A nationally recognized publicist and marketing expert, producer, author and consultant, Arielle Ford has mastered the art of making things happen. As the founder and former president of a successful PR and marketing firm, she has helped launch the careers of such self-help gurus as Deepak Chopra, and Chicken Soup for the Soul creators Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. She has handled publicity for a number of authors, many of which went on to be #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. But her work doesn’t stop with helping others reach their dream. Arielle is an accomplished author herself, who has written seven books, including The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction, a founding member of the Spiritual Cinema Club, and co-producer of Deepak Chopra’s Happiness Prescription. We are honored and privileged to introduce this month’s Inspirational Woman: Arielle Ford! You have made a name for yourself in public relations and marketing. Where did your passion for both these areas come from? While I was in college I did an internship with a company that produced live music, boxing, and wrestling events. It was fun to learn how to “make stuff happen” via publicity and advertising. Every event had a beginning, middle, and an end so results were always apparent. I discovered that I had a natural ability to be very good at producing things. Your work in your marketing expertise focused specifically on self-help. Why? The focus on self-help came as my interest in my own personal growth naturally occurred. As I studied the work of Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra and others, and saw the value in my own life, I wanted to make sure the world could discover what’s possible when you put a little time, energy, intention and attention onto your dreams! How did you make your start in this area? By the late 1980’s, I already had my own PR firm handling mostly corporate accounts. I discovered that I didn’t enjoy working with people that only focused on making money. I decided to shift my attention and only work with people and products that were contributing to making the world a better place. This is the world of social media – over-accessibility and increased exposure. Is this a good or a bad thing? There is no short answer to this. It depends on the situation. In this platform what is your best advice for people wanting to navigate the complicated area of social media? I am not a social media expert and barely use it for myself except for fun. I enjoy posting on FACEBOOK, www.facebook.com/soulmatesecret and I have a twitter account (@arielleford) but I don’t really maximize it for business. Since you chose to promote self-help thinkers in your marketing domain, how did you distinguish between the authentic voices with the opportunity seekers? Fortunately, it’s not a choice I ever had to make. I only chose to work with people who were on a “clear mission” and had a path to follow. My clients were all people who were committed to making a positive difference in the world. You were the founder and CEO of the Ford Group, so we must ask – were you nervous about being your own boss in the competitive field of public relations? I never thought about competition. My core belief is that “everyone always says yes to me” (and if they don’t say yes it’s because something bigger or better is on the way to me). In my current field of “love and relationships” my closest friends are what others might consider my “competition.” I don’t see it that way. I enjoy supporting their work because we all share a common mission of having a more loving world. What were your biggest obstacles in establishing yourself as an authority as a woman? I never believed that there was an obstacle in being a woman. My mother was a strong, successful entrepreneur….having her as a role model was powerful! Most women shy away from labels such as “expert” or “authority” while men wholeheartedly embrace it. Why do you think that is? I disagree, that has not been my experience. All of the women I know wholeheartedly accept themselves as the experts that they are. I grew up in the middle of the feminist movement, which I believe really helped me embrace all the possibilities and advantages of being a woman. I encourage women to not buy into any conversation that keeps them in a victim or down position. Our world is filled with terrific women leaders to model ourselves after. Did you have such fears or any negative talk in your mind as a businesswoman and an expert? As a human being I have had my fair share of internal negative dialogue over the years but I have learned to silence that voice. It rarely occurs anymore. It wasn’t easy or fast and it took determination, discipline, and maturity to overcome this. You have transitioned your work to focus on love and compassion as demonstrated by your past project, Spiritual Cinema Circle. Why did you make the transition? When the opportunity arrived to help launch Spiritual Cinema Circle, I jumped on it. By then I had spent more than a decade working exclusively with authors and I was ready for something new. Why is love and compassion a universal language? We are social beings and as such we crave community and togetherness….love and compassion come naturally to most. What is your response to those who say that “love is a universal language” is a false notion – That there are indeed hate, anger and cultural, religious differences among us that will always overpower love, making tolerance a utopian dream. I agree that tolerance is a utopian dream, and I am not hopeful that we will ever reach a point of having “world peace.” However, I do believe that the majority of people in the world do prefer to experience love over hate, love over fear, at least in their personal and family lives. We must all first learn to love ourselves, love our friends and family, and impact our own little corners of the world through love and compassion before we can ever expect to impact the world on a great level. Many who travel the world to exotic locations state that people with less have the richest lives. Have you experienced this reality, specifically that people are practicing love and compassion in the most dire of circumstances? Yes, I agree. Having witnessed people in developing countries, people that we Westerners would consider ”poor,” these folks seem to have much richer lives. They have close family and community ties and are grateful for what they do have. They don’t seem brainwashed into consumerism. And they live in a world where having “enough” is all they need, unlike Westerners who always want “more.” Now you have transitioned to focusing on love and compassion in your relationships as the author of The Soulmate Secret: How To Manifest The Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction. Why did you choose to focus on personal relationships? It wasn’t a conscious decision but rather destiny that had this happen. After I manifested my own soulmate, at the age of 43, single women over 40 began to ask me how I did it. As I shared my process, and it worked for them, word began to spread. I created an online course about it, which Harper One discovered and they offered me a book deal. The Soulmate Secret is now published in 21 languages and in more than 40 countries around the world and the process has worked for ten of thousands of men and women of all ages. In the United States the divorce rate has dropped according to the CDC. CDC reports as of 2011 (their most recent study) a rate of 3.6 per 1000 people, as compared to 6.8 a decade earlier. Why do you think that is? I think the divorce rate dropped because of the economic downturn; people can’t afford to divorce. That is what I have observed and it’s my best guess. Should we be concerned with divorce rates as a society as we analyze the health of our marital relationships? If couples are willing to become “students of love” and make a commitment to having a great marriage, divorce rates would drop. In our Western “disposable” society, many people think the grass is always greener if they dump their current partner for someone new…. Unfortunately, second and third marriages have an even higher divorce rate than first marriages. Strangely, arranged marriages seem to work the best! You are a self-starter. In business, in love and in life. Where did you learn the skill of self-assurance? When I started off in business I was a basket case. I didn’t have any experience running a business, I didn’t have an MBA, I didn’t (and still can’t) read a spreadsheet. What I did have was ambition, a solid work ethnic, determination, a willingness to take big risks and make mistakes, and a big toolkit of Law of Attraction skills. Lastly, what advice would you give women who are stuck in a relationship or a circumstance that is yielding them an unsatisfied life? Therapy or coaching. I am a big believer in both. It’s important to understand what your underlying emotional issues are that would have you stay in a negative situation. If you don’t work through the root cause, you will only recreate the situation again. Once you have this self-awareness, this when you can make the smart choices.