May 20, 2013

quote - trust your heart

Each of us has something different to offer: a skill or talent that is tied to a calling we must heed. Discovering our life’s task and mastering the related skills is key to realizing our true value and what we can bring to the lives of others. This acceptance of the uniqueness in ourselves and others is at the heart of diversity.

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May 13, 2013

man yelling

Dr. Neel Burton of Psychology Today offers sage advice on dealing with insults and put-downs. It is a rare person who has not regretted over-reacting to an insult, not having a quick rebuttal to a put-down or simply being able to put negative words out of their minds.   <Continue Reading….>


March 26, 2013

question marks

In Jeff Selingo’s Best Advice column, he recently suggested that in the game of life, the rule of thirds is key.  Many of us don’t know what to do next or what would make us happy.  One of Jeff’s valued mentors told him to ask himself three questions whenever he was at a cross-roads:

  1. Are you happy with your job?
  2. Are you happy where you live?
  3. Are you happy with the people/person you’re with (depending on your circumstances that could mean friends, spouse, partner, etc).

If you answer “Yes” to at least two out of three, you have found your spot for the moment. If not, you need to make a change in at least one area.

Lessons from Doug Conant – A Free Session

doug-conant CEO Campbell SoupMarch 21, 2013

What I learned on the first leadership call with Doug Conant

The first call with Doug Conant exceeded my expectations.  Dan Rockwell turned out to be a natural and thoughtful interviewer.  He posed questions of his own and took many from the webcast group.  Towards the end of the call, Conant shared his three tenants:  Reflect – Declare – Behave.  I’m giving you the brief version here because I plan to write about this in more detail soon.

1. Reflect on your standards. Reflect on the type of person and leader you want to be and determine what it will take for you to operate on all 5 cylinders consistently.

2. Declare yourself.  Tell people what you expect.

3. Behave in a way that is consistent with your established standards.

You can access the recording from the first session on March 7th, by following the instructions at the end of this post.  It’s well worth the time.  Listen while you work.

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July 2, 2012

I kicked-off my year of truth with a high impact move by meeting with Billy Dexter, Partner with Heidrick and Struggles and fellow Teen Living Programs executive board member.  Billy agreed to meet with me and provide feedback on my ability to convey my point of view, create authentic connections and establish credibility. His feedback was insightful and galvanizing. Here are the highlights of the feedback I received from Billy’ Dexter.

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According to Derek  Sivers (thought leader, entrepreneur and programmer), telling  someone your goal makes it less likely to happen.  Every time you have a goal, there’s some work to be done in order to achieve it.  Telling  someone of your intentions and receiving  the immediate  affirmation and congratulations tricks your brain into thinking you have already accomplished the goal.  Normally, the brain would not be satisfied until you had actually done the work.  In the case of sharing your goals, the brain mistakes the talking for the doing.

Continue Reading…


May 5, 2012

”Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance.”

An aha moment is described as a moment of clarity; the defining moment where you gain real wisdom – wisdom you can use to change your life. I don’t know about you, but such  moments usually catch me by surprise. The following incident occurred at 8:30pm on Monday, November 28, 2011.  I’d just finished a two and a half hour Executive Board meeting for Teen Living Programs and was mentally and physically exhausted.  On some level, I knew that after such a long and trying day I should simply say my goodbyes and go home, but I was turning over a new leaf.   Just a few weeks before, I decided that I would develop stronger connections within my network. To me, this meant taking the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation whenever possible.

So, it was 8:30pm and the meeting was adjourned.  People were starting to wander over to the food and wine table. It was strangely quiet considering that we are normally such a lively group. Looking back now, I think people were recharging or at least resting. But I had something very different in mind.

Continue reading…


February 28, 2012

My reading list is starting to grow again.  I’m currently enjoying Nina DiSesa’s “Seducing the Boys Club:  Uncensored Tactics From a Woman at the Top”.   This insightful, challenging and witty book describes the events that shaped DiSesa’s career, including the lessons she learned and strategies she implemented along the way.  There are moments of the book which actually make me laugh out loud.  DiSesa is an irreverent and courageous story teller.  Now as Chairman of McCann Erickson New York, she’s sharing her wisdom.

DiSesa wrote “One of the only advantages of getting older (other than the fact that you haven’t died yet) is that you appear to have all the answers.  Still it took a long time for me to fully appreciate the psychology of business.  Until I saw the light, I always believed that if I simply put my nose to the grindstone and worked hard, my efforts would be appreciated and I would be noticed.  I believed that I didn’t have to toot my own horn.  I was not shrewd.  Even worse.  I was a sucker.

Read the complete post…


Decemer 16, 2011

Last night, I attended the Cork Savvy networking event hosted by The Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League.  It was held at the beautiful Affinia hotel in downtown Chicago.  Cork Savvy was one of the most enjoyable and productive networking events I’ve attended in recent memory.  The evening began with a reception where professionals mingled.  The cacophony of voices I heard when stepping off the elevator was a sign of the exciting evening to come.  The dinner portion of the night was structured around a three course dinner with wine pairings and a speaker for each course.

Read the entire post.

5 Tips for Being Your Own Mentor

by Sherry Clayton, November 28, 2011

For the last few months, I’ve been actively seeking mentors in a variety of fields and interests.  Mostly in the areas of self-branding, non-profit program development, careger planning and executive board development.  In the coming week, I will post my own self-mentoring plan to provide regular updates.

The following expert tips come from Dr. Betty Spence, President of the National Association of Female Executives. This is an excerpt of an article printed in a 2010 NAAFE newsletter.  Dr. Spence offers five tips for advancing your career or your business.

1. Dazzle them. Get work done on or ahead of time and deliver more than people expect. Results take time to accumulate, so be consistently exceptional. Impress them over and over so you build a track record that will serve you well with your boss, your organization, and your clients.

2. Fortune favors the brave. Performing well at what you’ve done before won’t move you ahead. You need to take risks. Take jobs/assignments where you don’t fit naturally. Or create new ones. Your confidence in the face of the unknown demonstrates your potential – and builds your confidence.

3. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. You may do a fabulous job, but if nobody knows about it, you’re stuck where you started. Don’t wait to be noticed. Talk about recent accomplishments – and share your excitement – with your boss, your clients, your mentor, your network. Discuss decisions you’re making and the risks you’re taking…and they’ll think of you for the next job.

4. Nothing comes to one who waits. Opportunities will not get handed to you, so take the initiative. When there’s a project you want to do, step forward and volunteer. In fact, you need to ask for whatever you want: a flexible schedule, financing for your new venture, a raise, or that promotion you’ve been waiting for.

5. Diversify. Get to know all aspects of the business you’re in, from sales to human resources to strategy. But most important, get to know the business of the business: how the money gets made. Then go make money for the business. Whether you’re working for someone else or for yourself, that’s the ticket to success.


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