Priscilla Archangel, Ph.D. has held a variety of strategic global human resource leadership roles at a Fortune 10 company over the course of her 30-year career. She currently provides executive coaching, leadership and organizational development consulting with Archangel and Associates. She is a sought-after speaker, teacher and author/blogger. Priscilla has a passion for strengthening leaders, teams and organizations to clarify and fulfill their purpose, and she believes that “everything rises and falls on leadership.” She is also a member of the Board of Directors of NAWBO-Greater Detroit.
We recently spoke with Priscilla about her business, how she sees women leading the way and what she hopes you will take away from her presentation at this year’s National Women’s Business Conference.
Q: Tell us a little bit about you.
I’m an executive coach and leadership and organizational development consultant focused on developing successful leaders. I also write a blog on leadership insights and speak to wonderful groups like NAWBO. Typically, middle market company CEOs, presidents and founders bring me in to work with their leadership team and/or their board on strategic organizational development issues. This may include facilitating senior leadership discussions; revisiting the mission, vision or purpose; managing conflict; developing leadership skills; improving employee engagement; developing culture; and other behaviors to strengthen the team.
Though my business has only been fully operational for two years, I’ve been planning and preparing for it for more than 20 years, I just didn’t realize it. I spent the first 30 years of my career in corporate America at a Fortune 10 company. I held a variety of global human resources executive positions and in each one I was always passionate about helping leaders to improve their effectiveness both individually and as a team.
Along the way, I completed a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Development, wrote a book on faith-centered leadership and finally took my own leap of faith to make my passion my full-time business. My biggest challenge as an entrepreneur was learning to develop business, when in my corporate role, business automatically came to me by virtue of my position. But instead of focusing on “selling,” I learned to focus on “adding value” and “developing relationships.” So it’s not about what I want, but how I can help others.
Q: What’s next for you and your business, and how will you get there?
My business has grown to the point that I can see myself achieving my initial goals within the next year or two. So right now I’m thinking about my five-year plan that would include reaching a broader audience with my speaking, writing another book and continuing to develop and deepen my client base. I’m also focused on bringing the right team around me to support this ongoing work.
Q: What are some areas today where you see women entrepreneurs leading the way?
I think women are creative about developing businesses to fill a gap for the challenges other women face, as well as developing new business opportunities where none previously existed.
Q: How have you led the way in your business and community in the past year?
One of the wonderful results of transitioning from corporate-preneur to entrepreneur is the wonderful women I’ve met as I developed a broader network of colleagues. I recently joined the Board of Directors of the NAWBO Greater Detroit chapter, and am involved in several other organizations that support the professional advancement of women. I’m passionate about coaching individuals and organizations to discover, develop and optimize the environment to accomplish their purpose.
Q: In what areas do you hope to see women leading the way next?
There are still some industries where women are a real minority. I’ll go to a networking meeting and find that there are only about 15 percent of women present, none of whom are minorities. So my hope is that women will increasingly see their value and worth to be “at the table” in every facet of business and industry.
Q: Why is a conference like this one for women entrepreneurs critical?
Because of the learning opportunity it provides to women, both through great speakers as well as networking. I believe women are very open to sharing and supporting one another. All of this serves to expand women’s vision of the potential of their business and the roles they can assume.
Q: If women walk away from your presentation with one thing, what do you want it to be?
In your business and leadership role, focus on giving and serving others as your key to growth. When I was just starting my business and networking at a variety of events, I initially focused on how many people I could meet, how many business cards I could exchange. I quickly found that to be stressful and ineffective. So I shifted to networking with a focus on “who can I serve.” It made all the difference in the world as I had fewer yet richer conversations with people that led to enduring business contacts.
Q: How will you lead the way this year for your business and all women entrepreneurs?
The best way for me to lead the way is by being true to my beliefs, my purpose and my focus. It’s always tempting as I move along this entrepreneurial journey, to get distracted by the shiny objects along the side of the road. Maybe it’s a senior role with a corporation, or working with a potentially lucrative client doing work that I’m capable of, but it’s not in my sweet spot, and it will take me off track from where I know I need to be. Those temptations used to be greater a year or two ago, and I’m better able to turn away from them now. This is my time in life to utilize all the wonderful experiences I’ve had to fulfill my purpose, which is developing successful leaders, in the way I’ve dreamed of doing it.
Q: Who is one woman from the past or present who inspires you when you think about leading the way, and why?
I have great admiration for Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State. As the first African American woman to hold that role and the first African American Provost of Stanford University, she blazed her own trail, sometimes promoting unpopular philosophies. She is also a concert pianist and one of the first two women admitted to Augusta National Golf Club, one of the most famous golf clubs in the world. One of her quotes that has stuck with me (and I paraphrase) is “Don’t just do something, stand there.” Her point is that too many people rush to take action simply for the sake of action. Instead, she was advocating that people stop and think strategically about the appropriate course of action before rushing off to do something.
You won’t want to miss Priscilla and all the other amazing speakers who will be at the National Women’s Business Conference, September 18-20 (Annual Membership Meeting on the 18th and the Conference on the 19th-20th), in Columbus, Ohio.
Don’t delay…Early Bird Registration ends on July 31st.
View complete conference agenda here.