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Archive for August, 2013

Neelamma’s Water Tap

August 15, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education


Neelamma has struggled for years without a water connection at home, suffering from skin conditions contracted through contaminated water and walking long distances to find water sources. At 37, Nelamma is divorced, has a 3 year old daughter, and lives with her parents in Mariyala village, Chamarajanagar district, Karnataka.

Neelamma’s village, like so many in the region, faces severe water shortages during the hot summer months. Even during the monsoon season when there seems to be water everywhere, the water from the public tank is not safe for consumption. A year ago, Neelamma got skin allergy after bathing with the tank water. She is not alone. After several other members of her village had similar reactions, they raised their concerns at the Gram Panchayat (local government) meeting and the Panchayat sent the water sample for testing. The test result proved that the water from the public tank was contaminated with chemicals at a level far beyond the threshold for safe consumption. While their concerns were validated, they had no other source for water. “The Gram Panchayat told us not to use the tank water for consumption, but use it for domestic purposes only,” Neelamma says. “[But] they did not tell us where to get the drinking water from.”

Faced with no viable source for safe water, the villagers have been left to search on their own for new sources of drinking water. Those who could afford to do so began buying water. Others without the financial resources to do that, like Neelamma, would walk for several kilometers each day to one of the nearby landlords’ houses to ask for water. If successful, they then must carry 4-6 pots of water the long distance back to their homes. “We cannot go to the same house every time to ask for water,” Neelamma says. “Even they need water. We used to keep changing the house. Some houses were very far.” Each day Neelamma had to face possible rejection from the landlord she had chosen to approach, each day she had to face the fear that she may return with empty pots and no water for her family.

It was clear to Neelamma that there must be a better solution. In village meetings, local government representatives had encouraged families to get their own household water connection, but never provided any information on how. When Neelamma started inquiring about the process, she learned that to get a pipe connection to her family’s home would require approval from the local government and take several days to install because the main underground pipeline was not near her house. As an individual living in a single family home, she might never get approval for this since the Panchayat would have to invest significant resources to extend the pipeline to reach her home.

As Neelamma continued to explore her options she met the field officer of Water.org’s program partner Grameen Koota and learned about a group model that could help her family and her neighbors gain access to a water connection. Grameen Koota’s field officer explained that while the cost is great to connect one family home that is not near the existing pipeline, the value of making that investment to connect several homes is more appealing to the Panchayat. Understanding this potential, Neelamma became an active member of a Joint Liability Group (JLG) and motivated other women in her neighborhood to come forward and lead the initiative with her.

She and five other women then formed their own JLG and attended regular trainings at the center where members from JLG meet and discuss common issues. After learning the process, Neelamma and the other women applied for a Rs. 15,000 loan (approx. US$250) to install a water point in their neighborhood. When they received the loan, Neelamma submitted Rs. 400 as deposit to the Panchayat’s office and the remaining amount was used for raw materials and labor charges. The staff of Grameen Koota made multiple visits to monitor the work during the construction phase and project was completed successfully. At last Neelamma has a water point in the neighborhood.

Now instead of forging out each day in the hope of securing enough water for her family to consume, Neelamma goes once a week to the neighborhood water point and brings home enough safe drinking water for her family. She fills 20 pots each week and stores them for her family to use. In 30 minutes a week she can do what she spent hours a day worrying about in the past.

Her new water connection has brought a relief and solved the crisis of drinking water in her neighborhood. “Now, we know on which day water will come so we don’t have to go on waiting. Even if we are not at home, we ask our neighbor to fill the water for us,” says Neelamma.

Today, with the time she has now that she no longer needs to collect water daily, Neelamma has opened and runs a small shop in her village. “Running a shop has many advantages. I am able to do other household chores and look after my daughter,” she says. “[And] my shop is helping me repay the loan amount.”

This success story was submitted by Water.org’s partner organization, Grameen Koota, and was made possible by a generous grant from the PepsiCo Foundation.

Tell Congress: Women Deserve Equal Pay!

August 15, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

In 2011, women earned, on average, 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. For women of color, the wage gap is even worse. In today’s economy, income inequality is high, well-paying jobs are scarce, and women and families are struggling to make ends meet.

The gender wage gap means women must work even harder to achieve economic security for themselves and for their families.
The Fair Pay Act (S. 168/H.R. 438) and the Paycheck Fairness Act (S.84/H.R. 377) would help address the gender wage gap by helping ensure that women receive full and fair compensation for their work. Contact your members of Congress today and urge them to co-sponsor and support these bills!

Last year, of the five best-paid executives at each of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies, 198 were women, or 8 percent of the total. Those high-achievers on average earned $5.3 million, 18 percent less than men.

According to a CBS News report ,there is an even bigger pay gap for women at the top of the corporate ladder.
Out of 2,500 of best-paid executives, only 198 were female, according to a Bloomberg report based on the S&P 500. Women earned $5.3 million on average — 18 percent less than men.
“The disparity is often because women negotiate less than men,” according to CBS News contributor and analyst Mellody Hobson. Hobson, who has been on committees that decide executive salaries, said when women do negotiate, there’s a sense that it will backfire. “Men, when they ask for more money, it’s seen as assertive,” she said. “When women do it, it’s seen as self-centered. And as a result of that, it affects our likability and our likability factors in to us being promoted along with competency.”

Women with the same degrees as men have lower starting salaries — $39,600 versus $51,300 among men, according to the American Association of University Women, a nonprofit advocacy group.
If women were paid more fairly, it could be a “boon for our country,” Hobson said. “We’ve been talking about this tepid growth we have in the U.S,” she said. “If women made the same as men, we would see three to four percentage points go up in growth. That is not insignificant. Just think back to the financial crisis — $800 billion was injected into our economy, and that represented 1.5 percent growth, so we’re talking big numbers. This is not just about helping a woman or her family. We all win in this scenario if women are paid fairly.”

Some of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act

August 15, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

21.3 million more Americans will get healthcare coverage.

You can’t be denied coverage for preexisting conditions such as asthma, diabetes,
high blood pressure or even cancer. And if you or a family member get sick or injured,
insurance companies can’t cut off your coverage or cancel your plan.

· Your kids are covered. If you have children, they can stay on your family health insurance plan until they turn 26.

· No more dollar limits on your care. You can get the care you need, without having to worry about huge, unexpected medical bills.

· Your coverage is protected. An unintentional mistake or minor omission on an application can no longer give your insurance company an excuse to cancel your coverage. More preventive care is covered

· Medicare now covers a yearly wellness visit and preventive care at no cost to you. This includes cancer, cholesterol and diabetes screenings, immunizations, diet counseling and more.

· Lower prescription drug costs for Medicare, and the “donut hole” will disappear entirely in 2020

· Every state will have a Health Insurance Marketplace where people looking for coverage can go online to shop for health insurance.

· For the first time, there’s help available to pay for health coverage. In fact, many people who buy their plan on the marketplace can get help covering the costs. Low-cost or free plans are also available depending on your income.

· Small businesses can get tax credits, there are cooperative possibilities to lower costs and many other benefits for the small business owner.

· Obamacare requires insurance companies to provide preventive care as part of your coverage including: High blood pressure screening, Diabetes screening, Flu shots, Colorectal cancer screening, Tobacco cessation counseling, Depression screening,HIV screening for those at risk for the disease

· Services for Women, including: Mammograms, Cervical cancer screening, Osteoporosis screening, Gestational diabetes screening, Well-woman visits

· Services for Children: Immunizations, including flu shots, Autism screening, Behavioral assessments, Development screening, Obesity screening and counseling

· Services for Men: Cholesterol screening, Prostate exams

A Feng Shui Vacation

August 06, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Yvonne Phillips-Feng Shui for Basic Everyday Living!





We plan all year to go on that vacation of our dreams, but is it always one of our “dream vacations”?

Here is my take on a recent trip to Mexico as a Feng Shui & Foodie expert.

I was met at the entrance by a hotel bellman with a pleasant smile, and he immediately asked me how he could assist me. Ahh very nice start, my shoulders start to relax from the airplane and shuttle journey to get to my final destination. He gives me the details on how to register and he would be very glad to handle my baggage until I was registered.

• The entrance to your home brings in the good, healthy chi energy.
It will also give the same results if you pay special attention to the area.

On my way to the registration area, a lovely lady met me with several cocktails of my choice. I didn’t want to be rude, so of course, I helped myself to a cool looking Mohito. Yes, it was just a perfect start of the holiday vacation! This was a gracious, hospitable beginning and I was eating it up as I have worked in the hospitality business for a long time.

The registration area was well manned and I was given immediate attention to handle my check in and my accommodations for the week. It went smoothly and I was taken back to the gentleman who had my luggage and he escorted me to my room. Thank goodness, as it was a maze of different pathways to navigate with my luggage.

I am a very visual person and all the sights and colors and sounds captured me immediately and I couldn’t wait to explore the resort. All of my Feng Shui senses were at full attention. The seating areas in the open gathering spaces were colorful and had uplifting music to help weary travelers start the transition from home to vacation.

All of the elements of Feng Shui, water, earth, metal, fire and wood were present everywhere I looked. The beautiful, well designed swimming pools, the well maintained tropical forests were just wonderful and made me smile immediately. But then there was a big surprise waiting for me on the other side of a curved walk way. Right in the middle of
my path was the most extraordinary peacock I had ever seen and for some reason I was shown the glorious color display.

• The symbolism of a peacock is good luck and rejuvenation

• Chi – This great energy is achieved through having winding pathways that replicate streams of water.

As in most of the Mexican resorts the colors are the earthy tones of oranges, yellows, soft greens and very welcoming. My room was no exception; it made me happy right away. I threw the bags down and was on the search for my new island resort wardrobe that I could hardly wait to wear. Now the trick was to find my way back along the curving pathways to the swimming pools. Have no fear; the place is very well marked and easy to navigate. I find Pool number 1 and it had the most amazing children’s water pool I have ever seen. It was totally separate of the other pools and had everything that you as a parent would hope for, including two lifeguards who were actually interacting with the children in the pool.

• The Earth element is very important for your relaxation and re-centering.

On to pool number 2 (the adult pool) l, hmm there is a sign for a “Quiet Zone.” Yes, I am going to check that pool out. It was located in an area that was away from the children and any other loud activities like the water volleyball or singing and dancing that were going on. This was my first day and I needed to de-stress to be able to enjoy my time at the resort and this seemed like the perfect location for me. As I entered into the pool area, I saw a large waterfall with a lovely pool underneath it. Does it get any better than this for a Feng Shui expert? I am home and I am going to enjoy a relaxing time until it was time for lunch.

• Water - Still or slow flowing water such as a fountain, bird bath, pond or pooled water from a stream. Colors representing water is blue makes for the most relaxing areas.

It is exactly 12 noon which means it is time to check out the food. As I am a foodie from way back, this was very, very important to me. There are many outdoor dining rooms to choose from, but I decided on the one that was easy to go to with their lovely buffets and well-designed food areas. I can hardly choose my food as I am going through the area just enjoying how well they have prepared the food area for our arrival that day. Every food station was merchandised with fresh fruits and veggies and had a great display of plants intermixed throughout the area including miniature water falls mixed in the displays. Yes, I was happy, happy, happy! These are areas that I work in on a daily basis in my food career and was delighted with their attention to detail. Now the real test was what to eat easily and safely for me.

Food safety experts tell you to not eat the fruit and veggies or to drink the water for health reasons. The main reason not to eat any items grown in the soil is that they don’t have the standards that we have here in the USA. But that is what everyone, who is not in the food industry usually, eats. They think it is ok, but in reality, it isn’t.

No fruit, no veggies, no water and now what. My first day was a burger and fries, just because they were cooked well and nothing was there to upset my system until I was more used to their food. I didn’t give them a 5 star rating on any of their dining areas, I would say more like 3.5, but I critique food on a daily basis and I always go for the gold in the food area. Most other diners were perfectly fine with their food choices.

• Key to successful Feng Shui is feeling safe in all that you do!

I am admiring the views and out of the forest a parade of Lemurs, jumping and interacting with me. What a delightful surprise! All of the animals there including cats, tropical birds, pink flamencos and lovely Lemur’s made my vacation the best.

August, 2013

August 06, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Get Ready…Get Set…It’s Starting….SOON!!!
Thursday, August 1, 201….the start of our famous BAG SALE

Friendly reminder…our famous semi-annual BAG SALE starts Thursday,August 1st, during regular hours and continues through August 24th. All the clothes you can stuff in a brown grocery bag (which Giant Eagle donates!) for $20!
Woman take off work to be there -
that’s how phenomenal the bargains are!!

STORE HOURS: T 11-6 W 11-6 TH 11-8 F 11-4 SA 11-4
8035 McKnight Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 412-364-3256

Please join us this month. This is an informal networking event, open to any
business woman who would like to increase her business contacts or clients
in the Pittsburgh area. Please bring 10-20 of your business cards, cash for
your lunch check plus your $5 non-member meeting fee and be prepared
to do a 60 second commercial about your business. We look forward to seeing you there!

WSBA Network Lunch - Butler, Wednesday, August 7, 2013, 1:00 PM
Serventi’s Restaurant and Lounge, 438 S Chestnut St, Butler, PA 16001

WSBA Network Lunch - Robinson/Airport, Friday, August 9, 2013, 1:00 PM
Bravo,211 Summit Park Drive , Pittsburgh, PA 15275

WSBA Network Lunch - Beaver County, Monday, August 12, 2013, 1:00 PM
J.W. Halls, 2284 Brodhead Rd, Aliquippa, PA, 15001

Network Lunch - East End, Thursday, August 13, 2013, 1:00 PM
Park Bruges, 5801 Bryant Street, Pittsburgh, PA15206

WSBA Network Lunch - Shaler/Gibsonia, Wednesday, August 14, 2013, 11:30
Lins Garden, 5560 William Flynn Hiway, Route 910, Gibsonia, PA 15044

WSBA Network Lunch - Washington, Thursday, August 15, 2013, 1:00 PM
Angelo’s restaurant, 2109 Fanklin Drive, Washington, PA 15301

WSBA Network Lunch - Monroeville, Friday, August 16, 2013, 1:00 PM
Gia Visto, 4366 Old William Penn Highway, Monroeville, PA 15146

WSBA Network Lunch - South Hills, Wednesday, August 21, 2013, 1:00 PM
Getaway Cafe, 3049 Sussex Ave, Pittsburgh, PA

WSBA Network Breakfast - Beaver, Thursday, August 22, 2013, 7:00 AM
Café Kolache, 402 3rd Street, Beaver, PA 15009

WSBA Network Lunch - Westmoreland, Friday, August 23, 2013, 12:00
The Boulevard Restaurant, 900 Towne Square Dr, Greensburg, PA

WSBA Network Lunch - North Hills, Tuesday, August 27, 2013, 1:00 PM
Atria’s 12980 Perry Highway, Wexford, PA 15090

WSBA After Work Network, Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 5:15 PM
Allegheny Wine Mixer Inc, 5326 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

August 9, 2013
South Hills Country Club

The monthly luncheon meeting of the Women’s Networking of the Brentwood Baldwin Whitehall Chamber of Commerce will meet on Friday, August 9, noon, at South Hills Country Club. Please plan on attending and bring a friend. We welcome members and non-members. Tables are available for ladies who would like to display products or merchandise. Everyone will pass out cards and brochures and present a one-minute “commercial.”

Guest Speaker
Stephanie Miller,Project Manager, Economic Development South (EDS)

Stephanie will update us as to the current projects, activities and events of Economic Development South (EDS). EDS is a non-profit community and economic development corporation governed by a Board of Directors comprised of leading local civic and business leaders from the Brentwood, Baldwin, Whitehall, Carrick, Overbrook, and Mt. Oliver communities of Allegheny County.

Plan to spend some time networking with other luncheon attendees.
Next Women’s Luncheon is September 13th.

Lunch for Chamber Members - $20 - Bring a friend!
Lunch for Non-Members - $25
Display Table $10
Please make a reservation by contacting
Mary Dilla at: 412-884-1233 /

Small Business Basics Workshop
8:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Place: Chatham University

The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University (CWE) and SCORE® Pittsburgh partner to present a “Small Business Basics” workshop to women interested in starting their own business or expanding their current business. Industry experts will discuss business planning, financing, bookkeeping, marketing, and legal issues pertaining to small business. The workshop is informal, and questions from the participants are solicited and encouraged throughout to help each participant receive the knowledge they need. A continental breakfast will be available at 8:00 a.m. and parking is free. www.chatham.edu/cwe

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Brown Bag Lunch
12:00 – 1:00pm

Speaker: Judy McNeil, Program Coordinator, Diversity Business Resource Center
Topic: Help is available to build a sustainable business

There is help available for start-ups, minority and women business owners who want to master the key information necessary to build a sustainable business. Join us to learn whatassistance and training is available and what programs and events you can participate in at Diversity Business Resource Center.

Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania
1650 Main Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
RSVP: 412.782.5344 x 209 or volunteersofamerica@voapa.org

Thursday, August 15, 2013
Disability Resource Breakfast
8:30 – 9:30 AM
Speaker: Melissa Kiehl, Arthritis Foundation Volunteer
Topic: You can feel great and keep working.

Join us to learn how the “Walk with Ease” program helps you live better and be more active with arthritis. Melissa will explain the value of exercise to reduce pain and how you can improve your overall health while sharing her experiences and the benefits of getting in shape to improve flexibility, strength and stamina.

Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania
1650 Main Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
RSVP: 412.782.5344 x 209 or volunteersofamerica@voapa.org

Publicity Academy for Women with Beth Caldwell & Michelle Wright
Saturday, August 17th from 9am to 4pm at
Sigma’s Event and Conference Center

Harnessing The Power of Gratitude in Business & Life
Thursday, August 22nd from 1-3pm at Bravo! Robinson
with Author, Actor and Gratitude Expert Lisa Ryan

Smart Leadership Conference
Thursday, September 26th from 9am to 1pm at the Sheraton Station Square
Guest Speaker Travis Sheetz, VP of Operations from Sheetz Convenience Stores
and a panel of local women leaders.

Learn more and register online at www.PittsburghProfessionalWomen.org

August 16, 2013
Women’s Power Lunch
Friday August 16, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM EDT
Sausalido Gourmet & Bistro
4621 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Saturday, August 17, 2013
Fun, Fit & Fabulous
Women’s Health Conference
Wyndham Grand | Pittsburgh Downtown
600 Commonwealth Place, Pittsburgh, PA
Registration Begins at 7AM

Our 2013 conference theme is
“Celebrating Health at EVERY age!”

The purpose of the Fun, Fit & Fabulouswomen’s health conference is to
advance healthy lifestyle changes by educating women to make informed
decisions about their health and well-being.

Visit the Official Website for
Full Conference Details & to Register Online


Thursday, August 22nd from 1-3pm
Pittsburgh Professional Women Lunch & Workshop with
Special Guest Speaker Author, Actor and Gratitude Expert Lisa Ryan
BRAVO! Robinson, 211 Summit Park Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275
Members $30 Non Members $45

Lisa Ryan, a nationally recognized gratitude expert will be visiting us from Cleveland for our August lunch and workshop. She is the founder of Grategy.® and the co-founder of The Positive Thinkers Network. She is featured in two movies including The Keeper of the Keys with Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Marci Shimoff of “The Secret” and John Gray of “Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus.” Her second movie, The Gratitude Experiment features Bob Proctor and Dr. John DeMartini from The Secret.
Lisa is the author of two books, The Upside of Down Times: Discovering the Power of Gratitude and With Excellence - co- authored a book with Dr. John DeMartini and Thank You Notes a 30 Days of Gratitude Workbook.

It’s Clear: Women Make Great Leaders

August 06, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education


A blog in the Harvard Business Review (March 2012) by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman confirms what we, as women business owners, already know: women make great leaders. It’s clear here at NAWBO and in companies worldwide.

The blog was based on the authors’ survey data of 7,280 leaders in some of the most successful and progressive organizations in the world—public and private, government and commercial, domestic and international. The leaders were evaluated by their peers, bosses and direct reports on overall effectiveness as well as in 16 competencies shown to be most important to effectiveness—taking initiative, developing others, inspiring and motivating, pursuing their own development and more.

While the majority of leaders are still men, and the higher the leadership level, the more men there are, women score better in all but one of the 16 competencies, and in 12 of the 16, women score significantly better. These include stereotypical areas—“nurturing” competencies like developing others, building relationships, exhibiting integrity and engaging in self-development—but also in areas not traditionally considered female strengths—including taking initiative and driving for results.

At NAWBO, I have seen just how great women leaders are through our members and partners and our own board leadership. July marks a time of transition throughout our organization as NAWBO National and our chapters welcome new board members. It’s exciting to see what we have achieved throughout the past year and the two years I have been in this role, and to look at future opportunities and possibilities. I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to those who gave their passion, time, talent and resources during 2012-2013. I’d also like to congratulate the 2013-2014 board members who were installed today in Indianapolis. In this issue of Focus, you’ll meet new National Board Chair Billie Dragoo, who helped to build NAWBO’s largest chapter in the United States, NAWBO-Indianapolis, as well as her own a premier health care industry business, RepuCare.

As you know, this is also a time of transition for me personally as I prepare to leave my role of President and CEO at NAWBO this month. Some of the most amazing moments from the past two years I will take with me are of the tremendous women leaders I have engaged and collaborated with at NAWBO, in our corporate and affiliate partner companies and in Washington, DC. Your stories have inspired me, and will continue to, as I take this next step in my own leadership journey.

Naturally, “Women in Leadership” is also a major focus of the NAWBO Women’s Business Conference this October in Miami. We will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of H.R. 5050, legislation that NAWBO played a key role in passing, and weaving it through our keynotes and breakout sessions to help you become an even better leader and grow your business as a result. If you aren’t yet registered, we have extended Early Bird Registration until July 15th to give you more time to save $50 and automatically enter to win roundtrip airfare to and from Miami on Southwest Airlines. Register now at http://nawbo.org/section_231.cfm.

Dr. Zenger, who co-wrote the Harvard Business Review blog, believes much of the success of women in leadership has to do with a change in style from command-and-control to more collaborative models that may play to our strengths. Women are better listeners, better at building relationships and more collaborative, which Dr. Zenger says allows us to better adapt to the demands of modern leadership. What do you think? What’s made you a successful woman leader? I’d love to hear from you!

—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO