An INNER VIEW with Acclaimed Concert Performer, Transformative Speaker and Houston Influence Women Chapter Director, Jade Simmons

An INNER VIEW with Acclaimed Concert Performer, Transformative Speaker and Houston Influence Women Chapter Director, Jade Simmons

BIO

Jade Simmons is an internationally acclaimed creator of transformational experiences designed to activate audiences into becoming the biggest boldest version of themselves possible. The world-class concert artist is also the CEO of Jade Media Global, a revolutionary live experience and global content distribution company specializing in 360 degrees of personal development and strategic transformation. Nicknamed “Classical Music’s #1 Maverick” and named one of the Best Keynote Speakers year after year, her electrifying, genre-bending concert adventures span Beethoven all the way to rap and include virtuoso storytelling, uncommon insights, and boundless inspiration. Her musical career has seen her performing in recitals and with orchestras in renowned concert halls, including the hallowed ones of the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court. Today, Jade’s experience not only delights concert audiences, but her dazzling, high-impact presentations are fast becoming the go to fuel for the world’s superlative brands and organizations from financial services to biotech, to entertainment, education, energy, and beyond. Companies such as Nationwide, Hershey’s, NBC Universal, Zillow, QuickBooks, and Raytheon bring Jade in to power up their most important resource…their people.

Jade is an ordained minister, creator of a dynamic coaching communiverse for visionary women of faith called Designer Growth Club, and the author of Audacious Prayers for World Changers and Purpose the Remix. She took her most audacious turn in 2020 as the founder of Operation Restoration, which powered her run as an Independent candidate for President of the United States.

 

INNER VIEW

Kathleen Cooke: People often think artist careers just take off like rockets. Has it been for you, and what have you learned about a successful career?

Jade Simmons: Don’t wait around to be discovered. Discover yourself instead. God has front-loaded us with purpose, mystery, surprise, delight, and ever-evolving identity. We get to go through life on a perennial scavenger hunt to find out more about who we are in Him. I’ve learned that if we are not careful over time, we start allowing our goals to define us. We might let other people’s achievements change our direction, or we wait on others (as well as jobs, titles, and roles) to tell us who we should be. I personally like to spend time taking Revelation Walks, where I simply ask God, “Who am I in this season?” and “What do you want me to know now?”. You can ask these questions in relation to your art, your talent, your productions, and your projects. I’m never disappointed and always blown away by the discovery!

Kathleen: A life as an artist is one of constant uncertainty. How have you broken through that fear?

Jade: In a conversation about my tendency to leap fast when I sense the voice of God, my sister said to me: “You’re not just a leaper, you’re a free-faller in faith!” The biggest smile came across my face because I am so proud of that part of my identity. Today, I teach other visionary women how to get a little quicker with their jumps, leaps, and free falls where faith is concerned. I’ve learned that God rarely spells out the whole plan at the beginning, so you might as well take the first step so you can get on with the next one. And, it never fails that when I simply pick my foot up in the new direction, He begins to reveal more about what’s coming next. Secondly, I expect the things that are being revealed in my quiet time to start appearing in reality. So, when they do, I trust I can say yes to what’s being presented. Lastly, I also trust that if I make a wrong move, God will show me and help me make a new move or extract myself if need be.

Kathleen: Today, our identity is being attacked like never before. What has God taught you about embracing your identity in Him?

Jade: I truly believe God has created us to be extraordinarily unique beings made in His inimitable image. Nevertheless, we live in a society that prizes conformity on many levels. Especially in the case of survival (personally, professionally, physically, financially, and emotionally), conformity proves safest. Ultimately, those of us determined to get down to what I call our “Factor of 1” are in for a lifestyle of risk-taking. Impactful uniqueness looks like harnessing all of our gifts, skills, personality, and abilities to be used in the direction of purpose, for the good of many, often in ways that are different than what the world has seen previously. In doing so, we will likely buck against the status quo, move opposite the crowd at some point, and combine things that were once thought not to go together. More scarily, we will not be guaranteed of the outcome on this side of the action! But, when we risk moving like a maverick and we see the impact we have on an expanded and unlikely audience BECAUSE we took the risk, it gets a little easier the next time…and the next. My own career is one of lots of Divine detours, zagging when others were zigging, and daring to bring seemingly disparate concepts (music, businesses, or even people) together. When we look back on our lives and careers, we see that what was really happening was that we were not just doing new things or living through new situations. Instead, we were becoming more of our fullest selves in the process, our most unique identities.

Kathleen: Finally, our culture is driven to be influential today. What’s the one thing you’ve learned about being an influence?

Jade: Influence is happening whether we intend it to or not…so we might as well be intentional with it. I believe we each have a unique type of influence and a unique way of being able to influence. It’s pointless to imitate other influencers unless, of course, we are talking about Jesus, a worthy model. Remarkably, He was committed to His mission and His ministry, but He did not obsess over whether or not people were following! He was not constantly looking back to see if he was becoming popular! He simply focused on being who He was called to be, doing what He was called to do. His fruit created the following. As a highly ambitious person who can devolve into hyper-competitive thinking and overanalyze analytics, Jesus’s example of influence is the best reminder of the posture we should take.

Learn more about Jade’s audacious journey at jadesimmons.com as she takes the baton as the new Influence Women Chapter Director in Houston, Texas. Join her as she and the outstanding Houston IW team grow and create a “transformative experience” at each event.

An INNER VIEW with Producer, Podcaster, and Production studio owner, Amber Butaud

An INNER VIEW with Producer, Podcaster, and Production studio owner, Amber Butaud

BIO

Amber Butaud is multi-talented. As an executive producer and podcast host, she uses her God-given gifts to inspire and lead others through storytelling. Amber is the founder and owner of 4 The One Studio, which is excelling the film industry in Houston, Texas, and is earning accolades from industry leaders and corporations such as The Beach Boys, Wilson, and Univision. She co-produced UP TV’s first original feature film, “The Life of Me,” and executive produced the feature film “Multiplied,” both set to release in 2024. Amber hosts the weekly video award-winning podcast “Set Life: Inspiring Stories of the Entertainment Industry,” and her passion for uplifting others extends to her production company, No Judgement Media, where she produces films, TV shows, and shorts that impact the culture. Amber’s drive for above-industry standards fuels her mission and has ignited an unstoppable ripple effect to bring meaningful change to the industry. Amber is proud to be part of the leadership team for Influence Women Houston.

INNER VIEW

Kathleen Cooke: What has God recently taught you that has enlarged your faith?

Amber Butaud: God has recently taught me to trust in Him and his timing. All my life, I have been able to see the big picture of God’s vision for my life, and recently, he has been showing me one step at a time and less of the big picture. This is a new level of trust as I am not often sure where I’m going daily, but I have faith that where He is leading me is full of goodness and mercy. I remind myself that when I cannot see the hand of God, I can trust His heart. It has been a new faith journey: trusting the Lord with daily obedience. He has taught me to pray through things when my hopes and dreams don’t reflect my reality. Keep praying. Don’t stop. Keep contending. This season may be difficult, but the unknown is a place of possibility. The two promises from God and His word that I stand on are Jeremiah 29:11-13 and Proverbs 3:5-6.

Kathleen: One of the things that impresses me about your accomplishments is your ability to “just do it.” What have you learned about when to push on and when to pull back when you’re working on a project?

Amber: After a few months in the industry, I learned that there is a time to push and press in. There is also a time to be still and wait on the Lord to reveal what He wants to do through the connections I make daily. I’ve learned to ask God before all my meetings to show me what His ambitions are for the relationship, whether it be a connection, a collaboration, or that it is just a time for me to be the hands and feet of Jesus to others by offering encouragement, praying for them, serving, and helping them. It has been humbling to watch God show up in the most miraculous ways through relationships He has brought my way. This has allowed me to temper the over ambitious, self-driving, achiever personality that I have been given. I surrender my own ways and ambitions by staying in the Word- the Bible and allowing His voice to reign true in my thoughts. His ways are always above my own. I love the scripture in Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Kathleen: What’s a leadership lesson that changed everything for you?

Amber: A leadership lesson that truly changed how I lead was to lead from my strengths, not my weaknesses. I took an assessment and studied the teachings of Tom Rath called Strength Finders 2.0. The assessment taught me what my top five strengths were. The whole concept of his teachings is to stay focused on our strengths, and we are five times more productive when we focus on our strengths than when we are trying to fix one weakness. As I studied this, the Lord spoke very clearly and said, “What sets you apart? Is it your weaknesses or your strengths that I’ve given you?” His answer was my strengths. That’s what He has set us apart in and where His power is made perfect in our weaknesses. I learned to lead from my strengths and allow the Lord’s power to be made perfect in my weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, …“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…”

Kathleen: We influence others daily. What have you learned about influencing others?

Amber: One of the most important things I’ve learned about influence is we can either be a positive influence or a negative influencer. As women, we have the opportunity to make a positive influence in our families, communities, and even in our culture. We are often tempted to sit back and allow someone else to set the pace for the rest of society. Still, there has never been a more important time for us to lead with love and integrity; whether you have the opportunity to be a leader within your neighborhood community, family, business, or even your church, you have the potential to influence others through your words, ideas, and examples. I hope the Lord will light a fire of influence in your heart and encourage you to stand up and step out as an effective leader or influencer. Don’t wait for someone else to carry out the job. God has equipped you as an influencer, so just do it.

An INNER VIEW with Award-Winning  Actress and Musical Artist, Cassie Byram

An INNER VIEW with Award-Winning Actress and Musical Artist, Cassie Byram

BIO

Cassie Byram is an award-winning actress, singer, and songwriter, encompassing theater, film, television, voice-overs, published songwriting and multiple album releases for adults and children alike. Cassie recently portrayed Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the film Forty-Seven Days with Jesus with son Jonathan Byram as Jesus.

Her stage roles include The Scarlet Pimpernel, The King and I, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and West Side Story, with television credits including Jake and the Fat Man, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Civil Wars and The Time Changers and is a featured singing the solo If I Loved You in the film City Hall starring Al Pacino. The Fathom Event “Forty Seven Days With Jesus” will be in theaters March 11, 12, & 14, 2024.

INNER VIEW

Kathleen Cooke: What’s the one thing you’d like to share with women that God has recently taught you?

Cassie Byram: The idea of “peaking” is unbiblical. The thought that you are past your prime is a message from the enemy, who constantly wants to disable you every step of the way. It’s a message that plagues our society and can start as early as our 20s. On the contrary, God is in the business of redeeming our past and working in our present, all while His Holy Spirit ushers us into our future. God truly does work all things together for good. (Romans 8:28) From my experience I can tell you that just when you think your ship is docked and anchored, you’ll experience Christ, walking on the water next to you, helping you sail. I love this quote I recently heard from Tyler Perry: God says, “You don’t tell me when it’s over. I tell you when it’s over.”

Kathleen: With that in mind, tell us about your new role in the upcoming movie, “Forty Seven Days With Jesus.

Cassie: Getting a role in the new film, “Forty Seven Days With Jesus”, at this time in my life is a great example of why I don’t believe in “aging out” when it comes to career or influence! I played the part of Mary, the mother of Jesus, which was a joy in so many ways. First, being on a film set again is always thrilling. It just feels like home. Add to that the amazing fact that my own son Jonathan Byram is playing the role of Jesus; well, I can hardly begin to describe what that was like. I believe it’s the first time a real-life mother and son are playing the roles of Mother Mary and Jesus for film or TV. I’ve had the privilege of portraying Mary before in other projects, but I had the opportunity to take it to a whole new emotional level in this film. It’s an experience I will always cherish and consider as a career and personal highlight.

Kathleen: What do you wish you’d learned more quickly in life?

Cassie: Comparison is your worst enemy. We must realize everyone’s gifts and time frames are not the same. If we are in God’s hands, then the timing of our greatest impact is also in His hands. Our responsibility is to be obedient to His ways, and then God does the rest. The Bible is clear that we can flourish at any age. We see time and again, through Bible stories and present day stories, how God uses people of all ages to make a significant impact. I think about amazing women like the late Edith Kirchmaier, who on her 105th birthday signed up on Facebook.  She didn’t compare herself to younger people and give up. Instead, she used the platform to spread the message of giving back to her 32,000 friends and beyond!  Passing away at 107, she left a lasting legacy of conduct, values, and perseverance.

Kathleen: What have you learned about failure?

Cassie: At times, we confuse transition and change with failure. Learning to expect the unexpected brings a new and healthy outlook on the twists and bumps along the way. I can tell you from my journey that a turn in the road doesn’t mean your dreams will die. Often, our skills and gifts flourish in ways we never expect. Once when I was experiencing a slowdown in the middle of my career as a professional actor, singer, I frankly felt ready to give up. At that same time, I was given an opportunity to write and produce bible-based animation and music for children. Now, I run my own company, Mamala Media, where I offer “Heavenly Resources For Family Life” by producing music, books & animation for kids and adults alike. It’s so much fun, but I never saw that coming!

This quote from Charles Stanley makes a great point: “Why would you give up now at an age when you’ve finally learned some things and have so much to offer?”

Kathleen: We all impact other’s lives, but what’s the one thing you’ve learned about influence?

Cassie: Influence comes only through perseverance and trust. Those are the keys to building your own fruitful growth, which leads to realizing goals placed in your heart that will be used to lead others. If we look at our lives as a slow fizzle, then we really aren’t living out what we say we believe when it comes to trusting God. For many women, the responsibilities of marriage and family can, at times, feel like a dream squisher! We start to create a narrative that discounts us from ever realizing our dreams or being viable again. But God promises, if we wait on him, we will mount up with wings like eagles! (Isaiah 40:31) This promise is not a once in a lifetime occurrence. God can renew our strength again and again at any time or age.

Follow Cassie:
Instagram: @cassiebyramofficial & @mamalamedia
Facebook: Cassie LaRocca Byram
Website: www.cassiebyram.com & www.mamalamedia.com

An INNER VIEW with DeAnna Kane the NEW Hollywood Chapter Director

An INNER VIEW with DeAnna Kane the NEW Hollywood Chapter Director

BIO

DeAnna Kane earned her master’s degree of Science in Education Leadership from Keiser University and graduated at the top of her class. She began her professional writing career for donor development and fundraising with the Museum of the Bible in 2015 and then moved into managing many of their high-end donor events for the Museum’s grand opening in 2017. DeAnna also produces large women’s conferences as well as helped coordinate logistics for many Influence Women events.

DeAnna combined her talent for writing and event planning to launch KC Media Publishing as CEO with business partner Leslie Callaway. KC Media Publishing currently produces Heart of Hospitality Magazine combined with The Empowered Magazine, which has a presence in 34 countries. She co-authored the etiquette book Just the Basics: Manners Made Easy with Leslie, and they are writing an etiquette curriculum to accompany the book.

In addition to serving on the advisory board of Influence Women, she has accepted the position of director of the Hollywood Chapter of Influence Women. She also serves on the National Board of Mon Ami Ministries as well as serving as the executive director of communications and public relations for Connection Point Church LA. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her four kids and a plethora of animals, including cats, dogs, and horses.

INNER VIEW

Kathleen Cooke: Influence Women is thrilled to have you as the new Hollywood Chapter Director. What has God been teaching you recently as you prepare to take on this new role?

DeAnna Kane: I think, as women, we have an over-burning desire to be successful in all we do. We strive to be perfect and accomplished and stretch our boundaries always to be doing more. I believe God has equipped us to go above and beyond anything and everything we want to do, but what He didn’t say is we have to do it alone. Of course, God’s Word tells us He will never leave us nor forsake us, but I also believe he brings people into our lives to come beside us and lift us up, support us, and encourage us. He brings people to help us and puts others in our path so that we may help them.

I struggle with asking people for help. I remember at an event, I had a friend ask me if she could help with anything, and when I gave her a task, I actually started to do the task myself as I was explaining. She laughed and said, “Did you actually plan on letting me do that, or did you just want to do it yourself?” We laughed, and I let her take over. It was clear to me that I was so used to doing things on my own that I would have to really work at letting go and delegating better. This is where women need to build their tribe. Find those people you can rely on and trust to help you accomplish all that you want to do and stop looking at other women as competition. Women really get things done, so trust that God wants you to build a tribe to succeed. God never meant us to do life alone.

Kathleen: Whenever someone is asked to do a new job or take on a new leadership role, women often think about what might happen if they fail. What have you learned about making mistakes and not letting past failures stop your forward movement?

DeAnna: One year, I was throwing a birthday party for my business partner, Leslie, and I was holding the birthday cake. I zigged, and the cake zagged. It fell to the ground with the loudest thump ever possible. I stood there looking at the cake, and the first thing that crossed my mind was, “How can I fix this without everyone knowing what I just did?” Then I heard the collective, “Noooooo…, come from behind me.” For some reason, it just struck me so funny that I burst out laughing. Of course, there was nothing I could do to keep anyone from seeing it, and when the absurd thought struck me to cover it up, it was so outlandish that laughter bubbled up, and I couldn’t stop.  (more…)

An INNER VIEW with Beth Townsend

An INNER VIEW with Beth Townsend

How can you wisely discern what to give your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to? It can feel like a tightrope of expectations and motivations, but Baton Rouge Chapter Director and award-winning television show host Beth Townsend makes it simple. Read this month’s INNER VIEW as she dives into what it means to find your purpose!

BIO

Beth is an author, speaker, award-winning TV show host, and purpose coach. On her own at 17 years old, Beth had no choice but to go to work. Starting as a property manager in Virginia, she climbed the corporate ladder and became a young executive working as VP of Operations for a real estate company in Atlanta. Beth kept asking one question, “How did you know your purpose?” The depth of the question led her on a spiritual journey which led her to becoming a purpose life coach, writing an award-winning book, Life on Purpose, and her award-winning TV show, Life on Purpose. “Purpose is a mindset where passion lives, faith thrives, and God’s will is accomplished in the life of every Believer.”

Beth is excited to be leading Influence Women Baton Rouge as the chapter director, which launches on January 27th. You can find out more about Beth at bethtownsend.com, where she is changing the world one story at a time!

INNER VIEW 

Kathleen Cooke: We are thrilled that you will be leading Influence Women Baton Rouge’s chapter group. Your driving focus in your life is for women to know their purpose. What’s the one thing that you want to tell women about finding their purpose?

Beth Townsend: To ask and answer this question: Who Are You? We are human beings, not human doings. If you know who you are, you’ll always know what to do. Learning to have a strong sense of identity is a learned skill based on the knowledge of who God says we are, not who we ‘feel’ we are or who others say we are. Once we dig deep into our sense of who God created us to be apart from the roles and relationships, we learn that a better me means a better we. The me affects all the we’s! A life of purpose is the result of a strong sense of self. Do you like yourself? Are you for you? God has a plan and a purpose for your life.

Kathleen: You’re constantly juggling speaking, writing, and hosting your TV show. What have you learned about prioritizing your time to make it all happen?

Beth: One of the purpose principles that I live by is to ‘know my “nots.” Many people do a little bit of a lot of things, mostly in the pursuit of trying to ‘find’ purpose, and they are afraid that they will miss that one big thing. This leads to confusion as opposed to clarity. “Where are you, God?” We will often have to say no to people to say yes to God. “No, thank you” is a complete sentence. Colossians 3:23 is quick to clear up confusion. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Before we say yes to anything, we need to honestly ask ourselves, “Will I do this for the Lord?” And with excellence? Give it all I’ve got? Otherwise, it’s a not. We are not called to mediocrity ever. Your commitments must reflect that commitment to the Lord. He gets only our best.

Kathleen: We are living more and more in a world of uncertainty. How have you learned to break through the fear and go for it?

Beth: Better voices lead to better choices. If I’m not hearing from God, I’m listening to the wrong voices. Certainly, others can add wisdom and offer encouragement. God just used to be one of the opinions that factored into my decisions, and I was about running in circles. Been there, done that, and didn’t like it. We live in a loud and noisy world where everyone has an opinion. Don’t fall for the noise. God planted within us all we need to be us. We seek Him, and then others can add. He made us and knows us, and He must be allowed to lead us. “Seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.” Matthew 6:33. If we don’t put our firsts first, what follows will be frustration and a lack of understanding of who God is and, therefore, who we are.

Kathleen: God tells us to go and be an influence in the world. Why is this important?

Beth: I’ve been interviewing people since 2001, many well-known. Athletes, politicians, celebrities, and ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things. Not one of them ever asked for anything in return; they simply wanted to share their story for God’s glory. We can change the world, one story at a time, but we must be willing to share that story. To do that effectively in today’s soundbite world, we plan and prepare for that magical moment. How? We do what movie producers and book editors do: we edit and edit some more! Start with a defining moment, and fill in the blanks. Sharing your story starts with preparing your story. I once heard a professional editor say, “No one wants to hear your life story.” That is true, but I’ve since learned a valuable lesson on timing. “While no one wants to hear your life story, everyone wants to hear how your life story can help their life story right now today.” With the advancement of technology, we are all influencers! Be ready. Share your story for God’s glory, but take time to do so with excellence.

An INNER VIEW with Writer, Showrunner, Creator, Sheryl J. Anderson

An INNER VIEW with Writer, Showrunner, Creator, Sheryl J. Anderson

Do you struggle with anxiety? Perhaps even in the areas you’re most gifted in or feel called to? Learn to navigate the highs and lows of the industry as Sweet Magnolias showrunner, Sheryl J. Anderson, gives insight to real connection with God and true influence. When your career, family or future feels unstable, you can find joy in the steadiness of God.

BIO
Sheryl J. Anderson is the creator and showrunner of Sweet Magnolias, a romantic drama for Netflix whose third season drops in July 2023; she also has a variety of projects in development. Sheryl began her writing journey as a playwriting major at The College of William & Mary in Virginia. Lured to Los Angeles by the intrigue of television and the promise of 300 sunny days a year, she worked as a television studio executive, screenwriter, and half-hour series writer (Parker Lewis Can’t LoseDave’s World). She then moved to writing and producing hour-long series, working on a wide range of series (CharmedFlash Gordon, When Calls the Heart). She created Ties That Bind, UPtv’s first scripted series. She has sold pilots to Netflix, SyFy, NBC, Lifetime, and Disney and has written movies for Hallmark, UPtv, and Lifetime.  Sheryl is also a novelist and teaches and mentors through a variety of universities and organizations.

INNER VIEW

Kathleen Cooke – What’s the one thing you’d like to share with women that God has recently taught you?

Sheryl J. Anderson – In the last several years, God has taught me – is still teaching me – that I am not in control; He is. I was impatient from childhood, always sure I had the answer, I could solve the problem, I could lead the way. There were triumphs, but there were also plenty of failures. Now, after a series of painful, heartbreaking events – the deaths of my parents, my divorce, the betrayal of friends – I finally understand. I do what I can to the best of my abilities, but there are situations – and people – that I must entrust to His care because I am not able to fix them. This applies to my relationships and my work. While hard-won, patience has become a source of peace and power, a constant reminder that He walks beside me. And when I walk with Him, rather than racing ahead, it is easier to stay on the path He would have me walk.

When you’re impatient, it is all too easy to overreach: “This one moment will solve everything.” Which all too quickly turns into “This one moment will ruin everything.” But impatience is a form of fear: “If it doesn’t happen now, it will never happen!” And, as we know, fear is the absence of faith, the denial of faith. When we root ourselves in faith, we know that God is holding us up, just as Jesus lifted Peter out of the stormy sea, and we will find our footing again – as long as we walk with Him.

Kathleen – The industry is a roller-coaster of highs and lows. One day, you have a job, and then it may be a while before the next one comes. How do you find hope when things fall apart? Do you have a scriptural promise you find comforting?

Sheryl – Anxiety is my chief antagonist. It blocks my path when I’m striving to do my best. It whispers in my ear when I’m considering an uncertain future. It wakes me up at night. And it fuels my constant struggle to set aside my will and embrace God’s will.  (more…)