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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Salary Gap Between the Sexes

I hope everyone enjoyed the long holiday weekend and had a chance for a little rest and relaxation! There's nothing like the first cookout of the season, the smell of the grill, a warm breeze and plenty of outdoor fun to get us in the mood for summer.

But today it's back to work despite the beautiful sunshine beckoning to us outside the window. Over my morning tea, I was purusing the headlines on Yahoo! and came across an article that made me shake my head in disappointment. "Great Jobs that Profit Women: Five Flexible Careers with Man-Sized Paychecks" by Kate McIntyre. The "great jobs" and "profit women" and "flexible careers" parts were are positive...but "man-sized paychecks?" Don't tell me that in this, the 21st century, there is STILL a discrepancy between what men and women are paid for the same jobs and same qualifications?!

It's true, and no, it really wasn't a big secret to me, though every time I read about it, I still find it wholly unbelievable. When are we going to wake up, people, and realize that there is absolutely NO reason for women to be earning "approximately 25% less than men in the same occupational group with simliar qualifications" (according to the National Committe on Pay Equity and their 2006 statistics)? The Yahoo article cites two reasons for the disparity: "gender discrimination and women's choices to work less than full-time or to stay at home to care for children."

Gender discrimination? Really? You mean we as women haven't proved ourselves capable of attaing the same results and the same success as men YET? I refuse to believe that because I have personally met hundreds of women who are amazing at what they do; they run successful companies, they're at the top of their fields, and they have limitless talent and skills. I even featured many of them in my new book "From the Kitchen to the Corner Office: Mom's Wisdom on Leadership."

It's time to snap out of the Dark Ages, banish these outdated business norms, and pay women in the workforce what they're worth. And if we can't do that, let's at least pay them what we pay their male counterparts!

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Mom's Influence on the Presidential Candidates: John McCain

To finish up our series on the Presidential candidates and the influence their mothers have had on them, today let's talk about John McCain.

John McCain's mother, Roberta, very different from Obama's and Clinton's mothers. I would characterize her as a "straight-shooter." She seems to be a person who has a very positive spin on everything. She doesn't seem to tolerate any complaining; she's all about accountability and taking responsibility for your actions. A woman after my own heart! Too many of us are more than willing to point fingers, to blame others for our own misfortunes, but neither she nor I will stand for that.

I read an interesting tidbit on this subject. When John McCain wrote about his time as a P.O.W., he chose to use some rather colorful language when describing his captors. Roberta called him out on it and said that he shouldn't use language like that. She pointed out that he chose to be in the military and knew the kind of risks that were associated with it.

Roberta strikes me as being very proper, but rather than from a place of showiness, it seems to come from a place of accountability and doing what's right. She's also very outspoken, and as a Navy wife they moved a lot as well so she's very into exploring new cultures and adventures. Therein lies a bit of similiarity with Obama's mother, though Roberta's interest was from more of an academic place rather than a romantic one.

So there you have, a little perspective on each of the candidates gunning for the Presidency, in respect to the influence their mothers may have had on them. Now it's up to you to decide who gets your vote!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

7 Steps for Work/Life Balance

With the ever-increasing demands on our time constantly pulling us in every direction, is it any surprise that our lives sometimes feel completely unbalanced and out of control? There are only so many hours in the day, and there never seem to be enough when we're juggling the needs of our families, our careers, our friends and ourselves. Tasks fall through the cracks, people are disappointed, and we're left feeling frustrated, exhausted and even guilty at the end of the day. So before our frazzled nerves send us over the deep end, how can we bring the balance back to our lives?

For more FREE tips on advancing your career and navigating the workplace, sign up for my FREE e-zine "Lipstick Leadership" at LipstickLeadership.com today! And check out the products I've developed to guide you toward the success you deserve!

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Mom's Influence on the Presidential Candidates: Barack Obama

To continue our discussion from a few weeks ago, I thought it would be interesting to talk a little bit about how Barack Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, influenced him as a person and as a Presidential candidate.

I would categorize Ann as being very, very authentic but also possessing a "reckless" side to her. Because of her zest for new experiences, Barack grew up as a child of the world, living in a variety of places. Ann was married a number of times, I think because she was a bit of a romantic. She seemed to have gotten caught up in the pursuit of her dreams and the ideology of life. As an activist, Ann was always trying to improve situations in the world - and this had a profound impact on Barack as evidenced by his campaign promises thus far.

While his mother went from place to place and romance to romance, Barack has gone a different route. He has created a very strong and stable home life with his family in the Midwest, perhaps providing himself with a feeling of stability that was missing when he grew up. He definitely inherited Ann's passion for taking action, speaking to a crowd to bring everyone together, and making a powerful argument for change.

Ann strikes me as a fearless woman who really wanted to stand for something in her life. If you look at Barack as a man and as a candidate, you can see shades of that in who he is. It seems to me that he isn't looking for a fight; he's looking for change, powerful change. His platform is all about who his mother raised him to be. She provided him with a diverse cultural experience growing up, and that has translated into his understanding of this "melting pot" we have here in the U.S.

Is he Presidential material? I'll leave that up to you to decide.

Next time: the influence of John McCain's mother on his bid for President.

Don't forget to check out my new book "From the Kitchen to the Corner Office: Mom's Wisdom on Leadership" available now in local bookstores and on BarnesAndNoble.com!

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

YouPublish.com Goes Live!

Exciting news, my friends! The long-awaited and highly-acclaimed new info publishing and sharing site YouPublish.com from Mark Victor Hansen (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) is now LIVE!

YouPublish.com is an amazing site where users can publish and download all kinds of files: books, music, videos, software, photos, documents - pretty much any type of file you can think of! Some are free; some have costs associated with them, and ALL are worth a look around the site.

As you know, I offer a wide array of audio CD sets on the SHOP page of my website MichelleYDrake.com. YouPublish.com gave me the chance to offer similar products - audio and article bundles, video series, and even separate chapters of my new book "From the Kitchen to the Corner Office" - all at affordable prices. I welcome you to check them out at: YouPublish.com/MichelleYozzoDrake! I've even included a few FREE products to give you a taste of what's available in my product line.

Be sure to check out this fantastic site and have fun exploring!

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Mom's Influence on the Presidential Candidates: Hillary Clinton

With Mother's Day being celebrated a few short days from now (hint, hint to those who've forgotten!) and all eyes on the primaries and election in November, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to marry the two topics and discuss how the candidates' mothers have influenced who they are and what they bring to the table.

Mom's influence has helped to shape all of us into the people we are, and to get a feel for our Presidential candidates, let's take a look at who their mothers are, starting with Hillary Clinton.
Hillary's mother, Dorothy, really taught her daughter to fight back. I remember reading a story about how at the age of four, Hillary was being picked on by some of the neighborhood girls. When she went crying to her mother, Dorothy told her to stand up for herself and that there was no room in their house for cowards. Empowering advice for all of our daughters!

This experience explains a lot about Hillary and the image she often projects in public. She's come out fighting with both gloves swinging and has taken what is traditionally a masculine stance on many of the issues. With all of the adversity and attacks Hillary's faced, the influence of her mother and being taught to be a fighter is very clear in how she's been handling herself.

But is this image of her as a fighter costing her votes among the female population?

Possibly. My personal opinion is that being a fighter is a positive image to be projecting; however, it cannot be at the expense of the unique compassion and softness we as women bring to what we do, whether in the workplace or with our families. To really connect with all the voters, Hillary needs to balance being a strong fighter with being a compassionate woman and mother so that she can relate to both men and women. So far she's had a difficult time reconciling those two sides of her personality.

I find it interesting that when she broke down a bit and cried in New Hampshire, she won by so many more votes than they had predicted. It wasn't sympathy that drove people to vote for her; it was that suddenly she was much more relatable. People who were very familiar with seeing her as a fighter were given a glimpse into this whole other side of her as a person, and they connected with that. Sometimes always being on guard for a fight can alienate people; to truly reach out to people, Hillary needs to temper that with her own natural female instincts and traits.

I've been hearing a lot of people grumbling about Hillary still being in the race and how she should drop out for the good of the Democratic Party so that it can be united come election time. Well, all I have to say to that is: I'd bet good money that if Hillary was a man in the running, those same people would be commending her for sticking with it to the very end and not giving up. I've seen the same type of situation happen in the workplace, the old "double standard", and with such a huge opportunity at stake, I commend Hillary for giving it all she's got to the very end.

Next week, I'll share my thoughts on Barack Obama and the influence his mother has had on him. In the meantime, if you haven't found the perfect gift for your mom, be sure to check out my new book, "From the Kitchen to the Corner Office: Mom's Wisdom on Leadership" available at your local bookstores and BarnesAndNoble.com.

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