Today’s recent political environment has generated feelings of uneasiness among many Americas. Regardless of our political affiliation, many of us feel uncertain about when to speak up to defend our beliefs, and how to communicate effectively to avoid offending others.
In a panel discussion held on Wednesday, March 1, a diverse group of panelists shared their insights on how to effectively communicate, without letting politics sabotage the conversation. Led by Carolyn Jabs, AWC-SB president-elect, AWC-SB welcomed panelists Judy Guillermo Newton, Senior Vice‐President and Director of Organizational Development and Human Resources at Montecito Bank & Trust, Kelly Scott, Chief Deputy DA at Santa Barbara District Attorney, and Anna Everett, Professor of Film, Television and New Media Studies at UCSB.
Changed political climate
“Many people who’d never talked about politics now want to talk about politics, and with it comes a lot of personalization—the words are harsher,” Newton said.
Since the most recent presidential election, people have seen a dramatic increases in political conversations at work. This upsurge in opinions lends itself to the potential to offend others. The panelists remarked on the difficult task of continuing to remain nonpartisan with co-workers as a team, despite the emotional unrest that appears ever-present.
Knowing when to speak up
“It’s important to weigh what battles you’re going to take,” Newton said.
Deciding when and if you should make yourself heard is not an easy task. Sometimes an issue feels so important to your own personal morals that you feel obligated to speak up. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind the costs associated.If losing your job, family, or friends is more important to you, you may want to remain silent on the subject.
Three ways to bring contentious talk into a more civil space
Active Listening: “Silence is a pause that can minimize a charged environment,” Everett said. By taking time to listen to others, you show respect for their opinion, even if their views are different from your own. Everett suggested to first remain silent while listening to the other person’s beliefs, then repeat back what they said in order to make sure you heard them correctly.
Self-awareness: “It’s crucial for us to be aware of what the signals are in our own bodies that make us behave in ways that might be uncivil,” Newton said. Stay aware of the way you respond to a situation, particularly if it puts you on-edge. This enables you to step back, take a moment to compose yourself, and react in a manner that facilitates constructive discussion.
Working Towards a Common Goal: “When there are divisive political discussions, I try to make everyone find what the common goal is,” Scott said. Working towards a common goal allows team members to learn from one another and focus on the task at hand, despite their different political views.
As all three of the panelists touched upon, the key to communicating effectively in a polarized environment is taking time to listen before responding. Seeing the other’s perspective, despite their political differences, enables compassion and understanding. By following this advice, we can work with others as a team and come to mutually beneficial solutions.
Over 40 AWC-SB members, newcomers and local influencers filled the workzones presentation room Wednesday, November 2 for the anticipated “Becoming an Influencer” expert panel. The crowd appeared enthusiastic to hear the influential stories of our powerhouse panelists, Jenny Schatzle, Fitness/Nutrition expert, Life Motivator, and creator of The Jenny Schatzle Program; Hollye Jacobs, New York Times Bestselling author/speaker and creator of The Silver Pen; and Talina Hermann, Creative Director and mastermind of the Talina Hermann clothing brand.
So, what makes someone an influencer? What journey do these types of individuals go on to become famous online and offline? Many of us think luck makes legends overnight sensations. In reality these women worked tirelessly for years on their image, shaping their goals over the course of many experiences which amounted to who they are today. I’m excited to share with you the steps they took to become influencers in their field.
AWC-SB Board Member and Senior Editor of Santa Barbara Magazine, Jennifer Blaise Kramer moderated the event. “What got you started? How did your following begin and on what social media platforms?” Jennifer asked of the panelists.
To this first question a theme of organic authenticity emerged. Jenny, Hollye, and Talina admitted they’d never paid for formal advertising, followers, endorsements, etc. In their own genuine way, each discovered the power of Facebook, blogging, and photos (each worth a thousand words) to showcase their talents, raise havoc, and bring new wisdom to their unique fields. Jenny used Facebook first to share her fitness and nutrition advice as well as to publicize her exclusive workout classes, originally hosted at neighborhood parks in Santa Barbara for only $5!
Fresh out of fashion school, Talina spread selfies across various social media platforms before selfies became a thing. Hollye found blogging her best soapbox where she shared her transition from bedside nurse to in-bed patient. Respectively, their guidance related to fitness/nutrition, fashion, and battling breast cancer, grew viral from their truly grassroots approaches.
All panelists agreed, despite some hesitancies, that social media is here to stay. You can use these platforms for good if you remain playful, authentic, and do it your own way. They felt the true test of their influence became evident when their followers engaged with them on social media. Their unique stories got their fans through their own struggles, and shed light on their lives in a powerful way. Each of the panelists expressed that they felt like they woke up one morning to realize they truly helped others through the lenses of their journeys. No one else did what they did . These bona fide women putting their stories out in the open for all to see led to Jenny owning a gym and getting a smoothie named after her at Whole Foods, to Hollye writing the ultimate “Girlfiend’s Guide to Battling Breast Cancer” (as she refers to it), and to Talina's collaborations with brands and stores around the world.
Although money didn’t spearhead their experiences, by sheer organic authenticity endorsements found their way overtime to each woman. Jenny told stories of how her following has helped her find quality products, like Hoka shoes. She stands behind these products on her mission to transform individuals’ bodies. Her best advice for fellow influencers, “K.I.S.S., ‘Keep it simple stupid.’” She feels she has her team to thank for keeping her in check of not becoming overwhelmed by social media. Every time Jenny goes to post she reminds herself of this message to ensure her message is coming across simply, clearly, and powerfully.
Hollye’s blog, The Silver Pen, struck her followers heart strings. As a result the blog caught fire that spread to speaking engagements, her book deal, other writing positions, and more. She suggests to all, “Think twice, before you post or act once.” Hollye feels there’s no real reason to follow the “should and should nots” in life, but that taking a minute before acting or posting is the best way to safeguard your credibility as an influencer online and offline.
While Talina didn’t frame her brand to feature others’ designs, she adapted to staying beautiful in her own right online by remaining the only orchestrator of her social media content. She only outsourced for data such as Google Adwords and others’ inspiration boards.
“Where is this all heading and what is okay to share online?” Jennifer asked. In response, Hollye warned not to get caught up in the tsunami of social media because these platforms will remain a powerful tool. Remember to slow down and pivot your perspective when something doesn’t go as planned. The social media craze frightens Jenny. The world’s youngsters feel entitled, believing they can get rich overnight. “Lead by example,” Jenny said, “as others won’t do what you say, but as you do.”
Talina is happy to say she feels as if, “We ate it [social media] all up like candy, and got sick of it.” The days of posting every little thing about our lives became uncool. She hopes people will now focus on only posting those inspirations which add beauty to the world’s improvement. Talina Reminded us to meditate daily (even if for only a few minutes), The panelists’ stories of influence gave attendees three examples of the kindness, beauty, and authenticity we can all spread if we choose to use this power for good.
AWC-SB is pleased that workzones graciously hosted this thrilling event and grateful C’est Cheese supplied local cheese, meats and treats. We’re glad we could share an evening with all of you and provide a small bit of thanks for all of your thoughtful discussions with AWC-SB…until next time!
Many of us have faced negative online reviews or comments about our business. Getting a negative review about your company or service can feel like a major slap to all your hard work. Please join AWC-SB on Wednesday, October 5 at workzones in Paseo Nuevo from 5:30-7:30 for a panel on "How to Handle Online Criticism". Learn the tools to turn a negative review into a more positive experience, and feel more empowered about your business. Hear from experienced professionals who handle every angle of online review management.
Meet our Panelists:
Starshine Roshell is an award-winning journalist, writing coach and communications expert. She’s worked for The Hollywood Reporter, New York Times, New York Post, The Week, SheKnows.com and Santa Barbara Magazine—and eBay, USC and lynda.com have hired her as a secret weapon storyteller for their marketing materials. Starshine writes a popular column for TheWeek.com, the Roanoke Times and the Santa Barbara Independent, whose readers have named her Best Columnist for seven years running. She has been called a bitch, a boob, a creep and a “hysterically hateful feminist” by online commenters.
Rori Trovato is Owner of Rori's Artisanal Creamery. As a child, watching her Grandmother churn ice cream, Rori didn’t know then that she would become a well-established chef, food author, and stylist, launching a California-based ice-cream brand, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, dedicated to creating bold ice cream flavors, using local and organic ingredients. No stranger to the culinary industry, Trovato has worn a wide variety of hospitality hats including pastry chef, cooking instructor, food stylist and travel and food writer. The author of her cookbook Dishing with Style, published by Clarkson Potter, Trovato is well versed in exceptional culinary creations, oozing in style.
Dr. Tiffany Margloin, Owner of From The Heart Mobile Vet, is an entrepreneur and professional speaker who has experienced the pressing issues business people face as they struggle to succeed in career and at home. Through decades of business success as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Integrative Health Practitioner, she discovered practical solutions that help other overextended professionals. Dr. Tiffany believes the least stressful and most optimum environment for healing is in the pet’s own home environment. She combines the best of Western and complementary veterinary medicine by approaching all cases with an individual, holistic evaluation. Appropriate therapies from both Western and Chinese medical options will be discussed, and a complete treatment plan developed with you, the owner. In some cases, additional modalities such as chiropractic, herbal medicine or laser therapy may be indicated.
Leigh-Anne Anderson, Founder of Anderson-PR, has worked in London, under one of the top Public Relations agencies in the world, Leigh-Anne is highly skilled in creating influential global PR campaigns. She is a marketer at the core, and, over the past 20 years, has advised some of the most trusted brands with PR and marketing strategies. In turn, she has earned national and international publicity in publications such as Forbes Magazine, Everyday With Rachel Ray, Oxygen, The Food Network, USA Today, and the LA Times. Leigh-Anne lives in Santa Barbara with her husband and two boys.
AWC-SB is happy to welcome our newest sponsor and meeting venue, workzones, a new co-working office space that provides self-employed and independent professionals with an ideal place to get work done.