SKIRTS in the Boardroom

SKIRTS in the Boardroom by Marshawn Evans

About

This book utilizes the real-time examples of author Marshawn Evan’s full life – student, lawyer, sports marketer, consultant, Apprentice winner and motivational speaker, to name a few. Marshawn explains how to be a SKIRT in a man’s boardroom. SKIRT as an acronym for – Sisterhood, Knowledge, Integrity, Respect, Tenacity and Substance. The book is as empowering as it is knowledgeable as Marshawn breaks the book into sections of how to breed success – from attitude and communication to commitment and clarity. At the end of each chapter, Marshawn summarizes the chapters’ main points and provides a short exercise to apply what you read into your own life.

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The Pro:

  • You are learning from an unbelievably experienced leader in a wide variety of industries – and she’s a woman. You believe in what Marshawn is speaking because it has clearly worked. While some chapters mirror topics you touched on in undergrad or in a masters program – some people have experienced neither, and can still be successful! For me, some things I read I already practice. That didn’t make me bored, that made me proud. It was very validating. While Marshawn’s career is relatable to few, the tone in which she speaks forces you to feel a connection with her. As if you have the potential to be like her as well – if you practice what she’s preaching. What better business book is there?

 

The Con:

  • While I am all feminist and a bag of chips – I felt like some of Marshawn’s lines were a little exaggerated and over the top. It was sometimes so “I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR” it made what she was saying less authentic.
  • The other slight issue I had was the exercises at the end of the chapter. Now, I definitely agree with applying what you learn. And it makes absolute sense for her to leave these exercises at the end of each chapter. If she left it all for the end, it would be took overwhelming and you would’ve forgotten a lot of the material. But most people are not reading this book in their bed with a pad and paper within arm’s reach. If you are looking to expand your business knowledge, you may be reading like I was – on my hour lunch break to “relax.” I didn’t have time to review what I had read and dig deep into my soul. I did go back and do the exercises – but after I had finished reading and throughout a few days. Hey, at least I devote an hour to reading!

 

Important Takeaways

“You may be in business for yourself, but you will never be in business by yourself.” 

“You wouldn’t let someone else spend your money – don’t let someone else spend your time.”

“It’s about how well you know ‘who you know,’ what the ‘who you know’ say about you and how much the ‘who you know’ trusts you.”

“It’s not what you do one day to create a personal brand; it’s what you do every day.”

“If a woman can raise a family, singlehandedly prepare a Thanksgiving dinner fit for a king and run a household she can run a corporation and still have time to get her nails done.” 

Rating 

I give this book an A-. It’s not necessarily a book I think I could read again but it is definitely a book worth reading and a book I would recommend (and I also wouldn’t mind meeting the author). It sustained my interest, taught me a lot and motivated me even more. It realigned me with my convictions and my goals and gave me that push on the butt that we all need every now and then to remember where we’re headed and why. Again, what better kind of business book is there?

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

 

About

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook was published at the end of 2013 by New York Times Bestselling Author and social media connoisseur Gary Vaynerchuk. The book’s reason for existence is to teach readers how to deliver appropriate “jabs” – the one conversation, the one engagement that slowly but authentically builds relationships between brands and customers. These jabs occur on various social media platforms so that when it comes time for the brand to deliver the right hook – the sell – customers are more willing and ready to listen.

giana pacinelliThe Pro:

  • The book is separated by each individual social media medium. Within each chapter, or social media channel, Vaynerchuk gives a brief history of the channel (how many users, target audience, types of content, ways to advertise, etc.) and then dives into examples of different posts from prominent brands on those channels. He critiques them on what worked and didn’t worked. Being a visual learner, it was extremely helpful to be able to take Vaynerchuk’s tutorial on the social media platform and utilize what I learned by critiquing brand’s posts and seeing if I understood why the post was good or bad. The way the book is broken up also makes it extremely easy to read. You don’t feel like you’re reading “social media 101” but more of an intermediate class that skips the boring verbage and goes right into the meat and potatoes.

The Con:

  • This con is of no fault to Gary Vaynerchuk and his literature, but just of the times. It took me almost a year to read this book from the time it was published and by that time a decent 25-30% of the content was already outdated. For example, information on LinkedIn, Google+ and Snapchat is cut down to about half a page because Vaynerchuk considered this an “on the rise” platform while, only a year later, they have already reached somewhat of “Celebrity Status.” This does not mean the book isn’t worth your time. However, when you finish the book you might feel like you’ve only become well-versed on half of the popular social media channels of the time. The pro to this is that you will feel pretty smart when you notice these outdated facts.

Important takeaways:

I’m not going to go into specific tips per social media platform, that is what the book is for. Some high level concepts that really made me go hmmmm.. are below and will hopefully peak your interest as well.

         “Remember when you were a kid, and you’d go to your mom and ask her to take you out for an ice-cream cone, or to the video arcade? 9 out of 10 times she said no. But then, every now and then, out of the blue, she would say yes. Why? In the days or weeks prior, something about how you interacted with  your mother before the unexpected outing to the ice-cream shop or arcade  made your mom feel like she wanted to do something for you. You made her happy, or maybe even proud, by giving her something she valued, whether it was doing extra chores or good grades or just one day of peace with your sibling. You gave so much that when you finally asked; she was emotionally  primed to say yes.”

            “You’re going to wear a different outfit and use different vocabulary when you’re sitting down for tea with your grandmother in her home than when you’re living it up with friends in a night club. “ (in reference to acting differently on different social media platforms)

            “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to  read. Make it for your customer or your audience, not for yourself.”

Rating

I give this book a solid B ranking. I learned a lot and will definitely be able to apply some of the strategies and tips highlighted. However, I feel like it took me an unnaturally long time to finish. Facebook is the first chapter and it is at least double the size of any other chapter of the book which I feel to be a little unwarranted. By the time you finish it you’re emotionally drained and may have lost your will to move forward. From my perspective, although Facebook has been around the longest, I definitely don’t see it to be the most important social media platform out there to warrant the space of almost half the book. Nevertheless, I would encourage you to fight through it. There are essential takeaways awaiting you.

Disclaimer: You should have some type of knowledge on these social media platforms before reading this book. This really isn’t “Social Media for Dummies.” If you have never been incredibly active on social media channels for business purposes it will be pretty difficult for some of the concepts to really resonate.

 

 

What Do I Want to be When I Grow Up?

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My only focus since I was the (likely world’s first) five-year old making to do lists was to keep moving forward. I didn’t know if any of the extra curricular activities, AP classes, internships or networking events would get me where I needed to be but I knew it couldn’t possibly send me backwards. I’ve also always said (and believed) that it’s better to busy than bored and I continue to make sure that not a day goes by that doesn’t bring me even the tiniest step closer to being better than I was the day before. The issue was, and is still is, that I don’t necessarily know where I’m headed.

After side projects and extracurricular activities in high school that most likely did nothing but give me more anxiety than I gave myself, I chose to take my talents to the University of Florida (Go Gators!) to get a degree in Telecommunications Management. I had dreams of using my passion for reading and writing to work in television. Throughout college, I would write down quotes from my friends that I was certain would be plots in my future television pilots. After graduation, I moved to New York City to begin my dream job with MTV2. I worked on two shows, one being Wild N Out, which reached an audience of 1.1 million – making it the highest rated-show in MTV2 history at the time. I didn’t make it through the entire first season before deciding that show business, and NYC, just wasn’t for me. It was very discouraging that after just the second day at my “dream job” I was already thinking, ok, now what?

Although I never saw myself as a forever Floridian, I needed the Sunshine State. Being raised by two entrepreneur parents, I needed independence as well. I returned home to get my MBA in Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University while also working at a marketing firm, where I learned how to combine my favorite hobbies into a full-time career. I spent about a year and a half at the marketing firm, where we helped entrepreneurs and startups get off the ground with anything from naming the company to finding investors. It was empowering and exciting to be involved in so many different industries that I had never expected to learn anything about.

This would be the part of the story where I realized marketing was it and I had found my calling. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to write that plot twist into my own life.

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These days, I’m an Account Manager for an advertising agency, a Skimm’bassador for theSkimm a new member adviser for Emerge Broward, and I do freelance writing for New Times and ContentBacon.

Figuring out what you “want to be when you grow up” is a lot harder and more complicated than it was when I was five. For a lot of jobs (i.e. news anchor, doctor, baseball player) you have to know where you want to be at a young enough age where you can begin actively preparing. Sometimes, by the time you realize this, it’s too late. Most times, however, you never figure it out. I don’t think I’ll ever know what I want to do for the simple fact that I want to do everything. I’m interested in real estate, owning a sports bar, writing a novel, working for the Dallas Cowboys and definitely most interested in saying “to hell with it” and traveling the world and writing a travel blog. I’ve learned through several quarter-life crisis’ that sometimes that’s ok. Although many will tell you otherwise, you don’t need to pick one thing to do. Most people don’t. A study from Forbes says that people will have 15-20 jobs in their lives. Once you (or I) come to terms with the fact that there will never be just that one job, you (or I) can start enjoying the ride, trusting the process and believing that all the bumps and turns are part of the journey. I use to think that a career was the one thing in life you can control, that’s why I focused so hard on it. Unfortunately, you can’t even control that. So for now, and maybe forever, I’ll stick with continuing to be better than I was yesterday while enjoying the mystery of finding out where it will take me.