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Quote 31 Aug

“The hardest period in life is one’s twenties. It’s a shame because you’re your most gorgeous, and you’re physically in peak condition. But it’s actually when you’re most insecure and full of self-doubt. When you don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s frightening.”
— Helen Mirren, quoted in Esquire’s “What I’ve Learned” (via thelimestoneandtheivy)

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Things people need to stop wearing to work

18 Jun

Inspiration drawn from The Thought Catalog

1. Leggings as pants. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE wearing leggings.  I can wear them to the gym, around the house, to do errands, I have even worn them to go out at night (back when they first became a trend). I have even worn my jeggings on the occasional casual Friday. However, I cannot stress how bad they look in a professional setting. They are not pants! You are basically wearing a shirt with tights…..

2. That sexy mini skirt that you have been dying to wear on a Saturday night. I understand the need to want to feel good, but a good rule of thumb is that if you can wear it to the club, you probably shouldn’t wear it to work.

3. White shirts with black bras... enough said.

4. Spaghetti Straps.. This, my friend, is why God created cardigans.

5. Your go-to bar high heels. “But they’re that great neutral color that go with everything and still unbelievably comfortable despite the six inch platform!” Sister, you’re not wrong, but there is a time and a place. The time and the place for those puppies is when you’re trying to make your legs and butt look like they could casually destroy a man’s heart. Not when you’re trying to make your way around a conference room table to hand out printed power point slides and all of a sudden you realize you’re wobbling like Fran Drescher trying to get Mr. Sheffield to put a ring on it. Take it down about three or four inches! (Partly stolen from The Thought Catalog)

I understand different offices have different views on dress codes but if you work in a Conservative company these tips might come in handy….

Lastly i leave you with one of my favorite quotes….

7 Fashion Faux Pas to Avoid on Summer Fridays by Meredith Lepore

28 May

7 Fashion Faux Pas to Avoid on Summer Fridays by Meredith Lepore

It’s finally here. Summer is just around the corner which means, for many of us, Summer Fridays are coming into play. For adults, Summer Fridays are pretty much the equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (minus all that gratuitous killing of innocent children). For some offices they let you take off every or every other Friday, some let out at noon, some permit a more casual dress code, etc. We will talk about how to prepare for Summer Fridays, but before you go out and buy your summer clothes, I think we need to talk about what you can and cannot wear to the office on casual Friday.

The thing is, sometimes people interpret “casual” as “my audition outfit for The Jersey Shore.” And please don’t think I am talking down to you. One summer, on a particularly hot day, I was scrambling for something to wear because I was in the middle of moving and tired, so I put on this cute little flimsy sundress—though I feel like the term “dress” is a little bit generous. It was essentially a beach cover-up. Surprisingly, though, my boss wasn’t upset about that. He was more concerned with my choice of footwear: a gold thong sandal. This shows dress code can change in every office. If you work in fashion, it may be absolutely fine for you to wear a bralet and jean shorts. If you’re a lawyer, that probably is not going to fly.

Fashion Faux Pas

If you aren’t sure, we say stick to this list:

1. Sunglasses inside

You aren’t a celebrity (and they look silly too), so save the aviators and the wayfarers for your lunch outside. Even if you put them on your head it just connotes casualness. Plus, if you’re like me, you will spend five minutes looking for them when you actually need them because you forgot they were on your head.

2. Flip-flops

Now, like most Americans I am completely devoted to my flip-flops and wear them for fine dining in the summer. But if you think about flip-flops, they are truly the most casual of shoes. They were too casual to even get the name “sandal.”

And I get that flip-flops have become like a part of society. See, years ago they were really only thought of as beach shoes, but then, somewhere in the ’90s when a lot of weird stuff started happening, flip-flops evolved from strictly a beach shoe and shower shoe to a college campus shoe. I would have to say the biggest moment for flip-flops was when the Northwestern Women’s Lacrosse team all wore flip-flops to the White House. They were photographed with President Bush wearing cute skirts and tops and flippers (yup, because flip-flops was too hard to say). So many people thought that if you were dressed up on top you could get away with wearing flip-flops.

Well, not so much.“Flip-flops are for the pool, the beach and barbeques. I’m all for comfort, but there are plenty of comfortable, stylish shoe alternative that will help you look polished and professional. Your co-workers will thank you,” says Diana Baros, founder and editor ofThe Budget Babe. Plus, flip-flops can be noisy and a little smelly. And as someone who insisted on putting on flip-flops the moment I left the office and then proceeded to walk around New York City for hours, I can’t say the stress fracture and toe infection I had were worth it.

3. Short shorts

We are going to delve into what I like to call “The Great Shorts Debate” soon, but with shorts you really need to read the environment of your office. If it is a hip, young startup, go for it. But I will even say make sure they are nice-looking shorts and not your jean cut-offs. If you are worried, maybe wear a longer Bermuda short and see how that goes.

4. Crop tops

Now, usually this isn’t that much of an issue except right now crop tops are at the height of fashion. If you have a flat stomach either because you’ve been doing your crunches religiously or you were just blessed with good genes, I say congrats! But don’t show them off inside the office!

5. See-through anything

We know it is going to be really hot this summer because the earth is definitely dying, and yes, that pretty-much-see-through white blouse sounds like the only thing you may not sweat in, but the entire office does not need to see your physical assets—just your professional ones.

6. Rompers

Sadly, rompers have become a summer staple in the last few years. It’s like someone said, “You know who always looks chic? Babies in their onesies. Let’s make them for grownups.” A few brands have very cute ones, but rompers still fall in that weird gray area between a tiny dress and a tiny pair of shorts.

Plus, there are just a few basic problems. Rompers tend to confuse people. They don’t understand that the shorts and top are connected or why you would voluntarily choose to wear something called a romper. This should not be the subject of a business meeting.

Also, you have to get pretty much completely naked every time you go to the bathroom. Any outfit that requires you to strip down almost completely just seems not work appropriate.

7. Flimsy dresses

Again, it depends on your office, but we all know the difference between a flimsy dress and a good dress in which you don’t have to worry about having a major Marilyn Monroe moment if you step over a grate, stand near a fan, or walk too fast. Also, most offices in the summer tend to be freezing so you are going to end up having to add seven layers to that dress anyway.

What other fashion faux pas should you avoid on Summer Fridays? Tell us in the comments!

Ask Dustee Jenkins, Vice President of Public Relations at Target, about what rules you should keep in mind when dressing for work in the summer!

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Coco Chanel

26 Feb

Tips for Quitting Your Job Gracefully

26 Feb

Reblogged from Etiquette for Quitting Your Job Gracefully.

 

Over the years as I’ve worked for various companies it’s been interesting to watch as certain individuals make their exit from a company and how they handle themselves.
As I find myself in this very situation at the moment of moving onto greener pastures (and it’s one that most of us will deal with at one time or another) I wanted to share the proper etiquette of leaving a company with style and grace.

1. Giving Notice- I don’t know of a single employer that wouldn’t be thankful that you gave the appropriate amount of notice. Two weeks is the standard however other jobs do require more time to fill your position. Be sure to review your company’s handbook if you are unsure and give as much notice as you possibly can. It’s also appropriate to provide a letter of resignation, which leaves things on a positive note as you thank the company for the opportunity and share how you’ve grown career-wise.

No matter how stressful or horrific your working environment might have become for you, it’s not okay to just stop showing up or arrive in the morning announcing on the spot that you are quitting. Usually such declarations are emotional ones that aren’t always thought through. Sleep on it if you feel this way (I’ve been there a couple times myself where I’ve felt like walking out but I pressed on and found myself there weeks/months later making a much more dignified exit when the time came).

Sometimes in life we have the best intentions but a wonderful opportunity presents itself with time limits. Do your best to gain as much time as you can before jumping ship, letting the new employer know that you pride yourself in being respectful and professional. Given that they’d probably prefer the same level of respect, they should be able to work with you. If not, (depending on your role and degree of responsibility) you may wish to put together a small reference book or manual to make it easier for the company and the new employee who will fill your shoes. At the end of the day it’s your future, so don’t let a great opportunity pass you by if a current employer is giving your grief over not quite providing the full notice. Nothing is perfect in life, know that you did all that you could.

2. Keep Quiet About Quitting- It’s hard not to share great news when you land the job of your dreams but it’s best to keep things hush hush around other employees until you tell your boss. Should word get out and it is not from you firsthand, it will create uncomfortable interaction with your boss and it is not at all professional. Plan in advance how you’ll share your news, rehearse if you have to and create talking points so you don’t end up rambling or saying something that you might be unhappy with later. Your message should be consistent across the board. In other words, don’t tell your colleagues one thing and your boss another.

3. Business as Usual- One of the most disappointing things I’ve witnessed is colleagues that have given notice and even though they are still on company time, they choose to slack off; act as if the company’s rules don’t still apply to them, wear overly casual or inappropriate work attire, rack up expenses or steal office supplies. I’ve also noticed that some show up late and call in sick multiple times when they are not to take time off before their new job and generally take on a ‘do as little as possible’ attitude, particularly if they grew tired of the company or their role.

Being a professional, elegant woman means ending your time with the same work ethic that you came in with. The classy woman is hardworking, she represents the company and herself well at all times and doesn’t draw too much attention to herself after making he intentions to leave known. She avoids spending hours of precious work time gossiping and discussing her transition with colleagues. There is nothing wrong with sharing some details about the new job with a very close co-worker that one lunches with daily, but it must kept outside of the office and only if it is someone that can be trusted to be discrete.

4. Exit Gracefully- Within many companies it’s not uncommon to have a boss want to sit down with you for an exit interview.  They may be curious why you are leaving, some may even ask what they can do to change your mind so you’ll stay and may offer you a salary increase, etc. (I’ve experienced this a few times in the past, which is always a nice compliment). It’s best to keep things on a high note. Even if you and your peers or management did not see eye-to-eye, this is not the time to tell your boss how you really feel. Your final impressions are everything and linger on long after you’re gone, so keep it short and sweet and to the point. In the age of LinkedIn and other career building and social networking sites, it may be to your advantage to keep them in your corner for future related opportunities. 

5. Focus on the Positives- In most job transition scenarios there isn’t much time other than perhaps a weekend between your old job and your shiny new opportunity. Be careful not to carry baggage or negative energy to the new company if things didn’t end the way you had hoped. Take everything wonderful that you’ve learned and use it to your advantage. Perhaps the company was often unprofessional or disorganized but offered great sales training. Be thankful for what you received and what that previous opportunity offered. Perhaps it was a job that pushed you to the limits in every conceivable way, however it likely prepared you in a greater way for the one you’ll be moving onto next or something else further in time. There are so many areas of personal development and growth from time management, networking, customer relationships, business relationships to communication skills, and the list goes on. Make a list of what you learned and are grateful for. Even if you did not feel challenged and disliked the position, be thankful for the paycheck it provided.

Be sure to thank anyone that you’ve worked with who helped you along the way, made your life easier (ie: your assistant) and those that made your working environment a positive or happy place to go into work (if it was).  In my remaining time at my current job I can think of several individuals who made me laugh regularly and those that made the not-so-great days at work so much better. One lady in particular who calls me her ‘work BFF’ will be getting a big hug on my last day. It’s so lovely to have met someone that in the past 7.5 months I can call a sweet friend.

I’d love to hear how you gracefully transitioned to a new position, company or how you may have made it easier for the person filling your shoes upon your departure.

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New mantra

23 Feb

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People come into your path for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

21 Feb

People come into your path for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you know which one it is, you will know what to do with that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a dificulty…

To provide you with guidance and support…

To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually…

They may seem like they are a godsend, and they are.

They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die…

Sometimes they walk away…

Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand….

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled…

Their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has now been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON.

Because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.

They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.

They may teach you something you have never done.

They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons.

Things you must build upon to have a solid emotional foundation.

Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life…

Whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime

~ unknown author

Quote

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down”

20 Feb

Words of wisdom

Forbes: The Top 6 Reasons Women Are Not Leading In Corporate America As We Need Them To

15 Feb
Forbes
Kathy Caprino, Contributor
Women’s career and work-life success strategies, solutions and tips

2013 @ 8:22AM |3,784 views

The Top 6 Reasons Women Are Not Leading In Corporate America As We Need Them To

Courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Part of Kathy Caprino‘s new series on Women, Leadership, and Vision

As a trainer and leadership developer of women, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of HR and senior executive leaders the past 10 years, about women, growth, and paving the way for women’s ascension to leadership in corporate America. Yet what remains so disappointing and in fact, shocking, is that despite the irrefutable business case for the need to balance corporate leadership ranks with more women, we’re making very little headway – very little progress in the way of effective corporate change is occurring.  Yes there are winners of Catalyst and other awards – and great, progressive organizations doing their part – but in the whole of corporate America, we’re not seeing the substantive change that’s necessary. Further, recent studies show that senior women are hit three times harder than their male counterparts in these tough economic times.

I believe there are 6 core reasons why women aren’t advancing to the leadership ranks to the degree we need them to in corporate America.  One of the most important factors is that organizations are not digging deep enough to uncover EXACTLY why their organization isn’t fostering women leaders successfully.  Leaders and HR directors attempt to address the issue every day, and they commit diversity dollars, initiatives, training programs and networking events to moving the needle, but rarely have the hard data, research and findings from men and women in the organization as to why women are leaving before they reach leadership levels, why they are plateauing or not being promoting effectively into leadership. Thus, their programs and initiatives don’t make a lasting difference.

Before I share what I believe are the 6 reasons why women aren’t leading in sufficient numbers, I’d like to ask HR staff and senior leaders this question:

Do you know (based on sound research and data and frank and open conversations at your company) EXACTLY why women are not sitting at your leadership tables in your organization? Do you have a handle on the specific part of the pipeline where you lose women, and why?  If not, what step can you take this month to investigate as thoroughly as possible the barriers to women’s leadership success at your company?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, the very first thing you must do is begin a research and data gathering initiative – conduct a thorough, candid, and probing exploration of what isn’t happening that needs to be, and determine the barriers to women’s growth that are specific to your organization, culture, and enterprise.

To get you started in your thinking, below are the top 6 reasons I’ve found for why women aren’t leading as we need them to in corporate business, based on my 10 years of work in the field, my year-long research study, my bookBreakdown, Breakthrough, my Career Success training programs and myleadership consulting.

The top six reasons why women aren’t leading in sufficient numbers are:

1)   The differences between men and women are not fully understood or valued.

It’s an indisputable fact – women and men are different in many core ways, grounded in their neurobiology and their cultural training.  (Read Dr. Louann Brizendine’s books The Female Brain and The Male Brain for more info).  So much of men and women’s behavior is programmed, hard-wired in our brains, and also culturally influenced.  I’ve found, however, that in corporate America (which remains male-dominated at the leadership levels), the differences in women’s style, approach, communication, decision making, leadership values, focus and “energy,” are not at all understood or valued.  Many organizations still make women “wrong” (consciously or subconsciously) for their priorities and styles that clash with the dominant culture.  Further, the emphasis many women leaders place on connection, empathy, emotional cue-taking, consensus-building, risk-taking, mutuality, and questioning are often misconstrued as a “less-than” leadership style.  More multicultural and diversity training must occur for women and men to wholly embrace their differences, and understand that it is diversity and difference that makes us stronger and more competitive.

2)  Whole-self authenticity is a must-have for many women, yet impossible still in many corporate environments.

During a class I taught at New York University last summer on managing inclusion and cultural diversity, my students and I discussed the idea of bringing our whole hearts and spirits to our work and our careers – the idea that authenticity and transparency, and being who we really are – and being recognized and appreciated for that — is a vitally important criterion for our career success. A fascinating finding emerged – literally every woman in the class was in complete accord – that authenticity and being able to bring our whole selves to our work is essential to our fulfillment and success. (Check out Brené Brown’s great work on authenticity and vulnerability for more on that.)

But the males in the class vehemently disagreed.  They shared their feelings that full transparency at work, and “exposing” all parts of themselves (personal and otherwise) was not at all desirable. They confirmed this with numerous male friends and colleagues, who all agreed that it’s not safe or accepted (or wanted) to be fully transparent and bring their whole selves to the workplace.  I’ve seen this as a commonly held difference between men and women in the workplace, again impacted by cultural training and neurobiology.  (Again, I am fully aware that many men do indeed bring their full, authentic selves to work.) But what’s vital to remember is that, for thousands of women, if they can’t be real, true, transparent, honest and authentic at work – and can’t be recognized, valued and appreciated for what they bring to the table — they won’t want to follow the leadership at the helm or do what it takes to succeed in their organizations or roles. If the political environment is so crushing, and the competitive terrain so negative that work feels like “theatre” and women have to pretend to be something they are not (which it did for me for numbers of years in my corporate life), then it’s not sustainable, and not worth it. Thousands of women are fleeing corporate America and starting their own businesses to escape what isn’t working for them, and also to create new models of business success and leadership that fit their style, preference, values and priorities.

3)   Life, family and work priorities clash fiercely.

Women are still performing the majority of domestic and child care responsibility in the home, even when there are two spouses working full-time.  As such, and as long as women are bearing the children in our species, women will not view child rearing and child care in the same way as men do, and will prioritize the responsibilities around it differently.  The best article I’ve read recently on this dilemma – as a woman, the challenges around how to be the caregiver you want to be while being the contributive professional you long to be – is Anne-Marie Slaughter’s piece in The Atlantic, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All. For me, every word resonated.  Slaughter covered every key dimension represented of the challenges women face today in their quest to become business and political leaders while also balancing what they want to be as parents and care-givers, and what has to change in our work policies to allow these dual priorities to be met. If you’re outdated and closed-minded and believe that work-life balance or integration is a pipedream only for fools, then you’re contributing to the problem.

4)   Extreme work demands can drum women out.

The extreme demands of many 24/7 work corporate environments today represent an impasse to many women who wish to prioritize life outside of work more highly.  I’ve written before and believe this wholeheartedly –women are not less ambitious than men.  It is the COST of ambition – and thestruggle women face in pursuing their professional ambitions — that is at the heart of why we have so few women leaders today, and why women are achieving less and not reaching as high as men in corporate America.  AsBetsy Myers, President Clinton’s senior adviser on women’s issues  shared with me recently, women tend to view their work as only one piece of the pie that represents their total life experience.  If they’re forced to focus 24/7 on work for a majority of their professional lives, most women will choose not to pay that price.

5)   Marginalizing of women is more common than we want to admit.

As much as we don’t want to admit it, women are still being diminished, sidelined, suppressed, and thought less of because of being women and because they are different from the leadership norm (here’s an example).  Further, women are pushed aside regularly when they make their family priorities known or demand time off after having a child (and don’t kid yourself – this is a form discrimination to be sidelined for prioritizing time off for child bearing).

We can deny this all we want, but it is happening all across corporate America – women are still considered “less than” in terms of leadership capability in many organizations.  This will change in 50 or 100 years, and is changing radically now in the entrepreneurial world (where I’m very excited to be supporting women’s leadership growth), but not fast enough in corporate America.

If your organization still has insufficient representation of women at senior levels, do what is necessary to bring about true change. Conduct primary research at your workplace to uncover what is not working for women in the organization, and follow it up by implementing new policies, procedures, and effective training, education, and programs for men and women.  Measure the efficacy of these programs and initiatives, and communicate effectively and authoritatively the mandate that diversity and inclusion must become a way of life at your organization. Finally, support your successful and empowering female leaders today as true role models who “walk the talk” and can give other women a powerful visual model for success.

6)   Personal accountability needs to be expanded.

I’ve read scores of comments by women (top writers on leadership, for instance) that if we talk about how women are holding themselves back from leadership, we’re again blaming women for how they blew it, instead of understanding that it’s a faulty model they’re trying to overcome.

I disagree with this line of thinking. Yes, the model needs revision most certainly, but this is a complex problem with many contributing factors.  Within this construct, individuals have the power to take accountability, step up to what has to be done, and have the courage to make change, both on the individual level, and the organizational level.  Women are today (and can become) great leaders and inspire other women to follow in their footsteps. I see it every day.

It is not all about the environment or men not doing their part.  There are plenty of strong male advocates and supporters of women, and great male leaders who know how to pave the way for the high growth and engagement of both women and men (for an inspiring example, check out Chairman and Senior Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers Robert Moritz’s keynote speech at Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business Forum).   For true change to occur, we need the support of men, and to walk in partnership with our best male leaders.  But to bring about real and lasting change, women must also learn to understand better the terrain they’re operating in — the ecosystem they’re engaged in — and power up their skills and accountability in order to navigate it successfully.  (No, I’m not saying “Be more like a man.”) I’m suggesting that women understand what’s needed to succeed, and embrace their authentic personal brand, build their confidence and self-worth, enhance their communication, leadership and decision-making skills, forge vital partnerships, and step up to their fullest potential to claim the leadership authority they want.

In the end, creating a pathway for more women in corporate leadership will require change on all levels — individual, organizational and global.  But we must start with you and me, today.  What one step can YOU take – either as a female committed to achieving more leadership authority, or as a female or male leader with the power and influence to bring about true change in your organization.  What will YOU do?

I’d love your thoughts. Does your organization know WHY women are not serving in leadership as your business needs them to? And do you know what to do to bring yourself forward and lead as you long to?

Quote

John Lennon ♥

7 Feb

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
-John Lennon ♥