16 posts categorized "Interviews with Leaders of Women's Groups"

February 02, 2011

Influential Moms or Business Women?

Ironic Dot connecting this morning...

  • Dot 1 -- At what point will women cross from "Influencer" to "Shrewd Business Woman"  in multi-book author, Maria Bailey's Media Post article she lists several of these Mom Influencers and their accomplishments. All reach thousands each week. As a "media" they are considered highly successful, but because they are Moms, they are known as "influencers." Full article here. I wonder what a girl has to do to be seen as a business first...
Trisha Novotry, known online as 24/7 Mom
Andrea Deckard, known online as the founder of www.Savingslifestyle.com.
Lisa Druxman, founder of Stroller Strides.
Pamela Nagata, coordinator for Sandiegoparent.com.
Molly Gold, founder of Go Mom Inc    on her live show on MomTV.com  
  • Dot 2 -- A report just out researching who gets venture capital money. The conclusion of the research? When the business model was lead by a man, it was given more recognition and funding. When the exact same business model was lead by a woman, the funding was more likely to be denied. That's sad news for 6.5 million women-owned firms. 

(thanks to Yvonne for finding this 2009 study) Kimberly Weisul, writing on BNET, says, "...new research from the University of Utah Kaufman Firm on Entrpreneurship lends weight to the argument that discrimination is at work. After studying the reactions of 222 MBA students to different founding teams, researchers Robert Wuebker and Lyda Bigelow found that even though the personal qualifications and the firm financials were identical no matter the gender of the CEO, women-led firms were seen as having a poorer strategic position, and female founders were perceived as less capable."

Connecting the dots - woman are coveted for their ability to grow out these massive sectors of influence, sometimes without money or power but by the shear force of their personalities and yet -- they are given less financial respect than those who have to buy their way to influence. Go figure. 

Who would you trust with your investments -- someone who is trying to buy your affection through a business model or someone who has the same business model AND the ability to grow a base of support? It's time for the money lenders to start looking at opportunities the same way business is looking for influencers.

There is a revolution going on in more places than Egypt...


October 19, 2010

"Living Downstream" - the Documentary Every Parent Must See

My thanks to Karen Hanrahan for flagging this important film Living Downstream by scientist, Sandra Steingraber Ph.D. Screen shot 2010-10-19 at 7.39.57 AM

While we face the dangers of climate change and not enough water, this film demonstrates the issues we face in the water we have left -- even our fresh rain, falling from the sky, contains chemicals other than H2O, resting water has up to 66 chemicals.

That's not good for us or the planet. It's why we all need to understand and support sustainable standards around how our products are made throughout the supply chain. 


May 28, 2010

Jill Konrath and Sales Sisters are Breaking the Sales Book Ceiling

Screen shot 2010-05-28 at 11.20.55 AM Friend and big company sales expert, Jill Konrath has done it again, she has a top sales book on Amazon along with Linda Richardson and Andrea Walz. 

Jill is dead on with SNAP Selling, I've pitched thousands over the past 35 years; those on the other side of the desk were making snap decisions long before the Internet shorten their attention span even further. 

I can't wait to read her book, Jill always delivers fresh approaches that work in today's environment. I'm going to take advantage of the download freebies here as well.  

Congrats. Go Girls!

#1 SNAP Selling, Jill Konrath

#2 Sales Coaching, Linda Richardson

#3 Perfect Selling, Linda Richardson

#12 Selling to Big Companies, Jill Konrath

#20 Getting to No, Andrea Walz

April 29, 2010

In Women We Trust: Lynn Tilton

Lynn Tilton puts her money where her mouth is - LOTS of money - about $7 billion give or take a million. 

I never heard of her until last week, and this week I can't get her words or her mission out of my mind. Here she is on EconoWatch in 2008 at $5 billion and 30 companies, today she has 70 billion invested in her Patriarch Partners group in companies from helicopters to Spiegel Catalog.

Lynn is focused on saving good companies with a solid structure, who may have lost their way, from being chopped up and sold in pieces. She has taken her ideas to Wall Street and Congress and now is taking them directly to the street - main street to be precise.

Saving America's self-esteem one company and job at a time is something I can get behind.


And here she is a year later on Power Lunch a little blonder, bolder and a few billion bigger. She has a plan for saving companies and jobs with her SMERescue, for small and midsized businesses.


October 13, 2009

Sustainable Standards: What are the Consumer's Opinions?

On October 1, Wal Mart asked its 100,000 suppliers to fill out 15 questions relating to their sustainability. It was just a request, but in doing so it set an expectation of what is to come - manufacturers will be expected to answer harder and harder questions about their sustainable attributes. Wal Mart and its BBFs (Big Box Friends) have created a consortium to set a Sustainable Index for the world.

I have a question for Wal Mart, why aren't consumers part of your consortium? They don't have $250,000 for the entry fee or even the $25,000 you're asking the small businesses to pay, they've been priced out, yet consumers are 100% of the retail consortium's buyer base. Don't their opinions count? Shouldn't the buyers of your products get a say in helping you form this developing standard with global implications? [the entry fee has been lowered since this was published - MH 11.1.09]

This month's Green Mom Carnival was inspired by this gap in communications. What do the carnivalites think about Wal Mart's and friends Sustainability Index? When should we have standards and what do we want included? 

NEW Beth Terry on Fake Plastic Fiswas late to the carnival, but her post is so on-target with the concerns and issues that this retail consortium's creates. If you have one post to read, read her's. Then read the rest and get the background and additional viewpoints. Wal Mart is right about one thing, this is bigger than just them - it's about all of us

Eco Baby Steps did a bang up job of defining what standards, certifications, seals and more are and are not. Start with this blog to get your base of operations on this confusing world of standards. 

Katy at Non-Toxic Kids just submitted her post explaining the consortium players and connections. Because it goes hand-in-hand with the above, I'm adding her to the top of the submissions.

Over on Citizen Green the subject of having a standard for green events is addressed. I'm with ya. Have you ever seen a street after the parade or attended a trade show? The pile of leftover litter is so unnecessary. Be sure to catch her tip list before you manage your next event. 

Ambejoins as newbie this month to the Green Mom Carnival, her first post on Wal Mart's Sustainability Index can be found here. Her readers had a very strong pro/con reaction, some even thought that Wal Mart planted responses! 

Karen has her say over over on Best of Mother Earth. You remember Karen, she's the one who ranted about a 12 year old McDonald's hamburger that never rotted and the post went viral? In this post she expresses the skepticism and fear many of us feel about standards and their ilk. 

Diane on Big Green Purse has been a strong advocate of standards for years. Her summary will make you think twice about the labels you follow now. She wants the standards that do stand the test of public opinion to be meaningful. 

Erin adds a very poignant view and coordinating story that brings home the message of engagement and participation in the new standards - read it for a look inward at yourself. 

One of the originators of the Green Mom Carnival, Lynn (Organicmania), extends the conversation on the lack of consumer participation in the sustainability index. Lynn's a long time supporter of the Wal Mart sustainability direction, read her reaction here.  

This is a very globe reaching subject. My thanks to the women who take their high standards seriously and hope that the retail giants of the world do as well. Please visit their thoughtful posts and leave your comments. 

December 17, 2008

Ask Patty gets an "O"vation

OprahA quick congrats to gal pal Jody Devere for getting an article into "O" magazine this month. I'll have to go out and pick up a copy this weekend, the winter tips will help me as I head back to Michigan for Christmas.

How did she do it? By just being Jody and working hard at making Ask Pattya meaningful site for women and car dealers who want to do a better job serving us. She didn't pitch Oprah or her media crew in fact it was quite the opposite, they found Jody online.

I had called Jody to thank her for listing In Women We Trust on her top 10 Women Empowerment blogs list (kisses!) when she gave me the news.   

Since I'm heading back to motor mecca, I had to ask how things were going in her auto world. She reported that times are tough for car dealers as a species, they went from 21,000+ to 19,000 ish this past year, but she's making sure that the surviving dealers know that those who put their time into serving women better will come out of the recession ok.

I can echo that. Listen up dealers, soft skills are just as important as quoting MPG stats.

Congratulations Jody - I hope you become a regular feature.

March 31, 2008

The Power of the Big Green Purse


It's getting to be such a small green world out there. I opened up my Green Biz email today and in the top section, my friend Coral Rose is linked to for her Organic cotton info. The next block of copy featured Diane MacEachern who is on tour with her new book, "Big Green Purse." While in San Francisco she met up with an old acquaintance, Joel Makower the co-founder of Greener World Media. The following is their conversation covering Diane's recommendations she gives to women consumers who want a greener world. You can catch the full interview over on Green Biz Radio. 

Even thought I've featured Diane many times, hearing her talk is something to experience. She makes me feel like anything is possible and if we just approach in a calm, methodical way, we can change things for the better. It's an insightful conversation at how to think about green products from both a consumer and a manufacturer's point of view. 

February 23, 2008

BIG GREEN PURSE, the most important book your book club will read this year

It was 4 am and I opened Big Green Purse and read, Big_green_purse_book_2 "Did you make a cup of tea or throw in a load of laundry before starting to read this book"? I laughed out loud, that's exactly what I had done. How did she know? Perhaps that's why women like listening to Diane, she knows how women work.

"She" is Diane MacEachern the author of Big Green Purse who I met for the first time last month. I already knew her from our virtual connections and was impressed with her ability to synthesize the scientific with the pragmatic when it comes to making our lives more green. Her book, Big Green Purse brilliantly blends the two, providing the HOW TO's that you don't see anywhere else with stories that burn a visual into your brain.

Take Chapter 1 where she asks, "If it can happen to an alligator, can it happen to your son"? The alligator has survived 80 million years and yet pesticides are messing with his personal parts making mating "out of reach" per se.  This is happening because of pesticides in the alligator's water.

The same exposure is there for babies, she explains how babies can accumulate these dangerous chemicals quickly. "When corrected for body weight, it's as if an adult were to drink seven liters of water or thirty-five cans of soda daily." She then she lists off off the chemicals found in breast milk.The Mom's over at MomsRising, and BlogHer know that last issue well.

So what do we do? Go after the government? Diane's lived in DC the majority of her adult life and has been an environmental advocate for 40 years. She outlines why policies to protect us have failed or never were initiated. That leaves it up to us to make the changes that force the issues back on the companies causing our system breakdowns in the first place, and to do it quickly.

Maceachern_torso Like many "tip books" this one is packed, but it comes with context and real life experiences - that's the motivating difference for me. Before a product or service was given a thumb's up, it had to pass the "Diane test" which is harder than anything the EPA could dish out. The test is a combination of what is scientific fact with personal use with the bigger environmental impact. Products get a thumbs up or down and the reader gets to learn why Diane made that decision and often times get an inside look at Diane's own test site - her home.

Products will evolve, but knowing how to evaluate them won't. This book is an entertaining way to rewire your personal spending habits while educating yourself on the bigger issues. Big Green Purse is a "must read, save, refer to" book that will get us through the next critical decision making years. It's filled with links and ideas for gardeners, nutritionists, designers and business alike.

Bgp_circlePerhaps the #1 link that Diane offers, however, is linking to each other. If Big Green Purse is the "Green Bible for Individuals" then Big Green Purse the website is the church where we can join together and commit to a greener lifestyle and planet. The Million Women Pledge to swap $1000 of everyday buying habits to green buying habits, will have a Billion dollar impact. When buyers tell sellers what they want on such an open forum, that's all we need to create a tipping point for change.

If you are in a book club or are starting a group like Eco Moms, this is one book that you'll be discussing for a long time.

June 01, 2007

INSIDE BlogHer with Lisa Stone, President, Operations and Evangelism

Lisa_stone_2What is the sound of 1000 women blogging? We'll find out on July 27th on Chicago's Navy Pier. As one of BlogHer's three founders, Lisa Stone gave me an indication of what's set for the summer meeting. At the same time, she provides tips for companies now turning to bloggers for word of mouth advertising.

MARY: Companies are trying to understand the women's market as well as social media. As a mega blogger and also a moderator of the BlogHer Ad network; what key issues perk to the top of conversations over and over. What can companies learn from them if they want to be best friends with these outspoken women?

LISA: What do women online want from companies? I recommend that companies ask, don't tell. Companies who want to establish great relationships with women online will spend most of their time listening.

Effective companies will appreciate -- or be willing to learn -- that women who blog don't fit a single stereotype by subject or budget. The 9,000-plus blogs in BlogHer's growing blog directory are proof that women are writing about everything under the sun. Successful companies will also restrain themselves from SPAMing women online with commercial messages we didn't ask for. Instead, I recommend any enterprise -- from media initiatives to consumer products -- directly support bloggers and what interests us. Sponsor our blogs. Be respectful about the types of advertising you bring to blogs (hit the monkey? no thanks). Ask us to join your conversation on a blog too. Just be sure to tell online consumers:
Who you are
What you're doing
Why you're doing it

Transparency is the key to the social media queendom. And because women are the power users of Web 2.0, I use that term deliberately.

Mary, thanks but I don't deserve the compliment. BlogHer is now a full-fledged start-up and my work with Elisa Camahort, Jory Des Jardins and the entire community keeps me from writing as often as I'd like. These days I'm more of a mega-commenter! I look forward to writing more soon.

MARY: I have to commend BlogHer for having a code of conduct before anyone else. The code, loose that it is, helps new bloggers understand what's expected without denying them their free speech. Now that the Kathy Sierra story has had time to settle, do you think bloggers at large will become kinder or be more angry? Will there always be a need for a sanctuary, like BlogHer for women to gather and share ideas?

LISA: We launched our community hub on January 30, 2006 with the existing Community Guidelines in place. Our decision to do so was very deliberate: We wanted to create a place where women who blog could mix it up, but without having to deal with speech that is abusive, threatening or harassing. We felt we owed that to the community. We also ban plagiarism, libel and if anyone uses our site to violate some third party's privacy, that is unacceptable. The guidelines have served us well, and we believe that every blogger and every site has the right to set policies for their own site and community, and only that community can come up with the guidelines that are appropriate. That's why I don't think one-size-fits-all guidelines cannot be determined or enforced by an outside force.

I'd like to point out, though, that what happened to Kathy, while not an isolated incident online, reflects a microcosm of society -- not the blogosphere. Every medium has been used for hate speech and violence against women in particular.  Look at what happened when humans developed the printing press: First, we printed the bible. Next, we printed pornography. Bottom line: Blogs are a tool, and the media produced by bloggers will be as diverse as human conversation. Some of it is precious, some of it is garbage. I personally love the diversity available in free expression.

MARY: In that same theme - on your personal blog, you quote Gail Sheehy, "Women's liberation is not the end...it is the beginning of a lot of work. There is a whole world out there that needs to be totally transformed so that women and men can create, desire, build and play..." How do you see BlogHer transforming the world? Will BlogHer try to unify the voices say, on global warming? Or, in the self organizing nature of the blogosphere, would you ever survey all BlogHer members to get their psychographic profile? It crosses the line of letting individuals be individuals, but it also would show what their collective conscious looks like.

LISA: Absolutely. In fact, in time for BlogHer '07, we're working on a project to galvanize and support BlogHers who want to work together to transform the world. The combination of committed women and social media tools is pretty powerful, as many women in this community have proven! But we need a few more weeks before we can say anything else.

Indeed, we do survey our community, our conference attendees, our editors, our ad network members often, to try to get a pulse for where the community wants to lead us. That certainly doesn't mean we all agree...far from it, women who blog span the spectrum of ideologies on every subject...but we believe very strongly in "Don't tell, ask" as the way to get a clearer picture of what our community wants. We maintain this philosophy whether building conference programing or choosing public service announcements to run on the BlogHer Ad Network. And not every member wants all of those things, so we create a lot of different opportunities, and let the individual BlogHer choose which to pursue. BlogHer's Mission is to create opportunities for women bloggers to pursue education, exposure, community and economic empowerment.

MARY: While women bloggers have different interests, they all buy stuff. Do you think the women bloggers know how much power they  have in the market when they blog pro or con about a company? Do you do give an orientation to your BlogAd network when they join?

LISA: Women who blog are becoming much more aware of their power as influential consumers, mostly because they're being approached by companies on a regular basis. The primary guideline we give to our BlogHer Ad Network members is that they absolutely cannot accept money or merchandise in exchange for a blog post (whether positive or negative). Our commitment to our advertisers includes assuring them that their ad won't be appearing on what is, essentially, another ad. There are lot of advertorial opportunities available to bloggers right now, and we pride ourselves on making it quite clear where the lines are drawn between advertising and editorial on all of our member blogs.

MARY: BlogHer started as a way to connect like minded women and get their words posted on the Internet cave wall. Last year you had 4000 members, this year you're topping 9,000. How do you hope to keep the spirit of connectiveness alive? How do you envision BlogHer's direction (and maybe purpose) going forward? Any more formal women-helping-women things like what you offered for first time bloggers last year?

LISA: I think my partner Elisa Camahort said it best in 2005, when she described our first BlogHer conference as "the conference the community built." We work every day to embody that spirit. Our goal is to continue to be the best listeners we can be, so that we can use community feedback to shape BlogHer's priorities. We've been listening hard this spring, and that's why we're at work on a redesign of the BlogHer Community Hub and we're planning to re-open BlogHer's Ad Network to new subscribers this summer. We're also eager to dig into this activism initiative and continue to advocate for women, online and off. BlogHer started as a labor of love -- and now that we're two quarters into our third year, with three community-driven businesses designed to raise the profile of women who blog, we feel we're only just beginning.

MARY:  I'm looking forward to this July's meeting on Chicago's Navy Pier. How are you going to top last summer's gathering in San Jose?

LISA: That, Mary, will be up to BlogHer attendees! BlogHer's conferences are what the attendees make them -- and I anticipate great things from BlogHer '07. Here's a taster for Day One and Day Two. Every year our attendees make us smarter, giving us feedback that leads us to add more content and add nuance about how we present it. This year our technical track is going to be more gloriously geeky, featuring hands-on lab segments on Day Two such as Food Photography. We're also providing professional training that bloggers have asked for, such as media training for television and print interviews, and speaker training. And of course, with November 2008 less than 18 months away, our Politics track is going to focus on action...particularly on how to get more women voting, and how to get politicians and the media talking more about the issues women care about, regardless of their ideological stripe, such as the environment, healthcare and Iraq. We continue to bring new voices to BlogHer, and we have a lot left to announce, including some really exciting activities. It's summer by the lakeshore in Chicago; frankly, the better question might be: how will we top it next year!

MARY: I have no doubt you will top it next year for the very reason you gave earlier, you "ask, members what they want to do next, vs. telling them."

See you in a month!

April 26, 2007

"900 Car Dealers ASK PATTY How to Become More Female-Friendly

Jody_devere I first met Jody DeVere, the President of Ask Patty, a year ago. I joked that I'll know when this "Marketing to Women" thing is working if car sales people become female-friendly. Thanks to Jody and thousands of her new best friends, the car industry is turning in the right direction. Over 900 dealers are interested in learning how to better serve women customers. Thank YOU "Patty"! (Patty, by the way, is a persona for all women)
If anyone knows cars and women, it's Jody. She is the President of the Woman’s Automotive Association International, the premier women’s organization for women automotive professionals, a member of the Car Care Council Women's Board, a member of the California State Advisory Board for SkillsUSA, Chairperson of the United Spinal Motor Sports Committee, and a member of the SEMA Businesswomen's Networking Association
Askpatty_logo She launched Ask Patty  May 21, 2006 as a way to help  women through their car buying and servicing angst.  The site started as a blog with a few links to experts who could answer questions. It's gone from a handful of women logging onto the site, to thousands coming through daily. Traffic has been increasing by 40% each month.
Some of the new traffic comes from word of mouth or promotions, but most of it comes from having excellent user-friendly and useful content. If you haven't visited recently, besides answers to your most car challenging questions, you'll find:
My Car Page. Log in your car and Ask Patty will send you reminders on when to get your car serviced based on manufacturer recommendations.  Jody told me, "Those recommendations really are mandatory for the car. Even if you don't drive it often, oil still breaks down, parts dry out and wheels start going flat."

Find Your Dream Car (without the pain and suffering shopping clause) Women can configure exactly what they want in a car and send out a Request For Quote. That puts them in the purchasing driver's seat.

• A $50,000 automotive Shopping spree. Is a new car out of your price range? Until July, you can take a chance at being able to pay cash for that dream car. [Did I fill out the form? You bet!]

• Ask Patty has a Second Life. If you're not one of the 5 million people who are already part of Second Life's virtual world, click here to be teleported inside. (You'll have to create your own fake version of yourself before being able to virtually walk around, but that's the fun of it.)
Out of all the offerings, what has the most traffic?
"About 80% of our questions are on repair and service issues," say Jody. "Women are coming in for reassurance that they are doing the right thing. We're more of a third base coach in that respect.  The second most popular spot are the Frequently Asked Questions section. We're not a complaint site," she stressed, " we're a problem solving site. Dealers need to grow in how they in how to better serve women, but women need to learn how to take better care of their cars as well. They can't ignore regular maintenance and then blame the dealership when things break down."
What about the green issues. Is Ask Patty tracking them? "I'm impressed with what GM is doing," Jody responded, "They just brought in Beth Lowery as the VP of Environment and Energy.  She's responsible for everything up and down the food chain and GM's dedicated a whole site to the sustainable movement." [That means that not only is the car "green" but they are working at making the entire system for producing that car sustainable.]
What's down the road for Ask Patty?
"This summer we're  launching a feature for employment in the Auto industry. We've partnered with auto schools and universities and also dealerships," says Jody. "Jobs in the car industry are good, high paying jobs and with the increase in women buying car related service, women are also sought after as new hires." [73% of the people going through Service are women] 
She continued, "These 2-year, vocational programs are a great place to start an automotive career, whether it's on the tech side, sales or management. A master tech in LA can make over $100,000 without doing the heavy lifting. Cars are getting less greasy and more computerized."
Jody’s been a busy women. All that in less than a year because she knows how to leverage the power of women sincerely helping women in the marketplace. With her leadership, she is helping women, change products, change services and literally change the world.
What are the take aways from this?
1. If you're a women getting ready to buy a car, everything you will ever need to know going in and going forward is available to you on Ask Patty. You'll never have to wonder if you made the right decision.
2. If you're a marketer in a traditional field and wondering how to break into Social Media, follow Jody's lead. Get out there and mix with women's groups. Never dismiss any individual woman as being too "small" to talk to, you’ll never know who they know or what they'll write on their blog.
3. If car sales people are throwing away the plaid suit coat stigma, what is your company's sales force willing to do to earn the trust of their women customers?

In Jody We Trust!