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Celebrating Women in Sports With Attention and Glitz

October 22, 2018

Inspiration for women, women entrepreneurs, girls, female athletes, women in sports.

The women in the deep purple and brilliant green lit ballroom were either mature or young and either able bodied Olympians or Paralympics stars. Some were from team sports surrounded by their crew and others solo performers. All of them were beautifully confident arriving for a night of recognition in a world where women in sports are not celebrated as much as they should be. It was a gala fundraising event to raise funds for the Women’s Sports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King 44 years ago.

My job at the Gala was to take photos of any athlete interested in sharing their image on a board of Gala attendees. The rowers were the tallest women who surrounded me and the young girls aged 8-10, there to walk with a star, were the shortest. They were all thrilled to have their photo taken and attached to the event board for all to see. I had a chance to sneak in a sports question or two about how hard or easy a sport was or to chat woman to woman about making sure the photos came out perfectly. I met some amazing women – women the world should know more about.

Maddie Rooney, Goalie, USA Hockey Team in 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics

I follow a lot of sports but sadly not enough women’s sports mainly because the media doesn’t show their sports on television equally to men’s sports unless it is tennis or the Olympics. The day before the gala, I sat with women who were rowers, gymnasts, fencers, basketball players and even the NFL 1st African American Female Coach. Since she coaches for the Jets, my son’s favorite team, I made sure to talk to her. Her name is Collette V. Smith – Founder of Believe N You, Inc.

At one point during the conference, legendary tennis icon Billie Jean King entered the conference room to deliver the keynote address to the rising stars moving from amateur athletics to professional careers. Billie Jean has done more for women in sports than any other woman and her essence electrified the room of female sports stars. A woman named Helen Delpopolo, President of the US Sumo Federation and a sumo wrestler herself, sat next to me. We chatted about her sport and her desire to get sumo wrestling into the Olympics. She stood up proudly to ask Billie Jean how best to do it. Billie told her, “Get to know the people organizing the Olympics you are striving for and start a relationship with them.” Later Helen and I vied for Billie’s attention to capture a photo with her for future inspiration.

The most important feeling I had walking away from two days surrounded by amateur and professional female athletes were how accomplished they are in their sport and how little the public knows about them. Some of these women are four time Olympic champions but because they aren’t men or in a popular sport like football, you wouldn’t know they exist or how hard they train to win. This needs to change and I hope with my Women ‘s Athletic Network, blog posts and research done for a presentation on them, that I can help shine the light on their accomplishments and get more women and men to care about, watch or attend and cheer on women athletes.

In the USA, women make up 52% of the population which in my mind means 52% of our sports watching time should be focused on female athletes. Can you help me make this possible?


Wednesday Wisdom – Invest in Energy!

October 18, 2018

Inspiration and Wednesday Wisdom for women entrepreneurs, women in sports, women in business

24 hours ago the sun was shimmering off the East River, on the lower east side of New York City, into my face as I wrote this Wednesday Wisdom knowing I would be traveling home and getting the weekly inspiration in a touch late. At the time, I was writing it on my son’s porch perched on the 22nd Floor of an apartment building. I glanced below at the racing cars, honking taxis and sputtering boat moving people across the River. It was loud but it was energy.

Life has energy. Work takes energy. Where you live and what you do for a living can increase or decrease personal energy in positive and negative ways. The last three days I witnessed the ebb and flow of my two sons’ and one brother’s energy as they tried to meet me since I was in town for a conference. My brother who works as a designer in Ralph Lauren had been working to 10 p.m. each night of the week “distracted and fried” as they launched a new social media account, so he couldn’t meet me.

My oldest son commutes half his week to Connecticut to assist in surgeries and those days he spends most of his time transferring between bus and subway putting in long hours standing on his six foot four inch frame. He is wiped out on Connecticut days. My youngest son is working to the grindstone on his first big engineering project so he could only see me at dinner. Do you feel tired for these guys as I type? I sometimes think life in Upstate New York can be frantic with entrepreneurial deadlines, sales projects and even “our traffic” on the highways; but what I witnessed, walked in, drove in and taxied around in, was nothing compared to where we live and work.

Although we run our companies in a calmer environment, sometimes depending on the time period of life we are in, changes in work intensity based on a specific stage in business, as we age or because we have been in the same place doing the same thing for too long, our vibe drastically changes. If you are in this place make sure you recognize it and embrace, change or energize it. I suggest if you need the rush back or relaxation, schedule a business trip to learn new skills, be inspired by a new environment or simply change the pace of your current situation.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is an opportunity to focus on your energy and your company’s energy. Is it rising or falling or staying even? If it is too low, what do you need to do to rise it up? If you are too high and can’t calm down, what can you do to settle yourself and pace your work to keep yourself sane? If you are going with the flow, analyze what is working and keep it going that way.

Sometimes you must focus and invest in your energy to adjust it as needed to keep pace with your current life style, future goals or changes in the near future. I promise you will become more happy and joyful in the midst of living life and being a successful woman entrepreneur in all the ways that count.

Women Need a Title IX for Hiring Females Coaches

October 15, 2018

Inspiration for women in sports, women in athletics, women who care about equality

Women TIES Member Erica Haray-Butcher Coach

In Sunday’s Syracuse Post Standard there was a fantastic editorial board opinion entitled “College Coaching Ranks Need More Women.” The serendipity of the timing of the article comes on the heels of me leaving in a few minutes to drive to New York City to attend the Women’s Sports Foundation Annual Salute to Women conference and gala. I was invited to attend after my proven interest in conducting research on women who had excelled in sports over the years and the need for more women to support women in sports.

During one of my interviews a young woman, with a keen interest in landing a female coaching job in basketball, talked about her frustration in the college ranks not hiring enough females for coaching positions. I heard her pain as she expressed her passion to coach for women or men at the collegiate and professional level. She was the first person I interviewed and the inequality led me to then interview a female Athletic Director at a local college asking why they don’t hire more female coaches. The answer made sense, “We want to hire the best person for the job, not just a coach based on their sex.”

For a long time the only way women advanced in employment, voting and sports is because of laws or quotas allowing women to have a better chance in life preferences and professions. If the imbalance lies in the decision making by the people who hire coaches or staff, then I agree more needs to be done to equally hire women for athletic administrative and coaching positions. Perhaps we need an IX for hiring females in the world of sports too.

It wasn’t long ago that ESPN and other sports news stations had only men reporting the news and talking about sports. As a woman myself, who can talk sports to anyone and follows it as much as the three guys in my house, I attest to the fact women can have a passion and love for the game – which makes us as suitable for coaching and administration positions as the next man. It is clear women need a chance to apply and seriously be considered for a position.

My mother was a 21 year old, 5’1” woman whose first job out of college was coaching high school boy’s wrestling and JV football. She was smart enough and loved coaching enough to get the job back when there weren’t enough coaches in the field. Now we have many women who want to coach but don’t have access to the positions. Let’s change that can we?

The Day of the Girl

October 11, 2018

Inspiration for women on the The Day of the Girl

After seeing this morning’s announcement by Former First Lady Michelle Obama on the Today Show about her new Global Girls Alliance, with an outside audience lined with girls of all ages from all over the globe, I was inspired to write one more post today to honor her charge to us on the The Day of the Girl.

Although my focus in business is focused on women more than girls, I never stop trying to inspire my young nieces, Lexie, Lauren, Faith, Ramona and Maude who are age 16-4. Any chance I have to lift them up and tell them to believe strongly in their character, power and pink energy, I do. Every time I am with them, I remember the girl in me who made her own mark at an early age looking to older females to inspire and guide me with words of wisdom and action. I would not be who I am today if the women in my life didn’t believe in my “girl power” at an early age.

So when it’s The Day of the Girl, I want to celebrate it in honor of all the fantastic young girls in my life, the young female adults I meet and mentor and the grown up girls who have turned into fantastic women. If women love where they are in life, they should use this day to inspire the girls in their lives.

It doesn’t require a lot of time, money or effort, just a strong pink heart willing to reach out to our female youth and encourage them to be all they can be. We should motivate them to try to do anything a boy would do from playing sports to taking an engineering course. When they get old enough to apply for a job, they need to ask for equal pay so they aren’t disadvantaged from the start of their work life. When they become young married women, we should talk to them about our experiences in the world force so they don’t face any discrimination or #metoo moments.

Women who support women should also be women who support girls who need a positive light in their lives and a good example of a strong woman making a difference in the world. If they see us and we see them, what a powerful pink bond and future we can produce for women and girls together.

Women Supporting Women in Times of Medical Diagnosis

October 11, 2018

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

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it has extra special meaning in my life today and as the leader of New York State and Central New York women entrepreneurs. Let me tell you why today, because it is important.

After six months of severe Alopecia Areata, I lost all my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. Alopecia Areata is a relentless autoimmune disease that causes hair loss on the scalp, face and sometimes on other areas of the body. In fact, it affects as many as 6.8 million people in the U.S. with a lifetime risk of 2.1%. People of all ages, both sexes and all ethnic groups can develop Alopecia Areata. The disease has been part of my life story since I was 25 years old but never to the point of becoming bald.

Another startling statistic is 1 in 8 American women (about 12.4%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. In fact, ever since I learned this statistic, I meet 4 to 5 women a year who are just diagnosed with breast cancer, are survivors of breast cancer or are in their second bout of breast cancer. In fact one of my special girlfriends is conquering her second diagnosis with hope and joy right now.

Since I always wear the color pink to represent women entrepreneurs or women in sports, in my raspberry pink brand shirts and now pink baseball hats to hide my alopecia, people assume I have breast cancer and I’m in the throes of treatment. I am not. If someone asks, I tell them. If they don’t ask, I hope they think of women who have or had the disease.

I especially hope as a follower of mine and have seen me wearing pink hats it reminds you to get an annual breast exam or suggest someone you love get one. Mammograms are the easiest tests to take. They don’t hurt and they are fast. Most are covered under insurance. They are life savers too. There is no reason someone can’t get one done. If it is modesty you are worried about let me tell you from my current personal experience, don’t be modest if it means not being healthy.

I dedicate this post to all the courageous women I know conquering breast cancer right now or as a survivor. You have so many women (and men) who support and recognize your health situation. As my friend says, “I am on an empowered health journey” with only positive light, news and happiness in my future. I say #believeon and so it shall be.

Note: If you are a recently diagnosed breast cancer woman, check out two wonderful supportive nonprofits that might cheer you up on your journey – Positively Pink Packages, Maureen’s Hope Foundation and Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund of CNY

Creating Multiple Streams of Income

October 10, 2018

Wednesday Wisdom for women entrepreneurs, female business owners and small businesses

As I searched for hotels in the Big Apple for a business trip next week, I noticed every hotel was priced three times higher than ever before. Having become an expert in traveling to New York City where my two sons work and live, I noticed how high the lodging costs were from our past trips. My youngest son reminded me to try other lodging sites like Airbnb and Homeaway to find a place to stay.

I was surprised at how many people offer single rooms in their apartments and houses or even offer their entire apartment to strangers to have a place to stay. Knowing how much my sons pay for rent for their apartments (without any extra bedrooms unfortunately), I figure some renters are simply renting to make money and not offering their housing to be kind. It is a business to them.

Not long after my sons left the house, my husband wanted to sell extra items they left behind like a pool table and their bikes. Again, our younger son told us to put them on EBay to sell. The good ole garage sale concept for a couple high priced items might not work, he told us. We never dabbled into selling online like our sons have and thus learned another lesson from Generation Z.

Every day driving down my golden leaf road, I glimpse a farmer selling vegetables from his garden for half the price in grocery stores. I stop to spend my money with them instead of a corporation realizing they are businesses too. Why not put my cash in their hands as they sell their home grown products? They might need the extra cash.

Technology has allowed more than women entrepreneurs to begin and sustain money-making entities. House rentals and personal sales have turned individuals into profitable entrepreneurs using something they already possess to produce income. Is it time for you to supplement your revenue doing the same if you have a college education, holiday gifts or business debt to pay?

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to inspire you to think outside the box when it comes to making revenue. Just like some people work two jobs, entrepreneurs can produce multiple streams of income in a nontraditional way. Do you have a space others might want to rent? Are you a woman entrepreneur by day but artist by night creating art to sell to people online, holiday shows or farmer’s markets? Do you have a talent such as piano playing to teach someone else? In tight economic times or not, it isn’t unusual to make money in diverse ways.

I hope this autumn as you buy homemade apple pies, pumpkins or start shopping for holiday items at artist shows, you are inspired to think of other ways to make money with what you own or a talent you have to bring more money into your life.

We All Have Fans We Can Inspire to Vote

October 9, 2018

Inspiration for women, women entrepreneurs, college age females, women in sports

The past twenty four hours news broke that popular singer Taylor Swift is using her star power to inspire her followers and fans to register to vote. According to CNN, had a significant increase in voter registration after Taylor Swift waded into politics after announcing her support for two Democrats running for the Senate and House of Representatives in her home state of Tennessee. announced being up 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since Swift’s post on Instagram.

You might think to yourself, “I’m not Taylor Swift with that many followers so how could I affect voting numbers?” Well, every woman has a “pack” of friends and followers they can influence to register to vote or to vote on election days. It does not mean you are into politics and friends will flee; it means you are reminding people in your circle of influence the importance of voting based on your passion to vote. Remember, our foremothers had followers and made sure they got us the right to vote.

In the 2016 election, my husband and two sons listened to the Presidential debates to make their decision on who to vote for. As a long time “vote for women” voter, I was not silent in our living room; I did talk about who I supported but I told them it was up to them to vote with their own ideas and policies in mind. I just wanted them to vote. I was voting for Hillary Clinton like I had in 2008 and because I vote for women in politics so women’s voices can be heard.

My youngest son, enrolled in college in our hometown of Syracuse, called me upset on election day because he couldn’t vote. He wasn’t registered! I never thought about him having to register himself. I don’t remember how I registered but I was able to vote for Ronald Regan in 1982 from my alma mater SUNY Oswego with an absentee ballot. With the midterm elections coming up, I have sent both sons registration information to make sure they can vote this year and every year to follow.

If you do not like the current political environment or issues being passed or not without your input, then please register to vote today! It is simple to do and takes a few minutes. Use this link to register to make sure your vote is cast and your voice heard and remind your followers to do the same.

P.S. The quote on my desk today says, “You have the power to change everything!”

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