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A Q&A with Abha Bowers, Walk West's New CEO

Get to know our CEO, Abha Bowers!

A highly skilled marketer, Abha has contributed to strategic ideation, creative development and production of digital, social and traditional media for her clients. She has over 15 years leading accounts for a wide range of clients across multiple industries, including technology, finance, luxury goods, education, insurance and new business.

Want to know what makes Abha tick? Check out our Q&A with her in the video below:

Abha Bowers Q&A Video Transcript

Abha: Hello! My name is Abha Bowers, and I’m the new CEO of Walk West.

Question: What is your favorite thing about Walk West?

A: My favorite thing about Walk West, undoubtedly, is the people.

Q: How did you come to Walk West?

A: I have quite an interesting story. How I came to Walk West really boils down to Donald Thompson, who is now the CEO & President of The Diversity Movement. Donald, when I first met him, was an entrepreneurial spirit; someone I had never really worked with before and his story and successes really were compelling to me. And so we actually began about a two-year mentorship together. 

You know, I moved back up to New York state and we just kept in touch, and the right opportunity opened up and I’ll never forget this day when Donald called me. I can see the day, I was sitting on a hill outside, it was a beautiful sunny day, and he said, “Abha, the time is now. I have the right position.” And everything was so serendipitous with moving my young family, with my husband and I moving our two furry children, selling our home, finding a home in November of 2019.

Q: What are you most excited about for the future of Walk West?

A: The thing that I am most excited about is the future of Walk West! We have such an incredible team, we have amazing client partnerships, we are in a fantastic, thriving community, and we have the ability to make an impact. I am so excited to live and breathe and see and feel the impact that we will be making together for our community.

Q: What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned on your journey to becoming CEO?

A: The biggest lesson I have learned on my journey as CEO is to be adaptable. I must remind everyone that a lot of my mentorship was during COVID! *laughs* And that taught me adaptability, it taught me resilience, and it taught me to really lean into creativity. Our agency came together and we found different ways to provide services that our clients needed and that to me was the biggest lesson and takeaway.

Q: What motivates you both personally and professionally?

A: What motivates me? My family! I have two young children, Maya and Remi, and my husband and they challenge me in so many ways that I didn’t think possible! But I think the most beautiful thing that I’ve learned as a mother is that even my four and six year old can teach me life lessons. They can teach me to pause, to say, “look at how beautiful it is outside,” or “did you hear that bird?” They bring home their ‘problems’ from school and it brings a lot of perspective on how we should treat one another and how we can think!

You know the song, “Cloudy Day”? “Mama always said look up into the sky, and find the sun on a cloudy day.”

Q: What energizes you in the morning?

A: Exercise! Absolutely, exercise! I don’t take one breath for granted – we have one body and one life to live and exercise is what keeps me going. And it’s not just the physical, sweat part of it, I go to a community of folks who support and motivate and love one another and we have a great time!

Q: How do you wind down after a long day?

A: Every day is different, I do have the cliche meditation, which I do, I have a practice that I listen to every night. But, I tell myself to take deep breaths, to think about “What were three great things that happened today?” I actually say that to each of my children,”What are three things we want to talk about that occurred to you?” and to really think about them and find the beauty in them and start fresh the next day.

Q: How important is work-life integration and how do you incorporate this at Walk West?

A: Work-life integration is life! Work is a part of your life, it is not your whole life. What happens in your life outside of work is the creativity and the ideas and experiences that make our work better. So the integration is imperative!

Family first, letting creativity and activities that people find interesting be at the forefront. Health and wellness is imperative, in finding ways to make sure that our staff feels that that is something that is a priority. It is a priority to me.

Q: How important is representation when it comes to positions of leadership like CEO, and how do you hope your role as CEO will be a beacon for future CEOs?

A: Being a woman of color in a leadership position, I do not take lightly. I think representation is absolutely imperative. I am honored to be an example of this and showcase to anyone, anything is possible! And if your heart is into it, you can find ways to find your dream and make it a reality.

Q:  What role did mentorship play in your growth as a business leader?

A: The role that mentorship played for me as a business leader was maturity. I learned that I’m a very expressive person, I’m definitely an empath, through and through and I think it taught me a lot of ways to still be myself and not lose my own authenticity. To look at things in a different light and it helped me really grow and mature as an individual, having all of those different perspectives.

Q:  What are your guiding principles as CEO of Walk West and as a leader?

A: My mantra is always ‘Be a good person, do good work, and everything else comes to fruition.’

Q:  What book do you think everyone should read?

A: I would suggest that you read a book that you are passionate about that makes you think differently than how you think every day.

If I did have to give a business-type of book recommendation it would be Leadership Principles, and I found this very interesting, having a theater background, it teaches you a lot about how you bring yourself to the table and giving you more of that awareness of how you’re presenting yourself.

Q:  What makes a good leader?

A: From my perspective, what makes a good leader is perspective and empathy. Really trying to put yourself in the shoes of an individual, not of what’s being presented to you in the current moment, but in recognizing that there are other influences and things that may have happened previously in their life that is bringing the issue at hand or the occurrence at hand to your present mind.

So, try and put yourself in their shoes of what this person be going through? What is the conclusion that they are making? But really talking about it and not making assumptions, and asking questions.

Q: What are three fun things about you that people probably don’t know?

A: I love rock music! I’ve gone to several Guns N’ Roses concerts. I feel like people give me head turns when I tell them that. I am of Nepalese descent, and I am a nutrition coach!

Q: What’s your stance on the infamous Walk West which-french-fry-is-best debate? 

A: Oh my goodness, what a hot mess this was! I love all potatoes! I like a good baked potato, so I don’t even know if I’m going with a french fry route.

But if I had to pick, I’ll go with tater tots.

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