Kana DeLuca

Investing in developing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.

As an organization, Women Accelerators aims to help advance women and promote gender equity though creating a centralized network and community where women can access resources to help achieve their career goals.

Women Accelerators welcomed Dr. Alexis Stokes in February to meet their community to discuss issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Dr. Stokes serves as the Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at the Harvard School of Engineering where she creates systematic changes to support the success of unrepresented minorities, nontraditional students, and education programs.

Below is a summary of Dr. Stokes presentation with information and tips that can be discussed and utilized in your workplace.

Why are diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations essential?

The world demographics are changing which impacts all environments.  This creates a need to change and innovate the way that organizations have always done things.  Organizations can empower their communities to get involved and create an environment where the culture values diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Inclusive practices benefit everyone within an organization, not just diverse employees.

How can organizations help create diverse, inclusive, and equitable spaces?

It is much more than just hiring an individual for a diversity position.  It is about influencing the organizational culture to move beyond simply working in an inclusive environment to contributing to an inclusive environment.  Understanding the culture (beliefs, customs, acts) of a group helps develop a strategy to invite and encourages individuals into a conversation and create connections to what is valued.  The process should allow individuals in a group to use their privilege and powers to help others.  Organizations need to prioritize this as important work that they do as individuals as well as teams.

It is essential that organizations are clear and transparent with employees as to where they currently stand in the journey to become diverse, inclusive, and equitable environments.  Sharing a process and timeline can be helpful to allow individuals to visualize how getting involved can impact this work.  Being open and honest around data and decisions can allow people to feel more included in work that is going on and to start conversations and help make connections.

For an organization to work on diversity, inclusion, and equity, what resources are necessary?

Organizational culture is a shared responsibility where everyone needs to contribute.  Creating diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment requires ongoing commitment and resources to make the initiative successful.  Necessary resources include: budget, staffing, a communication plan to internal and external groups, connection to those who hold influential positions in the organization, visibility within the organization, access to data and resources, and training that enhances knowledge and action.

What steps should an organization take to create action around diversity, equity, and inclusion?

An organization needs to include these values as part of their mission. All departments and groups should be held responsible for reporting on their progress and success. Creating accountability as individuals, teams, and organizations helps to develop a culture where expectations, commitment, and reporting become the norm.  Additionally, organizations need to share data with people as this knowledge helps to influence actions.

What are some suggestions around how reporting can be done to understand the impact on efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion?

There are several ways that impact can be evaluated.  They include:

  • Develop initiative into an organizations strategic plan and create a congruent diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan that supplements the larger plan.
  • Develop/implement a community standard or code of conduct.
  • Goal setting on measurable activities or tasks.
  • Include in employee evaluations a way for each induvial to share what they have done to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Track progress on initiatives implemented and shared findings with the organization.

What can individuals do to support the creation or further development of diversity, equity, and inclusion through their work?

Individuals have the power to influence and create change in many ways:

  • Provide micro affirmations of positive things you see and experience. These can be very effective and help others create a culture that respects diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Give credit to others when appropriate and try to use “we” more than “I” to create a group culture.
  • Ask others for opinions and feedback, especially if you notice that they have not had an opportunity to speak.
  • Use the preferred pronouns for individuals and work to use inclusive language and images.
  • Make eye contact with those you are working and speaking with to create a connection.

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Greater Lowell Community Foundation Announces Fiscal Sponsorship of Women Accelerators

Lowell, MA – The Greater Lowell Community Foundation announces the recent fiscal sponsorship of Women Accelerators, an organization passionate about promoting the advancement of women and bridging the gender gap. Women Accelerators is based in Massachusetts with chapters in Lowell and Cambridge.

The mission of Women Accelerators is to provide a centralized network where career-focused women can access resources tailored to their career goals. By offering educational programs, networking and mentoring, they help women navigate opportunities that nurture female leaders efficiently. Their vision is to generate a community of like-minded, high-achieving women, who help each other succeed in the workplace.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Greater Lowell Community Foundation as the fiscal sponsor for Women Accelerators. The GLCF has a wealth of experience and the necessary resources to assist us in our mission of helping women with their career advancement. By pairing with GLCF, we gain valuable insights into fundraising and learn the tools for being more efficient in managing a nonprofit. Teaming with GLCF will help us to build a stronger community,” said Susu Wong, co-founder of Women Accelerators.

“We see the foundation’s support of Women Accelerators as an important opportunity to optimize the excellence of this organization that serves women in all stages of their careers,” said Jay Linnehan, GLCF President and CEO. “We are proud to partner on their vision of equity in the workplace.”

For more information and a full event listing, visit: womenaccelerators.org.

Donations to any fund at the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, including the Women Accelerators, can be made online at www.glcfoundation.org/donate or by mail to the Women Accelerators c/o GLCF, 100 Merrimack Street, Suite 202, Lowell, MA 01852.

For more information on the Greater Lowell Community Foundation please visit www.glcfoundation.org.


About Greater Lowell Community Foundation

The Greater Lowell Community Foundation is a philanthropic organization comprised of over 350 funds, currently totaling over $39MM, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life in

20 neighboring cities and towns. The Community Foundation annually awards grants and scholarships to hundreds of worthy nonprofits and students. It is powered by the winning combination of donor-directed giving, personal attention from its staff, and an in-depth understanding of local needs. The generosity of our donors has enabled the Community Foundation to award more than $15 million to the Greater Lowell Community since 1999.

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Do you self-promote enough?

Remember we recently had a webinar with Melody Wilding on imposter-syndrome (See our blog post Tackle self-doubt: How to overcome imposter syndrome for more)? In the webinar, we learned that feeling like you’re not good enough or you don’t have anything important to say is a common psychological pattern amongst women.

But let’s be reminded: no one should feel that way.

And so our message continues. On Thursday, we had the pleasure to welcome Kim Meninger (pronounced Me-nin-jer!) to speak on Using Self-Promotion Strategies to Raise Your Visibility, Increase Your Influence and Advance Your Career. This interactive workshop encouraged fellow career-driven women to share their stories with each other and to take a step forward using self-promotion techniques and strategies.

Kim is a certified executive and leadership development coach empowering individuals and organizations to reach their full leadership potential (bio here). There is something about her that instantly invites you to open up. Perhaps it’s the business casual (vs the full-on corporate) attire styled-up with her warm smile. Welcome to the no-judgment zone. So tell me, she begins, “how many of you self-promote at work?” Still only 5 minutes into the workshop, the audience is shy and reserved. One hand goes up, and another slowly. Kim chuckles and nods: “Well, everyone at your office should know who you are and what you do. So promote yourself!”

Kim then asked the audience to turn to their fellow attendees (everyone is sitting at round tables) and ask each other, in what ways are you/am I self-promoting at work already? One person said “I sit in the front at meetings and try to ask questions”, another said, “I usually try to reach out to people from other departments to seek collaborations”. Few minutes into the group discussion, the room became gradually vibrant with audiences lending their ears and opening up to each other. “Let me ask again”, Kim said, “how many people are self-promoting at work?” This time, majority of the attendees raised their hands. Turns out, once the audience verbalized their experiences, they were able to recognize that they do self-promote. What does this tell us? Do we, women, need affirmation in order to feel comfortable or safe to self-promote?

Kim doesn’t miss a beat and poses to the group: Why is self-promotion difficult for women? One audience said she’s tired of the bad reaction she receives from male colleagues, another added, “you fear of negative labels by men so you’d rather not talk”. It’s as if self-promotion feels insincere to us and so you fear to act on it. Unfortunately, this tends to be the mindset that is taught to us women at a young age.

So let’s change that mindset!

Kim says “promoting yourself is actually a service to others because you’re letting them know what skills you have and how they can utilize you”. If you don’t feel comfortable self-promoting, remember to focus on your strengths, not the other way around which apparently we all tend to do.

With that in mind, Kim shared below key to success and strategies for self-promotion.

Keys to success:

  • Self-awareness – What is your strength?
  • Confidence – You must believe in yourself!
  • Courage – Be prepared to step outside of your comfort zone
  • Authenticity – Be you!
  • Consistency – This isn’t an annual practice, do it consistently throughout the year!

Key Strategies:

  1. Get a weekly facetime with your boss. If not, proactively send her/him weekly updates, highlighting your accomplishments of the week.
  2. Identify and own your expertise.
  3. Speak up at meetings.
  4. Offer to help/teach others.
  5. Build strategic relationships.
  6. Volunteer for cross-functional projects.
  7. Take advantage of casual opportunities.

At the end of the workshop, Kim asked the audience to turn to their tables one last time and share what the takeaway from the workshop was. Many said, “I feel more confident”, one said, “you might think you’re under the radar but you never really are, you just think that”.

A common theme in this workshop seemed like the majority of the audience felt hesitant to self-promote in fear of negative perception in the workplace. But after the 2-hour workshop of verbalizing one’s strength and sharing stories, the audience appeared ever so vibrant and confident.

So perhaps it’s not that we don’t know how to self-promote but simply need to remind ourselves why we should.

After all, we’re all rockstars and must never shy away from that spotlight because we deserve it.

Do you want more? Here are some resources and follow-up notes from the event!

Using Self-Promotion to Advance Your Career Slides 
Using Self-Promotion to Advance Your Career Post- Event Worksheet

Our next event is on March 7th, Thursday with Elaine Blais on 3 Secrets to a Kickass Life. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Happier At Work! How The Science Of Happiness Boosts Productivity And Joy

When was the last time you looked back on your day and jotted down the good things that happened to you?
Are you paying attention to

Last week, we welcomed Pam Garramone for our very first fall event to speak on Positive Psychology – how to be happier at work. Pam is a Positive Psychology coach, speaker, and workshop leader largely with clients in academia. She studied Positive Psychology under Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar who taught two of the largest classes in Harvard University’s history, Positive Psychology and The Psychology of Leadership.  Pam says Positive Psychology is simply rewiring your brain to go positive. Here are some fantastic tips we learned!

You define your own happiness.

Studies show that 50% of one’s happiness level is genetic (whoa!); 10% is affected by uncontrollable external circumstances; and 40% is affected by one’s thoughts and actions. So how do you maximize the 40% happiness dose with your thoughts and actions? Pam says, “how you look at life influences what happens around you” and that “happiness is an inside job that no one else can do it for you”.

Appreciate the good.

It’s no secret that a few years ago Pam found herself at a crossroads. Crossroads of whether she wanted to live her life filled with happiness or with emptiness. Despite all the good she had in her life at the time, she wasn’t happy!  Pam recalled, “I thought, what is wrong with me? I have everything I could ask for”. That is when Pam decided to start a journal to write down 3 good things that happened to her in the last 24 hours.

“When we appreciate the good, the good appreciates.”
Pam’s longtime mentor, Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar said.

So pick up a pen and take a moment to jot down 3 good things that happened to you in the last 24 hours.
Write down the WWWs –
What Went Well?

Love yourself a little more.

Halfway through the workshop, Pam had the audience pair up and give each other compliments. First, your partner will give you compliments. In return, you say “thank you”. Next, you give yourself compliments. In return, your partner says “Yes, you are!”. Pam then asked how we all felt. One participant said, “it felt more uncomfortable to give myself a compliment than to someone else”. Many other participants nodded and agreed. Pam says, “people are starving to be noticed, to be seen, to feel valued” that’s why giving a compliment feels good to the giver and the receiver. Yet, we need to own our strengths and notice the good in ourselves, too.

How can we accept and appreciate who we are?

This is when Pam asked us all to stand up and take a “power pose”. Research by Amy Cuddy, Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, showed that doing a power pose for two minutes reignites your confidence. For example, if you are giving a talk and are nervous, practice the Supergirl post will help you to gain confidence and gather positive energies!


Yep, there it is.

At the beginning of the event, the attendees appeared to be quiet and subdued and we noticed the vibes transformed to happiness and full on positive energies after Pam’s presentation. Here are a few comments from the attendees when we asked them what they got out of Pam’s event:

“Pam was Dynamic!”

“Practical and Concrete Actions I can take!”

“Something New and More Human ;)”

“It was wonderful, Thank you, Pam!“


Now if you are ready to reevaluate yourself and be happier, try out a personality test at http://www.letitripple.org/education-search/personality-test-personality-assessment-via-survey/. Discover yourself from another perspective and learn to love yourself more.  

Visit Pam Garramone’s website for more Happiness!

Be kind to one another and enjoy the beautiful fall!

Women Accelerators

*Don’t miss out on our next event – our very first webinar – on imposter syndrome with Melody Wilding. Details can be found at https://womenaccelerators.org/event/impostor-syndrome/.

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Mentor Journal Entry 1: A Mentee’s Perspective

Writen By Jan Heng, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School
Jan participated in our 2018 Mentoring Program as a mentee to Regina Au.

I was delighted to receive a circulated email in December 2017 via my Broad Institute account about the mentoring program offered by Women Accelerators. I was very impressed by the list of female mentors for 2018 with various leadership backgrounds in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and retail industries; team management; and academia. Due to the nature of my research, I wanted to meet a more formal mentor who could give me insights into entrepreneurship and the US biotechnology industry. I was matched with Ms. Regina Au, Principal, New Product Planning/Strategic Commercial Consultant at BioMarketing Insight.   

Three mentees, including myself, had monthly meet-ups with Regina. There were a total of six meetings, and each mentee was given two sessions to discuss specific topics pertaining to their careers. At my first session, I wanted to seek feedback on the commercial utility of one of my research projects. Were there guidelines for me to critically assess my product and refine my ideas for the product (i.e., increase applicability of my product)? How can I learn about marketing my product? I also wanted to understand the requirements to start a biotechnology company, the recipes for success, and common pitfalls of young entrepreneurs.  

Regina gave me a broad overview to critically evaluate my current research (and potential product) from an industry point of view. Specifically, I was given five pointers to ponder:

1) What is the current unmet medical need I am trying to provide a solution for;
2) How critical is this unmet need;
3) How is my product going to solve the problem better than current technologies;
4) What are my plans to penetrate the market;
5) What are my milestones and timelines to bring this product to market

To obtain an unbiased point of view, my assigned goal was to speak to at least five pathologists (i.e., potential customers) using open-ended questions to assess how critical the medical problem is, and whether my product addresses it.  

We also discussed how important it is to gain work experience in various departments (e.g., research and development, manufacturing, business development, sales, marketing, and human resources) within well-established biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies. Having knowledge of the various departments will provide valuable skills to plan, set-up, and manage a start-up that is more likely to be successful. The most important component of creating a start-up is taking the time to critically plan the company structure, product, milestones, and timelines.   

For my second session, I wanted to learn about staff management and roles in industry that I would be suitable for should I decide to transition from academia to industry. I also asked Regina to share her career experiences from being an employee to establishing her own consulting firm. Regina very kindly provided some staff management advice, especially the importance of setting boundaries. Surprisingly, she also gave tips on how to manage my team while on maternity leave. As this was my first pregnancy, it did not even cross my mind to have a plan while on maternity leave! This was extremely helpful a few months later when my research administration team inquired about how I was going to manage my staff while on maternity leave.   

I gained valuable insights about working life in the US biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. My two other fellow mentees are also industry scientists. Together with Regina, they shared their love for their jobs and suggested the types of jobs that I might be suitable for. I was very thankful to Regina for sharing her career history on how she made her decision to start her own consulting firm, and find personal strength to continue her consulting business. She stressed the importance of a supportive network of family and friends.  

Our mentoring program ended after six months. I attended the wrap-up meeting where I chatted with one of the co-founders of Women Accelerators, Ms. Susu Wong and other mentors. I was humbled and felt enormous gratitude to this team of women who selflessly give back to the community and enthusiastically support young women with their careers. Mentoring is a time-consuming and thankless job. I once asked Regina why she is so passionate about mentoring women. She told me that women are still underrepresented in a lot of leadership positions, especially minority women, and she wished she had a mentor when she was starting her career.   

A mentor–mentee relationship is a two-way street. A mentee must decide what he/she would like to achieve during each session to enable the mentor to provide targeted advice and make the session efficient and successful. I had two goals when I joined Women Accelerators mentoring program and I achieved them with Regina. All in all, this program was exactly what I needed at a particular point of my career. I am thankful to Women Accelerators’ volunteers for organizing this amazing program to connect professional women from various industries. These female leaders have inspired me to help other women accelerate their careers. I enjoyed contributing to our mentoring sessions so much that I realized I might be ready to be a mentor. I was considering participating as a mentor next year when Regina gently reminded me, “Jan, you are having a baby.” 

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TedX Talk: The Risk You Must Take by Dr. Kristen Lee

Dr. Kristen Lee studies human resilience—our ability to endure, heal, and grow.

In a visceral, relatable talk, she shares deep insights from her teaching and research—ones that helped her redefine authenticity, and encourage us all to do the same.

This TedX Talk shares the story of what fueled her writing process for her new book, Mentalligence: A New Psychology of Thinking: Learn What it Takes to Be More Agile, Mindful and Connected in Today’s World. To get more details on the book, visit  What We’re Reading!


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Navigating Equity and Inclusion in a New World of the Same Ol’ Boys Club

Please join us for this evening of provocative dialogue led by inclusion and diversity expert practitioners Su Joun of [email protected] and Sean Driscoll of BBsquared, as they’ll pose and discuss the landscape of gender diversity in relation to inclusion, access, challenges and opportunities across our workplaces of today.

As we all experience and reflect upon the current coincidental realities of #MeToo, #PayEquity vs. #EqualPay, and #Inclusion vs. #Diversity – Su and Sean will push the dialogue envelope into deeper dives while offering complementary cross perspectives.  Su and Sean who often professionally partner together, will speak from their own diverse journeys and viewpoints, but more so as thought leaders who aren’t afraid to turn the dial to diversity channels you might not have watched or listened to before… So we invite you to come and join in the dialogue, for an evening that will empower you with newly realized takeaways on how to better succeed, in creative confidence, as you travel your own unique career pathways!




Sean Driscoll: As the Principal and Founder of BBsquared (a/k/a Breaking Barriers X Building Bridges), a consulting platform empowering inclusion through creation collaboration www.BB2consulting.com, Sean Driscoll looks for chemistry matches to projects that share connectivity around Disability, LGBTQ, and/or Re-Entry (people with criminal background diversity) identities.  BBsquared cultivates the amazing cross-connectivity often discoverable across diverse communities, that when harnessed in the right fashion, can become exponentially empowering and impacting.  BBsquared is a LGBT Business Enterprise – certified by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).  Sean’s professional portfolio includes:  Customer Service, Customer & Community Relations, Marketing & Communications and Human Resources.  Sean is a member of the Northeast Human Resources Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council, the YW Boston’s Fund Development Committee, and Boston Spirit Council’s (Boston area Boy Scouts) Inclusion & Diversity Task Force.  Sean is a proud LeadBoston alum (’06) – an executive leadership program that evolves more socially responsible leaders.


Su Joun (she/her/hers) is the Principal of [email protected] Consulting Group LLC that specializes in innovative, implementation-focused, no-frills Diversity & Inclusion training and consultation. Su is also an adjunct professor at Suffolk University where she teaches Global Human Resources Management, Organizational Behavior and Career LAUNCH classes. She was the Vice President of Talent, Diversity and Inclusion at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) where she led the enterprise diversity and inclusion, talent acquisition, performance management and leadership development, and associate engagement teams. In addition to expertise in Diversity & Inclusion and talent management, she held leadership roles in IT & operations, marketing, sales and call centers at BCBSMA, Key Corp, and Virgin Money. Su also founded and operated a publishing company. This breadth of experiences enables her to fully understand and “speak the language” of the various business areas and leaders allowing for true partnership to champion Diversity & Inclusion goals and programs.Su received her MBA from Suffolk University and her MS in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. She currently serves as the Board Vice-Chair for the Center for Collaborative Leadership at UMASS.Her thought-leadership on Diversity & Inclusion and talent overall has been showcased in the Skillsoft video library, the Urban Update, in various articles in BBJ and Workable.com, and she has presented to various audiences such as the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, NAAAP, HubSpot, CFO Roundtable, and Commonwealth Compact.


Visit here to register for the event today!

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Engineering My Way Through a Career in Tech

Dressed in all black casual attire, Tamar Newberger portrays a sharp Silicon Valley figure at first sight. But the second you engage in a conversation with her, her rhythmic speech and laid-back vibe puts one at ease of her accomplishments and the high-profile figure that she is.

We had the privilege to welcome Tamar Newberger as a guest speaker this week and her no-sugar-coating success stories were nothing but inspirational. Tamar is a computer scientist who has held executive positions and leadership roles in companies such as AT&T, Novell, SCO, and Catbird, a Silicon-Valley start-up. Also a diplomatic spouse and activist, Tamar lived in Prague for the past three years where her husband served as the United States Ambassador to the Czech Republic.

“Do what you love and don’t be afraid to take a leap.”

From a young age, Tamar was fearless and curious. She remembers a time during primary school when she spotted three boys in her class hovering over computer parts. “I walked right into the room and asked them all these questions about it. I didn’t know anything about computers but I was very interested,” said Tamar. While her passion for technology hadn’t bloomed quite yet, she came to a crossroad during the last semester of her freshman year in college. Being one credit short to finish the year, she decided to take computer science 101. What was supposed to be a credit-filler turned into her passion, resulting in her majoring in computer science. “Experimenting is important to find out what you love,” said Tamar,looking back at her decision at the time.

After graduating from Columbia University, Tamar joined the AT&T Corporation. As she was quickly climbing up the corporate ladder she later transitioned to Novell Inc. to lead the Unix System Laboratories (“USL”) team. Once there, Tamar suddenly faced a career dilemma. Novell had announced their sale of the Unixware division — which Tamar’s team had developed — to Santa Cruz Operation Inc. (“SCO”). With Hewlett-Packard (“HP”) being the leading licensed seller of Unix software at the time, Tamar and her team were asked to make a decision, to move to SCO or HP. “It was a very tough decision,” Tamar recalls, “everyone I looked up to and respected told me to go to HP,” because they valued the stability of HP over SCO. Tamar said this was the pivotal time in her life. “What did I want? Responsibility at a large firm? Or am I willing to take the risk of not having the security of working for a large firm?”

After much thought, Tamar had decided to join HP just as everyone around her had suggested. The night she gave her decision to HP, she thought to herself, “Something is not right.” The next morning, she woke up and followed her heart to join SCO, where she held an executive position until she joined Catbird. The lessons she learned were to not be afraid to try new things, and be fearless.

In 2014, Tamar left Catbird to move to the Czech Republic, where her husband served as the US Ambassador. Despite the need to give up her career in Silicon Valley, Tamar was enthusiastic for the opportunity to promote female entrepreneurship and empowerment as the Ambassador’s spouse. However, when they arrived, the circumstances were not as inviting of her ideas as she had expected. In 2015, Tamar came across a documentary on the gender and minority hiring gap amongst software engineers titled, Code: Debugging the Gender Gap. She then decided to make it her mission to host a screening at the US Embassy. When her original proposal was shot down, she engineered her way through negotiation after negotiation. Later that year, the US Embassy of Prague hosted a screening of Code and the event was covered by multiple media outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Tamar looks back on this experience with an important lesson learned: “Don’t give up, be nice, and don’t take no for an answer.” As a woman, we are expected to be nice naturally.

Here are some of the other nuggets of her advice:

  • Women who are seeking a career – Do some research at the hiring company and see if they have a track record in diversity, whether they have women in senior management positions or at their board. These are telltale signs of companies that value diversity in the workplace. They will be more likely to be successful than an all-male management team.
  • There used to be a five-year career plan – With technology and products accelerating, we now ought to think shorter term, such as a two-year plan.
  • Pursue a career that you are passionate about – It shouldn’t be just a job.  We would be a lot more successful in our career if we do what we love doing.
  • When making a big decision – Ask for advice. Informational interview will help us to explore different fields and industries, and most people you ask love talking about what to do.
  • For working mothers – Tamar recommends the book “Healthy sleep habits, happy child”.


Tamar Newberger is no stranger to forging her own path. She is an innovator, engineer of female career development and a mother. She embodies every positive element we all aspire to have. Her message to all women navigating their way to success is simple: Do what you love and don’t be afraid to take a leap.


Want to meet more inspiring female role models? Join us for our 2018 Mentoring Program. Applications will be open on 12/1. Check out https://womenaccelerators.org/mentoring-program/ for details.


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Setting Boundaries: Say Yes and No with Confidence and Ease

The Women Accelerators was created to “Engage, Empower, Elevate!” people in their careers and personal growth.  We want to inspire and help people with their careers through our events and great speakers.  That is the reason we invited speakers Amy Rebecca Gay, PhD, Deb Elbaum, MD, CPCC, CNTC, and Rachel Rice, MBA, EEM-CP to share their knowledge on how to effectively communicate while setting boundaries.  It all comes down to the art of saying “Yes and No with Confidence and Ease.”  

The event was full of engaging exercises that the speakers demonstrated to the attendees.  It all started out with the “Wheel of Boundaries Exercise.”  If you were to establish four different categories in your life that you need to prioritize, are you maintaining and setting boundaries for each of them under different challenging circumstances?  

Amy presented the crafting Power of a “Positive No” and said that we have to reflect on our “Wheel of Boundaries” by rating our tolerance of our boundaries from 1-10. Determining what is challenging and comfortable about our own boundaries helps us to effectively communicate them to others.  Amy asked the attendees about what’s challenging about your life? You may need to know where you are before you can respond.  What are our most guarded values?  Knowing what’s important for you will help us decide our wheel of boundaries.  For instance, if you were to put two different items on the scale you need to have enough weight on each side to have an equal balance.  

It goes the same for our lives, you need to give the same amount of attention on tasks at hand in order to maintain that balance.  Quite often, we have a hard time saying “no” when a new project is given to us even though we already have a heavy workload.  We have a hard time saying no because we are worried of losing our jobs and disappointing our boss.  

Steve Jobs once saidIt is only by saying “no” that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”  We often don’t know how to say “no” effectively while maintaining the relationship with the other person.  The group did an exercise on how to communicate effectively on “Positive No” when it is outside our boundaries. We also wrote down what are the circumstances that we could say an affirming “Yes”, and with an invitation for a constructive way to begin a conversation on the topic.  It is about making a proposal or negotiation that will meet our needs as well as their needs. Knowing when to say no with a “softer” no and say “Here’s what I value, how else can we work together?” is a diplomatic way of collaborating without coming across too rigid.

The event was full of tips, techniques and demonstrations that everyone can start implementing in their personal and work lives. The attendees not only learned how to say a positive “No” but also got to interact with people that are going through the same situations.  From the beginning to the end of the event, the speakers gave the attendees a chance to reflect about themselves as well as gain new perspectives on how to approach setting boundaries.  It’s a collaborative approach.

What am I worried about when asserting my needs?

Here are a few examples from the audience:

  • I’m worried that I’m going to do the wrong thing
  • I’m afraid I’m going to be fired
  • I’m worried somebody is going to take my response the wrong way
  • I’m worried if i say no, I will get sabotaged later
  • I’m worried that I’m not good enough.
  • I may damage my relationship with the person

When we are in the moment, we don’t want our emotions to get out of control and get the best of us. Sometimes we store our emotions in our acupuncture meridians, which creates blockages. Rachel said that the process of tapping, a.k.a. Emotional Freedom Technique, can release the emotional distress from our bodies. Emotional Freedom Technique is also known as energy psychology.

We did an exercise of naming our limiting beliefs or emotions and rating our distress from 0-10. Next we created an acceptance phrase such as: “Even though I’m afraid to get fired, I accept myself for how I feel.  I really need to accept how I feel with my body and mind.”  Tapping my palm and karate chops can calm my body. It gives you the feeling that you are not in a fight or flight mode like standing in front of a tiger. The tap points to release the emotional symptoms are: eyebrow, side of eye, under the eye, under the nose, chin, collarbone, under arm and top of head.

Finally, Deb said that we have to develop an action plan that will take us toward setting effective boundaries. We have to take baby steps by setting a time frame and not making big changes. We have to be accountable to ourselves. Writing it down and practicing this with a friend will help us to be more comfortable about saying yes or no with ease and confidence.

If you missed this interactive and informative event, or just want to learn more, please contact [email protected],  Amy at [email protected], or [email protected] for more information.


We also have another great event lined up in November.  We invited Tamar Newberger on November 15th. She will be speaking about how she navigated her way through her career in the tech industry. Please subscribe to our newsletter or contact us for our future events.

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