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7 Questions with Snowden McFall
7 Questions with Snowden McFall
Name: Snowden McFall
Current title: President
Current organisation: Fired Up! Professional Speaking and Coaching
Snowden McFall, professional speaker, trainer, and author, is the owner of Fired Up! Professional Speaking and Coaching. A business expert who speaks on public speaking, stress management, and employee engagement, Snowden has authored and co-authored 6 books, including Fired Up!, which has now sold over 65,000 copies. Her newest book is Stress Express: 15 Instant Stress Relievers.
Snowden's volunteer work led to national media attention. The Small Business Administration named her National Women in Business Advocate of the Year which led to a White House ceremony & Congressional luncheon in her honor.
Inc. Magazine later chose Snowden as finalist for “New England Entrepreneur of the Year.” Snowden has appeared on 330 radio shows, CNN Financial News, The Home Shopping Network and Bloomberg Television. Recently featured in Success Magazine, Investors Business Daily and Foxnews.com as an expert on burnout, Snowden has been speaking for 25+ years and has addressed several thousand people . You can find her at
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
The biggest challenges have always been about people. As a leader, you must juggle the needs of your clients and your employees along with the financial health of the company. Managing people is hard work and takes a great deal of time and effort. Leadership is a muscle which must be exercised, educated and fine-tuned.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I had been working for a large ad agency led by a brilliant creative and emotional man. He often yelled at the staff for no reason. After a year, I decided I could do it differently with an enthusiastic and dedicated team of people and a vision for success. So I started Brightwork Advertising and Training and when my first book came out, I opened up Fired Up Professional Speaking and Coaching. I still own both companies some 30+ years later.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
When I first wake up, I do yoga and meditation and listen to an inspiring audio or video. I shower, have breakfast with my husband and tend to my cats, and look over my calendar, key goals and action list of highest ROI activities- the most leveraged actions which will grow the businesses. I attend meetings, do coaching calls and use timeblocking to get important tasks accomplished. At lunch, if I'm not meeting someone, I am watching a noontime meditation and then eating with my husband. More activities and sessions in the afternoon and a break usually between 4-5 for exercise, reading or sometimes a nap. Sometimes there are webinars at 5 pm. I make dinner between 6-7 pm, play Scrabble or some other game with my husband, maybe watch funny tv and then review my day, noting successes and gratitude. I pray and read a bit before bed and go for at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Wait before reacting. Give yourself at least 15 minutes before responding to a circumstance or situation that is upsetting or alarming. If need be, take more time. Respond rather than react. and sometimes saying nothing is the best strategy.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Aspire by Kevin Hall really moved me. As a speaker and author, words are important. The story of Genshai deeply touched me and it is one I have shared as I recommend the book.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
Address the needs as you are planning your 1-3-5 year strategy. Brainstorm with the current leadership team as to anticipated needs and build in contingency budgets. No one anticipated Covid but having a contingency means you've got some cushion for crises. Always look for diverse representation in your leadership team and boards. It will make a richer, more successful business that serves your clients better.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
My non-profit service work has always been key to everything I do. One of the most humbling experiences of my life was being named National Women in Business Advocate of the Year by the US Small Business Administration for my volunteer work helping female entrepreneurs. That led to a White House ceremony and Congressional luncheon. It made a huge impact on me as I have always felt the need to advocate for others, especially women. That tradition of giving back, especially to women, has continued throughout my career. It is one of the things I am most proud of. My great satisfaction today comes from coaching women leaders and entrepreneurs and seeing them overcome challenges like I have, and seeing them soar.