LWL Community Member Speaks Out About Injustice…

by Joelle Wyser-Pratte

Throughout the course of human history, in the face of essential moral dilemmas, there have always been the privileged and powerful fighting for the status quo – fighting to preserve injustice. Today, in the fight for women’s equality, the face of injustice is the State Senate Republican Conference.

The columnist Nicholas Kristof has identified three distinct moral challenges within to American history and culture. In the 19th century, we fought to end slavery. In the 20th century, we fought to defeat totalitarianism.

And, he wrote, in the 21st century, the moral challenge over our time will be the fight to overcome gender inequality.

Even in the United States, the wealthiest nation the world has ever seen, we see unconscionable levels of sex trafficking. Women are paid less than men for the same type of work. And, in perhaps the most politically contentious issue in our political debate, women lack the complete ability to make our own health decisions.

I am proud to live in New York, a state with a long tradition of reform and activism for women’s rights, dating back to the Declaration of Sentiments written at the convention at Seneca Falls in 1848. But when we consider the state of affairs in present day New York – where not all women are legally recognized in their full and equal potential, and where a woman with a non-viable pregnancy is forced to wait until her own life is threatened in order to terminate a pregnancy – it pains me to admit that it’s far past time our government catches up to the conclusion that our society so readily welcomes.

With the strong and admirable leadership of Governor Cuomo, the Women’s Equality Act can use the power of the law to enforce the principles many of us naively assume were already in place. Among other things, the legislation includes provisions to ensure equal pay for equal work; codifies into state law the reproductive rights afforded by Roe v. Wade forty years ago; establishes protections for women and girls who fall victim to human trafficking; and ends discrimination against victims of domestic violence.

Legally and morally, this legislation is a no-brainer. But in an upsetting and disturbing twist, some in Albany believe that opposing these commonsense and fundamental principles of modern life has some political upside.

Today, the Senate GOP joins the ranks of individuals who have fought to keep injustice in our society. Not only do they oppose the legislation which is their right, but are also threatening to prevent the Senate from voting on the bill. How can this be called democracy when one man can control what is open to vote. 84 percent of New Yorker state residents regardless of political party are pro choice voters. The conservatives have spent their time attacking the bill by spreading lies and total propaganda about the section of the bill relating to reproductive rights. Despite both their support for the remaining nine planks of the bill, and the overwhelming public support for the abortion-related provision that simply brings us in line with Roe V Wade. The real reason is that if Roe v Wade is ever overturned, we will revert to abortion as a crime.
The result is that New York state government is being hijacked by a handful of politicians who believe that they understand the law better than the United States Supreme Court, and that their own opinions outweigh 84% of the public.

Ultimately, their political strategy depends on denying the women of New York the respect and dignity of allowing an up-or-down vote. Try as they might to evade and conceal their opposition, Conservatives have sent a loud and clear message to the women of New York. That message? They believe that human trafficking is morally acceptable; that holding employers accountable for equal work for equal pay is not a priority; that women who are sexually harassed at work should have no legal recourse; that it’s tolerable to discriminate against victims of domestic violence. In Senate Conservatives’ worldview, it’s acceptable for women to be paid less, and protected less, than men.

But the fight for women’s equality is a moral challenge, not merely a political strategy. The women of New York cannot, and will not, allow the Republicans to tell our daughters that they know what’s best. We will not remain quiet, and let men in Albany prevent us from enjoying equal protection under the law.

We are fighting for the fundamental human right – the inalienable right – of equality for all, equality for ourselves, for our sisters, for our daughters, and for our granddaughters. The Women’s Equality Act is the right thing to do, and we will not rest until it is law, all ten points of it…


About the Writer

Joelle Wyser-Pratte, is the co-founder of The Ounavarra Foundation, a non-profit charitable foundation dedicated to supporting educational causes throughout the world. Wyser-Pratte also co-found Ounavarra Capital LLC to help other select alternative managers grow their businesses and investor bases. Prior to the securities business, Joelle began her career in journalism with International Media Partners and NBC Television in Florida. Joelle graduated from Tufts University, and holds Series 7 and 63 registrations with FINRA.

Victoria’s LaunchTip: How You Can Feel More Connected

Engaging in activities with others leads to enhanced feelings of connectedness as opposed to the acquisition of objects, which leads to feelings of separateness. When we shop and buy things, it is usually to impress others, as opposed to immersing ourselves in “experiences” which connect us to others. This may seem counterintuitive since many of us use shopping for things as a leisure activity and welcome break in our day. However, if you ever note how you feel after purchasing a new pair of shoes or fabulous handbag, the pleasure you receive is usually short lived and unsatisfying—hence leading to the desire for more purchases in the hopes that more things will lead to more satisfaction, which it never does, but usually leads to a shopaholic addiction instead. Next time you are considering a leisure activity or how to spend bonus cash, consider the long lasting purchase of an experience over something material as much more fulfilling solution and enhanced enjoyment of your life.

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Victoria’s LaunchTip: Top 5 Ways to Identify an Opportunity and When to Act On It.

Opportunities are everywhere but the trick is bringing them into your awareness field, identifying them and then acting on them. When an opportunity does come into your awareness field and you have a strong conviction about it, act on it right way! Here are my top 5 ways to identify an opportunity that should be grabbed versus an every-day event that may not have the same dramatic impact. When an opportunity is staring you in the face, here’s what you can expect:

1. Something on a gut level feels right, even if all logic dictates otherwise.

2. The event, if acted on, will further a long-held dream but likely in a way you never expected. In other words “the how” is a big surprise.

3. You have physical feelings of excitement, joy, maybe even peace, around acting on the event, but this does NOT translate to feelings of an adrenaline rush, stress or anxiety.

4. People around you may be encouraging you to move forward, but not overly so.

5. When you imagine what life would be like after the opportunity has been acted on, you feel as if “this is doable”, or a sense of comfort that stretches you a little but not too much.

What opportunities are in your path this very moment? Look for them. I’ve learned over time that they are omnipresent and as close to the divine as you can get in this lifetime.

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Victoria’s LaunchTip: One “To Do” You Can’t “Do” Without

Over the years, I’ve learned some lessons about the importance of creating agendas. Whether you’ve scheduled a half hour call or a two hour meeting, agendas are vitally important for setting priorities, keeping everyone on track, and maximizing meeting participants’ time. Even an introductory “meet and greet” session can benefit from mapping out goals and priorities in advance. Here are some quick tips for developing effective agendas while still allowing for flexibility and brainstorming to take place:

Designate someone (preferably on your team) to take the lead in starting the agenda; circulate a draft via Google shared docs (or the equivalent) so that all meeting participants have access to add their items. This establishes a “same page” mindset and allows everyone a preliminary understanding of each other’s goals.

• Prioritize most important items first: Have a method to your list.

• If an agenda feels too formal for an introductory meeting, hold a preparatory session with your internal team and determine what the goals are of the upcoming meeting: Ask yourself and your team: What do I / we want to accomplish from this meeting? What is the best case scenario? Worst case scenario? Middle of the road outcome?

• Prepare for next steps depending on which scenario unfolds and determine in advance how you want to react to each outcome.

• Allow yourself to be open and have fun!

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Women Can Have Fun In Their Closet!!

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Pam Friedlander,

PamWardrobe and Image Consultant, Founder,  Positive Reflections.

Connect with Pam and send her a message or ask your question here.

Describe your business in 3 sentences. What is it?

As founder of Positive Reflections, a wardrobe and image consulting company, I help women discover that they can have a wardrobe that works for their lifestyle and personality. During the process, women begin to see their New Vision, and develop a sense of confidence in building a wardrobe with polish and style. The stress of wondering “what do I choose”, and “how do I look”, is gone.

What does it mean to you to be “the entrepreneur of your life”? How do you integrate your life and your business, your personal brand and your business brand?

Creating my wardrobe and image consulting business over five years ago was born from my own personal experience of losing and keeping off sixty pounds. When deciding on a name for the business, I thought of how good I felt when looking in the mirror. It is important to me that the name communicate what a change could do, and Positive Reflections was born… and my distinctive metallic mirror logo is my statement. My business and personal brand are intertwined daily, because I must be a reflection of my business. It is important for me to look and feel my best whether I am with a client, attending a meeting, or just out and about. I am always happy to give advice and tips when asked. When someone compliments me on an accessory or my outfit, I am flattered and happily give them my card.

Is your business your passion?

As an entrepreneur, I have learned to be resourceful, use my creative energy, and promote myself wherever and whenever I can. I have a passion and enthusiasm for helping women feel their best. It is not creating a fashion statement that makes wardrobe consulting fun and rewarding, but seeing the confidence women feel after working with me when they achieve their goals.

My workshops mirror my passionate feelings about how women can transform themselves . I am a member of the Association of Image Consultants, and throughout the years continue to take training and certification classes. I attend conferences annually, meeting wardrobe and image consultants from around the world. I am also a member of the Danbury and Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce.

What business tools have helped you the most?

The most valuable business tool for me has been my web site designer. At every turn in my business she has helped create promotional materials, mailings, and updated the web site when needed. Professional Women’s Networking organization has been the glue to keep me motivated and on target.

What is the single biggest thing you would say an entrepreneur has to be armed with in order to succeed?

Preparation. Practice. Perservance.

When I began my entrepreneur journey, I was encouraged by a business coach, who said “be absolutely sure that you want to be a wardrobe consultant”. I practiced and perfected my skills. I was sure that the average women who felt stressed when shopping, or just couldn’t find an outfit to wear in her closet, would need my help. Staying positive and persevering, and doing something for my business every day, has been invaluable in becoming successful.

Who has supported your most / least in your journey?

My family and dear friends have been a constant support in my business. When confidence is low or business is slow, I know who to talk to. My very first clients helped me launch my Fashion Therapy Workshops. They knew that if they enjoyed my service, other women would love attending workshops with the same tips and ideas.

Do you work from home? What is a “day in the life” like for you?

My business is home based, but my work is done in corporate offices, clients homes, trade events, as well as stores, boutiques and malls.

Whether preparing to go to a corporate seminar, Wardrobe Therapy event, or a client’s personal consultation, the day begins with packing the car with accessories, belts, jewelry, etc. (These are my wardrobe tools).

Personal Consultations, I arrive at my client’s home usually in the morning or early afternoon. After a conversation, detailed body analysis, and lifestyle questionnaire, we continue with the wardrobe consultation. This takes approximately 3 hours. We then schedule a Personal Shopping Day. I will “pre-shop department stores, boutiques and malls before her Personal Shopping Day, and will have several items available for her to try on.

Fashion Therapy Events is a presentation for 25 to 100 people; usually networking groups, women’s clubs, and private parties. Focus is on polish and confidence in getting dressed, whether for an important meeting or a night on the town, value of wardrobe planning, what are the necessary wardrobe pieces, accessorizing, body style, body image, body types, and more.

Corporate Events is a presentation designed specifically for business, covering a lot of the same areas as a Fashion Therapy Event, it expands on dressing for success. Corporate Human Resource personnel love these seminars because I cover dress issues that are important for employees representing their company.

Are there any words of advice, books or role models that really inspired and changed you?

“The Secret” was my inspiration. I believe in the power of attraction and positive energy. It really works!!

What is your ultimate future dream for yourself and / or your business?

I want to write a book and be know as the Wardrobe Consultant who really understands that women can Have Fun In Their Closet!!

I want my Fashion Therapy Workshops to be sought after throughout the USA.

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Victoria’s LaunchTip: See Yourself for Who You Are

It is easy to see the faults of others. In fact we can easily observe the choices others make, and actions they take to create undesirable results in their lives. However, when it comes to ourselves, we fall short of seeing “the truth”. Studies have shown that we tend to see ourselves as less self-interested, more altruistic and more important than our peers; however the same studies show that when put to the test, we are all on equal ground, acting equally as self-interested and altruistic in comparable situations.

Consider this: Although having overly positive thoughts about ourselves may have worked as a survival tactic during the hunter / gatherer days, when we were fighting (literally) for our lives, if not kept “in check”, this mindset could result in failure and an unhappy life today. What we do know is that while positive illusions about oneself do work to our advantage in many instances, (confidence and high self-esteem being necessary to make anything happen) in their extreme, they result in feelings of entitlement and the notion that we “deserve” more than those around us. This way of thinking backfires in business negotiations and will keep us from getting what we want. As a rule of thumb, if you want to reach your goals, make a habit of putting yourself, constantly, in the shoes of others. Compassion, empathy and ultimately, reciprocity, will pave the way for choices that will lead to growth in the long run, regardless of how they may appear at the outset.

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Victoria’s LaunchTip: Feeling down? Make a Correction.

Encountering setbacks is difficult no matter how strong, confident or successful we are. In my world, a setback is defined as an event that throws us in reverse, thwarts our plans or creates paralysis. It could be a rejection, a shortcoming or an oversight. Although we may have little control over the event once it has occurred, we can always control our reactions to the event. We can make “corrections.” Making corrections as we go along is an incremental yet powerful way to keep moving forward without feeling overwhelmed. With each “correction”, we come closer to achieving our goals and we gain confidence in our ability to dictate our lives and make choices that fulfill us. Making corrections requires that we “check our work” or “check in with ourselves” periodically on our preferences, our forward movement, our success.

When you make it a habit to check in with yourself once a day, once a week, or once a month, you are more likely to catch your mistakes which opens the possibility for fixing them. Your check-in checklist should consist of the following questions: “Am I getting the results I want?”; “Am I living the life I want?”; “Is my business facilitating and integrating with the life I want to live?”; “Do I feel happy?”. If you answer “No” to any of these questions, start with one correction; make a different choice; keep moving.

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Victoria’s LaunchTip: Are You in the “Flow” State of Happiness?

You may have heard of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the pioneer of positive psychology best known for his discourse on “flow” as a means for characterizing and defining happiness. In moving our businesses and projects forward, I’ve found that it can be helpful to refresh ourselves on the core values behind “flow” and why it is relevant to our success. In a nutshell, “flow” is defined as the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Put another way, the key elements of “flow” may be interpreted as follows:

1. Clear challenge that fully engages your attention
2. You have the skills to meet that challenge
3. You get immediate feedback about how you are doing at each step

All too often we celebrate the big successes but fail to acknowledge and celebrate the positive feelings we experience when meeting and achieving small goals along the way. Take a moment to take the temperature of your “mental state” throughout the day. How much time do you spend in “flow”? Can you restructure your life and your mindset to spend more time in it? Note that experiences of worry and anxiety are indicators that the challenge level of the activity is too high. On the flip side, feelings of apathy and boredom are signs that the challenge is not high enough. As entrepreneurs, we want to strive for being in the perfect state of “flow” for as much time as possible, letting others to the things that fail to take us there.

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Do You Have a World-Changing Idea? Join this Member in Shanghai

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Eva Hendriks

Director & Founder, Impact

If you have a world-changing idea, apply now.

In which direction do you see the future of Impact heading?

The idea behind Impact is that we establish new projects in emerging economies. After Impact Shanghai, we are aiming to approach countries like India, South Africa, and Brazil to inspire new entrepreneurs.

What types of ventures would you like to see participate in Impact? What are you looking for?

The projects that we are looking for are: innovative, crossing borders, and are something we haven’t seen or heard before, ventures that address environmental and social issues. These projects are also specifically concentrated on the developing world. Impact is not focusing on sustainability in developed countries but targeting the people that need it the most.

Where did the idea for Impact come about?

Impact started from the need that we ourselves had as young entrepreneurs. When we started Globalinked in Shanghai, we realized there was very little support for young sustainable entrepreneurs in China. As sustainable entrepreneurship is still a relatively new phenomenon in China we wanted to promote this idea amongst young people.

What makes Impact a global project?

We are attracting young entrepreneurs from all over the world to Shanghai. All of the young entrepreneurs that are entering Shanghai not only have a vision to help social/environmental issues at a local level, but this is also something that they want to do at a global level. Their project would be able to move from one country to another and have the potential to reach huge target groups and make a large impact.

Why did you choose Shanghai as the location for Impact?

Shanghai is a rapidly expanding market and presents the potential for growth amongst developing economies. This makes the city inspiring and gives Impact a lot of potential. In this respect, Shanghai can serve as an example for the other countries we want to reach with the Impact project.

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Victoria’s LaunchTip: How to Deal with Transitions

Transitions can be the bane of a motivated entrepreneur’s existence, yet they are necessary elements of growth and the key to moving forward. Ultimately, adjusting to transitions in your business or life requires a drive to push through discomfort, letting go of strategies that don’t serve us, even when there is strong temptation to do otherwise.

We often hang on to routines and rituals simply because they have been around for so long, that we might feel lost without them. We fail to ask ourselves why we are still doing the same old routine when it may no longer be in our best interests. Sometimes, we barely have an awareness at all—we act on autopilot. But the truth is that staying relevant with frequent business and lifestyle updates is the key to growth and momentum. There is a reason that as human beings, we have an innate ability to adapt to change. If only we could spend more time embracing this part of ourselves, we might expedite growth and success and reach our goals faster.

Start with small updates to your life. Try a cutting edge yoga class or a raw food cleanse. Turn your life on its ear for moments throughout your week. See how it feels and keep pushing through discomfort as much as possible. Discomfort is usually a sign of the next big breakthrough, indicating you are on the path towards getting what you want.

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