Spending Time with Dr. Stephanie Burroughs.
This interview is all about Dr. Stephanie Burroughs, president of StephanieSpeaking LLC. Stephanie is an extraordinary speaker, coach, and trailblazer in primarily male-dominated industries, like construction. She is responsible for my company’s first state contract and she has been both my mentor and a client. Stephanie is simply amazing. Here’s a bit of her story …
After declaring three majors and attending three colleges, Stephanie finally chose to major in Business Management and earned her Bachelor’s degree. In 2016, she was also awarded an honorary PhD in philosophy from Global Oved Dei Seminary and University, which she attributes to God’s favor. When speaking about all the hours she put into school, workshops, and training programs, Stephanie is reminded of the quote, “You reap what you sow.” – and she’s certainly reaping a great harvest!
Let’s start this interview exploring ambition. What does it mean to you?
I view ambition as a strong drive to successfully achieve a cherished desire or goal. I have not thought in terms of ambition; however, my focus has been giving my best to any endeavor which comes from my upbringing.
Getting graded a C on the report card or test was a failure; B’s meant not enough effort was put forth and A’s were questioned as why not an A+. Some people may think this is harsh; however, not necessarily when considering the environment in this country during the 1950s and 60s and being black and female.
Not too harsh at all, in my opinion. Tell us more.
I was taught to work at 150%. And then there is this: I’m the daughter of a marine who with my mother raised me like I was one of the troops. Excellence was an expectation; excuses were not tolerated, responsibility and discipline were a must. Those life principles have been my driving force – call it ambition if you will.
I’d definitely call it ambition. What about your professional life? Tell us about what you do.
Currently, my role is president of StephanieSpeaking LLC. My brand and signature program is The G.R.I.T. Factor. I perform as an inspirational keynote and breakout speaker to a variety of audiences. I facilitate workshops and provide specialized consulting services in government and public contracting, as well as diversity certification programs. My clients are primarily minority, women, small and veteran business owners.
I also work exclusively with women on thought-life transformation, incorporating my four key “G.R.I.T.” strategies. I have had a number of other small businesses over the years and I’ve always viewed my jobs and work roles from an entrepreneurial perspective. Entrepreneurship is in my blood.
I never thought of myself as having a career; rather, I have been blessed to pursue my purpose in each endeavor. I perceived my work in what is now known as supplier diversity (which began as minority business programs) as a calling to a cause, not a job.
I have provided the following services over the years:
- Contract compliance monitoring (construction projects);
- Diversity certification auditing;
- Project and program management for M/W/S/DBE programs for Gannett Fleming, The Port Authority of NY & NJ, NJ Transit (consultant/project director); and
- Director of Procurement Programs for NJ Small Business Development Centers/Rutgers University.
I have also performed as human resources recruiter for several organizations including Blue Cross/Blue Shield and The Port Authority of NY & NJ.
That’s quite impressive! What’s a typical day at work like for you?
There is no such thing as a typical day; however, in order to give myself a semblance of order, I’ve assigned specific tasks to each day.
When I’m not speaking, training, making prospect calls, traveling, networking, attending events or working virtually with clients, I work on specific projects or tasks based upon the following calendaring:
- Marketing Mondays
- Tech Tuesdays
- Writing Wednesdays
- Transaction Thursdays
- Follow-up Fridays
Under each heading there is a list of potential projects or tasks to be completed or worked on.
That’s an inspirationally disciplined way to stay on top of things. I love it! What keeps you motivated to be consistent with your schedule and continuously build your business?
One of the definitions for motivation is “motivation is the outcome of activity.” I believe this definition.
I am a self-inspired person and, as someone who is always thinking, I have no shortage of ideas. Once I take action on a specific idea, I am self-motivated to continue the process until I achieve the desired outcome (aka “goal”).
Inspiration may come from my own thoughts. Sometimes it comes from something I read or heard spoken that leads me to further thought. Inspiration also comes from ideas or things I see, such as problems or challenges that need solutions.
One thing is certain, I’m continuously inspired by that which is in alignment with God’s purpose for my life.
We both certainly know that with God, all things are possible. Here’s a pretty serious question: Have you ever struggled with confidence or courage as a businesswoman? If so, how’d you get past it?
I have not struggled with confidence or courage; however, I have certainly questioned whether or not I was doing the right thing. I’ve asked myself if I’m on the correct path. This most often comes up when when there is a lull in the business – no forward motion. If we are not careful, sometimes a lull in business can make it seem that everything has come to a halt – when this is not the case. Continuously working on my personal development has helped me to think differently about my challenges and drastically minimize stress, fear, and negative thoughts.
This kind of personal development takes living in awareness and it is work; however, I have an arsenal of self-inspiration tools that I turn to:
- brain-retraining programs,
- EFT (tapping),
- power walking/sprint intervals,
- reading and
I know that as long as I keep my intention and attention on the prize and continue do the work and most importantly, surrender my doubts and insecurities to God — success will appear in His time.
Your list of self-inspiration tools is exceptionally powerful. Here’s another question for you – and one that your tools for inspiration can provide help: What’s the toughest thing you’ve had to do as a businesswoman?
The toughest thing for me to do was to surrender and let go of control.
It took being confronted with “Murphy’s Law” at maximum velocity one day in the midst of planning a procurement expo to realize I was not in control and I needed to surrender some challenges to my Creator.
This is a continuous process; however, it gets easier and it aids in changing my thoughts, releases stress and pressure and opens me to receiving new ideas and strategies.
When our cup is full and fraught with stress, overwhelm, and lacking in clear thought and vision there is no room for new blessings.
Very true. Moving on from tough times to talent, what’s been helpful to you in increasing and managing your cash flow?
Great question! Here are a few of my secrets:
- Creating a financial plan;
- Checking my AD budget weekly and making adjustments;
- Tracking my activities to determine what works best for client/customer acquisition and sales;
- Checking to see if I’ve accomplished the predetermined number of sales calls and making the necessary adjustments; and
- Fine tuning the budget, reducing debt and redefining priorities.
Sounds effective! Now, I’ve got a fun question for you: What’s your favorite word and why?
GRIT. The acronym G.R.I.T. makes up my 4 power strategies: Grounded, Resilient, Intentional and Tenacious. These strategies have carried me through every aspect of my life. I focus on the strategy(y/ies) that fits my current circumstance.
These strategies — combined with prayer, faith and belief in God’s time — have made it possible for me to overcome challenges, grow personally, succeed in my endeavors, and continuously become stronger and more determined than ever.
Knowing Who I am and Whose I am keeps me unstoppable!
Awesome! I’ve never thought about “G.R.I.T.” in this way … it’s powerful. Another fun question: Do you consider yourself unusual, strange, or relatively normal?
I consider myself a member of the unusual clan. I’ve never quite “fit in” with the crowd. However, as an avid networker I tend to know people in many different walks of life. While in college, although I did chose not to pledge for a sorority, I was friends with people in all of the sororities and fraternities.
I’ve been told by friends over the last few years that I’m “very analytical” and this came as a surprise to me. It is true, however, that I’m always thinking about and envisioning what’s next. I also frequently have a different perspective from the thoughts expressed by others or current trends.
What many people don’t know is that when I’m not in the public eye, I am an introvert. I am very comfortable with myself and really love being with myself.
A friend once told me that we were not like most women. I agreed with the things she shared, but was oblivious to them before our conversation; probably, because the few people I spend any time with are similar to me.
For example – I learned from this friend that it is not the norm for women to spend quality time with themselves, travel, shop, go to the gym or restaurants, or do any other activities alone. This friend, along with other friends, also shared with me that women are often talking to family members or friends daily. If true, this would drive me nuts.
I certainly understand that sentiment! While I love being with people, I highly value my alone time too. lol Back to a more serious question. What have you accomplished, created, or built that brings you the most joy?
There are so many! Here are just a few …
- Publishing my first book: “Dating Your Business Prospect” and creating my first audio book;
- Being a speaker at the Full Throttle Experience conference in Saint Petersburg, Florida;
- Being booked as a speaker for Pfizer International HQ NYC;
- Being hired by the National Sales Network NJ/NY Chapter ; and
- Creating the Big Contract Bootcamp – digital training program.
And what awards or honors have you achieved that bring you the most pride?
A few of the ones that are especially special include:
- An Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy presented by Global Oved Dei Seminary & University
- Dena Coye Outstanding Woman Entrepreneurship Award presented by the National Minority Business Council
- Outstanding Woman of Achievement Award presented by Professional Women in Construction
- State Star NJ Award presented by NJ Association of Small Business Development Centers
What a list! Congratulations! As we end our interview questions, what do you have coming up that our readers should know about?
March 28, 2017 Morning and Lunch Session Moderator and Workshop Facilitator:
Growing Grit in Government Contracting, Alliance MidAtlantic 2017 (a small business procurement expo with federal, state, local and corporate entities), Atlantic City, NJ. Click the link for all of the details: https://www.allianceforbiz.com.
March 30, 2017 Workshop Facilitator:
Diversity Certifications – from Confusion to Clarity. Click the link for all of the details: https://diversesuppliercertificationworkshop.eventbrite.com.
April 5, 2016 Workshop Facilitator for the Sisters United Enterprise:
Learning How to Secure Government Contracts; Newark, NJ. Get the details at www.suenet.org.
Excellent. Great events! Before we wrap up, is there anything you’d like to share that hasn’t already been asked of you?
Readers can learn more about my book “Dating Your Business Prospect” by listening to my interview on Kurt Mortensen’s podcast Maximize Your Influence. Click here to listen or search for my name on www.MaximizeYourInfluence.com.
Great! Thank you! I’ve got one last question:
how can our readers keep up with you and your future endeavors?
Visit and connect with me all across social media!
FB Profile: StephanieSpeakingLLC
FB Page: http://facebook.com/bizinspirit
FB Page: http://facebook.com/itsplaincommonsense
As I shared before with you before, Stephanie is one of my favorite people in the world. I encourage you all to follow her on social media.
This interview was packed with so much value! Here are a few key takeaways that you can use to inspire your own mogul moxie!
➢ Start using G.R.I.T. (Grounded. Resilient. Intentional. Tenacious.) in your daily life in order to become unstoppable.
➢ Be persistent. It took Stephanie three majors, three different colleges and a wealth of experience to be where she is now. She’s living her dreams and so can you.
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Dr. Stephanie Burroughs! Let me know in the comments below. Blessings! ~ TC