Thrive Global: “Wendy O’Donovan Phillips: “Work on My Marriage”

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The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.

As a part of my series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Wendy O’Donovan Phillips, CEO of Big Buzz, an agency delivering strategy and consultation to drive focused marketing efforts for executives and teams nationwide. Wendy is the author of two books available on Amazon, and she has been published in many healthcare journals. She is a member of the Women’s President Organization, has been honored by the American Marketing Association for excellence in her field, has been hired by the American Dental Association as an expert consultant in marketing, regularly lectures for healthcare organizations and associations in front of audiences ranging from 25 to 3,000 attendees and sits on the Forbes Agency Council.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I started my career as a copywriter, worked my way up the ranks at a marketing agency, then broke off and started my own firm 13 years ago. I wouldn’t trade the journey for anything. It’s been a wild ride, but I have learned so much about myself, business, marketing, sales, and, most importantly, about being a leader, which is really just about showing up for others.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

Hands down, this year is the most interesting thing that’s happened to me as a business owner. I’m grateful to be on the frontlines helping other business owners through this time. I regularly talk with business owners who have lost 25%, 50%, or even 100% of their revenue in 2020. It’s incredible to see people’s resiliency in the face of adversity, to watch them get back in touch with their passion and why they became business owners in the first place, to see them reinvent themselves and their organizations.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are diving deeper into our own Strategic Planning Model, which helps us and our clients hyper-focus all marketing, operations and financial projects quarter by quarter by uncovering our greatest assets. In our case, these include our database of 12,000 readers of our content, the thousands of people who have heard my lectures or read my books and the hundreds of clients we have served over the years. We are now communicating with these folks who already know and love us in a much more concentrated, relevant way. Our leads and sales are up despite the economic climate. We recommend that our clients, mainly dental practices and senior living communities, take a similar approach to finishing 2020 strong.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My business coach Alicia Marie from PeopleBiz, Inc. told me 12 years ago, “Congratulations, Wendy. You have built a strong little company. Now it’s time to hire employees.” She has guided me through growing my team, my professional self and my personal horizons beyond my wildest dreams. I live my best life everyday thanks to the seeds she planted with me.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?

Even before COVID-19, society implored me to “work on being a great parent,” “work on my marriage,” “work on the business not just in the business,” “work on my body,” even “work on booking that next family road trip to the mountains.” In tackling life that way now, I feel exhausted most days. My 10-year-old daughter is home all day, my husband works from home, I work from home managing my team, my projects and my clients with fewer people than we currently need. There’s no reprieve unless I grant it to myself.

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