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Women in rebellion: Finding your voice

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Submitted by bailey on Fri, 04/13/2018 - 10:38

Women's voices have often found a strong outlet in poetry. Poetry distills the complexity of the human experience into a simple, powerful message that appeals to many. At the same time, poetry is open for interpretation, discussion, and reflection. As Alice Walker, a poet and activist, states:

“Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.”

For National Poetry Month, we asked the HERdacity team to share their favorite poems. From the silliness of Jenny Joseph’s Warning, to the raw honesty of Nayyirah Waheed’s Emotional Nutrition, these poems illustrate the strength of women in body, mind, and spirit.

Enjoy these and let us know if you have a favorite poem!

June Jordan // Oughta Be a Woman

Washing the floors to send you to college
Staying at home so you can feel safe
What do you think is the soul of her knowledge
What do you think that makes her feel safe

Biting her lips and lowering her eyes
To make sure there’s food on the table
What do you think would be her surprise
If the world was as willing as she’s able

Hugging herself in an old kitchen chair
She listens to your hurt and your rage
What do you think she knows of despair
What is the aching of age

The fathers, the children, the brothers
Turn to her and everybody white turns to her
What about her turning around
Alone in the everyday light

There oughta be a woman can break
Down, sit down, break down, sit down
Like everybody else call it quits on Mondays
Blues on Tuesdays, sleep until Sunday
Down, sit down, break down, sit down

A way outa no way is flesh outa flesh
Courage that cries out at night
A way outa no way is flesh outa flesh
Bravery kept outa sight
A way outa no way is too much to ask
Too much of a task for any one woman

Mary Oliver // Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Jenny Joseph // Warning

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Brianna Wiest // Salt Water

If on my last day
I were to greet
The person I could have become
I hope I am happy to be who I am
And I hope that I love her anyway

Nayyirah Waheed // Emotional Nutrition

i will tell you, my daughter
of your worth
not your beauty
every day. (your beauty is given. every being is born beautiful).
knowing your worth
can save your life
raising you on beauty alone
you will be starved
you will be raw.
you will be weak.
an easy stomach
always in need of someone telling you how
beautiful you are

Rudy Francisco // Untitled

she is more than just
another piece of land
waiting to be claimed.

she is a music note
waiting to be loved into a song.
she is an acoustic guitar
waiting patiently for the hands
that have been trained
to hold her properly.

she is a wind chime
in a cul-de-sac
and her skin is a melody
very few men
will have the pleasure of hearing

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5 Ways You Can Support International Women's Day

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Submitted by anna on Thu, 03/08/2018 - 09:36
In 1910, the U.S. celebrated the first National Women’s Day, becoming international in nature just one year later with over 100 women in 17 countries. By 1912, over one million women and men attended rallies in support of women’s rights.  

While women’s issues have evolved from working conditions and suffrage to representation and wage gaps (to name a few), there is still the challenge of gender parity.   

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to raise awareness and take action.  

Here are 5 things you can do: 

  1. Maintain a gender parity mindset 

  1. Challenge stereotypes and bias’ 

  1. Forge positive visibility of women by mentoring 

  1. Influence others’ beliefs or actions 

  1. Celebrate female achievements 

In only three years, a few thought leaders came together to create a movement that influenced over a million people across the world to march on behalf of women’s rights. If we can make that kind of progress 100 years ago, just imagine what we can do now.  

women with flowers

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HER Guide to SXSW: Off the Beaten Path Places to Check Out

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Submitted by anna on Wed, 03/07/2018 - 08:48
Sub Title
Part 2

So you're in town for SXSW? The 10 days you're here are going to be hectic- with crowds, lines, and traffic that will take over the city. We have created this guide to cool spots around the city that won't be taken over by people wearing lanyards. Whether you're looking to recharge your mind and body, reward yourself shopping, or just want to get away for some low-key food, coffee, or drinks, we've got you covered. Let us know if you head to any of these spots using #HERguideSXSW


First, coffee

  • Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors 
    This beautiful coffee shop on the east side has everything you're looking for: stunning natural light, copper bar top, and of course, perfect cups of coffee. Located at 1111 Chicon st (stop in at Fox Den plant shop right across the street).

  • Vintage Heart Coffee
    Right on E. 7th st, this insta-worthy coffee shop is serving up some serious baked goods and breakfast tacos. They even have a gorgeous outdoor patio to relax on. 

  • Cuvee Coffee
    This is the place for you if you love nitro cold brew. They have it on tap so you really can't go wrong. Over on E. 6th st, you'll get out of the SXSW traffic but don't have to stray too far.

  • Seventh Flag Coffee
    Set in a little house on S. 1st st, this is the minimalist coffee shop of your dreams. They serve avocado toast to go along with your americano.

  • Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden
    This newer coffee + beer garden is over on Pickle rd. A bit further out than the rest of the shops, it's definitely worth it. They have great coffee, tasty cocktails and beer, and several food trucks in case you're hungry. They even have a chicken coop in the back!

Treat yo self

  • Positive Images Gallery
    Located on W. 6th st, Positive Images is an adorable gallery with tastefully curated  jewelry, art, and clothing. You'll find the perfect piece or accessory you've been looking for. 

  • Cavender's 
    True Austinites head to Cavender's for their boots and hats. Located on S. Lamar, this shop will have all of your SXSW gear.

  • South Congress shops
    This avenue is guaranteed to be crowded this week but still worth checking out if you're in town. There are tons of cute shops to pop into and you'll be sure to find something neat.

  • ModCloth
    Right on W. 2nd st, ModCloth is your one-stop shop for any last-minute clothing needs you might have. Specializing in vintage-styled fashion, the store is filled with adorable pieces. (tip: their vintage section in the very back corner of the store is the best part). 

  • The Fox Den
    Hands down the best plant shop in town. It is a tiny store filled to the brim with the healthiest, greenest plants around. Having both succulents and fig trees, a plant would be the perfect souvenir to take home. Recommend the small potted succulents which are perfect for travel.

Get outside

  • Running + Hiking on Town Lake trail
    The trail is on Lady Bird Lake, or Town Lake as known to locals. It circuits around the lake in two and four mile loops. It is a well-attended, well-groomed trail, and the view of the downtown skyline is unbeatable. And don't forget to take your photo with the statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Check it out at sunrise or sunset for a positive start/end of your day.

  • Hiking at the greenbelt
    You can't go wrong taking a hike on the Barton Creek greenbelt. It's a 14 mile trail that is gorgeous on a sunny day.

  • Barton Springs
    An iconic part of Austin, you can't leave the city without taking a swim in Barton Springs, nestled in Zilker Park. It's  temperature is consistently between 68 and 74 degrees year-round but the clear blue water will make it so worth it.

  • Austin Bouldering Project
    Over on Springdale rd, this rock-climbing gym is always a lot of fun (and definitely a tough workout). You can buy a one-time day pass for $16.


Get movin'

  • Black Swan Yoga
    A completely donation-based studio, there are two locations: one on W. 5th st, and another further out on Westgate blvd. The first downtown location might be pretty busy during SXSW, but it is such a beautiful studio that it is sure to rejuvenate you. 

  • Ballet Austin
    Definitely a hidden gem, Ballet Austin usually has 10 drop-in classes that you can attend anytime. Ranging from intermediate Afro-Brazillian dance to beginner Jazz, they'll have a class you'll love. Located right downtown on W. 3rd st, it's a great place for an high-energy workout.

  • Physique 57
    If you're not interested in leaving your Airbnb, Physique 57 is the place for you. It's a completely online workout program that specializes in barre classes. You can do a 15 day free trial if you want to test it out.

  • Pure Barre
    But if you are looking to get out for a bit, Pure Barre has you covered. They have three locations around town and you can always try a week's worth of classes for free.

  • SoulCycle
    If you're looking for a quick workout while you're in town, you can't go wrong with taking a SoulCycle class. It is a 45 minute indoor cycling class that you'll definitely feel the burn of next week. There are several around Austin.

Hangry yet?

  • Sweetish Hill Bakery
    Also located on W. 6th, this locally-sourced bakery has pastries, baked goods, and desserts. We'd recommend checking out their daily lunch specials for a quick bite. 

  • Food truck parks on S. 1st, E. 6th, and E. 11th
    You can't go wrong with any of these parks, they all are guaranteed to have plenty of tasty trucks. We love Wasota African Cuisine on E. 11th. 

  • Voodoo Donuts
    Open 24 hours, this W. 6th donut shop will satisfy your late-night sugar craving. Specializing in funky donuts such as the Voodoo Bubble (vanilla frosting, bubble gum dust, and a DubbleBubble on top), you better be feeling adventurous. 

  • Counter Culture
    This vegan spot on E. Cesar Chavez is the place for you if you've indulged in too many breakfast tacos since you've been in town. They have amazing daily specials and bottles of kombucha galore.

  • Blue Dahlia
    Inside of the cutest house E. 11th st, this place is a little off the beaten path. Located on the east side, 11th st is full of cute shops, restaurants, and bars and hopefully won't be as crowded as downtown. 

Forget somethin'?

  • Austin Macworks
    This is exactly where you'll need to head if you're missing anything tech related. It is centrally located on W. 2nd st so you'll be right near the shop when you need it.

  • Barton Creek Square
    From Sephora to Cotton On, this mall will definitely have anything that you have forgotten. Right off of 360 and Mopac, it isn't far out at all.

Hope you enjoyed these women-specific suggestions for how to get the most out of this conference without burning out. Compliments of, a non-profit dedicated toward women supporting women.

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HER Guide to SXSW: Curated Women-Centric Panels

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Submitted by anna on Fri, 03/02/2018 - 13:48
Sub Title
Part 1

There are so many opportunities for women to connect, learn and be inspired at SXSW this year. With 10 days and hundreds of panels, sessions, films, and events to choose from, selections can be overwhelming. HERdacity has curated all the events here to help you navigate the festival. #HERguidetoSXSW


sxsw calendar


March 9th

March 10th

March 11th

March 12th

March 13th

March 14th

March 15th


So there you have it, you're completely equipped to tackle the next 10 days. #HERdacity + #HERguidetoSXSW all of the inspiring things you see around town.

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Educating Teens in Recovery: Stepping off the Beaten Path

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Submitted by anna on Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:53
Sub Title
Q&A with Julie McElrath at University High School

Today, 45 teens will overdose from opioids, 22 from heroin, and and 13 from cocaine. To combat these statistics, Julie McElrath runs University High School, a sober high school in Austin TX.  University High is committed to enriching students' academic and personal lives in a recovery environment. Julie gave a candid Q&A about her work with adolescents in addiction recovery and her journey off the beaten path to find her life's purpose. She will be speaking on educating students in the recovery process in the upcoming SXSW-EDU on March 4th. 

UHS Graduation
University High School 2017 Graduation

What has made you so passionate about running a sober high school? 

Concerned parents, adolescent addiction experts, and community leaders in Central Texas have long recognized the need for a secondary school dedicated to supporting teens in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. In response, University High School (UHS) was incorporated in 2013 and gained 501c3 status in 2014. UHS opened its doors on August 25, 2014 as the first sober high school in Central Texas. The school fosters a culture of growth and wellness, with program components founded on national research and best practices, while providing individualized, challenging academics in a safe and sober environment for teens who have chosen recovery. 

How did you find your path to educating teens in recovery?

Apple founder, Steve Jobs, said THIS to a group at Stanford University: "You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path."

When I returned to school in 2009, after being laid off due to everything that was happening in the economy at the time, I had definitely stepped off the well-worn path. Little did I know what lie ahead – a new career as a social worker, recovery for our family, the opportunity to be a part of an amazing new project in Austin – a recovery high school, and the blessing of being a part of a community I didn’t even realize existed. I wake up each and every day grateful.

What key strength serves you best in recovery work?

I place a high value on my relationships, be it family, friends, co-workers, etc. and I strive to create a working environment that includes a high level of trust and reciprocity. One that is collaborative and allows each team member to bring their own strengths to the working relationship.

Can you describe one experience that helped guide your path?

One experience that I continue to learn from today is that it is never too late. When I decided to return to school at age 50 to pursue my bachelor’s in Social Work, I wondered if I would be able to actually stick with it “after all these years.” Walking through that experience and then continuing on to pursue my master’s in Social Work, taught me a valuable lesson – even at my age!

What is one thing you have not let stand in your way?

If I could sum it up in one word, it would be FEAR. As a young person, and well into adulthood, I was a fearful individual. Through my family’s experience with the disease of addiction and our healing, I’ve learned that fear expends a great deal of energy, that it can be a motivator, and that it’s always important to remember to “let go” and trust (God, my Higher Power, the Universe).

Can you share what motivates you?

My motivation is driven by my relationships and collective life experiences. 

My parents – Two hardworking individuals who raised me with an immense amount of love and support. 

My children – Being a mom is the best job in the world! I used to think a lot about all of the things I would need to teach them. Little did I know – they’re really the teachers. 

My UHS family - The students – they are truly my heroes! Their insight and authenticity pushes me each and every day to be a better version of myself. The recovery support staff, academic staff and board – we have one of the hardest working and most dedicated teams I’ve ever had the privilege of being associated with. 

My recovery community partners – They give tirelessly of themselves each and every day! And what I’ve learned from working with them is that a career in this field is truly a calling.

What gives you a sense of purpose?

I find that I stay most grounded when I am living purposefully and connected with my core beliefs and values. They influence my decisions, shape my day-to-day actions, and support my short- and long-term priorities. I place a significant value on being a person of high integrity and trustworthy. As a result of this, I am better able to be true to myself and live in authenticity.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self? 

I would tell my 20-year-old self that she is beautiful, smart and capable of doing whatever she sets her mind on doing. To be kind, patient, and have grace for herself and others. Plan for the future and live in the moment. Work hard, have FUN and, above all else, be yourself!

What advice would you give other women in pursuing their goals? 

Take time for self-care. 

Take risks. 

Be true to yourself.

What wish would you have for the world? 

That all humankind has the opportunity to experience unconditional love and acceptance.


Julie McElrath

Julie McElrath, LMSW, LCDC-I,

Prior to coming to University High School, Julie facilitated Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) groups for adults and adolescents, and provided individual therapy at a drug and alcohol residential treatment facility.  She is a member of the Austin Metro Drug Free Coalition, Travis County Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (YSAPC), Recovery Oriented Community Collaborative (ROCC) in Austin, Strategic Planning Group for the Alliance for Adolescent Recovery Treatment in Texas, and founding member of the Central Texas Youth Recovery Network (YRN).  Julie has spent the last several years focusing her time and energy building relationships in the nonprofit and recovery communities, and developing a working knowledge of nonprofit best practices.  She is a native Austinite and has worked in the nonprofit community as a Director of Advancement, Business Manager, and member of an Exploration Committee that successfully established and developed a statewide chapter of a national nonprofit organization.  Julie is the co-author of a book chapter to be published in early 2018 in Implementing the Grand Challenge of Reducing and Preventing Alcohol Misuse and Its Consequences.  Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

Julie holds a Master of Science in Social Work and a Bachelor’s in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin, as well as a certificate from the Graduate Portfolio Program in Nonprofit Studies from the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at The University of Texas. 


Our community is so fortunate to have strong, empowered and dedicated women like Julie pioneering recovery-oriented systems for our youth.  She is a great role model for any woman who wants to be "the change she wants to see in the world!"  I'm so grateful for her commitment! and passion.

It's so  inspiring seeing a woman switch tracks mid-career, especially when she follows her heart into something fueled by her passion. Julie seems like a truly wonderful individual. Thanks for this interview.

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Women Traveling Solo

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Submitted by anna on Thu, 02/15/2018 - 12:29
Sub Title
5 books by & for women

Traveling alone could be one of the most fulfilling and exciting experiences of your life--but, when you tell friends and family that you're embarking on a solo trip, you're often met with mixed responses. Suddenly everyone suggests that you bring a friend, gives you a can of pink pepper spray, or has some cautionary tale of a woman they heard of who was kidnapped and never heard from again. While their fears are usually warranted, there are some inspiring stories  of women who have had rewarding experiences. Here are five books, provided by BookPeople in Austin, TX, detailing the experiences of women who took a leap of faith and came out better on the other side. 


Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis (2011)

Becoming Odyssa


Davis is an avid hiker who grew up in North Carolina and fell in love with long-distance backpacking. At age 21, she found herself at a crossroads, unsure of what she wanted to do with her life. To find her purpose, she decided to hike the Appalachian Trail, a 2175-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine. As a solo female hiker, she wrote this memoir to detail the hardest and most challenging four months of her life. With every mile she hikes, she gets closer to understanding herself and what she wants to do with her life.  


Tracks by Robyn Davidson (1995)



Queensland-born Davidson wrote this personable (and hilarious) memoir about her 1,700-mile trek through the Australian desert with four camels and a dog for company. She tackles life in Australia in the 70's, recounting the rampant sexism, racism, and harshness of the outback. Tracks is the compelling journey of one women who made a courageous decision. 


The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman (2011)

Good Girl's Guide


Self-described "good-girl" Friedman did well in school and always played by the rules before doing something she had never done before: went out on a whim. She spontaneously bought a plane ticket to Ireland, forming a friendship with a free-spirited adventurer along the way. They depart on a year-long adventure galivanting through three continents. This memoir is exceedingly charming, and you'll be hard-pressed to put it down.  


Taschen's New York: Hotels, Restaurants, and Shops by Angelika Taschen (2009)

Taschen's New York


Beautifully illustrated and design-forward, Taschen takes you through New York City hotels, restaurants, and shops through the lens of a well-connected local. It includes off the beaten path recommendations that are sure to keep you on your feet and impress your friends. (Bonus-- it would be a stunning coffee table book). 


Swimming Holes of Texas by Julie Wernersbach and Carolyn Tracy (2018) 

Swimming Holes of Texas


Written by two Austin-based ladies, Wernersbach and Tracy, guide you through the best swimming holes in Texas. They spotlight one hundred natural spots across the state, some hidden finds as well as more popular ones. Every swimming hole includes stunning pictures of the scenery, making you want to jump in a car with your girlfriends immediately.  



HERdacity thanks BookPeople for providing all 5 women-centric travel books. You can find all of these books online or at their N. Lamar Austin store.

books for womens travel
books for womens travel


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Leaning Back In: 5 Tips for Women Returning to Work

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Submitted by anna on Tue, 01/30/2018 - 13:28

In the US, women are the primary caregivers, often opting to drop out of the workforce to care for children, aging parents, and ailing relatives. According to a study conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation (2010), of the 90% of women who wanted to resume their careers after taking time off to have children, 70% found a way to return to their careers but only 40% found full-time, mainstream work. In addition, a growing share of stay-at-home mothers say they are home-bound because they cannot find a job (6% in 2017, up from 1% in 2000).

What do stay-at-home moms do all day?

After 15 years in the professional world, I stepped back to stay home and raise my kids. It used to bother me when people would ask if I “worked”.  At dinner parties, someone would inevitably try and make conversation with me by asking,  

“Do you work?”    

“Oh, yes,” I’d answer. 

 “What do you do?” they’d continue.  

“I cook, I clean, drive kids, help with homework…it’s 24/7.”

They would laugh, as if there was some joke there, then look away uncomfortably when they saw I wasn’t kidding. 

For some reason, the type of work a woman does when she cares for her family often does not count as “work”. Nor does it count as legitimate career development, presumably because money does not change hands.  The reality is, staying home for a time to care for your family is both a job and an education.   

Most working moms step back from their careers at some point to raise children, whether for a few months, a few years or a few decades.  And when they do, they find that they undergo a unique hands-on, pressure-cooker type of leadership program. It has long hours, zero pay and a hap-hazard vacation policy, at best. Technically, they do not even get sick days. But what they do get is an excellent management education. They learn to motivate, lead, negotiate, train, manage a budget, and drive to results with the most difficult, untrained work force imaginable: children under the age of 10. 

Yet, for women seeking to return to the paid workforce, this intense leadership education gets little or no recognition in an interview setting. Unless you’re going for a nanny position, the person across the desk may not readily acknowledge the people management or budgeting skills you’ve developed in your hands-on, stay-at-home Mom program. One of the biggest challenges a woman faces when returning to the work force is how to take the experience she has gained in her time off and leverage it to land a paid position. 

career mom










Here are some tips that helped me, and could help you, make the most out of your stay at home experience.

1. Break down the tasks you’ve used at home into marketable skills- 

You may have developed digital and networking skills through social media, blogging or other online programs. If you’re like many women, you’ve spent a big portion of your time volunteering and helping at your kid’s school. You’ve raised money by selling tickets for events, rounded up and managed volunteer workers to get the job done, and thrown entire events often without spending a dime. 

In job terms, these skills are: 

  • Social media & communications 

  • Sales management, 

  • Project team leadership and, 

  • Event planning.  

These are all resume builders.  Step back and look at what you’ve done and the skills you’ve developed as an employer might see them.  Whether you performed them for an educational institution, a nonprofit entity or an athletic leisure association, you’ve done it.  Remember to be specific and state the percentage of total revenues you drove, the number of people you managed and the impact you had on the organization.  These are all sound building blocks for a resume which reflect what you’ve accomplished in your “time off.” 

2. Showcase your skillset digitally-

Once you’ve got your resume updated, make sure you set a credible and updated online presence on LinkedIn.  Using the building blocks of the career skills you outlined above, try showing your experience by skillset rather than chronologically if your work experience is not recent.  Then develop your digital footprint by attaching a professional photo and by growing your network to around 100 connections, initially and ultimately to 500+ as your network grows.   

Remember to round out your profile by stating what is important to you and what you value. Employers appreciate volunteer work and want to see your personality in addition to your skills.  Spend some time making your profile is as complete as possible and include a crisp summary paragraph stating what you’re looking for and the skills you have to demonstrate your capability in this area.   

3. Network through your immediate circle of friends- 

Though you may not have been in the work place recently, you still have the ability to develop a strong network.  In addition to the strong network from your daily interactions, remember that the women you see in car pool lines, waiting for kids at after school activities and volunteering at your child’s school also have connections.  They may have spouses with jobs, know others that work for companies in your area or hold jobs themselves. They are not only great networking opportunities, but women you can develop personal relationships with that could help you professionally later on.

4. Have your elevator pitch ready-

It is important to you take some time to sketch out a brief description of what you're looking for—your elevator pitch-- and rehearse it in private until it rolls off your tongue naturally.   The more confident and well-articulated this "pitch" is the more credible you'll appear. Start by announcing your intent to get a job to friends and share the pitch which you've rehearsed in private earlier.   

Friends want to help; ask them if they know anyone you can reach out to for an informational interview.   Most people are happy to share information as long as they do not feel put on the spot to hire you and will be happy to connect you by email.  In your informational interview, ask questions about the industry, the company or their job responsibilities to bring yourself up-to-date in your field of interest. Any of these conversations can convert to more interviews and ultimately, an actual job. 

5. Persevere- 

It may not happen overnight (and probably won't), but your chance to move from an unpaid position to a part-time paid position or from a side hustle to a full-time job is out there.  Be open to volunteer opportunities if it expands your skill set (and your resume!) and don’t forget to ask for a detailed LinkedIn recommendation for your work contributions.  You can keep your efforts going strong by connecting with other friends that are looking to pivot, too.  It’s more fun to go with someone to the career meet-ups, lectures or career fairs. 


Ultimately, as in other areas of life, you will get out of your job hunt what you put into it. If you take some time to figure out what you want, articulate the new  skills your time off has given you, and share your abilities with friends and potential employers, you will stand out.  And when you do get that job, remember to take time and encourage that next woman who may be trying to move out of her comfort zone and find a way back to paid employment.  

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Toughing it Out & Motivating Others

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Submitted by anna on Tue, 01/23/2018 - 15:23
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Anne Grady: Entrepreneur & Professional Speaker

Inspired by hardship, Anne Grady has worked to forge both a rewarding professional and personal life. From raising a child with mental illness to being diagnosed with a tumor in her salivary gland, Anne Grady found courage to start her own public speaking business, the Anne Grady group. Her challenges and setbacks have been a catalyst to her success as a public speaker and entrepreneur, leading to over 2,000 keynote speeches with audiences up to several thousand people. We set to find out how she does it.

What inspired you to become a prolific speaker? 

I learned very early on in my corporate career that I wasn’t political, politically correct, or a good rule follower. I was actually petrified to start my own business. I partnered with an amazing mentor for a decade before venturing out on my own. The catalyst was living at the Ronald McDonald House in Dallas for 2 months while my son was in the hospital. I realized if I could do that, I could do anything.

How did you discover your passion for public speaking? 

I loved debate and public speaking in high school and college. Communication was always my strength.  From the time I was little, I told my mom I would get paid to speak. She said, “You can either be a minister or a politician”. I’m Jewish, so that ruled the first one out, and I had way too much fun in college to be a politician! I’m one of the lucky few who have known what I wanted to do since I was a little girl. I’m really proud of the fact that I found a way to make it happen. 

 How are you able to apply your personal strengths to your professional life?  

My strengths are my ability to communicate, to connect with people, my desire for achievement, and my need to help and inspire others. My professional life is built around these things. I’ve been fortunate to build a team that can compensate for my weaknesses.  

What one experience are you still learning from today? 

I have two kids. A 16-year old daughter, and a 14-year old son. My son suffers from severe mental illness, making every day a new opportunity to practice. I have had to go beyond theory and really put into practice what I teach every single day, and not always successfully. My son’s illness certainly helps you put your priorities into perspective. His illness makes him really tough to live with sometimes. We live in a constant state of crisis, and it makes it a real challenge to keep the right head space and be able to focus on my family and the business. I’m fortunate to have a great support system. 

What do you  NOT let get in your way?  

Rather than hide our challenges, I hang a lantern on them. One in five suffer from some type of mental health issue, yet no one talks about it. People need to know they are not alone, and if by sharing my story in some small way helps people, I’m thrilled to be able to do it. Almost four years ago, after my son was discharged from his second hospitalization, I was diagnosed with a tumor in my salivary gland. The surgery resulted in complete facial paralysis on the right side of my face. Because I couldn’t close my eye, I scratched my cornea. While getting ready for surgery to implant a gold weight in my upper eye lid and stitch up my bottom eyelid, I fell down the stairs and broke my foot in four places. I was terrified to speak in front of groups, but I did. I’ve never had more standing ovations in my life! I used to think I wasn’t brave because I was terrified. Now I know that true courage is doing it anyway. 

 Where you do you find your motivation? 

I’ve always been self-motivated. It’s a blessing and a curse. It creates momentum to push harder and accomplish more. It also means it’s never enough, and always feel I should be doing more. Sharing our story has also give me the opportunity to be a source of inspiration for others, and that is so fulfilling. Knowing I help people makes it all worth it. Every time I get an email from someone saying I’ve had a positive impact on their life, I am inspired and grateful.  

How are you able to create a sense of purpose that embedded itself into your professional setting as well as personal life?

As my son’s illness has progressed, I have explored, researched and learned about information that I otherwise would not have pursued. I believe my purpose is to use this information to help people, to reduce the stigma of mental illness, and to provide a little laughter and inspiration in the world. 

What would you tell your  20-year-old self?  

Stop letting the little shit weigh you down. I promised myself after my tumor that I wouldn’t sweat the small stuff. That lasted about 6-months. Then I started slipping back into sweating almost everything. I have always put so much pressure on myself. I would go back and say, “You can’t chase happiness or you will never find it. Learn to be grateful and content with where you are, and happiness will follow.” And lastly, “Be kind and focus on what’s most important. Everything else will fall into place.” (I still tell myself these things every day) I want to know I have made a positive impact on the world, and that I’m leaving it better than I found it. 

 What are three things  you want other women to know?  

  1. Focus on what you can control: YOU 

  1. You are strong enough to handle any challenge thrown your way. The fact that you’re still standing is proof. 

  2. Learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Embrace failure, change, and adversity.

What's one thing that you would change in the world? 

Selfishly, I would wish for my son to be healthy and to have mental health coverage that makes treatment possible for anyone with mental illness. If you had any other illness, there are ways to get treatment. With mental health, there are limited resources, it is out of this world expensive, and there are few if any options. 

And of course, world peace. ;) 



Anne Grady

Anne Grady is a Motivational Keynote Speaker on Leadership, Influence, Communication, Resilience, and Navigating Change. Find her at:

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Power Magnets Ignite Daily Inspiration

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Submitted by CassieCT on Wed, 12/13/2017 - 11:42

Power magnets are the best!


I got three incredible HERdacity magnets… and here are the words on each one. 








I love each and every one of these and for different reasons. So since I have been a big fan of magnets for years, I searched my kitchen. Where can I put them?


Refrigerator? Nope. That new kind of surface isn’t really metallic. Stove or oven? Same problem. Wooden cupboard doors don’t work for the obvious reason that they are, well, wood. No metal involved except in the hinges and I don’t see an easy and obvious way for me to stick a magnet on a vertical hinge.


But inspiration struck. I have a weird little breaker box with a metallic door under a cupboard in my small kitchen! And thank goodness these little chunks of powering magnetism stuck nicely.


It seemed a powerful omen.


HERdacity’s messages do best with electricity, and that is where all of us come in.


We each generate our own spark, our own interpersonal electricity… and we give zing and energy to each other.


So figure out your magnets for your life – change them frequently – and find a place to put them that will provide the power, the boost, and the fire to drive you forward.



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Gratitude's Double Edge

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Submitted by Jen at HERdacity on Tue, 11/21/2017 - 14:34
Sub Title
For Bold Women Only

Gratitude has two sides.

When Sarah Ban Breathnach published Simple Abundance 22 years ago, her gratitude journaling practice started a movement.

Since then, studies have consistently proved that expressing gratitude is an indispensable key to happiness and fulfillment, an increase in generosity, physical and mental health, and thriving relationships.

Without it, we continually peer over the fence, longing for greener pastures. When people live in the future or the past, this “want” in life prevents us to feeling joy in the present.

This Thanksgiving, we’re inspired by women who not only exude gratitude, but help others tap into it in their daily work and lives.

One such woman is Rha Goddess, the founder and CEO of Move The Crowd, a coaching and entrepreneurial training company. Her take on gratitude, however, goes beyond cherishing the good stuff. Rha challenges people to take stock of the painful, messy parts, too.

Before you launch into goal setting in the new year, you must first summon gratitude for your blessings.

And here’s the kicker:

Blessings include both the abundance of riches AND the calamities and near misses. It's the fullness of your experience that allows you to be here at this moment, at this place, with these people.

Grown up women need to recognize this aspect of gratitude and embrace it. As you envision how to create lasting change in your life and those of others in the world, the key is to take a thorough inventory as you prepare to meet new challenges and receive new blessings.

Next time you’re trying to summon gratitude, include the unexpected car repair bill, the child’s illness, and the minor disaster at work. They count.

The holidays and new year are coming, wrapped up in pure promise and potential... and yes, you are ready.

You are here. You are stronger than you think. Life is precious, all of it.

Thanksgiving a great time to begin the process of practicing bold, bring-it-all, audacious gratitude. 

gratitude's double edge
the other side of gratitude
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