Recently, someone asked me, "What is your why?" I was ecstatic to answer the question because as a brand strategy consultant, I am so focused on my clients' brands that I tend to not discuss my "why" as much. I am so focused at getting to the root of everyone else's "why". Let me take the next few minutes and share with you a little bit about myself, my story, my "why".
Being born in Canada and raised in a northern New York border town, I behold within me a duality of friendliness and tenacity. On one side of the border some perceive me as a bit too aggressive, and on the other side of the border, some perceive me as a bit too friendly and apologetic. (I heard somewhere that a Canadian must say "I'm sorry" twenty times a day, at a minimum, or you can lose your Canadian citizenship.)
I loved school, from elementary through graduate, and I still seek to quench my thirst for knowledge, for education is freedom. Education and my drive to fulfill my dreams and to help the underdog gave me the courage to overcome a variety of personal challenges. Plus, I swear I came out of the womb with the need for humor, coffee, and chocolate to fuel me and music, violin, and karaoke to destress me.
As a child, I first dreamed of becoming a teacher. Teachers, like my great Aunt Violet, helped me grow and dream, and I wanted to do the same for others. However, I heard many stories about my grandfather's grocery store, while growing up, and those stories inspired me, as well. My grandfather passed away long before I was born, as well as his grocery store, but decades later, I still hear people from the community share about the positive impact that grocery store made on their lives. It was my grandfather's legacy. The store closed about fifty years ago, but the memories and his legacy still live on.
As a child, I explored careers that would allow me to educate and create positive change and legacies. By the third grade, I was asking fellow students if they would serve as fellow executives at my future company because I didn't want to leave anyone out. I wanted to build something amazing, and I wanted to take as many classmates with me as possible. I didn't want anyone to feel lonely, unwanted, or left out. Unfortunately, I knew what that felt like, and I didn't want anyone to feel like that. (I still feel that way.) I learned the law of supply and demand when I sold my mother's homemade chocolate chip cookies for up to $5.00 per cookie until the principal called my parents. In the sixth grade, I started the first Environmental Club in my school, and I continued on my journey to educate and create positive change by tutoring other students in a variety of subjects, including orchestra.
After working in a variety of retail, service, public relations, sales, and marketing consulting positions throughout my late teens and early twenties, I realized consulting fulfilled my passions. In fact, in graduate school I crafted a business plan for a consulting firm that targeted small businesses with consulting services typically offered to large corporations. I often heard anger and outrage toward corporate America from small business owners, and I wanted to help them to replace that anger with an "I can compete with corporate America" mentality. I wanted to teach small businesses the ways that corporate America wins (and loses), so they could compete. That desire still lives strong within me. (Remember, I like to fight for the underdog. I want everyone to feel seen, heard, and wanted.)
Within my tenure, I have held a variety of titles and roles within a multitude of industries. I have held positions in corporate, small business, and nonprofit organizations. The underlying common thread about every position I have ever held was that I had to build a business or brand from scratch or completely alter a business or brand to survive. I believe that I am successful in building brands from scratch and rebranding flailing brands because I am tenacious and scrappy. I love the challenge, and I am driven to help the people within the organizations, as well as the people the organization serves. These skills and experiences have served as integral ingredients to the consulting service I began in 2010 to the services and mission of my business, MPWRSource, today.
I know that small businesses and nonprofits are the backbone of the economy and the heart and soul of each community, and I know that their reach and impact is far and wide. In fact, according to small business statistics from the SBA, small businesses comprise 99.9% of US businesses and employ 47.1% of US employees. I want to help as many small businesses and nonprofits, as possible, create a legacy. Through my business, MPWRSource, I offer counsel, support, and education to other consultants and empower small businesses and nonprofits through brand strategy, management, communications, and market insight consulting. My purpose (and MPWRSource's purpose) is to serve as a source of empowerment for consultants, small businesses, and nonprofits.
Brand strategy, management, communications, and market insights is the foundation of all successful organizations. Every layer of a business depends on the foundation (brand strategy) to be strong. Tony Hseih, an American internet entrepreneur and former CEO of Zappos, stated, "If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself." An organization's brand is its culture, so, if the culture is on point, the organization is on point. Everything that an organization (or employee) does or does not do reflects the brand strategy. The brand strategy is about the people, meaning the employees and the customers/clients. I passionately believe, like Tony Hseih, if you get the brand strategy right, everything else will work out. Therefore, my goal (as well as MPWRSource's) is to help small businesses and nonprofits build a strong foundation, so they can succeed and grow.
My purpose is to empower as many small businesses and nonprofits as possible, especially those who are owned, comprised of, or serve those that are typically marginalized and who have a growth mindset and are purpose driven because I want to be remembered as someone who raised people and communities up by helping small businesses and nonprofits soar. I want to make a positive impact on this world, so I can make it a little bit better for my children and the future generations. I want to be, and I want MPWRSource to be a small business and nonprofit superhero, and I want thriving communities built upon successful, purposeful small business and nonprofits to be my legacy.
My purpose (and MPWRSource's purpose) is to serve as a source of empowerment for consultants, small businesses, and nonprofits because when we empower growth minded and purpose driven small businesses and nonprofits to evolve and grow, we better the communities they serve.
Here is my "why" statement simplified...
I want thriving, inclusive communities built upon successful and purposeful small businesses and nonprofits to be my legacy.
I'm sorry. (There's one "I'm sorry" for my Canadian quota.) Enough about me. Let me help you with your "why".