Tag Archives: chamber

Karen Finerman: Fake Confidence Until You Have It

Vulnerability was the very most impressive part of Karen Finerman’s keynote at the 2015 NJ Conference for Women today. I predicted she would be the Lean-In-Woman-Who-Has-It-All, the hedge fund founder with four kids, four nannies, a professional husband, fancy digs in New York City, the whole nine yards.

She did say Lean In. she has all that, but she wasn’t afraid to tell about the time she failed. Miserably. As a teenager she idolized Ivan Boesky and wanted to be an arbitrageur. After graduating from Wharton, she was riding high with her hedge fund until . . . the Wall Street melt down. Her inexpensive small cap stocks tanked and she discovered they were cheap for a reason.The fund haemorrhaged millions of dollars. They cashed out to pay angry investors and then the market climbed. Depressed, she didn’t want to go to work and walked to save taxi money.

“I was washed up at 33 and everyone knew it. I had to decide — am I in or out.”

Later, when someone asked how to get through adversity, she had a one-word answer: Prozac. But at this point she preached how to persevere by faking confidence. “Pretend you have what it takes to go on. Look for the smallest improvement. Know it will change.”

The “know it will change” rule comes into play with the “51 percent rule.” When making a difficult decision, don’t be afraid to go with the one that is 51 percent right, even though you feel ambivalent about it. (I call this buyer’s remorse). And if it turns out to be a wrong decision, don’t wait too long to cut your losses.

Finerman talked a lot about how men seem confident (they pound the table and sound as if they are right) whereas women are not (they feel like frauds when — shh– men are the frauds). Account managers prefer male table pounders to women that explain all the risks. Why? Women leave the choice to the manager, whereas a table pounder makes the choice seem less risky.

How to raise a culture of confidence in young girls (asked by Wanda Stansbury of the Center for Child and Family Achievement: Have expectations that are the exact same as the boys. Give them something they can master. Teach them to fake confidence until it is there. Practice what confidence looks like until you strengthen those muscles.

Six hundred women were at this conference. and they loved it.


Other female-centric advice, some of it in Finerman’s book (everyone at the conference got one). 

Men may make it through life without being in charge of their kids, but women will not make it through life without being in charge of their money.

Invest in a great CFO and scrimp elsewhere.

Women should not do investment banking as a long-term career — there is no work/life balance

Be willing to give up the lead parent position. Don’t have to be the bake sale mom. Instead, thank the stay at home mom volunteer.

Learn what it feels like to make mistakes.

Finerman has a book, given out to everyone who came. In my last post I nagged about the bad grammar in her title. But I can forgive that in a woman who can tell about her mistakes.

Not Just Old White Men


That someone in the Medici family had African heritage may come as a surprise, but that’s what we learn in Revealing Presence in Renaissance Europe, on view through Sunday at the Princeton University Art Museum. When Alessandro de Medici, the out-of-wedlock son of Pope Clement VII and an African maid in the Medici household., became the Duke of Florence, there were no full-face portraits of him. Contemporary portraits showed him with a hood. After his death the portrait was painted that hangs on banners all over campus to promote the exhibit. Look here for an intriguing art history puzzle, about the picture next to it. The label on the picture reveals the sad fact that Alessandro was no popular favorite, “tyrannical,” is the word they use.

It’s definitely worth trying to get there before this exhibit closes on June 9. And it makes an intriguing juxtaposition to the four walls of shoulder to shoulder portraits of Old White Powerful Men, the former portrait collection of the New York Chamber of Commerce.  J. Pierpont Morgan, William H. Vanderbilt,  Grover Cleveland — these portraits are fascinating because the  personality of each man shows through.

This exhibit has a different title from the one I used, but the bottom line is — that when the need for diversity came along, i.e. the idea  that women and people of other races might possibly be admitted to the great halls of business, the paintings needed to go. As the New York Times review says, “old white men did not fit in with the chamber’s commitment to diversity. ” They are now owned by Credit Suisse and on view in Princeton through June 30.

If you think that in 2013 nobody makes politically incorrect comments about race, or gender, think again. Today in the racing column of the New York Times, in a discussion of a filly that will run in the belmont, a veterinarian was quoted as saying, “It takes a special filly, one that is willing to stare down the boys and say, ‘No this one is mine.’  It’s so much about personalities and intimidation when these horses match up. I think it’s the same reason women don’t have as much, and the same kind of success, as men in the workplace.”

I would be more outraged, except that the person quoted was a woman.

Social Media Wisdom from Maisha Walker

At the risk of not doing justice to Maisha Walker’s excellent talk on social media at May’s Princeton Regional Chamber Breakfast, here are some of her tips. I really don’t want to lose track of what she said, and I think it’s valuable for many of us.

Any new marketing technique requires a 6 to 12 month learning curve — first to learn the technology, then to soak up that community’s etiquette.

Experts say a human can have only 150 close relationships, but — for social media purposes — each of those 150 people have their own networks, making social media a powerful tool.

Nevertheless, social media connections aren’t helpful until you build them into relationships and make them real and local. Meet your connections!

Make sure you actually have a tangible goal that will affect your bottom line.

Realize you are a publisher. What will you publish?

Use the 80/20 rule. Twenty percent of your content should be highly unusual, surprising, attention grabbing.

Leverage all your resources, cross market, be consistent.

Track it, tweak it, repeat it. Don’t start any social media project if you can’t measure the results. It is not about traffic, it’s about customers.

In the photo at left, she highlighted the five social media tools that she recommends: LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and WordPress.

Debbie Schaffer of Mrs. G’s, no slouch in social media herself, said it was the best SM presentation she’d heard.

Smelling Salts to De-Stress the Modern Woman

In your purse, carry the aroma of lavendar or eucalpytus — known for soothing the mind and spirit, said the expert at Capital Health tonight. At the 2nd anniversary of Woman in Business Alliance, (WIBA), an enterprise of the Princeton Regional Chamber, more than 100 women heard some stress tips from Dr. Randi Protter. It was a gala occasion, for some photographs, click here.

Protter gave this unusual tip about soothing scents. You can’t carry the vial of lavender with you,she noted, it would leave your purse full of oil. But you can take a small glass vial and fill it with rock salt or kosher salt, then drip the essence over it. When you need a spa break, sniff sniff sniff.

Another good tip: try “square breathing,” in for four counts, hold your breath for four counts, breath out for four counts, don’t breathe yet for four counts. That works too. We all tried it.

Stress goes back to cavewoman days, said Protter, when women developed their output of cortisol and adrenaline. Back then, they had two choices, make dinner or be dinner. Now we have more choices, but we still have stress!

Twitter May Rule, but Press Releases are Alive and Well

A press release is not an anachronism, says Anne Sweeney in a press release to me! And she’s right. Here is an excerpt from her excellent copy, where she says that the press release “is the launching pad for all your “new media” efforts..” and she goes on to offer four press releases for a modest sum. 

Here to tell, in person, about how to use new media is the speaker for the Princeton Regional Chamber breakfast, Maisha Walker, founder of Message Medium. She helped digitally brand Unilever, Columbia University, and Mars Chocolate.

Hearing her will lure me away from my favorite anti-aging yoga class, so I will be at tomorrow’s Business Before Business Breakfast. Register for $25 if you are a chamber member (and that includes all my PUMC friends). 

Sweeney reminds us, as I’m sure Walker will agree, to post the press release on your website, but also on Facebook “with a quick comment and an attractive photo” and hope it spreads virally. Also  “both the Facebook and the web link will show up on Google as two separate entries.” Hmm,  I didn’t know that. 

But I do know that a print item in the Ewing Observer (full disclosure, a Community News Service paper, as is U.S. 1 Newspaper)  brought somebody last Saturday to the New Jersey State Button Show. The visitor said that, at breakfast, she read the calendar listing and decided it would be a great way to spend a Saturday. The calendar listing came from a press release, so — yes — press releases are alive and well. 

Balmy Business After Business at ETS

Yesterday,  on the first really SPRINGy spring afternoon, about 100 people gathered for networking and sumptuous food at the Chauncey Hotel and Conference Center, on Educational Testing Service’s vast Rosedale Campus, part of the Princeton Regional Chamber’s Business After Business series. Sumptuous meaning — I have never seen a piece of beef as big as the “Steamhouse Beef” I think Brenda Savidge, Chauncey center’s conference planning manager, called it. (I took a picture of it but am not posting it, out of courtesy to  my vegetarian friends).

In addition to showing off its renovations, the Chauncey showed off its varied and tasty menu. This was one cocktail party where you really didn’t need to eat dinner later.

Mary Harris of Mary Harris Events (left) took a tour with Gary Abramson, catering sales manager. A longtime friend (Abu Ibrahim) and I met and made new friends, including Maurice Galimidi of Allegra, Joanna Filipek of Kistler’s Minuteman Press, Ronald Granberg of Clearwater Investment Management, attorney Ralph Gerstein,two instructors from the Raritan Valley Flying School, Neil Vaneerde of Reidsound, Sarah Dale of One Simple Wish, Michael Felici and Kyle O’Gorman of Nelligan Sports Marketing Inc.,Robert Formisano of Morgan Stanley, and Rodney Warner of Szaferman Lakind. We also talked to “old” friends, including James Salter II of Business Writing that Works, John Thurber of Thomas Edison State College, and Edie Kelly of Edward Jones.

All this under a white tent overlooking the lake — a beautiful setting for a wedding, and indeed one is scheduled for the weekend. Enjoy the weekend — I’ll be at the button show!