Superwoman with Flaws

by Dr. Sheila Pope

superwoman.jpg

This week something happened to me and I cannot ignore it. I met a man with x-ray vision! Yes, that’s right Superwoman met Superman.  He used his x-ray vision to see straight through me! I was naked figuratively within two hours.  How does that happen? It happened while talking.

I was having a great conversation when boom out of nowhere his x-ray vision spotted my secret weapon, my strength. I was asked a simple question: Why are you not married? I was caught completely off guard. I laughed because I could only laugh. What do you do when someone touches on that secret question you had been asking yourself the Sunday before the phone call. As a matter of fact, I have been asking myself the question for a couple of years.

Not only did he ask the question, he gave me his answer to his question. He simply said, “You are a strong woman.” My reply, “How did you know that I was strong?” In that conversation, I was not spitting out my crazy rhetoric. I was not running a meeting. I was not saying, “I do not tolerate this or that”. I was just talking about something we both share a common interest. I was shocked that he knew my  KRYPTONITE. Yes, being a strong woman to some men is not appealing. They love your ability to get things done and to take charge, but they also want you to ALLOW them to be the man in a relationship and to respect them in their role.

He said he could hear my strength via my conversation. Then he asked another question that indicated he also had the ability to cut right through my stuff. He asked, “Can you take your cape off when you enter into a relationship with a man? cape off

At this point, I am rolling my eyes up and in my head and asking myself if I should I answer truthfully or tell him what I KNOW he wants to hear. I decided to shoot straight. My secret cover was blown. I said, “Yes! I can take my cape off when I hit the door.” What he did not know was my cape was barely hanging on my body. Being Superwoman, Bat Girl, and Wonder Woman is tiring! I am tired of blocking all of the unfair, disrespectful obstacles that come my way on a daily basis as a businesswoman, a mother, a single woman, a black woman, and as a friend. Some days I feel overwhelmed with fear and concern for my financial future. Sometimes I feel lonely.

I listen to folks in bad marriages and on some days I think at least you have someone. That thought flees quickly because I would rather be single than married and miserable. Then, I put my cape back on and get back on my grind and say to myself: Don’t Settle! There are days when I am wondering how am I going to meet my budget for the month and I ask myself where is the man who will rescue me? Then, I admit he does not exist; then, I put on my cape and carry on like business as usual.

The last thing he said floored me. He said, “You are the type of woman who will look at me when I say something you do not like and challenge me.” I laughed so hard at his summation of my behavior. He was RIGHT! I have had to really work hard for the last year to truly understand men MUST be treated with RESPECT and KINDNESS.  

I know how to respect men. I talk with men all the time. I am friends with several strong men, but I have not always treated the men I loved with the level of respect they deserve. I have not always allowed them to have the last word. I have wasted too much energy trying to tell a man he must respect me instead of quickly leaving him when he does not. I have stood up to controlling men and lost my control in the mist of the battle. I have used my strength to help build up my men, while they have spent too much time trying to figure how to decrease my strength.  When women spend too much time trying to please the wrong men, they lose respect for all men. My greatest downfall was partnering with men that needed my strength and utility to maintain, but they could not stand my inner strength. Free-spirited, strong women work best when they are given the ability to soar. We need our capes to soar!

It has taken me two years to get my Superwoman outfit on straight. I  understand the power that I have as a woman is not to have the last say, to defend myself at all cost, to run towards drama, to create discontent in my home, and to make a man feel like he is the “woman” in a relationship.  My mission in life as Superwoman with flaws is to ask more questions while getting to know a man. If he has flaws that I cannot live with, then I should maintain the friendship and immediately disengage a relationship.  When I feel the need to say something hurtful, shut my mouth and walk or run away if necessary. I must maintain PEACE in all my relationship. Finally, as Superwoman carrying my cape with flaws, I can be VULNERABLE anytime and anywhere.

Like most superheroes, I have secret powers too. I am using my wisdom, my critical thinking skills, my passion, my kindness to build men up and to encourage them. I too can see men’s strengths and some of their weaknesses. I have decided to accept them for who they say they are. I am being honest and I am listening. I am on a mission to teach other Superwomen to listen to men when they talk to us about us. I am not ashamed to say, I needed to work on me before getting married. I have embraced the fact that not all men can handle a strong woman. I am strong and that will not change. However, I can take my cape off and gladly let a man step up and make decisions. I will always use my influence to shape those decisions.  I gladly welcome the man who can see my strength, see my beauty, respect my intelligence, and recognize my flaws, and still build and love me. I am rare individual: I am Superwoman with flaws.

red cape

Time is Up!

by Dr. Sheila Pope

I love Netflix’s documentaries on the fashion world. I love to see how someone becomes the “it” of the fashion world. I love to see the mental struggles it takes for the fashion designers to rise above the competition to become super human. One day, I ran across

netflix

Netflix’s “Inside British Vogue” and found it to be very interesting because of the editor-in-chiefs’ longevity at British Vogue. At the time of the documentary, Alexandra Shulman had been the editor-in-chief for 25 years. Alexandra relied on the magazine’s fashion director, Lucinda Chambers to help her manage Vogue. Lucinda Chambers had been at the British Vogue for 31 years at the time of filming. Alexandra and Lucinda’s longevity at a company is almost unheard of in any industry. I love learning from powerful women in any industry. However, I think I respect female CEOs in fashion industry because their creations impact people’s choices in their style and the way they present themselves to the world.

The filmaker, Richard Macer, followed the Editor-in-chief, Alexandra Shulman, and her staff around for nine months. During the filming, the cameras captured how several powerful women in the fashion industry made things happen. More important, they captured how the elite and those traveling in the circles of the elite behaved. While interviewing Lucinda Chambers about her time at the magazine, Lucinda’s comments jarred me. First, she said a few negative, but honest, things about the fashion industry.

Lucinda Chambers

Lucinda Chambers, former fashion director of British Vogue.

Lucinda Chambers admitted people did not need all of the stuff the fashion industry pushed on consumers. She explained how she would never be able to leave the magazine on her own. She said someone would have to let her go because she was unable to make the choice herself. Finally, in a bold statement, she clarified that she knew one day someone would tell her that her time was up.

After watching the documentary, I decided to follow Alexandra Shulman on Instagram. I discovered she had been replaced after 25 years by Edward Enninful. Then, I read

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Times Running Out!

Lucinda Chambers was fired in one conversation that took less than three minutess. “A month and a half ago I was fired from Vogue,” she says. “It took them three minutes to do it. I didn’t leave. I was fired” (Young, 2017).

Lucinda Chambers was furious about the way the she was told her time was up. She spoke out in the media and was pressured to recant her story about the firing. After 36 years at company, her career ended in three minutes! It is sad, but it does not take long to end someone else’s career. Lucinda Chambers knew the day would come when she would be shown the door, but when it came she was not ready. She was furious. To be honest, I was perplexed at her response. Was she angry over how it was done or was she angry that it was done? She admitted on camera that she had stayed past her time. Sometimes leaders give too much of their personal and professional lives to other peoples’ company.

Business People hangout together at coffee shop

Everyone Knows Your Business

Moreover, I was shocked that Mrs. Chambers thought no one from upper management was aware she was going to be fired. After working with everyone so closely, maybe she felt someone in her circle would have given her a heads up. I have found people will always protect their own livelyhood first. After working in fashion for 31 years, you would think she would have known this too.

I wrote about Lucinda Chambers because she is a woman that I felt so many emotions about regarding business. I respected her dedication to British Vogue, but I questioned if I could give 31 years of my life to someone else’s vision, someone else’s company; I realized I could not do it today. However, 10 years ago, I would have considered retiring from a school district. I understand the power that comes from working for a company like Vogue. I can understand Lucinda Chambers’ desire to stay on well past her time. I understand how easy it is to think your loyality equates to earning the company’s loyality. After reading the article and watching the documentary, I really understand that when you know your time is up, you need to leave before they ask you.

Reference
, S. “Fired British Vogue fashion director slams magazine she worked at for 3 decades, says she hasn’t ‘read Vogue in years” July 4, 2017.

I Am My Brand

by Dr. Sheila Pope

What are You Selling?

I remember having a discussion regarding the best way to sell my products on my website. I had so many services to sell but my website did not have a focus. I could not figure out what was main product. I do so many things. During a conversation with Khufere, a great consultant from LEAP72, he said, “Dr. Pope, you are your product.” Suddenly, fireworks and bombs exploded immediately in my mind. The light came on because within an instant I understood my real role in the building of my company. I could move forward with branding because I understood how to sell my thoughts, my work, and my skills.

The Right Fit

Image: Pexels.com    The Right Fit

Who Am I?

It was easy for me to decide how to best promote my skills once I asked myself a great question. The question: Who are you at your core? My answers were as follows:

  1. I am a business woman.
  2. I am an avid reader, writer and a critical thinker.
  3. I love to laugh at myself.
  4. I find humor in almost any situation.
  5. I make no apologies for loving money and the freedom that it brings.
  6. I love convertible cars and the freedom they make me feel.
  7. I have opinions about everything and I do not mind sharing them with the world.
  8. I love technology and I understand its power.
  9. I am a woman who supports and promotes other women.
  10. I love generating ideas and concepts that result in profits for my businesses.
  11. I am a woman that works best in a pair of Cole Haan shoes or a good pair of sneakers.
  12. I enjoy my classic a Movado watch with diamonds.
  13. I rock Coach and Dooney and Bourke handbags.
  14. I was meant to drive a Mercedes.
  15. I make no apologies for being honest, direct, and thinking outside the box.
  16. I will spend my last dime on furthering my education.
  17. I sign important business deals with my Mont Blanc pen.
  18. I prefer T-shirts over suits because I love comfort.

Branding Me

Once I said all these things outloud and owned them, it was easy to see how I wanted to market myself and my company. I knew where I wanted an office. It had to be a location that I could afford, close to home, and it had to scream “You must pay me!” The location had to speak to my consumer base. I needed a location that I could expand and grow my companies. When I saw the conference room and the view from my office, I knew it was the spot.

A Simple T-Shirt

T-shirts

T-Shirts Image: Pexels.com

Next, I needed to find the right product to push my company’s name everywhere I traveled. I decided the best product for me, my supporters, and my customers to wear consistently anywhere was a T-Shirt. For 10 years I wore suits to work. As my own boss, I decide what I want to wear daily. When I am in the office, running errands as a mom, my T-shirt comes in handy. When I am creating my blogs, working in the community to bring awareness to my company, when I am collaborating with partners, recording my podcast, conducting FB Live segments, and writing my books, I wear my brand. When I wear my T-shirt, people often ask me, “What is the Resource Center?” I take the opening and I start to sell services, to promote services, and to share information about my company. Plus, my T-shirts represents who I am at my core.

My friend and Boss Lady, Susan Gonzales, founder of Chic Blessings worked with my logo and designed my first company T-shirt. The shirts sold super fast. Then, I decided I needed to produce more shirts at a lower cost. Eventually, I went to a T-shirt company and had them print bulk orders of my shirts. I love the finished product. The shirts are simple and comfortable. I can easily transport them anywhere. They do not cost a great deal to ship to consumers. I use them as gifts for fundraisers donations and I sell them in my e-commerce stores @TheResourceCenter. I plan to sell more products online soon. However, I must admit they are one of my best ideas. It is so cool to see my entire family rocking my brand (see slide show)!

 

 

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Joint Venture

by Dr. Sheila Pope

Accomplishments in 2017

Gift Present Celebrate Party Wrapped Simple Concept

Images: Pexels.com

It has been a year since I went into full-time entrepreneurship. During my first year, I focused on getting all of the legal stuff and paperwork in place. I development my faith level. I was preparing mentally and spiritually to never return to traditional employment. I was letting go of past battles and preparing to experience new success. In August 2017, I stepped out and secured office spaces for The Resource Center, Dr. Pope’s STEM and Liberal Arts Academy 501c3, and The Next Move Re-entry Program 501c3. I took my dream from my home office to a new destination! I went from working part-time on my business to dedicating my full attention to my businesses. I trusted God to do more than I could think or ask.

Focus for 2018

This year, my focus is on cultivating partnerships, developing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and securing joint ventures with my companies, The Resource Center, The Next Move Re-entry Program, and Dr. Pope’s STEM and Liberal Arts Academy to provide more services so each business can grow financially. I am excited to announce that I have signed my first joint venture with LEAP72!
Joint Partnerships

 

Joint Venture with LEAP72

The Resource Center and LEAP72 are working and planning together to bring services, products and professional development to support female entrepreneurs who are making Boss moves. I founded a Facebook group called Boss Ladies. We are a community women (some men too) who owns their own businesses and/or have founded nonprofits. We are collaborating and supporting each other’s successes and missteps. With this joint venture, we plan to help these entrepreneurs and many others reach a new level of success. I look forward to doing great things with Khufere Qhamata, founder of LEAP72, and a constant source of advice and wisdom. He is also the founder of SMAART Incubator, an awesome organization that supports and helps African-American owned startups. Keep your eyes peeled to see some of the results of our partnership. We are going to invest and improve other start-ups and make a profit in the process.

Leap72

After the First Year!

by Dr. Sheila Pope

Decision 2

Today, I had the realization that on January 30, 2017, I walked away from a career and job that I loved. My health could not withstand the stress that I encountered from constant harassment on my job as an educator during the last few months of 2016. I am still an educator, but in December of 2016, I knew I needed a RESET. By nature, I am a fighter. If someone attacks me mentally and/or physically, I am going to do everything in my power to stop them. This battle was a not a street fight; it was a spiritual and mental battle. I was able to walk away, but I was traumatized. I never understood WHY the harassment started. I was loyal to the school; I loved the students; I demonstrate I could teach in urban high school in a community with high crime rates; I demonstrated I could raise STAAR ELAR test scores significantly! Yet that was not enough!

Time Lapse

I did not know how bad my wounds were until January 30, 2018. I was looking at my W2 Form asking myself, “Why was my income from my full-time job and my part-time position so low?” I kept counting my time from August to January until a friend said, “You left the job in December 2016 and you resigned in January of 2017.” It finally resonated with me that I was only technically employed for the month of January in 2017 at the school. Although I physically left the job in December of 2016 and resigned in January 2017, I was still THERE mentally. I had healed, but the memories were still painful. I had not realized that I had not worked physically at that job since 2016. I could still see a few scars.

The Leave

In January 2017, I had been on a needed medical leave. My body was failing in multiple areas. I was sick and exhausted. My psoriasis was the worst it had been in years. It was all over my body. My hair was shedding to the point that I was wearing baseball caps to hide the damage. I was ready to launch an all out legal war to fix the issue. Yet one day while seeking legal advise, I heard in my spirit I could not finish what I was about to start. I did not have the mental nor physical capacity to do what it took to WIN. When I fight, I go for the kill. Whatever I do, I give 120%. There was the problem. You cannot continue to give your all in too many areas. You will crash and burn. I crashed, but for GOD, I did not burn. Instead, I took a seat! I walked away and worked on getting my body back on track. I wanted my hair to grow back. I wanted my anger and pain to go away. I love to laugh. I laugh hard. I had stopped laughing due to the harassment. I was crying frequently because I could not continue to withstand the mistreatment that I was dealing with on a daily basis.

The Decision

I had four children to raise. I had a mortgage and a major car payment to continue to make. Yet on January 30, 2017, none of that mattered. What mattered most to me was having a peace of mind. I needed time to heal spiritually, mentally and physically. My return date for work was February 2017. I knew I could not return to the school. I loved the students but I had to love me more. I told God that I would trust Him and move forward in building my company. I always viewed my business as a part-time thing. In January 2017, I said I was going to dedicate all of my energies into it. I was never going to be in the position that someone else could control my destiny. I would never allow myself to get back to the way I felt from October through December 2016. I would never allow myself to be publicly shamed and harassed. I would never allow a man or a women in leadership to abuse me in my place of business or in my personal life.

Anniversary Date

On January 30, 2018, I realize I am laughing hard again. My spirit is strong and I have my fight back. I no longer need to fight my battles. I truly understand and believe God fights all of my battles. I know He will multiple your blessings; He will meet all of your needs. He enlarges your territory. I have three businesses that I have founded; I created a FB group: Boss Ladies. I have a podcast on Sound Cloud: Boss Ladies. I trust my gut about people and decisions I make. I have strong friendships and healthy relationships.

I have moved into the STEM arena. I am the Founder and Superintendent of the nonprofit (501c3), Dr. Pope’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and Liberal Arts Academy. Instead of trying to convince others that we need to do something different to educate children in 2018, I have created a school to try new innovative ways to educate all children regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, gender and sexual orientation. As the founder and CEO of a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB), The Resource Center, I use my tech skills, coaching skills, professional develop development skills, and writing/editing skills to serve clients. While working in the school system, I discovered in the current school system there are too many students being prepared for prison; they have criminal records before they earn their diplomas. I am the Founder of the non-profit (501c3), The Next Move Re-entry Program, to help advocate and provide services for those students and other non-violent ex-offenders. On this day, I am grateful for the health issues I experienced in 2016. They made me stop and RESET. I am glad I am reconcile God rescued me and he placed within me a vision for three businesses. I love being a CEO & Founder. I cannot wait to see what God does in 2019.

The Resource Center

https://www.popesresourcecenter.com

Dr. Pope’s STEM and Liberal Arts Academy

https://www.drpopesstemandliberalartsacademy.com

The Next Move Re-entry Program

https://www.nextmovereentryprogram.org