When volunteering to write a business column for this online magazine, my three worlds collided – BOOM – my passion for journalism, internet technology, and business coaching. My life comes full circle in this very moment as I write my first column for you, where I share my journey to entrepreneurship from where it began in Edmond as an aspiring journalist, through becoming a Most Admired CEO as a Woman in Tech, to where it has landed now as an Internationally Certified Scaling Up Business Coach. I am overjoyed that in the coming columns, I’ll be inspiring you to think outside the box as you work “on your business” with long-term strategy, rather than only “in the business” day to day.
When I heard the news that Oklahoma’s oldest newspaper, The Edmond Sun, closed its doors to merge their content with fellow CNHI newspaper, The Norman Transcript, it stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t believe it. A slice of my childhood, and a significant piece of what made me the woman I am today, had simply vanished.
Through the shock, I reminisced about all the ways The Edmond Sun had impacted me. As a little girl, I helped my Mom with a summer paper route. And I still remember taking the newspaper up Pikes Peak with my little sister, where we sat atop the Colorado mountain, holding out our paper like giddy little girls. We beamed with hometown pride to get published in their summer photo series, which we were certain to clip for our grandparents. I can vividly remember the permed hair, ratted bangs, and neon hoop earrings to match my Bart Simpson t-shirt.
As a teenager, The Edmond Sun was my first job as an ad-runner at age 16, as soon as I got my license. I didn’t eat lunch the entire first week because I was too shy to ask about the rules, and lunch just wasn’t covered in training.
I later studied throughout my teen years under Carol Hartzog, marveling at her ability to be a straight-shooting woman among what appeared to me at the time as “a man’s world.” The subtle way her firm leadership style sank into my subconscious would shape my confidence in business settings for years to come. I now stand as an equal in board rooms with companies $200 million in size, coaching them with my shoulders back and head held high – thank you Carol.
Throughout my time at Edmond North High School, I became the editor-in-chief of The Ruff Draft, a separate monthly publication The Edmond Sun put together with all three high school journalism classes. My place in the world as a writer began to take shape, winning more than 24 statewide journalism awards, as well as an Associated Press award for items I co-wrote with Hartzog for the larger paper.
The Edmond Sun granted me a college scholarship to the University of Central Oklahoma, where my parents once went to school, met, and fell in love. They married at a small church just under the university water tower. Of course, I wrote for The Vista, while I was a journalism student on campus, ever inching closer and closer to my childhood dream of running a famous magazine like “Cosmo” someday.
Post-graduation, I came back again to the newspaper in my 20s as The Edmond Sun director of marketing & sales after the CNHI acquisition, and just as the shift of the internet had really begun to shake up the print journalism world. Everyone in the news industry nationwide was finding their footing. Between 24/7 television broadcast journalism; to AOL pop up news headlines you could read while at work; to your drive-time news over the radio… Edmondites’ options to know the major headlines of the day before the evening paper arrived on their doorstep was changing readership.
Back in the early 2000s, we were asking questions like “Do you offer articles for free online, or only as an add-on bonus with a subscription?” In the year 2020, I still see these questions go unanswered two decades later. With Twitter and social media urgently at your fingertips on smartphones, the print media struggles with a model of what’s the right thing to do — Be the leading journalism organization that breaks the story and posts it free as you watch it “go viral?” Or, click a headline, only to be halted with an abrupt message, “Stop, you have to pay” to read further.
As I moved on from The Edmond Sun, my childhood dream of becoming a magazine editor-in-chief had already come true before the age of 30 at another publication, but the World Wide Web was calling. The evolution could not be suppressed. My career began to shift away from the written pen and paper, toward online software, live streaming, on-demand screen-sharing tools, and websites. I became a Woman in Tech for the next 20 years, running online software companies. And yes, it was like you see in the movies — buzzing cubicles filled with young techies in ripped jeans, holding company pizza parties while serving up a darts tournament, or ping pong between screen time.
Why Scaling Up?
As a former CEO, I deployed best-selling author Verne Harnish’s Scaling Up toolsets, “One Page Strategic Plan,” and “10 Rockefeller Habits” when I ran a metro-area technology firm over the last decade.
In fact, I loved the concepts so much I decided to go through the rigorous training process to become a Certified International Coach. What normally takes over a year and half, I knuckled down and knocked out in six months, studying over 60 hours a week for my master’s in Business Development. My dream came true as I fully embraced being an entrepreneur. I am now among the exclusive ranks of only 150 worldwide Scaling Up coaches who work alongside Verne Harnish.
My business coaching clientele are $2 million to $200 million firms with C-Suite level executives who are determined to scale up their companies ten times larger than they are today. I’ve worked with companies in Canada, Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, and my home state of Oklahoma. They span a variety of industries, including Edmond churches, Software as a Service (SaaS), global manufacturing, marketing agencies, law firms, B2B service providers, and oil and gas.
I facilitate long-range strategic planning retreats each year throughout North America. Then I provide those CEOs with an outside perspective by returning every quarter to hold each leadership team member accountable for the aggressive growth goals they set during their annual plan.
Why this column?
I was introduced to the Scaling Up tools I used to scale income, profits, and production to 4-to-10 times in many areas of my metro-area software company, inspiring me to become a coach myself. I am now delighted to encourage you along your business journey, just as others did for me. I would love nothing more than this column’s free tips and advice to encourage a local Edmond entrepreneur to thrive.
In each Edmond Business column, I’ll be writing to you about the four decisions that 70,000 other growing companies unlock in the areas of (1) People; (2) Strategy; (3) Execution and (4) Cash to scale their businesses 10 times their present size. This is my community give-back to my hometown that has given me so much over my lifetime.
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About Stacy Eads
Edmond native & UCO Alumna, Stacy Eads, is an award-winning “Most Admired CEO” who scaled her company as a Woman in Tech before becoming an International Scaling Up Business Coach. She now empowers other CEOs from $2M to $200M to embrace their leadership potential through quarterly strategic planning. Her talent is in high demand to CEO Coach, Train Teams, and Speak at Events in both the U.S.A. and Canada.
Stacy Eads’ career affiliations include 50 Women Making a Difference award, Circle of Excellence award, Torch Ethics award, Most Admired CEO award, Edmond Chamber & UCO Mentor, Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma Board of Directors, TEDx OKC Speaker Coach, and Ambassador Chairwoman for the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce.