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164: Leaders with Heart Embrace Your Crazy

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In this episode, Heather interviews Janine Williams, the CEO and Founder of Impulsify, a software company that equips businesses with simple, affordable technology solutions. She refers to herself as a “reluctant CEO” who believed in a product and decided she wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Janine believes in “The Adversity Advantage” and her story is quite unique. Her obstacles to overcome adversity began as a young girl and she is proud of what she has built today. She credits her outcome to her foster mother, Mary Elizabeth Hudson, who changed the course of her life from a troubled teenaged girl to a CEO. Janine is vulnerable, relatable, and you can just tell she has the biggest heart – most importantly, she is honest and aware of her flaws as a leader. Listen to Janine’s story as she takes us through what led her to where she is today.

Key Takeaways:

  • Embrace The Crazy.
  • Don’t listen to the naysayers.
  • Surround yourself with entrepreneurs, business developers, and like-minded individuals.
  • Being a CEO means that she doesn’t get the privilege to put her negative emotions onto her team. 
  • When you truly believe you are better than the situation you are in, you will do anything possible to get out of it. 
  • Recognize that resumes, schools, and experience don’t always mean that the passion, drive, or grit will be there. 
  • Give others the opportunities you wish someone had given you.

Janine Williams is the CEO, and Founder of Impulsify, a software company that equips businesses with simple, affordable technology solutions. She refers to herself as a “reluctant CEO” who believed in a product and decided she wouldn’t take no for an answer. She has been a “reluctant CEO” for 8 years now with a successful company based out of Denver, Colorado. 

She had no previous experience with software – she was actually an English major – but she saw an opportunity and truly believed she could fill it. Many people doubted her but this served as her motivation. One day she went on Facebook to search for someone who could build software, and that person has now been her partner for the past ten years. Janine and her partner have successfully scaled the company to what it is now and have plans to continue on this upward path.

Believing in Yourself

  • Janine Williams is a single mother of four, an English major, and a teacher who taught Shakespeare. She had no idea how to build software but she was good at marketing. She actually met her business partner through a Facebook post (who now does the coding). 
  • Her drive comes from proving the people who doubted her wrong. She isn’t big on resumes or experience – she wants the passion, grit, and drive. 
  • Janine takes a lot of pride in going from “basically homeless” to becoming who she is today. She has a tremendous heart for women and young girls who are constantly doubted and deprived of opportunity and does everything she can to uplift them and give them a chance to succeed just like Mary did for her. 
  • Janine opened up about losing her temper six months ago and it leading to the loss of one of her beloved employees. She was honest about regretting this behavior and it made her realize that the leader doesn’t get to have those moments towards their team. That situation made her lose a great employee and was a huge learning lesson for her – now she tries to avoid that by taking more time for self-care, vacations, and spending time with her family.

There is no wrong path to finding your leadership, but there is something unique in people who overcome adversity and then use it as a positive rather than a crutch – Janine Williams #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Turning Adversity Into a Positive

  • Two months ago she lost her foster mother who took her in when she was 13 because she was living alone. She lost her in January and decided to honor her through her LinkedIn post. This post went viral and is actually how Heather found her. She wanted to show people that someone can have such a grand effect on someone’s life, her foster mom saw potential in her and that changed the entire course of her life. Now millions of people know Mary Hudson’s name. 
  • Her leadership style: “The Adversity Advantage”, “there is no wrong path to finding your leadership but there is something unique in people who overcome adversity and then use it as a positive rather than a crutch”.

There is nothing that you can't do when you truly believe 'I am better than this situation' – Janine Williams #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

People ask, 'How did you do it? How did you transfer from teaching high school English to running a software company?' And I was like, 'Google!' – Janine Williams #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Seeing an Opportunity and Taking It

  • Janine has previously launched a company similar to amazon that would supply hospitality industries with their needs, like Marriot, where they could use a single interface to order their supplies instead of having to go to Costco. 
  • Before her software, they didn’t have a way to track what sells/doesn’t/demand. Millions of dollars in retail sales were not being tracked. 
  • She saw this as an opportunity and is where her current company, Impulsify, was born from.

 


 

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