The Brief: You’re About to Have Email Nirvana

The Inbox of the Future

Your inbox is about to get a makeover. Like an Andi in Devil Wears Prada type of makeover. On Wednesday, Google unveiled a new email app for iOS, Android, and desktop Web browsers, named Inbox (clever, right?). It’s a more graphical (i.e. it’s going to be super pretty to look at), more organized email communication center (it will automatically categorize your email into basic sections like travel, purchases, finance, social, updates, forums, and promos). It’ll also include built-in snooze buttons, attachment previews, automatic labeling and filing, and intelligent search. Basically, your life is about to get super organized and you didn’t even have to hire a life coach. Achieving Inbox Zero (email nirvana, if you will) is now possible. You can’t download the app just yet (you have to email Google if you want it, like a peasant woman in the 1800s), but in the meantime here are some email secrets that will change your life.

Detroit Ladies Rule

We all know Detroit has had a rough couple of years, but if you’re a female entrepreneur, this is the city to be in. Fortune is calling it the “surprising face of female entrepreneurship—and women in their 20s and 30s are leading the city’s revival through new ventures.” The U.S. Small Business Administration lent $100 million to women-owned businesses in Michigan over the past 12 months, a 41 percent increase over last year. “Detroit is in a period of reinvention and growth,” Rachel Schostak, the 27-year-old founder of Styleshack, an e-commerce platform aggregating independent boutiques and designers, told Fortune. “While there are some challenges in a smaller market, the Detroit business community and leaders are looking for fresh minds and talent, and I’ve used that to my advantage.” Plus Detroit is the home of our newest Local Levo Chapter! What more could you want?

So Not Must-See TV

A group of female lawyers really, really hate the new show Bad Judge, which is about a rather atypical female judge played by Kate Walsh. Bad Judge made its debut Oct. 2. Two weeks later, the Miami-Dade chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers sent a letter to network CEO Steve Burke, asking him to kill it. “Our organization understands that Bad Judge may be intended to be hyperbole, but we nonetheless find it damaging to women in the legal profession,” Baker said. Wow. And you thought Manhattan Love Story was bad.

The character on the show has had sex with an expert witness in her chambers, been late for court because of a hangover, and parked in a handicap spot, so in other words, they have a rather strong point. Baker pointed out in her letter that in the U.S. there have been four female justices on the Supreme Court. Less then 35 percent of the active judges sitting on the 13 federal courts of appeal are women, and 32 percent of the active U.S. district court judges are women, so this is not a great example of a female judge to send out into the universe, even the pop culture one.

Anna Kendrick + Kate Spade = Brilliance

Everyone’s favorite actress/singer/cup player/Tweeter is now going to show you how well she can hold a handbag in the new holiday campaign for Kate Spade. Kendrick has been a fan of the brand for years. “[It's what] I’ve always loved about Kate Spade, which is that it’s just gorgeous stuff. It’s timeless and it’s sophisticated, but it’s always a little bit playful,” she told People.

Best Job Ever?

Get ready for this. There’s a profession where your job is to…wait for it…babysit cheese. Okay, so it’s technically called the “Cheese Grader” (which isn’t half bad either). Basically, this very lucky person inspects cheeses to make sure they’re hitting all the standards of delicious cheese. If you like cheese and judging things, this may be the job for you. Bustle has the full scoop.

Levo Loves…

The brand new Pillow Shop from Moon and Lola. These pillows are not only comfy, but they also will inspire you while you’re sitting on your couch!

Fall Activities that Won't Break the Bank

Fall Activities that Won’t Break the Bank

Often times, a new season means new activities to take up your time. You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy yourself. And the best part about all of these fall ones? They’re all-day activities, and you can enjoy them alone, with friends, or even on a date. Take a look at some of these cheap fall activities the next time you want to have fun without draining your bank account.

1. Go to an apple orchards.

Find out where the nearest apple orchard is and get over there stat! Take some time to walk around and pick the finest fruit, then head inside to enjoy some hot cider and tasty treats they may have to offer. (We recommend the Honeycrisp. It may be the most delicious apple ever tasted).

2. Pick some pumpkins.

After you find the biggest and best pumpkin of them all, grab a hot drink and enjoy a hayride. Then when you get home, get creative with your pumpkin. Carve a jack-o-lantern or paint a work of art. Once you’re done, proudly display your new fall décor for everyone to see!

3. Bake some pie.

This is a perfect follow-up to both the apple orchard and the pumpkin patch. Check out Pinterest, or use your favorite family recipe and see what you can whip up–think apple crisp and pumpkin pie. Yum!

4. Have a movie marathon.

Who doesn’t love a night at home under the blankets and in front of the TV? Pop some popcorn, grab a blanket and snuggle up. After any long day (especially a chilly one), endless hours of Ryan Reynolds or Woody Allen just sounds like a great way to go.

5. Go on a hike.

Fall foliage may be one of the most beautiful sites in nature. The colorful leaves are breathtaking, the air is crisp, and you’ll probably see a few animals out preparing for winter. Don’t forget your camera!

6. Clean out your closet.

You’ve heard of spring cleaning? Well, this is the same idea! As the seasons change, it’s a perfect time to de-clutter and reorganize. Go through all your spring/summer stuff and pick out what you didn’t wear. Then you’ll be able to donate all of the stuff you don’t want, so you’ll feel good about cleaning house, too.

7. Have a Bonfire

S’mores! Is there really anything else to say?

Photo: Thinkstock

How to Spot a Bad Egg at Work

How to Spot a Bad Egg at Work

At work, everyone hopes to be part of a collaborative team where they can learn from one another and make an impact. Whether you’re just starting your career, or have many years of experience, you’re going to come across people that will inspire you, challenge you, and empower you. But unfortunately, you’ll also come across people that you want to keep at an arm’s length. Below are some tips on how to spot toxic coworkers:

1. Keep an eye out for someone who’s more concerned about standing out among others in the workplace, rather than the success of the team at large.

  • While a little in-office competition can stimulate growth, it’s better to be surrounded by those who are focused on working together to accomplish each task at hand. Collaboration is meant to highlight each person’s strengths, while fostering unity in the group. However, a project or assignment can quickly turn toxic if someone on the team purposely tries to outshine other members.

2. An overly competitive person may also try to keep tabs on others in the group.

  • Knowing what everyone else is working on allows the bad egg to deploy their snake-like tactics (i.e. rushing to complete the task first, or purposely giving negative feedback about an individual’s work).
  • A strong indicator of a person like this is someone who takes credit for other’s work.

3. Watch out for an opportunist.

  • This is a person who uses people if they think they’ll benefit from in some way. I’m not talking in a “mentor-mentee” type of way, but rather a “take advantage of you” type of way.  For instance, this person may ask for your point of view on a subject and then use it to blackball you down the road in order for them to get ahead.
  • An opportunist often asks others for favors, but rarely returns them.
  • At times this person may come across as helpful, but it’s usually a camouflage for a sly move. For instance, they notice you’re swamped with work and so they offer to take a task off your plate, but once you propose an assignment you could use help with, they scold you for not prioritizing your time better.

4. Steer clear of those who “talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.”

  • This is someone who comes off as a knowledgeable employee, but when it comes to actually doing the work they can’t/don’t follow through. This person often delegates their work to others (but still takes credit for the assignments–see above), or they add in a lot of “fluff” to mask the shortcomings in their work.

While it’s hard not to let “bad eggs” bring down your morale at work, it’s important that you stay true to yourself and not stoop to their level. Work culture is extremely important, so focus on building strong work relationships with those who will help you grow, and avoid individuals who add a negative vibe to the workspace.

Photo: Thinkstock


Creative Halloween Costumes for Women

Ah, Halloween. Everyone’s most/least favorite holiday. There’s enough that’s been written on Halloween’s woman problem (why does everything have to be sexy? a sexy plumber? a sexy exterminator? come on!). So let’s all step up to the plate this year with a Halloween costume you can be proud to wear in front of the daughters, sons, parents, coworkers, and bosses of the world.

We turned to Pinterest—the endless source of inspiration for recipes, crafts, hairstyles, and of course, Halloween. We started a board, Creative Halloween Costumes for Powerful Women, check it out, follow it, and help us add to it. Tag your Halloween costumes with #LevoHalloween and we’ll pin it, so others can be amazed by your creativity. Get inspired with this list below. Someone NEEDS to dress as Gladiators in Suits. Please!

Creative Halloween Costumes for Women (That You Can Actually Wear to Work)


  1. Beyonce / Queen Bee
  2. The Wage Gap
  3. Suffragette
  4. Rosie the Riveter
  5. Texts from Hillary
  6. Any Emma Watson character
  7. Any and all superheroes!
  8. Girl Scout
  9. Wendy Davis (tennis shoes and suit)
  10. Gloria Steinem
  11. Mindy Kaling
  12. FLOTUS
  13. Lena Dunham
  14. Hillary Clinton and Meryl Streep
  15. Thelma and Louise
  16. Oprah and Gayle
  17. Kathie Lee and Hoda
  18. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey
  19. Liz Lemon, 30 Rock
  20. Leslie Knope, Parks and Rec
  21. Kerry Washington (Gladiators in Suits)
  22. Katniss Everdeen, Hunger Games
  23. Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones
  24. Tris, Divergent
  25. Nancy Drew
  26. Veronica Mars
  27. Frida Kahlo
  28. Amelia Earhart
  29. Joan of Arc
  30. Cleopatra
  31. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  32. Ellen Degeneres
  33. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In
  34. Statue of Liberty

Photos: Thinkstock; Pinterest


What it’s Really Like to Start a Nonprofit

During the first week of my freshman year in high school, my mom, Lori, died after an eight-year battle with breast cancer. When I went away to college at the University of Delaware, I longed for a way to introduce my mom to my new friends, as more than just my mom who’s no longer alive.

In honor of my mom’s caring legacy, I founded Lori’s Hands in 2009. For the last five years, UD student volunteers have visited community members living with illnesses like cancer and ALS to help with grocery shopping, yard work, and other household tasks. In turn, our clients give students a unique opportunity to learn about health and healthcare from the patient perspective, in a personal and meaningful way.

When my college roommates and I decided to turn Lori’s Hands into a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, we might as well have decided to start a Himalayan sheep shearing business for all the expertise we had. But with a lot of grit and googling, we incorporated, completed the 1023 paperwork required of nonprofits by the IRS, and are expanding the Lori’s Hands model within and outside of UD. If you’re starting a nonprofit of your own (congratulations!), consider a few words of advice from our five years of trial, error–and eventual victories.

1. Be fearless.

Those of us who start nonprofits with altruistic intentions aren’t always the same people who are comfortable asking for favors. The best advice I got when starting Lori’s Hands was to stop thinking of asks as favors. When we approached university administration to propose incorporating Lori’s Hands into the curriculum for undergraduates, we were met with open arms and appreciation for our enthusiasm. I remind myself of times like these, when people have been thrilled to support our work, every time I start to get queasy at the thought of making an ask.

Remember: your organization offers something valuable to people, and you aren’t asking for money, effort, or advice for your own selfish gains, but for an organization that addresses the public good. As a leader of a nonprofit, don’t be afraid to bother people. Once they see how passionate you are about your cause, they’ll have no qualms about your nagging–and will hopefully give you money.

2. You’re a business owner, so act like one.

Never forget that your nonprofit is a business, and businesses need to stay in the black in order to survive. Running a nonprofit doesn’t mean that you don’t need money; it just means that your business goals go beyond simply increasing your profit margins from quarter to quarter. If you want your nonprofit to be successful, you need the same things for-profit businesses need: a viable business plan and a focused mission that will ensure quality in everything you do.

When we first started, we made the mistake of trying to be everything to everyone. Now we include a decision tree in our volunteer handbook. It helps chapter presidents differentiate between clients that fit our services, and those that are out of our scope. These kinds of business-like decisions help us all communicate the same message about what we do and don’t do.

3. Don’t let the red tape get you down.

Doubters told us it would take years for us to fill out the 1023 on our own. We did it anyway, and that’s how we learned not to listen to the curmudgeons and not to doubt our own resourcefulness. Line by line, we dissected each question and figured out the answers as we went along. The idea of founding a nonprofit from the ground up is incredibly overwhelming, but taken piece by piece, it’s doable.

Here’s the other thing we learned while filling out the 1023: If you don’t know the answers to questions on the paperwork, you’re going to have to figure them out eventually. Think of your nonprofit application as a framework for strategic planning. When you’re asked to detail the expectations of your board members, take the time to really consider what you will need out of your board next year, in five years, and in ten years. When you’re asked about the services you’ll provide, don’t just give a canned response to get through the question, but brainstorm with your founders and come up with a defined list that you’re all comfortable with. Done the right way, you’ll not only complete your 1023, but you’ll end up with a business plan, too.

4. Take all the help and luck you can get.

Some of the questions on the 1023 are less straight-forward and brainstorming among yourselves won’t be enough. Reach out to other founders and ask to see their completed applications. While you still want to make sure you’re answering honestly for your own organization, it’s helpful to have a reference. As we debated how to answer the last remaining question on our application in a coffee shop one afternoon, a nonprofit founder overhead us, offered to help, and within ten minutes emailed us her completed application. We were amazed at how simple and succinct her answer was to a question we’d been laboring over for a week! Don’t be afraid to connect with others who’ve walked the path before you. Many in the nonprofit sector, especially young founders, are so proud of their accomplishments that they’re thrilled to share their insight.

If you’re kept up at night dreaming about your big idea and its potential to improve lives, I wish you the best of luck as you embark on this most rewarding journey as a nonprofit founder.

Photo: Thinkstock

10 Books that Will Scare Your Pants Off This Halloween

10 Books that Will Scare Your Pants Off This Halloween

Many Halloweens ago, I sprinted home from my neighbor’s house because we had just watched Hocus Pocus—yes, the funny one—and I was out-of-my-mind terrified. Since then, I have become no more brave. These good horror books (sometimes their descriptions alone) are enough to give me nightmares for weeks, but I understand that you’re more daring than I. October is a huge month for perennially bestselling thrillers and debut novelists alike, so cuddle up in a not-too-dark corner and enjoy.

1. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Lauren Beukes’ latest thriller has been killing it in review after review since its release last month. Wow…I honestly didn’t intend that pun, but I’m certainly leaving it there now. In Broken Monsters, a serial murderer creates horrific tableaus in abandoned warehouses, the first is half of a boy and half of a deer fused together. *Shudder.* With Detective Gabriella Versado on the case, Beukes weaves a shocking, supernatural thriller that excels thanks to “careful plotting, realistic characters and a kind of atmospheric creepiness (NPR).”

2. The Secret Place by Tana French

If you haven’t yet picked up the latest from “one of the most talented crime writers alive (The Washington Post)” do so. Centered around a year-old murder case, The Secret Place seems to be a cross between murder mystery and boarding school drama, which, to me, is wildly appealing. The New York Times wrote, “With her awesome facility at girl-speak, French constructs an idiom that’s clever and crude and vulgar and vicious in one breath and deeply, profoundly tragic in the next.”

3. Brood by Chase Novak

One of October’s creepiest releases, Novak’s sequel to 2012’s Breed tells the story of the children created by an illicit fertility treatment that turned their parents into cannibalistic beasts. Rather than constant teeth-chattering terror (though there’s some of that), Brood has a satirical, “tongue-in-cheek” tone that makes the writing even more compelling. Like Broken Monsters, Novak toys with the supernatural to chilling effect.

4. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

If you liked Gone Girl and are looking to experience more of Gillian Flynn’s brilliant, twisted mind, check out her second book, Dark Places, which will be released in a new Mass Market edition on October 28. Our heroine Libby Day famously testified against her 15-year-old brother in the murders of her mother and two sisters. 25 years later, she finds herself back in the midst of the story, and therefore, back in the path of a murderer. Boo.

5. Eyes On You by Kate White

Yes, that Kate White. While she was running the #1 women’s magazine in the world, she apparently had some spare time to embark on a second career as a mystery author. Eyes On You is her latest, a psychological suspense novel that combines her career success and her devious mind. The main character, Robin Trainer, has made a career comeback with a new successful TV show and book, but someone is out to get her. Kate knows a thing or two about “bitch envy,” and Eyes On You is the incredibly creepy tale of when it goes too far.

6. Parasite by Mira Grant

If you’re into parasitology gone wrong, check out Parasite before its sequel, Symbiont, comes out in November. The novel is set a decade into the future, when sickness and disease has been eradicated thanks to a genetically-modified tapeworm implanted in every person. Things get creepy when those tapeworms get restless… It’s perfect for fans of her Newsflesh series and technothrillers alike: “As wild as Grant’s premise is, the novel is firmly anchored in real-world science and technology (Booklist).”

7. Revival by Stephen King

The horror king’s latest since last year’s Doctor Sleep, Revival is “a dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life.” Or so says the publisher. Honestly though, it sounds amazing. The novel spans five decades, following two men from a small New England town, one a child, one a beloved minister, both rocked by tragedy and disgrace. When they meet again 50 years later, the child has become a desperate heroin-addict, while the pastor has become something of a mad scientist. “The novel’s ending—one of King’s best—stuns like lightning (Publisher’s Weekly).” You’ll have to wait until November 11 to experience it for yourself.

8. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Between the cover and this quote, I’m already petrified: “I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.” Run Mia! This is Mary Kubica’s debut novel that has been compared to Gone Girl since its July release. The Good Girl will have you looking over your shoulder for weeks.

9. The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

Another gorgeous cover for another powerful and highly praised debut novel. Drawing from the same Japanese legend that inspired The Ring, The Girl from the Well is a unique story told from the perspective of a lonely ghost, murdered when she was young. She’s wandered the world for centuries, taking vengeance on murderers like her own. But everything changes when she encounters 15-year-old Tark, a boy who she becomes fond of, but who’s possessed by evil.

10. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Horror master Joe Hill’s most recent novel hit shelves last fall, but if you haven’t given it a read yet, now’s the time. Leaves are changing, everything is pumpkin-flavored, it’s time to scare ourselves half to death, right? The description of this book alone may keep me up tonight, so I’ll leave it to you…

Photo: Thinkstock

A Q&A With the Youngest Woman Ever Elected, Tulsi Gabbard

A Q&A With the Youngest Woman Ever Elected, Tulsi Gabbard

Marianne Schnall—author (What Will It Take to Make a Woman President?), founder of feminist.com, and accomplished interviewer—sat down with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard to help Levo uncover what will encourage young women to get interested in politics as a career choice. Here, their conversation.

Tulsi Gabbard ran for the Hawaii State Legislature in 2002 and became, at age 21, the youngest person ever elected. Representing Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, Tulsi is one of the first two female combat veterans and the first Hindu to ever serve as a member of the U.S. Congress.

A self-described “shy and introverted kid” growing up, Tulsi didn’t necessarily imagine that she would enter into politics, but her strong sense of service to others motivated her to get involved and follow what she feels is one of the most important life lessons: “If you see a problem, be a part of the solution. Don’t stay on the sidelines and complain—take action.”

Marianne Schnall: What originally inspired you to get interested in politics and where did you find the courage to enter the political world at such an early age?

Tulsi Gabbard: We’ve all met or grown up with people who, at 10 years old, are saying “I’m going to be the president one day!” I definitely wasn’t one of those kids. But from a young age, I was instilled with two important lessons. One is this: if you want to be successful, if you want to experience real, true happiness and a true sense of reward, you’ll find that in trying to be of service to others and really dedicating your life into public service.

I first got involved … because I loved Hawaii—I loved surfing and hiking and doing all these outdoor things—and I was motivated to take action when I started seeing trash floating out in the water, as I’m paddling out for a surf. Which leads to the next important lesson that I learned, which is if you see a problem, be a part of the solution. Don’t stay on the sidelines and complain—take action.

Tulsi explain further how she found the confidence at the age of 21 to run for office…

TG: In 2002, I made the decision to run for the State House because there were issues that I cared very much about and I saw that there was leadership lacking on those issues. My own personal convictions of why I was doing what I was doing were rock solid, but the very first day that I went to knock on that first door, I was scared. I sat in my car for 15 minutes just sweating bullets, trying to summon up the courage to knock on that door. Who would be on the other side of that door, would they be nice, what questions would they ask, will I be ready to answer them? And I wish I could say it got easier with every door, but it didn’t. I was a pretty shy and introverted kid growing up, and this was not something that came naturally for me. But in between every one of those doors, before going and giving that first speech, feeling sick with nervousness, I always came back to what was in my heart and why I was doing this: this is the way that I can offer to be of service to those in my community and to the people of Hawaii, and I’m going to do my best and that’s all I can do.

MS: Having been through that journey, what advice or guidance would you offer to a young woman who’s considering a career in politics and running for office?

TG: One thing that I hear from women of all ages is a lot of self-doubt. And through sharing with them my own experience—I didn’t go through political training, I wasn’t part of a debate team, I didn’t have a group of the political establishment who pushed me into running and gave me all this great support. I didn’t have any of that, but I understood what the most important qualification was: a sense of purpose and motivation toward serving others.

The rest you can learn. [If] you’re rooted and grounded in understanding and knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing, then you’ll have the correct perspective to be able to persevere and let the arrows that are shot at you bounce off of you; it gives you that protective armor, in a sense.

MS: You talk about how rigorous it is to run for office and everything that you have to go through, and additionally, of course, we do hear so many negative stories about the dysfunction in Washington, and it may not look like a particularly appealing path to pursue. What would you say, though, to encourage women? What are the joys, benefits, and rewards of being there and serving?

TG: The greatest reminder is when I get to meet with and hear from people who I’ve been able to help in some way or another—whether it’s a family member who’s sick and can’t get access to the right kind of care or a veteran who has had the door shut on him or her so many times that she’s completely lost hope. On the issues of when and where we send our troops into combat. On issues like sexual assault in the military. Understanding the real challenges that people are going through every day, that families are going through every day, that our returning service members are going through every day, makes any little speed bumps that we go through in the course of our day seem minor.

MS: There are so many inaccurate misconceptions out there about Millennials: that they’re lazy, apathetic, or feel entitled and don’t step up to positions of leadership. How do you feel representing the Millennial generation in Congress and breaking that stereotype?

TG: I think there’s a lot of misperceptions out there. While there’s a challenge of Millennials not being engaged enough in our political process, it comes from a place of feeling disconnected, feeling that there are not people in these leadership positions—whether it’s from a national level or from a local level—who really understand the reality of the challenges we face today or the path that lies in front of us for our generation. And if you’re not feeling that you have a seat at the table where your voice and your experience will be valued, you’ve got people who are saying, “Look, I’m not going to waste my time there. I’m going to dedicate my time, whether it’s social entrepreneurship or a startup or channeling that innovation in a way that I feel will matter and will make an impact.”

I think that’s a very key component to this generation. And that’s where I think there’s really a lot of opportunity: to make sure that the doors are open, to make sure that the collective “we” aren’t sitting back and waiting for people to step up to the plate, but actually going out, hitting the road, going to places where these young leaders are, and saying, “What do you care about? What solutions do you have to offer? How can you contribute to this?” Actually valuing their input and working together to see how we can make things happen. I think that when you look at times where that has happened, you end up with a greater value in the solution that you find.

“If it means you not only invite yourself to the dance, but you write your own music, that’s what you do.” 

One thing that I found through my own personal experience—both when I was 21 and I ran for the State House, but also when I was 31 and ran for Congress—was hearing leaders in the country talking about where’s the next generation of leadership? When are they going to step up to the plate and take responsibility and own their future? And what I found was that as I started to talk to some of these people and say, “Alright, well, I’m stepping up. I’m offering to be of service. I want to take the experiences that I’ve had from serving in the military, serving in the Middle East, being a 30-something-year-old woman, and bring them to the national conversation to change the direction of leadership in our country.” At so many places, I was met with a very patronizing answer that was basically, “Tulsi, we think you’re great, but you’re too young, you’re too inexperienced, and it’s not your time.”

I thanked them for their time, put my head down, and kept working and went directly to the people who really mattered and shared my message with them, to voters, across the state of Hawaii. I shared with them my desire to be of service, asking them if they would consider hiring me to do this job for them, and that’s where we turned a race that all of these so-called opinion leaders and political wonks said was an impossible race, into a win by a 20 percent margin, because of that grounding and that focus on service and who’s most important and valuing them and letting them know their value, rather than listening to the so-called establishment status quo powers who think they’re in charge. But they’re not.

MS: Being in Congress as one of the younger members, are there any unspoken judgments that you feel people make because of your age? Do you feel that sense of not only being a woman there, but also being one of the youngest?

TG: Sure. I think there’s generally an assumption of inexperience, when, in reality, the experiences I’ve had throughout my life have in many cases been far more diverse and varied than many people who I have the opportunity to work with. I think it’s fantastic—not just being young, but being a young woman, it’s kind of intriguing to me the look of shock that I get every time someone introduces me as a combat veteran, because it doesn’t fit the picture. Still, even after we’ve had so many women serving courageously in combat, the look of shock in people’s eyes when they hear that part of my experience is another component.

MS: Another important milestone that you represent is being the first Hindu in Congress, which I do think is significant in terms of just the growing diversity in our government, whether it’s racial diversity or being openly gay. Do you feel that this is important and is a growing trend?

TG: I took the Oath of Office on a Scripture called the Bhagavad Gita and it was a very personal decision based on the wisdom, the insight, and the strength that the scripture has provided me throughout my life. I’ve been through some very difficult, challenging times and some good times. I don’t think I fully anticipated what impact that personal decision would have on such a broad part of our community in the country. And I’ve heard from people of all ages, immigrants from India, for example, who they called the Aunties and Uncles, kind of the first generation of immigrants who have literally cried when I’ve met them, saying how they’ve never felt really that they’ve been understood or had a voice until now and that they never expected to see a Hindu elected to the United States Congress in their lifetime.

And then bringing their grandkids and bringing these little 8- and 9-year-old girls who have known no other life, other than being here and they’re Americans and this is their home, but they bring this very unique heritage with them. Just seeing those dots connect—that we are a great country because of our diversity, and being able to be a part of representing different aspects of that diversity in our country is something that I’m humbled and honored to be a part of.

MS: You’ve made such a compelling case for getting younger generations to run for public office. We sometimes forget these low statistics: women make up 50 percent of the population, but only 18 percent of Congress. Why does it matter that women be represented?

TG: Again, it goes back to—whether you’re talking about in elected office or in a corporate board room or in an educational setting—the importance of having people in leadership who reflect the diversity of our country. It’s critical. And the only way this happens is if you stand up and do something about it. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that nothing comes for free and very rarely is the red carpet laid out for you, saying, “Here you go.”

The only way we change this paradigm, the only way we have leaders in every sector who represent the diversity of our country, is by women stepping up and saying, “I have something to contribute. I will take action and I will do my part.” And if that means that you build your own chair and you make that space at the table, that’s what you do. If it means you not only invite yourself to the dance, but you write your own music, that’s what you do. And again, it’s recognizing that there’s no cookie-cutter formula. There’s no black-and-white checklist of this is how you get there. It’s a matter of recognizing within yourself your own desire and conviction and commitment to serve others—to have that positive impact that will provide that motivation and that focus and that guidance in order to make that happen.

Find out more about Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Schnall.

Photo: Thos Robinson / Getty Images

3 Strategies to Break into a New Career

3 Strategies to Break into a New Career

Most working professionals have considered trying something different as a career. However, many are unable to successfully switch into a new career path because they lack key insight into the tactics that will get them noticed by hiring managers who can facilitate a significant career move.

Instead of going about their job search as they would if they wished to remain in their current field, strategic job seekers ensure that employers’ eyes see their future potential, current transferrable skills, and personality, and focus less on their past career experiences.

After 10 years of recruiting, the below recommendations (coupled with some resiliency, hard work, and positive thinking) should result in your ability to positively shape the way employers view you.

1. Build a flexible resume.

Build a resume that addresses your change in work, highlights your skills, and puts less emphasis on irrelevant job experience.

Some employers view job applicants who have non-fitting experience as either unsuccessful or unable to follow basic rules, since most job descriptions specify years of relevant industry experience.

It’ll be in your best interest to confront the background discrepancy in the introductory section of your resume. With clever wording, it’s possible to turn what could be construed as a negative factor and into a positive, compelling marketing statement.

For example, if you were a nurse looking to get into marketing, your subject line might be:

It is my passion to assist an organization in heightening revenue as an integral part of a progressive, creative marketing team. To date in my career, I have excelled in [unrelated field], and have spent the past year becoming an expert at a multitude of pertinent marketing tactics.

When put in the right environment, my creativity, work ethic and resiliency can be leveraged to further any organization’s competitive advantage, regardless of industry or current situation.

To get the desired effect, keep the intro friendly, to the point, professional, and unapologetic. You can also personalize the resume with your LinkedIn picture as well as your url to your bio.

Following the introduction, list your pertinent areas expertise either with bullet points or commas. Not only will this push the impertinent experience farther down the resume, it’ll place key areas of importance front and center.

2. Timing is everything.

Apply to an open-minded employer, not an unreasonable one. The rule of thumb is that the longer an advertisement is up, the more flexible an employer will become.

One of the most common mistakes hiring managers make when writing a job description is setting forth too strict background criteria.

For a multitude of reasons, their high specificity deters many qualified job seekers from applying to the position (i.e. wanting too much and offering too small a compensation package; or asking for a background combination that’s exceedingly rare and insisting on interviewing an arbitrary number of exact candidates, say, five).

Regardless, it takes time for the reality that they’re not going to find what they want to sink in. Hence, if you don’t match the background and apply the first day, you’re applying into their overinflated expectations.

This all changes in about 10 days to two weeks. Once the applications become more sparse and none fit the stringent criteria, that recruitment professional will realize that it’s time to take a different approach.

That’s when you come in. By applying to the job after two weeks posted, you’re no longer sending your information to someone who has overinflated expectations; rather you’re submitting that application to an open-minded, occasionally discouraged, and much more flexible employer.

3. Utilize additional avenues.

Form a relationship with a recruiter who has the right clients and amount of leverage. When headhunters have very trusting clients, they’re more likely to be able to pitch a job seeker who has inexact experience.

To supplement your search, take some time to get into the good graces of an executive recruiter who has a relationship with that company.

First, find the right recruiters who seemingly have (or potentially have) long-standing hiring contracts with your target employer(s). Due to the fact that headhunters keep client names confidential, you’re going to have to read between the lines of their job descriptions.

Once you see a potential fit, send a brief, friendly email query asking permission to send your resume. Something such as the following should get their attention and warm them up to your way of thinking:

Hello ______,

Thank you for taking the time to read over my application; my name is Marie Smith and have a situation I thought that someone at _______ (recruiting firm name) could have the expertise to assist me with.

While I have strong experience and knowledge in (pertinent skill 1), (pertinent skill 2) and (pertinent skill 3), the past few years I have been in an unrelated field.

I do believe that I could perform at or above individuals coming from the same industry, though could use some assistance in marketing myself.

If this is something you’d be willing to consider, I’ll gladly send you my information and relentlessly work with you in order to satisfy the needs of your client.


Marie Smith

Above all, remember to be polite. If you want to gather honey, don’t kick the beehive.

In the End

Don’t let anyone stop you from switching careers. It’s never easy, but working in a position that challenges you is well worth the effort.

This post originally appeared on Personalbrandingblog.com.

Photo: Casey Fyfe / Unsplash


8 Ways to Stay Super Productive When Working at Home

More than 10 percent of U.S. employees are now regularly working at home, according to a survey by Stanford University, and that number is increasing. As someone who’s been working from home a lot lately, I (and a few experts) have come up with some tips that will help you be more productive if you find yourself working from home.

1. Get out of bed.

I know some people’s beds are literally their pride and joy, but you can’t work from bed. Well, not productively. You need a desk or a table and to be upright.

2. Get dressed.

A lot of people make the mistake of staying in their pajamas all day, and it won’t help you. Getting dressed helps you get into work mode. You don’t have to put on a pencil skirt and heels, but just a pair of jeans or workout clothes will help. If you have a video call or conference, you’d better be totally business from the waist up.

3. Stick to a schedule.

This really depends on the person’s work habits and what kind of clients they’re working with regularly. What’s important is that you get used to some kind of schedule so your body and brain can get accustomed to this schedule. If you find sleeping ’til 10 a.m and then working until 9 p.m. works better for you then go for it, but many people tend to find that the classic 9 to 5 or around then works best.

4. Tidy up.

For most, having an established and neat work area will help you be more productive. You really need to set up an office, or at least a makeshift one. “Today, telecommuting is something that enters many of our work worlds, [so] we should all create spaces at home that are conducive to working there,” says Heath Boice-Pardee, EdD, associate faculty member at the University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies and community manager of the PhoenixConnect® academic social network.

And if you have a Skype call, be sure that your background is presentable. Levo writer Katrina Taylor wrote, “Take a few minutes to de-clutter your surroundings and remove any potentially embarrassing items. Translation? Forgetting to relocate the naked mannequin torso that lives behind your office chair won’t win you any brownie points. (Fortunately, my co-workers have a sense of humor.)”

5. Communicate clearly.

Sometimes when you’re home, you fall into home mode. This may translate into your emails not being as clear. Because you’re not with people in the office, you’re already automatically at a disadvantage. Be articulate and clear in all communication and make sure it’s well thought out.

6. Don’t multitask your breaks.

Just because you think you can catch up on Orange is the New Black while you write invoices doesn’t mean you actually can or that it’ll help you. Take a real break and watch TV or go on a walk. Don’t mix work with a leisure activity. Set clear boundaries.

7. Try to talk with at least one human being every day.

Even though you may have hated all your co-workers and boss and are thrilled to not be in an office with them anymore, you’ll start to crave interaction. Humans are social by nature. Instead of just writing long emails, ask to have a phone call or even meet in person.

8. Go to a coffice.

Working from home doesn’t mean you actually have to work from home. Some people just need to get out of the house every day. They need the ambient noise of a coffee shop along with just seeing other people around. Writer Malcolm Gladwell has a perfectly lovely office at The New Yorker, but he prefers a coffee shop. In his acknowledgments in Blink, he thanked the staff of Savoy in SoHo where he wrote a big portion of his book. “They have these huge windows and they open them out so that people on the street are walking right by you. You feel the traffic; you feel in the middle of things and paradoxically I find it very calming.”

Ask Amy Levin about her tips from working from home. 

Photo: Thinkstock

My Power Outfit: Ice Cream Entrepreneur

My Power Outfit: Ice Cream Entrepreneur


Catherine Oddenino

Job title/company:

Co-founder, Luca & Bosco Ice Cream

Brief description of what you do in your role:

We’re a small team, so I’m involved with everything from making ice cream to scooping at our shop. I also manage our catering business and wholesale restaurant sales.

What are you wearing?

Lela Rose dress and sweater, Belle by Sigerson Morrison flats, vintage necklace, wooden bracelet from FIDM, Catbird threadbare rings

My Power Outfit: Ice Cream Entrepreneur

Why is this your power outfit?

I spend a lot of time in hairnets and aprons in the kitchen, so when I’m out pitching our ice cream to a new restaurant client or meeting with potential investors, I like to dress up a little for a change of pace. It still has to be comfortable though–no high heels for me!

How can fashion boost your confidence at work?

Wearing something that makes me feel good about myself gives me more poise and determination in my conversations. And confidence is essential for others to have faith in you.

Photos: Sam Teich / Levo League