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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Virtual Interviews-The Wave of the Future

Virtual interviews are becoming more commonplace in the recruiting process.  Are you prepared?

As a Senior Recruiter with Forrest Johnson Recruiting am currently using virtual interviews for my initial phone screens of candidates.

The individual you see in the photo happens to be my daughter and it illustrates the wave of the future in recruiting-virtual interviews.

Virtual interviews are a great way for recruiters to ascertain the candidate's poise, ability to use technology and ease in responding concisely to questions. You might be surprised by the number of people who are ill-prepared for their virtual interview.

Virtual interviews can be in the form of either pre-recorded videos or live interviews.  During pre-recorded virtual interviews, a candidate must respond in a certain time-frame to pre-recorded questions.  During live interviews a candidate is speaking directly with an interviewer, simply virtually.  In either case, it is easy to become nervous and not perform at your best.
Below are a few tips to keep in mind if you find yourself facing an upcoming virtual interview.
Attire: Dress as you would for an in-person interview.  Unless otherwise specified, attire for a virtual interview should mirror the attire you would wear for an in-person interview, ie. business casual to business attire.  If you are not certain, you can always ask the person who is scheduling the interview about their recommendation for attire.  Your hair should also be presentable for the interview, i.e. not wearing a baseball cap or other item that would obstruct your vision.  
Location, Location, Location: Be certain you are in a space with no distractions.  There should not be a television playing in the background, nor anyone walking back and forth behind you, or people knocking on a door attempting to get your attention.  There should be no interruptions or distractions.  If possible, select a room in your home or office (Not in a bathroom stall. Yes that actually happened!) where the environment can be controlled.  Taking the interview in your car is ok, but not preferable.
You also want to be aware of the backdrop behind you.  Pictures, books, quotes and other items on the wall or bookshelf, all say something about you.  Be certain they are telling the story you want to share at this stage in the process.
Device Positioning: If at all possible, have the device you plan to use in a stationary position, not in your hand.  You run the risk of the device shaking throughout the interview if you are nervous or it slipping from your grip, leaving the interviewer to look at the ceiling, or the side of your face, or worse, up your nose.  A stable position for your device will minimize the chance of any embarrassing situations that could occur. 
Prior Preparation: Do not have your resume near you for you to read directly from it during the interview.  You should be able to concisely convey the most recent 5-10 years of your experience.   Prior to the interview, practice reciting your experience or offering an overview of your experience to anyone who is willing to listen.  Ask them to assess how well you articulate your background and make adjustments as needed.  
For pre-recorded questions, take a deep breath and do your best to respond in the time-frame offered.  It is strongly encouraged that you use the practice feature if offered, to have a sense of how the question should flow within the designated time-frame.  Practicing only helps hone your ability to share your thoughts in a concise manner.
Application Choice: I have used FaceTime, Skype and Google Hangouts for my phone screens.  I have had the best success with FaceTime, and Google Hangouts as there are fewer delays that occur with these two applications.  GotoMeeting, Zoom and are also applications that are being used frequently.  Using these platforms allows the interviewer the ability to type comments during the interview.  If you are not familiar with the application that is selected, please download it and test it a few days before the interview to ensure you are comfortable with how to interact with the application.
Technology Glitches: Be prepared for technology glitches.  Whether the call drops due to connectivity issues or the audio/video clarity wavers, glitches are bound to occur.  Attempt to cover all aspects of what you wanted to share in the time remaining once you have recovered from the glitch.  If too much time elapses in-between recovery time, you can certainly request a time to reschedule the interview.
Username:  If the chosen application requires an user name, it is recommended that you use some variation of your name such as sreese or sreese2018HR for example.  While "dropemlikeitshot1999" may be really cool, it is distracting to the interviewer when they are attempting to locate you within the application.  Use every opportunity to make a good impression.
Notifications:  Turn off your notifications and use the "Do Not Disturb" feature on your device or computer 30 minutes before and during your interview.  There is nothing more distracting than text messages and / or FaceBook or email notifications floating across your screen as you are attempting to describe your best professional assets.  Another distraction can be in the form of the notification sounds.  The “ding” could be so loud it would drown out what you are attempting to share.  Using the "Do Not Disturb" feature should address this concern.
Conclusion: It is recommended that you have a few prepared questions to indicate your interest in the role and highlight your effort to conduct some research on the company / role.  Reiterate your interest and be certain to inquire about next steps in the process.
Even though it is a virtual interview, it is suggested that you still send a follow-up email or a thank you note.  A thank you goes a long way and definitely sets you apart.

Shatanese is the owner of Super Extra Ordinary Mom, LLC, a HR Consultancy that delivers leadership and development training with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Shatanese resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children.  She enjoys walks on the beach and colorful sunrises.  Shatanese's goal is to encourage others to find the extraordinary in every day moments.

Invite Shatanese as your next guest speaker or trainer!


Follow Shatanese on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Taking The Leap of Faith-Tips From A New Small Business Owner

My son, Joshua, illustrating taking a leap of faith.
I have been a small business owner since September 1, 2017 and the experience has been similar to a roller coaster at an amusement park-full of ups, sharp curves, downs and thumps.  Sounds fun, right??  Like with riding roller coasters, you have to have a "stomach" to launch out on your own. I am sharing my experience in the hopes of encouraging others who may be on the verge of taking that first step or leap of faith.  

1.  Dream, catch the dream and take the step-  I am a firm believer of pursuing one's dreams.  My pastor once challenged us to think about a cemetery in terms of all the unwritten books, businesses never launched, screenplays never created and other dreams that never came to fruition.  Do not let life pass you by while you sit on your dream.  Take the first step!

2. Set Goals-As a first time business owner, it was clear to me immediately that I needed to have clearly defined goals to ensure I was on track for success.  The SMART process is one that I employ to help me identify what needs to happen and when.  The acronym SMART was originally attributed to Dr. George Doran, and has taken on several slightly different variations.  

S - specific, significant, stretching
M - measurable, meaningful, motivational
A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T - time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

3. Establish and maintain a schedule-Now that I am not reporting for work at a designated time, I realized I needed discipline to establish and maintain some semblance of a schedule.  Since my business is home-based, it is very easy to get side-tracked and find myself, after a period of time, lost in household tasks or simply procrastinating.  A schedule is key!

4. Establish an organization method to track leads, next steps and goals.  A dry erase board, any form of electronic method such as Evernote or Apple Notes, or a good-old fashioned spreadsheet are methods to consider.  Essentially, if you do not have a method to track your progress, you will instead feel like a hamster in an exercise wheel, going in circles.

5. Have accountability partners-Not only do I have my husband's support, but I also have a prayer partner who prays with me daily for my business needs and aspirations.  Additionally, I have another individual who offers coaching as it pertains to my business. Remember to factor in the coaching suggestions you receive and to keep up with the "homework."

6. Plan a Launch Party-My husband and I hosted a launch party to announce our new business.  Our goals were to celebrate a new chapter in our lives with the start of the business, explain the purpose of the business to friends and family and to offer networking opportunities to all who were in attendance.  We met our goals!  To view our launch, visit: Super Extra Ordinary Mom Launch Party.

7. Network, network, network-Don't miss an opportunity to network with anyone you meet.  Even if they cannot use your product or service, they may know someone who can.  When filing for my business license, I missed the opportunity to meet the city's Mayor.  He was escorting a guest to the lobby when our eyes met.  He nodded his head towards my direction as a greeting and I waved back awkwardly, with my back glued to my chair.  As I watched him disappear down the hallway to his office, I kicked myself mentally for a missed opportunity.  It never hurts to make your requests known to whomever you meet.  You just never know where that may lead you!

8. Pray-For me, prayer is important in all aspects of my life, especially in my professional life.  I have been praying for open and closed doors-"Lord, if this opportunity is not in your will, then shut it down!"  The challenge, I discovered, is to be prepared for when those doors are closed.  Closed doors may sting the self-esteem a bit and the tendency is to focus on that door and why it is closed.  I learned that I had to shift my focus from "Why not?" to "What's next?"  It is also important to take time out during the day for spiritual renewal, whatever that may mean to you.  I usually start my day with spiritual renewal.

9. Brainstorm future ideas-I learned very quickly that it is important to stay two to three steps ahead in my planning.  For example, my goal is to have content available for my social media outlets on a weekly basis.  I have to think 2-3 weeks ahead and also be nimble in the event something happens in the world that may require my attention.  I also asked myself, "Would I hire me?" and "Would I fire me?" to think of ways to enhance my offerings.

10. Make time for exercise-Managing your own business can produce a great deal of stress.  Exercising will help combat the stress.  I attempt to build in walks throughout my day to give myself a break and to minimize the amount of stress I encounter.  Joining a virtual exercise group such as on Fibit or MapMy Run can also help hold you accountable to daily exercise goals.  #behealthy

11. Don't focus on what's not coming your way-Similar to dealing with closed doors, focusing on the contract that is not being approved fast enough or that one key relationship that you think will skyrocket your business will not be helpful and will produce negative energy.  It will be important to channel your energy on things that are happening and any wins, big or small, that you experience in your business.

12. Every moment matters-As a small business owner, you have to be ever-mindful of how you spend your time.  By asking the question, "Will this put money in my pocket?," can help you to determine if the task you are entertaining is worth your time.  I recently heard a speaker state that unless the activity you are doing on Facebook is making you money then it is "Wastebook".  I am not suggesting that you are to never spend time on social media or t.v. or any other activity where you are simply zoning out.  I challenge you, however, to be strategic with your time and make certain each moment counts.

13. Fight discouragement during the waiting game-It can be downright frustrating to wait for responses to your proposals or requests for networking as well as receiving rejections during that process.  Counter discouragement by keeping your goals at the forefront of your mind and relying on your accountability partners and support system for encouragement.  You will need encouragement regularly so definitely make certain you have the right people in your corner.  In terms of rejection, awhile ago my colleague Dethra U. Giles created a FB group called "The Rejection Project."  Our task was to ask for things throughout our day where we would typically expect to receive a NO in response.  The experience was liberating as I read others' stories and shared my own experiences of receiving a YES when I expected a NO.  Each no gets you closer to a YES.

14. Watch simmering pots-I am not a cook nor a chef but as a new business owner, I have become adept at watching simmering pots which is a phrase my coach, Monica McCoy, likes to use.  You will have a business deal percolating over here, and one over there and one in the works over there-all simmering pots that you are waiting to boil over into successful closed deals.  Watch and wait!

15. Don't entertain negative energy-Recently, I had an unfortunate experience of being blocked by an individual I had just met on LinkedIn.  I won't bore you with the gory details but I found myself brooding over the incident attempting to identify what went wrong.  Then I realized I was putting forth way too much effort on a situation that may have been a blessing in disguise.  It is important to recognize energy drainers and to remove yourself from that energy immediately.  It is a waste of your now very precious time and not where your efforts should be.  

16.  Circumstances can make you lose focus-Depending on your personal situation, your business may be your only or main source of income and the contract procurement process can make you lose your mind.  I will certainly admit that there have been times where I second-guessed my decision to launch out and wondered if I would fail miserably.  It is at those times that I recognized the negative thoughts going through my mind, STOPPED the thoughts, and changed my focus.  As my mentor Tom Darrow stated during the night of our launch party, that if we fail, we will fail forward.  #focus    

17. Create your own water cooler environment or holiday gathering-After years of being in the office, it is very different to now only have my family members around me for the majority of my day.  Admittedly, I had grown accustomed to the occasional conversation that would occur near the water cooler at work or even the holiday party where everyone brought in a covered dish.  I discovered that working at places such as the library, Starbucks or McDonald's offered the limited social exposure I sought.  If your business is a home-based business, it is good to get out among the living every now and then.  :-) 

18.  Marketing plan- I have been fortunate to participate in a business class that is offered through my church.  The Bronner Business Institute (BBI) has helped me tremendously with identifying and creating a marketing plan, understanding my customers and positioning myself for success in the market as well as a host of other business-related skills.  If you have been fortunate to take business classes throughout your career, awesome!  If not, I highly recommend getting connected to a business class to further support your efforts.

19.  Don't wait for others to create opportunities for you-Waiting for return phone calls and emails can be daunting.  While waiting, think of ways to create your own opportunities for business, whether that means hosting a webinar, offering your product in a unique way to a target audience or collaborating with another colleague in your field/industry to further your business.  You will be amazed at how creative you can become.  

20.  Make the decision, focus, enjoy the journey-Enjoy the natural excitement that comes with owning your own business.  There is no other feeling like it in terms of the freedom it brings even if it is like riding a roller coaster.  #scarybutfun

Shatanese is the owner of Super Extra Ordinary Mom, LLC, a HR Consultancy that delivers leadership and development training with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Shatanese resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children.  She enjoys walks on the beach and colorful sunrises.  Shatanese's goal is to encourage others to find the extraordinary in every day moments.

Invite Shatanese as your next guest speaker or trainer!


Follow Shatanese on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Exercising Their Minds During The Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us and school bells will be ringing a final time as students race home to begin their holiday breaks.  Research has shown that children's retention is impacted during school breaks.  Why not incorporate fun activities that can involve the entire family to keep those skills sharpened during each break?  The alphabet game and a pile of leaves can do wonders!  Check out these suggestions...

The Alphabet Game-As your family makes its way to various
locations during the holidays, encourage everyone in your vehicle to participate in the alphabet game.  This happens to be one my family's favorite past-times when we travel.

How to play: Each participant attempts to find road signs that begin with every letter of the alphabet.  Any sign is fair game-restaurant signs, interstate signs, advertisements, etc.  You can even decide as a group to use words found on other vehicles, especially semi-trucks, which are oftentimes rich with muli-word text.  Keep in mind you may struggle with various letters within the alphabet such as Q, X, Y and Z.  The group can decide to be creative with how words will be identified for those letters.

Holiday Dinner Math-When you finally arrive at your destination, you can stir up the kids' math skills by discussing the number of guests and various items on the menu.

How to play: As you are waiting for dinner to be served or as you are preparing your plates, ask the kids to think about how many of the guests will enjoy each of the side dishes.  For example, they can count the guests and the side dishes and offer a guesstimate of which side dish will have the most eaters or a timeframe of how soon it will be consumed as a result of the number of guests who enjoy it.  You can also ask them to determine how many slices can be cut from a pie, a cake or even the ham or the turkey.  One other activity could be to ponder the number of fluid ounces of gravy or egg nog which are being consumed by guests.  Of course, if niblets have been added to the gravy, a discussion regarding the amount of space each niblet takes in the gravy could occur as well.  Lastly, you and the children can discuss the colors they see among the delicious spread of food and how each dish complements each other as a colorful palate.

Pile of Leaves-Once the meal has been eaten, friends and family may be looking for a way to work off some of those calories.  Take the family outside and engage in a Pile of Leaves game!

How to play: Encourage the kids to rake the leaves into four equal piles.  They can then guesstimate how many leaves are in each pile.  Ask the kids to determine the fraction of leaves that are each color, i.e. brown, orange, yellow, etc.  You can also discuss velocity and projection as you ask the kids to determine how far the leaves will fly if they run at various speeds through the leaves or jumping into the leaves.  Of course, at the end of these games, the best fun is to have all of the leaves in a huge pile and invite all friends and family to take a quick plunge.  We love this part!!  :-)

Count The Blessings: Counting blessings during the holidays can serve as a reminder of challenges the family has overcome throughout the year and the opportunity to experience life as a team.  The children can add up the number of blessings shared and marvel at the goodness the family has experienced.

These quick and fun games are a great way to keep everyone entertained while maintaining skills obtained during the school year.

Looking for more creative ideas to use during the breaks?  Watch your pumpkins scramble to decode these yummy words! 

For more fun with spelling go to

Answer Key: 

Shatanese is a the owner of Super Extra Ordinary Mom, LLC, a HR Consultancy that delivers leadership and development training with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Shatanese resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children.  She enjoys walks on the beach and colorful sunrises.  Shatanese's goal is to encourage others to find the extraordinary in every day moments.

Invite Shatanese as your next guest speaker or trainer!


Follow Shatanese on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Career Tips from a New Marine, My Son

My son, Azaan, recently graduated from the United States Marine Corps (USMC) bootcamp, one of the most traumatic transformations of his life.  I asked him about his experience and was delighted to hear some of the tips he learned while on Parris Island.  These tips can be applied to all aspects of life, especially our work lives.

1.  Always give 100%. 

Azaan was required to give his all at all times throughout the grueling 13 week transformation.  While most of our work environments are not like the US Marine Corps bootcamp, I am certain there are days when we all feel like giving up and quitting.  At those moments, attempt to assess what is causing the duress.  Once that assessment is made, you have the opportunity to determine if you can change the situation or if it is outside of your control.  My son only had control of his attitude during bootcamp and in many cases, our attitude is exactly what we may need to change to allow ourselves to give 100%.

2.  It's never just about you.  

As a recruit, Azaan had to learn how to work with each individual in his platoon.  He learned very quickly that what he was experiencing was not about him and that he had to factor in others with each decision and action he took.  He also had to look out for anyone who was struggling.  "No man left behind" was the motto he embraced during bootcamp and still carries in his heart.

In our work environments, it usually is not just about us.  Of course, there are those moments when we are receiving accolades for a job well-done but most of the time, we are to have an outward focus.  What do our customers want?  What are the expectations of our shareholders?  What goals are being attempted by senior leadership?  Those questions should influence our actions and approaches to problems.  The moment we lose sight of this perspective is the moment we jeopardize the overall effectiveness of our companies.

3.  Don't be stupid.  

Simple, somewhat crass and yet powerful.  Azaan shared that he had to be mindful of every action and decision he made during basic training and his drill instructor reminded them regularly (and loudly) "Don't be stupid."  One false move could have caused his entire platoon to experience an afternoon of extra PT (physical training).  As such, he was careful to be deliberate and intentional with his interactions.   There was at least one instance when my son was caught sleeping during instruction.  He said he wanted to instantly disappear and did his best to recover from the embarrassment of waking up to find his classmates and drill instructor staring at him.

At work, we too should be careful not to be "stupid."  Whether that means not responding to an email while we are angry or not intentionally ignoring a company policy, being mindful of our behavior is critical to our professional success.  

4.  Pay yourself first.

When the recruits finally became Marines and were given Liberty, personal time, they were instructed to pay themselves first.  Not necessarily monetarily, but with time for family and vacation time.  I thought this was a novel idea because too often we find ourselves at work but not at 100% in terms of our mental health.  We will put our companies, our families and our stresses front and center before we decide to take care of ourselves.  Mental health is key and sometimes it is ok to simply take a mental health day.  The benefits far outweigh any reason not to do so.

5.  Seek self-improvement.

Self-improvement is now a way of life for my son.  He is regularly seeking ways to improve his time for the last mile he ran, or the number of pull-ups he can complete in a designated timeframe.  A little bit better is on the other side of initiating self-improvement.

Our approach to our careers should be similar.  I understand that not everyone has the desire to be the "super employee" at their place of employment.  I am encouraging everyone, however, to be aware of ways to self-improve.  Even the slightest positive change can go a long way.

6.  Push yourself especially when you feel like you can't.  

My son shared numerous instances where he believed his body had been pushed to limits he never thought possible.  He described grueling marches which consisted of several miles in extremely warm weather.  He highlighted the difficulty of dragging another platoon mate who was asked to "play dead" and how he thought he was crawling in the sand forever with the extra weight while the entire time thinking of going home.

There will inevitably be days at work where we want to pack up our items and go home.  Or months when we feel as if we are not making the progress we desire in our careers.  Or like my son, where we feel as if we are carrying colleagues who are like dead weight.  Don't give up.  Keep pushing yourself, especially when you feel like you can't.

I hope these tips offered by my new Marine not only encourage you to be your best at work, but also encourage you to be always faithful to your goals and dreams. #semperfi

Shatanese is a the owner of Super Extra Ordinary Mom, LLC, a HR Consultancy that delivers leadership and development training with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.  

Shatanese resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children.  She enjoys walks on the beach and colorful sunrises.  Shatanese's goal is to encourage others to find the extraordinary in every day moments.

Invite Shatanese as your next guest speaker or trainer!


Follow Shatanese on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Itsy Bitsy Spider and Creating Memories

Many of us have heard the childhood lullaby "The Itsy Bitsy Spider."  In fact, it sounds a little something like this:

The itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the spout again

I've often wondered why the itsy bits spider climbed up the spout again, but that is for a different blog on a different day.  

Recently, the kids and I visited our local library and we were excited to find arts and crafts were underway.  Representatives from were on hand to assist the children with a cute activity which turned egg cartons and pipe cleaners into itsy bitsy spiders.  

As I watched my little ones complete the guided tasks, I was struck by the importance of arts and crafts.  Not only were the children enhancing their creative abilities but they were also building memories.   

I personally happen to LOVE arts and crafts.  I think pouring oneself into an activity that produces a beautiful piece of art as an end result is peace in itself.  So it is only natural for me to engage our children (and any who visit our home) in some type of arts and crafts.  

The most recent craft created in our home was a vision book, where the kids cut out images from magazines to highlight items they would like to have sometime in the future.  They selected images of homes, vehicles, types of food as well as activities such as playing professional sports.   They were encouraged to share the contents of their books with each other and we displayed them proudly in our home for several weeks for visitors to view.  

They also made flowers to welcome their older sister home from college.  Tissue paper was carefully selected, folded and scented to give the appearance of a bouquet.  The vision books and flowers, like the itsy bitsy spiders they recently created, will contribute to loving  childhood memories.

Wikipedia describes memory as, 
"Among its other roles, memory functions to guide present behaviour and to predict future outcomes. Memory in childhood is qualitatively and quantitatively different from the memories formed and retrieved in late adolescence and the adult years."

I want to impact the memories upon which my children will draw in as many positive ways as possible.  Research shows that positive memories are directly linked to positive emotions and positive thinking.  An article appearing in the Harvard Health Publishing states "There is power in positive thinking. Positive emotions are linked with better health, longer life, and greater well-being."

How awesome is it that creating itsy bits spiders will lead to a memory which will foster a greater well-being for my children!  With the amount of negativity that is prevalent in our world today, as parents we must be intentional about exposing our children to positive experiences and people, even if it is as simple as taking a trip to the library.  

Ask yourself, when was the last time you created something that allowed you to push pause on the busy demands of life?  When was the last time you created a positive memory?  Make it a point to take advantage of your creative side and create a long-lasting positive memory.  Trust me, your body will thank you for it!

Parents!  Are you looking for a creative activity to do with your children?  Check out this special activity provided for our readers by, a resource our family uses regularly. 


Make a Patterned Story

Kindergarten Reading & Writing Activities: Make a Patterned Story

What You Need:

  • Digital camera
  • Scissors
  • glue or tape
  • blank paper
  • stapler
  • pencil

What You Do:

  1. Choose a favorite patterned story (one with repeated text on each page) that your child has enjoyed reading in the past, such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin, Jr. or the always popular Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Re-read it with your child and invite her to join in. Be sure she is comfortable with the pattern of the story.
  2. Invite her to take the same pattern from the story, and replace some words to make it a new story. For example, try inserting family member’s names into the text. In a story like Brown Bear, it might sound like this: “Mommy, Mommy, what do you see?” Practice this out loud with her to see what fun ideas she can come up with.
  3. After she has an idea for her story, provide her with blank paper and a pencil, and invite her to begin writing her story. Encourage her not to worry too much about spelling, but to get the words down on paper. Continue in this manner, until she is satisfied that the text of the story is done.
  4. Now assist her in taking digital pictures of the family to match the text. Have fun! The whole family gets to be actors and play out each scene in order to help her get just the right photos! Print and crop the pictures as needed, and glue or tape them onto the pages.
  5. Finally, have her read her new version to a younger sibling, a relative, or a friend. Don't be surprised if her friend joins in on the reading fun, too!

Shatanese is a business owner and author of future books who resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children.  She enjoys walks on the beach and colorful sunrises.  Shatanese's goal is to find the extraordinary in every day moments.

Invite Shatanese as your next guest speaker or trainer!


Follow Shatanese on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Finding the Extraordinary in Every Day Moments

It has been a month since I launched my new business and I am learning a great deal about myself as well as learning about being a business owner. Tasks such as establishing structure in an unstructured environment and having accountability partners have been crucial for my early beginnings. I will expound on those topics in a later post. Today, I want to talk about why I began my own business and how you can find the extraordinary in every day moments.
Are you enjoying your professional life? There are 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week. How much of that time are you doing exactly what you truly enjoy doing? I have always been a firm believer of encouraging others to operate in their gifts and their passion and I realized awhile ago that I was not using my gifts to their fullest potential.
You may be wondering why the title "Super Extra Ordinary Mom" and does she know that extra ordinary is actually spelled as one word? And how exactly does Super Extra Ordinary Mom tie in with HR consulting?   
Well, here’s the story. Years ago, I decided I needed a method to express what I was experiencing as a working mother. I wanted to write a book. Mommy guilt and the stress of building a career while managing a family were very real for me.  My children were giving me regular topics as material to share and discuss. Especially, my youngest daughter, Nina Sophia. (Nina Sophia is our spirited 4 year old who stretches my husband and me as parents). :-)  I was on a quest to find the extraordinary in every day moments. Therefore, in 2015 "My Life as a Super Extra Ordinary Mom" blog was born. I thank my colleague Jowanna Tillman for the recommendation of using the blog as a way to get my voice out there and heard.
From a professional perspective, throughout my career with each position that I took on, I felt as if there was something more and I realized that I couldn't force myself to fit into either a square peg or a round hole. For example, have you ever purchased an article of clothing and on the store rack it looked fantastic but then when you got it home it felt a little snug or it was altogether too big? Or better yet, if I may borrow the words of my instructor from the Bronner Business Institute who said recently, "I couldn't make myself small enough to fit into those roles." 
There were certainly aspects of every role that I enjoyed but I started thinking there's got to be something more. I am destined for something more. I asked, What is my purpose? Why am I here on this earth? My husband will tell you that we talked about this, to his chagrin, often. 
Of course I'm here to serve as a wife and a mother but I also felt a calling to do something else. And so I began thinking and thinking and thinking about starting my own business. I talked to people who had their own businesses. I watched webinar after webinar after webinar about starting out on my own. And I prayed about my purpose and timing. 
I recall one day I was standing in my corporate job’s office looking out the window, watching Atlanta traffic pass by. (If Atlanta traffic doesn't cause you to rethink your life, then I do not know what will!). I thought…. the time is now.
I have wanted to be a public speaker, author and business owner for quite some time. The minute I made the decision that it was time to pursue my dream it seemed as if the universe said, "FINALLY we have been waiting for you all this time to take the first step!"
Now don't get me wrong that first step was extremely scary. My husband and I had to weigh all of the costs. Some might call us crazy for putting it all on the line. Our faith, however, is bigger than our fear. Plus, it truly seems as if things have been falling into place since I made up my mind. Admittedly, I was someone who lived and operated in fear for a very long time. I finally decided to just do it. I also feel that deep down inside, we are already wildly successful.
The timing has extra significance because a year ago I was recovering from a double mastectomy. Guess what-I’ve still got some fight left in me.
I want to share some encouragement with you today if you are in a place in life where you are asking for more.
#1-Consider the costs. Of course I am talking about considering the costs to your family and finances when you are on the brink of making a life altering decision. But I am also talking about considering the costs if you do not do it. Will you have a sense of regret? Will you look back over your life and wonder, “What if?” A recent Gallup poll states 68% of American employees are disengaged at work. Meaning only 32% are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. That means 68% have mentally checked out. Are you one of those individuals? Make the decision today to make some changes.
#2-Secondly, I encourage you to Live Every Moment. What I mean is for you to be present. My cancer diagnosis brought me to my knees-literally and figuratively. When faced with challenges, I began asking myself what really matters? In the big scheme of things, how important is this issue? Being present also means having an attitude of gratitude. My colleague Monica McCoy challenges her clients to approach their day with an attitude of gratitude and to express thankfulness for at least three things. How is your mental being when you wake up? Live every moment.
#3-Lastly, Just Do It. We have all heard the sayings that “time flies” and “tomorrow is not promised.” This is never more true than it is today. Especially in light of recent social unrest and weather tragedies. Are you living your best life? Perhaps you are waiting to launch your business. Or waiting to visit the doctor for that full report. Or waiting to take that big trip overseas. Or maybe you’ve been sitting on that book idea for years. Just do it. I guarantee you once you have made the decision in your heart and begin to take active steps towards that goal, you invoke positive vibes and will begin to attract momentum.
In closing, I hope reading this entry has ignited a fire which will allow you to consider the costs, live every moment and to just do it. Ask yourself the question, "If money is not an object, what work would I do and would not care that I am not being compensated for doing it?" That is when life becomes extraordinary. 
Super Extra Ordinary Mom, LLC is a HR consultancy that focuses on leadership development and diversity and inclusion topics. Our signature presentation will help companies assess training needs and enable us to deliver customized training to address those needs. 
The next time you hear a colleague say “Gee, I wish I knew someone who could train on diversity and inclusion or on leadership development," think of Super Extra Ordinary Mom, LLC. 
My name is Shatanese Reese and I'm a super extraordinary mom!  I encourage you to find the extraordinary in every day moments.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

No More Bullying! Are Our Schools Equipped To Address This Issue?

"Mommy, the kids in my class and on my bus say they think I am a girl and ask if I am gay."

I've had enough!  Too many times has my son come to me with a down-cast look, his shoulders slumped and near tears after hearing an onslaught of taunts from his peers throughout the day.

The definitions of bullying range from "abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable" to "unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance...the behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time."  Harassment is defined as "causing the person alarm or distress."  Teasing is defined as "to laugh at and criticize someone in a way that is either friendly and playful or cruel and unkind."  Either of these definitions can apply to what my son is experiencing and I want it to stop.

I don't think our schools are equipped to handle this issue.  At least not the school where our children currently attend.  Why do I say this?  Because the behavior continues to occur without ceasing.

This is not a discussion about sexuality or gender identity.  It is a discussion about my son feeling ostracized and targeted at a place where he spends the majority of his day.  I don't like it.

My husband and I read each of the newsletters when they come home with our children and I do not see any workshops being offered that address bullying.  The school offers themed weeks to deal with drug abuse, team spirit and even future vocation choices, but not one on how to deal with a bully or the consequences of bullying.  Our children even come home discussing the active shooter awareness sessions in which they have participated but not once have I heard about discussions dealing with bullying.

I am tired of telling my son to ignore the comments and "it's not what you are called but what you answer to."  I am sure he too is tired of hearing, "Someone is always going to have something to say about you so you have to deal with it."  Deal with it?  How?

What am I to do as a parent?  Our attempts to appeal to the school's administration on our son's behalf seem futile.  Move him to another school?  Will that truly guarantee that he will no longer experience taunting?  Am I to home-school him until he reaches a certain age?  These choices all seem as if it is my son's fault for his experience.  Or perhaps I should boycott the entire school system until the perpetrators are "brought to justice."

I know my son is not the first to have this type of experience nor will he be the last.  This fact does not lesson the aggravation, disappointment and sheer sadness I feel each time I hear my son recount his day at school.

A recent report shared on states that over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year.  There are equally stark statistics regarding how many teens attempt to take their lives due to bullying.  Bullying unaddressed manifests itself in terrible and ugly ways, even into adulthood.

Please hear my son's voice...

"I don't appreciate you calling me those names.  It feels disrespectful and hurtful.  In the Bible it says to treat others as you want to be treated.  Would you say mean things to your mom?"

Something has to change.

Shatanese is a business owner and author of future books who resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children.  She enjoys walks on the beach and colorful sunrises.  Shatanese's goal is to find the extraordinary in every day moments.

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