Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Create, Share, Teach & Learn ...

You create your own opportunities and you do so by becoming a courageous trailblazer. And while you are at it, always open doors of opportunities for other women and mentor them whenever possible.

My current read is Rise To The Top by Stacey Hawley. Normally I would not pick a book that claims to be a formula for women's success but when I read the synopsis, many of Stacey's words of wisdom resonated with my thought process and  what I usually share with my mentees and it was refreshing to read them in print. Now I have this book in my hand and ready to devour the entire print in one sitting.

Stacey credits her success to the many powerhouses in her life starting with her mother, friends, mentors and even her life partner learning from each one of them. This is what I usually refer to as my concentric circle of influences. I cannot emphasize how carefully one must choose these powerhouses or circle of influences. And it goes the other way too, when you become a powerhouse for someone. I strive to learn something from every person I meet and also impart what I know to them. True knowledge lies in sharing. I leave this short blog entry with one of my favorite quote -

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” ― George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Forbes Top 100 Websites For Women - my top 10 picks

Often times I am asked to recommend my favorite websites. For most part, my daily grind comes from these three sites that I visit every single day - WSJ, Forbes and Fortune. I also get great insights from LinkedIn, HBR, Twitter and FB feeds.

But when someone asks me what are good sites specifically for women, I dont have any in particular. I do follow a few women thought leaders and feed off their posts.

Last year I came across Forbes 100 best websites for women and found some of them to be very informative. Here are my picks...

I have skipped all the mom talk, hobbies, blogging, social good, deal sites, feminist, financial management or travel kinda sites and picked sites that will help women in the corporate world, leadership development and career growth.

Note: Not on this list is the Forbes Woman and Fortune's Most Powerful Women - two sites I highly recommend.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Women Leadership Book Picks

While "Lean In" by Sanderberg comes as the most popular book for career women, it is not the first book that comes to my mind when I make book recommendations to my mentees and to the women's leadership groups I mentor.

Here are my picks for ConneXions GCI , an employee women's group for my company Gannett for who I am humbled and delighted to help serve as an executive sponsor and executive steering leader.

The picks include both old and new books just for this group. Not all the books below are geared specifically for women. I have other leadership, biographies and business books that are my all time favorites not included in this list
  1. How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life by Joanna Barsh
  2. Become the CEO of You, Inc. by Sausan Buckeley Butler
  3. Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World by Alyse Nelson and Kristin Kalbli
  4. What Works for Women at Work, by Joan C. Williams and Rachel Dempsey
  5. Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success by Sylvia Ann Hewlett
  6. Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way: Timeless Strategies from the First Lady of Courage by Robin Gerber
  7. How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton M. Christensen
  8. Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow by Tom Rath
  9. Tribes by Seth Godin
  10. The Truth About Leadership by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
  11. No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power by Gloria Feldt
  12. Leading From the Front: No-Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women by Courtney Lynch
Follow ConneXions on FB

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Update - where has 2014 gone?

I have not had time to write letters or park my thoughts as life is zooming at a sonic speed. Since the last update I did my first powerlifting competition that went very well. I bought back my first ever sports trophies.

I have been spending a lot of time reading several leadership books. My brain cells are bombarded with so many thoughts and wisdom that I will soon need to collect my thoughts and post it here.

Between training for my powerlifting, reading books, working and just living life, I picked up rock climbing as a new hobby but it will have to take a back seat for now as I need to focus on priorities.

I am enjoying my job to the fullest. I am making an impact and I cannot wait to further expand the dimension and horizons of this impact.

What's coming for the remainder of 2014 

1. Competing in 100% RAW world championship in October
2. Meeting with the CEO of my company Gracia Martore who could potentially decide if she wants to mentor me.
3. Attend Kellogg's women's executive program
4. Travel to Ireland for Summit conference - CANCELLED

What I am currently reading
1. Steve Job's life by design
2. The Outisders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and their radically rational blueprint for success
3. Become the CEO of you Inc. by Susan B. Butler. Susan is one of my virtual mentors. She is an amazing woman!!!

What's upcoming on my reading list
1.Become the Ceo of You, Inc: A Pioneering Executive Shares Her Secrets for Career Success bySusan Bulkeley Butler . This will be a re-read.

I will compile the list of the books that I already read in 2014 in a different post with my thoughts on them. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Are you searching for your purpose?

This is one of the topics I will be talking at the Women Empowering Women conference.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Set your expectations super high! Pygmalion Effect!

Dear Mentee - 

The Pygmalion effect, or Rosenthal effect, is the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform. The effect is named after the greek myth of Pygmalion. Wikipedia

  • Never low ball yourself or reduce yourself in your own eyes. Need I say more?

  • I always expect high not just of myself but also of my team. The more expectations I place on them, the better they perform. I always treat my employees to become leaders. The purpose of a leader is to create more leaders and that will be my career legacy.

  • As Goethe said, “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”

  • Best Regards,
  • Your Mentor

  • Friday, April 4, 2014

    "Your attitude determines your altitude!"

    April 4 2014
    McLean, VA
    Dear Mentee -

    I am currently reading John C. Maxwell's "Attitude 101" and I cannot recommend how much essential this book is for every aspiring leader and also for those seasoned leaders or for any person. It is a quick and easy read but every page is golden that you may want to re-read it again.

    I rely a lot on carrying a positive attitude. It is my super power to feel invincible. I take pride that nobody can break my positivity and happy spirit. I believe in treating everyone with great attitude regardless of who they are. With just this behavoir, I can stop stress at bay which lets me be more productive.

    "Attitude is the one small thing that makes the big difference"

    How hard is it to be nice or not a pain in the neck? Some people are perpetually negative just because they chose to be. They have closed minds and bitter nature. They are always complaining about everything. No matter how nice everything around them is or how hard everyone is trying, they will be negative. They are always stressed and emanate negative energy wherever they go. They are energy drainers!

    A rotten attitude ruins a team! Not just for the person but everyone else. Ofcourse very soon people will start isolating from the negative attitude person. But as a leader of an organization I have to deal with some employees who are often grumpy and who I call grown up children with bad behavior. I have to come up with strategies to deal with such personalities as they spoil the entire team's spirit and always be hurdles where progress can be made. My goal is quickly discard that behavior before they drag the team down. When I build my team I  focus on energizing my team with positive attitudes - I need good people with great talent and awesome attitudes!!!

    "A hardened attitude is a dreaded disease. It causes closed mind and dark future" - John C. Maxwell

    That is why it is critical to acknowledge this bad behavior as they cause resentment and division in the team. Here are my strategies -
    1. Do not let a bad attitude ruin your vision or purpose. You do not have to be liked by all. 
    2. Coaching a bad attitude means you are spending time on their mission instead of the mission of the organization - Kate Nasser
    3. Create an environment for a positive can-do attitude and then expect it from everyone! 
    4. Energize the team with positive attitude, remember good attitude is contagious!
    5. Inspire your employees with  positive attitudes to reach the heights of success. Reward good behavior.
    6. Ignore the person's cry for false attention and keep your focus on what you are trying to achieve. Never confront their attitude.
    7. Keep socializing positive ideas and things that will enable the organization to progress

    I love the following advice from Kate Nasser -
    • Expect a positive attitude and inspire the possibilities that come from it!
    • Foster an active learning culture.
    • Feature team successes and lessons learned.
    • Ask for solutions; don’t just give them.
    • Recognize innovative thought, outstanding effort, commitment, and action.
    • Express your appreciation at the end of the week for tough situations handled well.
    • Let no one disillusion or distract you and the team from the leadership challenge and organization mission.
    See more at: 

    Here is John's book -

    If I were to determine the syllabus of kids in schools, I would highly advocate having "Leadership" as part of the curriculum and Attitude would be a big lesson plan. 

    Best Regards,
    Your Mentor