As someone who no longer has grandparents and feels so deeply for all of the elderly in nursing homes right now who are alone, this warms my heart.

As iHeart Radio notes, while many of us are inconvenienced by the lockdowns mandated by states to stop the spread of coronavirus, the illness has really impacted the elderly. Because they are highly susceptible to COVID-19, senior citizens have had to make sure they stay very isolated, especially if they live in nursing homes.

Coronavirus has swept through nursing homes with devastating results, so many are now not allowing visitors to prevent that from happening again. Some don’t even allow residents to meet up with each other. This means that the folks living at the homes can get very lonely, but one nursing home has found a way to combat it – they’ve started an “Adopt A Grandparent” program.

CHD Living, which owns 13 nursing homes around London, are inviting English-speaking people from around the world to apply online and become a virtual volunteer who will engage with their assigned “grandparents” through video calls. The company hopes to keep their residents mentally stimulated during this hard time.

This is how we help others while social distancing. Please do it.

Alexis Robertson is the next Woman Who Wows. I met Alexis through LinkedIn and have admired her thoughtful posts. It’s another reason why online networking is so important – she lives in Chicago and I live in NYC but I feel very connected to her.

She is currently the director of diversity & inclusion for Foley & Lardner LLP where she provides firm-wide strategic direction and oversight on all diversity and inclusion related matters.

Alexis joined Foley from Baker McKenzie, where she was North America manager of Diversity & Inclusion. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Alexis spent two years as a Legal Recruiting Director for The Partners Group where she focused on placing diverse attorneys with law firms and corporations.

Alexis earned her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and practiced with Kirkland & Ellis and Seyfarth Shaw following graduation. She earned her undergraduate degree from the American University in Washington, D.C.

Learn more about her.

Continue Reading Women Who Wow: Alexis Robertson

I asked Orange County-based Gia Altreche to be part of the Women Who Wow series because she is a leader in the legal marketing industry and an advocate for the profession and diversity & inclusion. Gia is the Director of Business Development and Marketing at Newmeyer & Dillion LLP and serves as co-chair of the Legal Marketing Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and Shared Interest Group. Learn more about her below.

Why did you choose your profession?

Technically it chose me. It was during a post-college adventure to find a marriage between the legal field (initially intending to go to law school), and human communication (a love I found in my last year in college, which slightly derailed the initial focus) that ended with my resume miraculously in the hands of my now mentor, who was the Head of Business Development & Marketing at a major law firm in Phoenix, AZ. Talk about the power of networking!

At the time, I didn’t know legal marketing existed, but quickly learned it offered access to both play a role in advocating for my community, while continuing to study and nurture the role of human connection in business. Plus, being surrounded by the crème of the crop legal minds across a variety of industries, seeking out continuous education on the ever evolving role and how I could support their efforts was greatly satisfying. Learn more about her and her career path below.

Continue Reading Women Who Wow: Gia Altreche

When I speak at conferences or conduct client trainings, I usually end my presentations with “homework” for attendees. While not actually required, I always suggest that attendees take the time to do these to-do items, because I always want to leave attendees with actionable takeaways they can implement right away to enhance their business and brand.

I know so many of you feel out of sorts right now (that includes me). Our daily routines have been thrown a huge curveball and staying home is our job right now to keep ourselves and others safe against the spread of the coronavirus.

That being said, this is not the time to stop marketing yourself or your firm. In fact, you want to be top of mind, and you can easily do that through the many online channels available to us – with LinkedIn being the most powerful social platform to build professional relationships. The key is to be helpful, non-boastful and to provide value-added content and information.

I am seeing the lines between our personal and professional lives become blurrier by the day as many of us want to be more connected to people in general. This may result in you receiving friend requests on Facebook and follow requests on Instagram from colleagues and clients – it’s up to you how you want to handle these but please always exercise caution with what you post on any social media platform, and stay away from discussing politics and religion.

In case you are looking for some “homework” in the marketing and business development area, here are a few ideas to keep you busy. Reach out to me with any questions. Continue Reading Simple Things You Can Do to Build Your Brand and Network While Social Distancing

Hashtags are great tools to help your content become discovered on LinkedIn, but only if you know how to correctly use hashtags and you use the most effective ones.

If you’re writing about the coronavirus on LinkedIn, you should be using hashtags so your content can be amplified and have a stronger impact. The content you post should have your target audience in mind and be designed to help them navigate this unprecedented time.

But first off – what is a hashtag? Just like on Twitter or Instagram, a LinkedIn hashtag is any combination of letters, number or emoji that follow the # symbol such as #coronavirus. Any spaces or symbols used within the tag will break the link, so that means you can’t include apostrophes, commas, exclamation points or hyphens in your hashtag.

Hashtags help users find content on a specific topic. If you add hashtags to your posts, they’ll help you get discovered by other users, including those not connected to you (2nd and 3rd degree connections). This is because individuals now search for content under hashtags and click on the hashtags in posts. In addition, you can follow hashtags on LinkedIn, meaning that posts containing the ones you have selected will appear in your news feed.

How to add hashtags to your LinkedIn posts: Continue Reading The Best and Worst Hashtags to Use When Writing About the Coronavirus (Updated)

I asked Helen Bertelli who runs Benecomms, to be a part of the Women Who Wow series, and she sent me the following piece, which I think is so important for all of us to read given what is currently happening in our world with the coronavirus.

Thank you Helen for writing such a terrific article, I’m very happy to share it on this blog.

How Diversity of Voice May Save Us: Changing the Conversation from Consumption, Despoliation to Inclusion and Resiliency by Helen Bertelli

The women’s movement has always been about working to change the conversation. Today, on the last day of Women’s History Month, it is more important than ever for us to remember this.

The power of language to shape human experience, for better or for worse, has long fascinated me. Of course, in the case of women’s history, language has been employed for centuries in ways that have systematically minimized or erased the contributions of 50% of the Earth’s population (the word “history” just one of the many demonstratives).

This, as it turns out, was not just to the detriment of women, but the extreme detriment of the world, as we are learning today in an era when more women than ever before are earning for their work. Society has started to study the value of women’s voices, in government, in business and society as a whole, and we are beginning to comprehend value that went unrealized for so long.

At university, my senior thesis focused on women’s travel writing in the Colonial era. At the height of slavery, when bestselling works like Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad depicted heroic settlers and popularized narratives of “virgin landscapes” and the “taming” of indigenous populations, I was interested in understanding how women travel writers portrayed their experiences. Would they be different?

Needless to say, these writers were hard to find. I spent many nights buried deep in the vestibules of my university’s rare book collection. But I did manage to find some; chief among my favorites was Mary Kingsley, a complex but remarkable woman with a gift for words.

Sure enough, the voices of these women, while often self-deprecating, were also far more nuanced and inclusive than their male brethren. Most if not all were critical of establishments like slavery. Adventure was conveyed divergently. Heroism was not machismo but something entirely different.

Today, my company, Benecomms, does an increasing amount of communications work in the sustainability space for companies who are changing the conversation; people who are challenging society to rethink business as usual. As Women’s History Month 2020 draws to a close and we are collectively grappling with a pandemic that is, at least partly, of our own making, my thoughts turn to these questions:

What will we learn from this situation? How can we change the conversation to avoid future systemic shocks and build resilience?

The answer to these questions, in great part, lies in our willingness to raise diverse voices and to internalize and act on what they are saying.

At this point, virtually everyone knows the path that we are on, one of unabated consumption and consumerism is not sustainable. We know that changes coming as a result of a warming Earth will include more diseases, disasters and other systemic shocks that, like Coronavirus, will upend us. The question is, are we willing to learn from our mistakes of the past? Are we willing to set aside the fear of the unknown, fear of doing things differently, and think outside-of-the-box? Are we willing to finally hear the diverse voices around us to find solutions to the cataclysmic problems that face us?

It is imperative we continue the conversation about diversity of voice well beyond Women’s History Month. How well we do this will, in part, determine how we, collectively, come through not only this crisis but also future ones.

Although we are dealing with a world pandemic, March is Women’s History Month – that has fallen by the wayside of course with the more important news of the coronavirus. I still wanted to continue this series beyond March and throughout the year, because I think we can all use some non-COVID-19 news.

The next person in the Women Who Wow series is Deborah Scaringi. I met Deb through my work with the Legal Marketing Association when we both served on the first northeast region board together. I have long admired Deb for her poise, thoughtfulness and ability to see a situation from 10,000 feet. I asked her to be a part of the LMA Northeast Regional Conference planning committee last year because I tremendously value her input, and she provided so many great insights. I would always want Deb on my team. Deb is based in Boston and consults for law firms on a wide range of marketing and business development issues. Learn more about her. Continue Reading Women Who Wow: Deborah Scaringi

This is a very stressful and scary time for all of us, young and old, rich and poor, and all we can do right now is control how we react to what’s happening in the world and do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

As with any misfortunes and difficult times, we don’t have the ability to change what is happening, but we do have the ability to change what we do, who we help, how we act and how we spend our time.

I personally find the news so hard to watch, it’s almost like information overload, and so I have to turn it off during the day. I get upset when friends send me alarming articles. I cringe when I see the spiky COVID-19 cell structure in any medium.

All anyone wants is for life to return to normal, and hopefully that will happen soon, but we have to be prepared for all of the difficulties that lie ahead. The economy is in a decline and it will continue to be tough for all of us – my biggest client put me on hold for the time being and cut their employees’ salaries, so I am also stressed and anxious about paying my bills. I know I’m not alone.

I am certainly not a mental health expert but I can tell you what’s working for me in terms of keeping positive and not letting my anxiety get the better of me in this unprecedented time.

This is me cooking – it’s a great way to pass the time
  • I’m reading books on resiliency and on how to control stress and anxiety, and listening to podcasts. I can always find a few useful tools in them that help me cope.
  • I’m sleeping more. This is doing wonders for every part of my life. Since there’s nowhere to go at night, there’s no reason to not go to bed early. Sleep helps you recharge. When I find myself waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety, I think of something positive in my life – the birth of my niece, when I met my significant other, and it helps soothe me back to bed.
  • I’m eating well and taking supplements. That means lots of leafy greens, various colored vegetables and fruit, protein, healthy fats and fiber. But also give yourself permission to have dessert if you want it. Of course I’m still indulging too as you’ll see below.
  • I am following Instagram accounts with positive messages, funny memes and cute animals – all of those help bring levity into my life, counterbalancing the doom and gloom.
  • I’m focusing on thinking of all of the good things in my life instead of the grim statistics on the news 24/7. I’m keeping a gratitude journal to help with this.
  • I’m reaching out to family and friends via Zoom and FaceTime. We do coffee breaks and virtual happy hours. I haven’t closer to those I love than right now.
  • I’m spending a lot of time with my dog who is on the older side, and I cherish this time home with him.
  • I’m leaning into my creative side. If you’ve ever wished you had the time or opportunity to pursue a creative endeavor—author a book, write music or a play, learn to paint, whatever—this is the time to do it.
  • I’m saying prayers for all of those who are risking their lives to help and protect the sick and all of those who are making many sacrifices for us during this time.
  • I’m sticking to a regular work routine during the week – waking up at the same time each day, working out, maintaining my usual schedule during the day and then shutting off my email to make dinner and unwind at night.
  • Speaking of dinner, I’m learning to cook more at home. I find cooking and baking to be therapeutic and helps pass the time. Try a new recipe you’ve always wanted to make, spice up your tried and true menu items and follow Ina Garten on Instagram (my idol) for easy meal ideas.
  • I’m focusing on the positive – thinking of one good thing that happened to me each day – try this – I bet you can come up with many more than just one thing.
  • I’m putting things into perspective. I was in a depression for many months after my live-in boyfriend left me for one of our friends. Every aspect of my life fell apart as a result, and I had to rebuild from scratch. I did it, and I now see that experience put me in a better place to deal with hardship.
  • I’m assuming good intent with others and showing kindness as much as I can – let’s all give each other the benefit of the doubt right now. Don’t take anything personally.
  • I’m taking care of myself – whether it’s taking a bath, watching hours of mindless TV (Tiger King it Summer House anyone?) or doing a face mask (I recently had to quickly take one off when I got a work FaceTime call – not easy!) – I’m doing things that make me feel good.
  • I’m showing gratitude to others, thanking those in my life who have been there for me and letting them know what they mean to me. Try this – it feels good for you and them.
  • I’m doing something to help – supporting my local restaurants, contributing to various funds to help those struggling and those who have been laid off, donating supplies and blood – doing something makes me feel less paralyzed.
  • I’m exercising – it’s so important to do whatever you can to stay active – it’s good for you mentally and physically. Working out releases feel good hormones – we need as much of those as we can get right now. My regular gym, Flywheel, has closed down for now and laid off 98 percent of its employees, which breaks my heart, and I’m supporting the unemployed instructors by paying to take their online classes.
  • I’m cleaning out clutter and organizing everything. There is something so therapeutic about cleaning out your closet and drawers – and it’s something over which you have control. I organized every drawer and closet in my home over the past week – then I reorganized them again (okay so maybe I’m a little OCD too). I donated lots of things, which always feels great. Less is more when it comes to material possessions. Marie Kondo would be proud.
  • I’m learning how to slow down and meditate. This article from Oprah magazine is very helpful in providing a list of the best meditation apps for people with anxiety.
  • I’m helping those who need it – I’m getting essentials for the elderly people in my building, sharing things I have with those who could use them more than me, I made food for my doormen and always thank them for their service and I have been donating dog supplies to animal shelters and the ASPCA – doing something makes me feel better and less anxious.
  • I’m writing – a lot. Case in point, this article and all of the other articles I have published lately. Writing is my outlet to express how I feel. It was so helpful to me as a grief tool when my mom died a few years ago and when my significant other left me for one of our friends.
  • I’m shifting my mindset. It’s so easy to become negative during this time cooped up at home. Change the dialogue in your head and think of it as a time to create the life you’ve always wanted personally and professionally. Set the plans in place now for your future. You’ve got plenty of extra time to think!

Please do remember that this to shall pass, and everything will be okay. For now do your part in maintaining social distancing from others, washing your hands and staying inside as much as possible.

I don’t know about you but the coronavirus has not made me feel anything but anxious and stressed out. It’s especially hard because we don’t know when it will be over and so many people are sick, which breaks my heart.

It has not been an easy year for me (in fact it was the worst year of my life), but I feel like I’m now better prepared for what life throws my way, even a pandemic.

Continue Reading Why You’ll Be Okay Even When You’re Not Okay

Is it the weekend? What day is it? I keep asking myself these questions because nothing feels normal. All of our daily routines have been majorly impacted by working from home and not being able to go out except for essentials.

One of the many group zoom happy hours I did this week. Thank god for them.

Social distancing especially for extroverts (me) and introverts is just plain hard. But we are the lucky ones. Staying home stops the spread of the coronavirus, so that’s our most important job right now.

Life will go back to normal but we will never forget this period. Think about all the things you can learn from it, and enjoy the extra time with your family and pets. Catch up with friends by FaceTime and Zoom. Use LinkedIn to rekindle and strength relationships.

Online networking both personally and professionally is our greatest social connection tool right now.

It’s great to have a pet to have a reason to get outside in this very isolating time but he’s now exhausted (don’t worry he’s been getting lots of treats).

Don’t forget to exercise and don’t overwork yourself especially since you’re no longer commuting to the office.

Look for moments of joy in unexpected places. My various friend groups have been enjoying happy hour (or quarantini) over FaceTime and Zoom. It’s such a great way to catch up and feel connected.

If you have kids at home and trying to manage their distance learning while juggling everything else on your plate, give yourself a break, you’re doing great. You’re doing the best you can.

The other day I looked up from my makeshift desk (my dining room table) and realized it was 9pm. It’s so easy to get caught up in working when there are no natural breaks in the day like commuting time. I recommend you still use that time for you – use LinkedIn, sneak in a quick online workout, take a healthy snack break, rearrange a drawer or take your dog for a walk. Create a new routine that works for you.

This time is so stressful especially if you live in one of the virus’s hotspots like I do. A recent New York Times article summed up my thoughts well, “Every day, we worry. We wonder if our neighbors can pay their rent. We go stir crazy. We pray. We wait for help from a federal government we fear may never come.” The constant worrying is terrible for us – especially if you already have anxiety issues. that’s why we need exercise and human interaction (from a distance).

Maintaining balance, relationships and healthy routines are key to being successful and staying sane right now.

Sending love from NYC. Stay safe xo.