10 Awesome Women to Follow on Instagram

Before I get into my list, I want to say that my ENTIRE social media community is worthy of a loving shoutout (and a zillion fist-bump emojis!). The daily messages we create and share about empowerment, equality and inclusion would be nothing without an awesome community to exchange with.

In honor of Women’s History Month, I wanted to share 13 of my favorite Instagram accounts owned and operated by women. These women create inspirational, educational, and empowering content that I could spend hours scrolling through (and do). If you don’t already know them, check them out and give them a follow.

  1. In the Insta-world of fitness models, we tend to see little size diversity. Enter @louisegreen_bigfitgirl who uses her platform to represent and showcase fit bodies of all sizes. She’s also got a great new book coming out that I (ahem, ahem) wrote the foreword for. No big deal. Get it now!!
  2. @usowomen…Obviously! The work that the United State of Women do everyday is shaping the culture that our next generation of girls will experience. The work we’ve done together (hello 2016 summit anyone??) will always be one of my most valued experiences. They have their work cut out for them in 2017, but look to them on great, tangible ways to join the #Resistance!
  3. This is my OG girl crush for all things empowerment: @amypoehlersmartgirls. Without a doubt, one of the best pages to turn to for global girl power and smart, cutting-edge leadership. Special squeezes to @puzzlesmom who leads this awesome parade!
  4. @euniquejg is my new girl crush. She’s the real deal, full of heart and fire, and has created a vital account with @becauseofthem. They had a beautiful Black History Month campaign (you can still go check it out) and their content is important to share with everyone (especially your kids!).
  5. @Amani speaks truth and power and her her Insta-platform for @muslimgirl is no different. She’s created the most popular digital platform for Muslim women and they have phenomenally talented writers who pen their perspectives on current news and experiences; a definite must-share for everyone!
  6. @laflowers has created the most incredible Latina blogger community of almost 20k strong over at @weallgrowlatina. You can count on them for funny, poignant, and powerful content – te adoro!
  7. My senator @kamalaharris has one of the best political Instagram accounts I’ve seen. Even after her campaign, she continues to be a trailblazer for change through the informative content she shares everyday. 2020 anyone?
  8. The girl crushes continue with @senduckworth. She frequently posts updates on what’s happening in government and is such a superstar bad ass that you will wish that a zillion more Tammy Duckworth’s were in government. (Psst… see #9 for help with this!)
  9. Since the election, over 6,000 women have enrolled in an incubator program to help them run for office. And who’s behind this incredible program? One of my favorite organizations @sheshouldrun. If you have ever thought about running for office or know someone who should, definitely check them out!
  10. Another one of my favorite nonprofits out there is @shesthefirst. They are literally changing the game for girls (and therefore the world) with their vision to help women around the globe become the 1st in their families to receive education.
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3 Ways (not) to Blow Your Interview

A season of transition is upon us. Summer is slowly turning into fall as we begin the month of August. I always love this time of year because I know that I’ll be back in the classroom teaching personal brand development to future professionals at USC. For a lot of recent graduates, this is a very exciting time. Many are wrapping up their last summer internship or a vacation and preparing to enter the workforce and launch their careers with a new position. This means doing a lot of strategic job hunting, and even more importantly, planning for successful interviews.

 

Interviews can be tough when you’re new to the process, trying to break into a new industry, or design a new career path. I’ve had plenty of experience with interviewing candidates for positions with my company Talk To Jess, LLC (learn more about our company transition by signing up for our newsletter!). From great interviewers to interviewers who have room for improvement, I’ve seen and talked to them all. Through lots of practice and avoiding these three mistakes before, during, and after the interview, we can all take control of our careers and receive offers for any job we truly desire.

 

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Mistake #1 (Before the Interview): Manipulating the interview process to meet your needs, instead of being flexible to meet the needs of the employer

 

One thing that completely turns me off is an interviewee who tries to manipulate the interview process to fit their personal agenda. Asking the interviewer if you can re-schedule a meeting for a certain day/time because you have another appointment creates a less-than-favorable first-impression. Before even meeting, asking for special accommodations paints a picture that you will always try to manipulate a situation to fit your needs, without concern for the needs of the company. Always allow yourself to be flexible when prospecting a job opportunity. Show your interviewer that you’re willing to go the extra mile to land your position. The ball is ultimately in their court – you are trying to earn your spot on the team. Clear your schedule of other appointments when possible. Show your interviewer that their time is just as valuable as your own, and this will create the best first impression.

 

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Mistake #2 (During the Interview): Not being specific about your experience, skills, and what you bring to the table, along with things you want to accomplish in the position

 

An interview is really your opportunity to show a prospective employer specific examples of your experience and any applicable skills you’re able to bring to the company. Saying you have excellent time management and organization skills or that you can do the job efficiently is simply not enough. When an interviewer asks you the infamous question, “Tell me about yourself,” they aren’t asking to find out your favorite color or where you went to school. Your interviewer is looking for specific examples – or anecdotes – about your past experience related to the position. Always be prepared to follow this question with anecdotal examples that answer why you’re qualified for the position, why you’re interviewing for the position, and tactical examples of what you’ll accomplish once on the job. You’ve got 30 minutes to show the interviewer that you’re equipped to bring success to the company – deliver the details that prove why you’re the best candidate for the job.

 

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Mistake #3 (After the interview): Not following up or sending “thank you” notes

 

The level of engagement and dedication in your follow up tells an interviewer how hungry you are for the job. I’ve had candidates who interviewed extremely well and showed me why they’re qualified for the job, however, I did not end up hiring them. Why? Because they failed to follow up with me in a way that made them stand out amongst other candidates. Following up is the single most important skill to have in any business or career. Being persistent and saying thank you shows the interviewer that you are both very interested in the position and value their time (and yours). It may be old-fashioned, but handwritten thank-you notes still go a long way in the job hiring process. A handwritten note leaves a takeaway for the employer and shows that you care enough to add that extra personal touch to your representation. If you are committed to following up, a potential employer will commit you to their memory too.

 

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Honorable mention (At all times): Giving weak handshakes

This is a personal pet peeve of mine (hey, I’m a professional brand developer). Please practice your handshake before meeting and greeting people you want to network with! An interview is not only a part of the job hunt; it’s also a networking opportunity. Shake a person’s hand with conviction. Don’t give out weak handshakes – that’s exactly how you’ll represent yourself: weak and lacking confidence. When you shake someone’s hand, be firm and look them in the eye. Exude confidence and make them feel like they’ve just connected with someone worth knowing.

 

Avoiding these mistakes ultimately show an interviewer that you possess empathy and pay great attention to detail (a requirement for any job). The job searching process can be a long one, but every successful interview is an opportunity to leave a lasting impression for your personal brand and take control of creating the career you want. Think forward and walk in the very best version of yourself before, during, and after your interview.

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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.

 

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  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.

 

 

 

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  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.

 

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  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.

 

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Are You Paralyzed By Your Passion Project?

Have you ever had an idea that was so good, so delicious and spot on that you literally feel your body quake with possibility? You are CERTAIN this is going to work. It could be a creative concept, a new business plan or (finally!) that novel you want to write.

 

Your passion soars and then BOOM. You stop. The voices creep in. You are paralyzed by how much you love this idea. Fear creeps in. What if this can’t happen. Won’t happen. You summon up every reason why good ideas like this don’t manifest in your life. You begin proving to yourself how crazy you are for even thinking you could be so smart, special, (fill in the blank), _________.

 

You are not alone. We can get paralyzed by our passion to change the world. Our vision to create a new endeavor. Our hunger to make something new.

 

Here are a few gems of advice I’ve received that have helped me avoid passion paralysis. (Next up – taking action!)

 

  1. “Don’t Forget to Write It Down”: When I was a kid, my grandpa Michael used to say this to me all the time whenever I tried telling him some story I was making up. It ticked me off because I didn’t want to do “homework” – I just wanted to tell stories. But he was right. Taking pen to paper helps you protect and preserve those gorgeous ideas and holds them for you until you are ready to share them again. Writing down these brilliant brainstorms can also help you keep thought organized and accountable. Excuse me, while I go jot a few things down….

 

  1. “The Steam That Makes the Whistle Blow, Never Makes the Engine Go” – A great healer I worked with whispered this to me in the middle of a brag-a-thon.. I was so busy telling everyone my ideas about what I wanted to do – she warned me that I was giving away precious energy just talking about it when what ideas really want is someone to cultivate them, nurture them and grow their potential. This has never left me. Also – one of my favorite scribes Elizabeth Gilbert writes a lot about this in her book “Big Magic”. A must read.

 

  1. “Rejection is God’s Protection”. Honestly, I can’t remember who said this to me first but I tell myself this mantra about once a day. You have to trust in divine timing, too. Sometimes when a door closes it truly is to get you to move in a different direction. Work hard, take action, but surrender to the timing. That’s the hardest piece of advice and one I still work on day to day.

 

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Why Creativity Is Essential to My Well Being

Even when we love what we do, we can still feel jaded, weighed down, or in a rut.

When I’m feeling like this — a bit burnt-out that the day-to-day tasks at hand, I know just what I need to do… I need to create something.

 

Creativity helps me to engage with the extraordinary things that lie in the midst of this ordinary day-to-day world.

 

By creating something — anything (a blog post, a journal entry, a vision board, a great chopped salad (no, seriously) I can tap into methods of self-expression that I often put on the backburner when answering emails and returning missed phone calls.

 

When I can generate something completely original, something beautifully and inherently unique to myself, I feel vulnerable and challenged and find that it’s an incredible way to push myself to grow.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Dream Out Loud

Sometimes, big dreams and visions for the world need a microphone.

 

Do you take the time to talk about your passion project with friends? Have you ever spoken your dreams out loud to a room full of strangers? I know it sounds scary to expose your dreams to the world – and you might feel vulnerable when you do – but the change you seek to make is bigger than just one person.

 

Change is a we thing. It comes from collective action. The more people you tell, the more you open the door to the power of connection or friendly promotion.

 

And it starts with a conversation – with a dream that’s spoken out loud.

 

We’re listening now.

 

So, take your moment. Tell us about your passion project or the work you are creating out in the world.

 

Talk to us about it @ Jessweiner.com or tweet & Facebook with the hashtag #ChangeIsAWeThing.

 

Let us be your microphone. We’d like to share it with our community.

 

Who knows what could come from it!

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5 Things No One Tells You About Being An Entrepreneur

I was 20 years old when I started my first business. Now with 20 more years of entrepreneurship under my belt, here are a few things I wish I’d known when I was starting out:

 

  1. Don’t Get Too Attached to Your Dreams:

I know it sounds crazy not to get too attached to a dream. But I now recognize that a dream is merely a marker for your journey ahead. A dream can be a beautiful vision for a goal. But it’s not always a goal you will hit. And that’s OK. Think of dreams as internal instigators to get you moving but also be open to having your dream ebb and flow and become more fluid. Small business owners know that you need to pair dedication, flexibility, and hard work with a dream.

     

  1. Relationships Are the Currency To Care Most About:

You won’t be able to build your business alone. So learn to ask for help. Find mentors. Utilize your network. You may be incredibly talented and smart and driven, but you will not and cannot maximize your success without the support of others. Surround yourself with good people to bounce ideas off of, learn new skills from, and gain feedback from. You’ll realize in the end that solid love and support is priceless.

     

  1. Find the Difference Between Pushy and Passionate:

No one likes a pushy sales pitch. It’s a major turn off. If you’re trying to pitch yourself or a project to someone, be genuine, be conversational, and be a human. People respect subtly and humility and while they love passion, it’s done best when you are focusing on sharing it with others, not forcing it upon others. Remember, specificity and subtly in pitching and networking can be your best asset.

     

  1. Taking Risks Is Non-Negotiable:

You can’t grow personally or professionally by making safe choices all the time. Take smart risks. Sometimes it’ll be a bust (a risk is a risk), but risk-taking can also open doors to incredible opportunities and relationships. And taking risks also applies to saying no to things. Saying no to a round of funding because the investor isn’t the right fit, saying no to a networking meeting because you need to focus on something else – all may seem counter intuitive but sometimes you have to risk saying no to the wrong relationships to open up space for the right ones to come through.

     

  1. You Don’t Need a Hobby But It Helps:

I resisted this insight for a long time because I never felt I needed a hobby – I loved to work, I was passionate about my career, and I was seeing the rewards. But then ultimately (and inevitably) a burn out happens. And you realize that you’ve not spent time cultivating your most important asset – YOU! So even if it’s reading, taking walks, traveling or knitting – find something that you can do for you. Not for the business. Do it because it makes you happy, makes you wiser, makes you relax. The best entrepreneurs I know are well rounded and don’t forget to play as much as they work!

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S.F.S.N. = Sounds Fabulous, Signifies Nothing

“You go girl!” “Just Be Confident!” “Be your true self!”

 

We are bombarded with messages like these everyday. Top 10 lists on loving our body. Quizzes about what superhero we’d be.

 

Messages like these sound good. They seem like the right thing to tell ourselves, our friends, our kids, our families. But do they actually DO anything?

 

They are what I call, “S.F.S.N. – sounds fabulous, signifies nothing.”

 

These quotes and phrases are meant to inspire us and shake us out of a rut. So why then can they sometimes feel hollow? Because they tend to ignore the most important part of the journey to confidence- the HOW we get there.

 

And that’s because there isn’t a universal HOW. Everyone’s process will vary. In approach, style and technique. Some have to hit bottom before bouncing back. Others need to get knocked down only once. Some of us will spend decades searching. Some of us will spend days.

 

The path to self-confidence is sometimes less about the rah-rah and more about the raw. The real. The messy. (and there’s often not a cute quote card for that!)

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Confidence Is Fashionable

What a fabulous day!

 

I never thought I’d find myself strutting my stuff down a runway at New York Fashion Week – yet, here we are!

 

Today I walked in designer Carrie Hammer’s “Role Models, Not Runway Models” fashion show! The vision of this show is to create a “runway revolution” by featuring a variety of bad ass professional women – from all different backgrounds, sizes, shapes, abilities and nationalities.

 

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Woke up bright and early—bare faced and full-hearted—feeling excited and inspired and overjoyed. Watch my morning pep talk here!

 

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First stop: Hair and make-up! That’s Tiffany and she did an excellent job glamming me up.

 

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Luckily, I had the opportunity to rehearse my fierce walk before the real thing and totally didn’t fall! (Which was my biggest fear)

 

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Showtime!! (At this point I’m thinking “Is this really happening?” and “Please don’t let me fall!”)

 

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AND BAM! There I am!! Today I wasn’t just talking about confidence; I was literally walking the talk in what one lovely Tweeter described as “Jess Weiner serving up some sass!” Yes, indeed.

 

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I was also joined by some incredible role models including CEOs, entrepreneurs, editors, and more – all celebrating inner and outer diversity and confidence. (Left to right: Michelle Herrera of Cosmo Latina, Melissa Miranda of PepsiCo, and Tolu Olubunmi of DREAM Act)

 

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After the show: Camera flashes! Press photos! Meet-n-greets! Just like that, my fabulous runway adventure had come to an end. Of course, a celebration wouldn’t be complete without my sweet husband there to root me on and the influx of love and support I received in person and on social media.

 

I love mentoring and role modeling because it also leaves me feeling inspired and supported and reminded that we’re not alone as we travel through this life.

 

So wherever you are in life – let’s all just take our place on the runway and WORK IT!!

 

XO

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Listening

Most days when I sit down to write these posts, I have no idea where to start.

 

I think about writing something witty, snarky, silly.

 

I think about using the time to uplift, inspire, educate.

 

I feel pressure to speak about my work, the business, stuff that makes money.
But if I’m silent enough. And still enough. What comes to me is this…

 

Sometimes I don’t want to write anything. I want to be in gestation, growing new ideas and thoughts. I don’t always want to produce for production sake, and I don’t want to worry about whether or not it gets a response.

 

In the silence, I can hear a smaller voice emerge, one that says to take a step back not forward. To sit not pace. To listen not talk. And if I do listen, I can hear the tiny sounds of new ideas rushing to be formed and my patience rising up like a swell.

 

I sit and I listen.

 

And I always end up writing.

 

But it’s never what I thought it would be.

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