The 7 Stages of Fraudulence // How to Achieve Empowerment and Own a Project When Your Team Leader Moves On

Late last summer, I learned about what felt like the career opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to help run my company’s media site. The publication had been run by a sharp, brilliant, and remarkably agile team of three people—and one of them had recently taken a new job elsewhere. They needed someone who could handle the editorial responsibilities of the publication: managing our team of freelance writers, recruiting new writers as needed, ideating stories, editing, writing, filling out our monthly editorial calendar, providing feedback, organizing images, creating digital newsletters, etc.—all of which sounded absolutely thrilling to me. While I handled those responsibilities, my manager (who was also a friend of mine) would be by my side, handling the data, analytics, big-picture decision making, and teaming up with me to ideate stories, market the publication, and proof work. 

I voiced my interest in the position, and, a few weeks later, landed the gig.

My manager and I became an incredible team. We were in sync, working together to push the site, challenging editorial boundaries together, and using our data and skills to push out stories we could really feel good about. We were seeing great results, our writers were evolving, and no challenge was too great. 

We had just finished presenting our lofty goals for 2017 to our senior staff—and we were feeling pretty good about them—when he pulled me into a room one morning and confessed a heavy truth: he had received an offer for an absolutely unbeatable career opportunity, and he couldn’t turn it down. He’d be leaving in two weeks’ time.

As a friend, I was so proud. After all, this was, for him, an incredible opportunity. And you’re always thrilled to see your friends succeed. 

But as a colleague, the meeting felt somewhat apocalyptic. How was I going to keep this mammoth growing and evolving without his energy and sharp wit? We were fortunate to also work closely with our director on this project, so I knew I wouldn’t be alone, but, at the time, I hadn’t worked as closely with him. And though I had been in every analytics meeting, looked at the same data, and had an intimate working knowledge of the site and its audience, I had never been called upon to operate completely alone. 

Suddenly, I felt like a fraud. Completely unqualified. Weirdly, all the hard work I had put in suddenly felt like his work, and I felt paralyzed by the notion that I couldn’t do my job alone. 

Those feelings were totally wrong—and, in retrospect, I know they came from my startled and scared emotions more than anything else. But it took me a while to accept the change, come to terms with my own strengths, and learn to trust other colleagues in the way I had trusted my manager. Today, while I still have a way to go, I’m confident in my role, and I no longer feel like a fraud. Here’s how I got there—and how, if you’re going through a big professional shift, you can get through it, too.

Stage 1: Denial

For a few days after I heard the news, I went into deep denial in spite of myself. While somewhere deep inside I knew the change was coming, I stuffed that knowledge deep down inside my brain and pretended it was business as usual. I carried on with each day, chatted with my colleagues, friends, and family members, and, with the exception of telling my husband what was happening, refused to share the news. In my mind, the longer I could go without saying it out loud, the longer it remained a piece of fiction. 

When you’re in denial: If you’re currently in the denial phase of the career change acceptance continuum, do your best to get out as soon as possible. If you can’t, attempt to treat this time as though it was happening to a close friend, and use it. Start thinking about all the things this person does on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. Use their job description if you have to. Write those things down, and start checking off the ones you can easily handle. (You’ll be surprised how many you have in your wheelhouse.) Once you know what you need to know, you can talk to your colleague and glean knowledge from them ahead of time.

Stage 2: Reluctant Partial Acceptance

Then, one afternoon, it hit me: my manager was leaving (and soon). Okay, I thought, it’s real. With that knowledge in mind, I started making lists of questions I wanted to ask and things I wanted to learn how to do before he left, and put some time on our shared calendar to walk through everything. My heart wasn’t in it at the time, but I knew if I didn’t create a repository of everything I could learn from him before he left, I’d be lost in no time. 

When you’re in reluctant partial acceptance: Getting out of this phase takes that same tired energy that it takes to get out of bed on a Tuesday morning and get to work. You don’t have to like it, you just have to accept it, and make a plan that best equips your future self for success down the line. Remember those lists you made in the denial phase? Now’s the time to use them, and answer all those questions you haven’t figured out. 

Stage 3: Panic

There came a moment, somewhere in the midst of asking my questions, where a sudden, distinct feeling of panic set in. The world was collapsing. There was no way I could learn everything I needed to know in the next few days. 

When you’re in panic: I’ve always found advice like “calm down” to be frustrating, and I’m sure I’m not alone. If this is where you are, however, you can approach it in a way that allows you to release your frustrations, indulge your mental state, and still come out on top. One approach that can work is allowing yourself timed periods of panic. Once you feel a wave set in, allow yourself to feel it and vent about it for a while. Maybe you can use that time to get up, take a quick walk, grab an herbal tea (note: the less caffeine at this time, the better), and talk to a friend. But once your time is up, it’s back to a solution-oriented approach. 

Stage 4: Dread

Two days before my colleague left, I found myself paralyzed by dread. Somehow, the time since he had first announced his plans had flown. I couldn’t move. I feared the worst: that I would be exposed as an imposter who didn’t deserve the career path I had chosen. A part of me was still fighting time, or facts, somehow—like if I continued to be miserable, there was no way the day would come. 

When you’re in dread: By definition, I’ve realized, to dread is to “anticipate with great apprehension or fear.” The implication there is the future—or, more specifically, a definite in the future. I can be afraid of things that aren’t real, for example, but I likely only have dread for things I know are certain. The big takeaway there is that if something is definite, it can’t be changed. So you can’t control it. What you can control is yourself, however, and the state in which you’ll be when the thing comes to pass. If you’re in dread, try reangling your perspective to ready yourself as best you can. The thing that comes may still be unpleasant, but you won’t be helpless in the face of it. 

Stage 5: Total Acceptance

Unfortunately, on my colleague’s last day, I wasn’t in the office to say an official goodbye. I had come down with the flu—an inevitability in the winter, especially when you work in an open office environment and take the subway to work each day. But, once I got better, I remember thinking that I was finally ready to come to work and own this thing. 

When you’re in total acceptance: Congratulations! Overall, things get better from here. I know it doesn’t feel great right now, but you’re going to get through this. At this time, the best thing to do is remember everything that helped you land your gig in the first place—your hard work, your dreams, and your plans for the future. You may have to work a little harder, but you can still achieve all that. You still have your brain, your passion, and your skills. Hang on to those things—don’t discount them.

Stage 6: Curiosity and Organization

Once I got back to work, I got down to business. I went through all my notes and structured them, and I dug deep into the documents my colleague had created to help equip the team for his absence. I firmed up and organized my processes, I came up with a list of publication needs that I communicated with my remaining teammate, and I started collaborating with others around me to get a sense of the support system I would now have. I was lucky to be able to count on my freelance writers, new direct manager, and colleagues to help grow the publication and support me in various ways. 

When you’re in curiosity and organization: It’s going to feel like you need to do everything at once when you first start out in this new era. Don’t. Give yourself the time you need to get organized. If things are taking a bit longer than you’d like, communicate a timeline to those affected. Let them know that you are working out a system in the absence of your teammate, but you’ll be in touch with them by ___ date, and they’ll almost always understand. Make sure you set a reasonable time frame so that you don’t have to miss the deadline twice. 

Stage 7: Empowerment

I’m still growing into the empowerment phase, but I feel a lot more confident as I take on more tasks in my current role. I don’t feel lost, abandoned, or out of control—and, more importantly, I don’t feel like an imposter. Stepping out into the spotlight a bit has shown me that I am made of tougher stuff, and that between myself and my professional network, I can handle this new challenge. 

When you’re in empowerment: You go, lady. Now’s the time to run with it, and not let anything stop you. This is a hard-earned feeling that you deserve as you head in and push yourself and your work each day. Feel proud, and let your light shine!

Linsey J. Morse is the Content Standard Editor and Cofounding Editor-in-Chief of Spry Literary Journal. Past lives include: Poetry Editor for Mason's Road, Student Editor for the Bryant Literary Review. Previously written work has appeared in such publications as Now What: The Creative Writer's Guide to Success After the MFA; future work includes Idle Jive, a poetry collection in progress.

Interview // Loren Raye, Radio Host

Tell us about your business / current project.

For the past four years, I've been the co-host on 103.3 AMP Radio's the TJ Show. We're a comedy-driven, lifestyle morning radio show in Boston. Before that, I worked for nationally syndicated Elvis Duran and the Morning Show for 5 years as a producer.

Tell us about your co-conspirators. Who are the ladies you collaborate with on a regular basis?

I always try to align myself with extremely driven, very passionate women who are working tirelessly to achieve their goals and spread some good with their integrity intact. I seek women who aren't vying for attention, but who are simply doing good work and therefore attracting attention organically. I think there's a huge difference and the quality of their product is so much richer.

Talk about the importance of finding your tribe.

I have found the most amazing tribe to help keep me going. Whether it be professionally or personally, I have those people I can call at any given moment, who will drop it all to help me out, and I am so incredibly grateful. Especially when you take a job like mine (weird morning hours = no social life), it's imperative to find those people who understand and respect that, and don't take it personally when you can't go out for drinks at 7p on a Tuesday. They understand my values (and they value my weirdness) - and I wouldn't be who I am without their support.

Who inspires you these days? (Can be contemporary or a historical figure.)

My friends who have really blossomed as activists are inspiring me every day. They're propelling us forward and I hope I get the courage to really stand up with them and join them one day. I think of people like my friend Jen Jones, who is the co-creator of Women You Should Know & Women You Should Fund, as an example. Her life's work is telling the stories of trailblazing women. We met a few years ago through work and I'm grateful that a personal friendship has come from it.

Why did you choose the career that you have?

I don't think I ever envisioned myself doing anything other than hosting, so it never felt like much of a "choice," as cheesy as that sounds. Since I was 16 I knew I wanted to host. I love entertaining people and have no problem hopping on a stage in front of hundreds or even thousands of people. Radio was a perfect fit; I get to be myself, I get to express my opinion, and I get to meet some of the most amazing people and take part in some really unique and great experiences. (And, massive bonus that I love: I get to do it makeup-free!) Hopefully, some of the work I do can make a difference for people.

How do you think your work helps women locally and nationally?

I'm really proud of my weekly segment called the Badass Chick where I highlight a woman or girl following her passion, giving back to the community and/or breaking stereotypes. In a world where people are being rewarded for behavior that I find eye-roll-worthy, it's nice to shine some light on good people doing good things. I hope my Badass Chicks and I can serve as an example to younger girls listening to our show that working hard, being kind and staying focused can bring you lightyears ahead of others.

When did you take your biggest risk (in life or business)? Was it worth it?

The first major risk I took was when I was 21: I left Penn State a semester early (I finished my degree online) to take my very first radio job, which turned out to be the best decision I've ever made. The second major risk was choosing to leave that job (nationally-syndicated Elvis Duran and the Morning Show) after 5 years. It is the number-one morning show in the country, and people thought I was NUTS to leave. I actually had two people tell me to my face that I was making the wrong decision and that I would never make it (just to alleviate any rumors: neither one of those people was, or worked for, Elvis. They were all outside the Elvis Team... and Elvis himself couldn't have been more supportive of my decision). I am so proud that I followed my gut, and I have grown leaps and bounds thanks to my decision. We are building a show from scratch here in Boston and I am so insanely proud of the work we do and the momentum we're gaining.

When things get rough, how do you keep yourself going?

I call my mom and I lean on my fiance a lot! Those two will never hesitate to build me up... but they'll also be the first to call me on my BS and tell me to get my crap together when I need it.

Do you label yourself a feminist? Please explain.

Uh, duh! It's funny... there's so much talk lately about that word - but I never even knew that the word was "controversial" in any way. I lived in a single-mother household (though my dad is still very involved with my life!) and it was always just the two of us girls growing up. My mom fixed our toilets; she and I carried a couch up two flights of stairs by ourselves when I was 12; my dad used to buy me Legos and Army Men to play with. When my parents were together, they were a pretty equally-contributing household in terms of salary. I never knew any different... and I am so grateful!

What's your favorite restaurant in the city where you live?

I love Al Dente in Boston's North End. Their waitress Angela is the most amazing woman, and when my fiance and I were long distance for two years, we would always go to dinner at Al Dente when he was in town. It feels like "our spot" and Angela feels like family. Their food is phenomenal too - duh.

Photo by Steve Prue

6 Networking Tips to Get the Most from Your Conference Experience

You spent a small fortune on networking events and conferences in your community, and you want to make sure you’re ready to get the return on that money via new contacts and possible sales prospects. Here are six ways to make sure you’re prepared to have the best conference experience.

1. Develop an Elevator Pitch

“What do you do?” 

Expect it. You’ll hear it dozens of times at a conference, and it’s a very smart question. In a sea of new people, it sparks a conversation and the answer usually provides a lot of insight to the asker, especially to determine whether or not a conversation will follow. Yes, after answering it over and over you may be sick of saying the same thing, but if your answer is really interesting, you have the chance to really connect.

2. Print New Business Cards

How old are the business cards you have right now? Chances are they need a refresher. Before my last conference, the business cards I owned had my maiden name and were for a company I no longer worked for. When you’re networking, you’re going to be handing your cards out like crazy, so make sure to invest in something that visually represents your brand. The wording should be clear enough to read and the design strong enough to remember. If you’re a Lady Project member, don’t forget to use your Moo discount!

3. Connect Before the Conference Begins

Social media is driving conferences forward when it comes to networking between attendees. In most large events, attendees have access to conference hashtags, apps, or even Slack or Facebook groups to connect. Take part in the digital conversation and get to know some of your peers. 

Don’t be afraid to break the ice, either. Someone has to be the first person to start the conversation. If you find the conference hashtags aren’t being used, start chatting. Ask questions of the presenters or conference staff. 

Then, once people have started communicating, add the attendees to a list on Twitter. This will make it easier for you to read a current feed of conference events when the time finally comes. Similarly, if people are really conversing on Facebook and you don’t have time to digest everything, save conversations you want to come back to at a later time.

4. Schedule Coffee Dates

If you put in the effort to connect before the conference began or at the very beginning of it, you’ll have built a new group of prospective connections. Before the day of, reach out and ask them to coffee during a break or to meet in person for lunch. By this point, you’ve already nurtured the lead, so you’ll be able to dive deeper and build a personal relationship right away.

5. Be the Connector

There is no more powerful way to be remembered by your peers than to connect two people who can mutually benefit each other. For example, when I’m networking at a conference, I meet with many individuals whose business may need a content strategist at some point, but they don’t necessarily need my services right now. So, I have two choices. I can either consider that meeting a loss and move on to another person, or I can identify that person’s immediate need and suggest someone in my network would be a perfect fit to solve their issues. 

Let’s say I’m talking to a graphic designer who is in desperate need of a new tax advisor. If I make the connection (and it’s a fit), both individuals will remember me for being the person who went out of her way to help grow their businesses. Who do you think they’ll consider when they do need help with their writing needs? Plus, they’ll be more likely to recommend me to one of their peers, regardless of whether we worked together directly. The same goes for whatever industry you’re currently working in. If you can be the person to make ideal connections, even if they don’t benefit you, you’re setting yourself up for success. 

6. Follow Up Immediately

I’m usually exhausted after any conference I go to, and all I want to do is unplug for a few days before looking at any conference materials or contacting anyone I connected with. Bad idea. The most important thing you can do is to ride the momentum you’re feeling and reconnect immediately. If too much time goes by, you’ll forget the details of your original conversation, or worst, your lead might completely forget you.

From A Team Member // My Lady Project Summit Story

My Lady Project journey started with second The Lady Project Summit as a summit intern. I stood outside the door of the Southside Cultural Center checking in attendees and marveling at all of the varied women I was meeting. Nearly four years later I am a full-fledged team member, getting more involved and more excited for the Lady Project Summit each year. Through attending and volunteering over the course of the past four years, I have seen this event grow into a far-reaching celebration that brings women from across the country together to connect and nourish their passions.

Each year the summit renews my sense of wonder for the power of community. Volunteers and Lady Project team members donate hours of their time throughout the year to plan the summit. We bond over putting together Wayfair furniture and getting temporarily lost in The Vets. We marvel at the finished product and gleam when we help an attendee find the way to their workshop. Afterward, we have a glass of wine to celebrate and roll up our sleeves and start brainstorming for the next year’s summit.

Listening to keynote speakers and attending workshops reminds me that I am truly capable of anything if I have the guts to pursue it and the humility to ask for help. I've listened to everyone from Michelle Kwan to Ruma Bose. Each speaker and workshop leader has their own story to tell and their own wisdom to pass along. Each year I take away new goals and affirmations to wield as tools when I feel stuck in mediocrity. I can make a change in not only myself but in my surroundings. The summit has shown me there are plenty of women to look to for an inspirational nudge.

Meeting new people and creating connections with them over goals and gratitude shows me the power of finding your people. Every year I speak with women I've never met about how The Lady Project has changed some aspect of their life for the better. Friendships and career opportunities abound at the summit. We walk away with an emerging network of women that are interested in supporting us in ways we may not have had that morning.

Recently I've become involved with the summit in a unique way. For the second year in a row, Brittanny Taylor and I are hosting a VIP Gifting Suite experience the night before the summit. This exclusive event has allowed us to collaborate with local businesses and creators who want to go above and beyond to support The Lady Project. I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to create an event that has become a part of the summit weekend with The Lady Project team. Here we are in our second year, growing alongside the main event and doing our best to offer more to attendees and Lady Project members.

For the upcoming Summit, I am excited to work with team members and volunteers in transforming The Vets once again into a power packed space full of women and inspiration. Each year I am continually floored by what we accomplish and how smoothly the event goes off. This year, I’m sure, will be more incredible than the last as we improve and perfect from Summits past!

Interview // Emily Belden, Author

Tell us about your business / current project.

I'm a two-time author with Harlequin/HarperCollins and I also penned the 20-something memoir, EIGHTYSIXED. Right now, I'm in the production phase of my first novel, HOT MESS, due out in 2017, meaning I am approving cover art and taglines, as well as getting ready to distribute advance review copies at one of the industries biggest tradeshows. Meanwhile, I'm on the hook to pen my second novel, HUSBAND MATERIAL, due out in 2018. No pressure.

If you could describe yourself in five words, what would they be?

High-functioning
Somewhat-abrasive
Witty
Dry
Perpetually-hungry

Tell us about your co-conspirators. Who are the ladies you collaborate with on a regular basis?

I'm so fortunate that the people who make my career possible (besides the subjects about which I write) are all women. My agent is one of the best in the business and has championed my career for the last five years. My editor is also a boss-lady doing her thing out of NYC for the world's biggest publisher. And finally, my publicist is a powerhouse female who runs her big show out of Chicago.

Talk about the importance of finding your tribe.

It's so important to feel understood and supported. If you're in an environment where you are not comfortable or free to be yourself, you'll never be able to take that next step and foster relationships. As you get older and life takes more twists and turns, you'll realize how important relationships of every kind really are.

What changes to your business are you hoping to make in the next year?

I have signed a development deal to turn my memoir into a comedic series. While this is a long term project, I hope to find time to make the jump into writing for the screen. It would also be thrilling to have a wine label someday, too...lord knows I drink enough of it.

When things get rough, how do you keep yourself going?

I hug my dog and ask the universe for help.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Order dessert.

Where do you find your inspiration?

In a glass of red wine and a blank Word doc.

Photos by Stacey Konek

Why People Struggle With Cooking

In the average American home, 50% of the budgeted food dollars are spent on meals prepared outside the home. These “out-sourced” meals end up being higher in fat, sodium, sugar, and overall calories while also containing fewer fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Conversely, meals prepared at home are associated with better dietary quality, especially in regards to fruit and vegetable consumption. 

So why aren’t we cooking at home? Of all the common barriers across all demographic groups, time is the biggest barrier contributing to the lack of cooking at home. In fact, the part of cooking that can feel the most overwhelming is in the details of planning; figuring out what you’re going to cook, making a grocery list, going to the store to find all the ingredients, and finally cleaning & prepping everything at home – all this before you ever get to the stove top! Additionally, the average person’s self-confidence in their ability to cook food at home has significantly decreased. 

It should come as no surprise that we aren’t comfortable in the kitchen if we haven’t learned to cook from a family member or never took home economics. The good news is that times are changing and the trends are indicating people’s desire to learn the skills to cook at home more. If you are one of the many who wants to feel empowered in the kitchen, here are my tips on how to make cooking more FUN! 

1. Find a motivator

A common motivator to cooking at home revolves around the positive bonding opportunities such as shared time working together or sharing a conversation about the day's events with someone. Food is social and conversations lead to meal time connectedness. If not for yourself, think about your kids – research has shown that children who experience shared family meals show increased performance on cognitive, emotional, and social activities.

2. Change your perspective

Overall, cooking skills and confidence vary widely. For those who have more confidence in their cooking skills, there is more enjoyment in the act of cooking. In comparison, those who lack cooking confidence see cooking as a chore and end up relying heavily on ready-made meals instead. Therefore, it is important to make cooking FUN if you want to cook at home more!

3. Do it often

Bottom line, we find the most enjoyment in activities we are good at. So if you want to enjoy cooking more – you’re going to need to put in the time to develop the skills so that you are unstoppable in the kitchen. Making the daily choice to cook at home will take repetition, but like any activity where you were once a beginner - your efforts will be rewarded by an increase in skill and confidence. 

4. Plan Ahead

Having a plan in place ahead of time for WHAT you are going to cook/eat makes it easier to prep food ahead of time so it’s easy to grab n’ go. Take some time to pick out a couple of awesome recipes, write out a grocery list, then set time aside to go to the grocery store (just once instead of multiple trips) to get all the food items you need for the week.

5. Good Food = Good Health

It’s important to think about what you need to accomplish in the day or what is going on in the week; (work, travel, exercise). The meals we eat should make us feel healthier, stronger, and make our lives more vibrant in order to achieve ALL the activities we want that day and every day in our lives! Consider asking yourself, “how is this food going to make me feel today?”  

Still struggling, let HelloFresh help! 

HelloFresh wants to demystify cooking and help their customers break through some of the many cooking barriers. This meal-kit service all but eliminates the major hurdles to a nutritious lifestyle: lack of planning, limited time to grocery shop and the creativity of coming up with a variety of menus and ingredients each week. HelloFresh ensures that when their customers cook at home they have a wholesome meal kit full of everything they need, in exact portion size with recipe cards, and a full nutrition breakdown (including allergens) all in 30 minutes or less. 

Bottom line, HelloFresh customers can feel like they are taken care of so they can enjoy the fun part of cooking a healthy meal – the actual cooking! Their customers can expect to be excited when they arrive home and find their HelloFresh box filled with gorgeous, colorful, and nutrient rich fresh foods. The chefs carefully curate recipes so that their customers can look forward to bringing food to life in their own kitchens. Most importantly, HelloFresh aspires to motivate their customers to overcome the challenges of cooking and empower customers to take control of their own health by making the conscious choice to cook at home more often. 

-Rebecca Lewis MS RDN @rebeccalewisrd

To learn more about HelloFresh, visit their website at  www.hellofresh.com - you can use the discount code “FRESHFANSRD35” to receive a $35 discount off your first HelloFresh box.

You can also visit the HelloFresh blog filled with content on deliciously simple recipes, inspiration and motivation, cooking tips and tricks, and nutrition information (from yours truly). Check out all the posts by clicking here.

My Self Education Journey

It can be a daunting time when you leave academia for the real world. I was force-fed formal education from age 5 straight through 25. It’s a system I came to know very closely. I knew how to succeed at that game, and I knew what people expected of me. However, that’s not the case since leaving school for the working world.

As the workforce becomes more competitive, and as industries and markets change more rapidly, you can’t rest on your laurels of formal education for the rest of your career. Sooner or later (sooner!) you will need to pursue your own learning. 

In my own pursuit of knowledge, I’ve read hundreds of books, attended tons of workshops, and connected with loads of people. These are some of the best things I’ve picked up along the way:

Best book (business):

Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni. There are so many books I could have listed in this category, but this book illustrates all the best points in one. It’s a must read for any coach, consultant, sales rep, or person in business.

Best book (self-development):

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Her persistent message of “try, fail, and try again” is wrapped up with her southern charm, vast research, and anecdotal stories of vulnerability and taking chances. Read this and apply it to everything!

Best workshop:

I did a two-year (on weekends) training on Core Energetics by Dr. Karyne Wilner. I signed up for it on a whim, not really knowing what I was signing up for. I left with a brand new version of myself. I bared parts of myself I didn’t know were there. I got so damn comfortable with who I am. I left go of who I’m not. I know my obstacles, fears, and what holds me back. I love my parents more and understand who they’re not. Don’t have two years? Take a weekend workshop in getting acquainted with your true self. You won’t regret it. 

Best tip:

Manage your consumption vs. creation ratio. It’s easy to sit back and read self-development books all day. It’s harder to create something. Make sure you’re doing both. I remember that feeling when I’d finished a self-help book - the discomfort of needing to take action. I’ve definitely avoided that feeling by starting another self-help book, and not implementing all I had learned. Or even just some of it. The wisdom imparted by the books will be lost if you’re not also creating your own work and taking action. This works because you will learn even more from the actions you took. 

Best mantra:

“You get what you tolerate.” - Tony Robbins 

If you want more from your life - from your career, relationship, kids, gym, dog, food, house, leaders, politicians - STOP tolerating the status quo. Pursue your big questions, find the resources to guide you, and create better solutions.

Brittany Drozd works with business owners and leaders to create the solutions they need - for their lives, their businesses, and their legacy. You can find Brittany on the water kitesurfing or in the cafe reading on her days off. Brittany lives in Providence, RI with her husband and baby girl. Visit http://www.brittanydrozd.com for info on how to work with Brittany and subscribe to her weekly videos.

St. Patrick's Day Picks & Cozy Cocktails With Drizly

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner. The older we get, the less we want to go out and celebrate at the bar. Why not have a party at home? Impress your friends with these cocktails with Drizly.

Shamrock Shake Smash

This festive take on an ice cream float combines the classic smooth flavor of Guinness Stout with the funky (but familiar) McDonald's Shamrock Shake. It's like your very own pot of gold, no rainbow required.

The Pickleback Shot

Bartender Reggie Cunningham of the Bushwick Country Club bar in Brooklyn is credited with naming and popularizing the Pickleback shot in May 2006 after a customer requested a drink of pickle brine. Reggie suggested a shot of whiskey first, followed by the shot of pickle brine. The unusual combination of whiskey and pickle juice has become a favorite at bars everywhere since. [Editor's note: I loveeeee pickleback shots. Sometimes I ask for just the pickle juice when I'm a bar. - BT]


Not feeling the St. Patrick's Day festivities? Also not feeling this unseasonably cold weather we're having? Try out one of these cozy cocktails!

Blanche Chaud

Herbaceous green chartreuse and rich chocolate is an unexpected but delightful combination that can never go wrong. The classic version of this drink with milk or dark hot chocolate is an apres-ski favorite in the French and Swiss Alps. We threw in our own little twist and opted for white chocolate resulting in a sweeter more sugary mixture. 

Classic Hot Toddy

Dating back to the 1800's this timeless drink is known as the perfect night-cap to end a chilly winter day. Some even swear it's the best way to soothe a sore throat. So whether you're fending off a cold, or thawing out by the fire, mixing up a classic like this is sure to warm you up from the inside out.

~ Erin Schuster

The Lady Project Summit Pre and Post Events!

Pre-Summit Events

Meet + Greet The Lady Project City Managers at The Dean

Say Hi to Lady Project City Managers
on Friday, March 24 from 4-5pm at Bolt Coffee!

Meet + greet with our Lady Project City Managers, team members + volunteers at Bolt Coffee in the Dean Hotel! Enjoy treats by the Dean and Trinity Brewhouse and mingle with gals from all thirteen of our Lady Project chapters: Providence, New Haven, Boston, Nashua, New York City, Washington DC, Seattle, Philadelphia, Boulder, San Diego, Dallas-Fort Worth, Tampa, + Albany!

Lady Project Summit: VIP Gifting Suite

Join us for a VIP Experience
on Friday, March 24 from 5-7pm at Hatch Entrepreneurial Center!

Join us on March 24th, the night before the Lady Project Summit at HATCH Entrepreneurial Center for a VIP experience! Get pampered with a massage by Harmony on Hope and get acupuncture by Zenkai Acupuncture. Sip on bubbly by Chloe Wine Collection and nibble on snacks from Easy Entertaining while mingling with your fellow VIP guests.

You also get to take home gifts from Aster CandleCapwell + CoMoroccan MagicMailchimpHerbivore BotanicalsMixed ChicksCurious Nature ApothecaryHelloFreshGiraffes and RobotsEllevestRachyl's Goat Milk SoapGet To Work BookTHE ART OF FATEOverseasonedHolly Likes To CookPreHeelsNew Harvest Coffee , Chloe Wine CollectionGirl Scouts of Southeastern New England and more.

Only 25 tickets are available!

Toast the Summit with Mailchimp

Join us for the Summit Partner Party at The Malted Barley from 5-7pm for apps and a cocktail to kick off the Lady Project Summit with Mailchimp

BIG thanks to our long-time Summit partner, Mailchimp, for hosting this special event at one of our favorite spots.

The Big Life: Dinner with Ann Shoket

Join us for an intimate Badass Babes dinner with Ann Shoket!
Friday, March 24 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at Upserve!

Ann Shoket, author of The Big Life and former Editor-In-Chief of Seventeen, shares stories of her own quest for the big life and engages you in a fun and open conversation about work, life, love, sex. power and ambition with the ultimate goal of getting you closer to living the big life you deserve. You'll chat with her and each other about all the issues that keep you up at night and learn how to find a monumental relationship, a dream career, and a sisterhood that helps you achieve your goals.

Only 30 tickets are available-- your ticket includes a copy of The Big Life, pizza, and wine.

Weird in a World that's Not: Whiskey + Wine with Jennifer Romolini

Join The Lady Project for a discussion and reading with Jennifer Romolini (and, whiskey) on Friday, March 24 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at New Harvest Coffee & Spirits

Join us for a discussion, reading and Q&A with Jennifer Romolini, 2015 Lady Project Summit keynote speaker and author of Weird in a World That's Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures.

Your ticket includes one drink from New Harvest Coffee & Spirits and light bites. 

We'll be meeting at New Harvest Coffee & Spirits at the Arcade, grabbing a drink, and then heading to the lounge in the Arcade for a more intimate setting.

Kick-off Party at Madewell

Let’s Kick off Summit Weekend with Madewell
Friday, March 24 from 7-9 pm at Madewell!

Kick off the Lady Project Summit in style at Madewell! Head to the store at Providence Place for a special night complete with sweet treats and bubbly to sip. Best of all, your new outfit benefits The Lady Project!

Post-Summit Events

Tales of Transformation, Brunch for Women Business Owners

Hosted by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Rhode Island
Sunday, March 26 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm at Faust at The Dean Hotel

Rhode Island women small business owners are invited to join us for a delicious complimentary brunch and hear tales of transformation from three inspiring local women small business owners:

Christine Malecki West: Principal, KITE Architects

Christine is co-owner, with Albert Garcia, of Providence-based KITE Architects, a thoughtful and creative architecture firm that works closely with clients to create beautiful, sustainable, productive and timeless buildings and spaces. Christine designed The Dean Hotel complete renovation, and she will present a fascinating slideshow of before and after images depicting this building’s unexpected transformation from seedy “Sportsman’s Inn” to stylish, award-winning boutique hotel. Christine is an alumna of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Rhode Island program, Cohort 1.

Pearl Farquharson: Owner and Creative Director, Designed By Delsie

Farquharson is the owner and creative director of Designed by Delsie, providing clients a custom event design experience with personalized planning and innovative design. Pearl will share her transformative design process whereby ordinary spaces become stunning event venues. Pearl is an alumna of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Rhode Island program, Cohort 1.

Ellen McNulty-Brown: Chief Executive Officer, Lotuff Leather

Ellen McNulty-Brown is the CEO of Lotuff Leather. Founded in 2012, this Providence small business hand-makes leather bags and accessories. The collection is distinguished by timeless, understated designs, an uncompromising dedication to the best materials and construction, and a steadfast promise to do everything here in America.  In fact, to date, every single item embossed with the Lotuff Leather logo has been handmade in America and with many of the pieces made right here in Providence. Ellen will talk about taking over Lotuff and leading a brand transformation that has yet stayed true to Lotuff’s core values.Ellen is an alumna of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Rhode Island program, Cohort 1.

Shopping Party at Craftland

Join us for Mimosas and Shopping
Sunday, March 26 from 11am-1pm at Craftland!

It would be marvelous if you would join us for a fine selection of fantastic handmade goodies, and handmade Mimosas! Craftland, once a pop-up holiday shop, is now a fabulous year-round shop in downtown Providence. Craftland celebrates sparkly handmade objects and the people who make them. We are proud to be founded, owned, and operated by extraordinary ladies since 2002. Craftland features a fresh selection of work by about 100 local and national artists. Come visit us at the corner of Westminster and Eddy Street. We cannot wait to see you!

From A Workshop Leader // My Lady Project Summit Story

Summit day, 2015.

6:30 am: I’m up. Running through my presentation one more time. Getting dressed and caffeinated. 

8:00 am: pick up my Lady Project bestie and head to the event. Ro McGettigan introduced me to Sierra and The Lady Project at its infancy and has been my date to most events ever since. Now, she’s a board member and I’m hosting a workshop at the Summit. Amazing.

8:30 am: Arrived at the Vets. Walked into the organized chaos that was a few hundred women and a limited number of pastries and coffee (picture the friendly Hunger Games). Run into a few amazing women I’ve met at past events and meet a few new ones while we’re jockeying for donuts. 

9:00 am: Keynote. Set the tone for the event: openness, love, and encouragement. For ourselves and each other. I love this sh*t. But I’m really thinking about my upcoming workshop where I’ll be “on stage.” In my head I’m reviewing the slides again and again, trying to think if I’ve missed anything. 

I0:15 am: I skip out on the first round of workshops to be by myself in the bathroom. I know, gross. I can’t believe how nervous I am! But I’m also not letting fear paralyze me. I’m still going to do this!

11:00 am: It’s time. I’m setting up my computer, getting out my notes, and watching the room fill up. Encouraging. That’s the word they said to focus on today. It’s working. 

For the next 45 minutes, I was focused. Slide after slide I went through the information I knew so well. It was my story, so of course I knew it. And I was having so much fun telling it. 

This is the part of the summit that’s really transformative: I got to tell my story about being fired for the first time. I got to be really truthful and raw and knew that my audience would get it. I got to be heard and serve others at the same time. The summit creates the space for all of that. You can almost feel the opening up and growth that’s transpiring in those moments. 

11:50 am: I wrapped up my workshop. The attendees leave with a guide for finding and pursuing meaningful work and relationships in their lives. But not all the attendees are leaving. There are 5 women lingering around waiting to speak with me. As I meet each one, I hear their stories. Bad jobs, horrible bosses, spouses who don’t support them, and a lack of confidence in their ability to create something better.

The gift of hearing their stories and connecting had made all of my angst about presenting completely worth it! The beauty of their stories was not in their struggles or current obstacles, but in their willingness to be vulnerable, to connect, and to grow. 

12:00 pm: After hugs and contact info were exchanged, we each had to move on to the next workshops we were scheduled for. As I walked down the corridor and up the stairs to next group of women currently in the midst of transformation, I felt different. Different than I had that morning. Different than I had even an hour ago. It’s because I was different. I had shared pieces of myself with others, and in returned I received pieces of other people. I had connected with other souls. I was home with this group of ladies.

These are the moments that literally change the fabric of your being. The moments that we all want, but don’t know how to find. These are moments that make the Summit amazing.