We had the good fortune of connecting with Savanna Flakes and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Savanna, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
As business owners quickly learn, success is the sum of super intentional steps towards a goal and the resilience to learn from failures that will arise while maneuvering through those steps. At the start of my entrepreneurial journey, I was advised to say, “Yes” to every client, job, and request. This was well-intended and terrible advice. Can we do everything? Maybe. Is it wise to try to do everything, Probably Not. We can not do it all. Quality of life, relationships, and emotional priorities take a disastrous toil when our business model doesn’t prioritize a work/ life balance. Reading Greg McKeown’s book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” which features practical tips on how to discern what’s most important and eliminate the trivial was a defining turning point for me. I embraced the beauty of “No/Not Yet,” asking clients if there is flexibility in timelines (60% of the time there is flexibility in service and deliverable due dates), contracting out services that don’t align with my business mission, and referring clients to other companies that can better support them. This philosophy, closely linked with minimalism has supported me in serving more organizations successfully and simultaneously prioritizing my spiritual work and emotional self-care. Thus, answering these 2 important questions, “What is most essential to me as a business owner? and, “How I can be my best to serve my clients in the best way?” has contributed to my success.

Note: 5 minute overview of Greg McKeown’s book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” is on youtube (https://youtu.be/T9x6D09AKBU) .

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Business Owner/ Designer of Learning Opportunities

One of my favorite quotes is, ” Use ‘accept’ more often that ‘except,’ and you are one step closer to establishing an all-inclusive society.” By Riddhi Joshi

This is my company’s vison: Inclusion For a Better Future. We are dedicated to creating sustainable learning opportunities on inclusion, equity, and social emotional learning for organizations, school districts, and non-profits that serve children. We design and customize meaningful and interactive learning experiences based on each client’s needs and intended outcomes.

I started my career as a “Nation Builder”, aka a teacher. After teaching and working with parents of children with disabilities for ten years, I noticed an important need to empower schools, organizations, and communities with inclusive practices to reach ALL learners (students with disabilities, at-risk students, children of color, and English Language learners). Thus, I started an education consultation company dedicated to supporting school communities learn and utilize effective instructional and inclusive practices to successfully include ALL students. In just five years, I’ve been able to provide affordable and meaningful professional development sessions, teacher coaching, and planning services for school improvement plans and response to intervention systems for dozens of school communities around the world. Since the creation of Inclusion for a Better Future, I’ve consulted with school communities, non-profits, national conferences, think-tanks, Department of Juvenile Justice systems, impacting over 130,000 teachers and at least 1,750,000 students’ lives.

One of the most salient aspects of our brand is “servant leadership.” We serve to lead through the entire process, from onboarding, consultation, delivery of services, and debrief. We thoughtfully include all stakeholders in the process, intentionally create a space for belonging, deliberately ensure equity of voice and the value of everyone’s contributions in creating a remarkable learning experience that will touch the heart in addition the mind.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Fun question! My backyard has some of the most serene and peaceful views of soy and corn fields. We would start there. Two chairs with a view and lots of tacos from the staple Ohio Brewdog Brewhouse on deck. Relaxing and getting lost in great conversation, nowhere to be, but there in that moment, enjoying each other’s company. No thrills but lots of stillness. No itinerary necessary because when you come to the country, your itinerary reads “chill.” Some of the most fun and interesting spots in Ohio include vineyards, epic corn maizes, and local farmers markets that are stocked with everything under the sun. Ask us about our Ohio buckeye chocolates!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to my husband- Jason Flakes! Iron sharpens iron, and that is exactly what we do as a business owning couple. Jason owns Visual14, a multimedia production company, providing videography and photography services. We are quick to share new research, books, & podcast that can help us each advance in our specific business practices. One of my favorite professional growth experiences as a couple was when we engaged in a book study on Tim Ferris’ -The 4-hour workweek.

Website: readingforabetterfuture.com /savannaflakes.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/savannaflakes

Twitter: @SavannaFlakes

Facebook: Inclusion For a Better Future

Youtube: Savanna Flakes

Image Credits
Jason Flakes

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