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When a woman decides it’s time to leave the corporate world and head off for entrepreneurial pursuits, it can be an exciting time in her life. She gets visions of freedom and no boss or time clock in her head. She imagines what it will be like when she gets her first big six figure order. She even thinks about the day when her business is given an award for being outstanding in her industry. The first couple or months or even years are filled with wearing the many hats of the business and facing some hard realities. Then she hits that wall. You know that wall. Where you feel like a tons of pressure is on your shoulders. You’re doing the accounting, the marketing, the networking, the client development, the sales calls, the HR, and every other hat that comes along with running a business. And you stall out. There’s a disconnect between where you want your business to be and where it is at this moment.

Well, shortly after Thanksgiving 2009, 8 phenomenal women took a chance on me, their businesses and themselves and enrolled in the Next Level Business Coaching Program. Each had different concerns about their businesses and were at different points, but the common trait they had was that they were stalled. Between the intensive weekly one on one coaching sessions, monthly group calls, special guest education calls, etc, the ladies initially didn’t know what to expect. But as we got a rhythym going, each started experiencing phenomenal breakthroughs with their businesses. I am so very proud of the success they’ve all achieved and my only regret is that I don’t get to work with them longer. I made a promise to them at the beginning of the program that we would take this journey together and that I would be brutally honest. And I was. While it is a business program, we worked on strengthening their confidence and the way they looked at their businesses.

If you listened to my radio show this past Friday, Views From the Top, I had the ladies on the show (yes all 8 of them) to talk about their experiences in the program. They shared their initial fears, obstacles they had to overcome and the milestones their businesses (and they) have reached. Below is a brief introduction to the ladies and what they had to say:

Mel DePaoli is the president of Omicle, a change management company and author of CONTRACTORS: Doing it Right Not Just Getting it Done. She works with companies on the various aspects of how the core of their business directly affects the perception of their brand, which in turn affects their bottom line.

“Adrienne was a great resource for finding new technologies to help me grow my business. She also is very successful at making you step outside of yourself so you can look at how to approach situations in new ways.”

Quantane Higganbotham is the owner of Virtual Possibilities, LLC. With over 10 years of administrative, customer service, sales and legal experience, Virtual Possibilities, LLC provides administrative support solutions to business owners.  She supports business owners who are looking for me to partner and grow with their business.

“The Next Level Coaching Program has challenged me to take my business to the next level. I appreciate Adrienne for taking the time to direct me and challenge me to not only look at what my competitors are doing, but also what they are not doing. You have no idea how much you have helped me. You have carved years off the development time in relation to my concept. She is awesome. The coaching program is not mediocre. If you are not ready to take your business to higher heights, this program is not for you.”

MaryBeth Reeves is a busy mother of quadruplet 3 year old daughters and the Chief Executive Mamma of Scrapbook Mamma, a custom photo book company. When she found herself without a job a the end of 2008 she took the entrepreneurial plunge.  Scrapbook Mamma makes custom photo books for those who want to do something wonderful with their pictures, but don’t have the time or the inclination to do it themselves.

“Working with Adrienne was the kick in the butt I needed to put my business growth into overdrive. I had stalled in my pursuit of a major development of my company before working with her and I did not even realize it. In 2 months of working with Adrienne, I accomplished more than I had in 9 months on my own. Her direction, motivation, encouragement and deadlines propelled me to the next level faster than I could have imagined. I just hope I don’t lose the momentum on my own.”

Cynthia Coleman is the Founder of Coleman Communications is the media brand of Cynterprise. We have plans for cookbooks, magazines and other print media along with to television and radio broadcasts. Our first release, Sports Cynts, is a sports talk cooking show where listeners can follow along with her as she prepares recipes and engages her audience in sports conversation.

“The Next level Coaching Program has helped me to focus what I need to do to take my business to where I want it to go.  With the information I received, I have no doubt that my company will be a success and I recommend it to anyone who is thinking about starting a business, who’s business is already running and needs a boost or a business who is looking to grow and take it up a notch or to the next level.”

Esther Phahla is a Certified Public Accountant with broad experience in all phases of taxation and accounting . She works with clients in a variety of industries including:- Health care (physicians, etc), manufacturing, construction, real estate, distribution and service. She is interested in small businesses and their owners.

“This Coaching has helped me to get out of my comfort zone and take action in growing my business. By implementing the strategies that I have learned from Adrienne Graham, I have grown personally and professionally.”

Bernie Frazier is the President of CareerVolution, LLC, a career navigating and job search skills training company, Bernie offers a comprehensive curriculum for people who are seeking their next career opportunity but aren’t sure how to make it happen.  She offers effective; “can do” insights that can help jump start a career, propel it to the next level, or catapult it in another direction.

“Adrienne has been a God-send!  Her willingness to share her experiences and ideas has been very valuable in helping me develop my own business.  She has an uncanny way of taking your ideas and stretching them and you beyond the comfort zone in order to reach the next level.  Adrienne is a walking “rolodex” of great resources; it’s remarkable!  I feel much more confident in where I’m going and what I can do, and I know Adrienne has played a key role in bringing this to life.  I can’t thank her enough.”

Kristina Cox is the Founder and CEO of Prime Accumen Creations. P.A. Creations is for business professionals and individuals seeking a lasting impression with their audience and is a one stop shop for marketing, design and communications.  Kristina was named VIP Woman of the Year for 2009/2010 by The National Association of Professional Women.

“The business coaching program has been a blessing. Adrienne was the miracle worker I needed to help me restructure my company. She brought out the six figure mindset that I needed to get to the next level.”

Maisha Hart is the owner of Legal Plus, a boutique staffing company in Los Angeles.  Legal Plus (also known as LP Staffing) has been in business since 1979 placing administrative support personnel with companies both small and large throughout the southern California area.  LP Staffing, offers temporary, temporary to hire and direct hire services and in addition to personnel services, they also offer our clients payroll services.
Now, don’t just think this was all about me “teaching” these ladies anything. It was a learning experience for all of us. They helped me put the finishing touches on this incredible coaching program. From well known special guests to candid conversations to the group interaction, this program is designed for women serious about stepping outside of themselves and focus on doing what needs to be done to get to the next level.

Not everyone can be accepted. There is an application process and only ten women are chosen each quarter. So if you’re ready to take it to a whole other level, stop by the website today and complete your confidential application. Applying is free and everyone who applies is interviewed and screened.

So, are you ready to go to the Next Level?

Til next time,

Adrienne Graham

Well here we are! Officially closing out 2009. What a decade, what a year! I struggled to come up with an appropriate post tonight. I don’t like dwelling on the negative, but we have had a lot of negativity this year. I prefer to end on a positive note.

I often speak of losing my Dad in 2002. What I choose to take away from that is that I am stronger than I thought I was. It set me on the path to accomplish the things I have this last few years. In 2009 I turned 40. I can honestly say that coming into 2009, I was a little scared of turning 40. But something clicked in me that made me jump straight into overdrive. I made the hard decision to put my recruiting business on the back burner and focus full steam ahead on Empower Me. when I hit the big 4-0 in April I had some things I had to face. My son was leaving and heading to college. I was not happy with my current business. I lost my spark. How would I fix that?

Well, I started by meeting with my friend and Editorial Director and telling her I wanted to start a magazine. We put that in motion, then I started my radio show Views From the Top. I already had my Empower Me Networks, but I had to reinvent & upgrade that to fit the new agenda. Then I decided to work on launching my own Internet TV Channel! Was I insane? People thought I was. Pouring my all into a business that was not very profitable. But listen, I wrote a book, hosted my own radio show, started a magazine, aligned myself with influential people. Why WOULDN’T it work?

As I look back I have no regret. I am busting at the seams with pride over all I’ve accomplished. I’ve found my passion and my rhythm. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. My message in all of that is you need to define your path. Don’t stay stuck in something you have no passion for. We live in extraordinary times. Technology and passion can be an awesome thing if you apply them. Don’t let anyone tell you “you can’t”. Whatever you’re sitting on the fence about, go into 2010 with a renewed vigor and passion, and go for it.  It may require that you reinvent and upgrade yourself, the people in your life, and your surroundings. But let me tell you, it is well worth it.

So I don’t leave 2009 with regret or sorrow about the bad year that was. I leave it full of hope and determination. I look forward to 2010 and the next decade. I’m strapping in for the ride. I’m going for it! I hope you will too.

Wishing you a blessed, prosperous, successful, wealthy, healthy, Happy New Year!!!

Adrienne Graham
Publisher, Author, Radio Show Hostess, Power Brok(H)er, Producer, Media Mogul!

From my family & staff to you and yours, wishing you a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for your continued support.

Happy Holidays!

Adrienne Graham

radioiconIt doesn’t have to be lonely at the top. Sometimes women feel they have so much more to prove than men, that they keep every task, project, or issue to themselves. This can lead to destruction if you’re not careful. Ladies, you can be a leader and still delegate critical tasks to others, while maintaining control. There’s no rule that says in order to be successful you HAVE to do it all. Join me as my guests and I discuss how women in top positions handle leadership and delegating. We will be discussing how to learn how to delegate in order to lead effectively, the pitfalls of not delegating, hiring the right people and deciding what should be delegated, and how to create an environment where people will gladly follow your lead because they believe in your vision and mission. Tune in live at 9AM EST at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/viewsfromthetop and join the conversation in the chat room. Call in with questions or comments at (347) 215-9362.

23291063Social networking shouldn’t be your sole source of networking. You must use it as PART of a bigger strategy. Didn’t know that? Maybe you should register for my BOOT CAMP. Your Networking strategy should include SMART social networking, self branding (keeping a consistent message across all social media and traditional networking avenues), making connections (phone AND face to face) and FOLLOW THROUGH. You have to follow through. Otherwise how will people remember you?

Remember, social networking sites are just TOOLS. They are technological means to facilitate the connections quicker. Don’t rely on them as a crutch in building your network. You still have to put in time to cultivate and build relationships- and that requires a personalized touch. Not sure how? Ask for help, attend the BOOT CAMP or get a networking coach! http://www.empowermeseminars.com Or, you can simply buy the book.

Any questions?

Go forth and build your power circle of influence.

Til next time,

Adrienne Graham

Did you know? (Gathered from Catalyst.org.)

Firsts in Business

* Kate Gleason: First woman president of a national bank (1917)
* Linda Darnell: First woman to sell securities on the New York Stock Curb Exchange (1941)
* Muriel Siebert: First woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange (1967)
* Katherine Graham: First woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company (The Washington Post Co; 1972)
* Catherine B. Cleary: First woman director on General Motors board of directors, which was the nation’s largest industrial corporation (equivalent to number one on the today’s Fortune 500 list; 1972)
* Marsha Cohen: First woman CFO at a “big four” accounting firm (PricewaterhouseCoopers; 1997)
* Andrea Jung: First Asian-American woman and first woman of color to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company (1999)

Firsts in Their Professions

* Ann Franklin: First U.S. female newspaper editor (1762)
* Arabella Mansfield Babb: First woman admitted to the bar (1869)
* Louise Bethune: First American woman architect (1881)
* Sally Ride: First American woman to orbit the earth (1983)
* Eileen Collins: First woman to pilot a spacecraft (1995)
* Cristeta Comerford: First woman executive chef of the White House (2005)

Firsts in Government

* Mary Katherine Goddard: First woman postmaster (1775)
* Victoria Chaflin Woodhull: First woman to be a presidential candidate (1872)
* Belva Ann Lockwood: First woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court (1880)
* Suzanna Madora Salter: First U.S. woman mayor (Argonia, Kansas; 1887)1
* Jeannette Rankin: First woman elected to U.S. House of Representatives (Montana; 1916); First woman in Congress (1917)
* Florence E. Allen: First elected U.S. woman judge (1920)
* Hallie Ferguson: First woman governor of a U.S. state (Texas; 1924)
* Ruth Bryan Owen: First woman ambassador/diplomat to a foreign country for the United States (Denmark and Iceland; 1933)
* Hattie Wyatt Caraway: First woman elected to U.S. Senate (Arkansas; 1932)
* Georgia Nesse Clark: First woman treasurer of the United States (1949)
* Shirley Chisholm: First African-American woman to serve in Congress, and first African-American woman to run for President of the United States (New York; 1968, 1972)
* Sandra Day O’Connor: First woman justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1981)
* Penny Harrington: First woman police chief of a major U.S. city (Portland, Oregon; 1985)
* Madeleine K. Albright: First woman Secretary of State and highest ranking woman in the U.S. government (1997)
* Condoleezza Rice: First African-American woman to be appointed to Secretary of State (2005)
* Nancy Pelosi: First woman to become Speaker of the House (2007)

Firsts for Women in Education

* Elizabeth Blackwell: First woman to receive a medical degree (Geneva Medical College; 1849)
* Lucy Hobbs: First woman to graduate from dental school (Ohio College of Dentistry; 1866)
* Frances Elizabeth Willard: First woman to become a college president (Evanston College; 1871)
* Helen Magill White: First woman to receive a Ph.D. in the U.S. (Boston University; 1877)
* Ruth Simmons: First woman of color and first African-American to become a college president of an Ivy League University (Brown University; 2001)
* 1978: The first year that at least 50% of all women over the age of 16 participated in the labor force.
* 1984: First year that more women than men receive bachelor’s and master’s degrees

Keeping in spirit of Diversity tune in to Friday’s show. The topic is Power Brok(h)ers- Women of Color in Hollywood. When you think Women of Color, you automatically think Oprah (on an executive level) and a handful of women who ae in front of the cameras. But there are so many more talented women of color who behind the scenes who are relegated to the background. We’ll discuss the (lack of) women of color in power positions in entertainment and take a look at how women can pursue a productive career in Hollywood….and not just in front of the camera. There are executive producers, talent management agents, deal makers, and movers and shakers who happen to be Women of Color. The problem is, you hardly hear about them. Tune in at 9AM EST http://www.blogtalkradio.com/viewsfromthetop as we put the topic on the table and discuss ways to circumvent the ol’ boys network for Hollywood.

23685003Hi ladies.

I have a challenge to you. It’s a big one. The reason for us being here is to network and learn from one another. To grow and gain knowledge as well as give of ourselves and time. We sometimes get lost in our own little microcosm of the world and forget that others look to us for guidance and advice.

I’m asking everyone to sit down and take an inventory. Look around you and figure out who in your network needs help or may benefit from knowing someone you know. Make a list of people you can faciliate introductions to. Choose wisely. Think about the needs of the people within your inner circle and think about how someone else in your network can help them. It could be a job lead, recommendation of a client, help with a class, a volunteer opportunity, anything. The key is to facilitate the connection and let networking nature takes its course.

I also ask that you find a young woman, like a college student, and become her mentor. Take her under your wing and help her by giving her your time and insight into your expertise. In talking with my interns, they expressed that they (and other young ladies in their age group) want guidance, they want a mentor that will help them navigate through the corporate jungle. And I don’t blame them. We all send so much time with our head down and nose to the grindstone, we sometimes forget to extend a hand to our upcoming generation. It can be as simple as taking them out to lunch once per month and letting them pick your brain. Make yourself available via email and phone before or after work hours. To make things better for the next generation, we must help in grooming them to prepare for the world of business.

So tell me ladies, are you up to the challenge? Be sure to come back to the blog and give us an update.

Adrienne Graham

maraHi all. This week I am visiting Los Angeles on business. I’ve always loved coming out here. Not to see the movies stars or celebrities (well I wouldn’t mind running into The Rock- Duane Johnson). But because I’ve always had great business relationships out here. And contrary to what some folks may believe, the entertainment industry is a huge business. In fact, I want to specifically address the entertainment industry, in particular, women of color and their (lack of) influence and voice.

It’s no secret that over the last few years, black television has all but disappeared from main stream media. Sure we have BET and TV One, but I will refrain from showing my disdain for the programming made available.  We had one Latino show for a while, the George Lopez Show, which is also gone. There is a noticeable void in ethnic programming. One example of this is the recent fight that writer/producer/show creator Mara Brock Akil was embroiled in with the CW Network in keeping her second show with them from being canceled…The Game.  She has her show Girlfriends abruptly canceled on her last year with no closure to the audience and fans. Now the Powers that be have decided, even in light of the massive online fan movement to save the show, to cancel it. While admittedly I hardly watched the show, I understand the significance of this slap in the face. Mara has had a stellar track record with some pretty prominent show. Someone with her track record deserves more respect than she’s been given.

As I look around Hollywood, I can see a noticeable absence of recognized Women of Color in the business. Sure we see people like Jada Pinkett Smith, Shonda Rhimes, Tracey Edmonds, Tyra Banks, Oprah Winfrey and Christina Norman. But they are the “known” power brok(h)ers in Hollywood. For each of them, there are at least 20 more unknowns or “unsungs”. That really bothers me. For years, I’ve been reading about the women of Hollywood fighting the good fight to get more sisters in front of AND behind the cameras.  I haven’t felt it as much as I do right now.  As I drive through the city, I can’t help but notice the lack of color on the billboards.  I’m not a big tv watcher but the lack of diversity on the small screen isn’t lost on me.  In fact it frustrates the hell out of me. Networks can buy into bullshit like Flavor of Love, Charm School, New York does whatever and so on. You have Oxygen showing crap like Bad Girls. When you have strong positive women like the ladies I mentioned above, why isn’t their images portrayed? Why can’t we show positive women of color? True we have Jada on her new show Hawthorne, but it’s on cable, not any of the major networks. I pray that the show lasts because I think it has promise after watching the first episode. She is not only the lead BLACK female lead, but also the Executive Producer. We have Grey’s Anatomy & Private Practice, but we have two Black women and one Asian woman, and one Hispanic woman between the two shows. I’m grateful for at last that much diversity. I have a feeling that’s credited to Shonda. But can we have some more please?

I am advocating for more diversity in Hollywood.  Black Women, Hispanic Women, Asian Women, Middle Eastern Women. We are all beautiful women of color. Hollywood has to do better or at least start promoting and talking about more of them. We have to do better in holding the right people accountable. Mara had the right idea in taking the fight to the web. It is such a great, powerful tool. But here’s the thing. We need to get to our own young ladies and demand that they expect better and do better for themselves. Fighting over Flavor Flav (regardless of ethnicity), shaking their ass in videos like video hoes, and either allowing themselves to be disrespected or disrespecting themselves is not acceptable. If we had more positive programming featuring, showcasing and celebrating women of color, there would be a lot less of them making asses of themselves on tv.  TV shows like Candy Girls does not represent women of color in the right light. Our young ladies have to know and understand that we can be successful in entertainment without shaking our asses or fighting over an idiot on tv.

So Mara, what can I do to help further your cause?  This is my open letter to you.  How can I make this “our” cause?  What can I do to help? To the general public, how can we get more Latinas in front of the camera and in power positions outside of Univision? How can we get more Asian women and Middle Eastern Women their recognition as well? How do we get more diversity in front of and behind the camera?  Help me please, because I’m at a loss. I’m a Recruiter, so I can find the top talent. But how can we get the “brass” to take notice and the media to start reporting on them?

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

23213988OK, I subscribe to all the major business news magazines & papers. I set my alerts to get any kind of corporate business information that will give me a competitive advantage. I get tons of alerts a day- so much that it annoys me to no end. But I need to do it. Tonight, as I search through the internet, I wonder why the only “black corporate news” I’ve gotten in a while was the story on Xerox’s new incoming CEO. Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand the huge significance of this. I am very proud of Ms. Burns. But where is the rest of “our news”?

I get my “black news” from Black Enterprise, Black Engineer, The Network Journal, you know the standards. But outside of that, you never ever see any black news from Wall Street, or the Fortune 500 set unless it’s about Barack or Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Johnson or Magic Johnson. I never really paid much attention to it because I’ve always had my old stand by BE.

As I set out to create my Google Alerts, I did a search. Black Corporate Women as a search was almost non-existent. African American Corporate Women did no better as a search term. I know we’re out there. I don’t want to just see them when Working Mother trots them out in their “diversity” issue or the BE top Blacks in Corporate issue. I swear to you, if I didn’t know the names of many prominent Black people in Corporate America, I’d be lost. I know who to search for to find news on them. But what about others who are looking for role models and turn to the web for information only to be disappointed? I found more links on crap (sex ads, naked women, black women got attitudes) than anything of substance.

We’ve got to start holding the media outlets accountable. This is not new. As much as I love BE, I need some diversity in my reading material. Why is it I still get shocked when I see a person of color in the pages of Fortune, Forbes, Bloomberg (a rarity) or any of the news tv channels?

What are we going to do about it?

Til next time,

Adrienne Graham

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