Inside The Office with Genma Holmes, Renaissance Woman in Cowgirl Boots

Lydia Kearney Carlis for Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics®.

Lydia Kearney Carlis for Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics®.

What is your "day job"?

Job?! I have Jobsssss! My business that is planted on firm soil is Holmes Pest Control. I am the owner of Holmes Pest Control, an environmental pest control company that serves commercial and residential customers in Tennessee. I am an exterminator!

After killing bugs, I head over to the studio to produce a weekly radio show called Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes. Living Your Best Life is an uplifting program bringing real people sharing real stories about the lives they lead. My audience is mostly veterans and military families. When I am not at Holmes Pest Control or in the studio, I am typing away or pitching to someone for GSH Media. GSH Media is my job that relaxes me.

I am often asked why I am not the CEO. When I look at the organizational charts of NFL, NBA, and NHL franchises, the CEOs come and go, but never the owner. I learned years ago, being the owner comes with bumps and bruises but you stay put!

Lydia Kearney Carlis for Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics.

Lydia Kearney Carlis for Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics.

Who were your heroes, or mentors?

I was raised in a family of strong women who are super talented at everything they do and who allowed me to ask questions. Being around my mom and my aunts -- career women in every sense of the word -- makes me feel small when I see all they have balanced over the years. Their lives were about school, "schooling", family, and having careers within institutions that did not always value intelligent women. Seeing them stay focused and faithful helped set the tone for me to not give up on my entrepreneurial dreams and endeavors, even if my kinfolks did not always grasp my entrepreneurial spirit. They instilled in me the tenacity to withstand the roller coaster world of entrepreneurship.

And, let me not forget the menfolks in my life who helped ground me, as well. I have always had strong men in my life who were providers for their families. They were working folks. My grandfather, dad and uncles worked to provide for their families. My grandparents, who were of humble means but proud, helped lay the foundation for what it means to be an engaged citizen. They showed me by their actions, you do not just live in a community. You must help build and mold it, while preparing it for a future without you. My grandfather, MISTER Joe, was bigger than life to me. He was active in the civil rights movement and chartered one of the first NAACP chapters in Mississippi. He was fiery and passionate about equal rights for all. His most memorable lessons were not vocalized. I learned engagement and being hands on by watching him just be Mr. Joe.

When did you decide you were going to be an entrepreneur, that this would be your journey?

It happened by accident with the pest control. When my husband worked as a managing engineer at a manufacturing plant, he constantly complained about rodent issues. He had rat stories that left you speechless. The damages were in the thousands monthly, and the spoiled products were hundreds of thousands annually. I naturally asked why the pest control company was not doing a better job. He shared how difficult it was to get a company to provide good service. A few weeks after our initial conversation, I stumbled on the pest control company's invoice in his briefcase and was shocked at the amount charged for bad service. My follow-up question to him was if they are getting paid this much to do bad service, what amount would he be willing to pay for quality service? A light bulb went off!

I started visiting the local SBA and SCORE offices to research pest control companies and overhead costs. One of my SCORE counselors said, “It is great to do the research in this type of business, but you must get up close and personal to see the bigger picture." Hmm. I took his advice and called area mom and pop pest control operators who shared the good, the bad, and allowed me to see the ugly! The more they showed me, the more I saw opportunity. A great lesson I learned for future side gigs is that one must be willing to see if the good outweighs the bad. The pest control business is not glamourous. Period. BUT, few minorities, even fewer women, are owners or in management and bugs exist from sea to shining sea. This had me thinking, "We can do this!"

WE did not happen right away. Hubby joined later. With three small children, we needed to be wise about insurance. When hubby finally left his company to work full-time at Holmes Pest Control, his former employer became one of our largest customers at the time.

Lydia Kearney Carlis for Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics.

Lydia Kearney Carlis for Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics.

If you were not in pest control, what would life look like?

I would be on the radio 24 hours a day. My show is my ministry. I love hearing the untold stories of our unsung veterans and decorated military heroes. I am in awe of their service to our country. I love bringing the “front porch” stories to the airways. It reminds me of my childhood when I would sit and listen to grown folks tell the truth and nothing but the truth -- that you would never read in print -- on the front porch. I can close my eyes and hear my grandfather's voice dismiss a version of history that was not quite his recollection of events. "Didn't happen that way," he would say with a smirk. "I was there. And this what really happened!" That is what I do now. Bring every angle of a story to my listeners. Oftentimes, they are hearing many of the guests for the first time.

Also, I have never ditched my love for fashion. My grandmother gave me those genes and they are embedded deep within. I worked in front of the lens as a model for years but nothing is as entertaining as taking others to every nook and cranny to shop for THAT outfit that you will never see on another. In order to make ends meet at times, I was a stylist. I can dress your shadow if you give me it's size. Friends became clients and yes, even my bug-free pest control customers would call me to style them for the CMAs or a gala! I have no shame sharing that because nothing is wrong with having options to make other streams of income. It makes for memorable conversations and keep the lights on.

Lydia Kearney Carlis for Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics.

Lydia Kearney Carlis for Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics.

What is the toughest lesson you’ve learned, that you hope another woman can learn from you?

The journey of an entrepreneur is adventurous but it is tough. There will be sleepless nights and second-guessing; many can survive that. But, many cannot handle the isolation you will feel because you are driven. That drive has been met with criticism by women and interpreted as ambitious. Ok. Having goals does not equate to anything less than ambition.

With that, though, it does get lonely at the top. And being at the top does not always mean financially. Being at the top at times for me has meant creatively standing out from the crowd. The downside to standing apart means you often will not have the protection of a group. I am not a group thinker so I had to learn to surround myself with tribes of mature women who love me, flaws and all, and accept me for me. They tell me my slip is hanging and allow me space when I’m going through a moment, a crisis, or dealing with a long-term project with major deadlines.

I encourage all purpose-driven women to find a passionate outlet that replenishes, refines, and is safe. My solace is the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, a museum. I pour my heart into my volunteer work there, but I can also escape into an exhibit that energizes me quietly and spiritually. It is important to have a tribe of supporters and a safe place to serve.

Lydia Kearney Carlis for Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics.  Frist Center for the Visual Arts. fristcenter.org.

Lydia Kearney Carlis for Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics. 

Frist Center for the Visual Arts. fristcenter.org.

If you had it all to do over again, would you do anything differently?

Hindsight is good. It is always good to learn from your past failures or blunders. But a do-over is out of the question. My life is perfectly imperfect. God made me uniquely and wonderfully made. That included me having misfortunes, making mistakes, missteps, and missed opportunities. Each mishap strengthens me to take a stronger leap of faith knowing that I am going to land upright. When wisdom became my sister, I learned to get a yardstick and measure those leaps so I can calculate the next landing better, but each step or leap is made on the belief that He has me in his hands.

What do you do for you that brings you absolute joy or peace?

Grand Prince (Alex) is my joy and my peace! God left me in perpetual awe when he introduced my precious Valentine sweetheart to me. He is my EVERYTHING. I pray for him, with him, over him, and around him. Daily! Whenever I am in my grandmother’s presence, I can look up and see her smiling at me. For years I would look back at her and did not understand her stare...until I became a grandmother! I catch myself studying Grand Prince and seeing family characteristics and traits of his big uncles and his mom in him. I can see what has been passed down to him from five generations and my heart gets so full. All I can do is smile.

When I go home to visit my grandmother, I take him with me as often as I can. I am at peace watching her watch both of us. When he gets older he is going to have memories of having a great-great grandmother, two great grandmothers, and a grandmother (Bam Mom) waiting breathlessly to spend time with him. Now, I know what that look on my grandmother’s face has been all these years...the joy of watching herself in one generation after another knowing they are rising and calling her Blessed!

What would you like your epitaph to be?

She led by serving others.

If you only had one word, what is it that you want people to remember about you?

Exceptional..yep, I said it. And I am not ashamed about that, either! Bloop!

If there is anything else you wish I'd asked you?

Yes. I cannot believe you have not asked me about my boots! You know I love my boots: custom made, Lane, Old Gringo, Double D Ranch, I love my boots...My boots are outward reflections of my inner being...determined and bold!

Lydia Kearney Carlis for Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics. Trail West. trailwestnashville.com.

Lydia Kearney Carlis for Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics. Trail West. trailwestnashville.com.

How can readers connect with you?

Come on over and hang out with me on Instagram and Twitter @bugsact!

Inside The Office is a monthly blog that features female executive, entrepreneurial and creative leaders from diverse industries sharing wisdom and insight from their personal and professional journeys.

Inside The Office with Designer Radiah Rhodes

Inside The Office with Designer Radiah Rhodes

 

You know how Charlie Brown’s Pig Pen character walks around with his dust cloud? Well, if our January Featured Leader Radiah Rhodes were a character, you just might see rays of sunshine emanating from all directions whenever you entered her path. Radiah’s joy, optimism and “life changing love” are fully experienced whenever she is present. Radiah has learned to Be. So, when planning our Inside The Office calendar this year, we could not think of a better person to feature in January, the month we create or dust off resolutions and make ourselves promises on our journey to a better us. Read on and learn how Radiah uses a prophetic phrase she spoke to her dad several years ago to literally design her life, and help others design theirs, day after day and year after year.

 

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Inside The Office with Higher Education Leader Karen Patricia Williams

Inside The Office with Higher Education Leader Karen Patricia Williams

This month, we're sharing wisdom from Higher Education Leader Karen Patricia Williams, PhD. Dr. Williams is a Distinguished Professor at The Ohio State University College of Nursing. In her interview, she shares about how her family, faith, and one fearless female historical leader have shaped her journey! And, we're excited about her blazing her own trail for the women and girls who will follow!

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New Year Brand You Executive Session Giveaway!

New Year. Brand YOU! One inspiring #CSuiteExecutive will win a FREE C-Suite Executive Session ($650 value)!

Need the questions? Find them here:

  1. What is your "day job"?
  2. Who were your heroes, or mentors?
  3. When did you decide you were a _________, that this would be your journey?
  4. If you weren't in your current career, what would life look like?
  5. I am happy to have learned early that "You don't have to make the mistake to learn from it." What is the toughest lesson you've learned, that you hope another woman can learn from you?
  6. If you had it all to do over again, would you do anything differently?
  7. What do you do for you that brings you absolute joy or peace?
  8. What would you like your epitaph to be?
  9. If you only had one word, what is it that you want people to remember about you?
  10. Is there anything else you wish I'd asked you?

To be eligible to win, complete the form below, or email your responses to our Inside The Office interview questions to info@csuitepics.com no later than January 1, 2016 at 11:59pm.

Then, share our 2016 Inside The Office magazine between now and January 1 on FacebookLinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter.

Your name will be entered once for each platform on which you share our magazine.

Contest Rules:

Must submit interview responses for publication and share Inside The Office magazine to at least one social media platform to win.
Winner will be announced 1/2/2016!
Free C-Suite Executive Session must be held January 28-29, 2016 at our scheduled Washington, DC C-Suite Pics location.

All contestants are eligible to have one (1) free digital image added to any C-Suite Pics package purchased before March 31, 2017.

If you would prefer to complete and submit the questions online, you can do so using the form below!

Name *
Name

Inside The Office with Hospitality Industry Leader Taren Bradley

Inside The Office with Hospitality Industry Leader Taren Bradley

Have you ever wondered how big conferences, meetings and events manage their technological needs? Meet Taren Bradley, a regional Director of Sales for PSAV, the leading provider of audiovisual and event technology support to meeting venues, associations, producers and event planners worldwide. Taren considers herself a “Servant Leader”, something we should all strive to be. Thank you, Taren, for sharing a bit of yourself with us!

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Inside The Office with Tara Gates Anderson

What is your "day job"?

I am Tara Gates Anderson (TGA), Business Branding Expert and Media Correspondent. My company TGA UNIFIED is an amalgamation of media and business intelligence. It encompasses education, media communications and branding expertise. Through TGA UNIFIED I speak and present at various conferences and events focused on business branding and empowerment. Through my online university TGAU, I offer branding courses and webinars. I also work one-on-one with entrepreneurs, small to mid-size business owners and corporations through TGAComm, to build their reputation and visibility within their desired target markets.

I also feed my love for media through my work as a media/red carpet correspondent providing celebrity interviews and the latest news in all things entertainment. In this capacity, I’ve been blessed to interview long-time media favorites such as Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, as well as relative newcomers including the cast of Queen Sugar.

Who were your heroes, or mentors?

My heroes and mentors are people who have been in my life and corner since day one. My mother is a phenomenal woman and is a great example of what is accomplished through hard work, strength, and perseverance. Even if we don’t agree on everything, she still supports and believes in me. That's important when you're walking in your purpose and doing the things that you love.

Thankfully, there are a lot of great women in my life. These woman are all in their 60’s and give me advice and wisdom that I have been able to use and bless others with. Faye Dixon is a hero and mentor in my life. Faye has shown me the importance of taking a peaceful approach in situations that are aimed at disrupting your journey. She has taught me about embracing the challenges just like you embrace the victories. My stepmother Eva McQueen is the true definition of unconditional love and giving. She shows me the importance of putting family above everything.

From a business perspective, of course, who doesn't admire Oprah’s story? I attended the “Life You Want Tour” a couple of years ago. Her entire story was amazing and it showed me what's possible when you believe. I look at women of strength like Michelle Obama and think about her journey not only as a first lady, but also as a black woman who inspires all black women to seek and become their greatest self.

I have found having a close circle of positive, driven, supportive and -- in their own right -- uniquely amazing “Good Girlfriends” is vital for women today. My tribe consists of amazing women who remind you of your greatness and that God’s plan for your life is always first, Kim Brown Cox “The Reality Check”, Delores Brit Millhouse “The Prayer Powerhouse”, Tonia Harden “The Hot Sauce” and Nikki Jennings “The Peaceful Presence”. They are my heroes.

And, I saved the best for last. My #1 Hero is my daughter Ava. She has seen me struggle, overcome, fail, succeed, cry, pray endlessly, fully rely on God, get back up and fight to create a life I am proud of. She never stopped believing in me and not one time did she judge me. She would only tell me how proud she was of me no matter what things looked like. I know I have raised a fighter and a successful beautiful young woman through these experiences. I am grateful to God for her.

When did you decide you were a brand specialist, that this would be your journey?

Towards the end of my 22-year educational career, I went back to school to get my MBA. I had an opportunity to spend time in Brussels, Belgium and Romania learning international business. Over the years, friends would ask me for business and marketing advice. I didn’t call myself a brand expert at the time, but I definitely knew how to work to help others create their business and build a brand that would engage and grow.

I learned my most valuable lesson through what I thought were my failures. In business, failure is a good thing. It teaches you hard lessons and lifts you up at the same time. Failures have to happen. Failures are blessings. When you fail or make mistakes, you approach situations and opportunities differently the next time. If you don’t know where you went wrong, you can’t fix it.

I’m big on evolving. So, I read a lot. We need to be out there looking at what’s being created now, what’s next, especially within the millennial generation. I feel we can learn from them, but I also feel an obligation to be an example for them.

If you weren't a brand expert, what would life look like?

I would still be an entrepreneur. I would be seeking out opportunities. I would be creating. I wouldn’t be sitting still.

If you had it all to do over again, would you do anything differently?

I would have listened more when I was younger, but I would not change one failure, any tears shed, money lost or any victory. Everything that I have gone through has created me into who I need to be for God’s purpose for my life.

What do you do for you that brings you absolute joy or peace?

I have a daily prayer call that I’ve been hosting for 2.5 years. We’re currently reading Finding Peace, by Charles Stanley. When I’m fully focused and centered on God, I experience that peace. Reading this book has been powerful, because it gives me the enlightenment to quit tripping! I’m doing what I’m supposed to do for God, not me. When I check in with God more, I can fall back and get in line with His will for my life, which is serving others through helping them reach their goals.

What would you like your epitaph to be?

She did it all for the glory of God. A friend told me a long time ago and it has stuck with me, “It’s not about me, it’s through me.” I’m here to serve others through what I do.

If you only had one word, what is it that you want people to remember about you?

Faith.

Is there anything else you wish I'd asked you?

Yes. Where will I be this time next year?.......Stay tuned!!!

How can folks get connected?

As I would tell my clients, a good brand is ubiquitous online and on social media! Please check me out at www.TaraGatesAnderson.com. I’m also on Facebook, Instagram, Tumbler, and LinkedIn as @TaraGatesAnderson, and Twitter, Periscope and Snapchat as @The_TGA, or by email at TGA@TaraGatesAnderson.com.

 

Inside The Office with Jenn Roberts

Inside The Office with Jenn Roberts

It's September, so here in the US that means school is back in session! This month, we’re featuring education equity advocate Jenn Roberts.

Jenn helps schools and ed-facing organizations have critical conversations about race and equity. As if that weren't enough of a challenge, she develops tools that help teams turn their conversations and good intentions into measurable plans and activities that change systems. We were thrilled to speak with Jenn recently, and we know you'll enjoy learning about the beautiful woman behind this very necessary work.

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Inside The Office with Yashima White AziLove

Inside The Office with Yashima White AziLove

We are all unique, and our lives reflect that in so many ways. One of the things we enjoy most at C-Suite Pics is learning about the unique paths that helped to shape and mold the unique female leaders we capture and celebrate through our Inside The Office series!

Today, meet Yashima White AziLove. Yashima is the Vice President, Corporate Communications Officer for Radio One, Inc. A busy executive and loving daughter, wife and mother, Yashima strives for excellence in both her professional and personal life. We think you will enjoy learning about how her 11-year old self’s pact with God continues to manifest through her life’s work.

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Inside The Office with Nadine Duplessy Kearns

Inside The Office with Nadine Duplessy Kearns

Joy is something we each long for in our lives.  One of the ways we find it is by pursuing the things that we are passionate about.  Nadine Kearns does this well, through her work as President and Founder of AccessED.  We think you will particularly enjoy reading about the possibilities her college experience at Harvard opened up for her, as well as her beautiful words about her grandmother.  Enjoy meeting Nadine!

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Inside The Office with Zane

Inside The Office with Zane

It was a pleasure to meet Zane when she served as the keynote for this year's Odyssey Media Writers' Bootcamp. Her story of pursuing her passion and succeeding on her own terms is interesting, funny, and inspirational. In this month's Inside The Office interview, Zane shares how negative past experiences can serve as inspiration! That is one lesson we all can learn from.

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2016 Nonprofit Talent & Culture Summit

2016 Nonprofit Talent & Culture Summit

We recently had the pleasure of capturing Nonprofit HR's 2016 Nonprofit Talent & Culture Summit, held in Washington, DC April 17-19, 2016.

The Summit is the only nonprofit-focused talent conference in the world, geared to help nonprofit organizations' HR and talent leaders cultivate, engage and sustain the talent that will empower organizations to achieve their missions. 

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Inside The Office with our #12DaysofCSuiteChicks Promotion Winner, Jaclyn Smith

Inside The Office with our #12DaysofCSuiteChicks Promotion Winner, Jaclyn Smith

We were so inspired by the Inside The Office submissions we received during our #12DaysOfCSuiteChicks promotion earlier this year. In fact, we were grateful to use a random name generator to select our winner, because choosing based on merit would have been an impossible task! That said, we could not be more thrilled to have this beautiful, authentic "Ed Hustler" be our winner!

Meet Jaclyn Smith, a powerful educational advocate and fantastic human being. We love that Jaclyn shared a glimpse of her story here, and hope you have the privilege of meeting her one day to learn more of it. Her journey "ain't been no crystal stair", but many children and youth will be the better because she continues to climb.

Thank you, Jaclyn, for sharing with us!

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Inside The Office with Connie Atkins

Inside The Office with Connie Atkins

It's Women's History Month, and C-Suite Pics would love to introduce you to Connie Atkins, who has been making history in the state of Ohio for decades!  Connie is a vibrant and effervescent woman, with a wide range of talents and experiences.  We think you will just love her stories:  about her grandmother and mother, about her nonprofit work, and about her philosophies.  One of our favorites is what she now knows about the value of manure! Get ready to smile, because Connie brings smiles to the surface in all that she does and says!

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Nadia, Nagee, and Cameron

Nadia, Nagee, and Cameron

Eyemagination Imaging recently had the pleasure of working with Nadia Thompson-Stanley and siblings Nagee and Cameron. We started out with a few images of Nadia and daughter Nagee. Their vivid coordinating outfits and vibrant personalities were perfectly suited to the bold, graphic backdrops we encountered on our quick photo walk!

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Inside The Office with Margot Copeland

Inside The Office with Margot Copeland

Margot Copeland is the Executive Vice President of Corporate Philanthropy and Civic Engagement for KeyBank, chair and CEO of the KeyBank Foundation, and the immediate past national President of the Links, Inc.. More impressively, she is gratefully and joyfully living the life of servant leadership she envisioned for herself at the young age of 24! Margot's gratitude begins with her loving parents, and extends far and wide to the many sponsors and mentors who have helped to shape the path she has ultimately trailblazed. There are so many nuggets of wisdom tucked into her thoroughly enjoyable interview, this is one we think you'll return to time and again. We definitely will.

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Inside The Office Day 12, with Rachel Talton

Inside The Office Day 12, with Rachel Talton

On a personal note, on this final of #12DaysofCSuite, we find it perfectly fitting to take a bit of editorial license to feature, and publicly thank, the very first person and business we approached when beginning the C-Suite Pics division of Eyemagination Imaging. We are forever grateful to Dr. Rachel Talton, and Flourish Conference for Women in Leadership, for giving C-Suite Pics its "big break"!

Today, we welcome Dr. Rachel Talton to share her amazing life with us!  Rachel is the CEO of Synergy Marketing Strategy and Research, Inc. and Flourish Leadership, LLC.  Rachel strives to help others flourish in all that they do, professionally and personally.  Her vivacious energy is contagious!  We appreciate Rachel taking some time to answer our questions and inspire us all to flourish in our own lives! 

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Inside The Office Day 11, with Lynn Selby

Inside The Office Day 11, with Lynn Selby

The events and experiences of our lives continually prepare us for what is to come.  That is something Lynn Selby, today's featured #CSuiteChick, has learned.  As she says below, “Timing and positioning are everything”, and as a result, Lynn is currently the founder and CEO of a successful consulting group based in Baltimore, MD.  She is enjoying entrepreneurship, and is walking in the footsteps of some beautiful women role models.  Grab a cup of tea, pull up a chair, and spend a few moments getting to know Lynn!

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