September 2009

CB101642There is an ongoing “debate” as to whether or not women can successfully manage a career AND a family. Both are equally demanding aspects of women’s lives that they want to manage successfully. Some say women shouldn’t sacrifice their family, specifically their children, to be successful in business. Others say women should go for their dreams and be successful in business to give a good example to their children, specifically their daughters. It isn’t a black and white issue. Today’s upwardly mobile professional woman has her eye on her family and the prize and aren’t settling for one over the other. They learn to make it work without sacrificing quality in either area. My panelists say you CAN have both. Join me and my guests as we discuss the ins and outs of managing a successful career AND raising a healthy family…without losing your mind!

Listen in live tomorrow, Monday 9/28 at 9AM EST. If you can’t catch it live, listen to the podcast or visit iTunes to download. Join our chat room during the show to ask questions or give your opinion. Or call in at (347) 215-9362.


23523521If you listened to my radio show this morning Views From the Top, you would have heard form four wonderful business owners who were on panel. They shared their experiences and tips for starting and growing a business in a down economy. It was a wonderful and inspiring conversation because two of the panelists have just started brand new businesses and are full of enthusiasm. Two had long since established their businesses and have adapted to the changing environment so that they come out on top when the economy turns. Here are my tips for starting a business:

  • Establish a passion. What is it you love? What makes you feel so happy that you would do it for free (although you won’t!)? figure out what that “it” thing is and embrace it. The more passionate you are about something, the more likely it will become a success.
  • Study industries into the future. When contemplating a business, determine if there is longevity for it. Follow the trends to see what’s rising and falling, then plan accordingly. Knowing where an industry is heading can give you insight into what actions you need to do to make the business successful.
  • Create a need. There’s a market for almost everything. Figure out what pressing need is on people’s minds, then work to create a product or service solution. Get out and start creating a buzz for your product or service. Draw attention to the fact that people need it.
  • Create a business plan. Do I even have to expound on this? I readily admit that I’ve run two successful businesses without a business plan. However, this business, Empower Me, requires that I have a business plan. A business plan gives you clear insight into the direction of your company. Plus it could lead to funding. So get to work and get it done.
  • Market excessively and set aside budgeted funds for marketing. Before you form your mouth to say it’s not in the budget, consider this. The more visible you are the more likely people will buy from you. Market now so that clients will come to you in the future. Visibility will make people choose you over the competition who cuts back on marketing.
  • Network. Of course you know I had to throw this in there. Networking isn’t about just exchanging cards or friending people on social networking sites. Seek to build relationships and understand what they bring to the table. You never know when a strategic partnership may develop.
  • Don’t think “money” think value and equity. Money is the main reason people abandon their entrepreneurial dreams. It doesn’t have to keep you from moving forward. Learn to improvise. Use interns, barter service, seek free help (although you really need to be careful with this). There are non-monetary ways to get the things you need. Find them then tap into them. There are ways to improvise when you don’t have the big budget.
  • Treat it like a REAL business. I hate that I have to say that. I detest the use of terms like “side hustle”. If you are going into business for yourself, think of yourself as in business. Think of yourself as a CEO. Treat your business like it is a high level corporation, even if the only employee is you. How you see your business reflects in how people perceive it.

Don’t let this so called recession keep you from stepping out on your own. Some of the most famous Fortune 500 and Inc 100 companies started during bad economies and are  flourishing today. I hope these tips help you get started. We all know that for some people, corporate isn’t their destiny. If you’re thinking about ditching that 9-5, be sure to follow the tips I shared above.

Good luck!

Adrienne Graham

22873766I was a keynote speaker at an event last weekend where I discussed networking. Soon after I started, I asked the room how many people knew what people said about them when they were not around. Surprisingly, only one person raised her hand. Of course, she happened to be a high level executive who already had a firm grasp of her career path. Nobody else, however, raised their hand. If got me wondering how many people really pay enough attention to their brand and reputation.

I’ve stressed countless times through articles, on my radio show and speaking engagements that people need to determine (and monitor) their brands before others define it for them. Let’s forget for a moment, that promoting yourself and networking are important elements to building your brand. But did you know that if you don’t implement the right strategy you could be damaging your reputation?

I have clients who are so excited to start building their network and implementing strategies we discussed, that they forget all the rules of engagement I gave them. For instance, I share with all my clients (and listeners and readers) how I made a conscious decision to keep up with my network. I send out a quarterly email letting people know what I’m up to and and asking them to share what they’re up to. Well, one young man took this advice to the next level. He was looking for a job and decided to use my idea…only he sent an email EVERY SINGLE WEEK. How do you think this was received? Exactly. The first two email I received, I thought, great he’s taking initiative. After that it was spam. I emailed him and gave him some constructive criticism and told him his frequent email was turning people off. He was appreciative of the email and changed his frequency. Unfortunately, it damaged his credibility.

Another incident was a young woman who was extremely anti-social at work. She felt the only thing she needed to do was show up for work, get her job done, go home and do it all over again until Friday came. She argued me down and said that her work was so impressive that it stood on its own. She didn’t need to “schmooze” with her co-workers. A year went by and she didn’t get any additional projects nor did she get the raise and promotion she hoped for. Upon some investigative digging, it was revealed that her standoffish nature eliminated her from the running.

Ladies, I don’t make these things up nor do I share them just to be nice. You MUST, absolutely MUST take control of your reputation. You should be getting feedback from everyone you know professionally. It is important that you understand how people perceive you and receive your brand. Ask for honest feedback on areas you may need to improve. But don’t stop there, accept the honesty without attitude and work on it. It takes a long time to build a solid reputation, but only minutes to destroy it. Be careful how you represent yourself and how others represent you. Focus on building up the positive aspects and improving the negative.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

Coming in January 2010

It is with great pleasure that I announce the pre-launch of the newest project for Empower Me! Fearless Woman Magazine is the preeminent publication and blueprint for today’s upwardly mobile professional woman. The magazine is scheduled to launch in January 2010 and will be a quarterly publication. I have always admired publishers and the magazine industry. Sometimes they had hits, sometimes there were misses. I never stopped looking for “that” magazine that speaks exclusively to me and the type of women I admire and network with. So many have come and gone, and while there are a few remaining, I felt that there was lacking an intelligent, no-nonsense,unfettered down hard hitting magazine for the professional woman. Yes, each magazine on the stands now contains elements of what I was seeking. But no magazine has ever served as a catch all for the upwardly mobile professional woman. Do I propose that Fearless Woman Magazine will be that catch all? Maybe. But it will serve the purpose for the intended audience.

Have you signed up on the website yet? If not, you should. You can sign up at the website to receive updates and the Fearless Networking newsletter.

We are also announcing an open call for writers. We are currently looking for new and experienced writers with the ability to resonate with our core audience. If interested please contact us at: info or indicate that you’re interested in the message box when you sign up at the website. You may download the Writer’s Guidelines at this link. For a media kit, editorial calendar or advertising information, please contact us via email at info @

I don’t know what the future holds for myself or this publication, but what I do know is that I am very excited. The more we plan and the more we pull it together, it is that much more real to me. I choose to believe that there is a place for this magazine and that with technology and good old fashioned ingenuity we will be able to bring you relevant content, resonant (and responsible) advertising, and aplethora of tools that will empower and motivate each of you to action. A fearless woman, an upwardly mobile professional woman always has her mind on her career and isn’t afraid to take risks to achieve their goals. That is an EMPOWERED woman.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

bootcamp2People with a strong circle of influence are the most successful. Surrounding yourself with the RIGHT people at the RIGHT time is crucial to professional success! Do you need to amp up your networking strategy?

Networking is usually thought of in one of two situations: when you lose a job and badly need an introduction to power their job search campaign or when you start a business and want to get quick sales. Either way, these are the absolute wrong times to “start” networking. Networking is an ongoing relationship building process that should be cultivated long before you need help. Many women (and men) are afraid to network because they don’t know how, they feel the people they meet won’t benefit them or they simply don’t make the time. The Fearless Networking Boot Camp is designed for the upwardly mobile professional who wants to increase their professional capital and position themselves as a Power Networker.

During this 3 day intensive boot camp you will:

Learn the basics of developing, building, and maintaining a network of professionals that will enhance your job search and professional development.
Reach the correct type of people to network with.
Learn how to speak to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Grow your reputation & industry influence.
Increase your confidence & let go of FEAR.
Build real, solid, substantive relationships.
Showcase your expertise/brand yourself as a subject matter expert.
Choose events, organizations and strategies that align with your goals.
Set an agenda and clarify your goals.
Maximizing social networking while not losing your effectiveness in traditional networking.

Boot Camps are intense three day sessions where attendees not only learn the theory of networking, but also the practical application. Exercises, assignments and partners are assigned to each attendee to practice the material presented in the boot camp. Each participant will receive the Fearless Networking Workbook, a copy of Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers and the required handouts as part of their registration.

Are you ready to transform the way you network? Join my Boot Camp today. Contact me for more information on upcoming boot camps.

Networking Boot Camp- Live Online

9/9 – 9/11/09 6:30 PM – 9 PM EST

Register today. Seats are first come first serve. Must have internet access and phone access to participate.

Cost- $349 per person