Monthly Archives: July 2014

Health Savvy: Don’t Forget the Easy Things!

Female Doctor 2





You know the regimen of taking care of yourself: each day you avoid processed foods, eat modestly, enjoying fresh fruits, vegetables and fish or lean meats; you get your body moving at least 30 minutes 5 days a week; you watch your blood pressure and risk of diabetes; you get your mammograms, colonoscopies and Pap smears; you get a good night’s sleep each night and make sure your family does, too. Right. Creating the conditions for your health to thrive is practically a full time job.

What if there was something easy you could do that requires just a few minutes once a year? What if you could lower the chances of debilitating and life-threatening diseases without a second thought? What if insurance would likely foot the bill? As a specialist in preventive medicine and public health, I remind people daily of one of the easiest and most under-appreciated ways to stay healthy as we age: immunization.  Below are listed a few vaccines routinely recommended for all adult women (and men) at different points in life. For more details, you can visit or

  1. Every woman, every year: Influenza (flu) vaccine. The only reliable way to cut your chances of catching the flu each season. How well it works depends on the season and on your immune system, but it’s inexpensive and widely available, so why not? It comes as a nasal spray, a short under-the-skin injection or a traditional injection: get whatever is convenient and appropriate for you. You cannot afford to get sick and spend a week in bed, or worse, so make this part of your annual self-care regimen. For efficiency, get any other vaccines you need at the same time.
  2. Every woman: Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis booster (“Tdap”). We all need a vaccine against tetanus and diphtheria every 10 years. If you haven’t had a Tdap yet, don’t wait 10 years…go ahead and get it now. It provides added protection against pertussis, or whooping cough, which has been on the rise in recent years because (regrettably) neither vaccine nor illness provides long lasting immunity. It causes a miserable cough illness that lasts weeks in adults and life-threatening illness in newborns.
  3. Speaking of newborns…All pregnant women should get 2 vaccines during every pregnancy: flu vaccine and Tdap. Influenza during pregnancy can be especially severe, and newborns can catch deadly pertussis from mom or others. By vaccinating during pregnancy, mom’s body shares her protective antibodies with her unborn child, helping protect baby in the earliest weeks of life.
  4. All women through 26 years: Human Papillomavirus vaccine (HPV). This vaccine prevents infection with strains of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancer and other types of cancers in men and women. It’s routinely given to preteens, but this vaccine is essential cancer prevention for any woman under 27 who hasn’t had it yet.
  5. All women 60 and up: Shingles (zoster) vaccine. Anyone who has had chickenpox can come down with shingles, a painful rash that develops from reactivation of the chickenpox virus inside a nerve. If you are 60 or older, your chances of coming down with it are 1 in 3. The shingles vaccine, given just once to everyone over 60, can cut that to 1 in 6. If you do get shingles anyway, you’ll be much less likely to experience the debilitating pain some sufferers endure for months.
  6. All women 65 and up (and some earlier): pneumococcal vaccine. The “pneumonia shot” is recommended once after turning 65, but watch this space! New recommendations for additional protection may be coming very soon.

This list just hits the highlights of routine vaccines. You may need others because of your health. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires your insurance plan to charge no deductible or co-pay if you receive them from an in-network provider. Coverage is a bit more complicated under Medicare, TennCare and “grandfathered” plans not yet subject to ACA. Ask your healthcare provider, insurance plan or pharmacist to see what your benefits are. The savvy woman doesn’t pass up the chance to optimize her health.

About Kelly L. Moore, MD, MPH

Dr. Moore is a public health physician, with a specialty in preventive medicine, who works to minimize the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases.

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Working the Room


I do a lot of networking.  Not just a little, I do a LOT.  My job is to connect the dots between our company and our clients so that we can literally help build our communities.  To do that I rub elbows with a lot of industry colleagues, every week.  Because of this, you’d imagine that it comes naturally for me to “work a room.”  You know what working a room is: navigating a networking event (think cocktail party for business) and connecting with colleagues or even perfect strangers in a meaningful way.  Well, I’ll tell you a secret.  I used to be horrible at it.  I was the one huddled on the sidelines with the one or two other people I knew, awkward and (I was certain) obvious.

But I had to learn and, like any good engineer, I came up with a tool belt of techniques that turns networking from awkward into awesome:

  1. Before going to the event make a goal. It might be “Meet three new people and find out what they love to do”; or (having asked for the guest list ahead of time, which is often available from the organizers) “Connect with Jane Doe, John Smith, and Gordon Dalrymple.”  And (this is important) once you’ve substantially met your goal give yourself permission to leave.  That takes a LOT of pressure off.
  2. A valued colleague, who tends to get scared when entering a room full of strangers shared this tip: If you’re scared you tend to breathe shallowly and give off the “I’m not really approachable” vibe.  The first step when entering a function?  Breathe deeply.  It will change that vibe and change your whole experience!
  3. When entering the event, do NOT stop after coming through the front door. Walk, with purpose through the group towards the other end of the room.  While walking, scan the crowd for people you’d like to talk with and discern how you’ll join groups.  Often, there’s a bar or food table in the back of any event, so walking through is natural.  Believe me, it is a lot less obvious than standing stock still at the front door.  Extra tip: note those who are standing alone; they would probably be grateful if you introduce yourself!
  4. When joining a group enter across from someone you know or who looks nice enough to let you in. This way they will see you and can work to include you in the group.
  5. Unless you are best friends with all those in the group, extend your hand, make eye contact and introduce yourself by name: “I’m Laura Reinbold, it’s a pleasure to see you.” Especially if you aren’t wearing a name tag! Even acquaintances forget your name in the fray and those around will remember you better.
  6. Have some small talk questions ready and a story or two. A current event works great:  the latest sporting exploit; industry accomplishment in the community; or something relevant to the event itself.  One question that works well is “How are you connected to (this event) (the hosts)?”
  7. While food and beverages are usually abundant, resist eating too much or, worse, over indulging. It’s hard to walk around balancing a plate of food and a wine glass, and still talk professionally.  Choose one at a time. And having that second or third glass of free wine might be economical but it might not serve you well, conversationally.  Nurse that cabernet.
  8. When it’s time to go, or leave a group of colleagues, simply say “It was lovely to see you; I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening.” No need for long explanations — everyone is there to move around.
  9. Lastly, relax and be yourself. The more relaxed and comfortable you are, the more you will make others feel comfortable and THAT will make a great impression!

About Laura Reinbold, PE

Ms. Reinbold explores ways can help build our communities, from the geoprofessional side of the engineering profession.

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Rebel With A Cause


Emily Dickinson







Emily Dickinson was a rebel. She’s an excellent role model for any woman (or man) who wants to demur from the mainstream but not be handled with chains, to paraphrase one of her more famous poems.

Her rebellion was unobtrusive, quiet, and almost invisible at first viewing. Consider her poetry; She wrote poetry that often did not rhyme. The convention in her day was that poems consisted of four-line stanzas in which alternating lines rhymed.  Her style was so radical that it was rejected by one of the leading poets of the day. The rejection must have crushed Emily because she never again submitted a poem for criticism or publication and her poetry was first published after her death. Now her non-rhyming style serves as a  transition to the free-form style prevalent with today’s poets.

Her poetry memorializes her rebellion against the constrictions in her life. One widely  anthologized poem begins with an observation (paraphrasing again) that people who fight silently are braver than those who fight openly as soldiers. This sentiment will resonate with anyone who has fought an up-hill battle against oppressive authority or stupid social conventions.

Emily rebelled by using satire in her poetry. Her satirical eye was as sharp as Jane’s Austen’s, but perhaps not as gentle. One of her poems pokes fun at a preacher who preached so long on a broad topic that he made it narrow. We all love to skewer pontificating bores, but we rarely do so as elegantly as Emily.

Emily was also a rebel in her personal life. At a time when marriage and motherhood was the only socially acceptable career for women she remained unmarried. She carved out an unofficial career as a poet.

I discovered the rebellious life of Emily Dickinson when I began reading my copy of her collected poems, bought long ago and forgotten on the shelf. I never realized how radical she was when I was forced to read her poetry in English literature class. Now I want to become a rebel like Emily Dickinson.

About the author:

Norma Shirk helps employers create human resources policies for their employees and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to have structure without bureaucracy.


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“Wise up ladies!”


Through our many life experiences we become wise, knowledgeable, and gain much Wisdom.

Wisdom is what we offer to those who follow in our footsteps, those we coach and mentor, love and care for, and those we sit next to in the Board Room. Wisdom has a place in all of our lives.

I’ve shared these five (5) wisdom keys many times before and now I’d like to share them with you.


1. Performance First
You MUST perform in order to succeed. A no brainer!
2. Take Risks
Take the leap. Otherwise life will be safe and boring!
3. You Own Your Career
You are responsible for your career… your boss isn’t, your spouse isn’t … YOU are.
4. Network, Network, Network
Build Relationships with everyone you meet. People help people.
5. Ask For What You Want
If you tell people what you want, they don’t have to guess.

Recently, I was asked to speak to a group of middle school young ladies. So, I revised my wisdom keys to address a young audience….

WISDOM KEYS for Emerging Young Leaders

1. Study First – No excuse!
2. Stand out in the Crowd.
3. You are responsible for the choices you make:
The music you listen to, the way you dress, and the friends you choose
4. Network, Network, Network – build relationships with family, teachers and your church.
5. Ask for what you want – If people have to guess, they might guess wrong!

Sharing wisdom with others could change their lives…as it did ours, along the way! So, I encourage you to share wisdom with those who could benefit from it… you could change a life also.



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Step Up To the Table

Meeting Room

Being a woman executive in the engineering profession is still a novelty. It shouldn’t be, but it is. I’m often the only woman in the board room, in the leadership team meeting, or on the advisory board. Sometimes I’m even the first woman to have been around those tables.

Last year, Governor Haslam appointed me to the Architects and Engineer’s Licensing Board. In the 100 or so years of its existence, I am the first woman engineer or architect to have been appointed. Now, you cannot tell me that in the past 100 years there has not been a qualified female architect or engineer worthy of this appointment. Many are WAY more qualified than I will ever be. And before you go blaming past Governors or the influence of men in our profession, let me tell you what I found out. Those asked to suggest nominees for this appointment have been asked before to put forth qualified women’s names, they simply couldn’t find any women willing to commit to the service. That’s what I learned. Now, perhaps they didn’t look hard enough, or ask the right women, but nonetheless, they were told, ” No.”

If you’ve read Sheryl Sandburg’s book Lean In, this propensity for women to say no won’t surprise you. Women often undervalue their qualifications; many believe that if they aren’t 100% qualified for an opportunity, they should not accept it. Men, on the other hand, believe that if they bring over half the skills necessary to the task, they’ll pick up the rest of it OTJ and thrive in the position. This plays out over and over in job searches, promotions, even asking for raises: Women are consistently less likely to put themselves forward for consideration than equally qualified men.

This self-limiting behavior has got to change, ladies. We need you to look for opportunities to step into those leadership roles that you’ve every right to pursue. The young ladies who follow in your footsteps need you to; the men who will prosper from having your expertise at their tables need you to; and I need you to. I want more women at my tables!

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Loss and Renewal

Glad painting 1

My mother passed away just over three months ago.  Though she had been having some health trouble, her passing came as a surprise to family and friends.  She was tough and withstood tremendous discomfort.  Heard often to say, “Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day,” she was cooking her breakfast on Friday morning, went into the hospital in the afternoon and passed away on Tuesday evening after just two and a half hours in hospice care.  I miss speaking with her every day, hearing her daily synopsis of the news, what was going on with family, and her laugh.  I miss sharing the birds that I had seen, and taking her for car trips to see the birds and other wildlife.  Mother was dramatic.  When we would see a hawk perched on the Vine Street Christian Church steeple, along the roads or soaring overhead, she would often exclaim, in her delightful southern drawl, “Ohhh, ah do love the fowl”.  I miss her entertaining ways.  Our family misses her way with words and phrases.  Mother had more colloquialisms than you could shake a stick at.

I have heard that the depth of loss doesn’t sink in until some time has passed.  I believe that to be true now.  It has had its stages with me and will continue evolving.  Having lost both parents and three of my four brothers, I can say that even though it is difficult to let go, there is a beauty surrounding the event like nothing else I have experienced.  When we have had loss, everyone is unified, grieving and pulling together, loving and supporting one another, as at no other time.  Let me say that I do not want to lose anyone else to experience this again, but I am more accepting.

Because there is time freed up with no longer looking after mom, and because I jumped right back into work after she passed, I recently took a week-long sabbatical to the mountains and did something that I have never done but always wanted to do…I took a painting class.  It was lovely because the teacher, the talented and inspiring artist, Kim Barrick, was encouraging and generous.  I rented a small cottage all to myself and had the luxury of time to fully dedicate into creating and learning something new.  I made new friends and to my surprise saw an old friend.  In the mornings we hiked, in the afternoons we painted.  It was heavenly to have space and time all to myself in the evening.  My cottage had a screened-in patio with a lawn and old growth forest beyond.

Of course, birds were everywhere in the mountain village.  My mother would light up when you mentioned a Wood Thrush.  I had not seen a one in probably 15 years. For the entire time that I was there, a Wood Thrush sang to me.  The first morning that I heard the varied and beautiful song, I wasn’t quite sure if it was the Thrush.  In the early morning of the second day I stood inside the patio and wished and watched for it to fly into view, hoping to get a glimpse.  Sure enough, it briefly flew into the yard.  It was a Wood Thrush!  Not only did I have the melodic song almost nonstop from dawn to dusk, I had Pileated Woodpeckers, Towhees, Wrens, and tons of Robins (in the thrush family, much more common.)  There was also a Cooper’s Hawk that I was alerted to when I heard the whole community of birds squawking.  They were doing their best to run him off as he tried to steal the babies from the wren’s nest, unsuccessfully, I will add.  This collective of art and nature was a spiritual experience and life changing.  I felt, and still feel wonderfully, wholly loved, taken care of, and that I am doing the right thing.  I found that I actually have some ability to paint and want to learn more techniques.  I want to grow this.  I have begun working through a twelve-week course, ‘a spiritual path to higher creativity’, with a book titled The Artist’s Way, by Julie Cameron.  I will let you know how it goes.  In the meantime, I will relish the renewal.  Though I won’t be able to physically show my mother the paintings, I think she knows just what I am doing.

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Savvy Talk: Nail your next speaking engagement or media interview with these tips


I have a confession to make…I love to talk.  This is no surprise to those who know me, and  even to many who haven’t met me in person.  I became a broadcast journalist because I  love using my voice to illustrate a story.  Radio in particular is fun because there are no  visual aids, just the sound of my voice and the voices of my sources with maybe some  great ambient sounds.

I also enjoy public speaking.  Unlike radio broadcasting which takes place in a small studio  with just me and maybe a sound engineer and a microphone, when I speak in public I get to  experience my audience.  I can hear their laughter, see their faces and even answer  questions.  It’s invigorating for me to interact with people.

For most people, though, this is not the case.  It’s a well-known fact that the number one fear is public speaking.  Yep, most folks would rather be on an airplane with no working engines than stand in front of a group and talk.  Go figure!  But for those in the business world public speaking is a fact of life.  Making presentations, giving speeches and talking to the media are tasks that can give even the most seasoned C-level execs nightmares.

Here are some sure-fire tips to help you survive (and maybe even enjoy) your next speaking engagement or media interview:

  1. Be prepared.  This may be obvious but I cannot count the times I have begun an interview with someone only to find she does not know her talking points or does not have relevant facts available.  Taking the time to know your message can make all the difference between being misquoted and helping to shape the story your way.
  2. Practice.  Again, obvious, but many busy people do not take the time to practice their speaking skills.  Begin with a tape recorder, in private, until you feel confident that you like what you hear.  Then stage a mock interview with someone you trust like your assistant, a colleague or your communications advisor.  Pretend you are preparing for a Candidate Debate, they all do it!
  3. Slow it down.  Most of us tend to speak fast when we are nervous.  Even professionals tend to speed it up under pressure.  If it feels like you are talking too slowly, you’re on the right track.  And make sure to practice enunciating difficult names and terms.  Oh, and remember to breathe!
  4. Make eye contact.  This is a great way to connect with your audience.  If you are speaking to a large group, choose a person to look at and then sweep your gaze around the room making eye contact with a few other people.  Hold each person’s eye for a few seconds before moving on.
  5. Don’t fidget.  Fidgeting is a way to release nervous energy.  But unfortunately it only makes you appear more nervous.  If you have a podium, try to rest your hands on the sides of the top.  Don’t hide them behind because this makes you look like a talking head.  If there is no podium, one trick is to keep one hand in your pocket.  Another idea is to hold something like a pen or pointer, but do not let the object make you more fidgety.  Sometimes strolling along the stage helps, but be careful not to move too quickly.
  6. Think before you answer.  This is really important for media interviews.  Remember the reporter’s job is to get a juicy sound bite.  Most of the time she knows what she wants you to say and will keep asking questions until she gets it.  Take time and think about your answer before you open your mouth.  The reporter will wait as long as it takes.  And if you want to stall, ask her to re-state the question another way.
  7. BE PREPARED!!!  I started and ended with this so it must be pretty darned important.  Do your homework, practice, know your message and your next interview or presentation will be a piece of cake!

One final thing, learning to be an effective public speaker is a process.  For some people, it comes naturally but for most, it does not.  Don’t beat yourself up if you stumble during an interview or presentation.  Just keep working on it.  And let us know how you’ve tackled this very important part of business.  Remember: Savvy women share!

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How to Stay Married – Kindness is the Key

My husband and I are pushing 30 years together…and it hasn’t always been a walk in the park. As a Certified Imago Therapist and a Professional Counselor, you’d think that I, of all people, would know how to keep a marriage alive and thriving, but guess what…therapists have to work at things, too. NO marriage, no human relationship, really, thrives without what I consider to be one key element: Kindness. If I assume that my husband’s intentions are good, and if I do my best to act, myself, out of genuine care for his best interests, many small problems just fall away.  If both of us are able to do this – to act out of intention rather than reactivity, the struggles of relationship become much smaller. I found a wonderful article that I want to share today by Lydia Netzer, an author and blogger.  The link to her post is below.  Lydia has some great things to say about staying married.  Take a look!

What one word would describe what it has taken for you to stay in relationship?  I would love to hear from you.


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In the Middle of Nowhere

Letchworth State ParkLetchworth State Park is in upstate New York in the middle of nowhere. It can only be reached via secondary roads from Rochester or Buffalo.  I first visited the park on a school field trip.

I love the park because I’m a history buff and there’s plenty of history in the park.  On our school trip we visited the pioneer and Seneca Indian museum and the restored Seneca Council House. Near the Council House we saw the statue of a truly remarkable woman named Mary Jemison.

Mary’s family emigrated from Ireland in the early 1700’s. After her family died in a frontier raid, a common occurrence in those days, she was adopted by the Seneca tribe. At the time of her adoption into the tribe Mary was about 15 years old. She spent the rest of her life as a member of the tribe and her descendants can still be found among them.

Mary farmed land that is now within the borders of the park.  Traces of her life and farm remain, including a log home built for one of her daughters. Mary is buried in the park near the land she used to farm.

Of course, not everyone cares about history as I do. So if history is not your thing, there’s plenty of natural beauty on display in the park.  The primary natural attraction is the waterfalls on the Genesee River.  The river is shallow but it narrows into a deep gorge that descends through a series of three waterfalls. At the lower falls, a stone bridge spans the river gorge allowing a wonderful view upstream of the middle falls.

If you ever find yourself in the middle of nowhere near Buffalo or Rochester, consider taking a side trip to Letchworth State Park. You can eat lunch at the Glen Iris Inn, formerly the home of William P. Letchworth who donated the park land. Then take a stroll to the nearby historical and natural sights in the park.  It’ll be worth the trip, I promise!

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Mother of the Bride

Bride Holding Bouquet








The day is coming soon, the day my only daughter will walk down that aisle into the arms of a young man who will promise to love her, care for her, “for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part”…and I am bewildered by the wild swings my emotions are taking in these days leading up to this event.  It’s not the planning.  She is actually firmly in charge of all that and has clear ideas and strong organizational skills.  It’s not any kind of mother-daughter conflict.  It’s not even that we (my husband and I) don’t trust this young man and believe he will do all in his power to make her happy.

What I am experiencing is a kind of shame-faced wish to stop time.  As parents we pour our love and care and support into our children, hoping and praying for a life full of joy.  And then when the time comes, and it is time for them to fly away into that dreamed-of life…we have to say goodbye.

I know that these feelings are not necessarily rational…it’s probably not the last time we will eat dinner together, just the three of us, or the last time we will go on a trip together…yet these days have a tremendously bittersweet edge.  The focus of her life has changed, and we’re not so central to it anymore.  The irony of all this is that I, myself, am a Professional Counselor, helping others to deal with life transitions.  It’s hard no matter where you come from.

I will face that day with all the grace I can muster.  I will cry (I already cry at commercials, so I don’t have a prayer that day.)  And I will welcome her husband into our lives as a son.  I will accept the changes in our relationship that are inevitable.  I will learn to love him.  But I will always miss my little girl.

Tips for Dealing with “Good” Transitions:

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself…even if it’s a wonderful event, it’s still a change.
  1. Allow yourself to feel what you feel.  It doesn’t help to tell yourself you “should” feel a certain way if you don’t.
  1. Find support.  Talk to your spouse, a best friend, a counselor (!).  Sometimes writing about it helps.
  1. Plan something special for yourself after the event.  The week after might be a big let-down…so have something on the books – a massage, a day trip, a visit to a museum – something just for you.

Above all, be gentle with yourself.  You deserve as much care as anyone else does.


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