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Archive for September, 2015

Countdown to the End of the #STEMPrincess2X Campaign!

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Every solid campaign needs to begin with the end in mind. Here’s ours on the #STEMPrincess2X Campaign:

What’s the #STEMPrincess2X Campaign?

Once again, here’s the deal:

If we manage to pre-sell at least 500 copies of #STEMPrincess2 on or before 10/15/15, everyone who purchased books at pre-sale will get DOUBLE what they ordered.  That means, if you order a book between now and October 15, 2015 and we make our goal of 500 books or more pre sold, you’d get 2 copies.*

That’s it. It’s as simple as that.  I’m not messing with any crowd funding platforms, middle men (other than the payment processor, Square) or other stuff.  No gimmicks.  Just me trying to get STEM concepts via a book into the hands of girls, so they can get and stay ahead in life, and in turn make this country great again (OK – I stole that from Donald, but I do agree with him–we’ve lost our way as a country.)

Let’s fight to get it back!

*Only on US postage rates. 

Successful Women are Not Liked. How Do We Fix This?

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

OK, I want (need) to go back to something I shared in Milwaukee, because I was struck by it yet again. It is the following:

     The more successful a man is, the more he is liked.  
     The more successful a woman is, the less she is liked.

I really cringe in discussing this.  On the other hand, if we don’t call something out that is wrong or unjust, it will just keep going on…ad nauseum – and this needs to stop.  Immediately if not sooner.

So, after saying this, twice, to the ladies in Milwaukee and given (a lot of) examples in my own life where this has occurred–I mentioned that I sacrificed my time the evening before (to watch Project Runway) in order to get up early to meet my flights.  What did I do when I returned home late Friday night?  Of course! I watched the latest episode of PR that I missed.

Unfortunately and ironically, buried within it was yet another case of the above situation this week.

Ashley is the lavender-haired designer who specializes in plus-sized fashion on this season’s cycle. She’s got a really cool sense of style. She also won two challenges thus far this season, which means she’s in the lead–at least on the women’s side of the designers.  On this week’s challenge, the team of remaining designers had to split into two teams.  One team was all girls.  The teams had to pick teammates.

Guess who got picked last?

Yup, Ashley.

That was a huge mistake, because Ashley also had the hidden talent of being a paint ball master, which was part of the task this week.  So, she pretty much shredded the guys with her paint ball gun, but she was clearly hurt and pissed off that she was chosen last.

But wait, that’s not all.

Later on in the challenge, one of the other gals in her group mentioned to her off side that the other girls were plotting to throw Ashley under the bus at the end, because they wanted the most successful girl to go.  She’s a “threat.”  This again hurt Ashley, and on the runway when the girls’ team lost, this became true to form – the majority of girls tried to throw Ashley under the bus, even though her fashion wasn’t the worst in the group – by far.

This is yet another example of the adage above.  When I shared it with the Milwaukee ladies, and then watched it unfold yet again on one of my favorite TV shows, the only remedy I can think of is to work twice as hard, and expect half the credit that someone with a penis will get.  That may sound crass, difficult, and a tad nihilistic, but it is the best I can do when it comes to this challenge we successful women face.  Also, we women need to support other successful women. When other women win, we ALL win.  Otherwise, we’ll just keep living in a man’s world, and frankly, I think we can do better.

If you have a better remedy, by all means, email me with it.  And guys – you can help this out by supporting successful women instead of standing back and watching the fireworks.  If you stand by and do nothing–say nothing–you’re just as guilty as the mean women committing the bus undertow.

This is all I have to say on this matter for now, and again, I say it to recognize that it is happening, each and every day.  We have to say something if we see something bad – and friends, this is horrible.

Stuff Smart, Learning Ladies Like

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 8.08.47 AMYesterday, I burned a few frequent flyer miles and took a circuitous route to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to talk to a group of awesome women at the Wisconsin Club.  Even though I was up at 3:40 am and home at 8 pm for the trip to: (IND -> ATL -> MKE there and MKE -> MSP -> IND back), I was more than happy to do it, because of who asked me to speak.

It was none other than my former b school professor and subsequently dean of the business school at CUW, Dean David Borst.  He subsequently retired, and we were chatting about all the awesome stuff he’s up to in his “retirement” (I use that term loosely, because as a fellow Renaissance soul, it does not sound at all like he’s retired).

One of my favorite things he did was set up a Women’s Mentoring Board, where he brings together a group of women to chat with them about their career development and bringing in guest speakers and getting lunch once a month at The Wisconsin Club. (Which, by the way, is a fantastically preserved historic club building in downtown Milwaukee.)

I had the pleasure of speaking to his Mentoring Board yesterday.  I prattled off a bunch of stuff, so I wanted to gather some of the resources I mentioned and put it here, below:

Strengthsfinder – LOVE THIS BOOK SERIES when it comes to discovering yourself.  Here’s an abbreviated free strengths test online.  I like Entrepreneurial Strengthsfinder the book too. As well, here’s a list of other tests on learning what makes you tick. Take them all so you can become the anthropologist of you!

Social mediaPeriscope and Meerkat – 2 really powerful, cool live streaming video tools to share your story with the universe.  The only things I really do on Facebook any more that are relevant here are the Single. Women. Entrepreneurs. page, Plan C book page, and The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM page.  Ladies, I’m happy to connect with you on LinkedIn–and remember my best advice here!

EtsyEtsy-preneurship, Etsypreneurship the book, and ironically on my plane ride home, Delta magazine even had an Etsy article on Rockford, IL teaming up with Etsy for the maker economy.

Podcasts – big fan of Stitcher, and the following are some of the shows on my favorites playlist I mentioned: The Ask Gary Vee Show, and The Tim Ferriss Show.

Women on Boards – Check out the training that Boardology by BoardRoom Bound offers.

How to manage time – I’m constantly trying to learn more about how to do this better.  I use my Moleskine Notebook, of course for my lists (of course the list will never be completely finished and that’s OK) and goals, but this video from Marie Forleo is also good too – plan stuff for tomorrow at least 5 minutes before you go to bed the previous day.  The tip that I shared was working 2 weeks out 1 hour each Sunday was a trick I learned at ACE this summer.  I’m still working on it, as time really is the one thing we never get back.

Empowering moments – Someone asked about my first empowering moment as a kid – that was drama and being a thespian, yes.  But here’s a list of some powerful moments in my career too.

Mentoring – My best work on mentors is in my 46 Doses book.  But, I have a few posts on them as well, here here and here. Ladies – if you’re reading this – you’re already light years ahead, because you have Dr. Borst already mentoring you. LUCKY DUCKS!!  I hope you continue on with him, as he can be a great resource to you.

Find things that need fixing, and own them – I mentioned the story of how Social Media Dames Unconference came to fruition.  And frankly, that was either a situation of a. keep on b*tching about it, or b. shut up and do something about it, you usually want to pick path b if you have the tools and resources you need to fix a problem.

Gender, success and likability – As I shared yesterday, the more successful a man is, the more he is liked.  The more successful a woman is, the less she is liked.  My only remedy to this is 2 fold:

1. To work twice as hard as the men, and expect half as much when it comes to the universe loving your work when you’re successful.  One of my mentors said to me a long time ago, “It’s lonely at the top!”  She is correct.
2. To ensure that women who have been mentored give back and mentor the NEXT generation of men and women against this bias.  Make sure if you were mentored that you give back and share your knowledge with others.

Of all the things we discussed, I really dislike this point the most, and I’ve personally suffered from this, but I’m not willing to water down my awesomeness, EVER, just so others can feel comfortable, and neither should you.  Hopefully if we all keep talking about it, the problem will be replaced with more equality in the workplace.  Until that day…

And my last pitch – to pre-sell #500 copies of STEM Princess 2 before Oct 15, the #STEMPrincess2X campaign.  I thank Dr. B for being kind enough to put in a large pre-order!

Last but not least – to the gents out there reading this, particularly my other male mentors – I challenge each of you to do the same thing that Dr. Borst did – get a group of women together, buy them lunch and see if you can help them.  As Dr. Borst mentioned as I thanked him for doing this for those of us with XX chromosomes, he stated, “If not me, then who?”


The Anti-Mentor

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

unicornMentoring. Do you hear harps and chirping birds when someone says that word? Do you see rainbows and unicorns?  Does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?  If it does, good for you.

Don’t get me wrong, a good mentor can do great things for your professional development, and in some cases, even your career.  And, I’ve been very lucky to have several awesome, positive mentors in my life.  However, I think there’s another type of mentor out there who has probably taught me even more about how to act and conduct my professional life/behavior, who is even more valuable than the solid “good” mentor.

No, I’m not talking about the sponsor.  (Those are peeps who are high up at your company, who also advocate for you when you’re not in the room, particularly for succession planning purposes.)  Nope, I’m not talking about Jack Welch’s reverse mentor either–or philosophy where he believed everyone had something to offer and learn from.

Nor will I be discussing inverse mentors--those who reverse the mentoring from the older, wiser person being the mentor, and the younger person being the mentee.  (Reverse mentoring is where the younger person becomes the mentor.)

I’m going to talk about one of the most important types of mentors not yet on this list: the anti-mentor.  I’m talking about the people in your life who show you through terrible examples how NOT to act professionally.  They are the people that provide you a 180 degree angle on proper career and personal development.  They show you the dark side…and sometimes, the ugly side of corporate America.

Businessweek has an article about the wonders of having an anti-mentor here.  And, I hate to say it, but the anti-mentors are probably in bigger abundance than the actual warm-and-fuzzy positive mentor types.  They also can co-exist with people in your life who have good qualities too.  We as humans are all mixed bags–just like the Force.

I’ve been thinking about this in preparation for a fireside chat I’ll be having in Milwaukee soon, thanks to one of my good mentors and former professor when I was a student.  But, the more I think about mentoring overall, the more I think the anti-mentors taught me more about how to conduct myself professionally.  I’ve personally learned a lot of things from my anti-mentors (AKA – the guilty who shall remain nameless), like:

  1. Utilize your integrity as the compass for your moral conduct – You already know what you need to do in a situation. Your gut tells you. The anti-mentors might test you at times. Don’t let the dark side take over your integrity. I’ve watched shady anti-mentoring characters get away with their moral relativism time after time.  Ugh.  Two words: Karmic. Retribution.
  2. Play in the sandbox nicely – I’ve worked in some pretty competitive workplaces, and watched quite a few petty, snarky interactions in my day.  Due to watching epic behaviors in the anti-category, I’ve personally tried to play in the sandbox across the companies I worked for intentionally, rather than playing into the silo mentality.  That “us vs. them” mentality is 4th grade behavior. We’ve moved on.
  3. Sea of wood grain at the end of the day – some of the biggest anti-mentor behavior I’ve witnessed is in the form of messy, downright embarrassing offices and cubicles.  As in – call Hoarders the TV show and have an intervention.  This bad behavior forces me have an absolutely clean desk at the end of my day.  If I can’t see wood grain, something is not done, and I won’t be a happy camper until it is done.
  4. Never force someone to do something they don’t want to do – I’ve been guilty of this one in the past, because I like to get stuff done.  But, I’ve learned by watching the rude, yelling bosses that you can’t really ever force anyone to do something they don’t want to do.  The best thing you can do is try and help people get to a place where they WANT to do the work out of intrinsic motivation rather than brute force.
  5. Don’t pick favorites – We all have preferences in people we hang out with and work with on optional projects.  But sometimes, we have to put our favoritism aside and just get the work done.  We also shouldn’t choose favorites when others are equally if not more qualified to work on the team.  Nothing drives me more insane than cronyism and nepotism.  They are 2 -isms that should have no place in corporate America, in my opinion.  I work hard, and I expect others to work hard too–and slacking just because you’re related to, married to, or sleeping with the head/owner/boss is not a valid excuse for a shortcut on one’s job. Ever.
  6. Walk the talk – The anti-mentor likes to set a double standard: his and yours. He gets to do one thing, and you have to do something else.  He sets his hours, but you have to be in the office every day from 7-4. He tells you to scrub the floor, but he’s never scrubbed anything in his life.  This type of anti-mentoring always ensures that when I ask someone to do something, I’m prepared to do it myself.  Four degrees later, I’m still making my own copies.  I’ve scrubbed floors, waitressed, and cleaned basements with raw sewage floods in them.  When I ask for something, I’m willing to do it myself, period.  This consideration will never run across the anti-mentor’s mind.

There are 6 deadly sins I’ve learned how to avoid by watching the parade of anti-mentors throughout the 20+ years of my career thus far.  The next time you encounter an absolute tool at work – give them a shout out.  Thank them.  Really.  Because they’re giving you a warm and fuzzy view of exactly what NOT to do in your own life and work.

Technical Difficulties

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 5.21.48 AMYesterday…was not one of my best days.  Pretty much any piece of technology I touched refused to work, and I could not get people to understand what my constraints and challenges are and were with my work–on several fronts.  Bleh.

Maybe it was a full moon?  I don’t know.

Then, the cherry on top was reading this article in HBR about how companies manage to shut down any ambitions of women who aspire to higher ranks in just…2 years. TWO YEARS!  That’s insane!  I don’t even have girls of my own and THIS ARTICLE BUMMED ME OUT!

Fab 13, the only way we are going to turn this ship around is by empowering our next generation of women leaders…that’s the girls of today.  That means educating them to be independent souls, who DO aspire to greater levels in organizations.

I’m trying like h*ll to help this happen with the #STEMPrincess2X campaign.  But I’m not going to lie – I need your help.  Contrary to popular belief, I don’t own a multi-bajillion dollar tech company that I’m selling to Facebook tomorrow and a lot of cash lying around to spend on producing books.  I don’t have a sugar daddy (not that I’d even want one…), but you get my point.  Talk is cheap, and action is awesome – but it isn’t free.  Action costs money.  This project is a labor of love for my fellow younger sisters, but I need your help to make it happen.

If we don’t start telling and empowering our girls that they can work hard and achieve anything they want to do and be, just like we do with boys, we’re just going to keep on having bad days, riddled with crappy, depressing and completely unacceptable articles and situations like the one above.

Let’s not keep moving that mentality forward…!