Why Harriet?

Why not?

proposed $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman will be the first woman of color to ever have her image on the front of United States paper currency. It’ll take a few years to happen, because nothing happens overnight. She will replace Andrew Jackson, a founding father and slave master, who will be moved to the back of $20 bill. And some people of color seem to be opposed to this change. Seriously. I’m not making this up. Harriet Tubman has a Wikipedia page but still we oppose her image being on currency.

People of color are so afraid of change in this country that we don’t know when to embrace even the smallest victory towards positive progress. Black lives matter…, but shouldn’t be depicted or honored on the money that black people work to earn and spend? I’m confused by that. You mean to tell me that you don’t mind working hard, trapping and hustling to get lots of $20 bills with the face of a slave master looking back at you, but you’re in your feelings about that same currency having the image of a black woman, whose sacrifices made it possible for you to earn lots of $20 bills, in that slave master’s place? Clearly the United States government values Harriet Tubman’s contributions to our country more than some people of color do. And that’s sad.

White men have been considered the standard of wealth and more valuable than women throughout our American history, hence how these particular founding fathers all ended up on our paper currency in the first place. Women have only been on limited circulation coins, reiterating that women are worth “less” than men, in many ways. That mindset carries over into wage and gender inequality as well as women’s reproductive rights. We live in one of the oldest Democratic countries that has yet to have a female President. Several countries worldwide have a long history of female heads of state and have women on their paper currency as well. San Marino, Italy leads the race and has had 17 female heads of state. Syria has Queen Zenobia on their currency. If you don’t believe me, Google it for yourself. Some of the very countries who pay homage to the women who are and have been instrumental to their history are considered less progressive than the good ol’ USA.

It’s important to begin to honor women, and particularly women of color, more, from not only a socioeconomic level but also globally. We can’t expect to be valued and respected by others when we fail to honor our own. If we have Harriet Tubman on a $20 bill maybe it’ll become worth its actual value in the  paychecks of women working for it as well.

Lead By Example….Or Fail

As much as I would love to say that every experience I have with other business owners is positive, that isn’t the case. Approximately 20% of the business owners I encounter are a terror to work with.  Sadly, they have no idea. They have the best of intentions, with the worst outcomes. They consistently do the same things and expect different results. When they don’t get the results they expect, all hell breaks loose. It would be easy to act like I don’t see the issues, but I’d be contributing more to the problem, than the solution if I sat silent.

Here are the top areas where business owners fail to lead by a positive example:

1. Communication Style: 

I constantly encounter individuals with poor communication techniques. They don’t know how to address situations in a positive way so everything becomes a misunderstanding or argument when you interact with them. They talk three times as much as they listen and you often have to repeat yourself to make your point, let alone gain their attention. These individuals are very difficult to work with and often aren’t very successful, because they don’t listen well and therefore, don’t learn much.

 

2. Checking Voicemail: 

In an age where we have the best technology available to us to communicate with each other right at our fingertips, many people don’t even know how to check their voicemail. Their voicemail is full. They don’t listen to any messages left for them. And God forbid they delete messages. What’s the point in having a voicemail, or a phone, if you’re never going to use the simplest function on it?  Not checking your voicemail and/or allowing your voicemail to fill up is the easiest way to lose customers and money. It’s unprofessional and no one is that busy. Not even me.

 

3. Surrounding Themselves with “Yes” People:

Look at your team and your staff. Is everyone afraid of you? Do they all agree with everything you say? Do they sit back while you make decisions and then mysteriously have a new job working elsewhere the next day? If so, you’re surrounded by “yes” people and you’re a poor leader because of it. If you don’t have someone on your team with the courage to challenge you when you aren’t making wise decisions, you don’t have a strong team. A real leader can accept constructive criticism, listens to sound ideas based on information and data and makes decisions that empower themselves and those who work for them.  A good leader knows they aren’t always the foremost authority and they seek guidance from others with different perspectives, experiences and knowledge bases. A good leader is responsible for the failures and successes of their brand, but knows they are likely to be more successful and fail less when they have strong, decisive people on their teams who may not always agree with them.

 

4. Having Unrealistically High Expectations of Others:

Everyone’s journey to success is different. What one person deals with may or may not be similar to someone else’s experiences. Some people also have it easier than others due to the factors in their lives; parenting, environment, lifestyle, finances, etc.  A person’s gifts and talents can be recognized and appreciated by others who have been in their shoes before them. Those who recognize someone else’s gifts can also motivate and encourage them towards their purpose in life and their career. However, there are some people who believe that whatever “level” they currently are on is the same level someone else should start at or aspire towards. That’s completely unrealistic. People need time and space to grow into their gifts, and that requires nurturing, understanding and sometimes it may also require leaving a person alone to learn on their own.

 

5. Putting All their Money on One Horse In the Race: 

This is also commonly referred to as “putting all of their eggs in one basket”. I use betting on a horse instead to further drive the example home. The trifecta in horse raising is when you bet on more than one horse in the race, to place first, second and third. When a person puts all their money on one horse in the race, they are solely dependent on that horse to win. If the horse doesn’t win, the person loses. Here’s an example in business terms:

You are an independent movie producer. You’re casting a production with lesser known or amateur actors and actresses. You want someone who will attract movie goers to see your film and help you recoup your $10 million dollar budget. You can either cast one successful actor/actress in a starring role in hopes of gaining their fans (betting on one horse) or you can cast three or more successful actors/actresses to costar in the film (hitting the trifecta) and gain all of their fans. 

Not only is the trifecta a better business decision, but you will also have talented individuals in roles that can help improve the quality of performances by your lesser known actors and actresses instead of expecting one big name star to carry the entire film on their own.

 

6. Name Droppers: 

There are a lot of people who brag about who they know and who they have or can work with. Big deal. Watch those individuals closely and see if the same people they name drop are actually involved in their business when it’s time for them to show up. Chances are great that they are not around when it matters most to the business owner user their name to impress you or others.  When a celebrity believes in you, your business or your brand, you don’t have to use their name to grow, because they’re telling people all about you.  They’re sharing what you post on social media. They are giving referrals to you. They are introducing you to people who may want or need what you have to offer. They endorse you without monetary compensation. They want to be connected to your brand on more than one occasion. Remember: you can take pictures with all the celebrities in the world, but if you’re difficult to work with, unprofessional or have any of these other negative traits, they aren’t going to be bothered with you. Celebrities have a lot of other opportunities they can take advantage of that are less stressful than dealing with you.

 

7. Fakers/Instafamers/Fronters 

The only thing I can think of that is worse than a name dropper is a person who is lives by the “fake it til you make it” credo. That once worked in our lives, but it has gone entirely too far. With the growth of social media, almost anyone can call themselves anything and create a facade of being someone they are not. You know the type.

The person who is always posting their money and material possessions on Facebook and Instagram and their entire following is based on them doing so. The person who is always at an airport, but not really going anywhere impressive or didn’t pay for the trip themselves.  The person who works extremely hard to discredit others who are actually working hard to get to where they are but not bragging about it all the time. The person who tries to attach themselves to more successful people in an effort to either use them or try to demean them to make themselves feel good. The person who is always talking about what they are going to do “one day/one year/next time”, but they never do. The person who gives shout outs to celebrities that they don’t have relationships with but want to “work with”.

I call these types of people The Coming Soons and what they are doing is commonly known as frontin’. If you don’t know at least one person that fits into this category, you’re probably the one that is guilty of this behavior. Frontin’ has become nearly an epidemic. The cure is karma because the person frontin is always discovered to be a fraud sooner or later.  It’s better to live a life of positive experiences and slowly grow into success, than surround yourself with material possessions (whether fake or on credit) to make others believe you’re a success. The latter has led to the death, demise and imprisonment of a lot of people.

I hope this gives you something to think about as you go into your day-to-day lives and careers interacting with people. You can’t really avoid meeting these types of people. The only things you can do is recognize them for who they are and try not to become like them yourself.

 

Happy #IWD2016

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Today we celebrate the contributions of women worldwide and in Detroit we’re also voting in the Presidential Primary, where Secretary Hillary Clinton is a Democratic candidate.

Today I also want to recognize a phenomenal woman by the name of Karen R. Lewis. She is the Founder of The Angel House in Metro Detroit and she advocates against domestic violence. Through her own experience as a survivor and the unfortunate loss of her daughter, also due to domestic violence, Karen found courage and purpose to start The Angel House.

If you’ve ever read my story you know that I too am a survivor of and advocate against domestic violence. Therefore, I feel an immediate connection with other women who’ve had the same experiences. Please lend support to The Angel House anyway that you can in honor of International Women’s Day.
For more information, please visit the website here.

Don’t Let the Likes Fool You

We live in an age where social media is prevalent. It’s not going away no more than the Internet it lives on is, and everyday it becomes larger than the previous day. Social media is truly embedded into our culture and how we communicate with each other. That can be both good and bad. It can be good because social media allows us to communicate with people that we may normally have not had access to because of distance and language barriers. There are also many other benefits to social media; such as the ability for businesses to reach a global consumer base and relatives to stay in contact from miles away.

Unfortunately, one of the down sides to social media is the impact it has on individuals and their self-esteem. A lot of people, adults included, use social media to validate their self-worth in society. Many people only have interaction with others by way of their social media accounts and the strive on a daily basis to make other people “like” them. What they fail to realize is that some of those people liking their content, whether it is photos, memes or statuses, don’t really know or like them as a person and would not ever support their endeavors in the real world where it matters.

For instance, being a radio show host I offer independent artists the opportunity to have their music played on my show. I did this because I was constantly receiving messages with links to YouTube videos from artists asking me to watch, like and share their videos. However, many of those artists weren’t generating revenue from their video content on YouTube. So what’s the point in me liking your art when my ‘like’ is not helping you to make money from your art? To me it was a waste of time. So I offered artists another, more traditional method, by which they could be heard, not just liked. A many of them have stated that they have seen an increase in the number of PAID downloads of their music as a result.

Artists and musicians aren’t the only people impacted. Aspiring models, actors and others are in the same boat. People love the way they look on Instagram and like their pictures on Facebook, but that doesn’t help if those same people aren’t going to see the actors in plays, movies or aren’t watching their television shows, and…. well…. everyone wants to be an Instagram model nowadays, so you can imagine how stiff that competition is. Getting a lot of likes on Instagram doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be booked for the next Dolce & Gabbana, or Macy’s campaign anymore than for the local county fair at this point.

Part of the issue is the façade that big brands portray to consumers as well. When big brands seek partnerships or endorsements, outside of professional athletes and well-known celebrities, they often seek individuals in large part due to the quantity of their social media following more than the quality of their followers, the person’s power to influence those that follow them or their own loyalty to the big brand as a consumer.  This makes everyday social media users and those with dreams of success and stardom believe that they only way to be successful is to have a huge following on social media.

What’s the use if your followers can’t be converted into consumers?

For instance, reality show stars are now being cast in movie roles that actors/actresses fight and train for, simply because they have a larger social media following, but they don’t actually do anything. The movie studios do this because they hope that the reality show star will give them free advertising for their movie. True enough, the advertising is free, but what movie studios fail to realize is that everyone that follows that reality show star on social media isn’t really a loyal fan who would buy a ticket to see them star in a movie.

Being in media has afforded me the opportunity to hear what everyday people honestly think about others. I don’t know what it is but me, but people love to talk to and confide in me. I hear it all the time “I just follow them because I think they are funny/I want to see what people are saying about them; but I’d never spend my money going to see them perform/sing/dance, etc.” And that’s the hard truth that a lot of people don’t know when they have dreams and goals of Instafame.

Consider the newest social media darlings, The Westbrooks. They are being called the black version of the Kardashians. I wouldn’t consider that a compliment personally, but maybe they do. They have millions of combined followers on Instagram and a reality show on a popular cable network. On the show, we get to witness the sisters attempt to do what their father (a successful businessman), suggests they do; monetize their social media following. We also get to see their friends either support their attempts (backyard pool parties) or try to use them for their own attempts at gaining clientele (club openings). Which is probably where the Kardashian comparison comes into play. It seems that the “power” their wield over their social media minions could be used more productively than to endorse hair extensions and pop bottles in nightclubs. They all seem to be intelligent young women, with guidance from their hardworking parents, who didn’t always have it easy, so they understand building success in a more traditional way to acquire longevity.

So why shouldn’t The Westbrooks be able to do something bigger and more impactful with their branding than what everyone else on Instagram is doing?

Time will only tell when it comes to how far things will go for The Westbrooks. They’ll either make change, make waves or be replaced by the next hot group of pretty sisters on the internet. In the meantime, I hope that they serve as a lesson on how fleeting and intrusive Instafame without strategic preparation can be. I also hope that at some point we move away from the façade of what makes people successful and show examples of more men and women using their influence on social media for more than monetization. Those people exist. They may not have millions of followers, but they have quality followers, who are positively impacted by them, myself included. Big brands aren’t paying attention to those types of social media influencers….yet. But that is something that I also hope will change so that being attractive isn’t the only talent left for people to have in order to become successful.
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Fashionable Opportunity

Put Your Brand on My Back

If you’ve been reading my blog for a decent amount of time, you may have noticed that I believe in periodic reinvention. As we grown, evolve and improve ourselves, we should take the time to document it. Social media is one way to accomplish that. In an effort to utilize my social media platforms and my increasing influence more frequently, I’ve decided to give an opportunity to those interested in gaining additional exposure to people who may notice their talents.

I’ve had a lot of company’s (and some haters) attempt to convince me that my social media following is insignificant because the number of my followers is “low”.  First, I’m not on social media to become famous. Second, don’t assume that the number of followers I have means I’m exaggerating my influence. In fact, my month long engagement for August 2015 on Twitter alone was in excess of 43,000+ views, retweets, mentions and replies and I only have 2,500+ followers. I’ve also been added to over 55 groups by other users on Twitter based on my skills and content. That data is both verifiable and consistent. My following may seem “low” but consists of individuals who have a great deal of influence themselves, including celebrities, athletes, corporate executives, bloggers, fashion brands, award winners and others who have several hundred thousand followers of their own. Therefore, they are the epitome of quality over quantity. And by following me, they are saying the same about me in return.

In preparation for the next event, Boss Ladies – Leave Your Feelings at the Door, on December 19, and my 2016 media/marketing campaign, I’m going to have 2 photo shoots before the end of 2015. During both photo shoots, I’m giving fashion designers and stylists an opportunity to provide the attire for me to wear.

The first photo shoot is taking place near the end of September.  I envision a high fashion/haute couture ala Empire photo shoot with about four looks. The next photo shoot will be before December and I’m looking for a variety of looks from business casual to high fashion. Both photo shoots will take place in Detroit, Michigan, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity isn’t for anyone outside of Detroit. After all, UPS exists for a reason. Both photo shoots will results in photos of me being seen on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and in print and media marketing campaigns for Super Woman Productions and Publishing for up to a year by our growing international audience.

Remember – quality over quantity.

If you, or someone you know in fashion, would like to put your brand on Super Woman’s back, here’s your change to benefit from my growing brand and influence.

It’s easy to get started.

Either send an email using the Contact Us page or connect with us on our social media accounts (listed below) using #PutMYBrandOnSuperWomansBack (fashion designers or stylists) or #PutYOURBrandOnSuperWomansBack (when sharing with others that you mention or tag) in your tweet, post or comment.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/superwomanproductions

Twitter: @BestSuperWoman 

Instagram: Official_Super_Woman

 

 

 

The Company, The Woman, The Brand

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