Lifting Up The Next Generation of Women
On this edition of “Inspiring Women,” host Betty Collins discusses lifting up the next generation of women. How do you create environments for women to thrive? What’s the best way to encourage the next generation of women? Betty discusses these questions and more in this edition of “Inspiring Women,” presented by Brady Ware & Company.
Betty Collins, CPA, Brady Ware & Company and Host of the “Inspiring Women” Podcast
Betty Collins is the Office Lead for Brady Ware’s Columbus office and a Shareholder in the firm. Betty joined Brady Ware & Company in 2012 through a merger with Nipps, Brown, Collins & Associates. She started her career in public accounting in 1988. Betty is co-leader of the Long Term Care service team, which helps providers of services to Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and nursing centers establish effective operational models that also maximize available funding. She consults with other small businesses, helping them prosper with advice on general operations management, cash flow optimization, and tax minimization strategies.
In addition, Betty serves on the Board of Directors for Brady Ware and Company. She leads Brady Ware’s Women’s Initiative, a program designed to empower female employees, allowing them to tap into unique resources and unleash their full potential. Betty helps her colleagues create a work/life balance while inspiring them to set and reach personal and professional goals. The Women’s Initiative promotes women-to-women business relationships for clients and holds an annual conference that supports women business owners, women leaders, and other women who want to succeed. Betty actively participates in women-oriented conferences through speaking engagements and board activity.
Betty is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and she is the President-elect for the Columbus Chapter. Brady Ware also partners with the Women’s Small Business Accelerator (WSBA), an organization designed to help female business owners develop and implement a strong business strategy through education and mentorship, and Betty participates in their mentor match program. She is passionate about WSBA because she believes in their acceleration program and matching women with the right advisors to help them achieve their business ownership goals. Betty supports the WSBA and NAWBO because these organizations deliver resources that help other women-owned and managed businesses thrive.
Betty is a graduate of Mount Vernon Nazarene College, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and a member of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants. Betty is also the Board Chairwoman for the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce, and she serves on the Board of the Community Improvement Corporation of Gahanna as Treasurer.
“Inspiring Women” Podcast Series
“Inspiring Women” is THE podcast that advances women toward economic, social and political achievement. The show is hosted by Betty Collins, CPA, and presented by Brady Ware and Company. Brady Ware is committed to empowering women to go their distance in the workplace and at home. Past episodes of “Inspiring Women” can be found here.
Betty Collins: [00:00:00] Lifting the next generation of women … No, this is not a podcast on millennials. This is not a podcast on the 20-somethings. For me, I’m 56 years of age. I’m a young 56, but I am 56. And all the sudden, the word legacy starts being said out loud, because it’s kind of in your thoughts. It’s on your mind a little bit more. I think that 65 is a long way off. However, it’ll be here before I probably want it. Then what? I will tell you, without reservation, my CPA life will be completed. There is no question. The empowerment and the advancement of women is something I’m passionate about for many reasons, and it’s not just about success, or the rights; it’s just about a life well-lived on their terms. That can look different for everybody.
Betty Collins: [00:00:53] Lifting up the next generation of women is what I want for me to give and to be part of. It’s just part of my DNA, and it’s certainly something I want as part of my legacy, both in business and personal. There’s nothing like the energy of youth. I know, in my Columbus office, in Brady Ware, we have a lot of younger people, and we all love that. Watching from a distance, just the success of those 20-, 30-, and 40-somethings, just the energy, and just watching from a distance, that’s really not enough. Lifting them up – more, I’m going to talk more about the women part of it – is really a movement that I want to be a part of, and there’s no retirement to that. How do you just feed off that energy, maybe, and how do you maybe direct it; help them direct that energy? Then, how do you really get involved by not just being on the outskirts?
Betty Collins: [00:01:51] Again, this is not a podcast on millennials, although they are a part of the next generation. This is not even a podcast on my life, and now that it’s coming to a close, and it’s all ending, and my CPA career – I will never have to do accounting again … It’s not that. It’s just a podcast about having a discussion on how to lift up that next generation of women. Really, it goes beyond more than just sharing your experiences, because you’ve learned along the way, or mentoring. All that is important. It goes beyond even making sure that they don’t make your same mistakes, because they probably are going to make a lot of them. It’s important, obviously, to teach that. It goes really beyond, sure, that you’re not in this to change them, so that they do it your way; although you might know the way …
Betty Collins: [00:02:38] If you really want to uplift that next generation, you must determine what is the uplift; what is it that you want to uplift? Uplifting women in leadership? Is it about their careers? Is it about the potential? Maybe it’s about big choices in life – the significant other who you marry, parenting – maybe you are really good at that; faith, or core values. Whatever those things are, you’ve got to go, “This is what I really want to help that next generation be successful in.”
Betty Collins: [00:03:13] When you do that, you can start focusing in on that. Some of it is maybe you really help with what you are great at, or maybe what you’re not so great at, because that’s the one that you’d learn probably the most lesson from. You us those to uplift and get that next generation excited. Look around your life. What women uplifted you in the past, or are doing it right now? By the way, who are you uplifting? You need to think on that. If you got nothing, start making it part of your life, ASAP.
Betty Collins: [00:03:47] By the way, you don’t have to be 56 to be an uplifter of the next generation. I think we think it’s for gray-hairs, right? I read a really great article on what 30-somethings want 20-somethings to know. Chances are, a 30-something will resonate more with that 20-something than I would. Here are some examples. Be picky who you spend your time with. high school, it’s a popular contest; maybe even college, and then you start … You probably have some time where you need to whittle down some friendships. There’s only so much time in the day. That’s a 30-something telling that to 20s.
Betty Collins: [00:04:25] The 30-something is telling the 20-somethings to take more risk. I find that kind of comical, but that’s what they see. Here’s a good one – they say save more money. Your 401k is important. If I say, at 56, my 401k is important, like to my children, their response usually is, “Well, you have money to do that. You don’t have the bills I have,” and all that. Where a 30-, and 20-something, if a 30-something is starting to have success in that, the 20-something’s going to relate more.
Betty Collins: [00:04:58] Don’t dismiss your wild dreams. Slow down and be positive. Get rid of skinny jeans. I found that one to be funny, because I will tell you, when I see 56-year-old women looking like they’re trying to be 30, it really drives me crazy, so I found that one very interesting. They even said this in their article, “Don’t judge older women for spending money on eye cream.” They also agree that Sheryl Sandberg was right, you’ve got to have a lot of support. She was where she was because she acknowledged she had a great partner in life. I thought it was very interesting that I found more articles on 30-somethings wanting to give advice to 20-somethings. I didn’t find a lot about what you what 50-year-olds want 40s to know or even what 40-year-olds want 30s to know? I found that interesting.
Betty Collins: [00:05:51] Be aware, they may not want you lifting them up. Chances are, they’re not going to seek you out. Step up but be respectful. What inspires you may not inspire them. When I started a women’s initiative in Brady Ware, I thought, “Oh, Brady Ware’s so generous, they’re gonna let me buy books for all the women to read a book a month, or a book a quarter …” They didn’t want to read books. That was not them. I like a hard book with a highlighter. I always read about half of it. That didn’t interest them. It didn’t inspire them to help them.
Betty Collins: [00:06:26] You really have to figure out, then, too, what motivates them. My children are not motivated at the things I was motivated. They don’t care if they ever, really, a buy a house. They’re more into condo living in the downtown. When I was their age, that was the thing – you’ve got to get that 20 percent saved, so you could buy a house. You’ve got to get the house. What motivated maybe you or me, back in the time that they were their age is not probably the same.
Betty Collins: [00:07:00] These are things you have to be aware of. To uplift, you’ve got to be uplifting. You can’t be Debbie Downer, and go, “I’m gonna inspire you!” I remember one of my friends, her mom was really not doing very well; she was getting ready to pass away. She had cancer; they were in the hospital, and they were going around … They were sitting in the lobby just to get out of the room. Her mom was just a negative, negative person. She was not fun to be around at all. She saw somebody in the waiting room, and she leaned over to my friend, her daughter, and said, “I’m going to go help them. They shouldn’t be smoking, because this is what the result is.” She said, “Mom, you’re not gonna go do that,” because she knew that her mom was going to go over and just … It was not going to be a good conversation.
Betty Collins: [00:07:54] To be uplifting, man, you’ve got to be uplifting. It’s not about making you feel better. It’s about them. I’ll use this illustration – this may not make sense to you – there are preachers who are very preachy, fire and brimstone, and teach you, and tell you, and go on. Then there’s somebody who’s got a pastor’s heart. They’re that caregiver. They have compassion. Those are two different things. You’ve got to know the difference. Yeah, you can figure out what you want to uplift, because you’ve been good at it or you’ve been bad at it, but you’ve got to be aware of those things.
Betty Collins: [00:08:31] Then, you’ve got to be generous. Your mistakes, your barriers, your regrets – figure out a way to teach your life lessons to the next generation and learn from them. I know, with my kids, I was very determined that they were not going to work as much as I worked. They were not going to have to take care of things financially, like I had to do. That was my own little … I’m going to teach them that, man, life is good, and these are the things you can really aspire for, but I’m going to pay for all that and do that. They really kind of missed out on figuring out finances in life, like they should have. It took them a little time to do that, because I didn’t let them experience that. Instead, I was trying to take my mistakes and my barriers that I thought I had and just remove them from their life. Not a good thing.
Betty Collins: [00:09:20] Then, patience is required. You ever had that person in your life, you’ve got to be really patient with? Then, one day, they turn the corner, right? Being a mentor, and sponsoring someone, all those are important, but the informal, sometimes … Just that informal, day-to-day, shoot from the hip … Figure out what motivates them; figure out what they need; figure out how to communicate to them – you might be surprised. I will tell you, I wish I would have known these things over the last 30 years. I wish I would have had some people in my life that said, “This next generation, man, Betty Collins probably could use this …” but these are things I really wish I would have known more of.
Betty Collins: [00:09:59] Cultivate the right attitude, no matter what you’re seeking. Sometimes, it was just I have to do this because I have to do this. Really? Or, I want to do this because I want to do this. Having that right attitude; that’s just one example of attitude, that I always did the “right” thing. I just always did what I was supposed to, instead of maybe this is what I really would like to do.
Betty Collins: [00:10:25] When all else fails, a plan is a good thing, but it may not always be reality. I was a big five-year planner in some of my years that I could have been a little more freer. Plans are good, and they probably are needed more in today … I see today’s generation behind me, and they really just go from thing to thing, but … Plans are good.
Betty Collins: [00:10:47] I did not learn this til later in life, and no one ever talked to me about it, or inspired me, but passion and the why are first, and then your how and your what. That’s been a big topic. Simon Sinek is big on it. I wish I would have known more about why I do things, or someone would have asked me those questions a little bit more, but they didn’t.
Betty Collins: [00:11:09] Mistakes are fruitful. If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. Okay, this is not my quote – it’s President Theodore Roosevelt – but it really is true. Sometimes, we’re buried in mistakes and just think, “Oh my goodness, how can I go on?” I was that way, and I didn’t want to go further. I would kind of hibernate a little bit more, instead of moving on, or learning from it. I wish, over the last 30 years, someone said, “If you want something, sometimes you gotta ask.” You’re not asking, so why should you … Other people around you are asking, so guess what they’re getting? Whatever that is. I just didn’t do it. I always thought, if you accept everything, accept your stuff around you, accept the position, accept the money, accept the status quo, then it’s a much more peaceful, good road. That’s not always the case. Questions are good. You know why? Because there’s going to be answers, probably, behind them. I wish I would have known that over the last 30 years.
Betty Collins: [00:12:11] Safety and security is awesome. It’s comfortable. It’s the safety net. I’ve never have to worry. There’s nothing to me like a full refrigerator, okay? But reckless, and that thing I call unruly, in my last … It’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes, hot dogs on fire at the last minute are just awesome. I’ve kind of learned to shake it up a little bit more with various things in my life. When I was 40 and went through things that changed a lot in my life, I ended up doing a tremendous amount of traveling from the age 40 to 50.
Betty Collins: [00:12:46] Man, I’m glad I did that. I’m so glad I said, “We’re gonna do this regardless.” We didn’t put as much money in a 401k. We didn’t do as much debt reduction on the house. But I probably can’t do a lot of the things I did, physically, for sure, on those trips and keep up. I’m just glad I was part of … Someone in my life, my husband, who said, “No, let’s go on an adventure. Let’s do something. We work hard all year. Let’s play hard.” Grateful for that. Most of my life, I didn’t ever hear those things. I’ve been married, and I’ve been divorced. I wish someone really would have emphasized the importance of that significant other, that spouse in your life.
Betty Collins: [00:13:32] Those are things that, over my last 30 years, when I was trying to figure out how would I help the next generation, these were things that matter to me now. These are things I would have never seen along the way. Hindsight’s really easy, but I’ve got to know that maybe someone doesn’t want to be married. So, finding your support to be your biggest fan isn’t going to help them. That’s why I go back to being aware in the different things I’ve talked about.
Betty Collins: [00:13:58] These are some things to think about when you’re wanting to uplift other women. Remember, surely, our seasons are all different. Your 20s are not your 30s, which are … Those are very different from your 40s; not to mention your 50s. Not sure what 60 holds, because I’m not 60. I’ve not been there, but I’m sure it’s different. The other thing about those different seasons are you may need to shift who you are being uplifted by or getting help from, because they are different. The 20-somethings can help the 55-year-old. It doesn’t always need to be, “Well, we’ve already been through this generation; we are helping here.” A lot of times, we can learn tremendously from them. It’s not a one-way thing.
Betty Collins: [00:14:44] Be aware of the women in your life that are around you. Start at home, in your extended family. Just sit and go, “Who is not making it? Who is not maybe living out their potential? Who could really use a friend, which can lead to help?” You can’t just go in with help, not knowing somebody. You have to have the relationship there. Be more intentional of it, and then keep it simple.
Betty Collins: [00:15:11] My previous podcast on building up women around you, I talked about that. Simple gestures; how you conduct yourself. Those familiar little simple random acts of kindness. Now, they have a hundred books on that. We live in a tough world with constant challenge; a lot of negativity; a lot of how are we ever going to do this? You’ve got to seize the opportunity now to uplift others. They really are intentional. They’re insightful about pleasure is a daily thing, because you don’t always have tomorrow. It’s not just for special occasions – fun, and pleasure, and contentment – it’s not just for holidays and weekends. Only two weeks out of the year is your vacation. You’ve got 50 other to do. Uplifting in a tough world right now is something that is so needed, and guiding that next generation, getting them where they need to be, even if they don’t know that they … Even if they don’t know that they need you.
Betty Collins: [00:16:07] I’m going to close this with some great sayings, because when I was out there on uplifting, a lot of times when I do podcasts, I Google certain words just to get ideas. Here are some things that you … I’m going to try to uplift you at the end here. “Do not dim your light for anybody. Darkness is no place to live.” I just the way that quote sounded. This is a Betty Collins quote, by the way, “Leverage your uniqueness in life, but, remember, if you want to be funny and no one is laughing, you probably need to change what you are leveraging. Be aware.” “Today, you could be drinking the wine. Tomorrow, you could be picking the grapes.” You probably need to expect that to happen, so be ready, and learn, and try to enjoy both seasons. “There is power in purpose. Stuff is just stuff, for the sake of stuff.” We need to accept that we won’t always make right decisions, that we will screw up royally, sometimes; understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of it.
Betty Collins: [00:17:11] Today, I hope you sit back and think, “Who can I help in that next generation? Who can I uplift, especially women I’m passionate about, if anyone?” Really sit and go, “How can I help, and be effective, and have that impact?” I’m Betty Collins, and I hope you enjoyed today. Thank you.