…I feel the biggest gift I have given to the world is my book Finding Your Voice: A Path to Recovery for Survivors of Abuse. I provide an enormous amount of information, stories, skills, tools, and insight for survivors in an easy-to-follow book and workbook that is accessible to everyone — from every walk of life. My mission when I started so many years ago was to help just one mother and her children have a life free from abuse. I wanted to help young women (like me when I started my own healing journey) who were struggling to get out of abusive situations and strive for healthier lives for themselves and their children. Now I want to change the world by stopping the cycle of abuse!
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mannette Morgan, Abuse Expert & Author of Finding Your Voice.
Mannette Morgan embodies the word survivor. She is an inspirational speaker, author, and a survivor who inspires others to rise above adversity and strive for a better life. After 30 years of intense self-work, she overcame her past trauma of emotional, sexual, and physical abuse along with powering through the limitations of her learning disability dyslexia to become an author. A life coach certified through the Academy of Solution Focus Training and the American University of NLP, Mannette is a powerful, inspirational speaker with a dynamic message.
Because of her unique survivor story and public speaking background, Mannette knows how to touch the hearts, minds, and broken souls of others. Mannette transforms victims into survivors, and she is driven to achieving her goal of ending the cycle of abuse.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When my husband and I moved to Singapore in 2008 it was the first time in my life that I wasn’t running my own business or taking care of my children. By that time, my children were attending university and starting their own lives. My mother, friends, and my husband encouraged me to help others as I had overcome so many of my own obstacles and challenges as a survivor of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse as a child and as a young woman.
With their encouragement I soon enrolled in an international life coaching program and began a new journey of acquiring skills and tools as a life coach. With those skills and the knowledge I acquired over the past 20 years as a survivor, I returned to the United States ready to share what I learned with other survivors. As I worked with individuals and led workshops, I experienced immense fulfillment working with survivors to discover emotionally healthier lives.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
One Sunday afternoon, as I sat on my veranda preparing to teach a workshop on healing after abuse for a local women’s crisis organization, I realized that a nine-class series did not allow nearly enough time to convey all of the information I had to share. That was the moment I realized that I needed to write a book for survivors of abuse. Yet as soon as the thought entered my mind, I dismissed the thought simply because the undertaking seemed too enormous, particularly with dyslexia.
Months later I revisited the idea and was convicted by how many more people I could help–much more than just my current clients and participants who attended my workshops. That is how the seven-year journey of writing Finding Your Voice: A Path to Recovery for Survivors of Abuse began. My experience produced many valuable consequences including the opportunity to tie up left-over challenges from my own healing journey.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
In the beginning when I taught workshops, I would print out extensive worksheets to help my participants work through the healing process. I tried to share too much information in a short time period. I felt tense and frustrated, and participants felt confused and dazed. As I taught and shared scenarios, I could tell my personal stories and goofy antidotes held participants’ attention. It took several classes for me to find a balance between offering practical information and relatable stories. Once I discovered that balance, I saw a huge change in participant engagement and information retainment.
When you are passionate about something, you must recognize not everyone will be passionate with you. It is important to make a subject relatable, engaging — also funny if possible — even with a subject as devastating as abuse.
The most valuable lesson I learned is people learn more from relatable stories and personal experiences more than an abundance of information. Today, I use a mix of stories, vital information, and humor during workshops and speaking engagements. When I see individuals nodding off I throw in a relatable story, an occasional shocking phrase, or a little laughter to re engage participants.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
The very fact that I want to change the world by stopping the cycle of abuse in our society is a pretty ambitious undertaking. Once I finished writing Finding Your Voice, I realized I wanted to do more. When people ask me about the book and what I was trying to accomplish, I always go back to the mission of stopping the cycle of abuse. Yes, my book is a vital key to achieving this goal, but my mission is much more than one book; it is about changing the world by empowering survivors of abuse so they can break the cycle of abuse in their own lives and in the lives of their children. Everyone that knows me, works with me, or who has engaged in a discussion with me on this topic knows that my passion and cause are to change the world. This purpose is dear to my heart.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
My newest project involves offering a video series through a mobile app to accompany my Finding Your Voice Workbook. I believe this opportunity could create valuable interaction and opportunity for a safe community where survivors can interact with other survivors, building a support system as they proceed through the ups and downs of their healing journey.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
I can’t stress enough how important it is to place the right individual in the right position. I personally believe that it is vital to have a team that works brilliantly together but also allows each individual to shine. Ideally, each person is offered opportunities to utilize, pursue, and explore their unique qualities and talents. When we take the time to find a position that creates confidence along with individuals willing to grow, we all feel a certain amount of accomplishment. This accomplishment creates satisfaction and self-respect for a task well done. The result is a goal-oriented work environment where each person embraces their role as an important part of the company and the mission.
Clear communication is also important. Without good communication skills the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is working to accomplish. Set clear definitive guidelines for communication just like any other relationship.
Listen carefully to others and practice calm, direct, respectful communication. Never — I mean never — assume you know what someone else needs or wants. It will only get you in trouble. If you ever question what someone is asking or sharing, clarify by repeating what they said in your own words until you understand clearly and get on the same page.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Find individuals that like to be part of a team then take responsibility for not only their work but the product/mission of the overall company. I feel it is good to have people that encourage and support each other as well as promote the ultimate goal of the company. It’s important to create respect throughout the company on every level from the smallest position to the highest. A company is no different than a family unit where respect and acceptance are vital to every relationship. When employees respect the leaders and the business, they will do their best. When the leaders respect the employees, they feel valued as a part of a team/family. It creates a win-win situation for everyone involved.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My mother was an amazing woman who always encouraged me no matter what venture I was pursuing. She didn’t hold a typical position for a woman as she was a cattle rancher and a small business owner of a country store in the south. She always told me, “You can do anything you set my mind to, and it’s important to dream big.” She also always said, “Dreams that come true always have some sort of action and individual talent behind them.” In other words, dream in your wheelhouse, and do something to make it happen. When I shared with her that I was going to go back to school to become a life coach she was so excited for me and said, “Well if anyone can do it you can. You have a lot to share with the world. So, get to it.”
I feel so lucky to have had my mom as a role model. She was strong, compassionate, and a great communicator. She taught me to believe in myself and my abilities by her example. She is definitely the reason I am the person I am today. I’m so grateful she was my greatest fan.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I feel I’m generous on many levels. I give back through charity like so many others. I share my knowledge freely with people, and I have provided free workshops on How to Heal After Abuse throughout the years. I feel the biggest gift I have given to the world is my book Finding Your Voice: A Path to Recovery for Survivors of Abuse. I provide an enormous amount of information, stories, skills, tools, and insight for survivors in an easy-to-follow book and workbook that is accessible to everyone — from every walk of life.
My mission when I started so many years ago was to help just one mother and her children have a life free from abuse. I wanted to help young women (like me when I started my own healing journey) who were struggling to get out of abusive situations and strive for healthier lives for themselves and their children. Now I want to change the world by stopping the cycle of abuse!
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.
Respect — In my opinion, respect is just another form of acceptance, tolerance, and value. I can’t stress enough how important it is to respect all humans without exception. Respect is one of the most valuable lessons I teach in my book, within my family, and among my employees. I feel respect is the foundation of every relationship no matter if it is a deeply personal one or merely an acquaintance. It helps all humans do what is right and ethical in our relationships. Respect seems to be dissipating in our society and yet it is the solution to healing our families, communities, and workplaces. My mom always said, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” To me that is a great representation of respect and offers a starting place for our society today.
Communication — Clear communication is a major component for any relationship especially a leadership role. Early in my career I dreaded delivering challenging or confrontational news. I would procrastinate or minimize which would cause more issues than if I had just delivered the news in a respectful and direct manner. When leaders communicate directly in a respectful way it demonstrates maturity, and the recipient is more apt to take responsibility for their action. Respectful, clear communication also encourages employees to ask for clarification when they aren’t sure what is expected of them, instead of proceeding in the wrong direction and wasting valuable time and resources. Here is best advice I can share about communication:
– Pull an individual aside to communicate or have the discussion in a private place.
– Take a deep breath, make you point clear, remain respectful and calm. Perhaps rehearse your point beforehand.
– Ask the other person if they understand. Ask them to repeat back to you in their own words what was communicated to ensure you are on the same page.
– Ask them if they have any questions, respectfully listen to their opinion, and acknowledge their view.
– Encourage them to resolve the situation and provide guidance if needed.
Responsibility — Taking responsibility for one’s action is a strong leadership quality. I’m a believer of owning my own behaviors — the good, the bad, and the ugly. When I take responsibility for my actions it demonstrates a willingness to admit that we are all human and none of us are perfect, leaders and employees alike. The goal is to strive to do our best, and often our best is enough. My advice is to lead by example. When you make a mistake take ownership of your mistake. Others will follow your willingness to accept responsibility. Encourage transparency for one’s actions and show initiative to resolve and solutions. Everyone falls down at one time or another. How we get up and recover matters most.
Confidence — A confident but not arrogant leader helps employees feel more secure. People are always seeking strong leaders who are fearless yet humble at the same time. I feel that having confidence while demonstrating vulnerability is a remarkable combination. Individuals in general want to be confident and as such are drawn to vulnerability because of the human qualities it represents. If we can maintain confidence while showing our human side, employees will feel connected to leadership which creates an inclusive environment. I encourage leaders to discover their self-confidence and strength while remaining humble.
Inspiration — Inspiration is a great gift. It can move, inspire, and direct individuals. When an individual can invoke passion and desire in others the opportunities are endless. To inspire means to influence, move, guide, or motivate. Don’t we all need a little inspiration throughout our life and career? I personally love to inspire others to be their best self and to strive for individual fulfillment. You can’t overlook the value of a great pep talk. Share with your employees how grateful you are for their support and input. Let them know they are a vital part to accomplishing the collective mission and/or goals of the company.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Like Dr. King, I have an incredible dream. My mission is to stop the cycle of abuse within our society. I realize this is an enormous undertaking. But I am encouraged when I think of Dr. King, imagining his resolve when he led the Civil Rights Movement in 1963 and delivered a speech that changed history.
Each one of us can dare to dream, and I choose to dream of a society that is free from abuse. To attain this, we need to step up and face the reality of abuse within our society, communities, and even within our own families. Burying our heads in the sand or sweeping abuse under the carpet isn’t the answer.
It’s time to speak up and find our voices on behalf of every survivor. Together we can change the world through education, empowerment, hope, and most of all healing. As each survivor finds empowerment and heals the pain of their past trauma, positive change can flourish, and abuse can be diminished.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Be who you want to be tomorrow, today!”
For me personally this quote represents individual perpetual growth. My daughter actually helped me come up with this particular quote in 2017. I have applied the meaning of this quote for as long as I can remember. When I learned to focus on what I wanted to be tomorrow, today I found myself always changing and moving toward self-improvement while reaching for a better version of myself each and every day. That growth and resolve has led me to where I am. Today, I am an empowered individual who knows anything is possible with dedication and a belief in a better tomorrow.
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 🙂
I would love to have lunch with Oprah Winfrey to discuss how we as survivors of abuse can stop the cycle of abuse in our society while strategizing on how to help other survivors heal the pain of their past. I feel that as victims of abuse the most valuable thing we lose is our self-worth which affects our self-respect and self-empowerment. These are the key beliefs every survivor needs to reclaim in order to break the cycle of abuse in their own lives. I feel Oprah embodies both of these beliefs on multiple levels. She possesses years of insight on how to survive abuse, valuable information on various topics of self-help, and a wealth of knowledge from her own personal perspective. I would be honored if she would share even just a fraction of insight or knowledge she has acquired over an amazing lunch and a glass of wine — my treat of course.
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Company Website: https://www.mmlifeservices.com