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What’s In It For Me? Absolutely Nothing.

When asked to do something, how often do you think, “What’s in it for me?” If you are thinking about the “what’s in it for me?” before serving others, you are robbing yourself of meaningful and authentic connections. Thinking about what you can get out of a situation before you contribute to it can set you up for never-ending streak of disappointment. We’ve all heard that you cannot give when you are empty. The same applies to relationships, both personal and professional. Selfless acts of kindness and generosity may not yield instant gratification or even a “thank you” but opens up the possibility of developing a long-lasting, substantive relationship that can be cultivated to be mutually beneficial. Helping a co-worker finish a project probably won’t garner you a raise or a promotion but it positions you as a team player. You might be thinking, “I’m not going to be a door mat and just say ‘yes’ to everything.”  Being selfless is not being a doormat is about doing what is kind and gracious even when no applause is sure to follow and no one is looking.

I challenge you to be selfless and rid yourself from the downward spiral of “what’s in it for me?” and help someone just because.

With love,

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Sometimes You Just Have To Be In the Room

Yesterday I had the honor of attending. the second annual Recognizing Women in Government and Public Service Conference hosted by the Government Finance Officers Association for the Washington Metropolitan Area. The conference was attended by more than 200 women and featured keynotes and panel discussions.  Here are some of the notable takeaways that resonated with me from the conference:

  • Escalate your power by being vocal about who you are and what you do.
  • Bring younger women into various business sectors and teach them to be forceful, gracious, professional and thought leaders.
  • Sometimes the “glass ceiling” isn’t the problem, it’s the “sticky floor”. Look at who is in your network and review your access to resources and knowledge.
  • Don’t shy away from challenges. Challenges are opportunities for growth.
  • The only limitations you have are the limitations you put on yourself.
  • Don’t talk yourself out of an opportunity before you get started
  • Take full advantage of your teams’ skill set and encourage an atmosphere of learning
  • You have to go out and look for opportunity. It’s not going to knock on your door.

When asked how to obtain success, here’s what some of the panelists had to say:

  • Rise to the occasion and do the extra work. Ask for the extra work and then excel at it.
  • Be persistent.
  • Articulate and package your value proposition so that you aren’t put into a box.
  • Find a sponsor, someone who will speak up for you when you are not in the room.
  • Stop being overly critical of yourself. Look at your assets (your skills and what you do well.
  • Impact others. Embrace civic duty.  Impact your community.

Barbara Lang, President + CEO of Lang Strategies, LLC gave the morning keynote “Women and the Power of Negotiation” shared these thoughts:

  • Negotitation means navigating challenges, keeping a level head and achieving the goal.
  • Challenges and test shape who you are.
  • While you may think you are lucky to have a job, the company is lucky to have you.
  • Sometimes you need a reminder that you aren’t as good as you think you are. Learn from the experience.
  • Have a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal and tell others about your goals so that they can hold you accountable.
  • Sometimes it is tough to go against what is popular.
  • Find the win/win solution for everyone.  What is the happy medium.
  • Never settle and rid yourself of self-doubt.
  • Never be afraid to work outside of your comfort zone.

Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Director of the Smithosonian National Museum of African Art delivered the afternoon keynote and imparted these jewels of wisdom:

  • She who teaches must learn and she who learns must teach.
  • Mentorship is important for women. Mentors encourage you to go beyond what you think you are capable of.
  • If you are chosen as “a first” for a position, you have the responsibility to make sure you are not the last.
  • You must be willing to admit what you don’t know and be committed to learning.
  • When you stop learning, the best part of living is over.

Yes,  I know this post was longer than most, but when I hear good advice, I feel the need to share it with others. I hope you have

read something that inspires and motivates you.

With love,

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P.S. Here’s the list of panelists…pretty impressive group 🙂

Melinda M. Bolling, Director for the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

Marva Jo Camp, Attorney, Marva Jo Camp & Associates

Marcia Griffin,  Founder and President of HomeFree-USA

Karen Hawkins,  CEO, Department of Finance for Montgomery County, MD

Lily Qi, Assistant Chief of Administrative Officer for Economic and Workforce Development, Montgomery County

Ana Recio Harvey, Director,  Department of Small and Local Business Development, District of Columbia Government

Lavonn Reedy Thomas, Community Affairs Manager, Prince George’s County, MD

Carla A.  Reid,  General Manager,  Chief Executive Officer, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission

Tonia Wellons,   Head of Global Partnerships, Peace Corps

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Leadership Is Not A Title

One of the lessons I learned when I started working in corporate America was the moment you have to tell someone your title, it becomes irrelevant. The minute you preference a statement or a question with your title in an attempt to intimidate someone you believe is “lower” than you, you lose all credibility. During my 20+ years of professional experience, I’ve encountered many executives that felt the need to “remind” someone of their title. I still remain unimpressed by titles. I’m more concerned if you are ethical and fair in your dealings with your staff, counterparts and customers. I watch how you interact with the cleaning staff in the evening and if you say thank you to the IT guys who have, for the fifth time this week, saved you from easing all of your data.


True leaders don’t go around telling others that they are leaders. True leaders are the people who inspire you to do better, be better and achieve more. True leaders lead by providing a positive example for others to follow. I read a post from Michael Hyatt awhile ago and he gave these twelve ways to know if you are a leader:

  1. You long to make a difference.
  2. You’re discontent and dissatisfied with the status quo.
  3. You’re not waiting on a bigger staff or more resources to accomplish your vision.
  4. Your dreams are so big they seem impossible.
  5. You acknowledge what is but inevitably ask, “What could be?”
  6. You realize that you don’t have to be in charge to have significant influence.
  7. You refuse to blame others for your circumstances and take responsibility for finding solutions.
  8. You foster unity by bringing people together and encouraging dialogue.
  9. You are quick to say, “I messed up. Here’s what I am going to do to fix the problem I created.”
  10. You value relationships more than tasks.
  11. You walk your talk—not perfectly but sincerely and intentionally.
  12. You are a learner. You read, listen to podcasts, attend conferences, and ask other leaders lots of questions.

Are you a leader?

With love,

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