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Hattie Hill: She picked up the book, the English book and it went sailing past my head, and she said, she said, “Hill, don’t you ever say what you can’t do until you try.”
Marie Forleo: Hey, it’s Marie Forleo, and welcome to another episode of MarieTV and the Marie Forleo Podcast. Now, if you’re somebody who wants to become a better, stronger leader in your business, in your career, in your life, I think you are going to love today’s show.
My guest has been a trailblazer in this field for decades. Hattie Hill is a renowned speaker, author, entrepreneur, and thought leader. She’s spent more than three decades developing diversity and gender equity strategies for organizations across 70 countries on six continents. As an entrepreneur, she ran Hattie Hill Enterprises for over 30 years. She’s also served as the president and CEO of the Women’s Foodservice Forum. Now, Hattie’s the president and CEO of the T.D. Jakes Foundation, where she’s leading the charge toward a $100 million fundraising goal to bridge the gap between human potential and job opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.
Hattie, thank you so much for making the time today, this is so exciting. You are such a powerful and strong woman with so much wisdom to share. I’m wondering if you can take us back to the early days of growing up on a farm in Arkansas. Tell us about some of that foundational, those foundational experiences and the lessons that helped shape the leader that you’ve become today.
Hattie Hill: Oh awesome. First, Marie, thank you for having me. This is just so awesome. It’s great to see you again and I love everything you stand for, and so I am deeply humbled to be with you today.
And so, I’ll start with the beginning. So I am the obvious, a woman of color that grew up in the South as a baby boomer now. So you’re young, I’m the baby boomer. But I grew up on a farm. My mom and dad divorced when we were very young, and so we were raised on a farm in Arkansas. My mother had these six girls and we were, you know we were not, we were, we were poor financially, but we were rich in love. My mother had some very basics around faith, family, education, hard work. You know, she never saw anything she couldn’t do. You didn’t wait for a guy to come along and do it, you did it yourself. And she instilled literally all of that in us, and it, but it was always … And she only had an eighth-grade education when we were growing up. She did go back and graduate after we all graduated from high school and college. But she was so big on education.
And so I took all of that with me to get an undergraduate degree in political science and history. I was gonna be a lawyer, then I met lawyers and I was like, “No.” That, that wasn’t contentious enough. But I did go back and get a master’s in psychology and it has been sort of the foundation for everything, ’cause it’s always about listening, like you. It’s listening to people, it’s hearing their story, and then it’s figuring out the impact.
But you know growing up was, it was always entertaining, because my family, my mother always had us doing stuff and involved in things. It was all about our little village. I’m from this little community and we were, it’s still a little village to this day. And so it’s, it was, it was a great foundation. Who knew when you go from that to the rest of the world, right? But it was a great foundation for me to, to launch from.
Marie Forleo: And did you, I mean, I feel like reading about your incredible career, so much that you’ve done, you know, the times that you’ve spent especially around executive coaching and leadership, it’s like you were one of the pioneers of that field. You were doing coaching probably before most people even understood really the, the term of that.
Hattie Hill: Right.
Marie Forleo: You know, I want to still stay in the early days though ’cause I read about a particular mentor of yours, your ninth-grade English teacher, who you had shared was one of your best mentors and someone who really made an impression on you regarding the true grit of leadership. Can you tell us anything about that, that impact and that influence in your life?
Hattie Hill: Absolutely. Miss Percy, she was fabulous. She, she’s since passed away, but she was one of the most amazing people. And, and you know, when you grow up in a small community of people, you know, you go to church with these same people, you know, they’re in your Sunday school class, they’re part of everything you do, you play sports with their kids. But, one, I was being a little flippant, and she, she’d asked a question and she called on me and I said, “I don’t know.” And she, and you know, I didn’t even stop to try to process what she was asking me, I was really just being a flippant, you know, teenager.
Marie Forleo: Yep.
Hattie Hill: And of course, if she did it now, she’d probably get arrested, but she’d get arrested, but she picked up the book, the English book, and it went sailing past my head, and she said, she said, “Hill, don’t you ever say what you can’t do until you try.”
And you know, you, you have this combination, ’cause … And I know she, she loved me, right?
Marie Forleo: Of course.
Hattie Hill: So I particularly wouldn’t worry about it, and I knew she wouldn’t, if she had wanted to hit me, she would have. But it, what it, it taught me was this whole basic foundation that we often time really have to teach our children, which is you put the effort in first, and then if you need help, you go for help. But just to say, “I don’t know,” and you didn’t even put any effort in, that’s not what being a leader is all about. And so, and I carried that lesson, I talk about it all the time, because every time I, I tell that to, to young people these days, they’ll be like, “You’re kidding.” It’s like, no.
Marie Forleo: It was a different time. I mean, you know, like…
Hattie Hill: Right.
Marie Forleo: My, you know, my mom, my mom, God bless, she’s still here, but she’s spicy. My mom is spicy and some of the things and lessons, the how they happened, you know, it’s a different time, but it made an impression on you. And like you said, you felt her love and she saw and knew your power.
Hattie Hill: Exactly.
Marie Forleo: And so her getting your attention like that and laying down that wisdom so it landed, and you were like, “I will never forget this moment.”
Hattie Hill: Yep.
Marie Forleo: But how great is that? How great is that? Don’t ever say what you can’t do without trying.
Hattie Hill: Without trying. And, you know, you think about that’s an awesome lesson for young people today…
Marie Forleo: Yeah.
Hattie Hill: …because then, I mean now they have access to technology and, you know, all the wisdom that’s in the world you just think, but then, you know, you’re in a small farm community, the best thing you have is the encyclopedia, right?
Marie Forleo: Yeah.
Hattie Hill: That’s about where it goes. But it was that, and I would always, I took it into my business, I, I took it into my life. Marie, it was always about you, you have to put forth the effort, then if you can’t do it, then you go and ask for help.
And I do run into things that I don’t know, but not only her, my mom, some of the other, especially the older women in my community, was one of the first real core foundations of women’s leadership that I learned. And, and the … You know, I used to say to my mom, there was the art of wisdom that she would say something to you and it could be two years later and you’d go back and remember it and you’d be like, “Ah, that’s what she meant about that. Now I see it.” Right?
One of her sayings was just keep living, because some stuff, “That didn’t make sense, mom, what do you mean?” And she said, “Just keep living.” And the older you got it all made sense. And now, you know, it’s the, this art of wisdom that, that I will carry with me literally for the, for the rest of my life. And as you know, my mom passed away. We buried her Christmas Eve and it was … I know, right? It was probably, as we said goodbye to her, probably one of the most difficult things, ’cause my mother has traveled with me all over the world. She was my friend, she was my confidant. I always told her she was my road dog ’cause every time I wanted to go somewhere she was up, hands up, we’ll go.
And with all five of my siblings, she had her own special relationships, but I don’t even know how mothers can manage that with six kids, right? But, but it was, it, I hope that I can be in some way anywhere close to have the wisdom that she had and to impart that as I continue to live her legacy, and that’s the greatest gift I can give back to her.
Marie Forleo: I loved every moment, as I was preparing for our conversation today, that I read about her. And in fact, it brings me to that moment, another critical moment in your journey, where you had gotten your master’s degree in psychology, and you were on your first official job working with young people with disabilities and you had quite an experience with your first boss at that time. And I think your mom had a very interesting perspective. I’m wondering if you could tell us about that experience?
Hattie Hill: Oh, absolutely. You know, as I said, the art of my mother’s wisdom, she’s a very strong person and she just really didn’t … You know, you had to have something really wrong for her to even buy into it, ’cause she was always pushing you, right? So I had been, I was finishing up my masters, was doing an internship, and was hired by the organization to come to work full-time. And, you know, that’s the greatest compliment, you’re like, “Yes.”
You know, I’m starting my career. There was a new program for these young … It was a rehabilitation facility and it was young people that I had been working with. And I had spent, you know, almost six, eight months with them and they were great, and so I was hired on. There was a director, another counselor with me. We were two counselors and then our assistant. And so they announced it, I was all excited. And you know how we are, this is a big accomplishment, right?
Marie Forleo: Yes.
Hattie Hill: And, and so we, the, the new director came and he was doing individual meetings and I was the only one who had been working with the student population prior to us going into this program. So the other counselor went to meet with him and she came back and she’s like, “Oh it was great. We had a great experience.” You know, blah, blah, blah. And so it was, he met with the secretary so it was my turn. Well, because I had met with all the students I was trying to be, you know, really on top of it, so I, I prepared him a whole set of files on each one of the students, you know, here’s a portfolio, here’s what we’ve done.
And so I came in, and of course, keep in mind you’re in the South, right? And he’s an older white male, the other counselor’s a white female, the secretary’s a white female, and I’m the only person of color. And so I sit down with him, and I had put on the little navy blue suit, you know how we used to do it, I’m all prepared. And I go in, you know, “Great to meet you.” He talks to me for a while and then he said, “Now, tell me what you’ve been doing?” Well, I was, I said, you know, “Here’s all files on each one of the students. I’ve put in all my counselor notes.” You know.
And there was this point in the conversation, I’m sitting across from him at the desk, he takes all the files, he pushes them back at me and he just looks at me with this look of disgust and he said, “I have little respect for a so-called educated black woman trying to come in here and tell me what to do.”
Marie Forleo: Hattie.
Hattie Hill: I was literally speechless, which is rare. Yes. So, you know, it was, it was, it was that, you know, you, your face gets hot, you’re embarrassed. I was probably turning red, but he couldn’t tell so it’s okay. But I, you know, I stumbled around, gathered my things, and I just got up and left, because I mean I didn’t know what to do at that point.
Marie Forleo: Yeah.
Hattie Hill: You know, I’m, what, 19?
Marie Forleo: My goodness.
Hattie Hill: Yeah, I didn’t turn 20, I don’t think, yet. And, and so I go in my office, put everything away, grab my bag, and I just leave. And I actually live, I live … I’m in walking distance of where I live. So as I’m walking, you know, I start boohooing and I mean tears are just flowing, right? By the time I get to my apartment, I call my mom, of course, who is who I always call and I told her what happened.
And she paused and she always would too and she said, “Well, baby, did he hit you? You’re crying awfully hard.” And I’m like, “No ma’am, he didn’t hit me, but, you know …” And she said, “Well, listen, calm down, take a breath.” So I got it, got it together, got some water and she said, “Listen …” And listen, when she says listen, you know it’s coming, here comes the art of her wisdom. She said, “You have two college degrees, and you need work experience.” And she said, “Unless he hits you, you need to stay there a year and then once you get that experience, you can go any place you want to go, but right now, you need work experience.” And I paused ’cause I’m like, “That’s, that’s what you got?”
Marie Forleo: But she cut through. She, she was like, “No, we’re moving this to the side for right now and we’re going to stay focused.”
Hattie Hill: Oh yeah, move forward. My mother was always focus and move forward and, you know, her, her faith was let God work it out. Yours is not to judge, yours is not to try to figure out. You know, she was always about let God be the judge and not you, so that was … And, and I will tell you, that lesson went with me forever. And for a while, we were traveling together once and we were talking about it, I had taken her on a cruise to Alaska, and, and I was talking to her about that. And I said, “You know, my feelings were so hurt.”
Marie Forleo: Yeah.
Hattie Hill: And she said, “But if I had bought into it, we could have gone down one path, the next path.” I literally resigned a year to the date, moved to Texas, and tripled my salary.
Marie Forleo: What?
Hattie Hill: So there you go.
Marie Forleo: So Hattie, I’m curious, were experiences like that, and I would assume there may be more, what inspired you to be such an advocate for inclusivity and diversity and gender equality in the workplace? Like was that, or did that, did that inspiration start even earlier? Did you just know? You’re looking around in the business world, looking around in corporations and organizations, you’re like, “This is imbalanced, there’s something wrong here.”
Hattie Hill: Oh yeah.
Marie Forleo: I’m just curious what informed that inspiration for you to be such a champion in that regard, and so early on, before anyone was talking about these topics?
Hattie Hill: You know what? What, what really caused me to really have a focus on women, first, you know, growing up in the South, you get all of the biases and all of that, but my mother would always tell us to walk around it, you know, just walk around it, keep moving forward. And so I wouldn’t pick it up and when I would meet other women, who were stuck there, I would say, you know, “You got to walk around it, don’t let yourself get caught in these positions.”
And so when I started the consulting company, and, you know, I was like late 20s, early 30s, and I’m on corporate jets with these, with these CEOs, I’m walking into boardrooms where I am literally the only woman in the room. And, and I thought, you can’t … One thing I learned early on is you can’t advocate if you’re not in the room. And so I took it as a personal responsibility to advocate for all women because the women were not in the room, there were no people of color in the room. And I thought, “You know what? I’m in this room, how can I have an impact?”
And what I found was this, these amazing men who really wanted to see things different. They, they had daughters. They, you know, “This can’t, we can’t be getting the best knowledge. We’re trying to, you know, give our products, promote our products to women, but we don’t have any women giving us their thought leadership.” So I learned early on that there was a place for an inclusive conversation and I needed to be a part of that conversation in a positive way, not a negative way.
Marie Forloe: Interesting.
Hattie Hill: Yeah, that was hard. Yeah.
Marie Forleo: I want to underscore something you said because you spoke about it so beautifully and metaphorically that it, it stuck in my mind as an image and I feel like it could really serve people. You said you had seen other women who had encountered the same type of biases and perhaps the same type of experiences, where they felt less than walking away from it and you said, “I didn’t pick it up,” or, “They picked it up.” I almost see it, Hattie. I know this might be a little bit whatever, this is Jersey Marie coming out. It’s almost like a piece of trash on the ground and you were like, “Nope, I’m walking around that. I will not pick that up and take that inside of me. That is not me, that is not mine, and therefore, it will not come into this energy sphere.” And I…
Hattie Hill: Absolutely.
Marie Forleo: Yeah.
Hattie Hill: And oftentimes with women, when, you know, when we gather, we can own other people’s stuff.
Marie Forleo: Yes.
Hattie Hill: And, and again, this goes back to my mom when we were growing up and our friends were doing things and we would say, “Well momma, everybody’s going to be there, everybody.” She said, “I didn’t name you everybody.” So, so you learned this, you know, independence of thought. And I pledged sorority when I was in college and, you know, they’d be up and out all night, I said, “Mm-mm, I’ve got to go to my room, ’cause if I don’t send good grades home, I do not …” The repercussions of Carrie Flowers was not what I ever wanted when I was a kid.
So when you have that strength, you don’t pick it up, what you do is you walk into the room and I would sit and listen and think, “How could I have an impact?” And early in corporate America, we’d have meetings in the bathrooms, so I’d say, you know, I’m talking to the HR person and it’s like, “Okay, you know, they’re talking about this, do you have anybody? Give me a name so I can at least suggest it.” And, and the number of times I said, “Well, do you have anyone that’s running the marketing department?” And they’d call this woman and say, “You might give her a try and see how it works.” And many times, I cannot tell you the number of times they would say, “Oh yeah, that’s a good idea, Hattie, let’s …” You know, and I’m there as a consultant so I’m being paid to be in that room and you want to give them your best advice.
So yeah. And even now, I would say that to women, just don’t pick it up, especially as an entrepreneur, you, you don’t want to pull your focus off your journey, you’ve got to keep that focus, that’s where you go. Yes.
Marie Forleo: Yes. Yes, yes, yes. So, you know, speaking of that, so many people in our audience are entrepreneurial, either they’re aspiring, they’re established, they’re moving on to their second, third, fourth business. I’m curious if there was anything else that you want to share about your entrepreneurial journey, before we kind of get into the next chapters, that you felt like were really big lessons, whether it was about charging what you’re worth, whether it was about money, just walking into those rooms. And I think even though we’ve seen so much progress, we still have so much progress to go. I know in my own experience, especially when I first started out there, and there still are to this day, some times when I’m the only woman in the room, still. And so, anything that you want to share about that entrepreneurial journey for you that, that you think may be useful to anyone watching who’s on that path right now?
Hattie Hill: Oh, absolutely. First of all, I love, love, love being an entrepreneur. And it is, it’s, some days it’s scary, some days you get a little, you know, but you always have to walk, step forward on that. And honestly, I would say now, more than ever before, it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur because you can do so much, you know, from these screens, like we’re doing at home through technology. But early on, I knew I loved people, I knew I loved making a difference.
I was working as a director of training at the time, and my boss at the time said, “If you ever want to make extra money …” And he told me later, he said, “I knew you were going to get bored with the job.” And he said, so, he said, “You could, you’re going to reach out to some of these seminar companies, and you could take your leave time and go do seminars ’cause,” he said, “you’re great at it.” And, and the reason I’m not always negative about white males because I had two white males who were truly mentors for me, which helped me launch this, this business.
But for me, it was to figure out wow, I’m, I’m doing this. And if you’re nervous about it, like I worked my full-time job for two years before I actually said, “Listen, you’re making more money part-time than you are full-time, there might be something here.” But I, what I would say is for me, the passion and the, and the pitfalls of entrepreneurship, ’cause that’s how I think about it. The passion is doing what you love. I mean this is something I do, I’ve done it for free, I’ve done it to get paid, I’ve done it all over the world, love, love, love. Consulting, speaking, you know, books, training, all the same things that you do Marie.
The, so the focus is there and you can’t let people pull you off your focus ’cause that happens often, “Oh Hattie do this.” They’ll pull you in different directions. So I think if you’re interested in entrepreneurship that is, you know, what am I passionate about and then what’s the focus that you don’t fall into that pitfall where you’re doing so many things you can’t keep up with any one thing.
The next one, I was paid for my analytical skills. You’re, you’re, you’re paid to solve problems. So you sit and you listen and you use reason, you use wisdom, you say, “Okay, here’s what the books say, here’s what I learned from my foundation of my life, this is good character.” And you can often time put things together and say, “Here’s option one, two, three.” So you’re not telling the client what they have to do, you just give them the option. So it was that problem-solving skill.
And then I think the last thing I would say for entrepreneurship and the one that probably gets more women especially in trouble is what I call that back of the house operational excellence, and that is the ability to first figure out how much they owe you. I mean, I had it down to if I picked up my briefcase to go out the door, what did it actually cost me? And then as you get, you start getting paid, you … And I remember the first time someone told me they would pay me $500 for the day, I almost fell out of my chair. I was on the phone, I was like, “What?” And, and it’s just, you know, because you don’t really know how to charge, you’re not sure. And you think about it, and this is, you get paid for the same thing, we get paid for intellectual capacity.
Marie Forleo: Yes.
Hattie Hill: And that’s a lot to think through.
And so it was, it was thinking all that through and how do you put … So I literally reached out and found people who were doing it. I had mentors, I had a network, but that operational excellence to me was always so critical that you, you’re, you know, knowing how you pay your bills, knowing how to organize your money around the business. And, you know, in corporate you might have a 45 day payout period, so you’ve got to be able to run that business through.
So all of those things, if, if you’re thinking about, as part of your audience think about entrepreneurship, that’s … Now, there’s so many plans, you’ve got them, you share them with people all the time in your work, but actually studying that because that’s going to be real important.
Marie Forleo: Yeah, and that money piece too. I feel like, you know, just as a culture and as a society, especially for women, oftentimes we’re still just not talking about money enough and getting comfortable with it and owning it, welcoming it into our lives and saying, “Yes, I’m worth that and I’m going to understand how all these pieces fit together so this business is sustainable and profitable over time.” I love that you said that, operational excellence. It’s, it’s inspiring.
So I want to switch gears to something, it’s a distinction that you shared Hattie that I was like, “Love this.” The distinction between caring and carrying and how we do this in all areas of our lives. And I will tell you, when I was looking through the list of characteristics of women who carry I was like, “Yep. Yep.” I was raising my hand and calling myself out for this. I’m wondering if you can just talk us through the distinction between caring and carrying and how to really tell which state we’re in?
Hattie Hill: So, this was a, I came up with this philosophy after traveling so much all over the world and I think it’s been 80 some countries total, and I did a lot of women’s programming. And no matter where I was in the world, people would come up to, up to you after and you know, you’d see the woman who’s standing over there and she’s waiting till everybody leaves and they start talking about this burden of being responsible for everything at home, everything at work, how, how tired they are. And so it’s, it caused me to pause and start to actually ask more questions.
And my questions was really around how do we get into the position, especially as women, yes I’m a nurturer, I care about people, I want to help my friends, my family, my children, whoever’s in that group. But there is a point where we can do too much, and we move from caring to carrying and we’re carrying their load, we’re doing everything for them. We, you know, your friend comes over and tell you her problems, you know, “Okay, I’ll do this for you.” You know. It’s just a constant, right?
And so, what we said to women is if you find yourself in that place, then you have to start to set boundaries, because if you don’t set those boundaries, people will continue … It’s like you take your problem, you say, “Oh! Hattie, how are you doing? Here’s my problem, you take it and you fix it and give it back to me when you get it fixed.” So that’s really the difference between the two. It’s okay that I care about you, but I can’t carry all the, the issues that you’re trying to resolve in your life.
Marie Forleo: Yes. I’m going to read just, these are your words, some characteristics that you’ve outlined of women who carry, because I know there’s going to be people listening right now who will be like, “Me.” High expectation of self, high expectation of others, a tendency to take control. I was like, “Nope, she’s seeing me.” Attempting to fix whatever is wrong. Demanding perfection in how things are accomplished. Expecting completion of tasks within your own timeframe. Extreme independence. Commitment to a relationship at all costs and commitment at work regardless of requirements. I was like, “Hattie. Oof.” I just…
Hattie Hill: It’s that control one.
Marie Forleo: Yeah, it is. And it’s, you know, I’ve, I’ve been able, over time, to release that, but I remember there was a period in my life where I was like, “Who do I think I am trying to manage the universe and take care of everything?” And I was driving myself into the ground. It was exhausting and there was resentment and there was anger. You know, it was like all these things that weren’t the best of me that I was doing. It was like no, no, no, this is me and I need to fix this. So I wanted to thank you for that.
Hattie Hill: I think for us, especially as I’m a baby boomer, you’re much younger, right? So we have to set a different example and then pass that different example to you, and then you pass it on to the next generation and the next generation, ’cause, you know, I would hate to see my six-month-old granddaughter be doing this when she’s our age. So we have to break the cycle. That’s really that, that, that cycle of it’s okay to care, it’s okay to nurture, it’s okay to, to help, but there is a point where you, where you have to unplug yourself for your own health and safety.
Marie Forleo: That’s right. And to be that leader that you are capable of being and being that example for others and having something to give from a full cup as they say.
So I wonder if we can shift gears now and talk about this very new exciting chapter in your life, ’cause this is another big, new thing for you. You’re now the president and CEO of the new T.D. Jakes Foundation. Tell us about this new role and, and, and was there any piece of you inside when this opportunity came along, I’m curious to hear what that unfolding was like for you inside, if you were ready for a new chapter, if you were wondering where you would put your attention next?
Hattie Hill: You know what? No, I was not looking for a new chapter. I love that. You know. T.D. Jakes who’s, as you know, is a faith leader, he’s a serial entrepreneur, he’s, you know, an author of numerous books, he’s an entertainer, he does movies and TV. I mean, he’s done all kinds of things. And he and I were having a conversation about his legacy and what impact he wanted to have on the world. And I had been running another non-profit, the largest non-profit for women leaders in the food industry, and so he said, “When you finish that,” he said, “could you help me think about how to set this up. I want to set it up as a separate 501(c)(3).” He didn’t want it connected to any of his other businesses. And he said, “I really want to help women, people of color, disadvantaged, with science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.”
And he had had conversations with numerous CEOs in STEM and he said, “I keep hearing this over and over again. And things like financial literacy, how do they know how to address their financials? You know, entrepreneurship? But, you know, how do I get into a lot of the technology fields, the science, you know, just all of that?” And so I said, “Okay,” and so when I retired he said, “Well, let’s get together and talk about it.” And this was literally right before the pandemic. As a matter of fact, a year ago in January, we launched in New York and Dallas and it’s in the midst of … And then, of course, three months later it was, what, March that we had the pandemic and the shutdown.
But it’s exciting because we were able to, what had been a summer program that he would do for about 500 young people, we went online, everything totally virtual, donated Chromebooks and hotspots to a lot of our students. And by the way, they start at age five, so it was five years old and up. And just exposure is step one, understanding the jobs that are there. But we did this online program, we ended up with over 5,000 students that registered and from all over the US and I think 23 countries.
Marie Forleo: Wow.
Hattie Hill: So the … I know, right? That’s his, that’s his platform, it’s large. And so, we, it was, you, you make such a difference, you’re, you’re hooked in, and I, I received at Christmas, I was going through mail from the office and there was an envelope and this young seven-year-old had written a note and said what they learned, “This year I learned coding. Because of you, I learned coding, I learned … I got a new computer, I’ve never had a computer before.” I mean, this young man just laid out everything. And I literally had to just stop and just grab my heart and I thought, “Okay, this is why we do what we do, this is why we raise money, this is why we help young people, because we want to leave the world better than we found it.” So the foundation is off and running. We’re still doing everything virtually. I have solved the world’s problems from this seat right here.
Marie Forleo: That’s right.
Hattie Hill: Yeah, I mean, we’ve both been in our seats, right? So it’s, but it’s, our end goal is to get more people into technical jobs, into the sciences. Right now we’re focused really on the vaccine and everything that’s happening in science to educate people who need the education and understanding. So it’s a really exciting time, and, and of course, the T.D. Jakes platform is huge.
Marie Forleo: Yes, so powerful. So okay, I’m curious personally, so I didn’t realize that you had officially retired. Were you just like, “I’m out.” And then this came along and you’re like, “I’m back in. Okay, let’s do this.” Yeah.
Hattie Hill: Yeah. No, I had officially retired so I officially sort of retired from my company. You know, after, you know, I think six or seven million miles and all over the world and all of that, I was like, “Okay, enough with the big corporate training pieces, let’s pull from that.” Then I ran this, the women’s leadership organization for six years and I was like, “Okay.” You know, and, and I’ve been working since I was in my teens, so I thought I’ll just kind of see what the universe brings my way. But I thought the universe knew I’d love to take a year off and do some writing. You know I was gonna, I’ve started a book I need to finish. I have all this other stuff that I wanted to do. But, you know, the timing for this was so perfect, because so many of our students are caught between school being out and this whole virtual experience. So it was, you know, the, the, the stars lined up and here I am.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. Okay. So for anyone listening or watching right now who wants to support, get involved, just understand more, where can we direct them? Where should they go to check it out? Or if they want to donate or contribute?
Hattie Hill: Oh, absolutely. It’s the tdjfoundation.org is our website, and there’s information on there. You know, anything you need to know, it’s, it’s all on that website. And you can always just reach out and send us an email and we’re happy to follow up with you. But yes …
Marie Forleo: It’s so exciting. So exciting.
Hattie Hill: … all through retirement doing all good. I mean, that’s the best thing is you get up every day doing good for young women and girls. I mean, that’s just one of my big passions I’ve always had. And especially getting them into technology, that is so exciting to me. So I love it, it’s great.
Marie Forleo: As we, as we wrap up, I know you’ve just had such an incredible journey, you continue to have an incredible journey, knowing that there are women of all ages, and some beautiful men watching too, is there anything else that you’d like to share or let them know about, either who they are or what you see in the world moving forward that you think would be important to say?
Hattie Hill: Oh Marie, thank you, that’s such a, just such a great thought. Here’s, here’s what I would say, especially to young women and girls, we are in such a strange time, right? We’ve got a pandemic, we’ve got social injustice, we’re, we’re dealing with all of these things that’s happening in the world today, and the message that I would say is to, is really stop and say, “Where can I make a difference?” The moment the magic … You don’t have to do a lot, where can I either impart wisdom, I can be a coach, I can share my experiences, I can write, I can, you know, start any kind of business.
But the country and the world is, is in need of healing and women especially have healing hands. And so I think we have to reach out and look at the positive things. So, so going back to my mom, you know, let’s not waste a pandemic, right? What’s the, what’s the gift of COVID-19, right? We knew it took a lot, but there’s also been some good things. I mean, our family have a Zoom every Sunday, we’ve never done that before. Everybody catches up, everybody’s talking all the time on text. There’s innovation in jobs, there’s entrepreneurs that will come out of this whole pandemic, doing things that we never thought possible.
So as opposed to half empty, look at it as half full. If I do have extra resources, you know, give to your local food banks, give to anyone who’s making a difference in people’s lives right now, because I would say it’s all hands on deck and women are going to be leading that process.
Marie Forleo: Well, you certainly have been leading for decades and I am sure and very excited to continue to watch you lead for decades more. Hattie, you are such a gift. Your soul is so powerful and bright and strong. And just thank you for being such an advocate for people who haven’t been in the room. And you’ve been that advocate in making sure that more people are in the room so that we have the best ideas and all the ideas present so that we can create a better world together. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today, you’re amazing.
Hattie Hill: Oh, thank you, big hug. Thank you. I love it.
Marie Forleo: Wasn’t that awesome? Hattie is just amazing. And now, we would love to hear from you. So I’m curious, what is the biggest insight or aha that you’re taking away from this particular conversation? And most important, how are you going to put that insight into actions starting right now? Because remember, insight without action is worthless. Now the best conversations always happen after the show at the wonderful land of marieforleo.com, so please head on over there and leave me a comment now. Now once you’re there, if you’re not already, please subscribe to our email list and become an MF Insider. I send amazing emails every Tuesday and they will keep you charged up, inspired, and motivated to move ahead.
Until next time, stay on your game and keep going for your dreams, because the world really does need that very special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll catch you next time on The Marie Forleo Podcast and MarieTV.
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