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June 2010 Ms. CEO of the Month: Dr. Caroline von Fluegge

Posted in INSIGHT, INSPIRATION by msceonet on June 29, 2010

International upbringing prepares this family chiropractor for healing a world of people

Back-breaking thrills in her teen years led to calmer but still exciting ways to be happy

By Nadiyah M. Jett
Ms. CEO Correspondent

Dr. Caroline von Fluegge is June 2010 Ms. CEO of the Month representing the theme, Wellness & Bliss. (Click image for larger view.)

What better way to celebrate our June theme, “Wellness and Bliss,” than to go behind the scenes with one of Atlanta’s most innovative physicians, Dr. Caroline von Fluegge? At her office, Balance Atlanta Family Chiropractic, she makes sure her clients are happy and living a fulfilling life by, first, improving their health. As she dishes on her life before medicine and her love for rock music, we see why she has such a heart for her work.

With your many travels as a child, what destination inspired you the most to live an even better life? My father’s career in international business was the catalyst for our family being transferred from one city to another in Europe every few years, so traveling and experiencing new cultures has always been a part of my life since day one. Speaking multiple languages at home, meeting people of all types of backgrounds, eating foods from all over the world has given me the appreciation for diversity, history, heritage, tolerance and much more. We would spend summers in the U.S. where I would catch up on reruns of Happy Days. I’ve always had one foot here and one foot there. At the end of the day, a “better life” as you ask about is one where you are happy where you are, right here and right now.

What sport would you try that you’d consider off-the-wall? I’ve gotten a little tamer these days. I see no need to hang from fingernails, my nose 1/4 inch from a cliff, trying to scale El Capitan. There comes a point in life where being active for the sake of stress relief and keeping my body working well are the priorities, not auditions for the X Games. I miss downhill skiing, though. Adrenaline, fresh air and power snow—what a rush. One broken back in high school and one torn knee ligament years later has put this ski bunny into hibernation.

You dream of being a rock star, so if you ever get your opportunity to hop on stage, who would you most want to rock out with? Stomping around stage and belting it out with the Red Hot Chili Peppers until my face turns blue, and I collapse in a pile of blissful sweat would be cool!

Dr. Caroline von Fluegge, June 2010 Ms. CEO of the Month, shows off her bliss! (Click image for larger view.)

When you think of what’s blissful in your life, what images come to mind? The smell of Coppertone takes me back to being a kid playing on the beach with my hair clumped together like dreadlocks by salt water, juice from an overly ripe peach running down my chin and a crumpled bag of Pepperidge Farm oatmeal cookies in the bottom of my mother’s beach bag.

What is the one phrase that your parents or a family member always said that you still live by today? With regards to career, my dad’s mantra for his three daughters was something to the effect of, “Get the best education you can get, be a professional, do something you love, do something that makes a difference, do something that puts bread on the table.” The concept of “because you are a girl you can only do such and such…” is a totally foreign concept to me. It’s like having to teach George Washington about iPhones.  As a teen, my father lost his whole family as a result of WWII. With literally nothing to his name, he emigrated to New York and enrolled in Columbia University night school to get a college education while working in a bowling alley during the day to make ends meet. Perseverance is in my DNA.

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May 2010 Ms. CEO of the Month: Kitsy Rose & Melissa Hightower

Posted in INSIGHT, INSPIRATION by msceonet on May 3, 2010

Entrepreneurial publicists are like sisters in business

Fate brought them together, but it’s their friendship that makes them so solid

By Nina Hemphill Reeder
Ms. CEO Correspondent

Before Kitsy Rose started her eponymous public relations firm, she was an account executive at another local PR agency. Likewise, somewhere under the same Georgia moon, Melissa Hightower, was working as a PR and marketing manager for famed bridal designer Melissa Sweet. Whether it was the cosmos or, more likely, just the entrepreneurial spirit of the autonomous women, they both decided to go into business for themselves.

Kitsy Rose (L) and Melissa Hightower (R) are entrepreneurial publicists headquartered in Atlanta, GA, USA. Their firm, Kitsy Rose PR, works with a national roster of clients. Kitsy and Melissa are the May "Ms. CEO of the Month" feature representing the theme "Family & Friends." (click for larger view)

And while each found success independently, they were struggling to keep up with the workload on their own. Meanwhile the two had still never met; but it wasn’t until mutual friends suggested they join forces that they finally connected, uniting under Kitsy Rose PR. Now the rest is a three year history, a comprehensive client list and sister-like relationship (a bond so close that they even shared the same straw on set of our photo shoot. Now, do that with Myrtle, your coworker from accounting!)

Do you both like to travel?
Melissa: I have two kids so my travel days seem to be a little over until about 18 years from now.

Kitsy: I’m connected. I have the World Blackberry, so when I’m traveling, she can always reach me. But yeah, I’ve had great opportunities. I’ve spent time in Asia. I’ve spent time all over Europe. I love it.

What’s your favorite place?
Kitsy: Hong Kong. I would move to Hong Kong in a heartbeat. It’s like New York on speed. It’s just so crazy; there is so much fashion and so much food and just the hustle and bustle—it’s very energizing.

PR people are nonstop, always working around the clock. So is it hard when you are with family or on vacation to turn off that PR girl?
Melissa: I think when you start your own business and start your own company, you know what you are getting into—and especially in this industry. When you lay your head down on the pillow at night and you are ready to go to sleep, you still are thinking. I keep a pad under underneath my mattress and a pen on my nightstand because I brainstorm constantly. I think there is no off switch.  It is constant creativity.

Kitsy: We’ll both be on our Blackberries in bed, which isn’t great. I wake up in the middle of the night and check it and quite often send emails back at 3 and 4 in the morning, but it is also great because we are each other’s bosses. And we get to do what we are passionate about and what we love to do.

What’s your most rewarding professional moment?
Melissa:For me, it is definitely the product placement. It’s the client placements. Having [worked] three months to get them in a Marie Claire article and then there is your client with a five-page spread, it’s a really big deal. And again, it’s about the passion. You know the client is so excited, and it’s rewarding. You worked really hard, you got something great, your client is thrilled and you are thrilled. It’s not your name on that five-page spread, but you know that your relationship and contacts and your determination and persistence got that, and that is very rewarding.

Proudest personal moment:
Melissa: I have two [children], ages 3 and 4-months…I joke and I say anytime without the kids is great, but I was spending the night away from them last night and it is hard being away from them. So that’s definitely my proudest: being able to balance that and taking the time to be a mom and being able to be a career person as well.

Kitsy:For me, it’s definitely my relationship with my family—and then my friends. I’m blessed that I have friends from childhood and people that I have just met recently that I think drive me and are really good people.  They motivate me and keep me real.

What’s your most embarrassing professional moment?
Melissa: I have an embarrassing moment that is about to trump all embarrassing moments. So I’m in New York, I’m pitching editors, going from outlet to outlet, so… I have on my white dress—it’s spring…I have my SunChips and my Vitamin Water…so my hands are full and I’m going on top of the subway grate. So the subway comes under and my dress goes above my head. 

Kitsy: She pulls a Marilyn Monroe.

Melissa: I see nothing but white. And my Vitamin Water is open. I’ve got an appointment and so in that moment, I think, ‘Don’t spill the Vitamin Water on your dress.’ So I’m trying to get my stuff down, and I didn’t think to step off the subway grate [so] the wind would stop. And as soon as I stepped off, I look…and all these men are standing outside the electronic stores just smiling.

Is there something that you bought recently that you can’t wait to wear?
Kitsy: I actually just recently purchased a dress at Sandpiper, and it’s a real cute, bright, plaid, backless—I think it’s Alison + Olivia, and I’m really excited about that, but my legs need to see the sun first.

Melissa: I haven’t purchased anything recently, and I refuse to until I get all the baby weight off. I have these Marc Jacobs pants hanging in the closet and I say, ‘You will get into those.’ So I refuse to purchase at this moment.

How do you two work together?
Melissa: It’s funny because we do have different personalities, but we complement each other really well. She is very organized and very together. Somehow she’s able to balance that creativity with the organization. 

Kitsy: She calms me. But as far as work-wise, I think we have a lot of the same strengths, but [we divide things accordingly]. I love the media and the pitching. And I really like the knack of the local media; I’ve been doing it for 12 years now (you know since I was 16 of course). Melissa is really good at the branding and the national pitching, Web site content. She kind of does a little more of the marketing, and I do a lot more of the true PR.

What famous girl duo would you two compare yourselves to?
Kitsy: There is none like us. And you wouldn’t want us to sing.

What advice would you give to other friends or family members getting into business together?
Kitsy: Just really sticking to your passion and your strengths, but not being afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and break down boundaries and barriers. You can’t take no for an answer; you’ve got to go around and figure out another way.

As far as our partnership goes, we have worked together for three years, and we have had our disagreements [but] it’s how you get through the bad times. You learn to walk away and rebound from them, and you come out stronger and more connected. And we have a lot of respect for each other. And I love her.

 Melissa: Don’t cry.

Beauty for Businesswomen

Posted in INSIGHT, INSPIRATION by msceonet on March 10, 2010

Stylist quests for the perfect shade of red lipstick for every skin tone

The ultimate power color is wearable on everyone’s lips with a few insider tips

By Keizia Parks
For MSCEO.NET
  

Outfitted in my black Isaac Mizrahi trench coat and guided by a diamond encrusted compass (which doubles as a compact), I dared to set out on the ultimate mission to find the perfect red lipstick for every skin tone. While shuffling through my iPod in search of the perfect theme music, I couldn’t help but to wonder if Magellan had this same rush of adrenaline when he set out in search of the Spice Islands. Many women run in terror at the sheer thought of choosing the right red lipstick but my fearless leader, master makeup artist Regina Trawick, didn’t even blink at the challenge. Regina’s confidence is the result of more than 10 years of experience in the makeup industry.  

Andreia Longshore, an Atlanta entrepreneur, shows off her perfect shade of red lipstick.

 

The wait has been long and the stakes were high but I am the brave soul who has finally solved the mystery of “the perfect shade of red” once and for all.  

Top Tips For A Flawless Red Lip:  

  1. Before applying the lipstick of your choice begin with a liquid foundation on the lips followed by a powder foundation or blotting powder.
  2. Lips should be lined using a lip liner that is the same shade as your lipstick or a deeper shade of red. This will keep the lipstick in place and prevent the color from bleeding or running. For the appearance of fuller lips slightly outline the outer rim of your natural lip line with lip liner.
  3. Lipstick should be applied using a lipstick brush—never directly from the tube.
  4. Blot lips after the first application and reapply an additional coat of lipstick. Two coats of lipstick will give your lip color staying power.
  5. For a matte look simply leave lipstick as is or for a shiny look apply a clear gloss. Be conservative with the gloss ladies, a little goes a long way.

Women with olive and dark complexions should look for reds with a berry undertone while women with lighter or pale complexions should look for reds with more of a pink undertone.  Women with medium or light brown complexions can opt for the truest shades of red.   

Ladies your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to throw caution to the wind and wear that riveting red lipstick! But be careful it’s a dangerously fun world out there for a pair of powerful red lips.  

Keizia Parks is a beauty consultant and wardrobe stylist. She blogs at Daily Fashion Vitamin. Keizia works with women of all ethniticies and sizes to put their best face and fashion forward. Reach her at kparks@dailyfashionvitamin.com.

Driven women entrepreneurs can be more susceptible to stress and burn out

Posted in INSIGHT by msceonet on March 10, 2010

Certain personality traits put women in business at risk for health issues

How to avoid and stop the cycle of doing too much

By Alicia Ingram
For MSCEO.NET

Alicia Sable-Hunt loves her work.  

She is passionate about running Edwards-Hunt medical consulting firm while building Conneticut-based Sable’s Foods, a product line of nutritional bars for cancer patients, but Sable-Hunt says managing two companies simultaneously has left her with little time for anything else. 

Alicia Sable-Hunt experienced burn out while managing one business and building another.

“I’ve always had difficultly with work-life balance,” admitted Sable-Hunt who left her full time job in March 2007 to grow Sables Foods. While putting more time into launching her food company, she continued to serve as a consultant with her former employer and also picked up new consulting clients. 

Within months, Sable-Hunt’s 18-hour work days resulted in an emergency room visit where she was diagnosed with a severe case of burn out. At the advice of her doctor, Sable-Hunt slowed down temporarily. Within a few weeks, however, she was back at her regular pace.  

Three months later she was also back in the emergency room. 

“It was the same emergency room doctor. He grabbed my hand and said, ‘You’re heading for a heart attack and you’re going kill yourself. You have to make changes. And they have to be drastic.’ That was a wake up call.” 

According to Atlanta-based psychologist Dr. Mary Gresham, burnout among women entrepreneurs is common and best described as a state of fatigue that is often caused by prolonged stress over a period of time.   

Dr. Mary Gresham says burn out is brought on by prolonged stress and is common among women.

“The cycle comes because you don’t have good stress management routines and that’s what creates the [recurring burnout]. It’s kind of like yo-yo dieting.  You need to have a daily program,” said Gresham. 

 For Sable-Hunt and other entrepreneurs who find themselves constantly doing too much, Gresham notes that certain personality types are more at risk for burnout. The traits of such personalities  include competitiveness, detail-orientation with perfectionist tendencies and an inability to delegate. 

Despite these personality traits, Lorin Beller Blake, owner of business development firm  Big Fish Nation, in Austin, Texas, provides hope and advice for ambitious entrepreneurs seeking to avoid a constant cycle of burnout in the fast pace world of self-employment and business building. 

“There’s a way to maintain the momentum without getting caught up in the emotional energy [of feeling like you have to sacrifice everything to run your business], says Blake. “Create the space for yourself in the routines of building the business.” 

Lorin Beller Blake helps entrepreneurs, especially women, build a business without burn out.

For entrepreneurs on the road to burn out and for those recovering, Blake recommends consistently doing the following: 

  1. Take time to breathe:  “What breathing does is create space in the moment. Burnout is the lack of space — lack of thinking space, the lack of space to take care of ourselves and the lack of being conscious.”
  2. Walk away:  “Walk away from the speed at which you are functioning in order to change the tone of your day.  Take the time to incorporate the more important things so that life is more abundant. It may be working out, reading or spending time outdoors. It’s about getting yourself in a more relaxed space.”
  3. Ask for help: “Whether it’s personal or professional, having a support team is key.   Have support in the place where you’re not feeling strong and in an area of your life where you are feeling overwhelmed. Get creative in delegating and asking for help.”


Blake also notes that permanently stopping burnout requires a lifestyle change of better time management along with behavioral changes. 

As for Sable-Hunt, her permanent lifestyle adjustments remain a work in progress. Changes included relocating from Connecticut to the Gulf Coast to improve her quality of life.  She has hired a personal trainer to her help maintain a consistent exercise routine and now spends more time away from her home office. 

“I know changing my life, slowing down,  recovering from the burnout will take time and I am committed to succeeding. I have a sign hanging above my desk that says: Does it really need to be done and does it have to be done now?”

How to Recruit the Best Employees for Your Business

Posted in INSIGHT by msceonet on January 4, 2010

Knowing the ‘personality’ of your company is first step to stellar staffing

Selecting instead of hiring should be driving strategy

By Felicia Joy
Senior Correspondent

Roberta Chinsky Matuson, a nationally renowned strategic human resources specialist has two words for business owners who are hiring: Be selective.  “So many times business owners have the attitude that they just want to get it over with so they think of a job title, put out a generic position announcement and hire the first person who seems to fit,” Matuson said.  “This is hiring but what they need to be doing is selecting,” Matuson said.  “Big difference.”

Roberta Chinsky Matuson

Matuson says selecting candidates—rather than simply hiring them—begins with understanding the personality of your company.  “What kind of organization do you have?  Is your business a place where people need to be very independent and able to work with little direction and supervision, or is it a highly collaborative environment, like an IT firm, where people are constantly working together in teams?”  She says identifying the traits of your organization is crucial to hiring people who will survive and thrive at your company.  If you have employees now, Matuson says, “Ask yourself, what do my best performing employees have in common?” If you do not have employees, she says describe the kind of person you think you’d like to have and start from there.

After compiling a list of the traits a person must have to work at your company, define the traits needed for the specific position.  “You don’t have to analyze every single trait of each candidate but you do need to develop a list of critical traits—absolute personality must-haves—that the person must possess if they are to be hired,” Matuson said.  “For example, I must have a detail-oriented accountant. In that job, one number off can ruin everything so I will not hire an accountant unless they are detail-oriented.  On the other hand, I do not want a detail-oriented sales person.  I need them to be people-oriented so they can go out and sell, sell, sell and bring in the business.  We’ll get someone else to crunch the numbers and do paperwork,” she said.  “So develop the list of nice-to-have traits and the list of must-have traits and be sure the person you are hiring has every trait you’ve listed under ‘must have’ for the best results,” Matuson said.

Analyzing and listing traits of your company and each position for which you are hiring sounds time consuming, right?  Matuson concedes that it is, but only initially.  “You only have to develop the traits profile of your company one time and then develop them for each position and you’re done,” she said.  “You can use those profiles over and over and since they are written down any one in the company can then help with hiring,” she said. 

Matuson says learning how to do behavioral interviewing will ensure you hire the right person and don’t have to bear the time and expense of re-staffing.  “Behavioral interviewing is based on the idea that the best indicator of future behavior is prior behavior so you want to get specific examples of what each candidate has done in the past to determine if they have the traits you are looking for,” she said.  “You have to stick to your list and rely on strong interviewing to make sure they are not just saying they are a certain way, when they aren’t.  Also, don’t think you can change a person’s traits.  Their personality and approach to things was developed in the sandbox when they were young so it’s not going to change.”

Matuson’s firm, Human Resource Solutions, is developing a new e-book, Selecting for Success, to help small business owners and busy entrepreneurs make the most of the hiring process.

How to Sell Your Business: Begin with the End in Mind

Posted in INSIGHT by msceonet on January 4, 2010

How to prepare your business now for a successful exit later

Looking at your company with the eye of a buyer is key to building value

By Felicia Joy
Senior Correspondent

“Buyers of a business are buying revenue so your books need to be very clear in terms of what money came in and what money was spent,” said Vicki Donlan, a former small business owner who sold her newspaper publishing company to a major media outlet for a lucrative cash payout in 2004. Donlan is now a business broker, helping others sell their businesses or think through what will be required to successfully do so one day.

Vicki Donlan

Although the idea of exiting a traditional career is quite commonplace with the word “retirement” being batted around all the time, Donlan says for some reason some people—particularly some women she has worked with—think exiting or selling a business is failure.

“I don’t know why some people think of it that way but it’s not failure. Selling your business is a great success. It means your business is doing well enough to be considered valuable by someone else and being able to sell it will allow you to reap the rewards of all the work you’ve done over the years,” she said.

Donlan stresses that you should plan for the sell of your business from the early days—or at least as soon as the thought of not doing business crosses your mind. “It can be quite a long process and it’s not one that you want to wait to start when you are already feeling like you want to retire or take a break,” Donlan said.  “It can take 6-9 months or longer to sell a business and if you’re rearing to exit that will be far longer than you’ll want to stick around.  Not to mention the fact that the new owners may require you to consult for a period of time as a condition of the sale,” Donlan said.

In addition to beginning and building your business with an exit in mind, Donlan says the three keys to successfully selling your business are:

  1. Keeping good books.  “You need to itemize all income and every expense.  If you use business revenues for personal expenses your records and files need to clearly indicate that.  Potential buyers are not the IRS so they’re not looking at your books from that critical perspective.  They want to see your business cashflow; they’re looking for revenues.”
  2. Hiring great advisors.  “Get outside professionals to work with you.  You want to take the emotion out of the equation.  You don’t need your mom, sister, cousin or uncle who happen to be attorneys or business advisors involved.  This is not to say they are not talented or competent, but involving people with personal connections to you can potentially complicate the process by adding emotion.  Keep the emotion out.”
  3. Maintaining a professional relationship with employees.  “Your employees may not understand your desire to sell your company.  To them this may indicate that something is wrong when in fact things couldn’t be better.  Keep a healthy distance between you and your employees throughout the life of your business.  At the end of the day, your employees are most interested in how changes in the business affect them—and when you are preparing for a sale or going through the actual process, employees may not see that as beneficial to them, although many times it is.  It was in my business.”

(Listen to Vicki Donlan discuss more about how to sell your business.)