Shattering Misconceptions, Part I: What Women Should Know…They GOT the Power!

February 7, 2011 at 14:44 (Health & Wellness, Money & Finance, Relationships, Women Empowerment)

January was an exciting beginning to what will undoubtedly be a prosperous year! In the Chinese calendar it is the Year of Rabbit = Prosperity. The Rabbit is a lucky animal symbol. In numerology the number 1 notates “Beginning, New, Focused concentration, Goal-striving, Action, Independence, Originality, Courage, Invention, Leader, Self-reliant, Ambition, Pioneer, Will, Conscious Mind, Positive.” Whatever your belief, this year does bring with it HOPE.

In January, we also launched “What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know,” a programme specifically designed for women. What we know is that women are pioneers, everything from the suffrage movement to “breaking the Glass Ceiling,” including at Ebay, Hewlett Packard and Facebook and; starting businesses. More than half of small business start ups are initiated by women.

Single women also are in the MAJORITY. imagine that! In a recent research study, 52% of men are now “dreaming” of the “traditional” household and seemingly want to get married. Less than half the women researched say they do. Women are also leading in the hire rates of industries including education, health care and government.

Now with all this POWER women have, what is holding them back from achieving the calibre they all know they can? Women are less prepared for the job market, with less than 7% negotiating for their first job out of college. They are less financially prepared, albeit the majority run their own household finances and, they are paid less than their male counterparts in almost every other “male” dominated industry such as law enforcement, legal and finance.

Whilst the “What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know” programme is aware of these issues, we are MORE focused on creating opportunities and helping women compete in their specific marketplace by elevating their knowledge and skills set. We believe we can be the great equalizer in making this happen and; true to form we are already shattering “misconceptions” of what this programme is all about.

MORE Information: What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

© 2011  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne


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What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know-“Downsized” & “Fairy Job-mothered”

December 20, 2010 at 14:44 (Education, Health & Wellness, Money & Finance, Women Empowerment)

We recently conducted a focus group in four (4) of our markets to assess spending habits and lifestyle changes of participants directly impacted by the economy. This was an independent study of an outside market research company to obtain a “snap shot” of how people were doing in their “new” economic reality and what were their “coping” mechanisms, if any. Spending habits is one of the indicators of how an individual copes with economic “hardship” or “prosperity.”

Not surprisingly, the data revealed that most of the people were “optimistically” cautious, BUT also more individuals were gravitating towards “uncharted territory” in an effort to “survive.” For instance, more were willing to share their “challenges” and participate in forums and open discussions with total strangers, with similar background and experience to themselves, in order to feel “connected” and to seek information for their own circumstance. Additionally, some started watching “reality-based” TV shows like “Downsized” and “Fairy Job Mother” to help them understand that they were not alone.

The “coping” mechanisms, i.e. to be with others who “feel” their “pain,” and seeking outlets that could help them improve their circumstance seems to be what is “trending” in this NEW economy. This brings us to events on television, which sometimes reflects life, and the shows that have found “instant” success due to the “demand” for that kind of information, knowledge and pacification.

In the show “Downsized,” a blended family goes through the realization that their once “cushy” lifestyle on a million dollar plus income and living way “above” their means, gave way to their current daily struggles of putting food on the table and finding ways to cut expenses. In “Fairy Job Mother,” individuals are making the most of valuable job-hunting techniques proposed by their career consultant to land their next job. Both shows are definitive of the “current” economic situations faced by many households and individuals.

On the flip side, some of the focus group participants were making the most of their new reality. These individuals are not millionaires… far from it…but were able to sustain themselves by living frugally, on a budget or being realistic about their financial expectations. Whilst some did lose their jobs, they did not lose their sanity, their “shirts” or their “home” in the process because they had the foresight to “store” enough “nuts” during the “harvest” to ride out this economic “winter.”

What Focus Groups bring to light is (1) insight and; (2) opportunities. What we learned was that there was a great divide between how men and women took advantage or not of their current situation. Whilst we like to believe that women are great “networkers,” women are not doing nearly enough for each other as their male counterparts. Women are supportive to be sure, but men’s outright “assertiveness” is the game changer in why the “Good Old Boy” Network is so much more efficient and SMARTER than the “Sisterhood.”

Let’s put the “Good Old Boys” to the test. Take for example former “disgraced” New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who now has his own television show or; even former “disgraced” Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich who has been receiving steady work including his own radio show, reality show and TV commercials, whilst awaiting trial for fraud and bribery. I am not saying that EVERYONE falls into this “Teflon” category, BUT most men seem to bounce back from scandal or other life’s challenges with little to no damage, whereas for a woman, there is a “double” standard, especially initiated by OTHER women, NOT men. Women ARE their own worse “frenemies.”

Men too are more assertive in business and in job hunting than their female counterparts. A man is willing to let go of his “ego” to stand on a street corner with a sign that says, “I need work,” whilst dressed in his business suit and tie; whereas a woman sometimes restricts her own opportunities to “save face,” and continues to “pretend” that everything is all right, when in fact it is not. The same woman might continue to spend money she does not have, shop at the same stores and dine out with her gal pals, all the whilst her debt continues to mount and she does not know how she will pay for rent or mortgage. Not ALL women and not ALL men fall into any of these categories, but the gender “behavioural traits” are spot on. These behaviours were also clearly evident in Focus Group discussions.

The “support” mechanism between the genders also vary on how situations are handled. As one of my Sponsors pointed out, a woman is very likely to be supportive “verbally,” saying things like “it will be all right…it will get getter,” whilst a man whose friend needs a job will pickup the phone and speak to a contact to get his friend a job. Men are more “action” oriented, whilst a woman puts all her “feelings” into words with very little activity physically. Again, I am not trying to square peg anyone into a round hole, but there is a vast difference between the genders on how they cope with their reality.

Take for example the TV show “Downsized.” When the couple went to a financial planner, they were both given the “riot act” to change or else. They were given top-notch feed back and what they could do to drastically improve their financial situation. Whilst the man “got it” and already started making cut backs, the woman felt “guilty” about cutting back on her kids “extra curricular activities” that were supporting their increasing debt! In one episode, she even told the financial planner she “needed” the “expensive” Starbuck’s coffee every day due to her MS condition.

As a direct result of several factors that came out of the focus groups we conducted from August to October, we developed a programme specifically designed for women. “What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know” hopefully will be plenty! That a woman does not have to give up her femininity to be assertive and; she can meet the challenges head on without being called a “dragon” lady.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know

© 2010  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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Minimalist: Movement or Fad?

November 10, 2010 at 02:13 (Uncategorized)

This week, NBC Nightly news with Brian Williams is airing a segment titled, “Back to Basics,” how Americans are moving towards “downsizing.” In it, they profiled several individuals including a young man who rents a small furnished apartment, eats out a lot, minimizes paper waste by going digital and travels with one suitcase in flight. A woman profiled signs people up to STOP shopping for personal items for one year.

We like the idea of it, but hope it is a time and true cultural shift and not some “fad” or trend in the making. We write often about “Don’t follow the Trendies, “because trends are not lifestyle changes with long term benefits, but short term gain that goes out of style like fashion.

A colleague in Florence, Italy painted a perfect picture of Less is more. Instead of a closet “crowed” with clothes, they had a few select quality pieces from their favourite designers. They used the long lost art of mixing and matching to coordinate the outfits, with accessories and shoes. Additionally, their flat was clean and furnished very tastefully, sans the clutter of personal affects.

We too have mastered the art of “minimalism” by packing “light” when we travel. This is especially critical on international flights where only one carry-on is allowed. We never entrust our luggage in the care of airlines, therefore, one carry on is all we take, even on extended travel. In 2008, we went digital and minimized paper usage. Certainly, it is impossible to completely rid the paperwork, since most all businesses still require this labourious effort, but we now contain our paper documents to two vertical filing cabinets..

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Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

“Back to Basics,” at NBC Nightly News

© 2010  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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Energy Vampires…Stop Sucking your own Life force!

October 31, 2010 at 06:23 (Ethics, Health and wellness, Money & Finance, Women Empowerment)

In recent months, we discovered a very “disturbing” trend. We call it the “discombobulated” factor where intelligent small business owners, entrepreneurs and sole proprietors are adding on “unrelated” business entities to their mix of already “unsuccessful” list of “things they do to try to earn some money.”

Unless you are an “investment” or a “holding” company, i.e. Berkshire Hathaway or Unilever, a business should be crafted in such a strategic way to be identified with their “brand.” Therefore, if you are known as a “webmaster,” per say, and you start selling fashion clothing, we wonder how serious you are about your craft, unless you are making a concerted effort to “reinvent” yourself and have therefore left a “successful” venture to try something COMPLETELY new. It does happen!

Several months ago, we totally gave up attending any “singular-minded” business-related functions because we were so confused by the majority of the attendees. Chambers of Commerce and institutions that support small businesses are a good thing, but they are so similar in the way they approach business practice, they do a great disservice most times for their membership. Personally, we hate the “elevator speech,” the sing songy way of expressing what you do, usually in 30 seconds or less. We suppose it does help people from “rattling on,” as some do at these functions.

Regardless of the “elevator speech,” most attendees do not have a clear vision of their business or their brand. They seemingly take on more than they produce. They do not prioritize their strategic business intent which is evidenced by their rattling more ventures in a single breath, i.e. Printing service and an unrelated MLM company like Juice Plus; rather than highlighting their specialties or mission within their main business frame.

This trend of the multiple unrelated, discombobulated “features” in one’s business does little to promote the business. It is too darn confusing! However, this trend has been growing in recent months due to the recession. People, especially sole proprietors are feeling rather “desperate” and with it, unfortunately, comes despair and with that comes a need to “try anything” to stay afloat. In other words, they try WAY TOO hard to be heard and in essence, spread themselves too thin. Their life force is being sucked out of them and they don’t even know it.

These Energy Vampires are more dangerous because they suck the life force out of you from within, leaving you nothing but a shell. You are not enriched by this experience because you have lost your sense of direction and focus. Instead of successfully maneuvering the challenges of your main business, you have now taken on yet another “task” that is completely unrelated, and neither your primary nor supplemental job come to fruition because you had no plan.

The “triple threat” like J-Lo, aka “Jenny from the block,” come to fruition when you successfully maneuever all three (3) areas of talent exceedingly well. Each talent block, ie. singing, acting, dancing, MUST co-exist and collabourate, not become discombobulated. There is nothing wrong with “dominating” an industry, i.e. Oprah (Media/Entertainment Mogul) or Tyler Perry (Writer/Director/Producer)…just do it well.

A “triple threat” or any addition to your known public “brand,” should be a building process, not a “stick to the wall and hope it will stay” mentality. Examples of successful transitions are all around including Jill Ireland (Model/decorator/investor). Yes, there will be missteps (i.e. Oprah’s “Beloved”), but just keep moving and with each step, you will get stronger and better.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

© 2010  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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The Women’s Conference: Architects of Change

October 12, 2010 at 19:48 (Women Empowerment)

In 1988, we attended our first California Governors and First Lady’s Conference on Women, a California governmental initiative to celebrate women in profession and in business. In 1991, we joined the event productions team in continuing to make great strides to celebrate the achievements of women as mothers, as sisters, as daughters in the workplace, in business and beyond.

In recent memory, this Conference, now called “The Women’s Conference” exploded to “rock star” status, thanks in part to the vision of Maria Shriver, the First Lady of California. Under her leadership, The Conference has become an “all inclusive” meeting hub, educational forum, entrepreneurial initiative, a community gathering, celebration of achievements and a network of Sisters ready and willing to support the success of others.

What makes this event “unique,” in the landscape of events catered to women, is that this Conference is more than just an event…it is a “movement” with sustainable implementations that go beyond the dates associated with The Conference. Equally important is the cost-effective pricing structure, giving all women the opportunity to truly access this extraordinary gathering. The website will also stream LIVE giving women access in the remotest parts of the world. This is an event that offers “access” and “inclusion”  with no “hidden agendas.” Therefore, it is our number one choice in Women’s Conferences.

This year, The Conference will be a weekend of learning, joy, laughter and celebration, culminating with The Grand Finale, the Minerva Awards honouring “Remarkable Women with Remarkable Legacies.” Honoured recipients this year includes Oprah Winfrey and Sandra Day O’Connor. Due to “popular demand,” additional seating was made available for The Grand Finale, and sold out just as fast. In attendance as well will be a remarkable woman herself, First Lady Michelle Obama.

This year, the T.E.A.M @gabriellebourne will sponsor twenty-five (25) brilliant ladies. For most, it will be their first time attending.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

The Women’s Conference

© 2010  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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“Waiting for Superman”

September 24, 2010 at 17:37 (Education, Health & Wellness, Relationships, Women Empowerment)

“Wellness” IS a state of mind, and when negatively impacted by environmental circumstances, can tear down the spirit and hamper the maintenance of a healthy body. Wellness IS the TOTAL body, mind and spirit connection, an experience we hope everyone achieves successfully.

“Waiting for Superman,” a film by Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning Director of “An Inconvenient Truth,” explores the affects of an ineffective public school system on children, families and the society,” at large.” The affects can sometimes be devastating for a child’s mental, spiritual and physical development, and can change the “trajectory” of future offerings by this child.

The film purports that under performing public schools are partially responsible for our crumbling, crime-infested communities and the increasing number of gang activities. Of course, there are excellent public schools and equally exceptional teachers and educators, but more needs be done to address this growing social problem.

“Waiting for Superman” is not a denigration of the public school system, but reviews the antiquated processes that are ineffective to address the needs of children in these school systems. The film explores teacher tenure offered to every teacher, regardless of skills, who serves a minimum of two (2) years in the system. The film explores the severity of drop out rates that can be as high as 42% in some districts. The film explores the continuing explosion of illiteracy among our youth. The film also explores the rise of the Charter schools and the important role they play in the future lives of these children.

All of this and more can be seen in the film, “Waiting for Superman,” in limited release on Friday, 24 September 2010. The film follows five (5) unique students and their parents as they struggle to make important decisions about education and their fight for a better future. No child’s future should be decided on a lottery and no child’s future should be determined by certain “unfit” teachers and highly compensated educators who continue to fail “our” children.

Whilst some have accused the film as being too “simplistic,” no doubt this film will ignite important conversations on the subject-matter. Having screened this film earlier this week, we can honestly say that this film is a start and hopefully will motivate individuals to continue the conversation.

Wellness is the TOTAL body, mind and spirit connection…an experience that IS directly impacted by environmental circumstances.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

Watch the Trailer

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© 2010  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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September 24, 2010 at 11:56 (Education)

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Curb your “Control” Factor

September 16, 2010 at 18:04 (Health and wellness)

Recently, we encountered yet another example of “Control” that is both detrimental to the Psyche as well as surrounding individuals. Surprisingly, ALL of them come from the small business/entrepreneurial sector; the sector we have always thought to be “open,” “understanding,” “embracing” of differences and “free-flowing” ideas. Even more “alarming” is that ALL of the “Control” issues are from women! Yes, women who are supposed to be nurturing, caring, understanding, and so forth.

“You cannot throw a pebble without hitting at least one women’s organization.” They have been sprouting up in abundance in the past few years. Most offer great value, some we question, but overall, we do applaud “genuine” and altruistic efforts made in this direction. Afterall, women should be helping women.

Rudeness, anger, bitterness, envy, resentment does not belong in any company, nor in any organization striving to do good. there should be absolutely NO reason for such a behaviour, or to condone it. Mental professionals characterize these traits as “Deep rooted, unresolved inadequacies.” Life it too short to carry such a “burden.”

Women should embrace diversity and ideas, as they will make themselves, others and the organisation stronger. Women should be open to receiving and; in turn giving back, without a “hidden” agenda or “Quid Pro Quo.” Women should applaud the achievements of others and support it instead of striving to undermine it or deface its value.

Women do belong to a unique “Sisterhood,” BUT in order to make it work, we need ALL of our Sisters to embrace each other.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF
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© 2010  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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View existing comments Curb your “Control” Factor

September 16, 2010 at 12:26 (Health & Wellness)

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Remembering 9/11….”Seize the Day”

September 11, 2010 at 19:39 (9/11)

This section of our Blog was “Lost in Translation” during the Microsoft-WordPress Conversion. As a direct result, we have removed the contents.

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