Speaker Articles

The Changing Image of HIV

TX_Walgreen-Vanessa-220x300When you think of a person with HIV, do you imagine a grandparent? A person in a nursing home? Or someone counting the months to retirement? If not, think again. According to the CDC, of the 1.2 million people in the U.S. living with HIV, half of them will be 50 years of age or older this year. Thirty years ago, that statistic would have been thought unimaginable. Today, however, it’s cause for grateful celebration, renewed hope and a traveling exhibit designed to inspire dialogue, eradicate stigmas and share the faces and stories of individuals who are living well beyond their HIV diagnosis.

“When HIV first appeared in the U.S. in the 80s, there basically wasn’t an answer for the epidemic,” says Glen Pietrandoni, senior director of virology in Specialty Pharmacy at Walgreens. “Mostly all any medical professional could do was hold a patient’s hand, offer nutritional supplements and antibiotics.”

Over the past 30 years, medical research, education and advanced medications have offered those living with the virus longer and healthier lives. “There haven’t been too many life-threatening health conditions like this that a society has been able to turn around so quickly,” Pietrandoni says. “That’s why we felt it was important to celebrate that fact and call attention to another reality—older adults living with HIV who may lack the support needed to help manage HIV and other health conditions that can accompany aging such as diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, osteoporosis, or cancer. By making their challenges known, more of us will be able to offer support.”

A New Portrait of HIV

In collaboration with The Graying of AIDS, an independent documentary project and educational campaign, Walgreens developed an art exhibition and awareness campaign featuring ten portraits of people over 50 living with HIV. Each individual was professionally photographed and allowed to share glimpses into their HIV journey. The stories and portraits were printed on canvasses that were stretched over 8 ft. by 8 ft. metal rectangular structures.

“Currently, I am one of many people across the country sharing my challenges and successes as we continue treatment for HIV while managing all the other factors that come with aging,” says Vanessa, 59, living with HIV since 1991, pictured above. “For me, living life to the fullest and sharing my story is extremely important and HIV is just a part of my life. It is important for people to know that you can live a normal life with HIV. Most importantly, I’m preparing for living beyond 59 and discovering all life has to offer.”

As the population of older Americans living with HIV grows, their daily realities and health concerns are changing. Walgreens pharmacists offer confidential, face-to-face counseling and can provide tailored medication therapy programs. Working with a patient’s doctor, our pharmacists can provide information to help manage medication side effects and review a patient’s medications to identify any potential drug interactions. This is especially important for older patients living with HIV who might be starting to take medications for conditions that may be associated with aging.

For more information about the “Well Beyond HIV” campaign and to learn where the art exhibit will stop next, please visit www.WellBeyondHIV.com.

Sponsored by:

walgreens at the corner of healthy and happy

Posted in Health & Wellness, Speaker Articles

Office Diplomacy: When Personalities Clash

Sheila-HeenEver work with someone passive aggressive? Thin-skinned? A shouter? Unless you’re the cameraperson who films melting glaciers for Nat Geo TV, you probably know how frustrating—sometimes even maddening—it can be to deal with a difficult personality. “It’s challenging if it’s your boss, of course, because you feel constrained by what you can say or do,” says Sheila Heen, a faculty member at Harvard Law School and co-author of Thanks for the Feedback. “But it can be just as hard for managers, since having authority over people doesn’t mean you have the power to make them change.”

‘Person’ Pet Peeve

Often the personality who most pushes your buttons is the one who’s least like you. For Heen, that’s the type who cast themselves as victims. “I try to be empathetic, but I can become impatient,” Heen says. It’s natural to want to tell them how they’re contributing to the situation, “but in the moment, they just want an audience—not problem-solving advice,” Heen says. She has found that in this case, as in most others, a more effective strategy is to talk to the person later. “Say that you have ideas for how he could have more control over the situation, if he is interested,” Heen says. “The key is to leave it as an open invitation, so that he comes to you when he’s ready to do something to improve the situation.”

Conflict-Avoidance Advice

The more you understand a person, the better you can relate. Here’s Heen’s take on six difficult types you’re likely to encounter as a boss, colleague or underling:

The thin-skinned “Being highly sensitive to feedback is just the way some people are wired,” says Heen. “It’s like being tall or short—they can’t help it.” Her recommendation is to have a conversation with the person. “Say that you were surprised by how upset she seemed last time and ask her to coach you on how to offer suggestions to her when you have them,” Heen says. “She may say she agreed with your comments and was just mad at herself or that you made them in front her boss—whatever she says, you’ll learn a lot.”

The perfectionist “The challenge with this type is that they have one standard of expectations for any given task, and it requires their 110 percent,” Heen says. Her advice: When giving that person an assignment, be specific—“I just want the quick and dirty, so don’t spend more than 10 minutes on this.” If it’s your boss, ask for direction: “I can pull this together by tomorrow if you want a rough outline, or I can give you something polished and more final by Friday—what’s your preference?”

The passive aggressive This personality doesn’t know that what they’re really thinking or feeling is leaking out, so the best way to engage with them is to call them out on their snarkiness. Just say, “I sense that you’re frustrated, so tell me why,” Heen recommends. They may respond with relief—“Really? I can tell you how I feel?”—or they may give you a knee-jerk denial. “In that case, the goal is just to plant the seed that you welcome their input, and hopefully over time, with your encouragement, they’ll see that they can talk freely with you,” Heen adds.

The blamer This is actually a more angry version of the victim, Heen says. The type just doesn’t see his role in the problem, and simply blames others for his missed deadlines. So, again, the solution is to keep helping him see what he has some control over—“If Jane didn’t respond to your email with what you needed, you should pick up the phone.” If he’s still throwing down excuses for blowing through deadlines, you could bring the whole team together—or put in a request—to discuss what everyone, including the blamer, is contributing to the problem and needs to do differently to get a different outcome.

The shouter Point out to this person that she’s yelling, and she’ll probably say the circumstances call for it. She won’t think it’s what she does all the time because she really can’t hear herself. “The part of the brain that’s dedicated to hearing language—both meaning and tone—turns off when you talk, which is why it’s surprising to hear a recording of yourself,” Heen explains. If it’s a colleague or underling, you could, in the spirit of helping her, offer to record her the next time she raises her voice so she can hear herself. Or if it’s your boss, you could tell her that she’ll get a better response from you if she lowers the heat.

The gossip Though this type is just looking for attention, it’s important to stop his behavior because it poisons the office. Change the subject or gently suggest that the damning rumor he’s repeating may not be the whole story. But if you’re going to say something more pointed, Heen advises doing so in private. “Make the observation that you’re worried about the impact of feeding the rumor mill, and that it makes you wonder sometimes what’s being said when you’re not around,” Heen says. The person may then go tell his allies what you said—but they may, in turn, tell him they agree.

Posted in Communication Skills, Speaker Articles

Yes, You Can Go on Vacation—and Actually Not Work!

Wendy-Wallbridge-220x300Vacation is great in theory. In practice, many of us find ourselves doing work, thinking about work or answering emails. That’s if we even manage to take time off. Last year, 41% of Americans didn’t even take a day for themselves, according to travel site Skift.

But vacations are an essential break from the daily grind. “When you never unplug, you lose touch with yourself and what’s important to you, and your broader, wiser perspective—and that’s when burnout starts to set in,” says Wendy Wallbridge, an executive coach and author of Spiraling Upward: The 5 Co-Creative Powers for Women on the Rise. Here’s how to go on vacation, and enjoy it, too.

Pen—Don’t Pencil—It In

Scheduling a vacation can seem unthinkable when you’re too busy to check the weather, let alone plane and hotel fares. But once you take the time to look at your calendar, figure out when your work cycle is on the ebb, coordinate the dates with your coworkers and get your boss’s approval—buy your tickets right away and tell your boss that you did so. “If you put money down, you and your boss are less likely to turn back or forget those dates are blocked out for you to be out of the office,” Wallbridge says.

Pay It Forward

To get out ahead enough to be away for several days, you may have to put in some long nights or working weekends. It may seem a daunting price to pay, but you won’t regret it once you’re over the hump. If you’re worried about work piling up while you’re gone—or if you simply have too much to do before you leave—consider delegating some of it. “Find colleagues you have helped or for whom you can return the favor when they go on vacation,” Wallbridge suggests. “Or you could make this an opportunity for someone junior who reports to you and give her first crack at something you would normally handle.”

Last-Day Checklist

So you can go with an unencumbered conscience, Wallbridge recommends making sure you do these three things before you leave:

  1. Send a status update to your boss and any people who’ll be covering for you, so they know where everything stands.
  2. Create a backup plan for anything that might suck you back into work if it goes wrong, and share it with everyone who is affected by it.
  3. Tell your team how accessible you’ll be by phone while you’re away and when you’ll be checking email (see below), and inform everyone outside the company of this via your outgoing voicemail message and automatic vacation email reply.

The Email Exception

Ideally, you won’t open your email at all when on vacation, but Blackberries aren’t called “crackberries” for nothing. “People also check email for peace of mind,” Wallbridge notes. So she recommends what a client of hers does: “If you have to check your email, do it only twice a day, at a set time in the morning and in the afternoon, and never respond unless it’s a true emergency.”

Reboot with Mini-Breaks Every Day

You need several consecutive days to unwind and replenish your energy and creativity, but that’s on top of “a daily practice of silence or me-time, when you disconnect from technology and connect with your inner wisdom,” Wallbridge says. “Women tend to discover their path as they go along, rather than follow a prescribed one, and they can only know what the next right thing for them is if they take the time to hear themselves think and breathe.”

Wendy Wallbridge will be speaking on the panel, “Reviving a Stalled Career,” at the 2015 Texas Conference for Women.

Posted in Goals & Priorities, Speaker Articles

Inspiration to Launch Your Life (or Just Start Your Day)

Natalie-Portman

Photo courtesy of Harvard Public Affairs & Communications. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

It’s graduation season! Time for elected officials, former elected officials and Natalie Portman (at Harvard, her alma mater) to step up to the podium and inspire young people as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. But you don’t have to be a co-ed, or parent of one, to be so motivated this year. We asked speakers who are confirmed for this year what they would say—but in 100 words or less. Let the inspiration fly!

“Don’t follow your dreams, lead them. And dream big, but be sure to act even bigger. As necessary and wonderful as dreams are, the meaning in life is ultimately in what we do.”—Gloria Feldt, cofounder and president of Take The Lead and author of No Excuses: Nine Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power

“Take a breath and close your eyes. Think about what you really love doing. Not what you’re supposed to love, but what makes you truly happy. Now visualize yourself doing that professionally. Imagine all the details you can—what do you see, smell, feel? Open your eyes and write it all down. Now begin thinking more tactically—what steps do you need to take to make that visualization happen? Read your reflection each day…that’s critically important. And then commit. Commit to yourself to do whatever you need to do to go get it!”—Lisa Kueng, executive director at Invesco Consulting and co-author of Picture Your Prosperity: Smart Money Moves to Turn Your Vision into Reality

“Too few people ever actually achieve their dreams in life. But, having them is important. Dreams inspire us…they are what we ponder as we look out onto the horizon. But that’s all they’ll ever be—a way to pass the time—until you turn them into actionable goals. Take those lofty dreams (the ones you’re afraid to tell anyone because they sound so far out of reach), break them down into phases, break those phases into pies, those pies into slices, and those slices into bites. Then sit down and take care of business—one bite at a time.”—MJ Hegar, former pilot in the Air National Guard who served in Afghanistan and whose suit against the Secretary of Defense led to the repeal of the military’s policy of excluding women from combat

“Your world is in your mind and you are more powerful than you think! Although you cannot control how life may unfold, you do have the power to choose how you respond. You experience your world through the lens of your mental models, which are deep-rooted ideas about the way things ought to be; what you fundamentally believe shapes your experience. And most importantly, your power comes from being who you are. By leveraging all of who you are—your core gifts and skills, your circumstances and experiences—you have the power to create amazing possibilities for your life.”—Elizabeth Thornton, professor of management practice at Babson Executive Education and author of The Objective Leader: How to Leverage the Power of Seeing Things As They Are

“Here are three of the most important steps you can take to build a prosperous life for yourself: First, spend less than you earn and save the difference on a regular basis. Next, give generously to people and causes that are most important to you—you should establish a regular giving plan by setting aside a percentage of your income to give. And finally, remember to picture your prosperity! You have an incredible ability to create the life you imagine for yourself. Use the power of your mind to focus on what is most important to you.”—Ellen Rogin, a certified public accountant and financial planner professional and co-author of Picture Your Prosperity: Smart Money Moves to Turn Your Vision into Reality

“There is no destination. While we can and should strive for growth, new ventures and goals, it is our relationship with ourselves on a daily basis and how we engage with the world that makes up our life. There is no great arrival point. Our greatest milestones pass in sheer moments, but the process is the in-between taking up the majority of our life. This is what requires our full attention. Many times we think once we get ‘there’ we will devote ourselves to priorities that whisper to us from the inside, but there is no ‘there’— only ‘here.’”—Azita Ardakani, founder of Lovesocial

Gloria Feldt and Elizabeth Thornton will be speaking on the panel, “Pioneering Pay Equity: Strategies to Bridge the Gap, Own Your Value and Negotiate Your Worth;” Lisa Kueng and Ellen Rogin will be leading the workshop, “Picture Your Prosperity: Reframing Your Money to Create the Life You Want;” MJ Hegar will be speaking on the panel, “No Risk, No Reward: Taking the Risk to Do What You Want with Your Career” and Azita Ardakani will be on the panel, “Branding and Perception: How to Maximize How You Are Perceived by Others” at the 2015 Texas Conference for Women.

Posted in Speaker Articles, Success & Leadership

What Would You Have Done In Ellen Pao’s Shoes?

Ellen PaoThe upside to Ellen Pao’s lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins: It brought workplace sexism out into the open, making it part of the national conversation for several weeks. But even after the court ruled against Pao, women everywhere continued to talk about the subtle and not-so-subtle forms of sex discrimination that take place in the office. What’s the best way to handle them? Could Pao have stood up for herself more?

“I believe women shouldn’t have to consider whether they confront sexual discrimination; I believe they should only have to figure out the most effective way to do so,” says Norine Yukon, former CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas and current board member for the Texas Conference for Women and several health care corporations. And that, of course, depends on the circumstances and your personal style. But generally speaking, here’s what Yukon and Victoria Pynchon, a lawyer and negotiation consultant, would have done in Pao’s shoes.

You are at a meeting and a man asks you—the only woman present—to take notes.

“I’m a lousy note-taker, so I can say in all honesty that I won’t take notes in fairness to the team.”—Yukon

“I have actually had this happen with a judge, and I responded: ‘I’d love to, Judge, but I’ve found that [a man in the room] is a far better note-taker than I am.’ After suggesting someone else, you could add an explanation, ‘Whenever I’m the note-taker I find it limits my ability to fully participate in the discussion.’ The key is to be respectful—and to praise something about the male replacement.”—Pynchon

You come to an important meeting and there is no seat for you at the table, so you’ll have to sit in a back row. Everyone else at your level is at the table.

“Good communication among team members is key, and communications are better when people can see and hear each other. Also, overt physical isolation can be more than symbolic and can impact decision-making. In this case, I would take a moment to scan the room and see who is sitting where, then pull a chair up to where I want to sit, squeezing in by asking folks to kindly make way. People will usuall find a way to make room for one more.”—Yukon

“Don’t let yourself be sidelined. Why? Because it’s difficult to be heard when you are sitting behind everyone else and it’s bad for your optics. Instead, ask the administrative personnel to please bring you a chair—don’t go get it yourself. You are an Alpha Dog, act like one at least until the revolution requires different behavior of the ruling class. But do remember to say please and thank you to the office staff.”—Pynchon

At meetings, you are constantly interrupted by men, or what you say is ignored.

“It is better to speak with the individuals privately first, and then if the behavior continues, call the offender out to his leader and to the group. I have always tried to not fight fire with fire, because that just ends up burning a lot of people. But I have to admit in some cases, the only way I could stop obnoxious male behavior was by sarcastically interrupting the interrupter.”—Yukon

“I’d say, ‘Excuse me, Joe, but I hadn’t finished what I was saying.’ And when they take credit for your idea, say, ‘Great add-on to what I was saying earlier, Joe; thanks for picking up where I left off.’”—Pynchon

You hear that a business dinner with important players is planned, and only men are invited.

“I would first try not to make any assumptions about the reasons I wasn’t invited. Then I’d go to the organizer of the dinner and ask how the invite list was put together. Depending on that response, I might ask to be included, or I might decide not to make an issue of it. You have to pick your battles because you can’t win them all.”—Yukon

“Go to the man you are closest to among invitees and say, ‘Hey Bob, I understand there’s a business dinner tonight with key players. I’ve got a half dozen questions for Harry, who I’ve become pretty tight with during the [case or some project]. It must have been an oversight to leave me off the guest list. Can you adroitly get me on it?’ This lets him and the group save face and consolidates your importance to the effort without having a confrontation about why you weren’t invited.”—Pynchon

On a chartered plane during a business trip, your male colleagues start talking about female porn stars and Victoria’s Secret models.

“I have been in many situations where inappropriate conversations were started. Almost without exception, I have been able to look these guys straight in the eyes and remind them that I am in the room and that the conversation should stop. Try not to be intimidated even if one of the guys is the boss. I also recommend personally following up with individuals who are ‘leading’ the inappropriate conversations.”—Yukon

“I’d say, ‘I’d love to give you a woman’s perspective on sex workers and soft porn but I’m afraid it would make all the guys uncomfortable’—thus making all the men uncomfortable. I guarantee you that they will change the subject and a few of the more conscious players will realize that making people uncomfortable in conversation is a two-way street, not a one way back alley.”—Pynchon

One day, you are informed that you are being moved to an office that is out of the way, toward the back of the building, away from the “power corridor.”

“Unless there is a construction or remodeling project underway that is causing physical disruption, I would take this as a potentially serious sign of a decision already concluded. To me, this is not limited to females, as I have seen it happen to both men and women who are either out of favor or who have been geographically demoted due to a new employee or new corporate structure. In any case, I would have a conversation with my boss to see what I could learn, and then I’d update my resume and start contacting recruiters.”—Yukon

“Never go with any ‘flow’ that marginalizes you. Instead go to a superior who has your back. Explain how the rearrangement hurts your group—so this isn’t about your ego—then say, ‘I’m happy to talk to HR myself but thought you might want to talk to Carol before I did. What do you think?’ In all of these conversations, you speak as a colleague from a position of power, not a position of weakness. You’re saying you can handle this yourself, but that you want to give a superior the opportunity to use her muscle.”—Pynchon

At the end of the day, our experts agree that speaking up for yourself is always better than keeping quiet. “It’s good to make an effort to grease the wheels of courteous social interaction,” Pynchon says, “but when people are being damaged, diminished or dismissed and polite conversation isn’t working, please feel free to make a ruckus.”

Just make sure that in your response, you “stay authentic, stay fair and stay true to your principles,” Yukon adds.

Posted in Speaker Articles, Uncategorized