Small Biz Boomer

Life Lessons for All Generations

Why Task Juggling Can Be Counterproductive

Multitasking? Think Again

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

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.

 

5 Reasons Why Women Live Longer Than Men

It’s Not the How or the What but the Who: Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best

Thank you Angela Herin.

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

 

 

You Can’t Be a Great Manager If You’re Not a Good Coach

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

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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Memories of being 50 years YOUNG* Thanks y’all for being part of my journey..

Welcome Fellow Baby Boomer – Life Great !

Berna's Vibe~The Way I See IT....

Waving y’all! Quick break in a VERY busy day..It IS my 51st bday..Wooooohooooo!!! Extremely humbled by the amazing amount of Bday calls, texts, emails, ecards, gifts ..Blown my hair back & as I reflect on this year past? Flew far faster than I anticipated it would..Yet as I count off the goals I accomplished this year? Almost completed all of them..Progresssive year indeed..What was most important to me? Living IN the moment; and making those I consider dear feel as special as they are to me. Nothing more special to me than time spent & enjoyed! I learn & I yearn to learn even more. Thanks to all who have added to my journey. Thanks to all who taught me lessons I’d not have learned had you not entered my world. Most of all thanks be to my God for allowing me to learn the lessons a tad bit quicker..Embarking…

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