Inspiration Wednesdays: Time - how many of us treasure it?

Wednesday has rolled upon us again, geesh when I last turned around it was last Wednesday. Mid-week breather for us all, we can see the light at the end of this week's tunnel! This week's inspiration is a short and sweet reminder that Time is our most precious commodity, and we must cherish it like the valued asset that it is. Do you keep track of where you're are spending your time? If you took a snapshot of how you spend your time, does it represent what you stand for? Would you be satisfied if you were judged by what and with whom you spend your time?

We've hit the month of June - the middle of the year. Traditional time when folks begin to assess where they are in meeting their goals for the year. Take a moment to also assess how and where you spend your time. If it isn't making sense to you, realign and re-prioritize. Remember, time is the only thing we can never get back.

We're Looking for Young, Female Writers!!! Spread the word....

Hello Faithful Elevator Talk Supporters,

Elevator Talk is still very much in its infant stages and while I continue to make it all that I envisioned prior to launching, I am also working on phase 2!!! It's all about going after your dreams :) With that being said, I am actively seeking out young female writers for an upcoming venture that's all apart of my empowerment movement for young girls. If you are or know of a young go-getter (ages 15 - 21) who enjoys or has an interest in writing, contact me by email at Pass it on, pass it on, pass it on. The support and love is very much appreciated!

Inspiration Wednesdays: No Arms, No Legs, NO WORRIES

Happy Hump Day Folks! The middle of the week, for some the silver lining that the week is coming to a quick end and for others a bothersome reminder that there is still 2, count em, 2 days left in the treacherous week. Whichever side of the coin you're on, I'm here to share a little inspiration. Inspiration Wednesdays will be a new feature here at Elevator Talk, and today's selection I found via Forbes Woman facebook page. This piece was truly moving and quite honestly a rare find amongst the various inspirational type of pieces I come across.

Today we're living in a world full of uncertainty, unemployment at record highs, people losing homes, getting sicker with no means to access care, our educational system at an all-time low and the list can go on...but in the spirit of the video, take time to be thankful for what you have and not dwell on what you don't. I hope you all find this link as inspirational as I did. Feel free to comment and spread the inspiration :)

Acclimating to a New Work Setting

Many of you are looking for new jobs and since we like speaking things into existence - what happens when you get that new job? Acclimating to your new work setting is just as important as the search to find the new job and your performance that keeps you in that job. It's important to set yourself up right and get on the good foot!

I am currently getting acclimated, not to a new job but in a new role, so I am living this right now. I have found a few things that have been extremely helpful for me, what better than to share with my readers :). Online you can find a great deal of resources on getting used to a new work setting, I prefer to highlight a few of the unsaid tricks of the trade.

1) Learn the lingo - Every industry and company has its own vocabulary, or lingo of sorts. I work in healthcare, and we have enough acronyms to start canning our own alphabet soup. From PSN, EPR, to HSCRC - trust me, the letter's go on and on, it's very easy to get lost in conversation, comprehension and moving along projects, if one doesn't learn the language quickly. If you're starting with a new company/organization, don't hesitate to ask your hiring manager if they can provide you with a list of commonly used words or acronyms within the workplace. 1) It never hurts to ask and 2) even if the list is short, it gives you a head start to get ahead. Also don't hesitate to ask questions as you go on and keep your own list/dictionary as you go on, trust me it will come in helpful!

2) Get to know your administrative/support staff - starting a new job in a new environment comes with a host of many new-news for the newbie! New location, new people, new tasks, and most importantly new dynamics that can take weeks, months and sometimes longer to master. The key to successful leaders and powerful workers is knowing who to go to in order to get what you need done! In a new setting the best folks to help you identify your resources is your support/administrative staff. Often times people dismiss the support staff, when they are in the best position to orient you to office dynamics, the who's who and all the how-to's. The same way they were the best source to help you get that interview is the same way they're the best source to help you be successful in your job.

3) Keeping lists - You should start any career, and might I offer job (there is a difference) with a goal. Whether it's to change the way a system is operating for the better or just to be the best at what you do, you must see your end point and goal from the beginning. Therefore it behooves you to keep yourself on track to achieving that goal from Day 1. The obsessive planner in me is gushing right now as I type this - you all know my love for lists! But seriously, I have found in my recent experience that keeping lists of your to-do's from the beginning help to keep you on track for your goal or goals.

4) Schedule/Set "me" time from the beginning - If you are in a position where you manage your own time, it is important to ensure that you maintain "me" time, personal time to actually get work done. Moving from meeting to meeting, and call to call, leaves very little time to process information, follow up or send out emails. This also makes it easy to fall behind in project timelines. Setting aside time in your schedule for 30 minutes to an hour will ensure you a few moments to catch up on things, gain your composure and/or just think things through. You have to make sure you guarantee your own self time, otherwise others will be sure to grab every moment you allow them.

5) Know what you're being held accountable for - Do you know what is expected of you at work? Its very surprising to me when I talk to others who have no idea what they are really expected to do within their job. They feel disconnected from what they actually do day-to-day from what they are actually being evaluated. If you ask me, no wonder so many people are ready to go postal in their jobs - they see their job differently from how their manager sees the job and what they expect from the employee. If that isn't a recipe for disaster, I am not sure what else is! Confusion about work expectations can easily be resolved from the beginning by simply asking the person hiring you - what am I expected to do within this job? What am I expected to change or impact within this job? What results do you want to see within 6 months/1 year of my holding this position? I would recommend that this is information everyone should know from day 1 of starting a new position, and do hesitate to constantly ask this to make sure the expectations haven't changed.

6) Observe, observe, observe!!! - Yogi Berra once said "you can observe a lot by just watching," and he was certainly on to something. Observation is a tactic I think that's easily dismissed by many but teaches one so much. Take time to observe your new work setting, and if possible even before you take on the position. Observe the people, the dynamics, observe at different times - you'll be surprised how useful these observations may become down the line!

Those are my tips, do any of you have tips you want to include?

Stilettos, Pumps in the Workplace??: Fashionable Career Lifts or Detriment to Women in Leadership?

Like most women, I am addicted to shoes. Not just any kind of shoe, I am hands down, no questions asked, borderline need a professional intervention addicted to stilettos. I live by two life mantras: (1) don't think, buy the shoes and (2) you can do whatever you put your mind to, and you can do it in stilettos ~The Great, Kimora Lee Simmons!!! My predilection for stiletto heels is well known, the stiletto to flats ratio in my closet is at a daunting 12:1. I wear stilettos every where - in my house (yes I still like to play dress up!), to church, out on the town and undoubtedly at work. I am so used to wearing my high heels that it is really second nature to me. Now don't get me to telling stories, this ain't for the weak or feeble ankled. I work in a fast-paced operations environment at a hospital - I am on my feet the majority of the day going from one meeting to the next, from one end of the campus to the next, back and forth, up and down. But its a discomfort I've come to know and love and a conscious choice that I am quite comfortable with. While on occasion I get questions here and there on how I can stand to wear high heels for such long lengths of time, over the last couple of weeks I have noticed that my preference for footwear seems to draw greater attention, from those in awe to those visibly put off. After reflecting on the reactions I'm getting, it brought me to the deeper question: are high heels detrimental to the careers of women in leadership?

I have my own opinion but I took to the internet to better understand what I learned is a much debated topic. Particularly amongst traditional feminists high heels are scoffed at, viewed as another way to oppress women. Those who ascribe to this side of the argument share a deep disdain on how high heel shoes are constructed, distorting women's bodies arguing that heels only serve to turn us into sexual objects and are dangerous to our health. On the other end of the spectrum, modern feminists have reclaimed heels to be a symbol of female empowerment, not subjugation. Some psychologists even support this belief by offering that heels not only elevate the women literally but also psychologically by boosting confidence and assertiveness.

My opinion, you ask? Well just call me a modern feminist! I am an obvious supporter of women in heels. I definitely believe that heels in the workplace accentuate my individuality as a woman, it sets me apart in a male-dominated industry and serves as a reminder that I am a woman and yes I do things differently - however, my strong work ethic and successful output confirms that I still get it done - just like you (no matter what my shoes look like)!!!

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK? Are high heels detrimental to career growth for women? Can women leaders be taken seriously in our sassy yet classy heels? Have you ever been treated or viewed differently because of your choice of footwear in the workplace?

Abandonment Much???

Okay, Okay, Okay - I know, I've been gone for a bit. Please forgive me and my trespasses! I started the new job last week and I have been on the run ever since, getting acclimated to a new schedule, learning new people and faces and trying to stay ahead of the curve in my new responsibilities. I'll tell you now management is not for the faint of heart! However, Elevator Talk is my dream and my passion so I have to get my act together :)

Stay tuned for some new posts, unlike the cartoon you guys are not on your own. I'm also working on the facebook page - stay tuned for that as well. A lot of great things in the making, so tell your friends and your friend's friends about Elevator Talk! If you haven't already follow the blog on Twitter: @elevatortalk212. Thanks for your lovely patience with me.

Student Loans: Income-Based Repayment, Have You Heard About It?

I don't know, I may be the only one who fears the on-set of student loan repayment like that of the wrath of God. Perhaps I'm a little bitter that my original plan of pursuing a lifetime career as a student, kind of like Lynn from Girlfriends, fell through for the likes of "real-world experience!" However, the reality is for many of us who enjoyed the high-life free-for-all college years, those "priceless" moments came with a hefty price tag. Especially since the powers that be waited until after my graduation year to impose debt caps for how much loan-indebtedness one could accrue for college - oh yeah I got those emails after May 15, 2005 and went postal. Where were those folks when Sallie Mae was staking her claim to my first born, second born and grandchildren for that matter? (Clearly that wound is still open!)

Anyway, as I am taking on adult responsibility like a champ. I, like many of us, pride myself on being an informed consumer of any and all things. I google, ehow to, yelp, bing, hell I even youtube everything I can; I stalk reviews, I ask others - I'm on the constant hunt for information on how to make things BEST work for a dollar here and there. Needless to say, I have been employing all those tactics over the last few months to determine the best way to begin paying my student loans in a manner that won't have me on the fast-track to the poor house. I'll admit, I didn't pay close attention during those pesky exit interviews you have to complete upon graduation, you know to re-sign over your life and soul stating you will pay back what you owe by all means. So now I look at those repayment options with great disdain. The fortunate thing is you can change your repayment plan at any time to suit your needs - of course there will always be fine print so it requires close attention.

As of late, I have been reading more and more about the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) option. It is a new repayment option that opens the opportunity for a more reduced monthly payment on your loans than the current plans. Further for those of us who work in the public sector, there is also the option of loan forgiveness on the remaining balance after 10 years - without the huge tax burden. As with most things there are eligibility requirements and your loan still accumulates interest, so there are some short-term vs. long-term trade-offs to consider before pursuing this option. However, if you are currently struggling to make large monthly payments and need a short-term respite this program may be for you - the literature I have read boasts reducing current payment plans by 50%.

I am not going to pretend to be an expert on this payment plan but wanted to share the information with my readers. There is a new non-profit organization that has formed to create greater awareness of this program: IBR Info (check their website here). Their website has a host of information describing the program, federal updates, a useful IBR calculator to estimate individual payments as well as a great FAQ's page. I hope you find this information helpful, if you have found other information useful that we can share here do not hesitate to pass it on to me and I am happy to share it here.

Happy Wednesday yall!

A True Leader: RIP Dorothy Irene Height

I want to be remembered as someone who used herself and anything she could touch for justice and freedom...I want to be remembered as one who tried. ~Soror Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912 - April 20, 2010)

I woke up early this morning to begin on today's post and as I was going through the regular routine of checking email and now adding twitter to that, I was alarmed by some news. One of the women that I look up to most as a leader and inspiration has passed this morning: Dorothy Irene Height. For those who may not be familiar Dorothy I. Height, born March 24, 1912, was an extraordinary leader - the epitome of the word, social activist and educator; who dedicated her life and leadership to the struggle for equality and human rights. In the face of adversity, Height never allowed herself to be deterred from her dreams and aspirations and that determination has made one of the largest impacts and contribution to human rights that the world has ever known.

Born in Richmond, VA and raised in Rankin, PA; Dorothy Height received a scholarship to attend Barnard College in New York City based on her oratory skills. Upon arrival, however, she was denied admission due to Barnard's maxed quota of 2 African American women per academic year. Height arrived to the school after the first 2 women had already been admitted. Height did not allow that roadblock to stop her from pursuing what she knew was right and valued at her core: education. She ultimately pursued her education at New York University, receiving both her bachelors and Masters degrees, and completed postgraduate work at Columbia University and the New York School of Social Work.

Height is known for her dedication and exemplary leadership of a number of organizations: United Christian Youth Movement of North America, National Council for Negro Women - where she was invited for membership by Mary McLeod Bethune in 1937 and served as their 4th National President, YWCA - where for 33 years she served on their National Board, and near and dear to my heart Height served as the 10th National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. - carrying the Sisterhood to a new level of organizational development and social action under her leadership - and please know this list really pales in comparison to the real impact of Height's leadership and contribution to the world.

Growing up, I remember always saying "I want to be somebody." No specifics, no real direction, just confidence that I wanted to make it out of the hood and do something positive. I first really came to awareness of Dorothy I. Height during my first year of college and was immediately inspired by her story and the impact she had made with her life. She further inspired me to form what impact I wanted to make with my own life. During my college career I pursued membership into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and had the opportunity to meet my Soror Height in 2004. There is no real way to describe how I am feeling this morning as I reflect on the news of her passing, but I take this news as a source of motivation to not only remember and cherish her legacy, but to also be apart of those carrying it on, to continually fight for what's right and to make sure I have IMPACT. Thank you Dorothy Irene Height for your contributions, for your impact, for your unwavering spirit and determination. As a young Black woman today, who is living her dreams, I know that is only because it was your dream FIRST and you led a struggle to ensure that I would be afforded opportunities beyond what I could even expect. You not only tried, you DID and for that I am forever grateful.

Getting Your Money Straight

So Friday's post got me thinking further about pursuing one's passion and dreams and how we can better position ourselves to step out there and maximize our strengths and passion. I think a major part of being able to take risks is having a stable foundation - essentially have your 'ish together. While I'm not quoting percentage facts in this sentence, the largest roadblock to pursuing any dream is money - yep them dolla, dolla bills yall. I don't think it takes an economist to tell us that bit.

In the professional world, many business moves are halted on the basis of lack of funding, so it wouldn't be any different that in one's personal world money stands to serve as a major challenge to taking that next step and pursuing one's dream. With all that said, when asked what I would recommend to position one to make that next level move; my answer is "Girl, get your money straight!" (PS - if you have never read that book, check it out). Needless to say I was elated upon receiving a recommendation for a financial management resource that can help identify spending reduction and savings opportunities - all of which come together to help build a nest egg to position you for pursuing your dreams.

A friend of mine and blog reader shared with me a money management resource that she swears by, and my friend's treasure becomes you all's resource. is a free, personal money management resource that allows you to upload all of your accounts to better understand your spending habits, investing performance and opportunities, debt reduction opportunities - the whole gamut. Mint even boasts resources for evaluating opportunities with student loan debt repayment (speaking of which, stay tuned for a forthcoming post on the dreaded student loans as well).

Some of you are probably thinking, "well if they're so good, why are they free?" I'm a skeptic like the best of yall, so I read through the website to understand how Mint pays their bills; they function as a referral source. What is a referral source, you ask? Mint essentially uses the analysis of your financial performance and status to recommend to you (the client) different financial management products from banks, investment companies and so forth. If you elect to pursue one of the products, Mint receives a referral fee. So you get a personal finance advisor without the personal finance advisor fees. Don't get me wrong, personal finance advisors are awesome - but for those of us who don't have the funds to pay someone to help us with our money - appears to be a great foundational step.

So check out Mint, I am not a spokewoman for it, so I won't be offended if you opt not too! If you are still a little hesitant make sure you read through the website and feel free to thoroughly check their privacy agreement. Also, if you have other financial management tools that you have found helpful please share. Feel free to email me recommendations at or post a comment. Spreading the message of financial uplift to realize our dreams.


flow - (n) the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing, characterized by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. ~Daniel Pink

I just finished reading The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need by Daniel H. Pink. Without revealing too much of the book, I'll say Pink hit the nail on the head with the 6 key lessons of a successful career. A quick read (literally only took about 20 minutes) bearing the style of a comic book, the author uses the experience of Johnny Bunko to impress upon the readers some career pearls that many of us know - yet find so hard to actually incorporate in our own lives due to day to day reality. How many of us would love to simply do what we felt we were born to do, without the pressures of making money, or paying dreadful bills - where dey do that at??? I mean, I chat with comcast and sprint on a monthly basis about why they just won't let me live ---like give me this account and let's forget the formalities of paying bills and fees, it would just be so much easier! More often than not, many of my friends are still just trying to come up so making the leap to following a passion is way off. After reading the book, I am even more certain on what I knew before - finding your flow isn't easy but it's certainly not impossible; and I think everyone should!

Many of us lose sight of finding our flow, while in the midst of the daily grind. I think that comes with the territory of taking on and managing responsibility. I think the key is finding balance on how to do what you have to do to be able to do what you want to do. Many of you know, a major focus of this blog and things to come as a result of this venture is promoting leadership and developing new leaders - particularly young ladies. I hope this post promotes thought on trying to find that balance and look out for a few features on a couple of folks I know that are doing a good job with the balancing act.

Sooo, check out the's cool, it's brief and there is one rule that I don't entirely agree with - anyone who knows me probably knows which one it is!! Tee hee.

Making a List, Checking it Twice

Today's post is inspired by another blog post I came across recently. Often times I am asked about good techniques for setting goals: personal and professional. Anyone who knows me, knows quite well that I am a compulsive to-do list maker! I write to-do lists daily, monthly and annually - if you've ever been to my house then you are sure to have seen any one of these lists. I find that they're very useful at keeping me on track. The lists represent all the tasks that I have to get through to complete a specific goal. Not to mention what an excellent feeling it is to cross something off the list. Some might say I am more enthused with the act of crossing things off than the actual lists themselves, but don't judge me!!

However, the post talked about how to maximize the to-do list technique with an "accountability partner," someone you trust to keep you on target for whatever goals you set as well as you keep them on target with their goals. It's very easy to set goals and make lists but very difficult to keep oneself on task or not fall prey to procrastination. -----> Enter your accountability partner (AP)!!

So what do you do with your partner, you ask? Keeping a system of checks and balances with a like-minded individual isn't as hard as it can seem:
1) Set up monthly meetings - if your AP is a friend you probably already see each other regularly - just make sure you set aside defined time to discuss your goals
2) Make goal lists - no matter what the goals are focused on, it could be moving, starting a new business or something as small as reading a book, just create the list with deadlines
3) Share your list and the DEADLINES - your AP isn't able to inquire about your progress if they don't know what they're inquiring about
4) Use the regular meetings times to track progress, get some of the work done and talk about any challenges you have to reaching your goals - your partner may be able to help you get past those or at least help talk you through how to get past the challenges

I think it goes without saying that your AP should be someone you trust and value their feedback, more importantly someone whose words/gentle nudges/hard kicks you will take heed to, to ensure you get the job done. And VICE VERSA!!! Any other pieces of advice for accountability partners?

What does it take to be a leader?

This morning I was reading the NY Times and came across an interview with Debra L. Lee, CEO of BET Networks: "Sometimes, You Have to Say 'My,' not 'Our.' The interview focuses on Lee's transition to leadership over at BET. I, for one, can say over the years I went from BET fanatic (clearly during my middle school/high school years when it all seemed so new) to BET unimpressed. However, I really enjoyed this interview and the insight it brought on transitioning to leadership, especially from a women's perspective. My friends and I constantly have discussions on what it means to be a good leader, reaching the top and whether that is truly attainable as a woman. It was useful to read about another woman's experience and reflect. I also thought her comments translated to good life lessons, but that's just me getting deep! What do you all think? What are things that have to be done to reach the leadership point? For Lee, it seems it was about moving past thinking about we/us and getting to me/I. Do yall agree?

I am personally going through a transition at work and taking on a new role, when I read the interview I decided to jot down a few notes:
1) Decide your own vision
2) What do you want to be known for? What do you want to accomplish?
3) Take ownership
4) Get involved
5) Don't let compassion kill you

What were your takes?

Just Write...

I've made countless attempts at writing something that I think is catchy, will flow and be well received by readers to explain my vision and the purpose of this blog. Dozens of attempts to convey my passion for serving as an inspiration to others, serving as a source of motivation and sharing my own life experiences as well as those of the many close family and friends that I have, all of whom have surpassed obstacles and barriers that many others would have deemed insurmountable. After all these attempts and getting nowhere with my timeline to go live with this blog, a very close family member impressed upon me to just write (thank you Chris J). So simple yet it has taken me until now to get it…JUST WRITE.

Shreeta's Story

I am a survivor! I have and continue to survive life and it hasn’t been no picnic either. A project chick from Harlem, well aware of the issues that plague society; drug addiction – I’ve seen it, poverty – I grew up in it. I know the statistics well and have beaten the odds slimly, but I live by the premise that it is more than just me. I am passionate about helping others to get past obstacles, in the very same way that others helped and pushed me along the way. Over the past couple of months I have been dreaming about getting this blog started, to generate discussion and SOLUTIONS on life issues and moving past obstacles to get to the next level – hence the name Elevator Talk. It’s about sharing experiences, passing down knowledge, spreading information and motivation. From discussions on personal growth to navigating the professional world, I am using this blog to promote leadership, inspiration, creativity and uplift. I hope you find this blog and future events to be a resource for achieving your next level move. Subscribe, follow us on twitter and tell your friends. This is just the beginning.

~Elevator Talk

“Say something to change something…” - Unknown