#39 Is My Career Less Important Than My Spouse’s? The Part-Time Worker’s Bill of Rights.

If you’re like me, back from summer vacation, the grim reality is approaching like estimated taxes: It’s time to be a productive member of society again. Debbie Downer Soundbyte


But just HOW productive? That is the question I’m grappling with today…and, kind of like everyday. I remember getting a survey for Harvard Business School Alumnae years ago. It asked if I worked part time, or full time. This study became the basis for the media flurry of “opting out” articles and TV segments. I thought, “You’re missing the point. I work part-time, and make more than I used to make working full-time.” Yet, the decision to be home more seems to relegate me into this land of the “professional coma.” I find my own flexibility confusing sometimes. One day is go go go professionally. The next day is subsumed by kid stuff, and the little voice says:

Oh, remember all those hopes and dreams and cool goals? Yeah, just stick those in the ’70s style trash compactor and be happy about it, little lady.” (Dot-dot-smiley-face).

    More people have to deal with part and flex-time:

  • In this Women’s Business Fact Sheet, we learn an interesting fact: More women prefer to work part-time versus men. This one sentence, alone, could fuel some excellent cocktail chatter.
  • Newsweek reports that one in five Americans works non-standard hours.


What is this, where I am, who are you? If this is your first time here, this is the insider’s blog for The Hot Mommas Project. We are a women’s leadership project housed at the George Washington University School of Business (where I teach) and have an audacious goal of becoming a million dollar venture…while being led by a mom working part time. Since I started this blog, we have become the world’s largest women’s case study library. We showcase the stories of the women in your life in a TEACHABLE format, and they are published in major textbooks and used by educators. Click here to nominate someone.  Click here for about page. Click here to check out our classes which are producing stunning increases in self-confidence for women and girls.


So, how do these factoids apply to our real lives? Here’s a quasi-interesting tale. On vacation at the beach, my husband and I took a walk and talked about plans for the fall. Okay, that’s a lie. We sat at our computers and opened Outlook and were scheduling like total nerds and sending each other appointments. He (Josh)  has a lot of commitments because he is chapter president of EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization – formerly YEO).  I shared an observation with him: That, recently, he has been on the “EO Crack” big time.  He has a killer board, is all revved up, and can’t seem to “put it down” if you know what I mean.

I empathize. This was me at a certain point in time.  Now, I work part-time which I started doing when I had my second kid.  I am deciding if I feel evolved, or lame. Am I on a weird kind of “professional-drive-prozac”…in some metaphorical institution for part-time workers, wandering around with bed-head and a weird gender-neutral gown that ties in back? A tech-guy at x4243 and a fancy lunch would be the professional equivalent of a mani-pedi right now.

Do I want the professional-crack back? To be continued…. Former professional “career crack addicts” – where is this going?

Related links:

Here is someone running for Senate with a platform of a policy-oriented Part Time Workers Bill of Rights

Read REAL Bill of Rights here.

From BPW Foundation: Women: Like Men, Only Cheaper

Momentum Resources: Part-time work for skilled professionals. Momentum DC CEO’s Hot Mommas Case here.

#33 Giving Myself a Wife for Mother’s Day

Traumatized? Spent? Overwhelmed? Don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. In a presentation I gave to the Entrepreneur’s Organization a couple of years ago, I told them the tale of “What Women Want” based on research from the Hot Mommas Project. The goal was to better understand and support their female employees. By the time I was finished, and explained the multiple directions in which women are pulled, how they feel responsible for everything and everyone, and that no one supports them, one of the uber-successful male entrepreneurs raised his hand and said:

“That’s exactly how I feel.”

What? Multi-million dollar male entrepreneurs feeling the same as stressed-out, multitasking women? No way!


And as “Zurg” in my kid’s Buzz Lightyear cartoon says:

Very much way.

When busy is good!

As the Hot Mommas Project has taken off and become the world’s largest women’s case study library, many many requests are now starting to flood in. See our list of 2010 winners HERE. I am very very proud of these amazing women who’ve shared their stories in a teachable format to help the next generation and each other.

When Busy is Bad. My Mother’s Day Resolution: A wife.

For Mother’s Day I’m making a resolution.

The resolution has to do with  getting in front of the chaos. Not 100% in front of the chaos, just getting in “the zone.” In some of my outside classes with female executives, I teach women that you need to be okay with work-life balance in the 40% to 70% range. I need to get back into that range. Here are a few signs that I’m not (maybe you identify with these?):

1. Mounting emails. (Spending time coordinating details of meetings when I’d prefer to get the one, single ‘here’s when the meeting is’ email.)

2. Having lists of things that never get done, but are important.

3. Feeling that the above things are starting to make me look bad.

My resolution is to get a personal assistant.

I often dream of having a wife, but, will settle for someone to help me deal with email, errands, and my calendar. I am a pretty hyper-organized person, however, with bandwith GONE we all must go to the next level. I am doing this, also, to up my game – in advance – in preparation for being even MORE busy.  So, in addition to my wonderful team at the Hot Mommas Project, and the excellent,  supportive folks at the George Washington University, I have decided to get myself a little gift. A personal assistant!

What Busy Women Want: The Research.

BUSINESS (aka BUSY-NESS), the irony of that name.

Before asking you how you find and use personal assistants, let’s look at the facts. Hot Mommas Project research shows a few things that busy women want and need to be successful in multiple facets of their life, including:

1. Support – from home (spouse/partner #1) and work (#2). It’s where you log the hours.

2. Control – over work schedule, and location.

3. Focus – what do you REALLY want to achieve. Focus on it like a laser. Sometimes, this even involves a pre-step of thinking about what you REALLY think of as “success” and what makes you happy.

Now, here is a question for the readers.

Exactly how does one use a personal assistant. Can you help me?

I am hoping you folks out there can share with me how you use personal assistants and what tasks are most helpful.  In exchange, I plan to share the top things I’ve done over the past several to help save time, take care of my family, and take care of myself all of which make me feel like I CAN DO IT. Doing something is so much better than whining!

Good Guys & Gals: Helping busy women.

Below are “businesses that get it”: They admire, respect, and support women.  We make 80% of household purchasing decisions ladies, so, here’s where to channel that power.

Alchemie Forever – This is a great skin care line run by a female entrepreneur who brought her family’s products used in their swiss medi-spa over to the states. Think “Swiss Family Polla.” See their great Mother’s Day packages at this link: http://www.alchimie-forever.com/

SEPHORA – A 2009 and 2010 Hot Mommas Project sponsor. We heart SEPHORA, doesn’t everyone?

Ted Gibson Salon & Hela Spa – This power duo is offering discounts to DC Hot Mommas between May 1 and 9. Contact them to take advantage of this special promotion offered to Hot Mommas! Love people who have our backs!

Okay, so, maybe I’m a little bit spa obsessed. We can’t forget our official “sleep away” spa GREEN VALLEY SPA in Utah. Delicious. Maybe you can take your wife there. 🙂

What is the Hot Mommas Project?

The Hot Mommas Project is an award-winning venture housed at the George Washington University School of Business.  We make women’s stories teachable using our “case wizard” at www.HotMommasProject.org . The Hot Mommas Project library is the first of its kind, providing scalable, global access to role models and virtual mentors that can be used by educators, trainers, and parents. We’ve been featured in Prentice Hall textbooks, the Washington Post Magazine, NPR and are the winner of a national Coleman Foundation case award.

How you can get involved: Write your story, or nominate a dynamic woman 18 or older.

Our call for 2011 nominations has begun. While the contest runs through January 31, 2011 – Start now! There will be prizes this spring and fall for early bird publishers.

How it works: Nominated women come online, write their story using our “case wizard,” and click “publish” to be permanently archived in our case library.  Winners will be published in a leading Prentice Hall textbook in addition to other honors and prizes. To participate, nominate a dynamic woman 18 or older (yourself included) here or find us on Twitter. No, you do not need to be a mom. To inquire about sponsorship, email us.

#30 Would You Read This? My Book Outline for Women and The New Sisterhood of Success

It’s that time again. Time to stop messing around and throw down the gauntlet for myself, much as I did in the first post in March, 2008. At that time, I could not see what lay ahead. All I saw was fear, no money, and a bunch of to-do lists and ideas that never seemed to get done. Piece by piece – and while being incredibly cheap aka “resourceful” – I recruited help, enlisted partners, built the Hot Mommas Project story-telling software, and then…the clincher: THE WOMEN. Women came from everywhere…from Twitter…from HARO queries…from mail blasts…from blog posts….from media appearances…from the George Washington University School of Business newsletter! They showed up, ready to fight. They said:

“We are here to fight to make the next generation better, and more prepared, and self-confident. I am here to share what I have learned, good and bad, so that we may have options in life, instead of being told what our options are.”

They told their stories, and the ripple effect never stopped. Stay-at-home moms inspired corporate execs. Victims of abuse inspired start-up entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs who lost, and then found, their way inspired students. Cancer survivors inspired everyone. I didn’t grow up with sisters, but, I got over 100 sisters last year. These incredible women who told their stories to help the next generation, and each other, are my Everyday Revolutionaries.

But, I STILL remember that feeling…sitting there in my office, writing my first blog post, and not seeing ANY of that. It’s sort of how I feel now. I should be writing a book, I should be getting more nominations for the Hot Mommas Project 2010 case competition, I should, I should, I should. So, once again, I humbly turn to my invisible…yet not so invisble…audience. Here is my idea for my book. I have lots of people ready to run with this and help me when I finish my outline, which I never seem to be able to do. (Who is helping me? Aside from friends’ connections to book agents, I have to give MASSIVE shout outs to pitch and media experts Sam Horn, and Marc Silverstein).

Book concept/Title:

How to be a Hot Momma

The New Sisterhood of Success

Enduring message: Here is HOW to do it based on how Hot Mommas do it (life, career, etc.). Hear it straight from the mouths of your sisters, friends, mothers, and aunts…because we care. Oh, yeah, and we also want you to rule the world.

Why you should listen: This will be the Belly Laughs mixed with Four Hour Work Week of business/life books. Not only will this be immensely fun to read, and possibly contain some profanity depending on the author’s coffee levels and general level of crankiness, but – also – there are actual FACTS and HOW TOs based on:

  • The largest library of teachable role models in the world (they taught, we listened, and now we bring those lessons to you).
  • Cutting-edge, inside-look research detailing the practices of hundreds of driven AND happy women.
  • Highlights from the award-winning Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership class at the George Washington University School of Business.

[This part makes me cringe, but, I’ve been told by my husband and others I need to go ahead and pimp myself out]

Author: It is I, your humble So-You-Think-You-Can-Dance-watching, kid-chasing, husband-raising, coffee-drinking author who also happens to have a Harvard MBA, teach college students, and have an illustrious career (entrepreneur and former corporate wheeler and dealer and nonprofit executive in the aging sector). In the “for what it’s worth” category I am a DC Twitter Elite, write for Maria Shriver Women’s Conference site, and have been dubbed “one of the nation’s top business bloggers” by HSM’s World Business Forum.  Bio link.

If you choose to believe the above, please read on … we’re almost to the good part.

The following has been said about “How to Be a Hot Momma” author, Kathy Korman Frey:

“You have something in your teeth.”

Oh, wait, wrong quote …this is it:

“Kathy is like a modern day guardian angel, without a God complex.  She navigates us through stories and helps women apply them to their own lives.”

Mysterious and Powerful Entertainment Industry Corporate Communications Executive

Now that I’ve paid the nice lady five, crisp, $100 dollar bills…here’s the outline:


Foreward…Hopefully by one of the Hot Mommas extremely impressive judges from 2009 or 2010.

Intro: Who is a Hot Momma? Hot Mommas think being perfect is boring.  Hot Mommas are entrepreneurs of life: Making their own rules, and finding their own way, and having the self-confidence to do that. And the number one trait of a Hot Momma that distinguishes her from all others? A Hot Momma helps her sisters. She learns, and doesn’t stop there; she pays it forward so that others may learn.

Major steps in becoming a Hot Momma (in the book, I plan to use Sam Horn’s IDEA framework: I = Idea, D = Detail, E = Example, A = Application).

1. Self confidence – First, a Hot Momma must believe she can do it. Tips for building life-long self-confidence are discussed in this section.

  • “Grey boxes” (fun stats) will include research showing the self-confidence differential between women and girls, and our male counterparts.
  • Resources: Examples of Hot Mommas who have been through the self-confidence building process, how they did it, and links to templates and tools.

2. Idea generation – A Hot Momma’s GPS is constantly on the lookout for the intersection of “Passion Ln.” and “Idea Ave.” When those two meet, BINGO. But, the Hot Momma also knows that the journey is part of the trip.

  • Grey boxes: Stats on idea creation, and neurological information on women.
  • Resources: Examples of Hot Mommas who have been through the idea generation process and how they did it. Mind Mapping, Opportunity Recognition, and Passion Inventory exercises used in GWSB’s award-winning Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership class are included.

3. Okay, that was too many ideas – Focus, implementation – Sometimes, the brain of a Hot Momma is in overdrive. There can be ideas, then too many ideas. There can be to-dos, but then too many to dos. This chapter focuses on how to reign in the brain of the Hot Momma, and use its power for good…using…”The F Word” (FOCUS).

  • Grey Boxes: Stats from Hot Mommas Project mentor survey on traits for success, including focus.
  • Resources: Examples of “master focuser “(is that a word?) Hot Mommas, their tips and tricks, and a daily action-plan template.

4. Stocking the toolkit – Key tips for women only, communication, negotiation, and more. Did you know that women engage in certain behaviors (by accident) in communicating and negotiating with people, bosses, roommates, etc? This chapter deals with the most important things Hot Mommas try to improve on to get out there and take on the world.

  • Grey Boxes: Statistics on communication, negotiation, resulting salary differentials, and other key facts.
  • Resources: We draw from outside the Hot Mommas Project data pool for this section as most women don’t even KNOW they are engaging in these behaviors which impact their success.

5. Be a game changer – Hot Mommas are entrepreneurs because they have to be, they are miserable where they are, or they hear the distant call of “Passion Ln.” and “Idea Ave.” However they became entrepreneurial, Hot Mommas just ARE. At home, at work, in their communities. They take the pieces of the puzzle and don’t just put them together WELL, they put them together DIFFERENTLY.

  • Grey Boxes: The Hot Mommas Project literally created the data set on women as game changers. We reveal our previously unpublished data, and compare it to existing “traditional” data which shove women into traditional categories (part-time, full-time, etc.).
  • Resources: Case studies on game changers from the Hot Mommas Project survey and case library will be highlighted. Tools and templates on “how to be a game changer” will be included.

6. Balance – This is high on the radar screen of women and families everywhere.  We take on the concept of balance with three critical topics: Perspective, Organization, and Delegation.  Many women treat balance as if it is an end in and of itself.  The evolved Hot Momma treats balance as a MEANS to an end. Something to achieve, and move on, so that they can get onto number 7, back to number 3, or go rogue with some other activity like bathing. The topic of managing expectations (self, and others) is also addressed.

  • Grey Boxes: Former Harvard Business School Professor and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Dennis Hightower states: “A good manager can make decisions with between 40 and 70 percent information.”  We apply this statistic to balance, encouraging women make sure that achieving balance is a hurdle, not a brick wall. We validate womens’ concerns about balance by revealing data on dual income couples, and common responses and attitudes about balance from our Hot Mommas Project survey and previously unpublished “Balance Snapshot” database.
  • Resources: Tips from Hot Mommas Project “Master Balancers” – the top 10 percent of our survey-takers who are highly driven, and highly balanced both personally and professionally. If they can do it, we can do it.

7. Mentoring and support systems. Hot Mommas not only HAVE mentors, they ARE mentors. Hot Mommas have an internal call to action that leads them to pass on their learnings to others both formally (through the Hot Mommas Project and other outlets) and informally. They mentor, because they have been mentored. Hot Mommas have a large support network, and are more successful because of it.

  • Grey Boxes: Hot Mommas Project research on the hierarchy and scale of support networks will be shared.
  • Resources: A Five Minute Mentor template will be shared that can be used with mentees, mentors, and at work or at home. Did you know your whole family could serve as a mentor? Learn how in this chapter.

Thank you for reading. The last step is to fill out this poll (I’ll use it in my book proposal!). Thank you, again.

Want to get involved with the project? Go to www.HotMommasProject.org and NOMINATE a dynamic woman you know to share her story, and help the next generation. Winners of our annual case study competition will be published in a major Prentice Hall Textbook.  Here is our 2010 press release.

#25d – Will Business Celebrate, or Tolerate, Our Daughters?

My intern, Amber, is at the World Business Forum with me today. I look at her, and wonder what type of workplace she’ll be stepping into after college. Of the 18 speakers, one is female. Women are not on the radar screen topically. Here are some repeated themes:

  • Energy
  • Values
  • Trust
  • Innovation

I am hoping we’re part of the “values” and “innovation” category, but can’t be sure. Women must be part of the conversation. Leading corporate strategy expert Gary Hamel is speaking RIGHT NOW at a conference. This guy gets it. He says, “No one is going to give you permission to be a revolutionary.”  Here are some facts to support your mission: Continue reading

#22 – Reclaiming Your Energy from Emotional Vampires

This notepad by Knock Knock is totally inappropriate, but too funny to resist.

This notepad by Knock Knock is totally inappropriate, but too funny to resist.

The  talented and funny Rebecca Cooper, an ABC correspondent, shared a story last Thursday. She told us about some amazing research done with two groups of rats in a maze. A male rat was sent through the maze to obtain a piece of cheese or something, then had to make his way back. The rats tended to average something like 2 minutes and 30 seconds. A female rat (a mother rat) was put in the maze. She got to the end and back in 52 seconds.  The takeaway is this: When there is more at stake, we women are more efficient.  No B.s. Continue reading

#21 Get Happy, or Get Out – AKA “Making a Deal With Your Entrepreneurial Spouse”

Two busy entrepreneurs, one happy, one sad

Two busy entrepreneurs, one happy, one sad

My husband and I are both entrepreneurs.  Everyone we know has had to lay people off, us included. It’s a  tough time. The other night we were on the porch talking for the umteenth time about how he is worried about cash flow in his business.  My old boss and mentor Zane used to pace the halls when cash flow was at a worrisome level. However, THEN I did not take that problem home. NOW, I do. We do. It’s hard. It’s money, it’s home, it’s family, it’s “Am I successful?”, it’s all of that. Everything is tied together when you’re an entrepreneur.*  Continue reading

Building a Million Dollar Business Part-Time #16: How to do a Mass/Blast Email Campaign


Let me start this post by saying: I am not a huge fan of mass emails.

Exception: When someone has opted in, as I have for two of the best newsletters I know (from Harvard Business School and Julie Weeks’ WomenAble, also listed at bottom of this post).

Sections of this post will cover: Popular mass/blast email programs/campaigners, how to write a blast email, challenges of blast emails, and other fun stuff. Everything in this post is totally opposite @TheMogulMom’s summary of Seth Godin’s advice on “How to Write a Personal Email.Continue reading

Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time #14b: Confessions and Reflections

This is the second of two posts reflecting on what has worked, and what hasn’t, since conceiving and implementing the Hot Mommas Project case study competition. See first Confessions and Reflections post.

It ain't pretty. Computer + Face Mask = Fake Relaxation

It ain't pretty. Computer + Face Mask = Fake Relaxation

Pictured here, I am “relaxing” with my computer open.  Quite unsightly on a number of levels. First confession: I may be a part time working mom physically, but I am full time-plus mentally. I am constantly thinking about the project. I’m freaking exhausted. I seriously think I have carpal tunnel in my shoulder. Continue reading