The Link is a company that provides pathways to identify and use one’s inherent talents, opening doors to help business and individuals clarify their VISION. It is a safe place to cultivate an influential VOICE. And it provides access to a COMMUNITY of renowned experts, peers and mentors.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Finding Your TRIBE

I was recently asked to give a workshop on FINDING YOUR TRIBE for the Inspiring Women Conference in Portland, OR. Prior to the event, I asked several women AND men for their definition of a tribe.  I learned that the concept of a tribe has a visceral effect for many people. I heard words and phrases such as belonging, common purpose, even survival. In my research I found that Abraham Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs explained allot about why belonging to a tribe is so important. 
Wikipedia explains that “The most fundamental and basic four layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called "deficiency needs"; If these "deficiency needs" are not met, the individual will feel anxious and tense. BrenĂ© Brown (an author, public speaker and research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work who has been involved in research on a range of topics including vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame) explains it another way

 “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.  

Therefore, belonging to tribes is an imperative to our health and well being. Notice I said tribe(s). Professionals often have several tribes and in my work I suggest the need for at least 2. 

1.      Personal: Friends and or family
2.      Professional: A network of peers, mentors, sponsors and experts(the elders!).

#2 is often not fully formed, conceived or utilized by professional women. And at different times in our lives, we need and want different tribes.

So how do we find the tribes we need right now?
Step 1 is knowing yourself and figuring out
1. Who do you WANT to be?
2. What is your VISION for your life today and in the future?
3. What tribes do you need right now to accomplish this vision?

Answering these questions are critical to the process and is often the hard part as you need to take the time to think about it. Sometimes you need a coach to help with this process.

BrenĂ© Brown also explains that 
                     “The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you're enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect. 

Step 2 Find a Successful tribe.
What makes a successful tribe for you? The tribe needs A Leader, a Common Purpose and Your Commitment to Engage. Let’s look at each of these components.

A Leader:  The definition of a leader that I use is “A PERSON who leads PEOPLE to a PURPOSE”
A Common Purpose: Based on your answer to “What is your VISION for your life today and in the future?” does this group consistently support this vision?
Commitment to Engage: Until you’re really comfortable, you may have to take a deep breath and force yourself to stay or even engage with the group. Apparently, 50% of all Americans are introverts. 
**A note to leaders: make an effort to help these people feel welcome.

What tribes work well for you?

Friday, February 19, 2016

For 25 years, I was an executive in big corporations. I “managed” 10 people when I was 22 and 250 when I was 33 years old. “Leadership” was not emphasized(and I worked for  2 GREAT companies!) and I have spent the last 12 years trying to uncover the secrets of good leadership. The books available to me were just not answering the questions for me. Clearly, there is still a lack of great books out there. Check out this article by McKinsey & Co Getting beyond the BS of leadership literature

Here’s what I took from the opening remarks of the article…

Leaders aren’t doing a good job for themselves or their workplaces, and things don’t seem to be improving.
1. Few people trust their leaders, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer surveys, among others.
2. There are low levels of employee engagement worldwide,  according to Gallup data.
3. Job satisfaction at a low ebb and executive tenures are decreasing according to the Conference Board.
4. Other research consistently indicates that companies give their own leadership-development efforts low marks.

I found that a LEADER = A PERSON that leads PEOPLE to a PURPOSE. If one of those 3 “P”s are out of whack, there is dysfunction.

One of my favorite authors is Judith Glaser

Have YOU found a book that worked for you?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Know Who She Is, Recognize Her Work

"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Emerson

I had an amazing experience last week. I was asked by the fabulous Chief Judge Ann Aiken to participate in a conference to celebrate the life and unveil the portrait of Justice Betty Roberts. The conference celebrated women and their stories.  Judge Aiken asked women that have "fearlessly and with great heart contributed to the greater good" to share a part of their story. I am SO HONORED to be in this group of women!! Seriously! I was a part of the panel titled Know Who She Is, Recognize Her Work. I made the following points based on 2 questions by MCs and dear friends Carmen Vollique and Katie Kelley.

Why did I leave the corporate world, and start The Link?
Fundamentally, I want to help others to not make the same mistakes I made or at least not be alone in the process. I knew the following was true.
·         Women want to connect with other interesting and interested women for insights.
·         There is no equivalent to the “Old Boys” network for women and we need one!
·         It is hard to find "vetted" experts.
·         In a safe, supportive atmosphere, women are more open to new ideas.
·         There are fantastic women who deserve to be spotlighted as role models.

What does Know Who She Is, Recognize Her Work mean to me?
This topic resonated for me as 'how do we support the other women at work?'.
1.      Ask her about her goals/aspirations and WHY they matter.
2.      Truly listen – Be Curious.
3.      Sincerely acknowledge her contributions. Help build her confidence by recognizing relevant success, especially if it relates to WHY their aspirations matter.

Katie Kelley posted the following pic on FB...thx Katie! And thank you so much Judge Aiken for creating a magical day!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lisa Sedlar's Kernels of Truth (and Happy 10th Anniversary to The Link!)

On March 4, 2004, Insiders’ Connection (soon to be The Link For Women in July, 2004)  introduced the concept of bringing women together to learn something new and be inspired. 10 years later, The Link For Women( continues to offer events that help women to flourish!
We decided to go back to where it all began, The Portland Golf Club and what a great choice it was…GREAT food, BEAUTIFUL location, FABULOUS women, DYNAMIC speaker! In the audience were 10 women who were at the original event in 2004…how cool is that? Here’s a quote from Maryann Williamson that is one of our own Kernels of Truth:
As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Our guest Blogger Jessica Williams ( had the following to say about the evening…
Lisa Sedlar’s Kernels of Truth

This month, The Link celebrated its 10th anniversary with a great night at the Portland Golf Club where host and founder, Cindy Tortorici invited Lisa Sedlar to speak!
Lisa Sedlar is the founder of Green Zebra Grocery, in Portland, Oregon. Green Zebra Grocery was named after a variety of tomato grown here in the Pacific Northwest and promises to “hand curate every item in the store to make sure that all of your options are good options. Whether it’s a box of honey nut cheerios, or a bag of gluten free quinoa. You can trust that everything you see in a Green Zebra is worth taking home to your family.”
Lisa Sedlar has a long career of working in grocery from Fresh Fields, Whole Foods, Pharmaca to New Seasons, she understands what it means to provide wholesome food to others.

Not only is she a mindful grocer, but she is a leading entrepreneur in Portland. Unashamed of admitting to her fears, she is transparent in an effort to help others succeed.

Lisa has what she calls, her “kernels of truth,” and I can’t think of a better term to describe the advice she gave the crowd on this night.

1.  “We have to hang out with the people who ARE what we want to be, to become WHO we want to be.”
2.  “This job is about everybody but me. Double down on your top performers.”
3. “You have to make short term decisions as an entrepreneur that can be really hard for the long term.”
4. “As an entrepreneur, there’s a lot at stake and you have to trust your gut.”
5. “I learned from strippers and priests that if you make eye contact with your audience, you’ll earn more money.”
6. “In every conversation I have, I try to listen to each person’s kernel of truth.”
7. “I don’t have to be right all the time.”
8. “When conflict arises, you have to ask questions to understand. Remind yourself, it’s not about you, it’s about that person and always refocus the problem on the business.”
10. “Give others the benefit of the doubt, but then verify it to make sure it’s true.”
Lisa will speak at TEDxPortland( ) on April 12, 2014, so be sure to check her out there!
The Link will host Paula Lucas, author of Harvesting Stones on April 16. Tickets sell out fast, so register today (!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

The 3 Lessons I learned from Ekaterina Walter

3 Lessons I Learned from Ekaterina Walter at The Link

When Ekaterina Walter starts a conversation, she does it with a grace and ease that will make even the most intimidated person feel a sense of familiarity.

On Tuesday, Feb 11 I joined The LinkFor Women to hear Ekaterina tell her life story at a cozy room in Elephants Deli in NW Portland.


Ekaterina’s Background

Ekaterina is a Russian immigrant, a mother and a wife. She is also the author of two books, Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg,” and The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand.” A former Intel Social Media Strategist, she is now the CMO and Co-Founder of Branderati.

One of Ekaterina’s many successes includes launching an award winning global social media strategy for Intel, but what I was most intrigued with was how she became so successful.

Here are the lessons I learned from her at The Link:

1.     Build a Network

According to Ekaterina, you should “get to know as many people as you can. Networking will help you do your job where you are right now.

When asked why she is successful, Ekaterina said, “It’s all about what you do for others. Share what you know and success comes.

That being said, she isn’t afraid to admit that sometimes success is all in who you know. “It’s either because I asked someone for help or I had helped them somewhere along the line.”

2.     Help the Generations to Come

The conversation eventually shifted to a more global perspective on the merits of teaching the generations of girls to come. “We should encourage them to take a seat at the table,” said Ekaterina. “It’s all about inspiring confidence.”

She compared true leaders to hummingbirds – “invisible but so powerful and humble.”

We need to teach girls at the right age that it’s okay to be aggressive.”

When asked who were women mentors were, she responded by saying, “I am made of hundreds of others.” A humble yet powerful assertion.

3.     Practice the Four “P’s”

When Ekaterina says that she values the four “P’s,” she is referring to passion, purpose, people, and partnerships – the elements she considers crucial to success.

You can feel her passion light up the room, and I felt like conquering mountains after hearing her contagious encouragement.


I can only hope to be that great of a teacher and mentor to others – vulnerable, powerful, and wise – not afraid of saying the wrong thing, but more afraid of saying nothing at all.

Ekaterina said that one of her favorite quotes is, “Pioneers are the people in front of you with the arrows in their backs.” I hope I’m standing in front with her if that day comes.


I urge you to consider a membership with The Link or to attend the next event on March 4 with Lisa Sedlar, founder of Green Zebra Grocery. I’ll be there and I hope to meet you then!



About Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams is an Account Director at Prichard Communications, a public relations firm serving nonprofits and foundations in health and human services. An avid adventurer, poetry enthusiast and nature walker, Jessica is often found practicing yoga, wandering the streets of Portland, or kissing her dog. Jessica has worked in sales, marketing and communications for over 10 years. Follow her @JessicaJoEllen, connect with her on LinkedIn, or read her other blog posts on the “Mac’s List” blog and Prichard Communications blog.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Be a leader before you are one!

It's easy to forget that our leadership is omnipresent.  Sometimes you may not realize your capacity to lead, and it's an important skill to practice!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Are you focused on the right things?

You find yourself constantly fighting fires, trying to keep things from escalating completely out of control- but are you remembering to stay focused on the right things?  Some great tips from Harvard Business: