Announcements & Blog

Burn The Boat

In ancient times of war commanders would order their soldiers to burn their boats on the enemy’s shores as a signal to incoming sailors that the soldiers were going to win the war or die trying with no chance of retreat. Check out this video about Hernando Cortez who decided to take a chance; burn the boats.

In our lives we like to create options or a ‘plan B’ just in case something goes awry. While this is the intelligent decision, consequently it creates room for error that never allows you or a team to reach full potential. The reason we cling to these ‘safety boats’ is due a fear based on experience and the personification of it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Again this is the intelligent thing to do, especially as a business owner. However we have to create environments where every once in a while you must throw caution to the wind and go for it.  I’ve spoken about how a good indicator of proper leadership is knowing that your team will follow you over a cliff. Burning ‘your boat’ is similar, except this time everyone’s livelihoods, passions, and personal intentions are at stake; essentially the plan must work or you’ll die trying.

Burn the ego 

The most frightening thing for a CEO or independent business is to not have a project live up to their vision. Just because you plan and visualize for something, does not mean that is how it will turn out; get over it. It is infuriating when things do not fit into the ‘vision boat’ because the vision is perfect in your mind and anything less or different is unacceptable. When you take on a project it is important to put everything into your ‘vision boat’ then burn it. Let me say it again, put everything in your vision boat and burn it; because the result of lowering the expectation of perfection will create room for creativity, a lesson, and ultimately lower your anxiety about anything being perfect. Stop feeding your ego with the “We are the best” mentality because that is toxic enough to sink any boat.  Move forward with “We can deliver” to burn your ego and create something withstanding.

Die trying

As mentioned it is always good to have a back up plan. However consider this: If your business has not grown, because you have not taken a chance you are failing. This is called the Complacency Boat.  Businesses should always grow whether that is in tactics, offerings, staff specialties, and upward movement for all employees. When Cortez decided to storm the beach and get the treasure he essentially said we are going to do this or die trying. In a business sense, this does not mean you actually die, it means you are putting everything on the line because you are expecting it to be successful. Thus burning the Complacency Boat. But what if the Die Trying boat goes up in flames and you are stuck on the island of What Now? A true leader will pick up the pieces that are left from the boat and build a house on the island that would be named New Ideas. Not many people will remain after the Die Trying boat goes up in flames. That is alright. As the house of new ideas is being built continue to build more Vision Boats that will travel to a safe complacency island, pillage the island for more new ideas and strategies, burn the vision boat, and be prepared to reemerge as a force that will succeed or die trying; then rise again.




Peace Be With the Fallen Hero

Not everyone is suited to be an entrepreneur, most definitely stay out of that lane if you are not built for it. However everyone is capable to command their own lives. Sometimes it means breaking and bending rules, but you are your own first priority. Former first lady Michelle Obama recently spoke at The Essence Festival about how women must put themselves on their own priority list, because we have a bad habit of putting everyone else first. As a woman I can agree with this, but to an extent. Only because this is not just a woman issue, it is a super-hero syndrome issue. At times we feel that we must conquer all of our issues and others too, because we’re ‘capable’ of doing so. Eventually your emotions, mental state, and body will run aground and who wants to deal with a broken hero? It is important not to allow everyone’s need of you to replace the appreciation and love for yourself. Essentially, we must learn to say NO.


Working on a team or having a group of ‘complicated’ friends and relatives can be easily compared to the worst group project of the century. There are people 5 types of people in a group project: The Face; they show up and speak with conviction on matters they know nothing about, The Whiner; they whine about everything including the smallest of tasks, The Grinder; they take care of everything to keep everyone on track with little to no help, The Charlie-Come-Lately; they show up in spurts and are amazing when they are there, and The Pumpkin Head; full of hallow ideas, boisterous, and have no follow through.  Whether in the professional realm or personal life there will be one of these people always coming to The Grinder for advice, to save them in their crisis, or to criticize you for not doing either. The Face will act as if they have it all together, but in truth they don’t and The Grinder will have to pay for it. The Whiner will never be satisfied by any word of advice or direct action because they are lazy and entitled. The Charlie-Come-Lately can be a good ally at times, however they are as unreliable as everyone else, when The Grinder needs help themselves. And finally the The Pumpkin Head will always talk about making major moves, helping out the Grinder, or others and then disappear when they are needed most.

Being a Grinder has one major flaw, they gain fulfillment by being the the ‘go-to’ person even if it leaves them mentally destitute. Being able to handle everyone’s problems is not a gift. It is a charge that no one should take on fully. Separate yourself from people who will ultimately bring you to an emotional demise because they themselves are mentally and emotionally destitute.


In the military, Radio Silence is used to stop possible  communication interference or interception by an enemy. It is also used by sea captains to make sure they can hear faint distress signals. Both are needed in your life if you are going to take command of your peace. I have a colleague and friend who seems like she has 8 arms to manage everything within her business and personal life, will call her Serena. Serena would seemingly have it all together and for the most part she does. However there are times when anxiety takes over and her body shuts down ; distress signal. Unfortunately there have been moments where she’s had to power through ‘the distress signal’ and people will either pick up on it and see it as a weakness or it would interfere with her communication to others. Serena’s circumstance is not uncommon, however the solution is…go silent. When you are managing a lot in your life, even if it is beneficial, it does not negate the fact that you need to take a break for your mental space.  Have the courage to say no, turn off the phone, get off social media, don’t respond to the email and be with yourself. In this space you can recognize what is and what is not working to your benefit or you can just be silent. In this silence no one can penetrate your emotions or mind with their issues or emergencies. This is for work and your personal life, because sometimes the careers we have and people we love can wear us out as well.


There will be a lot of people in your life that will guilt you into doing things for them, but they won’t shed a tear when you’re gone. When you are dead, in the proverbial or literal sense, the same people who have demanded your time, attention, and energy without reciprocation will not cry at your demise. There are three types of people at a funeral : The Wailers; they are slightly upset but are there to be seen in a dramatic fashion, The Vase; these people send flowers with a generic card and not their presence, and The Crier; the people who know and care for you and silently plead for your reemergence even though it’s unlikely.

Let’s say you are proverbially dead (career tanked, desperate situations, health crises etc) and you are crying out for help. A Wailer will announce publicly how terrible they feel for you, pry to get more gossip,  and do nothing to assist your reemergence. A Vase may contact you to critique your “funeral”, offer generic advice or words of comfort and disappear until you are useful to them again. These are the people that use up most of your energy and resources like the Face, Whiner, and Pumpkin Head. However the Crier will always speak life over your situation because they genuinely care, are Grinders themselves, and want to win as a team.

Do yourself a favor and take off your cape. Make peace with the fact that you said no to being everyone’s hero. Ultimately the person you need to save first and always is yourself.


Nobody Wants To Leave Their Baby With A Stranger : The Trust Pact Between Clients & Contractors

Entrepreneurs. CEOs. Mom-preneurs. Dad-preneurs. Artists. Contractors. Whatever title you hold, your brand and business is your baby and no one wants to leave their baby with a stranger. Who is a stranger? A stranger by definition is someone you do not know. A stranger as defined in business is someone who has not proven their worth through work ethic and skills; and that is scary when you are rebranding or getting your business off the ground and they are yelling ‘pick me!’. It is no secret that there are some very crafty scam artist who will display all of their skills and ‘clients’ only for a business owner to discover that they misrepresented themselves. Unfortunately many have been had by a stranger which makes them look at a legitimate business as a stranger. This can cause a lot of tension in a business relationship, because there is no trust for the expert. On the other hand there are many contractors and freelancers that have also been attacked by strangers, but they must carry their baby (skill sets, time, and services) in to the next hands and hope that this new client will be careful with their baby.


The reason we hire people is to complete tasks that we are otherwise incapable of doing, understanding, or do not have time to do amidst other tasks. When you take a baby to a daycare it is hard to part with them, the same happens when you are a business owner or contractor that must relinquish total control in a new project. Before you take your baby to daycare, it’s imperative to spend time with them first so that you can get to know them and their needs. The same thing happens when you are building your business. You need to craft how you want your business to run and be open to suggestions, and not having tunnel vision. When you are handing a tasks over to let’s say, a Creative Specialist, you should educate yourself on that particular realm of expertise. This does not mean that you learn all of the schematics of the field; however you should have a ‘Creative Specialist for dummies’ level knowledge of what the person does so that when you hand over your baby to this person you should know what to expect as you would expect of a daycare provider.

  • Learn the basics of how the field/skills works.
  • Look for pricing as if you were a contractor trying to price yourself.
  • Google your company (if you have a website) or similar companies to see how they operate and how you want to be different.

These tactics are imperative to get to know how to take care of your ‘baby’ as either a contractor or a business.

As a contractor it is important to know if your ‘baby’ (skill set and expertise) will play well with a potential client’s baby. If you know that the project  will require more than you are capable of, be honest, and say that you will collaborate or refer them to another contractor to complete the tasks. Just as some children can be in the same room, but do not play well together, it is the same thing when it comes to providing a service to a client. Knowing that a project does not fit within your brand or expertise or vice versa is  a disappointing experience, yet a humbling and honest one to where both parties walk away and ‘play nice’ because they know the value and characteristics of their respective businesses.


The infamous term of mansplaining is also applicable to strangers who want you to pick them so they can make quick money with little work or get a lot of work with no money paid. This is equivalent to be lured to a van with candy. We’ll call this Candy-splaining. Candy-splaining: The act of presenting a ‘sweet’ opportunity in an auction style tone and carnival slyness that insists the company/contractor choose them and a payment or product is under-delivered or not delivered at all. Unfortunately this happens to a lot of new businesses, whether a contractor or business.

When a colleague of mine was starting her business, a woman had presented a grand opportunity for travel, expansion of skills, and moving to New York City. She was a contractor who worked in a creative field jumping at every opportunity she could to build her portfolio and her first love, travel. Plans and a small deposit were made that the ‘Candy-lady’ insisted upon because a bigger payout was coming later. My colleague took the candy and did $5,000 worth of work. When the payday came the Candy-lady had absurd yet believable excuses. After a while of believing the sweet lies , my colleague had to cut her losses and move on, never receiving her payment.

If you find yourself in a Candy-splaining situation have enough power to walk away, because you do not want your baby to get caught in a van that they may never find their way out of.  Unfortunately after coming through an experience like this, you are wary of anyone who is trying to sell something to you, and this is on both sides of business. My advice is not to have a sweet tooth; a desire to chase money and not having discernment about the type of client/contractor.  Opportunities to excel always look great, but read the ingredients: Fine print on the proposals, researching the client/business/person, checking who else they are connected to and avoid anyone you are in direct competition with. In my experience, those who can and will deliver are humble in their approach, asks and answer questions authentically, and have a general idea of how they want ‘the children to play together.’ Be friends, not strangers. 


When you’ve had a Candy Van experience it’s not uncommon to want to micromanage everything to protect your business. When a mother first leaves their child in daycare or their first day of school there is a moment of guilt for leaving them. This is a normal instinct to have, even with your business. Do not allow the guilt of leaving your baby to play with another baby and be in the care of someone else to consume you. It will not serve you well. When two children come together in a playpen there is an unspoken trust that they have within the confines of that playpen. The playpen is your marketplace and with a little trust and discernment the children will play nicely. Continue to learn how to play with each other by respecting each other’s value. Nail down a process that works for both the business and the contractor. Create a space to learn from one another consistently, even if it is the ‘for dummies’ version of expertise. Ultimately the pact made within the playpen is that both the contractor and client are on a mission to grow up together.

Farmbeats: AI & Nature Combine to Keep Us Fed

By 2050 we need to increase food production by 70% to feed the growing population and it can not be done simply by farmers intuition, we need AI. Thankfully Microsoft has developed Farmbeats which uses technology to predict the best times to plant, grow, and harvest for certain crops that reduces waste and increases production.  This is an opportunity for us to quite literally get back to our roots and redefine the food production process, even for small businesses.

Impact on the government contracting market 

Most of the government contracts for agriculture come in the form of conservation consulting and equipment maintenance. Now with this type of technology IT can get in the game. Through  government subsidies for farmers this allows a space for them to create a budget to use this technology and hire a small IT business to maintain, upgrade, and consult on how to improve harvests.  By using Farmbeats, the once separate consulting and maintenance contracts are blended and create a new revenue stream that benefits everyone. From my understanding this is not available to be subsidized just yet. However  I see an opportunity where small IT businesses can make a large impact in this field and possibly create teaming opportunities that would benefit local and national economy by employing more farmers, IT workers, and producing harvests that will over-exceed the need for more fresh produce.

See how this works at the Dancing Cow farm.



Driving Blind: Self Driving Cars

The idea of a self driving car is spectacular. Imagine sitting in traffic and you don’t have to endure your leg cramping, back hurting, and the impending rage filled honking because someone dared to try to come into your lane, just to sit there. Now that is the car’s problem. While you can stretch out in the back, have a snack, and wait for the rubbernecking traffic to be over. At the same time, that sounds horrifyingly irresponsible! What if a deer suddenly runs in to the road or debris from a truck scatters along the street. How can we rely on the reaction time of a self driving car? What can we expect from a machine that can not see?

The Opportunity

I believe there are opportunities with every type of technology and these self driving cars are no different. As explained the video the car ‘sees’ with LIDAR and Mach-Zehnder mudulator. These devices work together to create the ‘eyes’ of the machine and that got me thinking. Any type of machine needs maintenance. Therefore to continue to evolve this technology there will need to be teams in place to execute that evolution. There are already driverless arsenal and supply trucks for the military in development which means there will be companies that want to manufacturer and maintain said trucks, which opens opportunities for government contractors to create something incredible for the future.

Seeing the dilemma

In the movie I, Robot there is a scene where Will Smith’s character is discussing the lack of ethics in robots. He and a family with a little girl got into a car accident and ended up in a river. A nearby robot saw the accident and calculated that Will Smith’s character had a 45% chance of survival and  the girl had an 11% chance of survival. Since his character had a higher chance of survival the robot saved him and let the girl drown. He reaffirmed his story by saying ‘That was somebody’s baby, 11%  chance is more than enough. A human being would have known that.’

Remembering this scene makes me think about the ethical dilemma when a car with it’s  incredible ‘eyes’ must maneuver in traffic thinking about the safety of the driver over the safety of the cars, motorists, or pedestrians around them. While LIDAR and Mach-Zehnder mudulator can sense different objects around it or coming up on the road, can it make a decision on how to keep everyone in the car and on the road alive. The problem is self-driving cars are not the norm currently. And the adjustment will be a rough one because you will have humans and robots interacting and trying to co-exist.

Once again there is an opportunity here. I would love to be able to lean back and let the car do it’s thing. However knowing that the technology still needs to perfect it’s ethical ‘human’ side, it’s not quite time for us to be solely reliable on self-driving cars. The opportunity for companies is to employ more robotic, mechanical, and driving experts to create more margins for error so that the robot can function simultaneously on a mechanical and human level so it won’t be driving blind without ethics.



The Broken Tunnel: Our Peers Are Our Best Mentors

Imagine you’ve finally reached your peak. You’re not taking on small clients, your business has increased, so has the staff and your corporate account. Then a friend and professional contemporary says, ‘You’re doing great! Now here’s the next step.’
When you have finely tuned your strategies and tactics and are in the flow of success and someone says there’s another level, it can be disheartening; especially when it’s coming from a friend. The purpose of a mentor is to guide you into a higher place, and a friend should be supportive no matter what right? Wrong. A good friend can accept you for whoever you are, but a great friend sees your potential before you consider the possibility of more.
The Broken Tunnel 
A young woman woke up one morning and decided to build a train. She had ridden on many trains before, some would recognize them as the ‘Get-by’, ‘Hustle’, or ‘Pays-the-bills’ locomotives. She wanted to build something new, something unique to her that many could hop on to as well and they could all get to where they wanted to go faster. She knew specific tracks needed to be laid to carry her train so despite the obstacles and fear mongering naysayers she laid her tracks that she called Possibilities. Then she built her train that ran fast and smooth with no delay or mechanical issue, and she named her train Triumph.  She only allowed certain people on her train that were comfortable riding the Triumph on Possibilities. While they rode on her train they were inspired to build their own modes of transportation to fly high, master seas, and hit the road; all moving forward.
To protect the mechanics and exclusivity of the train she created a tunnel with few openings that would allow new people on who were also moving forward.  She called the tunnel Fear-less because there was much less to fear while inside the tunnel. People would hear Triumph but no one could see it or comment on how it was working. One day a long time rider of the train approached her and said, ‘Have you thought about breaking down these walls and opening up the tunnel? Possibilities could run through many different types of terrains and the view for your passengers will also expand.’ The woman was appalled at the thought of breaking down the walls of Fear-less, stopped the train, and kicked them off.
A few months went by and Triumph’s engines began to wear, Fear-less was still sturdy, and Possibilities began to rust. The woman slowed down the train and passengers began to leave one-by-one. The couldn’t trust Triumph to run on Possibilities and wanted to leave the Fear-less tunnel to get moving on their own modes of transportation. Very few passengers remained and the woman struggled to keep her own faith in the slow moving train. One day a passenger saw a glimmer in the distance of the tunnel. They ran up to the woman and told her to go full speed ahead towards the glimmer. The light eventually got so bright that in shone through the car, though blinded she kept going. Warning lights and alarms started to go off in Triumph, but she kept driving the train forward. Finally she reached the source of the light. Triumph coasted to the end of Possibilities that it could ride on. And there in the broken Fear-less tunnel stood the former passenger.
The woman got off the train and walked out of fearless where the former passenger stood holding a sledgehammer they named Advance. The woman broke down in tears and explained how Triumph was dying and Possibilities were running out. The former passenger said,
“I knew it was hard for you to see where Possibilities could go, because you were in your tunnel. I also knew eventually your beloved triumph would stop running because it was never meant to run forever. You left behind the old trains, but this one was only meant to get you to a point. Well here it is.  You could not see that Possibilities was ending because of your tunnel. Now with this open space you have many options of where Possibilities can be built and travel to. I have a plane, Chance, and with I have seen so many places you could go.”
The woman took a relenting sigh as the former passenger explained that she would need a new train for her new tracks. She broke apart Triumph and used some old parts, combined with new parts to build the next train. The former passenger would allow her to fly Chance every once in a while, as they gave advice on how to build more of Possibilities. It hurt her to give up Triumph, but she realized that the former passenger was the best rider on her train because with them, Chance, and building more Possibilities she created her new train Prosperity.
Break it open
While this is a story, the process is the same. We take different components of our lives to build the ideal life, but we cannot have tunnel vision and be blinded by our own wit or knowledge. It’s hard to challenge our egos when things are going well, even if they are going wrong we still believe in our own minds for what is best. Our friends are our best mentors, because they know the desires of our hearts as well as what we are capable of, even when we don’t. We know the possibilities of our business or lives, but we must build it and trust those who want to help us take chances, ride through our triumphs and move forward with prosperity.

Teaming Up: Respect the lanes

As a government contractor there are opportunities where two or more contractors team up to go after projects. Which is excellent when all parties work cohesively. However, there will definitely be times where it can be a ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ situation and the fight for leadership ensues. Just because you are a leader of your company or within your industry does not mean that you have the final say in a group. The ‘top dog’ position is a rotating one when it comes to teaming up because everyone has a deliverable to bring to the table.

 Deliver in your lane 

Everyone has a lane they are in and responsibility to deliver their solutions, results, or product within their designated realm; unfortunately some may be peering over their ‘lane’ to see what the other team member(s) is doing and merge themselves into the other lane. Don’t do it. Not only does the focus switch from your designated task, but also it presents a feature that no one likes to deal with in business, arrogance.

Let’s say you are a start up technology foundation that has three board members of whom each has a skill set or connection that will contribute to the foundation. The goal is for the board members to bring together the following teams: Network Engineers (NE), Finance(FI), and Graphic Design (GD. By delivering through these respective teams the foundation can build up and start serving the community within six months. The GD team is slow in their progress for an unknown reason, but possibly due to a lack of personnel. If the NE team leader decides to take over GD and assign tasks to the network engineers to ‘assist’ in the graphic design tasks the project would suffer immensely because of the improper ‘merging’. The network engineers do not know anything about graphic design and have been pulled away from their tasks due to the arrogance of their leader thinking that they could replace the team leader of graphic design without merit.

Now if the NE leader had made suggestions where they saw holes in the way that the GD team was working things would have turned out differently. The NE leader could have met with the GD team leader and discussed the observation, made a suggestion, found a solution, and possibly talk to the FI team and made some adjustments to allow for more personnel to deliver the product.

We have to remember that making a suggestion is far different than taking over. And when teaming up every individual has a part to contribute to the success of the project. This can happen within leadership or the employees carrying out the tasks. If you want to merge over and make suggestions to keep the engine running it is most welcome. Other than that, stay in your lane, so that the direction will always be forward.

“They listen to feedback and are willing to acknowledge mistakes and they will change direction if a decision turns out to be wrong. This last point is critical because 50% of all business decisions are wrong. They also create working environments that are open, transparent and democratic.”- Dr. Robert Hogan, founder and president of Hogan Assessments ,  The Value of Humility in Leadership (Forbes) 


We are all in this together 

Am I Doing Enough?

With the view of the world at our fingertips a front seat view of everyone’s accomplishments can diminish the view of your self and ask am I doing enough? The trouble with scrolling through various timelines and seeing accomplishments is we see everyone’s mountaintop and none of the climb. Usually when this happens inconveniently when you are in a ‘stuck’ or transitional space where you are trying to make decisions your next move.  This rush to mirror what is seen on social media or chatted about among family or whispered between friends is causing a lot of depression, feelings of inadequacy, and when things don’t go your way…stuck.  The truth is you are doing enough for the season that you are in.

The Next Move 

Making plans is rational for anyone in business, but it is important to leave room for the surefire mistakes, course changes, and starting over. Imagine you have worked hard for your degree(s) and end up taking a job that is way below your skill set. Meanwhile someone who has worked half as hard is reaping your harvest. So while stewing in envy and feeling inadequate, you’ll start to scramble and wonder what is my next move to make me who I have been fighting to be?  In this mental space dissect what it is you really want. That job, goal, or dream may not be for you and that is why you are stuck in a job where you can cultivate the process to create something better for yourself. The main goal is to imagine a place of peace within the type of life you want and allow for opportunities to come to you to create that reality. This sounds arbitrary, but walk with me on this. We can not control the universe. The items that are within our control are: skill set, ambition, and creating peace within ourselves. By having those items in line we can do almost anything. Work with what you have in this season of your life, because the opportunity that you are trying to bring to yourself is not ready for you and you are not ready for it. Set your goals, make your plans, that is the sensible thing to do. However do not cheat your own fate by seeking to be good enough to impress other people.

A pause does not equal stuck

I heard a story from a colleague of mine where she was unemployed and had planned to return to graduate school. She wanted to return to school because she felt like with all of her experience she needed a masters degree to prove that she was enough. Everything was aligning for her to return to school, including her transferable job that she could hold while in school. She carefully prepared everything for her admission, picked out a few apartments, and began planning out the rest of her year. Then the admission email came in at 7:30 in the morning denying her acceptance. She was floored. Not only did she get denied, but her entire plan had foiled and she was stuck in a job she did not want.

After a few weeks of trying to recalibrate, she was redirected into growing her freelance jobs into a full time business. Something she would not have been able to do had she gone to school and acquired a useless degree that would not serve how she was growing in other places. Her pause made it seem like she was stuck, when in fact it was change in direction to a better form of her prosperity. No  one knows what will happen, even if we plan. When you are in a ‘pause’ moment, it is not because what your doing is not good enough, it is because you need to shift course so you won’t be stuck.

Life is a ride and for whatever wave you are on, you are more than good enough within your current season.


The Red Lip

I have this pet peeve when it comes to lipstick. When you are a woman in business and talking a lot, especially at networking events, people are looking at you head to toe;  especially your lips.  I know it may seem old fashioned to think a woman must wear lipstick in the workplace, but stick with me on this. In my experience, when you have some pop on your lips people take notice and listen. If you do not have anything on your lips and are just spewing information it is easy to drift off. This may seem like an odd requirement because men don’t usually run around in red lipstick, yet can still command a room.  It’s because they give their personal presentation some oomph through their walk, diction, and yes appearance. This got me thinking about how women in business need to offer something unique when they are entering any male dominated industry. And it may start with red bottom heels, red lip, red accessories or outfit; in truth your red lip in business is what your brand or product has to offer that is done in your unique style and commands the industry that you walk into. 

Your Red Lip is actually not what you’re wearing.

Every woman is unique and that should show through her business as well. When a businesswoman walks into a networking space, which is everywhere, her style is much more than how she dresses, it is in the way she conducts herself with people, business, and in life. Their uniqueness is their red lip that shows who they are when they walk in to the room (industry) and may even hide some surprises. These women are great examples of flaunting their red lip.

Sheryl  Sandberg, COO of Facebook, Author, and Philanthropist

Her Red Lip:  Being the example of success and ‘leaning in’ to opportunities through her work at Facebook and through her non-profit organization. She has also written books that separate her from her ‘9-5 title’ and address what it is like for a woman in the workplace and supporting yourself and others to rise up. Combined she is a force for women in business and in technology, not because of what she has accomplished, but because she has made a statement: We are here and we are rising. 

Beyonce Knowles-Carter, entertainer and entrepreneur

Her Red Lip: Her stunning visuals  for her videos or performances are intricately conceived to resonate with her audience on a soul level. In business she purposefully creates opportunities for herself and other people of color that go beyond one moment.  Combined she is a walking brand that commands any space because she has spent the time to show her evolving style over the last 20+ years.

Less is still acceptable. 

There are women who do not wear make-up or in the business sense do not have the red lip flair, however are incredibly effective in their industries. When competing with the men or the red lip women in the room, it is also good to offer something that is chic, simple, and bold. We’ll call this a nude lip. Still glossy, but simpler, that does not scare away those who are looking for someone who can deliver simple approaches to their business. For instance if someone approaches a red lip they will see what the person has to offer the moment they walk into the room; on the contrary a nude lip plays coy with potential clientele and shows the basics of who they are when they walk into a room.

Example Red Lip: Hello, my name is Tomi. I offer IT solutions to government entities and corporations and have been in business for over 25 years as a minority woman owned small business.

Example Nude Lip: Hello my name is Tomi. I offer IT solutions to government entities and corporations.

The Red Lip is flaunting my accomplishment and my qualifications in two sentences where as the Nude Lip gets straight to the point and allows for further conversation.  Both are effective and attract certain types of clientele. There is no wrong way to wear your red lip, but a lady always knows how to show off her style when she speaks.

As a woman in business what color is your lip?


Over a Cliff: Good Leadership equals a strong following

One of my mentees showed me a clip from an old episode of Scandal she watched where the character Abby was irate at the main character Olivia for not being true self and leading their company down the wrong path. Yet, Abby did express her loyalty by saying she would follow Olivia over a cliff.   One could say that it means I will follow you to the bitter end or that any leap of faith you take I am there to fly with you. That got me thinking about creating a strong enough team who will support you and be leaders within their own right to take you to the next level and fly. If your team does not express that they will chase you over a cliff and expect to fly, then you’ve been a boss to them and not a leader.

Learn your followers

When you hire someone it is based off of their skill set and their likability…if you just plan on being their boss. A boss operates like a jockey on a race horse, they drive their employees around the track and they get all the credit. A leader invest in their employees qualities and cultivates their skills and mentality to become experts or leaders within their own right. Not every employee is in a position to lead an entire team. However  every employee can be exceptional at what they do and bring their expertise to the table. By encouraging their growth as employees you become a leader that they can trust. They want to follow you, because you have taken the time to invest in their skills, learn who they are as individuals, and marry the possible life path with the company’s needs. Even if they leave the company there will always be a bond to return or assist like I talked about with former mentees. Don’t do your company the disservice of being a boss of working horses, create leaders and experts that will calmly walk to the edge of a cliff and jump with you to fly.


‘If you want to go quicklygo aloneIf you want to go fargo together.’-Unknown

Over a cliff and climb a mountain

Everyone loves a good comeback story. When companies like Apple, IBM, Starbucks, and Marvel were on the precipice of bankruptcy and the CEO’s had to make hard decisions of whether to fight their way from the edge or fall off, the employees were the ones who were their string of hope. The employees were likely fighting for their own positions and income, however that was one leg of the drive to get the respective companies back on their feet. When the CEOs came in and decided this is how we are going to survive they had to rely on their own confidence and the confidence of their sub-leaders (employees) to gain that second leg to get back up the mountain and become one of the top companies in the world of their respective industries. Companies are built by the idea(s) of one or few and nurtured to develop beyond the vision by those who know how to carry the weight.

The Lean-In on Leadership for your staff 

Creating a group of sub-leaders can easily be done by simply regarding them. To regard your employee can guarantee their loyalty to your vision and purpose regardless of the direction that you may be headed. Here are some suggestions that I have lived and observed.

  • Identify weaknesses and use it as a space to improve.
  • Consider all ideas as great ideas and dive deep into them until it shows that it is/is not good for the company.
  • Create a “winner circle” for small and achievements within or outside of the company. You never know how the new skill or development will help you move forward.
  • Encourage the sub-leader to keep moving forward whether that is by example or instruction.
  • If the sub-leader is on the edge of their own cliff, let them know that you will help them fly if they jump.