Denise Herd | President, Herd Strategies
“Say yes more than you say no…get out of your way, your greatness is greater than you understand it to be at this point in your life journey.”
The Pass The Torch for Women Foundation will host the annual “Ignite the Torch” Awards Reception at the Indianapolis Artsgarden on November 2, 2018. This afternoon is dedicated to honoring women who have made significant contributions to other women and the community. We are looking forward to this inspiring event, but first we’d love to get to know our award winners more, starting with the Pass The Torch Entrepreneurship Award of Excellence winner, Denise Herd!
What does receiving the Pass the Torch Entrepreneurship Award of Excellence mean to you?
This award is a “thank you” to the women who are also entrepreneurs that have encouraged and inspired me since launching my business. They are all different but the one thing they have in common are the lessons they taught me about the importance of supporting other women and to welcome with open arms, women who are pursuing business ownership. Being a business owner is challenging. No two days are alike and there are no easy paths.
Is there a quote or motto that you like to live by?
“You can either talk about it or be about it, the choice is up to you. But always remember, actions speak louder than words.”
Did you have any role models or mentors that you would like to acknowledge as touchstones to your success today?
Dee Dee Strum – She was a mentor and role model to me and early in my career she told me I would be a business owner. I told her no, I didn’t think so. She would often invite myself and other young women to her home for dinner and talk to us about our goals, life and our careers. She was an amazing mentor and poured so much of herself in to so many women in our community.
Maggie A. Lewis – Maggie is a great role model for myself and many women in our community and has taught me valuable lessons about being graceful as a women in leadership serving in a male dominated environment.
Debbie Wilson – Debbie has been a great mentor helping me remain confident during my contract negotiations and asking for the fees I deserve. Women often underpay or underestimate themselves. Debbie has been a great mentor in helping me remain focused and grow my business.
Charles Kennedy – Charles has been an ally and advocate for my company and for me. Many people don’t know this but I went through a business dissolution with a former business partner. Charles mentored me through every step of the dissolution and has remained a champion as I have shaped my company over the years.
Joyce Q. Rogers, Esq. – The value of contracts. Joyce was a former boss who always told me “Denise, the contract jumpstarts the process. If you don’t have a contract there is no deal.” I have carried this important lesson into my business and follow it to this day. A lot of times business owners move forward without a contract and are relying on the good will of the client to honor the agreed upon deal. Joyce taught me to always make sure my work and my business is protected.
Carrie Henderson – Great mentor. My business was faultering and she forced me to take a hard look at myself and my company in order to make the necessary changes to ensure my success. Tough loved me and drove me to tears but I am forever grateful.
What are some things that you are passionate about/what do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy motorcycling. I have a Harley Softail Deluxe and I really enjoy the long trips I’ve been able to take. Motorcycling is my escape. It’s a great way to get away from email, texts, phone calls and just listen to my own thoughts. It’s where I’ve developed my best ideas.
I’m also do a lot of volunteering and serve on several boards. I believe its very important to serve your community. My sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha is very focused on service and provides a lot of opportunities for me to spend time with other women and give back to community who has given so much to me.
I also have started to make a conscious effort to focus on my health. I’ve been working out with a personal trainer several times a week and focus on eating clean when ever I can. This has taken my cooking skills in a new direction and provided me with an opportunity to experiment with spices and new recipes to create healthier versions of my favorite dishes.
As you know, our Project Grow program offers mentorship to young women between the ages of 19-22. Looking back, if you could give your former self a piece of advice, what would you tell her?
Say yes more than you say no. Yes to spending time with friends and loved ones. Yes, to new adventures. Yes to leaving your laptop at the office, at home or in the car and taking a much deserved long weekend, vacation or day off from work. Spend time with friends and loved ones and create memories. Get out of your way, your greatness is greater than you understand it to be at this point in your life journey.