Mastering work life balance with Caroline Clarke, CBO of Black Enterprise

When it comes to legacy building it often can seem like an impossible task to get everything in order in the career that makes your lifestyle possible and to blend in the family priority that makes it all worth it. One family that has certainly excelled in this area is the Graves Family, making the Black Enterprise publishing wheelhouse a force to be reckoned with in the media arena.  Caroline Clarke, a writing powerhouse in her own right, has become a lynchpin at Black Enterprise running projects from the Women of Power Summit to being the Chief Branding Officer and juggling projects of her own including two books and her steadfast priority of her family.  Needless to say when it comes to legacy that balances work and family she knows a thing or two.

The Graves family has long built media as the basis of their enterprise so once she stepped into both the Graves family and Black Enterprise family Caroline was able to share this love. Caroline knew early on that writing would be her love and has weaved this love in throughout her work and her career.  Despite having writing as her first love she has been able to ensure that the tapestry of family was the most critical component of all. A big key to success for Caroline has been the ability to nimbly utilize her often autonomous role at Black Enterprise to allow her to care for her family and children.  The gift to prioritize what is most important to her without having to have this weigh down her career she credits to taking a lot of stress off her mind and the choices she made.  For Caroline a woman being able to have control over how she manages her family frees her mind to be much more productive and effective for her career.  Judging by her successful roles at Black Enterprise and work life balance it is hopefully a model that other companies will begin to see value in.  Especially as many companies are moving into the sandwich generation where women become the caregivers not only for their children but for the aging parents as well.

Outside the passion Carline has for prioritizing her family, Caroline’s career has been based off of two other loves that speak to the core of who she is, her love of writing and her love of serving a greater purpose in whatever way she can. Her love of writing started young and she finished college she sought to have a career based in doing something she loved and somehow find a way to make money from it.  Eventually this made Black Enterprise a perfect fit, however, the true journey of her career has occurred because of her love to serve a higher purpose.  In doing so she has moved around at Black Enterprise based off the desire to ensure the success of the magazine and to fill needs as they arise in serving that greater good.  This has led her from ventures into publishing, television and even as the head of the Women of Power Summit.  While the summit began as a brainchild of her mother in law Barbara Graves, Caroline has become an exceptional leader for the summit.  True to her desire to serve Caroline stepped in at a time of need and continues to serve the Women in Power Summit as the event connects and inspires so many women year after year.  Her reactionary service has cemented not only her legacy as an inspiration leader and writer but also as a mother, wife, and daughter.

Inspire Leadership Series with Peter Remington Publisher for Houston Luxury Magazine

Inspire Leadership Series with Peter Remington, Publisher of Houston Luxury Magazine

Inspire Leadership Series with Peter Remington, Publisher of Houston Luxury Magazine










As the publisher for Houston Luxury Magazine, Peter Remington recognizes some of the best food, clothing, cars, and living that Houston has to offer.  Throughout his journey, both personal and professional, Peter’s inspiration is now laser focused to seek and emphasize on the best of what is on the inside of a person as his passion.  Through his Prepare 4 More books and speaking engagements Peter is working on building the luxury from within and sharing his faith and experiences with a much wider audience.

Lessons from the bottom

Entry level positions can be some of the most difficult places to start as seeing the stars is almost impossible when you can’t see past the clouds in between.  Peter Remington first planted the seeds of success in a career in radio where he refused to take no for an answer.  Early on the decision was made to take any opportunity given and really know the ins and outs of the position he was assigned to.  Focusing on the potential guided Peter into charting a career path marked by growth.  By stocking up on his skill set in sales he developed confidence from himself and others in his measurable strengths.  The strengths could be sculpted and reapplied regardless of the position or field.  His career in radio demonstrated this success as he excelled and eventually ran a $72 million office for Eastman Radio.

Developing a team to propel your success

Originally Peter support for his dreams came from his supervisors and mentors within radio.  As his focus shifted, however, Peter learned to adapt his support team to the priorities he set for his own life.  Peter continues to build and cultivate a team that fed both his professional and spiritual aspirations.  Through his team and his commitment to his faith Peter receives the support, accountability and motivation he needs when facing his own hurdles from others that understand his motivation and inspiration.

Building a routine and working that routine

Up at 5 AM every day and on to workout, visualize, meditate, and write all before work can be an intimidating routine for anyone.  For Peter learning to cultivate a routine where he can really focus on motivating his mind, body and soul sets the pace for the rest of the day.  The goal in such a stringent routine is to seek to maximize his vibrations out to the world.  By focusing on developing his internal foundations first, he steps out in the world ready to share this energy with others.

Making a personal mantra

“My purpose in life is to achieve my Highest Human Potential so that I may help others achieve theirs.”

Peter has worked to develop this personal mantra that guides his thoughts and inspire his steps as he faces the challenges and successes of life.  Much like the Pledge of Allegiance this simple statement is available for quick repetition and to share with others who are building up or knocking down the obstacles he faces.  By adapting this mantra he has boiled down his actions and intentions to a simple phrase as a reminder of the reason for all of the hard work and an overall guiding star as he looks for direction for his next steps. Developing a strong and simple mantra goes a long way in warding out the distractions that are a constant in life.

Allow the wind of change to move you

The more rigid a plan is, the more likely the risk that the change winds of time will break that plan to pieces.  Peter has learned to take his concrete goals and passion and make them flexible enough to be fluid with the changing environment.  Upon completion of his first book Be:Aholic, Peter was faced with the decision to actively pursue his passion on a full time basis or make a move to the publisher for Houston Luxury Magazine.  By understanding the difference between “no” and “not right now” Peter has been able to continue to cultivate his connections and professional prowess while still actively writing and preparing for his ultimate goals as a writer and personal speaker.

Walking the line between passion and career

Even as he began his career Peter developed a success formula that was simple – Making other people successful.  In doing this Peter knew he would eventually become successful himself and was able to test and prove this philosophy several times throughout his career.  Having a passion is not guaranteed to be your career, however, any and all experiences can be a stone in the foundation of reaching ones passion.  By tacking the challenges with persistence u

ltimately Peter is able to actively pursue his passion to making others successful while ensuring his foundation is built on rock instead of sand.

Staying inspired

Staying connected to his spirituality and making a commitment to continue to seek knowledge fuel Peter’s inspiration.  By having an open conversation with God and being patient and prepared for the answer Peter abides by the following wisdom:

Prayer is when you talk to God, Inspiration is when He talks back

By keeping his mind and heart open for this communication Peter is able to look for inspiration in his reading and cultivates this knowledge and inspiration in the form of his writings, which you can find in his Daily Insights on the Prepare 4 More sight.

Inspire Leadership Series with Jamey Rootes of the Houston Texans

Jamey Rootes Headshot_2012After eleven straight seasons with a sold out stadium, Jamey Rootes has not just faced the challenge of launching a football team but also the challenges of building a powerhouse brand in the Houston Texans.  Jamey’s commitment to building the team that supports the franchise has lead not only to success in the brand but as in the team as the Texans were voted as one of the best places to work in Houston.  In this Inspire Leadership series, Jamey Rootes shares his insight on how following his passion lead to his success.

In the beginning…

At the start for Jamey Rootes it was the love for another type of football igniting Jamey’s passion for sports management.  Jamey began as an avid soccer player throughout college.  The seed planted through this passion took root and continued to grow as he began his professional career and positioned him to spot the opportunity when presented of coaching a college soccer team while pursuing his MBA at Indiana University.  The work put into learning how to organize and inspire a team to collectively reach their goals laid a strong foundation for his eventual career path.

How to get to your purpose

Jamey posed hard questions that only he could answer to open the doors to where his passion laid and eventually to his purpose.  The process began by looking at questions like:

  • What do I like to do?
  • What makes me special?
  • Who out their thinks I am special?

The answers to these questions not only drove Jamey but inspired others to the point it became contagious and creating fans of those who believed in him.  They, in turn, stood behind his efforts.  By creating “raving fans” he was able to their energy to propel him through different rungs throughout his success path.

Pursing your passion with clarity

The desire to be involved in sports was clear to James Rootes after both playing and coaching soccer and his climb began in his commitment to this clear sense of purpose.  Jamey attributes this constant commitment to navigating his path through the fogginess of an indirect career path.  James jumped at opportunities to not only coach soccer for college teams but to take on the challenge at the major league soccer team, the Columbus Crew.  The risk paid off as not only were the Columbus Crew a success, but the experience in launching and managing a team from scratch caught the eye of Bob McNair in his exploration of bringing professional football back to Houston after the departure of the Oilers.  Each opportunity presented, whether later deemed a success or failure, was a chance to learn what could be done differently in the future.  Jamey attributes the positive attitude to being “punched in the mouth every now and then” as part of surviving and ultimately benefiting from the necessity of some failures on the road to success.

Appreciating the detours along the way

With the right attitude any detours to reaching a pinnacle of success becomes pieces of armor collected along the journey that protect and prepare for you for future challenges.  In his journey, Jamey was able to accumulate the firsthand experience in coach imperative to keeping a team motivated along with the business savvy necessary to build and maintain a brand all while along lives little detours.

A great example of how Jamey benefitted from the detour of going back to school to get his MBA.  The time taken to pursue his degree allowed Jamey the chance to unplug from one career path and reopen another path, the opportunity to get hands on experience in coaching and sports marketing and promotions, and to develop a critical skillset honed in graduate school.  Through this detour Jamey walked away with not only a degree, but also the unique advantage of a having a reputation as delivering in a role as a leader, team player and collaborator for a sports team.

Sources of Inspiration

The pinnacle of the leadership structure can be a very solitary place.  Although Jamey acknowledges the truth in “The captain dines alone” structure, he is able to use this position to develop an internal sense of awareness in reflecting on his performance.  The ability to honestly give himself both critiques and accolades puts in him in the constant position to not only manage the team but also work as his own manager.  The result is the development of a strong sense of self, both the goods and bad qualities, and ultimately in his own self-worth.  As a self-manager Jamey continues his personal development through reading.   Some of the power players on his reading list include:

  • 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni
  • First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do DifferentlybyMarcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins
  • 7 Seven habits of highly effective people by Stephen R. Covey

Although reading the books are an important first step Jamey sets a goal to really ingest the messages and make it apart of personal growth by taking the steps to read the book, summarize the lessons learned, and finally boil down the summary into four points to remember to take away from the book.  This process makes the reading practical and applicable in his daily challenges.

Externally Jamey also works to partner with peers outside his organization for inspiration.  By working with the Young Presidents Organization he has developed a forum to not only discuss and explore ideas and challenges but also as a measure of accountability in the actions he takes.

Facing the challenges of leadership and success

Motivation for both his team and himself is Jamey’s first line offensive in facing the pitfalls of leadership and success.  In managing his team Jamey’s commitment to personal development shine through in his philosophy of hiring talented people and finding ways to get them to do the things they are really good at.  By focusing on the end game with his staff he moves away from micromanagement and towards making firm commitments for the staff and himself and instilling the accountability to keep those commitments.  The result is providing true support towards the goal instead of on the tasks throughout the progression.  This clarity also droves Jamey’s personal success as strengthening and supporting his team continues to bolster him as he reaches additional levels of personal and team success

Pursuing a life in order

Even the most successful professional life can feel empty without the balance of love from friends and family that remind you that the cup always runs over in blessings.  To balance both his professional and personal passions Jamey first lists and then makes firm commitments to his priorities.  By listing his priorities his creates a clear sense of what is most important and what he wants to get accomplished.  This prioritization is supported by taking the time to put those things, from professional appointments, to family time, to personal development on the calendar.  By scheduling these priorities he fights the temptation to overschedule by providing disciple in mapping and defending all the time commitments that result in balanced living.


Announcing the Inspire Leadership Series

Inspire Definition Magnifier Showing Motivation Encouragement And InspirationThe picture of crossing the finish line of any marathon captures a moment in time of success.  What is not captured and what many cannot see is the miles of running and hours of hard work and preparation it takes to successfully cross the finish line on race day.  The road to success if filled with detours, stop signs, and pot holes all faced while often running on empty.  Learning how to navigate both these internal and external challenges define success of almost any leader throughout their career.  The Inspire Leadership Series focuses on business men and women seen at the pinnacle of success share an intimate look back on the road that lead them to their present and guides their future.  This perspective of the long road to success provides a tool set to professionals who are at various stops on their road to success of how to maximize their potential and reach their goals.  Above all the series will support the spirit of inspiration that all of us need to sustain the trials and test along the way and reinforce that belief that the sky is the limit if you have faith and are prepared to do the work.  Tune into Play Hard Playbook every first and third Monday of the month to get these inspirational pearls from business masters in their fields.  Our inaugural Inspire spotlight will feature Jamey Rootes, the president of the Houston Texans.