Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Allow me to introduce myself – my name is Phyllis R. Neill, and I am the CEO of SheMentor, a communications portal created to support awareness of the issues faced by today's professional female business executives, and to provide advice in general to executive women on navigating tricky corporate landscapes. After 20 years of success in executive management, I decided to try my hand at professionally dispensing advice through articles I’ve written on my website. And although I’m not nearly profitable enough to “quit my day job”, running SheMentor has been the most fun and rewarding experience of my career!
Now – I’m not a complete technological ignoramus, but the idea of creating and maintaining my own website was rather daunting in the beginning. I ended up utilizing a company named Doodlekit, who essentially offers a website “in a can”, allowing lots of customization and personalization, all without having to know HTML. They are VERY affordable; in fact, you can get started with them for free to see how you like it. Doodlekit allowed me to get up and running in a really short period of time, and allowed me to really focus on growing my own business, not spending hours maintaining a web site.
Building the content for my site on an ongoing basis requires quite a bit of discipline and planning. Since I do still work a full-time job, I have to be very disciplined about setting a schedule for when I will write, when I will contribute articles, when I will respond to e-mail inquiries, etc. – or else the work “piles up” on you. The primary way I market my business is through social networking – I belong to several women’s business communities, and the process of being active and participating with comments and advice drives a lot of my target market directly to my site. Two of my favorite women’s business sites are WomenCo, and WomenEntrepreneuer.
I hope you’ll join me on SheMentor – I am constantly looking for advice and direction from other business women on the types of articles they’d like to read about, and other concrete forms, pieces of advice, or templates I could provide that would be beneficial to you in your careers. I plan to blog on this site from time to time, so I am looking forward to creating an “e-relationship” with each of you guys! For now – thanks for reading, because as one of my web site taglines says - “I have a lot to say!”
Phyllis R. Neill is the architect of the widely publicized and fast-growing website http://www.shementor.com, a communications portal created to support awareness of the issues faced by today's professional female business executives, and to provide advice in general to executive women on navigating tricky corporate landscapes. Her 20+ years in executive management have taught her a thing or two about how to manage businesses - and how to treat people.
Throughout her distinguished career, Phyllis has served in leadership positions for a variety of different business sectors, including computer software, healthcare IT, advertising, and media ratings, just to name a few. She has served as the Chief Operating Officer of a new passive media research technology firm. She has served as Vice President, General Manager for a media research computer software company, working successfully through such issues as company-wide reorganizations, acquisitions, and the launching of several new product lines. Phyllis is the published author of a wide variety of articles on business, employment, and leadership.
Monday, July 21, 2008
When I began Arts to Grow I understood the need for schools and community organizations to work with arts education organizations to deliver quality arts programming. I also knew the amazing benefits that arts learning can provide inner-city kids. I forged ahead to create a fully functional organization that engages professional teaching artists working directly with kids and leverages financial resources of donors with the contributions of pro-bono services from professionally skilled volunteers. Our growing cadre of over 30 skills-based volunteers includes marketing, media, financial, web 2.0 and nonprofit professionals making it possible to begin building a sustainable organization.
I am pleased to say that Arts to Grow is expanding at a healthy rate. Since its inception, Arts to Grow has increased from three to eleven partner schools and community organizations and now serves over 300 kids annually living in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, and Hoboken and Newark, New Jersey. One of the major challenges we face working in an educational area of great need is meeting the funding demand to take on new partner schools and centers. Right now, over 50 public schools and community centers have expressed an interest in Arts to Grow programming and are on a waiting list. To provide inner-city kids free quality arts classes and be priced within reach of public schools and community organizations, our fees to them are highly subsidized, at about 25% of our program costs. The cost of an average Arts to Grow program is $5,000 providing a 12-week long program serving 15-18 kids. Donations both big and small make a significant impact. Donations can be made online by visiting www.artstogrow.org and clicking donate.
One way Arts to Grow drives funding is through its annual Heart to HeART benefit to be held again in February 2009. The goal of this year’s benefit is to increase funding for scaling our program operations from serving 300 to 600 kids annually. As I watch Arts to Grow and its students blossom, I must say, I am truly proud of the progress we've made as an organization.
For more information please visit www.artstogrow.org. To find out how to volunteer for the Heart to HeART benefit or to buy a ticket please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
FastCompany.com (FC) has given me the honor of serving as Group Coordinator and Forum Leader for their Social Responsibility section. They are still working out some of the usability kinks, but I invite you all to join the site and the forum. I would like to post a Social Responsibility topic on FC of particular interest to NYWSE, and then invite you all to post there. I hope that it can serve to give the group some added PR and help boost your visibility, while at the same time raising awareness of issues to the international FC readership.
One topic that interests me is women’s role as leaders in CSR initiatives. Do you think women are the key players, even if they are sometimes not given a highly visible role? Or are they too often relegated to the "fall guy" press secretary position? How have women entrepreneurs shaped the social responsibility landscape in the new millennium?
Let me know if you think this is a good direction for a Fast Company discussion -- or maybe you have a better idea.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
A new study recently conducted among employees at today's companies (large and small) shows that nine out of ten employees see brand reputation as the most important reason to address social and environmental impacts, yet 83% of companies have not fully incorporated their corporate responsibility performance into business metrics.
Around 54% of employees remain confused over how environmental and social impacts are addressed, or feel that they are kept in silos. Most employees want more education and resources on corporate sustainability as only one in ten feels completely prepared.
Employees ranked GE, HSBC, Intel, J&J, Marks & Spencer, Nike, Patagonia, Starbucks, Timberland, Unilever, and Wal-Mart as among the most socially responsible companies in a new study, recently completed by Fresh Marketing.
So while the newspapers scream about climate change and green issues every day, ads promote energy saving habits and brands go further to comply with greener standards, how can we, as employees, really get involved?
From developing informational videos and podcasts, to writing articles for company newsletters, to hosting seminars, some employees are working to educate their peers on sustainability.
The report includes interviews with several executives who volunteered stories about how small steps led to profound changes at their organizations, altering the working environment for the better, and strengthening the bottom line.
Read the study here: 2008 Corporate Sustainability Employee Study
If you want to be interviewed, participate in ongoing research on this topic, or feel as passionate about the topic as we do, please contact us at email@example.com.
Monday, July 14, 2008
For many, that dream involves a transition from one career to another—and all the associated stress and anxiety. Can I succeed outside my comfort zone? Do I have the technical and educational skill sets to find viable employment in another capacity? How will I manage my fears and expectations and those of friends and family? Take heart. There are many things you can do to prepare for a rewarding second career.
First, take stock of your career progress. What are your 5 most significant achievements and defeats? Which actions are you willing to own on your part that brought about those successes or failures? You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been, as the saying goes. Understanding what it is that brings about a successful result for you will give you the confidence to try new waters. Conversely, finding your weak spots will show you what needs work to avoid making the same mistakes in a different milieu. Do you need help identifying your strengths and weaknesses? Try eliciting feedback from those who know you well.
Second, evaluate your skills. List them according to categories such as organizational, problem-solving, managerial, and oral and written communications. Note the environments in which these skills are deployed—at home, at work, in your community, etc. Many, if not most, skills are transferable. Demonstrate a track record of success.
Third, build a transition plan. Putting thoughts into words and words into actions will help you manage your anxiety. How much do you know about your target occupation? Where can you go to learn more? Are there business or behavioral competencies you need to acquire to make it work? Think about your future and imagine what you want it to look like. How will that future look in five and ten years?
With a little introspection, you can retool your career to align with who you are or who you want to be.
Linda Tancs, J.D. is a personal, organizational and executive coach dealing in career management and transition, workplace issues, work/life balance and entrepreneurial challenges. She has a specialty practice coaching legal professionals. Learn more at www.latancs.com and www.jurismart.com.
Friday, July 11, 2008
The most important thing is to know how you define success. All too often, success is defined in dollars – the more the better - even if you are too busy and too tired and too grumpy to enjoy that money. I have a different definition of success – it’s achieving the right combination of money, lifestyle, personal fulfillment, and contribution to society. Sounds pretty straightforward, no? Well I am constantly surprised by the number of people out there who give up the latter three for more and more money. Greed? Maybe. But it partly may be the inability to understand what one’s true goals are. You’ve all heard the story of the fisherman who lives on an island, decides to expand his fishing business to several boats, builds a big fishing company and can’t wait to retire so he can be a fisherman on an island? When you start off, and especially when you get to that critical point of taking the business to the next level, stop and think about how you define success. Don’t enter into the next big thing just because it is there and will make money. Be careful what you wish for.
Now, I am not saying that I haven’t worked my rear end off in my entrepreneurial life. Entrepreneurs are some of the hardest working folks I know. But it’s important to be clear about what you want. When my software company was making a few million dollars, I had a staff of employees that I adored and clients that kept me feeling useful and satisfied. I could have done that for the rest of my life. My business partner at the time had very different goals. It was all about the exit strategy. To that end, I engaged in activities that were neither satisfying nor close to my core. To his benefit, the company was acquired in a strategic acquisition, but I often wonder if we could have achieved the same outcome just plugging along and doing our thing. And if not, surely making a nice salary, loving what you do, being your own boss, and feeling good about daily decisions is not such a bad place in which to be.
Gia Machlin is the Founder of EcoPlum, Where it Pays to Buy Green™. EcoPlum is a company that provides incentives and information for the purchase of environmentally sound products. Gia’s previous ventures include Plan Data Mangement and the Machlin Consulting Group.
EcoPlum will be launching its website this summer.