Summer Getaways for the Whole Family

Editors Note: Please enjoy this post about family vacation getaways for BossChix Network by guest blogger Kiki Baxter of Text Me When You Land. This is the second in a series on vacation ideas for Summer 2017. Missed the first post? Find it here.

Time for a summer getaway trip with the family.  Plan an epic family vacation with the kids with these great summer road trip ideas!

Theme Park Family – Orlando, Florida

Orlando - Universal volcano

Plan your summer getaway around some action-packed adventure in the Theme Park Capital of the World! Drawing over 50 million people every year, the “Happiest Place on Earth,” Disney World, also shares this Florida city with Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld, Legoland and hundreds more attractions. Beat the summertime heat at Volcano Bay, Orlando’s newest water park which just opened in May 2017! Learn and play at Kennedy Space Center in neighboring Titusville where you can observe a rocket launch and even meet real astronauts!

 Outdoors-y Family – Oregon

The Country Bears sang it best, “Ain’t nothin’ like the great outdoors to ease your soul!” so why not check out the Seven Wonders of Oregon?! Hike Mt. Hood, explore the South Coast Dunes, bike the Rolling Hills, and soak up the hundreds of waterfalls for a summer getaway that you will not forget. Quench your thirst at  over 350 choices of vineyards and wineries (this counts as outdoors, right?) or craft beer breweries. And settle in for the evening at a “treesort” for an unbeatable camping experience your family will remember for years to come!

 

Adventurous Family – Alaska

Summer is the best time of year to take your adventure-seeking family to Alaska! Home to 17 of the United States’ 20 highest peaks, including Denali, you’ll definitely want to ditch the bathing suit for your winter clothes on this summer vacation. From land to sea, the choices are endless. Discover bear country, visit Mat-Su Valley base camp, river raft the winding valleys, and fly through the skies on a zipline tour. While cruising Alaska by ship is a great way to cover a lot of ground, active families can take a sea kayaking tour off the beaten path with National Geographic adventures. Explore the “Last Frontier” by train, “flightsee” via helicopter or seaplane, or dog sled!

 

 Beach Bum Family – Florida Keys

Head South on Route 1 for one of America’s most breathtaking drives! Roll the windows down and make your way through the Florida Keys, a strand of unbelievably stunning islands offering miles of beaches and loads of activities for the whole family. Head no further than Key West, famous for the Southernmost Point landmark (90 miles north of Cuba), the Earnest Hemmingway House, and Duvall Street. Between Instagram worthy sunrises and sunsets, tie up your hammock, enjoy endless water activities, and soak up the sun while awing the sparkling aqua waters.

 

US History Family – St. Augustine, Florida

History buffs will love the Nation’s Oldest City of St. Augustine, Florida. Founded in 1565 by Spanish settlers, the city welcomes tourists from all over the world to explore the historic Castillo de San Marcos fort, featuring live re-inactions, the 19th century Old Jail, the oldest house, and even Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth. Visitors can also explore the St Augustine History Museum, the Oldest Store Museum, and over 100 more attractions on a hop on hop off tour.

 

 

4 Steps to Improve Your Negotiating Skills in the Office

By now, there is an impressive body of evidence confirming what many of us may know to be true from personal experience – women negotiate less often than men. Studies show that women are anywhere between 16% and 50% less likely to negotiate than men. Negotiating skills is one area where women repeatedly say they are less comfortable and want to get better.

The most disheartening negotiation-gap study of all? Perhaps the study of Carnegie Mellon’s MBA program graduates which found that while over half of graduating males negotiated their next job offer, just one-eighth of their female counterparts did the same. Even when equipped with graduate-level education in business and resumes freshly-pressed with the letters “MBA”, women are refraining from negotiation.

Why Don’t Women Negotiate More??

A 2016 survey of women who did not negotiate their last job offer asked this very question and uncovered the following trends:

         66% reported not knowing how to ask for more

         63% reported the thought of negotiating made them uncomfortable

         58% cited fear of losing their job offer

         56% did not know what to ask for

Using this insight into why women are backing away from the negotiating table, we’ve developed four strategies for less stressful, more successful negotiating.

Remind Yourself the True Purpose of Negotiation

The fact that more than half of survey respondents linked the inherently negative feelings of discomfort and fear with negotiation tells us a new perspective is in order. If you’re thinking that the end result of negotiation is one happy winner and one disgruntled loser, then your understanding of negotiation is far too limited.

The key to decoupling fear and discomfort from negotiation is to understand negotiation for what it really is – an opportunity for two parties to make the most of a mutually beneficial relationship. Entering negotiation with this mindset can create an entirely different experience.

Take Inventory of What Matters to You

Perhaps the most critical element of successful negotiation is having a crystal clear understanding of what matters to you. Prior to opening a negotiation discussion, make a short list of your personal values and important lifestyle standards. Personal value might include time with family, health and wellness or continuing education. Lifestyle standards could be related to vacation time, flexible schedules, and opportunities for rapid career advancement.

The reason for taking this inventory is to help you brainstorm a suite of potential negotiable items. Salary is certainly an important element of any compensation package, but it might one of the elements your employer is least flexible on. Having more discussion points allows for more creative and collaborative approaches to arriving at that mutually beneficial agreement. In lieu of increased salary, perhaps additional vacation time, an annual tuition subsidy or an alternate title can be arranged.

Signal That You’re Considering the Other Side of the Table Negotiating with confidence

For those who are uncertain how to ask for more, the “I-We” statement strategy is a strong tool. “I-We” statements are designed to show you’re seeking an outcome that works for both parties. For any statement you make about what you want, follow it up with an explanation of why you want it in terms of a benefit for your employer. Here’s a template for building an “I-We” statement:

“I’d like to discuss the possibility of [your ask], because I [explanation of why you are asking] and I believe that will translate into value for the organization by [how does what you’d receive from the ask bring value to the organization].”

These statements make it clear to an employer that, instead of advancing your own agenda, your goal is to find win-win opportunities.

Put Your Negotiating Skills to Practice!

practice your negotiation skills

Practice breeds confidence. If it’s in the car, in the mirror or with a friend, the more you hear yourself deliver strong “I-We” statements, the more naturally they will come to you during actual negotiations. To jump start your negotiating skills practice, the two scripts below offer opening lines, a pushback statement from an employer and a countering “I-We” statement.

Sample Script 2

You: “Hi Monica, I’ve had the opportunity to thoroughly review the offer and there are a few items I’d like to review with you. Regarding salary, based on my education, experience and performance record at my previous job, I’d like to explore the possibility of increasing the base salary from $55,000 to $60,000.”

Monica: “We were definitely impressed with your past performance and we have factored that into our original offer. You would be eligible for salary review in six months. Unfortunately, we cannot offer a higher base at this time.”

You: “I understand. Knowing base salary is not flexible at this time, perhaps we can discuss a tuition benefit? I’m interested in an annual tuition subsidy because I greatly value ongoing education. I know that if I stay on top of the latest techniques in big data analytics, it’ll help us build stronger strategies for our sales team.”

Monica: “That shouldn’t be a problem, let me clear it with HR.”

Sample Script 1

You: “Good afternoon, Scott. I’ve taken some time to review the offer. There’s one item in particular I’d like to see if we can land on an agreement for.”

Scott: “Sure, what’s that?”

You: “Regarding title, I’d prefer Senior Sales Associate because, aside from it being a better reflection of my experience, it will signal to our customers that they’re in able hands.”

Scott: “I can look into that. Anything else?

You: “Given I will be traveling to visit customers on-site, can we discuss a monthly stipend for a wireless HotSpot? That will help me stay connected to the office intranet when I’m visiting some of our more remote customers.”

Scott: “Yes, something like that makes sense.”

Looking for even more help improving your negotiation skills?

Sign up for a negotiating workshop. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization AAUW now offers Work Smart Salary Negotiation workshops in select cities across the country. Did you take on all tasks in the BossChix Network 31 Day Challenge? This is an excellent opportunity to double down on Day 27 by inviting a friend or colleague to attend a workshop with you.

Senator Kamala Harris: When Women Speak Up & Keep Getting Interrupted

Senator Kamala Harris

You may not be a politics junkie like me, but it would be hard to miss the political theatre that is currently taking place in our Nation’s Capital right now. Hearings investigating Russia’s “alleged” involvement in the 2016 Elections were recently held on the Hill.  Last week, three major security officials testified before Congress. One replay that stands out is when Senator Kamala Harris asks Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein questions about Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his ability to conduct his investigation unimpeded.  As she presses him for a response, first she is “manterrupted” by John McCain. Then she is reprimanded by Chairman Richard Burr for not being courteous.  (insert eye roll)

More Manterruptions

Fast forward to this week and we have another case of a man policing the behavior of Senator Harris. Again it was John McCain who interrupted (or manterrupted) her and attempted to shut her down while questioning Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


Last week, she asked some hard questions and probed for answers when Deputy AG Rosenstein refused to answer. Senator Ron Wyden did the very same thing and received no reprimand from the Committee Chair. Another male colleague, Senator Martin Heinrich was equally aggressive when questioning the Deputy AG and was never interrupted. However, Senator Harris was guilty of speaking while female just doing her job.  Senator Wyden even spoke up for her later with this tweet.

Kamala Harris: She’s Way Better than Average

Before getting into the questions and the response to her time at the mic, it’s worth noting that Senator Harris is the former attorney general for the state of California. She is a graduate of the illustrious historically black university, Howard University. She served California in multiple prosecutor roles before being elected as the first African American female District Attorney in San Francisco.  Harris went on to become the Attorney General for California in 2010.  The point here…Senator Kamala Harris is a former prosecutor, she is not new to this. She is more than capable of questioning a witness. Like, she literally did this for a living, was elected and re-elected several times to serve as a District Attorney and then the AG for California.  So she’s qualified to ask questions at a Senate Hearing and maybe even more qualified than some of her colleagues (read: John McCain after his disastrous questioning last week).

Gender Bias or More Speaking While Female

Let’s not miss what is happening here. Senator Harris is a woman of color. I just wrote a post about gender bias and already we have another real life example to dissect. Without a second thought, her colleagues, male Republican Senators basically tried to shut her down and silence her publically. But Senator Harris handles these attacks very well #likeaboss, I’m pretty sure this is not the first time she has experienced gender bias and it will not be the last.  Male privilege, gender bias, whatever you want to call it, it happens every single day.  Men throw their weight around to assert their power and attempt to silence women like Kamala Harris.  Every day in the workforce, women are fighting for their seat at the table and once they have a seat at the table they must continue to fight to be heard.

Call Senator Richard Burr and tell him that you support Kamala Harris and women like her. We won’t be silenced, when we have a seat at the table we intend to be heard. His number is 202.224.3154.

We see you Senator Kamala Harris! #neverthelessshepersisted

Confronting Gender Bias in the Workplace

This past week, I spoke with a former colleague and friend about an experience she had with a male executive at her job. We are both consultants for Big 4 firms and while we are at different companies we are easily able to share experiences and talk career strategy. One of the main things we talk about is career progression and challenges that are unique to women. Gender bias is one of those themes that comes up every so often and we usually just shrug it off, but not this time.

 

What is Gender Bias?

Diversity.com has a very comprehensive definition for gender bias. Essentially it is bias or preferences shown towards one gender over another.  Many companies have specific programs designed to educate on gender bias and establish support groups for women navigating the workplace.  However, even with these programs in place, women are still promoted into senior leadership roles at lower rates than men.  Most men say that they do not believe the work environment is any more challenging for women than it is for them. Privilege.

What Does Gender Bias Look Like?

My former colleague, let’s call her Theresa, is on a big deal/high investment project at her firm. It’s the first project with this particular client. So the stakes are high, and the company is working hard to be in a good position to extend the relationship (code word – additional revenue and billable work). The project has been staffed with the A-team resources. And they have been working extremely long hours for the last couple of months. Add to it that the program is under staffed and as you can imagine it’s more than a little stressful. Theresa had a vacation planned. But when a major deliverable was behind the project leader told the team that vacation plans needed to be put on hold. Theresa was a team player and sucked it up (thank God for trip insurance) and cancelled her plans.

 

A couple of weeks later, when the emergency was resolved, she met with her senior leader to discuss rescheduling her vacation. She also wanted a few extra days to deal with personal issues that she let slide during the women facing gender biasvacation blackout. Her manager was less than enthusiastic about extending her vacation time to accommodate this request. He suggested that she was not committed by disappearing on the team and a high-demand client. Theresa is up for promotion and of course this made her concerned about taking vacation plus the extra days.

Oh really?

Theresa has a male colleague named Chris on the same project. Chris has been on the project a little longer than Theresa and she has noticed that the senior leader has a great relationship with him in general. They occasionally go to lunch together, they often work together one on one. Most of the project team travels from different states each week to support the project, and often the senior leader and Chris travel from the airport together. As Theresa and I were discussing this scenario, we both agreed that there’s nothing wrong with any of this. As a side note: It does speak to how men often network organically and this is an inherent benefit that is often more challenging for women.

 

Here’s where the story gets interesting. Chris recently met with the senior leader and told him that he is having personal issues at home with his family.  To add some balance to his home life, he would need to reduce his travel commitments. The senior leader immediately suggested figuring out a schedule that would allow more time at home. He was not counseled about how this would affect his readiness for promotion. Chris was told that the firm is very supportive of flexible work arrangements and the team will make adjustments to support him.

Nene Leakes GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Sooo let that sink in for a minute. Theresa is not committed, Chris is encouraged to work remote so he can spend more time with his family. What is wrong with this picture? Here’s a hint: everything. Gender bias in the workplace is a very real thing. This senior leader probably does not even realize that he handled two similar situations in very different and imbalanced ways.

Yes, this is gender bias. What should she do about it?

Theresa and I decided that she HAD to confront the senior manager and I’ll tell you why. If she let this ride and avoided confronting him, he would likely walk away believing that his feedback was warranted and she was a pushover. Not a great way to be perceived if you are trying to be promoted.

 

So if you ever find yourself in this situation Speak up for yourself. Have a conversation with leadership. Let your manager know that taking personal time is not a sign of your lack of commitment and you fully intend to meet your work obligations.  Tell him how you will do that, whether that is completing the work prior to leaving or delegating to other team members. Be firm.

 

Key takeaway

When you speak up for yourself you demonstrate that you are confident enough to effectively manage your personal needs and those of the job. This is critical for long-term success and one of the things that senior leadership considers more often with women. Firms are hesitant to promote women who openly struggle with work life balance because it does not get easier as you move into the senior ranks. There will only be more demands on your time and you will need to make the call on what is priority and what can wait. Hopefully if you face gender bias you now feel more empowered to handle it.

Have you ever experienced gender bias? How do you deal with and overcome gender bias in the workplace? How did you respond?

3 Destinations for the Perfect Girls’ Getaway Vacation

#SquadGoals | Adventure-Packed Girls’ Vacation Getaways

Editors Note: Please enjoy this post about girls’ vacation getaways for BossChix Network by guest blogger Kiki Baxter of Text Me When You Land. This is the first in a series on vacation ideas for Summer 2017.

Costa Rica *Weekend  Vacation Getaway

[US Dollar to Costa Rican Colon: 570.5]

Recognized as one of the “greenest” countries in the world, you’ll soon see why Costa Rica translates quite literally to “Rich Coast.” Nestled in between the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, photographers, adventurers, nature lovers, and everyone in between can enjoy this incredible hotspot packed full of activity. Conveniently located in Central America, Costa Rica is a perfect weekend getaway for a girls’ vacation! You can find plenty of great accommodations throughout the country beginning at roughly $10 a night in a hostel or splurge on a luxury resort for about $300.

Pro Tip: If you’re planning a weekend getaway, consider renting a car to maximize your time exploring all of the adventures that Costa Rica has to offer!

La Fortuna

Hot Springs - Costa Rica

Just 4 hours away from the San Jose airport, is the quaint, floral town of La Fortuna (the fortune), featuring the active Arenal volcano. Hike the trails and explore the waterfalls during the day and watch the eruptions at night. Don’t forget to relax in the volcano’s naturally heated hot springs. If you’re looking for a resort-like experience, there are plenty of locations throughout town, however you can also find local sweet spots for free!

Jaco

The perfect sweet spot for the yogi beach bunny! I can’t promise that you’ll fall in love with a sexy surf instructor, but there’s no risk in boosting your odds, right? Rent a surfboard, take a yoga class or explore the town filled with natives and expats alike.

Pro Tip: Ziplining is one of the most popular adventure experiences in Costa Rica, but here in Jaco, you can surf the sky! Check out Jaco Ropes Adventure Park.

Playa Uvita and Playa Ballena

Known for Marino Ballena National Park, the naturally formed whale tale is a must-see for Costa Rican travelers! It’s even more amazing because hundreds of humpback whales migrate at this exact location before heading north! Plan to visit between July and November or December through April to see this incredible phenomenon.

Visiting Bali

[US Dollar to Indonesian Rupiah: 13335.5]

Liz Gilbert put this Indonesian country on the map for a lot of readers in her novel-turned-Blockbuster, Eat, Pray, Love. Lush with miles of ricefields in the rolling hills and spectacular beaches along the coast, Bali is a feast for the eyes and a charge for the soul. A popular vacation spot for Aussies and Kiwis, Bali also attracts expats and travelers from all over the world; a new culture exists between Eastern and Western lifestyles.

Ubud

Sacred Monkey Forest - Ubud BaliYou could possibly spend an entire month just in Ubud and still not check off everything on your Bali Bucket List! Monkey Forest is a great place to start! Walk amongst hundreds of monkeys in their natural habitat – no cages, no handlers – right in the heart of Ubud. Shopping around town includes local crafts juxtaposed with bougey shops owned by expats. You’ll also find restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, and even coworking spaces (not to mention a Starbucks) also owned by Americans, Brits, Australians, etc. For those looking for a spiritual experience, the Yoga Barn is perhaps the most famous space, offering classes, workshops, retreats (even accomodation) for new and experienced yogis. Just 30 minutes outside of Ubud is the sacred water temple of Tampaksiring, attracting locals and tourists from all over the world to offer devotional rituals and prayers and even take home some holy water.

Pro Tip: Motor bikes (also known as “tourist launchers”) are available to rent as an affordable way of exploring the country. Understand traffic laws properly or risk a ticket, accident, or, unfortunately, much worse. 

Kintamani

Rise and shine, adventure seekers – that is, at 2 a.m! Your morning will begin with a local pickup with breakfast Sunrise hike - Mount Batur Baliof pancakes and coffee. Get an early morning start under the pitch black sky and begin your trek up Mount Batur, Bali’s active volcano. Join hundreds of other trekkers from all over the world as you begin this strenuous hike. Arrive just in time for the sunrise and see the mountains peak through the clouds. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime vacation experience you won’t want to miss! At the top, enjoy fresh eggs cooked from the heat of the volcano itself before making your way back down to town. Treat yourself afterwards with a relaxing day at the local hot springs.

Gilli Trawangan

Scuba, surfing, and sunsets, oh my! Catch a ferry to the largest of the three Gilli Islands off of Bali. Gilli T is a party town, where rules don’t apply and anything goes – yes, anything. Stay in one of the many hotels or chic beach bungalows. You can even glamp in a beach tent for $75 a night (lacocoteraiegili). The small island can be explored by bike or horseback buggy – no cars here!

Pro Tip: Pack lightly for this vacation trip! A ferry will take you from the main island to Gilli T where a horse and buggy will take you to your accommodation. Traveling with multiple bags will slow and weigh you down.

Thailand

[US Dollar to Thai Baht: 34.75]

The “Land of Smiles” is a perfect girls’ vacation getaway for a mix of relaxation, adventure, and everywhere in between! One of the most popular countries to visit in Southeast Asia, Thailand is rich in culture, history wrapped in so much fun! We can’t promise you’ll get the Hangover experience (that’s up to you, if you want it!), but we can certainly recommend these beautiful and exciting places to make your Thailand trip complete!

Chiang Mai

Spend your day getting lost in the Old City, the heart of Chiang Mai, filled with ancient temples on every block (there are 30 in Old City alone!). Whether you’re a master chef or a new fan of the local cuisine, everyone will have fun at a Thai cooking class, where you’ll learn how to make dishes including Pad Thai, spring rolls, and traditional desserts! Be sure to check out the Night Bazaar, where you’ll find bargain shopping, faux designer goods (“same same, but different”), and local Thai handicrafts .

Pro Tip: Skip the elephant rides and the tiger jungles! These animals are viciously beaten and drugged for the sake of tourism and entertainment. Check out Elephant Nature Park for an informative and fulfilling experience with elephants you’ll never forget!

Chiang Rai

Spirituality meets art at the juxtaposed White and Black temples found in Chiang Rai. Wat Rong Khun - the White TempleLavishly decorated by artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat, the ethereal White Temple is a continual work in progress, that you’ll just have to see for yourself! The Black Temple is rather morbid and dark, adorned with animal bones and skins (it even houses the artist’s cremations!). Visit Singha Park, owned by the Thai brewery of choice, but unfortunately not a beer lover’s attraction, for a picturesque and quaint spot to spend some time during your day. Be sure to check out the Opium Museum and learn about the impact of the drug in the Golden Triangle.

Southern Thailand

Kayak through the caves and timeless waters in Khao Sok National Park. Whether your vacation pleasure is sky or sea, a treehouse or floating house are just a few of the choices you’ll have while staying here! Everyone’s invited to the Full Moon Party, where glow in the dark paint and neon clothes are the dress code and the party goes all night long! For the real adventure seekers, join the thousands of rock climbers who head here from all over the world and test your strength – and courage – on some of the world’s most famous rocks! Finally, you can’t miss the pristine turquoise and white beaches in Krabi or Phuket, where you can scuba, snorkel or simply relax with your girlfriends!