We had the good fortune of connecting with Liz Faublas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Liz, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career? What’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
Business and personal do not mix. The two should never be conflated.
When I started my company, it was challenging for me to quiet my innate sense of empathy and kindness while working. I had the same issue when I worked in a newsroom, on a set, or on a marketing or promotions campaign. I always wanted to appear friendly, welcoming, and engaging, thinking somehow this would make me a better journalist, producer, or businessperson. However, I have realized that being too friendly and not setting boundaries when conducting business or at work will expose you to a slew of adverse reactions, ranging from not being taken seriously as a professional to being disrespected.
As a black woman, to show any degree of vulnerability invites negative responses, and much of the time, those aggressions are amplified, targeted, and blatant. Keep in mind, gender bias and racism are still real issues. It’s imperative to carry yourself in such a way that you convey confidence, a command of your abilities, and an understanding that you did not come to play. You can undoubtedly be cordial without becoming a character that resembles a greeter a Disneyworld. You hire me to do a job, and I can write your book, report your news, strategize your P.R. campaign, and be reserved and measured without falling all over myself trying to prove I’m approachable. We spend too much time trying to conform to what we think others want from us, instead of just being who we are (which, by the way, is good enough).
In all you do, be direct, be clear, be in control, and set the tone; your business is no exception. In fact, it is even more critical in that case.
Now, do not misunderstand; I encourage congenial customer service. I am not suggesting you should not establish a rapport with clients. You need that to build trust, loyalty, and a solid network. However, I WILL tell any business owner or corporate professional that it is never prudent to blur lines. Anyone who does not understand that, or challenges that ethos, or suggests you are an ineffective leader, owner, or manager because you choose to keep it 100 and focus on the transaction being discussed, is probably not the person(s) you want to work with.
One perfect litmus test is to ask yourself: “Would this person behave this way, ask this favor, be late with a payment if it was anyone else?” If the answer is yes (or even maybe), finish what you started, close out the books, and move on. Time is money, and your time is invaluable.
Listen, you are in business to provide a service and make money. Some may call this cold, pragmatic, capitalistic, or some other term a person who is not in your position might assign to this way of thinking. Be that as it may, you work hard at what you do; it took years to learn the trade, develop the craft, perfect the art. You build your skillset every day for a purpose: You either want to make money, be recognized for your talent, teach others, or all of the above. No one has the right to tell you how you should go about any of these things.
Always assert that your bottom line (financially or figuratively) is THE bottom line. If you do not control the boundaries of your career or business, you will set a bad precedent with employers, clients, and potential clients.
Sadly, those closest to you will expect special treatment. They think that since you are acquainted, they should not be held to the same standard of pricing, professional courtesies, or contractual obligations. It will happen (if you let it), so be prepared to deal with it accordingly.
Lead with confidence, authority, and of course, with a collaborative spirit if you work with a team. Ultimately though, it is your business, your career, your rules. My mantra is respect me, respect my work, or get out of my way and make room for those who will.
What should our readers know about your business? Please tell us more about your business.
I understand that whether I represent the company I work for or at the helm of my own business, Million$Pen, Ink.– I AM MY BRAND.
This Haitian woman, from Brooklyn, New York, now living in Houston) pays meticulous attention to:
1. How I carry myself
2. How I promote my work
3. My tone
4. My character
5. My reputation
6. My skillset
7. My experience—
All of the above represent my work and my life. These factors determine if I get the job, keep the client, become an effective mentor, and make a positive difference in the world.
As a book publisher/writer, I give authors’ a voice. Everyone has a story inside them. I help them tell it. And once they have expressed themselves on paper, I help them share it with the world. I tell people all the time, just because you do not know how to write in the formal sense of the art, that does not make the story in your soul irrelevant. M.D.P.I. is the guide, but the author determines the course. When we reach the destination, the credit belongs to the storyteller; it is your life, narrative, and accomplishment! Every book and the public relations campaign associated with its publication is like giving life to a dream. It is a fantastic feeling.
In my role with the Energy Corridor District, I also tell a story every day. The District is committed to promoting economic growth, supporting businesses (big and small), and developing a thriving community where people can live, work and play. It is the premier business district destination, and it is my job to share that narrative.
None of this would have been possible if I did not persevere, despite countless odds. Success will always be curtailed if you lack the confidence to pursue what you want. How is that possible? Believe you deserve it. Step up and claim the fruits of your hard work. Never stop learning. Remain aware of the changing world around you because no one should exist in a bubble. Do not run from change. Flow with transition. Be a vessel, and allow the opportunities that life pours into you to take the shape of your soul.
I did not give in to doubt, nor did I allow others’ opinions to influence my sense of self. When you know who you are, you control your story. That is the greatest superpower.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a no-brainer! Head on over to the Energy Corridor District! It is a not-so-hidden gem–Houston’s premier area to live, work, play, and invest.
The District offers access to Buffalo Bayou, Terry Hershey Park, various recreational trails, and adjacency to over 26,000 acres of parks and open space. Living choices include exclusive private, gated communities such as Parkway Villages, Terraces on Memorial, and Lakes on Parkway. In addition, you can explore well-groomed neighborhoods such as Wilchester, Nottingham, Gaywood, and Yorkshire.
And oh yes, FOOD! The Energy Corridor has it all – Italian, Greek, Asian, barbecue, Texas-sized steaks, seafood, pizza, burgers, and more! The choices are as diverse as the rich cultures that make up the energetic community.
I also love the Museum District! I will stack Houston arts and culture offerings against any top city worldwide, hands down, with no reservations.
And for entertainment (especially the most powerful spoken word shows and hilarious comedy shows, you have to add Houston Improv to your list!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
That is an awfully long list. I am the first to admit I could not have made it this far on my own. I will likely need continued support to continue as a successful professional and a businesswoman!
I raised my daughter as a single mom. Granted, I had a great deal of support from my parents and my “village” of close friends and family (who loved Ashley as their own). Still, each day I was THE woman my daughter looked to for leadership. No matter what obstacles I encountered, how tired I was, how frustrated I became, and how many times I wanted to just throw in the towel, knowing my daughter was watching, listening, imprinting, and learning from her mother, was enough to make me get right. No excuses. I was not raising a weak, vulnerable, scared, uneducated woman, so I could not be that kind of woman. Instead, my daughter challenged me to raise the bar, set a standard, and adhere to a strict benchmark of excellence.
If I failed myself, I failed her. That was (and still is) not an option!
Now that I am a mother to three amazing young women, I better come correct. I am a FIERCE advocate of being fearless, owning your voice, controlling your narrative, and challenging the uninformed with educated streams of consciousness and straight-backed, rapier-like focused, socially aware ideals. I walk that walk every day, so my daughters have an example.
Be your own person, write your own story, but if you need a foundation, I promise I will do everything in my power to be the touchstone.
Meantime, my husband protects my Achilles heel, mends the kinks in my armor, is the salve to wounds (emotional, mental, and physical), and the engine that powers my drive. Because of Carlos Wallace’s encouragement and support, I started my own literary company, published seven bestselling books, wrote my own children’s book series (my “You Have A Superpower: Mindi P.I. Series became my battle cry), built a renowned reputation as a marketing and public relations professional, became an award-winning writer on two critically acclaimed independent films as well as the creator, writer, and producer for the award-winning television series “The Other 99 T.Y.M.E.S.: Count Your Blessings. More importantly, because of Los, I am a mom to four of the most incredible human beings I will ever know.
I acknowledge my strength, my accomplishments, my skills, my wisdom, and my talent. But I am smart enough to know that all those things are enhanced by his love and his love and rock-solid determination to make sure I DO NOT FAIL.
And then, of course, I thank my parents. Serge and Kathy Champagne are the constant “prayer” that fuels my faith, the unconditional love that gives me a reason.