Clara Brown – A Black Women Pioneer

Clara Brown – A Black Woman Entrepreneur &

Pioneer

 

 

It’s February 2109 – Black History Month, but every month is Black History Month for me 🙂 It’s the amazing history of who I am! I came across the story of Ms Clara Brown recently in THIS article and wanted to share it. Clara Brown was born into slavery in Virginia in 1800, but when she had the opportunity to exit those horrendous limitations, she thrived as an entrepreneur!

 

No lie – I’m not really feeling this sentence in the beginning of the article referring to the slave master who owned Clara by saying…… “Smith was a kindly man and a devout Methodist; he took Clara and her mother to his church services” because you can’t be too kind when you’ve enslaved other human beings, but I found the story of this woman who overcame so many odds fascinating. I’m smart enough to read through the bullsh*t and still gather the significant historical info found in the article!

 

She was the 1st African-American woman resident of Denver, CO, is thought to be the first African -American involved in the Colorado Gold Rush, and opened a laundry shop. She used her earnings to eventually fund the construction of the St James Methodist Church in Denver. She also served as a midwife to pregnant women in the community. She further invested her earnings in gold mines and real estate. She also spent large amounts of money helping other African-Americans move out west and financed their transition with her own money.

 

The article also goes on to state this:

“A plaque commemorating the life of Clara Brown hangs at St. James Methodist Church in Central City, stating that her home had served as the first church in Central City. In 1930, a chair in the Central City Opera House was installed in her honor. Clara’s life and achievements were commemorated with a stained glass portrait of her in the Old Supreme Court Chambers of the state capitol in 1977.”

 

Clara Brown is considered “one of the 100 most influential women in the history of Colorado.” She was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 1989. In 2003, an opera was written about her life, called Gabriel’s Daughter. It debuted in Central City, Colorado.”

 

Check out the entire article on the story of Ms Clara Brown HERE

 

Dr. Carmen AprilDr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient, is a Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter and is a 2018 Nashville Power Moves Award Winner. She is a Podiatrist and Owner of The Foot And Ankle Healthcare Center, PC in the Nashville area. She is also the creator and owner of Ann DeVeaux Boutique, an online fashion Boutique. She is a Reiki Master, a Law of Attraction Practitioner, and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership & Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals and is the creator of the “Design Your Story” Women’s Empowerment Series.

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Start With Heart

Start with Heart

 

Start with heart

 

I recently came across an interesting article written by Anthony K. Tjan in the Harvard Business Review about entrepreneurship. As a full-time entrepreneur, I’m always reading stories, articles, blogs, and listening to podcasts about entrepreneurship. I love to know what makes people tick, but there’s something with learning about the stories of other entrepreneurs that really interests me!

In doing research for a book he was working on, Tjan and his colleagues interviewed several entrepreneurs who had a successful exit from their business (as in IPO or sale to another firm) and discovered that about 70% of them did NOT start with a formal business plan! Tjan says this: “Instead, their business journeys originated in a different place, a place we call the Heart. They were conceived not with a document but with a feeling and doing for an authentic vision. Clarity of purpose and passion ruled the day with less time spent writing about an idea and more time spent just doing it.”

I can 100% see that being the case. Before I started my medical practice, when it was just an idea in my mind, I heard everyone telling me that I needed a formal, written business plan. So writing a long 60+ business plan is what I did! The financial figures I included weren’t really accurate because I didn’t know how much it would ACTUALLY cost and how much I would ACTUALLY generate in revenue until I was in the thick of it. What drove my business in those early years was HEART and full dedication to making my business successful……. NOT the formal business plan.

I encourage your to check out Tjan’s full Harvard Business Review article HERE and tell me what you think……..

 

Dr. Carmen April           Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient, is a Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter and is a 2018 Nashville Power Moves Award Winner. She is a Podiatrist and Owner of The Foot And Ankle Healthcare Center, PC in the Nashville area. She is also the creator and owner of Ann DeVeaux Boutique, an online fashion Boutique. She is a Reiki Master, a Law of Attraction Practitioner, and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership & Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals and is the creator of the “Design Your Story” Women’s Empowerment Series.

In Order To Achieve Success, You Must First Define It

In Order To Achieve Success, You Must First Define

It!

Achieve Success

               I’ve never known anyone to set a goal of wanting to be unsuccessful. We all want to succeed in life, but what does Success really mean? Success is different for everyone and the first step to achieving the success you desire is to define what it looks like for you! Success for some may involve great wealth, owning a business, leading a community organization, holding a political office, having a C-Suite position in Corporate America, or having a fabulous company expense account. For others, it may involve raising a successful family, or having a schedule that allows them to travel the world and explore other cultures.

                 It’s important to realize that there is no one definition of success. I recently asked a group of Junior High Students what Success looks like for them and they all gravitated toward the definition of success that involves having lots of money, a big house and a fancy car. I’m sure when many of you were in Junior High School, your definition of success probably sounded a little something like this too! We are fed images in the media that strongly suggest to us that success involves just what those students imagined success to be. However, at what point do we consider that there are other definitions of success than this. How do you go about defining it for yourself?

Consider these questions to guide you to your personal definition of success:

❐ What are your career goals?

❐ What are your family goals?

❐ What is your Purpose in life?

❐ What excites you most in life?

❐ Who are the people you value most in your life? Why?

❐ What motivates you?

❐ How are your choosing to live your life on Purpose right now? How do you plan to do this in the future?

Take some time to think about these questions and write down the answers. I’m a huge proponent of writing down your goals and visions. There’s power in writing these things down!

Create the definition of success for yourself and don’t let anyone else define it for you. (Tweet this!)

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

                Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Why the Overnight Success We Wish For May Not Be So Great After All

Why the Overnight Success We Wish For May Not

Be So Great After All

Success

 

               “Success” is a goal most of us have for our lives. In today’s social media culture, we see images of people who seem to have figured it out overnight. There are people everywhere you turn who ‘guarantee’ to show you how to become an overnight success! Please don’t believe the hype! Success doesn’t happen overnight and here are a couple of reasons it probably wouldn’t be a good idea anyway:

1.) Don’t believe the hype – Overnight success is very rare! Even the stories we seem to think about as overnight successes are not really so. Facebook seemed to become part of popular culture over night, but a little research into its history tells a very different story. Facebook today looks nothing like it did when it first started by a Harvard College student. It has taken time to evolve into what it is today.

2.) Too much success and attention before you’re ready can actually be detrimental, especially if you are not prepared. We see way too many young actors and actresses get cast into the limelight before they are really ready for all the fame, attention and criticism. Many of them don’t handle this “overnight success” well and end up with substance abuse issue, run-ins with the law, troublesome family relationships, etc. Part of the hardships that are encountered along the road to success is humbling and offers a more realistic perspective on what success really is. This leads me to the 3rd point………

3.) It’s the small things that matter – The small things you learn on your journey to achieving that personal level of success, however you choose to define it, will probably help you appreciate the success more once you’ve achieved the goal(s). You don’t acquire critical skill sets overnight. This comes through a process of trying new things, testing, failing, succeeding, then trying again.

4.) Anything worth having is worth working for. Not many people are simply handed everything they want on a silver platter. Dedication to your goals and hard work is admirable. It is in this preparation that you really learn how to be a master of your craft and deliver what your customers, clients and teams need and want!

5.) Wisdom develops with time. Just as it takes time to bake a cake from simple ingredients to a finished product, it takes time to produce a great finished project in your career! Think about what happened the last time you tried to skip over some steps when baking your grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookie recipe. When you leave out ingredients and steps in the process, the end product turns out to be a mess! Part of what makes Grandma’s famous cookies famous, is the attention to detail and care she puts into creating the finished product!

Remember – there is really no such thing as Overnight Success. It’s ok to look to others for inspiration, but Never Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle!

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

      Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril

Be Brave in Leadership: 5 Tips for Initiating Crucial Conversations

Be Brave in Leadership: 5 Tips for Initiating Crucial

Conversations

 

              There are often times when leaders are tasked with having Crucial Conversations with members of their team. Crucial Conversations are those conversations that can be uncomfortable because they involve risky, emotional and critical topics. One definition of Crucial Conversations states it this way, “A crucial conversation is a discussion between two or more people where (1.) Stakes are high (2.) Opinions Vary, and (3.) Emotions run strong. The outcome greatly impacts the lives of those involved.”

                Crucial Conversations should not be avoided and should be addressed with planning and clear intention. Mastering the art of initiating a Crucial Conversation is a key Leadership Skill. Here are 5 tips to help initiate a Critical Conversation:

1.) Create a safe environment –  Crucial Conversations are best when not had in public. I learned a long time ago to “Praise in public and reprimand in private”. Most people, when feeling like they are being criticized, become defensive. This can intensify if done in front of others. Instead of focusing on the subject at hand, the person on the receiving end of the information may begin to focus more on defending themselves and their dignity than on being fully engaged in the conversation.

2.) Be prepared for a number of responses from the other person(s) in the conversation – When planning to have these types of conversations, we often play them out in our heads the way we expect the other person(s) to respond. Well, what happens when that other person gives an alternative response? How will you redirect the conversation? Remember that the person you are having the conversation with may be either (1.) fully receptive, (2.) genuinely confused and caught off guard about why they are being approached in regards to the situation, or (3.) may become defensive. Be prepared for your response to various scenarios.

3.)  Approach your Crucial Conversations using the Sandwich Method – Imagine you have a fabulous cheeseburger with all the fixings in front of you. The major components of the sandwich are the bun, top and bottom, and the beef patty. Crucial Conversations are best structured with offering some sort of positive reinforcement about what the team member has done well (top bun), followed by the sensitive issue that needs to be discussed (beef patty), then followed up again by positive reinforcement (bottom bun). Essentially, you are ‘sandwiching’ the hard part of the discussion in between some positivity.

4) Remember that mutual respect is important for the accurate transference of information – Most adults don’t like to feel “talked down to” by anyone, including their boss/team member, etc. As the Leader, you must remember that the “fight or flight instinct”  kicks in when people feel threatened. These Crucial Conversations can easily go left if a mutual respect is not had by both parties. I did not say both parties had to “like” each other, but mutual respect is important here.

5.) Stay in control of the conversation – Stay on task with the conversation at hand. Keep emotions in check. Deal in the facts and not conjecture and remember the initial goal of the conversation.

How will you handle your next Crucial Conversation at work/community organization, etc?

– Dr. April

Crucial Conversations

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

This post is part of a series on Leadership presented by Dr. Carmen April. She is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is currently a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on this topic.