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14 posts from February 2012

February 08, 2012

Equality for dads? Miami Commissioner and his diaper changing dilemma

Men still rule the world and when they encounter a child care concern, watch out -- they can make change happen, literally.

Right here in Miami, Commissioner Frank Carollo  started a mini-revolution and I have to admit it's been entertaining to watch.

Apparently, Carollo proud papa of a 1-year-old discovered diaper changing can be a BIG problem when there's no easy place to do it. So he made a big stink (pun intended) that he wants diaper changing stations in city bathrooms -- lots of them.

Carollo became aware that the city had a problem with lack of stations shortly after his daughter, Briana, was born and became a regular fixture at City Hall. Not only did he discover that the men's room at City Hall had no diaper changing station, he found out that another building that houses city offices faced the same challenge.  "Briana gave me an awareness of what other families are going through," he said.

Of course, with the city, there's always bureaucracy involved. Apparently, the effort to get the stations installed has been going on for some time but became bogged down by red tape. But Carollo shows us just how powerful a dad on a mission can be.

Just this week, Carollo pushed for diaper changing stations in the men's and women's rooms of all 200 city-run facilities and got approval for the city to spend about $45,000 to buy and install them.

Imagine what other dads can do to ease child care concerns and make work/life balance easier if they cared enough to make changes!

I wonder though, what if it was a female commissioner pushing for diaper changing stations. Would she be dismissed as over-reacting or making unnecessary requests? 


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/07/2629910/theres-more-to-living-in-miami.html#storylink=cpy

Dating coaches: a red hot career



Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/07/v-print/2629943/dating-advice-from-the-pros.html#storylink=cpy

Recently, I was browsing through a magazine and noticed love advice being doled out by a dating coach. What exactly is a dating coach? I wondered. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I ventured to find out. Below is the article I wrote for today’s Miami Herald. If you're in the singles world or looking for a new profession, I hope you find it useful.



The Miami Herald

Posted on Tue, Feb. 07, 2012

Dating advice from the pros

By Cindy Krischer Goodman


Al Diaz / Miami Herald Staff

(Dan Silverman is a Miami dating coach. He coaches busy men and women on being in relationships. This is Silverman at Bouganvilla in South Miami on Friday, February 3, 2012)

It’s Friday evening and Dan Silverman has taken a well-dressed man to Lincoln Road where he’s prodding him to go up and talk to attractive women. Tonight, as usual, Silverman accompanies him and provides feedback afterward. “I’m looking at whether the approach comes off as natural and how the women are responding with their body language,” he says.

Silverman is a dating coach, a hot career that’s gaining traction across the country. Today, attitudes about relationships are turned upside down — with texting and online dating, unemployment and female independence, the dynamics are evolving. For the first time in history, the marriage rate has dropped below 50 percent. But there still are many people who want to meet the right mate — they just need a little help.

“People are spending so much time working, they’re neglecting their social life,” Silverman says. “When they do get out there, they want instant chemistry and sometimes dating is work.”

A dating coach might scrutinize body language, rework your online profile, improve your flirting skills and even show you how to keep a relationship. A coach may force you to toss out your mental checklist for the perfect mate and open yourself to a revised, realistic edition of Mr. or Mrs. Right. On the flip side, the services won’t include fixing you up on dates or digging deep into your past to analyze behaviors.

No one can say how many dating coaches exist because the profession is unregulated. Anyone can offer “relationship coaching,” although some have degrees in psychology and others are certified in coaching. The International Coach Federation, a professional association, surveyed coaches worldwide in 2011 and of about 12,000 respondents, about 2.1 percent said they specialized in some kind of relationship coaching.

Those in the profession say it requires strong people skills, candor, marketing ability and willingness to work evenings and weekends. Coaches often charge per session or in monthly packages — anywhere from $125 to $300 per 60 to 90 minute session or $500 to $1,000 a month for a package. Coaches have different methods of working — some conduct sessions over the phone, in person or both, and others host full day workshops or weekend boot camps. Some even consider themselves “on call” and give out their mobile numbers for pre- and post-date emergencies.

Silverman, 29, president of Miami Dating Coach, loves his job and approaches it from personal experience. He has a bachelor’s degree in theater and an MBA from University of Miami. He’s been an actor and a teacher and worked for three years as an office manager in his father’s private psychology practice. He’s also still on the dating scene, honing his skills in real-life scenarios. Silverman launched into the business by offering workshops for men and drummed up enough interest to offer one-on-one coaching. After six years, he began coaching women, too. Recently, he’s begun hosting singles parties as an ancillary service.

About a year ago, Antonio Mould, 36, stumbled upon Silverman’s website and attended one of his workshops for single men. He followed it up with individual coaching, which taught him to change how he viewed himself. “I didn’t feel confident because I didn’t have a huge apartment and tons of money. I wasn’t putting myself out there in the best light. I learned to focus on what I do have to offer.”

Mould began to present himself better, dressing nicer and showing more confidence with women. As a result, he’s been going on more dates. “It hasn’t solved all my problems, but it has made a difference.”

Geoffrey Schmidt, 35, of Boca Raton, calls himself the Florida Dating Coach, and takes a different approach than Silverman. I don’t teach tricks, he explains. “I’m about bringing my client into a place where he’s more comfortable in his own skin, clear about what he wants and moving through dating from a position of confidence.”

Schmidt, who is a master certified coach and has started other businesses, has found people initially come to him for business coaching and then hire him for relationship help. Often, he says, they assert themselves in business but mistakenly assume they need to behave a certain way on dates.

Schmidt will work with his clients on uncovering where they’re going wrong. “I help them become authentic so they don’t have to settle, mislead someone or stay in a relationship because they’re too insecure to get out.”

Some dating coaches combine psychology with coaching techniques. Jennifer Styers, who calls herself “The Love Coach,” is one. Styers, based in Dallas, started out coaching working women, but found men wanted her help, too. Most of the women she coaches are single, mid-career professionals. “A lot of them have gotten to 40 something, built their careers but they have no balance.”








February 06, 2012

Get your work life balance back on track

Whether you work for your company or yourself, work can be fulfilling or overwhelming. When it shifts to overwhelming, it's time to make a change. But how?

My guest blogger today is the fabulous Ellen Lubin-Sherman, author of “The Essentials of Fabulous: Because Whatever Doesn’t Work Here Anymore."   Ellen is a well-known personal branding expert and executive coach. She believes anyone anyone can be fabulous if they develop a positive attitude, impeccable manners, authenticity and flair, have a diverse group of people they are connected with), and a board of supportive people who can help carry them to the top.

If you live in South Florida, you won't want to miss Ellen in person when she speaks at the March 17 “Literary Jazz Brunch” in Coconut Grove. Follow this link to learn more about the event.

Here's Ellen's take on work life balance: 

I was on the PATH train at 11:00 p.m. on a Friday night heading back to New Jersey and noticed a terrific-looking young woman dressed in an elegant pantsuit and holding a briefcase.  She was on her way home and after inquiring as to her line of work, she blurted out “I don’t have a life.”  “Why don’t you have a life,” I asked her as she looked like the epitome of “woman who has it all.”  Her response: “ I end up doing most of the work because my colleagues don’t care as much as I do.  My hours are too long to socialize with friends or meet new people.”

A classic “work/life” conundrum and one that can be easily fixed.  Shall I go on?

In every corporation, there are people who row the boat and people who sit on the boat and enjoy the view. The woman on the PATH train rowed…she picked up the oars in order to get the boat to the destination.   If she had dropped the oars, someone else would have had to pick them up but because she was a super-performer, she didn’t and ended up capsizing her personal life. 

The young woman had options but she chose not to execute them.  In addition to dropping the oars, I would have encouraged her to the following:

  1. Set limitations on the number of hours she worked.  Unless there’s a deadline looming or her profession required long hours (e.g. a lawyer on partner track), she needs to replenish her creativity bank before it goes belly-up.  Leave work at an appropriate hour even if everyone is hanging around (people who are lonely might not want to go home).
  2. Keeping her network of friends up-to-date is of utmost importance.  While it may seem frivolous to spend time connecting with friends and former colleagues, it’s important to build your bridges before they get blown up.  Especially in this fragile economy, it’s important to create a personal “board of directors” that are aware of what you’re doing so they can jump in if you need assistance.
  3. Don’t protect your colleagues if they’re not pulling their own weight (or the oars.)  The young woman was not only covering for but enabling her fellow workers to turn in sloppy and unacceptable work.
  4. People with full and pleasurable lives are happy people and they create an air space around them filled with optimism and excitement.  Someone who is emotionally deprived will “contaige” the office with malaise, creating a negative environment for superior work.
  5. It’s an old saying but true:  No one ever wished they had spent more time at work and less time with family and friends.  Everyone needs to give and receive love and affection.

Have you recently found your work life balance out of whack? What did you do about it?

February 02, 2012

Boss pays off employee's debt: Good or bad?

PayingdebtWe all know that work and life are intertwined...isn't that what work life balance is all about?

So should your boss know about your personal financial troubles and does he have a stake in bailing you out?

Nathan Stooke believes as a boss, he should help his employees -- and that means paying off their mounting financial debts. After hearing employees on the phone haggling with credit card companies, and having employees come to his office to ask for advances on their paychecks, he decided to take action.

First, Stooke hired a facilitator for $8,000 to put on a personal finance course for the 22 employees of Wisper Technology, a wireless Internet provider -- adding a little carrot for those who attended. If they finished the course, and raised company revenue by $6,000 a month, they'd get a 10 percent raise. Stooke required spouses to take the course with employees. All but two employees enrolled. So far, the course has helped them cut back on debt. It even helped one employee pay off a credit card and stock away savings.

Most of us have never taken a personal finance course and don't track our spending, even as the debt piles up.  A recent Accounting Principals Workonomix study found American workers spend nearly $3,000 a year on coffee and lunch alone. Paying down personal debt is the most common financial change American workers plan to focus on in 2012, the study found.

It can be disruptive to have debt collectors calling at the office and having people so worried about paying their bills that they're less focused on their work. But what do you think of the boss stepping in like Stooke did? Should he stay out of his employee's financial matters?