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Leading Ladies - Amy Howell

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Amy Howell is one lady you want on your team, but even more....LEADING your team. Amy is CEO of Howell Marketing Strategies as well as an author of "Women in High Gear: A Guide for Entrepreneurs, On-Rampers, and Aspiring Executives" and launching soon, "Students in High Gear". Amy has been such an amazing leader for me to watch since I first got my start on Twitter. Her book still remains in my library and always at the top of the list when asked for my favorite books. The best quote has to be from Amy when she explains what "high gear" means to her: "High gear for me is the point where you attain confidence that comes from staying power in the business world. It's that voice deep down that calls you to action and keeps you focused on your goals. Some people have tried to define me, but I refuse to allow others to define my journey." 

Gives you chills, huh? GO AMY! Be sure to connect with Amy on Twitter.

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?

I think a number of factors contribute to “getting a good start” in a career. Being deliberate about choices starts early and I got my “start” in life by learning early how to get things done and how to get people to follow. I was active in my community in high school where I believe success starts to swell and grow. My passion for helping others combined with a strong work ethic in high school led me to a great college path which then opened doors for my career. In our new book “Students In High Gear” my co-author, Anne D. Gallaher and I stress the importance of connecting the dots along your journey and making good choices along the way. We believe this early “high gear” leads to success. Frankly, I was already on my path to what I believe to be success in my early 20’s. Hard work and staying on the course of making good choices in my career is what gets you there. It is also important to acknowledge the people—mentors, bosses, leaders—who influence you and help you as well. I was naturally a networker and meeting influential people in your community early is very important to you in a career. 

WHAT RISKS DID YOU TAKE?

If you work hard and achieve success for others (for your employers) you will get noticed. The risks I had to make included knowing when to change jobs and accept other positions. Changing jobs (when I worked in corporate marketing) was risky but necessary if I was going to grow and learn new industries. Each time, my experience transferred to a new industry and as a result, I had learned four primary and fundamental industries which enabled me to ultimately start my own business. The biggest risk of all was starting my own business and not being dependent on an employer for my income. 

WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU?

I have learned that you cannot control certain things and you have to know what they are. I think what really scares me is something happening to my children or anyone in my family. Life is short and we need to live in the moment and be thankful for today.

LOOKING BACK ON YOUR CAREER, WHAT WAS A MAJOR TURNING POINT IN YOUR CAREER?

After about 7 years of having my own firm, I found a partner who I thought would be someone I could trust and that turned out to be wrong. After a hard couple of years of re-building, I was able to get my firm back on solid footing, grow it and work with clients I had the most passion for. It was truly like pushing the reset button of change! It was hard but that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I believe this was the biggest turning point for me. Not her departure but how I handled it and what I did with it. 

WHAT ARE THREE PIECES OF ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED THAT YOU'VE CARRIED WITH YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?

“Visions without actions are hallucinations”—Michael Kami, Consultant: I heard him use this in a speech once and I have never forgotten the impact of these words. 

“When you smile the world smiles with you…when you weep, you weep alone.”—Mom: On the importance of keeping a grateful attitude and being positive.

“Don’t waste time.”—Steve Jobs: Time is a non-renewable resource and it’s important not to waste it!

BIGGEST MISTAKE?

You cannot be successful in any career without making mistakes and that is how you learn. I’m sure I have made many of them but perhaps the biggest one was being too trusting of people who ultimately intend to do you harm. As I have aged, I am more aware of the types of people you can never trust. Having been through some bad relationships in business, my radar for these types of people is stronger and I avoid them as associates, clients and friends.