I love what I do, but I really, really love what I do when I am able to help the people I love in my world create their own platforms.  Charles Ressler and I heard about each other for months before we finally connected and working with him has been like discovering my brother from another mother.  He is easily one of my favorite people and helps me to be a better me with each and every interaction.  A bold truth teller, Charles’ slogan is “I’m sorry, you’re welcome” because, as hard as it was to hear, you know you needed to hear it. Charles shares my belief that you should mean what you say, but not say it in a mean way.  It is my privilege to share his first podcast with you right here.  Make sure you subscribe and enjoy mean girls!  

1384992248.jpg
BossBabe

Picture

Just in case you don’t live in downtown Las Vegas or don’t share my fan girl love of everything Zappos (side note: I believe the world would be a better place if we all just lived by their core values), allow me to fill you in on the current drama fest that I am currently following.  It all begins with Kanye West’s innocent visit to the Downtown Project a couple of days before the Life is Beautiful Festival. During his visit, Kanye toured downtown and behaved in a normal, professional way.  Trust me, I was surprised since drama tends to follow Kanye everywhere he goes.  My friends asked what he was like and I told them he looked like any dude taking the tour and walking along the streets.  I can not emphasize how normal the entire thing was.  Talk about the calm before the storm.  

On Monday Kanye West appeared on a podcast where he said, “I got into this giant argument with the head of Zappos that he’s trying to tell me what I need to focus on. Meanwhile, he sells all this sh*t product to everybody, his whole thing is based off of selling sh*t product.”  


Picture
All of this sh*t hit the fan on Tuesday, but Zappos’ response hit the internet this afternoon and it couldn’t be better.  They are actually selling sh*t product.  Yup. It’s that awesome and perfect for the man that has everything, complete with free shipping, and available 24/7 with Zappos’ incredible customer service right here: SH*T PRODUCT.  Hilarious, right?  But it gets better, as the soon to be Mr. Kim Kardashian was clearly unaware because Zappos actually sells Kim Kardashian perfume.  The man just called his fiance’s perfume SH*T.  Man of the year right here and you can purchase her perfumes at a discount, complete with Zappos’ first class customer service, and free shipping, from the company that Kanye insulted.  Amazing.  As a friend pointed out this morning, the real question becomes “when are we all going to stop caring what comes out of Kanye’s mouth?”  Amen to that, but for now I’ll stick to listening to billionaires when they give me advice and shopping online at zappos.com.

794229.jpg
BossBabe

Picture

The purpose of this blog is to create a diverse community of ladies from all walks of life that can share experiences, wisdom, and beliefs in a candid, conversational context.  Our guest blogger today is a brave leading lady from North Carolina that I had the pleasure of meeting when she came out to visit Las Vegas for a jam session in August.  Lanaire has an extensive background as a host, producer, and all around business leader.  Active in her church and community, I asked Lanaire to share why she is a Christian and she took the bold step of challenging that idea.  I hope you enjoy her thoughts as much as I did!  

Picture
You wake up one morning and everything in your life is drastically different from when you closed your eyes, but you have a calm about you. There’s a grin that is genuine and even as a tears fall from your face there’s a peace. That feeling, in that moment…that’s why I’m not a “Christian” but I have a deep relationship with Christ. 

One of the many lessons life has taught me is: crap happens!  Sometimes it happens one day at a time and other times it all snowballs within 24 hours. It can be really small stuff or something so big that it alters every aspect of your life. Despite what kind of crap it was, I’ve always been the person whose emotions rode the roller coaster of my life’s circumstances. If things were great, then so was Lanaire. If things were horrible, then you better believe Lanaire was too. That life is stressful and in the words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”. 

Who wants to be a marionette to life’s circumstances? Where every time a life string is pulled your emotions are too. Tell me, where’s the power in that? There is none. Only an unstable human being and I decided that there are enough of them walking around without me!

I wanted that power that Saturday morning super heroes morphed to when the evil villain kidnapped the princess. Yea, it may be far fetched but you get what I’m saying. When circumstances got tough they didn’t run into a corner, cry or catch an attitude. They morphed into what they were created to be, thus giving them power. I desperately wanted that stability. 

But how could I ever know What I was created to be if I didn’t know Who created me? 

Answering that question led me to a relationship with Christ. Yes, relationship! The one where you learn everything you can about a person, their history, their likes and dislikes, how to communicate, how they love…

I was so wrapped up on developing this relationship that one day I looked up and I was no longer riding the roller coaster of life’s circumstances anymore. Now I was looking at life’s circumstance while riding the roller coaster. Talk about a shift. This concept has given me more power and more control over my life but it’s because of that relationship.

A cute denominational title will not provide me peace when I’m looking life in its eye. Only relationship can do that, that’s why I’m NOT just a “Christian”…but I have an intimate relationship with Christ.  

Follow Lanaire on twitter @MissLanaire.


5510806.jpg
BossBabe

Picture

I met Krista at an awesome Vegas Startup Weekend where she created and pitched FailUp, a startup all about making the most of, and learning from your entrepreneurial failures. While I don’t have any real collateral of a failed business, I did agree to write about what I learned from my failures and how that has led me to where I am today. Initially this blog seemed easy enough to write but after four days and almost six complete re-writes I realized that I don’t really have anything I would consider a failure. 

Before you close the window and label me as one of those people that think they do no wrong, let me explain. I have had many things not pan out as planned in my life- relationship break-ups, family drama, losing mentors/family too soon, leaving my Ph.D., starting a business that didn’t make it past the pitch- but even in the face of a lifetime of these I could never call them a failure. Each has taught me so much and has always better prepared me for the next adventure in my life. 

While I have always had this type of mentality, it took until this last year to really see everything I had experienced and learned come together.

The Eternal Student

I have always been one of those people that love to learn. I love books. I liked my gen-ed classes in college. I even continued through to graduate school totaling my higher education to 9+ years all because learning made me happy and gave me the sense that I could change the world. Even though this is not too abnormal these days, I did take a different path. In the final year of my Ph.D. -when I had finished all my classes, proposed my dissertation, and just needed to write it up and defend it 10 months later- I left. That’s right, after 9+ years of studying, all nighters, and pushing my body to sickness and fatigue at times I decided to leave and start a new adventure. A lot of people labeled me a quitter, a handful was jealous, and a select few supported my decision whole-heartedly. The truth was that the benefit of my schooling had come to an end but this did not mean I had failed. I had come to learn and I had done just that. Over 9 years I learned about history, biology, neuroscience, social psychology, human development, bio-chemistry, advanced statistics, research methodology, positive psychology (a.k.a., happiness), behavior analysis, behavior modification, impulsive decision making, cognitive psychology, coyote foraging behavior, curriculum development, public speaking, basic computer programming, and none of these include the side projects I looked into or the hobbies I picked up. I had learned so much in 9 years and when I left it was time to start using it. 

Entering the Real World

When I left my Ph.D. I started working at a Vegas based security company as the manager of behavioral modification and content development. Even though I was in a field I had little experience –security- I was constantly applying everything I had learned to my day-to-day work. I was developing curriculum, designing behavior modification plans for enterprises, speaking publically, designing and implementing research methodology, maximizing learning through cognitive theories, and performing statistical analyses. I was having a great time and then almost a year and a half after I accepted the job I resigned. I had a very supportive boss, and a group of amazing co-workers, but I knew I had gone as far as I could in the company and industry. Regardless of my effort I could tell that I was not fully supported by the owners and was starting to fight an up-hill battle. Even though the decision was hard, and it was obvious that security was not where I wanted to land, I still did not consider this a failure. 

Changing The World

In August of 2013 I saw every part of my life come together when I became the co-founder of Fitoop. Fitoop is the Mint.com of health and fitness data providing users with custom suggestions on how they can be happier, healthier, and more fit. I started this company with Michael Murray- a man I met on a plane because I spilt orange juice on myself. He is a serial entrepreneur, programmer, triathalete, diabetic, and biohacker. He’s truly one of the craziest people I have ever met and he was my boss at the Vegas based security company. In August we committed our first line of code and ever since then I have had to use everything I have ever learned on a daily basis to create Fitoop. While Michael is the technology side of the team, I have had to use my training in statistics to not only plan what would be useful for our platform but also whittle it down to something easily digestible for users. In addition we have used cognition, attention, positive psychology, behavior analysis, and research on impulsive decision making just to design the beta platform. Michael has had to dig into his programming past and learn Ruby on Rails. I have had to brush up on social psychology in order run our marketing and PR efforts. I am constantly learning from Michaels experience as an entrepreneur and have found myself reading books and blogs I never would have previously found interesting. I could go on and on. Even though we are in beta right now, I know this is where I am supposed to be. I am using my knowledge, being challenged and forced to learn more everyday, and for the first time I know I am gearing up to make a real change in the world. 

So there you have it. My name is Kati Rodzon, I have experienced loss, I have quit schooling 10 months shy of the end, I have entered and nearly exited a profession in less than 2 years, and every single experience I have had has prepared me to be the co-founder of fitoop. 

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
– Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I recently attended the LEXI Leadership Conference at my one week goal was to create my very first vlog, which is something that I have been talking about doing for the past two years.  It’s been a busy week pushing myself to do things that aren’t in my comfort zone.  I’m learning some great lessons and I challenge each of you to keep pushing your own boundaries.  Happy Veterans Day!

It was my privilege to share some practical networking tips that I use in my life with the lovely ladies of the Women In Media Mentoring Initiative, also known as WIMMI.  WIMMI was created by media leader Jack Myers after a dinner with 14 leading ladies from the media world and is growing quickly, with chapters in most major cities.  If you are a lady in the media industry, WIMMI is a must know and I highly encourage you to get involved with your local chapter.  Here’s a link to make it easy: WIMMI.  Enjoy and cheers to great networking!

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to pitch my first company on CBC’s Dragons’ Den up in Canada. Dragons’ Den is a reality TV show where hopeful entrepreneurs pitch five experienced entrepreneurs and investors in the hopes of getting an investment.  The American version is Shark Tank.  It was a great experience because I learned some priceless lessons along the way.  Here are some great tips that helped our team to put this pitch together:

*SEEK OUT MENTORS:  The experience of people who have raised capital for their companies, successfully and unsuccessfully, was tremendously helpful.  I was able to ask my fellow entrepreneurs and found an amazing coach who had been on both sides of the transaction: investing money and asking for investment.  The wisdom and tips that he shared from his many years of experiences really helped our team to put the pitch into perspective.  

*PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT:  For six weeks leading up to our pitch we practiced in my living room with friends, family, and neighbors “playing dragon” and peppering us with difficult questions..  We watched hundreds of hours of episodes to prepare our pitch and took notes on what worked, what didn’t work, and how we wanted to present ourselves.  Never underestimate the power of preparation and make sure you know your numbers.  

*ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:  If you are looking to go on any television show to make a pitch, don’t forget the entertainment value.  We brought animals with us and thought through every accessory and piece of clothing we wore.  You want to be authentically yourself, but it helps if you are an entertaining personality with an interesting story.  

The best thing that came from our appearance was that it led me onto where I am today.  Before this episode aired, I had always combined my personal identity with my business identity.  It was tremendously empowering to hear legendary business leader Kevin O’Leary say, “She’s the real deal” because it was the first time that it occurred to me that I was an individual separate from my business.  Kevin was right- I am the real deal and my ability to overcome the challenges that get in my way have helped me to grow as an individual. Cheers to crafting your very own pitch perfect!  

6417573.jpg
BossBabe

Picture

I’m a longstanding resident of Las Vegas who has always wanted to make impact – whether as a gymnast, a mountain climber, or as a mother and successful entrepreneur in the financial services industry.  About 19 years ago I had an epiphany when I learned that over the next 20 years almost 80 million people would be facing retirement. And the majority of them had no idea if or how “retirement” was even going to be possible. I knew at that moment I could make impact.

 From a young age, I have been fascinated by teaching and by people’s relationship with their finances.  So I gathered my team (my very supportive 2 and 4 year olds John & Tori) and we made our own plan. I set out to learn everything I could about how to teach people about their own finances and financial well-being. Nearly 20 years after I began this journey, my greatest education has come from seeing how the financial decisions I helped make for over 400 families (my clients) shape both their long term and short term objectives. By sharing their experiences with you through these 12 Tips, I hope to make impact in your life also. Be well.

 11 Financial Tips for Women-By Staci Scharadin, CFP®, CWS®

1. Plan for the next recession….we’ve had 14 of them, we will definitely have another one. Be equipped.

2. Learn about the basics of money management, retirement planning & investing. Financial literacy is key.

3.  Teach your children about money, share your failures and successes. An open exchange of information will impact them (more than you know) for the rest of their lives.

4.  Teach your parents about money….chances are, no one else did.

5.  Understand today what 30 years from now looks like financially. Budget for inflation. Always.

6.  Play to your strengths and understand your weaknesses. Decide in your household who holds which financial roles. Meet no less than quarterly with your spouse to discuss budgets, retirement, college planning and the thoughts, feelings and family dynamics around your money. Have this meeting alongside your Financial Planner at least once per year.

7.  Use a Financial Planner. (You wouldn’t operate on yourself, would you?)

8.  Have a budget. It doesn’t matter how much money you have. Know what’s coming in, know what’s going out and know how much is left.

9.  Walk through every possible scenario in your family (i.e. death, disability, unemployment, and inheriting the care of a family member). The conversation might be uncomfortable at times but it is essential to proper planning.

10.  Know at all times where your household’s assets are, how they are held, what the investments are, and what the respective purpose is for each. (I often use this analogy for my clients – Would you like a bunch of parts on your driveway that, if put together properly, could take you where you want to go? Or rather a powerful sports car that will get you there in style?)

11.  And please don’t underestimate this final tip…Build a trusted team of advisors. Your CPA, your attorney, and your financial planner should all work together. Without that partnership, there is no way to know if your financial picture is the right one.  Without a comprehensive approach, your financial plan is like Swiss cheese.