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Leadership
Business Observer Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021 2 months ago

Sisters build leadership brand on bravery — and mountain climbs

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Candice and Lauren Henry share leadership wisdom and counsel that runs counter to their youthful exuberance.
by: Mark Gordon Managing Editor

On a recent trip to Italy, the Henry sisters, Candice and Lauren, were so mesmerized by the picturesque scenery on a hike over Lake Como they almost got lost.  

They found their bearings about halfway up a small mountain. Then the duo faced a choice: they could walk back down to the hotel they were staying at or they could keep on climbing. Going back was the more reasonable choice, given they were in a foreign country and dressed in resort attire, down to the flip-flops. One was in a muumuu.

Yet the sisters kept going. They eventually made it to the top — where they say they saw some of the most amazing views of any trip they’ve ever been on. “It’s a good example of something where, if allow yourself to take the unexpected turns, then those can become the best memories,” says Lauren Henry.

That Italian mountain climb is also a good metaphor for the leadership-driven, entrepreneurial business the sisters have created and built together in Sarasota. Under the brand name Aretios, the Henry sisters offer a suite of leadership services. (Aretios stems for the Greek word arete, which Lauren and Candice say denotes bravery, excellence and the act of living up to one’s potential.)

The list of services includes a leadership-centric newsletter, podcasts, social media and video content; leadership seminars and courses for nonprofits and for-profit businesses; teaching personal and professional leadership classes at Southeastern University, a Christian-based liberal arts college in Lakeland; and a goal-setting journaling guidebook called The Daily. And in early November, the sisters launched a three-part virtual series they dubbed the Best Life Blueprint Workshop.   

The mountain metaphor also fits because both Candice, 30 and Lauren, 26, have taken on some outsized goals that belie their youth. Most leadership coaches and consultants come to the field with years of experience, usually running businesses of their own first. But the Henry sisters began taking on leadership roles at a young age. It started with an international leadership training program their parents enrolled them in when they were in elementary school, growing up in Sarasota. 

Now they now seek to impart their leadership wisdom to others, focused, to a large degree, on the kinds of steps it takes to climb a mountain. Steps like clearly defined goals, maintaining a positive attitude and mindset and taking the time to celebrate small, and big, victories. The sisters do all this with a secondary passion for travel and adventure, they say, which drives a lot of their decisions, in their business and in life.  

Mark Wemple. Candice Henry and Lauren Henry, taken at Florida Suncoast Helicopters in Sarasota.

While the sisters have multiple leadership portals, they also seek to teach people, especially those in the Gen Z and millennial generations, that top-notch leadership doesn’t have to be complicated. “Our goal,” with Aretios, says Candice Henry, “is to make everything simple and easy. We want to simplify your life.”

Attitude of gratitude

Out of the bevy of leadership tools and techniques the Henry sisters have in their business, The Daily is one of the most tangible for a leader of any age or career level. It’s based on four principles:

• Gratitude: The book’s journal section starts with a page where someone can write down three things they are grateful for every morning. “You can’t be stressful and grateful at the same time,” says Lauren Henry. “Instead of saying ‘I have to do this, you could say I get to do this.”

• Goals: The sisters say not only should goals be written — “you have to be able to visualize them,” says Candice Henry — but also be written with an accomplished-reality tint. “Instead of saying ‘I want, I plan or I hope,” they write, “’we write our goals as if we already achieved them. For example, I am thrilled to be a New York Times Bestselling Author…’”

Mark Gordon

Affirmation: “The way in which we talk to ourselves matters,” write the sisters. “Choose qualities that would describe your best or ideal self.” The Daily has space for five affirmations — “five things I’m becoming.” In a wide-ranging conversation about their careers and future plans, both sisters say personal affirmation is key to being a better leader because starts internally. “We live in such a fast pace world,” says Candice Henry. “People don’t really take the time to focus on what they did or accomplished.”

Reflection: This is a play off the ‘what gets measured gets done’ axiom. For the Henry sisters, reflection, in The Daily, is a chance to “pause and reflect at the end of the day and record what you’ve learned.” Or, says Candice Henry: “You have to continually look for a better way to be the person you want to be.”

Be intentional

The Henry sisters — no surprise given their proclivity for goals and reflection — have some ambitious plans with Aretios. They hope to one day expand to host leadership conferences and experience-based events, for example. A longer-term goal is to connect their business to their nonprofit passions — helping build schools and clean water systems in developing countries.

Courtesy. Candice Henry, right, says she and her sister Lauren Henry's goal "with Aretios is to make everything simple and easy. We want to simplify your life.”

A significant portion of the sisters’ focus and goals stem from the leadership classes they took when they were kids, run by internationally known motivational speaker Skip Ross. A longtime high-ranking Amway sales executive, Ross also ran a ministry/camp for teens and was an important leadership mentor for the sisters as they grew up. Among the key lessons they learned from Ross? One is it’s possible to do many things well, and that with faith and persistence, “you can change the world,” the sisters write in an email.

Another lesson is essential for any leader: control what you can control and don’t stress about what you can’t. “Skip taught us that our attitude and our input are our choice,” they write, “and these two things can dramatically impact the way we think, feel and act, and the kind of life we live.”

Lauren Henry, as she grew up, went to college and began working, often wondered why more young people she encountered in weren’t learning these leadership techniques and lessons. That led to many entrepreneurial-minded conversations with her older sister. And that eventually led to Aretios, where their passion to build better leaders remains the driving force. “We want people to not just learn buzzwords,” says Candice Henry, “but utilize these concepts.”

 

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