Tag Archives: Savvy Woman

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Yes, we are back, and we want to tell you again how much we appreciate you. We’re cranking HerSavvy up as promised and we look forward to offering you insights and information from our group of savvy women to all you                 savvy women!!!

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Leadership Lessons:  It’s Not All Fun and Games

Fun and Games


I am, at heart, someone who loves to have fun and enjoy myself.  This does not mean I can’t be serious when the situation calls for it.  In fact my family members have been known to tell me to lighten up, take things easy, chill out.  But spending my time doing things that are meaningful and fulfilling, that add value to the world around me, brings me joy and pleasure.  I am also, by nature, an optimist and an extrovert.  This makes me, for better or worse, a natural cheerleader and people-pleaser.  Whether it’s encouraging my kids or spouse when they face challenges or telling a member of my leadership team that they should just “go for it,” when they have an idea for a program or fundraiser, I just can’t help myself.  The glass must always be half full, darn it!  Thankfully, I have a spouse and others in my support network who are realists and who can bring me down to earth when it’s time for some tough love.

This brings me to the hardest leadership lesson I’ve learned so far.  Sometimes it is out of my control to make things fun and joyful, for me and for those around me.  There are difficult decisions that must be made and not everyone will be happy with the outcome.  Being a leader means shouldering the burden and being willing to face criticism, and to answer for your actions or the actions of others.

I recently had to make such a decision, for the good of the organization.  I did my homework, consulted advisors both inside and outside.  I listened to opinions on both sides of the issue.  In the end, I made a decision that disappointed and hurt someone I care about.  I’m not going to lie, it sucks!  I do not like being that person who can’t please everyone.  And while I stand by my decision and feel confident I did the right thing, it has been tough going.

During the worst of it, someone whose opinion I trust and whose insights I value, said, “Being a leader is not all fun and games.”  An obvious thing, really, but that simple statement brought me comfort.  It gave me perspective and the permission to not please everyone all the time.  It also helped me to see that making a good decision, the right decision, can be satisfying on its own.  Even if I have to disappoint people, something I abhor, there is some pleasure to be had in taking the long view, in stepping up to lead an organization and knowing that this too shall pass.

This latest trial has left me with some scars and bruises, but I feel stronger and more confident as a leader.  I know that next time, and there most definitely will be a next time, I will be better prepared for the pain.  And while leadership isn’t all fun and games all the time, it is an experience I treasure and one I truly enjoy.

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation.  The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors.  Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com.  If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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The Other Side of the Couch – How to Say “No”


Every now and then a period of time arises in my life that results in hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth, accompanied by thoughts such as, “How could this have happened again?” and “What were you thinking?” and “Were you even thinking?”   This is usually the result of having said, “Yes,” to too many different projects, all of which for some odd reason all need to be completed within the same (already packed) time period.   This is what I used to call in my college days a “Pressure Period.”  The perplexing part of this for me is that I am light-years past college, and the same kind of thing keeps on happening on an all-too-regular basis.

I have strategies for dealing with it when it happens – chunk it down, one step at a time, do the next right thing, this too shall pass.  All of these strategies work to some degree, and the period of time passes and it all gets done.  However, what I want is a change in the pattern.  I want it NOT to happen.

To make that happen, I have to be really honest with myself and with what I am committing myself to taking on.  For example, I am currently the president or leader of three organizations – two are local and one is national.  I didn’t plan to be the one in charge of these groups all at the same time – it just turned out that way.  It’s as though when I am asked to take a certain role, everything other than my ability to do the job and my desire to do it well and my knowledge that I can do it well recedes.  I can only see that one thing that is ahead of me  All the other things that I do are not present as I contemplate this possibility.  I do choose to say yes, and I often say it quickly, without taking time to consider the impact on other areas of my life.

The result of this pattern is that I stay very busy.  I am sure that staying busy is serving some purpose in my life, but I won’t know what that purpose is unless I allow myself to become less busy.  Becoming less busy is going to involve saying, “No.” – and saying no is a skill I need to practice.

So – here are some ideas I plan to try:

  • Say maybe.
  • Sleep on any decision.
  • Make a blanket rule about saying, “Yes,” to anything at all for “x” period of time, no matter how good it sounds.
  • Be ok with changing my mind.
  • Understand that I am not the only person who can do a task. I am not irreplaceable (Wow – how arrogant to even think such a thing).
  • Breathe
  • Be compassionate to the part of me that wants to say yes, and curious about what it would be like to be less busy.

I will let you know how it goes.  In the meantime, I’d better get busy….!!!

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

Susan is a communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, and proud native Nashvillian. She has been in private practice for over 30 years. As she says, “I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts.”  Contact Susan at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com

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Birding and BBQ, Perfect

Bates Birding hobby Jan 2015

Birding has been a hobby I have enjoyed since my late teens.  I thought that leaving our countryside home in 2007 to move into a dense city neighborhood would mean leaving frequent bird sightings behind, but I’m happy to say there are many birds here and I have even seen new varieties to add to my life list.  For instance, this winter I have seen a Golden Crowned Kinglet two different times near my bird feeder. I’m still waiting for a Rose-breasted Grosbeak to visit our yard, however.

For those wanting to see many bird varieties including the migratory 4’ tall Sandhill Cranes, and other birds whose habitat is in or near the water, I recommend going to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. Just an hour and forty five minutes down I-65, in Decatur, AL,  I’ve been told it has better viewing than the Soddy Daisy, TN site, and it’s a half hour closer.  I went to Wheeler on January 10th of this year and was thrilled to also see a pair of Whooping Cranes.  Most cranes are gone by mid-March, but with so many other birds to see, I think it would be a good place to visit at any time.  There is a good visitor center and an indoor viewing room where you can be out of the elements when needed.  It has walls of glass, a microphone mounted outside bringing the bird sounds in, and bleachers to sit on to enjoy the view.  We had a special treat as we watched a pair of bobcats on the far shore through a scope, soaking up the winter sun, playing and grooming.  Wheeler has walking trails and if you like to check out the local flavor, go into town about 3 miles and visit Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Restaurant.  BBQ is my favorite food group and they did not disappoint with an extensive menu of sides as well.  For dessert they have delicious lemon meringue pie, among other sweets.

I’d love to hear what you are seeing at your feeder.

About Renee Bates

Renee is an artist focused on growing a newfound ability to express herself through oil painting, recently leaving her role as executive director of the non-profit Greenways for Nashville to pursue art and product development. Renee likes being in nature, hiking, birding, and working in the garden. Married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, she appreciates that the legacy of the 3rd generation business was begun in 1932 at the height of the depression by a savvy woman, Bessie Bates.

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Photo:  Sandhill Cranes,

US Fish and Wildlife Service

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The Other Side of the Couch – What Makes a Relationship Last?  Kindness and Generosity

CoupleHow do we know that we have found the “right” mate?  How do we know, once we have found that person, that we will not be part of the 50% of new marriages that end in divorce?  Emily Esfahani Smith has written an excellent article in The Atlantic that appeared on June 12, 2014.  It is well worth reading.

“Science says lasting relationships come down to — you guessed it — kindness and generosity.”

“Every day in June, the most popular wedding month of the year, about 13,000 American couples will say, ‘I do,’ committing to a lifelong relationship that will be full of friendship, joy, and love that will carry them forward to their final days on this earth,” says Smith. “Except, of course, it doesn’t work out that way for most people.”

Click on this link to read the article. You will be glad you did!


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

Susan is a communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, and proud native Nashvillian. She has been in private practice for over 30 years. As she says, “I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts.” Contact Susan at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com

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


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Holidays for Savvy Cooks

Basket of Fruit and Pumpkin PieMy favorite holiday time of year is Thanksgiving.  It was Mom’s as well. “It’s all about the food,” Aunt Kathy pointedly told my mom with a grin, as they discussed an upcoming trip and Mom plotted their vacation by the restaurants they would dine in along the way.  Lella Mai (mom) certainly enjoyed good food, cooking and loving people with her creations from the kitchen.  My cousins loved Aunt Mai’s sweet tea, potato salad, corn bread dressing and chocolate confections.  From her “doctored up” Mississippi Mud Cake to her truffles and other deliciousness, desserts were top of mind.  Her first love, pound cake, was a constant entertainment as she tried many recipes.  I have found the same enjoyment in my own kitchen, especially creating new recipes, or tweaking others’ recipes to make them my own.

Mom was not one of those who kept secrets about her ingredients.  She would share recipes readily and was honored when people asked her for one.  She definitely had command of the kitchen.  Of course, everything else was under her leadership as well, but that’s another story.

The following salad is a recent discovery, and its simplicity makes it an easy addition to any meal.  Mom probably would not have liked this one because she never tasted arugula, to my knowledge, and she became fairly picky.  I can see her “would be” reaction to it now, a crinkled up nose in disapproval of the strong flavor.  It makes me laugh.  I do miss her.  She could make some awful faces.

This recipe serves 16-20 as an accompaniment and leftovers the next day are delicious.  Lemon is the standout and makes for a nice break on the palate between the savory goodness of turkey and dressing and that sweet potato casserole with the brown sugared crunchy topping.

Lemon Arugula Salad

  • 3 containers of arugula, organic if you can get it
  • 6 ounces thin sliced prosciutto di Parma, torn into small pieces
  • ½ cup of large shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano (use a large bit grater)


  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/3 to ½ cup of good olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Mix the liquids and pour over the salad.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss well and serve.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Gathering family, cooking, eating, laughing and of course, expressing thanks, are all on the plan.  A nice walk in the woods, breathing in the crisp, cool air and walking off some of that deliciousness will be on the plan as well.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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.

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


Filed under Fun Savvy, Self Savvy