The Success Story of the Owner of a Synergy HomeCare Franchise by Saili Gosula

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My name is Saili, and I am the owner of a Synergy HomeCare franchise.  My business is now 6 years old, and I’ve gotten to the point that I feel that I am running a real company, and that I can delegate and provide a living for a lot of people.  It’s like a real company now!  I even took 3 weeks away for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  I did work some, for sure, but I was able to go to another country, spend time with family & friends, watch a bunch of soccer games, read 4 books, and get a tan.

I want to start at the very beginning – going back 50 years ago to a couple of different continents.  My parents are Indian, and I grew up in Brazil.

In Brazil at the time I was in high school opportunities for college were very limited, so they had a strict process for kids identifying their interest and then applying to college in that specific field. Admittance was based on a large test of all the subjects you ever learned in school, weighted based on the field you chose to study.

The problem is we were 16 years old when we had to choose what we would do for college, and changing majors was not permitted. You had to start over and get re-tested if you did that!  So being a math wiz from a math family, I decided I would study computer science.  I had never seen a computer in my life, but I’m a bit competitive. That was the most sought after field, with 30 slots for the entire state, and I was going to try for that.  I got in, started college in Brazil, but then ended up coming to the US. I moved straight from Brazil to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I went for college.  I ended up with a double major in math and computer science, and a masters in computer science.

I got a job right out of school and worked in several companies over the next 20 years in several IT roles.  I started out as a programmer, analyst, then consultant, and then project manager.  I even did a 2-year gig in HR at one company because it had grown so fast under me, and the people trusted me with their problems.  I learned a lot in those 2 years in HR.  As a matter of fact, all of those different jobs I had over the years prepared me for what I do today.

In my last job in corporate America, I was director of inventory systems for Gap, Inc.  If my systems did not work, no clothes went to any of the Old Navy, Gap or BR stores worldwide.  It was a good job, with lots of recognition and visibility, but the product that I delivered was not exciting to me. The most important thing I did was getting jeans to the store on time.  As the years went on I kept thinking that what I was doing wasn’t really a good fit with the person I was becoming over time.

In the meantime, I started doing lots of work with non-profits, community organizations, and school PTAs – and I loved that stuff!  I was coaching soccer, a volunteer webmaster for a theater company, on the board of the theater company, and eventually president of the board of the theater company, creating yearbooks and playbills, and spending way too much time volunteering on top of my demanding job.  Even within Gap I used to lead all the volunteer events for our very large IT department, and planned all our social events.  I never stayed within my box.  The thing is that I loved being part of the community, and I would stay up all night because I believed in what I was doing.  I knew I had to do something different, but it is very difficult to leave a good paying job with lots of prestige, 6 weeks of vacation, and all kinds of benefits that large corporations provide.

And then I got laid off.  I was scared but also so excited!  This was the defining moment when I was free to reinvent myself.  I actually had been hoping for this opportunity because I knew I’d get a nice severance package that would buy me time to figure out what to do next. This was my chance.

I pretty much knew that I wanted to own my own business.  I felt that everything I’d done up to that point – the computer skills, the HR, the management, the team-building, the event-planning, the yearbook and playbill editing, the budgeting and project management, and the board experience at the theater company – it gave me enough of a well-rounded skillset that I could run a company.  But what was I going to do?  I couldn’t come up with an idea.  I knew I wanted to use my one greatest strength – my people skills.  That was the # 1 requirement.

So I ended up going to a franchise broker.  They reviewed my priorities, which were: community, seeing the impact firsthand, creating jobs, managing people, and finding something I could be passionate about.  They brought me a few ideas, and through a 60-day process I ended up buying into a Home Care franchise.

I am going to explain briefly what we do because I am not here to sell, but it helps to understand how this was such a good fit with what I was looking for:

I own Synergy HomeCare, which is a provider of 1-1 caregivers.  We provide caregivers that go into people’s homes and help them with the little things they can’t do for themselves, or that are difficult for them to do for themselves. The bulk of our clients are seniors, but we do serve people of all ages, including children. For our seniors, we help them with personal care such as bathing, meal preparation, medication reminders, transportation, errands, and going to the grocery store.  We do short, occasional visits, which we call respite, or we can be there 24×7, or anything in between.

So 6 years ago I decided to do something that I’d never done before, something I had no formal training in, and that my college education definitely did not teach me how to do.  The franchisor did provide training, but then you’re on your own to get your own clients and caregivers.

People used to tell me that I had a lot of guts to make such a change.  At the time I must have had this puzzled look on my face because I didn’t understand that.  To me, it was a matter of survival.  I couldn’t go on giving so much of myself to something I didn’t believe in.  I needed to feed my soul.

But it was really hard in the beginning!  Being a people person in IT, I was popular.  Mine was the office that people walked into all the time to talk to someone, or ask work questions. My phone was always ringing, and my email was always full.  Then I started the business, and I was in this tiny little office by myself.  Nobody stopped by, nobody called, and I questioned my decision. I felt a little scared . . . and lonely.

What I did to compensate for this was that I started networking.  I joined a networking group, and I have been with that group for almost five years now. It was a community of business owners, and I could trust the people in that group to actually provide services for me as well. I then felt that I wasn’t as alone.  And I loved to find reasons to refer business to other people in that group.

After that I tried a few other groups. Now I am also very active in the Chamber of Commerce for our city, and that is another wonderful group. I always look forward to talking with these people. I go to business mixers and chat with both people I know as well as connecting with new people, and now I am no longer lonely at all.

To be truthful, I’m a crazy networker.  It really helps!  It may be a little uncomfortable at first, but it grows your business, and you learn who you should partner with. And the more you go the easier it gets. Everybody is there for the same reason – to expand their network.

The other thing that was hard in the beginning was doing everything myself.  It was exhausting!  I was on call 24×7, and my mind was spinning from all the different things I was responsible for.  I started paying people right away to do things for me.  I was fortunate that my circle of friends included competent people excited to help me start my business. I paid them, but not what they were worth. I also started paying my high-school-aged son to work in our office.

Eventually I hired full-time staff.  I almost always hired the next person before I could afford them – I just knew that I couldn’t grow without them. And none of my office hires came to me in a traditional way, by applying for a posted job position. I would meet someone that was available and just know that this person would be a good fit for my team. I couldn’t afford not to have them! This enabled growth.

My staff is top notch. I can be out of the office all day and know that the company runs smoothly without me.  Oh, and gradually I’ve worked myself into a place where I am never on call anymore, though I am always the escalation point.

I now have five full time office staff that help run my operation. I always have a couple of part-time people that are available to help when needed.

Now we have about 60 caregivers working for us, another 100 that we consider active and available, and another 400 that have worked for us occasionally in the past who we could possibly call on again. In our 6 years in business we have served over 600 clients.

Advice

Find out what your strengths are, and find a career that uses those strengths. It will feel much more natural, and you will be better able to sustain your effort in it.  Me, I am a people person to the extreme, so I chose a profession that would have me always talking to people, connecting with people, understanding people and having them entrust me with their most prized assets – their parents. I can connect with all the different people that all different levels, and that makes me very successful in this field. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Saili Gosula is the owner and Executive Director of Synergy.  She had a successful career in IT until 2009.  Always an avid volunteer in the schools and local non-profits, focusing on people and the community eventually became more important to her.  She made a career switch.  She is passionate about her new career in home care.  She differentiates herself by her tirelessly giving and positive approach.  This has quickly helped her to grow her business and provided her with many loyal fans and followers, across clients, associates, and employees.
Saili@SHCSanMateo.com
www.synergyhomecare.com/SanMateo

 

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Never give up! by Inna Rosputnia

SS 2016 KW Inna Rosputnia pic2

Inna Rosputnia was born and growing up in Ukraine at a time when it was a battleground between communism and democracy. A personal experience of this conflict, including poverty, struggling and intolerance — as well as a personal fascination with philosophy shaped Inna’s thinking in later years and influenced her successful strategies in both finance and philanthropy.

Inna graduated from 2 Universities and have Master Degree in Economy and International Relations. She began her career in finance field in 2007. In 2008 Inna became a Head of Financial Risk Insurance Department at Alfa Insurance IC (Ukraine) that is a part of Alfa Group Consortium – one of Russia’s largest privately owned investment groups, with interests in oil and gas, commercial and investment banking, asset management, insurance, retail trade, telecommunications, water utilities and special situation investments. Inna began trading futures, commodities, and stocks in 2009. She is working with individuals and families as well as institutions and corporate clients. Inna also makes investments in commercial real estate in different countries. Her real estate portfolio includes office centers and hotels.

Inna has been active as a philanthropist since 2013, when she began providing funds to help women in Africa to attend Universities and start own business. In 2016 Inna joined Cherie Blair Foundation for women, where she is working to promote gender equity, the values of open society, human rights, transparency and empower women.

Inna is the author of a book “Basic Instinct of Woman-Trader”, published in Russian and English languages in 2016. Her articles and essays on markets, financial planning, politics, society, and economics regularly appear in newspapers and magazines, like The Business Woman Media, Financial Magnates and other.

Here is the link for online sale of the Russian version:  https://www.amazon.com/x41E-x441-x43D-x43E-Russian-ebook/dp/B01I1PCR3S#nav-subnav

The English version will be available in late September 2016. You can pre-order the book on her website:  http://ladyf-trader.com/my-book/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Inna Rosputnia – A futures trader and wealth manager, working with individual and institutional clients; founder and CEO of Lady F Wealth Management. I graduated from two universities and has a Master degree in Economy and International Relations.

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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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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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We Move Forward By Janeen Halliwell

WMF 2012 Janeen & FloraThere are milestones that we, as women, share.  We can collectively roll our eyes, laugh or cry at the memory of buying a first bra, going on a first date, having a first kiss, getting married (or not), deciding whether to have kids (or not), and being a mom, a single mom, or stepmom.  We’ve all faced decisions about whether to work our way up the ladder, further our education, step out and start our own business or to take a different route altogether.  Eventually we all change roles as we go from daughter to caregiver, supporting our ageing parents and eventually letting go once they are gone.  After each of these milestones is reached, we are faced with the same question – “What is next?”  The answer lies in taking stock of your ‘You Are Here’ location on your life’s journey, and being mindful of the direction you want to head next.  And then you move forward.

With Every Ending There is a New Beginning

At 48, I’ve done my share of moving forward.  I’ve held the titles of student, wife, divorcee, wife again, and stepmom. I’ve owned businesses, completed a graduate degree, worked on four continents, travelled to 33 countries and sailed 9000 sea miles.  I’ve worked hard and truly lived.  But even with all those experiences under my belt, I was not prepared for how difficult it would be to move forward when I lost my father to pancreatic cancer. The grieving stopped me in my tracks.

In the summer of 2010, my father was failing. After a heartbreaking visit to his doctor where he was told, “Scotty you are dying,” I witnessed hope fade from my dad’s eyes and leave his frail body. I put my work as a consultant and trainer on hold and moved in with my parents.  A visit to Victoria Hospice followed, at which time the inevitable became our reality. My dad moved in a few days later.  And, at 1 a.m. on July 26, 2010, he breathed his last breath, with me and my mother holding him as tightly as we could.

The months that followed were rough.  My mother went to Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women, Mexico, to heal, as it is known for its magical qualities that mend people’s souls.  I visited my mother there in March 2011. I was still grieving and finding every day to be difficult.  It was during this trip that I had a vision: I will host an International Women’s Day conference and celebration on the Island of Women!  It was time to take on a project that would ignite my soul, and that had an element risk, as risk-taking is something I espouse through my work.  The conference needed a name.  I called it We Move Forward because the 3-days were about women re-energizing all that makes them whole, body, mind, and soul, and steering their life in the direction of their passion and purpose.

It would be different from other women’s conferences.  Inspirational speakers would go far beyond just giving a canned talk and then leaving, they would participate in the full 3 days.  Group discussions and activities would have women shifting inspiration into action.  We Move Forward would create positive change and it would include local women through sponsorship.

Believe and Create

I felt passionate about my vision, and set out to create it.  I had a snazzy website developed,  booked a conference space, and approached potential sponsors. I got on a bus in Mexico and visited international women’s clubs in Cancun and Merida, encouraging women to join me on ‘Isla’ in March 2012.  I made my voice heard on television, radio and social media.

I had never taken on something so big and so full of promises – promises of inspirational speakers, promises to pay these speakers, and promises of an experience of a lifetime to registrants – that is, if there were registrants.

You see, registrations didn’t take off as I had hoped.  They trickled in.  Consequently, some of the people who were eager at the beginning of the project began to lose interest.  Many dropped off.  It didn’t look like a money maker after-all.  I crawled forward.

The Show Must Go On!

In January 2012, I sat down with my registration sheet that contained 21 names, my project plan and calculator.  I needed 63 registrants to pay for my promises.  If 45 women registered, I would lose money, but still be able to run the conference.  But at 21, I was deep in the hole.  Do I quit or do I move forward, I asked myself?

I reflected on why I wanted to see We Move Forward happen, and the scrapper in me pulled herself up by the bootstraps and took a broad step forward. And, on March 8, 2012, 81 women gathered on Isla Mujeres to celebrate International Women’s Day.  The 3-day conference surpassed everyone’s expectations with women calling it “crazy amazing”, “life-changing”, and “a MUST for all women.”

I am thrilled to say that We Move Forward is heading into its 3rd year.  The WMF community continues to grow in numbers, with many women returning again and again.  The WMF experience continues to propel women in one direction – forward.  From March 7-9, 2014 women will celebrate their accomplishments and how they have moved up, over and around life’s challenges, in the company of women just like them – ordinary women that are capable of extraordinary things.  That is the essence of We Move Forward. www.wemoveforward.com

Quote: 
“We are all ordinary women that are capable of extraordinary things.  Taking time out to get clear on our desired future brings us closer to experiencing it.  Surrounding ourselves with like-minded & hearted women is the perfect environment to build our confidence to take our next step forward.  Believe in yourself and pay attention to those who believe in you too.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Janeen Halliwell, Founder & Director, We Move Forward, Island of Women, Mexico and Principal, Consultant & Trainer, People Minded Business Inc.

Website: www.wemoveforward.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/WeMoveForward
Twitter: @janeenhalliwell

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My Story and Why It Matters by Harriet Khataba

Harriet Khataba Her story Matters.(1)

My mother was and still is my inspiration. I don’t know many women who have 6 children, work full time, and are accountants for 3 different organizations as well as a treasurer for a church. And, a devout Christian! Where did she get the time? My mum was a “superwoman” in every way to me growing up. I was always amazed by how well she handled everything in her life. She gave me the strength to live up to her example. Luv U Mum!!!

At nineteen, I moved to England. I hated it. The weather was dreadful when compared to the sunshine and friends I left behind in Kenya. I attained my degree in Business Management and Hospitality while working in various hospitality and retail companies. This gave me a lot of experience in business as well as the confidence I needed to achieve even greater… Soon after my career in retail I chose to expand myself more.  You see, my passion is dancing. I decided to work for a dance company where I thrived in key roles for the business. After experiencing the long hours and the excessive travel, which placed me in different cities every day I began to wonder if this was the life I wanted. Part of my experience  was with organizing events. This gave me a great option to work in media so I took it.

I started organizing events, which I love, as I am a people person. Eventually I found myself at BEN TV (Ethnic Media) this is funny to admit, but I didn’t know much about the ethnic community in Britain. Coming from Africa, I was so very much unaware of an ethnic culture. Working for the company really opened my eyes to this culture. Whilst working in media, I found myself inspired by a friend about so many of the differences within societies and cultures. Having a childhood from Kenya, with my friends support, I began thinking about a documentary on FGM. I started my research into FGM and its effects on the women and communities.  With this knowledge and over time I wanted to do more. I began to see how so many lives are affected by gender indifference in ways that lead to a physical and mental frame of mind that differs from yours or mine. This is how “Her Story Matters” was born.

By creating “Her Story Matters” I am providing a platform where women can tell their story, inspire others and empower ourselves to overcome gender indifference. I soon realized that there was a huge need for women to have a unique environment that will allow for us to share our inspirations.  I feel it is important to highlight and to collect many issues women face as well. It is my hope that by providing a medium for women to express whatever challenges we face together that we will become even stronger in our passions and remove our adversities together. I see a place, with Her Story Matters, where a woman may not have suffered from the same issue, but can still offer advice from another. I see a place where a business woman who is successful will support a mother of indifference elsewhere in the world. This will inspire strength and friendships across the globe.

We are sharing stories of heroes. For me, my very own hero, she is my mum. She is my own personal hero in so many ways.  As I grew up I watched my mother work hard and make sacrifices for me. I now understand just how much my mother did to help me become who I am today. I also realize this is just a very small part of what other women and other mothers go through every day. It is my hope, from the deepest place in my heart, that with your help we will give women, from all corners of the world, a place to join and to overcome any challenge through her story. I want to hear her challenges. I want to share her goals. I want to feel her passion. I want us to share her dreams. I want Her Story to Matter.   www.herstorymatters.com

About the Author:

Harriet Khataba heralds from East Africa where she was born and raised in Kenya. Miss Khataba is educated in England in the fields of Hospitality, Retail and Fashion with qualifications in a Degree in Hospitality and Business Management. She has worked with organizations such as Merrill Lynch and Deutche Bank  as supervisor and organization management. Additionally, She has thrived in the entertainment industry as well as events in 2011. Harriet enjoys the arts as a dance instructor and she regularly organizes and acts as MC for many events. Most recently, Harriet has ventured into media working alongside with BEN TV, ethnic media, to produce youth oriented programs and promotions. And, she successfully developed a ten episode series called Trendz prior to her groundbreaking work with Her Story Matters (www.HerStoryMatters.com).

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