Can you name another woman, who had an impact on you as a leader?
There are several women, but I am going to have to be cliche and say my mom. She was a single mother, and she was a victim of domestic violence. My mom was able to get me and my brother out and safe. She was a teacher for 43 years. She also worked two jobs to provide for us. She was exhausted but still managed to raise us to be respectable people. As a parent, I don’t know how she did it. I struggle, and I have a husband to help me. It’s amazing to know that she did all of that by herself. She wasn’t trying to be a leader, it just came naturally. All of our successes and mistakes, our kids see it all. Now as a parent, I respect her on a whole new level.
What is your vision of a leader?
I believe a true leader has the best interest of the people who work with them at heart. I’ve worked with a lot of different types of people who were only invested in themselves and what you can do for them. A real leader acknowledges the people around them. They help to guide the people around them and cultivate their talents as well. It’s not just about me. It’s about our collective effort. A good leader helps to pull out their team’s talents, then they send them out to serve their purpose in the world.
What are your current goals?
I am revamping my podcast, CherishedFlight. I had surgery in March, and I am trying to regroup. Before I come back for my next season, I am thinking about how to incorporate some new things into my podcast. I will have 100 episodes, so I am thinking about how can I bring my podcast to the next level.
Also I want to have the flexibility to be more present for my children. My oldest son is going into highschool, so I definitely need to be present. I feel like I am always checking and answering emails. My kids need me.
What is one thing that you wish you’d done differently?
I have a lot of things, but definitely believing in my abilities. It took me a long time to believe in Me. I really take time to appreciate what I bring to the table and not downplaying it to make other people happy. It took me years to get there. When you have kids sometimes your talents start to get lost in the chaos of family life.
All of the jobs that I’ve had were very high maintenance jobs. There was a season where I wasn’t doing anything. When I was doing magazine production, I think to myself ‘wow I was producing some good work.’ Then I was a book editor, and I relaunched Cherished Flight to what it is now. The idea that what I had to share with other people has become important to me. It took me believing in me, which also can be attributed to forming a deeper relationship with God. Once you start seeing your purpose, it changes everything. You don’t have to question if you are doing the right thing. You start operating with a different level of confidence.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken?
Leaving home in 1998 was my biggest risk. I graduated from college in Georgia on May 11, 1998. I moved back home to Nashville, the next day my grandmother had a stroke. She was in a coma for 6 months. When she came out of her coma, she opened her eyes and looked at me. She asked me “what are you doing here?” I explained to her that she was in a coma and that she was in the hospital. She said “No, you are supposed to be gone to New York already. Go!” I left, and I had $1500 in my pocket. I felt like I was rich. If I didn’t go, I knew that I’d be unhappy in Nashville. When I look back I think ‘God protects babies and fools’ and I was both. Somehow I landed on my feet. My whole family thought I was crazy, but it’s what I had to do for me. I would do it again.
How do you stay motivated?
I think there’s a balance to staying motivated. Of course, some days are easier than others. I think loving or liking what I do helps to keep me focused. I get distracted, especially with three kids at home. It is just about being dedicated. Other times I have to be okay with my down time. I am just coming out of a down time. I found that I had to give myself permission to rest. My body forced me to rest. I was down for 2 weeks. The first week, I couldn’t sit down and rest. I didn’t know how to rest. My mom took my phone and laptop. I thought to myself what is wrong with me that my mother has to force me to rest. It’s a matter of making that time for myself. We talk about taking time for ourselves, but we never actually do it. It’s important.
What is your measure of success?
I want to feel accomplished about what I’ve done. I want to feel proud of what I’ve produced. If I look back at something and I feel ashamed, then I am not going to want to be connected to it. When someone says they were encouraged by what I produced, it’s really a God moment. I feel that I am really doing what God wants me to do.
My 12 year old came to me and said his teacher was having a panic moment, because someone came into her class to observe her. After the person left, my son taught her how to do a Peace Break. I didn’t even know that he follows my Podcast. To me that was a success. Sometimes it’s the little things.