I knew I was ready to move forward with my life when I realized it was ok for me to be on my own. That my life was complete even if I didn’t have a husband.
As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Survive And Thrive After A Divorce” I had the pleasure of interviewing Rhonda Moret.
With over 20 years’ experience working in a marketing and business development capacity, Rhonda Moret is viewed as a truly holistic marketing practitioner. Boasting expertise in strategic marketing, public relations, digital as well as traditional advertising, and special events, she has worked with or for some of the world’s most recognized brands including Universal Studios, Subway Restaurants, Nike Golf, the PGA of America, and the PGA TOUR.
Moret has also worked with several high-profile individuals including PGA great Tiger Woods, tennis legend Billie Jean King, NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, MLB Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, New York Times bestselling author Robert Kiyosaki, and even Donald Trump (yes, the President of the United States).
Over the course of her professional career, Moret’s work and viewpoints have garnered media attention as she has been interviewed by The Washington Post, Adobe’s CMO.com, The Business Journal, and several other media outlets.
Moret’s most recent venture, Elevate For Her, provides women with the critical business skills needed to reach the upper levels of leadership and management. With offerings including negotiations, corporate board training, diversity and inclusion, leadership, personal branding, and communication, Moret views this work as her passion project and an effort to ultimately create greater gender and pay parity in the workplace. The brand also features a social good component by offering business skills training programs on a pro bono basis to women from underserved communities. This “Elevatex2” program was created as a result of Moret’s belief that her education and professional development was vital to her development beyond the poverty-stricken area in which she was raised, and she wants to provide opportunities and inspire those with similar backgrounds to do the same.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
With my latest business venture, I am committed to helping elevate the skills, abilities, and confidence of women to be their professional best. And just like the genesis of most entrepreneurial efforts, I founded my brand based on a need I see in the marketplace.
For many years, I worked on high-profile projects in the golf industry with brands like Nike Golf, the PGA TOUR, and the PGA of America, and often, I was the only woman at the table.
During those years, I realized if I wanted to survive and succeed professionally, I needed to learn several business skills that I didn’t innately possess as a woman.
Over those years, I learned how to not be afraid to ask for what I wanted. I learned how to push back on things I didn’t agree with. I learned how to be direct with my intentions.
These are all skills that many women struggle with. In fact, research shows us that women are four times less likely to initiate negotiations than our male counterparts. If that is indeed the case, it should not surprise us that we are behind…if we don’t ask for a higher starting salary, if we don’t ask for that next promotion, and if we don’t ask a client for that new piece of business — we will always be behind.
Elevate For Her offers professional development programs for areas where women traditionally are lacking skills. We teach women how to claim more roles in the c-suite, a higher number of corporate board seats, and gain a seat at the table.
With the current white-hot spotlight on the many disparities faced by women in so many walks of life — the awareness is there. But as with any other successful movement or change, action is needed. It is not enough to just say it’s not fair that men hold 95% of the CEO roles in Fortune 500 companies or that women only hold 17% of corporate board seats, or that we just make .80 to each male $1. We need to take action — and our programs offer women the opportunity to arm themselves with knowledge and confidence, and unapologetically go after what they want. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, businesses experience significant improvements in corporate performance when women are involved.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about “divorce”?
I would be considered an expert just based on experience. Having lived through it and to have successfully come out of it from the other side, I do think I have some words of wisdom and sage advice to share with others. When my relationship ended, I thought my life was ending as well and while that might sound very drastic — I am probably not alone in feeling such despair.
I had interlaced so much of who I was with a person who no longer wanted to be interlaced with me. When faced with this type of reality it is hard to find ways and find a purpose to move forward with any level of optimism or joy. But as they say, “the sun will come out tomorrow” and it really does literally and figuratively. Baby step by baby step, I was able to find my way back to being my old self. I was able to find my value and claim my voice as a woman worthy of being in a healthy and loving relationship. And eventually, I realized that my failed relationship was far from healthy and far from what I needed to be truly happy. I can now look at this time in my life and realize the value of the life lessons learned and at the risk of sounding incredibly trite, I was able to become a much stronger and more confident woman.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Just the widespread acceptance and buy-in from women I share the program with has been inspiring. I am fortunate to have several incredibly successful women business owners in my orbit. Several who are serial entrepreneurs who have built and sold businesses in the seven and even eight figures. During the due diligence and initial planning stages, I shared the concept with four different incredibly successful business women in order to get their feedback and the response was exactly what I was hoping to hear. They each felt that there is a strong and prevalent need to have professional development training which focuses on the areas in business where women often come up short. They also shared with me the types of skills and traits which helped them rise to the top. And the responses were quite similar — in order to be successful in business, women need to be incredibly committed to their business, not afraid to forthright and forthcoming and exhibit confidence which is almost palpable.
Additionally, one of our very first events was a negotiation training that we provided to women working in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. We had a highly productive session, teaching the most effective negotiation strategies and approaches but we also spent a considerable amount of time shifting mindsets. We helped these women understand that they really were worth more than they were receiving and that it was time for them to claim their value. The training’s outcome was incredible as well. One of the attendees went into her very next negotiation armed with knowledge and confidence – and ended up getting a 51% increase over her typical rates. And she now has an entirely new mindset about her own value. Now that is taking action in a big way!
If you had a close friend come to you for advice after a divorce, what are 5 things you would advise in order to survive and thrive after the divorce? Can you please give a story or example for each?
1. It’s ok to wallow.
We need to give ourselves time to grieve. It’s ok to feel sorry
for ourselves, eat whatever comfort foods provide comfort, and detach from the world if that is what you feel like doing.
2. Talk to friends, but be careful to not burn them out.
I’ve been guilty of this one myself. My lifeline literally was friends and family. I needed to unload my hurt and needed to be comforted by someone who understood what I was feeling. But there are only so many times a person is willing to hear the same stories over, and over, and over again. I think you need to be mindful of the other person’s willingness to live (and relive, and relive) the stories of your broken relationship.
3. Find a support group.
A support group is key in that you can share in real time, what you are going through. It takes the emphasis off of yourself and allows you to find ways to help others through kindness and empathy. In our current digital age, it has become so much easier to find women to connect with — either in person or virtually. I actually have found support via both types of groups and I have found a lot of value in creating these new connections.
4. Set a timeline.
When I’ve been in relationship-distress in a major way, I would wallow (see point #1) but I would also give myself a deadline. So if I decided I was going to spend the weekend in a blue mood, it was just that — the weekend. Come Monday morning, I needed to put away my feelings of self-doubt and focus on the positive in my life and for me, I always found my work to be a great distraction and also an area which gave me a sense of self-worth. I realize that grieving is part of the process — but the process should be just that — a process which has a beginning, middle, and end. And once I reached the end — I needed to move on to the next phase and chapters of my life.
5. Find your carpe diem.
Life is short. And it is beautiful. For me, I realized that I could be happy on my own and once I shifted my mindset — I found I approached my situation from a totally different perspective. I looked forward to new plans, new opportunities, and even new relationships. I knew I was ready to move forward with my life when I realized it was ok for me to be on my own. That my life was complete even if I didn’t have a husband.
What are the most common mistakes people make after they go through a divorce? What can be done to avoid that?
Rush into new relationships way too fast. Women (and men too) can avoid this trap but simply concentrating on yourself — who you want to be, getting mentally and emotionally healthy again, and figuring out what you want the rest of your life to look like.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources related to this topic that you would recommend to our readers?
I am a huge podcast fan now and have several which I listen to on a consistent basis-just depending on my mood. When I’m feeling I need a little lift spiritually, I’ll binge on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Her guests are always incredible, the topics are engaging, and even the sound of her voice makes me feel calm and at peace. That type of internal peace helps me feel more equipped to deal with external stressors and conditions.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that helped you in this work? Can you share how that was relevant in your real life?
I have several favorites life lesson quotes but the one which is my main mantra — and one that I use in all aspects of my life — be it professionally or personally is “carpe diem”.
My mom died when she was only in her 40’s — so I approach life from the vantage point that there is no guarantee that we all will live until we are old and gray. For me, I don’t want to look back and think “I wish I would have” or “I missed the opportunity to…” I just do. It is the same mindset that we try to instill in the professional development programs we have developed for my organization. We only have one life so make it worth living, learning, and loving.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
With Elevate For Her, we have a social good component that I am very excited about and which will help many women. I was raised in a very poor and very hopeless part of Los Angeles.
I credit my mom for telling me that I could be whatever I wanted to be if I just worked for it. I took those words to heart and knew what I didn’t want to be — which was having the zip code I was born — define who I would become. I realized that education and knowledge would be my escape route to move beyond my circumstances and became the first person in my family to graduate from college. I attribute my mom’s words and my hard work — for getting me where I am today.
Today, I want to give that sense of hope and the necessary resources, to other women who were born in zip codes like my own.
With our “Elevatex2” program, we partner with nonprofits focused on women in underserved communities and provide business skills training on a pro bono basis. And as with our corporate programs, we concentrate on creating confidence and building self-worth alongside the tactical business skills being taught. My goal is to help over 500 women with this program in 2019.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
We have a program that we call the “So C-Suite” program whereby we recognize and celebrate women who have reached the top echelons of their professional pursuits to reach the c-suite. We’ve recognized women in various areas of business from retail, to professional sports, to the entertainment industry. We encourage them to help support our “movement” by mentoring other women within their organization or communities. To me, any woman who has claimed her voice and her value and earned her way up to the top — would be a woman that I would love to spend time with. With that said, my longtime favorites include Michelle Obama and Oprah and recently, I’ve begun following the work of Michelle Kydd Lee, and Ali Brown.