Sometimes the deck is stacked against you. Maybe you come from a tough tough upbringing that involves parental drug abuse and neglect. Maybe you become an adult and find yourself 100+ pounds overweight and in an abusive relationship.
And maybe, just maybe, you use all of those circumstances to decide what kind of life you don’t want and propel yourself into the life you do want.
This is the story of our Presenting Sponsor and Breakout Session speaker, Kerry Slone, in a nutshell. And while we all know it’s just not that cut and dried, I’ll save many of the details for you to hear in her Breakout Session “Opportunista”.
There are some things I want you to know about Kerry but I’ll be honest and tell you that trying to describe her is challenging. If you don’t know her it will be easy for you to make assumptions about her. She wears heels (many times stilettos!) most every day, her makeup and hair are always on point, she projects confidence, she speaks with authority and has no problem using her voice, she doesn’t beat around the bush, she’s not afraid to tell it like it is.
And so you are probably assuming that she’s tough (she is), she’s a smart business woman (she is), and she’s a proponent of tough love (she is sometimes).
But friends, as is the case with EVERYONE, you have to dig a little deeper:) Because if you dig deeper you’ll find that she is those things and a whole lot more.
So let’s dig 🙂
You always have to have a cause that drives you.
Kerry supported the Miss West Sound Pageant for years because of the wonderful opportunities it provides for young women. Lucky us, she has decided to now partner with the Inspired You Event because of the opportunity we get to empower and inspire our local women through our conference.
BUT, if you get a chance, ask her why she also supports the local Soroptomist group. Be warned, it’s here when this tough on the outside woman might cry. Ask her about her high school years, sitting in the office twice a week going through the scholarship files trying to find a little extra help to get her to college. Ask her about the woman that worked there, a Soroptomist, that watched her rummage through those drawers each and every week, and then helped her get a scholarship (remember the childhood I mentioned earlier?). By the way, not that I ever enjoy seeing people cry, but in all of the interviews I’ve done, this was my most favorite moment of all time. All.Time.Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve. And you know me…the whole story was in her eyes.
What’s the worst that could happen?
The question that literally changed her life. There were big changes going on at the salon where she worked, she had an opportunity to purchase the business but like any normal person, was afraid. And so, her husband at the time asked the question, “What’s the worst that could happen? If it doesn’t work out will you be homeless? Will you still have food on the table? Will life go on?” No, Yes, Yes. And the rest is history. That was her first step in many towards building a life and a business.
Listening will get you everywhere.
Kerry has a knack (she says she gets it from her grandfather) for seeing where the gaps are in business communities. She can sit down to play a game of Cards Against Humanity with strangers in a coffee shop (CAH in a coffee shop??) and walk away with a business idea and then actually make it happen. True story.
What’s her key? How does she do this? She listens. She listens to her customers to know how to give them what they want at the salon, she listens to what people in the community are ‘wishing’ for and then figures out a way to give it to them. But she also listens to herself, she figures out what she’s good at and what drives her – that’s the sweet spot for sure.
We finished the interview with the question “who and what inspires you” (her husband, and the drive to do better), and her favorite quote. She had a few so I’ll leave you with the two that I felt represented her best:
“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” ~George Eliot
“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.” ~Richard Branson
I hope you’ll register for Kerry’s Breakout Session at the Inspired You Event, “Become an “Opportunista: Learning How to Create Opportunities in Your Personal and Professional Life.”