Attendees: What to Expect from the Virtual Pennsylvania Conference for Women

virtual PA CFW keynote slider featuring Viola Davis, Tara Westover, and Iyanla VanzantWe’re two weeks out from the first-ever Virtual Pennsylvania Conference for Women on November 11th, and we’re busy putting finishing touches on a program that will help you feel inspired, empowered, and connected!Keep an eye out for our emails over the next two weeks—they’ll contain important information about how to participate in this year’s conference, including your unique login.For now, here is an overview of what’s in store this year: (more…)

Negotiation Tips That Work for Women

Margaret-Neale-220x300Compared to men, women tend to be less successful at negotiating— especially compensation—not because we’re bad at it. But because “we simply don’t do it,” says Margaret Ann Neale, the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business and author of Getting (More of) What You Want. “We’re socialized to want to be liked, and when we negotiate, we’re perceived as being demanding, greedy and not nice.”

Studies have shown that’s true even if women follow the exact same script that men use. “We’ve all drunk the same social Kool-Aid, so it’s women as well as men who penalize women for asking for more,” Neale notes.

But when you’re open to negotiating, you’ll see that more things in life that you consider unchangeable—at work and at home—can actually be transformed into opportunities to get more of what you want. Use your leverage and be more effective with these five tips from Neale:

#1 Reframe how you think about negotiation. “Move away from thinking of it as a battle,” Neale says, “to thinking of it as an opportunity for problem-solving.” When you expect a fight, you’ll behave in ways that ensure one. “Your body language and your responses will likely encourage a fight as you filter your counterpart’s words and interpret his or her actions through the lens of a battle,” Neale adds. But when you come to the table to help find a solution, the other person isn’t forced to take “the other side,” and together you can reach an agreement that makes you better off.

#2 Raise your expectations. After all, if you don’t think you can improve the status quo by much, you won’t be motivated to enter a discussion. “It’s always easier not to negotiate, so when it comes to pay in particular, it’s important not to underestimate your worth,” Neale adds. Also, keep in mind that salary is just one component of your compensation. More vacation days, the flexibility to work from home, specific resources—they’re all possibilities that up the ante.

#3 Prepare a package of proposals. Come with just a single issue, and there can be only one winner and one loser. “You need to take the time to put together a set of proposals of things that you really want and figure out what is reasonable, what is optimistic and what you will walk away from,” says Neale, who notes that preparation is so important that it takes up two chapters in her new book. “And then pair your asks with solutions to a concern of your counterpart.” For example, when Neale negotiated to join the Stanford faculty, she presented a list of resources—a lab, doctoral student support, administrative support, etc.—that would help her do her job well and help Stanford to stand out.

#4 Tap into your superpower. “When women are negotiating on behalf of others, they are lions,” Neale says. In fact, women do 14% to 22% better than men in mock negotiations when they are representing other people. So when you’re getting negative pushback, especially over salary, don’t think that it’s just your interests on the line. Instead, “think that you’re doing it for all the other women who will come after you—your daughters, your granddaughters, your female friends,” Neale recommends.

#5 Seize opportunities. The best time to make an ask of a superior? Possibly when your boss is having a bad hair day. Definitely hold off on asking for a promotion if he or she is just back from the hairdresser or is wearing a spiffy new suit. Neale’s research found that the more attractive a man or woman feels, the more likely they are to believe that the status quo—specifically, people’s positions—are as they should be. Spinach in your boss’s teeth? Tell her, then dust off that wishlist!


Small Attitude Changes, Big Money Impact
Best Reads for Staying on Top of Every Industry
About Face: Taking Your Career in a New Direction
Career Advice You Can Bank on

Posted in blog, Speaker Articles, Communication Skills

About Face: Taking Your Career in a New Direction

PA_QVC2_-Nestor-230x300Featuring Antonella Nester, QVC Program Host, and Jennifer Ghazzouli, Director, Talent Acquisition & Strategy, QVC, Inc.

“Mom! You will never guess who I’m standing with… Joan Rivers!”

That was a phone call Antonella Nester never imagined she would make. She had finally landed her plum job as a QVC program host, a dream she had carried in her heart for years. “I remember sneaking out of my bedroom as a little girl to watch Joan on The Tonight Show and thinking, One day I want to do a show with her,” says Antonella, who has been a QVC program host since 2004. “I never thought my wish would come true! Every day of my first year on the job, I was constantly pinching myself. And it’s all because I took a chance and followed my heart.”

It’s an inspirational story for anyone who has a career dream, but Antonella’s path didn’t come without hurdles. Not long before her star-struck moment on QVC, she was working as a medical technologist at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camphill. The first in her family to be born in the U.S, Antonella is the daughter of a barber and a seamstress. They made sure she and her three sisters attended college, and were thrilled when Antonella joined the medical field. “I loved it, but if you ever asked me what I wanted to do, I would say ‘be an actress.’ My parents didn’t think that was a stable career choice and I was crushed.”

Despite her success, Antonella decided to leave behind her well-established career of 17 years to take a leap of faith. A fan of QVC since 1988, she attended open auditions in 2000 and 2002 but was passed over. “My friends were quick to point out that I had no sales, television or business experience.” Still, she was undaunted, and on her third attempt, in 2004 during QVC’s America’s Host Search, Antonella’s down-to-earth, engaging style dazzled the producers and she secured her dream job.

“Believe it or not, the contract sat on the mantel for two weeks before I signed it,” Antonella recalls. “I was thrilled to be offered the position, but the fear of letting my family down loomed over me—we would have to sell our house, move everything and leave friends, family and school. But once we made the decision as a family, I would come home from work and watch my shows, watch other hosts and study them for hours. I would get on the Internet for hours studying our products, not because I had to, but because I loved it.”

She adds: “What I’ve learned is that you can’t always get a degree for the passion that burns in your belly. You have to just go after it and not let anyone tell you that you can’t. Jump in with both feet, work hard and run your own race.”

Is a Career Change on Your Horizon?

Perhaps you are at a crossroads in your career, need a change because of a new life situation or are facing a transition with your current employer. Whether you hope to make a big change or just a tweak, the right move can do wonders for career rejuvenation and life balance. But how do you know if change is in the air?

PA_QVC1_-Ghazzouli-230x300“One sure sign that change is looming is that you feel you are less engaged in your current situation,” says Jennifer Ghazzouli, director of talent acquisition and strategy at QVC. “You may no longer be in sync with your peers or leadership. Your assignments may lack challenge or you find the pace of work is the wrong fit.” But before you jump, Jennifer recommends considering these four steps to set you on the right path forward:

  1. Determine what you want to accomplish from the transition—a different environment or industry, more money, greater challenge, increased flexibility, less stress, etc.
  2. Strive for balance. When one segment of your life is unaligned, it affects all others.
  3. Do what’s right for you. “It’s important to recognize and respect your values and personal goals and seek an environment, culture and people that align with yours,” Jennifer adds.
  4. Know your strengths (and weaknesses). Understand how those abilities fit into job opportunities. “For instance, I know I’m an analytical person, and even though I admire creative people, I am aware that I would not thrive in a position where I would be putting my creative skills to the test on a daily basis,” Jennifer explains.

Charting Your New Path Forward

“Change doesn’t always have to come in the form of leaving your current employer,” Jennifer says. “Often, seeking a new position within your company can keep your career fresh and exciting.” After all, a well-balanced career path typically will have peaks and spikes with an occasional lateral move to learn a new skill or broaden one’s leadership experience. As your new path unfolds, she recommends keeping the following in mind:

  • Do your research. Today, a wealth of information is available online, but there’s nothing better than building real relationships with people within the company.
  • Hone the skills you will need. It’s worth having a conversation with a team leader to learn their needs and the necessary skills to succeed.
  • Be able to articulate your strengths and how they align with the new role.
  • Leverage your mentor. If you don’t have one, get one!
  • Choose an industry with a future.
  • Join networking groups, whether they are virtual like LinkedIn, or meet-up groups and industry organizations. Consider groups outside your industry circle to broaden your horizons.

“Keep in mind that career change is a process that can take time, but if you do your homework, and stay true to your values and life goals, career change can be an exhilarating and fulfilling experience,” Jennifer adds.

Sponsored by:

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Negotiation Tips That Work for Women
Small Attitude Changes, Big Money Impact
Career Advice You Can Bank on
Best Reads for Staying on Top of Every Industry

Posted in blog, Speaker Articles, Career Choices

‘It’s Your Career—Own It’

Debra-BassFeaturing Debra Bass, President, Baby Global Franchise Organization, Johnson & Johnson

At Johnson & Johnson, ranked on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list and named a “2014 Top 50 Company for Executive Women” by the National Association for Women Executives, company-wide efforts such as our “Women’s Leadership Initiative” (WLI) help to develop and support women throughout their careers. Debra Bass, president of the baby global franchise organization, has held varied marketing positions within and outside of Johnson & Johnson, spanning a number of industries and brands. Debra is also on the global steering committee for WLI and leads chapter engagement activities. Below, she shares her thoughts on career planning and the challenges she has faced during her career journey.

Taking Charge of Your Career

“Quite simply, no one else can shape your future like you can. As an employee, you need to plan your career and not expect your management to do it for you. It’s also critical that you be very deliberate about what you want, how you want to shape your personal brand and how you will navigate the specific journey to achieve your goals. It’s your career—own it and be deliberate about it.”

Challenges I Personally Faced

“The first challenge was clearly defining my mission. At a certain point in my career, I realized strategic marketing is where I brought the greatest value and what I was most passionate about, so I took action and decided to major in strategic marketing. Until that point, I felt that I was fumbling around with different general management roles in different industries, not really sure of what I wanted and how to get there. Once I declared what I wanted, it was easier to map my career route and stay focused on the end goal.
The second challenge that I, along with many women, face is work/life integration. I’m in a dual career working household: My husband has a career, and we have a 13-year old and an 11-year old. I’ve made peace with the fact that it is not all going to be perfect, but it is all going to work.”

The Importance of Company Support

“At Johnson & Johnson, my immediate management, mentors, sponsors and the HR community have all been very helpful, primarily by listening to—and valuing—my goals. I am very fortunate to have had a variety of different work experiences, which I helped make happen with support from the company, by declaring what I wanted.

“I started my career at Johnson & Johnson in North America consumer line marketing. After a short time away, I came back, but this time spent six years in the medical device business. At the time, senior leadership supported bringing in a traditional consumer-trained marketer to medical devices because they wanted classical marketing skills as they looked to build new capabilities and brands in the medical device space. Ultimately, the company took a risk and hired me even though I did not have experience in that particular business. I took myself out of my own comfort zone, too, but was confident in the skills I had acquired as a strategic marketer, and I knew I was joining an environment that valued me and would support me in the transition. I learned a lot from that, and am a better marketer because of it. Later, my leadership supported me when I made my way back to the consumer business, which is where I currently sit in the global franchise organization.”

My Career Advice

“Be clear and deliberate in what you want, what you are good at and what you are passionate about. Then do the work and go for it! Surround yourself with people who will support you on the journey, and enjoy the ride.”

Sponsored by:



Posted in Speaker Articles, Job Advancement

Office Diplomacy: When Personalities Clash

Heen-SheilaEver work with someone passive aggressive? Thin-skinned? A shouter? Unless you’re the cameraperson who films melting glaciers for Nat Geo TV, you probably know how frustrating—sometimes even maddening—it can be to deal with a difficult personality. “It’s challenging if it’s your boss, of course, because you feel constrained by what you can say or do,” says Sheila Heen, a faculty member at Harvard Law School and co-author of Thanks for the Feedback. “But it can be just as hard for managers, since having authority over people doesn’t mean you have the power to make them change.”

‘Person’ Pet Peeve

Often the personality who most pushes your buttons is the one who’s least like you. For Heen, that’s the type who cast themselves as victims. “I try to be empathetic, but I can become impatient,” Heen says. It’s natural to want to tell them how they’re contributing to the situation, “but in the moment, they just want an audience—not problem-solving advice,” Heen says. She has found that in this case, as in most others, a more effective strategy is to talk to the person later. “Say that you have ideas for how he could have more control over the situation, if he is interested,” Heen says. “The key is to leave it as an open invitation, so that he comes to you when he’s ready to do something to improve the situation.”

Conflict-Avoidance Advice

The more you understand a person, the better you can relate. Here’s Heen’s take on six difficult types you’re likely to encounter as a boss, colleague or underling:

The thin-skinned “Being highly sensitive to feedback is just the way some people are wired,” says Heen. “It’s like being tall or short—they can’t help it.” Her recommendation is to have a conversation with the person. “Say that you were surprised by how upset she seemed last time and ask her to coach you on how to offer suggestions to her when you have them,” Heen says. “She may say she agreed with your comments and was just mad at herself or that you made them in front her boss—whatever she says, you’ll learn a lot.”

The perfectionist “The challenge with this type is that they have one standard of expectations for any given task, and it requires their 110 percent,” Heen says. Her advice: When giving that person an assignment, be specific—“I just want the quick and dirty, so don’t spend more than 10 minutes on this.” If it’s your boss, ask for direction: “I can pull this together by tomorrow if you want a rough outline, or I can give you something polished and more final by Friday—what’s your preference?”

The passive aggressive This personality doesn’t know that what they’re really thinking or feeling is leaking out, so the best way to engage with them is to call them out on their snarkiness. Just say, “I sense that you’re frustrated, so tell me why,” Heen recommends. They may respond with relief—“Really? I can tell you how I feel?”—or they may give you a knee-jerk denial. “In that case, the goal is just to plant the seed that you welcome their input, and hopefully over time, with your encouragement, they’ll see that they can talk freely with you,” Heen adds.

The blamer This is actually a more angry version of the victim, Heen says. The type just doesn’t see his role in the problem, and simply blames others for his missed deadlines. So, again, the solution is to keep helping him see what he has some control over—“If Jane didn’t respond to your email with what you needed, you should pick up the phone.” If he’s still throwing down excuses for blowing through deadlines, you could bring the whole team together—or put in a request—to discuss what everyone, including the blamer, is contributing to the problem and needs to do differently to get a different outcome.

The shouter Point out to this person that she’s yelling, and she’ll probably say the circumstances call for it. She won’t think it’s what she does all the time because she really can’t hear herself. “The part of the brain that’s dedicated to hearing language—both meaning and tone—turns off when you talk, which is why it’s surprising to hear a recording of yourself,” Heen explains. If it’s a colleague or underling, you could, in the spirit of helping her, offer to record her the next time she raises her voice so she can hear herself. Or if it’s your boss, you could tell her that she’ll get a better response from you if she lowers the heat.

The gossip Though this type is just looking for attention, it’s important to stop his behavior because it poisons the office. Change the subject or gently suggest that the damning rumor he’s repeating may not be the whole story. But if you’re going to say something more pointed, Heen advises doing so in private. “Make the observation that you’re worried about the impact of feeding the rumor mill, and that it makes you wonder sometimes what’s being said when you’re not around,” Heen says. The person may then go tell his allies what you said—but they may, in turn, tell him they agree.

Sheila Heen will be leading the sessions, “Understanding the Science and Art of Receiving Feedback to Negotiate What Matters Most” and “Pioneering Pay Equity: Strategies to Bridge the Gap, Own Your Value and Negotiate Your Worth,” at the 2015 Pennsylvania Conference for Women.

Posted in Speaker Articles, Communication Skills

Yes, You Can Go on Vacation—and Actually Not Work!

Wendy-WallbridgeVacation is great in theory. In practice, many of us find ourselves doing work, thinking about work or answering emails. That’s if we even manage to take time off. Last year, 41% of Americans didn’t even take a day for themselves, according to travel site Skift.

But vacations are an essential break from the daily grind. “When you never unplug, you lose touch with yourself and what’s important to you, and your broader, wiser perspective—and that’s when burnout starts to set in,” says Wendy Wallbridge, an executive coach and author of Spiraling Upward: The 5 Co-Creative Powers for Women on the Rise. Here’s how to go on vacation, and enjoy it, too.

Pen—Don’t Pencil—It In

Scheduling a vacation can seem unthinkable when you’re too busy to check the weather, let alone plane and hotel fares. But once you take the time to look at your calendar, figure out when your work cycle is on the ebb, coordinate the dates with your coworkers and get your boss’s approval—buy your tickets right away and tell your boss that you did so. “If you put money down, you and your boss are less likely to turn back or forget those dates are blocked out for you to be out of the office,” Wallbridge says.

Pay It Forward

To get out ahead enough to be away for several days, you may have to put in some long nights or working weekends. It may seem a daunting price to pay, but you won’t regret it once you’re over the hump. If you’re worried about work piling up while you’re gone—or if you simply have too much to do before you leave—consider delegating some of it. “Find colleagues you have helped or for whom you can return the favor when they go on vacation,” Wallbridge suggests. “Or you could make this an opportunity for someone junior who reports to you and give her first crack at something you would normally handle.”

Last-Day Checklist

So you can go with an unencumbered conscience, Wallbridge recommends making sure you do these three things before you leave:

  1. Send a status update to your boss and any people who’ll be covering for you, so they know where everything stands.
  2. Create a backup plan for anything that might suck you back into work if it goes wrong, and share it with everyone who is affected by it.
  3. Tell your team how accessible you’ll be by phone while you’re away and when you’ll be checking email (see below), and inform everyone outside the company of this via your outgoing voicemail message and automatic vacation email reply.

The Email Exception

Ideally, you won’t open your email at all when on vacation, but Blackberries aren’t called “crackberries” for nothing. “People also check email for peace of mind,” Wallbridge notes. So she recommends what a client of hers does: “If you have to check your email, do it only twice a day, at a set time in the morning and in the afternoon, and never respond unless it’s a true emergency.”

Reboot with Mini-Breaks Every Day

You need several consecutive days to unwind and replenish your energy and creativity, but that’s on top of “a daily practice of silence or me-time, when you disconnect from technology and connect with your inner wisdom,” Wallbridge says. “Women tend to discover their path as they go along, rather than follow a prescribed one, and they can only know what the next right thing for them is if they take the time to hear themselves think and breathe.”

Wendy Wallbridge will be speaking on the panel, “Reviving a Stalled Career,” at the 2015 Pennsylvania Conference for Women.

Posted in Speaker Articles, Goals & Priorities

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