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That Cheeky Question: Can I Pick Your Brains?!

I wrote about this, two years ago now, but felt I needed to revisit it again, as it is one that always creeps in under our business boundaries. While I am a firm believer in paying it forward, helping others and I enjoy giving advice, I write articles, tweet, Facebook and share daily – why is it that someone would think it’s okay to ask if they can ‘pick my brains?’

I often find that these ‘cheeky asks’ are from others who are gathering as much free intelligence and knowledge without wanting to pay. You can’t come to a professional and ask them to work for free; but that’s exactly what you’re doing when you ask to pick someone’s brain.

Why would someone think, I would want to give away my knowledge for free? When there’s training, reading, costs of memberships so I can network, attending conferences and mastering my skills – all this costs me money; and like any other business I want to protect my investment.

It makes no business sense for me to give away all the knowledge that I have acquired and use to make my living. I charge my paying clients very good money for my expertise and results.

I know this is a topic that many in business are also up against, as when I first posted on this subject a few years ago, many responded and commented saying that they too were fed up of people asking them the same – ‘can I pick your brains?’.

So, for all of us out there – our knowledge has value. We have invested time and money into learning our skill, we are experts and it’s not good business for us to give it away for free. Be strong and say politely no.

Photo Credit: NO MORE and Mariska Hargitay 20623 | by tedeytan

’Thinking of You’ Joni Sledge… #RIP.

This morning (12 March, 2017) I woke up to the sad news that Joni Sledge has passed away at the age of 60.  I am a big Sister Sledge fan, loved their music; ‘Thinking of You’ became my anthem from the age of 16 and I spent my disco years making memories to Sister Sledge.

So, it was my biggest personal moment to have been able to interview Joni Sledge a few months ago about her hopes for change and women’s empowerment. I could not believe that I my 16-year-old self would have this opportunity years and years later, reinforcing my belief that life is full of surprises and serendipity.

Here’s the full interview…’Thinking of You’ Joni, RIP.

 

Photo Credit: Photographer: Camilla Camaglia/Sister Sledge WAMOW endorsed by Joni Sledge

International Women’s Day: #BeBoldForChange

 

This year there is so much for us to shout about and our voices to be heard on, from – equal pay, supporting women in business, Trump and more. This year International Women’s Day on 8 March is asking everyone to #BeBoldForChange, urging us all to help forge a better working world – a more inclusive, gender equal world.

We know that progress has been slow and that we need international action to accelerate gender parity. The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186! This is just too long to wait. This 8 March provides an important opportunity for ground-breaking action that can truly drive greater change for women.

There are many initiatives and people doing vital work to help create this needed change, and I had the opportunity to interview Jane Shepherdson, MBE, a leading figure in fashion retail, former CEO of Whistles and prior to that, Brand Director at Topshop. Jane supporting young designers through the London College of Fashion’s Centre of Fashion Enterprise and has helped promote Fair Trade fashion to a wider audience as a Board member of Peopletree until 2013.

Jane is also Creative Advisor to Oxfam and a patron of the charity Smart Works, a service that offers free professional clothing and job interview training to women. I spoke with Shepherdson about her role at Smart Works and what this charity is all about from her perspective. Read the full interview.

Photo Credit: International Women’s Day