December’s Theme: Emotional Intelligence

It usually starts at Thanksgiving and barrels its way toward Christmas. No, not excitement. STRESS…from not getting enough sleep and eating too many “goodies” to just being out of the regular routine.

And while all those are valid reasons for holiday stress, I find that the most stressful parts of this season revolve around relationships and the emotionally unintelligent. And you know who I’m talking about – every family, office, community and gathering has a least one.

This month I’ll be talking about emotional intelligence: what it is, what it means and how it can impact you either positively or negatively. And each week the Work-Grow-Love sections will offer a tip that rests in using emotional intelligence to improve that area of your life.

What do you know about Emotional Intelligence? What would you like to know? Send me an email and I’ll include an answer to your question either in a blog post or in the new Kelly’s Cafe (coming soon!). I’m looking forward to hearing from you: Subject Line: EI.


Feminine Leadership

I just returned from a wonderful day in the Big Apple where I attended the NAFE Women of Excellence Award breakfast. Carol Evans, CEO of NAFE and President of Working Mother Media, was there and, about the Women of Excellence, emphasized its purpose, “Women standing up for women–that is what this award is all about.”

I wish you could have been there, in a room filled with accomplished and amazing women. One of them was Dr. Betty Spence, President of NAFE, who started the excitement with her opening line, “When I’m in the room with NAFE women, it’s like being inflated with the helium of hope.” And that’s what the energy felt like – exciting, hope-filled, action-oriented!

And all of that excitement was just the tip of the iceberg.

I was there because one of my mentors, Robbie Motter, flew in from CA because her friend and mine, June Davidson, was being honored as the recipient of the NAFE Ace award. Robbie and June are two of the sharpest and most savvy women I know. Both display feminine leadership in the most artful way. They are connectors, mentors and so much more. June, the founder of American Seminar Leaders (just one of her many, many accomplishments) has an amazing ability for training and marketing.

The indomitable Robbie is the southern California and mid-Atlantic director of NAFE. She just turned 75, recently had a breast removed and still managed to fly across country to SHOW UP! (Robbie’s signature phrase) for her friend, June, and her NAFE colleagues.Both women have helped so many other women launch their careers and, even as I write this, I know Robbie and June are both avidly creating more opportunities for themselves and others. We should all have such energy, grace, purpose and pizazz in our golden years.

Afterward we were later treated to lunch by NAFE president, Betty Spence, compliments of Robbie. When Robbie first invited me, in the lobby of The Yale Club, I told her I didn’t want to impose on Betty’s offer. Cheez, did I get “the look” from Robbie, who reminded me, in her own mentoring way, that wonderful things can happen – but first you have to SHOW UP! So I thought about it for a while and when Robbie came back to me with her “So..what have you decided…” – again with “the look” I put my discomfort away and went to lunch. at one of the restaurants in Grand Central Station.And Robbie was right! I showed up and got way more good than I could have imagined!!

When we talk about women and leadership, as women we need to remember that there is a masculine and a feminine version of leadership. June Davidson is as flirty and sassy as they come; Robbie was wearing a tiara and boa feathers when I first saw her. Neither woman is anything like what we think of as the masculine version of leadership, but both of them get more business done and have more fun in a day than most of us do in a week – and they do it while ushering many other women into their own level of feminine leadership!

Another of Robbie’s proteges was at the awards.  I “met” Darlene Tarnoski on the phone when, thanks to Robbie, I had the pleasure of interviewing her about her project for taking care of yound runaways. Today I met her in person. She’s every bit as wonderful as I would have expected her to be. She traveled to NYC with her daughter – and wow! Mother and daughter were having the time of their life!! You can read about Darlene’s self-esteem building project below.

What a day it was – worth every bit of the effort of getting up at 4:30 so I could be at the 8am breakfast and celebration!!! And thanks to my spouse, Joseph, who not only joined me but really let all of us know that he was supportive of our style of leadership.

FYI: Robbie, June and Darlene have each been Victorious Woman Honorees, and each for every different kinds of victories. You can read more about each other them:

June Davidson

Darlene Tarnoski

Read more about the NAFE Women of Excellence Awards and its recipients:



The Keys to Feminine Leadership

Here are the two most important things you need to know about feminine leadership, no matter what you are doing both in and out of the workplace:

1 – In your life, you must be in control of your SELF. That means you must have your own dreams and goals, put them on your agenda and do something every day to work toward them. Even if the “something” seems small, it’s one step in the right direction.

2 – In your workplace, whether you work for a small company, big corporation or have your own business, you are always working for yourself. Loyalty and teamwork are good, but remember that no one else will pay your bills, care for your children or be responsible for your happiness and satisfaction – except you.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Thanksgiving is a uniquely American tradition. In Canada, it’s celebrated in early October. In the US, it’s the third Thursday in November.

Over the past few years, I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s their favorite too. Unlike Christmas, we aren’t making ourselves crazy buying gifts we can’t afford, wondering if our loved one will like and appreciate the gift – and the effort. And we aren’t feeling exhausted from weeks of parties, alcohol, sugar and no sleep.

Instead the focus of Thanksgiving is on gratitude and is centered around family and/or friends, love and the creature comfort food gives us.

So today and, while you and I are feeling good and looking forward to the day, join me in thinking about this: What are five things you can be grateful for this Thanksgiving? As you think about one, write it down and make a list Keep the list in your wallet – where you can see them when you are doing your holiday shopping next month and remember that it’s not about the money.

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Ten Reasons Why Women Make Strong Leaders

  1. Passion—not money or promotions—is the main fuel that earns victory after victory.
  2. Resilience: You don’t fail when you trip, only when you don’t get back up.
  3. Brutal Self-Awareness: Recognition of flaws is the first step toward addressing them
  4. Positive Mindset: Optimism doesn’t only benefit you, it inspires your team.
  5. Emotional Intelligence: Understanding the issues driving team members nurtures strengths, compensates for insecurities.
  6. Consensus Building: It’s not enough to have ideas, you must convince others that they’re beneficial.
  7. Intuition: Spotting trends and projecting problems puts a leader ahead of everyone else.
  8. Focus: Multitasking minus focus produces sloppy results; focused multitaskers are professional warriors.
  9. Depth of Understanding: Those who truly grasp the contours of new territory emerge as leaders.
  10. Follow-Through: Good ideas are worthless without the determination to get dirty in the delivery phase.

By Dennis McCafferty, Baseline OmniDigital


Book Review: See Jane Lead

See Jane Lead:

99 Ways for Women to Take Charge at Work

When Lois Frankel explained how she chose the women she wove into the content of See Jane Lead, she said, “…if a woman didn’t pass my ‘very scientific’ beer test – Would I enjoy sitting down and having a beer with her – she didn’t make the list.” She didn’t choose that criteria because she likes beer or because she’s a social butterfly. What Frankel reasoned was that, in addition to compiling list of characteristics of effective leaders, Frankel wrote, “Great leaders are those who make others feel comfortable around them and possess high emotional intelligence…they’re just plain likable.” In her first chapter, Frankel talks about how much women feel threatened by the idea of leadership – mostly because the feminine way of leading hasn’t always been valued in society. She doesn’t ignore the misconception that “nice girls” can’t be leaders and suggests instead that women can integrate their “nice girls” behaviors into their own personal leadership style and still be effective. In the subsequent chapters, Frankel shows the reader how to do just that by (1) revisiting her values, (2) being more strategic (“if you can run a household, you can be strategic”), (3) encouraging her to take risks, (4) creating influence, (5) motivating others and (6) managing teams. She uses common examples of how women demonstrate leadership qualities in everyday life. Frankel also includes a couple assessments, a few charts and concludes each chapter with a list of tips (the 99 ways). Frankel’s final chapter on entrepreneurship has such great tips that it’s a “must read” for any woman going into business. In fact, since every woman is her own business, she could benefit from applying every single tip to her own lifestyle – from “Never sell your soul to the devil” to “Plan your financial future” and “choose your business partners (aka friends) carefully.” Frankel also raises the stakes for the importance of women accepting the leadership role. She reminds the reader that while she’s feminizing leadership she is also modeling leadership for her daughter – and doing it against the many conflicting messages young girls receive outside the home. She offers suggestions and tips for coaching the leadership qualities in young women. What I liked most about this book is that Frankel explains feminine leadership in a way that demystifies it for women. She makes leadership seems not only doable but a real no-brainer.  This is one of those books you’ll keep on your shelf and reread about once a year – as I do. Enjoy!


Leadership Lesson from Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn wore slacks before they were considered acceptable or fashionable for women, didn’t wear makeup, spoke her mind, was even considered box office poison at one point in her career. She was one of the first assertive women in Hollywood and became a role model for many modern women. But because she refused to follow the “good girl” path, Hepburn paid a price and had to reinvent herself  in her career a couple times.

Katharine Hepburn also received four Academy Awards (over forty-eight years), twelve Oscar nominations (only Meryl Streep beat her record), and made a number of films which are considered classics to this day.

About her life and career, Katharine Hepburn said, “When I’ve been unsuccessful, I’ve been controlled. When I’ve been successful, I’ve been in control.”


11/11/11: Veterans Day

My father was a veteran who was wounded in the war. He was an amputee and suffered from what we now call PTSD.

As a first generation American, that son of Italian immigrants, never considered himself “disabled” and always felt proud that he served. He loved the United States. In his later years, he served a commander of the local American Legion. He had his ups and downs, and as his daughter, I often watched him suffer – from people asking questions about his missing arm, children who were afraid of him because of it, the pain that resulted from the prosthesis he wore every work day.  And all that doesn’t even scratch the surface about the pain he experienced when he got  flashbacks of battle scenes.

Take time out today to thank someone who has fought so you can be free. Last year’s Victorious Woman Honorees were “the Janeys” – military women who fought fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you missed it, here it is again: