Category Archives: self empowerment

3 (Three) Small Ways to Make Big Change

After announcing my return following a blogging hiatus, I received an invitation from The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio to write a blog article. The invitation was right on time and is just the push I needed to write about another topic passionate about — community support and social change.

In advance of Friday’s annual Keyholder fundraiser, the editor asked me to respond to this question: What can you do today, this month, or year to spark change in your community? Great question! There are so many ways — big and small — that people can do to make change happen today!

Of course we could talk about the big things like raising money, serving on a community board or hosting an event, but instead I want to focus on “small” or less obvious ways people can make change happen. Because small or large, contributions to change are just that. No matter how small your contribution — it matters.

Go In Your Community

Museums, churches, local governments, meetup groups, Internet communities and many others host all types of events to make their community a better place. Unfortunately, many events are not supported or embraced. But a small way to spark change in your community is to support your community by attending these events. If you want to spark change such as seeing more community events or more people attend — do your part and go! Support what happens in your community.

Get Opinionated

Frequently, people are neither interested in receiving feedback and too busy to give it. Whether you have a great experience or one that lacks luster — giving your opinion is one small way to spark change. In most instances organizers of community gardens, public art shows, welfare programs, fairs and festivals all want feedback. They really want to know what you enjoyed, if it met your expectations, what you would like to see in the future and  more. That’s how improvement happens. And although it can be time consuming to complete surveys and questionnaires consider how the simple act of giving your opinion can improve your community.

Go Local

If the change you want to spark is more local business then the best “small” thing you can do is to shop, eat, and buy local. That’s not to say there aren’t some great national or regional chain businesses, but change at the local economic level happens locally. And the commitment to make your daily, weekly, or occasional purchases at a local business sparks tremendous change for that business, its employees, your local economy and the national economy.

The idea of sparking change is awesome — and the options are limitless. Whether you have plans to spark big changes or you want to start with small ones, you have options.

What would you add to the list?

The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio is excited to welcome special guest Whoopi Goldberg to Nationwide Arena on Friday, June 29th for Keyholder 2012. The Women’s Fund’s annual Keyholder event is a preeminent gathering in the central Ohio area, attracting thousands of people to honor the women and girls who have made a significant impact in their lives. Tickets are on sale now for $50 each and all proceeds are used to provide grants that promise social change for women and girls. Call 614-225-9926to purchase tickets or stop by for more information. Connect with The Women’s Fund on Facebook and Twitter (@WomensFundCO).


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Exposing the Battle Scars: Why Getting Fired Can Help Others

So, it’s been nearly a month since I was unceremoniously released from what I thought was my dream job at RMD Advertising. I’ll spare you the details — because they are rather ridiculous. Since then, I’ve been working independently and reaching out to my network about new collaborative opportunities.

Now that my networking game is in over drive, I’ve talked with a number of people that heard about me getting fired. In addition to talking, I’ve heard from people via the blog post, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and email. A small handful of people simple reached out with condolence about the situation. What was even more surprising — the out pouring of people voicing one of these three sentiments.


Not an isolated incident — I was congratulated on being fired by more than one person. That surprised me given I didn’t leave on my own terms.

People hate their jobs

Okay, that’s not really a surprise. A lot of people really hate their jobs. Now, I can understand hating your job as you are in the process of finding something more suiting. But what the hell are so many people doing working a job that they really can’t stand. I mean really — you’re not doing yourself any favors staying at a job you hate.

Even the man hates working for the man

So many more people than I realized are ready to step out on their own starting their own business or working for them selves. Some people indicated that are actually “waiting to get fired,” while they complete client work on their bosses dime and build their client list in preparation. Obviously that’s ethically wrong — although I can’t say I’m innocent of such an offense —

Exposed Battle Scars

What surprised me the most, hands down, were the number of people with their own story to share about being fired. Not their parents, spouse or sibling — but them. How they felt so embarrassed while attempting to piece back together their self-esteem which had been completely dismantled.

Of course all of this got me thinking about the high level of shame around being fired — especially in this economy. I say *uck that! Shit happens that is completely beyond your control. And if you’ve been fired in the past you shouldn’t feel like a complete louse because someone else decided to judge you in ways that are likely untrue. I mean it’s likely your boss doesn’t even really know you and probably has very little understanding of who you are and what you care about. And in many cases — they don’t actually care.

If you’ve got some battle scars you want to show — please do it here. I’m not judging you. In fact, I’m calling a moratorium on shame related to being fired. Quite frankly life is too short!

So, what battle scars do you want to show off?

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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in business, self empowerment


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I’m Fired Up! (or Why getting fired helped me get out of my own way!)

I’m fired up! That’s what I’ve been saying to myself — and more importantly — out loud and to others! I’m fired up and pissed off about some things and that’s just the way it is for a while. Maybe you’ve noticed some of my recent blog articles and Digital 411 programs. If you havn’t buckle up and settle in for a few hundred words, it’s about to get interesting. As a disclaimer: This post is a rare personal one.

A few weeks ago I started my dream job. Working as an account executive at RMD Advertising. A great company with an excellent reputation for growing food brands. I worked hard there — about 6 days. I did like every new employee hoping to learn the ropes as quickly as possible. I stayed late, took work home, tested my knowledge as I accomplished tasks, and asked questions when I couldn’t figure things out on my own.

Then I heard the words no one ever wants to hear. “I gotta let you go” followed up with, “I just don’t think you’ll be happy here.” Now, I’m not sure what the second part means, but I’m fairly certain I know what the first part means. That’s right! RMD Advertising fired me after just 6 working days. Now, since I wasn’t snorting bumps in the bathroom or secretly defecating on my boss’s desk, I can’t figure out how a person gets fired in just over a week. But being the overachiever that I am, I had accomplished the task.

It’s likely I’ll never learn why I was prematurely let go and it’s not important to this story. So, what is important is how getting fired helped me get out of my own way. Here’s what I mean by that.

Considering I’ve never been a very good “employee,” and I’ve heard the stories about entrepreneurs getting fired from every job they ever had, I got to thinking. May be this major blow to my self esteem is the universe telling me that I’m supposed to be an entrepreneur. A role I have resisted for a while because entrepreneurs are rouge, outerliers and risk takers. I didn’t want to be those qualities because the aren’t typically used glowingly. However, we’re experiencing a huge paradigm shift. Now 15 year olds are successfully starting businesses, securing start up capital, and learn business basics in summer camp. But as an entrepreneur, you’re constantly working the hustle. Another thing I wanted to avoid.

Working the hustle is a big part of the life of an entrepreneur. You are consistently selling yourself, your business, networking and seemingly up against what seems to be great odds, only to find yourself strategizing as to how you’re going to overcome those challenges. That seems hard. What I failed to recognize (and the universe did see clearly) is that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. And in my case — having a full time job with little flexibility was getting in the way of doing what I’ve always done: work the hustle.

So what did getting fired do to help you get your own way to do?

That’s a convuluted way of saying: What are you doing now? Well I’ve resisted working full time as a consultant, but when I was approached to do a consulting project 3 days after I was fired and negotiated a contract  just 6 working days after being fired for not doing bumps in the bathroom I got the hint. It’s time for me to stop attempting to be traditional — which I’m not — and make my own way.

So, what am I so fired up about? Well, initially I was fired up about getting fired — of course. But now I’m fired up about being an entrepreneur, about finding obstacles as opportunities, and helping people with social media and digital PR. Also, I’m fired up about doing what you were born to do — and not what people have determined you should be doing. Since everyone has skills and talents, that means we should be using what comes naturally and easily to us to fully be your authentic self.

I say if you have to get fired in order to realize that, then so be it. Everything does in fact happen for a reason.


Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Productivity, self empowerment


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How Stella got her “Dashboard MoJo” back

I figured I’d get your attention with that catchy title. On the Feb. 19, 2011 episode of Digital 411, we discussed Better Blogging Practices with Jacob Stoops AKA Agent-SEO and Nate Riggs. Throughout that conversation, we discussed — among others things — what bloggers like Nate and Jacob do to continue coming back to the dashboard to blog, alongside keeping their “Dashboard Mojo” fresh.

I have to admit Nate and Jacob made some great points including the “Bloggers Play book,” using pen and paper, planning out posts and determining a comfortable writing spot. What we spent less time discussing that I want to touch on here is: How do you stay motivated? It’s likely this question resonated with me because I get asked it a lot.

How do you stay motivated to . . . You fill in the blank: blog, write, network, finish a dissertation, etc.

This is certainly not to brag or toot my own horn, but rather to say I’m a pretty motivated person and I don’t play much close to the vest. I take that as a great compliment. And typically when I receive these sorts of questions there are a couple different answers based on what’s in that blank; however, there are a few motivating factors that sustain throughout.


This is the No. 1 thing I do to stay motivated regardless of the task or ongoing task at hand. For me, it is truly the most important motivating factor I have in my life skills tool kit. When I have an end to look forward to, I can better get through the more difficult activities or tasks to accomplish. You don’t have to have a whole bunch of goals, just a few that you can really concentrate on and on which to stay focused.


When it comes to blogging, nobody gets it right, right away. It takes some work and sometimes you really feel as though you are just “writing at” people. That’s a frustrating feeling because you’re not sure of the audience or if there even is an audience. When you get to the point where you’re having a hard time going back to the dashboard to crank out a post– to which both Nate and Jacob agree — write for yourself. Popular blogger and previous Digital 411 guest, Sarah Storer who blogs at The Naked Red Head calls this “Soul Puking” (which is poised to be the next best colloquialism akin to Paris Hilton‘s “that’s hot).

Her point with soul puking is that you get the stuff out that YOU need to get out and it doesn’t always matter if there’s an audience or not. That doesn’t mean that it’s going to be intensely personal, but it does mean that sometimes it’s okay to write just because you want to write something and if it goes with no comments, retweets or shares, it was still worth it. At least that’s how I understood the term and I’m sure The Naked Red Head will correct me if I’m wrong =)


Jacob Stoops made the best point during the show discussing the importance of passion and I could not agree more. Passion is more than a like — it’s that inner thing that drives you to keep going because even when it feels like work — you are still truly enjoying yourself. That’s why subject is so important. It’s much more difficult to openly discuss, endorse, analyze or critique something that you really don’t care about — so, work with the topic or subject that you do. I’m going to leave it at that, before I go off.


Why when people see the word “perfunctory” do they have such an ugly look on their face? I don’t think it’s only because it sounds funny, but rather it’s an ugly idea. One way Wikipedia defines the word is “an apathetic individual with an absence or interest.” So that sounds pretty bad too. How about “going through the motions.”  Although, it’s something we don’t talk about as the noble “ways of a winner,” quite frankly every single day you can’t give 100 percent to everything and sometimes we have to go through the motions, to work our way back to what feels good about what we’re doing.

What’s worse than operating in a perfunctory manner, is quitting  (or taking a prolonged break) because it’s that much more difficult to kick things back into gear. So sometimes — very infrequent times — you have to just go through the motions to get to the …


So, this is the holy grail to motivation whether it’s getting back to writing for your blog, stamp collecting, designing your website or anything else. To me, your MoJo is the good stuff that you get with the right and special combination of everything listed above. At least it is for me. That’s when you are your best you.

So, what have a missed, or what do you do to get to your best you? Add it to the list in the comments section below.

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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in blog, Digital 411, Productivity, self empowerment


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Entrepreneur Used Her Love for Laughs to Build a Business

This story was originally published in Metreopreneur January 26, 2011.

Timecha Swain is a funny woman making a living off her witty sense of humor. No, she’s not a comedian. She is an entrepreneur operating in the male-dominated world of stand-up comedy.

As founder of SlapStik Entertainment LLC, an independent multimedia company located in Columbus, Swain features comedians, as well as relevant news and events in the world of comedy from around the globe.

“We talk dirty, but we don’t air dirty laundry,” Swain says. “I think that’s what makes us unique in the market. I think that’s what makes us unique and why comedians reach out to us.”

Dubbed “Little Oprah” by her inner comedian circle, Swain’s original dream was to become a reporter. She studied broadcast journalism at Wright State University and continues her marketing degree at St. Claire Community College.

While a student at Wright State, Swain founded SlapStik in 2002 with a clear mission.

“I wanted to fill the void I saw in terms of comedy publications, create something off the way and, quite frankly, do something that I would really enjoy and make me laugh,” Swain says.

Though she has guided her growing multi-media company and booked comedy shows for nine years now, Swain admits that if she knew what it would take to make SlapStik happen, she might not have started the business.

“I am the company,” she adds. “Everything is up to me and in my hands.”

An upside to owning her own business is the opportunity to interact with comedians and writers throughout the county, Swain says, estimating that SlapStik will have distribution deals in 16 states in 2012.

“It’s exciting to see international hits on our website,” she continues. “We began working with international reporters to gather content from across the country so we can speak to our growing global audience.”

However, SlapStik’s growth has come at a cost.

“I’m on the road an average of 30 weeks a year, promoting comedians and running the business,” Swain says.

In fact, the extensive travel was a factor in her decision to return to the Columbus area from Las Vegas.

“When I receive emails at 4 a.m. from my team, I feel like I should be working too, so it’s difficult to give the business and my two kids the attention they need,” Swain says. “As a single mother to 13 and 10-year-old boys, my mother is great and helps me when I’m traveling.”

Through the years, Swain has learned some important lessons that now shape her business approach, she says, adding that in 2011, “I will be more purposeful in my planning, execution, and networking”.

“You never know who you will meet and what opportunities will come from that,” she says of the latter.

She should know. An accidental meeting resulted in Swain booking a comedy show for United Way of Union County.

Swain also hopes to make SlapStik magazine a monthly, rather than quarterly, publication and do more comedy event booking and promotion in the new year.

To learn more about SlapStik Entertainment LLC, visit

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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in business, self empowerment


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My Latest Side Hustle: Digital 411

It seems like nobody is working just one job anymore. Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s a sign of an uber-busy generation entering the workforce — whatever the circumstances, everyone seems to have a side hustle, other gig, or their own business going. I think there are some benefits to having a side hustle. First it means, you’re not putting all your hopes and dreams of professional fulfillment in your current position. You may be in a position that isn’t exactly what you want to do, so having a side hustle means you can do what is personally and professionally fulfilling.

Another advantage to working a side hustle is you continue getting your name out there and associated with your desired area of interest. Its’ so important to keep people aware of the cool and exciting things you are doing. That way if an opportunity does arise, you are the first person people think of.

Finally, it’s fun. My personal philosophy is: I’d rather be busy than bored. And I really mean that. Sometimes I do feel a little exhausted by my outside work activities, but I will always opt to be busy and engaged rather than bored and depressed. So, here’s an intro to my side hustle. I invite you to share yours in the comments section. Who knows what can happen when more people know what your side hustle is all about.


Digital 411 is the best side hustle I’ve got going. It is a talk radio program heard exclusively on The program is recorded live in the Talktainment Radio studios Saturday mornings at 10am.

Each week 2 or 3 guest co-hosts that are experts in their field are in studio to address the topic of the day.

Those are the logistics — now on to the goods!

So, what do you talk about on Digital 411? As a “technology lifestyle” program we talk about everything related to social media, web technologies, mobile media, gadgets, smartphones, and everything in between. The topics for the program of are two varieties: Social and Technological.

Technological Program Topics

Programs around this topic focus on how to use technology effectively and productively. Because there’s so much technology out there, it can be overwhelming to determine what to use and how to actually use it. So, the guest co-hosts and myself find the best technologies and gadgets out there and provide listeners with the useful information you need to make an informed decision about what and how to use it.

To address these topics, I take a couple approaches. First there’s an Attack of the App Show. On this program, the guest co-hosts an myself talk about and examine mobile and web applications that can make your life easier and more productive in some way.

Another re-occurring program is Ask the Expert. On these program a novice technology user (whether that be Twitter, LinkedIn, smartphone, or the like) and an Expert are the guest co-hosts. During the course of the program, the novice has the opportunity to “Ask the Expert” everything they wanted to know about the web or mobile technology and we tell you everything you want to know.

Social Program Topics

The social program topics are interesting because I really try and address the questions and concerns people struggle with as different types of technologies change our lives. As a communication specialist I’m intimately concerned with communication.

Now that you have the skinny on Digital 411, how can you get involved?

On Air Caller

Providing information for people who want to know about online, social media and technology related topics is what the program is all about. If you have a question or comment about a topic covered, give us a call and join the conversation at 1877-932-9766.

Topic Ideas

I’m always developing the program schedule and love suggestions for possible topics. That’s how the “Ask the Expert” and “Attack of the App Show” ideas came out. Send me an email at to let me know what kind of show topics you’re interested in hearing more about.

Guest Co-Host

Are you an expert on anything related to social media and technology? Why not be a guest co-host on Digital 411? is a fully equipped studio — so geographic location is not a problem. If you have a phone and a voice, we can make it happen. Send me an email at  I’ll get in touch with you and see what we can work out.

Join the Facebook Community

The Digital 411 Facebook Page is where a lot of the interesting conversation and information featured on the program are shared. Also, review guest profiles in the “Notes,” see upcoming program topics in the “Calendar,” take the weekly Digital 411 audience poll, and get some insight into what the guest co-hosts and myself are reviewing in preparation for the show. The facebook page is lively and I promise you won’t be sorry.

If you’re a Twitter user, follow the show there at @Digital411. The conversations are interesting and I think you’ll like what you get there too! (It’s not simply a repeat of posts and information on Facebook).

Sponsor A Program

If you’re trying to reach the young professional — Digital 411 is a great venue to do so. I know for a fact that young professionals — more than any other age demographic tune into the show in droves. Interested in sponsorship opportunities — send me an email and let’s talk about upcoming show topics and what would be the best bang for your buck. I can be reached by email at:


Digital 411: What\’s the best smartphone for the busy young professional?

Digital 411: Virtual Cheating: When have you crossed the line?

Digital 411: Facebook and Teachers: Should teachers friend their students on Facebook?

Digital 411: How do you build relationships using Twitter?


Posted by on January 24, 2011 in business, self empowerment


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Lesson of the Week: Give Yourself Permission To Dream Big!

Last week I met a number of inspiring and successful people in Columbus. For example, after taking a short personality test, I met Paul Dumochelle for my debriefing. It turns out I have a high motivational drive to exert my will, as well as work independently and autonomously. Not necessarily any new information, but our conversation did help confirm some thoughts I had about myself and work environments that suit me best. As an added bonus: We both share an interest in history and volunteer with the Columbus American Marketing Association.

I also met Christina Getachew, Founder and CEO of Substance for Fashion Conscious People. I interviewed Christina for a forthcoming Abec’s Small Business Review profile piece. I was very impressed and excited to see a boutique and online store with the goal of offering really beautiful and classic women’s clothing and accessories with a little bit of substance. This means much of the clothing is produced from organic materials, there’s an in-store line that is produced by hand, when clothing does not sale and is out of season, it is then re-purposed into other items to be sold. Additionally, proceeds from every sale go toward helping education.

Christina Getachew, CEO and Founder of Substance. The boutique is beautiful and she's got great "trade show" adventures to share!

Another person I met (this is not a typical week– but exciting none the less) was Cheryl Isaac, Owner of Isaac Business Services located in Downtown Columbus. I interviewed Cheryl for an Abec’s profile piece as well. During our conversation, I probed Cheryl to tell me about success stories and the high point of her work helping clients during the business planning process. Her response struck me. Cheryl indicated that one of the biggest highlights is when clients finally “give themselves permission to dream big.” It is only at that point that she knows what you truly want to accomplish  and can begin the work of helping you get there in a step-by-step process.

Cheryl Isaac, Owner of Issac Business Services and all around fantastic person

Give Yourself Permission To Dream Big. I have been on all sides of this conundrum.

Side 1: You dream big and your dreams, wants, and desires are not taken seriously. So, where do you go with all that energy and excitement? Furthermore, how do you get from where you are to that illustrious pot of gold at the end of your rainbow?

Side 2: You dream big and you can see no way to actually accomplish those dreams, so what use if it to think about things that cannot possibly happen.

Side 3: Fear. Fear of wanting something that you don’t know how to get. Fear of failure and fear of embarrassment are reasons we decide not to dream big.

Listening to Cheryl reveal how clients learn to Give Themselves Permission to Dream Big, was inspiring. I’ve had big and small goals I’ve wanted to accomplish. I came to a point where I had met many of the goals I set for myself, and had to come up with new ones (that personality test also indicated I am goal driven) and felt afraid to just get big, bad, even crazy with my ideas about what to do next! It’s been exciting dreaming big, as well as inspiring to hear the success stories of those that had an idea and how they found people and resources to make their idea come to life. So, thank you Cheryl for such a wonderful lesson: Give Yourself Permission to Dream Big! It is those big dreams that set the course for your next adventure.

What’s you’re big dream? Have you given yourself permission to say them out loud, write them down or even begin working on achieving them?

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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in blog, business, self empowerment


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