Can We Have Both?

Damn Tara is good.  Once again.  She has a gift for taking seemingly unanswerable dilemmas and making them simple, practical and actionable.  I LOVED this post.  We all have topics in our lives that are seemingly at odds (at least in our own minds) that we desperately want to explore a new path on but don’t know how, are afraid to, or flip flop in our opinion on.  I love her advice on asking not CAN I do both of these things but HOW and then inviting a response.  Inviting a personal response and inviting the images and ideas that come along with it.  Then, I hope, acting on them.  Starting the WE group was one way I’ve sought to marry the idea of having a lucrative career with one that brings me personal fulfillment and meaning.  What can you bring together in yours?

- Julia  

Women's Mini-Communication Boot Camp

A few weeks ago, “WE” hosted Rita Gallaway Williams at Prezi’s beautiful presentation space for a mini-communication boot camp. Rita’s inspiring discussion on how powerful presentation skills can be in the workplace hit home for me, especially since I was gearing up for a large client pitch the next morning and was, needless to say, a bit nervous.

Rita opened with a discussion on content, which is where most people tend to focus their presentation efforts. I was surprised to hear that people are motivated 20% by content and 80% by presentation – it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it! This means focusing efforts on practicing body language, eye contact and sentence structure. Did you know that you lose 1/3 of your audience after word 11, half of your audience by word 13, and 85% by the time you’ve hit word 18?

Rita's handout has been incredibly valuable for practicing short, impactful statements and appropriate body language.

My biggest take-away from the presentation was a discussion on how women can demean their ideas through speech patterns. How often do you use the opener, “I just wanted to…” or phrase your thought as a question versus a strong statement? I know that I am often guilty of this. The women in our office passed around this great article about how women undermine their ability to communicate, and I am now working on making a conscious effort to break bad habits.

Special thanks to Rita for a wonderful presentation and several great tips on how women can use verbal communication to be more effective in the workplace. Hope to see you all at the next event!

- Allison

Nice Women Finish First When They Ask The Right Questions

What an excellent article to lead into our next event...the Mini Communication Boot Camp (see Future Events). In our business my effectiveness is a direct result of my ability to bring two sides together and to convince the other (Landlord) side why they should agree to what my side's (Tenant) needs and wants.  Achieving the best results for my clients is my top professional priority while a commitment to contribute positively to everyone I encounter is a personal intention of mine.  I haven't come across much on how to be both a good, kind, ethical person while also getting what you want out of an exchange, particularly in a business context, though I intuitively believe this is not only possible but critical. Great communicators and leaders are great because they know how to both listen and express themselves in ways that facilitate cooperation (towards their desired outcome).   I was inspired by the below and really look forward to learning more about being a better communicator on February 23. We hope you can join us!

- Julia

Read the full article here.

Rock Climbing ROCKED!

We had a blast at Mission Cliffs.  I was amazed and inspired by our entire group--including myself frankly, I am no rock climbing expert and at 16 weeks pregnant didn’t think it was such a great idea to actually participate even though this whole thing was my idea.  But I’m so glad I did.  We all challenged ourselves in a really fun and supportive way.  I thought this was the perfect metaphor for what this group can be –a community of likeminded business women pushing and helping each other, encouraging, offering support and new opportunities to face (and rock) the challenges we all do in our careers and lives.  This will definitely be an annual event!  - Julia

"There isn’t anything a determined woman can’t do."

Entrepreneur Lisa Harun shares her 5 pieces of advice for women in the male-dominated workforce. Her last point especially stood out to me - "Help other women."  I have been very fortunate to have several female mentors, all of whom have helped me achieve professional milestones that I thought to be nearly impossible. Thanks to them, I can barely wait to pay it forward to the next generation. Generating a community of support, honesty and trust among women in the workplace is so important and can only help to strengthen the organization as a whole. There's no doubt that women are progressing, but from the first sentence in this article, it's clear that we still have work to do! 

Read the full article here.

Mindfulness Meditation

I’ve had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind for years that I need to meditate but kept telling myself that #1 I don’t have time #2 my mind is too cluttered and #3 I “meditate” while in motion and get stress relief from being active and being outdoors not from sitting still which I hate to do.  Then I read the book “The War of Art” which is amazing and I highly recommend (by Steven Pressfield and NOT to be confused with Sun Tzu’s the Art of War) and finally faced the fact that the things we are most putting off or perhaps most terrified of doing are EXACTLY what we need to do and we need to force ourselves to do immediately.  So, I just stated meditating.   I’ll report back on my findings once a little more time has gone by, but I have found pretty immediately a change in the background level of general anxiety and it’s pretty awesome.  This article has a few ideas, not surprisingly with meditation being #1.

Read the article here.

The Magic of Tidying Up Your Staff

I too was deeply moved and changed by the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and it's central message of getting rid of many of your possessions as a means to learning how to live and be more in the joy of the present, and make decisions based on what brings you joy (rather than our habitual tendency to make decisions based on fear of the future or attachment to the past).  

Jen Colosi does an excellent job of applying these concepts to an organization's individual staff and collective culture.  Fostering and maintaining the right culture amid rapid growth and/or changes in an industry or operating environment, is the central challenge of every company I work with.  One of the reasons why I love my job is that office space is the physical representation of a company's culture and it's location and features does directly impact the people in that environment every day.  Thank you Jen for this terrific article in applying the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up to a company's culture and staff.    

Read the full article here.         

Mimi Makes A Million

 I was prepared to hate Mimi, and be annoyed at another woman stereotypically starting a lifestyle blog and calling it a career.  And from the headline, I thought this article was supposed to be about the virtue (in itself) of making a million dollar annual income.  But then I read the article-it’s really about doing what you love, following your heart, getting rid of the excess crap (literal and in your own mind) clouding your vision, and being your authentic self—and then magically success seems to naturally come.  I have been lucky enough to have experienced this myself and I hope you can too.    

Read the article here.

Five Career Strategies for Women in Tech

"It seems as if every day someone in my network is sending me an article about challenges facing women in technology. If I had to summarize all the articles into a six word story, it might read, "75 percent pay, 25 percent women, 5 percent CEO." On nearly every dimension that can be calculated, women are coming up short...."

Read on to hear the five strategies that Alison Wagonfeld has found useful in building her career and recommends to any women looking to build careers in technology!