Category Archives: March 2014

Giving Back!

cto_hospitality

 Giving Back – My tip for today is: lend your talents to good causes you believe in. I always want to empower students. Here I am just last week sharing my small business consulting skills with 2 of the Hospitality students entering the Caribbean Tourism Award – Student Colloquium Business Plan Competition. Wish them luck – we have a few more weeks till deadline!

Need some consulting or coaching services send me a quick email at innovativeeducation@tamubrowne.com. Let’s chat!

International Women’s Day – Do you know your worth?

I know that thousands of tweets, blog posts, Facebook statuses will all be addressing the topic of women as today is International Women’s Day. Let me lend my voice to the day and the fray.
This morning as I mused and mulled over the significance of the day and what it meant to women and the world, I wondered if the millions of women who are denied opportunities, are deemed unequal in their societies or those who are denied equal pay, even spare a thought to International Women’s Day, I bet not. Here is a thought – perhaps they do not feel oppressed, and so our fight has no relevance to their lives and cultures. Just a thought!
I further considered and wondered if equality for all women can only ever be attained if those of us who live in more liberal communities and societies, actually advance our own cause. Perhaps then, there will be a slow creep to female domination. Okay – at least equality.
As a solo entrepreneur one of my services is entrepreneurship consulting – taking rough ideas and helping to create polished products and smooth services. What I have realized in my entrepreneurial journey is that women line up in the business queue hoping to eventually make it to the head of the table, instead of just clearing the crumbs from it. My experience has also taught me that hope just won’t do it. Women – you need a plan!

Here are 3 tips to make it to the head of the table – stilettos and style intact!

1. Get out of the queue! What!!!! Yes give someone else your spot. Have you considered that it may be better to build your own table and become the concierge for someone else – who sits at the head of their own table? Instead of fighting to get to the front of the line, have other people line up for you. Be your own boss – become an entrepreneur and woo those at the heads of other tables to become your clients and valued customers! Just a thought.

2. Set yourself apart. Whether you choose to be your own boss or be the boss in someone else’s company, you must distinguish yourself from your colleagues. There is really no substitute for competence, knowledge and expertise. Learn all you can. Be a team player but do not be afraid to seize opportunities for leadership. You w ant to be on top – you must distinguish yourself from the masses. The boss should know your name, your work product should be prized and your effectiveness unmatched.

3. Negotiate – push back! My mother taught me this push back! How will you get where you want to go if you are only accepting what someone else gives you. Be tough in contract negotiations. Be firm about what you need and why. Never take the first “No” for an answer. Once you have set yourself apart, shown your extreme competence and efficiency, and you are valued – you can get what you want, almost always. Give a little but not on what matters.

Every day – you as a woman are alive it is International Women’s Day. Celebrate your worth, seek to increase it. Never stop moving, growing and becoming the best. Head on over and download the Get What You’re Worth Workbook.

Are you a mouse?

Are you a mouse?

cheeseA colleague of mine gifted me this amazing book last week. Slim in pages but fat on life lessons! It had me wondering am I a mouse or am I Hem or Haw two other characters in this book?

The idea that routine and habit rule our lives has never been quite so well put. I wondered about my own cheese. What is it that I prize so much, that I am unwilling to change, to explore the maze of life, to sniff for new cheese, different cheese?  What am I clinging to that keeps me stuck in one compartment of the maze of life – even though that compartment is small, stifling, and the cheese there has lost its flavor and edge?

Why are many of us not like the mice in this story, who eat the cheese till it’s gone or no more tasty and scurry on through the maze, eager to see what exists beyond the stifling compartment?

Business persons are often like the little people in this story. Holding on to their dream even though the proverbial writing is on the wall. The fear of change, modification and innovation lead to business failure and death. Yet, many cling to an outdated vision and mission, crafted in a yesterday that no way resembles the today or the tomorrow. They wonder who moved their cheese, instead of moving to find new cheese.

Take a read, learn the lessons. Be a mouse and spend no time wondering, who stole your cheese!

19 billion dollar revenge – the hidden moral behind the fairytale

 

Well, it has always been said that revenge is sweet. So 19 billion dollars worth of revenge must be a decadent paradise! When I delved into the story of Facebook’s purchase of What’s App for that awesomely high figure, I was quite interested to learn that co founder Brian Acton had been turned down for a job at Facebook and Twitter. Good thing too – or perhaps he may not have been a millionaire today. Jan Koum What’s Apps initial founder is an immigrant from Ukraine raised  in a single parent household, who had an idea, pursued it with vigor, dedication and passion without hoopla or fanfare.

Facebook’s CEO – Mark Zuckerberg forecasts that What’s App will have a billion users in the near future. Zuckerberg described the messaging service as “incredibly valuable”. Sure is – it’s worth $19 billion to him!

The real story here is not so much the $19 billion, but  it is really how perseverance, innovation and hard work always triumph. It is a tale to never give up, to pursue your ideas and of course couple that with hard work. Surround yourself with those who have the skills you don’t and focus – focus on delivering what customers want- even when they may not know they want it. These takeaways should be etched in the minds of everyone who wants to be successful. Success is the sweetest revenge!

That’s Whats App!

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A Caribbean Story – Over the Wall (written by Tamu Petra Browne)

“I hate hanging clothes on the line”, I mumbled under my breath, careful that my mother did not hear me. She had the ears of the wind – everywhere all at once.

“So do I.” I stopped, shocked – clothespin squeezed.  Was that a voice I heard? Perhaps the mango yellow sun was so hot, that I was hearing things. I wandered over to the chipped greying wall near the pink hibiscuses the color of my favorite church dress.

I stood still, barely breathing. I strained my ears to hear until I was sure they would jump off my head. I willed my eardrums to block the thumping sounds of one neighbor’s reggae beats blasting through the air, the other’s television turned up on a million, listening to the excited cricket commentators.

It was in vain. I did not hear the voice again. Back to the line I go, clothespins pinching the edge of my T shirt. As I swayed to the thumping beats from my neighbor’s sound system, I began thinking that the voice came from the mystery neighbor opposite my clothes line. The house was hidden behind huge golden apple and breadfruit trees, swollen pawpaws and happy mango trees filled with fruit. All so thick they almost blocked the sky and surely blocked any view of the house and people inside.

“Hmmmmmm.” I heard – a huge sigh I heard just behind the fortress of trees, somewhere beyond the bird pecked mangoes on the other side. No – I was not hearing things or suffering from sun stroke – it was a voice! A human voice, a voice of another tortured little girl, My Saturday soul mate who sighed out loud and not in her mind like me. We would have lots in common I could tell!

I had made up my mind. I approached the wall of trees, the yellow fruit, the red and purple flowers, the sugar laden fruits and said….”Hello…hellooooo.” “Hi” came back a squeaky but decidedly girlie voice. I had to see who was there. I hoisted myself on top the wall, scraping my knees and arms in the process. The wall was hot from sitting all day in the sun. My palms burned but I had to see. I prayed I would not fall but I was more afraid that my Mommy would see me climbing into someone else’s yard! But I had to see.

Panting, and scraped I finally was perched on top and I looked down into a yard never before seen – well not by me anyway and there I saw a little girl, with her hair plaited in neat corn rows, just like mine. But she was sooooooooooooo little. She was barely three feet tall but 11 years old she whispered when I asked her. We chatted about this and that, then and now, pets and bullies. Everything.

“Nyam Nyam” I heard bolting through the air. “Stop day dreaming, stop being idle! You are just standing there with the pins in your hands! Every Saturday it’s the same story with you.”

There was no tiny girl, there was no Saturday soul mate over the wall. There was just me and two buckets of clothes and my only friend was the stinging yellow sun.

Written by Tamu Petra Browne