Small Biz Boomer

Life Lessons for All Generations

Archive for the category “Mentor”

How to Deal with People Who Waste Your Time and Energy

We are all familiar with the genre – Dracula,  Twilight  – all contain fictional characters who thrive on the blood of the living to sustain their lives indefinitely.  This is often done at great cost to their victims  and often death of their victims.

Unfortunately in our business dealings,  we  all too often encounter people who resemble these fictional characters.  They schedule meetings and renege constantly.   They call you for a little advice or  the name of a  business contact.  Often  they are in over their heads with clients who pay hefty sums for your(their)  counsel.   They try to get items or services  for free.  They waste your time with conversations that seem to go on for an eternity.    It’s time to stop these time sucking, energy wasting people in their tracks.  We must learn to say no to people that don’t support our business interests and want to drain our time and energy.   Just say no.

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For BabyBoomers Sometimes It’s Best to “Listen Down”

Recently I attended  a conference  where I met two young women  who had just attended a workshop for millennials.  One was  a millennial and  the other a Gen-Xer .  Both expressed concern about the lack of clarity and focus of  the  panel.  The workshop, they said, simply did not speak to them.  I asked them about their concerns and found they had some great ideas to what could have been done differently.  We then discussed their workplace situation.  It seems both faced barriers and constant challenges  from baby boomers who were still stuck on how things were done 20 years ago.   The boomers, they said, would not even try to . listen to their ideas.

No doubt about it we  baby boomers are amazing.  I do know and greatly appreciate “AARP” – the American Association for Retired Persons which advocates for us boomers and those older.   We have amazing  role models that remain relevant across generations .  Witness Aretha Franklin,    “The Queen of  Soul,” with a new comeback album that will “cover” the latest hits.   The late  Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Brendan Eich (the guy that invented JavaScript) remain tech industry  and social  icons.   Heck we even can claim a  U.S. President  (Barack Obama).   We are leaders of social change,  news anchors, business owners,  heads of state, corporate giants, authors and  we are  eternally young to boot.   Yet for far too many it has been hard for us  to make room for the generations that  have come after us.  While we have much wisdom and knowledge to pass on,  we have become rather stingy and egotistical about it.  We jealously guard our turf, not wanting to share.  Worst we don’t want to hear fresh ideas from those younger than us.  Yes, we will hire “young” presuming that younger  means cheaper just so long as  our ideals,  our wisdom, our  knowledge will still dominate.  That need, by the way, includes the workplace as well as the simple community event.     So where can we start to bridge the information/wisdom/knowledge gap?   Let’s just start by listening.   Young people have a lot to offer not just in terms of social media or new tech know-how.  Many are also quite wise.  Frankly, if  we #boomers are to really to  remain “forever young,” we have to start listening and respecting what we hear from members of   generations that follow us.    So  next time a seemingly overconfident millennial or gen-Xer offers you advice,  just listen.  It may be the first step in helping you change the world  or at least change your life.

 

Inspiring Boomer: Toni Lewis, 10 Years of Bringing Music and More to the Lives of Children

In the spring of  2004, Bowie resident  A. (Arethia) Toni Lewis decided it was time to leave her six-figure job at GSA. She wanted to pursue her dream of giving back to her community through education.   One of the Washington area’s premier event planners,  she had was involved in planning for both of President Clinton’s  inaugurals and served as CEO for  inaugural planning for President George H   Bush.
Toni, and a  friend musician Richard Payne, were concerned about  broad cuts to music programs in the Prince George County school  system and the lack of exposure young people in the region had  to a broad range of music (other than rap and hip hop).   Toni with her friends from all over the music industry (including  jazz artist Ski Johnson and Jerry Butler) launched FAME: the Foundation for the Advancement for the Advancement of Music (www.fameorg.org )
A. Toni Lewis, Founder of  FAME:Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education

A. Toni Lewis, Founder of
FAME:Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education

To finance the operation, she just  HAD just her retirement savings and initially held a fundraiser to offer scholarships.Since then, The Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education  has partnered with professional athletic teams, public schools, government officials, media outlets, theatres and dance companies.  It sponsors concerts throughout the DMV with music of ALL KINDS.
Lewis and Gospel Singer Byron Cage

Lewis and Gospel Singer Byron Cage

The organization has furnished public schools and youth with music programs with new & used instruments.   It also sponsors -two intense summer music technology camps that includes music, technology and academic programs, giving students access to the finest college music professors, instructors, musicians and technology in the music business. The camps are in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Music & Bowie State University Fine and Performing Arts Center,  Toni has advised the city of Philadelphia and the Lincoln Center in New York on  youth music programs.

 

Lewis and students from the FAME Music and Technology Camp at University of Maryland

Lewis and students from the FAME Music and Technology Camp at University of Maryland

 

 

Life Editing: Whether It’s People, Places or Things

I find as I get older that I have to decide to do some editing.  A lot of people, places and things simply are not good for me.   This include negative people  and time spent with negative people  in forced circumstances (business, family etc.).  The editing process can also include  pruning the people who are simply dead weight.  You know who I mean, the people who are consistently  unreliable, or who put you down, or  don’t return your phone calls, emails or texts but readily call you  when they need something.   No one is THAT busy.  Move on and Let Go.   edit

Four Keys to Thinking About the Future

Looking to the Past and Moving Forward – Part I

It has been an interesting year. I’ve had a lot of personal and professional growth. There are a lot of sites that suggest some of us are more akin to look backward than forward. Here’s some thoughts from the writers of the Harvard Business Review.

iAMSTEM HUB . UC DAVIS

In his recent article for the Harvard Business Review blog, Jeffrey Gedmin shares his observations on how some people are more keen to be foresighted than others. Though born from experiences in the corporate world and not directly related to the field of higher education, his advice on how to improve your ability to think about the future and make informed descisions can apply to anyone. The exerpts below are the four things you should do to become more prescient.

1. Enhance Your Power of Observation

For starters, be empirical and always be sure you’re working with the fullest data set possible when making judgments and discerning trends. Careful listening, a lost art in today’s culture of certitude and compulsive pontificating, can help us distinguish the signal from the noise.

2. Appreciate the Value of Being (a Little) Asocial

“Thinking outside the box,” is one of the most well-worn clichés in…

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Memories from Talford Street: A Mentor Extradonaire

I grew up on Cleveland’s East Side in a middle class  neighborhood.   My mom and her girlfriends would play bridge  at  one of the homes on Talford Street while us kids played outdoors  rode our bikes, played kickball in the street,  caught lightning bugs or would gather in the basement to watch “The Twilight Zone” or “Ghoulardi.”     On weekends our Dads would gather at Mr Pace’s house on Talford Street to watch sports and barbecue.   Often my family would join the families of Talford Street on   trips to the West Side  Euclid Beach Amusement Park or , Punderson State Park Lodge  in the winter and the Jersey Shore in the summer.

The  families central hangout on Talford Street was the home of   Louis and Gloria Chapmon .  I came to know the couple as Mr. Chapmon and Aunt Gloria.  Later “Gloria” would become a lifelong mentor  when she hired me for my first job at age 11.  Eventually the lure of  the suburbs resulted in my parent’s  friends moving from Talford Street.   Still come Christmas at least we would  all gather at the Chapmons in the Cleveland suburb of Bedford, Ohio.    Aunt Gloria, a native of Bermuda,  was always a glamorous host and great story-teller.  Part of her accent remained.

"Aunt" Gloria

“Aunt” Gloria

Aunt Gloria   was a school  official for the City of Cleveland for much of her career and a  was a Legacy Life member of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) .     She was also  close associate of Dr. Dorothy Height .  In fact Dr. Height attended  her  son’s funeral and her daughter’s wedding.  We all attended the  many luncheons and weekend activities for the many organizations that Aunt Gloria belonged – even on weekends during my college days when I would visit home,  my mom and I would go to one of “Gloria’s luncheons.”  In fact Aunt Gloria would come to Washington, D.C. and take me to events sponsored by NCNW.

She was also member of  the  sorority  Eti Phi Beta Sorority where she served as national president.  She was also honored with several awards from   numerous organizations and individuals  including  Congressman Louis Stokes (D-Ohio),  NCNW and the NAACP.

Growing up in  Bermuda   she   was a playmate to then Princess Elizabeth.  No surprise the Queen held audience with her former chum a couple of times .    Aunt Gloria also  traveled with  Leon Sullivan’s African Summit with her daughter to  Gabon, Morocco,  Zimbabwe and South Africa.  Hers was a life well lived for herself and for others.   She also met with Nelson Mandela at the South African Presidential Palace.

Aunt Gloria, Her Mom and Her Son in front of Buckingham Palace

Aunt Gloria, Her Mom and Her Son in front of Buckingham Palace

We all need people who can see in us something that others don’t see or can’t seem to grasp.    For me it was my “Aunt Gloria” who while not a blood relative was every bit as important in helping to shape the fabric of  the woman I am today and the woman I hope to become.    She passed two weeks ago but I still see her smile and  hear her laugh.

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