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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 Even though he had withdrawn all her money and told her she wouldn’t make it on her own.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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Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 8, 2010

Ground Rules:

Can you agree to the following?

___ Some conflict is normal and to be expected.
___ Each partner is entitled to their own unique perspective.
___ Each partner can only control their 50% of the interactions.
___ Its acceptable to attack the problem, but not the person.

How To INTERRUPT the Old Patterns by using “R-C-L” :


Try to demonstrate respect at all times, and at 2 levels:
Non-verbally: by maintaining eye contact, turning off any distractions, and trying to appear interested.
Verbally: waiting your turn to talk.


If in doubt on what to do or say, resort to LISTENING. You can always respond later.
Listening does not mean you agree, but rather that you are at least trying to receive the message.
Attempt to understand the message by listening on 2 levels: with your head, and with your heart.

CHOOSE (how you respond)

Don’t just react! You can take some time to think and reflect before giving any response.
If conflict is escalating into the danger zone, call a time-out and get apart for a few minutes.
It is better to delay than to destroy.
Stay focused on the (one) topic.
Make your point and stop! Going on and on reduces the chances of being heard.
Details will only pollute your point.
Using unfair tactics may feel effective in the moment, but work against any real problem solving.
Use “I” messages instead of “You” messages: i.e., “I felt____, when you ____.”
This identifies your feelings and concerns, yet acknowledges you take responsibility for your own feelings. Saying, “You made me feel ___,” says the other person is responsible for making you feel so-and-so. This is never true, since we are responsible for how we choose to interpret a comment. It is a common cognitive mistake. This response will always put the other person on the defensive.

RESOLUTION may only come with time, not during one particular battle.

Remember: “If I do what I always did, I’ll get what I always got.”

Stephen L. Knubley, Principal
Knubley Counseling, LLC

Copyright © 2000-2009 Knubley Counseling, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Rev 9-9-09

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Success Summit Sunday Morning Speaker

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 7, 2010

At the last day of the Dress for Success, Success Summit. Sunday’s Inspirational key note speaker Rae Lewis -Thornton focused on progress. Thrornton explained, “My Life is not my own.” She described about how she overcame obstacles of all kinds. Thornton She talked about how she was sexually, emotionally, and psychically abused from age 5 to 17. Thornton shared that therapy is necessary to deal with and heal from sexual abuse.

She explained, “That we all have a history and it’s standing on something I have history with God.” She told us how faith and character helped overcome. Thornton said her grandmother was instrumental in encouraging her faith.

Thronton stated, ” What ever your struggle know that you will be fighting against that Demon all of your life.” She explained about the consequences of living with AIDS. She shared candidly about how the disease caused people to suffered with diarrhea. Despite dealing with direatha Thorton lead an active life. She talked about how the first few times she had diarrhea she was able to wash up and not be embarrassed, just in convenient.

Thornton shared about how diarrhea hit when she was in a restaurant having dinner. She went to the bathroom and set in her mess in the stall. Trying to figure out what to do. She said the lesson from this was, ” Sometimes you have to sit still in your mess, figure out your next move…this situation I’m in … i have to sit still an think about my next move. She then preceded to be humble and wash up in the toilet. She washed and flushed.

Thornton explained the importance of respecting public space. She went on to tell how she washed out her panties and wrapped them up in toilet paper and put them in her pocket . Even though she was going to discard them. She said she didn’t discard them at the restaurant because, she had to realize how her actions affected others.
This made me think about how personally pride has caused me to rush and my mess has affected others as a result.

Thornton explained God always has a plan. his time it not ours, his ways are not ours! She encouraged” be willing to tell your story, your life is not your own. She did not share the story at first, but once she started sharing it she realized she was helping others. She said an actress heard her story and developed into a project about women and AIDS. Thornton explained she praised God because the actress was able to reach a group, she couldn’t.
Thornton explained to Ebony, “I want people to say, ‘She took the adversities in her life and she used them for the goodness of God.'”

For more information about living with AIDS check out Thorton’s blog.

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Building a Positive Employer, Employee Relationship

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 6, 2010

Other than your immediate family, the people that you interact with most frequently are your co-workers. If you are a supervisor, it is your obligation as an employer to maintain positive and supportive relationships in the workplace.

Some ways to continually build on your employer employee relationships include:

* Keeping the lines of communication open and make your expectations clear. Provide feedback on how your employees are doing.

* Always be open to suggestions and employee feedback; regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative. Asking your employees for their opinion will make them feel involved and valued. As an added bonus, your employees’ feedback may help to revitalize your business by uncovering ideas that will increase efficiency, customer service, or save money. You’ll also uncover issues that likely would never have been brought to your attention until the issue mushroomed into a bigger problem.

* Avoid favoritism. Be consistent with how you manage your employees.

* Lead by example. With few exceptions, the rules in place for your employees should apply to you; particularly when it comes to company or departmental policies. Avoid creating a double standard in the workplace.

* Be respectful to your employees. Supervisory status is not a license to treat your employees unfairly.

* Don’t make decisions that either negatively or positively impacts your employee’s status at work solely on the basis of gender, age, race, or other arbitrary reasons. This is especially true when it comes to promoting or terminating an employee.

* Don’t tolerate mistakes on the job. Feedback and communication is key. Deal with issues in the workplace before those issues get out of hand.

* Acknowledge your strong performers. Share your concerns with poor performers in private and hold them accountable for improving their performance while providing support and guidance.

Dianne Shaddock is the Founder of Easy Small Business HR.com, a
website which provides “Employee Hiring and Managing Tips” for
supervisors or anyone interested in learning more about managing and
hiring.  Go to EasySmallBusinessHR.com for more tips on how to hire
and manage your staff more effectively.

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Parenting Tips for Better Living

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 3, 2010

It’s a fact of life that most of us will be informal caregivers at some point in or lives to an elderly parent or relative. At the same time many of us will also be caring for our children. Being a parent while caring for a parent can lead to serious health problems. Find new ways below to reduce your care giver stress:

  • Ask for  and accept help. Be Prepared with a mental list of ways that others can help. If they want to, your older children can read a to granparents and spend quality time with them. But don’t force your kids to particpate.
  • Say ” no ” to request that are draiing, such as hosting a holiday meal.
  • Spend time alone with your kids. Go to a movie. Go for a long walk in the park. Talk to them about their day.
  • Don’t feel guilty that you are not a perfect. There are no perfect caregivers or parents. You’re doing the best that you can.
  • Join a support group for caregivers.
  • Make time each week to do something special for yourself: get a pedicure, enjoy your favorite recreational pursuit or visit friends.
  • Try to make time to be active most days of the week, eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep.
  • Don’t neglect your marriage or significant other.
  • If you begin to feel overwhelmed , speak to a qualified physician
  • Keep your sense of humor.
  • www.helpstartshere.org
  • You can find  a social worker who can help you navigate the health care system, get a nursing aide and even help you find transportation for your parents.

Source: U. S. Department of  Health and Human Services

A Parent’s Life

Reprinted from Dress for Success Empower Women & Their Families to Make Healthy Life Choices ( July 2010 Professional Women’s Group Tip Sheet)

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The Value of a Mentor & How to Find One

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

Invest in your professional future by building a relationship with someone who is more experienced than you and who is willing to share that experience – a mentor.

Mentors can offer advice, ideas and contacts, and they can help you create a roadmap to your dreams.

How do you find a mentor, and how do you maintain that relationship? Read on to find out.

How to find a mentor?

Before embarking on a search for a mentor, ask yourself what you want to learn from him/her. Perhaps you want to learn a specific skill, get assistance in implementing a project, or get guidance on how to expand your network, balance your career and personal life, etc.

Once you’ve determined your goals, it’s time to find the right mentor. Check with your employer’s human resources office to find out if your employer offers a formal mentor program. If not, your alma mater may provide a mentor program – particularly in your area of study. There are also websites that offer mentoring matching, like

* MicroMentor
* Menttium
* Small Business Mentoring and Training
* FORTUNE/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership
* WOMEN Unlimited

And don’t underestimate the value of networking. Consider attending events in the field of your interest – meeting people, and following up with those who seem like they might be able to and interested in mentoring you.

Similarly, you can make a list of companies/organizations that you respect. Compile a list of the key executives; these are usually found on the “About Us” section of the establishment’s website, or you can search by company on LinkedIn. Do your research by reading any available bio on your prospective mentor and information on their employer prior to contacting them. When you contact your prospective mentor, introduce yourself and state your interest in their company and position. Ask if they could talk briefly over lunch, a quick office visit or call.

Once you’ve found a potential mentor, you need to gauge if it’s a good match. Are they a good listener? Do they have valuable knowledge and act with integrity? Are they positive, supportive, accessible, empathetic and willing to share their wisdom with you? Another observation to make is if your communication styles match. If yes to the questions above, explain your professional ambitions, challenges and desires – and ask if they are interested in working with you to navigate these issues – would they be open to being your mentor?

In this meeting, you might go so far as to establish the goals of the relationship, the duration of the program and how often and how (in person, by phone, by email) you will communicate. Try to establish clear objectives and evaluation measures. Make sure that trustworthiness and confidentiality are part of the agreement.

How to nurture the relationship?

Mentors are there to develop talent, teach valuable skills, and provide tools and resources. Other benefits include assistance with strategic planning, building your contact base, and increasing your knowledge and your opportunities to strengthen your professional standing. Keep in mind that your meetings or conversations can be brainstorming sessions for professional development that is mutually beneficial, as well.

It is important to nurture the relationship, to be accountable and to be realistic with your expectations. Your mentor may have more experience than you, but you can still contribute to their quality of life. Take time to show your appreciation by showing your gratitude — send a thank you card, treat them to a meal, send them information that is beneficial to their business/profession, write a note of praise to their boss on how valuable your mentor is, or volunteer to help them with a project.

Whether your mentor relationship is short or long-term, try to stay connected with them as you progress in your career. After the mentorship program, the mentor can serve as a reference. Above all, show your gratitude for your mentor’s insights and efforts. Perhaps one day, you will pay it forward and be a beacon of hope, yourself. As Oprah Winfrey said, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”

Reena De Asis is a MarCom professional with experience in the corporate, agency and non-profit sectors. When she’s not initiating a corporate volunteer program or organizing a renovation mural project, Reena immerses herself in live music or savoring chocolate nuggets of wisdom. Words to live by: “My life is my message,” by Mohandas Gandhi. Her passion is http://www.laworks.com

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What’s Holding You Back? Surround Yourself with Supporters

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on August 9, 2010

Starting and growing a successful business isn’t easy.  You need to surround yourself with like-minded people.  And that means people who encourage and support you in starting and maintaining a business.

As hard as this is to say, you may have to minimize connections with family and friends who are not supportive of you in a positive way. It is detrimental to the health of your business to be in the company of anyone who will encourage you to, ‘get a real job’, or insinuates that your job is less important or not making a contribution to the family finances.  This can really chew away at your resolve and determination to own your own business.  You have to maintain a positive attitude and only like-minded friends, family, and peers will keep you on your game.

That’s why making time to continue growing and learning whether by reading, participating in seminars and groups are so important to continual business success.

Make the commitment to surround yourself with positive supportive people as you start and grow your business.  Join one or more industry associations and get involved by volunteering or participating regularly in forums.

Join several well respected social networking groups and set aside a minimal amount of time each day or week that you’ll participate in these forums.  This will increase your network of ‘positive’ support and help you strengthen your resolve to grow a profitable business.

Jeannine Clontz, is a successful entrepreneur, author, speaker, and trainer. Clontz teaches a 7-week business start-up class in conjunction with Connections to Success and the St. Charles Community College, as well as a 10-week Teleclass for start-up and established Virtual Assistants. Learn more about Time Management for Virtual Assistants by downloading her FREE report “A Fresh Look at Time Management for Virtual Assistants”, or request her FREE audio CD “What’s Holding Back my Business Success?”,  and more by visiting:  http://www.VAbizcoach.com; or contact her at: coach@VAbizcoach.com.

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