October 06, 2010
REDF President Carla Javits Helps Thousands At Bottom Of Ladder Get Work
At the Social Capital Markets SOCAP event at Fort Mason in San Fancisco this past week, Isabel Maxwell asks the President of REDF Carla Javits, to talk about their programs and what she does to make a difference.
September 22, 2010
Ellroy's Hilliker Curse
The year was 1958. Jean Hilliker had divorced her fast-buck hustler husband and resurrected her maiden name. Her son, James, was ten years old. He hated and lusted after his mother and “summoned her dead.” She was murdered three months later.
An 'out-there' memoire, The Hilliker Curse is a predator’s confession, a treatise on guilt and on the power of malediction, and above all, a cri de cœur. James Ellroy unsparingly describes his shattered childhood, his delinquent teens, his writing life, his love affairs and marriages, his nervous breakdown, and the beginning of a relationship with an extraordinary woman who may just be the long-sought Her.
A layered narrative of time and place, emotion and insight, sexuality and spiritual quest, The Hilliker Curse is a soul-baring revelation of self. Elroy in action on YouTube, in a discussion with his publisher about the book and in The Guardian.
August 05, 2010
BlogHer10 Kicks Off in New York
BlogHer kicked off today in New York City. Tonight's closing keynote was entitled Being a Social Media Champion. The Focus: integrated social media strategies are slowly becoming the rule, rather than the exception at Fortune 500 companies. The companies that are charging ahead tend to have a couple of things in common: an executive level internal champion, willing to be a social media champion in the C-Suite and the Board Room, and a consultative evangelist who helps them make the case.
Carol Hymowitz, Editor-in-Chief of ForbesWoman, moderated the conversation with Leslie Dance, VP Brand Marketing and Communications at Kodak; Jory Des Jardins, co-founder of BlogHer; Diane Hessan, CEO of Communispace; and Lesley Pinckney, General Manager of Essence.com.
Day One Agenda:
Day Two Agenda:
August 03, 2010
Go Ahead, Empower Me “Engine” She Says (Begs?)Speaking of cars, which I wrote several posts about last week following my trip to Detroit, I’d be negligent if I didn’t share an interesting ‘car experience’ I had about four years ago, not long after I had moved to the west coast.
A friend of mine organized a "power girl’s weekend" in Portland Oregon, where women came in from all over the country for three days of gab, personal development, shopping, classes and reflection.
We did it all, from taking in speakers on feng shui, meditation, leadership and speaking to experts on breathing, eating, general wellness, fashion and you got it, cars.
Roughly 20 or so of us took over Nordstrom on a Sunday morning before the store opened to the public. We shopped, got fashion tips including ‘what not to wear’, took in afternoon haircuts and facials and created master plans on clearing clutter out of our lives and that included not just physical ‘stuff’ in our homes but things that no longer served us, which may have included people.
Towards the end of the weekend, they brought in a ‘car expert’ who was one of the few male speakers for the entire weekend, so having his energy there after being loaded with feminine energy for more than 48 hours was out-of-place. That said, what woman doesn’t want a really great car to drive? At the time, this one.
I found myself raising my hand arguing that I would never spend a lot of money on a car when I could spend money on more useful things like education, travel, fashion, food and wine. This set up an entire discussion about empowerment and whether a car or perhaps a car’s engine could empower a woman.
Remember that I grew up in a post World War II household by my grandparents, which means I 'took on' the values of a lost generation many of my colleagues missed.
Values at that time were based on being frugal, practical and making compromises, ones most Americans couldn't fathom today.
They were also based on ‘creating’ a better life for your children and their children and paving the way for their future success. In order to do that, many made sacrifices and spending a lot of money on a luxury car didn’t fall into the sacrifice bucket.
After all, any disposable income was set aside for a better school or piano lessons, so cars was a frivolous purchase and it was clear I wasn’t going to buy a new one when I turned 16, nor 18, nor 21 nor as long as I could hold out really. Why buy a new one ever was the way my grandfather thought, but then again, his tinkering made the vehicles in his lot purr well beyond 100,000 miles and that was seen as practical living.
I’m not suggesting everyone who grew up in the sixties and seventies shared those values but in working class New England, it was fairly common. Buying American was also pretty common and my family and all their friends typically bought Chevys and Fords, with Dodge being a third option to be considered and that wasn’t really until the eighties. Bring on the test drive, the car expert on that Portland weekend challenge me.
Bring on the test drive! Why not take on the challenge and keep an open mind, I told myself. I drove a Nissan and then an Audi – family sedan styles and their sports models at the time. We explored back roads and I put them to the test. I played with the fancy features on the dashboard none of my second-hand cars ever had. I sunk into the leather seats. I looked at color charts. Then, we moved into trucks.
Was Empowerment Achieved? In a way it was, but it wasn’t automatic and it didn’t happen without a fight.
And then what I discovered was that it was a fight of masculine and feminine energy. If you’re a strong female personality who spends a lot of time in a male world where your masculine energy needs to be on more often than not, you find yourself (or at least I often do) rejecting or pushing against masculine energy -- or whatever is symbolic of it at times. I quickly realized the car was one of those I had been fighting for years.
It was almost as if you didn’t want the car to make you feel vulnerable because if it did, you wouldn't be in charge anymore, or .......in control of your destiny. Driving an old clunker meant I could be in charge of "it" rather than the other way around.
Even though feminine energy loves control, 'it' also likes to be taken care of and swept of her feet at times. It doesn’t mean feminine energy can’t be in control and it often is, but if you truly want to go into your feminine, it’s about surrendering SOME THINGS and not others. It’s about visiting a different side of the coin and looking at the world in a different way.
When I realized that through ‘play’ and taking on a vehicle that had massive horse power, impressive and exquisite design and mind boggling features, you had to surrender just a little in the same way you do when you face four remote controls that dictates whether you watch a movie on your VCR or not. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes – I kid you not – I call someone to walk me through the stupid complex process of getting different bits to work on my over-engineered stereo set up. This happens with other 'masculine toys' as well. (or should I call them 'enablers?')
Today, I still drive something modest but if I happened to win a state-of-the-art convertible in a color of my choosing and money were not an option, I’d probably go to town and get something that engulfed me more than the other way around. Cars can be empowering – and that ranges from how fast you feel the engine as you move into the fast lane when there’s a massive truck on your tail, to the design details of the console (make it more functional engineers – PLEASE), to the color choices you’re given.
I had to reject a Toyota once because the color I really wanted (and I mean really wanted), only gave me the choice of a tan leather interior if I opted for leather. Tan? What were they thinking? They lost a sale because they thought in “tans”.
I ‘get’ cars more than I ever did in the past and like most of America, listening to Car Talk brings a smile and I can’t turn it off whenever I hear it in the background. We all resonate with the stories and resonating is connecting and connecting is real.
I still love the cars of my childhood and my father’s childhood despite the fact that they’re far from “green” and are expensive to run. For my next purchase, I think my priorities would be close to what they were twenty years ago yet engine horse power, safety, environmentally friendly and killer-design would be integrated into the mix. I’m not in the market today, and I’m hoping by the time I am, the process of finding one won't be as hard and stressful as it was last time around.
Perhaps the entire car will be voice activated and wifi-enabled so I barely have to think about anything except for experiencing the journey, whether it be taking in the Montana vastness and solitude, marveling at the Colorado Rockies or stopping at Maine’s Route 1 lobster shacks.
August 02, 2010
What Defines Success For You?Haegwan Kim interviewed me for his Law of Success 2.0 blog on entrepreneurship, social media and what defines success. When I saw how few women were on the short list, I figured I had to do it. In meeting him, I discovered a very passionate person who is working on a thesis around success, with a hope to break down the barriers to achieving success and making it possible for everyone by better understanding what it takes to get there. It was also re-published over at We Blog the World.
Take a meander over to the site for a read. There are other great interviews Haegwan has done recently with people like Frans de Waal on Primate Behavior, Jeff Sutherland, Dave Ulrich, Richard Saul Wurman and others.
July 29, 2010
Women on Entrepreneurship & MentorshipElizabeth Tinkham, the Global Lead at Accenture moderated a panel this afternoon at the AlwaysOn Stanford Summit on 'entrepreneurship.' They discussed the venture community, raising capital as a woman in the current landscape and the kind of mentorship (with examples) that led to their success today.
On the panel was Donna Wells, President and CEO of Mindflash, Victoria Ransom, Founder & CEO of Wildfire Interactive, Lisa Stone of BlogHer, Hilary DeCesare, of Everloop, Carol Realini, CEO of Obopay and DoubleTwist's Monique Farantzon.
June 20, 2010
V.E. Long on Mixed Media, Monotypes & AssemblageAt Chandon recently, I not only sampled some fabulous (albeit small) oysters with a medium bodied Pinot Noir (wasn't in for the bubbly), but I also discovered a new artist named V.E. Long.
I was drawn to her work immediately and while I would have normally snatched one up, I felt that the prices were high, particularly for the venue, the general overall location and where she stands on the worldwide recognition scale. So unfortunately I'm 'sans' any of her work but she is worth a look. I really love her use of color, brush strokes and perception of brush strokes.
V.E. (Vicki) studied with Paul Wonner while earning her master's degree and her recent work includes the figure, exotic florals and the "trees" series, all which are depicted in painting and monotype. She is also currently producing assemblages and wood sculpture. Paintings that were being shown at Chandon included a lot of mixed media. My favorite below. Other paintings can be found here.
June 15, 2010
iVillage & Fotobabble Team Up on Beauty & Style ContestFotobabble Teams up with iVillage on the “iVillage I love my…” Contest, which encourages women to share their beauty & style secrets.
In this campaign, talking photos serve as an innovative social media tool to drive user engagement, brand awareness and traffic. The contest, which is currently underway and will run through midnight of June 30, 2010, encourages users to create Fotobabble-powered Talking Photos to start a community dialogue around the products and clothing they love, and express their personal style.
To participate, users simply sign up (takes a few seconds), upload a photo and then click a button to record their own voice and share their secrets for style and confidence. Participants can then share their Talking Photos (or Fotobabbles), with friends and family through email, Facebook or Twitter. Fotobabbles with the top views are eligible to win a $500 gift card from Sephora.
The Fotobabble Platform can provide deeper brand exposure and increase traffic to a site. Easier and faster than video, more engaging and dynamic than photos and easy to embed anywhere on the web, Fotobabble provides companies and individuals a powerful and engaging way to connect with their customers and further extend their reach into popular social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Click play below to learn more about the contest and see a fabulous example of how established brands are using unique social media platforms, such as Fotobabble, to increase fan and customer awareness and engagement.
June 03, 2010
Redefining the Way the World Looks at Natural Beauty
Delta Gallil and CEO Isaac Dabah are an amazing success story in intimate apparel. Founded by Dov Lautman, the Company is a model of leadership in co-existence employment and corporate responsibility.
Making new fabrics using real lasting cotton results in garments looking like new after 30 washes. Suits that Delta Galil created have won 16 medals in the Winter Olympics.
Delta is the # 1 producer of intimate apparel in the U.S. with 110 stores in Israel. 40% of the men's underwear market share is under the Delta Brand, 50% market share is in socks, and 15-20% is in ladies' underwear.Lance Kalish, Chief Carrot Counter at Yes To Carrots was founded in Israel in 2006 with six products across 16 stores. Today, they are in 28,000 stores, and are the fastest Beauty Brand in the world. "We have redefined the way the world looks at natural beauty," says Kalish. He adds, "we are the YES company in the NO environment. When asked how they grew so fast, he says, "we understood our limitations and we ignored them. We also do whatever it takes to get it done."
May 09, 2010
Where I'm From: A Dedication to MothersI haven't had a mother in so long that I have to remind myself every Mother's Day that so many people still do. Scanning the web early this morning, I accidentally came across a series of poems around the theme of "Where I'm From," which is in so many ways an indirect and wonderful dedication to your mother.
I miss her calm and incredibly insightful way she looked at the world. Below my 5 minute creation she stands in her very "Leave it to Beaver" era, entertaining, giving, caring, nurturing, organizing and leading all at the same time. Below her is another "Where I'm From" poem I particularly liked - thanks Amanda, it brought a smile to my face.
WHERE I'M FROM
I am from a world where tanneries dictated lifestyle
And turn-of-the century European tastes dictated design
After leaving the tanneries, people sat on bar stools,
and drank coffee on diner stools on weekend mornings
They caught trout in the summer and darted moose in the winter
I am from a town that thinks they understand Republicans
Barber shops, dime stores, ice cream stands & hot dogs
Pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, Ham at Easter, hanging icicles at Xmas
High school football games, smoking in parking lots & climbing trees
Fishing in man-made canoes and shoveling snow off Aunt Betty's roof
Cigars, Van Halen, burgers, cows, county fairs & talent shows
A community buried in deprivation and alcoholism and hard work and soul
Long Sunday drives watching skaters & snowmobiles
Summer barbecues & mosquitoes that don't give up
Waterskiing on glass, snowboarding on ice
Lawn mowers, garage sales and lemonade stands
The lingering taste of French toast & blueberries
The lingering smell of Adirondack pine needles & acorns
The lingering view of lovers kissing across the bay
The lingering touch of the puppy we couldn't save
The lingering sound of purring motorboats that welcome the sunrise
And, of Mom's fingers playing Moon River on a turn-of-the-century Baldwin
The lingering feeling of my body surrendering to a swinging hammock that said.....
Surrender to silence my child, for the world in turn surrenders to a silent mind.
Gone but not Forgotten
I am from hairspray
From braces and rubberbands.
I am from lightning bugs
Fluttering in the summer night sky.
I am from Belle
The cute little puppy
We rescued from the pound
And Smoky the cat
Whose death still touches my heart.
I am from Papaw’s goulash
And Momma’s pumpkin pie
From Dad’s overbearing
Protectiveness of his little girl.
I am from outrageous.
Eleven foot Christmas trees.
And joyous Thanksgiving feasts.
I am from French immigrants.
From 1692 and New Paltz, New York.
I am from Louis Bevier and Marie Le Blanc.
I am from the American dream.
From broken despair and gained hope
I am the present, past, and future,
History in the making.