Career Cues

Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit Recommended Reading

All right everyone take out your To-Read lists. We’re going to add a few new selections to it.  So last week I spoke about the Women of Power Summit. Not surprisingly, many of the panelists and speakers who participated in the event have authored books, and deservingly, some of these books have been best sellers.

Check out some of the recent works form some of the event’s attendees: 

  • Good Self, Bad Self: How to Bounce Back from a Personal Crisis – Judy Smith
  • The Objective Leader: How to Leverage the Power of Seeing Things As They Are - Elizabeth R. Thornton
  • Strategize to Win: The New Way to Start Out, Step Up, or Start Over in Your Career - Carla A Harris
  • 7-Step, Battle-Tested Methods for Accomplishing Goals that Matter. - Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour
  • The Young Professionals Handbook - Deborah Gray-Young
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0 - Tom Rath
  • Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting - Terrie Williams
  • No Matter What!: 9 Steps to Living the Life You Love - Lisa Nichols
  • Hybrid Leader: Blending the Best of the Male & Female Leadership Styles - Trudy Bourgeois

Recommended but not written by participants

  • The Twelve Tribes of Hattie - Ayana Mathis
  • Career GPS: Strategies for Women Navigating the New Corporate Landscape - Ella L. J. Edmondson, PhD Bell, Linda Villarosa

 

 

Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue

Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit Day 3 2015

Once again the day began with a wonderful continental breakfast. Attendees gathered in the Grand Ballroom for what would be the two keynote addresses of the summit. The first was given by Don Thompson the former CEO of McDonald's (now serving as a consultant, post retirement) and the second given by Judy Smith, Founder and CEO of Smith & Company also known as the real-life inspiration behind Scandal’s, Olivia Pope character. Unfortunately, press coverage was not allowed for these two sessions so I can't relay any exhilarating nuggets of information but you can probably just use the summits previous speakers as indication of how inspiring these two sessions were.

After the morning sessions I did some mingling and met some interesting new people. I also ran into Susan Taylor. She spoke about her organization and how she was looking for help via donations and volunteering to keep the movement going and growing. For our photo op she was partial to selfies "We're not going to take a selfie?" she asked which I found totally endearing. Here's our selfie:

Susan Taylor Essence Mag National CARES

Because of my mingling, I missed out on the majority of the Corporate Board Boot Camp session making it only to the final few moments but I managed to meet some more interesting people both on my way to the session and leaving it. Yup, I'll still count that as a win/win.

Getting Unstuck!

Getting unstuck Women Of Power Summit 2015

Panelists gathered to discuss the things that we allow to limit the forward movement of our careers and the adverse effects of those limitations whether they are the inability to get promoted or the inability to find satisfaction in the work we do.

Moderator:

Trudy Bourgeois, Founder, Center for Workplace Excellence

Panelists:

  • Dawn Davis, VP & Publisher, Simon & Schuster
  • Marlene Gordon, VP and General Counsel, North America, Bacardi U.S.A., Inc
  • Barbara Carr, VP, Agency/Sales – Southern Florida Market Area, State Farm

Some standout quotes from this session:

Trudy

“Evaluate gaps and opportunities. How are you doing?”

“Currency is relationship.”

“Be crystal clear on what you want. Build a strategy."

Dawn

"After entry-level people recommend people for jobs"

"Promote what you do. Listen to people. Build relationships." 

Barbara

"What do you want? Go out and find it and wrestle it down."

"Reverse mentoring.  I can learn something from someone working for me."

Marlene

"No, but I can learn it.” (in response to “questions on having experience with something she didn’t know )

"You don’t define me or what I’m capable of."

"A lot of what happens in that room is based on perception.”

Outdoor Garden Luncheon

Luncheon BE Women of Power Summit Yellow dress Macy's Fashion Show Women of Power Summit

 

Next up was the out door garden luncheon. The luncheon hosted by Carnival, was held on the Ocean Patio and featured The Execu Diva Fashion show by Macy's. The host of the show was the fabulous Audrey Smaltz, CEO of The Ground Crew, a backstage management company for the fashion industry. Models walked the red carpet runway with confidence in their struts as Audrey provided Pixar-caliber animated commentary.  The doors opened to the Macy's beauty pavilion immediately following the garden lunch so that attendees could shop the looks they had just seen.

Real Talk! The Trick, Traps & Truths About Success

Real Talk Women of Power Summit Susan Taylor Pam Grier

After lunch it was time to get real and that’s exactly what we did. Caroline Clarke moderated a discussion with Susan L. Taylor and Pam Grier. In this powerful session the women discussed everything from the road to their professional success to surviving personal hardships. Susan discussed her humble beginnings at Essence as a beauty contributor and struggling with feelings of inadequacy because she didn’t possess a college education. Pam spoke about her incredible punctuality (she is always on set an hour early) and her constant desire to learn and know all aspects of the business. She’s enthusiastically taken acting classes, screen play writing classes, and even legal classes to ensure that she could comprehend her contracts.

Some standout quotes from this session:

“Anything that is known is knowable.” (Coretta Scott King told her about Dr. King.)

“You can’t count on people’s behavior. It’s very rare that your gifts are returned from the people you give them to.” 

“Teach children to be the authors of their own image.”

This was my last session of the conference *single tear falls from my eye. I felt like I had done so much but still managed to miss out on a lot. Keep in mind that I didn't attend every session. There was just no way humanly possible. Some sessions happened simultaneously so you had no choice but to choose. For other sessions I may have missed, there simply wasn’t enough time to attend. I hear I missed a great discussion in the Moving from Pain to POWER session and the Masterful Moves with Optimal Impact session featuring moderator Star Jones. I may have missed some interesting things, but I couldn’t have asked for a better summit experience.

Farewell Celebration and Dinner

50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America Women of Power Summit

The summit culminated in a ceremony, which celebrated the 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America as named by Black Enterprise.  After the winners were acknowledged and dinner was served, the evening transitioned to entertainment. Attendees enjoyed the comedic stylings of Ameberia Allen, Zainab Johnson, and Hadiyah Robinson of the Hey Ladies Tour. After we all had our chuckle it was time for the headliners, Boyz II Men.

Boyz II Men Women of Power Summit 2015

There couldn’t have been a more perfect way to close out the summit. Guest let lose and 90’s nostalgia filled the room. I almost didn’t want it to end. Well that’s a lie. I actually didn’t want it to end but alas it did and I had work in the morning. So there you have it. Amazing summit. Amazing experience. I can’t wait to do it all again next year. Did I say Amazing. Well done BE, well done.

Check out some more pictures from day three.

 

Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue.

BE Women Of Power Summit Day 2 Legacy Awards

When I said day two was action-packed I was not kidding. Breaking it up into two sections was the only way to go. Now for the deets on day two part two.

Power Lunch | One-on-One Conversation featuring Mellody Hobson

Mellody Hobson Ariel Investments Caroline Clarke Women of Power TV

All right, let’s eat. After an intense morning of activities, it was time for a recharge with the afternoon’s power lunch.  Host of Women of Power TV, Caroline Clarke sat down with Melody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments L.L.C. and Chairman of the Board of Dreamworks Animation.

As Caroline probed Mellody about her career journey we discovered that she has had the same job for over 23 years. Obviously she’s moved up in her career since graduating from Princeton but she has worked for the same company for over 23 years. When she first joined Ariel she would follow her boss (John Rogers) around trying to squeeze any information out of him she could. She followed him on his regular McDonald’s trips and sat with him as he took in his morning reading. She would sit in silence reading the same magazines he was reading and waited for him to talk to her. When he would finally speak, he would ask her to do something and she would dutifully jot it down while he went right back to his reading.

She would take any bad assignment as long as she was given a shot, she recalled. Rogers warned her early on “ You’re going to be with people that make a lot of money and have big titles but it doesn’t mean they have better ideas than you.” She also remembered speaking with Tom Joyner, who in her words was “unapologetically black.” He told her “‘Don’t apologize for being who you are or your interests.” As far as one of the best pieces of advice she’d ever received, it was to simply to “smile a lot.”

My Favorite Mellody Hobson quotes

“Sometimes you have to give up on perfect for fast.”

“I’ve taught myself to get on the other side of it. What’s the worst that could happen?” (In regards to dealing with fear).

“I like things to be well done. I want to be great. I don’t want to be good. I want to be great.”

Leverage Your Power – Clifton Strengths Finder Powered by Gallup

Paul Allen StrengthsFinder Gallup

This next session was all about self awareness and understanding how to leverage your strengths to solve complex issues and positively impact your professional performance. Facilitated by Paul Allen, Chief Evangelist for StrengthsFinder, and co-founder of Ancestry.com.

To really get full value out of this session one would have had to have already taken the StrengthFinder assessment. But for those of us who hadn’t, this session provided a good starting point for understanding why it’s so important to identify and understand your strengths and find the corresponding needs for each strength. For example where "Learner" is identified as strength, we know that the Learner needs exposure to new information and experiences in order to thrive.

StrengthFinder employee well-being infographic

The session helped put into perspective that even “negative” personality traits are positive in the right circumstances. This assessment enables us to focus on what’s right instead of accepting what is wrong because when you can’t do what you were designed to do, it’s very difficult to stay engaged.  A great takeaway from this session was somewhat of a formula for identifying your strengths.

5 Clues To Talent

  1. Yearning – What did you yearn to do as a child?
  2. Rapid Learning – Things you pick naturally without much practice or instruction.
  3. Glimpses of Excellence – When someone else observes a skill or talent you posses that you may not have noticed yourself.
  4. Satisfaction – After your hard work is done and everything is complete out the feeling when you get when it’s over is that you can’t wait to do it again.
  5. Flow (Timelessness) – You get so caught up doing what you’re doing that you loose track of time.

10th Annual Legacy Awards Gala

Valerie Coleman Morris Legacy Awards Gala

Moving from the daytime events to the evening festivities, attendees gathered in the grand ballroom for an elegant evening honoring the inspiring women who were the recipients of the Legacy Award this year. Dinner was fabulous and wine flowed freely as we gathered to pay homage to an incredible group of women.

Legacy Award Recipients

Charlayne Hunter-Gault - Journalist Legacy Award

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, American Journalist and former Foreign Correspondent, National Public Radio & Public Broadcasting Service - awarded for her contributions to the field of journalism.

Susan L. Taylor Essence Magazine, National CARES Mentoring Movement- Legacy Award

Susan L. Taylor, Founder & CEO, National CARES Mentoring Movement and Editor-In-Chief Emeritus, Essence magazine - recognized for her role as editor in chief of essence magazine for years and now for creating the national cares organization.

Pam Grier Actress -Legacy Award

Pam Grier, Actress and Activist - recognized for her work in film, the empowered women she portrayed and for her activism.

Barbara Graves Legacy Award

Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., Spelman College Legacy Award

Beverly Daniel Tatum, PH.D., President, Spelman College - recognized for her accomplishments in her role as president of the illustrious Spellman College.

Oh what a spectacular night it was. The inspiring stories and the works of these accomplished women were all truly deserving of every bit of adulation they were showered with this evening. I was so appreciative to be in the room, loving each and every minute and still there was more to come. Stay tuned for my day 3 recap ladies. You won’t want to miss that either.  In the meantime, check out some additional pictures from the day's events.

 

Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue.

Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit Day 2

After day one’s inspiring Purpose & Pearls Beach Party, I knew I would have a lot to look forward to on day two. For the early risers the day began at 6:00 a.m. with the Power Cardio Sculpt and Yoga on the Beach sessions. For the majority of the attendees including myself the day began a little later with a continental breakfast feast from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 am

We’ve Got the Power!

6445 Lisa Nichols BE Women of Power Summit 2015

Immediately following breakfast, we officially began the day with the "We’ve Got the Power" session featuring speaker Lisa Nichols, CEO of Motivating the Masses, Inc.  Lisa is a successful entrepreneur and best selling author of 6 books. She was featured in the self-help movie The Secret and has appeared on Oprah, Larry King Live and Extra.  From the moment she walked out on stage you could see that Ms. Nichols was a firecracker (read: commercial grade firework). She got the crowd fired up in a manner that I have only ever seen from the likes of Tony Robbins or Oprah herself.

My favorite quotes from Lisa’s session:

“Power is in the surrender to your assignment.”

“Power is in living your life in seasons and recognizing when some seasons are over.”

“Allow your greatness to show up even if people don’t like it.”

“Comparison is the thief of all joy.”

“Power is in your down moment. That’s when you remember who you were born to be. This circumstance does not define me.”

Lisa told her story, letting us in on some of her hardships.  As she told a particular story she recalled a moment where she was on public assistance and had run out of diapers for her baby.  It was the weekend and she’d gone to the ATM to pull money out but only had eleven dollars and change available. With the ATM only dispensing cash in increments of $20, she would be forced to wait until Monday morning to retrieve the remaining cash from her account. For two days she wrapped her baby in a towel as a substitute for the diapers. It was then that she held her baby and told him not to worry because they would never have to go through this again.  After years of building her business she stated that her company was now near the launch of their IPO. What was the sassy statement she made to punctuate this accomplishment? “From Public Assistance to going public.” To that statement the crowd leapt to their feet with roaring shouts and applause.  Was I at church or the first leadership session of the day? I couldn’t tell.

 

Zero to Breakthrough

6454 Vernice FlyGirl Armour BE Women of Power Summit 2015

The second session of the day featured Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, President, VAI Consulting & Training L.L.C. Vernice was the first African American female combat pilot in the U.S. armed forces and is author of Zero to Breakthrough; 7-Step, Battle-Tested Methods for Accomplishing Goals that Matter. Vernice took the stage in what appeared to be an official combat pilot uniform.  She discussed seizing opportunities and acknowledging obstacles.  She spoke of the moment were she decided she wanted to attend a conference but was short on funds. She made a decision to make a “gutsy move“ embarking on a road trip to the conference. As she told this story, Vernice began removing her flight suit. She revealed the tailored shirt and dress slacks she was sporting underneath. She switched out the boots for heels and put on a red jacket. Continuing her story, she told us how she drove for hours not knowing what the outcome would be or how she would pay for anything. Upon her arrival she met an event organizer who told her a speaker had just dropped out and asked her to speak in that persons place.  He also informed her that all of her expenses would be fully taken care of.

My favorite quotes from Vernice’s session:

“Opportunities don’t go away other people take advantage of them.”

“Acknowledge the obstacles. Don’t give them power!”

“A breakthrough mentality creates your reality.”

“Make your gutsy move.”

At the end of her segment FlyGirl held up a copy of her book. Lisa Nichols who had just taken the stage before her had given a gift to the entire audience but FlyGirl had something else in mind. She stated that she didn’t have enough books to give away to the entire audience but still wanted to giveaway her book to attendees. “Who wants this book?” she asked. The audience roared and clapped some raised their hands. “Who wants this book?” she asked again. More shouting and clapping. I believe it was on the 4th instance of her asking that same question that one woman got out of her seat and approached Ms. Armour with her hand held out. FlyGirl happily handed her the book. “Make your gutsy move.” She reiterated.  You could feel the entire crowd experience an aha! moment.

Building Real leadership in Real Time

6458 Building Real Leadership

Next up was an executive leadership panel and probably my favorite panel of the summit.

Moderator:

Elizabeth R. Thornton, Author and Professor of Management Practice, Babson Executive Education, Babson College 

Panelists:

  • Adrienne Lofton - SVP, Global Brand Marketing, Under Armor
  • Ramona Rogers-Windsor - Managing Director, Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Co. LLC.
  • Katrina Adams - Chairman, CEO & President, USTA (United States Tennis Association)

The session covered a myriad of subjects pertaining to leadership timelines and plotting a realistic trajectory that fits your life and career objectives. I questioned the panel about the setbacks of race and gender and my own personality trait of introversion and the responses were enlightening.  The overwhelming sentiment was that I should derive power from being black and female as apposed to viewing those things as crutches. Ramona revealed that she doesn’t think about race or gender while Katrina directed me to replace Black, Woman, Introvert with Courage Grace, Dignity.

These women exhibited a certain level of poise and confidence that I completely admire and by the end of the session it felt like some of that aura had been transferred over to me.  I was thinking about possessing the ability to walk into a room or situation with confidence because I not only have a strong sense of self I also have the knowledge and know the details. As Adrienne put it, “When you’re maniacal about knowing the business it’s easy to feel confident in having a point of view.”

Some other standout quotes from the session.

Adrienne

“Stand up. Stand out. Have a point of view. Stay measured”

“Lead through where you are most passionate.”

“Always think about what’s next.”

“Go slow to go fast.”

Ramona

“I care very little about what people think.”

“Ask for what you want.”

“Find people who want you to succeed.”

Katrina

“Mental models drive our perceptions about the way things are supposed to be.”

“Embrace the path that you lead and enjoy the battle.

“Start with a dream and be disciplined.”

 

Day two was so action packed I had to split it up into two posts. Stay tuned for Day 2- Part two.

Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue.

 

In case you missed the recap of day one, check it out here.

Caroline Clark Women of Power TV

What’s it all about?

I heard about this event one morning on the radio and decided to look into attending. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to miss it all these years, but this year the summit celebrated its 10th anniversary in a three-day long celebration that can only be described as awe inspiring.

The title of the event alone should be enough to give you an indication of what transpires here but in case it doesn’t, the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit is an annual executive leadership conference held by Black Enterprise and hosted by title sponsor State Farm. Each year powerful women in Corporate America convene in droves to meet, connect, and learn from one another. Sessions and keynote speakers cover issues like career advancement strategies, work/life balance and money management. What I discovered was how truly indicative of its name the summit is, providing a preeminent forum for women of color to come together to network and build lasting relationships.

Let’s talk about Day 1

Monday was the unofficial start to the summit. While activities like the Wine & Design painting class and shopping excursion to Macy's took place during the day, conference attendees began to arrive at the Marriott Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach to pick up their registration packets before the first leadership event of the night, the Purpose & Pearls Beach Party. The all white affair, which touted a keynote address from Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senor Client Advisor, Morgan Stanley gave clear indication to how wonderful the rest of the summit’s events would be.

Held on the Ocean Patio of the hotel overlooking beautiful Fort Lauderdale beach, the atmosphere of the evening was something of sheer elegance. Guests stunned in chic, all-white ensembles and were seated at tables set with all-white linens and florals as ambient lighting from all-white candles romanticized the space.

Atendees BE Women of Power Summit

The first keynote of the summit, which was from the wildly charismatic and captivating Carla Harris, provided personal details on her career journey, letting us in on the secrets of some of what she's gone through to accomplish what she has in her career to date. She spoke at length on the powers of staying true to yourself and not losing sight of who you are as person. As an accomplished singer and businesswoman one of the “pearls of wisdom” she shared with attendees was letting go of the notion that she should never mix those two parts of her life. Harris realized after making a connection based on a shared interest of music that she should embrace her true self. On a second occasion when her company was among several bidding for an account with McDonald's, it was her ability to remember a specific version of the McDonald's jingle and sing it to the CEO (who could not recall that there had ever been an alternate version to begin with) that would help form a relationship that would be the catalyst for landing her firm the deal.

Carla Harris Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management Morgan Stanley

She said some other things that really resonated with me. First, “Your voice is at the heart of your power”. The second was a ditty she recited that went like this: “A bell is not a bell until you ring it. A song is not a song until you sing it. Power was not put in your hands to stay. Power isn’t’ power until you give it away.” And the third builds on the ditty. “Don’t sleep on your power to influence change in your work, life, or the world. It is in us to be used.” Preach Ms. Carla, preach.

Jackie Daniel and Carla Harris

I seized the opportunity to chat with Carla after her address and ask her for advice on how to handle some recent events in my own personal career journey. While I won’t divulge her specific advice to me, I can say that she spoke to my soul and it was an honor and a pleasure to get her input. Wow if this was night one, I could only imagine what day two had in store. Check out the slide show for more photos from the evening.

I’ll cover day two in tomorrow’s post. You won’t want to miss it.

Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue.

You Can sit with us Cast of Suits USA Women

There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."

The above quote, which I once upon a time shamefully attributed to Taylor Swift is actually a Madeleine Albright quote. Albright made the statement while giving the keynote speech at the Celebrating Inspiration luncheon in 2006, a luncheon celebrating the WNBA's All-Decade Team. While exploring the notion that the world would be a better place if women were universally empowered and respected Albright said this: "I have a saying; I think there is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."  It’s a simple quote, a little on the dramatic side but poignant nonetheless.

If you're active on social media you've probably seen the "You can't sit with us." memes and accompanying hashtag, #youcantsitwithus.  Usually the image is of a waif, sourpuss looking group of models or some young group of self-proclaimed "hotties", "bad chicks", "baddies" or whatever else the young and self absorbed are calling themselves these days.

You Can't Sit With us Memes

 

Where does it come from? The phrase is a quote is from the movie Mean Girls. Yes, Mean Girls. Yes, that teen movie that stared Lindsay Lohan way back when Lindsay Lohan was still considered an actor. Ask me exactly why a movie that came out in 2004 appears to have rocketed to cult-following status in 2015 and you'll be forcing me to lie to you. Now, I don't want to do that so let’s just proceed. Oddly enough, there are several quotes from the movie that seem to have found a second life on social media.  This just seems to be one of the more popular ones.

You can't sit with us merchandise tshirt mug
There's even You can't sit with us T-shirts and other merchandise.

When the antagonist, Regina George show's up in sweatpants on a Monday, a clear violation of the clique's strict dress code, one of the other mean girls quickly lets her know that she is not welcome to sit with them while they lunch (Ouch. Harsh much?). What does this have to do with me, or you or either of us making power moves? Well I bring it up because the Power Moves and Pumps movement speaks to the ambitious young woman and ideas like this are all too popular among this set. “You can’t sit with us” has taken on a life of its own and the masses are now using it as some sort of an indicator of success, superior beauty or financial status. Essentially what it conveys is “My friends and I are in a much better place in life than you are and because of that you are not allowed in my circle. As a matter of fact, don't even look at my circle. My circle is too good for your inferior eyes”.

Pretentious instagram posts

Sure, it's true that you shouldn't accept just any ol’ Tammy, Diane or Jane into your inner circle. Some characters are simply dead weight. Not only does dead weight not add any value, dead weight is an absolute detriment to your own personal growth. I feel like I might be rambling a bit here so I’ll get to the point. While you should never let anyone threaten your growth, if you are a success, near success or on a journey towards success, than why not help someone else become successful as well?

This “I'm too good for you” attitude has got to go. Truth is, you almost certainly aren’t nearly as important as you’d like to think you are. Like, not even close. Sure you can tell people they can't sit at your table if you want to but what about all the other tables ahead of yours that you're not allowed to sit at because you're not good enough? Forget the tables. What about all of the buildings you aren’t allowed into because you’re not good enough, hmm? Is Oprah inviting you and your girls to Sunday Brunch? No? Didn’t think so.

Stop it with the adolescent, pretentious behavior worthy of a tween dramedy and reach out and help another young lady with the desire to succeed. It’s a much more rewarding feeling when you’re able to invite someone to have a seat at your success table than it is to turn them away. Most people who have achieved great success didn’t get there by their own merits alone. Someone at some point let them have a seat. Let your next power move be to offer someone a seat and you won’t have to worry about finding your place card and reserved seat in hell (Maybe you will. I don’t know your life or what else you’ve done but you get my point).

Thanks for reading. "Now… Let the power moves continue."

Look at you. You're a mess. Get yourself together.
Look at you. You're a mess. Get yourself together.

Some people are worriers and are simply panic-prone by nature. Some people jump to the worst possible conclusion first and ask questions later (Hi mom). I'm pretty much the complete opposite. I'm a thinker so I tend to absorb information and take my time to process the situation before reacting. I'll get around to worst possible conclusions whenever I get to them. There are very few things that unnerve me but some things do come close. I recently received some unsettling news at work and like most of my colleagues I couldn't help but be upset. Although I didn't go into full-on panic, I definitely lost focus for the rest of the day and didn't quite make it fully back on track until I had some time to really sit down and think.

 Let our advance working become advance thinking and planning."

- Winston Churchill

I’m a visual thinker so when I’m thinking about too many things at once, all of these images are scrabbled in my head like some sort of moving collage. What I need to have, for my own sanity’s sake, is a view that is more like individual, static, vignettes that logically connect with one another. When I got some quality time alone to gather my thoughts I knew my end result would be neat and orderly and… I who am I kidding? I knew I would end up with a spreadsheet and that’s exactly what happened.

"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

– Mike Tyson

You may recall me writing about 2015 goals earlier this year. My year was neatly spelled out with clearly defined goals and objectives and the roadmap for achieving those goals was set firmly in place. What I know to be true is that sometimes plans get screwed up. Hell, plans get screwed up all the damn time. I’m logical. I know this, but still manage to be deeply annoyed when I can’t see out my plans exactly as I’ve envisioned them but I digress. Cut to my punch in the face. I grabbed a sheet of paper and began sketching out possible scenarios.

Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.

-       Denis Waitley

By the time I was done my thinking and sketching I had six different scenarios outlined of what could happen, color-coded, arranged by optimal outcome and documented by length of time in an Excel spreadsheet. I printed it out, stuck it up on my wall of productivity, looked at it and breathed a sigh of relief.  “I’m going to be alright.”  I was calm and all was right in the world.

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

- Winston Churchill

Now, I’m not telling you to be as anal retentive as I am but this is just some food for thought.  Worrying never helps. Never. Well maybe… nah it never helps. It’s not productive and just makes you feel like crap. Do you want to feel like crap? Well then, don’t. The next time you’re met with a difficult situation and aren’t quite sure what you’re going to do or how it will play out, take a second to sit back and organize your thoughts. Come up with a plan (Or six. I don’t know). Knowing what your options are will make a world of difference in greatly helping to relieve that stress. “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” flirty winky face emoji

Happy planning!

 

Thank you for reading. Now… “Let the power moves continue.”

 

 

J. Daniel

 tagul word cloud4

So I recently read up on a little trick for updating my resume. If you’ve ever been curious about how recruiters view your resume and want to know what they see when they scan it, dropping the contents of your resume into a word cloud app can be extremely helpful.

A word cloud, (AKA text cloud or tag cloud) if you’re not familiar, is basically an infographic, which provides a visual representation of word frequency within a body of text. Simply put, use a word a lot and it will appear larger. Use a word infrequently and it will appear smaller or not at all. Needless to say, you want the most important words and the words most relevant to the type of position you're seeking to be larger than others.

When I plugged my resume into Tag Crowd I discovered that the word “including” was ginormous.  I had used it twelve times, while one of may favorite buzzwords about myself, “creative” was all but lost in the sea of  words. Now that’s just ridiculous. Poppycock, I say. This exercise definitely provided clarity.  I need to make sure my resume is far more indicative of my strongest skills.  Words like “marketing”, “content” and “manage” are in a good place but it was clear that I needed to sharpen things up a bit.

Recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds on your resume.

In my discovery of what recruiters were looking for, I also happened upon this fun fact: Recruiters spend an average of six seconds on your resume 1. In this six seconds their eyes scan your name, current position and company, start and end date, previous position and dates, and education information.

Couple this 6-second rule with the large possibility that you’re resume may not even be screened by a human being, and you know you have your work cut out for you. If you’re applying to a larger company (1,000 employees or more) there’s a really good chance your resume will be screened by some sort of filtering software; software that doesn’t like fancy serif fonts, tiny or large fonts, tiny or large margins, lines that run from margin to margin, or any other non-text design elements. What the software will like though is lots of keywords relevant to the open position so go ahead and use that word cloud to your advantage. It’s time for you to make good use of some big words and be seen.


 Scroll over image for animation

 

 

 

Some helpful word cloud tools: Wordle, TagxedoTag Crowd & Tagul

Thank you for reading. Now… “Let the power moves continue”.

 

1 Study conducted by The Ladders.

dress shoes casual shoes

Soooo, I have an embarrassing story.  Last week I committed the ultimate in business professional, fashion crimes.  I’m still shaking my head because I, of all people, should know better. So here’s the deal. I don’t commute in heels. I learned the hard way that driving in my heels is not only uncomfortable but causes wear and tear on the heel of the shoe from all of the friction that occurs when pressing and releasing the pedal. So in an effort to preserve my pretty pumps and also heed my mothers warnings on the dangers of driving in heels, I commute in sensible flats or sandals. Sandals I don’t mind so much but I loathe flats and any pair I own are for comfort only. I probably die a little on the inside each time I have to put them on.  Therefore, I drive in flats and when I arrive to my destination I put on my real shoes in the car.

As far as work is concerned, I can’t recall exactly when but somewhere along the line I stopped putting my shoes on in the car and started putting them on at my desk. If I think about it, it was probably around the time I started taking the train to work. Which would make sense since there really wouldn’t be a comfortable place to discretely put on my shoes before walking into the office.  Nowadays I don’t take the train anymore. There are too many inconsistencies involved in taking the train and my schedule just wont permit. However, since I’ve stopped taking the train I have not returned to the ritual of putting on my shoes in the car. I figure "What the hell, I’ll save my shoes a little wear and tear by sparing them a few extra steps on the concrete."

Cut to my mid-week revelation. I walked into the building sharply dressed in a blue-green pencil skirt and bold yellow cardigan, with matching yellow and blue green skinny waste belt, and non-matching black ankle strapped sandals with my fiercest green pumps tuck securely away in my rollaway laptop bag.  Just as I waved my badge to cross the secured entrance, I noticed I was face-to-face with the CEO.

Not only was I late (oh, I didn’t mention I was late?), I was pumpless (fail). Oh dear God. I panicked (on the inside). I didn’t even bother to say good morning (fail #2).  I just made a futile attempt of trying to hide my toes with my rollaway bag while all I could think of was “Damn it. He can’t possibly think this is it, right? He can’t think that this is how this fabulous ensemble ends. Damn it to hell.”  Now does the CEO of a Fortune 500 company care about my toes? Probably not. Even if he noticed, he probably put two and two together and surmised that somewhere in my luggage was some sort of dress-code compliant footwear. Or maybe he thought I had an injury. Who knows? The point is, I didn’t look my best and the opportunity to make a powerful first impression was lost.

Though I may have redeemed myself somewhat by displaying a sense of humor with a super forced smile at his “Smile it’s Wednesday” comment followed by a cheerful “Have a great day!” exchange, I certainly had a good laugh at myself afterwards.  The following day I put my shoes on in the car and have continued to do for the past couple of days. There’s just something about meeting a millionaire in an elevator that makes you want to reevaluate flopping around with exposed toes.

Moral of the story: Always look your best. Look like the person you want people to believe you are. You never know who you’ll run into at the elevator.

Thank you for reading. Now… “Let the power moves continue.”

sugarpaper_2
For more info on the planner pictured above visit thepaperchronicles.com

If you haven’t started your planning for 2015, you’re a little behind but that’s okay. In my last post I touched on goal setting for the New Year and as I called it, planning for Q1.  I thought I’d delve a little deeper and share some insight into how I approached this task.

 

Step 1 – Make a list (check it twice or 5 times… or whatever)

The first step was taking the time to think about what I wanted to achieve this year and then listing those things out.  I’m talking clearly-defined, measurable goals people.

Step 2 – Take note

I thought it was also important that I do a year-end review of 2014.  What was I able to accomplish last year? What didn’t I accomplish that I really wanted to? What are some positive/successful actions that I’ll want to carry into the next year versus things I should make sure I leave in 2014 and stay clear of this year?

Step 3 – Set priorities

Now, of all of these goals, which ones are most important? Prioritization is imperative to ensure that I’m not just tackling whatever’s easy first.  I want the big fish so I can’t be dilly-dallying with the sardines. I need to focus.

Step 4 – Strategery (Yes that's  strə-tee-jər-ee a la Will Ferrell)

Now that I know what I want, it's time for the plan of attack.  I need to determine when I want it and how I’m going to get it. It’s time to think strategy and create a plan for achieving each goal. Set timelines and figure out how I’ll be investing resources like time and money.

Step 5 – Plan A, B, C… and F it

I needed alternate strategies for achieving my goals, especially the larger more complex ones. It’s inevitable that in working towards my long list of goals certain instances may arise where things don’t work out exactly the way I planned and I end up needing to take a different course of action. By planning thoroughly enough I give myself the luxury of falling back on a reserve strategy which gives me a good chance of achieving what I initially set out to do.  If all else fails, say F it and reevaluate.

 

Things to keep in mind:

Keep tabs on your progress: Do regular audits of your progress to make sure you stay on track.

Keep a visual: Whether it’s a dry erase board with to-do items listed on it or a vision board with imagery of what you want to achieve. Keeping a visual is a great way to stay motivated.

Don’t sweat the small stuff: Avoid dwelling on failures, delays or unaccomplished goals. Dwelling doesn’t help, action does. Learn from mistakes and apply solutions.

Celebrate achievements: It’s okay to do a little celebrating for small wins and quick wins and when you get those big wins it’s a requirement that you celebrate. It isn’t all about the destination, the journey is equally important.

That’s my 2 cents. Hopefully this format will be as helpful to you as it was to me as you complete your 2015 goal planning.

Thanks for reading.  Now… “Let the power moves continue.”