Why Do We Volunteer?

Have you ever wondered-what makes people want to volunteer? We all live busy lives, so what really makes us want to take time out, or rather make time, for a higher purpose?

1. Paying it Forward

In a world where it can be hard to find time for kindness, volunteering can help you do good by paying it forward. Doing good not only makes you feel good, but also helps kindness spread to others. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

2. Resume Building

Hiring Managers look for people with well-rounded personalities. While your impressive work experience will hold you in good stead, having volunteer positions listed on your resume and LinkedIn profiles give you a leg up and shows potential employees that you go above and beyond to give back to the community. Volunteering for organizations such as Women Accelerators helps showcase your soft skills as well. 

3. Building Soft Skills

Volunteering gives people a boost in soft skills such as leadership and confidence. Helping others, helps build your self-assurance and teaches you abilities that you can add to your skillset.

4. Opportunity To Try Something New

Volunteering gives you a chance to try something outside of your area of expertise or comfort. For example, we have volunteers who are Engineers and Scientists by trade, write blog articles and help raise funds for Women Accelerators!

5. Networking

Networking can often be seen as an intimidating experience but volunteering is a great way to meet new people, make new connections and build trust in each other’s abilities. Additionally, it also offers the potential for career advancement or changes.

At Women Accelerators, we have fun events, like Happy Hours where current and new volunteers can network and maybe even make new friends! We also offer educational programs that help women grow their careers using their experience equity.

What are our former team members saying about Volunteering?

Personally as I have navigated my time as President of WA, I have learned skills at a young age that I would never have had the chance to do in other organizations. Women Accelerators volunteers are hands on, creative, and in this together. As a volunteer there’s room for personal development as you work with the team. I encourage everyone to attend events and consider volunteering. I promise, you will not regret it.

Gianna Iantosca

“It’s one of the best volunteering experience I have ever had. Through preparing and hosting regular seminars and workshops as well as running an annual mentorship program, I knew I was making a difference in the lives of many that are underrepresented, especially women and people of color.”

Huan Rui

“I was trusted with my work of managing events; be it placing catering orders or making the agenda for the events. My new ideas were welcomed and implemented. It was good to see my designs printed and shared with attendees. I networked at many events and also made amazing friends through this inspiring group, and we continue to stay in touch.”

Nidhi Maniar

“When I was a volunteer, I was able to meet several women in the workforce that I would otherwise not be able to engage with as much in a university setting. Women Accelerators’ approach towards helping women in their careers is multi-dimensional— from seminars, networking opportunities, to mentoring. What makes this organization even more powerful is that everyone in the team is very dedicated towards achieving our mission”

Herdeline Ardoña

Ready to Volunteer?

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Reflections on the Leadership Mentoring Session

The Mentoring Program at Women Accelerators features monthly group learning sessions in addition to pairing mentors with mentees for one on one personalized professional development. 

The session this month focused on LEADERSHIP. This panel style discussion featured three of our mentors who have much experience on this topic: Szifta Birke, Robin Rose, and Deirdre Pierotti. You can learn more about these women on our mentoring page

Robin highlighted the opportunities that can come from volunteering at your company. A general event or fundraising planning committee can allow you to meet members across your organization that you wouldn’t normally interact with on a day to day basis. The more exposure you have to different functions and their operations, the more valuable you are. It could get you considered for new development projects that you didn’t even know about. Think of this as a way to network in your own company! I’m kicking myself because I worked at a large company for 2 years that had so many different employee engagement groups that I never joined. Truly a missed opportunity. Now working at smaller companies that don’t have those options, I realized- why not start my own group

Leadership is all about continuous learning– Szifta has a lifetime of experience and yet has enrolled in a class that is teaching Crucial Conversations from a different lens. This really resonated with me. If you aren’t constantly reading articles about leadership, reading professional development books, or listening to podcasts on the topic, then what you’ve learned in the past fades. Leadership is a muscle and you need to work on keeping it in shape. For anyone who hasn’t read Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler, I HIGHLY recommend it. The first time I read it was 4 years ago. With 4 more years of industry experience and taking on more responsibility, I think it’s time I reread it with a new perspective!

Another key point that Deirdre stressed was knowing your value (also a book). I think this is especially important for women in the workforce. How often do we hear about male coworkers making significantly more in the same role? Being able to recognize how much you offer your company and asking for your value is a very different aspect of leadership. It’s speaking up for yourself, which is always the hardest. Circling back to the previous point, Crucial Conversations, has personally helped me navigate those conversations! This topic has come up a lot recently with my girlfriends. Two of my close friends, and myself, have quit our jobs for better opportunities. Making change is difficult, but when you know you’re overworked and undervalued, it’s time to make a change. Talk about this with your friends- too often we say everything is fine and portray the #bossbabe lifestyle on social media. We need to normalize talking about career dips, changes, and not being happy in our current role. Knowing your value and demanding it is easier with a support system.

This was a great session with valuable insight from women who have decades of experience. I can’t wait for next month’s session! The program runs January to June, with the application process beginning each fall. If you have FOMO reading this, join us next year! In the meantime, we’ll keep our resources page up to date for you. 

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5 Simple Self Care Tips for Fall

With a summer that surely expired quicker than we all would like, it’s almost time for the weather to change again. Fall in Boston has so many redeeming qualities: colorful leaves, cozy sweaters, apple picking (see: apple donuts) and your favorite warm drink.

Unfortunately, this time of year can also bring extra anxiety and sometimes an overwhelming increase in items on the ‘to-do’ list. As we plan for the upcoming start of classes, new jobs, and whatever else may be on the horizon, it is important to remember that it’s not all about the hustle. Slowing down and taking time for YOU is vital for well-being and long-term productivity.

When you are happy and managing stress, you are performing better overall – so, to help our followers stay at the top of their game we compiled these 5 tips for self care. 

  1. Take time for soul-searching before taking action

Something often overlooked in self care is the importance of individual consideration. No number of spa days will cure the overwhelming stress of working in a role that is a major mismatch; or, working within culture that mismatches with your own personal beliefs. 

Taking some time to clear your head, identify a root cause or a personal need can be the best gift to yourself. For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work or in personal matters and aren’t able to quash the stress or anxiety, take time to soul search. If there is something or someone in your life causing you pain, and you are able to distance yourself, then that may be the best self care possible. Similarly, if you used to love to paint (or name a hobby) but haven’t had time for it lately, maybe it’s time to pick up that brush and see if it is the escape you needed.

Our leadership team is composed of a diverse group of women and we all have different self-care rituals. You must find what works for you. 

Have trouble slowing your mind down long enough to think? Sometimes the best way to think is to pause long enough to catch your breath & be present – Try one of these guided meditation apps to find your zen:



Insight Timer


& for the skeptic who is not sure that they want to meditation, read this


  1. Hit the weights

Getting into an exercise routine can be the hardest part with a busy schedule but blocking time on your calendar and following through is worth it! There is no prescribed time for the positive results of exercise so just get your blood pumping even if that means taking 10-15 minutes each morning to do push ups and sit ups before your morning routine. 

Research shows that exercise can relieve stress, reduce depression and improve cognitive function. But don’t just take our word for it:

Harvard Health on exercising to relax.

American Psychological Association on the stress and exercise link.

American Heart Association on working out to relieve stress.


  1. Indulge in a spa day

A spa day doesn’t mean you need to take an entire day off (unless you can – then treat yourself). Instead, choose a service that makes you happy and relax. Taking an hour to get your nails done or get a massage could be “your” meditation.  Changing up your hair or nails can be a boost of confidence. A spa day isn’t going to fully change your self perception BUT it gives you a chance to step back and refresh your look (& hopefully outlook on life).

Having a positive self image can impact your daily life and part of that is how you feel in your skin. Think through these positive thinking strategies as you pick out your new fall nail color (helpful for perfectionists like me!). 

  1. Take a walk

If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed out and aren’t able to take time off (yet) –  sometimes the best thing to do is take a walk. Even taking a walk around the office or around the building outside can do wonders for clearing your head or helping you cool down from a tense situation in the classroom or boardroom. Walking removes you from the stressors and the stressful environment and can give you much needed fresh perspective. 

For even more value on your walk – take a friend. Use the walk to vent or get feedback on an issue you are facing. Or use the time to connect with someone you may not normally talk to and make a new friend in the process. 


  1. READ

If time off of work for travel & relaxation is out of the question, take your mind on vacation. One of the easiest ways to escape is to dive into a good book and feel immersed in its pages.

If you have a long commute (shout out to the MBTA), you can take 10-15 minutes to step away from your stressors and imagine a different world or learn something new. Once you reach your destination, you will at least have a fresh perspective on your environment and maybe even a few ideas to tackle the day’s challenges!

 Check out these 24 reads under 200 pages (both fiction and non-fiction).


“Self-care is how you take your power back.”

– Lalah Delia


Finally, remember that we are in this together. Empower, Engage and Elevate!

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How to make the most out of your Mentorship

First things first, what is a mentor and what does mentorship mean?

You’ve probably heard the word mentor AT LEAST 25 times in your professional life – if not more, but it’s possible the reference could have been made in a variety of contexts. For all intents and purposes, how I will refer to it in this blog is as “an experienced and trusted advisor” – straight from Merriam-Webster.

It is important to understand that a mentor is someone that provides professional guidance and advise to help a mentee evaluate their professional landscape and grow in that realm –  even if they are a professional within a certain field, a mentor is not providing a mentee services to that end (ie. lawyer, doctor etc..). The mentorship is the period of time the mentor provides the mentee career and professional advice. The time period can vary from a very short period (a day to a few weeks or months) to years, depending on the relationship formed. The connection could be made through an informal or work connection or a more formal program, like our annual mentoring program (learn more here:

A mentorship can have a huge impact on your professional life IF you take advantage of what it can provide. In nearly all cases, a mentor is senior to a mentee and has a wealth of knowledge AND consequently, a strong network in a certain industry or realm. Most importantly, a mentorship is a relationship based on trust and respect. A mentor is someone, with experience, that you can discuss insights and issues. A space to discuss, without judgment, can help you sort through issues with a new perspective which can help you overcome those issues – reaching career heights you may not have thought possible before.

So you have a mentor, now what?

Take time for introspection

Take time to think about your ‘WHY’. The better you know yourself and your goals, the better you can navigate through the benefits of mentorship.

Think of this as a journey, if you don’t know the destination – how can you make it there?

To start, consider the following questions:

  1. Can you summarize your current professional experience? Make a list of highlights.
  2. What are your short and long term professional goals?
    1. If you don’t know – check out this HBR article for extra considerations:
    2. Still struggling? Look at the career histories of people you admire or want to emulate, see if you can find anything that aligns with your passions and goals to use as a taking off point.
  3. Is there an aspect of business/professional life that particularly intrigues you or you want assistance navigating?
  4. Can you make a list of what you hope to achieve from a mentorship? (ie. are you looking for ideas to obtain skills, reach a new level, learn leadership tactics, increase your network etc…).
  5. Consider what your personality type is, are you an extrovert, introvert or analytical in nature?  And what kind of work environment or management style meshes best with your personality?
  6. Try taking personality tests such as Myers Briggs, Insights Discovery,or a DiSC personality assessment tool, etc. for additional insight.
  7. Think of anything else you may want to learn or know – professionally and personally.

Make a plan

As the mentee, unless your program dictates otherwise, you are responsible for driving the program.

  • Think of a few major topics you want to focus on throughout the mentorship and touch on them your first meeting.
  • Plan to bring your mentor up to speed as much as possible about your personality type and communications preferences.
  • Keep a list of things you are interested in discussion for quick reference.
  • Consider the timeline of the program and how many interactions or touchpoints are specified. If there is not a concrete schedule, draft one and have a discussion with your mentor to see if it works for them.
  • Pre-plan meetings! Have questions and topics ready before you meet with your mentor. Send them a note or email in advance with those topics to help facilitate conversation.
  • Write a summary of your discussions or key points, and plan for action items for the next meeting.

Take Action

Mentorships are WORK.

They take coordination and investment of both time and emotional capital from both parties. As the mentee, it is important to set the schedule in advance. Plan the meetings, follow up and facilitate the discussion. No one understands what you are seeking out of the mentorship better than you. Use the time wisely and act on the above guidance to make the most out of your mentorship!

We’re excited to see you grow and reach new heights – Be sure to stay tuned for more mentoring resources coming soon!

Finally, remember that we are in this together. Empower, Engage and Elevate!

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3 ways to spot a glass ceiling BEFORE you take the job

According to a recent joint study from McKinsey and Lean In, progress towards gender equality in the workplace has not just slowed down but stalled completely. “Only about 1 in 5 C-suite leaders is a woman, and only 1 in 25 is a woman of color.” Contradictory to the typical arguments, women are earning comparable education and experience, asking for promotions and also staying in the workforce at similar rates to men.

So why is there still such a large disparity?

According to the study, the management of talent pipelines might be to blame. From day one in an organization, cultural aspects will impact how minorities and women are seen. But also how they are interacted with (potential discrimination), grow (access to senior leaders and/or mentorship/sponsorship), and feel included (are you the “only” woman in the room?). Many companies talk the talk but do not walk the walk. In other words, we need leaders to show and consistently act on promises to create a more diverse workforce. Check out the article and link to the complete study here:

For women and minorities seeking career growth, lets even say – at the speed of their peers, it is important to be cognizant of the organization’s culture and how it impacts our personal experiences and opportunities. While some organizations do not have a culture conducive to growing and nourishing female leadership and inclusion, there is a lot that DO. The trick is deciphering between the two. To do so, you need to pay close attention to the culture and the pipeline that shapes employee growth.

It is important to remember that a job interview is more than just an evaluation of your skills and credentials, it is a chance for YOU to interview the company.



Here are 3 tips to spot a glass ceiling before signing the offer letter to join ranks within an organization:

1. Take time for introspection

Clearly define your expectations and needs within an organization.

What is most important to you in order to thrive? Opportunity, networking potential, and sponsorship/mentorship are common needs for anyone in an organization but what does that look like for an inclusive workplace? Some organizations are lacking resources for minority and female employees so it is important to decide what you desire and need. Do you want pre-existing organizations set up or is it enough to have diverse backgrounds in the organization? Some may argue lean in circles are important for female inclusion. Is work flexibility important? Many organizations create more flexible work environments to help increase the retention of female high performers but that might not be a breaking point in your job search. How does the organization recognize and give feedback to their employees? For some, and in larger organizations, if feedback or ratings are not explicit, the role and progression can be difficult to navigate or question.

The bottom line to remember is that all women have different “ideal” work environments. Understanding what an ideal environment looks like to you will help you start the search, figure out what questions to ask and refine what companies to apply to.

2. Do your homework

    1. Dig deep into the organization’s public website. What information is available on the culture, mission, and vision? How large is the organization? Is anything listed about diversity and inclusion? If so, what does it tell you about the organization (statistics, business plan, action plan etc..)? Many organizations also have leadership profiles listed on their website, what does that tell you about the organization? If they do not have any diversity on the leadership team, that might be a red flag.
    2. Look at job review sites. Like any mass anonymous review site (see yelp), it’s important to take these with a grain of salt. However, reading multiple reviews may at least help you develop a list of potential topics to probe. An issue mentioned across multiple reviews may be indicative of a cultural trend within a company, especially if respondents are from multiple departments or locations. Some good large scale review sites to check out are: indeed, glassdoor, career bliss. Another site for women by women: fairygodboss.
    3. Reach out. This takes time. LinkedIn is a wonderful tool to find jobs and also to make connections. Before you even apply to a role, spend time finding a few current employees on LinkedIn. Reach out with a message and ask if they have a few minutes to speak to you about their job or organization- also known as an informational interview. While most people want to help, you likely won’t get a response to every message you send. Don’t get discouraged! If you aren’t getting any responses, adjust the message. It helps to be specific in your inquiry. Ask for what you want to learn about up front to shape the conversation but always remember this person may be a future co-worker. Tip: Find someone you have something in common with and you may get a better response rate. If you are able to speak with someone, ask them about their personal experiences. This genuine human connection will most likely provide more detailed insight than you can find online from any public site or anonymous review.

3. Ask the hard questions

*Certainly focus initially on questions about the role but don’t forget the important cultural and environmental questions! The formal interview is an opportunity for you to interview the employer too. Take note of how you are treated, how the office environment is set up, how employees interact and the body language between people.

  1. What is the culture like here?
  2. How is feedback provided or how is success rated?
  3. What are the daily expectations for a time in and out of office? Any flexibility of schedule? (be careful of when and who you ask this question but do include if important to you)
  4. Consider the environment of the office & ask to take a tour – are you comfortable with the surroundings/interactions?
  5. What is the leadership team like?
  6. How is inclusion encouraged within this organization?
  7. Do you have any mentorship programs? Or networking groups?
  8. Why is this position open?
  9. What makes you stay at this organization

Although most modern day companies speak to the value they put on diversity and inclusion, it isn’t always as transparent as we might hope. Learning to listen carefully and being brave enough to ask the tough questions can help female candidates identify gender inclusive employers.

Finally, remember that we are in this together. Empower, Engage and Elevate!

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Own Your Own Football: Conflict Communication

Figure out what drives your heart, then own it. And by God, they will let you play.conflict

In the evening of Tuesday, September 27th in Cambridge, a group of about thirty women engaged in industry, academia, law, entrepreneurship, and more, gathered around a conference room table. They were there not just to hear Michele Whitham speak about how she came to “own her own football”, but to connect and share ideas about handling conflict in the workplace.

Michele Whitham is a powerhouse of a woman with a list of accolades and accomplishments that easily make her one of the most admirable women I have ever met: she is a lawyer that is heavily involved in social justice, activism, and community engagement, is a 2015-2016 Inductee into the National Association of Professional Women and the Association’s VIP Woman of the Year, was a co-leader to launch the inaugural Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts’ Women’s Leadership Initiative, and so much more. Even more impressive is that behind her stunning achievements, she is a kind, empathetic, insightful, and strong-willed woman with a story that so many of us can relate to.

Miriam Margala & Michele WhitmanLeaning into the table and talking to us like old friends do, Michele described how she discovered a love for football at five years old. She set her sights on becoming a football player, and would practice throwing the ball around with her father and her neighbor, Al Cowen, a well-known footballer in Texas. She started going to pickup football games, but time and time again she was the only girl, and she would never get picked to play. Undeterred, she continued to return to these games until a few years later, her father came home and surprised her with a gift: an official NFL football, signed by the one and only Cowen. The very next pickup game she went to, she proudly brought her own football, and not only did she get to play, but she got to be the captain.

The message of her childhood story was simple: listen to your heart and what drives you, be Michele Whithamconfident in it, bring it to the table, and the people sitting across from you will let you play because you are owning the part of yourself that put you there. That is the first lesson in conflict communication: practice the art of self-empowerment and cultivate your professional presence. Consider what you are aiming to achieve, and decide how you are going to approach a situation. Have confidence in your abilities to do all that you can do, and be committed to listening and learning as much as you can about the motivations and values of other people in the room.

There were six other points highlighted throughout the evening that sum up the most important nuggets of wisdom that Michele presented as the keys to her continued success in dealing with conflict:

  1. Everyone deals with conflict differently; appreciate those differences.
  2. Don’t take conflict personally; someone else’s reaction is not a reflection on ourselves.
  3. Be willing to listen to what the other person is saying, and if needed, express that you need to step away to process.
  4. Make an effort to maintain your credibility, to be mature, and to not let your emotions get the best of you. (Step away if emotions are running too high!)
  5. Become proactive institutional anthropologists: observe and learn the motivations/desires of your colleagues even before conflict arises.
  6. Cultivate a circle of key informants, or people that you trust to lend insights into how someone else may be conceptualizing the conflict.

de la femme membersBy the end of the evening, more than half of us in the room had joined in with Michele’s pointers to ask questions, provide thoughtful insight, and share our own positive or negative experiences. Conflict is something that we all have to deal with, and none of us are in this alone. Approaching a conflict with maturity, a willingness to listen to others and a sense of your own self-are three important pieces to successful resolutions. And we must not forget to lean on each other for help when we need to see more sides to the story.

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What does confidence mean to you?

Written By Kate Hardy.

That was the question asked to a room filled with one hundred women and a few men on Wednesday evening at de la Femme. Deb Elbaum, MD, CPCC, APCC, a career and life coach, author, and speaker, was hosted by de la Femme for a workshop at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA. The topic of the night was, DSC01125“Boost Your Professional Presence: The Art of Being Confident.”

Deb’s workshop is interactive, and her goal is to help women learn to believe in themselves and present their ideas with confidence both professionally and personally as they work towards their own successes. Everyone in attendance left with a new sense of empowerment and concrete ways to practice confidence on their own.

To many, confidence must sometimes seem like a difficult and challenging feeling to achieve. What makes one person feel completely at ease and confident may make another feel unsure and indecisive. But on this night, Deb made it seem so much simpler, with her thoughtful exercises and her tangible, actionable steps.

The central message of the night was simple and direct: A + B = C. Attitude + Body = Confidence.

Upon arrival, all of us were given a worksheet of thoughtful questions that we would soon be guided through answering. These questions were formulated to help us discover insights about ouconfidence poserselves. One of the first pairs of questions we answered were: what people, places, things, or events cause us to feel like our confidence is being sucked away, and which situations cause us to feel we are completely confident? And then, an extra challenge: Tell the person sitting next to you.

The thing is, as scary as it can be to tell a complete stranger these personal insights, the valuable lesson is that we’re all in the same boat. We all have things that make us feel confident, and we all have things that make us feel totally un-confident. Not to mention, what makes me feel completely paralyzed with self-doubt may have very well made my neighbor feel energized and on top of the world. “Wow,” I found myself thinking. “If she can have the attitude to feel confident about giving a presentation to 500 people, then maybe I can be that way, too!”

A bit further on in the evening, as we completed the other parts of our worksheets, we were instructed to finish statements like, “At home, I am really good at…” After this thought exercise, we created a personal purpose statement. This was a combination of words or themes that we felt captured us best from the statements we had just completed. Mine? I found that I was a motivated, goal-oriented communicator.

At first, that seemed kind of odd. “Am I really that way?” I asked myself. Sometimes I feel like my communication skills are lacking. I don’t always ask for what I need from other people to be successful, to feel nurtured, or to clarify a situation because I don’t feel confident enough to do so. But, lo and behold, I found that just moments before I had finished the statement, “At work, I am really good at,” with, “teaching and communicating.”de la femme audience

Deb explained how large an impact our own self-beliefs, our attitude, has on our overall confidence. We have this well of confidence within us, just waiting to be drawn from. If we learn to identify and question our negative self-beliefs, we will most likely find at least one confidence drainer. Once these are uncovered, we can work to correct them and replace them with positive self-beliefs. We are in control of our confidence by shaping our attitudes.

The second letter in our alphabet equation was B for body.

As it turns out, Deb taught us Amy Cuddy’s power pose, which was based on the coaching of Amy’s TED talk and work. Your body language not only translates to others, but it also translates to your own emotional state. When you position your body in a way of strength and freedom, your mind listens.

DSC01150Next, we all stood up and learned how to power pose.  We learned how to plant our legs firmly on the ground a little bit apart. Body straight. Head up. Eyes forward. Arms flung up in the air or Superwoman-style on our hips. And that is how we stayed for a full minute.

Right before these power poses, Deb had asked us to stand hunched, arms crossed, bodies curled into ourselves, eyes down. She asked us to describe how we felt: “Small.” “Nervous.” “Unsure.”

But when we struck those power poses, our reactions were completely different: “Powerful.” “Energized.” “Confident.”

Attitude + Body = Confidence.

Yes. How simple, and yet, how hard at times! Deb explained that confidence is a practice. It is a habit. She encouraged us to practice power posing every day. And to not stop questioning the attitudes that make us feel we are not confident. Because we are. All of us in that room had a well of confidence from which we could draw endless amounts of our own personal support.

Walking home from the workshop, my friend and I talked about how we had both learned insights about ourselves. She told me that sometimes she doesn’t speak up to her boss because she doesn’t want to step on toes. I considered this for a minute, and then pointed out that often times a group or organization is stronger for opposing beliefs. And that maybe her newer and less experienced views on her job may actually be innovative. Thanks to this workshop, she was learning to identify her negative self-beliefs and had tools to practice positive self-beliefs instead.Susu & Robin

I’m sure I speak for almost all of the attendees that night when I say that Deb guided us to some valuable personal insights and gave us powerful tools to help practice and nurture those wells of confidence we hold within. We learned how to identify and question our negative self-beliefs, how to create positive self-beliefs in return, and how to channel positive energy with our physical bodies to channel pure confidence.

And as for my neighbor? I got a text message from her the very next morning that read, “My boss called me last night. I used my new confidence!”

Written By Kate Hardy.

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Register for “Boost Your Professional Presence: The Art of Being Confident”

Register at

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“Boost Your Professional Presence: The Art of Being Confident”

Successful women recognize their strengths and communicate with confidence. Believing in yourself, and knowing how to present yourself and your ideas confidently is key to feeling empowered in your professional and personal life. In this interactive workshop, you will learn how to boost your professional presence and confidence for networking, interviewing, and presenting your ideas. You will get a clearer picture of your values and strengths, and learn how to tap into your presence and confidence using both your thoughts and body. By the end of the evening, you will not only feel more empowered, but also have concrete tools to use in everyday life.

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Deb Elbaum, MD, CPCC, ACC, is a certified career and life coach, author, and speaker. She works with professionals in career transition to help them get clear about their choices, build their confidence, trust their decisions, and create intentional change. She is the author of “Making Moments Count,” a chapter in the recently publishedCoaching for Powerful Change by Diane Hayden. Deb speaks to organizations in the greater Boston area, and is a  workshop facilitator for the Institute for Career Transitions at MIT. She received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and her MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Her coaching certifications are from the Coaches Training Institute and the International Coach Federation.

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Date/Time:   Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at 6 PM.

Location:  The Broad Institute (Olympus Room), Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA.

Dinner and drinks will be provided.  Registration is required, sign-in upon arrival.

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Register at

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Register for “RUN and win: Marian Walsh talks about leadership” event

Register at:

RUN and win: Marian Walsh talks about leadership


Marian Walsh, the recipient of several book awards and author of RUN: Your Personal Guide to Winning Public Office, will discuss how your leadership skills dramatically impact your career and life, no matter what path you pursue.

Based on her extensive experience, and her unlikely, but highly successful candidacies, Marian Walsh will change the way you think about politics and public leadership, and most importantly, how to strengthen your own leadership.

You will be captivated by Walsh’s nonpartisan campaign primer that was seasoned with her long shot Massachusetts campaign victories and political successes — including public debates on the death penalty, gay marriage, and the clergy sexual abuse of children.

Marian Walsh defies traditional politics, with accomplishment and joy, and she invites more citizens to do the same.  She is the recipient of many public leadership awards, including being nominated for the “John F. Kennedy, Profile in Courage Award,” and has held ranking leadership positions in the Massachusetts Senate.  Before election into these leadership roles, Marian Walsh served as the Chief Administrative Officer for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston, MA — spearheading many reforms and new programs for the protection of victims, and for more efficient law enforcement.  She is the Founder of the American Campaign School and Leadership Camp in Boston, MA.

Marian Walsh is a graduate of Newton College of the Sacred Heart (BA), Harvard Divinity School (M.T.S.), and earned her Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University Law School.

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Date/Time:   Thursday, March 31, 2016, at 6 PM.

Location:  The Broad Institute (Olympus Room), Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA.

Dinner and drinks will be provided.  Registration is required, sign-in upon arrival.

Register at:

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Sign-up for DLF’s Mentoring Program

To be considered for the 2016 Mentoring Program, please register as well as fill out an application:

Register at

Fill out an application at

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2016 Mentoring Program

Mentors are important sources of information and guidance for your career advancement.  We have gathered an outstanding group of seasoned mentors who are excited to help you.

If you want to participate in the 2016 Mentoring Program, please register for the program here and then fill out an online application at

We will match you to a mentor based on your application, and the first kickoff meeting will be held on January 27, 2016 where you will meet with your mentor.

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Laura Appleton is a senior consultant at IPR.  Her expertise includes primary/secondary market research and quantitative analysis.  She has held senior marketing and research positions at Digital Equipment Corporation, Data General, SUN Microsystems and Qwest Communications. In the area of storage and software, she is an alumna of Storage Technologies and McDATA.  Laura was also a research director for Centennial Ventures – focused on telecommunications.  Prior to work at IPR she consulted for the technology research firm IDC.

Laura graduated from Boston College with a BA in Economics, Boston University with an MBA and the University of Denver with a master’s in Telecommunications. She also completed biology/chemistry coursework in preparation for her PharmD program at the University Colorado Health Sciences Center. Her outside interests include on-going animal rescue efforts, downhill skiing/racing and learning Italian.

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Pradeep Aradhya is founder and CEO of NLMobile. He brings a unique perspective on the use of cutting edge technologies in marketing – particularly with mobile. Previously, as Vice President of Technology at Digitas LLC he successfully led multi million dollar initiatives at Fortune 500 companies to create technology platforms for marketing. His role was to advocate the best and newest developments on various technology areas to provide brands with competitive advantages in establishing lasting relationships with customers.

Pradeep advises multiple start-ups in technology and other spaces on build/buy/partner strategies both in Boston and at the Merrimack Valley Sandbox (now Entreprenuers for All). Pradeep also sits on the board at the Science Club For Girls which provide free STEM education to underserved girls in the Boston area.

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Nathalie Goletiani is a physician scientist currently serving as a clinical neuroscientist at McLean Hospital and a faculty at Harvard Medical School. Nathalie’s interests are related to brain and brain-related disorders, i.e. in Neurology and Psychiatry. In this regard, she completed basic and clinical fellowships at Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. She is an author of peer-reviewed publications and a recipient of numerous national and international awards.

In her last fellowship, Nathalie was charged with rebuilding and running the Clinical Research Program at McLean Hospital, which taught her all aspects of management related to simultaneous running of multiple clinical trials. This experience in addition to her training culminated in generation of her own concepts and mechanisms related to womens’ disorders, a severely understudied area. She was awarded the Zinberg Fellowship and Livingston Award to specifically address womens’ issues and the complex underlying mechanisms in neurobiology of women.

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Robin Hamilton is Founder and Principal Consultant at Boston Business Operations, With over 15 years of experience and a Master’s degree in Project Management, she brings her expertise in strategy planning, preparation and execution to clients. She works with entrepreneurs and business owners  to develop scalable business operations which support the maintenance and growth of their businesses while preserving capital investment.

Robin Hamilton earned her Master of Science in Project Management and a Bachelor of Science in Leadership from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

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Melissa Hunter-Ensor is a partner in the Life Sciences Practice of  Saul Ewing, LLP, Boston.  Drawing on a strong scientific background that includes a post-doctoral fellowship with a Nobel laureate, Melissa is a patent attorney who designs and manages IP portfolios to complement the business objectives of her clients.

Melissa’s education includes a B.A. in chemistry at Smith College, as well as a Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania.  During her post-doctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology laboratory of Nobel laureate H. Robert Horvitz, she was awarded a Jane Coffin Child fellowship.

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David Proia is the Director of Cancer Biology and In Vivo Pharmacology at Synta Pharmaceuticals.  In this role, he leads preclinical biological and pharmacological research for several small molecule anticancer agents.  Prior to Synta, he was a Scientist at BostonBiochem and then AstraZeneca after a postdoc at Tufts where David worked on humanized tumor models.

David has a PhD in cell biology from Baylor College of Medicine and a B.S. in Biochemistry from WPI.  He is married (to a scientist!) and they have 2 young daughters.  David can provide advice on finding opportunities, right people to connect with to ensure you have the right package to get yourself into an interview, and what to do when you get into industry – what to expect, how to excel, and what a manager might want to see out of an employee.

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check back for additional mentors


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The Mentor Program will run from January to June of 2016.  The kickoff and wrap-up meetings with be held with the entire group, but meetings and/or correspondence in-between will be determined by yourself and your mentor.

Kickoff Meeting Date/Time:   Wednesday, January 27, 2015 at 6 PM.

Wrap-up Meeting Date/Time:  To be determined.

Location:  The Broad Institute (Olympus Room), Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA.

Dinner and drinks will be provided.  Registration is required, sign-in upon arrival.

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Register for “Breaking the Glass Ceiling in STEM Disciplines” Event on Nov 9

Register at:

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Breaking the Glass Ceiling in STEM Disciplines

Why are there still so few women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields? Why do high school girls shy away from pursuing STEM majors? Research has shown clear evidence of bias against women in STEM, and the stereotype of being labeled as nerdy or unattractive persists.

The truth is women are missing out on promising, fulfilling and lucrative careers that men have enjoyed for decades.

If you are currently working in STEM related fields or are considering this as a career, join us for an interactive panel on Monday, November 9, 2015, 6 pm, at the Broad Institute.  Our keynote speaker, Dr. Karen Panetta, Associate Dean for Graduate Education at Tufts University, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering will moderate a rock star panel of talented young women engineers in a range of disciplines including electrical, chemical, and mechanical engineering, computer science, and biology at UMass Lowell.

Panelists include Rajia Abdelaziz, Brittany Decker, Marcelle Durrenberger, Anne Faber, Erin Graceffa, Cassie Hailson, and Amy Tibbetts.

The panel also features Lauren Celano, an accomplished entrepreneur and CEO/Founder of Propel Careers, a Boston-based life science search and career development firm.

The panel will discuss the opportunities in STEM fields, and different strategies on how to overcome gender bias and stereotypes.  In addition, the event is a great networking opportunity.

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Dr. Karen Panetta is Associate Dean for Graduate Education at Tufts University, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Director of the Simulation Research Laboratory.  She has received several awards for outstanding teaching and mentoring as well as for creative curriculum development and outreach activities. In 2011, President Obama awarded her the nation’s highest award for Engineering, Science and Mathematics Education and Mentoring. Her numerous awards include, but are not limited to, the 2010 Norm Augustine Award from the National Academies of Engineering and Science, American Association of Engineering Societies, the 2011 Women of Vision Award from the Anita Borg Institute, the 2013 IEEE Ethical Practices Award, the 2013 New England Engineers Week Leadership Award, and the 2011 Harriet B. Rigas Award for outstanding female Educator.

As the founder of the International Nerd Girls Program, Dr. Karen Panetta has conducted engineering outreach activities to over 85,000 children, parents, and educators. She co-founded the first Tufts University School of Engineering start-up company, BA Logix, Inc. based on her own intellectual property. Dr. Panetta designed the App-E-Feat humanitarian challenge for engineers for the Clinton Global Initiative and hosted the web show, “Ask Dr. Karen”, which answers questions from students, parents, and educators from around the world about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Because of her intellectual prowess, Dr. Karen Panetta was the first woman engineer granted tenure in the Tufts University School of Engineering.

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Lauren Celano is the co-founder and CEO of Propel Career, a life science search and career development firm focused on connecting talented individuals with entrepreneurial life sciences companies. Propel works with current leaders and actively cultivates future leaders through full time placement, internships, mentoring, career coaching, and networking. Prior to Propel Careers, Lauren was a senior account manager for SNBL USA where she worked with emerging biotech companies in Europe, Asia, and the US to help characterize and advance their drug molecules. Prior to SNBL USA, she held business development positions with Aptuit and Quintiles, where she focused on IND enabling studies to advance therapeutics from discovery into the clinic.  She has a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Gettysburg College and an MBA with a focus in the health sector and entrepreneurship from Boston University.

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The panel is co-sponsored by the Francis College of Engineering at University of Massachusetts Lowell.

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Register at:

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Register for the Salary Negotiation Workshop

ATTENTION WOMEN: Did you know that over a woman’s working life, she could earn a million dollars less than a man?


  • In 2013, among full-time, year-round workers, women were paid 78 percent of what men were paid.
  • Women face a pay gap in nearly every occupation.
  • Worse of all, the pay gap grows with age.

Whether you’re conducting a job search, just entering the workforce or have been working for years, this Salary Negotiation Workshop is for you!  Diane Pacuk and Megan Cooney will lead a 3-hour workshop with interactive presentation and role-play.

The workshop will help you:

  • Learn the art of salary and benefits negotiations.
  • Acquire the tools, strategies, and confidence to ensure you’re compensated fairly.

ATTENDANCE IS LIMITED given the intimate nature of the workshop.

Date/Time:   Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 5:30 PM (since this is a 3 hour workshop, we will start immediately)

Location:  The Broad Institute

Dinner and drinks will be provided.

Register at Eventbrite

Registration is required, sign-in upon arrival.

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Diane croppedDiane Pacuk is a Senior Vice President and Assistant Complex Manager at Morgan Stanley.  In that role she is responsible for developing business as well as managing risk within the complex.  Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Diane spent 24 years at Merrill Lynch in a succession of roles within the firm.  Diane holds the Series 3,7,8,24,63,65 securities licenses and has a BS in Business Management from Lesley University. She is on the corporate advisory board of the Boston Chapter of the National Black MBA Association.  She chairs the Complex Diversity Council and is a member of the regional council.

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Megan Cooney Photo copyMegan Cooney, a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley, works closely with successful individuals and their families to provide thoughtful investment solutions designed to protect and preserve their wealth. In particular, Megan focuses her practice on female executives and women in transition, utilizing a consultative wealth management process tailored to bestow each client with a lasting foundation for financial security and personal success.  Megan is involved with The Commonwealth Institute, a nonprofit women’s organization with a distinct mission to help women CEOs, entrepreneurs and senior corporate executives grow their businesses and careers. Megan is also a member of the Morgan Stanley Women’s Financial Advisor Forum and holds the Series 7, 66, 31, and Massachusetts Insurance licenses.

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Workshop is sponsored by the Center of Work & Women at UMass Lowell.CWW_logo+UMASS copy




*No refunds issued once registered.

**de la Femme is a volunteer-based organization striving to provide resources for women to achieve their career potential.  Donations are instrumental in sustaining our mission, any amount is greatly appreciated.

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Mentoring Meeting Recap

It has been a wonderful year for de la Femme. We want to thank our speakers who generously shared their time, networks and insights with us.

Our meeting in July was a recap of our six-month inaugural mentoring program that started last December. We had an informal discussion between the mentors and mentees, talking about their experiences and what they’ve learned from their team members.   We also had new attendees who came to learn more about our mentoring program.Attendees Mentoring

Everyone felt they had gotten a lot from the mentor program. One mentee talked about how her mentor has helped her to transition her career. Another mentee said that she learned how to better navigate the politics within her company.   A mentor said that it was a wonderful experience for her to help guide the mentees. Some of the mentors commented that they would have benefited if they had mentors earlier in their own careers.

How to find a mentor?

There was a lot of discussion on how to find mentors and strategies to ask someone to be your mentor. Instead of asking for a formal mentorship right off the bat, the group suggested to let it happen naturally by interacting informally first.Robin and Melissa

When is the right time to start a family?

A question was raised on when is the right time to start a family without penalizing one’s career. I was surprised at the degree to which young women today still have to worry about this type of issue. Unfortunately, we still see this happen quite frequently that women who choose to stay at home and take care of their families for a significant amount of time, end up coming back to much more limited career options. I believe that this varies in different industries; some are definitely more accommodating than others. In some EU countries, new mothers get a year off and the employer retains their positions during their leave. It remains to be seen how the recent Netflix publicity over their new one year of paid maternity and paternity leave and similar policies will affect the career trajectory of women.

Thank you for the group’s feedback in helping us to improve on our next mentoring program.

Looking to the Future

Some people ask me why we need yet another woman’s group when there are so many already. My answer is that there are so many different types of women, in different stages of their career, with different interests. We need everyone’s help to bridge the gender gap, and to provide more support and opportunities for networking. I am happy to report that our members have found jobs and made friends and gotten support through de la Femme.

I am looking forward to our salary negotiation meeting in September, as well as Creating and Branding your LinkedIn profile, and Women and STEM/STEAM, and many others this fall and winter.   Please spread the word about de la Femme and let us know if there are other topics that are of interest to you.

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RESET Your Stress Event with Dr. Kristen Lee Costa


Dr. Kris has been a clinical practitioner for over 20 years. In that time, she noticed that people would come to her only at a point of crisis, particularly when they were “oversaturated with stress.” From her practice and experiences working with her patients, she gained insight into how various institutions affect well-being and physical health; these insights prompted the question “how do we sustain ourselves through complexity?” Various online resources will provide what she referred to as a “cookie-cutter” solution, such as “Five Easy Steps to De-Stress Your Life.” While a quick solution such as this might provide immediate respite, the solution doesn’t provide a sustainable, renewable method of dealing with stress and complexity. Moreover, every individual regards and handles stress differently, so a one-size-fits-all option is not a viable solution. Enter “RESET,” Dr. Kris’ method of self-care. Simply stated, Dr. Kris’ RESET method of self-care builds upon introspection and helps you to carve out a space that enables you to engage in a productive self-care strategy; importantly, this method can be tailored, modified, and adapted to the individual and their needs.

Our event started with a discussion on the definition of “Resilience.” Many incisive contributions came from the interactive audience and Dr. Kris added a new facet to the term that resounded with the audience: resilience is a process that “helps us to adapt.” Resilience is paramount in not only surviving, but also thriving, while navigating through complexity. One example of complexity that was discussed at length—and both women and men in the audience could identify with—was what Dr. Kris referred to as “Institutionalized –isms.” Examples of these inimical “-isms” are racism, sexism, culturalism, ageism, and manifest in the way we respond to the people’s perceptions of us based on their biases and attitudes. The RESET method helps one to become cognizant of the “isms” at play, to adapt within the complexity, and avoid frustration while maintaining the ability to navigate this complexity.

How does one cultivate resilience? How does one cultivate strength and the ability to bounce back? A cookie-cutter approach to dealing with stress is to “squash it,” but this doesn’t truly eliminate it. In fact, this cookie-cutter approach, as Dr. Kris suggested, might actually perpetuate stress. One component to Dr. Kris’ approach to dealing with stress is to recontextualize it. Instead of viewing stress as a wholly negative or antipathetic entity, realize that it can be a powerful teacher that can help cultivate resilience. Change and flux are part of the human condition and natural occurrences in life, and may occur more frequently in the lives of those who enjoy challenging themselves, are driven, and self-motivated. In this context, stress can be a “sign of conscientiousness” (e.g., you worry about doing your job well because you care about doing your job well), and can provide new perspectives and growth that the aforementioned “squashing” would’ve otherwise precluded. Harnessing stress in a new way helps you build “emotional muscle” that strengthens your inner grit and resilience, and ability to be self-sustainable. While the concept of harnessing stress seems paradoxical and counterintuitive to self-sustainability, understanding the context of the stress, knowing the change you can effect within it, and having a personalized RESET method enables you to harness stress, learn, and grow in a self-sustainable way (be sure to read more on this topic, specifically “natural stress” versus anxiety, in Dr, Kris’ book “RESET: Make the Most of Your Stress, Your 24-7 Plan for Well-Being”).

A key component to maintaining your resilience and self-care is “Emotional First Aid.” Dr. Kris states that emotional first aid is the preventative [self-]care that “helps avoid disaster”—don’t neglect yourself! Proper “emotional hygiene” allows you to become efficient and prevent burnout. The RESET method teaches you proper emotional hygiene through time management to find spaces for self-care.


So what is this RESET method? Without giving too much away (I highly recommend you read the book—it has changed my life profoundly for the better!), RESET is




End unproductive thinking

Talk it out


Oftentimes stress triggers a raw, visceral reaction, or the “primary appraisal.” Trying to problem-solve or make sense of things in this stage is dangerous because thinking patterns often lead to self-sabotage and intense frustration. In this stage, Dr. Kris urges you to be cognizant of the primary appraisal stage and to not let its effects affect you. After waiting it out, you enter the “secondary appraisal” stage that allows you to get a sense of the resources available to you, to avail yourself to these resources so that you can lean on them, learn from them, and gather more information. This allows you to build better behavioral and thought patterns and harness the stress in a new and productive way. Furthermore, this process is important for those with Impostor syndrome, which is prevalent amongst high-achieving women. For those with Impostor syndrome, bolstering your appraisal process is key in realizing your value and resources at hand.


Mind-body wellness is important. Movement of the body affects your ability to reason and process, your mood, and memory. Movement can also help bring anxiety down to a normal level. Also, sleep is necessary, as it provides the body with an opportunity for recalibration. Sleep-deprivation has serious consequences and the RESET method helps you to be more efficient so that you can carve out time for sleep. In addition to moving and sleeping regularly, nutritional value is important, as the body needs to receive “the right signals and messages” from what you consume.


Our generation is the first to die faster from “lifestyle diseases” than from communicable/infectious diseases. This is why energizing our bodies and giving them a chance to recalibrate, and knowing how to soothe our bodies properly are absolutely essential to our self-care. Soothing can be as easy as taking a walk, unclenching your fists, or smelling the proverbial flowers. Maladaptive soothing, such as participating in impulsive or destructive behaviors, can occur and it does not help the body recalibrate.

End unproductive thinking

Dr. Kris discussed “rumination,” a term she described as “a negative emotional state where we chew on fixed thoughts or ideations and keep chewing on them.” Rumination robs us of opportunities for productive thinking and ultimately depletes us. Recognizing when rumination occurs and setting boundaries and limits to it is important in self-care.

Talk it out

Becoming overwhelmed by stress and participating in counterproductive processes like rumination can leave us feeling lonely and isolated. Oftentimes in isolation, negativity is suppressed, which causes it to fester. Talking it out involves finding a community of like-minded, supportive people, people that “get you,” and mentors that you are comfortable conversing with, being inquisitive and learning from. Naysayers and “dream bashers” will always be out there, so finding a community that bolsters you is an important part of self-care and defeating negative habits and thought processes.

The RESET method empowers you in a very unique and edifying way. As Dr. Kris stated, it gives you “permission to say ‘when we struggle, we can find resources, and connect in thoughtful ways, rather than depleting ourselves and burning out.’”

The event was simply amazing. Dr. Kris is a gifted speaker and an empowering, motivational, and genuine woman. It was a pleasure to host her and a privilege to learn from her. I think it’s safe to say that everyone in the audience left inspired, empowered, and equipped to RESET and successfully navigate all complexity!


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June 3: “Reset your Stress: Cultivating Resilience in Today’s Complex Market” event

Register for de la Femme’s next event at:

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Reset your Stress: Cultivating Resilience in Today’s Complex Market

How can we maintain wellbeing given today’s hypercompetitive marketplace and increasing demands?  Join Dr. Kris, a researcher and practitioner specializing in preventing professional burnout and increasing resilience in today’s complex work arenas, for a discussion that will help participants in examining complex contextual factors that create barriers for professional and personal success.  Participants will be supported in understanding the importance of engaging in practical strategies that cultivate excellence and resilience at work and beyond.

Participants will learn:

*Common stressors today’s women face within organizations.

*How to avoid the trappings of professional burnout.

*Practical, proven methods for increasing longevity and sustainability at work and at home.

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Kristen Lee Costa ’11, EdD, LICSW, known as “Dr. Kris,” an award-winning professor of Behavioral Science and a Doctor of Education faculty member at Northeastern University in Boston, where her research and teaching interests include individual and organizational wellbeing and resilience. Dr. Kris operates a clinical and consulting practice devoted to preventing and treating burnout and is the author of RESET: Make the Most of Your Stress, winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Motivational Book of 2015.

Dr. Kris is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker known for her advocacy in promoting increased mental health integration in social policies and institutions to facilitate access and improved health outcomes in the U.S. and across the globe. She has served as a U.S. federal grant reviewer for the Departments of Minority Affairs, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, and Health and Human Services.

Dr. Kris’s signature ability to engage with a diverse range of audiences in implementing strategic self-care practices has led her to be invited to speak nationally and internationally to educators, health and mental health professionals, business leaders and general audiences.

Dr. Kris holds a BS from Worcester State University, an MSW from Boston University and an EdD in Organizational Leadership Studies from Northeastern University.

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RESET: Make the Most of Your Stress is based on the RESET© model of self-care developed as a therapeutic framework to prevent and treat burnout. RESET© blends substantive theory with practical tools for readers to draw upon at work and home, and has been called “a breakthrough model that reframes our ideas about stress” and “provides a clear strategy for self care that is compelling, creative and motivating for those leading high stress, demanding lives.”

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Register at

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May 7: Can You Work And Have A Life?

Thursday, May 7: Can You Work And Have A Life?

Paula Rayman HeadshotRecently, the book Lean-In challenged women to be more assertive in their workplaces in order to better able to climb the ladder of success. However, through blogs and twitters, thousands of women have responded with compelling reasons why this is counter-productive to a woman’s well-being, and instead offered the prescription to reject male patterns of power-over with an ethic of power-with. Others noted the importance of focusing on changing public policies and corporate practices that would give both women and men more choices about work-life balance throughout the life course.   We are excited to have Professor Paula Rayman, author of Beyond the Bottom Line: The Search for Dignity at Work, a world renowned scholar and Senior Fulbright Award recipient, who will lead a conversation on the work-life equation.

Date/Time: Thursday, May 7, 2015 at 6 PM
Location: The Broad Institute (Olympus Room), Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA
Dinner and drinks will be provided.

Register at Eventbrite: Registration is required, sign-in upon arrival.

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Paula Rayman, Ph.D., is Professor of Sociology at University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is Director of the Middle East Center for Peace, Development, and Culture and Executive Director of the public sector hub of the Women in Public Service Project. She was the Founding Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at UMass Lowell.

Dr. Rayman is a Senior Fulbright Award recipient. In 2014, she led trainings on non-violent social action for a coalition of Israeli and Palestinian women leaders and spoke at the United States Embassy in Israel as part of the Distinguished American Speaker series. Her new project with United States Institute of Peace is focused on the implementation of United Nation Resolution 1325 and development of National Action Plans to combat violence against women.

Dr. Rayman is also a nationally recognized scholar in the field of work organization, labor, and public policy. She is the author of Beyond the Bottom Line: The Search for Dignity at Work.  She was the founding director of the Radcliffe Public Policy Center at Harvard University. Rayman has also worked extensively on issues related to women and science. She was the Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundations Project Women and Techforce and WORKING WISE (Women in Science and Engineering). She is the co-author of The Equity Equation.   She was the recipient of the Pathways for Women in Sciences award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Professor Rayman has been recognized for her leadership on advancing women in STEM from many organizations including the Weizmann Institute, Israel, the 1995 United Nations Woman and Science Tent, Beijing, and the Council on Competitiveness, Washington D.C.
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Selected Publications:

  • From Birmingham to Budrus: Nonviolent Resistance in Conflicted Regions. Dorothy Cotton Institute, Cornell University, In Progress 2013
  • The Eight Peace Pillars: A More Inclusive Approach to Building Positive Peace.
  • Co-authored with Suyheang Kry, Peace and Conflict Studies Program, University of Massachusetts Lowell, In Progress 2013
  • Working WISE: Intergenerational Voices of Women in STEM Fields. National Science Foundation, Washington D.C. 2009.
  • Beyond Coexistence: Israeli Jewish-Arab Relations. Fulbright Senior Project. University of Haifa, Israel. 2008.
  • Beyond the Bottom Line: The Search for Dignity at Work, Palgrave St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2001.

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S[o]WOT next?

S[o]WOT next?

Outstanding Mentor? Check! SMART goals? Check! Now what? Now that you have defined your end goal and both measurable and attainable benchmarks to achieve, you should recognize the talents and skills you possess that will enable you to reach your goal.  Whether you’re an academic post-doc looking to transition to industry, seeking a promotion within your company, or embarking on your first entrepreneurial venture, acknowledging your talents and skills, and the opportunities for professional and personal growth and development will be critical for your success.

How do you obtain this knowledge and initiate this self-analysis? Self-examination and self-awareness are considerable feats, so one tool that de la Femme Mentor Robin Hamilton, founder and principal of Boston Business Operations Group, presented is the SWOT Analysis.


SWOT Analysis

The SWOT Analysis is a tool that businesses use to create strategy, but it can also be used to as a personal tool to help you recognize personal and professional strengths, as well as opportunities for growth and development.  Personal SWOT analysis involves identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  Mind Tools provides a useful worksheet and examples of questions you can ask yourself to help you get started.  Since this is a personal analysis, try to complete this independently first then seek outside perspectives from your mentor or other members of your community, such as fellow mentees in your mentoring circle.

Identifying your Strengths

Be honest and don’t let your modesty inhibit you.  Celebrate all you’ve achieved, recognize your unique contributions, and find out what differentiates you from your peers.  Look to the community that supports you for further objective perspectives.

Eliminating the negative effect of weaknesses on your work and development

Again, be honest and think of areas for improvement.  What improvements can be made to build confidence? What negative habits can you eliminate to improve your work situation? Again, look to the community that supports you because they could provide incisive insights into potential weaknesses that can be addressed and eliminated.

Opportunities for growth, learning, or advancement

Look within your current company or at your target industry for opportunities.  What new skills or knowledge can you acquire to help you advance? Are there opportunities for you to fill gaps or provide solutions to current needs in your company or target industry? How can you tailor and use your strengths and skills to create opportunities? What kinds of opportunities will become available when you eliminate one of your weaknesses? Perhaps your current network can provide critical resources to aid your development or advancement towards your goal.

Threats as obstacles to overcome

What stands between you and your goal? Do you have competition for a promotion or position at work? Are your weaknesses posing a threat to your growth or advancement? Is your knowledge base becoming outdated? Thinking creatively and perhaps collaboratively can help you find solutions that propel you up and over these obstacles.


Discuss your SWOT Analysis with your Mentor

Again, your mentor has the “relevance” and “gap” to help you succeed (see first blog post) and thrive, so have the candid discussion about the results of your SWOT analysis as a way to optimize your strategies for achieving your SMART goals.  He or she will undoubtedly proffer invaluable insights, such as strengths, traits, or unique aptitudes you didn’t know you possessed that are desirable and necessary for the goal you are trying to achieve.  Be honest throughout this process; all information, even weaknesses and threats, gathered from this analysis will help you realize your potential, areas for growth and learning, and desirable opportunities that can be seized!


Meet our Entrepreneurial Mentors this Thursday!


Come join de la Femme at the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) this Thursday, February 26. Manijeh Goldberg, one of our mentors, will be presenting at the Founding a Startup as a Woman: Overcoming Challenges Panel discussion.  Here’s the link for more information:

We will also have a Resource Table staffed by our Executive Team member Susu Wong and Mentor Robin Hamilton. We hope that you can join us!



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Six Tips for Women Reentering the Workforce

You put it off. Going back to work. You worry, Have I been away too long? Do I still have relevant skills? The prospect of reentering the workforce can be daunting for many women but it doesn’t have to be. The economy is improving, unemployment is the lowest it has been in eight years and with the dawn of social media, there are more options than ever. So how do you begin? Here are six ways to help women take that first step back.

1. Network. This cannot be overstated. Create a profile on Linkedin. Contact your former colleagues, your former classmates, neighbors, people you have volunteered with, any contact you can think of. Invite them for coffee. Conduct informational interviews. You never know what it will lead to.

2. Change your thinking. You didn’t just “help the PTO run the spring social”, you organized an event for 500 people that generated revenue for a non-profit organization, you managed vendors and coordinated a team of 30 volunteers. Rethink how you spent your time away from the workforce. It all counts.

3. Be fluid. Opportunities come in many forms. Your skills may be transferrable to a role in an industry you have never worked in before. Consider temping or contract work. Often times getting in the door leads to bigger opportunities.

4. Do your research. The internet provides a bounty of information on job training, skill development and resources for your job search. Get a notebook and your laptop and do some investigating. What interests you? What kind of hours do you want to work? Create a “job profile” for yourself so you have a place to start.

5. Find a mentor. What prompts you to change something in your life? Inspiration. You see something or hear something that inspires you to make a change. The same thing applies to a job search. Having someone who serves as an inspiration is invaluable. A mentor can be a sounding board, a role model and a coach. Identify a person or several people who help provide that spark.

6. Take a chance. Nothing comes from inaction. You may find that your new job is where you least expect it. You may discover a hidden talent or find more personal fulfillment in that great new role. The reality is, without taking that first step, you will never know.

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“Speed Networking to Meet Your Mentor” Event

Register for DLF’s “Speed Networking to Meet Your Mentor” Event held at the Broad Institute on November 13, 2014 at 6pm

Mentors are important sources of information and guidance for your career advancement.  We have gathered an outstanding group of seasoned mentors who are excited to get to know you!  Join us for an evening of speed networking where you will meet with each mentor.  Afterwards, if you would like to participate in our free 6-month mentorship program, we will match you with a mentor based on preferences and feedback.

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The Anatomy of Women’s Tech Roles

Big companies’ diversity numbers show women hold around 15% of tech roles. But what do these female techies really do? Are women techies more prevalent and accepted in a male dominated community.   Read about what three women tech leads at Shopify described their experiences.

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Even When Women Ask for a Raise, They Don’t Ask for Enough

Ask up the ladder. Research indicates that men are more willing to exchange favors than women are, and we believe that puts them in a better position to line up promotions. Women hesitate to trade on their relationships because that feels crass and unseemly. We coach women to network in a much more purposeful way and establish a quid pro quo of career favors with colleagues. In addition, women shouldn’t be reticent to network with their boss’s boss. Yes, you need to proceed with caution in terms of protocol, but courageously hob-knobbing above your level can earn you respect and get you noticed.

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