Valuing Your Worth and Wisdom: How Every Woman Can Take Charge of Her Life
A nationally recognized speaker on women’s leadership, Raquel Eatmon is the founder of the Woman of Power Conference. The entrepreneur and CEO of Rising Media LLC is a leading advocate for inclusive environments that support women in their careers, businesses and lives.
Raquel is an accomplished writer and the author of Beyond Enough: How to Lead with Your Whole Self and Strut Your Stuff: Principles in Purpose, Power, and Position. She is a former television news reporter/anchor and the voice behind the 10-year-running newspaper column "Be Inspired with Raquel" with Gannett.
By every conventional measure, Raquel Eatmon was a tremendous success in broadcasting. She went from the number 58 television market in Dayton, Ohio, to Dallas, the fourth largest market in the U.S. She subsequently landed the main anchor role—the most coveted job in local TV news—at an Alabama station.
Then she decided to walk away from it all.
- Raquel Eatmon, founder of the Woman of Power Conference, met with the Key4Women team on how women can take control of their careers.
- She explained how she’s achieved success she never felt she had in her prior career.
- As an accomplished author, she spoke about the importance of mentors and how they can help you make sure your career priorities and values are in sync.
A Question of Priorities
"I was doing three spots a day and had reached a level where I could be proud of my progress," Raquel said. "But I always placed a premium on putting a spotlight on the community in my reporting, which was in stark contrast with the priorities of the station. For example, I wanted to do stories about women who were overcoming obstacles in their lives and the tools they used. However, the model at TV stations is ‘If it bleeds, it leads.’ Sensational stories get top billing."
Her compassion caused her to identify with the subjects she was covering. "There were times when it was hard for me to report on a story and then bounce to another one," she says. "Management once told me I couldn’t raise money for victims of a fire, that I had to distance myself from my reporting. But that just wasn’t me."
Raquel concluded that she didn’t want to spend her career chasing down bad stories. Added to her frustration was a manager who constantly questioned her on minor things, including the shade of her lipstick. She decided to take a sabbatical, one from which she wouldn’t return.
"I went to my mom’s house in Mansfield, Ohio, to regroup," she says. "That was awkward at first. I had become a kind of ‘shero’ in the community because of my success, and now I was turning my back on it. But I had to deal with my emotions and take charge of my life."
She decided to do a women’s weekend retreat in her community—she called it "For the Love of My Soul"— to share her story. Raquel invited 16 women ranging in age from 16 to 93, and she wasn’t entirely sure how it would turn out.
"I told the women at the retreat what I experienced and how embarrassed and ashamed I felt," she says. "Spontaneously, they formed a circle around me. Then another woman opened up about her experiences and challenges. By the end of the retreat, everyone had been in the circle. Several of these women were people I thought had always had it together, and I was amazed to find that they had their own doubts and struggles."
Raquel knew then and there that she had to figure out a way to do this as her life’s work.
"Seeing those women open up the way they did set me on fire. I wanted to devote my life’s work to helping women develop fulfilling careers, businesses and lives."
– Raquel Eatmon
The Building Blocks of a New Career
Starting a brand new career can be overwhelming, but Raquel possessed intangibles that were in her favor. "I grew up in a warm, supportive family that included my mom, grandparents and great-grandparents," she remarks. "I remember my great-grandfather pointing to a newscaster on TV when I was little, saying ‘Rocky’—that was his nickname for me—‘you’re going to do that someday.’ I also recall my grandmother working at a side business out of the home. She didn’t have a lot of business savvy, but she made it a success. They taught me that my life was one of possibilities and opportunities."
Her first job gave her some important insights at a very young age. "I was a custodian’s assistant, and I worked for the meanest woman I’ve ever met," she laughs.
"But I also developed relationships with the people who swept the floors and did all the dirty jobs. I got to know them as individuals of worth and dignity."
– Raquel Eatmon
She also had to deal with setbacks as she got her new business going. "While I did a lot of research, I still made mistakes," she says. "I fell many, many times, but I learned something with every misstep. In addition, I left my TV career just as the recession started, which made my new venture even more challenging. But my life gained clarity and a sense of purpose."
Raquel began leading keynote and executive training programs, founding Rising Media LLC and the Woman of Power Conference. With a sharp focus on entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment and leadership, Raquel helps women excel and guides teams through an in-depth experience of measuring professional performance and personal growth.
The Importance of Mentors
"If I had it to do all over again, I would put more emphasis on finding a mentor," Raquel says. "It’s important to tap into the wisdom of a trusted mentor and gain their insights on how to think through decisions, avoid pitfalls and recover from mistakes."
Raquel believes that a mentor could have helped her understand the need to be true to her values. "I was in denial for a while," she says. "I was paid well and really grateful for what I had. Still, I wasn’t doing the things that truly mattered. A mentor can’t tell you what to do, but they help you understand the importance of making sure your career priorities and values are in sync."
Raquel has achieved the success she never felt she had in her prior career. "I’m living the life I want," she says. "It’s that simple. I prioritize the people and relationships in my life, and I’m doing work that makes a difference."
In past generations, people believed they had to work 12 to 14 hours a day and devote their lives to their work, often sacrificing everything else. "That’s not success for me," Raquel counters. "I have lots of timeouts in my day for meditation, prayer and contemplation. It’s meaningful to me, and it makes me more productive and creative."
Raquel has a great way to recharge. "I take out my memory love book," she says. "It’s filled with photos, letters and other keepsakes that are dear to me. Paging through it always makes my day better."
Raquel is an accomplished writer and mentor, and she put both skill sets together in her book Beyond Enough: How to Lead with Your Whole Self, published in May 2018.
"It’s not unusual for people to second guess themselves, but women in particular have a tendency to let self-doubt hold them back," she observes. "We question our real value, worth and wisdom—whether we are enough or not. This can keep us from reaching our full potential and living a life of wholeness and balance."
Using stories and recommending pragmatic, actionable steps that can be taken, Raquel’s book outlines how each woman can go beyond herself and own every aspect of her life right now. "It’s a roadmap that every woman can use to understand herself and learn how to thrive in the world," she says.