YOU’VE OBVIOUSLY EXPERIENCED A GREAT DEAL OF SUCCESS IN YOUR LIFE. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT, AND WHY?
My biggest accomplishment has been 13 years of survival in a marketplace that was a little hostile towards women and uncharted waters for a single woman with no knowledge or experience in demolition.
With no formal education in construction, much less demolition, I had to quickly learn the trade, the lingo, the way subs steal, the value of scrap metals while also learning how to manage money and cash flow. It has been a feat. Yes, survival has been my biggest feat. Yet, it has been survival with joy and excitement to be part of growing a unique business.
LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS SMOOTH. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT A SETBACK OR TRAGEDY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED, HOW YOU DEALT WITH IT, AND THE IMPACT IT HAS HAD ON YOU?
In one year, I experienced a devastating blow of a secretary embezzling, a marketing dispute that turned into a lawsuit, my brother, my only trusted employee, left the company to go to graduate school and my boyfriend breaking up with me. There I sat alone, betrayed, isolated and stripped of the momentum of building a company. I had to regroup my company vision and decide what was the pace and purpose of my life.
I came out of the gates gangbusters in the first few years of being in business. Making money. So much business. I was on the path to early burn out. People had so much expectations for my growth. My hot pink equipment all over town made me look like a huge company but behind the curtain, we were still a small operation.
After that devastating year, I repeated one phrase to myself over and over and over, “The tortoise and the hare. Simone, always remember you are the tortoise.”
I work to live.
I work to be happy.
I work to give back and share.
All at the pace I determine.
My boyfriend came back into my life one year later and we are happily married.
My brother is my tax and wealth adviser.
And the others… well, they are still the hares.
DO YOU SET ASIDE “ME-TIME” IN YOUR CALENDAR, AND WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME TO RELAX?
My set aside time is my morning cup of coffee at the coffee shop.
Sometimes I read my devotionals and think about all the blessings and goodness the Lord has bestowed on me. That quiet time of reflection is spiritual exfoliation. Our spirits need tending to daily.
Sometimes I look around the coffee shop for a new friend. Seems like I have befriended a lot of older, retired men. I call them my coffee shop boyfriends. My husband laughs. They share wisdom, advice, business stories in a safe environment. I don’t have many confidants in the demolition industry
The best friend i made in Starbucks was 86 years old. One year into our friendship, he lost his voice to cancer. This didn’t stop us. He brought his digital tablet and wrote notes. He was the best mentor. But it’s over that one cup of coffee that I have learned to relax and think.
WHAT’S THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE YOU’VE DISCOVERED WHERE YOU CAN GO TO CHILL OUT?
I have been going to the Grand Hotel in Fairhope, Alabama for 40 years. The ancient oak trees soothe me.
DOES PHILANTHROPY PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR LIFE, TO WHAT EXTENT AND HOW?
The law of reciprocity is as real as the law of gravity. When we give away help, hope, inspiration, it comes back to us in very unique, immeasurable ways.
Philanthropy is an absolute integral part of my business from the very beginning. I believe creativity is somehow tied to philanthropy. As the proverb suggests, “Cast your bread upon the waters and it shall return to you after many days”. When we invest in others, creative paths open to us.
WHO IS ON THE GUEST LIST FOR YOUR IDEAL DINNER PARTY, PRESENT OR PASSED?
Noah. Tell me all about the animals.
Director of masonry for the pyramid of Giza. How, where, who accomplished the greatest marvel built by human hands.
Queen Elizabeth. Remind me how to be a refined lady, keep calm and carry on.
Three women from my Ancestry:
The one that was Jewish. The one that was African and the one that was native Indian from Brazil. Their strength is my DNA, my fiber for today.