95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Powerful Women: Let's Talk – 78: Veverly Austin

Veverly Austin
Veverly Austin
Veverly Austin

Veverly Austin of Veverly Austin Enterprises, Rock'N The Runway GR, and Confident Wear Boutique is today's Powerful Woman.

Veverly Austin is an award winner, businesswoman, and involved in her community. She’s a wife and supermom of four. She is the founder of Veverly Austin Enterprises, Rock'N The Runway GR, and creator of Confident Wear Boutique. Veverly is a highly sought after speaker both nationally and internationally and we get to speak to her here on Powerful Women: Let’s Talk.

Powerful Women: Let’s Talk is created by WGVU NPR and made possible by WGVU NPR sustaining monthly donors. Become a sustaining monthly donor now at wgvu.org/donate to support WGVU NPR’s local programs, including Powerful Women: Let’s Talk.

Full Transcript:


-Produced by women about women. Powerful women, Let's talk is a series of interviews with women who are trailblazers and have helped shape our world. Transforming who we are and how we live.


Shelley Irwin: Veverly Austin is an award winner, business woman involved in her community, wife, and super mom of 4. She's a founder of Beverly Austin enterprises, rocking the runway, GR creator of confident wear boutique and well, there's more. She's a highly sought after speaker both nationally and internationally. We get to speak to her, well locally. So welcome to Powerful Women, let's talk, Veverly welcome.

Veverly Austin: So good to be here.

Shelley Irwin: Good to have you here and of course we're speaking to you locally.

But thanks to the Internet. You are all over the map internationally to boot with this.

Veverly Austin:I know how exciting

Shelley Irwin: Thank you for you and Congratulations and I want to make note your name is Veverly with a V. How often are you called Beverly?

Veverly Austin: All the time. People just really decide to correct my name for me. But that is a V as in Victor.

Shelley Irwin: Yes. So here we are. You are quite involved in your community, your extensive resume. You are the president and founder of many organizations receiving your MBA, your other Masters as well. I'm going to cut to the chase and ask what drives you to excel.

Veverly Austin: Really, I grew up in home where education was key. And so for me and I grew up in the hood, the south side of Chicago. And so education was my escape. It was my escape out and I literally love to use my imagination. So going to the library was my way out. And so I did it. And so going away to college and and furthering getting my Masters. I was the first one in my family to get my Masters. And then I just I love school. And so then we moved here to Grand Rapids. I decided to go ahead and get another master, working now, thinking of getting my doctorate and I don't know. I just feel weird when I'm not in school.

Shelley Irwin: And that's a good thing. What a role model you are. Many of your organizations, Confidence, Rockin, get your fight back, have a positiveness to them. Is that intentional?

Veverly Austin:It is. Actually Girl get your fight back was the brainchild of it all.

And so really back when I was doing empowerment sessions for women.

And that's where it all started and just really wanted to give back because I struggled with self-confidence as a young girl. Really not knowing who I was, not knowing what my self-worth was. And once I got a hold of that. I just really had a quest to help other women. And that really just birthed so many other things out of me and it's been such a pleasure to to see these things birth to see these businesses birth and to help other women to really grab hold of who they are. One of my biggest focuses has been on at home moms who really lose themselves. I help them know that from being at home with the children is major, but you also have other things in you that can really help you be fulfilled in life

Shelley Irwin: Fill in the blanks. So you went from a a lesser confidence to exceeding confidence How did you make that happen?

Veverly Austin: Bumps in the road, failures, tired of making failures, tired of

not feeling my greatest is or you know, battling a little bit of depression early on in years and really not knowing where to go, who to turn to. And so through the idea of going to counseling, I dug deep within. And because for me, I really thought that I was going to be running corporate America. I went to school to run corporate America. But then when I got married, my husband, we decided that I would stay home to raise the kids. And that was a little tough for me. It was very hard. And so that kind of weighed on my self esteem. And so realizing that being a mother is worthy. And so in that also has some things inside of me that I can do from home and once I tapped into that. So my confidence skyrocketed and I had to help other women.

Shelley Irwin:Y es,your faith is very important to you. One of your degrees is in the faith field. Tell me more here.

Veverly Austin: Yes, my faith is the foundation of everything that I do. My husband is a pastor. And so we do run a ministry. And so I did get my second master's in urban ministry from Grand Rapids, Theological Seminary and so without my faith. There's nothing that I could do. And it really is the catalyst that pushes me along. Even when things are rough, especially now in covid. It has been my faith that has kept me going and really pulling from a time where things feel like they have dried up. This has been the most lucrative, the most prosperous, one of the best times of growth in a time when the world is facing great tragedy.

Shelley Irwin: Yes. All right. Let's take apart your resume. Rockin. The runway GR, tell me more. Veverly Austin: That is my baby haha. Rock the runway was birthed from Girl get your fight back a conference that I did for women. We did a fashion show. And so I really I got hold of a story of a young lady who had breast cancer. And when I got a hold of her story. She was taking care of her sister's children who have passed away of breast cancer. And when I got a hold on that story. We decided to give a portion of our proceeds from our show. So this young lady and here we are. And it's been like it with with 13 years and this year's the with 13 years later, still helping women increase breast cancer awareness. Last year one of our was a very sad time because right after the show, one of our survivors passed away. And this is why we do what we do. Because early detection really does save lives. So we use fashion to help women to increase awareness and go check their ta tas

Shelley Irwin: You said it. Confident wear boutique obviously fashion is important to you as well Veverly Austin: It is something else that birthed from Girl get your fight back. I literally from Girl get your fight back I just made confident woman tees and they were hits. And I started selling them internationally, nationally and from there we started Southern clothing and now thanks to an amazing organization at the arts marketplace. I have my boutique downtown, in studio Park and it's been amazing. And I love having this staple place and it's a shared space with other women, other local women makers. And it's been an amazing, amazing exposure. An amazing way to own your own business without all of the overhead. But its been outstanding.

Shelley Irwin: Confident living consulting. Where's this going

Veverly Austin: Again another branch from Girl get your fight back and so confident women consulting, I have been working with a lot of companies and organizations to help their workers to help their employees with life skills, with bettering themselves in life because one thing that we know statistics shows if your workers are doing well in just everyday living. They'll be better performers on the jobs and so I will be going to help train in leadership training, help them with organizations with things like that.

Shelley Irwin: I’m going to ask you something personal little birdie tells me 3 boys and a little girl.

Veverly Austin: Yes, I have 3 boys

Shelley Irwin: Hows that little girl doing

Veverly Austin: She's doing amazing. So she has her own business. She is a little lady after her mom. She's actually doing some speaking for Meijer So she's in-house for that. And she has some big things coming, but she has her own little public speaker and her own little mogul.

So I have trained her. She runs her own business confident girl and so is a tire for girls to build confidence. And so she's coming out with accessories and a stationary line And she plays piano and volleyball and track. She's a pretty remarkable young lady.

Shelley Irwin: Yes. You do a lot of public speaking. Why are we so I guess I'm speaking on behalf of myself or others afraid of public speaking.

Veverly Austin: One of the biggest things in this I actually do a class on it. And so I do a class. We do virtually and in person on public speaking is because especially now with everything being virtual people are afraid to even still get in front of the camera. So most people, the fear of what people think about them. The fear of people judging them. And most people just have a fear of people's faces when they're in front of them. And so now with even just the zooms and the online classes. That's still a type of public speaking that you still want to do with excellence. You want to do with confidence there’s etiquette to doing your zooms and so forth and so many people are just afraid to talk to other people, especially now in this world of texting haha. Everything is texting and behind the scenes pulling us away from personal contact. And so I think a lot of that has really made people afraid. And so one of my things is that public speaking classes give people the confidence to be able to have this conversation one.

on one

Shelley Irwin: in my days. its passing notes and whispering in ears. What would you present to one of your daughter's 13 year-old a classmate's. If you are asked to public speak to this audience.

Veverly Austin: One of the things I was teach them is what they learn now really will and can affect them for the rest of their lives. So they learn if they can speak in front of their friends. Now they'll be far ahead of the game down the road. And so public speaking is not just standing in front of the class its how you use your words. When in conversation with your friends again, going back to texting how they shorten all the words. I'm so confused. When I try read my daughters phone, I don't know what any of it means

Shelley Irwin: LOL

Veverly Austin: and so getting them to actually use whole words, getting them to use these type of things that would help them in the marketplace. Help them when they're ready to get a job, even help them when they're trying out for sports and so trying to get them to use real words. whole words in their conversations

Shelley Irwin: Back to your boys. Are you coaching them to be allies to your daughter, to other women.

Veverly Austin: My oldest he's 19. And he is finishing up his second year at GRCC so proud of him. He wanted to stay home due to covid, but he is into training. So that is his niche.

And then my middle son. He is into wrestling and he wants to start his own business too.

So we'll work him once I get my daughter set then we're going to push him along. My goal is really to try to figure out what each one of my kids are passionate about. And once as I'm finding that, my goal is to go full throttle and give them all the resources they need in those areas. Sometimes as parents, you want to push your kids into what you're passionate about. I was guilty of that. I decided to really step back and find out what they're passionate about and find the resources to push them into those areas full throttle.

Shelley Irwin:Future pastors in the making.

Veverly Austin:Let's hope not thats a hard job haha

Shelley Irwin: I’ll ask that cliche question. How do you do it all?

Veverly Austin:I don’t. And I think that's a misnomer is that you can do it all. I heard a quote once and I do not know who said it. But it says you can have it all but not all at once.

and I really live by that. And so there's quite a bit on my plate, but I have grown to learn through tiredness, through fatigue through being burned out that sometimes you can't do it all. But you have to know what has priority when and so each week each Sunday, I'm looking at my week and certain things take priority each week and that varies week to week. But you can have it all but just not all at the same time. And so I stopped trying to do it all at the same time.

Shelley Irwin: All right. Let's have some fun. Give me an answer to morning or night person. Veverly Austin: Absolutely nighttime

Shelley Irwin: Favorite song.

Veverly Austin: Oh my gosh My favorite song. Beyonce. I love her song

Shelley Irwin: I'll let you leave it at that. Yeah, because yeah, I know what it is. How about peanut butter? Soft or crunchy.

Veverly Austin: Oh my God. Crunchy.

Shelley Irwin: Know what you're having for lunch. If you get on a plane today, Where would you go?

Veverly Austin: I would go to Dubai.

Shelley Irwin: Why?

Veverly Austin: Because I've never been there yet. And as one of my places on my manifestation list. I don't believe in the bucket list.

Shelley Irwin: The name of your memoir would be

Veverly Austin: Persistence put her through.

Shelley Irwin: What is your message to the young Veverly.

Veverly Austin: My message to the young Veverly is do not be afraid of what you see. follow what's in your heart.

Shelley Irwin: Where are you in 10 years from now?

Veverly Austin: 10 years from now, I'm traveling a whole lot with my daughter and she is world renowned the world known for her brand confident girl. And my husband and I are doing a lot of vacationing in our ministries. and our really flushing and planning ministries and other states. Shelley Irwin: All right. We'll see in 10 years.

Veverly Austin: Yes.

Shelley Irwin: What do you leave us with. What is the the word for the year.

Veverly Austin:The word for the year is to stay focused. And it is to take charge of your thoughts. One of the biggest things that I tell people through this time of covid is your thinking matters and you really can pull you out of what you're surrounded by. So don't be overtaken

by the information that is coming at you. Go ahead and take charge of your thoughts and fill your head with thoughts that will propel you forward into prosperity.

Shelley Irwin: Do we get to see you on the runway?


Veverly Austin: No that's not my gift haha.

Shelley Irwin: Veverly Austin, Thank you for this edition of Powerful women, Let's talk.

Veverly Austin: Thank you.


Produced by women about women. These powerful podcasts focus on powerful women and how their strength transforms who we are and how we live. Want to hear more powerful women. Let's talk and get additional interviews at wgcu.org or wherever you get your podcast, please rate and subscribe. Powerful women, Let's talk is produced by WGVU at the Meijer public broadcast Center at Grand Valley State University, the views and opinions expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU Its underwriters or Grand Valley State University.


Shelley Irwin is the host and producer for The Shelley Irwin Show, a news magazine talk-show format on the local NPR affiliate Monday through Friday. The show, broadcast at 9 a.m., features a wide variety of local and national news makers, plus special features.
Related Content