Cheryl Wood is a compelling thought leader and international keynote speaker with a commitment to supporting the personal development and economic empowerment of young and adult women globally. In addition to being an award-winning entrepreneur, author, and speaking coach, Wood mentors girls ages 10-16 who have a strong interest in entrepreneurship. She has been featured extensively across various media outlets, including the “Dr. Oz Show,” Fox 5 News, Radio One, Essence, Black Enterprise, The Afro-American newspaper, and The Washington Informer.
Walk us through your journey to success. How did you get to this point?
For 15 years I shuffled papers as a legal secretary in corporate America. After becoming a proud mom of three — now ages 8, 9, and 12 — my priorities shifted. I wanted to claim success on my own terms, make my own rules, and have the time and freedom to be more actively engaged in my children’s lives. Finally in 2009, I took a risk to get my feet wet as an entrepreneur to pursue that reality. I started a business selling inspirational T-shirts for women and moms and the T-shirt business turned into the thing that detoured me into my career as a speaker. In September of 2010, I was invited to speak at Morgan State University for my first speaking engagement about the T-shirt business and to teach other moms how to start businesses. In that moment, I knew I had found my calling as a professional speaker. I began feverishly planting as many seeds as possible as often as possible to grow my visibility and my impact as a professional speaker. The hard work and determination since 2009 has paid off, and I now travel internationally as a keynote speaker for a number of organizations.
What do you do to stay on top of your game professionally?
I stay at the top of my game professionally by constantly mastering my craft. I practice it regularly and am constantly learning — I’m forever a student. I surround myself with other industry experts who take their craft seriously. I’m in a vortex of excellence because when you’re surrounded by excellence, you have no choice but to be excellent.
How do you balance your personal life with your career?
I commit to making sure I’m fully present in every moment, whether it’s a professional moment or a personal moment. When I’m with my family, I make sure I’m there 100 percent in mind and body. When I’m working on professional activities, that’s where I focus all of my energy. I remove the guilt of trying to balance being all things to everything in my life at once by just being in the moment.
What advice would you give to a budding entrepreneur or career woman?
Abandon all thoughts of perfectionism and just get started. Success is determined by your willingness to exercise the faith and tenacity to get started and not expect to have all the answers in the beginning. The perfect timing and circumstances will never show up. You have to leap and figure out the answers along the way. When you get started, you can always make adjustments as you learn and grow. But you can’t make adjustments to something you never start.
What does being a BOSS mean to you?
Being a BOSS means I stand in my power to create success on my own terms. It means I don’t spend time comparing, competing, or coveting what anyone else has. Instead, I spend my time humbly walking in my own unique gifts and in my God-assignment so I can create a legacy and impact the lives of others.
For more information about Wood, please visit www.cherylempowers.com or follow her on Twitter at @CherylEmpowers
The BOSS Network is a community of career and entrepreneurial women who support each other through conversation, online and event-based networking. Their mission is to promote and encourage the small business spirit and professional development of women. For more information on The BOSS Network, please visit www.thebossnetwork.org.