Jul
16

Gutsy Gals face setbacks at all ages. One of the more challenging times to confront significant challenge is when we're just launching ourselves into our professional lives. How do we push forward, drive our own destiny, when we're still in the process of formulating our vision? When we don't have years of experience to fall back on? We asked millennial generation fashion blogger Amanda Sater to share her story.

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When I graduated from college in 2012, I was keen on snagging a magazine job in New York City. Fashion had always been my interest, I can remember filling a sketchbook with clothing designs when I was eight, and I had the internships under my belt to prove my worth. It didn’t matter that I was a millennial, notorious for being lazy and self-centered; I had the ambition to destroy those stereotypes.

None of that mattered. My 50+ connections and weekly interviews still couldn’t help me break into the field. At first I heard, “Well, you don’t have New York experience.” Then it became, “I’m sorry, you’re great, but we went with a candidate from inside.”  I struggled for a year and eventually picked up a job as a personal assistant. At first I was excited by the opportunity, and relieved to finally be working. But before long I was miserable. Suddenly, I saw in my future a life in a tiny apartment with three cats, and that terrified me. Under the impression that the only way I could work in fashion was by taking the road every other fashion maven took --  working in fashion magazines or PR in New York --  I thought I was going to fail at achieving my dreams only a year out of the gate.

I think the worst part about it was that, even after landing a full-time position in New York, I had so wildly glamorized it in my mind that the reality of what the position was, and what many positions like it are, was a pretty big blow. That’s when I realized that being happy, inside and outside of work, was the most important thing to reach for. No job in the world is worth anything unless I was happy being there.

That’s when I was given an opportunity to leave New York and move back to Florida. The promise of a full-time job, an apartment I could actually breathe in and a life surrounded by my friends and family beckoned me back. It definitely didn’t hurt that Miami’s fashion industry was starting to really pick up. Two months after returning I launched my personal style blog, The Luxe Lion.

Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to partner with some amazing boutiques and companies, most recently the new Gap in Miami Beach. Blogging has allowed me to do what I love, and I realized that I thrive when I have to hold myself accountable to the success or failure of my site. While I have to juggle my day job with my blog and make the time to attend events in Miami so I can get my face out there, being a fashion blogger is a never-ending growth process. I’ve even found that I enjoy the productivity of editing photos late into the night far more than watching TV, which used to be my nightly ritual.

Every day I am so glad I went down the road less-traveled, instead of down the well-worn path in Manhattan. In the coming years I hope the quality of my work only improves, and I’d love to meet more people within the world of Miami fashion.


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Amanda Sater can be found blogging on http://theluxelion.blogspot.com/. A graduate of University of Florida, she works for Zimmerman Advertising Agency, and lives in Delray Beach Florida.

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Jul
09

A challenge many of us have faced is the loss or downsizing of a job. In 2010 I wrote an article for my Colunm Her Way at the Pacific Coast Business Times magazine with recently fired Chrisanna Waldrop. Chrisanna had a succesful career in academia and her firing came out of the blue. Her story of coping with the loss of her job lead to the article below. 

In the comming weeks I have asked Chrisanna to share with us the ups and downs of her journey and how she is learning to re-boot her life. 

Meet Gutsy Gal Chrisanna Waldrop ..... In the beginning

So, you’ve heard the words, “You’re fired” or “The company is moving in another direction” or “You’re being terminated, effective immediately, and don’t bother returning to the office.” Words to this effect have been uttered from time immemorial and will continue to be said to employees all around the world, everyday, forever; so, if you happen to be the one upon whom Fate has selected this turn of events, how do you handle it? Here’s what a recently fired Tri County Anonymous Gutsy Gal had to say. 

First of all, remain calm. Usually, when things like this happen, it doesn’t come to us as a bolt out of the blue—we’ve usually had some warning (whether written or not) that things are not going so well with the job. It doesn’t matter if your boss is crazy or you are, the most immediate thing you need to remember is to stay calm and remain professional in your words and demeanor. Cussing, raging, crying, slanders against the message bearer’s parentage—all the wrong things to do. 

Second, keep your trap shut as much as possible. It’s natural to want to defend yourself, but you need to keep in mind that your audience won’t exactly be receptive to your message, no matter how persuasive you believe you are. When emotions are running high (and remember, they have to gear themselves up to fire you, too), we can all say things we regret in calmer moments, so just fight the urge to say it. There will be time, later, to deliver the message in a way more effective manner that may get you more of what you want—but now is not the time.

Third, ask about collecting your personal effects from the office and being paid any undisputed monies currently owed you (pay, owed vacation time, reimbursements, etc.). Employers don’t decide whether or not you qualify for unemployment insurance—the EDD does, so you can always apply and see what happens. As for COBRA health benefits, well, they’re required to be offered by federal law, but you have to act on it fairly fast and be able to pay. Your employer’s HR department should be able to answer such questions.

Fourth, if at all possible, try to take a few days (or more) to recover from the shock of being fired. Even if we are primed to expect it, getting fired is never fun and always involves a certain amount of shock. A friend I know was fired in a darkened, low rent motel bedroom, which was beyond creepy, and this ignominious exit from her “fancy employer” spoke ill of them and left her with a bad feeling, too. (They may as well have fired her in the alley behind the CVS for the utter lack of compassion or fairness that they demonstrated.) Take some time to allow yourself to free fall since nobody is in a position to think clearly in the immediate aftermath of getting fired. Try to get several good nights’ sleep and be sure to lay off the sauce as that only makes things worse, not better.

Fifth, keep in mind that you retain much more than you’ve lost. You have all the job skills you previously mastered, you have your support system, and remember that the talents and knowledge you used to acquire this past job remain with you and can be used to find another job. Often, death can be seen as a good thing—the death of bad relationships, dead end jobs, or even infection. Think of it this way: a root canal is not a pleasurable experience, but it’s something that needs to be done to benefit our overall health. There are thousands of examples of people getting fired from jobs they loved and jobs they hated which led to much, much, MUCH better opportunities that they never would have pursued had they not been kicked out of the nest. This potential awaits you, too!

Sixth, once the initial shock has worn off, get yourself organized and stay busy. You’ll need to be prepared to file for unemployment, examine your monthly budget, talk to a lawyer (if need be), consider next steps, etc. As tempting as it may be to nurse your hurt and anger about being fired, you’re way better off moving forward. Believe me, your former boss isn’t going to be spending one twentieth the time thinking about you; and fantasizing about suitable punishments for him or her, while fun to consider, get you nowhere. Even if you aren’t yet in a place where you can honestly review the situation and see what life lessons you can extract from it (and there always are some), at least clean your house, get some exercise, eat healthfully—anything to recalibrate yourself in a constructive manner!

Seventh, give yourself an actual deadline as to when you will begin moving forward with your life and career. Mark it on your calendar; tell your friends about it if you need them to hold you accountable, and be prepared to take some positive, forward going steps towards your next job and your next career as of that date. Remember, great, great things can come out of this—see this transition as an opportunity presented to you to make the most of! Nobody can do this for you—you are the only one who can do this—and you owe it to yourself to make the very best efforts on your own behalf that you can.

Finally, no matter what, try your best to remain positive and hopeful. Whatever we exercise grows, so if you focus on your anger and depression that is what will be present in your life; if you focus on the opportunities and positive elements of exiting from a position that was no longer serving your best interests, well, exciting things can happen that none of us could possibly predict! It takes a lot of guts to believe in ourselves and be determined to serve as our own best advocates, but you can do it!

 

Chrisanna Waldrop is writer and the Aurthor of the Dignitary's Retreat Blog

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Jul
01

How do we confront significant challenge in our personal lives or careers, and not back down when the going gets rough? For many gutsy gals, the critical factor is the support of other strong, inspiring women. 

From the 1930’s into the 1960’s five successive women deans nurtured, guided and at times defended students at Purdue University. Each became a legendary Dean of Women or Dean of Students. They wove a sisterhood of mutual support in their common pursuit of human rights and equality for all.

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Author Angie Klink chronicles the fascinating history of these successive deans of Purdue University – Dorothy Stratton, Helen Schleman, Beverley Stone, Barbara Cook, and Betty Nelson – in The Deans' Bible: Five Purdue Women and their Quest for Equality. The bible referred to in her title was passed on from dean to dean as a symbol of their solidarity. “The word ‘bible’ means ‘guidebook’” writes Klink, and it served as “ a reminder that when the dean on duty met with injustices or fortuity, the quintet supported one another in presence and in spirit, shoulder to shoulder in forward momentum.”

Several of the deans served in wartime; all challenged the notion that women should forgo education or careers and defended their conviction that women could accomplish anything.

Are you surrounding yourself with women who support your dreams, nurture your spirit, celebrate your strength?

Click here to watch The Deans' Bible Trailer.

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About The Deans' Bible author, Angie Klink

Angie Klink is the author of The Deans' Bible: Five Purdue Women and Their Quest for Equality, published by Purdue University Press, March 2014. Writing about the five women who led with integrity, class, and moxie changed her life, and she hopes the book changes the lives of her readers. 
 

-- Posted by Christina Holbrook, for Gutsy Gals

 

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May
25

With these words we announce our call-for-entries for our first Women in Film Award, which will be presented in 2015 – because these are the words that best describe what it is to be a Gutsy Gal!

In 2008 I was so inspired by the “not-well-enough-known” story of Berta Benz, the visionary wife of Karl Benz and the inspiration behind modern auto travel, that I dove into producing an independent film based on Berta’s story. And in the process, Gutsy Gals was born. Berta’s story helped me understand more deeply what it is to be a risk taker, to think outside of the box, to go out on a limb for what you believe in – in short to drive your own destiny.

And that is what we are supporting and encouraging today at Gutsy Gals Inspire Me. That little film project I mentioned has evolved into an educational program, including a 15 minute animated video and a full-color workbook filled with activities that closely correlate to the STEM curriculum for students. The program has already been adopted by a progressive school in Austen, Texas and has interest from several other schools and educational organizations.

We are also thrilled to announce our collaboration with the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers who will host the first Gutsy Gals Award for women writers and directors in film, in March of 2015. And we’ll move into our seventh year in Santa Barbara of giving the Gutsy Gal Award, also in March 2015. Finally, we have launched an affiliate marketing program for A Sane Approach/Friends and Family Agreements, a sister company which we will pull under the Gutsy Gals umbrella.

We invite you to participate! Through this blog, we want to provide a forum for women of all ages and life experiences to share what it means to be Gutsy. In the coming weeks we will post blog submission guidelines, and look forward to creating a vibrant on-line community of spirited women who “drive their own destinies”!

-- Deborah Hutchison, President and Founder, Gutsy Gals Inspire Me

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