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  • 10/03/2022 1:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      Cherina Johnson is our guest blogger.

          The topic of discussion for September’s Women in Leadership luncheon was “Seasons of Change and Transformation” with guest speaker, L’Oreal Hartwell.   The author, entrepreneur, and business woman shared valuable life lessons from personal experiences and family situations that have shaped her into the awesome woman she is today; which also include being a beloved wife, mother, and sister.  However, her transparency in sharing her story was magnetic.  It drew you in to want to hear more and more of what she had to say.  The positive outlook on life, despite the many obstacles she and her family had to overcome to reach the level of success that they enjoy now is admirable.  The sincerity from her heart to want to see others succeed in life, and her willingness to make herself available to assist in whatever way she can to help make it happen, even giving complete strangers her personal phone number to reach out to her to connect later, so that she can see how to help to make their dream a reality.  I was really impressed with our guest speaker in action up close and from afar in her interactions with others as well as myself.  She was down to earth and personable.

                    There were so many things that resonated with me during L’Oreal’s presentation that caused me to have an inward excitement.  For example, her positive outlook on life was one of my favorites.  Positivity attracts positivity!  I was leaping inside with excitement, and different Bible verses were coming to mind as she spoke.  Such as, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26) and “Therefore I say to you whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24).  However, she was not just a positive voice, but shared practical things that she put into action to improve her quality of life for she and her family.  For instance, from academic probation to MBA graduate and from her and her family temporarily living with her grandmother to having a home in the neighborhood she envisioned living in.          Even though she shared with the group how nervous she was to speak at the Women in Leadership luncheon it was not obvious for she gave an awesome presentation that was shared from her heart that was practical and sincere.  As a result, you could see and feel her positive energy, choosing to look at things from a positive perspective despite what she has gone through in life.  Being a person of resilience, bouncing back from obstacles, disappointments, setbacks, and lack into a beautiful person of gratitude for the blessed life that she now enjoys with a desire to help others to enjoy a blessed life as well; through living their God-given dreams and accomplishing their goals.

    Some of my takeaways were the following:

    • ·         “Breakdown and breakthrough happen at the same time”
    • ·         “Everything is based on perception”
    • ·         “I do not lose I learn.”

                    On behalf of Women in Leadership Great Lakes Bay, thank you, L’Oreal Hartwell for sharing your story with us.  We were inspired, challenged, and blessed by your presence!


  • 09/09/2022 12:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Think back to a time when you had someone who was a confidant, a role model, a person that led the way for you, and helped you in some way…

    Wasn’t it a nice feeling knowing you had someone you could count on to help you navigate life’s moments? You had a mentor! 

    Many of us have had someone who was a mentor at one time or another. An older sibling, your mother, your father, a teacher, your first boss. The opportunities are endless to form that mentor/mentee relationship. 

    What does it take to be a GREAT mentor?

    Not every one wants to be a mentor. So the first step is to have the desire to mentor someone. A mentor should be eager to teach and willing to invest time and energy into another person. There should also be a connection between the mentor and mentee. The dynamic is very important because a mentor also needs to provide honest and direct feedback. A trusting relationship must be built so the mentee understands the feedback is for their benefit and not seen as negative. 

    Top qualities of a good mentor are

    • Enthusiasm

    • Connection

    • Value learning

    • Encouragement

    • Active listening

    • Provide feedback

    • Respect

    • Experts


    To be a mentor, you need to have extensive knowledge and experience in your field, having learned from practice and applied principles yourself. This way you can honestly say you know from experience when you offer feedback and instruction. Knowing people and the ability to teach at different levels helps. If you don’t understand what your mentee needs from you, there is a gap in the process. Your job is to help them grow!

    Mentors are an integral part of many organizations. You will increase your mentee’s confidence level, reassuring them that they are doing a good job, and encourage them in their thought process, getting out of their comfort zone, and taking initiatives. As a mentor you will be passing down your wisdom and giving them a framework for handling situations. The mentee will still plan their career path, and the mentor helps them achieve their goals with coaching, and what they need help with. 

    Ideally the dynamic will be mutual.

    Sharing your thoughts and desires for the mentor/mentee will create a mutually dynamic relationship. It should not be a one sided thing. It takes effective communication, constructive criticism, and no judgement on either side. Clear communication, trust, and respect are key elements of a making this relationship effective.

    Your mentee will learn just as much from their mistakes as they do their successes.

    Don’t focus on the negatives. Neither party will be perfect, and shouldn’t be judged. While pointing out mistakes or ways something could be improved is needed, highlighting the positive is a win too! Empathy is important so your mentee knows you can relate to them and understand their feelings. 

    Note that not everyone works and learns at the same pace. Your mentee might be quick to pick up some things, yet have more challenges with other tasks. Work with the strengths your mentee has and nourish the areas that need more guidance. 

    If you are looking for a mentee or a mentor, don’t be shy. Reach out and ask someone!



  • 07/29/2022 3:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As women sometimes we have to dance around issues or avoid certain topics. But why should we? Each of us has valid opinions and knowledge to share. It’s ok if we disagree, but it’s not ok to hide our true thoughts and feelings to avoid a nasty conversation.

    Keeping in mind that there is no wrong or right here. But here are some ideas to think about when hosting a power talk.

    Age can be a plus! 

    Multi-generational discussions can offer differing perspectives on your chosen topic. What is true or the norm in today’s world views isn’t going to be the same as it was 10 or 20 years ago. More experienced women can offer things a younger generation has not considered, and vice versa.

    Include women you DON’T know…

    Part of what makes power talks exciting is hearing opinions from people you just met. Step out of your comfort zone of trusted friends and hear it from someone new to your circle. Set some ground rules or no-judgement policies so nobody takes the discussion too negatively. Keep it engaging and thought provoking, but a safe zone where everyone feels validated.

    What about men?

    There will be some topics best kept between your girls, but how about including some men from time to time? They can be a great ally. Women still face inequalities in the workplace. Why not have a power talk with some men who see women as valuable individuals that have a different perspective than they do. Learn from each other, find ways to use your differences to benefit your profession.

    Life experiences can add a lot!

    There are definitely some things many of us experience, such as childbirth, family vacations, and challenges in the workplace. Even though we share the experiences, the process adds something unique to our lives. One person’s take can give some food for thought to another.

    Size does matter.

    Your best discussions will happen when your group is kept small enough to feel intimate and comfortable. Having too large a group can be intimidating for people to speak freely. Maybe have some snacks and beverages to help lighten the conversation and keep it friendly!

    Informal is empowering.

    Who doesn’t like a bonfire? Or an evening at home? Keeping the location informal gives you control over the environment. You won’t have to worry about a loud restaurant, nosy neighboring tables, or a feeling of distaste about a topic or comment. A cozy atmosphere at home is a better option for your guests to really open up about their thoughts and feelings. 

    Are you ready?


    Whether you create a formal invitation, an email invite, or a social media message is up to you. To be more effective, you can have some topics and questions written down before your guests arrive. You can even include this in your invitation! 


    What are you waiting for? Invite some peeps and get talking!



  • 06/02/2022 3:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sandra Crosby Robinson is our guest blogger.

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    It is key to visualize what you desire and to always keep the vision with you as you grow and change.


    Imagine this, You are at dinner at one of your favorite restaurants and have decided to enjoy your meal without guilt, just pleasure. The ambience is beautiful, service is excellent. After waiting and anticipating, here comes your meal. As your server is bringing your meal to the table, you notice that it resembles the picture in the menu. Not only is it what you asked for, it is also what you desire! Your mouth begins to water, there is a twinkle in your eye, and your heart skips a beat. You subconsciously place your dinner conversation on pause while you reach for your silverware. You recognize that you are about to have a sumptuous meal and wonderful dining experience. Suddenly, before you can taste your feast and enjoy the moment: you began to count calories, your eyes wander to the plate next to you, and you question if you should have ordered the same meal as someone else. Finally, you calculate the price of the meal in your head— in lightning speed, what was a joyful treat, has now become a mediocre or unappetizing meal that you no longer desire to eat; you are unable to enjoy and have a sumptuous dining experience. Translation: you just lost your appetite (desire, liking, fondness, taste, willingness, hunger, zest, gusto, thirst, and inclination)! Why? What happened?

    Just a thought: The meal did not change once it was placed on the table; nor did the meal of your guest change. What changed was your Appetite: Your desire to dive-in while allowing your imagination and reality to meet. We are all endowed with an Appetite for several things, not just food. Our Appetite fuels us and is a key deciding factor in how we approach our life.
    Have distractions, disappointments, questions, guilt and/or fear interfered with your goals? Do you want to regain your hunger? Try this, go back to the original picture; your original “why?”. As your server (appetite) is bringing your meal (hopes, dreams, goals, desires) to you, choose to notice that it resembles the picture (imagination) in the menu (potential). Not only is it what you asked for, it is also what you desire. Choose to get that twinkle in your eye, allow your mouth to water, and allow your heart to skip a beat. 

    Place your dinner conversation on pause while you subconsciously reach for your silverware. Recognize that you are about to have a sumptuous meal (live life). Take your first bite, immediately close your eyes as you savor the first bite, and smile with satisfaction. Take delight in the meal while looking forward to the next time. Now recognize it is worth the cost and so are you!


    Tantalize your taste buds. Live life. Remember, do not give up! 

     

    “Stay focused, ignore the distractions, and you will accomplish your goals much faster.”

    — Joel Osteen

     

    Sandra Crosby Robinson

    Just Pen It


  • 05/03/2022 1:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By nature women are ingrained to be nurturers, cheerleaders to their spouse and children, short order cooks, chauffeurs, nurses, and all the other things we do for others every day. We are used to multi-tasking and caring for others. It makes perfect sense that these traits will carry over as we enter leadership roles on the job.

    What traits do women bring to the table?

    One can argue that women approach leadership differently. But that’s not the whole picture. It’s more about the purpose we have and the contributions we make in our careers. In a study conducted by Caliper, women who held leadership positions were more likely to exhibit assertiveness, be persuasive, are more motivated to get things done, be empathetic, are more flexible and more social. That’s not to say men don’t have these traits, but women scored stronger.

    Women tend to have a high level of emotional intelligence in their leadership roles. This differs from being emotional on the job. Emotional intelligence refers to considering others’ feelings, keeping commitments, and offering praise and learning opportunities for others. Women leaders also tend to like more autonomy, and thrive on a flexible schedule of work formats such as in-office and remote work combinations.

    What about ambitions?

    It seems ambition is directly related to company culture and diversity. Less diverse companies tend to have less ambitious women, creating a gap in ambitions by gender. These companies will have more men in upper management positions. However, when there is greater diversity and a solid company culture, women are just as likely to move into those upper management positions. 

    Home and family commitments do not necessarily affect professional ambitions of women. They can be just as driven as men and have a family. It might take a little planning, but aren’t we all great multi-taskers?

    Wouldn’t we all like to think of ourselves as great leaders? That’s partially true. Where we fall short is in thinking we have it all figured out. 

    Tip #1: Nobody has it all figured out. 

    It doesn’t matter what your business is, it is constantly changing.Change is good. But we have to evolve with the changes. We have to stay on our toes. We have to be smart, efficient, and experts in our field. But keep it real. We don’t know it all, and we never will. So accept the fact that it will never be figured out. 

    Tip #2: Be self-aware.

    Know your limitations, flaws, and weaknesses. Knowing this will undoubtedly make you a better leader. Lean on those on your team that have strengths that make up for your limits. This will also make it easier to set realistic goals and give you reason to be prepared. 

    Tip #3: Know how to motivate!

    Leading isn’t just about providing direction. Your staff needs you to help motivate them. One way to do this is to transform attitudes and beliefs. This won’t happen overnight, but a gradual change in culture to promote teamwork might be the ticket to success.

    Tip #4: Know who comes first.

    Who comes first? No, this isn’t a chicken or egg question. It’s more simple than that. Your staff, your employees should come first. Leadership is last. People who feel valued will reciprocate by trying harder and will do it joyfully. Be empathetic by making connections. Build up the employees you lead. Help them to grow and reach their full potential.

    In short, what do women bring to the leadership table? Everything! 


    Read more tips here: https://hbr.org/2020/04/7-leadership-lessons-men-can-learn-from-women



  • 02/28/2022 5:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom. - Gen. George Patton


    Does anyone else notice how families don’t live just down the street from one another like they used to? Maybe it is you that moved away from your hometown, maybe your adult child has moved out of state for college or to start their own adventures. It is every parent’s dream to see their child spread their wings and watch them make their way in the world. 


    Success is a journey, not a destination. - Arthur Ashe

    Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. - Bobby Unser


    This is an incredible compliment to your parenting skills. The journey your child takes, the way your family will branch out across the country, even to other countries shows how successful you have been in raising your child. 


    Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. - Winston Churchill

    Behind every successful man there’s a lot of unsuccessful years. - Bob Brown


    Success is measured according to each person’s perspective of what success means to them. Success can be measured by wealth, level of education, status, popularity, occupation, etc. In business, you often measure success by customer satisfaction. A happy customer will return to do more business with you. On a personal level, success is measured by something different.


    Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. - Thomas Edison


    That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well. - Abraham Lincoln


    How do you measure success in your life? As Women In Leadership roles or who want to achieve your own level of success, what do you do to make it happen? Do you work hard so you can play hard? Do you continue your education? Do you want recognition? Is your success just for you?



    Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. - Robert F. Kennedy



    So what is the true measure of success? Ask yourself:


    • Do you enjoy what you do?

    • Do you love your life?

    • Are you proud of yourself?

    • Have you made an impact on others?

    • Do you have people that care about you?

    • Do you see progress in your life?


    What would you add to our list of ways to measure your success? 

  • 09/21/2021 8:21 AM | Anonymous member

    Guest Blogger, Cherina Johnson is the owner of Upstairs Resale Shop located in Saginaw, MI, which is currently operating as an online and pop-up store.

    Fall is a favorite time of year for me. If you enjoy eating apples as I do, the fall season should make your taste buds burst inside by the mere thought of all the apple goodies that are in season and available this time of year; for instance, plain apples, caramel apples, homemade apple pie, apple donuts and fresh apple cider to name a few.

    Fall brings about cooler temperatures that are perfect for wrapping up in a soft throw and sit in a favorite chair or recliner, to enjoy a cup of homemade chicken noodle soup or soup of your choice, or to sip a hot cup of tea. I look forward to these moments to unwind from the hustle and bustle of the day, and it a purposeful effort to get some relaxation time on a consistent basis.

    Over a year ago I purchased online two greeting cards from Shannon Cohen, Inc. located in Grand Rapids, MI. I really liked both of the cards that I had selected, but one of the two cards stuck out to me. It read “THINGS FELL INTO PLACE AS SHE GOT INTO POSITION.”

    Since I like giving and sending cards to others for encouragement, my intention was that I would do the same with these two cards as well. However, I have held onto both of them. I propose to you that things will not fall into place in your life or in my life, if we do not have the right attitude. Proverbs 23:7a (NKJV) states, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” With all the negativity that our minds are bombarded with on a daily basis, especially from the news outlets, we have to watch ourselves that we do not fall into the trap of negativity. It is easier said than done, but we have the power to control what we allow to feed into our minds.

    Watch what you say about yourself and the situation, as well as be attentive to what you allow others to say to you or about any given situation. Be informed but do not become a garbage container for it is toxic to the mind. It is our responsibility to keep a positive outlook in life, not matter what is going on outside of us. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” according to Romans 12:2a (NIV). There could be chaos going on all around us; in our lives, on our jobs, in our family, even in the world, but we do not have to allow the chaos to reside within us. Choose to keep a positive attitude, no matter what! Then watch out and see how things will fall into place because you positioned yourself from the right mental standpoint.


  • 08/04/2021 8:44 AM | Anonymous member


    Guest Blogger, Cherina Johnson is the owner of Upstairs Resale Shop located in Saginaw, MI, which is currently operating as an online and pop-up store.

    Congratulations to WIL Member Cherina Johnson for publishing her first book! The following is an excerpt from her autobiography "Cute as a Button, Tough as a Girl" now available on amazon

    "Growing up people would often comment that I was pretty.  This was passed down to me from my Creator through my very beautiful mother.  This proved to be such an asset to me throughout my basketball career.  People often underestimated me based on my looks. Many assumed that I could not play ball or did not initially take me seriously as a player, especially the boys.  Once I recognized that at a young age, I used it to my advantage.  Despite my outward appearance, there was another part of me that went unseen by the natural eye.  I was a competitor and hated to lose.  The inward part was more important than my outward appearance, which would repeatedly prove you should not judge a book by its cover."

  • 06/22/2021 2:42 PM | Anonymous member

    Guest Blogger, Dawn Shestko is the owner of DRS Performance Solutions. Find Dawn on Linkedin  Facebook and Instagram

    I cannot tell you how many times over this past year I’ve heard people, (myself included) preface how they’re doing or feeling with, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately, but…” 

    It seems we're all on the collective struggle bus. Many are having a hard time sticking to any healthy routines, and many are fearful of feeling and staying stuck. Lots of us are having a hard time focusing on anything for longer than a few minutes, and many talk of low energy, no drive, and zero motivation. Many wonder why they just can’t seem to get it together and keep it together!

    That’s the thing… It's the keeping it together that’s challenging. We seem to get back on it  with the best of intention, only to fall off again a short time later. I get it. The ups and downs since March 2020 have been plentiful!

    Now that things are opening up again and life appears to be returning to somewhat “normal” we naturally assume these feelings will just disappear, and that we’ll magically feel inspired, motivated, and energetic. More than likely, we’ll get a burst of all the good feels, because summer is here and vacations are calling! 

    As a matter of fact, I’m on vacation right now, and am feeling great! I also know that I am in no way healed from this pandemic experience and that more than likely, a downturn is ahead. So, this morning I’ll take some time to remind myself of the things that have kept me afloat and doing okay this year, followed by a to-do list once back home in my beloved Bay City!! Setting oneself up for success by having a plan is essential.

    Oh, and let me just say, that never in my life has “staying afloat'' and “being okay” been the goal… My goals are typically more impressive than that!  But let’s face it, there are days when simply staying afloat and being okay is a win!

    My hope is that you find some value in a few things from each list. 

    1. Read Adam Grant’s, New York Times article, “There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing.” This is a game-changer! I’ve read and reread this article multiple times, and have suggested it to everyone I know! If you want to do something nice for yourself today, you’ll take a few minutes to read it!

    2. Show yourself grace. The definition of grace is a willingness to be fair or to forgive. Isn’t it interesting how we show our loved ones grace without reservation, and yet to do the same for ourselves is exceptionally difficult. Many of us are way too hard on ourselves. I often suggest to clients to treat and talk to themselves like they would their best friend. 

    3. Create or maintain healthy routines. Routines help provide a feeling of normalcy and consistency - both of which are necessary to stay afloat and okay!  Remember, routines are about discipline, not motivation. Healthy routines should be non-negotiable!  

    4. Be intentional, be grateful.  I’ve included time for intention and gratitude in my morning routine for years. I write my intention for the day based on my values and on who I’m striving to become. I follow that with writing about a few things I’m grateful for.  This daily practice helps to center myself before the day starts. I find it extremely valuable.

    5. Write a daily to-do list. I’ve written a daily to-do list for 30+ years, and I understand the value. Clients have told me this was their game-changer! Be sure to pay attention to your whole self by giving yourself a few action items each day for your spirit, body, and mind.

  • 05/21/2021 9:27 PM | Anonymous

    Guest Blogger, Arielle Roth is the Marketing Manager of Amigo Mobility, Owner of Riella Marketing & Design and Co-Owner + CCO of Emerge Entrepreneur Collective. She also speaks on mental health and addiction, and works to create a safe space for others struggling.

    May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Nearly 450 million people worldwide are currently living with a mental illness, yet nearly two thirds of people with a known mental illness never seek treatment. ADAA is dedicated to helping those living with anxiety, depression, and co-occurring disorders and their loved ones find treatment, support, and resources.

    With changes and unknowns due to the past year, the number has grown tremendously, while access to resources has become significantly harder. WIL member Arielle Roth has battled depression and bipolar since her teen years, and in the past year began speaking on managing mental health, she shares her journey and some of her tips for balancing her mental health, stress and life with us:

    It's hard to be vulnerable, but important. It's how safe spaces are created for others, especially for those that have not struggled before it can be overwhelming and it's time to #BreakTheStigma for others to realize they aren't alone.

    I was diagnosed with chronic depression and high anxiety when I was 17, and I always find it interesting that even at that age I was incredibly comfortable speaking about it. But I didn't fully understand it, especially how to manage it.  That mixed with side effects of medications, trial and errors of finding the correct ones, along with just the general angst of being a teenager was...a lot. And I always assumed things were working as they were and my life would always just be that way.

    As I got older I started to realize the medications weren't working for me. I also started to realize that I do not have anxiety, I rarely feel anxious in regards to life and decision, am capable of making game plans and very logically make decisions. My struggle is large mood swings, heavy depressive ones, I am easily distracted, have a hard time staying on track or on deadlines, and a handful of other side effects that led us to realize it was bipolar. Which I have never struggled with - on the contrary it simply brought me answers I needed.

    Around 21 I also made the decision to fully go off of medications and learn how to manage my illnesses on my own. Please note - I am not a medical professional, this is in no way my advice to someone, only my experience. I did this with the help of a professional therapist and trial and error on my own part. 95% of the time I am great, but when I struggle...I struggle hard. But if you're trying to get a better grasp on your mental health, especially after this last year, here is some of my best advice:

    1. Embrace it - Find the positives in your mental illness. Odd statement right? It's been a revelation for me though, it is a part of me. And negatives aside it makes me incredibly passionate and self-aware of my life which has brought many positives.
    2. Be active - it really is the best natural medicine. Your doctor isn't just telling you that. Even if it is only a thirty minute walk a day, I can tell a drastic change in my mood if I'm staying active or slacking.
    3. Let the bad days be bad - if you are avoiding letting yourself be sad or feel the negatives you will continue to bottle them up. At some point they are going to overflow. So let the bad days be bad, but know the next day is a new fresh start and it doesn't need to be bad too.
    4. Think before you panic - it took me a long time to get into this habit but, when you are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable ask yourself "what is the worst that can happen in this situation?" Majority of the time the worst outcome is exactly where you are at currently, and you're already surviving that. This also allows you to make a game plan by looking at potential outcomes rather than panicking.
    5. Learn what works for you - I have a really hard time with sticking to deadlines, keeping track of...anything, and simply being forgetful. I have had to learn how to offset that. I tried digital planners it doesn't work. Bipolar comes with an interesting aspect that if we can't physically see something we forget it exists, so phone planners don't work. Instead I have a yearly monthly planner, I also have a one month giant whiteboard calendar in my office, and I use a desk calendar for EVERY individual client. But it means at all times I can see everything I need, it is what works for me.
    6. Find something be thankful for everyday - and write it down. Even if it's a tiny moment, it forces you to find a positive even when you are struggling.
    7. Realize you are not alone - find someone who will listen. And if you can't, I always will and can be reached by email or Facebook anytime you need.


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