What Will You Say Yes To?

Book Review For The Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in The Sun & be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

I loved this book. It’s a survival guide for ambitious women. It’s also a masterclass on how to overcome limiting beliefs. Shonda makes sharp observations about everything from working motherhood and nurturing creativity, to career growth and feminism’s next act, intersectionality. She applies the Shonda-Rhimes-story-telling-magic to her own life. Even though she highlights (and challenges) many of the social norms that limit women’s progress, it’s a fast, engaging read.

Learning to Say Yes

“’You Never Say Yes to Anything.” The truth of her sister’s casual comment unsettled her. In response, Shonda decided to say ‘yes’ to what scared her… for an entire year! The book takes us, from her struggle to honor this commitment, to the resulting personal Continue reading “What Will You Say Yes To?”

Own Your Story, Love Your Strength & Heal With Hope

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Jeannette Walls, Author of the NY Times Best Seller, The Glass Castle. Her stirring memoir, detailing a childhood of poverty and trauma that would unravel most people, is among my all-time-favorite books. Once she was introduced, she said, “I was invited to speak because I had a weird childhood.”

We all laughed…until she shared some of her stories, including being severely burned at age 3 because to eat, she had to cook meals in a small trailer on a gas stove. After six weeks in the hospital, her father decided to “rescue her.” Hastily…prior to a medical discharge. She affectionately referred to his art of the quick-exit as the ‘skedaddle.’

Her presentation was about hope, strength and beauty. She beamed with enthusiasm sharing the many gifts she received from her experiences. Yes… Continue reading “Own Your Story, Love Your Strength & Heal With Hope”

Working Moms, How to Side Hustle Your Way to Career Bliss!

…Do you know why it looks that way? Is it supposed to get that big? Why does it hurt when I…?

“Anyone with a question about women’s health would usually contact me.” Said Dr. Kelly Culwell, founder of Dr. Lady Doctor. I nodded… at least ten women were waiting to meet her while we talked. She said, “This type of information should be available to everyone!” Agreed. Somewhere between Sex Ed in junior high and our pregnancy check-ups, we self-study with Dr. Google, Dr. Oz and Cosmo. It’s far from ideal. Kelly is intent on improving how women learn about reproductive and sexual health. That’s right, everything from fibroids and better birth control, to perimenopause!  

Although ‘pursue your passion’ is the prescribed path to professional bliss, few do. Or believe they can. Once work-life transforms to working-mom-life, it all changes. Finding time to build new competencies can feel insurmountable. Mom-friends barely have time to workout, eat right or brush their hair! Career growth, amidst overwhelm, seems like an impossible luxury.

There’s room for side hustles, passion projects and ambitious ventures. If Continue reading “Working Moms, How to Side Hustle Your Way to Career Bliss!”

It’s Time to Become an Activist. Here’s How

Six Observations About Activism from Female Leaders at the Creators Summit

Decisions that govern choices we make, wages we earn, the quality of air we breathe and the safety of foods we eat, are made by a homogenous few. Let’s take that in for a moment. A tiny group, relative to the population, absent your world view, culture and life experiences are running the show.

Where does that leave us? Somewhere in the audience…perhaps. Certainly not backstage or privy to what’s behind the scenes. We’re definitely not running things, less than a quarter of elected officials are women, but we can.

When politics are the most detestable, is when your involvement is the most important. We all thought that progress was well…progressive. Upward and forward moving. Guess what? It’s not. What people fought for 100 years ago we need to fight and fight again for.

One month ago, I listened to powerful stories of courage at the BlogHer Creator’s Summit with lessons about activism we can all benefit from. Dr. Alaa Murabit, a UN commissioner active in high risk peace negotiations said, “If women are involved, peace is 35 times more likely to last. Peace building and nation building are less successful If we don’t have women at the table.” Do you need more permission to get involved?

Support positive, systemic change for everything that matters to you! Leaders are calling upon women to work together — like the passionate team of master planners, doers and bridge builders we are.

Be inclusive, foster the belonging we all crave

“When people sit along the edges and we exclude them, we miss their magic. I know what the joy of being included feels like.” Shelly McNamara, Writer & VP of HR at Procter & Gamble

“…I was careful about how I expressed myself. I never wanted to be labeled ‘the angry black girl.’ I didn’t want to be written off.” Angie Thomas, #1 NY Times Best Selling Author

“It is important that the images put out in the world reflect all people. I think there is a responsibility that every single group should be represented.” Uzo Aduba, Actress & Advocate

“…I believe in less distance and more connection, less judgement and Continue reading “It’s Time to Become an Activist. Here’s How”

Is There Room For Self-Care in The Sandwich?

“My migraines were getting worse and I went to see a doctor. He asked about my life…I told him I worked full-time, had 3 kids and helped care for my dad who had dementia and was living with me while my mother recovered from surgery. The doctor said disapprovingly, ‘that’s too much.’” Jody Gastfriend, my friend and former colleague admitted, “The doctor was right.” I nodded and sighed. We met for breakfast to discuss self-care and lessons learned from her years in social work, building Care.com’s Senior Care services, and tending to her aging parents. In her new book, My Parent’s Keeper The Guilt, Grief, Guesswork and Unexpected Gifts of Caregiving, Jody shares how she ultimately had to prioritize self-care and pay attention to what her body was telling her.

Watch For Signs

We lamented how Mom-martyrdom is universally accepted and reinforces patterns of self-neglect. Making changes feels even worse than the to-do list treadmill. Envisioning a better way requires energy and creativity…inaccessible to most when overloaded. Jody shared what was happening in her life before the migraines worsened. “There were other signs from the universe… before I realized how worn out I was.” Jody eventually hired a home health aide to help with her father’s care and temporarily reduced her work hours.

Caring for adults is unpredictable. Whereas healthy children follow similar developmental paths, seniors defy patterns as they age. At 90, some remain very active while others at age 70 can’t live alone. An estimated 75% of family caregivers are female. Absorb that for a moment. The likelihood that your parents will need your help as they age is high! Few think of themselves as ‘family caregivers’ and just doing what ‘is Continue reading “Is There Room For Self-Care in The Sandwich?”

How to Elevate Your Impact As a Leader!

10 Takeaways About Leadership, Winning Mindset, Work/Life, Strategy and Success, from the BlogHer Creator’s Summit

“Let’s all pledge in this room… here, put your hands up.” Amy Schumer said. I looked around and about a thousand hands, went up slowly and in unison, like balloons at a concert. “I, then say your name…” She said. We laughed and tentatively said our names. She continued, “I pledge that when I find an honest, powerful creator of content I will promote the ever-loving shit out of her!” Applause followed as she concluded her powerful, irreverent and wildly funny, presentation. Her message that women can take steps, big and small, to help each other succeed was echoed throughout event.

Two weeks ago, female content creators, platform builders and brand marketers, gathered to learn and connect at the BlogHer Creator’s Summit. The agenda balanced celebrity star-power, with spotlights on up-and-coming leaders. Practical guidance, accompanied ‘big picture’ inspiration.

Enjoy wise quotes about leadership, entrepreneurship, strategy, career growth, work/life integration and cultivating a winning mindset from powerhouse speakers!

Be Uniquely, Unapologetically, You.

 “Whether I soar or sink, I want to do it with my integrity, and not somebody else’s idea of who I should be.” Gabrielle Union, Actress, Entrepreneur & Author

“I can’t help but be real. I realized that’s what I could bring to the table.” Katie Sturino CEO of The 12ish Style,

“I only found success when I started doing things totally differently than everyone else.” Courtney Quinn Entrepreneur & Founder of Color Me Courtney,

“Point of view is what truly differentiates you. It gets you to the next step and it’s a little bit different than passion.” Kendra Bracken-Ferguson Entrepreneur, Strategist & Chief Digital Officer for CAA.

Solve Problems & Find The Right Partners To Support You

 “…Great ideas have plenty of suitors. (…) Allow people to invest Continue reading “How to Elevate Your Impact As a Leader!”

How to be a Happier Parent? Embrace Self-Care!

Gratitude for our families doesn’t mean we’re always happy. Moms routinely give up self-care (yes including sleep) for the perceived greater good. We break so many promises to ourselves, that the excuses sound hollow, even inside our minds.  The consuming baby years, soon give way to demanding school-and-sport logistics. Finding free time feels like trying to breathe underwater. We grow distant from the passions that shaped our personalities. Over time, we forget how to have fun without our kids.

Most of us dwell in the land of never-done, a purgatory filled with managing email, picking up toys and cleaning the counters for the fifth time. It’s not surprising when, in most families, Moms are still responsible for all-things-children-and-household. Although it’s tempting to try to outsmart the to-do list, there’s a better way! I had the pleasure of speaking with KJ Dell’Antonia, Author and former Editor of the New York Times’ parenting blog, The Motherlode.

After writing about parenting, while raising four children of her own, she’s distilled practical wisdom about ‘How to Be a Happier Parent’ in her new book. Spoiler alert, carving out your happy is Continue reading “How to be a Happier Parent? Embrace Self-Care!”

If You Want it Done Right The First Time, Hire a Mom!

One Entrepreneur’s Vision to Welcome the Mom-Economy

“You’re a tree Mommy!” My daughter sang happily, hanging onto my leg, while we waited for my son. A couple of Mom-friends asked if my nanny, who typically handles pick up, was on vacation. I explained she was caring for her husband after his surgery. Both kindly offered to help…with playdates or pick-up. I suddenly realized, after two weeks of managing an army of back up sitters and pick-ups between meetings, how much easier it could have been. It never occurred to me to just ASK for help!

One of the (many) remarkable things about Mom-life, if you are in need for anything childcare or household, there’s an excellent chance another Mom will offer help. Joyfully. In our communities, examples of mothers helping other mothers, with everything from casseroles to carpools abound.

What if we can harness that natural inclination, helping other Moms, to collectively elevate our financial security? How different would work-life Continue reading “If You Want it Done Right The First Time, Hire a Mom!”

Yes! You Can Work to Be Ambitious and Happy at The Same Time

Ambition is a bit restless. We can feel blessed with the life we have, yet still crave more…security, impact or flexibility. The quest to improve is part of our culture. And for some of us, our very souls. Managing this feeling, however, is tricky. It’s hard to be ambitious and satisfied at the same time. Making it all happen, with the beyond busy Mom-schedule, also requires thoughtful strategy.

Some of us are wired or groomed for ambition, whereas others, adopt it by necessity. Moms are increasingly responsible for co, primary or sole breadwinning at home. In parallel, women are embracing entrepreneurship, in record numbers, as a path to greater autonomy and financial freedom. Last month, I attended Pepperlane’s conference, a day of celebrating and supporting Mom business owners. One of the (many) highlights was Nataly Kogan’s keynote. She shared her powerful story of rising professionally, nearly crashing from stress and ultimately, learning to become happier and more present.

 Beware of “I’ll be Happy When…”

Nataly admitted to the crowded room, “When I spoke at TedX Boston, (what appeared to be) one of the happiest days on the outside, was one of the darkest days of my life.” Continue reading “Yes! You Can Work to Be Ambitious and Happy at The Same Time”

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