perhaps I’ll tell you about the first story that made me know I made the right decision. When I was in my early 20’s I was managing a vitamin store. A woman came in and told me that her grandmother was dying from canker sores. I was confused because, although inconvenient, canker sores aren’t lethal. However, the woman explained that her grandmother’s canker sores had existed for years and made it painful for her to eat and drink. As a result, she was getting thinner and weaker. After asking a few questions, I recommended a probiotic product and folic acid since both had been shown to help with canker sores in some cases. A month later the woman came back into the store and, to my surprise, gave me a big hug. She said that her grandmother’s canker sores were gone, she was eating and drinking normally again, and that I had saved her life. The emotional high I got from that experience made it clear to me that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I wanted to help people feel better through the use of dietary supplements.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

When I was young, I was very enthusiastic about all of the science I was learning about dietary supplements, and I wanted to share that information with everyone. One day, a customer walked into the vitamin store where I was working and began browsing. She pointed to a bottle of the amino acid L-Phenylalanine on the shelf and asked, “What is that good for?” Excitedly I replied, “That’s the amino acid L-Phenylalanine. It’s converted in your body into norepinenphine and dopamine which are excitatory neurotransmitters which play multiple roles in the body including the modulation of cognitive function.” The customer looked at me like I had lobsters growing out of my ears. She clearly had not understood a single thing I had said. So I paused, and then said, “It’s a natural substance found in protein, and it helps you to feel more mentally alert.” That explanation resonated with her, and she actually bought the product. That incident made me realize that sharing my knowledge with a customer was meaningless if the customer didn’t walk away from the experience having learned something. Since then, I’ve always tried to make explain myself in a way that the layperson can understand.

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I’ve had 42 years of experience working in the dietary supplement industry and academia. I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in nutrition, as well as a graduate diploma and second master’s degree in herbal medicine. I’m also a certified nutritionist, registered herbalist and professor of nutraceutical science at Huntington University of Health Sciences — where I have taught doctors, nurses and pharmacists about integrative healthcare. I don’t rest on my laurels, but rather spend several hours every month reading new scientific studies on nutraceuticals, nutrition and healthcare in order to stay current with the state of the science. I write extensively on these topics, as well as teach about them, and I’ve participated in quite a number of human clinical trials studying nutraceutical science, health and fitness. Over the years, I’ve formulated hundreds of evidence-based dietary supplements, including fitness, health and wellness products.

My unique contribution to the world of wellness includes my ability and experience in formulating, writing and teaching about dietary supplements and the role they can play in health, fitness and wellness. More specifically, I am an advocate of — and have spoken and written extensively about — using clinically relevant dosing in the formulation of dietary supplements. In other words, I think it is very important to develop formulas using nutraceuticals at the correct doses shown to be effective in human clinical research. For example, if a study shows that 300 mg of specific herbal extract is effective at improving memory, then that’s the amount that should be used in a formula — not 100 mg or 50 mg or 5 mg. Such ineffectual dosing is a practice called “fairy dusting”, meaning just adding a little bit of a nutraceutical in the assumption assuming that consumers won’t know the difference, and then still making claims that the product will have the desired effect. It’s great for profit margins, but terrible for product efficacy. I despise this deceptive practice and I make sure that it never happens with my formulations.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I little over 30 years ago, I went to work for Mel Rich, the president of Phoenix Laboratories, a contract manufacturer of dietary supplements based in New York. Mel appreciated my knowledge and enthusiasm and made it a point to support my educational endeavors, paying the tuition for both my graduate diploma and master’s degree in herbal medicine. Mel has since passed away and Phoenix Laboratories no longer exists, but I will always be grateful to him for helping me to further my knowledge base and educational credentials.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

  1. Making excuses — There are always reasons not to do something that you know you should do. Don’t look for those reasons. Don’t accept those reasons. Instead, look for the reasons why you can do what you know you need to do. Make sure your attitude is consistent with your goals.
  2. Lack of scheduling — This is particularly a problem for exercise. Make sure to schedule time to exercise when you are most likely to do it. For me, that means first thing in the morning since I know that I have family obligations in the evening — but what ever time works for you to consistently do what you need to do.
  3. Not getting sufficient sleep — If you don’t get sufficient sleep you it will affect your performance, your energy, your motivation and your appetite. Don’t stay up too late! Get to bed at a reasonable hour and do it consistently every night.

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

  1. Don’t run out of your supplements — I’m better at most in taking my supplements regularly, but sometimes I run out of one or more of my supplements and allow time to lapse before purchasing them again. Then my energy levels start declining and I feel tired and fatigued. That’s when I start to realize that I shouldn’t have run out of my supplements. As soon as I get my replacement supplements and start taking them again, I always feel better.
  2. Don’t go crazy on the weekends — While I think that its perfectly okay to deviate from your healthy diet a little bit on the weekends, don’t be excessive about it. If you decide that you’re going to eat anything you want on Saturday and Sunday, that means that 29% of the time your eating a poor diet. Instead, choose a single meal as your cheat meal, not every meal for two days. The same goes for drinking. You can have a couple of drinks and still enjoy yourself without drinking to excess and getting a hangover (and making your liver unhappy)
  3. Keep some balance in your life — When we get really busy professionally or personally, we tend to sacrifice something that we enjoy but consider non-essential. However, that thing that we really enjoy actually IS essential since it brings balance into our life. For me it was audiobooks. I just didn’t have time to listen to them, but decided it was important to make time. Then I figured out (duh) that I could listen to an audiobook during my 30-minute aerobic walk in the morning when I typically reviewed my emails on my phone. Making this change made me a happier person. Make time to bring balance into your life.
  4. Figure out how to eat more vegetables — Increasing our intake of vegetables is probably the single most important dietary practice we can adopt, but after a while you’ll get bored just eating salads. Search the internet for vegetable recipes that are easy to make and delicious to eat. If you do this one simple thing, it will change your life for the better.
  5. Choose a “peace zone” in your home — My wife and I agreed that one room in our house (our bedroom) was a peace zone. No arguments, no stressful discussions, no political discussions, no negative discussions of any type are allowed there at any time. This is a great way to assure that you can always have a place of peace in your house. Of course, once in a while we have to remind each other if one of us forgets, but that’s okay too. Best idea ever!

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

  1. Improves mood — Exercise stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious
  2. Improves overall health — Exercise can help prevent or manage various health problems including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis. In fact, swimming is the magic activity that effectively manages my wife’s osteoarthritis.
  3. Improves sex life — Regular exercise may enhance arousal for women and make men less likely to have issues with erectile dysfunction, compared to men who don’t exercise.

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

  1. Some type of aerobic exercise — At its simplest, this can just be brisk walking. It can also be swimming, dancing and hiking, none of which require the use of exercise equipment — although you can certainly use a treadmill, stationary bike, etc.
  2. Lunge — This is a good compound exercise using muscles in your abdominals, back, gluteus, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. However, older people may have difficulty with this exercise
  3. Pushup — This is another good compound exercise using muscle in your chest, shoulders, triceps and abdominals.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

Years ago the book Fit or Fat by Covert Bailey, PhD give me an excellent understanding about how exercise — especially aerobic exercise — has such a powerful impact on health and weight control. After reading that book. I begin integrating aerobic exercise (as brisk walking) into my daily life. Over the course of a year, I lost 75 lbs and felt so much better.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could get everyone to start taking three dietary supplements, I’m certain that America would be a healthier nation. Here are the three supplements, along with my reason for choosing them:

  1. Multivitamin — According to the USDA, only 10% of Americans eat and good diet, and virtually everyone falls short of obtaining sufficient amounts of a few key vitamins and minerals. A good multivitamin provides a nutritional insurance policy, helping to assure adequate of several vital nutrients. If the multivitamin has a good dose in B vitamins, it will also tend to improve energy levels and help you handle your stress better.
  2. Vitamin D — Outright vitamin D deficiency is present in 41.6% of the U.S. population, while vitamin D insufficiency (i.e. lacking sufficient vitamin D) is present in 77% of the population. Considering vitamin D’s role in immune health, bone heath and several other areas of health and wellness, this is a big problem that could be vastly improved by the daily use of a supplement providing 2,000–5,000 IU (50–125 mcg) of vitamin D daily.
  3. Omega-3 fatty acids — While human beings evolved on a diet with approximately a 1:1 ratio of omega-6 (typically found in vegetable oils) to omega-3 fatty acids (typically found in fish), the current Western diet provides about a 16:1 ratio. This is a problem since omega-6 fatty acids tend to be pro-inflammatory while omega-3 fatty acids tend to be anti-inflammatory. Furthermore, Harvard School of Public Health study has indicated that omega-3 deficiency causes 96,000 U.S. deaths per year, so I recommend that everyone get at least 600 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

Professor Joseph Campbell write a book and did a PBS series called The Power of Myth. In it, he made this recommendation, “Follow your bliss.” He elaborated, saying:

“Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”

I have found this advice to be sound. I have followed it and it has worked for me.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

President Biden. I’d like to explain to him the important role that the right dietary supplements can play in the health and wellness of America.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

I do podcasts and write articles that appear on nutrasciencelabs.com.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!


Gene Bruno of NutraScience Labs: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your Wellbeing was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Maggie Colette of Think Like A Boss: Five Ways To Leverage Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your…

Maggie Colette of Think Like A Boss: Five Ways To Leverage Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business

Really get to know and connect with your audience — people buy from people and if you want to cultivate a community of raving fans who buy from you, putting the work in from the beginning (to really get to know who is following you and what their biggest struggles are) will pay off in the long run.

As a part of our series about How To Leverage Instagram To Grow Your Business, I had the pleasure of interviewing Maggie Colette.

Maggie Colette is one of the world’s leading, self-taught Instagram® strategists and coaches, counting Khloe Kardashian as a superfan. Her mission is to empower women everywhere to follow their dreams and develop out of this world self-belief through her business Think Like A Boss.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

It was July 2015 and I’d just boarded a flight from London Heathrow to Mexico City. Midway through the flight, I started to feel unwell. I got up to go to the bathroom and passed out in the galley. The next thing I know, my legs are in the air and the air stewards are peering down at me trying to bring me round.

This incident was a stark warning of what can happen when you work in a highly pressurised role and combine it with working long hours and continuous long haul travel.

This was burnout at its worst and it was also the starting point that got me questioning what on earth I was doing with my life.

I’d accidentally fallen into my role in banking, but I didn’t question it until 10 years later, when I wondered, why on earth I was still here when I didn’t even like my job?!

This carried on for another 12 months until I received one final warning from the doctor. Carry on with this lifestyle and be at risk of a heart attack at the age of 35 OR quit now and do something entirely different with my life.

I chose the latter.

So, in 2016 I hired my first ever business coach, made a plan and a few months later I quit to travel the world for 6 months, before starting my online business.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Great question! There’s one experience that really stands out to me from when I was in LA in September 2019. I and was sitting at the hotel bar waiting for my dinner to arrive when a guy came over. The first thing he did was to ask the barman for an ice bucket (because his girlfriend had just had a panic attack and he wanted ice to help calm her down), then he turned to me and thanked me.

His exact words were “I hope you don’t mind and I know you don’t know me, but I just want to say thank you for your service to the world. I’m an energy healer and I could feel your positive and magical energy from the other side of the bar when I was having dinner with my girlfriend earlier. You are impacting more lives than you could possibly imagine and I really wanted to tell you that. Would you mind if I gave you a hug?”

Not knowing what to do or say, I somehow found myself nodding along and before I knew it, we were hugging it out! I think the barman thought we were mad, although it was LA and in LA anything goes!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The first time I ever did a Facebook LIVE as a business owner I wore a suit. Working in banking for 10 years apparently took its toll on my wardrobe 😂.

On a more serious note, I had it in my head that I wouldn’t be taken seriously if I wasn’t wearing a suit. Thankfully that thought process was short lived. After I came off that LIVE I cringed. Not only was I sweating profusely from the nerves, but I came across as ridiculous!

Everytime, I look back on that story, it leaves me in fits of giggles.

I did however, learn a very important lesson, which is that it’s okay to be me. In fact it’s necessary to be you. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not otherwise people will see right through you.

I used to hate wearing suits in my corporate role. There were times where I was told to dull down my sparkle and because of that, I’ll admit to losing myself for a few years and blending into the background.

The beauty of business however, is that you get to create your rules and you get to do things your way. Be who you are, not who the world wants you to be!

Ok. Let’s now move to the main focus of our discussion. For the benefit of our readers, can you explain why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

Until 18 months ago I found social media frustrating. Sure, it was fun to post and to go live, but I couldn’t for the life of me, make social media work for me. I felt like the algorithm was against me and I also really struggled to find clients.

I knew that social media could be incredible for your business (if used the right way).

I’d also heard people talk about the positive impact that creating viral content could have for your brand, but I didn’t know anyone in my network who was really nailing social media, so I decided to teach myself.

I then spent a good 12 months teaching myself, through independent testing and trial and error, understanding what makes platforms like Instagram® tick, what it takes to create viral content and how this can then grow your brand.

Fast forward to today and I’ve grown my community from 6k to 60K in 12 months. I’ve 10x the size of my mailing list, I’ve 4x my revenue, I’ve helped clients bring in in excess of $750k in revenue (during a global pandemic!) and I’m also regularly regrammed by global celebrities like Khloe Kardashian.

I now use what I’ve learned to teach other entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses through social media.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

Instagram® is my go-to and preferred platform. It’s fun. It’s educational and you can be as creative as you like.

My favourite story is having a new found fan in the form of Khloe Kardashian. She first came across my account in November 2020 and has been regularly sharing my content ever since.

One thing I love to highlight to my community through this experience, is that there is no limit to what you can do on this platform OR who you can impact, if you know what you’re doing.

If the Kardashians can find me through creating epic content, then your idols can sure as heck find you too.

Plus there are so many benefits to growing an online business through social media. Instagram® is an incredible platform for increasing brand awareness, building your confidence through getting visible, growing your audience and building your authority and credibility.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share five ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Really get to know and connect with your audience — people buy from people and if you want to cultivate a community of raving fans who buy from you, putting the work in from the beginning (to really get to know who is following you and what their biggest struggles are) will pay off in the long run.
  2. Show up on Instagram® Stories daily. These are a little bit like Big Brother watching you, the only difference being that you get to see who is watching your content and you can get super strategic about what you share! People who watch your stories are emotionally invested in you. They watch you because they feel a connection with you. Also the more consistently you show up, the more you will be remembered, and the more powerful the bond your community will feel with you.
  3. Get curious and ask your audience questions every single day. Remember, people want to feel special. When you ask your community what their struggles are or how they are feeling today. It makes them feel like you care. Also, the more you invite conversation, the more engaged and connected your audience will feel to you.
  4. If you’re not already using Instagram® Reels, you are really missing out. I’ve lost count of the number of times clients have messaged me to say their reels have gone viral and they’ve hit the Instagram® Explore page. Instagram® is really boosting reels right now and everyone loves video marketing. If you’re looking to go viral quickly, using Reels is the quickest and easiest way to capture people’s attention.
  5. Leave five new Instagram® voice notes each day, Monday to Friday. If you do that every day for a month that’s at least 100 new connections a month. Imagine if between 1% — 10% of your new connections bought from you each month, what would that do to your revenue? Instagram® DMs is where it’s at if you’re serious about monetizing your Instagram® account. Also, it takes people on average 21 touch points before they buy from you. The sooner you start having real conversations, the sooner you’ll make sales

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

One movement I would love to inspire is making mindset and self-belief a subject that is taught at school from a very young age. In the same way that kids are taught maths and english as mandatory subjects, mindset and self-belief should be taught as mandatory subjects too.

It saddens me to see, so many incredible women and men doubt themselves as adults. I see it every day online. This is largely why I created Think Like a Boss — to empower entrepreneurs to believe in themselves.

If mindset was a subject that was taught as part of our education and taught at schools from an early age, the world would be a happier, confident and more empowering place to be.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would have to say Oprah Winfrey.

She is real, raw, committed to making a difference and is as inspirational as they get.

Everything she’s been through and everything she’s achieved thus far in her life is simply mind blowing.

I also love how she’s done it all — talk show host, actress, philanthropist, author… there is nothing this lady has not done and she continues to pursue what sets her soul on fire. Oprah, if you’re reading this…call me 🙂

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!


Maggie Colette of Think Like A Boss: Five Ways To Leverage Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Dr. Marcus Duda: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your Wellbeing

Strengthening your fascia, incorporating diet changes slowly, decreased caffeine and wearing Vive Wear socks are all simple changes that can improve an individuals health, energy, balance, strength, and mental acuity. You may have just accomplished a complete health makeover without even noticing it.

As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marcus V. Duda MD

Dr. Marcus Duda sees patients as a general orthopedic surgeon with a subspecialty in the care and treatment of the foot and ankle, including lower extremity wound care in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has a special interest in foot and ankle surgery, as well as diabetic foot care and complex wounds of the lower extremities. He has been in practice for more than 20 years.

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery and active member of the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, as well as the Wound Healing Society (WHS) and the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care (AAWC).

Dr. Duda is Board Certified by the American Board Orthopedic Surgery.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

I am an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treatment of the foot and ankle and lower extremity wound care. I played football in college and always had access to state of the art training, conditioning and nutrition. I thought I had it all figured out about maintaining excellent health until my father died of a heart attack at age 66 while jogging around a track. He seemed very healthy with regular exercise and what was thought a good diet. I decided to see a cardiologist to see if I was at risk for a heart attack. Laboratory tests showed I had high cholesterol, high triglycerides and high blood pressure. Bummer, I wasn’t doing very well. I started taking medicines for these problems and was unable to completely correct my medical conditions with prescription drugs. I felt I couldn’t exercise more, so my only option was to change my diet. I started changing to a plant based diet, focused on cruciferous vegetables, and started to have significant improvement in my cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. I now understand that most medical conditions can be improved by diet and this change isn’t easy.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

My first day of my orthopedic residency was quite interesting. I started my first day of residency on call for trauma. A patient was brought into the ICU after being hit by a cauldron of molten metal. He was covered in soot and looked like a homeless person. I stayed up around the clock to keep him alive. Placing central lines and transfusing blood products and medicine. He started to look pretty good and I was proud of my efforts. Then he started developing sepsis and was crashing quickly. I asked the attending surgeon if I could start antibiotics. He said not to start antibiotics or any other invasive treatments. As soon as the attending surgeon left the ICU I asked the nurse for a lumbar puncture tray, and I performed my first lumbar puncture. I sent the spinal fluid for cultures. Later that day the cultures showed a bacterial meningitis and I started an IV antibiotic based on the culture sensitivity. That afternoon on rounds I presented my treatment and reviewed the clinical findings of the patient’s rapid improvement. The attending surgeon was quite upset that that my treatment went against his explicit orders. I agreed but pointed out that my treatment was the right thing to do. He agreed and we moved on to the next patient on rounds. Twenty years later while working as an attending surgeon in another town I was working with a nurse who said, “you don’t remember me, do you?” She’s the patient’s wife that I treated 20 years ago and her daughter just gave me my Covid vaccine. My simple take home message is to work hard and do the right thing even if you are told otherwise. It might some day have an important impact on someone’s life.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

My most humorous mistake was the first patient I treated with the Vive Wear sock. The patient was septic in the hospital and two surgeons recommended amputating her ulcerative and infected legs. She wanted to try the Vive Wear sock instead of having her legs amputated. Every day I came by and put on new socks and her legs started to improve. She was discharged to a skilled nursing facility and was brought to my office for her first office visit. Her legs looked terrible, I thought I had to start over with a new sock design. I told the wound care nurse who accompanied her that I felt terrible that my sock wasn’t working. The nurse told me she had gone back to traditional wound care dressings and she stopped using the Vive Wear sock. The nurse left with a better understanding of the Vive Wear sock and the patient returned with two healed legs. The humor was that I almost started in developing a new sock. Fortunately, the wound care nurse came to the office visit with the patient and explained that she hadn’t been using the Vive Wear sock.

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

When I started my career in orthopedic surgery I volunteered at a diabetic foot clinic. Taking care of foot and leg ulcers was challenging since wound care was not a focus of medical school or orthopedic surgical residency. While studying treatment options for these lower extremity problems I realized there may be a new innovative way to keep legs and feet healthy. After years of research and development I created Vive Wear compression socks. During clinical trials patients commented on how comfortable and energized their legs felt. The patented Vive Wear sock is made of baby alpaca and merino wool that is not only soft and comfortable but the natural fibers keep your legs comfortable in both hot and cold weather. Combined with the natural fiber is graduated compression that can improve circulation in the legs up to 40%. Engineered nano silver and nano copper was added to create a micro current that not only energizes your legs but also minimized that stinky sock odor. The silver was bound to the alpaca and merino wool so it would not wash out of the sock. Studies at a University demonstrated that the silver would not wash out of the sock after washing in soap and water. The sock has been very popular with endurance athletes, workers on their feet all day long, and people trapped at home during this pandemic.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I enjoy the mountains and train so I can hike, climb or ski in the backcountry. I wasn’t able to achieve success in my training until I started listening to a very focused and motivated guide. On one expedition while climbing in the Tetons I mentioned to my guide, Zahan Billimoria, that my endurance didn’t seem strong. Zahan told me my endurance was good but my strength was lacking. I was shocked at his observation but was determined to undertake a new approach to athletic strength training. Zahan’s focus on strength training is based on body weight training to develop fascial strengthening. The fundamentals of fascial integration isn’t in any of my medical books or orthopedic training but delivers impressive improvement in athleticism.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

The three biggest problems in our diet are carbohydrates, animal fats and caffeinated drinks. Carbohydrates are converted to sugar very quickly in our body and create rapid spikes in our sugar level. This sugar level then rapidly falls and we become hungry again very quickly, craving more carbohydrates. The animal fats cause plaques in our arteries and associated circulatory problems. The secondary benefit of minimizing carbohydrates is that it forces our body to burn a higher percentage of fat which is a more efficient fuel, particularly for endurance athletes. By decreasing carbohydrate portions and adding in some cruciferous vegetables one will slowly notice a difference in their energy level and the way they feel. The caffeine in energy drinks and coffee gives us a quick energy boost but has long term detrimental effects. The caffeine provides a short energy boost and also causes constriction of our arteries. This constriction decreases circulation to our extremities and our brain. The constriction to the arteries in our legs could lead to blood clots and the constriction of arteries in our brain causes headaches as the arteries open up as the caffeine wears off. To wean off our easy diet, select one item a month to eliminate. This could be eliminating a roll at dinner or a snack and energy drink in the afternoon.

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

Strengthening your fascia, incorporating diet changes slowly, decreased caffeine and wearing Vive Wear socks are all simple changes that can improve an individuals health, energy, balance, strength, and mental acuity. You may have just accomplished a complete health makeover without even noticing it.

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

Exercise is important to improve balance, coordinated strength of muscles and develop integrity of the fascial system ( Fasintegrity ).The fascia is the integrating structure that supports the muscles, skeleton and all organs of the body. The fascia connects all body structures and provides the tension to integrate diverse muscles groups to achieve functional movement. This coordinated strength helps develop balance, protect joints against stress, and develops athleticism.

This concept is the complete opposite of traditional strength training that focuses on strengthening one muscle group at a time. It’s like putting together Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome. If you just have a few beams put together the structure will not stand up, but once you have connected all the beams you have an incredibly strong structure. The beams of our body are the fascial system and if the fascia is not systemically integrated our body will not be able to withstand the stresses it’s subjected to. I have learned to avoid working a single muscle group on an exercise machine and start working on fascial strengthening which incorporates coordinated muscle strengthening. The earliest gains in fascial integration are improvement in balance and coordination, decreased tendonitis, and decreased sprains. In my opinion, fascial integration training is the new frontier of improving human performance and decreasing injury.

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

The next step of strengthening is being able to incorporate these body weight strength activities without having to go to the gym. We are all busy with our day jobs and taking time to get to the gym, get dressed, exercise, shower and get home is just too much time. I recommend finding small openings in your daily routine to get in a few body weight activities a few minutes at a time. Some call this low stress exercise Greasing the Groove. By the end of the day you’ve accomplished a full exercise program without even breaking a sweat. During my surgery days, I use the few minutes between cases to squeeze in a few body weight activities. I don’t waste any time and sometimes I even get nurses in the operating room to join me in these balancing activities. Most activities are performed on the ball of one foot at a time with the toes gripping the floor. This will develop fascial strength. The activities include forward and reverse lunges, balancing like a starfish on one leg, balancing like a drinking bird, and pistol squats.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

A novel that I read 50 years ago is still relevant today. The Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is a novel that follows the pain, suffering and hope of patients in a Soviet cancer ward in 1955. The novel while accurately depicting the suffering of exiled cancer patients is symbolic of the lives of Russian citizens who have been exiled to work camps for their political criticism of the government. Through the patients incurable suffering they persevere through the suffering of the treatment with hope that there may be freedom from the disease and maybe freedom in their life. For the majority of citizens watching the suffering of a fellow man, what is their moral responsibility for the imprisonment and mistreatment of both patients and citizens? The novel provides insight into the ineffective use of poisons to treat cancer and the patients unwavering struggle for freedom in their life.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The movement that I feel can have the biggest impact on peoples lives is fascial strengthening. Developing fascial strength improves the athleticism of amateur and professional athletes and minimizes injury and improves performance. For elderly people fascial strength will improve their balance and thus minimize the risk of fractures from falls. The improved fascial strength will decrease the stress across the joints and therefore decrease pain from arthritis. Fascial strengthening requires no equipment and can be done whenever you have a few minutes. You can even do it while brushing your teeth or getting out of the shower. The benefits take time but as you continue to advance the fascial strengthening you will notice a change in your activities of daily living. Personally when I walk now I notice a push off with my toes and a little spring in my step. When I participate in sports I have more energy with less effort and my toes instinctively are moving me forward with improved balance. The motion is subconscious and I don’t have to think about each effort. Of all the aerobic and strength training that I have performed, fascial strengthening has provided the biggest improvement.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own” — Bruce Lee

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

If asked who would be a mentor of mine, it would be Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee was a famous martial artist, actor, and philosopher who was born on November 27th, 1940 in Chinatown, San Francisco. He died of cerebral edema at age 33. Lee was someone who trained to develop fascial strength and was always trying to improve himself and others around him. One of his many famous quotes, “Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own”, is applicable today.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

https://vivewear.com/

https://www.instagram.com/vivewear/

https://www.facebook.com/vivewear

https://www.linkedin.com/company/vive-wear

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!


Dr. Marcus Duda: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your Wellbeing was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Disruptors: Tray Kearney On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

Nobody owes you anything. If you want an opportunity sometimes you have to create the opportunity for yourself. I wanted to have a morning show. Did someone give me the opportunity yet? No, so I created my own morning show on my social media platforms. Have a great following and I am getting the message to the masses.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tray Kearney.

Tray Kearney is an Author, Speaker, Certified Life/Relationship Coach and a servant leader whose assignment is helping others heal from matters of the heart. She is known for her method of helping others heal through her transparency and truth. Her testimony of going through the storm of infidelity on both sides of not only being the offender, but also the recipient of betrayal, gives men and women the safe haven they need to be transparent and honest with themselves without judgement.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory?” What led you to this particular career path?

I didn’t choose coaching, coaching chose me. Most of us get to our purpose through our tragedies of life and/or our traumas. I am no different from many. During a time in my life when I felt completely lost and distraught, I was trying to figure out who I was and where I was going in life. I was in a toxic and very dysfunctional relationship mainly because I was toxic and dysfunctional. A very good friend of mine who knew I was in a bad space introduced me to a prayer line called “Girlfriends Pray,” and on that call the founder Dr. Dee C. Marshall spoke about a group program called Life Camp. Life Camp is for women who desire a better life and who were looking for spiritual growth and personal development. I joined the program kicking and screaming and that’s where the journey began. To make a long story short, as I grew and became healthy mentally and spiritually I started to share my story of how I went from being a toxic, dysfunctional adulterer to being a healthy human being, women began to ask me how. Some even asked me to coach them. As the demand grew I decided to get certified and that is how I got here.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Well, my niche is a little different than most coaches. You can say I am the infidelity coach. Some have called me the #NoSideChicking Queen. I deal with the big pink elephant in the room that no one wants to address. I remove men from the equation and hold women accountable for their part in infidelity. Whether it is the wife who stays with a cheater for whatever reason or the side chick who some may call the mistress is sleeping with someone’s significant other. I take away the excuses and ask them some real questions. Not to blame them, but to hold them accountable. Blame causes guilt, accountability causes growth. I have programs to help women reclaim their self-worth and honor their own value, which leads them to healthy lifestyles. I have a movement I started called #NoSideChicking where I challenge women to honor, guard and respect each other’s relationships. I refuse to be silent about this. We will not stick our heads in the sand any longer or allow our fate to be in the hands of men. I share this on many platforms as a speaker, which is a career that I didn’t choose but that has chosen me. It’s funny I didn’t choose to be an author either. Some things are just part of your destiny, and again, as a disruptor I speak about the big pink elephant in the room, CHEATING. I say what a lot of women want to say but only think.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One of the funniest mistakes I made, hmmm this one is kind of hard because the topic is so heavy there aren’t too many funny stories. I had one of my first speaking engagements and I totally did not prepare for it. I thought speaking was speaking. I was just going to talk. The crowd was not at all engaged or impressed with me. I was mortified to say the least, but I got through it. Thinking about it now it was really funny. But at the time not so much. I learned that you must always be prepared. As a matter of fact, from that experience I am always over prepared.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I always have to start with my Coach Dr. Dee C. Marshall; her program literally saved my life. She does an annual women’s retreat in PA she calls it the Mountain Top Experience. I went to the retreat and she did an exercise and challenged us to describe the 2020 version of ourselves which seemed crazy at the time because it was 2016, but the things we talked about on the mountain are my life right now. I am a 2x author, a certified life/relationship coach, and a sought- after speaker; back then it was just words on a piece of paper. Even though she would never take credit I am a better person because of her influence. I would also have to say my CORE. I have four friends of forty years who are more than friends they are mentors and have influenced me to be greater. Whether it was writing my book, getting my certifications, or speaking, I know I needed to continue to elevate to keep up with them. Nobody wants to be left behind. I’ve watched them get Master’s degrees in their forties, become heads of their departments, relocate, buy homes, have healthy happy marriages and so much more. They have mentored me not only through talks but through actions.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

It’s all in your motive. If you are disruptive for a positive change then it is “Good Trouble.” If you are being disruptive to be destructive at the cost of someone else that is not good. If being disruptive compromises your integrity to prove a point that is not being disruptive, its being destructive; there’s a big difference between the two. I’ll say it again, what’s the “motive” of the disruption? When you use the word disruptive is it for the greater good of a cause or the people? I am disrupting the coaching industry to eliminate the infidelity epidemic. A friend of mine is disrupting the PR industry by teaching a DIYPR Program to help those who can’t afford PR that is positive disruption or good trouble.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

  1. Nobody owes you anything. If you want an opportunity sometimes you have to create the opportunity for yourself. I wanted to have a morning show. Did someone give me the opportunity yet? No, so I created my own morning show on my social media platforms. Have a great following and I am getting the message to the masses.
  2. When you learn, teach and when you get, give. I’ve learned from all of the experiences in my life and have learned to use it as content and context for my programs to teach those who need guidance in those areas that I’ve learned in. Being able to work from home and create my own schedule has given me extra time to do things I enjoy. When I’m not working I give my time to one of my favorite non-profits, Nassan’s Place, which is a 501c3 organization that supports families affected by autism.
  3. Everybody does not deserve a front row seat in your life. I have learned to prioritize people the way they prioritize me. If I am in the balcony of their life I honor their request by placing them in the balcony of mine. I used to give people a seat they wouldn’t give me. I used to hold on to people who had let me go, now I simply accept their choice and I let them go. It’s all a matter of protecting one’s peace.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

For the month of March I am launching the #NoSideChicking pledge where I hope to get one million women by the end of 2021 to take the #NoSideChicking pledge to honor, guard and respect each other’s relationship. I want them to agree to become part of the infidelity solution instead of the problem. We will pledge to not disrupt each other’s relationships and homes. We will pledge that we will not knowingly entertain someone else’s significant other.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Basically, just getting passed the judgement. When we disrupt and “think outside the box” we are called trouble makers instead of trail blazers. I think that is the major challenge we face. However, we have never been afraid of a challenge.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

A book that has had a great impact on my life truly is the Bible. I’ve been down some slippery slopes and some dark alleys on my journey and I often tell myself “You’ve had the best map in front of you the whole time. All you had to do was follow the ten commandments and you would have avoided so much.” However, I wouldn’t trade my life lessons for the world.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The #NoSideChicking Movement. The antidote for infidelity.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote?” Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“This too shall pass.” It’s relevant every day. No matter how hard it gets. No matter what I’ve gone through and no matter what I go through. I can honestly tell myself Tray “This too shall pass.”

How can our readers follow you online?

www.traykearney.com Instagram/Twitter @TrayKearney

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


Female Disruptors: Tray Kearney On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Alexis Artin of FreeBody: 5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness

Get clear on your purpose — One of the causes of depression is not knowing or living your purpose. Understand why you are here and get clear on what serves you. Spend some time thinking about the activities you are passionate about, that energize you, and what depletes you. It will involve disentangling yourself from other people’s values and expectations. It’s a journey, but one that is so fulfilling and incredibly beneficial to your mental wellbeing.

As a part of my series about the “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexis Artin.

Alexis is a leading Success Coach and co-founder of FreeBody Practice. She has spent the past two decades propelling people towards their personal and professional best in body, mind, heart, and soul.

After working with many A-list celebrities across the board in television and film, Alexis transitioned her passion and skillset for fostering potential and obtaining results to the world of self-development and transformation. She worked side-by-side with many of the most revered thought leaders bringing personal growth to the global stage.

She was the driving force behind expanding one of the largest and most respected female empowerment companies, which inspired her to channel her expertise into creating a coaching practice serving clients across the globe.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Human behavior has always fascinated me. Growing up, I expressed that through a love of acting. I used to love delving into different characters’ stories, trying on different roles, and seeing life from a different perspective. Taking on a new persona also provided me with a safe space to experiment with expressing my emotions.

Eventually, I moved behind the camera. For ten years, I worked as an entertainment executive, supporting, producing, and managing talent. I quickly realized I had a knack for knowing what people wanted and needed. It was a skill that served me phenomenally well and allowed me to fast-track people to their full potential.

After a decade of catapulting celebrities to success, I decided to transition my skills into the personal development space to help everyone live an extraordinary life — and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past ten years.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

When I worked in the entertainment industry, one moment really stands out for me as a turning point. Back then, I was famous for making other people famous. I hid in the shadows and excelled at serving others. Then I received an opportunity that shifted my entire perspective.

One day, my friend — who is the right-hand woman to one of the most powerful couples in entertainment — called me up. She had a great opportunity for me — an interview she knew I was a fit for. Before I knew it, I was pulling into Kris Jenner’s driveway! As I walked into her beautiful home, I felt overwhelmed by the grandeur of this opportunity. As I waited to meet with her, the internal pressure mounted. I wanted to be liked, to prove I was enough for her. The longer I sat there, the smaller I made myself.

When we met, her confidence filled the room. She holds herself in a way that is both magnetic and mysterious. I was overawed. What happened in that meeting was I lost myself. I was so full of self-doubt that I agreed to everything without considering what I wanted, my family, or other commitments. It was as though the only word in my vocabulary was “yes.”

By the time I left, all I knew was I was starting on Monday. And then I started to come back to myself. I realized I had a choice. I didn’t have to keep saying “yes,” and there was huge empowerment in saying “no” and finally living life on my own terms.

So, in the end, I turned the opportunity down. Not because of anything to do with Kris, but because a light had finally switched on. Suddenly I was thinking, “What about me?” I decided it was time to step out of the shadows and start living life to serve myself… and it was the catalyst for starting my coaching practice. It’s the best decision I ever made.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

This is an interesting question for me as I don’t typically believe in mistakes. I believe everything is an opportunity for growth. I’m not sure I have any hilarious moments to share, but I will say that, as with any growth process, there are growing pains and what I learned from those is the importance of putting progress over perfection. However small the step may be, we need to focus on stepping into the next action toward achieving our goals. It’s all progress.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My husband. When I felt the pull to start my business, I was in a corporate career. I had job security and was bringing consistent money in to support our family. Stepping out of that created a lot of uncertainty and unpredictability — you can lose a lot of money in the first few years of a new business. My husband’s support and belief in me to follow my dreams was unlike any support I’ve ever had in my life. To have someone value me so much and say, “I’ve got you, you go do you and make the world a better place by being you,” is incredible, and I could never thank him enough for that.

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

I’m a big believer in slowing down to speed up. We spend so much time rushing around that we end up burned out. When you’re rushing, it’s for someone else’s benefit. We fear we’re not quick enough for someone else’s needs. By slowing down, you give yourself the space to think about what’s in your best interests. Always come back to how your choices serve you.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

Encourage a healthy work-life balance. We’ve spent too long favoring presenteeism and “busyness,” which has led us to the high levels of burnout and stress we’re currently seeing. No-one is at their best when they’re stressed, tired, and overworked. When an employee repeatedly says they are “too busy” or “stacked with work,” I’d ask leaders to see it as a warning sign that something needs to change.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Mental health is often looked at in binary terms; those who are healthy and those who have mental illness. The truth, however, is that mental wellness is a huge spectrum. Even those who are “mentally healthy” can still improve their mental wellness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to improve or optimize our mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each.

  1. Get clear on your purpose — One of the causes of depression is not knowing or living your purpose. Understand why you are here and get clear on what serves you. Spend some time thinking about the activities you are passionate about, that energize you, and what depletes you. It will involve disentangling yourself from other people’s values and expectations. It’s a journey, but one that is so fulfilling and incredibly beneficial to your mental wellbeing.
  2. Listen to your body — We spend so much time stuck in our own heads that we forget that our body is an important part of who we are. It’s your number one indicator of when things are starting to shift. Think of all the physical symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Pay attention to them — notice your sleep habits, your appetite, any digestive issues — they are your body’s way of giving you feedback on your mental wellbeing, so it’s important to listen. Try spending several minutes each day doing a body scan. Work your way from head to toe, observing any pain, tension, or discomfort, so you really tune into this powerful feedback system.
  3. Speak your truth — Many of us often hold back from saying what we really want (or don’t want) for fear of being rejected. That’s totally normal — it’s because our minds are wired to fear rejection and do anything to keep us safe from it, even if it means compromising our own values. But if you don’t speak up for what you want, you’re unlikely to get it, and that leads to a limited life. Practice speaking your truth just once a day — it can be as small as requesting the milk you really want with your coffee order rather than just going for the default because you think it will make the barista’s life easier! Each success will build your confidence to keep going, and it will become more natural for you over time.
  4. Practice gratitude — There’s always something to be thankful for, however small. Keep a gratitude journal to remind yourself there’s always joy to be found in every day. Each night, write down three things that you are thankful for — it could be as small as your morning cup of coffee.
  5. Be mindful — We spend a lot of time worrying about the future — what might happen. Ground yourself in the present moment to focus on the things you can influence in the here and now. Mindfulness is a powerful exercise for this. When you feel panic rising, I recommend doing this five senses mindfulness exercise: name five things you can see in your present surroundings, three things you can hear, two things you can feel, one thing you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

Much of my expertise focuses on helping people to plan for after retirement. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact one’s health. In addition to the ideas you mentioned earlier, are there things that one should do to optimize mental wellness after retirement? Please share a story or an example for each.

A common theme I see with people after retirement is a lack of purpose. Their job gave them a reason to get up in the morning, and now they feel lost without it. We’re all more than our jobs, and we all have a deep-rooted purpose we were born with. Work isn’t the only way to live that purpose.

I’d encourage any retiree who feels this way to reconnect with the activities that bring them joy and find ways to actively incorporate that into their life. From joining an activity group to volunteering or learning a new skill, there are still so many ways we can live our purpose after retirement to feed our mental wellness.

How about teens and pre teens. Are there any specific new ideas you would suggest for teens and pre teens to optimize their mental wellness?

The pressure on our teens today is unprecedented. The best thing they can do is work on building their self-esteem. We care so much about what our peers think of us at that age, and social media has taken that focus on external validation to a new level.

I’d actually give similar advice as to the retirees! If teens can connect with what they enjoy doing, it will bring them so much more confidence and self-belief. You might not be top of the class in math, but you might be an incredible artist. Identify what you are good at — speak to your teachers and parents if you don’t know where to start. What you are good at is tied to what you enjoy — find that and follow it with your whole heart.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

The Prosperous Coach by Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin. I read it very early on in my coaching journey and it spoke profoundly to the essence of what I believe coaching should be about: deep connection and powerful conversations. That’s how my life changed: one conversation at a time and one action at a time. By slowing everything down and getting to the root of why I’m here and how to step-by-step create a fulfilling business out of that. In fact, it had such a powerful impact on me that I ended up working with Rich and becoming a member of his elite community of top coaches.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I want people to start connecting their minds to their bodies, hearts, and souls to really tune in to who they are and why they’re here. I would inspire people to find the way back home to themselves. To their own mastery, expertise, and sovereignty. So many of us live the lives we think we should, whether it be working a corporate job when we really want to be a musician or desperately looking to settle down because all our friends are when really we want to travel the world. By paying attention to the feedback your body is giving you all the time, we can start to know ourselves on a much deeper level. Imagine if each of us uncovered and started living our true purpose? I think the world would be a much happier, joyful place. How extraordinary would that be?

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Own it, or someone else will,” is a quote I came up with and it’’s the summation of everything I stand for. I think it speaks for itself. I come from fierce love, I don’t know any other way, and my hope for the world is to live life knowing this a choice and it’s theirs alone to make.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

I’m on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!


Alexis Artin of FreeBody: 5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Disruptors: Renata Mutis Black of EBY On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

I believe that my only competition is myself. Every day I need to be better than yesterday. My success is determined by my grit, determination and vision. I believe that where the mind goes energy flow and I just don’t like to give the conversation of men not having the same challenges as women energy. Sure it exists. Sure I have felt it, but it is not something I give my power to.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Renata Mutis Black.

Renata Mutis Black is the CEO and Co-Founder of EBY. She studied microfinance under Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, has had a chapter in Deepak Chopra’s book “The Soul of Leadership” written about her, and has been featured in such as the WSJ, Forbes, InStyle and TechCrunch. Renata speaks at numerous institutions including the United Nations, MIT and Harvard Business School on the topics of entrepreneurship, female empowerment and women in business. She is also the founder of Seven Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mandate is to raise awareness for micro-finance and to raise funds for micro-finance programs focused on women globally.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I was adopted by my mom and my uncle at one and always had a deep-rooted purpose to impact the world. I felt very lucky to be adopted. I started a microfinance program in India with over 800 women and fell in love with empowering women out of poverty and into business. I studied under Muhammad Yunnus and Noble peace prize winner in 2005. When I lived in India women used to always say to me it must be horrible living in the states having to show your cleavage in your legs. I always hated having to wear the Sari every day as I felt like I was wrapped up in a burrito and it was just so hot. When I came back to the states I was watching the Victoria’s Secret show and it hit me that maybe we do use seduction to objectify women and what if we could use seduction to empower women. That is what set me on my trajectory to enable women to have an impact with the one decision they make every day — the underwear they wear.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

I think it’s the combination of all the pieces that make the whole of Eby. We are female lead, Hispanic founded, size inclusive, and most importantly purpose driven. I think today it’s beyond having the best in class product but it’s also about adding value at every touchpoint to your customer’s lives. This is what we stand for. Our product is the best in class period. You can put it next to any other seamless undergarment and hands down we are the best. But when you buy our product, you also get access to power that gives you tools to become the best version of yourself. At the end of the day, we are a women’s empowerment brand. This is not some slogan. This company was built to consistently fuel microfinance.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

As a high-growth startup, you are constantly pitching investors. There was one time where I was pitching a man and I was explaining to him as if it was obvious that women buy underwear in handfuls and they buy it frequently so in essence underwear is a repeatable purchase. The man responded to me and said that he thought that was very interesting because he still had his underwear from high school. I immediately started dying laughing and he did not think it was very funny. I learned at that time that you should really know your audience and that from that moment forward I would be pitching a lot of men and would have to adapt my pitch so that it was relevant to them. Ever since then, I start my pitch big picture with the size of the industry and the industry’s potential so that they can take the pitch more seriously and understand the real potential of startups in the intimates industry that are purpose-driven.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I have had amazing mentors in my career. One is my VC Andrea Drager. She always pushes me to bring my A-game. She challenges and inspires me. She has high expectations of me and never settles for less than above average from me, and I really appreciate the standard that she holds me to. The other mentor I have had is Malinda Behrens, who is a badass business savvy ninja. She has just always believed in and supported me constantly. She builds me up and because of who she is, I rise to the occasion of the person she thinks I am. Both of these women have enabled me to reach heights they saw for me, and I ended up reaching because of that.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I think the word disruptive has been overused and overplayed. I think the bigger questions are three:

“What is the best use of your life?”

“Are you adding real value to people’s lives”

“Is the world going to better because of what you created?”

If you have a positive answer to all then what you are doing is needed and worthwhile and I think in the end that is all that matters.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

  • Do not confuse hard work with results
  • You can do anything, just not everything
  • You are only as good as your last game.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We have an entire campaign about being provocative yet powerful. For some reason those 2 words can never go together but the truth is that through seduction and sensuality is how a woman creates. This is incredibly powerful. You create greatness when you take two opposing things and bring them together to have an impact. THIS is what you can expect to see from EBY.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I personally do not like to engage in these types of conversations. I believe that my only competition is myself. Every day I need to be better than yesterday. My success is determined by my grit, determination and vision. I believe that where the mind goes energy flow and I just don’t like to give the conversation of men not having the same challenges as women energy. Sure it exists. Sure I have felt it, but it is not something I give my power to.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

PODCAST

Masters of Scale

Tony Robbins

Lewis Howes

Ed Mylett

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If you are an accountant, nurse, or schoolteacher, this wage falls well within the top 1% worldwide (World Bank Data). Yup, that means that out of the 7.53 billion people in this world, these professions, amongst so many others, are part of the 1% of the income earners that live on this planet. Take a second to think about that. Every decision you make from the coffee that you drink to the underwear you wear, impacts the other 99% . Make sure that you vote with your dollars and that with every decision you make, you are having an impact. Your choices matter more than you can imagine.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Refuse To Lose

Refuse to be Defeated

Refuse to have Regrets

How can our readers follow you online?

@renatamblack IG

@joineby IG

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

THANK YOU!!


Female Disruptors: Renata Mutis Black of EBY On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.