Marisa Jones is a published author, Mindset Coach and mental health advocate. After 30 years in Corporate America leading multimillion dollar projects, she is now focused on having important conversations about personal growth and mental health with executive women across the globe in her podcast Women CEO In Reflection. Her signature program is for those seeking to find their purpose and authenticity in life. A 6-month intensive bootcamp, “Mindset Warrior: The Art of Intentional Thinking” focuses on healing the long-term effects of trauma and the behaviors, patterns, and decisions we make stemming from our childhood imprint.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I grew up in NY where my parents were Sicilian immigrants. My father was an abusive alcoholic and that left me leading a life of being a bully to others, turning to drugs for coping and left with depression and suicidal ideation throughout my life. In parallel, I had a passion for technology and found myself building computers and taught myself coding in the early 1980’s. This hobby became my career and allowed me to succeed in the business world. I didn’t have many role models or mentors in my life as my family culture taught me I had to get married and have babies, not reach for professional goals. Today I am a mentor for other women who have experienced a similar path and want to break out of their cultural path in life.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
In 2010 I filed for divorce from my husband. I had two young kids and was traveling full-time for my technology job. My husband had an affair and it wasn’t the first time. He also was addicted to prescription drugs. I had been married 22 years and needed to find myself again. I was depressed, drinking alcohol and suicidal. Afraid to reach out for help as I thought I would lose both my children. In 2019 I published my memoir and now support women through corporate mentorships and my Mindset Warrior program.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea that made you start this brand? How did such a unique idea strike you, and what motivated you to “YES, go for it?”
Being in the tech industry, I found there were very few women as my peers. And the higher you climbed the ladder, the women collaborated less because it seemed everyone was vying for the ‘one seat’ at the table. In my role as a leader, I always wanted to ensure the women stood together and supported each other. But what I found was that many lacked the confidence to let go and allow another woman to work alongside them. And those that did, struggled with talking about their personal life because they may be going through difficult times. With my company, Everyday Being, I wanted to be sure I empowered women to step into their power but supporting their needs. Healing needs to come first, so they can love themselves, and honor themselves. Once they can truly embody that, they have the confidence to be the support for other women. My YES, go for it moment was when I published my memoir and so many colleagues – both men and women – came forward and started sharing their ‘skeletons in the closet’. My work gave them the confidence to start talking about their struggles. That’s when I knew I had to keep going.
Tell us something about your initiative or current role. What is it about, and what impact are you trying to make?
My podcast Women CEO In Reflection is to have those candid conversations with executive women across the globe. My goal is to have these women seen as mentors – to inspire other women – that no matter their struggle, whether it’s anxiety, depression, caring for elderly parents, all while being a CEO for a major company or building their own business, that they can succeed. The guests on my show share what they do to maintain a healthy balance of career success and good mental health.
Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?
Learning to pivot and be flexible on your ideas. As much as you are set on your initiatives, there may not be a market for what you want to deliver. Get feedback from clients, and survey your followers often. Also, having to let go and hire the right team. Being an entrepreneur is expensive when you are starting. But hiring the right people to support you is critical to keeping your stress levels down. You can’t learn it all and do it all! Or at least you shouldn’t. I’ve hired coaches, marketing teams, and virtual assistants. Take the hit financially early on and invest in yourself and your business. If you build a good foundation for your business, it will provide the returns you are looking for. Slow and steady and think longevity and sustainable vs short-term success.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
I started my business just before the pandemic. My plan was to teach live workshops and do speaking engagements. I had to rethink my business and move everything online. The best thing I did was take a course on how to build an online course. I recorded my workshops, created downloads for exercises and did online speaking engagements. Now my coaching program allows my clients to leverage my materials online and our sessions follow a review and discussion which is a more effective use of our time. And the way it was designed I can now offer my entire program, and other courses, without coaching as a self-practice.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
I am part of several initiatives to support multiple communities. I am a Board Member of Potency. World where we are getting funding for building schools for girls with a new and interesting model. I am part of a team working with veterans and building a wellness center in Costa Rica where we will support traumatic brain injuries. And I have a company called Zenful Web where I create author websites for new authors. I also support fundraisers for domestic violence organizations offering my book or courses for free.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
Women are so much more powerful than we have been taught. We can be so much more powerful if we tap into our authentic self through awareness – of our past, present and future selves – and truly know who we are individually. What makes us tick? What are our passions? Where can we grow? Then collaborate with as many women as you can to partner and change the world together.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
Live authentically. We have one life, and you can do whatever you want with it! You don’t have to excuse yourself, spend time with people who don’t honor you, or live small. And live intentionally. Enjoy every moment and live in present moments with awareness and intention. Every step, every conversation, every action. Every leaf falling, river flowing or butterfly you see. The world is an exciting place full of wonder, but you have to choose to see it.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?
For too long women had to behave like a man to be successful and break the glass ceiling. I urge all women to stay in their feminine power – remain soft and nurturing; remain steady and reliable, remain accessible, confident and firm in your decisions. And do it with love for what you do and the people you lead.
With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
Keep moving forward and breaking traditions in both your personal and professional life. Our world still needs a lot of work, new ideas and care. Focus on the people you serve in all aspects of your life. Anything is possible so get out there and show the world who you are!