Female entrepreneurs learn healthy lessons of leadership

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, October 12, 2021

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POWELLSVILLE – The Community Center here was the site of a business-changing event on Saturday, Oct. 9.

The workshop, entitled “The Well Rounded Entrepreneur: Leading From a Healthy Core,” was geared to African American female entrepreneurs. Women from Hertford, Bertie, Northampton, Mecklenburg, Wake, and Pitt counties attended.

Dr. Lakeisha Walker, Chief Executive Officer of Bridge of Hope Life Transformational Services, LLC in Ahoskie, was the primary presenter.

“It was an honor to have these women attend,” she exclaimed.

Walker explained that the ‘U’ Matter: Created on Purpose Leadership Development Model was originally birthed as a community youth conference.

“It is based on the concept of rebuilding one’s foundation – worldviews, thoughts, emotions, patterns – to create a structure that will allow one to withstand life’s adversities and excel in their leadership roles,” she said.

The U Matter Model has four tiers. Tier One addresses

self-esteem. “How do you see you?” The model focuses on increasing self-esteem to prevent self-destruction. Self-concept and self-worth are related concepts.

An acronym Dr. Walker created to explain this is, “Girls are PEARLS: Pursuing Excellence And Reaching High Levels with Standards.”

Walker led participants in an activity on developing affirmations. Each woman wrote five positive statements about herself on sticky notes, starting with “I am …” or “I will become … .”

“When you’re at your lowest or feeling down, you need positive affirmations to help you get through,” Walker said.

Tier Two focuses on “The Emotional U” – taking time to identify one’s triggers. Negative emotions lead to negative decision making. Learn positive ways to manage your emotions. Pay attention to how you’re thinking about something – thoughts, emotions and actions.

Walker, also certified in trauma, discussed its effect on the brain. A slide she created illustrated the roles which different parts of the brain play in trauma.

Tier Three involves “Caring for U – Becoming a Healthier U.” Walker discussed the health benefits of foods, providing a detailed list.

Other slides explained how emotions can be harmful and healthy alternatives for foods people crave.

“Set healthy boundaries around your time,” Walker stressed. “Get enough rest. If you commute, feed yourself with positivity during the drive. Pay attention to what you’re listening to.”

Tier Four addresses becoming “Ideally ‘U’ – Developing The Leader Within.” Walker said this idea came while listening to Dr. Myles Munroe, a Bahamian minister. It addresses questions of fulfillment.

Co-presenter Dr. Renee Tyler discussed “Doing   Entrepreneurship from a Healthy Core.” Tyler’s message was, “It’s GYM time – Guard Your Makeup.” She explained that because each entrepreneur has a branded service, women must serve from a healthy core.

Tyler explained one’s leadership core must be well-built.

“The core is your inner convictions, core values. God knows the right businesses to put you in, to pull out your skills,” she noted.

“Never underestimate the importance of leading from a

healthy core. You must go to some private corners of your souls, be sure to lead not just by ambition,” Tyler added. “Are you pressured into doing what others want you to do?”

Tyler, the owner of Effective Change Consulting Group, shared a quote from Parker J. Palmer about neglecting one’s core, saying, “A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going inside of him/herself…lest the act of leadership creates more harm than good.”

She discussed ways to ensure one is operating from a healthy core.

“You must have accountability,” Tyler stressed. “Find one person and have weekly check-ins. If it doesn’t feel right/fit, go back so you remain physically and spiritually fit for your business. Guard Your Makeup.

“Attitude is important. God is seeking enthusiastic entrepreneurs,” she continued. “What character are you displaying in your business endeavors?”

Tyler discussed the importance of one’s frontstage and back stage.

“The frontstage is where you cast your vision, where all eyes are on you, where people support you,” she observed. “The backstage is the leader’s private world. If you neglect it, eventually the frontstage will fall apart. The backstage holds things that could eventually break or hold you hostage.”

She led a mirror activity, advising each participant of God’s vision for her respective business and backstage issues to address.

Tyler, who holds divinity degrees and a High Performance Leadership Master Certificate through the National Association of Counties, emphasized, “Never before has the church and entrepreneur been positioned for more global impact on earth than in this season. The (coronavirus) pandemic has led people to put pen to paper. Some say they had time to think.”

Walker holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling, Doctorate in Strategic Leadership and Leadership Coaching, and certificate in Women’s Entrepreneurship.

NC IDEA and the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council, which assists with leadership development within black entrepreneurial pursuits, funded this workshop. The U Matter model is one of two leadership models which Walker developed.