How to Cut and Paste your Dreams into Reality

In my recent podcast with the fabulous Damone Roberts, we talked about the power of manifestation.


We all have personal and professional goals, plenty of new project ideas, and dreams that seem larger than life. One technique that helps to bring my ideas to fruition is to create a vision board. Vision boards can bring clarity to your intentions by helping you hone in on what you want to create.


Everyone’s process is different – here’s what I do to get ready to cut and paste my dreams into reality!


  1. Get in the Right Head Space

I usually make a vision board when I’m at a starting point – like around the New Year and on my birthday; it helps me get aligned with a new goal or a way to celebrate a trip around the sun.


I try to stay positive when I sit down to create because it is with that frame of mind that I will bring my dreams into focus.




  1. Gather The Materials That You Love!

There are no rules about what you make your vision board with. If you are an artist who likes to paint it out – do it! I am a writer – so I love to cut out words from magazines or doodle my own. My husband loves to make 3-D vision boards by putting pieces of twine, cloth or fabric together to bring his vision to life.






  1. Let Yourself Enjoy The Journey

Vision boards aren’t always completed works of art. They can be a great exercise to understand a true value you hold or a desire that needs to be surfaced. Don’t judge (“Oh, I couldn’t possibly manifest that!”) Instead – learn from what comes forth while you create.




  1. Place It Where You See it Often!

In the daily hustle of life, it’s important to remind ourselves of our inner visions. Our big dreams and small goals. So put this vision board where you can see it. I put mine in my office (above the computer) or in my closet, (where I see it while I’m getting dressed) this way I am surrounded by the vision I am bringing into form.


VisionBoard2 VisionBoard


United State Of Women Photo Recap

This past Tuesday, I was honored to both attend and speak at The United State of Women Summit!


The Summit brought together thought leaders and community members passionate about gender equality, served to celebrate the progress we’ve made throughout the Obama administration and to discuss solutions to continue the work we are doing.


But for me, this event also served as a gorgeous coming together of my career tribe. I’ve been working in the women and girls empowerment space for over 20 years. You meet A LOT of incredible people over the course of two decades, and it was fulfilling and energizing to see hundreds of those people all together at this momentous event.


USOW2On Monday night, we kicked off this incredible event with my partners at Mattel and She Should Run. Our welcome dinner brought together leaders from all areas of women’s empowerment from bloggers to entrepreneurs, educators, public servants, and brand executives. I believe Change is a we thing, and this photo only touches the surface on how excited I get when all of the amazing people I know are in the same room!


Lisa McKnight, SVP, Marketing, North America at Mattel
(check out Erin Cutraro trying to photobomb us! 😉 )


Oh, there she is! Erin Cutraro, Co-Founder & CEO of She Should Run


The next morning we headed out to The United State of Women Summit. Over 5,000 leaders were in attendance making so as you can imagine, the energy that filled the space was exhilarating!


The day opened with an address from Vice President Joe Biden. He addressed sexual assault and violence against women, leaving everyone with a very clear message: it’s on us to change the culture for survivors.

From L to R: Juliana Chugg, Ana Flores, Jill Biden Owens, Jess Weiner, Jamia Wilson, Amy Poehler, Meredith Walker, Dr. Stacy Smith

After the VP’s speech I had the pleasure of hosting a panel on Revolutionizing Gender Norms. We had an AH-MAZING group of women including Meredith Walker and Amy Poehler – Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Party, Jamia Wilson, Executive Director of Women Action Media, Ana Flores, Founder of Latina Bloggers Connect, Juliana Chugg, the EVP and Chief Brand Officer at Mattel, and my colleague Dr. Stacy Smith of the University of Southern California Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative.


Together this panel explored solutions around how to increase diverse representation in the media, deconstruct gender norms, and own our voices and stories.


Two of my favorite Smart Girls!


After the panel – we raced downstairs to get a good seat to hear The PRESIDENT of the United States, Barack Obama, who gave one of the best speeches of his career.


Best line of the President’s speech which was chock-full of amazing sentiment about women’s empowerment was: “I may be a little greyer than I was 8 years ago, but this is what a FEMINIST looks like”. Boom.


And then this happened. I was invited to meet THE FIRST LADY!


I could barely speak but I did manage to utter, “I love you” about a zillion times. I’ve been fortunate to work with The First Lady’s office on important issues like gender stereotypes.


As if all of this excitement wasn’t enough for one day – I had a chance to do a West Wing tour with my friends from Starfish. Starfish is a spectacular organization that is dedicated to unlocking and maximizing the potential of young women in Guatemala to lead transformational change. The two lovely women featured here are leaders in their community and are fighting for education reform in their country.


The next day I definitely had a happiness hangover. I then headed over to the National Academy of Sciences to speak to other thought-leaders about explicit and implicit bias in media and how it impacts our families and children.


In her closing remarks, Michelle Obama spoke about how important it was to open the doors of the White House for people who normally wouldn’t have access. I feel lucky to have been one of those people and they have allowed advocates (or advo-consultants) to use their powerful platform to raise the important issues impacting our women and girls.


It’s events like this, moments in history really, that make me take a step back and reflect on all that has happened over the course of my career. I can hardly believe all of the change I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of throughout my time in this space, and I can hardly wait to see all that’s yet to come!


5 Ways the Obama Administration Stepped Up for Gender Equality


Can I just say that I am SO. FREAKING. EXCITED. to host a panel on Revolutionizing Gender Norms at the first ever United State of Women Summit. The experts, thought-leaders, movers and shapers of our culture will all be there – and I will be recording a special episode of Talk To Jess so be sure to tune in!


Assembled by the White House, this Summit serves to bring together key leaders in the movement for gender equality to celebrate what we’ve achieved and discuss how we’re going to take action moving forward. Change is a WE thing, and together, we’ll make a powerful difference in the future of our country and the world!


Here are 5 (of the many) ways that the Obama Administration has helped to make progress on behalf of gender equality:


  1. Establishing the White House Council on Women and Girls

President Obama implemented the White House Council on Women and Girls almost immediately after he took office. Their mission is to ensure that the needs of women and girls are incorporated across programs and legislation, because women’s needs shouldn’t be an afterthought. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the amazing people on the Council when hosting the White House Summit on Gender Equality, and trust me, they’re the real deal!


  1. Empowering Women Economically

The FIRST (yes, absolute FIRST) piece of legislation that Barack Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which protects people against gender-based pay discrimination. But Obama didn’t stop there! The federal government is working to empower and support women-owned and led businesses with programs like the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract. This program levels the playing field by guaranteeing that a portion of the government’s contracts (the U.S. government awards approximately $500 billion in contracts every year) are signed to women-owned businesses!


  1. Taking a More Equitable Approach to Education

The Obama administration placed emphasis on ensuring access to quality education, especially for low-income African American, American Indian, and Native Alaskan girls. In an effort to level the educational playing field for children before they begin kindergarten, they expanded childcare and early childhood education programs like Head Start. They also introduced the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, which explores the best way to keep schools safe and students enrolled in an effort to halt the school-to-prison-pipeline.


  1. Working to Ensure Equality in Housing

The Obama administration oversaw the first ever national study of discrimination in housing against the LGBT community, an especially important cause considering that homelessness is a grave issue that disproportionately affects transgender and gender-nonconforming folks. While there is still work to be done at many local and state levels, the national government ensured that Department of Housing and Urban Development’s housing programs do not discriminate based on gender identity or sexuality.


  1. Fighting to End Gender-Based Violence

The Obama administration has championed a number of task forces, bills, and programs that protect people from gender-based violence. The Violence Against Women Act serves to improve the criminal justice system’s response to gender-based violence, and it specifically addresses violence against Native American women and violence against LGBT individuals. This administration did an immense amount of work to combat the epidemic of sexual assault, from addressing the issue specifically on college campuses to bettering services available to survivors through funding and redefining sexual assault. They even implemented preventative measures through Joe Biden’s 1 is 2 Many campaign, that focuses on addressing violence against women specifically in youth relationships.


I am grateful that this administration has made women, girls, and gender equality a priority and have given marginalized voices the attention they’ve long awaited. There is no doubt still work to be done – but before we can keep moving forward it’s sometimes important to look back, celebrate and acknowledge the hard work that has taken place.




Read more about it:

The Obama Administration Record for Women and Girls and Obama Administration Record for the LGBT Community


Comparison is Toxic

Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

And it’s not doing self-discovery any favors, either.


That’s because your journey to self-discovery is about exploring what lights you up– and celebrating it!


When we compare ourselves to our friend’s selfie with 150 likes, the “perfect” parent who makes Pinterest-worthy baked goods, or our coworker who makes juggling multiple projects looks easy – we almost always end up feeling inadequate.


We know this already, so why do we still do it?


We compare and we strive to be perfect because we want to feel worthy. We think that being perfect will make us worthy of that love, success, or adoration.


But the truth is: you’re already worthy.


So how do you recognize this on a daily basis?




Here’s something that works for me:


  1. Every time I feel loved, I try to take a millisecond to feel gratitude. To soak it in. I may close my eyes after a sweet text from my husband. Or breathe in the compliment from a stranger. Or replay a kind word from my parents. I try to absorb and internalize that good energy. And it helps me recognize that there is enough to go around!


  1.  I enjoy admiring awesome people. Truly. I choose to feel inspired by the amazing thinkers and creators in my life (and choose to hang around them as much as possible) – because what you admire in someone else can make you shine, too.  


  1. When I stopped the constant comparison (and trust me, I do it less, but I’m not perfect – ha!) I found that I felt freer from anxiety producing thoughts and this crazy fear that I wasn’t good enough. Instead I have a lot more time to focus inward. To learn more about me. Spending more time on cultivating my inner life is what leads me to really appreciate the life I have.