The One Who Overcomes

“Small business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for the brave, the patient and the persistent. It’s for the overcomer.” – Unknown

The lure of the American dream – owning your own company, being your own boss. Having the ability to overcome the risks and challenges of starting a business. Having the opportunity to control your own destiny and to make your own mark. Many of us ponder – should I take the risk or pass on the opportunity? When I ask myself what do I want to do in the final years of my career – I want to tell stories through words and photos; and to help others solve problems. On one hand, I am confident that I have the skills, endurance, patience and drive to do this.  On the other hand, I am afraid that I am too old, too out of touch, there won’t be a market for what I am selling, and I won’t be good enough to make enough money to live on. It is as if there are two different people fighting for my thoughts and my will – it is often overwhelming and certainly exhausting!

“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” – Marc Anthony

Between my jobs at FOX Sports Net and Altitude Sports, I had a consulting company “Sharper Media”.  I did sports TV rights negotiations and program syndication.  It was fun! The pros were:  great variety in the kinds of work I did, ability to use different skill sets, building great relationships, and a flexible schedule. The cons were: paying self employment tax, paying for private insurance, a one person company to do the administration and execution, cold calling customers, and the fear it would not be enough financially.  During that time, I was asked to help launch the Speed Channel, the Tennis Channel and Altitude Sports Network.  I loved it!  Altitude offered me a full-time job and I took it.  I missed the hustle and bustle of a sports network and the security of a full-time job was appealing at that time in my life.

In the last 13 years, I have built a larger portfolio of skills.  I managed 3 important departments at Altitude.  I earned my MBA from University of Colorado.  I currently work as COO for my brother’s broadcast systems integration company where I have learned a lot about small business operations.  I have taken a dozen continuing education classes in accounting, payroll, HR, OSHA compliance, and project management.  I have taken several photography classes and am now enrolled at the NY Institute of Photography.  Even with all of this in my briefcase, I still wonder, will it be enough?  If I build it, will they come? 

I am generally a driven, energetic, positive person with a take charge, “I can do anything I work at” attitude.  It is possible that my many surgeries may have given me some Bionic Woman super powers (big grin) but in reality I am only human.  This is a big decision, it’s scary!

Drum roll please……  I have formed Sharper Media & Consulting, LLC.  It will offer a mix of services based on my talents and passions – business operations and marketing, media rights negotiation and syndication, and photography.  Here is a link to the website I built for more information, Sharper Media & Consulting.  My son, Johnathan, has recently started a home remodel and repair business, Built Diligently Construction.   We need your help to get the word out and for referrals.  We need your ideas and advice.  We need your support when things get tough. We need you to join us in celebrating our success. Please, if you are still reading this, click on our websites, read a page or two.  The way that search engines work is that the sites with the largest number of clicks are placed at the top of the search.  Help us get there!

As I launch this new business venture, I will continue to work for Bill at Broadcast Technical Services.  I will help him to continue to build his dream as I also work to build my own.  Thank you for allowing me to try this and for your support as only a big brother can give.  Thank you to my friends who have helped to edit my website and provide encouragement.

I look forward to traveling down yet another road in this journey called life.  I look forward to doing my best to be “The One Who Overcomes.”

What advice do you have to share about starting a business?  How do you make tough decisions?  What risks you are contemplating?  Do you love your work?   

……  And life goes on. 




The Pain of a Layoff

Being laid-off is like having food poisoning, you only really know how it feels when it happens to you! It doesn’t matter if you were personally singled out in a restructure (aka a polite word for we don’t want you any more) or part of a larger workforce reduction – it hurts!  It is personal.

A few months ago, I threw out this topic idea on LinkedIn and was surprised at the number of responses I received.  Here are the most common phrases used during my interviews with other victims: traumatic, complete surprise, devastated, blind-sided, disrespected, betrayed, and life-changing. Regardless of their loyalty to their boss or the company, seniority, ethics, character and work history – it happened and it hurt.

The most important factor in how a person felt about the decision maker and the company itself was in how the message was delivered and how the exit process played out.  Delivering the message with humanity softened the blow.  Treating people, the person being laid-off and their co-workers, with respect and compassion encouraged acceptance.

People who were treated with respect, allowed to gracefully leave the premises, and to say goodbye, generally regarded the company as being good despite having a disappointing ending. People who were treated more like a criminal or like they were fired, generally had very negative feelings about the company.

For many people, they were forced to leave their field or industry, accept a lower title and/or salary, or take a temporary contract.  It was more difficult to find a similar position when the person was over 50.

For me, the unthinkable happened on August 29, 2013.  After almost 10 years with Altitude, I was told that I was being restructured out of a job.  It was the politically correct way for Kim to say that she wanted to bring in her own guy.  Sadly so, my final moments spent at the network that I helped to build were humiliating.  I felt disrespectful and betrayed.  I was crushed. It was not the ending I had wanted, for me or my team.

In addition the anger and sadness, I had an identity crisis.  Since I was 19, I was thankful to be in the sports television business. I was proud of my career and all that I had earned.  In an instant, my title and my great job had been stripped away.  For the first time in my life, I was unemployed. After thousands of tears, I realized that my title and the company I work for does not define me. My talents and my actions define me. They can’t take that away.

I was taught that if you worked hard with good ethics that you could be anything you wanted to be. I was taught that how you work is more important than the work you do. I was taught that loyalty to a company will be rewarded and returned. The reality is that these things are important and should be honored. The harsher reality is that the scales of your fate can be tipped by economics or simply by the choice made by someone else.

If you know someone who has been the victim of a layoff, be kind and compassionate. You don’t know how it feels unless it has happened to you. Being laid-off is the dramatic ending of a relationship. People need time to go through each stage of grief. Each person deals with it in their own time and in their own way. Remember that it could happen to you too. No title is sacred and no person is immune.

Everything happens for a reason. God has a plan for each of us and we are in the place He wants us to be.  I pray that God will continue to heal each of us and our families from the the pain caused by the layoff.  I pray that we will have better and more-fulfilling jobs.  I pray that we will have a better work-life balance.  I pray that we will be able to remember the good times at that company and to forget the bad.  I pray that it never happens to us again.

And life goes on……

Honoring A Television Icon

This edition is to honor a true television icon, Mary Tyler Moore, as a gifted actress, an industry pioneer and an activist.   She truly could turn the world on with her smile!  As I did the research for this blog, I found dozens of photos of Mary’s beautiful smile.  It was as if her smile did not fade or age.  Mary was born on December 29, 1936 in Brooklyn, NY.  She died on January 25, 2017, at 80 years young.

“The Dick Van Dyke Show” Courtesy CBS, Getty Images

From 1961-1966, Mary played the character of Laura, the stylish wife of Rob Petrie in the comedy “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” She won two Emmy Awards for this series.  She played a funny version of the traditional American TV housewife.

From 1970-1977, Mary’s production company MTM Enterprises produced “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Her TV character, Mary Richards, was the first women as the lead character in a TV series.  She played the first leading lady who was single and focused on a having a successful career.  Mary won three Emmy Awards in this role.  During season 5 in episode 11, Mary became one of the first women to direct a TV show.

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, Courtesy CBS, Getty Images

This series was one of the first to openly discuss feminine issues such as: women working in male dominated industries, equal pay for women, a woman’s sexuality, using birth control pills and even the walk of shame. Mary showed us that it was OK for a woman to want take the path of a successful career and to delay having a family.

Statue in Minneapolis, Courtesy AAP

I will never forget the image of the final scene of show’s opening – where she is throwing the blue hat into the air as if she is celebrating that she has made it.  In 2002, a statue of her throwing the hat was unveiled in downtown Minneapolis.

The women’s liberation movement was in full swing when I was a teenager. Mary was an iconic symbol of this movement.  I loved watching these women and wondering what my life would become because of their efforts.

My musical theme song was “I am Woman” by Helen Reddy mostly for the “You can bend but never break me, ’cause it only serves to make me, more determined to achieve my final goal, and I come back even stronger” verse.   My television theme song was “Love Is All Around You” by Sonny Curtis well-known as the open for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”  My favorite verse is “Love is all around, no need to waste it, you can have the town, why don’t you take it, you’re gonna make it after all.” My favorite line from the show was when Producer Lou Grant said “you have spunk, I hate spunk.”  I can still see her eyes sparkle and her big beautiful smile.   I love spunk!!!

When I entered the wonderful world of sports television at 19, I wanted to be just like the TV character Mary Richards.  Who am I kidding, I still want to be her!   I wanted to be a successful producer technician and producer.  I am so thankful to have a 30+ year career in sports production and programming.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to help pave the way for other women to succeed in an industry that I truly love.

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” Courtesy of CBS, Getty Images

Mary was smart, talented, successful, down-to-earth and independent.  She was doing very well in a man’s world. She had a unique way of embracing the differences of how women and men work.  She was a true pioneer and an icon!   I  will continue to honor Mary Tyler Moore and Mary Richards in my actions as a business woman and a mentor.   Thank you for the memories, and thank you being such an inspiration to millions!

Please sing it with me – “Who can turn the world on with her smile? Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? Well it’s you girl, and you should know it, With each glance and every little movement you show it.  … You’re gonna make it after all. You’re gonna make it after all.”   

How did Mary Tyler Moore inspire you?   How do you inspire others?

…… And life goes on.