As women, we tend to lean into our female support system to help clarify our decisions and ask for advice. From parenting to what to wear to a wedding, our “girls” are our confidants, our strength, and quite often, our inspiration. With that in mind, how great is it to find that same kind of inspiration in a stranger, especially when their life reflects so many of the same obstacles of our own? That is the impression that I had when I first heard Tina Johnson tell her story of building her business and maintaining her sanity while meeting the elusive “work/life balance” head on… with her winning smile. Four years later, that “Tina Talk” still remains a reflective moment in my life, as I’m sure it has in the lives of other Northern Virginia women.
Tina Johnston is a well-known business owner, philanthropist and friendly face in the Loudoun and Northern Virginia communities. While often seen busily navigating the business world, or volunteering in the community, it is her determination and kind spirit she may best be known for. She has successfully built a business while raising four sons with her husband, and still remains focused on giving her time, energy and knowledge to help others throughout the region. Plus, somehow, she manages to do it all without coffee – a fact she revealed to me once, as we chatted while walking through the streets of Downtown Leesburg. That simple glimpse into Tina, years after hearing her speak about her journey with her business and family, has created an image of sheer purpose that is not only an inspiration, but, one that “keeps it real” when you really consider her efforts in our community.
In her own words, Tina is a woman, a mom, a wife, a loyal friend, a giver, a business owner and a hard worker – just like the rest of us! She feels blessed to be able to pursue her dream of having her own business in an industry she loves and is passionate about – building and producing events. Of course, it has not been easy. Her biggest challenge has been the “work/life balance” that tests us all, and has learned a powerful lesson in her 23 years of balancing:
“You cannot do it all or have it all at one time. Decide what your priorities are at this given time and let everything else go.”
Tina admits her manner is unique, and she has made her own way without apologies. But, she still believes in the power of generosity, in honesty and the golden rule. Her success in business and her personal life, she hopes, sets an example for others… especially for women. As an entrepreneur, Tina shows an insightful understanding of women’s business development and ownership. She recognizes the need for strong, female examples to follow, and is only too happy to offer advice or encouragement for anyone in need, especially as the “balancing act” we share becomes overwhelming.
“Despite being responsible for our businesses and everything else that goes into being an entrepreneur, nothing has changed within our households! We are still juggling baseball practice, ballet, grocery shopping, family schedules, parent teacher conferences, PTA and social responsibility! Women, by nature, are caring, and there is an enormous amount of passion, drive and emotion that goes into being a successful woman entrepreneur.”
When asked her advice for women who are afraid to take the first steps in running a business, Tina says, “JUST DO IT!! You will be amazed at what you are truly capable of achieving, AND, most importantly, reach out and ask for help – at the time that it is needed!
Tina has turned her experience in business ownership and entrepreneurship into a way to help other women who may be starting up a business, interested in growing their current business or who want to develop relationships with other business owners in the region. She encourages everyone to attend the annual Virginia Women’s Business Conference, held in Lansdowne on November 20, 2015. As a resource, Tina says the Conference provides hands-on skills workshops that will help grow a business and/or enhance leadership skills.
If you have ever attended the Virginia Women’s Business Conference, this year promises to have an even bigger impact in the community. As Tina explains, “The conference is a place to join over 500 executive women in a one-day event for women who are interested in enhancing their career or personal life through interactive workshops, seminars and learning sessions. The event will feature more than 35 inspiring speakers. The Virginia Women’s Business Conference is THE event for visionary women who want to discover the tools for success, make strategic business connections and leave feeling empowered and inspired to take action.”
Tina has a strong presence in our community, and a long-standing relationship with the women and business owners we rely on each day. Her success is an inspiration, but, it is her wisdom and casual grace that we may all benefit from the most.
By Chelsea Snyder & Dorri C. Scott