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Welcome to Webgrrls Wisdom, a blog to find commentaries about women's careers, business, technology, and the industry.

Posts published in 'Mentors & Motivators' category

The face of female leadership throughout time – 75 women leaders

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Business, Education, Leadership, Mentors & Motivators, Technology
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March is Women’s History Month, the theme is empowerment through education. As I started to consider what I knew about the role of women leaders throughout history, I decided to come up with a list of 75 inspirational female leaders through time, some of these are for fun others are truly admirable women …. Some I knew of, others I got to know while researching this list – ALL are fascinating and brave who have contributed to our history.

Please share this list with your friends, sisters and daughters – and come up with one of your own, the more we know about women, the more we are empowered with “her-story”.

  1. The women in my family who emigrated from Cuba with nothing, and managed our family in exile :)
  2. Asmaa Mahfouz (1987 – ) Egyptian activist, founder of the April 6 Youth Movement
  3. Sheryl Sandberg (1971 – )
  4. Arianna Huffington (1950 – )
  5. Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, Supreme Court (1954 – )
  6. Zaha Hadid, First Woman to Win a Pritzker Prize (1950 – )
  7. Michelle Bachelet (1951 – ) Ms. Michelle Bachelet Under-Secretary-General Executive Director of UN Women, former President of Chile  
  1. Angela Merkel (1954 – ) Chancellor of Germany
  2. Kazuyo Sejima (1956 – ) SANAA Japanese architect 
  3. Wangari Maathai (1940 – 2011) Founder of Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace prize
  4. Hillary Clinton (1947 – ) US Secretary of State, former First Lady
  5. Madeleine Albright (1937 – ) Former US Secretary of State, first woman.
  6. Isabel Ayende (1942 – )
  7. Benazir Bhutto (1953 – 2007)
  8. Mother Theresa (1910 – 1997)
  9. Margarret Thatcher (1925 – )
  10. Gloria Steinem (1934 – )
  11. Sirivamo Bandaranaike (1916-2000) Sri-Lanka, First elected woman prime minister
  12. Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers (U.F.W.) (1930
  13. Antonia Coello Novello first Latina Surgeon General of the United States.
  14. Julia Child (1912 – 2004)
  15. Princess Diana (1960 – 1997)
  16. Margaret Mead (1901 – 1979)
  17. Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005)
  18. Indira Gandhi Prime Minister of India (1917 – 1984)
  19. Golda Meir (1898 -1978)
  20. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, USNR  (1906 – 1992) Computer pioneer
  21. Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954)
  22. Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946)  
  23. Valentina Tereshkova (1937 – ) Cosmonaut, first woman in space
  24. Amelia Earhart (1897 – 1937?) 
  25. Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910) 
  26. Juliette Gordon Low (1860 – 19270 Founder of the Girl Scouts 
  27. Marie LaVeau (1801 – 1881) Voodoo Queen of New Orleans and famous herbalist.
  28. Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)
  29. Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 – 1896) 
  30. Pocahontas (1594 0 1615) 
  31. Joan of Arc  (1412 – 1431)
  32. Madame Curie (1867 – 1934) The Nobel Prize in Physics 1903
  33. Wilma Mankiller  (1945 – ) First woman to lead the Cherokee Nation
  34. Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906)
  35. Clara Barton (1821-1912) Founder of the Red Cross
  36. Frances Perkins (1882-1965) First woman member of the presidential Cabinet 
  37. Mary Lyon (1797-1849) Founder of Mt. Holyoke College, first college for women in the US
  38. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1651 – 1695) Mexican poet, writer
  39. Anne Bonny (1698-1782) Female pirate 
  40. Marie Antoinette (1755 – 1793)
  41. Isabella I of Castile Queen of Spain (1451 – 1504)
  42. Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901)
  43. Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 - 1204)
  44. Elizabeth I Queen of England (1533 – 1603)
  45. Queen Sukda of Mandara (Cameroon) (Around 1500)
  46. Regent Dowager Empress Eleni of Ethiopia (1507-1516)
  47. Governor Sayyida al-Hurra of Tetouán (Morocco) (1510-1552 )
  48. Maria Theresa of Hapsburg (1717-1780) Empress of Austria
  49. Queen Regnant Anacaona of the Maguana (early 1500) Taino Tribe Hispanola
  50. Catherine the Great Empress of Russia (1729 – 1796)
  51. Verónica I of Matamba ruler of Ndongoand Matamba (1681-1721)
  52. Lady Isabel Xipaguazin Moctezuma of Tacuba (1525-1550) Mexico
  53. Regent Dowager Duchess Chiara Giorgio of Athenai (1451- 1454) Greece
  54. Female King Atotoztli of Tenochtitlán (1466-1472) Mexico
  55. Princess Regnant Bigum Hatun of Qara Quyünlü (1435-67) Iran/Iraq 
  56. Governor Lucrezia Borgia of Spoleto and Foligno (1480 – 1519) Italy
  57. Queen Regnant Paccha of Quito (Cara) (1487-1488)  (Ecuador)
  58. Empress Theodora  (500 – 548)
  59. Wu Zetian (690 – 705)
  60. Cleopatra (69 – 30 BC)
  61. Makeda, Queen of Sheba (10th century B.C.)
  62. Chieftainess Sharifa Fatima of the Zaydi (Yemen) (1450-1500)
  63. Taoist Priest Empress Zhang in China (1493 – )
  64. Empress Liu (Wu) (318–349)
  65. Kubaba (only queen on the Sumerian King List) (2500-2330 BC)
  66. Sapho (580 – 570)
  67. Esther from the bible
  68. Deborah was one of the Judges of Israel

Do you know another woman leader that I didn’t mention? please let me know in the comment section.

Parlodel

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Can’t we ALL just get along??? The rise of incivility

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Business, Career, Education, Leadership, Mentors & Motivators, Technology
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Civility in America should be an inalienable right. Americans have a right to defend their names and explain their actions and opinions, but the increasing unruliness in the public square is worrisome and demands attention and new solutions.
~ Jack Leslie, Chairman of Weber Shandwick

This time of year tends to bring out the best and worst in all of us, we are constantly reminded to do good throughout the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving and ending somewhere around New Year’s Day. These holidays remind us that we are ALL humans, sharing this little planet we call earth.  

However, lately I have noted a disturbing trend of incivility, at the workplace and everywhere. Sometimes, the consequences of these acts culminates in injury and the loss of life, as we have witnessed during Black Friday’s most popularized incidents of pepper-spray and blood in the shopping aisles. These type of incidents where not isolated, and in fact there are reports of this happening from coast to coast, one of the worst was in a mall parking lot near Atlanta, GA where two men got into a parking spot altercation and one shot the other dead. 

YouTube Preview Image

Watching this video makes me think of how sharks react during a feeding frenzy.

In fact, according to the study “Civility in America 2011″ conducted by KRC Research, most Americans report they have been victims of incivility (86%). Their most common encounters with rude or disrespectful behavior come while driving (72%) or shopping (65%).

The study also reveals that Americans admit to perpetrating incivility — approximately six in 10 (59%) Americans acknowledge that they themselves have been uncivil.

It’s not only in the shopping mall, but also in professional exchanges that I have noticed ruder language and uncivil behaviors, on occasion leading to violence. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines incivility as “seemingly inconsequential inconsiderate words and deeds that violate conventional workplace conduct.” The study found that 86% of Americans report they have been victims of incivility. The same survey also found that over a third of the respondents believe incivility in the workplace is on the rise.

I have also heard from jobseekers who are experiencing a tremendous amount of incivility from recruiters and employers alike – and it’s not just the unanswered phone calls and questions, it’s just plain rude responses, with a total lack of compassion. Often times people mask their rude behavior by saying something like “it’s my honest opinion” “I’m going to give it to you straight” etc.

Incivility can come from co-workers or the public sector, in the 2009 Institute of Education Science (IES) School Principal Survey on Crime and Safety, approximately 11% of school principals reported that students were verbally abusive to their middle and high school teachers.

The cost of rudeness and incivility

In the 2009 book The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility Is Damaging Your Business and What To Do About It, my former Thunderbird Professor Christine Pearson and Christine Porath say that the problem of incivility in the workplace has been compounded by our increasing tolerance of nasty behavior as a culture.

Surveys by researchers Porath and Erez, indicate that in the workforce, after experiencing rudeness most people lose time and focus, work less and slack off more, and think more about leaving the organization. In addition, 94% of people get even with the rude person or with their organization (88%). 

Does this have a deeper meaning?

The latest scientific research backs up with detailed molecular and cellular mechanisms what June Cleaver (and we) always knew intuitively, that through adolescence, the human brain is molded by the social environment in which a child is reared. A disrespectful, stressful social environment is a neurotoxin for the brain and psyche, and the scars are permanent.
~  Neurobiologist; Author, The Other Brain

 

  1. Are common courtesy civility, manners, and politeness a thing of the past?
  2. Are Americans becoming ruder as the economy is spiraling downward?
  3. What happened to our society?

According to Neurologist Dr. Douglas Fields – people (and animals) living together in large numbers must develop strict formalized behaviors governing interactions between all individuals in the group, or there will be strife and chaos. …. “The formal “Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma’am,” is not a showy embellishment in the military; strict respect and formal polite discourse are the hub of the wheel in any effective and cohesive social structure. Stress is a neurotoxin, especially during development of a child’s brain.

During the last 2 years I have traveled extensively, and I am always “shocked” when I encounter a polite culture – it would seem that even the French are far more civil and polite than we are. But it wasn’t always like this, when I was in school we where taught manners and etiquette at a young age, and respect for adults – this is unheard of today – so I hold little hope for the pendulum to swing back any time soon.

So what’s the answer?

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. ~ Mark Twain

Even though our “society” is becoming ruder, I am trying to stay on track leading with kindness, consideration and respect in business – OK, I don’t always succeed. Not only does this feel right to me, and is in line with my core values, but I believe that people who demonstrate decency and kindness have better relationships. In the end, the kind person wins over the people who have a continual “attitude”. 

When people are consistently rude, it’s important to call them out on it. If it entails common courtesy, it’s usually best to deal with it one on one, but if it involves actions potentially perceived as bullying or harassment, it’s a good idea to get human resources, involved.

Take a moment, smile and be kind – it NEVER hurts. 

 

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Doing what you love – just like Andy Rooney

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Blogs, Business, Career, Leadership, Marketing, Mentors & Motivators, Technology, Work-Life Balance
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Don’t get a “job”, create a life and career you love – why not?

I’ve done a lot of complaining here, but of all the things I’ve complained about, I can’t complain about my life…….. And all this time I’ve been paid to say what is on my mind on television, you don’t get any luckier in life than that.
~ Andy Rooney

One of the things that struck me during the coverage of Andy Rooney’s life and passing, was his resolute claim that he did what he loved professionally for 70 years – and in fact he did it right up to his passing at the age of 92. Some would say that he was one of the privileged few, but I say why not do something you love to do professionally? why shouldn’t we all do what we love?

Living your life’s passion can not only be extremely rewarding but can lead to prosperity. Interestingly, most creative professionals that I know, will tell you that they do what they love – why can’t this be true for everyone?

Watch Gary Vaynerchuk’s funny and inspiring video. Gary is a 35 year old New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Selling author and a self-trained wine and social media expert, and the founder of Winelibrary.com.

Gary Vaynerchuk: Do what you love (no excuses!) TED Talk

YouTube Preview Image This video contains (mostly) adult language

Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.
~ Wayne Dyer

Have you asked yourself:  What do you love to do? What do you care about? What sparks you? Find your niche, whether it’s working for a non-profit or becoming an entrepreneur creating a company based on your passion?

  1. Is there something you already love doing, a hobby? 
  2. Care about your self first – figure out what you love and then do it.
  3. Study the market carefully and you will find opportunities. Consider conducting a market survey with potential customers to uncover untapped needs, position yourself to succeed

I am not suggesting that you leave your great paying job tomorrow …. but really think about it, plan it and pursue it. Start in small steps, and work on pursuing your passion after you leave the job you are lukewarm about.

Here are 3 stories of people I know who are pursuing their passions:

People might tell you, you can’t do it, you will starve – well I am here to tell you that you can! Here are 3 stories, of people that I personally know, who are making a go at it in 3 very different ways.

  • Molly Butler, someone I know in Atlanta was just laid off – she actually enjoyed her full-time job, but her true love is pets. This past year she started Wag & Purr, a pet sitting services she was growing on the side. Now, it’s a no brainer, the passion she had as a side business will most certainly grow and provide her a great income – because she loves it. 
  • I have a friend who has been a writer his entire career – he has written for major publications, the news – you name it. But recently he started working on writing a book about 2 of his great loves – Sports and cooking.  There is no doubt in my mind that this venture will be successful, because his passion makes him a credible source, that and the fact that there are so few cookbooks geared to men. 
  • Rob Mazze was a well respected Executive at a large New York advertising agency, who got laid off less than 2 years ago. When that happened, he went through a period of introspection about WHAT to do next, and decided to follow his passion for yoga, (which he regularly practiced for 20 yrs.). He enrolled in the teacher training program at Yoga to the People and is now registered as an instructor by the Yoga Alliance. Keep in mind that he went from a highly paid executive job to being a student and re-building his career and income. In a very short time he has built a private clientele as well as regularly instructing at several studios. I have no doubt that his business will grow, and if he chooses he will soon be running his own studio.  

These are just a few of the stories I know personally, you get the idea …. define yourself by your passion, build your business based on that definition and you will have an instant brand for yourself and your business, and that is something that potential customers are naturally drawn to.

Passion is important, especially in your work life since we spend an average of 8270 hours a year at work – and I will tell you that entrepreneurs typically spend much more than that. Be in control of your own future and create the opportunities to do what you love!

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Occupy your mind – An opportunity to create change?

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Blogs, Business, Career, Events, Leadership, Mentors & Motivators, Social Media, Technology
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You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.
~ Albert Einstein

Occupy your mind – Attracting and creating opportunity

The global “Occupy” movement has been on my mind a great deal lately, it disturbs me to the core, I understand the anger – at times, I am angry too. I am not a liberal, conservative, communist, a tea partier or a socialist, now that we got that out of the way – my feelings, hopes and dreams about this country, simply do not fit into any of those little categories. Like the occupiers, I want a renewed democracy, prosperity, and to restore “The American Dream” to it’s rightful glory.

I do not resent wealth or wealthy individuals – I like money! What I resent, and in fact detest, are those individuals and institutions who have set about to kill the dream, and the dishonest means by which wealth has been achieved and rewarded in this country, and those that made “Greed is Good” a mantra for Wall Street ……. But, I am not choosing to occupy Wall Street – instead, I choose to focus my energies on creating my own wealth …. doing so ethically and honestly, as an example to others, and supporting those who will pursue the same. 

It’s a sad commentary that the general public is actually better versed in Kim and Kourtney Kardashian’s antics than our nation’s politics ….. that has got to change …. perhaps that will be one of the things that the “Occupy” movement will achieve. But it’s time to focus the “Occupy” tactics on what is sorely needed – jobs that pay a decent wage, and hope for those who have been struggling. 

I support the intent of the “Occupy” movement because…..

  1. The “Occupy”  movement is a wake up call to American business.
  2. It is an escape valve for those who have had to endure this crisis on their backs.
  3. Protesting is a way to generate change – we need it in order to save the middle class. 
  4. It is our right as guaranteed in the Bill of rights – which includes the phrase “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

A Humanitarian Mission to the ”Occupy” movement

I have a dear friend, Maria Caso, who is a certified Life Coach and grief recovery specialist. She went to the occupy Wall Street encampment together with a number of other Coaches, in the camp they set up a table, and spent an entire weekend offering advice and coaching. They considered this a humanitarian mission – offering their expertise and knowledge for free. She told me that besides the incredible stench (this was in the heat of September) the one thing that struck her was the palpable lack of hope. This lack of hope, is something that will remain in our country’s psyche for a long time …..  

Why aren’t employers coming to the movement to get people back to work?

If I where a business owner, I would take this opportunity to go down to those “Occupy”  encampments and get people back to work, you might find the next innovator for your company right there. The occupiers are obviously thinking differently, and that is exactly what American businesses need right now – people who will think in new ways.

At least one company is trying to do something of significance to get people back to work, starting November 1, the Starbucks Foundation, is teaming up to initially fund the “Create Jobs for USA program”. The purpose will be to provide loans to under-served community businesses, including small businesses, micro-enterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate, and affordable housing. 

How do we challenge other employers and lending institutions to get down to those encampments and get people back to work? …… I see this as an opportunity, that is being missed – but why? I would like to know the answers to these questions…. and I would like to see the energy of the “Occupy” movement spent on attracting and creating opportunity, and hope that the protest is the beginning of the process of change.

Besides creating good jobs, the “Occupy” movement has the groundswell and momentum to create a platform where to engage big business – starting perhaps with a manifesto of ethics and standards. The time is now, there is an opportunity to create a place to initiate the dialogue that will lead to the changes that the world wants to see.

The “Occupy” movement will be on our minds for a long time. But will camping in a park in unsanitary conditions indefinitely, with no real actionable agenda, help the movement achieve it’s goals? At the very least, I hope that the “Occupy” movement will spark the dialogue and action that is necessary to ignite the changes that will get people back to work! 

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My jobs search or The Art of War

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Career, Leadership, Marketing, Mentors & Motivators, Networking, Social Media, Technology
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When you are looking for a job, it’s important to remember that doing what you have always done is just not enough. Think it through, and then take action. After all, that’s what your employer will want you to do when you accept the job anyway.
~ Priscilla Claman, President of Career Strategies, Inc.,

OK I admit it, I don’t like looking for a job – does anybody really????

I thought getting an EMBA would be on of the most challenging things I would ever do, well it would take second place to the arduous labor involved in finding a full time job, while career slashing. In fact, my current job search involves some of the hardest work I have ever done.

People, if you know someone who is looking for a job – give them some applause, and a BIG hug …. really, they deserve it!!!

The topic of unemployment, jobs and the economy is inescapable, the subject predominates every news medium and permeates conversations – to tune it out is hopeless unless you really isolate yourself, and that’s the last thing you want to do….. add to that the plethora of job search advice, columns, articles and opinions – it’s really too much! 

Take a deep breath,

here are some tips and advice that have worked for me,

maybe they will work for you too.

Stay positive and focused – not so easy, but essential!

The MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to do is stay positive and focusedJob searching is difficult, and there are times when you will be discouraged. Sometimes …… I fantasize about being curled up on the coach eating cheettos in my PJs, watching a comforting Lifetime movie (cue music), instead of slugging away at finding a job, but instead opt for a focused and positive attitude, this is absolutely essential in order to get an interview and a job.

You must communicate:

  • High energy
  • Enthusiasm
  • Positive attitude

No one is going to give a second look at someone who does not communicate all of these things. So really think about this in every communication that you put out there; writing, phone, personal interview, body language, make sure you…….do it!

My “Work”

I have devised a “work plan” much like a project plan, while it’s really nothing new or revolutionary, it is very helpful. When I started “the great job quest of 2011″, it was completely overwhelming – I had never had to pay much attention to a resume/CV or a job search, because during my career, most of my work had come from word of mouth referrals from my network. But I am now on a slightly different career track, and the job search has changed significantly in the last 24 months – and I acknowledge that it’s going to take all of my resources, intellect and energy to get my dream career opportunity - but it is one of the best investments I can make in myself.

Here are some ideas of how to go about the work of getting a job

  • Everyday “go to work”…..because getting a job is your job for now
  • Find a quiet comfortable space, like the local library – not a coffee shop.
  • Break down the week into several “objectives” - search, network, connect, follow-up. 
  • Search for job openings that are a good match, discard those that are not.
  • Search LinkedIn and close personal network for connections to decision makers that can help with job openings.
  • Research companies that are consistent with your core values and direction.
  • Make calls to your network, persons in your industry and recruiters.
  • Email recruiters with news, updates, send resume and follow up.
  • Schedule 15 – 30 minute  “informational” or “scoping” calls.
  • 30 minute with your career or life coach - keeps you track and accountable.

Ask for help – seek out advice from professionals

You would be amazed at how generous people are with their professional advice. Recently career coach Susan Goldberg, Susan Goldberg Executive Search Consulting, was kind enough to speak to me for 30 minutes and give me some amazing perspective regarding my own job search, here is some of her advice.

5 Tips to Follow (if you are truly serious about your job search).

  1. Never waste your time sending an email or resume unless you have a specific individual to send it to, otherwise follow-up is next to impossible. 
  2. Don’t bother sending a resume or an email unless you plan on following it up with a phone-call. Otherwise, it indicates that you are not interested. 
  3. Be remembered after an informational interview, be gracious, offer to help the person who is meeting with you and make the offer as specific as possible.
  4. Always leave an informational interview with other names to contact.  Ask at the end of a meeting, for specific people to contact so that you can further expand your network, be ready.
  5. Never leave an interview without knowing what the next steps of the hiring process will be. It will keep some of the control of the hiring process in your hands and the asking itself will make you feel more confident and self-assured in leaving what can be an anxiety provoking experience.  (If you haven’t been told what next steps are to be taken, ask.  

Focus, re-evaluate, re-group = tweak, tweak, tweak 

Take jobseekers who send out hundreds, sometimes thousands of resumes, and never get any results. In any other context this would merit a change in approach, but they just keep sending out more resumes. This tough job market makes it even more important to stop the mindless application-mailing and analyze what isn’t working – because the problem might be devastatingly simple.
~ Priscilla Claman President of Career Strategies, Inc.

During the last 4 months I have redone my resume at least 6 times – and these tweaks involve heavy thinking and introspection on my part. I have been lucky to have had lot’s of help along the way, ask your friends and network for help – sometimes it’s hard to remember your accomplishments.  

Try using the STAR Key Achievements as a guideline.

  • Situation, describe the situation
  • Task or Target, what were the initial targets, goals or objectives
  • Action, what you did to achieve that target
  • Result, what were the results using specifics and measurements (if possible, otherwise rounds numbers or percentages)

And finally…..

  • Be Assertive and Proactive
  • Be clear
  • Tell everyone in your network about your job search 
  • Maintain a detailed record of all the jobs you have applied to, including communications, interviews, referrals, and follow-up actions. 
  • Networking should be at the center of your job search strategy
  • Get to go out there and make it happen.
  • Be clear on what you want and need, you’re on your way to getting it.
  • Be kind to yourself … it takes time and dedication to find the right fit.

 

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