YOUNG BLACK ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE
She walked to the stage in a camouflaged dress, long braided hair and some Chuck Taylors. And though the crowd heard her very impressive bio she still seemed unassuming. She was the only woman speaking following a bunch of men. After reading her bio the MC said the customary “put your hands together for Sheri Riley.” The audience gave their obligatory, Masters golf tournament clap. You know the kind of clap you give when you know you are about to pull out your phone and ignore the person in front of you. As a keynote speaker I know you have about 5-10 seconds to catch the audience, or you will lose them to their phones and will never get them back. This was a big crowd and it looked like Sheri wasn’t going to rock their world. But looks can be deceiving.
Have you ever been on a roller coaster enjoying all the twists, and drops when suddenly, a drop you did not see coming catches you off guard? Sheri was the drop no one saw coming. She walked center stage, planted her feet, leaned slightly forward, opened her mouth, and roared. It was a roar that jolted the audience. As I looked to the stage from the back of the room, I saw a wave of people putting their phones down, lifting their heads and paying attention to the beast who’d just roared to announce her arrival and the crowd awakening.
WAKE UP, WAKE UP, WAAAAAKE UUUUUP! She belted and while no one was visibly sleep, the audience woke up. Her mantras were simple yet profound:
Peace is the new success, and
Stop spending 90% of your time on 10% of who you are.
I teach people how to own a room with their voice. I have coached world class speakers on how to captivate an audience; I know a good speaker when I see one and she was one of the best. I had to know more about this woman.
The first day I met Sheri I knew. I just looked and said “Delta, right?” And the answer was “Of course.” Not that her Delta Sigma Theta jewel encrusted ring didn’t give it away, but she exuded the poise, confidence and that je ne sais quoi that comes easy to us Delta women.
Sheri is the author of Exponential Living, one of my annual must reads. She is also the coach for athletes, entertainers, and senior executives. I say “the” instead of “a” because she is “the” one you want.
Sheri tells her story of being at the top of her musical career as an executive at LaFace records working with the likes of Usher and even having TLC call her name while accepting one of the most prestigious awards in music. While everyone was admiring the success of this small-town girl from Kentucky she was crashing and burning in everything else outside of her career.
So, just like that, she walked away. Well, not just like that, but you must get the book to know the whole story.
Since this is the Delta issue my first question for Sheri was “how has Delta helped you in business.”
When Sheri talks about the impact of Delta on her life she always starts with a laugh, “Soror, you know how Delta is. Becoming a Delta prepares you for everything and being a Delta teaches to deal with anything. But, more than that, Sorors will connect you and look out for you like no one else. Let a Soror at that company find out I am a Delta, it’s a wrap.”
I have my own opinion why Sorors do this, but I want to hear Sheri’s view.
Sheri has a perspective I had not considered. “Soror, aside from sisterhood being the core of our sorority, I think it is trust. We know what Delta teaches, we know what other Deltas know and learn. So, when we refer a Delta, there is some assurance of the kind of person we are working with and what they will do with the money. We know Deltas are taught to educate, give back, help the marginalized and to make a global impact. Look at our five-point thrust. So, it is more than just sisterhood that makes us want to help a Soror it is what our sorority stands for.”
Now, I want to know more about Sheri and her clients. She has some high-profile clients, the kind that require NDAs, she can describe them, professional athletes, Grammy winning artists, CEOs, but not give a name. I want to know why her clients trust her.
Sheri is a Christian woman and will refer to the Bible often. “Soror, you know the Bible says we are in the world but not of the world. This same idea makes it easy for my clients to trust me. I have been in the in the industry for a very long time. The industry consumes and destroys people. And when people leave, they are skeletons of themselves and forgotten. You can be hot today and a nobody tomorrow. People in the industry know this and participate. So, I am kind of an anomaly. I left on my terms, did my own thing, and kept my access. I have been backstage, on private jets, eaten at the nicest restaurants - there is nothing I want from them that I have not had already. So, they trust me because they know I am not seeking anything other than to help them. They know I am not in search of fame and my track record of helping people like them is solid.”
Of course, the last question is “what’s next for Sheri Riley?” As you can imagine, Sheri is up to world changing work.
“PowerBroker® and 360 Champion™ is next and now” she laughs “I am very clear on who we serve; we serve entertainers, professional athletes, senior executives, and entrepreneurs. This group has a shortage of people they trust but this group needs the help the most. Helping them helps millions. I know these people; I have been these people and they trust me. God called me to this group. I was put here to show them that the success they have is costing them the life they tried to build. Their kids don’t know them, their marriages are broken, they are a stranger to their closest friends; they have success but no peace. Someone must care enough about these people to tell them they can have a successful career and peace. I care and I teach. Athletes, entertainers, entrepreneurs, and executives are my assignment: on that, I am clear. I am working with a team to revolutionize how we reach this group and give them the peace they deserve while supporting their professional growth and their life outside of the game, the booth, and the boardroom.”
I could write about Sheri all day, but you must go and learn more about her yourself. Check out SheriRiley.com and order her book Exponential Living- Stop Spending 100% of Your Time on 10% of Who You Are, it will change your life and you will thank me later. While you are there explore all things Sheri Riley and Exponential Living®.