Friday, December 7, 2007

The Ups and Downs of Balancing Work and Family Or, why I didn't make it to the New England Women's Network inaugural event yesterday

I work for myself from home. There are downsides, (no company contribution to health care, no retirement plans and a definite lack of adult conversation during the day). However,this arrangement comes in particularly handy on days like yesterday.

I was really looking forward to the inaugural meeting to the New Engalnd Women’s Network, alas I was not meant to be there. My youngest was not feeling well. I’ll spare you the gory details. It wasn’t strep throat or the flue, but the kind of not feeling well that can be resolved with a little time and effort. He wanted Clifford, water and some privacy.

I answered some email and kept an ear out for any signs of improvement. It didn’t appear the situation was going to be resolved anytime soon. One minute I’d abandoned the cause and was ready to change out of my meeting clothes and the next, all was well. He was back on his feet and back to his normal, high energy, chatterbox self.

We cleaned up and packed up and headed for pre-school. I was basking in the glimmer of hope that I’d make at least the luncheon part of the meeting and maybe squeeze in a little networking at the end. That is until I was sitting completely still on 293 South in Manchester. There was road construction that caused a back up that inched along at a snails pace. With lot of sighing and glaring at my watch, I realized there was no way I was going to make it all the way to Nashua in time to even say hello to the organizers!!

I am sorry I missed the meeting, I heard good things from those who attended. Did you go? What did you think? I understand that a January event is in the works. I’ll post the info when I get it.

At the end of the day, I do what I do, the way I do it so that I can make a reasonable stab at balancing work and family. Sometimes the scales tip more one way than the other, but I feel lucky to be in the situation I’m in.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The New England Women's Network

I love to meet people, but as previously noted, my family commitments don't always allow me time to attend as many networking events as I would like.
I'm excited about the prospect of the New England Women's Network a brand new networking group with the express mission of creating
"a powerful, relationship-network that provides dynamic educational and inspiring events and workshops monthly throughout the year with the goals of increasing exposure, leads, and resources."

The New England Women's Business Network will hold their inaugural meeting Thursday December 6th from 11:30 to 2pm at Rivier College in Nashua.

The featured speakers are:
Betsy Meyers, Past Director of the Office of Women's Business Ownership in Washington, D.C. and National Chair of Women for Obama.

Pam Carriere-Oliwa, M.A., CEO of Success Management Center, Success Coach & Writer

Registration is just $25 before December 4th and $30 after the 4th or at the door.

I'm looking forward to attending. If you want to join me, please call Maria 432-0002 to register. Hope to see you there!




Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Shop for the holidays AND help troubled teens

I don’t know about you, but a tie or some slippers just won’t due for most of the people on my holiday gift list. I’m always looking for something just a little different. I’m also always looking to avoid the mall during the holiday season.

Here’s a great way to do both, AND help a worthy cause. On November 30th and December 1st, GM Roth in Nashua is hosting a Holiday Home Shopping Boutique to benefit the Nashua Pastoral Care Center’s holiday program. Admission is a teenage appropriate gift (i.e. gift cards or a cash donation) and in exchange, you will purveyors of fine jewelry, purses, crystal, floral designers and other artisans. Sounds like the perfect place to find that unique gift you are looking for.

More information can be found on the GM Roth web site.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Leslie, I hardly knew ye

I was skimming my Google Reader this morning when I just about sprayed the iMac in tea.

This post was written by one of the 43 Folders guest bloggers. It was conveying the wisdom of their dear friend Leslie Harpold who passed unexpectedly last December. That’s were the iMac almost got the tea bath. Leslie Harpold? Could it be the same Leslie Harpold I’d tussled with over the name of my web design company in 1996? And if so, she was dead????

A little background, in early 1996, I started a web design company called Fearless Media. My idea was to create websites for small businesses and non-profit organizations. This thing called the Internet was in its infancy and I was on a crusade to share it with people who could benefit the most.

One night in October of that year, I got a call out of the blue. Even though it was after 8pm, I answered the business line. On the other end of the line a woman’s voice peppered me with questions about my company, when did it open, what services did it offer, how many people did I employ and on and on. At first, I answered the questions, but pretty quickly I got a grip and fired back with “Hey, who are you and why do you care?”

It seems she had just started her own company and chosen the name Fearless Media for her company. Except when she went to register the domain, oops, someone else had it . Namely, me.

At first I was all about live and let live. We were chasing different markets. She wanted corporate clients after glitz and interactivity. I wanted small shops interested in conveying their message to the world. It seemed to me we could peacefully co-exist. Yeah, I was young and naive.

We couldn’t. There was confusion in the marketplace and that wasn’t good for either of us.

I filed for and received a trademark on the name. I could prove first use in interstate commerce. Woo Hoo! Cease & desist letters were sent and there was a brief exchange between her and my lawyer. Nothing substantial came of it.

Time passed, and I kept and eye on her site from time to time and then the site wasn’t updated anymore. I knew she was from New York and I had an awful feeling she’d been lost on 9/11. But then the site was updated again. She had new staff, and a new address clear across the country.

By this time, I’d moved on to other interests and decided it wasn’t worth fighting about and I let the trademark lapse.

Frankly, I never gave her much though until today. I spent the remainder of my large mug of tea following links and learning more about this woman who I’d always though of as kind of a fly in my soup.

The one time we spoke, she portrayed herself as just a woman trying to carve out her piece of the American Dream. To read the online accounts of her life, she was a visionary who was widely respected and published and very well regarded. By, friends, enemies and colleagues alike.

In hindsight, I wish I’d gotten to know her better. Odd how trajectories can intersect and people pinball off of one another.

So, hats off to you Leslie Harpold. I’m sorry that our time together was on opposite sides of the table, but thank you for all that you contributed to the Internet Community. May you rest in peace and never run out of cigarettes and Diet Coke.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Room Full of Independent Business Women

I’ve just walked in the door from the 5th Annual WomenBiz Celebration & Showcase Presented by The Women’s Business Center. This my third time attending the event and I always come away energized and inspired.

First and foremost props to those that made the event such a success. The WBC Board of directors and staff are a vibrant, caring group of women who are truly dedicated to the success of women business owners. Thanks to the event underwriter Citizen’s Bank Foundation and The New Hampshire Business Review for their continued support of women business owners.

The event featured an exhibit of 35 women owned businesses and there was a great variation of products and services. I collected a lot of literature and am looking forward to possibly profiling some of the women I met today.

There was also a delicious lunch and kudos to the C.R. Sparks staff for deftly handling my last minute accommodation for an alternate meal due to a food allergy.

The keynote speaker was Christine Ingemi, the creator of iHearSafe earbuds. iHearsafe earbuds are small in-ear earphones that are designed limit the volume of personal listening devices (i.e. iPods, Gameboys or CD Players) to prevent noise induced hearing loss.

Christine was very down to earth and full of encouragement for other women entrepreneurs. “It takes a village to run a business, don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Ingemi says one of the greatest impacts of her success is her children’s inspiration. She has 4 kids and she told a story of her oldest daughter’s ambition to start a school newspaper. Instead of whining about the lack of a paper, instead her daughter came home saying ‘I want to do this, how do I do it?’. We should all be so lucky to be such role models to our kids.

The WBC is a must-know organization for any women even thinking of starting a business. They offer classes and resources for women entrepreneurs in all stages of the business development cycle, be sure to visit them at www.womenbiz.org.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Webinar for Women On Retirement

Got an email today from the U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau. They are holding a Webinar on September 28th "Catching on to Retirement". The description in the email reads

Wherever you are in your career, whatever your wage, there is something you can do to plan for retirement. What are the challenges and issues related to retirement planning that women should pay special attention to? What are the solutions to these challenges? What can employers do to help their employees have a secure retirement?

For more information visit www.wiseupwomen.org

I can't attend, but if you do, please let me know how it is.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

BlogHer '07 Spnsorship Done Right

I had a ball at Blogher’07. As an event planner, I understand EXACTLY how much effort went into creating an event that ran so smoothly. The BlogHer leadership team made it look easy, but I can assure you it was not. They secured great discounts on hotels and managed to provide an incredible attendee experience, all while keeping the price of attendance reasonable and providing solid internet access to boot! Oh, and I could do a whole other post about the SWAG!! None of which could have been accomplished without the help of the exhibitors and sponsors.

The welcome reception was sponsored by GM and when I saw that in the advance information I groaned and thoguth “Oh no, there’s gong to be a Malibu on the roof!” Thankfully there was nothing that blatant. No in fact it was quite the opposite, GM’s presence at the reception was very understated and that I appreciated. So, GM thanks for the beautiful views and the great snacks. I enjoyed myself.

Saturday night’s reception at the Chicago Children’s Museum was sponsored by Dove Ultra Cear. I’m not an antiperspirant girl (deoderant works just fine for me thanks), but I am devoted user of Dove Body Wash. All in the family right? The party was great. The location, was really fun, there was a TON of food of all kinds and I think a good time was had by all.

Google was also there as a major sponsor too. Oh, Google, how I love thee, let me count the ways!. I’m convinced that Google is trying to take over the world, but unlike Microsoft, Google is doing it in a kinder and more gentle way. :) Despite my strong positive feelings for Google, I did not attend the Meet the Googlers breakfast on Saturday morning. No, at the time, had a much stronger attachment to my pillow.

Yahoo!
, sponsored an Internet cafe, and collaboration space. Since I had my laptop and the Internet access was great, I didn’t get up there, but it looked comfy.

There were numnber of exhibitors there too. I stopped by a few booths, including Scrapblog (now that’s my kind of scrapbooking!), PBS Parents and Edleman. I saw Butterball, Kraft Foods and Del Monte Chillers too. AOL Body was there with their video blogging booth and some great tote bags. They also sponsored several lunch sessions with coaches in a variety of areas.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the BlogHer ‘07 sponsors for their support. I’m not going to run out and buy a Tahoe or a Malibu, but it is nice to know that GM and the others take women bloggers seriously.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Women In Business In New Hampshire

I lived in and around Boston for more than seventeen years. Like most cities Boston is very eclectic. I miss that living in New Hampshire. The other thing I miss about living in Boston, is the resources. Boston is awash in resources for event the smallest of niches.

What I’m finding in New Hampshire is that the resources are there, but not as well publicized and those that do exist are more general in nature.

Tonight, I Googled Women + Business + NH. I was thrilled to see the Woman’s Business Center at the top of the list. I’ve had the pleasure of attending several WBC events and have enjoyed them all. Their staff and members are a wealth of knowledge.

Next came the venerable Business and Professional Women’s Clubs of New Hampshire. BPW chapter’s meet throughout New Hampshire. There’s one near me in Concord, but I have yet to make a meeting. Evening meetings are tough with my husband’s commuting schedule. What about you? Have you attended a BPW meeting? Did you enjoy it? Was it easy to talk to the other women? Please share your experiences.

Next came a new comer to the state, Southern New Hampshire Women’s Business Network. Looks like an interesting group. They are on my to-do list to check out. Are you a member? Have you been to any of their events?

Last is the American Business Women’s Association. They meet monthly in the Manchester area. I’ve been trying to get to one of their meetings since January. Again with the husband’s commute schedule!

The Concord area is has two networking groups for women in business. There is a BPW chapter. In my experience, BPW, tends to be women in corporate america or who work FOR someone else. I’m interested in netwoking with women like me who struck out on their own.

There is also Debby Hoffman’s IPPW, in the Power of Positive Women, which meets in both Concord and Nashua. I’ve attended a few IPPW events and even spoke at one. Always a fun and diverse group of women, and they meet at lunch, a plus for me!

So, where do you go for networking and continuing education?

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Just HOW did I get here?

So, now that I’ve told you a little about who I am, I’ll tell you about how I got here.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Boston College and a Master’s in Educational Media and Technology from BC hockey rival Boston University. I spent 10+ years working for other people in the fields of technical support and educational software design.

I’ve been in business for myself more than ten years and it is all my husband’s fault.

It was the roaring ‘90’s and we were both working as contractors. My contract position with a local university came to an unexpectedly abrupt end due to funding issues (ain’t that always the way in academe?). It was November, and while I had some resum├ęs out, no one was in a rush to hire. I drowned my sorrows by making homemade Christmas gifts and teaching myself HTML. I had heard this thing called the Internet was about to take off.

I’m a co-founder of NOAH, a national non-profit that supports people with albinism and their families. I practiced my new found skills creating a web site for the organization.

One night as I was chirping about how much fun I was having, when my husband pointed out that people would pay me to create web sites for them my web design business, Fearless Media was born.

I picked non-profits and small businesses as my target audience because I liked working with decision makers and feeling like I was making a difference. I was fortunate to be able to build a thriving business. By the time my daughter was born, I was able to cut my hours to half time.

I continued my work with NOAH, but now, I was working as local coordinator for their national conference that was being held in Boston. I was responsible for finding a hotel, local speakers and arranging child care for 150 kids ages birth through 15.

After a while, I couldn’t keep up with whirlwind pace of web technology working only half time. I had a decision to make; go back to work full time, or change careers. My daughter was barely two, and I was fortunate to have the flexibility, to start over from scratch.

By then, I was volunteering as National Conference Chair for NOAH and had lead the planning team for a conference held in California. Event planning seemed to be a natural choice my event planning company Fearless Events was born.

I was talking with Jill Whalen, a colleauge from my web design days when my first event came to be. Jill is an expert in the field of optimizing web sites for the search engines. She has a very successful practice and a weekly newsletter with over 20,000 subscribers where she gives away tons of information for free. I asked her if she’d ever considered offering seminars. I was sure that people would pay to hear her speak. She thought the idea sounded like fun, but too much work to organize and execute. We formed a partnership and the first High Rankings Search Marketing Seminar was held in November of 2002. It started out with just Jill presenting for 1/2 a day and has evolved into a two day seminar featuring a roster of as many as six speakers.

So, that’s where I am today. This year we are planning 3 High Rankings Search Marketing Events, Minneapolis, Denver and London. I am also enjoying my second stint as Event Manager for the Granite State Human Resources Conference.

I love what I do, it is challenging and flexible, a perfect combination for me!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hello World!

Greetings and welcome to my blog! I started this blog because I love to learn and I love to meet new people.

My long term intention is to post profiles of independent business women. I hope to meet and introduce you to women you might not otherwise have met. Some work for themselves, some work for companies owned by others. Along the way, I’ll share my thoughts about what it means to be an independent business woman. In the meantime, I’ll start with some information about me.

I am an event planner. I create learning environments where adults can strengthen their skills and broaden their personal and professional communities.

I am a full partner in some of the events I produce, that means I work with a subject matter expert to produce a conference or seminar. I also have clients for whom I act as an event manager the work is essentially the same, but I am paid on a contract basis instead of having a financial stake in the event.

Currently, I am working on The High Rankings Search Marketing Seminar and the Granite State Human Resources Conference.

It wasn’t a straight path to get here, but that is for another post.