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Archive for October, 2010

LinkedIn 101

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 29, 2010

I often receive questions about LinkedIn and how it works. Here are a few tips for beginners:

1. Define a purpose for joining LinkedIn. This step is extremely important and guides your activity on the site. Do you want to build a professional network? Are you looking for new clients? Maybe you would like to keep in touch with former co-workers.

2. LinkedIn is a starting point for building meaningful relationships or improving existing ones. Connections should be related to your overall purpose for using the site(see #1). You can start connecting with others. However, it will take a little elbow grease to cultivate and sustain those relationships.

3. Complete the profile. Include a professional picture, accurate description of your background, and purpose for joining LinkedIn. At the bottom of the profile page, there is a section called, Contact Settings. Select a purpose to describe your LinkedIn activity such as looking for career opportunities or networking with others.

4. Personalize your LinkedIn Public Profile link and then add it to your business cards, resume and any other networking items. The default public profile link can be long and confusing. Try to shorten and personalize it by using your name and/or initials. For example, my public profile link is http://www.linkedin.com/in/anitasantiago.

LinkedIn is a very powerful network tool and can be used by jobseekers, professionals at any level, students and retirees. These tips should help you get started even if you have limited LinkedIn experience.

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Pharmaceutical Companies Helping Patients Get Their Medicines By Richard J. Sagall, M.D.

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 29, 2010

It’s a choice no one should have to make – pay rent and buy food or get prescriptions filled. Yet all too often it’s a choice Americans, particularly older Americans, have to make.

Over 40 million Americans have no health insurance, and millions more have limited coverage. Many Americans just can’t afford healthcare, and, if they can, they don’t have the money to buy their medicines.

Patient Assistance Programs
There is help available for many people who can’t afford their medicines. These programs, frequently called patient assistance programs (PAPs), are designed to help those in need obtain their medicines at no cost or very low cost.

Many, but not all, pharmaceutical companies have PAPs. The manufacturers who have programs do so for various reasons. Some believe that they have a corporate social obligation to help those who can’t afford their products. Others believe it’s a good marketing tool. As one PAP director once told me, many people who can’t afford their medicines now will go on to obtain some type of coverage. And when they do get this coverage, they will continue using the medication provided by the PAP.

In 2005, PAPs helped over 7 million people. The programs filled over 36 million prescriptions with a total wholesale value of over $5 billion.

The Basics of the Programs
All PAPs are designed to help those in need obtain their medicines. Since each pharmaceutical company establishes its own rules and guidelines, all are different. All have income guidelines, but they vary considerably. Each company selects which drugs are available on their programs and how long a person can receive assistance.

How PAPs Work
Although no two programs are exactly the same, most require that the applicant complete an application form. The amount of information required varies. Some programs require detailed medical and financial information, others very little. All require a doctor’s signature. Certain programs require the doctor complete a portion of the form while others only need a signed prescription.

Most send the medicines to the doctor’s office for distribution to the patients, while others send the medicine to a pharmacy. A few send a certificate to the patient gives to give the pharmacist.

Some patients need drugs for a long time. Most, but not all, programs that cover medicines used to treat chronic diseases offer refills.

What Medicines are Covered
The pharmaceutical companies decide if they will have a PAP and, if they do, which of their medicines will be available through the program. Some include many or all of the medicines they manufacture while others include only a few. The reasons for these decisions are not something they reveal.

There are a few programs that sell generic medications at a fixed price – currently $18 for a three-month supply and $30 for a six-month supply. These programs are adding more drugs all the time.

Sometimes a medicine or a certain dosage of that medicine will be on a program, then off, and then back on again. Or one dose of the medicine will be on the program but a different dose won’t be.

How to Learn about PAPs
Your doctor is not the best source of information on PAPs. Surprisingly, many doctors don’t even know PAPs exist. The same applies for pharmacists. Many social workers know about the programs. Books in the library or bookstore on PAPs are probably outdated before they are printed.

The best place to learn about PAPs is the Internet. There are a number of sites that have information on these programs. Many pharmaceutical companies have information on their patient assistant programs on their websites. Unfortunately, it’s often hard to find the page that describes their PAP.

Types of Websites
There are two types of websites with information on patient assistance programs. Three sites list information on patient assistance programs – NeedyMeds (www.needymeds.com), RxAssist (www.rxassist.org), and HelpingPatients.org (www.helpingpatients.org). There is no charge to use the information. These sites don’t have a program of their own nor do they help people get their medicines.

NeedyMeds is a non-profit funded by donations, sales of software for managing PAPs, and other sources. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), an association and lobbying group whose members include many of the larger pharmaceutical manufacturers, runs HelpingPatients.org, which has information on PhRMA members programs.

Then there are a number of sites that charge people to learn about patient assistance programs and complete the application forms. The charges vary, as does the quality of their services. Some offer a money-back guarantee if they can’t get your medicines.

How to Use NeedyMeds
Most PAP sites contain similar information. They differ in how they organize the material, the ease in accessing the information, and the timeliness of their data.

To use the NeedyMeds site you begin with the name of your medicine. There are two ways you can check to see if your medicines are available in a patient assistance program. One is to click on the drug list. This brings up an alphabetical list of all the drugs currently on PAPs. Find the medicine you take and clink on its name. This will bring up the program page.

On the program page, you will learn about the specifics of the PAP – the qualification guidelines, the application process, the information you need to supply, what your doctor must complete, etc. In addition, you will learn if there’s a downloadable application on the website or if you must get an application from the company. (Some companies accept copies of their application form while others require you complete an original.)

If you know the medicine’s manufacturer, you can click on the programs list. From there, you can click on the program you want to learn more about. That should bring up the information you need.

Once you get the information you need, it’s up to you to complete the applications, get the necessary signatures, and send the form to the program.

A Few Tips
The most common problem patients encounter when completing the application forms is lack of physician cooperation. Over and over I hear from people whose physicians just won’t complete the forms – or charge to do it. I am asked what they should do.

Here are a few suggestions:
1. Make sure you have completed everything on the form that you can. Not only should you complete the applicant’s section, but anything else you can fill in. This may include the physician’s name and address, phone number, etc.
2. Bring all the information your doctor may need. For example, some programs require proof of income. If so, attach whatever documents are required.
3. Bring an addressed envelope with the appropriate postage.
4. Don’t expect your doctor to complete the form immediately. A busy doctor may not have time to read the form while you are in the office.
5. If you encounter resistance, tell your doctor that without his/her help, you won’t be able to obtain the medicines he/she is prescribing. Be blunt.
6. If all else fails, you may need to find a physician more sympathetic to your plight and willing to help you.

What if I Don’t Have a Computer
Many people without a computer can still use the information available on these websites. Nearly everyone knows someone with a computer – a family member, a neighbor, or a friend. Most public libraries have computers for public use and people who can help those not familiar with their use.

Summary
Patient assistance programs may not be the best solution to the problem of inability to pay for medication, but they can help many people. Millions of people use PAPs to get the medicines they need but can¹t afford. If you can’t afford your medicines, a patient assistance program may be able to help you.

Richard J. Sagall, M.D., is a board certified family physician. He cofounded NeedyMeds and continues to run the site. He can be reached via the website, http://www.needymeds.com. He lives in Gloucester, MA.

Copyright ©2010 by NeedyMeds, Inc.

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She is my Inspiration

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

She’s my inspiration but she’ll never even know it- you see I’ve never personally met her, but watching her, knowing her drive and struggles she faces causes me to face those- then seeming insignificant challenges in my hard dealt life.

You see it’s not so hard any more when I look at all she faces, ya see it’s not such a bad hand I’ve been given when I see the cards that she’s layed down. It’s more about how you play your cards anyway and not just about what you’re dealt.

She’s my inspiration

I come home and kick off my heels and complain about how it seems like there should be less mess and how I’m tired of this ol’ dishwasher because it never gets my dishes clean.

She kicks her heels up on a park bench and pries her tattered shoes off her severely blistered heels until an officer tells her she can’t be here because this is private property. She gets back up and walks around hoping to find somewhere safe and warm to sleep tonight.

She is my inspiration

She is my inspiration because she finally got the courage to leave him. Even though he had withdrawn all her money and told her she wouldn’t make it on her own.

She is my inspiration because she doesn’t walk alone but with a set of size 12 little girls shoes that she makes sure get to the school every day and on time.

She is my inspiration because she won’t let anything stand in her way from showing her baby girl that her God will protect them and make a way out of no way for them.

She is my inspiration because she took a coupon from a stranger she met at the soup kitchen and found herself standing in front of Dress for Success.

She is my inspiration because she took that coupon from a stranger, that gave her a suit, that landed her a job, that gave her the income that enabled her to get her own home, that gave her a place to park her new car, that gave her and her baby girl hope to move on.

She is my inspiration!

She was homeless by choice. My inspiration by divination!

She is my inspiration!

 

Jana Gamble, is a Midwest Professional Women’s Group Member. She is the author of three books, I am a child of God, 107 ways to Give When You Think You Have Nothing to Give and Capture your Giving and Blessing, A Journaling  Journey to new discovery. Gamble writes a column in the monthly Connections Newsletter entitled “Inspirations from an Everyday Woman.”

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Job Search Strategies & Online Resources

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

In the beginning, there were two major online job search engines: Monster and Careerbuilder. Over time, many other job search engines were created. Jobseekers can be overwhelmed by the number and variety of online job search sites available. Another frustration often experienced is finding quality job postings. Some sites include very little information with their job postings. Often, applicants submit resumes only to find the job posting was no longer open or valid.

Here are a few tips to improve online job searches:

1. Research first. Narrow your search to those jobs or categories based on your skill set. Research companies and determine which type of company best meets your needs. What benefits matter to you? Are you looking for companies that provide flexible scheduling, onsite childcare, travel opportunities, etc? Once you know what you are looking for – you are ready to start an online search.

2. Online Resume Websites. Utilize online sites like Koda, Monster and VirtualCV to showcase your skills and conduct job searches. These sites are convenient because they let you post your resume and conduct job searches from one website.

3. Leverage Professional Social Networks. LinkedIn and Plaxo are two of the largest online professional networking sites and should be used in your job search. LinkedIn has a robust job search engine. Once you find a job that interests you, LinkedIn shows who in your professional network is employed at or connected to that particular company. You can contact your LinkedIn connections for additional information about the job and/or the company. Plaxo is very similar to LinkedIn. It has a job search feature within its site. Again, you can leverage professional connections to get information on a particular job opening or company.

4. Industry Specific Job Search Engines. Sites like Dice.com (information technology jobs) or HigherEdjobs.com (education jobs) provide job postings specific to one industry. Other sites like Indeed.com and Linkup.com allow you to conduct searches in a particular field or industry. Linkup.com is accessible by visiting the website directly or linking it to your current Facebook account. Indeed.com takes job searching a step further by allowing you to save searches and have updates e-mailed to you.

Take the time to research and create a good job search strategy. These simple tips will save time and reduce frustration.

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Her Startup and Connections to Success partner to advise prospective businessowners

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

Khrystina Vaughan, founder of Her Startup, is dedicated to helping women launch, grow and give back through business. She is aware of the issues facing women worldwide as they struggle to provide for themselves and their families.

That is why she established a partnership with Connections to Success. Through their partnership, seven women recently were able to attend 90 Days to Launch, a 12-week intensive program that took female entrepreneurs from the planning stage to daily business operations.

The 90 Days to Launch program featured four guest speakers. Steve Balsarotti, an attorney with Polster, Lieder, Woodruff & Lucchesi, talked with the women about intellectual property and other legal concerns.

Linda Jacobsen, founder and president of Global Vision Strategies, delivered information on global business and cultural diversity.

Norma Boozer of National City Bank spoke on building business and personal credit.

Mary Baum of Mary Baum Creative Services did a presentation on marketing and market research.

A graduation ceremony was held at the Airport Renaissance Hotel for the women entrepreneurs who participated. Kathy Lambert, co-director of Connections to Success, gave the welcome and introduced Khrys Vaughan. Vaughan shared her passion about women’s economic status in this world through the statics she shared.

She said, “70 percent of the world’s population is in poverty and two-thirds of those are women.” Vaughan shared a story about a woman in Ghana who used an empty water bottle to start a pancake business, which allowed her to support her family.

Angela Lieb of LifeWorks Business Center was the keynote speaker for the graduation. Lieb told graduates, “This is the best time to start a business, despite the economy.”

Lieb shared the five keys to success for entrepreneurs n character, networking, experience, resources and personal brand. She said that it is important to have multiple streams of incomes: “You’ve got to have a couple of buckets.”

Lieb encouraged the graduates to admire women who continue to thrive despite their circumstances, like the woman from Ghana in the story Vaughan shared. She also said that new entrepreneurs should not be scared because “your experience is unique and valuable.”

Lieb asked the graduates to do a 30-second introduction. Ronda Fitch of My Kitchen to Yours said she wants people to have fun in the kitchen, bringing families back to the table. Her vision for giving back is to be able to assist people with utility bills so they can cook and be comfortable. Samples of her zucchini and banana nut bread were delicious. She sold all 20 loaves before the ceremony ended.

Entrepreneur graduate Jana Gamble is launching a new venture, One World One Race, to promote diversity, unity, equality and spirituality.

Anne Murray will soon launch Knights by Murray, providing medical garments for men in the health care industry. She states her clothes will “bring out the Knight” in men. Murray will give back by working with ex-offenders of non-violent crimes that are re-entering society.

Kari Pruitt, owner of Kari of Denmark, has an organizing and cleaning business, but also stages homes. She said she is organizing this town one space at a time. Pruitt wants to give back to the community by holding free seminars on organization for women.

Minister Gwendolyn Foster is giving back through her ministry, Set the Caged Bird Free, by providing services for the ensnared and emotionally wounded.

Joyce Marchand of Inspire Me Photography assists organizations with fundraisers combining her inspirational photography with motivational or scriptural prose.

Unfortunately, Kim Manoogian, life coach, was unable to attend the graduation.

For more information about Her Startup or 90 Days to Launch, contact Khrys Vaughan at 314-714-5675 or email Khrys@herstartup.com

Reprinted From the St. Louis American

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Profile of PWG Memeber

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 16, 2010

When you empower a woman you empower a family, when you empower a family you
empower and entire community. Hillary Clinton

Anne Murray a member of Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women’s Group
(PWG) is an example of that. When first introduced to PWG she had  all kinds of
obstacles such as legal, housing, and more.  Murray has been gainfully employed
for  5+ years at the same company. She has become a success story. Murray
achieved her goal of going back to school to get her degree in Criminal Justice.
Since attending school she is in the Honors Program and was inducted into the
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Murray started attending PWG  2004. In 2006 she was recognized for her
leadership abilities and  asked to participate in The Leading Ladies program
that encouraged women to become leaders in their community. The Leading Ladies
program was a 9 month intensive program. The curriculum  focused on being a
board member for non profits and how to impact the community. After completing
the program Murray put her skills to work by being on the planning committee for
several of Connections to Success entry level women’s conferences. In 2009, she
was co -host of H.O. P. E. Summit.

She stated , “Being a part of PWG has provided me with many opportunities. Since
I have been affiliated with PWG I have receive professional attire,
participated in “90 days to Launch” a class for female entrepreneurs, member of
the “WI$E Up” a financial empowerment course for women, which all have helped me
tremendously.”

Murray explained, “ I am glad we participate in Dress for Success World wide
community action project challenge each year. It gives us an opportunity to give
back to the community. This year we are giving back to homeless and this is a
chance to make a real difference. I was homeless before,  I can relate to the
people we are serving this year. I have overcome obstacles and I know we will be
able to assist the  homeless women to overcome their obstacles.”

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Why Should YOu Love Yourself

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 14, 2010

“They would like you to write about your own struggles with body image as a child.” And thus the subject of my blog for this years Women’s Conference was born. The only thing that struck me as odd was the “as a child” part. I’m a full grown 36-year-old woman who still occasionally wrestles with body image issues. Don’t we all, to one degree or another?

The world is subjective and we see it through our mind’s eye. For that reason, our life’s experiences and memories shape or “warp” our vision. This occurs on multiple levels, ranging from personal to professional, but by far the most insidious and potentially dangerous problems this can cause surround our physicality. At the least, body image issues erode self-esteem, and at the worst, they can give way to potentially fatal eating disorders.

The pressure to conform starts practically in utero and comes at us from every direction throughout our lives. Be it family pressures or societal expectations, the moment we are brought into the world, the programming begins, and the rules are laid down. “We behave this way, look and appear that way, talk when and as instructed” and so on.

We are by nature social creatures. We crave conformity and harmony with the population – like it or not. And who wouldn’t? No one wants to be ostracized and face the painful punishment of rejection. For this reason we strive to achieve the idea of perfection that society has impressed upon us. Looping endlessly in the vicious cycle of hope, self-consciousness and self-loathing.

Who hasn’t looked in the mirror and dissected themselves or engaged in a severe verbal bashing? “My body is so gross. I hate my fat knees. I wish I were tall instead of short and dumpy. My hair is thin and stringy. My jiggly arm fat makes me sick.” Blah blah blah. We’ve all been there to one degree or another and felt the sting of this ritual.

So now what? Where does this leave us and how do we change? Who is the enlightened soul that has evolved to the point of tossing off all of our cultural suppositions and basically telling the powers that be where to stick it? The answer to that is no one — or at least I certainly haven’t met her yet.

In fact, quite the opposite ends up happening. What begins as society’s imposition ends up our own doing. Often we collapse under the pressure into submission, falling in line, adopting and propagating these provincial ideas of beauty.

So in actuality, the realization that we have become the problem empowers us to be the solution. In the immortal words of President Truman, “The buck stops here!” We must say no to this pernicious dogma and stop taking part in the endless spiral of judgment and loathing that we subject ourselves and other women to.

We have to create awareness and be conscious of when we engage in this destructive behavior and conversely choose to implement an attitude and actions that are nurturing and life affirming.

When you catch yourself analyzing and criticizing – STOP and immediately pay yourself a compliment. Celebrate the differences among women and appreciate beauty in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Do something nice for yourself like getting a manicure pedicure. Smile at a female co-worker instead of “hating her ’cause she’s beautiful.” Glance over a list of all your accomplishments and all the things about you that your proud of. And so on.

While this stuff might sound trite like a cheesy new age platitude, the truth is that it works. Not overnight. It takes time, diligence, and desire, but doesn’t everything that’s worth fighting for? We have a responsibility to ourselves and to our daughters to send a different message, rewrite the rules, and change the game. It’s up to us to set a new example, lead the way and then support and encourage others to follow suit.

Now, repeat after me “I’m smart, I’m beautiful, I’m funny and doggone it – people like me.” – Stuart Smalley.

Jillian Michaels is a New York Times best-selling author, a trainer and the life coach on the NBC hit series The Biggest Loser, and the star of the NBC show Losing It With Jillian.

Her DVDs, Yoga Meltdown, 30-Day Shred, No More Trouble Zones, and Banish Fat Boost Metabolism, are consistently top sellers on Amazon. In addition, she has two video games — Jillian Michaels’ Fitness Ultimatum 2009 and Jillian Michaels’ Fitness Ultimatum 2010. Her website is JillianMichaels.com

 

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Go with the Flow How to Deal with Changes on the Job

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 14, 2010

One thing you can count on in life and at work is that things will change. Just when you get used to something, you have to learn something new. Depending on how you look at change, it can give you a headache or it can be a terrific opportunity to grow and learn new skills and develop new competence. Here are some pointers for dealing successfully, and beneficially, with changes in your job:

· Recognize flexibility as a basic job skill. Being flexible in times of change is smart strategy.  Remember the old story about the two trees in the storm: The sapling bent in the wind and survived.  The stiff old tree snapped.

· Give change a chance.  Don’t dig in your heels or bad mouth changes.  Give them time to take effect.  After they get used to changes, people usually come to value the benefits of a change (time savings, less effort, etc.) and wonder why they ever resisted it in the first place.

· Remember that nobody expects you to be an expert right away. Don’t expect to be able to navigate through these new waters like a pro right away. It takes a little time to learn new procedures, equipment, systems, etc.  You’ll be up to speed soon enough. Make the effort to learn the new information and skills.

Ask for help-and offer to help others. Ask a lot of questions-even if you have to ask the same question several times before the answer makes sense. The other side of this coin is that one excellent way to adjust to change is to help co-workers adjust.  So do what you can to help others accept and realize the benefits from changes.

 

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Inspirations from an Everyday Woman

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 14, 2010

Are you missing the obvious? Are you recognizing the possibilities before you? Are you seeking something that you already possess? Are you feeling lonely? What are you really missing?

My encouragement to you this month is to call upon one of your fellow sisters that has invited you to events, emailed, text-ed, called or asked and you haven’t responded. Make a conscious decision to take some time out and speak to her. There is probably something that you’ve been seeking, searching or waiting for that she has the ability to connect you with. Just taking a few moments to speak into another persons life can make a great difference for both of you!

Through October see how many unexpected relationships you can sow into and watch how beautiful your harvest is!

 

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The Health Corner By Dr. Toni Puzzo

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 14, 2010

Fun Food Facts:

1. In American, the average family of four consumes nearly 6000 pounds of food

2. 88% of all milk is water and only about 12%is solid substance that has food value

3. It takes nearly 2000 coffee cherries to provide beans for a poiund of roasted coffee

4. In Japan, squid is the most popular pizza topping

5. Cabbage is 91% water

Remember, treat food as fuel for your body! Focus on what you put into your mouth. Chew your food thoroughly. Remember to take the time to enjoy your food!

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