occupation: executive presentation coach and professional speaker
found at: Harriet Beecher Stowe Center (Hartford)
You're known as America's Marketing Motivator and wrote Networking Ahead for Business. What's the secret to a memorable introduction?
Of all the things you can do and say to make yourself memorable during an initial networking introduction, I believe it is your E-factor that matters most. That is, your energy and engagement level. It starts with your positive body language, including a professional handshake, your eye contact, posture, facial expression, etc. The next thing you need to concentrate on is your R-factor. That is, the relevance of your conversation to the other person. What do you have in common and are you genuinely interested in learning about them? These are just some of the secrets of really connecting with other people.
What is the greatest frustration when trying to help motivate someone?
All talk, no action. Any type of change requires you to not only think about it and discuss it, but to take concrete action steps towards achieving that desired goal. Life is short, let’s get on with making the most of it!
Best and worst thing about being a motivational speaker?
I truly love speaking to audiences large and small. The best part is connecting with people and helping them to create positive changes in their business and life through ideas and resources that I can share with them. The worst part is convincing people that they need a decent budget for the speaker. Sometimes meeting planners put more value into the food and venue than they do the speakers and content. That’s not why I go to conferences. I go to learn and be inspired — that has value to me!
What is the one thing that has defined your life so far?
Becoming a Soroptimist and engaging myself in various nonprofit organizations that help women and girls like the YWCA Hartford Region. Being involved with these groups has shown me the incredible level of influence that I can have in the world. Leveraging my time, talent, treasury and network to help others in need is life-altering in a very positive way.
What motivates you through the exceedingly difficult process of undergoing chemotherapy treatment for fallopian tube cancer?
I am blessed with a huge network of supportive family, friends and business associates. They have helped me continue with a positive attitude and actions in battling this cancer. I have met so many wonderful new people in this journey. It is indeed a whole new network for me.
You recently hosted a Hair Raiser event to support Shining Hope for Communities. What was the impetus behind the Hair Raiser and what does Shining Hope for Communities do?
When my doctor told me that 100 percent of patients lose their hair with this kind of chemotherapy treatment, I knew it would be best to shave my head before it all came falling out. A few of my Soroptimist sisters offered to shave their heads as an act of solidarity. We came up with the idea to hold a Hair Raiser to support girls’ education in Africa. A total of 10 people shaved their heads and we raised $3,000 for The Kibera School for Girls. The resulting video continues to inspire me whenever I feel sorry for my bald-headed self.
Moment you realized you were an adult?
When I graduated from college and moved to San Francisco to start my career in marketing. There’s something about having to pay for your own rent, groceries, gas and entertainment that makes you grow up really quickly.
Who do you most admire and look up to in your life?
I admire so many people, but the one that is inspiring me of late is my aunt Hermine Fuerst. She just finished a manuscript of her life in the ’50s/’60s/’70s, and asked for my help to review it and get it published. I had no idea what an incredible life she had led and that she continues to lead.
What is something you have learned this past week?
I had the pleasure of hearing Olympic figure-skater Scott Hamilton speak at a National Cancer Survivor Celebration event at Manchester Memorial Hospital. He reminded me of the importance of getting up when you fall down. His motto is, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” I agree with him. Attitude is everything.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I have a dream of going to Greece for my 50th birthday. The vision of those white-washed buildings, crystal blue water, historic ruins, not to mention the authentic Greek salad and red wine, fills my heart with peace and tranquility. Time to activate that vision!