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January 31, 2017 0

By Jennifer S. Wilkov, Founder, Speak Up Women Conference

I often hear from women who tell me that they need to speak up to someone about a particular situation or feelings they have but they are not sure how to do it.

Years ago, someone in their lives probably said to them, “Use your words!” It was most likely a parent or adult who was coaxing them as an infant to use words to indicate what they wanted instead of crying or pointing and making noises.

Today, there isn’t someone who is telling them to use their words. In fact, they just might be having the opposite experience where someone may be telling them not to use them.

This happens in personal, professional and philanthropic or for-a-cause situations. You may find yourself uncomfortable and in a position where you are not sure what to say or how to speak up.

Here are some suggestions for some of these types of situations to help you get started:

PERSONAL

When it comes to having a difficult conversation with a loved one or friend, it is often best to ask the person for a dedicated time to talk with them first. Then you can set some rules of engagement for the conversation you would like to have. I often use the “heart to heart conversation” model with those I love and care about. It includes an upfront verbal agreement that each person will be given the opportunity to speak uninterrupted until they are complete. Then the other person receiving the communication will simply say “thank you.” Then you switch roles until you are both done saying everything you want to say. At the end of these conversations, it is also nice to hug one another and thank each other for the productive, respectful conversation. It is much better than arguing or fighting or talking over one another so no one can hear what the other person is saying. You will also come out of it feeling good about one another and feel heard.

PROFESSIONAL

If your situation involves one individual, outline the talking points you want to make and what outcome you want from the conversation. Make an appointment with the person so you have their undivided attention. Be realistic about the time you have with this person and be effective and efficient with the communication you use. Be sure to establish upfront what you want to talk about, why you want to talk about it, and what result you hope will come out of the conversation. The clearer you are upfront, the better conversation you will have. Introduce your topic and do your very best to stick to your talking points and the reason you want to have the conversation. If the discussion diverts to another topic, do your best to bring it back to your agenda and intention.

If you are in a meeting with others, indicate that you want to say something to the person leading the meeting. Do not raise your hand. Be clear about the point you want to make and be concise in your communication about it.

One other point: Do not apologize for speaking or for what you have to say. Be confident and say what you want to with competence and respect. Be a good listener to those who respond and be open to collaborative solutions as well as if someone says no to something you are requesting. Be engaged and make your point with clarity and conviction.

PHILANTHROPIC

When you feel compelled to speak to others about a cause you care about, it is important to be clear about what the cause is. If you have a particular interest, ask others how you can get involved and what organizations or associations they know of that make efforts for it. If you want to start a new group, first define what the group is for, what it focuses on, and how you want other people to participate. This could be anything from a lemonade stand to support someone you know with cancer or another ailment or an effort to collect food for the homeless.

POLITICAL PROCESS

Regardless of what side of the aisle you are on, you can participate and speak up in the political dialogue that continues to rage in the U.S. right now. The best way to speak up is to find out who your Congress representatives are and put their numbers into your phones on speed dial. You can use the website www.CallMyCongress.com to find out who your senators and House representative(s) are along with their phone numbers, Twitter handles, party affiliation and voting record. Congressional offices record the phone calls that come in each day and the topics you call about. This is the fastest and best way to speak up to your representatives in Congress about your personal feelings and advocate for what you want them to do. They are in office to represent their constituents like you so you are supposed to call them to let them know what is important to you and what you want them to do.

Disclaimer: Speak Up Women is a non-partisan community that encourages those with opinions and feelings on all sides of all conversations to respectfully communicate with one another in a meaningful dialogue.

If you are not sure where to begin, take the first step in faith and do your best. The more you speak up, the more comfortable you will be with doing it and the more you will learn to do it in ways that feel good for you.

You never know how and when your opinion and feelings may inform others until you speak up. The impact you have may not just be for you; it may affect many others you may not even know about.

So Speak Up!

 


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January 24, 2017 0

Speak Up Women - Speak Up: The First Amendment - Let All Voices Be Heard

By Jennifer S. Wilkov, Founder, Speak Up Women Conference 

Following the Women’s March on Washington this past weekend, many women were asking the question, “What’s next?” Others were asking, “Why did the march happen?” and still others were wondering whether they could even speak up, much less march.

I encourage you to take a moment to understand for yourself why you marched or didn’t march or didn’t understand the march. What was it about it that stirred you, disturbed you, or even scared you?

Marches like this one, albeit this one was historic in numbers and nature, are really about the 1st Amendment and our rights under it. If you haven’t read it in a while, it clearly states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

While I understand that maybe you haven’t seen this in writing since one of yours or your children’s social studies classes in school, it is important to familiarize yourself with it again in the wake of what is happening in our nation.

Whatever your opinions, feelings and thoughts are about the variety of issues, topics and areas being raised in our national discourse, the truth is your words matter and they deserve to be heard.

The efforts to suppress someone’s voice because they don’t agree with you only stifles the very dialogue we need to have in order to better understand one another and the lives we want to live. It goes beyond bullying. It blocks the discourse that leads to peace.

Speaking up requires courage and effort. It is something that breeds fear in the hearts of women and men in many cases because these people have been shut down and shut up for years, causing them to question the very value of their own feelings and opinions.

In order to take on conversations, whether political, in the workplace, in your home and with friends, or even for a cause you believe in and want to do something about, you are going to have speak up, use your words, and express yourself. This is not something to be taken lightly by anyone, and it should be respected by everyone when someone does it.

Speaking up is a skill everyone has and has the right to. It is how we dialogue about our respective feelings. We are not all going to agree on every point. It is how our species works and communicates and conveys our varying views. It also how we learn about one another and understand that it is okay to disagree. It is how we find out what we value individually and what we feel is right for each of us.

If we cannot allow others to speak up and express themselves, then we are not going to get any further than we are now. Bickering is not a solution. It is a stalemate. It blocks the path forward in any discourse.

Speak up! Don’t be afraid to talk about what is important to you. Share it with everyone you know. Allow others around you to do the same. Give it a try and see what you hear. It is not about disagreeing and becoming disgruntled. It is about allowing the dialogue to continue and the discourse to move forward.

You never know how and when your opinion and feelings may inform others until you speak up. The impact you have may not just be for you, it may affect many others you may not even know about.

So Speak Up!


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January 16, 2017 0

 

By Jennifer S. Wilkov, Founder, Speak Up Women Conference

When I was a kid, I was raised singing the song “This Land Is Your Land”, which was written by Woody Guthrie a couple of decades before I was born. By the time I learned it and sang along, there were multiple versions and covers made of it from popular singers like Peter, Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger (whom I loved listening to), and even Bob Dylan and later on Bruce Springsteen.

As the song lyrics say, this land is your land, this land is my land.

Well, I say to you that if this land really IS your land and if this land really IS my land, then we are all going to need to speak up about what that really means to each of us and what we want our land to be like and how we want it to be treated.

Recently, amidst the climate of conversations in the United States, there have been many a subject matter that each of us perhaps has something about it that we want to say. Whether it is about the aftermath of the U.S. Presidential election to the standoff at Standing Rock or our economy or even the football teams heading to the Super Bowl in a few weeks, it seems like the roar of voices expressing their opinions and feelings is growing louder.

To me, this is a good thing!

Speaking up leads to dialogues about issues we feel are near and dear to us in our personal, professional and philanthropic lives. Some issues are directly related to us individually; others affect others and we care enough about them to stand up and speak up to express our dissatisfaction or concerns related to them.

Just like in the days of the , we are finding ourselves as a community rising up with our varying voices to express what we want and what we want for those around us, including our children, business colleagues, friends and neighbors.

Without this effort to speak up, the lives we want to live would not be possible because we would be relying on others to cast the die for us, leaving us to live in the wake of what they decided was best for us.

Only you can tell someone what is best for you and how you feel. Only you can inform people and let them know what is important to you. If you don’t, how will they know? After all, they can’t read your mind. If you don’t express yourself, your voice cannot be heard and the life you want cannot manifest the way you want it to.

When I sang “this land is your land, this land is my land” as a little girl, it was a great song. I knew all the words and smiled a big smile when I sang it. I loved its lyrics about the Redwood Forest to the Gulfstream waters and endless skyway above me and the golden valley below me. I felt like it was about my country and where I lived – and I felt good about it.

These days, the words to the song are the same, but the title of the song means something more to me. It is my land and it is your land. It is a land where we are fortunate to be allowed to speak up and tell the people in our lives what we want and what lives we want to live. We are fortunate and blessed to live in such a land.

It will take all of us speaking up to help guide us forward and create the land we want going forward.

I invite you today and everyday to speak up for the life you want and make this land YOUR LAND.

Speak Up!

 


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March 1, 2016

Guest Post from Cherie Corso, Founder of G2 Organics and Panelist, Speak Up in Business Panel at the Speak Up Women Conference

Chasing the dream of life balance is exhausting. We, as women, spend more time giving to everyone else, leaving ourselves bankrupt. As the nurturers of the world, we are born with an innate gift to give; however, when we decide to give to ourselves, it is looked at as selfish. Some of us hate telling people no in fear of disappointing them at the cost of oCherie Corso - Panelist, Speak Up in Business Panelur sanity. That mentality has stopped many successful women reach their full potential in life and in business.

I am compelled to write to you to give you the confidence boost you need to come out of the shadows and speak up, demanding the life you deserve. You have a voice and hopefully these 5 steps will help you find it and ignite the inner strength you need to finally SPEAK UP!

 

Step One – Realize everyone is NOT going to like you.

The first thing I think every woman entrepreneur should understand is that your gifts and talents are not for everyone and that’s okay. As you understand your purpose, you will attract all those kindred spirits that you were sent for. Have you noticed that many entrepreneurs will name their audience?

Names like tribes, societies, newbies, armies, etc. are given to give them a sense of inclusion and letting your audience know you were sent for them and them alone. You’re either in the tribe or you’re not. The more you focus on the people that don’t like you, the less time you will be able to focus on the audience that’s waiting for someone just like you to speak directly to them.

Step Two – Believe you have a lot to offer.

You’ve probably said one hundred times, “Why would anyone want to listen to me?” Or, “that’s been done already, so why bother?”

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When I got the idea to start G2 Organics, I didn’t look at all the other product lines out there. I knew that my beliefs and ideas were worth all the money and work to get it in the hands of customers around the world.

I believed so much in my voice that I couldn’t keep silent about it. Regardless of how many people have done it before you, no one will be able to transform that idea using your feminine energy and knowledge. Every trial, failure, and victory has led you to this moment. Seize it!

Step Three – Understand the role of competition.

We are bombarded by society to be in constant competition with each other. If you’ve seen two celebrities wear the same outfit on the red carpet, the headline the next day will read, ‘Who wore it better?’ For the single ladies at weddings, they fight to the death for the bride’s bouquet. There’s no need to be defensive and even snippy with other women. Realize that we are greater in numbers and the community that you’re able to build will elevate your thinking and status in so many ways.

I challenge you to find at least two like-minded women that can give you the much needed motivation to keep going. They will feed the woman that you are and the entrepreneur that you’re striving to be. These women will hold you accountable to your goals and a little friendly competition never hurt.

 

Step Four – Prepare for success.

I love to hear people say, “She came out of nowhere!” In reality, no she didn’t. There were years of planning and preparation before anyone knew her name. It takes a lot of work to be spontaneous. If you have an important meeting scheduled, show up early and have a pre-meeting, breaking the ice with conversation. When you’re in a relaxed state, your feminine energy shines and your mind is clear to communicate your ideas effectively.

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The more you prepare that speech, presentation, or meeting, you are giving yourself room to adjust to last minute changes. You are able to simply acknowledge life’s hiccups and make the immediate adjustments. Luck is your preparation that meets the opportunities.

Step Five – Take the physical and emotional risks as an entrepreneur.

As an entrepreneur your greatest successes will come out of your greatest failures. You’re going to have to take the leap out of your comfort zone to take the risks necessary to get results. Some of our favorite inventions like the microwave, chocolate chip cookies, and even the potato chip were all products of the inventor’s mistake. Having your own business is exciting and exhilarating, but never lose  your ability to throw your ideas to the walls and see what sticks.

As a wife, mother, and businesswoman, I wear many hats and sometimes I amaze myself when I get it all done. It takes work, but it’s not as hard as you think. Every no is one step closer to a yes! Will you be ready?

I look forward to meeting you at the Speak Up Women Conference on March 5th at the United Nations and hearing about your experience!


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February 22, 2016

Guest Post from Judy Goss, Moderator, How to Speak Up & What’s Holding You Back Panel at the Speak Up Women Conference

 

Before you SPEAK UP, make sure you know WHY it is you want to talk about it.

I’m writing this with the assumption that you want to market yourself to the world, increase your visibility and make a living from what you love, right?

Yes, of course – we all want to do that on varying levels, whether you have your own business, are a part-time freelancer or are simply trying to get ahead in your career as an expert. The problem is, we need to have a rock-solid grasp of WHO and WHAT we are and WHY we are doing what we do before we start growing.

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I have heard countless times that today’s marketing is all about “authenticity.” Being authentic can be tough, especially when combining it in the professional world. I stopped myself countless times from admitting I had been through bankruptcy because I wanted to be known as an “astute businesswoman.” Little did I know that telling the truth about my story would inspire and motivate others, which was really what my companies were all about! So it came full circle and helped me in the end, when I could have saved time and wrapped my “real self” into my marketing in the first place. Real stories sell – Trump admitted his bankruptcies, why couldn’t I?

At the heart of it, speaking about yourself (and/or your business!) requires maintaining a consistent message to your audience that you are who you are, you know what you are selling, and within that message is why you are selling/offering what you do.

A good way to find where to begin is to write down the top three reasons of what your intentions are with your business or career in the first place, and tape it on the wall where you will see it every day. Here are mine when I started Over 40 Females:

  • To make the women over 40 demographic more relevant and thus create more opportunities for women.
  • To give women over 40 a platform to be heard and celebrated while connecting them with each other forming a close-knit community.
  • To take that exclusive community for women over 40 and provide resources to draw from ranging from business building to spiritual guidance to media exposure.

A great way to be consistent with your story is to come up with a tagline for your company. Or, if you are a sales rep or don’t have your own business, you can still have a quote that follows you around and represents your personal story in just a few words – put it on your email signature, post it on Facebook, show it everywhere you market yourself. The most important part is to be consistent. Over 40 Females is “Your Network. Your World. Your Community.” Our motto is “Connect, Encourage and Inspire” but I didn’t feel like that that was enough – it doesn’t really describe what we are, so we came up with a tagline that as soon as you see our company name, you will have an idea of who we are and what we do.

The why? It should be in your messaging. One of my favorite videos is one Simon Sintek did, it’s about 20 minutes and it changes my life every time I see it:

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{Click the image to view Simon’s TED Talk}

 

Here is an example of “Who” and “What” Over 40 Females is:

A live and online networking community for women over the age of 40 to give women a platform to be heard, a place to network personally and professionally, a hub for educational resources and an impassioned community for women over the age of 40 with the motto “Connect, Encourage and Inspire.”

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“Why” would you join us?

We help women over 40 who are in transition, going through a re-invention or re-building their lives professionally or personally. The ways we do this is by connecting them with other like-minded women, providing them constant resources through our experts with teleseminars, educational videos and more, offering them unique ways to promote their businesses or careers and giving them a place to come where everyone feels like extended family – a place where women over 40 finally belong.

What is YOUR why?

 

I look forward to meeting you at the Speak Up Women Conference on March 5th at the United Nations and hearing about your experience!


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February 8, 2016

Do you remember when you were an infant and someone said to you, “Use your words. Come on, use your words!” Well, you probably don’t remember someone saying this to you, but if you are a parent or an aunt or uncle, you may be familiar with this simple phrase.

It’s what we say to infants to get them to talk and use their voices to tell us what they want and need.

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As we grow older, somehow the adults around us stop saying, “Use your words,” and start saying “Shush!” or “Be quiet!” or “Keep it down; you’re too loud.” We get asked to stop using our words – and our voices.

For too many, this simple experience shuts off your ability and instincts to speak up about what you want and need, what you’re interested in, what you like and don’t like, and how you feel about things. You end up living a life in silence about the things you don’t enjoy, don’t want to experience, and don’t feel you can talk about with someone in business, in your family, with your life partner or in your community.

You feel stifled by society – and sometimes in your life.

When I grew up, the band Supertramp sang a popular song called “The Logical Song,” in which their lyrics started with:

 

 “When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,

A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.

And all the birds in the trees, well they’d be singing so happily,

Joyfully, playfully watching me.

But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible,

Logical, responsible, practical.

And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,

Clinical, intellectual, cynical.”

When you were young, it was okay to giggle, laugh, coo and use your words. Maybe when you were growing up, someone shushed you and asked you not to use them anymore.

If you want the people around you in your life – in business, at home, your friends, and in your community – to understand who you are, what you want, what you care about, and what you like and don’t like, then you are going to need to find the courage to speak up and let them know.

The more you use your words, the more effective you will be at living the life you want.

So Speak Up!

 

For more about speaking up, watch
this video of our founder, Jennifer S. Wilkov, talk about
why it is so important to speak up and
the impact you can make when you do.

Go to www.SpeakUpWomen.com to learn more and
to register to attend the Speak Up Women Conference
at the United Nations on March 5th, 2016



February 8, 2016

Meet Kathy Zucker, a Panelist on the Speak Up in Your Community Panel at the Speak Up Women Conference happening at the United Nations on March 5th, 2016!

Kathy Zucker is an author, startup founder, international social media Shorty Awards winner, and Real Time Academy judge. A Columbia graduate and two-time national champion, she is a member of Cobra Fencing Club and the Columbia University fencing advisory board. She lives with her husband and three children in Hoboken, NJ. You can find her on social media at @KathyZucker and at KathyZucker.com.

“Kathy embodies the spirit of New York Life’s #KeepGoodGoing Shorty Award. Even during difficult times, including during Superstorm Sandy, she was an inspiration and educational resource to families in her local community. We applaud Kathy for being the first to win this category and we thank New York Life for sponsoring #KeepGoodGoing and for its support spreading the word,” said Greg Galant, the co-founder and executive producer of the Shorty Awards.

Kathy Zucker - Panelist, Speak Up in Your Community Panel
Kathy Zucker – Panelist, Speak Up in Your Community Panel

“Kathy is a great example of someone who uses social media to share her own life lessons, which in turn help others. Her tweets in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy provided critical news and updates to her community. We congratulate her on winning a Shorty Award and thank her for using social media to keep good going,” said Liz McCarthy, senior vice president and head of Corporate Communications, New York Life.

Join Kathy as she shares her insights
during this important panel about
Speak Up in Your Community
at this amazing inaugural event!

For more about speaking up, watch
this video of our founder, Jennifer S. Wilkov, talk about
why it is so important to speak up and
the impact you can make when you do.

Go to www.SpeakUpWomen.com to learn more and
to register to attend the Speak Up Women Conference
at the United Nations on March 5th, 2016

 


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February 8, 2016

Meet Tai Beauchamp, a Panelist on the How to Speak Up & What’s Holding You Back Panel at the Speak Up Women Conference happening at the United Nations on March 5th, 2016!

An influencer, public speaker, media personality and entrepreneur, Tai engages women around the world with her genuine approach to celebrating inner and outer beauty. A publishing industry veteran, Tai’s expertise in media and fashion was solidified through her experience as a beauty and fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, O, The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen and at Vibe Vixen Magazines. After years of consulting with international philanthropist Ray Chambers, Tai launched her media company, Tai Life Media, LLC to more holistically connect style and empowered living. TheTaiLife.com, a content platform aimed to inspire women ages 22-45 in every aspect of their lives is Beauchamp’s latest venture.

Tai Beauchamp, Panelist - How to Speak Up & What's Holding You Back
Tai Beauchamp, Panelist – How to Speak Up & What’s Holding You Back

Since 2006, Tai’s creative talents and style authority has become the go-to for national and international consumer brands. She has partnered with and served as an ambassador, expert, content producer, and event host for companies including Procter & Gamble, InStyle, MSL Group, Pikolinos, Target, Universal Records, the United Nations, and Wal-Mart among others.

A motivational speaker, Tai engages audiences on topics ranging from Entrepreneurship to Girl Power to Stylish Living and 21st Philanthropy. She’s delivered messages at The Clinton Foundation, Harvard Business School, Spelman College, Columbia and Howard University and as far as Lagos, Nigeria. She contributes on the boards of WIE Network, Harlem’s Fashion Row and The New Jersey Performance Art’s Center Women’s Board of Trustees.

A lifestyle guru for major TV networks and print media, Tai has appeared on NBC, E!, BET, ExtraTV, The View, The Chew, The Wendy Williams Show, and TV One. She is the former host of The View’s “Must Have Monday” segment, a lauded red carpet correspondent for the Grammy Awards and the Academy Awards and most recently the host of TLC’s makeover show “Dare to Wear.” She has been featured in O, the Oprah Magazine, Life & Style, and Essence. Tai lives in New York City.

 

Join Tai as she shares her insights
during this important panel about
How to Speak Up & What’s Holding You Back
at this amazing inaugural event!

For more about speaking up, watch
this video of our founder, Jennifer S. Wilkov, talk about
why it is so important to speak up and
the impact you can make when you do.

Go to www.SpeakUpWomen.com to learn more and
to register to attend the Speak Up Women Conference
at the United Nations on March 5th, 2016


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February 3, 2016

Meet Judy Goss, the Moderator of the How to Speak Up & What’s Holding You Back Panel at the Speak Up Women Conference happening at the United Nations on March 5th, 2016!

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Judy Goss – Moderator, How to Speak Up & What’s Holding You Back Panel

 

An experienced TV personality and radio show host who has hosted her own shows, interviewed A-list celebrities, appeared on countless TV shows as a News Correspondent, Lifestyle Expert, Author, Spokesperson and Women’s Advocate is currently the host of “What Women Want” on LA Talk Radio with 30,000 listeners/month.

As a More Magazine Editor/Better TV Correspondent Judy was chosen to interview celebrities such as former first lady Laura Bush in a private sitdown and also hosted her own show on Better TV. Judy also had the pleasure of interviewing other notable women such as Barbara Corcoran, Nora Ephron, Jean Chatzky and even stars like D.M.C. from the famed rap group “Run-DMC” and many more. Judy regularly appears on networks such as NBC, ABC and FOX news shows.

As the author of “Break Into Modeling for Under $20″ published by St. Martin’s Press, Judy achieved national press and acclaim for her book being touted as the “go-to guide” for anyone wanting to venture into the modeling industry.

Judy also founded the nationally acclaimed organization Over 40 Females®,” a live and online networking community to “Connect, Encourage and Inspire” women over the age of 40 all over the world. In the press constantly because of Judy’s background, Over 40 Females has become a force to be reckoned with in the women’s networking industry.

Working as a modeling agent led Judy to become an editor for Cosmopolitan and then More Magazine. After only two months with More, Judy was selected to be their national media spokesperson which was a catalyst to her hosting career. This position included a vast and varied array of interviews with radio, television and print where she traveled across the country doing beauty and fashion segments along with representing their nationwide model search for women over 40.

 

Join Judy as she moderates this important panel about
How to Speak Up & What’s Holding You Back
at this amazing inaugural event!

 

For more about speaking up, watch
this video of our founder, Jennifer S. Wilkov, talk about
why it is so important to speak up and
the impact you can make when you do.

Go to www.SpeakUpWomen.com to learn more and
to register to attend the Speak Up Women Conference
at the United Nations on March 5th, 2016