A Very Merry Unbirthday To You, To Me

I was always charmed by the scene in Alice in Wonderland where the Mad Hatter brought up the idea of the Un-Birthday.  A big fan of birthdays, both mine and others, I loved that every day could be a celebration for everyone. My sister and I have a running joke that birthdays mean cake, and any time there is a discussion about birthdays we yell, “CAKE!” Yes, like all siblings, we have our weird moments.

But enough about my relationships with my sister, I want to get back to the idea of un-birthdays. For this month it’s MY birthday. A real one, not an un-birthday. So before I get to my request – and it’s a good one – let me share a little of the idea. Continue reading “A Very Merry Unbirthday To You, To Me”

Meet a Ladybadass: Emerald Archer – Researcher, Leader, Change-Maker

Imagine for a second you’re meeting someone for the first time. You’ve been introduced by a friend (thanks, Brady) and your preparation work has you just a little nervous. You’ve read words like “military” and “Ph.D.” and “guns,” but you’re also intrigued by words like “gender” and “stereotype.” What picture do you have in your head?

 I did. And when Dr. Emerald Archer walked in the door, I saw a stunning sunshine-filled California girl.

 We grabbed a coffee, and we started to talk. She’s warm and humble. She’s kind and engaging. She’s intelligent and powerful. Emerald is SUCH a strong manifestation of a ladybadass. Continue reading “Meet a Ladybadass: Emerald Archer – Researcher, Leader, Change-Maker”

Meet a Ladybadass: Jessica Shor – Mentor, Pragmatist, and Advocate

Over on our #ladybadass sister-site, we highlight many of the fearless, courageous, and inspiring ladies in business and in life around the world. We’re taking this idea a step further and finding out what it is that motivates and inspires these phenomenal women.

… and by the way, privacy is dead. Deal with it.

Overcoming challenges and hardships have set a blueprint of tenacity and grit for Jessica Shor from the earliest age: “Growing up without any means at all. Struggling with my mom being a single parent, not having any money, having to work a million jobs from the age of 12.” She realizes that the quest for  “financial stability and support is a pretty fundamental color in my life.” This adversity also motivates her passion for mentorship. “Most of what I do for myself and others with mentoring with WILPower and Hipower is aimed at ensuring all women have the ability to create their own financial freedom and independence, a sense of security.” Continue reading “Meet a Ladybadass: Jessica Shor – Mentor, Pragmatist, and Advocate”

A dream is a wish your heart makes

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks thinking that I should write a 2017 End of Year article. I thought about giving sage advice like “10 things you can do to make 2018 amazing” or “My New Year’s resolutions” or something along those lines. All these ideas seem a bit done and dull. When I have writer’s block, I go out to talk to the people for inspiration. “The people” being my awesome #ladybadass friends who are a veritable buffet of brilliant ideas.

We have the ever fabulous Maria Sipka who picks an intention word for each year and tries to live it each and every day. Her 2017 word was Unleashed. I’m super excited to hear what her 2018 word is going to be.

I also had lunch with the very thoughtful and inspiring Laura Froelich who, when I posed the question, cooly reminded me that she didn’t ever do “New Years” things. She just makes a decision and starts. I am in constant awe of this woman’s decisiveness.

Honestly, I think they’re both brilliant plans, and you can stop reading now. Do one of those items, and I assure you 2018 will be a banner year. Seriously.

But of course, I have another thought, another strategy to make 2018 the best year ever. It’s based on my most significant learning experience from 2017. Let me explain. Continue reading “A dream is a wish your heart makes”

Meet a ladybadass: Theresa Kushner – data junkie, privacy advocate, and change maker

Over on our #ladybadass sister-site, we highlight many of the fearless, courageous, and inspiring ladies in business and in life around the world. We’re taking this idea a step further and finding out what it is that motivates and inspires these phenomenal women.

From journalist to data junkie to privacy champion advocate, Theresa Kushner epitomizes what it is to be a ladybadass.

#BeBrave #BeCurious #BeKind

Theresa Kushner, a self-described Type A personality, began her frenetic career by holding down three jobs while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in journalism. After a long stint in the technology industry leading the way at VMware, Cisco and IBM, she is now Senior Vice President for the Performance Analytics Group at Dell EMC. Theresa is also a published author and leading collaborative writer. Her two books (Managing Your Business Data: From Chaos to Confidence and B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results) combine her journalism background and authority in the field of data analytics.

Data Junkie

So, what does she do? In a nutshell, Kushner would describe her job as, “Like running a mining company. I take raw material (data) and mine it for where all the gold nuggets are, and then we fashion it into jewelry to add value to the business.” Jumping in headfirst to Dell EMC in June 2017, Theresa headed to India, home to 400 people under her supervision. Before arriving, she asked each: “Tell me what we’re doing right, what we need to improve, and what you would do if you were me.” This simple ask is a telling indicator of her ethos and leadership style.

Privacy Advocate

Kushner sees data privacy as one of the most pressing and alarming issues in the industry in what she terms, Non-Anonymous Anonymity.  Like other leaders in her field, Kushner sounds the alarm bells regarding the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with big data and data gathering.

“Data about us is everywhere,” she cautions. “Experian let go of a lot of information, but they’re not the only one. There’s a data breach that happens every day in this country. You do not know where your information is. With the incorporation of AI, our data will be available to machines whose algorithms may lack an ethical background or conscience. People have got to take control of something that they’ve never really thought about beforehand; that is their own information about themselves. No longer is it just your name and your social security number, but now it’s your DNA too.”

Kushner explains that data is gathered from every aspect of your daily life: where you sit; where you move; who you move with. What sites on the internet you visit. And now with GPS, what physical sites you visit. We’ve all seen those ads online. You’ve done a quick search for “toddler socks,” and suddenly, every site you visit includes a plethora of colorful socks and adorable kiddie outfits. The quick, simple, and innocent search produced valuable data for countless advertisers and companies to inundate you with personalized ads.

Your data points are then bundled with others with similar data points.  Kushner refers to James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds that surmises that when you get enough people together, they come to the same conclusions. Using data analytics and AI, a store now has enough information on an individual (combined with those of millions of others) to predict not only what you will buy, but how long you will stay in the store, and even where in the store you will go.

Your anonymity is lost. Unknowingly or naively, we give away valuable data every day.

Continue reading “Meet a ladybadass: Theresa Kushner – data junkie, privacy advocate, and change maker”