Archive for November, 2011

C4W Member Profile: Lauren Whiteside

November 30, 2011

What is your profession? I am a patient care coordinator at Belle Hall Eye Care. I’m also the South Carolina chapter leader for the National Cervical Cancer Coalition. I founded this chapter in January 2011.

What do you enjoy doing outside of our career? I like to spend time with my family, friends, & loved ones. I love to practice yoga, visit antique shops, & spend time with my border collie, Rainer. I’m an active volunteer and visit with a woman named Tallulah who is 102 years old. Currently my main focus is with the NCCC SC Chapter I started earlier this year to spread awareness on cervical cancer and HPV. We are holding our first chapter fundraiser on Thursday, December 1st at Fish Restaurant from 6:30-8:30pm. The event is called “Sercys for Spreading Awareness” and will have a silent auction and cocktails.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I became a member in September 2011.

What inspired you to become a member? I came across the C4W’s Facebook group page and saw how so many women were supportive of each other. I immediately researched & joined it because I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet other women that were doing great things in the community.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? The organization has helped me realize how important it is to have supportive women in your life. I am looking forward to attending events and becoming more involved with this wonderful group. I think that this organization has a wonderful message for women and I’m proud to be a part of it.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? Being a woman is a wonderful thing, but can definitely be difficult at times. I’m the kind of girl that wears my heart on my sleeve. I’ve had some ups & downs over the past couple of years; however, I’ve turned a difficult situation into a positive situation by starting the NCCC SC Chapter. I feel by telling my story  & spreading awareness on cervical cancer & HPV helps others and may just save another woman’s life.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? I would like to let women know that even in this economy, you still need to be happy in what you are doing. If you aren’t happy with your job or your current situation in life, it makes it more difficult to be successful. Become a volunteer to help out an organization that means something to you. Being an active volunteer in your community is the most wonderful gift you can give to yourself and others.

The Job Coaches: Take steps to develop team

November 18, 2011

When it comes to the issue of teams in business, you would think that somebody, somewhere, would have covered everything there is to say about the topic by now. Using teams of people to get work done in organizations is a concept that has become firmly entrenched in the business environment. So why is it that so many teams still aren’t working very well?photo

If you look up the textbook definition of a team, you’ll see it described as a group of people who come together to accomplish a common goal. We assemble teams in business for a range of purposes, such as to develop new products, deliver customer service, create marketing strategies and lead organizations. While this common purpose is essential, it often results in an orientation that is focused solely on the external objective, rather than providing sufficient attention to the team itself.

Strong teams don’t just happen. They are developed intentionally, strategically and with careful consideration for both sound design and good chemistry. Unfortunately, in their rush to address the pressing needs of the business, many teams fail to get their own acts together before they charge off to pursue the work at hand. The results are frequently, and predictably, disappointing.

I once worked with a client organization that was undergoing a radical change in the nature of their core business as a result of changes in technology. Resignations and replacements of several key manager positions had resulted in a leadership team that was essentially thrown together and charged with figuring out how to move the business from where it was to where it needed to be in order to compete in the new arena. At first, these folks took the position that they couldn’t afford the luxury of time needed for team development. After all, they were mature and seasoned leaders who should know what to do. The problems started showing up almost immediately: conflicting priorities, false starts, communication mix-ups and bruised egos.

It didn’t take long for them to realize that their lack of alignment was seriously undermining their ability to make progress on the priorities they were all genuinely committed to.

What got in the way for this team? Plain and simple: They hadn’t taken the time to focus on themselves as a team and define how they would work together before they dove headfirst into the deep end of the pool. They needed to take a brief time out to develop a team charter and establish their rules of engagement if they wanted to move forward in a cohesive and collaborative manner.

These are the essential foundational questions that a team needs to address if it is to be powerful and effective in moving an organization forward:

  1. Why do we exist? What are the mission and purpose of this team? What will our contributions be to the overarching mission of the organization?
  2. What are we trying to create? What is our vision of what’s possible for this team? What strategic opportunities in the marketplace will we choose to pursue on a short-term/long-term basis? To what extent are we aligned in terms of direction and priorities? What really matters for us?
  3. Who are we in relationship to one another? What are our similarities and differences in terms of leadership style, personality patterns, skills, values and strengths? How can we leverage our differences and harness the richness of our diversity, rather than having it drain our effectiveness?
  4. What structure will maximize our effectiveness? What should our respective roles and responsibilities consist of? Who will be accountable for what? What are the explicit and implicit assumptions that govern our interactions with one another?
  5. What will our team processes look like? How will we share information, make decisions and solve problems? What will our meeting arrangements consist of? How will we collaborate in a way that adds value while respecting one another’s individual domains? What kinds of issues will require team input and consensus?
  6. How will we keep ourselves honest? What will we do to ensure that we are truly communicating on a deep and meaningful level? How will we resolve conflicts when they occur? How will we create an environment in which each team member can honor his/her individual needs and values in the context of getting the team’s work done?
  7. How will we measure our progress? What will our metrics consist of? How will we regularly evaluate our own performance as a team?
  8. How will we celebrate our accomplishments and provide for renewal? What will we do to ensure that we stay fresh, cutting edge and energized?

Teams that take the time to grapple with these critical questions head-on are the ones that are able to create and sustain world-class results.

Does this mean that a new leadership team must take weeks to deal with these issues before it can even get started, or that an existing team should take a major sabbatical to get it all nailed down? Of course not. In a dynamic business environment, time is of the essence and customers won’t wait for a lengthy round of team development to jell.

But it does mean that a team must make resolving these issues as much of a priority as any other critical business need if it wants to retain a high performance edge.

And in today’s competitive arena, that’s the key to true success.

Barbara Poole is a master-certified coach and the president of Success Builders Inc.

The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, March 5, 2010.

C4W Member Profile: Alice Osborn

November 16, 2011

What is your profession? I offer editing and writing services to small businesses and creative writers through my company, Write from the Inside Out.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? When I’m not working, I enjoy researching notable people on Wikipedia, listening to Rob Thomas, watching True Blood and Boardwalk Empire and hiking with my husband, Keith, as well as spending time with my two kids, Daniel age 9 and Erin age 4. I’m also a Reiki Level II Practitioner and am studying to be a Reiki Master.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I’ve been a member since August 2011.

What inspired you to become a member? I was impressed by Center for Women’s programs aimed at helping aspiring writers achieve their publishing goals. I saw a lot of future synergy with the Center since in my business, I help women writers become the authors they’ve dreamed about becoming.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? I know it’s important for women to tell their stories and to tell their truth. As women, we often don’t achieve our goals because we get in our own way or we’re afraid what someone thinks of us. Through my work and writing, I want to be an example for other women and let them know it’s OK to speak your mind, take risks and be bold!

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? If you have a book in your head, don’t wait for the right time to write it! Write it now and figure out the details later. If you have a business idea, don’t wait for the economy to turn around—start saving and start doing. Align and connect with other women business owners who can support you and help you achieve your dreams.

The Job Coaches: The need for networking

November 11, 2011

Register for the 10th Annual Speed POWER Networking Event!

Like organizational careers, the growth stages in entrepreneurial women-owned firms take many twists and turns. According to the National Foundation for Women Business Owners, many firms are growing larger, but are still predominantly owner-manager operations.photo

At startup, owner management can be a very good thing. Founder-led companies, though smaller, are more profitable than firms led by nonentrepreneurial managers because owners have a large span of control and can move swiftly. Motivated to sustain and grow the firm, founders are invested emotionally, financially and intellectually.

But as growth continues, the operational demands of the business may remove the founder from the creative aspects that enabled success in the first place. Founders at this point find their time increasingly taken with administrative and “firefighting” duties.

At first, founders may not recognize the toll on their creativity and drive. They also may not be using strategic planning techniques and thus react slowly to environmental changes. Owner/CEOs often develop a perspective unique to their business and become prone to generalizing from a few observations based on past experiences, which may no longer match market demands or a changing environment.

When is it wise for the founder/owner/CEO to continue controlling everything or concentrate on the creative side and turn operations over to a professional manager?

The importance of making just this kind of decision was addressed in the Small Business Administration E200 pilot program, initiated in 2009 among 200 inner-city small-business owners and executives from 10 cities. The selected participants had established businesses which had grossed at least $400,000 annually over the previous three years. The 100-hour applied curriculum (more like a mini-MBA) was designed to help owners employ multidisciplinary tools to analyze their businesses and develop concrete, multi-tiered five-year growth strategies focused around modules (core strategic planning, financial literacy, marketing, resource management, etc.).

The SBA program recognizes that entrepreneurs may need assistance to successfully lead their organizations through the stages of expansion and maturity. Two women participating in the E200 program illustrate how thresholds can be overcome.

After completing the financial segment of the E200 training program, Kelly Sargent, owner of Brainstorm Marketing Inc. in Des Moines, Iowa, found that she was no longer afraid of the numbers — a stigma previously holding back her success strategies. Sonya Jones, owner of the Sweet Auburn Bread Co., a small downtown bakery she opened in 1997 in Atlanta, felt enabled to “break free of a business-as-usual mindset” to a strategy for growing her business without increasing the square footage.

There are other approaches. According to one study, a decision to employ professional management requires founder action on four fronts: relinquishing control while able to counsel, withdrawal from active management, public commitment to a plan of succession and articulation of a new mission statement.

For a founder, all this involves a change in the delegation of tasks and the withdrawal from many day-to-day activities. Founder-owners dealing with the threshold decision need to answer some key questions.

1. Can I or do I need to make the transition to professional management?

2. What are my goals now?

3. Will some other strategy give me better results?

4. Where can I get good recommendations?

5. Whom do I really trust to talk straight?

Sound advice is important to achieving long-range goals.

Where to get it? Just as networks are critical in the initial foundation of the business, a good support net can be key to arriving at a wise threshold decision. A founder who has actively engaged in building network credits is strategically positioned to know who to trust for vital feedback and cash in on the advice.

Networking can’t be an afterthought, something to be done after more important business matters are tended to. As a Chicago entrepreneur pointed out, “Without the personality, networking, connections and the ability to put the pieces all together, one can’t do well.”

Launching and operating a business requires constant networking. Female entrepreneurs with mature firms attribute sales growth to network activities that enabled them to gain strategic advantages over larger, more established competitors. As Suzan Kotler, a Cincinnati entrepreneur, explains, “You have to put out more than what you expect to get back and it will usually come back to you more than one hundred fold. If you don’t do it that way you usually end up with zip.”

The bottom line is that only an unwise entrepreneur will say, “I can do it all by myself.” The notion of the lone wolf — that a single individual can make it unaided in a rapidly evolving technological environment and an increasingly international economy — is not just a romantic relic, it is a dangerous idea.

Dorothy Perrin Moore, Ph.D., is professor emerita of business and entrepreneurship at The Citadel.

The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, June 18, 2010.

The Job Coaches: Learn company’s ropes to get promoted

November 4, 2011

Jane PerdueQ: Someone else got the promotion at work I was hoping and working for. I’m feeling angry and disappointed. What do I do?

A: Feeling let down is a normal reaction when you are passed over for a promotion. It’s OK to be disappointed, but monitor your emotions. Coming across negatively won’t help your chances for future opportunities. To understand why you did not get the job, take a look at yourself and your current work situation and answer some challenging questions.

Do I have the right technical skills? Ask your boss what knowledge, skills and/or abilities you lack, either for your current position or the one you were seeking. Create a plan to fill in those competency gaps: volunteer for projects, attend training programs, work with a coach, read books, take classes or ask for a mentor.

Am I known as a team player? While you may have all the right technical skills, how you conduct yourself might be holding you back. What you do AND how you do it are equally important. Do you have a reputation for being difficult? Do people want you involved in their projects? Technical brilliance alone won’t get you promoted. You need sincerity, authenticity, top-notch interpersonal communication skills and the ability to build relationships.

Have I built a solid network? It’s important to be connected with individuals at all levels within the organization: people who know you, know what you do and who actively support you. It’s pretty powerful when someone from another department is talking with your boss and they compliment your work.

Is my work ethic strong? Consider the quality and quantity of your work: do you do just enough to get by, or do you regularly go above and beyond? In these difficult economic times, employers value people who can do more with less.

Do I look like a professional? Hey, we all know the days of the three-piece suit are long gone, but looking clean, neat and appropriate never goes out of style. Observe what senior leaders at your company wear. A good rule of thumb is to dress for the job that you want.

Am I visible? All too often, we believe that hard work will take us to the top, but hard work alone isn’t the answer — your boss and others in your company must know about your contributions. Many of us are taught not to brag and feel uncomfortable talking about our accomplishments. The workplace reality is that you need to tactfully tell people; otherwise they may have no idea of your great ideas or output.

Am I aware of my company’s culture? Every company has its own ways of decision-making, rewarding good performance, communicating up and down the ladder, handling conflict, etc. Get plugged in to how work gets done at your company so you are working with the flow, not against it.

Learn from your experience and get better positioned for the next promotion that comes your way.

Jane Perdue is principal/CEO of The Braithewaite Group.

The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment. A donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, September 25, 2009.

C4W Member Profile: Amee Davison

November 2, 2011

What is your profession? Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Most importantly spending time with family and friends, especially my two month old baby girl.  I also enjoy shopping, taking my two dogs to the dog park, and watching movies with the hubby!

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I just joined!  We are new to the Charleston area.

What inspired you to become a member? I love what the Center stands for, especially when it comes to empowering women.  Working for a company like Mary Kay who which has many of the same priorities as the Center for Women it was a no brainer decision!

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? It has strengthened my belief that as women we need to embrace who we are and form relationships with one another to achieve more for ourselves as well as for our families and communities.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? As a new mom it has shown me that we wear many hats: mom, wife, business woman, daughter, sister, friend…. and juggling those hats takes having priorities, balance, and most importantly endurance to make it through each day!

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy?  I’ve always run my business on the belief that if we do the work, God will do the rest.  Also, on my own personal mantra be committed, be consistent, and be determined.


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