Mentoring

Connect with Success

author, speaker, coach

Tasha M. Scott


Tasha M. Scott became “The Success Connector” when she discovered she had to connect with her true self and her faith to build  a foundation for success on the inside as well as the outside. Building her court reporting business, Real Time Reporting, LLC, to six figures within one year was impressive on the outside, but her personal life began to fall apart. Hiding her fear of abandonment and other issues beneath the workaholic exterior ran her and her husband into personal bankruptcy and a failing marriage. But she struggled back  with the help of aa personal coach who provided a safe place for Tasha to peel back the layers of doubt and fear and to discover the powerful, faith-based person she was.
Still maintaining her successful first business, today Tasha is a speaker, coach and writer. In just three years, she has written two books, Don’t Limit Me and Maximize Your Existence to help others journey through their own personal barriers to find their passion and purpose and to move toward their own life success.

What Holds Women Back

Tasha says that women don’t take leadership positions because they lack inner confidence to believe they can lead. She agrees that there are feelings of fear about failing, but more than that, she feels women are actually afraid of feeling fearful. That fear stops them from even considering following their dreams as a possibility. Tasha says that she had to embrace the possibilities and she encourages other women to do the same.
One of her methods is a system she calls SWOT Business Assessment, which she uses both in her keynote addresses and in her one-on-one coaching sessions:

  • S stands for Strengths, whether it’s a character trait or a skill, which asks the questions: What are you good at? What do people compliment you on? What do you do without even thinking about it?
  • W stands for Weaknesses and unfortunately people have no problem pinpointing those.
  • O stands for Opportunities and she asks women to look at  their dreams.
  • T stands for Threats and she asks participants what is holding them back.

Tasha emphasizes that you have to start with your strengths, no matter where you are in the process. When you admit your weaknesses, you have to partner with someone who is strong in those areas or outsource them to make sure they are done well. She likens it to a puzzle, putting together the pieces that will work  to build your confidence and ensure your success.

Tips for Finding Your Calling

Both her books and her website contain lots of information for finding your calling. Tasha says that often women are so used to giving they don’t stop and listen to receive information from others. It’s important to stop hiding and embrace your power and your dreams. When you embrace who you are and your God-given gifts, you build your success on the most durable foundation for a fulfilling life. Check out Tasha’s website www.tashamscott.com, her video blog and her audio book version of her newest book, Maximize Your Existence.  Then listen to this interview for more words of wisdom from Dr. Nancy and Tasha.

Share Your Story and Move On

Michele Weldon

Award-winning storyteller, Michele Weldon seemingly had it all, the perfect marriage with a handsome, charismatic man, three sons, and a successful career in journalism, but the truth was very different. She told the stories of other people while working as a journalist for major newspapers and magazines, but when she decided to tell her own truth after her divorce, her peers warned her that she was committing professional suicide. Michele ignored their warnings and courageously wrote I Closed My Eyes: Revelations of a Battered Woman.
Heralded for its authenticity and riveting story-telling, her book was more than a good read. Michele’s messages helped other women to see how hiding keeps you trapped in the unhealthy, destructive victim role. Her personal story showed women how they could move on and liberate themselves to create a new truth..
Michele’s own life broke open after the book was published. She began to teach journalism at Northwestern, and wrote more stories and books, five non-fiction books to date.
Her most recent memoir, Escape Points, follows her life after I Closed My Eyes, about being a single mom, diagnosed with cancer and trying to raise three boys in the wake of an absent father. It won several awards including Editor’s Choice from Booklist.

The Good News and Bad News Is That Truth Is Contagious.

Dr. Nancy and Michele relate accounts of how people reacted after their divorces. Women shunned them. Michele said that it’s difficult to be around someone who is telling the truth if you’re being inauthentic yourself. Nancy agreed that she felt like people thought she was a leper and she wanted to tell them that they didn’t have to follow her lead. They could stay in less than rewarding marriages. But she chose to move on. And both women agreed also that when they did, it was empowering.
Michele said that since her first memoir, she has felt invigorated by her work. She is a prolific writer herself, but she also works hard to help other writers. Her work with the OpEd Project helps develop new voices across gender, economic, racial and political lines to narrate the world’s stories. Through workshops and scholarships, the project seeks to provide guidance and opportunities for writers to get their voices heard at a high level and make a difference in the world.

Reach Beyond Your Own Circle

The biggest problem women have is reaching out to ask for help. Staying in a truth that you can’t own keeps you stuck in an unproductive place. Developing communities where you can share your truth empowers you to get unstuck and live a more rewarding, happier life. Nancy repeated her mantra, “When we form communities of like-minded women and share our truths, anything is possible.” Michele encourages women to reach out beyond the circle of people they know. In Take the Lead Women, where Michele serves as editorial director, a large group of women work to create gender parity by 2025. It’s thrilling to work with women who are so energized by a cause and doing such amazing, life-changing work.
Listen to more of the advice and stories in this interview and check out Michele’s website for more about her and her intriguing stories. As editor of Take the Lead’s website, Michele is always looking for possible contributors. And she also says that the best thing about having written her memoirs is the women who contact her to share their stories and tell how her book helped them move on from their own stuck situation.

Five Ways to Make 2017 A Year for Women!

It doesn’t matter how you ended 2016, I think we can all agree that it was a rough year. At the end of a particularly brutal – and for some heartbreaking – political cycle, many women felt a range of emotions from fear to desperation and hopelessness. As a result, the prospect of a new year didn’t feel promising, to say the least.
But others have rolled up their sleeves and dug in to re-energize their efforts to help empower other women. Our WomenConnect4Good team is ready to put our time and talent to work and make this the year for women.
The dynamics that come into play when women come together is profound. Doubt it? Look what a very committed group of women were able to accomplish in just 24 hours for Take the Lead Women! December 20-21, 2016, men and women joined in a Charidy.com crowdfunding event to help Take the Lead in their mission to propel women to parity in all sectors by 2025. They didn’t just meet the goal they beat the goal and raised $312,160. Helping other women along, and strengthening the communities we live in drives all women. It’s our nature to want to help others and doing so fulfills our sense of purpose in a real and authentic way.
Here are five great ways we can come together and change the status quo this year.
Volunteer with an organization that helps women. There is no shortage of organizations and causes that need our time, talent, or treasure. In fact, there are many, many organizations who could use your help today. From the work we do with Women Connect4Good, to Take the Lead Women, to Convoy of Hope, find and plug into an organization that fights to protect and advance women’s rights or ensure women are able to get the help and support they deserve.
Be a mentor. Mentors matter, and many women can attribute part of their success to lessons learned through a mentoring relationship. On one level, a mentor helps women become empowered, with more self-confidence and resolve. On another, mentors serve as a guide, role model and advisor. The benefits of mentoring go both ways. Both the mentor and the woman being mentored learn from each other during the mentoring process. Successful women are guiding others through the ranks and helping them with their own experience, and through mentoring relationships, we can help women to top management and beyond.
Support female politicians or run for office yourself. I recently read at Care2 Causes that one important way to make sure women’s rights are protected is by making sure women are equally represented in government, which currently, they’re not. As Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider recently told me, having only 19% women in the US Congress creates lopsidedness in legislation and a lack of diversity that hinders good governing. No one is leader by herself. Elected officials need a group and coalition to lead. It’s a two-way process of leadership and support with everyone working for the greater good.
Look at the global picture. Yes. Things are a mess at home, and your community and your country need your help, but things are also pretty scary for women and girls all over the world. There are so many worthy programs that can make a difference. For example, my Leading Women co-author, Rebecca Tinsley’s Network for Africa is doing amazing work. Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment Program is also having an impact through micro-loans, job training, and education – helping women and girls gain self-esteem and build self-confidence. In Ethiopia 1,000 women have attended the program since 2010. As a result, these women have experienced a 240% increase in income since joining the program. The Women’s Empowerment Program is proof that when women are given the opportunity to generate income, it not only impacts their families, it impacts their country’s economic standing.
Support other women. Find out what the women in your life need, and look for ways to help them. My Leading Women co-author Gloria Feldt works to inspire and propel women to reach parity in leadership across all sectors by 2025. Gloria has always supported other women, starting with providing birth control for teenage girls in a west Texas Planned Parenthood and rising to become President and CEO of Planned Parenthood’s national organization.  Gloria debunks the idea of a finite “you-win-I-lose” pie. The pie is actually infinite, she says.  “The more there is the more there is.” Her approach can be duplicated. We can reach out to women in the workplace and in the community to give them the tools they need to advance. That’s what the women-helping-women movement is all about, and when one woman wins, we all win.
Keep in mind as we go into the new year that mentoring, advocating, and volunteering provides you with opportunities to stretch yourself and step outside of your routine. It provides the opportunity to make a positive impact on the greater community.
Is there an organization in your community that resonates with you? A place where you can donate your time, treasure, or talent? You don’t have to donate a million dollars to make a difference. Instead, focus on what you can to do to improve the status of women and girls in today’s society. We are all sisters, and women need help all over the world. It’s our job to help them. When we do, we have an impact, not only on their lives, but on the lives of their children and future generations, entire countries, and indeed the world.
 
 

Empowering Story–Surviving to Thriving

Ragan ThomsonOvercoming a 20-year eating disorder was just one step Ragan O’Reilly Thomson took on her path to become the loving, compassionate and intuitive healer and Transformational Life Coach she is today. Ragan has recently partnered with her mother Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, to present Mother-Daughter workshops in Santa Barbara, CA. She also conducts couples counseling with her husband Alex, provides counseling on the phone and in person, and hosts goddess gatherings, and inspiring seminars. Her life has blossomed from surviving to thriving as she discovered her life’s work, which is to help others discover the healing she has experienced herself.

People Don’t Have to Suffer and Be Miserable

Having found joy in her own life, Ragan explains that most of us do not participate actively in our lives today but are instead asleep, thoughtlessly absorbing the collective unconsciousness in our culture. We listen to the media, see the movies and believe our friends and family when they make us feel less than we really are. When we begin to open our eyes to our authentic selves and see our paths more clearly, we rid ourselves of the roller coaster of highs and lows and wake up to abundant joy.

Dr. Nancy and Ragan agree that when you find your true passion and purpose, your daily life and the work you do are transformed into something beyond being merely happy. For Ragan, she says that it was like removing a lifetime’s build up of dust from a light bulb. Although she was born light and bright – like every person – she accumulated energy blockages that caused multiple problems. As she went through each stage of searching, first playing tennis, then acting and producing, she was really lost and weighed down by her life experiences. Then she found a spiritual community and a mentor and learned what was inhibiting her growth and knowledge of her true self. As she cleared away the blockages, she learned that she is a teacher and healer. She also discovered she could trust her own intuitive gifts.

You Can Wake Up and Live Your Dream

The Dali Lama says to “wake up.” Ragan says that while 95% of the world is still sleeping through their lives, more and more people are waking up. It is so easy today to find teachers that you only have to reach out and ask for help. You can search online for transformational teachers or spiritual healers and find someone in your community. She maintains that if everyone would recognize the god or goddess within them, we wouldn’t have wars, suffering and violence. We would find peace and live our dreams.

More Empowering News

Listen to this interview to learn more about Ragan’s story and the changes she sees happening across the planet. Check out her website for upcoming events and contact information. And visit dr.nancyoreilly.com for more information about Mother-Daughter workshops in the Santa Barbara area.

Inspiring Role Models Support Other Women

In the past few years, I’ve met some of the most inspiring women of my life. These women support other women by reaching out to help them succeed. These advocates for change know that the more women they help up the ladder, the more they will transform outdated ideas and create new possibilities for generations to come. Let me tell you about three of them.

A Leader and Mentor for Other Women

Inspiring Role Models

Dr. Johnetta Cole and friends

At the Diversity Woman Business Leadership Conference, I met Dr. Johnetta Cole who has an impressive record of accomplishments and determination to advocate for women. Dr. Johnetta turned 80 at the conference and currently serves as the director for the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. She grew up in the South when segregation was still legal, but her parents told her she could become whatever she wanted as an adult. She chose anthropology and higher education.
Eventually she became the first black woman to serve as president of Spellman College, which had been founded 106 years before to educate women of African heritage. Spellman developed under her 10-year leadership to rank as the number one regional liberal arts college in the South. She continues today in her advocacy for other women. Dr. Johnetta says in her “Makers” interview that she never goes to a meeting without taking a younger woman with her, giving her the opportunity to learn and be exposed to the community of women helping one another succeed.

A Role Model Who Helps Women of Color Take Their Rightful Place in Cinema

Inspiring Role Models

Terra Renee

I have noticed that African American women really understand the importance of sisterhood. At every event I attend, whether the Diversity Conference or more recently the African American Women in Cinema (AAWIC) Women of Excellence Salute Awards, I hear stories of collaboration and community. Terra Renee founded AAWIC 19 years ago after she encountered thousands of women just like herself auditioning for a minor part. Terra realized the importance of creating jobs for them, and not just the actresses, but the directors, producers and storytellers who need resources to get their story told. Women of all races are under-represented in every sector of business and government, but in cinema and the entertainment industry, they truly struggle to make their voices heard.
As Gloria Steinem says, “If we can’t see it, we can’t be it.” And the annual report by the Women’s Media Center, which she founded with Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan, says nothing had changed by 2015. Old boys continue to reward old boys and what is depicted as normal is anything but, with all women –– especially women of color –– under-represented in all areas from production to on-camera appearance. Women like Terra are working hard to change that picture. Terra says today’s internet media is helping. Women who can’t get their films distributed by mainstream Hollywood are instead uploading them to U-Tube where friends and family help generate the views that eventually earn them distribution contracts.

Generous Teacher Helping Women Change Their Relationship with Power

Inspiring Role Models

Gloria Felt at WES Awards

My Leading Women co-author Gloria Feldt, co-founder of Take the Lead, Inc. foundation is sharing her life’s work, the “9 Power Tools” curriculum with other women leaders. Her mission is to prepare, develop, inspire and propel women to reach parity in leadership across all sectors by 2025. Gloria has always supported other women, starting with providing birth control for teenage girls in a west Texas Planned Parenthood and rising to become President and CEO of Planned Parenthood’s national organization.  Gloria debunks the idea of a finite “you-win-I-lose” pie. The pie is actually infinite, she says.  “The more there is the more there is.” She works every day to create more opportunities for women by helping them transform their relationship with power. Check out TaketheLeadWomen.com to learn more about Gloria’s groundbreaking book, their free programs and 35 Leadership Ambassadors certified to deliver the training.
Are you thinking, I can’t start a foundation or serve as president of a college? Maybe not, but we can all do something. You may be surprised to hear that many corporations and community organizations are seeking women to serve on their boards. Statistics show that when women serve on boards, the organizations are more profitable and successful, so the feminine perspective is in demand.
If you don’t have time for community service, take the hand of another woman, like Dr. Johnetta does. Share a job opportunity with a friend. Call your sisters together at work or in your neighborhood. Create a supportive community of women and decide to do something positive together. Women are natural collaborators. You will be amazed at the momentum you can create when you reach out to help another woman. It doesn’t take any particular skill, college degree or cultural status. All it takes is a willingness to help and the courage to offer.  Sometimes the simplest gesture makes the most impact. How will you improve the world today? I know there’s a woman near you right now who needs your support.
~Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly, Founder and President, WomenConnect4Good, Inc.

Women Must Align with Their Power

Sarah Acer

Sarah Acer

When encouraged by her parents to pursue something in her life  to contribute to the betterment of society, Sarah Acer decided to connect in the most meaningful way. An award-winning global communications and development strategist, she founded and serves as managing partner for Align Communications and Creative, headquartered in New York City.
Align is a collective of six women who see themselves as industry disrupters and who left their respective big-brand careers to build a new kind of agency. Their full-service strategy and development firm works exclusively with government agencies, nonprofits, and socially conscious organizations looking to deliver social change and a positive impact to the world.

What Does Profit Really Mean?

Sarah sees a change in the way the world views profit. The United States is still focused on financial applications, but worldwide the perception is expanding to view it in terms of gains, such as increased longevity, decreased mortality rates, reduced HIV cases, etc. She says these gains for the good of society are more aligned with “outcomes” than the traditional view of profit. However, she expresses her wonder that investors will gamble on ten “for profit” businesses at $50,000 each and be happy if one of them makes a profit, while they see investing in a “non-profit/social profit” organization as a loss.
When Align works with a corporation, they make sure their community goals align with their business goals and unlike many businesses, they don’t create a foundation for foundation’s sake. They support the “triple-bottom line model” from the 90’s in which companies are concerned with people, profit and planet.

There is Power in Numbers.

Align has become the agency of record to help Take the Lead reach its goal of achieving parity for women by 2025. Sarah says that now is the time for women to join together and help each other. The US is far behind other countries in leadership. While over 60% of college graduates are women, only 20% occupy upper management and we rank 95th in the world in Congress. However, things are beginning to change.
Sarah cites an article in The Washington Post that talked about what happens when women really support other women. When the Obama took office, two-thirds of his top administration was male, made up of those who had worked for him during the campaign.  The women banded together and created an “amplification strategy” in which they repeated each other’s ideas and credited the woman who came up with the idea. More and more aids and staff joined in this sort of cabinet of leadership and got more women appointed through demonstrating and emphasizing women’s contribution.

Take the Lead’s Strategy

It’s a different take on how Leading Women co-author Gloria Feldt, founder of Take the Lead, is working to create an even bigger outcome for women supporting women. Gloria believes in the infinite pie: the more there is, the more there is. Create more women leaders at the top and we create more women leaders at every level and in every sector.
Sarah invites everyone to check out Take the Lead website for the many programs that are offered to women of all ages and at all states in their careers. There are many free resources, such as Virtual Happy Hours and online courses. Check it out also for how you can contribute in your own way to their efforts to bring women into a place where parity and equality is achieved. Sarah says that ultimately the goal of Align is to work themselves out of a job and there’s no longer a need to talk about women reaching equality any more.
Listen to this conversation for more intriguing insights into how feminine leadership is more profitable for both the companies and the communities they serve. And look at Align’s website for the impressive outcomes of organizations they have served.

Shelter and Support for Expectant Mothers

pexels-photo-54289-largeFor most expectant mothers, pregnancy can be a source of great joy as well as a cause for physical and emotional challenges. Those challenges multiply exponentially for the women who are both pregnant and experiencing the hardship of homelessness. There are approximately 8,000 pregnant women in Los Angeles County seeking shelter and support on any given night, yet there are only 69 beds available for them. Located in Santa Monica, Harvest Home provides eight of those beds as a part of their residential program for women and their babies. For over three decades, the organization has been providing care and resources needed, not only for healthy and successful pregnancies, but also to help these women become wonderful mothers for their children long term.
Leigh Flisher currently serves as a member of Harvest Home’s board of directors but started volunteering with the organization as a part of a community service project through her daughter’s school. As a mother herself, Leigh observed firsthand the impact of the work Harvest Home was doing with these women and children and was compelled to invest more of her time and energy in that work. She transitioned from volunteer to mentor, which allowed her to provide counsel and encouragement through personal relationships with the mothers involved in the program. As a board member, she now spends her time advocating the work of Harvest Home in the community and fostering supportive relationships with local businesses. Leigh even returned to school to earn a Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California in order to expand her ability to help those in need.
Passionate about helping the mothers at Harvest Home, Leigh helps them become the best mothers they can be, achieving success in their lives. She also recognizes the lasting influence the program is having on mothers. Harvest Home has developed an alumni program to give those who have successfully completed the program the opportunity to pay it forward. In fact, Leigh notes that roughly 90% of alumni stay involved in the alumni program. This not only speaks to the effectiveness of the program, but it’s also another shining example of women helping women. When we are able to grow through the difficult lessons life teaches us and pour our care and wisdom back into others, we all reap the benefits of the sisterhood of success.
Women Connect4Good is honored to support Harvest Home with a donation of $20,000. When asked what this donation might to do to support the organization, Leigh said that it will allow them to move their offices off-site creating space for more open beds. She also noted that the organization is hoping to open another location in the near future to be able to meet the needs of more women and children in the area.
To learn more about the work of Harvest Home and help us support them with you’re your own personal contribution to their work, visit their website at theharvesthome.net.

Momentum Increasing for Women Leaders

Women's Economic ForumWomen are making history every day, raising the bar and heading toward parity across the globe. It was never more evident than at the recent Women’s Economic Forum (WEC) I recently attended in India. I had been invited to present the goals of the Statue of Responsibility and put women’s roles in the forefront of that initiative. There, I joined thousands of women, men too, who came  to share their messages, learn about others and create a union among like-minded individuals who together can change the world. It’s this union of diverse people from around the world that has me convinced that the once-slow evolution of women leaders is becoming a movement that is placing strong, resourceful, resilient women in charge of the private sector and at the helm of ships of state worldwide.
I felt a similar wave at the Diversity Women’s Conference in Orlando last fall. The welcoming inclusion among all the women in attendance felt like a homecoming for me of women reaching out to support other women. In talking with Dr. Sheila Robinson about the upcoming conference in 2016, she said, “It’s about US.” That’s the point of the conference. It provides an event for individual women with their individual talents and strengths to come together and join their abilities to make, not just a difference, but an enormous positive impact in our world today.
An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” I would be nowhere at all if it weren’t for my sisters. In these larger groups, I began to understand that when a significant group of people also know and understand the power of the greater whole, it strengthens all of us: I am far better with you. I’m much stronger and have multiplied my resources. When I’m together with all these people in a room, I can do anything. That is truly empowerment.
All women are leaders in some capacity.  Our goal now is to educate them to perceive themselves as leaders. Collaboration, cooperation, inclusion and vulnerability have only recently been valued as valuable leadership traits. As more people are willing to combine their resources and develop working relationships, we will be astounded at the ease with which transformations will take place.
When times were tough, my women friends have been there for me. That’s one of the most important things I learned from those times: to value the gift of mentorship. When we give it, we receive far more. It is genuinely a two-way street. The more freely we share, the more bountiful are our gifts.
I want to urge all women to embrace this idea: reach out to others and ask them without any reservation, “How can I help you?” I have been doing this for years and have heard the astonishment in women’s voices at the idea, “You want to help ME?” These recent conferences I attended put me in touch with hundreds of people who had the same idea, to freely help one another. Ideas, praise, celebration and inspiring stories flowed so freely, I experienced some of my most cherished moments.
Are you reaching out to help others or are you attempting to hold them back from success? When I started to get my doctorate, people (often other women) asked me, “Who do you think you are? Who will raise your kids, take care of your family?” It made me work harder to prove that I could do it, to show my daughters what they could do in life and to provide a good role model. It’s time to stop trying to hold other women back. It’s time to encourage one another and support success for everyone. This is how we can increase the momentum so that women seeking and achieving leadership truly becomes a worldwide movement for positive change.
~Dr. Nancy

Sheila Robinson Turns Adversity into Opportunity

Sheila Robinson Turns Adversity into Opportunity

Dr. Sheila Robinson

Dr. Sheila Robinson is the poster woman for turning adversity into opportunity. As an African American born in the South, she faced barriers based on her looks and background that she didn’t think possible. She focused on solutions, not problems; she looked for ways to make things better and urged others to be the best they could be. Her journey through her life experiences, which sometimes hurt to the core, hardened her resolve to be a courageous advocate for women helping women and lifting up everyone from all races, cultures and backgrounds.
Sheila founded Diversity Woman Magazine for women seeking career advancement and a national conference that ranks among the most beneficial in the country. Among her many awards is being named one of the 50 Top Women in Magazine Publishing for her significant contributions. Her book, Lead by Example: An Insiders Look at How to Successfully Lead in Corporate America and Entrepreneurshipprovides practical guidance for women to succeed in corporate America and entrepreneurship, based on her own valuable experience. And most recently, Sheila became Dr. Sheila Robinson when she was awarded her Chief Learning Officer (CLO) Doctorate of Education at University of Pennsylvania.

We Are All Leaders

When Sheila wrote her book, she did it to share her journey, not understanding immediately that she had been developing leadership skills along the way. A question was presented to her once, “Are you born a leader or do you learn to be a leader?” She decided that it’s a bit of both. And in answering the question, she realized that we are all leaders, from administrators to CEOs. Her administrative assistant is the most phenomenal leader she knows and Sheila credits much of her success to her assistant.
Mothers are leaders who guide their children through behavior on the playground and at school.  Many women have a tendency to try to hold other women back when they try to be successful. Both Dr. Nancy and Sheila discuss how they confronted this behavior during their journeys. Sheila wonders if women have been so beaten down by society that we see ourselves as servants and can’t imagine being leaders. Her mission is to dispel the myths and help women see their best selves and their best potential for achieving their dreams.

Key to Advancing into Leadership- Mentorship

Sheila’s research demonstrated that one of the key elements to advancing is to build strategic relationships—in which mentorship, sponsorship and networking are at the core. She defines a mentor as being a person who agrees to share her expertise with another person for free. Since they aren’t being paid, the person being mentored needs to make it mutually beneficial for the mentor. Sheila lists several ways to make it a win-win relationship in this interview, but finally, she urges us to take the advice. No one wants to offer advice and see it go nowhere. She told a story about how she asked Dr. Maya Angelou what she could do for her, to which she replied, “Sheila, continue to do what you’re doing. That’s the greatest thing you can do for me.”

Women Helping Women—All of Us Working Together

Sheila credits her success, not to people who look like her, but instead acknowledges that her achievements come from the women and men from all races, cultures and backgrounds. That’s why she works so hard to educate and include everyone in the potential to be their best. Check out www.diversitywoman.com for more information about Sheila, her book, magazine and the 2016 The National Diversity National Women’s Leadership Council in Baltimore, Maryland, in October.
Listen to this interview to hear Sheila tell her own amazing story and Dr. Nancy’s and Sheila’s discussion about how women helping women and everyone working together can make anything possible.

Gina Champion-Cain Says Love What You Do

serial entrepeneur

Gina Champion-Cain

Love what you do and do the best job you can is the key to success from Gina Champion-Cain. She should know. From middle-class Michigan beginnings to 2015 recipient of San Diego Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” award, Gina is an amazing role model for women and men. A serial entrepreneur, she is CEO of American National Investments, Inc. and now claims the titles of real estate investor, business developer, restaurateur and inspirational speaker.
The important aspect of Gina’s background is that no one ever told her that she couldn’t do something because she was a girl. Her father told both her sister and her that they could do anything. Her grandmother worked with her grandfather in their business and provided a strong female role model. So the limits she encountered surprised Gina when she entered the man’s world of commercial real estate development.

Overcoming Gender Obstacles

Gina describes the men in commercial real estate as ego maniacs. She says it’s necessary to have a big ego to push past the obstacles to get developments off the ground. But in her first corporate job in the field, Gina encountered one more obstacle. People told her that she was crazy to enter this male-dominated, hyper-competitive profession. The CEO in the first big company she worked for actually told her that she was the smartest person in the company, but she was too pretty. She should ugly-up. At 24 years old, her response was to put her head down and work harder.
This first barb did prick her self-confidence though. And this conversation touches on how women have to encounter the image battle and deal with it in different ways no matter what career they choose. The media teases women with unreachable criteria that have nothing to do with how well they do their job.

Mentoring and Giving Back

Mentoring the young people in her businesses is one of Gina’s favorite things to do. First of all, she tells them that if they don’t love what they’re doing, pick something else. There is so much to choose from, there is no reason to do something you don’t like. You can’t be the best you can be if you don’t love what you do.
Gina also feels it’s a duty to give back to the community you live in. She was raised to take part in her community, but she also feels it’s a requirement to support the community that supports her business. It’s all give and take. Gina has helped San Diego to grow and it in turn supports her business.
If you’re planning a trip to San Diego, check out some of her projects: vacation rental homes in Mission Beach, The Patio Restaurant in Pacific Beach, The House of Blues in the Gaslamp Quarter, Saskas Steak and Sea Food, Swell Café and the coffee they serve there, Luv Surf leisure beach wear brand, and Luxury Farms gourmet kitchen and home store.
Listen to this conversation to learn more about how this very successful entrepreneur looks at work, life and how to get the best of both.

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