Every so often, we have the great honor of welcoming Robin Beaman, founder and president of Beaman, Inc., to speak at a Bospar all-hands meeting. In the past, she has shared some tips for saying “no” to clients without saying no—a valuable skill in any field but especially PR—and some tenets that have been critical to her success.
Recently she invited friend and fellow “power woman” Toi Salter, CEO of Salter Financial Management, to talk about the power of a dream. For context, Salter manages the financial lives of top NBA players. After watching an episode of ESPN’s show “30 for 30” about Black athletes going broke after signing multi-million dollar contracts, she made it her mission to help them keep their money and build generational wealth.
Following are some of our favorite takeaways from that inspiring Q&A.
Don’t limit yourself or your dreams
When Toi was graduating from college, her father offered to buy her a car. She asked for help buying a nail salon instead. This was 1979, and there weren’t yet any good nail salons in Chicago. Hers was a huge success, and it laid the foundation for the amazing network that she has since developed. But when the opportunities arose to move into the mortgage business and then, at last, into financial management, Toi took them.
“I was raised in an entrepreneurial family. There was never a limit to anything we wanted to do,” she explained. “So, I often recommend, in terms of your dreams, to think like a child. When you think like a child, everything is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on what you can do.”
Build your network by caring about people
Salter had a lot to say about networking, but she stressed the importance of connecting with people on a real, human level.
“Oftentimes, people network just to see what they can get out of it. I think networking is about integrity and being honest and interested in the person you’re talking to,” she said. “It’s also very important to champion the next person. When you’re living out your dreams, make sure that you’re helping someone else along the way. You want to be as kind and as helpful to someone else as you can be.”
Robin agreed: “People remember that, I will tell you. The student today will be the CEO in five years. And they will remember that you helped them. I’ve seen it happen. Assistants become executive vice presidents and reach out to me to share opportunities.”
Passion and confidence will get you everywhere
Both Robin and Toi talked about moments when they took big swings and succeeded because they were confident and prepared—even if they were in a bit over their heads.
“With passion and confidence, I think you can get anything,” Beaman said. “When I was trying to get my first client, a friend introduced me to this SVP of communications at Time, Inc. I went in for the meeting. At the time, I had nothing—I had a desk and an office, but I didn’t have any clients. I understood magazines, and I was passionate about making things happen. I wanted Time as a client. I was confident. He only wanted to give me 10 minutes, but I was there for an hour. He offered me a job, but I was looking for a client. I left. One month later, Money Magazine was doing a year-long project. They called me because this SVP told them I was amazing, and they became my first client.”
“I would say that when you feel like you’re coming in by yourself, really you’re not,” Toi added. “You’re bringing all the experience that you’ve had up until that point. The work that you’ve done. Sometimes it’s scary, and you think you’re not prepared. But really, you are prepared. You’ve done it all. All you have to do is show up, and then it’s game on.”