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In 2010, women comprised 47% of the U.S. Labor Force.

Today, it is said that figure has tipped over the 50% mark.

Even with so many women at work, it appears that we have yet to obtain the positions of authority in our work or business Rezvani - PUSHBACK - Cover (2) (1)environments. According to Selena Rezvani, women’s leadership author of Pushback: How Smart Women Ask For and Stand Up For What They Want:

Despite some of our gains, women continue to make up a meager portion of senior leaders in government, business, and even those fields that are female dominated. Our low presence in top decision-making roles diminishes our contributions, gives us little say in corporate and societal directions, and reduces us to mere observers.



I say, it is time for change. It is time for us to do what COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg advises--Go Get It!

The only way for us to go get it is to ask for it. In other words, we must first change our mindset about what we deserve and then hone our negotiating and self-advocacy skills.

To get a better understanding of the negotiating process, I called upon women’s leadership author, speaker, and consultant, Selena Rezvani.

selena rezvaniWho is Selena Rezvani?

Selena Rezvani’s goal is to propel more women into the top echelons of businesses — an objective she achieves through her writing, consulting, and speaking engagements. She is the co-owner of Women’s Roadmap, a consulting firm that elevates women into leadership through assessment, the design of gender-inclusive policies, and coaching. Outside of her consulting and coaching work, Selena promotes her message through training programs, teaching some of the brightest minds in business at eBay, Harvard, Accenture, Princeton, Duke, Johnson & Johnson, The Clinton Foundation, and many others. 

She has been quoted, interviewed, and profiled by The Today Show, CareerBuilder, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, ABC, and NBC. She is a regular commentator on NPR’s syndicated 51 Percent: The Women’s Perspective, blogs for and writes an award-winning column on women and leadership for The Washington Post. She is the author of the acclaimed career guidebooks PUSHBACK: How Smart Women Ask–and Stand Up–for What They Want (Jossey-Bass, 2012) and The Next Generation of Women Leaders: What You Need to Lead but Won’t Learn in Business School (Praeger, 2009).

Selena received her bachelor of science and master of social work degrees from New York University, and has an MBA from Johns Hopkins University, where she graduated first in her class. She lives near Philadelphia. For more information, visit: or


Listen to Our Discussion Now to Learn the Four-Step Model of Negotiation & The  Importance of Self-Advocacy by Women in the 21st Century Workforce

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Questions I Asked Selena

  1. Selena, one strategy that authors are given to help with crafting their message is to visualize that one person they are writing to. Describe for us the ideal reader you were thinking of when you wrote Pushback.

  2. Selena, to some, the term Pushback may sound a little combative and therefore have a negative connotation. Give us your definition of pushback and share a few examples of some “pushback scenarios.”

  3. I love the fact that you did your own research for this book by interviewing what you call “a new set of 20 women leaders in the top echelons of their fields.” As you analyzed your data, what was the most shocking thing that you learned from this experience?

  4. Selena, it is apparent that women struggle with pushing back, even today when there are more of us who are educated, more of us in the work force, and more of us as even head of our households. What would you say are the top 3 reasons that women shy away from pushing back?

  5. Selena, for older or more seasoned women who say, I am sorry, I am just not going to risk negotiating or advocating for myself given today’s climate, what would you say are the consequences of such a decision?

  6. Selena, you say that “One of the best investments you’ll make in your career is spending time learning a reliable and effective system for negotiation. As you build your skills and learn the art of negotiating, you’ll begin to see it not just a one-time or occasional (and somehow mysterious) transaction but an everyday necessity.” So, in the book, you give us a four-step model of negotiation. Please take your time and breakdown those four steps for us.

  7. You provide an assessment in the book that can help women pinpoint the areas of strength and identify their weaker areas. Give us an example of how a woman would use this information to become better at asking for and standing up for what she wants.

  8. Selena, as I was reading your book, I immediately thought about Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook and how she states that women hold themselves back by lowering our expectations of what we can achieve. And, then, as I read on, lo and behold, you actually talk about the speech she gave in which she urged women to “go get it” rather than waiting for permission. Why is it so important for young women who are just entering the workplace to possess the pushback kind of mindset?

  9. Selena, you have registered for my English 101 class, and your first assignment is to write a persuasive essay. This is your writing prompt: This is a great time to elect a qualified woman for the presidency of the United States because…..


Please share your thoughts about the interview below and if you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to Books That Tranform! :)


Are You Ready To Do The Work?

Transformation is a process, a process that takes work.

It is not the product of coincidence or happenstance. When you make a conscious decision to walk according to the purpose for which you have been called, it takes constant commitment, daily perseverance, and guts.

According to Dr. Sylvia Lafair, author of Gutsy: How Women Leaders Make Change, you must be willing to–

  • Observe:Look at where you were and where you are as a woman, so you can make the most creative and healthy choices for what you need and where you want to go.

  • Understand: Explore your personal journey and place yourself, along with your ancestors, on the journey’s path so you can stand on the shoulders of the past rather than continue to wallow in it.

  • Transform: Change both the family and cultural patterns that may have worked for eons, but don’t work in this new century where the challenges are fast and furious.
This process is called the OUT Technique and Dr. Lafair believes it to be the way that we can “be smarter and faster in making decisions and solving problems” and thereby evolve into effective leaders.


The Enlightening Discussion

Today, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Sylvia Lafair about the OUT Technique that was mentioned above. What an informative, engaging discussion it was. I asked Sylvia the following questions:

  1. Sylvia, let me first say that your writing style is magnetic. The introduction was extremely powerful, thought-provoking, and it just tugged at my heart strings. Without telling everyone what the intro is about, what made you decide to be so transparent about your own personal experience right at the very beginning?


  1. Sylvia, what was the problem that you observed that women in business were having that inspired you to write this book?


  1. I absolutely love the way you break your book into three major parts based upon your OUT Technique. Would you walk us through the OUT Technique and perhaps, give us an example of how it helped a client of yours?


  1. Sylvia, the first part of your book, as you mentioned, teaches us to observe. In this section, you really made me analyze what I am projecting to my daughter about what it means to be a girl, and then what it means to be a woman in this 21st century. What are some of the beliefs and stereotypes that we attach to gender that we must be mindful to reject as we rear our daughters and even our sons?


  1. In part two of your book, you say “Now it’s time to start clarifying what contributed to your own personal life report card and how the patterns of the past have created so much of the light and shadow of who you are.” Sylvia, this is a tremendous feat. How do we effectively dig into our past and use that information to help us become better leaders?


  1. Sylvia, part 3 leads us directly to what this show is all about–training that transforms one leader at a time. What specific steps must we take to ensure that transformation is constant in our lives and that we are always moving to higher and higher levels as leaders?


  1. Sylvia, I am sure that someone listening right now would love to work with you. What kinds of programs, products, or services do you have available for those who want more of this amazing training?

Other questions came up as we talked and I learned so much! So, are you ready to do the work? Don’t answer that until you listen to the show! :-)

Listen to the Show Right Now

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  • What did you learn about your own transformation process?

  • Are your family patterns negatively impacting your ability to lead?

  • Share this post with your network so that those you know may be blessed by it. :)


Are you ready for a breakthrough?

  • Spanx
  • Red Bull
  • American Girl
  • Zappos
  • Whole Foods
  • Chipotle
These are just a few of the companies whose small idea turned into a BIG brand–a breakthrough brand. But the question is, are you ready for a breakthrough? The individuals above who have created multi-million dollar and billion dollar brands are no smarter or creative than you. But through trial and error, they have mastered the art of  breakthrough branding.  

You can do the same.

In her book Breakthrough Branding: How Smart Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs Transform a Small Idea into a Big Brand, Catherine Kaputa shares the seven key drivers of growth that these brands and several other brands have in common:
  1. Brand Bold–For Your Business and Brand You
  2. Try to Dominate the Category (or Create a New Category You Can Dominate)
  3. Figure Out How to Grow and Scale the Business
  4. Enchant Your Customers
  5. Put “Growth Agent” in Everyone’s Job Title
  6. Strike the Right Balance Between Innovation and Staying True to the Brand
  7. Take Advantage of Good Luck and Bad
So, who is Catherine Kaputa and what authority does she have to teach you about breakthrough branding?

Catherine Kaputa Knows Branding

From Madison Avenue to Wall Street to the halls of academe, Catherine Kaputa has perfected her ability to market products, places, and companies. Catherine first learned brand strategy from marketing gurus Al Ries and Jack Trout at Trout & Ries Advertising.

Early in her career she led the award-winning “I Love NY” campaign at Wells, Rich, Greene. For over ten years Catherine was SVP, Director of Advertising and Community Affairs at Citi Smith Barney and Shearson Lehman Brothers, in charge of global branding and advertising for corporate, wealth management and investment banking. And Catherine developed and taught a course on branding at NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Catherine came to appreciate that branding others’ great potential was to help people, not products — it’s for individuals to own their career identity and performance success. That’s why she launched SelfBrand LLC, a New York City-based branding company and wrote the award-winning book, You Are a Brand!, winner of the Ben Franklin Award for best Career Book and a Top 10 Employee Training Book in China. The book has been translated into ten languages.

One of Catherine’s passions is creating more female leaders, which is the topic of her book, The Female Brand.

Her new book, Breakthrough Branding, is a guide for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in growing a small idea into a big brand and creating a culture of innovation and brand-building in companies.

In her talks and workshops, Catherine combines story-telling, branding tactics and actionable ideas. She has been featured on CNN, NBC, MSNBC, Fortune, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Financial Times and other media. Speaking and workshop clients include PepsiCo, Microsoft, Intel, AT&T, Unilever, Dow Jones, ADP, Citi, Cardinal Health, Marsh, AXA and other companies.

Questions for Catherine Kaputa

Today, I had the honor and privilege of discussing the newly released book Breakthrough Branding with Catherine Kaputa on Books That Transform. Here are the questions that I asked Catherine, today:

  1. Catherine, you are the author of You Are a Brand and The Female Brand—two iconic books about personal branding. What compelled you to write Breakthrough Branding and how does it differ from its predecessors?


  1.  If I were to choose one thing that I really like about your book, it would be that you use examples of familiar breakthrough brands to demonstrate true examples of every point you make. In honor of the Olympics, of all the breakthrough brands that you discuss, which would get the gold medal, the silver medal, and the bronze medal based on their outstanding branding efforts? (Share your three favorites.) 


  1. Catherine, both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs listen to this show. I would love for each and every one of them to have a deeper understanding of how necessary personal branding is to their success in the marketplace or business world.  If you were to take them step-by-step through the personal branding process, what would be the first 3 things you would advise them to do?


  1. One of the key concepts that you share that truly resonated with me is “Wrap your brand in your purpose” (p. 90) Why is it so important that your brand is aligned with your purpose and who are some entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs who have successfully done this?


  1. Catherine, one of the areas that I see entrepreneurs making a big mistake is in creating a brand that exudes a compelling and authentic look and feel. In chapter five you discuss this in detail.


  1. Catherine, another area of struggle for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs is knowing what to say, how much to say, and who to say it to when it comes to talking about their business. What are some tips you could give us on being powerful and effective pitchmakers?


  1. Catherine, in the last chapter of the book, entitled From Small Idea to Big Brand, you share seven key drivers of growth that entrepreneurs with breakthrough brands have in common. Which of the seven would you say is the most challenging for entrepreneurs to actually demonstrate? Which of the seven seems to be the easiest?


  1. Catherine, you have given us more than enough to process and implement on today. If there is someone listening now who would like to learn more from you, what are the products and services that you are offering this year?

Listen to the Show, Right Here, Right Now!

I enjoyed talking to Catherine so much! What a great way to end the second season of Books That Transform with Kellie Gardner and Friends.  

Press play to learn how to get the breakthrough you need for your brand.


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Wasn’t that an engaging discussion? If so, share this post with others in your network. The Shareaholic buttons below make it so easy. Thanks:-)

To connect with Catherine visit 

You have attended every telesummit, teleseminar, and webinar from every guru or successful businessperson online.

You have been on every conference call and taken the best notes ever.

Oooo, and you have even invested in several courses–thousands of dollars–so that you might enhance your knowledge base and your skillset.

But, you are still not making any money in your business.  

According to Susan Wilson Solovic, author of It’s Your Biz: The Complete Guide To Becoming Your Own Boss, if you are not making any money in your business, it is time to look at NUMERO UNO—yourself. Pointing the finger at anyone else is not beneficial or reasonable.

Your knowledge alone is not enough. 

Your skillset alone is not enough.

Your passion…..Ooooo, child! It is not enough.

In fact, the harsh reality is that your entrepreneurial pursuit may be fueled by the wrong reasons and underneath it all, you may not have what it takes to be an entrepreneur at all.

 Some Wrong Reasons for Becoming an Entrepreneur

According to small business expert, Susan Wilson Solovic, here are the wrong reasons to become an entrepreneur:

  • Your sole motivation is that you hate your job.
  • You see no opportunities for employment on the horizon.
  • You are running away from a bad situation with your current employer.
  • The purpose of being an entrepreneur is to have a “Plan B.”

Combination of Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

  • Driven
  • Passionate about their business ideas
  • See opportunities all around them
  • Have a strong desire to control their own destiny.
  • Determination and commitment that creates an “insatiable desire” to learn, to build, and to grow a business.
  • Excitement of building something from scratch.
  • Stamina to stick with and nurture the business as it grows
  • Strategic thinking ability
  • excellent communication skills
  • positive attitude
  • creativity
  • independent thinking
  • “march” to a different drummer
  • resilient
  • risk takers
  • innovative
  • hard worker (right personality for participation)
  • don’t mind working on their own
  • good people skills

These are just some of the characteristics that Susan shares in Its Your Biz. She even provides an Entrepreneurial Personality Assessment in the book that sets the record straight and provides you with the clarity you need as to whether you should go forward in entrepreneurship.

The Incredible Interview

I cannot tell you how delighted and honored I was to interview the one and only Susan Wilson Solovic. She is a one-of-a-kind Go-Getter and so respected in the business world.

She has a very contagious energy and straightforwardness about her that just pulls you in.

You just have to hear the interview for yourself to see what I mean. :-)  

So, I am going to stop writing so that you can get to listening.

I am sure your business deserves 45 minutes of your time to get some enlightening tips from a  ”serial entrepreneur” who lives and breathes small business and has a multi-million dollar business to prove it. :-)

Enjoy the real truth about what it takes for entrepreneurs to succeed!

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Share Your Thoughts

  • So, did you have any great take-aways from this interview?
  • Feel free to share your comments below. :-)

Before You Go….

If you are a small business owner seeking to attract more clients to your business, it is time to learn branding strategies that work. Get your FREE ACCESS to the Personal Branding Toolbox and create the booming business you deserve! There are over 4 hours of free personal branding training as well as a 90-Day Beginner’s Video Marketing Guide created to enhance any kind of small business.


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