Creating a Supportive Community: Inspiration for Working Women

BY Millie Holloman and Carmin Black

As a CEO wife and mother Stephanie Lanier is very well acquainted with the unique challenges faced by women who juggle life in and out of the home. In conversations with other women she knew she wasn’t alone. Others in the business and nonprofit world felt the same pressures.

Lanier the head of Wilmington real estate company theLanier Property Group founded The Inspiration Lab to help professional women deal with the challenges by coming together for support encouragement and community.

The lab was launched as a quarterly luncheon series with speakers addressing topics that women often struggle with.

“Every single Inspiration Lab has explored the work/family tension we all feel and what it looks like to have a successful and meaningful career in the midst of taking care of others (children parents etc.) ” Lanier says.

Two of the 2016 speakers noted wedding photographer Millie Holloman and Carmin Black co-founder and owner of Half United share their advice with Wrightsville Beach Magazine readers.

Millie Holloman

Crazy Busy: Making Time for What’s Important

As a single foster mom and owner of three businesses I am constantly asked “How do you do it all?” How do I manage to balance work and home so seamlessly? The truth is I don’t always feel like I mastered each category. There is always room for improvement but here are a few things I try to keep close to my heart and mind throughout each week.

Give yourself some grace. In today’s world of social media it is easy to fall into the comparison trap. Remember that your life is different and that is a good thing.

Remember that when you say YES to something you are saying NO to something else. That could mean saying NO to a more profitable client or more time with your family.

Outsource the things that don’t bring you joy. For me it is cleaning my house grocery shopping with kids and editing images. I hired an image editor in my business shop for groceries online and have my house cleaned once a month.

Brain dump. Sometimes I just have to clear my head organize my thoughts and quiet my brain. I write everything out in a notebook from the most advanced to the simplest of tasks/ideas. Then I use this list to create four smaller lists: to do immediately to accomplish in three months in one year and 3-5+ years.

Choose three top projects/priorities every day. Start with those instead of diving into your email. You will be amazed at how much more progress you make.

Millie Holloman is founder owner photographer and idea generator for Millie Holloman Photography and co-founder/owner of online wedding retail store Pressed Cotton.

Carmin Black

Confidence and Competition: How to Win in Business Without Losing Yourself

It’s amazing to me how hard owning your own business is. I’ve never had to deal with the corporate politics that I am sure Nicole [co-presenter Nicole Holmes chief commercial officer of Wilmington-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy]has had to navigate through but I do know what it feels like to start a company with virtually zero funds and limited career experience like my brother and I did.

I’ve decided that knowing people like Nicole and our other (amazing) mentors is THE key to success. Mentors have taught Christian and me things like communicating appropriately with employees how to budget correctly the importance of inventory management controlling costs even how to be more confident in our abilities.

Still without personal drive and determination nothing our mentors tell us to do matters if we don’t put in the hard work when they’re not around.

These days giving great customer service keeping our team running in the same direction and staying focused on our mission are things we are most passionate about. It’s taken years to understand what our brand is good at and which things we don’t do well (and thus do not resonate with our customers).

If I have any advice it’s this: do not buy into your own pity party. If you run a business or want to run one you will miss special events you will be taken for granted you will want to quit you will cry you will think you’ve made it one minute only to wonder if you should be in business at all the next. However if you keep going you will succeed.

Keep going do not give up.

Carmin Black co-owns the altruistically oriented jewelry and fashion company Half United with her brother Christian.