On Cover - Featured 1-On-1 Interview
Pegine Echevarria: Be Feisty, Be Fearless, Be Focused, Have Fun!
Ty Howard

 



Pegine (Peg-een) goes by her first name, if it is good enough for Oprah, Shakira and Beyoncé it’s good enough for her. She is quoted in Forbes Magazine, Wall Street Journal and the New York Times about leadership, business and women in business. Her company Team Pegine, Inc. was named #3 of the 50 Fastest Growing Privately Owned Companies. Macy’s and Minority Business Enterprise Magazine named her one of 3 women who rock in business in the US. She is the only Latina inducted in the Motivational Speakers Hall of Fame and one of only 8 women. Her books include “Sometimes You Need to Kick Your Own Butt “and “Bragging Rights Transform Your Team in 21 Days.” She is powerful, irreverent, funny and real. People remember her programs years later because she uses chants, cadences and mantras to solidify power thoughts in the minds of her audiences.

 

Ty:

Pegine, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to interview you for the online Winter 2017 Issue of MOTIVATION magazine. The theme for the Winter Issue is Giving Yourself Permission to Continuously Succeed.
 

Pegine:

Great topic!
 

Ty:

I have two preliminary questions for you, Pegine. The first question is, we all have guilty pleasures, what's your favorite snack food or health food?
 

Pegine:

I changed my life as of June 3rd, 2016. Today, I am on a different transformational experience, health wise. I’m like “Oh my Gosh, give me a juice with cranberries, beets and carrots and I’m in heaven. If you had told me that would be my guilty pleasure before June 3rd, I would have told you, you're crazy. I'm serious, I really changed my life. It's about me and health. That’s my guilty pleasure right now.
 

Ty:

Awesome! That sounds great.

My next question, what’s your most memorable motivating or inspiring childhood experience?
 

Pegine:

When I was 17 years old, I decided to leave the gang life. That one moment when I was standing on the corner with the girls, and looking around and asking myself, is this what I really wanted my life to be about. And truly having a vision of an expert on TV in my head. I did not know what that meant. I just knew at that moment I made a decision to change my life. That was THE moment. That was my epiphany. That was my transformational change. That was everything to me — that moment.
 

Ty:

Memorable, inspiring and transformational, indeed. Now I am going into the interview questions.

Pegine, what motivated you to become the woman and successful entrepreneur you are today?
 

Pegine:

It started from the vision where I was supposed to be doing something good with my life and be the expert, but I didn’t know how. It took me a long time to take ownership believing "I have to do this." Also, when I was working my last employee job, I had one more raise and I knew that if I stayed... for one more raise, that I would be held back in handcuffs. I just knew that I had to leave. I quit. I just knew that I had to be an entrepreneur. I knew I had to do this my way. I knew I had to be self made. I knew it with every ounce of my being. I will tell you that it wasn’t easy at all. But every single time that I waivered, every single time that I have a bad month or year. I might waver. Then, I would just yell at myself... not only "No!" but "Hell No!" It’s not going to happen, I am going to win, I will not give up. I also used biographies and empowerment resources to help push myself to just "Show Up!" That's my mantra — to "Show Up!"
 

Ty:

Pegine, how long have you been a professional speaker? What inspired you to become a professional speaker?
 

Pegine:

I am celebrating, Yay! Twenty years in the business. This will be my 20th year as a professional speaker.
 

Ty:

What inspired you to become a professional speaker?
 

Pegine:

Two things, Ty. I had been doing a lot of TV in New York. Montel Williams had me on his show 32 times. And he says to me, in my face the way Montel is, he says, “What are you doing? Nobody talks the way you talk. Nobody says things the way you do. You don’t need to be out there speaking. You need to be showing up and speaking! What are you doing hiding out?” He really gets in your face.

Ty, I didn't know what he was talking about. In my years of working in sales and direct sales, and being on conference committees, I had hired speakers. But I never ever imagined that there was a world of professional speaking. I don’t know why, but it had never dawned on me never ever-ever-ever. Montel got in my face, and signed me up for the television union [The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)] because I was getting on TV a lot. He wanted me to get paid, and he wanted the producers to know that he had done it. And then he told me about the National Speakers Association. So, I was like "Alright! Okay!"

In New York City, there used to be… there probably still is, what was called the Learning Annex. There was a woman named Dotty Walters. She's passed on. She used to do this program called Speak and Grow Rich at the Learning Annex, it was awesome. The Learning Annex was like the training ground for lots of speakers. Not only did I take that course, but I took my mom with me. I took her along and said, "Just come and be my support. I don’t know what this thing is, but I want to find out." The moment I heard what she was doing, the moment I heard about the speaking business, the moment with Montel... it was like that is what was happening when I was 17 years old and I saw myself doing something with television. That, was the message. That was the quiet guardian spirit, whatever you want to call... divine presence. That’s what they were trying to tell me. There it is. That was in 1995.

I quit my job, and I went full-time into the paid professional speaking business, April 1st, 1996. Now, just so you know something. I did not do the 1-year savings plan, prepare yourself beforehand. I did not do any of that stuff. So, at 9 o’clock in the morning I thought I was all that bad stuff "Woo look at me, I’m so good! Yeah! I’m in business April 1st, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh!" 10 o’clock I was on my hands and knees pounding the floor crying and saying, "What did you just do?!" And that led me to say, "It's about me. It’s all about me producing and there's nobody else accountable for my outcomes." That has been the hardest lesson learned, and the best lesson.
 

Ty:

My next question, what is it like being a Latina succeeding and crushing it in a professional speaking world?
 

Pegine:

Oh, that’s a great question, Ty!

Let's talk positive amazing stuff now, it is the most rewarding thing to be speaking to a business group, a corporate group, a leadership group, a direct sales company... and having people come up and say "You’re the first Latina I’ve ever seen on stage speaking at one of our events. You told my story. You’re the first person that I’ve seen like that." It’s been amazing to hear from direct selling companies whose sales force has changed dramatically and so there is this growth with Latina’s indirect sales. So now they’re calling me saying, "We need you on stage! Our people are demanding it." Also, Princes House hired me and I was able to do a one hour keynote. The first half hour was in English and all the Spanish speaking people had translator headphones on. Half-way through the presentation I continued the speech in Spanish and now all the English-speaking people had translator headphones on. That was AWESOME! That was like living my dream.

The other part about it though, on the rough and tumbled side, is that some people in the industry have asked me, "Why do you sell yourself like that? Why do you say that you’re the top Hispanic speaker in the industry? Why did you do that?" I had one very, very, very powerful well-known white male speaker... say to me as an extension, "Why do you promote yourself as the only Latina in the Motivational Speakers Hall of Fame, one of 8 women?" He said, "Nobody really cares." My little five foot four body, and he was over six feet, actually became a gladiator. I said, "It matters to my people. It matters to people who always get to see people like you on stage and don't get to see people like me. It matters because the world is diverse."

I am going to keep playing my game and making a difference where it matters. I’m going to keep on putting myself out there. I was the only Latina for a long time in the Million Dollar Speakers Group. I’m the only Latina that has truly translated her books in Spanish into English. That's my service to the community, business owners, and to the world’s population. It's important. For some reason, at least in the speaking world, people think that if you're Hispanic, you're going to speak with an accent. That doesn't apply to me. I speak with a New York accent, but I don't speak with a Spanish accent. I think my Spanish and English has accents. I am bilingual and my dialect is a combination of Spanish, Puerto Rican and Latin American... my family is from Puerto Rico.
 

Ty:

Pegine, you mentioned earlier that you are in the Motivational Speakers’ Hall of Fame. Please explain to our readers what that means, and how you earned and achieved such a great honor.
 

Pegine:

First, I get invited to speak around a lot, a whole lot. I do really good work for and with my clients. Showing up to meetings, events and in life prepared and committed. So, in the Motivational Speakers’ Hall of Fame, they're only 58 members. A few well-known members are Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, and Wayne Dyer. It came through an organization called Get Motivation (www.GetMotivation.com), which has been a large, large motivational site for years. They nominated and inducted me.

Then a Hispanic business magazine named me the top female earning motivational speaker and the number two top earning speaker overall of Hispanic descent. And that was based on a very, very extensive research done by Research Data Services, Inc. (RDS). They did a tremendous amount of research. Dr. Samuel Betances was the number one speaker, I was number two, and there were eight others that were in the top ten speakers. The Million Dollar Speakers’ Group comes through the National Speakers Association and you have to submit your, financial status… it says "I did it." 
 

Ty:

Yes. You're not a self-proclaimed millionaire?
 

Pegine:

Exactly. You had to send in your financial report. So, I’m really proud that I was in that group because that was very objective. Then I won the number 3 out of 50 fastest growing companies in the State of Florida. That was worth the shock, and again, that was based on a financial and independent review by two accounting firms for the business journal.I was like, “Oh My Gosh! That's so cool.”
 

Ty:

Congratulations, Pegine!
 

Pegine:

So, these are things a lot of people don't do. That's part of what makes me stand out.
 

Ty:

Yes, definitely. Pegine, let me ask you, what do you feel is your life’s purpose right now?
 

Pegine:

Producing extraordinary experiences for leaders worldwide so that they inspire others to lead. That’s what I was put on this Earth to do.
 

Ty:

Looking back over your life, where did you struggle, fail and/or make mistakes, and how did you bounce back?
 

Pegine:

The most recent struggle was in 2013 when we had a major government contract. We were awarded this major multi-million-dollar contract, so I took out some cash flow, a line of credit to make sure that we could implement the program. A week between sequestration and government shut down — all our contracts were canceled, everything was gone. Yes, within a week. Which meant... I had to let go of a lot of staff. I had to let go of being angry and feeling like a victim. I can tell you... that was not easy to do.

Even though I’m a motivational speaker, I am also human. That was PAINFUL. Painful... to... have worked so hard, to have been so focused, to have achieved what very few people in our world achieve... and to have to accept the loss, the punch in my stomach. I had to accept it. I had to appreciate what I learned from it, so I learned a lot of lessons. I had to acknowledge my part of it. I wasn’t Congress, but I definitely had a part, and played a role. I had to acknowledge my strength. I had to appreciate my guts, courage, determination, joy, and life. I had to appreciate a lot. The things I learned from that was... first, foundation in business is critical. And I’m very grateful that I had a good foundation for the business because it allowed me to not have to run away and close down and leave.

I appreciated and am extraordinarily grateful that I was diversified in my business. Even though the numbers on my government side were not the same as they were on my non-governmental side of business at that point, I had always kept in touch with my clients. I had always kept a focus there. I had always been diversified in a very diversified industry (the professional speaking industry).

In 2013, I learned that I did not know a lot about money. That has also been a hard lesson. I am grateful that I have learned.

Ty, Thank God, right?
 

Ty:

Right. *Amen* 
 

Pegine:

I had to learn how to make hard decisions that have long-term positive results. That kind of decision-making requires a lot of confidence, clarity and believing that you are here to do something greater than yourself.

Since that time, we’ve gained Walmart as a client, General Motors as a client, and so many other corporations that have come. Ty, I am so grateful and appreciative of the gifts inside: the tenacity, persistence, hope, vision, the sense of pure excitement, passion, and not allowing people, places, situations and things to decide who I’m going to be.
 

Ty:

That's Great!
 

Pegine:

Yeah, it's pretty cool!
 

Ty:

Pegine, what’s the best way for our readers or someone who may be interested in booking you to speak for their company, what’s the best way for them to get in contact with you?
 

Pegine:

The best way to get in touch or connect with me is to call our business office at (904) 280-8806 and check me out online at www.Pegine.com. My Twitter account is @PegineMotivateU. My Facebook fan page is facebook.com/peginepower.
 

Ty:

The theme of the winter magazine issue, of MOTIVATION magazine is Giving Yourself Permission to Continuously Succeed. Pegine, what does that mean to you when you hear it, Giving Yourself Permission to Continuously Succeed?
 

Pegine:

When I heard the theme... it means to me, understanding the gift of being self-made and the gift of being self-sufficient. The excitement of thinking, "How far can I go?" The greatest joy in the world is your own gut saying, "Yes you can. Yes, you can. Go for it. Go for it. Take action. Take action to do it! Go for it, go for it!" And it’s always a choice. That’s the biggest thing. It’s to understand you can choose this. And every day you have to choose it, especially when you're having a rough time.
 

Ty:

Pegine, how did you earn or adopt the brand as the "Feisty, Fearless, Focused and Fun speaker"?
 

Pegine:

Since I was a little girl I was drawn to military chants. Probably because it was one of my happiest moments with my father who later left us. He taught me cadences and chants from his days in the Army. The “Be feisty, be focused, be fearless, have fun” came out during one of my daily walks. I sing and chant to myself often and this cadence chant started in my head. Without being feisty, focused, fearless and fun a leader cannot have impact, influence, and inspire others. So, both of my messages unite through the branding chant.
 

Ty:

Pegine, what is one way (one actionable strategy) our MOTIVATION readers can become — Feistier, More Focused, More Fearless, and Have More Fun?
 

Pegine:

‘Feistier’ = Speak up and share your ideas. Ideas are powerful forms of creation and solutions. Feisty people share their ideas and thoughts. Feisty people speak up for those who are not in the room. Feisty people know what they want, ask for what they want and allow themselves to receive what they want.

More 'Fearless' = Fearless means being more faithful to yourself and your abilities then being fearful. To master being fearless everyone should have a photo album of your accomplishments, a place in your office or home that has your awards or memories of accomplishments hanging where you can see. By knowing, seeing, reliving what you have overcome, won and received; you become more faithful in yourself and more fearless in acting on endeavors that are for your highest good. You build on your faith daily by becoming fearless and confident in your abilities.

More 'Focused' = Focused means to not just take a glimpse at something, but to lock-in on it... be and stay laser focused so you can see whatever you're working on through to accomplishment and beyond.

More 'Fun' with how they live their life = There are two key points of Fun. Passion and Laughter. Passion is the emotional trigger to being successful in whatever you want. Passion is the joy of doing what you are doing because it feels so good and so right. Most people don’t tap into their passion. They just let themselves go through life. That is why chants are important. You can get through any mundane task if you have a mantra or chant that you align yourself with. Passion is the energy to do the impossible. Passionate people don’t think of work in the same way as others do. They are so into their tasks that it brings pure joy and bliss. Develop passion.

The second part of fun is to laugh at life. Life is joyful. People need to laugh out loud. Really take control of yourself and laugh out loud. I teach people that they can laugh without any outside conditions causing them to laugh, they can make themselves laugh. Joyous laughter is one of the most powerful ways to inspire and influence people. It is hysterical to just laugh and find that the contagious uplifting spirit makes your world better. Leaders who laugh attract people, engage more people and lift people up.
 

Ty:

When it comes to bringing your life in business to life, who has helped and influenced you most?
 

Pegine:

Connie Podesta and Mikki Williams. They are two women speakers that have moved me for sure. They both have a very unique style. Both are determined to be authentic, no matter what. They truly kicked my butt. The other is my accountant, Bob Kronmiller, who is my cheerleader. Then, my husband, who I would not describe as a rah-rah kind of man. He's more of a "I believe in you, but you can't sit back. You have to keep going."  And of course my mother who is an unbelievably powerful, inspiring woman who believed in me.
 

Ty:

Pegine, what do you feel are two good strategies people can use today to bring their life to life for continuous success?
 

Pegine:

Great question. The first strategy, they have to take charge of their energy level. They have to take charge of the vibes that they’re putting out. That requires silence. It requires you to step back and truly decide what you are in tune with, and be responsive and responsible for it. Including high vibes, high intensity. This is the number one thing that will transform your life.

The second strategy is to be on the 'Kick Butt Path', you have to have a clear vision of where you want to go. You don't have to have the details. You have to know that it will require work and at the end of the day know what did you achieve and how do you feel. And really know it. People are doing a lot of vision boards out there and they are also doing a lot of writing work. Champions take 10 minutes to live it in their minds.
 

Ty:

Pegine, this is going to sound like the same question, but it’s focused in a different place. What do you feel are two good strategies entrepreneurs can use to bring their business to life for continuous success?
 

Pegine:

The first strategy is to truly decide how they want to go and what does that look like. And to make sure you reach the puke factor of your vision. What that means is too often people decide how they're going to do business and they play it very safe, out of fear. I’m starting this new business and I am fearful about a lot of stuff. But you have to really push yourself to think bigger, and to plan in your head the procedures and strategy to get there. You got to make it to where you're being pressed to an uncomfortable level. For instance, pricing your goods; too often people price their goods and services at a point that is too low. Then they go out of business because they cannot bring in enough business to stay in business. Well, that’s a work that you have to do inside. You have to do the stuff and make yourself uncomfortable to make it truly work.

I just talked to two entrepreneurs that are going after this major contract and they don’t even have the fundamentals of running a business. You have to have a vision of where you want to go. You have to be willing to puke, to say I can go this high. Then you have to step back and work on the strategy and the systems of how that looks. It’s a pain. It’s a magnificent and tactical game.Imagine, somebody walking into your store at work. How are they treated? How do you fulfill the contract? How do you reward them for being your client? And you have that whole line imagined in your mind. What happens if more people come? How are you going to handle that? That starts in the entrepreneur's mind. It's a critical skill. You cannot live and survive in business if you cannot do it.

The second strategy as an entrepreneur is to use as many of the free resources available to you to grow your business. Go to your local SBA (Small Business Administration). Take their online courses. They have tons of free online courses. And go to SCORE (Senior Corps of Retire Executives). They are retired executive that have been in business. They have a wealth of information and advice, all for free. You have to go out there and get it. Go to your Small Business Administration Development Center, often. I took courses on entrepreneurship at the local university that were free when I first started! You should not just open the door of a new business without knowing what you’re doing. It’s okay if you don’t know everything to do, but this strategy will allow you to build a community of resources of people that can advise and help guide you throughout your journey.

Something just popped into my head, "know your banker." Not your bank manager, but the business banker. Everybody talks to the branch manager. That’s not who you need to talk to, you have to find and talk with the business banker.
 

Ty:

The business banker is at the same branch?
 

Pegine:

No, not usually. You often have to ask the branch manager who the business bankers are at your bank. The thing that I’ve learned is the banks really love doing business with small businesses. They love it. But most small businesses do not utilize the services that the business banker can offer.

Most branch managers don’t know all of the services their bank can offer to small businesses, that they're there for the consumers. The business bankers will tell you all of the ways can help yourself to grow your small business. And they’re amazing, so helpful and resourceful. They become your business partners. Thank God for my business banker!
 

Ty:

Pegine, what two books would you recommend for our readers to read so they can learn how to become more successful in life or business?
 

Pegine:

The first book I recommend is The Science of Getting Rich by Walter Wallace. A great book, it reads easy but it's really hard. I study that book.

The second book I recommend is Self Made by Nely Galan. I just got it! I’m loving it! It’s a great book, especially if you’re working hard. It’s partly her story. Partly the Indian Girl's American Dream. It’s partly educational. I’m really enjoying it a lot. I like how she’s thinking. I like what she’s sharing.

If you do not know how to sell, how to invoice people, struggle with networking in business, and you're not getting continuously better in business — I also highly recommend any book by Harvey MacKay.
 

Ty:

Pegine, when you look at the young people in the world today, what do you feel are two effective ways parents can encourage and empower their children to go after their own continuous success?
 

Pegine:

Whisper in their ear from the time they’re born that you're not going to pay for their college and that they have to go and graduate with a degree. Whisper in their ear that they have to figure out a way. And there are two big ways. One is that they create a life of such achievements that they win college scholarships, and colleges and universities want them badly. The second way is the child takes the long road, and pays and goes to college. The kids should be doing it, not the parents. There’s no reason children should go to college for four years, and the parents walk away with debt. It should take children up-to eight years to go to college and graduate, and they pay for it as they go. The parents have to continuously whisper in their ear, "I believe in you. You’re going to college and mom and dad and the banks are not paying for your college. You’re to do it on your own."

When parents do little, an tel their children "I believe in your ability to get whatever you want, that's when children start to develop self-efficiency and the confidence that they are going to do it, they start believing, planning and doing.

The second thing parents can do is to teach children through dialogue and games to strategize and think big. I’m really grateful that my mom was my private escape and she really taught me sound life strategies. From the time I was little, she would say, "I trust you enough that if I tell you to go to Japan, and meet me in Tokyo on this corner, on this certain day, you will get there. You will meet me there, I know you will." She would tell me things like that since I was 8 years old. I spent hours sitting and thinking just how I would plan and travel from New York at 8 years old to meet my mom in Tokyo, Japan. That game taught me that I can, if I want to, be anywhere, do anything and make it happen.

Help your children to gain the ability to think strategy and possibilities, then execute their own positive plan of action. That's what I want parents to teach. Have conversations with them. Put down your laptop, put down your cell phone. It's wonderful that kids know how to play on the computer, that’s good however also, teach them how to think, speak, plan, and follow-through on other things in life.
 

Ty:

Pegine, what’s the best way for our readers or someone who may be interested in booking you to speak for their company, what’s the best way for them to get in contact with you?
 

Pegine:

The best way to get in touch or connect with me is to call our business office at (904) 280-8806 and check me out online at www.Pegine.com. My Twitter account is @PegineMotivateU. My Facebook fan page is facebook.com/peginepower.
 

Ty:

Pegine, we’re down to the last two questions. Are you ready?
 

Pegine:

Yeah — I’m ready!
 

Ty:

What motivates Pegine to stay motivated and go after new levels of growth and success each day?
 

Pegine:

What motivates me on a daily basis is... one of the things that’s been coming up for me a lot has been... I’m my own Prince Charming, I’m my own creator of what I want in my life. So, I have a responsibility to create. And nobody is going to do it for me. Nobody is giving out the success I want. Nobody is going to work on the machine. Nobody is going to make the phone calls. Nobody is going to inspire anybody on my team or myself. Only I can do it for me.

I do have this incredible joy and excitement that I’m the creator of my life. I had the honor of watching my Dad pass away. I really got to see and learn a lot in his passing which was a beautiful process. The past has educated me on how you have to do well in your life. You look back and look at things and you get completion. That got exposed in my world. Watching my Dad's process really inspired me to make sure that when I am in that space, that what I’m reviewing is gratitude and that I took action. Gratitude that I did the best I could with what I knew at the time. That’s really motivating for me. It’s exciting. I want to get off the roller coaster at the end of his life with this huge silly grin on my face and with an absolute sense of celebration and joy. I want everybody to feel that way, "Yeah — that was the ride of my life!" I think that’s pretty awesome!
 

Ty:

Last question, share one last tip for our motivation readers on how they too can remain fearless and committed to their personal goals.
 

Pegine:

Have a mantra. I have a mantra for myself. Be Feisty. Be the Fearless. Be Focused. Have Fun! I Got the Power. You've Got the Power, Unh! A-C-T! I-O-N-! Action! Action! We Got action! That’s my song to myself. I do not need to hear other people’s songs. I needed to create the song for myself. That's my mantra, I cheer and I chant! And I’ve done so much work with the military over time. The power of the cadence transmits fire into the belly, and determination to go beyond. That really resonated with me and that’s why I started creating chants for myself. I cheer for myself. I record them on a daily basis. I record them on my phone so I can play them back when I’m sitting alone in my office. These are my words telling me who I am.
 

Ty:

Pegine, your entire interview is very powerful. You have me fired up and ready to chant! Thank YOU for your time, passionate interview, and empowering contribution to MOTIVATION magazine. Onward and Upward, my friend!
 

 

 



Nena Abdul-Wakeel Says

Awesome and inspirational interview. Thank you.

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