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Meet Tara Powers

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tara Powers.

Tara, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In 1996, with a business degree in accounting and dreams of exploring the world, I moved from a small town in Pennsylvania to Boulder, Colorado with a few college friends. It was in Boulder, at the World-Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill, that I quickly fell in love with my bartender, and eventually went on to marry him. At the time, I was working at a local company as the Accounts Payable supervisor, when the HR Manager asked if anyone in the Accounting department would build a training program to teach managers how to read budgets. Looking back, this was a turning point for me. I dug in and created and delivered my very first training program. It was like someone opened up a whole new world. It was my initial encounter with the business of talent development.

I immediately started my career pivot by getting my Masters in Organizational Leadership at Regis University and transferring to the HR team. Since we were a growing company, I had the opportunity to move through all the HR functions – employee relations, training, benefits, policies and procedures. My capstone project for school required implementation of a change initiative at work. With the full support of the CEO, I designed and launched our inaugural company-wide management development program called SCC University. It was a very strategic, consultative and integrated project where I was fully responsible and accountable and I absolutely loved the entire process. I was in my element and had found my career path.

I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, so the idea of starting my own consultancy was in my blood. In 2001, I launched Powers Training, which I later changed to Powers Resource Center to reflect the full spectrum of services we offered.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Starting your own business is never a smooth road and my challenges started almost immediately. I launched my business in 2001 and a few months later 9/11 happened. Training budgets were immediately cut and I had to get a part time job to keep things afloat for close to a year. Other challenges included people taking my intellectual property and using it without my permission, managing continual ups and downs in the economy, starting a family and balancing my work and life. You’re always thinking about the next gig, and business development never ends. Regardless of the many challenges, the benefits and personal growth that comes from owning your own business is transformational.

Owning your own company requires you to wear many hats, but it can be the most fulfilling and rewarding thing you’ll ever do. What saved me is resiliency and focus. I’ve never allowed myself to focus on the negative for too long and my best friend always reminds me to “stay on path.” You have to have a growth mindset and clear focus and commitment to your “why” as an entrepreneur. I wouldn’t have survived without it.

Please tell us about the company.
Powers Resource Center, or PRC, is a boutique consultancy, specializing in leadership and team development. We really found our niche in working with teams and leaders, and creating a culture of connection for Fortune 200 companies and start-ups. We use and sell a variety of assessment tools and I am frequently a keynote speaker at conferences around the country. After conducting a research study on the effectiveness of Virtual Teams in 2016, we were asked by Wiley to write the book Virtual Teams for Dummies and will soon be releasing Working from Home for Dummies to help support this new normal of remote work. We are also stoked to be launching the Remote Team Virtual Coach app in May and Remote Team Virtual Leader app in June. This patented app is based on brain science around behavioral change and creating new habits.

I am most proud of the results we deliver and the long-term relationships we create with our clients. More than 90% of our clients work with us again, and some clients have been with us for more than 15 years. I love that we are seen as the ‘go to strategic advisor’ for our clients. We pride ourselves on being flexible, agile and over-deliver on expectations every time. I know we provide real value and real change for leaders because I get to see it first-hand and it really fills me up! I am also grateful to provide our thought leadership right now on virtual work and connecting remote teams. Unknowingly, we were way ahead of that curve, and this topic is obviously extremely relevant right now as the world reacts to the pandemic. How we work will be forever changed as a result of COVID-19.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
My definition of success has changed so much over the years. Of course, there is always that “number” you have in your head for reaching an annual revenue goal. But success to me is also being seen as a thought leader with something to offer the world that is a unique perspective and is helpful. Success is also changing the life of just one person with your products or services. And success is finding that perfect integration between work, family, personal time and visiting the places you’ve always dreamed of going.

If you had to start over, what would you have done differently?
I would have niched myself quicker, only focused on what I loved to do, and not deliver every service to every client. I also would have assembled my team faster, investing in a small, nimble group with specialized skills. And I would have thought bigger, sooner, by creating more strategic client partnerships and developing large-scale, enterprise-wide programs. But every entrepreneur will tell you that your journey is your journey – it’s meant to be. Your path is to grow, learn, shift, change and evolve. I am so grateful for every up and down I’ve ever had in business because it shaped my life and my future in ways I could have never imagined.

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