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Good Reads,

5 Ways To Become A Professional MVP in 2016

To paraphrase Beyoncé, “no one should ever get to thinking they are irreplaceable,” even if the economy is in recovery mode. That being said, the right amount of channeled focus and ambition can help you take your company and career to new heights and inspire those around you to look to you as an integral part of your organization. Regardless of if you are running your own business or striving to advance within one, you want to be known as the company MVP by every client, customer, co-worker or investor you encounter.

Becoming the MVP of an organization, or great at anything, takes work and proper planning. So, I found the organizational expert and motivational speaker who literally wrote the book on the transformation process.

stankovic_headshot_2015Dr. Brandi Stankovic’s new book The Strategic MVP is leadership guide designed to help ambitious professionals become the most valuable person in their organization. She’s curated tips, motivational messages and key learnings from the world’s top CEOs into this weekly coaching manual to help visionaries take their game to the next level.

Strategic MVP

So, if you rather be seen as an all-star than bench-warmer, we’ve got the tips to help you get there.

Here are Stankovic’s top five tips for transforming yourself into the ultimate professional MVP in 2016:

Develop Your Personal Brand

Similar to the brand of a company, your personal brand is the feeling and experience that people have when they think of you. Managing your personal brand can be one of the most important things you do as you progress in business. Your personal brand should articulate your values, story, message, and things that are important to you.

Conceptualize Your Future

Successful people have a continuous focus on the future.  They think about how the future will change and how they will be a driving force in that transformation. Imagine you have a magic wand that allows you to create the future you desire.  How would it be different from today? World-renowned spiritual teacher Wayne Dyer has a popular saying “You will see it when you believe it, not the other way around…” this is also true for your career.

Unleash Your Inner Nerd

Commit to being the best you can be through action, education and learning.  Let your inner nerd flourish.  Is there a degree or a next level of learning that you have always wanted to do?  Learning needs to be a lifelong process in every part of our careers.

Expand Your Network

Strive for quality not quantity in your networking efforts. Select and invest in people who care about the things that are important to you.  These are the people who will help you achieve your long-term goals.

Remove the Unnecessary

Everything you bring into your life either supports or undermines who you are and what you want to create. You are who you surround yourself with.  Choose wisely.  Surround yourself with friendly, driven and encouraging influences that positively affect who you are.

Charell Star | Not Just A Girl In A Dress

Celebrity News, Good Reads,

Celebrity Deals: Actress Tia Mowry Launches New Cooking Show and Cookbook

Tia MowryTia Mowry has held many titles throughout the last two decades – actress, reality star, producer mom, wife, entrepreneur and author – but her newest title of “chef” is taking her expertise to a new level. The Instant Mom star is releasing her first cookbook entitled, Whole New You. The book will feature many of the whole food recipes that helped her overcome endometriosis and chronic migraines. Mowry previously authored two books titled, Oh, Baby!: Pregnancy Tales and Advice from One Hot Mama to Another and Twintuition: Double Vision. 

The savvy business professional also announced that she will be starring in a show on the Cooking Channel called Tia Mowry at Home.  Premiering Wednesday, April 29 at 9PM EST, the show will provide a unique serving of her tips for success and dinner.

I’ve had a girl crush on the Mowry Sisters since their Sister 2 Sister TV show days and am excited to see them continue to grow their empire. I can’t wait to check out both the show and the cookbook.

à bientôt

Charell Star | A Girl In A Dress



Be Inspired, Good Reads,

Teen Entrepreneur to Watch: Author Chental-Song Bembry Makes Reading Cool For Tweens

Author Chental-Song Bembry with her mom Holly Glover

Becoming a published author is a difficult feat for anyone, so publishing three popular books by the age of 18 qualifies you to be in a league of your own. After spending some quality time with college sophomore, author and entrepreneur Chental-Song Bembry it became clear quickly that she is more than comfortable doing the unexpected. The soft-spoken 18 year old began publishing her popular children’s series “The Honey Bunch Kids” at age 13 and has generated quite a following for the adventurous stories.

The positive books are centered on a group of African-American 2015-03-28 11.30.22middle-school kids who become friends after they miss the bus on the first day and end up having to walk to school in the rain. Popular with young boys, The Honey Bunch Kids teach readers valuable lessons on friendship, self-esteem and empathy. Although, the books are fiction Bembry used her own time in school as inspiration for her stories.

Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama and Black Girls Rock MAD Girl celebrants Kaya Thomas (l), Chental-Song Bembry (m) & Gabrielle Jordan (r).

In addition, to creating stories, Bembry works to increase writing and literacy among youth and teens and is a former youth ambassador for LiteracyNation. Recently honored as a Black Girls Rock MAD (Making A Difference) Girl by Olay, My Black is Beautiful and Target, Bembry was celebrated for her work in the community and for being a positive role model for youth across the nation.

As the teenprenuer looks ahead she wants to transform her books into an animated series and inspire others to follow their passions. Her advice to anyone looking to start a business or write a book of their own is start with your story first and don’t let setback stop you. This is wise advice that every entrepreneur should follow.

Check out Bembry’s books here and add them to a reading list for the tweens in your life.

à bientôt

Charell Star | A Girl In A Dress

Career, Good Reads,

Stop Asking Permission: Expert Tips To Land Your Dream Job Now

Frances Cole JonesFrances Cole Jones knows a thing or two about landing that elusive dream job. The native New Yorker and entrepreneur literally wrote the book on the subject. Author of Wow Your Way into the Job of Your Dreams, Jones spent some time with the A Girl In A Dress team and shared her top expert tips for identify and securing the RIGHT position whether you are seeking a new job or looking to step out on your own.

So what inspired you to start your business?

I was working in publishing and I enjoyed it but we used to hire media trainers to work with our authors. I watched that for awhile and I thought I can do a comparable job if not better. So, I just quit my job and worked freelance for a bunch of years for a number of different companies and then founded my own firm.

So, when you quit your job did you have anything lined up at all or you just quit and walk out on faith?

I would love to tell people that I had this very thought through plan but no, it was really more of spur of the minute thing. I’m definitely a “leap first, look later” kind of person and it’s worked for me. I know it’s not the norm but, I tend to not over think things and sometimes it works out really well.

Your specific  focus is helping client land their dream job not another job. What are some action steps a  person can take to identify what their dream job might be?

  1. You want to ask your close friends, “What do you think I should be doing?”
  2. It’s also sometimes really helpful to ask people who barely know you, “do you see me under utilizing any particular skill set?”
  3. After that, start going on informational interviews. Prepare as carefully as if were a regular interview. Go in and say, “If I wanted to join this field, what action steps will I need to take?” Or “If you look at my resume, what am I missing?” The tricky bit is getting people {in these roles} to spend the time and answer your questions. So, what you do is you call up and you say, “Would you mind if I came in for 15 minutes at the beginning or at the end of your day?” Everybody has time for that. Use their time wisely and go in with a really strong set of questions.

What if they are bad at interviewing? What is one action someone can take right now to improve their interview skill?

I think the most important thing that people can do is realize that the interview is not about them selling themselves. The interview is about you demonstrating to your interviewer how you are going to make their life better once you are hired. And the easiest way to do that is start thinking about how are you going to tell a story, to demonstrate how you’re going to add value.

And what are some steps people can take to identify that story? How can they start so they know how to map that out.

Well, you want to be very specific. I don’t want you to use what I refer to as, “like modifiers.” Phrases like, “I’m really a great leader” or “I’m just really amazing leader” and “I just really love to lead people.” Nothing happens in my brain when you say that. You really need to say:

  1. “There was time that I was working with my colleagues and this was the situation.”
  2. “This how I managed the situation.”
  3. “And this is the result of the situation.”

Studies shows that people can remember stories longer, they trust them more and they repeat them more accurately. Tell the story, but wrap it all up.

Any other business advise that you want to share?

Don’t ask permission. A lot of us wait, “Oh, I need to go back to school.” “I need to get a degree.” “I need someone to sign off on me being allowed to do whatever it is that your dream is.” Unless you are curing a disease or building a rocket, there’s very little that requires someone else to sign off on your skill set. So, if you want to do something, go and do it. Or take a crack at trying to do it. But don’t wait for someone else to say, “Oh yes, now you’re allowed to.”

Trying these tips can help get you on a path to achieving your dreams and the career you want. Check out Jones’ book for more great advice on taking your next step toward the RIGHT direction.

à bientôt

Charell Star | A Girl In A Dress

Good Reads,

Must Read: Bossypants by Tina Fey


tina fey 1004111. You had an awkward phase.
Tina Fey’s phase was probably worse than yours, and assuredly funnier.  She has no pride about her unattractiveness throughout childhood and most of her adolescence, and it seems that she won’t be upset if that makes you feel better about yourself.

2. You’d like to be the boss one day.
Fey was the head writer for Saturday Night Live for several years before she was the writer/producer/star of ‘30 Rock.’ Bossypants contains straightforward advice about recruiting and motivating a great staff.  Her observations about female leadership, and all of the inane questions that come your way when you’re the boss and a woman, are spot-on, and you’ll want to steal some of her snappy comebacks.

3. You are discouraged about your career.
Tina’s career trajectory will help you relax about making the ‘right’ choices and trust yourself.

4. You want to lose weight.

Read the chapter about Fey’s experience being very thin.

5. You desperately need beauty advice.
If you take the same approach to beauty that Fey does, you’ll never need beauty advice again.

6. You’ve never seen ‘30 Rock.’
Most people have never seen ’30 Rock.’  Critics loved it but not many people ever saw it.  There are some descriptions in the book that are almost as good as the show, so you can pretend you’ve seen it.

7. You need a release.

The book is laugh-out-loud funny.  Read it because it’s fun and you need a diversion.

What book do you plan to read this month?