I AM CEO PODCAST

IAM1620 – Founder Runs 100% Woman-owned Boutique Winery

Podcast Interview with Heather Rader

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: One of the most impactful things I heard over, and over and over again was the importance of the morning routine and while it seems obvious, it is often overlooked. When starting something new and thinking of planning and preparation, don't forget about the morning routine. Heather touched on how impactful it was for her to “make that mental shift to being a morning person” and one of Heather's values is all about freedom and how she ran a $500M portfolio but made a shift in her career. She's a trailblazing and inspiring person but also this episode was a great reminder of how you can be the change you hope to see.

Check out premium content in the CBNation Library at http://cbnation.co/library and pick up our eBook to hear some of the best lessons at http://cbnation.co/shop.

Previous Episode: https://iamceo.co/2021/07/22/iam1074-founder-runs-100-woman-owned-boutique-winery/

Transcription:

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Heather Rader Teaser 0:00

Being a CEO to me means freedom. Truly I would say probably my number one value outside of learning is freedom. I spent many years in the corporate world, where I was making a lot of other people a lot of money and I wanted the freedom to travel, and spend my time where I wanted to spend it giving back and creating this whole neat ecosystem.

Intro 0:27

Are you ready to hear business stories? And learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long long long interview. If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time, and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of, this is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:54

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Heather Rader of Spirit Horse Vineyards. Heather, it's great to have you on the show.

Heather Rader 1:04

Thank you so much for having me, I'm honored to be here.

Gresham Harkless 1:07

Definitely, the honor is all ours and you're doing so many phenomenal things. What I wanted to do is just read a little bit more about Heather, so you can hear about some of those awesome things. Heather Rader is the founder of Spirit Horse Vineyards, a 100% woman-owned boutique winery based in Napa that empowers community and connection through delicious wines, unique member experiences and philanthropy. The winery proudly supports the SpiritHorse Riding Center, an equine therapy rescue horse ranch that helps the next generation of girls thrive. 

Heather, great to have you on the show again, are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?

Heather Rader 1:39

I am, I'm so excited thanks so much.

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Gresham Harkless 1:42

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, definitely excited to have you on and as a recipe for the fabulous wine. I know you make so many phenomenal products that make so many people happy.

But before we jumped into that and what did you do, could you take us through a little bit more, on how you got started in what I call your CEO story?

Heather Rader 1:55

Yes absolutely. So my background actually started off in the corporate. I was the VP of sales at a Fortune 500 company, for about 12 years. Ran about a 100 million dollar portfolio there at its peak. Managed a large team there. The thing I loved about it which was mentoring the team and teachables and all those things. That's what I really loved about my job.

But I got to a point of burnout, and I was living out of hotels and everything was looking good on paper but I just was not feeling fulfilled and wanted to do something where I could connect with people, in a more meaningful way. And we could get something back into the community, which is something that's just so important to me. So, that's how we started Spirit Horse Vineyards. I left that corporate job. I dumped my boyfriend at the time. This is many years ago and I did a little walkabout through Europe, came back and started the winery.

Gresham Harkless 2:57

Nice, well, I appreciate you sharing that. And I love especially with the mentorship and the giving back, and that connection piece that you mentioned so well that's coming through everything. You've been able to kind of create with all the awesome things you're working on.

Heather Rader 3:09

For sure and I think you know for me as a consumer, I want to align my dollars with people and products that do give back to the community and that align with my value system. So I really looked at it from a consumer standpoint. I belong to a lot of different wine clubs and they were all really the same, which I would get my quarterly wine shipment every quarter. They had a harvest party every year, I didn't know who owned the winery, I didn't know any of the other club members, and there was no giving back element. I couldn't choose my allocations every quarter.

I was just told what I would take and so I guess as they say in the world, if you don't like what you're seeing in the world, you go out and create it yourself. So that's really what I did.

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Gresham Harkless 3:50

Yeah, absolutely that's definitely the entrepreneurial charge for sure. If you don't like it then, and you have that great idea, why not go about doing that. And I love how you mentioned too, like so many times we forget that the dollars that we have, they could basically be ways by which we could support causes, or support certain initiatives, or even not support certain initiatives. So I love that you have that piece of awareness around being able to kind of support certain initiatives in organizations.

Heather Rader 4:14

So, as I was saying, I really think that you do that with your dollars. Every dollar you spend whether you realize it or not like, you said either, it's for something or it's against something. And I'm really about supporting marginalized groups whether that be the lgbtq community, people of color, or women.

The interesting thing to me was that only three percent of wineries are owned by women. And only 10 percent of winemakers are women. So, essentially you have 99 percent old white guys, for lack of a better term selling wine to 80 of wine buyers, or women, so you just have this huge disconnect. And there's just this real disconnect, I feel like in the value systems of the things that we hold here particularly the community in giving back. So, I really set out to change that narrative and change that dialogue.

Gresham Harkless 5:04

Yeah, I definitely appreciate you for mentioning that. And of course, doing that as well. Because I think so many times there's not enough conversation around being able to kind of reconnect that disconnect, that often happens. I think that's why I love entrepreneurship. And at the heart of it, being able to kind of create something, because you see something that isn't how it necessarily should be.

And rather than kind of resting all your lures, you decided to kind of create that. So, I commend you for doing that, and I know you're inspiring loads and loads of people to do that as well. So I wanted to hear a little bit more about what you're doing with your company. Can you take us through a little bit more on how you serve your clients and what that looks like.

Heather Rader 5:39

Sure again I think for me I just really thought about what are my unique differentiators. Again, we are women-owned which is rare. We do have a giving back element which is sadly also rare. We do help support the spirit course riding center. So not only do we help children, we work with all kinds of groups. There are so many groups we want to help right, and there's a waiting list.

We've helped as many as we possibly can. But that's what I'm all about, we support this riding center where we rescue horses so these horses are what we call Second Chance horses. For example, we have a horse named Hobie, who was a racehorse. If you know anything about horse racing, the minute they're unable to race anymore they are typically put down on the spot. Hobie was saved from that and he now is living out his life's purpose at our horse ranch as a therapy horse. And he is the kid's favorite horse in the world, he's brown with little white spots and it's just like such a beautiful story I think of showing kids that they have worth.

And we particularly work with a program, we work with foster kids coming out of the Napa Valley foster care system. And showing these kids that they have worth to go from, a lot of times very abusive situations. And we put them on an eight-week leadership and empowerment program on those horses at the end of that program they are confidently riding a 2,000-pound animal and leading it around and the look on their face and their shoulders are back and they're confident. And that to me is what we're all about right.

You can drink beautiful wine and you can also do awesome things within your community and so it's a really special magical place and that is one of our unique differentiators. Members can come to the spirit horse riding center in Napa. They can see exactly where their dollars are going, you know, besides drinking the beautiful wine. They actually get to see their rescue horses, they can see the kids a lot of them have their corporation sponsor camps for the kids which are great. And that's just more full circle for us, so we love to see that and it's really an amazing community.

Gresham Harkless 7:54

Yeah, and I appreciate you so much for doing that. Especially you know that self-worth, self-confidence piece, that you talked about that. I think so many times we don't see like we were talking about, being able to create that lane. It provides so much awareness, and I think confidence to people that we sometimes don't realize are looking that they can do that too.

And that we're able to see the world as we hope to see it. I think that, as you said so well, when you're able to have really phenomenal wine, with that phenomenal cause that you have, that's where you don't have to choose either where you create a win-win-win-win experience. So I love that you've been able to do that.

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Heather Rader 8:28

That's certainly our magic sauce. So like I said, it's one thing to talk about it, but I always invite people out to the ranch. It's a magical place, like I said, a lot of people cry and they always get the apologies ‘I'm sorry I'm crying' And I said ‘why are you apologizing?', I said pretty much everyone cries.

So it's really like, it reminds you of what's important in life, it is about connection, it is about people, it is about lifting each other up. That all Ships rise together and that is what the place represents and that's what the wine represents.

Gresham Harkless 8:59

Yeah and I love that and I think that being part of the secret sauce and what you feel is definitely setting you apart. It's like, as you said, we often will forget that especially with the hustle and bustle, even though we had like the people call it sometimes a great pause of this past year.

It still is very necessary for us to be reminded of what really matters, and how we can create that impact in our lives by the things that we do and things that we don't do. So I appreciate you for creating that kind of atmosphere and that culture.

Heather Rader 9:30

Can't wait to have you out, I know you got the wine, but it's not the same. So we gotta get you and the listeners out, for some out to the ranch we would really love that.

Gresham Harkless 9:40

Absolutely, yeah the wine was just a bridge for me to get there. So I'm definitely looking forward to getting there and being around that phenomenal environment. So 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, a book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Heather Rader 9:56

I made a mental shift, I used to think of myself more as a night person. And I realized that, wow, you just get so much more, for lack of a better term, damn shift that in the morning. But I really made a mental shift, that I am a morning person. And my biggest hack is adhering to our morning routine that is meaningful to me. That I know sets me up for success in the day and it's different for everyone, right? Depending on where you are, the time you have in your life or what you need at that moment, but for me, it's some meditation, time outside and some journaling and it really helps me just get focused into my day and what do I really want to accomplish for that day.

You know it's so easy to get just caught up in your email inbox. And then you're being told what you're going to do with your day versus you saying these are the things I need to focus on for the day and I absolutely love having a few hours in the morning, when no one else is really up. I get a lot done so that's my hack so to speak. I mean, creating an ideal morning routine, that really works for you and sticking with that I think it's a great domino effect for the rest of your day.

Gresham Harkless  11:10

Awesome awesome. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. And you might have already touched on this, but this could be a word of wisdom or piece of advice. It might be something if you were to hop into a time machine you would tell your younger business self.

Heather Rader 11:23

Oh yes, this is one of my favorite questions. For me, and in particular societal conditioning, I think it's knowing your worth. Especially when I was in Corporate America, I remember the day I found out I was making almost a third of what my male counterpart was making. And I managed twice the amount of accounts and revenue, and I had team under me, I mean all the things right and I just was, upset about that obviously. But I wasn't taught, and most women are not taught especially to know their worth, and to ask for it.

And I remember walking to my boss's office that day. And I put a number on his desk, and I said I want this number on my desk or I'm walking and in that moment I knew my worth. I knew I was the top performer by far on the team and guess what, the next day I walked in and the letter was on my desk with that number.

Gresham Harkless 12:11

Awesome.

Heather Rader 12:11

So key learning, advice to my younger self is to know your worth. Ask for what you're worth. I used to take the junior people on my team, I would take them, and my top performers I would take them out for a glass of wine. And casually like, let's run through how you ask for a raise, right? I have them practice with me and then I would say in tomorrow I'm going to make you walk in and actually ask me for a race. So I could give you this raise that you deserve.

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And like just really paying it forward, and that was so fulfilling to me. But yeah that was certainly my biggest lesson, knowing my worth. It's important as an entrepreneur if are you pricing your product in a meaningful way.  Are you pricing your product, whatever it is your service, to what it's worth?? And I think a lot of us entrepreneurs early on we tend to undervalue what we're providing. So I would say that's my biggest nugget.

Gresham Harkless  13:08

Absolutely, I appreciate that. And I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote-and-quote CEOs on the show. So Heather what does being a CEO mean to you?

Heather Rader 13:20

Being a CEO to me means freedom. Truly I would say probably my number one value, outside of learning, is freedom. So to me I spent many years again in the corporate world where I was making a lot of other people a lot of money.

And I wanted the freedom to travel and spend my time where I wanted to spend it and give back. And creating this whole neat ecosystem. So to me it's freedom, that's my biggest takeaway.

Gresham Harkless  13:52

Yeah, and that's extremely powerful. Because I think so many times again, like we were talking about self-worth a lot of times we don't realize, that even if we have a business or even if we don't have a business, sometimes we have the ability to create that freedom in some ways in our life.

And I think when you couple that with self-confidence, with self-worth then you can really go to another level because it begins not so much with what can I do, it begins to become what can't I do and I think that's a really phenomenal and powerful place to be.

Heather Rader 14:20

For sure. And again you know, you're modeling it. Whether you realize it or not, you're modeling it for the next generation so it's fun for me to show the foster girls you know at the ranch, you know. Hey like not only do you have worth, but we care about where you're going in this world. And you can do awesome things, right?

I didn't grow up being handed a lot, like I didn't come from a lot. My father picked cotton, my grandfather couldn't write his own last name, he was illiterate. So that if you work hard and you have a heart that's beautiful you can do anything in the world, so absolutely it's the freedom of choice.

Gresham Harkless  15:00

Yeah absolutely. And I think when you're reminded of that and you can see that being you know, exemplified and so many different people that's when you really can start to look within, and see what can you do and start to move towards that.

So Heather, truly appreciate that definition and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is just pass you the mic so to speak just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course how best they can get a hold of you, and find out about all about some things you're working on.

Heather Rader 15:26

Absolutely, well, I would love to, I mean if you love wine, we would love to have you try some sparrow horse. I do have a special code if you go to spirithorsevineyards.com And you put inI am CEO’ you will get 15 off any orders of a hundred dollars or more.

And I also invite if you to buy wine or join the club, of course you're invited out to the horse ranch and Gresham I can't wait to see you and your crew out at the horse ranch. But certainly, you're invited there as well. My email is heather@spirithorsevineyards.com You can also DM us on Instagram.

Gresham Harkless 16:01

Absolutely, well Heather truly appreciate that. We will have the links and information in the show notes as well too and anybody who's listening. Looking forward to seeing you there as well maybe we can get a whole crew to go there which would be extremely awesome.

But I love everything you're doing, I love everything you know you stand for, and what you've been able to build and create in so many different ways. So thank you so much again for your time and obviously the work that you do. And I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Outro 16:24

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast powered by CB nation and 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. Get your driven CEO gear at ceogear.co. This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless Jr. Thank you for listening.

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Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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