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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.


Brilliant New Women to Meet

November 8, 2017

Inspiration and Wednesday Wisdom for women entrepreneurs and female business owners

A top the 48th floor of a new building in Hudson Yards with 240 degree glass views of New York City with the most mesmerizing crystal clear view of the Hudson River was where a centennial celebration of women’s suffrage was held on November 6th. The room glowed from gold and purple lights intermixing to create a spectacular aura as fanciful hors d’oeuvres and ‘suffrage’ drinks comprised of champagne, rose water and a lavender bud were passed. My two handsome sons, who don’t mind having a ‘pro-female’ mother, joined me and mingled with women of all ages. A tall cake topped with “100” was center stage for all to see. It was glorious.

Like any networking event, people mingled looking for others to talk to. I couldn’t take my eyes off a woman I thought was someone I knew from a Women TIES event in Skaneateles. I finally approached her and said, “Do I know you?” She responded, “I don’t think so, but tell me who you are?” So I shared my background and how I was invited to this exclusive affair. In turn she told me she had recently met New York State Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul and was invited to attend. After more ‘small talk’ about my career including the Women’s Athletic Network, the woman said to me, “I love sports too. I was the CEO of the Milwaukee Brewers once,” I thought to myself only in New York City on this night would I meet this amazing career woman.

The woman I met was Wendy Selig-Prieb, an attorney by trade and the only female president and chairman of a Major League Baseball Club. As part of management’s Labor Committee in 1994-1995, Selig-Prieb was the first woman to represent Major League Baseball in its collective bargaining with the MLB Players Association. She served on numerous other committees for Baseball and represented the Brewers at Major League meetings from September 1992- January 2005. She was an impressive in person as in her resume. She engaged with my sons even asking my oldest son about her orthopedic ankle injury. We walked away glad to have met each other.

I wish I had a chance to meet every woman in that room there to celebrate women’s history. What stories would each of them have? Who could I have met and the reasons why they were there and how they are making a contribution to women’s history in business? There are also women not at business events, like my sister Bre Chamberlain who fights for Fair Rent Portland to help her own community. I won’t know about all the women in the world making positive changes but I learned the simple lesson in reaching out to someone new and starting a meaningful conversation until we uncover more brilliant women to know, do business with and admire.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to inspire you this month to meet as many new women as you can at our events or others and uncover the brilliant, innovative, intelligent women that exist in this world. It is time to come out from your small network of familiar faces and launch yourself into a new community of women you haven’t met yet.

Women TIES loves doing that for our regional female entrepreneurs at our regional meetings, during our equality programs and even at female sporting events. Ask yourself, “Who could I meet at the next program and how my world will be different after meeting them?” You might just feel higher than a kite looking out over the sparkling lights of a horizon after you do. I welcome you to rise above.

Women Don’t Forget You Have G.I.R.L. Power

November 2, 2017

Inspiration, wisdom and advice for women, women entrepreneurs, females and girls

The beautiful Gal Gadot portrayed “Wonder Woman” in the movies this year empowering girls and women everywhere to seek the “wonder woman” within her. What resonated with me about the movie was actually the beginning of it when young wonder woman was a spunky, tenacious girl defying her elders to follow her internal passion and desire to meet her destiny on her own timeline.

Last week I was asked to deliver an inspiring speech to the top Gold Award Girl Scouts of New York/Pennsylvania. Although there were 50 of them in total, there were only 20 in the audience. I took some inspiration from Wonder Woman and brought my own “secret girl power weapon” with me – pink glasses. I also brought pink glasses for each girl to give to them at the end of the presentation. They were a gift from me to them so they would always remember the woman they were in this moment, tackling large community projects, excelling above others and changing the world their own way. The pink glasses were for them to put on anytime they need strength, fearlessness, or motivation to follow their internal path. It was not a golden lasso but it was something they loved.

Today’s blog post is to remind women of all ages they have a G.I.R.L. in them as well so here is part of my speech in remind you that even if you aren’t Wonder Woman, you are as powerful as any other women or girl in this world capable to do anything and change the world for the better.

G – Go Getter
How many of you typically raise your hand in the classroom to answer questions or help? That was me in elementary school through high school. I was always raising my hand. I never quite understood why others didn’t raise their hand as much as me. I just “had to raise my hand” – because I wanted to always be doing something to challenge myself as a “leader”. Being a Go Getter is something you have inside you and it’s ready to come out bursting into life. Think of it as a bright pink energy. It’s a drive. A desire. A knowing. It’s something you might be able to contain because you know you have something to give. Go Getters can’t just sit by, they must be involved because they want to make a difference.

I – Innovator
When we talk about innovator – how would you describe that “person inside you”? Is it by the projects you did to get this award? Is it ideas you keep having to make the world better? Or is it like my neice Ramona who picks up a plastic plate and spies beach glass and says, “Aunt Tracy I’m going to make a really pretty ornament to hang in your window? One of the reasons I love the word innovator is because it means “trendsetting” or “shining a light” on something. You were innovative when you created your Gold Star Award projects. You had a spark of light that hit you and you developed into something real and important. Don’t ever lose sight of this spark because they keep coming all your life if you look for them.

The world needs innovators in all areas especially the STEM fields which is really great career future for girls. STEM is science, technology, engineering and math. I actually was really interested in these subjects throughout my educational years but I never had a female role model in one of these careers pushing me to stick with it. Many of the STEM fields are about innovation in some way.

R – Risk Taker

Aahhh….risk is an interesting word. How many of you would say you are a risk taker? In my mind being a “risk taker” means someone has enough confidence in themselves and their abilities that they believe they can do something even though others think they can’t.

When you are so passionate about changing something, experiencing something new or jumping into an adventure, it feels risky BUT if you’ve thought about it and its safe than the only harm taking the risk is that you might fail at it. My favorite quote of all time is, “If you don’t try, you can’t fail. If you fail, you get back up and try again.” This has happened to me many times in my life. Sometimes the risk paid off and other times it didn’t.

For example – to start your own business takes risk. Monetary risk, market risk, longtivity risk. But I had desire too strong to not take the risk and try after seeing my Aunt run her business since the late sixties and my mom who ran a ski shop with my Dad. I was around women who risked in business which encouraged me deep in my spirit to do the same one day even though I never realized it until I was 30!

Sometimes a risk pays off much bigger than you imagine it can. Your world opens up when you take calculated risks. I would not be standing up here speaking to you today, if I didn’t take the biggest risk of all to become an outspoken woman who wants other women to believe in “woman power” and “girl power” still in a male dominated world.

Some people ask me, “Do you hate men and boys?” and I say, “Of course not, I have a husband, two sons, a father and two brothers – I love men but I am on this earth to help advance women and girls so they have more equality.” My favorite quote on my desk reads, “What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.” I risk every day in my beliefs because I want to give back and I want to give back to girls and women. My boys think I’m actually pretty cool because I “live pink” but I love watching sports and I throw a mean football pass. So I’m good with them!

L – Leader –

I knew I could lead. I believed in myself. If you believe in yourself and find something you want to be a leader of, then you raise that hand, volunteer, or create a business or non-profit organization someday where you can change the world your own way. The more you lead, the more confident you become too.

Leadership can take you on an amazing journey. Earlier this year, I took 110 women to the Women’s March on Washington in January to join almost a million other people to march peacefully and in soliditary with each other for women’s rights which are also human rights. I KNEW if I didn’t lead two busloads of women, some of us couldn’t get there to be part of the historic moment.

You know what that leadership role cost me two really dear friends and some of my customers because I was leading something that was seen as “political” but I couldn’t sit in Syracuse and not go. I had forgotten that back in 9th grade, I put together an all female slate to run for our 9th grade class office roles. I ran as President and had 3 other girl friends run. Before us, no all girl slate had ever run! But I didn’t think about what had happened before, I did what I thought was awesome.

(Me now delivering speeches)
I remember being up on stage with my speech written out in red pen – which I could not see from my little note cards – back then I wasn’t a polished speaker so I stuttered some I’m sure, but I delivered the speech. Next up was an all guys slate – which was typical back then – 1979 and still today in most cases right? I didn’t care I was challenging the norm, I knew me and my 3 girlfriends would do a stellar job as class officers.

The election took place and what do you think happened? Did we win or did we lost? WE LOST. How did it feel? Not so bad really. I was really proud we had tried to break the “norm” back then. All 4 of us didn’t wallow in our loss, we started taking on leadership roles in other organizations like Honor Society, YearBook, etc. We tried. Remember my quote above, “We tried. We failed. We got up and tried again until we succeeded.”

Failure is not a horrible event in life. It can be a motivator for greater things. Just remember to get back up again!

Inspiration and Empowerment for Women for Election Day

November 1, 2017

Wednesday Wisdom and Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs and Females

November may be seen as a month with less light, thoughts of pilgrims and Indians gathering together at a meal and the beginning of the holiday shopping season; but it is also the month women and men vote. I remember Election Day falling on my birthday in 1972 and being disappointed the only shows on television were about President Nixon’s election. I also remember November 7, 2000 when George Bush’s win against Al Gore was being contested. It’s no wonder I have some political blood running through my body.

Parents do not have any idea when they give birth to their children who they’ll become. Children are affected by heredity, society and familial influences. I remember gazing in my sons’ eyes wondering who they would be one day and how much my influence would play in their lives. Well I get to see the fruition of that wonder next Monday on the eve of another birthday election year when I meet Governor Cuomo and Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul at a special private centennial celebration in New York City with my sons at my side.

In my story “A Golden Glow” published in the 2009 Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms – 101 Stories Celebrating the Power of Choice for Stay-at-Home and Work-from-Home Moms, I detail my entrepreneurial passion, dedication to my sons and determination to promote women entrepreneurship in New York State. The story highlights my entrepreneurial beginnings, my commitment to inspiring women business owners, and my desire to raise two sons who understand the powerful choices women make in their lives to improve their families and the world.

Fast forward 8 years from the publication and today Women TIES has evolved into a company with an overall mission of “women supporting women in business, sports, equality and life.” The inequalities that still plaque women today in the work place with pay inequality, in sporting arenas with less fans, and under representation in elected offices, has inspired me to have a larger dialog and place in our community.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is meant to inspire you to not forget the efforts of our foremothers on this year’s Election Day – November 7, 2017. Ensure you mark your calendar to vote for any elections in your city or state. If you can, please read up on the women running for office and see if they should get your vote. I believe we need more women in elected positions making decisions for women so equality in all areas can permeate our country and help not only our generation of women but the girls and women to follow us.

Be inspired by stories of suffragettes by also going online and looking up the suffrage history, visiting Susan B. Anthony or Matilda Joslyn Gage houses this weekend or joining me in Albany on November 4th to celebrate New York State’s Centennial. As Susan B. Anthony said, “I declare to you that women must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself and there I take my stand.”

What Spoke to You in Fourth Grade – It Might Be Your Passion Today

October 25, 2017

Wednesday Wisdom, advice and inspiration for women and women entrepreneurs

As we approached the island on a beautiful old sailboat the once small statue kept growing in size and majesty. Her arm raised and her eyes in a steadfast stare. The metal cloak draped her frame and a brilliant light shone from the torch she was holding illuminating the way to freedom and peace. The setting sky behind her was blazing bittersweet orange, the perfect match to the green patina formed on her once copper surface.

The sight of her this summer reminded me of my 1974 Halloween costume because I wanted to imitate this great American treasure – the Statue of Liberty. In 1974, I was a fourth grader always raising my hand in class and saying “yes” to opportunities to go up to the chalk board, share my homework answer or lead a kick ball game as captain at recess. I was excited one October 31st to imitate this iconic woman.

The funny thing about growing older is fear can enter our lives stripping us of our innate sense of security. My cousins decided to watch “Planet of the Apes” one night and invited me to watch it with them. At the end of the movie, the Statue of Liberty was buried half way up her body in sand implicating the world’s end. That image scared me and I never looked at the Statue of Liberty without fear until this summer. In fact my postmaster used to laugh at me when I purchased stamps and told her I didn’t want any Statue of Liberty ones because I was scared of her.

As the September sailing cruise set forth on a balmy night in New York City with my two sons, now working in the Big Apple next to me, the boat started sailing towards this historic sculpture. I knew in that moment I had to embrace my unrealistic fear established in my formative years and stare right at her. What I found as I walked through the fear and glanced was her unexpected beauty and strength. Something I couldn’t understand when I was ten years old.

This glorious figure morphed before my eyes into a feminist figure of glory. Of course it made sense to me now forty years wiser that only a female could grace the entrance to our country creating a calm passage for immigrants and visitors. I had never seen her as a “mother” figure until she was illuminated at night with the warming hues of orange behind her. It wasn’t the statue that morphed but my perception of her. I wouldn’t have known in fourth grade the woman I would become today typing this blog post – a passionate, fierce supporter of all things women that has set the course of my life.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to have you drift back to your own fourth grade experience and remember the girl you were. Do you see her? Do you remember her? Is she really still in you doing surprising things with her life? What has remained the same about you and her? What has changed and why? Sometimes we need to recapture the essence of our spirit as witnessed in our younger self.

I will take this understanding forward on Saturday when I address a special group of Girl Scouts who have done amazing work to warrant the highest honors. I will tell them to never let go of who they are right now as they develop into intelligent, passionate women with a life purpose. I say the same thing to you in this moment – live your purpose. Take that girl inside of you by the hand and move onward together.

A Special Letter to Women

October 23, 2017

After sharing my new pink glasses with my six year old niece Ramona this weekend, she said, “Aunt Tracy, why do you wear pink glasses?” I said to her, “They mean girl power and help me do more things to help girls and women.” She said, “Okay, can I wear them. I have girl power.”

Today’s special message is meant for all my readers and followers to please read this entire message because I am morphing into a woman who can’t sit back and take the same actions for another 22 years to make the larger impact I want to make in this world for women and future women like my niece. I have to speak my truth louder and I hope you embrace Women TIES in one, two or all four of our new divisions. I also hope this inspires you to speak your truth louder too.

Thank you for listening…….

After Ramona and Maude (my other niece) left, I was flipping through TV programs when Anna Holms from caught my attention. She was moderating a panel of women who contributed to the book, “Nasty Woman: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America.” The two co-authors, Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding sat to her left with Zerlina Maxwell, a Hillary Clinton 2016 Campaign Staffer on her right. When asked what “Nasty Woman” meant to these panelists they said:

Nasty = I’m unapologetic in my beliefs or outlook.
Nasty = I live the life I’ve always wanted to live.
Nasty = I’m very confident.

There was nothing “nasty” about their answers, just their own truth. The other points they shared were:

1. There is a large gap in fundraising for women running for office and pay equality issues in the workplace.

2. People’s minds can be changed so invite people who don’t agree with your stand or beliefs and you might move them to see your perspective.

3. Do more listening than talking to learn more and “converse” on diverse topics.

I believe sharing our personal, business and political beliefs are the only way our opinion gets into the air circulating among people who believe and don’t believe in our perspective. I have been pro-female for so long that I must talk about “girl power” whether it is to a 60 year old feminist or 6 year old girl. How else will my perspective swirl in the air, like golden falling leaves, hopefully landing on people interested in learning more?

I’m pretty staunch in my belief that women should try to:

1. Buy from women entrepreneurs first and foremost to help eradicate pay inequality and put more money in the hands, bank accounts and pocket books of women.

2. Sit in the stands at female athletic games to show support, drive attendance (and eventually advertising) and help “level” the playing field for women in sports.

3. Support women running for office to have more women’s issues addressed with legislation passed because we make up 52% of the USA population and there are just some issues men do not understand or cannot speak about.

4. Inspire, lift up and support female college graduates, teenagers and girls to become leaders with their own voices.

Women TIES, LLC is about “women supporting women in business, sports, equality and life” please join our larger movement and actions to keep advancing women in these four areas.

We need your voice. We need your support. We need you!

Wednesday Wisdom: Woman in the Mirror

October 18, 2017

Inspiration and Wednesday Wisdom for women, women entrepreneurs and females

It was if Michael Jackson was singing in my ear when I received a special personal invitation this week to attend a private Suffrage Centennial event in New York City with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul on November 6th, the night before my birthday. As I looked in the mirror this morning remembering the excitement surrounding the invitation, I heard the words, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change.” (Of course knowing me, I changed the word “man” to “woman.”)

As I look in the mirror I see the same Tracy, maybe with a little more age on her face, grey in her hair and wisdom in her eyes, but it’s the same spunky girl I’ve been all my life. I have always wanted to be a girl who would change the world in her own way and mostly for other girls/women. My eyes glanced back in time to when I was 15 and put together an all-girl slate to run for our 9th grade class officers. I never realized I had so much “girl power” in me until I look back on that time and discover it has been me all along.

As the “Me Too” hash tag was the main news story this week, I was proud of the women who came forward to acknowledge their experience. Maybe they looked in the mirror one morning and said, “Today is the day I will speak my truth since other women are sharing theirs.” We have all had “Me Too” moments – perhaps not with a sexual harassment experience – but believing it was time to speak our own truth.

After reading this post, I challenge you to get up and go to the closest mirror and spend 5 minutes looking in it. Look at yourself. Go back in time through your eyes to see what you have always been passionate about. You might discover it is what you are doing now or it could shed a light on a new area to concentrate on. Ask yourself, “Do I know what moves me every day, what gets me up each morning, what makes me active in the business or non-profit community?”

When I bring my 26 and 22 year old sons with me on November 6th to the special event to hear the Governor speak, I hope their eyes capture the moment and speaks to their spirit. I also hope they see why I was invited. I wish the same for you looking in the mirror today.

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