March is Women’s History Month, which means I had an excuse to reach out to some incredible women whom I’ve had the privilege of TWISTING with through Brand School and Brand Coaching. I spoke to fab female entrepreneurs Fabienne Beard-Wright, CEO and founder of The Hubkraft; Joya Dass, TV news anchor, public speaking coach, and founder of the Women’s Leadership Academy; and Kim A. Page, voice whisperer, keynote speaker, author, and founder of The Right Kind of Loud – about being a female entrepreneur and the magical TWISTS they bring to the world.
So, what is it they do? Fabienne’s Lift Off Special Programming is a “social impact agency that transforms the way people connect and work together by way of movement.” The Hubkraft is a platform that hosts culturally-based dance classes, both live (virtually) and prerecorded. The aim, she says, is to focus on “moving through life with purpose and intention to directly improve mental, physical, and emotional health.”
TV news anchor, Joya, founded the Women’s Leadership Academy, where every eight weeks a new cohort of five women leaders learn from her expertise on how to “command a room, get clients, or get a promotion.” She also teaches a masterclass on public speaking to women leaders. “What they are truly learning,” Joya says, “is how to organize the content in order to be compelling. And nothing is more compelling than telling stories that are unique to you.”
Kim self-describes her work as “a love story” as she works with clients in a multitude of avenues– as a speaking/voice coach; through her webinar course, The Right Kind of Loud Online; and her recent e-book publication. She harnesses expertise assembled from her years of being an expressive artist who has experience living and working in multiple international communities that, in her own words, inevitably “influence everything I do and experience.”
Different aspects of their personal identities find their way into each of these women’s businesses. For Fabienne, her identity as a black woman is at the forefront of her business. To her, “representation is… affirming and empowering.” She continues, “I stand on the back of black women who have paved the way and made it possible for me.” For Joya, excellence is always at the top of her mind. When hiring, that’s what she looks for. She is surrounded by women, not because of their gender, but because of their individual ability and commitment to excellence. “Recently,” she adds, “I replaced my male accountant with a female accountant because she was better at communicating, delivering, and the details.” Sometimes it really is as simple as that! For Kim, emphasis on being a “female entrepreneur” isn’t how she built her career. Instead, she finds it “more useful to relate to female versus masculine values and aspects of our personalities.” This approach is especially beneficial, she notes, while working with people: “It’s an asset to have a strong anima/feminine side enabling us to contain, to listen, and nourish. Without a balanced animus, which translates into drive and direction, however, these qualities might hold us back in a corporate context.”
I certainly find all of these women inspiring; their work strongly reflects each of their personalities, playing upon their strengths, interests, and, of course, their TWISTS. Though in the past she never considered herself to be a role model, Fabienne now recognizes, regardless of that, “people are watching!” She hopes to inspire her students, whom she “strives to equip… with the social and emotional skills that are prerequisites for success in the classroom, and in life.” Fabienne shared with me the person who inspires her most: her mother. “She has been my biggest supporter and has literally shown me that anything is achievable.”
Joya’s approach to inspire “women to take more agency over their lives” comes directly as a result of having been raised in an Indian immigrant household. She cites the cultural codes of “expected female subservience, not having a strong voice, and people-pleasing.” She declares, “Goddamnit. I want to teach women the tools to gain more agency over their lives.” And she does! Today, Joya’s platform where “women can bring their challenges and get sound answers in real-time from a group of other women leaders” empowers women to take matters into their own hands, with consistently positive results. She’s inspired by Kelly Roach. On a call with one of Kelly’s salespeople, Joya was blown away by the young professional. “Where can I hire bright people like that?”
Kim regards herself as a role model. Her success proves that “it is possible to create our own career and life path that bridges across the unknown. And it is possible to do it without a husband and a company arranging our relocation. A woman can move alone to unknown territory and operate just fine.” Despite having encountered her fair share of skeptics, Kim’s experiences serve as confirmation that she’s doing something right. “The strongest leadership,” she tells me, “is the one that comes from the inside. When we tune into this… we bring out leadership into every room we enter.” Inspiration for her is found in her clients; “They give me the opportunity to make a difference. This gift is priceless.”
As successful entrepreneurs, Fabienne, Joya, and Kim all share the wisdom they seek to bestow on someone starting their own business. Fabienne’s advice: “Never forget your WHY. Your WHY is your purpose, and purpose keeps you grounded. Remain true to helping and serving others and your business will thrive, your heart will be full, and you will leave behind a legacy of social good.” Joya’s advice: “Work on your mindset. Build a spiritual practice to help with that mindset. Be intentional about the time you take to work ON your business, versus IN your business.” And Kim’s advice: “Listen to the inner voice about where to go and what to focus on. Try to place yourself in the position of your client. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The intention is just as important as the award or milestone that you celebrate.” Speaking of celebrating, Kim recommends “whenever you can, gather your network and celebrate. Starting our own business is a big endeavor and we work crazy hours. Some glam and sparks make it more fun on the way!”
These women continue to be top-class, inspiring entrepreneurs who I feel privileged to have worked with.
Who is a woman that you’re celebrating this Women’s History Month? Share with me in the comments below.
Connect with these fabulous women on social media to stay up to date as they continue to share their TWISTS with the world!