What is the Glass Cliff? (Infographic)

Career advancements often don’t come easily for women, what with facing gender discrimination on the job, struggling with pay inequality, and even dealing with sexual harrassment. If these obstacles were not enough, several female professionals also must confront the reality of the glass ceiling, the notorious barrier to achievement that often holds women back from reaching executive roles in corporations. Still, even for those high-performers that are able to successfully break the glass ceiling and take on top roles, far too many competent women are faced with yet another massive career challenge: the tricky paradox of the glass cliff.Continue reading

When Not to Listen to Your Customer (Infographic)

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

Everybody has heard the old adage that the customer is always right. Nobody can deny the importance of listening and responding to your customers. There’s no better way to build customer relationships and foster trust in your business.

By demonstrating that you hear your customer’s opinions and are willing to address their concerns and feedback, customers will remain loyal to your brand. They are also more willing to refer your business, make a repeat purchase, or leave a positive review.Continue reading

6 Productivity Hacks for the Busy Female Entrepreneur

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

You’re starting a new business or embarking on a freelancing career. No matter where you are, you’re a woman in the global workforce and your business. Sometimes telecommute or remote work makes you lazier than you anticipated. There are days when you’re not focused on your goals. The following six tips will teach you how to be more productive, so you can boost productivity levels, increase your workload, and follow-through with those important tasks.

Find Out How You’re Wasting Time

Before you do any work, you need to figure out how and where you’re wasting most of your time. Take an hour each week to record how much time you spend doing everything throughout the week. Use a mobile app such as Rescue Time, which records how much time you spend on social media channels and other apps. If your work doesn’t always require a computer, then look at the clock and record each task, e-mail, phone call, and break takes.Continue reading

How to Use Inclusive Language in Your Small Business

As a business owner, you know that there are a lot of elements that have to remain in balance in order to ensure business success. Between acquiring clients and keeping your finances in check, things like the culture of your workplace can easily fall by the wayside. Many leaders do not recognize the importance of fostering an empathetic and diverse culture, yet diverse workplaces are 35% more likely to financially outperform homogenous ones. So working on creating an inclusive and supportive workplace is just as important as any other part of running a business.

How can you create a more inclusive workplace culture? A great way to do this is to demonstrate empathy in the way you communicate with your employees. Not only does this mean being understanding and helping them thrive professionally, but this also means understanding that your intentions cannot always be accurately conveyed. Even if you don’t mean to say something that offends someone, it’s still entirely possible to do so. That’s why it is important to educate yourself on the words and phrases that exclude others.Continue reading

How Can Women Of Business Protect Their Data?

Data Protection 101 for Businesswomen

Data breach is becoming a norm. Amid the threat presented by hackers, people and businesses are becoming more conscious on using the Internet. Many are looking for various solutions to make their time on the web more secure. Businesses, in particular, are investing more to comfort their customers that data they provided are secure and won’t be stolen by anyone. Businesswomen concerned over the threat of cyber hacking on their business must know more about ways to secure their business data. This article will focus on ways businesswomen can secure their data amid waves of data breaches.

Train Your Employees

Experts claim that security solutions are not enough to protect your data. They emphasized the importance of involving your staff to protect your business from hackers. Continue reading

Top 5 Women in the Investment Game

Finance has always been a male-dominated profession, especially when it comes to positions of power. Women in finance face multiple hurdles on their way to the top. They are often underestimated and expected to work harder than male counterparts to prove their worth.  Additionally, women are often held to different standard and even simply overlooked when it comes to rising up in a work environment. These facts are supported by statistics, which show that even though women are actually 3 percent more effective than men in terms of leadership, only about 3 percent of top company CEOs are women.

If you want to make it big as a woman in finance, then consider finding a role model or mentor. Here are five women who have shattered traditional perceptions and made a name for themselves in the investment world:

 

Abigail Johnson, Chairman and CEO, Fidelity Investments

Called “the most influential woman in finance” by Boston Magazine, Abigail Johnson is a force to be reckoned with. Fidelity Investments is a 72-year old firm, but Johnson is “determined to remake her family’s company for a new generation. And she’s willing to shake up the old-boys club to do it.” She has been featured on many Forbes’ lists, including Forbes Most Powerful Women of 2018 with a rank of #5.

After over 30 years of working at Fidelity under her father, she was named CEO in 2014, and Chairman in 2016. Johnson is famous for pivoting away from traditional Fidelity strategies, and in her first year as CEO, Fidelity saw profits of over $5 billion for the first time ever. Apart from being an undoubtedly stellar female businesswoman, Johnson works with youth organizations to promote financial services as a career choice for young women through Fidelity’s Boundless program.

 

Linda Bradford Raschke, Professional Trader
Professional trading is a difficult field. Al Hill, co-founder of TradingSim writes, “First off, trading is honestly worse than a sales job or entrepreneurship when it comes to steady income. The level of uncertainty can be unbearable if you have never gone without a steady paycheck.” But the level of unpredictability didn’t stop Linda Bradford Raschke, who has made it to the top as a professional trader.

Starting off as a trader in the early 1980s, Raschke worked as a market maker for stock options. After working at the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange and then the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, she became a self-employed day trader. She has written a book on trading strategies that is widely featured in the media and is often called upon to lecture on trading for many renowned organizations like Bloomberg. Even though she is retired today, her legacy included two financial firms that bear her initials LBRGroup, Inc., a commodity trading advisor, and LBR Asset Management, a commodity pool operator.

 

Lubna S. Olayan, CEO, Olayan Financing Company

Lubna S. Olayan is the CEO of one of Saudi Arabia’s top companies, Olayan Financing Company. Not only is she responsible for 50 manufacturing companies, but she has also been featured on the Forbes’ “Most Powerful Women” list. Olayan is a great example of breaking barriers. As a Saudi woman in the 1980s, working in business was not considered socially acceptable. Even today, it is still rather uncommon for Saudi women to work outside the house.

But Olayan didn’t care much for these societal restrictions and didn’t let cultural perceptions get in her way. Today, she employs over 540 women in her company and is a strong advocate for women in the workforce. Her skill and perseverance led her to become the first female board member of a Saudi public company, Saudi Hollandi Bank in 2004. She has also served as a board member for Egyptian Finance Company and the investment bank Capital Union.


Aileen Lee, Founder and Partner, Cowboy Ventures
Featured on Forbes’ Midas list, Aileen Lee is the cofounder of Cowboy Ventures. According to Forbes, “Lee secured the #97 rank thanks in part to her investments in Bloom Energy, which could list on the public markets as soon as May and was most recently valued at about $3 billion; Dollar Shave Club (acquired by Unilever for $1 billion in 2016); and Rent the Runway, which raised funding this year at an estimated valuation of nearly $800 million.”

Sound investments aside, it is worth noting that Cowboy Ventures in one of the first VC firms to be launched by a woman. Previously, Lee worked at the prestigious firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for 13 years. As a champion for women in the workplace, Lee is also a founding member of All Raise, which runs a one-on-one mentorship series for women in investment called “Female Founder Office Hours.”  

 

Marie Chandoha, President and CEO, Charles Schwab Investment Management
With over 35 years of investment experience, Marie Chandoha was named CEO of Charles Schwab Investment Management (CSIM) in 2010. Chandoha got where she is today by taking risks. For instance, as stated by Forbes, “she once took a role at a company heading an underperforming department. She knew the job could disappear if she didn’t turn the unit around and the parent company collapsed it.” Instead, Chandoha successfully made the department profitable again, allowing her to move on to other roles.

Prior to joining CSIM, Chandoha was the global head of the fixed-income business at BlackRock (formerly Barclays Global Investors). Chandoha is a strong businesswoman, but also has an innate concern for the well-being of others. She acts as a mentor to many women colleagues and encourages them to take career risks and stretch themselves. She is also an advocate of sustainability and owns a ranch with her husband dedicated to sustainable farming practices.

Being a woman in investment is no easy feat. With a multitude of various obstacles along the way to the top, much still needs to be done to even the playing field between men and women in business. That being said, if you’re a woman in finance looking to shatter the glass ceiling, don’t lose hope. After all, as proven by these five titans of the investment world, sheer grit and determination can lead to success.

Female Scientist Brings Awareness of Hepatitis B in China and Bay Area by Stuti Upadhyay


A week-long trip to China doesn’t sound like a big deal. After all, thousands of people visit China every year, many for months at a time.

But for me, a sixteen-year-old Indian girl traveling from San Jose to Beijing, this trip was a daunting ordeal. I would be spending the week with six other kids I didn’t know, sharing a large apartment with my dad as the only chaperone.

We were traveling to China as part of an International Outreach Awareness Committee with Team HBV, a student-run organization under the Asian Liver Center. The Asian Liver Center, along with Team HBV, aims to educate the general public about the prevalence of chronic Hepatitis B infection in Asian communities.

Chronic Hepatitis B, which can lead to serious liver damage and eventually liver cancer, claims the life of 600,000 people each year. Furthermore, although Asian Americans consist of only 4% of the American population, they comprise of over 50% of the nation’s chronically infected people.

Hepatitis B is preventable through vaccination, but the disease often does not show symptoms until it is far too late. Because of this, early screening and testing are of utmost importance.

Unfortunately, there is a strong stigma surrounding Hepatitis B in Asian communities. Our group traveled to China as a way to start the conversation regarding the disease. By encouraging even a few people to get screened or encourage their friends to get tested, we could take small steps to eradicate the taboo and saving lives.

Our group consisted of kids from all around California who were handpicked to represent the Asian Liver Center in China through an application process.

The first few days of our trip were awkward and tense; no one knew each other and everyone was trying to get accustomed to their surroundings. Our shared goal of spreading information brought us together, and we spent several hours rehearsing our presentations, going over HBV facts, and working out the details of our outreach.

Although we weren’t able to present at some of the elementary and middle schools we had planned to visit, we educated everyone we talked to, from college students to workers in the Subway.

We even worked with interns at the Peking ALC to see if they could replicate some of the outreach that was working so well in America.

And over the course of this week, the trip that I once so feared became one of my favorite experiences in my life. I grew incredibly close to the other committee members, and I visited many amazing, historical places in China.

I also grew even more passionate about our cause. Before, I volunteered with Team HBV because I thought it was a good cause to support. I got involved because I felt like I couldn’t let innocent people die when I possessed knowledge that could help them.

During my trip, I grew close to people who experienced first hand the tragedies of HBV: people who had lost loved ones to the disease; people whose own parents couldn’t tell them they were infected because they were embarrassed; people who wished they had gotten tested just a little sooner.

After returning home, I started looking for more opportunities to get involved. One of my first attempts was to rent out a booth at the monthly De Anza Flea Market to distribute outreach information and spread awareness. My two friends and I talked to over one hundred and fifty people about Hepatitis B and what they could do to help.

I used to think that this trip to China would be my biggest contribution and involvement with Team HBV. After all, I traveled all the way across the globe for outreach. Now, I know this is only the beginning. There are so many more things I can do, from starting a club at my high school and later at college to writing a blog and volunteer more frequently locally to help make a difference.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Stuti Upadhyay – She is interested in the field of Biology – particularly molecular biology for cancer.  Looking forward to participating in many cancer-related molecular biology research opportunity, including hands-on lab work. She is passionate about helping disadvantaged kids, health and exercise, and environmental sustainability. A Bay Area native who enjoys the beach, running, soccer, watching movies and listening to music.

 

Can Sustainability and Minimalism Improve Your Happiness?

Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

 

In Graham Hill’s TED talk, he asks if having less stuff can lead to more happiness. He makes the case that when we own less, and in turn need less space, we will have less debt, more money, more freedom, more time, and we’ll also be leaving a smaller environmental impact. He believes that these things combined would lead to less stress and a happier life.

 

You can move into a 600 square foot home and eliminate most of your stuff, but you only have to do a little bit in order to make an impact on your happiness and positivity. In this article, we’ll discuss how bringing minimalism and sustainability into your life can improve your overall happiness.

Happy Communities

Your home makes a big impact on your happiness. Like Graham states, a bigger home is more expensive and leaves a greater footprint on the environment, leading to more debt and more stress. But the size of your home isn’t the only factor impacting your life. Your community, location, and accessibility all play a major role.

 

Sustainable living, and sustainable communities, commonly boast a higher quality of living, not in luxury but in fulfillment. Sustainable living can help nurture economic and environmental health, and social equity. In sustainable communities, everyone is expected to do their part and everyone works toward a healthy lifestyle for all that live in the community. But it takes work.

 

Look for sustainable communities, or community groups in your area to get involved and become a happier person by working with others toward the same goal. Or start one in your own neighborhood. Do a self-evaluation of your home and find out what you can do to make your home, and your community, more sustainable for the environment and for your own finances.

Minimalist Living Tips

Sustainability and minimalism often go hand-in-hand. Minimalism is known to improve your life in many ways, but at its core, minimalism leads to more time, money, and less stress. These three simple changes can end up providing more memories with your family, new hobbies, more adventures and travel, and more creativity. But you don’t have to move into a tiny house to be a minimalist. Here are a few simple tips to live a more minimalist life:

 

At first, it is important to remember minimalism is a mindset. It’s not only about minimizing your material possessions. A big part of minimalism is working to focus on individual things or activities one at a time. Instead of ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, minimalists stay in the present moment in everyday life. It’s easier said than done, but here are a few tips to help:

 

  • Actively take note of what is happening in the present moment.
  • Meditate.
  • Take a technology break.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Start a journal or just write down your thoughts.

 

Next, it’s time to cut down on the clutter. But you don’t have to go through your whole house with a fine-tooth comb. Start with the one room you use every single day, where happiness and relaxation are important. That’s right, we’re starting in the bedroom.

 

Your bedroom is meant to be your personal escape from the hectic outside world. So take a look at it now. How does it make you fee? Do you feel relaxed and maybe even a little sleepy? Or do you see the pile of laundry, the unmade bed, and the old dishes on your nightstand and feel stressed? Let’s fix that and turn your room into a cozy escape. A minimalist bedroom design could improve your sleep quality, make it easier to keep clean, and even get ready for the day faster. Here are some tips for a creating a minimalist bedroom design:

 

  • Remove all electronics from your bedroom including the television, phones, tablets, etc.
  • Get a bed fit for optimal comfort, whether that means a firmer or softer mattress is up to you. Or, invest in good linens for a cozy night’s sleep.
  • Find simple curtains, or thrift them, to create solitude and ambiance.
  • Remove busy posters or any pieces that aren’t soothing and relaxing.
  • Get basic accessories, like a rug and lamp, and stick to just the necessities.
  • Organized your clothing and sell or donate any items you haven’t worn in at least a year.

 

Sustainability and minimalism can absolutely improve your happiness. Many people have proven it before. But the impact often depends on how you approach life changes. Are you open to positive new changes or worried and nervous? Relax and let these tips guide you to a happier, simpler life.

What do you do when it’s done

Structures

We spend our youth in a specific structure called school.

It tells us when we have to be certain places and what things we do at those places. Then, suddenly as you graduate from school, you enter into the vast expanse of you now and you in 89 years and there’s practically nothing that’s giving that future a structure.

Many of us like to grab onto dreams as things which guide our future. We think about family, work, home, hobbies, and then somehow after it’s all said and done, it can feel really unsatisfying.

Or maybe you’ve been putting in your time for years and now is your big break where you get to live in paradise, travel the world, and have freedom. Except, you wake up and realize there’s nothing. What happened?

Achievements

Especially in cultures like the U.S. and Japan, we thrive by encouraging ourselves to focus on achievements (ummm anyone have a bucket list?). Yet we rarely are taught to navigate the moments after everything is said and done. The day after you’ve gotten that promotion you’ve been waiting for. The morning after you’re final day of work for retirement.

For me, this reality of the ???? after achieving a dream came after I finished my book, In My Own Skin.

I felt like I had created something so dark and depressing I wondered if anyone would ever read it. In fact, as I was writing, I had people offer to help me review it, and rarely did they ever finish it. I also didn’t know what do with myself now that it was done. Do I just start writing something new? After three years of hard work, is this it?

Then, a friend said, “Why don’t you host a reading?”

What comes next

Much to my surprise, as soon as I started sharing the published book, I have felt just how much joy it brings me to offer my experience and story as a guide to others on these big journeys of transformation.

I went from thinking no one would ever look at what I’d done to a line of people out the door waiting to talk with me. 

As much as I have my experience with finishing a big deal project or losing someone close and suddenly so that a phase of life ends with a big bang, I’ve also found there are all kinds of other ways death manifests in my everyday life, and yours too. Death, in other words, as endings.

The Everyday endings

Most recently, I’ve become lactose intolerant.

When I was a 9th grader fresh after my dad’s death, I LOVED ice cream. I would have said it was my favorite food. I also would have said I never thought there would be anything that brought me closer to my dad again.

Then, I became lactose intolerant as a 24 year old.

Suddenly, those memories of setting 5 glasses of milk for Mom, my sisters, and I and 1 glass of water for Dad around the dinner table have taken on a whole new meaning. I’ve become connected to him in a way I never thought possible.

That is to say, there are so many things we lose in our lives (loss takes on many faces in our lives). Especially with really big things like people we care about, we can get focused on just how much is taken away from us.

We can feel like we get to the other side of an accomplishment and have no idea what comes next. 

But that’s not all that happens with loss. 

When my mom decided to move across the country and go to medical school, I saw my first real example of how being broken open by my loss meant not just things getting taken away but also new things coming into our lives and taking root. 

Now, I am so grateful to work with people like you on your own journeys of transformation.

From Deep Waters Back to Shore – Transition Coaching

I was very good at getting myself out to deep waters as I wrote and processed my loss, but I needed a guide to get back to shore.

I believe that’s true for all of us.

Whether we choose to act on it or not, in those moments of transition we need people to help guide us back to shore.

That’s why I’m here for you. 

If you’re looking for someone to support you like that, I would love to be that person for you. We can do that by working 1:1 together with undivided attention on the face of loss in your life. Together, we find what it means for you to feel fulfilled in your life in this moment, and we grow the ways for you to feel that as often as you can.

Click here to set up a call with me to see if you’re a good fit for my 1:1 program.

After years of feeling under constant attack from my grief, I can finally look at my lactose intolerance and not say I’ve lost another thing, but to instead say, “Thanks, Dad. I know how much you love me.”

Endings are Beginnings

Seeing those grief triggers as love notes is just one of many ways I’ve come to feel at peace with my loss. It is an honor and a privilege to support you in finding that peace too.

There’s so much here for us, even when we think it’s all gone. That’s what I find so amazing. All this darkness we experience is what reminds us how alive we are.

When we can settle into our own aliveness, that’s when the new dreams start emerging and we find the path for our next thing has been there for us all along.

Originally published on Aging Courageously. Kirsten Schowalter is the author of In My Own Skin and a transition coach with Aging Courageously.

“Age is not important unless you are cheese.”

Helen Hayes

“Age is not important unless you’re cheese.” – Helen Hayes, an American actress whose career is said to have span 80 years.

 

When I saw her quote for the first time, it made me think of two things:

  1. The really good cheese I enjoy that takes time to age.
  2. The people I know who are doing amazing things and “have aged” according to cultural concepts of aging.

One of those people who stands out to me is someone named Sherry Saterstrom. I met Sherry when I was a college student and she was a dance professor. She has the kind of voice recognizable from across a room. She expresses the energy of what she’s communicating in exclamations and punctuative sound. Similarly, she is nimble and quick, and the most energetic and curious person I have ever met. At the time, she was also almost 70 years of age.

Sherry Saterstrom

While I was at school, I took several of her dance classes, one of them I even took twice just because it meant more time around Sherry. We learned anatomy, physiology, evolution, somatics, dance, and improvisation, and practiced something we now call “Mindful Movement.” As students, we watched and learned as this limber and spritely woman showed us how with an attention to alignment you can be in the middle of lecture and discover you can do a handstand (this literally happened one day while we were in class).

When I think of someone who doesn’t let anything, like expectations around what someone at age 70 should be doing, I think of Sherry. In fact, her more recent jump from teaching into what most people call retirement also took a more unconventional route.

“Graduation”

After spending 30 years (of one year contracts) teaching dance at St. Olaf College, Sherry decided it was time for one great life phase to end. No, she wasn’t retiring. As a St. Olaf alumnus herself, she told everyone, “I’m finally graduating.”

During her time teaching at St. Olaf, she had never gone on sabbatical, so her first year after “graduation” she set aside as “sabbatical.” She gardened, cross country skied, cooked, organized her home office, and probably ate yummy cheese. But she didn’t sit around in the fridge like cheese. In fact, winter, when Minnesota feels the most like a refrigerated world, is when Sherry loves to be outside the most.

This year, she told me she’s looking for a market. She’s ready to start her own venture about mindful moving and fitness.

“This is an idea I had 20 years ago, but when I was thinking about it then, I was 20 years too early!” She says, “Today, even when I go to the Y for my cross fit class I hear the trainers talking about being mindful. Who knows, maybe I’m still wrong and it’s too early, but I think there’s a wider awareness now about what mindfulness is and that makes me look for a market to launch a venture offering new kinds of classes.”

Lessons about Age

Listening to Sherry’s story, I wonder: how did she know this was the idea she wanted to go for? In some ways, it was because it’s something that she has been fascinated by for decades. In other ways, it’s because she has seen other people talking about the concepts she wants to build a business around. Either way, her age has given her the advantage to see her idea in a broader context.

That tells me two things:

  1. We all have potential skills and value to offer already inside us. Like an expensive cheese, we have so much depth and richness that can create value in the world today. Potentially, even greater value the more we age!
  2. Hearing about other people thinking the same thing isn’t a bad signal. In fact, it may be a signal the idea you have is even more worth doing. Timing is critical in launching and getting traction around a business, and knowing your idea resonates with people who may be future customers is a great signal you’re onto something good.

While things are still early for Sherry, what I love about her journey into “retirement” so far is that it’s characterized by a clear intention to throw out the window all the things we think “should” happen as we get older. Instead, she plans to continue to be curious about what’s next. No venture is too big or too small when you set your mind to it and begin to see all the possibility. Who knows, maybe Sherry’s career in dance will eventually rival Helen Hayes’ career in acting. If you’re going to have that much life, what are you going to get up to?

If you’re curious about what this world of mindfulness that Sherry has seen come to life looks like, take a peek at the Mindful Movement Intro Series from Aging Courageously.

Kirsten Schowalter is the founder of Aging Courageously and the author of the memoir In My Own Skin. Originally posted on Aging Courageously.