“Turn Pain into Triumph,” Phoenix Jackson from The Phoenix Affect
Welcome to the Pass the Mic and the Defining Moment series. We’re giving powerful women in the industry the opportunity to make the world their mentee. These rockstars are joining us to share their stories and sage advice with up-and-coming women.
[Trigger warning: This interview deals with pregnancy loss between minutes 6:51 through 11:00.]
Phoenix is the Founder of , a 16-year-old global public relations, communications, and business development firm. She is an award-winning impact entrepreneur, life guide, investor, and author. Phoenix recently launched the PR University to give concise and practical application tools to small business leaders and influencers who want to do their own PR.
To watch her inspiring video interview, click the play button above (near her lovely face). In this deeply personal interview, Phoenix opens up about a painful loss she endured in 2020 and how she used her PR and communication skills to turn her tragedy into triumph for the good of others.
Pregnancy is More Dangerous for Black Women
“Back in 2020, as we are all aware, it was a very tough year for a lot of people. And in the midst of the world shutting down, lots of things going on, the racial tension in the country being very high—I ended up having a still birth at seven months pregnant, which was a very hard thing for multiple reasons… Myself and my partner went through our own personal struggle, but we had to deal with that in the midst of all the racial tension and things that were going on in the country.
I ended up actually having the department and hospital completely shut down because of the neglect that led to the passing... However, what I realized was that for Black women, it's a three to four times more likelihood that our babies are going to pass away than our white counterparts. And babies are dying, and mothers are dying more now than in slavery over 150 years ago. And a large part of it is due to medical neglect, is due to high levels of social determinants of health: high stress levels, the internal stress that black women carry due to racism, borders being put around them.” – Phoenix Jackson [6:51 – 8:18]
Make a Difference with Your Voice
“I decided I'm going to try to do something about this. I do have a voice. And so, I forged a partnership with Children's Hospital Colorado, in particular. And we were able to start creating a campaign, a strategy from policy work all the way down to simulations with doctors with fake women, and blood, and all the things to show them like, ‘Hey, this is how you should respond to a person of color if they say that they're in pain, or they say that they need something.’ And we were also able to help them create the branding and the face around doing the national campaign to help them understand how they can do better work to make sure that we can heal this issue and not have it happen again.“ Phoenix Jackson – [9:03 - 9:40]
We Don’t Go Through Things Just for Ourselves
“I tell people, we have to turn our pain into triumph some kind of way. We have to. As we keep betting on ourselves, as we keep evolving. I don't think we go through things just for ourselves, especially if you have a voice, and you have a position of power to assist someone else. Maybe you went through something so terrible to assist the next group of women.” – Phoenix Jackson [10:20 – 10:40]
Much like the mythical bird, Phoenix rose out of tragedy for the good of us all. Her powerful voice comes from her experience molding and shaping people in their careers, helping people and organizations reach their goals.
“I always tell people that they have to start with the end in mind. Look at where you truly want to be, and then chart a course, create your own personal GPS… You have to have a guiding post that's going to lead you to the end result that you want. I tell people to start there."
Phoenix considers herself the consigliere to her clients. For the uninitiated, the term “consigliere” refers to a strategic individual and trusted advisor to mob boss (or any powerful leader). This is the role she plays for her clients around the world. That’s why they call her the real Olivia Pope (Hello, Scandal). Phoenix’ wisdom and sage advice helps people find their strengths and maximize them.
Fire Starters, Stokers, and Simmerers
“I categorize people into three different categories: we have the fire starters, the fire stokers, and the simmerers. A lot of the younger millennials and Gen-zers, they are fire starters. They have this innovative, push-forward personality. They refuse to be moved within systems and management, which is where the fire stokers really gel. They're the people who are actually the intelligent ones in the room who could say, ‘Hey guys, we're going to do it this way. You can bring in the new ingredients from over here, but this is how we do it.’ And then simmerers are those older systems, those older organizations, and ways of doing things…
I always tell people to really assess which one do you fall into. Because if you’re great in management, you're probably in the middle. If you're a visionary, you're probably the first one. If you're someone who knows how to build something and sustain it for a long period of time, you're probably in this third category... Let's figure out like how you can fit yourself into one of those boxes, and then move within that strength.” – Phoenix Jackson [5:01 - 6:08]
When Phoenix isn’t changing the world, she’s listening to Pandora, where she discovers new and different music. And she can’t get enough of the comedy stations with superstars like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle making her laugh on family road trips.
A special thanks to Monica Robles, Sales Director at Pandora for interviewing Phoenix Jackson.