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Nikki’s Take on The Value of Women Networking| Part One

Dream Girl Movement, Destined Image and TFHApparel.com have taken on the challenge to creating posts every week dedicated to women, networking and entrepreneurship. This week’s theme is The Value of Women Networking. What do you think about the idea of networking? What is the value of women networking?

I’ve attended several conferences, some geared towards women and business and others centered on business and personal development. I’m always most fascinated with women who have found a way to manage being executives, wives, and mothers. Someone once tried to convince me that I could NOT have it all. That I would either sacrifice for a wonderful marriage or career.

Yet I keep meeting women who are conquering it all, who have it all. They are playing the roles of an executive, a wife, a mother, daughter, sister, confidant, friend … and so forth. I believe God designed us—women–to be great task managers, naturally, but we are reaching new horizons each day. As Devine Bowers, CEO/Founder of Destined Image, has often shared with me, “Women were created to be helpers to our husbands, but not limited to this task.” I love that!! Devine often SHARES the dynamics of being a wife in oppose to her other roles as a project manager (at one of the largest banks in our country) and a mommy to two young children. She explains further that “it is about knowing what God wants you to do in each role … that is how you find direction.” Even further, I believe that’s how you find defense against distractions, focus, and discipline. Ultimately, with our conversations, I’m finding out that this is the key to earning/having it all—getting in touch with the Spirit and letting it guide you. As you can see, I found these things through our conversations, through building a rapport with Devine that allowed for genuine SHARING.

I’ve taken Devine’s advice. I’m marching onward to having it all as I type this. She inspires me daily with her tenacity and commitment to all that she does. But if it wasn’t for our network, our relationship with one another, our boldness to speak freely with one another about life, entrepreneurship and our personal relationships, we wouldn’t be able to FUEL each other with INSPIRATION and or EMPOWER one another. All of this comes with SHARING(networking), and that’s what networking should mainly be about. Not one trying to create a leveraging situation or superficially showing interest for personal gain. It shouldn’t be about pretentiousness or shallowness when we—women–get together to SHARE in! It should be about SHARING genuine stories of inspiration, resources to pull yet one more person along to their next level of greatness, and connecting with people who speak to our personal/professional journey. That’s where the wealth lies.

“Wealth is generated with the many uncomfortable conversations one is willing to have.” -Tim Ferris

Furthermore, if you haven’t realized it, networking is SHARING, EMPOWERING, and CONNECTING that leads to INSPIRATION, RESOURCES, and SUCCESS. Without sharing, how can we have it all anyway? Think about that.

With that being said, I now invite you to have a conversation with me about the value of women networking. I’m also extending the invitation for you to connect with myself, owner of TFHApparel.com; Devine Bowers, owner/founder of Destined Image; Rachel D, owner of Dream Girl Movement, and other entrepreneurs with whom you may share, empower, and connect. Read more about this June 29th event here: Dessertsandskirts.eventbrite.com.

Thanks for reading.

–NP

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I’ll Triple Your … But First THIS

I believe when two or more parties come to the table with requests, demands, and skills, that all parties should be willing to contribute time, money and good effort to produce and bring to life a product. I don’t mean to treat all things as business deals, but then again “I do.”

“I do.” That’s the phrase that pays. It speaks commitment and dedication, to a certain extent, depending how much and how often your ass really does something that contributes to an end goal. And be sure to really do something or be left at the table … Sitting alone … With your handful of requests and demands.

When people say “I do” they are voicing their dedication and are saying that they are in ready position. They’re ready to use their skills that they already possess, willing to exercise brain power for critical thinking for challenges that may arise, open to growth, and have all the time and energy necessary to bring about an end goal. With what’s required, no frivolous deals conclude here! No trifles. No insignificant figures conclude here.

Don’t come to my table with your demands unless you’re willing to say “I do” and live up to that commitment. Show me an investment, and I’ll triple it!

“I don’t and won’t.”

Help Me Help You ‘Meet the Task’

Last week, at the Black Enterprise Minority Supplier Forum, we talked about “meeting the task.”

“Most black women have been taught to ‘meet the task’ which makes us more technically equipped,” said Bohannon.

This week I encountered some folk who haven’t been meeting the task, personally and or professionally. And this really gets my blood boiling because I’d never let myself get away with not meeting the task.

Of all the jobs I’ve ever had, I took my work seriously. If I needed to stay an extra hour or three to meet a deadline, I did that. I performed thorough research about things I had no idea about when I was a technical writer. Like the time I wrote Standard Operating Procedure Manuals for mechanics who worked on changing assembly lines of equipment in order to bake/produce thousands of Sandies in a hour! Do you know how important it is to meet the task there? Some of these mechanics had no education, so I had to write in a way that assured they’d meet their task. Because if they did not, I did not.

Or the time I had to prelim and close Multi-million dollar magazines that had to balance to the hundredth decimal perfectly, every time, or I’d have pompous managers and over-paid account executives breathing down my neck. I did that for almost three years. Do you understand how incredibly important it is to meet the task there?

I guess my struggle is understanding how to deal with people when they don’t meet the task with me. That is my biggest struggle. Sometimes I’m passive aggressive; I go behind their backs and just fix it. I figure a conversation at a later date is in order … Or NOT. Sometimes, I take the assertive approach–giving recommendations, suggestions, meanwhile speedily assessing the situation for best optimization. And sometimes, I’m aggressive, I won’t talk to you for weeks. The latter is the easiest. No confrontation, no drama.

When I was a student and now as a professional, I’ve always pushed myself to do my best. And by best, I mean whatever the job/task called for … And I know my honor system is a bit abnormal, that pushing myself as I do may not be as common or necessary for some.

Im writing this because I’ve written people off who don’t ‘meet the task.’ Issues of guilt! And I’d much rather, at this point, help them ‘meet the task’ and not do the work for them. This takes craft, huh? Let me know what you think. Help a sista out with suggestions, recommendations, books, and whatever else you’ve got.

And in case you missed it. See my Black Enterprise post.

“Do You Know Your Line?”– Recap from Black Enterprise/Walmart Minority Supplier Forum

Yesterday, Black Enterprise and Wal-mart teamed up for a Minority Supplier Forum that was geared toward women. It was held at Hilton Center City.

Can I just say it was fascinating? I was impressed by how many enterprising black women and men filled the room, serious individuals who were looking to take their business to the next level.

Panelists included a very candid and “down-to-earth” Valerie Daniels-Carter, President & CEO, V&J Holding Co.; Lisa Price, Founder & President, Carol’s Daughter; Brenda Anderson, President and CEO, Senior Organizational Consultant, The Galilee Agency Group, Inc and many others.

Mrs. Daniels-Carter showed to be the crowd’s favorite as she “preached” about her own faith and how being true to that faith led her to millions. Her company, V&J Holdings, is the largest African-American operator of Burger King and Pizza Hut with over 100 restaurants to date. She has also joined the board of directors for the Green Bay Packers and is a well-known philanthropist/humanitarian.With much wit and good timing, Valerie plugged her book–Your Business is His Business which focuses on best practices for Christian entrepreneurs.

Speaking of faith, Veronica Bohannon, asked us a serious question to survey the room: “Do you have a line?” Very few women held their hands up. I’m not sure if it was because they weren’t clear on the question or if they had not clearly defined their line. The line she referred to can be defined as a point of compromise for yourself and your business. For instance, Bohannon asked, “if there was a business meeting set at a strip club, would you go in or not?” Would it be, “no this compromises my personal and business values” or would you decide to go in and make the deal? Something to think about. Isn’t it?

“Well do you know your line?”

In sum, we explored lines of faith, value, and self worth. We discussed the pertinence of building strong relationships, where trading services can leverage net worth and network. Let’s not forget the importance financial backing and government grants; we discussed that too. It’s in that conversation that I learned about Mechanics & Farmers Bank, a black-owned bank located in Durham. I had no idea … well I better brush up on my NC history.

Moreover, the forum was well-organized and purposeful. I walked away more motivated and empowered. So “thank you” Black Enterprise and Wal-mart for putting such a fine forum together! Kudos to all the women in the room for desiring to take the next steps in owning and operating businesses all over the world.

Lastly, if you’re interested in viewing pictures and or comments, find #besuppdiv on Twitter

I enjoyed myself, and I look forward to attending more Black Enterprise forums and events.

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20120825-095754.jpg Earl Butch Graves, CEO of Black Enterprise

20120825-095818.jpg find my instagram: Nikkipanache.

Business is Business–Is it or Isn’t It?

Being a young entrepreneur and young professional, I find it extremely critical to make the right connections in whatever you’re doing-fashion, business, entertainment, etc. And the most annoying thing that I’ve found are people who say they can do this and that and cannot produce. In fact they’ve never produced.

The positive: keep plugging. It seems that the connections that I’ve already made earlier on in my career are the ones that count in my area and other connections I need to make extend beyond my homefront. Therefore, I gravitate towards social networking and attract other young entrepreneurs who are really making headway in their cities and across the globe.

Advice for other young entrepreneurs: “Quickly, in the first 5 minutes, assess and decide if the person you’re meeting is worth your business.”

Socializing is fun, but making money is the best fun any businessman/woman can have.

We can chat later, but I want to get paid.

That’s the Nikki Panache way!

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