Cheryl Grace, former SVP of Nielsen, is in a lane of her own! The CEO of Powerful Penny LLC and Executive Coach rags to riches story is powerful and the best part is, Grace excelled on her own. Cheryl Grace now lives a fabulous lifestyle, and she wants to teach other women how to develop an executive mindset as well. With many successful bootcamps, Grace created the ultimate bootcamp, Unapologetic Executive Presence, that will help you learn how to present your brand and ensure success.

You intentionally created a fabulous life that you love. How did your past struggles influence you to change your life? 

I felt powerless when my Starter Husband put me and my infant son out. I never wanted to be in that position again, so I got my act together. I completed my MBA, proactively spoke up if something went against my intuition and began trusting that little voice that often imploded in my head. I created spreadsheets outlining people I could ask for help on certain topics and read every self-help book there was on the market. In other words, I took back control of my life, one small bite at a time. I coach others how to do the same. I strive to be the advisor/coach I wished I’d had when I hit obstacles in my career and love life.

You’ve successfully changed the way corporations regarded Black America’s spending power and cultural influence. How challenging was it to teach these people in power to change their way of thinking?

Very! There was resistance, especially in the beginning. I would be invited by African American executives to come into their respective corporations to share insights about the power of Black consumers because they didn’t feel as an internal associate their opinions were being factored into the marketing and growth strategy decisions that were being made. On more than one occasion I was pulled to the side by the Black attendees who’d say, “thank you for sharing the information in such an authentic way, while using the data to reinforce the message. They haven’t been willing to hear it from me.” 

Hiring Black talent but being unwilling to listen to them as experts on culturally relevant issues, is a downfall for many corporations. I hope 2020 helped with such a pervasive problem. I myself got tired of trying to educate grown folks, experts in business no less, on how to resolve an issue that merely required them to look at the numbers. The data doesn’t lie.

How can women develop an executive mindset? What can they do to gain confidence if they’re content with being mediocre?  

Confidence is a muscle that has to be exercised. Otherwise, it atrophies. Setting micro goals — “I will speak up at least once during the team call” — and celebrating each win, gives you the courage to set a slightly larger goal the next time. And so on, and so on. Celebrating even the smallest of victories is important. We often shrug them off or dismiss them. Our brain believes what we tell it. So, repeating out loud positive affirmations is another way to boost confidence. I have a line of affirmation cards and one that people tell me is one of their favorites is, “My voice is worthy of being heard in meetings.”

The ‘Unapologetic Executive Presence’ bootcamp is one of many that you offer. What can women expect to gain from this bootcamp?

People assume that those leaders who stand out are naturally extroverted, or just “gifted”. When in actuality most leaders are ardent students of their craft and devised how to make the system work for them, not against them. Attendees will walk away with tactics on HOW to strategically build and cultivate a network that wants to work on your behalf, as informal ambassadors. They’ll learn how to take control of any speaking opportunities, down to managing how others introduce you. How to set SMART goals that get you what you want and to monitor the milestones along the way until you achieve your goal as a Thought Leader or Subject Matter expert.

Specifically, attendees will:

– Learn to strategically build relationships and cultivate their network to grow their professional realm of influence.

– Create a customized, strategic plan that positions them as a highly visible, well-rounded, and respected industry thought leader.

– Walk step-by-step through how to present their brand and/or service to a corporate audience.

– Practice mock presentations that will ensure they soar when they have to do the real thing!

To register, prospective attendees can select “Unapologetic Executive Presence” bootcamp here. The bootcamp happens on Wednesdays 6:30pm – 8pm CST, from July 14th to August 4th.

To learn more about Cheryl Grace, connect with her on the LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and her website.

Images courtesy of Brianna Régine Visionary Consulting