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I always enjoy the NoVa women's luncheon because there's always a surprise. This past week, the surprise came in the form of grandma. Our speaker, Brigitte Polmar, spoke about how to create content for blogs and other social media. That's a daunting topic for some, to reach out and share the things you know and do with complete strangers. But knowing now about the amazing women in her life, it makes sense that she understands how to make it work for her. When it came time for each of us to share who we are and what we do, her visiting grandmother chose

One of the things I love about NoVa Women's Network luncheons is that there is a strong core of regulars. When we have a big turnout, that means there are plenty of us to give every newcomer some personal attention and introduce them around. When we're a small group, it means we can chat like old friends, share new insights to our business, and ask nosy questions about why someone is wearing a cast. Joan Porte Today our speaker Joan Porte gave us a quick primer on how our astrological charts can help us understand our selves and how we do business.

  Have you ever seen an advertisement or encountered a website that spoke to you so thoroughly and specifically that you wondered if the writers had, in fact, crawled inside your brain and siphoned your thoughts without your knowledge? This eerie yet satisfying feeling is the mark of a campaign well done: that a reader and potential customer feels like his or her thoughts and desires are validated and normalized. This kind of connection between consumer or client and the one who produced the piece isn’t magic, but rather a series of complex taxonomic sorting processes. These are a result of a company’s personalization efforts

Picture the following situation: you’re rolling along in your car, tunes cranked up, on your way to work. The weather is fine, you’ve had your morning cup of coffee, and it’s shaping up to be a pretty great day. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, it happens: taillights upon taillights, cars waiting to be able to move, brakes making all manner of noises they shouldn’t, and the inevitable, incessant beeping of car horns. This cacophony, coupled with the unforeseen delay in your journey, marks the kind of teeth-gnashing gridlock every driver wants to avoid. And you’re stuck smack-dab in the middle

“Close your eyes. Take a deep, cleansing breath, slowly. Try to focus on your breathing.” The NoVA women and I are seated at tables in a semiprivate room with gold, green, and bronze décor, but nobody is paying attention to that. The speaker intones, calmly: “Now, think of a time you felt like a million dollars—a wonderful, positive memory, a time you felt like nothing could go wrong, that you were on top of the world… How do you feel, remembering that? How does your body feel?” Contrary to what one might think, this isn’t a yoga session or guided meditation, nor are

You know the feeling: the mid-afternoon rush of to-do’s is winding down, your lunch is wearing off, and you’re ready to check out… but the clock staring at you clearly says 3:37. Wait… it’s not even four yet? Things were fine until you looked at that second hand ticking away. You managed to get up and at ‘em as the sun rose, you had a cup or two of joe, you’ve been knocking out assignments left and right — an email to a client here, a voicemail there, and so on. So what’s with this sudden slump? And more importantly, what

As Jean-Luc Godard once put it, “A story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order.” This was one of the nuggets of wisdom Jessica Piscitelli Robinson threw our way during her presentation at our August monthly luncheon, as well as some great examples of how story structures in general serve different purposes in the business world. Her workshop specifically focused on the crafting and delivery of the Origin Story, but we also covered such structures as the Mission Story (used commonly by, for example, nonprofits or charities); the About Us/About Me Story

“I used to work a lot of weddings,” says Catherine Calvin, “and you know those horror stories about the brides that are perfectly nice, reasonable people until they get engaged and start planning their weddings? You know… Bridezilla?” Laughs wash over the room. “Well, in my years of working weddings, I never met her. I don’t think she exists.” I am seated among some twenty-odd women for our monthly luncheon, where we’ve just had the opportunity to network and have just been seated for our featured speaker. Catherine, Regional Director of Field Sales at Extended Stay America, is presenting some how-to’s

“Most people are so busy taking care of their business that they’re not taking care of their clients,” she says, spreading her hands for emphasis. We are all seated at wide tables in a semi-private room at Houlihan’s, waiting for salmon and salads (which turn out to be amazing!), listening to Mali Phonpadith, creator of S.O.A.R. Community Network, tell us how she came to be standing here in front of us today. It’s the June luncheon for NoVa Women’s Network — my first, as well as about a quarter of the audience’s. S.O.A.R. stands for “See. Own. Articulate. Release.,” and this is

Stop, drop, and roll. Stop, look, and listen. The best action-plans come in threes, and when it comes to clear communication, it’s no different. Communicating effectively is tough because it requires both (or all, depending on the size of the group) parties to be focused on the information at hand. The person giving directives (or asking questions) must make sure to ask or speak in a way that avoids ambiguity; the person receiving orders or answering queries must do the same. This sounds easy in theory, but on a situational basis, it can be next to impossible — how are

It happens to the best of us: sometimes we reach a point where the going got so tough that we’re no longer going. If any of the following makes you think, “Whoa, that’s me!” then there’s a chance you might be a little burned out. 1. You lack motivation, even for things you like doing and are good at. You used to be the go-to person for advice, and your friends all knew it and sought you out. Shy away from projects and that extra mile? Never! You were committed and known for the pep in your step. But nowadays, you can’t

Cathi Coridan is a consultant and author who lives with her husband, Ned Hogan and their “wonder dog Chippy” in Northern Virginia. Her life’s motto is “Imagine What You Can Do…” At Coridan Consulting, Cathi’s writing, training and interim executive services help individuals, groups, nonprofits and small businesses make a Can Do kind of difference in their little corner of the world. For over 40 years, Cathi has worked in local and national youth and family service programs and advocacy organizations as a CEO, counselor, youth minister, program manager, leader, fundraiser and organizational development consultant. She relishes her role as story

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