Brittney Canter-Barbe is a previous C-Suite Executive who left her cushy half-million-dollar career to launch a company that emboldens women to claim their power in the workplace, at home, and in every aspect of their lives.
Brittney founded PowHER in 2021 after building a highly successful corporate career where she had increased her compensation package by 13x in five short years. She was in a position of ‘PowHER’ where she could influence policy, drive cultural change throughout a global organization, and build a team where employees felt like they belonged all without an ivy league education, white-collar family backing, and no security net to catch her.
Check out more interviews with entrepreneurs here.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET FEATURED?
All interviews are 100% FREE OF CHARGE
Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Brittney Canter-Barbe: I founded PowHER in 2021 out of frustration and the call to do more, be more, have more, and change more.
In my early 30s, I had managed to climb the corporate ladder becoming the only woman in the executive c-suite. I had increased my compensation package by 13x in five short years and was in a position of PowHER where I could influence policy, drive cultural change throughout a global organization, and build a team where employees felt like they belonged. Life was fast-paced, fulfilling, and full of possibilities. I did this without an ivy league education, white-collar family backing, and no security net to catch me when I fell.
The climb was beyond any challenge I could have imagined. I constantly battled imposter syndrome. I woke up daily thinking, “I’m not smart enough! I’m not good enough! I do not deserve this role!” I sat in boardrooms and was asked to take notes, was told I should not be hidden in back-of-house operations because I had the premium-brand look and of course, was told I was too aggressive, too bold, and too driven. I was excluded from the boy’s club and was even gaslighted by a trusted mentor.
Over my 16 years in Corporate America, I learned first-hand exactly what it takes to land positions of PowHER, negotiate executive compensation packages, build a personal brand at work that ensures success, and overall, how women can thrive in positions of PowHER. I coached hundreds of women on how to implement my hard-learned lessons to ensure their careers could also catapult.
I never realized my career journey was about PowHER. After all, I was always told as a woman that wants more PowHER was a bad thing. What I realized is that without more women in PowHER, we will never have workplaces that are inclusive, policies that enable women to thrive at work, or the ability to take control of our own lives.
Therefore, I left my cushy half million+ dollar career to launch PowHER. I help women claim their PowHER in the workplace, at home, and throughout every aspect of their lives.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Brittney Canter-Barbe: If I were to tell anyone in 2019 that a virus would disrupt the entire globe, they would have labeled me a radical conspiracy theorist immediately. The COVID pandemic altered (every aspect) our entire lives. Everything we did from the time we woke up in the morning until the time we went to sleep. Nothing was the same. Business was no different. We were forced to pivot almost every strategy in our businesses overnight.
Launching PowHER in 2021, I realized quickly that my original tried and true strategies that worked when I build built my first company in 2011 would not be effective. I could no longer throw out a “catch-all” marketing campaign and watch the clients pour in. The pandemic forced us to communicate in very local and precise terms, targeting specific clients based on their circumstances and what is most relevant to them. That meant truly understanding their situation on the ground, country by country, state by state, and zip code by zip code. Consumers demanded that businesses provide new, convenient, and custom solutions such as fitness on demand, e-pharmacy, digital entertainment, and so much more. Simply stated, if it was something that didn’t make our lives simpler or bring us happiness, we weren’t buying.
For business owners everywhere, it will be vital to understand exactly what makes the consumer tick. What do they love? What do they desire? What are their worst fears? Then, deliver a solution immediately. Organizations that thrive post-pandemic will be those that stay laser-focused on knowing their consumer, inside and out.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Brittney Canter-Barbe: Businesses that thrive in 2022 and long after will have to master business agility. With all the radical changes we have seen in the economy with the pandemic, organizations have had to pivot constantly which has led many of their employees (on the path) to burnout. Your organization’s culture, leadership, strategy, and governance must have the ability to transform multiple times, and quickly.
Many organizations have no problem creating a new product or service or changing their marketing campaigns on a dime. What they do struggle with is making these knee-jerk reactions without thoroughly understanding what changes are temporary and what is here to stay. We see sales drop off in a specific segment of our businesses and we immediately throw in more marketing dollars and hire more sales professionals. We assume that there is nothing wrong with our product and/or service. The opposite also plays true when we are too impatient and immediately feel the product or service isn’t good enough to, we scrap what may have been a multi-million dollar business model and start over.
My advice is to play the long game and pay close attention to what is a trend and what has stood the test of time. For online businesses like mine, it’s recognizing the trends as they appear, but shying away from the “new and sparkly.” Be patient. Be consistent. Be authentic.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Brittney Canter-Barbe: The pandemic has forced many people to reassess their careers. And for some, that means turning to executive coaches. This means the demand for executive coaching catapulted as professionals everywhere demanded more from their careers. This caused thousands of people to start coaching businesses and before you knew it you were seeing life coaches, relationship coaches, executive coaches, health coaches, exercise coaches…you name it…there’s a coach for it.
While this is incredible in so many ways, it also has a downside. The $2.85 billion coaching industry is unregulated, and the work that it entails is loosely defined. Anyone can simply claim they are a coach without any relevant experience in formal training.
To combat this, I positioned myself in the market with the differentiation that I wasn’t out here selling something I heard on a webinar or read in a book. I was sharing my 16 years of experience learning firsthand exactly what will, but most importantly, what will not work. The “overnight cures” so many coaches are selling now are impossible to deliver as real coaching takes time, takes work, and is a transformation of oneself.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Brittney Canter-Barbe: I feel the general population wishes they had known how hard daily life would be during the pandemic, especially women. Many of us underestimated the severity and duration of the pandemic. I remember, when the lockdowns first started, thinking, “A few weeks at home will be nice.” It wasn’t long until many of us were forced to take a long look at what was working, and more importantly, what was not working in our lives.
From a business standpoint, when COVID started I was still in Corporate America. The pandemic forced me to evaluate my career choices and left me realizing the call to do more, be more, have more, and change more wasn’t going away. Honestly, had COVID not occurred, I would probably still be kicking the “I’ll start my own business one day,”…can further and further down the road.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Brittney Canter-Barbe: I believe there are certain aspects of virtual life that are here to stay. As a consumer, I no longer grocery shop in person, purchase vehicles in person or even visit a physician unless forced to go in person. However, activities like vacations, social networking, and eating at restaurants have doubled since pre-COVID.
For businesses everywhere, remote work is here to stay and employers that are reluctant to fully embrace this concept, will continue to struggle with attracting and retaining top talent. While many enjoy going back to the office seldomly or the return of in-person conferences, the ability to work remote at least 80% of our time will be a desire employees everywhere will hold onto for years to come.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Brittney Canter-Barbe: Oh boy…making me really tell on myself here…being an online business owner I spend 8-10 hours a day behind a screen.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Brittney Canter-Barbe: When we listen to a story, regardless of our age, we are transported to another time and place. We find ourselves in every story we are told – the story of the ad that promises a more youthful appearance. The story of the tranquility of sitting at a beach resort in Tahiti. The story of the underdog conquering all odds.
Employees connect to people, not businesses. They want to feel they are part of the story and ultimately, they are the hero, we are simply the guides. Anytime I have launched a new initiative, created a new team, or rallied the team to pull off what they thought may be impossible, I was only effective in motivating them by pulling them into the story and showing them what they got out of it.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Brittney Canter-Barbe: In a world of instant gratification, it’s challenging when you post content and the likes and comments do not pour in instantly. Afterall, many of us that provide something as personal as coaching, are pouring our hearts into every piece of copy, every image, every video and to not have the market respond with the same level of emotion we had creating it, can be deflating.
There is so much noise in the online space that only those that are patient, show up consistently for those in their funnels, and with an authentic message will prosper.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Brittney Canter-Barbe: Online marketing is the most fascinating for me. The rules of the game seem to change daily. What gained thousands of followers yesterday may only convert less than 1% into clients tomorrow. The ability to see an online trend early and then rapidly adapt to speak to your specific avatar is extremely difficult.
Additionally, social media giants regularly change their algorithms. I recently hosted a free, 9-day workshop where I was heavily utilizing Facebook ads to fill my sales funnel. Everything was working perfectly and all of a sudden, I woke up and Facebook decided to choke the ad account down and my engagement dropped by double digits. This forced me to utilize other platforms and revert to manual DMs.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Brittney Canter-Barbe: Absolutely! I cannot begin to tell you the number of conversations I have had with executives across multiple industries that feel “The Great Resignation” is just another fad that will fade over time. After all, it’s human nature to want to hold on to the idea that the problem is always someone else. Industries that have traditional, consumer-facing roles like retail, healthcare, restaurants, and others are being forced to pivot as it’s hitting the only place that matters to them – profits!
Call me cynical, but very few organizations attempt massive, cultural change only except when finance forces them to. Of that small percentage, even fewer succeed as they have no clue how to implement those changes. For now, throwing more money at the problem to hire cashiers, nurses, and wait-staff is temporarily fixing the problem but as more and more studies are showing, this is only a band-aid.
Until it becomes normalized to place more value on the people of our organizations than we do profit, this vicious cycle will continue.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Brittney Canter-Barbe: Eliminate all objections from potential consumers instantly.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Brittney Canter-Barbe: Of course, I have a monetary vision of success for 2022 but the ultimate goal is to help as many women in Corporate America as possible to build careers that bring them joy, purpose, and more money than they ever thought possible.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Brittney Canter-Barbe for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Brittney Canter-Barbe or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.