Monthly Archives: June 2014

Favorite Finds – In Nashville

Mirror Treatment

I am a recovering interior decorator.  I turned the pages of floor plan and decorating magazines, yachting magazines, and books with pretty pictures of lovely interiors and spaces that were well beyond the reach of an 11 year old.  I would put myself into the spaces and daydream. It was a great pastime. Fast-forward twelve years.  I’m happily married and in a family way by seven months. I decide that I want to leave the accounting firm I am working for, stay home and prepare for the arrival of my first child.  I look around the lovely Tudor home we are renting and long for some of the beautiful decoration that I had yearned for on the pages of the magazines.  I take a class in window treatments at Watkins College of Art and Design and an advanced class after that. Before you know it, I have some lovely window decoration in my home and I launch a business designing and making window decoration.  More classes follow in interior design, and eventually the business morphs into an interior decoration firm handling the needs of others’ décor from art to furniture and finishes. It was fun. It was consuming.  My husband has a nursery and garden center. I see areas there that I want to “help.” He says, “That’s great – but you can’t do both.”  He knows my propensity for getting too spread out and wanting to do everything.  So, I closed the decorating business and, for ten years, worked with him. In the twenty-five years of decorating and sourcing and renovating two homes I have shopped this town all over, and beyond. There are some great places around from which I have sourced marvelous finds.  Also, I love a deal…on furnishings; on clothes…a deal is a deal.

Clearing House Consignment in Belle Meade – I have bought more items from this store for furnishing my home than anywhere else in town. Ar moires, rugs, pictures…it is a great resource.

Crossville Tile Outlet in Dickson, TN – Purchased seconds or thirds in cream and soft black and checker boarded the kitchen and den on the diagonal in the first house we remodeled. It was great.  What a savings.

Pembroke Antiques in Belle Meade – The best rugs and accessories, and gifts. It’s so cool! There is a string of antique stores along this stretch of Hwy 100 to peruse for lovely, quality pieces.

Hailey Salvage on Dickerson Road – Architectural pieces, old doors, sinks – it’s amazing the things you will find here.

Preservation Station on Franklin Road – Ooh, la, la! This couple has grown this recovered, restored light fixture and architectural element store into a feast for the eyes for any who love historical interiors. Go. The owner is from one of the Eastern countries and it is worth going just to hear her talk. Another love of mine is language. But I digress.

Gaslight Antique Mall, Powell Avenue, near 100 Oaks – Everything – They have it all and it is well done. A host of dealers, so it is a great, varietal mix.

Designer Renaissance in Berry Hill – Nice, gently used clothes, couture, work and playwear abound. I like.

Yard sales are another great way to get a deal. Richland-West End neighborhood has theirs around the first weekend of June and Cherokee Park has one around the first or second weekend of September.

There you have it.   I would love to hear about YOUR favorites places.



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The #1 Leadership Advantage Women Have Over Men

Deb Fish 6-22-14

So much is said and written about what makes women more or less effective leaders than men. It is, after all, still a man’s world when it comes to most leadership positions. Women’s leadership aptitude is compared to men’s because—like it or not—men have set the standard.

But there is at least one area where women arguably beat the standard the men have set: women are better listeners on the whole, and listening leaders earn their followers’ trust most readily and engender more support from them. Indeed, effective listening is integral to many of the leadership competencies at which women have been found to excel.

Let’s face it, you are only a leader if other people are following you and you are influencing their direction. A title does not confer leadership, even if it confers some authority, so you can’t rely on a nifty title to make people follow you. Plus, even without a title, it’s possible to be a very effective leader.

Being an effective listener doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily quieter than others, though it might. What it really means is that you respectfully attend to what’s being said and not said, you ask questions to clarify what you hear, and you respond in ways that make the other person feel heard.

As a woman, here’s how your natural aptitude for listening can set you apart as a leader:

• You will understand better than others how your colleagues view initiatives, their roles, company objectives, etc. You will be tapped into all of the talent around you.

• You will be aware of what factors affect your colleagues’ commitment to, and effectiveness in, their roles.

• You will be known as someone who values others’ opinions and input, thereby making others trust you, seek out your counsel, and be more inclined to embrace your ideas over others’.

• You will more often meet your business objectives because people will work harder for you and you will have their allegiance.

All of this extra effectiveness comes from one skill; a skill that women come by naturally. Leverage this talent you have; don’t discount it; use it wisely to create real value for your organization.

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And the Seasons, They Go ‘Round and ‘Round

Mature woman beach

Summer officially starts in just a couple of days.  For me, summer is what I wait for all year.  As a bona fide California girl, I thrive in the warm (read, “hot”) weather.  Moving to a place with four seasons has been a big adjustment for me and I confess, it’s not one of my favorite things about my new hometown.  My husband relishes the changing scenery outside our windows and with it, the different lifestyles each season brings.

What occurs to me is that our varying response to the weather reflects our different approaches to life’s changes.  Many people, like my husband, embrace the external changing of the seasons.  They love to watch the leaves turn in the fall, they enjoy the stark landscape and cold days of winter, they relish the anticipation of new growth in the spring and in summer, they can’t get enough of the outdoors. These folks also thrive in the day-to-day routine of life, heading out to work each day and appreciating the predictability.

After living in a place of perpetual summer all my life, moving to Nashville has been a challenge.  I am a person who loves change, but to me, change is an internal thing.  I like the consistency in my external world so that I can face life’s transitions.  When my routine is unaffected by extreme weather, I can ride the ups and downs unencumbered.

These days my home nest is empty.  Without the demands of fulltime childcare, the season of my life is changing again.  With that, I have lots of questions.  Now that I have extra time and energy for my own interests, where will I spend it?  Do I expand my professional life or find some new hobbies?  Do I just enjoy the free time and read or do some additional volunteer work?  And finally, do I embrace growing older or fight the passing years?

As women, I believe our lives are in constant motion.  It’s both exhilarating and exhausting.  So it is at the start of summer that I take stock of where I’ve been and ponder where I’m going.  It’s true I prefer this external season, but I’m learning to also appreciate the changing view outside my window and balance it with the real storms inside me.  The seasons do go ‘round and ‘round and whatever change means for you, take this opportunity to rest, reflect and recharge.





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What If Everybody Wins?



I just got off the phone with a colleague. We were discussing how to mutually benefit our respective clients who are adversaries in a case so they can end up in a win/win situation…

I love practicing in the Bankruptcy Bar in Nashville, TN, but a few years ago I overheard an attorney from another state complain that our bar was too conciliatory, too nice and not adversarial enough. This attorney felt there was no criticism of our skills and knowledge base and we were not getting a good deal for our clients. In fact, many of us lecture locally and nationally and our judges’ legal opinions are respected and looked to for precedent value in other parts of the country.

It is difficult enough and challenging enough to work in an environment where you have to continuously focus on strategy and the weaknesses and strengths of other parties without attorneys superimposing artificial adversarial positions, constraints, and general lack of civility simply for the sake of doing so.

While the Bankruptcy Bar in Nashville has been doing this for a long time, recently I learned that the Divorce Bar has begun promoting a conciliatory approach as well – called collaborative divorce – where an attorney represents both parties and, if an agreement is not reached, he or she cannot represent anyone. It seems that everyone should be motivated to reach a win/win situation under those circumstances instead of leaving a lot of scorched earth behind them before a divorce is concluded.

I think that if this trend bleeds over into other areas of law, not only would clients benefit greatly, but the quality of an attorney’s work environment would as well.

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How The Heck Did That Happen?


Running a business is both exhilarating and scary.  It’s exhilarating to have total intellectual and artistic freedom to do what you want as you earn a living.  It’s scary because all the responsibility falls on you as the business owner.

Expect that you will have a few “how the heck did that happen” moments. These moments can arise from many situations.  Perhaps you discover that a trusted employee has stolen company money or property.  Perhaps you learn that a key supplier has gone bankrupt just as you are about to enter your busiest season, leaving you scrambling to meet your sales goals while searching for a replacement supplier.

Planning can make all the difference between failure and success for your business.  Planning involves taking three key steps:


  1. The first step is to ask “what if” questions. What if my key supplier suddenly disappeared? Asking this question means that you will immediately begin looking for a backup supplier. Or it could mean that you decide to use several suppliers at all times so that you have an existing relationship and can quickly ramp up orders to the surviving supplier. This type of planning is a component of what the pundits call your “business continuity plan”.  A good business continuity plan works in conjunction with a good disaster recovery plan or emergency response plan.


  1. The second step in planning is to buy insurance to cover your risks. If you have employees, it is always a good idea to get a policy that covers employee dishonesty.  These policies can restore you cash flow while your former trusted employee is living in the islands on your money.  At least your business won’t fail due to the sudden, acute loss of cash.  These days, most insurance companies offer package deals on property and casualty insurance that cover the basic liability risks faced by any business.  A basic P&C package can be supplemented with a “rider” that adds more coverage for specific risks.  Your agent or broker can help you decide which coverage best fits your company’s risks.


  1. The third step in planning is to remember that your advance planning will probably not fit the crisis that you face in your “how the heck did that happen” moment.  No matter how well you plan, something will boondoggle in unexpected ways. But having a plan means that you can improvise a solution. An existing plan can be tweaked to fit the unexpected and that will save your business. Not planning in advance is a guarantee of failure for your business.


If you follow the three key steps outlined here, I believe you will have the basics for a good corporate compliance plan.  After all, the point of a corporate compliance plan is to sort out all those boring back-office details that make the difference between failure and success, when you find yourself asking, “How the heck did that happen?”

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The Other Side of the Couch

couchSo – I am about to jump off into the world of blogging.. I have ideas, thoughts, things to share that I think could be useful for others. I’ve spent a lot of my professional life doing just that – helping others. As a teacher, a school principal, and now a Professional Counselor, helping other people learn has been my life’s work. And yet…how much of my personal self is appropriate to “show” in something like this? …as a therapist I am not the “blank slate” type. You won’t find me sitting across from you just nodding or using the famous “mm-hmm”. I am active, I respond, my clients can see how their words and their concerns affect me. That’s part of how I believe good therapy happens…there is a mutuality of response. That doesn’t mean that I am using my client’s time to deal with my personal issues…but it does mean that I am more open and more present in the relationship than perhaps some other styles of therapy allow.

People in this profession know that the good therapists are the ones who do their own personal work. If you haven’t dealt with (or if you don’t continue to deal with) whatever is going on in your own world, your instrument…your self…will not be clear and available to do the work with others.

Sharing ideas and experiences that come from my own self-understanding and from the work I’ve done over the years with clients in many different situations is something I want to do. This blog, as I now conceive it, will be about my own reactions and experiences . My hope is that I can provide tips to deal with life issues that might be useful to others. Here is a big disclaimer…please take what works for you…and leave the rest! I certainly don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do have a voice and years of experience that I am willing to share.


1. How do you feel when you meet them?

2. Do they demonstrate respect for you by informing you of their policies and procedures?

3. Do they clearly explain confidentiality…that counseling is confidential with exceptions that include needing to break confidentiality if a person is a danger to himself/herself or others, or if a person has knowledge of a situation of a minor child or elder being abused.?

4. Do you feel understood as you talk about your concerns? Does the counselor listen carefully and is the counselor able to ask questions that help you go deeper into your concerns?

Choosing a counselor is a big deal – a major investment of time, energy, and finances – and you need to feel right about the person you are working with. If you don’t feel like it is a fit, keep looking – because it is the relationship between you and your counselor that creates change.

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Woman-leapingI work in a profession where we strive for certainty. As engineers, public health, safety, and welfare is in our hands; it is what we promise to protect when we get our licenses. We need to know we’re making the right decisions. Technically. This has made us a people who are cautious, and rightly so, about forward movement.

However, we are also business people, faced day-to-day with decisions where there is no proof in the moment that the path we choose will be the right one. Where even past experience doesn’t give us the reassurance we need to know we’ll get the outcome we need. Things like striving to capture a new market sector, hiring an outside PR team when we’ve never done THAT before, making an investment in technology that might improve our efficiency. Not public health, safety and welfare issues, perhaps. But, decisions important to succeeding in business.

That’s when I pull out my favorite saying: “Leap and the net will appear.” When you’ve pulled together enough information, ruminated it in your experienced mind, vetted it with trusted colleagues….sometimes you just have to go ahead and act. Even without certainty, even without knowing. Even if….it might not work.

The trick is to know when it’s ok to leap….and leaping.

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Welcome to HerSavvy!

Savvy: sav-vy n.

Shrewdness and practical knowledge, adj. well informed, vti. to understand something, especially what somebody has said. Synonyms: know-how, confidence, sense, savoir-faire, knowledge, ability.

Twenty-first Century women are closer than ever to “having it all.” We’ve come a long way baby from the corsets, girdles, beehives and typewriters of previous generations. And while it’s true women have always had savvy and been savvy, today we can show it off and share it with the world.

HerSavvy is the product of a networking group for professional women in Nashville, Tennessee, known as B3 or “Building Better Business.” B3 began in 2009 as way for women to support each other, problem solve and enhance their professional lives. In short, B3 is a safe place for professional women to grow and develop. The group continues to meet weekly in the wee hours of the morning for what the members call the “B3 fix.” The sessions are so inspiring, the members decided to share their enthusiasm with the world in this blog. In the pages of HerSavvy you can expect to find personal stories, professional advice and exploration and, of course, lots of fun!

So who are the women of HerSavvy? We are doctors, lawyers, writers, business owners, engineers, bankers, performers, artists, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and friends. We challenge each other, inspire each other, support each other. We live our lives with savvy and invite you to be a part of our savvy world!

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