Our Beloved Sweet & Sour Moms Came To Us with the Winds of March

 

 

March is ending. A year of our new reality in the books. To say that this has been a year of extremes is an, well an extreme understatement. The list of lessons and losses is long and sometimes too hard to even process. Optimism is often hard to come by. 

 

Still, we have our families and friends – even from a distance. And, one remarkable thing, a gift from the chaos and rubble are new friends, to be specific new foodie friends. 

 

Sarah Bramlett

 

I met Sarah through time on Clubhouse. There, in the Food & Beverage Magazine rooms, I was drawn to her creativity and her endless spirit and energy. Her cakes and her creativity were just the light we needed, and we had to share.  

Stacie Billis Megan Spawn

I met Meghan and Stacie through an article I wrote for InStyle Magazine. Meghan was one smart and innovative cookie. Stacie was her soul sister, DIJFY Podcast co-host and equally effervescent partner in crime. These two have stolen my heart. 

Chasity Pritchett

I met Chastity through Clubhouse – again thank you Food & Beverage Magazine. This Virginia based entrepreneur is building her way to a new, fabulous place in the olive oil world. My hope is to keep learning about her craft and to meet her IRL in the not too distant future! Savory and so spectacular! 

Megan Day

Finally — BBQ. Wow, meeting Burnt Fingers’ fearless leader Megan has brought new energy and pep to my step. A mother, a pitmaster and a woman who knows who she is and where she is going. When we first crossed paths on Clubhouse, we were in a Food & Beverage Magazine room – I knew I needed to know more. And of course, share it with my It’s Working Project Family. 

 

So now you know — our beloved Sweet & Sour Moms came to us with the winds of March. What an absolute treat!

 

Stay tuned – April promises a month of Super-Star Moms…entrepreneurs who have bloomed into bold successes, shining as far as the eye can see!

How to Find Your Mentor

 

I have been spending a great deal of time getting to know the world of ClubHouse. What a remarkable universe of engaged souls!  On Friday afternoons (3pm EST) I host a room that is focused on a topic quite near and dear to me:  Mentors, Role Models and Finding Your People.

This room is joy. And a lot of fun. 

There is very much to learn and consider. Here are my big takeaways for successfully being and/or finding a mentor

  • Chemistry is Real. Fall for what you feel. We all have instinct – pay attention not only to the intellectual drivers but also emotional. Do you feel comfortable? Familiar? 
  • Mentors are not only older and wiser – that is an old model. Be open-minded when connecting with mentors –  they are often younger and offer new points of view. Remain open to finding the support you need from those who have different perspectives, skills and experiences. 
  • Be Generous. While of course, maintaining your boundaries is important, being open and kind is equally essential. There is no quid pro quo – nor should there be. Think of the relationship as mutually beneficial and act the same. 
  • Tend to your mentor or mentee relationship. It is critical not to be in the favor business. Mentoring is bigger and bolder than just transactional. It is about exposure, learning, ideating and care. When my mentee hits a homerun my excitement is palpable. It is remarkably satisfying to see her success. Share the feelings – good and bad. 
  • Honesty is worth its weight in gold. Candor between mentor and mentee is essential. Sugarcoating is a waste of time for you both. Use your skills to promote growth and resiliency in your mentee. 

 

If you’d like to find me – @TheJuliaBeck – I would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Meet our Partner – Sandy Abrams, Founder of C.E.Om and Author of Breathe to Succeed

 

Before I took a keystroke, or even began to think about the effervescent Sandy Abrams, I took time to breathe. It is later in the day, and not my “prime time” and (thankfully!) through Sandy I have learned how to harness my energy and my creativity even as the day begins to turn to evening. So three fabulous, slow exhales later, I think I am ready to tell you about my friend and a great source of inspiration to me for nearly 20 years – the remarkable Sandy Abrams. 

 

We first met in the suburbs of Washington, DC. We had young children. We drove in circles – from preschool to activities and home again. I was launching a business, she was years ahead of me. She was open, generous and energetic with her time and knowledge. She still is. 

 

Since those days many things have changed. Our children are older. Sandy and her family have moved to California. She has become a woman of peaceful note —  a dedicated contributor who gets the biggest, most holistic picture. Her ability to bring a sense of connection and authentic care to one’s self is a coveted, attainable value – and this has captured the attention of many – from Oprah to wellness curators across the globe. She can be found at wellness retreats, company gatherings and if you are truly lucky, taking the time to simply be present together. They know what I am about to share with you — Sandy is the real deal. 

 

Her latest book, Breathe to Succeed is the latest in her C.E.Om brand. She is all about taking charge mindfully. Sandy teaches how as she shares her insights and intelligence with love and care. Beyond books, Sandy also keeps the door open for time with those looking to dig deeper. Sandy currently leads “Breathe to Succeed”  “Beverages & Breath” Workshops, 1:1 customized Breath & Mindset training for entrepreneurs, leaders, teams/employees and executives.

 

I feel so strongly that these skills are true, much-needed gifts to new mothers. There are so many moments of new and really of all motherhood that feel isolated, where confidence is just missing and when being the one in charge is heavy and daunting. When Sandy says Breathe to Succeed she is speaking to parents of all ages and stages. Remembering of course, success is however we define it, she equips women with the tools they need to parent not only the next generation but themselves as well. 

 

Read on, Breathe on and feel as fortunate as I do for Sandy and her stunning, boundless  energy leading the way. 

 

 

Meet our Partner – Heidi Raunch, Co-Founder of Belabumbum

 

Heidi Rauch is about as authentically interested in and deeply committed to the well-being of expectant and new mothers as they come. Since 2002, Belabumbum has made responsibly sourced products designed to soothe and nurture a woman through her maternal journey. From pregnancy into motherhood – Belabumbum is an expression of much needed TLC. Belabumbum cares, nurtures and loves the new mother at a moment when cooing at new baby is the main event. The brand is all about reminding Moms to care for themselves. It is my favorite gift to give — one which tells the new mother that you see her, and want to send some love her way. To be candid — I still wear Belabumbum- the fabrics are that good, the cuts that kind and nothing is better for lounging, napping or the elusive good night’s sleep! 

 

Another reason to love Belabumbum is supply chain based. This means paying close attention to the whole of the manufacturing, distribution and promotional process. Since their start, Belabumbum has prioritized fairness and care along their supply chain and remained committed to promoting women’s well-being – from the woman who bastes those first stitches, to the mom who is anxiously awaiting her new baby

 

As long as I have known Heidi (which lucky for me is decades!) I have been impressed by her dedication and drive. All in the name of mother. She has been a friend to me and The It’s Working Project — including us in her mission through the years. We have enjoyed a remarkably synergistic relationship which has ranged from dog walks to biggest thinking, strategic planning and everything in between. All in the name of women everywhere. 

 

Recently Belabumbum grew, joining forces with Adore Me, the disruptive lingerie e-commerce company known for their inclusive size range and commitment to promoting inner confidence for all women – not a bad duo!

 

Now, with the new and expanded Belabumbum nearly anything is possible. I cannot wait to see what Heidi dreams up next.

 

 

 

Meet our Partner – Ashley Connell, CEO and Founder of the Prowess Project

 

Prowess Project CEO and Founder, Ashley Connell is big on the “F word” — in fact I don’t think I’ve had a conversion with her in which she does not bring and keep Flexibility front and center. She, having built the Prowess Project from the ground up, has been long focused on best practices for elevating and empowering women in an ever-evolving workplace. The punch line — Flexibility, the essential trait that is redefining the workplace in the days of Covid was where prowess began. 

 

Understanding that one size simply does not fit all (again, big news to those making sense of Covid-19 but a core, long-standing belief of the Prowess Project) has allowed Ashley not only to build intimate cohorts of up to five women to elevate skills and insights, she then feeds graduates of each cohort into robust communities – connecting members in ways that empower and build confidence. 

 

Sounds good, no? It is. And then there is the role she plays with employers. Ashley is in just the right place at the right time. Prowess Project is able to bring employers up to full speed in their recruitment and even more key at the moment, in their retention process.  This by identifying both need and cultural fit. New and nothing short of a much needed game changer, women find their best fit while employers grow to be more adept and yes, flexible. And as the Pandemic continues on – Prowess Project’s services have expanded to help fortify private sector efforts.

 

Ashley considers herself part conductor (so many moving parts in her orchestra) and part innovator (offering a new, ever-evolving approach that nimbly meets needs on all sides of the table). She loves how she spends her days and the impact she is able to make on an on-going basis. And she should. 

 

When I think of her, I think of a dedicated, motivated woman with the determination to connect in new ways and the smarts to be in the right place at the right time. She is, as her website shares a driving force :

 

At Prowess Project, we drive progress.  In companies, by providing flexible talent and in women’s lives, by providing more options so they can have it all – fulfilling work and time for family.

 

By the time this is published, more days of the Pandemic will have passed. And the further down this uncertain road we go, the more Ashely’s driving and vision make obvious sense. Workplaces are newly redefining and open to finding ways to remain both productive and populated by just the right employees – altering workplace function, expectations and definitions well into the future. This involves employees being able to describe what they need and define how it is not a risk. And this, well this is the “F-word”! Thank you Ashley!

 

 

 

 

Why Do We Do What We Do and Will You Do it Too?

 

These are head spinning days. With each day come new complexities and challenges. We are up to the task. Still, the It’s Working Project cannot help but wonder, what toll is getting through another day taking on men, women, children, employers, businesses and our ability to feel connected to our best selves?

 

So we continue to ask you to share your stories with us. And now (drumroll) – we have expanded our queries to include the myriad of impacts of Covid-19. Please join us, share your story and help make the Portrait Project much more personal.

 

Why?

Care.com’s recent survey summary reminds us of the realities of our world, and it is not pretty.

Almost 70% of mothers are in the labor force, and about 42% of mothers are the sole or primary breadwinners in their homes3. In 2018, the labor force participation rate for all women with children under age 18 was 71.5% (for men, it was 93.3%4). That’s to say nothing of the 17.7 million individuals in the United States who are caregivers for an older adult with a health or functional limitation.

And now we know how quickly and dramatically the composition of our American workforce is changing as a result of the Pandemic. According to Women in the Workplace, Mercer & LeanIn’s most recent and rattling report, Covid-19 is impacting the lives of employees, causing struggles without an obvious elixir.  

The Covid-19 crisis has been extremely difficult for employees. Several challenges loom large, including childcare and homeschooling responsibilities, mental health, and burnout. Many employees feel like they need to be “always on”—available for work at all hours of the day. And a significant number of employees are worried about layoffs, furloughs, and financial insecurity.

Taken together, these challenges paint a picture of a workforce that is dealing with unsustainable pressure and anxiety. Almost half of employees say they have consistently felt stressed at work over the past few months, and about a third report feeling exhausted or burned out. For working parents—and working mothers in particular—those burdens are even heavier.

Join Us, Please! 

And here we are, The It’s Working Project — playing our part, doing our very best to ask and listen to the new realities of the American work and campus place. Our goal, as always, is to bring life to the data. To gather and share stories in compelling, personal ways — to move from data to experience – bringing life to the harsh realities and family-centric experiences to life.