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Ripping off the Band-Aid

Ripping Off the Band-Aid

Photos of Amanda Banks and Karla Nelson | Logo for The People Catalysts | Title: "Ripping off the Band-Aid with Amanda Banks"

How a tornado, COVID 19, and a passion helped transition a former gymnast turned Sales Leader into a successful entrepreneur.

Amanda Banks is the Co-Founder and CEO of DeBanks, LLC, homeschooling Mommapreneur, Enterprise Sales Leader, Partner: Season 2 – 4 Days to Save the World (TV Show), Strategic Partnerships Creator, and Joy Enthusiast. She believes every conversation is an opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of others, toxicity has no place in business, and transparency is always the best policy. Amanda is an innovative thought leader with a record of success in sales, healthcare, technology, and creating strategic partnerships. She strives to make every single discussion packed full of value and better than any other business conversation you’ve ever had.

LinkedIn: DeBanks, LLC

Listen to the podcast here:

Read Along as Karla and Amanda discuss Ripping off the Band-Aid

Karla Nelson:  And welcome to the People Catalyst Podcast, Amanda Banks.

Amanda Banks:  Hi, Karla, thanks for having me.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, it’s great. Way over, we’ve known each other for way too long for you not to be on the podcast, and your background, and your story, and your entrepreneurial journey. So, share with us a little bit about that journey, which is pretty cool.

Amanda Banks:  Yeah. So, my background, I was a high-level competitive gymnast. So, as a kid, I was passionate about gymnastics and really just performed at a really high level. So, when I transitioned into being out of sports into the real world, I started in healthcare. I helped doctors deliver babies, so I was a surgical technologist and I worked in the hospital for several years. And my dreams of being a doctor became very apparent that that was not the path that I needed to take. So, when I got pregnant with my daughter, I got really sick with her and my husband and I, I had to stay at home, so decided that healthcare was not the place for me at the time.

And so, I had my daughter, I stayed at home with her for a little while, and then I just got a little bit bored. I needed a project to work on. I needed something else aside from just being a stay-at-home-mom. And so, I partnered with the company that uniforms Olympic gymnastics teams. And so, for years, I helped gyms and teams, I helped them design and implement their apparel. I helped them build their pro shops.

Karla Nelson:  Which is a big deal. I mean, come on, look at that. Gymnastics, you’re always looking at, “Oh, wow, they have really cool outfits,” or “They’re coordinated.” It’s a thing, for sure.

Amanda Banks:  Well, my biggest stress was how many Swarovski crystals can I fit on a leotard? That was my biggest stress. And so, I absolutely loved doing that. And I did it for quite some time, and built up a really great small business, and learned a lot of very valuable skills around business, and how do you grow a business. Unfortunately, there was some leadership changes and they took on inside sales reps, and so some territory stuff was a little bit shifted. So, what I did is I took my healthcare background, and I took my business acumen, and I went and worked for a company, Southwestern Communications, where I helped hospitals and health systems design and implement their clinical communication systems.

So, I grew through the ranks in that organization, and eventually got into enterprise sales, and really loved helping these hospitals and health systems implement their clinical communication systems. So, did that for a while, moved into analytics and sold and ran a strategic, helped build out a strategic partnership program for an analytics company here local, which I had the opportunity to work with such amazing people. And they gave me the courage and support to shift into entrepreneurship, which is something that I’ve done earlier this year, which is a really exciting journey for us.

Karla Nelson:  That’s awesome. Oh, and I love the support in regards to entrepreneurship. So, you got to share a little bit about that, because I think that is such a huge area where you can shift. When you have a community and people are, and you’re reaching out. And more ever today, with platforms like Clubhouse and platforms that are sharing data and information, and all of that stuff. So, share a little bit about what that looked like for you.

Amanda Banks:  Well, they were launching a new product. They were shifting from a services-based business to a SAS-based company, and so, it was a very startup-y type feel, even though that it was an established business. And the leadership, they led with so much joy, so much support. They really encouraged everybody, if you had something that you were interested in and you wanted to dive into, they gave you the opportunity to do so. And so, everybody had this really unique opportunity to just bring their best selves and their creative backgrounds, and really work in such a dynamic environment. And so, it was much different than, I worked in a hospital. I worked in a larger organization.

Karla Nelson:  I can’t believe how many things you’ve done, sister.

Amanda Banks:  Well, that’s me. I love having my hands in a lot of different things and having the opportunity to experience and learn.

Karla Nelson:  And with that, share a little bit about, I know with your background, and what also helped launch you was the fact that you were trying to have a full-time job, homeschool kids, business, and so many things. And then all of a sudden you’re like, “Hey, I got to get some focus.” So, share with everybody about that, because I think that’s really important, especially because, and for me too, sometimes I just get so many things going, it’s the law of open cycles.

Amanda Banks:  Yeah. We’ve got to close the cycles. And I was pushed into entrepreneurship. I knew that at some point that that was going to be my path, and I needed to develop all these different skills and learn from all these different people and companies throughout my journey. But in March of 2020, my daughter’s school got hit by a tornado. So, it completely flattened the elementary school wings. So, before we even had the ability to, or even before we went into the whole COVID thing, we were at home, we were remote. And so, at the time, I was working full time. I was doing the online learning curriculum piece for her, and it was a challenge. We made it through that school year. We were remote, we made it through that school year, and then we moved into COVID.

And so, I juggled trying to be a full-time employee, as well as having my child at home, and focusing my energy and effort on helping her thrive in the environment that was a little bit of a crazy, crazy place because of the world at the time. And so, we made it work, but then August rolls around. And so, they moved the kids over to a church, and it was a great place, but for her, it wasn’t ideal. She felt the energy. She knew that this was not right, and it was not the experience that she was used to. And so, on a whim, we pulled her out to home school her. We didn’t know what we were doing. We had no idea what we were doing, but I just knew in my heart that the best thing for my child was to pull her out.

And so, we did. We made that decision quickly. But through that, I created a curriculum for her. I was trying to home school her, trying to give her the energy that she deserved to thrive and finish out her school year. But also I was in the process of working full time, which then I dropped down to part-time, and I was trying to start a company all in that process. And we just decided, my husband and I just decided, you know what? This is God’s way of saying, it’s time. You need to show our daughter that you can do it, that if that’s the path that she wants to take, that she can do it too.

Karla Nelson:  That’s awesome. So, share a little bit, because I love your business. There’s so many different ways that people say, “Oh, I started my business because of this, and this was my background,” but I love the fact that you’re like, “Oh, we just find projects we’re passionate about and jump on them.” So, share, because that is really cool. Because you talk about passion. I think people think, “What am I really passionate about?” And it’s a question that gets, I think, internally asked. But just externally, everyone talks about it like, “Oh, yeah, follow your passion,” but I think that your business model is pretty cool.

Amanda Banks:  Yeah. And we’re still trying to refine it. We just really launched the company in January. So, DeBanks essentially partners with individuals, companies, and communities to one, help them connect to needed resources. Two, help them execute special projects, and three, essentially help them grow. So, my background is healthcare and enterprise sales and technology. My business partner’s background is, she’s an economist, so she’s got workforce development and all these cool things that she’s done. And so, when we started the company, we didn’t want to just box ourselves into one area or another. And so, through strategic partnerships, we have access to technology now, so we can partner with companies to help them source technology platforms. We’re working on some other special projects. We just had an event last week that was amazing. So, really, the vision with the business is to just partner with other companies and people to help do some amazing things in this world, and to make an impact.

Karla Nelson:  I love that. So, and you stated a little bit about your husband. So, share a little bit about that dynamic in regards to both leaving your jobs, or one working and then, because I think there’s a dynamic there that happens quite frequently, especially when you’ve got two individuals that are entrepreneurial.

Amanda Banks:  Yeah. So, my husband is at home. He’s not entrepreneurial at all. He is very, he’s an IT Project Manager. He’s very happy with the company that he works for, very routine and very structured. And he thrives in that environment, which is amazing because it gives me the flexibility and freedom to do these things, the things that may seem a little bit crazy or a little bit different, and to really pursue-

Karla Nelson:  Or that take a little bit to build. You know what I mean? Takes a little bit of time to build it. And that’s very cool because I think that’s a lot of entrepreneurial stories, in regards to having one spouse that is structured and one that is, got 20 projects going on, and trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. And as soon as they do, I mean, even think of your story. It was like, “Oh, a surgical nurse. Worked and help build a company. Oh, and now I’m going to build my own.” I mean, and what are you, 25?

Amanda Banks:  I wish. Yeah. No, I just turned 35 last Friday, and we’ve really made this decision, ultimately, Karla, because I wanted to show my daughter, she’s 11. I wanted to show her, she’s got an entrepreneurial spirit. And I think that kids, if they can just lean into that, there’s so many amazing things that they can do in this world.

Karla Nelson:  And we need them to lean into it. We need that. I mean, it’s going to make the world a better place. That’s how all new inventions come, just curiosity, and then wanting to follow that curiosity.

Amanda Banks:  Yeah. And she helped me a lot, and I helped her a lot. And so, we took a little bit of a different approach this year from homeschooling. We did educate her using all the traditional forms of education that are required, but we also included her in things like sales demos, and putting together financial paperwork, and actually launching the business.

Karla Nelson:  Awesome.

Amanda Banks:  So, she got exposed to a lot of different things that, quite frankly, they just don’t get exposed to. And as, she’s so creative. And so, she actually was like, “Mom, this is what we need to do here,” or “Mom, think about this,” or “Mom, here’s a name that you could use.” And it gave me the motivation to keep moving forward, and the inspiration that I’m making an impact in her life. And ultimately, she’s making an impact in what I’m doing in my life as well. And so, if we just continue to use that energy, then we can both help each other through this crazy process.

Karla Nelson:  That’s super cool. I love that. Oh, my gosh. Okay. So, the next thing you need to do is to build a kid’s entrepreneurial course for home schools, because that makes a lot of sense. I mean.

Amanda Banks:  Yeah. I mean, that’s a special project, so let’s partner on it, Karla. That’s the thing that we’re looking for.

Karla Nelson:  Actually, that’s a great idea.

Amanda Banks:  Is, we were passionate or inspired by a lot of different things. And I think that, especially people that, I’m a shaker mover-

Karla Nelson:  There you go, shaker, mover.

Amanda Banks:  So, I have a lot of incredible ideas.

Karla Nelson:  And I’m a Mover-Shaker, so that’s why your ideas, I’m just picking up what you’re putting down, just saying.

Amanda Banks:  Well, it’s ideas. And it’s just like, having people to partner with, my business partner’s the execution piece. I have the ideas, she executes. And I think, when you think about business dynamics and partnerships, specifically-

Karla Nelson:  Well, and we need everybody, we just need you at different times in different part of the work. And when you can separate it to the part that you’re really great at, it’s amazing how much you can get accomplished in a very short period of time. And that, Amanda, brings us to one of the misnomers, I think, of business, is the fact that you need to start it and finish it. No, you actually, they’re in partnerships in regards to that, because people are like, “Yeah, but I don’t have a whole bunch of employees.” It’s like, “Well, you don’t have to, because you can partner with other individuals that are different than you.”

Amanda Banks:  Yep.

Karla Nelson:  And you don’t have to come up with all the ideas. Pick the best ideas, set of ideas, poke all the holes into it and do the day-to-day mundane stuff that needs to get done. You can actually partner with other people that are good at that part of the work.

Amanda Banks:  Well, and creating a fair exchange. That’s part of the challenge, is trying to find a way to create a fair exchange.

Karla Nelson:  Well, because fair is almost never equal.

Amanda Banks:  Do what?

Karla Nelson:  Fair is almost never equal. That’s why it’s hard.

Amanda Banks:  Yeah. I mean, but creating this partnership aspect where everybody wins.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah.

Amanda Banks:  So, when we look at projects or we look at partners, our focus is, does everybody win? And if not, then that’s not the right partnership that we need to go towards. We don’t have all the answers. We just started this company. We’re building from nothing, but we are making progress and it’s really exciting to meet the people that are coming on board, and the people that are giving us opportunities. They see the value in what we’re doing, even though it’s not a traditional method of partnership, if that makes sense. It’s a little different.

Karla Nelson:  You know what? It’s really unique. And I really love the fact that you go, “What am I passionate about, though?” Because when you know your why, you’ll endure any how. And so, when you’ve got that passion associated with a project or a project getting done, I mean, that makes a lot of sense to go, “Hey, well, I really, really think that that’s a worthwhile project.” It’s amazing how our hows just completely get obliterated when we know the why. It’s like, why this is important, why this project is important, why this business needs to succeed. So, that is super cool.

Amanda Banks:  Well, and we’re constantly figuring it out, and the refining of the why. And depending upon who we’re partnering with, the why may be a little bit different. The partnership might be a little bit different. The structure may be a little bit different. I had this unique opportunity, Karla, a couple of weeks ago to partner on Four Days to Save the World, which is a TV show. And what they do is they put a bunch of CEOs and entrepreneurs into groups, and they give you a global business problem to solve in four days. And the really interesting dynamic there is that everybody’s title is stripped out, and you’re there to solve a problem. And so, watching the dynamic, the opportunity for me was to learn as a new entrepreneur. Some of these people have been entrepreneurs and successful global entrepreneurs for years, but watching that dynamic shift, it didn’t matter whose title was what. It mattered, how do we get this work done and who needs to fit the roles to actually execute the work? And it was the coolest dynamic.

Karla Nelson:  Well, I cannot wait to see that come out. I’ve actually, I think I watched a little bit of season one, and I’ve actually met one of the executives that picks the different entrepreneurs as well. So, cannot wait to see that, Amanda. And how can our watchers and listeners get a hold of you to hear more about what it is you’re up to?

Amanda Banks:  Yes. So, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. We have a business page, DeBanks. I’m in the process of building out our website, which is not quite finished yet. So, I always welcome people reaching out to me via LinkedIn, and that’s the best way to get a hold of me at this time.

Karla Nelson:  Awesome. Amanda, thank you so much for joining us today. You have just an amazing entrepreneurial story. I love it. I love it. And there’s so many people out there probably thinking, should I do it or should I not? And you know what? Yes.

Amanda Banks:  Well, I mean, I can’t say that I did it the right way, but the right way for me. We ripped off the Band-Aid and I had to make that transition very quickly because of the situation at home. But ultimately, we made the right decision and it’s been an exciting journey so far, and looking forward to continuing the journey.

Karla Nelson:  Awesome. Thanks so much for being with us today, Amanda.

Amanda Banks:  Thanks, Karla.


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