Continuous evolution, sharp time management skills and family support have enabled this dynamic woman to balance all the facets of her busy life.
I met April at a Toastmasters meeting years ago and from the moment she spoke, I was intrigued! It is with great pleasure I introduce you to her here.
Holly: What would you call yourself and what you do?
April: April M. Williams. Williams is the third most common surname in the USA so I use my middle initial as a differentiator. I am a wife, mother, speaker, social media marketer and author.
Holly: As owner of Cyber Life Tutors–when did you start your business? and Why? Also, if you feel like replying as a ham radio operator, or journalist that interviews Pearl harbor vets…please incorporate those parts of your life. I think they are fascinating.
April: I started my company CyberLife Tutors in 2008 when I left the corporate world and saw an opportunity to work with businesses in McHenry County. I implement social media and local marketing programs to connect businesses with prospects to increase revenue. As an extension of this work, I teach classes and do presentations on social media related topics.
As a hobby, I blog about places and things I find interesting on my travel blog “Where Are You Today?”. McHenry County and Hawaii are the two main focus areas.
I’ve met and wrote about so many interesting people ranging from Pearl Harbor survivors, a company that uses a hot air balloon to raise money for charities and orbing or riding in a huge human hamster ball.
Holly: I know you are married with grown children. Tell me about how you managed your time and still followed your passions and professional interests.
April: Developing time management skills allowed me to pack in a full schedule. When my children were in grade school, I worked full time including after hours pager support. I also took two college courses year round completing my Bachelors and Masters degree while juggling family and household obligations. Then I earned my PMP project management certification. It was a struggle.
Prioritizing my time was extremely important and watching television was one of the first things to go.
Holly: Has your family been able to acclimate to your professional life?
April: My family, especially my husband Noel, continue to support me. My schedule is more flexible now, allowing me to participate in events I might have missed if I worked at a 9-5 job. I do work some nights and weekends and my family is very understanding.
Holly: How did you get involved with Ham radio?
April: My husband had his amateur radio license when we met. During the first year we were married, he spent a lot of time talking on the air with other hams. I figured, if I can’t beat ‘em, join them. I studied on my own earning my Novice, Technician, General, Advanced then Extra Class license. At the time, Morse code proficiency was required and I could receive code at 25 wpm. The FCC has since dropped the Morse code requirement.
Holly: What critical decisions did you have to make along the way to becoming who you are today? (This can have a several-fold meaning as a professional woman and a woman involved with her family)
April: Three weeks after we met, my then boyfriend learned his employer was relocating the office 1,200 miles away. He was told if you want your job, you have to move. After a long discussion, we decided to get married and moved across the country. Thirty-three years later we are still happily married and best friends.
Attending college as a working adult moved my career forward. It was a challenging time and required sacrifices from me and my family.
Transitioning from corporate employees to entrepreneurs was a leap of faith for both my husband and I. In some ways things are less predictable though my work is more rewarding. I am active with my local Chamber of Commerce and a number of networking groups. Through Toastmasters I have developed my speaking skills, met interesting people and made new friends.
Holly: What are some of the major challenges you face or have faced?
April: Managing multi millions dollar IT projects and implementing new technology is always full of surprises. Today, the world of social media evolves so rapidly I spend time each week educating myself so I can keep up.
Holly: How do you balance your professional and personal life?
April: Since I have great control over my own schedule and workload, I am usually able to maintain balance in my life. There are times when things are tipped more to one side or the other. I consciously prioritize my day to make sure the things most important to me get done.
Holly: What in particular or in general has helped you grow in your avocation to become who you are today compared to when you began?
April: When I was laid off in 2001 during a recession, I thought it would take forever to find a job. As it turned out, a friend gave my resume to a friend who gave it to another friend. Within 4 weeks I started my new job at another Fortune 50 company. I realized networking was powerful and I knew then I wanted to use these tools to help others.
Holly: Do you ever enlist the services of a coach or mentor?
Over the years a number of people have mentored or coached me. I appreciate the time they spent with me and specialized knowledge they shared. This input shaped my career. Often these were just one time conversations that were particularly helpful.
Holly: Do you ever coach or mentor others?
April: Yes. In my work, I coach professionals on social media, professional branding and reputation management. I work with fellow Toastmasters as part of the Leadership program.
Holly: How do you refresh, recharge and stay motivated?
April: I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I love to travel and explore new places. Being near the water is my favorite. Exercising every day invigorates me and clears my head, especially practicing yoga. And there is nothing like curling up with a good book.
Holly: What inspires you?
April: I am inspired by my family and their creativity. Each of them is talented in a different way. Over the past couple of years I met a number of people with amazing stories to tell. I published a collection of these interesting anthologies in a book called “Ignite Your Passion Kindle Your Internal Spark”
Holly: What advice might you have to someone starting out in your profession?
Be prepared to evolve as technology changes. Specific tools are better for certain uses. There’s no one solution that works for every company.