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The HeartBright Foundation Individuals at-risk for Cardiovascular Disease Have a Voice with this Passionate Advocate


Authentic Personal Brand!


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Dear Readers,

Mimi Zelman Publisher

I am very excited to announce our 3rd “Making An Impact Conference For Women”! It is being held on Friday, March 28th, 2014 at the Doubletree Hotel SouthPark, in Charlotte, NC. This year’s speakers will inspire and encourage you to grow both professionally and personally! Register today on our website making-an-impact-conference-for-women/ This month’s feature story is Claire Blocker, president of The HeartBright Foundation. February is American Heart month, and I want to bring attention to our readers the significance of heart disease in women. Fact: One in four (25%) women in the United States die from heart disease, one in thirty (3%) die from breast cancer. Fact: More women than men have died from heart disease each year since 1984 Fact: Most women believe heart disease is only something that happens to men. Make sure to WEAR Red on February 7th to help raise awareness to this disease! For more information go to: Our professional spotlight this month is Women With Know How magazine’s very own Creative Director. We are thrilled to have her in this position! She is available to create any marketing materials you may need and she would welcome the opportunity to hear from you. Look for her design special on page 11. Have a great month! Mimi


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22 Publisher/President Mimi L. Zelman Creative Director Rebecca Fairchild Contributing Writers Briana Barbee Terri Bennett Elyshia Brook For more advertising information call Mimi at 704-491-1207 or email her at: Copyright Š 2014


16 Build Your New

Personal Brand!

26 Claire Blocker,

36 46 42

On the cover Claire Blocker


President of The HeartBright Foundation

40 Think Outside the (Chocolate) Box

Photo by Kenneth W. Gordon FEBRUARY 2014


professional spotlight 6

Rebecca Fairchild By Mimi Zelman

Azure Door Creative, Owner Women With Know How Magazine, Creative Director

H ow d i d yo u g e t s t a r t e d i n this business? 26 years ago, a position with a manufacturer of check-sorting machines, taught me the skills to operate highspeed duplicators. With that experience I procured a position with a small print shop where I did copying, quoted and received printing orders, carried out retail duties and used various bindery equipment to cut, bind, fold and pad printed materials. Eventually, one job within the printing industr y led to another. Connect And Grow With Women In Our Community

One such job allowed me to take a college course about a new technology - desktop publishing. I learned the basics of Quark XPress. That opportunity sparked my interest in pursuing an Associates Degree in Graphic Arts Management from Central Piedmont Community College. There I learned the basics of desktop publishing. My previous experience along with

my newly earned diploma, gave me the resume to begin my career in the printing industry which lead to my current advertising and graphic design business. What is your background - what were you doing before this business? I’ve always been in the printing industry in one capacity or another. After desktop publishing came to the forefront of the publishing arena, I was able to focus in on what I love, creating visually-pleasing printed pieces. Before being able to be a good designer and know what works, I had to learn the master y of the tools computer software designed for publishing and design. What is a good early story about your business? I started my freelance business at a coffee shop. Af ter being laid off from a job, I was working on personal projects and subsequently networking from Caribou Coffee. While there I met a business entrepreneur. He liked my work and hired me for a day to work with him to design a brochure for his company. For years I continued to do design for him. Early on, he introduced me to another small business group whose company would utilize

my talents and afford me a notable accomplishment. My first client from that coffee shop, a few years later hired me to work full time for his company. My first freelance job turned into a full time Director of Marketing position! What is unusual or unique about your business, in comparison to your competitors or similar businesses? Because of my many years of experience in printing, publishing and advertising, I not only have the skill to use the tools most efficiently, but I understand the processes involved in every step of the way through conceptualization, forming a plan and a goal for a piece, and working through achieving the desired effect for a client. My way of doing business is very fluid and flexible. Whether a client needs a basic marketing tool, or a complex one, I can adjust where, when and how long a project will take, as well as fit the cost to the clients’ budgets and my availability as I deem appropriate and fair. FEBRUARY 2014


Is there a customer experience of which you are most proud? I designed a logo and produced advertising pieces for a fitness company in Charlotte. In the normal course of business, when requested to do so, I sent

their logo to the Carolina Panthers office. When asked my fee I said, “no fee! No problem!” But I was given two tickets as my pay. I was very proud to see the logo I had designed for 1 on 1 Body Design, the trainers of the TopCatsTM, the Carolina Panthers Cheerleaders, in the Official Panther’s program and displayed larger-than-life up on the Bank of America Stadium scoreboard! Do you do any charity or nonprofit work? In my advertising and design business I have helped out a non-profit organization when the opportunity arose. I’ve designed logos and provided materials at cost. As in my personal life, I always try to help others where I can. Who are some of your most notable clients? Women With Know How, 1 on 1 Body Design, On-Site Clinical Solutions, Victor Hussey Catering, Disaster One, Inc. the restoration company, Ihsan Rajab, author of “The Son Also Rises In the West”, and Dorothy Fairchild, author of “Shannon Song”, among others. What is an interesting story about a client interaction you had? About six years ago there was this one particular client. She was an ad executive in a regional business magazine business, for which I was creative director. No, I didn’t own the magazine, and no, she didn’t pay a fee for my services, but yes, she was my customer. She was


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bringing in advertisers to help ensure the magazine’s success. She was developing relationships with those clients she had established and she needed my help to satisfy the creative needs and desires of her business associates. That person was Mimi Zelman! She and I had then, and still share, an easy professional relationship and friendship. We worked well together then and we are looking forward to the years ahead for Women With Know How. Most of all, neither of us imagined, that after we left our employ with that magazine, would we be here, years later, locked-arms in sync, working together to bring another publication of integrity and supreme quality to a whole new readership! I am very proud of the work Mimi has done to develop an outstanding product over the past several years and also so very humbled for the opportunity. I sincerely anticipate and am excited for the days, months and years to come, as I add our readers and advertisers to my portfolio of friends! What are some of your greatest challenges in your business? A great challenge in my business, the business of marketing and design, is to be able to listen to what people need then helping flesh that out in

a planned approach, constrained by budgets and time. A challenge is an opportunity however. An opportunity will rise up as communication is effective and creative. Ever yone has something in their mind as to what they want to accomplish with a certain project. As the process plays out through meetings, proofs and production, I see the greatest challenges become awesome outcomes! What would you most like the reader to know about your journey in business? As a creative woman, I have a little “Know How” when it comes to advertising and design. I have been working in many areas of the printing and design industries in my lifetime. During that time I have learned many practical skills. I have had the opportunity (nay, challenge), to learn desktop publishing in the middle of the technical revolution - real time - and currently work with ever-changing tools of my trade. Those years of practicing what I have learned and challenging myself to change with the technology, has given me a broad foundation on which to build my career and an exciting and rewarding means of expression that is most fulfilling when I can help another entrepreneur see their own dreams realized! Azure Door Creative Graphic Design “Az-Ure Like It!” Rebecca Fairchild www.facebook/AzureDoorCreative Email: Phone: 704-890-5218 FEBRUARY 2014



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The Carolinas Chapter of the National

Diversity Council

Women Leadership Symposium to host in


he Carolinas Chapter of t h e N a t i o n a l D i ve r s i t y Council (NDC Carolinas) will be holding the 2nd Annual Charlotte Women in Leadership Symposium ( WILS) at the Omni Hotel in uptown Charlotte on March 4th, from 8am - Noon. The purpose of the Women in Leadership Symposium is to celebrate the successes of women in the workplace as well as help to ensure that women’s empowerment continues in our area. We will engage each participant through an interactive process, and encourage men to attend to learn how to become advocates and sponsors. This year ’s theme is “Politics of Power: Communication, Influence, and Empowerment”. WILS have been one of the most common and successful events for the NDC nationwide, and will be our second annual WILS for Charlotte.


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March 4th 2014

This WILS has a far more collaborative format for our Greater Charlotte Area, as we feel the opportunity to discuss issues collaboratively and encourage men to become involved in Women’s empowerment are key to success for everyone. The goal of this event is to provide useful knowledge, strategies, and tools to empower our par ticipants to achieve their own g o a l s. I n fo r m a t i o n i s av a i l a b l e a t events-and-programs/charlotte-wils/ Facilitators: Empowerment- Denise Cooper, Chief Reinvention Strategist at http:// w w w. c o a c h h r. c o m Co a c h H R a n d Professional Speaker I nfluence - I vy Chin, SVP eCommerce http://www.belk .com/ Belk and Omnichannel Digital C o m m u n i c a t i o n - D r. C h r i s t i n e S. Davis, Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Graduate

Coordinator of Communication Studies at http://communication. UNC Charlotte The 2014 Char lotte ( WILS) will be a series of brief presentations followed by facilitated group discussions focusing on one of three topics: communication, empowerment, and influence. Each table will discuss the issues/information in the presentations and repor t their discussions back to the group. This will be followed by Q&A and net work ing. Par ticipants will receive education, inspiration, and encouragement as they reflect on their own goals and s t r u g g l e s . Pa r t i c i p a n t s w i l l h a v e t h e o p p o r t u n i t y to e x p re s s t h e i r own knowledge and needs, as well as learn from their table, the audience, and the exper ts. “Our programs are designed to facilitate dialogue amongst business leaders, professionals and community members in order to c re a te a m o re i n c l u s i ve wo r kfo rc e, w h i c h w i l l u l t i m a t e l y l e a d to more produc tive work environments,” Dennis K ennedy, National D i ve r s i t y Co u n c i l Fo u n d e r a n d CEO, said. We would like to thank our sponsors: Carolinas HealthCare Systems, Aerotek , Snyder ’s-Lance, and Women with K now How.

About the Carolinas Chapter of the National Diversity Council: NDC Carolinas is a 501 (c)3, non-profit organization which was launched in August of 2012. Under the National Diversity Council umbrella, NDC Carolinas champions diversity and inclusion throughout Nor th and South Carolina in academia, businesses, and communities. NDC Carolinas creates a platform for discourse and collaboration around common inclusion issues and provides education, development, and community building opportunities fo r a l l c o m m u n i t y m e m b e r s a n d professionals. H e a d e d b y s t a t e c o o r d i n a t o r, Brian Richards, NDC Carolinas has established a presence in Charlotte, G re e nv i l l e, N C , t h e Tr i a n g l e, a n d Wilmington, with plans to expand into the Triad and Columbia, SC in 2013. Efforts are currently focused on gender equality, healthcare diversity, empower veterans, generational diversity, and preparation for and connecting college students to careers in corporate America. More information about the NDC Carolinas can be found at HYPERLINK or by emailing Coordinator, Brian Richards at Phone: 713-592-6998 or 740-274-9677 FEBRUARY 2014



Early 2014 Calendar of Events Charlotte Social Mixers February and May 2014 @ BlackFinn Saloon

Triangle Social Mixers March, June, September December 2014

Charlotte, NC

Generational Diversity Summit

February 19th @ Marbles Kids Museum Raleigh, NC

Diversity Boot Camp March 14th Charlotte, NC

Women in Leadership Symposium March 4th @ Charlotte Omni Hotel Charlotte, NC

Healthcare Diversity Summit April 23rd @ Greenville Convention Center Greenville, NC

Monthly Leadership Meetings · Triangle Advisory Board: First Thursday from 1-2 · Charlotte Advisory Board: Second Monday from 10-11 · Board of Directors: Third Tuesday from 2-3 · Wilmington Advisory Board: Fourth Tuesday from 3-4 If you would like to learn more about the NDC Carolinas’ Diversity Council’s chapter meetings, events, or leadership opportunities, please contact us at Connect And Grow With Women In Our Community 14 FEBRUARY 2014



By Elyshia Brooks, MBA

Change From the Old Mindset to Build Your

NEW Authentic Personal BRAND!


We all have a message within us based on our own personal journey a n d t h e d e s t i ny i n w h i c h G o d has placed within. The question is…is that your personal dream and pursuit or are you fulfilling someone else’s dream?

The message that is within is destined to come out and it needs to be shared with the world and guess what, you are the messenger in which it shall come through. God did not give you a purpose, dream, destiny, voice or message for it to stay bottled up and not be released. He did not allow you to go through all that you did for nothing. He did not give you gifts and talents to lie dormant and just make others rich and wealthy. I am talking to the dreamers, and to those who know their purpose and


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perhaps are playing small, but want to LIVE BIG, change-agents, influencers, and those who know that there is a bigger assignment for you to do than where you are now. It may be that your journey has not allowed you to get there as of yet because of some stumbling blocks, setbacks, mindsets, other people’s problems, not having clarity and perhaps not living your true authentic self. All of which will hold you back from living your true potential. Well…It is time to make a change NOW!!! What if you don’t have another opportunity to live the life you were created to do because you harbored fear or thought small? How long is that going to keep you down? When we not only allow ourselves to keep us back, but others as well that becomes a huge problem.

Your destiny is in your hands and up to you; so don’t give it to someone else who wants to keep you at their level or below so that you don’t have more than them. Break away from a nyone wh o i s h o l d i n g yo u back mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually or financially. There is so much more in you and that is their problem that they don’t recognize what is inside of you. This year is the “ Year of Open Doors!” Open doors to new opportunities, relationships, business projec ts, joy and happin e s s, p e a c e o f m i n d, we a l t h a n d abundance are yours to be claimed. You cannot do that with other people’s feet on your neck. Don’t allow this whole New Year to pass you by again. How many times have you been around this mountain, only to see receive the same results? This year as you bring your business idea, brand, church ministry and creativity to the forefront, there are a few things that I would like to share to keep you focused and grounded on your passion and purpose. Understanding Timing: We may think that we have all the time in the world, but we don’t! You cannot keep putting off what is purposed for your life. How many excuses are you going to continue to make? We k now that time waits for no one. You have a window of opportunity to make things happen and when that is bir thed in you, you will be rewarded.

Don’t Allow Others To Dictate Your Life: You were given gifts, talents and a mind to think. After all, that is what makes us unique and different. Stop allowing other people’s opinions; thoughts, negativity, actions, words and deeds hold space in your mind, heart and spirit. Man did not create you; so stop giving your power away. Watch how others will steal your time, your dreams, and create a space for you to feel like you are “stuck!” Write the vision and make it plain and do that action needed to make it happen without the naysayers. Watch What You Say To Yourself, Your Mindset: As a change-agent, messenger, your own brand; you must be careful about what you think and allow to fester in your mind. Rid yourself of the negative thinking and stop telling that same old story. It is time to write a new story, don’t you think? Speak life in and over yourself, your vision and your business everyday and BELIEVE IT!! This year, move yourself out of the way and create that business and brand that speaks your true authentic self that God has called you to be. Decide What Your Brand Will Say This Year! Now that we are in a new year and we all had the opportunity to reflect on what has transpired, both in our businesses and personal lives, so did our external world match our internal world? Did you accomplish all that you set out to do? If not, why? What held you back? FEBRUARY 2014


What stopped you in your tracks or either pushed you for ward? What was your biggest accomplishment in 2013? Did God give you clarity about His manifesting purpose and destiny for you? For some, there were many who have been wondering, wanting clarity about their destiny and finally received it. That is a huge accomplishment! So what does that look like for you and your brand in 2014? This year, what do want your brand to stand for? The value of your brand is determined by what you set it to be and the energy that you place out into the world. Your energy is about “YOU!” Both, your internal and external value system plays a huge role in how you communicate your message and how your clients, not only receive your message, but perceive your message and brand. Because it is the beginning of the year, it is a good time to re-group, re-vamp, re-design, re-dedicate your inner-self and business brand so that it would be in alignment with your true authentic self. We all are aware that what is on the inside, will be what manifests externally in our environment. However, with that, you must understand that when you are walking in your divine purpose and destiny, your soul should be leading and guiding you if you are committed to building a conscious-centered business and personal brand. A conscious-centered and soulful business is dedicated to ser ving with love, 18

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passion and a mindset that connects with your divine clients, emotionally, spiritually, and soulfully. For 2014…What if you decided to build a brand totally based on “YOU?” Who are you really? - Spiritually, Emotionally, Organizationally, Mentally, Compassionately, Physically? How can you incorporate a soulful “You” in every aspect of your business? How can you keep your divine clients and community engaged and connected? How are you communicating with your community and keeping your brand in front them; also how often? When you are building your authentic personal brand, make sure that how you market your business is a true reflection of you and who you are at your core. Make 2014, Your Best Brand Breakout Year Ever! Dream BIG! Play BIG! Do Business BIG. How deep are you willing to go? What about BIG Brand Awareness in Who “You” Are Authentically? Start from your inner core and let that speak to the world through your business and brand! Elyshia Brooks, MBA CEO/President Elyshia Brooks International., Inc. Personal Authentic Branding Coachsultant Author, “Branding The Authentic You” Phone: 800-511-5410 FEBRUARY 2014


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Financial Resolutions


ith the new year underway, there is a heavy focus around resolutions. Whether you are making a resolution to celebrate a fresh start or looking to make a change no matter the time of year, maintaining resolutions can be difficult. In fact, a recent survey from Bank of America found that 49 percent of respondents don’t make New Year’s resolutions because they prefer to set goals throughout the year. Goals tied to the new year, and those set at various points in the year, are all aimed at making significant life changes. According to the survey, 81 percent of resolutions involve health and fitness, 45 percent involve personal finances and 30 percent are targeted toward making changes in social life and relationships. With the large number of people planning to make 22

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Getty Images


Sticking with Your

changes in their finances, it is helpful to determine how to best ensure you achieve your goal. “I’ll be the first to admit keeping to a financial resolution takes a lot of hard work. It takes good behavior and good habits,” said Farnoosh Torabi, a consumer finance expert. “ With life being so complicated, stressful and complex, we often abandon them. Get the systems in place — the small steps you need to take now — to help you get on the right track.” Research shows that consumers who understand their behaviors and motivations are more likely to build and keep positive habits for the long term. That’s why it’s so important to have strategies to keep those financial resolutions throughout the year. A few pointers to stick with your financial resolutions include: Prepare before your resolution begins. Putting thought into your

resolutions before you spring into action can put you on the path to change. Starting early with a few small changes can also improve your odds of staying the course to achieve your goals. For example, if you’re looking to improve your financial health, begin by imagining a debt-free life. Visualizing how things may change can provide additional motivation you may need to move forward. Think about having more money available each month and how it would change your stress levels. Imagine what it would be like to not worry about meeting your payments, or saving more for retirement, education or emergencies. Thirty percent of survey respondents said they identify their New Year’s resolutions early as a way to stick with them throughout the year. Develop an action plan. It’s fine to make a resolution, but the odds of sticking with it improve dramatically if you create an action plan of smaller steps to support your goals. If your number one resolution is to lose weight, your plan might include budgeting money for a gym membership and cleaning out any junk food from your pantry. Creating a budget? Start by tracking your spending to see where the money is going. Then create a budget that’s tight but workable, to give you more flexibility to pay down debt, increase savings or invest for retirement. If have to carry a balance, but want to responsibly manage your

credit card, consider a card that helps build positive habits. For example, Bank of America’s Better Balance Rewards card pays you to manage your credit card use. Every quarter that you pay more than your minimum balance on time, you earn $25 cash back. If you have at least one other qualifying account with Bank of America, you can receive another $5 bonus, totaling up to $30 a quarter. You’ll be eligible for up to $120 a year toward your balance, and you’ll feel better knowing how much you can spend each month. Write it down. Forty percent of sur vey respondents say they use written reminders to help stay on track with their resolutions. Tr y writing your resolutions on Post-it notes, in Evernote, in calendar reminders or on notes stuck to Hate Car Shopping? No Time?

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the refrigerator -whatever you’ll look at regularly - to keep yourself committed and on track. Research shows that a written goal is more likely to be achieved. If your goal is managing your finances better, write a reminder on your daily calendar to check your credit card statements as they come in - it’s the best way to spot transactions you don’t recognize. Get a little help from your friends: Sometimes a gentle reminder from a family member or friend can work wonders. Share your resolutions with a trusted person and ask for occasional reminders. Some 23 percent of survey respondents plan to enlist help this way. A friend may be able to coax you to going to the gym, or even talk you out of buying that handbag you’ve been eyeing that’s out of your budget. The key to cutting debt is to stop adding to it. If you’re in a hole, stop digging. Partner up Find a friend or loved one with the same resolution and agree to motivate and support one another to stick to your goals. It’s easier to manage a diet, exercise plan or budget if you have support. Twenty percent of respondents plan to partner up to keep to their resolutions. Start your New Year’s resolutions thinking today, and keep the big goals in mind every day, whether they aim for better health, sounder finances or better relationships. With the right attitude and commitment, 2014 could be a very good year.

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laire Blocker is the President of the HeartBright Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to advocating for individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease. Claire works in the community to create an awareness and understanding of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease in our region through local, regional, and national channels. Pr ior to her cur rent position, she was President of Eventworks, a


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national logistical management firm providing planning, management and implementation ser vices for conventions, trade shows, and corporate new product introductions. In the fall of 1994, at only 47 years of age, Claire had a stroke. In March of 1998, she had a heart attack and learned that she had eight major block ages; 90-95% blocked, and needed quadruple hear t by-pass surgery. At that time, she discovered she had genetic heart disease.

Claire Blocker~ a Heart for Helping Advocating for Those in Our Community at - risk for

Cardiovascular Disease by Mimi Zelman

Tw o y e a r s l a t e r, i n A p r i l o f 2000, Claire was selec ted by the South Carolina Cardio Pulmonary Rehabilitation Association as their first “Patient of the Year ” recipient. She was awarded this honor because she modeled the attitude needed for the cardiac patient to fully return to life. In addition to her own personal commitment to lifestyle change, she advocated for others with heart disease through contributions made as a volunteer

in the communit y hospitals, the Rock Hill chapter of the Mended H e a r t s s u p p o r t gro u p, a n d a s a continued member of the Women’s H e a r t Ac t i o n Te a m i n R o c k H i l l, S outh Carolina and a nationally recognized WomenHeart member. In October of 2002, Claire attended the Science and Leadership Symposium for Women with Heart Disease at the Mayo Clinic to further her personal education about heart disease. FEBRUARY 2014


In 2003 Claire and her husband Tom Blocker founded the HeartBright Foundation to ensure that others would not get as sick as she did. She leads the HeartBright Foundation with not only with firsthand experience as a cardiac patient, but as a person who wants to help others face their chronic care issues with as much knowledge and advocacy as she and her volunteers can provide. Claire has been an exemplary model for those who need to understand that a positive attitude and a willingness to seek the answers can make all the difference in overall wellness. At HeartBright, patients are taught to not only self-advocate, but to cooperate with physicians to manage their health and future quality of life. In 2010, Claire led HeartBright and her team as they were awarded the National Access to Care, Treatment and Services Award as she accepted the Foundation’s award in Washington DC. She is proud of the fact that HeartBright’s model for wellness and prevention is being held as the national standard for how wellness and prevention of cardiovascular disease and its related issues should be treated within individual communities across the nation. Claire has been featured on M S - N B C o n l i n e, i n t h e C h a r l o t t e Observer, The Rock Hill Herald, and The Charlotte Woman Magazine. She is WBT Radio’s 2005 Hometown Hero and the 2009 Healthcare Hero for The Mecklenburg Times. 28

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She was raised in Moorestown, New Jersey, but has lived with her husband Tom in the Charlotte area since 1989. They share their home with two golden retrievers, a cat, and a rabbit. Claire and Tom have five children and six beautiful grandchildren. She believes that the love and support of her family and friends has been pivotal in her recovery and continued wellness. How did you get started? “I had a stroke at age 47. I had a Heart Attack and quadruple by-pass surgery at age 51. I went to Symposium at Mayo Clinic to educate on cardiovascular disease at age 54. I decided to create a resource in Charlotte for prevention and wellness management of CVD and related issues to help others not get as sick as I did. I borrowed $15,000, personally, to incorporate and set up the HeartBright Foundation Inc. in February of 2003 and paid it back within first year.” H o w h ave yo u r p r i o r c a re e r experiences prepared you for your journey in life? “My career as a logistics manager for large corporations gave me over thirty years experience in large project management, to include development, administration, marketing, database management and financial management. All of these skills are needed to run a foundation and have served me well at the HeartBright Foundation.”

What would you most like our re a d e r s t o k n o w about your journey in business? In life? “To know that life is an educational journey. Giving up is not an option, changing your mind or finding a new path is part of the journey and often increases your options in life, however just flat out giving up means to me that you are giving up on “your” life. That to me is just not ok.” Who would you describe as your mentor(s) and why? “I have had numerous mentors along my journey in life: My Mother who taught me that I should never say “I can’t” but that I should always try and to do my best. M y gr a n d m o t h e r w h o t r i e d to teach me grace, compassion and not to ask others to do something that I would not myself if there was time My second grade school teacher who taught me that I should always persevere, that I should stay focused on my goals and believe in myself My friend Alice who taught me to stop being insecure because o f b u m p s i n t h e ro a d t h a t I h a d encountered. My friend Arlene who taught me

about being in business from a practical aspect. All of my daughters and granddaughters that continually challenge me and broaden my horizons. My mother-in-law who has taught me to’ be kind to others and how to age gracefully’. I have been very blessed in my life.” What’s on your bucket list and why? “To be a good partner in my marriage to my husband Tom that I adore! To be a good mother to our five children (36-48) and grandmother to our six grandchildren (2-24). To leave behind a legacy of caring to my community through the HeartBright Foundation I started in 2003 to help our community not get as sick as I did with cardiovascular disease and its related issues and to enjoy my remaining years with my husband as we have new adventures together. FEBRUARY 2014


The why: Because I don’t want to waste the time that I have on this earth and I want to be grateful for every of the days and experiences I have.” Any difficult times you’d care to share with our readers? And if so what lesson have you learned? “A divorce at a young age and being the single parent of three children. This reinforced the perseverance that I learned in the second grade. Health issues that began at 47 and continue to be extremely challenging: It took me almost a year to regain 95% of my right side; I was very young for a stroke. At 51 I had a heart attack that resulted in quadruple by-pass surgery because I had 8 major blockages that were 90-95% blocked. Within 5 months, 3 of the 4 bypasses had failed. This caused me to make


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a decision with my cardiologist to try to buy me time so that technology could catch up with where I was with my disease. We did this by my enduring three annual sessions of thirty-seven one hour sessions of externally enhancing counter-pulsation therapy (EECP); this was very difficult and very challenging and without my family I am not sure I would have made it. In early 2002 I received three cobalt chromium stents, placed contiguously into my circumflex, addressing an area that had not been addressed with the by-pass, 4 years previously. Since this time I have had an additional two stents in my heart and one in my right renal artery; cardiovascular disease attacks ALL arteries. In 2013 I had a perforated colon which created an emergent need (I became septic) and this resulted in a colostomy.

I was able to have an ostomy take down in November of 2013 and have fully recovered. This ordeal was very challenging. I have continued to learn to have perseverance and to always find the positive in every situation.” If you could do one thing differently in your life, what would that be? “I am not really sure that I would have changed anything actually for all of the challenges that I have faced makes me who I am today at 67 and frankly I am a very happy girl.” What do you wish you knew 20 years ago? “I wish that medicine had been more advanced twenty years ago and that it had taught prevention and wellness so that I would have not taken my body for granted (making other things a priority) and that I realized at an earlier age that I should actively be taking care of my body.” What is something people would be surprised to know about you? “People would probably be surprised that I am a little bit of a ‘gear head’ and used to race a 55 Chevy in the ‘Powder Puff Derby’ at Atco Dragway.” What inspires you? What makes you laugh? “ L i fe a n d p e o p l e i n s p i re m e ! I laugh at me all of the time! I smile at those I care about including my numerous pets.”

If you could stand up and defend anything, what would it be? “Actually I advocate ever yday for individuals to be proactive in their own healthcare, to par tner with t h e i r p hy s i c i a n a n d t o a s k q u e s tions of the clinicians when they do not understand thoroughly how to implement what the specialists have asked them to do, how medicines and procedures affect their bodies both positively and nega t i v e l y. T h e m a i n t h i n g i s t o a s k questions, gain an understanding of the pros and cons and not to be afraid to give appropriate feedback to our clinical team. Patients have to be responsible for their own wellness and be part of the healthcare solution.” About HeartBright Our Mission: O u r m i s s i o n i s t o p ro m o te c a rd i ov a s c u l a r we l l n e s s through prevention, awareness, and par tnerships in the Charlotte Mecklenburg area. Our Vision Is: To create an awareness or understanding of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in our region through local, regional and national channels. To act as a liaison between the highrisk individual and essential community resources. To conduc t an ongoing needs assessment of the state of cardiovascular disease prevention in our region. FEBRUARY 2014


With the use of assessment data, to suppor t innovative programs that eliminate existing gaps in preventative ser vices with respect to cardiovascular disease. To coordinate the provision of services that are provided by existing local agencies whose mission incorporates the prevention of cardiovascular (heart) disease in an effort to reduce or eliminate duplication and optimize utilization of those services. The Hear tBr ight Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity headquartered in Charlotte, NC. Our main focus is providing education for the community in healthy lifestyles and to fund preventive cardiology programs in economically disadvantaged communities. Their services are structured around our four step A.M.E.S. approach:

A: Alert M: Measure E: Educate S: Support


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Alerting the public about risk factors of heart disease; Measure individual risk assessments via current testing technologies; Initial and ongoing education to assist individuals with their new heart healthy goals; Support individuals via resources, motivational programs and management tools. Claire Blocker is President and Founder of the HeartBright Foundation. For more information about HeartBright, visit

Email: HeartBright Foundation 2923 South Tryon, Suite 200 Charlotte, NC 28203 Phone: 704-373-3002 704-373-3004


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Tips to Support a Healthy LifestyleRe-energize Your Wellness Routine

f the decadent dishes and busy schedules of the holiday season have set back your effor ts towards a healthy lifestyle, fear not. With the right plan in place, it’s easy to get back on track, re-energized and refocused for the year ahead. Shorter days and colder weather may seem to heighten the desire to indulge in comfort foods, just as much as it can lessen the motivation to take part in physical activity, like hitting the gym or taking an afternoon stroll. Health expert, author and registered dietitian, Patricia Bannan, shares a few simple changes to help re-charge your routine and get excited, no matter what the thermometer reads outside: Set realistic expectations I f you haven’t been running in months and plan to jump on the treadmill tomorrow, it’s important to take your new workout in stride. Having high aspirations for your health is a wonderful thing, but there’s nothing


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wrong with star ting small. Setting achievable goals – such as jogging or walking for a certain amount of time each day – will help to keep you working toward the goal of running a10K in the long term. Buddy up By now you’ve likely commiserated with friends about the lapse in your health and wellness goals. This is the perfect opportunity to ask someone to partner up in your healthy pursuits. Ask friends, family, neighbors or co-workers if they are interested in joining a gym, taking a boot camp class, or participating in a healthy cooking course. Supply your body with quality nutrition Beyond getting in your required f r u i t s, v e g e t a b l e s, l e a n p ro t e i n s, healthy fats and whole grains through a balanced diet, taking a high quality s u p p l e m e n t c a n h e l p b r i d g e a ny nutrient gaps and help you get what your body may be lacking. Bannan

recommends Adult Gummies Energy‡ B12 from Nature Made®, the #1 pharmacist recommended brand of letter vitamins.1 Vitamin B12 supports cellular energy production by helping the body convert food into energy, and gummies offer an enjoyable way to take your vitamins.† Swap out ingredients Healthier alternatives exist for all of your favorite dishes. If you crave a hearty bowl of chili, switch out ground beef for a leaner variety of ground turkey. Use whole-grain pasta in your favorite Italian dishes or whole-grain breads for sandwiches. These changes are small, but can

have a big impact on your overall nutrition when put into practice. By incorporating a few of these simple tips into your daily wellness routine, you’ll be on the path to a healthier new you. For more information, visit www. 1

Based on US News & World Report Pharmacy Times Survey ‡Vitamin B12 supports cellular energy production in the body.† Photo courtesy of Getty Images Source: Nature Made †These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. FEBRUARY 2014



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Hear eWomenNetwork founder Sandra Yancey share how you can choose to live an inspired, totally fulfilled life! Living brave doesn’t mean you are fearless. It means that you move forward and “go for it” in spite of what scares you and the discomfort of the unknown. The power to succeed is always within you. The life you want is attainable. it can be yours if you are ready to LISTEN, be BRAVE, and EMBRACE your power.

• • • • • •

You’ll Learn:

To access and use your personal power to accomplish your life’s ambition. The steps to being BRAVE and working through discomfort and uncertainty. How to redesign your life and create exciting, real possibilities that invigorate your spirit. How to avoid the destructive forces that sabotage your success. How to energize your life and attract abundance, fulfillment and joy. How to engage insightful new ways to ignite the growth of your business.

5th Annual eWomenNetwork Women’s Success Summit March 6, 2014 Informal Networking: 10:30 am to 11:30 am Program: 11:30 am to 2:30 pm Hilton Charlotte Executive Park Hotel

Join Us at the eWomenNetwork February Meeting too

February 6, 2014

Informal Networking: 10:30 am to 11:30 am; Program: 11:30 am to 1:30 pm Hilton Charlotte University Place Five Critical Tools for Teamwork Success Speaker: Amy Burkett

For more information, visit Or contact Lori Dvorak, Executive Managing Director, at

going green 40

By Terri Bennett

Valentine’s Day

Think Outside


The (Chocolate) Box

a l e nt i n e’s D ay i s s u p posed to be all about love, thoughtfulness, and maybe a few decadent treats. But did you know what’s really involved in getting some of the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts to your loved one? It’s not always so rosy. This year, Do Your Part as you send flowers, prepare dinner, or even deliver the sweetest of gifts. The Flower Delivery : Be informed before you buy that traditional Valentine’s bouquet. Many imported roses can actually contain 50% more pesticides than what’s legally allowed on food in this country. My best advice is to look for retailers who are committed to selling safer flowers. Those selling VeriFlora certified ones meet strict environmental standards. There are other certifications that will give you peace of mind including ones from the Rainforest Alliance and EcoBlooms. And don’t forget how far flowers usually travel only to last a few days. Opting for flowers grown at local nurseries will help cut down on the resources need to ship and store them. Also, potted plants you buy are usually grown locally and will last a whole lot longer than cut flowers. Many can be transplanted outdoors to last for years! Connect And Grow With Women In Our Community

The Dinner and Drinks: Why not show your Valentine you really care by making a thoughtful dinner from scratch? Seeking out organic and locally grown fruits, vegetables, and meats are good for you and the planet. You can visit a farmer’s market for inspiration or even the local section at your favorite supermarket. Adding a delicious local wine is also a nice touch as are a few candles. Instead of traditional petroleum-based candles, light soy or beeswax ones. They won’t pollute the indoor air as you enjoy your meal. The Dessert: Dessert is always my favorite part of a Valentine’s Day dinner. Whether you are making a decadent chocolate dessert or shopping for that perfect box of candy, know what you are really eating. If you go for organic chocolate, your treats will taste even better because you’ll know that the cocoa beans were grown without any synthetic chemicals, which is better for you, the environment, and the farmers who grow them. If you want to go one step further when it comes to protecting farmers, look for chocolates marked ‘fair trade’, which ensures that those in the field have safe working conditions and were given a fair wage. valentines-day-think-outside-the-chocolate-box/ FEBRUARY 2014



By Briana Barbee

The “Birth”of Autoimmune Disease:

Learning to Fight Back

On a breezy fall afternoon in the fall of 2013, I fell asleep early one evening around 7pm, absolutely exhausted from my daily trials with my newborn preemie daughter, Kennedy. I’d been going to bed earlier & earlier every night, and popping more Tylenol than I’d ever taken. I had a constant headache. My shoulders felt like they needed constant “adjusting”. I felt like someone had been tossing me around like a rag-doll, like I had invisible fingerprints all over my body. I thought what I was feeling was normal after a crazy pregnancy, but would come to find out that I’d been suffering with a silent & often misdiagnosed issue. Kennedy was our first child, and my pregnancy with her from the beginning was no cake walk. Less-than-perfect genetics had manifested a myriad of roadblocks on the journey to her birth. My first trimester seemed like it stretched out for years. My second trimester brought the twiceweekly hospital visits for NST’s & nightly 2am calls to my mom & sister for advice. The third trimester didn’t last very long. At 32 weeks, my OB said, “I’m concerned about the development of the baby, and you need to see a Maternal Fetal Specialist. Today.” So off we went. One more co-pay,


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one more missed day of work, ten more things to obsess over. Not only was my bank account drying up before our little one even made her debut, but I was in a lot of pain, exhausted & utterly terrified. The Maternal Fetal Specialist quickly broke down the situation: while in utero, Kennedy had sucked every iota of energy & nutrition that my body could physically manufacture, and in order to continue developing, she needed more than what I could physically give her. Her primal instinct to survive had overridden what my body could handle, and the decision was made to take our chances with our precious baby in the real world instead of praying that she’d continue to grow inside. My partner & I held hands, said a prayer, took deep breaths and stepped into Labor & Delivery with heavy, yet hopeful hearts. I’d never met her, but loved this tiny person growing inside me like I’ve never loved anyone. I wanted to hear her say, “I love you, Mommy”, and could imagine her saying, “Daddy, I want Goldfish crackers! “Please, God, let us get through this. Just let her be OK. On May 23rd when Kennedy Ruth arrived via emergency C-section four weeks early and after 30 hours of active

labor, she weighed only 4 ½ lbs., was 20” long and had not one ounce of fat on her body. She was wrinkly, skinny as a rail, and preemie clothes were swallowing her whole. Socks fell off. Hats fell off. Receiving blankets looked like parachutes wrapped around her. She was pink and beautiful, & peered knowingly into my eyes in the moments after her father laid her on my chest, and in those moments, time stood still. Those Carolina-blue eyes were the only thing my hazel ones were locked on, and every nuance of energy I had I devoted to her. This tiny creature cooing in the incubator next to my hospital bed was somehow perfect, and she literally scared the hell out of me – more than I’ve ever been scared in my life. “Keep on keepin’ on” After 8 months of making another human being, my body was just beyond tired, past exhausted, just completely on auto-pilot. Every day I felt like a zombie, dead on my feet. This is what new motherhood feels like, right? Of course, not sleeping more than an hour at a time without jumping up to check every whimper coming from that little wriggly thing in her bassinet had made me foggy-headed. No doubt that the variable cocktail of post-natal hormones was making me irritable, incredibly sensitive & downright crazy at times. Surely my strength would start to come back once I was more comfortable changing diapers & feeding every 2 hours. My nerve & pain receptors were on overdrive. Everything hurt. Everything upset me. I cried over coffee that was too strong & lost my composure in Subway when the guy in front of me bought the last of the

peanut butter cookies. But the physical pain that I felt over every inch of my body didn’t get better. It continued to worsen until one day in December; I finally made an appointment with my doctor & bawled on her table that I couldn’t take the pain anymore. Tylenol wasn’t cutting it, and I had a newborn to take care of. Was this normal? Was I crazy? To quote my partner, did I just need to “pull myself up by the bootstraps & deal with it”? If so, how? “Absolutely not”, my doctor replied. “Constant pain for this long is not normal. Something more serious is going on inside & we’re going to figure out what it is.” After a battery of blood tests for lupus, cancer, multiple sclerosis & Hashimoto’s disease, the diagnosis came with remarkable low fan-fare: I had fibromyalgia. Severe, debilitating fibromyalgia. And guess what? All that pain & tiredness I was having wasn’t just new-mommy growing pains, it was an autoimmune disease taking a firm hold on my body. Now what? Time to get educated. Auto-what? Autoimmune diseases are characterized by the abnormal response of your immune system to foreign bodies that are presented to it. These illnesses / diseases are classified into two broad categories: Systemic autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, http://www. scleroderma, HIV & AIDS, fibromyalgia & lupus, and Local syndromes such as http://www. diabetes type 1, FEBRUARY 2014


H a s h i m o to’s d i s e a s e, h t t p : / / w w w. aspxAddison’s disease or hemolytic What-is-anemia.aspx anemia. Other autoimmune diseases such as certain cancers, fibromyalgia and Cushing’s disease are often thought to be idiopathic, meaning there is no specific reason as why the patient developed a particular autoimmune disease. This varies from patient to patient, yet the characteristics of each autoimmune affliction are remarkably similar. For example, diabetes myelitis type 1 is what most people refer to as “insulin dependent”, based on the body ’s response to producing and


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regulating insulin through the pancreas. Patient A may need an insulin pump to systematically regulate insulin levels while Patient B controls their insulin through diet & injections as needed. It has been estimated that autoimmune diseases are among the ten leading causes of death among women in all age groups up to 65 years.1 A substantial minority of the population suffers from these diseases, which are often chronic, debilitating, and occasionally life -threatening. There are more than eighty illnesses caused by autoimmunity2 and others are discovered every year. Fighting Back For some, analgesics such as tramadol, opiate drugs like oxycodone & other pain relief drugs are the end-all fo r f i b ro my a l gi a s u f fe re r s. I d i d n’t want to go that route. I’m a massage therapist. An educated, experienced & medically-minded bodyworker. I know my pathology & pharmacology and knew what the potential addictive effec ts of cer tain medications could be. Taking care of a brand new little one seemed a daunting task for anyone, especially someone under the effects of serious pain killers. Narcotics weren’t an option. What about my beloved essential oils, castor oil packs & massage therapy? In 2013, researchers at the University o f M i a m i S c h o o l o f M e d i c i n e p e rformed a study to see whether people with autoimmune diseases benefit from receiving regular massage.

The team recruited 42 adults, all w h o m we re a f f l i c te d w i t h v a r y i n g degrees of r h e uma to i d a r th r i tis, a disease that behaves similarly to fibromyalgia & is occasionally misdiagnosed as such. Half of the participants were assigned to received moderate pressure massage therapy once a week for four weeks, as well as being taught self-massage to perform on themselves daily. The other participants were given light pressure massage & taught self-massage. Publishing their findings in the journal, “Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice”, the authors reported that patients who received moderate pressure massages tended to benefit from less pain, greater perceived grip strength, wider range of motion in wrist, hips, elbows & shoulders, and a greater sense of general well-being. 3 Additional research on the internet found copious studies performed on various patients with varied illnesses, and all of the feedback pointed in a positive direction: safe, non-invasive properly-performed massage therapy is proven to reduce the symptoms of many different illness & disease, especially those affected with autoimmune disorders. Proven scientifically to the point that massage therapy, when recommended by a physician or medical professional, is an allowable expense for Flex Spending & Health Savings Accounts4 Fibromyalgia in recent years has been categorized as an autoimmune disease, although researchers have

yet to pinpoint one specific cause. One theory that seems to be garnering the most attention that fibromyalgia sufferers have in common is that they have been long-term sufferers of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In my case, my brother’s life-long battle with Leukemia has taken its toll on all the members of my immediate family. Through proper counseling, consistent bodywork, constant monitoring of meds & a voracious love of science and complementar y health care has put me into remission. I have a team (yes, a TEAM) of ver y dedicated medical professionals that thoroughly & routinely delve deep into my medical history and background, as those waters are unique, dark & unchartered. My file at my primar y care physician’s office is housed in a D-ring binder. Reading material for when flu season dies down, I suppose. B u t t h a t ’s a n o t h e r s t o r y , f o r another day. Acknowledgments: Noel R. Rose and Ian R. MacKay, “The Autoimmune Diseases” fourth edition “National Institutes of Health” University of Miami School of Medicine, “Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice”, June, 2013 Briana L. Barbee, LMBT Center Director LaVida Massage at the Promenade 704-708-5044 FEBRUARY 2014




Dre ss For


As we enter into the “Season of Love”, and Valentine’s Day is upon, this article will empower you with the Dos and Don’ts of Attraction. As we approach Valentine’s Day, for Singles it is a time to reflect and think about ways to capture love. For Married couples, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate the love you worked hard to achieve. However, when it comes to attraction, let’s face reality, your outer appearance is the first thing people see when they meet you, so if you are not dressing for love, then you are not in the game. It doesn’t matter what your relationship status is, dressing for love is a key tool to securing, maintaining and keeping things fresh and exciting. No man or woman is the same, everyone is different, and as the world constantly evolves, our perspectives and opinions change on attraction. What may be extremely attractive to one set or group of people, may not be for another. Our list in general, applies to universal physical and mental attraction that will


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By Cherry Gooding

Do’s and Don’ts of Attraction

add a spark or interest to any individual to achieve and keep this thing we call LOVE. Do Keep Physical Appearance Up Includes, nice smile, neat hair, makeup applied to enhance features, and being well-groomed. Don’t apply makeup if you have never received a tutorial or instruction from a professional makeup artist or have never been to the MAC counter. Do Wear A Dress or Skirt Whenever Possible - This can be c h a l l e n gi n g i n Wi n te r Months but we strongly encourage women to purchase long-sleeved dresses. Don’t wear jeans or sweatpants ALL the Time! The goal is to keep or spark interest. Do this by never looking the same and changing up your look. There is a time and place for sweats.

Do Purchase Clothes That Work for Your Body - Wear clothes that fit and work for your body type, everyone is different, an image consultant can advise you on what looks work best for your body type. D o Wear Heels - I k now that we love our loafers and flats but on date nights, pull out the heels, even if it is a low one. Do show some Skin - Unless your culture or beliefs keep you completely clothed or covered, seeing skin opens up the touch sensors, so show off your best feature but in a tasteful and age appropriate way. D on’t Display Unshaven Sk in Including legs, arms, face or back. If you are a naturally hairy person, laser hair removal is a great option. Do Wear Coordinated and Appropriate Undergarments - This is paramount in looking and feeling great. Your undergarments are one of your best accessories. Do Classic/Timeless Attire - We can’t follow every trend and we must dress for the purpose of attraction. Women follow trends so that other women can look at us. The goal is to look nice and feminine. Do Keep Your Look Natural - Most want a real Woman, if everything is fake, your character will be questioned.

Do Be Confident and Show Your Personality - Be true to who you are, and confidence is the greatest thing that you can wear to Dress for Love! Cherry Gooding Principal Consultant, PHOEBYCERISE Phone: 704-779-1440 FEBRUARY 2014





Small Business To Owner Success Y ou have a compelling business model ... ambition ... entrepreneurial spirit. Add in a solid business plan and the necessary capital, and you may be well on your way toward launching a business. But before you take the leap into owning your own business, it’s worthwhile to consider adding in another important elementthe guidance of a mentor. According to a recent survey conducted by The UPS Store, 88 percent of small business owners believe having a mentor has been invaluable. As evidence of the value this unique relationship brings, more than twothirds of business owners who had a mentor prior to starting the business


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are still in contact with their mentor. “ Fo r m a ny, s t a r t i n g a b u s i n e s s can be overwhelming - it’s not just about exploring a passion or following a dream,” s a i d W.

Kenneth Yancy, chief executive officer of SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground. “A mentor can help navigate the complex challenges that often come with being a business owner, and the guidance from someone who has been there themselves can be a real asset.” Beyond the intangibles - access to k nowledge and the confidence that comes from having a respected colleague rooting for your success, for example - a mentor relationship

can have a very real impact on your bottom line. In fact, 70 percent of small business owners who receive mentoring survive for five years or more, double the rate of those who do not. “Many small business owners feel like they ’re all alone when it comes to facing challenges,” said Tim D a v i s, p re s ident of The UPS Store. “Getting help from an expert, or a d v i c e f ro m another business owner who’s already experienced something similar, c a n b e invaluable.” A mentor ’s contributions can take many different forms, so it’s important to find a partner whose expertise and approach to business is similar to yours. Through organizations such as SCORE, small business owners can at no cost - pull from a pool of more

than 11,000 cer tified exper ts from every industry to find a mentor that fits their personal work st yle and needs. Before choosing a mentor, consider the following questions to help you find a match who can maximize your business potential: How strong a ro l e wo u l d you like your mentor to have? Are you look ing for someone to bounce ideas off of, or someone who will guide you? What time-frame does your schedule allow? Are you looking for a mentor to connect with weekly? Bi-weekly? As needed? Where are you most comfortable meeting with your mentor? Is an electronic or phone-based relationship acceptable, or do you prefer chats over coffee? FEBRUARY 2014


Are there specific skills you lack that a mentor could help develop? What credentials does your mentor need in order to provide you the greatest benefit? To access tools, templates and other resources to help you find a mentor, and to search for a mentor with exper tise in your field, visit Th e B o t tom L i ne : S m a l l b u s i nesses that receive mentoring are 20 percent more likely to experience growth than those that don’t. S m a l l b u s i n e s s e s t h a t re c e i v e 3-plus hours of mentoring repor t higher revenues and increased business growth. 70 percent of small business owners that receive mentoring survive for five years or more. M a r k e t i n g Yo u r B u s i n e s s : A smar t business plan includes a mark eting strategy to help guide the communication and growth of your company. As you consider how you’ll approach marketing for your new business, you’ll need to consider things like your marketing goals, your target market and what t h e c o m p e t i t i ve l a n d s c a p e l o o k s like. For help creating your mark eting plan, visit the SCORE Marketing Assessment Tool at The free tool offers a sur vey to help small business owners plan and execute an effective marketing strategy. 50

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Family First: John Davila, third generation architec t and founder and CEO of LBC T Architectural Engineer ing and D esign, lear ned everything he knows about architecture from his mentor. In 1919, John’s grandfather started an architecture business in Scotland. He mentored John’s father for many years, who eventually took over the business and finally, when the time came, his knowledge and expertise were shared with John. “My father is my mentor, I took the knowledge from him to create my own business that incorporated some of his principles with my busin e s s g o a l s ,” s a i d D a v i l a . “ H a v i n g a m e n to r h e l p e d p re p a re m e fo r obstacles I faced as a small business owner.” J u s t l i k e h i s f a t h e r, J o h n h a s found great joy in mentoring. John is cur rently mentor ing a past client’s daughter who has interest in entering the architecture and design i n d u s t r y. J o h n k n ow s t h e i m p o rtance of being educated in the field you are hoping to turn into a career and feels that a mentor’s experience is extremely helpful when mak ing the transition of opening a business. Photo courtesy of Getty Images Source: The UPS Store

finances 52

Simple Ways to Improve Personal Finances


s more Americans make strides towards responsible spending and debt management, there are still ways to improve the control of family finances. According to a survey recently conducted by Bank of America, which asked respondents about their credit card usage, balance and rewards, less than half of cardholders always pay their entire credit card balance. With more than half of individuals carrying credit card debt, Jason Gaughan, card products executive for Bank of America, said to think about personal spending before taking on a credit card. “Credit cards provide consumers an efficient and protected way to make purchases,” said Gaughan. “ They are more convenient than cash and they are incredibly useful in an emergency. The key to successfully managing your credit card account is to understand your budget and stick to a plan that works for you when borrowing. You want a card with a rewards program that fits your lifestyle and how you manage your finances. If you typically carry a balance, Connect And Grow With Women In Our Community

look for a card that has low interest and reinforces good payment practices.” Along with these practices, there are other ways to promote good spending and personal finance habits, such as: Limit Number of Credit Cards: According to the survey, three out of 10 respondents carried four or more credit cards. Limiting the number of cards you own can help limit your spending and increase the likelihood you can pay above the minimum balance. Before you start cutting up your plastic, remember having more than one credit card can have merits. If you need money for an emergency, the immediate buying power of a credit card can be a lifesaver. Try a card with no annual fee and a generous credit line to cover unexpected expenses. One idea is to have three cards: one in a safe place at home for emergencies and two with you at all times. Reap the Rewards: With so many rewards programs available for credit card holders, it’s important to do your homework so you can cash in on things your family really needs. While some credit cards will offer rewards to use at your favorite hotels and airlines, others

will give you special discounts for the purchases you make on a frequent basis. The most popular of these programs is cash back for spending. Some cards, such as the BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card, let you earn more cash back where you spend the most money, like gas stations and grocery stores. The BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards credit card helps customers responsibly manage their credit card balance. Whatever rewards you are seeking, there is likely to be a card suitable for you. Track Spending Habits Now: If you’ve been lax about keeping track of your spending, take the first step towards tracking as soon as possible. Include info on where you spend, when you spend and how much you spend. Making note of all of those little purchases — a cup of coffee here or a gift store trinket there — will help you see how quickly they add up. Whether you’re the old-fashioned, pen-and-paper type, or if you prefer a more modern, digital form of tracking, the importance is in the act itself. Evaluate All Debts: Many carry debts beyond credit cards, including student loans, car payments and mortgages. While some may consider these types as necessary debts, it is important to keep track of the balance due for each as well as the interest rate you are paying. According to the survey, when respondents were asked what they would do with $1,000, nearly half (44 percent) revealed they would pay off debt. Evaluate your debts and decide

which ones have the highest interest rates. Making it a priority to pay down these debts first will save you more money in the long run. Create a Budget: It’s never too soon to put yourself in control of your money and stop letting it control you. A budget will give you financial peace of mind and it can help you stretch the income you have. First, write down the financial goals you want to achieve in the next few years and the ones you want to accomplish for the long term. Then, gather all of the purchasing information for the household and categorize each type of spending. Divide your expenses into fixed expenses (those that stay the same from month to month, such as a mortgage payment or cable television bill) and variable ones (those that may change, such as fuel bills or entertainment). Be sure to also set aside some money for personal savings and an emergency fund. Once you’ve calculated your income and expenses a month ahead of time and set your budget, you can focus on the most important part — adhering to the plan. Find ways to decrease spending. Adopt just one new way of trimming expenses each week and you’ll find your overhead shrinking fast. Though you may not be on-point every month, the simple act of tracking and communicating your family’s finances will be a huge step forward in your quest towards responsible spending. For more information, visit FEBRUARY 2014


Women With Know How February Issue  

We publish a monthly E-Magazine and online resource guide exclusively for women, that is organized by industry type. Our monthly E-Magazine...

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