COVID-19 has played havoc with many people’s careers, but it may have been especially detrimental to women.
Research shows that working mothers are dropping out of the workforce much faster than working fathers, at least in part because many schools switched to remote learning and at least one adult needed to be in the home with the children. One study by McKinsey & Company and Lean In also found that one-fourth of women they surveyed at 317 companies are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce entirely.
As a result, the disruptions 2020 brought could have a long-term impact on women’s careers as well as their family’s finances.
But all might not be lost. These difficult times could be an opportunity for women to rethink their personal journeys and decide who and what they want to be going forward, says Andi Simon, a corporate anthropologist, founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants, and author of the upcoming book Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business.
“I often say if you want to change, have a crisis or create one,” Simon says. “A crisis forces you to rethink what has always been in your life so you can create new opportunities for your future. As we navigate these uncertain times, women can use them to rethink their own stories and to smash any myths that are holding them back from becoming who they want to become.”
Simon suggests a few steps women can get started:
Tell a story about who you are today. Draw a picture or create a list to show what you love and don’t love; the joys and challenges of your life now; your interests; and your dreams. “Put that picture or list where you can see it for a while as a reminder of who you are now,” Simon says.
Visualize yourself in the future. Think about what will make you become who you believe you can be. “Know what would make you happy and realize how you might be personally fulfilled,” Simon says. “Understand how you can be professionally accomplished, build a happy family, and enjoy the support of your friends and community. Know what matters to you and how you want your story to develop.”
Keep a diary. Research shows that people who keep diaries achieve their goals and do so with extraordinary results, far better than those who don’t keep diaries, Simon says. “That might seem strange, but it is easy enough to try,” she says. “Whether you do it online or on paper, keep your story coming, write it, and re-reread it. Let it help you embrace your new focus and belief that ‘yes, you can.’ ”
Stop your brain from undermining you. Every time you say, “No, that won’t work,” convert it to a “Yes, that’s a great idea.” “You can manage negative thoughts by simply thinking that you can,” she says.
Build up your idea bank. Research also shows that the more ideas you have, the more likely you will have “big” ones, Simon says. She recommends writing them down in an idea book. “Try to stay focused on the vision you have for yourself as you build your idea bank,” Simon says.
“Remember that you are writing a new story, so don’t let your brain delete great ideas because they don’t fit into your current story,” Simon says. “Keep saying to yourself, ‘Yes, that’s a great idea.’ Pretty soon, you will achieve the goals that you aspire to all through your life’s journey.”
About Andi Simon
Andi Simon, Ph.D., author of the upcoming book Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, is a corporate anthropologist and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants. A trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy®, Simon has conducted several hundred workshops and speeches on the topic as well as consulted with a wide range of clients across the globe. She also is the author of the award-winning book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. Simon has a successful podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, that has more than 125,000 monthly listeners, and is ranked among the top 20 Futurist podcasts and top 200 business podcasts. In addition, Global Advisory Experts named Simons’ firm the Corporate Anthropology Consultancy Firm of the Year in New York – 2020. She has been on Good Morning, America and Bloomberg, and is widely published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Business Week, Becker’s, and American Banker, among others. She has been a guest blogger for Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Fierce Health.
As Valentine’s Day comes to a close, there seems to be a lull in the season of gift-giving. Christmas and Valentine’s Day are two holidays focused on spreading love and the next day focused on sharing love is Mother’s Day. Although it’s still weeks away, it’s never too soon to start planning for the important women in your life.
Tea Forté also features a variety of gift sets so they’re ready to go as a perfect gift. Beyond tea, they feature teaware such as a steeping cup that has a double-walled cup to keep tea hot and the cup cozy to hold. Plus, enjoy free shipping on all orders over $49!
A perfect gift for Mother’s Day is skincare and OURA has products worth talking about. OURA has recently worked to create self-care products that infuse high-tech solutions into everyday life, while also doing social good by granting the wish of a childhood cancer patient for every 1,000 products sold.
The OURA Exfoliatoris self-disinfecting and rejuvenates the skin by removing dead skin cells as it cleans out pores and sweeps away debris deeply and completely using only water. The dual-textured smart fiber pad is infused with copper oxide which works naturally to improve skin texture and provide a luminous glow, while gentle enough for sensitive skin. These special cleansing cloths are anti-bacterial; ultra-plush; self-sterilizing; sustainable; hypoallergenic; and anti-aging.
Like the Exfoliator, the Hydro Glove creates a healthy glow on skin from head to toe. The Hydro Glove is antimicrobial and made of 100 percent cotton infused with copper to allow for gentle exfoliation for the entire body.
There’s finally a sensible solution to help stop stains on your favorite panties from unpredictable monthly leaks. Cutie Undies are underpants that you wear during your period and then toss into the garbage!
Each pack comes with two pairs of 100% cotton breathable briefs with built-in sanitary pads for the best day/night protection. The briefs are discreet, secure, comfortable and biodegradable. The best part? It’s only $9.99 for a pack of two! Check out their website for more information.
Mom has been working overtime for the past year, it’s only fair to give her a gift of true comfort with Barefoot Dreams’ new Spring collection featuring new colorways of fan-favorite sets and brand-new styles. Surefire items include the Crinkle Jersey Lounge Set in a beautiful new color, Waterfall Sea Salt, the Scoop Neck Short Set, and the Washed Satin Short PJ Set.
Now, with everyone staying home, loungewear is the perfect gift for any woman in your life. Barefoot Dreams features a collection of cozy, chic and comfortable clothing.
Score extra points with mom this year, by giving her a gift made just for her – salon-quality custom haircare by Gemmist. Made with coconut oil, camellia japonica seed oil and avocado oil, and by using science-based formulas from a quick hair quiz, this personalized shampoo and conditioner set, and the Scalp Balancing Bar is the endless thank you mom deserves.
With these products, women in your life will be able to bring the spa home with them. The brand also offers a Gemmist gifting subscription service to save you the hassle.
DoggieLawn was created when founder Natalie wanted to find an easy indoor dog bathroom solution to living in an apartment with dogs. It’s the perfect, natural place for your pet to relax or go potty – especially right now with cold temps, crazy storms, or even if it’s in the middle of the night and you don’t want to venture outside!
DoggieLawn is an environmentally-friendly subscription or one-time purchase that delivers a never-ending supply of fresh grass right to your door. Great for indoors, small balconies, backyards and more! Learn more on their website.
Qemp has a variety of CBD oils, the perfect Mother’s Day gift for all the stressed moms out there. Their formulas are crafted to help maintain focus, boost energy and improve rest. They also have a CBD cream to help provide relief for pain. They have formulas for nighttime and daytime use as well as an oil for beginners that don’t know where to start.
The GlassFusion VisionGuard+ with D3O and GlassFusion+ with D3O are now available for the Apple iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12/12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The formulation used by InvisibleShield is crystal clear, so it looks just like the phone’s original screen. The D3O additive makes these industry-leading screen protectors more than 20% stronger than the original GlassFusion protector. These screen protectors are perfect for the mom that can’t seem to hold on to their phone.
GlassFusion Screen Protectors – Starting at $49.99
G-SHOCK’s Gold Ingot Collection
G-SHOCK’s new Gold Ingot Collection screams luxury. The GM110SG-9A, GM5600SG-9, and GM6900SG-9, each feature stainless steel bezels and buckles with eye-catching semi-transparent bands and metallic gold dials inspired by the design of a classic Gold Ingot. The retro-inspired models each come equipped with standard G-SHOCK technology and capabilities including shock resistance, 200M water resistance, EL backlight, daily alarm, stopwatch, countdown timer, and full auto-calendar.
G-SHOCK’s Gold Ingot Collection – Starting at $220
For the mom that loves coffee, L’OR will allow them to dive into pure espresso bliss. With L’OR you can experience the sweet aroma of the freshest Arabica and Robusta beans, hand-selected by L’OR roasters. The selection is truly exquisite and would satisfy any mom that wants to indulge.
As we move into the spring months and warmer weather, sandals are on every women’s wishlist. The Blowfish Malibu Spring Collection has a variety of cute styles to choose from. The Rylim Sandal is the perfect slide on shoe to complete your Spring look; the cushioned footbed, featuring a cactus flower sock design, allows for all day comfort without breaking the bank or compromising your chicness. The Rylim Sandal comes in five cool colors and is Vegan Registered too!
A trend in skincare is moving toward more natural and organic products, and sugar can be a key ingredient in a natural skincare regimen. Ida Body Care Founder & CEO Vicki Weaver Payne says “Our Sugar Scrub is Ida’s secret step to maximize hydration. My mother Ida created it with natural sugar and 12 essential oils including anti-aging powerhouses like Avocado oil, Evening Primrose oil and Apricot Kernel oil,” Vicki explains. “Your skin will never feel the same.”
A vegan and cruelty-free line, Ida’s Body Scrub stimulates the skin, activating and cleansing it, so you feel revived and ready. Sugar is beneficial to the skin because it is a natural humectant. A humectant draws moisture from the environment into the skin. Using sugar on the skin can help hydrate the skin and retain moisture.
PROUD is an ethically sourced collection with a mission to give back. Any purchase the customer makes from the website, 10% of gross sales will be donated to their charity of choice: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Pink Ribbon Girls, Baby2Baby, Off The Street Club, Victoria’s Victory Foundation or the Rezvan Foundation.
PROUD’s ethos is to create a brand that unifies people beyond the current political divide in America and awaken the philanthropist in each of us. The idea is no matter where you come from or what you do, we all have something to be proud of. With a variety of sizes, styles and prices, the women in your life will love PROUD.
For the mom that wants a bag that is stylish and practical, the Luli Bebé Monaco Diaper bag is the one for her. Available in two sizes—Monaco and Petit Monaco—the soft vegan faux leather texture is gorgeous and easy to care for. Worn as a backpack or a shoulder/crossbody bag, with clips provided to attach to it to a stroller, this diaper bag is versatile and beautiful.
The central satin-lined storage space is ringed by pockets for a total of nine storage spaces, to keep all of the baby’s things organized and easy to reach. The exterior design and elegant colors make this diaper bag look runway-worthy, with shades of Ebony Black, Pearl White, Stone Grey, Pastel Pink, Latte Brown and Caramel.
How Sandra Guibord Pivoted to Success During the Pandemic& Sandra’s Wine Life’s Valentine’s Day Wine Recommendations
What was your career like pre-pandemic?
For the past 20 years, I have been a wine educator as CEO & Founder of Sandra’s Wine Life. The in-person education aspect of my business involved leading wine seminars for large corporates, entertaining large groups of high-net-worth clientele for private banks, accounting firms, technology firms, and non-profits.
What changed about your business when the pandemic hit?
In Spring, 2020 when all my in-person presentations were canceled, I knew I had to transition to virtual events. All of my corporate clients now needed an intimate connection platform with which to reach their customers. I create Sandra’s Wine Life’s Virtual Wine Seminars to entertain small groups of advisers and their select clients.
What inspired you to make this change rather than just take a few months off?
On a Zoom call with my ski friends, we were commiserating over cocktails about our beloved ski season being cut short from the pandemic. Zoom was new to me, but it was such an easy platform to use and I realized how easy it could be to connect with people all over the world. Right away I knew that it was the path I needed to take to jumpstart my company.
How is business going?
The wine seminars have been an extreme success. I am conducting presentations at least three nights a week all year long – and I’ve had some re-bookings already from clients I just gave seminars for in September as their clients have been very responsive. Seeing the great excitement generated from these seminars is incredibly rewarding.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
My service is more valuable than I realize.
When I started Sandra’s Wine Life, I viewed my service as simply entertainment. I have grown to realize that my services are quite valuable as a business generation tool for my clients, particularly in these pandemic times. My virtual seminars are an opportunity for agents to reach out and effectively connect to their clients. I create an environment that is relaxed and enjoyable to set the mood and facilitate open conversation. This might seem a small thing, but as there is so much to be distracted by about in these times, having the ability to keep people upbeat and in the moment right now is a skill that has proved very valuable, and it’s also very enjoyable for me to be able to provide.
People are not always nice.
Unfortunately, I have seen behavior at wine conferences and other industry events that can be reminiscent of a high school cafeteria. As an attractive woman who is friendly and approachable, people will make assumptions that I don’t take my business seriously and that I’m not as committed to my craft or qualified. I ignore their behavior and simply do what I do to move my business and initiatives forward. In my accomplishments, I prove them wrong.
Don’t be shy about developing your network.
If you never ask or reach out to those in your network, you could be missing out on enormous opportunities. For example, Thomas Preti Catering has separately been providing food to match my wine pairings to some of my clients for as long as 10 years. Just a few months ago I first approached him with an idea about the two of us teaming up to provide food and wine pairings together for exciting virtual events such as Wine & Opera with International Opera Performers, Wine & Cinema tastings. Immediately he was on board. Now I kick myself for being shy about reaching out years ago!
Your perspective and brand tone can change dramatically as your life changes. Lean into it.
When I first started Sandra’s Wine Life, I was a single woman in New York City, and as such I focused on the demographic that I was a part of. As life evolved, adding children, increased obligations and more Corporate services, the focus of my company also evolved to incorporate my perspective on how wine fits into life and its moods and situations, broadened to home entertainment, business dinners, family holidays, International travel and large-scale corporate entertaining.
Be patient and stay the course.
Over the last 20 years, I have had to go to great lengths to keep my business alive. I have had to be creative, carve out time that didn’t exist, continue selling my services, collaborate with others, and learn a number of new skills on the fly — and with great enthusiasm! I did this all while raising children, dedicating myself to growing my former husband’s business and without having any encouragement or support. My business was always my voice and I needed to keep it alive and growing slowly so when the time came that I could fly. The time finally came, and when it did, I was truly ready. Now I’m flying and loving every minute!
It’s almost Valentine’s Day – and Galentine’s Day. How should our readers celebrate?
Impress your date with romantic chocolates alongside Champagne.
Treat your best girlfriends to pizza and Pinot Noir.
Send Mom a bottle of her favorite Chardonnay.
Cook a romantic spicy seafood pasta dinner for two with a luxurious Brunello.
For that “new” special person in your life, a picnic with Prosecco and cheese is friendly and thoughtful – and pandemic friendly.
If you’re in a restaurant and in doubt, White Burgundy or Pinot Noir are great food-friendly choices that are smart to order.
What are your top wines for celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?
I will be sharing plenty of wine tips similar to these and much more in my forthcoming book, titled ‘Wine Identity’, due out this Spring. Look for more news on this shortly! In the meantime, you can check out my Instagram at @sandraswinelife each Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET for my weekly #WineWednesday recommendations, where I’ll share details about my favorite wines of the week and practical tips on how to enjoy them.
If someone were to ask me how I managed to thrive in a male-dominated industry and rise to the position of president at VEVA Sound – and how other young women could similarly succeed – here would be my response:
For me, it has always been about focusing on the work and knowing that if you just do that, everything else will take care of itself. When something needs to happen, just get it done.
Get it done even if it seems like a menial task. Get it done even if there’s no immediate reward being dangled in front of you. And get it done even if there is no clear indication that what you’re doing will result in a promotion, a raise, or other good things happening somewhere down the road.
Putting in the time and effort doesn’t necessarily guarantee success in the music industry (and likely not in any industry). But success can’t happen without that time and effort.
This approach to the working world goes all the way back to my first studio internship. Whatever task was placed before me and needed to be accomplished, I would do it – right down to the unfulfilling but necessary job of cleaning the toilets. (And yes, I actually cleaned toilets. The music industry isn’t always a glamorous world.)
I think that I knew, even at a young age, that if I just kept my attention on the work at hand, and concentrated on what I was doing versus what everyone else was doing, success would find me.
That proved to be true, and this approach continues to pay dividends for me to this day – and maybe could do the same for young women who are probably much like I was several years back, cultivating dreams and ambitions.
In my case, I always loved music and I also had a technical mind. It was a matter of taking those two things and mixing them together, which is why I got my degree in audio engineering. Once I finished college, working as an archival engineer gave me a steady income and allowed me to be around music all day. The rest is history.
Of course, all of this still leaves the question of whether it Is more difficult for a woman than a man to achieve success in the music industry. Certainly, women are underrepresented in our industry, as they are in many others. To give you an idea of that underrepresentation, a study released in 2019 by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative looked at 700 popular songs. What that study found was that women accounted for only 21.7% of artists, 12.5% of songwriters, and 2.7% of producers.
I also can report that over the years I have encountered situations where a man could do or say one thing, but I know it would be unacceptable for me to do or say the same thing.
So, yes, a young woman with ambitions to enter our industry will face challenges, but those challenges shouldn’t deter you.
After all, the music business is hard for everyone – male or female. Breaking in is tough. Then navigating the business once you’re in is difficult. Finally, it can be extraordinarily challenging to continue to succeed in the business over time, even after you’ve had your initial success.
The key is to set aside any negative thoughts about all those challenges and focus on what you can control. Be determined to do the work and strive to learn everything you can from everyone you can.
People are fond of saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” That’s true only to a degree. Who you know may bring opportunities initially, but what you know gives you staying power in this business.
Ultimately, knowledge and determination have been the two most important factors in my success. They can be for others as well.
About Deborah Fairchild
Deborah Fairchild, president of VEVA Sound (www.vevasound.com), started her career with the company as an archival engineer in 2004. In the past 16 years, she has risen to lead the company in all facets of the business. She has grown VEVA into a global entity servicing major labels in North America and Europe, establishing offices in New York, Los Angeles, and London in addition to the company’s headquarters in Nashville. Fairchild has kept VEVA at the forefront of technology and continues to evolve and adapt VEVA’s services and technology to assist the needs of their extensive client base. She advises many label executives, producers, engineers and artists seeking archival and asset management solutions.
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