For most women, running a business takes as much energy as working three full-time jobs, siphons away every last ounce of your sanity, plus you’re confronted with the age-old choice between career and family.
To the eight out of ten soulciti readers who are women, we want you to know that your struggles are seen and felt. This is also why we MUST — without further ado — introduce you to Pamela Benson-Owens! Often referred to as PBO – she is certainly not MOST women. But who she is every day inspires women to be the MOST that they can.
Benson-Owens runs two organizations full-time, hosts a weekly soul-fortifying podcast, and is a humorous speaker, a thoughtful teacher, and a fierce fundraiser, with a degree of passion and character that runs on longer than this sentence!
She is the founding President and CEO of Edge of Your Seat Consulting, which was established in 2001 in order to assist people professionally and personally through training and coaching. Owens is also the Acting Executive Director of Six Square, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that celebrates and preserves the great arts, culture, and history of Central East Austin.
It’s not because of what I do for a living, more because of what I do and how I’m living
soulciti had the opportunity to speak with PBO about what life is like for the woman behind the accomplishments and the accolades. Gems were dropped, faith was shared, and a level of unparalleled swag proved to be the star of the conversation. Pillars of sisterhood, influence, and collaboration characterized the conversation. Getting to know this illustrious Queen was indicative of the T.I. line, “It’s not because of what I do for a living, more because of what I do and how I’m living”.
What started out as a foray into which aspect of her multifaceted career she enjoys the most became a beautiful conversation centered around accountability and how joy in helping others from an early age holds us to a higher standard later in life. Benson-Owens’ own mother loved to tell the story of how growing up, Pamela enjoyed giving other children birthday gifts more than she enjoyed receiving them herself, on her own birthday.
When Owens had a brain tumor in the 4th grade, she was given a doll that would quickly become her favorite toy. One day, she was moved to donate the favored plaything to another girl around her age, a girl child who was fighting the same battle of cancer that Owens herself had survived. The next morning, Owens woke up to find the doll back on her own bed; the other child had not made it through the night. This experience made an indelible impression on Owens, one that continues to influence her work to this day.
She describes “abandoning power to align with influence” as being a game-changer for her. When she enters the room, it’s more about supporting every woman in the room – making them feel seen. In doing so, women can let down their guard and relinquish the kind of emotional armor that ultimately hinders collaboration. A true warrior on behalf of others, Benson-Owens treats strangers like family, has no tolerance for ‘gossip culture,’ and prefers to pull a sista to the side rather than to show any kind of negativity in public.
We must shout out a woman who is committed to supporting every woman in the room in a society where most women capable of supporting anyone in the room will talk about it but seldom walk it.
Benson-Owens exudes such strength of character that it should come as no surprise that she collaborates regularly with a sisterhood of strong and powerful fellow female leaders She exudes a special kind of excitement when referencing the women leaders of Austin she so loves to watch win. The level of support they have for one another is hard to find and harder to describe.
Benson-Owens knows that, at the mere mention of feeling overwhelmed by life, a home-cooked meal will show up at her doorstep almost as if by magic. Her sisterhood is what got her through the loss of her father when she could scarcely process what was happening in her grief, never mind seeing to the practicalities of the homegoing service.
This writer, for one, was simply so inspired to share time and space with the one and only, unstoppable Pam Benson-Owens, and we hope that in sharing her story today you, too, will feel equally inspired. Please support the paradigm-shifting, trailblazing, important work that she and her community of women are advancing every day here in Austin.