Category Archives: Books

The Female Quotient: Insights From Davos Through The March

January 23, 2017 Books, Business, Company Culture, Female Empowerment, Gender Equality, Women in Business

Last Sunday, on my flight to the World Economic Forum, I came across an article entitled, “Davos Makes Glacial Progress in Hike Towards Gender Balance”. Having since spent time on the ground in Davos, I am thrilled to report the glacier is thawing and I am confident that next year’s coverage will highlight progress being made.

To its credit, the WEF reached out to The Female Quotient in 2015 as part of its efforts to proactively change the gender ratio (less than 20% women) of its flagship event. In its second year, TFQ at Davos doubled in size and produced three full days of standing room only panel discussions. With participants including Sheryl Sandberg, Paul Polman and Cherie Blair covering topics ranging from “Why Diversity is a Business Imperative” to “Rebooting the Future” to “The Future of Work”, The TFQ Lounge was a “Can’t Miss” destination along the Promenade.

So much ground was covered in three days that a true recap could fill the pages of a Thomas Friedman book (btw, he was on a panel with us this year! #fangirl). Luckily for you, much of the content was taped and will be made available via TheFemaleQuotient.com. In the meantime, below are three topical highlights.

1) Inclusion and Equality in the Workplace – THE HOW:

The general consensus of all discussions was that we have been admiring the problem for the past few years, and now is the time to walk the talk. In the lounge, we heard from executives at some of the companies leading the way, including Salesforce (the gold standard), CA Technologies, Unilever, Facebook, Tradeshift, and more.

Devin Wenig, CEO of eBay, told us he made achieving pay parity part of eBay’s overall business agenda and implemented metrics and targets to measure progress, just as he does any core business agenda. This proved successful as eBay, one of the first public companies to publish pay data, recently announced that it achieved 100% pay parity.

To help move the conversation from lip service to impact, The Female Quotient, in partnership with Catalyst and Atlantic Media Strategies, announced the launch of “The Modern Guide to Equality.” The document, available online here, is a practical starting point for advancing equality in the workplace and is meant to become a living, breathing destination for thought and action-sharing.

2) Leadership in the Age of Millenials and the 4th Industrial Revolution

The definition of leadership, along with the traits that make for a good leader, is changing. As our world is rapidly being reshaped (demographic shifts, industry transformations, advances in technology, science, communication, etc.), we must reshape ourselves, our communities, our companies, and our countries in order to thrive and excel in this new paradigm. Gone are the days of the “carrot and stick” and “command and control” leadership tactics. Compassion, humility, collaboration, inclusion were the phrases most oft-repeated as traits required of leaders.

Indeed, whether they had read The Athena Doctrine or not, CEOs and leaders across Davos were touting the importance of feminine leadership traits. Luckily for us, the author John Gerzema is a friend of TFQ and joined us for a private dinner we threw for CA Technologies in our Lounge.

3) Getting Back to the Basics: The Golden Rule

Also known as the Law or Reciprocity or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” The Golden Rule has been a core tenet of cultures and religions since the beginning of time. Unfortunately, I think we can all agree that, in recent times, compassion and tolerance do not seem to be “ruling” our collective hearts or minds.

The good news: there is a call to action happening now – post 2016 and in response to Trump, Brexit, and increases in hate crimes, terror attacks, species extinction, etc. – that humanity band together to accept our differences and to live compassionately and sensitively toward ourselves and others. Put more simply, we’re bringing The Golden Rule back.

For more on this read our amazing panelists’ books:

“Imaginal Cells: Visions of Transformation”, curated by Kim Pollman and Stephen Vasconcellos-Sharpe.

“Thank You for Being Late” by Thomas Friedman.

As I type this I am back on a plane, heading home to LA. It has only been a week, but feels much longer. Not only has the most female-attended World Economic Forum passed, the largest Women’s March/Rally in history has taken place. Both have left me inspired, energized and with a renewed sense of hope and faith in humanity.

The March embodied so much of what was discussed in the TFQ Lounge at Davos. Certainly, it was organized by compassionate leaders across the world and reached epic participation rates (women AND men) because so many of us believe in standing up, and standing together, for inclusion and equality and compassion and love. One of the mantras of the Girls Lounge, which Shelley,  the CEO, repeats often is, “Alone we have power, together we have impact.” Never have those words rang so true.

For those asking what now? The answer is, “we keep at it.”  We stay united, engaged and activated every single day. Creating diversity and equality in the workplace will take time, as will realizing the changes we would like to see in our country and world. I will end by paraphrasing Thomas Friedman’s advice for making it through these challenging times: 1) Play the long game and avoid short-termism, 2) Wake up everyday and be a positive, active force in your immediate community, and 3) Live by The Golden Rule.

Focusing on Your “Inner-net”: Life-changing Insights from an Inspiring Googler Named Gopi

January 8, 2017 Adventurer, Books, Internet, Self Work, Technology

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-2-21-28-pm

Last week I shared a New Year’s post that suggested 5 books to read asap to prepare yourself for acing your goals and living your best life in 2017. One of those books was, “The Internet to the Inner-Net,” by Gopi Kallayil. Gopi is the Chief Evangelist for Brand Marketing at Google and, like many of us in the tech industry, lives a very fast-paced and high-tech existence. In the book, which is a collection of short essays, Gopi shares his adventures in, and lessons for, conscious, mindful living.

In a world in which the Internet is “always on” and clamoring for our attention, Gopi reminds us that, “ …the most important technology is right here, inside us. It is our inner-net, our brain, our body, our mind, our breath, our consciousness – the set of personal technologies that we carry with us everywhere.” His essays are inspirational tales chock-full of actionable ideas for “living consciously, living with full engagement and working with well-developed sciences, such as yoga and meditation…so that we can live in harmony and balance with the outer.”

The book covers topics from optimizing your time (and the myth of multi-tasking) to finding one’s meaning and purpose to the benefits of sleep, gratitude, yoga, and more. Two exercises to try immediately (I am only sharing two – buy the book here!):

1) 5 Essentials: These are the 5 organizing principles for your life. Figuring these out helps you best allocate your time and makes it easy to quickly say “no” to doing things that are nonessential.
2) 10 Things to Do with the Next Hour: If you had one extra hour each day, what would be the next one thing (up to 10 things) you would choose to do with it to maximize your quality of joy, presence and life?

Small Sacrifice for Big Impact

One of the essays in the book is called, “Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact.”  In it, Gopi shares that one year he stopped enjoying expensive Frappuccinos and, instead, used the money to provide monthly loans via Kiva.org. I fell in love with the idea and adapted my own spin to it. As my purpose is to empower entrepreneurs and be a champion of diversity and equality in the tech/business worlds and beyond, I will be making one loan a month to a female entrepreneur chosen via Kiva. I plan to support female entrepreneurs in different countries across the globe, and my intention is to visit these women during my travels. Perhaps one day I will write a book telling their stories of courage, determination and hustle.

For my first loan, I chose to start here at home with Shawna, a mother of four, living in Cape Coral, Florida.  Shawna, who is a serial entrepreneur, is starting a new business that is very near and dear to my heart – it is called Furbabies Rescue and Doggie Daycare.

Go get em’ Shawna!

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-2-20-12-pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#dobetterbebetter
#manifestthebest
#crushyourgoals

 

 

 

 

 

 

My New Year’s + Ideas for Being Your Best in 2017

January 2, 2017 Books, Company Culture, Self Work, Startups, Uncategorized

This New Year’s Eve I went to bed at 10:15. Yup, you read that correctly. I have never been asleep on December 31st before midnight…..at least not since I was a small child. And, if you know me, you know I heart ALL the things about celebrating the New Year – friends, wine, music, dancing, shouting, etc.  Well…. I love those things no matter the occasion. But this year, I purposely approached both the end and beginning of the year differently. I celebrated, just in a much different way.

On the last day of 2016 and the first day of 2017, I did a bunch of things that my 30-year old self would have scoffed at. These things, which included Tai Chi, a nature walk, meditation (which, thanks to Headspace I have been practicing consistently) and a drumming circle, culminated in my big New Year’s Eve plan – partaking in my first Sound Bath. Yup, I know I stunned many of you last August when I shared that I went to a Numerologist. And now I have been to a Sound Bath – on New Years Eve no less!

Why? 

My goal was to end 2016 and to begin 2017 with “presence.” When I shared my 30 Days of Self Work Challenge at the end of this past summer, I highlighted 5 things I was working on, with the first being “Dialing back my “doer” and nurturing my “be-er.” I also shared that meditation and spending quiet time in nature were two ways I was getting in-touch with my “be’er.” What better way to truly be present than to create time and space, in a peaceful outdoor space, to spend the final and first days of a year in peaceful reflection and mindful meditation.

fullsizerender-2

fullsizerender-3

 

 

 

 

 

Truth be told, part of the reason I was able to “be” over the Holiday is that I had already laid out much of what I aim to “do” in 2017. So, as I floated in the hot springs bath staring up at palm trees and mountains, I was able to focus on breathing in the moment and manifesting my intentions.

Goal-setting

As a Type A personality (like many of you reading this), I am a born goal-setter who relishes the coming of the New Year as a time to assess performance to last year’s goals and create next year’s (whether company or personal).  I don’t really believe in or make resolutions, as they tend to be “loosey goosey” and fade quickly. I am, however, a huge believer in goal-setting. And as a business nerd, my personal goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound). This year I set up my goals around the “Pie” I made last August – where I prioritized the time I aim to allocate to most important areas of my life. I am not going to get into my goals here, only to say I have them and to suggest that goal-setting (short-term and long-term) is a very healthy and worthy exercise. I actually have written my goals, by category, on the first page of my journal (also a new practice) so that I review them nightly.

Intention Setting

This is the first year that I have actually written down my intentions alongside my goals.  If you don’t know the difference:

  1. Goals are focused on the future. Intentions are in the present moment.
  2. Goals are a destination or specific achievement.  Intentions are lived each day, independent of reaching the goal or destination.
  3. Goals are external achievements.  Intentions are your inner-relationships with yourself and others.

If you are like me, and tend to be constantly focused on future achievements, setting intentions is a great way to balance your “do-er” with your “be-er” and to make sure you are prioritizing fulfillment along with achievement (see Tony Robbins). My intentions are also written in my journal for nightly review.

5 Books to Read NOW!

Much of my goal, intention and activity-setting for 2017 was colored by the reading I did in the second half of 2016. I discuss some of the most impactful content in prior posts, but am adding 5 books suggestions here. Reading these will make for a meaningful and empowering start to the New Year and can definitely help you manifest your intentions and achieve your goals.

1) The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
2) The Internet to the Inner-Net by Gopi Kalliyil
3) The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (well-worth a re-read once a year IMHO)
4) Designing Your Life by Stanford Professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
5) Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

These books are chock-full of insights, suggestions and exercises for designing all aspects of your life. Shout out to Tim Ferriss for saving us all a bunch of time and effort by consolidating the thoughts and practices of myriad successful folks across the topic areas of Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.  (Note: 80+% of the Titans in Tim Ferriss’ book meditate)

I couldn’t possible share all the take-aways I plan to implement in the New Year, but I will share one that I just came up with on my “Presence New Year’s” trip. I am sharing it: 1) to hold myself accountable, and 2) because I think it will be a great way to check in with yourself – your work self, your friend self, your relationship self…..your whole self.

Something to do starting NOW

Journaling can be tough. What the hell do you write at the end of the day? Some days there’s lots, some days…. not so much. One element I am adding to my end of day journaling (if you have yet to commit to journaling, you will once you read Tools of Titans), is a nightly review of how I did with the Four Agreements. I read this book 5 years ago and just gave it a re-read. This is profound stuff to live your life by. And Founders, this is stuff to build your company culture upon.

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-5-51-05-pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for more posts on things I am trying out this year.  Some will work, some won’t. The goal is to find what works for you and stick with it. Also, if you have new practices you are testing out in the New Year, please share!

Lastly, if you are in need of a break from the cortisol-inducing startup world in 2017 (mini-breaks and saunas are also popular amongst the Titans), I suggest checking out Two Bunch Palms.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
#dobetterbebetter
#manifestthebest
#crushyourgoals

The One Book Every Entrpreneur MUST Own

August 25, 2013 Books, Business Development, Startups, Technology, Venture Capital

Business Model Generation is the book I refer to as “The Entrepreneur’s Bible”. I have one at home and one at work. If you don’t have this book, buy it HERE NOW. Along with a terrific Website, the brilliant BMG folks have recently released a new “toolbox” called The Strategyzer that helps you build a better business model. Check it out HERE. Trust me, you will thank me later for this tip;)

BMG

Female Powerhouses – Sheryl Sandberg & Oprah

September 14, 2011 Books, Entrepreneurship, Startups, Women in Business

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has emerged as a tremendous inspiration to female executives and working mothers everywhere. As a woman in the tech startup space, I admire her greatly. I don’t agree with everything she says, but I love that she says it – as she sees it. She is a no bullshit kinda chick who is also very witty and fun. Sheryl throws a monthly dinner at her home to bring women in business together. I have been wanting to emulate this in LA (lots of amazing female tech founders and business executives here in LaLaLand!) for a while now, and my first event, called LA Women Rising, is happening this Monday. So excited!!!  (a recap to come of course)  If you are new to the fabulosity that is Mrs. Sandberg, read this New Yorker article title, ” A Woman’s Place: Can Sheryl Sandberg upend Silicon Valley’s male-dominated culture?”   Also, check out her TED talk, “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders.

As for Oprah, I will admit here that I participated in her Eckhart Tolle “A New Earth” online classes, and they truly helped me improve myself and my life. Probably gonna sound like “O” here, but I am all about becoming the best person I can be – and Oprah has been an amazing personal and spiritual growth “coach” for me. As a high-energy, uber-passionate worker bee living in NYC at the time of the classes, I had some major “Aha moments” re: the importance of awareness and how to “breathe” and be present.  In startupland, speed is everything. Being 100 steps ahead of the game is crucial to success, and can lend itself to focusing on the destination rather than journey.  I, as we all are, am a work in progress, and Oprah has been instrumental to that progress.  Oprah and her show have elevated the world by influencing countless individuals to empower themselves and live their most authentic life (not to mention read books, volunteer/donate to worthy causes, and know what to buy for Christmas). And, of course, it probably goes without saying that I also am obsessed with “THE Oprah” because she is a fierce businesswoman, entrepreneur and mogul.

BTW Oprah is doing new online “life classes” starting in October.  Highly Recommend! http://www.oprah.com/own/About-Oprahs-Lifeclass

Both these women are beyond authentic and inspirational. Watch this and see for yourself:

Watch live streaming video from facebookguests at livestream.com

5 Educational AND Entertaining Business Books to Read NOW

November 3, 2010 Books, Business, Entrepreneurship

I love to read.  And I almost exlusively read business books.  My favorites are both educational and entertaining.   Yes, business books can be entertaining – and even exciting.   For me, these are the ones that tell true accounts of the failures and successes of entrepreneurs/startups, and provide gems of wisdom, and lots of humor, along the way.   Below is a list of 5 of my 2010 favorites.  They make for great Holiday reading as well as great Holiday gifts.

1) Stealing Myspace – the myspace story is one of countless twists, turns, villains, and saviors.  Not only does it include a Who’s Who in today’s Internet space (Richard Rosenblatt of soon-to-go public Demand Media, Ross Levinsohn who was literally just hired last week to take control of  Yahoo!  Americas, and countless others), it also includes Sumner Redstone and Rupert Murdoch.   It reads like a great fiction book, but is an accurate account – which makes it all the more entertaining.

2) CRUSH IT – if you don’t know who Gary Vaynerchuk (“Gary Vee of WineLibraryTV”) is by now, get with the program.  This guy has more passion and energy when it comes to business development than I do – I am a HUGE fan!   The book is a quick read and a must read.  Its all about hustling and the best ways to leverage social media to build your personal brand and “cash in on your passion”.   Here are Gary’s 3 Secrets to Success – which I LOVE:

        Love Your Family
        Work Superhard
        Live Your Passion

Be entertained and educated by Gary daily by reading his blog www.garyvaynerchuk.com  and following him on Twitter @garyvee.

3)  The Accidental Billionaires – you have most likely seen (and loved!) The Social Network. This book is just as good, if not better. It is a tale of sex, money, genius and betrayal, and also a tale of how one of today’s most prominent and dominant Social Networking/Internet companies came to be.

4)  Delivering Happiness – this is a book by an amazing entrepreneur and human, Tony Hsieh.  I had the privilege of listening to him speak at last month’s PerfectBusiness Summit 2010.  DH is an important book, as it is as much about passion and purpose as it is about profits.  It tells the story of Zappos and provides great insight into the importance of company culture in building a brand and growing a company.  It also includes thoughts on tribal theory, happiness, and what one can learn about business by playing Poker.

Keep up with Tony by following @zappos on twitter.

5)  Do More Faster – this book was put together by David Cohen and Brad Feld of Techstars.  They, as I, believe that mentoring and community are key factors in flourishing entrepreneurial ventures.  There is no better way to avoid the many pitfalls of launching a business then learning from those who have gone before.  This book is filled with 1-2 page chapters by Techstars Mentors and Mentees and is chockfull of great insights.  I read this book in 2 days and bet you will too.

I have learned a great deal by reading Brad’s blog site Feld Thoughts . You should definitely check it out as well as follow him on Twitter @bfeld

Happy reading!  Please share your must-reads with me via the Comment Box.