New Biz Owner Adds Family Into Fold; Becomes Franchisee With #1-Rated Mobile Flooring Franchise

Sheri Landry poses in front of her mobile floor coverings showcase van

Sheri Landry needed a change from her 20-year corporate career in the automotive industry. But she’s certainly not going it alone in her new venture since launching operations as a franchise owner with Floor Coverings International, visiting customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Landry is the owner and handles outside sales while her husband, Greg, is her business partner and sales manager.

Her sister, Vanessa Koger, is the business manager. And as if she hasn’t had enough going on, the 44-year-old Landry – whose past business experience includes sales, service and marketing – recently earned her master’s in Communications from the University of Michigan-Flint. “I just wanted more in life,” said Landry, a Lapeer, MI resident and mother of two. “I decided I wanted to work for myself for the next half of my career

Landry’s objective was to find a business that helped solve other people’s problems, especially since in the past she had encountered issues of her own in finding reliable contractors. Landry also has a passion for design and making an old space feel new again. “My motto is ‘helping people fall in love, one floor at a time,’” she said.

In Floor Coverings International, Landry found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations. Those steps include educating and consulting with customers to get a clear understanding of how they use their floors to best be able to make a personalized recommendation, a solution unique to each and every homeowner- NOT whatever is in stock in the warehouse, product that has been sitting there for who knows how long, product that is being pushed to everyone. “We want to make the experience fun and as unique as each person and space,” adds Landry.


Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2020. For franchise information, please visit and to find your closest location,

7 Ways To Make Your Online Virtual Conference Successful

Virtual conference with many laptops and technology background and assortment of images with people wearing headsets

The COVID-19 global pandemic has upended the conference and events industry. While some events have been canceled or postponed, others are being moved to an online, virtual setup in order to safeguard the health of attendees and presenters.

Virtual conference events aren’t new (indeed, some very large ones are held each year). However, they are unfamiliar to many meeting planners, and it’s important to understand that the keys to a successful virtual conference event are a bit different than those for a traditional live event. Keynote speakers need to recognize this, as well, since keynote programs that work well onstage might not translate well to an online format.

As a keynote speaker who’s headlined both live and virtual conference events for over a decade, here are 7 tips I’ve learned about how to make digital events successful, from large online gatherings to small eLearning sessions:

1. Use video if at all possible.

Even when delivered by the best speakers, it can be difficult to hold a virtual audience’s attention with a slide-based presentation, alone. Most webinar platforms support videoconferencing, and virtual conference speakers should absolutely make use of that capability. When your audience can see the speaker at a virtual event, it makes for a more engaging, more personalized attendee experience. If video is not available, then consider shortening the speaker sessions from a standard one-hour keynote to something more abbreviated, in an effort to maintain audience engagement throughout the entire presentation.

2. Carefully consider the best available audio option.

One surefire way to disengage a virtual audience is to subject them to poor audio quality. If they’re unable to hear the speakers clearly, they’ll tune them out (if not actually disconnect from the live feed). In contrast to a live event, with carefully controlled, professional A/V equipment – audio quality for a virtual session can be negatively impacted by a wide variety of factors: the quality of the speaker’s microphone, the platform used to capture the audio (landline phone, cell phone or VOIP), and network quality/connectivity (for cell and VOIP audio). The most reliable, high quality alternative is a landline phone – encourage your speakers to use that device, if at all possible. If a landline isn’t available, the second-best option will vary depending on the speaker’s equipment setup and connectivity. Test out those different options well before the event, and select the one that provides the best listening experience for the audience.

3. Make sure your speakers have customized their presentations for a virtual audience.

A speech that works well in a live venue may not translate perfectly to a virtual one. Speakers may not at first realize it, but gestures and other visual cues that they (sometimes unknowingly) use during a live speech won’t work in the virtual event. For this reason, speakers skilled in virtual events will utilize special materials for that delivery medium, such as a modified slide deck which helps convey information or emotion that wouldn’t otherwise be communicated effectively across a digital medium.

4. Keep the session interactive.

Depending on the size of the audience, the degree to which the virtual session can be made interactive will vary. Even large virtual conferences, however, can be made more interactive simply by using the audience polling features which are available in many online event platforms. Explain to the audience how to submit questions via the platform, and encourage them to do so, be it during a designated Q&A period at the end of the session, or during the program. Make sure speakers keep an eye on questions as they are submitted, so they can address some of them on the fly during their prepared remarks.

5. Do a comprehensive A/V check – and take it seriously.

Most speakers can do A/V checks at live events in their sleep, as it’s an exercise with which they are exceedingly familiar. That’s not the case with virtual events. Even if a speaker has done virtual sessions in the past, there’s no guarantee their next virtual event will use the same technology platform as their last. Great speakers leave nothing to chance when preparing for an event, and that approach is especially important with virtual sessions. Check everything in advance – audio/video quality, screen sharing, host-to-speaker private messaging, audience Q&A – and do it all with the same equipment and internet connection that the speaker will be using on event day.

6. Plan for technical issues.

Live events are conducted in well-controlled environments, where skilled A/V technicians are overseeing the entire endeavor. That’s not the case in a virtual conference event, where there are a host of potential breakpoints (network connectivity among them) that nobody has to even think about when putting on an in-person meeting. Develop contingency plans for whatever technical issues might crop up during the session. For example, if speakers are using slides, have them send their presentations to the event host in advance – so if the speaker loses connectivity, the host can at least step in and advance the slides for them.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

WBENC: Building a Dynamic Ecosystem for Women of Color Entrepreneurs

Smiling young African American businesswoman leaning on a table in her office

The Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBENC) first launched the Women of Color Program in 2017 to create an effective and successful business ecosystem designed to engage, advise and drive the growth of women of color women-owned businesses.

Since then, hundreds of women entrepreneurs have attended in-person sessions at WBENC national events, designed to address the challenges faced by many women of color business owners and provide resources and programming to address those challenges.

As an outreach and development program, the WBENC Women of Color (WOC) program is open to all women business owners—both WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprises and those not yet certified.

“The growth of women of color-owned businesses and creating an ecosystem that serves as a Sister Circle for businesswomen is my main focus. To drive and connect the growth of inclusive entrepreneurship and economic development for the Women of Color Community has been a lifelong passion,” says Jade Melvin, Senior Manager of Strategic Programs at WBENC.

“We are thrilled to invest in the development of women of color entrepreneurs to advance this dynamic segment of the women-owned businesses landscape,” says Pamela Prince-Eason, President & CEO of WBENC.

Confronting Challenges with Solutions
The WBENC Women of Color Program is cultivating a business ecosystem for women of color through seven program pillars:

    1. Community Building: WOC is a tight-knit community, sharing resources for accelerating growth, strategizing to overcome problems, and meeting new customers.
    2. Market Access: WOC identifies and leverages regional network areas that focus on the advancement and development of WOC businesses and connects them to the WOC community.
    3. Resources: WOC provides support throughout the year with resources in education, support, leadership development, mentorship and provides materials to help strengthen and enhance WOC businesses’ capacity for doing business with corporations.
    4. Human Capital: WOC empowers and advances women-owned businesses by providing education, inspirational speakers, facilitators, consulting, trainings, subject experts, coaches and more, for aspiring WOC leaders. The program also connects women of color entrepreneurs to pipelines of talent and emphasizes the importance of developing their teams as their most valuable asset.
    5. Innovation: WOC facilitates innovation and growth by building bridges with the next generation of women-led firms and entrepreneurs through partnerships with universities and the WBENC NextGen Program.
    6. Policy: WOC partners with government advocacy organizations including Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) and the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) to promote federal legislative priorities that are necessary for sustained women-owned business success.
    7. Capital: WOC researches and communicates access to capital programs and other outside resources and opportunities for women entrepreneurs to the network on a regular basis.

How to Get Involved

WBENC is expanding the Women of Color program to include opportunities throughout the year, including introduction of the Women of Color City Tour, a premier networking event for women of color business owners interested in doing business with corporations and/or government entities. Learn more at

WBENC is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States and has a mission to fuel economic growth globally by identifying, certifying, and facilitating the development of women-owned businesses. WBENC partners with 14 Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs) to provide its world-class standard of certification to women-owned businesses throughout the country. WBENC is also the nation’s leading advocate of women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. Throughout the year, WBENC provides business development opportunities for member corporations, government agencies and close to 16,000 certified women-owned businesses at events and other forums. Learn more at

Leading Digital Innovation Expert Poised to Help Women-Led Businesses Thrive Amid COVID-19 Restrictions

Woman is seated on outside stairs looking confident

TransparentBusiness, a leader in providing the software and management platform for remote working, is helping companies transition now and for the future.

Unlike anything we have all seen in our lifetime, life as we know it has come to a screeching halt. Schools have closed, all events cancelled, lockdowns and restrictions. Plus, businesses are stumbling. Whether or not businesses will be able to weather this storm largely depends on how well they can transition to a remote workforce.

Millions of people are being told to work from home, and one woman, co-founder of TransparentBusiness, is on a mission to help women-lead businesses make a smooth transition and thrive during this time.

“Work is something you do, it’s not somewhere you go,” explains Silvina Moschini, co-founder of TransparentBusiness, digital innovation expert, international speaker, and entrepreneur. “Right now we are being forced to change the way we work, but that doesn’t mean businesses have to suffer. Productivity can be just as high and businesses can thrive. Working remotely will save many businesses during this time.”

Moschini is offering unlimited and free access to the TransparentBusiness remote working and management platform while the COVID-19 restrictions are in place to women-led companies. They will also help the companies to deploy work-from-home programs. By offering the free service and support people will be able to make a smooth transition to allowing their employees to work from home.

The TransparentBusiness software is an emergency preparedness and pandemic response tool. The software helps companies allow their staff to work from home, and yet still be productive, and have accountability. Companies that use this recession-resilient software will find that it helps them boost productivity and transparency, offers cost-cutting solutions, and provides a real solution to transition people to remote working.

“Women need to support women during this critical time,” added Moschini. “I want to help as many female-led businesses as I can. Not only will I help people transition their team to using the software, but I can answer all the questions people have on how to make that transition a major success.”

While many businesses are scrambling to allow their employees to work from home due to the COVID-19 restrictions, working remotely is seen as the future of business. Increasingly, more businesses are turning to allowing their employees to work at least part of the time remotely. This move helps to provide more convenience, recruit and retain better talent, reduce overall company costs, and improve productivity and team morale.

Moschini is a digital innovation expert, international speaker, and award-winning serial entrepreneur. She also serves as a mentor to young female entrepreneurs around the world. She has won awards for her leadership skills and global initiatives. Moschini is one of the most foremost experts on the digital economy and is a leader in transforming the global workforce. She is also the founder of an ecosystem of companies that are harnessing the cloud to connect businesses.

Working remotely allows more flexibility, as well as protecting people from unnecessary distractions in the workplace. While many companies are aware of some of the benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely, they are hesitant to allow it because they feel there is no accountability. That’s where TransparentBusiness comes in, providing the solution to that problem by making remote work easy to monitor and coordinate. For more information about the software, visit the site:

About TransparentBusiness
Designated by Citigroup as the Top People Management Solution, TransparentBusiness offers full transparency and real-time coordination, boosts productivity, and eliminates overbilling. For more information about the software, visit the site:

Two Upcoming Webinars-Business Resource Group Leadership Development and the Impact of Supplier Diversity Outreach Activities

NUDC-web series

Join Us for Our FREE Webinars on 3/25 and 4/21!


Wednesday, March 25, 2020 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Developing Business Resource Group Leadership

Kristine Maciolek Small, PPL Corporation and Deb Dagit, Deb Dagit Diversity

Business/Employee resource groups can be one of a company’s hidden treasures, helping to identify new sources for the talent pipeline, shining a spotlight on current and high potential leaders and creating a cross-functional multi-level team of advocates to help retain valued employees. BRGs are also a key component of a successful diversity and inclusion strategy, helping to improve culture, serving as advocates and allies for awareness and change.

Successful BRGs have effective leaders who know how to connect and collaborate with members, colleagues and more importantly, the company’s leadership.

Join Kristine Maciolek Small, PPL and Deb Dagit, Deb Dagit Diversity, to understand how leadership development opportunities for BRG leaders and members can improve professional skills and foster BRG collaboration across demographic and business lines, thereby increasing the effectiveness of not just the BRGs, but the enterprise. Register today!

This webinar will offer useful insights and ideas for BRG leaders and members, human resource professionals, business managers and both formal and informal executive sponsors.


Tuesday, April 21, 2020 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Impact Analysis: Supplier Diversity Supporting Activities
How does data inform the impact of outreach activities to advance opportunities for diverse suppliers?

Jose Espinoza, CalWater
How do you prioritize activities? Why measure impact? What does impact look like? Join Jose Espinoza, as he reviews a data-driven program: the importance in measuring impact, top-five activities; he will share tips for supplier diversity managers, advocacy organizations, and diverse suppliers. He’ll conclude with how to implement a similar approach.

In addition to going beyond demonstrating diverse spend, this webinar will illustrate the importance of each step in the supplier diversity process including why it’s important to know where diverse suppliers are coming from, so you can identify barriers. More importantly, when you have current metrics on suppliers, those metrics can be used to encourage supplier diversity growth. Register today!

The webinars and the work of NUDC is made possible in part by grants from Academy Securities, ACT-1 Group, AG Tools, Alcoa Traffic Control, American Association of Blacks in Energy, American Water, Anonymous, Arnita Smith, Burns Environmental Services, Inc., C.L. King & Associates, California Water Association, Center for Energy Workforce Development, Conitsha Barnes, Connecticut Water, Consumers Energy, Damian Rivera, Diversity Comm, Donna Ruff, Dr. Alexander Washington, Duke Energy, Edison Electric Institute, Exelon Corporation, Gainesville Regional Utilities, Gunster, Heather McCreary, Hispanics in Energy, Jesse Castellanos, Liberty Power, Loop Capital, MFR Securities, Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council, New York Power Authority, NRG Energy, Osceola Consulting, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Penserra, Philadelphia Gas Works, PJM Interconnection, PPL, Ruben Strategy Group, S&H Metal & Fabricating Co. Inc., Salesforce, Sanjay Kucheria/Trinus, Southern California Edison Company, Southern California Gas Company, Southwest Gas, SouthWest Water Company, TAS Strategies, TechSoup, The Dowling-Woo Company, The ELITE SDVOB Network, Utility Workers Union of America, Yolanda Pollard; Support for the Diversity Toolkit also received from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity; the Supplier Diversity webinar series is sponsored in part by generous support from Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

What Effective Managers Do to Organize Their Time

Busy woman looking at watch and concerned she is missing deadline

By Vartika Kashyap

Do you often find that there are never enough hours in the day? As a manager, are you able to give time to help your team each day? Can you adjust when something urgent comes up?

If not, you probably need some useful time-management hacks that you can use right away to achieve your goals.

Time-management is all about bringing the joy back to your life. And experiencing every bit of joy that you deserve.

The phrase “Time and Tide wait for none” explains the importance of time to succeed in all aspects of life. How you value your time-management dictates the quality of your life.

Particularly, for project managers, it is important to possess these skills to be successful.

Read below for how managers organize their time.


They have an ideal morning routine

Starting a morning routine is involves trial and error, which greatly affects your life. Tony Robbins also uses a morning routine to prepare him for a productive day. High performers find good routines for themselves and stick to them.

As managers have a lot on their plate, they should design their morning habits to help start the day right off.
• Rise early to get the rest of the day under control.
• Visualize the good things that will come to you for the day, while detaching yourself from the negative self-talk.
• Get some exercise to increase your overall energy levels to fight depression and anxiety.
• Consume the best food possible that includes good carbs and fiber, plus some protein.
With a good morning routine, you will be prepared to face anything that comes to your way.

They categorize their priorities

All the projects you work on with your team need clear priorities. Take time to sit down, know how to set priorities and categorize your priorities based on the time you have. One of the biggest challenges for project managers is to have the right kind of project insight to manage the team’s workload. It becomes a problem when everything feels important and you have to make categories of the tasks based on their priorities.

So, here’s what you can do:
• Know what is important and what is not
• Get organized
• Delegate well
• Be flexible and adaptable
So, overall, knowing how to prioritize work will affect the success of your project by time-management and role as a manager.

They use a to-do list in the right way

Keeping a properly structured to-do list the evening before will make it easy for you to focus your time on important activities. Everything you add to your to-do list needs to be important. As you complete the tasks, check the items off your list, and you will feel more powerful.

They eliminate distractions

Sometimes the world around us makes it difficult to maintain focus. In this age of constant distraction, managing your mind from wandering is equally important when it comes to managing your time. Apart from scheduling your lives to every second, the idea of keeping distractions from coming in should also be looked upon.

Make it a ritual to set boundaries for the day to structure your time. Have a plan for the day to eliminate distractions to focus on the quality of your work.

They work smarter, not harder

The bitter reality is everyone has 24 hours in a day with each hour defined conveniently for our job, relationships, family, personal life and hustle and bustle. But the successful people are those who work smarter in these hours that keep them stay afloat.

Nobody can be efficient with their time if they do not think before taking any actions. Set a plan and strategy for your workday on a work-tracking software, take a look at your daily tasks, control your habits to improve time-management skills and don’t let your day control you.

They create time estimates for more productivity

If you are use a dedicated time-management software, you can log your time estimates to track how you spend your time working on different tasks. With accurate time estimation, you will know how long your project will take and if it will be delivered on time. With a time-tracking tool, you get to make better time estimates for all tasks to manage time efficiently.

They break big projects into small tasks

Project managers often feel demoralized seeing large projects before they even begin working on it. They find it difficult to consume to work on large projects and delegate it to the team. But the best way out to conquer large projects is to break down the large projects into small components to make it doable. By this, you can possibly get everything done on time, as time-tracking online is much simpler for smaller tasks.

They commit to work-life balance

How do you maintain a well-balanced life to master your life? You definitely need to delegate your personal and professional time. While it is important to manage time, you will have to restructure your life around your strengths and weaknesses. Here’s what you should do:
• Balance your personal and professional goals
• Become the master of estimating time by making timesheets
• Set boundaries to be more balanced

They beat procrastination
Are you always procrastinating? Addressing time-management and procrastination is a simple act of self-care. If you are struggling with managing time well, a small change in avoiding procrastination can be beneficial for delivering your projects on deadline.

This act of self-management can lead to a more productive life.


Internet companies won’t disconnect people for unpaid bills for 60 days, FCC says

Mother and two children in the kitchen on the computer

The Federal Communications Commission has won commitments from phone and broadband providers to support the swelling numbers of adults and children working and attending classes from home, respectively, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A group of broadband and telecommunications firms signed up to the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge,” which asks connectivity companies to postpone termination of services for the next 60 days on homes or small businesses because of an inability to pay bills because of the outbreak.

Among the companies to endorse the pledge are major and minor internet providers including AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Cox, Google Fiber, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile.

FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel asked the FCC to go farther by asking companies to also lift and eliminate data caps and overage charges, and get hospitals connected and make sure there are hot spots for loans to school children.

Internet service providers are beginning to advertise temporary discounts, including for students whose schools are closed because of the coronavirus.

Charter Communications said Friday it would offer free broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students who do not already have a broadband subscription. Cox Communications said it was offering one month free service to new customers of its low-income service beginning Monday, and increasing the service’s speed beginning Tuesday.

AT&T said Thursday it was waiving internet data overage fees for customers who did not already have unlimited home internet access. Comcast said it would give its Internet Essentials service away for free for 60 days. (Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.)

The FCC said Friday that Chairman Ajit Pai was “calling on broadband and telephone service providers to promote the connectivity of Americans impacted by the disruptions caused by the #coronavirus pandemic.”

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.

Shally Zomorodi—Social Media For Good

Shally Zomorodi Fox News anchor pictured in red dress with blue Fox logo alongside

My alarm goes off at 2 a.m. every weekday morning to co-anchor the FOX 5 Morning news from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. Many people look at me with shock and surprise when they hear how early I wake up.

Yes, it’s early, its dark and you are still sleeping. But it’s worth it. I work with the most amazing people.

Raoul makes me laugh all morning and Chrissy is one of my dearest friends.

Not to mention all the wonderful people who make up our team.

I graduated from California State University Fullerton with B.A. in both Communications and Political Science. Not wanting to move from California I decided to attend law school. I held the title of Miss Orange County USA at that time and while competing for Miss California USA my life changed. I won an award from the producers of KTTV FOX 11 in Los Angeles for Journalism. The award gave me the chance to tour the studios in Los Angeles and get advice on how to start a career in broadcasting.

That one day turned into an internship which turned into a job as a news assistant for GOOD DAY LA. I left law school and did not look back.

My first on air job was for Good Morning Southeast Texas at the ABC affiliate in Beaumont. I then moved back home to southern California and have been here since. Over the past 12 years I worked as a video journalist for Voice of America, and a reporter/ host for City View Channel 35. Before coming to FOX 5 I anchored DAYBREAK OC, a 2 hour live morning show. I am now living my dream co-anchoring the FOX 5 Morning News.

When the lights go off, I am back home with my amazing husband Bruce, our two boys and daughter. Life has changed since we had our babies and I love every minute of it. I spend my free time cooking, belly dancing and hanging with my family (known as the Persian Posse). Oh yes — and catching up on sleep.

I’m known around the newsroom for… being Kraft services. Always cooking and feeding the morning team.

After nearly pursuing a future in law, Shally’s broadcasting career was kick-started by winning a prize at the Miss California pageant. Shally details her path to broadcasting on her Podcast The Social Life with Shally Zomorodi and how her large presence on social media has affected her family.

If I wasn’t in TV news, I would… be a teacher. When I was a little girl I would gather all the little kiddos and teach. Even though it’s not my profession today I still look for opportunities to guide and mentor. I am lucky enough to coordinate the intern program here at FOX 5 and get to teach every day!

On my days off, I can be found… rolling somewhere with the Persian Posse as Raoul and Chrissy say. My large family and friends are always getting together to eat, play music or visit some exciting place.

My most memorable TV moment… oh maybe the little moment when Raoul tricked me into licking an IPAD. Payback is coming Mr. Martinez.

My guilty pleasure is… A glass of wine and chocolate.

Source: Fox 5 San Diego

From Flat Tire to Full Speed Ahead

Ellen is standing in front of a semi-truck outside smiling confidently

By Keith Martino
The sun shone down on the four door station wagon stalled along the side of the road. Virginia Voie sat on the driver’s side, sizzling and fuming. “What do you mean you can’t help? I’m stranded!”

“Two hours? Surely, you’re joking!”

You wouldn’t need a PhD to know that Virginia was out of sorts. Her face was red, her pulse was racing and her adrenaline was pumping. Unfortunately, it appeared she wasn’t going anywhere fast.

As a philosopher once wrote, “If necessity is the mother of invention, bad timing is the father.”

To understand the impact of this lady’s untimely flat tire on an entire industry, you’d need to fast-forward almost a decade to a calm, collected Virginia harkening back to that fateful afternoon in July. “Remember that time I was stranded with the flat tire?” she reminded her daughter, Ellen. “It never happened again. I took matters into my own hands. That was the moment that I decided to take my first mechanics course.”

Drawing on her mother’s experience, Ellen Voie took the steering wheel and applied her advice in ways beyond her mother’s wildest imagination. In 2008, Ellen founded Women In Trucking— an association designed to provide encouragement and be a resource for female transportation leaders.

Ellen’s ride to the top with her association hasn’t always been fast moving. She’s encountered her own array of potholes along the way. But she has persevered while pursuing experience in steel fabrication, traffic management, and transportation regulatory consulting. Ellen even owned a multi-truck fleet while married to an over-the-road driver. So she has seen the trucking industry from almost every conceivable angle.

Here are five strategies Ellen put in place to accelerate her progress. Regardless of your gender or profession, you will likely find them helpful and motivational:

1. Ellen listened to and followed the advice from a woman she deeply respected. She didn’t question whether she had the talent to succeed. She accepted the encouragement offered and set a goal to achieve something special. When her mother passed away near Ellen’s 19th birthday, she picked up the torch and drove forward.

2. Ellen prepared for every position in which she served. She set aside preconceived notions regarding the appropriate role of women in any enterprise and apprenticed in a variety of positions that others might have avoided. Eventually Ellen became so well diversified that she wrote a thesis on the complex identities of women married to professional drivers.

3. Ellen worked in both traditional and non-traditional positions. Her gender never stopped her from learning about all sorts of topics like drafting, steel fabrication and detailed trucking regulations. She spent almost 18 years licensing and permitting carriers in Central Wisconsin.

4. Ellen continues to surround herself with bright minds. She doesn’t need to be the smartest person in the room. Ellen formed a Board of Directors for Women In Trucking that is steeped in wisdom and experience. She continues to attract fellow visionaries from global corporations to guide and fuel her vehicle for helping women. As a result, Ellen’s association is picking up speed and adding new members daily.

5. Ellen mentors people by empowering them to make decisions, take risks and achieve their dreams. She has established a leadership culture that enables women in the transportation industry to build their confidence by proving themselves capable and competent. Ten years ago women starting trucking companies were unheard of. Today, many women are taking over truck lines from their fathers and these companies are continuing to fire on all cylinders.

Does Ellen ever encounter her own flat tire of sorts? Absolutely!
A few years ago the economy downturned at the most inopportune time. Ellen wanted to grow the association but many companies were in dire straits and unable to pay their dues. This posed a significant threat to the still-budding association she had established.

But did Ellen wither in the heat of the noonday sun? Hardly. She devised a plan to extend the term of struggling members from 12 months to 18 months. The solution allowed her association to grow despite the economic pressures.

Remember Ellen’s mom Virginia? It may have seemed like just another flat tire at the time. But that was the day women in the trucking industry took a turn for the better and never looked back.

Keep your foot on the gas Ellen!

About the Author
Keith Martino, author of Expect Leadership, has a passion for helping women business owners achieve stellar results. He is head of CMI, a global consultancy founded in 1999 that customizes leadership and sales development initiatives.

Diane Von Furstenberg Launches First-Of-Its-Kind #InCharge Initiative With Amazon For Women’s History Month

Diane Von Furstenberg pictured with group of diverse women in an office at Amazon

On the evening of February 20, Diane von Furstenburg was at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., for her 11th annual DVF Awards Gala in honor of extraordinary women including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and supermodel Iman who, as she says, “have had the courage to fight, the strength to survive and the leadership to inspire.”

The theme of the night was women uplifting other women, but to that end, von Furstenburg’s work was far from done.

The next morning she was back in New York laying the groundwork for her new initiative championing women: #InCharge, a partnership with Amazon.

As part of the collaboration—a first for the ecommerce giant, which has never before pursued a partnership to promote women-owned businesses—von Furstenberg will appear on Amazon’s homepage on March 8, International Women’s Day, to showcase diverse and inspiring women-owned small businesses and share her #InCharge mission.

“To be #InCharge is first a commitment to ourselves,” von Furstenberg says. “It is owning who we are. It is respecting and trusting our character, knowing that it is forever the home and core of our strength.”

The inspiration behind #InCharge stems from a simple email connection von Furstenberg made between two female friends a few years back. After making the introduction, one of the women reached back out to say that the email had changed her life and the trajectory of her business. It was then that von Furstenberg realized the power of her own platform and how a quick gesture could have such a significant impact.

“The #InCharge movement is a platform, a place to rally, to use our individual connections to help all women be the women they want to be,” Furstenberg says. “And so I thought it would be fun to work with Amazon which is such a huge platform to expose people to the inspiring stories of women in charge that have started businesses and seen significant success, [in part] thanks to Amazon.”

As a part of the partnership, Amazon has launched an #InCharge page, where consumers can read stories of inspiring female business owners and buy their products. They can also purchase items from an exclusive capsule collection, as well as books from a von Furstenberg-curated reading list, available throughout Women’s History Month.

Among the featured female founders are former Shark Tank contestants Sarah Ribner of natural deodorant brand Piper Wai, and Andrea Sreshta of solar lantern company LuminAID. Other featured founders include Obia Ewah of natural hair-care line OBIA Naturals, Molly Hayward of organic feminine care business Cora and Adva Levin of voice-design studio Pretzel Labs.

Women-owned businesses are a vital part of the U.S. economy. Between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses climbed 21% to nearly 13 million and revenues rose 21% to $1.9 trillion, according to American Express’ 2019 State of Women-Owned Business report. Meanwhile, the number of American workers employed by such enterprises grew 8% to 9.4 million.

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Netflix Premieres First Ever Documentary About Black Women CEOs

multiple images of the stars of She Did That Netflix series

Black women CEOs and entrepreneurs are the stars of the newest Netflix documentary called She Did That. Filmmaker and blogger Renae L. Bluitt created the documentary to promote a more accurate representation in the media of Black female business owners.

She Did That is Bluitt’s first cinematic project, and as a digital content creator and PR consultant, she has been writing about the entrepreneurial pursuits of Black women on her blog, In Her Shoes, for nearly a decade. But now the topic is being brought to the world’s attention via the world’s most popular streaming service.

The film revolves around the lives of four Black women entrepreneurs, their journeys, and how they face issues such as the funding gap for Black women. Inspired by #BlackGirlMagic, Bluitt wanted to show how Black women turn challenges into opportunities and become an inspiration to the next generation.

“As the fastest group of entrepreneurs in this country, [Black women] are literally turning water into wine in spite of the many obstacles we face on our entrepreneurial journeys. This film was created to let the world know what it really takes to be a successful Black woman entrepreneur in this world. Platforms like social media only show us the results and the highlights, but “She Did That” pulls back the curtain to reveal how and why we do it,” Bluitt told Forbes.

She Did That highlights the perseverance and determination of Lisa Price, the founder of hair care brand Carol’s Daughter; Melissa Butler, the founder of beauty brand The Lip Bar; Tonya Rapley, the founder of My Fab Finance; and Luvvie Ajayi, a New York Times best-selling author, speaker and digital strategist.

For the project, Bluitt intentionally hired a camera crew of Black women as well as production staff, assistants, and researchers for filming locations. In addition, after almost 2 years of filming, the documentary premiered at a sold-out screening event at ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans. It has since been screened at several HBCUs and other cities in partnership with organizations that cater to Black women.

Bluitt said she is overwhelmed with the opportunity to partner with Netflix. Now with a wider audience, she hopes that the film willl touch more Black women’s lives.

“I want women to know that even the most successful women in business have experienced the challenges and obstacles they face while building their brands. We all make mistakes, learn from them, and stop to refuel or keep going even stronger. I want women to know they are not alone in their fears and the biggest takeaway is this – if the women in this film can do it, you can do it, too!”

Stream it now on Netflix by visiting

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