Ashley Basiri is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Eating Disorder Recovery Coach Director of Instructor Operations (at B/SPOKE) Head of LEVEL UP (at B/SPOKE) R/DE + STRENGTH Instructor at B/SPOKE.
She is also a force to be reckoned with.
Join in my conversation with Ashley to hear all about her journey to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle and how surviving a serious eating disorder has fueled her passion to help others struggling. She truly is the most incredible, beautiful soul.
As an eating disorder survivor myself, I wish there were more Ashley’s around when I was younger and going through a lot of my own recovery, alone.
For anyone struggling today. Please know you’re not alone Connect with Ashley @ashleybasiri for help and as a resource.
I hope you enjoy our conversation and as always, please reach out with any comments or to share your own story to recovery.
Alex Lianne Carter, High-Performance Productivity NeuroCoach™, is bringing together 25+ Experts & Top Influencers who are sharing their TOP SECRETS with you on Mindset, Finances, Scaling, Leadership, Productivity Habits for FEMALE MILLIONAIRES.
You will walk away with 25+ action steps that will make a BIG impact on your productivity and help you gain back more time in your day and SCALE to your first MILLION DOLLARS.
Read more about the inspiration behind bringing these powerhouse females together and what you can expect from joining in on these conversations!
What is something you are really proud of you have navigated through in your own career pivot?
I experienced my burnout in the Fall 2019. I felt very lost.
In some ways, I could have just let everything that happened to me happened to me. But I wanted to fix myself, I wanted to be better. I wanted to be the motivated, passionate individual that I am.
So I pressed pause and set out on a self-discovery journey to understand a little bit more how I can help other women, it was something I was always very passionate about…. helping other people, inspiring other people, being a cheerleader, that’s where the name Ambition Unleashed for my company comes from because I do believe in everybody’s unique potential.
I’ve always been on my own unique journey and I realized by being able to coach other women like myself and be that support tool to hold women to the vision that they desire and to help them see that it really is possible.
Now when I get to work with my clients and I help them through the neuro coaching model through my method which is called the achievement mindset method, working with high achievers and the things that come up for us within limiting beliefs as high achievers that really stand in our way. Working to get my clients to take that purposeful fearless, aligned, impactful action.
It just lights me up. I think that’s what I’m really proud.
We all have choices in life when we can either take the easy way or take the hard way. And in some ways, it would have been easy to just go back to the way things were, because our brains are wired to keep us in safe mode so in some ways, the hard way is actually the easy way.
I’m so excited to venture down the path of entrepreneurship because it isn’t easy is very unknown which sometimes can cause a bit of anxiety to have that fear of the unknown, but I choose to reframe it and talk about the excitement, the unlimited number of possibilities that are out there.
I get to create and help other female high achievers and women become unleashed, be able to truly step into their purpose and their passion, be able to live their life to the fullest, and make that impact they want to make on this world.
Tell us more about the inspiration to bring this event together!
I found that a common goal that came out of their vision was to build to either become a female millionaire or to build a million dollar business to create more impact in the world.
The idea of becoming a Female Millionaire is overwhelming.
We hear that a lot with high achievers in order to be successful, we need to work hard, we need to work 12 hour days, six, seven days a week.
I started to realize that there were a lot of things that female entrepreneurs as entrepreneurs that we just don’t know. We tend to learn a lot through the process of the journey of being an entrepreneur and this is where the idea of productivity secrets of female millionaires came about.
I was thinking if I have this goal of becoming a female millionaire and my clients have this goal of becoming female millionaires I want to talk to some female millionaires or those that are on the journey of becoming female millionaires to find out what their productivity secrets are in order to have gotten to that level to scale, without ending up overworked and burnt out along with the process.
That’s where sort of the journey began to put this event together.
How did you come up with your speaking topics you are offering?
I was thinking about common themes that were coming up with my clients and myself, that’s where I came up with the pillars of Mastering YOUR Million-Dollar Mindset.
The first pillar is looking at your leadership as CEOs of businesses, developing our leadership skills is important.
I wanted to dive into what does that look like to have leadership skills as a female entrepreneur, (female millionaire entrepreneur) and throughout this summit I was realizing a lot of times on this entrepreneur journey, we end up coming to it with our corporate mindset and realizing we need to shift into a CEO mindset and leadership kind of ties into that.
Then after leadership was Finances.
Again, this seemed to be a common theme in terms of even looking at my own finances for my business. I started to do some research and as I was looking for speakers to talk on finance, I was learning so much I was just not aware of and realized had I’ve known this when I started, I may be in a different position in my business right now and finances might look a little bit differently… so I got really excited about diving into finances.
From Finances, in order to scale to that point of a millionaire it’s going to take having the right systems in place, the idea of finding ways to work 20% of the time to create 80% of your results.
It is important when we’re looking at scaling and the systems that we use in order to automate in order to streamline, to make things run behind the scenes so that we can spend our time as entrepreneurs and coaches client facing and doing what we love to do.
And then the last piece of course was diving into high performance, productivity habits. What are some of these behind-the-scenes habits that these female millionaires incorporate in their day?
If you want to become a female millionaire, you need to be acting like and building habits that female millionaires have and that’s where the productivity habits of the high performing came in.
I did a lot of research actually prior to finalizing my pillars….a lot of googling of productivity secrets of millionaires and female millionaires and what millionaires have in common. One particular factor that I was really looking for was that the women that I interviewed really led by service and their impact goals. That was something that I was really looking for throughout.
What can someone expect when signing up and how does one register?
Go to the website link in this email, sign up and you’ll get a confirmation email!
The Summit runs from Sunday May 16 until May 20th and every morning at 7am EST you will receive an email in your inbox.
In that email is a link that will bring you to a page where all of the interviews for the day are stored. On that same page, you will also have a link to a freebie that all the speakers have generously donated to this summit that will accompany sort of the topic of their interview, and then you simply press play and listen to the interviews.
There’s also an amazing Facebook community called productivity secrets of high achieving females and in there I will be going live every day at 9:30pm EST, to do a recap and a summary of the interviews for that day, I’ll be there live to ask, answer any questions! We’ll be doing drawing some prizes for participation.
There will also be an action step to take because knowledge without action is passive knowledge. To actually put things into motion we need to take action.
There’ll be a post where I invite people to share their takeaways. I love doing this because then it lets me share with the speakers actually what people are saying about their interviews and the impact that they’re creating.
I also have some speakers who have signed up to do live q&a as well inside of the Facebook community so that’s exciting.
We’ve got quite a lineup of speakers who have given more of their time to be able to respond and connect with the attendees of the summit.
The interviews each day is a different pillar, those interviews are then available for 24 hours. However, you also have an opportunity to purchase an all-access pass and that will give you lifetime access to the video interviews.
The interviews you can also listen to like a podcast and you will receive a transcript of the interview as well.
It is sometimes nice to have that so you can go back and find a quote that you really liked or for me when I’m taking the notes it’s nice to kind of see, more specifically, the words that were being said.
You also get a workbook and inside the workbook. I put some of the key takeaways in those action steps that each speaker has kind of given to the audience after they’ve listened to the interview.
Who should sign up for this event, what are they struggling with?
This event is for any female high achiever, who feels stuck, who feels like they’re spinning on autopilot. They are capable of more, but yet for some reason, there’s just something standing in their way of actually taking that action.
If you find that you seem to be constantly searching for the next productivity hack to be able to save time so that you can achieve more.
If you’re someone who’s very driven, you know you have big goals but yet you still find something coming up that’s preventing you from achieving them.
Honestly, I have had a transformation myself after these interviews, and just really had a perspective shift.
Any female out there that wants to step into what they’re capable of and not burn out in the process. They want to figure out how they can do it without having to expense their health, expense a cost of a friendship or their relationships, those that truly want to have that life and business of their dreams. I would say that this is an event for them.
Sign up and join the FREE Event to learn more about how to manage your productivity, mindset, leadership skills and boundaries to step into your best life. There is something for everyone, trust me!
Balancing in Louboutin’s With HR VP of Americas, Aly Pennotti
Aly Pennotti is leading Human Resources for the Americas with one of the most prestigious and iconic global luxury brands in the world (all while being a wife and supermom to 3 adorable boys). As a trusted partner and someone I have worked with for years, Aly is a rare gem in the HR space, working hard to ensure her teams are happy, productive, and supported as she creates a working environment where everyone is embraced for having a voice and owning who they are, authentically.
In this Method Masters Blog, Aly shares her wisdom and insight from an insider HR point of view on how to make a great impression in the interview process, what not to do and what a brand responsibility looks like to make an interview process a positive one.
Read on to learn more about Aly’s career journey and how she balances it all!
What is something you are proud of in your career?
Well, most recently, I have to say, I am proud of how I was able to be promoted to Vice President- and after having my third child – and while in the midst of a pandemic. I think that was pretty cool to be able to elevate in my career while a lot was also happening in my personal life. So many women, unfortunately, are taking steps back to balance both and I was fortunate enough to experience the opposite.
I took a step back and focus on my time management and to ensure I was not wasting days, hours, even minutes. Asking myself, what are meetings I need to attend, where I can have my team step in, delegate tasks, calls etc.
Prioritizing was the key to my productivity. Making it a point to not be involved with everything. I almost think the more you have on your plate, the better you are at managing your time.
I think there is a misunderstanding in business that leaders are not doing their jobs right if they don’t lead by example. Managers think they are saying the right thing when they say, “there is nothing I would ask my team to do that I wouldn’t do myself.” I don’t buy this mantra entirely. I think there are levels within organizations for a reason. If I am doing some of the tasks that I did while I was a coordinator, then something is wrong with the way my department is set up. It’s not meant in the way that I am “too good” for certain things but meant in the sense that this is why we have levels and it’s important to elevate from tasks and be efficient, adding layers and structure.
And to note -my team teaches me something all the time; I learn from them every day. To me, that is much more of a current model than the antiquated top-down (only) way of learning.
Dynamics and leadership operate in different shades.
In your opinion, what makes a candidate stand out for you in the interview process?
Tell us who you are – the person behind the function.. I don’t care if you are the best accountant in the world, if you don’t share a sense of who you are or that you fit into our culture, then it’s hard to know if you will be a successful hire.
And.. stop playing it cool, if you want a job, show it to us! I appreciate the candidates who drink the Kool-Aid and you can tell they really love the brand they are interviewing with.
What drives you crazy that candidates do when applying for jobs OR in an interview?
First, when candidates do not write a Thank-You note to follow up. I appreciate and look forward to Thank You notes after every interview.
The best Thank You note is one that circles back to the conversation highlighting moments that stand out in your interview .
I also want to know that you want this job and this action reaffirms the point.
Secondly, when an offer is given, there is an expectation to accept in a timely manner, ideally to have an answer in at least 24-48 hours respectfully. In my experience, if someone takes more than a day or two to decide, they do not want the job.
And third, if you have jumpy background, explain to us the story (the elephant in the room), own your story- do not be dodgy, be honest without be disrespectful. Transparency is everything. People understand not every job is going to be your long-term place, but shed some light.
What advice would you give for someone looking to make a career pivot on how they can nail their dream job?
A good personality that shines. To put your best foot forward in the interview you have to be warm and forthcoming about who you are and showcase your personality into what you are doing as a function of a role. Make a joke, smile, laugh, get personal and have a conversation. Also point out the obvious so you break the ice. “I realize I don’t have experience in XYZ, but here’s what I do have.”
What is the best way to handle the offer process and how has it changed in your opinion?
People want the full package, other incentives etc.
Candidates are becoming more knowledgeable about what is available to them; you have to have transparent HR teams that can explain all the details in the offer in more detail than ever before. Taking extra time on the company’s side with candidates is key.
It is HR’s job to explain a job and the details of the company but is not our job to sell it. At the end of the day you want to be able to ensure you have someone who wants to come on board to build a career with your business. If you have to sell it, then it may not be right.
Do not invest time in someone that is just leveraging the process to get more from their company.
Do you remember your first time walking into a gym?
Was it in your High School? A local studio? A national chain? YMCA?
I must admit, coming from an athletic family I always loved the gym, even as a young teen.
It was a place I could go to accomplish a goal.
Whether I wanted to run faster, rock a step aerobics class choreography (ok people we are talking about the 90s)…or dare I go into the “special” weights room that for me at the time, was very scary.
What always stuck out to me given my young experience as a gym-goer was that I saw this incredible community brought together by fitness within the loyal clients that would show up as a part of their daily routine, who looked forward to seeing their gym friends sharing in similar goals.
It was something I looked forward to everyday.
Fast forward to today and my love for fitness still exists.
I had the pleasure of joining in on a Peter Mollo Fitness class over the Summer of 2020 when things were on the upside for a moment during COVID and quite frankly, I needed to get the heck out of the house.
Not only did I fall in love with the PMF programming, but I felt I found a trainer in Peter Mollo who truly listened to me, cared about my goals and wanted to work with me to correct the things (through my various surgeries) I was needing to adjust in my routine in order to get stronger.
What I did not know at the time but have learned up to this point, is the story behind PMF….
The grit, resilience and can-do attitude Peter possess that led to his journey in bringing Peter Mollo Fitness to life.
Peter’s success is measured through his clients results, not his own personal fitness agenda.
He shows up EVERYDAY to bring his best self to his classes, loyal clientele and incredible PMF community that is fearlessly supportive of all things PMF and look forward to his daily classes which he has carefully created to cater to all fitness abilities.
Peter Mollo Fitness also has a world class team of other trainers and instructors that live and breathe quality and excellence, no doubt an example led by Peter and his mentorship, caring of their best interest and support of wanting to see his team win and succeed in all they do at PMF.
Join in on our video, highlighting Peter’s journey to creating PMF where we talk all things fitness, spreading the love for his PMF community, and why you must drop your ego if you truly want to be successful in this business (or any business for that matter)….
Dr. Joelle defines herself in no particular order….
I am a woman. I am a businesswoman. I am a mother of three gorgeous teenage boys. I am a Physician – surgeon and all. I am a wife. I am a forever student of dance. I love to workout. I am a true and trusted friend. These are all of the things that define me most. Oh and I am Canadian, something at my core.
As a #BossBabe, CEO, M.D. powerhouse, what brought you to create Elite Aesthetics?
I am a Board Certified OB/GYN and have over 20 years of experience in the Boston area.
While many people don’t understand how an Obstetrician/Gynecologist transitions into the field of aesthetic medicine, it seemed like a natural transition for me.
After 20 years of delivering babies, doing surgery on women and seeing them for routine exams, the same discussion transpired daily; basically how we all change, our bodies, our hormones, our skin and our faces and approximately 8 years ago I decided to do something about it and train in the fields of physical wellness and rejuvenation.
I began with the art of injectables soon adding body contouring and once I provided my patients with these treatments I realized my dream of opening a state of the art, luxury medical environment where these procedures could be performed (what is now commonly referred to as a Medical Spa) – Elite Aesthetics was conceived.
For the last 5 plus years I have provided many different services including but not limited to facials, injectables, body treatments, PRP hair/ body and face enhancement, laser resurfacing, thread lifting and my most favorite – sexual wellness, to name a few. It provides me with endless satisfaction- being able to constantly learn in the ever changing world of aesthetic medicine and ultimately assist in helping people feel good about themselves.
With so much competition out there in the “Wellness/Beauty” space, what do you think sets you apart and makes you different?
What initially set me apart from other Med Spas was they were mostly run by nurses and Physician owned Med spas didn’t exist, but now that is different.
I think when it comes to Wellness/Beauty spaces, there are many to choose from and while we need to be cognoscente of competition from a business standpoint, we do what we do and we do it well. We are an incredible team at Elite. We are especially connected to our patients.
Our team collectively knows every patients’ story – through their triumphs, periods of joy and sometimes sadness.
We connect with all of them.
We are approachable and take time with each individual because we truly care. I find myself often telling the “girls” to not be concerned with what every other spa is doing, we are successful and therefore, should just “stay in our lane”.
I try not to focus on competing with others, but focus on being the best we can be- that combined with our consistent investment with staying ahead of the technology curve together with a beautiful luxurious environment -I think that is what sets us apart at Elite.
What is your favorite offering at Elite?
Hands down my favorite offering is the sexual wellness piece.
I have spent my entire professional life struggling with patients’ complaints of, “orgasm issues, decreased libido, vaginal laxity, mild incontinence, dryness…etc” with little I could offer them except for hormone replacement or surgery.
It has been incredibly fulfilling to offer services to help with all of the above with the addition of erectile dysfunction. For example, the Viveve radio frequency device helps with incontinence, dryness and vaginal laxity and the O-shot and Priapus Shot improves orgasmic dysfunction and erectile dysfunction respectively. Bringing my two worlds of aesthetics, gynecology and medicine together is incredibly satisfying for me.
I know you are such a supporter of a healthy lifestyle through working out, being mindful of our bodies and embracing our “imperfections”.
What would you tell someone right now who may be dealing with negative self-talk, how to embrace a better mindset around self-love?
I believe doing ANYTHING for ourselves is self-love.
Whether it be taking a minute to breathe, getting a massage, manicure, pedicure, facial etc. Taking time for oneself IS taking care of oneself.
I honestly don’t believe in imperfections, I am not one to point them out in others. In fact, I have been criticized as being too nice to my patients and talking them out of the filler they thought they needed when they came in for a consultation. Less is always more. When I hand someone a mirror in my treatment room, the first words I utter are “be kind”. I want to remove the feeling of picking ourselves apart and start from my patients’ favorite feature.
My goals are always to enhance what is already beautiful. I believe it is an art to do what I do, but really I love every face and body I see, my hope is only to highlight the beauty that already exists in ourselves.
You have such a beautiful family with very active schedules (3 Teenage Boys), how do you balance it all and prioritize family running your own business?
This is a fantastic question and believe it or not, it seems so much easier now that I run a business.
As an OB/GYN, I worked an average of 60-70 hours a week, a lot of which was overnight when I took call in the hospital – running a business seems easy in comparison. I involved my family with everything, they have been there every step of the way – Max, one of my now 16 year old twins helped me plan 5 treatment rooms out of 1000 sq feet as my mini architect 5 years ago. Sam (the other twin) hooked up and continues to be my go to IT-GUY, and Gabriel my now 13 year old was paramount in all of the intricacies of finances.
Any one would tell you my family is a priority. I make sure I am consistently there for my boys, their school, social and hockey needs, but really I could never do it without an incredibly helpful and supportive mathematician husband (thank you Daniel).
What advice would you give someone looking to pivot into jobs in the beauty, spa, wellness industry?
It’s wonderful! Amazing! There is so much to learn and technology changes incredibly quickly.
As a trainer for Galderma , I train other professionals in the field for injection.
I am also a speaker for Ulthera,Viveve and CoolSculpting having been very successful with all treatments. I am constantly asked by new grads about Elite, it’s success and “secret formula” and find myself often refusing calls to sell our practice to larger “chains”. When I was asked by medical students as an Attending Physician, “how do you decide what medical field to choose” my answer was simply, “find what you enjoy and you are good at” and the same applies to this field. It is important to find your niche and create your beauty, spa, wellness space around what works for you in particular. But the old adage always holds true: If you love your job you won’t work a day in your life.
What can we expect from Elite in the future?
Elite is expanding or rather evolving, yes, you heard it here first!!!.
Like any successful business, sometimes you outgrow your space.
The team has grown, the services have expanded and it became glaringly evident that we needed to move. Much like the first time we built Elite, I worked closely with our branding firm and one of my closest friends, Heather Gilet, owner of Snakebite, Inc. Her role was essential in leading the design aspect of the build out as well as developing our brand image.
After many brainstorming sessions, our creative minds merged (as usual) and Elite EXP. was born.
When you combine 20 years of medical experience with 20 years of branding experience, the synergy is inevitable. It was a natural progression into the Wellness space that we believe my patients want and need. The future of Elite can simply be defined as science-led beauty (Elite Aesthetics) paired with nature-based wellness(Elite EXP) – outer and inner beauty merged under one 4,000 sq. ft roof (ELITE). My patients already expect and receive the highest level of results-driven service in aesthetics. Elite EXP. will be offering the same concierge, personalized, self-care services. Our Experiences are curated to heal and relax your inner-being. The Salt Room Experience combines healing with meditation, the Massage Experiences will detoxify and relax and our new EXP. retail shop gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “retail therapy”.
Self-care is at the core of our Wellness Center.
In addition, I have learned so much from the skin care lines I have sold and used and have worked alongside chemists to curate our own Elite line of skincare for both medical aesthetics and body wellness. Our Elite Aesthetics services will expand from the trusted cutting-edge technology to add wellness and beauty experiences.
My aim is to bridge the gap between inner and outer beauty in our new 4000 sq ft Zen-inspired sanctuary spa space designed as a space to unwind, reflect, relax and heal in our new Wellness Center.
Biggest lesson learned from 2020 as a business owner you are carrying into the New Year and beyond?
2020 was a learning lesson for us all. I can’t say I learned one lesson over another.
I have always been someone that easily adjusted to adversity as I have had my fair share over the years and this was just another one.
What I value the most from 2020 is the loyalty and trust I have seen in my patients who reached out to help us stay afloat, our staff that worked tirelessly from home to find ways to stay engaged and the resilience of our community.
As I tell my boys, there is always a silver lining to every adversity, even if we don’t know it at the time it is presented to us – my particular silver lining is this. This past year has allowed me space to see what is important to us all, to evolve into what will be the “new Elite” opening this spring. It is clear to me that the lines of aesthetics and wellness are blurred and in fact, interchangeable – we all need to feel beautiful both inside and out.
How can someone find you to connect and stay in touch?
I am available by email firstname.lastname@example.org, text or call 781-559-3433, follow us on IG @eliteaestheticsmd @drjoellelieman, Facebook, YouTube or via our website eliteaestheticsmd.com
Thinking about starting a business, reinventing yourself, finding a new job, path, life pivot?
I give you permission to JUST START.
There is no timeline for milestones.
At any stage you have the power to choose the right next move for YOU.
Sometimes (like with the Rose’s) things are stripped from us beyond our control but know that for whatever is lost, something bigger is around the corner for us all.
2. YOUR SELF-WORTH IS NOT TIED TO YOUR NET-WORTH
Did anyone else get major anxiety in the opening scene Episode One when the Feds show up and take all of the Rose’s material possession from their home?
Chasing movers down the stairs to fight for Chanel Bags and other luxury items….
You know what happened after that?
They made out just fine.
No one cares about how much money is in your bank account or that you have a fancy car.
At your funeral do you want to be remembered for how many zeros are behind your name?
What really matters is how you show up for yourself and others in your life, the energy you are sharing in the universe and the impression you leave on those you meet.
Give yourself GRACE and GRATITUDE for how far you have come and if you are living your life in pursuit of your purpose you will always be successful.
Have faith, trust the process and live to serve.
How do you want to be remembered?
3. LEARN TO APPRECIATE LIFE’S SIMPLE MOMENTS
Missing the non-essential luxuries? Eating out…Going to concerts…Big Social Events…Travel?
2020 gave us no choice but to appreciate all that we have in our possession and how spending time with family, making dinners, going for walks, enjoying the outdoors, a bike ride in nature, the simple moments that allowed us to slow down, pause and see the world through a different set of eyes.
Life is NOT about rushing around to check all the boxes on our “to-do” lists, overbooking our schedules, burning the candle at both ends, not spending time with ourselves and listening to our bodies and what we need.
Adapt to the mentality that LESS is MORE. Quality moments over Quantity.
Spend time with gratitude for what you have, not what you don’t.
Learn how to fold in the cheese……
4. LEAN INTO YOUR MOST AUTENTHIC SELF AND YOU WILL FIND TRUE HAPPINESS
Are you going through life living it through the OPINIONS of other people telling you what you SHOULD do vs. what YOU WANT to do?
Guess what, you are the master of your own destiny and if you are not showing up authentically for yourself in all you do in life you are wasting precious time.
Step out of “I SHOULD” mindset and the opinions of others.
Step into your best self in a pursuit of a life that gets you so excited you jump out of bed and cannot wait to start the day.
Let’s be more like:
Mr. Rose– leveraging his talents to brand a hospitality business offering in a small, unassuming town
David- seeing the opportunity to open Rose Apothecary, sharing his passion for product, service and experiences. Found true love.
Alexis– trying new jobs, staying open minded to learnings and transitioning her social jet-setting network lifestyle into planning events & PR
Moira- leading and directing the local Cabaret sharing her talents and passions with the community, filming a new movie, saying NO to going back to her old ways all while rocking her lewks and gal-tribe Famous Wig collection.
5. AT OUR LOWEST MOMENTS WE CAN RISE
“We are all on the precipice of greatness and we need to cherish these moments before everything changes.” -Moira Rose
I cannot watch the finale of Schitts Creek without crying. Anyone with me?
Following the journey and transition of a storied family who at the end grows closer together through their lowest moments, working through challenges head on, making the best out of situations, all while being inspired by this small town and the people in it….no doubt leaving their mark on their newfound “framily”.
Take all that comes to you, good, bad, and otherwise into the realization that things are not happening TO YOU, they are happening FOR YOU.
For you to grow, to learn, to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Find a new path, a new way of looking at things, a new love for life and the people you share it with. Do not let one bad day, knock you off track.
Surround yourself with a high-vibe tribe, embrace an abundance mindset, and set intentions for what you desire.
Do one thing every day that gets you closer to your goals.
Spread love, light and positivity wherever you go because, you are, SIMPLY THE BEST
April Sabral started her career as a part-time sales associate, having moved out of home at 16. She worked her way through the ranks with over 25 years in the retail industry. Working for brands such as; Starbucks, Gap, Apple, Holt Renfrew, Paul Smith, culminating as a Vice President of a DAVIDsTEA a national retail chain in North America of 250 stores. In 2019 April joined the world of entrepreneurship and founded the online leadership development portal www.retailu.ca. retailu provides affordable retail focused competency development for district and store management. In 2020 April published her first book called ‘The Positive Effect”. In this book she shares lessons learned, and her three step leadership model that she says is builds aware leaders.
Read on to learn more about April’s incredible career and how she is building and shaping the development of retail leaders all across the country.
You have had such an interesting and impressive career journey.
Tell us a little more about your time in retail and the positions you have held!
Oh boy, this might be a long story…lol
I started in retail at the age of 16, after moving out of home. One of my first retail jobs was at Paul Smith in London where I actually met Paul during a suit fitting in the Covent garden store. Then when Gap was growing back in the last 90’s I joined them as a Merchandiser. My career continued to grow, and I opened the first Starbucks flagship location in London as a store manager, I then moved to Miami to manage the south beach ocean drive location. I feel fortunate to have managed some great locations. I then returned to Banana Republic in Miami and moved to Canada in 2006 as a Store Manager. In 2009 I took on my first ever District Manager job at Laura Canada. I took on the challenge and moved up to Director of 60 stores over a span of 6 years with the company. In between the DM and the Director role at Laura, I worked at apple as a recruiter for about a year. I then moved to Holt Renfrew to open the off-price division which was a new division but closed after a couple of years, which is what led me to DAVIDsTEA as a Director. I was promoted and took on the role as VP of sales and operations and assumed training and development during my time. I have been very fortunate and have many recruiters to thank for finding me and helping me on my retail journey.
What has been your favorite role you held and why?
My favorite role…mm interesting, that’s so hard…lol. I don’t think I can choose one. I loved every role and every team I had the honor of leading. I grew tremendously through every experience and every organization gave me the gift of another skill. However, I will say that my favorite part of every role was working in stores with the field teams and customers. Store visits were my absolute most memorable times, I was known for showing up during the weekend when I was at DAVIDsTEA because it helped me stay connected to what the stores needed. As I moved up into the store support center, this became critical, so that I could be a good partner to the other departments who helped us achieve our goals. I also loved reading customer feedback surveys. I miss working in stores the most now that I am not physically in operations. At DAVIDsTEA we had a #selfiestorevisit, it was a fun way to engage store teams and build teamwork across 250 locations using the internal Facebook page. There is something magical about being in service to others and making it fun.
At Apple, you were in charge of leading large hiring platforms, many with over 1000 candidate applications!
What were some of your recruiting strategies when sourcing talent that made a candidate stand out for you and how do you think someone can make a lasting impression in a candidate pool that is overflowing in the retail space right now?
Great questions, yes, I was responsible for sourcing and setting up the hiring seminars for large group interviews. It was not an easy task that’s for sure. The candidate pool was vast. We used key words to search for resumes as we used a portal, and we read cover letters. One of the things I loved about that role was giving people their dream job. During our training in Cupertino, we were told that there was no APPLE fit per-say…it was more about ability. One of the core competencies we looked for was learning agility, working in tech you had to be extremely agile and learn from first time experiences because there is a ton of them. New product launches and the speed of innovation was a factor. So searching for candidates that learned fast and embraced change was huge. I think cover letters matter, and highlighting your skills and achievements, not just your dates and titles on a resume. It is important to know your what and the why’s. This shares more about who you are than your credentials.
What brought you to create your online retail leadership platform, retailu?
I felt that there was a huge gap in the market when it came to retail leadership development and especially at an affordable price. I know this because we would spend a ton of time searching for the right training and could never find it so we would create them which is highly time consuming. There is a sea of leadership courses and really great ones, but not for retail operators, I felt that it needed to be simple, short and highly actionable for field leaders, who don’t have the time to sit through long video and text heavy programs. I remember during store visits I would find myself coaching on development plans, because I learned early on that if you wanted to change a result, you had to change behavior’s and build the right skills. The impact of a well-developed store manager cannot be underestimated, training selling skills is one thing, but if the manager doesn’t know how to build an effective team or deal with conflict you could be stopping the team from reaching their highest potential. The impact of a good leader has a huge effect on the rest of the team which transfers into the customers experience. Leadership skills can be taught, we have created the tool kit at retailu that my team always wanted!
Who is your target audience for this incredible leadership e-learning platform and what can someone expect signing up to your retailu course programs?
Once logged in there are over 25 competency courses, micro-video lessons with workbooks.
There are three ways of utilizing retailu courses,
Number 1; Self-Directed for the career hungry manager that wants to develop their skills, or if you have a talent accelerated program and are succession planning.
Number 2; Leader-Led, District Managers and Directors can use the retailu programs as professional development for their team. It is designed to create weekly discussions around what they have learned.
Number 3; Building leadership development into your onboarding programs, it is very flexible for a reason.
Retailers can buy it for their teams, but it is also affordable for the individual managers. Part of our mission is to make retailu affordable and accessible. Leadership development should not be a luxury and unattainable, everyone is worthy of learning!
Do you think someone looking to add skills on their resume to be able to attract new positions they may feel like they are losing out on because of not possessing the leadership qualities needed for a specific role they want to apply for, could be picked up from taking one of your retailu courses?
Yes we have many mangers in the community that have joined this year for exactly that reason. I hosted lives calls in the summer and it was great, they were thrilled and said this gave them the confidence and tools to speak about leadership, Most managers are good doers, but not necessarily good at self-promoting. The retailu courses will refresh your skills and keep you current and confident.
I love the title of your book, The Positive Effect! We all need positive in our lives these days and ALWAYS….
What is the overarching message in this book you want readers to walk away with?
Be highly AWARE of the effect you have on others. Neutral is neutral…think about how this impacts your team and customer experience and your community at large.
What can we look forward to with new offerings in 2021 for retailu and beyond?
We are launching a retailu certification program, it will be a cohort program, bringing the train the trainer and coaching certificate into retail. Why? Because even though professional coaching is growing, retail coaching is slightly different, it’s faster and coaches performance in the moment. We want to provide options to retailers that want to develop trainers and coaches in their business, or managers who want to grow their skills. Included in this program will be live teachings hosted by me, online modules teaching the ACT leadership model from the book, and lots of other great practical moments for participants to grow their leadership, facilitation, and coaching skills.
As for what’s next after that? Who knows? I have my CIO membership at www.aprilsabral.com specifically for senior women in leadership roles, and we have a second brand hospitalityu.
And beyond this… a life goal of mine is to innovate the high school education… I am open to what the universe has to bring!
What is one piece of advice you can give the #MethodMasters community for those struggling to find a job or the right career pivot?
Stay positive, the universe is not bias, what ever you focus on is what you get more of. I know it is hard, but the more you can do to stay around positive people, up-level your skills and continue to focus on improving yourself, your dream job will show up. It might not be on your timeline, but we all have something to learn in every moment. So just ask yourself, what can you learn from your current situation. And use LinkedIn, this has connected me with so many great leaders this year. It is a great tool. Don’t be shy, reach out people want to help you.
How can someone sign up for retailu and buy your book?
You can head to www.retailu.ca and sign up direct, if you have a team and want your team to sign up get in touch with us. Contact info is on the site.
Christopher Lacy: (Executive Retail Leader, Founder of CL Consulting, Co-Creator Host of Retail Revolution Podcast and Assistant Professor at Parson School of Design)
Gucci, Omega, Donna Karan and Barneys New York are just a few of the well-known brands Christopher has worked with in his 20+ years. He has developed a specialty for creating meaningful customer experiences especially for affluent clients. Lacy is the Founder and CEO of Christopher Lacy Consulting a firm dedicated to building strategic client and team development programs. Through leveraging data from quantitative and qualitative research, CLC combines deep industry knowledge with leadership, sales coaching, CRM data, and operational expertise to elevate brand profiles and client experience.
Christopher is currently Assistant Professor at Parsons School of Design in the Fashion Management graduate program as well as Curriculum Developer for Parsons New School Executive Education Program. In addition to teaching at Parsons, he is also Co-creator and Host of Retail Revolution Podcast which features in-depth conversations with experts in omni-channel retailing with myriad perspectives: technology, consumer engagement, data analytics, merchandising and more. Christopher has shared his knowledge and industry outlook by facilitating workshops for Polimoda, writing articles for WWD, providing insight to Business Insider and participating on multiple panels including Fashinnovation NYC.
Read on to learn more about Christopher’s Pivots, career insights and successful Retail Revolution Podcast…
As a seasoned retailer running multi-million-dollar luxury category businesses, what is your take on the current state of retail and where brands need to position themselves in 2021 to ensure success?
This is a time when retailers can rethink what the customer’s in-store experience should really look like. With fewer customers having the ability to engage in that physical space it is a time for brands to connect with customers and ask, “What was frustrating for you before, and what do you want when you come back?” In addition to that, and I have said this for years is making the E-commerce experience more engaging. Ralph Lauren recently did exactly what I have been talking about.
They created a virtual store of their actual Beverly Hills location. To me this is what e-commerce should look like.
You should be able to engage online with any store in your fleet virtually. For example, if I am in Dallas and I go to your website how can I really explore your brand in different markets.
What are you most proud of that you have taken away from your retail experience that you see as the foundation that has made you a successful in launching your brand consulting business and also as a professor for Parson School of Fashion?
Bob Proctor once said that, “People think management is about the direction of things but it’s really about the development of people.” This is true to my development and most important takeaway when I look at my career. I spent so much time engaging with people as a leader, a peer, an employee, sales associate etc.. that the biggest takeaway was, how can I develop myself and, in the process, develop others.
You have successfully navigated so many great pivots in your retail career, from Leadership roles, to Operations and Learning and Development. What has been your favorite role you have held and why?
That’s a tough one because each role was important for me at that time in my life. So, for me when I look back at each moment I can see and remember how I learned something that I didn’t know before about myself and the industry. They say that you are exactly where you need to be for the lesson you need to learn or the experience you need to have. Having said that, I would say my favorite role is where I am now. I am the owner of a firm that focuses on leadership and team development as well as operations, I host a successful podcast, Retail Revolution Podcast, I also am an Assistant Professor for one of the most prestigious schools in the world, Parsons.
My role or roles now combine everything I have learned over the years while still pushing me to learn more but simultaneously giving knowledge back to others. It has allowed me to engage with people I don’t think I would have ever had the pleasure to meet. I also feel like now I am in a position to create significant change in the world.
What skills do your believe retailers possess that are relatable in other industries and which industries should a reader be looking at if they are wanting to get out of the retail space?
Anyone who has ever worked in retail will tell you that there is a rigor that most people don’t understand.
You are trying to provide great service at times when the tools are not there to do so, you are smiling when people are yelling at you, you’re worried about tomorrow’s numbers even though you had a great day yesterday.
There is always a sense of angst and joy that holds your sway.
Resilience is a skill that people in retail have like no other, especially those in store line roles. Resilience doesn’t mean you can just handle pressure, but it means you can see the solution to the issue, and sometimes the solution is just to wait.
To the second part of your question, anyone reading this should not necessarily look for a specific industry but instead look at their talents and see what industry they could best leverage those talents. This is the hardest part because we don’t always, we don’t hardly ever, truly see what our talents are until we are put in positions or situations where we need to flex different muscles.
I know you have interviewed and hired A LOT of people.
When do you know you have the RIGHT candidate for the job as you meet many different people and how can someone truly stand out in an interview process?
This could be because I ask questions that tell me about a candidate’s thought process and personality. I rarely focus on hard skills because if the person has the correct personality then I just know. People who stand out to me are people who have done developmental work on themselves. I mean they have taken an Insights Discovery Color Personality, or a Clifton Strengths Assessment to understand what they bring to the table and how it would fit in my organization.
They can speak to it and define how the role they are applying to fits into the development of them as a person and team member.
I am in LOVE with your Retail Revolution Podcast and the incredible guests you have highlighted since its inception!
What brought you to create the Retail Revolution podcast and how do you see it evolving in 2021?
Thank you so much, I’m happy to hear that! If your readers have not done so then they should listen to your episode on Retail Revolution Podcast. This venture came about in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Joshua Williams and I were both set to facilitate the Retailing and Service Design course for the MPS Fashion Management Program at Parsons.
The class was set to begin in May and Covid-19 was full throttle. We both knew we wanted to create a meaningful experience for our students, so they still felt connected to the industry. Joshua suggested a podcast and the rest is history.
It was intended just to be for students and now we have grown to over 58 countries, streaming on all major platforms and just wrapped Season 3.
I am really excited for what our listeners will experience with Retail Revolution in 2021. You will see some partnerships, the start of workshops, a bigger focus on community. We are really going to go big in 2021 and I am super excited about it!
What is ONE thing you think someone can do today that could get them closer to their goal of getting hired or career pivoting?
I can’t stress this enough. It is super important to look at every role you had and think about what you did, not just the task but how did you leverage your talents that could be beneficial in your next role. At the same time, you are doing that you should be thinking about what excites you and what doesn’t excite you.
This is a very important step for future success.
How can we find you and support the Retail Revolution Podcast and any other new adventures of the Fabulous Christopher Lacy?
Please subscribe on your preferred streaming platform, Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Tune-In and Amazon! Also please feel free to donate.
You can also follow Retail Revolution podcast @retailrevolutionpodcast on Instagram and LinkedIn.
You can follow me @christopherllacy on Instagram and Christopher Lacy on LinkedIn.
Listen to Christopher and my podcast on Retail Revolution- Streaming NOW
On today’s #MethodMasters Blog I am pleased to highlight, Social Justice Advocate, Athlete, Wellness Enthusiast, and Creator of The Courage Campaign- Ashley Mitchell.
Ashley shares her unique perspective on staying motivated during tough times, how she brought a passion project to life and in dealing with the lowest lows, the way to keep going is through love. Because of Ashley’s authentic voice she shares out in the universe, many are drawn to her “tell it like it is” approach.
When asked about her teaching philosophy, she says it can be summed up in two quotes; the first is her own:
“You can rest, but you can’t quit.”
The other, a favorite from graduate school by Aristotle:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
As the daughter of a professional boxer, All- American track athlete, theatre major, fitness professional, educator and social justice advocate, Ashley has had the unique opportunity to experience a myriad of physical and mental training philosophies along with real-world challenges that served as critical catalysts for introspection and growth. Throughout her life, she has consistently shown the ability to dissect self-limiting beliefs and trauma to summon grit, fortitude and creativity.
Read on about Ashley’s insights on wellness, pivots, and staying the course for 2021.
Tell us a little bit about how you have navigated through the challenges this year being in such a front facing people industry with all you were leading on the fitness and education side of your professional offering.
“I just did it. I didn’t grow up in a family that believed in shielding or coddling us when things got tough. It’s my natural instinct to meet challenges head-on, and although I haven’t experienced anything like this year, I was still able to build on previous successes of overcoming hardship. I also have an incredibly small and lovely group of friends, an amazing partner, a roof over my head, food in my belly… so when the low low points came, I didn’t stay there because the abundance outweighs the pain. I guess the navigation lesson is: love yourself and let yourself be loved.”
As I know your career journey has been a series of pivots, for someone looking to get outside their comfort zone and explore a different industry, what advice would you give them to take the first step?
“I would tell them to identify the first step!
Making changes to your life is overwhelming and scary because not only does it affect your mental, physical and spiritual being, it affects your personal relationships, finances… everything. Each decision is a ripple. So decide where it is you want to go, and then work backwards, identifying the steps to the top. Start at one!”
With so many people burning the candles at both ends these days, what are your best habits that keep you motivated and inspired even when facing stress and overwhelm?
“I have several!
I say no, clear my schedule, move my body, get extra sleep, journal, read, vision board, cook, cuddle my fur babies & Mark, and Marie Kondo my life and relationships. Different situations call for different strategies, so I like to keep a lot in my back pocket and trust my instincts.”
What brought you to create The Courage Campaign and how can our readers support your mission?
“The Courage Campaign is a nonprofit that provides public schools and communities with high-caliber physical fitness instruction combined with personal development and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).
I created The Courage Campaign as a response to what I felt were a lack of coping mechanisms after my father died. Therapy, medication, alcohol, shopping…none of it worked. It only numbed what I was feeling rather than teaching me how to move forward. I also moved to New England and experienced quite a bit of culture shock due to the segregation of Boston and the juxtaposition of having a liberal reputation that isn’t quite put into practice across the board. I thought, if I had such a hard time dealing with trauma, anxiety, and depression- what do the kids who look like me have? What if their parents don’t have the resources? And how can we hold schools accountable? And then I got to work creating what I wish I had.
Through The Courage Campaign, students of all ages get the physical movement they so desperately need – and that their school’s strive to provide – while also learning about the extraordinary benefits of putting pen to paper through guided introspective journaling to organize their thoughts, and identify their fears, dreams, priorities and greatest inner superpowers. We believe that these tools build lifelong self-care practices that are invaluable and more important than ever in navigating the unprecedented events surrounding them today. The Courage Campaign creates strong minds and bodies today that that will help build a positive tomorrow. “
Many of our #MethodMasters community members are Retail Professionals, Hiring Managers, and Sr. Executives leading multi-million-dollar businesses.
As I know you worked in Retail WAY back in the day, looking at the current service/team environments where Diversity, Equality and Inclusion are a big topic of conversation, in your opinion how can leaders be better at hiring for more diverse and inclusive teams across all industries?
“I think the first step is to always look within.
One of the worst things a leader can do is bring a member of a historically marginalized group into an environment that is exclusionary, toxic, or unsafe. That said, I would love to see more leaders and companies hire diversity officers who are invested in the process, and can help lead the charge with appropriate action steps and best practices for internal training, recruiting, hiring, and maintaining an inclusive workplace.”
Overall “Wellness” is on everyone’s priority list this year, what does true Wellness look like to you?
“An America that is anti-racist and decolonized. Period. 100%. That is the only way we will ever truly be well.”
What is your biggest takeaway from 2020 and what are you looking forward to in 2021?
“2020 was/ is all about outlook. If you said it was awful, it was. If you said there were many blessings along the way, that is also true.
2021 for me is just a continuation of what I’ve built in 2020. I could’ve spent 9 months watching Netflix, but I decided I wanted to change a small corner of the world, so that’s what I’ll keep doing! “
How can readers stay in touch with you via Podcast, Social Media etc?
You can find me just about everywhere! On our website: www.thecouragecampaign.com On ig: @ashleymitchfit/ @the.courage.campaign You can find our podcast, “Conversations in Courage”, on Apple, Spotify, Buzzsprout, and Amazon. And of course, come take a class at Down Under Yoga! www.downunderyoga.com/
Ron Thurston built his retail career over more than 25 years from part-time sales associate to leading retail teams for some of America’s most prominent brands like Apple, Tory Burch, Saint Laurent, and INTERMIX. By owning the fact that his career was an accident, Ron creates space to empower other retail professionals to envision a long, successful future for themselves in one of the largest industries in the world.
The retail industry employs over 40 million people in the U.S. each year. It’s the furthest thing from a dead-end job, yet retail is sorely lacking in professional development resources and in a time where many candidates are looking for career pivots or new opportunities in Ron’s book, Retail Pride, The Guide to Celebrating Your Accidental Retail Career, he shares actionable takeaways and uplifting messages we all need to keep positive and on the right track in efforts to reach all of our career goals. It is relatable information that can be shared throughout any industry.
In the #MethodMasters blog today, Ron shares his thoughts on all things hiring, pivoting and how to stand out in the interview process, coming from a Senior Executive who undoubtedly has interviewed thousands of candidates during his career.
With your new book Retail Pride, The Guide to Celebrating Your Accidental Career, what do you hope someone takes away from all of the fantastic insights you share?
“I want it to be clear to the millions of people who work in retail that regardless of the role you have today or dream of having tomorrow, there has never been a more critical time to work in retail, to love what you do, and be better at it than you ever have before.”
“And when I say there has never been a more critical time, I mean that our ability to build the future of retail, test new ideas, create positive momentum, and re-engage the customers are all on the table in 2021.”
As an industry executive, I know you have hired A LOT of people. What do you believe a candidate needs to nail in an interview to make a lasting impression with a hiring manager?
“Grit, hard work, hustle, pride, empathy, curiosity, and focus. Whatever you choose to call it, the magic ingredient for retail career success and satisfaction is self-determination.”
“Don’t wait for a hiring manager to explain all of the ins and outs of the company. Have the self-determination to do the hard it takes to make an impact on your first day. Every hiring manager wants to hear that.”
In your opinion, what are three things someone looking for a new job or career pivot can do to get noticed in a robust candidate pool when applying to a job?
“In my book, I describe the three pillars of success in retail that I believe need to be clearly communicated in a job interview, no matter the role. The conversations about these three pillars are endless but make no mistake; they will get you noticed.”
“First, empathy. This is your ability to have honest conversations about how you have demonstrated the skills to connect with anyone you meet. As a leader, as a sales associate or a multi-store leader, it always starts with empathy.”
Second, your curiosity. This about not being afraid of the unknown, including a new product category that you have not sold before, and how you continue to develop your knowledge base through exceptional curiosity.”
“And last, your ability to focus. This is about how you create space and time to focus, how you schedule un-productive time to make your work time more productive, and how you have lead teams to success by keeping them focused on goals.”
When you are interviewing someone, what always stands out the most to you as you are getting to know a candidate?
“The one thing that always stands out is a candidate’s ability to share their story without a reference to your resume. I often start with “tell me your story without speaking about work”. It’s surprisingly hard for most people!”
For someone looking to pivot into a different category of retail (i.e., Fashion to Beauty, etc.), how can someone make this change to be considered at this time not having specific category experience?
“There is a special light that shines brighter in retail people. We have a natural sense of positivity, a constant drive to improve, deliver the best results, hustle, and connect. And none of this is category-specific. I have personally sold baby clothes, computers, furniture, chinos, and luxury handbags, and more. And the skills I developed over decades doing this are the same three pillars I referenced, and great leadership is the same regardless of what you sell. Don’t let the lack of experience diminish your confidence in learning a new category.”
At this moment, we all need some Ron Wisdom. What is the best thing someone reading this today can action in their day to day to stay positive with all that is going on in retail?
“Think about how strong you are, how much you love what you do, how hard you have worked to succeed in your accidental career, and how proud you are of the teams you have led.”
“And when you fully commit and decide that you’re proud of what you do, it stops being an accidental career.”
How do you stay motivated to keep things going even through the most challenging times?
“In a self-taught industry like retail, we all have the opportunity every day to shape future leaders by creating positive and inspired team members who can go on to highly successful retail careers. Nothing inspires pride like thinking about all of the people I have positively impacted and supported their growth. That keeps me going every day! ”
“Ron Thurston loves retail. And he’s proud of it. Ron has led the retail teams for some of America’s most prominent brands, inspired thousands of store employees, and traveled relentlessly across the country to sit and listen to what they have to say. From a part-time sales associate to a vice president of stores, Ron has put in the hard work that a retail career requires and wrote this book to share what he learned along the way. Ron is a fourth-generation Californian, but he and his husband now live in Manhattan.”
About Retail Pride:
When will you get a real career? When will you stop working nights and weekends? When do you plan to use your college degree? If you work in retail, these are questions you often hear.
Does this make you feel like the career you love was all just an accident? You’re not alone. The retail industry employs millions, yet most people don’t end up there by design.
Ron Thurston wrote Retail Pride as an indispensable guide for every retail employee, manager, and multi-store leader looking to accelerate their potential and grow their career. It’s filled with straightforward, practical tips for developing your talents, connecting with customers, and building your leadership skills.
Based on more than twenty-five years of Ron’s retail leadership experience, you’ll discover a sense of belonging in the words of someone who has been a champion for the industry and shares your journey.