#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.

PART I: My Letter – THE FREAK OUT

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

Ed,

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]

shashib

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

exilauren

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

Tinu

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

daniellericks

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

ShesLomax

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

kikilitalien

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

daniellericks

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


shonali

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


IdoIdoevents

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

ruizmcpherson

@chiefhotmomma in the house!

PutItAway

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

Sisarina

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

studioart101

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

Jillfoster

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

lizscherer

Having a convo today with a friend ant the sisterhood

ShesLomax

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!

KoreenOlbrish

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

RiaSharon

@inspiremetoday @ChiefHotMomma is great!

shashib

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

BobBurg

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

heylovedc

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

susan_w

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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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.

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#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:

Chapters:

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.

Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time #15b: Announcing Our Judges

Today we announce the Hot Mommas Project judging panel. (I’m also pasting the list below). They are awesome. Here is the press release.  How do you figure out how to “announce” something? This is how I did it given that we are going guerrilla and, even if we had more money I wouldn’t spend it because the economy stinks: Continue reading