Professional Associations Help You Succeed

February 25th, 2018

Thousands of professional associations – local, national, international – serve their members in many rewarding ways. Whether you’re new to your profession or an experienced pro, you will see how invaluable they can be in your career – from networking with knowledgeable peers to a variety of important professional resources, ongoing programs and services, and new jobs.

►Why Join a Professional Association?

►Top 10 Reasons to Join a Professional Organization

►Millennials Have Rediscovered the Benefits of Joining a Professional Organization

►13 Basic Benefits of Joining a Professional Organization

►Professional Associations and Why They Matter

►American Society of Association Executives

►The Encyclopedia of Associations covers thousands of professional associations categorized by subject. You can find it at your local public library or online.

Here’s to your success and the professional associations that help you achieve it !!

New Approach to Mentoring Strengthens an Organization’s Culture

February 8th, 2018

“Our Mentoring Excellence Masterminds™ program brings mentors and mentees together through an approach that builds community and accountability. They learn from each other and from mentoring experts,” explains Lisa Z. Fain, CEO, Center for Mentoring Excellence. “MEMs is a great way for an organization to foster and benefit from a mentoring culture.”

The MEMs approach provides a separate forum for mentors, mentees and for the people who are responsible for their organization’s mentoring programs. Participants learn best practices from the group facilitator, who is a mentoring expert, as well as from each other, and their questions are answered in real time. They acquire new knowledge and skills that help them motivate and respond to their colleagues in a safe and confidential space. MEMs’ content and coaching is driven by the needs of the participants.

“To our knowledge, no one else has developed this kind of peer learning experience, giving mentors and mentees what they need when they need it,” notes Fain. The MEM is customized to the specific needs of each cohort.”

Every session is conducted by video conference that employees and participants can join wherever they are as long as they have internet access. If they cannot participate in the live session, they can access the video recording. They can also communicate with each other between sessions.

“Clients can become involved in several ways, whichever they choose. Purchase an entire Mastermind. Purchase a certain number of seats. Develop specific programs for mentors, mentees and administrators. Provide a forum for the people who are responsible for an organization’s mentoring program. The approach is tailored to a client’s specific needs,” Fain explains. “We want to help them create a community that remains accountable to each other after the MEM experience.”

The Mentoring Excellence Masterminds™ program and video conference respond to another challenge: the growing need to reach an often remote workforce that is often geographically diverse.

Mentoring Excellence Masterminds™ was developed because “clients have told us that the Center’s programs are so valuable that they wish they could have access throughout the year. Now they can,” Fain says.

The MEMs help organizations create a mentoring culture in which ongoing community spirit and accountability ensure goals and participation are maintained so everyone benefits.

For more information visit:

Meet the Man Teaching Baby Boomers How to Turn Their Age into an Asset

January 29th, 2018

“While it’s not a pretty picture for most older workers in the corporate job market, we’ve shown hundreds of boomers how to turn their age from a disadvantage to an asset when running their own businesses,” notes Jeff Williams, CEO of Chicago-based, a coaching company that helps boomers start their own businesses.

2018 marks Bizstarters’ 30th year guiding boomers find rewarding entrepreneurial opportunities that reflect their experience and preferred lifestyles. “We show our clients that even though corporations may not hire you after 50, they’ll sure buy from you. And so will a wide variety of consumers.”

Jeff Williams’ long-held love of teaching and training, primarily as an unpaid volunteer, led him to conceptualize his first business – a walk-in entrepreneurial training center, located in suburban Chicago. He launched the business right in the middle of the 1990 recession, when a large local population of downsized corporate managers presented an attractive group of entrepreneurial prospects.

In 1999, using the power of the newly established World Wide Web, Williams enlarged his business footprint internationally by launching a new online company, using the company’s current name of

Following an eighteen-year career as an MBA-trained corporate marketing executive, Williams worked at entrepreneurial training centers, taught college courses in writing business plans, and worked with the Private Industry Council, a nonprofit organization that operated employment, education and training programs. The entrepreneurial training program Williams led for the job training agency won a national award for program excellence in 1992 and funding from the U.S. Department of Labor was renewed for seven straight years.

By the time Williams was in his late thirties, he realized from speaking to his friends, college buddies and corporate colleagues that boomers were developing a  perspective on retirement that was very different from that of their parents; Today, many boomers don’t see retiring anywhere near the traditional retirement age. They find that with their skills, experience and talent, they can often replace corporate work with entrepreneurial work. “While it can take more time and effort to grow your income from running your own business compared to a job, I will always trust a group of satisfied customers to stay more loyal to me than any corporate boss I ever had,” Williams emphasizes.

“Our clients have launched a wide variety of businesses, from designing and selling custom jewelry to consulting on health and safety issues with Fortune 500 manufacturers to selling vintage drum sets to serious collectors around the world. There is a demand for almost any type of work skill, life interest or long-enjoyed hobby in the entrepreneurial marketplace today.”

Bizstarters helps boomers launch their entrepreneurial ventures through the company’s Virtual Incubator™ business startup coaching program whose mantra is ‘Do What You Do Best. We’ll Do the Rest.” It reflects a dual-track process, where a coach guides the boomer client through his or her essential marketing and selling decisions, while at the same time a support team executes all essential organizational tasks, ranging from website design to installing and using accounting software.

Williams notes “that the same corporations that don’t seem to want you on their payroll will gladly pay you top dollar for your talent and experience as a freelancer or consultant. Boomers certainly can turn their age into an asset.”



Public Relations Trends in 2018

January 1st, 2018

It’s January, the first month of the year when we often explore new professional opportunities. If you work in public relations you might be developing a PR plan for a client or yourself and would welcome more information.

Check these links for PR possibilities that you might not have considered.

► 20 Insightful PR and Marketing Predictions for 2018

► 10 Bold PR and Marketing Predictions for the Year 2020

► 4 Key PR Trends to Watch in 2018

► The most important media and PR trends for 2018

►Public Relations Today

► Ask the Experts: Predictions on the Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2018

Happy New Year.


Ready for a career change? Or, are you a new graduate or student looking for career options?

December 12th, 2017

“A person may have outgrown or be unhappy in his or her current job but doesn’t know how to find a rewarding new position. On the other hand, a student or new graduate may not understand his or her strengths, or potential opportunities and how to proceed,” notes Marilyn Fettner, President of Fettner Career and Life Counseling.

When she first meets with a client, Fettner explains, “We discuss his/her goals and expectations. For example, an experienced person might ask ‘how do I deal with my manager or colleagues’ or ‘how can I qualify for another job or be considered for a promotion.’ From another perspective, a college student or new graduate may want help identifying and focusing on appropriate career possibilities.”

Career Change

There are several reasons people would want a career change. Fettner explains, “For example, a person may have outgrown his or her current job, may not be engaged in the work, or may be stuck in a rut and frustrated. As career counselors, we explore clients’ key interests, personality style, personal values, natural abilities, favorite skills, work-life balance, and workplace environment needs. We also discuss practical factors, such as, their desired commuting time, and budget, compensation, and benefits’ considerations.”

Marilyn Fettner is certified in several counseling areas and helps clients through understanding and applying the results of career tests, assessments, and exercises. Fettner guides clients to explore careers that correspond to their dreams, and then coaches them in developing a practical marketing and job-search plan. “I work with clients to help them identify targeted employers, develop resumes and LinkedIn profiles, explore networking opportunities, conduct interview practice, and get organized to land a new job.”

High School or College Graduates

“When you choose a major, you can benefit from clarification regarding the reality of daily work in careers related to your selected major,” Fettner notes. “Information interviews and job shadowing are very important to help people understand the reality of working in a particular job, and deciding whether or not it’s a good fit for them. I help students and new graduates in the process of finding organizations in relevant fields and reaching out to schedule informational interviews,” says Fettner.

Fettner suggests an important resource to explore careers and clarify career focus: “O*net Online ( is a database for occupations, and includes information such as earnings, projected hiring, and most everything you would want to know about an occupation. Its database describes almost 1,000 occupations covering the U.S. economy. It offers occupation-specific descriptions, and includes groups of similar occupations, along with the skills, tools and software that are needed in the occupations. The O*net Online database also includes information to help people find occupation-related training and jobs. “You’ll learn more about salaries, hiring projections, job growth, and advanced degrees you might need for a career,” says Fettner.

Fettner also helps graduates, as well as career changers, identify professional associations that focus on different industries and professions to help them gain knowledge about careers of interest and make strategic networking contacts.  Additionally, she works with clients on resumes, interviewing practice, as well as challenges they may face in new professional careers.

I feel passionately about helping you achieve satisfaction in your professional and personal life.  With experience in career counseling including assessments, resume writing, executive coaching, and job search, I also bring expertise in life coaching/counseling to help you navigate challenges in both your personal and working life. I offer compassion and empathy, as well as actionable strategies to help you make meaningful positive change. 


Holidays…Time to Job Hunt?!

November 20th, 2017

You probably want to relax and enjoy the holidays, but November through January are considered optimal job hunting months. You’re networking at holiday events, your boss may be more relaxed and open to “promotional” conversations, and many companies are trying to fill positions during this time.

If, while focusing on the holidays, you wouldn’t mind fine-tuning and improving your job hunting strategies and skills, then you might want to read Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0 – How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Tap into the Hidden Job Market Using Social Media and 999 Other Tactics Today. The book is co-authored by Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry.

The book introduces you to the “secrets of getting hired.”

“The #1 Secret to Getting Hired. Create an awesome plan – clear and detailed in every way – and follow it.”

“The #2 Secret to Getting Hired.” Levinson and Perry suggest you show an employer that you are worth much more to them (value) than you cost (salary and benefits). As a Guerrilla job hunter you are going to learn how to package and promote yourself as a blue-chip stock – to appear like money in the bank to an employer,” an achievable goal with a Guerrilla Plan.

Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters, 3.0 explains how to:

  • Build your personal brand and make employers call you.
  • Develop a productive attitude and avoid typical job hunter mistakes.
  • Build a strategy that helps you crack the hidden job market.
  • Develop a competitive edge through research.
  • Create cover letters and resumes that will be read, not tossed.
  • Discover networking that works.
  • Learn how to really use LinkedIn, social media and social networking.
  • Break through and meet the people you want to meet.
  • Learn from ordinary people whose plans resulted in extraordinary results.
  • Understand what to do and say before, during and after an interview.
  • Negotiate with confidence.

You will find even more how-to’s, as well as invaluable resources that you can use now or as New Year’s resolutions.

Happy Holidays!

Celebrate Our 98th Veterans Day

November 9th, 2017

This year we will celebrate the 98th Veterans Day. Let’s take a moment to remember our Veterans, both male and female, and thank them for their continuing sacrifices and service so that we can live our lives in freedom.

Veterans Day marks the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice in a railway car in a forest (Compiegne) north of Paris in 1918 which ended the First World War. The armistice was signed and took effect at the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month in the year 1918 ending what was termed “The Great War.” Initially proclaimed on Nov. 11, 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson as “Armistice Day” and also “Remembrance Day,” the date of November 11th was set in the United States to commemorate the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany for the cessation of hostilities. In 1954, a bill was passed through Congress designating November 11th as “Veterans Day” to honor all Veterans and was signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower.

The traditional pause for a minute’s silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month is to commemorate the signing of the armistice.

Sometimes we forget about the role that women played in the Second World War. They stepped up and were able to make a significant contribution to the war effort both at home and in the military. These American women showed courage in helping the fighting men, sharing in the disappointments of the soldiers, celebrating their successes and finally, the complete victory. They responded to the challenge and achieved their mission. They also served. With fewer and fewer of these female veterans still alive, this is a story that has its place in the history of women in the military.

Here are reflections and observations of one female veteran, my mother, Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, who served during World War ll. You can read all about her service in our book, “Mollie’s War: The Letters of a World War II WAC in Europe” and see more information at our website:

Letter from Mollie from her service in London

This letter is from her service in London, England and sets the tone for the book. It is now after D-Day (June 6, 1944) and the Allies have made great strides into occupied France. In retaliation, Hitler’s scientists have developed unmanned fantastic flying machines called buzz bombs or doodlebugs that were launched by the Germans from somewhere in France with just enough fuel to reach London and then randomly crash land somewhere in the city. London is constantly under attack. My mother felt that the people back home have no idea of what it is like in Europe. Here is the letter that she wrote home after Winston Churchill’s speech telling the world of the German attacks by the buzz bombs.

PFC Mollie Weinstein, A611550
Office of the Chief Surgeon
APO 887, ℅PM
26 July 1944
London, England

Dear Beck,

By the way, I wasn’t going to write to say I was in London (that is where I am stationed) because I knew you would all worry—and if you promise not to say anything to Mom and Pop, I will reveal a few interesting items. Restrictions on the Doodlebug situation as far as our mail is concerned have been lifted somewhat since Churchill’s speech. In fact, I could have written a few weeks ago about it but held off. But now I have gotten to a point where I feel a lot of those people back home, who sit back complacently, ought to know that there is a real war going on, and Beck, I see it every day. The air raid sirens are a frequent sound to us during the day as well as the night. And, it means the real thing over here—those damn buzz bombs come a floating round. They have been our unwelcome visitors both day and night since approximately one week after D-Day.

(You can read the full letter from London here by clicking here.)

Letter from Mollie from newly liberated Paris

Here are a few paragraphs from Mollie’s letter home.

Paris, France, 12 Nov.1944

Dear Beck,

…Must tell you about the Armistice Day Parade here in Paris. I still recall the ones we used to go to—you, Jackie & myself—but this was really the “cat’s meow.” It started about 6 AM—maybe not actually but there were gendarmes (or draculas as we call them with their all-enveloping capes) & G.I.’s, too, directing crowds that early, lining up the streets near the Arc de Triomphe, along with the great numbers of people who probably ran back to get sandwiches & hustled back to regain choice spots from where they would have an advantageous view of the celebration. And, Beck, I think the parading or celebrating was still going on this morning.

Florence (another WAC) & myself left the office at 10:30 AM & we made a “bee line” for Champs Elysees (one of the main streets in Paris that runs into the Arc de Triomphe). Honestly the people were packed like sardines (trite but true). Florence & I were standing on tip toes but couldn’t see very much. All of a sudden I felt my feet leave the ground & I had a most wonderful view of marching soldiers. I turned around as I felt myself being put gently back to earth—it was the captain! I thanked him & both Florence & I laughed. We walked farther on & we decided to stand back near the buildings away from the crowds along the streets. We did have a better view. We saw Churchill go by in a car but weren’t quite sure. However, when we heard the people shouting “Vive Churchill,” that confined it. Besides I had said to Florence “I know we have a long range view of the parade, but no one but Churchill’s cheeks are puffed out like that!”

The one minute’s silence at 11 AM brought to mind the folks back home—wonder when we’ll be coming home. I know, Beck, it won’t be too soon. …

(You can read the full letter from Paris by clicking here.)

Are You Ready to Interview Someone for Your Article or Book?

October 15th, 2017

Interviewing people when you’re writing an article or a book can be very rewarding for you and the person you interview…if you know how to do it.

Before you contact an expert or someone with significant experience in your subject, do as much research about the field and the interviewee as you can. Think of questions you will ask, knowing that you will have more as the interview progresses. The person you interview will also want to know that you’re professional, objective and trustworthy.

Here are a few of the many resources that explain the steps for effective and successful interviews.

Think of all the interviews you have read and appreciated. Knowing how to effectively interview someone for an article, book, case study, or report can lead to new perspectives and opportunities.


Networking – Rewarding When You Know What to Do and What Not to Do

September 27th, 2017

Business networking has been with us forever. While the venues and opportunities grow and change, we learn more about ourselves and how to develop mutually rewarding relationships. Contacts can emerge through referrals and introductions whether face-to-face at meetings and events, or via phone, email, social media, or networking websites.

Here are some resources that will help you achieve rewarding networking results.

10 Tips for Successful Business Networking

5 Things You MUST Do During Networking Events

12 Things Not To Do When Networking

60+ Social Networking Sites You Need to Know About in 2017

Many books discuss the business networking process. One of them is Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days, 3rd Edition, by Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager. Among their many resources and suggestions is to develop “Networking Goals.”

  • Meet 10 new people.
  • Receive eight business cards.
  • Note something of interest on each card.
  • Write a follow-up note to five of these people (or all).
  • Call and set up an appointment after writing to three contacts.
  • Continue the relationship with two of these.

“Notice that nowhere did I mention a goal for how many business cards to pass around. If you attend two networking events a month, you will add four or more people to your network with which you will have ongoing, continual relationships.”

The book also offers encouraging and helpful “Ongoing Networking Tips and Techniques” and “Action Steps.”

Here’s to your networking success.

Sally Chapralis

Time for a “Brand” New You?

September 11th, 2017

Your brand evolves over time, reflecting a personal and professional commitment to your goals, beliefs and the expectations of others. Your brand is what we (consumers, employers, colleagues, friends, and family) trust you for.

Each of us has a personal brand – characteristics and experience we offer. Many, many articles and books discuss personal branding and the importance of authenticity and trust. Here are some resources that offer insights and advice that will help you establish a successful brand.

► Your Personal Brand Needs a Growth Strategy, Entrepreneur Magazine

► Clients Want Authenticity – Your brand needs to reflect the real you

► How To: Build Your Personal Brand on YouTube

► 4 Examples of Brand Strategy Driving Organizational Success

► Brand New You & 1st Person PR

► Why is Branding Important?

Best wishes to you and your branding success!