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 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…)

An INNER VIEW with Stylist Alaina Griffin

An INNER VIEW with Stylist Alaina Griffin

BIO

Alaina is an LA-based wardrobe stylist with more than five years of experience in personal, commercial, and editorial styling. Passionate about turning concepts into reality, Alaina specializes in putting together essential pieces that elevate her clients’ personal brand and tell a visual story. She is currently a stylist for Nordstrom at The Grove. As a freelance stylist and consultant, Alaina is happiest when she is bringing ideas scribbled on paper and images posted on a vision board to life for others to experience – her version of art.

INNER VIEW

Kathleen Cooke: Fear. It is saturating our lives with wars, strikes, and ongoing uncertainties. What has God taught you about dealing with fear?

Alaina Griffin: One thing that God has recently taught me came from a dream. In the dream, it was dark, and I was walking to my vehicle. An overwhelming sense of fear and of being lost swept over me. Suddenly, all the lights around me went out. I fell on the ground in crippling fear, unable to move. After some time, I realized that an electrical outage did not cause the darkness around me and in front of me, but because my eyes were closed. I started praying to God that my eyes would be opened. This struggle caused me to wake up from my dream.

What was God revealing? To move forward, we must pray, as Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:18, that God opens our Spiritual Eyes so that we can confidently know and understand God’s WORD and God’s WILL. This enlightenment will transform our walk with God and change how we navigate waiting seasons, tough decisions, life lessons, trials, and triumphs to get to the blessings and promises of the Lord. Finally, spiritual sight causes us to seek God in order to capture in the Spirit what is not yet manifested on Earth. Spiritual sight activates us to speak by faith into existence what is seen, not by the natural eye. The Word God gave me to share is: See it so that you can seize it (even by force if necessary). With this, we are powerful, and all things become possible.

Kathleen: We are living in an increasingly competitive world. Our ambition to succeed can often overpower us, and we can make bad choices. How have you learned to wait on God’s perfect timing and will?

Alaina: Ambition is a topic that is definitely an issue in the town we live and work in – Hollywood. As believers of Christ, we can get swept up in chasing ambition and dreams if we’re not mindful and rooted in God. We must remember that we are IN the world and not OF this world. We are called to infuse and push God’s culture into this world. To do this, we must do as it says in Matthew 6:33: see first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (ways of doing things). The ways of the Lord are and will always be contrary to the way of the world, which measures success in riches and the number of followers, titles, and degrees a person has.  When we seek God daily and trust Him, He will help us to navigate through each day in our professional careers. Sometimes it is a waiting season, and sometimes it is a “go now moment!” God must be the One speaking and leading, not ambition, society, vanity, or cultural pressures.

Kathleen: Many women today are struggling with an identity crisis. What has God taught you about being unique and finding peace in who He says you are, not what the world wants to define you as?

Alaina: I have found that people in this town suffer particularly from identity crises. I have encountered people who are always “ON”- in character, preparing for the next role. As children of God, the Bible makes it clear that we are special – a royal priesthood, 1 Peter 2:9. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, Psalms 139:14, and set apart, Deuteronomy 14:2. God invested time in creating and forming each person to fulfill the plan He has laid out at the beginning of time for Kingdom advancement. How do we find peace and come to know who God called us to be? One way is through our proximity to others- community. Groups like Influence Women, with other like-minded women on similar journeys, will help God’s calling for our lives to become clearer. The other way is through our proximity to God – intimacy. As we grow closer to God, He shows us how to love. How to love Him, ourselves, and others. In loving ourselves, we see ourselves and value ourselves as God sees and values us.

Kathleen: God tells us to Go. To be an influence in all the world. Why is that essential?

Alaina: When Jesus left His disciples, He gave a mandate that echoed throughout the generations, and it was to make disciples of men. As believers, we all have been given a mandate to lead others to Christ and into a deeper relationship. We were created and called to be leaders in this world- influencers. Matthew 5:13 tells us that we are the salt of the earth. It then goes on to say in the next verse that you are the light of the world. As believers, we were created and formed to function as salt and as a light in the world. By its design- light cannot be hidden, and salt cannot not be salty. It is just not possible. We are called to be a light at our jobs, at home, on the subway, in line at the grocery store, and in neighborhoods.

Thanks to technology, we can go and be influencers around the world without leaving our homes. As God has freely given us life, purpose, identity, giftings, spiritual blessings, healing, deliverance, His Word, and so much more, how could we possibly not share the good news and our testimonies with others? Not operating as God’s light or salt causes us to have an identity crisis and creates frustration and feelings of hopelessness, meaninglessness, and restlessness in us. It creates God-size issues that only God can correct. Answering the mandate to go simply means allowing God to navigate our next move and to work through us so that we can become the answers God called us to be on earth.

Connect with Alaina:
Find out more about her work at: arashedastyling.com
Facebook and Instagram: @arashedaconsulting
TikTok: @arashedastyling

INNER VIEW with Author and Dating Coach, Jodie Swee

INNER VIEW with Author and Dating Coach, Jodie Swee

Are you trusting God through the process? The ins and outs of life can take unexpected turns, but read this month’s INNER VIEW with Jodie Swee as she encourages us to grow, view failure through a different lens, and earn our place of influence with others.

 

BIO

Jodie Swee is a spiritual director, dating coach, and founder of Topanga Social, a dating service for imperfect Christians. Jodie has authored four Bible study series and shared her joy and authenticity with audiences for over 20 years. She lives in the South Bay of Los Angeles with her husband of 16 years and their 2 daughters.

 

INNER VIEW

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

Jodie Swee: Trust the process! Growth and accomplishment don’t usually happen overnight. If you spend quality time with Jesus regularly, seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and do your best with what you have, then trust that the Lord will take care of you and lead you to where you need to be.

When you trust the process, you discover an invitation to experience things differently. Failure becomes an opportunity to learn, detours become adventures, and the lack of control over external circumstances becomes a chance to surrender your internal perspective to the Lord.

I recently had a conversation with my best friend, and at that moment, I wasn’t trusting the process. Let me share with you what she told me.

She said, “Babies have to grow.” And she’s right. Our babies…our hopes, dreams, and expectations for the future… need to grow. They need to grow so that the Lord can teach us how to take care of them before they become unruly teenagers with their own ideas!

So, my dear friends, trust the process and enjoy the adventure it brings.

Kathleen: Failure today often dismantles us. How have you dealt with failures in your life?

Jodie: I hate failure. I loathe it. It makes me feel all squishy and small inside, and for many years I used to hide from it behind excuses. But not anymore. Instead of running and hiding from my failure, the Lord has taught me to turn and face it. Don’t get me wrong, I still HATE it, and it makes me feel icky inside. My initial instinct is still to run and hide, but the Lord has granted me the ability to pause before doing so (or before getting too far) and embrace my failure.I don’t embrace it for long, but rather than run from my failure, I receive it…and then bring it to the Lord and yield it. When I do that, he transforms it into something else…something beautiful and beneficial to me and/or others.

Twenty years ago, I was speaking at a young adult event in a church. I completely bombed. After I finished, someone in the crowd actually shouted, “That’s it?” I thought I would be consumed by shame. I blamed it on my lack of talent/skill and ended up quitting speaking for a decade. Until the Lord invited me to try again (which is a sweet, sweet story for another time).

Last year, I was speaking at another church event, and once again, I completely bombed. I experienced all the familiar feelings, but then I laughed (a little) and brought it to the Lord. In doing so, I discovered an opportunity to deepen my spiritual practices before and after speaking. The failure became a gift that will serve me and others for the rest of my life.

For a long time, I thought that someday I would be so wise and experienced that I wouldn’t fail anymore. Bless my naive little heart! Now, I am indeed wiser and more experienced…and I know I’ll never outgrow failure (this side of eternity). It’s not something to outgrow or run away from. It’s something to embrace, even with its uncomfortable feelings, and surrender so we can experience more of God’s transformative love in our lives.

Kathleen: You have a deep passion to help others with growing strong, meaningful relationships. What have you learned about developing relationships that last and can be trusted?

Jodie: I have a deep and fierce love for people, and I pastor many. It is my purpose and passion. However, personally, I tend to be somewhat of a loner. Surprisingly, my inner circle is quite small, not by choice but by some intentional design, I believe. Throughout my adult life, I have consistently sought out a steady mentor, but I have never had one. Nevertheless, I have been fortunate to receive bits of wisdom from older friends who have come and gone throughout my journey.

I have ADHD, and I’m not awesome at keeping up with people who live far away. (Out of sight, out of mind is LEGIT for us neurodivergent homies.) I didn’t meet my best friend until I was 42. She was leading worship; I was giving the message…and we bonded for life over the realization that we both experienced the love of Jesus through the TV series Outlander. (That’s weird, I know…but that’s why she’s my bestie.)

My relational experience over the years has taught me to enjoy and delight in what I have, grieve and release what has been lost as a natural part of life, and always be on the lookout for my next kindred spirit to pop up in an unexpected place.

Kathleen: What’s the one thing you’ve learned about how we can influence others?

Jodie: Honestly? I’ve learned that influence can be a sneaky and destructive beast, and it is important for us to be mindful of how we wield it and the individuals we permit to influence us.

Influence should not be won; it should be earned.

I believe that it is earned by faithfully pursuing our calling with our whole lives (public and private), being honest and saying “I don’t have an answer to that” when we don’t, and being intentional about sitting under the authority and influence of God. Any influence we have not supported by a firm foundation in Jesus is just an invitation for that sneaky Satan to twist and misuse. Influence shouldn’t puff us up or make us strong; it should keep us humble and desperately in need of the Lord’s guidance.

Connect with Jodie:
Book a free intro session at: JodieSwee.com

Instagram: @jodieswee and @topangasocial