In the Company of Women

In the Company of Women book review
Book image via Grace Bonney on Amazon

Artists, designers, chefs, musicians...makers of all sorts are featured in the book, In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney. Each woman featured in the book is an entrepreneur and through an interview style approach, Grace learns information about the women’s views of success, business and working as a female maker.

In the Company of Women Artist in Workshop Photo
Image via Design Sponge : Seeing the artist in her workshop allows readers to envision working as a maker.  

Designing Your Career with Elaine Welteroth

Masterclass Review Elaine Welteroth
Original image via Instagram @ElaineWelteroth
There is design for our homes and our clothes, but there is also design for our careers. To design something means that a decision is made about the look or function of an object (like a building, dress, etc.) and then plans are created before the object is made. Just as a fashion designer sketches out the idea for next season’s clothing collection, you can craft a design for your career journey. 

Elaine Welteroth wearing turquoise power suit for Masterclass
Image via MasterClass: In her class, Elaine takes on the topic of powerful careers while wearing a strong suit in a shade of teal that pops. 

In her Masterclass, Elaine Welteroth tackles this very topic of “Designing Your Career.” Elaine has become an expert in navigating career dreams in her own journey. She made history in 2012 as the first black beauty director at Teen Vogue and again in 2016 for reaching the high profile role of editor-in-chief. Her history making ways did not stop at the acquisition of those titles. While working at the helm of Teen Vogue, Elaine also made a point of helping the publication evolve from solely covering fashion, to incorporating cultural and social topics. 

Elaine Welteroth wearing gingham suit with book More than Enough
Image via Instagram @ElaineWelteroth -- Elaine pictured with her book, More than Enough. The book is part memoir, part life and career advice. 

 Many would have believed her career had reached its climax by acquiring such admirable positions with Teen Vogue. But Elaine had other ideas and began making career transitions. Since leaving the magazine in 2018, Elaine has branched out as a book author, public speaker, television personality with The Talk and Project Runway and most recently, as an expert in her career themed Masterclass.

1980s Power Dressing

1980s women's work fashion collage

Bright colors. Polka dots. Kitschy phrases. Flowers. Mixed prints.

1980s power dressing by Moschino
These fun looks as seen in the suit dress above are not what you would normally imagine powerhouse women wearing when they entered the 1980s boardrooms dressed to impress. However, designer Jeremy Scott at Moschino offered a fresh spin on 1980s era power dressing for the modern woman in his Resort 2021 collection. 

1980s power dressing by Moschino
Pattern plays were used throughout the collection, as seen here with polka dots and vibrant colors playfully juxtaposed against the backdrop of a traditional pant suit. 

Growth Mindset

Growth mindset for your career

Growth is a fundamental idea for every part of life, including our careers. What better way to start thinking about the idea of growth than to look at the flowers and plants in our gardens? 

For a plant, the journey begins with the seed. Though seeds vary in shapes and sizes, each seed holds the potential to burst forth new life. But the future of that seed depends on the right conditions. Without the right inputs and environment, the potential of what is possible for the seed never comes to fruition. We will never see the peonies bloom if the seed doesn’t first have soil, water and sunlight. 
For many of us, we have a desire to achieve goals and reach our own definition of success. The seed for our future self is present, but how do we get to the end goal we dream about? Scientists have found that mindset matters. Like plants, our brains need the right inputs to steer our life and allow us to grow into the potential we each possess. Mindset may be the most important input our brains need to help us boost growth and move forward. 

The Science
The term growth mindset has its roots in research that dates back more than three decades. Dr. Carol Dweck coined the terms growth mindset and fixed mindset after studying student attitudes about failure in the classroom. During her studies, she found that if students believed they could become smarter they would also spend more time studying and practicing their skills. Their beliefs influenced their actions, which in turn impacted their achievement levels for the better. This belief in the power to transform the brain became known as growth mindset. On the opposite end of the spectrum is fixed mindset, which just as it sounds, does not change or develop beyond current conditions. 

Growth mindset definition

As studies about the brain and mindset continued, neuroscientists discovered that connectivity between neurons (the brain’s messengers) can change and improve. This ability to essentially re-wire the brain with new connections and increased strength (known as neuroplasticity) leads to speedier transmissions within the brain and body. 

The guiding force to recharging the brain with new neuron connections? Mindset. A person’s mindset guides behaviors and behaviors dictate outcomes. 

How Kate Middleton Created Her Professional Brand

Professional branding tips of Kate Middleton
Original image of Kate via Vogue UK

 The 7 Ps of marketing is a framework used by companies and brands to sell products or services. Whether you’re shopping for a new shirt, planner or hair stylist, you often experience the story of the product or service as it’s being told through the 7 parts that make up the brand’s marketing. 

Just what are the 7 Ps? They are product, price, promotion, placement, packaging, positioning and people.

What's personal branding list

Not only are the 7 Ps used in commercials and social media advertising for that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing, but they can also be used to shape your professional brand. Whether you’re working at a retail store, an engineering firm, a hospital or Buckingham Palace as a Duchess, you have a professional brand. 

Your brand is what allows others to gain insight into who you are and what you do. It’s an extension of your reputation and can be purposefully shaped to ensure that it is telling the best and most authentic story about you. 

Some may think of this as a personal brand since it's about you, but as we consider applying this to our careers, it's helpful to think of it as your professional brand.

Why does a professional brand matter? 
Because your story is what connects you to other people and can help ensure your career journey heads in the direction you want.

Kate Middleton, aka the Duchess of Cambridge, provides endless fashion inspiration for royal fans. However, there is more to her image than meets the eye. Though she is a titled member of the royal family, she, like all of us, has a professional brand. Kate's brand has evolved since her days at university with careful cultivation to make her the Duchess we know today. 

To better understand the 7 parts of branding and how to use them for your own brand, we’ll dive into the key aspects of Kate Middleton’s brand as Duchess of Cambridge. As you read through each of the Ps for Kate, think about what each P means in your own brand.

The Whisper of Change

The Whisper Network book review
“It’s hard to register differences in the status quo. Like trying to measure slight drops in temperature without a thermometer. But Ms. Sandberg was right about something. We had to lean in. It was the only way to hear the whispers.”

What whispers would we hear if only we leaned in? What do the roles of women, our interactions in the workplace and the steps we take each day for our careers say about us as a gender, a society and a culture? 

Career Lessons from Emily in Paris

Career Improvement Tips
Original image via Netflix 
 Emily in Paris took Netflix viewers by storm as Emily galavanted around the City of Lights. The first season of the show offered a dose of glamour laced with giggles as Emily navigated the new city, French culture, relationships and working in a different country. 

 Beyond the amazing fashion and beautiful Parisian setting, the show offered plenty of real world career tips. Though you may not soon find yourself on the back of a Vespa with a cute Parisian while wearing couture, you can still take some of Emily’s work-ready advice. 

Career improvement tips
Original image by Netflix via Elite Daily
 Lesson 1: Fake it until you make it. 
 “I did Rosetta Stone on the plane, but it hasn’t kicked in yet.” 

 From the moment Emily lands in Paris, she is ready to embrace all her new job in Paris has to offer...even if she doesn’t know the language. Emily is thrown into an unexpected situation that she fully embraces, despite any learning curves. 

Statistics cited by Harvard Business Review show that most women don’t apply to jobs unless they are 100% qualified, while men apply when they only meet 60% of the requirements. This holds women back from opportunities and career growth that impacts the trajectory of their entire career. Emily showcases how to succeed in a role, even when her skill set did not meet 100% of the qualifications on day one. The show is evidence of all the amazing things Emily would have missed out on if she turned down the opportunity for fear of being unqualified. 

Spring Suit Roundup

Spring 2021 Power Suits Wear to Work Rodarte
Rodarte Spring 2021 
Suits for this spring and summer are anything but stuffy. As companies start inviting employees back into the office in greater numbers, it’ll be time for a wardrobe shift. Yoga pants aren’t going to cut it when it’s time to return to the office. 

Suits for the 2021 spring season showcased a variety of trends and styles. So one exciting thing about no longer working from home? The opportunity to try all different suits, ranging from sporty to flirty, buttoned-up to whimsical. 

5 TED Talks for Leaders

Ted talks on female leadership

Ready to get inspired for your career? Take a listen to these 5 Ted Talks to learn more about topics ranging mindset and grit, to power poses and creativity. With advice from women leading in industries such as science, technology and entertainment, their insights can help you refine your leadership style and prepare your next career power move.

Ted talks on female leadership
Original Photo of Angela via Character Lab

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Angela Duckworth began gathering insights on the power of mindset during her time teaching 7th grade math. She noticed that the smartest students weren’t always the ones to succeed. Instead, it was those who chose to embrace the challenge and persevere with grit. Angela continued studying success as a PhD student and scientist and continues to teach us about grittiness. Her TED Talk offers an overview into the idea of grit and its relationship to growth mindset. 

“When I get knocked down, I’ll get back up. I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I’ll strive to be the grittiest.” 

Watch Angela's TED Talk here.

A S'well Story of Female Entrepreneurship

Female Entrepreneurship
The beauty of florals on a sleek S'well bottle helps make the water bottle a fashion accessory. 

Sleek. Beautiful. Functional. It’s the unexpected fashion accessory that changed an industry while also helping the environment. 

Seeing only wasteful plastic bottles and the clunkier options available for sports, S’well founder Sarah Kauss saw an opportunity to offer a chic and functional alternative. With $30,000 from her savings account and a can-do attitude. Sarah embarked on a journey in 2010 that would result in a brand with global reach by the year 2015. 

Female Entrepreneurship
Founder Sarah Kauss with an array of bottle prints, including the famous Liberty of London florals.

Sarah envisioned a bottle that would be beautiful to carry, while also keeping drinks hot or cold. Along the way she heard “no,” encountered disbelief and learned to brush off the misguided concerns of others. How could a woman with a stable corporate position as an accountant leave the safety of the corporate world in order to make water bottles? Who even needed another water bottle? 

As crazy as it may have sounded at the time, Sarah took the risk to give herself and her idea a chance. 

Going Forward

Rachel Hollis Book Review Didn't See that Coming
Original images of Rachel and books via The HollisCo

What’s good? The sight of a rainbow after the storm, the smell of cookies baking and the sound of a cat purring. The list of all that is good in life is endless, but would we be able to fully appreciate the good and beautiful if we didn’t already survive the bad and ugly?
Author Rachel Hollis invites us into the conversation in her latest book, “Didn’t See That Coming.” In it, she tackles this very question as she reveals lessons and routes to recovery for even the hardest of seasons. 

“What’s good will always be good, and one of the most awful, beautiful things about the hard seasons is that unless we experience hardship, we’ll never truly appreciate and remember the good that was always good.” 

A global pandemic, death, job loss, betrayal, disappointment...we have all had our share of hard experiences. But as Rachel points out, you either burn up as you go through the fires of horrible events, or you come out newer and stronger. 

Though it may not always feel possible, we each have the power to fight for the life we want and the recovery we envision. Rachel helps walk readers through steps to take today, tomorrow and forever in order to move forward into the next stage of life. 

Botticelli Girl

Botticelli Girl Birth of Venus

Graceful, ethereal, romantic, mysterious. The women of Sandro Botticelli’s paintings from the Italian Renaissance continue to awe and inspire art lovers and fashion designers. Centuries since women like Venus were depicted on the 15th century canvases, the paintings’ power to enthrall remains.

Botticelli Girl The Birth of Venus

Botticelli became famous for his depictions of women, including the goddess of love, Venus. In The Birth of Venus painting, Venus arrives on the shoreline ready to be dressed in a luxurious fabric with a floral design.

Botticelli Girl Primavera

Mythological women including Venus and The Three Graces were painted by Botticelli again in the last 1470s or early 1480s in Primavera. In this work, the characters were painted against the backdrop of a lush garden and orchard, which helps connect the painting to ideas of love, fertility and the arrival of spring.

The famous Primavera painting was likely commissioned by the Medici family during Renaissance. For several generations, the Medicis held seats of power through business and politics in Italy. In addition to generating large sums of money for their family, they also heavily invested in the arts and humanities. By doing things like supporting artists that included Botticelli, the family helped make Florence the heart of the Italian Renaissance.

Botticelli Girl Renaissance Fashion
Upper right: Portrait of Lucrezia de'Medici by Agnolo Bronzino, 1560, via WikiArt
Lower left: Portrait of a Young Woman (Simonetta Vespucci as Nymph) by Sandro Botticelli, 1480-85, via Wikipedia

The Alice + Olivia Fall 2017 collection clearly drew inspiration from the Primavera painting with skirts depicting scenes from the painting. Elements throughout the collection mirrored the spirit not only the Primavera painting, but Renaissance fashion as a whole. In the above designs, there are embroidered fabrics and rich hues that are reminiscent of fashion worn by Renaissance women, including Lucrezia de'Medici.