Better Living

Better Living

P.O.W.E.R.

P.O.W.E.R.

By Andrea Mejia

Click aqui para español- >El Poder de P.O.W.E.R.

A few years ago, Tammy O'Shea, Marketing Manager of Fidelity Bank, had the vision of creating a program for businesswomen and clients of the financial institution.

Although it took time to convince the Board of Directors, thanks to the presence of Katie Crosby as Chairman of the Board and the perseverance of O'Shea, who believed in her dream, P.O.W.E.R. (Potential of Women Entrepreneurs Realized) became a reality in October of last year, and already counts with almost 400 members.

Its director, Liz Broekman, has given her soul, life, heart, and even her wardrobe, to this powerful initiative, which has as its main objective to generate growth opportunities for business owners so that they can prosper and engage in powerful businesses. Broekman believes that the program has been very successful because "women take care of each other. It is part of our nature."

P.O.W.E.R. holds informational and educational seminars for its members. The "P.O.W.E.R. Hour" is very unique. At the end of every quarter, a group of around 10 members participate in a powerful hour at a particular branch, where they have breakfast together, and discuss a particular topic. This setting serves as an opportunity to get answers, share experiences and learnings, and generate new ideas for developing their businesses.

At Fidelity Bank they welcome you in a friendly way, and you do not feel that you enter a regular bank, but you feel part of a community. To be a member of P.O.W.E.R. you just need to have a bank account with Fidelity Bank. Membership applies to female business owners and partners, executives, directors, or leaders of nonprofit organizations.

As a member of P.O.W.E.R. you are added to a directory where other members can find and recommend you, which is the most valuable part of this program for entrepreneurs, since a recommendation is essential for businesses to thrive. P.O.W.E.R. sponsors events of organizations, such as New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), American Business Women Association (ABWA), NABO, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, among others, and their directives make sure to support the initiatives of its members.

Through P.O.W.E.R., women entrepreneurs are featured in marketing campaigns, which serves as additional exposure for their businesses. Activities like "happy hours," seminars and executive lunches are part of the benefits for women in P.O.W.E.R.

Beyond these benefits, it is fun that checks, cards and other materials are purple, a feminine color that identifies us as powerful women, and that makes us feel unique and important. What are you waiting for, as a woman entrepreneur, to be a part of this powerful program?

Media

The Need to Unplug

The Need to Unplug

By Andrea Mejia

Click aqui para español->Desconectarse

"Life is what happens while we're busy worrying about everything we need to change or accomplish. Slow down, get mindful, and try to enjoy the moment. This moment is your life." ~ Lori Deschen 

Choosing to disconnect and leave our phones and our concerns behind is a deliberate decision for many, but for me it is a necessity. The decision to disconnect and go on a trip to reconnect with myself is part of my life. Our jobs are often the biggest obstacle to unplugging. We spend most of the day at work, and most of that time we are online sending emails, updating social networks and searching the Internet. Once the work day is over, we arrive home at dinner time and many times we eat while simultaneously browsing personal Facebook, Instagram, and email accounts. I make the effort to get out of the routine and I make sure to take a vacation to get disconnected. On a recent trip to Mexico, I was lying on the beach and realized that I did not know how to relax and disconnect anymore. That’s when I decided it was time to put the phone away and enjoy my trip in the archaeological ruins of Tulum free of social networks. Since I did not want my business to suffer from this, I resorted to hiring a person to do the social media managing for my business and for my personal networks since I like to share my experiences. Disconnecting was a truly rewarding experience! The first day I almost died, but little by little the constant need to see updates on networks disappeared and I had the best time not knowing what was happening back home and enjoying my plans without having to instantly publish what I was doing. At nighttime I had fun choosing my favorite pictures and sending them to the social media manager for uploading. After this experience, I decided to start a new chapter in my life. I call it "less is best." I felt satisfied with the way I enjoyed the trip and felt that I was not missing out on my experiences because I was hooked to the phone uploading photos. It is unrealistic to think that we can banish everyone completely from our lives and give up the digital world altogether. I’m back on social media but in a more conscious way. I like the convenience of social media to communicate with people whom I love and are far from me. I believe the key to mental balance is to find the middle ground of being too connected and totally disconnected.

Tips for designing a functional Kitchen

Tips for designing a functional Kitchen

By Andrea Mejía

Click aqui para español->Tips para diseñar una cocina funcional

A kitchen design is based on the person who will be using the kitchen and on how he or she will use it. Prior to drawing one line, the designer should clearly know about the taste, priorities, and the lifestyle of the kitchen’s owner. This is when the obvious questions of ‘how would you use that?’ and ‘what is needed in that space'? come about.

The objective of kitchen design is to achieve a useful space for the activities that will take place in it. We strive to minimize the travel distance from workspaces. There are three main areas to a kitchen: the cooking zone, the washing zone, and the prepping zone. Ideally, a designer should locate the prep zone in a prime location easily accessible to the washing zone as well as to the cooking zone.

As you begin to remodel your kitchen, remember to take these tips from an expert:

- You are making a long-term investment. Even a small oversight can create a chain of unfortunate events, so make sure you hire a professional.

- Plan your budget. Don’t forget to account for new appliances.

- Take a close look at your space. Consider where doors, windows, and access to water, gas and electricity are located.

- Functionality is key to create a great flow mobility.

- Identify the style you want. Traditional with cozy accents, contemporary with clean lines, or classic inundated with the charm of organic materials.

- To keep the right amount of storage space, make sure you inventory all appliances and utensils. A practical kitchen requires organization and easy reach for tools.

- Use add-ons for spaces between cabinets.

ABWA

ABWA. Empowering Women.

By Andrea Mejía

Click aqui para español->ABWA

When I arrived in New Orleans a few years ago, I decided to start my own business. This endeavor provided to be a more daunting task than I had expected. However, I found organizations along the way that were, and continue to be, fundamental in the growth and continued development of my company.

I dedicate this month’s rendition of Vivir Mejor to the American Business Women Association (ABWA), a professional national organization that specializes in honing women’s leadership skills, providing women with continuing education, and highlighting and raising awareness and recognition of the empowerment of women in business.

The ABWA was founded in 1949 after World War II. During this war, many women were forced to enter the workforce for the first time to fill employment and production gaps left behind by the millions of men who were serving their country domestically and abroad during combat operations. The ABWA was established to provide support and training for women who seek and undoubtedly deserve equal business opportunities.

Since its inception, ABWA has continually served women in the workforce and in business at the local and national level. The mission of ABWA is to gather businesswomen of diverse occupations and provide opportunities for them, so that they may better help themselves and help others grow personally and professionally by providing leadership, education, networking support, and national exposure and recognition.

As a businesswoman, I can attest that belonging to this type of organization is essential for both, personal and professional growth, and relying on the support of other women in business is instrumental to this end. ABWA offers formal opportunities for continuing education, accrediting its members in business management, public speaking, and marketing, among many others. Women who are considering establishing their own company, or those who’ve already started, should explore what this organization can do for their respective businesses.

The opportunity to reach out to other women who have already paved their way and achieved success in their fields and to listen to their stories is uniquely supportive, since we can all relate to each other. Being able to interact and network with other women in business for a few hours can help recharge energies and may even result in referrals and in generating innovative ground-breaking ideas!

 Our future is in our own hands; it’s in the hands of women nationwide fighting and struggling to succeed all while competing and striving to provide valuable substance in the business forum. We can, and must, help each other succeed and there is no better manner of achieving this than by providing a booming, boisterous referral and unyielding support for every one of your brilliantly empowered female colleagues.

New Orleans

New Orleans

By Andrea Mejia

Para español click aqui->New Orleans

I arrived in New Orleans a few years ago, not knowing I would eventually stay.

Today, I can say I wouldn’t change that for the world. New Orleans is a place of extremes, a place of love and of hate. When it comes to living well, New Orleans has it all. You can choose from a vast variety of restaurants, bars, cafes, parks and streets that fill you with history.

And one cannot leave behind the festivals that crowd the streets with tourists and liven the city up making it an exceptional city to visit or live in. There are so many activities to choose from, even those that do not involve drinking.

There are free yoga classes offered at the park, and some bars also offer yoga and other sports as well, allowing you to choose how to spend your afternoon.

In New Orleans you don’t really need to arrange a date for your leisure time. Whether you want to go out to exercise or enjoy a drink, there is no better plan than to show up at a bar or at the park and meet a stranger. As part of the fun you talk to people you do not know and get to learn and see a unique perspective of what this wonderful city is.

This is something that made me fall in love with this city, as I am the type of person who loves to talk to anyone. This morning I woke up to the sad news of the passing of Anthony Bourdain. The sadness that I feel over his death is overwhelming.

It would only be fitting and appropriate to mention him in this article. My first thought was that after visiting so many places, he decided to travel to one without a return ticket. We won’t hear his account on this trip, and we won’t have any more stories told in the unique way he used to tell them.

He was the mentor that I never met in person. I can say many of the places I visited were inspired by him. His legacy will remain forever within many of us, those who followed in his footsteps inspired to adventure.

As we enjoy the privilege of living in a place like no other, and in honor of Chef Bourdain, who seemingly enjoyed New Orleans, we should make it a point to savor this city with all the craziness and dysfunctionality that makes New Orleans so unique.

Media

Learning and Sharing with Entrepreneurial Women

Learning and Sharing with Entrepreneurial Women

By Andrea Mejía

Click aqui para español->Compartiendo y aprendiendo de mujeres emprendedoras

In May, I had the opportunity to be part of a panel presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana during their Women's Business Symposium.

The group of panelists was composed of five women with origins in different Latin American countries. We were all business owners with one common element: we had to reinvent ourselves and start all over. I was honored to listen to their stories, to get to know more about them, and to receive their advice. Sitting next to them filled me with strength and provided me with hope.

We all have a story, a challenging past, and hardships in life that we had to overcome. These experiences marked us forever to make us stronger individuals.

Being able to tell and share our stories with the audience was motivating. It felt great receiving supportive hugs and sincere gratitude at the end of the panel. It is incredibly wonderful to know that by sharing your story, you can spark a fire within the women who are listening and gathering their strength to begin their own project. I take this opportunity to thank the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for their great work in providing a forum and for allowing women the opportunity to participate in events dedicated to entrepreneurial women who are fierce and who are working hard to succeed.

Events like the Annual Women's Business Symposium create opportunities, while also providing the participants with a sense of security when they discover that there are many other women who support them throughout their respective entrepreneurial processes.

I wish the best for all women who are setting a goal and starting their business journey. Rest assured that you too can accomplish whatever you set your mind to with discipline and perseverance!

 

 

Media

Challenge yourself to grow!

Challenge yourself to grow!

By Andrea Mejía

Click para español - Retos que nos ayudan a crecer 

I had the opportunity to participate in the Women in Business Challenge, presented by the Urban League of New Orleans during the month of March. It was such an enriching experience! Last year, I was sitting in the audience during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week watching the women present their companies during the challenge, and while listening to their stories I thought, “next year, I want to stand there and tell my own story.” And I did exactly that. 

I applied to the program, participated, and was among the four finalists this year. My public-speaking fear was challenged. I would have never thought that I could stand in front of three hundred people who were gathered to listen to our stories. 

The Women in Business Challenge is a great opportunity for women business owners to compete for a prize of ten thousand dollars. During the challenge entrepreneurs also receive a 9-week training session to learn how to make their business grow. 

I knew what I wanted to accomplish when I started my own company Sensa Design, but I was clueless as to what approach to follow to make it there. After going through this learning experience, I feel ready to take the next step and aim my company in the right direction. 

I learned about finance, social media, and human resources, among many other things.

I understood the importance of writing down a business plan and setting the mission and values of the company. Having these tools is essential to focus and keep the business in the right track. 

I was proud to represent my community and to be the first Latina participating in the challenge.

All women business owners who are reading this note should take a moment and contact Klassi Duncan from the Urban League of Greater New Orleans to get into this program. Remember the words of Amelia Earhart: “The most difficult thing is the decision

to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”

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Publisher's Note

As the holiday season approaches the first thing on my mind is "I can't believe the year is almost over!"

Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to count the many reasons why we should be grateful, so I take this opportunity to thank first, our readers and supporters. We are still a young project and it is very rewarding to hear your comments and to receive words of encouragement. I feel very grateful and flattered every time someone says they love what we are doing.

 I'm thankful to be doing something I enjoy, to get to know amazing people in our community, and to continue to learn new things everyday.

To our writers, editors, and contributors, I am honored you believed in VIVA NOLA since its birth and that you have stood by it, continuously sharing your talent, knowledge and skills with us and our audience.

We are growing stronger with the support from our advertisers that make this project possible. To all of you who have chosen to reach our audience and to entrust us with the responsibly of bringing your message across to potential customers, we are grateful and honored to partner with you.

I hope you all have a very special Thanksgiving celebration! Remember to remain calm and sane through the busy holiday season coming ahead.