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Meet Elena Valentine, Womxn of Craft Co-Founder & Skill Scout CEO

Meet Elena Valentine, Womxn of Craft Co-Founder & Skill Scout CEO

We first met Elena Valentine--Co-Founder of Womxn of Craft & CEO of Skill Scout--in the Civic Accelerator (CivicX) during one of our sessions in Chicago. Elena was a former participant in CivicX and came back as a successful alum to speak to the next cohort. From day one Elena was transparent and willing to help, which is something you don't always find in other women. But, don't take our word for it--find out for yourself why we think she's dope!

Stop the Stigma

Stop the Stigma

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about sexual harassment, assault, and abuse, specifically in light of the recent sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Many men and women have been coming forward to tell their stories via the viral hashtag #WHYIDIDNTREPORT. Unfortunately, I know many women and men have dealt with unwanted advances at some point in their lives. Regardless of *when* someone chooses to report abuse that has happened to them (that moment, or 35 years later), every person should be respected and given the liberty to speak their truth in a time frame that is suitable to their needs. Their decision is not up for public consumption. The stigma around “coming forward” is not as easy as some might think. It’s not so simple, to call 911 on someone that you know and love, or to speak up and have no one believe you.

Don't Wait For Your Chicago To Come

Don't Wait For Your Chicago To Come

Recently, I’ve been thinking about a close sister-friend of mine who passed away last year. I affectionately referred to her as my Silver Dollar. In college, there were three of us that made up this "silver dollar trio." I know what you’re thinking, but in 2001 it sounded like a cool name. We were thick as thieves, and we definitely believed our own hype! In the words of Kanye West, "Can't Tell Me Nothing." The Silver Dollars even went so far as to get matching “SD” ankle tattoos. After college, people always thought SD was some ex lover’s initials - boy were they wrong!

I would give anything to hear her voice on my voicemail saying. “SD call me back!

My SD, Liz, died too young and in her sleep.

Public Speaking Tips For Women

Public Speaking Tips For Women

Whether you’re giving an update in a meeting, sharing a presentation on a research study, introducing yourself to a large group, talking about a new sales technique, or waxing poetic about the state of the global economy, the important thing is to know your material well enough so you’re not constantly searching your brain for new information while you’re speaking. If you’re already nervous and youalso have no idea what you’re talking about, it will only amplify the nervousness.

Don’t Self Sabotage Your Success

If you’ve set career goals for 2016, there are at least three ways you might be sabotaging your own success.

1. Did you learn from your past?

Often times the reason we’re trapped in our doubts about what’s possible is that we haven’t dealt with our past. How do you feel about the last year? We have to learn the lessons from 2015 so we can begin to plan something better for 2016.

2. Are you boxing yourself in?

Most people like to play it safe. But when we set unrealistic goals, we’re almost sure to fail. Unrealistic goals don’t energize or inspire us. If your goals don’t require anything from you, it can’t drive anything inside of you. Unrealistic goals don’t challenge your creativity or persistence. And that means you won’t get far, no matter what your goals are. Setting goals that take you outside of your comfort zone will allow you to rise to the occasion.

3. Doubting your success?

You have to believe your success is possible! We all know what it’s like to fail at something. How many times have we failed at past resolutions, saving for that vacation, or losing weight? Every time we fail, it makes success seem further away. Success is possible and necessary! We have to change our mindset and believe improvement is possible. Once we start believing in ourselves, we can begin to move in the right direction.

Your success means you have to go from ambiguous aspiration to calculated action.