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Remember Time’s Up and #MeToo This Weekend

January 15, 2019

Inspiration and motivation for women entrepreneurs, women in sports, feminists, sisters in solidarity

In big red letters in the middle of the envelope were the words, “Time’s Up!” The words struck me as I remembered this weekend hundreds of Women’s Marches are happening across the globe. “Me Too” was the original mantra and movement that sparked the “Time’s Up” Movement a year afterward. If you don’t remember #MeToo is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. “Time’s Up” is a movement against sexual harassment founded by Los Angeles stars in response to allegations against Harvey Weinstein and in support of the #MeToo Movement. Female celebrities wore black to major award ceremonies and Time’sUp buttons to share their experiences and end sexual wrongdoings in Hollywood.

Just before taking 150 women with me to the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, I publically acknowledged for the first time I was a #MeToo survivor in two cases. I grew up next to a pedophile, which is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children. He never touched us but displayed his body parts to us many times. My sister and I only spoke of this to each other and never to an adult because we simply didn’t know what to say. We were in elementary school.

When I was 22 years old, I was sexually harassed by a prominent client of my male boss who was a Vice President at an Investment Banking firm in Philadelphia. The man would call me “sweet hips,” bring me gifts and relentlessly ask me to go to Spain with him on trips even though he was married. My male boss knew what was happening but only said to me, “Tracy, you will not offend him and you will be nice to him, he is my largest client,” to which I replied, “Fine, but I am not doing anything with him or going anywhere with him!” I left my job within four months because I could not stand the pressure.

It wasn’t until women started sharing their stories about sexual abuse and sexual harassment on our bus trip to DC that I remembered both these experiences and felt a need to share it with other women. In revealing my story I was invited to Governor Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State Address to sit with the #MeToo Founder and other survivors. My #MeToo story is not shared often although it is a part of my history and something I am willing to share with others. My experience is most likely is the reason I am a feminist in spirit and in solidarity with women first and foremost in all aspects of life, business and sports.

This weekend if you join one of the Women’s Marches, you may be marching to stand in solidarity with other women with past hurts, scary situations or wrongdoings they still face today – like pay inequality, glass ceiling issues or sexual harassment in the workplace. Realize you are not alone as you march shoulder to shoulder with other women who care about you and females in our generation. Women are strong. Women are one. Women will survive and thrive as we move forward together with #MeToo and #TimesUp at our side.

I share my stories so my five nieces, aged 17 to 5, will not face the same issues I faced at their age or when they enter the workplace. We owe it to them to change the world for the better for women.

Nature, Women and Writing – How Do They Fit Together

January 10, 2019

Inspiration for women, women entrepreneurs, women in sports, female business owners

I am mesmerized by nature because its touches and influences my spirit to write. It is why my desk and computer sit on the edge of a 7 foot window making me one step away from being outside. It is January in Upstate New York which means days like today are comforted by a soft blanket of cold white snow fleeting by my window resting on each other and expanding their presence on the ground. How can one not be touched by its beauty?

A colorful 2 inch by 2 inch inspirational thought block stands erect in a grey holder on my desk waiting for me to move yesterday’s quote to the back of the pack in order to witness today’s quote. I slowly move the card to unveil today’s passage, “Today is the Day.” Does it mean today is the day for snow or today is the day for my feet to be really cold? I remember it is meant to inspire me so I realize today is the day to submit a story to a new book called “Unfettered Hearts” being compiled by one of our new Women TIES members. Today is the day I take one more step forward using my God given talents in writing, expression and sharing to inspire other women.

Just like water can change many forms like being liquid in tempid conditions to hard ice in freezing environments to whiffs of steam when boiled, women entrepreneurs change forms of communication with their audience. The most important way I brought business women together when I was a pioneer in home based woman-owned businesses back in 1996 in Syracuse, New York was by gathering them together to inspire them with my voice. Twenty years later, I use a combination of written words in the form of a “Wednesday Wisdom” and my blog to inspire them along with periodic live events. I’m not done gathering them together in person but also inspiring them in writing since it is an effective way to move them in an electronic world.

Technology has changed the way women communicate by opening up a new frontier and global network of new friends while hindering the local social network. This is a reason live events can’t stop being produced but also a reason why writing and sharing is important. Women need to stay connected in mixed forms. Perhaps the days of having 100 women in a room together is gone only to be replaced by more intimate settings with livelier, authentic discussions where sharing takes a warmer form to cold technology.

As I head off to a beautiful Retreat Center in the Adirondacks to join a circle of new women over a weekend of live activities, I will balance that communication with quiet moments of writing to share with my audience upon my return. Snowflakes drift singularly and joyfully while still being able to join other snowflakes to create a bonded relationship in another form – so must women entrepreneurs to be happy.

Entrepreneurial Word of 2019 – Flexibility

January 9, 2019

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Success Strategies for women entrepreneurs, female business owners, female athletes, small businesses

Misty raindrops sputter on the window pane making it difficult to see outside with clarity. Darken skies can set an unintentional mood for our work day making us crave drifting back to sleep to wake up in a different locale with warmer, sunnier views. Welcome to the first full work week since the festive, jingling, jolly holidays! How are you feeling? Hopefully you aren’t feeling as dark as the view out the window.

Last night I answered provocative questions preparing a retreat facilitator for her job this weekend where she will be leading women on a journey to set intentions for 2019. It was fascinating answering these questions which included:

“What do you want to receive from this year?”
“How will this year be considered a success for you?”
“How will you know you lived this year authentically?”

Each query made me think deeper and wider than I was looking at 2019.

If I learned anything from 2018, it is vital to pay close attention to what is happening in your life and business. Understanding what obstacles you face and finding solutions is part of a 365 day journey. We can’t guess what good and bad situations will arise because sometimes they appear unexpectedly. We must be like flexible tree branches bending and swirling but not breaking when twists of fate try derailing us from a productive focused year.

On January 3rd last year, I was sitting at Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address in Albany next to the founder of the #MeToo movement and other proponents of protecting females from sexual abuse. I was positive I was supposed to be more vocal about my personal reasons for being there. Three weeks later I co-hosted the CNY Women’s Rising March with hundreds of women celebrating our place in this world and making sure elected officials saw and heard us. Again, I imagined my year full of more feminist involvement. These two missions would pair perfectly with my two decade commitment to women entrepreneurs. It made sense. I had a plan.

Then I was challenged with health issues pushing me back inside, out of the public light, to deal with it. My 2018 plans sputtered like rain in the wind. They did not break me but they tested my flexibility when it came to my career. I could write about MeToo, Women’s Marches and women entrepreneurs but I had to turn to fitness and sports to get through my medical sabbatical and interviewed 50 women athletes eventually leading me to New York City to meet Billie Jean King. What I strategized in January was not what happened by June or October, I had to bend and trust and hope.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is as reminder you can set the biggest, best intentioned goals with promises to complete them but accompany them with flexibility for unexpected occurrences. Not everything will go as planned in 2019, you could experience higher highs and lowers lows so plan for those times best you can. The challenges we will face might whittle away at our strong limbs only making us more fluid in difficult circumstances. Hardship can resurface a deep resolve to stand even taller so we aren’t uprooted by the force. We can also learn adversity doesn’t last forever perhaps just long enough for a new stronger core to develop.

Tracy Higginbotham at Emmeline Pankhurst Momument in London, England

I hope you take a few minutes to ask yourself the questions I pondered last night so you have a guide to follow in 2019; just remember to remain as flexible as you can throughout the year to allow for life’s interjections.

If you would like to listen to this blog on our podcast, visit http://womenties.com/inspire.cfm

Williams vs. Federer – Who Won? We All Did!

January 7, 2019

Inspiration for women, women entrepreneurs, women in sports

As the Washington Post so elegantly stated, “mixed double tennis matches rarely create headlines.” Whether you are a tennis fan or not the statement about this sport event feels true from my experiences. You might not have heard about the historic match with New Year festivities occurring around the time of the extremely special tennis match that took place between Serena Williams and Roger Federer. The ‘tennis titans’ as the article stated played against each other for the first time sure to announce the winner or true “GOAT” in the sport.

“We grew up together, and so having an opportunity after all of these years to play each other — we’ve actually never done this,” Williams stated. “It’s super cool that we actually get to do this, at this pinnacle of both of our careers.” I think I speak for fans of women’s sports to say, it was fantastic to see the two play each other after so much speculation on whether Serena could ever win a match against a man. Just like the memories of the Billie Jean King vs. Bobbie Riggs match, this one proved women can compete with men on the tennis court.

I only wish media would follow more female athletes in their sports stories. I also wish more women and men would compete in sports together educating themselves and the world that women can compete in sports and female athletes are worth watching and supporting financially.

At the end of the recent match, both elite athletes complimented each other on fabulous, strong serves and honesty about their nerves before the match. In the end, Federer‘s team won the match, but I think the spectators of both men’s and women’s sports won on this one.

Celebrating Women’s Victories Today – Thank You Nancy

January 3, 2019

Inspiration, wisdom, motivation for women and women entrepreneurs

Tuesday is the day I write about Women’s Equality but it is Thursday and I just watched the beautiful face of Nancy Pelosi’s granddaughter hold her grandmother’s hand dangling next to Nancy’s striking bright pink dress as she took the gavel as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

I rejoice because 52% of the American population is women. I have supported women running for office since Hillary Clinton ran for President in 2008 and Joanie Mahoney ran to become first female Onondaga County Executive in 2008. I also invited Joanne Yepsen, Mayor of Saratoga Springs, to address my audience of women entrepreneurs when she was mayor as well as Stephanie Miner, as Mayor of Syracuse. I also supported Juanita Perez Williams on two of her local Syracuse bids.

Since then I have supported every woman who asked me to promote and support their run as well as supporting those I don’t know personally. Days like today remind me why every woman must get behind female candidates because as Shirley Chisholm said once, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” Nancy Pelosi didn’t need to bring a folding chair to the House Chamber today but she put in long hours, dedication and relentless days fighting for her place behind the podium, which she also held from 2007-2011, being first woman to hold this position twice. Perhaps the quote, “A woman’s work is never done” is appropriate for Nancy’s rise today.

Women work hard. We work as hard as men in so many areas of life. Women deserve their rightful place at any table – or podium – they want to belong to. For the youngest of girls, college females, young working female professionals, female athletes and working women of the world, YOU can be anything you want to be with hard work, dedication and fortitude. I hope when you succeed you remember today and wear a pink dress to the party, because being a woman is good enough!

If you are a woman interested in running for office but don’t know where to start, reach out to my friend Sharon Nelson at CREWomen.org and attend an upcoming workshop series. I’ll support you if you run!

2019 Ode to Women Entrepreneurs

January 2, 2019

Inspiration, Wednesday Wisdom, motivation for women entrepreneurs, women in sports, women business owners

The tiny snow crystals resting gently on the deck glistened in the new year’s sun rays began the first work day of 2019 off with a dazzling start. I sat quietly in the absence of sound on this clear morning awakening to the first thoughts of a new work year ahead. I didn’t want to rush a few minutes of morning contentment to jump into work. I needed a few more brilliant daybreak thoughts to enlighten the first Wednesday Wisdom of the year.

With my face towards the January sun wearing a new red hat – made especially for me from a woman who wanted my alopecia stricken head to stay warm, and a soothing cup of cinnamon Starbucks in my clear coffee mug, I asked myself what I wanted professionally for 2019. The quiet of this first sunny morning outside on my precious deck was the best place to listen to what my future holds.

As I listened to my own voice repeat what I wanted, I turned it into an “Ode” for all my faithful followers and entrepreneurial female friends who might want to live the same way this year. It is not the type of ‘wisdom’ a billionaire or world famous star would suggest but it’s something a 25 year, 54 year old woman entrepreneur prescribes for the women she knows and cares about. Here it is:

    2019 Ode For Women Entrepreneurs

I invest in quiet mornings to mentally create the day’s priorities with intention.
I embrace an unrushed pace of awakening as I ease into my passionate work schedule.
I seek up for strength and enlightenment.
I invest in still moments for reflection.
I hold close my personal mission so it unfolds with the beauty of the day.
I recognize all is well when I live focused on helping others succeed.
I crave movement to fill my body with health and endomorphins.
I eat healthy knowing my body and brain needs fortitude.
I recognize a deep desire for changing the world for the better.
I inspire through words of wisdom and hope.
I lift up the world in every small act I perform.
I share love with those in my everyday life.
I speak positively to all I meet.
I am kind and caring to my fellow woman and man.
I give when I can, to as many people as I can.
I honor myself and others in the work I perform every day.

I hope you keep this “ode” someplace close every day in 2019. May you know, understand and appreciate I am personally and professionally here to help guide and uplift you in your women’s work and life. There is so much we can do individually and together to change the world. Let’s begin anew today and every morning after.

Happy Wednesday. Happy 2019. Happy You.

Recount Your Best Moments of 2018 and Six Lessons for 2019

December 28, 2018

Inspiration, wisdom and motivation for women entrepreneurs and women in sports

Sanibel Island, Florida photograph by Tracy C. Higginbotham

In the quiet moments of the days between Christmas and New Year’s Day lies a treasure trove of memories and lessons from the past year. As the days rush from January 1st to December 31st in a colorful array of happiness, sadness, disappointments, triumphs, heartbreak and love we forget the morsels of wisdom gleaned as we live each day of the year. As an event, vacation or year comes to a close; I always reflect back on the most significant moments that standout in my mind.

I looked back at my December 2017 blog post realizing how different last year was to this year for me personally and professionally. At last year’s end, I talked about ‘finding the gold by taking big risks in 2018,’ little did I know an unexpected health condition and death of a loved one would alter the amount of work I did for the year and going for large goals. Sometimes our best intentions can’t be realized when fate plays its unexpected hand.

Destiny can lay itself at your feet but it doesn’t mean you can’t walk out of the situation into a new light when the time is right to move on. Because I have shared my stories with my followers all year long, I want to share my top six insights or moments from the year to help you see that whether 2018 was good or challenging, you still have events or lessons to reflect back on.

* In January, I was proud to co-coordinate and co-host the “CNY Women Rising Weekend” with the New Feminists of Justice in Syracuse, New York with an amazing turnout at a business networking event on Friday night followed by the Women’s March with a thousand people and performing arts display on Saturday, ending with a fantastic event for women supporting the Syracuse University Women’s Basketball Game on Sunday. All I know for sure is when women come together, the world is right! Lesson: Empower women to support women in business, sports, equality and life events.

* As Spring approached I shared with my members and followers the need to take a medical sabbatical. It is always hard to put a vibrant business on hold but it was a decision I had to make. I found out that not only was I empowering myself during a medical journey, but I was empowering other women to take care of their health at the same time. Lesson: Make your health a priority over business when you must.

* In May, I became fearless and traveled overseas to run in the “Women Can Marathon” sponsored by 261 Fearless, an organization I had been helping on the side for a year. Not only did I finally get “over the pond” with my son who accompanied me, but I met amazing International women who inspired me to my core as I ran with three of them in our marathon relay. Running 7 miles of a 26.2 mile race in the hilly terrain of England’s southwestern region was so picturesque and lovely. Taking the risk to run a race overseas in a country I did not know or women I had not met was exhilarating. Lesson: Be more fearless about new adventures.

* Upon my return, I hosted poolside chats throughout the summer with my amazing members who wanted to sit with me for two hours, pick my business brain and talk about their successes and trials. Each two hour session was a gift for both parties and the best new way for me to do business in the future. Lesson: Get to know your customers better with personal interactions.

*At the end of August, my company media-sponsored a weekend event called “Seneca Falls Revisited” hosted by Crewomen.org to help bring women together to celebrate Women’s Rights with plans to do more as 2020 approaches – which is the Centennial Celebration of Women’s Suffrage. Lesson: Celebrate the past by focusing on the future.

* October 16th was my favorite day of the year as I met Billie Jean King and volunteered to mentor amateur female athletes in New York City at the Women’s Sports Foundation as I continue to interview female athletes about inequalities they faced in their sport to shine a light on it in 2019 and 2020. Later that day my son took me to see “Wicked” on Broadway. Lesson: New York City is the center of America so find a way to visit or do more business there in 2019.

Today I hope you are inspired to create a list of your top five best professional moments or events in 2019. Keep them close to you as you look forward to 2019. Create a list of special people who have supported you and new people you have met because every new chapter brings in new characters to enrich our lives. Finally, write down five goals for 2019. I’d like you to shoot really high – even in the impossible realm – if you can.

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