Having spent over 13 years watching men get rewarded for doing the bare minimum and work, Brody Parham couldn’t take it any longer. Deciding to take action, Brody knew she had what it takes to change the future for aspiring leaders.
Channelling her disappointment and getting past her emotions, Brody created Parham & Associates, a virtual platform designed to help others with their emotional intelligence, in order to incorporate emotional Intelligence into the professional world to improve intentional leadership, team alignment, remove unconscious biases in the workplace, and create effective team accountability and performance. Here I speak with Brody on just how she’s been able to do that.
Lewis: Thanks again for taking the time to do this with me. First things first – I am sure our readers would love to learn more about you. How did you get here? What experiences, failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?
Brody: Over the last 10 years, I have watched as men got rewarded for doing the bare basics at work. While highly qualified leaders of color were continually passed over for promotions, I experienced being passed over, after being run through the gamut.
I’ve always known that I want to lead and when it was my time to shine, the organization told me I did not fit their standards and requirements. I became angry, disappointed, and ultimately jealous at seeing others excel even when I knew I had checked all the leadership boxes.
Lewis: Just like the readers I am very curious – can you explain what exactly you do at Parham & associates?
Brody: We are an executive coaching firm that specializes in emotional intelligence, our focus is to refine those soft skills many forget as they move up the corporate ladder. We have seen over the years, people remove Human from Human resources, and when they are hired they are hired for their technical ability and not their social skills, which is vital to increase productivity and retention.
Our focal point is aspiring leaders who are also minorities, we have found so many companies don’t have people of color sitting at the table and we want to change that, so we created programs, and resources for our clients to make sure they are finely tuned and emotionally enhanced so they can be brought to the table or at least build a damn house around it.
Lewis: What inspired you to come up with the idea for Parham & associates? Do you have any advice for others on how to come up with such great ideas?
Brody:What inspired me was my disappointment and failure to lead in a particular corporation. The company created new standards to eliminate certain people, which included an assessment, interview, and presentation, based on those three indicators that would determine if you fit their criteria. On a 5 point scale, you needed a 3.0 to pass, they gave me 2.92, yep they were petty.
So I took that as a learning lesson, they were looking for a particular person and I didn’t fit the bill. After that, I found so many other people had similar stories and backgrounds, which sparked me to create P&A. We wanted to create leaders of color to be their very best, and to do so, we started to pour into them, working on certain things that needed refinement. I would encourage those who have a dream based on a disappointing situation, let that be your fuel to keep going. I love what I do, and I love seeing my client on the other end, being their very best selves.
They are authentically comfortable in their skin, to try new things, overcome stressful triggers, and push their way to the top when most people would wallow and cry. So my advice is to keep pushing, people are always going to be the priority in whatever job, and if you lack people skills, you will lack prioritizing them.
Lewis: What are the key steps you have taken to get your business up and running, and do you have advice for others trying to do the same?
Brody: Since we are still in our infancy, we created a business plan, to flesh out what our strategy would be for Q1-Q2, I didn’t want to create a year plan because things change. I wanted to create certain programs on demand for our clients, and potential clients, to check out and utilize.
The one major thing we love about our company, all of our programs is transferable, meaning you can use the same tactics we teach in your professional and personal life. We have proctored different companies and one major thing was clients, they had a niche and it was just that simple, nothing could be transferable into someone’s personal life if needed. We wanted to make sure that these action plans would be used for real-world experience.
We create a social media platform for people to observe how we “do” business, whether it is an IG Live, a media blitz, or having a PR firm, we didn’t want to waste the first 1 year sitting and strategizing we want to do and try different things, and re-evaluate at the 6-month mark if it worked or needed redirection.
Lewis: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Brody: At the beginning of our business coming to life, we were trying to figure out the slogan we wanted to use. I am a mom of an 18-month old boy, and during this time we were watching the minions and despicable me, as I am sitting on the couch, watching these tater tots in denim overalls, I notice the villain Gru, who everyone counted out, and of course, he has these big ideas, and plans to steal the moon.
I started to think about all of the people who are working a 9-5 job, yet had the spirit of entrepreneurship. Or the man or woman who keeps trying and gets counted out. It was right then, I had a light bulb moment. I wanted to turn minions into GRUs, and GRU became an acronym for Great Leaders Rising, the L was silent. What made it funny, was the fact that we were all at one point a minion, minus the overalls, and yet we want to be a GRU, so we started to create content surrounding that one concept, and one-year later here we are.
Lewis: What are some other leadership tips, strategies and tactics of value you have to share to fellow business owners and entrepreneurs?
Brody: We live and work the following tenets, these became our focal point when keeping ourselves honest and self-aware. Live by your values: You confuse people when you don’t because you lack predictability. Speak The Hell Up! No one will “hear” what you’re thinking without a willingness to stand up for it. Mind-reading is something most people can’t do. TRUST is Earned, Never Given Freely. Don’t expect people to trust you if you aren’t willing to be trustworthy first and foremost. Trust is an outcome of fulfilled expectations.
This month we have focused on emotional hijacking so my best advice for all of my leaders aspiring and current; when we aren’t aware of our emotional triggers, our work/home lives can become destructive – creating suffering and chaos everywhere we go.
Lewis: In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone who aspires to become a leader?
Brody:Having the ability to master your emotional and social intelligence gives the aspiring leader a distinct advantage in your current position. Unlike our overall intelligence, emotional intelligence can be learned and improved over time.
Lewis: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this with me – wishing you all the best for 2021 & beyond.
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