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  • 11 Jan 2010 8:20 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    Do you network?  Many of us could not imagine life without being involved with either a face to face or an online network.  Whether you show up personally to Meetup events or, perhaps you prefer to do your networking from home using Facebook, you may be asking yourself: why is this important to me? What you should be asking yourself is what your importance is to your network. 

    It is deeply ingrained in human consciousness to be connected.  The reason, as the poet John Donne stated, is that “no man is an island.”  Sexism aside, imagine yourself on a raft in the middle of the ocean.  You are perfectly happy with your little space; you don’t see anything bad on the horizon.  You continue to float along on your little happy raft without worry.  Suddenly and without warning, your raft springs a leak and you begin to sink at an alarming rate.  You shout for help until you lose your voice.  No one answers.   

    Now, imagine your raft is connected to a circle of other rafts, which in turn are also connected to many other rafts.  In that same terrifying situation, everyone’s buoyancy combined can keep you from sinking.  I believe the mantra is:  “I have a friend who knows someone who can help you with that!”  This is the power of networking.  It is also a basic human survival technique.    

    But let’s not oversimplify things.  Consider also the more technical ways to more concretely understand how you stand in your social network. Think of yourself as a small node: for example a single brain cell, or one home computer connected to network.  Scientists and technicians use two factors, known as “betweenness” and “closeness” to determine a particular node’s usefulness on a network.

    Your “betweenness” factor measures how much control you have over what flows between yourself and other members of a network.  In quantifiable terms, this is the number of times you are able to connect to others around you.  Ask yourself:  “how often is my node a connector in the pathway of communication between other nodes?”  So from this we know that the amount of people you introduce to others in social settings, either directly or indirectly, is very important. 

    The other factor of measuring your influence in a network is your “closeness” factor.  This reveals how easily you can access what is available on a network.  If you had an emergency, how quickly could you get your request to the entire network?  Appraise what resources are available to you, should you need them.  What are you personally making available to other members of your network?

    When a brain cell fails, the other cells around it extend their growth to keep the brain functioning properly.  Computers aren’t yet this advanced, however a single computer can make available to the other machines around it greatly increased availability of information and speed of retrieval.  We can learn from these examples that routinely examining and enhancing our own levels of betweenness and closeness can make our network stronger, which will in turn make you a stronger member.

    You can connect with Megan Daniel on Facebook.


  • 21 Dec 2009 10:41 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    Big thanks to everyone who helped support the Working Women of Tampa Bay during the Holiday Season. Early estimates indiciate that more than $1000 changed hands between members thanks to the contest. We are pleased to announce the winners on the raffle. If you're on the list, please send us an e-mail to claim your prize. Happy Holidays!





















  • 18 Dec 2009 8:50 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    The holiday season, also known as the time of giving, is once again in full swing.  But is it centuries of tradition that drives us to give gifts to others at this time of year, or is it perhaps something much more primal?  Recently, I was intrigued by an article in the New York Times that suggests that brain chemistry and deeply ingrained instinctual drives are the true cause of the holiday spirit. holiday-shopping-cart.jpg

    The article tells the fascinating story of a woman named Cami Walker, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  After many unsuccessful attempts to relieve the physical and mental pain that accompanies her disease, she resorted to an unusual form of therapy suggested to her by a holistic medicine specialist.  The prescription was to give a gift every day for 29 days.

    Although skeptical, she was desperate for relief, and decided to give it a try.  The result?  At the end of her treatment, test results showed that her MS had stopped progressing.  She was also able to stop taking her pain medication.  The effect of this “giving treatment” was so profound she decided to write a book about it, entitled “29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life” (Da Capo Press).

    University studies have shown that giving to others releases endorphins in the brain.  Those chemicals in turn provide us with feelings of well being and a marked reduction in stress levels.  New studies now show that higher endorphin levels correlate with increased healing, and can even stymie the progress of diseases, as Ms. Walker’s case exemplifies.  However, there is a converse side to this process.  When we do things that cause our brains to release endorphins, instinctually we will seek out ways to continue to get that natural chemical reward.  This is what the article refers to as “the giving high.”

    Unfortunately, a syndrome I will call “over-giving” affects many people at Christmas time, and I believe the underlying cause of this is the unconscious thirst for the rush of endorphins that comes from giving. It is estimated that banks will earn $1.8 billion in overdraft fees during this year’s holiday season.  Are these financial institutions taking advantage of the primal human drive to give - and give more than they can afford?  Times are tough and everyone is under extra stress this year, which leads me to suspect that there will be a lot of overcompensating for negative feelings through over-giving. 

    I will be the first one to admit that I have sought relief from my troubles by shopping my sorrows away for holiday gifts.  Although this practice definitely elevated my spirits, the end result is usually increased stress due to strained finances come January.  Now that I am more aware of the bio-science behind giving, I can consciously channel this urge in more constructive ways.  Because we are all under an inordinate amount of stress this particular holiday season, I think a wise choice would be to satisfy this increased need for endorphins by balancing gift giving with giving of yourself. 

    As illustrated in Ms. Walker’s book, therapeutic levels of endorphins can be attained by simply doing something kind for a stranger.  You don’t have to buy a lavish gift for someone to produce the “helpers high.”  You can feel just as good, if not better, by doing something simple, thoughtful, and inexpensive.  Additionally, the altruism must be completely voluntary to produce the desired effects.

    Ms. Walker credits her success to spending time with people, offering emotional support, and small acts of kindness.  So you don’t necessarily have to run out and join the Peace Corps if you are feeling blue, all you need to do is be more patient and kind in your everyday life.  You will be surprised and satisfied by both the psychological and physiological results, and perhaps avoid over doing it on presents this year!

    To learn more about giving and how it can improve your overall health, visit  

    And to all my loyal readers, have a happy and healthy holiday season!  I look forward to connecting with you at Working Women of Tampa Bay events in 2010.

    You can connect with Megan Daniel on Facebook. 


  • 13 Dec 2009 10:09 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    When decorating for the holidays, it’s not about how much money you spend, but how creative you can be with what you already have!  decor-story-nov-candle.jpg

    Start by thinking about what kind of style and / or color scheme you want to incorporate. Once you have your direction, it’s time to start to illustrate it.  Before you hit the store, take a look at what you have in your home.  Chargers, china, or even that mirror on your wall can be the perfect base for a beautiful display to adorn your coffee table.

    Sure, ornaments look great on your tree, but they can also create a focal point on your dining table.  Grab a clear vase, and fill it up with some ornaments, and scatter a few around the base.  Don’t have that many ornaments?  Fill the center of the vase with crumbled tissue paper and push the ornaments around the paper, against the glass, but be sure you can’t really see the tissue paper from the outside.  It will look like you have 60 ornaments instead of 20.

    Don’t buy expensive napkin holders to only use for one month, make your own!  Take some ribbon and tie it around your napkins and adorn it with a small ornament and accent with a sprig of evergreen.  Are your dining chairs not festive enough for your pretty holiday table?  Take some thicker ribbon and tie a bow around the back of each chair.  You could also add some extra special flair to your chairs by again adding an ornament or bit of Christmas tree.  Don’t forget your chandelier over the table.  Add some touches of the season to your lighting fixture with some garland and intertwining red bows. Your guests marvel at your innovation!

    When it comes to creating an environment, you must take into account more than just your sense of sight.  Think about your sense of smell as well.  Yes, scented candles will do the trick, but the good ones can cost a pretty penny!  Grab some unscented candles from around your home and hit your spice rack! Scatter nutmeg and cinnamon sticks around the candles. Other ways to add scent is with extracts.  Vanilla and peppermint are popular holiday scents.  I would not suggest putting the extracts directly near the wick, because a number of extracts can be flammable.  Tie a ribbon around the base or scatter some rocks below, and put a few drops on that instead.  If you have a live tree, cut some twigs off the back of the tree and use the fresh pine to accent a display.  All of these scents will fill your home with the smell of the holidays.

    Do you have a corner in your home that just needs something?  Wrap some empty boxes with some pretty paper and bows, and stack them there.  You’ll be able to enjoy them longer than December 25th!  Is your guest bathroom not welcoming guests with the holiday spirit?  Don’t purchase a whole Christmas bath set.  Instead, drape some holly and a red bow or two around your mirror, and voila!

    Be creative this holiday season and your wallet will thank you!

    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    Staci M.

    Unique Event Design

  • 25 Nov 2009 8:36 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    It’s the most wonderful time of year again - the time when we all think about the ritual of holiday shopping. Instead of fighting the crowds at mega stores or limiting your gift choices to things that have cheap shipping from online stores, why not consider fulfilling your gift list by shopping from members of Workishopping.jpgng Women of Tampa Bay?

    After all, the holiday season is indeed entwined with the spirit of giving. When you support WWOTB members, you give your community a great holiday gift: a boost to the local economy. Your purchase is also helping make the season brighter for a fellow Working Woman of Tampa Bay

    We are helping spread Holiday Cheer this year with our Holiday Shopping Spree Contest. From Black Friday until December 20th, any WWOTB member who buys from (3) fellow members will get a virtual raffle ticket for a prize drawing. There will be more than 2 dozen amazing gifts including a $100 spa gift certificate given away on 12/21.

    To enter the contest, buy from (3) of our particpating vendors and tell them you are a WWOTB member. We will notify you on the night of the 20th what your virtual ticket number is and then we draw on the 21st. If you have any questions, e-mail us at

    Here's a list of participating vendors to choose from:

    Dawn Termani  Avon South Tampa

    Michelle Northrup – Intensity Academy

    Olga Carr – OAC Designs

    Robin Borland – Art Rob Studios

    Kathy Glenn – Pampered Chef

    Kathy Glenn - Special Thymes

    Luisa Mayer – Rodan & Fields

    Kristen Mory – Generations Yoga

    Suzin Carr - Illuminated Publishing

    Karen McCrae – Arbonne Tampa Bay

    Michelle Langlois – Edible Arrangements

    Ederle Greene - Sacred Glo

    Megan Henry – Vue Salon & Spa

    Janet Landis Long – Kookie Krums

    Ginger Rockey-Johnson – Mary Kay

    Rebekah Reidy – Fit 4 Fashion

    Joan Putrino – Silpada

    Stephanie Ensor – Flip Flop Embroidery

    Emily Shapiro – Body & Mind

    Melissa Gallagher – Healthy Being

    Billie Jo Grassinger – BiosLife

    Angelique Carter – Life Balance Management

    Krayl Funch – Event & Home Stylist

    Elena Minton – Talk of the Town

    Karen Rodowicz - JK Flowers

    Debra Dakin – In the Pink

    Suzanne Shamblin - Spa Hyde Park

    Jennifer Kenny – Tranzitions Salon

    Catalina Anderson – Makeup by Cat 

    Terri Long – Scentsy Candles

    Thanks to Chief Blogger, Megan Daniel for help with this blog! She'll be blogging more about The Holidays in coming weeks. Stay tuned!

  • 19 Nov 2009 11:06 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    Businesses are tightening their belts during this economic climate, but it’s important to show your thankfulness and gratitude to those clients, vendors, and co-workers twho help provide you with the means to put that turkey on your table.


    Here are some ideas for you to implement:

    • Holiday cards are a typical means to thank your clients and wish them a happy holiday season, but rather than sending out a stack of cards with a pre-printed signature, why not set aside some time and write a short note in each card. It will be meaningful to that individual, that you took the time to truly think of them.
    • Another option is to share the thoughtfulness and give to a cause that is close to their heart. If you have a client that runs in Race fgoody.jpgor the Cure every year, why not make a donation in her name to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
    •  To thank those loyal customers, have a special discount or offer that only they are eligible for. Also, be sure to give them last dibs before any price increases. They have been loyal to you and it’s the least you can do.
    • For those few very special clients take the time to personalize a gift for them.  For instance, if you know that Sandy is an avid golfer; give her a gift certificate to a local golf store. They will appreciate that you know them not only on a professional level, but also on a personal level
    • If you have had a great year, why not have a “Customer Appreciation” celebration. It can be as small as dinner at your location for a selected few, or a picnic at a local park, complete with food and activities.
    • However you decide to show your thankfulness, you don’t have to break the bank, just be creative. It’s true that it’s the thought that counts, so show them that you are thinking of them during this season of family and togetherness.

    Staci Mandikas is an Event Designer & Planner and owner of Unique Event Design, LLC. She's been planning everything from weddings to corporate events, for more than three years. Learn more about her online.

  • 02 Nov 2009 8:26 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    You are probably familiar with Microsoft Office, the uber-popular productivity suite in use by many of today’s businesses.  What you may not know, though, is how effective the program is when put to full use, and how it can impact you and your business specifically.

    MS Office is sold in four different “flavors,” but the most basic Standard version comes with Outlook (for e-mail), Excel (for spreadsheets), PowerPoint (for presentations), and Word (for documents).  The Microsoft Website offers a convenient comparison page so you can analyze the different versions, including features and cost.

    Each of the different modules offered within the Office suite deserves an entire blog in and of itself, but today we’ll focus on just the basics of Outlook, which happens to be my personal favorite.

    The Outlook website states:  Office Outlook 2007 provides an integrated solution to help you better manage your time and information. What does that mean for you, exactly?  It means that Outlook provides you, the time-starved-multi-hat-wearing-woman the tools necessary to manage your e-mail, calendars, notes, contacts, tasks and more in one convenient location.  One location, that is, unless you are interested in mobile access.  Yes, you can take it with you!  For example, I use the calendar feature of Outlook to track both of my kids school activities/days off, after school events, holidays, work commitments, jewelry parties, bill paying, doctor appointments, and even gratitude e-mail reminders.

    I classify each event within its appropriate category and then assign it a specific color so that I can see how my month (or day, or week) looks at a glance.  I can also create multiple calendars and overlay them, one on top of the other, in order to keep separate calendars but see all events in a given time-period.  I can then set up my iTouch to synch with Outlook (including contacts, mail, etc) in order to have my calendar with me at all times.

    As if the basics of Outlook weren’t exciting enough on their own, if you take into consideration the various add-ins available, a whole new world of improved organization opens up to you.  Two add-ins that I regularly use include Evernote and MAPILab’s Attachments Processor.  Evernote is a free add-in which among other things allows you to take any bit of information found in an e-mail, or on a calendar item, and organize it effortlessly.  The Attachments Processor is a handy add-in for those who get many (or very large) attachments, and are concerned about mail files growing too large too quickly.  There are add-ins compatible with Outlook for just about anything that you could imagine having a need for, and many are available to download for free.

    What we’ve covered today doesn’t even begin to do justice to the tools available just within Outlook itself, but it may whet your whistle a bit.  If you’re interested in more information regarding Outlook specifically or Office in general, the Microsoft Office website is a great place to start researching.  Have fun with it, productivity tools don’t have to be boring!

    Connect with Angel Sullivan on Facebook.


  • 30 Oct 2009 10:11 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    cartoon_ghost_copy_zcth.jpgThis year, Halloween festivities are tainted by the ghastly pallor of something truly frightening lurking in the shadows: a deadly pandemic flu.  But don’t let this very scary threat spoil your fun.  With a little bit of extra precaution, you can safely celebrate the day of the dead without you yourself becoming a casualty.

    It is not necessary to trade in your monster mask for a surgical mask, although I suspect doctor costumes will be a very popular choice this year.  The Centers for Disease Control  gives some good practical advice:  if you are very ill, running a fever, or have a bad cough, you should stay home!  You might miss out on the party this year, but you will be preventing others from sharing in your misery. 

    The CDC even has a special page dedicated to Halloween germ safety.  There they have information about how to protect yourself from both the H1N1 virus as well as the standard seasonal flu.  You can even send animated “Don’t Be Afraid of Halloween” e-cards to your friends and relatives that include germ safety tips.  One way you can help prevent the spread of germs this holiday is to place candy directly into the bags of eager trick-or-treaters, instead of letting them grab from your candy bowl.

    The most potent protection against any type of flu is to get vaccinated.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, and if you must scratch or rub your face, using your knuckle rather than your fingertip is a more sanitary option.  Wash your hands with soap and hot water as often as possible throughout your day.  Avoid sharing utensils and cups.  In addition, the CDC suggests that you avoid kissing, if at all possible. 

                Remember that hand sanitizer is not necessarily for the purpose of protecting yourself from germs.  Using it will protect others from picking up any germs you may be spreading.  If you cough or sneeze into your hands, do sanitize them before you touch anything.  Consider it a part of your daily commitment to social responsibility.

    All sanitizers are not created equal: make sure you read the label.  Select one that uses alcohol rather than triclosan as its active ingredient.  Only alcohol (or bleach) will kill the flu virus.  My personal preference is alcohol wipes, because they come in convenient individually wrapped packets that fit easily into even the smallest purse or pocket.  I have also noticed that many pharmacies now offer alcohol based hand sanitizer in a variety of pleasing scents.  You can also usually find a soothing lavender scented hand sanitizer in the baby care aisle. 

    Even though the old tradition of bobbing for apples may now be a thing of the past, many Halloween traditions still live on.  If you are thinking about giving out bottles of hand sanitizer this year instead of candy, you can expect to fall victim to another time honored tradition: egging. 

    You can connect with Megan Daniel on Facebook.


  • 19 Oct 2009 8:24 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    In 1953, Congress enacted the Small Business Administration with the passage of the Small Business Act.  If your business could use a helping hand, an SBA loan is something you should consider. Even if you aren’t necessarily looking for a loan, offers a multitude of important information any business can benefit from.   


    Contrary to popular belief, an SBA loan isn’t something specifically for people looking to start a new business, but is more so to help fund new businesses that  need help getting established.  SBA loans offer longer repayment periods and less strict affordability requirements than normal commercial business loans.  A very popular use of SBA loans is for commercial mortgages on buildings, because unlike most bank programs, borrowers are not required to refinance every five years.


    So how do you get started?  First, spend some time familiarizing yourself with their website.  Then, go apply for business loans at private banks.  I know this sounds contradictory, but before seeking an SBA loan, you must first provide the SBA proof that you can't get a loan from a private source.  You must be turned down for a loan by at least two different banks before you can apply.  If you live in a rural area, one turn down might be enough.


    Once you are rejected (don’t take it personally), ask your banker if they would grant you the loan under SBA's loan guarantee plan, or if they would work in conjunction with the SBA on a loan.  If your banker is interested, ask if they will contact them using the SBA’s hotline number, which is 1-800-827-5722, to discuss your application.


    If your bank is just not interested in working with you, then you'll have to apply directly to SBA for a loan on their website.  You'll be required to fill out the SBA loan application, and submit other forms designed to help SBA assess the soundness of your business.  You will need to write a business plan, a statement of personal history, and a monthly cash flow projection.  Although this may sound daunting, the website will walk you through completing these documents with ease.


    After you have submitted your application packet, SBA will evaluate your request to determine your chances of success.  If you plan on operating the business by managing all the day-to-day details on your own, that's an important plus.  Another aspect that will help tip the scales in your favor is if the business will be your sole source of income.  The SBA figures that you'll work that much harder at keeping the business afloat if your family’s livelihood depends on it. 


    The SBA will also look at your ability to repay the loan.  They will look over your credit history, and although it won’t preclude you altogether, if you have a bankruptcy on record or a default of another loan, your application will receive an extra level of attention that may considerably slow down the process. The most important thing to remember is not to give up.  Don't count yourself out no matter how weak your financial condition may currently seem.  


    This program was designed to help American business grow - including yours.  Even if you aren’t looking for a loan right now, the SBA also offers several management assistance programs that could prove to be very valuable.  Don’t be afraid to take advantage of everything Uncle Sam has to offer! 


  • 05 Oct 2009 10:15 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    Chances are by now you’ve heard of the phrase “The Law of Attraction.” The concept has been made popular by the hit movie, “The Secret.” Even Oprah has shared her thoughts on the topic. When it comes to business, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.  It’s all about keeping an open mind and an attitude of thankful expectation.

    There are many exercises for playing with this law. One involves thinking of a particular object or experience (something small to begin with). Put all of your focus on it. I used a very juicy & ripe tomato when I tried this the first time. Picture it in your mind’s eye with as much detail (and using as many senses) as possible. Once you’ve vividly imagined your test item in detail for a few minutes, let it go. Don’t think about it again… Just be aware. My tomato showed up for me within a couple of days. It was on the side of a large semi-truck, advertising the restaurant: Sweet Tomatoes.

    So, now you’re excited by the idea… you’re probably wondering how you can use it in your life and in your business, right? You can use a vision board to picture a goal you’ve got for yourself and/or your business. Click here for an example. There’s also an amazing digital vision board – for free – on Oprah’s website. You can combine the use of the vision board with the exercise above and your own imagination. There are so many amazing tools available, for those who are interested. Once you start practicing, I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the ‘coincidences’ that start coming your way.

    My best advice: keep an open mind, express your gratitude on a daily basis, then watch and wait with wonder as your life and business begin to shift!”

    Angel Sullivan

    “A Grateful Heart; A Joyful Life”

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