Amanda Hite, Co-Founder, Chief Change Officer of BTC Revolutions (Be The Change) Building Communities, Igniting Movements that make Meaning and Money and CEO and Founder of Talent Revolution, Inc lives her message of "Be The Change" and, for those who work with her and have heard her speak, that message is forever tattooed in their conscience. Amanda is revolutionizing the way companies think about social media, employment branding, marketing, and maximizing their return on talent. And most importantly, sheʼs an innovator who shows that itʼs truly possible to make both meaning and money by utilizing social media for social good.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
Growing up I had 32 homes by the age of 18, I dealt with a ton of change and adversity. Life started out rough, my mother had me when she was a teenager and my father became a private in the US Army trying to support a family of 5. We started out poor, moved a lot, were on food stamps - I was the kid that would wait till the lunch line died down so other kids wouldn't see my blue meal card that indicated I was the poor kid. I learned to embrace change, I learned grit, I learned how to love my way through rough times.
How did your previous employment experience aided your position at BTC Revolutions?
I always held leadership positions I wasn't technically qualified for. I either got promoted up to them by being a charismatic high performer, getting extraordinary results in very uncommon ways and/or I out-hustled and out-loved (gave) more qualified applicants. I learned the good, bad and ugly of the corporate workplace. I learned that I didn't want to "move up the ladder" because most of the people at the top were unhappy themselves. I wanted to build my own ladder, I've always had an insatiable desire to do something more meaningful, more impactful. My past work experience helped me learn what I didn't want to do, and enough about how business works to start my own and be business savvy to really understand the concerns, needs and desires of the brands we serve today.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I make sure my work is meaningful, the things I'm passionate about, that it supports my vision/goals for my life. When I do that the need for "work/life balance" is irrelevant. There are three purposes in my work - I have to: 1. Disrupt and help reinvent the agency/marketing model in the language of movements 2. Create the BTC Life - give our team a path to their ultimate lifestyle, let them be exactly who they are at work and let them apply their talents to meaningful change 3. Make Love and leverage influence to be the change we wish to see and make noticeable impact. These aren't just work outcomes, they're outcomes of the way I live.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at BTC Revolutions?
The highlights have been the meaningful communities we've helped to create and love and adore, as well as the movements we've been a part of that are making big impact.
My challenges have been: I started my first company with $64 in the bank and wanted to work with all my friends and family. I was a little bit of a pushover, I almost lost everything when I had a big health scare and no insurance. I learned so much from that time, like I'm not indestructable, I needed to be more direct and stand up to folks, that the best of friends don't always make the best of partners. Bootstrapping the business has been challenging because I always want to move faster than we can, but it also keeps us very lean and focused on what matters most and makes the most impact.
What advice can you offer women seeking to start their own business?
Make sure you define a strong business model early on. Surround yourself with mentors who have done what it is that you want to do. JFDI - Just Focus Do It.
How is BTC making a real difference in community management?
We are connecting people of shared passions and interest and giving them something meaningful to be a part of. Whether it's a passion to end childhood hunger or a passion for their favorite brand. We make love every day by being the biggest fans of our fans and going out of our way to make their day special.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Limitations are what we let them be. It's 2014 we get to chose who we work for. If an employer isn't giving you equal opportunities or isn't supportive, then leave. There are plenty of great companies out there for hard-working and focused individuals.
What are your thoughts on Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In book and movement?
I know it's been controversial but good for her for taking action she feels is right to help other women leaders. We all have our own story. You can learn from everyone's story. I wish more women told theirs. In fact, that's why we are starting the new Women's Impact Movement http://www.w3pledge.com/
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Hell yeah, THERE IS NO WAY I'd be where I am today if it wasn't for my mentors. I have had some of the best on the planet from many walks of lives, cultures, ages and backgrounds. I collect them, it's how I learn. I owe everything I am to them. I love them with all my fucking* heart.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
There are so many I couldn't possibly list them all.
My BFF Kat Cole, she's the President of Cinnabon, she goes BIG, has strong vision, is convicted by her principles and has a maniacal discipline. I look up to her and appreciate how she always gives me honest feedback and pushes me to do more.
Debbie Shore, the co- founder of Share Our Strength, I admire the movement that she and Billy Shore (her brother and co-founder of SOS) have lead to end childhood hunger in America. I love Debbie's hustle, the way she pushes to make the big ask, to consistently innovate.
The women who lead the Women's Foodservice Forum, the largest leadership development for women organization in America. They have been through so much with the passing of their President Fritzi Woods and they are impressively honoring and carrying forward her vision to elevate women leaders.
Malala Yousafzai, her bravery and courage to speak up for the education at such a young age inspires me.
What are your hopes for the future of BTC Revolutions?
That we get to be a part of history in the redefining of the marketing world and it's currency.
That we continue to provide the BTC Life, the best lifestyle and most meaningful work to our team and inspire other companies to do the same.
That we see the end of childhood hunger in America. That we see equal rights for all Americans. That we see businesses adopt a new model of connected capitalism where it is more connected to society. And to know that we helped impact that.