MODERN CEO SPOTLIGHT: Michelle Williams

by | Apr 19, 2021 | Blog, Modern CEO Spotlight

There's a new CEO on the block – the Modern CEO – who is changing THE WAY BUSINESSES ARE RUN. Have you met her? I'd love to introduce you! In the Modern CEO Spotlight, we will feature Modern CEOs who are setting their own hours. And their own salary. The Modern CEO is creating a business AROUND WHAT MATTERS MOST TO HER. FREEDOM, FAMILY, AND IMPACT. This Modern CEO is here to stay. Are you next?

In this edition of the Modern CEO Spotlight, we are featuring one of our very own Accelerate members, Michelle Williams.

Michelle has been in business for years and has created amazing freedom within her business by focusing on what is most important, the money-generating tasks  – the $100 bills we always talk about!

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and a Master of Science degree in curriculum, instruction, and technology. She is certified to teach grades 1-8 in both Texas and Louisiana. She is also licensed to lead schools, though the classroom is where her heart remains. While she has taught language arts, social studies, science, and math, her specialty is elementary math.

Throughout her career, she has served in a variety of capacities. She has propelled students to new heights as a classroom teacher and has mentored new educators as a lead teacher and TAP mentor teacher and TAP master teacher. She’s also spearheaded the direction of instructional strategies at her schools as an instructional coach and department chair.

She remains a committed educator and hopes to share her wealth of professional knowledge and experiences with teachers, administrators, and parents through her original lesson plans and resources. She is The IgnitED Teacher.

Tell us about yourself and your business!

I'm a math teacher from Houston. Mother of 1 son and grandmother to 1 grandson. I've been teaching for 21 years in underserved communities (Title 1 schools). The parent company of my business is Creative Educational Concepts LLC. DBA as IgnitED. The mission of IgnitED is IgnitED’s mission is to provide a support system for urban teachers that equips them with real classroom solutions. IgnitED strives to keep qualified urban teachers in the classroom by providing a system of support through off campus professional development and lesson plans that are designed to meet the needs of the urban student.

How did you get started running your business?

IgnitED was born while I was teaching in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I saw a need for quality professional development and educational resources that were designed specifically for urban educators. After 15 years of receiving professional development training and buying educational resources that could not be implemented in her classroom, I decided to begin with just selling lesson plans on TeachersPayTeachers. Then in 2013 I officially was branded as IgnitED. I've always loved my math and science but my son didn't do so well with math at an early age. His reading was above grade level but the way that his teachers were teaching math frustrated him. So during his elementary years, I began developing more concrete ways to teach him the math concepts so that they made more sense to him. Many of the math strategies that I share with math educators today were developed right at my kitchen table.

In one word, when you started your business what was the driving force behind your desire to start?

Desperation.

In more words, when you started your business what was the driving force behind your desire to start?

The driving force behind my desire to start my business was seeing teachers in Louisiana who at the time had very little resources and were in desperate need of high-quality resources for students who were working below grade level.

Leadership is one of the greatest traits of the Modern CEO. Let's chat about leadership for a second. What leadership traits do you find are most important in your role as Modern CEO?

Compassionate, Honest, Adaptable, Confident, Committed, Sense of humor, Creative, Able to Delegate, Empowering, Motivated

When is a time that you've had to put your leadership skills to the test? How did it turn out?

I most definitely had to put my leadership skills to the test during the Pandemic. Teachers were literally falling apart because schools were shut down and the shift to 100% virtual learning was swift. The fallout from the Pandemic in the education community was great but I feel like I brought calmness and reassurance to my community by providing tech tips and collaborating with the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards to share my tech tips with their community via webinar.

Is there a leadership mantra you live by or quote you want to share?

Show not tell, lead by example.

Now let's share a bit about what your day as a Modern CEO looks like. What does your “typical” day look like?

I wake up at 5 am or my dog wakes me up at 4:30 am. I start my morning routine with the version of the Miracle Morning. I listen to Our Daily Bread then I listen to my Amazon Music Meditation Playlist while I either read or journal ( just started journaling), then I read a book or listen to lessons from courses I purchased for personal development time. Once that's done I check my calendar, Trello, and Todist so that I can begin to plan my day around a full-time job.

How many days a week do you typically work & how many hours a day do you typically work?

Is this a trick question? About 30 hours a week

On average, how many hours a day do you spend on sales and marketing activities?

1 to 2 hours

On average, how many hours a day do you spend with clients?

On a monthly base I spend about 4 hours with members of the academy

On average, how many hours a day do you spend with your team?

I work with a VA and we work at the same school.

On average, how many hours a day do you spend creating content?

30 to 45 minutes a day

On average, how many hours a day do you spend learning?

20 minutes a day

 

Tell us about your business model & the core services/products you offer. 

Tell us more about the heart and soul of your business. What makes your business unique?

My business is unique because I'm currently a full-time educator. Everything that I sell or promote has been tested first-hand by me. So educators don't have to ever worry if the instructional strategy I recommend works! I know it works because I've tested with my own students.

What was something no one ever told you about running a business that you wish they would have?

It's a lonely place and friends and family won't understand.

What's your favorite part about running a business?

The feeling of freedom… I know why the Cage Bird Sing explains it all.

Why is now the best time to grow a business?

Now is the best time to grow a business because online businesses are changing the way where and how we conduct business.

What secret confession are you willing to make to us about your business or you running a business? (Feel free to have fun with this!)

Go to sleep! During the breaks, I used to stay up 'til 4 am and then wake up at 8 am. It's no wonder I felt like I was losing my mind!

 

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