March 7, 2024

Episode #129: India Brown – PHPHASE Consulting

India M. Brown, MBA, PMP, CPC, is the CEO of PMPHASE project management consulting firm. Her work in healthcare has expanded over 30 years with a focus on IT project management. She is a woman in tech, and her business specializes in IT software application implementation, replacement, or optimizations. She has spearheaded the implementation of multiple hospital & health facilities health record systems, she has also designed and trained leadership development courses for developing leaders.

India is also the author of a very successful self-help and motivational exercise workbook titled Let’s Check In On You. She believes that people should know who they are both personally and professionally, her book allows the reader to assess themselves and change, add, or reset past and current behaviors.

Mrs. Brown also has a philanthropic side and ensures that she devotes time to her community. She is the Chair of the executive board for the Pass the Torch for Women Foundation, she is also the VP of Operations on the Executive Board for the National Black MBA Association, Indianapolis, Chapter. She earned her bachelor’s (BA) and master’s degree (MBA) in Business Administration with a focus on Leadership Development.

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you’re listening to the self-made is a myth make a difference together show with your host coach Tim campsa where we talk with successful business owners to hear the stories of their Journeys in building their successful businesses and more importantly we recognize the folks who help them Excel because we know that achieving business success is not something we can do on our [Music] own hello everyone this is coach Tim campel and I’m excited to have a fellow business owner from Indiana with us today my guests can walk into a room with strangers and leave the room with acquaintances which is an awesome skill to have in her downtime she enjoys reading books that teach her uh how to do new things or learn something new and she’s most proud of her ability to recognize triggers and redirect emotions immediately which uh is an awesome uh ability so it is my pleasure to Welcome India to the show today hello India hello thank you so much this is amazing I’m excited to be here well hey let’s start with having you introduce yourself so um tell us your your full name and a bit of your personal story like where you born where you live about your family and hobbies um great so I am India Brown I am a born and raised hooer born in Indianapolis raised in Indianapolis I’m married I have three children they’re all adults I’m also an empty nester um I am definitely um proud of all of the accomplish accomplishments that my children have been involved in I have a daughter my youngest daughter is about to graduate Ball State so um the oldest daughter graduated from IU one from Ball State um so we’re excited we’re excited to have her embark on that Journey with her um I guess a lot of things that I enjoyed doing um is around learning if I’m learning something new I am growing and I feel good every time um I do have what um I like to call my little uh bad habits I do like to watch a little bit of crazy television too a little weird stuff on TV I’m uh unfortunate or fortunate to say I love some of the housewives shows so all right hold it against me a little fun fact about me I was GNA ask you to tell us but just volunteered so that was awesome India what what’s a funny story that your family likes to tell about you that you’d be willing to share today oh my gosh so um when it comes to my family um we’re very competitive in the game Space like we play games um on H all holidays um and then when we get together to have family dinners so I’m very very competitive um with my own daughter because she’s been raised in it so now she’s like let’s get the trophy um so I I would say one of the funny stories is I don’t know if you’ve ever played a game where you wrap up inside um maybe an item you wrap it around with like tape or you put something really cool on it and you have to unwrap it like 27 times and before the timer goes off um well I’m a sore loser so if I’ve spent 30 minutes unwrapping this thing and my timer hits and I’m right there at it oh my gosh Tim I fight I’m GNA fight get it back so they will tell you the story of how I was so angry that I was doing that job diligently and the timer got me right to the end and I had to pass it along and I cheated I kept it because it was mine I worked for it that’s awesome thank you for sharing hey tell us how did the business come about and at what point did you have the confidence you could run your own business um so I I worked in Corporate America for a little over 14 15 years for an organization and I was doing project management there and I loved it they were um definitely a sponsorship for my abilities to learn new things they encouraged me to take classes and Leadership um so they were really a stepping stone to help me build on my professional development um so that helped to build my confidence um I worked um there for uh 13 plus years years and promoted six times so um after the last promotion I just felt like um I’m doing a great job here I really I loved it but I really needed something more and so with all of the knowledge and you know all of the professional de development um skills that they were building in me I thought you know what I’m just GNA take this and go on and do this on my own um and I talked with a lot of Consultants who worked with me a lot of vendors that I worked with with and partnered with to try to make sure I could set up a platform for myself once I decided to take the leap um so I wasn’t one of those people that worked full-time and did this on the side once I jumped in I jumped into the deep end of the ocean and I I used my own uh knowledge skills and abilities that I developed while I was working there and Leadership skills um all of those things I took with me and I just knew that it was something I needed to do for myself so I laugh um and I didn’t look back I just kept pushing forward no matter what challenges I face um I knew that I had something to offer in terms of Knowledge and Skills and I wanted to build on that so I did what a what a great story well tell us a little bit more about the company what’s the name what do you do how do you help folks so the name of my corporate business is brown design and workflow Creations so LLC um with any entrepreneur right you jump out there you need a business business name you need to put your business structure together no one really tells you like put it put together a name that fits on a card or together a name that’s like small enough to work with um you just they just tell you to come up with the name and so I did that um and and um at that point I was working on process flows process design workflows things like that for training and development for groups and organizations who I was getting projects with so it made sense to name my business that um and as I evolved more into getting more business around project management I realized that um I kind of did a little Injustice to my business name by not kind of thinking that through um so I developed a new business name and did a DBA because I think having the corporate company just allows me to add different lines of services um so doing the DBA for PM phas PM p h e all one word um it really is project management phase so the play on that was all around project management the first three letters are PMP which is a certification that you get as a project manager so you can see a lot of thought went into that yes yes so I work in PM phase is a project management consulting firm so what that means is that we bring in Project Managers from different Industries to work with our clients so whether you’re in the legal industry you’re in construction or you’re in it we have a project manager that fits that space um and so my background personally and professionally is in healthcare I’ve worked in the healthcare it space um so I began taking on projects in the healthcare It software application so working with physician groups Hospital Systems who were either replacing optimizing or um completely uh um getting rid of or implementing new applications I worked with those groups and then I realized I needed to bring on more project managers in different Industries so I started working with the law firm um to do their data management system so having someone who specializes and understands data management in that industry um and then working into the construction space understanding the general contractor and what that space looks like um so then it just evolved into that um and still growing still looking to reach into other Industries fantastic so for everyone listening DBA is doing business as that’s your that’s your safety net when you realize that the original name doesn’t make sense anymore you can you can uh come up with a DBA instead and you just register that with the with the state and you can start using that as your your outward communication so thank you for uh for sharing that for everyone listening also go check out the company we’ll have it listed in the description uh in the comments and go visit uh uh go visit India on her LinkedIn and and let her know that you watched her interview yes so share a story where someone pushed you or inspired you that you could do it and maybe even when you didn’t think that you could and the impact that that person had on you um I always say this story or tell this story about mentoring because I when I first jumped into that ocean again no life jacket I don’t know what was happening um I knew how to do what I know how to do right I know my skills I know what I know what I did not know was how to run a business um and so you know I I realized that I was kind of you know going through this process worrying about getting business but not really knowing what to do with the actual business I was starting um I could take care of the clients but I was not from an operational standpoint taking care of my business so mentoring is um what I thought okay I need to check into it I had not thought about mentoring professional mentors or any of that um but there was a lady who had um already been working in the space and um you know I I always tell people this story I jumped into the ocean and about um six months into that um I was in shark infested waters they we were so behind financially it wasn’t even read it was burgundy at that point um and so um she really talked me through how to navigate what what I needed to do to be a business owner she pushed me to gain the confidence in the business space my confidence and skills were there but confidence in how you run a business literally was did not exist um so having that Mentor um she was very very brutally honest with me she’d say you are doing this wrong you’re not really paying attention in the space of contract negotiation you’re not paying attention in the space of um being able to assess what it is your value is that you’re bringing so that you’re getting paid and your expenses are you know this X and your income is why it’s not working you you need to get better um so I actually had uh started and finished up my master’s program so I had a baseline understanding I have an MBA so I had a baseline of the tools what they don’t tell you is what do you put in these tools I know what right I know what a profit and loss is but what goes into it I know if I know the word and I can tell you what it means but how do I actually apply the true knowledge and so she was able to help me do that I I would not have survived without that Mentor um walking me through and and helping me um so I would always advise people to find a business Mentor um and I needed her in a specific area um and then I found another Mentor where I needed her to help me develop leadership skills I was already a profession I went through professional development went through leadership courses but I think what I was missing was aligning my leadership skills to run a business not just to satisfy the client and be there for them but to run a business yes well thank you for being vulnerable and sharing this is a a a thing that every new business owner goes through because the school system even as you mentioned right getting our MBA doesn’t prepare us to be a bus business owner It prepares us to be an employee so the education system is designed to to create employees so when we decide to start a business we’re an expert at our art or our craft or our trade but we have no idea how to run the business and and there’s no there there aren’t you know there isn’t really a class that says here’s how to to run a business until you find mentors or coaches or or programs like that to help guide and and direct you through it so I’m so happy that you you were able to to get the help that you needed and and be able to you know find those those Solutions and and uh and best practices into the business that’s awesome yeah so what’s been the your biggest learning as a business owner um be prepared um I in no way was prepared for the amount of growth that my business was going to incur so not only learning how to run the business um I was not prepared for the growth the business was going to take on so as I learned more about strategic planning and um managing out um the business as a whole finding again the space where we deliver Services becoming the leader in the business the Visionary in the business the growth did not I did not see it coming so a big Learning lesson was to do better forecasting um even with strategic planning I I think I started off doing year toe and now I kind of focus on the growth that expands beyond that fiveyear Mark um because it it gets it gets there before you know it and so I was just like I was not ready for this so um I think being better prepared for growth um is definitely a lesson that I learned um it wasn’t a I’ve got to get a recovery plan in place for that growth it was just I wish I had prepared for it and not working through it in it yes yes well there are a lot of things that we learn real time as business owners right of you know and then we reflect back and go I wish I had known that earlier but but part of the journey is is the fact that we just have to learn our way through it now to your earlier point if we if we can find a mentor or coach or somebody to that’s maybe a few steps ahead of us it can be helpful to have that that voice and that second set of eyes and ear to talk through it but the reality is that you know we’re there’s always going to be some things that shift in pivot and change that we didn’t anticipate but absolutely we need to have a plan we need to know you know what does our what’s our long-term plan of what does our business look like when it’s done and what’s what’s the three-year the one year and even quarterly what are the things that we need to be working on so that we know we’re we’re moving towards our long-term vision for the for the organization yeah and I think that’s hard to see um when you’re working in your business right it’s it’s you’ve got to be able to step outside of your business and look into it um so that you know where those opportunities are that you need to start making plans for and I think that was a challenge too is stepping outside of the business to look into the business yeah it’s so hard as as as business owners to to to to get out of it right and not just get wrapped up in the day-to- day though one of the things we have our clients do is once a year we do a an annual you know realignment meeting which is reimagining right what’s the long term plan what’s the three-year plan what’s the annual plan what’s the quarter plan to because a lot can happen in year and then every quarter we bring our clients together to do quarterly planning again get out of the office for a day you know come to a come to an off-site location where you’re not going to be bothered and distracted and and build your plan think you know have that strategic thinking time to be able to to map that out yeah and I think that’s very important I do I think that I I had to learn to do that though it was you know again into the business the growth is happening and I’m I’m in it now trying to figure out how to uh adjust to the growth um so I have a better perspective now and understanding that I’ve got to step outside the business so I can really prepare for the growth and then plan for additional yeah and and because the reality is the the day-to-day stuff is never really going to stop so it’s not like the business is GNA say oh well we’re going to slow down for a couple days so you can do some strategic planning yes yes that is so true it keeps moving the train does not stop at all yes so yes we have to be proactive and say I am just going to take this day out of the office and do the things that I need to do working on the business instead of in it yes yes so yeah yeah well we know that business success doesn’t happen in isolation so tell us about um one of your biggest challenges over the years and maybe a fellow business owner or a colleague that came alongside you and helped you through that um you know I think um when I when I first started um I really utilized heavily uh the knowledge and expertise of the Consultants that I had met who eventually became friends and who supported me throughout um the first few years as I was trying to figure figure things out um and work in the business um I think today um I I find that networking um and being a part of organizations has definitely grown my space um where I can lean on people um while making connections and contacts um but I think for me when I Network the first thing I do is try to be intentional about finding those people or that person who I can relate to not just on a business this level but personally um because I think when people know you um there it’s so much easier for them to come alongside with you um so I’ve met several people like that um one lady I love her to death is it okay to say names of course yes please um so Aila Darden she is our City’s like construction Guru um but you know I did not learn construction from her I intentionally set out to meet her because I thought she was a phenomenal woman um and what I got from her and and what I’ve gained from her is the ability to show up um Aila shows up and you know while I’m there um the difference is show up and be present so she’s helped me to navigate what showing up looks like um and then reading the room you know what what did you come into this space to do um so she’s an she’s been an amazing person who’s come along side me to help me again develop some professional leadership skills um I’ve met some phenomenal women along the way some women that don’t know that I’ve been watching and mirror some of my own actions after them um I could name several CEOs of organizations that I’ve met and um they don’t know that they’ve kind of modeled what they’re doing in their business and then I’ve kind of taken it and twe tweaked a little bit to work a little bit for um but I’ve met these women and and they’re amazing um the other thing I think uh I’ve met people in Tech I work in it and so finding someone that is a woman that works in Tech um those those groups have really helped me to understand what being in Tech really means for a woman um so coming alongside um me and me coming alongside them to help understand how we actually need to support each other working in a space that’s predominantly and I mean predominantly um filled with men um and so I I think organizations that I’ve joined have really helped me meet the people that I’ve come in contact with to support me and then personal friends I have a friend um Holly firon um she’s she’s really helped me in a space where I can personally stop internalizing when failures happen stop internalizing things right like she’s always like listen you know let me fill your cup up because I think um and you probably know as a coach your job is to help others and to get them um to a place mentally where you know they are able to uh run their business but then who fills your cup back up right and that’s what Holly does for me um when when I’m filling other people’s cup she comes in and fills mine yeah that’s fantastic I I actually say to to prospects that when they’re looking for coaches I said the first question you should ask the the potential coach is if they have a coach because if if they’re not drinking their own Kool-Aid if they don’t believe in the value of a coach then you probably don’t want to hire them that’s true that’s true I mean again because you’re right like where do you get your and I always use the term cup field because I love that right who fills your cup back up right I think every coach needs a coach you I love that yeah and it’s interesting too because it’s it’s always easier to see an issue or a problem in somebody else’s business so I can be you know pointing out things to my clients throughout the week and then my coach points the same thing out about me and I’m like oh no it is because we don’t see it in ourselves we can see it in others we’re too we’re too attached we’re too emotional we’re too close to it yeah yes so yeah I think organ uh finding organizations that can support you in different ways um I think it’s been helpful for me to bring people alongside with that I can feel comfortable with right that you can be okay being vulnerable with that person as you pull them alongside with you to help you navigate whether it’s per personal or professional yes absolutely and you you started to talk a little bit about imposter syndrome right so right there’s there’s lots of times where you know something do doesn’t go the way that we thought it would or it was harder than we thought it should and we can start having self-limiting beliefs and right and doubts and fears and negative selft talk and and if we don’t if we don’t capture that and take a hold of it it can you know can suck us down into a hold now the reality is right it’s not what we all read and see on social media it’s not that everyone else has it all together and we’re the only one that doesn’t but nobody of course is going to tell you know social media that they’re they’re struggling with something so yes when we can find a a network of people who are going to be real and honest and go oh yeah I I’m struggling with that too there’s just this sense of relief that we’re not alone it really does it it makes you feel like um not only are you not alone but it does help you to before you go deep into that rabbit hole of impostor syndrome you’ve got people around you that can help you get to a place where you don’t have to go into it at all um it’s so funny we were just talking about imposter syndrome too and I think um what we identified talking to some of the other women um is that it happens most of the time when you’re moving into higher level positions executive positions right you You’ be surprised at how many VPS and CEOs cios feel that impostor syndrome and they’re running organizations but I think it’s it’s it happens mostly there because you’re in those positions and people are looking to you for the answers they’re looking for you for direction they’re looking for you to tell them when something happens how do we fix it right so of course it lives there because you’re supposed to have all the answers yes yes so it’s scary it is it’s very lonely at the top right when when we’re in a more Junior role in an organization we always have a manager that we can go to to bounce ideas off of right and think it out loud and get some guidance and Direction but the higher we climb so it when we own our own business right there’s nobody to be able to ask those questions to and IDE so yes the the it it can become harder to to feel confident when right when everybody’s looking to us to to give them the the guidance and Direction yes and I think that’s when the importance of your network comes in to help you and support you yeah so India I’m going to put you on this spot here and ask you to pick three people in your business owner Journey that you’re most grateful for them being there to help with your growth so who are those three people and how they help you oh um holy wow um let’s see so oh gosh it’s it’s so challenging um because there’s so many people right like how do you was going to put you on the spot um so I can say um is it gonna be fair that I I may not remember some of their last names because I’m trying to go back to the beginning and then move up to um yeah um the front so I would say one of my very first people again she was awesome her name is Jamie um she worked with me when I worked in Corporate America then she left became a consultant and then I like did it reached out to her she was that supporter that helped me swim through shark infested waters um Jamie was awesome I don’t know that I would even know half the stuff that I know today about a lot of things if Jamie hadn’t jumped in um so I have to give her credit to the start um and then as I navigated through um gosh this business man um I think as I transitioned into project management um there was a lady um oh my gosh see now my my mind is blanking I think um I I wanted her to be my mentor she was one of those people that she was doing the project management thing she was on it and um she she was kind of like no I I like I’m not in the space to do that for you but um I I will help answer questions when you when you need them yeah um and I don’t want to call her out because I feel like she’ll be like oh she was phenomenal in answering questions but um just didn’t have the capacity I think to take me on as a mentee um but she helped me in my project management space she helped me to understand the tools I needed I was doing I was doing great I think what I lacked was was the ability to uh manage projects as a leader I think I was managing projects and going along with it but as a project manager your job is to lead that project and show that you’re leading it um and she gave me that she gave me the tools that I needed to be able to do that but I I don’t want to call her out in a mean way no I think I think it’s actually very um smart of her to know what her capacity is but but still gift you some of her time in answering questions awesome did she did I and I appreciated that um and I guess the third person my goodness um see this is really hard because I think um they don’t they don’t know that sometimes they’re doing this but I guess if a person again came side by side with me and and helped me along my business Journey um oh God this is hard Tim why was that the question and I know and I know I looked at them before but in my mind I didn’t think about who I should call out um because there again there’s been so many um I don’t know I I guess I would give credit [Music] to oh God is there can we come back to it yeah of course yeah absolutely and and it is a fun question because um you obviously there’s been more than three so it it’s intended to just be a little bit of a acknowledgement of that right of yeah there’s way more than three people typically and and uh and this the show is all about right the fact that takes an army right to be able to have to to build a successful business so yeah if some other people come to mind as we uh continue just uh interrupt me and and give those those folks a shout out okay okay I will do that let’s let let me just think about who I can call out without upsetting someone else so as you think about the next one to three years what’s the number one point of growth or challenge that you see that you’re going to need to to work through in order to achieve your goals I think um the number one priority I think for me achieving goals is making sure that I am functioning as the Visionary the CEO that’s the Visionary in this business I think I um I I’m I want to constantly keep hands on and be in the you know the you know nitty-gritty of it all and I think I have to focus more on stepping into that CEO Visionary what are we going to do to get the business Beyond me yes um and growing that out so um with hiring staff bringing on staff and delegating out those responsibilities and not consistently being the face uh to that client that I bring on but allowing my team to step in and take on those actions so that’s a big part of what I need to do as a priority is stepping into the CEO and being the Visionary yeah what what a great uh acknowledgement and understanding of that the it reminds me of what we call the entrepreneurial ladder so you know we all were employees at one point in time and then we go out and start a business we become self-employed or we’ve just simply bought ourselves a job where we’re trading our time for money and right we get the work do the work get the work do the work then you know then we hire some some people to help us out so we become a manager where we’re still you know we’re still in the in the day-to-day we’re owner operator but we’ve got some people to be able to give the you know some of the work too yeah the next jump to what you’re saying you know becoming what we call a true business owner you referenced it as the CEO there’s a significant mindset shift that has to happen because once we’ve built our business to be successful it becomes our baby and it’s hard to let go that’s true that’s but then we become the bottleneck and the business go beyond our capacity so so I love it that that next tier of getting the people and the and the systems in place to be able to run the daytoday and be able to into that CEO role is absolutely you know Paramount in order to to take the business to the next level and be able to scale it that is true that is true I think um then the next thing I guess for for me would be um to learn the whole process of growing your business internally so how you you don’t need to be the marketing person you do not need to be the social media person you don’t need to I’m I’m not an accountant so I don’t need to be my own uh accounting CFO person um so it really growing internally that team that has the extensions um so I’ve started the process I don’t do my own accounting um I realized that a few years ago I hired an accountant um and I’m working through the HR process um bringing on an HR company to manage the growth that I want to have um so that would be the second thing is growing internally and making sure I have the correct extenders um to help support a team that I’m building fantastic well last question here Jim ran amazing business Guru says that we become the average of the five people that we spend the most time with so as you think about that what advice would you have for business owners who are trying to do it on their own um man I would say the first thing is know the difference between what you know in Knowledge and Skills and what you know in managing a business do that self assessment do that business assessment um because I think that we don’t realize that it takes a lot to be a business owner um and and I’m not one of those people that I do crafts I don’t have the talent in arts and all of that I I have the knowledge to uh offer a professional service but I did not have a lot of the knowledge to build a business so I would say try to look at those two spaces and make sure that you’re putting forth the work to get to make them both successful um even with all of the skills that I feel like I had as a project manager you know like I said the the one project manager who I said hey show me how to do this I didn’t realize that even with the Knowledge and Skills I was still lacking so I needed to really learn that so I would tell any new business owner separate what you think you know from your s in terms of knowledge skills and and abilities and then what you know about building a business business structure um what you need to have uh aligned up to make sure your business is sustainable and intact um what pieces might be missing to make sure your business um is going to run effectively in your operations um so make them separate even though they’re both on the same journey and making going toward the same goal yeah I love it it we we reference that and it’s a common terminology of working in the business versus on the business right so most people have the skills of working in the business that’s why they went into business for themselves but as you’ve explained a couple times during our our conversation most people don’t have the expertise of working on the business yes that and that is true yeah okay so I do have a name now all right well the third name to to of a person who I think has been definitely instrumental in helping my focus today and who’s really help me to understand what it looks like to be the CEO um or just the business owner and running a business um his name is Amil um he is the CEO for inop power oh yeah yeah isn’t he awesome and let me tell you I’ve learned so much from him from a um I guess from a uh point of view of think broader you know I come with him and I’ll tell him you know these thoughts and then he’ll you know he’s like IND of what’s the bigger picture so he helps me to think beyond the one problem I’m trying to solve he he’s like think about the bigger thing that caused that problem yeah um and I’m like oh is that so I can I can do that so ail has been very instrumental in helping me to think critically I I’m already a critical thinker but think critically at a high on a higher scale yeah um and so that I can solve problems not one piece at a time but solve the bigger problem with which will eventually solve the smaller problem fantastic well it sounds like you’ve been blessed with some incredible people in your business owner Journey if they were all here today on the show what would you want to say to them um thank you and um please don’t go away I need you still I appreciate them though and all honestly I appreciate all the support that I get from people who are my mentors and people who don’t know they are but I model some behaviors after them because I I see them and I think that’s important for all business owners including myself I appreciate them being okay with the fact that I can watch what they do even if they can’t talk me through it yeah fantastic India it’s been been a pleasure speaking with you today thanks so much for being on the show thank you this has been so much fun I appreciate it so much thanks for having me thanks for listening to the self-made is a myth show please help spread this Movement by liking and subscribing to our show and following us on Facebook and Linkedin to join our movement go to bead okay folks that’s a wrap please pay it forward and be sure to tune in next time to the self made is a myth podcast