Page 1



From a Circle of Women ... Helping Other Women

Words From the Publisher


he idea for a “From A Woman’s Perspective” magazine was sparked after the last annual WEOP Women’s History Month event. I remember standing in the room listening to some amazing speakers. The March 2009 event at The Atlanta Technical College featured a host of amazing women speaking on a range of topics and issues important for women. This sparked the idea — what about a magazine called “From A Woman’s Perspective (FAWP).” The topics highlighted and discussed at the event would be the feature topics of the magazine articles. As I continue my commitment to “A circle of women helping other women,” I continually use different formats to share information and encourage educational development. The idea for a quarterly magazine would Marionette Ball and Antionette Ball, WEOP founders. serve the purpose of providing articles and a resource guide jam packed with business and career information from amazing women. The contributing writers have all been featured as speakers during WEOP’s annual event. When I announced the magazine project, our circle of women responded with their commitment to submit articles and information. I extend a special thank you to all of the contributing writers that took time from their busy schedules to provide a submission. Also, I would like to thank Darla James, who eagerly stepped up and agreed to serve as Assistant Publisher for FAWP. She was instrumental in editing and helping to make this project a reality. I continue to be excited and inspired and I want to serve as an example to other women. I hope you enjoy this introductory issue and take away some valuable information or an inspirational message. Stay tuned for the next issue and we always welcome your input, ideas and suggestions. Thank you for your support!

Ant ionette Ball Sincerely,




A quarterly publication for the Women’s Employment Opportunity Project, Inc. (WEOP)

Founding Editor Antionette Ball

Assitant Editor Darla James

Cover Designer

Kaarin MacKinnon

Magazine Designer Saria Canady

Marketing Director Marionette Ball

Contributing Writers Dhana Blissett Linda Chatmon Patricia Harris Tonya Hicks Darla James Clifton Lee Paulette Norvell Lewis Shonda Y. Lewis Kaarin MacKinnon Eboni N. Moss Kathy-Ann Pegus Teri Thompson Zola Thurmond Donna Paige Riley


Women’s Employment Opportunity Project, Inc. 250 Georgia Ave., SE, Suite 206 Atlanta, GA 30312

Contact Us

Please e-mail inquiries to: Copyright © 2009 by WEOP. All rights reserved.


July-September 2009



4 5 6

Unemployment: Crisis or Opportunity? Move Over Men Treasure Hunt


7 9 10

Business Success Strategies Power Up Your Biz With Technology Take Financial Control


11 Finding Balance Through Self-Care 12 Turning Adversity Into Opportunity 13 All You Need is 15 Minutes to Change MIND & BODY ZONE

14 How to Present Yourself 15 Release Your Power 16 Walking By Faith



Why Not Teach Leadership?

WEOP EXTRAS 18 WEOP News Money Smarts Hot Advice Style Networking In the Mix Common Sense Word of Mouth Resources

Volume 1

Career Strategies

Unemployment: Crisis or Opportunity? By Paulette Norvel Lewis


hat a difference a day makes! Last year this time the unemployment rate was about 4.5 percent here in Georgia. Several weeks ago, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported that the unemployment rate in Georgia is now 9.3 percent — the 4th highest in the nation and higher than the national unemployment rate of 8.1 percent. Unemployment rates are even higher in rural counties and among minority groups. But the news is not all bad — it seldom is. We just have to look at things with different eyes and think outside the box. Someone once said Ladies, like it or not that “women are like tea many of us are now “in bags, you never know how hot water”— trying to strong they are until you make ends meet while put them in hot water.” Ladies, like it or not many dealing with layoffs, furloughs, and foreclo- of us are now “in hot water”— trying to make sures. Now is the time ends meet while dealing to use our strength, with layoffs, furloughs, resilience, innovative and foreclosures. Now is the time to demonstrate minds, survival and use our strength, our instincts, and most of resilience, our innovaall, our compassion and tive minds and survival support for one another instincts, and, most of all, as we look for jobs and our compassion and support for one another as we wait for the economy look for jobs and wait for to rebound. the economy to rebound. I hope that the following Transition Strategies will inspire you to “bloom where you are,” to create opportunities for yourself, and to effectively prospect for a new job. VOLUNTEER. Through volunteering you will be able to meet and work with people who have connections or information that will be helpful to you. Most importantly, you have an opportunity to demonstrate your skills, the addedvalue that you bring to a situation, your “can do” attitude, and your willingness to get involved as a team player.

Helpful Resources Georgia Department of Labor U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau — Department of Labor MOVE FROM NETWORKING TO CONNECTING. Take every opportunity to meet people. Let your friends who are employed know that you would like to accompany them, if possible, to social or networking events. ENGAGE IN SOCIAL NETWORKING. Social-networking sites provide opportunities to hear about new ideas and learn what employment or business opportunities exist in various industries. Employers are now using these sites to recruit and also to screen potential applicants. PLAN YOUR DAYS AND WEEKS. Each night when you go to bed, you should have a schedule for the next day or two. Will you make calls to companies, send out resumes, volunteer, or attend social events. FIND A MENTOR FOR YOURSELF. Find someone who is or has been where you want to be. Ask them to be your mentor. Seek and heed their guidance, direction and feedback on a regular basis. The Japanese symbol for crisis is two-sided: It is a combination of challenge and opportunity. I think this is a very appropriate symbol of the times we are experiencing now. It is truly a very challenging time for everyone but it is also a time full of opportunity for those who are innovative. In times like these, millionaires are made. Will you be one of them? W

Paulette Norvell Lewis is the regional administrator for the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, Region IV. JULY-SEPTEMBER 2009


Move Over Men

Women in Nontraditional Careers By Tonya Hicks


ith today’s job market and the new stimulus plan in place, there has never been a better time to consider a career in non-traditional occupations for women. A multitude of career options for every interest and aptitude are available.

These are jobs that offer respect, tors, welders, and dry wall installers; opportunity, good pay and geographito name a few. Today, the line between cal mobility. The new jobs that will be “white-collar” and “blue-collar” is very available under the new stimulus plan faint. Technology has given the skilled have been criticized as being male jobs trades a new reputation of respect. They only. Why is that so? In World War I are no longer the “dirty” jobs. Salaries and World War II, women took jobs range from $45,000 to $120,000 anthat were not traditional in order to nually. Skilled trade jobs require some help with the war efforts. We can do the college and/or apprenticeship program same things today. We’re no less intelcertification. State licensing boards also ligent or physically require certifications Skilled trade jobs include: for some of these capable. I believe that women are in a electricians, plumbers, trades. better position today carpenters, painters, sheet Professional careers to make these career in construction and metal workers, heavy changes. manufacturing are equipment operators, Trade occupations available. These jobs fall within four areas: include: engineers, welders, and dry wall transportation, coninstallers, to name a few. architects, interior struction, service, and designers, project Today, the line between manufacturing. The managers, superin“white-collar” and physical demands of tendents, and estimaskilled trades vary “blue-collar” is very faint. tors. A college degree greatly between proand various certificafessions. Some jobs tions are required require modest physical strength and for these careers. The opportunities are endurance, but most do not. However, limitless. I am an electrician by trade. all of the trades require intelligence But as an owner of an electrical conand/or creativity as well as good readtracting company, since 2000, I have ing, mathematical, and analytical skills. been an estimator, project manager, as Skilled trade jobs include: electricians, well as superintendent. I am proof that plumbers, carpenters, painters, sheet a woman can do anything and everymetal workers, heavy equipment opera- thing she wants to. W

Find out more For more information on nontraditional careers, check out these Web sites: National Association of Women in Construction International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Apprentice Program Painters, Drywall Finishers, Floor Coverers, Sign and Display Workers The United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Sheet Metal Workers International Association International Association of Fire Fighters Society of Women Engineers International Association of Women Police Women in Technology Blog Dedicated to Women in Male Dominated Fields

Tonya is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers since 1994. She is the first woman journeyman electrician of Local 917 in Meridian, Miss. The founder of an electrical contracting and engineering firm in 2000 that focuses on commercial business. 5


The Treasure Hunt

Identifying Your Personal Talents in Pursuit of Your Goals By Patricia Harris

that you have the ability to get what you need to make it where you need One valuable skill that strong women to go. Now, the question is, where do you want to go? How about a trealearn to use early is their ability to sure hunt? look inside themselves and really appreciate and use their own GodNever forget, the tools that we given talents. A strong woman knows have as women are the gifts, talthat her ability to last, comes from ents and skills that we have in our knowing who she is and the wealth treasure chest. You have them, too! of talents that she brings to the world Because our world is constantly around her. This process of discovery changing and needing different tools is what I call, the treasure hunt. to solve the same problems, you The enterprising woman is need to see the treasure hunt The able to reinvent herself as an ongoing learning when necessary and enterprising experience. Don’t be thrive where othafraid to learn new woman is able to ers simply give up things, expand your reinvent herself when and wither away to social network, add necessary and thrive become victims. new skills, and stop where others simply give using tools that Most people up and wither away to think of working for don’t work anymore. an hourly pay rate become victims. Here’s a question: like $7, $10, or $15 per “How will you earn hour. While these are honest your next $30K, $45K, and fair wages there are changes $55K, or $100,000?” Have you ever taking place in the job market. It may asked yourself a question like that? be healthier as you seek opportuniMost of us are asked on a job applicaties to enter or re-enter the job market tion, “What is your desired hourly or to consider applying for long-term or annual salary?” Well, that’s Company short-term projects and contracts. As ABC asking you how much your skills we face tough economic times, comand talents are worth to them. Did panies are changing how they trade you ever think of it that way? Well money and benefits for your skills. You from now on, you should! It will help see, gone are the 30-year commitments you to not take a current or future and gold watches that companies used lay-off as a personal attack on your to promise their most loyal workers. worth as a woman. The 21st century worker will need It will also help you to get up and faith, flexibility, computer skills, a move on to the next opportunity social network, and a connection to a faster. Determine if a new skill or tallearning source in order to constantly ent is needed in order for you to get upgrade and add skills that will be in back in the game and go for it! Now demand. You will need to dig deep that’s being empowered! within your own treasure chest and In the classroom, I try to make discover talents you probably didn’t it a point to ask my students how realize were packed neatly away for much they plan to earn and follow it up with the chicken wing story. I such a time as this. Make a decision

tell them that I am always amazed at how much money has been made with plain chicken wings, hot sauce, and oil, also known as Buffalo wings. They usually laugh but I know they begin to think that about a past or future wing experience. Can you imagine, how many chicken wings are ordered each week in the city of Atlanta or in the United States during a football or basketball game or just on a Friday or Saturday evening? Now think about this the next time you place your order, if you were in the wing business, how many wings would you need to sell and at what price in order to earn your next $100,000 within one year? Now I know this is a very simple way of looking at becoming a business owner. I have not addressed the taxes and licenses, the employees, the work hours, equipment or even the price of chicken wings per pound. I simply want you to begin thinking of owning your own business at a very simple level by meeting the wants and needs of a group of consumers. Imagine your wing franchise serving consumers across the U.S. Now imagine serving your famous chicken wings in Canada, London or Ghana? Where can chicken wings take you? Well let’s take a look at what you have in your treasure chest and take inventory. Take a pen and a journal and start by making a list of things that you know how to do. Write down everything that you can do now no matter how simple. What foods can you cook that leave your family and friends begging for more? When you clean your house, is it squeaky clean? Are you the party planner for all of your family’s celebrations? continued on page 20 JULY-SEPTEMBER 2009


Business Forward


Business Success Strategies From an Expert By Linda Chatmon


BE CERTAIN YOUR BUSINESS NAME CORRELATES TO YOUR SERVICES The name of your company should reflect what you do. With so many “directories” out there, what you do should be clearly communicated by your name. For instance: “” or “” both make it very clear what services these organizations provide.



MAINTAIN INTEGRITY In every situation, no matter what choices you confront, always act with integrity. When acting with integrity, over the long haul, you will always win.

OFFER SUPPORT SERVICES Its great to have a Primary service offering; however, providing support services to your main product/service ensures that you have a constant work flow with existing customers.


KNOW YOUR VALUE Your value is determined by taking the total amount of income on any given project and dividing it by the number of hours you worked. Once you know this amount, anytime you can outsource that same service for 50 percent of your value, it is in your best interest that you do so. As an entrepreneur, you should be spending time growing the company, not simply working on billable projects.


SELF-EMPLOYED VS. ENTREPRENEUR If you bill for a project, based upon paying yourself enough to meet your obligations; if you are dedicated to one client at a time; or you have no idea what your unit of measure is (how much you are worth per hour), you are self employed. If on the other hand, you are billed across multiple projects, you operate in the position of executive oversight only, and your projects can end and begin without your input, you are an entrepreneur. Decide which you would like to be, then plan accordingly. 7



NEGOTIATION Whenever possible, meet your clients at the point of their needs. You will have to learn to give and take and sometimes negotiate at a lower price point than you had originally planned. In the long run, you will get many more repeat opportunities for business and referrals from someone that is confident that you value them. There is a human element of obligation whereby we can constantly demonstrate our value even when we are unable to negotiate in the area of price.


OFFER IN-KIND SERVICES Build in “in kind� services into your business development strategy. This is the best way to showcase your services to YOUR targeted market by deciding which projects to accept (those that cater to your potential customers).


ELECTED OFFICIALS Get to know your elected officials. They are an excellent source for referrals and introductions. Get involved with community affairs and meet public servants which in many cases can be your biggest advocates.


SPONOSRHIPS Sponsorships come at all levels. In most cases, \for $250.00 you can be included as a sponsor at a breakfast function hosted for elected officials or nonprofit associations. Target organizations that have memberships of those who could utilize your services. Having your name in print and being introduced as a sponsor has a far greater value than you could imagine.


UTILIZE SOCIAL-NETWORKING Take advantage of online relationships (facebook, myspace, blackplanet, etc). People generally do business with people that they like, so the more people that like you, the more referrals you will have. Just be SURE that your online screen name represents who you are professionally. It is essentially personal branding so be careful to maintain a social, yet professional online presence. W

Linda Chatmon has been successfully helping companies secure and maintain contracts and grants. She is the founder and Chief Operating Office of Contracts and Grants, LLC located in Atlanta, Georgia. With more than a decade of industry experience, Contracts & Grants has been responsible for securing more than $150 million in contracts and grant awards and managing billions in contracts. The company leverages an extensive background and knowledge of Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) with key relationships to provide effective government contract support services. Contact her at JULY-SEPTEMBER 2009


w. w w / / : p htt By Antionette Ball


ust think — with the click of the mouse you can connect with customers globally, launch creative marketing strategies, conduct meetings and sell products. Technology provides unlimited opportunities to provide small business owners with a competitive edge. The Internet provides an opportunity for you to conduct business globally, connect to anyone in the world. What you can sell on the Internet is unlimited, which includes a range of products such as clothes, shoes, jewelry equipment books, products, etc. The benefit of an online business is that a physical location is not necessary — operate in a virtual world. Just think — work from the comfort of your home from the computer. Technology and the Internet provide you with an opportunity to develop, grow and promote your business. As you develop your business, I continue to emphasize the importance of understanding what sources can help your business operate efficiently. Let me count the ways technology can grow, expand your reach, and benefit your business. In the long term, you have an efficiently running operation that can maximize your returns, reducing your overhead and expanding your reach. Here’s a sample list:

POWER UP YOUR BIZ! n Design business marketing materials n Transmit and send e-mails to business contacts n Manage accounting and bookeeping records n Write checks and create invoices n Design/layout presentations n Send and receive business faxes n Monitor and maintain appoint- ments with clients and prospects n Access online databases for research n Setup an internal system to network your business computers n Process credit card payments n Connect with people from all over the world with similar business interests n Get feedback from customers with online surveys — use as a tool to improve service n Set up a virtual storefront with eBay, Amazon, and Yahoo

Over the years, I have designed numerous training classes to showcase the benefits of incorporating technology to support business growth. With support of a grant from the Hewlett Packard Foundation, WEOP continues to provide entrepreneurs with training that encourages the use of technology resources to expand the scope of their business enterprise. The computer lab at The Women’s Employment Opportunity Project, Inc. has been the hub for women to acquire critical information and resources. Women like Marcel started generating professional invoices and Lynette developed a brochure to market her business. The WEOP Business Innovation n Create correspondence Technology Series (BITS) provides n Maintain a database of customers tools and resources to encourage and contacts women to launch online businesses. n Conduct research Also, entrepreneurs are encouraged 9


to incorporate strategies as a part of their business enterprise. What I discovered in workshops and classes is that entrepreneurs did not incorporate strategies to match technology to drive their businesses. As you grow and expand your business, utilize technology as a prime resource. Here is a tip: Consider launching an online business — make money while you sleep. The following is a sample list of online businesses created by women:

Gina Bianchini, co-founder and CEO

Caterina Fake, co-founder This company sold to Yahoo for $35 million.

Eileen Gittins, founder and CEO

Rashmi Sinha, co-founder and CEO

Louise Wannier, founder The world as we once new it is changing. If you want to be a part of a world with global opportunities, then you have to adapt to the changes. As a business owner or aspiring entrepreneur, the first step is to “POWER UP” with technology and online resources to build a successful business. The business world is filled with unlimited opportunities and technology provides you with the tools to take your business to the next level. W

Antionette Ball is the co-founder of The Women’s Employment Opportunity Project, Inc. (WEOP). She has designed and conducted numerous programs for women in the community.

Take Financial Control Create Multiple Streams of Income

By Shonda Lewis In this economy, jobs, retirements, and nest eggs are disappearing and many find themselves at the mercy of someone else (the employer) without a solid plan to take control of their lives and confidently move ahead. The current economy has created havoc in many families. People are getting laid off by the millions…the unemployment rate is at an all-time high…homes are being foreclosed and many find themselves living paycheck to paycheck just hoping that the axe does not fall on them. The reality is that many people are left without any savings and are one crisis away from disaster. Left with no alternative sources of income, they find themselves nervously saying, “Please, just don’t let the car break down” or, “Please, let me stay well until I can find my next job!” An even greater reality is that most of us rely on our income coming from just one job and being employed by someone else. If that one job suddenly goes away, we find ourselves panicked, without a plan, and on the edge of ruin. After dealing with unemployment, I knew I needed a definite plan for my future so that I could soar confidently no matter what turn the economy was taking and just in case I was ever laid off again. Sure enough, after finding my next job, another layoff came. My solution: create multiple streams of income. I realized that I needed to create both “active” and “passive” streams of income. An active stream of income is one in which you work in exchange for payment. A passive stream of income allows you to earn money without having to actively work. By diversifying and creating

multiple income streams, it helps to insure against an uncertain economy or some other sudden crisis. How did I begin to create income from multiple sources and what can you do? Here is my four-step action plan:

4. Research opportunities that would allow you to generate income while doing what you value, are skilled at, and enjoy.

For me, this was the point at which it all came together. I was able to look at my three lists of Skills, Enjoyable Things, and Values and come up with ideas for my “active” streams of income. Here’s what I decided. Based on my skills of consulting with organizations and individuals in leadership and talent development issues, I decided to launch my own company, Ridgeway Lewis Consulting. My company will serve as one active income and will allow me to use my skills that I value and provide me with flexibility and the opportunity to consult in the areas of my expertise. We often have everything we need in order to get where we want to go. We simply have to learn to think differently! Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing and expecting different results.” The truth is that in order to get a different result, you have got to do a different thing and look for ways to utilize the talents, skills and resources already within your reach. Make up your mind; write you vision, and step out to take positive action to achieve your goals! Want to learn more? Find free newsletters and reports at W

$ 1. List your top skills.

Assess your skills and narrow the list down to areas that could be possible active income streams. Based on this process, I determined that I am skilled at analyzing and synthesizing information to develop strategy, consulting with organizations and individuals to develop leadership capabilities, and conducting training sessions with managers and staff. As you list your top skills, make sure that they are things that you know are your true skills. When making your list, write down some of your positive skills that others may have noticed you possess as well.

2. List things you enjoy doing.

I also took a close look at other areas of my life to determine what was enjoyable for me. I determined that I enjoy interacting with others, having work that provides challenge and is not monotonous, speaking publicly in various settings, and being sought out to provide my recommendations or expertise on various topics.

3. List things you value the most.

This list was one of the most eye opening and important lists for me. During the time that I was laid off of work, although I spent much of my time looking for my next “job”, I realized that I actually valued having a flexible schedule. This was my “Aha moment.” This was the point in which I realized that the path that I was on would not allow me the level of flexibility that I value.

Shonda Y. Lewis is the owner and president of Ridgeway Lewis Consulting where she leads poistive individual and organizational transformation. She also is the owner of Figure8 Shape, a body reshaping and nutrition company. Reach her at JULY-SEPTEMBER 2009


Uplifted Spirit

Health & Wellness

Finding Balance Through Self-Care By Dhana Blissett Today we live in a society where we are constantly required to multi-task. We are always trying to find a balance somewhere between managing our households, jobs, finances, and personal lives with all the other life stressors and pressures that are placed upon us. Unfortunately, for many of us, in the midst of all this taking care of everything and everyone else, we somehow forget to take care of ourselves. This lack of self-care typically begins with inadequate rest, little or no physical activity and nutritionally imbalanced meals. This results in fatigue, lack of concentration, headaches, stress and ultimately compromised immune systems leading to illness. Just as we invest in property, stocks and bonds and expect a return on our investments, we must invest in self-care expecting a strong return. Indeed, self-care is one of the best investments that we can or will ever make in our lifetime. We all have heard the saying, “your health is your wealth.” Think about it, if we are broken down,

is also lacking in plant based foods such as fruit and vegetables which are generally high in fiber. One simple strategy that we can use to improve the nutrition of our body is to maximize our food choices.

2. Fit in physical activity.

Many individuals are in the mindset that we only need to engage in physical fitness for weight reduction. Physical activity has many benefits including stress relief, strengthening the body and heart, and improving blood sugar levels in diabetics. Did you know that aerobic activity increases the levels of good cholesterol in the body and carries away the bad cholesterol that contributes to heart disease?

3. Make sure to get an adequate amount of sleep.

Have you noticed a difference in your mood when you receive an adequate amount of sleep the night before? Rest is so essential for our health and well being. It is the time when the body repairs itself. How much sleep is enough? Well, everyone is unique. We should listen to our body as it will let us know if we are getting enough rest. Remember, you are the key to your health and well-

Just as we invest in property, stocks and bonds and expect a return on our investments, we must invest in self-care expecting a strong return. Indeed, self-care is one of the best investments that we can or will ever make in our lifetime. lacking energy, and sickly, we cannot enjoy the fruit of our labors now or in our golden years. But, with a little planning and organization, we all can do better to enhance our physical, mental, and emotional well being. Check out my top three picks for creating a better return on this most precious investment: you!

being. It all starts with you. When you start rattling off the excuses as to why you don’t eat properly, engage in regular physical fitness or get enough rest each night, remember we either pay now or later. Make the investment in your health starting today and the returns will be well worth the effort. W

1. Maximize your nutrition.

By now we all know that the Standard American Diet (SAD) is comprised primarily of highly refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and empty liquid calories. This diet 11 JULY-SEPTEMBER 2009

Dhana Blissett is founder/CEO of Blissful Living. Reach her at

Opportunity Transforming Adversity Into

By Darla James


ou are drifting along blissfully through life. Your career is on track and your family is thriving. Suddenly, you are blindsided by a bad hit. These “hits” can come from any direction. It might be an injury that makes it difficult to work and care for your family. It could be the end of a romantic or marriage relationship, or worst of all, a personal tragedy. The fact is, adversity comes knocking at everyone’s door. You are not exempt. When adversity strikes, it can appear to bring your progress to a screeching halt. It can destroy your momentum, cripple your self-confidence and send you into an emotional tailspin – a situation where one thing after another, after another just doesn’t go your way. But remember, appearances are just that: appearances. What appears to be trouble is often an opportunity to make a much needed change. But we must be resourceful and clear-minded enough to steer our way through in order to transform our adversity into an opportunity. Although no one is immune from adversity, that does not mean there is nothing you can do about it. You can not always prevent misfortune, but what you can do is to expect adversity as an inevitable part of life. In fact, you must expect trouble in order to properly deal with it. Remember, it’s not a matter of if adversity will come your way; but rather, when and how severely it will strike. We must all accept that ill fortune is an unavoidable part of life, and it because of, not in spite of, misfortune that we grow. You see, your character will never be fully tested until things are not going your way. Those who have the courage to succeed in spite of adversity become an inspiration. They contribute value to the lives of others. They make a difference. So, whenever something comes up that you believe

might prevent you for accomplishes your goals and dreams, both professionally and socially, ask yourself: “What can I do to turn this negative into a positive? How can I make this work for me rather than against me?” When you approach obstacles this way, you will experience an immediate boost in confidence and a willingness to face the challenge head on. By learning how to transform obstacles into advantages you will not only continue to move forward, you will gain the inner strength to deal with anything life may bring your way. When you look at adversity this way, you will realize misfortune is a bridge, not a barricade, to greater achievement. It can represent the opening of doors, leaving the closed ones behind where they belong. When adversity strikes, don’t let it stop you. Promise yourself in advance that you will transform that negative into a positive. This will be the beginning of transforming your adversity into opportunity. So lift your head up and go for it! W

Darla James has worked in educational leadership for over 11 years. She was the founder and administrator of a private school in inner-city Philadelphia, Pa. James received a Bachelor of Arts in Labor Relations from Rutgers University. Additionally, she has a broad background that includes real estate sales and investment and business development. Having recently relocated to Atlanta, Ga., James is currently the director of business administration at Cornerstone Leadership Academy in Lithonia, Ga., and the executive administrative assistant at Foundation Christian Academy in Fairburn, Ga. James also volunteers as a Technical Writer for the Women’s Employment Opportunity Project. JULY-SEPTEMBER 2009


All You Need is 15 Minutes By Kaarin MacKinnon


ow many excuses have you made in the last week? The last month? Excuses for NOT doing something you know is good for you? Or for something you really want to do? How many times have you blamed any and all of the problems in your life on having no time? How often have you thought “my life would be so much better if only I had time to do this or that”? How many times have you watched an extra hour of TV one night instead of doing one small task that would make your life easier tomorrow? How many times have you blamed daily life for getting in the way of your progress? And, most importantly, how many DREAMS have fallen by the wayside simply because you didn’t give them any attention? So many things can be accomplished in such a short span of time. And, be honest, the hard part is not DOING these things but GETTING STARTED! You won’t lose 50 lbs. in one week but, really, isn’t the initial commitment to START the diet just as hard, if not harder, than following through with it? You probably won’t write the great American novel in half an hour. But getting the first couple of paragraphs down on paper will get you moving in the right direction. One hour of financial planning may not make you a millionaire but it’s the first step towards financial security. In the long run, the greatest failure is not doing something and then watching it fall apart. The greatest failure is never getting started! So here’s a challenge for you — or, rather, a challenge for your happiness: 15 MINUTES FOR THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS. List four to five things 13 JULY-SEPTEMBER 2009

How many times have you blamed daily life for getting in the way of your progress? And, most importantly, how many DREAMS have fallen by the wayside simply because you didn’t give them any attention? that you really, really want or need to do but haven’t. Put the list by your bed. Every morning pick ONE item from your list and do it! But only for 15 minutes! No more, no less. It can be the same thing every day or a different item each day. But you have to do one thing from your list for 15 minutes, for seven days straight! After seven days, take a look back at your week. Do you feel better yourself or your situation? Have you seen any results from your 15 minutes? Do you feel as if you’ve “started” something? If you have, then continue with your 15 minutes a day— or maybe even up it to 30 minutes! And pass the challenge on to

someone else. If you are no better off, then for the next week you can spend 15 minutes a day cursing my very existence. Remember, you don’t have to spend this time curing cancer or solving global warming (unless you want to!). Your 15 minutes can be as simple and as important as repeating to yourself how wonderful, talented and deserving you are — every day! W

Kaarin is the founder of Create Expectations a creative consulting company that focuses on production services, a/v equipment, and event planning to clients worldwide.

Mind & Body Zone

How to Present Yourself Be Comfortable and Confident in Any Setting By Donna Paige Riley Many people ask, “Is it really possible to be comfortable and confident in any setting?” The answer is a resounding YES! Unfortunately it is not done by osmosis, like any other attribute, you must work at developing it. First, you must build your self-esteem. This is done by learning what is appropriate to do and say in any setting. This is called etiquette. If you are not quite sure of where you stand with regard to your etiquette skills (and don’t feel bad, many of us aren’t), you should consider taking a professional development etiquette class, signing up for a workshop/seminar, consulting with an etiquette coach, or purchasing an etiquette book that’s easy to read and comprehend. Why is proper business etiquette essential? Statistics have shown that proper business etiquette can be the determining factor between you and your competition when interviewing for a job. In fact, several CEOs and human resource managers give similar answers when asked, “What is the deciding factor on selecting one candidate over another when both candidates have similar work experience and similar educational backgrounds?” The resounding answers were: The winning candidate:

n Was refined and polished n Had great people skills n Was polite n Sent a thank-you note after the interview The above answers fall under the category of “etiquette.” Second, you must affirm yourself. Speaking positive daily thoughts over yourself will almost immediately

If you are not quite sure of where you stand with regard to your etiquette skills (and don’t feel bad, many of us aren’t), you should consider taking a professional development etiquette class, signing up for a workshop/seminar, consulting with an etiquette coach, or purchasing an etiquette book that’s easy to read and comprehend. increase your self-confidence. Here is one of my personal affirmations. Please feel free to use it, and in time, you will develop your own: I am special. I am unique. I have my own special gifts and talents. There is no one else in the world like me. God created me just to be me! And by all means, limit your time with negative people. Negativity is a toxic spirit that will transfer itself onto you if you are in its company long enough. Finally, we must remember that proper social etiquette skills are not an option, they are a necessity. No matter how busy we are, we must take the time to be courteous. Good manners make working (and living) together a much more pleasant experience. Want to hear more? Listen to my weekly radio program at: W

Donna Paige Riley also known as the “Etiquette Lady” is the founder of Paige’s Etiquette Seminars, LLC, a company specializing in business etiquette, school etiquette, image consulting, and personal and professional development training. Reach her at JULY-SEPTEMBER 2009


Release Your Power By Teri Thompson, Esq.

needs no special instructions to access it; no tutorial is necessary. Unfortuhenever I’m asked to nately, it is the lack of awareness that lead a discussion on the limits this power and returns us to topic of becoming an enthe negative images of illusory job trepreneur, I immediately security. accept the challenge. The acceptance As with any new task that awaits comes not out of any need to be on a us, we must have a plan, a roadmap, stage nor do I accept it for the oppora clear vision. Thousands of people tunity to meet new people. My desire start a business or a nonprofit each to engage in such conversations is week. Most fail. Consider how born from the desire to simply see common it is to drive through our others realize that the power to create neighborhoods and see yet another one’s future is already in place in each closed business, the one of us. Becoming an entrepreneur empty shell of an Becoming an abandoned dream. entrepreneur begins begins with understanding Without the proper with understandthat the power is within. planning, the vision ing that the power always fails. is within. Many of us have felt the One must engage in careful, pull to follow our dreams. We spend methodical planning. One does not hours, if not months, creating in our minds what it would be like to own a slip into a successful business venture. Simply hanging a placard on business, start a nonprofit, to finally your door, slapping a magnetic sign leave behind the constraints of a job on your car, or passing out busithat we do not like. ness cards does not create a business But rather than follow our owner. To achieve success, financial dreams, we fall into the trap of or otherwise, take the time to carebelieving that there’s no safety net if fully plan your goals. we leave our 9-to-5 job. We are reIn speaking to a number of inquisminded that there’s no back-up plan itive ladies at the Women’s Employin place if you leave the cushion of a guaranteed paycheck. This pattern of ment Opportunity Project’s (WEOP) third annual conference, “From A thinking can never satisfy nor quiet Woman’s Perspective,” a couple of the desire to create our own future. The reality is clear: No longer can we ladies had the vision but needed the encouragement to shape their dreams base our success on where we fall on the company pay scale or the artificial into a concrete business venture. The sole advice I provided, as I do to all titles that are attached to our names by those in charge. Stories of unprec- who are just beginning, is to take the time to think the venture through to edented job losses and failed banks its completion before ordering the are pasted in every newspaper and inventory and opening the doors for commented on by every newscaster on every channel. Clearly, job security business. Creating your own business or is a misnomer indeed. nonprofit is undoubtedly a daunting When all you have in your heart experience. I do not underestimate calling you to a different place, no Plan B is necessary. The power to cre- the challenges. Questions fill our ate is inherent within each of us. One minds: How will I know whether



this will work? With the economy in turmoil, how will I sustain my nonprofit? How do I get customers? To determine these answers and more, one must engage in purposeful and deliberate planning. It’s the prebusiness plan,” if you will. Below are the necessary steps to releasing your power to become a successful entrepreneur: The first step in any successful endeavor is self-analysis. Why? Starting a business or nonprofit takes more than desire. An intentional self-analysis regarding your venture forces you to not only examine the specific goal you are seeking, but will also require you to address your personal acumen for the rigors and challenges of entrepreneurship. Futhermore, self-analysis helps you fully understand and prepare for the financial and funding requirements of starting a business. Time is your friend. Spend quality intentional time to examine your needs and your goals. Only after spending time to shape your vision are you prepared to reap the rewards of successful entrepreneurship. The next step toward starting your venture is acquiring knowledge — as much as you possibly can. Knowledge is and always will be a source of power. In times where information is literally a click away, there is absolutely no excuse for not acquiring knowledge. Knowledge has little to do with getting a degree and a title, and more to do with taking the extra effort to learn any and everything about your business venture. There is no substitute for reading and learning your craft. Collect articles from magazines and newspapers about your field. Sign up for evening and weekend classes at local colleges. Many incontinued on page 20

Walk By Faith

By Zola Thurmond


here is back to school for additional educand so if you had to rewrite the tion or training to upgrade your skills. Let’s New Testament of the Bible today face it, the job you had will likely never to offer a world of encouragement return. This is the perfect time during this or hope to those who may likely economic downturn for you to learn somesee tomorrow as bleak, what would you thing new. Continuing your say? Would you give them Although the media education or retraining in the seven steps or keys to surviving the great recession remind us daily that the fields that are growing rapat a time when the economy economy is down and idly over the next 10 years is part of the answer. For is down and the unemploythe unemployment rate example, healthcare and alment rate is up? Would you is up, what if we made lied healthcare, technology purchase time on QVC or the Home Shopping Neta conscious decision to and education are demandwork to make it a bestseller? begin listening more to ing fields. You can use the Hope Grant, not the Hope Although the media words of encouragement Scholarship, to earn a diremind us daily that the and inspiration instead. ploma, certificate or degree economy is down and the in any of those areas and unemployment rate is up, what if we made a conscious decision to your grade point average is not a factor. I know going back to school can be chalbegin listening more to words of encouragelenging, especially if you didn’t like school ment and inspiration instead. What if we while you were there before. But school has reminded one another that God delivered changed and so have you. I spent 15 years Daniel from the lion’s den, or how he raised trying to earn my undergraduate degree. It Lazarus from the dead, and what about how he fed more than 5,000 people who followed was only supposed to take a year. But I started with one class at a time and persevered. It was him with a few loaves of bread and fish? one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but The same God who performed miracles for Daniel, Lazarus, and his followers, is the oh how sweet it was when I walked across same God who will show you how to walk the stage with my family right there. What a out of your own lion’s den, or how he can feeling to know I finished what I started. The raise you up to a new level of understanding point I’m trying to make is this: Use this down about where you can go from here. time from working to make yourself better. One place you can consider going from

continued on page 20 JULY-SEPTEMBER 2009



We Teach Math, Science, Art, Music:

Why Not Teach Leadership in Schools? By Kathy-Ann Pegues

tangible look at what it takes to lead. Today, we have our President Barack Obama, but one example is not enough f you have ever been with a group of kids for very long, to provide our students with adequate exposure to the then you have seen this scenario play out over and over role of leadership. Schools must do their part. again: One child starts an activity, and the others follow. Schools must take the position of teaching children to Or, if you are lucky enough to be a teacher, and you take risks in doing what they believe is right. The best way prompted brainstorming, one child gives the first answer to do this is, like any other subject, 1) teaching the theories, and all of the other students “piggy-back” on that first 2) allowing practices, and 3) showing examples. There is answer. Even in very young children, an art to public speaking and we can see societal roles playing out. that must be taught at an early As children develop their social skill Like art, music, math and age. Written and oral commuset, leadership, like any other skill has nications and their forms must science, leadership should to be nurtured and taught. So, why also be rigorously taught. Body be at the forefront of any is it that leadership is not a common language, hand gestures, and subject in our schools? articulation must be stressed. curriculum in schools. As parents, in the hopes that our Classrooms should be set up Leadership is a skill that child may be the next Mozart or as project-based, where stuwould prove useful in Anna Pavlov, we enroll them in music dents are given ample opporor ballet classes. Some parents can see tunities to work on projects anyone’s life. Plus, there even before kindergarten that math collaboratively to produce are many global and will not be their child’s strong subject measurable outcomes. Even as and at once, hasty preparations are important, local community environmental issues leaders should be invited into made to ensure extra math is availahead for the next the classrooms for students able for that child. Additionally, many to model after and thrive to of us would enroll our child into a generation to solve. emulate. school because of its strong science A caution must be taken howcurriculum. ever, when teaching leaderLike art, music, math, and sciship. As a society, we must teach character development ence, leadership should be at the forefront of any curand an appreciation for others and their cultures even riculum in schools. Leadership is a skill that would prove useful in anyone’s life. Plus, there are many global and en- as we teach leadership. If we teach children leadership vironmental issues ahead for the next generation to solve. without addressing character and culture, we will leave our next generation unprepared for the global challenges Every child should be given the opportunity to learn how ahead. We have an obligation to mold every child into a to be a leader and every child should be shown examples leader so that he is prepared to offer his skills for tomorof leadership. This especially applies for our new generarow’s future. W tion of African Americans. Previous generations have benefited from a connection to the Civil Rights Movement for role models and leadership. People like MalKathy-Ann Pegues is the founder and executive director colm X, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many of Cornerstone Leadership Academy in Lithonia, Ga. local leaders gave previous generations clear ideas and a



WEOP Extras







ects l conn ette B al rt u n it ie s Antion o to o p p w o m en

WEOP News Antionette Ball, WEOP founder, was featured in the June issue of Essence Magazine. If you subscribe to Essence, please read the article on page 128.

, rionette ter, Ma 99. twin sis tion in 19 t d her Ball an the organiza when we go ther ed help w that found gle mo de a vo ere we could it,” s a sin when she ma wa e ll wh “W to do tte Ba e for ty point d going Antione infant to car the Universi s were to the vices an one, we een direct ser cies, Ball with an r studies at ia. She wa me so tw en d. rn he s. Be er ag Califo began ter mine 1,500 at she say links to oth uthern e, too: de t have helps t ing morning of So group provid you jus men jus e says. S’s ing els at her turday es th wo th TB Sa s tim me y on ny so sh Ever e your . CST estimate year. “Some so ma to lfare,” host can tak says. ./9 a.m “I saw and get we s not going n a ver ™, wome s that 10 a.m she wa Makeo a baby self that I resource direction,” of all and a need my er r team people Movie “I told in anoth ople with r and he design tic.” tis tle life pe sta Bu trator ect be a Mia ty and adminis ere “I conn eams n, beau e.” over dr is an , wh fashio the tim Ball red by rn make ars College no y ye tu ho da se rts To ing a expe rehou for 20 n in o is be S with at Mo s worked ality. wome Ball, wh ver ™ on TB ention e: ha aged into re keo At 53, int she ing els advant and a Ma on, has no to dis is someth Women’s Movie to show And renovati . “I want she a r of w to kitchen down ve, ho Atlanta mic leade nity Project, na es slowing to be creati ams,” she dy rtu vid po of e pro th Op that r n how business dre yment ization educational wome ct large Emplo eir it organ o to impa and or t th want nonprof nal training The group als e supp nd we tio n. says. “A women.” advocat occupa wome n of rce and ms for groups pro gra central resou impact wome a at as th s s act ue cial iss ity. for so kitchen un nsor a comm ud to spo king a in the n ma s are pro ner g woma ol® clea inspirin Pine-S Ball, an kers of . The ma for Antionette community her ver makeo difference in l powerfu

Money Smarts Creating a Financial Plan

With the current economy, there is no time like the present to come up with a solid financial plan. An accurate and realistic budget coupled with long and short-term financial goals are a good place to start. Trimming non-necessities and reprioritizing spending habits is the path to save money and pay down outstanding debt. A few sites that I find helpful with my ongoing financial planning include: — Eboni N. Moss, Moss Solutions Group, LLC

Hot Advice We have all heard a lot of talk lately about “green.” This is probably the hottest and most important new job area. Green jobs are any jobs related to preserving and-



protecting our environment. “Green jobs” include things that we are already doing such as landscaping and manufacturing new technology but it also include new jobs such as retrofitting water and energy systems for conservation purposes as well as the installation of solar panels and new electrical grids. Those who are entrepreneurial will create “green” businesses such as cleaning services featuring environmentally friendly products, interior decorating with environmentally friendly products, and recycling or composting services. There will be many “green” opportunities associated with President Obama’s American Renewal and Recovery Act as well as jobs with the 2010 census. Keep you eyes and ears open for opportunities, search the internet, read the newspaper, inquire at energyrelated businesses, and ask counselors at the One Stop Career Centers (see the Georgia Department of Labor website). In tough economic times like these, we often have to create our own opportunities. — Paulette Lewis, Department of Labor continued on page 19



Style Networking Want to advance your career or are you in the process of seeking employment. Dress codes for corporate and work environments are changing. In this day of casual business wear, your business image is still very important. You can follow some simple rules for dressing which includes a very basic long sleeve blouse paired up with a pair of slacks and nice pumps. You no longer have to wear business suits to look professional. Keep in mind, you want to look very professional in business and networking environments. First impressions are always important and people will judge you by the way you look and present yourself. When trying to take care of business, take extra time to select attire that projects a professional and serious image.

In The Mix Are you LinkedIn? ( While I have been a member on LinkedIn for some time now, it is only recently that I have taken an active interest in using it to its fullest potential. “Are you on LinkedIn?” is a new closing line that I use to stay connected to potential employers or resources. The site has also allowed my contacts to connect me with others that they think would be a good resource for me. Additionally, LinkedIn is a great way to profile your business to potential customers or investors. Unlike other socialnetworking sites, LinkedIn focuses more on business networking and in this day in age networking can bring you one step closer to your business goals.

Word of Mouth Networking is a great way to make contacts for great jobs or business opportunities. You have probably heard the phrase “It is who you know” that can make or break an opportunity. Use networking as a “word of mouth” way to land a great employment opportunity or business contract. Strategically position yourself to develop mutually beneficial relationships when you network. Incorporate social networking tools such as facebook or linked in as networking tools.

­— Eboni N. Moss, Moss Solutions Group, LLC

Common Sense People are seeking opportunities during this difficult economic time. All things may not be as they seem, a great opportunity could be a scam. If you are thinking about working from home or looking for the next hot business opportunity — be aware. Do your research and use some common sense. According to the National Fraud Information Center, word at home scams rank high in the number of complaints. People also are enticed by marketing companies that try to sell overprice equipment or software packages. Use you common sense and due extensive research before you sign on the dotted line. Here is a great site for information on telemarketing, internet fraud and scams against businesses:


Resources Small Business Administration The Small Business Administration is a phenomenal resource of information. The SBA is an independent federal agency committed to providing assistance to small businesses. Here is a great resource for financial education: Wi$eUp is a financial education program developed by the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau. W — Antionette Ball

THE TREASURE HUNT Continued from page 6

Are your closets organized neatly with everything in its proper place? In other words, Lady, are you a neat freak? Can you IM and Twitter? Can you braid hair? Can you sing? Is your poetry better than Hallmark’s prose? How would you redesign the outfit you are wearing now? Turn the paper on the other side and sketch out a new outfit that you think Michelle Obama would wear to her next gala? Are you smiling? I am. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I’m thinking that you might be the next ( fill in the blank) business owner. It starts with a treasure hunt. So let’s get started! W Patricia Harris is the President of Marketing 121 Consulting Group. Pat is a Leadership & Professional Development Consultant and Adjunct Business Professor. Pat is also an Ordained Minister. Contact:

RELEASE YOUR POWER Continued from page 15

stitutions, including WEOP, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and even places of worship offer computer classes for little to no money. Some organizations offer childcare while you attend classes. There are no excuses for not taking advantage of today’s Internet, libraries, and other local venues of knowledge. Again, knowledge is power. There is no substitute for it. Lastly, be open to the possibilities that will come your way. Once you create the mental environment through self-examination and acquiring knowledge about every aspect of your business, you open the doors to receiving unlimited rewards in the form of people and connections that would not normally exist. It is your job to invest in your business with time and effort. Use the power that is already within you to get your business venture off the ground. In return, your Creator will continue to endow you with everything you need that will cause your territory to be increased and enlarged. Release your power. Begin today. W Teri Thompson has practiced law for more than 17 years in the Atlanta area. She is the owner of the Law Office of Teri Thompson, LLC and is also president of Cutting Edge Mediaworks, LLC.

Try walking by faith ... not by what you see during these challenging times. You will survive this crisis. WALK BY FAITH Continued from page 16

Another thing you can do that will help you is to do volunteer work. There is a need for volunteers everywhere you turn, and it’s important that we give in order to receive. I had friend who volunteered at a nursing home. She worked hard and they really liked her. As soon as an opening became available, she was offered the job. Consider volunteering in areas where you have an interest. Whether it’s cooking, sewing, doing mechanical work, landscaping, or working with children or senior citizens, make someone else’s day. The world needs your talents and gifts. Your gift is yours. God only gave it to you, so use it before you lose it. I’m writing this article for the sole purpose of encouraging you and reminding you of who you are. You have a date with your destiny today, and instead of seeing the dark days ahead, use the light that’s on the inside of you to guide you. God who sits high and looks low is still on His throne. He doesn’t need a bailout from the government. He hasn’t been downsized, laid off, or ever filed for unemployment, which means He’s still on the job. This is not the end for you, but rather a new beginning. I travel and speak all across Georgia and my message is basically the same, to motivate and inspire people. Your life may appear to be out of control but we have to trust that God knows what He’s doing. He’s got your back. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not on your own understanding.” So today, as you go about your daily business, try something new. Try walking by faith and not by what you see during these challenging times. You will survive this crisis. W

Zola Thurmond graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations. She has more than 15 years experience working with all branches of government. She has lived in Atlanta for more than 30 years and has more than 20 years experience in event planning and management services. Zola knows the importance of giving back to her community. She is a volunteer and spokesperson for the American Cancer Society and also volunteers with Hands On Atlanta. JULY-SEPTEMBER 2009


About WEOP


he Women’s Employment Opportunity Project, Inc. (WEOP), is a non profit organization located in the heart of the community. WEOP serves as a resource to promote the economic self-sufficiency and the advancement of women with technology training, educational workshops, entrepreneurial ventures and special projects.

WEOP History Since 1999, WEOP has launched a range of programs and services for women and girls. The organization has been acknowledged with the following recognitions: n Recognized by the Atlanta Business League in the non-traditional business category n

Proclamations from the City of East Point and Fulton County Board of Commissioners


Awarded a Proclamation from the Fulton County Board of Commissioners for

outstanding use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds


Received statewide recognition as a Turner Broadcasting Pathfinder organization


Awarded the Audrey Nelson Community Achievement Award from the National

Community Development Association (NCDA) n

Article featured in Essence Magazine, June 2009

WEOP Future Future WEOP strategies focus on activities that promote green jobs and businesses; providing resources and information with web-based projects and forging partnerships that create opportunities for women.

Supporting WEOP Success The success of WEOP is a result of a committed Board of Director’s, hundreds of volunteers and strategic partnerships with other organizations. For additional information, call 404-681-2497, or visit WEOP online at:

Printing courtesy of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta

From A Woman's Perspective  
From A Woman's Perspective  

A unique publication WEOP publication focusing on issues that matters to you - women. A collection of articles that will inspire, motivate...