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Let’s Talk About Packages. No, I’m Not Talking About Amazon

So, let’s talk about packages. No, not Amazon kind, but your own personal package. You know, the one that makes you uniquely you. How’s that package shaping up this week? Are you giving it the attention it deserves?

I know life can get crazy, and in the midst of all that crazy, we can forget to check in on ourselves. It’s the package that gets lost in the shuffle of to-do lists and meetings. But guess what? You’re worth more than just checking boxes and getting through the day. Your package – your dreams, goals, quirks, and talents – deserves some MAJOR love and care.

If you ever had one of those days where you feel like your package is all over the place whether it’s the midweek blues or a rough start to the day…fear not. You’ve got the power to turn things around.

Here’s my challenge to you: Take a moment today to give yourself a virtual high-five. Celebrate a small victory, no matter how tiny. Maybe you made a killer cup of coffee this morning, nailed a presentation, or simply managed to survive rush hour traffic without losing your cool. Those are all wins.

So, let’s make this Work Your Package Wednesday count. Give yourself permission to shine, to celebrate the wins, and to work that package with pride.

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I Felt Naked, But Not Afraid

Have you ever allowed yourself to be so vulnerable that you felt naked? That’s what happened to me while I delivered the closing keynote at my fourth annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference. I spoke on the topic, “Your Life. Your. Story: What to Do When You Have a Story to Share”. It was the second time that I had spoken on the topic. The first time was for a webathon hosted by Lucy Brazier, the editor of Executive Secretary Magazine. However, this time was different. This time I wasn’t alone in a conference room with my laptop. This time I was in a room full of women that I am honored to serve and affectionately and proudly refer to as “Mavens”. These women have their own stories to share but there I was sharing mine. And I felt naked but not afraid. Sharing my story was cathartic and allowed me to be unapologetic about who I am. Being vulnerable is liberating because it erases any preconceived notions of perfection or lack of challenges. Being vulnerable is an act of acceptance of oneself. In the article, “Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable” by Daniel Wallen, here are the benefits of being vulnerable:

1. You will learn to appreciate the quirks that make you unique. Being vulnerable will help you embrace the strange (interesting) and quirky (unique) things that make you special. While you might call certain personal characteristics are “awkward,” they are only awkward if you don’t accept yourself, and consequentially feel uncomfortable in who you are. We are all crazy in our own ways; and if you’re going to be weird, you might as well be confident about it.
2. You will make peace with troubling memories from your past. Being vulnerable will help you get rid of pent-up baggage that bothers you. While it isn’t easy to deal with painful memories, it is better to confront your past than it is to hide from it. We all have made bad decisions we regret, so don’t even think about judging yourself; search for a lesson or takeaway that will help you prevent similar mistakes in the future and let it go.
3. You will attract the right kind of people into your life. Being vulnerable will help you understand what types of people you can most relate to. While you might be tempted to hang out with whoever crosses your path, it is better to choose your friends carefully. We all have made the mistake of telling something personal to somebody we shouldn’t have, and ended up getting hurt due to backstabbing or betrayal; it is good to love all people without question, it is best to only put total faith in true friends worthy of trust.
4. You will find it easier to empathize with the struggles of others. Being vulnerable will help you develop empathy for others. While it’s easy to throw a fit when something terrible happens to us, it is a lot harder to demonstrate compassion for the struggles of another person. We all have been guilty of getting so caught up in our own lives that we forget the world doesn’t revolve around our needs; before behaving like an upset infant, remember that many people face hardships that you couldn’t begin to imagine.
5. You will earn the trust of people at work. Being vulnerable will help you grow closer to the people in your workplace. While you might think you deserve a raise just because of your hard work, you need to remember that no amount of book smarts can make up for a complete lack of emotional intelligence. We all have complained about getting “passed up” for a promotion; before assuming you’re “under-appreciated,” take an honest look at your ability to communicate and work together with your fellow co-workers.
6. You will strengthen your bond with your romantic partner. Being vulnerable will help you bond with the person you love most. While you might be afraid to reveal your deepest and darkest secrets due to a fear of judgment, doing so will put your mind at ease. We all have put up barriers to protect ourselves from getting hurt; but if you hope to spend the rest of your life with a particular person, don’t you think it would be best to be forthcoming with the important truths that they would like to know?
7. You will humanize yourself in the eyes of others. Being vulnerable will help you demonstrate that you are an approachable person who is kind and considerate. While it isn’t easy to find the courage to reveal our true nature, there is no better way to encourage others to accept themselves. We all have fought with a lack of esteem at one time or another.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity.

Dr. Brené Brown – Daring Greatly

With love,

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A Proportional Response…And Other Lessons Learned from TV


This weekend while cleaning my bedroom, I watched the West Wing television series on DVD. West Wing is still one of my favorite television shows. I remember looking forward to “West Wing Wednesday” every week, eager to watch the witty banter by the staff in the White House. President Jed Bartlett is one of my favorite fictional presidents not just because he was brilliant. He was  also kind, had a wicked sense of humor and he loved his wife. One of my favorite episodes from Season 1 is titled “A Proportional Response”. Now for those of you who have never watched West Wing, here’s a brief synopsis: After being offered “a proportional response” to the Syrian military’s downing of a U.S. military plane on a medical mission (and carrying his newly named personal physician), the president asks “What is the virtue of a proportional response – why is it good?”and then demands an option that will have greater impact. His Chief of Staff gradually talks him down, but the President is snarky with everyone, including his wife. The president ultimately agrees to the initial option, but is not happy about it. The president wanted to bring down the “thunder of God” on the Syrians. He wanted the response to be such a devastating blow, that no other country would even think about harming another American citizen. Are you asking yourself, What the heck does this have to do with ‘working my package’? Of course you are. Stay with me. This episode made me think about how people respond whenever we feel we are being disrespected. We tend to overreact in fear that someone else will try to disrespect in the same way. I thought about my “disproportional” responses and I wondered if my anger and need to set the record straight was best way to handle conflict. To be perfectly honest, because hindsight is always 20/20, there some things I should have left alone. I should have ended many conversations sooner than I did because it was clear neither side of the disagreement would be heard but egos can eliminate common sense and courtesy.

Are your responses to conflict proportional? Seeing a situation and a person for who they are, not who you want it or them to be can keep you from overreacting and giving too much time and energy towards people and situations who quite frankly just  don’t deserve it. In the midst of conflict do you think, “If I let this person get away with it, then everyone will think they can do the same thing?” Do you talk about how you are going “set some things straight?” Do you go for the jugular to make a point or do you want a mutual understanding? Do you want crucifixion or correction? Now ask yourself, is it even worth it? Victory is not always in the public defeat of your opponent, but in the calmness of your mind and the ability to just walk away…

With love,

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Register today for the Work Your Package Women’s Conference 2016! Speakers and full agenda will be announced on April 29.

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5 Things That Need to Stop at Work…Right Now


I’ve worked in various industries for some great companies. While their mission statements and strategic goals might have been different, they have have one thing in common…employees that display horrible work behavior. Here’s the top 5 behaviors that really just need to stop. Not now, but right now.

1. Unproductive Gossiping – Yes, there’s such a thing as productive gossip. Talking about a new project or initiative and how it will improve workflow process or boost employee morale is productive gossip. Gossiping about the latest office romance? Unproductive, unnecessary and makes you look bitter. Also, making stuff up just to sound like you are “in the know” makes you appear desperate for attention. You have better things to do.

2. Taking Credit for Work You Didn’t Do – I can’t believe people still do this and think that they can get a way with it. If you are working with a team to complete a project, make sure you publicly thank the ENTIRE team even if you think you did all of the work. Trust me, you’ll be respected and people will want you on their team in the future. The cute BCC on feature on emails is used more often than you think. Don’t let work karma bite you in the butt.
3. Arriving to Meetings Late – Just stop it. Seriously. It’s disrespectful to the meeting organizer and the other attendees. I do my best to arrive to meetings early. I don’t like to keep people waiting because it’s rude. My supervisor has a standing rule that if you are late, you have to either sing, dance or tell a joke. Don’t be the source of entertainment or laughter. Learn how to manage your 168 and get to meetings on time.
4. Coming to Meetings Unprepared – In my opinion, this is worse than arriving late. If you are facilitating a meeting, make sure you have an agenda. No one wants to sit through a meeting while you try to wing it. If you are responsible for an item on the agenda, make sure you have everything you need to contribute to the meeting. Want to be a superstar? Distribute materials ahead of time so that the attendees can come to the meeting feeling prepared and ready to contribute to the conversation.
5. Being a Naysayer…ALL THE TIME – Negative Nelly. Debbie Downer. Nervous Norbit. Buzzkill Bobby. Whatever your name is, please know that you are sucking the life out of your co-workers. Your constant negative comments about every idea suggested by a co-worker doesn’t make you the “devil’s advocate”. It makes you look like the most insecure person in the office. Get some ideas of your own instead of wasting time finding something wrong with someone else’s idea. Instead of saying, “No, that won’t work” try saying “That sounds interesting. Can you tell me more?”
I would love to hear what bad work habits/behaviors you like to see added to the list.
With love,
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Did you know registration for Work Your Package Women’s Conference 2016 is open? Did you know you can reserve your seat for only $99? Register today at 
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Another Work Your Package Women’s Conference in the History Books

On March 28, 2015, I had the honor of hosting the 2nd Annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference. If you told me three years ago that not only would I host my own conference but I would also look forward to it, I would have looked at you like you had, at the very least, 5 heads. The amount of pressure to plan and execute a full-day conference can be enough to make you throw your hands up in the air and say “Forget it!” When I felt like that I had to remember why I planned the first one and why I decided to do the second conference and why I’ve already secured a location for the 2016 conference. Simply stated, I am a maven. I was created to gather information (subject matter experts) and share it others (conference attendees). As I told this year’s attendees during my afternoon keynote, Work Your Package is not a fad or a phase that I’m going through. I’ve been sharing the “work your package” message for years before I had a name for it. Twenty years from now, I’ll still be telling women and men to “work” their package. It will be my legacy, one that my daughters will be proud to speak of and hopefully continue.

Here’s my question to you..What were you created to do? What will be your legacy?


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WYP2015 Speaker Spotlight Series – Cashmeir Jones

Cashmeir Jones

During Cashmeir Jones’ career as a Professional Make-up Artist, she has represented both MAC and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics and has mastered taking that one feature that a woman thinks is “just cute” and showing her how to accentuate it to showcase her full beauty. She’s passionate about beauty because it’s the true essence of a woman and no two women are the same.  Cashmeir studied Fashion Merchandising at Johnson and Wales University and received her Make-Up Artistry certification from Make-Up Designory (MUD).  In addition to being a skilled and experienced makeup professional, has also made her an excellent mentor and instructor, training fellow makeup artists on the latest techniques and methods to expertly produce flawless complexions, beautifully defined eyes and perfectly tinted lips. Peers and clients alike seek Cashmeir’s expertise knowing they will get honest advice, beautifully applied makeup and a professional and enjoyable working experience.

What are the three biggest benefits you offer to your target client and why?

The three benefits I offer are:

  • HONESTY – Women need to hear the truth about what really works for them and what doesn’t. The majority of my clientele rely on my honesty.
  • PERSPECTIVE – We don’t always see the beauty in ourselves. Sometimes we can be our biggest critics. If I can bring a different perspective and help them see what’s beautiful about them I feel I have done my job.
  • RELIABILITY – My clients can rely on me to be there for them on their biggest and most important days. They can trust that of all things that may go wrong, their make up artist will be there on time and ready to make them absolutely gorgeous.

What are the top 3 questions asked by your clients/customers?

The three questions I get most often are “What colors work for me?”, ” How do I bring out my best feature?” and ” Which red works for me? ” All of which I love answering and teaching them how to love and enhance. their features.

What tips can you recommend that you’d only share with a close friend (and everyone reading this blog)?

The best tip I could give would be to find what feature you love most about your face. Then let me teach you how to make it stand out. Embrace your individuality.

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WYP2015 Speaker Spotlight Series – Bianca Thompson

Bianca ThompsonSince 2003, she has spent most of her days in a uniform as a Paramedic/Firefighter employed with the Baltimore County Fire Department. Then in 2011, the Baltimore Times featured her in the article, “Baltimore County Paramedic Can Save Your Life and Your Wardrobe”.  Since then, B. Foxy has accessorized countless celebrities for television and award shows including the Academy Awards and Primetime Emmys. In 2012, she made her way into the history books when she was promoted to EMS Lieutenant, making her the 1st African American woman to ever achieve rank in the history of the department.

If you had a list of ‘best-kept secrets’ [websites, books, coaches] you’d recommend, which would you include and why?

Firstly books, because they are a practical, less expensive, and convenient way to expand your horizon, gain knowledge, and spark your imagination.  Also, meditation. Meditation is really the best kept secret.  It develops the ability to silence your mind to tune out the world. When you do that, you tap into your full potential and ground your spriritual connection to the universe/GOD which helps to bring a lot of things into perspective and allow you to recognize what’s useful and what’s not on your journey to success.

What tips can you recommend that you’d only share with a close friend (and everyone reading this blog)?

I am the type that I will share valuable information with anyone who is seeking it.  A few tips are: 1. Absolutely, positively, at all times, believe in yourself no matter what or who will doubt or test you. 2. Surround yourself with like minds and people who are smarter and more talented than you; you become who you associate with. 3. Relax, lighten up, and enjoy the journey daily. Don’t just focus on the end result but each moment the leads up to it.
What are three life memories you recall most frequently and why?
There’s one memory that stands out the most frequently for me.  When I was promoted to Lieutenant in the Baltimore County Fire Department.  I am the 1st African American female to be promoted in the history of the department.  It is a constant reminder that if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.
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WYP2015 Speaker Spotlight Series – Tamara Stallings (Part 2)

Tamara Stallings

Here’s Part 2 from Tamara Stallings, Leadership Coach for Gen X’ers and Millennial’s – aka The Young & Fabulous. Tamara Stallings is a Leadership Coach, Millennial Expert, Career Strategist and the brains behind go B Great. A highly successful career strategist who has dedicated twenty years of strategizing, creating best in class leadership initiatives and serving as a Senior Human Resources practitioner with some of the best and brightest leaders, global organizations and individuals around the world.

Looking out 3 to 5 years, beyond the obvious trends, what do you think will be the next big change in your industry?
I hope that people will demand and strive for career happiness.  When I hear people say that they’ve been with an employer for a long time yet in the same breath complain about the work, the boss, the environment, or the lack of opportunities, I cringe. Life is so precious and spending one day in a job or career that does not offer joy is so 1990’s.  It is past time to put career happiness back on the map.  How else will you B Great if you’re not in the space that allows that greatest to shine? Employers want to hire niche experts not generalist.  Many companies are doing more with less, given that, organizations are looking for candidates with a specialty, for example Project Management or Change Management.  If you fit in the generalist category, it may be time to assess your skills, figure out what you do well and focus on being the best at it.

What are three things you’ve told yourself that kept you going during your darkest hour?

When I was a little girl, I learned a song in church and it is based on Isaiah 40:31.  The chorus of that song (and the scripture) says “They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up on the wings like an eagle. They shall run and not get weary, they shall walk and not faint, teach me Lord, teach me Lord how to wait.  This passage reminded me that things would not always be this way and that I need to hold on joyfully.  Soon, I would be soaring as an eagle. That got me excited!

“Five Years from today” is a motto that I live my life by and, it is how I make MAJOR decisions.  In my darkest hour, I asked myself, “Will I regret this decision that I’m about to make five years from today?”  Asking myself this question allowed me to make the decision that I had to make confidently.

I told myself, “Sometimes you just gotta go all out and put two sugars in your coffee.”  Corny I know, but I internally embraced this motto when I wasn’t sure about something, started to let fear get in the way or started to overthink an idea, or a product.  If there were no blaring “don’t do it” signals, I put aside fear and went with it. I believe that if more of us start to live like we only have one life to live, we’d be more fulfilled.

What are three life memories you recall most frequently and why?
Recently, I started consulting at a company at the same time as a new hire.  We worked together for two months and a few days before Christmas, he became sick and died.  He was fairly young.  Shocked was an understatement, especially during the holidays.  His untimely death is a reminder to me that EVERYDAY, I must live the life that I was created to live and not sit idly.

Deciding to move to DC after a two day visit.  I had never been to DC before, but I knew (with every fiber of my being ) as I sat at Howard University’s Homecoming football game, that making the decision to go home to LA, pack my bags and return to DC to become a student at Howard University was exactly what I was supposed to do.  It was one of the most freeing, yet terrifying decisions that I have ever made.

After interviewing with six different companies while unemployed once, I was offered jobs by all six employers.  I had to know why they decided to hire me. They all said that I had exceptional interviewing skills and that I sold the value that I would bring effortlessly.  It was at that point, the light bulb came on and I begin to teach others how to interview to get the job and navigate the world of world successfully.

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WYP2015 Speaker Spotlight Series – Tamara Stallings (Part 1)

Tamara Stallings
Tamara Stallings, Leadership Coach for Gen X’ers and Millennial’s – aka The Young & Fabulous. Tamara Stallings is a Leadership Coach, Millennial Expert, Career Strategist and the brains behind go B Great. A highly successful career strategist who has dedicated twenty years of strategizing, creating best in class leadership initiatives and serving as a Senior Human Resources practitioner with some of the best and brightest leaders, global organizations and individuals around the world.

What are the three biggest benefits you offer to your target audience and why?

Solid career planning– Career planning can get complicated for many reasons.  My role as a coach is to simplify things and partner with you to get clear on your life’s calling and focus on forward momentum.  I create a comfortable space for exploration, help unblock what’s holding you back from making progress, offer suggestions of adjustments, and support you in your growth.  Our sessions are designed to lead with your agenda and help you stay accountable to your goals.  When we both show up to focus on your career advancement, it turns into some pretty powerful stuff.

1:1, Group Coaching and Mentorship Mastermind Seminars -Designed to package the professional for the future—There is an art and science to REAL career happiness.  Planning for a six figure salary, fulfillment beyond money and working in such a way that is far beyond a nine to five is what we all should be striving for.  Monthly I host small group conversations with industry professionals, who are eager to connect with the B Greater community.

Personal Brand Development– Branding is what people say about when you’re not in the room.  If you’re not sure what people are saying about you, I can assure you, they are not saying nice things.  A strong personal brand is a powerful strategy that can do wonders for your career.  I was offered a job after interviewing with the recruiter over the phone.  This was a global government contracting organization.  An employee submitted my resume to the company using the “internal” job posting process.  This particular company’s philosophy was, if an internal employee vouched for the candidate by submitting their resume, then they must be great.  Resumes submitted through an employee automatically was granted an interview.  I literally had a phone interview on Friday night at 7pm and by Monday morning I had a job offer letter in my inbox.

What are the top 3 questions asked by your [customers, readers, followers]?

  1. Why/How do I use a career expert? I tell job seekers and clients who desire to change their career, there is only so much knowledge of how to polish your resume, cover letters that get the attention of a hiring manager and savvy networking at your disposal.  Having an experienced career coach who focuses on your true desires will ensure that you land in the best matched job that you will enjoy and thrive in.
  2. I am unhappy and unfulfilled in my current career, how do I get out? The first step to getting anywhere is deciding you’re not willing to stay where you are. The rest is about strategy, timing and a well-designed plan.
  3. Are you affordable? Why yes, I am. What I know for sure is that if you want to be successful in your career, you can’t afford not to hire a trained and experienced career expert. The return on investment that you get from working with me results my clients in job promotions, salary increases, networking opportunities and career fulfillment.

If you had a list of ‘best-kept secrets’ [websites, books, coaches] you’d recommend, which would you include and why?

Wow, they’re so many out there. A few of my favorite books are:

Knowing Your Value:  Women, Money and Getting What Your Worth by Mika Brzezinski. I love this book for its truth and lessons that we all can learn about how women can achieve their desired recognition and financial worth.

The Dip by Seth Godin—it’s a little book that teaches you when to quit and when to stick with it. I learned so much from reading this book and I learned how to happily quit the things that I needed to quit. Life changing I tell ya!

And, my forth coming book titled, They Had the Nerve to Lay You Off: Lessons I learned from Getting Laid Off.  My book offers tips, inspiration and survival techniques for the unemployed, underemployed or soon to be downsized.

I also love Inc Magazine and Fast Company. You can learn so much about global business issues, technology, creativity and leadership principles. You can’t help but to be successful staying in the know.  These magazines will help you to do so.

What tips can you recommend that you’d only share with a close friend (and everyone reading this blog)?

I believe that you can be whatever you want to be if you’re driven and hungry enough to go after it, have the right mentors, motivators and work hard. I attended Howard University at the age of 30, after spending time in the military. I knew that higher education would change the trajectory of my career and it did.  I went from making $27,000 to six figures in 6 years.  No it was not easy but it was worth every tear that I shed and every late night spent at the library.

Life and work has a way of getting your attention. You had better pay attention because that thing will keep knocking and knocking and knocking until you have no choice but to pay attention. Your intuition is the best thing that you have going for you. Trust it.

To be continued next week….
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WYP2015 Speaker Spotlight – Sonya Smith-Valentine

sonya smith-valentine headshotIf your money is acting funny, then you need to come to the Work Your Package Women’s Conference on March 28. Sonya Smith-Valentine is a featured speaker and a Financial Success Coach who specializes in helping others define financial success and then being fierce enough to go after it. Sonya developed coaching programs to walk her clients through defining their financial goals and action steps to achieve those goals. She works with them individually and in small groups to help define their financial goals and to chart a roadmap to financial success. Thousands have benefited from the practical tools she has given them to attain financial success in their lives, careers and businesses.

What are the three biggest benefits you offer to your target audience and why?

When working with individuals, the three biggest benefits are (1) they learn how to prevent small financial issues from blossoming into large problems, (2) they learn the financial changes they should make to improve their financial situation, and (3) they learn the necessary mind shift they must make in order for them to truly be successful at improving their finances.

What are the top 3 questions asked by your [customers, readers, followers]? 

The top three questions I get asked are: (1) how can I increase my credit score, (2) how can I get out of debt, and (3) how can I remove an item from my credit report.

If you had a list of ‘best-kept secrets’ [websites, books, coaches] you’d recommend, which would you include and why?

The two biggest secrets are (1) NACA – National Association of Consumer Advocates and (2) CFPB – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The National Association of Consumer Advocates is a nationwide organization of attorneys who represent individuals in various consumer protection and personal financial matters.  Usually if a lawsuit is necessary, the attorneys will represent the individual on a contingency fee basis.  This means the person does not have to pay the attorney’s fees up front.  The attorney will get paid out of the settlement or amount won at trial.  This means that an individual can get an attorney’s help without having to worry about how to pay for it.

Unlike the FTC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau actually deals with individual complaints it receives from the public.  If you have a dispute with a bank, credit card company, debt collector, student loan company, etc. and you complain to the CFPB, they will contact that company and work on getting a response from them.