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TeamWomenMN’s Leadership Conference Inspires and Encourages Women to Reach Their Full Potential

The signature event for TeamWomenMN drew a record crowd to the Minneapolis Event Centers on May 5, 2017. More than 420 women from the Twin Cities and beyond turned out for TeamWomen MN’s annual Leadership Conference. (Photo’s can be accessed here: http://smu.gs/2s9kP23 (photo credits: Julie Sturek, that.moment.frozen photography)

Keynote speaker India Hicks was a huge draw for the conference titled, “Fearless Women, Fascinating Minds.” She began her talk by sharing her background. As a young woman, she was a bridesmaid for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. She also discussed her decision to start up her own company, selling a collection of beauty accessories with the help of a team of “ambassadors,” who as a result of the partnership are inspired to pursue their own dreams.

“It’s so important when you are starting a business to really dig deep and understand it before you begin,” she said, explaining that she did plenty of research before launching her company. “You also need to understand your own strengths.”

Also presenting at the conference was Marion Parke, who left a job in medicine to enter the footwear industry. She talked about how she launched her business and the lucky breaks that got the company going. “I’m often asked what advice I would give people interested in starting a business. I say don’t ditch your day job until you know if it will work,” she said. “I still have my podiatry practice to fall back on. My message to other women is to follow your dreams and be deliberate about it.”

Linda Schwefel, managing partner of Discover Yourself, Inc., talked about the importance of maintaining extraordinary relationships and the role good communication plays in it. “Communication is 7 percent about what you say and 93 percent about who you say it to,” she said, also pointing out how everything we do is based upon perception. “Think about interacting with people every day on a more conscious level. Be aware of who you are and how you show up.”

She also led an exercise that helped women in the room better understand their personalities and how they are perceived, pointing out where people fall on the color chart. Those who are task focused, driven and demanding have red energy. Those who are calm, caring and good listeners have green energy. People who are data driven and analytical are considered blue, and the fun, energetic, enthusiastic women have yellow energy. “Understand how the people around you need to be motivated, and motivate them that way,” she said.

Also presenting at the conference were national fitness expert Chris Freytag, who shared why being healthy is the number one way to a good life; Pam Borton, founder of TeamWomen MN, who spoke about the importance of investing in yourself and how best to manage teams; Julie Schissel Loosbrock of Corporate Soul Infusion focused on how soul is the essence of who we all are and how to nurture our souls so we can achieve great thing; Retired FBI agent Deborah Pierce and retired CIA officer Patti Weber talked about leadership lessons learned; and CBS Survivor contestant Holly Hoffman spoke about never giving up.

The event also featured an awards presentation. Brigadier General Sandra L. Best was named Leader of the Year, Lisa Huey of Merrill Lynch was named Member of the Year and Beverly Mestelle was recognized with the Board Service Award. The event concluded with a Happy Hour and special vocal performance by Kat Perkins, finalist on NBC’s The Voice.

“The success of the conference exceeded our expectations! The energy in the room was truly contagious. On behalf of our entire team, we thank all those who contributed their time, creativity and spirit to this conference – especially our amazing line-up of speakers and sponsors,” said Katy Burke, TeamWomenMN Executive Director.

For more information about TeamWomenMN and how to get involved with the organization, go to http://www.teamwomenmn.org.

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6 LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM 6 WOMEN LEADERS

EVENT RECAP: TEAMWOMENMN ANNUAL WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

By Christina Milanowski (@ChristinaMila), Vice President and Social Media Director at Maccabee, a Minneapolis-based strategic public relations and online marketing agency. You can read the original post on MaccaPR blog.

As a lifelong learner, I love hearing how respected business leaders have navigated successes and challenges during their careers. Although more and more women are taking leadership positions (the number of female CEOs is increasing), the majority of business leaders tend to be male (the top 27 highest paid CEOs in Minnesota are all men, for example).

That’s one reason why I jumped at the opportunity to attend the annual women’s leadership conference on May 5th at the Minneapolis Event Center. It was my first TeamWomenMN event. I was inspired by the sheer number of attendees and the speeches by many of the respected women leaders. Here are 6 leadership lessons from speakers Chris Freytag, Marion Parke, Linda Schwefel, Deborah Pierce, Pam Borton and Julie Schissel Loosbrock:

 

“STRIVE FOR PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION”

-CHRIS FREYTAG

It’s no surprise that passionate “fitfluencer” Chris Freytag, who is a KARE-11 TV contributor and Get Healthy U social community founder, presented on the topic of health. She explained that in health, as in our daily work lives, perfection can be the enemy of good. To achieve big goals, Freytag recommended starting by adjusting your mindset. Remove the stress of lofty goals. Instead, focus on what progress can be made toward them.

 

“NOBODY SUCCEEDS ALONE”

-MARION PARKE

Female entrepreneur Marion Parke founded the Marion Parke women’s shoe collection by merging her professional expertise as a podiatric surgeon with her love for luxury footwear. Her advice to fellow business leaders? “Nobody succeeds alone. Admit what you don’t know.” Ask questions, do your research, and surround yourself with smart people. Since founding her shoe line, Parke credits her success has been in large part due to the quality of the team she brought together.

 

“STRETCH YOUR PERSONALITY TYPE EVERY DAY”

-LINDA SCHWEFEL

Linda Schwefel, a consultant of the Insights Discovery, presented on how to communicate in full color. Interpersonal skills come down to body language and, to a lesser extent, your words and tone of voice. The Insights Discovery framework is similar to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, but it centers on four color energies (blue, red, green and yellow). Often asked which energy type makes the best leader, Schwefel explained that everyone can be a great leader, so long as you stretch your personality style. As an example, if you have a task-focused red energy, try to bring more passion and understanding from the opposite, green energy. Whether you’re stronger in the “feeling” or “thinking” personality styles or consider yourself to be an introvert or extrovert, she explained how important it is to know your personality type. Good leaders understand and lead based on their individual personality types and interpersonal dynamics.

 

“CAPABILITY, CREDIBILITY, CONFIDENCE & COURAGE”

-DEBORAH PIERCE

One of my favorite TeamWomenMN sessions featured former FBI executive Deborah Pierce and former CIA executive Patti Weber. This dynamic duo began their careers in what was the largely male-dominated world of law enforcement and intelligence, and have since retired as the Pierce-Weber Partnership.

Pierce recommended that other women leaders employ her four Cs:

  • Capability– Do the job! Focus on the mission, prioritize and organize.
  • Credibility– Gain respect. Do the job well, deal with problems head on, and take care of yourself.
  • Confidence– Be sure of yourself. For Pierce, she found it best to compartmentalize work and family. Reward excellence.
  • Courage– Be open to change. Take risks. Be collaborative. Establish trust. Laugh.

 

“EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE KEEPS YOU IN YOUR JOB”

-PAM BORTON

Perhaps you’ve found your way to your career successes through hard work and being smart in your chosen profession, but former University of Minnesota women’s basketball coach Pam Borton explained that “what gets you here, won’t get you there.” Now serving at Minnesota-based Borton Partners as a coach to executive-level leaders, Borton finds that her most successful clients work to recognize their own emotions and the emotions of others in their business. She recommends that women leaders be self-aware, understand others and manage relationships with that emotional intelligence.

 

“INFUSE YOUR SOUL”

-JULIE SCHISSEL LOOSBROCK

Senior Vice President of HR at Deluxe Corporation Julie Schissel Loosbrock believes that her company exists not only to generate ROI, shareholder value and profit, but also to provide well-being for the customer, Deluxe employees and their families. Recent psychological trends suggest that a company needs both an analytical side and a social side to achieve better business results. Bestselling books, like Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experiences by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, show how true happiness can greatly improve the quality of our lives. In fact, there’s evidence that organizations with executives who lead with both their heads and hearts perform better. As a result, Loosbrock’s belief that business leaders are best served bringing happiness into workplace culture has been a cornerstone of success in her current role at Deluxe.

 

For a bonus read, don’t miss this Business Insider article, “Why Women Are More Effective Leaders Than Men,” that examines leadership characteristics across gender. Though women scored higher than men in most competencies, including “takes initiative” and “practices self-development,” men scored higher on two competencies: “develops strategic perspective” and “technical or professional expertise.”

 

Thanks to the leaders featured above who shared their leadership lessons with a room full of more than 400 women (and 5 men) last week! Please comment below with your favorite advice for business leaders.

 

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If you’re a marketing, corporate communications, social media or public relations professional (and who isn’t?), subscribe to the MaccaPR blog at http://www.subscribe.maccabee.com. Named one of the best PR blogs in the world, MaccaPR is produced by Maccabee Public Relations and features provocative, fearless and often laugh–out–loud funny posts twice a month.

Growing Your Career Through Board Involvement: An interview with Martha Goldberg Aronson

GROWING YOUR CAREER THROUGH BOARD INVOLVEMENT

By: Erica Dvorak

As a young professional, the thought of advancing my career (and how to go about that) is always on my mind. I have found that board and committee involvement for both nonprofits and for-profits has been a great way for me to grow my network, expand my knowledge and advance my career. Although I have been able to be a part of boards for the past four years, there is still so much to learn.

I recently had the opportunity to connect with TeamWomenMN’s upcoming speaker, Martha Goldberg Aronson, the former Executive VP and President of Global Healthcare at Ecolab and a board member of many organizations. I jumped at the chance to ask her about her experiences with board involvement. The knowledge I gained from the information Martha shared was too good not to pass along to fellow young professionals and individuals of all ages who are interested in starting a journey into board involvement.

Getting Started with Board Involvement

Q: When did you start your board involvement?

Martha: My involvement started while I was at Wellesley College. I applied and was accepted to serve as a member of the Student Life Committee of the Board of Trustees. Right after college, I was asked to join a nonprofit called Wellesley College Friends of Athletics as I was passionate about athletics and raising funds for the organization. Sometimes getting involved is as simple as raising your hand and other times you are asked. Bottom line, step up and get involved.

Q: How do you decide what board best fits your time and energy?

Martha: It is best to get involved with an organization whose values align with your values. Choose an organization that you care about and where you think you can make a contribution that positively impacts the community. I have to say more often than not, once you start to get involved in the community, you tend to be approached to be on a board. I was approached by the Minnesota Opera to join their board when I was an executive at Medtronic, and although I had never seen a show, I am passionate about the arts and the important role they play in our community, so I said yes. It was a terrific board to be a part of and I learned a lot.

Q: What are a few things you would have liked to know when you started your board involvement journey?

Martha: You need to be careful about listening and learning during your first year(s) of involvement. Women often feel a need to prove that they deserve to have a seat at the table and sometimes that can backfire. Listen and learn before you start expressing too many of your opinions. Feel it out. Be smart about when you choose to speak.

Balancing Career Workload and Board Involvement

Q: When working at Ecolab, how did you balance your workload and board involvement?

Martha: It helped to have bosses who were supportive of board involvement. Ecolab is very involved in the local community and it is part of the company’s values, so it makes it easier. It’s important to ensure you are getting your work done in a timely fashion for your “day job” so that your managers support your outside involvement.

Q: Did you ever come across a time where you had to step down from board obligations because of your workload? If so, how did you address it?

Martha: Juggling obligations is not always easy. There was a year at the Guthrie where I could not attend the executive committee meetings because Ecolab’s executive meetings were held at the same time. I offered to step down from the Guthrie executive committee for this reason; however, they were able to alter the schedule the following year as they had not yet set the schedule. This gave me the opportunity to remain involved on the board and still remain true to my Ecolab obligations. This was a testament to how if you address a conflict early, you can get out ahead of it.

Q: When the workload becomes a bit too much, how do you stay focused and not get flustered?

Martha: Lists! I am co-hosting a leadership development program and recently I had to bring something to our first meeting that represented me. Debating what I should bring, I asked one of my sons and he quickly replied, “A notebook – you’re always making a list!” And, he’s right – I am a list maker. Lists help me stay on track and provide a way for me to see what is most important and urgent in the day (and week) and set my priorities accordingly. I also like to take a look at my calendar in advance and know what I have going on the next day, week, etc. and prepare ahead of time.

I realize there are moments when you aren’t able to do that – and so you have to put your nose to the grindstone and get it done. Sometimes life requires an 80-hour workweek from you. I do not promote this as a part of your regular routine but sometimes life requires it and you just need to work through it. Having a strong support network in place to do this when necessary is invaluable. One of the great things that Wellesley College taught me is that no matter how big your stack is to work through, somehow you can always work through it.

Establishing Meaningful Relationships

Q: How do you establish meaningful relationships with other board members during and after your service?

Martha: I have found that establishing relationships during board service is relatively easy. With for-profit boards you are often having board dinners, making it easy to get to know other board members on a personal level. For nonprofit boards, it is easy to establish relationships because of your common ground of a passion for the same purpose. Continuing the meaningful relationships after your service truly depends on how much time and energy you choose to put into it.

Getting the Most Out of Your Board Involvement

Q: How do you get the most out of your board involvement?

Martha: Get involved in areas where you can make a contribution and where you can have the greatest impact. I have also found that it’s amazing what you can learn from other board members and how their knowledge and passion can fill your soul. Getting the most out of your involvement is really about what you are willing to make of it.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with those that are interested in board/committee involvement?

Martha: The earlier, the better! Work with your current network to find an organization with whom to get involved. Also, it is never too early to turnaround and help the next generation. When is the last time you asked someone younger than you out to lunch or coffee? You can be a mentor at any age and provide encouragement for others to get involved in their own passions.

Register here to see Martha speak at our April 13, 2017 Power Luncheon: http://bit.ly/2mN2YeH


Erica Dvorak is a Senior Marketing Specialist at UnitedHealthcare, and serves on the TeamWomenMN Young Professionals Board as Co-Chair of the Marketing and Branding Committee, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce YPro Committee as 2017 Past Chair/2016 YPro Chair, and U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital Corporate Advisory Council as a member. Erica enjoys contributing to the success of businesses, as well as individuals. A great day for Erica is a day where she has been able to help an individual by giving them an opportunity to advance their career and grow their confidence in knowing that anything is possible.

The Secret Power of Expressing Gratitude

By: Caryn Sullivan 

Everyone is talking about gratitude these days. It’s good for your soul to feel grateful. Gratitude fosters resilience. What’s even better than experiencing gratitude?  Expressingyour gratitude – to your boss for the great year-end bonus, to your spouse for giving you a day at the spa, to your neighbor for shoveling your walk when your grandma entered hospice.

But I’ve discovered a secret. It’s more powerful than feeling grateful. More powerful than expressing gratitude.

It’s being on the receiving end of another’s gratitude.

I’ve had an unusual professional life, derailed by and redirected by my personal life. It began with a shingle, clients, and a time sheet. But when my son was diagnosed with autism in 1993 I exited the practice of law to become his caregiver and advocate.

When I was treated for breast cancer stellar medical professionals shepherded me through the grueling treatment. Friends, family, and neighbors stepped forward to keep life on track at home.

When my daughter had a bone marrow transplant I became her constant companion, shaving her head when the chemo attacked the brown hair she held firmly to; preparing meals she asked for, then tossing them into the disposal when she realized her brain and her stomach weren’t in sync.

And more.

I’ve expressed my gratitude for medical professionals, caregivers, family, friends, and neighbors who lent a hand in usual and unexpected ways: to the doctors and nurses who helped me to heal; to my son for donating his bone marrow to his sister; to the team at the University of Minnesota who restored my daughter’s health; to CaringBridge for affording me a platform to share, process and connect during a frightening time; to the neighbors who swept out my garage, took my car to be washed, and brought flowers, toilet paper, and food after my husband’s heart failed him.

Expressing gratitude out loud and on paper has helped me to heal, to repay, in small measure, a debt that grew legs.

But I’ve also been on the receiving end of gratitude and that engendered a much different outcome.

My circuitous professional path led me back to my college degree in communications when, on a whim, I wrote an essay about the constant state of vigilance required when a child has autism. What came next was unexpected and life changing.

Within days of publication in the St. Paul Pioneer Press my essay generated email after email from strangers, all expressing the same sentiment: thank you for sharing your story, for yourstory is my story.

Those emails gave me pause. Maybe I was on to something. I had never considered being a columnist. But if my writing could help others, then maybe that was what I was supposed to do.

I wrote another piece about my family’s experience with autism. More emails.

I shifted gears and wrote about other challenges people face, some of which I had experienced firsthand, others I learned about from friends or strangers: mental illness, addiction, cancer, brain injury, military service….

Everyone has a story.

Nine years later I’ve written hundreds of columns. With the encouragement of family, friends, and fans I wrote a memoir. I’m proud and humbled by the outcome. People have told me they wished they’d read Bitter or Better years earlier. They’ve told me I’ve inspired them, helped them to heal.

The icing on the cake came when Bitter or Better won the 2015 Midwest Book Award for inspiration.

All because strangers took a moment to tell me that my story had touched their hearts. And that they were grateful. And gave me the idea, the courage, and the confidence to keep writing.

As we embark on a new year I’m eager to share more stories on the page and from the stage. I’ve found my footing, my purpose. Every email from a reader, every comment from an audience member is fuel in my resilience gas tank. When doubts insinuate themselves into my soul I reach into the reservoir of gratitude and power forward.

The gratitude of others is a gift that keeps on giving.

What about you? Who has given you the gift of gratitude? How has it helped you?

Gustavus Women in Leadership Boot Camp Prepares Students for Professional Life

During the weeklong academic break before Spring Semester, 38 Gustavus Adolphus College students took part in an intensive, three-day workshop focusing on professional development and career readiness. Held at locations across the Twin Cities, the inaugural Gustavus Women in Leadership (GWIL) Scholars Business Boot Camp was sponsored by the Gustavus Office of Career Development, the GWIL National Advisory Committee, and consulting firm CareerPrep.

During the workshop, female and male students at all stages of the career readiness and job search process attended career speakers and panels, business case studies, skill-building sessions on presentation and negotiation skills, and career planning activities geared toward preparing students to effectively navigate their early careers.

“It’s powerful for students to have time to completely focus on their career development and have employers, Gustavus alumni, senior business leaders, and Gustavus staff all coming together to help them launch their business career,” said Sara Wegmann, co-founder of CareerPrep.

“As a senior, I’ve been asked all year long about my plans after graduation,” Lydia Kennedy ’17 said. “The boot camp helped me understand that at 21 or 22 years old, it is completely okay to not know what you want to do. This prepared me to be excited for the future and the incredible opportunities ahead.”

Throughout the three days of the workshop, students were hosted for panels and networking at a variety of Twin Cities businesses, including:

Intereum, Inc.  – A certified Herman Miller office furniture dealer and provider of commercial audio visual and architectural wall offerings in Minneapolis, MN.

Deloitte – Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500.

U.S. Bancorp – U.S. Bancorp is an American financial services holding company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that is the parent company of the U.S. Bank National Association, known as U.S. Bank, the 5th largest commercial bank in the United States.

Target – The Target Corporation, also known simply as Target, is the second-largest discount store retailer in the United States, behind Walmart, and a component of the S&P 500 Index.

Gravie – A Minneapolis-based startup company that helps individuals and businesses comparison-shop for health care in the private market and on MNsure, the state-run insurance exchange.

Schermer – A Minneapolis-based, globally-focused B2B marketing agency that builds and launches Buyer-Driven Brands for several of the world’s greatest companies, including Honeywell, GE, 3M, Deluxe, Piper Jaffray, Wells Fargo, and General Mills.

“As students embark on their career search, there is no better way to get to know a company than to visit and absorb the culture, meet their team, hear from leaders, and see how employees treat each other,” Wegmann said. “Relationships are critical to the job search process and getting off campus and into businesses to meet professionals helps students begin the process of building relationships to help guide their careers.”

“My biggest takeaway from the boot camp has to be the importance of informational interviews. A vast number of our speakers attributed their success to having reached out to Gustie alums for coffee, and making endless connections because of it,” Kennedy agreed. “Gusties look out for Gusties.”


Gustavus Women in Leadership is a volunteer-driven student/alumnae program whose purpose is to prepare, promote, and inspire Gustavus women in their professional and personal leadership development. Visit the GWIL website to learn more.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

Leadership By Design…NOT Default by Heather Rachel

Successful leaders and business owners have set their course with establishing their goals and maintaining moment for growth.  They are accountable to themselves as well as their customers and employees.

There’s nothing magic about it…Period!

They know that once you’ve started to gain momentum, you have to keep pushing on, making the challenges easier to navigate and plunge through.

Do you have your goals and course laid out for 2017?

Will you take the time to review 2016 – what worked, what didn’t and how will you grow and expand your business in 2017?

If you are a business owner, solo-preneur or an active leader in anyway shape and form, it is up to you and ONLY you to get your goals and plan of attack in place.

Left to default will keep you spiraling, frustrated and continuing to ask….When will it change? UGH!

I know many of you are saying “Money’s been tight.  It wasn’t the greatest year for sales.  I need to wait until 2nd or 3rd Quarter of 2017 to be able to do this.”

Ummmm Newsflash – Those are excuses, procrastinations and words that will keep your business operating as it always has.  And my guess is, it’s not where you want your business to be performing at.

If you want your business to grow in every way shape and form possible, then give it the attention it needs and seek out experts to help you work through the challenges.

Tired of complaining what doesn’t work and wasting time and money on quick fixes?

Asking and seeking help for your business is a BOLD move that takes STRENGTH.  Get out of your own way, throw away the mentality that seeking help and advice for your business is a sign of WEAKNESS!

There are resources available that WILL help you and your business.

You owe it to yourself and your business to take the time TODAY…Don’t put this off any longer, and find a resource that – you trust and has experience unique to your needs!

Not sure what you or your business need?  Shoot me an email  or call (952/426-0819) and let’s get you pointed in the right direction.  It’s super easy…..Try it!

“What you do today, builds tomorrow’s success!”

– Heather Rachel

Self-Nurture 

By Joan Wipperfurth, Fit and Free Health Consulting

What could you do starting today to show yourself more self- compassion and self-nurture?

You can choose to set an intention to add more joy to your daily experience.  Grab a pen and paper and start making a list of things that you’d like to see become normal parts of your life.  Then actually schedule some of these things on your calendar so that 3 months from now you are actually doing things that nurture your life.

Here are some ideas to get you started: 

     *  Start a gratitude journal and every night write down 3 things that you are

         grateful for that day..

     *  Learn to say ‘No’ to some things so that you can say ‘Yes’ to more important

         things.

     *  Eat healthy meals and snacks for better energy.

     *  Unplug from electronics for a few hours, or better yet, a whole day to enjoy

        some quiet.

     *  Start a bucket list of things you’d like to do while on this earth.

     *  Go to the beach or someplace natural that makes you feel peaceful.

     *  Catch up with an old friend.  Add more social gatherings to your calendar.

     *  Watch a funny movie if you’re feeling lonely to lift your spirits.

     *  Get rid of the clutter in your home.  Open spaces will make you feel calmer.

     *  Take a yoga class.  Yoga is a mind-body-spirit workout that helps you feel

        centered.

     *  Go to the park and watch some toddlers play.  Their excitement for life will

        make you smile.

     *  Drink lots of water.  Sometimes fatigue is really just dehydration.

     *  Experiment with different kinds of tea.  Enjoy them hot or iced.

     *  Go dancing with friends.

     *  Create a vision board on a big poster board.  Cut out pictures of things

        you’d like to have as part of your life.  Dream and have fun with it.

 

(Excerpt taken from my book, “Reaching your Potential:  5 Steps from Surviving to Thriving” available at:

 http://www.amazon.com/Reaching-your-Potential-Surviving-Thriving/dp/0692534164 or at http://www.fitandfreehealthconsulting.com

The Power of Connections

Do You Know the Right People? And Do the Right People Know You?

By: Marci Malzahn

Connections are powerful. I love to hear the stories of business partners who start by saying, “we were buddies in high school” or “we’ve known each other since we were in elementary school” or “we were roommates in college.” From the moment we start relating to people in Kindergarten we start making connections. Some last a lifetime. Others, we only have for a season in our lives. Nevertheless, each person we meet, each connection we make, can help us in the future and we can be of help to them as well.

Every relationship we make throughout our lives is significant. Unfortunately, some relationships leave a negative mark in our lives. But most of them are usually positive. We hope to influence others in a positive way and to help people along the way throughout our life’s journey.

As you grow in your career, you will want to start building a network of other professionals and colleagues whom you trust. You can have different networks of people. There are people you want to have in your network because they could potentially employ you in the future or vice versa, you could hire them to work for you. You may have a separate group of people you network with to brainstorm ideas about your company or the industry you’re in. You will need to be strategic about who you know and also to ensure the right people within your organization and in your industry know you.

People want to do business with people they trust. The best way to get new clients is by word of mouth and a personal referral. Regardless of the situation you’re currently in, I encourage you to grow your network and nurture your existing relationships. Nurtured relationships become more than a connection. Those people can become lifelong friendships, trusted advisers, and future business partners.

Here are some tips to maximize and nurture your network:

  • Find ways to connect with the people you already have in your network. Truly get to know them and take an interest in their personal life. Learn about them.
  • Listen to people’s stories if they’re open to share and respect them when they don’t want to share.
  • Always be willing to share your story. You never know when your story will change someone’s life.
  • Connect people from your network to others. Connections you make will bear fruit. People appreciate being connected and will keep you at the top of their list when they have an opportunity to connect you to others.
  • Schedule time to nurture your relationships. Yes, it takes time to build connections but it’s worth it. You are investing in people’s lives.
  • Be strategic. Plan ahead and find the right people to connect in an organization—whether you are connecting to make a sale or to be hired.
  • Connect people in your network with others. Be willing to share your connections.
  • Invest in creating a professional profile in your LinkedIn account. This is part of your personal brand.
  • Take advantage of networking opportunities in your company, industry events, and conferences.
  • Be genuine. People know when you’re not interested in them.

There are many things you can do to improve and nurture your network of people. It takes time and effort but you will always reap the rewards. Also, the satisfaction of connecting two people who end up working together, starting a new business venture, or simply forming a new friendship is very fulfilling. In business, always remember to make the right connections and ask yourself the question, “Do I know the right people? And do the right people know me?” The answer is within your reach.

Marci Malzahn is a banking executive and founder of Malzahn Strategic, a community bank consultancy focused on strategic planning, enterprise risk management and talent management. You can contact Marci through her website at http://www.malzahnstrategic.com, and for speaking engagements please contact Preferred Speakers at http://www.preferredspeakers.com.

Profile of an American Medical Traveler

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAZRAAAAJDZiYjQ5YjMzLTY5ZGQtNGQ5Ny1hODk3LTU0NjA1NWVjNzYxZQHave you ever wondered what the typical medical traveler is like? Or wondered what motivates them to travel for medical care? The answers can be quite varied – and often depend on the circumstances the individual is coming from – but there are some trends that we can observe overall. Here’s a look at the most common traits you might find in an American medical traveler.

 Profile of an American Medical Traveler

Which Americans would be most likely to travel for medical procedures? There are actually quite a few groups of people who would benefit.

For example, an American medical traveler might be someone who does not have medical insurance at all, such as someone who is self-employed and cannot afford to purchase insurance individually.

Or it might be someone who has insurance, either through an employer or individually, but needs a medical procedure that is not covered by their insurance plan. There are a lot of common procedures that often aren’t covered by regular health insurance, such as:

  • Plastic surgery
  • Fertility treatments
  • Stem cell treatments
  • Dental procedures
  • Vision procedures
  • Non-emergency cardiovascular procedures
  • Bariatric or weight-loss surgeries
  • Other weight loss programs
  • Substance abuse programs

Another possible profile of an American medical traveler is someone who has insurance, and could get the procedure done at home, but the insurance plan deductibles and/or total out of pocket costs are so high that it’s still advantageous to travel for the procedure to save money. This person may be simply looking to save money overall without sacrificing quality of care. And they get to travel abroad at the same time!

Or it might be someone who needs a procedure that is not yet FDA approved in the US. For example, a new procedure that’s not yet available in the US is the PneumRX Coil System—a new treatment for emphysema that is available in other countries, but not yet in the US.

Or it could be someone who is looking for an expert second opinion. This cohort is quite small because often would-be medical tourists will seek a second opinion closer to home, but with growing trust in international facilities – especially those who specialize in specific procedures – it could become more common over time.

Or it could be as simple as someone looking for provider accessibility, convenience, and quality in their healthcare. In some countries, it’s more common to have a more personal touch with medical care, even speaking with surgeons on the phone when you have questions. It’s also common in some medical tourism settings to have everything covered and planned out in advance, such as transportation to and from everything—the logistics scheduling alone is a big benefit that some people are realizing may be worth the cost even if the procedure would have been covered at home. Additionally, post-operative care is usually included in the package price, whereas at home it may be on top of the price of the treatment, making the at home total cost higher than anticipated.

Last but not least, an American medical traveler might be someone looking for a faster turnaround time. While waitlists are not as common in the US as they are in Canada, it’s certainly not unheard of to have to wait weeks or months for non-emergency procedures. For certain groups in the US this is a growing concern. One such group is war veterans who are served by the Veterans Administration (VA). With limited VA healthcare facilities, long waits are becoming much more of a problem for this cohort. For those who can pay out of pocket, it can be beneficial to skip the wait by traveling for the procedure.

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

24 Hour Rule 

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAX5AAAAJDk0MDNhZGQyLWI0NjgtNDlkNi1iYmJlLWYyNjI1MDZhYTBkOAOne lesson I’ve tried to passed along to others, was one that I had to learn myself, and sometimes the hard way – the 24 Hour Rule.

Throughout my leadership journey, I realized I was a bit reactionary. If I was a poker player, people could easily read my cards with just my body language. I had to learn how to not be so reactionary and allow myself time to reflect and then make decisions. That’s why I instituted a “24 Hour Rule.” With this rule, if there is a client or a boss that is upset, I would ask for 24 hours to look objectively at the situation and get back to them with an appropriate answer. The key is to avoid escalating the situation.

The “24 Hour Rule” is sort of a “time out” whether in a business setting – or a personal one. This rule has saved me so many times from over-reacting to something that really wasn’t as critical as I might have thought. It has changed me to a more active leader rather than a reactive leader and provided me with the tools to be a calm and collected leader that can solve problems effectively. I have taught this methodology to others, and it often comes back to me in stories of how it helped someone else!

So to my younger self, I wish I had this pearl of wisdom at my disposal as I do now. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been so quick to respond to many small situations that seem major at the time. My advice is to find a way to process information and really allow yourself time to make decisions. As someone, like many professionals, who can think quickly on my feet and make good, sound decisions – I sure would have benefited from the ability to sit back and look at things from a bird’s eye view.

Perspective is everything. Problems that seem earth shattering from the ground are often minuscule from above.

Published in EncourageHer Network Magazine. Check out the latest issue here: https://encouragehernetwork.com/magazine/current/

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