Tag Archives: Platform Scottsdale

unlock potential, web

Platform Scottsdale: Provoking your full potential

    •    Are  you at 100% of your potential?
•    Do you sometimes feel you want to accomplish so much, but don’t know where to start?

Our minds are like those 27-gear bicycles. We have a wide variety of choices, but we typically just use two or three gears. We are creatures of habit. We stick to what we know, since we inherently equate this with security.

What if that “gold mine” of long term security is lying dormant, just waiting to be ignited? One magical tool that I’ve consistently used to drive results in reaching one’s full potential is simply asking provocative questions.

Below is a taste of “The Art of Provoking” and how to get on the right track to that gold mine of potential:

1.    What’s keeping you awake at night?
It’s important to be aware of what issues are top of mind that are causing you any current stress. Many times one area of worry may produce energy leaks in other areas of your life. Identify the situations that are occupying your thoughts and resulting in stress, and deal with them as soon as possible. These are serious energy leaks, which could be using up some of your horse power in moving forward toward your gold mine potential.

2.    What is holding you back from changing the situation?
Be painfully honest with yourself to uncover the core of this answer. Stir up the pain in order to acknowledge it, see it, and then change it.

3.    In what situations do you seem to have unlimited drive and energy?
There are certain activities and situations which come naturally; you get results easily with minimal effort. When you can identify these, you have tapped into your natural tendencies, your default talents, which are organically part of you.

If you easily facilitate groups of people and teams, for example, you can then incorporate this skill to actually boost your drive and productivity. It’s much more empowering to build on our strengths and magnify those into a variety of our activities rather than focus on our weaknesses.

Tip: for help in identifying and developing your own strengths, I highly recommend Tom Rath’s book Strengths Finder. There is an online self-assessment version which is astonishingly accurate, and many of the Fortune 500 companies I work with use it with great results.

4.    What is the one area that would cause the most impact to drive you toward your goal?
When we are in a mode of transition and are truly ready to make permanent changes, we need motivation along the way. When you ask yourself this question, direct the action with focused intention in one specific key area which will act as a catalyst to impact your future success.

The moment you pinpoint one key area which will make the most significant immediate difference, the game plan becomes clear. It’s like putting in the exact address in your GPS…once it’s entered, you can relax and you know where you’re going, so you get there faster.

5.    What is your first step, and when will you take it?
Life rewards action. So no matter how small your first action step is, just start! Stop analyzing it, stop second guessing, stop asking everybody else what their opinion is – just get on with it.

Remember, a dream is a goal without a deadline. So set a specific date when you’ll take your first action step. Do whatever you need to do to hold yourself accountable. If you don’t start, you’ll never know if it was the right step or not.

Erica Jong said it well, “The trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” I say start with intention, but action is what gets you results, and it’s what will put you on a path to reaching your full potential.

 

 

About Sandra Saenz:

Sandra Saenz is an international trainer, published author, and former business executive with 20+ years globally. With a background in international advertising, she served as Regional Management Supervisor in Vienna for the CEE Region, supervising 8 countries before founding her own consulting firm. She has been called a “Provocational Speaker”, provoking people to their best. She is the founder of Dream Team Communications, providing training and coaching in 32 countries; she is a certified Dale Carnegie Trainer, serving on the prestigious Global Team; has been named Top Business Trainer for the 4th consecutive year; and in her spare time acts as the Up Close & Personal Director of Platform Scottsdale, a non-profit organization dedicated to giving women a platform to meet, mentor and connect with like-minded women. For more information visit www.dreamteamcommunications.com and www.platformscottsdale.com.

 

Bloguettes.com

Platform Scottsdale: What are blogs for anyway?

platform-scottsdale
The other day we met with two of our good friends at their office, which doubles as a brick-and-mortar shop, from where they plan parties and sell any and everything you’d need to throw a good one. We got to talking about blogging (it’s a huge part of what we do, after all) and one of them posed the group with a question that really got the gears in everyone’s heads turning.

“Where do you see blogging going?”

Did not see that one coming. In the age of the Internet, we all sort of have this innate knowledge that blogs and social media are absolutely necessary. But why?

Here are 7 things you need to be doing with your blog–because this is what blogs are for!

1. Give your content a home.
Your blog is where your content lives, period. If you’ve taken the time to write an article, take a picture or create a graphic, put it on your blog. Blogs are great for categorizing and cataloging your content. If you ever want to see a post again, don’t just put it on social media.

2. Stay simple.
We spend the majority of our time surfing the web on our phones. Complicated layouts and lengthy articles just don’t translate to smaller screens. If you can’t get around it, use simple images and attention-grabbing tag lines on social media and then link to the content on your blog. Remember–the less time people have to spend navigating your blog, the more time they’re spending focusing on the content.

3. Visualize it.
Speaking of images–they’re important! Don’t overload your subscribers with mountains of text. Most people need visuals to fully get the point. Additionally, Pinterest and Instagram are huge players in the social media game and consist of mainly photographs.

4. Keep it in the family.
Your blog, social media channels, print material–even your email signature–should look like they’re all related. Not only all bearing your logo or imagery, but also incorporating the same colors, fonts and verbiage.

5. Share it.
When you post, let people know! It is a bit naive to think that people are going to be visiting your blog daily looking for your latest post. This is where social media comes in super handy. To make sure you aren’t sharing insanely long links, use a URL shortening service like Bitly.

6. Be responsive.
This doesn’t need to be complicated. Reply to your subscribers’ questions. Read other blogs related to yours and join the conversation. Check out what types of posts create the most reader engagement (Pinterest has a source page that is great for this!) and do more of that!

7. Make it all look good.
Beautiful layouts and images grab people’s attention. Learn how to make things look good on the Internet on your own. Bloguettes is local to Arizona and offers a two-day workshop that will teach you how. That way you’re posting great looking content all the time, and not just when you’re able to get a graphic designer to help you out.

This all being said, don’t go crazy trying to wrangle your blog and social media channels along with all the other facets of branding yourself or your business. Keeping it uncomplicated is one of the best things you can do for the sanity of your readers and yourself. And if something completely unconventional works for you–keep doing it! There are no hard and fast rules to this, just a whole lot of trial and error.

About Bloguettes:
Bloguettes is a two-day workshop led by Sakura Considine and Lorena Garcia, that teaches Photoshop, blogging, branding and social media strategies to bloggers, photographers, small business owners, independent professionals and anyone else interested in learning about visual branding. Their studio is located in Old Town Scottsdale and the door is always open to talk shop, share tips and tricks and meet new people. They are also on the committee of Platform Scottsdale, a non-profit organization dedicated to giving women a platform to meet, mentor and connect with like-minded women. For more information, visit www.bloguettes.com and www.platformscottsdale.com.

 

Balloon Girl

Platform Scottsdale: Your turn to schmooze, not stress!

platform-scottsdale
Whether it be a big conference for your company, a fundraiser for the charity near and dear to your heart, your best friend’s wedding, or your own kid’s birthday party – we all know that it is high season for events, of all types, here in the Valley!

No matter if the event is designed to celebrate, educate, or motivate – the process has the potential to be stressful. Yet nearly every single day, I’m still asked WHY someone should hire an event planner. So here’s the long and the short of it…

Top 10 Reasons to Hire an Event Planner

10. It’s YOUR Budget
Some people think hiring an event planner costs too much money – not true! You set your budget and in the end, an event planner’s job is to help you save money and time!

9. Eeeny Meeny Miny Moe
We don’t pick sides! When everyone has an opinion and everyone thinks it’s “their party/event,” we approach the situation without bias, act as a buffer, and help all parties involved see and understand the different perspectives.

8. Fire Fightin’
We are skilled in crisis management, or “putting out fires”. We’ve got backup plans galore and can handle almost all situations with style and grace, without ever skipping a beat.

7. Read between the Lines
Contracts can be very intimidating and overwhelming – especially when you’re dealing with so many at one time! We’ve reviewed hundreds of contracts, from all types of vendors, and we know what to look for to help clients get the most bang for their buck!

6. In the Know
Lucky for us (and you!), it’s our job to stay up on the latest industry trends! We’re the first to know of the season’s hottest colors, popular themes, new venues and entertainers, and we also know when something has run its course!

5. You’re Busy
You have a lot going on! Between your job, volunteer work, driving carpool, blah, blah, blah – who has time to plan an event? We do! And we will help keep you and all of the vendors on track by managing a very detailed timeline.

4. Our Peeps
In short, we know good people. We align ourselves with the best of the best. Many event planners build their businesses on relationships. And because of this, we have great working relationships with many vendors. This translates to improved experiences and better deals for our clients!

3. Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make me a Match 
There are dozens of qualified vendors in each category and even though it may sound like fun, there is no need to meet with every single florist or caterer in the state of Arizona! Let us save you time, energy (and a few headaches!) and match you with the most qualified candidates that meet your needs, and together, we can narrow down from there.

2. The Big Picture
The band or DJ you hire is going to knock your socks off when it comes to music, and your florist is going to have all of your guests saying “oooh” and “aaah”! While each vendor is going to be so focused on impressing you with what they know best, as they should, your event planner will be embracing the big picture and making sure every aspect of your big event goes smoothly.

1. Mix & Mingle
Another perk of being an event planner, is that we get to help our clients look good! By coordinating vendors, making sure everyone is where they need to be and when, we take the stress off of you on event day. It’s your day – you should be able to mix, mingle, network, and celebrate all you want!

Balancing Act, WEB

Balancing Act: Women Making a Difference in the Community

platform-scottsdale

Welcome to our monthly series with Platform Scottsdale, a nonprofit organization that creates a forum for like-minded women to meet, mentor and build networking relationships with one another. This month’s fun feature is by founder and COO Pearl Woodring.

Warning: The following article will inspire you to make a difference in your community and your life!

 

When managing family and career becomes overwhelming and both are vying for your time, how do you carve out time from your busy schedule to volunteer? The real challenge is, how do you balance it all?

 

 

Nicole Goodwin

Nicole Goodwin

Nicole Goodwin would know first hand about juggling family, work and squeezing in time to volunteer for a worthy cause. She joined the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC), right after her now-10-year-old was diagnosed with severe autism. Instead of the diagnosis discouraging her or slowing her down, it inspired Nicole to become a community activist paving the way for kids and adults with autism to live a successful life.

 

Who is Nicole Goodwin? Nicole, is a shareholder in the commercial litigation department at Greenberg Traurig, a wife, a mom of two beautiful boys ages 6 and 10, Co-Chair of SARRC’s 16th Annual Community Breakfast, Commissioner of the Phoenix Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues. She gracefully answers our Q&A on balancing it all. She admits that overall, a good support system can make all the difference when navigating family, career and volunteerism. More so, Nicole still finds the time for a mid-week hydropeptide facial and the essential fire engine red manicure!

 

Q. Time management— how do you balance children, work, and volunteering?

A. I can only do what I do with the support of my husband who has never held me back from anything, or made me feel guilty about being at the office or in the community. Beyond that, being as fully present as I can be, wherever I am, and not being afraid to kill two birds with the same stone – for me that means being friends with the people I work with, volunteering with friends, and sometimes bringing a kid to work.

 

Q. How do you find the time to volunteer? Where?

A. For me I don’t try to find time – I use a calendar and block it off, and I do my best to not flake or cancel once I’ve made a commitment. Sometimes I have no choice, for example in the event of an emergency for a client or a sick child, but otherwise if I plan on it, then I do it.

 

Q. Which three adjectives best describe you?

A. Logical, empathetic and open.

 

Q. What advice would you give your younger self?

A. Live in a big city longer – in my case, NYC. In my 20’s I was always thinking about the next step – getting married, buying a house, having kids, etc. instead of truly living in the moment I was in.

 

Q. What advice would you give a mom juggling children and re-entering the work force?

A. Find your support – whether it’s family, friends, paid support if necessary, and don’t be afraid to use it. And pay it forward (or back) by being a support to others.

 

Q. What advice would you give women with limited time seeking volunteer opportunities?

A. Don’t over commit – link up with an organization that allows you to do “one-off” kinds of things, whether a volunteer on a given day, a walk, or something else that is not an ongoing commitment. Then, as you can plan on doing more of these, once a month for example, you can build on your participation and make a greater commitment. But in all cases only do what you are passionate about – otherwise the volunteering will be a chore.

 

Q. What woman inspires you and why?

A. My aunt – I lost her a few years ago to cancer, and at the time she died she had three school aged boys. She inspires me to live without regret, and not just tell my kids I love them each day, but show them.

 

Q. What’s your favorite quote?

A. I am one of those people who can get halfway through an episode of Law and Order before I remember I’ve seen it before. I’m like that with quotes – I like them when I read them, absorb them, then promptly forget them.

 

Q. What do you like about being a Platform Scottsdale member?

A. Meeting women I wouldn’t otherwise meet – most days I get in my zone and spend a lot of time with other lawyers. Not that there’s anything wrong with lawyers . . . but I enjoy meeting women from a variety of backgrounds, whether in the work force or not, especially women in creative fields who are pursuing their dreams.

 

Q. Do you pamper yourself? How do you fit it into your busy schedule?

A. I am not shy about pampering – I calendar Spa Week twice a year, for example, and plan on it. When friends come in from out of town I use that opportunity to splurge and go to a spa or stay-cate. But my biggest pampering is sleep – if I don’t have enough I can’t get done what I need to get done.

 

Q. What’s your favorite pastime?

A. Being with my boys, even if it’s just in the backyard or at the park. Trying to slow down time before they grow up and are no longer my babies.

 

Q. Are there any upcoming events you would like to share with us?

A. Yes! This year I am co-chairing the 16th Annual Community Breakfast for the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) – it’s Thursday, April 17 at the Biltmore at 7:30 a.m. It’s a powerful, inspiring event that’s not to be missed. If you would like to know more about the SARRC breakfast at the Biltmore, contact Nicole at—goodwinn@gtlaw.com

How do we have it all, be the greatest we can be and simultaneously remain grounded and happy in the midst of all of the striving?

How to Have It All — Happiness, Success and Health

platform-scottsdale

 

Welcome to Scottsdale Living’s monthly series with Platform Scottsdale, a nonprofit organization that creates a platform for like-minded women to meet, mentor and build networking relationships with one another. This month’s feature is by Dorothy Wolden.

Let’s face it, ladies; there are more demands on us now than any other time in history. Working. Going to school. Running a business. Being mom of the year. Having a relationship. Looking good. Staying healthy. How do we have it all, be the greatest we can be and simultaneously remain grounded and happy in the midst of all of the striving?

The truth is that being a superwoman is not about being a super star but about being special to the people who matter to you – your spouse, your children, your family, your friends and your community.

There is a superwoman within all of us, so how do you uncover yours? What do you need to do in order to make a difference in your own life and the lives of the people that matter to you?

Below are five tips to help nurture your superwoman.

  1. Define Who/What Matters to You. The first step to stepping into your superwoman suit is to identify the people and things that matter to you. Knowing who is important to you is one thing but taking actions that will show your love for them is another. Sometimes we forget the people that are closest to us by taking them for granted.
  2. Take time to be by yourself everyday. Quietly, silently, peacefully. Continue to develop your relationship with yourself, as it is the most important relationship of all. Try five minutes of meditation to stay connected to “you.”
  3. Get Organized. Getting organized is all about setting goals and following them. Goals will help you stay focused as well as keep track of progress. The simplest way of setting goals is to consider what you want to achieve, break it into smaller short-term goals, which you will achieve by doing small things on a daily or weekly, monthly or annual basis.
  4. Keep your mind clear. Empty out the trash of your mind. Observe and understand your current beliefs and motivations behind them. If they are not serving your highest good, question why you’re holding onto them. Don’t be afraid to do a sprint cleaning on those toxic thoughts. You’ll be amazed at the good you will attract by getting rid of them.
  5. Give back. Keep the flow of energy moving. Giving back can be simple, like smiling at a stranger, helping someone in need, or volunteer with a local organization. Volunteers are always needed and welcomed.

Remember that being a superwoman is about being cherished and appreciated by those you hold dear to your heart. As a woman, you are already designed to love and care for others. With just a little targeting and planning, the superwoman in you will soar to heights you have never dreamed and bring you peace beyond what money and fame can bring you; the peace that comes from knowing that someone is better off because of you.

 

ABOUT PLATFORM SCOTTSDALE:

Platform Scottsdale is a newly formed organization dedicated to giving women a platform to meet, promote and connect with like-minded women. Founded in 2012 by Christine Espinoza, Julie Kern, Pearl Woodring and Dorothy Wolden, Platform Scottsdale reaches everyone from the woman in business, stay-at-home mom, domestic engineer, and the single lady on the go with their tri-annual events and online community which foster an environment allowing women to come together, contribute and support each other in a meaningful way. For more information visit www.PlatformScottsdale.com.

Girl Friends

Platform Scottsdale: The Power of Girlfriends

platform-scottsdale

Welcome to the second of our monthly series with Platform Scottsdale, a nonprofit organization that creates a platform for like-minded women to meet, mentor and build networking relationships with one another. This month’s fun feature is by Julie Kern.

Just hearing the word, “girlfriend” brings to mind happy thoughts of good times with the women in my life. I have a friendship that is more than 40 years old. Kimberly and I became childhood friends when her family bought the house two doors down from us. Today, we keep in regular contact and see each other several times a year even though we live in different states. (Her work travel schedule helps us do that.) Whenever we get together, there is never enough time for us to talk about all the things we want to share―updates on our families, work and lives. Over the years, we have celebrated each other’s accomplishments, shared our deepest fears, comforted each other through sorrow and loss and watched each other’s families grow. Whenever I receive an email from her saying that she is going to be in Phoenix, I immediately read it so that I can add the dates of her next visit to my calendar. It is a relationship I truly cherish.
We make girlfriends all through our lives. In childhood, we have friends with whom we often lose contact over the years. Facebook has made it easier to reconnect with them, and I enjoy seeing where their lives have taken them. If you attended college, you may have developed some really strong female friendships during those years. I was not a traditional college student. I got married and had a family right after high school, so I didn’t have the dorm experience. But my friendship with fellow students from my master’s program has blessed me with many women friends who work in my industry.friends
We also develop friendships with women through our work or business. I am fortunate enough to own a business where I work primarily with women as clients. Because I come alongside them during a very difficult and emotional time in their lives―divorce―I am able to have meaningful conversations with them and often develop deep friendships. As they move forward in their new lives as singles, I receive such personal reward in seeing them learn to confidently manage their finances.
Whether you are single or married, you may have several girlfriends who share your marital status. The friendships often develop because you have similar lifestyles. These women can understand the particular challenges of either marriage or being single. Having girlfriends you can turn to when you are struggling or who will celebrate you reaching new milestones makes the burdens more bearable and the successes more rewarding.  There is a Swedish proverb that I love, “Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”
Family is another source of female friendships. These are the people we didn’t choose to be in our lives, yet we often form the deepest relationships with them because we are related.  Friends2In my family, I have a sister-in-law who is a dear, dear friend and my sister, Lynda, is my trusted advisor, counselor, confidante, and friend.  When something goes wrong or right in my life, the first person I want to talk to is my girlfriend, my sister.
Associations, support groups, and other social organizations can also be a wonderful arena for friendships between women to develop.  As a co-founder of Platform Scottsdale, I share in our mission to bring women from various areas of our lives together to meet, be inspired, support, mentor, and connect with each other in a fun, friendly, social environment.  At one of our events you are likely to see stay-at-home moms, high level executives, business owners, singles, marrieds, and family members across different age groups, ethnicities, geographical areas, and backgrounds.  We believe that there is great value in connecting fabulous women with each other and watching as they lift each other up.  We have seen it come to fruition time and time again.
Today is a good day to reach out to a girlfriend in your life and let her know how much she means to you or how much you value the relationship. I have a few to reach out to right now!

164874519

Top 9 tips to navigating social media for the socially exhausted

In today’s world, I find it interesting that social media has become prevalent in most small businesses. For me, this ever-changing medium is intimidating and trying to keep up with it can feel like a full-time job – especially for someone like myself who has often stumbled with understanding how it all works; and the new learning tools haven’t helped!

My attempts to navigate this world have made me feel like a really small fish in a very big pond. I often wonder:  do I really need these platforms or am I just following a trend?! We have all been told that it is essential to manage all or at least the top six social media platforms. Here is my challenge with this concept.  Since I have neither the time nor expertise to manage all of these accounts, what is the best course of action for someone in my position ( social media inept and exhausted) to successfully tackle Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and now Fancy? Oh, let’s not forget, I also need an engagement strategy for each platform. Yikes!

So, on my quest to figure out the best social media strategy for each of my businesses, Sparrow Retail Consultants and Scottsdale Business Community Project, this is what I learned:

Choose one platform: Find a social media platform that suits your style and create a strategy that works with and not against your busy schedule.
Hire an expert: Don’t try and be the jack of all trades. Instead of trying to become the expert, if you have the budget, hire one. Remember your audience wants to hear your voice. Make sure you agree with the message that is delivered in your name.
Cut yourself a break: You don’t have to know how to do it all, but you should be able to make it easy for yourself and your clients to get everything they need.
If you choose to use more than one medium, don’t tackle it all in one day. Use a collaborative tool like Hootsuite or sproutsocial and turn off your alerts.
Don’t take yourself so seriously: I love this excerpt from my favorite blog: “It really is true that the more time you spend on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc., the more you get sucked in, and after thousands of hours in online communities, one day it hits you: You started counting retweets and you started worrying about your engagement score on Facebook. Somehow, somewhere, you got … serious!” via CopyBlogger.
It’s okay to make mistakes: I have heard about bloggers being ridiculed for grammatical errors! We all need to get over ourselves.  The next time you worry about making a mistake or find one in someone else’s work, think of this quote: “When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target,” Fisher, Geoffrey F.
Stop competing with your friends: Are your friends more popular than you, do they have hundreds of followers and friends and you have little or none?  This is not a competition! The point of social media is to connect and engage your clients. Focus on businesses that interact with you. It’s true that quantity does not equal the best quality.
Don’t waste your time:  Make sure social media is appropriate for your business- Mashable released an article about 10 successful small businesses that do not use social media.
Know when to shut it off: Your business won’t fail if you take a two week break. Learn to manage your time correctly. Offline is always more important than online! Don’t miss life’s most important moment in your quest to memorializing events for your social pages.

I cannot deny that these media platforms are here to stay and can be a significant factor in the growth and success of any business. Well, I guess it’s time to take my own advice. Here’s to meeting you online!

Christine Espinoza - 50 Most Influential Women in AZ Business

Christine Espinoza – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Christine EspinozaFounder and CEO, Platform Scottsdale

Espinoza has been selling residential real estate since 1997 and currently works with HomeSmart Elite Group. In 2012, she started a women’s group called Platform Scottsdale. This group welcomes everyone from the stay-at-home mom to the business owner and serves to connect, promote and inspire local women.

Surprising fact: “My family and I were on ‘Family Feud’ in 2010.”

Biggest challenge: “Going through a divorce. Coming from a family where my parents have been married over 40 years, I was not prepared for this overwhelming life change … To surround myself with supportive, wonderful women, I founded Platform Scottsdale … I discovered that I can accomplish much more with the support of these women, and create lifelong friendships that I will forever cherish.”

Fifty Most Influential Women in Arizona Business – Every year in its July/August issue Arizona Business Magazine features 50 women who make an impact on Arizona business. To see the full list, read the digital issue >>

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Girlfriends

Just hearing the word “girlfriend” brings to mind happy thoughts of good times with the women in my life.  I have a friendship that is over 40 years old.  Kimberly and I became childhood friends when I was four years old.  Her family bought the house two doors down from us.  Today, we keep in regular contact and see each other several times a year even though we live in different states (her work travel schedule helps us do that).  Whenever we get together, there is never enough time for us to talk about all the things we want to share — updates on our families, work, and lives.  Over the years, we have celebrated each other’s accomplishments, shared our deepest fears, comforted each other through sorrow and loss, and watched each other’s families grow.  Whenever I receive an email from her saying that she is going to be in Phoenix, I immediately read it so that I can add the dates of her next visit to my calendar.  It is a relationship I truly cherish.

We make girlfriends all through our lives.  In childhood, we have friends with whom we often lose contact over the years.  Facebook has made it easier to reconnect with them and I enjoy seeing where their lives have taken them.  If you attended college, you may have developed some really strong female friendships during those years.  I was not a traditional college student.  I got married and had a family right after high school instead, so I didn’t have the dorm experience.  But my friendship with fellow students from my master’s program has blessed me with many women friends who work in my industry.

We also develop friendships with women through our work or business.  I am fortunate enough to own a business where I work primarily with women as clients. Because I come alongside them during a very difficult and emotional time in their lives – divorce – I am able to have meaningful conversations with them and often develop deep friendships.  As they move forward in their new lives as singles, I receive such personal reward in seeing them learn to confidently manage their finances.

Whether you are single or married, you may have several girlfriends who share your marital status.  The friendships often develop because you have similar lifestyles.  These women can understand the particular challenges of either marriage or being single.  Having girlfriends you can turn to when you are struggling or who will celebrate you reaching new milestones makes the burdens more bearable and the successes more rewarding.  There is a Swedish proverb that I love, “Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”

Family is another source of female friendships.  These are the people we didn’t choose to be in our lives, yet we often form the deepest relationships with them because we are related.  In my family, I have a sister-in-law who is a dear, dear friend and my sister, Lynda, is my trusted advisor, counselor, confidante and friend.  When something goes wrong or right in my life, the first person I want to talk to is my girlfriend, my sister.

Associations, support groups and other social organizations can also be a wonderful arena for friendships between women to develop.  As a co-founder of Platform Scottsdale, I share in our mission to bring women from various areas of our lives together to meet, be inspired, support, mentor and connect with each other in a fun, friendly, social environment.  At one of our events you are likely to see stay-at-home moms, high level executives, business owners, singles, marrieds and family members across different age groups, ethnicities, geographical areas and backgrounds.  We believe that there is great value in connecting fabulous women with each other and watching as they lift each other up.  We have seen it come to fruition time and time again.

Today is a good day to reach out to a girlfriend in your life and let her know how much she means to you or how much you value the relationship. I have a few to reach out to right now!

Platform Scottsdale

Platform Scottsdale: Why It's Great to Be a Woman!

platform-scottsdale

Welcome to the first of our monthly series with Platform Scottsdale, a non-profit organization that creates a platform for like-minded women to meet, mentor and build networking relationships with one another. This month’s fun feature is by founding member and residential realtor Christine Espinoza.

I was recently at dinner with a group of males and females in the 30-40 age group.  An interesting conversation took place that I simply observed, then thought about later.  A woman was expressing what a pain it was to be a female.  She made examples of all the “work” women must do to make themselves presentable in our society, such as get our nails done, our hair done, shave/wax our bodies, work out, find different outfits for different occasions, have babies…and the list went on and on.

167219150As I was listening, I was thinking to myself…I love doing all those things and I love being a woman!  Of course, there are times when anything in our lives can become monotonous, but I believe it’s our attitude toward these events in life that make all the difference.  With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of reasons why I believe it’s great to be a woman:

 

1. Free drinks.
2. Free dinners.
3. Free movies (you get the point).
4. You know The Truth about whether size matters.
5. Speeding ticket? What’s that?
1686469996. New lipstick gives you a whole new lease on life.
7. If you’re not making enough money you can blame the glass ceiling.
8. Nothing crucial can be cut off with one clean sweep.
9. No fashion faux pas you make could rival The Speedo.
10. Brad Pitt.
11. No one passes out when you take off your shoes.
12. If you think the person you’re dating really likes you, you don’t have to break up with them.
13. Excitement is only as far away as the nearest beauty-supply store.
14. If you forget to shave, no one has to know.
15. If you have a zit, you can conceal it.
16. You never have to reach down every so often to make sure your privates are still there.
17. Shoes – enough said.
18. You have an excuse to be in the worst mood ever at least once a month.
19. You can talk to people of the opposite sex without having to picture the…um…without clothes.
20. If you marry someone 20 years younger, you’re fully aware that you look like an idiot.
21. You’ll never have to punch a hole through anything with your fist.168791066
22. You can quickly end any fight by crying.
23. Your friends won’t think you’re weird if you ask whether there’s spinach in your teeth.
24. There are times when chocolate really can solve all your problems.
25. You’ll never regret piercing your ears.
26. You can fully assess a person just by looking at their shoes.
27. You’ll never discover you’ve been duped by a Wonderbra.
28. You know which glass was yours by the lipstick mark.

financing strategies

6 Financing Strategies, Tips for Making This Year A Financial Success

Six Financing Strategies for Making This Year A Financial Success


Happy New Year! Would you like to make this your best year financially? Now is a great time to make some small changes that can help you finish 2013 strong. Change can be overwhelming — especially when you may also have some other New Year’s resolutions that you are focusing on. Working with a qualified financial planner to reach your goals will provide you with additional advice and support in sticking to your discipline.

But in the meantime, here is an easy-to-implement calendar of one tip for every two months of the year to help you move closer to your goals.

6 financing strategies for 2013

January/February

Make this the month for organization. Gather up all of your paid bills, receipts and other documents from 2012, and organize them for taxes. Set up a folder where you can place tax documents as they begin to arrive this month and next. Also, set up a simple system (paper or electronic) for filing away your documents for 2013 to avoid papers piling up throughout the year. Finally, schedule an appointment with your CPA to have your tax returns prepared.

March/April

Get your tax returns filed and have an estimate of your 2013 tax liability calculated so there won’t be any nasty tax surprises. Using a CPA to prepare your taxes can pay for itself if you work with someone who gives you tax planning strategies each year. So if you aren’t using one already, find a reputable CPA and ask them to provide you with some planning ideas each year. Then, implement them.

May/June

Set up a system to track your spending. You can’t improve what you don’t measure, so decide on whether you are a notebook and pencil, Excel spreadsheet, Quicken or Mint.com person, and start tallying. Prepare for an eye-opening experience if you haven’t done this before because it can be surprising to see where your hard-earned cash is going. But, trust in the process. This is a very valuable exercise. Commit to tracking for at least 90 days.

July/August

Create a debt payoff strategy. List all of your current debts, including credit cards, auto loans, student loans and mortgages in order from the smallest balance to the largest.  Target the smallest balance first and work at paying it off with a vengeance. Now that you are tracking your spending, you may find some areas where you can cut back and apply extra amounts toward the debt. Once it is paid off, attack the next smallest balance by adding what you were paying to the now-extinguished debt to the new one. This is what author Dave Ramsey calls the “Debt Snowball.” Continue working this way until you eventually become debt free. Oh yes, and cut up the credit cards.

September/October

Review your estate planning documents. Whether you have a will or trust, if it has been more than three to five years since they were updated or if you’ve had some life events since then (e.g., birth of a child, move to a new state, death of a named trustee, they probably need to be updated. Meet with an attorney and get them updated.

November/December

Meet with your insurance agent(s), and review all of your policies to make sure you are adequately covered. Some types of insurance to consider are health, life, auto, home, liability, long-term care, disability and business. One gap in coverage can negate all other careful planning, so be sure to do a thorough review.

If you are able to implement each of these finance strategies by the end of 2013, you may find yourself with some extra cash to fund an IRA or other retirement account or to add to your emergency cash fund. It’s a great time to meet with a financial planner to create a strategy for your extra cash and to make sure you are on track to meet your longer-term goals.

Investment advisory and financial planning services offered by Julie A. Kern through Wealth Management Solutions, a Registered Investment Adviser. Bridge Financial Strategies and Wealth Management Solutions are not affiliated.

For more information about Platform Scottsdale, visit platformscottsdale.com.

Platform Scottsdale

Platform Scottsdale Provides Support System For Women

With the holidays approaching, and as we go through life events and transitions in general, it’s only natural that we become busier than we’d like to be. Family get-togethers, new jobs, reinventing ourselves after retirement, marriage, divorce, friendships, children, grandchildren — these are all things that can take up our time and consume our minds. As women, it is our nature to want to be everything to everyone, which usually means family, career and a whole lot of multitasking.

Often when faced with a new challenge, whether it relates to healthcare, a newborn baby, or an ended relationship, we are asked if we have a good support system in place. So often we narrow our “system” down because we just don’t know where to find the time to nurture all of those relationships. Having your husband on speed dial is great when you need advice, but calling him to help advice on all obstacles is probably not nearly as effective. Calling your mom every time you need help with the kids may seem easier, but there’s nothing wrong at all with going out on a limb and asking a friend for a favor — one that can easily be returned. Broadening a support system is essential to finding a happy place in this hectic life, and while it may take some time out of your schedule to attend an event or meet new people, the return is oftentimes worth much more than the investment.

Platform ScottsdaleThis is why we decided to launch Platform Scottsdale earlier this year, to be that place for now more than 100 like-minded Valley women — be it stay-at-home moms, single ladies on-the-go or the career-minded trendsetter — who get together for our signature events three times a year to meet new friends, socialize and build their network of support. Not only does Platform Scottsdale promote and nurture these new connections in person, but also online through the “Pink Pages,” where all members sign up — whether they are business owners, students or a mom of five kids — and can connect, or reconnect, with women who are looking for the same thing as them: a support system.

Take yourself back to a time in your life when you were more carefree. Try and remember the people who held your hand through any adversity you faced. Certain people come into our lives for a specific purpose, and it’s important to let them help you for that purpose and not be afraid to ask different people for advice or guidance because that can only bring a fresh, new perspective.

Making time to meet new people at events like those that Platform Scottsdale host, joining a neighborhood book club or making new friends at the gym, add a variety of expertise to one’s support system and will only strengthen the ability to respond to life’s many — and promised — unending obstacles. Eventually, they may no longer be considered obstacles, but, instead, exciting challenges to overcome.

For more information about Platform Scottsdale and its upcoming events, visit platformscottsdale.com.