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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Solutionz Live! on LIFE Reyna Grande-The Distance Between Us: A Memoir

This on demand audio series is a part of the Executive Girlfriends Group Vignette Series. Chicke Fitzgerald interviews author Reyna Grande. The original live interview was 11/18/12.


In this memoir, Reyna vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years, capturing all the confusion and contradictions of childhood, especially one spent torn between two parents and two countries. The Distance Between Us is an inspirational coming-of-age story about the pursuit of a better life.

When a young Mexican girl’s father leaves his wife and three children behind to make the dangerous trek across the border to the United States, he promises he will soon return from “El Otro Lado” (The Other Side) with enough money to build them a dream house where they can all live together. Things aren’t that easy for Reyna Grande in, The Distance Between Us:  A Memoir  which captures the confusion and contradictions of childhood, especially one spent torn between two parents and two countries. “A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.”—Kirkus Reviews. Grande is the author of the novels Across a Hundred Mountains and Dancing with Butterflies.

Reyna holds a B.A. in creative writing and film & video from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University. She is an active promoter of Latino literature.

To order the book click HERE.  Her website is  http://www.reynagrande.com/

For more information about the Executive Girlfriends' Group see: http://www.executivegirlfriendsgroup.com




Friday, November 29, 2013

Without a PLAN, the Entrepreneurial Dream is just that

Today's blog is the 3rd in a 10 part series on the Entrepreneurial Puzzle.  For the first blog in the series on the IDEA, click HERE.   To read part 2 on the NEED, click HERE.


If you set out on a journey without knowing your destination and the waypoints, it is impossible to track progress.  The map is an essential part of tracking the progress and knowing alternate routes if your primary routes are blocked.

Such is the entrepreneurial journey.

For the entrepreneur that has an amazing idea (step 1), and that has completed the research to validate the need (step 2), a written plan can often feel like a waste of time, particularly if it is not necessary to raise money.

I must admit, I have fallen prey to that particular malady myself.   In my current technology venture, I had decided that I did not need investment, and so I jumped right in.  Without a plan.


The only way to reach a goal is to set one.

While this seems totally obvious, more often than not,
entrepreneurs just assume that they will reach their goals.

As shown in this diagram, in order to reach a goal, you have to set it and make a plan to reach it.

Then you actually need to get to work and stick to the plan.  This implies having milestones and timeframes for each milestone.

Goal setting is specific and it is measurable.

Goals must be attainable (although it is ok if they are a stretch for you) and they must be relevant to the idea and the market need.

Most importantly, they are time-bound.  Without a timeframe, it is impossible to tell if you are on track.

The bottom line?  Without a plan, an entrepreneur is just a dreamer.   Nothing more, nothing less.

Tomorrow, we will talk about DETERMINATION.  Because, without it, a plan is but a dream.

Stay tuned.

Chicke Fitzgerald
dreamer, planner, determined entrepreneur




Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Solutionz Live! on LIFE BALANCE - Diane Sieg- Mindfulness Matters: Health, Happiness

This on demand audio series is a part of the Executive Girlfriends Group Vignette Series. Chicke Fitzgerald interviews Diane Sieg. The original live interview was 6/7/13.


Online Lifestyle Radio at Blog Talk Radio with Solutionz Live on BlogTalkRadio




From the chaos of the emergency room to the calm of her yoga mat, professional speaker, published author, certified yoga teacher, and life coach Diane Sieg will give you life-saving strategies by showing you how to take care of yourself, take charge of your life, and take daily action!

With high energy and heartfelt stories, her opening keynote sets a positive tone to start your meeting or her closing keynote ends your conference with a bang, sending your group home with a clear and strong message about the importance of life balance and self care.

She wrote her first book because she wanted to illustrate how so many of us were living in such a frenetic state of more, better, faster.  While she was very close to this material as a nurse and as your typical overachiever, in recent years life events have allowed her to go deeper with her personal journey.  

Her most recent work 30 Days To Grace focuses on teaching people how to move from chaos to calm by increasing their awareness and setting their intentions with a daily practice.

Diane holds the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, the highest certification for a speaking professional, earned by less than 10% of the professional speakers in the world.

Diane’s website is http://dianesieg.com/
To order her books click HERE
For more information about the Executive Girlfriends' Group see: http://www.executivegirlfriendsgroup.com

Identifying NEED is a critical part of the Entrepreneurial Puzzle


Today's blog is the 2nd in a 10 part series on the Entrepreneurial Puzzle.  For the first blog in the series on the IDEA, click HERE.  

In Field of Dreams, Kevin Kostner's character was undoubtedly inspired to build a baseball field in the middle of an Iowa farm.    He definitely had an IDEA. 

A couple of things stand out here:


1.  Every one thought he was crazy
2.  There were days when he wondered if he was crazy
3.  He was nearly bankrupt and his creditors told him that taking the land from revenue producing crops was indeed insane
4.  His wife believed in him and stood by him, although she certainly had her moments when she too feared that he was crazy

But here is the thing.  No one in Iowa "needed" a baseball field. 

There was no market study, no focus groups, no pricing out of what it would take to build it, no revenue projections.

This was the quintessential "build it and they will come".  Now in true Hollywood fashion, Kostner built it and they did come.   After a quest that lead him to James Earl Jones in Boston and then convincing him to help with his dream, he not only built the field, but he had a very unique team and at the end of the movie we see cars coming to the game, stretching out miles and miles. 

In a few days we will be talking about risk.  Of course the risk facing Kostner's character was that they would not come, even after all the miracles that lined up to make the field of dreams a reality.

This movie did have a happy ending.  But many entrepreneurial ventures do not.

If you have heard a loud booming voice whispering in your ear "build it and they will come", who am I to argue?  I certainly have experienced that form of inspiration myself on more than one occasion.

But the smart way forward is this:





Once you are certain that your IDEA legitimately fills a need and that there are enough people who will value the solution, you are ready to write your PLAN.  

Stay tuned.   That is tomorrow's piece of the Entrepreneurial Puzzle.












Monday, November 25, 2013

The Entrepreneurial Puzzle starts with an IDEA

This is the first part of a 10 part series on Entrepreneurialism.  It was inspired by a talk given by Solutionz Founder and CEO Chicke Fitzgerald to the 5th grade class at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa, FL as a part of the Great American Teach In 2013.  

 The IDEA is at the heart of every entrepreneurial venture.

The image that I use when I talk about the idea is of course the lightbulb.

But it is not just any lightbulb.  It is a sea of traditional, incandescent lightbulbs with a single compact florescent bulb standing on end in the middle of the other bulbs.

This image speaks to me.  It says that there is a traditional way to illuminate a room.  It is effective and is still useful.

But the lone compact florescent bulb screams the word DIFFERENTIATION to me and it is as much the status quo buster that I am.  That is why I relate so well to the lone bulb.

It promises positive change, improvement and efficiency.   Over time, it is cheaper.

And you have to admit, it is just plain cool to look at (and much cooler to the touch, comparatively).

If there were no need for light, it wouldn't matter if you had a candle, an incandescent bulb or a whole room of compact florescents.

Ingredient #1 in a successful entrepreneurial venture (including those of you in Corporate America who have the courage to step out and start something new in the midst of the status quo) is an idea that is needed and that matters.  It is one that people will notice and will talk about and one that they will value enough to pay for your product or service.

What is your idea?

Stay tuned.

Tomorrow we will talk more about need and why "Build it and they will come" is not a valid strategy.



Solutionz Live! on LIFE BALANCE A Whole New You with Brett Blumental @brettblumenthal


      This on demand audio series is a part of the Executive Girlfriends Group Vignette Series.  Chicke Fitzgerald interviews Brett Blumenthal. The original live interview was 3/1/13.



New Business Podcasts with Solutionz Live on BlogTalkRadio

Whether you want to start eating healthy, switch careers or improve a relationship, Brett Blumenthal’s A Whole New You inspires readers to take control of their lives and to live at their very best. Using her own experience with personal reinvention, professional work as a change management consultant, and research within psychology and human behavior, Blumenthal breaks down how to successfully reinvent your life in six steps. Each stage is complete with explanations, action steps, tools and resources to enable readers to follow through when attempting personal change.

A Whole New You is for anyone ready to make a change but not sure where to begin, or for someone who has tried to make a life improvement in the past but failed. Here’s a chance to finally use the right tools and knowledge to achieve your goals.

Brett Blumenthal is highly sought after to speak on change, well-being and lifestyle design. Brett brings over 20 years of experience in wellness and over 10 years of experience in management consulting, executive coaching, training development and public speaking to the table.

Brett’s website is http://sheerbalance.com/
To order her book click HERE
For more information about the Executive Girlfriends' Group see: http://www.executivegirlfriendsgroup.com

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Solutionz Live! on LEADERSHIP The CIO Paradox, with Martha Heller @marthaheller



This on demand audio series is a part of the Executive Girlfriends Group Vignette Series. Chicke Fitzgerald interviews Martha Heller. The original live interview was 10/12/12.






Regardless of industry, most major companies are becoming technology companies. The successful management of information has become so critical to a company’s goals, that in many ways, now is the age of the CIO. Yet IT executives are besieged by a host of contradictions: bad technology can bring a company to its knees, but corporate boards rarely employ CIOs; CIOs must keep costs down at the very same time that they drive innovation.
CIOs are focused on the future, while they are tethered by technology decisions made in the past. These contradictions form what Martha Heller calls The CIO Paradox, a set of conflicting forces that are deeply embedded in governance, staffing, executive expectations, and even corporate culture.
Heller, who has spent more than 12 years working with the CIO community, offers guidance to CIOs on how to attack, reverse, or neutralize the paradoxical elements of the CIO role.
Martha and her team at Heller Search Associates specialize in recruiting CIOs and other IT executives across multiple industries. Prior to founding Heller Search, Martha was Managing Director of the IT Leadership Practice at ZRG Partners, a global executive search firm.
Martha received her B.A. in English from Hamilton College and her M.A. in English from SUNY Stony Brook. Martha lives near Boston with her husband, two children and two dogs.
Martha’s website is http://www.hellersearch.com/
To order The CIO Paradox click HERE
For more information about the Executive Girlfriends' Group see: http://www.executivegirlfriendsgroup.com


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Solutionz Live! on CUSTOMER INTIMACY - Crafting the Customer Experience with Kelly McDonald @kellycmcdonald



This on demand audio series is a part of the Executive Girlfriends Group Vignette Series. Chicke Fitzgerald interviews Kelly McDonald. The original live interview was 1/25/13.




A "one-size fits all" approach to customer service is no longer viable. Businesses competing on service need to understand and cater to customers' racial, ethnic, religious, generational, and geographic differences in order to meet or exceed customers' service expectations.

 Crafting the Customer Experience to People Not Like You shows how companies, brands, and products struggling to differentiate themselves in a sea of sameness can foster long-term loyalty and brand preference with exceptional and customized customer service.

Kelly McDonald is a recognized expert on diversity marketing and business trends. She was named #1 on the list of “26 Hot Speakers” by Successful Meetings magazine. Kelly’s speaking client roster includes: Toyota, Sherwin-Williams, Harley-Davidson, State Farm Insurance, Mattel, AAA Travel, BlueCross BlueShield, and dozens of financial organizations and associations.

Kelly is a member of the National Speakers Association. McDonald Marketing is a woman-owned business and is a certified HUB (Historically Under-utilized Business) by the state of Texas.

Kelly’s website is http://www.mcdonaldmarketing.com/

To order her book click HERE

For more information about the Executive Girlfriends' Group see: http://www.executivegirlfriendsgroup.com

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Entrepreneurial Puzzle - a 10-part ThinkTank series starts Monday



Today I am teaching at my kids' school for the Great American Teach-In.  I am teaching on the topic of Entrepreneurialism.  So I thought it fitting to share the puzzle graphic that I am using for Mrs. Carlson's 5th grade class at Cambridge Christian School and then on Monday, begin to talk about each element of the puzzle.  
If you think you know the answers, go ahead and print it out and see if you are right.  Please join in the dialogue, beginning on Monday.


Solutionz Live! NETWORKING Porter Gale - Your Network is Your Net Worth

This on demand audio series is a part of the Executive Girlfriends Group Vignette Series. Chicke Fitzgerald interview with Porter Gale.   The original live interview was 6/14/13.

@portergale
Networking doesn’t have to be that frenzied old-school game of calendars packed with stuffy power lunches and sterile evenings at community business gatherings. 

We’ve entered a new era, one in which shifting cultural values and the explosion of digital technology enable us to network in vastly more efficient, more focused, and more enjoyable ways.




Your Network Is Your Net Worth is both a primer and a storybook, an entertaining, straightforward guide filled with revealing case studies, hands-on advice, and innovative strategies for building your network.

Gale shares the inspiring stories of so many others who live by this networking model: a military wife who connects with social media communities while her husband is deployed overseas, a young woman blogger battling leukemia, a dyslexic politician who wins elections by telling stories, and the CEO of a Major League Baseball team who once made a phone call that changed the course of his life.

Porter Gale is an internationally known public speaker, networker, and entrepreneur with more than twenty years of experience working in marketing, advertising, and independent filmmaking. From 2007 to 2011, Porter was Vice President of Marketing at Virgin America. She is also a blogger for AdAge and The Huffington Post.

Porter’s website is http://www.portergale.com/
To order her book click HERE

For more information about the Executive Girlfriends' Group see: http://www.executivegirlfriendsgroup.com

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