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2018 Seneca Falls Revisited: Women’s Equality Conference & Retreat

July 20, 2018

Invitation, Inspiration and Event News for Women, Women Entrepreneurs, Feminists living in New York State

I was approached to support and promote a very special event for women starting this year and running until 2020 called “Seneca Falls Revisited – A Women’s Equality Conference & Retreat.” I said “YES” immediately because of its mission and purpose to engage women as we approach the historic year 2020 when women celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in America!

Our country is divided on many issues, but I have faith that women working together and supporting pro-female agendas can change the world for the better. It will take women raising their voices, standing passionately behind women’s issues and policies to ensure our country remains concerned about 52% of its population – Women!

The story of this event has many beginnings. Since most of us are Americans and New Yorkers, let’s start in upstate New York with the rebellion known as Suffrage – the dawning of the Women’s Rights movement. 170 years ago, women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, and feminist men like Frederick Douglass and many, many others were awakened to this activism, manifesting it in their historic “Temperance” and “Abolitionist” movements. This awareness and understanding proved that women “holistically” – regardless of race, heritage and culture – have endemic common values steeped in what all Americans have defined and revered as their inalienable rights.

70 years of struggle – filled with heart, humanity, anguish and in some cases death – culminated in August 26, 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to our Constitution. In 1971, our struggle was not yet over and esteemed Activist and Congresswoman Bella Abzug was compelled to rename this day, “Women’s Equality Day” as part of an awareness effort to spotlight the need for yet the next needed step: The passage of an Equal Rights Amendment.

Today, 50 years later, we hope to finally “close” this gap of inequality. With the recent momentum generated via Black Lives Matter, #Me Too, #Times Up and so forth, much like history – movements are a response to stimuli. Whether the catalyst is gender, race, sexual orientation or other, these predestined classifications have inevitable solutions and will require a level of universal “tolerance.”

As we prepare for the Centennial of the 19th Amendment in 2020, we remain confident that we will continue to evolve, learn to work together, collaborate in all areas of society to insure fairness and equality for all.

Join us August 23 – 26 in Rochester, NY to inaugurate “Seneca Falls Revisited: A Women’s Equality Weekend,” an intergenerational celebration of women, family and friends. All are welcome to share, be inspired and network as we celebrate our victories, commonalities and differences.

The conference goals are:
*Update & build civic, social and spiritual collaborative platform
*Target new & young population for civic engagement
*Recruit up and down state participation in women’s advocacy efforts
*Re-Engage audience members in a goal oriented discussion for future advocacy
*Provide educational service for women to learn how to run for office

Amazing Line-Up of National, State & Regional Female Speakers:

This conference features an impressive lineup of women in politics, business, activism and feminism including special opening luncheon speaker Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman.

In 2016, Roll Call named Coffman one of the Most Influential Women in State Politics and in 2017 Law Week Colorado named AG Coffman one of the Top Women Attorneys. Coffman fought to outlaw so-called conversion therapies and her office going to the Supreme Court to defend the State’s decision to punish the Lakewood Baker who refused to make wedding cake for a gay couple.

June 1, 2015 Headshot of Lt. Gov. Hochul

Some of the Major Speakers Include:
New York State Lieutant Governor Kathy Hochul
Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman
Honorable Crystal Peoples-Stokes
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren
Honorable Gale A. Brewer
Honorable Nathalia Fernandez


Other Presenters:
Liz Abzug, Founder/Executive Director of Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, Inc
Charlsey Baumeier, National Business Development Officer
Rachel DeGuzman, President & CEO of 21st Century Arts and ARTivist in Residence at Gallery Seventy Four
Natalie Douglas, Nightclub Diva, an eight-time MAC Award winner
Deborah Hughes, Director, Susan B. Anthony House
Linda Lattimore, Lawyer, Corporate Executive and Business Strategist
Alexandra Lehman, Coalition Z (activism org. amplifying voices of progressive youth)
Irma McClaurin, PhD/MFA, Leadership Strategist and Past President of Shaw University
Kenneth Morris, Great-Great-Great Grandson of Frederick Douglass and Great-Great-Grandson of Booker T. Washington.
Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham, President, Women TIES & Women’s Athletic Network

I hope to see you during this powerful weekend where women will bond, celebrate, plan, and emerge ready to take on the world and proclaim our right to vote again in 2020!

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The Meaning of the ESPY Moment For Women and Girls

July 19, 2018

Inspiration and wisdom for women, women entrepreneurs, women in business and female athletes

ESPY Awards Honor Team USA, MSU Gymnastics Sex Abuse Survivors: ‘We May Suffer Alone, But We Survive Together’

Sometimes serendipity strikes in an instant, the way it did this morning waking up to a major news story and a spur of the moment action yesterday afternoon. Let me paint the images for you.

The first image is of 140 survivors of sexual abuse by a USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team doctor as they accepted the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPYs. These women stood hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, together to show a powerful union of sisterhood. They spoke about the child within them finally releasing the shadows and pain of their formative years in hopes of healing and protecting the next generation of young girls. It took 30 years for an adult to acknowledge what a girl finally told them and to start the investigation. 30 years!

The second image is of a sweet girl named Bailey, a daughter of a women entrepreneur from my network, who was selling lemonade, homemade chocolate chip cookies and homemade crafts to earn money. Bailey was selling her items in a neighboring area so I jumped in my car and headed over to buy from her to prove that women support girls. I brought along a pink money bag that said “Girlboss” tucked inside was a pair of my company’s iconic pink glasses, that represent seeing ways to support women and girls. I also had $10 I was going to spend no matter what Bailey’s items cost; because I believe women need to monetarily support other women and girls.

I have two beautiful twenty year old sons but when I ran in the Boston Marathon in 2017 with iconic female runner Kathrine Switzer on Team 261Fearless, I inked my five nieces’ names on my arm – Lexie, Faith, Lauren, Ramona and Maude. I was running for them and their future the way Kathrine has done for women the past 50 years since her gender barrier breaking Boston Marathon appearance in 1967. Women learn from women older than them and from their own generation. Women also inspire the generation to follow.

When Bailey attached the beautiful bright pink bracelet around my wrist, I looked at her with her new Women TIES pink glasses on smiling and my pink spirit rose up knowing I had inspired one young girl for one moment in time. Later that day her mother sent me a message saying, “You made Bailey’s day!” As I listened this morning to the ESPYs YouTube video of the survivors on the ESPY stage last night, I know they made other women or girls day with their strength, truth and sharing.

There are a million ways women can lift up other women or girls every single day. We can lift up boys too but there is something extra special about supporting the next generation of women with our compassion, interest and support of them today. Be a woman who supports girls every way you can and show your sons how to do it right so there is never a need for 140 girls to go on stage to share any type of abuse. I believe strong women can inspire the next generation of strong women.

Wednesday Wisdom: Communication The Right Way

July 18, 2018

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration and Business Success Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs and Female Business Owners

American women will celebrate the National Suffrage Centennial in 2020. New York State women celebrated their 100th Suffrage Anniversary last year. As I witnessed the speaking topics being delivered in 2017 Centennial events, I noticed a missing presentation topic. The topic was about women in sports and what has or more importantly has not advanced the past 100 years for women athletes. As an athletic enthusiast and supporter of women in sports through our five year old Women’s Athletic Network, 261Fearless.Org and Syracuse University, I wanted to create a presentation on the subject to enlighten women in 2019 and 2020.

Having found myself on medical sabbatical the past three months with plenty of time to think and write, I started the research for a presentation (now deemed project) by interviewing female athletes in all levels and types of sports. One of the women I spoke with was Shawn Cheshire, a blind onetime paralympian cyclist who competed in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 and lived in Central New York until a few years ago. Shawn has competed at the National and International levels in multiple para-sports, including adaptive rowing, adaptive biathlon, and tandem road para-cycling. She is short of amazing.

As I prepared to interview Shawn over the phone, she taught me a business lesson I wanted to share with you today. I sent her the questions in advance when she said, “I can’t read the questions because they are in an attachment which is not ‘voice over compatible.'” I apologized and told her I never communicated with a blind person before. Seeing-impaired people can read email messages but not attachments unless they are “voice over compatible” so they can hear what the attachment says. I never knew about this technology or the use of it.

Unless we have a physical impairment, accident or medical situation that occurs to us, we don’t consider how communication can work better for others in our community. My mother taught dance to the deaf, so I am aware of sign language and can use it. There are also sign language interpreters for events, meetings and in hospitals.

We all by now understand what physical structures or adaptations we need entering our workplace and in common spaces to accommodate handicap individuals and older clients visiting us. There are numerous handicap laws but yesterday was the first time I contemplated communicating with a seeing-impaired person in 23 years of business. Does that mean a blind woman can’t read this blog post unless I use the proper technology?

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom might motivate you to look outside your own world and see what might be missing to make your business easier to work with if someone has a specific impairment like deafness, blindness or physical handicaps. It took this amazing blind paralympian to simply inform me what I needed to do to communicate with her. The photo of Shawn above is her hiking in the Grand Canyon with her friends!

If you have time these hot days of summer, create a list of ways your business can become more accommodating to customers with special needs so you both can do business together. We don’t want to miss potential clients because we are unaware of what it takes to communicate and work with them better.

The Revelations From Women Entrepreneurs Conversing

July 17, 2018

Inspiration and motivation for women, women entrepreneurs and female business owners

The past two months I have been hosting private poolside chats with women entrepreneurs in a comfortable setting where we allow ourselves to be open and honest about topics related to business, life, politics, sports, equality, health and mental wellness. Each woman has two hours to share whatever she wants, ask me questions, seek guidance, laugh, share personal hardships and open up about anything they want. This conversations have been both individual and yet universal topics.

These conversations have been a gift to me and to my guests too. Today I want to share some of the less personal and more business pieces of advice shared by the women who have visited me. My hope is although you are not sitting with me physically by my pool or in my poolhouse, you feel the interest and motivation in business today.

* Women are peaceful and grounded in what they do for others.
* We don’t have to do everything ourselves. Let go and give away work someone else can do.
* Seek testimonials from clients and use to attract new customers.
* Sports build confidence in women.
* Today’s generation operates more through technology than person to person. Keep meeting people in person when you can.
* We all have a book inside of us. Writing a book gets out what is inside of me.
* Turning an unused room in a house into a new studio can inspire women needing change.
* There is a divine design for your life. Look for it.

Stay tuned because I’ll be sharing more wisdom as more women visit me poolside this summer. Until then, let me know what wisdom you would like to share with other women entrepreneurs.

Imagery Leads to Success in Business and Sports

July 13, 2018

Inspiration and Wisdom for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Athletes, Small Business Owners

Every summer I travel back to a specific July morning when I decided to train to become an Olympic athlete. My semi-young stepfather was ranked fifteenth in the USA for downhill skiing at the time. I witnessed him travel to South America to train in the summer and to Lake Placid to train in the winter. This particular summer was also the year Nadia Comaneci scored a perfect 10 in competition and watching the Olympics was on my agenda every day after swimming in the lake I grew up on. Inspired by Nadia, I stated my intention quite clear at the dinner table that I was going to become an Olympic athlete. My stepfather immediately said, “Tracy, that’s great. I’ll train you!” I remember thinking my dream was going to come true quicker than I thought with an immediate “coach” by my side.

Every morning and afternoon, my coach and I headed down to the cove on the lake where our dock was stationed so I could swim laps for an hour to start my conditioning. I was pretty excited about my goal swimming every day. Until two weeks later, on one dark, rainy day we headed down for my training and the water seemed too dark to swim in and I declared, “I don’t want to be an Olympic athlete anymore!” My stepfather smiled at me as if he knew all along this would be the outcome. And that was that, my Olympic dream came to an end two weeks after I started it.

Even though imagery works well for elite athletes, it was not working for my 12 year old spunky self. For top athletes imagery can be a difficult skill to learn; but once executed can enable them to envision performing their sport from start to finish as if they are doing it in real time. I suppose I needed to know about imagery back when I was young.

As woman business owner, we can take a clue from elite athletes by using imagery for our own entrepreneurial success. We can use imagery to land an unexpected client, secure a lucrative financial contract, or increase revenue one quarter. One of the reasons I like morning meditation is to put big goals and intentions into the world and to see myself securing them in a few months.

This week I had a couple major intentions get realized. As I hung up the phone with two new women from other parts of the country entered my world through connections, asking and envisioning, I realized more women entrepreneurs should use imagery as part of their daily business practice. It might take time for imagery to work, but it does if practiced and remaining patient.

If we can’t see what we want to accomplish, we can’t manifest it. I encourage you today to spend the first half hour of your day using imagery to land some big new business dreams.

Wednesday Wisdom: Stepping Up To Support All Things Women

July 11, 2018

Wednesday Wisdsom Inspiration and wisdom for Women and Women Entrepreneurs

Did you ever notice before you open your eyes and just gaze at your eyelids closed that you see the color pink? I know this opening blog line might seem strange but stay with me for the moment, read the entire post and then decide to unfollow me if you don’t understand by the time you are at the end.

You see, I only see pink, and have for a very long time. Sometimes as in this case, it is literally the color pink but mostly it is figuratively pink because I am so passionate about supporting women’s issues. It started being born the oldest of five sisters and two brothers, surrounded by bold older women who were board presidents and female entrepreneurs and then the “sisters” I gained being a female business owner for 23 years and runner for 20 years. Women have always been at my side, in front of me leading the way and beside me on paved and rocky paths. I would not be who I am with women in my life.

I believe we are all born destined to make an indelible impact on the world. We don’t necessarily know what that impact is when we open our eyes as a newborn, as we grow into young women and even enter middle age, but one day the “aha moment” finds us because buried deep in our heart and inner voice we know what we were meant to do if we stop and listen long enough or as we look back at the natural paths of our lives. We see it. We know it. We must claim it.

When I started my company Women TIES, LLC 13 years ago, it was purely to strengthen the economic ties between women living across New York State, to provide a marketing platform for women entrepreneurs to promote themselves and businesses to other women so they could and would do business together since women don’t make as much money as men. It was my way of “passing legislation” to help level the monetary playing field. What I discovered is as much as that is still my number one passion, I also want to and must support women in sports and women’s equality issues. I suppose I lived out my destiny when my friend Maria DeSantis introduced me once as “Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham, all things women,” because its the truth.

After taking over 100 women to the Women’s March on Washington in 2017, my political voice has gotten stronger, although it has always been there since running for President of my student class in 1979 with an all girls slate. I have always tried to stay as non-political as I could within the context of my business world because I invite women of all faiths, backgrounds, sexual identity and incomes into my company because “women are women” to me no matter who they are; but the stakes coming up this fall are just go high to ignore anymore and I want to use my strong feminine voice to also talk about why women must get out there and vote and support women’s issues.

American women are 52% of the population and our voices must rise to be at every table, legislative branch, community organization, boardroom and business to support women’s rights. As much as I love men – my father, brothers, husband and sons – they don’t understand the true struggles women have because they are not women. It is not their fault for not deeply being rooted in what womanhood means with its glories and defeats, so we – women – must stand up for ourselves and make sure women get an equal share of what is ours.

Before I opened my eyes this morning I saw pink. As I type I see pink. As I watch the news I see pink. As I decide who to do business with today I see pink. My hope for you is to see more pink and act on supporting women that are in business, sports, politics, and equality issues. Women must see start seeing pink all the time to change the world for the better.

To follow the Women TIES Equality Division, visit https://www.facebook.com/womentiesequality/, to buy from women owned business, visit http://www.womenties.com/members.cfm and to join our women’s athletic network visit, http://www.womensathleticnetwork.com

Woman Entrepreneur Shares Joy of Running and Sisterhood with International Women in Global Organization 261 Fearless

July 9, 2018

Monday Motivation, Inspiration and Wisdom for Women in Business and Sports

As a woman entrepreneur, I always set my eyes on meeting more women because of my love, passion and dedication to them in entrepreneurship, sports, equality and sisterhood. In 2015, I wanted to connect with more international women to expand my business and personal horizons. Sometimes you never know how big an intention can become until you set it! Have you realized that yourself?

After running by myself this morning in training for my first mini-triathlon, I remembered high-fiving my new English friend Jo Moseley at the end of my 7 mile leg of a 26.2 mile marathon relay team of all women when I ran on May 27th in Devon, England with three international women as part of Team 261 Fearless. I find it amazing how fast I bond with other women especially in business, sports and equality forums. Is it that women are just amazing and I know that as a truth?

261Fearless.org (pronounced TWO-SIX-ONE Fearless), was established in 2015 as a global non-profit founded by pioneer runner and Syracuse University graduate Kathrine Switzer. 261 Fearless is a global supportive social running network which empowers women to connect and take control of their lives through the freedom gained by running. Through a series of non-competitive running clubs, a unique education program and private communication channels, the organization provides networking, healthy running support and a sisterhood to women all over the world.

I became involved with 261Fearless at its inception in New York City in 2015 after being invited by Kathrine Switzer to join her and 13 other women from around the globe to launch the organization. I instantly bonded with the women I met from Iceland, Australia, Austria, England and Malaysia and also American sisters from Texas, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Boston, who I still communicate with today. The global sisterhood of 261Fearless opened doors unthinkable to me prior to getting involved with the organization.

The non-profit organization gave me an opportunity to run in my first marathon, the Boston Marathon, on a charity bib in 2017 and travel to England to run with my new international sisters. I have discovered women are wonderful no matter where you travel in the United States or world. In today’s news cycle it seems like people from different countries do not get along, I have found the opposite truth when meeting and running with women from around the globe. The positive relationships need to be reported as well because they exist.

I encourage women I know to get involved with 261Fearless.org and to take a risk, and opportunity of a lifetime in running the New York City Marathon with us or starting a 261Fearless Club in their region of the state because the organization has opened so many doors for me in terms of health, relationship and women.

261Fearless has a limited number of charity bibs for the 2018 New York City Marathon happening on November 4, 2018 and welcomes any woman to join the team. Monies raised from the bibs help 261 Fearless continue to break down the barriers of geography and create a global community of women runners of all abilities to support, encourage and inspire each other towards a positive sense of self and fearlessness. Find out more by visiting www.261Fearless.org.

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