Female Founders: Stephanie Scheller of Grow Disrupt On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
I think women founders need a drive that goes beyond money. At some point, the business is going to be doing well enough that comfort and finances isn’t going to be a motivator any longer. At this point, it’s easy to reach a point of settling for the comfortable instead of continuing to strive. For some businesses, that works just fine. As a female founder in today’s age, we are breaking glass ceilings and establishing exactly what women are capable of in business. I don’t think it’s fair for those who come behind us to settle for an OK business. We need to set the example of what it means to be a founder and business owner. That means establishing a strong, healthy, consistently growing business that is a valuable member of it’s community! Someone who is only driven by financial freedom isn’t going to achieve that.
As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie Scheller, the Impact Authority.
Stephanie is the founder of Grow Disrupt has studied the practical application of psychology for more than a decade in sales, marketing, and people management. In 2014, she built her business from scratch to replace her full-time income in under five months and is now an award-winning entrepreneur and the producer of internationally renowned events like The Grow Retreat. Using the violin to tap into the human subconscious, Stephanie makes complex concepts easy to understand and implement to create impactful marketing for small businesses.
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?
It’s kind of funny how life works out isn’t it? I went to school to study Equine Business & Facility Management. I was going to be a barn manager and work with horses. Then I graduated and realized that I couldn’t make enough money to both pay off my student loans and feed myself. Based on one class I took in Junior year, I went into Plan B: Marketing!
I went to work for a major corporation in San Antonio TX, first selling then managing marketing campaigns for small businesses for three years before the company I worked for began to have financial issues, and their response was to come up with a series of excuses for why they shouldn’t have to pay our commissions. After nine-months of that, I was over it. The door that opened at the time was to start a sales training company. Since I was a top performing sales rep for the company I worked for before, it made sense and I started the company in May 2014. By the end of August, I had made more money part time than full-time at my corporate job, so I walked away to be a full-time sales trainer.
By the end of 2015, I was in a bit of a fix! I’d built the largest, most-active sales training practice in central Texas, but I was realizing that I didn’t want to be a sales trainer for the rest of my life. While I enjoyed it and was good at it, I was more passionate about working with small businesses to create growth overall.
In 2016, we made the switch to hosting full-scale educational events. We sent the theme, booked the speakers, found the venues, hired caterers, and sold tickets to the first Grow Retreat which took place in January 2017 and the metamorphosis began.
I’d love to say I never looked back, but there were plenty of times when building the event company (which, by the way, event companies are insanely difficult to make profitable!) that I looked back at how much easier things were when I was just doing sales training and wondered if I should go back. Now that we’re past the hump, I can confidently say I’m glad we never did!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I think one of the most interesting Aha moments I had in leading my company was realizing that I was a TERRIBLE boss! As some background, I hired my sister to craft my social media content for me in 2017 and, next to me, she’s the member of the team with the most longevity!
I remember one weekend when I was frustrated over my sister missing a deadline and venting about it to my husband and he looked me in the eye and asked me if I would be as upset about this if another member of the team had done it.
My answer, in an attempt to justify my anger, was that I would certainly be as upset with another member of the team because integrity means doing what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it. If she was having trouble with the deadlines, she needed to ask for help and, I added, I was only holding her to the same standard that I held myself!
I remember my husband giving me a raised-brow look as he waited for me to realize that I was being substantially less forgiving for my sister’s mistakes than I would be for anyone else on the team. She had alerted me that she was going to be late. That was all I asked for anyone else. I was so anxious to avoid falling into the category I’d seen so many clients in, where employed family members took advantage of the company to perform subpar work and never got called on the carpet that, instead, I was brutal on my sister. The worst moment was when I realized that I truly was being just as hard on her as I was being on myself.
That I would never treat anyone else like I treated myself, and by extension, my sister. It was the start of a long process to revise my leadership style on myself first so I could be a better leader to the whole company.
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?
Oh man! Our very first big-time event, the 2017 Grow Retreat was a bit of a disaster, especially compared to the level of production we put on now! That first Grow Retreat was DIY in the extreme…and not in the sense of “We’ll design the branding in house” but in the sense of, I was sitting at my computer using extremely subpar design experience to build a logo in (Don’t laugh too hard…) Microsoft Powerpoint. This was before Canva had come along with their logo builders and Powerpoint was the best option I could think of and I didn’t trust myself to communicate it to my team, or my team to try and do anything on their own. It was absolutely hideous!! I designed the notepads. I designed the logo. I booked the room and caterer.
If I hadn’t had some intervention leading up to the event, I would have been the opening keynote, the MC, the person running registration, and we would have literally just handed everyone a bundle of papers without anything to put them in. At the very least, I listened enough to get folders designed with our logo, and bring in an MC as well as an extra staff member.
I still ran the majority of the event and frankly, everything was cobbled together. The room was WAY too small. The videographer brought WAY too much equipment and an already small room was then crowded with lights that made it uncomfortably warm and created MAJOR tripping obstacles. One of our attendees was apparently dealing with a cold and hadn’t slept well, on top of stuffed up lungs and she fell asleep, snoring so loudly everyone in the room knew what was happening.
And we topped it off by losing nearly $5k on an event that only cost $11k to produce (To put that in perspective, the 2020 Grow Retreat cost $112k to produce and the money was substantially better spent!).
I mean, on the one-hand, at least I GOT the event out there! I didn’t sit and wait around and never get started. But man! That very first major event was…kind of a catastrophe in my 20–20 hind sight. I wouldn’t do an event of that caliber again! But it is kind of funny looking back now I suppose!
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?
There have been so many people I could focus on here…but one that comes to mind in a big way is an author/speaker by the name of Mike Michalowicz. I met Mike back in 2018 when my Mom recruited him to come on our podcast as a guest. I was blown away by his concepts on how to manage your money to create profit and loved it. More than that, I realized what a big deal this guy was, and was blown away at how approachable and kind he was. When I reached out to his agent to discuss bringing him in to speak at our next Grow Retreat, I was crushed to find out that there was no way we could afford him and other speakers, especially not with the terms he was used to commanding.
And somewhere in those conversations, he saw something special in me. He and his agent bent over backwards to work with me. Him being willing to come to our event also did something I never expected: it elevated the entire brand. Mike is an incredible human. A brilliant entrepreneur and author. An insanely amazing professional speaker who performs above and beyond and he attracts a sphere of awesome people. Not only did we have a caliber of speakers willing to work with us because of Mike that I may not have been able to tap without him, but his appearance as a speaker also sold more tickets than any speaker I’d ever worked with.
He sent me videos of encouragement and excitement, and his willingness to work with me really elevated the entire event and brand in a way I don’t even know if he still understands. We’ve worked with him for two additional events now and I’ll continue supporting everything he does and look forward to bringing him back for more events down the road. Not just because he’s brilliant and his approaches to each aspect of entrepreneurship that he writes about are easy to understand, internalize & apply, but because I can never thank him enough for reaching out and helping me get on my feet to reach the level we are at today with our events.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?
I think this stems from two directions.
Unfortunately, there still seems to be a pretty prevalent perspective that women aren’t quite as adept at running a company as men. The belief I’ve seen is that we’ll get distracted, prioritize family over the business, and run the business based on emotion over logic. Want to know the problem here?
Some of those aren’t actually problems! A business owner who knows how to balance personal and professional lives will cultivate a team of people who are more motivated, efficient, effective and creative in running the business and will maximize payroll spending. A business owner who can account for the impact of emotion and logic will have a more adept hand at creating marketing that resonates and getting buy-in from the team on the direction of the future of the company. Business is no longer about just working crazy long hours and operating fully on logic. Women are designed to be successful business owners! We just aren’t given enough credence. And the BS about us getting distracted? I mean…what successful entrepreneur isn’t slightly neurodivergent in this arena? We have to be able to balance multiple areas of focus constantly.
But when the purse strings at the investment firms are held by men who have constantly been exposed to these perspectives as negative, the investments dry up for female-founded companies.
Secondary, there’s a “finite pie” perspective that gets perpetuated among business in general and so where women SHOULD be hyper supportive of each other in business, we are sometimes too inclined to offer or expect discounts among the female-entrepreneur realm, or fail to support each other in the maximum possible manner because we don’t want to risk damaging our chance at success.
Articles like this help a LOT! First with exposing the infinite possibility for women in business, and second for helping us all realize that business is not a zero-sum game and if you get more, that means I get less. We can all succeed and support each other!
Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?
Well! As mentioned before, article series like this are fantastic. They spread awareness of the inherent talents that women bring to the table that help us thrive as business owners. They provide that extra bounce in our step as women for realizing that there are others out there like us! I was also recently invited to participate in a book that focused on Successful Women In Business. Generating more media about the female entrepreneurs and founders that are thriving in business helps mitigate the centuries of misunderstandings of how the female tendencies apply in the business world.
This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
Years ago, when I left my corporate job, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t work anywhere that made me come home in tears as frequently as that job did. I worked extremely late nights to finish projects on-time for my bosses only to find my ideas and projects being presented to corporate as my (male) boss’s original idea. I remember stressing to an insane degree to hit quotas because I was the youngest on the team, and also female which meant I had to prove myself every single week.
I also remember starting to see how many major corporations treat their team members like trash, and thinking that it didn’t make sense.
When I got free and I started running my own business and discovered the idea of the Energy Advantage (Basically, trimming all the stuff from your plate that sucks away your energy and finding someone else, who loves doing that, to do it instead), I realized I could never go back.
Corporate environments shouldn’t be soul-sucking traps. No one deserves to work a job they hate for a boss who makes them miserable.
I believe that establishing more women-led businesses while only accelerate the trend of establishing company cultures that make our employees lives better for being employed by us.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?
There’s a myth that you’re not successful unless you’re funded, acquired, or topping certain revenue levels and driving sexy cars and living in mansions. The thing is, we all know that half of these people showing off their rolex and BMW can barely make the payments for their personal expenses, and I’ve learned that the same thing is happening in so many businesses across the country. I’ve worked with clients running multi-million dollar businesses who are one misstep away from having the close the doors because they have no cash, credit is leveraged beyond belief, and if their client doesn’t pay on time, they can’t pay their vendor and then can’t keep going. More than once.
For years as I was growing my business, I was so incredibly disappointed that we didn’t top the $1M revenue mark within the first year or two. Even as I surpassed milestone after milestone, I felt like I was a failure as a founder and a business owner because we hadn’t lived up to the crazy growth stories of the technology world. Then I realized that, despite having a fraction of the revenue of some of my clients, we had more profit than they did. Not just percentage, but actual dollar amounts. It shook me to realize that revenue numbers, acquisitions, funding, etc, are usually vanity numbers. When I’m generating two and three times as much profit as a $15M company, my business is much more stable.
No, instead of chasing vanity numbers, I have been focused on crafting a solidly run business with a diverse client base (i.e. doesn’t rely on one or two major customers to pay all the bills), true profit margins, and a company culture of engaged, excited team members. I’m happier, and the business is growing faster, and healthier, than before when I chased revenue!
Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?
I definitely don’t think everyone is inherently cut out to be a founder.
That’s not to say that only a select few CAN be founders. I’ve learned not to underestimate people. When there is a strong enough drive and passion for the mission of the business, anyone can push through the discomfort that might come from not having the traits I’m about to list. Sometimes, they can actually perform better because they are working strategically to get back to that comfort zone and establish the business faster to get themselves there.
I’ve found that those who thrive as a founder also thrive in challenging situations. Not just deal with them, but actually get juiced up and thrilled from dealing with problems and solving them. Daily.
Although multi-tasking itself is a lie and there’s no such thing as the ability to actually do two tasks well simultaneously, founders do tend to have a quicker capacity for task switching.
Successful founders also either build or have a strong reserve for self control. Not only in the sense of putting off instant gratification for the reward tomorrow, but also in the sense of being able to control and manager their time.
I find that most successful founders are also engaging, emotionally mature individuals. They bring together a team of people to work and bring out the best in those individuals.
Lastly, founders have to have risk tolerance! Even if they have support platforms in place, like external funding for personal expenses, founders have to be able to calculate and be willing to take the risks necessary to grow their business. To look at the market around them, realize that there’s going to be a greater need and risk investing funds that may not come back if they misjudge or things change. And they have to be able to do this without beating themselves up or freezing or panicking!
In my opinion, individuals who value comfort, stability and consistency over the mission of their business should probably seek employment with someone who will value them and hold a culture that they thrive in. Sometimes I find that people want to be a business owner or founder just to get away from a bad work culture or bad boss. That’s rarely strong enough to motivate them to continue once they are clear from that culture!
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, what are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?”
- So first, as a female founder, it’s key that we are careful about who we allow into our friend circle. I realized in high school that it was a crucial enough piece to success that I focused my first book completely on the power your friends have over your life. I wrote most Friend Power in high school, then finished it and published it after I got into the right friend circles to pave the way after I graduated college. The wrong people in your circle can quickly pull you down. Even minor comments can seem innocent but drag us down and just because someone was part of getting you to where you are doesn’t mean they are part of your future! I will never forget the first time I realized that in my business. I’d been part of this one group of entrepreneurs since I started my business. It was as close to a mastermind as I’d ever experienced at the time and for a while, it was incredibly helpful. I was so grateful for how much they opened my eyes to pieces of business I hadn’t know about. After a couple of years, as my business was undergoing extreme metamorphosis, I remember pulling up to our weekly meeting one day and realizing that I was dreading walking inside. I didn’t want to meet with the members individually and I didn’t want to participate in the weekly meeting. After some soul-searching, I realized that many members of the group were completely content with the status quo. They were not actively working to grow their businesses, and the fact that I was made some of them uncomfortable. A couple members actively worked to box me in. It was tough to make the decision to cut ties, but I realized quickly that if I wanted to keep growing in the direction we were heading, it was time to cull my friend circle and replace them with others who support that growth!
- Secondly, I think women founders need a drive that goes beyond money. At some point, the business is going to be doing well enough that comfort and finances isn’t going to be a motivator any longer. At this point, it’s easy to reach a point of settling for the comfortable instead of continuing to strive. For some businesses, that works just fine. As a female founder in today’s age, we are breaking glass ceilings and establishing exactly what women are capable of in business. I don’t think it’s fair for those who come behind us to settle for an OK business. We need to set the example of what it means to be a founder and business owner. That means establishing a strong, healthy, consistently growing business that is a valuable member of it’s community! Someone who is only driven by financial freedom isn’t going to achieve that. I remember the day I started to realize that financial drive wasn’t enough. I’d always been driven to be a business owner since my parents raised us on the Rich Dad Poor Dad books. When I had the opportunity to start that sales training business, I was ecstatic. But as I reached a level where my bills were paid consistently and I was doing well financially, I quickly realized that it wasn’t the business I wanted. I wanted to be making an impact for small businesses across the globe. I watched my parents struggling to build their business through out high school and college. I saw the challenges small business owners faced. I’d, without realizing it at the time, established the largest and most active sales training practice in Central Texas in less than two years and I was finding myself less motivated to get into the office daily even sell tickets to our events. It took some soul searching to discover that I needed to shift the entire business model. Since making the choice to shift into designing and producing large-scale educational events for entrepreneurs, there have many moments I’ve lifted my head to look around and think about how how much easier things would be if I’d stayed as a sales trainer and business coach. And I’d be so much less fulfilled!
- Third, any founder that wants to succeed needs a commitment to constant personal growth. I think women are held up to a higher standard because we are setting the stage and expectations for what we can accomplish in business, so it becomes even more crucial that we are committed to that constant growth. But beyond just a commitment, we have to have a plan for how to keep that personal growth continuing. Human psychology seeks the status quo. It’s safer and less likely to result in catastrophe. We will instinctively work to maintain a level balance because new can be scary! So when we get busy, the first thing to slide off our plate is personal growth. I don’t think I would have believed how impactful it can be until I started running these educational events. Then I had to show up for them consistently because it was my business but I underestimated how much it would change me. The growth that has happened out of it has been incredible. In one of the most tangible examples, I keep rigorous journals. Daily journals. Travel journals. Personal journals. CEO Journals. I have four or five journals going at any time with various themes and it’s really intriguing to me, every time I fill a journal to look back at the initial entries versus the final entries. Because I’m filling multiple journals at once, it can take years to finish a journal. Recently, I finished the travel journal I started in 2015 and I was absolutely staggered to read back through the initial entries. I filled pages and pages obsessing over how to increase revenue and all the ways I felt I was failing. I remember the despair I felt writing those journals. The angst and overwhelming emotion threatening to sink me constantly. The things I obsessed over and focused on felt so small compared to what I focus on now. The ways I obsessed over things and let them fill my mind and my body with anxiety blows me away. The fact that I can put out six fires the day before an event without breaking a sweat, and focus more on the finer details of these events and how to maximize our impact, both through the events, but also through our marketing and in the community without letting them take over my mind or rob me of my joy is remarkable to see!
- Along the same lines of personal growth, I believe that all entrepreneurs must become students of marketing. My whole life was drastically easier when I finally embracing being a marketer, not just an event producer (the days of “build it and they will come” are LONG over!). Additionally, as a woman founder, we aren’t cut any slack just because we’re women. We are expected to keep up with the competition and the competition has a fanatical approach to marketing. They often have deeper pockets, since few female founded firms receive financial backing, and they tend to receive more media attention (partially because there’s more of them than there are of you!) and we have to thoroughly understand marketing to get the attention we are due. In 2019, I read a book called Find Your Yellow Tux by a guy named Jesse Cole. It broke me and put me back together. I started to realize that marketing was not just having a great website and a few Facebook ads. Marketing was about getting attention. And that also meant doing things that other people weren’t willing to do to get the attention that they weren’t getting. To be a little crazy and wildly committed to communicating my marketing message to the greater marketplace. And it meant dedicating time to designing marketing that would get attention. It meant putting out marketing that we thought was going to get a lot of attention, and that failed miserably, but at least we learned. It meant bringing on more team members with higher level marketing skills. It meant recognizing that I didn’t have to be the best at ever aspect of marketing for my business either. In the book, Jesse exhorted us to “find your yellow tux” — the thing that you do that is so wildly outlandish that people can’t help but stare. Jesse wears a banana yellow tux to all the baseball games that his team plays, and they do crazy fun stuff (Like having a golf caddy escort the batter out to the pitching plate and offer a couple of golf clubs before finally pulling out a bat!). And it’s paying out. Jesse and the Savannah Banana’s are receiving national media attention with a $0 marketing budget. Because he’s made himself a student of marketing and is willing to step beyond the norm and do something a little wild and crazy, like wear a yellow tuxedo to a baseball game!
- Lastly, I think female founders must have a keen mind for numbers and finance. Managing finances well is incredibly importantly, partially because there’s less money being thrown at us, but also because it’s an incredible asset to be able to manage money well. There’s actually a phenomenon called Over Capitalization that happens when a firm receives so much money that they end up squandering it on risks that aren’t well thought out and expenses that won’t actually help move the business forward. As women, we rarely have to deal with this, but we do have to manage our margins carefully. I mentioned Mike earlier because his book Profit First absolutely changed how I managed finances for the business and personally. The year I met Mike, I booked him to come speak at the Grow Retreat the following year, and started trying to implement his Profit First concepts with some minor success. At the end of August that year I sat down and added up all my financial commitments and all the scheduled revenue and my stomach fell out. It was nearly midnight by the time I finished adding everything up. The house was dark around me, the only light was my desk light and I remember sitting there, just fighting to breath and looking at the sticky note in front of me: $112,000. I had to generate an extra $112k in revenue on top of the money that was already scheduled to come in over the next four months to pay all the bills that were about to hit for the upcoming retreat. I had one other moment in my career when I thought I was having a heart attack because my heart was beating so hard and my chest hurt so bad. Our best revenue month, up till that point, was around $28k. It was a HUGE gap to fill. I sat there, realizing that one day, I would look back on that day and smile with compassion, and just wanting to cry. I committed that I would do things different from here on out. And fortunately, I did. Every quote that goes out now has to be run up against the Profit First process. We use the bank accounts that Mike recommends. I track things rigorously. On the last day of every month I sit down with my CMO (myself) and evaluate all the financials. Plan for taxes, and distributions, expenses, budgeting, etc. And I revel every time I have a month with five figures in profit, and treasure looking forward to the day I’ll have a month with six figures of actual cash-in-the-bank net profit!
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
It sounds strange, but I’m so extremely proud of the company culture we’ve built and knowing that my team members are stronger, better, happier people for being part of my company. I’ve worked in toxic work cultures and I’ve seen my husband working in a toxic work culture. When I got out of my toxic culture, I was able to better support him and when he got out of his, he was able to better support me. We are both happier working in work environments that we enjoy being a part of, and it allows us to be better individuals. It thrills me to know that I can make that kind of impact on my team members and their families too. A few years back, one of my team members, after a few years working for me, had realized that the relationship she was in was unhealthy and damaging and was able to be strong enough to walk away and work on herself. Another team member recently was in a position where she can support her spouse while he goes and establishes himself in a new industry and for a company that makes him substantially happier because she is doing well financially and strong enough emotionally to be there for him.
Beyond my team, I also realized in 2020 that we had a unique set of skills and connections that we could use to support the struggling small business community. We already had the skillsets onboard and payroll was payroll regardless, so I brought the team together and called in every favor I had in the speaking industry to put on a free virtual event at the same caliber that would typically command a $3–5k ticket! At that point, I started to realize just how much good we could do for the community. We put on another series of free events in the spring of 2021 and established the Impact Awards (complete with cash prizes for the recipients) this fall, and we’re just getting started with the good stuff we’re bringing to the small business community!
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.
I would encourage us all to recognize that we have control over our personal choices. We don’t have control over what happens around us. But we do have control over how we choose to respond. We have control over whether we choose to let life happen to us, or to make life happen around us.
When I learned to own this, my life drastically changed. I went from never finishing anything, including business plans & ideas, to running a highly successful business in an industry that is brutally difficult to establish profit margins in, impacting thousands of lives, and actually being happy!
It’s important to remember that happiness is also a choice. If you need to get some help for your mental health to be able to make that choice, do it. But life is far too short to live unhappy.
Craft a life you love!
We are very blessed that some very prominent 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.
Honestly, I am so blessed that I’ve gotten to connect with so many of the prominent people I look up to through bringing them in to speak at our events….there are a few people I’d LOVE to get to know better though so I’ll take advantage of this interview to call them out!
I’ve emailed back and forth with Seth Godin a few times, attempting to bring him in for some of our events, and just have the utmost respect for that man! He’s beyond brilliant. His book, The Dip, saved my sanity. All Marketer’s Tell Stories completely shifted my perspective on marketing and Purple Cow was the book I had to read in college that established marketing as the direction I wanted to go with my life and resulted in me being where I am today.
Donald Miller is another person I would be blown away to sit down and chat with. His perspective on marketing is just brilliant. He completely changed how I look at crafting marketing messaging and gave me the ability to verbalize stuff I’d known intuitively, but didn’t know how to say. I recommend his book to everyone right next to Seth’s books and Mike Michalowicz’s Profit First!
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.
Female Founders: Stephanie Scheller of Grow Disrupt On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.