It’s not working for you. You’re chewing and chewing and gnawing but the pleasure is amiss.


Get it out.  Chuck that wedding registry and then … rebuild it.  Let’s do it together*.

Expect a mess.  We’re diving in without towels.  I repeat, no towels.  But in the end we’ll meet success with a revamped  registry that is the very best.  Sounds like a kindergarten song.

Regorge and share your valuable insights in a speedy survey.

Spread the spewage and send to a few opinionated soul sisters.  If you tweet, be sure to use the hashtag: #registryregurgitation.

Retch wretched registries,


*If you’re kind enough to spare 10 minutes for my survey.


Business savvy + badass

April 19, 2011

Photo Credit: Kelly Hoey

Is a girl crush the same as a role-model?  Insert shrug.  Doesn’t really matter.

Not only is my girl crush business savvy + badass, but she is also an entrepreneur from British Columbia that laughs loudly, thinks strategically, and advises wisely.  As most people often do when they are intrigued by a true role-model, they ask questions.  I naturally had many questions for the ultimate connector, Kelly Hoey, upon my meeting with her.

Where did you begin?

Kelly described her hometown, Victoria, BC, as a “wonderful place to be from. … I was pushed to see the possibilities in the world but I don’t think my parents realized what all the possibilities were themselves.”   After leaving home for law school in Vancouver, Kelly then practiced law at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Toronto.

Had you always wanted to be a lawyer? 

“I didn’t have enough confidence in my math skills to go for a MBA,” Kelly commented.  Although Kelly did not necessarily know she’d pursue a law degree at a young age, she did know that she would pursue a professional degree.

Kelly recalled that there was a three-year period during her law career when she really enjoyed practicing law.  What aligned?    “All of my career needs were met and satisfied during that time,” Kelly commented.

All needs?  Please share.

1.) The firm supported a strong mentor program.

2.) The client management system was developed and accessible – it was a solid network.

3.) There were opportunities to get involved in the firm at every level, whether it was contributing to daily management or volunteer events.

What was the career takeaway from your experience at Osler?

“If I had known myself better then, I would have made better decisions.”  Kelly added, “Career ownership means being clear about what you want in a career and being able to ask an employer the right questions.  You may get answers you don’t like which is OK.  That means it isn’t going to work out. … While at Osler’s firm, I learned when to put my hand up and say, ‘I want to be considered for a job,’ and I learned when to fire myself … when my needs were no longer fulfilled.”

Tell me about New York.

“The people that really know me aren’t surprised I live in NYC.  I can’t imagine not being here.”

Kelly officially became a New Yorker on the day she walked across the street without looking up.  “I still pinch myself every once in a while because I look down Lexington Avenue and there’s the Chrysler Building.  And I live in the same city,” shared Kelly.

We’ll dive into Kelly’s entrepreneurial path in NYC in Part 2.  Patience.

Follow Kelly on Twitter!

Collecting neighborhoods 2.0

October 18, 2010

People collect knives, trolls, horrific dating adventures, and other intriguing jewels. Regardless of the collector’s particular fancy, the item often represents a sentimental accessory – an ongoing story dangling in time. Not every collection can be stored easily in a cellar, shelf or album. Nabewise, an online platform that explores and showcases neighborhoods in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago, has revolutionized the way we now collect.

Photo Credit: Ann Baldinucci

Ann Baldinucci, the Founder and CEO of Nabewise and a dynamic woman that has moved 35 times in her life, shared, “I really feel like I’m made up of all the places I’ve lived in throughout my life, and I love finding new ones. I’m a collector of places.” While many transient people store multitudes of memories and experiences in their cerebral cortex, they can now also share places, more specifically neighborhoods, on Nabewise.

Diana Sonis, the Director of Business Development at Nabewise, is known for her avid global travels; she’s explored neighborhoods throughout 4 continents, 21 countries, and 66 cities. Diana noted, “Ann is the mover, and I’m the traveler.” Diana, however, is currently on the prowl for her next apartment with her husband. She shared her neighborhood desires, “I want the most people, no green spaces, cafes, outdoor tables, and cobblestone streets in my neighborhood.” Diana’s search keywords on Nabewise: safety, trendy, and beautiful people. Tribeca it is.*

Photo Credit: Diana Sonis

A unique and endearing aspect of Nabewise is the company’s focus on not only bringing neighborhoods to life, but also on creating stronger communities. “We highlight art projects, community gardens, and farmer’s markets. Those are the things that are shown to strengthen neighborhood ties. Nabewise wants to be a part of strengthening communities. I’ve moved so many times in my life (35!) and in many of my neighborhoods I didn’t know how to get involved so I never did. … We will show you where people are organizing,” Ann added. Nabewise also allows community members to share their personal gems with other local and global wanderers.

Ann found her own neighborhood secret near the Nabewise office in Flatiron District, “I am obsessed with finding local secrets – there’s an antique shop on 20th by Spoon and the owner has a massive bird cage with a variety of birds, and I found two baby doves there. I stop by there all of the time and watch the birds during lunch.”

Ann’s a self-starter. “I don’t have a tech background, but I taught it to myself. I’m continually learning every day. … I have an unconventional background. I’m a big believer in people reinventing themselves. No one will ever tell me that there’s a job I can’t do if I want to do it. I really embrace people with unconventional backgrounds,” Ann commented.

“While we are generating new content on Nabewise, we are also aggregating the content that is out there – we are pulling local data from Four Square and other sources in a smart way that actually captures a neighborhood,” Ann noted. The Nabewise tech team is clearly killer, and Ann stressed their importance, “Everyone at Nabewise is smarter than I am.”

Diana shared, “I’m amazed at what someone can do with a non-tech background and no money in the short time that Ann has conceived and then launched Nabewise. … I would describe Ann as a hustler. I think it is the number one quality you need in a start-up. Ann is incredibly persuasive. She is also amazing with the team. The team loves her. She is very conscious of how people are working and what people need. And Ann gives it to them. She’s built this loyalty in the team which is so important for execution – that’s why I think Nabewise will be a success.”

Every leader needs a fire starter. Ann shared, “In a start-up you need people that can roll up their sleeves and get sh*t done. I can’t direct people all day long.  I can give it to Diana and she will get it done … Diana can do anything she decides to do. Everything she’s done, she’s nailed which is rare. She had a full ride scholarship to NYU. She worked in finance with a journalism background. She nailed it in finance and got her CFA. She started her own business with her husband.”

Impressed yet?  Then get involved.

Love your ‘hood? Write about it. Gloat, critique, adore, etc. Most importantly, share your neighborhoods with Ann, Diana, and the Nabewise community.

*Although Diana did not move to Tribeca, she is still in search of her new home.  Suggestions?  Reach out to Diana on Nabewise.

Photo Credit: E.Leigh Photography

When you were four-years-old, Y was your favorite letter. With a name like Yessica, your affection was understood. The obsession with Y quickly moved to why. You repeated it back to your indulging parents – heck, you repeated it back to anyone within a playhouse’s length from your dimples. Yes, your dimples and chub were your weapon, and you were adored despite the incessant repetition.

Why transformed from a simple word into something more revealing. It evolved into a question once you developed intonations. Why? led to lengthy explanations and tales from decades ago. Why? became your education and your source for wisdom and often times, dirty secrets.

Years have passed. Your dimples don’t glow as they did years ago. And the chub – well, the chub is cellulite. Lately, you’ve stopped asking why? Blame it on stress. Blame it on the lack of jubilee in your life. Blame it on your toxic job or even your beardless ex-boyfriend. Blame serves no purpose. Not here.

Instead of missing your old crush, you move forward. Call it an hour of empowerment or the result of a dirty martini, but you change. You find a new three-letter accomplice – How?

You know why you aspire for more innovation in your career, but you now ask, how? Help is needed. The task at hand is larger than you, Yessica.

You explore NYC until you capture the When I Grow Up Coach, Michelle Ward. Yes, Michelle is a certified life coach, but her talent, perspective, and personal experience far outweigh any framed document. She is exactly who you need.

How did Michelle become a Creative Career Coach in New York City?

“I went into life coaching because I wanted to be the person that I needed when I was 26 and trying to find my new career – so passionate about performing musical theater. After figuring out it wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore, it was hard for me to find someone that got that – that got that it was really a mourning period for me to let go of my childhood dream. I needed someone that believed it was feasible for me to find something else that I was equally passionate about,” Michelle shared.

Similar to many other gifted New Yorkers, Michelle is a Renaissance Soul. Performance is ingrained in her laughter.  Michelle accessorizes with a BFA in musical theater from New York University/Tisch School of the Arts, and she was featured on “Saturday Night Live”. Michelle admitted, “I miss performing at the level I used to do it. I always have a cabaret show in my head. I always think about what I can do to sing more. I’d love to start art journaling and writing even though I’m not a writing coach. Writing is such a big part of my marketing with my blog and newsletter.”

How do you successfully skate forward once you know what you want from your creative career?

Without the ease and ability to shove her executive assistant job into the port-o-potty, Michelle made a plan. Since authenticity is the core of Michelle’s ideology, she didn’t want to hide the less-than-glamourous aspects of her early business beginnings. “When I started coaching, I kept my day job hidden. … Once I exposed my day job and once I started documenting where I was in my business and how I was able to make it work, I became transparent. I’ve heard more than once from people that they like the fact that I’ve done what they aspire to do, and I’ve done it recently. Clients know from working with me that I’m not someone who comes from this wealthy family and sits at home and decided to become a life coach one day.

“I always tell people, ‘I don’t have magic fairy dust, I didn’t have three wishes granted to me, and I didn’t win the lottery’ – I literally decided that I was going to be a life coach, and then I figured out how to do it without falling flat on my face the first week. I built myself the biggest safety net I could possibly design, taking baby steps every day. My clients find their own way to do it – not my way. Not everyone needs to get an executive assistant job and work there for 2 years and 7 months while they get certified and build their business.”

How can you build your own creative career when your time is limited?

Michelle advises, “Be clear about your goals and do something every day. It’s not about waiting around for a free afternoon and inspiration. … While I was limited to my cubicle and building my business, I knew I had to blog, I had to tweet, and I had to start talking to people online. I did that every-single-freaking-day. It was great because it wasn’t torturous or horrible. I really liked doing it. It is important to figure out what marketing aspects work for you. Commit 15 minutes here and there.”

Designing a tailored career can lead to endless options. Michelle suggests, “You don’t have to put yourself into one box. Thank the Lord it is 2010 and there are so many options out there for us.” Touch upon the basics – your essential oils of pleasure, e.g. hobbies and interests. “I’m really adamant about still performing. It is hard to find opportunities in NYC when you aren’t super serious about acting full-time. … I’m still so new in my business that it would make my head explode if I had to rehearse and audition every day. My husband writes a show, new episodes of 80’s and 90’s sitcoms, and I pretty much force him to cast me in whatever part I want – I’ll sing a lot of the theme songs which I love – so that’s sort of how I get that fix. I’ll probably start taking improv classes. I’d like to start doing something more visually creative. I’m not an artist in any shape or form.”

But Michelle is an artist. Her palette consists of questions, insights, and intuition. As she adds layer upon layer of truth and strategy with clients, vision and sweat align. Creative careers are fertilized.

How do you stay true to yourself and your vision?

“After Danielle LaPorte’s Firestarter Session, my big takeaway was simple: no one else is going to be able to tell me what I need to do for myself. I’m very big on listening to my gut. Ugh I’ve turned into such a hippy!  It’s always important to follow your instinct,” added Michelle.

How To Find Michelle Ward:

1. Discover Michelle’s first e-course, The Declaration of You
2. Tweet, tweet, SQUAWK
3. Surf the web
4. Wander over to Facebook
5. Delight in Spring – Inspiration in Bloom

Steel pipes and innovation

September 8, 2010

#womaninnovator Natalia Oberti Noguera

There are no cracks in this pipeline; instead, visionary alloys connect the conduit.  These woman innovators, led by Natalia Oberti Noguera, the Founder and CEO of Pipeline, are heating the business world, ion by ion.

Pipeline is a social venture start-up whose mission is to ensure that every woman achieves her potential as an innovator.  It’s got luster; and it’s got strength. The dense start-up contains a variety of elements including proof-of-concept labs, a successful online media campaign, and an energized leader.  “Women tend to wear many hats in the career pipeline,” Oberti Noguera shared.  “We may start off in the corporate sector and then move to the nonprofit sector; next, we start an exciting new business venture.  A lot gets lost in the transition. … Pipeline is a hub that stays with women throughout their career.”

Pipeline connects women to other professional and personal resources  – i.e. The OpEd Project, Catchafire, Astia, etc.  “A lot of women create businesses, start entry-level jobs, or contemplate ways they can accelerate in their careers, and a huge differentiating factor for them is their role as an expert,” stated Oberti Noguera.  Experts are in.  But how do you leverage your personal expertise?

Through Pipeline’s proof-of-concept labs, women have the opportunity to develop their own brand – a hybrid of professional and personal identification.  “We provide a safe space for women to start owning it, to be identified as an expert, and to be considered a thought leader,” Oberti Noguera commented. “Be comfortable saying you are an expert.  … the concept goes back to self-promotion.  If someone has a more fleshed-out persona, including their personal and professional brand, then they are more likely to make a connection with someone else.”

Language matters.  During a recent interview with No Country for Young Women, Noguera advised, “Women innovators and people in general should learn another language.  Learning a second language is not just about communication, it also applies another way of thinking.  It provides a different point of reference and reminds us that there is more than one word for something and also more than one way to perceive something.”

Oberti Noguera’s diverse elements and background binds Pipeline’s core into a unique model.  “I’m half-Italian and half-Colombian so Pipeline’s global perspective is something front and center for me.  I want to ensure that we can produce women innovators globally,” stated Oberti Noguera.  Her tweets (@nakisnakis) fit her offline persona to a T: efficient, smart, and inspiring.  “I am a huge social media fan – love it – it fits my personality.  I want to make sure that the technological solution that we develop for Pipeline compliments our initiatives and helps us scale so we can support even more women entrepreneurs.”

Online media (more specifically, @PipelineWomen) connects and features women innovators.  “One of our initiatives is #womaninnovator … it is creating online and offline opportunities to share women’s stories and go viral … #womaninnovator shows the diversity of faces and expands the definition of woman innovator,” added Oberti Noguera.

What are the proof-of-concept labs?

The Accelerator teaches female professionals about change management, an important leadership skill, by providing them with the opportunity to create, pitch, make the business case, and implement a sustainable initiative at work. Oberti Noguera added, “My personal belief is that sustainability is a change management issue, and at the end of the day, a change management issue is a people issue. What really distinguishes a manager from a leader is being able to anticipate, respond, and even create change. For the Accelerator, we provide the support and network for women to create an action-plan and to integrate sustainability at work (i.e. a recycling plan in the office).”

The Incubator provides tools, resources, and capacity-building to entrepreneurs. Each woman is paired with a mentor (an established entrepreneur) and an apprentice (typically a graduate-schools student).  The apprentice is tomorrow’s entrepreneur.

The Mastermind leverages the curriculum of leadership programs offered to high potential employees at Fortune 500 companies, and the Mastermind also teaches best practices in networking, relationship-building, and identifying one’s strengths with the support of a facilitator and peers.  “The broad definition of sustainable is that it’s not just about the environment, and it’s not just about the social dynamic.  It’s about whether or not you are being sustainable in your career – in terms of your work/life balance and in terms of your relationships.  The Mastermind is for people to identify their strengths.  It provides structure and accountability which is so important during a transition – women need support from other women going through a similar experience,” Oberti Noguera added.

A new initiative, Fund, is launching this fall and will convert women philanthropists into investors and encourage women to invest in triple bottom line (3BL) companies led by #womaninnovators in the range of US$50k-US$500k.

What is your definition of a #womaninnovator?  Write it down. Better yet, tweet it and share with @PipelineWomen.  You’ll soon realize that you fit your own definition.  Until then and after then – get involved.  Email to learn more about the proof-of-concept labs and to share your innovations.