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Elizabeth Gordon interview Atlanta’s Women in Technology (WIT) on the Chic Perspectives Show


Today on The Chic Perspectives Show I had on some fabulous women from Atlanta’s Women in Technology.  Heather Rocker, Executive Director of Women in Technology & the WIT Foundation joined me in the studio to talk about WIT and her path to becoming a leader.

Heather Rocker joined WIT in March 2007 as the organization’s first-ever executive director. She was named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “Top 40 Under 40”, awarded “Outstanding Young Alumna” by Georgia Tech and most recently won the Turknett Leadership Character Award in the “Inspiritor” category.

Heather currently authors a blog about strategic volunteering and speaks to nonprofit and corporate groups about incorporating this concept into their leadership development plans.

Heather talked about Strategic Volunteering  – it’s about making the most of your limited time while making an impact in your community

In order to create the best volunteer role for yourself: you have to know what to look for, where to go, and how to get into the right placement

She suggested women consider expanding their network by volunteering.  Here are some questions to ask yourself if volunteering would be a good move for you: Outside of work, where am I involved?  What is the list of people that I could call today for a favor or introduction?  Could the leaders of organizations for which I volunteer serve as a reference for me?

Heather also suggested  you create a strategic volunteering action plan: use your performance reviews/goals to align your professional goals with your volunteer goals

Check out WIT’s new website @

Find more about Heather Rocker and Women in Technology (WIT)

My next guest was Fela Strickland-Smith is the COO and Managing Partner at Satori Consulting, Inc.

With more than 15 years as a senior Information Technology professional, Fela provides clients with results-focused user centered processes, design , information architecture and usability  for traditional and web-based applications. Fela’s customer-focused leadership approach has led clients including Wachovia, JP Morgan, American Express Global Network Services and Chase Manhattan bank to achieve their business goals.

Prior to founding Satori Consulting, Fela led technology initiatives, developed products and established business processes for leading companies including Equity Residential Properties, GE Capital Corporate Treasury’s Short Term Funding Group and Accenture.

Fela is also holds a position as an adjunct professor with the Art Institute of Atlanta’s – Interactive Media and Design Department and also serves as an account manager for Women in Technology’s Strategic Alliances Outreach Program.

Fela earned her Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Math and Computer Science from Virginia Union University. Originally from the Northeast, Fela resides in Atlanta with her husband and two children.

Fela shared that  research is the secret weapon for an effective web site because it tells you the most important fact you need: how your customers use your product or service

When it comes to web sites, everyone wants to know the secret to customer loyalty. The key is RESEARCH FIRST, build and design LATER. Given a choice, the customer will buy based on their needs – not on design

The number one question they get asked at Satori Consulting: “why aren’t our customers buying from our web site?”  The answer: they’ve invested heavily in the technology and design of the site without understanding how their target audience will use the site

Fela recommended practicing the “Three E’s” – Examine your business goals, Enlighten yourself with research, Evolve your web site to meet your customers needs

She reminded us that it is important to also ask yourself: who is your web site’s intended user, and what are your business goals? Then find a way to marry the two.

Satori Consulting builds relationships with their clients while providing world-class consulting services. The result: clients know Satori Consulting will provide results-oriented solutions based on first-hand experience.

Web application development with a customer focus and product development with an emphasis on new product idea generation is a necessity for businesses building an effective web presence. Satori Consulting is a leader in developing web applications and new products for our clients to build their businesses while focusing on customer loyalty.

Find out more about Satori Consulting @ – 1200 Abernathy Rd., Ste. 1700 Atlanta, GA 30328

My next guest was Jamie Greene, who is a Partner at Kilpatrick Stockton.

Jamie is a patent attorney with Kilpatrick Stockton where she has been obtaining and providing legal advice relating to biotechnology and pharmaceutical patents for over 25 years. As a co-leader of the Kilpatrick Stockton Health and Life Sciences Team, Jamie advises individuals, universities, and small start-up companies to large international companies on intellectual property issues.

She received a degree from Wellesley College in Molecular Biology, a law degree from Emory University and a Masters in Immunology from Emory and has been an adjunct professor of Intellectual Property at Emory Law School. In addition to being the immediate past-president of Women in Technology, Jamie is on the board of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America and Childspring International, and is a member of the Emory University Conflict of Interest Committee, the Georgia BIO Education and Workforce Development Committee and the CDC Foundation National Advisory Council.

Jamie shared her story and told us that it wasn’t easy being the first female patent attorney in Atlanta, but she has a determination to succeed.

As the graduate of an all-women’s college, Jamie is not easily intimidated. She is driven and passionate about the improvement of health and prevention of disease

She had a dream to contribute to something that had a huge impact on the health of humans and animals and started as a scientist in cancer research, but the results didn’t come fast enough.

Most people don’t realize that improvements in healthcare are directly related to patents

Discoveries must be patentable to provide business with the incentive to develop technology that will improve health.

By helping scientists obtain patents, Jamie achieves her original goal and has actually contributed to the eradication of illness and disease.

She has worked on obtaining patents involving human papillomavirus, the infection that can cause cervical cancer and death if not diagnosed and treated

The patents enabled a company to obtain the funds to develop a test that is now used to diagnose HPV infection at an early stage, resulting in the prevention of many deaths

Currently, she is helping  a scientist obtain patents on a diagnostic method for the early detection of breast cancer. He had to start his own company in order to develop and produce diagnostic tests based on his discovery. Patents were essential to funding and funding was necessary for successful research and development.

So was all the hard work worth it?   Organic Chemistry class, demeaning law professors, the Patent Bar exam and all those late nights studying and writing patent applications, when asked if she would do it all over again, Jamie Green answers an unequivocal -Yes, in a heartbeat.

To contact Jamie go to

Next up was Tricia Dempsey, the founder and CEO of Agile, the IT staffing and consulting firm that works with technology leaders to speed their time to talent.  Tricia also serves as a board director for both Women in Technology and Komen for the Cure – Greater Atlanta.

Tricia talked about research that shows top talent is 250% more productive than average employees and what her firm does to help companies find the right people fast.

To hire someone with top talent, you must understand your need (beyond your job description) by creating a performance profile.

Tricia says the performance profile should “start with the end in mind” – you should consider what you will be reviewing  the winning candidate on one year from the date of hire.

Additionally, performance profiles consider hard skills, but also soft skills, values/motivators and behavioral style.

The bottom line – Hire slow…fire fast

Find out more about Agile the IT staffing company @

Next in the group was Mary Lou Heastings, President of Executive Alliance

As president of Executive Alliance, Mary Lou Heastings has responsibility for guiding the expansion of the company’s portfolio of technology related leadership award recognition programs, executive summits, roundtables, and custom programs across the U.S. Her leadership has resulted in the establishment of a national network for senior level executives in Fortune 1000 organizations. An avid boater, she also received her Captain’s license in 2004.

Mary Lou told us that it’s not enough to be good at what you do, people need to know how good you are

She recommends you stake out a corner – the key to building great recognition is “know me for this”  You want to showcase not what is most different, but most compelling.

Promote your vision; lead strategically, emphasize the journey, and focus on the vision

Leaders in a market are thought leaders, thought leadership is message based

Build great messages for yourself or your company that start with a named problem that needs to be solved for your customer or your organization

Recognized leaders have built “journey messages”; they showcase their intermediary wins to validate their journey

The real test of a great message is how your message is retold.  Leverage your visibility and recognition; maintain differentiation, aura, and momentum

Check out more about Executive Alliance @

We talked about some of the trends to lookout for in technology as well as the importance of supporting math and science education for women and girls.

Thank you again to Heather Rocker bringing all these wonderful Women in Technology into the studio for a fantastic show.

P.S. Check out the after-show video

Elizabeth Gordon interviews Lisa C. Decker Certified Divorce Financial Analyst & Founder of Divorce Money Matters-Miss Money Matters- and Cheryl Draa of Cheryl Draa Interior Designs


Today on the Chic Perspectives Show I had on Lisa C. Decker, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and Cheryl Draa, an Interior Designer – both successful and savvy entrepreneurs who shared some great advice from their own areas of expertise and experiences in starting and growing successful businesses.

Lisa Decker , aka Miss Money Matters, is the founder of Divorce Money Matters and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™).  As a media resource who has been interviewed by many media sources including CNN, Good Morning America, Business Week, Forbes for Women, The NY Times and Oprah magazine, Lisa is an expert in divorce financial matters, a discreet problem-solver and a trusted advisor to her clients. In addition, she holds Series 6, 63 and 65 and insurance licenses.

Lisa shared some great advice regarding how to “Divorce Your Spouse, Not Your Money!” with good planning early on in the process.  Here are some of the points worth remembering:

  • You need a team to get the best outcome and settlement in your divorce.
  • Put your game plan in place if possible long before you file for the best results.
  • Get organized early on to save lots of money in fees to your attorney and CDFA.
  • There are more peaceful methods of divorcing if you start right from the beginning.
  • Attorneys do not always know what they don’t know.
  • Getting the right attorney and financial advisor are crucial from the start.
  • Know what questions you need to ask an attorney during an interview.
  • 50/50 is not always what it appears to be when taxes are taken into account.
  • Divorce has many pitfalls that you can fall into if you are not aware.
  • The house may be a noose around your neck.  Don’t become attached to things.
  • Understand the short and long term ramifications of the choices you are making.
  • Divorce courts do not have the authority to make creditors abide by your agreement.
  • If your name is still attached to the debt, then you are still legally liable regardless of who has been ordered to pay.
  • Don’t forget the importance of backing up payments owed like spousal and child support with life and disability insurance in case something happens to your ex.

Find out more about Lisa’s business @

Based in Kennesaw, but serving the entire state of Georgia

Cheryl is the lead designer at Cheryl Draa Interior Designs.  The company specializes in full residential interior design including room arrangements, custom upholstery, custom window treatments and accessories.  Cheryl is a member of IFDA, NFIB and WFCP.

Cheryl shared how she started her company from home with modest expectations and how she has grown it into an ongoing flourishing concern with loads of loyal clients that come back to her again and again to work on another house, another room, and fresh new look.  She talked about the process of choosing the right interior designer for you.  How she gets to know her clients’ style and lifestyle to insure that the end results suits their tastes and their lives.

We also got the low down on all the latest trends in home furnishings and accessories and some great ideas on how to update your space and create a home that is functional and fabulous.

Elizabeth Gordon interviews Megha Rodriguez, Technology Consultant & CEO of Hire Humanity, LLC

Elizabeth and Megha

Elizabeth and Megha

Megha Rodriguez was my guest on the Chic Perspectives Show.  Megha is a business strategist and technology consultant with over 11 years experience as an entrepreneur.

She is the CEO of Hire Humanity, LLC, a business services company that helps small business owners and solo-preneurs bring their dreams to reality.  They do this by providing small businesses with the additional human resources needed to make their business grow.

In her consulting work, Megha is committed to helping women business owners identify how to align their heart’s calling with their business objectives. She trains people how to use technology (e.g. social media, web-based software, etc) to sustain their growth and provides hands-on management support to help put great ideas into action.

Megha works with clients on taking their core authenticity and harnessing it in their social media – and we talked all about how to do just that during the show.

Megha offers tons of great advice on how to leverage social media properly to grow your business and expand your reach as well as develop more powerful and trusted relationships with clients, colleagues and all of you business associates.

Here are a few of her words of wisdom to remember:

  • Be Authentic in building your online social relationships
  • Beware of over-automating your technology and losing your personal touch
  • Take the time necessary to identify your target market and make it SPECIFIC
  • Don’t try to be everything to everyone in your messaging
  • Be considerate by be honest
  • Transparency is king – people like those who are willing to admit their mistakes
  • Identify your core purpose it will make a difference in how you are perceived
  • Know where your target market lives and go there well, rather than being everywhere poorly
  • This all goes back to the old adage that is even more true today than ever before  – people do business with people – so being authentic is keep to getting and keeping good solid and profitable relationships.

    What truly motivates your business activity – money? power? social impact? being a change agent?

    This is not an idle question but rather an all encompassing power center that permeates all of your business actions.  Who you are matters and why you do what you do matters too.  People want to know you and the essence of your life and business philosophy that makes your business different.  Your authenticity can’t be copied and it will help you create a business of inherent value.

    Keep in touch with Megha @

    Elizabeth Gordon interviews Karen Hughes of Image Assets on the Chic Perspectives Show

    Wondering what’s in style this season?  Well you’ve come to the right show.  Today I talked with Karen Hughes who is a Certified Image Professional and the President of Owner of Image Assets.

    Early in her life, Karen knew she loved clothes, having learned how to sew at the tender age of 10, but she had a passion for teaching.   Spending a decade in corporate America honing her presentation skills she found herself again drawn back to fashion and clothing – she has a degree in fashion merchandising. Taking time off to raise her 3 children she began to formulate her vision for a new role as an entrepreneur.

    It was with a passion for education and love of fashion that Image Assets was created. With a mantra to help women “look good, feel great and have FUN doing it”, Karen creates workshops and events that teach you how to build a wardrobe for the lifestyle that YOU lead, whatever your stage of life!

    By enhancing your image through better style and dress, you can enhance your career progression whether its up the ladder or out on your own as an entrepreneur.

    On the show today we talked about the 3 F’s of Fashion (Fit, Flatter, Feel-Good),

    as well as the 3-Keys to Building a Wardrobe (Core-Accent-Accessories).

    Karen revealed the biggest mistakes women make in purchasing clothes and she also explained why alterations matter.

    For more about turning your image into an asset, keep in touch with Karen @

    Check out Image Assets’ Trends with Friends Event on Tuesday the 2nd of March and the StyleCAMP at the end of the month.



    Facebook Fanpage:

    and of course check out her site as well @

    Thanks Karen for all the great ideas and advice for a creating a winning look that speaks our style.