The Alimond Show

Edna Howard - CEO & Owner of Voices of Encouragement

March 21, 2024 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Edna Howard - CEO & Owner of Voices of Encouragement
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Emerging from a chrysalis of transformation, we reconvene on a journey that's as personal as it is professional. Through the thicket of challenges and the bloom of success, today's conversation plants seeds of empowerment, specifically for women who are striving to cultivate their leadership skills, bolster their confidence, and nurture a growth mindset. With my role as a coach and guide, I take you through the inspiring tales of resilience and the pivotal moments where the switch from self-doubt to self-validation can turn a tight bud into a magnificent flower.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to own your narrative and wield your history, dark corners and all, as a tool for empowerment? We touch upon the transformative practice of shadow work, the art of self-encouragement and the courage to trust one's instincts. Shedding light on personal stories, these dialogues illuminate the path for anyone ready to embrace their full potential. Whether it's through reflective introspection or actionable strategies, this episode is a treasure trove for those eager to write their own story of triumph.

Let's not forget, the journey of personal development is inextricably linked with professional prowess. That's why we tackle the world of marketing and business growth, where I share my experiences as an Alignable ambassador and the exciting future of 'A Woman's Heart' podcast. The art of connection is not lost on us, as we delve into the ways in which networking, community building, and even vision board classes can map out the road to success. So, sharpen your pencils and join us as we plot out our dreams, one actionable goal at a time.

Speaker 1:

How many years ago was it that I saw you?

Speaker 2:

Maybe two years? I think it was. No, it was more than that, what's it?

Speaker 1:

I feel like it was. It was during COVID. Oh yeah, it was two years. Then it was two years, that's right, because it was at Swirling Studio.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you're coming into the two years.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, because this year we were supposed to do it again and we didn't.

Speaker 2:

Oh you guys didn't do it this year, Because we do it. Yeah, we usually do it every other year. Yeah, every other year, yeah this is kind of replacing the ladder in 100.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so we're going to I see that that's good Next year do a gathering of everybody that's on the podcast.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so you're telling me that now you like prepare your mind because it's coming. Okay, that sounds wonderful.

Speaker 1:

My chain don't even know about it yet.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, you just put it out there for them. I love that. That's so good. I love it.

Speaker 1:

Because that's where the magic happens, is when you bring everybody together.

Speaker 2:

It really is, that's true.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love it so what's happened since the last two years?

Speaker 2:

Let's see, since the last two years I've really started to do personal, yeah, personal, professional development. We have become an official training and development company. Okay, working with women in the workforce, leadership training, mindset coaching, confidence coaching. Now, why women? Specifically because I have a woman's heart and I love, love, love working with women and watching them kind of transform into this. They've started out as tight bud and then they transform into this flower of all the things they wanted to do everywhere they wanted to go, a book they might have wanted to write. So being able to see that and knowing that, that was kind of in me and I had to bring it out. So now I get to help, to help to bring it out to other people, I love that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I love working with women. They're so awesome. They really are. I mean, we are a force to be reckoned with. And when you really get to the core of what may be holding someone back, that's when you really get to see the transformation. It's like, okay, this thing was holding you back. It might have been a negative self-belief or a mindset that needed to be shift. And then once they they figure that out and they're on the path, I get to watch them kind of walk through that.

Speaker 1:

What have you seen has been like a top three either mindset or obstacles that have gotten in women's way.

Speaker 2:

And this even for myself. Imposter syndrome is one I mean you get to a level of success and then you start to feel like did I really do this? I've seen that confidence because a lot of times women struggle with something someone said to them years ago, a childhood trauma that may be holding them back, and then also a negative self-belief. So those are the three key top ones that I've seen over the years and then what have you seen that?

Speaker 1:

What have you seen?

Speaker 2:

that happens once you're able to help women push past through that a lightness in their spirit, and I'm working with a couple of clients right now and just being able to hear the difference from the time we started to meet to where we are now and I'm talking three months, six months to a year and seeing the difference in the spirit and the difference in the mindset and how they're thinking now as opposed to the way they were thinking before, and so that is pretty awesome to see when I see them like this is so good.

Speaker 2:

And then I realized too I'm a woman of faith. So part of my journey has been to lay the foundation from a faith perspective. So I use biblical principles in my coaching practice and a lot of the women at that point in their life they need that kind of shot in the arm, of some type of encouragement or empowerment, so I get to watch them also blossom in that, where I had a client and she said I said well, give me your testimonial, we work together. She said you show up for people and I now am going to church because of some of the scripture I read or some of the principles you laid down for me, and I think that that was one of the most powerful experiences I could get from a client. Just say that and I thought you know what You're doing, what guy has called you to do your purpose, your passion, it's poured into the coaching business.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, wow, so sorry I interrupted you as you were telling me kind of what the business structure looks like.

Speaker 2:

Okay, Mindset work. Mindset work we also have expanded out into the workforce. So I say we have kind of a couple of pillars in voices of encouragement. We started off very humbly in my home as just getting women together to encourage one another, and then it springboarded off into it being a empowerment workshops quarterly. So we met at the Belmont and then COVID hit. We were doing so good, we were building our momentum and loving that, so it's the workshops.

Speaker 2:

And then when COVID hit, I pivoted and went online and so the online practice made me see that we needed to go beyond the workshop, because women were really struggling in the COVID era and everything that was happening. And so you're looking at workshops. Now you're looking at mindset work, which is coaching, and during COVID I opened to practice the coaching practice, ice coaching and consulting services, which is inspire coaching and power. Okay. So I realized then that women needed that personal work. But then we expanded into the workforce because even though I was working personally, a lot of women needed it professionally. So there's three pillars there's the workshop, there's mindset coaching and then there's the workforce development side of things.

Speaker 1:

I love that and it's all interconnected it is. Right, it really is your faith, your personal home your mindset, your belief system.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Work, it's all it is.

Speaker 2:

It's all interconnected and the interesting thing is a lot of people think that it's a disconnect, Like your faith is over here and you work over here. Those two are very integrated and to be able to show that kind of in a model, to show that everything you do is integrated, your life is integrated and the connections you make is always a reason and a purpose for everything.

Speaker 1:

What do you mean by that?

Speaker 2:

There is a reason and a purpose for you and I meeting right now. Again, we met before and always believe that there's a divine connection with each person you meet. There's a reason why I'm here. There's a reason why I get to share part of my story with you. It may or may not encourage you, but you'll never know that unless you go and be a part of your journey.

Speaker 2:

So the connection being part of each person's journey and then watching the other connections because being in business, part of that is networking and connecting folks, and so a big piece of my business and I didn't realize this was connecting people and I get a lot of feedback from folks saying, yeah, you're a connector, and I heard it so many times. I was like I guess I am, because I didn't think about it as like that. I felt like it was just something that I did because it was in my spirit to say, oh, she needs this and she has that, so let me connect these two folks and then leave it with them, and so that's what I mean connecting people, showing up, divinely connected. A lot of times it's just the part of your journey and it could be for a reason, a season or a lifetime, but you never know, unless you show up.

Speaker 1:

And sometimes you don't know it until years later. Exactly or you're never really conscious of it, unless somebody if that's happened to me before where they're like well, how did you meet that person? Right, and I'll be like I don't know, and I'll really sit and think about it. I'm like that too.

Speaker 2:

I'm like I have no idea. Or it's kind of embarrassing when you have to say we're in with me again. Yes, who connected us? Or?

Speaker 1:

how did we, yeah, and then you kind of go like three or four layers back and it's like, oh, that conversation I had with so and so six years ago led to this really important connection with this person.

Speaker 2:

I agree with that. Yeah, but, like I said, you won't know unless you show up. So showing up is half of it. Even when I got the call from your studio to say, hey, we would love to have you on the podcast show, and I thought I'm gonna go, I'm not gonna not go, I'm gonna go. I love that. But I could have been in my quiet corner in saying, no, I think I'm gonna pass on that, but then I would pass on a really great opportunity.

Speaker 1:

That's right, yeah so, yeah, no, I love that In terms of three to four things that you wish people knew about. The mindset, the set book, or even just overalls. Yeah, what are three or four things that you find yourself saying again and again?

Speaker 2:

I think one. Well, the first thing is to encourage yourself. A lot of people are waiting around to be validated by other folks, and I even in the coaching sessions or even across workforce development, you see that where they're waiting for a supervisor or someone to say you did a great job. You have to be able to encourage yourself, and I teach that it's like what are the tools and techniques to do that? That's one, being able to encourage self. The other one is being able to trust your gut, trust your instinct. If you have an idea or something you wanna bring to fruition, don't wait around asking people's opinions and that kind of thing Go and do it, go and do it. And then the last thing is just really get rid of your negative self beliefs. And that requires work Because, again, some people have, or some women have, childhood trauma or work trauma or trauma in life that they have never shaken. So they have to get the right tools in place to do that. So those would be the three core things I think.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes that negative self-talk, like you said, has been with us since childhood, so it's literally been like your friend, your negative friend, and it's been with you for like 40 years exactly Feels comfortable feeling or thinking that way, so to say okay, now let's get into a growth mindset.

Speaker 2:

What does that look like? That requires work. It requires shadow work and it requires you to really take the time to sit with yourself to figure out what are your triggers, what is making you feel like you can't move forward, and then kind of digging deeper in there and making yourself move forward. What shadow work? Shadow work is those dark parts of your life that hold you back, like, for example I can use my own self as an example very transparent.

Speaker 2:

I had my son when I was young and one of the things I always felt like I don't really want people to know that, but that's part of my power. So when I step into my power and say you know that's part of who you are and you've raised an amazing young man and you did these things, and you start to talk to yourself that way as opposed to, well, I really don't want to share that with anyone because they might judge me and people do judge folks but you have to be the woman who God made you to be to step into your power, and so shadow work is those things that we don't really want people to know about us because we feel like they might judge us or say something about us behind our back or, you know, may not fit into that tribe or that group and shadow work needs to happen internally and for that person and then you need to walk in that power.

Speaker 1:

And you work with people on that side. I do, I do.

Speaker 2:

That's probably pretty heavy it is, but it shows them that you know you've been holding on to this thing. It's no longer serving you. It didn't serve you then, but now, because it's in your subconscious, it's in your spirit, it's holding you back. So shadow work needs to happen, because those are the beliefs that hold us back.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, wow. And so, in terms of marketing, how are you growing your business?

Speaker 2:

Several different ways that I market a word of mouth, have a lot of referrals, and then social media platform is LinkedIn, instagram, and then we also have a podcast show, a Woman's Heart. So I market it that way and the way that I love to bring on other business owners onto the podcast show so they can market their business and they can talk about how they can help the women in the workforce or sometimes the women that need personal professional growth. So, yeah, we have several different ways we put it out there. Awesome.

Speaker 1:

So it's not just referrals. Isn't that just referrals? A lot of people I've been asking there. It's just referrals because it's such an easy when you do a good job, it's easy to get more clients. But I believe it's important to have multiple buckets that you're reaching and connecting with people.

Speaker 2:

Agreed, agreed. I do want to say, though, there's one thing that I just stepped into. It's alignable. I don't know if you've heard of alignable or not, but I'm now an alignable ambassador. I've been with them for like three or four years. They do a lot of online networking, and you can do educational events, webinars, all of that and, as an alignable ambassador, they require you to have one live event a month. I said that is perfect.

Speaker 2:

We're gonna start in January, so I already have women lined up saying, okay, we're gonna have it here this month and we're gonna, and you just do it once a month and everything else is virtual and I love it. So that's another way to grow your business and I've been telling a lot of small business owners about that platform because it's really really working and it really is growing a lot.

Speaker 1:

So what's alignable is like a, like a networking.

Speaker 2:

It's like a LinkedIn it's like a.

Speaker 2:

LinkedIn, it's all about all business. Well, linkedin has a lot of other stuff but LinkedIn from the professional perspective, in terms of building your business and networking and meeting people and you can request one-on-ones with them and talk with them and find out how you can help them build their business so they can, in fact, one day maybe help build yours. So it's about networking A lot of the law of reciprocity. You know, just being able to share with someone, help them and then not because you want anything from that individual, but because that is just what you should do. You should help other people because eventually it's going to come back to you. I love that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, alignable setup like that, Such a good concept. Yeah, yeah. So it's just a-l-i-g-n-a-b-l-e. Yes, ma'am.

Speaker 2:

Yes, ma'am, you can go, you can join for free. Awesome, that's what I loved about it. And then like, okay, you've been on this platform for a while and I've been building, building, building and doing a lot of one-on-ones in some groups, some groups that they have for networking because they do breakout rooms. And then they reached to me about a year ago about becoming an ambassador and I thought I don't really know if I want to do that right now, because you have to focus on what you want to put your energy. And so when they reached back out to me this year, I said you know what? I'm ready. Yeah, I'm ready to do that and to expand and grow. And COVID has lifted a little, so people are starting to get back out and do face-to-face networking, and so I think the time is right. That's awesome. Yeah, it'll be, fun.

Speaker 2:

I'm excited about it. Well, I think about them. Very excited about it, yeah.

Speaker 1:

So, outside of Alignable and your-do you have any other projects or books, or-.

Speaker 2:

I have three books. That's my third book I wrote. My set reset the first book I wrote.

Speaker 1:

It's a workbook too. It's a workbook too. I'm so excited about it. I love workbooks.

Speaker 2:

And it's just. It's not a huge read, but it's and I was actually reading it in the car yeah, again, and I thought, wow.

Speaker 1:

I'm smart.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's like you haven't plugged into this in a while. This is pretty powerful, you know. That talks about the five-second rule. I don't know if you follow Mel Robinson, but she I've heard that yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, she came up with this five-second rule and it's in the book it talks about. You know how you you have to trick your brain sometimes because it wants to talk you out of stuff, but yeah, so it's in that book. And then I wrote a book for my daughter when she went off to college. That was my first book Running your Race. It's a devotional journal for first year college students. Okay, and so that was for her. From the heart to from mother's heart to her. And then the second one I wrote is Faith at Work. That is a devotional with power quotes and also scripture for women in the workforce who need a little encouragement and empowerment. So, yeah, I have three books out that I'm very excited about.

Speaker 1:

Now any other projects on the-.

Speaker 2:

The project now is to grow the podcast channel, bringing more business owners on doing those workshops or connections once a month next year and then also I will be doing online on-demand self-paced courses with the mindset reset.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's smart, so that's that's my goal, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that is the goal. And then to continue to work with more women in the workforce from the corporate side and from the federal government side. Is a local, state and federal getting into those places so I can go in and with the team because I have a team of coaches that can work with the women on leadership? Oh, that's great yeah, so that's the goal.

Speaker 1:

Now what's your story before you started this?

Speaker 2:

Wow, that's a great that's that's going to make me go all the way back. Right Before I started Voices of Encouragement, I was very much all about corporate. I have an IT background information technology. I'm a developer, I am a programmer, I did all of that. But what I found is I'm still very technical, but there's a bucket that wasn't being filled and that was the bucket to go out and encourage and empower women and be able to help them transform, and the coaching side. And so VOE has helped me feel that bucket. I still am very technical, I still do workforce analytics, I'm a Power BI developer, but I know that you don't have to just do one thing, and so I struggled with that for a while and I realized you're never gonna not just, you're never gonna just do one thing. I'm not, and I'm okay with that. So there's several things with voices of encouragement. It allowed me to really expand on the Create, creative side of who I am.

Speaker 2:

How about as a child there were you, I think as a child I wanted to be a Rockstar singer and a roller derby. In the roller derby person I, my mom, used to put the roller derby on every Saturday and I remember wanting to do all that and I was a tomboy. So I did all that. I did the basketball, I did everything. And as I got older I started to shape into this woman of you know, kind of getting in the the whole professional side of things. Professional, I was American sales director and I think that at that point I realized that that's when I found out I really love empowering women. It wasn't even the sales side, it was just the empowerment of women.

Speaker 2:

And so from being young and coming up, you know, as a tomboy, and then growing and in high school, I believe in high school a lot of not a young folks that I talked with would always say, oh, there's something different about you, but you never know what that different about you is. I think I've worked somewhere and a young lady said you don't belong here, you belong somewhere else. What is she talking about? But as the older I got, I realized that I didn't belong in that particular space at that time Because she saw something else in me, yeah, and so sometimes when other people see something in you don't always see it in yourself until maybe later, when, when your path is open or your journey expands. So that's kind of where I came from.

Speaker 1:

I love it. I saw a quote on Facebook or Instagram where it was like, like, essentially to the point of like the first 40 of your life, years of your life, you're just like trying different things and like figuring things out and finding out who you are and then from there, you have a lot more like knowledge about yourself and and I believe that that is really true.

Speaker 2:

Just what I said before about doing shadow work I had to do that with myself before I can usher someone else over to the other side. Yeah, I had to do it with myself, my own shadow work, so I could get over my own limited self-belief, so I could propel into that next thing. Now I'm not saying it's always like so confident about it, but it's the courage. The courage comes before the confidence. So it's like find the courage to do what you have to do, to do the work on yourself, so that you can find those gold nuggets Within yourself to bring out into the world.

Speaker 1:

So how many kids do you have?

Speaker 2:

I have three grown children 4235 and 25 and I have three grandsons. Handsome grandson, they're so handsome and he for now turn four, eight and fourteen. Wow.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so how do they feel about like your transformation or your journey? Have they ever said anything to you, or yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's, that's a great question. I actually they all have the book and they have all been part of voices of encouragement at some point, even my husband when we've been doing empowerment workshops, being able to come to that and see the Power of transformation and empowerment with the women that were there, the coaches and facilitators I would bring in they were all plugged into that. As a matter of fact, my oldest daughter helped me come up with the logo. My youngest story wrote her her paper, her Capstone paper, on voices of encouragement, because she was my marketing person for her last year of college and she was able to use the business and talk about it and made recommendations. So, and then in terms of my grandsons, they would.

Speaker 2:

Anytime we have any Outside activities within the community, because I'm a huge community impact leader, I'm always plugging into what's happening. Let's get out there and spread some love. They were part of that. So they see me in that process of moving forward and I believe that you know I'm leaving a good legacy, both spiritually and Empowerment, all of that for them and they get to see that, they get to live it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they get to live it. So it's gonna ask what do you hope your legacy to look like? But you just laid it out, that's it.

Speaker 2:

It's really and to build a legacy so that they could be proud of what their mom did or what their nana did and that they could walk that out. And and what I'm finding too, with my Children being in the place of you know, they've grown up, they have their own families. I'm in a coaching mode with them, mentoring and modeling the behavior that I want them to see. Yeah, so that they can then walk that out. And I believe that I'm doing that, you know, just from the feedback I'm getting from them. So I'm very happy and proud about that. I love that. Yeah, that's amazing Now.

Speaker 1:

Is there anything else that you want to share or that has popped up in your head?

Speaker 2:

Anything that's popped up in my head other than, you know, maybe encouraging women to Take a leap of faith, and it's a question I always ask, and I'll ask you this question. I love this because I use this at networking events. If there was one thing that you could do and you had all the money in the world and you knew you wouldn't fail, what would it be? Activism, activism, awesome. I love that. So for me, it would be what I'm doing right now Empowering and encouraging women. But when I ask women that sometimes they don't know, or they do know, and they'll say that's what I would like to do, and I, my follow-up question would be what's holding you back?

Speaker 1:

Nothing now. Now I am actually moving into it.

Speaker 2:

So knowing that that just makes you feel so empowered it's like I'm actually living that you know so.

Speaker 1:

But that would be it to think about that, I like that question, but actually holding people to it, right, right, you know, like holding them accountable.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what are you doing next? What are we doing with that? You know, I have a lot of women say I want to write a book. Okay, so let's get started. What does that look like? Yeah, what is that? Let's get started. Look like, and it could look different for everyone. Yeah, yeah, because sometimes we just don't know what the steps are to get there.

Speaker 1:

So it feels overwhelming, but it's like when you break it down.

Speaker 2:

It's a little baby steps.

Speaker 1:

It's like I can, I can start doing that now. All right, right, right. And I always say dream big, focus small.

Speaker 2:

So I teach a vision board class every year, right after Christmas, right before the New Year's, and one of the things I found is Women have so many dreams that they want to come to fruition, but unless you write that thing down and you have a goal and you work it like, you can break it down. I always say dream big, focus small, create the vision board and break it, your goals, into smaller chunks, more achievable goals, so that you can meet the bigger goal. This is an online vision board class or it is a virtual.

Speaker 1:

It's a virtual how do I find out about it? Because we're right up at the end of the year Eventbrite or you can go onto my website. Voices of encouragement, calm, click on mindset, coaching and under coaching.

Speaker 2:

You'll see that you can sign up for the vision board class. There we go. Yeah, I love that ma'am.

Speaker 1:

Well, thank you so much for watching.

Speaker 2:

I love that, ma'am.

Speaker 1:

Well, thank you so much for being on the Alamon show.

Speaker 2:

I'm so honored.

Speaker 1:

We love having you here and I'm excited like I think I've helped us pick up five times. I'm really. You have no idea how much I love workbooks, oh that's so good.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I give me your feedback.

Speaker 1:

I will send me an email Let me know. I probably see it all like filled out, because I see there's lots of lines to lots of lines to fill out yeah.

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