Are You a Leader? Check out these 5 Must-Read Posts

Mothers who work at least part time are happier and have better health overall as compared to stay-at-home moms.

Many emerging or seasoned leader out there will tell you one thing — learning to lead will always take center stage in your journey in upper management.

But where does this learning take place? Far too often, people equate leadership development with extensive training programs, certifications, masters degrees, seminars, conferences.

While all of these opportunities offer expansive knowledge to those willing to grow, it’s also possible to refine your leadership ability everyday, in your own office.

Some of the best resources on your path to effective leadership may work right beside you! Whether they’re your supervisor or your direct subordinates, learning to listen and mirror the positive behavior around you can be the simplest and best way to slowly change your style over time.

Overtime, these resources will turn into powerful allies. The strengths they possess will become yours. Your strengths will rub off on them. By keeping a sharp eye on the positive growth and behaviors in your office, you’ll soon emulate the exact type of leader you wish to be.

Ready for more? 

While great leadership skills can be sharpened within the walls of your office, it’s always helpful to read the advice of others, who may work miles and miles away from you. Take a look at the following posts below related to leadership and positive growth. Many of the posts center on empowerment for professional females, a topic I continue to be passionate working and writing on.

TIPS FOR FEMALE EXECUTIVES

Women face a lot of pressure and obstacles in the rise to becoming an executive. Although it can be difficult to be a woman in charge, here are a few tips to help you succeed.

THE CHALLENGES WOMEN FACE IN THE WORKPLACE

Women need to be attractive, but not too attractive .. and 4 other popular challenges that make it difficult for women to work and lead.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS AS A WOMAN

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Alongside the perpetual gender wage gap, women also face difficulty advancing through businesses and climbing the corporate ladder; of the businesses on the Fortune 500 list, only 21 have females currently holding the role of CEO.

CHALLENGES OF BEING A WORKING MOM

Being a working mother can be one of the most rewarding things in the world. You get to raise kids and have a successful and meaningful career. However, nobody said that it would be easy. Being a working mom comes with challenges. Keep in mind though that for many the positives outweigh the challenges and struggles.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN THE WORKPLACE

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Even with Title VII in effect for over 50 years, we still see remnants from the days of discrimination in the workplace. Issues such as the wage gap, the “glass ceiling,” and pregnancies are still factors that work to discriminate against women in the workplace.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PROFESSIONAL WOMEN OF THE PAST


 

Why Walking Is A Great Form of Exercise

Are you looking for an easy way to get your daily exercise? Walking is gentle on your body and provides a fun, low-impact activity. Another great thing about walking is that you do not have to buy special equipment or memberships. It is free! Here are some other reasons why you might consider walking as a daily exercise regimen:

Walking Strengthens Your Cardiovascular System

If you walk regularly, you can reduce your chances of cardiovascular disease and stroke, says an article from HarvardHealthPublications.edu. Not only is it an ideal cardio workout, but it can also increase your level of good cholesterol and bring down your bad cholesterol numbers. Even if you take a brisk walk for a half-hour a day, you can enjoy your neighborhood scenery and perhaps lower your blood pressure.

Walking Can Lower The Risks Of Certain Diseases

There are many studies concerning the benefits of walking to ward off diseases. A study from the University of Michigan Extension found evidence that daily walking may prevent diabetes and obesity. This study also noted positive correlations between walking and reducing the risks of heart disease, joint pain, depression, and even some forms of cancer.

Walking Can Help Your Weight Loss

The number of calories burned while walking depends on your weight and how fast you are walking, explains an article from livestrong.com. If you weigh about 200 pounds, says the source, you may burn up as many as 100 calories in 30 minutes. When you do it every day, you can see results on the scales.

Walking Can Tone Your Whole Body

What better exercise can you devise that can be so simple, yet benefit the whole body? Walking is especially good for toning the muscles in the legs, hips, and buttocks. When you add an incline by walking uphill, the resistance is even better for your muscles. Your abdomen and waste will also see benefits from daily walking.

Walking Benefits Your Daily Vitamin D Intake

An article from ScientificAmerican.com warns that nearly 75% of teens and adults have a serious Vitamin D deficiency. This crucial vitamin affects our immune system and bone health. The best way to get Vitamin D is from the sunshine. If you are outdoors on a walking excursion every day, you will get plenty of exercise and a good dose of Vitamin D.

Walking Energizes Your Body

We can all use some more energy throughout the day. A brisk walk is one of the best ways to get it. Walking increases your breathing and oxygen flow, as well as your circulation. Every cell in your body benefits from more oxygen and blood nutrients. After you walk, you may feel more energized and alert. If you suffer from an energy slump in the afternoon, walking may be the best thing to fight it.

Walking Is A Natural Mood Enhancer

If your mood could use a little boost, try taking a brisk walk. It encourages your brain to release endorphins that minimize anxiety and stress. Walking is an effective tool to reduce depression, says an article from WebMD. A stroll through the park can do wonders for creating positive mental health.

 

Recruiting Men to Help Promote Gender Equality in the C-Suite

There’s great debate in the worlds of social justice and progress about finding the line between “safe spaces” and “buy in.” For women in the workplace, especially those in corporate America, C-suites, and board rooms, women want the same importance and respect have, but the question remains: Do we fight against men for it, or recruit them to help us diversify our leadership?

For many, the argument is to recruit men to join the effort to bring diversity and gender equality to the realm of upper management. From a sheer numbers perspective, a movement to include more women in the upper ranks of a company is an all-hands-on-deck effort. Most men will probably agree that running an inclusive business means ensuring an inclusive team is in charge of the company, and few if any will admit to harboring some deep aversion to having women in leadership. What these men may not know, though is how to go about improving the number of women present at the table.

If the men of your company aren’t actively helping promote gender equality, then they’re hurting the effort by enforcing the status quo. To grow the number of women who make it to the C-suite, men have to take up an active role in forwarding the agenda of gender inclusivity and equality.

A common refrain among those who claim they want gender equality is that they don’t know where to start or what to do. Where does one go to find qualified, experienced women in the field? Coco Brown, the founder of a women’s empowerment networking group called The Athena Alliance, recommends for men to start with someone the trust and to network out from there. She writes, “If a CEO knows one amazing executive woman, he has access to at least six others. We all run in like peer groups.”

Additionally, as simple as it may sound, men can practice not talking when a woman is talking. Psychological implications of socialization and imposter syndromes aside, men often physically have louder and deeper voices than women do, meaning that, as they wish, they can drown out a woman’s input with ease. For many women who are trying to contribute to their place of work, literally having their voices heard is an important step.

Tips for Female Executives

When it comes to high-level executive positions, the number of women is severely lacking. Females account for just over half of the population in the United States, but comprise only 14.6% of executives, 8.1% of the county’s top earners, and 4.6% of the CEOs on the Fortune 500 list. You might be thinking, “maybe not that many women go into business, so the numbers could be proportional. However, women hold 60% of all master’s degrees ( 44% of all master’s in business/management, and 37% of all MBAs), comprise nearly half (47%) of the labor force, and make up 59% of entry-level workers who hold degrees. So why is there such a disconnect?

Women face a lot of pressure and obstacles in the rise to becoming an executive. Although it can be difficult to be a woman in charge, here are a few tips to help you succeed.

  • Push yourself outside of your comfort level.
    • Don’t ever let anyone say that the reason you didn’t succeed is that you didn’t try hard enough. Sure, it’s nerve-wracking to ask for a raise or to inquire about a promotion, but if you don’t push yourself to become more, you’ll end up stuck where you are. The same goes for business dealings. There will be risks that come along, and if you don’t jump at the chance to better your business, you can end up falling behind. Keep challenging yourself to see how much you can truly succeed
  • Don’t let your personal life dictate your professional life (and vice versa).
    • Your position as an executive and your status as a woman, wife, or mother are not mutually exclusive. You don’t have to stick to just one, and you don’t have to be defined in either capacity by your position in the other. Women may socially be expected to stay at home to raise and take care of the children, but this is 2017. If you’re a mother, you can be a breadwinner coparenting with a stay-at-home dad and you can use child care services. If you want to put your career first and don’t want to have a family, that’s perfectly fine as well. Live your life and pursue your dreams the way you want to.
  • Get comfortable with being the only woman in the room.
    • Female executives can often find themselves the only woman in a room full of men. It can be easy to let yourself become overshadowed and talked over, but you can’t let yourself get boxed out. It may take time to “prove yourself,” but the only person who can handle how you behave in the face of adversity is you. Believe in yourself, your knowledge, and your ability and unapologetically own the position that you’ve earned.

Powerful Female Executives

Rising to the top is never an easy feat, especially for women in large corporations. This can be exemplified by the fact that there are only 21 female CEOs on the Fortune 500 list. In spite of their small numbers, these women are forces to be reckoned with. Take the opportunity to get to know four of the most powerful female executives:

1. Mary Barra

In 1980, Mary Barra joined the General Motors team as a co-op student. Over the past 37 years, Barra rose through the ranks of the company, becoming the VP of Global Manufacturing Engineering, VP of Global Human Resources, Executive VP of Global Product Development, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, and finally CEO in 2014. In addition, she was named the chairperson of GM in January 2016. Barra is also known for being a major investor in the ride-sharing company Lyft.

2. Indra K. Nooyi

With an extensive background in consulting and executive experience, Indra K. Nooyi began her career with Pepsi Co. in 1994 as their Senior VP of Strategic Planning. Nooyi quickly rose through the ranks, accepting the position of President and CFO in 2001. In October 2006, Nooyi was named the President and CEO of Pepsi Co., and the chairperson of the board just seven months later. Under her leadership, Pepsi Co. began the Performance with Purpose initiative, a promise to do what is right for the business by doing what is right for the people and the planet. Additionally, Pepsi Co. has gone on to acquire several healthier brands, including Quaker Oats and Gatorade.

3. Irene Rosenfeld

Upon completing her education at Cornell University, Irene Rosenfeld began her career in advertising, eventually moving into a consumer research role with General Foods. Soon after, she found herself advancing to leadership roles within the company. From 1981 to 2003, Rosenfeld served as President of North American Businesses at Kraft Foods North America. Rosenfeld then served as Chairperson and CEO of Frito-Lay and CEO of Kraft Foods. When Kraft split from its principal company, Mondelez International, in 2011, Rosenfeld remained with Mondelez and was named CEO.

4. Sheryl Sandberg

After receiving her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Sheryl Sandberg began her career as the Chief of Staff for the United States Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton, a position in which she served from 1995 to 2001. Leaving her government job behind, Sandberg set her sights on the Silicon Valley and becoming a part of the tech boom that was occurring at that time. Sandberg then served as VP of Global Online Sales & Operations at Google Inc., from 2001 to 2008. Upon leaving Google, Sandberg joined the Facebook team as their Chief Operating Officer and has remained in that role ever since.

Top Global Places to Travel with Children

Don’t Put the Passports Away Because Your Family is Growing

Young couples are encouraged to travel the world before starting a family, with claims of the experiences become harder to enjoy with children in tow. By no means should the excitement of traveling to a new location come to halt once a family begins to grow. If your family is wanderlust, here are 7 locations around the world, suitable to entertain everyone!

  1. Costa Rica

Not only will the beauty of this country take everyone’s breath away, but the opportunity for adventure will create lifelong memories. Throughout the country, locals encourage visitors to embrace the “Pura Vida” lifestyle, translated to “pure life.” As seen in the natural roads, rainforests, and beaches, Costa Ricans have maintained a “pure life” for the world to enjoy. With endless outdoor activities, including; zip lining, whitewater rafting, and volcano hiking, families with children of all ages can be sure that fun is on the way!

  1. South Africa

Travel with Kids names South Africa their second most recommended destination for young families wanting to explore the world. From traditional African excursions, of elephant rides and safari trips, to engaging in modern city living, South Africa gives travelers a wide range of endeavors to choose from. A great deal of history can be found in the heart of South Africa’s heritage, with the likes of the Nelson Mandela story and the towns of Johannesburg and Capetown.

  1. United Kingdom

A country the size of Alabama, the UK has an immense itinerary for those traveling with children. With the ability to easily travel city to city via train or car (if you’re adventurous enough to try the left side of the road), the possibilities are endless! An obligatory stop in London for tea with the Queen can be made, but other must-dos include; catching a high energy soccer match, Harry Potter studio tours, and drives around the British countryside taking in the gorgeous views.

  1. Vietnam

Another country which is easily traveled through entirety by train creates an explosion of color and culture for all to immerse in. Once arriving in Vietnam, all accommodations and trip enhancements (food, excursions, clothing, etc.) are easy on the bank account. With a rapidly growing urban capital of Saigon and miles of beaches in Nha Trang, the exploration options are limitless. A warm climate year round makes Vietnam an ideal trip in the harsh winter months!

  1. Iceland

Having gained a great deal of tourism and attraction over the past few years, Iceland is quickly becoming a favorite destination for people are around the world.  Their famous thermal hot springs have developed into extremely kid-friendly tourist stops, featuring slides and children specific pools according to Escape Here. Known as one of the safest cities in the world, Reykjavik, Iceland residents have even been known to leave their children in strollers outsides of stores while they venture in for some shopping.

  1. Turks and Caicos

Those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life can count on this cluster of Caribbean islands to help unwind. With a variety of all-inclusive resorts to choose from, parents have the options to give their children (and themselves) freedom, by sending them to the resort’s “kid’s club”, packed with all day action and adventure. Many of the island’s resorts include a wide range of on-site excursions and food options, giving any vacation a fully booked schedule.

  1. U.S. National Parks

For those who aren’t frequent flyers or don’t want to mess around with foreign currency, a road trip around the beautiful U.S. National Parks still gives families photo opportunities and memories to last a lifetime. Fortunately, some of the greatest wonders of our country can be traveled between in a day or so by car. A family with children of various ages, could easily hop in a minivan, or rent an RV to drive to see Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, and Yosemite, over the course of a week. Not only will the photos from these wonders be a forever keepsake, but also can include action-packed activities such as hiking, kayaking, and even helicopter rides around the parks!

 

The Challenges Women Face in the Workplace

Lately, women’s rights has been a popular issue of social importance. And with the recent happenings from this year’s “International Women’s Day,” I was inspired to write about the challenges women are often plagued with in the workplace. Below is just a small selection of the challenges I’ve seen.

Maternity Leave

Overall, paid maternity leave in the United States lags behind almost every other industrialized country in the world. America, and a small island nation called Papua New Guinea, are the only two industrialized countries in the world with no paid maternity leave at all.

Although legally, employers with fifty or more workers must allow new mothers twelve weeks of job-protected leave every year to care for a newborn. However, the problem is maternity leave isn’t paid and often leaves new mothers with less income at a time when they need it the most. That’s why most new mothers don’t utilize the full 12 weeks they are given

Women Need to Be “Attractive” to Succeed

Women in every industry and every level of leadership make 79 cents for every dollar men make. Not only do we make less than men, but we have to put out more money to make ourselves look attractive. Why? Because statistically, attractive people are better off in the workplace. It’s a human bias that’s known as the “what is beautiful is good” effect. Women who look beautiful are seen as more intelligent and competent. They also are more likely to get job interviews, more job offers, and higher income than their less attractive counterparts. So if we want to be seen as more attractive by societal standards, we have to wear makeup, style our hair, whiten our teeth, and attend to skin and nail care — all which require money.

Women Need to be Attractive, But Not Too Attractive

It’s a catch-22: women need to be attractive to succeed, but they can’t be too attractive or else they won’t be taken seriously. It can bring an increased discrimination in hiring and on the job, and can make women leaders less trustworthy and loyal. So although women “need” wear makeup and have their hair done, being too done-up can make women seem shallow or judged for only getting by based on their looks. If women aren’t done-up enough, they aren’t taken seriously and aren’t as successful as other, more attractive women.

Women, how do you feel about this? Please comment below.

Things to Pack When Traveling with Children

Traveling is one of the single most liberating and fulfilling things that you can do with your time, but traveling with children presents a whole host of obstacles that you need to take into consideration. When you’re traveling with adults, in most cases everyone is able to fend for themselves, but bringing your children into the picture means you’re responsible for both your own wellbeing as well as theirs. Make things easier for yourself and your family by packing these essentials every time you’re traveling with your children.

  • Infants/Toddlers
    • Formula/breast pumps
      • Unlike adults on vacation, gas station snacks and fast food just won’t cut it when it comes to feeding your baby. Babies need to eat, and they need to eat often, so you need to be prepared for trips that are going to take longer than an hour or two.
    • Diapers
      • You need to stop regularly for bathroom breaks when traveling, and your toddler does, too. That’s why it’s super important to remember to bring extra diapers along with you when you’re on the go; think if you were stuck on an airport runway for several hours stuck sitting in a dirty diaper!
    • Pacifiers
      • Babies can be fussy, so make life easier for yourself and everyone around you by bringing a pacifier and a spare with you whenever you travel. They’re small and easy to transport, and they can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.
  • Children
    • Books
      • If your children are budding bookworms, reading is a great way to keep them occupied and content during long trips. In preparation for your journey, take them to the bookstore and have them pick out a few books that interest them and save them for the trip.
    • Spare clothing
      • Parents, it’s no secret that kids can get dirty, so stay ahead of the mess by being prepared with an extra set of clothing. This is especially applicable if you’re traveling for multiple days; make sure you have enough spare outfits that your child will have clothing for the whole trip.
  • Everyone
    • Pillows/blankets
      • Whether you’re traveling by train, plane, bus, or car, if you’re not the one navigating you can sit back and relax, so make sure you’re packed for it! Bring your children’s favorite pillows and blankets for them to nap with on the journey to help pass the time.

U.S. Travel Destinations for 2017

International travel is great, but the price tag that comes along with it can be a bit exorbitant. International airfare isn’t cheap, and with all of the precautions and preparations you need to take, it can be a bit overwhelming on top of expensive. This year, instead of visiting a different country, why not explore some of the sites and areas right here in the United States that you’ve probably never seen in person. Make your travel goals for 2017 to be exploring your own backyard, and plan a trip to see (at least) one of these amazing destinations this year!

  • Asheville, North Carolina
    • This small Southern city tops Lonely Planet’s list of US destinations to see in 2017, and for good reason. This charming destination is located in the southeast corner of the Appalachian Mountains, making it a prime location to bring together old traditions and modern advancements. Its River Arts District is an artist haven, and the city sports quite the local foodie and microbrewery scene.
  • Jackson Hole, Wyoming
    • If seeing a total solar eclipse in person is something you’ve got on your bucket list, then start making plans to travel out West this August. For the first time in nearly 40 years, there will be a solar eclipse that can be seen within the continental United States; it will follow a trajectory from the Northwestern U.S. to the Southeastern U.S. with Jackson Hole being the prime location to see it unobstructed and out in nature.
  • Denver, Colorado
    • If you’re a skier, there’s still a few weeks left to take advantage of Denver’s Amtrak Winter Park Express rail service that runs between Denver and Winter Park, dropping Denver tourists off right at the ski slopes. This particular path of travel was opened in 1940 and ran until it was shut down in 2009; it was reopened this year and is running between January 7 and March 26.
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
    • Before visiting this state capitol city, you first have to abandon all of your preconceived notions about the midwest. Lincoln is a thriving college town that boasts eclectic galleries and unique boutiques. Its food culture is also on the rise with notable restaurants like Bread & Cup and Zipline Brewing Co. offering patrons a refreshingly new twist on nightlife and dining.

This beautiful country has so much to offer and so many untapped treasures of which I’ve only highlighted a few. Make it a goal this year to expand your horizons and visit new and exciting places right here in America.

The Women’s March on Washington

In one of the largest recorded protests in US history, a congregation gathered on the Washington Mall on January 21 to demonstrate their displeasure with the stances and promises of the recently sworn-in administration. Specifically regarding potential policies on abortion, health care, discrimination, civil rights, and legislation regarding Muslims, the nearly three million gathered in the nation’s capital made it clear that they wanted women’s issues addressed and not ignored or legislated over.

The march originally came under severe scrutiny when it became clear that the three women who were organizing the demonstration were all straight, white, and upper-middle class. Feminism itself has been criticized when it fails to incorporate issues for Women of color, LGBTQ+ women, women with disabilities, and women in poverty, as “white feminism,” or an ideology that only benefits straight, white, upper-middle class cis-gendered women. Its counterpart, “Intersectional Feminism,” is one that addresses the intersection of gender, race, income, sexuality, education, and other elements that contribute to a person’s identity and is generally considered a more inclusive, compassionate, and socially just.

To the end that the march did not want a reputation of supporting only “white feminism,” the three leaders stepped down and handed the torch to a black woman, a woman of latin american descent, and a Muslim woman who chooses to wear a hijab. These three young organizers worked hard to create and publicize a demonstration that drew attention to a smorgasbord of issues that afflict women of a wide slew of cultures. And publicize it did.

Crowd engineers estimate that the turnout at the Women’s March was about triple the turnout Donald Trump’s Inauguration, and that does not include the other movements that took place in cities as big as LA and as small as Lancaster, PA. Despite the size, the police didn’t make a single arrest, and there were no reports of property damage. Far from a riot, this demonstration was designed to celebrate American womanhood and make clear that Americans would fight to defend the progress made in women’s healthcare and public safety from assault.

The day of the event, hundreds and hundreds poured into the city, many clad in pink “pussy hats” whose proceeds benefited Planned Parenthood. People of all genders thronged to the streets holding signs declaring that women won’t stand idly by and watch their rights and healthcare erode without some backlash. Marchers carried signs that read “Pussy Grabs Back” in reference to a leaked Trump interview in which he said he would “grab [women] by the pussy.” Celebrities ranging from Madonna to Zendaya to John Legend to Scarlett Johansson attended the event to deliver speeches, perform, or just mingle with other protesters.

Overall, the march was meant to serve as a starter’s block for a long relationship among citizens to stand up against legislation and behavior that will put women in danger or purposefully make life more difficult for them. The march was imperfect for a number of reasons, including the language focused on reproductive organs that may have alienated some trans people, but on the whole, the movement demonstrated the power of numbers and the refusal of the public to take the promises of the incoming administration lying down.