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Wednesday Wisdom: Expect Exceptional Moments

January 4, 2023

Wednesday Wisdom, Wednesday Morning, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners

Twinkle lights intertwined with live greenery hung from the old rope factory beams setting the stage for the New Year’s Eve Wedding Celebration as guests gathered under these ‘stars’ finding their seats in brilliant white chairs. Right on cue the expert wedding planner directed the bridal party down the aisle in step with the processional music provided by a popular wedding disc jockey. The pastor, chosen for the occasion, waited patiently, smiling until the bride arrived in front of him unlinking arms with her father as both their matching dimples radiated the joy of the moment.

After the personal exchange of vows made the audience laugh and smile, while making the bride and groom tear up, they were proclaimed husband and wife and strolled down the aisle to begin their first dance while others joined in immediately. Afterwards exquisite passed hors d’oeuvres and the signature drink “Rosemary Manhattans” were delivered by an exceptional catering company. Food, drinks, frivolity followed until I found myself on the dance floor with my son, the groom.

Our brown eyes matching, with hands held tightly, we danced in each other’s joy to the song “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You” by James Taylor, a song I used to dance to with him as his once tiny legs clutched around my waist on days I wasn’t working. Now my 6’4” son and I smiled with a deep and resonating love as 150 people watched in awe. I believe my heart burst on the dance floor during those three minutes.

As the reception continued with guests dancing the night away in New York City at this special New Year’s Eve Wedding, and as the Times Square Ball dropped across the East River, champagne Jello shots were distributed in time for “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra. As the last dance happened at 1 a.m. the full dance floor moaned not wanting to end the night.

Today’s first Wednesday Wisdom of 2023 is to remind you to find deep joy in what you do this year. It doesn’t take a formal wedding celebration overlooking the Manhattan skyline to feel the emotion. Sometimes all it takes is living in all our moments 100% of the time and seeking the joy from them. As a woman entrepreneur, I know for a fact stellar vendors can also make a significant difference in the lasting memories of our entrepreneurial experiences. Never short yourself on hiring the right people or company to support your efforts.

As I unwind from the thrill of this amazing event, know that I will soon be planning more events – perhaps, not as fancy or significant as my son’s wedding, to bring women in business, sports, and equality together to celebrate their own passions and joy. Happy 2023 – may it be bright! 

Wednesday Wisdom: To Plan or Not to Plan

December 28, 2022

Wednesday Wisdom for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Companies

As another year closes its doors and opens another one Sunday, we might be pressured to construct the best New Year’s Resolution list we’ve ever had for our lives and companies. But what I learned in 2022, four months into the year, as I flew from a flying trapeze high above the ground in Rochester, was a big new goal can be hatched in the most unusual spaces at any time.

I liken what happened to me on the trapeze to one of Harry S. Truman’s quotes, “You can always amend a big plan, but you can never expand a little one. I don’t believe in little plans. I believe in plans big enough to meet a situation which we can’t possibly foresee now.” Most of us aren’t seers or cradle crystal balls in our hands to gaze upon the next year and see what unfolds, all we have is our imagination.

In the past, only 25% of my annual resolutions or goals came true when I reviewed them even though it was exhilarating imagining myself 20 pounds lighter, running another marathon, traveling abroad, increasing my membership numbers, and seeing myself with a full head of hair again. But honestly it was equally exciting remembering the places I went, people I saw, and things I accomplished unexpectedly as they popped up during the year.

So today as you ponder this last Wednesday Wisdom of 2022, I ask you to consider whether you want to plan and set goals for the new year or let life take you for a ride? Maybe you can plan for your business, but let your personal life just flow or vice versa. If you are anxious about not having a plan, then do one and realize that every quarter you should look at it and cross off what you’ve accomplished or add new goals that have bubbled up due to your interest or outside circumstances.

If you are like me, you might want to let life just happen best you can and embrace the unexpected moments. As Stephen King said, “You Can. You Should. And If You are Brave Enough to Start. You will.”

May 2023 bring you unexpected pleasures and successes you couldn’t have imagined today.  

Monday Motivation: Enduring Friendships

December 27, 2022

When I reviewed our blog statistics, I discovered our most popular post was about enduring friendships and not business wisdom. I think it proves that life is about relationships and not entities or philosophies. On this last Tuesday of 2022, I hope you re-read this 2,000-view inspiration and let it soak in as you ponder business and life relationships in 2023. People matter. How you treat people matter. Strong “ties” stand the test of time. Build that into your business plan for the New Year.

Women TIES

Monday Motivation, Monday Morning, Inspiration, Motivation

RFA Class of 1982

Orange and black balloons decorated a special wall at the venue. Pictured between them was an enlarged yearbook photo of a football team from 1981. Former members of the team were swirling around in the room mixing with non-football players, cheerleaders and former fans of the team. Pride in our high school’s athletics program was just one staple of our class of 1982’s gathering.

Although everyone in the room graduated from one combined high school, one of two junior high schools, and numerous elementary schools all over our city, which swelled with Griffis Air Force Base families at times in addition to homegrown generations, we were one. So what makes our alma mater, formed in 1860 and one of the first public schools in upstate New York, with an impressive 600+ graduates, return decade after decade to be together for…

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Wednesday Wisdom: Zen Lessons for Busy Entrepreneurs

December 21, 2022

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

I suspect by now you have written your list and checked it twice and know who in your orbit has been naughty or nice so you can complete traditional holiday duties.

As a woman entrepreneur, if you don’t run a retail business that should be hopping busy right now, you might have extra time to make out another list related to client appreciation cards or goals for 2023; or if you are like me this year, with your first son getting married on New Year’s Eve in New York City, you are a bit zanier with a list that keeps multiplying.

Reading the above paragraph might make you feel crazy trying to keep so many pans on the fire, so it is important to create or grab moments of Zen when you can. I don’t mean the kind of Zen that aims at enlightenment by direct intuition through meditation (although that sounds amazing), or perfecting your personhood (a definition in Wikipedia), but rather a relaxing spot, time, or space among the wildness to breathe deeply, release your stress, and relax, if only for a short while.

My gift to you this holiday season is sharing a few vital lessons I’ve learned as a lifelong event planner to help slow your pace or panic this week:

* Sit for a moment and visualize how you want your family or guests to feel when they arrive, stay for awhile and eventually leave your house. If you want people to be joyful during the visit and eager to return, then make sure you do all you can do to ensure that happens by setting the scene, tone, and your own energy.

* If you are overwhelmed with details, write them down. Don’t keep them ruminating in your mind with no space to be seen or remembered. Jot everything you need to do on a list – a written list – so you can take the confusion out of your head and into a visible state. Writing down duties, relieves one’s mind of forgetting something important and seeing the list make it feel more doable.

* Give yourself time every single day to do something that only pleases you. For me, that’s biking or running every day, no matter the length of my list or how low the temperature goes. It might be something different for you but by etching out time that brings us joy will help decrease the stress and in turn build up our hearts full of peace and love.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is meant to calm you down, make you see everything is possible to accomplish, a reminder to do what you love in the midst of too much stress or work, and to set the tone for the type of holiday you want to experience with or without guests. 

I hope you give yourself the gift of Zen from now until January 2, 2023 when we can revive our love for business and work to the fullest. Until then, breathe, relax, and enjoy your holiday. I hope it is a blessed and peaceful one in many wonderful ways. 

A Friend’s Passing Can Be a Gift at the Holiday

December 20, 2022

Tuesday Thoughts, Inspiration, Wisdom

As I listen to Jim Brickman play a holiday tune on his piano, through a CD I bought the night my close friend Teresa Huggins brought me to his concert, I think of the gift of friendship that can occur during business. Teresa and I knew each other’s names but never met until one fateful networking event where we instantly connected and became dear friends – not unlike many other women have shared with me. She was just that kind of person.

My memories pick up moments of the concert where only the notes of the piano could be heard as the audience sat in hushed amazement. The royal blue background on stage reminded me of Mother Mary’s clothing signifying a deeper meaning to the concert for me. Teresa had helped me visualize a peaceful scene with Mother Mary shortly after we met. I have revisited that quiet space and awakening many times since. In fact, now when I glance at Mother Mary, I think of Teresa.

Always buying special Christmas ornaments for our spruce tree, I bought one for myself this year – a purple, yellow and blue butterfly to remind me of Teresa, who passed away in August this year. Because she was a close friend for 11 years, I don’t cry for her because I know where she is and that she isn’t far away. I am rather glad she is out of pain and flying like a beautiful butterfly in another dimension.

Many people get sad on the holidays missing their loved ones, and I understand that after losing two parents, but when a friend passes on, I think we can be rather happy that they were in our lives for some period of time delivering wisdom, laughter, and love. I choose to listen to Jim Brickman and look at the butterfly ornament so I feel Teresa nearby this holiday. Without doing this, she might feel too far away.

Remember today and every day, you have the choice to live in happy memories that warmed your heart even if the person who was part of the memory is gone. By remembering them, we give ourselves a gift that brings our heart the joy we need.

Wednesday Wisdom: Counting Down Pink

December 14, 2022

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners

Growing up Catholic meant watching purple and rose candles being lit each Sunday of Advent in church. After having sons who made green and red construction paper loops intertwined, our counting down included tearing off one loop each day until the string was gone meaning it was Christmas. Watching Jewish friends light Menorah Candles signified their celebration once it began. Don’t forget the Twelve Days of Christmas song listing numerical items, like 5 golden rings, as the holiday closes in. People like counting down.

No matter what your religion or tradition, as a woman entrepreneur with buying power in your pink purse or credit card, consider counting down in a significant way with actions the next ten days to help our sister business owners achieve some success during this powerful purchasing time of year.

1. Earmark a certain percentage of the rest of your holiday spending budget on items sold by female business owners.

2. When you see a product being sold by a woman you know on social media, repost the items on your own pages so more people see the listing.

3. Stop by three woman-owned businesses in your town to buy something from them even if it means stocking stuffers.

4. Invite a friend to join you at a woman-owned restaurant or café for holiday eggnog.

5. Donate to an organization that supports women or girls.

6. Signup now for a female organized self-care program or retreat in 2023.

7. Buy books written by female authors.

8. If you are catering a home event, hire a female catering company.

9. Looking ahead to 2023 travel plans, hire a woman who owns her own travel business.

10. Share this message with everyone you know so more people remember to buy from women this holiday season.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is an important reminder that we have power in our purses to support other women financially this holiday season. Women still need us to help them sustain and grow their companies. We might not have thousands of dollars to spend, but sometimes the smallest purchase can make a difference, especially if every woman thinks and acts with pink intention.

If you use my suggested countdown the next ten days, you are personally adding to a Pink Holiday Season for women like you and me who appreciate and depend on other women’s purchases. Do your part and think pink and buy from women first and foremost in the time remaining in 2022.

Monday Motivation: Slow Down. Let Your Feet Lead Sometimes

December 12, 2022

Monday Motivation, Monday Mood, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Tourists

“Let our feet lead us to where we are supposed to go,” I said to my husband as we took off from our son’s West Village Apartment.  I loved my favorite concept of having an unplanned path winding us in and out of quaint Big Apple neighborhoods when we were on our own to explore. The last time we did this we ended up at a Pride Rally, a dive bar known for white cocktail napkins with hand drawn Burt Reynolds faces pinned to the wall, and the best Wagyu hamburgers in town. We still look back at that day as a wonderment of sorts.

Seeing as it was December 9th and Manhattan was adorned with even more charm than it typically is, my husband and I decided to begin on 14thStreet, walking up 5th Avenue, across town to Rockefeller Center where the annual Christmas tree with ice skating rink resided. “It will be 2-3 miles,” I told my husband, who agreed we should walk since it was a clear, sunny, and not too chilly, afternoon.

As we weaved in and out of people, taxis, Ubers, and people preparing for the annual SantaCon event the next day, we happened magically upon the Harry Potter store. What a delight as our childlike hearts entered the imaginary world of all things Hogwarts. Throngs of people of all ages delightfully made their way in and out of rooms that took you away from the noise of traffic into a familiar imaginary world making New York City, the second-best place to be that day. “How fun was that?” I cheerfully asked my husband as we left the packed store.

The sight of the Butter Beer room, at the Harry Potter Store, must have made our stomachs growl a bit for real beer even though we hadn’t made it to our destination yet. We were only on 23rd Street, but as my father used to say, “Who’s chasing us, Tracy?” when he wanted me to slow my energetic pace. Deciding to use our maps app, I type in, “Authentic Irish Bars” which directed us to Peter Dillon’s Pub on East 40th Street where inside rabid FIFA World Cup soccer fans were watching the Argentina vs. Netherlands quarterfinal game. “Let’s get two Guinness Beers,” I say to my husband as I find a perfect corner table in the dark wooden bar.

Entrenched in beer and the raucous crowd, along with an exciting, tied game, our feet rested longer than we thought as I said to,” Hey, right now you are living your best life drinking on a Friday afternoon in an Irish bar in NYC!”  But soon our hearts tugged to get to the tree, so we joyfully again walked out into the hubbub of the Big Apple and finished walking another 18 blocks to Rockefeller Center where the most dazzling tree was found, with the iconic ice rink in front of it, and the stupendous Saks Fifth Avenue holiday lights display in sight. I didn’t want to leave any of it behind, so I took a TikTok video to remember how grand this corner of the world was once I left.

So, the moral of today’s Monday Motivation post for you is to remember as Christmas arrives, to metaphorically let your “feet take you where they want to go” slowly, intently, fatefully, and joyfully unburdening yourself from the timetables, rush, and anxiety that can be present during the holiday.  Use my dad’s phrase when you hear yourself pushing through moments of unexpected joy by saying, “No one’s chasing us.”  

Wednesday Wisdom: The Value of Trainers in Business

December 7, 2022

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Advice for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Women in Sports

In 2005 after starting Women TIES, LLC, I knew I needed an online marketing tool to communicate with new and potential members on a weekly basis. In those days, technology was brand new and didn’t have tutorials like some have today. What was a non-techy woman entrepreneur to do?

Well, I hired another woman who had advanced technology skills at that time, with a focus on graphic design, to train me. I told her I’d pay her hourly rate if she could sit with me and help me set up my corporate brand images, load email addresses, and walk me through how to use other tools in Constant Contact. It was the best money I ever spent as evident by still using Constant Contact 17 years later.

Business and life provide us with unique opportunities to hire a trainer to get us to a goal. Trainers aren’t necessarily coaches but rather people who can educate us on specific topics. When I decided to run the Boston Marathon, I needed a trainer, specifically another woman who had run marathons, to create a plan for me to use daily to be ready for my big race six months away. Without her training plan, I couldn’t have finished the Boston marathon.

Think about it, even our children and grandchildren don’t learn how to eat, go to the bathroom, or ride a bike without parents as trainers.

When you look up the word “trainer” online, it shows

* a person or thing that trains

* a person who trains an athlete

* a simulated aircraft use to train aircrew members

I don’t see a place where it says a woman entrepreneur trains another female business owner on essential business knowledge in the description, but I’ve used more trainers than coaches during my 3-decade history in business. Sometimes I take classes – online or in person – but that is different from what I’m talking about. I’ve gotten over more hurdles in business by hiring a personal “trainer” to lend knowledge in a subject I’m stuck on or new to.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is meant to motivate you to consider finding another woman entrepreneur you can hire to train you in her specialty or assist you with knowledge she has, that you don’t. It could be a CPA, a CEO with experience in trademark or copyright, an author or publisher, and even another artist. Make sure you insist on paying for her time.

Women are eager to teach, and women are eager to learn. Don’t forget you can reach out and ask to pay someone for their expertise to make you wiser and more successful. 

We Need Female Changemakers in Sports and Business

December 1, 2022

Thursday Thoughts, Inspiration, Motivation for Women in Business, Women in Sports, Females

As the wind howled out my window, I prayed my Internet and electricity would stay on. It was one of those rare, but bountiful days, when the opportunity to listen to four females in the athletic world came to my doorstep – or my computer screen. The Town Hall discussion was on Title IX and the future for Women Coaches and Leaders. Not yet a coach, but born of two coaches, and a woman determined to see equality across the board for all women, I tuned in.

I know people are tired of Zoom presentations but I love them especially when someone like Muffet McGraw, one of the leading female basketball coaches of all time, is virtually sitting 12 inches from your face inspiring and educating you. Thanks to the Women’s Sports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King, programs like this exist and work to expand women’s equality in sports, besides pleura of other initiatives.

Joining Muffet McGraw was Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports, Kristen Bourne, Cross Country Skier and USA D Team Coach, Gloria Nevarez, Commissioner of the WCC.  Each woman had broken barriers to get to their positions. Listening to them reminded me that women – whether women in business, advancement or sports – still face strong barriers to gain high levels of administration and leadership opportunities in male-dominated industries. The glass is cracking but very slowly.

The biggest takeaway for me after listening for an hour is that every woman needs to believe that women can lead. We need networks of other women to help us. We need women ahead of us to help us advance. We need to be confident and show our competence. We have to try for positions we don’t think we can get, and be prepared in the interviews to land them. Women can’t back down. We must push ahead if anything is to change.

Do you want to be a change maker?

Wednesday Wisdom: Ride the Marketing Wave

November 30, 2022

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

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday are successful marketing campaigns aimed at consumers to expend money for deals, sales, and good causes. In the 1960s, Philadelphia was the origin city of Black Friday, where a huge number of shoppers gave police and cab drivers headaches trying to keep up with the traffic and pedestrian crowds. It also stood for changing red ink to black ink profits making it a financially successful day for businesses.

As time and technology progressed, Cyber Monday became a hot marketing tool in 2005 to create customer excitement over the internet. Small Business Saturday followed in 2010 when corporate giant American Express desired a way to support small businesses and their community efforts. AMEX’s smart thinking generated a 23% increase in transactions for itself while inspiring 103 million Americans to support the small business community.

With all the greed and attention aimed at commercial enterprises, it made sense in 2012 that the simple idea of people doing good for others was created – Giving Tuesday. There are now 80 countries that participate in the cause on a random Tuesday in November with an estimated $2.7 billion donated in the United States alone. Pure proof an amazing marketing campaign can change the world.

On this Wednesday, how can you as a woman entrepreneur learn from the marketing success of these campaigns? First, you need to be creative, always thinking of something that could spur your customers to buy from you or the marketplace to come to your store or website. Second, actively promote these extremely popular advertising campaigns and get involved by participating, offering specials, and letting local media know what we are doing to get highlighted. Third, be inspired by these concepts and create your own unique marketing campaigns during the year – maybe around the launch date of our business – to entice the public to spend with you. 

We can ride the wave of success of global and national marketing movements. It isn’t hard to do so grab your 2023 calendar now and start plotting your course. 

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