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We are in the business of providing women access to a more confident, connected, and balanced life and career.

BWUN Mindful Minutes™…

We realize that so many of our members’ lives are busy and complex leaving little time for them to just “be”. In an effort to provide the best return on membership, we partnered with Lawrence Pincus & Associates to provide a mini respite within our regular business meetings. We have incorporated “BWUN Mindful Minutes™” into our Valparaiso meetings. The topics will vary, but will center on finding balance and peace, dealing with toxic people in the workplace, and a vast array of other topics. Meet the therapist…

Christine Craigin is a licensed marriage and family therapist; trained and experienced helping people improve relationships in their lives. Whether it be a relationship with yourself, marriage, long term relationship, parent-child, or an adolescent stage; many people feel lonely, frustrated, at a loss, or confused what to do next. She believes that this is where therapy can be a valuable tool to help sort through the past or break through to a more hopeful future. She has experience working with married, separated, engaged, and divorced couples. She has worked with individuals and families struggling with anxiety and depression. She has also worked with parents who are struggling with oppositional and defiant behaviors from children and separation anxiety. Christine feels the dynamic of family therapy is very powerful and highly influential when used effectively and appropriately in a safe and healthy setting. (Source: http://www.lpacounseling.com/MeettheTherapists.en.html)

“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.”  

Thich Nhat Hanh

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TO MENTOR OR TO BE MENTORED?

The best mentors give you access to opportunities tomorrow that you don't have today. - Lisa Calhoum, -How to Mentor a Mighty Woman-

We will update this blog post with guest blog posts on mind + body + spirit + business topics to help you align your work and life.


To mentor or to be mentored? TisUntitled design (2) the question.

August 24, 2016

©Angela G. Crossin, 2016

You just joined an unknown network!”. Have you ever seen this pop up when you are trying to access a public network? Do you get frustrated when you keep getting denied access? Do you need someone to come along beside you to assist? Opening up that network leads to many opportunities for growth.

This is the same concept you can apply to a mentorship opportunity.  If we are talking the world of technology, the ‘reverse mentorship’  concept is relatively new; albeit, Jack Welch is attributed with bringing this concept to the U.S. many years ago in GE. 

                                                                                                    Reverse mentoring requires a big cultural shift…and successful programs dreamstimefree_127845need buy-in from the top. Finding the right match is also crucial. Companies need to set up ground rules, spell out expectations and invest in training.  –  Jackie Crosby, Companies turning to ‘reverse mentoring’ to tap millennials’ knowledge“.

What are the requirements for a successful mentorship relationship? Turns out that it depends. On what? Well, Baby Boomers have found millennials to be great mentors when it comes to technology and social media.

In fact, companies such as Target and United Healthcare are using the ‘reverse mentorship’ frequently. According to Ashlee Kieler of Consumerist in her article, Target, United Healthcare Tap Millennials To “Mentor” Veteran Workers, “Target and United Healthcare are among a slew of companies that are leaning on younger employees to keep veteran workers knowledgeable about technology, social media, and other evolving aspects of the marketplace in order to better engage and reach consumers”.

The key to any successful mentorship, however, is the quality of the relationship and making sure that a reciprocal relationship of give and take; and, yes, there is still room to learn from one another

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Another consideration when mentoring ‘rising stars’ — show, don’t tell. You know that Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”…the same applies when a seasoned mentor is mentoring a rising star. 

In fact, according to Lisa Calhoun of Valor Ventures in her Inc. article, 3 Ways to Meaningfully Mentor Rising Stars“The best mentors give you access to opportunities tomorrow you don’t have today. Whether it’s a golf group, an invitation-only business trip, or a board, access is the single most decisive way to help your rising stars shine.” The bottom line — mentorships provide mutual benefits, access to high quality networks, and a chance to give back and to receive in many ways. Aren’t one?  You need to be one.

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Angela Crossin is a business lawyer and estate planning attorney with a focus on small business startups, not-for-profits, succession planning and corporate governance and ethics. She teaches at Purdue, Northern Illinois, Trinity College and Valparaiso University in the areas of accounting, law and ethics.

Additionally, Crossin holds a master’s in accountancy from Purdue University and is a Certified Fraud Specialist™. She was in banking prior to the law and has worked with small business owners on the personal banking side.

Crossin’s role in her law practice is to work with small business owners to help them set up, efficiently run and manage their businesses, avoid legal pitfalls and develop a succession plan.

Crossin sees her role more as guiding her clients toward clear, concise and sound business decisions via providing a healthy dose of legal and pragmatic direction.

She oversees  a grassroots level not-for-profit, has sat on local and international boards and oversees Business Women United Network, a small women’s networking organization, which allows her to bring a unique level of expertise due to her first-hand experience with the business growing pains.

Angela recently became a certified One Page Business Plan™ consultant in June 2016. She was recently featured on CBS Small Business Pulse in an article entitled, Small Business Smarts: Experienced All-Around Attorney Shares 5 Tips To Outplay The Competition.  She has just recently been nominated as one of the 2016 Up and Coming Not-for-Profit by the 2016 Influential Women of Northwest Indiana.

Man Wearing Underwear

GAME ON: ‘IMAGINING FABIO’ WILL HELP YOU PREPARE FOR YOUR NEXT PRESENTATION

WE BALANCE WOMEN | BLOG

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Weekly, we will update this blog post with guest blog posts on mind + body + spirit + business topics to help you align your work and life.


GAME ON: ‘IMAGINING FABIO’ WILL HELP YOU PREPARE FOR YOUR NEXT PRESENTATION

July 21, 2016

©Jessica London Klemz, 2016

Who was it that said if you are nervous before a presentation you should imagine your audience in their underwear? No one knows for sure. I teach public speaking and I can tell you, that’s not a helpful hint. But Fabio – well, he’s a different story.

Yes, I said Fabio- the man who needs no further introduction. The one not mired down in trivial details like last names.

That chiseled bod beset with attentively photo-shopped fake sweat-dew. The sheer perfection of form I presume would inspire a Roman sculptor to tears.  His river of hair- wind whipped, sunburnt, and blowing in a perpetual breeze away from his sturdy face…astonishingly, this man has no ‘bad side’.

The camera loved him straightaway, and the affair was mutual. He arrived in our world as if he’d just floated in on one of Michelangelo’s ethereal clouds, adorning our television screens in that ‘not butter’ commercial. Fabio was dropped square into our collective consciousness, hijacking our fantasies-the epitome, and a caricature, of all things manly.

His mere materialization understandably provoked ridicule, especially from those who just didn’t get it- ‘it’ being the fascination with him.

Fabio has enjoyed a long run of what some might wryly call ‘over’ exposure; boldly dawning the covers of romance novels and appearing steadily in commercials and cameos over the years. In case you need a portable form of Fabio, he’s even a paper doll, complete with ruffled pirate shirt-and winterized loincloth-of course.

Fabio doesn’t shy away from parody, often poking fun at himself. Sure he’s been lampooned. But make no mistake; Fabio is on top of his game. And with a quick study, you, too, can see why imagining Fabio can help you with your next public speaking event.

So, no- I am not going to ask you to picture him in his underwear [insert disappointed sigh here].

Man Wearing Underwear

Instead, I offer the following (below not above):

BE THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

Sure he’s handsome- and I argue- he’s not just another pretty face. Think about it for a moment. It takes incredible grounding to prepare oneself for the energetic bevy of women approaching in waves when he’s out in public.

Take a page from Fabio’s playbook before you are tasked with any public speaking event that has the potential to make you nervous. Root yourself, both physically and emotionally.

Do what needs to be done to get ready for your big event, including that which falls to the wayside- planning for adequate food, rest and hydration. Do what the stars do. I realize you don’t have ‘people’ just yet to do your bidding – so personally check out the speaking venue yourself. This will increase your confidence, and help you mitigate issues with lights, sounds and the technology you depend on to make your presentation successful.

Is the space large or intimate? Will you need a microphone or can you keep it real by projecting your voice? Does the venue have everything you need to hook up your presentation (hello, adaptors)? Don’t take that last point for granted. To prepare, use your mind’s eye to run through the event- see yourself standing tall, ready for the storm– whether it’s rapid fire Q & A, or an awkward convo with a fan of your work. Be ready for whatever comes your way.

 FOCUS ON YOUR AUDIENCE

Have you ever wondered why some stars have a reputation for charming the intractable? Here is the secret: they make you feel like you are the only person in the room. You can do this, too. At the moment of engagement, you can’t be thinking about the way your zipper is catching the hair at the nape of your neck, or that if you knew Daniel Craig was coming you would have definitely gone with the kitten heels.  The audience needs to feel they are the ones who matter.

This is where the rubber meets the road.  The Practice Makes Perfect. On these occasions, enjoy the limelight, and don’t forget what really makes a presentation memorable.

A good public speaker makes the connection with the audience by knowing her subject matter, knowing her time limits and having rehearsed the presentation over and over again, she anticipates every action she will take in advance.

The extraordinary speaker leaves a great impression because she conveys the material emotionally to the audience by forging relationships around the room with her eyes. She is not reading off slides or staring down at notes. Like a favorite movie- the one with the deliciously ambiguous ending – the audience is left both satisfied while privily yearning for more.

As for the social aspect of the presentation- the oft dreaded ‘meet and greet’- learning how to make small talk is key when greeting large groups.  Is your body language approachable? Are you listening well? Are you making meaningful eye contact? Don’t forget an important star quality is learning how exit a conversation gracefully. After all, your (other) fans await you!

THE FABIO EFFECT

Yes, I have had the pleasure of meeting Fabio. And I was instantly reduced to a pile of mush. This wasn’t my first rodeo. In fact, my attitude has always been to just be cool about these sorts of things. When I was fourteen, I took a plane home from Florida without my parents.

On the plane was one of my favorite bands. The platinum hair, with the requisite braided side tail, was a dead give away for the angsty lead singer, despite the overly large sunglasses she hid behind. I didn’t flinch.

I barely cast an eye her way as the band slept in the back row. Into the flight, as I left the small plane bathroom, there it was- someone said ‘cool sneakers’ or somesuch as I walked by, and next thing I know I was invited to sit in the back row.

Before we touched down, the drummer asked if I wanted an autograph. “Yeah, ok. Sure.” I said, carefully playing it down like it was no big deal. Inside, of course, I was happy. This was, after all, a band I REALLY admired. The point is I managed to contain myself. Fabio was a different story. Fabio’s superpower is the gift of connection.

Zipping ahead, it’s thirty years later. Fabio is at a tradeshow hocking his wares (a supercharged protein shake mix). He drew me in for a conversation by the booth. He spoke passionately about his product line– the sourcing, the detailed care and consideration he put into the ingredient selection.

His authentic zeal for health was palpable. He made me feel like I was the most interesting person in the room. The cascade of women- I could feel them behind me. Was it envy I sensed? I felt hot and nervous, suddenly über self-conscious.

My forehead, now emitting small beads of sweat, let go of a long, pushed back bang that lapped my face, catching my eyelashes. I pushed it away, and it came back again.

What was happening to me? I didn’t want to appear like I had nervous tick. I had to play it cool. I couldn’t brush it back twice, no- that would be too revealing- he would see beyond my rogue bang, square into my starstruck eyes. Fabio would see I was a captive to his light.

The wall of women- I could feel them pressing in with exasperation, their folded arms tightening, their impatience mounting, wondering when it would be their turn. Undeterred by the surroundings, or the passing of time, Fabio spoke with conviction. Slowly. Deliberately. He wasn’t in a rush.

You see, if Fabio were a Graceling, his talent would be his mastery of presence. Like two old friends having a macchiato in a corner café, his soft voice drew me in and held me there. That’s the Fabio effect. Our chat was memorialized in a cellphone snap. I will always remember his droll, Mona Lisa smile with affection.

When times get tough, whether on stage or working the crowd, just slow down and visualize YOUR presence- how you show up with others. Imagine you are talking to an old friend. Create the space for a real connection.

Resist the urge to feel pressure, and don’t speed up your conversation or speech, in fact, practice slowing down. Be passionate. Be deliberate. Know your subject matter. Leave moments of silence for questions and feedback. The rest will take care of itself.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

You wrote it, abandoned it, and wrote it again. You pulled every outfit that posed as remotely passable out of the closet only to run to the Mall the night before to find a new dress ‘just in case’.

For weeks you had intermittent, fitful, clammy dreams about standing at the front of the room- wordless, and suffocating in a blanket of silence and anxiety of your own creation. You are not alone. We have all been there.

At the end of the day, the presentation you obsessed over will have come and gone and you’ll hardly remember why you worried about it in the first place.

Your fear WILL be replaced by joy at the first resounding clap from your enthusiastic audience. Visualizing in advance, you can see the entire evening play out positively.You are now challenged to keep it all in perspective – keep it light.

You’ve got this. If you’ve done your homework, it will all come together beautifully. Just imagine Fabio, world-class heartthrob. If he doesn’t take himself too seriously, neither should you.

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Jessica London Klemz holds an M.A. in Communication and Creative Arts from Purdue University Calumet. As a scholar, writer, and public speaker, she’s found her passion in studying the cultural impact of knitting through ethnography and autoethnography.

She is the founder of (www.dishyknits.com), where she shares her love knitting while exploring knit traditions from around the world. Klemz is a founder of Close-Knit Guild For Fiber Arts Enthusiasts (www.closeknitguild.com)  located in Northwest Indiana.

She works in Marketing at Home Mountain Printing (www.homemountain.com), and as an Adjunct Lecturer at Purdue University Northwest.

We Balance Women

Giving and Getting. Grace. 

Angela Crossin | BWUN President

“What is your grace, my sweetheart?” Are you a skilled writer? Can you knit like a factory? Are you a skilled cook? Are you an in-demand speaker? We all have been “graced” with some talent. Author Kristin Cashore wrote a book entitled “Gracelings”. The opening question queried above is a line from her book.

The book is a non-fiction creation. Gracelings is a non-fiction term created by author Kristin Cashore to define someone who is Graced–that is, he or she has an extreme skill according to Urban Dictionary who describes a Graceling, for example, as, “Someone who is Graced with swimming may be able to swim as efficiently as a fish.”

The lead character is a female — mind you — by the name of Katsa. Katsa is graced with the skill of killing. We have all been given talents of some sort. You have been GRACED with with some talent(s). Are you squandering yours? Are you sharing yours? Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to make the world a better, smarter, lovelier, and more talented place. I feel that is our obligation to future generations.

Maybe your  Grace is the art of giving grace? Maybe you are really good at giving grace to the irritable?  You are a Grace Graceling.

Have you thought about that? Are you skilled at giving grace to someone who wrongs you? Talks bad about you? Turns their back on you? Stabs in the back and not in the front? Brings you emotional turmoil? Steals from you — time, talent, ideas, and/or money?  Do you need to show grace to him, her, or them? 

When dealing with offensive or irritating people, we need to look past the behavior to the pain. Because everything we do is motivated by something. When people are hurting others, it’s because they’re hurting on the inside. Hurt people hurt people. 

This does not mean to rush over and gush over the individual(s). This does not mean that you need to compromise your integrity or values to concede to ill behavior. Perhaps it is as simple as loving that person where they are at. Forgiving. Forgetting. Moving on. Sharing your talent for grace.

It is something I am personally working on and that I want to carry through to BWUN. We are a strong tribe and only as strong as our weakest link. I will be working on my skill set in the area of getting and giving grace. We all should. We will be exploring how to give and get grace in our next week’s blog and exploring in our monthly Mindful Minutes™.

Oh, yes, we are starting a blog. We are seeking guest bloggers. Seek us out at info@business-women-united.com.

Give Grace. Get Grace.

GRACE
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