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Wednesday Wisdom: The Silence Breakers

December 6, 2017

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

I had to wait to see what was about to be announced. I hoped with all my heart it would be a female on the cover of Time Magazine Person of the Year since in my opinion this has been the year of women stepping up in our country. I flashed back to a warm May 2017 day testifying in front of the New York State Labor Commissioner and her panel of 8 women listening to reasons our government needs to pass a state pay equality bill; because until a law is passed women entrepreneurs will continue to under price their services too.

Then my memory jumped to images of pink hats, signs and two busloads of women from Central New York traveling with me to Washington in January and an interview in front of the Capitol building with ESPNW where I spoke about Women TIES Mission of women buying from women to help eradicate pay inequality. Young women jumped in the background after the interview cementing my words with their excitement.

When I announced and promoted the fact I was taking women to the Women’s March, I received calls from women all over the state asking me about details, but more importantly sharing their stories of rape, sexual harassment in the work place, losing a son to AIDS, worrying about their handicapped son not being treated well and so much more. I was touched by every story. It changed me. It made me more resolute to do what I could for all women period – not just women in business although that is where my true passion resides – but for all female causes.

Although some of my followers did not agree with my decision to go to Washington DC, which affected the number of members and friends, I had to go and bring women with me that wanted to go. It was about showing support for the gender I love -women. You can imagine how glad I was to see Time Magazine’s cover “The Silence Breakers” revealed starring women who broke their silence through the #MeToo movement.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is a salute to every single woman who has withstood pay inequality, injustice, sexual harassment, and gender inequality. I am sure if you are reading this you have experienced some form of injustice or inequality in your lifetime. It is also to remind you that women have been the ones to share your story and emotions with and who inspire us to fight on. Today, appreciate the women who have stuck by you and elevated you when life was tough.

I also want you to mark your calendar for the weekend of January 19-21, 2018 when Women TIES, along with the New Feminists for Justice, a group that created the Syracuse Women’s March last year, will produce a non-political celebratory weekend for women and girls including an empowering business and networking event on Friday, Women’s March on Saturday, and attend the Syracuse University Women’s Basketball team trying to break an attendance record on Sunday. Please join me shoulder to shoulder, hand to hand as we kick-off “the year of women.”

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Monday Motivation: The Value of Traveling for Business, Meeting Legends & Fearless Women

December 4, 2017

Inspiration and wisdom for women entrepreneurs and female business owners

For the past six months I have been helping Team 261 Fearless spread news about their social running community for women here in the United States. Encouraging women who like to run to join 261 Fearless is another passion of mine especially since I have met so many new international and national women the past two years since being invited by Kathrine Switzer to meet her and 13 other women in New York City. My life has changed for the better in so many ways but especially by becoming more fearless in business, sports and life. As Kathrine says, “When you are fearless, you are free.”

I wanted to share with my female readers and Women TIES members the wonderful weekend I just experienced in San Antonio, Texas spreading the news about 261 Fearless through attendance at an EXPO, special events and even a 5K run with new Texas friends. These women are just as fantastic as the women I’ve met the past 22 years in business. We are the same – fearless women with passion for supporting each other in life. If you are interested in becoming more involved with 261 Fearless, contact me directly and visit 261 Fearless Website.

Team 261 Fearless Rocks and Rolls San Antonio

On a balmy Thursday night, Deb Mills and Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham, 261 Fearless Staff Members, arrived in beautiful San Antonio, Texas just in time to stroll along the infamous San Antonio River Walk. Since it was December and the start of holiday season, beautiful long strands of green, white and red lights hung down from tall trees proving dazzling lighting as dusk turned into dark. The air was full of holiday tunes and Mexican songs sung by a boys and girls musical group. Deb and I were both thankful to experience Texas for the first time together – a state both of us had not visited yet. If the atmosphere was a foreshadowing of the fun to come, we would have known this 261 Fearless event would be special.

The San Antonio Rock and Roll event began Friday morning with a flashy start when a samba band and two dancers dressed in gold and purple sashayed to the stage to warm up the crowed before introducing some rock stars of running including 261Fearless’ own Kathrine Switzer and 2015 Men’s Boston Marathon Winner Meb Keflezighi.The crowd was thick listening to the running stars and eager to enter the Expo after the speeches. Kathrine shared the origins of 261 Fearless as the audience erupted in applause.

The 261 Fearless Expo Booth welcomed many visitors including a collection of 100 women interested in joining our Train the Trainer programs in Dallas, Chicago and Boston in 2018, signing up for our newsletter or becoming a new “Fearless Friend.” We also greeted our 261 Fearless Rock and Roll running team of 14 women including one special 11 year old girl named “Rosie” who had written a paper on Kathrine Switzer and decided to run on our team to meet her. This girl was a spark of energy and joy. She made a few eyes tear up when she jumped for pure joy when she first encountered Kathrine.

The 5K and 10K races started(click on the link to watch the quick video)on Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. blocks away from the iconic “Alamo.” 261 Fearless camerawoman Rosy Sparker was ready to videotape our run on Facebook Live and Boston Athletic Association Past President Joann Flamino joined us as the new 261 Fearless Advocate. With our new purple running shirts on, we started off through the streets. I ran behind little Rosie at times telling her I was running better in her tale winds! It was the truth having not run for 4 months due to a hip injury.

As I lost sight of my team, I remembered Kathrine’s wise words, “Running is about putting one foot in front of the other- no matter what your ability until you finish the race.” I was doing that as I lost my “group” happily letting them finish together triumphantly. Around the two and a half mile mark, I saw Meb Keflezighi running down our street slapping hands and telling us to keep running. He almost missed my hand but slowed down and came back to slap it! I thought “Okay Tracy let’s get this ole’ hip of yours to the finish line since Meb inspired you!”

At the finish line I found my “family of purple sisters” waiting for me. We hugged and decided to walk a block to the iconic Alamo to take a group photo. How could we not do that? We were running together in Texas! Later that evening we joined together in celebration for dinner in a beautiful restaurant along the River Walk with an original Train-the-Trainer Mary T. Callaghan of Houston Texas who Deb and I hadn’t seen since first meeting her, Kathrine and each other in October 30, 2015. Mary operates the Greater Houston Girls on the Run. We all shared Mexican food and drinks and listened to Kathrine and Joann inspire us. Our runners were gifted with small tokens of appreciation for their fundraising efforts and we all hugged good bye since the half and marathon runners had to run the next morning.

As the sun set over the River Walk with the twinkling lit trees as if to say, “Hope ya’ll had a great time,” we departed happy to have run together with new fearless friends from another part of America, hoping we meet again soon in another great city together with our new national and international friends. This is the true “spirit” of 261 Fearless! I can’t wait to meet more incredible women in 2018!

Looking Into 2018

November 29, 2017

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration and Advice for New York State Women Entrepreneurs and Female Business Owners

Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of speaking to a female reporter from New York Magazine who discovered the fact I had taken 110 women to the Women’s March on Washington in January. She was composing a story for the one year anniversary of the event and wanted to speak to women who participated in the March and how it had changed their lives. Always being someone open to talking to media, I accepted her invitation.

The one hour in-depth interview covered many topics especially the origins of Women TIES along with my increasingly feminist spirit to not only help women entrepreneurs, but to speak about about pay inequality, and encouraging more women to support female athletes. She asked if this new spirit was born from the March. I told her I didn’t think so but it was strengthened by the almost one million women I witnessed positively standing shoulder to shoulder in support of all things women.

“When did you change Tracy?” she asked. I said, “I guess I never realized until this year that the female activist has been inside me all along.” Earlier in the week, a local group who coordinated the Syracuse Women’s March asked me to work with them to create one here on January 20, 2018. I agreed but suggested we could broaden the event into a “Weekend Celebration of Women” starting with a business empowerment program produced by Women TIES on Friday, the March on Saturday and a large attendance of women at the Syracuse University Women’s Basketball Game on Sunday. Why not make the entire weekend, a pro-female celebration of unity, peace and movement.

Just like earlier this year, I will be inviting every woman I know through our membership, readership, events and social media connections to come together and celebrate with me and other women to keep the movement and spirit of the Women’s March continuing. It will not have a political spin to it just women celebrating women.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to encourage you to embrace everything good about you and to share it with the world in 2018. We need more women standing up, sharing, and collaborating to make this world more powerful and positive through our actions. It does not mean you have to be political; it means you have to get involved and unite with women of similar interests whether that’s women in business, with similar community interests, or with social causes that move your heart and spirit.

I believe 2018 will be the year of the woman and I want you to join Women TIES as we expand our reach beyond just business to incorporate more social and community activities to bring women together. The world will never change for the better unless more women unite and stand up to support other women in more areas of life. Mark your calendar for January 19-21, 2018 and stay tuned for details. I want you at our events to lend your own unique perspective and energy.

As New York State Lt. General Kathy Hochul said at our POWER Conference in September, “100 years from now, what will women say about the women of today and how they made the world a better place for women?” I want to be one of the women that is making that positive change to last another 100 years. Will you join me?

Increasing Revenue Takes Effort

November 27, 2017

Marketing Monday Wisdom on Sales for Women Entrepreneurs

Another Monday has arrived and whether you look forward to it with anticipation and excitement as a professional probably is influenced with how you ended your business week last week or the rest, rejuvenation and enjoyment you found over the Thanksgiving holiday There is something very appealing to Monday mornings if you are an entrepreneur because if you are like me you are excited about ways to increase revenue.

If you are having trouble finding motivation behind doing sales at the start of a new work week, I hope today’s Marketing Monday post called “Increasing Revenue Takes Effort” which was delivered by sales expert Lynn Hidy of UpYourTeleSales.com at a meeting last year for my company Women TIES will inform and motivate you in your sales efforts this week.

Increasing Revenue Takes E.F.F.O.R.T

E- Enthusiasm
* Ask your customers why they do business with you and what keeps them coming back.
* Ask them “why choose to do business with you vs. any other similar company/organization?”

F – Focus
* Focus is critical in generating more money. You must focus on specific revenue generating activities all the time whether you like it or not.
* Set an appointment with yourself on your calendar to make sales calls.

F – Forecast
* Focus is crucial in generating more money. Focus needs to be specific revenue generation energy.
* Set an appointment with yourself so you can focus and concentrate on sales activities.
* Women entrepreneurs do not spend enough time forecasting. Forecasting can help drive your sales activity!

O – Optimize
* Create an ideal customer profile of who your best customers are.
* Know where your clients are from and when you can allow yourself to be in the right time and place to meet them.
* Put yourself in the position to have a great sales conversation.

R – Results
* Conduct a survey of current customers because the goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight and insight into making decisions.
* You must know your clients well enough to know when a potential customer does not fit your client profile. If they don’t “qualify”, let them go.

TT – Talk Tracts
* Create good scripts to qualify prospects.
* Know how you will handle any objections.
* Make sure you know how to close a membership sale.

I wish you a fantastic and productive revenue producing week ahead. Believe that anything is possible if you put your focus and effort into achieving your goals.

P.S. If you live in the Greater Albany, Saratoga or Capital Region, join us at this Wednesday’s event to jump start sales with some new women entrepreneurs. Register by November 28th at 4 p.m. at http://womenties.com/events.cfm#Event493

Thanksgiving Message for Women Entrepreneurs

November 22, 2017

Inspiration and Wednesday Wisdom with the theme of Thanksgiving

Earlier this year my youngest sister traced our family tree back to having two relatives on the Mayflower. Tracing our lineage forward our ancestors never left the New England region even up to our grandparents residing in Johnstown, New York near Albany.

In 2005, a year before my father passed away, we spent Thanksgiving in Maine. I remember waking up to a light snowfall with the smell of fresh coffee and a house filled with my three youngest siblings, father, stepmother, husband and two sons. It was one of those magical days when your heart sings and knows it will remember why the day was so special. I now know my “ancestors spirit” was probably around us in New England.

My stepmother and I were in the kitchen making up a homemade butternut soup recipe as we tasted it as we were developing it. My sons were downstairs in the basement running around to the music of my brother’s drums and guitar playing. My father and husband were watching football. It was as close as you could get to a Hallmark Thanksgiving.

Now 16 years later my father’s laughter is in my memory, my stepmother can’t cook because she has Alzheimer’s Disease living in a nursing home, my brothers and sisters live in different parts of New England and I await my two grown up sons to fly home together tonight from New York City where they work and live. Time passes.

My story is the same as your story but slightly different. Memories of Thanksgiving past creep into our hearts especially if we have lost a loved one this year or if our family dynamic has changed. It is a reason I like to think back to the bravery of the newly arrived pilgrims and their willingness to sit down with a tribe of people they didn’t know to share a moment in time filled with appreciation for being together and the food prepared, then we can do the same.

As women entrepreneurs we are blessed every day to live the life of our dreams which may be different yet similar to the early Americans who believed life could be better in a new world. We are fortunate to “live our dream” making our own money our own way and sharing it with any tribe of people we serve.

My life has been enriched with the thousands of women I have met the past twenty two years associated with my businesses. If I had a large enough dining room table, I would invite each and every one of them over to share in the meal I am cooking. Since I can’t do that, I will bless and thank each of them – and you – when I say my grace tomorrow.

The Flow of Business Planning

November 15, 2017

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

As the road led around curves, up hills and into the Adirondack Park, the vista became spotted with tall pine trees, deer munching on greens alongside the road, silent lakes abandoned from summer joy and grey gloomy skies. I had promised myself I would support a dear friend at her annual Retreat for women giving myself a gift of reflection as another business year draws to an end. When else would I have time to contemplate an amazing year of activity, fearlessness and growth?

The moment I opened the car door, letting the warm air of a three hour drive release into the crisp 13 degree air of Blue Mountain Lake, I felt the surge of positive energy hit me. I was in the right place at the right time and excited to learn from my friend, the other women and myself. The main log cabin had a crackling fireplace, full-size glass windows peering out to calm waters and the smell of pine. I heard women converse in another room, laughing and sharing already. I was eager to join them and partake in the discussion.

The theme of “clarity” or “clearing away” was introduced in every exercise, artistic options and group dialogs during the Retreat. Every woman was there needing lucidity in their business or personal lives. I was there to ponder this next stage in my life as an empty nester and 22 year woman entrepreneur being pulled towards more equality and women’s rights issues. We were all there to create a flow of feelings and intellectual thoughts without resistance that would lead us forward.

We were invited to take breaks in nature at points throughout the day. It was hard not to be drawn outside to the beautiful calm lake with lapping water. I sat on a dock, like I had growing up, thinking back on my life and forward. The water had a way of bringing up memories. After taking in the recollections, I walked up a hill to a beautiful bubbling stream rushing downhill. The flow of the water, stillness of the air and gurgling of nature enveloped me into a cocoon of hope. Flowing out were old emotions, flowing in was enlightened future ideas. How could Mother Nature produce such profound insight?

Every day gave us a chance to embrace another woman’s past, current situation and hope for her future. Dreams of a stronger marriage, empty nest lifestyle, changes in profession and becoming healthier were just a few of my new friend’s hopes. On the last morning as we said good-bye, we held hands in a circle acknowledging the women we met, the quality time spent together and a new awareness for our lives. It was a circle of fulfillment.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to inspire you to soak into this visual putting yourself in my spot as I journeyed to this special place, witnessing the beauty, freshness and hope for a different and yet blessed future. Once in awhile, we need to go “off track” into serenity to contemplate, plan and hope forward. Like the crystal clear stream, we aren’t mean to be stagnate but to move, flow and change overtime. We often feel stuck when we stop ourselves from moving forward. I hope you do so today in peace and hope.

I wish you a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving with your family and friends. Remember to be thankful for your personal entrepreneurial life that flows everyday with new possibilities.

The Most Important Question to Ask

November 9, 2017

Inspiration and wisdom for women entrepreneurs, small business owners, female business owners

There have been many times I have asked myself one particular question. I asked it when I graduated from college and had to find my first professional job. The same question appeared when I had my first son. About 4 years later, the issue arose after having my second son realizing I couldn’t afford daycare costs on our salary. This question has appeared at every cross road and significant milestone in my personal life.

After becoming a woman entrepreneur at the age of 30, the same question surfaced time and again as I grew my first business, launched my second one and added divisions to the second company after 22 years of becoming a woman entrepreneur. I haven’t mind addressing the inquiry because it appears when I’m ready and sometimes when I’m not but always in the right moment. The million dollar question that appears in most women’s personal or business life is “What Now?”

As human beings we get use to a certain pattern in life or work and then a change occurs and we ask ourselves the important question, “What Now?” For some of us it means, educating ourselves so we can survive the next step, other times it requires faith, many times it means letting go and moving on into another stage waiting for us. Sometimes we see the end coming or the new beginning shining bright and other times we are surprised.

The riches, rewards and knowledge I have gained over two decades of being a woman entrepreneur have altered my path along the business journey. No longer am I satisfied with just planning golf tournaments or managing someone’s fundraising event, I need more. My evolution demands more. The evolvement of women in the work place, playing fields and board rooms still with so many inequalities leaves me asking “What Now?” like it always has.

With more time on my hands because my sons live in New York City means more time to work longer hours, travel to different destinations, accept more speaking invitations and passionately and more loudly support issues important to me. Perhaps at 53 years old, I want to contemplate the “What Now” question so I make the next 20 years of my life and career more meaningful then ever to leave a legacy. I want to continue to change the world for the better for women entrepreneurs and women the best way I know how by always asking that question “What Now Tracy?”

If you are inspired to find out more about your next step in life or business, join me on Friday, November 17th in Syracuse for a program called “Activate & Strengthen Your Vision For The Next Stage.” I promise you and I will walk away with a clearer answer to that question.

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