#35 Letter to a mentor: I’m kind of freaking out right now

Well, I talk about mentors all of the time for the Hot Mommas Project.  Today, I really needed one of them. Ed Barrientos is now the CEO of Brazen Careerist. He is an investor, and clearly takes on active roles in his portfolio companies. Ed says he likes eccentric and interesting people. Welp, I definitely lived up to that tonight in the below letter to Ed where I violate two principles of email communication I have for myself:

1. TMD – Too much data.

Too much information in an email makes you look dumb, because it’s as if you have no idea how busy that person is and how they don’t have time to blink, much less read your Leo Tolstoy-esque email.

2. Freaking out.

I usually like to couch freak-outs in carefully worded sentences during face-to-face meetings. It might start with, “I know you’ve had some experience in this area, and would love to pick your brain about this.” My full-scale freak-outs are usually only to my forum, or my BFFs from b-school.

Since Ed is right in the middle of executive-level thinking and social media, I sort of unleashed. The below might not look bad, but, it is for me. I tend to try to “keep it under control.”   Furthermore, NORMAL people would be very excited at the turn of events (i.e., successful presentation and buzz buzz buzz.). Is something wrong with me? All of these thoughts are swirling through my mind. Then, as I thought about some of my other mentors…Part II of this post surfaced. It produced a magic, calming feeling. FASCINATING! Who knew that thinking about one’s mentors could be have the effect of an Rx.


From: Kathy Korman Frey
Sent: Monday, June 21, 2010 11:43 PM
To: ‘Edward Barrientos’
Subject: RE: 22nd good Re: Webinar? Fw: Fwd: A Note from Penelope: How to Find a Mentor


I’m kind of freaking out right now. No action item, just an FYI if you have experience on this when we talk in July. I put together some of my thinking about women and some facts and research. I called it “The New Sisterhood of Success.” I presented this at the Women Grow Business (@wgbiz) bootcamp as the keynote on Saturday. And, well, people are all over it. A hashtag has been created on Twitter. A tweetup event was created (I’m not even going to be in town, people are totally doing this on their own.) And, well, I am just kind of freaking. What do I do, what do I not do? The way I look at it: This is great. I want this message to get out about women, and empowerment, and the research behind it, matched with our own common sense. However, as a type-A personality, uncontrolled things make me nervous. I could use a little talking off the ledge when we meet. Maybe there is no ledge. I think some analogy involving the Matrix would be appropriate here, but, I am up past my bedtime and can’t muster up the creativity.

  • Here is the write up and a link to the slideshow http://ad.vu/zkak
  • Here is a webinar I am giving on Wednesday at 12 EST http://ad.vu/57g9
  • Here are some of the tweets (below). I was not expecting this response, hence the semi freak out.

[Okay – side note away from Freak-out Letter To Ed – Get ready for how incredibly nice and generous the Twitterati are. “Lethal Generosity” hits a new level. Proceed]


I would recommend @chiefhotmomma as a action oriented keynote speaker for quality business conference. Her#wgbiz talk was electric


@ChiefHotMomma | Absolutely LOVED your presentation this morning at #wgbiz bootcamp – thank you!!!


Just ran into @ChiefHotMomma in the rest room. She is SO personable and cool. You could tell from her presentation earlier.#wgbiz


Great presentation by @chiefhotmomma So glad to be a part of the sisterhood. What a gr8 start to the AM!


The first speaker @ChiefHotMomma is awesome!about 7 hours ago via UberTwitter


Fascinating #wgbiz session – listening in online. Also, my first exposure to @ChiefHotMomma and her project…learning a lot this morning!


We just joined the NEW sisterhood of success! Yay!#wgbiz Thanks @chiefhotmomma gr8 way to kick off the morning!


I love what @ChiefHotMomma said, “you’ve just joined the new sisterhood of success.” That’s what it’s about, ladies. #wgbiz


That was a great exercise! RT @Sisarina: What can help you in all areas of your business? People in this room today!#wgbiz @chiefhotmomma


@chiefhotmomma in the house!


Great keynote presentation by @chiefhotmomma “The New Sisterhood of Success” #wgbiz


Keynote speaker Kathy Frey @chiefhotmomma (crazy awesome lady!) is starting at #wgbizabout 8 hours ago via web


@ChiefHotMomma you really inspired me with your keynote at #wgbiz, I’m interested in being a mentor:)about 12 hours ago via Echofon


Great DC tweetup idea by @clickwisdom (inspired by @chiefhotmomma) aka Power of 5 Tweetup http://ow.ly/20WvL -7/18th @nakeva @tbdunmasked


Having a convo today with a friend ant the sisterhood


Just registered for the Girls and Power: The New Sisterhood of Success http://ad.vu/57g9 Coming June 23… @ChiefHotMomma 🙂 of ‘5’ @chiefhotmomma… Def on to something!


Started following @ChiefHotMomma because 1. she seems brilliant & 2. “hates word moist” is in her bio. MY least fav word too!!


@inspiremetoday @ChiefHotMomma is great!


The New Sisterhood of Success emerging from #dcweek#wgbiz http://bit.ly/dwwzoG @chiefhotmomma


Kathy Korman Frey @ChiefHotMomma does it again for young women! http://bit.ly/d1fjqv


@ChiefHotMomma thanks for the link. You’re awesome and inspiring! #wgbiz #dcweek


She is a must see! Gr8 info 4 women in biz! RT @ChiefHotMomma: New Sisterhood of Success slideshow (use IE )http://ad.vu/zkb9 #in

Part II: The calming, secure effect of mentors (even just THINKING about them!)

So, in summary, I am overwhelmed, humbled, and grateful. I haven’t had this many people say so many nice things about me since my wedding. This also brings home three  important points for me – which are helping me feel less overwhelmed as I think about them.

1. The deadly “e-word”: EXPECTATIONS.

My reaction to the above praise is probably related to expectations. Expectations were mentioned in a Hot Mommas Project survey as a number one challenge for busy women trying to balance multiple priorities. In this situation, I am translating the positive comments into expectations, and I don’t want to let people down. At times like these, I have to believe it’s time to take a deep breath and stop being so neurotic. These people are just giving me a shout out, not asking me to do anything. One of my mentors I’ve bonded with over the past couple of years helps me work on boundaries and expectations. Sounds strange, but, is very helpful to me.

2. Mentors are natural leaders. Learn from them.

There have been people, all along the way, who really liked the Hot Mommas Project and have supported me. And, when I say “support,” it’s not like, “Oh, hey, yeah, how’s that going?” These supporters are very follow-up and I love them for it. They are TRUE MENTORS. They saw something, and encouraged me, and pushed me, and now I feel like THEIR vision is happening. It’s fascinating. I had lost all objectivity…but, THEY SAW WHAT I DIDN’T. These people include my husband and family, my amazing BFFs from b-school, my former b-school prof and mentor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the gifted and giving Saranne Rothberg, the uber-empowerer Amy Milman, the brilliant professor Susan Duffy, book whisperer and intrigue expert Sam Horn, tv host and media whiz Marc Silverstein, women’s leadership heavyweight Sharon Hadary, promoter of gurus Randy LeFaivre, digital diva and psychic-like matchmaker Romi Lassally, my new bud and Woman Rising CEO Sara Bordo,  Ms. C – you know who you are, the guys at 315 Funger (GW CFEE – George Solomon and Erik Winslow), the awesome execs at GW – like Karen Ancillai and her team, Adrienne Rulnick and her team, Jill Sankey and Caroline Broder – all the way up to President Knapp! I am feeling very, very lucky right now. This somehow helps to balance out the overwhelmed feelings which – I’m sure – will pass.

3. You are in charge: Be an active organizer of your own inner circle.

There is one more point, which is about the conscious, concerted effort to surround myself with positive – this may sound weird – and healthy people. The Women Grow Business conference was  a part of that. The women (and men!) involved with @wgbiz are a special breed. They are driven, but giving, book smart, and intuitive. Over the past several months and weeks I’ve really made an effort to surround myself with these types of great people starting with a search for mentors and informational meetings last spring and summer, a retreat with my wicked-smart girlfriends from business school in the middle, and really culminating with a recent trip to visit Saranne Rothberg (2009 Hot Mommas Project winner) and the Women Grow Business group this past weekend. Thank you, so much, for being such great people. So available. So smart. So giving. So together. So truly interested. #gratitude. Oh, and – sisterhood? – please help Shonali pick out her computer bag.


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