Speaker Articles

Secrets to Being a Great Idea Person

Jennifer MuellerHave you ever been in a brainstorming meeting that wasn’t a waste of time? Chances are no if the goal was to hit upon something truly original and innovative.

“Often in a business setting, people are using best practices in brainstorming, and that’s a large part of the problem,” says Jennifer Mueller, associate professor of management at the University of San Diego School of Business and author of Creative Change: How We Resist It… How We Can Embrace It. “How can you choose something new when the criterion is what has been successful?” Read More

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Life Lessons from NFL Official #53 (the Only One Who Wears Mascara)

Sarah ThomasMany female firsts are lifetime dreams come true. But some are more a matter of chance, the happenstance of finding something you’re good at when barriers are coming down.

The latter was the case for Sarah Thomas, the first woman to be an NFL official. “I was working as a paralegal when my older brother said one day that he was going to a football officials’ meeting,” she recalls. “I thought it could be a way to give back to organized sports—I’d played basketball in college—while earning some extra cash.”

Immediately, she was enthralled. “It’s actually funny, because as an athlete, I hated the officials and they hated me,” Thomas says. “But I fell in love with studying the rulebook. It’s fascinating.” Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Career, Career Choices, Job Advancement Tagged , |

How She Got There: Micho Spring’s Path to Becoming Chair of Global Corporate Practice and New England for Weber Shandwick

Take a young woman coming of age in the 60s, when many careers were closed to her gender. Mix in political awareness from having fled communist Cuba as a child and add courage and flexibility from forging a new life with her family in New York. What you get: a college dropout, a 31-year-old deputy mayor of Boston, a top executive at one of the largest communications firms in the world—as well as a Massachusetts Conference for Women Board member.

In other words, you get Micho Spring, whose name ought to be under “maverick” in the thesaurus. Be inspired by the most unconventional career path of Weber Shandwick’s chair of global corporate practice and New England and the lessons she learned along the way: Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Career, Career Choices, Success & Leadership, Transitions Tagged , |

5 Things You Need to Know Before Starting Your Own Business

Planoly is Brandy Pham’s first tech startup, but not her first venture. That’s probably why the app for Instagram users already has almost half a million accounts since launching last year. “I’m still on a learning curve, but I definitely applied what I had figured out the hard way when starting a jewelry line,” says Pham, whose rings and necklaces were available at stores such as Henri Bendel and Anthropologie.

In fact, her app evolved from her jewelry design business. “We had shifted our focus to e-commerce and noticed that sales went way up when I posted on Instagram,” Pham recalls. “It was a lot of work, though, taking photos, editing and captioning them, plotting them out for the week and then posting three times a day—on top of designing the jewelry and arranging for its manufacture.”

Then she had a baby, and just about lost her mind. Her husband, though, thought they could design an app that would help her—and together they realized they had something that other small businesses that marketed their brands on Instagram could also use. Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Embrace the Unknown, Marketing Yourself & Your Small Business, Transitions Tagged , |

Office Politics: When Bosses Behave Badly

Power may not always corrupt, but it sure can bring out the egomaniac in some managers. That’s what industrial and organizational psychologist Amy Cooper Hakim found while doing research to update her book (which was originally written by her grandmother), Working with Difficult People: Handling the Ten Types of Problem People Without Losing Your Mind.

Of the 10 kinds of bad bosses you might encounter (yes, there are that many!), she says that narcissists are quite common. “Someone who is cold-blooded and ego-driven as a boss was probably like that as a subordinate, but it didn’t affect her manager, or for that matter, her colleagues, the way it now affects her direct reports,” Hakim explains. “When used for good, power can achieve great things. But when used improperly by a narcissist, it leads to bullying, which spirals downward and hurts productivity and morale.” Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Communication Skills, Job Advancement Tagged , |