Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Debby Montgomery Johnson. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Debby, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today. Alright, so one thing we think people don’t talk about nearly enough is investments – either time or money. What’s one of the best or worst investments you’ve made and what did you learned from the experience?
The worst/best investment decision I made was when I “gave” over $1M to an online relationship and found out it was a financial/emotional SCAM. My husband, of almost 26 years, died suddenly and after 6 months of running his company, working full time at my position as Sr Treasurer in a county school, I followed the encouragement of friends who said “You need a life” and they meant get back into dating – at age 52! The two year relationship, online, was “safe” as we chatted about family, life, business….everything. Financially this was the WORST investment I’ve ever made, but personally it changed my life for the GOOD. I’ve become the “Voice of the Victim/Survivor” for women and men who have been taken in online relationship fraud. I started a non-profit, The Woman Behind The Smile, and I’m on the Board of Directors of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams (SCARS), an international non-profit victim support/advocacy group out of Miami. I host a weekly teleseries called Stand Up & Speak Up which give voice to “ordinary people” who have experienced struggles and found the courage to stand up and speak up. Coming out as a victim/survivor gave me the courage to own my story and to be there for others so they’re not feeling alone. I want others to Beware and Be Aware.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Debby Montgomery Johnson is a woman on a mission. In her book, “The Woman Behind the Smile” she shares her personal experience with a love that turned into betrayal and financial disaster and she removes the mask of shame and shows others how do to the same. Many of us have something, something we’re hiding, something we’re ashamed of, something that through no fault of our own or through our own making, something that we keep hidden and that, in turn, keeps us hidden, from each other and the world. Debby’s story is available at www.TheWomanBehindTheSmile.com.
From Vermont and a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Debby is the President of Benfotiamine.Net, Inc, a vitamin supplement company that provides an alternative for the pain of neuropathy, a nerve disorder. (Benfocomplete.com). Benfotiamine makes an extraordinary difference especially for diabetics and their families.
Her background is diverse, from working as a paralegal and bank branch manager to being a U.S. Air Force officer, serving as an Intelligence Officer at the Pentagon, the Defense Intelligence Agency and in Wiesbaden, Germany. Debby is just like you. A woman on a mission to live an authentic, joyful life as the Woman WITH the Smile rather than behind it.
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
What do you do when you get “The Call?” The call that will change your life forever which started like this…”Mom, Dad just died. I’m coming home to take care of everything.” That call was from my oldest son, age 23, and in flight school for the USMC. I was attending a Treasurer’s End of Year accounting meeting and had my phone turned off so the hospital contacted the first Montgomery listed in the phone contact list. This call changed my family’s lives in a minute. Additionally, this call caused an immediate change in our family business ownership and direction. Although I was, on paper, a shareholder, I had NOTHING to do with the daily operations of an international vitamin supplement company which paid almost all of our family expenses. I was thrown into customer relations, business operations, and all financial decision making with zero preparations. In addition, my husband had canceled our life insurance just 2 months prior to dying – only because he “aged up” and his premiums went from $100/month to over $500 and he refused to pay that much. My resilience from this story? Wow, everything I ever learned from work experiences throughout my 52 years, everything I ever learned from personal experiences throughout my 52 years…everything I understood about living and dying, came to a pause – a brief pause, because now I was totally responsible for my four children, the company and me!
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
I had to unlearn self-sufficiency! I mean there is “no I in team” and I had to learn to rely on others for help in almost everything, especially in respect to running the company. I had to release the prideful feeling that I could take care of everything because I couldn’t, yet I needed to. I learned to rely on other’s expertise in marketing, sales, technology, and even finances. Although I had been well-trained in my own work experiences, I hadn’t been part of the company. I didn’t have any of the health issues our supplements addressed, so I couldn’t “feel” what the customers felt (my husband had diabetes and neuropathy so he lived what they felt!) I didn’t have any operations manual to walk me through the manufacturing process. I only had a 4 page “continuity folder” which gave me names of suppliers, manufacturers, and significant customers. I had to learn to trust others – something that I did in a big way prior to being SCAMMED out of over $1M…I had to unlearn and then learn that over again.
- Website: Debby@TheWomanBehindTheSmile.com. www.BenfoComplete.com www.RomanceScamsNow.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debby.b.montgomery
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/debbybutzmontgomery/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/benfotiaminenet
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEJdZRLGw1GBiFhbBF5yovQ
- Other: https://www.facebook.com/Benfotiamine https://www.facebook.com/TheWomanBehindTheSmile