As a part of my series about “Heroes Of The Addiction Crisis” I had the pleasure of interviewing Gloria Ward.

Gloria Ward is an Entrepreneur, Revenue Strategist, Author, and New Thought Leader who has been at the forefront of helping women and women business owners learn, grow and profit. She’s the revenue strategist that small businesses turn to for guidance. For more than 12 years, clients have enjoyed the confidence, humor, and relatable step-by-step strategies of her business advice and tactics. Her Company The L.E.A.P. Group LLC is a personal development and business education company that inspires and empowers women to win the game of life and build a million dollar business from scratch.

Gloria is a software engineer by trade. Receiving her bachelors and masters in Computer Science from Clark- Atlanta University, Gloria caught the entrepreneur bug and started a small IT firm where she started out building and fixing college students’ computers and went on to managing and designing computer networks and software for fortune 100 companies.

With the success of her IT firm, she found herself in the late 2000’s delving into digital marketing and social media. She found a business mentor who took her under his wing and went on to produce E-books, and digital courses that generated over one million dollars in revenue.

It was Gloria’s passion for business and down to earth approach that has made her the most sought out female entrepreneur of her era. Gloria is a big lover of music and lives in Atlanta Georgia, where she’s is a mom of two four-legged creatures.

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Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit of your backstory?

I was born in New York City in the Bronx. I’m the middle child of 6 and raised by my Grandmother.

Is there a particular story or incident that inspired you to get involved in your work with opioid and drug addiction?

Yes. My mother was an addict. She was addicted to drugs for years. I remember when her friends would come over she would go in the room with them and close the door and come out much different.

Can you describe how your work is making an impact battling this epidemic?

The I’m Loving Me Project is inspiring women all around the world to love themselves. We believe that if we can change the thinking of a woman and allow her to tap into her worth and increase her self-esteem, finding something outside herself to ease her troubles i.e. drugs would not be an option.

Wow! Without sharing real names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by your initiative?

Many of our women have been inspired and impacted. They partner with us to share their stories to help transform the lives of other women in our social community.

Can you share something about your work makes you most proud? Is there a particular story or incident that you found most uplifting?

What makes me proud is when a woman decides that enough is enough. She wants to start the journey to self-heal. They call and say Gloria, I’m ready to share, I’m ready to take that step to change. One woman flew from Louisiana to Atlanta share her story. After a long battle with abuse, she decided that she was ready to speak out and encourage other women to do the same.

I know that this is not easy work. What keeps you going?

Seeing the look on the women’s faces when they become aware of the deep rooted issue that lead them to their currently reality and how it’s affected their lives for so long. The relief they feel when they know it’s not their fault and it’s never to late to walk a new path.

Do you have hope that one day this leading cause of death can be defeated?

For sure. I believe when a person loves themselves, they make better choices. When their self esteem is higher, they care more about what they put in their bodies.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leadership to me is defined by setting a good example for the people that are following you and coming behind you. My motto is “Practice what you preach, Don’t say one thing and do another, and never, ever, give up.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

It’s going to take more than just passion- I thought my passion for personal development and women was enough to propel me to success. Boy was I wrong. Not only do you need passion but you also need the discipline and the consistency to generate the results to move forward in your goals.

You can’t achieve a big goal by yourself- If you want to be successful you have to build a team. You can’t achieve a big goal by yourself. You don’t have the time to learn the skills. You need to build a team to help you get to your goal. Even if you think you can’t afford to hire someone, find a way. It’s the true key to your success.

Everyone is not going to be happy for you- The people who you think would be happy for you are the ones who gives you the most criticism and try to convince you to give up in tough times. Those people are usually your friends and family. If you have a dream you have to protect it and share it with like minded people.
There’s always going to be uncertainty- Whenever you’re embarking on your dream or purpose there’s always going to be uncertainty. There’s always going to be fear. The difference between those who quit and those who make it are the ones who push through despite the fear and uncertainty.

Never throw in the towel, find a way to adjust- We write plans because they help guide us to achieve our objectives. Plans can always change and you can always adjust. If you’re passionate about something and it’s not working out, find another way, write a new plan. Continue to do it until you get a breakthrough.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Right now I believe I’m doing that with my I’m Loving Me Project. We are inspiring women around the world to love themselves. I believe if I can give a woman the tools and strategies to increase her self worth, I can heal a family, relationship, and community.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You can’t be who you’re going to be and who you use to be at the same time.” I love this quote because it reminds me to stay focused. I had to make many changes in my life and when I feel I want to go back to my old ways, I’m reminded of that quote and it helps me make better choices.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them.

🙂 Oprah Winfrey. The work she’s done with women and how she has impact the world is beyond amazing. I would love to pick her brain and listen to her share stories of how she was able to impact so many lives through the years.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

@imlovingmeproject on instagram. The I’m Loving Me Project on Facebook.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!