Iconic power dressers now and then

Looking for style inspiration that brings out your inner Alpha Power Leader? Look no further than this gallery of ten iconic power dressers, both fictitious (think Dynasty’s Alexis Carrington) and real (think Anna Wintour).

While we don’t suggest you go out and find yourself a 1980s power suit, we do like to read about the efforts and thinking that went into planning these ladies’ outfits.

Take Margaret Thatcher: The former English Prime Minister “cleverly refined her clothing to reflect her rising power (…) and kept files on what she wore when, with outfits named “Reagan Navy” or “Election ’87”.

Or look at Victoria Beckham: She “struggled sartorially when she first moved to Los Angeles in 2007. (…) Her body-hugging frocks, five-inch stilettos, statement handbags and perma-pout just didn’t look right on the studiedly laidback, expensively dressed-down west coast. She nailed it eventually, of course. Now, as a surprisingly successful fashion designer with an eponymous label, she’s helping a whole new generation of women to power dress.”

Have a look at the full gallery in Guardian’s The 10 Best Female Power Dresses.

You’re not faking it

Impostor Syndrome. The fear that people have of being found out as a fraud. Everyone seems to have it. And if you ever felt like you’re not deserving of the success you have achieved, know that you’re in the company of Academy Award winners, best-selling authors, CEOs.

Much has been written about it. Forbes wrote about it. Wall Street Journal wrote about it. Fast Company wrote about it too.

We particularly liked this article in The Shriver Report. The author, the first African American woman to become a Vice President at Avon shares 10 Ways To Overcome Impostor Syndrome.

The tip that resonated most — besides keeping your sense of humor about it all — was this one:

She suggests to do “a reality check by making a list of your special skills and the qualities you have that attract people to you and have gotten you this far.”

Why don’t you “take stock of your success. Keep a written inventory of your skills, accomplishments, and experiences to understand your success. Use logic and facts to assuage your fears. This will help you strengthen the skill of internal validation.”

We’re certainly going to give it a shot!

Success, Her Way. Interview with Amy Peterson

In our Success, Her Way interview series, we talk with women who are pursuing their own ideas of success. You’ll get personal insights on the paths they’ve chosen, how their definition of success has changed over the years, and what their habits of success these great women have. — Share it with your friends and colleagues if you find yourself inspired by it.

Today’s successful lady is Amy Peterson. She is an attorney for the Detroit Tigers — a homerun for this baseball fanatic. She is also one of those amazing entrepreneurs intent on making Detroit a better place to live again. She runs a jewelry business that works with Detroit’s underserved, homeless women and has given a number of them access to dignified work and shelter. Read about how she pasted rejection letters from baseball teams on her wall as motivation and how her adorable dog Elbie is the reason she started the jewelry business that is currently a finalist in Martha Stewart’s American Made competition.

Amy_Peterson_RebelNell

Tell us a little where you are in your career and how you got there.

Amy Peterson: I consider myself incredibly blessed to be at this stage in my career “life.” My dream as a little girl was to work for a baseball team and I am fulfilling that dream today. However, it was about a year and a half ago that I realized I had another calling that was waiting to be answered.

In Detroit, I live next door to a well-known shelter called COTS. We share a yard with the neighbors of the shelter. I would often walk my overly friendly and curious English & French mix bulldog, Elbie, in the yard. He would go right up to our neighbors as they were enjoying their day. I would often apologize for his aggressive desire to cuddle but most people loved him. While he was getting all the attention, I would strike up conversations with the tenants of the shelter, particularly the women. Their stories were ones of courage and persistence.

Many had left very difficult situations and went to the shelter for temporary relief. Many women didn’t have control of their financial situations for myriad of reasons including abusive relationships, loss of job, recession, etc.  It was then that I realized their unfortunate turn of events could have happened to anyone at any time. These women needed someone to believe in them. (You can read an article on Rebel Nell in Forbes Magazine. –ed.)

It was at this moment that I knew I needed to start a company that not only provided them with jobs but with education. Rebel Nell came to exist out of that necessity. We employ the women directly out of the shelter and train them how to make jewelry from fallen graffiti. We also provide them with financial management, business education, and life wellness skills to that they can successfully transition to an independent life.

This business is my passion project but I also consider it part of my career. I love the duality of my career “life” right now.  I have been able to pursue my passion, and now I am able to help others pursue their passion.

What about your work and career do you enjoy the most?

The thing I enjoy most is interacting and learning about people. Everyone has a story and you should take time to listen. I also really enjoy problem solving, coming up with creative solutions. This is prevalent in both areas of my career. I have learned a lot from the women I work with at Rebel Nell. They face many obstacles that are often overlooked or misunderstood. We try to find creative solutions to help them overcome these obstacles and help them get on the right track.

What is your personal definition of “success”? Has it changed over the years?

My definition of success is ever evolving. I am constantly setting goals for myself. Once one goal is achieved, I set another goal. This can be good and bad. I think it is good to eliminate complacency, but it also means you are never satisfied. You can always do more, help more, be more thoughtful.

Some people say success is achieved through a series of habits. What are your “habits of success”?

I think my successful habits are that I am tenacious and never content. I am always looking for ways to improve, learn more. Also, never let anyone tell you that you can’t pursue your dream!

What were the more difficult steps you took on your path? Can you tell us more?

I think the more challenging times were when I was faced with tremendous adversity and roadblocks. It would have been so easy to give up. That goes for both my job and running Rebel Nell. I am fortunate that I learned at an early age, being a competitive ice skater, that when you fall down, you have to get up and continue.  That was a great lesson that I have carried with me.

To go into more specifics, I had finally graduated law school and business school and was applying — to work for free — to all Major League Baseball teams. I felt that if I could just get a foot in the door, I could prove myself. I had so many rejection letters that I started to collect them just to get the cool looking “no thanks” on baseball letterhead. I used the rejection to fuel my fire instead of letting it sizzle.

For every rejection letter I received, I would send out 5 or more applications. I also had a lot of people tell me that as a woman, I was crazy to want to work in sports. Fortunately, I have amazing parents and they always encouraged me to do whatever I wanted. They made me extra persistent and tenacious.

However, there are always days when you question your decisions and certain choices you made. At the end of the day, you have to believe that you made the right decision even if the outcome isn’t what you wanted. I remember a saying from a wall in our childhood bedroom: “You will regret the decisions you didn’t make more than the ones you did.” That is still one of the best quotes.

Are there any things you’d never compromise or sacrifice for your career?

Although challenging at times it is very important to have a work life balance. It took me a while to learn how important that is, but you need it to continue to grow and be strong in the long run. You will burn out if you don’t take time for yourself. I believe that women put a lot more pressure on themselves to work hard and not take any personal time. You need to find an escape no matter what it is whether it be family time, hobby, travel.

If you had to choose one moment of success that meant the most to you, which one would it be?  

To choose one moment is incredibly challenging. I think the day I was promoted to Associate Counsel of the Detroit Tigers was one that made me feel like all of the hard work, dedication, sacrifice and late hours paid off. I am also incredibly proud of the fact that Rebel Nell just celebrated its one year anniversary and all of the women we have hired are working full time, taking great care of their families, and have all moved out of the shelter into homes.

Having made it through a year being a completely sustainable business is something that really makes me smile but we still have a long way to go.

What’s the next project you’re looking forward to?  

I am really looking forward to growing Rebel Nell and bringing on more women. I am excited for all the new challenges that are yet to come in all facets of my life. Bring it On!

Thank you so much for speaking with us and sharing your path, Amy.

Check out the other interviews in the Success, Her Way series. And be sure to share them if you find them inspiring.

How to make peace with criticism

Is it just us or is the air getting a bit brisker the higher up we climb on the corporate ladder?

If you are a women, you’re more likely to receive criticism not only for your performance at work but also for your personality. A study confirms that only 2% of men get personality-related criticism at work while 76% of women hear words like “abrasive” and “judgemental.”

The author of New York Times article Learning to Love Criticism says: “Powerful women tend to receive overreactive, shaming and inappropriately personal criticism. Kirsten E. Gillibrand’s colleagues in the Senate making comments about her weight. Christiane Amanpour being blasted for expressing even a hint of anger about the deaths of children in Syria. Hillary Rodham Clinton for not looking well rested enough while circling the globe.”

This is unfair, ridiculous, but it’s also a fact.

So let’s not get dissuaded. Let’s rather find a way to embrace criticism as a surefire sign that we’re on the right path and let’s develop a teflon approach when it comes to dealing with criticism. Nothing sticks and nothing bothers. The article Learning to Love Criticism shares a number of ways to achieve that. Why don’t you give them a try — we sure will:

  • Identify another woman whose response to criticism you admire and try to emulate it
  • Learn to view criticism as information about the other person’s preferences rather than a comment on you
  • Ask yourself whether the criticism cuts so deep because it is related to a doubt you may hold about yourself
  • Don’t get blinded by praise and don’t get paralyzed by criticism

Lawyer and activist marries actor

They’ve been hitched for a week now but we thought we’d share our favorite reporting on the nuptials of Amal Alamuddin and George Clooney:

“Internationally acclaimed barrister Amal Alamuddin marries an actor”

“We only hope he doesn’t hold her back from conquering the world. We think this George Clooney fellow has scored big time.”

We agree.

As an attorney she represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, she serves in the Preventing Sexual Crimes Initiative in the UK and — according to The Businesswoman Media — “Amal is also a style icon for corporate women across the globe, with her easy elegance set off with her love of quirky footwear – a nice touch to her personal brand.”

A woman after our own heart.

Amal_Alamuddin

Leadership, Stylish. Interview with Kate Duff

Our Leadership, Stylish interview series celebrates stylish women in leadership and executive roles. You’ll get personal insights about their role models and inspiration, how these amazing ladies get their teams excited, and what wardrobe and grooming choices they make to give their performance an extra boost of confidence. — Tell us what you think in the comments.

Today’s stylish leader is Kate Duff. She’s a beauty entrepreneur whose startup got funding — for that reason alone we applaud her. Startups run by women are always poked and prodded with just a little more scrutiny so you know that Kate has her act together and can present and promote her vision flawlessly. What we love about her is that she’s an avid connector of dots. She will listen closely and then tell you exactly the three people you should meet and the five articles you should read. — Read below to find out what kind of corporate culture she’s trying to create, why excitement is the key, and that she has a pair of lucky faux leather pants.

Kate_Duff_portrait

Tell us a little bit about who you are and where you are in your career!

My name is Kate Duff and I am the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of 3FLOZ, an automated retailer selling travel-sized beauty, grooming, wellness products, and accessories.

Do you have role models you draw inspiration from for your life and career?

I have always been inspired by my parents. They have their own company and have always taught me the important of hard work. I am also very inspired by Marie Forleo and Gabby Bernstein, they teach the importance of being authentic, living in the moment (that is all we have), and above all else of bringing love to every single thing we do.

What are typical situations in which you get to show off your leadership qualities?

My business partner Alexi Mintz and I have a team of five that we work with daily. Office culture and work ethic comes from the top. Alexi and I have always felt that it was very important to create an environment where people are excited to come to work — even on Mondays. Hopefully, we have created that at 3FLOZ. One example is that we include team members in meetings as they relate to the growth of 3FLOZ so that everyone feels like they are a part of something bigger. We also buy lunch and treats and make it a work hard & play hard kind of environment.

Are there any habits or rituals that make you feel at the top of your game before a public appearance, a client meeting, or a critical team meeting?

I believe in meditation so I always take a couple minutes to center myself, to set my intention for the meeting, and to get out my nerves. If I’m going to be on TV or talking to a group I remind myself to speak like I am speaking with my friends, and that all is well.

If you have to get a group of people excited, what works best for you? Can you share some tricks?

Be excited! If you are looking for others to be excited you have to be excited. Excitement is contagious.

If we asked the people around you what your leadership style was, what words do you think would come up?

Fair, open and if I do say so myself: FUNNY!!

What are some of your go-to outfits, hair or makeup styles that make you feel most confident in any business situation?

My go-to styles for important meetings are my lucky black faux leather Club Monaco pants with a blazer and a fitted v-neck dress with heels; both are sexy, dressy, and command attention.

For an amazing blow out before a big meeting I go see Gregory Patterson at Roman K Salon in New York City and I use Up The Amp lipstick from MAC.

I feel that in business, women often try to button everything up. Not my style! We are lucky enough to be women so as long as it is tasteful, wear what makes you feel your best. When you feel good you will look good and when you look good you will feel good.

Guys just have to throw on a suit and tie and look “business,” we have so many options. Are there any ladies out there you think get the balance between stylish and business just right?

I think Kelly Ripa, Angelina Jolie, Victoria Beckham, and Eva Longoria are always flawless. They wear what looks good on them and they rock it.

If you were giving a piece of advice to a group of young women about to embark on their careers, what would it be?

I would say find a work-life balance. At the end of days, you will never regret that you didn’t stay later at work that one night but you will regret life experiences you missed for work. I’m not saying don’t work hard, because you have to and you will; but find a balance. And as the saying goes: when you are doing something you love, you won’t feel like it is work, it is a passion project that makes you money.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, Kate.

Check out the other interviews in the Leadership, Stylish series. And be sure to share it if you found it inspiring.