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March 27, 2023

M&A Thought Leader And Success Magnet Kelley Powell On How To Elevate Your Success Through Private Equity (#215)

M&A Thought Leader And Success Magnet Kelley Powell On How To Elevate Your Success Through Private Equity (#215)
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“Find your village and surround yourself and listen to the people that are going to positively influence your momentum forward.” - Kelley Powell

Kelley Powellis the Founder of MacLaurin Group, a company providing technology operating partner services to portfolios of private equity companies. Supporting companies in growth and M&A activities, Kelley brings a unique experience from founder-led organization to multiple private equity-led cycles. Kelley is an avid mentor, angel investor, and chairwoman for the da Vinci Center for Innovation Angels Advisory Board at VCU. She’s also a board member of the Richmond chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, and in 2020 was appointed by  Governor Northam to serve as a member of the Virginia Council on Women.

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Meet Kelley Powell

Kelley Powell (@ke11eyp) - Twitter

Kelley W. Powell - President, KelleyWPowell LinkedIn

Book: Courage to Lose Sight of Shore: How to Partner with Private Equity to Grow Your Business with Confidence

Cockroach Startups: What You Need To Know To Succeed And Prosper

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Your liquidity event is the most important financial transaction of your life. You have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count. 

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Enjoy the interview!


[00:00:00] Jeffrey Feldberg: Welcome to the Deep Wealth Podcast where you learn how to extract your business and personal Deep Wealth.

I'm your host Jeffrey Feldberg.

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth and the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience.

When it comes to your business deep wealth, your exit or liquidity event is the most important financial decision of your life.

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time and your hard earned money wasted.

Of the quote unquote "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave 50% to over 100% of the deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

I should know. I said "no" to a seven-figure offer. And "yes" to mastering the art and the science of a liquidity event. Two years later, I said "yes" to a different buyer with a nine figure deal.

Are you thinking about an exit or liquidity event?

Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing the skills that built your business are the same ones to sell it.

After all, how can you master something you've never done before?

Let the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and the 9-step roadmap of preparation help you capture the best deal instead of any deal.

At the end of this episode, take a moment and hear from business owners like you, who went through the Deep Wealth Experience.

Kelley Powell is the founder of McLaren Group, a company providing technology operating partner services to portfolios of private equity companies supporting companies in growth and M&A activities. Kelley brings a unique experience from founder-led organization to multiple private equity-led cycles.

Kelley is an avid mentor, angel investor and chairwoman for the DaVinci Center for Innovation Angels Advisory Board at VCU. She's also a board member of the Richmond Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, and in 2020 was appointed by Governor Northam to serve as a member of the Virginia Council on Women.

Welcome to the Deep Wealth Podcast, and as usual, I don't have any guess. I have an absolutely epic guest. Let's look at the checklist here. Founder check. Author check thought leader check. Involved with private equity check investors. Yes. Wow. We have it all, but I'm gonna stop right there. Kelley, welcome to the Deep Wealth Podcast.

Such a pleasure to have you with us. And you know what, Kelley, there's always a story behind the story. So, what's your story? What got you to where you are today?

[00:02:48] Kelley Powell: Thank you so much for having me. My story, I thought I was going to have a career in data, which is what landed me at a company here in Richmond. We did phenomenal things for colleges and universities. And we got the eye of private equity and that growth at the same time of doing other things in our community around mergers and acquisition, launched into what has become a career and private equity and in serving founders growing their businesses.

[00:03:24] Jeffrey Feldberg: And it's interesting, Kelley, as you mentioned, private equity, depending on who you speak to, you'll get different kinds of reactions. And why don't we talk about that? Because I know offline you said something fascinating to me that the listeners should really hear. And it's actually counterintuitive with what you said, so, I'm not gonna steal your thunder with that, but why don't you share for our listeners, in terms of timing and private equity, and what your thoughts were with what we were talking about forehand.

[00:03:51] Kelley Powell: The private equity in creating wealth it fuels our economy for university endowments. It fuels our economy for retirement funds. There's so much that is phenomenal about private equity, but not everybody thinks private equity is for them. They see private equity as something that they wouldn't want to do.

So, what's really phenomenal about being with you on this podcast is that your listeners. Our founders who are wanting to know how they grow their businesses to have really successful businesses and their growth, regardless of whether or not they are gonna consider private equity. As I think with my book, the perfect person is going to be the founder that is just starting out or the founder that's growing their business and they'll say, well, yes, but I don't need to read Kelley's book because I'm not interested in private equity.

It's not for me. But if you're going to want to grow your business, that private equity might look at you later down the road. You don't know it now, but wouldn't you wanna know all the secrets on what makes that company successful? I'm hoping that your listeners will pick up my book and learn all the secrets to know what to do and what not to do as a founder, as you're growing in their business, regardless of private equity.

[00:05:18] Jeffrey Feldberg: And speaking of your book, Courage to Lose Sight of Shore: How to Partner with Private Equity to Grow Your Business with Confidence. And for our listeners, we'll have this in the show notes. It'll be a point-and-click. And it's really a must-read because much like what Kelley talks about, same thing here at Deep Wealth, where with our nine-step roadmap, we're saying, hey, forget about a liquidity event.

Forget about an Exit. If you can't grow your business if you don't have a business then what does it matter at that point? And Kelley, we're really on the same page now with your background and everything that you've seen. Why don't we start with Glass Half Full? And I know you and I as founders and entrepreneurs, the glass is always not only half full, it's brimming over with just opportunity.

But on the flip side of that you're probably seeing what I like to call Pareto's law, 80% of maybe the mistakes or the failures that are out there are probably coming from, give or take, 20% of the same root cause or error. Time and time again, for the business owners, whether they're a startup gully, or whether they've been in business for decades, what would be some of the top mistakes that you're seeing time and time again that people should know about?

[00:06:29] Kelley Powell: Yeah and I think it's even more important now with the economy and with things that, you know, things can change. Things change all the time. They can change any minute. Give yourself the gift of being able to be as efficient and as easy and make the process painless as possible. The first and foremost is know your numbers.

It should not become a huge uphill battle to be able to create your numbers for someone I think about when you ask me a question like that I think about, okay, when I've been sitting across the table from a client and I can see the gentleman right now, as we're having the conversation around pulling the numbers together, and he says to me, this is such a heavy lift.

This is distracting from working on the business and growing our business. And it is a process is going to be a heavy lift, but there are things that you as a founder can be doing even before you think about any process to your point that's just good for growth. And one of that, there's things you can do is knowing your numbers.

And I think we often hear what are your highest revenue customers? What are the ones where you're making the most money? And I think that is very important. But at the same time, we can make the mistake of understanding the cost of a client too as well.

Where are you making your profits? Because if you have a client that you think is your highest revenue client and you are doing things in a way that we had one customer out in California, client of ours who for all the right reasons, he had a customer who wanted new development done so this had to be done because they were the highest revenue client. We've all been there where you're on the other line of the line and you wanna make sure you're protecting this client

It's either one of two things. You have 500 clients. This is the only client that is asking for this change.

Either you have just discovered something revolutionary.

[00:08:51] Jeffrey Feldberg: Sure.

[00:08:52] Kelley Powell: Which is gonna have you take on the world and for absolutely. We should stop everything else and we should do this if this is gonna be the one thing that is missing that we haven't figured out with any of the other clients, or this is gonna completely distract you from the other 499.

[00:09:09] Jeffrey Feldberg: Yes. Always two sides to a coin, isn't there? Hey, is this a market disruption? Has this client stumbled upon something, which actually happened to us at Embanet, and it does happen? Clients had one thing to us. It put us on a two, three-year journey, but we've created a market disruption. To your point, that was a good thing.

But to the flip side, you're right. What if they're only one of 499 other clients that they're unique and they're so far off base? It's just selfish for them.

[00:09:36] Kelley Powell: That's right. But what's the difference in the example I gave and the example you just gave cause I've been on that side of the table too, is you are having that conversation. You were saying, Okay, is this, have we just discovered this? And that's the exact question I was asking that CEO to ask, I don't, do not just become reactionary because you have a client that is paying at a certain level, make sure that you have an advisory board of clients so that you have many voices of clients in the room and you can, right, if that one client is, now you're having a conversation in a room with let's say 10.

This particular client ended up getting an advisory board of 15. But when you say that, you wanna make this change that is now going to potentially negatively impact the other nine.

The other nine are giving you that feedback because they are your customers and if you have been selling to the right customers, then they are your target audience. They're your right fit. They're where you win. They're where you are winning. You want more like them, then you need to listen to them saying, No, this is something very separate that only she's asking for. The other nine are gonna light up just because right both of us smiled, looking at each other now of did we just discover something that is gonna be a game changer for everyone? And if so, then the difference is now we are all bought in the rest of the folks around the table that are your customers that may have to put other things on hold. While you grow to your point of this two-year investment they get excited about it. They're a part of it, and it doesn't feel like a distraction. But you made the choice. You made the choice. Yeah.

[00:11:37] Jeffrey Feldberg: And Kelley, what's interesting in the example that you gave, and even in your book, if we go bigger picture, It's as much about growth, it's as much about private equity as it is about leadership. And in fact, with your book, right off the bat, before you even go past chapter one, you're asking who are you as a leader.

And so leadership's really at the heart of things. And again, for our listeners, It's a must-read the book, you'll get the link and check it out for yourself and buy the book and go through it. But to wet their appetite, Kelley, to wet their appetite a little bit. I wanted to circle in on one of the chapters, which I found was interesting.

Chapter number four, recognize Your Ideal Admiral, what did you have in mind with that when you put that chapter together?

[00:12:23] Kelley Powell: A founder has started a business because they have a passion. They've noticed something that was missing. There is a reason that they started the business and so understanding why you have started the business. And what's important to you and what you want going forward is critical.

Whether it is finding a right fit PE partner, whether it is hiring your executive team to help lead the company, whether it is hiring your third or you're number 300, 3000 employees knowing who you are as a leader and a company is the only way that then you can see an alignment in someone else. That is the only way, and one of the things I talk about in that chapter as you're knowing your story, it's how you discover the non-negotiables.

Founders, your first question outta the gate, right? What can they do or not do? What have you seen gone wrong? The gone wrong part. And when it goes wrong, it's, nobody goes into a partnership thinking it's gonna go wrong. We always go into it. That is gonna go right. Best of intentions and you think this is something right, that will work itself out.

If you've got those non-negotiables from the very beginning, you have to stay true to that and walk away from a deal that isn't the right fit. That's good. That's an okay thing.

 I'd much rather an employee say, I don't feel like the culture is the right fit for me. Than to say, Yes, I wanna join your company. And then for them to be measurable, or for us to be measurable as a team, that is something that's really important in all aspects of our lives.

[00:14:15] Jeffrey Feldberg: And Kelley, you're spot on with that. At Deep Wealth we say the same thing. We just use different words and what we call that are what are your deal points? And no-fly zones and so in our nine-step roadmap. As you're marching towards an Exit, what we'll ask is, okay, what must absolutely be in the deal?

And you're running a competitive process even though some PE firms don't like that. No apologies for that. It is what it is, but you're running a competitive process and if certain deal points aren't there, you're walking away it's gotta be in the deal or your no-fly zones, hey, this cannot be in the deal for any reason whatsoever.

Because if they are, I'm walking. , but just to what you're saying, your point, and what we also share with business owners, It doesn't have to be just for your Exit or liquidity event. As a founder, to your point, you know what must be in the business? How do you wanna run your life? How do you want to be as a leader?

That must be in there. Otherwise, you're gonna stop. And on the flip side, you know what don't you want? When you talk about clarity and you probably speak to too many founders, then we can count. What are you seeing with founders? We're gonna go to the art side of business for just a moment with mindset and let's look at success, and perhaps after that, we can look at failure because they're both terrific teachers.

One more painful than the other for the founders. I get it right outta the gates and they're just doing all the right things with that clarity, with knowing what they want, What are you seeing with that, Kelley? What does that look like? How are they knowing who their admiral is? What's going on?

[00:15:41] Kelley Powell: So, I first speak to the admiral and the theme of private equity. The reason I use the boat theme for sailing, I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay with my grandparents and I love the water, I often hear private equity they're gonna take over my company.

Well If you found the right partner, they will own the company, but you still are the captain of your boat. The reason Admiral, I use it as being a part of a fleet to use a description to be able to relate that yes, you have someone that you are now accountable to, but you are still expected to be the leader.

And lead the team and the company through this next chapter of growth for your company. They're counting on you to do that.

And so I think the founder that is getting it right out of the gate means that they have support around them. I think that there is none of us succeed alone. And I think that's really important and to surround yourself with folks who want to see you successful, but be willing to, as we've talked about, knowing your own story and what matters to you, have strength to take all the feedback you're gonna get, all the information, all the advice.

And make a decision that you feel comfortable with, that you can stand behind because you're gonna get a lot of advice and it's gonna be right from one extreme to the other. And so you have to know what you want to do with a company.

And surround yourself with folks who are gonna help you achieve that.

[00:17:22] Jeffrey Feldberg: And Kelley, as you are sharing that, my goodness, the wheels are turning because a couple of things come to mind. Two quotes actually come to mind. One of my favorites, John Maxwell, When the team works, the dream works, and to your point, A successful company is isn't just about a founder, it's about a team of people.

And then the other one, I believe it was Jim Roan who said, You are the average of the five people that you spend the most amount of time with. And when I read between the lines of what you're saying is, hey, Make sure you don't have yes people around you on the one hand, who every idea you have is great just because they have their own agenda.

Or on the flip side, people who do have their own agenda and it's not a great agenda and they're leading you down the garden path, You're the emperor with no clothes and you don't have a very good surprise waiting for you by following that, have good people around you. But then what you just said is so key.

Make your own decision. Collect the information.

Have your convictions based on what you want, what you don't want, as we call your deal points and no-fly zones, but be open. Be open to suggestions and other insights. And so, what you're sharing that the founders that are successful outta the gates are doing all of that.

On the flip side, the founders that aren't doing so well, is it just the opposite of that or is there something else going on?

[00:18:40] Kelley Powell: You know, And I think it's an aspect of it as I would say so, on future podcasts. If you have a quote and you quote Kelley Powell, it matters who's in the boat with you.

That's my big theme is it matters who's in the boat with you and yes. I think those early advisors and I think the early customers. I was speaking to a founder just last week. She has just started a new business, and I hear it many times that the first new clients are not and what she wants to be doing.

Here's the thing with that, that is now the business you're in.

[00:19:16] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow.

[00:19:17] Kelley Powell: These are your clients. When I ask for a reference for you to do what it is that you want to be doing, You don't have any, but you have references or something completely different and it's so important to say no to get the clients that are your right fit clients.

That are then going to build your next client and your next client. And I say this all the time, every decision you make becomes your legacy. And for the founders that have that strength to realize that every decision you make becomes your legacy. Do not take the easy money. Do not take on a bad client. Do not take on a bad investor. Know your story, and whichever decision you make, have it align.

[00:20:09] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow, such wisdom there. I mean, Kelley, we could just stop this episode now and tell everyone, just memorize that and make that your mantra and we're done. Obviously, we're not gonna do that. We're gonna make the most of our time, but there's so much value in there.

[00:20:22] Kelley Powell: You know, Because it's exactly where we were starting off. It's the same thing as why not read the book? Now? so. Here's a so, I'll tell you so, This is true story, true story. There is a long-time friend he runs a consortium of founders and business owners in North Carolina.

For two years, I asked him to please read my book. I thought it would be great for his members. He kept saying to me, Kelley, at none of them are interested in PE. It's not for them.

Finally, I gave up and I said, Okay, it's not for your members. Will you do me a favor? Will you read my book just as a favor as a friend for me? I wanna know what you think of my book. A Few days later, phone rings. He says, Elley, I need to apologize.

[00:21:15] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow.

[00:21:16] Kelley Powell: I wish I had read this sooner. When can I get you to come and be on a panel and speak to my members? They need to hear this now. And so, you know, I thought, Okay, I need that piece. It is the same thing. It's what you need to do and not do now, regardless what you need to do and not do now in order to grow your business in the right way to be successful, you cannot have clients who have been with you from day one. You cannot say that in five years from now if you are getting clients at day one that are just for the money but are not gonna be there for the long haul because they're not the business that you're in.

[00:22:02] Jeffrey Feldberg: Sure.

[00:22:03] Kelley Powell: And what private equity is looking for is being able to say, show me. The clients that you have, client retention, the clients that you have grown, the clients that have stayed with you along the way, the clients have who have helped you. Jeffrey, you know, if you have a client that is sitting across on the table, let's go back to that advisory board example.

Had that particular client done that, let's say he had 10 clients. If a couple of them were not aligned and he's sitting and he has that aha moment that is gonna change, right? This new thing that's gonna change the industry, you can't have that conversation if you don't have the clients in the room weighing in on and being aligned.

You can't have it. That's my big advice to founders. It's hard to say no to money when you're starting out, it's hard to say no for a client that's not the right fit, but I promise you it's worth it.

[00:22:59] Jeffrey Feldberg: Absolutely. Every decision, unintentionally or intentionally, in both really has some kind of an impact, sometimes short term, sometimes long term, but there's an impact. And for our listeners out there and Kelley, I'd like you to weigh in on this. Here's my thesis, which ties right into everything that you're saying because private equity is almost like a black-or-white kind of reaction.

There's some, and let's keep it to the business community there. There's some founders, and business owners absolutely love private equity. They walk on water. Best thing ever, and there's others that are private equity is just the worst thing ever and not good. Stay away. And you have these two polar opposite reactions going on, but let's take the emotion out of it.

And here's my thesis, private equity are some of the most successful and profitable entities in the world. And even if you leave the quote-unquote private equity world and you go into some of the most profitable companies, the most successful companies, particularly the publicly traded ones, I'm not gonna name them, you know who they are, guess who's behind them.

Private equity and private equity has a formula that they run their business off of. We're not gonna make an investment unless we see ABC all the way through Z in these companies. So, for our listeners, I want you to think about that. And then Kelley, what also was intriguing, just researching and before coming into the episode, I read this review on your book, and here's a review.

I'll read it for the listeners. I work with hundreds of business owners. Most have no understanding of private equity and how it might help them succeed. Problem-solved Powell's book, Dispels the myths, and shares Practical advice in an easy-to-read book full of stories and insights. Here we have someone, perhaps an investor or a coach or whoever that person is, who's saying, You know what? Business owners out there read the book. You're getting an insight on the world of private equity. You're going behind the scenes with it, with the strategies that you're doing. Kelley, with that build-up from your perspective, let's reveal the secret sauce for private equity. What do you think makes them so, successful?

[00:25:09] Kelley Powell: The difference is they are investing for growth. They are investing for growth and I think you nailed it for me as far as the reason that I wrote it there I have been a part of and helped so, many founders become happy and wealthy in ways that they never expected. And I want that to be for more founders. I want to be able to do that in ways that we're sharing that success out.

One of the biggest differences, for private equity and all the things that we've talked about, everything up to this point has been part of the secret sauce and I think investing in is how you grow a business and oftentimes as founders. You want to run so, lean, that you really prevent yourself from being able to grow.

There is, I think one of the things that folks will say negative about private equity is it's taken on debt.

Let's take anything else. Some debt is good. Think about debt for being able to get a mortgage and have a house that you can then have for your family and grow in ways that you might not have been able to do that.

But if you have too much debt, that's detrimental. It's when you think about that right healthy balance.

The other piece that makes PE hugely successful in growing businesses is they bring in different perspectives and operators for the aspects on where you as a founder need to grow your business and maybe even yourself.

Oftentimes founders are sitting at the table. You and I could probably picture, see the face right now of someone sitting across from us, that is the business. Because you've started out as the founder and you're growing, there is a point at which you have to be able to grow in ways that you can't be an every client conversation and you have to be able to emulate your leadership style and other leaders throughout the organization to be able to grow. I think PE forces that for founders because the growth comes so quickly and fast that you then have to then build out your management team, your next level of leaders in ways that I think probably we as founders sometimes don't necessarily wanna let go of control to do that.

[00:27:51] Jeffrey Feldberg: Absolutely, Yeah. Yeah. And Kelley, as you're talking about this, well, everything you're talking about is just bringing up memories and some thoughts and different thesises, but what you're saying with private equity, look no further than myself for my e-learning company, Embanet, which I started in the beginning, was a cockroach startup.

It was bootstrapped. Having said that, though, the company got to the point, and I realized could I take the company to the next level. Maybe. Would I enjoy it? Probably not. Could someone do a better job? Yes, they could. Do.

I want the company to really change the social fabric of society. We'd already started to do that, but at a bigger level with more people, I do. Who could do that? My founder mindset. Thankfully, I was spared enough to realize, Hey, it's not me and it's not my

[00:28:38] Kelley Powell: And that is okay.

[00:28:39] Jeffrey Feldberg: And that was perfectly fine. We welcomed, and actually, two private equity groups came together and ended up acquiring Embanet. They did fabulously well, and a number of years later, they sold the company again. It's a good news story. Company's still around and changing lives, and it grew.

And you know, for the listeners out there because you know, I've written articles of cockroach startups and looking at different companies, some of the titans of business today, and they're publicly traded, and you know the names they started off what I call as a cockroach startup, but I have a friend who says, Jeffrey, timeliness is next to godliness, in other words, timing is everything. And in every business's journey, there comes a point where if you want the business to really affect and effect lives, make a difference, you've gotta grow and expand, and private equity is certainly one option very serious option to be considered. And Kelley, being in that world and seeing the world as you do now, how has that changed you as a business leader from your lessons learned and the wisdom that you've learned along the way?

[00:29:47] Kelley Powell: As I comment on something you said there before I answer that question, you know, I agree with you from a startup that private equity is not the right fit. It's also another reason why I wrote the book of being able to see and have those kinds of, have it laid out.

So you can make that decision whether or not private equity is right for you or not. And to ask the questions of the founders of, what, when it's the next time for you, are you ready? And what's gonna change? I think the biggest piece for me goes back to that piece about investing and what you can do much more drastically and in a way that it was really about hyper-growth that is life-changing for creating opportunities for employees of not just when you think about the traditional like career growth and path and people think about money and making what's next, but the P firms that I work with are really involved in mission-based positive businesses where they are giving back to the community and growing. And I think that aspect of even answering it from a technology standpoint of investing in more, putting more money in for that longer-term view of when we're gonna get the return. Whereas for a founder just starting out and growing their business, That's a little bit, It's scary.

It's scary to think about having to take a little bit, it's kinda like that rollercoaster. There's two things I think that founders have to be prepared for that emotional up and down of the good days, the bad days, things going great, things going bad. And I have people say to me, right, you've reached this point.

You know where the business is great. At the point of growth, now whether or not you're taking on an acquisition or whether you're taking on private equity, you can almost think of it as that kind of next phase of almost being in the startup phase again, where you are now taking the investment, which is kinda like that.

You're taking a risk; you're banking on it, working. And I think that the thing that has been surprising to me has been just how much the PE firm, the PE funds, do give back and fuel our economy. Because before I was involved in it,

[00:32:20] Jeffrey Feldberg: Sure.

[00:32:20] Kelley Powell: I didn't appreciate, that it was university endowments and I think about a gentleman who he's in the Midwest, and he and I were having this debate about private equity.

He had an opinion about private equity and northeast and money, and that, it didn't impact his town and he was shocked to learn that his particular university his endowment thrived because they were invested in private equity funds.

So you are a product. This fueling this economy in such a lovely and positive way. And I don't think that message gets out enough. But the message I would want each one of your listeners today would be read the book, not because of private equity. Private equity is not right for every single person, and you're right about timing.

It's not always right for timing. Even I would say as starting new businesses they're not right for private equity to take on. You have to have the alignment and have to have the folks in the boat with you for whatever moment you are currently in for growing your business. But there is no reason why you should not give yourself the gift of reading and learning.

What are all of the secrets? We've talked about some of them here, to being able to grow your business in a way that you are attractive to PE. You can be attractive and say no. I don't wanna date you. I don't wanna marry you. But why not? Why not do everything that you wanna do for growing your business to have them give you a nod?

You can do that to remain a family business. You know, I was at a breakfast this morning with the phenomenal folks from Lego. They're just starting a new manufacturing plant here in Virginia. We're so excited to have them, and we're talking about the fact that they've been their global business, but they've been a family business for 90 years.

They are still a family-owned business. It's incredible. And I'm a huge fan of alignment, whether that is staying a family business or whether that is taking on private equity. I just think folks should be empowered with the knowledge.

[00:34:36] Jeffrey Feldberg: Absolutely. And you know, Kelley, as you're talking about this, and for our listeners just to take it in a bit of a different direction, it's the same message, the same story. Let's imagine, Kelley, that you and I were learning to play tennis. We have a choice. We can go to other beginners, ask them, can you teach me how to play tennis?

We all know where that's gonna go. It's not gonna go very well. Or what if we found a champion from Wimbleton who's now coaching, and very quickly we get on the fast track, we're gonna learn how to become a better tennis player. Does it mean that we're gonna turn pro and start competing? Not necessarily if maybe if we want to, we could, but we don't have to.

And it's the same thing with private equity. There's some of the best-run companies in the world. Why not learn from them? And then you decide what you wanna do with that. And Kelley, let me change gears here for just a moment because outside of this, you're doing a lot. You're paying it forward.

You're a role model. You were appointed by the governor as an example to be a member of the Virginia Council on Women. And at the same time, you're doing something interesting at the DaVinci Center for Innovation, the Angel Advisory Board, and not just any place, but for the Virginia Commonwealth University, which has been around for ages, so talk about grassroots, what's going on with that?

[00:35:51] Kelley Powell: Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk about that. You could see, you know, I know that this is a audio, but if folks could see my face light up when you say VCU DaVinci and the Virginia Council on Women, I light up with being able to see students and founders be successful and you know, whenever I show up, I spend my time and it's like anything else.

I get as much energy and inspiration,, and ideas by working with them. At VCU DaVinci, it's a, we are a pre accelerator. It's an innovation it brings together from engineering department, and business department arts all across the university to talk about growing and starting a business. And when you think about that from the multiple disciplines for our businesses, we need the different perspectives and views in order to do that, take right biotech and arts and put them together and see what company, what you're gonna build.

And these students we were named fast companies world-changing ideas. And we have a it's the retail shift lab. It's right, where the students can build products, put them on the shelves, and they can talk to the marketplace to see if they can sell their wares even before they decide that they're gonna take and grow and build this company.

The market research right there. Can you sell it? You have an idea. Try to sell it. And the Virginia Council on Women, we have a STEM essay contest every year. And the lovely thing about that group is we are there to listen to the women and girls across the state. And to be advocates for them and a voice in things that are important to them from healthcare to education and wanting to be a role model to say, step up, you can be anything you wanna be. And the young ladies who come through that and are writing those essays they are changing the world. And so, you know, you show up to a dinner to celebrate them. And they, the parents, are saying, Thank you for allowing my daughter to be here at the governor's mansion to meet with you and have this dinner.

And I'm saying to the parents, Oh my goodness, thank you for this amazing, you know, our future business leader and the chance to get to know her because she is going to go on and change the world. And I feel like I get to be the lucky one by showing up.

[00:38:27] Jeffrey Feldberg: That is a whole other podcast. I mean, my goodness, where society seems to have lost its North Star and its moral compass, really the business world, entrepreneurship founders, what you're doing, being a mentor with the up and coming with the youth and all the good things that go with that can really be such a positive difference with that.

And Kelley, let me ask you this, and we're gonna start wrapping things up here, but before we do, we go into our thought experiment with the final question. You know, here at the Deep Wealth Podcast, our tagline is helping you extract both your business and personal Deep Wealth, and we realize that your health is your Wealth.

Because without it, how the zeros in the bank is not gonna make a difference if you'll give it all up to get your health back? And what was really interesting is on your website, right up there on the main page with all the other big selections, you're talking about Alzheimer's, and you don't really see that a lot in a business context.

And I thought, okay, wow. She's really on the ball and obviously very important to her. What's the story behind the story on that? Can you share with our listeners what's going on?

[00:39:33] Kelley Powell: I am happy to share. We'll be doing our walk tomorrow morning. I wish my hope is that more leaders will step out and have the conversation around it because it is something that is impacting our workforce. I first got started involved in Alzheimer's because I wanted to give back and board service and my youngest son got involved with Alzheimer's when he was in high school.

And so I got to learn more about them. I did not have a personal connection with it when I first joined the organization. And then, as it turns out, my father, while I'm serving on the board, we discover he has dementia, which then turned, you know, we, we find out it's Alzheimer's and people are afraid to speak out about it.

 But here's the thing, when I speak out about it and thank you for this form and any one of your listeners to reach out afterward, and I mean that very sincerely. There is a huge support system there. The Alzheimer's of Greater Richmond, the support is free. It's available for families and caregivers to be able to know how to support our loved ones who are battling this disease because the caregivers are your business leaders.

They are the business leaders. It could be someone that's battling in your business that's simply battling. It could also be someone who is caring for a loved one and they are having to be pulled from being able to support your business and what you're doing and being able to have a conversation of bringing in support, one of the things that we do is we host a leadership conference here for our businesses locally to be able to give them support in talking to their business leaders on how to support their families and educate them and provide that support.

I believe it's showing up authentically. We are all connected. We all have things that we are battling and struggling with and supporting, and if we can show up and do that with one another,

[00:41:43] Jeffrey Feldberg: Sure.

[00:41:44] Kelley Powell: then it's really good for growing our businesses and having joy in our personal life because we're helping one another do it.

And you know, it's something that I am really passionate about. And thank you for your kind words and recognizing that I do. I wanna put that out there. And I think we should all have things that we're personally driven by, and I wanna put love and light in the world, and I wanna make sure that we find a cure because I think no one should have to forget that the people they love and they sure shouldn't have to forget that they are themselves loved. Just a fundamental thing. That's why I fight. That's why I fight.

[00:42:24] Jeffrey Feldberg: Terrific inspiration behind that and for paying that forward and putting that out there for people and just generating that awareness. And for listeners out there, everybody knows somebody. And I'd be very surprised, unfortunately, just with the prevalence of Alzheimer's and other diseases, there's likely somebody in everyone's circle who is going through that,, and our hearts out to those people and to those families.

And from your lips of God's ears, Kelley, for having a cure and maybe the awareness and the walk that you're doing tomorrow,, be successful and generate the funds that can really make a difference. And Kelley, we're gonna segue now into the wrap up and it's a fun thought experiment, and here's what I'd like you to think about.

If you remember the movie Back to the Future, you have that magical DeLorean car, isn't it? Yeah. A fabulous movie. Yeah, That magical DeLorean car that can take you to any point in time. Here's where the fun begins, Kelley. It's tomorrow morning. You look outside your window, and there it is. Not only is the DeLorean car by your door, it's waiting for you to hop on in. You hop into the DeLorean car and you can go back to any point in your life, Kelley, as a young child, as a teenager, whatever point in time it would be. What would you tell your younger self in terms of life lessons or life wisdom or, hey Kelley, you do this, but don't do that? What does that sound like?

[00:43:40] Kelley Powell: I love this question. So, I can see myself with pigtails, right? I had a pony named gum drop. And I would tell myself that. I recognize that you're really lucky because you have advocates around you who allow you to have spunk and be determined, and they've given a belief in you that you can do anything you wanna do. My mom and dad did. At the same time, I was a ballerina. I had a pony, and I would also build bricklaying with my father and cement. I was never boxed into what I had to be.

And Kelley, just keep that and appreciate it that you have that, all the founders out there listening have that spirit. Don't let anybody question your spunk and determination because chances are, if you're a founder and you're starting a business, you've got an idea that some people might think, Why are you taking that chance?

Why are you doing it? Are you crazy? You should probably take the safer route. Why are you the loud one? Why are you the, Yeah, what are you doing? Why are you riding that pony backward? Because you can and surround yourself. If you don't have people around you believing in your idea and in you find them, find your village and surround yourself and listen to the people that are going to positively influence your momentum forward. And to every person who has done that, for me to get to this point, I'm eternally grateful because I recognize that I have had that, and I didn't realize at the time just how much.

[00:45:24] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. Some powerful insights and wisdom and a great takeaway for our listeners. And Kelley, as we begin to wrap this up now, and we'll have all of this in the show notes, we'll certainly have a link to the book that's there and to your website. If someone wants to find you online, they wanna learn more, they'd like to reach out to you, what would be the best place?

[00:45:44] Kelley Powell: Kelley You can reach me at kelley[at]kelleywpowell[dot]com by sending me an email. There's a way to sign up for my mailing list on my website. You can go directly to Amazon for my book or also on my website. You can buy the book, You can find out about Alzheimer's. Other things.

I'm starting some really amazing and fun things for founders that I think your listeners will be very interested in. Stay tuned. Keep a watch on to learn more in the very near future. And reach out. And if you just know that if you do reach out, I do respond. Try me.

[00:46:28] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love that, and you're giving us a little bit of suspense of, hey, this isn't the end. This is just the beginning. I have some really interesting things coming down the line here, but you're gonna have to wait for that.

[00:46:36] Kelley Powell: You gotta wait. It's gonna be good.

[00:46:38] Jeffrey Feldberg: We'll look forward to that. Kelley, this is an official wrap. Thank you so much for just your wisdom and being so open, and transparent, and sharing all of your insights. And as we like to say here at Deep Wealth, as we wrap this up, please continue to say healthy and safe. Thank you.

[00:46:56] Kelley Powell: Thank you so much.

[00:46:57] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

[00:47:01] Lyn M.: This course is one of the best investments you will ever make because you will get an ROI of a hundred times that. Anybody who doesn't go through it will lose millions.

[00:47:11] Kam H.: If you don't have time for this program, you'll never have time for a successful liquidity

[00:47:15] Sharon S.: It was the best value of any business course I've ever taken. The money was very well spent.

[00:47:22] Lyn M.: Compared to when we first began, today I feel better prepared, but in some respects, may be less prepared, not because of the course, but because the course brought to light so many things that I thought we were on top of that we need to fix.

[00:47:37] Kam H.: I 100% believe there's never a great time for a business owner to allocate extra hours into his or her week or day. So it's an investment that will yield results today. I thought I will reap the benefit of this program in three to five years down the road. But as soon as I stepped forward into the program, my mind changed immediately.

[00:48:00] Sharon S.: There was so much value in the experience that the time I invested paid back so much for the energy that was expended.

[00:48:10] Lyn M.: The Deep Wealth Experience compared to other programs is the top. What we learned is very practical. Sometimes you learn stuff that it's great to learn, but you never use it. The stuff we learned from Deep Wealth Experience, I believe it's going to benefit us a boatload.

[00:48:23] Kam H.: I've done an executive MBA. I've worked for billion-dollar companies before. I've worked for smaller companies before I started my business. I've been running my business successfully now for getting close to a decade. We're on a growth trajectory. Reflecting back on the Deep Wealth, I knew less than 10% what I know now, maybe close to 1% even.

[00:48:42] Sharon S.: Hands down the best program in which I've ever participated. And we've done a lot of different things over the years. We've been in other mastermind groups, gone to many seminars, workshops, conferences, retreats, read books. This was so different. I haven't had an experience that's anything close to this in all the years that we've been at this.

It's five-star, A-plus.

[00:49:08] Kam H.: I would highly recommend it to any super busy business owner out there.

Deep Wealth is an accurate name for it. This program leads to deeper wealth and happier wealth, not just deeper wealth. I don't think there's a dollar value that could be associated with such an experience and knowledge that could be applied today and forever.

[00:49:27] Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

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