Saturday, April 20, 2024

What Would You Do If You Could Do Anything?

What would you do if you could do anything?  Back it up a bit, what would you do if you could have a months-long paid leave from work?  For me, as boring as it sounds, I would probably continue doing what I am doing.  For Rahel Mwitula Williams, it was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

The mountain, which is 5,895 meters (19,340 feet), and is the largest free-standing mountain rise in the world, took Mwitula six days to climb. But the journey was worth it.

So you know Rahel's job, by day she works as the Director Of Innovation for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and by night she runs her own socially responsible fashion brand ILAVA.

When she was approved to take a three-month sabbatical from her day job earlier this year, instead of taking a staycation, she set her sights on tackling one of the most challenging treks in the world as an emotional reset.

And that she accomplished.   

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Nancy Geenen Says Connecting With Leaders on a Human Level Creates a Trusting, Empowering Work Culture

Nancy Geenen.  Used with permission.  All rights reserved.
Accomplished entrepreneur, author, leadership coach and strategic facilitator Nancy Geenen spent many years “trying to be someone else, in so many ways.”

What she discovered in her journey is that when a woman leader connects with employees on a human level by being vulnerable and inviting in-depth conversations without judgment, other differences are not as significant, and the leader builds trust as people feel more comfortable being themselves.

Here are Nancy's 5 key thoughts about how a leader showing vulnerability and accessibility can create a trusting, empowering work culture:

  1. Being accountable and permitting others to hold everyone accountable. “Invite that open, honest, and vulnerable communication that is built on trust,” Geenen says. “And if you behave in a way that’s unreliable, own up to it.”
  2. Asking for advice and committing to do better. Geenen says it’s common for team members to have numerous ideas about how a leader can improve their leadership skills. 
  3. Knowing your people and letting them get to know you. Geenen says it’s a leader’s responsibility to model relationship-building. 
  4. Being empathetic, not judgmental. Geenen says when check-ins with employees are done with a mindset of positivity, curiosity and empathy, not judgment and criticism, it earns the team’s trust because they feel seen, heard, and supported.  
  5. Showing you care. When a leader directly pitches in to help one of their teams, be it problem-solving on a complex project or customer-service issue, or performing a tedious task like changing the toner in the copy machine, it establishes common ground with the workforce, showing the leader has humility and sincerity. 

These are among some of the many golden nuggets Nancy shares in her book, "The Advantage of Other:  A Leader's Guide to Building an Equitable, Dynamic, and Productive Workplace."

Saturday, April 06, 2024

The Power of Exposure and Leading By Example for Women Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur Vanessa June says the representation of women in entrepreneurship is critically important, emphasizing the power of exposure and leading by example to create a stronger, more diverse ecosystem.

“If we don’t start businesses, then other women aren’t going to see that as a possibility,” said Vanessa, the founder and CEO of Leva, an app-based community that educates and empowers mothers and parents of babies aged 0-12 months. 

This representation — in entrepreneurship and at all levels of business — matters because women are going to tackle problems with new and different solutions than previously explored.

Learn how we can all build a bigger bandwagon for women entrepreneurs so it's not a lonely journey.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

One Month Is Not Enough Time to Celebrate All Women Who Have Changed the World

©2024 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
Progressing through history, from Cleopatra and Mary Magdalene to Madonna and Diana, Princess of Wales, each of these exceptional women's stories is told against the backdrop of the events of their time. For each, we learn of their achievements, backgrounds, characters and little-known details that make them ever more remarkable.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Progressive Black Women Entrepreneurs Are Breaking Barriers

According to J.P. Morgan, Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, and there's no end in sight.  They are making a significant impact and shaping the world as we move through it.

For every Black woman who starts a business, a barrier is broken. An impressive 50,000-plus Black women are innovating in the United States — but not without the uphill battle of fighting bank funding denials, limited access to capital and systemic racism and sexism.

Despite the challenges, Black women are bringing their products and services to the market.

Here are four Black woman-owned businesses breaking barriers and sharing insights on business.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

May the Angels Protect You

©2024 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
“May your neighbors respect you, troubles neglect you, the angels protect you, and heaven accept you.” – Irish Blessing (photos of Chicago and the dyeing of the Chicago River green, 3/16/24) 

Saturday, March 09, 2024

The Day After International Women's Day 2024

©2024 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
"I am continually inspired by the intelligence and relentlessness of today’s young women warriors. They are keeping us all on the leading edge of modern feminism." – Marlo Thomas, Actor and Activist