Inspiring Women – Kimmy Powell

By Karen Floyd

by Karen Floyd

A loving, joyful mother. A resilient, hard-working father. A teacher and mentor who recognized her potential and the promise in a young student who possessed a natural-born algorithmic mind. Meet KIMMY POWELL, the woman who is a ‘powerhouse behind Woodhouse,’ a nationally renowned spa franchise. As a businesswoman, wife, mother, and new “glamma,” she has met and surmounted many challenges to achieve personal gain thanks to the foundation built during her youth by her parents and educators. However, it was “serendipity,” she says, that led her to Woodhouse. Kimmy is the owner/operator and franchise owner of four Woodhouse Spas, in four states. Juggling the demands of business and, in addition, real estate, would sap the strength of most women. Not Kimmy. She “fiercely protects her energy zone” and attributes the secret to her success, both in business and in her personal life, by taking the time necessary to steadfastly maintain a physical, mental, and spiritual balance. Of herself, she says, “I am an ‘introverted extrovert.’ I’m not lonely, but I treasure solitude.”

You are the youngest of three. Who read to you as a child, and what are your first memories?

Wow. You know what, I do not recall anyone other than my sister reading to me. She is five years older, and we are so close. I remember vividly, playing with her, asking her if I could spend the night in her room when I was scared. She is a wonderful big sister and the pseudo-mom of the family.

You were the baby, and your sister was the eldest, who was in between?

My brother, we are Irish twins. He was born a year and two weeks before I was.

Did he go into your father’s general contracting business?

No, he is a psychiatrist. We come from a long line of doctors, although my father and his two brothers skipped the doctor generation. My grandfather was instrumental in researching polio and was the author of Fever Therapy – H. Worley Kendall.

I find women from the Midwest are different from other women in the US. What are those differences?

I think people from the Midwest are more grounded, a little more comfortable in their own skin. They are hardworking and scrappy. Southerners are very kind, but there is nuance. I love their nuance now that I live here. But when I meet somebody from the Midwest, it just feels like home.

I really am curious about the difference.

Maybe it has to do with the Rust Belt, the large working class, and the service industries that were created. In the Midwest, we make things. I am from Dayton, Ohio, where we were known for holding more patents than anywhere in the country, before technology and startups, that is. With innovation, you need working-class people.

Your mom and dad were in construction and commercial development. Tell me about them.

My dad was a workaholic. He was the youngest of three. His father was a doctor, he was the chief of staff at Miami Valley Hospital. He cheated on my father’s mother with a red-headed nurse and then they ran off together. My father went from being a wealthy member of the community as a young boy, to doing paper routes to pay for Christmas, for his family. His mother suffered from alcoholism. She was devout within the church, but the loss of her marriage sent her reeling.

My dad had to figure life out on his own. He worked harder than anybody I have ever known. He was really no-nonsense, and also a very generous man. It was his generosity that had one of the most profound impacts on my life.

Do you think that your father’s relationship with his mother made him respect non-traditional women?

To be totally honest, my dad had a debilitating stroke when he was 65. I was still pretty young and raising my family. I don’t know that he ever really thought about what I was going to do or become. He always believed in me, but my mother was really more focused on me. He was fixated on my brother and his struggle with depression. I think he assumed we would figure life out. You know what I mean? He knew we were resilient.

Jenn Cady Photography / make up by Karen Thornton

And your mother…?

My mom was a traditional, stay-at-home mom who kept the family together. She was joyful, loving, and always there for us. She gave me my confidence; you would have thought the sun rose and set around me. I could do no wrong in my mother’s eyes, and that is what every young child needs, someone who believes in them. While I got my confidence from my mother, I learned hard work and resilience from my father. I was always interested in his business, and I would ask him for business advice.

Your father suffered a massive stroke at age 65, how old was he when he passed away?

He passed away at 74. For eight years he was handicapped. I stepped in to help settle his many business affairs.

How old were you?

I was probably 34 with small children.

Let’s rewind. How did you enter the world of technology?

My cheerleading advisor in the seventh grade, Janet Dudin, introduced me to technology. Janet was a beautiful young woman, probably 24 years old at the time. What are the odds that, in 1980 I would have a computer science, beautiful cheerleading advisor to impact my life so profoundly? I feel sometimes I should call her and thank her because I started programming computers when I was 13 years old. She was my teacher and mentor.

That is very young…is technology hardwired in your mind?

Yes. My brain is algorithmic, so how fortuitous it was that computer science was just beginning to evolve. A female in computer science was empowering, particularly because I could program, which involves both problem-solving and creativity.

You graduated from college and went straight into a corporate position?

Yes, I attended Stetson University in Florida for a year and a half. My parents never saw the school, but it was the only school I applied to. My husband now, and boyfriend then, dropped me off. I transferred back up to Dayton, Ohio, to the University of Dayton where I graduated in computer science. We were married in the middle of exams, in my junior year.

When did you first meet your husband?

I was 15 years old on spring break in Beaufort, South Carolina, with my best friend Anne, whose dad had just moved there. He owned a concrete business. My parents never let me go on vacation with other people but being the third born and a rambunctious 15-year-old, I think they just gave up. We drove to the Sound Barrier where my husband was working as a stereo installer. I fell in love with him the minute we met. There was something special about him.


Did he feel the same?

Yes and no. There was chemistry but he was four years older and more mature. We hit it off immediately and have always been simpatico. But my girlfriend and I got a little drunk and acted stupid. We were going to go to a concert, and he canceled on us. I ended up going anyway. I tracked him down later.

How did you stay in touch?

We wrote letters to each other. He was a fireman and paramedic in Hilton Head when I met him. I saw him again a year later.

Was your husband on a college path?

No. He went to college for a few months, but it was not for him. His family did not have the resources nor was there any incentive. He was scrappy, hardworking, and an entrepreneur to his core, but he needed money to survive. He would fix somebody’s bicycle and that would turn into a bicycle business. He is a true entrepreneur because he had to be. I had a couple of boyfriends over the years, and they were exceptionally gifted students, but to date, my husband still is the smartest man I have ever met, but a different kind of smart. The kind of smart that is unscripted and full of promise.

You have been married for 34 years. Is that difficult?

Have you heard the expression, “Choose your hard?” You know, everything of value is hard. Being single would be hard. Not having him there when we went through tough times with the kids would be hard. But I think marriage is a dance or a journey. I think of marriage as a rollercoaster. It just continues to go around and around and around…each “round” is a year in your marriage. You fasten your seatbelt and roll up a hill, there is a twist and a turn, then hands in the air as you plummet down, followed by a slow pause. A rollercoaster ride is my metaphor for marriage.

Your marriage works because . . . fill in the blank?

We are committed. For a marriage to work, you have to have the commitment to not quit. Like writing a book, there are chapters and an ending, but you have to be committed to seeing it through.

Do children make the marriage stronger or more challenging?

Both. There are seasons and they all hold value. There were times when our children have brought us together, but we probably experienced some of the hardest times because of our children. There is a beauty in being united for a cause, and all the noise dissipates because you must solve this problem quickly. Everything else becomes superfluous and does not matter. As they say, “You are only as happy as your saddest child,” which is the truest statement that I have ever heard. We feel that a happy marriage is the best and most important gift we can give to our children.

Husband and wife . . . and business owners, together. You have owned an industrial flooring business for over three decades. Did you inherit the business from your father?

A lot of people think that, but it is not true. We started out in the paint business. My parents were very good friends with the founders of Warehouse Paint Center, which was eventually acquired by Sherwin Williams. My husband started a job with them as a sales rep, but he would do his own business, pressure washing, on the side. He made more money pressure washing, than he did at the paint job. What ended up happening was he was bidding all the jobs for the painters, and he was doing all the leg work. One day he came home and said, “I want to start a painting business.” I was a junior in college and conservative . . . wanted him to just get a good job that had health insurance and other benefits. But he said, “No, I want to do it, now.” Off he went and started Summit Painting Company. I did all the bills and wrote my own computer code where we captured all the customers in a database, and what paint formulas they used on their house. The paint business started organically. I was right-brained and doing the linear work, while he was getting the jobs and producing. We were married in July 1990, but we really started the business before that.

How did the industrial flooring come into play?

We did not sell the paint business, but its evolution was a business of industrial flooring. Interestingly enough, my husband noticed an industrial flooring shot blaster. My dad loaned us the money to get the first shot blaster, which we paid back within two months. My husband recognized that the industrial flooring business was more technical and less dependent upon employees. He saw where the market was headed, and we migrated from painting to flooring, which is our core business and has been so now for over 30 years.

Jenn Cady Photography / make up by Karen Thornton

What is the largest project you ever did?

Largest project . . . Early on for Proctor and Gamble was a game changer. At the time our business was doing maybe $600,000 a year. We were selected for a job of $700,000. I was pregnant with our second son, and with a young engineer, we got that job and another job of that size. I really credit the young engineer for giving us that opportunity and my husband for taking it and executing it. My focus shifted into legal, finances, and workers’ comp.

When your father passed away in 2011, were you residing in Charleston?

I was in Dayton at the time, we moved to Charleston in 2014. I would have never left my mother while my father was alive and handicapped. She lives here, now.

Taking care of a parent is very hard. Did you ever expect how difficult it could be?

No. My dad was a big drinker, a larger-than-life guy. I think we all just thought he would drop dead one day, but we never expected it to go like it did – a long nuanced story. When he had his stroke, they put him in intensive care because they needed to put a stent in his carotid artery. My brother and I had a discussion with the neurologist who said, “If I look at your dad’s labs, we should put him on blood thinners right now.” But, because he was talking, and walking, planning on returning to work . . . being a typical dad, we made the unfortunate and wrong decision not to put him on blood thinners. His stroke extended in the ICU. I often go back and wonder if I had just made a different decision, would that have happened?

You cannot go backward, Kimmy.

I know but I wish the neurologist would not have asked our opinion. My dad was a hundred percent functioning, we just didn’t know. Taking care of a parent is hard.

Was he ever clearheaded from that point forward?

No. In fact, it was interesting because my dad was not a real warm and fuzzy guy. I don’t remember him ever really saying, I love you. But after his stroke, he was more like a teddy bear, which was kind of awesome in a way because he was a little more childlike. I loved it strangely because he was different. He was sweet. When my dad was drinking, he was very sweet, but he was not so pleasant the next day. He would be stressed out, had a lot on his plate, and all that.

But after his stroke, he couldn’t communicate. One thing he used to say which was funny was, “Yeah, right.” I would joke with him, and I would say, “I got your wallet, Dad, don’t worry. I’m going shopping,” which is how we could tell his cognitive level. If he responded, “Yeah, right,” we knew, okay, dad is with us today.

Any advice for women who are caregiving when it becomes really tough?

There is an end which is important to know, that suffering is not forever. Also, you have to take care of yourself. Caregiver burnout is real, so try to get whatever rest and support you can from your church, friends, or family. Accept help. It was really hard on my mom, and she did an incredible job of making the best of a horrible situation.

Charleston, your entire immediate family is now here, why?

I fell in love with Charleston even though we had built a house on Fripp Island. I had been to Beaufort and Hilton Head, but never to Charleston. We came to watch our son swim for the College of Charleston, and I literally fell in love. I told my husband, “I’m going to die in this city.” It was love at first sight for me. In my book I talk about the tipping point, which is not a novel concept . . . the fear of staying the same is worse than the fear of change. It is why people move, and change jobs, right? Because the fear of the new thing is less scary than staying in the same place.

There was a point where I just could not stay in the same rut. My boys were teenagers, and they were handfuls. I thought, if you’re going to be this stupid, you can be this stupid in a place where I want to live.

And your husband, was he also pulling you back to South Carolina?

Ironically, not really. I think he liked his country club friends and golfing buddies. We had a wonderful group of friends. Dayton is a beautiful place to raise a family, but we always were drawn here too.

My third son is getting married in May to the daughter of one of my best friends, someone I have known from kindergarten through 12th grade. He has been living on Hilton Head Island since college and we began spending more time there with them and that made us feel like we could live there too. I believe that you should love where you live. But it never occurred to me that I could choose, which is crazy.

So how did it happen?

Well, we began to look for opportunities. Keith started a South Carolina division of the company where we established residency at our vacation home outside of Beaufort so the boys could go to school in South Carolina. Our retirement was always intended to be South Carolina and we knew we would end up here. I began to do vision boards.

You were born with a clarity that most people don’t have?

Not in an arrogant way, but yes. I think I lived before. I do have a slight clairvoyance and I am very connected to spirituality.

Does it surprise you that many of the women that I interview have that same visceral ability or clairvoyant feeling?

No, it does not surprise me at all because I believe that we are all magnetic beings with lots of energy and what you project, you will attract. I protect my energy quite fiercely. I do not allow people to bring my energy zone down. I think people like-minded will attract the energy that they want.

If you don’t listen to that inner feeling, what happens?

Terrible things happen when you don’t listen to your inner self. There have been business ventures and things my husband and I have disagreed on, and they have failed miserably and cost us terribly. We learned early on that when we are not on the same page, it is a disaster for us. Truly.

Photograph courtesy of Kimmy Powell / Woodhouse Spas

Your sweetgrass candle. Is that something that you created, or you and your husband created?

Something I created, but interestingly enough, the Sweetgrass candle was originally born off of the Emanuel AME tragedy in Charleston. That was my inspiration. My husband later did a job for a candle company and in turn, he gave me the credit for the meditation candle line, Héron. The candle line is collaborative in that sense. People love this meditation candle line and I just sell it through the spa. The scents of the candle line are Rise, Radiate, and Rest.

The serendipity of you becoming a franchisee of Woodhouse began in Dayton. How?

The owner of Woodhouse in Cincinnati acquired the spa in Dayton, Ohio, when the proprietor was killed in a plane crash. Had he not had that opportunity, I think my life would be different. He opened Woodhouse Day Spa in Dayton, Ohio, which became my home base. I love spas, I love hospitality.

When we moved to Charleston, I couldn’t find a Woodhouse. I thought, “This is Charleston so they must have the most beautiful spas in the world.” Back in 2014, honestly, there were one or two hotel spas in Charleston. They were okay but not great. I took my husband to lunch in Dayton, Ohio, and plied him with a few mimosas and took him to a couple’s massage at Woodhouse and said, “What would you think if I opened one of these in Charleston?” He is such a risk taker and he said, “I think you’d be great at it.” So, off we went.

Tell me about the change in the Woodhouse business model from “founder-led” to that of franchisee.

Yes, when I came on board, the original business model was “founder-led” which no longer exists. I came on as a regional developer and bought the rights to 13 locations throughout the whole southeast. When I opened my first Woodhouse, I was my first franchisee and then I also became my second franchisee. You introduced me to my third franchisee in Greenville. Shortly after Greenville, the CEO of Woodhouse sold to the first private equity firm. During Covid, a second private equity firm came in. Now I am a franchisee of four units; Charleston and Mount Pleasant (SC), Franklin (Tenn), and Savannah (Ga).

Tell me about Savannah.

I am so excited about Savannah. Savannah was originally one of the locations that I bought as the regional developer and it has always been on my list. The private equity firm bought my regional development locations, but I retained the right to open in Savannah.

Most of the Woodhouse multi-unit owners have franchises in the same city. Our four are in three states, which is unusual for a multi-unit owner with Woodhouse. I always sought strategic locations rather than having multiple in the same location. Only time will tell if this was wise.

I negotiated both Savannah, Georgia, and Franklin, Tennessee, during Covid. I was aggressive when the market was unsteady, a Warren Buffet concept.

I knew Savannah was important and always wanted my spas on the water. I always thought Savannah was a cool city and I am drawn to artistic cities. So, when I saw the Eastern Wharf location, I reached out to them, and they said they had been trying to get a hold of somebody at Woodhouse for six months. I said, “Well, I am here.” I love that location.

When everyone else is sleeping at the wheel . . .

Yes. I tried to be super aggressive. Woodhouse corporate was very generous in “putting a carrot out,” and mandated that we opened and committed within a certain timeframe. Not many corporations are going to give you a chunk of money, so we took it very seriously, which is why I ended up in Franklin and Savannah.

Your open date and Grand opening in Savannah are when?

We’re hoping to be open to the public on May 1st and our ELYSIAN and Woodhouse Grand opening is scheduled for May 9th.

What is the most difficult part of managing spas?

More Consistency. Better Processes. Better People.

How many hours do you work a week?

I just always work. But I try very hard to keep boundaries. I don’t take meetings before 10:00 AM. I work remotely. I protect my mornings.

Do you work late in the night?

I never really stop working. I wake up at three and start emailing or go back to sleep, but I love it.

When we talked about scheduling this interview for Saturday you declined, which told me you had other engagements.

It is interesting you point that out. I could have met on Saturday, but it would have broken my commitment to myself. It is a good thing I didn’t, because my grandchild was born at three o’clock this morning. I knew Saturday I would not bring what you needed me to bring, and what I would bring would not honor me.

At what age did you understand that concept of energy awareness?

In the last five years. I think it is age and experience. I also think menopause plays into the equation, knowing that your nerves get a little more frayed when you do not exercise restraint. God bless the husbands out there because, you know, menopause means “men to pause.” These poor guys, menopause rocks your world. I am aware that my edges are a little rougher. I need the world to “give me a minute.” You know? I would have had resentment on a Saturday morning because I wasn’t ready. Saying no is hard. But, you know, it’s necessary.

Interested in Owning a Woodhouse? Explore franchising opportunities with the nation’s leading luxury spa franchise at PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY KIMMY POWELL / WOODHOUSE SPAS

It is absolutely necessary.

To protect my zone, I try very hard not to do meetings before 10 and I don’t do them after two because I don’t think as well after two.

I want to pivot now and talk about kids. Particularly in the South, there is an element of shame for women whose kids are not faring well. And it creates a silence that unnecessarily encumbers women from supporting one another.

Agreed. Yes.

Let’s talk about that.

I think it is universal and maybe not just in the South. I understand the point you’re making that southern women are more private about their children’s well-being or maybe it is in the south where towns are smaller and everybody knows you.

There are these high expectations and a belief that mothering in a way is reflective of you. We were raised to believe that we were an extension of our parents and we better act accordingly. Not that I always did, by the way – the same for our children. My husband and I have high expectations for our children, including the way they behave. I have high expectations of my employees. Anybody that I am involved with, I expect them to share the same values and work ethic. I think the hardest thing is when your children first disappoint you. It rocks your world because you feel like you failed. That’s what I felt.

I suffered a hundred percent quietly. I only confided in my sister and my mother, but even then, I was just so tired I did not even want to talk about it. It was a lot.

I have three boys and I think issues are more prevalent with boys. What I would like to tell moms, and I’ve met some incredible, very powerful, driven, and successful women, like yourself, who have one in their bunch that went sideways. What I’d like to say to women is, what you think they’re going to be at 18 is actually going to happen at age 25.

And it’s more dangerous now than it was when we were younger. Even way back before my time, people did crazy things. But I do feel like it got more dangerous for boys.

I agree with you, but I cannot pinpoint why.

Self-medication, abuse of ADD medications, social media… the list is long.

What would you tell a mother of wayward boys?

I wish I would have considered boarding or military school. I don’t think Public School was the right path for my boys. Even if they had the same experience away, I think I wouldn’t have been so sick with worry all the time.

It completely disrupts your whole existence.

Worrying about your children is so stressful. It rocked my world.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Your family stabilized, business is booming, and you authored your first book. Why did you write it?

Yes, for a couple of reasons. We moved to Charleston when I was 45. I started a new career and had no friends. In hindsight, to be totally honest with you, I don’t know what the heck I was thinking. But sometimes, something gets into motion, and you cannot really explain how you got there.

You were pulled forward from a force larger than yourself…your purpose?

Yes. I don’t know what gave me the courage. Once I got in, I guess I couldn’t get out. When people started asking me questions, I would ask myself, why would they want to know what I think? And then little by little, the energy and the universe began to create something that I didn’t even know existed inside myself.

I met a gracious gentleman who recommended that I sit on the board of Governors at the College of Charleston School of Business, which I thought was the greatest honor in the world. I still do. I have always been passionate about education.

I wanted to be a teacher from the youngest of ages. In my book, I talk about knowing your inner child. Because your inner child knows what you are supposed to be doing. I always wanted to be a teacher. As a child, I had a fake classroom in my bedroom . . . I even had a fake grade book. I do think there is that spirit in me to teach and to mentor.

ELYSIAN “Inspiring Woman” Kimmy Powell with her mother Christy A. Kendell. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY KIMMY POWELL / WOODHOUSE SPAS

What is the one question you are most frequently asked?

How do I “jumpstart” change and how do I get there? Being very algorithmic, I created a future funnel to take you through steps, which is why it is called a project. For change to happen, you need milestones, and I didn’t want it to be complicated or fancy, just easy and approachable.

Who is the target audience or end user?

While the book is business-oriented, the best reader is a college student or a young entrepreneur, which is why it speaks to someone’s legacy. The book’s purpose is to focus the reader on how you want to leave this world a better place.

What is the legacy of your Woodhouse Spas?

That is still to be determined. Right now, the succession plan is with the two general managers . . . to continue to run them and reinvest in them and not to sell but to have a legacy.

I am turning 55 this year, my original GM, is 10 years younger. I say, “Trust me, I know what you are going to feel like in 10 years, and you are not going to want to be coming into the spa every day. You will want to be doing what I am doing today… and I know what I will want to be doing in ten years, which is probably not as much as now.”

I have a vision for their lives which is to make sure they can retire . . . I am focused highly on my executive team, specifically my two general managers. I trust that they will carry the torch for the rest of the team.

And your children?

My oldest son, who just had the baby, Buckley, has started his own real estate investment firm. He is a numbers guy. He is considering building a family office. He’s interested in acquiring businesses and potentially acquiring the construction company. He has a strong vision for his future.

What is your other business focus?

Primarily real estate and angel investing.

Do you believe your sons will do more with the real estate business?

Well, if I had a crystal ball, what is likely to happen is our oldest son will create a family office and will acquire the businesses. He will probably begin to work with our middle son who manages a division of our Southeast office. The youngest son is in IT working as a software engineer for Data Protocol here in Charleston. He’s also a pilot, so a lot could happen.

Do they get along?

Yes. While the oldest and youngest are more similar, our middle son has this beautiful creative mind; he’s an amazing human being.

What is your “why” and what is your life’s purpose?

It is easier to take your next step when you know “the why.” I know a lot of very successful women who are going through
the motions and lack any end game. How do you want to retire? What are you leaving for your children? What is your succession plan, whether you have a business or not? What is the end game?

In my book The Passion and Purpose Project, I created a “7-Step future funnel” to help people design the life they were meant to live. The funnel was created in a way that you work backward. Because if you know how you want the story to end, it will inform you what paths are ahead like switching jobs or changing trajectories.

The “why” for me has always been my children. My “why” led me to serve on The College of Charleston’s Board of Governors. Now, two of the boys have received their master’s degrees. I said, “Do it now. If we are paying for it, you should do it.” It was a game changer for both my eldest and youngest son. My biggest regret in life is not getting my MBA. I truly believe it’s an important part of education.

And it’s not too late.

I know. They have an executive MBA program, and maybe one day I’ll do it. But I wanted that for them. Everything I do is to teach them.

Was it always like that, or did you become more focused with time?

It was always like that. Buckley always says, “I’m so lucky to grow up with entrepreneur parents” because he saw us scrappy all the time and dealing with the “day in and day out” chaos of entrepreneurship.

As I have gotten older, especially when the boys were going through those rocky years, I had real clarity. I had to figure out how to teach these boys. It was that desperation to get it together and try to transfer my skills to them.

Another piece of advice I would give mothers with difficult children is to have them get a job. Sports are great, but if your kids aren’t excelling at sports when they reach 15 years old, they feel like losers.

There should be entrepreneurship centers for our youth, which I think is part of the solution. They should be encouraged to create, like a Montessori for young adults, which is what I tried to create.

Do you think you did?

Yes, I do, and I am proud of that. I write about this in my book. I would not have done it for myself, and certainly, I would not have worked this hard for myself.

Imagine a day when you come home from a hard day at work. How do you recalibrate or “fill your tank?”

I fill up in nature. I paddleboard a lot, so I’m excited because we recently moved on the water. Nature is critical for me. Before the move, I walked to Hampton Park every day, which was beautiful. We also love boating, which is a big thing for us. Water has always been an integral part of my life. I grew up on a lake, water skiing at Lake Cumberland, on a houseboat in the middle of nowhere tied up in a cove. I just love that.

Jenn Cady Photography / make up by Karen Thornton

Water is a great connective tissue for both you and your husband.

About the only time my stress level really goes down is if I’m on a boat.

What are you scared of?

Letting other people down. I don’t care about me. I always say my backup plan is working at a bar in St. Thomas or something.

Are you afraid of that?

No, I am not afraid. I would be happy to take a simple job near the water and entertain others.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

I am an introverted extrovert. Most people think I’m very extroverted, but I’m alone a lot and I like my aloneness. I’m not lonely. I like being alone, solitude.

How many hours a day do you need solitude?

Quite a bit. I work remotely with soft piano music p

laying the whole day.

Where do you physically meet with your GMs?

We will meet both on Zoom and in person sometimes. The other day, we went down to the Hotel Bennett and just sat in the lobby. It is difficult to meet at the spa because there are so many distractions. I like it when we’re on Zoom, but we don’t accomplish as much. We will meet at the Harbour Club, but it is exciting because they can come here now. I love our Tuesday is exciting because they can come here now. I love our Tuesday human beings, so I love being around them.

Do you believe in God, and do you consider yourself a Christian or spiritual?

Yes, I consider myself Christian, but it doesn’t make sense to my scientific mind how there could only be one religion. I always told my children, you can be agnostic, but not atheist, but you can pick your own religion. There is so much to read about each religion, so choose the one that resonates with you most.

And where did they end up?

They’re all Christian, yet none of them are real churchgoers. It is simple, kindness is the best religion. I try to live my life in that way.

Is there a question that you would ask God?

Yes. Why do good people suffer?

Like your father?

Like my father and good people who suffer with cancer, while criminals and bad people do not. It really irritates me and doesn’t make sense as a scientist, or the way I am wired with an algorithmic mind. It is completely incongruent.

You have tremendous life experiences. What piece of advice would you give a young woman that you wish someone would have shared with you?

Get your MBA. Education is important to me. I think I would have been an entirely different person in business had someone encouraged me in that direction. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Our sons both asked, “Shouldn’t I work before I get my MBA?” I said, “Probably, but you won’t. So just get it.”

The mentors, exposure to data, learning collaboration, and meeting new people. How many Fortune 500 companies do we hear about whose founders met at Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton? Sometimes students don’t cross the finish line and drop out, right? But still, they were there. So, it’s not really the degree that I’m talking about, but the experience.

What does that do for the person, even if they don’t even want to be in business? It gives them confidence and tells them that they can. The MBA program fleshes out a person’s core competency and pushes them to achieve and be proud of something. I think there is so much baked into that.

Even if you did nothing with the degree, you would be a better person for the experience. You would know more about what you wanted to do in the world.

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