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Businesswomen seek to inspire next generation at annual summit

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Women from throughout Williamson County recently came together for the annual Williamson, Inc. Women in Business Summit.  

Working off the overall theme of “Elevate Your Success,” four business executives shared their journeys and stories to inspire the audience.  

Sarah Nuse, the founder and owner of Tippi Toes Dance Company, was the keynote speaker. Tippi Toes offers an award-winning dance program whose classes have had a remarkable impact on the social and developmental growth of children.  

The focus of her message was on transforming day to day successes.  

Tippi Toes gained national attention when Nuse was on the popular TV show “Shark Tank.” All of the sharks — a group of wealthy investors — liked her concept, however, it was Mark Cuban who she picked for a partnership.  

But soon after, Nuse began to have a gut feeling that the partnership was not a good fit. After much consideration, she emailed Cuban and explained her decision to part ways.  

Nuse said that Cuban responded with an email “full of expletives” and wrote, “You’ll never succeed in business and I wish you no success.’”  

Nuse has had the last laugh as her franchise has expanded across the United States and will be opening overseas this year.  

Sharing her vulnerabilities and stories of the journey was inspirational, and Nuse’s open and honest message showcased the power of working for something you want. 

Key points of Nuse’s message included asking yourself, “How do I make my dreams come true?”  

“Don’t focus on what’s stacked against you. You are important, and you matter. Surround yourself with good people.” 

Nuse went on to say, “Don’t listen to the loudest voice, listen to the truest voice.”  

Nuse encouraged audience members to get out of their own way and communicate clearly their “why.”  

Three WIB talks, modeled after TED talks, followed the keynote speech. 

Kia Jarmon, agency director at MEPR agency, spoke about “finding your mission within the company’s mission.”  

Jarmon described herself as a teacher whose character and integrity are the footstool to her success. Her heroes are Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman. Both amazing women “give us what is clear in the direction of going forward,” explained Jarmon.  

A lifelong member of Girl Scouts, Jarmon said your mission is only as strong as the legacy you leave behind.  

One of Jarmon’s favorite quotes is from former first lady Michelle Obama: “When you’ve worked hard and done well and walked through that doorway of opportunity … you do not slam it shut behind you … you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.” 

Jarmon said she believes we should all “come back down the elevator to bring up others to the top.” 

She added, “I’m here to inspire others. My platform is for voices to be heard, even if it’s my voice on their behalf.”  

The second topic, presented by Laura Reinbold, national director for Terracon was “How to Position Yourself to Lead.”  

“When I think about my leadership skills, I attribute mine to my mom, a stay-at-home mom who was insightful,” Reinbold shared.  

“We all lead. If you want to position yourself to lead, you have to stick to your fundamentals. I don’t talk about leading, I’m not a public speaker, I just do it.”  

Reinbold was 2016-17 president of the international Geoprofessional Business Association, where she became the first female board member and first female president. 

Appointed by the governor to serve on the state licensing board for architects and engineers, Reinbold told the story of listening to the statutes being read and realizing that every statute read “he.” 

Reinbold asked, “Why are the state statutes not gender neutral or gender inclusive?”  

The state attorneys all gathered and the wording was not only changed for these statutes, but all statues in the state were changed. 

Reinbold’s takeaway for the day: “Show up, speak up, invest in others and lead.” 

The final talk — “Overcoming Fear in Real Time” — was given by Mila Grigg, CEO of MODA Image and Brand Consulting.  

Grigg shared her vulnerability with the audience by telling personal stories of walking through fire. 

Grigg, the mother of six, now leads a highly successful company based on brand integrity. Grigg told a heartwarming story about a pep talk she got from her grandfather after a bad day in the sixth grade. Those words would help her during the testing times. 

The message Grigg wanted women to walk away with is to first know your purpose. “Know your why.” She highly recommends reading Simon Sinek’s books.  

“Use your stories to share your brand so that you gain awareness from others,” Grigg said. 

Grigg went on to say, “My why is greater than my fear. I coach companies to tell the right story. Find out what’s your purpose. Find your gift. God gave each of us a gift.” 

In closing, she said, “You don’t want the ‘R’ in your why to be regret. The fear is being 90 years old and not knowing why you had done it.  

The next Women in Business luncheon is set for Oct. 23 at Brentwood United Methodist Church. To learn more about becoming a member of Williamson Inc. visit www.williamsonchamber.com.

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