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Exploring Life & Business with Irina Whitmer of Empowered Brands by Irina

Today we’d like to introduce you to Irina Whitmer.

Hi Irina, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I pivoted and rebranded three times:

– From corporate Russia: In 2005, I got a bachelor’s degree in Psychology of Management at Saint-Petersburg State University (Saint-Petersburg, Russia). I wanted to work with people, and I wanted to be in charge of different processes. Even though I loved business-related topics, back then, I didn’t even think of starting my own business. Going into corporate Russia after graduating from university was kind of a given. First, I worked in a call center. Shortly after, I was promoted to a supervisor of the call center, and I was in charge of conducting interviews, training new employees, preparing and doing weekly tests, creating reports, and dealing with difficult clients. After a while, I got interested in diving deeper into the recruiting process, and so I took a job at a very cool recruiting agency. I loved working with people, and I got a lot of people skills from those two jobs. What I did not love is that after a while, I got bored at each of my jobs. The problem with the corporate job is that it doesn’t give the variety, enough challenge, and the endless growth that I always needed.

– To an English tutor: So I was kind of lost; I didn’t know what to do next. After considering my options, I decided to accept a position of language school administrator. The job came with the bonus of attending evening classes for free, and that’s when I learned and fell in love with the English language. I felt a strong desire to teach others, so after a while, I became a full-time English tutor, and I loved it! I was fully booked with students, yet I (!) was in charge of my schedule and how (!) I was teaching them. I kept practicing English online, and that’s how I met my future husband, who serves in the Navy. Long story short, six years ago we got married, and I moved to America.

– To photography business: When I tell my story, I usually just joke that it didn’t make sense to teach English in America, so I had to reinvent myself again. However, it’s not entirely true. I know English language teachers who are not native speakers who teach in centers for immigrants and make a big difference. But in my case, it turned out that English wasn’t THE plan; it was a part of the plan. I still was very much in love with business and psychology and wanted to work with people. I also wanted to build my own schedule and make my own decisions. Combining that with my love for photography, I started my photography business in America in 2015 (Irina Whitmer Photography), and I did it quite successfully for a while.

– To business coaching and energy healing business: However, it wasn’t enough for me. I needed to use all of my potential and skills to feel that I give as much to the world as I can. I kept being driven to business-related topics just like I was before, ever since I got my degree. Naturally, I started doing brand photography and working with other entrepreneurs and small business owners. Very quickly, it transitioned into a brand strategy and business consulting. I was actively networking, attending business events in our community, and regularly doing public speaking about branding, business, and psychology of marketing. In 2019 I formed Empowered Brands by Irina, LLC. Doing this was the perfect way for me to engage all of my experience and all of my skills. It didn’t stop there, as it is important for me to continuously grow and expand. In 2020 I became a CPC (Certified Professional Coach) through the World Coach Institute. Also, since 2019 I keep getting certified in various aspects of ThetaHealing® technique (six certifications and counting, to be precise). In my work with businesses and individuals, I work a lot on mindset, not only business and branding strategies. I believe that my mission in life is helping other people reach their highest potential. I am so blessed to be able to do just that and stay in alignment with my mission at all times.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
1) Feeling lost at times, not knowing what I’m supposed to do next. 

2) Moving to another country and adapting was very hard. (I learned to be flexible, adapt to changing circumstances and make the best of every situation. The experience of pivoting and rebranding myself helps me guide others through the same process, especially during the crisis)

3) Feeling insecure because of my accent.

Then, I realized that we can always embrace our differences and make them work FOR us instead of against us. Now my cool accent is a part of my branding, and that’s another reason people like working and networking with me. Also, it helps me stand out and be better remembered at business events. Thinking that my accent is an obstacle was just another limiting belief that needed to be released. Since then, I’ve been doing public speaking for more than three years, including paid public speaking. Everybody has beliefs that limit their success. I help my clients discover theirs and expand beyond them.

4) Imposter syndrome. (I’ve learned how to overcome it and now teach my clients to do the same.)

5) Overworking and trying to do too much too fast. (I’ve learned that we don’t have to do everything we think we need to do or what other people tell us that we need to do to achieve XYZ. I now teach my clients how to stay in alignment with what they manifest into their life and business and how to achieve things with EASE without having to overwork).

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Empowered Brands by Irina, LLC?
I’m most proud of my clients and their successes. I’ve been blessed to work with most amazing people whose primary intention is helping others and making a difference. All my clients are heart-centered people who are kind and have honor. They are great professionals whose focus is providing a high-quality service.

I believe the best way to talk about a business is through the words of past clients and, also, local business network leaders. (All the testimonials can be found on Google Maps or Facebook and of course, my website).

“Irina Whitmer helped me learn how to sort through ideas and strategies that would work the best specifically for me instead of trying to do everything. Knowing how to make those decisions for myself and be confident in them helps me focus on what I need to do. I’m able to block out the rest and not feel guilty about it. As a result of our sessions, I am able to make decisions more quickly, so I’m not wasting so much time catering to everything and being overwhelmed. On top of working on clarifying the strategy and creating actionable steps, Irina focuses on mindset work as well, which makes the whole process even more effective.” (Cady Milley, owner of Pegasus Bookkeeping)

“It helped me see the other side of marketing; it was like psychology in marketing. Another thing that gave me clarity and opened up a lot for me was the energy healing. I feel that I got catapulted forward once I understood the vibration that I was in. Teaching that to me was very vital. Now I see things a lot better than I had ever before. Irina comes with so much information, all her professional experience, and also her own personal growth over time and creates a relaxed and inviting kind of learning.” (Kathleen Stark, intuitive coach)

“Of extreme value to me was the implementation of systems that I can use in my business going forward. My biggest shift is the realization and acceptance that everything is a process. Do the little things day in and day out, and the odds of success shift in your favor.” (Michael Coombs, owner of Flawless Bookkeeping Services)

“The most valuable part of the sessions was that Irina brought different views and ideas and options – things I had not even thought of. She followed up with me weekly to make sure that progress and changes were being implemented so that I could be successful. Her services were well worth the price. She opened my eyes and changed my way of thinking.” (Susan McClare, owner of Healing Wellness Massage)

“Irina is a heart-centered woman focused on improving the lives of entrepreneurs. She spoke last year to over 60 women at our Rockstar Real Estate Retreat about branding and it was awesome. I personally took away a strategy that has helped me focus my messaging on social media and made it much easier to post regular content. Thank you Irina for your commitment to help us improve and get better.” (Erin Lewis, owner of Goosehead Insurance – Lewis Agency and founder of The Dream Queen Association)

“I was SO impressed. And so surprised, as well, to find out that my obstacles are INSIDE me. I was projecting what I preferred onto my clients and then expecting the worst. Irina helped me turn it around and RAISE my goals during the crisis. Great work, good questions, and good insights!” (Daniel Andrews, community builder of Network In Action Franchise Intl.)

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
TRUST THE JOURNEY. Have faith in the Creator and believe in yourself.

I felt lost many times and didn’t know what I’m supposed to do next. It was important to stay patient and have trust. We are always guided, we receive the signs; all we need to do is be open to notice them and act accordingly.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” (Steve Jobs)

All the dots got connected eventually for me, but before they did, at times, it was uncomfortable. I felt like I was all over the place with what I do, while all I did is gather the skills and experience that are now an essential part of my daily life and service to others!

It makes a huge difference when my clients learn how to trust their journey and intentionally stay in alignment with it to the best and highest.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
The picture from the anniversary celebration taken by professional photographer Natalia Keller. LinkedIn Local Baltimore had a portable photo booth. The headshot was taken by my husband and the rest of the pictures were taken by my friends.

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