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Our Future is Female – Thank You Amanda Gorman

January 21, 2021

Thursday Thoughts, Inspiration, Wisdom for Women, Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners

I rarely, if ever, cite someone’s full sentiments on my blog but today is different. It’s the day after a beautiful African American 22-year old girl, the nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman, delivered a poignant moment at yesterday’s Presidential Inauguration of our nation’s 46th President. Her words beautifully spilled out, loud and bold, rhythmic and clear, for all to hear.

Amanda is a shining example of what our future looks like – diverse and female. Let Amanda’s poem lift you up today as you read it again and cherish its meaning in your own life.

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice

And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one

And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all
cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another

We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division

Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promise to glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust

For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright

So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful

When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Wednesday Wisdom: Changes Towards the Positive

January 20, 2021

Inauguration Day Message, Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration for Women, Women Entrepreneurs

Prior to embarking on a bold journey to take 120 women to the Women’s March on DC in 2017, my spirit needed some reinforcement and visions from history to carry with me as leader of our group. The bus was already secured, prior to the November 2016 election, confident women would want to travel with me to the nation’s capitol to see the first female president Hillary Clinton inaugurated. On the disappointing morning following the election, women called me saying “What are we going to do now? Our hopes have been dashed.” I didn’t have the answer until 72 hours later when news of the first Women’s March on DC was announced and I was determined to show up there for women’s rights.

Prior to leaving for the March, the movie Selma is where I turned for inspiration. Selma tells the story of the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery in search of equal voting rights. It is a powerful film reminding us of the bravery, resolve, and heroic actions of regular citizens fighting for their rights. The Women’s March was not intended to be a fight in front of the nation’s capitol, but a peaceful demonstration like Martin Luther King’s; but we had some trepidation on what to expect the day after Trump took office. Would we be run over? Shot at? Punished for being there? I told my husband jokingly, “If I don’t come back then you know I’m in jail with a lot of other feminists.”

But the March was only peaceful, loving, joyous, jubilant, and heartwarming as over one million people came to show up for women’s rights. It was sincerely a beautiful experience. So when I watch the inauguration today of a new President and first female Vice-President in front of the Capitol where we stood four years ago, I am excited for a new intelligent, experienced leadership with multiple qualified females of every race, age, and religion elevated to key roles. I have always believed the more women in leadership roles – especially in politics – the better women will be represented in laws and equality efforts.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you the world changes in a positive way, sometimes slower than we want, but it changes for the good. Hold on to hope today, of all days, as more women join the political and leadership ranks speaking up for, and representing, 52% of our American population – WOMEN. If you feel the wait has been too long, there is something you can do today, on this Inauguration Day as a woman – pledge to buy from, and hire, as many other women as you can putting money and business in their hands and bank accounts until pay equality is realized and women rise in all aspects of business, leadership, and life.

Walk the Women TIES Mission with me arm in arm, hand in hand, for the world to witness by supporting women first and foremost.

Tomorrow is Going to Be Different. Carrying the Torch Forward.

January 19, 2021

Today is the perfect day to share my optimistic blog post from election day 2016 when women rose to vote, and vote in numbers to support the first female presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. It has been four long years with dashed hopes that women could still rise as President Trump was in office, but we did. We rose at every annual Women’s March, running for more offices, taking on greater leadership roles, and now witnessing the first female Vice-President Kamala Harris get inaugurated alongside Joe Biden tomorrow. I hope re-posting this blog reminds you to be optimistic for our future because the future belongs to women.

Women TIES

Wisdom and inspiration for women and female entrepreneurs

womanmountainIt’s amazing what a new day brings to the hopes of people. This morning as the sun rose on the eastern horizon with gold leaves shimmering in the warm November wind, I felt a surge of positivity brew inside me right next to the hot pot of water on the stove. The red tea pot couldn’t contain the steam from the water ready to escape its containment and either could my own energy. It was Election Day – an election day with a woman running for President of the United States. The very pink feminist spirit inside of me seeped out and intertwined with the tea pot vapors.

ElizabethCadyStantonTracyvotesforwomenbuttonMy first stop in my day’s journey was the white church where I would cast my historic vote. I’m known as someone who always “votes pink” for as many women as I can on…

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Wednesday Wisdom: The Waiting Game

January 13, 2021

Wednesday Wisdom, Hump Day, Business Advice for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, and Small Business Owners

Sitting dutifully on a small chair in a bright elementary classroom, students wait until their turn to get up and proceed down the hall to gym class. Raising one’s hands to be chosen to answer a question in class was another waiting game through high school. Then came time to wait until a thousand names were read before yours to receive a college diploma – another example of patience needed in the waiting game of school.

Quietly waiting isn’t necessarily the first image conjured up when someone thinks of a woman entrepreneur. Images of packed schedules, lined-up client appointments, phones ringing off the walls (okay, maybe texts lighting up the phone), and working 24-7 are more like it. Even trying to get into a packed restaurant, standing-room-only conference, and a foursome tee-time requires hang time. Now during the pandemic waiting has become a way of life providing a snail-like pace filled with apprehension.

After last Wednesday’s attack on our nation’s Capitol our country was in an intense waiting status with nerves lingering until the 46th President and first female Vice President are sworn in safely. Sometimes weeks feel more like years, and years feel like weeks depending on your viewpoint. As I wait in quarantine with a husband who was diagnosed with Covid-19 on Saturday, my days have slowed down, time almost standing still, waiting to have the go-ahead to live life fully again. With no symptoms of my own, I remain diligent in my practices which means doing business and living in a space blocked off from my husband who is slowly improving.

If you are “waiting” for new clients to call you, the world to open up again to conduct business as usual, take my advice, use this continued down time to appreciate the normal and annual parts of your business like tax work, marketing reviews, quarterly business planning, or website assessment. Stick to the black and white tasks.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you there is a multitude of things you can do when faced with a quiet period. Don’t mix up those boisterous Hollywood images of corporate America energy with what’s true for solo entrepreneurs and small business life because it is different. We move at our own paces based on our industries, time of year, and even time of our lives or special circumstances.

Before you and I know it we will be back in the swing of things with more duties on our plates relishing the good ole’ quiet days when we were simply waiting.

Monday Motivation: Women Rise Up

January 11, 2021

Monday Motivation, Inspiration, Feminist Thoughts for Women, Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owenrs 

As the bus drove 120 women south to our nation’s capitol, the air inside our vehicles was filled with chatter, laughter, singing, and even a light show put on by the bus driver, also in our feminist mood. Announcements of women flying in from as far away as Alaska, announced over the speaker, set off cheers inside the charter bus I booked and filled with positive, smart, activist women from Central New York knowing more sisters were joining us to show the new administration and world, women can peacefully march to remind everyone we make up 52% of the population still lacking in 100% equality.

I said to my husband before I left, “I hope I don’t lose any of them during the Women’s March on Washington and we all return safely,” to which he replied, “They are adult women Tracy, they’ll be fine and you won’t lose anyone.” If I ever thought for a moment this hopeful crowd of females I took responsibility for was going to protest in violent ways, like last week’s Capitol insurrection, I would have never organized the effort. But I knew that they like I were there to just show up in numbers and be counted in solidarity on women’s issues.

As a leader of an all-female business organization, you know how to passionately lead others through words and actions. I never doubted every one of the 120 women coming with me, under my company’s name, were going to be anything but orderly, although they might be vocal carrying signs with their activist words for others to witness. Interestingly enough, someone saw me holding up my sign reading “Women TIES believes in the Buying and Selling Power of Women” with the Capitol behind me as she watched Gloria Allred’s movie, “Seeing Allred”. I was proud to see myself wearing pink with my pink glasses on top my head representing my company’s mission posivitely by carrying that sign.

As the angry crowd of Trump supporters breached the Capitol walls Wednesday, I watched in horror, like so many other law abiding citizens, because I was there in such a peaceful, beautiful activist way in 2017.  Only seeing “women” in situations as I watch life, I hardly noticed any women on the screens carrying confederate flags and climbing walls, only angry white men. I know there were some women there, just like we had some men at the Women’s March on DC, but the majority of the insurrectionists were men of all ages.  All I could do as I witnessed this unbelievable scene was to acknowledge publically what I was feeling on social media. My words read:

“I know with all my heart women need to be in more roles in every single aspect of leadership, politics, and life to show the right way to behave and act for our world, community and generations to come. No one will ever convince me otherwise.”

If you are reading this blog post, please be inspired today to look inward and contemplate what you can do personally to rise up into any social, community, political or business leadership roles to pour more female insights, attitudes, and intellect into today’s organizations, newsfeeds, and actions. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s book “Off the Sidelines” empowers me today to say the same to you about making our own communities and nation a better place because women rise and lead. We don’t have a choice. Choose to do something positive in your life’s role.

NOTE: If you are interested in running for a political role and don’t know how to get started, one of our members Sharon Nelson of has an online course starting soon that can help you get started. I Learn more at their website.

Wednesday Wisdom: Make Your Own Sunshine

January 6, 2021

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

Faced with another dismal weather day, where the grey sky meets the dark brown landscape this time of year, there was a choice before me to either allow the sunless panoramic to set the tone for the day or make my own sunshine. Remembering how the good ole Mainers in Kennebunkport would walk along the crashing winter waves taking in fog and midst from the ocean, I bundled up and headed out for one of my 9-mile bike rides at lunchtime since the snow only left a wet surface. I knew I’d get a long brown stain up the back of my jacket, making me look ridiculous but who cares when you’re outside getting dirty. Isn’t that why someone created washing machines?

Reading our local newspaper, with sad weekly updates on the restaurants and establishments closed due to the pandemic, was another moment when I had a choice to either allow the bleak news to weigh me down or to create more PR sunshine for my members, who are all small woman-owned businesses who have taken a financial hit. Remembering how my grandparent’s generation survived the Great Depression by rationing, working, gardening, and cooking enough food to feed anyone who needed it, I buckled down at my desk and got working on creating more PR benefits for my members to use in 2021.

Listening to the daily radio reports of more Covid-19 deaths, England back in lock down and examples of exhausted medical workers, I choose to focus on how blessed my family and members have been escaping the disease and saw the illumination of sun rays around my family and friends protecting them from harm. My choice once again was to look for the positive in the situation, to do what I could do to control positive change in my own business community, and not let fear of catching the disease stop me from living and working. As my friend Kathrine Switzer said to me once, “Tracy, when you are fearless, you are free,” wise words from one of my favorite women as I committed to run the 2017 Boston Marathon with her and 100 other women. 

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to inspire you to create your own sunshine in any situation you face today – whether it is fear for your health, anxiety about your business surviving, political worries, or personal concerns. I have learned the best action to take when you don’t feel great about your scenario is to do something, anything you can, to change it and make yourself feel better. It might be as easy as walking in the rain, turning off the television, praying more, reading inspiring stories of extraordinary people who suffered more than we are experiencing now, or re-working your business plans by doing an audit to set new goals to excite yourself again.

When I think of taking control of something out of my hands, it means finding some sunshine in my day, plans or life to give me exactly what I need. I hope you are inspired to do the same.

Look for 2020’s Silver Linings

December 31, 2020

New Years Eve, New Year Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Entrepreneurs

With my shiny black book with pink flowers adorning the cover, I embarked into 2020 with big hopes as a first-time published author. Brimming with excitement, my planner had penned in dates for book launch parties and celebrations along with speaking gigs to launch my paperback to wider audiences. Nothing was going to hold this new author back in the New Year, “watch out world,” I thought to myself as the clock struck midnight on December 31, 2019.

Luckily I slid in two television interviews, two book launch parties, a couple podcast interviews, and a radio gig, before plans halted in early March. The event industry was one of the hardest hit industries, and still is today; closing down all planned activities, even our first trip to Seattle where I had a potential speaking gig lined up to coincide with seeing my favorite band at the Gorge on Labor Day. Nope, “watch out world” was not about Tracy’s glimmering speeches but rather cautiously witnessing Covid-19 spread globally.

Staring at a blank event calendar for the first time in my 30-year event management and planning career, only personal goals, safety and health took priority over business for once in a long time. Always one to look for the silver lining in life, my large backyard became my sanctuary and playground, along with multiple visits from my New York City sons and their girlfriends who had to escape the bleakness of silent streets and stone buildings to breathe again. Fireflies, campfires, fireworks, hot summer nights swimming, and intimate conversations capped our time together. It was a brilliant silver lining.

While my company’s revenue took a couple massive hits, losing my longest financial partner and supporter, and members who couldn’t pay their dues, the only thing that helped my spirit rebound was watching small amounts of silver hair start blossoming on top my two-year totally bald head. Could my backyard sanctuary, abundance time with my loved ones, and a reduced work schedule be the contributing factors to my health renewing itself? Was the constant drive for event perfection, increasing revenue, topping previous sales goals, and traveling all over the state be partially the cause of my hair loss?

At Christmas I gave my mother a book about the benefits of spending time in nature, something she has done for 80 years as well as taught me. On my work lunch breaks, you can typically find me running, biking 9 miles, swimming, kayaking, and then returning to my office to work again. With Covid-19, the work portion was gone, only writing, keeping in touch with my clients, hosting some easy Zoom meetings from my pool house (such a tough venue to conduct business in), and hosting a few late summer small gatherings to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the US (a must!).

What I hope for you this December 31st, at the end of the most bizarre and tragic year for so many people, is to look for those silver linings within the pandemic that brought you closer to people you love most, changed your outlook on work vs. home life balance, perhaps even engaged you in more mentally and physically health activities that wouldn’t have happened if this horrible virus didn’t stop us all in our tracks. Nothing bad lasts forever so 2021 will be better than 2020, so take time now to look back fondly at the positives of the year because at one time we might just wish for the blessings 2020 gave us. Happy 2021!

Wednesday Wisdom: 2021 = Improvement

December 30, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom, Business Success for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners for 2021

Taking out my trusty printed, hand-held, calendar planner used this year, I look front to back at each month noticing some months filled with lots of dates with activities attached to them, and others more sterile especially beginning in early spring 2020. One date sticks out, March 17, 2020, the day my husband and I drove $500 worth of food to our sons in New York City to make sure they would be stocked when the European model of the pandemic came to America. They all thought I was overly cautious in my helicopter parenting of two grown employed sons – oh well, I was right – thus cementing my place in our family of paying attention to international news.

If there’s one word that comes to mind as a New Year begins, it is the word improvement. Not only do millions of women set goals to improve their weight, fitness and diets, women entrepreneurs conceive plans to improve their companies whether it’s increasing the number of customers, prices, or new offerings. January 1 automatically prompts us to seek improvement from the previous year as if staying stable or maintaining the status quo isn’t desirable. For 2021, maintaining status quo while still in a global pandemic might be smart business. It doesn’t mean we are lazy business owners, just logical, intuitive, cautious, and smart.

While women attempt to maintain balance in their companies, doesn’t mean they can’t take calculated risks in their personal lives. As I committed to run 2,021 miles in 2021 with 5 other national women, giving us each 404.2 miles to individually run, it made my blood boil in a good way. A group effort with other women, which will challenge us individually while staying safe and healthy, is a great risk to live on life’s edge. No matter what your extracurricular passions are, look for a way to get involved in something safe and exciting as you begin this New Year.

Making “safe and exciting” improvements in your business could mean signing up for online courses, joining a new group of like-minded business women, re-branding your company, reworking your business plans for post-pandemic business, working on new marketing materials, or creating an exciting new mission statement. Not all improvements require money but rather a focus and dedication to change or action.

This last Wednesday Wisdom of 2020, a year when I hope my wisdom has inspired you in times of doubt or trouble, write down 3 simple or even complex improvements you want to make in 2021. Once you have your “improvements” on paper, write down actionable steps to achieve them, set target dates, and  take the action needed to get them going. Seek input or education if needed or just start if you have what it takes to begin now. Women TIES has experts in many categories to help you so don’t forget our valuable connections. 

I hope anything you start dreaming about today gets your blood boiling too. I truly believe we possess what it takes to accomplish improvements and abundance in 2021. We just have to go for it safely and wisely.

Wednesday Wisdom: Accept The Blessings

December 23, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom, Holiday Message, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

One Christmas season when I was growing up, the front part of our house which contained an old beautiful brick fireplace, bountiful carpeting, big floor to ceiling windows, with a small kitchen attached to the living room was gifted to a woman in our community who had escaped an abusive husband. She had nothing to her name really and needed a place to stay safely. Since the apartment was open, my mother offered the space to this woman. I didn’t see or speak with her due to her circumstances but I knew she was there.

Just before Christmas, my mother gave her some food and a few small gifts knowing she had nothing. To our surprise, on Christmas morning the woman was gone without a note or clue to where she went. We didn’t think her abusive partner found her but maybe the warmth from the toasty abode she was safely tucked into gave her strength to move forward.

I often think of that woman when I think of this time of year. Where did she go? Did she end up with a better life? Did the small amount of kindness from our family help? Did she consider paying the kindness forward? I’ll never know the answers to the questions; I can only assume the best and hope she set forth on a better path touched by the generosity of my family. Sometimes small exchanges in the darkest nights shine forth a beacon of light to follow.

To this day, I remain someone who would rather give, than receive. The past two years I have been overwhelmed with the love, support, and financial donations to the Alopecia Areata Foundation fundraisers my family and friends have hosted. Today of all days I want to prove to you that your love, kind thoughts, contributions, and warm sentiments made a positive impact in my life. I have turned from a totally bald woman to one with a crown of silver, fuzzy hair about ½ – 1 inch long on top my head. I wonder if it is a Christmas Miracle like the one we gave to the woman so long ago.

This Wednesday Wisdom, the last one before Christmas and a New Year, is meant to inspire you to look inside your own snow globe of 2020 and find the bright, joyful, special moments that lit you up from inside even among the pain, suffering, and anxiety for our health, businesses, others, and the globe. Because within every dark place, light and hope blend and spark new strength, resolve, and anticipation for a better tomorrow – whatever our better tomorrow means to us personally.

Sometimes the miracle is waiting to happen to you, and other times you are the miracle waiting to happen to someone else. As my priest always says, “Be blessed and be a blessing.”

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to you!  
Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham

Getting to Know the Media Better

December 17, 2020

Business and Entrepeneurial Advice for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

Sitting in my car in a parking lot in mid-December twelve years ago, just about ready to watch my son play basketball on his birthday, I received a phone call from a producer at Good Morning America. She proceeded to tell me my creative idea for a Christmas gift that could be made, instead of bought for a family that didn’t have a lot of money, had made it for final consideration. I remembered submitting something to a national media query but didn’t know it was for this popular national show.

“In order for us to make the final decision between you and a woman in California , we need some photos of where this gift would go in your own house and images of you with your husband or children,” she continued. Still dumbstruck while eager to gain national exposure since I’m such a media diva, I started asking more questions. Finally at the end of our communication she said, “Well, this gift would actually be coming to your house on Christmas Morning and we’d show your family’s reaction live on TV since you can’t afford to buy the ping pong table yourself for your kids.”

In the query, I suggested instead of buying a ping pong table one could easily be made from any type of material with minimum costs for a net, paddles and balls. WE didn’t need a ping pong table, but I’m sure someone else’s family did. In fact, my husband just received his Christmas bonus and we bought a brand new ping pong table for our son’s birthday. It was at home. All I could think to myself was, “Tracy, you and your crazy PR ideas, look what you’ve gotten yourself into.” Yet, I didn’t tell the producer anything going on in my head because I had to think about it some more and talk to my husband.

Sure enough my husband declined the opportunity worried his bosses would see the show and think he couldn’t manage his salary well enough to buy his son a ping pong table. So I tried desperately to find a needy family in our area that could use one on Christmas morning. My church provided a name of a family who in confidence I approached about the idea. They were touched and agreed to be in contact with the GMA producer to work it out.

A day later, the GMA producer called me back to tell me the family really needed bunk beds instead of a ping pong table – both made out of wood and easy to make if one had a small budget. She told me the California family was winning the gift based on their idea of making a doll house and thanked me for my honesty and efforts to help a family in need.

What’s the lesson for you? You never know where a media query can lead, that’s for sure. Most times they lead to free exposure for you or your business. Reaching out to media and developing relationships with them is not hard to do and can lead to valuable press. Local media often query for story contributors, quotes, or appearances locally based on national stories so getting to know them is a worthwhile venture.

Put “Getting to Know Local Media Better” on your Christmas list instead of a homemade ping pong table and you might just get what you need!

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