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Episode 151 | Developing into a Confident CEO with Brandy Mabra

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  • Episode 151 | Developing into a Confident CEO with Brandy Mabra 00:00


Hey Group Practice listeners! New podcast episode out today! New podcast episode out today! In this episode, I’m talking with Brandy Mabra all about developing into a confident CEO.

In this episode we cover:
Obstacles to confident CEO mindset
Mindset shift tips
The power of vulnerability in leadership

This episode is sponsored by TherapyNotes. TherapyNotes is an EHR software that helps behavioral health professionals manage their practice with confidence and efficiency. I use TherapyNotes in my own group practice and love its amazing support team, billing features, and scheduling capabilities. It serves us well as a large group practice owner.

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Maureen Werrbach

Maureen Werrbach

Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of the Group Practice Exchange Podcast. This week, I’ve got an expert on her name is Brandy Mayra and she owns Savvy Clover. And I’m really excited to talk to her today because we’re gonna be talking about mindset. Becoming confident as a CEO. I know that’s something that a lot of group practice owners struggle with, whether you’re new or seasoned. And so this is kind of her specialty area. So I’m excited to chat with her for a little bit about what she knows on this topic. And for her to give us a little bit of feedback on how to step into being a competent CEO. So hi, Brandy, how are you?

Brandy Mabra

Good. How are you?

Maureen Werrbach

Not bad! So for those that are listening, who might not know who you are, can you tell us a little bit about who you are what you do?

Brandy Mabra

Yeah, absolutely. So my name is Brandy Mae Brown. I’m the CEO Savvy Clover Coaching and Consulting, and I’m a business and leadership coach. So I help business owners to step into the role of CEO and be able to build a healthy and sustainable multi six and seven figure business. You know, we really go through the whole gamut of building a strong infrastructure, making sure that your systems and processes are streamlined, that you understand, you know, how to really engage your team, how to hire. And we just look at business from a holistic perspective. So it’s a lot of fun, I enjoy it. I have 15 years with the business management leadership experience I’m able to pull from, and it’s exciting to really just to be able to help other entrepreneurs to you know, have this business structure that they need in order for them to grow and scale and feel good way.

Maureen Werrbach

One of the things that I feel like, has always been really easy for me to support people that are trying to grow a group practice, is the kind of the literal things like steps, strategic planning. One of the areas has always been really hard for me, myself, because I’m super organized as a person. And I come up with systems for myself as a business owner, which is made it easy for me to help other people kind of figure out–based off of how they want their businesses to be–how to set up some systems so that they know where they’re going and how they’re moving forward.

But when it comes to, you know, confidence as a CEO, making those mindset shifts and kind of leaning into being a leader, it was, obviously it’s not something you can kind of have like systems or steps to. So I always have a hard time talking about how to get there. It almost felt like this weird evolution that didn’t have any kind of, I can’t pinpoint what thing it was that got me to feeling more confident as a leader. And so I really think this is a hard topic to kind of work with people on. How do you help people on that end?

Brandy Mabra

Well, one of the things that we go through is just the self awareness. So you hit the nail on the head, when you’re talking about when you’re first getting started, that confidence isn’t going to be there. You’re going to have to make mistakes. You’re going to have, you know, a lot of times what I say is that you learn the CEO skill set trial by fire. And that’s really implementing things that don’t work. Or, you might hire and that person didn’t work out. So then you have to go back and you know, go back to the drawing board. So I think just understanding that things are not going to be perfect and getting rid of that perfection piece and understanding where your strengths are, where your weaknesses are, so that way you’re able to address both.

And whatever way makes sense. So it might be reading a book, it might be listening to a podcast, it might be you know, a training, hiring a coach or consultant, whatever that looks like for you. But it always starts with that self awareness piece. And just being accepting of where you’re at in your journey and not punishing yourself for it.

You know, a lot of times with my clients, they think, really big, they have big goals, big dreams, and they want to do a lot of awesome things, which is amazing. However, that’s a journey. And so, you know, even above my desk, there’s a plaque that says, you know, enjoy the journey. So and that’s really what you have to do. You have to embrace it, and everything that comes along with it, the good, the bad, and the ugly,

Maureen Werrbach

Like life.

Brandy Mabra

Exactly. It’s not, we’re not talking about like an Instagram reel, or you know, a highlight or your social media. I mean, it’s just, it’s real stuff. And the best way to get the confidence is just to go out and do it and to mess up. Then to learn from that. And you know, definitely get the resources that you need to be successful. I always say that and being comfortable asking for help is probably a couple big things that you need to do.

Maureen Werrbach

You know, as you were talking and a couple times mentioned, the idea of actually just making mistakes, like almost embracing making mistakes, which I think a lot of people do the opposite. They’re trying to make every decision and be really careful about not making mistakes. And it’s interesting, because I don’t know, I feel like it had to have been from a book probably because I read a lot of business related books. And I remember this point, because I want to say I’m a recovering perfectionist, but I’m not recovered yet. But I will say, I’ve gotten really good at embracing fucking up is my thing, I’m always like telling people. And I like to like point it out to people, I don’t know how often. To my employees in my own group practice or when I’m doing coaching and podcasting. I’ll talk about don’t do what I did, this is the one thing I did, and I totally mess this thing up, go mess up in a totally different way.

But really, there was one mindset shift, I made probably three or four years into owning my group practice of just really kind of looking for making mistakes almost, you know? And enjoying even thorugh the little bit of pain that comes with making the mistakes. But really, the pain lessened dramatically, when I was able to just say it out loud and say, well, that didn’t work at all. I’ll just say that I should not have done that, did we all learn a lesson from my decision here? And we’ll just laugh and say, yep! But being able to embrace it verbally to other people is really cathartic in a way. And it makes it okay to take some risks too, I think.

Brandy Mabra

Yeah, absolutely. I think like, when you show that authenticity, it’s valuable. And it’s the same thing, you know, I’ve managed teams, the smallest three, all the way up to over 100 people, and I’ve had managers, you know, report to me and in different things. And with that, they always respect it when I was like, you know, what I fucked up on this one, you know, I messed up! Like, I’m so sorry. Compared to trying to, like, just sweep it underneath the rug or not admit the mistake. Or to say, you know, maybe I could probably do this a little bit differently.

I think that there’s power in that or not acting like, you know all the answers, because at the end of the day, you’re not, and that’s okay, and really embracing, if you have a team, embracing your team, you know, bringing them in as part of the process. Being able to be that vulnerable, saying, hey, we have this situation, I have no clue how to handle it, what do you think? You know? And a lot of times they respect that more. Compared to you trying to be on this high horse of perfection and not owning the fact that you’re human. You’re a human being you’re going to mess up, it’s natural. The sooner that you can be accepting of that and just know that it’s gonna happen. I think nice as you when people respect you more for it.

Maureen Werrbach

I think that is such a powerful thought. And it’s something that took me a really long time to get to this idea of kind of having other people on your team be a part of potential solutions. It hasn’t. It’s really something I’ve learned in the past couple of years as I’m going on my own anti racism journey about the idea of sharing power and authority just within my organizations. And that’s one of the big areas where I noticed, like white supremacy sort of taking hold just internally with me of feeling like I’m at, you know, the one who owns it, I have to at the end of the day, make the decisions.

It wasn’t until getting my I have a an anti racism coaching. And we were talking about like how does you know white supremacy live within the organizations that I have? That was one of the things that got brought up is like, an easy thing to do is to start sharing power and decision making. It doesn’t have to be on you just because you own it. I was like, oh, that’s a novel idea. You know? So I really like that you said that because I probably, especially for white business owners who are thinking about that, and how powerful it can be to just put out that decision making like you don’t have to have it be on you. And how also freeing it can feel to have other people in your business that you can lean on for decisions. At the end of the day, some of the most amazing ideas that my group practices had didn’t come from me.

Brandy Mabra

Yep. Yeah. And that’s the, that’s the powerful thing. And that’s when the stress kind of lessens, is when you start to come from a place of brainstorming and asking for ideas. And to be honest with you, same thing, every idea that went really well, or process change, or initiative, or whatever we were trying to do always went better, because I was the I wasn’t the one coming in saying this is what we’re going to do. Compared to bringing in that we and saying, here’s my idea, what do you guys think? You know, let’s break it apart. Let’s maybe not even use it. And brainstorming and having things that are partnered is always better, because then you have the buy in and you don’t have somebody sitting there saying, you know, there’s a better way to do this. There’s another way that we could have done this. No, because you’ve asked for their opinion, and you’ve brought in that insight.

And the beautiful thing about diversity is all of us come from different backgrounds and experiences and cultures. So when you bring all of that into play, it’s it’s beautiful in the making. And then on top of it, you know, everybody has a story to share. You know? So the more that you can embrace that, then the better your team’s gonna feel, the better the culture is going to feel. But you have to have that mindset to be open and to know that that it’s okay, if you don’t have all the answers. And actually, it’s better when you don’t have all the answers because all of us have, again, different strengths and weaknesses that we can tap into.

Maureen Werrbach

So what is your feedback for a group practice owner or business owner in general who’s feeling really kind of self conscious and is stuck in this internal reel. Like they’re not even thinking about, they’re not seeing the reality of how their team might be, you know, perceiving them. They’re just kind of projecting their own insecurities of as a leader out into their business. And they might not be ready to embrace making mistakes and an embrace, sharing of power and decision making, but are really in this place of feeling really not confident as a leader.

I see it usually happening once they’ve hired a handful of people, because then it becomes like a team versus you know, I have one or two people. And I see, you know, business owners really feeling you’re struggling with kind of stepping into leading and coaching their team and kind of being at the kind of center of growing the culture of that business. What is your suggestion as like first steps, if someone is really like, struggling in confidence as a leader?

Brandy Mabra

I would say ask yourself, why, like, why are you feeling that? Where’s the lack of confidence coming from? Is it because you’re afraid that you’re going to mess up? Is it because you’re nervous that you’re gonna say something wrong? Are you nervous because you might do something wrong? You know? Are you nervous because you feel like you do have to have all the answers. And if not, then someone’s gonna think you’re an idiot, because you don’t have all the answers.

So asking yourself why. Like, why are you feeling the way that you’re feeling? And in what do you need to do in order to gain that confidence? So if it is a gap in like your skill set–I always say that there’s three areas of focus when it comes to being a CEO, that you should look at.

The first is yourself. So that’s you as the CEO, when really owning you know, again, what are those strengths? What are those weaknesses? What are you great at? What are you owning, and then having that self awareness?

The second piece is skills. So usually, we don’t know everything. Nobody does. So there’s always a gap in our knowledge. Every day, there’s a gap in our knowledge. It’s our job to identify what that gap is, and then to find a solution for that gap. So if it’s a lack of skills, then you know, what do you need? You talked about coaching or mentoring or you know, maybe if it’s having difficult conversations, so if you have someone on your team, who isn’t doing what you would like for them to do or perform, you know, are you struggling with that?

And then the next area of focus is strategy. So really making sure that you’re stepping into that CEO role and then putting good sound strategies in place in order to move your business forward in order for it to grow. But part of that is you need your team to do it, too. So, usually just looking at those three areas, I always say is a is a great way to start. I know for the framework that I work off of with the clients that I work with, those are always our three areas of focus. So you as the CEO, the skill set that you have, and then the strategies that you’re putting in place in order to grow your business.

Maureen Werrbach

So I like that. I want to end with one more question around people pleasing. I feel like it goes hand in hand with confidence issues, people pleasing. I don’t know if you hear this, but a lot of people who work in certain industries will feel like they’re like, an anomaly, like our industry is a little different than most. And they try to make their problems unique when it’s probably not unique.

But I want to–so I’m prefacing with I’m about to say something that makes me think that we’re just really unique as therapists who are business owners–is that therapists, mental health therapists tend to be super in tune to the emotions and feelings of others. Which can make us really good leaders, and business owners, because when we employ people, we tend to be really aware of the needs of our staff and want to make sure that their mental health is is good, and that we’re supporting them in all ways.

But it can also lead to like the dangerous territories of people pleasing. And really bending in ways that aren’t sustainable for our businesses, whether it’s through, like how we pay our staff and overpaying them, whether it’s through, like having staff do things that are outside kind of the structure or systems that we have, because we just want them to be happy. So what are your thoughts on people pleasing, and ways that maybe someone who’s really struggling with that right now, like, a piece of advice, a thing that they can do? An idea, a thought for them?

Brandy Mabra

Yeah, and I’m a people pleaser, so I completely understand.

Maureen Werrbach

I’m asking this for myself!

Brandy Mabra

I don’t want you to be mad at me, please don’t be mad at me. But at the same time you do you have a job. As a CEO of your business, your job is to make sure that you’re putting your business in the best possible position, to be healthy, sustainable, and to grow. And without that, you’re not going to be able to make the impact that you want to make. Not only for the people who you’re serving, so for your clients, and those who come to you. But that’s for the people who work for you, too. So if you are overpaying, if you are, you know, not sticking to your policies and procedures and the structures that you have in place, the only thing that you’re hurting is the business. But you’re also hurting those people who are working for you, because you’re not sticking to the boundaries that you have in place. And you’re not sticking to the structure that you have in place, which is going to help you allow for your business to grow.

So one of the things that I’ve always said to help me is that not everybody’s going to like me, not everybody’s meant to like me. However, my goal is for you to at least respect me and to, you know, understand the decisions for why we have to make some of the, you know, do some of the things that we need to do. There’s hard decisions that are always going to happen. It’s your job to make those hard decisions. And that’s just part of being a CEO.

Maureen Werrbach

I think one of my supervisors in my group practice had said something that I hadn’t even really thought of, and it helped me feel good when I’m making decisions that I know–I mean, I have just under 50 employees in my group practice, so there’s no way to make everyone happy. I mean, even at the simple level, one person might really value short term disability, and another person might really not value that and prefer to have PTO. And if I can only offer one of those things, which either offering either one of those is really good, I’m still going to disappoint someone, right? Even when I’m trying to do something good.

So I remember she said, you know, at the end of the day, everyone here knows that when you’re making decisions, it’s always in our best interest as a team. So even if it doesn’t, if it’s not something that, you know, any one of us individually likes, she was like, I really think that everyone as a whole knows that you’re never making decisions purely for yourself. You’re making decisions, that are in the best interest of the team as a whole. And so, even if one or two of us don’t like it, you know, we know that it’s coming from that place. Versus, you know, coming from a place of selfishness or your own gain or growth as a leader. And I think that’s important. Maybe even looking at that, as someone who’s a people pleaser, how have you worked with your team to show that your decisions and how you carry yourself and how you lead is coming from that place of like I care about you?

Brandy Mabra

Exactly, exactly. And that goes back to that authenticity piece too. People can smell, you know, bullshit, from a mile away. So if you are coming from a play saying, I know that this sucks, and I realized that this is this probably isn’t going to make everyone happy. However, my job again, is to make sure that I’m putting us in the best possible position to be successful. Because at the end of the day, I want all of us to be able to come have a place to come to work. You know? That’s really the goal to be able to continue to help people. So when you come from that place, people people do they respect it.

That’s why I always would say, you know, you might not like me, but you’ll always respect because it goes back to you just owning what your role is and understanding that it’s the good and the bad that’s going to come with it. And then the team will automatically understand the good and the bad. And there’s going to be sometimes to where those people who might not, you might feel some kind of way because you don’t get short term disability. So there’s going to be something else that you’re going to do that’s going to tap into what they like, Oh, yeah, this is great. You know? So it’s just knowing that there’s a time and place for everything and not just putting so much pressure on yourself.

Maureen Werrbach

Yeah. Okay. So if people are interested in getting support from you, how can they reach you? What do you have going on right now? I don’t know if there’s anything you have that you want to share or promote orell us?

Brandy Mabra

Yeah, yeah. So if you want to know more about me, I’m always on Instagram. So I’m at Savvy Clover Coaching. So @savvyclovercoaching. Our coaching is where you can find me on Instagram. And then if you are interested in a free business health checklist, or, you know, every couple of months or so we have our free, Unapologetically Savvy two-day workshop specifically for CEOs. If you go to my website, www dot savvy clover dot com, then you’ll always be able to find information there for your free business checklist or our workshops too.

Maureen Werrbach

Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming out. It was really nice seeing you.

Brandy Mabra

You’re welcome. Thank you so much for having me. This was fun.

Maureen Werrbach

Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra support? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into! Visit www dot members dot the group practice exchange dot com forward slash exchange. See you next week.

Thanks For Listening

Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra suppor? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into visit www dot members dot the group practice exchange dot com forward slash exchange. See you next week.


Here are the resources and guides we recommend based on this episode

PCT, helmed by Roy Huggins, LPC NCC, is your go-to on all things technology, ethics, teletherapy, and HIPAA in mental health group practice.

  • Their dedicated group practice offerings include HIPAA compliance, Risk Analysis, Mitigation planning services, policies and procedures (aka HIPAA Manual) guides, as well as a slew of other useful tools and resources.
  • Their supportive take on HIPAA compliance centers your clients (because they are also mental health professionals!) and is created to make your practice work better for you, your team, and your clients.
  • They provide a needs assessment process and use-case-specific services that will help you meet your full scope of needs, assign and track the role-based trainings throughout your team (plus, it’s CE for clinical staff!), and other goodies that will help free you up to tackle other projects on your To-Do list.
  • If you are starting a group practice, or have been running one for a long time,  PCT can assist in optimizing your practice and cover your HIPAA bases.
therapy notes

*Need a good EHR for your group practice? TherapyNotes is it. I’ve been using it for years in my own group practice, and it does really well when it comes to having the features group practice owners need. Try it out for FREE for 2 months by clicking here.

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We use clack to communicate within the office. It is almost like Facebook, in that you can search through old threads, which makes it easier than sending the same emails over and over. We have threads like general, clinical, administrative, and referrals to help us communicate without emails.

* I am an affiliate for some of the businesses I recommend. These are companies that I use in my own group practice, and make recommendations based off of my experience with them. When you use some of these companies through my links, I receive compensation, which helps me continue to offer great free information on my podcast, blog, Facebook group, and website.

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Meet your host


Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here:


The show

The podcast is structured so that you get practice building tips in small doses, where an episode can be listened to (and a group practice building lesson can be learned) in a single car ride.

Episodes are structured into categories: coaching sessions where I coach a group practice owner on a specific topic, tips of the day by yours truly, real talk where you get to be a fly on the wall while an established group practice owner and I talk about the highs and lows of ownership, and trainings done by experts in the field.

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* The content of this post is intended to serve as general advice and information. It is not to be taken as legal advice and may not account for all rules and regulations in every jurisdiction. For legal advice, please contact an attorney.

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