Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Entrepreneurial Escapism: Build a Snowwoman

In the midst of a snowstorm (Chicago), I just had to go out and have some fun. I made this snow(wo)man all on my own -- cucumber eyes, tootsie pop mouth and all!

May the joys of the season shed light,
hope and fill our hearts with peace (+

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and yours. Enjoy, be safe and back with you in the new year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

12,000 More Women Are Working

Men are losing jobs at far greater rates than women as the industries they dominate, such as manufacturing, construction, and investment services, are hardest hit by the downturn.

Some 1.1 million fewer men are working in the United States than there were a year ago, according to the Labor Department. By contrast, 12,000 more women are working.

Why is this? Any ideas ladies?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Power Girls Follow Their Instincts

Power girls, better known as women who have escaped corporate America to become entrepreneurs (like Oprah), have incredible instincts and go with their gut when making big decisions for their company. It goes like this: Find it. Trust it. Use it.
Like many of the great moguls of our time, today's new modern women entrepreneurs follow their gut when it comes to their companies. I've heard stories of instincts driving everything from major business decisions to where or when to travel, hunches that turned out to be great ideas, and examples where "just having a feeling" turned out to be a key factor in shaping someone's work or life. It's something I can definitely attest to. Many of my biggest achievements started from a feeling that if I took a leap, I'd be right.
Got a hunch or a great feeling? Then go for it. Don't let anything get in your way to make EXTRAORDINARY things happen in your life.

My mantra in 2009: Be the change you want to see!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Leverage Entrepreneurship to Solve Global Problems

Considering the tumultuous times were in, we need this new initiative from Babson College more than ever right now. Social entrepreneurship will be all the rage in 2009, if it isn't already, because people are on a mission to change our world (yes we can!) and solve global problems.

Visit The Lewis Institute For Social Entrepreneurship and see what you think. Be sure to check out the background on the man who funded this initative, Alan E. Lewis (PDF file). Quite the social entrepreneur.

Monday, December 01, 2008

How To Start A Business With No Money

Erica Douglass quit her job and started a business with $20,000 ($5,000 of her own money and $15,000 from her parents). Read about her tips for success and find out how you can start a business too without a lot of money here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dodging Our Global Economic Crisis

Rarely do I weigh in with my own two cents on what's happening in our global economy let alone provide ways in which to deal with it as a woman business owner. But there's always an exception to the rule and I thought you might like the article, 16 Ways To Dodge An Economic Crisis, I wrote for OPEN Forum by American Express.

Check it out and let me know if any of the ways I reference apply to you and your business. And definitely share with us any NEW ways in which to dodge our current global economic crisis.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Women Clean Up Male Mess

Judith Dobrzynski, who I am a big fan of, writes a clever piece, "Maybe the Meltdown's a Guy Thing," for The New York Times which was published November 15th. Catch it here. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Women Who Did Not Escape Corporate America

Women who did not escape corporate America and seem to be doing just fine. Catch all the exceptions to the rule here.

And a quick fact noted in the article:
According to a survey by Catalyst, a New York research group, women hold 15.4% of Fortune 500 corporate-officer jobs -- positions of vice president or higher that require board approval. That number has inched down from 16.4% in 2005. Women running Fortune 500 companies amount to just 2.4%, the survey showed, and 74 of those companies have no female corporate officers at all.
Pictured: Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook is among the 50.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Are You a Young Woman Social Entrepreneur?

Young Women Social Entrepreneurs (YWSE) is a national organization with chapters in San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles, and New York City. I hope to help them start a Chicago chapter.

Are you a young social entrepreneur (pictured is YWSE member Julie Kay) or aspire to become one soon? Then explore what YWSE has to offer: Young women social entrepreneurs’ visions and goals are affirmed, supported, promoted, and propelled. In addition, they:

• Bring women to the highest positions of leadership in business, government, and social and environmental work.

• Promote young women social entrepreneurs by providing training and development, access to resources, networking opportunities, and general support for their members.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Women Are Role Models For All Entrepreneurs

Women business owners have more support from networking groups and organizations devoted to peer mentoring (e.g., Women Presidents' Organization), and there is improved access to capital for female business owners than in the past. At least we like to think so. More women are increasingly leading companies in a wide range of sectors traditionally dominated by men, such as construction, manufacturing and information technology.

Take a look at what some of these women business owners are achieving in Canada.

And here's the entire W100: Canada's top women entrepreneur list. Very inspiring.

Bottom line: Women are role models for all entrepreneurs.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Economy Center for Small Business

American Express OPEN announced the launch of OPEN Forum’s Economy section, a new platform for small business owners to connect virtually to discuss the current state of the economy and how it affects their businesses. The Economy section is a component of the newly refreshed, an education and networking resource designed to provide small business owners with practical, actionable information from business experts, celebrity business owners and best-in-class bloggers and news outlets.

The Economy center features blog and news commentary, expert tips and advice for surviving the downturn, personal experiences from business owners across the country, and polls about what the state of the economy means for small businesses.

American Express OPEN sure has it right! Pay a visit when time permits.

Full disclosure: I blog about global small business for the OPEN Forum by American Express. I absolutely love what they are doing and am very proud to be a part of it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Look Who's Growing the Fastest

The number of minority women-owned businesses grew twice as fast as the number of businesses created by male minority entrepreneurs and non-minority men and women, according to a new study released by the Minority Business Development Agency.

Find out why here. You go girls!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Be Direct

Whether you are based in China, Ireland or the United States, women entrepreneurs need to be direct and upfront about what they want.

This article talks about how to sharpen up your business to survive and thrive during a global economic downturn.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sisterhood Across the Globe

What do -- the former Colombian presidential candidate and hostage, Ingrid Betancourt; designer Diane von Furstenberg; the sailor Ellen MacArthur; the exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen; the venture capitalist Molly Ashby, the founder of Solera Capital; and the French ministers Fadela Amara, who is in charge of coordinating plans for the racially mixed and poor suburbs, and the foreign trade minister, Anne-Marie Idrac -- all have in common?

Find out here.

Amazing. I have so much respect for women who give other women voices. And I am referring to Aude Zieseniss de Thuin (pictured), founder of the Women's Forum For the Economy and Society.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Women At Their Best

I want to make sure you are all familiar with this fantastic resource. It's called News On Women and published by Alice Krause. She reports on women moving up in the world and is looking for news! Check it out here.

Find her at LinkedIn. Go Alice!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Steady As She Goes

At Chicago-based MAB Advertising, there are some great tips you can apply to running your business during turbulent times. See for yourself here.

Here's a snapshot of two:
If I wasn't already running my own business, today is the day I'd start one. ~ Seth Godin (9/26/08)
In every difficult situation is potential value. Believe this, then begin looking for it. ~ Norman Vincent Peale
Caveat: I know Mary Bahr, President and Creative Director of MAB Advertising through my work with the Women Presidents' Organization.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Burden of Having It All

The social revolution that liberated women has also presented us with even more demands. Most are still trying to map the line between freedom (escapism) and responsibility.

Read more here at Notre Dame's magazine Summer 2008 Issue with an article authored by Heidi Ardizzone.

And feel free to weigh in with your comments and thoughts.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Non-escapist Ellen

Meet Ellen J. Kullman, the new chief executive and President of Dupont, making her one of the few women to rise to the top of the chemical industry and putting her among the handful of women running the nation's largest companies.

Congratulations Ellen! Ain't no escaping corporate America here. But it's how she likes it and that's what matters.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Glass Ceiling Disintegrates?

Even though this is happening in India, it's pretty similar to the United States. Women at the top are still rare. India should focus more on grooming women to own a business and less on helping them become managers within companies.
Women leaders in India's corporate world, though still small in numbers, see the situation changing for the better as the gender divide narrows and the glass ceiling disintegrates.

"If women want they can reach the top in the corporate ladder. There is nothing like glass ceiling for women in corporate sector. Moreover, with the diminishing of gender divide, women with their ability are best suitable to head corporate businesses," asserts Kalpana Morparia, CEO of JP Morgan India.

"As a woman from the corporate world, I say all the aspiring women leaders and entrepreneurs have the ability to take a risk in their careers and come out of their comfort zones," says Shanti Ekambaram, group head, Wholesale Banking, Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited.
Read the article here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Underrepresentation of Women Entrepreneurs in the Government Marketplace

Women senators are watching out for us but good along with WIPP President Barbara Kasoff so let's put our hands together and applaud them for their efforts, on behalf of all women entrepreneurs, to get the money we so richly deserve under the SBA's women's procurement program rule.
The letter also says that, despite comprising a third of the nation's small businesses, women entrepreneurs only received 3.4 percent of federal contracting dollars in 2006. It continues by stating Congress established the women's procurement program in 2000 to help address the underrepresentation of women entrepreneurs in the government marketplace. "Now, over seven years later, the SBA produced a fundamentally flawed proposed rule in its insufficient attempt to implement the women's program," says Barbara Kasoff, President, WIPP.
They keep working it and we should too. Don't settle for less -- ever.

Among the women senators who support women-owned businesses, they are:

Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Maria Cantwell (D- Wash.), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Susan Collins (R-Maine, Elizabeth Dole (R- N.C.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Blanch Lincoln (D- Ark.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D- Wash.) and Debbie Stabenow (R-Mich.).

To view the full letter, go to (PDF file):
Like the shirt? Buy it here (we have no affiliation).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Connecting Can Make a Difference

Women entrepreneurs can be overwhelmed with all the social networking sites -- as well as the concept itself. Time and resources are tight but everyone's talking about "Web 2.0." The question you need to ask is: Who do you want to reach? If you find out it's a good fit -- go for it!

Runa Magnúsdóttir is the founder and CEO of, a global social search and networking site for professional women used by organizations of women entrepreneurs worldwide.

Take a test drive here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Corporate Women Make Fairly Big Bucks

Curious as to who are the highest paid women in Corporate America? As an entrepreneur, when it comes to pay, do you think you hold a candle to any of them? There's only one way to find out. Visit here. If you leave men out of the picture, they make fairly big bucks. We'll come back to that in a moment.

To accompany the above referenced report published by ForbesLife, Executive Woman, one of my favorite authors, Judith Dobrzynski, wrote an essay entitled, The Highest-Paid Women In Corporate America. You absolutely don't want to miss it. Here's a clip:
If, as so many men have often said, money is just a way to keep score, the list is yet another indicator that women aren't achieving equality at work. U.S. Department of Labor statistics peg the salary gap between women and men at just over 21 cents on the dollar--but at the top, matters seem to be worse. Yes, at least 100 women pulled down $3 million last year, but the 100 best-paid men in corporate America--all chief executives--each pocketed at least $18 million. You don't need a calculator to figure out that pay divide.
Read the entire piece here.

Note: To my knowledge, Bonnie Raitt (pictured) is not one of the highest paid women in Corporate America but she produced the song, "Let's Give Them Something To Talk About" which is totally in line with Ms. Dobrzynski's fabulous piece.

More to come.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Call to Action to Help Women Business Owners

While the number of women-owned firms grows at a rate almost twice that of all businesses, women entrepreneurs lag behind in capital, contracting awards and their ability to access viable networks. Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, addressed these critical concerns at a roundtable on 9/9/08 - 20 years after the passage of the Women's Business Ownership Act.

Read more here.

Interested in learning more about The Center For Women's Business Research -- and donating to this worthwhile cause that supports all of us 10.4 million women entrepreneurs? Go here. Spread the word. Together, we can make a difference.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Smart Ways To Break Through Glass Door

There's a glass ceiling -- we know that for sure because that's what makes business ownership so appealing -- but did you know there is a glass door to go along with it? But it's not what you think.

Glassdoor allows people to post salary information anonymously.

They say "information is good and more information is better." What do you think? What's next?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Think Happy Thoughts

Finally, a young woman is given a voice! No, not Palin but Tinker Bell who never spoke in Disney's 1953 classic "Peter Pan" yet is about to say a word or two or three. Disney hopes some pixie dust and the recasting of a classic favorite will lead to a soaring profit.

So, profits give a voice. Profits put women on Boards. Profits help women ...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Good Ideas Grow Online is a vital online community where tens of thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs actively share business ideas, feedback, advice and support. Each month a $10,000 prize is awarded to the best new business idea, which is voted by the community.

The July winner, Elizabeth Dehart, seeks to offer children healthy, organic food options served in vending machines at middle schools and high schools with her Healthy Vending Solution. She’s already planning to use the prize money to purchase vending machines and contacting several organic wholesalers.

You can find out more about her idea and see what kind of feedback she received at by visiting her page.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Essential Website For Your Business

Michigan-based Edward Lowe Foundation provides information and mentoring services to entrepreneurs. Its website boasts many resources for "second-stage" companies -- companies that have passed the start-up phase and are growing (typically between $1 million and $100 million in total revenues).

It offers information on economic gardening, an innovative entrepreneur-centered growth strategy, and a substantial library of online resources on topics ranging from marketing strategy to sustainable business practices in the Entrepreneur's Resource Center section.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Escape Break

Stressed? Sometimes you just need an escape break to appreciate all the wonderful, simple things life has to offer.

This is yours for today. Enjoy. Notice the messages in the photo ... playing ... living.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

No Escaping Here

In case you missed it, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co. named Pamela M. Nicholson president, in a move that will most likely usher in a new era for the biggest car-rental company in the United States.

Read more here.

Congratulations to Pam.

Sometimes, under certain circumstances, escaping from corporate America is just not the thing to do.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Today's Billionaires Want Equals, Not a Bauble

The key to marrying a billionaire, according to the media, is beauty. Grace, charm, intelligence, manners and a talent for flattery help, of course. So does being an entrepreneur. Okay, I had to toss that last one in.

You'll see why when you read this fabulous blog entry on secrets to marrying billionaire.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Female Factor

There are two sexes in the race, and one of them does all the shopping. Women. When it comes to purchasing power, they are the moder lode.
That's what the Chicago-based Female Factor Corporation claims. And founder/CEO Bridget Brennan (pictured above) goes on further to say:
Women buy 83% of all products in the United States. Yet many marketing strategies are based on age and demographic lines instead of the most obvious line of all – gender.

Men and women have been a mystery to one another since the beginning of time. And in marketing and sales, the situation is no different. Women have a distinct set of motivations and priorities that drive their purchasing decisions. Assuming otherwise limits the ability to compete in a marketplace that is absolutely dominated by female consumers.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cracking Corporate America's Glass Ceiling

As women struggle to crack corporate America's glass ceiling, they may find more success with running their own business or in this particular case, in breaking the job barrier from the top down, a study said this week.

The more women on a company's board of directors, the more women are likely to be among that company's senior management, according to the study by Catalyst, a nonprofit organization that researches and helps promote women in business.

Read about it here.

Separately but related to women who have not escaped from corporate America yet have done a magnificent job, I want to make sure everyone caught that Shelly Lazarus is stepping down as CEO of Ogilvy & Mather. Another great woman departs (retires) from the top echelons of business.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Elsenhans Is Tops in Corporate America

Shell veteran Lynn Laverty Elsenhans (pictured) joins the tiny club of women leading major U.S. corporations by taking over the reins of Sunoco (their first woman CEO). Read more here.

Let's put our hands together to applaud and congratulate Lynn!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Women Entrepreneurs SCORE!

SCORE launched a Women Entrepreneurs Web site which provides interactive tools, mentoring, workshops and articles that can help women entrepreneurs achieve their business dreams.

Complete a simple registration form to take advantage of the full range of options.

Monday, July 07, 2008

50 Most Influential Women

Surprises come in every shape, size and form but this was a real shock. I am honored -- Laurel Delaney here -- to have been nominated for the Irish Voice's 2008 50 Most Influential Women by The Irish Voice Newspaper. This is a celebration of Irish-American women success in corporate America, entrepreneurship, the local business world and the Irish community.

Many thanks to the folks at Irish Voice Newspaper, especially to the Consul General of Ireland who is generously hosting a celebration gathering at his residence in New York on July 10th.

Why do I feel a little luck from the Irish coming my way? As I have said many times in this blog, whatever your dream, do it.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday, America and Escape From Corporate America!

Celebrating No. 4 birthday for the official Escape From Corporate America website and this blog and No. 232 birthday for America.

Enjoy. Have fun. Thanks for your readership.

Now go out and celebrate your freedom and independence!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Do Your Dream

Discover a world of opportunity when you get out of your comfort zone.

That's what Kristen did when she left a successful career to dig wells in Africa. Listen in ... here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Superwoman Entrepreneur

When you are an entrepreneur, you just can't do it all. Some try to, but in the end, stress gets the best of us and something breaks along the way. A relationship falls apart, a child has problems at school or a business falls short of its goals.

Here's a nifty little piece (from the UK) that applies to all of us. It boils down to this:

"Try not to do too much!"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Unsung Visionaries

Adventure Divas: Searching the Globe for a New Kind of Heroine

From Booklist:
This is not just about travel, although it's as adventurous as can be. More than that, it's Morris' account of leaving her deskbound publishing job and joining her broadcaster mother to form Adventure Divas to track down "unsung visionaries," women who changed the world in Cuba, India, New, Zealand, and Iran, for what became an award-winning PBS series.

(Between diva searches, to replenish company coffers, Morris takes jobs hunting headhunters in Borneo, climbing the Matterhorn, and crossing the Sahara.)

Morris' interviews--with, among others, Black Panther exile Assata Shakur in Cuba; top cop Kiran Bedi in India; author Keri Hulme, who wrote Morris' beloved The Bone People, in New Zealand; and blind folksinger Pari Zanganeh, who wears a hat instead of a veil, in Iran--are thoughtful and probing, revealing the differences between their lives and those of American women.

Her text adds context--and humor--to the project, warts and all (blank film in India, hotel fire in New Zealand). A good bet for feminists (or entrepreneurs adds Laurel!), fans of the PBS shows, adventure travelers, and anyone who wants a good read.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Look Out Victoria's Secret

Three years ago, a new mother living in Indianapolis named Jane Ivanov seemed like an unlikely candidate to launch an international, Web-based retail business.

However, with her maternity lingerie company Eve Alexander nearing $1 million in annual sales, Ivanov is the model example of a small-time business owner utilizing the Internet to produce big-time results.

Ivanov was honored this week for her success in Chicago by as one of the Web company's American region e-business champions.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Escapes Take Many Shapes and Forms

The folks at Swans Island Blankets were lawyers and finally decided to pursue their life passion: Establishing a small weaving operation off the coast in Maine using local wool.

They finally realized their dream of living close to the land.

Does that sound like what's on your mind? Do it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Escape from Corporate Bosnia

An amazing article on how Bosnian businesswomen are rebuilding a nation. Why just look at this quote:
The women running businesses in Bosnia are focusing on the future. According to Mirsada (pictured), “I am planning to increase my production by another 100 percent and hire another 120 to 130 workers. Very few things in life can deter me once I’ve set a goal for myself.
Women everywhere are making great strides in entrepreneurship. Be proud.

Note: The World Bank's Group's annual survey of business environments ranks Bosnia 105th out of 178 countries on the ease of doing business. A tough place to set up shop.

Monday, June 09, 2008

American Sporting Heroes

It's hot, hot, hot in Chicago -- finally! Caught this ad in the New York Times and reacted with, "How cool is this for Escape From Corporate America?" If you're reading this, you're a record-holder by running a business. So how about escaping a bit today, buying a new swimsuit and taking a nice, cool swim? You'll want to when you see these.

The limited edition Team Speedo USA Collection. Inspired by American sport heroes to inspire your style.

[Pictured: Natalie Coughlin, World Record Holder, Stars and Stripes 2-piece, U.S. $78, USA Short, $24.]

Monday, June 02, 2008

Objects of Desire

AYAYO shoes and bags are objects of desire aimed towards women appreciative of high end luxury and keen to add precious pieces to enhance their look. Clean and streamlined shapes together with unexpected details and textures very much make the pieces personal.

By using extraordinary handcrafted shapes and unexpected material combinations such as exotic skins and man made coated fabrics & patterns, AYAYO has shaped a feminine style that captures the moment and looks away from the mainstream.

The designer Jenny Ocholla AYAYO finds inspiration in everything from her Scandinavian and African cultural heritage to Elsa Schiaparelli to vintage clothes and independent women of all times and places.

A woman entrepreneur in the making. Find out more about Ms. Ayayo's artistry here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Executive Turned President of USA: Is That You?

If you have never been President of anything, can you run for President of the United States? Do you think it's a more natural transition for a woman to go from CEO of a publicly-traded company to President of the United States versus leaping from founder of an entrepreneurial venture?
Meg Whitman, for example, the former eBay chief executive who is a big fundraiser for Senator John McCain, is said to be interested in running for governor of California, which would make her a natural contender for president. (Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive advising Mr. McCain, is another name mentioned as a possible executive turned candidate, though she is not believed to want to run.)

But almost anybody — and particularly women — will discount the idea of a woman as dark horse.
Read the article, "She Just Might Be President Someday."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sometimes You Just Gotta Say Yes

VivaTerra, a fine artisan and earth-friendly goods place, is offering a 100% recycled and 100% cool, scrappy bag (pictured) that dances with color from sassy fringe to comfy 22" straps. (10"Lx19"W), called the "Yes Bag" for U.S. $64. But if you mention code NT805, get $10 off. Offer good until 6/7/08.

Just say yes here.

Note: We have no affiliation to this company.