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Meet Trailblazer Dr. Natalie Phillips

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Natalie Phillips.

Dr. Natalie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I began and still am an audiologist. I went to school for 4 years and completed my undergraduate work, went directly to my Master’s degree program for 2 years, completed a clinical fellowship year, then worked for 5 years as a pre-requisite prior to obtaining my Doctorate degree in Audiology. I spent many years working in our industry seeing patients and diagnosing and treating hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance disorders of the ear and was involved in a non-profit organization to develop early identification protocols and tracking systems to test and fit children with amplification to reduce speech and language delay. I also had the opportunity to be involved in research and on clinical advisory boards, in addition to volunteering my time to travel overseas and in the United States as a Global Hearing Ambassador to deliver the gift of hearing with the Starkey Hearing Foundation by fitting hearing aids on people who are unable to afford the technology.

Meanwhile, about 4 years ago, I began to work with and advocate as a Global Ambassador with Empowering A Billion Women by 2020, an initiative to provide the tools, technology, and resources to empower women as leaders and successful entrepreneurs. I served on the Legacy Project Steering Committee and ran a communications campaign to involve other women to step out to support and encourage other women-owned businesses. I also began a group within Audiology called Women Unite, whose mission was to inspire, ignite, and assist other women to achieve their potential in today’s professional setting.

Over time, placing myself in this entrepreneurial space and creating connections with other incredible women, it allowed me to identify what I can continue to provide to others outside of Audiology. I was stifled by the fact that I went to school for a degree and THAT is what I should be focused on and what I am good at and I kept asking myself, “HOW in the world could I do anything else and be GOOD at anything else?”

I began to listen. An Audiologist who listens. I began to accept and receive what people were asking me for and telling me I was good at doing, even though it had nothing to do with audiology. I leaned in and found that I am passionate about building deep relationships and authentic connections to help make a difference in the world together. I was able to build and step out in confidence what was the beginning of Connect4Excellence, LLC in May 2017. I am committed to assisting individuals and businesses to become more of who they are and to live out their brand. I believe in creating environments in which people can connect on different levels to help their businesses succeed. As Founder and CEO of Connect4Excellence, I am dedicated to guiding individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses to connect to their own mission and culture, to connect to others at organized events, to connect to their own voice with a bigger audience on social media, and to connect to be able to give back and create social impact.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has NOT been a smooth road, BUT I will quickly add that I would not change anything as I OWN my story and I believe that everything I went through and continue to go through has created my own confidence and built my strength and determination to be able to help others in the most authentic way I can.

I have faced many struggles, definitely not believing in myself and what I can do as I always felt I was “just an audiologist”. I came to learn that I am “not an ‘either’ or an ‘or’, but an AND”.

I have learned to rise and surround myself with the RIGHT people and to quickly learn to walk away from toxic people and environments. I have been torn down by who I believed were trusted and close friends, being told that I am not special or important because I didn’t own my own business and did not make as much money as this person. I was also told that people don’t really care about me, that I could never run a business, and that I continue to “search” and “fish” for happiness. I have learned that no-one needs to understand your journey and it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that YOU know who you are and you have to continue to keep moving forward.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Connect4Excellence – what should we know?
I have always believed in true and authentic connections. I feel it is important to step out in faith and agree to a meeting because you never know where that may lead or who you may learn from or who you may reach. I walk into a meeting with no expectations and this allows me to listen and learn about the other person and try to help them from a purely altruistic approach none other than I am learning from someone I may not have ever met as well as I may be able to help this person move forward with my knowledge, skills or other resources and connections I may have.

I am a social listener. I enjoy social media and learning from what people are doing on different platforms. I can see things that work and that don’t work. I am also able to look at an idea or business and empower them to create their unique voice and strategy to improve their reach with their customers and audience.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
Although support and encouragement of each other are NOT considered a barrier if you are able to surround yourself with the RIGHT people… I feel the lack of TRUE and HONEST support of each other can be a HUGE barrier to leadership. The crab mentality of other women seeing someone rise and grabbing on to them to bring them back into the bucket as well as the queen bee syndrome with the struggle and competition for power can be detrimental to not only relationships and business, but in the way, females are able to rise in leadership roles.

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Image Credit:

Mark McCarthy, Brittany Koehler

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