June 4, 2024

Whitney Toates: Building a Business Club

Episode 33
“In business, it can be pretty lonely. Having those people around the table to share challenges and get ideas is key.”

Whitney Toates: Building a Business Club

Episode 33

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"You're going to come across folks who are going to maybe have doubts, but it's not because they doubt you. There's always a fear for people, and they just don't want to see somebody fail."

In this episode of the She Lift Project podcast, host Cynthia Kirkpatrick sits down with Whitney Toates, a dynamic businesswoman who relocated to St. Louis and successfully established a chapter of the ACA Business Club. Whitney shares her inspiring journey of building a thriving business community amidst personal and professional challenges. From her extensive background in sales and marketing to the unique networking culture of St. Louis, Whitney offers invaluable insights on entrepreneurship, relationship-building, and overcoming adversity.

Listeners will learn about the transformative power of the ACA Business Club, a private, invitation-only organization focused on fostering meaningful relationships, professional development, and marketing strategies. Whitney’s story includes navigating a major career pivot, the birth of her daughter Bishop, and the unwavering support of her business community during difficult times.

Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, a seasoned business owner, or simply looking for motivation, this episode is packed with practical advice, heartfelt stories, and lessons on the importance of community and resilience in the business world. Tune in to discover how Whitney’s faith, determination, and the power of connections helped her and her members achieve remarkable success.

Guest Contact Information

Whitney Toates

Owner & CEO
ACA Business Club

Links from the Episode

Show Notes

00:00 – Introduction
Host Cynthia Kirkpatrick introduces the podcast and today’s guest, Whitney Toates. Whitney moved to St. Louis, started a business club, and built success amidst challenges.

01:19 – Guest Introduction
Whitney shares her background in sales and marketing, her journey as a business owner, and balancing professional life with family responsibilities.

02:38 – What is a Business Club?
Whitney explains the ACA Business Club, a private business club focused on relationships, professional development, and marketing strategies. She highlights its invitation-only policy and physical clubhouse in Chesterfield, St. Louis.

04:41 – Benefits of a Physical Location
Discussion on how having a dedicated space for the club benefits members, offering a professional and intimate environment for business meetings and networking.

06:13 – ACA Business Club Origins
The origins of the ACA Business Club in Kansas City, its transition from the Kansas City Club, and its expansion vision.

08:16 – Whitney’s Career Path
Whitney recounts her career shift from software sales to digital marketing and meeting her husband, Philip, at a career event.

09:23 – Transition to Digital Marketing
The significance of digital marketing in 2014, and how Whitney transitioned into this field, leading to her first outside sales role.

10:38 – Personal and Professional Journey
Whitney discusses her evolving career in digital marketing, moving to St. Louis, and the challenges of starting fresh in a new city.

15:40 – Moving to St. Louis
Whitney details her move to St. Louis, continuing her digital marketing work remotely, and the initial struggles of networking in a new city.

21:44 – Networking Challenges in St. Louis
Cynthia and Whitney talk about the unique networking culture in St. Louis and strategies Whitney used to build connections.

25:01 – Building a Community
Whitney’s journey in building her own community in St. Louis, praying for guidance, and the pivotal decision to start an ACA Business Club chapter.

29:52 – Starting the Breakfast Group
Whitney’s initial efforts to create a breakfast networking group in Eureka as a foundation for the ACA Business Club.

31:29 – Overcoming Doubts and Challenges
Whitney’s determination to pursue her vision despite doubts and negative feedback from others, driven by her faith and sense of purpose.

35:09 – Entrepreneurial Spirit
Whitney’s entrepreneurial background, from photography to sales and marketing, and how it shaped her business journey.

37:11 – Addressing Business Challenges
How the ACA Business Club supports business owners in various areas, from hiring and sales to scaling and professional development.

40:29 – Types of Members
Description of typical ACA Business Club members, including various industries and professions, focusing on those open to learning and growth.

44:41 – Transformative Stories
Whitney shares personal and professional success stories, including her own experience during pregnancy and the birth of her daughter, Bishop.

50:29 – Purchasing the Club Space
Whitney’s journey to purchase a commercial property for the ACA Business Club, overcoming financial and logistical hurdles.

55:49 – Early Birth of Daughter
The emotional story of Whitney’s daughter’s early birth, the challenges faced, and the support received from the ACA community.

01:02:51 – Community Support
The crucial role of the ACA community in supporting Whitney during her daughter’s NICU stay and maintaining the club’s operations.

01:07:08 – Professional Success Stories
Highlighting success stories of ACA members who transformed their businesses and achieved significant milestones through the club’s support.

01:11:00 – Leveling Up Together
The mutual growth and support within the ACA Business Club, fostering an environment where members can thrive together.

01:11:38 – How to Connect
Whitney shares contact information for those interested in learning more about the ACA Business Club.

01:12:00 – Closing Remarks
Cynthia wraps up the podcast, expressing gratitude for Whitney’s openness and sharing valuable insights for listeners.

Content Notice

This podcast and all She Lift Project content represents the opinions of Cynthia Kirkpatrick and her guests. The content here is for informational purposes only, and should not be taken as professional advice – financial, legal, medical, or otherwise.

Views and opinions expressed in the podcast and across all She Lift Project media channels are our own and do not represent that of our places of work. While we make every effort to ensure that the information we are sharing is accurate, we welcome any comments, suggestions, or correction of errors.

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Nicki Ball – The Power of Pivots

Whitney Toates: Building a Business Club

Kristin Thompson: Juggling Fertility & Finance

Headshot of Debbie Champion

Debbie Champion: The Jury Whisperer

Cathy L. Davis: Somebody Needs to Hear Your Story

Katherine Flett: Don’t Be a Jerk

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Nicki Ball – The Power of Pivots

“Advocacy is so important. I learned early on to speak up for myself, whether it was about workplace fairness or understanding my healthcare needs. It’s a skill that everyone should develop.”

Kristin Thompson: Juggling Fertility & Finance

I have always been fearless enough to try new things. And the more you try, the more you fail, and the more you learn. And so I think for women, one, I think sometimes when something’s hard, they get talked out of it more than a man. So that’s a gaining knowledge experience you’re missing out on. Or, two, we sometimes get questioned too much out of trying something new. Are you sure? Are you sure? And then we say, well, maybe I’m not sure.

Headshot of Debbie Champion

Debbie Champion: The Jury Whisperer

I always ask myself, when the jury goes out, is there anything I would have done differently if I could have? And sometimes the answer is yes. And you think about what you would have done differently. And I always take notes while the jury’s out as to what I wish I had changed, because when the jury comes back, and if they win, if you win, you don’t want to change anything. And so you don’t learn from that. And so I try to do that while the jury’s out.

Cathy L. Davis: Somebody Needs to Hear Your Story

Especially since COVID I’ve noticed that there are two things that people need. So if someone’s out there buying a book, they’re going to buy it, one, because they’re looking for hope, or two, they’re looking for community.

Katherine Flett: Don’t Be a Jerk

I have a three year old, Nora, and I was going to court that morning, and I was in my full suit and walking out, and she said, mama, you look like a superhero. And it was just, like, the best thing to hear. Because I’m like, “Yes, little girl, I hope you always see a woman in a suit and think that’s a superhero.”

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