The eating habits of the female entrepreneur

Women tend to be more body conscious than men, right? So, how they look and how they maintain good physical shape can often preoccupy them. What they eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner meetings can have an effect – or wreak havoc – on their healthy eating regimen. Not, to mention where they should fit exercise into the equation.

Just one more thing to worry about in an often busy day and evening, particularly when caring for a family.

And, then there is the time of year that most of the US population goes on a diet.  January. Once a year, the month of January brings a whole set of challenges that many women – and men, for that matter  – come to dread.  After three months of celebrating all of the holidays (yes, I start with Halloween and go through New Year’s day), it’s time to implement the annual “get fit!” routine.

First we decide which of the diet programs du jour we will embark upon. Pre-packaged food plan? Juicing?  Protein drink plan? Vegan? Soup only?  We re-up our membership to health clubs, personal trainers, and boot camps. We assume a certain superiority of what healthy eating should be, and for the next two or three weeks, we might shed a few pounds.

And, then someone’s birthday pops up late in January and the office springs for a cake and ice cream party. Uh-oh. But, we remain strong and we are starting to see results. However, very likely, the cycle of business lunches and dinners begin again. One’s best navigational radar has to  kick in and the learned skill of maneuvering restaurant menus – including detailed instructions to the waiter (dressing on the side, no potatoes or pasta, extra veggies) begins to happen.

For me, the breaking point was always Super Bowl Sunday. I am finally fitting into my skinny jeans (we do know that is a euphemism for fitting into whatever is too tight on us, not necessarily jeans, right?) and I am faced with the Super Bowl diet: chicken wings, nachos, chili, pizza, and BEER!! Ugh! But, I’ve been so good for the past six weeks, so one bad day shouldn’t break the bank.

Oh, yes it does. I am here to tell you it’s a slippery slope. Super Bowl Sunday leads to joining the work crowd for an after work cocktail and snacks. Dinners with your significant other which always includes a bottle wine. But the slope continues downward when you add in all the business entertaining you have to do.

How this effects the female entrepreneur has to do with the moody highs and lows changes in one’s eating habits have on the staff.



When I went on my annual trek towards righteousness, I found my staff eyeing me with skepticism. Would I accomplish my goal? If I didn’t, what consequences would follow? Which plan is she following now? It was as exhausting for them as it was for me. Are you drinking  alcohol this time, or not? Did my work suffer? Probably, in some way. How could it not, when my focus is what am I putting in my mouth next?

Tips for making the transition from work office to home office

Like many, I worked at an office for many years. I never worked from home. I make the distinction of doing work AT home vs. working from home because I always had to show up at the office. Let’s be honest, I owned the company and could have worked anywhere I wanted, but I felt if I required others to show up, I had to as well.

I took a lot of pride in my office at work. I never worked in a cubicle, I always had a door, I even had a couch and guest chairs in my office. I loved it. But it came time to leave that job and office behind. I was ready.

I had a few months, so I identified one of the spare bedrooms in my house. What kind of desk would I have? What about room for all the stuff I was likely bringing to the new space? I began to plan – I wanted a “she cave.” A place that I would want to work and hang-out. Here is my advice on making it a great new office environment:

1) Make a plan  – what is the space going to look like? What kind of furniture do you want in there? What about entertainment components? What if  you don’t feel like working and just want to hang out? You will need stuff.

2) Identify what you could re-use and what to get rid of – There was very little I re-used.  I had to give away that infrequently used piece of exercise equipment and old window treatments. I called Goodwill to finally get rid of the ugly green (albeit light green) leather chair and ottoman. No judgment here – we bought it a very long time ago.

3) Space plan – I do not have a great sense of scale. I buy furniture that is too big or too small. I was determined to space plan. There are all sorts of grids on-line that you can download. Measure the space and then the furniture that you would like to see in it.

4) Download the Houzz app to your mobile devices – My sister turned me on to Houzz. What did people do before Houzz came along? I was able to see a range of different home offices and identify which I really liked. Then I knew what I wanted – from furniture to light fixtures to AV equipment.

5) Go shopping! OK, now you have a plan. In my case I knew a master furniture builder who I shared my vision with. He enhanced my design and after several weeks, I had the desk and storage space I needed.  I also shopped for somewhere to relax – I had enough room for a chair and half with an ottoman. Perfect for ROKU TV viewing and the occasional knitting break.

6) Live in it before making any modifications – when I left the other office, I brought with me a black leather side chair I loved. As soon as I brought it home, I knew it was wrong. It stayed with me in the home office for four months before I decided to give it to a family friend.

I am the type to constantly fidget with my things. Move things around, add something that may look good. But I just might have done something right with this. At least my two 4-legged employees agree!


Five Lessons learned from Atlanta’s (Co) Lab event 9/22-23

I attended a 2-day event in Atlanta called (Co) Lab. It was put on by Leadership Atlanta – – along with the city of Atlanta and sponsored by many of the top corporations here in town.  Here is how it is described on the (co)lab Facebook page:  (co)lab: A Collaborative Leadership Summit exploring how cities and regions solve problems through collaborative leadership.

I was one of many on the marketing committee. I am not a great committee member probably because I never made any decisions for my business by committee, so I don’t get how so many voices harmonize. But in the case of putting on this huge endeavor, there was great harmony.

The event exceeded my expectations. Speakers known throughout the world came to speak – among them Sir Ken Robinson and  Thomas Friedman. Other local, national and international experts spoke about Leadership, Education,  Innovation, Talent & Recruiting – all topics relevant for this vibrant city.

Since I am writing a book on female entrepreneurship – What’s the worst that could happen – I was sure to pay particular attention to comments made about women and entrepreneurship. I was happy to get validation for the topics I am writing about from many of the speakers.

1) Entrepreneurs are risk takers

2) Entrepreneurs successfully fail

3) Atlanta is a vibrant, exciting city to be an entrepreneur

4) Atlanta is a thriving technology center, thereby producing a lot of new entImageImageImagerepreneurs

5) Women still trail men among the entrepreneur ranks

It was also exciting to be part of the “conversation” during the event. Many of the 1,000+ attendees tweeted with the appropriate hashtag – #colab13.  They met  new and old friends, and took a lot of photos. There was an artist on each stage (three stages running simultaneous programs) capturing the discussion, and there were salons held on Sunday evening throughout the city to encourage attendees to continue the dialogue past the event. Also, on-line streaming for those unable to attend.

For more info on what went on during the (Co) Lab event, go to

Five business lessons I learned from knitting

I am relatively new to the craft of knitting. My mother taught me how to knit when I was ten and I didn’t pick it up again until recently. No, I am not an old lady with nothing to do. But I did discover that the art and process of making something puts me in a zen-like place and helps me relax. 

I was knitting a sweater when I hit a roadblock. I was knitting part of the sweater using the wrong needle size and the wrong stitch. As a newbie knitter, I don’t even realize I’m making this mistake until it’s too late. So, out came all the instructional guides, the iPad went to YouTube and I was able to overcome this hiccup.

As I was trying to solve the problem, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between knitting and the running of my advertising agency. Here are the five lessons I learned:

1) Knitting requires precision: I guess you can say that about my profession. Although I am not that precise at work. Perhaps knitting is trying to tell me something.

2) Knitting requires concentration: I ran the business for nearly 25 years and I was finding it more and more difficult to concentrate at work. Was I bored? Perhaps knitting was sharpening my ability to concentrate. Hmmm.

3) I have multiple knitting projects going on at one time: this is true at work, too. Maybe I like it when there is a lot of variety and I can be jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Or maybe I should go back to point 2 above and just accept the fact that I might have adult on-set ADHD.

4) Knitting confounds me a lot: work constantly confounds me.

5) Knitting requires math skills – I am marginally good at math. Okay, that’s a stretch – I suck at math. So, here again, knitting is my teacher. Maybe after all these decades I will conquer math and I can credit knitting.

How funny is that?Image