Welcome to the Pretty Powerful Podcast with Angela Gennari
April 26, 2022

Episode 8: Monica McCoy

Award winning motivational speaker, author, global diversity expert and business strategist, Monica McCoy, talks to Angela Gennari about building your personal brand and establishing your value to an organization. Join us as you learn about her incredible career pivots from medicine, to psychology and then to corporate America, before launching her own company... and using all of those important lessons to improve the lives and businesses of underserved communities. #monicamccoy #podcast #womeninbusiness #minorityowned

Award winning motivational speaker, author, global diversity expert and business strategist, Monica McCoy, talks to Angela Gennari about building your personal brand and establishing your value to an organization. Join us as you learn about her incredible career pivots from medicine, to psychology and then to corporate America, before launching her own company... and using all of those important lessons to improve the lives and businesses of underserved communities. 


Pretty Powerful Podcast with Angela Gennari, Episode 8: Monica McCoy

Welcome to the Pretty Powerful Podcast. Where powerful women are interviewed every week to share real inspiring stories and incredible insight to help women or anyone break the barriers, be a part of innovation, shatter the glass ceiling and dominate to the top of their sport industry or life's mission. Join us as we celebrate exceptional women and step into our power. And now here's your host. Angela Gennari.

Angela Gennari: Thank you for joining us for the Pretty Powerful Podcast. This is Angela Gennari, and I have the pleasure of speaking with miss Monica McCoy today. So, thank you so much for being here, Monica.

Monica McCoy: It's my pleasure.

Angela Gennari: So, Monica is super impressive. I'm really excited to introduce you to our audience today because you are doing so much for women and for businesses, and I want to kind of go through your biography really quickly with everyone. So, Monica McCoy is a highly sought-after award-winning global speaker business, strategist, and consultants in 2017, McCoy founded Monica Motivates LLC. The Monica Motivates Organization offers education and consulting services to women and underrepresented entrepreneurs providing the tools and knowledge. They need to grow and scale their businesses, recognizing that gender and race play significant roles in determining access to capital for women, business owners, and underrepresented founders. Her vision is to remove barriers that negatively impact founders and close the opportunity gaps that exist due to lack of education, resources, and access to capital. A former global director of strategy and innovation for the McDonald's division for the Coca-Cola company, McCoy left to pursue her own dreams in 2017, after 15 successful years. Now, her business focus is helping individuals identify their purpose and passion while showing them how to best leverage their newly found knowledge for the benefit of other companies and themselves.

As a result, McCoy founded pitch University, an award-winning interactive workshop, featuring strategies and tactics shared by current and former executives of major multinational companies. In addition, McCoy held the first annual global supplier diversity conference in September of 2018, providing the strategic framework for founders to identify, prepare and secure corporate contract opportunities. The fourth annual G S D C will be held September 23rd, 2021. McCoy was named the 2019 startup Atlanta equity champion, a 2020 American Express founder of change, and was most recently among the 2021 Porsche-driven women. Monica attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and holds a bachelor's degree in psychology. Amazing, absolutely amazing. And I love that you are using all of your talents to help other entrepreneurs, women, and underrepresented communities.

Monica McCoy: So, thank you.

 Angela Gennari: So, thank you for being here.

Monica McCoy: Thank you. It's my pleasure.

Angela Gennari: So, I want to kind of start off by asking what I know that you were already working for Coca-Cola and you were taking on a lot of diversity initiatives. What led you to start your own business and to really kind of pursue this path in helping others?

Monica McCoy: Well, I would have to actually back up a little before, even going to corporate America. So, when I went to Emory University, my plan was to actually be a cardiologist. Because I wanted to save lives, and you should know that you have a fear of blood before you decide to major in chemistry and say that you're going to be a cardiologist. So, when I discovered that fear, I had to pivot, right, and go ahead and take that track to corporate America. So, I was never really intended to go and be a full-time employee, but I made the best of it because I loved working with people and I loved how people thought, how they brought their processes together, and things of that nature. So, after spending 15 years at Coke. One of the things that I identified was that both corporate women and business women were having real challenges when it came to securing and promotions, but also securing funding for their business. And so, I decided five years ago to take that leap of faith to really come out and work with women and underrepresented founders.

Angela Gennari: Oh, I love it so much. So, I couldn't agree with you more that taking that leap and going in and helping others, and I think that psychology background definitely helps. I also have a psychology background and no matter what I do in the business world, it still is a passion to try to inspire, help others and understand where they're coming from. And I think when you have that background, you can empathize a little bit more and you're able to really identify what the triggers are and what the challenges are that are going to hold people back from pursuing capital from starting a business from representing their brand. And speaking of branding, you actually have something called treat your brand like a fortune 100 company. I think that's amazing. So, tell me a little bit about that.

Monica McCoy: Well, each of us, we are a personal brand, and unfortunately, most of us don't spend a lot of time investing in our personal brand. We're always investing in someone else's brand or working to really pursue someone else's goals and dreams, and what I write about in this book is that you really have to treat your brand like a fortune 100 company, because really you want to take at least one or two days a month and really assess. What is my brand communicating? What is my value proposition? How am I showing up day in and day out? Especially as women the pandemic has unfortunately significantly set us back in both corporate America and in the entrepreneurial space. And so, really, we want to make sure that we reassess am I bringing my best self each day? Am I investing in my personal brand? Am I taking the time to really make sure that I'm really delivering for my clients?


Angela Gennari: Yes, absolutely. So, when you're representing yourself as a fortune 100 company. One thing that I think is important that these companies do is you have somebody in these big fortune, 100 companies who are working on the vision. So, they're out there working on the business and not in the business so much. And I think that's something that you're getting across in this treat yourself like, or treat your life in your brand, like a fortune 100 company work on yourself, not necessarily in the weeds.

Monica McCoy: Yeah, because when we think about entrepreneurs, unfortunately, many of us are so entrepreneurs. Where we are the CEO, the CFO, the CMO, the CTO, the CIO, where every single role in the company, and unfortunately when you do a cost-benefit analysis, you start to see that you're actually losing significant money every day that you are doing everything by yourself. And so, it takes that investment, and sometimes in your one or two of your business, you're not making a ton of money. You're not necessarily in the black. But certainly, when you continue to make those investments and build a team, you can start to see where truly you can scale your business and take it to that next level.

Angela Gennari: Absolutely. And then pitch university. So, you talk about the art of the pitch. So, pitching is probably one of the things that I feel like women are and are pretty intimidated by just because I don't think we have as many opportunities to stand up and pitch. So, tell me a little bit about what makes a great pitch.

Monica McCoy: Well, if you think about it for every one time that a woman pitches, it's nine times that her male counterpart pitches. And a lot of times we have analysis paralysis and we are frozen by wanting to be perfect. We're craving that perfection, but really what takes a good pitch is that you have to really make sure you connect with your audience. You can't just go in and just say anything, you have to make sure that you're identifying a problem that they can connect with. What is your unique solution? What is your, who is your target audience? What is your business model? How are you making money or how are you literally saving money for the company? And finally, what is your ask? You know, what do you need? And many times, what I see is that women are really shy about the ask. So, they are comfortable talking about someone else's brands, someone else's company, but when it comes to making an ask for themselves, especially when it's capital when it's money for the business many women shy away from that. It's the same in corporate America and asking interesting for the promotion. They're shy away from that.

Angela Gennari: Yeah, no, I a hundred percent. I agree because that is something that we find challenging. I think that we can sell pretty good, but we can't close. And so, sometimes that can be a challenge is closing that sale, getting to the point where it's like, hey, I've told you all the benefits. I've explained why this is so wonderful, and then you're hoping to say, so can I give you money?

Monica McCoy: And just to add onto that when I was in corporate America and I was a global director. I had many founders come and pitch to potentially do business. And what

I found was that many women and minority founders were unfortunately very unprepared. They didn't know the true components, they didn't understand how to connect with the audience, they came in just talking about themselves. Instead of how they could really add value and solve a problem. And so, what I really want to share with your audience is that when you have that opportunity to share about your brand, make sure you're connecting to how you're bringing a solution to the table and not just making it all about yourself.

Angela Gennari: Yeah. So, how would somebody develop a solution? So, is that the why does this matter to you and how can I help you solve your problems?

Monica McCoy: Well, that's why you first have to identify a problem. Because in any successful business, you have identified a problem that you are solving, right. So, if you haven't done the root cause analysis to actually identify the problem, then there is no solution. So, if you have to do your due diligence to make sure that it's something that individuals actually want, that the market is demanding, because if you invest all this money and something that you don't have a proof of concept for, then quite frankly, you've gone down a path where you've invested a lot of resources, but the market doesn't want it.

Angela Gennari: All right. That's brilliant. So, going into the global supplier diversity conference, so this is something where you're bringing in. Can you tell me a little bit about this because my impression of it is that you're bringing in people and educating them on why diversity is important in an organization but also educating them on the benefits of having a diverse workforce? So, tell me a little bit about what the global supplier diversity conference is and how women and underrepresented groups can get more government contracts.

Monica McCoy: Yeah. So, one of the things that our team identified was that there was a significant gap with the number of women and underrepresented founders who were securing corporate contracts. And so, if you think about it, many individuals were good with having B2C relationships or business-to-consumer, okay. But they were not good with B2B or business-to-business relationships. Interesting. And so, our goal was to start the conference to one, educate suppliers on how to do business with fortune 500 companies, and then activate those contracts, because there are billions of dollars in contracts that corporations need every single year, but it's not just enough for them to secure that contract because if you're in and you don't perform well and you're kicked out, then that's not necessarily a win. We want you to actually sustain it. So, the third is to make sure that you're actually sustaining those contracts, that you're building that true long-term relationship. Because what we know is that if we can get smaller businesses, reliable revenue, where it is repeating over three to four years, that is where generational wealth can be built, and we continue to see, and the minority communities where unfortunately the net worth continues to go down and we want to make sure that we're positioning these individuals to have the ability to build long term wealth generation, not just for their family, but for future generations to come.

Angela Gennari: Wow. So, when you're talking about the corporate contracting, I know that I recently read a statistic about government contracts and federal contracts. And I think women own businesses only got about 4% of all federal contracts. Which is to me just astonishing that it's that low, but do you see that in corporate as well?

Monica McCoy: Well, I think we have to dig a little deeper because what we know is that female founders are only getting 2% of the total VC funding for their business. And when we dig further and look at African American female founders only 0.4% of venture capital funding is going to African American female-founded lead teams. And so, we know that if there's no access to capital, if there's no cash flow, then even if you do run the corporate contract, unfortunately, you don't have the cash flow to be able to actually successfully complete it because you don't have the money to pay your people. And so, we have to really solve this access to capital issue because it continues to, unfortunately, go in the wrong direction. And as much as we want to say that we're making significant progress, it is not statistically significant for us to go out there and celebrate right now we have a long way to go and we have to make sure that individuals are aware that women and minority founders need funding.

Angela Gennari: Absolutely. I agree because I was looking at a lot of statistics recently as I'm preparing a presentation myself and it's astonishing to see some of the things that are out there as far as statistics because numbers don't lie. And so, most people will say, well, it feels pretty equal when I'm in my workplace. Well, I see plenty of women, I see diversity and in cultures, but when it comes to the numbers, when it comes to the C level, the board of directors, the funding, that's where you're seeing the massive differences in where's the money actually going.

Monica McCoy: Yeah. And unfortunately, the catalyst data is showing the same thing that C has really exposed. A lot of the problems in corporate America. Where unfortunately women were disproportionately impacted over the last two years with having the responsibility of childcare, household duties, etcetera. And so, what we know is that women had to make really hard decisions to exit the workforce disproportionately towards their male counterparts compared to their male counterparts. And so, what we have to make sure that we solve for is how do we attract that talent back. And how do we retain the talent that we have because the pipeline, if it doesn't have that female talent there, that we've worked so hard to build we're going to continue to be set back year over year.

Angela Gennari: So, how do we do that? How do we maintain that pipeline? How do we attract them back? How do we attract women back to the workforce? Do you have thoughts on what would be beneficial as a woman to say, hey, look, it's worth it for me to come back into the workforce right now.

Monica McCoy: I think the word that has really brought to the forefront over the last two years is empathy. Because so many leaders at the height of the pandemic did not know

how to connect with their employees. They didn't know how to empathize, to understand that they were in very trying circumstances and conditions and had to make the best of what was a very challenging last two years. And so, what I would say is really having the understanding that what worked previously is not necessarily the best thing to go back to allowing flexibility, allowing people to say, if I want to come in the office two days a week, I can, if I want to work from home two days a week, I can but having that flexibility, because what we have also seen is that people have taken time to reflect and identify what is truly their purpose.

And so, people are identifying their North Star and saying, I really want to walk in my authentic purpose. Now, I don't want to go back to just working 80 a hundred hours a week and realizing that that's not really my calling. That's not really what gives me that fulfillment. And so, really letting people bring their authentic self to the workplace, showing empathy as a leader, and showing that you truly want to connect with your people because the feedback that many employees gave to their C-suite leaders over the past two years is that they were unable to connect with them authentically.

Angela Gennari: Well, don't you think though, that's where women as leaders, we really thrive because we thrive with empathy, we thrive with connection, we thrive with understanding why family matters so much to our employees, we thrive in community building. And I think this is just another argument for why women need to be in leadership.

Monica McCoy: Absolutely. And the data shows that when you have a diverse board of directors from both a gender diversity of thought, diversity of ethnicity, yes. All those things lead to long-term, better bottom-line results. And so, we know that this, the data tells the story, unfortunately, when it comes to representation on boards and representation in the C-suit, we still have a huge opportunity. The first female, African American female CEO was Ursula burns of Z rocks. And she has since of course retired. And now we have two African American female CEOs of fortune 500 companies. So, certainly progress absolutely. With the level of talent that we have from a female perspective, we should see more representation in the boardroom and also more representation in the C-suites.

Angela Gennari: Absolutely. And as much as it's amazing, and we should celebrate two African American female CEOs and fortune 500 companies. We're also talking about two out of 500. Exactly. And that's not okay. So, that's the part where we need to be questioning, but why only two? Because the data is there 35% more revenue is generated when women are in charge 35%. I read another statistic that for every 1000 employees that a company has females and leadership save the company 1.4, 7 million per 1000 employees. The data is there, the data is there to support women in leadership, but I don't know what is the hold-up? Why are we not getting to where we want to be? Is it women, excuse me, or is it, men? Is it a culmination of many things? And I think it could be women who don't feel like that's going to lead to a great work life balance for them, but it also could be that they're just not getting the opportunities. So, I guess it could be

many things. What are your thoughts?

Monica McCoy: Well, I think it's a combination of two major things. One is the concept of pie. So, not grandma's apple pie, but performance image and exposure. So, many women are set up to be worker bees in organization. So, they are great performers. They get the work done; they bring just a significant drive to perform. But when it comes to images how they show up in rooms? How they have their executive presence? That's lacking. And then when it comes to exposure, how they're being exposed to the senior leadership, that's lacking also. So, if you have a pie where 90% of your pie is performance. 5% is image and 5% is exposure, you're going to be that person who's always looking over your back saying, gosh, he just came in the organization and he's already two more promotions ahead of me and he just started, whereas I've been working hard and no one seems to be noticing, well, the thing is that what we know that the research shows are that you can't just be a worker bee.

You have to make sure that you're stewarding your work and making sure you're gaining that exposure with the executive lit leadership team. But we know that many times women are doing the work and other people, unfortunately, are taking the credit and exposing their work at the executive leadership team level and getting those promotions. And so, when I say to women, really look at your pie, assess where you are. Are you the worker bee or are you someone who's mastered exposure? Are you the person who shows up in a room and no one notices or the person who you demand everyone's attention when you walk in the room? And the final thing I would say on that is that many of us just don't know the rules of the playbook. And so, when I first started corporate America, I have to admit, I was that worker bee.

I was told you work hard and you get the promotion. What I realized very quickly though, is that you have to have a sponsor, you have to have someone advocating for you behind closed doors. And so, many women do not have sponsors, and if you think about it, one of the things that we show from an unconscious bias perspective is that people like to continue to work with people who look like them, who act like them, who appear to be mini me of them. And so, if you think about who's in power in corporate America, many times if you're a female, unfortunately, the person who could potentially be the sponsor doesn't necessarily relate with everything that you're going through. So, you have to get out of your comfort zone and make sure that you are advocating for your career and building strategic relationships for people to really advocate for you behind closed doors, to help you get to that next level because you can't do it by yourself.

Angela Gennari: You are absolutely right. And having a sponsor is brilliant because I agree with you that there's not enough women who are in executive roles who are also bringing up the next woman behind them. And so, we need to do a better job of that in corporate America is bringing that next woman up with you through the ranks. And if you have achieved a certain status, make sure that you're paying that forward and bringing somebody else up because you're absolutely right.


Monica McCoy: And also, in the entrepreneurial space. So, it can't just be limited to corporate America because it's a vicious cycle. Many minority women are exiting corporate America at rapid rates to start their own business. Because they feel like, okay, I'll come out here. I have the freedom, I'll start my business, but then they're depleting their 401ks. They're having to spend their retirement savings to start their business. So, we need advocates also for entrepreneurs to continue to make sure that they have a fair shot at succeeding.

Angela Gennari: Absolutely. And cash is a big part of that. Because I did read that most females and minority entrepreneurs start their businesses with cash because they're not able to get bank financing and they're not able to get capitals or capital from venture capital. So, for us, we have to fund with cash and cash is a very difficult resource. If you're not coming from money, if you don't have generational wealth, if you don't have a huge 401k or some sort of major amount of savings, it's very hard to sustain a growing business with just cash.

Monica McCoy: Absolutely. And really over the past year and a half, what we've seen is that businesses that were disproportionately impacted or had to close their doors were female and minority own businesses. Really due to the lack of access to cash flow. So, if you were living payroll cycle to payroll cycle, pre the pandemic, once your cash flow stopped, the business also stopped. So, we were having founders who were having to close their doors. Not because it wasn't a great business, but because unfortunately there was no cash.

Angela Gennari: Yeah, absolutely. So, the bridge supplier diversity accelerator. So, does that offer opportunities for people to learn some of these business tools to get them to where they want to go? Because like you were saying, a lot of its lack of resources, it's lack of capital it's lack of knowledge, it's lack of education and all of this plays a part in how successful we're going to be as an entrepreneur. So, tell me a little bit about the bridge and how that might help being an accelerator program.

Monica McCoy: So, I happen to be married to a phenomenal man who's in construction and as a minority in construction, he is truly out there doing amazing things. But need, there needs to be additional diversity in the construction industry. And so, we started the bridge accelerator in partnership with the fortune 50 company here in Atlanta. And we did two cohorts to really help diversify the construction industry to have access to commercial real estate contracts with fortune 500 companies. And so, what we saw is that there was no lack of talent. The talent was there, but the access to the contracts was not. And so, if you have the talent, if you bring the skillset, if you have the team and all you need is someone to help you with those introductions, to understand financial acumen, to understand marketing some of the key things that we teach in the bridge program, that's, what's really going to lead to long term sustained success. And so, when I get emails from graduates at alum the program saying that, hey, Monica, I now am a tier-one vendor with this fortune 500 company. That's what brings joy to me because what I know is that that individual now has an opportunity to build generational wealth for

their family. Not only with having a successful business, but then having reliable wealth to come behind it.

Angela Gennari: Absolutely. That's amazing. Well, and the fact that you're able to influence so many others and bring them up with you, it's just out absolutely inspiring. So, one of the programs that I felt was just a highlight to me I did my internship with the department of juvenile justice. At one point, I thought I was going to be an attorney and be a forensic psychologist and spent some time working in the correction system, because I wanted to help and rehabilitate, and you have a program called Pivot Purposefully, and I am just so inspired by this. So, can you tell me a little bit about it?

Monica McCoy: Yeah. So, pivot purposefully is the nonprofit arm of our company. And one of the things that we see is that unfortunately, many women who have been incarcerated for minor offenses, such as drug possession or just minor things and spent 10, 15 years in prison. They come out and unfortunately many times end up going back to prison. And so, the goal of this program is to reduce the recidivism rate, because we know that when women are given the opportunity to become the she roles of their family, yes. To really go in there and start a business, this makes a difference for these families and for these leaders. What we know is that with our program, we're teaching formerly incarcerated women, how to either start a microbusiness, such as being able to go and start a nail salon, to start a beauty salon, or to go out there, if they already have a business to really be able to scale that business. And so, the thing I'm most proud about this program is that whether the lady has spent 27 years in prison, or whether she is six months in prison, what I love about this is that everyone deserves a second chance.

Angela Gennari: Absolutely.

Monica McCoy: And this continues to be a very overlooked population. And so, our team took this home really because we know that a lot of the root because analysis shows that if the mother is not in the home, unfortunately, many of the children end up following some of the same paths. And so, if we can have the mother rehabilitated getting back in the home and being a hero to the family that gives that child hope to go out there and also be successful.

Angela Gennari: Yes. And then if you don't have the mother in the home, it's likely that the child will end up in foster care, which is another cycle of tends to I think something, the statistic is something like 80% of all children in foster care will end up in the incarcerated at some point in their adult life. And so, because when you leave foster care most of the time, you don't have resources, you don't have support. And so, you're trying to figure out adult life very quickly with no guidance. And it leads to crime or poverty or homelessness. And so, if you can counteract that by keeping women. Who have had some trouble in their past, if you can keep them in their home, give them inspiration, give them hope? I think that you can really turn around an entire, an entire family.

Monica McCoy: Yeah. And I even think about the book, Jess Mercy, unfortunately, if a

child cannot read by third grade; they're already predicting the number of prisons they're going to need to build by the time that child is an adult. So, think about the fact that the data is showing that if a child can't read by third grade, unfortunately, they are not predicted to succeed by age 18. And to, unfortunately, be car potentially incarcerated. And so, those are the data points we're dealing with. And if the mom isn't in the home and some of those critical formative years, then we're continuing to repeat a vicious cycle. And so, what I do want to leave you with is that I spent 15 years in corporate America and it was a fun 15 years. I enjoyed my job as a global director, but what I realized is that I was walking someone else's path for success. And what I want to say to your audience today is do not let this life pass you by, without walking in your authentic purpose. So, many people, we all put up a great facade of like, we're happy we have everything together, but truly 10% of happiness is based on your income based on the house you live in, based on the car you drive, based on the things that people try to portray to the world.

What I would tell you is to really dig deeply and really find out what truly makes you happy. What truly drives you? Because the fact that we're still saying, thank God is Friday our live for the weekend, right? It shows that we have a lot of opportunity to truly dig deep and do something that is driving purpose and driving legacy. Yes. As opposed to just saying, I'm doing this to be able to buy the next material thing. And so, when we look at the happiness index, unfortunately, we see that America is a country that is not very happy. And what I really try to do in this organization, from both myself, with my team, and with the clients that we impact is to really leave behind the message that you have one life to live. And if you're always living your life for someone else to impress other people to get likes then quite frankly, you're living a life that truly is never your own. So, own it, absolutely out there, and be fulfilled and truly walking your authentic purpose.

Angela Gennari: Oh, I love that so much. So, you are so inspirational to me. I feel like there's a lot that our audience can gain from you, but what inspires you?

Monica McCoy: What inspires me day to day is being able to see just a pebble drop of change. Yes. And so, I feel like everyone has a pebble to throw out there and I threw my pebble with hanging up my head in corporate America, coming out here and starting my business, and my pebble is different from your pebble. My pebble is different from your audience's pebble but find your pebble. Throw your pebble out there and see the ripples that it makes, because as you're throwing these pebbles, just as you're planting seeds for trees, that you will never see grow. Do your part, because quite frankly, what I truly love about what I'm doing now is that I don't get tired. It's very purpose-driven work.

Angela Gennari: I'm sure you wake up excited to do what you're doing.

Monica McCoy: Wake up so excited, but also have to realize that I have more life enjoy my business. I have two beautiful kids. And my husband of almost 20 years. So, what I will say is that to answer your question fully is what inspires me is that I don't view success by society's definition. I've created my own definition for Monica, and I

encourage everyone to create your own definition of success because the more that we are trying to validate ourselves through other people's lenses, the more that we're always going to be trying to fill this empty hole that will never be filled.

Angela Gennari: Absolutely. Thank you. Yes. I think that's incredible advice. So, as women, we often give our power away because we think that other people should take credit for something that we've built, whether that be our spouse, our children, our boss, our coworkers, we often give our power away. And I think that that's a natural response for a woman because I think that we like to see other people happy. We like to see other people succeed. So, tell me, but it also can impact us negatively because like you were saying with the pie example, if we're not representing ourselves as someone who is competent in a boardroom or at an executive level, it can come back to us in terms of being passed over for promotions or being passed over for an advancement in a company. So, tell me about a time that you have given away your power and then another time where you've really stepped into your power, and what was the difference in those two times in terms of your mindset going into it?

Monica McCoy: Yeah. So, I would go back to the work that you ended with this mindset. So, when I first started my corporate career, I had more of a fixed mindset. That you work hard and it just comes to you, the promotions, etcetera. And so, I put too much of my power in that things would just work out right. Based on me doing the hard work. And so, what you quickly figure out is that if you give all of your power to someone else, you're always going to be left disappointed. So, one of the things that you have to start with is first believing that you have power because I hear too many times from women, very limiting beliefs of, well, Monica, I just don't have the power to do that or Monica, no, one's going to listen to me or Monica no, one's going to take me seriously. And so, you have to first believe that you actually have power, but then on top of that, you have to have, what's called a Growth Mindset. So, Carol Dweck has written this amazing book called Mindset that I think is really one of my top five business books for every corporate professional or entrepreneur. You must read it, but when you embrace that growth mindset, you start to realize that everything is possible.

Angela Gennari: Yes.

Monica McCoy: If you'll take control of owning your power and not saying that well because this person is in this position, this person controls my destiny. You have to believe that your destiny is in your hands, in addition to whatever your faith is, but you have to believe that no one owns you or no one owns your power.

Angela Gennari: So, is that when you started Monica motivates and you stepped into that power of owning your own business after being in corporate America for so long. Was that what you were thinking? In terms of like, it's time for me to own this. I know I can do this. I know I have something to contribute, and did you have any fears? Did you have any hesitations? Did you have any apprehension in doing that or did you just know this was your path?

Monica McCoy: No, I thought I was completely crazy. To leave behind a very corporate job with all the benefits and the global travel and yes. All the perks of yes. I thought I was really crazy to do it but I pushed through that craziness to say, but I'm doing the right thing. And so, to your question, what I would say is you have to really get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Angela Gennari: Yes.

Monica McCoy: Yes. Because if you're always trying to fix your life around, I want to always just be comfortable staying my comfort zone. You're always going to be disappointed. And so, I embraced Brene Brown's, the arena really, and it's a Roosevelt quote. The man in the arena, in the arena, and I have, have taken away the man and put the woman in the arena. But one of the things that it says in the quote is that it's not the critic who counts. And so, many of us are always listening to the voices of others, of what their opinion is, of how they feel about the decisions that we make. But the courage truly comes for those few individuals who have the courage to get inside the arena. Because there's so many people who are just spectators their entire life. They standing on the sidelines, they clap, they boo, but they never have the courage to follow their dream.

They never have the courage to go out there and walk in their authentic purpose, they live that life in the land of someday but it's those powerful people like you who say, I'm going to start this podcast. I'm going to go out here and get uncomfortable because I know that it's needed. I'm going to get inside the arena and people may criticize me. Yes. But I have to leave those voices alone. Because quite frankly, when you go to a basketball game, you're not going to see the people sitting in the stands, you're going to see the people on the court and whether you boo them or cheer for them. They have the courage every night to get out there and do their craft.

Angela Gennari: And they're hardworking and they're putting the practice they're putting in the work. And that's what we are doing as entrepreneurs, and we're putting the work in and its grueling work at times, but also probably the most rewarding work. Because when you do know you're making an impact and you do know you're getting that feedback and you might get 10 people criticizing you, but it's that one person who says you really inspired me or I really took something away from that. That's the part that you hold onto, that's the part that you say, yep. I'm going to get up and do this again tomorrow. Because for that one person, it mattered. And so, I want to do this for the next person that it's going to matter too. And if the 10 people that just criticize me are willing to go out there and do the same thing, then bless them.

Angela Gennari: I hope they will.

Monica McCoy: This point to it, as an entrepreneur or as a corporate professional, who's blazing a trail, you have to be comfortable with the road, less travel. So, even if no one is celebrating you, if you're getting no feedback or no validation, you have to be

comfortable going on this road by yourself. And so, many times people think that entrepreneurship is glamorous based on what they see on social media. It's a very lonely journey, many days it is. And so, you have to be comfortable being your biggest cheerleader, because if you're counting on other people, you're not going to survive this game called entrepreneurship, you will quickly have to go ahead and pivot to something else but it takes the tenacity and grit of a powerful leader to believe in a vision that no one else sees. And to know that if it doesn't make sense to anyone else, but yourself then you can keep going day on and day in and day out.

Angela Gennari: Yes. Well, and the former CEO of Apple said, if you want everyone to like, you go sell ice cream to be an entrepreneur.

Monica McCoy: That is definitely the way to be liked.

Angela Gennari: So, don't be an entrepreneur because this is very true. So, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self? Fresh Monica starting out into adulthood.

Monica McCoy: I would tell her to not take herself so seriously. I thought that I had to achieve milestones by a certain time I had to be married. I had to have the kids, I had to have the perfect job, and looking back, I would've said girl, loosen up and have some fun. It's not that serious, and we have all these societal pressures that we put on ourself and I would tell anyone who's in their teens or twenties to enjoy your life, to don't take yourself too serious. So, you're going to make a lot of mistakes and it's okay.

Angela Gennari: You'll recover from them. You'll be fine. Yes, I agree. And I think that it wasn't really until the pandemic and is bad as the pandemic was and still is yes. I call it the gift of time. Absolutely. Because it gave us the gift to say what's important to me now. I have time, I have I can really think through what do I want to do with me right now? With everything else going on in the world. And I know it's difficult to sometimes feel like as women, especially we can feel very selfish. If we start thinking about, what do I want? But I think that the pandemic really made people think like, I've really enjoyed spending time with my family, or I really enjoy going on a road trip, I really enjoy going and having some downtime and taking up a hobby that I hadn't done since I was a teenager.

Monica McCoy: Absolutely.

Angela Gennari: But you know, it's things like that. The gift of time, I think, is it helps you reconnect with yourself?

Monica McCoy: Absolutely.

Angela Gennari: I've actually recently started meditating and it has really kind of helped me to center myself every single day because I'm sure like you, I'm always a hundred miles an hour and pulled in so many directions and sometimes I just don't stop and just connect with myself, just stop and reflect. Like, how am I feeling and what do I want out

of today and where will I find peace and where will I find joy? And to really make sure that you're connecting with your intentions.

Monica McCoy: And what you just hit on there is the gift of self-care. And it is so critical, especially as women that we take care of ourselves. And so, I love that you're meditating every day. I love going to well, I don't love it. I would say that I enjoy the benefits of going to the gym every morning. And working out with my trainer and really understanding that I'm giving that gift to myself. Where it's Monica time. And so, I encourage everyone be selfish and prioritizes yourself. We're so good at prioritizing everyone else, but be selfish and prioritize yourself.

Angela Gennari: Well, and I think one thing to understand with women is that when we take time for ourselves, we're actually helping everyone else in our lives because I am a better, more calm, more rational me. When I've had some time to meditate and when I've had time to go to the gym, and when I've had the time to properly grocery shop and I'm not eating on the fly like I am a better me. I'm a better version of me and I can give more to others and to my business when I have done that self-care and when I have taken those moments of selfishness for me. And it really is trust me, my son benefits greatly when I am calmer and exactly more rational.

Monica McCoy: Yeah, no, I call it my 5Fs. Like I think you have to, whatever your faith is, prioritize that as your foundation your fitness. I put fitness as number two and then comes family. And people always like, well, Monica, why do you put fitness above family to your point? Yes. Because if I'm not good, I'm not going to be able to be good for anyone else. So, I have to be good for myself first and then I'm able to be good for other people, and then the business comes, the fortune is fourth, and then fun is ingrained through all of them.

Angela Gennari: I love it. So, faith, family, fortune, fun, and fitness. Yes. Not in that org,

Monica McCoy: But those are 5Fs. Yes. Those are 5F

Angela Gennari: I love it.

Monica McCoy: I love that you memorize them. So, that's pretty good. Impressive.

Angela Gennari: Well, I think it's because they resonate. It really resonates with me and I wholeheartedly agree with them. So, one last question. You've been so great throughout this entire thing. I've learned so much about you. You've been very inspirational. What do you wish more people knew? And just in general, what do you wish more people knew?

Monica McCoy: I wish more people knew that you don't have to live someone else's life's. You can truly live the life you want to live, and this resonated me from college, where I had friends who were becoming doctors and absolutely had no inclination to want to do that. They just were being forced to do it because they were living someone

else's life. And I see that all the time in corporate America and in entrepreneurship where people are doing stuff that they think is impressing other people, but they're not being true to themselves. And so, the one message that I hope resonates with your audience is to truly walking your authentic purpose. To live the life you want to live, because if I kept living the life that everyone else smart for me, or be an executive at a fortune 50 company right now.

Angela Gennari: Sure. Absolutely.

Monica McCoy: But it wouldn't have been my joy or my passion. And so, you have to get comfortable saying, if I get to the end of my life and I look back, am I going to regret that I followed someone else's dream, or am I going to sit there in complete peace, knowing that I gave it my all and I leave this world empty.

Angel Gennari: Absolutely brilliant. I love it. Thank you so much, Monica. I really appreciate everything that you've brought to our audience today because I think that it's been very motivating, very inspiring, and people can find you what Monica Motivates. And I think that you have so many gifts that you're just going to continue blessing many, many people in your life. So, thank you for everything that you're doing.

Monica McCoy: And the admiration is mutual. Thank you for what you're doing. And you are being a blessing to so many. So, keep doing what you're doing. Keep being obedient and keep walking in your authentic purpose.

Angle Gennari: Thank you. 

Thank you for joining our guests on the pretty powerful podcast. And we hope you've gained new insight and learn from exceptional women. Remember to subscribe or check out this and all episodes on prettypowerfulpodcast.com. Visit us next time and until then step into your own power.

Monica McCoyProfile Photo

Monica McCoy

Founder and CEO, Monica Motivates LLC

Monica McCoy is a highly sought-after award-winning global speaker, business strategist, and consultant. In 2017, McCoy founded Monica Motivates LLC. The Monica Motivates organization offers education and consulting services to women and underrepresented entrepreneurs, providing the tools and knowledge they need to grow and scale their businesses. Recognizing that gender and race play significant roles in determining access to capital for women business owners and underrepresented founders, her vision is to remove barriers that negatively impact founders and close the opportunity gaps that exists due to lack of education, resources, and access to capital.

A former Global Director of Strategy and Innovation for the McDonald’s Division for The Coca-Cola Company, McCoy left to pursue her own dreams in 2017, after 15 successful years. Now her business focus is helping individuals identify their purpose and passion, while showing them how to best leverage their newly found knowledge for the benefit of their companies and themselves. As a result, McCoy founded Pitch University, an award-winning interactive workshop, featuring strategies and tactics shared by current and former executives of major multinational companies.

In addition, McCoy held the first annual Global Supplier Diversity Conference (GSDC) in September 2018 providing the strategic framework for founders to identify, prepare, and secure corporate contract opportunities. The 5th Annual GSDC will be held September 22, 2022. McCoy was named the 2019 Start Up Atlanta Equity Champion, a 2020 American Express Founder of Change, and was among the 2021 Porsche Driven Women.

Monica attended Emory University in Atlanta, GA., and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology.