{VIDEO DEBUT}: Too Hard On Yourself/You Are Enough

Earlier this year I posted a video of myself reciting a poem I wrote called Too Hard On Yourself/You Are Enough. Soon after the lovely and talented actress from LA, Monica Vallero contacted me excitedly to ask if she could use the poem for a creative project with her and her team. I was honored!

Admittedly, I wrote Too Hard On Yourself for me. Back then I was highly self critical, a perfectionist, and poo poo'd the whole self care, self love thing. But the more conversations I had with women, I saw that this was an epidemic.

As women we are expected to be all-things-have-your-shit-together-at-all-times-strong-independent-never-let-them-see-you-sweat machines. And we judge ourselves the hardest when we don't meet that impossible standard.

The woman I describe in this poem is all of us. These ladies represent all of us. From the free spirited, quirky weird, beautiful, creative ambitious types, seekers, achievers, perfectionists, goal digging dreamers and doers. Young, old, green hair, no hair. This is for you. I hope you enjoy.

Super proud of the work these lovely ladies did in bringing this poem to life.

What Brands Can Learn From Dove's Ad Fail

dove ad.jpg

Ok so I had to comment on the backlash recently received by Dove, a brand that markets and sells to millions of women everyday. I am a black woman who has used their product from bath bars to deodorant for many years and has even supported their mission towards self-esteem and body positivity. I feel let down and disgusted that a brand that I have given money to over the years is not a true champion for celebrating beauty and diversity in its truest form.
In case you missed it, on Saturday, Dove released a Facebook ad that pictured a black woman turning herself into a smiling white woman.
Social media wasn’t having any of it as angry comments and criticism on Facebook and Twitter erupted almost immediately. The company in response took it down and issued an, in my opinion, weak apology.
Dove states, “An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused.”
In reading the comments and articles written about this incident in the past day, one thing that many people are asking is how could Dove’s marketing team approve such an ad like this? Could they not see it as blatantly offensive? This troubles me. For 13 years this brand has stood for women’s empowerment, celebrating diversity, and defying mainstream standards of beauty. Yet, this is not the first time Dove generated an ad that was clearly offensive. In 2006 another campaign was a photo of a black woman with a ‘before’ sign over her head and a white woman with an ‘after’ sign.

C’mon Dove. We have to do better.

In my career, I have worked with some of the top marketing firms in NYC and have been part of the teams managing the accounts for popular brands like Lexus, American Airlines, and even Unilever which is Dove’s parent company. Though I was not directly involved in the making of the ad campaigns, I worked closely to those that did. In many cases, the creative teams leading these brand campaigns, did not reflect the actual demographic of the product it was targeting.

So when a blatantly racist ad gets approved and released by a nationally recognized brand, TWICE, this is clearly a symptom of a larger problem.
The old model of non-inclusion at the corporate level is crumbling.
In order for brands at the highest level to reach the masses, all voices must have a seat at the table. Your consumers are holding you to a high standard and in integrity to your word. Mistreat that and you lose our trust, period.
I am proud that people whether they use the product or not, did not let Dove get away with it’s blatant lack of sensitivity. However my fear is that next week this time, this will be old news and the problem will persist until another offensive ad crops up.
Soon big brands will have to pay attention as newer, more inclusive beauty brands walk their talk and promote inclusion of all shades. Rihanna’s new makeup line Fenty, that launched this Fall, is a great example of this. Her product effectively hit the mark of representing all skin shades without making it’s users feel excluded or that one shade is better than another. Well done.

I’ll end in saying this: for all brands big and small, whether you are a solo run business or a giant figurehead in the industry ~ remember it’s what you DO, not what you say, that makes you who you are.

9 Ways Women Can Help Each Other Get Ahead In Business


"There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women." ~ Madeleine Albright

We work to change this idea of competition that pits women against each other. There is no need for competition in business or in the workplace. We are far stronger working together than apart. Women are natural collaborators and we do better when we are building each other up rather than ripping each other down.

Here are a list of ways we can help each other as women in business. Feel free to add your own!

  1. Send free resources (books, articles, videos, programs, events) that you come across to someone in your circle that would benefit from the material.
  2. Be a connector. Scan your network of contacts and facilitate an introduction between two people who could help each other or benefit from knowing one another.
  3. Refer. Give out referrals for your favorite women in business. Hand it out like candy!
  4. Share it out! When someone in your circle starts something new, gets featured, or that you know could benefit from more exposure or awareness, share their news! You can do this by posting, re-posting, or forwarding with a link back to their work.
  5. Do business with other women owned businesses. This year while doing my taxes, I intentionally sought out a woman-owned tax firm. Look for ways you can support other women in business.
  6. Listen. Sometimes we just need to be heard, not for someone to fix things. Offer your full presence and a listening ear
  7. Acknowledge. Pick 5 random women from your circle and just send an email or better yet pick up the phone with a kind, encouraging or inspiring word.
  8. Invest. Women face more challenges in securing funding than our male counterparts. Consider ways to put your uninvested assets to use by investing in women owned business ventures
  9. Give back. All of our progress will be for nothing if we do not empower the next generation of women leaders. Volunteer your time, be a mentor, teach young girls, or delegate a portion of your income to social causes you care about.


What would you add to this list?
What is one action you can take on from this list to empower women in your circle?

We’re all in this together.

Power, Purpose, Community!

Your Personal Branding Questions - ANSWERED!


This past week I led a discussion on personal branding for a large organization.

With 20 minutes to present and about 60+ people on the call with plenty of material to get through, I squeezed in my best tips and advice on how women in business can build a powerful brand.

Today, I’m sharing with you the nuts and bolts of my talk along with the answers to a few questions we had on the call. Later on, I will be inviting a few of you to join my first ever personal branding masterclass to expand on some of the material covered here. So without further ado, my quick tips for building and leveraging your personal brand in business and leadership.

What is brand?

For many of us, when we think of a brand, we tend to think of it in terms of the name of our business, our bio, what’s on our resume, LinkedIn profile, or the role or title we have. Maybe for some of us, we don’t even see ourselves as a brand or never really considered it. We might think of the stores we shop in, the products we buy, the logos we see as brands. But this is a very one-dimensional way of seeing ourselves and the power we have to create an impact and build influence.

A brand reDefined.

A brand can be defined as three things:
1. The unique set of ingredients that set you apart and allow you to stand out.
2. The experience of you and what people come to expect from you.
3. The value you bring to the table.

Why does having a brand matter?

When you don’t have a clear definition of who you are, what you stand for, and what you bring to the table, you can start to feel adrift and stagnant in your work. You may find yourself unable to create meaningful goals, struggle with confidence and impact in your leadership, and decision-making becomes a bit cloudy.
Consider your brand as your navigational guide towards personal and professional success. Foundational items like your personal vision, core values, and strengths lead the way. With a clear understand of your brand, you can align with the right projects/clients/opportunities.

What gets in the way?

I call these the stories we tell ourselves; invisible barriers that come in the form of negative self talk that causes us to hide, shrink, become insecure and diminish confidence.
The two narratives we most often hear are:
1. Not good enough.
2. Who do you think you are?
What we continuously believe and actions we take as a result, becomes our habits, which shape our character and ultimately our destiny. Through methods that interrupt this pattern of thinking, we find ourselves able to replace negative thinking with solid, more empowering beliefs. Priceless!
A few questions I received that I’d like to answer here were:
How does the culture of the organization come into play with developing your personal brand within the organization?
“Make visible what, without you, might never have been seen.” – Robert Bresson
1. Listen; engage in active listening to tune into the internal dynamics of your organization. What do you notice about how teams communicate, how problems are solved, or how leaders lead? Then ask yourself: What/how can I best contribute here? What unique quality or skill that I possess would be most useful here?
Learn to ask for feedback from colleagues and clients to determine what your best strengths and skills are. This will aid in knowing who you are and where you most bring value.

2. Teach; oftentimes you have to show & tell people how you want to be perceived and what you want to be known for. Pay attention to the language you use about yourself and how you describe what you do. Use language that you most want to be known for. In essence you have to be the one to teach people who you are. Do this by your actions, words, and results achieved.

3. Cheer-lead; women can be your best advocate who will attest to your skill and value. Your cheerleaders will speak highly of you in your absence – they become your own personal PR agent! Align yourself with ‘influential allies’ and become one yourself for other women.
How did I develop my brand as a business professional and voice for women’s leadership and empowerment?

I will be answering this in full detail with step-by-step guidance in my Branding masterclass. On Wednesday, August 30th I will be hosting a 75-minute online branding masterclass, The Essence of YOU; Personal Branding for Smart Women. This session is for you if you are considering your next career move, starting a new venture, needing more clarity around what you want, and especially if you're just tired of shrinking and ready to play bigger in your world! What’s unique about this course is that it takes a very unconventional approach to branding, from the inside, out. So if you’re open to a new way of discovering & developing your brand, you will enjoy this talk.

Sign up is here.
I’m keeping the class limited to 15 people so we can have a personal focus for our attendees.

Cheers to mastering your brand and unlocking your true path to great leadership.

The SHE in She Went for Her Dreams

When you’re in the business of helping people succeed, the work becomes bigger than you.

I’ve seen the magic of how one woman who decides to go for her dreams and play a bigger game in her own life can inspire another woman to do the same.
It’s like a ripple effect.
The impact we have on one other as women is far greater than we could ever imagine. There is something about seeing a community of like-minded trailblazing women who are going for it that sparks something within you.
The fire in your belly roars to a flame and you are inspired to get out there, be your best self, and do your best work.
This is what it means to have a greater purpose through your work.  When it comes to business and the work that we do, I don’t believe it’s just about selling widgets and increasing the bottom line. I’m going to take a guess that if you’re reading this, that you believe this too.
As women entrepreneurs, many of us go into business driven by a desire to create, change the world, and serve humanity. Our dreams are not flights of fancy, but an invitation to action. At the risk of getting too metaphysical and woo woo, doing business is a sacred act. The hum that lies just underneath the surface, that fuels you to get out of bed every morning. It is a force that does not come through you alone but from a higher power energy channeling through you. It is not our job to question it, but to obey the callings of our hearts.
The imperfect road towards living our dreams is paved with setbacks, longer than expected wait times, and dark nights of the soul. Still we march on. It takes courage to do this kind of work to follow a dream, make an impact, to let go of comfort, risk failure and disappointment, believe in an idea so fiercely that you would die for it.

Project She Went For Her Dreams exists to lead, guide, and transform women into their highest calling as business leaders of the future. We partner with women of our time who are boldly pursuing their dreams and making a difference in the world through the work they are called to do. These women are thought-leaders and change-makers who see the world not so much as it is but how it could be. They are in the trenches, have fallen down and gotten back up, and show up every single day to bring her work out into the world.

The message I want women to take from our work is that you have to do the thing that calls to your soul. It’s no longer an option to deny our dreams any more. We cannot continue to hide behind our unfulfilling 9-to-5’s, the excuses, the fears, and the circumstances that keep us blocked every day. We must become loyal to our dreams instead of what other people want from us. Even if you don’t know what your dreams or passions are, there is no greater time to start exploring them then right now. Part of going for your dreams is about becoming curious about who you are and the work you want to do in this world.  
Each woman intuitively knows what that next step is for her. It is a very personal journey. Whether it’s starting a new business, leaving the dead-end job, doing a TedTalk, taking the job across the country because she feels in her heart that it’s the right move, speaking her mind openly in the boardroom, sharing new ideas that have the power to change the course of traditionally held views, getting out of our heads and trusting ourselves.
The SHE in She Went For Her Dreams is for every woman who dared to do big things, use her power to create, and hold up her middle finger to anyone who tried to hold her back. This mission is for her, this mission is about Us.  
Now that’s something worth celebrating.
Last Fall, my company went through a re-brand and Project She Went For Her Dreams was officially introduced to the world. The launch was celebrated with the kick off my empowerment series, A Night of Dreaming + Doing in NYC for women entrepreneurs, world changers and all star trailblazers. We have our next event coming up on September 21st which is shaping up to be another magical experience.
Today, we forge on, giving inspired business and leadership guidance to women that want it. Some of our women have gone on to launch award-winning companies, appearances on major media outlets, pen best selling books, and even get married, move across the country and start families.
But the best part about all of this, is what we get to say about the work we did when we sit old and gray reflecting on our lives, that we went for it, we went for our dreams.


Want To Get More Clients? Tell Your Story!

The one vital piece of information missing in our business conversations that lead to more sales, more partnerships, more funding, and overall more yes’s is: your story. Your story is the single component that allows you to stand out in a saturated market and has the power to create meaningful connection and promote influence in your industry.

Ladies, we are not telling our stories; our personal truth that helps me to know why I should hire or buy from you.

Last week, I was at a networking event for women entrepreneurs in New York City. I met this lovely, stylish lady who co founded her business making high quality nail polish at a fraction of the cost. Naturally, as someone who has her nails done on the regular, I was intrigued. She went on to tell me how her product was featured in top magazines, how they were voted number one against other nail brands, and why their business was the bee’s knees. Her sales game was strong and I could appreciate her passion and energy for the product. Yet something was missing. I probed a little bit and asked her about the backstory of how she came into business. I later learned that her parents were of Caribbean descent and taught her the value of hard work. She shared that when she was little, her mother always had her nails done no matter what and valuing self care was something she admired in her mom. She also shared that her father was an entrepreneur and that she learned so much from him growing up and seeing him run a business.


Her story of what inspires her as an entrepreneur and why she went into the nail business suddenly came to life. I could relate to her story having also been brought up in a Caribbean family. I connected with her values of self care, beauty, and maintaining a positive appearance. Most importantly, after meeting dozens of women business owners that night, she is the one I remember most because of the story she told. Later that night I looked her up on social media and became a follower. She is on my radar now and when I am ready to buy new nail polish, I will think of her.

Our stories give the work we do deeper meaning and adds a dimension that humanizes our business. In our stories, you get to see the real person behind the logo. It provides an opportunity to create real connections, bond over common values, and be a bit more conscious in how we buy and sell.

What is your business story?

·      It tells your ‘why’; why you do what you do and what drives you

·      It is an opportunity to create a meaningful connection and a lasting first impression

·      It is the defining factor that will have you standout

·      It’s your sense of purpose or your mission

How do we find our stories and tell it in our business?

 5 elements for you to consider in developing your story:

1.      How did you come to do this work? Look for the hook that will capture hearts and minds. This can be: defining moments that changed your life, triumphs you’ve had, painful challenges you overcame, lessons learned, etc. Dig deep.

2.     What are the top 3 values that show up in your story? Confidence. Spirituality. Harmony. Purpose. Etc. These are the components that create connection and impact for your clients or your audience.

3.     What’s the energy behind your story?  Inspiring, educational, victim to victory, reflective, visionary, to evoke shock, influence, etc. Focus on the intention behind your story.

4.     Be able to summarize and articulate your story in 2-3 minutes.

5.     Continually revise and practice!

Remember, your business is an extension of you. Not only do you bring your expertise but you also bring your entire life experiences to the table. Your business is part of your life story; share it freely as you do business. In doing so, you will attract the people you are meant to work with.

Do you need help putting your business story together? Do you want to tell your story in a compelling and succinct way? Let me help you! I’m offering specialized Brand Storytelling sessions for a limited time. Reach out at she@shewentforherdreams.com to learn more.

10 Things You Can Do This Summer To (re)Fuel Your Mind, Body & Business

I love the summer time. I really do.

Outdoor music festivals, street fairs, sunbathing in the park, trips to the beach, rooftop parties.

There’s nothing quite like summer in NYC.

I don’t know about you but my productivity tends to go way down in the summer. My soul longs to be outdoors during this time of year breathing in fresh air and soaking up the sun.

The summer is notorious for slowing us down especially at work.  It’s a great time to take advantage of the slow season and refuel our senses. To clear away the busy work and focus on tasks that will build us up and sharpen our skills.

Over here we’re doing our best to take advantage of the summer months, stay sharp, and do what we love to do in empowering women entrepreneurs.

Here are 10 things you can do to refuel this summer:

1. Take a Toastmaster Class. Perfect your public speaking skills. Whether you speak publicly for work or not, improving this skill is a game changer for confidence, presentations, and enhancing brand visibility. Check your local Toastmaster chapter to attend a meeting.

2. Spruce up on Your LinkedIn profile. Are your roles up to date? Does your summary need refreshing? Is your photo outdated? Your LinkedIn is your most valuable asset as an entrepreneur; it leads to potential clients and strong partnerships.  Make sure it leaves a positive, professional impression.

3. Listen To A Business Empowerment Podcast. My favorite podcast at the moment is Being Boss. It is an amazing hub of resources and information from top experts in business with content updated regularly.

4. Purge. Out with the old, in with the new. Carve out time to clean out your inbox, organize client files, file away business cards, clear off your desk of old coffee mugs and random papers. Get rid of anything you no longer need.

5. Get new headshots. If your current shot is more than five years old, time for fresh new photos.

6. Start a Passion Project. Passion projects have a funny way of leading to new business ideas. What is a new fun creative idea you want to try for your business that won’t take a lot of time? New blog series, 7-day challenge, new program you want to test out, etc. Tap into your passions and (re)create from this place.

7. Revisit your goals. You know those goals you wrote down on January 1? Time to check in on them. Evaluate your progress, re-examine and re-align to stay on track.

8. Summer Reading. Grab your favorite business book you’ve been meaning to read, go to the park and read it under a tree. Some of my favorite books I would recommend are The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, Miracles at Work by Emily Bennington, and Start With Why by Simon Sinek.

9. Volunteer. I recently gave a talk to Dress for Success women’s group on interviewing and the most amazing experience. One of the most amazing ways of giving back is volunteering your time to those who need what you do the most. Research your favorite organization and reach out to them about doing volunteer work.

10. Remember Your Joy. Always, always, always remember to have fun. As entrepreneurs sometimes the work is consuming and we forget the most important ingredient is to always have fun. Take a painting class, go bike riding, or in my case play a sport. Making time for joy clears your mind and energizes you so that when you return to business you are focused and replenished.

Do you have any other ways that you love to refuel in the summer? Share with us in the comments below!