Tonya Twitchell | How to Recover from a Family Tragedy – and Emerge Stronger

Tonya Twitchell is a speaker, coach, and consultant. She is the Chair for Vistage Worldwide and works with high performing CEOs, business owners, and senior executives who are working on engaging with and leveraging their best selves and their teams. Tonya is a former senior executive for two rapidly-growing companies and has helped many other companies increase revenue and profitability. She has led, trained, and coached a variety of different leaders in different industries and sectors including health care, finance, government, the public sector, and even the United States Air Force.

Tonya graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She also studied Chinese Language at Nankai University in Tianjin, China.

In this week’s episode of The Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran interviews Tonya Twitchell, a Vistage Chair, about coaching business leaders, dealing with family tragedy, and her transition to and from the corporate world.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Tonya Twitchell talks about losing a member of her family a few years ago and how that impacted her lif
  • Why it was a struggle for Tonya to implement what she taught her clients in her own life when tragedy struck her
  • How Tonya works with clients to help them live in alignment with themselves in order to become a better leader
  • The importance of leaders working to improve different aspects of their leadership roles and why they need to get out of their comfort zones
  • How Tonya realized she was good at being a coach
  • Tonya talks about her background and how people reacted to her career ambitions
  • How studying at a college in Minnesota and then studying Chinese Language in China influenced Tonya’s work
  • Tonya talks about moving to work in the corporate world, transitioning back to coaching, and becoming a Vistage Chair
  • Tonya talks about Vistage’s history and the group she leads
  • The people Tonya acknowledges for her accomplishments

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

Today’s episode is sponsored by Rise25 Media, where our mission is to connect you with your best referral partners, clients, and strategic partners. We do this through our done for you business podcast solution and content marketing. 

Along with my business partner Dr. Jeremy Weisz, we have over 18 years of experience with B2B podcasting, which is one of the best things you can do for your business and you personally. 

If you do it right, a podcast is like a “Swiss Army Knife” – it is a tool that accomplishes many things at once. It can and will lead to great ROI, great clients, referrals, strategic partnerships, and more. It is networking and business development; and it is personal and professional development which doubles as content marketing

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:14

Welcome to the Revolution, The Smart Business Revolution podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution. John Corcoran.

John Corcoran 0:40

All right. Welcome everyone. John Corcoran here, the host of Smart Business Revolution podcast and I get to talk every week with amazing CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs, coaches, executives of companies and organizations like YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, Vistage, LendingTree, OpenTable X software many more. I’m also the co-founder of Rise25 Media where we help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. And I’m excited today because my guest is Tonya Twitchell. Tonya is a speaker, coach, and consultant. And she’s a chair for Vistage Worldwide, which we’ll talk about in a moment if you haven’t heard of Vistage. She works with high performing CEOs, business owners and senior executives who are working on engaging with and leveraging their best selves and their teams as well. She is a former senior executive for two rapidly growing companies and has helped many different companies to increase revenue and profitability, and has trained and coached a variety of different reader leaders in different industries and sectors, including everyone from health care, finance, government, public sector, even the United States Air Force. So we’re going to jump into that in a moment. 

But first, before we get into that this episode is brought to you by Rise25 Media. At Rise25, we help b2b businesses to get clients, referrals and strategic partnerships with done for you podcasts and content marketing and you are listening to this right now. So you’ve probably heard a podcast before. It’s an emerging medium. And it’s doing tremendously well picking up getting more attention. And if you’ve ever thought about doing a podcast, we say yes, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life and helped to connect to an amazing array of interesting people. And so if you are interested and you have a b2b business with a high client lifetime value is going to be great for you. So give me a call or send us an email at [email protected] or check us out on the web at 

Alright, so Tonya, I’m excited to talk to you, you were kind enough to have me as a guest speaker at one of your Vistage meetings a couple of weeks ago or a week or two ago. And that was a pleasure. You have a great group of executives, and CEOs. And first of all, let’s talk about how you had a rough ride a couple years ago. So you lost a number of family members. You know, something that All have to deal with sooner or later in our lives, but a lot in a short period of time. And in addition to it being incredibly challenging, it led to a major reboot in your career and you made some big decisions to take us back to that period of your life and what that was like and, and how you ended up changing your life because of it.

Tonya Twitchell 3:25

Absolutely. So thank you, John, for having me here with you. 2013 through 2017 were rough. In 2013. In the space of nine months, I lost my dad, my grandmother, my brother, and then fast forward to 2017 I got a call that my mom was killed instantly in a car accident and a couple of months later, my stepfather passed away. If you don’t go through a period like that. At least I don’t believe you do without really taking a look at who I am and how I am playing? What the heck am I getting up for each and every day in my life? And you know, each of those five scenarios was really different. The two that were the most dramatically different. We’re losing my brother and losing my mom. Well, my brother, I had to really take a look at how I had shown up with him in particular, and how I was being as a person in my relationships. And that was a really, really important pivot point. For me. That was the point when I said, you know, I’m changing the game that I’m playing, and I’m going to focus on different targets, I’m going to think in terms of different KPIs. I’m going to rethink these goals and tie them to something bigger. And it made all the difference. It made all the difference in terms of the peace and the ability to move forward. When four years later, I was right back in one of those moments again,

John Corcoran 4:54

huh? What was it like the second time going through it and had you? You know that we were more prepared the second time around because you had asked those hard questions.

Tonya Twitchell 5:09

I don’t know that you’re ever prepared to get a phone call that says the world as you knew it has just been flipped on its head. Although there was certainly a different and more immediate piece in the sense that I didn’t have regret. And I didn’t immediately have this big hammer that I pulled out to beat myself up over the last conversation or I wish I would have said or I wish I would have done when my brother, my brother actually committed suicide in 2013. And when I got the call that he had taken his life The first thing I thought of was the last time I saw him, and this ridiculous argument that we had over sandwiches like this, nothing or nothing or nothing. And the piece that was so hard for me to put down. It wasn’t that we had this argument, it was that I didn’t clean it up. I didn’t come back to it and say, you know what my part in that moment, I was judgmental. I wasn’t, I was taking out some frustration on you because you happen to be there. You were trying to talk to me, I wasn’t listening. I fundamentally didn’t care enough and didn’t champion you enough to even see that you were with me in the room. And interestingly enough, my mom and I had a conversation where she had a similar level of regret, in terms of how some things were left with my brother. And she and I got real clear that no matter what happens as we went forward, she and I were going to play differently with each other. We and we actually made an agreement that if one of us had a moment where we had a conversation or something that felt unfinished, that we were going to hold ourselves to the same Word of coming back and addressing Hey, my part, or I have awareness that I may not have shown up as my best self. I might not be ready to clean it up yet, but I’m at least gonna raise the flag and acknowledge and own that that is part of how I played. Our agreement was that we would do that within 24 hours and for the next three and a half years. That’s what we did. And so, in the moment that I got the call, and I learned that my mom had left this planet. It didn’t take away the pain. It didn’t mean my mom was my person. She was my best best friend. And it didn’t make that part easier. However, I knew with certainty that she and I were clean. I knew what she thought and felt about me and I knew that there was no question for her on her side, that there wasn’t anything else that I was ever going to wish or have a moment of. If only I had said Instead that that’s a big part of how I challenge myself, how I challenge others as a big part of where and how I lead from, and how I engage with anyone that I’m working with. Because that’s what we ought to be playing for.

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