I recently met Kathleen Gage at BlogPaws, a pet and social media conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She's a motivational and inspirational speaker with an unwavering love for animals. In her own words, Kathleen is a "No nonsense, common sense" online marketing strategist, speaker, author, product creation specialist, and owner of Power Up For Profits. Originally from the Bay Area, she now lives in a rural community in central Oregon with her life partner of 27 years, Karen.
My good friend from Alabama, Dr. Tricia Working, introduced me to Kathleen, telling me she was the keynote speaker for the conference. Sometimes in life, you have to experience something in order to fully understand it. Kathleen Gage is the epitome of this. I'd never heard of her before BlogPaws, but her presentation was unforgettable: in her own words, she was "all substance, no fluff".
When she was first called to the stage, Kathleen spent ten minutes doing the 'raise the roof' dance through the crowd of 500 BlogPaws attendees, sponsors, and vendors having lunch; getting everyone fired up before even taking the stage. Kathleen has vast experience in public speaking, and her confidence can't help but shine through. She's been lighting up crowds for 25 years, including Fortune 500 companies, United States Marine Corp (highlighting a spouse leadership program), entrepreneurs, and every type of group in between.
When everybody got settled in again, it was time to hear her message. An opening like that sets the bar very high, but the substance of Kathleen's message delivered on all fronts. She is one of the best public speakers I've ever had the pleasure of hearing.
Kathleen began by telling us a bit about her background, and her incredible journey from homelessness to her current position as a motivational speaker, providing an example to others. Barely having finished high school, she took a few college courses but never completed her degree. Throughout all her 20s and 30s, Kathleen lived a fast life, making poor choices which rendered her virtually unemployable and homeless. Finally, she experienced something of a spiritual awakening, and started taking any job she could get, inviting new possibilities into her life. She realized that sometimes the only way out is through.
After some tough, down and dirty sorts of jobs, Kathleen decided to try for a more stable office position. On her first interview in the corporate world, with no experience or track record to speak of, her interviewer asked her why she should consider hiring her. Kathleen answered promptly: "Because I'll be best sales person you've ever had!” It was an inflection point for Kathleen. It was time to lay it all out and put it on the line.
From there, Katherine made serious strides in business. She got the quintessential corner office, 25 people reported to her, and she was knocking sales projections out of the park. Life was good. And yet, something was still missing. Not only was the corporate work hampering her creative juices, but she noticed that the company she worked for was engaging in some very unethical business practices. These resulted in the company being driven into the ground.
From the top, Kathleen was back at square one again. After a month of feeling sorry for herself, Kathleen dusted herself off and fired up her engines. She knew that if she could bounce back from being homeless and unemployable, a little setback like this was nothing. Kathleen decided to live in the solution. Life will always throw both good and bad situations at people—the question is deciding whether to feed your problems and give them momentum, or de-escalate them with a solution.
Kathleen explained to the BlogPaws crowd that the most important element of success is just "showing up." When you suit up and show up for your life, you're already ahead of the pack. It reminded me of something Madonna said at the 2016 Billboard Awards: "The most controversial thing I've done is stick around." At the time, that blew my mind. One of the most notorious pop artists of all time said that the most controversial thing she'd done is simply be there, not disappear and stay the course. Kathleen Gage's "showing up" is virtually the same sentiment. We hear this over and over again from successful people across all industries: "get in the game," "make it happen," etc.
We're not here to audit life. It's not just about what you do, but the reasons for doing so. There's no shame in making money. The more you produce, the more you can give back. Kathleen Gage has dedicated her life to helping organizations and individuals reach more of their market and have a greater impact, via her arsenal of products and services.
The Delaney Factor: the story that struck a chord with animal lovers around the world
Delaney was a ten-year-old throwaway breeder dog. In other words, after she was no longer able to breed, she was dumped on the street and left for dead. Injured, tired and sick, Delaney had to cross through fields, over roads, through water and then more fields. Eventually, one rainy day, she ended up in front of a nice lady's house. The lady picked up the pup and brought her to her daughter Karen's house, Gage's life partner. Delaney's hair was matted, she had infections in her eyes, her teeth were rotting, and she had a number of tumors on her stomach. In that instant, after ten years of struggle, Delaney found a loving family and home.
When I asked Kathleen what message people ought to take away with them when they hear Delaney's story, she said she'd like people to know that no matter what's in front of them, everyone can make it to the other side. Both Kathleen and Delaney had hit rock bottom, and had to claw their way back to life. Despite the improbability of both of them surviving and finding each other, it happened anyway, because love, faith and hope trounce all odds. Kathleen and Delaney's lives are the ultimate stories of triumph over adversity.
For more on Delaney's story, and to learn about two of the rescue organizations that Kathleen and Karen work with, visit the Emerald Valley Equine Assistance and the Villalobos Rescue Center, who's mission is to rescue and hopes that one day they won't have to.
No matter what challenges an organization or individual faces, Kathleen Gage can help find the solution. Whether that means motivating a sales team, or lifting people's spirits, Kathleen has the Midas touch. I saw it for myself.
Make sure to connect with Kathleen's social media platforms and website: