Pathways with Amber Stitt

Focus on Community: Empowering Individuals & Organizations by Growing Ideas & Making a Difference

August 15, 2023 Amber Stitt
Focus on Community: Empowering Individuals & Organizations by Growing Ideas & Making a Difference
Pathways with Amber Stitt
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Pathways with Amber Stitt
Focus on Community: Empowering Individuals & Organizations by Growing Ideas & Making a Difference
Aug 15, 2023
Amber Stitt

Welcome back to The Amber Stitt Show!

In today's episode, we dive into an inspiring conversation with Olivia McGraw, where we explore the power of empowerment, financial growth, and personal development. We delve into the importance of providing opportunities and resources to individuals and organizations that have the vision and integrity to make a difference.

Olivia shares intriguing insights on the contrasting approaches to knowledge sharing between the Western world and Africa, as well as the need for application and action after receiving information.

We also hear about Olivia's own experiences in challenging societal norms, fighting for justice, and the significance of personal branding in today's world.

Additionally, Olivia takes us on a journey through their college experience, their bold decision to move to Africa, and the valuable life lessons they have learned along the way. Get ready to feel inspired and motivated as we explore the power of determination, authenticity, and embracing the unknown.

You can find Olivia here:
1525 Josephine Street | Denver, CO | 80206
M: 303-596-6780

Thank you for listening!
#FocusonTalents #FocusonMoney #FocusonCommunity 

Show Notes Transcript

Welcome back to The Amber Stitt Show!

In today's episode, we dive into an inspiring conversation with Olivia McGraw, where we explore the power of empowerment, financial growth, and personal development. We delve into the importance of providing opportunities and resources to individuals and organizations that have the vision and integrity to make a difference.

Olivia shares intriguing insights on the contrasting approaches to knowledge sharing between the Western world and Africa, as well as the need for application and action after receiving information.

We also hear about Olivia's own experiences in challenging societal norms, fighting for justice, and the significance of personal branding in today's world.

Additionally, Olivia takes us on a journey through their college experience, their bold decision to move to Africa, and the valuable life lessons they have learned along the way. Get ready to feel inspired and motivated as we explore the power of determination, authenticity, and embracing the unknown.

You can find Olivia here:
1525 Josephine Street | Denver, CO | 80206
M: 303-596-6780

Thank you for listening!
#FocusonTalents #FocusonMoney #FocusonCommunity 

Speaker A [00:00:10]:

Welcome to the Amber Stitt show. I am your host, Amber Stitt, and I am so excited to welcome Olivia, the beautiful soul that I've met over the last few years through organizations, through other strategic partners. And so welcome to to the show. Olivia. I've been thinking about this for about a year. So thanks for being here.

Speaker B [00:00:29]:

Well, thank you so much. I'm Excited.

Speaker A [00:00:31]:

I love your story. And we meet in this world of insurance planning and it sometimes isn't the most exciting topic, but it's so necessary. And we're not going to go into that too much today. But I love the way you got into the business and I like your perspective and how you got here. And so part of the pathways of peak performance starts with focusing on talents. And earlier today, we actually were on a different call with a women's group, virtually. And I learned that you've done your enneagram. I've done my enneagram and strength finder So I kind of want to touch on selfishly because I love both a little bit about your personal development, what you've done personally. And that could be recently, but I think it also ties into your journey, which brings you to the business person you are today. So kind of want to go back and say, can you tell me a little bit more about you've mentioned college before to me and then this journey that you've had that many Americans never take. So is it okay to kind of pass the mic to you and let you speak a little bit about that?

Speaker B [00:01:32]:

Absolutely. Now, first of all, thank you for inviting me. This is a real honor and privilege. As far as Enneagram, I've also actually done Strength Finder as well. And I love these tools because I find that they kind of bring clarity and context to frustrations in the past, to just understanding yourself better and being like, oh, my gosh, that explains so many pressure points that I've experienced with other people. So more recently, I've done enneagram. Strength finder has been around for a little bit longer, but enneagram. I'm an eight, which they call the Commander or the Challenger. Or I'm like, oh, let's rewind all the way back to high school, which.

Speaker A [00:02:08]:

I don't see you like that. So I think of you like I say beautiful soul. Because you're very cheerful and you always bring great energy. So there's maybe more of an assertive. There's a backbone there for you.

Speaker B [00:02:20]:

And I think that again, just understanding myself better. Now, I know that I have a really strong injustice button. And if that gets triggered or pushed, the mama bear comes out. Long before I had kiddos, and so it's kind of fighting for the injustice and fighting for those who don't necessarily have a voice or for seeing a situation. Right now, I'm trying to help my nanny, who's a beautiful lady in her 50s, single, having a significant problem with the builders of her home. And I'm like, okay, here's how we're going to go after this. This is a problem. They're gaslighting you. This is unprofessional and not acceptable. So it happens every day and it's frustrating, but it's just saying if you have a voice and you have a way to stand up for those that don't do it, use it. I think that's part of it is just being fearless of anything coming back on me. It's also not my fight necessarily, but I want to build those up that are in it. So I guess going back to some of the journey and where I've been, I grew up in Colorado, went to a very racially mixed high school. So I really took for granted what race relationships look know, we'd have these multicultural fairs and I'm like, why we love each other. And apparently our high school was the perfect reflection of the demographics across Colorado as well. And then I ended up going to a very white, very male dominated college in South Carolina oh wow. Called the Citadel. That had, most people are familiar with that, especially if you are west of the Mississippi, you know of it. The controversy that had women getting in in the late ninety s. And so that was not my first choice. I more or less applied because I knew they needed women. My cousin was there. I knew I would get in and had no intention of going. So it just was like, yeah, it's an easy application, let's fill this out. And it became very clear I have a strong faith, I'm a Christian, and really just prayed about it and felt like God was saying, you're going for your relationship with me, not for anything else. Knowing that I would have to daily just test who I was and test my faith and test a bunch of kind of your foundations, especially leaving college. It's not your normal college experience.

Speaker A [00:04:27]:

Well you move too. You put yourself out of your comfort zone. I think some people don't realize there's a lot of internationals that come here that leave everything behind, multiple languages, but even people in the United States might not always leave and then go to a completely different place.

Speaker B [00:04:40]:

Well, and I think some injustices in that I've experienced are just when we don't realize we are the United States and we have different cultures within that. So even though I've lived in England, I've lived in Africa, I've lived different places around the world. The greatest culture shock I actually ever had was moving to the south and moving.

Speaker A [00:04:58]:

Wow. I'm thinking I want to know about.

Speaker B [00:05:00]:

Africa because I'm assuming yeah, I mean that was definitely different. But moving to, I mean, the citadel is where I went, and the first shots of the civil war were fired by citadel cadets. So just in that you've got massive history. Still fighting that war in some ways. And we're like, you know, the rest of the country has moved on. Right? You still like this flag? Oh, my gosh. Okay, we got bigger issues to talk about. But that was really, again, where a lot of that personality stuff came out. My senior year, I had the privilege of being a battalion commander. It was me, 20 girls in my class. I graduated. We went in with 40. I was in the fifth class with women, went in with 40 women, 800 in my class. By the first month, our Attrition was down 100 cadets. And by the end, I graduated with 400 cadets. 20 of us were women.

Speaker A [00:05:52]:


Speaker B [00:05:53]:

I didn't know this, but I remember being in that position as well, with all the challenges that come with that, but just loving it. And I'm thinking, like, how could I do this for my life? This is so fun. It's just the responsibility that you have. The business school there actually received an accreditation because of what happens in the barracks. You can't replicate in a classroom. Impossible. I'm 21 years old, having to fire my best friends because they massively screwed up. And for most folks, that something you won't have to do until you're in a business leadership role in your think.

Speaker A [00:06:23]:

That's important for the younger generation to understand that even if something's not fitting sticking, but you're called to do something, you might need to just go do that and test it out. It might not be your forever thing, but it'll overlap sometimes years later where you go, okay, now this makes sense. So being called and not always having a reason behind why you're doing something can lead to some of the biggest leadership or business opportunities. You might not know it yet, but this backstory I didn't know, but it makes sense now. So it's the personal development and pushing the evolution of yourself. And like, people joke about getting older and I don't want to age. I think the part of aging is actually pretty amazing because you can do all these things and just be smarter and have more wisdom, but then really kind of sort out what your path might look like. And that's part of the title of pathways of peak performance is you're going to have different paths even though they might intersect, and then you have these friends that you make along the way like we have. So keep going with that. I just wanted to say for those that need that inspiration, we all can do something different and wind up. It's part of the journey and it's part of the teaching that we might need. And it's not about always that classroom. It's the experiences.

Speaker B [00:07:30]:

Right. And I think being present where you are as well, because I very rarely I am a big picture person. I thrive when I have a horizon where I can see where I'm aiming and pursue those goals. And I often get into a stage in life and can't see the future, and I find it really frustrating, and I've come over and over again. I realized that actually, it means that I'm supposed to really focus on Where I am and be good.

Speaker A [00:07:54]:

And that's probably that enneagram eight thing. We need to have this figured out. And with strengths, I have responsibility in my top five, so I can get very impatient. And so sometimes you got to walk away and just see how things play out. So you're really talking about self awareness. And so my husband always didn't believe in these personal assessments, but as we've done some of these things, he can see them working, and he's like, okay, sure, but we have to keep challenging that self awareness so that we can see other people too. But we have to know ourselves first. And so that's why the first step of this is really focusing on talent so that self awareness Is key.

Speaker B [00:08:27]:

Yeah, definitely. Well, and having a growth mentality, I think I realize that the people I end up and this is both in business and personal the folks that I become the most frustrated with are the ones that are resigned to their lot in life or Just think, like, I'm stuck, I'm stuck. And It's like, no, there's always a reason. There's always something else beyond that that you can push and get to the other side of, and Whether that's someone in an abusive relationship. I've had to learn to take a step back and realize I can't care about this more than you.

Speaker A [00:08:59]:


Speaker B [00:09:00]:

I've got to set a boundary because it's very clear that I'm going to go crazy. You've got to take some action to move out of that situation, or even finances, since we're in the insurance world. Like, huge frustration where I have these kind of more or less charity cases. It's like I Can see a clear path out of this. You have a spending habit, and it's almost like alcoholism. It is a problem. Are you actually willing to address it to get accountability, to deal with these things?

Speaker A [00:09:26]:

And that's the word I was thinking in my head. It's really we as a society do need to look in the mirror more and start with ground Zero and what are we doing? And if you can't do it alone, there's enough resources for support. Go get the support. And if you don't feel like being in a room with people, there's support online. Any personality type can find.

Speaker B [00:09:47]:

Yeah, exactly. Well, I guess going back to how I landed in Africa and just being present one step at a time, it was always funny because even the president of the college was very concerned for me, because I had no plan. After college, I'd evaluated september 11 happened my freshman year. Life changing, world changing. It felt like it was a wasted opportunity if I didn't explore that as a career. And again, as clearly as I knew that I was supposed to go to The Citadel. I knew I was not supposed to pursue that as a career, which was hard because I liked it and I was good at it. And so I had to say no to that. Graduated with no plan, no job, no was living family. This is great. It can still work. And I just, again, just, like, close out that chapter of my life, knew that I ran all the way to the finish line and ended well, where I would often watch people kind of check out early. I'm like, senioritis, you're like, oh, the finish line is almost there. What does it matter? I'm going to graduate anyway. It's like, no, you still have a job to do. People are watching you. What kind of leader are you? And so there were some the most significant issues and challenges that I have were my second semester, senior year, and realized, like, I am not done until there's a diploma in my hand, and that's when I can relax. So after I got a little job at an outdoor store and did a discipleship program, kind of learn how to be a woman again, to be honest, and just re embrace my femininity. And then I did a lot of short term mission trips during that time. And I had met it was actually during my senior year, I heard this gentleman come and speak at my church. His name was Simon Gilbo. And the first thing he said was, I am not here to get you to come to Burendi, which is a little country where I eventually moved. And he said, in fact, I don't want you to come.

Speaker A [00:11:22]:

Was this reverse psychology then, right?

Speaker B [00:11:25]:

Yeah. Well, he was trying to scare us, and I think he said a lot. It was effective. He said, I don't want you to come because I don't want your blood on my hands if you show up and you're not supposed to be there. And the country at that time was in civil war, and I was like, I want to go weird places. I like the places nobody else goes.

Speaker A [00:11:44]:

Did your parents just lose their minds?

Speaker B [00:11:46]:

My mom said, well, you manage to find ways to keep me praying.

Speaker A [00:11:54]:

I got on speed dial with you, kid.

Speaker B [00:11:57]:

Yeah. So I helped lead or organize and put together the first trip that he, Amber, actually had of, like, a short term mission trip. Wow. Right after I graduated from the Citadel. And ironically, four of the six of us were Citadel grads. And so it was just like, I think we're the only ones crazy enough to go do this. And what I realized is that when the plane landed, I was like, oh, it was just the fear of the unknown was the biggest fear. And I'm like, oh, this is just like now that little dot on the map just became three dimensional, four dimensional, like, two, and it's okay. And that was technically during war, and I moved there during technical peace and peacetime. We're going to bed with grenades going off and you're shooting in the distance and kind of different, but yeah, fell in love with this little corner in the world and just knew after my second trip that I would be moving there someday. And that was 2006.

Speaker A [00:12:53]:

Okay, so these are short. So how many months?

Speaker B [00:12:56]:

A month? No, just like a couple of weeks, usually. Yeah, usually.

Speaker A [00:12:59]:

I think a lot of the missions trips are a week or two. So then you went back multiple times, and then we're going for some short term permanent.

Speaker B [00:13:08]:

Yeah, I kind of had a bit of a detour. I ended up being invited to move to England and needed a visa. So the easy way was a master's in international development. And then it's just why poor countries are poor. And you find out that no one has a solution. You pay a lot of money to find that out, and they say, now go out in the world and try something different.

Speaker A [00:13:30]:

And that's really what kind of inspired me to have you on, is because there's a different viewpoint and you're nailing it. It's a global issue. Would you?

Speaker B [00:13:41]:

Oh, significantly. It is extremely global. Greed plays a significant role in that it benefits the big countries to keep the small countries poor, to be honest.

Speaker A [00:13:50]:

And it's not a conspiracy theory, and I know you're going to get to it a little bit later. So you're in Europe, but this is where you're seeing the trend of the poor countries are poor. And I don't want to take that because I think you kind of weave this story into something that was more powerful that I heard you say months ago about some solutions that are available to us to really help that are not happening. So I'll let you keep going.

Speaker B [00:14:14]:

I think it's happening on small levels. I think encouraging small business is the path forward. What I saw when I eventually moved to Rurundi is that the poor want to be heroes as well, and they don't want handouts and handouts only perpetuate the problem, really.

Speaker A [00:14:29]:

And so you saw them going, no, I can do it. I want to make yeah, yeah.

Speaker B [00:14:33]:

And even the organization I work with called Great Lakes Outreach, they technically don't exist in the country. And I think it's a beautiful model. We exist in England, and the US do not exist in the country where we are working. And the reason why was multifold number one, it allowed us to partner with the local organizations that were doing the work themselves. So they don't need the White West to come in and rescue them. They need empowerment. They need finances.

Speaker A [00:15:00]:


Speaker B [00:15:02]:

To start any one number of those countries to come to the US and start their own nonprofit to get it's a mess. And it is $30,000 to launch your own nonprofit that's outrageously expensive. If you're working with 20 local organizations, that's their whole annual budget. That's more than that.

Speaker A [00:15:16]:

You're talking this, like, extra layer of red tape, legal all the things FDA does it with even the products that we could get in the States, but coming from Europe that are really good for us. Like in the dermatology skincare, all that, there's like five layers to get anything done and a markup. So it sounds like that's happening when you're just trying to get money and resources to help people.

Speaker B [00:15:34]:

So we were more or less an umbrella that we provide the resources. And I more or less represented that money, more or less, and in that regard kind of had a trump card, but I never wanted to use it. Because you're trying to build consensus, you're trying to build understanding. You're trying to lift up and encourage these brilliant leaders who know their own language. I don't. Karendi is extreme. It's up there with Japanese as one of the most difficult in the world to learn. Their second language is French. I have a challenge with languages.

Speaker A [00:16:01]:

Isn't that amazing that we're talking about these poor countries that are so brilliantly smart? They're needing the resources is what you're saying.

Speaker B [00:16:08]:

Yeah, exactly. So I came under a local covering, which was very helpful because I handed off my passport and someone else went and did the visa work for me, which, again, experiencing some of that racism on the other side is hard. They see white skin walk in and they're like, oh, goody, she'll stand here all day and keep moving her paper to the bottom of the pile. So I hand that passport off and somebody else does the hard work for me, which is a gift. And it also just meant that I could get on with the work. So hybrid missionary aid worker role where I didn't have to raise my own support, which is a gift, but also just there to kind of be we called it the critical friend, where I'm going to be highlighting things or challenges or problems, but again, over and over again, seeing that everyone's intelligent, everyone has a smart in some way. This is even a case study that I did in grad school, was the fact that the poor want to be heroes of their own families. Do you actually want somebody else to come in and pay your school fees? Or you want your kids to see that mom and dad are working hard and that you're paying for you right.

Speaker A [00:17:05]:

Showing that leadership right there and showing.

Speaker B [00:17:08]:

Them that they can make a difference and that they can grow. I think that was part of the beauty of it, was seeing that they have solutions and they have ideas. It's just the opportunity or the finances to make those things happen. And so aligning with the guys that had the vision, the integrity that's the other big one I always mentioned is partnering with organizations that had vision and integrity. Usually you'll get one or the other, and that combination is rare and hard to find, and you're going to have a lot of fails. And there's a beautiful book called African Friends and Money Matters and it talks about really the financial approaches, really across the continent and the ways they approach economics. So here's one small example. You and I in America, in the west, education, we pay a price for it, but we really tend to collaborate when it comes to knowledge. We'll share something. What we don't share are our personal know. It's not typical that I have, like, a car share and neighbors are like, hey, grabbing my keys and like, hey, I'll have it back this afternoon, or my bicycle know, something like that. In most of Africa, the opposite is true, is very expensive and therefore coveted. And I might be able to gain something if I hold on to that. So if you ask me for directions, I might tell you half of the way to get there, but instead I'm going to hop in your car and I'm going to drive you there, and then you're going to pay me for the knowledge that I possess at the end of the road.

Speaker A [00:18:34]:

Well, isn't that interesting because I know that you study the banking background of history. So really we have a fifth step. The final step of the pathways of peak performance is focusing on community. So in my mind, it would be networking together, having resources for fellowship, having the support, having fun, the community aspect in this country. What you're saying is that that probably was a way of having the original transaction, non currency in your hands, but a way to barter for trade of some sort. And so there is probably some beauty to that as we move into some interesting times. Anyway, so I'll let you keep going. But that's very interesting. And we didn't always have taxes and money the way that we do now.

Speaker B [00:19:18]:

Yeah, well, then you throw in a war economy. They say for any year of civil war, that it takes a decade to emerge out of that like thinking of myself. So you think about what's going on in Ukraine right now, and I'm just watching them. Like, we're going on two years, okay, 20 years to train the next generation to not think of protect yourself for today. So you have a couple of decades of civil, we're talking generation before they come out of that and think, like start thinking collaboratively, start thinking bigger picture.

Speaker A [00:19:49]:

Right. That scarcity only, which we saw in just a recent presentation about some of the boomers and coming out of that, there's different times where we just kind of hold on to our money and just save and like, okay, inverse is putting it to work today to generate passive income strategies. Comes from some of these time frames that you're mentioning.

Speaker B [00:20:08]:

Yeah, and historical events and experience within that. A lot of these folks, again, they might want to collaborate but don't necessarily know how. And so sometimes it was trying to brainstorm of like, how do we bring people to the table to work together instead of and I mean, this happens in the US. Too. Sure, it's easier just to get on with your own thing than kind of work with your neighbor and see progress in that area. And so as a result, you'll both end up for aid. For example, you'll have one person receiving aid from five different agencies. It's like everyone celebrates all the good work that they're doing. It's like, well, actually, these folks over here, ultra poor, have no advocate and have received nothing. So why just talking together? It's frustrating because of that lack of communication and collaboration.

Speaker A [00:20:58]:

Well, and I think that's where you were saying at one point with me or in a group that if we could teach business principles versus just let's donate, let's just throw money at it, the west is just going to throw money at it. What are we doing to teach the principles to help them be successful?

Speaker B [00:21:13]:

Yeah, and I think that's where you see a lot of micro loan organizations or savings groups. Savings groups are significantly so everyone's bringing in know if somebody's making a dollar a day less than a dollar a day, they're going to take a quarter and put it into a collective lockbox. Where there's three keys, there's accountability. And if someone needs to take a loan, everyone in the group has to vote on that loan. They're given that money and then there's a plan for how they're going to pay that back. Simple economics. But let's be honest, we're not actually taught how to do that in American education. So that hearkens back to part of my frustration is a lot of what we address, even my job role now is acknowledging the fact that we graduate from high school without knowing how to do a simple budget.

Speaker A [00:21:54]:

There's no application. And I've even seen this with some of the presentations and groups that you and I are part of where we present, we give information, we're collaborating. That sounds great, it goes into our brains. But then what? And so I'm not saying anti college, but that's where you're seeing a trend of people, especially Gen Z, that I'm very passionate about Gen Z in the sense that they're doers and they're just finding solutions right now. And some of the older generations get angry with the fact that, yes, they're on their devices, but they're going and searching for answers. They're teaching nonstop, they're not waiting for classrooms. And so I think there's some empowerment. I think there's going to be a very interesting entrepreneurship that's going to come from what's happening. We're kind of on this forefront. But how do we then really teach some of the basics when we are helping give some takeaways, give some actions if you're going to teach, help provide that application. And we do this with your two girls and my daughter. We've talked about that lightly, where we're trying to show them the leadership, like the villages, too, are trying to show that in their own home, what can we provide to people but takeaways so they can take action, because until we're doing it, it just goes in our thoughts and then we're not applying it. So we are missing that application. I know that there's a movement for financial literacy even younger, but we have to get into that application phase, implement.

Speaker B [00:23:07]:

Absolutely. Yeah. Well, and this is where I think in a lot of ways and again, I have lots of little soapboxes, but I think there needs to be education reform, that the value of what you receive from your college education now is so diminished and unapplicable that you're going to have to do your own research and own application outside of that. I heard a professor at Fuller Seminary say one time that if your knowledge exceeds your experience, you're a menace. I create 1200 menaces a year. Meaning graduates.

Speaker A [00:23:38]:

Let's go back to like you have not always been in this business. I've done it for about a decade now, five years on my own and having some other partnerships along the way. There's a lot of people that say we need to have X amount of experience to be relevant, but I don't know that's true anymore. It's how many minutes have you been working in meetings with people and doing the research? Because if you've had more meetings in two to three years, virtually, potentially, versus going and meeting somebody for ten years a couple of times a week, the way it used to be, I don't know that there's a better experience window. Like, you don't necessarily need the years. It's, what are we doing with that time frame? Menaces. That's so funny.

Speaker B [00:24:17]:


Speaker A [00:24:17]:

What are we going to do about it? Let's get to work, get after it, try things and keep growing and evolving.

Speaker B [00:24:23]:

I think some of that, too, is the difference. Have you heard the A student versus the C student?

Speaker A [00:24:28]:


Speaker B [00:24:28]:

Speaking as an A student, the problems with A students is that they want it perfect before it goes out into the world. And the C students are the most they're by and large, most of the entrepreneurs are C students because they're like, it's good enough, it'll pass. It'll pass.

Speaker A [00:24:42]:

Funny because part of my journey and I've written about this in two different books where I talk about why I did not get in the financial services industry. And I was a little nervous to share. Like, oh, I got B's and C's in math. And, oh, my gosh, my clients are going to think shouldn't work with her if she can't do the math. But the point is, I'm not literally computing accounting. Save that for the. CPA, the EA, whoever's doing your taxes. I literally am better with concepts and law and English, like the wordsmithing of things, application and concepts. And so the beauty of really looking at what your kids are good at, and I don't know if your girls are different, I think you've told me they're different. And let them have that. Don't put them in this box because that's where they're going to excel. So for a long time, I would not share about the fact that I wasn't always getting the best math grades, but that almost ruined a decade of experience. So I'm trying to help others fast track it. So even though I think they should go get experiences in different jobs just as part of their journey, but if there's a way for them to kind of leap over and say, you don't have to be excelling with certain, like you say, the grades of the A's and the B's and all of that. It's really just what are you going to create? How are you going to help and do it in the most ethical way? With integrity. That's really what we want to see out there now.

Speaker B [00:25:55]:

My daughter's school is actually it's phenomenal. I wish I had gone to school here. The founder invented a game to evaluate what of the 100 ways we learn, are there preferences? I personally had no idea that we learn over 100 ways. I thought it was the three, like audio, visual and kinetic. Okay, sure, yeah, we know those. There's 100 preferences. And so she created this and gave it to educators. And they're like, yeah, this is amazing. Can't use it. I have too many kids in my class. I have a curriculum I'm supposed to be sticking with. So she's like, okay, it looks like I'm starting a school. And so she started allow teachers to evaluate and this is next week. My daughter will go in. She's evaluated every year just to see if anything's changing or if she's wanting to explore a new way. And then every classroom, all the kids, the learning is always it's applicable now. And later they set up a little bakery in their classroom. And they were kindergarten learning about finances. They had to do a presentation at the end of the year to demonstrate and explain. What was the biggest challenge you overcame this year? What was your favorite field trip? So there's autonomy and ownership over all of their education and also encouragement to ask questions. And I think that's something that we really need to embrace more. As society, we tend to get really afraid of questions because we don't know the answer. So what the forefront of innovation is asking a question. And if you don't get an answer, you pursue it until you get one. And so trying to raise up another generation that's allowed to think outside these boxes. I talk a lot about my current role now of like, what are the financial boxes. We've been told what have we been told about money that isn't actually true? And I think that's the biggest problem. We're told if you want to grow your money, you've got to give it to somebody else. Give it to a financial planner. A lot of what I do is based off of what's called Austrian economics, which is the premise that the people, us, we are responsible for the growth of our finances, not just giving it to somebody else. Now, that might give a lot of people a headache and just be like, oh, my gosh, I can't do that. That's way too much brain power. But it comes down to stewardship.

Speaker A [00:27:54]:

Sure. And that's where you're seeing villages that are not thriving, are not allowed to practice that Austrian way, essentially, because there's some for them.

Speaker B [00:28:04]:

Here's your food subsidy, here's your this, instead of farming techniques.

Speaker A [00:28:08]:

I ran into somebody last week that will eventually be on the podcast where we're giving kids so much more to talk about. Let them ask the questions, don't shush them. Let's celebrate some of the ways that they interact with us, because that's going to be key to helping them grow and then not putting them in this certain box of the traditional rules where, like, doctors, attorneys, engineer these. Are still great, but you can still make a lot of money and be very successful doing a number of things a little bit differently. So I almost kind of want to go back to what you were saying about the quote. Tell me a little bit about what you noticed with the Stanley Livingston so in Burundi.

Speaker B [00:28:40]:

Again, you'll probably have to Google it. Most travel agents, the first time I tried to fly there, travel agents are like, do you mean Burma? Do you mean Bermuda? I'm like, no, here's the airport code. They had no idea where on the map I was trying to get to. So this little country in Burndu is actually where Stanley the explorer discovered the missionary, Dr. Livingston, I see, in the late 18 hundreds. And ironically so, this is a funny thing. I was looking at the picture. It's etched in this massive rock outside of the capital. Tanzania will claim that this reunion happened in Tanzania. They set up a museum and everything. It's in Burundi, actually.

Speaker A [00:29:14]:

So they're claiming it for.

Speaker B [00:29:18]:

So Stanley he was seeking to find the most southern headwaters of the Nile, which are in Burundi, and everyone had lost contact with this missionary named Dr. Livingston, who was trying to treat malaria, yellow fever, a bunch of other stuff in the region. And so the quote is that he found him in the jungle. It's not very much jungle, really, but on the shore of Lake Tanya Nica in Burendi, and said, Dr. Livingston, I presume, which happened to be on my birthday, which, looking back, I'm like, oh, my gosh, that's kind of wild and a little fortuitous. That that's the country where I ended up.

Speaker A [00:29:48]:

But how cool.

Speaker B [00:29:49]:

Kind of a cool little factoid about Burundi that that reunion happened. And it's super funny, too, because you go to the headwaters of the Nile. You're expecting the Nile, right? They've put a pipe in a and carved out a drop. So usually there's a woman washing her laundry or collecting water out of the beautiful. Right. Like, you're, like, expecting this big thing, and you get there, and it is just this little trickle coming out of the side of a rock with a lady doing her laundry. Very anticlimactic.

Speaker A [00:30:18]:

Sounds like good water. It's, like, the best water to have.

Speaker B [00:30:20]:

Pretty clean. Yeah.

Speaker A [00:30:22]:

Okay. So, we really didn't dive much into your business in this episode, so I feel like there's more to come to kind of circle and kind of wrap this up. The reason I feel like you are inspiring Motivating to be on this show is just it's like you took a different path, and then you come back into the States, you have a beautiful family. You're helping people all the time. Do better, be better. Is there anything that you could say as a takeaway or something you want to share with the audience that gives them the hope if they just don't have it figured out right now?

Speaker B [00:30:53]:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I always laugh that my resume has no career trajectory on there. I mean, I graduated from the Citadel with an English degree. I got a master's in international development. I thought my whole world would be in the nonprofit sector. And as I'm in that, I was always a little resistant to business, to be honest. My mom and dad were entrepreneurs. I grew up in the back of an ice cream store. My summers were spent making box castles out in the basement restaurant, and I really rejected business. And then, ironically yep, moved to Africa. What am I doing? My main job was helping a hotel and conference center make money, and I was like, oh, my gosh.

Speaker A [00:31:30]:

And that's so funny, because I think that's why I'm trying to do so much with my daughter to let her see the fun and the work, because we grew up with these entrepreneur parents, if that is the story or we have lack of leadership, whatever it is, we kind of resist that. We're like, I don't want to be that sometimes that's just why we wind back up. So the comical thing is, maybe for the parents out there, just don't even ask. They'll probably come anyway and do it with us.

Speaker B [00:31:52]:

Exactly. Well, I landed in this career as a result of working in a nonprofit, while my boss, who is a serial entrepreneur, his business model was primarily an event management company. And so the business model yeah. Is 20% of their profits off the top go to charity. Well, I got to run that charity for six years.

Speaker A [00:32:13]:

There you go.

Speaker B [00:32:14]:

And as that was happening. Stan is very big on hiring people, not positions. And so they looked at my resume. He knew it was a mess, but I fit well into that nonprofit bucket while he was discovering this concept called the infinite baking concept. And so I literally got to be a fly on the wall coming in and just confessing I had no idea what he was talking about. I was googling stuff he was talking about, but just this thing of stewardship, really. And I realized that this concept ticked so many of those strength finder boxes, it allowed me to work one on one with clients. I'm getting to communicate with them. The funny strength Finder one that I always laugh about is Woo, which is.

Speaker A [00:32:50]:

That on your skill?

Speaker B [00:32:51]:

Yeah. Where is it? Yeah, it was five the first time I tested it kind of fluctuates in different times. I take the test.

Speaker A [00:32:59]:

So Woo, for those of you out there, it's a winning others over. They might be the one buzzing around the networking event, cocktail hour, wanting to host and have that excitement, but they can be kind of a spark in the sense that they might not stick around in the same conversation the whole time like a relator would. So people might be offended. Why are they moving around and not talking to me the whole time? Because Woos are going to meet everybody.

Speaker B [00:33:25]:


Speaker A [00:33:26]:

And so if you have a Woo, you want them to have an event. You want them to kind of run that excitement and keep the energy up because Woos will do that.

Speaker B [00:33:33]:

Yeah, it's kind of fun. But my number one strength is strategic. And so that's where I really have found a career where I've come alive and realizing, like, oh, I feel so satisfied in what I'm doing because I get to use these strengths.

Speaker A [00:33:48]:


Speaker B [00:33:48]:

And every client I mean, my job in Africa, people are like, what's your job description? I'm like, can I tell you what I did today? Literally just like, I got groceries and survived. That was a big deal. And then I fixed a printer by watching a YouTube video. That's what we needed to do today. But it was the variety that I really loved. And then getting to what I do now, getting to be strategic and really look at everyone's finances are different. Their situations are different, their goals are different. And so pulling all of that information together to help come up with a plan and a strategy, and guess what? Life doesn't happen according to a plan. So how many times are we pivoting and readjusting and reevaluating their situation to make sure that they're successful in the end? But it's so fun, and I think one of my greatest moments are when they get it, when the light bulb goes off. And as I'm in this more, I'm starting to require higher bar of my clients accountability.

Speaker A [00:34:41]:

Right. We've talked about or in some different meetings even today that I've already had. It's like if your clients are not going to do the work, we can't help them. And like you said before, you can't have these charity cases if people, I mean charity in the sense of if they're not going to help themselves and have not come full circle on that to ask for help and put some of that responsibility on themselves, they're not.

Speaker B [00:34:59]:

Ready yet to take action. And I'm finding common denominators with those that have gotten themselves in trouble and it's usually they're overly optimistic but don't actually actualize those plans to get out of trouble. So I'm raising the bar for them. I'm like, here's a budget, I need you put in your projections what you think your finances are. I'm not saying, well, it's going to.

Speaker A [00:35:20]:

Be set differently for everybody too, right?

Speaker B [00:35:23]:

But then let's reevaluate in a month and let's look at what your actual spending looks like and you're going to be shocked and yes, I know it's inflation. I know that there are things like everyone feels like they're just struggling to keep their heads above water, but there's some small tweaks that we can all make for personally. Our finances do so much better when I take just a little bit of time to meal plan because what does that mean? I don't waste food, we don't eat out. That is the one simple you're healthier too and you have more time together, right? A little tweak that makes a big difference.

Speaker A [00:35:54]:

No, I love that. So we're going to close this up today and I'm going to link up your information so people can find you in the description boxes. But I think there's more to come for us and I know that we'll still be seeing each other at different events as well. So I really appreciate you being here today and I can't wait to do more and see how you continue on with the team that I know that you work with which you have a great group of people too. I know that. Thanks so much.

Speaker B [00:36:19]:

I know our conversation was a bit all over the map, somewhat like no, I think it's good because I think.

Speaker A [00:36:26]:

The key though seriously is people not having confidence and I do a lot of training now with even marketing and personal branding for our industry. And if you have a clunky resume, that doesn't mean you can't create your own solution for the problem that a person has. Create it or get a hold of one of us. We will point you in the right direction if there's somebody that you need to meet, we have the community and the network. That is the point of having it. So if you do feel lost, there are resources, there's no excuses really to be kind of firm. That's my responsibility on my strength finders. I don't have a lot of relationship building. Somehow I think my relationships come from efficiency and being very responsible, and that's great for my clients sometimes. I'm not going to be your friend. Let's just get some stuff done. But I think being all over the map is to kind of make sure if everyone's coming from different places, that they can find some inspiration with where we've been. And if you just need something, we can be there to kind of point you in the right direction. And I know that you'd be happy to, and so that's why I want to link up your information, but know that you can be friends, really, with anybody, anywhere, and I know that you can attest to that. Yeah, well, thanks so much again. I love that you were here, and I'll see you soon.

Speaker B [00:37:35]:

Thanks for the listeners, too. Thanks. Bye.

Speaker A [00:37:40]:

Thank you for joining us on today's episode of The Amber Stitt Show. For more information about the podcast, books, articles, and more, please visit Until next week, enjoy your journey at home and at work. Thank you for listening.