• Weslie Ashe

Tina L. Cloud, Badass Woman

For my first Badass Women blog interview, I spoke with Tina L. Cloud, a Conflict Transformation Strategist who runs her own business, TLC Strategies. Listen to the interview yourself or read Tina’s answers below.

Tina L. Cloud is the Founder & Chief Strategist of TLC Strategies. TLC Strategies inspires hope and provides actionable strategies to adults blindsided by life, unable to resolve interpersonal conflict, or facing life changing transitions. They help clients reimagine experiences & overcome roadblocks to pursing their passions, purpose & peace one meaningful conversation at a time. Consider their services if you are stuck and seeking help to thrive in your personal or professional life. www.tinalcloud.com

This is a transcript of my interview with Tina

(1) First, tell me a little about yourself and your company. What is your mission?

So, I am a transplant from Los Angeles California currently living in Georgia, which is a whole other story! But I am also a middle child of three, so that has some context to some things that I might share today. TLC strategies is a play on my initials. My first name is Tina, my middle name is LaShon, and Cloud is my surname. Also, it is a universal understanding that TLC represents tender loving care, and that's kind of the premise of the services that I offer. But it's a learning coaching and training company, and we focus on transforming the conflict in people's lives into something more productive.

And our main mission is to empower individuals, families, and communities to develop innovative life skills to overcome conflicts. And what we strive to do is help people productively pursue their passion purpose and peace.

(2) Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of moxie. What made you want to start your own business?

That is such a loaded question, but I really wanted the flexibility to live my dreams without the constraints of being on someone's clock right. I didn't want to be on someone's 9 to 5 clock on their regulated schedule of when I could come and go, when I could do the things that I love to do, etc. So, I decided to test this entrepreneurial thing out, and so far it's been great for me.

I also wanted to use the best of my skills to help others and just to have the ability to prioritize what my goals and values were. And it's been really a juggling act and I've learned lots of new things everyday about how to make my business better. So, it’s definitely pushed my abilities, and determination, and focus. And it is also will. You have to have the drive to be willing to stay up late at night and work weekends and not do some things that you would love to do in the greater interest of pursing your business.

(3) What do you absolutely adore about your company and being a business owner?

I would say I adore my clients. I really enjoy seeing the light bulb come on in their head. Oftentimes I offer strategies. But knowing or applying is really evidence of learning, and so having a conversation with someone and seeing the moment where they get that click and see their part in the conflict or see that there is a better option beyond what that they thought they could achieve for themselves. That really makes me very excited, and also just basically putting into practice life strategies and decision-making that helps my clients make their lives better.

What I adore most about my company is just owning such a transformational business. I help change people's lives, the trajectory of their lives, the lives of their families and their friends, and ultimately their communities. So that gives me personal fulfillment.

(4) Anything about being an entrepreneur that you'd like to break up with?

I would like to divorce marketing and advertising. If I could like it, but I think it feels really narcissistic and cheesy, even though I know it needs to be done. So, I've just got to find a more clever way or more enthusiastic way of doing it—a way that seems authentic to who I am—and I think for me that is a very delicate balance. So, I'm still working on that. But if I could, I would really just expand off of my to-do list ever!

(5) I always want the ladies in my stories to be feminists, but feminism can be a loaded word. Do you consider yourself a feminist? If so, how do you feel that affects you as a businesswoman?

I would say I don't consider myself to be a feminist but a traditionalist. And I'll share why. I do support the notion that women should be treated with respect and with great regard for their contribution. But I have definite ideas about gender roles. So, if you're asking me if I believe in equal opportunity, the answer is “yes, for sure.” But I just think the blurred lines and the notion that women can do what men can do has really diminished the family structure and caused unnecessary competition in the workplace and home. That's just my own personal opinion, but I do think each family and person can really decide for themselves what works for them. And I support that.

I mean, I do think men should open doors. I think they should take out the trash! I guess I’m different because I have very very definite ideas about gender roles and how they play out in my life. But I do understand. Every household, every family dynamic is very different. Every relationship is different, and so I mean that includes in the workplace. So, there may be some women that say, “I can do what men can do,” where there are some other women that say “hey I know what my strengths are.”

I know what my abilities are and I'm going to stay in that lane. And so, I think it just depends. But for me I would say no in a sense of the traditional definition of the word. I would say I'm more of a traditionalist, but I do believe that women should have equal opportunity. I think they should be regarded and respected for what they contribute, absolutely. And for how it affects my business, I think all business women come across barriers and opportunities including myself. Sex, race, age, competency. But I just think for me it makes me work harder and explore alternative ways to achieve success.

(6) There is nothing sexier than power. What do you do to make yourself feel powerful when you're working it?

First of all, this is a hilarious question but very funny. So. So this is the thing right. I like my lip gloss and shoes just like any other woman. But what makes me feel most confident are designer stockings. I think they're so feminine and me, and I don’t mean your grandmother’s stockings, with the big holes, but the sexy fishnets! I love those. And I think I do I love all things fishnet. I love to wear them with a really cute pencil skirt and pump.

And for me, that’s so assertively powerful and feminine at the same time. And that really exudes who I am. That is what makes me, like on top of my game. I am working it with my fishnets, and although I do like the traditional stockings, I probably put on the light ones with the smaller holes and maybe peacock feathers. They’re really really cute! Of all the ones that I have, I like those better than any in the professional drawer. But yeah, it's just I think for me it's just the subtle confidence booster.

(And do you have a favorite pair of pumps?) I do. Because I’m a lady, and I look like any other lady, but yes, my favorite pumps are actually leopard pumps and they are fabulous. Not that I can wear them with everything, but when I get to wear them…absolutely I feel so confident and self-assured. It just makes me feel good about myself, which in turn makes me feel good about what it is that I'm doing. And it just translates into being all good.

(7) Romance novels have some questionable tropes. Are there any tropes about women in fiction that you wish you never had to read again?

Absolutely. You know what I thought about that I hate to read? It’s when the woman or the damsel in distress needs to be rescued or basically is showing emotion that contradicts her ability to be strong at the same time. That is just so overdone and I'm so tired of hearing it because women are emotional beings. Right. But at the same time we are strong and we're resilient and we're all these things. And oftentimes I'm all for chivalry, right? I love chivalry, but I would like to read about the reality of how women are the backbone of many communities and how men really do rely on us for everything! That's what I would like to see.

(8) What would a romance hero/heroine have to be like to live up to you and the women you work with?

For myself, it would be, like, a cross between Wonder Woman and more of a modest version of Jessica Rabbit. I think I think I can be professional and focus on justice and helping others but also very domestic. I would love to see a combination of both. Not either or. But both.

(And what about the guy?) I'm going to probably have to take some more time to think about it, but it would probably be like you know the men that have been in my life who are very consistent, very supportive, very loving and understanding. Authoritative but not aggressive or abusive or demanding. Someone that is empathetic and compassionate, but at the same time assertive and knowing who he is and his own identity and what he brings to the table. I think that’s very heroic to me.

(9) What advice would you like to give to other women who want to start businesses?

Oh wow. I would start by saying if you have a job—if you have like a nine to five or ten to six or whatever your work schedule is—let that job finance the start of your business as you are in the learning and development phases. You know I think a lot of women want to quit their job and start living their best life and living their dream and purpose. But at the same time, they don't financially have what they need. They don't really have fields of information that they need either, and so it makes it more difficult. So, I think if you could kind of face it in a way that you are financing your dreams with where you're currently at, that’s a good start.

I would also just say don't be discouraged when other people don't understand your vision or want to support you because people may come along who don’t understand why you want to leave your job. They might see that your job is good and has benefits and all these things, and you’d be giving that up in pursuit of something that is very unstable and unpredictable. But the same thrill that comes from the unpredictability allows you to have freedom and peace. Just drive to seek out more for yourself and for your family. So, I would say that, and then lastly, I would just say find a group of aspiring, emerging, successful entrepreneurs to network and build your business with. I think they'll understand a lot of what you're going through, what you can’t discuss with other people who aren’t working for themselves. I think that that would be a good pointer as well.

(10) Anything else?

Nothing much, I think. But thank you for your time and look forward to hearing how people respond to the interview!

And that was the interview! Tina and I had a lot of fun talking through these questions, and to me, she represents a woman who is really strong and knows what she wants out of life. A true badass! Want to meet Tina yourself? Need an amazing conflict transformation coach or trainer? Tina is currently taking new clients! Learn more about her at www.tinalcloud.com.


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