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Archive for September, 2010

PWG Spoken Word to Benefit the Homeless

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 30, 2010

Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women’s Group (PWG) started a Spoken word/ Open Mic which consist of  Positive poetry performances and smooth  sounds and Aminah’s Treats.   There will be a featured artist then the floor is open. Come prepared to share your talents.  Now that they are gearing up for their annual community action project. They  have decided to give the proceeds from October and November’s Open Mic night to First Steps Back Home. PWG’s October Spoken Word/Open Mic night we be  held on from 7-9pm, on October 16, 2010  and Nov 20, 2010 at Grace’s Cafe.

First Steps Back Home is christian ministry which serves chronic, transient and working homeless.PWG will be partner with First Step Back Home to kick off their community action project.  Lobster stated, “for our first event, we will provide dinner and mentoring opportunities as well as give them the proceeds from our October Spoken Word/ Open Mic Night.” The Community Action Project has two purposes: to make a difference in the community and to encourage women who have received help to give something back.

According to Community Action Project Leader, Ly Syin Lobster, this year our project will focus  on homeless women and women who are reentering society from prison. Our theme is , “Yes, We Can! Women Overcoming Obstacles.” Which is fitting because myself and other women in our group have overcome the obstacle of being homeless. Giving back to the homeless is a great activity for our community action project.”

She explained, Our  goal is to assist the women through encouraging them to utilize technology to learn what resources are available to help them, PWG will also provide workshops and a one day conference focusing on the areas of career advice, women’s health, and personal finances to assist women in becoming self sufficient.

In previous years PWG’s community action project has focuses projects such as: increasing awareness of sexual abuse, women’s legal advocacy, and mentoring  teenagers. Lobster stated, “We are exciting about working with the homeless and women who are re entering society from prison.’

Dress for Success Midwest provided women transition to the workforce with business appropriate apparel as they prepare to enter the professional workforce. It PWG allows members to network professionally. For more information visit http://www.pwg2011.wordpress. You can connect with them on facebook or twitter@stlpwg.


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S.M.A.R.T. and FUN! Goal Setting

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 27, 2010

We have all taken some course or workshop that gave us the acronym “SMART” for goal setting -meaning that all goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. This has apparently worked for many goal-setting gurus. I would like to add some other descriptors to goal setting and those words would be: JOY…FUN….DREAM.

The reason why so many people do NOT set goals is because it is not fun or it is draining. According to SMART, they have to be realistic. I would agree, but I also think that we need to dream in order to truly push ourselves. Too much of the time, we are safe with our intentions – why not be bold with your intentions? Why not push yourself. Why not set 3 different levels of goals.

Why not have 101 goals – goals that could be achieved in the next year along with some lifetime goals – who knows, sometimes just writing it down, makes it become a reality. We can “dream” about making a $1M in our lifetime, but once we write it down, it commits us – it may not have to be this year or next, but why not have making a million dollars a goal?

Reprinted from Joy of Goals- Karen Hoffman

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The power of Transformation & More

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 24, 2010

Connie Lindsey our key-note speaker on Saturday morning for the Success Summit discussed the power of transformation. She touched on the 7 pillars of success but mainly focuses on how personality affects progress.

Lindsey defined transformation as an in depth change happens at the very cellular level of our being. Lindsey stated, she has formerly been involved in an organization called bottomless closet that is similar to Dress for Success. Bottomless Closet aids women with professional wardrobe.
She stated that “as a servant leader we must be present , engage and connect, to change and help in another’s life.” Lindsey explained that position is important for transformation. She added, “We must be positioned to present out gifts to the world.” She described how partnerships are essential to transformation, ” Lindsey stated, “When we come together for the force of good, we are unstoppable.” She explained, “We have the resources .. we must exercise our will and think about possibility”.

Lindsey shared pearls of wisdom in giving us acronyms such as: Laboring Under Correct Knowledge (LUCK). She encouraged women to be the sheros of their own story. Lindsey explained the 4 keys to transformation are the power of belief, commitment to excellence, perseverance and love.

Women Who Rule the World

Following Lindsey ‘s keynote address Stephanie Clark, National director of Project Single Mom and Project Working Mom spokesperson lead a session on priorities titled ” Women who rule the World and the steps to achieve success keys to higher education and work life.” Clark shared that project working mom and e learners did research to see what barriers were keeping moms from pursuing education. They discovered the barriers were time, money, and confidence. They are offering scholarships to moms. The application consists of writing a 1500 word essay about going back to school and how it could help.The deadline for the project working mom scholarships is September 30, 2010.

She asked several questions, “Can we have it all?” Followed by, “Do we deserve it all .” The last two questions where “Do we want it all?” and “How do we keep in all and mange it all.” She shared the that the seven (7) pillars of success were the key to having it all. Clark said, “that planning helped her achieve her goals”. She said she had been planning to open her own Public Relations Firm since high school.

Clark explained that in order to have it all, first we must define what, “it all is”. Then discover our purpose or calling. Next position yourself for opportunities. Change and transitions are part of the process. She suggested that it is important to discover what you are passionate about. She stated the obstacles to having it all are fear and comfort. Clark explained how strategic positioning (Getting in the right rooms with the right people) is important to achieve success. She suggested to achieve success, “do your research”. Clark explained that you do your research by planting seeds, doing research and writing a plan. After that you create relationships and maintain them.She stated the last key to success is being your own spokesperson. Clark advised how you do that is by being believable, passionate, and sincere.

She dicussed about how the seven pillars of success applied to the concept of having it all.

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Recap of PWG Success Summit

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 23, 2010

The focus of the Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women’s Group (PWG) 6th annual success summit was to answer the question ” What is the difference between power and empowerment?” The answer is the 7 pillars of  Success : Partnership, presence, priorities, planning, and personality, progress, and professional development.

The first session of the summit was  ” Figuring It all Out with Angela Castellani of YSC. She explained the G.R.E.A.T. method for setting goals. The first step is to set your goal.  Next determined ,what Role do you play in fueling goals? What are your Expectations?  After you have answered those questions you are ready to Take Action. Finally consider your team relationships. Lobster explained,  “The suggestions Castellani made during her presentation can be used in personal goals, professional especially when setting goals for the Community Action Project( CAP). Allsion and Tracey Thile of Zeno group shared a presentation on networking, which available through our file cabinet on this site. They discussed the importance of networking on and off-line. They explained how to use twitter for networking. Networking is vital for progress, professional development. It sets the foundations for partnerships.

Women Empowered to Make a difference

In the session “Women Empowered to Make a difference”, a panel of women who shared on the (7)seven  pillars of Success (Partnership,Presence,Priorities, Planning, Personality, Progress, and Professional Development). DfS chairwoman Nikki Leondakis discussed how her personality, affected her progress and how her professional development helped her turn things around. She shared that her professional journey has not been with out it’s struggle.

Leondakis explained about how she dealt with challenge of having immigrants parents, who were from Greece. She talked about how she dealt with abuse growing up. As a result of living in an abusive household she became rebellious against authority. She discovered her issues were leaking out in the workplace. Leondakis was a good employee, but management could not give feed back with out her getting defensive.

She began to turn her life around when she realized  it was her job t make herself well.. First, she had to work on her self-esteem. Personal growth opened the doors to success for her. Through counseling she was able to learn compassion and to allow others to have a different world views. Leondakis explained for her personal development was essential to her professional development.

Da Vida Rice, legal counsel for Harpro,  explained about the importance of planning, progress and professional development. Rice stressed the significance having a plan. She told us her strong work ethic is what helped her to progress. She said professional development is vital that is why she finds opportunities to learn something new. She shared how her faith enabled her to progress. Rice also credited mentoring with helping her career progress. She talked about how networking can help you progress career wise.
Rice defined Power as the ability to do or action.

Attorney Carolyn Clift shared “4 Things a woman should know”:  How to look like a girl, How to work like a dog. How to think like a man. How to act like lady. Clift explained that as she progressed in life she discovered the list should include , ” how to empower yourself.”

Clift explained how partnership, planning and personal development helped her achieve success. She talked about how she partnered with a study buddy in college. Clift explained that networking helped her to get a job in Illinois state attorney’s office. She explained that relationship building is the key to networking.

Clift stated there were several behaviors that were essential to her progress. Clift explained that taking risk creates the opportunity for in our career. She said learning is vital to progress.
She also stated that she had to use outside resources to fulfill her duties. She talked about asking the hard questions. Clift provided an example of how networking helped her land a job in the Illinois state attorney’s office. She explained learning to respectfully disagree with others aided her progress as well. Clift  ending  by sharing the community service was important to her because it allowed her the opportunity to stretch and grow herself.

Marcia Wyett is a Paralegal in the Labor, Employment and Benefits department at The Boeing Company. Wyett shared about how she overcame obstacles as being from an immigrant family. She talked about how networking was important for her career progress.

The panel was made of women who have used the seven pillar of success to achieve great things careers wise.

Ly Syin Lobster is the Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women’s Group delegate for 2011. She is public relations specialist, blogger, and free-lance journalist.

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Using Power Words

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 22, 2010

I worked with a really talented guy who I thought would never leave the company we worked for … not because he didn’t want to leave … he did. I thought he would never leave because he sold himself so short in his resume, no one would hire him.

He didn’t want to overstate his qualifications, so instead he painted a picture to prospective employers that he wasn’t as good as he really was.

I encouraged him to use power words in his resume and to take ownership of his many successes.

Instead of writing in his resume, “I helped edit magazine articles.” I encouraged him to write something like, “Managed the award-winning editorial content of Blank magazine, the flagship publication of XYZ Company, the largest widget company in the world.” Both statements were true, but the revised version captured the essence of his important contributions.

It’s also important to include quantifiable statements about the contributions you have made at various companies. Such statements could involve how your efforts:
• increased sales or donations by XX dollars or percent.
• brought about significant cost savings due to improved processes.
• trained XX number of employees in a new program, which resulted in a XX% increase in customer satisfaction, etc.

How can power words and quantifiable statements about your contributions at former companies improve your job-application messaging?

Career Overview provides an excellent list of resume power words on its site.
http://www.professional-resume-example.com features examples for how to write strong quantifiable statements in your resume.

Sell yourself well … after all … it can help you Get a Job!

The Get a Job! Tips blog is authored by Kathy Bernard, a corporate communications leader based in St. Louis, Missouri. She is also a blogger, career coach and workshop leader in support of job seekers. She wants to help you … Get a Job! Connect with Kathy on LinkedIn — http://www.linkedin.com/in/kathybernardcommunicator, follow her on Twitter — http://twitter.com/kathybernardmkt, or e-mail her at kathybernard.mktg@yahoo.com. Subscribe to the Get a Job! Tips blog at http://getajob-tips-for-getting-hired.blogspot.com.

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Eating well on a budget

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 20, 2010

With food costs rising during these hard economic times, it is often difficult to purchase good, wholesome foods while on a budget. Supermarkets today are filled with food
choices, but many of them are not so healthy. With a little planning, it’s possible to purchase a variety of healthy foods and not go over your budget. Here are a few suggestions.

• Make a shopping list. If you stick to the grocery list, you are less likely to purchase items you already have. You are also less likely to forget any necessary food items.

• Review supermarket advertisements. This helps ensure you are spending less by purchasing more items that are on sale.

• Don’t shop when you are hungry! You are much more likely to make impulse purchases on less nutritious items that may cost more.

By: Camila E. Fletcher, Dietetic Intern, Bureau of WIC and Nutrition Services, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Contact: Linda S. Rellergert, MS, Nutrition & Health Education Specialist, RellergertL@missouri.edu.

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Making your money work for you

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 20, 2010

Michael Ravenscraft, MS, CPA
Financial Education Specialist

Since the economy began its downward spiral a few years ago, the trend of American over borrowing and overspending started to become less popular. As a result, many Americans have been paying down debt and saving more, reflecting more conservative attitudes toward managing personal and family budgets in general.

Here are some observations on how this shift from overspending to reducing debt has affected us:

· For some, this shift from overspending to debt reduction has been uncomfortable, but it has also served as a much-needed wake-up call. This change in economic trends and consumer behavior provides the opportunity to increase savings for longer-term financial goals, such as retirement, home ownership, or education, which were often previously neglected, or put off until tomorrow.

· Increasing savings and reducing debt are important steps to improving your personal financial situation. The feeling of financial security that comes with low debt and adequate emergency and retirement savings is a hard-earned accomplishment to be proud of, not simply a sacrifice of lost consumption. Achievement of these goals is the result of your decision to invest in the financial security of yourself and your family. Teach these healthy habits to future generations. It is the path toward accomplishing your most cherished long-term financial goals.
Don’t always view cutting back as a sacrifice; it simply means looking for value in your spending. Who doesn’t love getting a great deal and making the most of their hard-earned dollar? You can increase savings and reduce debt while enjoying the things you value most. Adjust your spending habits to maximize spending on
high-value items and savings, while cutting expenses on low-value consumer goods (the things that cost money, but don’t provide you with a long-term

We have already begun to see this trend by observing a dramatic decline in consumer spending throughout the past few years, accompanied by a drop in consumer credit. Individuals and families are cutting back to live within their means, and they have increased their awareness of how to wisely use credit. Just because you have access to credit or cash on hand does not mean you should spend.

Establishing habits of spending only on necessities and high-value items, while also saving and reducing debt, puts you on the path to long-term financial success, builds a financial safety net for unexpected bumps in the road, costs less in the form of saved interest expense, and increases your chances of accumulating enough retirement savings to be comfortable. In the long run, the assets you set aside and save will be there when you need them. This puts you in a much stronger financial position than spending on day-to-day, low-value consumer items.

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Free Child Safety Seats

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 18, 2010

Thanks to a grant from the Community and Children’s Resource Board (CCRB), the St.
Charles County Department of Community Health and the Environment is offering free child
safety seats to low-income families.
The funds provided by the CCRB will allow the department to provide child abuse and
neglect prevention services. A class, titled “Parenting 101,” aims to reduce and prevent
intentional and unintentional injury to children age birth to four years. The program will
provide comprehensive caregiver education, covering child safety and discipline and increasing
awareness of child development and communication, who to call when a child is
sick, sudden infant death syndrome, safety in the home, discipline, and child passenger
safety. People who register for this program will receive a free child safety seat.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle
crashes are the leading cause of death among children in the United States.
Many of these deaths could have been prevented by placing children in age- and
size-appropriate restraint systems.
“Proper use of a child safety seat has been shown to reduce or prevent injury
in a crash,” said Hollie Milam, who oversees the free safety seat program for the
department. “Our program focuses on the importance of using a safety seat, as well
as providing information on proper installation.”
To qualify for the program and receive a free safety seat, a family’s income cannot
exceed 185 percent of the federal poverty level. For more information about the child
safety seat program, or details about qualification, call (636) 949-7400.

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How to become happier

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 17, 2010

Elizabeth Reinsch, PhD, LCSW/ACSW
Human Development Specialist

University of Missouri Extension, St. Louis County

How happy are you? Why are you happy? To find out your level of happiness today, you can take a variety of surveys or questionnaires. You can find a very good online quiz on the Web at www.authentichappiness.com. This site was created by Martin Seligman, PhD, author of the book Authentic Happiness (2004), which identifies three components of happiness: meaning, pleasure, and engagement.

Seligman is known for his work on positive psychology and recent work on “happiness.” In recent years this topic has created a buzz of excitement with a vast amount of research being done. Classes, courses and even college degrees are now available.

In her 2008 book, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, dispels three myths of happiness. She uses a pie chart to show what determines happiness: 10 percent of happiness is determined by circumstances, 50 percent is determined by our set point, and 40 percent of happiness is determined by intentional activity.

Three myths are related to happiness, according to Lyubomirsky. First, you cannot find happiness. The reason is that it does not exist “out there,” but rather resides within us. Second, thinking “I would be happy IF_____,” or “I will be happy WHEN _____,” or waiting for our circumstances to change has little bearing on the outcome. Third, the notion we are born happy or unhappy—and believe there is little we can do about it—is false. Much research shows persuasively we can overcome our genetic programming.

Lyubomirsky has proven that the following 12 activities, used individually or in combination, do increase one’s happiness over time.

1. Express gratitude to others. Find three things a day to be grateful about.

2. Work on being optimistic by looking at the bright side. Find the silver lining in a cloud.

3. Stop focusing on comparisons with others. Be yourself.

4. Practice acts of kindness. Do a good deed daily.

5. Nurture social relationships. Make time for your family and friends.

6. Learn strategies for coping. Dispute your negative beliefs in writing and consider more optimistic explanations for the problem.

7. Learn to forgive. Write a letter of forgiveness, which you can choose to mail.

8. Increase “flow experiences” by making time to enjoy what you are doing.

9. Savor life’s joys, past, present and future.

10. Commit to your goals by writing them down and developing a plan to implement them.

11. Maintain a spiritual or religious connection. Be open to your higher source.

12. Take care of your body. Eat well, exercise and relax.

Sources: Lyubomirsky, Sonja. (2008). The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. New York: The Penguin Press.

Seligman, Martin. (2004).
Authentic Happiness. New York: Free Press.

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Your credit card: 8 things to know

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 17, 2010

Suzanne Gellman, MS, JD
Financial Education Specialist

University of Missouri Extension, St. Louis County

Credit cards and credit cards with high limits used to be easy to get, but this is not the case anymore.
Credit card issuers are making changes to reduce their risk and increase profits in an uncertain economic time. Banks and credit card companies are trying to offset financial losses by increasing fees and interest rates on credit cards. A new credit card law seeks to help protect consumers: the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (or Credit CARD) Act of 2009.
Most of the provisions go into effect Feb. 22, 2010, but a few start in August 2009. The new law will improve consumer disclosures and end some practices costly to consumers, but it does not cap interest rates and fees. Make sure you know the new rules of the game to help level the playing field.

1. Canceling credit cards. Credit card issuers are “reassessing their risk” and canceling customer credit cards without notice. They must notify you within 30 days of cancellation if the decision was based on your credit report, but they don’t have to notify you before canceling your card. They don’t have to give you notice if cancellation is due to inactivity, late payments or default.

2. Reducing credit limits. Many credit card issuers check your credit
report monthly. If they become concerned about your card usage, ability to pay, or amount of debt you are incurring on their card or other cards or loans, they can reduce your credit limit. If you carry a balance, a reduction in your credit limit can negatively affect your credit score (see fico.com).

3. Different interest rates. If your credit card allows you to get cash advances, you may pay one interest rate for credit purchases and a higher rate for cash advances. In the past, credit card issuers usually credited your payments first to the portion of your balance with the lowest interest rate. Under the new law, if you make more than the required minimum payment, the extra amount will be credited first toward the portion of your balance with the highest interest rate.

4. Interest rate increases. Previously, if consumers were late with one or two payments, or if they made late payments on unrelated accounts (known as universal default), credit card companies could raise interest rates on previous balances. Under the new law, card holders must be at least 60 days late before the higher interest rate can apply to an existing balance. The Credit CARD Act eliminates the practice of universal default for existing balances. Borrowers may still have rates raised on future purchases for late payments on unrelated accounts or “anytime for any reason,” but they must be given 45 days’ notice.

5. Fee changes. Common credit card fees include late fees, over-the-limit fees, balance transfer fees and cash advance fees. Under the new law, consumers must be given 45 days’ notice before major contract changes, such as fees, take effect. Cardholders will no longer be subject to overlimit fees unless they permit the card issuer to approve overlimit transactions, and even then, only one overlimit fee per billing cycle can be applied.

6. Fixed and variable rates. Even if a credit card has a fixed rate, it may not be fixed forever. The Credit CARD Act requires card issuers to give customers 45 days’ notice if they change the interest rate on a fixed rate card. For variable rate credit cards, the issuer may change the interest rate without giving 45 days’ notice if the index to which the rate is tied has changed.

7. Teaser rates. Credit card companies sometimes use an introductory or “teaser” rate to get consumers to open an account. A “teaser” rate is a very low rate limited to a fairly short time. At the end of that time, the rate goes up to a standard rate. The Credit CARD Act requires credit card issuers to offer the introductory rate for at least a year.

8. Extra fees. Credit card companies may no longer charge fees to consumers who pay bills over the phone or online. They can still charge fees for expedited payments.

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