Genma Speaks

Entrepreneur/ Writer/ Radio-Host

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Book Review: Write It Down, Make It Happen

One of new favorite books is by author Henriette Anne Klauser. Write It Down, Make it Happen was a birthday gift several years ago. I tried reading it several times but with my life moving at the speed of sound, I never finished the first three chapters until last summer. It was life changing. I have implemented several practices that I have learned from reading the book in place and I can see the difference in my life. I recommend this book to anyone who have dreams that they think are unreachable, unexplainable, unfinished or have been put on hold. The book helped me to organize my thoughts and stay focused in the midst of trials and chaos. Why I did not read this book when I first received it is the million dollar question?

If you are able trying to set goals and looking to hold your self accountable, grab a journal and start writing it down and make life happen.

Genma Holmes will speak at The 5th Annual ESSENCE Leadership Summit

Our annual Women Who Are Shaping the World Leadership Summit is one of our signature events and every year we strive to make it more meaningful, inspiring and informative for you. We want to bring you the best speakers and the most relevant seminars, motivating you to make positive changes in your life. You have the potential—we can help you discover the inner strengths that will lead you to the success you deserve.

We know you have a busy life, which is why we created Women Who Are Shaping the World as a 9-to-5 day packed with information. We guarantee this one event will deliver limitless possibilities—for your career growth, entrepreneurial goals and personal relationships.

You’ll be inspired by the success strategies of highly accomplished women (and a few good men). For example, in today’s challenging economy, an important theme of this Summit will be how to gain the insight and skills you need to recession-proof your life. You can customize your day by choosing workshops that are most relevant to you. And you will network with other women who can become valuable business associates or even lifelong friends.

To truly move forward in our lives, we have to put down the heavy baggage that keeps us from living our dreams. Women Who Are Shaping the World is an important step forward to help you Connect to Success!
No matter what your career path or life stage, this is the Summit to transform yourself. Welcome!

Angela Burt-Murray
ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief

Genma's Bio

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain Throws a Fast Pitch!

Before I could even begin to post my summary of theDNC, McCain threw a fast pitch and the Governor of the Alaska, Sarah Palin, knocked it out of the ball park. One thing about die hard Repubs, they play to win! As I watched, on C-SPAN of course, a mother of five with a beehive stepped to the podium and gave a speech like only a mother running a state, cooking salmon and shipping oil could give. No matter what your designated party is, you got to admit this is going to be an incredible political race. Daddy left way too soon. I wish he was here to get his non paid view on the match up.

Today, I walked into my daughter's home school tutorial and I swear every mom in the office looked exactly like Governor Palin. There were high fives and a few 'thank God' as parents plunked down a few grand to home school kids. The religious right was talking about God and country again. I think paying to home school will be socially acceptable this year. Anything related to women working, being the boss and raising kids (in one breath) will probably pass for chic this political season. I got two businesses, raising kids, picking up and dropping off to practices and I love to wear my flag pin. I am fashionable again. Who knew, it would take Govenor Palin to make me hot and sought after!

I know what the hair style of choice will be to dress up those traveling pantsuits. The impeccable beehive. I am packing up my skirts, dresses and knee high boots, this will be the year of the power suit. Pardon me as run grab a bottle of Clairol 112 while picking up the twisties for that hairdo.

Life is good.

Real Anchormen on MSNBC

Watching Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann beat up on each other is just good tv viewing! I was flipping channels and saw this exchange being shown on another channel. Yep, the people who deliver the news are making the news with their foolishness. Beautiful. Back to C-SPAN.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Diversity Was Represented In Denver

Did you see the Indian singing the national anthem as if he was from TPAC's opera? Okay, even I was impressed. His name was Robert Moore and he was a leader in the Rosebud Sioux Council. He opened Wednesday night's floor session. This cynical critic was not expecting to see one of the most diverse line up of talent, speakers, and politicians ever. How about the Asian-American woman who is also an Iraq Veteran from Illinois. Tammy Duckworth is the director of the department of Veteran Affairs. Can you even spell diversity after she spoke? I loved the young man from Tennessee, I forgot to jut his name down, who was a true red Repub speaking as well. An Iraq Veteran, a young white Repubs, from TN speaking at the DNC. Diversity is much more than black and white. If you were watching the pundits produced news you did not see any of this. On C-Span, you could not miss the visuals of how America is the land of the red,white, blue and several other shades of people from all back grounds and walks of life.

Nor did you see any of the sessions that were sponsored by businesses and political groups that were trying to get their message out and making sure their voices were heard. We do not see this on pundit produced news cycles. Big businesses do not care about who is in the White House, they care about making sure their brand is up close and personal with what party is in charge. The same sponsors for the DNC are packing up and headed to the RNC. Diversity in business is what makes green.

The music from start to finish was patriotic and danceable. Those two words normally that do not describe political conventions' music. It reminded me of one big block party that covered the nation. Cheryl Crow, Jennifer Hudson, Will I Am, John Legend, Stevie Wonder, Take Six and a host of others kept people entertained while they waited. I hope BMI was keeping track because if they are paying royalties for the music that was played at the convention, a few folks got some checks coming.

Seriously, it was a very diverse convention. The head woman in charge was Rev. Leah Daughty and she held her own with the DNC. You do not see any of what I have written because our networks have only a few people they discuss. Their friends or former bosses. Since they have already mentioned them, I will not. 35 million dollars to wow Demos to stop fighting each other and try to win was quite a feat.

Thursday night, whether you are red or blue, black or white, yellow or green, said we have come along way in our political party system. I must admit that I cried. This was a defining moment in American history. My grandfather had to be smiling from heaven because he fought for me to have the right to vote. He marched, he organized, he taught, he was not deterred no matter the circumstances, all for me. So that I can vote. I do not take that lightly. I hope I have passed that love of my country and being political responsible by making sure I vote down to my children.

Now, let us see what the RNC has the offer next week. The music better be danceable.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Discovering C-SPAN

In my imperfect world, I have a few vices. One is politics and the other is the news. I love all thing news, at least what I grew up knowing was the news. In my little rural community, the news came on three channels: Channel 2, Channel 12, and Channel 8. Channel 8 was the public access channel and signed off at midnight to the tune of the national anthem. My grandfather, "Daddy", said once that he loved hearing the national anthem played as the news was signing off at night because it reminded him that free speech has a price.

As simple as those days were to me, I long for them now in the age of endless channels with over paid pundits giving me their view of my news. I have been watching the DNC coverage. First, it is historical no matter how you vote behind the curtain. Second, I was spoon feed politics at my grandfather's table. Politics were discussed inside and out all the time. He encouraged us to think for ourselves and made sure we had all of the facts prior to giving an opinion. This started as soon as I learned to walk I am sure, because I remember nothing else.

While trying to watch the convention coverage this week, I could not help but scream at a few talking heads in Daddy's voice..."HUSH! I can't hear". I could not listen to a speaker without the pundits cutting in and giving one crazy remark after another.

I started flipping channels and found C-SPAN had no talking heads. I hit myself on the head as if I forgot to drink my V8. Wow, what have I been missing! Tuesday, I watched the entire convention without the pundits. Pundits? You know, the ones who campaigned for one or more candidates for the last two years, spewing hate and stirring the pot as they are delivering commentary. Folks, I do not want commentary, I want the news. The kind of news that has journalism woven into it feeds.

The RNC will be next week. Every channel at my home will be stuck on C-SPAN. I threw away the remotes. There will be no need for me to flip channels. My grandfather was right, freedom of speech can cost you.

Now, where is my check book? I need to make sure C-SPAN stays on the air.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Taking Care of the Pets I do not Own!

I often write about the dogs that I inherited from my children. I remind the kids often that despite what they may believe, I do not own any pets. I am the care taker of their pets. I was recently asked 'how to keep the dogs busy?" by a writer for MSNBC and thought it must be a slow news cycle. Since she was serious, I thought long and hard and penned a response. My response generated enough interest that I thought I might as well share with you folks.

My three children are very athletic and through out the year the dogs worked out with them. Emphasis on them, the children. Not me, the mom.

When my oldest son, Franz, went off to college and the younger children spent more hours commuting to their extra curricular activities, I was left with dogs that loved a lot of attention and were kept to a schedule of activities that included working out through out the day. With less people to work out with, their behavior took on a depressive state. They were missing one or more of the children and they were not as active. I noticed how odd they were behaving and commented on it to the kids. They said, "mom, you got to keep them busy. You got to do more than walk them".

Hmm, let me get this straight...I did not run track, I did not play basketball or football and they are not my dogs. My kids are the athletes. I was mom. The dogs were trained to run around the track, up and down hills, treadmills, and one dog was my daughter's cheerleader. He follows her to the neighborhood bball court and jumps every time she makes a three pointer. (no kidding, her tutorial school loves him so much he is now their mascot!)

My life is busy. I am running two businesses, home schooling, and driving from Hermitage to Green Hills to Hendersonville almost daily; trying to keep dogs active seems a little too much for me. I am a thinking woman and decided I would not be stumped by three dogs dying for a work out. To get the dogs back into the 'busyiness' of work out schedules, I went to a consignment store and bought outdoor toys for the dogs to play on. I got them a slide so they could climb up steps and run down the slide. I was given a treadmill and they love it. I found anything that they could climb up and jump on. I bought a bubble tent that they love. It is bean bag type tent filled with plastic balls that they like to hide under and hang out in for hours. It has hundreds of balls for the dogs to play with and dive on. I bought several "little tike" toys including the wagon which I would put the little one, Onyx, in and the one of the larger dogs would literally pull the wagon with the dog in it. My neighbors have always thought we were crazy but they seem to love the entertainment of the dog circus going on in my backyard.

My kids live an active lifestyle, I did not realize how active, until the Franz went to college. Now that I have learned how to keep Beauty, Blue, and a pedigree,Onyx, happy; I managed to loose twenty pounds keeping up with the dogs. When I work out in the mornings, I got a little buddy, Onyx, right next to me getting his groove on. Franz, a recent college grad, came by two weeks ago with two new dogs in tow. I took one look at them playing with the other dogs and I very kindly asked him to leave and take his little ones with him. He looked stunned. I looked determine. Everyone got the message.

Life is good.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Veronica Gliatti

When I lost my grandfather last year, I could barely utter the word CANCER. It had taken two of my grandparents. My paternal grandmother, Rosie, and my maternal grandfather, affectionately known to the world as "Daddy". I was six years old when I was told to "sit and watch your grandmother." Yeah, I know, my folks would be locked up today. I would sit in a little chair and read to her until they would come back. I only knew she was sick and was in pain. One day, I saw the bandage on her chest and the open sore on what should have been a breast and I can recall that scene as if it was yesterday.

After I turned forty, I was given the news that Daddy had cancer. That was a blow to me. I was still recovering from Hurricane Alexis and now Daddy's cancer. I wondered had God already sentenced me to hell. I went home for a visit in October '06 and was shocked and dismayed at his health. I decided to stay and moved in with my grandparents until his death in January '07. Caring for my grandfather allowed me to share his last days with him. I never imagined returning to Mississippi for anything more than a few days. And there I was staying in the room with my grandfather and loving every minute of it. The pain was excruciating and it reminded me of being six years old again watching someone die and feeling helpless and lost.

After my grandfather passed, I came back to Nashville exhausted but determined to not run from my experiences but to offer encouragement where I could.

Last week, I was at the kick off breakfast for the American Cancer Society annual 'Making Strides' event here in Nashville. Veronica Gliatti was the spokesperson for the event. I had recently meet Veronica at a networking group in Brentwood. She was the first person who greeted me when I walked through the door. She was bubbly and kind and I was instantly drawn to her. After the meeting started and introductions were made, she announced that she would be speaking at the ACS breakfast. She shared that she was a breast cancer survivor but she was still undergoing chemo. I felt an instant bond with her. The event was already on my calendar but I put a star by the date to remind myself.

Veronica and I meet again two weeks later and the meeting this time was as strong and encouraging as the first time I met her. She reminded everyone of her breakfast. I felt as if I was being urged to go from some thing other than my daytimer. I reminded her that I wanted to go and she stated that she and several others would be riding together. I was invited along.

We met the next morning at 6:40 and I was fighting back tears the entire time. What I was witnessing was people coming together to offer support for someone that was battling cancer. I had not known any of them very long but I felt as if we all wanted to hold hands. The banter in the SUV was fun and we all talked none stop. The event was held at the Wild Horse and was packed with women and men. Veronica spoke from her heart and you could feel the electricity in the air. My heart was with her but my mind drifted several times to both of my grandparents. Tears slipped out no matter how I tried to be a big girl. I glanced over at Renee' Pazouki and Sherry Marlow, friends of Veronica and women I met while networking as well, and I knew I was not along with my tears. Veronica's husband was in the middle of all these strong women, holding his own and the pride of seeing his wife share her life with hundreds was obvious.

Veronica reminded me that the fight is not over until it is over. I counted my blessing and thanked God that I got to spend time with my grandfather. I sent my grandmother (mom's mom) a card and told her I loved her. I admitted for the first time in my life that I was afraid of the disease that took the lives of my love ones. I even thank God for the networker from hell, because if it was not for her, I would not have shared that wonderful moment with Veronica.

Oh yeah, I scheduled my mammogram too. Thank you Veronica. I know Daddy was with us.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Networker From Hell was a Blessing After All

In 2005, my life changed drastically and I had to make a few adjustments. My daughter needed me and I needed to not have distractions. So, I scaled back my typical five day networking week to maybe a few events a month, if any at all. Summer '08 was my start to make up for the business that I may have missed. I was planning my comeback in sales. A million dollars in new business in a down market was a serious goal but I was determined to make it happen. With the cost of gas skyrocketing, I did something that I often do not do, I tried networking in my area of town.

I got invited to a few breakfast groups and decided to try my hand with one in particular. Right away I picked up a few vibes but dismissed it as a fish being taught to swim again. (Can a fish forget to swim?) Normally with these type of groups, you visit twice and cough up a nice chunk of change for membership dues and pray that the referrals come in before you start to question why you are getting up at 5:00 am to make a meeting for an hour and a half every week. Besides, I was not driving to Franklin or Brentwood, I was focusing on staying close to my home. With my Ford 250 costing me $150 every few days, this was a no brainer I thought.

That decision lead to one of the worst encounters in my networking history. Two networkers from hell interviewed me after I applied to joined. I was told point blank that they did not like me because I was successful. What kind of honesty is that? I thought they were joking at first but realized after ten minutes of badgering me with fixed smiles on their faces,they were extremely serious. I sat there seething as I tried to remained composed. I left feeling humiliated and mad as hell.

After six weeks of game playing and a few snide remarks from Tammy (real name), I was told I was not a fit. The QUEEN of networking was not a fit for a group of people that was begging for visitors and had members dropping like flies. Ouch, that hurt.

Two weeks later, ego bruised and discouraged, I gave myself a nudge and said get back out there. With the summer practically gone, I wondered was it worth it. But I tell you, things really do happen for a reason.

I made a few calls and interviewed a few people that knew me well. Each call was refreshing and I knew I was on the right track. I walked into several meetings and knew right away I was home. Not because it was full of millionaires and ambitious folks who love the thrill of hunting for new business, but because the hearts of the women and men were genuine and pure. Business owners who loved people more than money. Had I stayed in my area or was accepted in that club, I would have saved gas but I would have been miserable and unproductive. I went back to my old stumping ground of Franklin, Bellevue, and Brentwood. I drive forty five minutes one way and have found myself surrounded by the most loving group of people that I have meet in quite sometime.

Tammy and company were truly networkers from hell but they were just what I needed. Because of their rejection, I kept looking. After a bad situation, how often do we say enough and stop. That interview was nothing short of water boarding but I did not let it jade me and I continued to look. I think I found networker's heaven. I believe I am going make enough money to pay for my gas and pay for the second kid college!! I will share with you in another post about a few of the wonderful people I have met in the last few weeks.

If you meet a networker from hell, keep moving, you are about to run into a gold mine!

Denver Bound

I am headed to Denver to cover the convention. I know this is going to be quite an experience. I live in a very conservative state and most of my friends are recovering Demos, die hard Reps or recently converted Independents. When I am asked "how are you going to vote?", I think of my grandfather immediately, and remember one of his famous sayings "local politics make for local enemies".

Truth be told, I am a liberal conservative who thinks independently. I do not vote because of a certain party. Nor does race or sex of a candidate get my attention either. Issues and nothing but the issues are my focus. Our country has been hood winked by a praying Christian, a slick Southerner, countless number of fried chicken eating and baby kissing politicians for too long. It is time for us, at least this blogger will, to think outside the checked box and get to business of getting this country back in the black.

The amount of money that is being spent during this campaign season could help a number of non-profits provide for their communities and could literally provide health care for all of the uninsured children in Tennessee. Heck for the country for that matter!

I am headed to Denver. Then in a week. I will be with the other team. I can not wait to see how they party in Colorado. I am pretty darn sure no one is really going to be working...we are covering politicians right?
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