Wednesday, December 28, 2011
The panelists were Jennifer Armitstead, head (and founder) of the Salt Lake Women's Group, Maria Pribyl, President of the Silicon Valley Women and President-Elect of the Silicon Valley chapter of the BYU Management Society, and Pat Bluth, who organized a women's group within a corporation she worked at. The panel was moderated by Rixa Oman, Executive Director of the BYU Management Society.
You can listen to a recording of the entire panel here on the Women in Business Conference website. The purpose of this blog post is to share some of my notes from the panel and how I have put them into action in starting my local group.
I summarized my notes into this action plan:
1. Just do it. If you decide you want a women's group, start it!
2. Send out a survey to women you think might be interested (you could start with all the women in your local chapter of the BYU Management Society). Ask them what they want from a networking group. What are their needs? When is most convenient for them to meet? Would they be interested in serving on the board?
3. Establish a purpose - Why are you going to get together? You could develop a motto or mission for the group. (Silicon Valley Women has one: Silicon Valley Women provides opportunities for all women to develop LEADERSHIP capabilities by...fostering mentoring relationships, creating educational experiences, and increasing networking skills and contacts.)
4. Set up a board (so you don't have to do everything!)
5. Don't reinvent the wheel. Piggyback on the BYU Management Society as much as possible.
6. Create a social media network so relationships can be developed online. The panelists suggested Linked-In.
7. Write a regular column in your local BYU Management Society's newsletter about the group.
8. Reach out to women one-on-one. But don't limit membership to women! Include men who care about women's issues.
9. Be okay with simple. It is easy to make it too complicated. One group had everyone bring soup and talk.
10. Make sure it is very professional. Some people think women's groups are an extension of Relief Society, so keep it professional.
11. Keep it inexpensive.
I took these notes (and help from Jennifer and Maria, who graciously offered their mentorship in getting me started) and went to work. I first approached the President-elect of my local chapter and suggested we start a women's group. She said, "Great" and put me on the Executive Committee of the chapter with the task of starting the group. Step 1 accomplished!
I then sent out a survey to all the women in the chapter and other women I know personally to ask for their feedback. The survey was very helpful. I was picturing meetings over lunch, but the feedback I received was that the women prefer to meet in the evenings at an event with little or no cost, so I adjusted the plan.
We are naming our group after the precedent established by the Silicon Valley and Salt Lake groups. Our name is the Dallas - Fort Worth Women of the BYU Management Society. Our focus will be on networking and discussing professional skills topics unique to women.
Our first event will be on Tuesday, January 31 at 7 p.m. Jennifer Armitstead (also a career coach!) will speak to us about networking and then lead us in a speed networking activity.
We have three more events planned throughout the year and plan to stay connected via our Linked-In group.
I hope this group will be a strength to women in any life stage who are interested in "ethical and moral leadership" in the DFW area. And I hope that any of you who are reading this and thinking, "Hmmm. I'd like to be a part of a women in business group in my area" will take the initiative and start with step 1 - just do it!
(If you would like help or assistance in starting your own women's group, please leave a comment. We'll get you in contact with people who can help!)
Monday, November 21, 2011
I started thinking about the uncertainties of planning a career path particular to LDS women a few years ago when I noticed there were seldom many women in my business classes. Conversations with colleagues, students, and other women led me to conclude that many young LDS sisters continue to assume that traditional female careers are the most appropriate or "mom-friendly," and they make educational and career decisions based on that assumption, which is often false. I was shocked to hear about some of our married BYU-Idaho students dropping out of school because they "didn't need a degree anymore."
We all know women whose educational choices have either opened a range of possibilities for them or have limited their options. I think of a friend with a degree in information technology who married in her late 20s after working hard at her career during her single years. When she married, she had the option to transfer, then telecommute when her kids were born. Her education gave her flexibility at different stages of life. Now she is at home with her kids. On the other hand, I know a woman with a large family who did not have similar educational opportunities who went to work as a restaurant hostess when work got scarce for her husband.
I stared to lie awake at night worrying about our BYU-Idaho students faced with the difficulty of making important decisions that would either expand or limit their opportunities. Clearly some of the difficulty for them lies in addressing the uncertainty about when and how their training will be put to use in their future roles as wives and mothers. The difficulty and significance of the problem weighed on me until I decided to write something about the need to provide our students the type of guidance I wish I'd had as a student. When this article was published in our faculty journal, Perspective, I hoped it would ignite discussion and encourage better minds than mine to invent new ways to help our students. The article has had some circulation beyond Rexburg--in fact it connected me to some of the fabulous women behind the BYU Women in Business Conference. This conference is exactly the sort of exposure students need to examples of faithful LDS women applying their education in a variety of ways. There remains work to be done on this front--even at our Church schools we just don't do a good enough job of appropriately prioritizing, even sanctifying, motherhood while helping our female students prepare for a breadth of life possibilities.
Monday, November 14, 2011
In April 2011 General Conference, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve addressed the decision facing many mothers of whether to work outside the home. Having confronted that choice under various conditions in my own life, I appreciated his urging to stand confident in decisions made under the influence of counsel, study, and prayer, whether they result in taking time away from paid work or whether they lead us into the workplace full or part time.
One comment Elder Cook made struck me with particular force: “I would hope that Latter-day Saints would be at the forefront in creating an environment in the workplace that is more receptive and accommodating to both women and men in their responsibilities as parents.”
All members of the Church have an opportunity to stand up for a workplace that honors the role of parents and caregivers. Whether that means joining with others to lobby for more flexible work options or simply stating our needs when tensions between work and family mount, each of us can make a difference in building a family-friendly workplace.
As part of my efforts to help employers build family-supportive environments, I’m conducting a study looking at factors that influence whether mothers and prospective mothers take advantage of work/life supports provided by their employers, and with what effects. The results will contribute to a text aimed at organizations wanting to support mothers as part of a multicultural workforce.
If you’ve been in the workplace while pregnant, caring for a child under age 18, or while undergoing fertility treatments or seeking adoption, I hope you’ll take my online survey and share your insights on how employers can positively influence mothers’ experiences in the workplace. If this profile doesn’t fit you, please consider passing the invitation on to someone who might appreciate the chance to participate. The survey takes 15-20 minutes to complete, and all qualifying participants will be entered to win a $25 Amazon.com gift card.
Having worked with groups to build and implement work/life supports, I have seen firsthand the impact workplace flexibility, part-time work, and other offerings can have on workgroups and on individual employees and their families. Such progress requires vision, dedication, and hard work from not only company leaders, but also each individual within the organization. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll consider what your part might be in this important effort.
What are you or the people around you doing to create or support a family-friendly environment at work? How are those efforts received?
Friday, November 11, 2011
I went to BYU and majored in Recreation Education. While some were in their accounting classes, I was learning how to canoe. I’ve used my degree every day of my life since then. My husband and I got married after we both graduated. He went on to grad school, majoring in Organization Design, while I supported us financially. I regret that I didn’t enroll in the program and get my masters as well.
In 1985, we started our own company, Organization Planning and Design, Inc. I work part-time, using my recreation degree to create team building sessions and initiatives with some of our clients.
I also got certified in the Herrmann Brain Dominance Theory so I could do workshops helping organizations understand learning preferences and how to use that in communication, teaching, learning and problem solving effectively.
My husband and I were approached by the church Human Resource Department about using our skills to benefit the church. We suggested that we do it as a church service mission. We started in May 2007 and committed for 2 years. My husband committed half of his working time to give to the church. I did almost that much but not quite. He would go to Utah often, and I was able to do most of my work wherever I was at the time. He worked on redesigning some of the core services that the Temporal Affairs provides for the church, such as accounting, materials management, humanitarian, etc. I was involved in interviewing individuals who were applying for paying jobs at the church. It was a standardized telephone interview, so I could do it from anywhere. I also conducted Brain Dominance Workshops for organizations within Temporal Affairs. We traveled to Hawaii, England, Germany and Russia in our mission, but most of it was done in Utah. Our mission lasted for 2 years.
This is an example of my history in serving. I haven’t often gone out searching for service, but instead service opportunities have come to me.
One year at my children’s school, I went to the Room Mother’s meeting, thinking I would sign up for a small job for the year and discovered that I was the only mother that showed up, so I ended up heading all the Room Mothers.
Service seems to be in the DNA of women and we seem to be prone to serve. We relate more to the words, “compassionate service” than men do. When we serve we are doing that which comes natural for a lot of women. Even when service occurs that would not be described as “compassionate service” most people feel good when they serve. That is why I serve. It makes me feel good.
Once I was called to be the Stake Camp Director. I thought, now here is a chance to use my education to serve in the church. What I discovered is that although my recreation education certainly helped me in that calling, the most significant skill that was needed in that calling was the ability to deal with the adults in the stake. So, you may not think that you have the skills necessary for the service required, and may discover that a completely different set of skills are actually needed.
When asked what my advice would be to those who have young children in the home without much spare time, how they can serve I will tell you this. There is no greater service than what you can give to your family members. If that is all you have time to do, then you are providing the best service you can. Unfortunately, some individuals would say that caring and raising children is not as noble as working for pay. But if a person owned a daycare center or a laundromat or a chauffeur service for pay, they would be considered a professional. Just because we don’t get paid to do such things for our family, we might think that it is not important work. I would say to you, that it is a mistake to think that. It is the most important service you can ever do.
There are service opportunities right at your computer. The church has a site called Helping in the Vineyard. Quoting the website:
Helping in the Vineyard provides service opportunities that can be completed in minutes. Participants from around the world spend as much or as little time as they like completing the activities online. As a result of the thousands of acts of service, the Church is able to publish and share more resources worldwide. (http://vineyard.lds.org/).There is also the name extraction program [Family Search Indexing] that one can do on the computer in little bits of time.
And of course, if we are active members of the church, then we have a church calling that would be considered service. Whether it be a primary teacher, a position in Young Women or Relief Society or in the nursery, we are serving.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Although Becky Douglas came to our "Using Your Management Skills for Service" panel concerned that she hadn't brought management skills to her service but learned them on the job, I came with a different concern: My efforts at service had led directly to a paid job. As the founder of the Mormon Women Project (MWP), a digital library of interviews with LDS women from around the world at www.mormonwomen.com, I had been invited by the Church's advertising agency of choice, Bonneville Communications, to work on "I'm A Mormon" and other missionary-driven initiatives. Did the fact that I was now making money through my Church work discredit or devalue the service I had originally set out to offer through the MWP? Had I sold out for "filthy lucre"?
I answer a resounding no for several reasons. First, the MWP is still going strong and I am dedicated to continuing that effort in the face of professional constraints on my time. The goodness that results from those volunteer efforts has not diminished. In fact, it has only been strengthened by the support I receive from my professional workplace. Second, I believe it is a damaging fallacy that women in the Church cannot "serve" our communities through paid work. Although much of our people's heroic humanitarian efforts and local fellowshipping is done quietly and without reward, Mormon men with paid jobs are regularly recognized for the good examples they are in their work communities, the productivity or acclaim of their work, and the (mostly) positive attention they bring to us as a people. (Steve Young, Bill Marriott, or Brandon Flowers, anyone?) I am not comfortable with the assertion that men can be both paid workers and contributors to the betterment of our communities, while women have to choose between either work or service. My work at Bonneville, while paid, empowers me as a member missionary, offers me a productive outlet that makes use of my unique professional skills and allows me to be an ambassador for the church in a professional industry.
As I discussed in our panel, I had an ideal example growing up of a woman who's work seamlessly permeated the boundaries between profession and service. My mother sang for 18 years at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City as a professional opera singer. In this job, she served to pave the way for many future LDS opera singers who have sung from the Met stage since then, and, more importantly, she helped establish a culture of acceptance and recognition for LDS singers within her industry. In addition, she offered her skills liberally to the Church community, traveling the country as I was growing up and performing firesides, appearing in official Church videos, singing for prophets and apostles whenever asked. Although retired from professional singing for many years, my mother continues to stay busy performing in sacrament meetings, funerals, conferences, etc.
We are a volunteer church and that is one of our greatest strengths as an earthly organization. However, that doesn't have to mean that all goodness flows from efforts that are purely sacrificial. I know that the Lord prepared me for years and years before I got the call from Bonneville, building my skills, molding my heart, strengthening my family so that when the time came for me to work for the Church, I was ready.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Unlike the others on the panel, I didn't bring any management skills to my area of service; instead I had the reverse formula: I gained Management Skills as a result of my service.
As a mother of ten children, I didn't have time to pursue and develop business management skills. When I started Rising Star Outreach, it was by inviting three friends (all homemakers) to join me around my kitchen table. I also pulled in my husband's secretary--mostly, because she didn't dare say no!
I quickly found out that I needed quite an array of Management Skills in order to run an international charity. Some of those included
- Raising millions of dollars to support the cause. That involves speaking at engagements across the United States, and sometimes in foreign countries.
- Obtaining government and legal licensing both in America and in India for the charity and to run schools.
- Running an overseas operation with 55 native employees in India.
- Putting together and leading two Boards of Directors; one in India, one in America.
- Overseeing accounting and auditing teams in both America and in India. (When I started Rising Star, I didn't even know what a spreadsheet was!)
- Creating and sustaining four thousand micro-businesses through micro-finance.
- Overseeing teams of doctors & nurses running mobile medical units to provide needed medical care to over 50 leprosy colonies in three very diverse States in India. Providing for hospitalizations and surgeries.
- Running elementary and secondary boarding schools, providing teacher training, and curriculum for schools in India. Also providing training for housemothers.
- Producing newsletters and keeping Sponsors communicating with children across the world.
- Running a volunteer program involving 250 volunteers a year; including travel arrangements and programs on the ground. Providing opportunities for interns. Providing study abroad opportunities for colleges.
- Setting up social networking campaigns including FaceBook pages, Twitter accounts, and blogs. Also create and maintain an international data bank.
- Running publicity campaigns including production and marketing of documentaries; creating a website, creating pamphlets, giving interviews for newspapers, television, and radio around the world.
- Overseeing personnel matters in organizations across two continents.
- Running arts programs, including a dance program involving dancers from Broadway and the top dance conservatories in America, as well as the creation of choruses, and supporting art schools for the leprosy-affected.
The good news is that I've been able to slowly develop the needed skills. The skills that were beyond me, I was fortunate in that, in every instance, God provided someone who had the skills we needed. So I challenged the conference attendees not to hesitate to get involved in meeting needs out of fear that they didn't have the necessary management skills. At Rising Star Outreach, we frequently marvel that we seem to live the parable of the Fishes and the Loaves every day. We provide the two fishes and the five loaves of bread, then we marvel at how God makes it feed 5,000! God owns the universe, and my experience is that He brings it to those who lift their hands to help the disadvantaged and the the downtrodden. He knows how to do His work! We need to try to move ahead with faith in His promises.
Discussion ensued about the demands of home and family. A question was asked about a "time and a season for all things". I replied that I had spent 25 years raising my ten children before starting Rising Star Outreach. During that time there were many opportunities for service that helped prepare me for the work I'm doing today.
It seems that, as women, we almost all face times when we have to make decisions in balancing our homemaking duties and our outside interests. Like everyone else, I've also had these struggles. As a trained professional violinist, I earlier had to decide how best to pursue my career without compromising care of my children. At one point, with a number of children, it became an impossibility for me to continue performing at a professional level without seriously impacting their growth and my commitment to them. Each of us has to make these decisions based upon our own inspiration and personal revelation. What we don't have to do--thank goodness--is judge anyone else's decision!
I commented that I have to answer to a lot of people. I have to answer to my Boards of Directors, to my major donors, to government agencies, to sponsors, and to the parents of the children in our schools. However, the most serious accounting I will ever have to do will be to my Eternal Heavenly Father, for how I treated and trained His own children that He entrusted to me. I encouraged participants to follow the guidelines of the Proclamation on the Family. What a blessing it is to have prophets to guide and help us!
Monday, November 7, 2011
I used to be able to say "yes" to pretty much anyone who reached out to me for mentoring. As requests increase, however, and wonderfully so, I fear that I am going to overlook those with promise who don't quite know how to package themselves. Worse yet is the thought that I may inadvertently rebuff someone simply because I haven't managed my time well, neglecting to give them the courtesy of a proper no.
My quandary has led to a considered, lengthy discussion with Bob Moesta, a demand-side innovation expert, about how to decide whom to mentor.
Bob sees mentoring as the balance of two worlds that overlap for a period of time and a certain amount of effort.See the equation that Bob and Whitney created, and read more about this approach to mentoring here.
What are your thoughts about the mentoring equation? What have you found helps make a successful mentor/mentee relationship? What have good mentors done to help you? What, as a mentee, do you look for in a mentor?
Saturday, November 5, 2011
What quotes (religious or secular) have helped guide you as you seek to make decisions in your life?
The Family: A Proclamation to the World: "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation." (General Conference, 1995)
Sister Julie B. Beck, General Relief Society President: "A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things that her heart yearns to do. . . . With personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently. The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life (General Conference, April 2010).
President Gordon B. Hinckley, Former Prophet and President of the Church: "The Lord has placed upon you, as members of this Church, the obligation to study and to learn of things spiritual, yes, but of things temporal also. Acquire all of the education that you can, even if it means great sacrifice while you are young. You will bless the lives of your children. You will bless the Church" (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 172).
President Gordon B. Hinckley, Former Prophet and President of the Church: "Relief Society stands for education. It is the obligation of every woman of this Church to get all the education she can. It will enlarge her life and increase her opportunities. It will provide her with marketable skills in case she needs them (General Conference, October 2006)."
Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: "There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family. Many are able to be ‘full-time moms,’ at least during the most formative years of their children’s lives, and many others would like to be. Some may have to work part- or full-time; some may work at home; some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else. . . .
It is crucial to focus on our children for the short time we have them with us and to seek, with the help of the Lord, to teach them all we can before they leave our homes. This eternally important work falls to mothers and fathers as equal partners. I am grateful that today many fathers are more involved in the lives of their children. But I believe that the instincts and the intense nurturing involvement of mothers with their children will always be a major key to their well-being" (General Conference, April 2008).
Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: "Women are confronted with many options and need to prayerfully consider the choices they make and how those choices affect the family. . . . These are very emotional, personal decisions, but there are two principles that we should always keep in mind. First, no woman should ever feel the need to apologize or feel that her contribution is less significant because she is devoting her primary efforts to raising and nurturing children. Nothing could be more significant in our Father in Heaven’s plan. Second, we should all be careful not to be judgmental or assume that sisters are less valiant if the decision is made to work outside the home. . . . Husbands and wives should prayerfully counsel together, understanding they are accountable to God for their decisions. . . .
I would hope that Latter-day Saints would be at the forefront in creating an environment in the workplace that is more receptive and accommodating to both women and men in their responsibilities as parents" (General Conference, April 2011).
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: "Homemaking is not just baking bread or cleaning a house. Homemaking is to make the environment necessary to nurture our children toward eternal life, which is our responsibility as parents. And that homemaking is as much for fathers as it is for mothers" (Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, January 2008).
Sister Julie B. Beck, General Relief Society President: "One of the questions that I get frequently is, 'Is it okay if I work outside of my home or I don’t work outside of my home?'. . . That question isn’t always appropriate in all of the world’s countries. There are many, many places where if our women don’t work, they don’t eat. So of course they have to work. The question of whether or not to work is the wrong question. The question is, 'Am I aligned with the Lord’s vision of me and what He needs me to become, and the roles and responsibilities He gave me in heaven that are not negotiable? Am I aligned with that, or am I trying to escape my duties?'” (BYU Women’s Conference, 2011).
Friday, November 4, 2011
We invite you to consider submitting to the blog. Following are examples of the types of content we hope to have here:
- Thoughts about the 2011 BYU Women in Business Conference (What stood out to you? What are you going to do differently because of the conference? What do you hope to see in future events like this?)
- Personal life/career stories (you can submit your own, or write about someone who inspires you)
- Links to (and discussions about) articles on topics or questions relevant to LDS women in business
- Personal stories about how gospel principles have helped you navigate challenging situations, prioritize and make decisions, prepare for the future, and so forth
- Ideas for establishing and managing women's networking groups and/or success stories from your local women's group (e.g., Management Society groups)
- Service and action-oriented opportunities and ideas that might be of interest to LDS women in business (no commercial promotions, please)
We hope this can be a helpful resource to continue and expand the dialogue initiated at the Women in Business Conference, and to facilitate networking, all in the context of the particular needs, interests, and beliefs of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Note: This blog is not officially associated with Brigham Young University or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but we strive to keep our content consistent with the Church's teachings.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
We will be including some sessions reviews/overviews here in the coming weeks, along with some follow-up thoughts by a few panelists. Also, we hope to continue profiling women in the coming weeks and months; if you'd like to participate with a profile, let us know (leave a comment or send an email). For those who joined us over the weekend, thank you! We loved meeting you and learning from you. We hope you continue to build on the community that we created in Provo.
Friday, October 21, 2011
A star performer in one company will shine in another, right? Wrong....Except when the stars are women.
I find most men vs women debates counter-productive and typically patronizing. However, I do believe the typical man is different from the typical women - there are innate differences in behavior. This article explores how those innate differences allow "star" women to succeed from one job to the next.
Also from Harvard, two conferences that look interesting - and really pricey:
The Women's Leadership Forum, designed for women who hold senior leadership positions in public and private companies and nonprofit organizations around the world. While I cannot afford the price tag ($9,250), nor do I fit the description, I would love to attend. Maybe in 20 years.
The next conference, A New Path, initially seemed more up my alley - until I saw the price tag. It is designed for women who are seeking to return to the workforce, recharge their careers, or take their professional lives in a new direction. At $6,500, it is also out of my price range - but again, sounds really interesting.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
I loved growing up in a big family and always wanted my own. As a single law student, I looked forward to the day when I would hang my diplomas in my kitchen and my 12 children would know that all my years of schooling had been dedicated to preparing for my ultimate endeavor: raising them. Of course I was realistic enough to know that I might never get married, so I studied hard to prepare for the fabulous career I would have if I stayed single. When I grew up I would become either a brilliant supermom or a wildly successful career woman.
After finishing a journalism degree at BYU, I attended the Wake Forest University School of Law in North Carolina. I was a little nervous about moving to a place with only about 4 young single LDS men in the whole city; but though the odds weren't great, I figured I couldn't really date any less than I had a BYU. A few friends in my ward found husbands in fantastically miraculous ways, but I didn't. After school, I accepted a position with a law firm in Portland, Oregon practicing corporate finance law. Working long hours to make lots of money turned out not to be especially inspiring, though I enjoyed many aspects of my work--especially the people. I started looking for more gratifying work, and felt called, really, to teach at BYU-Idaho. The week before I interviewed at BYU-Idaho, I attended my family ward's Enrichment Meeting where a police officer (not LDS) was the presenter. About a month later he was baptized, another month and we were married, one more month and we moved to Idaho where I began my teaching career.
It was five years later that our son finally arrived on the scene. I went on maternity leave for a semester; then returned to work on a 75% contract. I would have quit my job to stay home if I could have. When my son was two, my husband quit his job to stay home with our son and work on some schooling. I went back to a 100% teaching contract. My son turned three about the same time our daughter was born nine months ago.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
I grew up in a home where both marriage/parenthood and education were highly valued; there was never any question that both would be a priority for me. I entered college ready to tackle both, however and whenever that unfolded. I couldn't have imagined how different my life would end up being from my original plans.
I have come to believe through my experiences "that God can make more out of [our] lives than [we] can," and that He can help us know how to balance all the demands on our lives, time, homes, and hearts.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Carla Meine is participating in the Women in Business Conference on the "Up & Running: Starting Your Own Business" panel. Here she shares some of her story. This is the first in a hopefully long series on career/life stories. We hope that by sharing these stories, we can showcase a wide array of life/career choices and provide ideas as each of us pursue our own journeys. If you would like to share your story, please leave on a comment on this post with your name & email address, or email Kristy at kristy.rae.williams (at) gmail (dot) com.
It’s an interesting experience looking back on your life at 53 and thinking, “ Is this how I thought my life would be at 20?” I’m not really sure where I thought I would be but I can definitely say I didn’t think I would take this path to get where I’m at today.
After I graduated from college I got a job managing a restaurant in my hometown in Bellevue, WA. I married my high school sweetheart and shortly after had my first son. Life was a struggle balancing work and home but it was good. In 1981 I took a job with a restaurant chain called Sea Galley and spent 7 years working my way up from Assistant Manager to District Manager. During this time I had two more sons. The winds of change came calling and I took a job as District Manager with Godfathers Pizza. Two years later I was offered a Regional Manager position that put me in charge of over 50 stores in 5 states. This was for Mrs. Fields Cookies. Debbie asked me if I would move to Utah and take over the position of Director of Operations for her new concept. We decided to make the move.
Moving to Utah was a turning point in my career and my relationship. The job was a lot of traveling and made it very difficult to manage my home life. My husband left me and I found myself a single mom with 3 boys ages 3-12. If I thought life was challenging before it was about to get very difficult. Fortunately for me I met David Neeleman on an airplane and he offered me a job as Director of Operations for Morris Air so I was able to stop traveling. It was a great job and gave me the flexibility I needed to work and be a single mom. Then Morris Air sold to Southwest Airlines and so I was left without a job unless I wanted to move to Texas.
I decided against another move and took my stock and sold it to start my own company. That’s how O’Currance Teleservices was started. My concept was to take what I had developed at Morris Air with home agents taking inbound calls and create a whole call center that did that. I started in 1994 and grew it to 600 agents before selling it to a private equity firm in 2007. During this time I met and married my husband David Meine. Together we have 7 children and 9 grand children so life is full.
We also started a family business together called IdealShape. We help people transform their mind and body by using brain training, nutrition and exercise to lose weight and achieve their ideal shape. It’s an internet business that is finally taking off by using social media and Google Ad words. Three of our children work in the business with us and that makes it especially rewarding.
I love my life now. I’m married for eternity to a wonderful man. I have a large and happy family around me. I have business relationships that I have built over many years that have become great friends. I have a thriving business where I love to go to work each day. Would I have liked it to be a different journey? Yes. Would I change where I’m at? No. I love this quote from Marjorie Pay Hinckley "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “ Wow what a ride!" I feel like I could say that already and hopefully I’m a long way from the end.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
To be put in the drawing, here's what you can do:
-One entry for leaving a comment on "BYU Management Society Women in Business Network" facebook page (if you aren't yet a member of the page, you can join)
-One entry for sharing the facebook post about this give-away
-One entry for leaving a comment on the facebook post about this give-away
-Three entries for getting someone to sign up for the conference (have them note: 'your name at this email address referred me' in the "special needs" text section at the bottom of the registration form)
-Five entries for finding a corporate sponsor (your summer internship could come in handy here!); email firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the company your referred and if they sign up, you'll get the 5 entries
-More ways to get an entry will be shared this weekend, so check back soon!
-Entries close at midnight on Wednesday, September 28th (so only efforts accomplished by that time will count towards entries); Winner announced on Thursday, September 29th (so everyone will still have a chance to register by the early-bird deadline on October 1st)
-Please share this with any students who may be interested in attending (not restricted to BYU students)