Monthly Archives: August 2014

A Few Thoughts On Ebola and My Heroes

First identified back in 1976, Ebola has been a remote, almost mythical disease, affecting isolated jungle villages after contact with infected bats or monkeys and (rarely) laboratory workers handling the virus. The current perfect storm in regions of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria has the makings of a Hollywood horror film. For the first time, the virus has found its way into large urban areas, among impoverished communities without access to adequate health care or public health infrastructure. With resolution likely many months away, I thought it might help to share a little background and inspiration from some of the extraordinary people involved in fighting it.

CDC E bola

The Ebola virus doesn’t spread through the air, but is spread through infected blood and body fluids of a sick person. Unfortunately, the early sign of high fever can be mistaken for malaria or typhoid, meaning unsuspecting family members or healthcare workers can be infected if they don’t protect themselves. Once exposed, illness begins as little as 2 days or up to 3 weeks later. Although public education is everywhere, many people remain fearful of hospitals and their government, so they keep the ill at home, defying quarantine orders and continuing traditional burial practices, spreading the virus in the process. Healthcare workers are exhausted and overwhelmed with patients, ill-equipped to maintain perfect personal protection while caring for so many with so few resources; as a result, doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers have been hard hit in this outbreak. Even leading Ebola experts in these countries have succumbed in recent weeks.

The good news is that WHO and CDC disease control experts have arrived. One of my friends is using her infection control expertise to help health systems in Lagos, Nigeria, and many more experts are working around the clock back in Atlanta and in other countries. They are working to set up an effective surveillance system so we know where the disease is (and is not): this is the most critical first step in outbreak control. They are implementing other tried and true public health disease control measures capable of bringing this virus to heel. Others at CDC are refining detailed guidance for US healthcare providers, laboratories, and public health so we know just how to evaluate and manage ill travelers from the affected areas who might have Ebola.

To paraphrase Albert Camus from his 1947 novel The Plague: what we learn in time of pestilence is that there is more to admire about man than to despise. Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol are two admirable American volunteers among those who refused to abandon the sick and dying, knowing they risked their lives by doing so.

I have read that Dr. Brantly, whose faith led him to serve the Liberian people in the mission hospital well before Ebola emerged, has told friends that his decision to stay with his Ebola patients was inspired by three young Hebrew boys described in the book of Daniel. When faced with the demand to abandon their commitment to God or endure death by fire, they replied to the Babylonian King: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set u
p.” (Daniel 3:16-18) Like his ancient Hebrew heroes, Dr. Brantly did not abandon his commitment in the fear of his own death.

I confess that I shed an indignant tear or two over the remarks of those who claimed, out of ignorance, that the US should not bring Dr. Brantly and Mrs. Writebol to Emory Hospital for expert care after all they had done. Ebola simply isn’t a threat to the US population. We know how to handle an Ebola patient safely at any modern hospital. Ignorance and fear need to be cured here, as in Africa, with good information to fight the rumors, and that’s part of my role in this outbreak.

We should not forget West Africa after these two American heroes leave the spotlight in triumphant health. As a former Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the CDC, I know the CDC has at its disposal the resources, people, and outbreak know-how that is the envy of the world. I can tell you that public health folks, all the way down to your local health department, have been educating themselves and preparing to meet any need that could arise, however unlikely. This pestilence may yet be one of public health’s finest hours.

For the latest CDC information, visit:

About Kelly L. Moore, MD, MPH

Dr. Moore is a public health physician specializing in preventive medicine who works to minimize the burden of preventable diseases by guiding the control of outbreaks and promoting the optimal use of vaccines.

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!


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Using Pictures In Your Social Media


If you had the time to count online pictures, you’d find there are over 60 million posted every day on Instagram, and 350 million a day on Facebook!  According to Business Insider, Facebook revealed that its users have uploaded more than 250 billion photos.  To put that into perspective, it would mean that each of Facebook’s 1.15 billion users have uploaded an average of 217 photos apiece!

Why so many pictures? With pictures there are no language or cultural barriers.  They cross all socioeconomic levels. Photos allow us to connect emotionally. Therefore, it is imperative that businesses incorporate visual images in their marketing and public relations strategies. This is what Kristin Steed, Social Media Manager for The Container Store, has to say about Pinterest, “We view Pinterest as a success for giving us high engagement with our boards, ever increasing followers and repins and the sales and traffic it drives online and to our stores.”

Here are a few suggestions to begin integrating pictures into your marketing and public relations strategies:

  1. Show day-to-day images that relate to your company’s business.  If you make wine, post pictures of grape vines in various stages of growth, production process, and wine barrels.
  2. Make it easy for customers to enjoy the content you post.  Multiple clicks are often a turn off for users, keep it to a one or two click minimum.
  3. Cross promote your pictures by using them not only in your social media but also in blog posts, websites, email blasts, and public relations efforts.

The Container Store

The Container Store is the original storage and organization store selling 10,000 products to save customers space and time, with locations across the United States. The retailer includes Pinterest in virtually every element of its marketing mix and in its stores, as the community is the number one social media source of website referral traffic and revenue, while also serving as a place for high brand engagement.

– See more at:

Today, the big picture sites are Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook.  Don’t stress about having to go to each site with your posts, there are apps such as HootSuite that manage several sites from one dashboard.  It can be overwhelming trying to determine which social media outlet or outlets to utilize.  Start with the first step – pull out those smart phones and take some pictures!

About Lynne Wilkinson

Lynne is the owner of the marketing and advertising company, The Wilkinson Agency, and ReArranging Spaces, LLC, a residential construction and consulting company.

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Jewelry Basics

One of the questions I get most often is how to put together a basic jewelry wardrobe. Building or updating your jewelry collection doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. What’s most important is to consider what works with your lifestyle and compliments your personal style; having a jeweler, stylist or friend whose taste you admire and trust also helps. With that in mind, let’s have a look at the basics and some ways to give them a little extra panache.

1. Pearls:  Whether you prefer white, gray or golden, a great strand of pearls is one of the basics you’ll reach for time andPearls on Leaf again. While you don’t have to spend thousands for South Sea or Tahitians like these, quality is important. Unless your profession requires formal business attire on a daily basis (think attorney or financial advisor), I recommend a less serious approach to the traditional strand of pearls. Maybe have your gray pearls knotted on fuchsia or purple silk or have your grandmother’s white pearls wrapped in gold or silver wire (à la Chanel). Either of these is a great way to breathe new life into a time tested classic.

saph neck2. Long Chain Necklace: When your outfit needs a little something extra, a long chain is an easy and elegant way to add some finesse. Chains like the Van Cleef and Arpels Alhambra made famous by Grace Kelly are great because they can work in many ways, depending on the look you’re going for. They can be worn long, can be doubled for a layered look, and can even be wrapped multiple times around the wrist as a bracelet. While an Alhambra necklace isn’t in the budget for most of us, there are plenty of options in a wide range of prices that are just as versatile, easy and fun.  Shown are multicolored sapphires in 18k gold.

3. Turquoise: We all need a splash of color every now and then to spice things up. Turquoise is a perfect choice because it looks great in every season and compliments everyone’s coloring. In fact, makeup artist Bobbi Brown maintains that the best remedy for the dark circles and puffy eyes that come from jet lag and late nights is to wear a turquoise necklace or scarf. If you prefer for something slightly more subtle, opt for turquoise earrings.

4. Hoop earrings: Be it large and bold or small and dainty, a classic hoop is a must in every girl’s bag of tricks. Hoops come in all hoopsdifferent sizes, shapes and dimensions so pick what feels comfortable and works with your budget. The right hoop will show off your style and work with a variety of outfits. They are the perfect “I don’t have to think about it” accessory that you will be sure to go to often. I’ve been wearing these 18k gold and diamond briolette hoops for years and still get compliments on them.


Pearl Earrings5. Modern pearl earrings:  A great way to modernize your look is to take a classic pearl earring and add a dash of the unexpected. These earrings can transition into any season and be a piece that will stay in style forever. This pair with diamonds is my current favorite.

6. Bangles: Whether gold or silver, plain or studded with stones, bangles are a staple both timeless and contemporary. Take delicate bangles and stack them with other bracelets to create an urban look that compliments many different outfits.

With these six staple pieces, you’ll have something to wear for any occasion. Remember that jewelry is your chance to show off your personal style. Pick out pieces that reflect who you are. Don’t be afraid to mix and layer them with an unexpected piece to round out an otherwise classic outfit!

All photos copyright Lisa Aronow Atelier.

About Lisa Rose Aronow

Lisa Rose Aronow is a metalsmith and jewelry designer who works with a wide variety of precious and semiprecious stones, high karat gold and sterling silver. Her work can be found at Gus Mayer in Nashville, TN or online at



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Savvy Leadership: The DIY Way to Learn How Well You Lead

DIY Leadership Evaluation

Are you making the impact you think you are? Do you wonder how people perceive you? As a leader, you’re undoubtedly curious about how you’re doing, and like most people you get feedback on an irregular basis. In fact, you’re lucky if you get useful feedback even once a year.

No need to wonder anxiously until your next performance review; here are 3 easy steps to conduct your own leadership skills evaluation:

1. Set the criteria

What leadership skills does the company expect? Are there competencies outlined for your position? What leadership skills have you heard about that resonate with you? Name the leadership skills you want to strengthen and make sure you have behavioral definitions for each; in other words, specify what those skills look like on the ground, day to day, as you do your job. Make those behaviors both your goals and the criteria against which you’ll ask others to evaluate you.

2. Ask

Stick your neck out and invite people to give you feedback on those behaviors. Be prepared: most people would rather be anonymous, say nothing, or just complain about you in the restroom. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get much in the beginning, especially from peers and direct reports. Your boss should be able to give you something useful, however, even if he or she is not the best at it. These three tips will help your asking be more fruitful:

  • Give them a heads up. Tell your boss, directs, peers, etc., you’re going to start asking for feedback regularly, tell them why you’re doing it, how you’re going to do it (via email, in person, etc.), and stress how much you appreciate their taking the time to respond. Invite them to be as candid as they feel comfortable, emphasizing how helpful their input will be to making you a better boss/team member/direct report.
  • Be specific. Ask people about one or two particular skills, or ask for feedback on a specific project, or for a specific period of time. A blanket, “How am I doing?” is likely to elicit polite reassurances, which make you feel great, but are not exceedingly helpful.
  • Don’t ask too often. You run the risk of wearing people out or appearing insecure if you ask for feedback every week or every month. Once a quarter should be the absolute maximum. If you like the idea of gathering feedback after every project, formalize that process and make it multi-directional, rather than only encouraging feedback from others to you. (Bonus hint: this is a super way to ensure you will give regular feedback to everyone else as well. It also sets up a feedback-rich culture, which is crucial to good performance.)

3. Thank, Rinse & Repeat

Always thank folks who send feedback your way, even if you didn’t like what they sent. In most cases, they’re taking as much risk in telling you what they think as you are in asking them. The greatest thank you is to let them know how you’re putting their suggestions into practice. Then, when time comes for you to ask for feedback again, they can let you know whether they see a difference.

There are definitely more robust ways to conduct a leadership skills evaluation, usually involving a 360° survey, some other assessments, and maybe an executive coach. If you don’t have access to those the DIY method is a great alternative. Instead of leading in a vacuum, you’ll know more about where you stand.

Lead on!

About Dr. Debra Fish

Dr. Fish is a consulting psychologist whose writing and work focus exclusively on helping individuals and teams lead more effectively. Her firm, Fish Executive Leadership Group, LLC counts among its clients everything from Fortune 50 corporations to small, privately-held professional service firms.

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The Other Side of the Couch: What’s In A Name?


Late July and early August in Nashville can be overwhelmingly humid and uncomfortable.  However, yesterday and today have been little glimpses of fall…crisp air, sunshine, and temperatures in the 70s.  How delicious!

Because of this wonderful weather I have been outside more than I normally am (I am one of those Southerners who is overloved by all insects, in particular mosquitoes and chiggers…I can literally walk across a patch of grass and get attacked, while my husband seems to be immune).  In doing so, I have been enjoying the incredible display of a special kind of lily that happens at this time of year.

These lilies have many names.  I have heard them called Surprise Lilies.  Other names that I am now hearing are:  Resurrection Lilies, Pop-up Lilies, and (my favorite) Naked Ladies.  They start out in the spring with a massive amount of greenery, and no blooms.  The greenery dies away, and sometime in late July little buds begin to poke their way through the soil.  Within a day or two they stand up to two feet tall, spilling pink profusion and a sweet , intoxicating aroma into the summer air – an incredible display.  They line my driveway on either side, cascades of pink spilling up and astounding the eye.  My late godmother planted these lilies, and every time they bloom I am reminded of her legacy of beauty.

Surprise lilies – yes, because they are so sudden and so unexpected.  Resurrection lilies – yes, because they appear to have died and disappeared, and then unexpectedly are reborn.  Pop-up lilies – yes, because they literally pop out of the ground; I think that if I were there I could see it happen. Naked Ladies – yes, only a burst of petals topping a long, green stalk…no leaves, no clothes, so to speak.

Names matter.  What we call something has resonance and connects us to a larger world.  I use “surprise lilies” because that is what Marie called them, and by using this particular name I am connected to memories of her and of her special place in my life.  A master gardener, she spent the last twenty years of her life planting perennials and bulbs, creating beauty, and digging in the dirt.  She loved being outside.  I don’t love being outside, but I love the beauty that she created, and I love remembering her when I see her lilies.

Be aware of how you name things, and of how those names can create an entire internal story of remembrance.  Just like Proust’s madeleine, names evoke more than just an object.  They take you on an internal journey, filled with sight and sound and sensations…just as I see Marie, faded red hair wrapped in a kerchief, happily kneeling in the dirt and planting bulbs for a future she would never see.

Some Additional Thoughts on Names

  1. Be aware of how you name others.  Nicknames or descriptions determine perception.  If you are calling your child “the pretty one”, you can be sure she will learn that this is what you value.
  2. Notice how you name yourself. Many of us have an internal name-caller that isn’t kind.  Work with bringing compassion to your dialogue with you.
  3. Name the things you want in life…values, goals, directions. Naming is powerful.  Give yourself that power.

What is the power of naming in your life?  I would love to know.

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC, MHSP:

Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 30+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts.


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Another Year Older…and Wiser


Today is my birthday.  My dear friend, Renee Bates, kind of got the jump on me the other day because it was also her birthday.  Nevertheless I want to honor myself by sharing some of my own reflections.  As a wife, mother and big sister, it’s not often I get to nab some of the limelight so I will milk this opportunity today.

These last few years have challenged me like no other.  Uprooting my settled, predictable life back home in Los Angeles was pretty tough.  I’m not going to lie.  It’s been hard to dig some new roots, let my brain create new pathways, open my heart to new possibilities.  Many people leave home at the start of their adult lives, but for me, this separation came much later and I confess I have been fighting a battle with my head and heart.

But I believe this year I turned a corner.  I’ve begun to rely on new friends and my local “family of choice.”  I still call my best friends and my sister for support, but I’ve started allowing myself to reach out to and trust my new connections too.  After all, when I’m having my morning coffee and starting my day, the sun hasn’t even come up in La La Land and I dare not call folks there!  So I’ll pick up the phone and chat up my Nashville friends to help get myself moving.

Holidays have been some of the toughest times.  Timeworn traditions add to the richness and meaning of key celebrations and observances.  Our home was always “that” house where folks gathered.  I’ve continued the practice here, but at times the absences at our table are a bittersweet reminder of what we left behind.  Still, in spite of myself, new memories are being made and new traditions are taking hold.

One of the hardest things to adjust to has been the weather.  Most people who know me know summer is my favorite time of year.  And lucky me, in Los Angeles it is always summer!  The sun is out most of the time, save for the odd foggy mornings in June, it rarely rains and the air is balmy and breezy.  It’s pretty hard to imagine anything better.  So to adapt to the changing weather I have created a more seasonal wardrobe; accumulated sweaters, boots, coats, scarves and gloves.  I’ve even braved driving the icy roads and the torrential downpours.  I still do not like the weather here, but I’m learning how to live with it.  Baby steps, after all.

So what are the lessons here?  Well I have learned I’m stronger than I thought.  I can ask for help and not feel ashamed.  I can ask for what I want.  It feels good to embrace change.  It’s important to take care of myself.  It’s fun to make new friends.  I still cherish my old friends.  Weather is an opportunity to go shopping.  Home and family are what you chose to make of them.  And, no matter where I live, I am still Me!  Here’s to another year older and, hopefully, wiser.

About Barbara Dab:

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She currently hosts two radio shows locally in Nashville, TN. Check out her website at

Barbara is also creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. Check it out at If you, or someone you know, is the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.



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This weekend I had another birthday. Since it seems I was 50 for only about 3 months, and enjoying that milestone and nice even number, I was surprised at the speed with which the next one rolled up.   It has been a great year.  Looking back to when I was coming up on THE BIG 5-0, however, there were things I wanted to have done by that time … be fit, be the ‘right weight,’ hike more, speak Italian, learn to paint, and so on.  While my life is better than I could have dreamed and I have many of the qualities that I value (strong friendships and loving family relationships), personally there were accomplishments I wanted to have achieved.

Because I lost three of my four brothers when they were fairly young, I look at birthdays as gifts and time as finite.  Life in my family seems not to be long-lived so, for this important fiftieth birthday, I embraced truly living deliberately … to do the things that interested and took care of me.  I wanted to no longer put off having experiences and a quality of life that I might never have if I didn’t get on with it and work with what I had (me) so, I gave myself permission.  It has been a great year. I have been getting up early to work The Artist’s Way, a book of recovering and growing our creating self, I am exercising often, even jogging, and taking myself out into nature regularly.  For me, today, life is to be lived on purpose, with purpose.  I have reached an age where I realize that honoring my truths, wants, and needs is the best way I can be in the world because when I take care of what I value (my wants, my health), I am a better and more loving person to those around me.   If I could go back and speak to my younger self, I would say, “Don’t worry so much.  Accept others as they are and don’t spend time thinking about what other people think of you.  Live the way you want, honor your belief system, and keep the focus inside your hula-hoop where you have some ability to change the things you can.  It is going to be o.k. ”

It is a gift to be this age, and to have had the experience that 51 years brings.  I have this knowledge, this place in time, and because life continues to grow and change, I am excited to get up in the morning and get on with the day and see what comes, more open to possibility and the places that I will grow.  I am emerging.

About Renee Bates

Renee is the executive director of the non-profit, Greenways for Nashville, a member based organization. In addition to growing private support for the trails and green spaces, she enjoys oil painting, hiking, nature and working in the garden. Renee is married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, a 3rd generation business begun in 1932 by a savvy woman, Bessie Bates.



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