I’m back! Today marks my return to Facebook activity and boy do I have a lot of insight and inspiration. I took a few months off of Facebook to decompress and really get clarity about what boundaries and observations I needed to make here. I’ll blog about it more during the upcoming weeks but here’s a quick look at the highlights:

1) I found that broadcast news, especially BAD news, spread like wildfires here on Facebook and it wasn’t good for my spirit, which is typically one of optimism and nurturing.

2) I found that family members actually CALLED me to see what I was up to! (surprise)

3) I DIDN’T find out about a very dear friend dying… because I wasn’t online to “see” it. I found out MONTHS LATER because I was having lunch with a mutual friend. Heartbreaking, but heartwarming.

4) I grew my business to a higher level, in both income and insight. Weaknesses were deeply exposed and strengths were confirmed. As I continue to repair and strengthen the weaknesses, I am comforted to no longer feel controlled or victimized by them.

5) I released the lure to “be out there” just for the sake of it. And the fear of “being forgotten” by being focused. You know how it is, you have a lot of friends and family posting on Facebook and you know their “true life” is nothing like their “Facebook life” and I worked hard to never become one of those people. Who felt the need to “put on the mask” for the sake of Facebook. So instead, I chose to be silent. Silence is golden.

6) I read more books, met new people, had more down time and had less stress.

7) I was able to focus on relationships, and contribute positive presence to the friend and family situations around me that were breaking, falling apart and spiraling out of control. It was torture to handle and survive, but I did, and they did, and now we all move into winter, and the new year, with a spirit of celebration and victory.

I think I surely missed out on a lot by not being on Facebook, but I gained some perspective as well. I came to understand how I want to use Facebook, and how I want to control it instead of letting it control me. That was groundbreaking.

As someone who is paid to teach and implement marketing, brand identity and positioning, I was taking a big risk. And it paid off. Stay tuned in the coming days as I get gutsy and real honest with my branding decisions. You’ll learn a lot and it will save you time, make you money and keep you in a point of passion and promise.

Ready? Tell me what insights or specific decisions you want me to share and I’ll be sure to address them.

Until tomorrow,


OK, I’m so excited. I didn’t want to leave you hanging about my dilemma about my 5-year vision planning and I have an update!

I had a call with Angela Jia Kim of Savor the Success and the Manifest Method class that I’ve been taking and she broke me wide open. Where do I even begin?

From the beginning, of course.

Flag of Brazil

Back in the nineties (yeah, I’m going that far back) I fell in love with a brazilian. Actually, he was American Brazilian, but in any case, that love led me to dive deep into the culture and language of Brazil.

I took private lessons to learn the language and then immersed myself in group classes and study abroad. I went to stay with families in Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, and Salvador Da Bahia to refine my understanding of the language and put it in context.

Rio and Belo were great but in Bahia I fell in love even deeper – with the country, not the guy that sparked it all. I almost died (literally, more on that another time) but I came out of that country with a vow that my life would one day be fully intertwined there.

Silly me, I made statements like “One day I will retire here” and “I have a Brazilian heart” but neither of those statements moved me closer to my goal. After a few years distractions got in the way and I found myself further and further away from the goal. I used to visit Brazil often, and I honestly haven’t been back in about a decade.


As I spoke with Angela about my dilemma in mapping out my 4 and 5 year goals she asked me one poignant question “What do you ideally want your life to look like in 5 years time” and my answer was this:

I’d like to to be living and working from Brazil at least 3 months out of the year. I’d like 3 corporate clients there, and a pied-a-terre in Chicago or Atlanta.

Angela said “Well, what needs to happen right before that… and right before that… and right before that?”

And I broke.

I think I scared her because the tears were instant and unstoppable. This passion, this longing, in Portuguese they call it saudade, that I had, was revived and I could now see with total clarity what I want my life to look like in a few years.

And boy is it exciting. And you know I think excitement drives everything. I’ve mapped out some very solid first steps to making it happen, and am even planning a trip to Brazil THIS YEAR, to re-immerse myself and ignite the vision with strength.

Yippee! Happy Dance! It’s all so very wonderful.

What about you? What plans do you have? What thoughts circle your mind? I’d love to get some insight on your journey as well.

Ate logo,


5 Year CalendarI’m currently in the midst of a summer program over at Savor The Success and for the past couple of weeks we’ve been working on our 5 year business goals using Angela’s Manifest Method.


It’s amazing how you can have such big goals, dreams and aspirations in your head but when it’s time to put pen to paper you draw a blank. I have lofty goals. I want to transform the industry as we know it, give women in branding a voice and catapult our influence to the top of all industries.

Yet, breaking that down in yearly, then monthly, then weekly goals is a challenge. How do I start? What’s realistic? What matters?

How do I map out the goals and account for the monkey wrenches that get thrown into life all the time?

So far I have changed, or should I say, refined my goals twice. I’m getting focused and starting to feel what truly matters to me. This year my main goals is to complete my products and my book.

Next year I’ll move on to launch a community of women empowered to instigate change in the industry (Women in Branding) and by year three I want to be licensing and training the Brand Excitement methodology so that other women in the field can launch with success.

Beyond that… I just don’t know. I know I want to one day host a really large conference. 200 women in attendance. But I’m foggy as to when I want that to happen (or to be quite honest with myself, when I think it can happen).

I also want to pay off my house, have a second home in Brazil and set up my business so that a few months out of each year I’m in Brazil full time.

But where does it fit in? This business planning crap is hard! What say you? What goals do you have year-to-year in your 5 year trajectory?

I’d love a bit of help.


Just on the heels of my last post about networking I have to hop on here and tell you about one of the worse networking experiences I’ve had. Last night I attended my monthly Savor The Success networking mastermind. It is something I look forward to every month. Full of quality women with amazing character and good insight. Angela Jia Kim’s motto is “give, give, get” and she pours so much into this organization that I can’t imagine how she recovers each month.

Last night there was a panel of 3 social media experts discussing LinkedIn and Pinterest. What was great about this panel is that they gave such amazing insight into these two platforms. We all know a lot already about Facebook and Twitter… but not so much so about LinkedIn and Pinterest. The panel was amazing. Fortunately for me, I was in the third row, so I was near the action.

Unfortunately for me, there were two ladies in the row right in front of me that were whispering the ENTIRE time. They were so distracting to the ladies in my row. The speakers didn’t have microphones, the room was big, so we as attendees were already focusing majorly to make sure we didn’t miss even one golden nugget shared from the stage.

But these LADIES!!! It was so awful to be behind them.  At one point I leaned over and told them that their chatter was very disruptive to the rest of us. Etiquette when you’re out and about is such a reflection on your brand values. They must know better? AND… get this, one of the women actually works in branding! Just last week I even passed her information over to a friend needing her services. I’m trying not to judge and regret that decision but the constant chatter of two women in a silent environment where even the moderator had to call them out and request that they keep the chatter down has me rethinking things.

When you’re out networking please save the chatter for the mixer and as much as you love or loathe what’s being shared from the stage please remember that whispering and chatting is not only rude and unprofessional, but it just might turn some future business away from your doors.

Have you ever had a nightmare networking experience? What happened? How did you handle it? Share in the comments below:


I like to blog everyday, but at the moment I am in Dallas, Texas at a conference and I’ve been here all day. I didn’t want to throw something generic up here just to post early or “save face” so I decided to blog today about deep personal thoughts that surround my life and business.  I feel blessed in so many ways when it comes to my business and traveling is one of them.

You see… being raised in poverty and in the projects, I never thought I’d be one of the lucky “few” to ever take a ride on a plane. I thought riding in a plane was for rich people. I even still remember the first time I ever went to an airport. I was a teenager, about 16 years old, and I took a ride out to O’Hare airport with my best friend Cassandra. Back then you didn’t need a ticket to go to the gate, you didn’t need luggage or clearance… there was no high-tech security. You just went.

I sat with Cassandra and I we watched people from all over the world taking off and landing. I thought… “wow, if I can go on a plane ride just once in my life how amazing would that be?” Little did I know it would one way be a common part of my life. The first time I rode on a plane was when my VERY VERY first business attempt had failed in California. I was burned out trying to sell encyclopedias door-to-door and ready to pack it in. My aunt Gale sent me a one way ticket from LAX to Chicago and I was so excited I hung out in that airport all day. I think I was there for about 8 hours. I had to go to airport police to get my luggage back because I left it on a chair and went perusing around the airport on an adventure! What a day!

Just a few years later, after college, I was offered a modeling gig that had me on a plane several times a week for months. It was amazing… and I was bit by the travel bug. As glamorous or chaotic as traveling can be, depending on the day you travel, it is still one of the most treasured things I do. I have met people who have never been on a plane, and others who never want to. For those that don’t want to I wish I could share with them what it feels like to have the clouds beneath your feet. It makes you feel like you can do anything you put your mind to and really gives you insight and perspective that you can’t get in any other way.

If you’ve never been on a plane before and you get a chance to travel by flying but are afraid I urge you to fight your fear and do it anyway. It truly is such a privilege. If you’re on flights all the time, like I am… I want you to take it all in the next time you do. Look at the clouds beneath your feet. Look at how trees look like blades of grass. Consider the millions of people who have not, and will not, ever have that experience.

When was the first time you flew? What was your adventure?

Lately I’ve been a little frustrated with the way I see some entrepreneurs marketing their business. In particular, I see a growing trend by both service and product based businesses where they use the spirit of “competition” to develop group programs and events. Now, let me start here by saying I do think that a healthy challenge can be a good thing… when used and designed in the right way. I’ve won awards. I had fun, I invested. You win some, you lose more. I know a lot of people are fueled by the accountability that having someone beside them, running in the same race, can do. But what I’m seeing in the marketplace is NOT in that camaraderie, and it makes me wanna puke.

I’ve seen this trend building in two particular industries… weight loss and coaching. One meal replacement company on the scene has a 90-day weight loss challenge and the winner gets a vacation to an exotic place (or a car, or money, they have so many varieties I can’t keep up). The second trend where I’ve seen is with coaches… where to fill a “group” program they call it a challenge or competition, and the winner gets a full year of group coaching. I think one coach must have done it successfully and now every copycat out there is hopping on the bandwagon.

What bothers me about this trend is not the competition itself, but how it’s used as a disguise. I know these business models and what I’ve observed is that they’re using the same old program, seeing people get the same results, and calling it a challenge so that they can build buzz and get fast action. I suppose there’s no crime in that, but I’ve never been a fan of shady marketing. For every contest I’ve ever entered I know up front exactly what is required of me to win the darn thing. Isn’t that what a true competition really is?

The challenges that I’ve been seeing in the marketplace are not transparent. If you fall for it, you end up joining and running the race without knowing exactly how the winner is going to be determined. REALLY!!?? Who does that? When a runner enters the New York City marathon they know exactly where they need to run, and they know how fast they need to go to be a contender. Same for any other sport. It’s even the same for movie releases, but I digress.

I get phone calls from people who have fallen for these shady marketing tactics, asking advice about what to do in the aftermath of hopping on the bandwagon and my usual response is: “Consider it a lesson learned.”

You work hard for your money, don’t you? Be careful how you invest it, and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before you do. True competition doesn’t leave you with so much mystery. It encourages you, and even when you lose, you feel like a winner!

Well, the year is done. As I look back on 2012 I look back to a year filled with fun, growth, opportunity and connection. I think I’ve traveled more this year than I have since the years when I used to model. The year found me on a plane practically every month, beginning with my trip to Chicago in January for my mother’s 80th Birthday. After that I went through a series of fun and not-so-fun moments, such as when I missed my *next* flight to Chicago that following week for Fabienne Fredrickson’s tour stop.

I was introduced to a new mentor this year, Dani Johnson, and started membership with two women’s organizations: Savor The Success and Ladies Who Launch.

Other highlights of the year were as follows:

  • Being a 2012 Count Me In/Make Mine a Million $ Business Awardee and being filmed by American Express for the victory!
  • Launching my first series of self-hosted events “Building Brand Exposure
  • Being selected as a judge for Rising Tide Capital’s Start Something Challenge
  • Getting up close and personal and selected to share a moment on the stage with Kendall Summerhawk in Tucson, AZ, Max Simon in San Diego, CA and Dani Johnson in St. Louis, MO!
  • Spending a full week working just minutes away from the beach in Hermosa Beach, CA with my friend Helen Hodgson of Serve The Goddess… Don’t we all start a business so that we can have that flexibility?
  • Expanding my New Jersey office space – I moved across the hall into a space 4-5 times larger and hired my first in-person assistant Miriam 🙂
  • Paying off all my credit card debt – The icing on the cake!

I’ve already started to make BIG plans for 2013 and I’m excited. When I look at what I was able to accomplish in 2012 I am reminded of something my mother has been telling my my entire life “You can do anything you put your mind to!”

What victories, either personal or professional, are you most proud of in 2012?

This weekend it’s a family affair. My cousin Ralphael is visiting with me from Chicago for his 28th birthday. Seeing as there’s such an age gap between us I had no idea how I was going to entertain him but the weekend has worked out pretty well.

Like me, he’s very independent and since he’s in his 20’s he considers me a bit of an old geezer, so I had nothing more to do than to point him in the right direction along the way. I think he’s had fun so far (he leaves later today) so since he’s still in bed I’m off to teach the 4 and 5 years old at my church 🙂

I’ve got a good groove going for getting publicity and when opportunities knock, I’m always ready. So, in today’s I’m showing you how to get media ready by outlining the elements you need to have for your electronic press kit. The media doesn’t expect you to scramble for these things after they make a request, they expect them to be ready at your fingertips. Build yours today and be prepared for the opportunity tomorrow.

Also, my Brand Booster reveals the source of my custom name tags that get so much attention. Enjoy!

Good Morning!

Today we’ve sprung forward. I think more than me my dog Samantha is excited about the weather staying consistently warm here. I took advantage yesterday by going to brunch (you know where, at Le Pain Quotidien) with my friend Julye and having some girl time.

This week I also had another speaking engagement. I spoke to some local entrepreneurs about Words That Sell for Rising Tide Capital, one of my favorite organizations here in my community (second only to my church).

One of the keys to their event success is their ability to deliver an exciting Brand Experience over and over again! Imagine if you could identify and create an inviting an unmatched experience for your clients at each and every touchpoint? Repeat business would be delightful and referrals would go through the roof. It’s one of the things that I discuss in my Bankable Branding Bootcamp, and also the topic of today’s article.

Also, though it’s definitely a bit techie, today’s brand booster helps you do an inventory of your website so that you can smartly examine which sections of your content need to be updated.

Have a great week and keep springing forward!

Good Morning!

I am happy to report that I survived National Entrepreneurship week (and it wasn’t easy). I knew going into it that I might be spreading myself this but boy-oh-boy, was it a whirlwind. The great thing is, it was worth every minute and expense. The week was “slightly” extended with me going to Chicago for a one-day event hosted by my former business coach Fabienne Fredrickson. Being from Chicago I felt that I MUST attend her event, especially because I also have many friends and colleagues in Chicago that I needed to move from “online” friends to “in real life” friends. It was great.

If you saw my Facebook page you read that I missed my flight to Chicago and in order to still make it there in time for the event had to book another flight, on another airline, on the spot. I wavered with this decision for about 10 minutes and then decided what I would miss out on would far outweigh the last-minute ticket, so I did it. From that moment, adrenaline carried me through. Have you ever had a day like that?

Now that I’ve regained my sanity I’m back to working on a few brands and for two of them I’m at my favorite part – the logo creation. You simply MUST know the type of logo you want going into it or your vision simply won’t be realized. I give you insight into that process below so that you can expand or tweak your brand with best practices in mind.

Until next week.

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