Igniting Unlimited Potential in Women Business Owners

Dreamer: Heather Marquez

Business: Mind Links, LLC.

Location: Waterloo, IA

Industry Contest: Professional Services

Voting Ends: March 1, 2015 11:59 PM

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My dream is to positively impact the success of women business owners in Iowa initially and then around the country by helping them identify their purpose, clarify their vision, and unleash their potential so they can turn chaos into order and become the women of influence they are meant to be.
Business Description:
I am a leadership coach, speaker, and trainer certified by the John Maxwell Team. I specialize in helping women in business build confidence and collaboration in a growth focused environment with a focus on one to one coaching. According to the 2014 Executive Coaches Survey, leadership development has been rated as the top reason executives seek a coach. Due to this, my affiliation with the world's #1 leadership expert gives me a unique advantage over my competition. According to Inc. Magazine, John Maxwell has been ranked as the World’s Top Expert on Leadership.


I am also the only Think Buzan Licensed instructor for Mind Mapping, trained by Nobel Prize nominee and creator of Mind Mapping, Tony Buzan, in Iowa and one of a handful in the United States. Mind Mapping is a process based on the science of how the brain processes information, to promote creativity, innovation, planning, and memory. I use this tool to expand the thinking abilities of my clients, revealing to them opportunities and solutions that help them drive results to a new level. This tool also provides a methodology to work with teams to create strategic plans, SWOT analysis, and various other business process applications.

Adding these two certifications to my experience of over 20 years in leadership and 10 years in executive training provides me with the tools to help others facing the same obstacles I faced early in my career as a young woman in business. My first experience in a leadership position happened in a trial by fire type of situation while on the job as a 16 year old working in retail. I spent over half of my career as a leader in a male dominate field, lacking a strong, female role model and mentor that understood the power of collaboration. Finding that person was a game changer for me. I look back at the challenges I faced prior to that and realize that many of them could have either been avoided all together or at the very least minimized much more quickly. I am now driven to help others fast track their results in a confidential, supportive and collaborative way that builds confidence and influence for the individual and their team.

My primary source of funding is coaching clients and training events. I utilize public speaking as a method to create awareness about what I do, as well as various forms of marketing which include social media, print media, and workshops. I am also highly involved in several networking groups, professional organizations, and the Cedar Valley Chamber and Alliance. These groups include:

• Cedar Valley Networking
• Cedar Valley Open Coffee
• Cedar Valley VIEW: Visionary Entrepreneurial Women (founding member)
• National Association of Professional Women (NAPW)
• Association for Talent Development International
• Association for Talent Development Hawkeye Chapter (VP of Marketing and Communications)
• International Coaching Federation of Iowa
• Cedar Valley Polka Dot Powerhouse (leadership team)
• Cedar Valley Young Professionals
• Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber
• Ascent

My affiliation with these groups puts me in a position to have a strong impact on leadership in my community and throughout Iowa.

My market is currently based in Iowa, but will be expanding over the next 12 months to connect with clients throughout the United States through the implementation of several direct response marketing techniques, conferences, and national events for the professional organizations I am affiliated with. The difference between good and great is leadership effectiveness. I am dedicated to helping women succeed in creating a life they love by operating a business they are proud of in a manner that supports balance and intentionality.

“The year prior to hiring Heather my life was in a bit of disarray. Although I was high functioning, my days left me exhausted, frustrated and full of anxiety. I knew I needed someone in my corner to lead me in the right direction, someone I could confide in, and that would be on my side. Heather helped me discover how to get things organized in a way that was right for me, helped me identify boundaries (or as I call them promises). By identifying the things in my life that no longer served me it left me with more energy to accomplish money producing activities. My relationships with clients, friends, and my husband are much sweeter. After 7 weeks with Heather I have exceeded my clientele by 150% at least! I would encourage anyone looking to streamline their business and or get clarity call upon Heather Marquez.”
- Marguerite Pircer, CRS, GRI, ABR
Century 21 LSB Real Estate
Reason for Entering:
I am applying for the grant to help fund a large leadership event that I will be hosting in October called L2: Cedar Valley (Ready to LEARN, Ready to LEAD). It is a half day simulcast featuring John C. Maxwell, Patrick Lencioni and one other guest speaker to be announced. The rest of the day includes a VIP networking luncheon and workshop. The goal of the event is to ignite the leadership potential of my community and give my company increased exposure in the area, while creating connections for small business owners. This in turn will allow me to reach a wider variety of clients and raise my level of influence as a thought leader.

The grant would be used toward event expenses that would include licensing fees and marketing. The support with expenses would allow me to reduce the cost of the sponsorship packages, making them more affordable to the average small business owner. That would contribute towards showcasing an increased number of women owned businesses during the networking section of the event.

Last year, 75% of the sponsors were women owned businesses, with each of them having an exhibit to highlight their products and services as well as direct contact with each of the attendees and inclusion in the marketing, networking and workshop activities.

Women owned businesses contribute $3 trillion annual in the U.S. and are responsible for over 23 million jobs according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. They are also projecting that by 2018, women owned small businesses will be responsible for creating one third of the new jobs in the U.S. Imagine the impact we could have on our economy in Iowa if we were to catch up to the national average by putting resources in place to support the current and newly created businesses owned by this important demographic throughout the state.