Black Wall StreetDMV CEOI AM CEO PODCASTSocial Entrepreneurship

IAM1681 – Founder Empowers Business Creatives Who Seek To Impact Humanity and Mankind

Podcast interview with Akia Hardnett

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: Akia talked about purpose during this interview and especially how it goes beyond the “papers” and the things that have to be done within the business.  This was recorded during the actual conference so it was great to hear her mission and purpose for the organization but even more to see how it manifested during the conference. She also talked about how she co-created with God (God being the CEO) and even her CEO Hack being “Googling and Pray”

Check out premium content in the CBNation Library at and pick up our eBook to hear some of the best lessons at

Previous Episode:


The full transcription is only available to CBNation Library Members. Sign up today!

Akia Hardnett Teaser 00:00

Beyond the Papers Foundation is a nonprofit for purpose-driven and kingdom-advancing entrepreneurs, those businesses or creatives who are seeking to impact humanity and mankind. We have three primary focuses. We wanna educate them, we wanna empower them, and we wanna equip them to do business in the marketplace.

Intro 00:19

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 00:46

Hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast, and I appreciate you listening to this episode. And if you've been listening this year, we're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes under certain categories or topics that we think are gonna be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners.

This month is going to be about not forgetting about the human part of business. Often we forget about the human part of life. We often forget about the human part of business. So look forward to self-care tips, fitness, burnout, purpose, biz and personal, personal branding, motivation, drive, success, understanding your why, and of course, how important customer service is. But at the heart of it, it's all about, remembering the human part of business. So sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I am CEO podcast.

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 Akia Hardnett of the Beyond the Papers Foundation. Akia it's awesome to have you on the show.

Akia Hardnett 01:43

Thank you for having me, Gresham. I appreciate it.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 01:45

No problem. I appreciate you for getting the opportunity to be here and record podcast. You are the founder and the mind behind everything that we see here today. So I wanted to hear a little bit more about the Beyond the Papers Foundation, and what led you to get started with it.

Akia Hardnett 01:57

Beyond the Papers Foundation is a nonprofit for purpose-driven and kingdom-advancing entrepreneurs. Those businesses or creatives who are seeking to impact humanity and mankind, we have three primary focuses. We wanna educate them, we wanna empower them, and we wanna equip them to do business in the marketplace.

And so taking them beyond the everyday hustle and bustle of administrative paperwork, of contracts, of HR, of payroll and getting them more into a place of passion. And when they can go from just everyday paperwork to passion, they can see profitability.

Gresham Harkless 02:31

Yeah, I think that's absolutely huge because of the hustle and bustle of every day you get lost in the paperwork you get. And getting the clients that you forget, like your overall purpose for doing and, what you were called to do.

Akia Hardnett 02:41

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 02:42

You sparked this with this conference.

Akia Hardnett 02:43

Yes, absolutely. And so a lot of times, like you said, CEO, business owners, entrepreneurs, creatives, they can get burnt out in the everyday hustle and bustle. But what I have found even in my own entrepreneurial journey is that the secret to the sauce is partnering with something bigger than yourself. If you can partner with something bigger than yourself or just turning a dollar, then you find purpose.

See also  IAM135- Lifestyle Youtuber/Blogger Helps Women Step into Their Most Vibrant Selves

When you find purpose, you become passionate about that thing. When you're passionate about that thing, profitability will come, but the impact is greater. Like you're able to leave a mark, you're able to leave a legacy, you're able to leave something that has completely revolutionized culture. So I'm excited about it.

Gresham Harkless 03:20

Awesome. And so how's the conference going now?

Akia Hardnett 03:22

It's amazing. it completely superseded my expectations. Like I expected it to be good, but people have been saying like, this is by far the best conference, one of the best conferences, super amazing. And I've just been like, wow. So to be able to be an orchestrator of this process has been absolutely fulfilling. It's humbling and exciting all in one.

Gresham Harkless 03:44

Yeah. Well, you absolutely have done a phenomenal job. So, I wanted to hear a little bit more about the Beyond the Papers Foundation. Could you tell us a little bit more about what you guys are doing?

Akia Hardnett 03:51

Yeah, so, under the three atmospheres or diagnostics of education, empowerment and equipment. So, how we will do that through education is we will host conferences like the Summit, we'll do webinars, online trainings that will cover all things God and business. How you can partner with Him in everyday business practices, everyday business principles, and we will marry spiritual principles and strategies right alongside those things, so that you're not left trying to figure it out on your own because God has a creative agenda that he's interested in orchestrating and administering into the earth. And so when we can teach people how to do that in the natural course of business, but also the supernatural course of business, it will give them accelerated results. So we do that through education. And once they receive that education, they feel empowered, they feel capable of conquering the world. They feel capable of demonstrating their business, of getting that product on the shelves, of performing that service, of reaching their target market, they just perform at an optimum performance, right? They put out at an optimum performance.

Then through equipping them with the tools, sales and marketing, business administration, how to attract your ideal client. All of the business tools are necessary.

But no business is complete if they don't have funding. So the pipeline and the vein of the foundation is we are a philanthropic funding organization, so most nonprofits are trying to find ways that they can raise money to cause impact. Right? Or to operate, but we are not necessarily interested in raising money for our operations. A hundred percent of our proceeds are going right back into funding businesses, creatives, any initiative or business that's advancing the kingdom of God or as a matter of fact impacting humanity. So that comprises the three components of the organization.

Gresham Harkless 05:31

Absolutely. Love that. And you guys are giving away a grant?

Akia Hardnett 05:33

Yes. We actually gave away our first grant. It's the accelerator grant and that grant was $2,500 and we were absolutely amazed. We got amazing submissions. We had over 25 submissions in less than a week's time. And so we are actually in the process of narrowing down that process. We didn't wanna rush and we were scheduled to award it this evening, but we wanna give it due diligence. And we wanna make sure, I'm legal let me just be honest, right here, legit and legal in this new foundation. And making sure that I'm applying and operating within the laws that are set up. And so we'll be actually making the official award within seven days, but we've narrowed it down to our top 10.

We're gonna have some conversations with these people and bring it down to our top three. And then, we should be making the award. So today is March 1st, so the award should be made by March 7th.

Gresham Harkless 06:14

Awesome. Awesome, awesome. I definitely appreciate that. And now I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And it could be for you or your organization, but what do you feel sets you apart, and makes you unique?

Akia Hardnett 06:22

The fact that I decide to co-labor with God. And what do I mean by that? I spoke about it a little bit this morning, but from a natural perspective. Naturally, I'm not business in kind or I'm inclined business-wise, meaning I didn't go to business school. I didn't go learn all the different dimensions that are involved with the business. I'm self-taught and self-trained, but it's all being led by the spirit. So although I'm self-taught, I'm spirit led in how to be self-taught.

See also  IAM304- Therapist Finds Passion in Improving Clinicians and Professionals Lives

So the thing that sets me apart is my ability to partner with God and to hear from a spiritual perspective what my next step in business is because I can't rely on my own to be successful. And he has literally orchestrated my path from the foundation to several other business ventures that I do on the side.

Gresham Harkless 07:02

Well, I absolutely love that because a lot of times sometimes fear will crop up and we don't know yet we can do it, but sometimes when He puts it on your soul, puts it on your heart, then you have to do it. And for Him to be able to chart the course for you to be able to do that is awesome.

Akia Hardnett 07:13

Absolutely. That's where we talk a little bit about our blueprint to business, right? which is one of the foundational trainings and things that we talk about it's how to take the entrepreneur. Most people consider a business plan, right? And they get so overwhelmed by a business plan, but I believe that heaven or any industry, any product that you bring to market or industry, started off with some type of design. Anything, a car, a house any product that you put out, they wanna see a markup, right?

They wanna see what are you going to bring to market, right? So there's the blueprint. And so heaven has a blueprint for what they need you to bring to market. And so He would begin to literally orchestrate that design for you, and then you just figure out how to plug everything in, and then you operate from a place of blueprint to a place of business. So it's like absolutely amazing. I think it's a wonderful opportunity for people to get involved with the things of God and to make an impact and also generate a profit.

Gresham Harkless 07:58

Yeah, absolutely. That's definitely important. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Akia Hardnett 08:10

It's gonna be so basic. Like so many people probably come up with like all these grand ideas. I said it from the stage I Google and pray. That's just a transparent moment. My CEO hack is Google and prayer. What do I mean by that? There are pivotal moments in business because again, I might not have the full comprehension of what's required, right? What somebody might be talking about, like starting off, I had no idea what a lead magnet was. So shouldn't he have explained that to me.

I had to Google what a lead magnet was. Then I had to pray about God how do I establish a lead magnet? So for me, a CEO hack, because I've chosen to make God the CEO of my business, I'm his COO. God is the chief executive officer. He calls all the shots. I'm the chief operations officer. I get in the earth and I operate. So I have to ask God, what's our move for today, right? And so he'll give me something. If I don't understand it, I'll go Google it and then I'll pray about it. And so that's what I would say is my number one strategy or my number one CEO hack.

Gresham Harkless 09:01

Awesome. I love that CEO hack. And now I wanted to ask you for a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice. Or if you could hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Akia Hardnett 09:10

If I could hop into a time machine and tell my younger business self, I would say don't be moved by time. What do I mean by that? We have very pivotal moments of destiny, moments of impact that are going to happen. And even if you get off track according to what you think of time, it always escapes through eternity. So something where you might think you missed your moment, eternity is always gonna give you another to get to the next level.

See also  IAM1826 - Hard-hitting Serial Entrepreneur Leads the Charge in Helping Small to Mid-size Businesses Catapult in Growth Value

It might take you a little longer because you missed your moment according to your standards. Or maybe you got off track a little bit, but it will always have a way of redemption, always a way that you can get back into position and in sync to be impactful in the marketplace.

Gresham Harkless 09:50

Absolutely love that. Yes. It's not going on your own time, going on his time. It is essential. So you might have touched on this a little bit, but I wanted to ask you for the definition of being a CEO. We're having different quote and quote CEOs on this show, but I wanted to ask you for your definition. What does it mean to you?

Akia Hardnett 10:03

CEO for me would be basing the strategy of business according to heaven's design, right? So when we think about partnering with kingdom-advancing and purpose-driven initiatives, it moves from a place of, don't misunderstand when I say profitability, cause we are in it to make money, but that is, the money is not my driving force. The money or the business is just a vehicle to get you to humanity.

And so in doing that, for me, a CEO is what product, what service can I create that will introduce someone to Christ, right? So it's always about how can I give someone an introduction to somebody that is greater than themselves, that can completely transform their lives. I just get the opportunity to do it through the business market. For me, a CEO is you're a gateway or you're an introduction through the marketplace of the body of Christ and the earth.

Gresham Harkless 10:56

I absolutely love that definition. It can't go wrong with that. So Akia, I appreciate you and I wanted to pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know, and then how best they can get ahold of you.

Akia Hardnett 11:07

I think my final thoughts would be to just make sure you're pursuing from a place of purpose, right? I keep using the words, purpose, passion, and profit, interchangeably. You're hearing me, use them. But if you are at a place of uncertainty, if you're at a place of lack of clarity, if you can go back to your original purpose, the thing for which you were specifically created and designed to do here on earth, short of the marketplace, your personal purpose, and align that to the marketplace if you have the desire to go into business, then you will see your results accelerate much, much faster.

You won't have the same type of toil from someone that's joining it just for a place of profit but you have now moved into a place in a position of purpose, and through that, you can experience profitability.

Gresham Harkless 11:47

Awesome. I absolutely love that. And the best way people can find you?

Akia Hardnett 11:50

You can follow me on Instagram or on Facebook- Akia Hardnett. And you can visit And you can most certainly by all means, visit and stay in touch with us. Get involved and thank you so much for having me.

Gresham Harkless 12:05

No problem. Thank you so much. And we'll have all those links in the show notes. So I appreciate you. I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Akia Hardnett 12:11

Thank you.

Outro 12:13

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at 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 at This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


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(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button