I talked to Shara Hutchinson at the All Black Midwest Bookfair at the Ohio History Center, 800 East 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211.
Tell me how someone can contact you.
My website is www.sharahutchinson.com. I also have a business called Xposeyour. My business website is Exposure Solutions.com but it is spelled a little differently, http://www.xposeyoursolutions.com.
Tell me about the book.
“Barefoot in the Boardroom,” the title came to me in 2017. I was getting ready to give a presentation in the boardroom and I had been walking in heels all day and my feet were hurting. I was like, oh my gosh, I have to give this presentation and my feet are hurting; but, if I don’t take these shoes off, I am not going to be able to do it. In my mind, I felt like that was going to be unprofessional. I took my shoes off. One of the Vice Presidents said, “Shara, you are barefoot in the board room, that is a title of a book,” I jotted the name down in 2017. At the end of 2019, I was reminded of the title. I said I was going to write it in 2020. The note that I made beside it was that it was going to be a book for leaders to help them navigate change. I had no idea what was going to happen in 2020. It was perfect timing. I started writing for leaders at organizations who are undergoing transformation, transition, acquisitions, new processes, rolling out new software, to help them keep their employees engaged while they are going through changes. Also, doing things outside the norm. Taking your shoes off in the boardroom is not something that you would expect. Sometimes, in order to be effective, you have to do something different to get a different result.
What is your background? You have to have a background to have a seat in the boardroom.
I had ten years of experience working with a startup. During that time, the company that I worked for was a software company. We started out with twenty-five employees but by the time I left, it was about one hundred and fifty. We had thirty percent growth year after year, three acquisitions, and a lot of change, and a lot of transformation, a lot of new software implementations. Somehow, I had to navigate all that. I was responsible for the services support department. I had to make sure that I kept the employees engaged. One of the things that I noticed about working at an organization that is growing really fast is, you have to bring your team along. When you don’t, you make decisions that impact them and then they are burnt out and upset. Six months later you look up and wonder why aren’t they still doing this thing that we implemented? There is a way to do it. In my book, I have the “barefoot method” that teaches leaders how to navigate change and how to measure the impact of the change on the team. to get people in the right seat to get the desired result. I have some other books at the other table, if you want to talk about them.
Sidebar: I’m glad she spoke up. I didn’t realize she authored more than one book.
This is my very first book, “I Still Want To Be A Mom.” You saw my son that was trying to hold onto me. It took us eight years have him. Four rounds of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). I had several losses. Throughout that journey, I kept saying to myself, after I kept getting knocked down, “I still want to be a mom.” Sometimes there are things that you still want that you are trying to get. Obstacle after obstacle happens. I want to make sure that I help other women who are struggling with infertility who are trying to conceive and for some reason or another it is not happening for them. I chronicled my journey. Prayers that I said, scriptures, anything that I had to do to keep my mind sane for eight years trying to have a child. My husband and I had our first living child in 2018.
My son’s name is TJ. I wrote a series of books for him to teach him various lessons. The first children’s book I wrote, “TJ Learns His Name,” was written because at his second birthday, he didn’t have any words. He wasn’t responding to his name. When we took him to speech therapy, they asked me about my schedule. Remember, the software company that I talked about. I was on call 24 hours a day and working late hours. I didn’t have a lot of time to pour into him. When I got off work, if I got a call, I was working; so, the tv was watching him. My husband was working a late shift at the time as well. When we uncovered that, I realized that I needed to leave that job. I wanted to make sure that I had time to pour into my son. I wrote “TJ Learns His Name” for him to respond to his name. I had someone draw a picture of him, myself and my husband. Now, he talks, responds to his name, he knows who he is, he can point stuff out in the book, etc.
I have a prayer journal. The last book I will talk about is, “Drowning to be Me”. In this book, I talk about being a foster child and being adopted. How my adopted mom’s sister tried to drown me in the sink. In doing that, I told children services about what happened to me. Instead of them getting me out of the home, they told my adopted mom, and I got in more trouble. At that moment, I made a vow to myself that I wasn’t going to trust people, open up or share anything and that I didn’t need anybody. I grew up with that mentality and feeling like I didn’t need anybody. It allowed me to get a lot of stuff accomplished but then I realized that I didn’t let people in. As an adult I was drowning in a different way. I was drowning in emotions that I hadn’t addressed from childhood. In was only by the grace of God and my relationship with God, learning to find out who I was so I would not longer drown metaphorically or physically to find the real me; so, I can tap into my full potential.
Sidebar: I’m glad she renounced that vow! What a testimony! In another setting, after the organ roll, a spontaneous dance just might have started.