The Forecast Called for Sprinkles (How I Came through My Personal Tsunami) by Pam Turkin

Quote: Don’t carry your mistakes around with you instead place them under your feet  and use them as stepping stones to RISE above them.
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My name is Pam Turkin.  I am a mom, a wife, a daughter, a baker and admittedly, a serial entrepreneur.  For as long as I can remember I was always doing something.  There were studded gloves and children’s phone books and Forrest Gump T-shirts to name a few.  Most of these early businesses kept me busy enough to stay at home with my kids. That was always my goal.  I never was trying to create anything more than a bit of extra income for my family.

When my kids were very young, my first marriage fell apart and I found myself the sole supporter of my family.  I did what I had to do and went to work.  Though it was hard for a single mom, I relished the opportunity to be involved in a growing company where there was opportunity everywhere.  I joined the marketing team and learned quickly that I had found a place for my creativity to shine. I learned all that one could learn about the marketing of a successful brand and I also found the love of my life, Todd, while at that company.

Through my career I worked with many brands: Ralph Lauren, Caterpillar, M&M MARS and Nike, to name a few.  I was always intrigued by the power of a name and what it could mean to individuals.  I traveled extensively, working with many big box retailers and listened to their challenges.  During this time I also began to notice the “cupcake craze” starting on each coast of our country.  I would travel home to Detroit on the weekends and tell the tale of the endless lines at places like “Sprinkles” and “Magnolia Bakery”.

HOW COULD SUCH A LITTLE GEM MAKE SUCH A BIG SPLASH IN THE FOOD WORLD?
My curiosity morphed into action, and I decided that Detroit needed a “gem of their own.” Just Baked was born.  I spent a year crafting recipes and testing them on my five teenage children and their army of friends, and when this hobby became a business I knew I was on to something special.

The next 7 years were a whirlwind of great adventure as we grew from one small cupcake shop to nearly 20.  There were investors and partners that advised us to take the business in directions I never dreamed it would go. It grew quickly and with great momentum and enthusiasm, as we cemented our place in the bakery world.

Looking back, I can now see that the company was growing at warp speed and somewhere along the way, I lost myself. I lost my direction and let the business wander from the core goals that it had been started with.  And true to many businesses that lose their way, it all came crashing down in an instant.

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT JANUARY 5, 2015.
It started like the many days leading up to our demise: with fear and apprehension. I had taken a few days to go visit my mother out of town and hopefully clear my head to allow the next course of action to become clear to me.  But on this morning it would be different. My oldest son called, with tears in his voice and told me of my partners’ decision: “they closed the business mom,” he said, “it’s over.”  Though I heard the words I could not process what I had heard. How could that be? My partners had pulled their funding during a major expansion, without warning or explanation. I was devastated. Without warning or financial backing, we were now on our own trying to figure out how to save the jobs of dozens of people who depended on Just Baked to feed their families.

I was crushed.

I spent a good deal of 2015, as I like to say, “Laying on my bathroom floor”.  I went over what had happened like a bad horror movie on loop, always ending up in a wounded place I couldn’t seem to shake.  There were calls from interested employers, new business opportunities but I was not able to see past the wounds that were still there.  I listened, but knew I wasn’t able to accept any of the kind words that people tried to motivate me with.

I do remember one phone interview in which the owner of a very large local business on the other phone said these words.  “Pam, you are not done yet.  This last business prepared you for the next BIG adventure.  You still have greatness in you.  I am not going to hire you, go figure out what’s next.”  At the time I thought he was crazy.  I would NEVER do this again!  But looking back on that call, I heard those words often over the year as a kind and gentle reminder that I would be OK again.

And then the impossible happened. I was on a call with one of my oldest and dearest friends who was “stuck” in her life. As I had done often before, I began to brainstorm with her about all the opportunities she had at her disposal to go out and create a business for herself. And just like that, I began to dream again.  Not about her new business, but about one I had been contemplating.  I had been thinking about a new idea but had given up on myself to properly execute it. However, in this moment it all came pouring out of me like a bathtub that had hit the top and couldn’t help but spill out on the floor.  I did my research and realized my idea was solid.  I left my comfort zone and shared my idea with a few trusted mentors, who encouraged me to get up and move on.

SO HERE IS THE PART WHERE WE ALL CAN STAND AND CHEER.
I would like to introduce Rise Baking.

Rise Baking Pam TRise Baking is a monthly baking subscription service that ships premium ingredients with original recipes directly to your door. The process is simple. Each month you will choose recipes that suit your taste. Then, your shipment will arrive fully stocked with pre-measured and color coded ingredients making the baking process simple.

Rise Baking is a new business that I collaborated on.  I have taken all of my baking skills, knowledge and love of real food, and created a program that will allow any home baker to rival a professional one.   I am very proud of Rise Baking for many reasons, but mostly because it shows that anyone can pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start over again.  I had many kind local entrepreneurs who encouraged and helped me develop Rise Baking as well as encouraged me to believe in myself and get back up again. I plan to do that BOLDLY.

Everyone makes mistakes, and though I’ve made many, I have learned a lot.  I hope my story continues to motivate all the entrepreneurs, dreamers and doers out there to remain positive and to create your story the way it CAN and SHOULD be.

Anyone can “RISE” again even after the most difficult of circumstance and I plan to do just that!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Pam Turkin, Chief Baking Officer of Rise Baking (http://www.risebaking.com).  I am a 54 year old women who has built a successful cupcake retail brand to 20 locations.  In 2015, I lost my business overnight when my partners pulled their funding during a major expansion.  It took me many months to pick myself up but I did!

I created Rise Baking.  Rise Baking is a monthly baking subscription service that ships premium ingredients with original recipes directly to your door. The process is simple. Each month you will choose recipes that suit your taste. Then, your shipment will arrive fully stocked with pre-measured and color coded ingredients making the baking process simple!

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How to Align Your Organization’s Strategies, Products, and Services to Address Climate Change by Marianna Grossman

Marianna-G20132016 promises to be a breakthrough year for global action to address the challenge of climate change. In December 2015, representatives of many of the world’s countries gathered in Paris and agreed to significant action for both developed and developing countries. Now the challenge is to make the changes to our energy systems and how we design, make and distribute products and services. This is the year to push for dramatic advances in the way we manage and use water and how effectively we protect natural resources and ecosystems, including forests and oceans.

We applaud the leadership of California’s Governor Jerry Brown in establishing the Under2MOU for states, provinces, counties, cities and others to dramatically reduce green house gas emissions (GHG) and to catalyze action for energy efficiency and clean energy sources.

Pope Francis authored an important call to action in his encyclical, Laudato Si. This inspiring document was issued on June 18, 2015 and urges all humankind to undergo an ecological conversion, to care for our common home. There is no business case for destroying the planet. And moral values require that we protect the precious Creation on which all life depends.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals issued in Sept. 2015 lay out a vision for a world that works for all people: to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

The Climate Mobilization is new group working to raise the bar for climate action, recognizing that we are facing a global emergency and must act accordingly to transform our entire economy to be regenerative and to end use of fossil fuels, to protect forests and to ensure a habitable planet for all.

As the United States elects a new President in 2016, Minerva Ventures is working to bring climate action to the forefront of the discussion of our shared goals and priorities. Every business leader should be pushing Congress and our political candidates to put forth bold policies and plans for a rapid transition to a clean energy economy and a sustainable future.

Let us know how we can help you address the risk of climate disruption and how you can take more leadership to create a more prosperous and resilient future for all. Join us on 2/24/2016 for an event to discuss the Resilient Path.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/resilient-path-meetup-tickets-21282511565

Contact: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariannagrossman

Twitter: @MGrossmanSV

Website: www.minervaventures.com

Email: mgrossman@minervaventures.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marianna Grossman works with companies, cities and other agencies to align strategies, products and services to address climate change at the scale. For nearly 7 years, she led Sustainable Silicon Valley, a multi-sector network applying ingenuity to create a sustainable region and world. Formerly, she was Partner for Innovation and Sustainability at Minerva Consulting and had corporate roles in the automotive, computer and semiconductor industries. Board Service: Transportation Choices for Sustainable Communities, Sustainability Committee of the SF Bay Area Super Bowl 50, ILFI California Congress, Climate Music Project and climate advisory council for City of Palo Alto. Education: MBA, Yale University. BA, cum laude, with distinction in Policy Studies, Dartmouth College.

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Finding a Cause and Cure for Diabetic Blindness by Shaili Davuluru

1443537353eye (1)I am currently a senior at a public South Bay Area high school. After developing a passion for human biology through my high school studies, I am planning to pursue the pre-med path in college in hopes of becoming a physician one day.

I enjoy sharing my findings here from the medical research project that I worked on last summer.

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of blindness in the working age population. It is an eye disease that develops when a diabetic patient’s hyperglycemia has been left untreated or has been present for a long period of time.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease at the moment. Physically, someone might experience blurred vision, dark splotches, or floaters in their view. On a microscopic level, it has been concluded that acellular capillaries and pericyte ghosts are histological hallmarks of early stage DR. Therefore, diabetic patients who exhibit these symptoms may be at a risk of having DR. Acellular capillaries, pericyte ghosts, and leakage of blood ultimately contribute to blindness or loss of vision.

Altered gene expression can have a profound effect on the survival of retinal endothelial cells and pericytes, which are the structural support cells of the retinal vasculature. In order to study the effects of altered gene expression in the retinal capillaries, one needs to isolate the retinal capillaries first.

In this lab, I learned how to isolate the retinal capillary network of mouse eyes, stain them, take images, and look for variability in the retinal capillary network. In particular, I looked for acellular capillaries and pericyte loss which are associated with the development and progression of DR.

To begin with some foundational information, the retina is a light sensitive tissue in the posterior portion of the eye that transmits light to the brain through a series of neurons. The retina, which is responsible for the central vision, contains the macula and fovea, which contribute to visual acuity (as show in the figure).

The retina consists of 10 different layers, 3 of which contain nerve layers and 2 of which are synapse layers. In the retinal vasculature there are structural cells called pericytes, which are embedded on the outside of the capillaries, and there are endothelial cells, which line the inner lumen of the capillaries.

DR is a disease that causes damage to the blood vessels in the retina and changes the morphology of these capillaries. In a diabetic condition, the structural pericytes begin to undergo apoptosis, and when they die, the capillary loses its structure. This forms acellular capillaries, which are thin, collapsed tubules that are prevalent in patients with DR.

In order to actually analyze for the presence of collapsed tubules in the mice, the vasculature is isolated through a 2-day process called Retinal Trypsin Digest, RTD, followed by a staining procedure to make the capillaries visible.

In the RTD process, the retina is put through numerous washes with a 3% Trypsin solution. The retinal vasculature is finally mounted onto a slide and stained with Periodic Acid- Schiff’s Reagent (PAS) and Hematoxylin before being imaged. The resulting images of the stained slides have a varying number of acellular capillaries in the retina.

There are some mouse retinas that have 6-10 thin acellular capillaries while others only have 1-3 acellular capillaries.

From these results, I have been able to show that diabetic retinas have more acellular capillaries (approximately 6-10 per region). Wildtype, non-diabetic, mice tend to have 0-2 acellular capillaries, because the mouse does not have diabetes and does not have the risk of getting diabetic retinopathy.

Essentially, in diabetic, high glucose animals, acellular capillaries as well as pericyte ghosts develop from compromised capillary structure and barriers.

I look forward to my exciting college years to prepare me for my future medical career.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Shaili Davuluru:
Shaili is currently a senior at a public South Bay Area high school. After developing a sincere passion for human biology through her high school experiences, she is planning to pursue the pre-med path in college in hopes of becoming a physician one day.

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Lawyer Up or How I Launched a New Career at Age 50 — and you can too! by Kate Allure

Kate Allure b&w (3) No, I didn’t become a lawyer at the ripe old age of fifty, but I did start a new career as an erotic romance author. In the two years since, I’ve published two books with a respected publisher, Sourcebooks, and established a brand as the author of “Sizzling Romance for Smart and Sexy Women.” In August my second book, Lawyer Up, launched. In writing it, I guess you could say I got to play with lawyers, in my mind anyway.

I never in a million years foresaw that I’d become a professional authoress of steamy stories. It’s been both a joy and a challenge. I’ll admit my achievement didn’t spring out of nothing—I had a non-fiction writing background—but still it took guts and a bit of luck…and that secret ingredient—foot surgery—to get where I am today (more on that later).

But first, here’s how it happened: Years ago I stopped working as a professional fundraiser to care for my two young, special-needs boys. Then, much later, when their care was well in hand I prepared to go back into grant writing with a new, more personal, focus on autism. But then, foot surgery laid me up for several weeks and I found myself writing salacious stories with the mood-enhancing aid of pain meds to help me dream up sexy situations…around doctors, of course. Eventually, the result became my debut book, a trio of stories published as Playing Doctor.

However, jumping back to where I had story nuggets, a fiftieth birthday looming ever closer, and a desire to try something new, I found that writing fiction was fun and freeing and so different from what I’d been doing, but it also required a giant leap of faith to pursue it professionally.

You only live once!
Live life to the fullest.
Everyday is a new beginning. bla bla bla.

All clichés but still true. Ask yourself, do you want to get to the end of your days and wish…wish things were different, wish you’d given it a try, wish you didn’t regret might-have-beens? Not everyone is in a place where they can launch a new career mid-life (and in today’s longer living, I’ve decided that fifty is going to be my mid-life), but for those of you that don’t have any real excuses, time’s a wastin…

If you’ve a dream job or goal that seems out of reach, I urge you to start taking steps toward making it a reality. I can’t promise you’ll succeed, but if you don’t at least try then it definitely won’t happen. And you just might find, as I have, that the effort is as much fun as the achievement. As we say in our house, “No duff sitting!” So, if you have a dream—little or big—here are some basic ideas to get you going:

Start Today
• make a plan and list every step needed to achieve your goal
• inventory your skills and weaknesses; be realistic
• don’t forget to solicit support from friends and family (you’ll need it during setbacks and periods of self-doubt)
• strategize for laying the ground work, whether filling in education/experience gaps or networking in a new field

While the happy-pills and free time recuperating were the catalyst that got me started writing fiction, afterwards I had to take concrete steps to turn my new hobby into a career. For an author this includes attending writing conferences to meet industry professionals, pitching to agents and editors, accepting and incorporating editing feedback, and more.

In my fundraising past, I’d sold other people’s art and now I was selling “me!” Scary stuff. Being told to “take a breath” in my first ever pitch appointment and then to “stop talking” when I didn’t seem to hear that she’d ask for my full manuscript felt awful, but I picked myself up and went back to pitching to anyone who would listen. So, I guess I’m not saying it’s going to be easy and you must want it badly, but still I think I would have regretted more always wondering what might have been. Ultimately, I went home with eight prospects, and surprisingly received an offer from the first lady who I’d pitched. Serendipity. You never know what’s going to happen.

So, for whatever your dream, do the research to find out how to enter the field as well as take inventory of your skills. If something’s lacking you’ll need to make plans to get the education or experience required, but that can be the first step in your plan.

Put the Steps In Your Calendar
• schedule yourself to implement at least one step every week
• expect that you may have to readjust your schedule at times

A plan’s worthless if you don’t do it, so make sure you do something, no matter how small, every week. For a writer this is making sure that you write something every single day. For you, it might be something different, but just make sure you keep moving forward.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
• there will be disappointments, so be ready
• keep striving, but be flexible—success might take a different form than you expected
• celebrate yourself for the effort and for the wins
• Don’t Give Up!

Setbacks may require you to alter your plan but other times you may leap ahead unexpectedly. I have a non-fiction project that hasn’t sold, but I’m exploring self-publishing. It’s a setback but I’m not giving up on something I believe in.

And celebrate your successes. I had a glass of champagne when I got my first offer and then when the book published I threw myself a launch party. When you work so hard to achieve something, you need to take a moment to enjoy the success. Chances are you’ll be back struggling again fairly soon. For me this took the form of rewrites on the second book. I changed editors and in the end rewrote my second book, Lawyer Up, four times. It was a frustrating, emotional period, but I’m thrilled with the end result—a vastly superior book. RT Book Reviews, the gold standard of romance reviews, thinks so to, upping my second book to four stars (the first received a respectable three). Recognize that struggle and setbacks can move you forward too as long as you don’t give up.

Start Today!
Yes, I’ve already said that, but it’s the most important thing you can do to realize your dream. Get started on it today. And don’t forget that there’s an element of luck in everything. If you don’t succeed at first, cut yourself some slack and just keep going.

WARNING — this paragraph is X-rated. As an erotic author I sometimes get asked how I do my research? (wink wink) Obviously, research is important in any field, and today the Internet makes it super easy to learn anything…I mean, seriously, anything! But nothing is as useful as “hands-on” research, and in my field that can be quite…pleasurable. I’ve discovered a whole new world hiding right in plain sight. It’s name is Fetlife and that’s all I’m gonna say, but you can Google it. Oh, and while you’re at it, search on “bunny flogger.” It’s heavenly!!! (believe me, it’s worth three exclamations). Besides researching, I’ve enjoyed writing steamy sex scenes that fit the different professions—doctors, lawyers, and coming up, strong men who work with their hands (yum). In Lawyer Up, I had a great fun writing a sizzling scenario set in a New Orleans courthouse late at night—the stories title, “Of Writs and Writhing,” kinda sums it up nicely.

So this leads to my final piece of advice—if you’re not having fun, you’ve got to rethink your goals. Life really is too short to waste time pursuing dreams that don’t fill you with joy, maybe not all the time but at least some of the time. I’m having a ball with my new career and that’s just as important as any money I make.

You may have noticed that I didn’t really address starting a new career at fifty. That’s because age shouldn’t be a factor at all, unless the looming birthday spurs you to action. Whether your twenty or sixty, if you want something you should go for it. Be realistic about your abilities, but don’t let a mere number stop you.

I’m truly grateful for the encouragement of my friends and family and for the good fortune that has helped me launch a new career at age fifty. AND, you can do it too—at whatever age you are.

Good luck and enjoy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kate Allure writes erotic romance fiction and is the author of the Meeting Men series for Sourcebooks about real women meeting handsome professional men as they go about their everyday lives—and the fun they have behind closed doors! Her non-fiction writing included working for American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet and penning a weekly arts column. Beyond writing, Kate’s passions include traveling and exploring all things sensual with her loving husband.
Kate’s website: http://www.KateAllure.com
Kate’s fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/KateAllure.Sizzling.Romance
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateAllure
Watch Kate’s new Playing Doctor book trailer: https://www.facebook.com/KateAllure.Sizzling.Romance/videos/vb.603530653080063/664317833668011/?type=2&theater or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHXNhKO8wpg

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Sharing Is Caring: How Coworking Is Changing How We Work by Chrissy Gomez

Originally Published on http://www.mbacentral.org/coworking/

As traditional office settings become less and less common, shared office spaces — also known as coworking — are becoming more popular. Startups in particular are turning to coworking arrangements to save on some of the initial cost of doing business.

What Is Coworking?

What is it? A style of work that involves a common working environment, typically an office, but where activity is independent. Unlike a traditional office, those in a coworking environment aren’t usually employed by the same company.
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Silicon Wellness was created to reduce the high stress and re-balance the energy by Linda Benn

Linda BennWhat is the scrappiest most outrageous courageous thing you have done?

Have you ever had a spontaneous thought to move to the other side of the world? Give away your business or job and every possession to start your business all over again in another country?

This is what I did 5 years ago in 2010. I felt guided to move to the Bay area where I left my heart many years ago when I was traveling the world. I always loved San Francisco and it felt like home. I love the energy of the city as it is so alive and dynamic.

I grew up in a small town on the east coast of Australia where you access the Great Barrier Reef. My family owns charter boats. As a child growing up we would go out to the different islands, reefs and beaches and explore the marine life. I remember as a little girl when we anchored at Lady Musgrave Island. I asked one of Dad’s friends “is there any sharks here” & he replied “no the crocodile ate them all”! Then all us kids would jump over board and go swimming.

Even though I grew up in one of the most beautiful areas in the world, I was always excited to travel and explore the rest of the world. I was born with a different spirit to my family, their belief system is different to mine and I never felt accepted. I was always searching where do I belong in the world?

My family has taught me emotional resilience and how to survive alone.

I made my decision to move here when I was living at the beach another beautiful area in Australia on the east coast where the whales raise their young. I heard the song when you go to San Francisco where a flower in your hair and I started crying, actually sobbing! San Francisco was calling me to come home. I then proceeded to pack up and let go of everything in order to leave the country. I organized a temporary home for my little dog- “Penny” who was a short haired dachshund.

When I arrived on a 90 day tourist visa, I was on a mission to find out how can I stay permanently and get a work visa. Tenaciously I overcame every obstacle and challenge to get my visa. I did all the research and paperwork myself without an attorney. I went back to Australia to have the interview with the US consulate and was approved straight away and left Australia 2 weeks later with my little dog Penny.

In the last 4 ½ years, it has been a whirlwind of events including moving 12 times looking for where am I meant to be to shine my light? Yes you read correctly twelve times I moved and dragged Penny everywhere with me!!

I now live in Redwood City to focus on corporate companies in Silicon Valley and worked at Rocket Fuel for 4 ½ years as their wellness consultant. I saw a need that this area needs healing with so much stress, worry, overwhelm and fear. I knew this is where I am meant to be, to share my gifts to re-balance and calm people down! Penny my little dog would come to the office with me. She worked with all my clients in Australia and did her healing work. In the office she would just look at people and you can see the stress melt away from their face. She helped people to connect with their hearts and come back to their true self and be their authentic selves. Unfortunately she passed in November 2014 at the age of 15 ½ years old.

Silicon Wellness website was created in 2015 to provide holistic wellness services to corporations introducing the model, the ‘rapid growth management model’ with 3 levels of Physical, Energetic and Organizational wellness. My model is designed to provide opportunities for other holistic gifted practitioners who are looking for more work and wanting to learn new skills through my training program called the BENN technique incorporating my 5 R’s. More about my work in the next blog story.

I feel blessed to have followed my guidance, follow my heart, have faith and trust, this is what has kept me going. My intention is to now inspire and teach others how to move, change and follow their hearts to create their dreams and embrace the Aussie philosophy of No Worries Mate!

I didn’t give up on my dream and feel so grateful for being here. I love the work I do and the positive impact it has on others.

What have you always dreamed of doing? Make it happen now.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Linda Benn and her team provide sessions in the Silicon Valley bay area from San Francisco to San Jose. They can come to you and meet you when you arrive in the country.
For an appointment email linda@siliconwellness.com or call 415-290 3793. www.siliconwellness.com

 

 

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When Deadlines Create Major Stress by Melissa Heisler

heisler9404When I worked for corporate, I was tied to meetings, schedules, control, management, hierarchy, and chain of command. Rules and procedures were a way of life. Everything was planned then executed. The work day was rigid and uniform. Changes and the unexpected were met with horror and immediately neutralized. Over the past seven years, I learned a new way to go about business.

Being my own boss I was able to make changes to the way I work. At first, I met my day with the same dogmatic precision I had for the past eighteen years. It felt awful. Here I had my dream job yet it didn’t feel right. Then I realized I make the rules. I can decide when and how I work. I can change due dates. I can create my perfect work week. I didn’t have to adhere to the 9 to 5 format. I could work seven days a week or three. As long as my business progressed, how I made it progress didn’t matter.

In this new business style I learned to be flexible. At first when a client canceled or rescheduled, I was spun into a Type-A hissy fit thinking that the world would end because a session didn’t happen as planned. Eventually I found the flow. I released dates and times. If a client or meeting had to shift, I trusted that it was for the better knowing that there was a reason for the reschedule. Many times I could uncover why. For instance, a client wanted to delay her session a few days. In that time I happened across a piece of information which was perfect for the session. Had we met as initially planned, I would not have been able to share this information. Another example is writing. If I penciled in a time to write but don’t feel like it at that day and time, the writing was stifled and poor. If instead I seized the opportunity to write when the muse calls me, I write quickly, clearly, and more strongly. As I built up proof that divine timing was more ideal than any schedule I could devise, I relaxed into trust and learned to flow my business.

One work instance where I am still flung back into rigidity and Type-A stress revolves around deadlines – hard, crucial deadlines. Taxes need to be paid by April 15th. Credit card payments are due at the end of the month. These dates are not flexible and penalties are incurred if they are not met. Just having a deadline date is not enough to send me into a tailspin however. Two other elements are necessary to push me into stress overload. First is a large amount of diverse work. Never shy of a little hard work, I am very happy to roll up my sleeves and make it happen. But when the work is tied to a fixed deadline it triggers my worry and anxiety. This leads to cloudiness and inefficiency. Adding in the final part of the equation, not being able to complete the work on my own, and we have the trifecta of stress. Nothing frustrates me more than having a deadline to complete a lot of work and not being capable of completing the work on my own or needing to rely on others for their part of the work.

Being in the midst of just such a large workload with a fixed deadline for tasks I can not complete myself, I started to notice physical stress symptoms pop up; a little weight gain, unclear mind, inability to sleep soundly, and reaching for quick fix addictions to ease the anxiety. Once I realized the extent of my stress I stopped and took account of the situation. Instead of finding ways to make the work easier and faster (which I already had tried and just led to more fear and stress), I took a hard look at myself and my thoughts. I was trying to control things outside of my command which only led to more stress and worry. Instead I turned to trust. I recounted all the times when I let go and surrendered to divine timing and everything worked out better than I could have imagined. Also I let go of the desire to affect what I can not affect. The end result is that I feel better, I am more clear and able to act, and everything is happening as it should, when it should.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melissa Heisler is a stress reduction expert, Type Me coach, speaker, and the author of From Type A to Type Me: How to Stop “Doing” Life and Start Living It. She is committed to guiding entrepreneurs and professionals to improve their health, increase their mental clarity, easily deal with difficult people, find peace in their current jobs, and improve their business effectiveness all through reducing their stress levels.
www.ItsMyLifeInc.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissaheisler
https://www.facebook.com/itsmylifeinc

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Finding Women in the Information Systems Environment by Beata Green

Beata GREENThere is a marked gap between the number of male and female students enrolled in computer science in schools. That means very few women are entering into a computing career. Moreover, this is a concern, because the lack of women in information systems careers can actually slow down the economy. Not only that, but the risk trickles down to companies who are missing out on the more diverse teams that studies say will make their businesses more successful.

There are a host of benefits to acquiring female talent, one being better returns. Women, when placed in general leadership positions can offer far higher returns to shareholders and investors.

The fact that there are fewer women in information systems means that they can be very difficult to find, let alone attract for a business. However, there are ways to locate the talented female coders you seek.

Explore Different Networks
Do you currently know any female developers? If you don’t, chances are you won’t be able to use your existing networking channels to find them. Instead, try and connect with individuals from other networks, and explore your opportunities there.

Support and Encourage Existing Female Talent
Are there women who are already working for your organisation that would be a good fit in the developer role? Identify the strengths and qualities you want in a female developer, and then set about finding and interviewing them. Ensuring that potential female developers feel supported and encouraged will help them to feel more comfortable with new challenges.

But the challenge lies not only in finding women to work for your company; it will also require a change to the way your existing company culture is structured. It also requires you to effect a change in how women developers are perceived by those who already work for your company.

Change Your Company Culture
If you are currently working with teams of male coders but want to harness female talent, a culture change will likely be necessary. Many business owners believe that new female team members will simply adapt to the existing company culture. However, this won’t be beneficial to the new team member or to your business. To make any team member feel welcome, you must understand how they communicate, and then learn how to communicate in their language. That includes new female team members.

A Non-Competitive Environment
A non-competitive culture can provide far more benefits to your company than a competitive one. When everyone is on the same playing field, individual talent can be utilised far more efficiently. This kind of environment places importance and value on all team members, and can present a much more welcoming place for coders of all genders to work.

Don’t Change the Focus for Female Interviewees
Believe it or not, talking about the work-life balance your company offers will not impress female interviewees. A woman engineer, coder or developer will be interested in the challenges they will be solving at your company, just as male interviewees would. If you have a set of especially difficult challenges that you are dealing with, put the spotlight on these at the interview.

Some studies suggest that even simply removing any gendered pronouns from employee communication before handing it to your team can be enough. When management shows no gender bias, it can set an example for employees. Although this may seem like a simple solution, it can go a long way to communicating to existing and potential employees that you are interested in talent, regardless of the gender from which it may originate.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Beata Green is Managing Director of HeadChannel Ltd., London based bespoke software development company. She is responsible for overall strategic direction and overseeing the company’s continuing growth, building closer client relationships and maintaining best working practices. She enjoys brisk country walks with her red fox labrador and then relaxing in front of a TV crime drama with a glass of red wine.

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11 Networking Tips to be Connected by Mari-Lyn Harris

ml_fresh2 copyTo meet new people is sometimes very scary, especially when you don’t like doing it or you are new to town or shy.

Let’s say, you have just moved to a new city what do you do?  This is a great question,  Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank..asks this of people when there are offers on the table. “What are you going to do?”

When I moved to San Francisco CA,  I just knew I wanted to launch an idea/project here. Of course the weather and it’s beauty does help too!

What you need to do, is figure out who you want to meet..when I arrived I knew no one, even though people may say, “hey look me up and…” I think they just said this out courtesy don’t depend on them..some may actually  mean it, some really don’t. I was fortunate that my sister lived here for a long time and hooked me up with a few people..that I could meet or get to know. One of the gals was Liz –  Bette just said “Meet MariLyn for coffee and pretend it’s her (Bette).”  We did, we hit it off, and I always keep in touch or find ways that we can socialize.

I’ve been here for almost 2 years..boy it’s hard to imagine.. I have some great connections in the Food business and still finding ways to meet more people.

My 11 Networking Tips:
1. Pick a focus or vertical of people that you want to meet, this will shorten your time.

2. Go to each city’s Chamber mixers – just to get a feel for the people and the area your are in. Living in Fremont, my roommate would tell me about it, introduce people to me, it will give you time to discover who you would like to get to know better. Each chamber has it’s own focus.

3. Volunteer – I actually volunteered for an organization that I liked what they were doing – Community Gardens.. I was offered a contract for a Project Manager as they received a grant. I said, yes! I was just so happy to have something while finding my way.

4.  Go to Church – Normally it’s not something someone says..find a church that believes in the values as you do.  That will fill your spirit. Why? Because, you’ll depend upon your Spirit or your God within to help you on your new adventure or journey.

5. Check out Meet-Up.com, they have many meetings listed, pick a couple that could help you in your job search, for socializing or just interests. There are lots of business networking groups.

6. Take a class. Learn something new and meet people at the same time.

7. If you are looking for a Tech job, check out this website (www.techjobscafe.com) for jobs. One thing that is funny here, people post jobs on Craigslist.com. Also be active on LinkedIn. Search Indeed.com, you can connect using your LinkedIn account.

8. Be proactive in meeting new people, ask them where they go.  If they are active, they will invite you as a guest. When you find a group you like, reciprocate.

9. Be consistent in networking. I met this gal who was a financial planner I asked her how she keeps up with all the networking she does. Her answer was, she goes to a women group every month and volunteers for committees. The rest of the time, she has five groups that she attends once a month on a consistent basis.

10. Start your own group, whether it’s online or meeting in person.  You never know who you are going to meet. Or join a group like Rotary that would be of interest to you.

11.  Be a hostess/host of the event. Even if it’s not yours. It’s a great way to get comfortable, you are helping other people who are shy and you meet more people. Years ago, I was coaching a gentleman who wanted to meet new people, he was rather shy, I just suggested that he become a host of the event. He reported back to me, saying it worked really well.

Try these 11 tips out see how they work for you. I love to hear which tips that have worked for you.

You can also be a guest blogger by writing a blog about you or your business for this website:  http://www.scrappywomen.biz/blog

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
MariLyn Harris advises Food Startups – how to energize their Marketing. She blogs, writes about Marketing, Social Justice issues and a few things in-between.  Food 4 Social Change is a Producer Cooperative, provides many services to support food startups. A complete food-eco system. Check out http://food4socialchange.org

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You Can’t Do Everything for Everyone by Melissa Heisler

heisler9404Recently I watched a TED Talk by Marla Spivak about why bees are disappearing. I learned a lot about how intertwined we are with nature and how some of our current behaviors are not only hurting animals and plants, but our future as well. However I am not writing to preach about environmental issues. What I would like to share is my realization about how we all go throughout our days without truly realizing how our actions and words have a ripple effect around us.

It is common knowledge that bees pollinate flowers. But Ms. Spivak explained, “Bees are not out there pollinating our food intentionally. They’re out there because they need to eat. Bees get all the protein they need from pollen and all the carbohydrates they need from nectar.” Because these little guys are hungry, they are actually providing the means of food production for humans and animals. Bees are not grand humanitarians; they are simply going about their day.

Many of the individuals I coach are humanitarians. They live to give. They give to their family, their children, their jobs, and usually they also have a deep desire to give to humanity and the world overall. Sometimes they give too much; putting a social agenda above their own needs resulting in burnout. Sometimes they feel unfulfilled or a failure if they are not doing “big enough” work, if they are not helping to make large societal changes, if they are not changing the lives of millions. When I saw this TED Talk, I found hope for all of my givers. We all do not have the means of Bill and Melinda Gates to do large scale programs. We all do not have the celebrity of Geena Davis to use for gender equality awareness. We all do not have the world platform of Pope Francis to call for the end of poverty. But each of us, each and every day, are able to effect the world around us.

Years after college a friend of mine who had just appeared in a movie with Denzel Washington told me he would not be an actor if it was not for me. I was confused. In college I never singled this person out to support and encourage. He told me of a single incident that changed his life. He didn’t want to audition for a play for fear of rejection. I told him if he didn’t audition, he was already rejected. If he did audition, he at least had a chance at a part. He did audition and he did get a part. To this day, I don’t have a recollection of this conversation. I was just going about my business like a busy bee. I just happened to provide the right words and encouragement at the right time to make a change in someone else’s life.

Giving money and time to volunteer organizations is noble, needed, and fulfilling. But we don’t have to give up our lives to give to others. Every day is a chance to give to others by just being ourselves. We can smile in a grocery line. We can help our elderly neighbor bring in the groceries. We can take a friend to the doctor. We can talk to a graduate about landing their first job. None of these activities would take a lot of time or necessarily take us out of our routine. We don’t need to start a non-profit in order to contribute. Just being aware during the day will show opportunities for helping those around us. And our little effort can have a big impact in the long run.

“If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody.” ~ Malcom Bane

What can you do today in your daily routine to give a little to those around you?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melissa Heisler is a stress reduction expert, Type Me coach, speaker, and the author of From Type A to Type Me: How to Stop “Doing” Life and Start Living It. She is committed to guiding entrepreneurs and professionals to improve their health, increase their mental clarity, easily deal with difficult people, find peace in their current jobs, and improve their business effectiveness all through reducing their stress levels.
www.ItsMyLifeInc.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissaheisler
https://www.facebook.com/itsmylifeinc

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