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The Price of Passion is High but it is Worth It

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2017


The Price of Passion is High but its Worth It

By Tonya Fitzpatrick, Esq.

How far would you go to pursue a career you're passionate about?  What would you sacrifice?  What risks would you take?

Like me, you have probably followed a conventional life path—good education, corporate tract, high paying job—only to realize that these things didn’t make you happy. Maybe you’ve tried to shake things up with different jobs, career paths, cities or you've acquired more degrees but each new change only lessened your disappointment temporarily.  Perhaps you’ve known deep inside that there is something else you should be doing or, rather, something you want to be doing but you’ve been unable to identify what that ‘thing’ is and your search has resembled movement on a hamster wheel of uncertainty, doubt and frustration.  So, how do you jump off of the spinning wheel without breaking your leg?

Fear not.  Finding your passion is easier than you might think because you already know what it is.  But pursuing a passion is not for the faint of heart.  So, how important is finding your passion to you?   For me, it was paramount and I jumped off a cliff to follow mine.  The price I've paid has been steep and I've collected many bumps and bruises along the way but I'm happier for it.  I know without a doubt that I am doing what I am meant to be doing and it all started with a simple life-altering question.

Let me tell you how and why I went from earning 6-figures as a lawyer and federal political appointee to making nothing as a travel journalist.

I wasn’t happy in the legal profession and I had a strong distaste for the political culture. I needed something more—something meaningful that spoke to my spirit. The money I earned did not fill the void I had in my life.  So my insightful husband, Ian, asked me a question; and I’d like you to consider it because my answer changed my life.  Ian asked, “What made you happy as a child that also makes you happy today?”  My answer was easy and it came quickly: “Travel”.

When I was a little girl I always looked forward to visits from an aunt and uncle who lived in London. Their stories intrigued me and I was introduced to a world larger than Lansing, Michigan. I wanted so much to see this exciting city and, at 5 years old, I promised myself that I would move to London one day, and I did!! The adventures began when I was accepted into a Graduate program at the London School of Economics.

London was convenient to the rest of the world. It was easy to travel throughout Europe to visit friends. I remember waltzing in Vienna on New Years Eve and experiencing the “White Nights” during my extended time in St. Petersburg, Russia. I loved the cultural immersion experiences, the world history lessons and my explorations. The “travel bug” had bitten me hard and I felt alive!  

One month after my epiphany, I left my job as a federal contractor and we opened a travel agency.  The world is so full of surprising moments and we wanted to help others build memories and experience the educational and transformative opportunities that travel offers.  Our ability to find unique and inexpensive authentic travel deals gained a lot of media attention.  Suddenly, we were on local and national TV. Then a top radio station in Washington, DC invited us to create a travel show .  We had no idea how to create or run a radio show but we went for it anyway.

About the same time, a call came from The White House offering me an appointment as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights Policy at the US Department of Education.  That presented a dilemma.  I had moved to DC to work in a White House administration but this meant making some hard choices and I wanted it all—the appointment, the agency and the radio show. But we were only two people.

Our travel agency was doing very well but we decided to close it and focus on the next exciting chapter.  So World Footprints was born under a cloud of uncertainty but it was set on a strong foundation of social responsibility.

The price we've paid to follow our travel passion has been high.  In addition to the loss of income and unconventional career path, we’ve also suffered injuries and illness because of fatigue and the stress that plagues all entrepreneurs.  But we’re fueled by the work we do to break cultural barriers, to share our common humanity and to dispute the headlines that misrepresent people and places. Our messages are so powerful and they are critical in today’s divisive world because divisiveness threatens the world’s sustainability.

Additionally, the access we’ve had to people and the unique experiences we have enjoyed because of our press credentials has been priceless. I have photographed President Obama in the Oval Office and we’ve interviewed distinguished guests like the late Dr. Maya Angelou, Jack Hanna and Bobby Kennedy, Jr.

Exploring my interests and passions has allowed me to peer into the core of who I am and that is reflected in our foundation of social responsibility. The work we are doing with World Footprints has been validated through multiple journalism awards—a total of 13 international awards to date--and global recognition of our brand.  Now our work is evolving into international speaking engagements and books. Because I took time to examine the things that have always been important to me, World Footprints has become my life’s purpose and this is an adventure I am blessed to share with my husband.  

Tags:  CulturalBarriers  GlobalCitizen  LifePurpose  WomeninBusiness 

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Academic Chapter of the Year: University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business

Posted By Nadia Alhashimi, Wednesday, November 1, 2017

NAWMBA Chapter at University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business

“Gets Confident”

The University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business leadership has put together a series of programming that has ignited a flame of inspiration. Their innovation has spread excitement throughout NAWMBA's academic chapters via our monthly presidents’ discussions. It has ignited collaboration within and across programs at business schools across the country. Their creativity and ability to adapt to their market audience has earned the University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business chapter NAWMBA’s 2017 Academic Chapter of the Year award.

Smith Association of Women MBAs created a “Get Confident” series that encourages women to try new cultural activities that would be beneficial for their professional development and success in business, but traditionally come with a heightened level of intimidation for most women. Leadership organized a series in an array of fields including:

  • An executive women’s roundtable featuring mini executive coaching sessions regarding intersectionality, diversity recruiting, competition and collusion, etc.

  • An Executive Presence for Women workshop partnered with their office of Transformational Learning to combat microaggressions in the workplace

  • Ladies-Only Golf Lessons with their Golf Association

  • Spirit Learning partnered with SPA to learn the basics of different spirits that tend to have a strong male consumer base but are often consumed situationally in business

  • Career Trek to a woman-owned whiskey business with advice to students about starting their own business, roadblocks and strategies used to combat them, and a tour of the facility.

  • Skeet Shooting Lessons partnered with their Veterans Association


Other programming included a women’s forum, an unconscious bias workshop, a “women leading women” panel, and a male ally initiative.

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Women Play Catch-Up Their Entire Careers

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Women Play Catch-Up Their Entire Careers

Author: Vivian Blade


“Women get less access to the people and opportunities that advance their careers and are disadvantaged in many of their daily interactions.”

 LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, 2016 Women in the Workplace Report

In my coaching practice, I run across a number of female professionals who are frustrated with their career progression. They feel like they are committed to the company, working endless hours and doing what it takes to get the job done. They feel like they’re pushing through this journey on their own.  In fact, it’s not just a feeling.  Studies on the progress of professional women show this to be true for so many.

The 2016 Women in the Workplace study by and McKinsey also found that, “Women are less likely to receive the first critical promotion to management—so far fewer end up on the path to leadership—and are less likely to be hired into more senior positions. Women also get less access to the people, input, and opportunities that accelerate careers. As a result, the higher you look in companies, the fewer women you see.”

Women Are Missing Critical Relationships

Professional women are missing critical relationships, such as mentors, coaches, advocates and sponsors. These people help to enable success in their careers.  Why has this situation not improved? Companies don't realize or appreciate the importance of these relationships and don't provide a supporting environment for these relationships to occur. Women lack awareness that they need those important relationships, so they fail to seek them out.

Women also make a number of mistakes that suppress their progress. 

Mistake #1: You lack an awareness of the types of relationships that advance careers

Career success takes a team approach because of the complexity of the corporate environment, with formal and informal processes and networks, and an abundance of office politics. You need people in your network to help you navigate this environment. Allies as mentors and Advocates as sponsors are important relationships in your career. Each has a different role, and may come in and out of the career journey at different points in time. 

Mistake #2: You wait for HR or your boss to give you access to the people and opportunities that advance careers. 

A challenge for women is strategically building and leveraging the types of relationships that act as a support system throughout your career.  You wait for permission or wait to see if you’ll be selected for the official ‘mentoring program’. Stop waiting! You don’t need permission. You are accountable for your own career and for being prepared for each successive step you wish to achieve.  Take the initiative to seek and maintain meaningful relationships throughout your career. 

Ally as Mentor

Allies often are great resources as mentors. Work with mentors to understand the types of skills and experiences you’ll need, and to help you grow in those areas.  They also can help you understand how things really work in the office and help you avoid landmines in your career.  A mentor may be within or outside of your employer, and can be at any level – senior to you, a peer, or a subordinate.

Advocate as Sponsor

An Advocate, or sponsor, is an ambassador who can enable progression in your career by speaking up about your track record and the capabilities they see in your potential. You need to promote your value in order to grow awareness of you and your capabilities among decision makers who could be instrumental as sponsors. 

Mistake #3: You don't manage the mentoring relationship and fail to get the outcomes you need. 

A good mentoring experience doesn’t just happen without planning and care throughout the process. There are four stages of a mentoring relationship that define your progress:


  • Selecting

  • Engaging

  • Progressing

  • Closing


Each stage has its own set of objectives and tasks. 

Mentoring relationships often fail because of the mistakes in the very first stage, Selecting Your Mentor.

Women Select the Wrong Mentor

Selecting the wrong mentor can be a waste of everybody's time, as well as detrimental to your self-confidence and career progression. 

When I worked for Humana in the early stages of my career, I was fortunate enough to be part of the Management Intern Program.  Though that program came with a formal mentoring relationship, being matched with the right mentor was just as important as selecting my own mentors in other stages of my career. I learned that being thoughtful about and carefully outlining my needs was one of the most important first steps to a successful mentoring relationship.

Before selecting a mentor, know your development areas and the skills you need to build for your career path. Seek a mentor who is knowledgeable about the skills you need to enhance or roles you’re considering on your career path. Find someone who has common personal or professional interests and aligns with your expertise.

Influence Your Own Access

You’ll continue to be left behind until you step up to take more ownership in gaining access to important relationships and opportunities.  Take a deep breath, and make it a priority to take the first steps of learning more about these relationships and engaging with a mentor who can be instrumental in helping you Fuel Your Career Forward.

About the Author Vivian Blade

A professional speaker, author and talent management expert, Vivian works with the world's top companies to fuel incredible leadership, and with professionals to fuel incredible careers. Vivian is a prolific writer whose articles, featured in professional, industry, and business publications, and published books, “FuelForward”, and "Find Your Fit", a collaboration with the Association for Talent Development, have helped thousands of professionals succeed.

Tags:  Business  Career  leadership  management  MBA Women  Mentorship  NAWMBA  negotiate  women  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA  WomenSupportingWomen 

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Why Negotiate?

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Updated: Friday, September 22, 2017


Why Negotiate?

By Megan Betterman


As women, we often take care of the needs of others ahead of our own. This narrative plays out in our careers and keeps us from asking for what we may want: more money, more responsibility, more flexibility and many other elements of our careers. 

On the money front, we fear many things:
 creating havoc in our relationship with our future or existing boss
 asking for more will not work and is useless to even try
 finding the words to ask in a rational, compelling manner

These fears are valid. On the flip side, there are compelling reasons we should consider asking for more. The first is the amount of money we stand to miss out on if we don't negotiate. I've seen figures cited from $500,000 up to $1,000,000 in lost earnings over the course of our careers. It reminds me of compound interest and the value of starting to save and invest early on in life. The same is true in our careers. A powerful way to think about this is a $5,000 raise in 2017 is not a one-time increase to your earnings. You'll be receiving the benefit of that additional $5,000 in 2018, 2019, 2020 and so on.

The second reason to negotiate is it's expected. A study conducted by found 84% of hiring managers expect candidates to negotiate. Most hiring managers leave wiggle room when they make an offer in order to have flexibility if a candidate does ask for more.

A third reason to consider negotiating is due to the wage gap in the US. This topic is getting quite a bit of press in the news based on our volatile political climate. Caucasian women earn 79% of what their their male counterparts earn, African-American women earn 65% and Hispanic women 54%. McKinsey & Company has released information stating it will take us 100 years to have parity between genders in C-level roles and 25 years for parity at the VP level.

These numbers make my jaw drop. As strong women with MBAs, it's incumbent on us to change this trend. I’m looking forward to sharing more on this topic at the National Association of Women MBAs annual conference on October 21. Lori Klinka and I will be partnering up on how to interview successfully and then ask for what you’re worth. For more information on this topic prior to the conference, visit my website.

About the Author

Megan Betterman is on a mission to train women on how to negotiate their compensation, earn their full value and advance their career goals. She recently founded a consulting business to bring this mission to life and offers group workshops along with individual training. Additionally, she leads a team of digital marketers at HealthPartners in Minneapolis, the largest consumer governed non-profit health care organization in the nation. Megan recently completed the MBA program at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota with a focus in marketing. She spends her free time traveling the world, perfecting paleo recipes, and teaching yoga along with meditation.

Register now to attend her session at the 2017 Conference and Career Fair!

Tags:  Career  job  jobs  MBA Women  NAWMBA  NAWMBA2017  negotiate  negotiation  womeninbuisness 

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Wonder Woman Only Lives In Comic Books: Tips to Maximize Your Not-So Super Human Powers

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Friday, September 22, 2017


Wonder Woman Only Lives In Comic Books: Tips to  Maximize Your Not-So Super Human Powers

By Amaris Johnson


During a recent conference keynote speaker Amy K Hutchens, made a fleeting joke to make a larger point, stating “Wonder Woman Only Lives In Comic Books”. For me it was an instantaneous “Aha Moment” and articulated a single phrase that encapsulated many of the concepts I have been sharing with mentees and other women over the last few years.

Since making her grand debut in 1941 Wonder Woman has captivated girls across generations. As a young girl, I too was fascinated by the beauty, self-confidence and girl-power she projected. My parents indulged my fascination and I was outfitted with a Wonder Woman lunchbox, Halloween costume and allowed to watch her syndicated shows. In my eight year old eyes, I too was Wonder Woman, fearless, bold, brave and could do anything with the aid of my super-human powers.

Fast forward ten years to the age of 18 and I quickly realized the superpower I longed for was not coming to help balance homework, extracurricular activities, applying for college and the small semblance of a social-calendar. My powers were limited to self-energy without the aid of magic bracelets, boomerang tiaras or the gift of human flight.

The official DC Comic Wonder Woman website describes her as, “The most famous heroine of all time. The full package of beauty, brains, and brawn; a feminist icon since her debut. Her Super Powers are listed as super human strength, speed, invulnerability, flight, combat skills, superhuman agility, healing factor, durability and longevity.

Even the alter ego of Wonder Woman, Diana Prince, which is more resembling of an “everyday” woman perpetuates the concept of I can do it all as demonstrated by her numerous careers including Army nurse, military intelligence officer, businesswoman, astronaut and staff member at the United Nations.

No wonder so many women feel overwhelmed and under accomplished in their daily goals. For many of us the standard is to live up to the unrealistic expectations set forth by the mythical comic book character Wonder Woman.

Like many women, I had become the master of creating elaborate well organized “to-do” list.  At the end of the day no matter how many check marks of completion are on this ever growing list many never escape the feeling of not feeling accomplished. Personally, I would lay in bed at night mentally adding more to the list, questioning how I prioritized my day.

One day while indulging in my favorite past time, college football, the sports commentator made mention of  the Power Five athletic conferences. For those a little less astute in the structure of college football, the Power Five conferences are generally regarded as those with the best teams in the country. After hearing this, I began to ask what are my “personal power-five”. I quickly realized there was connectivity between my uncompleted task, my wonder woman mentality and the concept of the Power Five. The incomplete items on my to do-list that most exposed my inability to live up to my Wonder Woman expectations fell into five broad categories: Faith, Family, Fitness, Finances and Future. These five areas would transform into what I now refer to as my Personal Power Five (PP5).  This keen focus on PP5 would help elevate me to the best me.

I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that my time will forever be limited to 24/7 and not the  27/7 I desire. We typically allocate eight hours per day for career work, eight hours for sleep and the remaining eight hours to accomplish the number of things on our ever-growing to-do list.

Unlike my childhood hero Wonder Woman, I was not built to be invincible, save the world nor look like a supermodel in my attempt to have it all. With the introduction of my Personal Power Five I now accomplish at least one thing on my to-do list per day in the aforementioned areas. For example a typical PP5 day includes:

  1. Faith:       30 minutes for Prayer, Meditation, Reflection, etc.

  2. Fitness:    30 minutes of exercise

  3. Family:     15 minutes making a personal reconnection

  4. Future:     30 minutes self-improvement that are aligned with future goals

  5. Finances:  15 minutes personal financial education and growth

The implementation of the Personal Power Five has helped subdue the overwhelming feeling of daily underachievement. I now have the balance I was desperately seeking. The remainder of my list could now be organized into what many call crystal ball priorities and bouncy ball priorities. My A –List priorities are crystal balls, if dropped, they can never be restored. In contrast my B-List priorities are bouncy balls, if dropped they live to bounce another day.  While I often play musical chairs on what becomes a crystal ball and bouncy ball, the implementation of the PP5 has helped remedy the tremendous amount of stress and pressure I was placing on myself. I no longer feel like I have to be “Wonder Woman” and make it all happen with my non-super human powers. While I don’t wear red thigh-high boots, I do favor my red stiletto pumps and just like Wonder Woman I plan to walk my path with a tremendous amount of fierceness, self-confidence and kick-azz winning attitude!

So while she will always be my ultimate warrior and  favorite superhero, I no longer try to live up to her mythical prowess. Instead I am throwing my human powers into be an amazingly Wonderful Woman, maximizing my efforts through my Personal Power Five!

About the Author:

Amaris L . Johnson is an accomplished business professional with 10+ years of experience working for Fortune 100 companies. She works in the capacity of District Operations Manager with Eaton Corporation. Her responsibilities include leading an experienced team of power and energy engineers that provide life cycle support to our customers power distribution systems. Before joining Eaton in 2015, Amaris spent 10 years with GE in a diversity of roles, including B2B Sales and Business Development. Her account portfolios ranged from $12M to $40M in annual sales. Amaris varied background in sales, business development and operations provided a solid foundation for a role now focused in operations for a $10M portfolio. In 2016, tED Magazine, selected Amaris as one of the Top 30 Under 35 Rising Stars in the Electrical Industry. She is a magna cum laude graduate from Tennessee State University (TSU) B.B.A and earned her MBA from the University of Florida (UF). Amaris holds a Green Belt Certification in Six Sigma Methodology. She serves as a member of the TSU, College of Business Alumni Board of Directors and UF MBA Alumni Board of Directors. Previous Board appointments include the Gadsden County Community and Economic Development Organization from 2009-2014. When asked, about some of her guiding philosophy towards business and managing a team , Amaris reflects on the old African proverb “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” She encourages her teams and peers to refocus their time and energy on what we can control so together we can all go far!

See her in person at our 2017 Conference and Career Fair! Register now!

Tags:  Business  Career  leadership  management  Mentorship  NAWMBA  NAWMBA2017  women  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA  WomenSupportingWomen 

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