For those who follow our blog, we hope you’ve come to know it as a place to find practical advice about how to design and deliver exceptional presentations. We strive to offer fresh ideas and inspiration, and to entertain you a bit at the same time. We’re just getting started and our goal is to keep this up for many years to come. Thanks for joining us. We’re so honored.
This week we’re departing from our standard content in order to share a bit of background information about ourselves with you. We hope that’s okay. If you’ve spent time on our website, you may have seen our Who We Are page. There you can read fun facts about us like: the odometer readings on our cars, our quest for the perfect mascara and our supreme love of burritos. And while that’s all true information, it’s mostly “surface” information. It’s what we felt safe to share. This post is a bit different. We thought it was time you knew some things about us. We want you to know who we really are, why we’re doing what we’re doing, what inspired us to start, and what motivates us to keep going. And we’re going to get a little personal here. We’re going to tell you about Eileen George.
Presently, Info Inspired has a WordPress Site, a Facebook page, a Gmail account, a LinkedIn profile, a Pinterest page, an Instagram account, and several other accounts and services all connected with one person: Eileen George. She’s kind of important in our world, which is sort of funny because she doesn’t exist. Eileen George is an avatar created so that we could manage Info Inspired’s services without using our personal accounts. It’s pretty standard practice these days, and we’re quite glad that we have her. Comes in so handy! Just ask Jamie, she’s probably connecting us with another helpful service right now. If it weren’t for her, I would be doing all my blogging via smoke signal.
Eileen George also serves another purpose for us. She’s a daily reminder of why we’re working so hard and why we want to keep going. The name “Eileen George” is a combination of the middle names of our two daughters: Abigail (Eileen) and Lila (George), who also both happen to be our first born children. Like most parents, many of our future hopes and dreams are wrapped up in their futures. What will they do? Who will they become? How can we instill in them that it’s safe to have the highest goals and expectations for themselves and to pursue them with intensity, knowing they’re capable, powerful and deserving? This last question has been sitting quietly with me over the last week especially.
Jamie and I are also fortunate to have wonderful sons: Noah and Nelson. We’re each in the midst of raising two children, working full-time jobs, and trying to launch Info Inspired. We also try to be present in our relationships with loved ones, be good citizens, keep our houses picked up, our lawns mowed, our pets petted, and the toilet paper from running out. For Jamie this means getting up at 4 am, and for me it means staying up until 2 am (early bird and night owl respectively). For both of us it means joint work-days on weekends and holidays. It means agonizing over finding just the right pictures to use, just the right words to say, just the right tone to set. Each small project is given as much time and care as we can possibly manage.
We truly love what we’re doing, but dudes, we’re friggin tired. We bet you are, too. It’s the same story for so many women today. We recently met Jessica who’s phenomenally cool and also burning the after-hours-oil with her consulting business. We nerd out about presentations, and she geeks out about sleep for babies. You can read more about her here: http://bangordailynews.com/2014/08/25/living/gray-mother-turns-sleepless-nights-into-consulting-business/
Our friend Brianna is training to be a douala on top of parenting, coaching, volunteering in her community and a working a full time job. She even makes special Harry Potter dinners for her family.
There are women like us everywhere. It’s pretty inspiring. Yet it’s also somewhat tough to take. We know how hard women are working and we also know how many women are struggling to achieve success, and find acceptance as experts in their fields. We also know that persistent gaps in gender equality between men and women remain.
According to the UN’s The World’s Women 2015 report:
- Women in developing countries typically spend three hours more per day than men on unpaid work such as household chores and caring for children and elderly relatives, and two hours more than men in developed countries.
- Women are significantly underrepresented in decision-making positions such as legislators, senior officials and managers, but are over-represented in positions that are characterized by low pay and long hours.
Eileen George reminds us that we’re not just working for our successes today, but to foster better environments for our daughters’ successes tomorrow. We have to keep going!
Speaking of successes, ours have been small (but exciting) so far. We go buck-nuts about every new FB follower, every post like, every opportunity to share our work. Last month we received our first “fan” email, and last week we got a bank account to deposit the very first check made out to Info Inspired. While we don’t know exactly where all this will lead yet, we certainly have a goal in mind. We established it together and wrote it out on three slips of paper. We each carry one with us, and we sent the third out into the universe via a little ceremony in my driveway with a box of matches. Jamie’s idea. The goal remains our secret, and we’re going for it…knowing that we’re capable, knowledgeable and have something unique and special to offer.
Jamie and I started this little project together 3 years ago. We’ve spent countless hours researching best practices, establishing frameworks for implementation, and figuring out how to share what we’ve learned. We started this because we believed something significant was being “missed”, and that our approach/perspective could help people be more effective in their work. We also started this because we believed we could do it. It’s been the most self-actualizing, personally rewarding, and also most frightening thing we’ve ever done. It’s truly US: our thoughts, our wisdom, our writing, our art, and our most authentic voice. It’s out there for everyone to see and – yes – potentially judge. When we launched our website/blog in April of this year, most people we knew were really surprised. They had no idea we’d been working on this quietly for so long. The vast majority of our friends and colleagues have been so wonderfully supportive. Several have even assisted us in moving our work forward. That support has been so meaningful to us. Additionally, there are a few people in our lives who we were really excited to share our work with who haven’t been very excited for us. They have been silent or even expressed negativity. And that’s just something that can happen. We are becoming comfortable anticipating and accepting that as “ok”. Deep breath…self actualizing…yep, it’s kinda tricky.
We hope that sharing a bit more about us has been helpful, especially if you’re out there working toward a goal and in need of encouragement. Most especially if you’re also managing a family and another career at the same time.
On the subject of goal achievement, in case you’d like to help us (all girls/women) out, we have a few ideas for the good of the order. We really appreciate anything on the list you’d be willing to consider:
- Celebrate the successes of other women. Like really do this! Those of us who need to work on this, know who we are. Let’s do better with this.
- Challenge your own bias and examine the lens you see women’s work and contributions through.
- Speak out against violence against women and girls – in all its forms – and stop it from happening. Period.
- Listen to fun songs to psych yourself up. My personal favs right now are: Shakira’s “Try Everything”, Sia’s “The Greatest”, and Katy Perry’s “Rise”. I’m also interested in whatever was on Michael Phelp’s playlist during the Olympics.
- Challenge gender stereotypes.
- Enthusiastically support any fashion trend for women that allows them to fully breathe in and out, have complete range of motion, and be comfortable. You can do this by complementing any women you see rockin’ said trend. “Hey, I really love that: (full body fleece lined sweater suit)/(jacket with cookie and milk storage pockets)/(velveteen bathrobe made for all-day-wear). It’s fantastic!”
- Set a clear goal and put it in writing. Burning a copy is optional, but I will tell you that it’s really fun. It would have been even more fun for us had we not selected what I can only assume is fire retardant paper. 10 minutes and 10 matches later, it was a bit anti-climatic. Tip: choose your paper wisely!
Most importantly: don’t give up. We won’t either.
Love, Robin and Jamie