We had the good fortune of connecting with Debra Ferguson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Debra, how do you think about risk?
I believe risk taking is essential if you seek to expand, grow and push the boundaries of limitations we place on ourselves. Unsubstantiated fear often prevents us from reaching and achieving our goals or even pursuing the things we love. When you understand that failure is part of being human, part of the process of success – taking risks becomes a little less… risky. When I was in my mid 20s, I took the risk of moving across the country to experience a life outside of the small town I grew up in. My entire world/reality changed in the most amazing way. In my mid 30s, I quit a job that was sucking the light out of me daily to pursue starting my own business. I haven’t looked back since. And now, as I approach my mid 40s, I’ve put my fear of failure/rejection aside and started a second business and a passion project.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
At this time, I’m excited about a new business venture I started earlier this year. It’s an apparel line with a mission to raise awareness about the healing properties of psychedelics and plant-based medicines. Mental health and addiction in America has been at crisis levels for quite some time. The Coronavirus has only compounded these issues. According to the CDC, as of June 2020: 31% of U.S. adults showed symptoms of anxiety and depression, 13% started or increased substance use, and 26% reported trauma/stressor-related disorder symptoms. 11% of people seriously contemplated suicide, up from 4% in 2019. Psychedelics and plant-based medicines are on the fast track to becoming legalized to help treat everything, from PTSD and addiction to anxiety and depression, without the need for lifelong prescriptions. There is a revolution in progress. The current paradigms for how we approach certain mental and emotional issues will soon be shattered and replaced by highly effective psychedelic and plant-based therapies that allow for transcendence from trauma completely. The implications of this are far-reaching.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’d be taking a road trip! I’d start far north and work our way down. Antelope Canyon would be the starting point. These slot canyons lend some amazing photo opportunities. Just south of that is Grand Canyon National Park, which is bucket lister for lots of people! Continuing down to Meteor Crater, just outside of Flagstaff. Meteor Crater is the result of a meteor crashing into earth about 50,000 years ago. It was named one of the 7 wonders of the world by Conde Nast Traveler in 2020. Then you have Sedona which is unlike any other place in the country and a travel destinations for millions every year. There’s also Jerome, an old copper mining town built up in the mountains. It’s known for wine tasting, haunted hotels and unique shopping experiences. I’d finish the road trip at my favorite restaurant, Hillstone in Phoenix. Can’t beat the entire experience !

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This is a double shoutout. The owner of the first company I worked for out of high school paved the way for what would become my career in all things marketing and digital. I had no experience at the time but was a dedicated employee and a quick learner. If not for the opportunities he provided, I would not be where I am today. We are still very dear friends 25 years later. In addition, a year or so into starting my first business, I was introduced to someone that would be a mentor for the next 2 or 3 years. Having him in my corner was a game changer and I will forever be grateful.

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