In this episode of Women in Motion, hosts Lee Kantor and Dr. Pamela Williamson talk with Vaughn M. Williams III, Principal Supplier Diversity Advisor for SoCal Gas Company, about their supplier diversity program and how they serve underserved groups, such as women-owned businesses. Vaughn shares advice for potential suppliers and tells a success story of a woman-owned business that he mentored and helped grow.
Marianne Ellis, CEO and Founder of CEO Success Community, also joins the conversation to discuss the importance of women-owned businesses and shares her own success story of coaching a woman-owned business to win a contract with a utility company. The show emphasizes the importance of investing in underserved groups and building relationships with corporations and fellow women-owned businesses.
Vaughn M. Williams III currently serves as the Principal Supplier Diversity Advisor for SoCalGas Company. In this capacity he is responsible for ensuring the advancement of small, minority and underrepresented businesses.
This position coincides with his passion of service and economic development. Previously he served as Category Manager for Southern California Gas Company (A Division of Sempra Energy), his responsibilities included management of all staff augmentation, contracts negotiation and management, fostering long-term client relationships in the areas of engineering, food services and Human Resources.
Prior to assuming this role, Vaughn worked as the On-Site Client Services Manager (Sempra Energy Utilities) under the auspices of AgileOne Vendor Management Solutions. He was responsible for the management and integrity of all data utilized under the Vendor Management Tool (Acceleration VMS).
While based in Los Angeles, the Sempra Energy Utilities Account covers all of Southern California to include San Diego and San Luis Obispo.
Connect with Vaughn on LinkedIn.
Marianne Ellis is the CEO/Co-Founder of CEO Success Community–the source for Women & Diversity Owned Businesses seeking Corporate Contracts with Fortune 500 companies. Our mission is to show CEOs the fastest path to increased revenue and growth.
We are a CEO Community membership offering the following business tracks: Get To The Buyer, RFP/Proposal To The Win, Business Innovation, Sales Accelerator, Virtual Conference Maximizer, Business Succession Planning and more. We are proud to have coached thousands of Diversity CEOs.
Major Corporations hire us to coach their Rising Suppliers like SCE, CDW and Martin Harris. Diversity Associations WBENC, WBEC-West, WBEC-Pacific, NAWBO, count on us to run their signature workshops sponsored by IBM, Bank of America, UPS, T-Mobile, Walmart, Accenture and more. CEO Success Community was built on a successful sales practice that averaged more than $100 million in new billing growth in less than 18 months.
We have both sell side and buy-side experience running Fortune 500 RFPs.Marianne is an Amazon #1 Best Selling Co-Author-Women In Business Leading The Way, Member of the Television Academy—annually attending The Emmy’s, Nominee LA Times Inspirational Women of the Year, Two-time Winner WBE Advocate of the Year, Community Impact Award and sought after speaker.
Connect with Marianne on LinkedIn.
About our Co-Host
Dr. Pamela Williamson, President & CEO of WBEC-Westhttps://wbec-west.com/, is an exemplary, dedicated individual, and has extensive experience as a senior leader for over twenty years.
She has served as the CEO of SABA 7 a consulting firm, overseen quality control at a Psychiatric urgent care facility of a National Behavioral Health Care Organization where she served as Vice President and Deputy Director,and has served as the CEO of WBEC-West, since 2008.
Her extensive experience in developing and implementing innovative alliances with key stakeholders has enabled the organizations to reach new levels of growth and stability. Her ability to lead and empower staff members creates a strong team environment which filters throughout the entire organization.
She takes an active role in facilitating connections between corporations and women business enterprises and sees a promising future for WBENC Certified women-owned businesses.
Dr. Williamson holds a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration, a Master’s degrees in Business Administration, and bachelor degrees in both Psychology and Sociology.
Connect with Dr. Williamson on LinkedIn.
Music Provided by M PATH MUSIC
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:07] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios. It’s time for Women in Motion. Brought to you by WBEC West. Join forces, Succeed Together. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:27] Lee Kantor here with Pamela Williamson. So excited to be kicking off this Women in Motion show. Welcome, Pamela.
Pamela Williamson: [00:00:36] Hi. Thank you. We’re excited to be here today.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:39] And who do we have today in the show?
Pamela Williamson: [00:00:42] Today we have two amazing guests. We have Vaughan M Williams III, who is currently the principal supplier, diversity advisor for SoCal Gas Company. And we have Marianne Ellis, who is the CEO and founder of CEO Success Community.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:58] Well, welcome, both of you. Let’s start the show off with Vaughn Vaughan. Tell us a little bit about SoCalGas Company, how you serving folks.
Vaughn M. Williams III: [00:01:07] So good morning. First and foremost, SoCalGas is one of the largest natural gas utilities in North America. And we are servicing folks in a variety of ways. But in my capacity, we are serving them through supplier diversity. We are working with individuals of many minority distincts, women, LGBTQ service, disabled veteran persons with disability and minorities in general, helping them to really understand the fundamentals of business, helping them to identify opportunities in business, specifically with SoCal Gas from everything from washing a window to building a pipeline throughout the Southern California Basin. And so we are really servicing them in many capacities to afford them the opportunity to create economic strength, to create development, to generate wealth, but most first, mostly to ensure that their business aptitude is such that they can compete with some of the largest companies in the world.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:12] Now, why is it so important to serve groups like women owned businesses and all those underserved groups that you mentioned? Why is it important to dedicate resources specifically to help them, you know, enter the ecosystem?
Vaughn M. Williams III: [00:02:27] Well, I think you hit it with the lead in, which is the underserved. If you look at statistical data across the nation, you’ll see that minorities in general are the most underserved in terms of business opportunity. They can get to the front door, but they can’t always get in or they can put the key in the door, but it may not turn. And my job and my goal is to make sure that that door opens, that that table is set for them to sit at and partake amongst those who they normally would not be able to. It’s important to me personally, as a minority and as an individual from an inner city community where opportunities were not at the forefront to make sure that people have that opportunity to grow and thrive. I always tell people, somebody gave me a hand up and it is my fiduciary and my community duty to ensure that I do the same for others.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:21] So what is some advice you can give a person that wants to work with SoCal Gas Company? What are some of the primary drivers of a successful supplier for you?
Vaughn M. Williams III: [00:03:32] So a successful supplier. One understands the business of socalgas. A successful supplier goes to our annual report on the SoCal Gas website, or they go to the California Public Utilities Commission and they review the projects that Socalgas has done will do and continues to do. They understand the framework, They understand procurement, they partake in the technical assistance and training programs that we offer, and they seek knowledge even when it’s not right in front of them. They ask for that mentorship, they ask for that development, they ask for that feedback, be it positive or negative, because it can only strengthen them in terms of their growth. They actually want to work with you and they bring something to the table. They bring certification to the table, they bring their knowledge, they bring innovation, they bring the tools necessary to take our company to the next level. Because let’s face it, we don’t know everything. But what we do know is that there are suppliers out there who have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can really take us to another plateau. And so a successful supplier for me does just that. They look within to understand what SoCal gas needs are and then they create a solution to some of those needs.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:49] Now, if there’s someone out there listening that thinks they might be a right fit, is it possible to connect with you or somebody on your team to, you know, have a back and forth and really discuss ways that you can work together? Or is this something that they have to come to the table already knowing everything?
Vaughn M. Williams III: [00:05:07] No. If you come to the table already knowing everything, my job is eliminated. To be honest with you, I would really like to have an opportunity to meet with the supplier, to nurture them, to groom them, to identify ways, to help them build capacity, to help them understand what areas of need we have and how they can fit. I would love the back and forth because I consider that mentoring, I consider that development, I consider that job shadowing and I consider that an opportunity to make an impact on them, introduce them to the right purchasers or buyers of goods and services within the company. But I also consider an opportunity to establish relationships that we normally don’t get an opportunity to develop with individuals of such caliber. And so, yes, I welcome that opportunity and I embrace it primarily because it allows me to help an individual grow.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:06] Is there a story you can share? Don’t name the name of the company or the individual, but maybe explain where they were coming from. And then after partnering with you, help how you help you achieve your objectives and help them grow as a business owner.
Vaughn M. Williams III: [00:06:21] Certainly I have several, but I will just go with a company that I met 13 years ago in a hotel lobby in downtown LA. It was a woman owned business and she ran into me and she says, You look familiar. What’s your name? And I told her my name and where I worked for. And she says, Yeah, I saw you at a conference a while ago and I’ve been wanting to talk to you because we provide a valuable service that you need. I said, Really? What’s that? She said, Well, we provide sleep. I said, Well, that’s pretty generic. Can you be more specific? Well, she couldn’t at the time, but she had enough courage to talk to me. So it brought it piqued my interest and we began to talk and develop. She went through several technical assistance workshops. She learned the fundamentals of business. She learned how to introduce her business to others, which we call an elevator pitch. So she finessed it. What I didn’t know at the time was that she knew nothing about business. She just had a product. And so over time, we got her to a point where she could compete for contract opportunities. I’ll be honest with you. The first two years I knew she wasn’t going to win because we were still developing her. But by year three, she was in the game. Year four, she obtained a contract. That contract was for $6 million, which is pretty much unheard of. Most people get a $75,000 contract their first time out the gate. But she nailed it. And all of the business owners or business units, rather, were so impressed, they said, we’re going to give her a chance. And they allowed her to purchase a majority of the fleet for one of our regions. So that to me was success, because she came to me. We met not knowing anything about each other. We developed a relationship. She was mentored. She was trained. She learned the business acumen. She understood SoCal socalgas culture and needs, and she became innovative in the way she approached solutions to that need.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:19] And that’s a great lesson for the listener. Patience is an important component here, right? Like you, even if you come to the table with certain skills, you it takes a while to build the trust and to build the expertise you need to serve that specific supplier that you’re looking for. Right? Like patience is an important component. This is not an ATM machine where you just put your card in and money comes out right.
Vaughn M. Williams III: [00:08:49] Patience is a virtue, and I had to learn that myself. And I’ll tell you why. Because my first few years at SoCal Gas, I too was in procurement, and I didn’t really understand why people of minority background weren’t getting opportunities knowing that they had the skills and expertise. But what I had to learn through the hard lessons of life was that sometimes the opportunity was not uniquely designed for a particular business. Sometimes the opportunities that are before you are not the ones that will really allow you to shine and succeed. And so with being patient, you land that right opportunity, you land something that’s going to allow you to nurture yourself, to create that economic stimulus for the community that you’re serving, and it’s going to allow you to sustain. What I also learned about patience is that when you have patience, you end up in situations that create long term opportunity. Sometimes when you’re just quick to draw or you want to jump right in, you miss out on a long term blessing.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:52] Now, how important is Quebec West and other associations like that as part of the ecosystem?
Vaughn M. Williams III: [00:10:00] So for me, the ecosystem would not be complete without the bequest of the world. Because they create those suppliers. They really take the time out to nurture those suppliers. They take the time out to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a supplier, and then they take the time out to create programs that prepare suppliers for success. They prepare women who are maybe on the cusp of doing something great, but they’re missing either the financial acumen or they’re missing the knowledge, or they’re even missing that proper business plan. We Beck West prepares them for those things so that when they come to me, they are a complete package. Without those organizations, I would spend my wheels just trying to get suppliers to even understand basic fundamentals like time management, accounting, preparation, capability statement. I mean, let’s face it, a lot of people can tell you what they do, but it’s a whole nother thing to have it put on paper or in print for others to see. We Beck West does all that for me, it’s an amazing partnership. And without people like that in my organization, I just don’t know that as supplier diversity professionals, we would have the bandwidth to create so many success stories.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:20] Now, can we talk a little bit about your procurement life cycle just to educate our listeners if they want to plug in and so they understand kind of the lay of the land?
Vaughn M. Williams III: [00:11:32] Absolutely. So our procurement life cycle is very unique. Some people tell you, Oh, just sign up on the portal. I don’t tell people to sign up on a portal because it could get lost in the abyss for our procurement life cycle. It starts with a sit down conversation with myself and others in Supplier Diversity. We then personally try to get you registered in our Ariba system by sending you an invite. We then take you on to meetings with the procurement agents and the business units. Then you’re invited to some bid opportunities, but not always, because sometimes there are some sole source opportunities or standalone opportunities. So with that, we help you to understand terms and conditions. We help you to negotiate the right terms for your company, and we also work with you to get the right payment terms from there. The contract itself is negotiated, it’s initiated and executed. After the contract is executed, then the fun begins because then we kind of mentor you and make sure that the mistakes that others have made you don’t make. If we see you going in the direction that you shouldn’t be, we kind of pull your coattail so that you are successful. From there, we make sure that your payments are submitted, your invoices are submitted on time, and then we make sure that if there are any errors that you know about it. Also, within the procurement life cycle, we have what’s called SRM supplier relationship management. That means that we work with you, the supplier, to cultivate a relationship that is tangible with the business unit. We have quarterly meetings where we have both sides to tell what they’re experiencing, what is the successes and what are the failures. And then we talk about solutions and then we have a go forward plan. This creates a full procurement life cycle as it allows you to go from cradle to grave in your contract opportunity, but it also allows you to stay within the cycle for future contract opportunities.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:29] So if somebody wants to connect with you or somebody on the team to learn more, what are the coordinates?
Vaughn M. Williams III: [00:13:35] The coordinates are for individuals who are already a part of Quebec West. My information is there, but for those who are just listening and wanting to to meet me, two things they can do. They can reach out to me via email at V email@example.com, or they can contact Dr. Pamela Williamson and her tremendous staff who work tirelessly to make sure that we remain in contact and to make sure that opportunities avail themselves. And so my personal recommendation is being a part of Quebec West because you get only not only the life cycle, but you get the exposure to people like me on a regular basis. And I talk to the Quebec West team very consistently, and so I know who’s for the company. I know what suppliers will make an impact, and I pretty much know which suppliers I need to work with on a more consistent basis. So I would say either option, but my preference is directly through Quebec West.
Marianne Ellis: [00:14:37] Well, this is Marianne. Before Vaughn signs off, I just want to do a big shout out and thank you to Vaughnn. I am a woman owned business and I have been part of and was hired by Dr. Pamela Williamson for her platinum supplier program that Vaughn just spoke of. I next year will be my 10th year of doing it. Von has showed up every year for a decade as one of the corporations, year after year, to listen to these newly certified women owned business owners, share their capability statements and do their 92nd pitch. So to both Pamela and Vaughn, I want to thank them both and please continue.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:15] Well, Vaughn, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing such important work and we appreciate you.
Vaughn M. Williams III: [00:15:22] It’s my esteemed pleasure. I appreciate the time and I look forward to future encounters with both you and the organization. Have a great day.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:30] All right. Well, next up, Marianne Ellis with CEO Success Community. Welcome, Marianne.
Marianne Ellis: [00:15:38] Hi. Thank you.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:39] Well, before we get too far into things, tell us about CEO success community, how you serving folks?
Marianne Ellis: [00:15:46] Well, first of all, I’ll tell you what I do, but I have to thank Dr. Pamela Williamson. I wouldn’t be in business if it wasn’t for her. So I’ll tell you what I do and then I’ll thank her again. So CEO Success community is the source for women and diversity owned businesses seeking corporate contracts with Fortune 500 companies. We help them make the connection and be prepared to go and pitch to a Vaughan Williams at SoCal Gas. So we have workshops like Get to the Buyer RFP proposal to the win business innovation, sales, accelerator, business, succession planning and more. We are so proud next year will be our 10th year working for Wiebach West. We also work for Webbank Pacific. We Bank National, we’ve been hired by Southern California Edison, PGA and CDW. So it has really been an honor to serve this community and my background has everything to do with being in sales and new business, helping companies close over $100 million in less than 18 months. And I was a buyer for for almost five years in a $16 billion spend pool. So I’ve been on Vons side. I’ve been on the small business owner side. I’ve never been on the association side like Dr. Pamela Williamson, but she runs an amazing organization now.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:14] Why do you think it’s important to have resources dedicated to serving women owned businesses? Why should organizations really invest in these underserved groups like they do?
Marianne Ellis: [00:17:28] Um, first, let’s go by the numbers. Women owned businesses in the United States represent 11.6 million firms. They employ 9 million people, and they generate 1.7 trillion in sales. So there is a very important economic reason. And then what? But what troubles me. So I’m going to do a little shout out to American Express. They did a state of the women owned business in 2019, and I’ve been begging them to update their study. They broke it out not just by women versus men, but they also broke it out in various components. And I think this is an area that needs to be examined. But by the number women business owners matter. The other point that I would make quickly, Lee, is since the start of the pandemic, women have become the leading drivers of business creation in the United States. So in 20 to 2020, 20 to 2021, women accounted for 49% of new business launches, compared to 42% for men, and that was up 28% since 2019. And that was a study done by Giusto and HR Software Company.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:40] Now, sadly, a lot of women owned businesses, while they exist and they’re growing and they’re launching, they’re not achieving kind of that million dollar RR, a level that some of the male owned companies are. Are the stats still that way? I know I read about this a while ago. Is that still the case? And if it is, what can be done to improve that?
Marianne Ellis: [00:19:06] Um, first of all, there’s a lot of mega women owned businesses, so I want to also congratulate all of those that are over 50 million and over 20 million. But yes, we do have a challenge right now. Again, according to American Express, only 4.2% of all women business owners have gone over the 1 million in annual sales. Mark, I think there are five areas, my areas, business coaching and business development. I’m really a growth coach machine and I think there are five things that women business owners need to do to accelerate up to a million. One is having a one page business plan, believe it or not, having a plan with metrics that you check quarter over quarter, year over year that will get you to grow investing and hiring. There is seems a bit of reluctance, a bit too conservative on hiring, investing smart. And we can also have quite a dialog about the struggle for capital. I also feel that the women business owners need to take more calculated risks and I really think they need strong advisors around them. So that’s maybe a bit broad, but I’ve probably coached over 3000 women and diverse business owners and these are the consistent things that I see that are missing, that if they were in place that would help them accelerate and grow to up and over a million.
Lee Kantor: [00:20:35] Do you find that at some level the women business leaders are just not dreaming big enough?
Marianne Ellis: [00:20:46] I have to really pause. I think women and I don’t like to do gender. I don’t like to paint people into corners. But there was a study recently done in the VC community and they were talking about why does 80% of the funding, VC funding, venture capital funding go to men? And one of them was the issue that women are too realistic on their projections. And so if you take that as an anchor point and you say that is realistic and pragmatic, they’re not exaggerating enough when they go out and ask for funding. So I don’t know if that’s a function of not dreaming big enough or just trying to be realists. Um, that’s a that’s a very hard question. I don’t want to paint women in a corner that way because there are some real big visionaries in our industry. I mean, I could name so many. I want to be careful not to name any company names, as you advised Von, but there are some extraordinary women business owners that can compete against the big companies and win. So I think perhaps they’re just they just need to stretch more and have the right advisors and take the right calculated next steps.
Lee Kantor: [00:22:08] Yeah, I’ve interviewed many women leaders and coaches and something that stuck with me about one that was a recruiter is when they were offering a woman a job. They would not they would kind of self-select out if it wasn’t an exact match, whereas a man sometimes will just take the job and say, I’ll figure it out when I get there.
Marianne Ellis: [00:22:32] That’s a very famous study. Lee That was done by HP many years ago, and there are so many studies in this area. I try to always anchor anything that I say and do, and that is actually correct. I think it was if men can do 60% of a job, they will go for it. Women feel they have to be able to do 120%. So I think this is, again, about being realistic, practical, pragmatic. And I think sometimes we just need to go for it a little bit more. And that, I think, is the role of having good advisors around the woman business owner also true for diversity business owners that they can do it with the right steps in place.
Lee Kantor: [00:23:16] So now is there any advice you can share other than, I guess, having a good partner with you or an advisor that’s kind of watching your back and helping you? But if a woman says, You know what, I want to kind of get into this corporate contracting world, is there some advice that you found is effective when entering that space and succeeding in that space?
Marianne Ellis: [00:23:41] I think in the area of corporate contracting, I think there’s I call it the three R’s. It’s relationships, reputation and being relentless. And the first R is no one’s going to buy from you until they know you and until they trust you. So there is a degree of relationship building that is very, very important. And, you know, I again, think about men in the golf course and how they build the relationships. You know, how can we parallel that so that relationship we have opportunities at. There’ll be a September event that Dr. Pamela Williamson will be hosting with Reebok West, I believe it’s going to be in Tucson, where she’s going to bring all these corporations together with the women business owners. So these are important times, whether it’s in a virtual event or an in-person event where we can build the relationships with these corporations. And then the second area is reputation in what are you doing as a business owner so that the the buyers know that you are best in class, that they know that you are innovating and that you’re worth the cost of change. We have to be realistic. Every corporation right now probably has a one, 2 or 3 suppliers in the area that we do business. What are we doing to communicate that We have innovated, We have a better solution. And I think Vaughn touched on some of that. And then the last area is relentlessness. Um, I found a study by the National Sales Institute that 80% of all sales are made between the fifth and 12th contact with a corporation. But most business owners give up after the third or the second. And I think you have to be relentlessly relevant, constantly providing information about how your company can serve SoCal Gas as an example, what you’ve done for other utility or gas companies, how you are delivering in the marketplace. And I think Vaughn said it can take 18 months, two years, three years, four years. You have to stay at it now.
Lee Kantor: [00:25:59] Pamela, can you share your take on how a woman owned business person can be successful in corporate contracting?
Pamela Williamson: [00:26:11] Yeah, I’m going to end up echoing a lot of what Marianne said, but I do think it takes some tenacity. And she is absolutely right that a lot of people give up after the second or third encounter, and you really have to go beyond that. I also think part of it is truly building authentic relationships. They need to get to know you. And and that echoes what Mary Ann said about are you worth the cost of change? Because corporations already have contracts in place. They have built trust in their existing supplier. So you’re coming in saying to them, I have a better product or service and I’m worth the cost of change. And not only am I worth the cost of change, I am also a sustainable change. So the hardest thing for a company to do is switch an existing supplier. So it is really important to be able to show up. Make sure that you show up reliably, consistently, and that you’re able to communicate what makes you better, quicker, faster. And are more effective.
Lee Kantor: [00:27:20] Is. Can either one of you share a story that kind of illustrates that, where somebody came out and and really made a mark for themselves where they hadn’t been doing this before, whether they were part of Quebec West or a story, Marianne, that you might have found from one of your coaching clients, were you able to help them kind of insert themselves and really get to a new level?
Marianne Ellis: [00:27:47] Um, I can share a recent story and then I know Pamela has so many because all the corporations look to Weboc West for referrals. And if anybody’s listening, please make sure that Dr. Pamela Williamson, Jamie Lomax, who is a wonderful vice president there, and her whole team, makes sure that if you are a small woman business owner and you’re certified with we back West, that they know about you because the corporations count on them. So I’m going to go to a supplier that was in the construction field and she was trying very hard to connect with the utility company. And she repeatedly showed up at the Platinum Supplier showcase that’s offered by Wiebach West. And finally, from repeatedly showing up, she received a capability presentation. And then you have to start to what I call go down the gantlet. So first you make a connection. Then this person connected at a networking event online, and then this person connected again at a networking event in person. And then they showed up. The next year, they took the platinum supplier course again and showcased and then they got asked to do a capability presentation. So again, this is the period of time because when they first presented that corporation already had a supplier that they were very happy with.
Marianne Ellis: [00:29:17] But over time, not only did this business owner build a relationship with supplier diversity, but also with the buyers in the business unit. So she had a friend who knew a friend who gave her an introduction. So when the time came for an RFP, she had to earn it the hard way. But we went through the process. She filled out the RFP. She was competitive on her pricing. I mean, there must have been 40 to 43 questions she had to answer, and she did all that. She scored in the top. Then she had to negotiate her terms and conditions. So I would call this Lee a journey. If you want to do corporate contracting, this is not a quick hit one and done. You are on a journey to build a relationship, to get known, to create. And also many times you need to know multiple individuals within that company supplier diversity procurement, the buying unit. So I would say it’s been a pleasure to watch so many of these women business owners win in corporate contracting, but it’s been a journey.
Lee Kantor: [00:30:31] And as part of your work kind of explaining and managing the expectations for your clients because it isn’t something that you just put your name on a list and wait your turn right? You have to make the investment in time and energy in showing up, like you said, probably take leadership positions in the different groups so that people get to know you and watch you so they can trust you.
Marianne Ellis: [00:30:54] So I would say absolutely. I mean, if anyone’s listening, when you are certified with Webrequest, you have the chance to join the forum. So they in each city, they have forum leadership. And that’s a great opportunity for corporations to see you and for you to showcase. We go to trade shows where we just got back from a big trade show in Nashville. There’ll be an opportunity also in September in Tucson, so there are lots of chances to increase your visibility and that important are of reputation. So I think there are opportunities out there. You have to grab them and take them. You cannot be invisible and passive.
Lee Kantor: [00:31:35] Now, what’s your backstory? How did you get involved in this line of work?
Marianne Ellis: [00:31:39] I. I never expected to be in this line of work, so I have to chuckle. I spent my first part of my career in advertising, which is why I get to go to the Emmys every year and wear an incredible dress. So I’m a member of the television academy, so I did commercials in the in that in that space, and I thought I was going to retire. So that was my first retirement. Um, I had a friend of mine who said, Hey, I have this certification, but I don’t know what to do with it. She was one of the largest women owned advertising agencies in the country. And so I left the big agency world and I helped her learn how to use her certification. And the first client was Allstate. And she bet that she said for years she’d been trying to get business from them. So I said, I bet you in three months I can do it. And I went to an event and I was meeting with Allstate and I was able to create a meeting opportunity for this company. But really, how I got into coaching has everything to do with a crying woman on the couch who didn’t know how to do a matchmaker meeting with a corporation.
Marianne Ellis: [00:32:47] And since I’d been in selling, I was able to show her how to do that. And she didn’t leave the trade show crying. Instead, she wound up getting a capability presentation which led to a contract. And because of that experience, we back Pacific said, Well, wait a minute, can you do matchmaker success? And suddenly I was doing webinars with Amgen and Disney on how to speak to corporations and how to pitch corporations. And so this was kind of a side job. At the same time, a friend of mine who had a buying consultancy said Marianne Porsche needs someone to help them by product placement. Would you like to go on the buy team? So I went on the buy side for four years while I was trying to help some diversity business owner. So it’s I’ve been a seller, I’ve been a buyer and I know how to coach, and here’s where I am today with CEO Success community. So it’s it’s been a journey for me. I never expected to be here, but I’m very grateful to be of service.
Lee Kantor: [00:33:53] And when you’re working with women owned business leaders, is there some mistakes you see them making maybe kind of over and over again where you’re like, here we go again?
Marianne Ellis: [00:34:05] Um, I think the mistakes that I see over and over again is going to go back to what Dr. Pamela Williamson just said. Not enough tenacity they need to really. Respectfully stay on it until they win a contract once again when they’ve made when, you know, we work very hard to make sure you target the right companies that you’re qualified for and that are that you can provide a service better than what they have right now. So I think the mistakes that I made, that I see time and time again is not being providing relevant information in a relentless way and and an impressive way. So just giving up too soon.
Lee Kantor: [00:34:47] Now, over the years you’ve been doing this, Is there been a story that has been kind of most rewarding where you saw that, hey, there, They’ve been working really hard. They’ve been trying really hard. Their efforts have really paid off. And not only will this impact them and their firm, but this is something that might even impact their community.
Marianne Ellis: [00:35:07] I see a lot of business owners giving back to the community, I mean, if that’s what you’re talking about. So a story of where I mean, a lot of these business owners, they help each other and that’s truly magical. So some of these business owners will get a big corporate contract. And then over time, when they I think it’s so I think Jamie Lomax came up with that phrase, hook a sister up. So a great story is where one business owner had a big automotive client and they were successfully working with them. And a fellow business owner said, I’ve always wanted to work for them. And at the right time and at the right moment, one business owner allowed another business owner to meet this big automotive client, do a capability presentation, and now they both work for this automotive client. So again, the relationships are both two ways with corporations are important and equally important. The relationships with your fellow women, business owners and diversity business owners.
Lee Kantor: [00:36:13] So is that your favorite part, like seeing somebody that you’ve worked with go on to great things, or is it, you know, is that as rewarding for yourself to individually get a new client?
Speaker6: [00:36:28] And what’s most.
[00:36:29] Exciting to me is when business owners win, it is so hard to win, and win comes in many ways. You can win by making a key strategic hire, and I see that you can win by getting capital funding for new machinery that you need or a new division. I get excited when I see them win. Just a capability meeting which done right will hopefully lead to a contract opportunity. So to me, there is so many ways to applaud the small business owner because it does take a journey and every step of the way. These are the decisions. One company since I’m hired by Southern California Edison is a business coach. It was really rewarding to watch the the business owner go from 12 employees to 500 and then sell their company.
Lee Kantor: [00:37:29] So what do you need more of? How can we help you?
Marianne Ellis: [00:37:34] Um, I to me right now, every opportunity that I have to help business owners, I’m grateful. I just most recently have been asked to help do more workshops. So, you know, being funded by major corporations for workshops and getting the word out. Um, the opportunity to continue to work for Dr. Pamela Williamson. I’m grateful. So to me, I would say if there’s a corporation that’s hearing this right now, there are a lot of business owners that can’t afford a business coach. And so if you can sponsor a small business owner for coaching, that would be a huge ask that I would make the business owners, they have so many things they need to pay for. So whether you sponsor the platinum supplier program through We West or you come to me as CEO success community and say, I want to sponsor a business owner in your program. Um, I say help a business, help a small business owner. That’s what I would like to ask for.
Lee Kantor: [00:38:41] Well, good stuff. Thank you so much for sharing your story. If somebody wants to connect with you or somebody on the team, what’s the best way to do that?
Marianne Ellis: [00:38:48] I think the best way to reach out to me because my inbox is constantly flooded. I am most responsive on LinkedIn. So for your listeners, if you go on LinkedIn and say, I, you know, I heard you with Lee and Dr. Pamela Williamson on Women in Motion or I heard you on the radio and then you go to instant message on LinkedIn. That’s the easiest way to reach me. I also have a website SEO SEO success community.com. Um, but I just again I want to thank Wiebach West. I wouldn’t have SEO success community without them.
Lee Kantor: [00:39:26] All right. Well, thank you, Mary, for sharing your story. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Marianne Ellis: [00:39:31] Thank you.
Lee Kantor: [00:39:32] Pamela. This is a wrap for this episode of Women in Motion. What do we have to look forward to in future episodes?
Pamela Williamson: [00:39:41] So what we have to look forward to in future episodes is we have some more exciting WBE’S talking about how they are increasing the economic vitality in the communities they serve. We have corporations coming to talk with us a little bit about what they do and how they impact the ecosystem of women, business enterprises. And just a lot more stories, you know, stories. I think the sharing of stories help to motivate others to step outside of their comfort zone and to try a business or to at least pick up the phone and make a call to either a Mary Ann or to Webc West. And that’s what this is all about, just providing information and inspiration.
Lee Kantor: [00:40:26] Absolutely. And and it takes them taking action in order to make this all go. So we’re giving them the information and the education, but they have to take the action, definitely. Well, Pamela, thank you so much for allowing me to be part of this. This is Lee Kantor for Pamela Williamson. We will see you all next time on Women in Motion.