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.

Tips for Success as a Woman

As a working woman in this world, there are a lot of uphill battles you must face on a day-to-day basis. Women still only make an average of 80 cents to each man’s dollar, and that number gets smaller and smaller for women who are also minorities; African American women make an average of 63 cents to a man’s dollar, and Latinas typically make only 54 cents per dollar. 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. Although it can be tough in the working world as a woman, there are things you can learn and teach yourself that can help you in your fight to the top. Without further ado, here are some tips that you, as a woman, can use to help you find success in work and in life.

  1. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
    • No one really likes to talk about money, but one of the worst things you can do to yourself as a professional is be afraid to fight for what you deserve. Forbes notes women’s general discomfort around and tendency to shy away from negotiating has not only lead to them being less successful in their attempts than men but also likely perpetuates the gender wage gap seen across most developed nations. Although it can be mildly terrifying to imagine yourself negotiating wages or promotions, you owe it to yourself and your professional career to not accept less than you are worth.
  2. Network hard and network often.
    • A big part of developing professionally is building a strong network of other professionals with whom you interact and discourse about your industry or business ideas, and to whom you can turn if and when the time comes for a change in employment. Instead of eating lunch alone at your desk, use every meal that you’re at the office as an opportunity to enhance and grow your own professional network.Women are even unintentionally selling themselves short on social media; women dominate every major social networking site – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and overwhelmingly Pinterest – but men still greatly outnumber women on LinkedIn, the professional networking site. Put yourself out there and grow your list of connections as you develop professionally.
  3. Learn to effectively delegate.
    • In their pursuit to “have it all,” some women lose focus of the fact that they don’t have to do it all by themselves. While there are certainly tasks that require your keen eye and expert touch, not every project is a top priority. Former President and CEO of Coca Cola Enterprises Bryan Dyson discusses responsibilities as rubber and glass balls; some balls when you drop them will bounce right back to you, but some balls when mishandled will fall and shatter. When it comes to delegation at the workplace, the glass balls are the things you keep for yourself, and the rubber balls are the ones you pass along to others.

Where to Travel in 2017

In the heart of winter when the weather’s the coldest, many people like to distract themselves with plans for trips to warmer places once the spring and summer come around. There’s a whole great big world out there to see, so how do you decide where it is you’re going to travel? As 2016 winds down and we look forward into 2017, here are some of the best places to look at planning vacations for in the summer of 2017.

Moscow, Russia

While global tensions running quite high and even though the visa restrictions are rigid, Moscow is a beautiful place to visit. The 860-year-old metropolis is home to the iconic and colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square, and will be the future host of both the Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Amsterdam

When you think “summer” you probably don’t immediately think “Amsterdam,” but there’s no reason to knock it till you’ve tried it! The best time of year to visit Amsterdam has always been the summer, so why not try something new and exciting and head overseas to check it out? Even if you’re stuck with a day of bad weather, you can always visit the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank house, or the Gothic-renaissance stylings of Oude Kerk.

Canada

As the friendliest country in the world turns 150, why not celebrate along with it by paying it a visit! A gigantic nation, there are countless sites to see within its borders; Niagara Falls is a must-see tourist hotspot, Quebec is a beautiful Canadian province, and the Canadian Rockies are a lovely sight for any and all nature lovers.

Cuba

For 54 years from 1961-2015, any existing ties between the United States and Cuba were severed, including trade and travel. However, since diplomatic relations were restored in July of 2015, travel is available to the Caribbean country for the first time in decades. Since trade was nonexistent between the two countries for so many decades, strolling down the streets of Havana feels like a step back in time to the 1950s as you’re surrounded by people driving cars from that time.

How Parents Can Avoid Meltdowns Over the Holidays

As every parent with children knows, meltdowns (especially those in public), become an unwelcome part of life. While it’s normally random when these tantrums will occur, they are most likely to happen during the holiday season. After all, kids who don’t know how to express their emotions yet can become just as stressed as you do this time of year. Whether you’re a new parent or one who just needs some new techniques to try, below you’ll find tips for avoiding those dreaded meltdowns during the holidays.

Prepare for Problems

Whether you’re going to a recital or a friend’s holiday party, packing a “just in case” bag for a meltdown can save you when you need it the most. While what you pack should be based on the personality of your child, some top items to consider bringing along include:

  • Snack and Juice
  • Favorite Toy
  • Paper and Crayons
  • Headphone for Music/Games/Movies
  • Tablet

Monitor Your Schedule

While there might be a lot of holiday parties to attend, bringing your children to too many can upset their normal schedule. While attending a few events is certainly fine, you may want to cut down on the total amount on your calendar. Before making your way out, check to make sure you’re checking the following needs off your list:

  • Is your child fed? Will there be food for them to eat at the party?
  • Will there be a place for your child to sit down and rest while you’re there?
  • When you leave, will your child have enough time to unwind before bed?

Set Expectations

Before going on any type of outing, let your child know what they can expect. This should include going over rules, fun activities, downtime, food, and other important details. This will set their expectations so they can avoid disappointment.

Have a “Can Do” Attitude

Your little one might get upset when they can’t touch all the toys at the store or play in the same room as the adults at a party. So, instead of telling them “no”, why not give them things to do? At the store you could let them pick out the fruit and at the party you could have them help look after a younger child. When you make them feel important, they’re much more likely to keep their cool.

 

Ways to Exercise this Winter

Winter is right around the corner, and for many people, it brings with it the winter blues. Don’t let the cold get you down this winter; shake up your daily routine and get the exercise your body is craving, even during those freezing months by trying new and inventive ways to squeeze in a workout. Whether you want to be indoors or out, check out my tips for keeping in shape this winter season.

Outdoors

  • Rake some leaves! If you’re nestled in those months of winter between when the earth loses its color and when it actually snows, chances are your yard is littered with leaves galore from autumn.
  • Shovel your driveway. This one is weather permitting, but if you’re faced with a fresh snowstorm, one of the best ways to work up a sweat is by clearing your home’s paths and walkways of snow.
  • Take up skiing. You’ll get the same exercise from snowboarding and ice skating, but this winter, try taking up a winter sport for fun! You’ll be surprised how much exercise you get while having fun, so much so you won’t even realize it until you’re sore the next day!
  • Play in the snow. If you’re lucky enough to have a day off from school or work due to snowy conditions, take advantage of the opportunity. Go for a walk in the grass through the snow to avoid slipping on ice, have a snowball fight, or build a snow fort!

Indoors

  • Go to the gym. While it may not be the optimal option for exercise during the winter, especially if you hate working out around other people, the gym is the perfect place to squeeze in a winter workout because it was built for it! Find a gym you like, and start going regularly to beat the winter blahs.
  • Take the stairs. This tip is a little one you can incorporate every day to help keep your body in better shape. Take the stairs instead of escalators, and if the weather is nice, try parking farther away from your destinations to make yourself walk a little farther.
  • Be an active TV watcher. No, I don’t mean make sure you pay super close attention to your Netflix bingeing; rather, be active while you watch TV. Try running in place, planking, and doing sit ups during commercial breaks.
  • Try doing yoga. Although many people prefer to do it outside, yoga is a great form of exercise that you can do indoors at any time during the day and during the year.