Small Biz Boomer

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Archive for the category “Reinventing Self”

Inspiring Boomer: Jan DuPlain- Connecting the World

In Washington, D.C. a city where relationships drive world affairs, Jan DuPlain is not just another networker. She is an international connector.

DuPlain in Jerusalem

Jan in Jerusalem

When the Gallup Leadership Institute, presented DuPlain with its Excellence Award in 1998, the organization commended her for her “ability to connect just the right person with just the right talent to make just the right contribution.” They extolled the impact of her work, noting, “With her help, alliances are forged and progress is made.”

Indeed her recent appointment as Embassy Liaison for the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center is a testament to that statement. DuPlain’s extensive international experience has included working with the Cultural Tourism DC, where she launched “Passport DC,” a month long, city-wide cultural celebration of Washington’s international and diplomatic community with 70 embassies hosting open houses.

 DuPlain with Tim and Craig Cox.  Tim is the Chair of Cultural Tourism DC, sponsor of  PASSPORT DC.

With Tim Cox(l) and Craig Cobine(r).
Cox is the Chair of Cultural Tourism DC, sponsor of PASSPORT DC.

As president of DuPlain Enterprises, a top local marketing and public relations firm she founded more than 18 years ago, she has also had numerous international clients.

DuPlain describes herself as a late bloomer who keeps blooming “Life is a series of changes,–so get ready, replace fear with faith-look at each beginning as an adventure”, she advises,
I started over many, many times. My confidence comes from knowing that “the challenge before you, is never as great as the power behind you!”

Born and raised in Southern California, she first came to Washington, D.C. to attend American University. After graduation in the 1960s she returned to California to sell ads for her father’s newspaper and later moved to New York City for a brief stint at CBS Cinema Center Films, working with celebrity columnists Leonard Lyons, Earl Wilson and television host Ed Sullivan.

Her passion for the arts caused her to move back to Washington D.C. in the early 1970s to do marketing work for the newly renovated Ford’s Theatre. “1971 was a pivotal year for the culture of Washington,” she said “the Kennedy Center and Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center opened up that year.. Nothing has ever been the same since—DC flourished and we are now rated as the 2nd highest ticket sales in theatre in the USA (after NYC).—we are truly a “world class cultural city!”

As a marketing rep for the Ford Theatre Society she worked closely with Frankie Hewitt, wife of legendary CBS “60 Minutes” Founder/Executive Producer Don Hewitt, who she described as her ultimate mentor and friend.

Loyalty has continued to define DuPlain, who has served as a mentor to numerous successful Washington business women. There is truth to the saying “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold,” she said.

During the 1970s, she also got her consciousness raising from feminist Gloria Steinem (whose 80th birthday party she will attend this November in Philadelphia). DuPlain eventually took a job with General Electric where she managed a clearinghouse on alcohol information. While at GE she was especially concerned about the lack pf support for women and alcoholism. “there was no research on women, minimal treatment programs and prevention programs for women. She launched the first Women’s addiction group for the National Organization of Women (NOW) in DC and became the first Director on Women for the National Council on Alcoholism- she set up Task Forces around the USA to support women with alcohol and mental health issued.

She always had a air for acting so when she moved back to California she joined a repertory company that allowed her to star in many productions including a production of “Same Time Next Year.”

She returned to the east coast in 1983. DuPlain said “felt like starting over again” She took a job at Washington-area PBS station WETA-TV. From 1983-1995 she led its public relations department, raising the station’s visibility locally and nationally. The job included doing public relations for such legendary personalities as news host Bill Moyers, newsman Charlie Rose and actress Helen Mirren. She also spearheaded publicity efforts for the D.C. world premiere of documentary filmmaker Ken Burns’ multiple award-winning TV series, “The Civil War.”

After leaving WETA-TV in 1996 she founded DuPlain Enterprises (www.duplain.com). The company’s title was homage to her late father, who first used it for his newspaper business. Over the years her company has managed major celebrities and clients including at the National Women’s History Museum where DuPlain worked with museum spokeswoman, actress Meryl Streep.

While she has been a frequent guest at the city’s top social gatherings and won numerous awards, DuPlain starts her and ends her day in a conventional way – for what she considers her most important connection. “The confidence I have didn’t come easy. This town keeps you humble.”

“Every day I get down on my knees,” she said.

With the Dalai Lama

With the Dalai Lama

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Looking back – Moving forward

Motivational speaker Willie Jolley says there’s a reason the windshield of a car is so big and the rearview mirror is so small. Looking forward one can see the possibilities.

 

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SXSW: BoomerRise

Now in its 27th  year “South  by Southwest ‘  SXSW interactive/film/music festival indeed has something for everyone.   Thousands from around the world attend the annual event  in Austin, Texas each year.   Still,  the  debate in the news media raged on to  whether “Southby” – the launching pad for  Facebook,  Twitter and  Foursquare – was still cool.  One thing for sure baby boomers , including yours truly, were EVERYWHERE.

The SXSW Interactive speakers menu  was dominated by boomers:   Angel funder/philosopher Guy Kawasaki,  Segway inventor Dean Kamen, astrophysist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Raleigh, North Carolina Mayor Nancy McFarlane and BoomerWiz Blogger Patricia Patton.

I managed to catch a few “selfies” with the famous and not so famous.

Baby boomers were everywhere.

Dean Kamen Talks Leadership and Failure With Guy Kawasaki

Social media guru, entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki interviewed Dean Kamen, inventor and founder of FIRST Robotics competitions at SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin.

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Leading Others to the Path of Reinvention: PR Guru Dwain Schenck

Dwain Schneck, author of "Reset: How to Beat the Job-Loss Blues and Get Ready for Your Next Act"

Dwain Schneck, author of “Reset: How to Beat the Job-Loss Blues and Get Ready for Your Next Act”

When Dwain Schenck lost his job in 2012 he was in denial for six  months. He had never been out of work and had a long, successful public relations career. He in fact was in many ways a pioneer in the public relations field. Now he is a leader in another arena – personal reinvention – as the author of a new book, “Reset: How to Beat the Job-Loss Blues and Get Ready for Your Next Act”

Dwain’s career path included  being  director of public relations for AmeriCares and director of communications for Quantel.  He also had his own public relations consulting business for many years before taking a job as Vice President of Communications for a Fortune 500 corporation. It was that job that would lead Dwain to his latest path of reinvention when he was let go. “I have found there are two kinds of ways people deal with losing a job in this economy: there are those who look at it as a market reality and are practical about the situation and say to themselves ‘it’s just a bad economy, it’s not my fault’ and they move on and usually find a new job or a source of income and satisfaction, ” Dwain said. ” Then there are those on the other side of the ledger: those who are emotionally devastated from their job loss and feel like they’ll never work again. I definitely fell into that category,” he said.

In his book Dwain describes his own journey after his firing which included a furtive and depressing job search. Throughout that time period he confided in friends including MSNBC”Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski who herself had gone through a devastating and public job loss at CBS. Dwain remained depressed and it was Mika who pointed out to him his unique  communications style and candor and suggested writing the book—for no other reason than to help others learn how to keep their sanity through their job search.  After some rumination he began to rebuild his life and now, in addition to writing the new book and making speaking engagements and media appearances he has formed Schenck Strategies LLC (www.schenckstrategies.com), a boutique corporate communications agency.

Still, his greatest passion is helping other people who have suffered the pain of job loss.  Indeed, “Reset” is a road map for those who need to quell the initial shock of being fired , forgive themselves before moving on and  to take that next steps in their careers and lives.  Dwain and his business associates have created a web site that serves as a resource and offers an open discussion platform for the suddenly unemployed to get moral support on an ongoing basis (www.resetyourfuture.com).ResetCover

“If you live long enough and have the ability to step outside yourself once in a while, you realize your problems are not unique – say from your neighbor’s problems,” Dwain said.

NELSON MANDELA’S PATH TO REINVENTION

For 27 years Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, prior to that he was a man of many passions, a lawyer, a boxer, a husband and a father. His quest to end the travesty of apartheid got him there but he grew from the experience. When he emerged from prison at age 70, he was a new man and he became one of the world’s great leaders. He not on transformed himself but his country of South Africa.  He passed at age 95 last Friday but he left us with his amazing wisdom.

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/11_inspiring_Nelson_Mandela_quotations_15739.aspx

Breathing Steady

In this Information Age, there is well a lot of information. It can be tough just trying to keep up. The phrase never stop learning has never been more true. If one is to reinvent one’s self. One must participate in a lot of learning, reading , growing, social media maintenance. television watching – not to mention keeping up with the regular demands of one’s own life. It can be exhausting. That’s why meditation have to be a part of one’s routine. Breathing is the key to life.

Fail, And Then Fail Again

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the participants delve into topics related to politics, culture, nutrition and life with spirited conversation. I often disagree with some of the opinions but I almost always enjoy the banter. Today, the main hosts, Former Congressman Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski reflected on their personal pain brought by failure. Joe extolled the virtues of hard work to overcome the tough breaks (amen brother) while Mika dealt with her departure from CBS News and being told it was the best thing that could have happen to her. I don’t disagree. Failure can bring enlightenment and peace. Failure can restore you to your reset point so you can get your life back. Failure has built amazing television talk show hosts, business leaders, tech legends, social rights movements and great fried chicken.

Failure is not without pain but it can be a source of inspiration. If you have dreams build them, ignore barriers. Just try, why don’t you? All you can do is fail which might be the best thing that could ever happen to you.

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