Meet Honesty Liller, a woman in long-term recovery from a Substance Use Disorder and the author of “Scattered Pink – A Diary Of A Woman In Recovery”. What that means to her is that she has not used drugs or alcohol since May 27, 2007.
She is the CEO of The McShin Foundation and Co-Founder of CARE Talks, LLC. Her mission in life is to make a difference, live day to day, be happy, and reduce the negative outlook of addiction.
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Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! We know you’re a busy person, so our readers will appreciate learning more about your backstory and how you got started.
Honesty Liller: I am a woman in recovery from an opiate addiction since May 27, 2007. The McShin Foundation was where I started my recovery journey, lived in their housing five months, and then starting working at the non-profit. I have been employed at McShin for over fourteen years and have been the CEO for over eight of those years. My passion in life is to help those with addiction like myself and to spread hope into the world. Recovery has awarded me more than just being drug-free, I am happy and I get to live a life I never dreamed.
Can you tell us a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were starting out in your field? What did you learn from that experience?
Honesty Liller: So many mistakes… I barely knew how to be an adult, let alone how to keep employment. So, I cussed a lot and cried a lot. I have learned how to manage tasks, laugh at myself, and be super organized throughout my life here at McShin.
Somebody helped you get to where you are now. Somebody probably gave you some good advice or helped you out when you needed it. Who was that person for you? Tell us about it.
Honesty Liller: John Shinholser for sure. He is the Co-Founder and President of McShin. When I had basically nothing, he took me into McShin housing. All the years of growing this non-profit with him, he has taught me many leadership skills, the biggest being trusting my gut.
Many studies have shown that businesses with a clear purpose are more successful in many ways. When your company started, what was its vision? What was its purpose?
Honesty Liller: Always to help those with addiction as well as their families. We are still doing that today, but at a much bigger capacity.
Thank you for that. Now let’s turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share a story with our readers about how you led your team during difficult times?
Honesty Liller: I could talk about the COVID crisis, but I want to stick to the addiction crisis. There have been a lot of hard times in our field. With the overdose numbers rising, this hits us hard in our hearts. I constantly remind our team that we grieve, we love, we cry, and we keep going. It is important for me to show them that they can take time off if a loved one has passed and also show them it is okay to feel the pain. Recovery is a life long process and sometimes humans don’t get it their first try. It is my job to show the world that recovery is possible and to show our team that we can heal together.
Have you ever thought about giving up? Where do you find the motivation to continue through your challenges? What keeps you going?
Honesty Liller: Yes, of course. Being a female leader has many pressures for sure. Combating addiction is a hard career, but very rewarding. There have been many days I have gone home to my husband and just cried. People die, people have reoccurrence of uses, but people also find an amazing life in recovery. My motivation comes from seeing a woman come into McShin and then blossom into a beautiful butterfly. There is nothing like seeing women get their kids back and a life they deserve. I do a lot of self-care as well and have learned what works for my brain/body and what doesn’t.
What do you think is the most important role of a leader during difficult times?
Honesty Liller: Don’t crash and burn too hard. You are a leader for a reason, so you need to get up and lead. Also, I am a big believer in being human as well, and showing some form of vulnerability. Just because I am a leader, doesn’t mean I am not a human.
When the future seems uncertain, it can be hard to stay motivated. What is the best way to improve morale? What can a leader do to make their team feel inspired, motivated and engaged?
Honesty Liller: Remind them of the humans and families that we serve. Also, get feedback from your staff as well on ideas to keep the morale flowing within the organization. I am really a believer on feedback from our staff here. Donuts and other food work too! Also, advise them how to take self-care seriously as well.
How can you best communicate difficult news to your team and customers?
Honesty Liller: Donuts…….. It really all depends on the situation. Some news needs to be on a one on one basis, but any big news should be face to face no matter what. Not an email or text.
How can leaders be able to make plans when the future is uncertain?
Honesty Liller: There needs to be some sort of an idea for a plan at least. Scaling back, budgeting, and getting a plan on paper is so important. Even if you don’t follow it exactly, there needs to be something to guide you even if just a little, to stay focused on the mission.
Can a company find stability during difficult times by using a specific principle?
Honesty Liller: Yes, teamwork and hope.
What are some of the most common mistakes that businesses make during difficult times? What can you do to avoid making these same mistakes?
Honesty Liller: Panic, budget/staff cuts, panic, panic, and worry. I would really evaluate your programming/business plan. Really take a dive into what is working for your organization, what is kind of working, and what isn’t working at all. Then, focus on what you can do to reduce costs on the kind of and not at all. Staying calm is important for team morale too.
Making more money, getting new customers, or keeping your current ones is hard during good times. It can be even harder during hard times. But it’s important to keep growing. Can you tell me some of the things you do to make sure you don’t lose ground when the economy is tough?
Honesty Liller: Staying in touch with our donors, supporters, participants in our housing, and their families. It is important to keep going. We utilize social media a lot as well to keep those not near us engaged in our mission. I actually have become more innovative since COVID-19 and developed some more fundraisers as well as built relationships with new donors. I think staying focused, being yourself, and really loving what you do will help you achieve whatever you want.
What are five things a business leader can do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? Please share a story or an example for each.
Honesty Liller: 1. Self Care – Especially my personal recovery from opiate addiction. It shows our staff that they should as well (all of our staff are in recovery). I run, ride my Peloton, meditate, strength train, journal, and get a monthly massage.
2. Innovation – Restructuring our programs to be fun, virtual some, and include staff in decision making. HAVE FUN with what you do.
3. Staff fun activities – This past year we have incorporated “Wellness Wednesday”, which we have yoga, breath work, and sound therapy. Also, we celebrate everyone’s birthdays as well as their recovery milestones. We do a quarterly fun event for all staff as well outside of our Recovery Center
4. Collaborate with other organizations – See who is doing what in your area and try to make something fit for you both to team up on.
5. Stick to the budget, but also be realistic on some changes that need to be made. Create new fundraising events/opportunities to raise more funds for new programming.
Can you share a life lesson quote that is meaningful to you and explain how it has influenced your life?
Honesty Liller: “Don’t use no matter what.”
Meaning, no matter what I go through in life, I know my recovery from addiction comes first. It is very very important to me to remain drug free so I can focus on my family, my career, and spread some love into the world. I am a Hope Dealer and I strive to love myself a little more each day!
How can our readers stay up-to-date on your work?
Honesty Liller: Follow me on social media…..
- FB – Honesty Liller
- Insta: @diaryofawomaninrecovery
- Email: email@example.com
- LinkedIn: Honesty Liller
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Honesty Liller 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 Honesty Liller or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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