Women’s networks, sessions and webinars – are they useful?

I started late last year, deciding I needed to expand my skills and networks to include more busy women with ambition, ideas and directions. I am a member of the YWCA, Women on Boards and Business Chicks and decided that I need to (as a member) go along to these seminars that they run.

I have decided I want to get onto a Board and need to be Board ready, I did the YWCA ( there is one in every state in Australia)  “She Lead Board Training” one day workshop. I found it very useful and the connection of the girls was vast and a great network. It’s upside was it was informative, inclusive, relevant and talked on Governance. It’s downside it is geared towards the younger ladies, who are considering Boards or school councils (I have passed these). So I highly recommend this for any lady who has wants to get a basic understanding of Boards, committees and Governance issues.

I followed this up with Women on Boards “Getting Started: Realising Your Board Potential” run by Director and co-creator Ruth Mudd. This was another workshop, which I can say matched where I thought my ability and levels were at. It was again full of women. Ruth gave practical and at time complex knowledge of the dealing of Boards and where to target your skill set, and how competent one is to apply for the different levels of Boards. I found this extremely helpful and though this does not open the door to Boards you get exposure to what is a minimal requirement to get on Boards and the big highlight here was “if you don’t understand the financials you are not of use to a Board”. Taking it the next step, we got given a list of Courses to do, places to do them and homework, Identify a mentor and work with that person who needs to be a Chair of a Board. The downside, not enough education events and course are run in SA mainly NSW & VIC, which can make them expensive. They offer great discounts to members so if this is where you want to place yourself become a member, they will work with your CV to make sure it is Board ready.

So I set about going off to do the Financials for Non Financial Managers through AIMSA, part of a Cert IV in Financial Management. It was interesting, hard and extremely helpful and I highly recommend this for all people on Boards. Knowing this was the minimal requirements set for Professional Boards I wanted to be Professional at the very least.

I followed this up with a talk by Elaine Bensted CEO of the zoossa, hearing her talk about their financial stress and their business plan to overcome their troubles which seem to becoming less of an issue. Pandas aside. If you do get a chance to hear her talk she was great, open and honest in her appraisal of the situation and herself and role in the recovery of the Zoo.

This year I have kicked off with a Karen Brook “Bringing Ideas to Life” Webinar. Here is another young woman putting herself and her business out there. It was well worth the hour of my time. She talked on how to move your business forward, branding, communicating in the business world and purpose and direction. It was very thought-provoking and does leave you thinking you need more. A one on one with her is recommended, I am yet to do a workshop.

There’s always a kicker

I have discovered late in life about tyre kickers or time wasters it depends on how you view things. It’s like watching a TV show and you get 5 minutes to the end and someone tells you the ending or worse still comes and changes the channel on you , “but I just want a sports score.” that sort of thing. But can you detect these people in your everyday life?

I think I can comfortably say that at some stage in everybody’s life they would have been a kicker. This is a term I learnt from my Huz in referencing some one and I had to ask what it meant, he explained it like this, “it’s those people who come along, hang around the peripheries, ask questions, waste your time and move on like a tyre kicker.”  They waste your time or take something from you under false pretences.

It makes sense, I have seen those people in my life and I am slowly being able to identify them, confront then and move them along. They are not only time wasters but once you engage with them (in conversation) they suck information from you or tell you their opinion of you or something that you are involved in and are able to take the shine off  something for you. They pretend they don’t know what you mean when you front them, but are then affronted if you tell them how disgraceful their behavior, speech and or attitude is.

I try not to be a kicker in other people’s lives, and I have taken to thinking before I say things, as I look at some of these people and the words I want to say are just terrible and when you know you have to live in the same place with them it will not end well for me or them, so I try to react with more consideration and dignity that the speaker has dished out to me.

I have even heard of them doing this by stealth (phone) things like “can you just read / edit input your knowledge into a business proposal I’m doing?” When they get told no or happy to… my rates are.. you get the surprise answer “what, is this a wrong time to talk with you? or surely you can help me, or worse still I don’t have any money, I am doing this to get money.” So I say again why is someone’s time worth x amount and yours is worth nothing. Tyre kickers they come when you least expect it, but they are there, time wasters and not worthy of being entertained.

The worst type is the underground type, they engage you for work, sign a contract and then after you deliver said contracted work and hours they disappear. The phone is never answered, emails seem to magically not get responded to as if you never sent it, if you call the secretary they are ALWAYS in meetings. They are thieves, they steal not only your time but IP. These should be referred to a debt collector straight away, or reported to their industry body and then named and shamed till money is handed over, but what I recommend is hold off the vital part of the report you are doing and only hand it over when you get paid.

As for volunteers this makes it difficult as you have given your time for free and out of the goodness of your heart so getting satisfaction out of time wasters is difficult. It also depends on any and all conversations you have with them, but do not be fooled by false adoration or constant praise this is to lull you until they kick. They do it by exclusion from committees and boards as well as social events, then they have other people defend their behavior. There are many and wide excuses for their behavior but will use your own abilities against you, things like “you don’t have the skills required” “we asked the brainchild” “we know you are too busy” all of these are just excuses for bad behavior.

Next time you want to engage with someone do it, don’t beat around the bush or hide behind your position or social standing. Stop wasting other people’s time and trying to elicit information, contacts or ideas because you want to appear more knowledgeable than the person you are taking them from. Giving people the opportunity to be involved, included and consultative will work to everyone’s benefit.

Percentages

Doesn’t that word ring fear into the hearts of the non maths uninitiated? well it does mine and I am at the end of an assignment that requires me to do a lot of it and I’m sick of it. I do understand it’s dividing the smallest number by the largest number and multiplying by 100 but it’s irritating me today applying it to the depreciation book value of some figures I have in-front of me.

why am I doing it you ask? frankly today I wished I wasn’t but I am completing my Financials for Non-Finance Managers subjects BSBFIM501A & BSBFIM601A. This is recommended by Women On Boards to have as a bare basic knowledge when applying to go onto a board. To be able to read and understand the financials of any organisation you join. It protects you and protects them, it gives you an idea on Liquidity, Activity and the Equity of the organisation.

I have chosen a popular tourist attraction here in South Australia and am now working out the depreciation value based on book value and I must admit it’s doing my head in. I have pages of figures and calculations which do make sense but only in the application to which they are applied, as we know a financial statement is only a snapshot r picture of that business at that point in time (so then why am I going or asked to go back 3 years to compare) insert sookie face and over-it attitude here.

I will however finish it today as I need to move on to other things, i did start my day helping the huz draft lambs and by doing a 6km walk.  Following my thoughts over the weekend, some may be pleased to know we have had rain and that is always a good thing. enjoy your Monday everybody.

Cooking!! there is no glamour in this chore

It this really busy world where women and men are out working, being parents, playing sports, being on committees and numerous other roles unmentioned in this blog. There is always that nagging feeling when coming to the end of the working day, even if you do not work in paid employment after a day working, it comes to about 4pm and your mind starts thinking about the dreaded chore of preparing the evening meal. Remember the ‘frustrated Chef‘ from ‘Sesame Street’ well cooking daily makes me feel like this

There is no speech by your parents when you grow up about how laborious this chore is, yes they talk about sex, making babies, financial responsibilities and school and growing up but my mother never told me how this could be the worst chore ever invented and how necessary it is to daily functions. My mother also never told me how frustrating it is when you ask people in the house what do they want to dinner and have responses like “anything as long as I’m with you” as nice as it sounds it’s a cop-out. In Australian language that means I have no idea and I’m not prepared to offer any suggestions, this is frustrating to say the least, or what would be nice occasionally is to have someone say, “I know” and get up and prepare it and present it themselves.

We sit and watch shows like ‘Masterchef‘, ‘My Restaurant Rules‘, Huey’s kitchen and every other ‘lifestyle’ program has a cooking segment on it and we (pardon the pun) devour these shows, in my case I love some of the dishes and want to see who wins, that’s the competitive nature in me coming out there. But sometimes these dishes they don’t relate to normal life do they? Who really has the time (other than paid contestants) to spend 5 hours preparing meals? Not me I could not think of anything more boring. Preparing and presenting a perfectly cooked meal, consuming it and then CLEANING up.

There are some days when I think, can’t I just go and buy dinner? I live where there is no identifiable (no golden arches) fast food places within 150kms or in American terms 93.20 miles so when I do feel like this I rely on the trusty freezer, to have meat, oven fires and frozen vegetables and normally use this opportunity to do a mixed grill, rump, fillet or lamb chops which I will crumb, eggs from our chooks, sausages either our beef or lamb, then bread cooked in our bread maker and frozen oven fries cooked in the oven. This really is our choice, I don’t keep frozen ‘fast foods‘ like hash browns or others, these can be high in fat and salt.

But sometimes just sometimes I would love someone to come in and cook and clean. The last time farmer was out for dinner I cooked a microwave bag of popcorn and ate that, nothing else but white wine with it. When we travel to the city to see family and friends it normally is for a celebration so food is part of this shared experience, I have a family of cookers, they bring salads, hot vegetables, desserts and we cook either a leg of lamb or roast some of our beef. There is nothing nicer, but if we dine out, I note farmer goes for the seafood or steak, I normally go the steak option, it is just nice to have food prepared and presented to you. We also like Asian foods which I also cook when I feel I have time, but overall home cooking is always much more flavor some and healthy for you than ‘fast foods’ but for the convenience fast foods will win this mental trauma every time and this is back by the statistics, people would rather drive through than shop in.

My advice, find a great fresh home delivery company that will bring fresh fruit, produce and meat to your door, plan your meals so that you only order what you know you are going to eat. This will help reduce the high calories intake and save you from opening your purse. Put that money towards a long desired holiday where, when you get it you can PAY someone to cook what you want and clean up.

frustrated chef

Tiresome Tuesdays

I get to this stage of my week and sometimes I am over it and others I feel invigorated to keep going and achieve. It has been a LONG month for me. I feel I haven’t really had a break despite closing the shop for the month of January. I think it just rolled over from last year with the Keith Hospital Ute Muster, I never really stopped and took stock. I just did, it is an exciting journey this volunteer business fund raising position that I do, but sometimes I feel the weight on my shoulders is too great.

I am an advocate of health care of ones self and others and as I feel tired & jadded, I went for some fasting blood tests this morning. Results will be in Friday, they will tell the picture of my inner workings not the outer. Today I may look ok, have a smile on my face, but I have had to pick myself up and shake it to restart the Keith Hospital Cook Book recipe drive, Arkaba Hotel Ladies High tea searching for an SA vineyard to co-sponsor it. I also need to follow up on the commitment from a local community member who has agreed to put up the funds for a car so that we can raffle it, chase the car company and ensure all of the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed in order to proceed. I have had assistance from a girlfriend in helping me to secure a travel prize as second prize but need to move this all along quickly. I am also writing a business proposal that will assist the hospital & community members in bringing services and clients to our hospital encompassing all and this needs to be complete by the end of the day. To ensure the launch on February 9th goes smoothly and the people we want to attend get sufficient notice of their required attendance.

Along with all of this I have to squeeze in time for my business and time to contemplate so today Tuesday has become tiresome already. At the moment due to a minor medical complaint I have been unable to exercise and I have been unable to do my morning walks for about 5 days now. I miss the freedom it gives me, the solitary time where I can walk without noise, see the beginning or the end of the day. There has to be a balance and today I do not seem to be able to find it, I have even had a coffee to ‘perk’ me up.

Reading this I think I have to move from tiresome Tuesday to toughen up princess, if I have time to write my blog then I have time to do everything else. Enjoy your day no matter what sort of a Tuesday it is for you.