The Small Business Spotlight gives business owners an opportunity to share what they do and what their business is with the rest of the world. Take a moment to hear about the great Dr. Madeline Ann Lewis, President/CEO, Executive Women’s Success Institute.
1. When and why did you start your business? For me the defining moment or inspiration behind my business was seeing how hard it was for women to advance in their careers. I always had a passion for helping other in any way I could. Having been in the military for several years and in civilian federal government, one day I realized women were coming to me for advice on a lot of things such as going over their resume’, for advice on what they should do next to move their careers along, and to be a mentor. I also noticed that there were not a lot of women in the federal government helping each other to move up the ladder. There were not a lot of women who took the time to mentor or share their knowledge with others. Seeing these things inspired me want to start my own business and provide guidance, personal and professional development to those who needed and wanted to advance in their careers, especially in the federal government. It also inspired my book “Finding Your Best Inside: How to Persevere and Become the Person You Were Meant to Be.”
2. What made you come up with the concept/name of your business? I started the Executive Women’s Success Institute so women would have a formal environment where they are able to share their thoughts, their joys, their weaknesses, and in some cases share their successes. I want them to learn that women professionals who have moved up the ranks have certain key traits that got them there and shows they are distinctly different from the ordinary and average. My research and experience have uncovered the secrets that will get women on the fast track to success. And we do this by showing them there are eight key characteristics for women to maximize their success. These characteristics are known as the “8 Habits of Highly Successful Women.”
3. How is your business different from others in your industry? I try and stay away from the cookie cutter methods of professional development. I personally conducted extensive research to find out how women in executive level positions got there, how they stay there and the obstacles they face. Through my research and experience I uncovered the secrets that will get women on the fast track to success. And we do this by showing them there are eight key characteristics for women to maximize their success. These characteristics are known as the “8 Habits of Highly Successful Women.” The eight habits that we focus on are:
1. Know your talents, gifts& purpose:
2. Deliberately design your ideal career
3. Identify potential barriers and strategize around them
4. Be decisive and move forward with confidence
5. Get the right mentor/coach and follow their advice
6. Take charge of your personal brand/professional image
7. Tap into the “Old Girls” network and use it effectively
8. Assume the Persona of a Successful Executive
I believe focusing on these key traits in my training are what makes women successful in reaching the executive level suites.
4. Where do you see your business in the next 2-5 years? I am in the process of creating The Women’s CEO Institute, where we will strictly focus on helping women become Board of Directors and CEOs of their own business or organization. The program being created will be called The CEO Blueprint . There is an assessment women will take to see if they are CEO material and then we will hone and enhance their skills accordingly. I am excited about the creation of this new program as research shows that when an organization have more women in leadership roles they tend to have higher profits and higher performance.
5. How are you meeting the needs of your clients in today’s economy? I am meeting the needs of my clients by teaching women how to communicate, step out of their comfort zone and spotlight themselves in a world with a short attention span, and a tendency to put things off until tomorrow. I also meet their needs by offering creative specials and bonuses to help offset the investment needed to participate in my training programs. I am mindful of the economy and do try and work with my clients. But I am also mindful that you must invest in yourself at the level you intend to reach.
6. Who are your clients and what does your business offer? My clients are usually executive women, women who aspire to become executives, women stuck and frustrated in their current positions, women who have been passed over for a promotion and women who are in dead end jobs. I help them go from “frustrated and stuck” to “freedom and success” by using my proprietary “8 Habits of Highly Successful Women” system.
7. Is it possible for women to move into executive level careers during this current economic climate? Absolutely, the current economic climate has forced many companies to streamline, trim and make more efficient use of their present staff. There’s never been a better time for ambitious women to position themselves for advancement in their careers. Through my 8 week webinar on the “8 Habits of Highly Successful Women” individuals will be able to strengthen and enhance their leadership skills, bring their worth and value to the forefront, so they will have a better chance of landing that executive-level promotion they have always dreamed of.
8. Are you involved in any community outreach programs or does your business partner with any local or national charities? Yes, I am involved in community outreach and partnerships. I partner with my local Chamber of Commerce every year and participate in the “Principal for a Day” program, I volunteer in the schools on panels to help judge science fair projects, I am on the Women’s Leadership Committee in partnership with Prince Georges Commission for Women which hosts the Women’s Empowerment Conference every year, I am currently on the Professional Women Network International Advisory Board, I am the Vice-President of Program and Training and Regional Representative for the Federally Employed Women (FEW) organization, and I served on the Justice Federal Credit Union Board of Directors for the last three years. My community is very important to me, and whenever I can volunteer, participate or pitch in I try and make the time to do so.
10. Are your services affordable and what type of quality do you offer? I believe for the training and quality of service we provide my services are more than reasonable. We provide 3-level of coaching packages (i.e., Silver, Gold and Platinum); a VIP package; a 6-month Career Boost Mentorship Program and a Mastermind Program (one per year)
11. What advice do you have for other small business owners? Never let go of your dreams. Passion and persistence these are important factors, make use of them. Look at your life and understand and know you are greater than you give yourself credit for being; you have talents and abilities you haven’t begun to reach for yet. And finally, focus on living the goals and dreams you have always envisioned for yourself. It is never too late to follow your dreams. And lastly, I would like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Les Brown: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you will land among the stars.”