Catalytic Leadership

From Silence to Success: A Story of Resilience and Entrepreneurship, with Amber Powers

September 25, 2023 Dr. William Attaway Season 2 Episode 10
Catalytic Leadership
From Silence to Success: A Story of Resilience and Entrepreneurship, with Amber Powers
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Have you ever wondered what it takes to break free from a cult and find your voice? Our guest, Amber Powers, shares her extraordinary journey of resilience and strength from a repressed upbringing to a thriving entrepreneur. After the passing of her mother, Amber felt the lingering effects of the trauma inflicted through the silent treatment, but she discovered her voice and strived to create a space free from repression and oppression. 

It was during Amber's venture into entrepreneurship that her struggle for genuine connection at Florida's local networking events came to light. Undeterred, she took it upon herself to establish a global group for women business owners, providing them not just a platform, but a community to overcome obstacles, celebrate achievements, and foster meaningful relationships. Amber further shares her insights into the vital role of ethical influence in shaping narratives, an area that she passionately works in.

Navigating through life's adversities, Amber's story stands testament to the power of resilience as a catalyst for change, a principle that resonates with our host, Dr William Attaway. Join us for an enlightening episode that promises to leave you inspired!

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About Dr. William Attaway:

Meet Dr. William Attaway, your guide to peak performance. As a seasoned Executive Mindset and Leadership Coach with nearly 30 years of experience, William empowers high-performance entrepreneurs and agency owners to conquer challenges and maximize their potential. Join him on the Catalytic Leadership podcast as he shares insights on achieving Clear-Minded Focus, Calm Control, & Confidence, helping you thrive in business and life.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to Catalytic Leadership, the podcast designed to help leaders intentionally grow and thrive. Here is your host author and leadership and executive coach, dr William Attaway.

Speaker 2:

Hey, it's William and welcome to today's episode of the Catalytic Leadership podcast. Each week, we tackle a topic related to the field of leadership. My goal is to ensure that you have actionable steps you can take from each episode to grow in your own leadership. Growth doesn't just happen. My goal is to help you become intentional about it. Each week, we spotlight leaders from a variety of fields, organizations and locations. My goal is for you to see that leaders can be catalytic, no matter where they are or what they lead. I draw inspiration from the stories and journeys of these leaders and I hear from many of you that you do too. Let's jump into today's interview. I am thrilled today to have Amber Powers on the podcast. After escaping the grip of a cult, even losing two family members in the Jonestown Massacre, amber Powers is a shining example of resilience and strength. She dared to dismantle the lies that she once embraced as truths and emerged a successful entrepreneur who is dedicated to helping others bravely embrace their voice and their purpose, regardless of their past. Amber is both the president of Powers Digital Marketing and the founder of Shop From Her, a startup intended to cause consumers and businesses to consciously choose to buy or hire from a woman-owned business. She has over 22 years of marketing experience and has successfully led her marketing firm, specializing in creating and nurturing ethical influencers, since 2014. Amber, I'm so glad you're here. Thanks for being on the show.

Speaker 3:

My pleasure. Thank you so much, Dr Attaway.

Speaker 2:

I would love for you to share some of your story with our listeners, particularly around your journey and your development as a leader. How did you get started? And, by the way, call me William.

Speaker 3:

Okay, Wonderful Respect where respect is due right.

Speaker 1:

All good, all good.

Speaker 3:

So tell us a little bit about your story, wonderful. Thank you so much, william. So yes, essentially my story started not to dig too much into the trauma, but it started in a very repressed voice from birth, really having grown up and not cold. And then, as I emerged as an adult, it actually happened, really, when I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer. She was 50 years old and she was such a strong force in my life, oftentimes in the form of manipulation through silent treatment and that sort of thing. If she did not get her way, if she did not subscribe to her beliefs, you are dealt with silent treatment for who knows? And so for me the silent treatment was a form of trauma and torture, really, because I so desperately sought her happenings and so I often silenced my own needs and wants and desires to meet hers. And when she passed away, that opened up a freedom for me to actually for who I was, because before that I didn't really know. And in finding out who I was, it was a long journey. It was a long journey and a lot of learning comes through making mistakes, as we all know. If we've spent any amount of time here, we know that we've learned through the mistakes and the failures that we've used. So through those mistakes and through those failures, I really began to understand who I was and what my purpose was here. And when I embraced, knowing that my purpose was to find my voice and to use it and to lead others to do the same, that's when my whole world really opened up.

Speaker 2:

I can't imagine growing up in a repressive environment like that, where your voice is silenced forcefully. What was it like coming out of that and trying to find your sea legs with your own voice?

Speaker 3:

I still suffer the repercussions of that. It is a daily occurrence. I'm married now for the second time, so a wonderful man, and he saw the brilliance in me, in the light, and he really nurtures that every day. But it literally is something that I still struggle with on a daily basis. He'll ask me do you prefer this or that? It can be something as simple as are you too hot? You look like you might need the lower temperature or whatever, and I'll be like, oh well, I'm this and I'm that. And he's like Amber, are you hot? Like you can tell me yes or no, and it really is a struggle. And that goes back to we weren't supposed to make anyone feel inconvenienced, especially as women. We were supposed to take the back seat. We were supposed to be while. Nurturing is definitely something that comes naturally for me. We were to be that at all times and to self-sacrifice at all times. We were to be seen and not heard, and so I would just say that this is something that it isn't just fixed overnight. For me, it's an unsangling of that broke very daily basis. It's not an hourly basis.

Speaker 2:

You know, as the, my wife and I have been married for almost 26 years and we have two daughters One is in college and one is in high school and that has obviously informed my view on a number of different things having daughters. But hearing your story and hearing that type of repressive expectation and demand really just reignites a fire in me to make sure that they never experience something like that. That is that's something that matters a great deal to me. You know, part of my life I lead in the local church and I have been so clear for decades now that I believe that what the church should be is a place where all of those things that divide us out there in the world are not to divide us in here. Whether it's gender, whether it's socioeconomic status, whether it's raised, it doesn't matter, Because you know we are all invited to the table, we're all welcome and we're all welcome to use our gifts and lead, no matter where we are. And so I hear what you're saying and it just it just reignites that fire in me for them, because I want them to experience a place and a world that does not have that type of repression and oppression.

Speaker 3:

And that's my hope really is that if there isn't a flame there, if there isn't even a spark there, that it like just catches a spark in somebody and turns into a flame, because we all deserve to be heard, we all deserve to be seen, and so many of us, I truly believe we belong to another, and when we take that approach and we care for each other like we would care for ourselves in a perfect world, right, that's when magic truly starts to happen. So that is really my hope is to bring healing to the world that needs it through this message.

Speaker 1:

I love that.

Speaker 2:

And I can see your passion about helping women and about helping girls in this. I mean it, just it exudes from you. I'm curious like is this the catalyst that really moved you into shop from her?

Speaker 3:

So interesting story. What moved me into shop from her was the start was a move to Florida. My now husband, Ben Boyfriends, and I decided to move about six, seven years ago to Florida and when we got here I had lost all of my clients. Indiana was where we moved from and, being a very local, centric community that we came from when I moved, that was it. We were in the middle of buying a house and we had to start from ground zero. Like we were literally living on savings. That was it, and so when we got to Florida, I was like all right, we got to hit the ground running. We got a network you know every place that we can, and I left a very strong supportive network in. Indiana. So when I got to Florida, I found this very I describe it as taking form of marketing.

Speaker 1:

You lack of a better word.

Speaker 3:

It was very like you have your 30 seconds where you can give your you know 30 seconds elevator pitch or whatever, and then you have 45 minutes at the end of the network meeting to have knob with the right people and then leave, and it just didn't feel. It didn't feel right to me, and so essentially what happened was I decided I attended five of those network meetings in one day, exhausted and, quite honestly, I felt very defeated. I was like if I run to five in the same day and all the same people were after all the same events and they all are structured the same way, obviously if it's not out there for me here, I'm going to have to create it. So I did. I created a group of global women business owners and really the purpose of the group and it's housed on Facebook currently is to show up for women in a way that you know if you're going through something, if you're struggling through an obstacle and you're just like I've tried everything you probably haven't, and if you just say what the obstacle is, there are 35,000 women out there now in the group that can help you overcome the obstacle. It truly is a place to connect with other women, to lift each other up, because I believe when we elevate one, we all elevate, and so it's a place to share those wins, where we can celebrate with you. It's a place to share your struggles so we can help you get through them. There are days when we can celebrate or share our businesses and that sort of thing, but that's not really the purpose of the group. There are a lot of groups out there. The thing that makes this group unique is really that connection, like what's simply connected for the sake of wanting to help each other out and elevate all of us as a collective.

Speaker 2:

That's so fantastic. Community is something that I see truly lacking in so many entrepreneurs' lives. They don't have somebody who's going to celebrate with them. They don't have somebody who's going to mourn with them when they need to do that the death of a dream, or the death of an idea or a product or whatever. I love that you have created a community like that that's less focused on. Let me do a hard pitch to you in 45 seconds, which we all know that that's like and more like. Hey, how can we support each other? How can we encourage each other?

Speaker 1:

That's so great.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so one of the things that I did I did research before I started this group to see what was currently out there, to see what the need really was, and I found groups where you can pitch all day long. You can pitch your products, you can pitch your services, and what I found in those groups were cricket. So, people would post their links and there would be no engagement. So how you really connect, how I've built my entire business is through relationship building, like art transfer. Let's just connect because we connect and maybe I become your client. Maybe I don't, but I now know what you do and I now have connected with you from a heart space and chances are, if I find somebody else who is interested or in need of what you have to offer, I'll recommend you. That's the beauty of relationship marketing it is authentic, it is genuine and you simply have to show up as you are, because if you show up as anything else, that's when there are conflicts. There's inner conflict and you're not reaching the right people when you show up in genuine money.

Speaker 2:

So true, you talk about ethical influence. Is that a piece of that?

Speaker 3:

Yes, it is for sure. So I often work with women who they truly have found their voice. They know that they have a message that they need to share with the world. I call them the healers of the world. Some people call them white workers, but they're in a space where they have a message that truly is healing to humanity. They just may need help in positioning it to the right audience. They may need help really defining who their audience is, because they have such a broad message, I don't know who to send this to, and if you don't know who to send it to, your audience doesn't know if you're speaking to them or to someone else. So you have to be so specific. So my job is to come along women who really want to show up authentically, to take off all of the masks that society would want us to wear and simply be who they are and share their message in a very direct way to a very direct person, so that they get their ideal client.

Speaker 2:

That is so good, and I think that's really different from what a lot of people are doing when they're trying to help others with their messaging.

Speaker 3:

Yes, absolutely yeah. One of the things I think influencers have gotten a bad name. That's why I use the term ethical influencers, because oftentimes, anyone who has spent any amount of time on Instagram or TikTok you know exactly what I'm about to say. You see somebody dancing and you're like, oh, that's uncomfortable.

Speaker 2:

Why yes, yes, it is.

Speaker 3:

That's kind of crazy, right, and the reason it's cringey is because on the flip side, you see people dancing and you like, oh, that's hot. Like that person knows what they're doing, right, and it's not because they're a good dancer, necessarily. It's because that's their passion and you can tell it that confidence comes through when they're dancing and they know exactly what they're doing. They know exactly what their purpose is. So my challenge is to people find what you're good at, find what your passion is, and let that come through right, and there are creative ways to do it. You don't have to point, you don't have to dance Like you don't have to do any of that stuff. You can simply show up as you are and your passion. Like you said, you can tell I'm very passionate about this Anyone who watches me knows that too right and so simply show up as you are, let your passion come through, and the rest happens organically.

Speaker 2:

And you're kind of leading the way with this. I mean, you're not afraid of bold steps yourself, whether it's moving to Florida or what you're doing now right, I mean, what Tell us about?

Speaker 1:

that yes.

Speaker 3:

So, to go back to the shot from her mid 2020, back in the middle of the pandemic in that group we had gone from 1000 followers to 15,000 followers within six months. It was just super fast. And the women who were flocking to the group were there because they needed help and they knew that this group was known for that and they're like, oh my gosh, I can do this in my business. I don't have to tell you how do I do that. I don't even know what this looks like. So I called in people of all faith, people who don't necessarily have a religious faith, to lead meditation, prayers, whatever the case may be, just to bring us to a centered faith where we can make good decisions, Because when we get to that space of zero not a thousand or negative 100, like out of balance bring it to a balanced faith and then from there we make a decision. How do we do that Now? Times have changed, how do we progress? And so, from that faith, I was able to hold masterminds and that sort of thing, and I became very clear after doing a lot of research that small businesses and, in particular, women owned small businesses are really disadvantaged. Small businesses period hold up 96% of our economy, and so if small business fails, what's next? We can do the math Literally if 96% of our economy fails, we're tank, and so one of the ways that I decided to show up was to start a platform called Shop from Hers, and essentially, shop from Hers is just a platform where we encourage consumers, whether it's business owners or consumers of goods, to really think about where they buy from. Ideally, it's from a woman owned business. I just want people to be conscious of where they're purchasing from. Stop for just a second before you go to that one platform. That's the easiest place to buy from.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Just take a second, could you send 50 cents more or even $3 more and support a family that needs it? Probably, maybe, not always, but probably and my only ask is that you simply make a decision before you shop, before you hire, stop and think about it for a moment, and my goal is to get people to hire from a woman in business. So that's where shop from her really came in and, as you may reference to, my husband and I sold that Florida house last year in March and we are about to hit the road for the shop from her tour where we travel around the United States and hopefully Canada in the near future, where we travel around and spotlight women owned businesses, particularly women owned businesses that really need that push, that marketing push, to be seen by the right people and really highlight them, work with them on their marketing efforts for a day so that they can then step into the next phase of their growth. So that will take place starting in February of this coming year.

Speaker 2:

Wow, that's a bold stuff and first quarter early next year you have a new book coming out.

Speaker 3:

I do. Yes, I think it's. March 12th is the launch date for the book and it's called Untethered Tales of a Modern Day. Alice and Alice in Wonderland is so resonant with me. When I was eight years old, I watched the 1985 made for TV movie with an all star cast Amy Davis Jr, carol Channing, the whole shebang and I just fell in love with this character and it wasn't until later that I read the book and watched pretty much every version of Alice in Wonderland that you could watch and I resonate so highly with her because it felt like before she was kind of a, you know, in a shell right, and then she goes into this Wonderland where she's kind of the focus of everything and she does this metamorphosis and so many characters in Wonderland are resonant with her story the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. And who are you Like? What is this voice inside of you? And so the book really talks about from the time you know I was born into this church cult where the left and the rug was pulled out from underneath me. Everything that I had built mine to my house upon was ripped out from underneath and finding my feet again to where I lost, my mom started to find my voice and then help other women find their voice and lead them into amplifying them.

Speaker 2:

That's so good. I look forward to reading that.

Speaker 3:

Thank you.

Speaker 2:

I'm curious, Amber you know you're the president of a digital marketing agency. You started the shop from her initiative. How do you continually stay on top of your game? How do you level up with new leadership skills that you need for the next level, where you find yourself?

Speaker 3:

Sure, I think that any leader is constantly immersing themselves in what's next, especially anything digital, anything as a sustained technology. It changes every day, and so I work into my calendar time to actually stay on top of what's coming. Algorithmic changes that are happening on different social media platforms. Is social media dying, like all of the things that are important? How do we maintain influence or status as social media goes a little high? You know, all of these are very important questions, and if I don't stay on top of it, not only am I doing a disservice to my clients, I'm also doing a disservice to me. I'm going to be without a job if I don't stay on top of it. That's right. So, yeah, it is super important to really just continually, and I've always said I'm the student eternal right. I'm the one who's always seeking knowledge, whether it's spiritual knowledge or knowledge as it pertains to my craft.

Speaker 2:

I love that. Every entrepreneur who's listening to this, every agency owner who's listening to this here's your story. And sometimes the stories that we tell can tend to feel a little bit like a highlight reel, where everything is just up into the right. It started bad, but, man, it's just been nothing but smooth sailing right, yes. And that's been your story right, there's been no hiccups, no valleys.

Speaker 3:

Oh, no, never, Never.

Speaker 2:

What are some of the challenges that you face, some of the speed bumps that you've hit.

Speaker 3:

Oh my gosh. So where do we even begin? Honestly, this is one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to launch this book. It's not a book that is full of trauma for the sake of getting pity. I really want people to read this story and go oh my God and this woman can do it, so can I. So I was married into. The person that I chose to marry was from the church I was raised with and that was done very intentionally, because that was what our theology taught us. The person was perfectly fine, he was a nice person, but he just wasn't for me, right, and so I continually kept having to shift. No, it's fine, I'm fine, we're all fine, right, we all have this conversation, everything's fine, but it's not. And when you finally have that aha moment where you're like I need more, it's not that anything is wrong with this, it's just not what I need. And that's okay, right. And so I had that moment I stepped away from my marriage and at that time the divorce got pretty nasty and I lost my first entrepreneurial expedition, if you will, the client that decided to work with me. I had worked with them for a number of years. And they called me in and they were just like look, we love you, like we love you, like family love you, but our business is suffering because your head just doesn't end in the game. I was like right, wow, you're right. I was so young, I had an experience life really at all Outside of what the church taught me, and so this was all brand new. I had to start completely from scratch. So having that carpet yanked out from under me yet again left me homeless. I was sleeping in the apartment community house where I worked at the time, just trying to like make ends meet. Gas had hit an all time high. I couldn't afford a roof over my head. My car got repossessed. I filed for bankruptcy, like you name it, wow, wow. And all of these things, while traumatic, were less than for me, and I think that that we often get stuck in a first so much that we don't take the time to say what is the crime teaching me? And that's where the phrase life doesn't happen to you, it happens for you. What is it trying to teach me? All right, this still sucks. Now how do we start to step out of it?

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 3:

Yes, and so that that was one of the most important lessons where I really started to learn. It's not victim status, it's it's catalyst. Catalyst status. How do I put all myself out of this?

Speaker 2:

That is so insightful and so obviously from what you've been through and I hope everybody listening will grab on to that Because that's a mindset issue, you know that is, that is a realignment of your mindset from, like you say, from victim status. Well, I can't really control, I can't get you know what. That's a choice and I heard, I heard once and I quote often whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely 100%.

Speaker 2:

Is there a book that has really resonated with you in your journey, amber something that you would recommend that every leader read?

Speaker 3:

Yes, I'm going to mention too. Please absolutely the first one is the four agreements. I think a lot of leaders probably have heard of this book, yeah, and while on its surface, these four agreements that the book mentioned, they seem easy enough, so when you really dig in and you listen to what the book is trying to teach you and I think that's the kind of spread was shot from her the intentional in every move that you make, every thought that you have choose it consciously so we can have thought all day long. But if the ones that we choose hold and really like rabbit hole in stew what are you? what are you spending your time in your thoughts? Doing Negative from the positive, in judgment or in observation? What are you doing? And then the second book that I really love is creating affluence by the chokchokra. I'm a huge fan of quantum mechanics and quantum theory. I am by no means an expert, but in my next life that's what I will come back into, and the thing that I love about that is his ability to so easily explain how thought and action relate to quantum mechanics into creating the life that we want to live, and I'm a science junkie, and so being able to really see the scientific explanation between these correlations makes a huge difference for me.

Speaker 1:

I'm a how girl.

Speaker 3:

But why does that work? How does this work? And once I understand that, I can work it to my advantage.

Speaker 2:

That's good, typically when somebody listens to an episode like this and they walk away with one thing. If you were able to decide what that one thing would be. One thing you want people to walk away with. What would you want that one thing to be?

Speaker 3:

So one thing I would say is what we just covered, and it is Sit with where you are now and ask yourself is this where I want to be? And if the answer is no, what can I do to change my circumstances? It does not, I repeat, it does not have to be a huge leap. One of the things that I work with with my clients, my influencer clients, is goal setting, because I think that's where many entrepreneurs fail. They're like I want to be this thing, right, yeah, all right. Well, that's great, but what's your ultimate goal? Why do you want to do this thing? Yes, right, yes. Why do you want to make this difference? Once we have that figured out, we have a goal to attain, and once we have a goal, then we start to figure out the micro step that takes to reach that goal.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

So stepping out of the circumstance and into the goal is really what I would have people start to step up this one.

Speaker 2:

I know folks are going to want to stay connected with you going forward. What is the best way for them to do that?

Speaker 3:

Awesome. Yes, I would love it. You can. If you're a woman who owns her own business anywhere on the globe, you can certainly ask to join the Women Business Owners Supporting Women Business Owners Facebook group. Fairly easy to remember. You can also follow me on Instagram at Amber K K-A-Y powers. Like Austin, so at Amber K powers, you can follow me there on Instagram.

Speaker 2:

Outstanding Amber, thank you for being here today and for sharing so generously and so openly.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, william, I appreciate your time.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for joining me for this episode today. As we wrap up, I'd love for you to do two things. First, subscribe to this podcast so you don't miss an episode, and if you find value here, I'd love it if you would rate it and review it. That really does make a difference in helping other people to discover this podcast. Second, if you don't have a copy of my newest book, catalytic Leadership, I'd love to put a copy in your hands. If you go to catalyticaleadershipbookcom, you can get a copy for free. Just pay the shipping so I can get it to you and we'll get one right out. My goal is to put this into the hands of as many leaders as possible. This book captures principles that I've learned in 20 plus years of coaching leaders in the entrepreneurial space, in business, government, nonprofits, education and the local church. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn to keep up with what I'm currently learning and thinking about. And if you're ready to take a next step with a coach to help you intentionally grow and thrive as a leader, I'd be honored to help you. Just go to catalyticaleadershipnet to book a call with me. Stay tuned for our next episode next week. Until then, as always, leaders choose to be catalytic.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to Catalytic Leadership with Dr William Attaway. Be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so you don't miss the next episode. Want more? Go to catalyticaleadershipnet.

Amber Powers
Creating a Community for Women Entrepreneurs
Overcoming Challenges, Finding Success as Entrepreneur
Catalytic Leadership Principles and Coaching