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Posts Tagged ‘Lisa J. Jackson’

Earlier this month, the NHWN bloggers met via Google Hangout. Lee has a nice summary of the evening here. One topic was to share our achievements for 2013 and share some 2014 goals.

The new year brings new opportunities and I’m excited with how 2013 has ended, and inspired for 2014.

Celebrate 2013 accomplishments

Celebrate 2013 accomplishments

Here’s a high-level look at my writing year, my 7th as an independent writer and editor. Some achievements include:

  • Financially, I blew my own mind by achieving 6 figures — my highest annual income ever. ‘Freelancing’ doesn’t have to equate to living on a tight budget (although my frugality is still well in place). Many happy dances and loud “Woo Hoo” shouts have echoed through the walls here, especially this month as the goal was realized!
  • 3 prior clients came back for more projects. I love building lasting relationships!
  • I wrote about small business ownership for American Express at their request. 
  • I published 4 NH-related travel articles in  a regional monthly magazine I loved. (It closed its doors in August, even though it was successful.)
  • I blogged here on NHWN weekly for most of the year.
  • I converted my website over to WordPress.
  • I have a business logo designed.
  • I joined a business mastermind group.
Make 2014 awesome!

Make 2014 awesome!

2014 business writing and editing wildly inspiring goals include:

  • Double my 2013 income
  • Gain 12 new long-term clients
  • Publish 12 writing-related and 12 small business ownership related e-books
  • Use business blog for writing and small biz ownership posts
  • Integrate my own photos into blog posts, especially with inspirational sayings on them
  • Publish NH and New England travel articles again

I’ve joined a business mastermind group and am now a co-organizer for a NH-focused networking group that plans monthly events. This year I also joined a local Chamber of Commerce and made connections with a networking group focused on New England. These groups will help me meet people (obviously), but also to build relationships and learn more about myself so I can continue to grow and improve overall.

Although my business has international clients, I have a strong desire to work with regional businesses where I can meet face-to-face. Technology is great and telecommuting is fantastic, but I feel there’s more to a client relationship when we can meet in person whenever possible.

I also write and publish fiction and poetry and those accomplishments and goals are separate from my business. Definitely ‘upping my game’ in that area, too!

If you need some help setting writing goals, this article may help: 15 New Year Writing Resolutions to Adopt in 2014 by David K. William of The Web Writer Spotlight.

What is one major goal you have regarding writing in 2014?

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

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Christmas is on Wednesday. Smack in the middle of the week. So, not a very productive week on the surface, right?

Many people scramble to keep up with work, holiday shopping, and plans to participate in family and other holiday events.

It can be stressful.

But if you plan for it, the holidays can also be a great time to be productive in your business. Honest.

I find the last two weeks of December to be my most productive of the year. If I’m organized at the start of the month, everything can be accomplished before Christmas.

December is the one month that I schedule the first 3 weeks in detail (instead of a week-by-week approach I take the rest of the year).

Seeing everything that needs to be done written out early on keeps the stress to a minimum.

Lists, tasks, goals, and the success journal are front-and-center to help, of course, but I also implement another visual tool.

I use a full-size monthly wall calendar for holiday-related tasks and use post-it flags for to identify the tasks. Holiday shopping, groceries, sending out Christmas cards, phone calls to family, attending events — all of these have colored flags and are stuck to the applicable day in December. 

Not the best pic, but example with 'flags'

Not the best pic, but example with ‘flags’

The green flags are tasks that can be easily moved (if need be); dark pinks (since I don’t have red) are the events that most likely won’t change; yellows are tasks I can do at home; and orange flags represent the miscellany that involve scheduling/pre-planning.

If an errand can’t be done on one day because of weather, it can easily be moved to another day. If I don’t get to a yellow task on one day, I move it to another.

Knowing I’ll have downtime during the last 2 weeks of the month is motivating. I don’t want any flags on my calendar after Dec 24.

This year, Dec 26-Jan 3 will be quiet workwise since deadlines fell on Dec 20th and most people won’t get back into the swing of things until the first full week of January.

I’ll be spending the ‘quiet’ days wrapping up year-end paperwork, clearing the desk, and getting ready for business to open on Jan 4th.

If you run your own writing (or any) business, you can’t stop working just because the holidays come along. But you can enjoy the holidays and get your work done, too. I takes a little proactive planning (that’s redundant, but makes my point), but it’s well worth the effort.

Next week, my post will be summarizing my 2013 year and giving you a glimpse into my 2014 plans. I’m quite excited about what’s coming up, since this year… oh, wait, that’s for next week!

Have you had experience planning out December in order to enjoy some ‘downtime’ at the end of the month?

I wish you a productive end of the year!

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

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I’m amazed at how many times I hear people not only say they are afraid to try new things, but they actually avoid trying new things. I knew someone who wouldn’t eat any food he’d never eaten before.

We’re all born with a blank slate. Every thing has a first time (including what we like to eat). Why weren’t we afraid from the very start? Because we didn’t know any better.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Each writer has different strengths and interests and we come about them in various ways. We had to learn how to:

  • write
  • spell
  • read
  • craft sentences/paragraphs/stories
  • come up with ideas
  • outline
  • research
  • use a card catalog (dewey decimal) at the library
  • do online Internet searches
  • understand grammar
  • learn writing rules
  • and so on

We didn’t one day wake up as writers or have a writing business. Everything is always brand new to us — at first.

Deciding to be a writer is scary in itself, isn’t it? Pursuing writing as a career has it’s own anxiety, too. As time goes on, we develop a skill set and some of us find a niche (or two) that we enjoy. One constant in whatever type of writing we’re pursuing, is that we always need to be looking for new work.

And doesn’t that thought just scare some of us until we break out in a sweat?

Where does the fear come from? Why do we get afraid of a writing project that’s a bit over our heads?

I’ve been there many times, and expect to be there many more. Being a little afraid is how I know I’m continuing to learn, improve, and build upon my current writing skills.

If you have the basic writing skills for a project, you shouldn’t be afraid to use them as a foundation for new work. And if there’s a certain type of writing you are passionate about pursuing, look into formal training through a class or workshop to help you get started.

We all start with a clean/blank slate. It’s up to us, individually, to fill the slate with the skills and experiences we want. Being nervous is a good thing – it means we’re aware and open to possibilities. It means we desire to push ourselves further.

If you don’t feel a little scared, you aren’t stretching yourself.

It’s okay to be afraid of a new writing project or opportunity.

I encourage you to embrace the fear and try the project anyway! I bet more often than not you’ll be happy that you did.

Have you had projects you were you initially nervous about, accepted them anyway, and were positively blown away by the results? 

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

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You may know about the Law of Attraction. Maybe you’ve heard about how ‘thoughts become things.’ And maybe you’re familiar with the saying ‘change your thoughts and you change your world’ — (Norman Vincent Peale).

I’ve heard them all. I know that thinking positive thoughts is a lot better than thinking negative thoughts.

There are definitely times when it’s “easier said than done,” but I think I’m getting better at it.

Most days I wake up happy and look forward to being productive, and there’s not much negativity that can get me off track.

On the mornings that don’t start as I want (usually if I’m awakened unexpectedly), it’s more difficult for me to ‘get my happy face on.’ We’ve all been there, right?

When we feel good, we move closer to doing, being, and having the successes that we want. The reason why is straightforward: feeling good allows us (gives us the freedom) to focus on the things we want. And getting what we want gives us the inspiration to continue moving forward.

Do you know anyone who wants to give up the great feeling of accomplishment?

If your day isn’t starting off the ‘right way’ (and we each have our own definition of that), here are some ways to get into a positive mindset:

  • Think about something wonderful in your life (people, things, places)
  • Read through some entries in your gratitude journal (if you have one).
  • Shift through the collection of kudos and ‘great job’ notes (I keep mine in a box on index cards and pieces of paper)
  • Look at your wall of awards / certificates / photos of family and friends
  • Read some pages of your calendar / day planner and see how much you’ve accomplished in the past days or weeks
  • Get some fresh air
  • Exercise
  • Listen to some music
  • Look at pictures of cute animals on Facebook

Having a positive mindset has physiological effects and you can’t help but want to keep that feeling.

Just about to cross the finish line

Just about to cross the finish line

In the past 10 days I ran two 5Ks. My 12th and 13th timed races of the year. The race I did this past weekend gave me a personal record (PR) for the year. I’m still smiling over that success. One more race in 2013, and then I start running races again on Jan 1, 2014.

I’m getting addicted to the feeling I have when I cross the finish line — in both my business and personal lives. I’m ready to up my game and set more serious goals — for racing, and for my business.

I’m looking forward to 2014 — I’m keeping my 2013 accomplishments on the walls around me (the visuals work well for me), so if a day starts off not-so-great, I’ll be able to refocus and get on track quickly.

What gets you back in a positive frame of mind if something derails you during the day?

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

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We’ve talked more than once about having business goals written down so you know how to get where you want to be with your professional writing career.

blankplannerThese are yearly goals broken down into monthly goals, then into weekly goals, and eventually down to a daily task list. The idea is to keep yourself, and your business, moving forward.

I do my weekly planning on Sunday nights, so when I start Monday I know exactly what to start working on. Worst case is that I do this planning on Monday mornings, and best case is that I do the planning Friday night so I can have the weekend off!

I digress. I’m guessing that I’m not alone in having at least “one thing” on the list that is carried over from week to week too many times. It’s “one thing” that should be done to move the business forward, but it seems easier to keep putting it off — for some reason.

Do your reasons (excuses) sound like any of these:

  • Ugh, that requires a phone call, it’s too early/mid-morning/lunch/afternoon break time/too late, all I’ll be doing is leaving voicemail. I’ll call tomorrow.
  • I’ll do it after I do this, this, and this.
  • The holiday is coming up, I’ll wait until after so the email doesn’t get lost in the overflowing Inbox.
  • I’m not in the right frame of mind for that today.
  • I need to let it simmer in my head for a few more hours.

Whatever the “one thing” is, it’s not something we cross off the list — we know it has to get done, so we keep moving it forward, again and again and again.

Today is Monday, it’s after a holiday, let’s call it a fresh start. I’m going to do my “one thing” (log last quarter’s income & expenses – Jul/Aug/Sep) and be done with it so I can keep my business moving forward. How about you?

Before you do anything else, do that “one thing.” 

Don’t over think it — just get it done.

Happy Monday! I wish you a productive week!

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

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With this week hosting Thanksgiving (in the States) it’s a good time to be thinking about what we’re thankful for — daily.

We may have talked about a gratitude journal before (heck, there can be a journal for anything, can’t there?) But I find the gratitude journal to be particularly inspiring, especially on difficult days.

open journalGratitude journals are the quickest kind of journaling I do (for the most part). I write in mine each night before turning the light out. It’s my way of ending the day on a positive note. And it’s particularly handy when the day had challenges.

I first started this type of journal when I was a corporate employee and had some struggles there and at home.

The goal is to write down 5 things each day that you are grateful for. And writing them down in the form of I am grateful for ………….

I remember a few entries looking like this:

  • I am grateful for my fleece socks.
  • I am grateful for my bowl of cereal.
  • I am grateful  for toothpaste.
  • I am grateful for toilet paper.
  • I am grateful for hot water.

Some days we can be so appreciative of the basics in life. Other times we may find ourselves going deeper into feelings, experiences, opportunities, friends, family… so many things.

My goal is always to find something new to be grateful for. If one day I’m grateful for a matching pair of ankle socks, the next day may be gratitude for a clean pair of dress socks or no run in the nylons. The winter gratitude lists definitely have more of a warm theme to them — warm hat, gloves, etc. Summer is a cool theme.

I can be thankful for the muse showing up, for my characters writing their own stories for me, or sometimes I’m grateful that the characters argue with me until I see their point.

Separate from the journal, I’m always thankful for a new day — and usually express that when I wake up. I say it out loud to the Universe: “Thank you for a new day to explore and experience.”

And then the evening is the writing of 5 particular things that pop into my head.

Fresh apple pieLast night’s list:

  • I am grateful for getting my bike tuned up and the old bikes donated.
  • I am grateful for Little Sis being inspired to be a writer – she says it’s because of me.
  • I am grateful for the 4 delicious pies Little Sis and I made – 2 to donate, 2 to share.
  • I am grateful for 3 new paying writing opportunities.
  • I am grateful for my floor agreeing to turn the heat up on such a cold day!

Of course you can make up your own ‘rules’ — it could be more or less than 5 items, you can duplicate items every day until something new pops in your head, it could be specific types of things.

I create my list by capturing whatever pops in my mind when I grab the notebook and pen to make the list. As soon as I’m done writing (and I write, not type), I am grateful, I generally don’t have to pause before something comes out. Not always the case, but most times.

And like I mentioned at the start, I find this particularly beneficial at the end of a challenging day – when I’m not happy about anything and stressed about what’s on tap for the next day. Focusing on finding something good/nice/positive about the day takes the edge off.

Some days I’m grateful for being able to blink; for being able to breathe, for being able to hold a pen; for having a pen that writes, for having paper to write on, for having someone wave hello to me, for my cat not waking me up early.

I’m also in the habit of saying “Thank you” out loud when something particular happens or comes my way. And the more I give thanks, the  more I find I have to be thankful for.

I hope that your life is full of things you’re grateful for!

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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Go ahead...laugh. The extra 2 arms the woman has are mine. This is the only pic of me completing a recent 3K.

Go ahead…laugh. The extra 2 arms the woman has are mine. This is the only pic of me (my arms) completing a recent 3K.

I’m a happy person. I enjoy laughing and have no problem laughing at myself (just ask the walls and furniture that are always leaping out at me – or my crazy race photos).

I’ve known the old adage of “laughter is good medicine” for years, but last Thursday, I became a true believer.

Through a series of events, I ended up attending a live local theatrical production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”

I had no idea what to expect, nor did the 6 people who joined me. We like trying new things and figured we’d at least have a ‘different’ night out.

Five days before the theatre, I somehow tweaked my lower back. I would have laughed more at myself if it didn’t hurt so much — I think I looked like I was trying to do a robot dance most of the time that week with anything I did – awkward, stiff, slow-moving, boxy.

At the theatre, I laughed for most of the 2 hours of the production. It was hilarious! I also couldn’t get over how the actors were NOT cracking themselves up (although in one scene, there were a couple who did crack).

My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. I even had tears rolling down my face a time or two.

Even better was a few hours later when I was home and realized I could bend, turn, and twist again without any pain! It took a few deep knee bends and hula-like twists to convince myself it wasn’t my imagination.

The true test would be if I could move in the morning

And… I could! Pain free all that night and into the next day. And I’m still pain free.

Laughter did it.  Laughter healed what ailed me last week, and not just physically.

In this pic, my face is replaced by a black-gloved hand. My arms and legs are visible tho!

In this pic, my face is replaced by a black-gloved hand. My arms and legs are visible tho!

My muse was tickled (ooh, a pun — I love when they come naturally), too. She’s been voraciously dancing in my dreams the past few nights. She does a lot with coconuts and symbols/cymbals, in particular (wink wink).

I can attest that great belly laughs can go a long way to healing aches, pains, and creative blockages, so I plan to seek out a lot more humor going forward.

One of my goals is to continue getting myself some unique race photos. These are just 2 from 2 separate races this year. I laugh every time I look at them because – what are the odds of such perfect alignment?

Have you had any experiences where laughter was good medicine?

Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to network with writing professionals on a weekly basis. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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We’ve had several conversations on this blog about goal setting, the importance of writing your goals down and breaking those goals into quarterly/monthly/weekly/daily tasks.

We’ve also talked about ‘checking off’ those daily tasks and crossing items off ToDo lists.

And while I love crossing items off a list, or putting a check next to a “big goal”, I’ve found great value in other visuals, too.

For instance, for exercise – I give myself a star or a smiley face or a “great job” sticker on a day that I have at least 30 minutes of exercise. I have 12 small months taped to a kitchen door, so I can easily see how many days I’ve exercised throughout the year whenever I want. It’s quite inspiring.

Race bibs from 2012

Race bibs from 2012

Last year, I completed 2 races – a 5K and a triathlon. I tacked the race bibs to my bulletin board (as well as giving myself those stickies for exercising those days!)

I stopped exercising all together after the triathlon since I didn’t have any other races in mind. At year’s end, I knew I had to make 2013 better.

I decided that if I had (about) a race a month, I’d have to keep moving. My goal is to complete at least 12 races. (I’m new to running, so don’t feel I need to win, place, or show — just complete a race and focus on improving.)

Race bibs from 2013

Race bibs from 2013

This year, to date, I’ve completed 11 races, including a triathlon and a 5K obstacle course. When I look at the wall of all my bibs, I can’t help but smile, be proud of myself, and be motivated to keep exercising so my next race will be even better.

I’m currently registered for 2 more races, so will hit 13 total. I’m not superstitious about ’13′ at all, but I may try for 14.

1-Mile Pace listed on index card

1-Mile Pace listed on index card

Another visual I have is  an index card list of my “1-mile pace” numbers. I had my fastest pace yesterday!

Visuals make an impression!

I’m absolutely motivated to increase my fitness goals for next year.

For writing goals, I tape up class certificates, awards, as well as kudo notes and emails. And I track business/income submissions on green index cards, so at a glance at my corkboard I know how many projects I’ve completed that have generated income.

Posting visuals of any achievement is a great idea. Remember having grade school papers put on the refrigerator door? First drawings being proudly displayed on some wall in the house? How about those pencil marks on a door jam that showed how much we grew in a year? Did they motivate you to do more? Weren’t you curious to see how far/tall you could grow? (How far can you grow now as a writer?)

Let your inner child out a bit.

Show off your accomplishments, even if only to yourself  – every time you look at the wall where you’ve taped them, hung them, pinned them, or trapped them with a magnet – you’ll smile and feel proud.

Good idea?

Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to network with writing professionals on a weekly basis. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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I sometimes worry and second-guess myself when it comes to my writing and business goals. Do you?

Time spent worrying is wasted, absolutely wasted. Yet, sometimes, it’s difficult to see the goal if there are turns and bumps along the way.

Park benchIsn’t it so easy to take a time out, sit off to the side, and ponder and question which next steps and actions will be the best?

Here’s a secret: we don’t need each step we take toward our goal be ‘the best’. We just need to take the next step and get it done, so that we can then take the step after that.

Detours can, and will, pop up.

But here’s a key: detours (as is their definition) lead back to the original path, so they aren’t bad! We will get where we’re going.

So, even though it may not seem like it at times, more often than not, even with doubts and detours, we’re still headed toward the end zone and we’ll reach it eventually.

When I have doubts about my progress, I pull out the ‘map’ (list of goals and tasks) I have to my destination, review it, and get back ‘on the road’ if I’ve discovered I’ve wandered off a bit.

I had to do that today, in fact. And when reviewing my overall goals, I discovered I’m further along than I imagined. It’s quite a motivator!

I hope if you find yourself struggling with reaching your ultimate goals, that you’ll allow yourself to look at where you are, and focus on the next item on the list instead of spending precious time worrying or doubting about what ‘should have’ been done.

With a clear objective in mind, you will end up where you want to be.

Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to network with writing professionals on a weekly basis. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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There’s an event coming up in a couple of weeks that is mixing two of my passions — (dark and mysterious) fiction and New Hampshire.

Dick Hatin

Dick Hatin

An author friend of mine, Richard Hatin is celebrating the launch of his second novel by speaking and doing a book signing.

Dick is a fellow Granite State Ambassador (GSA) who volunteers his time to share his passion of NH with visitors to our wonderful state.

At this event, on October 30, from 6:30-8PM, Dick will be talking about his writing and his volunteerism.

About his novels:

EVIL AGREEMENT
Evil Agreement begins in Sutton, Vermont, in 1843, when a coven was formed comprising devil worshipers recruited by Satan s servant, the purely evil Moloch. When one coven member breaks rank, she and her family are slaughtered by coven members out of revenge. One infant child survives the massacre, however, and is hunted relentlessly by the coven, but without success. Now the descendants of that first coven are closing in on Aaron Bailey, the last descendant of that surviving infant. The Evil Agreement, the Malum Pactum, may at last be fulfilled!

The hunt is on as the coven seeks to capture Aaron to complete the coven and fulfill their ancestors hideous bargain with the devil. Meanwhile, Aaron must learn about his hidden past, forge new alliances, and, with aid from an unlikely source, perhaps have a chance to destroy the coven – and even live to tell about it!

DEADLY WHISPERS
“A dark and evil legend was born in the northeastern corner of Vermont hundred of years ago. An unspeakable act was perpetrated by a hunting party of Indians.  Later, their Chief and the tribe’s Medicine Man placed an eternal curse upon them for their crime.  Now doomed, to live only in the darkness beneath the earth, their anger and hatred of all humans, grows with each passing year. Then, in 1962, a group of young boys exploring a small cave, come face to face with this devolved and hideously evil creature, and a battle for their very lives begins.  Together, they may stand a chance, but divided, they will all surely all die.  If only…….”

The event is open to the public and is at Carlyle Place – Courville Communities, 40 Route 101, Bedford, NH.

I’ll be there, as will other local writers. It can be a great time to connect in person.

Agenda for the evening:

6:30 pm – Networking and Welcome

7:00 pm – Presentation

7:45 pm – 8:00 pm – Book signing | Personal Visits | Facility Tour

I know there will be treats, too! Since it’s Halloween, well, who knows how many ghosts might make a brief appearance, but I’m sure they will all be friendly spirits…right?

Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to network with writing professionals on a weekly basis. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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