Award-Winning Filmmaker & Executive Producer Cheryl Polote-Williamson on entrepreneurship, servant leadership, the power of giving.
Written by Leilani Whitfield
Photo’s by: For Beauty Sakes
Best-selling author and Award-winning Filmmaker & Executive Producer Cheryl Polote-Williamson has been changing lives for decades. With the ministry of helps at the center of her brand, the servant leader & CEO of Williamson Media Group tells HEART & SOUL “There is power in being a servant leader, changing lives, and creating good for others.”
Inspired by countless women who’ve picked her brains over the years about how to navigate and nurture relationships while serving and giving selflessly, Polote-Williamson’s new book “The Art of Influence” is currently flying off the bookshelves. As a trailblazer, she continues to pave the way and inspire women with her newly launched magazine ‘The Cheryl Magazine.’ Since its January launch, the quarterly magazine has featured industry giants like legendary beauty editor Mikki Taylor and Ebony Magazine COO Michelle “Stratechic” Thornton-Ghee.
When asked how often one should give Polote-Williamson say’s we should give as often as we breathe. With her expectations set solely on God, giving freely and expecting nothing in return is something that comes naturally.
No stranger to philanthropy, the third-generation entrepreneur and Georgia native learned from the best – her father, a businessman with the heart of a servant. “I’m used to the bell ringing at all hours of the day and night. My dad would give people money and jobs even without applications and qualifications. He didn’t beat people up about not giving back money he loaned them. He taught me not to look for people to do something for me because favor comes from God and you can’t out beat God giving,” Polote-Williamson tells Heart & Soul.
Polote-Williamson sat down with HEART & SOUL to discuss servant leadership, the power of giving, and give advice to new entrepreneurs.
What is your message to readers about knowing your worth?
If you have invested time and resources into mastering your craft, you don’t have to give it away. I give my price and I get quiet. I’m comfortable with the silence, I give my price and that’s it. I’m not going to negotiate myself out of the deal. When people say “Oh you can do it for experience,” I tell them I don’t need the experience – that’s why you’re calling me. I don’t need the experience, I need you to pay your invoice on time and without asking for a discount.
What does servant leadership mean to you?
I describe servant leadership as making an impact through creating seats at tables and opportunities for other people to embrace their gifts, talents, and their calling. I don’t have to have my name out front and I don’t need people to feel like they have to say that because of me they are where they are today. I’m here to take credit, they don’t have to call my name. Whether it’s delivering cards to a senior center, delivering food to people who are hungry, or winning a grant and giving away 90% of the grant to other women-owned businesses to make sure their doors stay open – that’s who I am, a servant at heart. I also define servant leadership as being one who gives not expecting anything in return but only looking to make a positive impact on the world.
What’s your best business advice to new entrepreneurs?
The advice I would give to new entrepreneurs is to do what’s in your heart and do it unapologetically. Know your worth and always come to the table with something to give before you look to ask or take. Be of valuable, irreplaceable service to others. Fill voids, take risks, invest in yourself, and watch God do the rest. My personal responsibility is to be a light in the world. I don’t shrink when I walk into a room, I let my light shine.
What is your philosophy?
I’m a believer in the philosophy of 10 by 10. When we help someone to achieve their dreams and goals then they in turn will help someone else. I help 10 people, those 10 people help 10 other people and when we all adopt that philosophy we have the ability to change the world.
What can people expect from you in 2021?
In addition to the launch of my quarterly magazine, ‘The Cheryl Magazine,” my next film project, “Saving Clarissa” will be released this year as well. Our Spring/Summer edition featured Michelle Thornton Ghee, COO of Ebony/Jet, and was created to be at the intersection of networking and inspiring the everyday woman.
For more information, visit www.cherylpwilliamson.com
Follow Cheryl Polote-Williamson on IG @cherylpwspeaks