Mini Pumpkin Spice Cakes with Orange Glaze

Guest recipe by Sandra Lee
Author of Semi-Homemade The Complete Cookbook

Makes 8

1 box (18.25-ounce) spice cake mix, Betty Crocker SuperMoist® 
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Orange Glaze:
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 bag (12-ounce) premier white morsels, Nestlé 
Red and yellow food coloring

Marzipan Stems and Leaves:
1 package (7-ounce) marzipan, Odense®
Green food coloring

Special Equipment: 
Disposable latex gloves, leaf-shaped cookie cutter

Prep time: 20 minutes, baking time: 20 minutes, cooling time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 10 minutes, decorating time: 15 minutes

Cake Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil and flour 8 mini bundt pans. Combine cake mix, water, oil, and eggs in large bowl. Beat for 2 minutes, or until well blended. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center of cakes comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on cooling racks for 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling rack and cool completely. Set cooling rack atop baking sheet. 

For the Orange Glaze: Heat cream in small saucepan over medium heat until bubbles appear; remove from heat. Add white morsels and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in food colorings, 1 drop at a time, until desired color is achieved. Drizzle glaze over cakes. Refrigerate cakes for 10 minutes, or until glaze is firm. Cover and reserve any remaining glaze. 

For the Marzipan Stems and Leaves: 
Place marzipan in medium bowl. Using latex gloves, knead food coloring, 1drop at a time, into marzipan until desired color is achieved. Divide marzipan into 2 equal pieces. Roll 1 marzipan piece into 12-inch-long log. Cut log crosswise into 8 equal pieces; set aside to use as stems. Flatten remaining marzipan piece, then place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using rolling pin, roll out marzipan to 1/4-inch thickness. Using leaf-shaped cookie cutter or small sharp knife, cut out 24 leaves. Decorate cakes with marzipan stems and leaves. Rewarm reserved glaze. Serve cakes, passing glaze alongside. 

Copyright © 2003 SLSH Enterprises

Cinnamon Coffee Cake Mix

Guest recipe by Shaina Olmanson
Author of Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine

Summary: A good cinnamon coffee cake is not to be messed with. It’s the perfect accompaniment to that first cup of java in the morning, and your friends will be grateful when you make its preparation as easy as mixing it and popping it in the oven.


. 2 cups all-purpose flour
. 1 teaspoon baking soda
. 1 teaspoon baking powder
. 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
. ½ cup cinnamon chips
. 1 cup sugar
. Vanilla bean seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean pod
. ½ cup chopped pecans
Makes 1 jar of cake mix, to yield one 9-inch-square cake


Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and ground cinnamon in a bowl. Place in a 1-quart jar. Top with a layer of cinnamon chips.

2. Mix together the sugar and the vanilla bean seeds and add as a layer in the jar. Top with the chopped pecans. Seal with the lid, decorate the jar if you like, and attach a label with these instructions for the recipient:


. 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
. 2 large eggs
. 1 cup sour cream or Greek-style yogurt
. ¼ cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan. Mix together the butter, eggs, and yogurt in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in all the contents of the jar, then slowly stir in the milk. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Serve warm.

Frozen English Toffee Cake

Guest recipe by Sandra Lee
Author of Semi-Homemade The Complete Cookbook

Serves 12 to 16

1 box (18.25-ounce) devil's food cake mix, Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe® 
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Ice Cream Filling and Frosting:
1/2 gallon chocolate or vanilla ice cream, softened, Breyers® or Edy's® 
1 bag (10-ounce) English toffee bits, SKOR® 
1 container (8-ounce) frozen whipped topping, thawed, Cool Whip® 

Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Cooling time: 30 minutes
Freezing time: 3 hours

Cake Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch-round cake pans. Combine cake mix, water, oil, and eggs in large bowl. Beat for 2 minutes, or until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool cakes completely on cooling rack.

Ice Cream Filling Preparation:

Line three 8-inch-round cake pans with plastic wrap, allowing 3 inches of plastic to hang over sides. Divide ice cream equally among pans. Using rubber spatula, spread ice cream over bottoms of prepared pans, forming smooth, even layers. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of toffee bits over ice cream in each pan. Freeze for 3 hours, or until frozen solid. 

To Assemble and Frost:

Cut each cake layer horizontally in half. Working quickly, remove ice cream from pans. Peel off plastic and place 1 ice cream circle on each of 3 cake layers. Stack cake and ice cream layers atop each other on serving platter. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost cake with whipped topping and sprinkle with remaining toffee bits. Freeze until ready to serve. Let ice cream cake stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving. 

Copyright © 2003 SLSH Enterprises

Cherry Lollipops

Guest recipe by Sandra Lee
Author of Semi-Homemade The Complete Cookbook

These hard candy lollipops are the perfect project for pint-sized chefs. Make them in any color or flavor you want -- even in fun shapes, using metal cookie cutters or candy molds, available at most kitchen stores. To make cute gifts, holiday treats, or party favors, tie colorful ribbons around the sticks and curl the ends by pulling the ribbons between your thumb and the blade of a pair of scissors. 

Makes 20 lollipops

Nonstick cooking spray, PAM® 
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup, Karo® 
1/4 cup butter
1 box (3-ounce) cherry gelatin dessert mix, Jell-O® 

Special Equipment:
20 4-inch lollipop sticks
Metal tablespoon-size measuring spoon
Candy thermometer

Prep time: 10 minutes


Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray. 
Arrange 10 lollipop sticks on each baking sheet, spacing evenly apart. 
Stir sugar, corn syrup, and butter in small saucepan over low heat until sugar has dissolved. 
Slowly bring to boil, stirring frequently. 
Continue cooking for 7 minutes, or until candy thermometer registers 275 degrees. 
Stir in gelatin until smooth. 
Using metal tablespoon and working quickly, spoon syrup over one end of each lollipop stick. 
Cool completely. 
Wrap each lollipop in plastic wrap and store in airtight container. 

Copyright © 2003 SLSH Enterprises

Artichokes Stuffed with Serrano Ham: Alcachofas Rellenas de Jamon Serrano

Guest recipie by Simone & Ines Ortega
Authors of 1080 Recipes

Serves 6

1 lemon, halved
12 globe artichokes
Scant 1 cup finely chopped Serrano ham or proscuitto
2 ½ tablespoons bread crumbs
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic (optional), finely chopped
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 tablespoons sunflower oil

Squeeze the juice from one lemon half and add the juice to a large bowl of water. Break off the artichoke stalks and remove the coarse outer leaves. Cut off the tips of the remaining leaves. Open out the centers of the artichokes and remove the chokes. Rub the artichokes with the remaining lemon half and place in the acidulated water. 

Combine the ham, 1 ½ tablespoons of the bread crumbs, the wine, parsley and garlic, if using, in a bowl. Drain the artichokes and fill with the ham mixture. 

Put the artichokes filling uppermost into a pan just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Pour in water to cover. Crumble the bouillon cube and dissolve it in a little water, then add it to the pan. Sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs and the oil over the artichokes. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt if necessary (bearing in mind that the ham and bouillon cube are both salty). 

Re-cover the pan and cook for 30 minutes more, until the liquid has reduced to a sauce and the artichokes are tender. Serve the artichokes in a dish with a little sauce in the base.

Ten Smart Things Job Seekers Can Do

Guest post by Sherrie A. Madia
Author of The Online Job Search Survival Guide
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

Searching for a job, but don’t know where to begin? Try these 10 social networking strategies. 


 According to Coremetrics (2010), 75% of companies require recruiters to research job applicants online, so you’ll want to be sure you know what they’ll find. 

 Do a Google search on your name

 Surprised by what you see? When possible, remove content that doesn’t align with the image you want to project

 Don’t have a presence? Start by determining where you’d like to work, and the image you’d like to project

 Position yourself as an expert in your industry

 Remember to be authentic


 Research communities that best suit your professional interests, then join

 Once you’ve observed and gotten a sense of the community, enter the conversation with a meaningful comment that progresses the dialogue

 LinkedIn and Facebook Groups are great places to begin

 Become the “expert” within select communities by consistently offering useful insights


 Within communities you select, get to know the people as you would in any other networking event

 Seek out common interests and ask questions of those who share your passion

 Think of this exercise not as a one-time job search, but as a foundational network to last throughout your career

 By approaching job search more as a “people search” you will be more likely to land a job—Relationships count in job search, so spend time building them


 Sign up and complete your LinkedIn profile—partial profiles send a message that you may not be fully committed

 Seek out past employers, people you know who are working in your ideal industry, classmates from school, and more

 Use LinkedIn’s Search feature to find these individuals and invite them into your network

 Ask former employers and clients for an “I would recommend”. This LinkedIn feature functions as an online letter of recommendation

 Answer questions on LinkedIn Answers. Respond consistently and with value, and you will soon become known as an expert


 Use Twitter to enhance your job search by finding your ideal companies, or representatives from your ideal industry

 Visit and search on keywords of interest (e.g., “Boston IT Jobs, Healthcare Jobs, Jobs at IBM, etc.) 

 Follow these Twitter streams and get to know who is tweeting— Often, these streams are staffed by recruiters

 Tweet meaningful responses that position you as a knowledgeable contributor

 As the relationships build, you may send a Direct Message (DM), but do so with care


 Tap into your existing network of friends via Facebook

 While it’s okay to mention you are seeking a job, do not use your Facebook wall to vent, whine or complain about your plight

 Let friends know you what type of job you are seeking, but do so in a manner that’s positive and professional

 Post a link to your resume on your Facebook wall

 Create a Facebook ad that highlights your skills and the value you would bring to an employer

 Remember, job search is not about you (the job seeker) —it’s about them (the company), so position shareable content that speaks to companies’ needs


 Consistency matters in social media use for business, and the same rules apply to job search

 Post routinely (at least once a day is ideal) so that members of the group come to expect and look forward to your commentary

 Regular engagement demonstrates commitment, follow—Regular engagement demonstrates commitment, follow through, and discipline—All great qualities to showcase

 Be sure to promote your community activity within your resume, letters of inquiry, and so forth


 Purchase a URL in your name (e.g., “”). This will enable you to send recruiters to an online page that highlights your credentials

 Start a blog

 Ask to contribute to an existing blog as a guest blogger

 Great on an interview? Create a 1-3 minute video in which you answer common interview questions and highlight your skills. 

 Post this to YouTube and title your video using keywords from the industry in which you’d like to work. 

 Create a podcast and post to your Facebook page

 Create connections across social networks so that recruiters can find one consistent image of you


 Rather than sending resumes en masse, social networking enables job seekers to plant content seeds strategically in places where human resources will likely be. 

 Today’s hiring decisions are more critical than ever, so human resource representatives must make careful hires—This means they are likely to be more diligent than ever in exploring credentials

 Establish yourself as a thought leader, and give your expertise freely. People will appreciate this value and will tend to return the favor


 When using social networking for job search, you build both your online presence, and a set of skills that employers will find valuable

 Your ability to write with clarity in a blog, showcase photos and video, tweet effectively, etc. makes you that much more attractive to recruiters

 Regardless of job type, company size, or industry, every company today needs employees who are skilled in social media. 

 Those who bring industry expertise and social media savvy have the distinct advantage in the job market

12 Steps To Sponsorship Success

Guest post by Sylvia Allen
Author of How To Be Successful At Sponsorship Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

Sponsorship selling will be even more difficult than in the past. Why? Pending recession, reduced budgets, greater demand (on the part of sponsors) for validation of a return on their investment (ROI) and, of course, more competition. It's not just the major leagues going after sponsorship dollars. Both for profit and non-profit organizations have "jumped on the bandwagon" and recognized that corporations will invest money in their events IF there is some marketing value and payback to them for that investment.

Selling sponsorships is not a matter of buying a mailing list of potential buyers, writing a direct mail letter, putting together a "package", mailing everything out and waiting for the telephone to ring with people offering you money. It's a nice dream but the reality is much more complicated (and time consuming) than that.

Before getting started you should have a definition of sponsorship. The following definition is by no means perfect; however, there are some choice words that help you purse your sponsorship sales with a good foundation. Sponsorship is an investment, in cash or in kind, in return for access to exploitable business potential associated with an event or highly publicized entity.  The key words in this definition are "investment", "access to", and "exploitable"

First, investment. By constantly looking at sponsorship as an investment opportunity, where there is a viable payback, no longer are you talking to someone about a payment of cash or money. Rather, use the word investment which automatically implies that value will be returned to the investor. Second, access to which means they ability to be associated with a particular offering (event, sport, festival, fair … you name it). Lastly, exploitable, a positive word which means "to take the greatest advantage of" the relationship. In other words, allowing the sponsor to make the greatest use of their investment and capitalize on their relationship. 

Don't underestimate the value of your local events and local opportunities. Your read so much about the multi-million dollar deals you forget that there are many more small deals … $500, $2,500, $5,000. These can be as simple as vertical street banners (which offer great exposure for a very cheap cost per thousand) to title sponsorship of the local parade or festival. Once you have gone through the 12 steps you will have a better understanding of how to put together sponsorship offerings, what words to use, and how to not only price but evaluate, on a post-event basis, what you provided to the sponsor.

If you take these basic 12 steps you will be assured of greater success in your sponsorship endeavors. 

Step 1 … Take inventory

What are you selling? You have a number of elements in your event that have value to the sponsor. The include, but are not restricted to, the following:
· Radio, TV and print partners
· Retail outlet
· Collateral material … posters, flyers, brochures, table tents, payroll stuffers, bank and utility bill stuffers, etc.
· Banners
· Tickets: quantity for giving to sponsor plus ticket backs for redemption
· VIP seating
· VIP parking
· Hospitality … for the trade, for customers, for employees
· On-site banner exposure
· Booth
· Audio announcements
· Billboards
· Product sales/product displays
· Celebrity appearances/interviews
· Internet exposure

And, you can think of more. Look at your event as a store and take inventory of the many things that will have value to your sponsors, whether it be for the marketing value or hospitality value. Take your time in making up this list … time spent at the beginning will be rewarded by more effective sponsorships when you get into the selling process.

Step 2 …Develop your media and retail partners

Next, approach your media and retail partners. They should be treated the same way as all other sponsors, with the same rights and benefits. You want to negotiate for air time, with radio and television, and for print coverage with newspapers and magazines. (You can always try for money but be happy to settle just for barter … you really need this inventory to be competitive with other people seeking sponsorship money from the same sponsors you will be approaching.) This inventory of media can then be included in your total sponsorship offerings to prospective sponsors. 

The retail partner offers you a store relationship for various products. For example, if Walgreen's is your retail partner, they have shelf space, end of aisle display opportunities, weekly flyers, in-store audio announcements, bag stuffers, on-bag promotions and register tape advertising that can be offered to your product sponsor such as Tums or Schick razors. Because sponsorship has to become more and more accountable, and offer a strong ROI, this retail relationship is vital to ensure the success of your product sponsorship.
In fact, after taking your inventory steps 2 and 3 are done almost simultaneously as you must have something to give to your potential media and retail partners that describes the sponsorship. Briefly, here's what is important to these two key partners.

Your event offers the media an opportunity to increase their non traditional revenue (NTR). You have an audience, sampling opportunities, sales opportunities and multiple media exposure that the media people can offer to their own advertisers. Many times an advertiser asks for additional merchandising opportunities from the media. Your event offers them that opportunity. You can let them sell a sponsorship for you in return for the air time or print coverage. Just make sure it is always coordinated through you so they are not approaching your sponsors and you are not approaching their advertisers. From radio and TV you want air time that can then be included in your sponsorship offerings. From print you want ad space and/or an advertorial (a special section). In both instances you are getting valuable media to include in your sponsorship offerings to your potential sponsors.

Treat your media just like your other sponsors. Give them the attendant benefits that go with the value of their sponsorship. When the event is over, they should provide you with proof of performance (radio and TV an affidavit of performance; print should give you tear sheets) and, conversely, you should provide them with a post event report 


A retail partner … supermarket, drugstore, fast food outlet … offers you some additional benefits that can be passed on to your sponsors. And, with a retail outlet, you can approach manufacturers and offer them some of these benefits.

For example, once you have a retail partners the following opportunities exist:
· End cap or aisle displays
· Register tape promotions
· In-store displays
· Store audio announcements
· Inclusion in weekly flyers
· Weekly advertising
· Cross-promotion opportunities
· Bag stuffers
· Placemats (fast food outlets)
· Shopping bags

Again, as with the media, even though this might be straight barter, treat the retail outlet as you would a paying sponsor. They are providing you with terrific benefits that can be passed on to your other sponsors, a tremendous value in attracting retail products. And, as with the media, have them provide you with documentation of their support … samples of bags, flyers, inserts, etc. In return, you will provide them with a post-event report, documenting the benefits they received and the value of those benefits.

Step 3 … Develop your sponsorship offerings

Now you can put together the various components of your sponsorship offerings so you are prepared to offer valuable sponsorships. Try to avoid too many levels and too "cutesy" headings. Don't use gold, silver and bronze. Don't use industry-specific terms your buyer might not understand. (If the buyer doesn't understand the words they probably won't take a look at the offering!). Simply, you can have title, presenting, associate, product specific and event specific categories. They are easy to understand and easy to sell. Of course, title is the most expensive and most effective. Think of the Volvo Tennis Classic or the Virginia Slims Tennis Classic. The minute the name of your event is "married" to the sponsor's name the media have to give the whole title. Great exposure for your title sponsor. 
The first step in preparing for your initial sponsor contact is to prepare a one page fact sheet that clearly and succinctly outlines the basics of your event (the who, what, where, when of your property) and highlights the various benefits of being associated with that event (radio, TV, print, on-site, etc.). Sample following.

LOCATION: Downtown Highlands, NJ

DATES/TIMES: 40 events from May 1-December 31, 2XXX including craft shows, bike tours, car shows, cruise nights and holiday activities

ATTENDANCE: 50,000 All demographic groups with average attendees 30-45 year old, professional, married with children. Visitors come from all over NJ with a concentration on
attendance from people in Monmouth County. 

SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES: Food, fireworks, entertainment, crafters, rides, vendors… everything you have come to expect in the way of family entertainment on the Jersey Shore.

OPPORTUNITIES: Large street banners, Vertical banners, Audio announcements, Inclusion on posters, flyers, etc. On-site signage

PROMOTION IDEAS: Product sampling
Database development (register to win)
Product sales
Premium incentives
Cross-promotions/sponsor partnerships


Allen Consulting, Inc. 732-946-2711


Step 4 … Research your sponsors

Learn about your potential sponsors. Get on the Internet, read the annual reports, do a data search on the company, use the Team Marketing Report sourcebook … find out what the companies are currently sponsoring, what their branding strategies are, what their business objectives are. Become an expert on your prospects … the more you know abut them the better prepared you will be for their questions and the easier it will be for you to craft a sponsorship offering that meets their specific needs.

Be prepared to discuss the sponsor's individual marketing strategies with them when making the sales call. KNOW YOUR SPONSOR'S BUSINESS BETTER THAN THEY DO THEMSELVES! You will have to answer questions quickly and intelligently during the sales process … know everything about their brands, their sales goals, their sponsorship strategies.
Know and understand that there are different departments, with different budgets, that can spend money on sponsorships. These departments include, but are not restricted to, advertising, marketing, public relations, product management, brand managers, human relations directors, multi-cultural marketing managers, office of the President and even a sponsorship director! Look for different opportunities within the same company.

Step 5 … Do initial sponsor contact

Then, pick up the telephone. When you reach the correct person, don't launch right into a sales pitch. Rather, ask them several questions about their business that will indicate to you whether or not they are a viable sponsor for you project. Questions could be "Based on what I have read on your company, it appears _____________________________________ (fill in the blank with your knowledge.) Is that true? Are you interested in maintaining/increasing your profitability? Are you interested in creating a better environment for your employees (or attracting new employees, or rewarding current employees)? Make sure you ask questions that can be answered with yes.

Also, make sure you are talking with the decision maker. How do you know if they are the decision maker? During the questioning process, ask "Is there anyone else you want involved in this discussion?" That way they can give you another name without being intimidated that they are not the final decision maker.

One of the questions is always "How do I get past the gatekeeper?" If you can't get through the gatekeeper, make the gatekeeper your friend and ally. Explain the program, explain the benefits of participation and get him/her to make the appointment for you Another concern? How to get through voice mail. Don't leave long, boring messages. Never leave more than three messages. Dial around … try to get a real person … talk to the operator … have the person paged … get their e-mail address and send a note … call early in the morning … late in the day. In other words? Be creative!

Step 6 … Go for the appointment

Once you have had a brief discussion, try to get the appointment. If they say, "Send me a 'package'" respond with "I'll do even better than that. I've prepared a succinct one page Fact Sheet that highlights the various marketing and promotion components of my event. May I fax it to you?". Then, ask for the fax number, send it to them right away and then call back shortly to make sure they received it. If they have received it go for the appointment. Explain that the fact sheet is merely a one dimensional outline that cannot begin to describe the total event and you would like to meet with them, at their convenience, to show them pictures, previous press coverage, a video … whatever you have. Follow the basic sales techniques of choices .. Monday or Friday, morning of afternoon. Don't give them a chance to say they can't see you.

If it is a company that is too far for you to meet with face-to-face, make an appointment for a telephone interview. Have them write that appointment in their book, just as if it were an in-person conversation. Send them a package of information that they can have in front of them when you are speaking with them so they can follow along with your discussion and presentation.

Step 7 … Be creative

Once in front of the sponsor, be prepared. Demonstrate your knowledge of their business by offering a sponsorship that meets their specific needs. Help them come up with a new and unique way to enhance their sponsorship beyond the event. For example, if it's a pet store, come up with a contest that involves the customers and their pets. Or, devise a contest where people have to fill out an entry form to win something. Think about hospitality opportunities … rewards for leading salespeople, special customer rewards, incentives for the trade. Be prepared to offer these ideas, and more, to help the sponsor understand how this sponsorship offers him/her great benefit.

In many instances, it is up to you to lead the discussion. Often a potential sponsor will turn to you and say "I don't know how to make this work." This is where your knowledge and research will prove invaluable since you will have given thought, beforehand, to how they can maximize their participation in your event.

Step 8 … Make the sale

The moment of truth … you have to ask for the sale. You can't wait for the sponsor to offer; rather you have to ask "Will we be working together on this project?" or something like that. You will have to develop your own closing questions. Hopefully, as you went through the sales process, you determined their needs and developed a program to meet those needs. And, you certainly should have done enough questioning to determine what their level of participation would be. Keep in mind that different personality styles buy differently which means you must select from a variety of closing techniques to ensure the right "fit" with the different personalities. 

As with any sale, once you have concluded the sale, follow up with a detailed contract that outlines each party's obligations. A handshake is nice but if the various elements aren't spelled out there can be a bad case of "but you said" when people sometimes hear what they want to hear, not necessarily what was spoken. Make sure you include a payment schedule that ensures you receive all your money before the event. If not, you could suffer from the "call girl principle". The only exception to this rule? If you are working with a Fortune 500 company they will want to hold back 10% until after the event as insurance against not getting full delivery. It's a normal practice and, if you've done your job, nothing to worry about.

Step 9 … Keep the sponsor in the loop

Once you have gone through the sales process you will want to keep your sponsor involved up to, and through, your event. See if their public relations department will put out a press release on their involvement. If they do, make sure you have approval rights before it is sent you. (You want to make sure that your event is being presented in the proper light, just as you want to assure your sponsors, with your releases that their marketing message is being presented properly.) Show them collateral as it is being developed - posters, flyers, banners, table tents, invitations, etc. - to make sure they are happy with their logo placement. (With fax and e-mail this is now a very simple process.) Make sure they are kept up-to-date on new sponsors, new activities … whatever is happening. Discuss their marketing needs with them … make sure the contest or other activity they are doing is being followed through on. The more you involve them in the process the more involved (and committed) they become.

Step 10 … Involve the sponsor in the event

Involve your sponsor in the event. Don't let a sponsor hand you a check and say "Let me know what happens". You are doomed to failure. Get them to participate by being on site … walk around with them … discuss their various banner locations, the quality of the audience, the lines at their booth, whatever is appropriate to their participation. Take time to participate in the various hospitality offerings with them. Introduce them to other sponsors … talk to their representatives. Do everything possible to ensure positive participation and, of course, reinforce this participation as a prelude to renewal!

Step 11 … Provide sponsors with a post-event report

There's a very old saying regarding presentations: "Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them." The post-event report is the last segment of this saying. Provide your sponsors with complete documentation of their participation. This should include copies of all collateral material, affidavit of performance from your radio and TV partners, tear sheets, retail brochures, tickets, banners, press stories… whatever has their company name and/or logo prominently mentioned or displayed. This should all be included in a kit, with a written post-event report that lists the valuation of the various components, and presented to the sponsor with a certificate of appreciation for their participation. Use a formula that encompasses Cost Per Thousand (CPM) because that is language your sponsors understand from their media buys. If you have done your pricing properly, you can use those same figures in your post-event report. Be consistent and be honest. If you are doing it the right way, you will deliver at three three times their investment, just in marketing value. And, a 3:1 ROI is great … certainly assurance of renewal!

Step 12 … Renew for next year

Now, if you've followed these 12 steps carefully, renewal is easy. In fact, you can get your sponsor to give you a verbal renewal during your event (if it is going well) and certainly after you have provided that sponsor with a post-event report that documents the value of all the marketing components he/she received. You should try for a three to one return on their investment. In many instances it will be even more than that if you have delivered as promised!


Selling isn't easy; however, if you follow these 12 steps it will be easier because you will have done your homework and will be prepared to discuss the sponsorship intelligently. These 12 steps make selling fun!

Ten PC Tips for Communicating with a Diverse Audience

Guest post by Simma Lieberman

By learning to speak to a diverse audience, you can broaden your client base transfer the learning to more people. We need to be more "PC". Were not talking "political correctness", were talking "Positively Conscious", of who is in our audience and understanding how to make people feel included. The more people feel included, the more they will listen to you, use your information and come back for more. If you offend people they will shut down and you will lose them.

1) Use words that include rather than exclude. While some women don't mind being called ladies, in a professional setting the word women is more appropriate. Be "positively conscious" of pronouns when discussing hypothetical cases. I have been inn workshops where the facilitator spoke as though all managers were "he" and all administrative support were "she". Metaphors are very effective. Remember to mix them. Don't use only sports metaphors. Have a balance. In Europe when they think of football they think of soccer. Be aware that people have different abilities. Instead of telling everyone to stand, you might say everyone who is able please stand, and have a way for others to participate in the exercise. 

2) Learn the demographics of the audience before your presentation, and prepare. 

3) Do not assume everyone shares your religious beliefs. 

4) Look at everyone in the audience and smile at them. Speakers can have a tendency to visually relate to people who look more like them. Assume everyone wants to be valued. 

5) Do not use humor that puts down any particular group. If you are not sure, get feedback from others. 

6) Examine your assumptions about people who are different than you. Be open to letting go of those assumptions. 

7) Do not be afraid to ask for the correct pronunciation of someone's name. 

8) If someone has an accent and you can't understand them, ask them to repeat what they said slowly, because what they are saying is important to you. 

9) Use methodology in your presentations to accommodate different learning styles. Visual Auditory Kinesthetic

10) Be comfortable with silence. In some cultures that can mean respect and attention. Be comfortable with direct interaction. In some cultures that can mean respect and attention. Be comfortable with saying, " I don't know."

How Women Leaders Discover Their Own, Powerful Leadership Brand

Guest post By Suzanne Bates
Author of Discover Your CEO Brand: Secrets to Embracing and Maximizing Your Unique Value as a Leader

Most of us fully appreciate the importance of a brand to a luxury hotel chain like Ritz Carlton, an online service like Zappos Shoes, or a new product like the IPad. But what do people mean when they talk about personal brands? And, why as a women in business, do you need a brand, anyway? 

In essence, a brand is a thought (accompanied by a feeling) that lives in the mind of another person. Your brand is the shorthand way people think about you. In marketing, there’s a saying -“a brand is more than a word; it’s the beginning of a conversation.” The question you have to ask, as a hard-working woman in business, is what’s the conversation people are having about you?

Most women I know need to invest more in building their brands. During a decade as the CEO of an executive coaching firm that has clients in world-class companies, I’ve learned that women just don’t do enough to make themselves known. Women need to make a name in business. If you are successful, have a busy life, and are juggling many priorities, you may have let that slide. Perhaps you undervalued the importance of building an industry-wide reputation. Perhaps like many women, you have now realized that hard work and loyalty alone will not get you to the top. You appreciate that strengthening your reputation would help - you’re just not sure what works. 

To begin, think about women leaders who are brand names. You can’t help but notice they have at least one thing in common – a well-understood brand that burnished their reputations. In short, their name stands for something. And often that brand defines the very DNA of the organizations they lead.

Women with Powerful, Personal Brands

Anne Mulcahy’s passion for the people and culture of Xerox Corporation rescued the once-great American brand from near extinction and restored it to profitability. Since Mulcahy grew up in the company, part of her brand was an unwavering belief in the Xerox values – which when communicated, ignited new energy and made people at Xerox believe in themselves. 

Diane von Furstenberg’s iconic, figure-hugging wrap dress, a 70’s sensation, came roaring back to fashion in the 2000’s, a testament not just to the timelessness of her creativity but also the way she sees women. In her early years she was a jet-setting model and former princess; today she celebrates the beauty and strength of women. Fearless about looking older, eschewing Botox, her brand today is about natural confidence, at any age.

Mary Kay Ash launched her own cosmetic company after she was passed over for promotion in the company for which she worked, even though she was the highest seller there. Her success came from giving great sales incentives to consultants who earned them by being top sellers. She believed in giving women the opportunity to succeed, and that helped her build an empire.

What Women with Strong Brands Can Teach Us

Those are all compelling examples; however, you may be wondering what these women can teach you about building your own brand. The answer is – a lot! They had the courage to stop, take a look at who they were, and understand it, and then the confidence to communicate that image to the world. You can follow the same blueprint for success, by first acknowledging the importance of building your own brand. 

Why is it important to know your own brand, and communicate it to all of your important audiences?

If you work for a company, when the executives of your organization go looking for the leaders of tomorrow, they are seeking not just women who are highly competent, but those who are influential. They will promote exceptional leaders who have accomplished something, brought people together around a common goal and inspired their success. 

If you are CEO, or entrepreneur, when your clients, employees, vendors, board, stakeholders or investors think about you, they want to see not only a competent business person, but an authentic leader who has a powerful vision. They want to hear and see what you stand for, how you are taking your company to the next level, and what values are guiding your success. 

Who Are YOU?

Your brand, or reputation, is at the most fundamental level, answers the question “Who are you?” And when people understand this, and believe in you, you have influence in any arena. How do you discover your brand? By analyzing the lessons of your life and career! 

Think back on your experiences; the good, bad and ugly. Those events, all those ups and downs represent character-building moments that taught you important lessons. When we work with executive and professional women, whether in our executive coaching programs, our boot camps, or in strategic communications projects for their companies, we continually go back to this treasure chest of experiences. We get leaders to tell us the stories, and then communicate who they are to all their important audiences.

When people know your story they come to trust you and believe in you; this opens the door to opportunities you never imagined. Your brand values, well-communicated, have that much impact. While your brand may seem like an intangible asset, the effect of communicating who you are is enormous. 

Personality, Presence, and Brand

What are the elements of a strong, leader brand? Is personality important? Sure, it’s one aspect of who you are. But it isn’t the sum of your brand. You may be analytical, smart, outgoing, engaging or a good listener, and these are good qualities, but not a brand. Likewise, the outer you – often referred to as executive presence, from wardrobe and grooming to body language, all matter. Your energy and a healthy lifestyle count, but they also are just elements of your brand; a reflection of the inner you. 

So Who Are You?

The core of your brand is your character; the values that define you. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Character is like a tree and a reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” Your brand, or character, is what is authentic about you. Your skill in communicating casts the shadow that becomes your reputation.

The first step to discovering your brand is to embrace the idea that you have a brand, that it has power, and that you can harness it to accelerate your career. Then, you can share these values and lessons to stand out as a leader, attract people to you, win trust, influence decisions, align your team and drive forward with your vision.

Women, especially, must take care do this. It is vital to become known. You are competing with men who are out there, unafraid to let people know who they are. It is a generalization, and there are exceptions, however many women still today tend to work hard and hope someone will notice. Going on this journey is an act of self-love and an investment in your dreams. 

As a woman, you’ve probably heard the advice that you should “toot your own horn,” or “tell people about your accomplishments.” I detest this advice. It’s uncomfortable, for a good reason. Nobody you like likes to brag. And nobody likes a bragger. I’m suggesting something very different – telling a story that shares a value. This still gives you that swagger and communicates who you are, but it doesn’t make you seem arrogant. Great leaders balance confidence and humility, and your stories must do the same. 

The approach to finding these stories is to understand the lessons of your life and share those lessons with others. These lessons are a way of getting at the values that are essential to defining who you are as a person and a leader. Paint a picture of what matters most to you and your organization. As you collect these stories they become the anthology of your leadership and part of your legacy. In our Boot Camps, Discover Your Brand retreats, and Storytelling for Leaders workshops we help women do this – find the stories and make concise, powerful, and relevant points to their audiences.

7 Strategies for Successfully Building Your Brand

What can you do? Here are 7 strategies for success.

1. Identify a story from your life and career that was pivotal; a success, failure, challenge or obstacle. Have a friend talk you through the story. What happened and what did you learn about yourself? Don’t make yourself the “hero” but rather look for the lesson that might be relevant to others. 

2. Share the story with your team, a mentor, or important audience; be sure again to highlight not how fabulous you are, but rather the value that you discovered which is important to leadership.

3. Make yourself visible by speaking more often at your company. Use stories as the primary vehicle. Rather than just giving an update on a project, selling your service or giving a presentation on your area of expertise, share how you know what you know; be candid about what’s happened, what you’ve learned and how those lessons made you, your team or company successful. This is a great way to build your brand and your company brand. 

4. Get to know people who share your values. Look around inside and outside your organization at the people who walk their talk, who demonstrate the values that resonate for you. Hang around with leaders who motivate, inspire and stand for something. These can be mentors, or colleagues, in which case, you can help each other.

5. Write articles for industry publications or blogs and websites that highlight not only what you know, but how you lead, why it works, and how others can also be successful. A bylined article in a trade or business publication, a blog, or guest blog, is one of the most powerful ways to build your brand. 

6. Speak at industry events and conferences to raise your profile and again talk not just about products and services, but a way of doing things that highlights what you believe in. Share the stories that highlight the “you”- don’t be afraid to bring yourself out on the platform, to really connect with people in an authentic way.

7. Become a leader in your industry by joining professional organizations, being on the boards, serving on committees, even becoming president. Be sure that the organizations to which you lend your name are aligned with the brand values that are important to you – your name associated with a great organization is a phenomenal brand builder.

Recently, I posted a personal story in my blog, about a challenge I faced in when I was about to change careers. I hadn’t lost my job, but I’d lost my mojo, and I shared the truth about how I found it again. This article received an enormous response, such heartfelt messages. Even though I hear from readers every week, it cemented for me the power of sharing personal stories with brand lessons. To read that article and look at an example of how you to tell stories, go to and look for the article titled, “A Personal Truth.”

If I could offer one piece of advice, it would be to think about your brand, and communicate your brand. People need to know about you. The “who you are” and the “who knows you” will be a deciding factor in your success. 

Business Survival Tips When The Owner Faces a Health Crisis

Guest post by Shari Powell

When my doctor told me I had a fast growing form of lung cancer and needed surgery right away, a host of priorities whirled in my mind - one of which was how to keep our 35-client business going strong during my long-term recovery leave.

Here are "business survival" strategies I implemented, which were very beneficial during my nearly two-month recovery leave:

Key Strategy No. 1 - Customers First!
My top priority was to make a list of all of my customers and their needs, including those I was personally responsible for. Then, I developed a service strategy for each client, and delegated to my employees accordingly.

Key Strategy No. 2 - Develop a Communication Plan
My central communication plan included:
· Personally calling all of my current customers to let them know my status and that I had made arrangements to continue a smooth flow of service. I emailed all customers who could not be reached by phone. 
· Designating a "shining star" employee to be the "crisis" contact point in my absence.
· Having a breakfast meeting to let my employees know what was happening, how long I would be out and whom to contact if they needed help.
· Designating one employee to receive and handle my phone calls, and briefing that employee on processes for handling calls from potential and existing clients, acquaintances, vendors, etc.
· Contacting all of my referral sources to let them know how long I expected to be away, and providing them with a contact person for future business referrals.
· Arranging for a colleague to sit in for me at essential (or required) networking/business meetings.

Business Survival Tips - 2
· Changing my voicemail message, and indicating how long I would be out of the office, and whom to call for assistance.
· Setting up an "auto-responder" for incoming emails … takes minutes to do and helps bring peace of mind.

Key Strategy No. 3 - Know Your Responsibilities
Early on, we structured the company so that each employee had very specific job descriptions and responsibilities - advice garnered from reading The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber. 

Going through this crisis taught me how important it is to have job descriptions in place, and to know exactly what my position is in the company. When it came time for my surgery, it was very easy to decide which of my responsibilities were important, and which could be put on hold during recovery.

Key Strategy No. 4 - Hire Dependable Employees and Let Go of "Undependables"
Because I had dependable employees in place, I was able to rely on them to keep the Atlanta business going; but the story wasn't all so simple. I had to terminate an employee four days before surgery. 

A call from a major client revealed that their account representative had repeatedly failed to complete work on time. I decided that I couldn't take time off with such a major concern on my shoulders, so I made the difficult decision to terminate and reassign the employee's responsibilities. 

Greatest Lessons Learned

Looking back, I see that all of the strategies I implemented for the good of the business ultimately were the most helpful to me. By knowing that good systems were in place, I was able to unplug the phone, let go of company worries, and take time off to heal. The "better case" scenario, of course, would have been to already have a contingency plan in place. 

In terms of changing perspectives, this is the first time in my life that I ever had a serious illness. Now, I see the world in a totally different way. I look at each day, and the challenges that I face during each day, as a gift. 

I've also learned how important it is to manage stress levels - nothing is so important that it's worth jeopardizing one's health.

Finally, I'm reminded about how important it is to "Trust Your Gut." The first doctor that saw the spot on my lung told me it didn't look like anything serious and to come back in six months. My gut told me otherwise, and it was right. 

5 Tips On How To Achieve The Perfect Hollywood Smile

Guest post by Dr. Sheila Dobee

1. Keep your gums healthy pink without any puffiness and bleeding by flossing twice a day and brushing twice a day. The most important time to brush is at night so that the bacteria does not accumulate and destroy your gums and teeth while you are sleeping.

2. Consider straightening your teeth. With new technology teeth can now be straightened with invisible braces. No more big silver buttons with the silver wire on your teeth.

3. Using veneers you can get results in a very short period of time. These are thin tooth colored coatings that can cover teeth that are discolored or not straight

4. There are various methods of whitening your teeth from over the counter products that can whiten a few shades to professional whitening products that that can be done within an hour at your dentist. 
5. Ask your dentist about specific ways that you can improve your smile. Take clippings from magazines to show them the shape of teeth that you like. That way they can get an idea of what you want and propose more specific options suitable for you.

3 Online Networking Tips for Job Seekers 

Skillful networking can help you meet the right people, make a splash in professional circles, get your name out there, and position yourself as an expert in your field. Social media tools provide amazing new opportunities to expand your networking reach and influence -- especially when you're in job-hunting mode. But too many job seekers forget that every single tweet, blog posting, and Facebook entry has a life of its own -- and that life is immortal. 

Bottom line: If you're not using social media consciously, carefully, and thoughtfully as a way to enhance your online presence and reputation, there's a good chance that it's hurting, not helping, your job search efforts.

As you're putting yourself out there in the job market, here are three tips for effective networking online:

Give before taking

When networking for a job search, always start by giving something of value. Offer an insightful comment to a blog or a question on LinkedIn. Pose a question to an industry group and engage in an information-sharing dialogue on best practices. The trick is to give your expertise and thus position yourself as the helpful expert. People will be inclined to return the favor.

Invite right.

Be sensitive as to which social networks you request colleagues to join you in. If your Facebook page is largely family-oriented and reads like a snapshot from, think twice about inviting the boss or the senior leadership team to post on your wall. Is this really the mix that either of you wants? If so, more power to your Uncle Ned's backyard barbecue. If not, stick to sites geared more toward professionals, such as LinkedIn or Plaxo.

Avoid gate crashing. 

If you have a name and reputation in your field that gives you special currency, don't assume this gives you carte blanche to enter any social network. For example, let's say you search a site such as Ning for social communities geared toward your corporate interests. Before belly flopping into the pool, have a seat on the deck and listen. Get to know the audience you'd like to engage with first. If there is an administrator of the special-interest community, you might start with a quick introduction, the reason for your call, and a query as to whether members would be okay with your involvement. Or if you feel inclined to get in the water, do so authentically. Members might be pleased to have an expert in their midst, but only if you're honest and sincere.

5 Social Media Mistakes Businesses Make

Guest blog by Sherrie A. Madia PhD
Author of  The Social Media Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Grow Your Business Exponentially with Social Media
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

Ready to jump into the social media world? Great! But before you do, know that being a user of social media, and understanding its strategic applications for your PR, marketing, and communications initiatives, are two dramatically different skill sets. 

Some mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: Diving in without a strategic plan. 
Don't start podcasting, blogging, tweeting, friending on Facebook, and posting YouTube videos until you know what your messages are, who will manage them, who your audience is, and how they and you are going to benefit from the content and relationships. 

Mistake #2: Not having a social media policy. 
Your social media policy needs to outline how employees behave in the online universe during and outside of work. It should include education on style preferences and confidentiality. All messaging coming from employees should be aligned with your company's values and brand.

Mistake #3: Failing to tailor the plan to your target audience. 
Home in on sites, tools, and applications your target audience is using. Is your audience out walking in the park most afternoons, without so much as a cell phone? Or are they technology lovers who are never parted with their BlackBerry or iPhone? Research your target market to find out who they are and how to reach them

Mistake #4: Producing weak, unfocused, or unhelpful content. 
The same messaging rules that apply to classic public relations and branding apply to social media. Create strong, smart, well-thought-out content that adds value to your customers' lives. Don't waste their time with self-serving promo. Give them something they can use -- tips, incentives, product information, new ideas, fun, and inspiration.

Mistake #5: Allowing your social media efforts to stagnate.
Gone are the days when companies could put up a website that sat on the screen like an electronic business card. Social media is about maintaining a dynamic conversation between you and your customers. Equip your content for the RSS-share-save-post-to revolution so it gets out there in multiple places. Answer blog, Flickr, and podcast posts; respond to tweets; engage "friends." Remember: Social media, done right, is not a one-off campaign by a handful of staff; it's a long-term corporate commitment.