Ten Truths about the New Sales Professionals by Linda Holroyd


You hear us speaking on marketing and leadership and the age of personalization all the time. This newsletter will include our monthly top ten rules of marketing blog, as well as our new top ten rules of leadership blog. To better follow and report on the trends around personalization, we have created a Scoop.It blog, which captures articles and information on the blend of marketing, leadership and personalization.

FountainBlue’s monthly top-ten rules of marketing are designed to guide our client entrepreneurial tech companies and the community in general on marketing practices that clearly communicate and connect, thereby generating momentum for people and organizations. This month’s top-ten-marketing rules topic will be on the ‘Ten Truths about the New Sales Professionals’.

The sales heroes of the 80s and 90s often left me with a sense of oil and grease – to me, they were people who were more slick and connected wheeler-dealers than consultative, customer-oriented providers. No longer are we in an age of buying-what-you-don’t-need, with money-you-don’t-have, to impress people-who-don’t-care.

The economic meltdown precipitated both the aftermath of Y2K (no disaster, reduced IT spending) and 9/11 (which created a global culture of suspicion and caution) coupled with the empowerment of the user (through Google and Yahoo with its search, through Oracle and IBM and its big data solutions, through FaceBook and LinkedIn and Twitter with social media, through consumer-based e-commerce solutions like Amazon and eBay) is driving the age of personalization, and revolutionizing the sales process.

As marketing professionals and leaders, we need to understand and support the next generation of successful sales professionals:

They will be more customer-oriented, so help them profile their customers and prospects, and communicate with the team in delivering what the customers want.

1.   The new breed of sales professionals will truly and genuinely understand the current and anticipated needs of the customer, and great leaders will reward them for doing so.

2.   Indeed, they will consider the needs-of-the-customer above their own immediate needs, even if it means walking away from a sale or even directing them to another, even competitive solution. The old type of successful sales professional will have a difficult time adapting to the concept, and the new sales professionals will not look and feel the same as successful sales professionals of the past.

They will be more tech-savvy, so develop the tools to help them do their job well.

3.   The new generation of sales leaders will increasingly better understand enough about databases and software to know what can be efficiently customized.

4.   Indeed, they will understand the types of solutions which can leverage technology to be personalized, and the types which would be difficult to make efficient, seeking scalable, customizable solutions for their customers. They may be a current sales professional who sees things differently, or someone from another field who gets-the-tech, and wants to apply it to address specific customer problems.

They will astutely leverage social media to spread the word and reputation, and it will take a successful partnership between sales and marketing to make this work!

5.   The new sales professionals will proactively leverage social media and reputation management solutions to credibly spread the word about company offerings.

6.   Indeed, the more experienced and savvy professionals will recruit and incentivize ambassadors to spread the word to identified niche audiences.

They will be more collaborative, at least the successful ones will be, and it’s a great opportunity for marketing and sales to bury the hatchet and find a path forward, together.

7.   The new sales professionals will work with product marketing, development and marketing to ensure that the company understands and delivers precisely what the customer needs in the short term, and even anticipates what the customer will need in the longer term.

8.   In fact, they would willingly mentor others sales people to better deliver solutions to customers, and understand the value of doing just that. This is a new-world-order way of looking at sales, and goes against the grain of sales-professionals-of-the-past, who covet and protect their leads, their territory, their knowledge and skills so that they can reap rewards beyond their peers.

They will be more proactive, and let’s hope partnering with marketing leaders to deliver all of the above.

9.   The new sales professionals will follow the trends and manage and even anticipate the evolving needs of the customer, and proactive approach customers about how trends would impact their business and offerings and what they can do to address these shifts.

10.  Indeed, they will learn from the needs and deliverables for one customer/company/industry, and be able to generalize offerings to others while optimizing customization and while conducting business at the most ethical levels.

The bottom line is that the new successful sales person is someone who is intelligent, articulate, genuine, collaborative, informed, proactive and tech-savvy, and they may or may not be in sales now. They are someone you would trust implicitly to put your company first. Where do you think we should find them? How can we groom them? Your thoughts are welcome. E-mail us at info@FountainBlue.biz. See previous ‘Ten Rules of Marketing’ posts:

Visit and follow us at http://www.scoop.it/ageofpersonalization. Your comments are welcome.


Linda Holroyd is the CEO of FountainBlue, a Marketing and Strategy Adviser Company for many Tech Companies.

The FountainBlue’s monthly top-ten rules of leadership article is designed to guide Linda’s clients, entrepreneurial tech companies and the community in general on leadership best practices for themselves, and for their teams and organizations. Launched in December 2012, the questions and stories raised and the advice given has been mentioned before to individual members, and compiled and gathered to benefit the larger community. This month’s top-ten-leadership rules are on ‘The Top Ten Tips for Sharing Your Stores’.

She invites your questions about your marketing and leadership successes and challenges.  Please E-mail her at info@FountainBlue.biz if you have your suggestions on her marketing and leadership topics.  You might want to ask for her help with your own marketing or leadership opportunities or questions.

You can follow on her Scoops: http://www.scoop.it/ageofpersonalization.

Tweets: http://www.twitter.com/@lindaholroyd

Facebook posts: http://www.facebook.com/linda.holroyd,

FountainBlue group on LinkedIn: http://www.tinyurl.com/fountainblue.



Changing the World One Woman at a Time by Patricia Rain

Patricia 1 DSC_12251African Women’s Leadership Summits: Kenya and Uganda 2013

On July 29th, 2013, I leave for East Africa for five weeks. I will attend two African Women’s Leadership Summits, then visit the farms and projects of some of these women leaders. Also, I will finally meet, in person, hundreds of generous, caring farmers who prayed for my survival during my battle with terminal breast cancer!

Our Goal: To Establish a Women’s Leadership Cooperative Throughout East Africa.
Women’s Leadership Summits

In 2005, I was one of twenty women in the inaugural Women Leaders for the World (WLW) training program at Santa Clara University. This program, conceived by the Global Women’s Leadership Network, was designed to further empower women leaders in their work, locally, nationally and internationally.

The training helped me to expand my work as the voice for tropical vanilla growers worldwide, many of whom I met while doing research on vanilla in Mexico, and many of whom I have met through my business. Over the years, I have come to be known worldwide as “The Vanilla Queen” for my work representing and working with the farmers.
I have helped three women leaders attend the WLW training. However, Mariam Mukalazi of Uganda, whom I met through my business and who work with women farmers in East Africa, were unable to secure a visa. In January I decided I needed to go to Africa this summer to meet Mariam, other African farmers I know via the Internet and also the WLW graduates living in Africa, whom I have never met.

Initially, I thought that we might have a one-day gathering of women leaders in Kampala, Uganda. The project quickly grew into two two-day African Women’s Leadership Summits – one in Uganda, the other in Kenya.

Our ultimate goal is to establish a loosely-knit cooperative of women leaders throughout East Africa. To this end, our proposed summits will add value in the following ways:
* Women who have gone through the WLW training will have the opportunity to meet women from other classes, get to know one another and determine how they can potentially share their training with other women leaders.

* We will continue a conversation about how we in the industrialized world can support these leaders as the Millennial Goals become due in 2015. How can we train women leaders unable to come to the US? How can we create a network of support – a leadership cooperative for women in East Africa – and connect with other leadership groups globally? The conversation has started via e-mail and Skype. We will meet in the two countries in August to expand this vision.

* The owner of the largest certified organic vanilla farm in continental Africa has committed to teach interested women farmers the technology for the labor-intensive curing and drying of vanilla beans. As we are again facing a shortage of vanilla worldwide, this could be an extremely helpful revenue stream for the women and their families.

* Should our project be fully funded, we also plan to document the summits, farms and projects on video and in writing..

The Magic Has Started
The WLW leaders in Kenya and Uganda are excited! They have begun the arrangements for the summits. Some of these women will travel hundreds of miles to attend. We want this to be the beginning of a larger conversation for setting up future women’s programs in the developing world.

Patricia Rain, the Vanilla Queen, who launched The Vanilla.COMpany in 2001 as a socially-conscious educational site and retail/wholesale business focused on pure vanilla and the promotion of those who grow it worldwide.
In 2005, she created the International Tropical Farmers Network (ITFN) and set up a Google Group so that farmers worldwide could communicate with one another and share assistance regarding issues concerning vanilla.
Visit her website http://vanillaqueen.com/ or join her at The Vanilla Company on Facebook.

My Motivation for Starting My Own Business and Why I Would Never Do Anything Else! by Trinity Nicole Miller

DSC_8209-fb Tinity Nicole Miller

I recently got a divorce and have been reflecting on the last 15 years of my life.  I wanted to make the next 15 years better, more productive and I wanted to be smarter in my personal as well as business life!  I started to think about how I got into the industry I am in and why I fell in love with my work.  I think it is because the foundation of it all was helping people, something that is so much a part of my life especially today.  I am an avid community servant, have raised millions of dollars for women with breast cancer and severely abused children, have held a national beauty title and currently hold the title of Ms Texas 2013 to help raise more money for my organizations and finally I am an overachieving workaholic.  How did I get this way???

In January of 1996, I bought a small advertising business called ‘Colonial AD” where I designed and put coupons in video boxes at the local video stores. This was when they were still VHS, there were no DVD’s yet.  I had all 5 of the video stores signed up with me and it was going pretty well.  I had Burger King, Sonic, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Shakey’s Pizza and several other major chains as well as a few nice local businesses that provided some good offers.  It was pretty cool to get your movies and also great deals on food.  All of my coupons were a buy one get one free deal on food. I was doing this in my spare time and I really decided I liked it. I started to think a lot about how to market different types of businesses and I fell in love with advertising.

In August of 1996, I bought my first PC and I decided to put coupons on the internet.  At the time I was proficient on an Apple as I was a paralegal for a large criminal defense firm and had not been on a PC yet.  I had also worked for American Airlines and was very proficient with the SABRE system, the 2nd largest computer system in the world, next to our military system.  I was completely excited with getting to discover a completely new computer system and jumped in.  I contacted a new company that had just opened and was providing internet in our area for the 1st time.  I partnered with them and they gave me internet service in exchange for putting their logo and link to their website on the front of my website.  I had no idea how to build a website at the time and I really didn’t know what the ‘world wide web’ was or how it worked.. I scheduled another meeting with the internet company and I arranged for the owner of the company, to give me private lessons on web page design every morning at 7am. I learned to program html in a matter of weeks.  It was funny, because I understood how everything worked very easily. I simply had to learn functions.  Computers and programming have always made perfect sense to me.  I never used a web page editing program such as Front Page.  I started with MS Note Pad on a blank page and hand coded everything from the very beginning.  I still do  however, I now use Edit Pad..

The first week of my lessons, I got a very simple and clean coded web site up.  I kept the name Colonial AD and my company was the first company worldwide to offer coupons on the internet. I also started the concept of ‘local search placement’ with these coupons.  I saw that localized marketing was the only way to help logically and relevantly categorize a company to place them on the search engines.  I put companies on ALL of the major search engines and directories according to industry and location.  At that time the ‘major search engines were: AOL, InfoSeek (which evolved into GO.com), Excite, Hotbot, Ask Jeeves, Dog Pile, Alta Vista. ASK, Lycos, Metacrawler, and All the Web.  Google officially arrived in 1998, bought out GO.com and it’s very large database and has changed searching online dramatically for the better. My company was grandfathered in with Google due to the fact that I had a lot of pages in the database, had properly categorized companies for inclusion, operated with ‘white hat’ techniques and helped keep their search engine relevant.  I have been a Google partner since they first arrived.

At this time, Yahoo was still only a very large directory and did not yet have a search engine until 2000.  They used the Google search engine until they launched their own in 2004. I used to sit up all night in the late 90’s and email back and forth with the creator of Yahoo, Jerry Yang and I learned SO MUCH about the industry, where it was going and how to properly program to make my pages load and function at top efficiency.  I credit Jerry with giving me the foundational information that I needed to become a power in the industry later in my career.

During this time our economy was crashing in the Texas Panhandle due to the fact that we got our first Wal-Mart.  In the first quarter of Wal-Mart being open, over 250 local businesses that were family owned and had been in business for 30-100 years went out of business.  My friend owned  the local newspaper and was so excited when Wal-Mart bought $150,000 per month in advertising for 3 months in his newspaper.  Once the 1st quarter was over, Wal-Mart pulled ALL of their advertising out of the paper and Brad had lost the majority of the local business due to the closings. He had to sell the newspaper his family had owned for over 50 years. Needless to say, our area was devastated by the arrival of Wal-Mart.

I decided to use my coupon program to try to help the companies that were left to stay in business.  I named my website “The Business Showcase of the Texas Panhandle” and hired 3 very intelligent sales guys and sent them to the 13 towns surrounding Amarillo. I told them to offer this for $15/mo and if they couldn’t afford it, to give it to them.  They immediately signed up 400 clients and I would estimate ½ of them I gave the advertising to for free.  I told them that it would help them and when they started seeing results, they could contact me and start paying.  Within 6 weeks, I had 400 paying clients.  Over 80% of my clients did not have a computer or the internet, but when I explained what I wanted to do for them, they knew that they needed something radical or they would be next to go under.  My sales people took a printout of the website and examples of coupons so they could see what they were getting. This is still funny to me.

I was also building websites for clients and that was so fun!  It was like playing a video game to me and I spent 18 hours a day, 7 days a week working on my business.  I took out ads in the Thrifty Nickel and put pages of these online coupons in it and advertised that shoppers could go online to my website and download and print these and many more coupons.  I also partnered with the billboard/bus bench company and put these coupons on billboards and bus benches all over the panhandle.  I was the only marketing company that was advertising websites and it was interesting that people were making fun of me, saying that the internet would never make it.  But I knew in my heart it would, and my heart is never wrong about business.

By 2000 I had changed my business name and expanded to the entire US with 2800 cities set up in my program that I could advertise a business in.  I started doing local, regional and national targeted marketing online.  I also started building a coupon and website creator program for my clients to be able to build and update their websites and coupons themselves.  I hired ‘programmers’ to help me build this program but I kept getting ripped off and lied to, so I got a Perl/CGI book, and I started learning on my own.  It took me 3 years to finish the program.

In Thanksgiving of 2003, I won the ‘2003-2004 Webmaster of the Year’ award for the entire world with this program.  When I got the phone call that I had won, I was out in my detached garage office working and started screaming hysterically.  My family thought that I was hurt or being attacked and came running out to help me. I was so freaked out I couldn’t tell them that I had won for about 3 minutes.  I can still see the looks on their faces and it still makes me laugh.  This was a huge accomplishment in my industry and I had I won using a very slow internet connection with 36.6 dialup modem.  This was pretty amazing in itself.  The next year we finally got DSL service in our area.

Since then I have used my online marketing techniques to advertise and grow thousands of local businesses.  I am very proud of the work I have done because not only did I do it successfully, but I helped lots of companies reach their goals and dreams, even in a down economy.  In Sept 2011 I divorced and turned my company over to my ex due to the fact that was the only way I was ever going to get him to show up in court and give me my freedom. It was devastating to me at first, and while I thought this would be the end of me, I am definitely a scrappy business woman!! One great thing about me is my tenacity and hardheadedness.  I have since started a new company and it is growing faster and better than I had anticipated.  My new company will definitely be the crown jewel in my career for the next phase of my life.

Trinity Nicole Miller, President of Nicole Miller Marketing & Ms Texas American Renaissance 2013. I am an over achieving workaholic business woman and motivated beauty queen that has a intense passion for helping people.  I use everything I have in skills and talents to plant something good in the world around me.

Quote: You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do…..Eleanor Roosevelt

SWSWSWSW: Some will, some won’t, so what? Someone (else) is waiting by Judy Banko

judy-for blog

In the mid-seventies, my chubby, gruff, cigar-smoking sales manager, Bill, taught me the art of dealing with rejection—a lesson that’s helped me, and it can help you too whether you’re in sales and marketing, general business, or just plain life.

I was one of the first women in Texas, and most likely, one of the first in the country, to sell business equipment. I sold copiers! We were called sales ladies then. Some of the best advice Bill offered was if I spent too much time fretting over prospects who don’t buy, I wouldn’t have enough time to find those who would buy.

That lesson applies to any situation in 2013. SWSWSWSW: Some will, some won’t, so what? Someone (else) is waiting.

When I went into my own consulting and training business (me and everyone else), I learned the lesson all over again.

SWSWSWSW works in other areas too. Say you’re a fundraiser for a worthy cause, and you ask someone for a sizeable donation, but they say no. Remember, SOME WILL (donate), SOME WON’T (for a host of reasons), but SO WHAT? Losing time and energy worrying about it will not give you time to get to SOMEONE ELSE IS WAITING to give.

See how it works?

My daughter, a successful business owner in Dallas, understands SWSWSW. A single mother when she started her business, Julie had little choice but to keep on keeping on despite rejection. The SWSWSW approach helped her close deals and build financial strength for herself and her children. Had she stressed over the “NO’s”, she would have had to throw in the towel and return to the job market.

Speaking of the job search process, the SWSWSWSW strategy is highly effective here too. If one prospective employer turns you down, remember: Some Will (hire you), Some Won’t (you’re not quite the right fit), but So What? Some other company is waiting for your skills and talents, so keep on truckin’!

For the past two years I’ve searched for a medical professional who could tell me why I’ve been in pain. When I say I have seen every type of specialist there is, I mean it! Each time, the doc would say, “No, there’s nothing I can do for you.” Or, “See this other guy, it’s in his specialty.” Rejection time after time after time.

There were so many times I wanted to throw in the towel and take the well-meaning advice of friends and family—go on pain killers. There were times when I began to believe what several doctors said: there was nothing anyone could do for me and I’d have to live in pain for the rest of my life. But, Thank God I’ve had the support of an awesome good spouse who helped me fight the rejection and continue looking for answers.

At last I found a physical therapist that told me what had happened to my body to cause the pain and began treating me. After a month of treatments, my pain level went from a high of 10 to an average of 8, and then to a 4-5. If this is the most relief I ever get, it’s plenty good, but Beatrize and I are working to get it down much lower.

The next time you face rejection of any kind, try the SWSWSWSW approach. Some will accept you. Some won’t. So what? Someone else is waiting for you!


Judy Banko is the Owner of SofTel Consulting Training (specializing in business-to-business telephone sales & customer service).

She is also an University Russian and English Instructor. The first female sales person of business equipment (copiers, etc) in Texas in the 1970’s.

Spent five years living, working and cruising on our 45-foot sail boat.

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).

Why I Started Global Tech Women and the Voices Conference by Deanna Kosaraju

IMG_1825 Deanna

For 6 years I ran the largest physical conference for women in computing in the world called the Grace Hopper Celebration in the US and I was the conference founder for the Grace Hopper conference in India. I was often asked by thousands of technical women all over the world – places like Raleigh, Pune, and Kaula Lumpur – what I could do for them – how could I give them access to this conference and the community if they could not attend this annual event. I never had a good answer for them unless they could fly to the conference, take the time off of work, and pay the expensive travel and conference fees. It was very frustrating. About 4000 women attend Grace Hopper each year but many more thousands can’t get there.

Now there is a means to provide access, visibility and connection no matter where a technical woman lives on this planet.

Last year a new organization was launched, Global Tech Women, whose mission is to create a global network of connected, inspired and self-actualized technical women. My friend and former colleague, Jerri Barrett has joined Global Tech Women as our CMO and together we are reaching out to women around the world to create a global network of technical women, partners and organizations who share this vision.

We are holding a global virtual conference on International Women’s Day – March 8 2013 called Voices. We are starting in New Zealand at 10am and working our way around the world holding sessions from women in every region to talk about technology, topics of interest to the technical women’s community and to offer ideas and best practices on a regional, national and international level on how we can encourage more women in technology and inspire the women in this community.


Since this is a new conference we are all working together with friends, partners and sponsors to find regional, national and international representatives who can discuss the latest technologies, articulate the challenges of being a technical woman, what has been done to resolve barriers, and who is involved in these conversations. We are asking women around the world to attend and to add their voice to the conversation making us all accessible and visible.

I am asking for your support, to help build a conference and a community for all of us, anywhere.  How can you help? Register for the conference, invite your friends, post Voices on social media, celebrate International Women’s Day with us and be part of the direction for this organization. Make it your own.

This is an opportunity for every woman in technology, with your support, to have access to relevant information, which in many parts of the world is difficult, providing community, inspiration and to create possibilities for connection and collaboration.

This is just the beginning of something entirely new.

I am excited about the possibilities and I hope you are too. Will you help?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,


Deanna Kosaraju started Global Tech Women because she believes no matter what corner of the globe you live, you deserve access to the latest technical information, inspiration and local and global support to help you achieve your definition of success both personally and professionally. Prior to starting this new initiative Deanna was the Vice President of Programs at the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI). Deanna ran ABIs flagship program, the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing North America from 2006 through November 2011  and took the Anita Borg Institute internationally as founder of a technical women’s community and Grace Hopper Celebration Conference for Women in Computing in India.

Top Ten Rules for Leadership: Top Ten Tips for Sharing Your Stories by Linda Holroyd

85_Todd_R-_color_284_Linda_HolroydEvery leader has seen and felt this, the desire to share a story in response to a query from another – the look and sound of ‘oh good, a s-t-o-r-y’ from eager eyes and ears crosses all ages, genders, and cultures. And the leader feels the pull, the urgency of the problem, situation or scenario, reflects on why it may be more relevant than the immediate need, contemplates what he or she may share that might be helpful (or who might be more supportive and experienced to address the need), the consequences – good and bad – of doing the sharing, and dives in to tell the tale.

If you buy into the benefits for you and others around you, have seen the growth and benefits and rewards appear before your eyes, and if you’d like to do more story-telling, consider some of the Top Ten guidelines below.

 Reflect On Why There’s a Need, and Why Now

1.     When someone approaches you and values your input and advice, ask yourself who is this person, what does she/he know about me and my background, why is she/he approaching me now, am I the right person to support this person, and if so, do I have a tale to tell?

2.     Be generous with your time, but only if you think through #1 above, and it makes sense to share with this person, and others they will touch. Think that it’s just as much for your own benefit than it is for theirs, and even when it’s not, it’s a task worth doing, an investment worth making.

Make It Feel Real, But Not Personal

3.     Your story must be heart-felt, hard-earned, relevant, and personal, even if it did not happen directly to you.

4.     Bring your story alive with your non-verbal clues from inflections to gestures, from phrasing to idioms, while being sensitive to the needs of your audience.

Connect the Dots, Without Hitting Them Over the Head

5.     Everyone hates a know-it-all, especially if the speaker doesn’t know it all. Remember this especially when you’re sharing a tale. Nobody wants to be preached to, especially by a know-it-all wannabe! (Not that I’m referring to *you* specifically, or anyone else you know.)

6.     The best leadership tales help listeners connect the dots between disparate, previously unconnected people, ideas, things. They address the in-your-face issue of today, and generalize to anticipated, expected or desired opportunities of tomorrow. So walk the right balance between helping listeners make the connections and spelling out what the lessons-learned should be, as the best listeners will see far beyond where you think it could go, and could benefit the story-teller in ways unimaginable.

Be Humble and Even Self-Deprecating When Sharing Your Tale

7.     We connect with people who are successful *and* human. Someone is reaching out to you out of respect for who and what you are, and think that you have something to share with them. If you are humble, and share your humanness, rather than pointing to your credentials (which is unnecessary in their eyes), they would be more likely to be responsive to your tale.

8.     In fact, when you collect a series of tales-to-tell, start with times that you’ve been at your worst. The tales will be the most engaging, humorous *and* healing for you.

Offer Follow-Up and Resources and Support

9.     You’ve told a tale. It has sunk in. The other is joyous, pleased, energetic. But don’t stop there. Be there for her or him to follow up and support their journey, from the immediate need, to the path well beyond that.

10.  Share resources beyond yourself who could address themes, concerns, networks, and other anticipated interests of the listener, so that your gift keeps on giving, and you’re less likely to be the only avenue of support.

Make a new year’s resolution, a gift to yourself. Tell a tale to someone who needs one, ask for a tale from someone you respect, to address a need that keeps coming back!

Linda Holroyd
is the CEO of FountainBlue, a Marketing and Strategy Adviser Company for many Tech Companies.

The FountainBlue’s monthly top-ten rules of leadership article is designed to guide Linda’s clients, entrepreneurial tech companies and the community in general on leadership best practices for themselves, and for their teams and organizations. Launched in December 2012, the questions and stories raised and the advice given has been mentioned before to individual members, and compiled and gathered to benefit the larger community. This month’s top-ten-leadership rules are on ‘The Top Ten Tips for Sharing Your Stores’.

She invites your questions about your marketing and leadership successes and challenges.  Please E-mail her at info@FountainBlue.biz if you have your suggestions on her marketing and leadership topics.  You might want to ask for her help with your own marketing or leadership opportunities or questions.

You can follow on her Scoops http://www.scoop.it/ageofpersonalization.
Tweets http://www.twitter.com/@lindaholroyd
Facebook posts http://www.facebook.com/linda.holroyd,
FountainBlue group on LinkedIn http://www.tinyurl.com/fountainblue.

Helping “Scrappy Women” Achieve Their Dreams by Kimberly Wiefling


As a woman studying chemistry and physics at Wright State University in the early 1980s, gender bias was somewhat of an unknown to Kimberly Wiefling.

“I was treated with so much dignity and respect and included equally and fairly, I never even perceived that there was a gender issue,” she said.

Wiefling would face a completely different reality following her 1984 graduation from Wright State.

In graduate school and the high-tech world of Silicon Valley, Wiefling quickly realized that women were not always welcome at the table. It’s a blemish on corporate America she still sees today.

“I know from research that companies that have higher participation rates of women in their leadership and senior executive ranks make more money. There’s really a financial benefit to companies that do include more women, and yet, there’s still a bias,” Wiefling explained. “My intention is to help eliminate that bias. Let’s have women participating and contributing equally.”

After spending 10 years at Hewlett Packard followed by a few turns at several startup companies, Wiefling founded her own company, Wiefling Consulting, in 2001. Today, business is booming, with much of it coming from Japan, where Wiefling travels almost monthly to advise Japanese companies on global leadership and management.

In addition to her consulting business, Wiefling is the author of two out of the five guides in her Scrappy About series of books, including Scrappy Project Management and Scrappy Women in Business: Living Proof that Bending the Rules Isn’t Breaking the Law.

Wiefling co-wrote Scrappy Women in Business with 11 of her “scrappy gal pals” to describe their real-life experiences as women in the world of business. It also inspired the name for a scholarship Wiefling has established at Wright State the Scrappy Women Scholarship Fund.

The granddaughter of a coalminer and daughter of a welder, Wiefling was determined to achieve a college degree despite her lack of financial means. Following her high school graduation, Wiefling entered the military so she could attend college on the GI Bill. Scholarships also helped pay for her education.

Wiefling hopes the Scrappy Women Scholarship Fund will help women from similar backgrounds who may think a college education is out of their reach.

“I’d like to make that possible for some woman who comes from that kind of scrappy, hardworking family,” she said.

The scholarship is also a means for Wiefling to give back.

“None of us made it to where we are today without help,” she said. “We got here through the help and generosity of many other people. It’s our responsibility to continue that flow of generosity.”

Wiefling was initially surprised to find out that it only takes a small financial commitment to establish a scholarship. To fully fund the scholarship, she has made a bequest in her will where a percentage of her estate will come to the university. Wiefling, however, has already endowed the fund with current gifts so she can provide one scholarship a year to a worthy student.

“No matter how much you have, you can always share something with people who don’t have as much,” Wiefling explained. “What brings real happiness is not the money or the wealth itself, but the ability to share it with other people.”

Kimberly Wiefling is the founder of Wiefling Consulting, LLC, a scrappy enterprise enabling individuals, teams and organizations to achieve results that seem out of reach or nearly impossible through leadership and project management excellence. Vigorously scrappy, she reemerged, consulting on leadership and project management worldwide – from Armenia, to Tokyo, to the Silicon Valley. Kimberly is the executive editor of The Scrappy Guides®, a regular contributor to the “Project Connections” newsletter, (70,000+ subscribers weekly), and her radio show, “The Scrappy Dialogues®”, airs occasionally on www.wiefling.com, and she is the lead blogger at www.SVProjectManagement.net.



At a recent panel discussion I moderated on the topic, A Business Case for Diversity, the panel discussed the importance of the strategic value that global teams offer, and the challenges that business leaders face as they strive to leverage technology and communication platforms to conduct business globally. Clearly, we can acknowledge the upside of working in global teams – as our local U.S. team sleeps at night, there could be a global team working diligently elsewhere in their normal business hours, maximizing productivity literally round the clock. However, managing and working with global teams present geographic, logistical, linguistic, as well as cultural and diversity considerations. Within the diversity aspect, the role that women play in global teams can vary from culture to culture; as a business leader, you have an opportunity to draw participation from women on your global team. Being unaware of communication, cultural and other nuances could challenge team relationships and project execution. It is essential to have in place a strategy that builds cultural and other diversity awareness, builds understanding and collaboration through team building, and builds communication and active listening methods to avoid confusion and conflict.

Consider the following best practices:

1. Make global teams on both sides aware of the overall objectives, the scope of the project and deliverables. Make all sides aware of the process and the desired results. Further, why is working globally essential to the project’s success, and is this purpose clear to your local and global teams? How will your global team positively impact the organization’s success and how will you communicate this benefit to all teams?

2. Understand labor and employment laws in your global team’s country. Your company’s Human Resources and Legal departments may be able to assist in building this awareness. By educating yourself on any labor and employment factors, you can identify potential legal risks.

3. Wherever possible, bring the teams physically together. If this is not feasible, at least ensure that your local U.S. project leader visits your global team. Learning about the offshore work environment can help transition global team interaction as well as identify any potential project limitations. Conversely, if members of your global team are able to visit, be sensitive to any logistical, cultural and dietary concerns.

4. Be flexible to working with your global team’s time zone. Your willingness to meet the other team half-way on logistical grounds helps establish your good faith. However, be aware that a subordinate contractual relationship between global teams can sometimes establish who accommodates whose time zone.

5. Begin the project by building cultural awareness. Educate each side about respective cultures, traditions and holidays. Kickoff with a global team building activity using video conferencing or a Skype call. Find ways to discover and exchange fun facts about each person through virtual games. Talk about hobbies, holidays and other personal interests to find common ground. Encourage women team members to share as women from some cultures may tend to be quieter, particularly in mixed gender settings. Team members with shared common interests can be encouraged to follow up to further strengthen their relationships. Consider having women from the local U.S. team proactively reach out to their women peers in the global team; or, if there are no women on the local U.S. team, leverage your position as business or project leader to reach out.

6. Get to know your teams’ behavioral styles. Using personality tests such as Myers Briggs can identify any possible conflicting behavioral styles. Consider having a communication workshop to help your teams be better equipped at handling any differences. When necessary, remind women team members that you seek participation from all members.

7. Foster good multicultural communication best practices.

(a) Educate yourself and local U.S. team members in basic greetings in the global team’s native language. Most can easily learn common phrases such as “Please”, “Thank You”, “You’re welcome”, and “Goodbye”. Cultural differences may be diffused simply by showing people from other cultures that you are willing to understand them and communicate in their language. In fact, your willingness to stumble over foreign phrases may help lift any language or cultural barriers from non-native English speakers as they communicate in English as a foreign language.

(b) Speak English slowly as non-native English speakers may have difficulty following fast English speech. Use standard, grammatically correct English – avoid idiomatic or colloquial phrases that have origins in local U.S. popular culture. This is of utmost importance as people from other countries may be unaware of idiomatic expressions that have no cultural reference elsewhere. Avoid using phrases such as: “meeting minutes”, “wild goose chase”, “stay tuned”, “hold on”, “foot in the mouth”, “knee jerk reaction” and the like.

8. Use meeting facilitation best practices. Email detailed meeting agendas and important points prior to a meeting as this provides an opportunity for your global team members to digest the discussion topics in written form. Most non-native English speakers are stronger in written rather than oral communication so a written preface presents an advance opportunity to prepare for a meeting. After a meeting, send out detailed meeting notes to summarize the discussion and indicate action items, deliverables and persons responsible for deliverables. Additionally, consider providing follow up opportunities such as using online discussion boards to make communication and interaction easier for your teams.

9. A final women-oriented best practice: when conducting meetings, call on your women team members to elicit their participation. Some women may not speak up unless called upon, so use your empowerment as a business or project leader to build open communication across genders.

Global teams, when managed effectively, can prove to be a significant competitive advantage. Following global communication and other remote project management best practices ensures your success in working with global teams, and enables these interactions to become profitable business opportunities for your company.

ABOUT the AUTHOR: Radhika Emens is CEO and Founder of Tanjah Partners, a global marketing consultancy focused on helping companies bridge global markets. Radhika is a global marketing strategist who enjoys working on and solving business problems. She has worked in companies of various sizes and industries, and as an entrepreneur. She has a diverse background in developing marketing programs, and looks for ways to cross-pollinate ideas, systems and critical thinking processes across industries. She has an MBA from Chapman University, CA and an B.A. from Bryn Mawr College, PA. Born in India and raised in Morocco, she speaks 8 languages, and is passionate about all things global.

A Big Risk That Paid Off Big

I’m a concert buff, surfer, and self-proclaimed adventurist. While attending college I had one of my biggest adventures when I worked as a receptionist for a private investment banking firm engaged in mergers and acquisitions, where we provided our clients with national registered agent services. One day, I came into the office and it had been emptied out! It turns out the people I worked with had been involved with some unsavory activities and had suddenly fled the country.  Fortunately by this time I had become familiar with the national registered agent services we offered our clients, and knew that they could be easily provided. There were very few companies that offered affordable packages to small businesses. I saw an opportunity, and I saw a solution!
Even though I was only 17 years old, I founded my own company, InCorp.  using my university scholarship money to fund my first direct mail campaign. This was a huge risk, but now, we are a company of over 65 employees and 100,000 clients worldwide. Since then I have founded two more companies, a business entity formation service, MyLLC, and, most recently, DocRun.
My aim is to lower the barrier of entry to the small business market for entrepreneurs by providing them with access to attorney-level legal documents using DocRun’s  adaptive software solution. In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, I’m a small business writer. I had the privilege of writing “Limited Liability Companies for Dummies” for John Wiley and sons. I am also an active public speaker and small business consultant.
Risking my university scholarship was a big decision, but as Ghandi once said, we must “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
– Jennifer Reuting, CEO and Founder of DocRun, I am a small businesses and corporate structuring expert, as well as a serial entrepreneur. I founded InCorp.com, the third-largest registered agent service provider in the U.S., and MyLLC.com, a business entity-formation
Author: Jennifer Reuting