Colliding Cultures – How To Avoid Cultural Faux Pas At Work

October 31, 2012

According to an article in The Washington Post, the Afghan Defense Ministry has published a guide for their troops to help explain Western customs. This guide was necessary because NATO troops have been inadvertently doing things that cause grievous insults to Afghan army members, such as blowing their nose in public, patting them on the back for a job well done, and showing the soles of their feet when crossing their legs or putting their feet up on a desk.

Most people reading this are probably laughing at the absurdity that such minor cultural faux pas could cause any kind of tension. Yet this is no laughing matter. “Fifty-one coalition troops have been killed this year by their Afghan counterparts. While some insider attacks have been attributed to Taliban infiltrators, military officials say the majority stem from personal disputes and misunderstandings.” What this situation highlights is the need to foster cultural understanding and tolerance in the world – before issues arise.

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Women And STEM Careers: How Microsoft Is Building A Bridge To Future Innovation – One Girl At A Time

October 24, 2012

An unusual job paradox has occurred in the United States. The U.S. continues to face high unemployment rates (7.8% as of September 2012) yet American companies cannot find enough workers to fill all the available STEM positions. According to the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy research organization based in Washington DC, “American companies urgently need professionals trained in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, but there are not enough workers with the necessary skills and too few Americans earn post-secondary STEM credentials.”

How can companies bridge the gap and be able to fill all those available STEM jobs? Microsoft is an example of one company not only seeking today’s answers, they are looking into the future and focusing on the group believed to be a key solution: Women. Read the rest of this entry »

Moving Your Community Online: An interview with Meghan Peters of

October 17, 2012

Social media isn’t going anywhere. As I’ve discussed in past blog entries, it’s becoming an integral part of our lives and our careers.

Well, Meghan Peters’ career is social media. As the Community Manager at Mashable, which provides news, information, and resources for what it calls the “Connected Generation,” she is behind the website’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+ pages, ensuring its six million followers remain engaged. Read my 1:1 interview with this social media maven where she offers advice on which skills are needed to excel at a career in this field, how she keeps Mashable’s followers engaged, and the role social media has played in her professional life. Read the rest of this entry »

Cancer Made Me Nice: An Interview With Survivor Karen Vaniver, MD

October 10, 2012

When Karen Vaniver found out she had breast cancer, she felt the color drain from her face and her body go numb, but she wasn’t surprised. She lost her grandmother to breast cancer and her mother and sister were breast cancer survivors, so she understood how devastating the disease could be.

What made Karen’s situation unique? She was a cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon who had performed breast reconstruction surgery for numerous cancer patients. This meant Dr. Vaniver already knew the difficult road to wellness she would need to navigate. Not only did Dr. Vaniver become a breast cancer survivor, her situation impacted her career by inspiring her to dedicate a large portion of her medical practice to working with breast cancer patients. Read the rest of this entry »

To Get Ahead, Help Develop Others’ Careers

October 3, 2012

Women in business have long acknowledged that to advance in their careers they need to focus on developing themselves by learning new skills, attaining new knowledge, and seeking out challenging new experiences. But did you know developing others could also positively impact your career?

According to a recent study led by Catalyst, “High potentials who were developing a protégé had $25,075 greater compensation growth from 2008 to 2010.” The study also demonstrated that developing others is a significant predictor of career advancement. Read the rest of this entry »

6 Ways To Damage Your Reputation In A New Job

September 24, 2012

“I think I just blew it with my new boss,” moaned a former career-coaching client over the telephone. “I thought I’d given myself enough time to get to my new job but there was an accident on the freeway blocking traffic. I ended up 40 minutes late to my first day of work and missed the staff meeting where she was supposed to introduce me to the entire department. I could tell from the look on her face how disappointed she was. She probably thinks I’m completely unreliable.”

There are many ways you can inadvertently damage your reputation in a new job. As my former client found out, showing up late on your first day of work is one of those ways. Here are six ways you can sabotage your reputation that you should avoid at all costs: Read the rest of this entry »

5 Tips For Employers To Earn Respect From Employees

September 19, 2012

In a previous blog (R-E-S-P-E-C-T: How To Earn Respect At Work), I discussed ways employees can earn respect at work. But earning respect shouldn’t be a one-way street – it should also be embraced by employers. Respect isn’t just something subordinates are forced to give managers. It’s a valuable asset for employers to show and earn in the workplace. Earning employee respect isn’t always easy, but when employers find ways to build respect at work, positive benefits ensue. How do you build employee respect at work? Read the rest of this entry »

Women CAN Have It All – Just Not All At The Same Time

September 12, 2012

While feeling frustrated trying to balance her job as the first female director of policy planning at the State Department with her family responsibilities and raising two boys (ages 12 and 14), Anne-Marie Slaughter told a female colleague, “When this is over, I’m going to write an op-ed titled ‘Women Can’t Have It All.’”

Her colleague was horrified and told her she shouldn’t write that because “such a statement, coming from a high-profile career woman – a role model – would be a terrible signal to younger generations of women.” Or would it? Isn’t it about time we female role models started telling younger generations of women the truth? Okay, maybe not as bluntly as telling them they can’t have it all, but by telling them, “You CAN have it all…just not all at the same time.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Importance Of Paper In A Digital World: Interview With Lisa Rodwell Of

September 5, 2012

In this digital age, face-to-face meetings are becoming more rare as people take their networking online. In this 1:1 interview Lisa Rodwell, chief revenue officer of, an award-winning and innovative online printing company, tells us how the business card is not just here to stay, but still an important and necessary tool for making your mark on potential employers and clients. Read the rest of this entry »

For A More Inclusive Workplace, Train Men First, Specifically White Male Managers

August 29, 2012

For many years I’ve listened to cynics challenge the results of diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace and question whether the programs produce enough positive measurable results to continue funding them. Now, findings from a Catalyst study released last month in July 2012 reveal “training can produce a measurable shift in workplace attitudes and behavior – and begin to create an environment where women and minorities can advance.”

However, the study’s positive results were not achieved by providing diversity and inclusion training for all employees. The results were achieved by focusing on one workplace group first – white male employees, which is “the group most likely to be resistant to diversity and inclusion training.” Read the rest of this entry »