Today I welcome author Sherri McLendon to my blog. Sherri writes
a popular women, spirit and money column for WNC Woman Magazine and is an
Asheville-area feminine business leader with a growing global business. Her
company, “Sherri L. McLendon Signature Strategies,” specializes in marketing, public relations and content
Hi, Sherri! Welcome to my blog… Thank you for letting me interview you today!
You’re very welcome. The pleasure is all mine.
Your column for “WNC Woman Magazine,” focuses uniquely on women, spirit and money. Can you tell me how the idea for the column came about?
I had the good fortune to meet the lovely Linda Heitel, an advertising executive with the magazine, and she invited me to meet the publisher, Sandi Tomlinson-Sutger, over lunch. The three of us were just chatting away like old friends, and the idea surfaced. The topic is an area I’m passionate about, and so the idea for the column was born.
The thing I love most about doing the column is that I get to challenge the idea that money is dirty, or that somehow we, as women, are unworthy of it. If we look at money from a spiritual perspective, our relationship to how we earn and spend becomes a parable, if you will, which can help us understand our lives from a perspective of conscious reciprocity. That
allows us, as women, to claim our value and worth in the world from a place of love rather than fear.
You shared with me that when people ask what you do, your first response is usually, “I’m a writer.” Do you write
Over the years, I’ve written every genre and form you can imagine. But the only formal style instruction I’ve ever enjoyed was a creative writing class at the University of Georgia with the exceptional Judith Ortiz Cofer, a writer of Puerto Rican descent. Her works are studied in the curriculum of public schools here in North Carolina. Learning to shed the journalistic form
and style in order to branch into other types of writing was a priceless gift. And it’s also made me an excellent writing coach and teacher. But these days, I write mainly non-fiction for both print and online formats.
I understand living in Western North Carolina helped jumpstart your entrepreneurship? How did that happen?
We moved to Asheville in 2006, and it was impossible to find a mid-career job in my field. So I taught 7th grade communication skills, literature and writing, and began freelancing. But I realized it was actually costing more than I was making to write on the side. So I began to look at changing my business model, and incubated the new business at night as I
tested and tweaked. It took a while, but I was able to successfully transition into an entrepreneurial business – without significant capital outlay. That was actually my goal, to figure out how to create a successful business from zero, and have it pay for itself as it grows.
Fortunately, western North Carolina is a great environment for innovative thinking, and I found a lot of support for the process here, especially among public relations professionals. I’m thinking of Gary James, Amy Fowler, Alicia Knighton, Chris Power and Lisa Sullivan, with whom I served on the board of the Public Relations Association of Western North Carolina in years
past, and I really loved the integrated platform communication style modeled by Michelle Tennant Nicholson with Wasabi Publicity in Saluda.
What role does spirituality play in your business?
Mindfulness practice plays a huge part in the way I work, and so do emergent organizational models based on the organizing systems found in nature. I believe everything we need to succeed in business already exists in the miracle of Creation.
Have you written a book, or considered writing one?
(Laughs.) Well, I wrote a 200 page master’s thesis on the themes of pan-Indianism embedded in news accounts of the occupation of Alcatraz from 1969-71, but I don’t think that’s what you’re asking.
Right now, I’m completing a book, “From Zero to Shero: How to Start from Behind, Get Ahead, and End Up a Winner in Your
Business,” based on my own success as a global online entrepreneur. We’re expecting it to be ready for publication this fall by Wiregrass Lotus Publishing, which I set up so I could maintain ownership of my own work, and to take on small specialty projects.
What advice would you offer other writers?
First, the difference between a “real” writer and a “fake” writer is that real writers write. So no matter what, keep writing. Second, make writing a practice. The genre in which we’re working matters less than the fact that we’re engaged in a conscious relationship with the act of writing. Third, once the work is on the page, work with a good editor. Writers unwilling to be coached to excellence never reach their full potential. So we have to leave our egos at the door to create our best work.
You an learn more about Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., O.M., and her writing, coaching, and consulting, at http://www.sherrimclendon.com.
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