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Lessons from Mom

When I was young, my mother wore red as often as possible. She had a red car and a red front door. Red was her favorite color. Now as a mother myself, I realize there was much more to her color choice.

My mother was a single mother of three who worked as a teacher and spent most of her time around children. She balanced work and family long before there were modern conveniences like online shopping and virtual assistants.

I knew other mothers stayed home, but even though my mother worked, she was always there to pick me up from school or a dance and take me to weekend activities. If I was sick and couldn't go to school, I stayed home alone. If I wanted my clothes clean for school, I washed them. If I wanted lunch, I packed it. She made the working mother thing seem easy.

From growing up with a single, working mother, I learned a few lessons that serve me well today.

  1. Make your kids help. I make my kids do dishes, help with cooking, make their beds…all the things my mom made me do. It teaches them responsibility and takes some of the household chores off my plate.
  2. Be organized. My mother, a teacher, shopped during the summer for Christmas, birthdays, and emergencies. She had gifts in her closet at all times so we were never caught off guard should an invitation come our way.
  3. Savor Sunday night. Sunday nights were quiet time in our house. My mother paid the bills and planned dinners for the week. We did homework, read books and went to bed early. It helped to start the week from a place of peace.
  4. Insist on family dinners. We had all kinds of activities during the week but we knew to be home for dinner. Today, I credit that family time with how close I am with my siblings.
  5. Consider school as important as work. As my mother headed to her workplace, she told us our jobs were to go to school and do well. We took that responsibility seriously and today I tell my children the same thing.
  6. Only spend what you have. My mother only had a Sears credit card. That’s it. Everywhere else she paid cash. Money was tight but mom would not let us buy a thing unless we had the cash to pay for it. Otherwise, we would do without. I try to abide by the same rule and have stayed out of debt.
  7. Don't feel guilty for "me time". On Saturday night, my mother would go out and we would have a sitter until my older sister could babysit. It was my mother's time to do whatever she wanted as a woman, rather than a mom. Taking time for herself was how my mom kept her sanity and how I now keep mine.

While my mom still loves the color red, she doesn’t wear it as often today. She no longer needs to convince herself that she has power and determination to survive as a single mom. She has done her job well as a mother, grandmother and role model.

Happy Mother's Day to my mother and all of the other moms out there. You rock!


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My mother and stepfather both in red




The Work/Life Balancing Act

How to get your boss to let you work from home

                                                      Work from home



Is working from home a big deal at your organization? Is getting permission like asking your parent to borrow the car keys and drive across country?

Well, it shouldn't be big deal but many bosses just haven't realized it yet.

If you want to work from home (at least some of the time), company culture will factor into whether you get the OK  to do it. 

In many workplaces, you can coax your boss to let you work from home —  some or all of the time — if you approach it the right way. Here are some strategies I recommend:

Point out the benefit: Often the best way to approach the topic with your boss is to point out the benefit to him or her in having you spend less time commuting and more time being productive. Without a commute, it may be possible to make more early morning phone calls or have quiet time to be more creative in how you approach solutions. If the arrangement benefits your boss, it's a win-win and you're more likely to get approval.

Establish trust: If you've proven yourself a responsible worker, working from home one day a week, or as needed should be no big deal. If you haven't proven yourself, spend a few weeks going the extra mile and make your boss fully aware of how dependable you are.

Arrange childcare: If you're a working parent, you will need to assure your boss that you have childcare under control. It's impossible to supervise a child and get work done. You know this and your boss does too.

Establish a communication system: A recent poll shows 90 percent of the workforce has an interest in working from home some of the time. However, a boss fears that he will need you and won't be able to track you down.  So, if you want to sway your boss to let you work from home every Thursday or some other arrangement, you need to explain upfront how you plan to communicate your whereabouts and your results. 

Present it as a trial: Often, it's easier to roll something out as a pilot or trial run. It allows your boss to give the okay under the radar. Both you and your boss can decide if it works and whether any adjustments need to be made or higher ups need to approve the arrangement.

Be available outside of office hours. Today work is a give and take between you and your employer. If you want to work from home, you will need to show that you give flexibility in return. It may mean taking your boss' call at 8 p.m. or  responding to an email on a Saturday. Let your boss know upfront that you will give your all to make this arrangement work out.

As the interest in teleworking soars, more companies are creating work from home policies to promote work life balance. But they’re also realizing it takes much more than a policy to make newer, flexible ways of working acceptable. (See my Miami Herald article on this topic)

Slowly, but definitively, more employers are getting on board and creating a culture that makes working from home acceptable. The culture encourages upfront conversations about expectations of the employee and it encourages managers at all levels to be more outcomes-focused. 

So, if you're considering asking to work at home some of the time, go for it. Your chances of getting the green light are getting better and better!

The Work/Life Balancing Act

How to return from vacation and stay relaxed


You are on your way back from vacation feeling rejuvenated, but after a few days, you feel like you need another vacation. The tsunami of work comes flooding back with a vengeance. Projects and deadlines you had sidelined now are front and center, and dirty clothes still await your attention.

Is this just the inevitable evil of vacationing from work, or is there a way to return from time off without stress?

The good news is that it is possible to make a smooth transition. This week, I returned from a 10-day vacation feeling great. I followed some of these tips and my return to reality was easier than after prior summer vacations. 

Here are some suggestions for how to return from vacation and stay relaxed:
Start before you leave. Get into the mindset that work may pile up, but you will be going forward with a fresh outlook and a better state of mind. Executive coach Eric Rogell advises you create a “first day back” plan before you leave. “It’s easy to get sucked into emails and phone calls, but those are time and energy drains. Hold off on those and do the important things first. Stick to your plan.”

Delegate. While you're on vacation, if someone else can do it, make sure someone else is doing it. During her vacation this summer in Napa Valley, Kathryn Orosz, a Miami insurance broker and winery investor, designated an associate to cover for her at work. She forwarded email messages that need handling to that person: “They copied me back so I could stay in the loop on how it was being handled. I had to remind myself not to answer anything, just to move the email along.” By delegating, Orosz said she avoided a backlog of correspondence and could jump back in on transactions when she returned, without much stress: “I was just responding on the end of the continuum rather than going back in time.”


Decide upfront how you will handle email. Your decision will make all the difference in your level of post-vacation stress. Rogell said if you’ve created an out-of-office message for your vacation, include directions for whom to contact while you are out and keep the message on for an extra workday. An extra day gives you space to get things sorted out without new expectations piling on. “Use that day to get to the priorities you want to get done,” he said. Even with an out-of-office message, most people check their emails, even if only sporadically. If your emails have piled up, consider making a quick scan, flagging priority messages and deleting all others. Chances are, if it’s important, someone will follow up with you.

Create a buffer.  Professional organizer Diane Hatcher says giving yourself a day or two buffer between vacation and work makes the return much easier. Some people try to maximize their vacation by returning the night before they return to work. They sit on the plane or in the car dreading the next morning and the harsh return to reality it represents. Hatcher advises against that approach. Give yourself at least a day to unpack, wash clothes and open mail, she said. “Sure, unpacking signifies the end of vacation,” she concedes, “but there are consequences of not emptying your suitcase right way.” An unpacked suitcase becomes another thing piled up to tackle while readjusting back to work. “Get it over with, close the door, get dirty clothes into wash, clean clothes put away so you don’t have it hanging over your head,” she said. Instead, you can return to the office ready to take on the workweek.

Schedule properly. Rogell, who loves to take adventure vacations, plans something relaxing the last day of vacation and something fun to look forward to the first post-work evening. He also cautions against packing your work schedule your first day back. Be OK with giving only 70 percent, and don’t force yourself into a 10-hour day, he advises. The goal should be to hang on to that vacation recharge as long as possible.


The Work/Life Balancing Act

How Should Sheryl Sandberg Handle Grief at Work? Advice from former LiveNation CEO Jason Garner

My heart goes out to Sheryl Sandberg with the tragic loss of her husband, Dave Goldberg. Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult but even more so when you return to work and try to carry on while knowing everyone is tip-toeing around you.

Today, my guest blogger is Jason Garner who will talk about dealing with grief in the workplace, sharing his very personal experience.  Jason says when his single mother, who struggled and sacrificed while raising him, died from stomach cancer,  he lacked the tools, support, and understanding to get through the grieving process. Garner’s book And I Breathed (2014) tells his cautionary tale  and he has lots of advice, tips and insight for people like Sandberg who must readjust their work life balance and fit grieving into the equation.


  Smaller Jason headshot-1

Six years ago I was the CEO of Global Music for Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter … and then my mom died.  My life took a drastic turn as I found myself unable to deal with the crippling grief while continuing my duties of overseeing thousands of employees and live concerts around the globe.  I lacked the tools, support, and understanding to get through the grieving process, and have spent the last six years on a journey to better understand myself.  I’ve spent thousands of hours learning with masters of body, mind, and spirit with the hope that by sharing what I’ve learned, others won’t have to face life alone like I did.

Dealing with the death of a loved one is a complex and difficult experience full of powerful emotions.  Experts say the grieving process takes around three years for us to heal, understand, and accept life absent a person we deeply loved.  I’ve learned this process is necessary and can’t be rushed.  But few of us have three years to pull ourselves together before getting back to the pressures of work.  This is where simple tools can be valuable in helping us cope with our grief as we return to work after a loss. 

Following are ten tools that can help us better function in our jobs while dealing honestly with the pain and loss that comes with death.

  1. Be real.  Grieving is tough.  Our hearts are filled with emotion that often comes spilling out in the form of tears, anger, and lack of patience with others. Accepting this fact and giving ourselves permission to be human in the process relieves the tension of trying to “gut our way through it,” “put on a game face,” or “just move on.”  Have patience and compassion with yourself and set the tone for how you hope others will deal with you during this process by being kind and understanding with yourself.
  2. Breathe. When we are going through pain we often hold our breath in the fear that letting go might lead to us breaking down.  In reality though, the body interprets the holding of the breath as an emergency, which causes our bodies to feel even more stress and pressure.  Take frequent breathers — regular intervals where you remind yourself to breathe deeply — and send the soothing message to your body that all is well.
  3. Move. The grieving process is filled with emotion, which is stored in the body as adrenaline.  This stagnant adrenaline is the cause of the racing and trapped feelings we often feel under stress.  Movement allows the body to release the pent up emotions and promotes flow.  Find time in the day to move: take a walk, stretch, do yoga, or just stand up and move your body to allow the stagnant emotions to move and release.
  4. Cry. Crying on the job is often seen as taboo.  But when we spend half our day at work, it’s bound to happen at one point or another, especially when we are mourning the loss of a loved one.  Bursting into tears can be embarrassing and can cause alarm to our coworkers.  So find a safe space and time — in the bathroom, at the park on your lunch break, or for a couple of minutes in your car — and give yourself permission to let go, to really cry, and to feel the sadness that naturally comes with death instead of bravely trying to hold it all in.
  5. Share. Sometimes during life’s challenges we behave as though we’re the only one having problems.  So we bottle our troubles up inside and try to be superhuman.  The result is rarely positive and eventually we break down, feeling misunderstood, alone, and isolated.  The reality is, though, that many people are going through challenges at the same time.  Death in particular is an experience to which we can all relate.  Be open with your boss and coworkers.  Share your challenge with them, ask for the patience, and allow yourself to be supported.
  6. Sleep.  Getting enough rest is a powerful way to help regulate your emotions.  Be sure when you’re grieving to plan for extra sleep.  Pulling all-nighters at work or with friends is a sure way to leave your emotions frazzled and increases the likelihood of a breakdown on the job.  Make it a point to shut down work at a reasonable hour and give yourself ample time to rest and relax.
  7. Get away.  Many employers offer some kind of leave following a death.  Even if your job doesn’t have a formal policy for leave, talk to your supervisor and ask for some time.  A few days away from work to process your loss and let your emotions out in private can go a long way in making your return to work less emotional and more productive.
  8. Get help. For many of us, our job has become all-encompassing and we have little time for friends, family, or hobbies.  While grieving, this adds another element to the challenge of coping at work because we lack outside outlets where we can share our feelings.  Find a friend, family member, or therapist and allow yourself the chance to vent your feelings so you don’t have to carry so much to work.
  9. Meditation. Even if you’ve never practiced meditation, the grieving process is a good time to start.  A few minutes of silent meditation gives you a break from the stress of the day to be present to yourself and your emotions. Don’t worry about how to do it; just sit, close your eyes, breathe, and give yourself a little space.
  10.  Be tender. Be tender and gentle with yourself even if the world around you isn’t understanding.  Share words of encouragement, give yourself space and patience, and don’t add extra stress by taking on new responsibilities or obligations.  Most of all, understand that you’re going through a major life event and give yourself love and compassion along the way.


Remember: you aren’t alone.  The process you’re going through is one that everyone faces at one time or another. Use these tools as trusted friends to lean on when times are tough.  And above all be kind and gentle with yourself as you grieve. 


The Work/Life Balancing Act

Bouncing Back from Failure

                                                    Failure or success



Did you make an expensive mistake in 2014? Did you experience a setback in business or in a personal relationship? At some point, we all face rejection or failure and that's okay because at least we tried.

Now is a great time to bounce back while you still have most of 2015 ahead of you. I've reached out to people who have been there to get you some great advice for how to turn things around with your business, career or home life. 

* The first step is acknowledging your situation. This is not an easy step. It's really easy to wear blinders and believe everything is okay.

* The next step requires searching for the root cause of what went wrong. “It’s usually not what people think it is,” said David Harkleroad of Chief Outsiders, a consultant to CEOs of small and mid-sized businesses.  Usually, listening carefully to customers, team members and trusted advisors reveals a clue for how to course correct: “It requires listening to understand, not listening to respond.”

* Now it's time to evaluate your options. You will need to figure out whether to simply pivot or completely shut down operations. “You have to be decisive but you also have to live with your decisions,” says Vincent Smith, a Miami pharmacist and serial entrepreneur whose latest product is PopScope.  “I learned you don’t want to go on too long if you’re not making money and you don’t want to be too connected to an idea where you no longer become objective. Whether you’re the guy who introduced McPizza to the McDonald’s menu or the one who expanded Pollo Tropical into an underperforming market, recognizing the signs for when to give up and reading the signs can be critical to long-term success.
* Take a team approach to reversing failure. Success often requires a team who can cover each other’s blind spots. “To get that means you sometimes have to give up control,” says Johnson of ActionCoach. “If you get the right people in the positions they are wired for and empower them, that will reverse failure because it is leverage as opposed to you trying to micromanage everything yourself.”

* Hone your network. If your business or strategy fails, your business relationships will become crucial. Your network should include  mentors, future employers or team leaders who will give you a job, point you down the right path or give you the support to build back your confidence.  

Kenneth Rader and his twin brother Josh Rader founded The Cereal Bowl in 2006. The fledgling novelty concept selling dozens of cereals for about $ 4 a bowl was unable to survive the 2009 recession when credit tightened and disposable income became scarce. But when the business shuttered, the Raders bounced back by using existing connections and applying learned skills in a new way. “Walking away was hard to do, but we made good relationships and gained mentors,” Kenneth says.

* Learn from your mistakes. Kenneth says running a business, particularly one that failed has given him invaluable business knowledge. “Mitigating risk is an important skill that we learned and use even in our current jobs.” Adds Josh: “You get that ability with failure to look back and see what we should have done, learn from it and move forward.”



The Work/Life Balancing Act

Unplugging from technology: a daughter’s perspective

On several occasions, I've asked my son a question only to realize he's glued to his smartphone screen and hasn't heard a word I've said. It's hard competing for a teen's attention when his entire social circle can be access by a few touches on a screen. 

One of the struggles with work life balance today as a parent is making time for our kids when our kids want to make time for us. My guest blogger today is Jamie Goodman (no relation to me).  Jamie's parents got divorced when she was 2 and her brother was 7. The kids now live in St. Louis. Over the years, her father, Rick Goodman of Pembroke Pines, he has talked to his children on the phone, and they've visited him in Florida. However, he found when they were with him, they were tweeting and texting and not talking with him as much as he hoped.

So, he invited his daughter on a summer trip abroad to connect more with her. Before leaving on the 24-day trip to Europe, Rick set some ground rules. Jamie had to leave technology behind. No smartphone and no computer.  Jamie journaled during the trip and her resulting book, "Jamie’s Journey: “Travels with My Dad,” recently climbed to #4 in the parenting & relationships category on Amazon.com.

 I hope you enjoy Jamie's perspective as much as I did.

Rick and Jamie

 (Above: Rick Goodman and daughter, Jamie)


When my father approached me with the idea to travel the world for twenty-four days without technology, my initial reaction was, “You’re joking, right?” Well, I assure you he was not, and after three months of planning we were to begin our journey.  Throughout our trip we had our fair share of arguments and moments where all we wanted to do was escape one another, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t have changed my experience for the world.

Each day my dad and I documented the sites we had seen, the fights we had, the lessons learned, and advice to other parents and kids. For example one piece of advice I give is that, “ Most of the time dads can be annoying, so enjoy the days he isn’t. They don’t happen too often!” These short entries and pieces of advice paved the way for what is now my book entitled “Jamie’s Journey: Travels With My Dad”. 

Our trip, unplugged from technology, allowed me the opportunity to learn more about my dad and gave us the chance to reconnect and create a stronger relationship. From our journey I learned many things, but the most important being that you are never too old or too young to connect or reconnect with someone. It’s never too late.

Though my dad has lived in Florida almost my entire life, he has never missed a day of calling my brother or I. My dad never gave up on his relationship with his children, and this trip allowed me to show him that I had not given up on trying to reconnect with him.

For the next thirty days I am asking all of you to reconnect with one another, to put down your cellphones, computers and escape from technology. The only way we can truly connect with one another is to interact face to face, and that doesn’t happen when technology is involved. 

Click here to see Jamie and her dad on the news talking about experiencing one on one time. 

Rick's take away:  "It's never too late to reconnect with family members. There are so many ways to connect on a daily basis.(if you both leave behind your smartphones) You don't have to spend a lot of money. You can go to local attractions together."

So readers, hearing what Jamie and Rick got out of the experience, I'm wondering…Would you be able to take on Jamie's challenge? Could you go for 24 days without your smart phone?  

The Work/Life Balancing Act

The Challenge of Returning from Summer Vacation


Return from vacationThis week, I returned from a two-week vacation. I know that's a luxury for many workers and I feel fortunate. But what I didn't count on is how difficult it would be to return. 

Yes, I feel refreshed as most experts say workers will be after time off. Vacation regularly is touted as the key to work life balance.  I completely agree.

But I put a lot of small things off as I prepared for my vacation. And, because of the difficultly getting WiFi abroad, I also put off responding to email during my vacation. So now, I return to hundreds of emails and other work responsibilities and I long to be in the carefree vacation mindset.

Not only did I put off work tasks. I put off home tasks too. My son needs a haircut. The fish tank needs to be cleaned.

And here I am…longing to be at a hotel relishing a buffet breakfast.

Has the return from vacation ever been this difficult for you?

Jet lag hasn't made the situation any better for me. Yesterday, I feel asleep face down on my laptop.

I know the answer to my return from vacation blues would have been to get more done before I left and tend to my emails during my vacation. Instead, I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation, stayed in complete vacation mindset, and I'm paying for it now.

Life is always a trade off.

As of today, I'm looking forward….no more pining for my carefree days of vacationing abroad. In the work life balance equation, I'm going to focus on work now. However, I just may reward myself with a night swim if I have a productive day.

How have you handled returning from a longer vacation? Is there anything that made the transition back to work easier for you? 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Smart ways to keep a team member from destroying your work life balance

Every time a friend of mine aimsto leave the office in time to beat traffic, her workaholic co-worker insists she finish her part of the newest project before she leaves. My friend has just about had it because usually the team project isn't due for a few more days.

Have you ever been on an office team or in a department where a single team member makes your life miserable or destroys your work life balance?

There are ways to turn things around. It may require a conversation using the most diplomatic skills you can muster. Check out my article on the topic in The Miami Herald.


The tricky business of collaboration



BGT Partners employees Aaron Metz, Arad Usha and Brittany Robins dress in costumes to watch "The Dark Knight Rises'' at Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science.


Julie Black, a manager at a South Florida publishing company, was about to have another bad day. Her team member had blown a deadline and she would have to stay late, once again, to finish the project her boss was expecting in the morning.

“It’s so frustrating that one person on a team can create havoc in everyone else’s lives,” she complained.

As NBA playoff season heats up, Miami Heat fans are watching teamwork at its best. But shaping a championship team where individuals play cohesively to pull off a win can be one of the trickiest jobs a corporate leader faces. Workplaces are riddled with dysfunctional teams like Black’s, where a single player — a slacker, a workaholic or a narcissist – can affect the professional and person lives of everyone on the team.

Getting individuals to play together as well as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade can be especially challenging in a workplace culture that places a high emphasis on individual performance and competition. “Even when you have a bunch of egos, at some fundamental level, they need to believe they are working for the greater good of the team,” says South Florida executive coach Alexa Sherr Hartley. “Great players who do not get along with teammates end up limiting their careers.”

Most workers chose the function they carry out, rather than the people on their team or in their department. A team that’s too much alike risks exposure to blind spots. Diverse teams risk contention. But on any team, there may be a person who has a tendency to procrastinate or one who shoots down ideas that would actually move a project forward.

Rebecca Nicholson isn’t exactly someone who shies away from confrontation with a difficult team member. Yet, she knows obvious solutions such as simply kicking the member off of the team, or firing the individual are not always possible. Moreover, she now realizes that a better solution may be reorganizing team structure or responsibilities.

“It’s easy to dismiss conflict as a personality issue, however that detracts from being able to understand what the actual issues are,” says Nicholson, director of special projects for The Wasie Foundation South Florida, who has a doctorate in conflict analysis and resolution. “Sometimes, the real issue creating problems is the processes, the way resources are allocated or the way people understand — or misunderstand — their role on the team.”

Rather than single out “problem’’ individuals, companies often come at solutions with broad stroke fixes.

The most common are teambuilding exercises. For most of us, teambuilding conjures up images of spirited tugs of war, relay races and physical challenges. Now, companies are getting more creative — using charity work, gardening and even glass blowing as bonding exercises.

Emerson Process Management in Sunrise sent its office teams to cooking school to build camaraderie among co-workers. In front of mixing bowls and Bunsen burners, Magali Jarrin and her co-workers were charged with whipping up an entire meal, with each group cooking up a course such as appetizer, entrée, salad or dessert.

“We got to know our colleagues on a different level. When you get to know each other better outside the office, it reinforces communication,” says Jarrin, Organizational Development Director at Emerson Process Management.

At BGT Partners in Aventura, co-founder David Clarke has built team activities into the firm’s culture. The company holds continuous team building events that have included group karaoke, bowling and art projects. Recently, a celebrity drummer gave the entire office a group lesson. “He taught us how to be in rhythm together. By the end of the hour, we had more than a hundred people drumming to same beat.”

Clarke says he sees a noticeable return on investment. At BGT, employees work in teams on client’s digital challenges. Clarke says younger staffers, in particular, want collaboration, and to be a part of a team.

“The foundation of every team is the relationships of the individuals. People don’t work well together if they hate each other,’’ Clarke says. “If they like each other and are happy together, they will work together well.”

With 150 employees, Clarke admits he has encountered a toxic team member along the path to growth. But he’s come up with a way to learn of it sooner, rather than later — an anonymous online suggestion box where employees can submit problems, opinions, ideas and feedback. “It exposes things I otherwise wouldn’t have known about, before they fester and get toxic.”

Some employers bringing in conflict-resolution specialists or coaches to improve team dynamics. Hartley, an executive coach with Premier Leadership Coaching, says she urges team leaders to have direct conversations about expectations and how the team should perform. “It may be simplistic but it really helps.”

Still, there are times when a team manager or leader does need to address problems related to a single individual. Rather than dismiss someone as selfish or a failure and have it affect your work and home life, Hartley suggests confronting the problem without making it a personal attack. “Name the problem in a factual way and how it impacts you. Explain the pattern you observed and make a request for a correction. [Otherwise, you can] forget team building exercises.”

Some conflict among team members is good, say experts. It promotes debate and creative thinking. In a healthy team environment, the leader knows the difference. “People with their own agendas need to be addressed and that’s where the leader comes into place,” says Jarrin at Emerson. Rather than focus on changing behavior of an individual, a team leader may have to change the way he manages the team, she says.

The challenge for team leaders, much like the Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra, is understanding that a talented player isn’t always a good team member At Steven Douglas Associates, a talent search and recruitment firm in Sunrise, even the standouts have come to see the benefit of playing well together. Executive recruiter Alan Berger says sharing leads and contacts with his team members recently helped him make a significant placement with a client. “We’re all driven but we have seen the benefit in supporting each other.”

BGT’s Clarke says leaders who want to create an environment where workers are happy, and their personal lives respected, need to hire well. “It’s not about the best, but more about who is best to work together.”









The Work/Life Balancing Act

Work Life Lessons from The Office



I'm a HUGE fan of The Office television series and was really sad to see it end last week. I think most of us could find something about the inner workings of Dunder Mifflin that we can relate to: an awkward co-worker, inappropriate interoffice relationships, hurt feelings over promotions.

I think the biggest work life takeaway from the show centers on how pivotal co-workers became in each others lives. While many of us strive for work life balance, a giant part of our day is spent with co-workers. It really makes a difference when you like the people you work with. In the end, the folks in The Office were a big family — even as people came and left. Isn't that the atmosphere every workplace would want to create? I don't know about you, but my life feels more balanced when I enjoy going into work.

I want to share a link from Glamour Magazine called 13 Things The Office Gave Us. What are the work life lessons you took away from the show?



The Work/Life Balancing Act

Pearls of Wisdom from Successful Women

As I strive for work life balance, I've come to accept I can't be everywhere I want to be. Last week, I had to miss an event I was looking forward to attending for a family funeral. But fortunately, I have a wonderful community of people who I can rely on to fill me  and you in on what we miss. My guest blogger today, Dina Allende, attended The Commonwealth Institute's Top-50 Women-Led Businesses awards luncheon and shares the helpful insights she took away from the event.

Dina Allende is founder of Clique PR & Marketing in Miami and has more than 20 years experience providing public relations services to clients including those in the travel, hospitality, food & beverage and entertainment industries. 

Here are pearls of wisdom Dina gleamed from the presenters that should be useful to you: Dina Allende

As a Hispanic female entrepreneur, I work hard to make a difference, and often I find myself emulating some of the women I've come to meet through The Commonwealth Institute South Florida (TCI)comprised of women entrepreneurs and high level corporate executives.

When Donna Abood, chairman of Colliers South Florida – a real estate business – came to the podium, I didn’t think I’d have much in common with her.  Come to find out that she’s a woman who has come full circle in her industry after hitting rock bottom with the recession between 2008 and 2012.  Abood found herself having to restructure her business.  That turned out to be the biggest blessing of all, because she realized that she really loved what she was doing. She was inspired by the love and ethics of one man — her father.  He only had a high school education, but rose above it all to make something of himself.  That vision of her father reminded her “why” she was doing what she was doing. 

Like Abood, I also found myself restructuring my career during the recession, and I often focused on my parent’s achievements, particularly my father who was an American Diplomat with the U.S. Foreign Service.  As a result, I developed a passion for my career in public relations, and today, I consider my boutique agency to be one of the good ones.  During difficult times, Abood says, “remember where you came from and hold onto that, and do what makes you happy or adjust.”

By the time, Pam Swensen came around, I was feverishly taking notes.  When else would I get such great advice by so many powerful women under the same roof?  As the CEO of the Executive Women’s Golf Association, Pam has managed to take her non-profit organization to the list of Top-10 Non-Profits in Florida.  During her speech, Swensen put up a little, white golf ball and said it was a crystal ball.  She said it was a connector and opened doors.  “Knowing the game would set you apart from your competitor,” she said, “After all, golf has been widely accepted as a venue for conducting business and men have been doing it for years.”  She’s right, and that got me thinking — why not have that added skill set as part of my business repertoire. As Swensen put it – You are the CEO of your career! 

The most touching moment for me was when Jodi Cross, TCI Florida’s executive director, addressed the crowd one final time with her parting words of wisdom.  After nine years of service with TCI, Cross plans to pursue other avenues. There are three key messages that Jodi Cross gave that I will walk away with.  They may sound like a given, but more often than not, we tend to forget.  During challenging times, she said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Keep it real. Be fearless!” 

The Work/Life Balancing Act