Have you ever heard the expression “things happen for a reason”? It could not be truer than in the case of how Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick began. Hi, I am Dr. Elizabeth King, founder and CEO of Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick. I want to share our story without formality or fanfare because our story is about being passionate, scared, genuine, somewhat irrational, a lot insane and did I say “irrational”? That in itself is ironic and almost comical because the 2 founders are 2 psychotherapists. At this point, I have to divulge that accepting our humanism and laughing at ourselves is something that Yvonne and I do very well. It actually may be why she and I, up to this day, have never had an argument even under the most stressful situations. And girl, when you build a business the way we did, “stressful” is an understatement. (I’ll save some of those stories for our book.)

Anyway, I wish I could tell you that we spent years planning and gathering money, talent and resources to launch this company. I even wish that I could tell you that the person that has helped me create and build this company

was someone that I knew and worked with for years. The operative word here is “wish” because Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick, SSL or as we affectionately now call it, “Suits” did not start in a standard

Our story is about being passionate, scared, genuine, somewhat irrational, a lot insane and did I say “irrational”?

fashion whatsoever. In fact, as a successful business woman and someone who studies human behavior and coaches businesses to be successful, I would even dare say to you “please don’t try this at home”.

So here goes our story in a very quick and dirty format. It will definitely explain why I am convinced that things do happen for a reason (even though we didn’t know it at the time). Hmmm…now thinking back at my life, this seems to be a very common theme that keeps repeating itself

How it all began…

September 2007: I opened up International Holistic Center in Fort Lauderdale. Why and how I did this is a much longer story and one which I speak about freely in my lectures and have shared in my book, “Dr. King’s Simple Guide to Holistic Health”. I won’t take too much time on this here, but just know that because of my very difficult personal journey I have vowed to always come from a place of service and purpose. For all of my adult life, I can honestly say that I have.

From 2007­-2011: So much happened within these years from building and growing my Center to producing and hosting my own radio show. My head spins thinking about it so I’ll just fast forward and get to how I got to create SSL. One thing for sure is that these years helped prepare me for what was to come. I grew personally and professionally in ways that I never imagined. I was officially an entrepreneur in all sense of the word. Coming from working for the school board for over 25 years, this was by no means an easy feat, but I did it and to my own surprise, I did it very successfully.

January 2012: I put out an email request that I was looking to expand my center and was looking for psychotherapists. Yvonne Haase, a licensed mental health counselor in private practice responded to my email immediately. We scheduled an interview and I remember thinking midway through the interview “Wow, she is perfect”! I offered her the position and in no time, Yvonne not only came to work at my Center, but she was quickly asked if she would take on the role of being clinical director, which she accepted.

April 2012: I asked Yvonne if she was noticing an influx of women with stress­ related issues coming to see her for psychotherapy. She said yes. I had also been noticing for awhile that most of the women coming to

I said I wanted to add the word Lipstick to the name because for me the lipstick represented being strong and ready to face the world. 

see me for psychotherapy or hypnotherapy were also complaining about stress­ related issues, depression and anxiety. I asked Yvonne if she wanted to create a workshop for women. I said I wanted to add the word Lipstick to the

 name because for me the lipstick represented being strong and ready to face the world. I shared with her that when I was a teen, I’d had many operations and my sisters would always wait for me with my red lipstick outside of the operating room and put it on me even while I was still under anesthesia. When I woke up, I would know that I was going to get through the pain. It became my symbol for strength. I have since discovered many women also use their lipstick as a reminder that they will be ok.

I said to Yvonne that I wanted the word suits in the name because we wanted to attract professional women because they were the ones that were struggling the most with the balancing act. Yvonne very quickly jumped in and said we had to add the “stiletto” to make the name of our workshop super sassy because we wanted to remind women that they could be career­minded but still be sexy and fun. We both agreed and Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick was born!

The next step was creating the curriculum and setting a date for our women focused workshop. Yvonne and I worked very fast and within a few short weeks were ready to deliver what I thought was a great workshop for women. I still remember as if it was yesterday…I thought we would have a hard time filling it, but we had standing room only. That night while we were debriefing the

workshop, I said to Yvonne, “I think we should turn Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick into a conference”. And she said without any hesitation, “Yes!”

Next thing I know I am signing a contract with the Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale. I committed to having a

100 women conference in 4 months!!! Yvonne and I began the marathon of a lifetime. Mind you, neither one of us at this point had ever done a conference. We worked day and night, seeing patients, pulling together a board, learning about AV equipment, pitching to sponsors getting media coverage and figuring out how to get

I said I wanted the word Suits in the name because we wanted to attract professional women because they were the ones that were struggling the most with the balancing act.

fabulous speakers. We were the jack of all trades…stuffing conference bags, making name tags and selling tickets, designing program ads and creating flowcharts for the day of the event.

July 12, 2012, The day before the conference: THE BALLROOM IS BEING SET UP FOR 250 LADIES !!! (OMG) When Yvonne and I first walked into it we had to step aside and catch our breath and hug. We both said “we really did this!” with tears in our eyes. It was like I was in a movie, so surreal. Everything to the last detail was thought of, from roses on the tables to the grand finale dance party. It was absolutely beautiful. I could not believe that we really pulled this off in just 4 months!

Friday, July 13, 2012: Yes, our first Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick “The Balancing Act” Conference fell on Friday the 13th! The Ritz probably sold me that date because no one else wanted it. It didn’t matter to us because we were breaking all of the rules anyway.

At 7:30am: our board and volunteers met outside of the ballroom to say a prayer before we kicked off the day. Everything was in place. It looked like someone that knew what they were doing had put this together.

We had to add the Stiletto to make the name of our workshop super sassy because we wanted to remind women that they could be career­ minded but still be sexy and fun.

I am sure no one would have ever guessed that Yvonne, my husband John and I hadn’t slept at all the night before because we were printing up table signs and name tags until 5am. I actually wrote my keynote speech sometime between 4am and 5am because there literally was no other time

available for me to do it.

I remember as if it was yesterday at 8am when our guests began arriving thinking that things happen for a reason. Everything that we had done leading up to this day was exactly the way it was supposed to be. All of the ups and downs that we had testimonial_1experienced were necessary and an integral part of our journey in order to get to this day that was beyond magical.

I don’t think there was a woman that attended that did not comment about the positive energy and the love that she felt throughout the conference. I can’t tell you how many women whispered in my ear how this conference may have saved and transformed their lives. It is hard to put into words what I was feeling, but I know that I was deeply touched and filled with emotions seeing it all come to together.

After the conference, Yvonne and I asked ourselves, now what? We really were not sure how to keep the momentum going. We certainly never imagined that we would do more than a yearly conference. After all, we had the center and our practice to run.

Then a month or so later, Yvonne was invited to attend a ladies luncheon by one of the ladies that attended the conference. When she went she was surprised to find out that the entire group was made up of ladies that attended the conference. It was apparent that the conference had sparked a desire for women to connect at a deeper level.

I was invited to attend the 3rd month that the group met. That day after the lunch I said to Yvonne, I think we have started a movement! Are you ready to do more? Without hesitation, Yvonne said yes!

I think we have started a movement!

Three years of events, 3 conferences and close to 4,000 women later the movement continues and it

is spreading. I am excited to share with you that this year we are going national!

Wow, what a ride this has been! When we first started this crazy adventure it was only Yvonne, me, our husbands and a few ladies that believed in our vision. In my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that what started off as an event would turn into a movement.

Yvonne and I pinch ourselves every day because we can’t believe it. We feel so blessed to have this opportunity to really make a difference. We are privileged to stand with women from all walks of life, but what unites us is that we are heart­ centered, spirited and SASSY (smart, assertive, strategic, selfless and young­ at­ heart) women. We want it all and are not afraid to go for it.

Like I said before, everything happens for a reason. Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick happened because it needed to happen.

I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of our story will be, but meanwhile I am just enjoying the journey. We hope you will join us as we continue to make history.