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Wednesday Wisdom – A Few of My Favorite Things

February 14, 2018

Inspiration and Wednesday Wisdom for Women and Women Entrepreneurs

After Skyping with my friend Edith Zuschmann of 261 Fearless from Austria this morning, I heard Julie Andrews voice singing familiar lyrics to a popular song on the Sound of Music soundtrack,

“Raindrops on roses.
And whiskers on kittens.
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.
Brown paper packages tied up with strings.
These are a few of my favorite things.”

Edith and I spoke about many items including the Olympics, obtaining hometown stories for our 2018 Boston Marathon charity runners and creating fundraising events to drive attention in different parts of the country. The event planning and marketing dialog reminded me how much I love and embrace those two subject areas.

With the song fresh in my head, I decided to rewrite the lyrics to “My Favorite Things,” to fit my life and today’s Wednesday Wisdom audience (sing along with the beat of the song)

“Women doing business.
While always promoting.
Vivid crimson purses and business cards boosting
Gathering to network in our New York ring
These are a few of my favorite things”

The creative burst of energy had as much to do with my light-hearted mood as watching the success of the Olympic athletes and landing a national online interview where I got to speak joyously about the women I support in business, sports, equality and life. As I heard myself tell my story and passion for supporting women, with as much excitement as Chloe Kim landing her Half Pipe gold medal run, it has been hard to contain my energy. We each personal and entrepreneurial enthusiasm that make us soar and hang high while sharing our expertise.

We really aren’t so different from the talented athletes on the national stage doing what they do best. We do our finest every day, maybe not to the applause of a huge fan base or being interviewed by Hoda Kotb, but we know when we perform well and have launched ourselves onto the right track at the right speed to get the gold we desire – whatever that gold is for us. But there are times when we need to be brazen about sharing our journey, milestones and successes with the media so they can capture our glorious work too.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is intended to inspire you to contemplate your personal journey, milestones and successes to share with the local, regional or national media. If your story has an international flare to it, share it with global networks. Sometimes the media comes to us, but most times we need to go to them. If we aren’t Olympic athletes, then we need to produce the news – and maybe even songs – to share our story with more people.

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Oh Yeah – Entrepreneurs Need to High Five Themselves Sometimes – See Why!

February 8, 2018

Inspiration and Thursday Thoughts for Women Entrepreneurs and Female Business Owners

Last year I began preparing for a physical adventure that was beyond my comfort zone – running in the Boston Marathon with Team 261Fearless. In order to accomplish what I hoped to achieve, I needed to train myself to push longer and harder than I had before. Every day the activity I was trying to perfect took more focus, a deeper commitment and more time on my calendar. Others things had to wait as I committed to this one new thing.

At the end of each day, I found myself literally “high fiving” myself as an ultimate act of taking in the accomplishment. Although it might have seemed funny to anyone who saw me do it, I learned the act of physically doing something to applaud myself for pushing myself harder worked. This positive action produced a giddy feeling that stayed with me the rest of the day and propelled me farther.

Yesterday as I accomplished a new technical accomplishment for a new business service that I forced myself to attempt, I found myself once again needing the positive physical act of the high-five to celebrate the completion of the feat to myself. Once again my hands clapped mid-air in a gesture of success for my eye, spirit and mind to record.

You might be thinking I’ve reached new levels of cabin fever working inside my office in the dead of winter but I hope you take this visual as encouragement to push yourself to do something new for yourself instead of waiting for someone else to help you. It is easy to get comfortable doing the same thing for a long time or waiting for someone else to come to our rescue. What the high-five illustrates is the capability we each have to do something absolutely brand new by our own determination, grit and hard work. We have more brains, brawn and bravery buried inside of us than we give ourselves credit for.

Today consider what small or big task is standing in way of you moving forward in 2018 quicker; and then take a brave step forward by pushing yourself to achieve it or teach yourself instead of relying on someone else to instruct you. There are certainly times when we need other people’s assistance in reaching our goals but what the visual of the high-five can teach you is that you can take the bull by the horns sometimes and dig deep to train or teach yourself to do something new.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.” I hope you make more ‘high-five’ moments in 2018.

Inspiring International Influences

February 7, 2018

Wednesday Wisdom, inspiration and success strategies for women entrepreneurs and small business owners

For the next few weeks we delve into an international world as the Olympics commence in PyeongChang, South Korea. The colorful Olympic opening night will illuminate our eyes with sights of different looking flags, people of all colors and South Korean artistic culture. We will search for our American flag and our team donned in red, white and blue suits, made by Ralph Lauren (where my brother designs) with heating elements to keep our gifted athletes warm in brutally cold temperatures. An athlete with an entrepreneurial mind must have thought of that innovative idea.

Most days we get up and look outside onto our “postage stamp size” lawn within a neighborhood in one small part of our city which is a hundredth section of one medium size state in our country which is on one continent of seven across our globe. We live small because realistically that is what our demographics give us. It is large International events like the Olympics when we live much larger for two weeks.

Entrepreneurial history kept women business owners living small when our corner stores was dependent on foot traffic, local newspapers printed advertisements, and trusted word of mouth testimonials were golden. Now women entrepreneurs sell on the Internet to universal customers, advertise on the “world wide web” and use testimonials in social media marketing sources. Just like the Olympian athletes this week, smart entrepreneurs should be seen globally to achieve new customers, friends and followers.

This weekend I am traveling to Boston to meet my good friend Inga Fanney from Iceland who came to the USA to meet American travel companies to market her Iceland Adventure trips. I have already connected her to a few women owned travel agencies. In May, I am running in an all women marathon with female teammates from Switzerland, England and Australia to display the international flavor of 261Fearless.org. My first trip across the pond will be as colorful as the Olympics when I run with these women. What are you doing to infuse international influences into your life?

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to encourage you to think about opening your life to a more global world. If you don’t belong to an international organization of some kind, consider it. If you haven’t mastered social media programs that open your world to women across the globe, learn how. If you don’t think you’ll benefit from living and working globally, ask women who are and be inspired.

I hope you watch the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang with new business eyes. I also encourage you to cheer on New York’s own Erin Hamlin, a female luger from Remsen, New York near Utica. I already signed up for her personal watch alerts which you can do too at this link. Let’s cheer on a “local” New York State girl going for her second Olympic medal on the biggest international stage there is and dream of doing the same in business.

Winning Like The Eagles When You Are an Entrepreneur

February 5, 2018

Inspiration and Wisdom for Women Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn,” said Harriet Beecher Stowe, American Writer. On the day after Super Bowl LII, when the Philadelphia Eagles, labeled an “underdog” by the media, are sitting high on top its beautiful historic city and world stage as Super Bowl Champions. They won because they never gave up on themselves. It was the magical key to their brilliant green victory.

I lived in Philadelphia right out of college when the football season was beginning. Buddy Ryan was the coach and at the time no one loved his coaching but like every city in America fans rooted for and believed in their team. Since 1986, I have been an Eagles fan and a fan of Philadelphia, a city that doesn’t get nearly enough recognition as New York City, Boston or Washington DC. It is a city with American history that warrants it becoming beloved especially at this time in our political history.

The Eagles victory last night, and the quote this morning, both resonate with my 22 year old entrepreneurial mind since there are times starting, owning and running a business when you feel like the underdog. I have felt this way when a competitor took a few of my clients away, when customers found a cheaper vendor for services and when sales where hard to find during tough economic times. Every single business owner in America experiences ‘underdog’ time periods.

The lesson the Philadelphia Eagles taught us all last night are these three things:

* You must believe in yourself when no one else does in order to get back on top.

*Patience, hard work and faith can help you rise again.

*Teamwork and support from others who believe in you can make all the difference in eventual success.

I hope this Monday after the Super Bowl, you relish in the accomplishments of the Philadelphia Eagles and even the city’s iconic figure Rocky and take in what they did to become more successful again. Implement what you see and hear into your own business philosophy and practices today so you can fly like the Eagles.

P.S. I love the city of Boston and the New England Patriots too. They both have their own secrets to success!

Wisdom for Women as Black History Month Approaches

January 31, 2018

Wednesday Wisdom and Inspiration for Women and Women Entrepreneurs

In 1999 I remembered being deeply moved by the film “Glory.” The film is about one of the first military units of the Union Army, during the American Civil War, to consist entirely of African-American men (except for its officers), as told from the point of view of Colonel Shaw, its white commanding officer. The regiment is known especially for its heroic actions at Fort Wagner. To this day it is one of my favorite movies because of the eventual unity, mutual respect and dying love the soldiers and officers had for one another.

I grew up in a small town that did not have many African American people. Our town was made up mostly of Italian immigrants, like my grandparents. The few black people I knew were talented football players from our high school who I still see regularly at our high school reunions. Rome, New York was also an Air Force Base town so friendships were made and then suddenly gone when their parents were deployed somewhere else. Although the Air Force families could live on base, many lived off base giving me insight to people from around the country. I always loved meeting new people and getting to understand their background.

About fifteen years ago a dynamic African American woman walked into my downtown office. We hit it off immediately and before she left she said, “I do believe we are sisters,” I agreed. I have felt that way about Gwen Webber-McLeod, my one and only true black friend ever since. I have asked Gwen many questions about why more white and black women aren’t friends or why each group doesn’t do business with the other more. Gwen has given me enlightening perspectives on the difference between the two cultures and how difficult it can be to mix them together. This seemed strange to me at first as someone who embraced integrating with new people from other parts of the country.

What moved me most about ‘Glory’ was the inhumane way blacks were treated. I felt horrible for them especially when I compared it to my Italian family who welcomed anyone to our dinner table. My mother taught dance to deaf students and some of them were black. It was wonderful breaking bread with them and having diversity around our table even if I had to use sign language.

So this month as our country celebrates Black History Month, I am celebrating my friend Gwen Webber-McLeod and her production of “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” which is playing at the Auburn Public Theater, supported by Artistic Director Angela Daddabbo. I bought ten tickets for the February 8th show so women interested can join me and learn more about our African American sisters during Black History Month.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is meant for you to think about whether or not you do business with African American women or if you celebrate any as your friends. There are many black women in our community we should know better and consider giving business to. If you don’t have many diverse friends, I challenge you to think about starting new relationships with women of different races, religions or backgrounds because women are the future and that means all women.

Women: Speak Out, Tweet and Blog What’s On Your Mind

January 30, 2018

Inspirational Words of Wisdom for women and women entrepreneurs

I haven’t stopped thinking about the messages so artistically delivered at the Grammy’s on Sunday night. I was moved for many reasons and then reminded by news networks as they reiterate the significance of the women who took the stage to lend their voices to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Pink and Keisha along with her sister support network of women including Cindi Lauper, Andra Day, Camila Cabelo, were just a few of the women who rocked the stage and delivered powerful performances aimed at uplifting and supporting women.

Yesterday when I received a message from MoveOn.org about “The People’s State of the Union” address streaming live on Facebook at 8 p.m., I joined 9K people at one point listening to the words and songs of the performers. Once again Andra Day was singing but this time she sang, “Rise Up,” one of my favorite songs as I prepared for the March on Washington last year. Rise Up has been the statement of the past six months as #MeToo and #TimesUp has hit social media.

Every day women entrepreneurs in my network ask me why I blog and how to turn blogging into a powerful tool for a business. Since 2008, I have blogged only to have it become a way of life; but it wasn’t until the last couple years that sharing my blog posts through Twitter and social media would garner me a larger platform to share my feminist views with others. Using the #MeToo hashtag has opened the doors for more interviews, community connections and conversations than I ever had before the hashtag was created. It has been a powerful way to connect with women all over the world on a common topic.

I shared this point of view with a woman entrepreneur today who is starting to blog more regularly but looking for additional ways to get viewers. I told her the secret to success is to be aware of current trending topics, being authentic in writing about a topic that relates to your personal or professional life and then sharing it with large online audiences. I don’t blog to make money or be famous, I have always blogged to educate and empower women. When you don’t have the singing prowess of the Grammy performers, you do have a voice to share your message verbally or in written word like this written blurb from Pink.

I am continually grateful for the women like Pink and Kesha who can sing out the pain, interviewers like Oprah who can hold conversations with survivors and athletes like Billie Jean King who can use their sports platform to speak the truth. For some of us, writing and blogging is the best way to reach an audience looking to hear what we want to share. With that being said, I have to prepare for an interview with a local news team in a few moments about my #MeToo moments. They couldn’t have found me if I wasn’t willing to speak out, write and blog about my experiences. I suggest you do the same.

Green Money Visions for Women

January 24, 2018

Wednesday Wisdom Inspiration and Business Advice for Women Entrepreneurs and Female Business Owners

After an exuberant weekend filled with women entrepreneurs marketing their companies and networking, marching side-by-side with all ages of people to celebrate Women’s Rights to cheering on female athletes with 40 other women, I found myself resting in an MRI machine having an update on a small pituitary tumor found in 1994. The MRI operator said, “Try not to move during the 30 minute scan,” little did he know I was so tired I found the inside of the loud clanging tubular machine peaceful after such a full weekend.

As I lay encompassed by this modern technology thinking, “Who was brilliant enough to invent such a machine to see the inside the human mind?” I reflected and relived the moments of the weekend. You see sometimes I am so busy I do not allow myself time to relish in business successes because I’m already planning the next event for women entrepreneurs. The ‘quiet’ of the machine gave me just the time I needed to relive each day, the women I met, and the inspirational words of all the female speakers.

A conversation about pay inequality flooded into mind first – most likely making my brain image quite pink! The dialogue reminded me no matter how hard women entrepreneurs work at their companies; they are not satisfied with the amount of money they make. I can attest to this after 22 years as an entrepreneur. I know if I compared my salary the past two decades as a business owner to what I would have earned in a career in higher education, the retirement fund would be larger and I could pay off my son’s college loans sooner.

The reality is our salaries as women entrepreneurs are tied into the salaries of our hard working professional female sisters who work for someone else. If they are paid less money compared to their male counterparts, women business owners follow their example and their pay history by charging less. It might not make sense to the outside world that believes women business owners can charge any pay rate we want; but we follow suit with society’s norms.

There are many equality issues facing women today and pay equality is one of them. If we can’t change the laws because we don’t have a voice at the table where laws are made, then we must do what we can on our own. I believe strongly by women committing 100% to put their money in the hands, bank accounts, checking books and Pay Pal accounts of other women in we can “make” pay equality our issue and change the world in our own way.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to encourage you to recommit to spending your money in 2018 with women first and foremost to help eradicate pay inequality and level the financial playing field for our generation and hopefully the generation to follow. Women TIES is built on this premise and a reason we have a directory where you can find women to do business with across the state or in your own region. We aren’t just another business organization trying to help women network, we have a much stronger feminist focused mission aimed at helping women make more money; but I need you to live the “Women TIES Mission” to make these changes work.

I hope the next time I have to lie inside a tubular machine thinking about my company, I only see visions of green money being exchanged between women since it will be the only way they do business.

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