by Michelle Porchia
The earth is preparing to rest from all the splendor (and turbulence) it gave us this year. It has been a year of extreme weather and extreme changes. Even more so, I encourage you to slow down and rest, relax, rejuvenate yourself.
"I just don't have time to do the personal things I want or need to do for myself."
Have you ever said that? If you have, it is time for you to take an Innergize Day. It is a day set aside for you. It is a time when you can devote some attention to your own personal endeavors—a "do anything you want to do for yourself" day!
My goal is to get people to start with one day per year, progress to one day per month, then one day per week, and eventually an hour per day. It is a time of "self-celebration" to be incorporated into one's daily lifestyle. Nowadays everyone is so busy going and doing instead of being. Below are five steps on how you can innergize. It is scheduled for the day after Autumn begins every year (this year September 23) because that is when the earth goes to rest. I want you to rest.
Step One: Give Yourself Permission (I've said this before). Give yourself permission to put yourself first and NOT feel guilty. When you take care of yourself, you are better able to take care of others. When you rest, relax, renew, rejuvenate, you have the energy and clarity to do what you want to do.
Step Two: Schedule an appointment with YOU. We put everyone else on the calendar. It is time to put YOU on the calendar. Start small; schedule 15-30 minutes a week to do something for yourself. Try to expand it to 15-30 minutes a day.
Step Three: Take Your Breaks. There is a tendency to skip lunch and breaks while we work or we eat while we work. It is important to take periodic breaks to rest your
body and mind. When you rest your mind, you are more productive
and creative. It is also important to eat properly (this does not mean eating at your desk and working through lunch).
Step Four: Entrepreneurs: You Are Your Business. Investing in taking care of your mind, body and spirit is investing in the foundation of your business. If you are not able to work, your business will suffer. It is crucial to make health and happiness a priority while developing your business. If you work 24/7, you will burn out. You need to schedule time for you in the same way you do for your clients. You can't give 110%, you don't have it to give.
Step Five: Celebrate. There were two very popular songs out this year, "Let It Go" from the movie Frozen and "Happy" from the movie Despicable Me 2. Both songs talk about being yourself and enjoying life. You need to celebrate yourself. Celebrate life. Celebrate the little things as well as the big things. You don't have to celebrate elaborately. You can do simple things like treat yourself to flowers, a new book (and allowing yourself to read it), buying a Pumpkin Spice Latte, going to bed early, watching a movie in bed, etc.
Your Comments Are Welcome!!
by Carole Copeland Thomas
Sometimes you just need a little inspiration. Described as a blue eyed soul sister, Rev. Katherine Brooks, a Harvard educated pastor and theologian of the African Methodist Episcopal Church delivered a spellbinding message entitled "Shine" at the Missionary Annual Day Service at Grant AME Church in Boston. Trained by Rev. Alvan Johnson (in the background of the video clip), she masterfully weaves the purpose of a lighthouse into the duties of missionaries, with rousing choruses of "Amen" shouted by the congregation.
Enjoy this short clip...and Let The Church Say Amen!!
By Debra Gould, MS
Ebony Speakers first successful creation was a book project entitled “Real Women, Real Issues: Positive Collaborations for Business Success” is a unique collaboration between four dynamic women coming together from many years of varied experience and from their mastermind group experience.
Out of that experience came the concept of communicating with other women on the importance of maintaining quality personal, professional and business relationships with other people who promote positive living.
Ebony Speakers is excited to announce that our second project was a recent webinar on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. It was just another example of the next level of connecting our audience to the powerful message of real women working in collaborations.
During one of our unique mastermind sessions we all determined that it was time to launch a webinar. We are blessed to have a technology savvy business woman like Carole Copeland Thomas to lead the way to address the program logistics to host this webinar series. Nancy J. Lewis agreed to take on the online registering process and it was onward to create the webinar entitled Savvy Sisters: Share Strategies for Everyday Life.
The day of the webinar Carole Copeland Thomas welcomed our guests to sharpen up their skills while moving forward in life. This important webinar will covered these topics.
Your Personal SWOT Assessment by Debra W. Gould
Taking Charge of Your Career by Nancy J. Lewis
Using INNOVATION to Get Things DONE by Michelle Porchia
Reinvent Yourself & Stay Relevant in Technology by Carole Copeland Thomas
Here are a few highlights of what we shared with our listening audience on June 18.
Debra's conversation on how can I use the SWOT Assessment to validate my strengths and opportunity to attack the guilty feelings every time I decide to take time for myself.
Nancy's conversation was discussed the difference between whining and winning and addressed the tough questions regarding taking charge of your own career.
Michelle's conversation discussed technology, tools, your game plan, and work boundaries.
Carole's conversation was on the rapidly changing world, connections, collaborations, and effectively using social media including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LInkedIn.
We realize seating was limited for this online registration at only $29.00 per person. If you missed out on June 18th due to meetings, business travel or whatever let me suggest a way to get you plugged into this informational, educational, motivational and inspirational webinar. Ebony Speakers still want to invite you to attend our exciting “special one hour” webinar held on June 18, 2014.
Here's how it will work:
First, register and purchase the webinar.
1. Go to www.ebonyspeakers.com
2. On the top menu bar drop down the Savvy Speakers box found underneath the Webinar Series Box.
3. Our Savvy Sisters Webinar is a Password Protected webpage on our website.
4. You can also download the slides on this page
All I can say is WELCOME and get ready to explore your ability to excel, enjoy the webinar and thank you to our guests.
Lastly, we are in the process of scheduling future webinars by Ebony Speakers. From years of experience in training, human resources and corporate consulting Debra W. Gould, Nancy J. Lewis, Michelle Porchia and Carole Copeland Thomas have crafted a power-packed business guide for women and men of all ages and ethnicities. We hope you'll join us for future webinar discussions!
Topics in the webinar toolkit include:
•Starting and Running A Business
•Working Through Difficulties and Challenges
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. based in New Orleans and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success. Debra can be reached at: (504) 244-6576,
email: firstname.lastname@example.org and website: www:gouldassoc.com
Nancy J. Lewis, MS, PHR, RCC
In today’s world of business, it requires you redefining your process, redesigning your process, retooling and reframing how you do business. It is no longer business as usual, but rather business as unusual. So get over the way things have always been done and don’t think outside the box; throw the box away. One thing is certain, you must understand the VIP effect to propel your business or career forward in these challenging times. So here are my pointers on the VIP effect.
V-Visibility is key. You must may sure people know who you are and what you do. A friend once told me the first rule of networking is you must show up; but once you show up what happens next. You must learn the art of connecting. Find ways to get your name or company name in the spotlight. It might be in newspaper articles, blogging, volunteering, etc. just get visible in ways that work for you.
I-Image is key. What kind of image do you radiate to others and does it represent the authentic you? You must make sure you are true to yourself and the image you project to others. How you dress, talk, act are apart of your image.
P-Performance is essential. Once you are visible and have the right image, you must be able to perform the job in the spirit of excellence. No excuses will do as you must autograph your work with excellence. Perform so people will tell others about how great you are.
Go for it and create a winning VIP!!
Your Comments Are Welcome!
By Michelle Porchia
We have four to five generations of women alive right now. In the workplace we have supervisors, mangers and leaders in their 20's responsible for staff that are older and have much more work experience. When I was a corporate trainer, I often advised more senior workers (work wise and age wise) on how to work effectively with their younger supervisors and colleagues.
This is not about generations though. I want women to understand the value of encouraging, teaching and sharing your experiences with younger women. Conversely, more experienced women can learn from the younger women as well.
I have had many mentees and our relationship has been mutually beneficial, as I would hope all mentor/mentee relationships would be. I’ve asked them what they wanted me to share with them, I shared what they wanted and more. I also learned tremendously from them. One thing I learned from my INROADS advisees was to lighten up. I have stayed in touch with all my mentees and many of my INROADS advisees. Several of them have brought me in to their organizations and/or companies as a speaker or trainer. They’ve also referred people (not just women) who became my coaching clients. When I moved to North Carolina, many gave me names of people they knew to network with.
I conduct workshops for youth. My two oldest granddaughters have given me ideas, information and helped me to understand so much about high school and middle school aged behavior and their thought processes. I have learned so much from my granddaughters and I have a great deal of respect for the two oldest. I have imparted much wisdom, knowledge and experience to them and I have gained so much from them. Again, during my transition to NC, when I was grappling with some things, my oldest daughter reminded me of some of the philosophies I have shared with her over the years.
There are more women in higher positions, in different industries and trailblazers than there were when I was growing up. In fact, when I was growing up, the only women I saw were actors and actresses. I was blessed to have good role models about life. My grandmother was even-tempered. My aunt Gerri taught me the importance of the image I projected by the way I dressed and took care of myself. My aunt (by marriage) Joan showed me that you could be assertive and graceful. She was (is) beautiful, worked in corporate America, had a great sense of humor, was (is) a wonderful cook and was able to stand up for herself. I still look to her for advice. My mother, though I struggled with our relationship as many mothers and daughters do, taught me the importance of education, having a strong work ethic and taught me about accepting cultural differences and exposed me to so many cultural aspects of life. My mother was a concert pianist and an opera singer who never realized her dream. She was a civil worker in Detroit and I don’t remember her ever missing a day of work for illness. I have developed wonderful relationships with some of my younger cousins and continue to learn from them. One cousin has pursued many of her dreams with much success. She has been a news anchor, a director of diversity and now is the president and founder of her own company, Lothery and Associates. Another cousin of mine is a cancer warrior and survivor. She was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in two areas of her body. She has gone through all the treatment, fought the battle and is now cancer clear. She did it all with style and grace and a smile. She now speaks to
women who have been newly diagnosed with cancer. The nurses and doctors couldn’t believe how she always came to treatments looking glamorous and with high energy and a positive outlook.
We have a responsibility to mentor, sponsor, and guide, encourage and support the women that are following in our footsteps and creating their own paths. We also, even as the older person, can learn from them as well...it’s not too late. We are our sisters’ keeper.
Your Comments Are Welcome
By Debra W. Gould, MS
When you communicate, are you communicating with love, care, and service? Watch out for the language you use that speaks to your life. The language you speak to yourself determines your attitude.
Here are a few practical tips:
- Make your words "speak power" as a means of communication that will determine the action you take for your relationship.
- Avoid words like "I wish" because it means surrender. Do say, "I will" because it means you are determined.
- Your attitude determine your energy level
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. based in New Orleans and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success. Debra can be reached at: (504) 244-6576, email: email@example.com and website: www:gouldassoc.com
By Carole Copeland Thomas
Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention.
Black people have always been inventive, creative and industrious. Go on any African street corner today and you’ll find talented entrepreneurs selling, making and distributing their wares. That talent was expanded as Blacks were exported, sold and enslaved to distant shores. This industriousness continued in America where discrimination, slavery and Jim Crow never stomped out the willpower of Black people to create businesses.
Fast forward to today’s Black economic trail and we celebrated several entrepreneurs at the February 11th Black History Breakfast held at the University of Massachusetts Boston Campus. Our keynote speaker was Beth Williams, President and CEO of Roxbury Technology. She stepped in her father’s business after his sudden death in 2002 and transformed it into the LARGEST African American female owned business in Boston.
Read her profile and you’ll see why she’s so successful. We salute Beth Williams and ALL of the African American owned businesses during Black History Month.
* * *
Beth Williams is the President and CEO of Roxbury Technology LLC (RTC), a
Boston based remanufacturer of sustainable and environmentally friendly, imaging supplies, products, services and solutions.
After graduating from Brown University, Beth began her career working as a Production Control Manager in one of her father’s earlier companies, Freedom Electronics. After 3 years of training and guidance from her father, she decided to expand her practical knowledge and experience inside a major corporation. Beth joined Raytheon Company’s Missile Systems division as a sub‐contract administrator and small minority business liaison officer. After 5 years at Raytheon and a desire to move into a more impactful role serving as a conduit for women and minority entrepreneurs and large corporations, she left Raytheon to join Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts procurement team and soon thereafter became the Director of Business Diversity for BCBSMA. Then, upon her father’s sudden death in 2002, Beth left Blue Cross Blue Shield to succeed her father as President and CEO of his 8 year old distribution business, Roxbury Technology Corporation.
Roxbury Technology is a remanufacturer of sustainable printing solutions that are good for the environment, the economy and the customer’s bottom line. More importantly however, is Beth’s commitment to being a socially responsible entrepreneur. She is driven by her social mission and that is to provide good, wage earning jobs to people who are far too often left out of the system. She is strongly committed to providing second chances to not only her products, but to people as well. She has been a long time supporter of CORI reform and more than 15 percent of her work force are ex-offenders, ex-gang members, etc.. Her belief is that “desperate people do desperate things and we all deserve a second chance and unless given an opportunity to change, we only perpetuate a cycle of dysfunction and ultimately a cost to us all. We either pay them or pay for them”.
Being driven by that philosophy, in her role as President & CEO, Beth served as the catalyst to RTC’s successful transformation from being solely a distributor of toner cartridges to becoming a manufacturer of toner and ink cartridges, resulting in strong revenue growth and profit portfolios. Today, RTC is a strategic diversity partner of Staples, Inc. and is their preferred supplier of their DPS brand remanufactured toner and ink imaging supplies.
RTC has a strong base of direct customers as well; most recently being awarded the m/wbe subcontractor and supplier of imaging supplies to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
RTC is the largest African American female owned business in Boston.
Her greatest pride and accomplishment is her 19 year old son who’s academic and athletic accomplishments far surpass any job, award or recognition she could ever receive.
By Michelle Porchia
Women have created businesses and impacted history, the economy, and personal lives throughout history. As a Black woman entrepreneur myself, I am highlighting a few historic, successful and impactful Black female entrepreneur who paved the way for Black women and all women to become entrepreneurs. There are 24.9% Black women entrepreneurs (catalyst.org). Many people have heard of Madam CJ Walker (1867–1919), a millionaire who built a business on hair-care products. I want to share about the women most have not heard of, except of course Suzanne de Passe, whom most people have heard of.
Although many details of Mary Ellen Pleasant's (1814–1904) life are obscure, she lived for a time as a free woman in Boston before coming to San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush in 1849. Taking advantage of the opportunities available in the booming new city, Pleasant started working as a cook for wealthy clients but soon began opening laundries, boardinghouses, and restaurants, using the $45,000 she inherited upon the death of her first husband. Her establishments were patronized by many of San Francisco's newly minted elite, enabling Pleasant to interact with the city's most powerful businessmen and politicians. An ardent abolitionist and racial advocate, Pleasant employed many African-Americans and used her businesses as a way to promote Black employment throughout San Francisco.
Elleanor Eldridge (1784–c. 1845) stands out as an impressive success story from the beginning of American history. The youngest of seven daughters born to Hannah Prophet and Robin Eldridge, a slave who won his freedom fighting in the Revolution, Eldridge began working as a laundress at age ten following the death of her mother. Industrious and naturally bright, she quickly became adept at arithmetic, spinning, weaving, cheese making, and all types of housework. Drawing on her skill with numbers, at age nineteen Eldridge took over her deceased father's estate and quickly opened a business with her sister in Warwick, Rhode Island, weaving, nursing, and making soap. Realizing that investment and versatility were the keys to success, she used their profits to purchase a lot and build a house, which she rented out for forty dollars a year. Eldridge eventually settled in Providence, where she opened a profitable business whitewashing, painting, and wallpapering. Her hard work and enterprising nature enabled her to eventually purchase several houses in Providence for rent income.
A strong voice for education, Maggie Lena Walker (1867–1934) became the first African American female bank president. Walker was a member of the Independent Order of St. Luke, an organization founded by a former slave dedicated to the uplifting of African Americans. After becoming leader of the Order when it was on the verge of financial ruin, Walker became the first female bank president in the United States by founding the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in 1903. Succeeding in her twin goals of revitalizing the Order of St. Luke and encouraging economic security for the black community of Richmond, Virginia, Walker grew her business by welcoming small depositors and helping to finance black home ownership. Her success is evidenced by the fact that the bank, now named the Consolidated Bank and Trust Co., remains open today as the oldest continuously black-owned bank in the United States. True to the Order of St Luke's goal of uplifting African Americans, Walker went on to found other businesses and advocate tirelessly for black rights and women's suffrage throughout her life.
Suzanne de Passe (1946 - ) has won numerous awards, including Emmys, Peabodys, and Golden Globes. She is so well known for her managerial abilities that Harvard Business School has conducted two studies of her management style. The twentieth century has seen the slow emergence of Black women in positions of corporate authority, a number of them in the entertainment industry. Suzanne de Passe was one of the first African-American women to become a power player in the music, television, and film industries. Beginning her career as a creative assistant at Motown Records in the 1960s, de Passe rose to become a vice president of the company before turning her attention to screenwriting. After achieving acclaim for works such as "Lady Sings the Blues", the successful film biography of Billie Holiday, de Passe eventually founded her own entertainment company, de Passe Entertainment, which primarily produces material for television. Her ability to balance her projects' creative integrity with the bottom line has proven so successful that Harvard Business School has conducted two studies of her managerial style. De Passe's versatility, creative integrity, and sound business sense has enabled her to become one of the most influential women in the entertainment industry today. Courtesy the Austin/Thompson Collection, by permission of De Passe Entertainment.
There were many women to choose from, and it was hard to narrow it down to just a few for this article. I chose women from diversified fields and eras to give a snapshot of the impact that Black women have made to the business/entrepreneurial world, not just for Black women but for all female entrepreneurs and business owners. Keep reaching toward your dreams. Women have sacrificed for us to live our dreams, build our businesses and make an impact.
Your Comments Are Welcome
By Michelle Porchia
Now that the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, visiting, stressing, over-eating is over --what do you do with yourself?
Are you a person who makes New Year’s resolutions or sets goals that are rarely fulfilled? Do you have high hopes for a better 2014? Let’s look at some overall skills that can help you with entering 2014 in a good space. First, INHALE/EXHALE. Secondly, be still. Third, reflect.
It is important that you breathe. Inhale peace and exhale stress. We tend to breathe shallow and breathing is life to our body. So take time to breathe fully and completely
We are told to “be still.” You’ve heard me say this before. We’ve become human doers and we were created as human beings. We need to learn to simply BE. Yet we feel living is about being in constant motion. Not so. Try this exercise: turn out the lights, light a candle or use a battery-operated candle and just be still. Focus on the flame. Listen to your inner voice. Try this for at least 5 minutes.
Reflect. Try journaling your thoughts. How was 2013 for you? What went well and would you have liked to have done differently? Did you spend time with the people who are important to you – including YOU? Did you spend your time when and where you wanted? This is also where you can address the questions above. Don’t beat up on yourself. Simply listen as you reflect and then decide “now what”?
My suggestions for 2014:
· Set SMART goals. (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timed). Goals are usually personal, professional, spiritual, etc. Whatever is important to you and usually not all in one area. Write them down. Break the goals down into small pieces and then make them part of your daily action list. Example: Rather than saying, “I want to lose weight”. A more realistic goal is I want to live healthy. I will: work out 3-5 days a week. I will drink at least 6 glasses of water a day, eat 2-3 vegetables a day (corn is not a vegetable), and eat 1-2 fruits a day. I will go to bed at a reasonable time (set the time and your alarm – yes to go to bed). I will spend at least 15 minutes a day being still.
Clear out clutter. Mental clutter. Physical clutter. Emotional clutter. Get help. It’s hard to receive if you are full. The season may be up for some relationships, for some of our “stuff”. During these times, people could use that coat, suit, coffee maker that you haven’t used in years. Donate them to the church store or other organizations. Do a swap.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2014.
Your Comments Are Welcome
by Michelle Porchia
There is the age-old statement that “knowledge is power.” I’ve often disagreed with that statement. I think having the right knowledge but knowing how and when to use acKNOWLEDGEment is more powerful.
If you want to get the best out of an employee, a colleague or even a child, I think that acknowledgement is very powerful. Basically, everyone wants to feel appreciated and wants to be acknowledged for what they have done.
Too often we focus on what someone has not done or what they have done “wrong.” I think to help a person grow into being good at, or even the best at, whatever they are doing, we need to focus on what they have done well; meaning acknowledge and thank them for it. If there are areas of improvement needed, then we can devise a plan–together–on capitalizing on their strengths and extending those strengths into areas that need more work. (I don’t believe in weaknesses, only areas that need a little more attention or development.)
The next time you want to approach an employee or colleague about something they have done, start off with acknowledging. It is important to be specific. “Thank you for stepping in when we were short on help.” “Thank you for catching that error; you saved us a lot of time/money.” You do not want to make a general acknowledgement of “good job.” Be specific!
When we acknowledge someone and they feel valued and appreciated, that is powerful and it inspires them to want to do more and/or better.
For more information on innergizing or to schedule time with Michelle to help you to innergize, click here to visit Michelle's website.
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.