Monthly Archives: November 2009

Travelling as a gal on business…

Is always fun… or not. I have moments when I can’t quite decide if I love that I can access a gazillion movies at the touch of a button while under a duvet, or if the idea of being murdered by some creepo snake in a suit who followed me up in the elevator spoils the moment…

So after a recent trip, a couple of tips  on embracing and enjoying travelling as a gal on business:

  • If you are on a BC Ferry (cuz you ain’t getting a float plane these days) – the SeaWest Lounge is the greatest thing since they started selling smelly soaps in the gift shop. Pay your $10 dollars, grab a tea, a magazine, some cheese and crackers and enjoy your “exclusive and all-inclusive” environment. Trust me, I’ve done the math – you will drop $10 easy just buying a newspaper, tea, pack of gum and some jolly ranchers. A no brainer.
  • Stay at a hotel with a decent restaurant and enjoy it! Instead of retreating to your room at the end of the day, grab yourself a book and make your way downstairs for dinner. Most good hotels are accustomed to serving and making individual diners comfortable and most will provide a magazine.  But take your own, it creates privacy – no random dude (unless you want him to) is going to attempt to make contact. And embrace dinner – have some wine, a couple of courses… 
  • Stay at a hotel with a gym and bring your headphones. It will get you out of your room and provides some stress relief and also works off any dinner indulgence from the night before. And you may meet some fellow female business travellers…
  • Ask to be located close to the elevator. Long hallways remind me of The Shining. Perhaps just a me thing. But I always request it.
  • Get breakfast served in your room. I always do – I like having privacy in the AM and time with a newspaper. Hotels tend to only have women servers deliver room service to single women travellers, so you can open the door in a robe and feel a-ok.
  • And on a practical note – try to stick with one hotel brand (i.e. Delta) and register in their rewards programs ASAP. The rewards add up and you will soon receive room upgrades and other benefits.

Go forth and conquer.



‘Tis almost the season

We are on the cusp of the holiday season. As of next weekend (American Thanksgiving), George Michael will start singing “Last Christmas” at The GAP and a barrage of invitations to attend parties, purchase stuff and donate things will appear in your life.

Alas – as the HR professional I felt the urge to post on the topic of company and business community holiday events, both of which are inevitable during the “season”. I will not preach to you on the need to avoid getting drunk on the company dime… Rather I am inspired to share my thoughts on how to enjoy yourself at these events; as most of us know that we need to go to the party, but don’t actually look forward to it.

So a couple of thoughts:

  • If it is the company holiday party, consider hosting a pre-drinks get together  for your team. I used to do this and found it reduced anxiety and created a feeling of “team” as we all headed to the party together.
  • Feel good about what you are wearing. You don’t want to be fidgeting all night. Wear shoes you know can last the night. And in these recessionary times, consider borrowing evening wear from your friends and colleagues.
  • If an event with nametags, ladies try and wear a collar or jacket so that you can attach your nametag to something.
  • Enjoy meeting the spouses. This can be the most fun of the evening. I find you learn a ton about someone by meeting their spouse, and it is a nice way to avoid any political or office talk. Instead you get to talk about their dog, renovation, kids etc…
  • If a business community/networking event, try to go with someone that you know. Get a wingman or wingwoman and agree that you will help each other out by introducing one another and by being each others “safe haven”.
  • When meeting new folks, work to find something you have in common. Often asking someone what they do/where they work is a good start as often you will know someone in common.
  • If a poor soul is standing by themselves, for heaven’s sake, go over and introduce yourself and strike up a conversation. You will have a new friend for life.
  • Take a deep breath and just do it. You may be surprised by how much fun you have. And if you don’t, well you can leave and feel smug about actually making the effort to go in the first place.

Now let’s go party!

Ahh Sarah Palin…

Ok I admit it. I PVR’d Sarah Palin’s interview yesterday with Oprah. I just find this so compelling. This woman is writing a whole new book on how to be a woman in politics. During my blogging hiatus (sorry readers), I attended a fantastic event called “Women on Board” here in Vancouver. The keynote speaker, Avivah Wittenberg Cox spoke about how increasing the participation of women in business is not an HR or a diversity project. It is a business imperative as women represent the “other half” of the population. And that businesses with gender balanced executive teams outperform their non “gender balanced” competitors. Core to her argument is that women have spent the last thirty years adapting to a business structure developed by men. Cox’s argues that modifying this structure is key to business success.

And then Sarah Palin went on Oprah and I just had to write about her as I find her an interesting example of a woman who is restructuring the role of a politician.

Here are some things that make Sarah Palin an interesting case study:

  • She is a pro-life woman (with the kids to prove it) on the American right. For years, men have been the political spokespeople for the pro-life movement.  
  • She is savvy and thumbed her nose at the Republican establishment. She secured a $1.25 million dollar advance for her book “Going Rogue” that was released today and you would have to be under a rock to not know about it. The book widely denounces the McCain campaign.
  • She has five kids and and was a Governor (Ok Alaska is not the biggest state in the world – but still impressive).
  • She lost in the election, was widely widely mocked (SNL had its best ratings ever thanks to Katie Couric, Sarah Palin and Tina Fey) but yet, there is a good chance she will run for President in 2012. I  mean is anyone talking about Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee?
  • She represents a different type of woman in politics. She is not a Hilary Clinton who achieved through her intellect and ability to get on with the establishment (read men in politics). She just is who she is. Take it or leave it.

What to say more.