The Importance of Mentoring
This is part 2 in a 12-part blog series where I will share my good news and the good news of those around me. I encourage you to do the same!
It’s so important for us, as women, to support one another. It’s the collaboration over competition thing. And, since it’s Women’s History Month – I want to make sure I share some ways we can be better friends, better supporters, and all-around better people to each other.
I had the honor and pleasure of being a mentor at the Pittsburgh Business Times 10th Annual Mentoring Monday. This event gathers thousands of women across 40 markets to join in a “speed mentoring” event where you get a brief time to sit across the table from a potential mentor, share your story, and hopefully get solid advice and make lasting connections. Not only was I impressed with the event set-up and organization – I was very impressed with the mentees. Their excitement and preparedness when sitting with me, as a mentor, was incredible. My biggest fear was of course sitting alone and not having anyone wish to chat with me! Can you say Imposter Syndrome? I had meaningful conversations with 10 women of all ages, career levels, and industries. This got me thinking more about mentoring and what makes someone a good mentor.
And most importantly, BE KIND. As a mentor, it’s your responsibility to help your mentee grow, develop, make big decisions, and work on their career and future. Tell us about your mentor or mentee (or both!) experiences in the comments, or if you found this blog post on social media go back and share there.
Here’s to building great relationships!
This is the first in a 12-part blog series where I will share my good news
and encourage you to hopefully do the same!
People who struggle with Imposter Syndrome lack the ability to celebrate their success. If you’ve ever said, “I got lucky with XYZ.” or, “I have no business doing this.”, these are signs of Imposter Syndrome. If you’ve ever sabotaged your own success or downplayed your expertise or talents… yep, you guessed it! This is also Imposter Syndrome.
In my efforts to help others overcome Imposter Syndrome, I’m starting a monthly blog post about anything and everything I need to celebrate.
My hope is that this will help me keep track of things, help me when I’m feeling down or having a bad day, and most importantly – encourage YOU to do the same. I’d love to hear your January accomplishments and I’d love to see you share them – guilt-free and with pride.
If you decide to post them on social media, tag me! Share them in the comments below, or feel free to shoot me an email if you’re still feeling shy.
CELEBRATE YOU TODAY!
My first national placement – Matt and Dana Ziemniak (she is the author of Blue is the Color of Heaven) appeared on Dr. Phil. They traveled to LA with their daughter and were given the red-carpet treatment for their January 5 appearance. You can get more information on the show here and the book here.
I began promotion for two new powerhouse clients; authors Carrie Holzer, Building Puzzles Under Water and Heidi Parr Kerner, Step into YOUR Spotlight.
The Next-Level You Retreat sold out in FOUR days! Teaming up with Renee, Merilee, and Cori is never anything short of fantastic and I can’t wait to get to Erie and spend 2 days with over a dozen incredible, driven, next-level women! Check out what we're offering here and keep checking back for a fall event.
I am an award recipient! Each year, Cribs for Kids celebrates Women's History Month by hosting the Women of Achievement Awards, acknowledging successful and prominent women in the Pittsburgh area. Honorees are nominated and selected based on excellence in their field, making a significant contribution to the betterment of their communities, or outstanding accomplishments for the advancement of women. In March 2023, Cribs for Kids will be recognizing 20 Women of Achievement and 5 Junior Women of Achievement at the 16th Annual Women of Achievement Awards at the Omni William Penn.
I spoke on Imposter Syndrome to an international group at BNY Mellon. There were over 100 participants, in-person and virtually, and I received some of the best feedback I’ve ever had since I started speaking. Some feedback included:
“The speaker was so authentic and able to create a safe space to share and reflect. Truly enjoyed...it was refreshing and inspiring...but also inclusive for someone like me on the other side of the world with a completely different background, culture etc.” – T. C., Belgium
“I just wanted to let you know that we felt so seen (especially the women on the team) with the different imposter archetypes/personalities. It led to an open conversation where we could speak about why we resonate with what we heard and open up about how these personalities live in our individual lives. A teammate of mine even mentioned how he found it very meaningful that there wasn’t a rush to get through the slides, and that we were sent the materials so we could think about the topic after the event. It was overall just a great discussion that brought out a lot of necessary vulnerability in my team and the group as a whole. I really appreciate you coming to talk to our company and appreciate you making space for people to feel seen within this invisible syndrome!” – S.B., Pittsburgh
I bit the bullet and finally began working on creating courses in visibility and PR. I will have a course up and running before summer. Stay tuned for much more on this!
Oh… and I turned 51!
I want to know what you did, what you’re planning, and how I can help! Talk to me in the comments, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s enlighten and encourage one another!
xoxo - Kel
I joined a journaling challenge for 2023, and although I’m a few days behind (Truthfully? It’s closer to a dozen.), I open the email every morning to see what the topic is.
This hit me hard. "Being triggered is a huge opportunity for growth."
I’ve gone through some relationship changes over the past few years that have affected me both personally and professionally. I’ve had people enter my life who have made such an impact on me that it blows my mind. And my strong and steady crowd who, though very small, I know I can count on 24/7/365.
I think of the fabulous ladies from Sex and the City… and in the words of Carrie Bradshaw, “They say nothing lasts forever; dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style.”
While I believe that friendships never go out of style, I believe that many friendships are outgrown. They fizzle out. I’d even go as far as to say they die.
Just like we outgrow jobs, situations, and sadly, clothing—we also outgrow people.
By now you’re wondering what being triggered, growth, and relationships have in common… “Where is she going with this post?”
I’m updating a presentation I gave in 2021 called “Building Your Village: Why a Strong Support System is Crucial When Starting and Maintaining Your Business” for the Erie, PA retreat this spring. (More info below) I’m learning, just by asking friends and acquaintances, that maintaining friendships and relationships gets harder the older you get.
I thought that shit ended in middle school.
“She was like, ‘I’m a pusher, Cady’.” *
Friendship is important, especially for women. Admit it, girlfriends fill a void the guys just can’t. I love spending time with my husband and my male best friend, but there’s something recharging about an evening with the ladies. Something that motivates me to do better and be better than I was before the night began. But what happens when you’re ‘triggered’ by a friend or colleague? Sometimes when you’re pushed over the edge it lights a fire under your ass to work harder. But at what cost?
True friends push you, in a good way. They don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. They ask you ‘why not now?’ when you make up excuses for not taking a chance on yourself or taking that leap with your career. They see your talents and skills and want you to do better, sometimes even better than they are doing. They care about your success and happiness. Pushing can be good.
Twenty Won Female Entrepreneurs
That gentle push paid off for me, and 20 other women. The "why not now" resulted in an Amazon bestselling anthology, Twenty Won, which I created by bringing these women together to tell their stories of business resilience during 2020. I love watching the relationships that have blossomed from this project. I see some of the authors connecting over social media and some are even doing business together. Supporting one another. Being a friend. It's a good feeling!
Have you ever had a friendship or a group of friends that fizzled out? What happens when the table that was so familiar to you doesn’t have room any longer? Or maybe they all got up and found somewhere else to sit. Congressperson Shirley Chisholm said, way back in the 70’s, “if they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
Eh. I’m not one who believes in forcing relationships. And I won’t beg someone to be my friend, my colleague, or my client.
You shouldn’t either. If there isn't room at that table, get your own. No triggers. No fake friends. Your own table. You're worth it!
THIS IS IMPORTANT STUFF
And it’s driven me to share the Building Your Village presentation at the Next-Level You retreat in Erie, PA March 31 – April 1.
Some of what are going to talk about includes
In a safe space. With other women who are ready to level-up with their businesses, careers, and friendships.
Be honest… Do you ever daydream about what the Next-Level You will look like? Who is she? What does she wear? Who does she hang out with?
It’s because you’re ambitious. You have goals. Aspirations. Yeah, big ones. And you’ve been taking baby steps. Your time has come.
Picture this …
You escape to a beautiful bed and breakfast near the lake, just as winter tips over into spring …
You immerse yourself in learning from four fabulous facilitators who pour into you with their expertise AND have an open discussion with you about what you’re learning …
You discover your future self, master your energetic alignment with your dreams, talk and write about the transformation that got you where you are today, and intentionally nurture your new vibe with an up-leveled, high-vibe sisterhood.
On top of all that, some of your meals are provided, and you don’t have to make your bed!
Join me and my “A” team; Cori, Merilee, and Renee and get registered for the Next-Level You retreat today! We are keeping it small, just a dozen ladies will join us. Get all the info here.
“Get in loser, we’re going shopping.” *
xo ~ Kel
*Just two of the crazy-good quotes from 2004's Mean Girls. Totally fetch.
Fate, Phil, and the color blue
When I started K2 Creative, I wanted to
1. Do things MY way… and
2. Help people.
It sounds corny, but I spent years witnessing people making mistakes in their businesses. I really wanted to help. And I have helped people. Since I added visibility and public relations to my services, I have helped over fifty authors promote their books. They’re all great writers, with great stories. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading their books and promoting them.
But a few authors have truly stood out.
One of those is Dana Ziemniak. When Cori (Aurora Corialis Publishing) approached me with Dana’s story, and the opportunity to represent her, I was both heartbroken and eager to work with her. I knew her story had to be shared… everywhere. You see, Dana’s son Evan died when he was twelve. He was dared by a bully to “play” the “choking game” or “blackout challenge.” And it cost him his life.
Dana’s book, Blue is the Color of Heaven – The Story of a Boy’s Love, Strength & Beyond, is not only her way of memorializing Evan, but it’s her way of taking a stand. Dana discusses her experience getting Evan an adequate diagnosis for his invisible disabilities. Despite her medical training as a pharmacist, she felt hopeless on her journey – even after turning to his school for support. Eventually, Evan was diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, and high-functioning autism.
But it wasn't enough.
Dana’s mission now is to raise awareness about these dangerous “games” and challenges and to save families across the nation from suffering as her family has.
And she's done just that.
Cori and I brainstorm and collaborate on every client we work on together - and even the ones we don't. She mentioned something interesting one day - instead of emailing outlets, connect with producers of local and national shows through social media and pitch them there. Hmm, not a bad idea.
A few days later, I was sitting in a nail salon and Dr. Phil was on one of the televisions. It was muted, so I couldn’t hear what was being said, but from what was on the screen I could see it was about internet bullying.
I saw it as a sign, went home and immediately started searching LinkedIn for Dr. Phil producers. I found one and sent her a private message with information about Dana’s book and Evan’s story. I ate dinner with my husband and took a walk with my sister, nothing out of the ordinary.
When I got back home, I had this message from the producer: Hi Kelli! Please give me a call at (xxx) when you have a moment.
I called her, and what she said completely blew my mind.
When she received that LinkedIn message from me, she was on the phone with a senior producer, who was telling her that they had a family back out of an upcoming filming for an episode about social media and internet bullying. The producer called to tell her they needed another family to participate. At that moment, she received an email alerting her to my LinkedIn message, to an email address she rarely uses, if ever. She isn’t certain why she even had that email open. Her next words to the producer were, “I might have a family. I just got a message from a publicist in Pittsburgh,” and read my message to her. She said they both got choked up and had goosebumps.
Me? I went a little further and started crying.
Things moved so quickly from that minute forward. I gathered information and told her I needed to contact Dana. Cori and I three-way called Dana, and thinking back, it makes me laugh; when Dana answered the phone, she told us she was in the process of medicating her cat – and started explaining what an ordeal that was at times, like her publicist and publisher calling her to chat was part of an ordinary evening. She had no idea what we were about to tell her and how this would impact everything she’s fought for in the last six years. Her husband, Matt, and daughter, Ava, were in the background asking questions and getting excited; Dana, Cori, and I were crying.
Call it what you want – fate, serendipity, chance, coincidence, luck.
I know what Dana calls it – Evan.
Fast forward a few weeks, and the Ziemniaks were on a flight to Los Angeles to film “Shedding Light on ‘The Blackout Challenge’”. They had an incredible experience and were treated so kindly by Dr. Phil’s team. They met another family on the show who lost their son to the same “challenge” just a few months prior to the recording.
And the day is here for the show to air. On Thursday, January 5, 2023, Matt and Dana Ziemniak tell Evan’s story to a national audience, on Dr. Phil. I encourage you to tune in, and find it online or on demand if you're reading this past the original air date.
I am so proud to not only know this family, but to watch Dana’s book land in the hands of families who need to read it. She was contacted by a woman in Ohio, whose 14-year-old son has a 504 plan, like Evan. This mom told Dana she’s sure that Evan will be with her at the next meeting regarding her son and his 504 plan.
We’ve seen an outpouring on social media; people reacting, commenting, and sharing our posts regarding the book, the show, and Dana’s mission. There will be more stories of people – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends – who contact Dana after seeing the show.
Dana is convinced it’s all Evan. It’s always Evan.
And after reading Blue is the Color of Heaven and the circumstances that connected me with Dr. Phil’s people…
I believe it too.
xo - Kel
How Much is Too Much?
I was getting ready for bed last night and I started making a list of all things I use in a day - from shower products to hair stuff to face care and makeup and so on. It's around the two-dozen mark. Then I started to think about how many "things" I use for business... email, social media, multiple apps, and so on. I believe that having MORE of something isn't always better.
I also believe that having too many choices frustrates people. There's a famous restaurant chain, known for a certain type of dessert, whose menu is like a small novel. I like options, but a menu with pages in the teens is a bit much, don’t you think?
When it comes to having choices and getting what you need – where do you draw the line? How much of anything is too much? I’ve always been someone who likes to give people three choices of just about anything.
❓What day works best for you to have coffee? Here are 3 that work for me: ...
❓I’m planning a dinner party and here are your 3 meal options: ...
❓Time to choose a new book for book club! Please choose one of these 3: ...
(See what I did there? Three examples!)
Moving into 2023 I'm using the "three method" with K2 Creative. K3 Creative? Nah, the name is staying the same. I'm concentrating on what I know best:
👍🏻 Visibility Consulting and Strategy
👍🏻 Brand Identity and Messaging
👍🏻 Content Marketing
I'm sticking with the people I understand, "vibe with", and love to work with - they're all entrepreneurs, and most are small business owners:
⭐ Coaches and Consultants
I have learned so much in the last 2 1/2 years. So. Much. I'm not ashamed to say that I made mistakes - both in how I run my business and in some of the work I've done. It's in my nature to want to help EVERYONE. I started this firm to do just that - help people. Although it took me a little bit of time, I finally realized that I can't be everything to everyone.
And frankly, I don't want to be.
There are some changes on the horizon. Some are so subtle that many people won't even realize it. But the adjustments are important to me and the success of K2 Creative.
I have some big news for one of my clients; the announcement will be public in the first week of January 2023. Her message is so important, and the client is one of the most amazing people I've had the honor of knowing and working with. Her dream is to reach a national audience with her story - and we achieved it. This also marks a milestone for K2C and for me as a professional. It's that big. Stick around for it.
Here's where you can stay up-to-date, and find me and K2C on social (three of those too!):
Here's to choices - and making the right ones in 2023!
How does your Sales Pipeline look?
I recently had a great conversation with a colleague about our "pipelines". Who was on our list of potential clients? Which friends were we connecting and reconnecting with for referrals - BOTH ways? Which events are we going to attend (YAY!) to make new connections?
Your first step is having a strong brand and message. If you don't know what you offer - or how to relay it to potential clients - how will anyone else understand what you offer? How will they see the value you bring? I'm not just talking about a recognizable logo and flashy colors - I'm talking about overall goals, a visibility strategy, industry knowledge (including an understanding of your competitors), ideal audience targeting, and a marketing plan. We've experienced a few clients in our short time (almost 2 whole years!) as a business who depend way too much on social media as their marketing strategy. Social media is great - and we have over a half dozen social clients - but it needs to be in support of your marketing and brand strategy.
A lover of lists - I created this one to help you think about your pipeline.
And another thing... What's all this visibility talk?
Visibility builds brand awareness, helps you stand out against your competition, and boosts your profitability. Having visibility will provide an opportunity for more people to hear your unique message and for you to fulfill your purpose and leave a large and lasting impact. Visibility will position you as an industry expert and thought leader. Having a solid strategy to guide your marketing decisions includes having a professional brand and website and a broad communication plan to increase your visibility.
Where will you find visibility? And, how can we help? Book a complimentary 30-minute chat today... and Make Your Message Matter!
International Women's Day
"Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow."
The 2022 theme and official hashtag of IWD.
I can celebrate this!
I think the most shocking thing about bias and women’s equality is when women don’t support each other. When women don’t raise one another up and celebrate their counterpart’s successes. When women flat out play dirty. I have often wondered how much energy it takes to cause harm and expel negativity compared with the amount of energy it takes to do good and cheer others on. I know, personally, I FEEL GOOD when I help someone else. But I have also spent my fair share of ‘being human’ and lamenting over broken relationships, lost business clients, and missed opportunities. I've lost more sleep than I care to admit and spent hours worrying and wondering about choices I made - and not just recently, I'm talking years ago. Rethinking conversations, redoing situations over in my head, regretting not going for that position or not saying what I really felt - both out of fear.
I risk losing you here dear reader, but dare I say most - if not all the above - can be attributed to "being a woman?"
As females we are programmed to overthink. To worry. To nurture. To try harder than necessary and to be more broken when something isn't right. To just care too much. I won't apologize for these comments; mostly because women spend way too much time saying, "I'm sorry", and because it's truly how I feel.
And it's my blog. :)
As a mother of a son and a daughter, they’ll both tell you I care about the other one more. They’ll each say I do more for the other. They’ll fight tooth and nail to be the most-neglected, least-cared-for child. I’m not kidding. They are as different as they come, my kids, however they both get just about as much as
A. they will take, and
B. I can give.
Raising a son who respects women and cares about others isn’t a one-and-done, simple task. It’s ongoing into adulthood. It’s reminding them of their roots and what it means to be a GOOD person.
Raising a strong, independent daughter isn’t easy. Throw in brains and strong opinions and… well, game over. We strive for our children, especially our daughters, to reach independence. Then once they do, where does that leave us? What about the woman, or women, who helped that little girl become the woman she is today?
I think on days like today, that focus on women's achievements, we need to recognize that sometimes our job as women is not to live in constant worry about those we feel responsible for, but to celebrate how far they've come.
I also feel that we need to give ourselves a break. A break from comparing ourselves to others, a break from worrying about what others will think of us, a break from trying to do all the things, all the time.
So, now I ask... can you do me a favor? You read this far, so something must’ve stuck… or you were just curious if I was going to apologize. Still not gonna happen, friends.
The favor, should you choose to participate, is one of two asks… or both!
In the words of the great Maya Angelou, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Make someone feel good today.
xo ~ Kel
Does Bad Behavior Need a Buzzword?
Here we are. Nearing the two year mark of the pandemic. TWO YEARS. The world seemingly shut down on March 16, 2020.
We’ve all heard of the newest buzzwords and phrases like “hop on a call”, “close the loop”, “nice to e-meet you”, “Zoom fatigue”, and “new normal”.
But is there a buzzword or phrase for COVID-related bad behavior?
Using COVID as an excuse for poor performance, not showing up (and I don’t mean just in a physical sense), not keeping promises, or honoring one’s word seems to be the norm.
We all know COVID has changed LITERALLY everything in our lives. At times like this I can’t help but think that we are stronger together – even if we’re still not physically 100% comfortable being TOGETHER. Human behavior has taken a hit. We have forgotten how to "be."
I was curious about how COVID has changed us, as humans. Sadly - feelings of fear, anger, worry, and frustration are very common. I found research that shows physical reactions like headaches, body aches, stomach problems, and skin rashes. A lot of people have increased their use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. I know a lot of people who had COVID and experienced not only symptoms during infection, but after; brain fog, problems sleeping, unability to regulate body temp, to name a few.
Personally, I feel that my relationships have prospered. I met people from across the nation - and even globally - who I never would've had the opportunity to connect with. As my calendar begins to fill with both business and personal events, I am excited for what the remainder of 2022 will bring.
I'm hopeful for new buzzwords - ones that are positive, encouraging, supportive. How about you?
Take the Photos... Please!
This blog post is pulled from the K2C February newsletter.
The beginning of this newsletter [blog] is coming to you from my heart.
My great uncle Anthony passed yesterday. He was the last remaining family member of that generation, the youngest of four, my Pap's baby brother. Uncle Anthony almost made it to 90, just a few weeks shy, and ironically, he went to be with my Pap on what would've been Pap's 94th birthday. As my mom and daughter (My kids had a great, great uncle into adulthood - pretty amazing!) were posting tributes to him on Facebook I realized - I had zero photos with him. I can't find one. But it's funny; almost every picture they posted was taken at my house: years of Thanksgivings, Christmas Eves, summer picnics. I was in none of the pictures.
I joked that it was because I was fixing him his second or third plate - he loved nearly everything I made and ate so well when he was here - or that I was brewing him a cup of coffee that he would no doubt complain about... but in reality? I was just too busy. As a host or hostess, you're making certain food is hot, drinks are full, and people are happy. But what about the TIME you're supposed to be spending with those happy people? Once they're gone, they're gone.
We worry our hair isn't just so. We are wearing comfy clothes and 'aren't camera ready'. We say, "I'm coming", and busy ourselves in the kitchen and never do. It's all so silly, isn't it? Today, I'm both asking and telling you to take the photos.
❤ Rest easy UA - celebrations won't be the same without you. ❤
“A public relations professional is a bridge builder, building long-term relationships between a company or an organization and its publics based on two-way communication.”
~ Peter Jeff, Grand Rapids, Michigan public relations practitioner
I have always been a cheerleader. Not an actual cheerleader (except for a few years when I was very young) but a cheerleader in the sense of being a big supporter of others. I am constantly “team everyone else”, sometimes so much so that I talk other people up more than I promote myself.
P.S. - One sure sign of Imposter Syndrome is downplaying your knowledge or expertise and spending time putting attention on others, even though you know you’re just as - or more - experienced and capable. I’ve written about Imposter Syndrome, a few times, if you’re interested.
So, what is PR?
“Public relations is communicating what you believe in to important audiences, at the right time, to achieve a goal.”
~ Frank Walton, vice president of Ruder Finn Public Relations (1995)
Simply put – it’s the positive outreach that gets individuals and organizations noticed and in front of the public and their ideal clients and audiences. Don’t think of PR and publicists as a harried individual chasing after an out-of-control celebrity. Publicists are here for the GOOD, not just to help with unfortunate events and choices. (Although, that would be sort of fun, right?)
WHO needs a publicist?
Q: Who needs a publicist?
A: All public figures need a publicist.
Q: What’s a “public figure”?
A: Any person who wants to maintain or protect their image by getting coverage via print and digital publications, podcasts, radio, speaking engagements, and the like.
K2C has a lot of luck with authors – both fiction and nonfiction. I think becoming an author myself led me to attracting other authors. However, besides authors, nearly every person on this earth can benefit from a public relations campaign to spread positive news about themselves or the organizations they are associated with.
Let’s break down the five reasons PR is a necessity.
Expanding your network during COVID hasn’t been easy – I get it. If I hear the phrase “Zoom fatigue” one more time…
But, it’s not all a lost cause! You can still successfully promote yourself, your book, your company’s expansion, and all the good stuff that’s happening with a simple PR campaign. And, since so many people can benefit from a campaign, I’m offering a special for the month of February 2022.
Get the details on the Pitch Prep Package then, book a call with me and let’s get started!
And by the way this offer, for now, is only available to our newsletter subscribers and blog readers AND we are only accepting three clients for this package to provide the most value.
Kelli Komondor &