Category Archives: strong women

What I – Single Mom, SMB owner, American Entrepreneur – liked about Michelle Obama’s DNC Speech

Let’s start with the obvious – The First Lady looked amazing, as always. She was elegantly dressed (in Tracy Reese) without being dowdy. She’s in fantastic shape, with toned arms portraying an image of health and wellness (which this country could use more of), and she’s got prominent features that the camera loves. But beyond just an image, Mrs. Obama delivered a charming and likeable personality to match.

Photo via TresSugar

When I listened to Ann Romney speak at the RNC, I liked her – until she tried to relate her “struggles” during college (um, who doesn’t struggle and eat tuna and pasta in college?!) to America’s middle class. I wasn’t buying it. Her and Mitt used an ironing board as their dining room table. In college, I didn’t have a “dining room” table. I found it all a bit of a desperate stretch that was, quite frankly, insulting.

In contrast, Michelle Obama talked about the burden of school loans – not just for her and her brother, but for her parents. Now that’s something I can relate to. My family had to do the same thing – I took out loans and so did my folks, and we both spent years paying them off. I remember selling CDs and clothes just so I could buy text books. And Mrs. Obama delivered her tales without being condescending. It’s not an easy balance in politics. She made it believable that Obama built his own American Dream through more hard work than privilege.

I also found her approach to balancing her husband’s “promotion” with her daughter’s needs refreshing and honest. Again, not an easy accomplishment – it would be quite easy to seem faux about any hesitancy of your husband’s endeavor to become the leader of the free world. But she sold it. I believed that she had concerns regarding how it would affect her daughters – and so far, it seems, the Obama’s have done a good job keeping their children grounded during this time of their lives.

I appreciated that the First Lady wasn’t all about repeating one singular mantra such as “women, women, women,” but rather balanced her belief in family, her marriage, hard work and strong relationships built on love, not power. She resonated with me as a woman, a Mom, a (former) wife, and even an entrepreneur (work hard and you can get what you want in this country). She did a fantastic job just coming off... real. And in a world full of phonies, I for one appreciated that. No, I don’t think this fantastic speech means she should run for office (really, CNN?), but I do believe she hit a Grand Slam in connecting with the American audience and warming up the stage for her husband.

Some of my Tweets from last night further convey some of her best soundbites, below. What did you think of our First Lady?

Smart, well-spoken, lovely, healthy, believable, hard working. “Mom in Chief” gave me chills even if @CNN said not a “home run”#dnc2012 #fb

“There’s always something out there better IF YOU’RE WILLING TO WORK FOR IT.” – @michelleobama#dnc2012

Like @barackobama, keep “getting up and going with courage and grace.” Well said & good #inspiration from @michelleobama.

“Success not how much $$ you make but difference you make in people’s lives” A lesson #divorce #family courts should recognize.#dnc2012 #fb

“The right thing to do,” @michelleobama, doesn’t always pay off… Insurance shouldn’t have the power. #dnc2012 #healthcare #fb

“Something to be said for taking care of others, not just yourself.” FYI, #entrepreneurs & #smb owners know this one all too well.#dnc2012

Like @michelleobama, something to be said for relationships built before you “had it all” – focused on love, not possessions.#DNC2012 #fb

“Let’s Move” @michelleobama #dnc2012. Love the clip with her and@TheEllenShow#power #woman #health #inspiration #fb

Thought for the Day

I don’t make it a habit of sharing biblical references, but I read this one in a blog comment this morning (thanks to Steve Woodruff) and I had to share it. I found it spoke to me after closing out what was truly the hardest year of my life.

“She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25

You bet.

In 15 Minutes for Just $15 – Help Change Someone’s Life and Beat Cancer

This is a repeat from my work blog but the subject matter is important so I’m reposting here as well. I hope you’ll consider helping. If you’re having a bad day, helping someone else who is facing much bigger challenges and stresses can truly help. Help them, help yourself – it’s a win-win. Karen, this is for you.

National Breast Cancer Awareness month is nearing an end. We’re trying to help raise awareness for the thousands of women who have faced this challenge – and are fighting much bigger challenges than anything a day at work can throw our way. In particular, we’d like to call out two of our friends and their efforts to raise money to directly help women facing this relentless disease: Jeanne Fitzmaurice of Design Her Gals and the Gal to Gal Foundation and Alicia Staley of The Staley Foundation.

Both of these amazing women are trying to reach a certain goal this month (today, in Alicia’s case) to help others. Both have been touched by cancer and are inspirational women who remind us to keep going, never give up and to support each other. Will you please help our efforts to do so by taking just 15 minutes and $15 (skip two of those Starbuck’s lattes this week, perhaps?) today to help them reach their goals?

Alicia Staley, the Staley Foundation

Alicia’s birthday is today and her wish is to raise $1,000 in 24 hours for the Staley Foundation – money raised during her birthday wish challenge will be used to purchase books, journals, and JILLIES to include in new patient packs:

  • $10 donation = a journal for patients in a support group!
  • $20 donation = books for patients preparing for surgery!
  • $45 donation = a brand new JILLIES garment for patients having radiation or chemo!

staley134119_logo_final The Staley Foundation acts on its belief that cancer survivors need a strong fundamental base of education, advocacy, and assistance to persevere in their cancer battle and beyond to live their best lives. Alicia should know – she’s a three-time cancer survivor (read her amazing story here). She founded the Staley Foundation in 2007, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to enriching the lives of people touched by cancer, including survivors, their families, and caregivers. The Staley Foundation fulfills its mission through cancer awareness education, survivorship education, community outreach initiatives, advocacy development, and patient assistance programs. You can help Alicia by donating, here.

Jeanne Fitzmaurice, Gal to Gal Foundation

Jeanne is in her third year of the Gal to Gal Virtual Walk – a fun, easy-to-join virtual walk through a different city each day, to help raise funds to grant wishes for stage IV breast cancer patients. Many organizations are dedicated to helping cancer patients during the early stages of diagnosis, but few are focused on stage IV – Gal to Gal is focused on helping women in this stage to maintain their dignity while receiving treatment through the progression of the disease. Walkers can choose who to “walk” with others – from celebrities like Larry King, Molly Sims and Kristin Chenoweth, to everyday neighbors and friends. You can create teams and invite others to join as well.

This year’s walk honors Dorit Shapiro, past President of the Gal to Gal Foundation, who lost her brave battle to Stage IV last October at age 38. You can listen to Dorit’s own story – in her own words – in the video below. Dorit spoke about last year’s Gal to Gal walk, just one week before her passing. We hope it will inspire you to spend just $5.00 to help Jeanne and her team reach this year’s goal of $250,000 (a figure that was Dorit’s personal hope for this year). You can create an avatar and search for the PerkettPR team to “walk” with us, or you can choose to simply just donate.

Thanks for reading, for donating and for your support through posting these efforts on Twitter, Facebook, your own blog and more. Not for us, but for the patients.

Strike two off of the bucket list

I just posted on our marathon blog … part of the reason I haven’t been very active here is that, in addition to work, motherhood and marriage, I’ve been training for my first marathon. I just finished the Dublin Marathon 2008, I’m happy to say! More details here.

The Marathon combined two of my life’s goals: finish a marathon before age 40 and visit Ireland. I have a lot more on that “bucket list,” so hopefully 2009 will bring the opportunity to knock more off of that list.

And now perhaps that this marathon is over I’ll find more time to keep up here…

Been busy, just not here

I haven’t written here lately because work has been taking off like wild fire, I’ve been traveling a lot and I’ve been writing on other blogs, including a new one: This Mommy Gig with two other women I met online at Twitter. We’re adding other women, too, and giving “working mom” perspectives from around the country. I am taking my mommy rants over there, as a) being responsible to someone else makes me do a better job and b) it’s more fun with a team.

You can also read me here:
Training4Dublin – my Marathon Training blog with my husband as we train for the Dublin Marathon in October 2008

Women For Hire’s Be Gutsy Blog – run by ABC’s contributing Workplace Editor, Tory Johnson (I’m “Balanced Woman”)

PerkettPR’s PerkettPRsuasion – my own company’s blog on PR, social media, technology, client, industry and agency news

Or connect with me here:




I’ll be back here if the mood strikes me and it’s a topic that doesn’t fit into one of these other blogs.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you on the other sites, too.

My Husband is Insane…

…and I’m so thankful for his insanity! As you will read if you choose to click over, he bought me quite a Christmas present this year. It’s such a thoughtful, significant and personal gift that he even created a blog for it (we are both truly techno geeks … over the holiday break we realized that back in ’99 – when we were getting married – we created a blog before we even knew what a blog was – it was such a great site I wish it was still up – we even won an “award” for it… but I digress).

I suggest starting here for the beginning of the “story” that will shape our 2008. I’m so excited, nervous – still in shock – and quite frankly, happy to have something besides work to focus on all the time (okay, yes, I have two children, three dogs, great friends and more than enough to do… but again, I digress).

Sometimes you need inspiration from an outside source and wow, if this isn’t inspiration I don’t know what is. If you have any interests in running, marathons, Ireland, adventure or heck, even marriage – and how to keep it interesting – perhaps you will find interest in our blog or following our next 10-11 months of training on Twitter – you can find us at @training4dublin.

Happy New Year – it’s certainly going to be an interesting one!

IMG 1470  

More Double Standards For Women in Business

A recent report published by the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology concludes that female managers who are seen as unkind, insensitive and unaware of others’ feelings are judged as worse bosses because of it – yet men who exhibit the same qualities aren’t.

“It seems female managers may be expected to be sensitive to others’ emotions and to demonstrate this sensitivity by providing emotional support. Because of this, female managers’ job performance is judged on them being understanding, kind, supportive and sensitive,” says Kristen Byron, assistant professor of management in the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, who conducted the research. “In contrast, this is not the basis to evaluate the performance of male managers. It is far more important for male managers, and men, in general, to be seen as analytical, logical and good at reasoning than showing care and concern for others.”

As a female business owner and manager I find this very interesting and slightly frustrating. I see this in my own business – if women managers are not sensitive it’s definitely brought to my attention by the staff moreso than if a male manager or colleague is a bit hard-edged.

There have been a lot of articles and studies on the management style of women vs. mens and the entire “bitch” assumption for successful women in business. The truth of the matter is that we are different than men, we lead, we follow, we teach, we learn – differently. This doesn’t mean we are any better or worse at managing – we just use different tactics to get what we need. Unfortunately, we probably do waste too many cycles worrying about everyone’s emotions or thoughts. Caring less – perhaps embracing a little more of our selfish side – could make us more efficient.

But then again, what’s wrong with emotion? As the late, great Anita Roddick claimed, “I run my company according to feminine principles – principles of caring, making intuitive decisions, not getting hung up on hierarchy, having a sense of work as being part of your life, not separate from it; putting your labour where your love is, being responsible to the world in how you use your profits; recognising the bottom line should stay at the bottom.”


Are You a Stress Addict?

It’s Sunday night and I’m experiencing my typical anxiety for the busy week that I know lies ahead. It’s all I can do to not work past midnight – I know it’s not a good way to kick the week off but I always feel like it might make the beginning of the work week less crazy (it never does – there’s always more work). I’m starting to wonder, after having read “Can’t Slow Down” by Lynn Harris in this month’s Glamour, am I a stress addict?

I’ve always known I’m a Type A, can’t-sit-down-for-long, list-making person. I pile a lot on my plate, probably don’t say no often enough and am usually late for everything because I continue whatever I am doing until the last possible second. But hooked on my own anxiety? I had never even considered it. But now – after taking the mini “how addicted are you” test in the article (sit still and do just one thing for 30 minutes, like read a book) I believe I am what Harris calls a “stress junkie.”

In the article, Harris writes about why stress is so bad for women – extra weight, heart problems, memory/concentration/performance issues and accelerated aging (eek!). Interestingly, she also writes about some of the reasons women in particular feel the constant need to live at an accelerated pace – one of which is technology. She talks about our “bleeping, beeping gadgets,” our need to be successful at everything (work, family, friends and more) and women’s unique need to feel connected and belong. In that vein, she mentions how all the new social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace put added pressure on an already time-constrained life – making time for all those new “friends” can be exhausting.

Harris also talks about not being able to relax even when she was “relaxing.” I completely understand that feeling. Whether it’s baking cookies with the kids, reading on the beach, decorating for the holidays or running, my mind is constantly going, thinking about how I need to do such personal “relaxing” tasks perfectly, or what I need to do as soon as the event at-hand is complete. I’m an incredible multitasker – never concentrating on just the one thing I’m doing.

I try to remind myself to live in the moment and enjoy what just “is” now. After reading this article I will also try to recognize my need to slow down and not seek validation in everything I do. I can’t make any promises… maybe I’ll ask all my Facebook friends to take a “likeness” test to confirm I’m not alone…

Stand up for What You Believe In

I went to see “Gone Baby Gone” last night. It was a great movie, although incredibly hard to watch – gut-wrenching. Casey Affleck was amazing and his brother Ben did a damn good job of directing, in my opinion.

I won’t talk too much about the movie so I don’t give it away, but ultimately it boils down to knowing yourself, being strong and standing up for what you believe in – which at first glance may seem obvious, but when you take a deeper view, isn’t as easy as you may have anticipated.

Sometimes what you believe in is challenged with unexpected curve balls. This movie demonstrates that. While not as serious as the content of the film, my life this week called into question a bit of what I believe in. I had to decide if I should stand up and support an employee and my industry in the face of someone I disagreed with who is very influential. I could have taken one of several “easy” routes – I could have ignored the situation, I could have not responded at all, I could have responded anonymously. I chose ultimately to do none of those things.

I chose to stand up, clearly and loudly, for what I believe in. I spoke my opinion in a public forum when many others would not. Don’t get me wrong – it could come back to bite me in the ass. It could cost me more than I anticipated. But in the end – I choose to not cower, I choose to not stand down and stay quiet. Great leaders in history didn’t become that way by keeping their mouth shut.

This may seem cryptic to some, but those who know my business will know exactly what I’m talking about. I refuse to link to the situation or give Mr. A any additional attention. But I also refuse to stay quiet, be abused or go quietly.