IAM814- Entrepreneur Provide Mentorship and Counsel Peer Groups

Published author, counselor, advocate, entrepreneur and military veteran, Ariel possesses the up with authenticity, vulnerability, and courage. Her unrelenting passion and commitment to empower ability to show others to drive important social initiatives forward with agility and focus makes her a sought after leader in many arenas.

High Impact Presenter and Business Development Expert – Ariel is a returning media guest to conversation topics stemming from Women and Veterans, Diversity and Inclusion, Personal Development and Entrepreneurship. Ariel was recognized as Woman Veteran of the Year (2019) and her accolades include Miss Veteran America, Semi-Finalist (2017) and Miss Black Utah (2010).

  • CEO Hack: I have a habit of reading 25 pages a day
  • CEO Nugget: Recognize what the standard is because it might be less than what you require of yourself
  • CEO Defined: Being thoughtful, present, productive and playful. Having a little self-awareness






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Full Interview:


Intro 0:02
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you’ve come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you’re in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:29
Hello, hello. Hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and have a very special guest on the show today. Ariel shivers McGrew of tactful disruption areas is awesome having on the show.

Ariel Shivers-McGrew 0:40
It's so nice to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

Gresham Harkless 0:43
No problem. Super excited to have you on and before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about areas that you hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And she's a published author, Counselor, advocate, entrepreneur and military veteran. Ariel possesses the up with authenticity, vulnerability and courage. Her unrelenting passion and commitment to empowering ability to show others to drive important social initiatives forward with agility and focus makes her a sought after leader in many arenas, high impact presenter and business development expert. Aereo is a returning media guests to converse conversation topic stem stemming from women and veterans diversity and inclusion, personal development and entrepreneurship and Ariel was recognized as a woman veteran of the Year in 2019. And her accolades include Miss veteran America, semi finalists in 2017 and Miss black Utah in 2010. area, you do many awesome things. Super excited to have you on the show. Are you ready to speak to the Ico community?

Ariel Shivers-McGrew 1:43
I am ready.

Gresham Harkless 1:44
Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I want to hear a little bit more on how you got started. Can you take us through what I call your CEO story? We'll get started with all the awesomeness just working on.

Ariel Shivers-McGrew 1:53
Yeah, it's real short. I'm gonna keep it long story short, I got tired of being around people who were sleeping on me. So um, you know, the reality of it is, you know, like, you have to Raji p Henson starter home movers and there were no black therapist right? Here it was I was I was a black fair, I am a black therapist, right licensed professional counselor. So I'm trying to see pathology as it sits in front of me. But what was even more interesting was I wanted to do career development. And they are very different to other people, when it's like career and mental health or some like really intertwined. You can't have one without the other. I mean, there is literature that dates all the way back to like 1952, about this. So I was working in spaces and places for people who knew that I was a counselor, but what it means to, you know, be in different roles. So for me, it was like the coolest way to kind of develop this mentality of becoming like the Nike of mental health and career development. Like, let me like, let me show you how to do this. This is kind of fun. So they were leveraging the reality that I was affiliated with the military, they're like, Hey, you know, we need women veterans want talk to women, veterans of color, we want them to do things. And it just opened one door after another. And I think the aha moment for me was when I helped a veteran owned company, they were speaking clear English to me, but not to the managing director that I was under. So I was like translating, and we went that we ended up winning a $250,000 grant. And it was to really help with the federal and state technology partnership. And I was looking at it from the strategic plan that the that the company had organized saying, Hey, we want to implement more technology. And I'm like, Well, what if instead of just implementing it, in the organization within our physical space, we actually think about putting that in our programming. And so it was a great way to leverage that mental health background of listening 80% talking 20% but being 100%, self aware, to say, Okay, I figured out how I can actually help people with some of the challenges because the person was brilliant. But you know, the thing about brilliance is there's a fine line between genius and insanity. And so having that experience of counseling, the criminally insane to mother and daughter teams, it's like, I work with people all day long. So tackle disruption to me was really how I am as a person. And our tagline is boldly editing workplace italics, which is just people culture and organization. So it was like a no brainer that, hey, I'm a mental health coach and consultant, like, I've been telling people this and they're still like, we want you for the job. Okay, great. But in my mind, these are projects. I'm not really an employee, because I'm at a state of self actualization. So I realized there's a way to help other people do that. And one of the routes I found was through career development. Now, some people will say it's entrepreneurship, it's economic development, but it's self actualization. We all need to do things that make us happy.

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Gresham Harkless 4:37
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's one of the most powerful words and I think that's something that when you are able to kind of self actualize or get to that moment in that space, that's when really phenomenal things happen. Because I say so often that so many times we end up running other people's races, not running our owns and when you start to understand what that is, and you understand what your race is, and how exactly you can make that happen, how it manifests is So that's when everything kind of flows from there. I agree. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So I know you touched on it a little bit about, you know, tactful disruption, exactly what you do and how you support clients. Can you drill down a little bit more to let us know exactly how that process goes? And who exactly you connect with?

Ariel Shivers-McGrew 5:14
Sure. So we do like one to one mental health coaching. Now, HIPAA is rolling out them, not HIPAA, let me not say that. There is a rollout of new tele behavioral health laws that are coming into play. But what I found was, if I went through organizations like the depression and bipolar support Alliance, they're like 35 years old, they do peer support groups, right. So some of those sessions are free. But really, it's an it's a resource that deals with people who have a likely experience. So it's being able to tell that experience putting truth to it, but with people who have been through it, because sometimes people don't realize, counselors, like there's a real journey to becoming a psychotherapist, like a real journey. Like, no, we had to try on many personalities. And you know, we've dealt with a lot of types of personalities to be like, Oh, I get it, we get it, right, because we're gonna coach you. What I found was, they want it to move a women veterans of color group online, but they don't have any people of color in the organization who speaks to that audience. And so we developed a really dope relationship. And I said, Hey, let me do the campaigns. So they pay us up front, we create the campaigns, we're speaking the language of the population. And then on the back end, I'm running those peer support groups every Sunday at 6pm for them, but there's too full so I'm certified as a veteran Peer Support Specialist. So it's like, Hey, I'll share my story. I'm married a narcissist. I'm like an empath. It's crazy. You know, I had, you know, that gives you PTSD. The reality is, it's just, you know, I had a human experience. But I want to talk to people who understand what that human experiences is like, when you're wearing this uniform, when you don't have an opportunity to be as vulnerable as others, because it comes with a lot more specifically, like my MLS is sIap there not a lot of females that are qualified to be sign up. Additionally, there's not a whole bunch of minority women who are inside up. So it comes with its own implied social responsibilities. And I'm always up for a challenge. So we, we do the campaigns on the front end, we do the peer support groups. So then what happens is we end up getting people who go, Hey, you know, I love this, but I read about your company, and I help with this career piece. So it's like, Hey, we're doing something for an organization in the midst of doing for the organization, we're using that appreciative inquiry framework. So we're looking at their team dynamics to look at helping them have transparent conversations and highlighting, because remember, we're trained to see pathology as it sits in front of us, like, hey, that person might be struggling, you might want to help your buddy out, you know. So there's a new camaraderie that gets created there. But then whoever the primary is, you know, they'll end up calling and I love it. Like, they'll be close. They're like, Oh, my God, I love talking to you. You're like my personal therapist, oh, my hey, yeah, send you an invoice. Them paying for those campaigns upfront gives gave us an opportunity to really give away free therapy and just pure support style, where you drop into a room that's HIPAA compliant. And you talk to me as your as a counselor for 30 to 50 minutes, I will cut you off at 60. So you talk to me and you just you get some stuff out. Because if you speak it, you know, what ends up happening is, you really start to normalize your experience, you start to like de stigmatize yourself, and then the healing starts to happen. Because when you give life to something, you know, it's, it's available now for you to really watch it grow.

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Gresham Harkless 8:43
Yeah, that's extremely powerful. And I think that so many times, there's not always I guess, space that's created. And for that to happen, whether we're talking about organizations or us individual or combination of both. And I love that you have created those, you know, obviously, you know, now there's virtual opportunities, but definitely a ways in which people can learn a lot of that stuff out because I think in correct me if I'm wrong, sometimes that is what happens with mental health Where is sometimes not talked about is not addressed and not looked at. And a lot of times it can be bottled up and manifests itself in not so great ways. I guess you could say,

Ariel Shivers-McGrew 9:15
Oh, definitely, definitely. Awesome. So

Gresham Harkless 9:18
well, I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for yourself or your business or combination of both. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart? It makes you unique.

Ariel Shivers-McGrew 9:27
I'm talented and confident. But like, I understand that I'm a black intellect. And I think sometimes I'm not dealing with people who understand what that is. So it's like I keep keep trying to put the box on me. But that's why I agree that I am tactically disruptive, like, you know, and just like, you know, I'm not just giving you like this framework for a company. I'm giving you this concept that that's who I am as a person. I like it's about the right questions, but it's about being in those environments, and really helping people understand that we can do this caring really lationship as long as we're creating Win Win strategies that allow for us to recognize self actualization is not possible if pathology is present. So if we're not moving together as a team, something is sick within the body of what we're trying to do. So let's fix it.

Gresham Harkless 10:15
I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app or book or a habit that you have what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Ariel Shivers-McGrew 10:25
I read 25 pages a day, I don't care what it is, I just read 25 pages a day, primarily because I'm working on my PhD in business psychology. And so I switched programs halfway through. So going from counselor education and supervision that came so naturally to me, like I would devour those books to reading something that is not as natural to me. It's like, What the hell are they talking about? So I got in the habit of 25 pages a day until this is like a second language to me, like, it's so natural that like, people would think that was a genius. And it's like, Nope, I just learned to be disciplined.

Gresham Harkless 11:05
I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. So this could be like a word of wisdom or piece of advice, and might be something you would tell a client or if you happen to a time machine, you might tell your younger business self

Ariel Shivers-McGrew 11:15
recognize what the standard is, because it might be less than what you require of yourself.

Gresham Harkless 11:22
I definitely appreciate that. And so now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're all gonna have different quote unquote, CEOs on this show. So Mario, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Ariel Shivers-McGrew 11:32
It means being thoughtful, present and playful. And that it's, you know, mining what matters, but making sure that I'm not killing myself in the process of killing myself, the more we had feelings, it recognizing that having a level of self awareness to know, hey, every time that person says, Oh, that makes me uncomfortable, something is happening here. You know what, when I'm creating this, I don't like the way it feels, hey, when I created that, Oh, my God, my heart lit up, I felt great. I told myself I was a genius, put that one out, that one feels good, you know, like, just that, to me be playful, be present, but be productive.

Gresham Harkless 12:06
Nice, I love those kind of three aspects, kind of like the legs of a stool, so to speak. Because I almost feel like if you don't have one, then the whole entire stool, kind of topples over. And I think so many times again, as we kind of talked about, we're not only not, um, I guess aware of those things, we don't really create that space and create that time in order to do that. And as you kind of touched on, you know, during a time like this, where everything has literally come to a pause, and kind of forced that honest look at where you are and what you're accomplishing and how your mental health is, it is so important that to happen that we kind of take advantage of this time as well.

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Ariel Shivers-McGrew 12:44
Definitely, I hope you've been taking advantage of this time, they've been working hard.

Gresham Harkless 12:47
I've been working hard and I tried to you can't help take advantage of the time because you know, it's so much of a transformational time that everything that you did on a regular basis is not the normal. So it kind of has been a very tactfully disruptive time so to speak.

Ariel Shivers-McGrew 13:05
I love it. You know, it has been though, right? Because now people have really had to get some sense about themselves and for us to recognize wholeheartedly and realistically for the first time. Common sense is not common, because half of us have been living in isolation. So you know, now it's like people you can like you can almost feel it. It's so palpable people saying like, you know, go soul urges, like people need hugs, people need people now.

Gresham Harkless 13:31
Absolutely. And we realized that we probably didn't have those human interactions that people connection that we had, we thought we were having everything everybody, to some degree was kind of just zoom in through last life, we can say,

Ariel Shivers-McGrew 13:43
yeah, I mean, I bet you if you put it out there and ask people after this interview, how many of you still interact with some of those people you saw every day? I bet you like more than half your like habit. And to be honest, I have peace now. You know, I have peace. I'm glad they fell off or you know, I'm not sure but my life has been redirected since then. It's almost like you know, it's it's kind of like a power right goes die. But like, you know, it's it's a new season. This is the type of game right? chess, not checkers. Low is a whole new thing whole new, a whole new mission. Like it's like what, what's about to happen, and I love that. I love that. Like, you're literally getting to experience a redo, right? Like if you didn't get if you felt like you weren't getting it, right, he felt like you went through too much. You know, it's our modern day biblical times the world has stopped for you to understand what you need to your universe to make some stuff happen. So I think that's pretty dope. If you look at it that way. I don't know I'm a glass half full tick.

Gresham Harkless 14:43
So I'm very much that type of person too. And I think as you kind of touched on, it's so important to be able to kind of take advantage of that time as well because I think a lot of times just like with everything else that's been happening we can kind of just allow life to kind of happen and zoom through and wait till be patiently wait are anxiously waiting To the end, when in reality, this is the present that we have right in front of us. So

Ariel Shivers-McGrew 15:05
the latter will present exactly,

Gresham Harkless 15:07
exactly why I definitely appreciate that area and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best to get a hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

Ariel Shivers-McGrew 15:21
Oh, thank you. Um, we are a digital mental health coaching and consulting practice, we address the intersections. So you'll see that we use a lot of little wood figures because we recognize it's a it's a personal journey doesn't actually come with a face, it's what you make it. But we want to be here for you in the process. If you know any women veterans who need additional support, we run free emotional peer support groups every Sunday at 6pm. The link is you can find the link on our Instagram page if you ever want to know what we're up to just follow us on social

Gresham Harkless 15:56
Awesome, awesome, awesome and make it even easier. We'll have the links and information in the show notes as well too so that everybody can follow up with us. And I think obviously this is a very transformational time as we've talked about and I think so many times we zoom over mental health we zoom over checking in to make sure that you're okay so I appreciate you for kind of leading that charge and making us remind and reminding us of how important that is as well too. So arrow truly appreciate that and hope you have a great rest of the day.

Outro 16:22
Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at IAMCEO.CO. I am CEO is not just a phrase, it’s a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear a This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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