Interview with Franne McNeal

So who is Franne McNeal anyway and why are you the person to help us step up to Significance?
I’m a woman who believes in being significant, because I’ve been blessed to be encouraged to approach life with a positive attitude, ask questions, and contribute by being a leader.

I’m a woman who practices being significant, which includes: getting going, embracing opportunity, finding support and accepting love.

Sure, I’ve been frustrated, frantic and foiled by life experiences, but what defines me, is my commitment to step up to significance and to encourage and support others to turn obstacles into options.
What’s the full title of the book and the tagline?
The full title of my book is "Significant! From Frustrated to Franne-tastic. Inspirational Stories for the Entrepreneurial Woman."
Franne McNeal, author of the new book “Significant! From Frustrated to Franne-tastic!” can you tell us what your book Significant! is about and who it’s for?
My book is:
● Primarily directed at women, to help them, become leaders and successful entrepreneurs.
● For women who want to jump start their lives by building on their experiences, and who are ready to be challenged to live their lives with purpose.
Franne, what does it take for a woman to become “Significant” and what does that word mean to you?
First of all, every woman is significant! For me being truly significant is about knowing who you are and using that knowledge to chart your life path.

It’s also about having the confidence and wisdom to use your unique story to achieve, contribute and to become a leader. My book helps women bring their inherent significance to a higher level.
So what’s the connection between storytelling and coaching women to become more effective?
Stories help us listen and learn from others, so we can “know ourselves”. While everyone has suffered, and everyone has met with disappointment in life, few people know how to find value in those experiences. In Significant!, I demonstrate how I have learned from setbacks, and coax the reader to, one, tell her own story honestly; and, two, derive wisdom from that story.
Franne, you tell a lot of really personal stories in this book. Why will your stories help the reader step up to her own significance?
If I can find personal gold in challenging circumstances, other women can, too. I connect with readers in the way that a celebrity really can’t because in my stories I show that I am like my readers! I work every day, I face difficulties in my work and personal life, I have survived serious health challenges, and I’ve emerged from it all smiling and successful not despite it all, but I argue because of everything that has happened to me.
Can you tell us how you organized your book and what the reader will find inside?
Significant is organized into 5 themes: Get Going, Embrace Opportunity, Find Support, Accept Love and Be Significant!

Each theme starts with a fable, then an explanation of the theme. the personal stories that follow, each end with a page of discussion questions to help the reader tell her own story honestly and stimulate conversation.

Spending the time to reflect on your life story, passions and talents is foundational and worthwhile. Just working harder or longer hours isn’t the route to success.
What made you decide to write this book -- now?
I decided to commit to write my book, Significant! From Frustrated to Franne-tastic, for 2 reasons. One, I think that there has never been a time of greater opportunity for women; and two, I’ve at a point in my life when lived through enough experiences to have some solid life lessons to share with the world!

As an executive coach and facilitator, I’ve seen that women are eager to step up as leaders, but they need mentoring that they don’t always get on the job. My book offers mentoring through stories, questions and reflection, and also provides a format for women to meet with their peers and support each other’s development.

Women are frustrated by the obstacles they encounter in the business environment, but every one of us already possesses the wisdom she needs to turn obstacles into options. My book, Significant! encourages women to make the time to get in touch with that wisdom.
You use Fables to start each section of your book, and as we all know every fable has a moral. What’s the “moral” of Franne McNeal’s life thus far?
Well, I’d say that the moral of my life right now is that … no matter how many amazing things happen to you, there’s always another story to be told!
Among the most provocative stories in your book are those that tell how you came back from a debilitating stroke and a breast cancer diagnosis. What was your takeaway from those life-changing experiences?
A famous motivational speaker, Willie Jolley says “a setback is only a setup for success.”

Finding out you have cancer or suffering a stroke feels like getting hit by lightning! Going from the boardroom to the hospital room was a sobering experience that left me vulnerable, forced me to slow down, and taught me how to ask for help. Being truly Significant! means knowing how to trust other people to support you! In the midst of setbacks, you still have the choice to live with clarity of purpose.
You’ve been an insider -- you’re a Princeton graduate and an MBA with an awesome resume! -- but in the book you report struggling against the perception of you as an outsider because of being a black woman in largely white, male corporate world.
Anyone can be seen as an outsider for many reasons. For women in the corporate world, there are still great obstacles of perception. Certainly for black women the situation is even more challenging.

Women have to learn to count on their own talent, and call upon their intuitive skills to know what battles to fight -- and how to fight them!

Yes! I’ve struggled against other’s perception of me, and I’ve been an outsider. For example, in the chapter titled “Can You Hear Me Now”, I talk about my ideas being poached in the corporate environment and how I learned to navigate the power structure, eventually finding myself as an entrepreneur.
You teach young people as an adjunct professor and speak at schools. What’s the main message you want young girls to take away from a keynote speech by Franne McNeal?
My main message to young girls is, “you can achieve long as you know who you really are and are willing to put in the effort to repeatedly revisit your successes and failures with honesty -- and compassion for yourself
In February 2014, The Washington Post reported that none of the 113,000 jobs added last month to the U.S. economy were taken by women. What is Franne McNeal’s message to the underemployed and unemployed women in this country?
My message to underemployed and unemployed women, is that it’s time for women at all levels to develop the confidence to strike out as entrepreneurs. And building that kind of entrepreneurial confidence is precisely what Significant! is all about.
What’s next for Franne McNeal?
My next steps include 5 key actions:
- publishing this book, Significant!, in Spanish and French
- expanding my work as an expert panelist
- promoting the book
- keynote speaking
- and starting a non-profit organization based on Significant!
In your media kit you indicated that you have print and online publications across the globe. How did that happen?
I was fortunate to receive global press, due to my early involvement as the lead facilitator in 2013 with LeanIn NYC lead to an article published by AP journalist Jocelyn Noveck.
Published 2014-03-12.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Significant! From Frustrated To Franne-tastic. Inspirational Stories For The Entrepreneurial Woman.
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 25,330. Language: American English. Published: October 25, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Careers, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Women in business
Significant! From Frustrated to Franne-tastic. Author and serial entrepreneur Franne McNeal, MBA uses the power of storytelling to help women “Step Up to Significance” by increasing their commitment to get going, embrace opportunity, find support, accept love and be significant! Includes well-known fables, stories from her own life, sharp insights, and workbook-style questions.