New to Denver, Colorado from Michigan in 2013, Krystal Covington sought after friendship and business connections by going to meet ups and attending networking events when her husband, Bennie, suggested she take the money she was spending on going to these events and start her own group. What a man! Designing the group based on her strengths and desires, Women of Denver was born and created a safe place to talk openly, develop friendships, and harness underlying gifts waiting to be utilized.
Admittedly, Krystal was uncomfortable at first talking about herself and promoting her group because she didn't want to feel like she was trying to sell something or bragging about herself so she momentarily stopped holding the meetings when she received a lot of feedback saying whoa! This isn't about you. People need this! She realized they were right, got out of her own way, and now is the founder and CEO of a successful women's group that was only just created last December.
Finding time aside from her successful career as the Director of Public Relations at Natural Grocers, Krystal holds weekly events and quarterly workshops helping women perfect their brand and build their business. One of the many tools she uses to help women grow their audience is a weekly TV show called Inside the Women of Denver where members have the opportunity to strengthen their communication, presentation, and interviewing skills while gaining confidence and overcoming fears. "Interviews help these women practice and get comfortable so they can use the skills in real life and get where they want to go," Krystal explains.
After teaching these principles in workshops locally in Colorado, she realized the incredible value of the information she had learned. She then compiled a workbook to share this knowledge with others in the The 4 Keys to Influence.This 32-page book includes an easy-to-follow recipe for building a strategy for influence in any role. It's a perfect resource for anyone seeking a stronger career, better sales as an entrepreneur, or simply a more fruitful social life.
Thank you, Krystal, for all your efforts in empowering and uplifting women everywhere you go.
How did it all start? What made you decide to pursue this path?
Honestly, I think the path chose me. Five years ago I would never have believed that I would be a speaker, a community leader, or a corporate director. Today, I’m all of those things and each piece is in alignment with a path that seems to be opening up for me.
What steps did you have to take to conquer your goal of being a business owner?
I failed early on, so getting back into the entrepreneurship game was hard for me emotionally. I started my first business in college, selling lace wigs on EBay from my college dorm. When the market dried up due to high competition I realized I hadn’t managed my finances appropriately and went bankrupt. The sad thing is that I could have settled the debt for just a couple thousand dollars, but I simply didn’t have it and I wasn’t willing to ask my parents for help. I was just too embarrassed. When I decided to launch a new business I was nervous that I’d go broke again, but over time I’ve learned how to better mitigate risk, budget, and avoid the same pitfalls. I actually got my MBA mostly to avoid being caught in the same position without the knowledge I need to survive.
How do you manage envy, ego or jealousy from getting in the way of your dreams?
I think if I’m honest with myself envy has been one of my major drivers for success. When I see someone who is really kicking butt in life I want what they have. I start paying attention to how they interact with the world around them and then emulate the qualities that I feel will really help me succeed as well.
When I consider the term jealousy I think of people who want something that they aren’t willing to work for. Jealous people do things to disarm the person they want to be like and bring them down to their level. I don’t think I have that type of killer instinct, but I’ve met people who do and interacting with them is really tough.
What are some of the qualities you believe a person must have to build their own business/brand?
Branding is one of my favorite things to talk about because it’s really what brought me success. I’d say the most important thing about branding is knowing the characteristics that make you stand out on the outside and also the internal qualities that attract other people to you. When you put your external and your internal brand together and do your best to accentuate them you’ll blow everyone away.
For me, I remember people saying that I have an “interesting look.” What I think they meant was that I naturally stand out as someone who doesn’t fit a category. That was my external characteristic (not to mention the hair). And internally I generally stand out for being “sturdy & steadfast.” People feel they can trust me, count on me to be where I say I’ll be and generally get a calming energy from being in my presence. I really try to accentuate both of those things, so my brand can be as strong as possible.
What do you love most about your profession?
I live a unique lifestyle because I haven’t made “the big leap” as they call it. I see that there’s a big push out there for people to choose to be an entrepreneur or a corporate businesswoman, but not both. I choose to live for all of my strengths and passions and currently that means running a successful startup while also growing and building my capabilities as a corporate director as well. Because I’m so busy with my two huge roles I have the ability to share opportunities with others such as my personal chef, who got his first client because I’m too busy to cook and the personal assistants who help me get things done.
If you were to pinpoint a few tools for success, what would they be?
I hate to sound stuffy, but really my biggest tip is discipline. I do eat my occasional, twice-daily donut (wink, wink), but when it comes to getting down to business I really know how to home in on what needs to be done. I watch a ton of television, go out for ice cream, visit the mall and get a little exercise too; but I take the time each and every day to review my list of things to do and accomplish something that will get me a step further.
What advice would you give a young girl about getting out in the “real” world?
For every young woman getting started I think the most important thing to remember is that no one has all of the answers. We often look to our elders and believe they know what they’re doing, but really everyone is a practitioner. We’re all working towards mastery, but achieving it is a moving target. There is always more to learn.
Finding a mentor is key. Do you have a female mentor or idol growing up who has significantly impacted your life? How?
At one time I would have told you I didn’t have mentors because I believed that they needed to look a certain way. Now I believe I’ve had dozens, just unofficially. From Mrs. Wilks, a school teacher who always rewarded me for my dedication to learning; or Kay Pitman, a family friend who taught me to prioritize my own goals and dreams; and my mother who wanted nothing more than for me to be a “supervisor,” which to me meant being a leader. Mentors surround me always because I’m ready and willing to accept a lesson from everyone around me. We all have wisdom to share, so I’m always listening for the next life-changing piece of advice.
What/who inspires YOU to get through each day & overcome every challenge?
My husband loves to quote Kanye West when he said “I inspire me.” Of course Kanye said that. But honestly I don’t know anyone better to keep me going than the knowledge that I’ve come so far and there’s simply so much more life to live. I’m in my early 30s and already leading a life most people twice my age have never accomplished. I don’t mean to be a braggart, but from where I grew up just getting a consistent paycheck is a great accomplishment. No one from my family expected me to be here and I don’t even think they truly understand where I am right now or where I’m headed. What they do know is that what I’m doing looks successful and that I’m happy. That’s all that matters when you think about it.
What is your definition of BEAUTIFUL?
Aargh, this question brings up a lot of angst. I just had an argument with someone about beauty just the other day. I really think it has very little to do with looks and everything to do with the energy you send out. If your energy is strong, open and confident people will call you beautiful. There was once a time when I didn’t hear compliments except from my parents and a few of my mom’s female friends. I just didn’t feel good about myself and walked around with my head down. Now that I hear “beautiful” more often I still don’t internalize it as a reality because I feel there is so much more tied into the word. I think when people call me beautiful they’re reacting to how I make them feel, not necessarily the physical features they are seeing.
What is your favorite shade of Lipstick?
I was never cool enough to get used to lipstick. I love the look and feel of a lipstick tube, the feel of the velvety texture as it’s applied and even the smell of lipstick; I just never could get accustomed to seeing it on my face in public. The best lipsticks I’ve tried have always been a good nude color. Nude for me is a dusty rose tone.
Why do you think women’s organizations like Lipstick Sister are important?
I was reading an article recently in the Wall Street Journal that talked about loneliness. We have our computers and our social media and that’s great, but real connection is important for our psychological well-being. You can’t get that from a few tweets or a dozen Facebook likes. To eliminate the loneliness that’s natural for us in today’s age we need community. We need people to talk with who can understand what we’re doing, why we do it and where we’re trying to go.
Do you have a favorite quote that empowers you, if so, share it with us!
Hah! This was my very first Facebook quote back in 2006 when I joined social media. “We cannot explore new oceans until we lose sight of the shore.” When I originally found it the quote was credited to Muriel Chan, but I’ve seen it attached to several names, so I’m not sure who really said it first. What it means to me is that I need to let go of what my world looks like today in order to reach the next level of greatness. It’s so easy for us to get attached to what our lives look like right now. When we say we want change it’s simply not true, because we’re still tied to the appearance of our lives today. What I’ve learned is that to let go is to truly achieve.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!