How Carla Williams Johnson of Carli Communications Tackles The Extreme Work Life Balance Of Being A Woman Business Leader During Covid-19
I think the goal is just to listen there’s no need to respond or give your opinion, just be there to support your loved one by listening to their thoughts, emotions and feelings. Sometimes people just need to get things out in order to feel better.
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
Carla Williams Johnson, CEO of Carli Communications LLC. Known simply as Carli, she is extremely passionate about helping others and giving back, volunteering her time and skills wherever she can. When she’s not working, she can usually be found in the company of her adult daughter and infant son in the beautiful Caribbean twin island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.
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 just always knew that I wanted to get into the field. I think I was the only person in the world who would get excited when commercials would come on during a program or rush to get the latest magazine to see all the creative ways print ads were displayed. Even at a young age I was always in awe of creative executions and how absolutely brilliant one must be to convince someone to purchase from just a few words and an image.
As time went on, my passion grew and it landed me to work with some of the most prestigious advertising companies with global brands. It was there I learned that there was so much that went into the final product and I was finally part of the strategic process.
I realized that there was so much brainstorming and creativity that went into a single campaign and, working in media, I had the single most important job of getting that creativity out to the right people. Plus I noticed that the more innovative the approach, the more of an impact the campaign made, which resulted in increased sales.
Fast forward, now I have my own company where I help entrepreneurs and business owners increase their visibility through the creative and strategic uses of media.
In my years, the one thing I saw regularly that really upset me was businessmen and women being ill-advised by greedy coaches and consultants looking to make a quick buck. These ‘so called’ gurus would use the client’s lack of knowledge against them to sell them a product or service that made no sense and gave absolutely no returns on investment. That’s when my business was born.
I feel like a superhero sometimes, to be honest. Like I’m saving the day (and the dollar) of people who are in danger of wasting their money. On the surface, I help clients with promoting their business, but what I do is assist my people with finding the best and quickest ways to truly connect with their ideal clients so that they can serve them and, of course, make some money in the process.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?
The one that stands out the most to me is when I first started my business, I would meet with potential clients at their offices regularly. Not a fan of driving, most times I would take my significant other with me……(and I would tell persons he was my driver)
Anyways while at a meeting with a gentleman, we got into a discussion about what was best for him and how he should proceed. He had gotten some bad advice before and I really didn’t want him to keep wasting money on promotional packages that weren’t working.
Now, I’m not saying that he pushed back and argued with me because I was female but he gave off this ‘know it all’ vibe and literally challenged everything I was saying……..to which my boyfriend said “Listen, Carla knows her stuff and whatever she says to do, just do it! You won’t regret it!” Eventually I did book the client, but unfortunately his misogyny started to show and just couldn’t work with him anymore.
I learned pretty quickly that just because someone can pay for my services doesn’t mean they’re my ideal client. Sometimes I have to say no for sanity sake. I saw the signs and I still pursued thinking that my knowledge and expertise would win him over, but all it did was encourage him to comment on how my legs looked every time I had to pick up the cheque.
From then on, I always understood that it’s a relationship I’m building with clients so I have to ensure that our values are aligned.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
With the current pandemic and literally everything else going on in the world, I am really focusing on helping others be a bit more strategic with their marketing plans.
Building brand awareness and standing out is the name of the game right now because it’s the businesses who are seen and heard that’ll be the ones that will undoubtedly be remembered. My goal is to show how to use the online space more effectively as well as encourage business owners to include publicity into their marketing mix to give their brand that extra edge. With everyone moving to the digital arena, getting featured will definitely add credibility to their brand and put them in front of their customers and ahead of the competition.
My vision is to help as many business owners as possible promote themselves in the right way to the right people and to make their lives better.
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?
There are so many people who have helped me in so many ways, but I would have to say my best friend who has been cheering me on from day one! Odessa Laulys has been by my side and is literally my rock and really, she’s more than a friend, she’s my big sister. She’s been there for everything in business and in life and I have no idea what I would do without her.
Another person I must shout out is my good friend Marlena Cole. She’s a Relationship Coach and she actually reached out to me because she knew I could help her build her business. Little did we know at the time that such a close friendship would emerge. She saw in me what I was so afraid to see in myself and truly gave me the confidence to step out and do what I’m good at.
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?
Honestly, this pandemic has been really difficult (I would call it an emotional roller coaster). Even though I am accustomed to working from home, now that the house is full, there are literally so many energies so it’s difficult for my creativity to flow and my job literally thrives on coming up with innovative, ‘out of the box’ ideas to help my clients promote themselves effectively.
I have a 20 year old daughter who’s a university student who is trying to cope with the entire curriculum being online and is dying for a social life that cannot exist and I have a 2year old son who is living his best life without a care in the world and is constantly playing ‘catch me if you can’ *spoiler alert I rarely ever catch him*.
On top of all of that I still have other obligations and I have to take care of myself. It’s been quite a lot to handle.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
I find that to make things easier I have a designated time to work.
I create a to do list of the three most important things I have to do in order of priority, then designate the time to get them done. Most times I only get two out of the three done but I consider that a successful day. I absolutely limit social media for two reasons: 1) it’s a distraction and 2) I cannot take the negative news, fake news and conspiracy theories….they drive me nuts and depletes my energy levels.
After completing my list its play time with the little one and listening to the older one. Then, as the evening wears on, I may take in some television or read a good book. If I am feeling super sad, depressed or angry I’ll reach out to a friend to chat.
It’s a routine that’s a work in progress but so far so good. Some days are better than others but I guess we can only try our best to cope with our new normal.
Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?
Keeping it all together to be honest. There are times you just want to be left alone but you can’t. You have to run a household, and a business and keep it all together and it can take a toll. I have friends with older children who now have to homeschool their children while working from home….it’s crazy to have to split yourself in all these directions at once. There don’t ever seem to be enough hours in the day and that means some things don’t get done, and more often than not, that thing is self care.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
I’ve made it a ritual to meditate and journal every morning before I do anything. I must take those few minutes before the sun is fully up to breathe and collect my thoughts. I also have a good breakfast, something that I would always take for granted before.
As I mentioned before, I would give myself the most important tasks to complete on a daily basis so I don’t feel like things aren’t getting done. I have also hired more administrative help to get me through.
Lastly, I’ve learned to say ‘no’ to a lot of things in order to be more focused on what is necessary for me and my business for where I am right now.
Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?
Schedule every single thing; from morning to night, schedule how you’re going to help the kids plus get all your stuff done and that includes non work related items such as cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, etc. Too many people try to separate it all but it’s not possible, an integrated approach is best to help you get things done.
Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?
That’s a great question that I am still looking for the answer to. I’ve tried hiding but it doesn’t seem to work. I’ll definitely have to get back to you on that one!!
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
I think as bad as it can seem to be, there are a few silver linings we can be grateful for during this pandemic. I think more than ever we need to be hopeful because:
We know a lot more now than we did before so taking the necessary precautions should be second nature at this point. The goal isn’t to be fearful but to be informed and use that information to protect yourself and your family, and honestly, things are getting a lot better worldwide.
We can now use technology for its intended purpose….to connect with and serve our communities:
A phone call
A voice note
You may not realize this with all the distance, that this is the time to come together more.
It’s time to reach out to our friends, family, clients, colleagues and let them know we care.
Think about this, it took a global pandemic to create a world that many of us have been asking for and we should welcome it with open arms:
Convenience: Many businesses have implemented simple things to make the customer’s experience safe and hassle-free.
Trust: Many companies finally realize some staff can work from home and actually get more done.
Effective Time Management: Virtual meetings and emails have replaced face to face contact resulting in less commute and more productivity. .
When this is all over you’ll have quite a story to tell. A story of triumph, of faith and overcoming It’ll be a story that needs to be told and you’re the ONLY ONE who’ll be able to tell it. Trust and believe you’re going to be here to share it and your audience will want to hear it.
This pandemic has forced us to focus on what’s most important. Slowing down and seeing things differently has truly helped us connect with ourselves and our loved ones in a way that I really don’t think we could have otherwise. I think this is a great thing and can help us move forward with much healthier relationships.
From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
I think the goal is just to listen…..there’s no need to respond or give your opinion, just be there to support your loved one by listening to their thoughts, emotions and feelings. Sometimes people just need to get things out in order to feel better.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite quote is
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” -Maya Angelou.
I live by these words every day because it’s a reminder to never stop growing and improving.
How can our readers follow you online?
Find me on my website at www.carlimedia.com
or on social media:
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!