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Reflections on 10 Years with the Women’s Business Network

In the 10 years that I have been with WBN I have been an artisan, a birthday party entertainer, a multi-level marketer, a quilter, a database manager, a graphic artist, a technical support staff-person, a computer files organizer, an electronic e-newsletter designer, a social media manager, an event planner, a website project manager, and a 6-foot tall monkey mascot.

Women can do that.  

Of course, men can do it, too.

But this piece focuses on women as a reflection of my 10 years of having the great honor to collaborate with an outstanding group of women.  These women work together in a variety of platforms to inspire, educate and motivate each other to be the very best they can be in their personal and professional lives. Read more

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Social Media “Tribes”

social media divasI spent this morning in the Kensington Real Estate conference room, (Thanks, Sheryle) Happy to be at the opposite end of the table from the donuts, cruellers and candy,  I sat back in appreciation, once again, of the unique learning, networking and sharing methods of a group of women who are life-long learners.  Jumping from subject to subject, we covered topics that ranged from cooking apps for our phones (BigOven.com )  to admiration for ‘paperless’ office techniques (Evernote, Cloud Computing, iPad, DotLoop) to planning Google+ Hangouts.

The Social Media Divas are an amazing group of women that decided, three years ago, to work together as a marketing team to help grow each other’s business using social media. Working as a team means knowing. liking and commenting, sharing.

Today’s questions and conversation.

How do I keep up on my blog?  

  • Use your recording feature on your cell phone to record text while you are driving home from work
  • Schedule a block of time each week and use it solely for this purpose (suggested 2 hours)
  • Ask for guest bloggers to send you some content on their specialty

Naked Brand

Getting the corporate structure to get the concept of social media.  Bolocco CEO tweets – if its too cold in one of the branches, he responds immediately.  Pepsi, UnderArnour, Zappos are other companies who have an active and responsive social media program. The culture in business  has changed.  The consumer wants to connect with the Brand.

Employees as an extension of the social media team

Engaging on Google+, LinkedIn, Vine – as each employee wants to be involved in social media – give them a new avenue.  The beauty of Google+ is its easier to use the circles so that you can control the group that sees each post.

“People will support that which they help to create” – Aileen McDonough, 3am Writers

Every time the “Divas” meet, we jump from subject to subject with incredible speed.  Each of us brings to the table a new question, a new tool, or a new observation to share with the others.

As a solo entrepreneur, it is extremely helpful to set up systems to make certain that we have an opportunity to share ideas, frustrations and new knowledge with like-minded people.  I feel incredibly fortunate to be included in this group of electric women.

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I Disagree and I Agree, Seth Godin

A recent post by marketing wizard, Seth Godin, is entitled EMPATHY TAKES EFFORT.  Seth says that when we imagine what it must be to be like someone else, that we expose ourselves to risk.  I think his message is that by putting ourselves in someone else’s point of view, we may be shaken up and out of our own comfortable way of seeing the world.  We might feel uneasy if we have to take into account factors we ordinarily choose to view differently, or ignore altogether.

I have addressed this issue in the past and have referred to it as looking at the world through a different window than the one in our own “house”.  This can be true in a physical sense – truly – I am often made aware of how just sitting in a different spot, looking out different window, can completely alter a view of the same object.   It may also be true in the personal, human sense.  I am always amazed at how one topic can be viewed so differently by so many people.  Political views, religious views, views about child-rearing – and my personal haunt – views about the value of housekeeping can vary by exactly how many people are involved in the topic at the time.   Our friends, our neighbors – jeez, even our own families – look through the windows of their own self and see one issue quite differently than the next person.

I think that without an effort to bring empathy to your self and thus, to your work, you are setting up walls which impede many opportunities to learn and grow and connect.  These walls, created by lack of empathy, seem to also create anger toward and distrust of others who do not look out of your window.  By understanding the window through which someone is viewing their situation, and by adjusting our own lenses to bring in a closer version of their view, we can better work toward completing a project at hand.

I agree, Seth Godin – It may “be easier to walk on by, to compartmentalize and to isolate ourselves. Easier, but not worth it.”

This is Great Stuff!

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Elevator Story

hear moreFor 8 years we have been encouraging the members of the Women’s Business Network to create, refine, rework their “Elevator Pitch”.  With only 30 seconds to introduce themselves in a network meeting, we wanted to make sure that they had their message clear and ready to go.

The article I read this morning by Seth Godin just made this concept so incredibly clear and meaningful to me.  It’s not a pitch – We are not going for the 30 second sale – We are beginning a story that just needs to be continued.  Seth  says  “The best elevator pitch is true, stunning, brief and it leaves the listener eager (no, desperate) to hear the rest of it.

I love this concept and can’t wait to share it.
There…..I  did.
This is Great Stuff!

Read the whole, short article by Seth.


Networking- Building a Support System

Just got back from our monthly meeting of the Women’s Business Network of SE MA (WBN)    A curious thing happens every month when I attend these meetings.  In just 2 hours I become re-invigorated and optimistic about the direction my business is taking.  I find I am surrounded by support, encouragement and wisdom.

Our icebreaker question for the ‘casual networking’ portion of the meeting was: “How did you get started in your current work?”  It was fascinating to listen to the different stories in the room.  How many of us started out in one thing – sales, corporate, teaching – and then, life took a turn of one sort or another and led us to where we are now.  And each one who told their story ended it with “And I love what I am doing now!”      A phys-ed teacher turned travel agent has visited places all over the entire world.  A sports psychologist turned special-ed attorney gains satisfaction from helping children receive services they need, the minister – who everyone in her life except herself knew she should be a minister – who now realizes that her ‘call’  – everyone’s ‘call’ is  “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”   Well, I am not sure about the what the world’s deep hunger means….but maybe it’s our own individual world.  Maybe it’s that when each of us is fulfilled by the work we do, we are better able to support our families, friends and co-workers – our individual worlds.

My ‘call’, apparently, is to be a connector.  My friend, Lori, told me that years ago, right after she finished Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point.  She knew before I did that the role of connector should be the path I take bring me satisfaction in my professional life..  Tricia knew it too when she invited me to join her and other tech-savvy women for a ‘think-tank’ to share ideas on how to best utilize social media to grow our business.  It took a while for me to figure it out. YES!  I am a CONNECTOR !

Now, I get to spend my days helping business find their online presence by setting them up with online listings, social media strategies and contact management systems  to help them connect to and stay connected to their clients.

The WBN fulfills my need to connect people to services, resources and other people who will somehow help them in their personal or professional life.   In the hour or so that I’ve been back to my office since getting home from WBN, I have seen two of my members form a new friendship and sharing begin on Facebook.  One member was inspired by another icebreaker question:  “If you could be reincarnated as any person you actually know, who would that be?”  This member was moved to share a blog post about her how her mother’s strength, determination and love influenced her throughout her life.

The WBN has a focus on helping members get to know and support each other on both the personal and a professional levels.  Through initiatives such as the “Icebreaker Series”, “Rotating Lunch”, “Online Advisory Circle” and other “Break-Outs”, we are building platforms and bridges to finding new ways to market, administer and grow our business.

This is Great Stuff.