The Women

Wearing Stilettos to Work is an evolving story about the journey of 3 women to break the glass ceiling that so many think does not exist. It's there and it's tough to break the glass ceiling.

Perspective

Wearing Stilettos to Work represents something more. We equate it to stepping into 4 inch heels and walking around for 10 hours. It's an endurance test. And it's almost as awe-inspiring as these women.

Email Subscription

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Name:  

Inspired for 2013 | 27Feb13

Since 2009, I have shared my experiences and lessons learned as I navigate life as an entrepreneur. And much to my dismay, I have been negligent in my writing.  Rather than make excuses, I  find honesty is always the best policy.  I stop writing because I was struggling with my own inspiration.  2012 posed new challenges and I seemingly repeated a few of my mistakes over again.  The business tested my patience and rattled my psyche.  And in the end, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

Much like in the past, the New Year provided an opportunity to start anew, set new goals, and develop a new approach for success.  As I went through the process, I could feel the energy swelling inside of me. My focus was sharper. My sights a little higher.  I am inspired.

For those of you who may have wondered where I have been for the last 6 months, I am back.  I survived another year and can’t wait to share all that I have learned!

Competing for Olympic Gold | 3Aug12

The life of an Olympic athlete is a dedicated and disciplined one.  Regardless of the sport, athletes are preparing for the World’s stage. Training is more than a full-time job.   And this year, I have a greater appreciation for the motivation these Olympians offer to me.

My training schedule might look a little different but the destination is the same.  Each day is another day to plan and prepare for the next opportunity.  I have days when I refuse to settle for Bronze when Gold is within reach. And then there are those days when I invariably don’t even qualify.

I’m not an athlete.  I’m a business owner.  And my eye is on the prize.

In the Raw | 22Jun12

The day in a life of a business owner is far from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.  Although, last night, I am certain there was a trophy with my name on it for my performance.   Let me set the stage for you.

Monday: After toiling over a proposal for a large project, the prospective client informs us that her budget is slightly lower than she had originally stated.  It was in fact 85% less and was curious if we could pair down our estimate by the same amount without modifying the scope.  (We politely declined.)

Tuesday: I took a personal day.  In the last 3 years, I realized that not only have I not scheduled vacation but I have not taken a personal day. (So I did.)

Wednesday: We made it to the final stages of selection for another large engagement.  We received the most sincere email from the prospective client stating that our professionalism was outstanding, our attention to detail was appreciated, and we were the vendor of choice.  However, they had decided to go with a guy in his basement that was able to provide a lower price.  (I politely responded with gratitude for being included in the process.)

Thursday: Received a phone call from a client we’d completed work for months ago saying that one of her new hires was unhappy with her original decisions with the project and demanded a meeting with me.  The expectation on her part is that my firm will complete the work for free as part of a scope of work that was completed nearly 3 months ago. (I didn’t respond.)

Thursday Evening: With little motivation, I went to the gym to work through the various emotions that come with this kind of week.  10 minutes into a grueling 60 minute cardio workout, I attempted to take a sip from my water bottle but instead split my lip.  As the lip started to swell, I could taste the blood.  A 4-letter expletive escaped my mouth loud enough to apparently disturb the person next to me.  It wasn’t my finest moment.  I was angry, frustrated, and wanted to run out of the gym to nurse my wound.  (I didn’t leave but rather finished the workout.)

The entire week played out like a feature film complete with drama, action, and a little comedy.  And despite my performance, I didn’t get to walk the red carpet. I wasn’t presented with an Oscar for my blood, sweat, and tears.  No glitz. No glamour. Just life – in the raw.

In business and in life, we face challenges every day.  But you must choose to keep moving forward, undeterred.  And make it nothing less than your best performance.

A Lesson from Ace C. Greenberg | 15Jun12

I reread “Memos from the Chairman” to find a little inspiration as Q2 comes to an end.  For those of you who have not read the book, it’s an interesting look inside Bear Stearns and Ace C. Greenberg’s perspective on paper clips and file folders.  My favorite memo included this advice:

“…The period of euphoria will not last forever nor can anyone accurately predict its end…..Be Careful. Be Smart. Be a Survivor.”

Greenberg referred to the high times his company was experiencing and yet still reminded his team to proceed with caution.  I can appreciate the sentiment.  Business is hardly if ever predictable.  Although I have missed projections for Q2, I will survive my disappointment, more forward carefully, and make smarter decisions to bring the euphoria back!

The Climb | 29May12

When I was 25, I remember sitting on the front porch of my suburban Philadelphia house after reaching a career milestone.  One of my 20-something neighbors happened to see me sitting on the stoop beaming from ear to ear.  I couldn’t help but share the news about how I had achieved something much greater than I had imagined.  I was 25.  I was fearless.  I had reached what I thought was the top.  8 years later….I realize that it was merely the beginning. 

The upward climb led me to become a CEO at the age of 30, another coveted role I had been chasing. And at 33, I am still fearless.  I know that this too is just one step in the journey. I must keep aspiring for what is to come.

It may sound cliché but you can be whatever it is you aspire to become. But you must remember to stare fear in the face, say “step aside,” and keep on climbing.

My Perfect World | 28Feb12

 On any given day, it’s possible to hear the words “in this perfect world that I live in” followed by laughter and an occasional eye roll.  Deep down I know that it is a natural response. But I also know that it’s a response brought on by those who dare to believe that– whatever idea has come my way – is possible.   After all that is how we got here.  

Just over two years ago, I was sitting at this very computer. I was frustrated, depressed, and at a loss. It was the first year for the business – just months into its official launch.   I was on the hunt for new clients to grow our portfolio.  I pressed forward until success was within our reach.

Recently, I was forced to slow down (a small detour thanks to a major surgery).  And in the time I was supposed to be healing, I began to think about the year ahead. I found clarity. The last 2 years hasn’t been easy – it’s been more than I ever thought I could handle.  And although we have had success, I feel like we are the verge of reaching our real potential.  I wake up every morning with the motivation to make each day better than the next – - I strive to reach the next level.  I can see clearly – although maybe not so clearly – the goal which in front of us.

And while others may shrug off the vision of my perfect world, those that really understand are already preparing for what is to come.

Finding Clarity in the Competition | 2Feb12

When I started my business, I knew I was entering a flooded marketplace so I adapted my business model to be different than others in my space. The first 18 months, it was me and my trusty computer alone in a 2500 square foot office.  Days were long (often 14 hours) and lonely.  I developed the strategy, I took the business to market, and I never gave up.  And trust me, there were days when I wanted to.   It’s been 3 years of triple digit growth.  The days are still long but the office is no longer empty. 

For the first time in 3 years, I stopped to look at the competition creeping into the marketplace.  One competitor in particular not only used my business model but even incorporated one of my direct quotes into their marketing collateral.  A direct quote.  In most cases, I would chalk this up to a conincidence. But I knew otherwise.  I spent a few hours stewing over the adacity that folks have in business today. I fumed. I stomped around.  Dare I admit, I even swore under my breath. 

But alas, there is a lesson to be learned here.  (As there most always is.)  Anyone can steal your words or your business model.  However, it is the essence of my brand and my business that can’t be replicated.  I trust and believe in the work that we continue to do for our clients. I believe that what we put in is what we receive back.  I spent 18 month building the foundation. I layed every brick.  And if a competitor wants to come in an steal my blueprints – let them. 

Lesson #1: Success isn’t in the plans. It’s in the execution.

Lesson #2:  Don’t waste time focusing on your competitors but rather how you will compete.

CEO – Change. Evolution. Opportunity. | 16Jan12

As I flipped through Bloomberg Businessweek, I came across the most interesting headline, “The rise of the CEO mom has created a new kind of trophy husband.”  The article was as compelling as the title.  The role of women in the workplace is continually evolving – despite the naysayers. Pew Research Center reported that 23% of wives out-earned their husbands in 2010 and 30-something women were making more than their male counterparts in nearly every city – all but three.   The downturn in the economy might have been a factor in this new breed of trophy husbands but certainly not the only factor.

For me, the research represents a changing attitude in the board room and in the household.  And it confirms what I have already known to be true – the opportunity is there.  You just have to take it. And gender should be the reason why.

Open and Shut | 9Jan12

Alexander Graham Bell was known for many things. As we move in 2012, I am reminded of one of his most notable quotes, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

As 2011 drew to a close, without meaning to, I found myself staring at one door that I closed by choice.  I struggled to move beyond it – as though if I stood long enough it would have changed the outcome.  The door represented one of my biggest failures this year.   Yet in some regards, it may prove to be one of my greatest successes.  Only time will tell.

That’s the beauty of the New Year.  It took me a week or so, but I now see that which has been opened for me…..and it’s pretty great.

Giving Thanks | 21Nov11

With Thanksgiving just days away, I feel it necessary to reflect on the blessings (albeit some blessings in disguise) that have been bestowed upon me this last year.  If you are are avid reader, you have certainly read about the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur is this fickle business environment.

Despite even the most challenging moments, I am thankful for the opportunities that my company has been afforded; the clients that trust us to drive impact for their businesses; and my team who helps make it all possible. I am thankful for those that provide support and encouragement – it motivates me to take action.  I am thankful for the naysayers  – I am more resilient because of it.

To my readers, I give thanks to each of you. May you each reflect on your blessings whether in business or in life.

-->