From Panera Bread to the Boardroom: Two Moms Collaborate to Empower Women

WLAM-Talent Think Partnership promo

Three years ago, I was a part of a small social media team that was covering the NY Business Expo Summit in New York City. After several hours of busily typing soundbites of some of the brightest minds in Social Media, I sauntered to the nearest lavatory where I was approached by Dr. Hilary S. Berger, Ed.D of Work Like a Mother®. She was fascinated with the speed at which I was typing and covering the event and asked me if I could help her hone her skills.

Not too long after the event we met in a Panera Bread in New York City to discuss the possibility of working with one another. As we were sharing our backgrounds and journeys as mothers, we realized we both had a passion for seeing women thrive. We spent most of our time talking about what we might be able to accomplish together someday. These lofty wishes were wrapped up in us being able to provide programs, events, and workshops that could assist women who have lost their way with a way to become relevant again through unique learning opportunities- an academy of sorts.

Some three years later, I am happy to say that academy was launched in 2015 as the Work Like a Mother® Career Academy for Social Media and Job Search Training. I came aboard as a social media and personal branding instructor. In 2016, we are collaborating in a more formal fashion to create new programming and provide the next iteration of the Work Like a Mother® Career Academy for Social Media and Job Search Training.

Our first collaboration is a program that was one of my proudest achievements for 2015- my Talent Think Social Circle Virtual Mentorship Teleclass ™. I launched this program with an idea, shoestring budget and blind faith from October through December of 2015 following the conclusion of the academy and it was a success.

Class “Usie” after my Art of Personal Branding and Social Media Workshop.

 

With the interest and support of Work Like a Mother®, my program has an extended lifeline and has grown into a multi-level program serving two separate needs for the women we serve:

1) Some women just want to re-enter the workforce. As such, their primary interest is in enhancing their skills and building the confidence needed to become a marketable candidate in an ever-difficult and selective job market.

2) In complete contrast to the previous example, there are women who have ideas for businesses they want to launch and need a place where they can incubate and grow those ideas into businesses. They too require some up-skilling and coaching to get there and we want to serve that need as well.

Who better to nurture women who have either of these needs than two mothers/business women that understand and empathize with their journeys. Corporate America isn’t checking for them and certainly hasn’t made much progress in ensuring the career mobility and flexibility of women, so we are tackling it in the only way we know- through education and coaching.

WLAM Open House

Work Like a Mother Open House (1.15.16)

 

You may be thinking what does this have to do with Human Resources?

On the surface, probably not anything. Let’s dive a little deeper though. When I worked in HR, I recognized that people could skip along all day creating policies and procedures without any care or concern for how it impacts the workforce. We were keeping the organization compliant and that is necessary. However, I often wondered if things would be different if Human Resources could function in a truly altruistic manner. My HR buddy, Dave Ryan shared something rather profound in a recent blog post. The post titled: “A Utopian Workplace”drove home an important consideration which is: “it is hard for HR to create a utopian society in the way everyone expects when society has yet to right certain human wrongs. I have to agree and I believe one of the things we have screwed up left and right is how women are regarded and treated in the workplace. More disturbingly is how women who choose to become mothers are often displaced and forgotten. While my collaboration has really nothing to do with HR directly, indirectly Hilary and I are attempting to triage the ills of society from the outside-in-with the hope that these women can thrive and succeed in the way that is most meaningful for them.

If you are interested in learning more about our programs, go to: http://worklikeamother.com/Mentorship.html.  In addition, if you are interested in featuring us on your blog, publication, podcast etc. to discuss our work we would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you.

Here’s a little more insight on Dr. Hilary S. Berger, Ed.d and Work Like a Mother® worth knowing:

Dr. Hilary S. Berger, Ed.D. is the founder of Work Like a Mother®  and is a Career Counselor and Board Certified Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor who earned her Doctoral Degree from Columbia University’s Teachers College. With office locations in Fairfield County Connecticut, Dr. Berger has pioneered a solution oriented career counseling system designed exclusively for educated mothers at home raising their families. She has counseled women in transition both in university settings and in private practice for over twenty years.  Work Like a Mother®, a thriving and dynamic community for mothers, is a one stop shop for mothers rebuilding their professional relevance and marketability during and after their parenting years.

Feeding the beast in 2016: It’s my turn to pivot

Feeding the beast in 2016

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a happy and safe holiday. I took some time off to breathe, recharge and position myself and business for the New Year. It was a reflective time where I was fortunate to catch up with family, friends and colleagues. In doing so, I gained a perspective on what I have done and what I am called to do through my business going forward.

I am happy to share that this month marks the 3rd anniversary for my company, Talent Think Innovations, LLC. Admittedly, I knew what I intended for this business when I started it in 2013, but had no idea where it would actually take me.

What do I mean by this?

I wrote an article in 2014 called: “Are You Ready to Pivot?”. The goal I had in mind for that article was to raise awareness around the need for HR and people in business to become adaptable and ready to make decisive changes when circumstances and/or market shifts call for it. Ironically, I look back at this article and recognize that 2016 has presented fertile ground for me to pivot. I spent much of my time off considering how I would continue propel my business to success and whether I am prepared to take yet another step outside of my comfort zone and let the world know.

After lots of wine, prayer and discussions with my circle of trust, I decided it is important to honor the work I do fully. Honoring my work means ensuring that people have a clear perspective on what I do and how I do it. Talent Think Innovations, LLC was founded as a HR Consulting Firm focused on helping small-to-midsize businesses establish sustainable talent management strategy. I made the decision to create the company focus around HR as a matter of comfort and passion. It was what I knew for over eight years and it just felt right.

Without boring you with all of the details, I find myself today having a much broader impact than HR strategy. I’m not abandoning HR, but I am giving my HR prowess some friends with which it was already comfortable. As such, Talent Think Innovations, LLC is now a multi-disciplinary business strategy and management consulting firm focusing on practical and sustainable strategies in the following areas:

  • HR/Talent Management Strategy
  • Executive and Leadership Coaching and Training
  • Career Coaching
  • Digital Marketing Coaching for SMBs
  • Technology Advisory Services and Strategy
  • Startup Mentorship & Advisement for Women
  • Brand Influencer Marketing

The funny thing about this re-branding of sorts is that this “pivot” has been evidenced in the clients I have been working with over the past three years. I just needed recognize and accept where this business journey was taking me.

What does this mean for “The Aristocracy of HR”?

You can still expect Workforce Strategy and HR talk to be the core of this blog. HR is still in my heart, but I will be opening up my topics as I have done in the past two years to cover entrepreneurship, digital marketing, data, technology and quite frankly anything else that tickles my fancy as I continue to grow and evolve.

What I really hope you all take from this is the following:

  • A friend/colleague recently told me, don’t wait too late to change the direction of your business. I took this to mean that you need to have faith in the signs along the journey and clear your space to do the work you are truly called to do.
  • Discomfort is really preparation for the next great thing coming your way. I have been in a state of discomfort since I started this business. I have had my share of struggles , but every consecutive year has brought more opportunity and blessings to my business than the last.
  • Every day things are changing and we need to remain adaptable and ready to move when life pleasantly and unpleasantly pushes us in a new direction.

I am so excited to share all of the new and fun things going on in my corner. As a reader of this blog, you will also be able to reap the rewards- as I work to provide the next level of value for this community. I hope you will join me on this journey and I thank you for your interest in my musings and readership.

Here’s to having a successful and sweet 2016! Time to feed the beast. Stay tuned!

 

31 Days, 32 Revelations: A Little Bit of Faith

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

Day 5 of 31- A Little Bit of Faith

When I took the leap of faith into the world of entrepreneurship, it was not a decision I made overnight. I literally spent a year and a half trying to find someone in my circle of trust to talk me out of this gnawing urge I had to break free of the corporate shackles. Ever time I spoke to someone about my plan or what I was going through at work, they would say: “it’s time to go, Janine.” I must have heard over ten or more times from mentors and colleagues, “you are looking a for a right time to do this and it will never come”.

I’d like to think I am a spiritual woman. I believe in the power of choice and decisions, but I cannot deny the concept of fate. This idea that everyone has a path that is already paved for them is both wild and mysterious. For over a year, whether I read a scripture, my horoscope or spoke to someone- it seemed there were signs everywhere leading me out of my day job and into my business. I’d read my horoscope and it would tell me have faith. I would speak to someone and they would reassure me that things would be fine when I take this leap. Initially, I intended to stay in my job until June of 2015- I had a whole plan in place and I expected it would work. When I verbalized this to colleagues and friends- they said you’re not going to make it. After being out on maternity leave, I revised my plan to December. Again the message was- you won’t make it to December.

When opportunity knocks…

Here’s the crazy thing, I never made it to December. I resigned at the end of September 2014. Even within that plan, I intended to give eight weeks because I was on a high visibility project and wanted to see my previous employer through. Due to lots of nonsense and backlash surrounding my resignation, I started to rethink my generous eight week notice, but I hung in there. I never made it to the eighth week. I happened upon an event happening in NYC surrounding the future of work and merely inquired. Next thing I knew, I was an invited attendee and I moved my last day up. Remember my initial plan of remaining one more year? It was never meant for me to make it. Shortly after putting in my resignation, I found out the day care I had my two little ones in at my previous employer was going up 30%. I also found out that they would be breaking up our team and transitioning each of us into new roles. The daycare tuition hike alone would have caused me to leave; but then I had an innocent conversation with someone connected to the daycare. This person informed me that my children were being underserved for the money I was already paying. I don’t believe I would have been told this before my resignation. The resignation became the corridor to Pandora’s Box as more and more things started to be revealed to me.

Faith over Fear

I tell you this because I was scared to death of my dreams. Being able to be home with my kids and run a business was a synergy I wanted and needed in the worst way. My journey has been fairly linear until now, because I like to have control over what happens next. I never really have control, but I have always controlled what I could. Having faith and courage to do something I couldn’t entirely envision kept me up at night and made me nervous. I conjured up the worst possible thoughts in my head about the potential for failing and the impact to my family. Even after I took the leap of faith, I spent weeks questioning my decision.

Everything happens for a reason

What I have found five months into this new journey, is the potential for failing, the hardships and sacrifices are far better risks to take than remaining in a situation where your fire is being extinguished daily. None of my fears mattered. What was missing was my faith. Some days I had more faith than others. Having just a little faith has catapulted me into a life and career that far exceeds any plans or expectations I had. I could be crazy, but it felt like my friends, family, colleagues, horoscope and everything else was speaking to me at the precise time I needed them to. All of the signs and subtle pushes were intentional messages from on high to get me where I am today. It hasn’t been an easy road, but I am thankful for the divine intervention that has guided my journey so far.

 

Czarina’s Lesson: A little bit of faith can take you a long way.

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