In this interview, it’s my pleasure to present Willa Edgerton-Chisler, CSO of Symphony Strategies’ Symphony Coaching LLC.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Willa when she served as President of the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners and I was on her board as State Vice-President of Marketing. Willa is not only an accomplished business coach and leader but also an individual who’s committed to helping women win in both business and their careers.
A truly remarkable individual, Willa is a professionally trained and certified coach whose credentials include those for HR, Leadership, Myers-Briggs ®, Emotional Intelligence and Diversity Management from Rutgers University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Emotional Intelligence and Diversity Institute, and American University.
An active member of the community, Willa also belongs to the International Coach Federation, Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, Society of Human Resources Management, and the Center for Credentialing and Education. Currently, she instructs undergraduate psychology students at Upsala College in New Jersey.
Now that you know about Willa’s background, let’s move into exploring words of wisdom.
What does the word ‘ambition’ mean to you?
“A passion/desire to do or to achieve “something.”
Great! How exactly has ambition played a role in your life?
“Since my days in Corporate America and now I have always wanted to make a difference. To help someone (get it from my daddy) has been a key lyric and has played well in my life so far because I met some amazing people (including you, TC).”
Thank you. 🙂 Let’s talk about your professional life? If you had a job title in your business, what would it be?
Professional/personal strategist, inspirational speaker, facilitator, and author.
That’s fabulous! Tell our readers a bit about your services.
“We provide ‘people inclusion’ consulting and coaching services.”
Interesting! What is ‘people inclusion’ consulting and coaching?
“Strategizing, advising, and coaching individuals and business clients on human capital development to increase their return on influence (ROI) through establishing, cultivating, and maintaining engaging colleague, customer, and employee relationships.”
What specific services do you provide for your clients?
“We design and facilitate comprehensive innovative customized adult learning modules and diversity initiatives to address workplace/organization culture and enhance leadership/management effectiveness. In addition we deliver career transition services to individuals, facilitate career seminars and career transition workshops. Provides individual coaching and consulting as a professional certified coach.”
“Providing a diverse suite of approaches, I orchestrate my clients to gain focus, move out of overwhelm, embrace change, identify their strengths, and invest in their business, career, and personal development.”
What motivates you?
“People gaining confidence – achieving their goals.”
Perfect lead to our next question. Being that you are motivated by your clients gaining confidence, I’m curious … Have you ever struggled with your own self-confidence?
“In my book Discover Your Inner Strength (contributing author) I share that there are moments when you doubt yourself and also find out what you’re made of. Where you discover your inner strength is in those dark places. Challenges make you find the strength to move forward and overcome obstacles. It’s a process and a continuous journey to discover your inner strength through those challenges and adversities that you face, and to recognize that there are opportunities. Life gives you experiences to heighten your awareness if you are paying attention.”
Insightful. How do you handle challenges and struggles?
“I tend to go into what I call a ‘safe zone’ to reengage my soul and spirit. I make deposits into what I call my spiritual bank account. First, by having a conversation with God, then by speaking affirmations and prayers and singing songs of gratitude that move me from the dark places to the light—the desires of my heart. I am then reminded to have faith and that God holds me in the palm of His hand.”
“Becoming a coach has also taught me that strength from within comes through resilience and provides ability to overcome obstacles.”
That’s really uplifting. Let’s transition to decision-making. What’s one of the toughest decisions you’ve had to make as a business woman?
“Disconnecting from negativity – asked myself, ‘Who will you need to support your goal?’ It is important to surround yourself with positive people—people who inspire you, people who give you encouragement, educate you, and motivate you. At the same time, also recognize those toxic relationships that are negative and cynical. Those people need to be loved from afar because, while you’re developing your business (which is ongoing), you need and must have the right positive people around you.”
Wonderful advice! On the topic of business, what have you found helpful in increasing and managing cashflow?
“Collaborating with others. Partnering with other colleagues helps to ensure you don’t leave money on the table. It’s better to have 50% of a client contract than 0% because you lack a team.”
Cashflow is critically important to business and so are the words we use with ourselves and others. What’s your favorite word?
“Gratitude – I am on a spiritual growth journey and increasing in my faith and trust in God. I now know and I am so certain of God’s purpose for me—to live a life of service to others. He has brought, and continues to bring, phenomenal people into my life. God is definitely orchestrating my steps. I believe that He is the MAESTRO of my orchestra. Romans 12: 6 – 8.”
Nice choice. Here’s a fun question: How would you label yourself in terms of being strange, unusual, weird, or normal?
“Creative – I love designing strategies and program. When working with a client I can “see”, envision their goal.”
Of all the things you’ve accomplished or created thus far, what brings you the most joy?
“Being able to help displaced/unemployed /underemployed build back their confidence and gain employment. My “Power in the Pink Slip©” with over 10k program/strategy hours, has prepared and coached talented displaced professionals with over 70% of my clients finding and retaining employment in today’s highly competitive job market.”
Important work! When you think about your life and business – which of your awards and honors makes you most proud?
“Recently recognized as the 2016 Shirley Chisholm Business Leader by Speaker Emeritus Shelia Oliver representing New Jersey’s 34th Legislative District. In 2013 by Magic 98.3 Women in Business for contribution to the community. Best 50 Women in Business in 2012 by NJBIZ and 2011 Garden State Woman of the Year-Diversity, 2008 U.S. SBA Region II & NJ Minority Business Champion. Recognized in 2008, 2010, and 2015 by the State of NJ Senate and General Assembly Joint Legislative Resolution for diverse body of work, leadership, and contributions.”
Wow, that’s great! Congratulations! So now that we’re wrapping things up, what’s coming up that you think our readers should know about?
“In the fall of 2017, will launch the Makali Professional Development Institute(PDI)© , a subsidiary of Symphony Coaching LLC. Makali PDI © will be an organization whose mission will be to enhance individual’s leadership effectiveness. Through designing personalized cutting edge and diverse concept strategies, clients will build a personal framework and roadmap.”
That sounds exciting. Would you like to share anything I haven’t asked yet?
“Behind every successful woman is a village of other successful women who have her back…women empowering women.”
Very true and an excellent way to end our interview. Here’s how you can keep up with Coach Willa.
As always, it was a pleasure to invest time with our #MogulMoxie Maven. Here are a few golden nuggets you can implement into your life and business right away.
➢ Giving your ideal clients the tools they need in order to be successful is essential to your business success.
➢ Disconnecting yourself from negativity essential for having fulfilling success in business.
➢ Empowering other women is not only helpful, it’s also vital to creating a successful, united organization.
Now that you’ve been inspired by our MogulMoxie® Maven – it’s your time. What are you going to do differently in your own life or business? We want to hear about it!