I am excited to share the voice of Women Speakers Association founder & CEO Gail Watson on the #life and #leadership #podcast. Gail is refreshing, inspiring and energizing.
What inspired me: Gail she shares her background story and. how she rose above redundancy and discovered #entrepreneurship!
Gail Watson, Global Visionary, Founder, and CEO of the Women Speakers Association (WSA) - the #1 visibility platform for women. She loves to speak to passionate women all over the world.
Hear about how they lean into their legacy and how she seeks out ways to support them - helps these women to craft and share their unique gift by carrying their message.
What Inspired Me?
About the Guest
Gail Watson founded and has led WSA since 2011. She is a keynote speaker, author, and networker extraordinaire for women.
About the Show
Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey with Michelle St Jane, a podcast for Global and Re-Emerging Leadership creating community/tribe, a circle of influence, transcendency of compassionate leadership in the world and wider universe.
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Intro: You're listening to Life and Leadership: A Conscious Journey. The podcast that shares wisdom and strength. Join your host, Dr. Michelle St Jane's weekly conversation on how to have a positive impact on people, the planet, and the wider world. If you want to live a life of intention, to be proactive with your time, and bring your vision for the future to live one today at a time, you’re in the right place at the right time. Let's get started.
Michelle St. Jane: [00:00:38] The Women Speakers Association started on the 11th of January 2011. This is a place where women can bring their messages out and about around the world. Empowered to authentically and honorably express yourself and feel part of a thriving, prosperous business.
[00:00:56] I like the Women Speakers Association (WSA) because it's women who take ownership of who they are and step into their leadership. Why: my audience is made up of global leaders and this episode is for the ladies. I believe that WSA provides valuable connections, networking peers, possibilities, and collaborations. That's a tremendous opportunity to share your message, the WSA message, and an avenue for empowering global women leaders to be visible and express their authority.
[00:01:26] Today, global visionary Gail Watson joins me. She is the president and CEO of the Women Speakers Association. I'm really grateful to have you here today. Can you tell my audience, who do you serve and why?
Gail Watson: [00:01:42] Good to be here today. Thanks so much for having the Women Speakers Association. Who do we serve as women messengers who are their speakers? They are authors. They are experts in what they're doing.
Michelle St. Jane: [00:01:58] I love your Voices of the 21st Century books. I certainly have found my virtual podium with my podcast. Taking all of my intelligence, my experiences, my wisdom, and just putting it out into the digital sands of time.
I'm a delighted, brand new member of WSA. I am grateful for the engagement and the opportunities in this time of sheltering and pace and virtual work. WSA has allowed me to really enjoy networking, meeting people, and sharing my expertise.
[00:02:38] I've been especially inspired by the engagement and the opportunities that are offered with this group. I really want to share it with global women leaders, because I suspect like me, they could be feeling a bit isolated. I'm really delighted to have you, who I think is called the heart behind WSA.
[00:02:56] How was this conceived and involved?
Gail Watson: [00:03:00] Thank you for all those beautiful kind words. I'm glad that you're able to leverage. We are in a time where our world is disconnected and one of our missions has been to build connection in this disconnected world right now to stay connected.
[00:03:17] It's so important to have a community around you. We were just sharing with some of our team leads, each year we always find a word and this year it's to serve and to protect. To really stand in service to our members.
Everybody is experiencing this time at a different rate. Some businesses are excelling and taking off and people are busier than ever. We want to really serve and help those women to get out and get more. But then there are others who are experiencing the exact opposite and it's important to really serve and hold them in a place of protection.
[00:04:05] When I talk about to serve and to protect what I'm saying is that when an entrepreneur, we go into our business as women, we build our business because we have a passion and we want to serve. We want to give, and when that's taken away from us or we have to shelf it because life happens. However, it shows up, it takes away. When we first started WSA, over 10 and a half years now, I was going through a caregiving situation with my mother with Alzheimer's. My business absolutely crashed. Big time. Life happens as a daughter and I needed to care for my mom.
[00:04:53] I took a vow and I wrote it on my bio when we were launching the website I said, “no woman's business shall go down.” But just because life happens because it happens stuff is thrown at us all the time. Now we're all happened to be thrown into the same pot at the exact same time.
[00:05:11] But that was one of the founding reasons. That was my drive. My passion to do this is to serve that way. Also, the big part was to give the everyday voice a platform. We're not celebrities. We don't have tens of millions of dollars to dump into marketing campaigns. We're just passionate women who are gifted with a message that needs to get out.
[00:05:35] This platform started that way and it is truly a gift to all of us as women, because it has developed into really the number one visibility platform for women in the world.
Michelle St. Jane: [00:05:50] When I look at the makeup of your members, I see living legends in the making. There is a lot of celebration and place for men who are validated for what they do. But for women, I've noticed over the centuries because I'm a closeted historian, women can be key players yet remain invisible while being impactful.
[00:06:10] I really appreciate that the WSA stands for learning how to create a sacred space, to celebrate your visibility and credibility as a woman.
Tell us a little bit about your leadership history. I'm curious, where did you come from to get here?
Gail Watson: [00:06:27] My background is, I was one of those people that my early days bounced around from different job to job to job, just because I would get bored.
[00:06:40] And it was interesting because back then people used to think that was unstable or flaky. But really what I realized then what I now know is that the spirit of an entrepreneur is when they have to feed their soul. I grew up in a blue-collar family. I didn't even know what an entrepreneur was.
[00:07:05] I went all through corporate sales, the common thread that ran through everything. I just enjoyed being around people. I didn't enjoy being in the office. I was a feet-on-the-street, kind of girl, you know. Meet, greet and build relationships. That's always been my core foundation.
[00:07:24] As I was going high up in the ranks into executive-level selling, those are multi-seven figure deals. It was during a sudden company takeover, all of a sudden all the top performers were gone. They were invited to leave the company. In fact, I was celebrated in the top 50 out of 1500 people on the beaches of Bermuda.
[00:07:54] Then 90 days later, I was terminated. For a high performer and somebody who had never been let go before that was devastating because I had put my heart, my soul, my everything, my time into this organization. I was exceeding and was just dropped because of politics, you know, from a takeover with our number one competitor at the time.
[00:08:18] I knew then that, because I had dumped so much and sacrificed so much, I never wanted to do that again. Then I got introduced to the world of entrepreneurs. When I did, I found it was a very interesting and interesting transition because then I finally felt like I was home. I wasn't considered as having wild ideas, they were embraced. You know, it wasn't considered anything foreign. Thanks to that freedom I never looked back. It was the greatest gift ever to have gone through that experience. So that's my background. The story that not too many people know about.
Michelle St. Jane: [00:08:57] I firmly believe in sharing my wisdom, how redundancy can mean a redirection, not a rejection. Sharing how it shaped my mindset as a leader.
[00:09:11] People who are short on values can have huge impacts on your life. And I was the primary breadwinner for my family, and it was my first time going to university. At 50 I decided to do a doctorate because I didn't feel I wanted it to be cubby holes. I wanted to allow myself to be a stratospheric thinker.
I really relate to what you said about moving around. Reminding myself about how I used to jump jobs every two years I got bored. Once I learned it all and I had performed, I had outlived my place. I had cleared backlogs, dealt with litigation and arbitrations worldwide. Got results, I got the job done. I wasn't there to stay because there was more to learn and explore.
Somebody reminded me that some of us live in the spirit of our super-geniuses and we have more than one. Which is typically an entrepreneur. So it can certainly change how you see yourself as a leader and your mindset, because you may not wish to be defined by redundancy and rejection. I can get back on my conscious journey in terms of redirection.
Gail Watson: [00:10:30] You know, it makes such a difference in your true happiness level. I always heard that going through your career do what you love and you know, the money will flow. And while I would enjoy the jobs I did, they didn't feed me in the way that I'm fueled now. I look forward to going to sleep at night, just so I can get up in the morning and do it all over again and talk to different people from around the world and meet new women, and hear amazing ideas. I mean, that fills your soul, right? There's no price tag on that.
Michelle St. Jane: [00:11:07] Absolutely. I have secret thoughts to confess here. I now listened to my soul, not the current leadership rhetoric, management rhetoric, and strategy and risk management. I firmly believe in saying, “okay, what is my soul going to tell me about the journey I’m on?” Is this the right journey? Is it the right one for me? Is that how I can best show up to serve?
[00:11:31] So I don't know about you, but sometimes I struggle with that imposter syndrome. Like if I read my CV or I'm listening to someone say my bio to introduce me. I'm like, who's that I'm not meant to be here.
Gail Watson: [00:11:44] I want to meet her.
Michelle St. Jane: [00:11:47] So what was your leader's realization moment?
Gail Watson: [00:11:51] Well, that's interesting that you asked that. I don't even know if it's a moment because just as you were talking about your CV and hearing your title. Even back incorporate, I used to ask, please, don't put a title on my card. I don't know why because it was the rule that you have to have a title. I've always felt uncomfortable with titles because titles, I think our communication and because people will see you when they see the title, it's a label. Some people will just want to be with you just because of that label. Then others maybe even are more intimidated to not approach you because of your label. So it can have all sorts of different kinds of effects. Quite often, I have a name badge with the Women Speakers Association. I don't put on my title because I just want to remain.
Michelle St. Jane: [00:12:51] I can absolutely relate. I'm all about attraction as opposed to promotion. I am interested in the people that cross my path. A fabulous conversation, a chance to be curious, to connect without it being about how can you help me build on, let's do a deal, or be marketed to, I really liked people, but I'm not crazy about being hard sold to and to enter the next business opportunity.
Gail Watson: [00:13:19] Absolutely. It's been interesting being in the Women Speakers Association. I've had business analysts analyze what we do. I make it a thing to talk to every single person before they join as a member to talk, just talk to them. I get on a call and I say, “Who are you? What do you do? How can I be the best support to you?” I want to know what they need. To see if we can even support them or provide them with any resources, but just those conversations. Quite literally, they are every day they happen every day. It's so amazing. Whether somebody joins as a member, not just to learn and meet somebody else in this world is amazing.
[00:14:04] I've had business analysts say, as the CEO, as the president, this is the worst place you can put your time. I've always fought back over the years to say, “no, that's the best place I can put my time because that's what keeps me alive.” This isn't about creating roles and positions to be better than, or be seen that way because one of the core messages, right from day one, right from day one, January 11th, 2011, is that “no message is greater, no message is less than your own gifted message” period. End of story. That is between you and I and everybody that we meet. The equality and value are there. Everybody has it.
Michelle St. Jane: [00:14:53] Absolutely. And my conversation with you, you solved a couple of issues that have been dogging my steps for about five or six years and offered me an opportunity that led me into authorship, which is writing a doctorate, was the last thing I wanted to do.
[00:15:07] The way that you described it and with the support, well, actually I really want to do it. I like the way this has been offered. Knowing that I can do it. There was the opportunity to create a sacred space to educate me on this and I just really felt it with how you led me through that. It was kind of like going over the rainbow and saying there's a bigger and better place out there. So why not show up and have
Gail Watson: [00:15:32] Absolutely. That's what it's about. If we can each support one another and each share. You know what we can do to make things easier to help dreams come true. Then that's what it's about. Let's all do it together. It's when we want to go, it's when we try and do things on our own that we can get stuck and we usually get stuck in ourselves.
[00:15:55] Take for example writing a book, I mean, oh, so many women say, “I'm writing a book.” I am writing to ask “where are you?” And it's typically around that 80% mark. Oh, I just have about 20%, the last 10% to go. Really? There's a stuck, people get stuck there, and it's because what we do is we run up against ourselves and it takes a lot when you're writing that first book. A lot of things show up for you. So, having a surrounding community is what pulls us through. A community can take us from our darkest places. Can support us so that we don't fall might not Excel us or advance us, but it can protect us just to not fall.
Michelle St. Jane: [00:16:40] Absolutely. Although I've written a doctorate, it took a song to get me started and it took a massive graphic to get me finished. I'm very creative. This year I've been podcasting. I've realized I'm a speaker who likes to write. The transcriptions, with lots of other bells and whistles, are a godsend that opens up avenues when you start to get to know yourself. The gift that came out of that was learning I'm a speaker who likes to write. So I now know I need to speak about my contribution to the world's knowledge base into the world and let a transcription service create the chapters.
Gail Watson: [00:17:29] Absolutely. Did you know there's a new zoom enterprise? We are just learning about how to scribe it all for you. Now you can literally write your book on zoom.
Michelle St. Jane: [00:17:39] The zoom boom, thanks to the pandemic, has been one of the biggest blessings for sure. That's a great one.
How do you nurture a healthy growth mindset?
Any habits or behaviors or rituals that you find powerful for the work that you do?
Gail Watson: [00:17:59] Oh yeah, absolutely. One thing that can really take me down is social media and this goes pre-pandemic stuff.
[00:18:07] I went through my Instagram as Instagram was becoming new and social media. So, what I did was I became very intentional with it and I set it up with positive quotes from people out there I just started following. So I have a ritual every morning now, and it's gratitude, right?
[00:18:27] I fill my mind with positive quotes. I wake up, grab my shower, grab my coffee. Then sitting just to sit, relax, and I go through my Instagram. But what I'm going through is all these positive quotes. Oh and beautiful graphics. I love it. And it's what inspired Women Speakers Association, when we were setting our Instagram, I said this has got to be a place of positivity and just motivational quotes. They all have to be by women. Women voices of positivity.
That's what we set our page to be:
That's the ritual I love. I just love to fill my cup in the morning. I fill myself with caffeine, fill my brain with positivity, and then I’m very intentional with the people that I surround myself with. Very intentional with the people that are in this community.
Sometimes we have to weed out. Right. There's zero tolerance for any kind of hate or judgments or bringing in politics. We don't bring any controversial subjects into the community. We're just about: Let's get your voice out.
And let's just do it.
Michelle St. Jane: [00:19:49] Yes! What a beautiful way to stay in the present. You know, yesterday's done and tomorrow's not promised. But you can get really stuck and worrying about tomorrow, and all that anxiety. Or being overly concerned about what's been in the past, that leads to depression. I love your gratitude ritual. It is really beautiful.
What is one piece of advice that you would give global women leaders?
For joining WSA I'll have all the, all the links in the show notes,
Gail Watson: [00:20:22] You know, we hear “your time is now there's no better time than right now to get your message out.” But as we look at where our world is today and the level of disconnection that we're all experiencing out there, this is the time. This is the time to share your voice and it can be in a small way, or It can be in a big way. This is the time that I believe wholeheartedly. Every woman is gifted with a message. And I want that visualization of that small and maybe a small little gift box with, you know, a little blue gift box with a nice little white ribbon around it. And it sits in you and it's special.
[00:21:09] And it is for you. Whether you give it to one person or maybe it can be multiplied and given to many, but this is what will heal our world connection is so, so, so important. And we can connect using our voice by just sharing words. So that would be my advice to every person right now is please share your voice. Whether it's a kind word or whether it's that message that's in you that you need to get out, you know, we'll help you do that. Be a voice of the 21st century. Share your message.
Michelle St. Jane: [00:21:51] I think we underestimate the voiceprints we're leaving and the digital sands of time. We have a chance to put some quality stuff out there, and show up in a big way. If you're creative then invest in content creation. Have you given a speech or have you written a story? There is so much room to do all sorts of good work. The Women Speakers Association is a great platform.
[00:22:21] For any of my audience that is keen to get involved, how do they go about doing that?
Gail Watson: [00:22:29] Thank you. Well, first off for your listeners, something that may help them. What I always like to give as a gift, it's called a Speaker Success Plan. You can go download it at www.speakersuccessplan.com it's something that we give all our members. A guide that helps you kind of just take an inventory of where you're at, where you want to go. n there is a place for you to write down some goals. We also give you the opportunity to share those goals because we want to hear them.
[00:23:01] We want to see where you're going and what you need and the Women Speakers Association may not be a place for you today, but it might be a place for you just to get that first step. The first step is this bigger success plan. You don't have to be a member to have that, but it just keeps you going and it helps you. Keeping your ideas and moving forward, you're somebody. What we call that is really just to find and own your voice now. They may be in that place where they think, “okay, well, I've already found my voice here. I know what I have to say.” It's done for me to market it. I want to make some money with this message.
[00:23:38] Right? We absolutely have space for you there. But the first step I would say is to get connected. Get that speaker's success plan. What we'll do is we will stay in touch with you, let you know of all the different events going on, training, so that you can participate and we can help you get to where you want to go.
Michelle St. Jane: [00:23:58] Thank you. I really appreciate Women Speakers Association, appreciate you and your team. I'm so grateful that you're in the room, Gail.
Gail Watson: [00:24:10] Michelle. Thank you.
Outro: Dr. Michelle St Jane is a conscious steward of meaningful leadership in the world and the wider cosmos. Tune in every Thursday for real talk around life, leadership, and your conscious journey. Be ready to create and cultivate your dreams and wholehearted desires. Your support is valued. Please follow, subscribe, leave a review and a rating. More importantly, share with your connections.
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Dr. Michelle St Jane
Podcast Host: Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey
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