Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Manistee County League of Women Voters
The next meeting of the newly formed Manistee County League of Women
Voters will be held at 7pm at the Farr Center, Main Street, Onekama on
Monday June 5, 2006 . The League wishes to acknowledge with gratitude the
generous gesture of the Village of Onekama who waved the customary fee
for the use of the Farr Center.
With August primary elections plus local millage and proposals on the
ballot, as well as new voting machines to get used to - there will be
much to discuss with this month's Guest Speaker - Manistee County Clerk
State level proposals and important filing dates may be viewed via a
link from the Manistee League's web site at www.lwvmanisteecounty.org.
An alternative date will be set for July as the customary First Monday
conflicts with the Holiday - but the location will be in Copemish in
keeping with LWV's intent to visit each Manistee County Community and
promote citizen involvement in local government and governance.
August's meeting is slated for the Wellston area, September for Kaleva
(again on an alternate date). October will see a full slate of
preparedness and forums for the November elections.
Anyone interested in learning about the Manistee League of Women Voters
is welcome to attend. Membership is open to anyone eligible to vote in
the US. You may print a form to mail or join via the web at
For more information please contact Jackie Johnson at 231 864 5030 or
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Gail will be conducting a Laughter Leader/ Certification Workshop June 23 and June 24 in Lake Leelanau Michigan. This unique Laughter Workshop will benefit health care providers, counselors, yogo insturctors, therapists, teachers, social workers, and community volunteers...anyone who is ready to explore the scientifualy proven heath benefits of mirthful laughter while adding more joy, wellness, and relaxation to their life and the lives of others.
For more information contact Gail Robinson firstname.lastname@example.org 231-256-3477
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
by Margaret Heffernan
We must carve out time to think.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 11:30, my calendar had an unmovable meeting. It lasted only half an hour but my assistant knew that on no account could it be changed or cancelled. And so, three days a week, at 11:30, I’d walk out the door; I’d be back at noon.
No, it wasn’t face time with the boss. I didn’t visit a therapist and I wasn’t at the gym. I held this all-important appointment for myself. It was my thinking time. I had finally reached the conclusion that, if I didn’t book time to think, I’d never do it. I couldn’t do it at my desk – phones, email, and In trays were too distracting. I couldn’t do it at home – kids, husband, garden, house, and the permanent pile of laundry were too demanding. If I wanted to think then I had to make time for it – and get that time protected.
What I’d discovered was the downside of multitasking. Nowadays, we scan our email while talking on the phone, check the Blackberry in the bathroom, make phone calls from the train. Women, we’re told, are natural multitaskers, confidently cooking dinner while on the phone and supervising homework. Men struggle to emulate us, proudly boasting that they too can attend soccer matches while listening in on conference calls. The competition is not just about how much work we can shift but how many different jobs we can complete simultaneously. Real leaders, we’re told, have a bias for action – so to look like leaders, we become hyperactive, never doing two things when we could be doing four.
What gets lost is thoughtfulness. We’ve gotten so attached to multitasking that we’re in danger of forgetting how to single-task. When did you last have a conversation, a real conversation, with a colleague or a friend – while paying them the compliment of your full, undivided attention? When did you last read a book and give yourself time to think about what it meant and whether or not you agreed with it? When did you last analyze the themes of your career to find out how you could achieve more?
My appointment with myself showed me many things. It always reminded me of something important that had been overlooked in the heat of the day. It often revealed patterns in my work, or the work of my colleagues, that indicated problems or opportunities. Occasionally, it made me see a mistake we could avert, or an opportunity that was staring us in the face. It regularly helped me to recognize patterns – in relationships, problems, products and markets.
Half an hour’s thinking time, three times a week, doesn’t seem like much. But you don’t actually need vast amounts of time to think; you just need that time to be focused and uncluttered. My half hour of walking around a very mundane city block didn’t change my life but it did change my way of working. It made me see the difference between being busy and being productive. I came to learn that having that uninterrupted conversation, for as long as was necessary, turned out to be more effective than the rushed corridor chat or the quick email. I learned that a lot of work, when you ignore it, really does go away – and no one cares. (This felt, and still feels, heretical.) I learned that thoughtfulness beat multitasking most of the time.
One of the places I do my best thinking nowadays is on planes. I used to hate flying and I’m not a big fan now. But I appreciate the fact that the phone won’t ring, no new emails will arrive, and I probably am not going to run into anyone I have to talk to. On a plane, I can think. It’s something I can never do in the office.
When asked if they wanted to be able to use cell phones on flights, most passengers said no. They didn’t want to overhear other peoples’ conversations, they didn’t want to be contactable. Like me, I think they’ve come to treasure their time alone in the sky. When I speak at conferences and I ask my audience how much time they get to think, mostly what I get is nervous laughter. We all know that we should think – but we also all know that it is impossible to do at work. We have built a knowledge economy that depends, for its very survival, on thinking. But we have built organization and offices which won’t let us think. We have to walk around the block, or fly around the world, in order to do what is the very heart of our work.
That we have built organizations which preclude the one activity they’re designed for is an irony of monstrous proportions, well beyond the scope of a single individual to fix. Solutions aren’t going to emerge quickly or easily. They certainly won’t emerge in the white heat of multitasking. What, as individuals, we need to do is carve out our own thinking time and learn to protect it. We need to do so on the understanding that this is not not working – it is the foundation of work itself. When I see spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations flickering on planes, I feel a twinge of regret. I want to say: Stop it! Your boss isn’t watching. No one will walk in. The phone won’t ring. You have the luxury of uninterrupted time. Seize it. Cherish it. Catch up on the one task that never figures on your Action List. Sit back. Shut your eyes. And think. You won’t regret it.
Of Proteges and Pitfalls
A complete plan for getting the mentoring you need.
When John (unless explicitly identified by full name and company affiliation, names have been changed to protect identities) worked for a global energy company, he gained skills and visibility through the coaching of his mentor and boss, Richard. But when Richard fell out of favor, suddenly John lacked cover. He was so strongly associated with his boss that his stock started to fall, too.
Alice was so effectively advised by her mentor that she started to overtake him. When Alice found herself within striking distance of his job, she was distraught. If she didn't go for it, her company's hard-charging culture would write her off. But if she did, she'd feel disloyal.
Ah, mentoring. No one disputes its value, but its pitfalls are legion. Since the 1970s, studies have repeatedly demonstrated that mentoring is the single most valuable ingredient in a successful career for both men and women. So now everybody wants a mentor. But mentors aren't fairy godmothers; they can't and shouldn't be expected to make all your dreams come true. For women and minorities in particular, the overexpectation problem is acute. Female leaders are often expected to fill the roles of mother, sister, girlfriend, and activist -- and do their day job. Minority executives speak of a responsibility to "lift as we rise," to improve conditions for the whole group while carving out their own careers. Men are often wary of mentoring women, fearing gossip and innuendo, but they also don't want to appear sexist. Considered together, it's inevitable that mentoring will consistently create issues of trust and confidence. So how can you negotiate these effectively? What should you be thinking about when initiating a relationship with a mentor, and what should you expect? What are the rules of the mentoring game?
1. Choose well
Find someone who is committed to the relationship, will give it time, wants to see you thrive, and doesn't need to compete with you. Be explicit about needing honest feedback, not just moral support. A great mentor tells you when you're brilliant, but more important, delivers tough love. This also means that you have to be prepared to listen to some hard truths and awkward questions. When Saj-nicole Joni was a rising executive at Microsoft, her finance person kept making mistakes, which she pointed out as soon as he passed out his spreadsheets. Meeting with her mentor, Jeff Raikes, she expected praise for the division's best ever quarter. Instead, he read her the riot act. "I don't care if Jack's numbers are wrong, or how smart you are," he said. "You don't treat a junior employee like that in front of others. If you don't fix this, you aren't going anywhere." Tough love of the best sort. And Joni fixed it fast.
2. Get formal mentors
Many companies run formal mentoring programs, and if yours does -- go for it. You can learn a great deal about corporate policies, politics, and fault lines just by watching these relationships. But when mentor and protege work for the same company, there will always be things that can't safely be discussed.
When Jane signed up for her ad agency's mentoring program, she was a little daunted when the company assigned Jacqui to be her mentor. A managing associate, Jacqui had a reputation as a ferocious leader who drove teams hard to get results; she had little interest in feedback or dialogue. Jane learned a lot from her, though, and they got along well. But when Jane heard that most of Jacqui's group thought Jacqui was heading for a fall because she wasn't listening, Jane could only take it in, not intervene. Formal mentoring programs obey formal lines of command. There's a limit to what you can share.
3. Mentors don't have to be the boss
Not all mentoring relationships need to be so formal or follow the chain of command. When Paige Arnof-Fenn ran the Olympic Coin Program, which raised funds for the Atlanta Olympics, her mentor was her assistant, Beverly Spears. "I learned more watching Bev handle people and situations than you can imagine," she says. "She always took the high road and never compromised her integrity." Spears's ability to teach Arnof-Fenn how to handle complex personality politics turned Arnof-Fenn into a strong corporate player and illustrates how mentors can be found at any level. Their informal relationship continues to this day, because it wasn't fundamentally based on their business relationship.
4. Find expertise mentors
We all have areas of expertise. Find someone -- inside or outside your organization -- who you consider outstanding in your field. When Ed Hotard was COO of Praxair, a Union Carbide spinoff, he made a habit of introducing his highfliers to leaders in the same disciplines in other companies. He wanted to give them the opportunity to stretch themselves in their field. But some were too preoccupied with day-to-day operations to find the time. "I didn't blame them," he says, "but I found that those who didn't take advantage of the introductions weren't going to progress very far." Hotard provided expertise mentors to deepen his proteges' knowledge and experience, but he also used the introductions to test for professional and intellectual ambition.
5. Find a third opinion
When you get to the top, you can't look to a mentor for all the answers. Problems are too complex and time consuming. Instead, find someone who looks for answers with you. You need a third opinion -- a thinking partner outside your company, often on retainer, who has no vested interest in anything except your success.
Ramon got his first leadership break when he became EVP of manufacturing at Coatings Worldwide, an industrial paints and adhesives business. But he found that his manufacturing teams were so siloed that they caused expensive production breaks. His first thought was to hire better people, but that would cost time and money with no guarantee of success. He knew he needed a different approach. Hearing Anesh, an experienced player in global manufacturing, speak at a conference gave him an idea. Ramon needed his breadth of experience, so he invited him to Coatings as a consultant and paid him to reframe and test the issues. "Anesh challenged my thinking and made me stretch to see areas I wouldn't have otherwise considered," he says. Anesh was a great mentor because he didn't have an agenda. He was an outsider, and he didn't have a solution he was trying to sell. This let him frame the questions differently and move beyond fault finding.
6. Think life, not just career
We tend to think of mentors purely in the context of work, but work is just part of your whole life. Holly, a software executive at General Electric, argues that you need mentors for each part of your life -- who, together, represent a personal board of directors. "The key to the personal board of directors is to make sure it is balanced," says Holly. "If it is all work and no family, then guess where your advice will be skewed? If you neglect one area of your PBOD, you will neglect that area of your life." If financial security, community, or spiritual life are important to you, find mentors for these, too. Having a personal board doesn't just enrich your life, it also protects you from a dependency on a single mentor. And it puts you in a strong position to evaluate where your mentoring relationships are thriving -- and when it's time for a change.
Sidebar: Pointers for Mentors
Choose a protege you can learn from, too -- someone who may give you some insight into different layers of your organization.
Don't commit to a mentorship if you can't invest the necessary time. Block out regular meetings, set goals, and plan on spending at least one hour a month.
Know what kind of mentor you are and concentrate on that role. Make sure you and your protege understand the limits on trust within an organization.
Encourage outside voices.
If you can't provide the third opinion to your protege, make sure he or she gets one from somewhere outside the company.
Introduce your protege to other mentors.
This lessens dependency and provides other growth opportunities. A network of mentors beats a single one and provides an outstanding model for leadership.
Sidebar: Open-Source Mentoring
Memo to General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt: We hate to be the ones to tell you, but apparently there was a much easier way. The International Mentoring Network Organization (IMNO) is a nonprofit group devoted to helping early- and midcareer professionals connect with A-list mentors. Its idea is that everyone should be able to have access to the Welchian wisdom Immelt received. So IMNO founder Patrick Tedjamulia paired with two friends to reach out to bigfoot mentors, interview them, and share their knowledge with everyone at IMNO.org. Among their gets so far are, yes, Jack Welch, Larry Bossidy, even a storyboard artist from Spiderman 2 (IMNO refreshingly knows not everyone wants to be GE's CEO).
There are several ways to use IMNO.org. One is to interview your own mentor and post the transcript. Or you can choose a dream mentor and request that he or she sit for an interview. Or you can just read others' postings.
IMNO's transcripts offer several advantages over career-advice tomes, and most of the credit belongs to hungry mentees who don't beat around the bush about wanting to get ahead. For example, Bossidy was asked how to advance at GE (succeed in projects that touch a variety of industries) and when to jettison a good gig for a risky one (when you've learned all you can in a job).
Like any open-source project, the site is free. What you achieve with the advice, of course, could be invaluable.
-- Mike Brewster
Sidebar: Match.com for Mentors
Those who lead charmed professional lives might find a trusted career mentor in an office down the hall, or maybe even in the next cubicle. But how will you find that perfect sounding board if he or she toils hundreds -- or thousands -- of miles away?
Forward-thinking companies are turning to Mentor Scout, a Web-based mentor-matching tool created by Nobscot Corp. An annual subscription costs anywhere from $2,500 to $25,000, depending on the number of participants. Home Depot, Best Buy, and even Brunswick Corp.'s bowling division have adopted the technology to help far-flung operations managers.
General managers-in-training at Brunswick Bowling & Billiards can log on to the system, fill out a member profile -- including skills they want to improve -- and up pops a list of volunteer mentors from within the company that fit the bill. "I don't want to say it's like a dating service, but it kind of works that way," says Dean Schuller, a longtime general manager.
Using the service, newly minted Brunswick manager Kelly FitzGerald, based in Chicago, found a mentor in Philadelphia. "Because we connected through the Web, a mentor doesn't have any preconceived notion of what you know," Fitz-Gerald says. "You just have to ask them for help, and it's all confidential." Besides, there can be some advantages to a mentor who can't see a messy desk -- or catch you rolling a few extra frames after closing.
Margaret Heffernan is a fastcompany.com columnist and author of The Naked Truth (Jossey-Bass, 2004). Saj-nicole Joni is CEO of Cambridge International Group and author of The Third Opinion (Portfolio, 2004).
Copyright © 2005 Mansueto Ventures LLC. All rights reserved.
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Friday, May 12, 2006
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Despite their growing ranks as experts in fields ranging from national security and military spending to technology and health care, women continue to be drastically underrepresented in the news media as shapers of policy and leading voices of experience and authority on critical issues.
Too many journalists do not quote women as experts simply because they do not know any women who are experts in the fields that they cover.
SheSource.org closes the gender gap in news coverage by making it easy for journalists to connect with women experts to quote and voice their opinions on topics of interest. With a few quick clicks, journalists can find women experts in a variety of fields all across the country.
SheSource.org is an online database of women experts on diverse topics for journalists. SheSource.org is designed to include spokeswomen from a variety of backgrounds, representing demographic and ethnic diversity as well as work in a variety of issue areas - particularly ones that are traditionally male-dominated.
SheSource.org is the cornerstone of an initiative by The Women's Funding Network, Fenton Communications and The White House Project to foster more representative public discourse by increasing the number of women whose opinions are reflected in the news media.
Journalists can search for experts by issue, simply by using the pulldown boxes on the front page of the SheSource.org web site. A list of women who fit the search criteria will be displayed with link to their biographies, which includes detailed information about their expertise, media experience, background, and contact information.
The Manistee County League of Women Voters is moving full steam ahead!
On May 1 the new organization officially became a Member At Large
group affiliated with the State of Michigan League of Women Voters.
The next meeting of the local organization will be held 7pm Monday,
June 5 at the Farr Center in Onekama. Each of the next monthly meetings
will be at a different community throughout the county to build
membership in preparation for holding candidate forums throughout the
county prior to the November elections. The local organization has an
official website (www.lwvmanisteecounty.org) where interested
individuals, men as well as women, can learn about who and what the
League is as well as obtain a membership form. At the last meeting
members worked in groups to list the activities they wanted to see LWV
Manistee County take on. The list was prioritized with the final
emphasis being to begin preparing a "They Serve You" publication
listing all elected and appointed positions within the county, the
terms and when they expire, how to register to vote, with links to
information sources such as the county clerk. For more information
about this new Manistee County group, or to offer to host a meeting in
your community, e-mail email@example.com or call
Judith Wright spoke at the April netWork luncheon that was attended by 142 women in the area. According to Wright, making the One Decision and choosing a life of MORE—purpose, fulfillment, satisfaction, love, career, and worldly success—is a definitive act, one that will separate your life into the time before and the time after. Your One Decision leads you to be the very best you can possibly be. Have the sense that your life counts—a life of more of everything you desire.
“She was very inspirational and a number of women purchased her book at the luncheon,” said Judy Ouvry, a co-founder of the netWork. “And Judith has invited local women to attend a training at the Wright Institute in Chicago in August. More information about that can be found on her web site” (judithwright.com).
Linda Hunt was a speaker during last week’s Celebrating Women Festival. She donated a copy of her book, “Bold Spirit, Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America”.
Desperate. Determined. Unwaveringly confident. In 1896, a Norwegian immigrant named Helga Estby dares to cross 3500 miles of the American continent to win a $10,000 wager. On Foot. BOLD SPIRIT: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk across Victorian America introduces readers to this fascinating journey of an audacious act of courage and love of a mother trying to save a family farm.
The Women’s netWork section of the library was started with a collection of over 50 books donated by area women in December 2005 through the Women’s netWork.