Monday, September 21, 2009

Strong Brands Recover from Recession Faster

Analysis released today by Millward Brown Optimor reveals that the BrandZ™ Portfolio, created from the world's Top 100 most valuable brands, is recovering faster than the S&P 500 as a whole. The BrandZ Portfolio is now worth 28 percent more than the S&P 500, and it has returned to profit ahead of the market.

The BrandZ Top 100 is based on the world's largest brand equity study. It is the only brand ranking that combines financial data with research among 1.5 million consumer and B2B customers in 30 countries.

Joanna Seddon, CEO Millward Brown Optimor said: “The recession has provided fresh evidence of the tremendous value of brand assets. Over the past year, even when things were at their worst, the BrandZ Portfolio outperformed the market. Our new analysis reveals that as the stock market recovers, the share prices of companies who have invested in developing strong brands are recovering fastest. Companies that continue to invest in their brands in a recession emerge with a sustainable competitive advantage.”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Brand Called YOU (And what to name kittens)

This month I have done three presentations on The Brand Called YOU. The first one was in Iceland to the women entrepreneur association and the second one to NAWBO in Sedona, AZ. Yesterday I did a free teleseminar on the topic to about 70 women who signed on through
I want to highlight two things that have happened the last two days:
1) I just adopted two rescue kittens. One is a tabby (orange) and is five weeks old. The other one is all white and is three weeks old. They are ADORABLE. My daughter is really the big cat lover and she no longer lives at home but her roommate does this rescue work and these kittens were irresistible!
So we came up with the names Tiger and Snowflake. And then I realized that these were the most typical, unimaginative names we could have come up with. I told my daughter--we have to have better names. She loves Winnie the Pooh and wanted to change Tiger to Tigger and she wanted Snowflake to become Anna Bella. I said OK to Tigger and no to Anna Bella. A few hours later, I said OK to Anna Bella because I can call her Bell.
I really didn't think this through at the time that these cat names might affect my personal branding. I hope that part of my branding is that I am a creative person and I guess that kicked in, even subconsciously, as there was NO creativity in those original names. It's only after the fact (last night in bed) that I realized this WAS a branding issue for me!
(Plus--if you don't think Anna Bella and Tigger are very creative--I can just say, "My daughter named the kittens." That solves the branding issue for me, too!)
2) As I said, I was just in Iceland. I LOVE Icelandic fashion designers so someone sent me a link to where the founder of Steinunn, Steinunn Sigurd, one of my favorite Icelandic designers, has a Small Business Makeover by Fortune. and
In the interview, Steinunn said she one of the things she learned through this process is to “Profile myself more so people can get to know who I am.”
Does this sound like “The Brand Called YOU”? I love having my messages reinforced in other places.
So--how do you profile yourself to carry out your brand?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

International Women Business Associations

I arrived in Iceland yesterday and joined a meeting of the International committee for the FKA (the Icelandic women business association). I am past Chair of the International Forum of National Association of Women Business Owners (U.S.)
The points of discussion at the committee meeting were:
1) what do we get out of our alliances and what organizations should we be looking at?
2) can we do a survey of members and learn more about them--including whether they do business internationally
3) we need to re-do our organization website, particularly to add more about members and about international
4) we have members that import, etc., but say they don't do business internationally!
I kept feeeling like I was at a NAWBO meeting. ALL of these topics are discussed--and discussed and discussed-- by NAWBO as well. It is just another example of how similar we are throughout the world!


About 3 weeks ago Eunice Shriver died, the founder of Special Olympics. Many articles on her after her death stated she was perhaps the Kennedy sibling that left the biggest legacy. Yet when Senator Ted Kennedy just passed away, she was barely mentioned--but his two brothers were. Is this because:
1) Her last name was no longer Kennedy?
2) She wasn't a male?
3) She was never a Senator?

My vote would go to the first two choices!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Afghanistan and Rwanda Women Business Owners

I had the pleasure of working with the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women in Dallas Texas last week in their Peace Through Business program. Peace through Business® trains women entrepreneurs in war torn countries in basic business practices, then goes a step further by providing mentorship with American women business owners. These courageous women spend 3 weeks in class learning business basics through a entrepreneurial University, then take that information and transfers it into ‘real’ life through mentorship.

After training in their respective countries, 14 women from Afghanistan and 15 women from Rwanda attended a 10-day training at Northwood University in Cedar Hill, TX. Tomorrow they leave Texas to go to places throughout the country to be matched with a woman business owner who has a similar business and will mentor them.

Terry Neese is the President and Founder of IEEW. She is a former national president of NAWBO and the co-founder of WIPP.

I did a day of marketing training with the women, including information on branding, media, networking and message development. I want to introduce you to the women below. (The descriptions are very short because I also used these descriptions in my Twitter account. You can follow me @maryschnack. I also have an account @upfromthedust).

Sarah Mukandutiye from Rwanda has dairy and chicken farm and three greenhouses with tomatoes. Sells 1,000 eggs and 600 liters of milk a day

Khalida Dunya of Afghanistan gives internally displaced people work making soccer and volleyballs--by hand! Wants to start exporting.

Frozan Raufi of Afghanistan owns Family Med Clinic. Needs EKG & digital blood press machines. & grants to treat patients at only $2/person.

Mariam Yousufi started Mariama Education and Culture Assoc in Kabul, a hand craft biz and has trained almost 400 women in tailoring and literacy.

Shakila Rozbeh of Afghanistan provides raw materials to women handcrafters and employs 35 crafters.

Cathy Bitwayiki is an organic farmer in Rwanda. Her goals are to learn how to process and export locally grown fruits and vegetables and to get her company’s products into the organic market.

Immy Kamarade’s company in Kigale, Rwanda distributes petroleum products, cement and coffee. She joined neighbor famers together to sell bigger coffee orders & make a market for all.

Farghana Alimy, 20, only female shop owner in 1 of biggest markets. Also serves as the manager of the Trader Woman’s Association in Kabul.

Francoise Uwamwezi carries on her family business called African Wood Enterprises. The company creates furniture for the home, the office, floor parquets, partitions and ceilings.

“Women in Afghanistan are confined for different reasons…the main reason is lack of ownership. Men have it and women don’t,” said Razia Arefi. “I want to open my own shop and achieve this goal of [ownership] and beat these difficulties.”

Marlene Nyirubutama opened first ice cream shop in Rwanda. She imports ice creams from South Africa and Kenya and now wants to make it herself. She’s in Orange County now studying with a mentor.

Farzana Ebrahimi founded the Kandahar Health and Development Organization (KHDO) in Kandahar, Afghanistan. KDHO specializes in training women in the fields of sewing, embroidering, and knitting. KDHO specializes in training women in the fields of sewing, embroidering, and knitting in hopes that it will help propel them into a successful career down the road.

Annette Karenzi
owns a holistic, “ladies only” fitness center in Kigale. When her business grows, she plans to set up a complete executive spa.

Roqia Sajjadi, who spent the majority of her childhood and adolescence in Iran during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan, has started her own financial consulting services company and is excelling to new heights with it.

Keza Kamwenub is President of IATA Travel Agencies in Kigali, Rwanda. Anyone want to see the gorillas? We edited her brochure!

Deborah Kagwisagye owns and operates Generations Impact, where she trains orphans and former sex workers to be job creators through handcrafting jewelry and wall hangings. She gave me the purse made by orphans—see the photos on my Facebook page at

Andeisha Farid spent her childhood living in refugee camps in countries neighboring Afghanistan. It was living through this experience that inspired her to get involved with helping children, starting a new non profit, the Afghan Child Education and Care Organization (AFCECO). AFCECO runs 7 orphanages in Afghanistan, 2 orphanages in Pakistan, a girl’s school, and several vocational training centers around the country.

Asma Ataie a 23 year old businesswoman from Kabul, started a small business development firm, which provides BDS (Business Development Services) to growing and budding businesses.

Joan Twagira, with the help of the Oxford University Press, owns Kigali Bookstore-Book Distributors. Her core business includes searching for authors to write books for academic needs and schools, as well as selling English books to the general public.

Lydie Hakizimana owns a book store that sells both new and used books in Kigale. Her overall goal is to develop libraries in schools and hospitals where children would have access to books for free.

Other Rwanda women businessowners. Jane Natukunda owns a tea business. Josephine Mbabzi and Joy Kansangire own promotions businesses. Saudah Nalule owns a beauty shop.

Go to for more information, and view photos at and at my Facebook account,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Health Care Reform

Write your Congressional Representatives (both House and Senate) today expressing your support of key principles critical to healthcare reform. A 2009 member poll by Women Impacting Public policy showed that 72% of women business owners believe health care reform is needed in order to be successful.

Whether you are a business owner or not, this is an important subject that will affect all of us.

Key components of healthcare reform that WIPP vigorously supports:

·Creation of a private nationwide insurance purchasing pool for small businesses;
·Tax credits for small businesses that offer healthcare to their employees;
·Rating reform and the elimination of health status for benefits rating;
·A simplified enrollment process; and
·An individual requirement for health insurance coverage.

WIPP vigorously opposes:
·An employer mandate that includes small businesses; and
·The taxation of employee health benefits.

What do you think?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ways to Keep Cool

Thanks to Sarah McLean, Sedona Meditation Training Co. []-Aromatherapy: use pure rose or sandalwood oils - you can even spritz these cooling oils on your skin
-Eat lots of sweet, juicy fruits - avoid sour fruit
-Avoid spicy or salty food
-Cook with cooling herbs like cilantro and fennel
-Avoid excessive heat or sun - stay out of the sun from 10 am until it cools down.
-Hang out with people who bring out your positive side
-Avoid disagreeable people, or violent television
-Give yourself an oil massage with cooling coconut oil
-Go to bed by 10 - 10:30
-Stay hydrated, drink lots of water - avoid alcohol and caffeine
-Speak sweetly and be respectful of others
-Engage in activities that bring you contentment and happiness.
-Walk in nature, especially in cool environments like the woods, mountains and lakes
-Gaze into the night sky, bathe in the cooling light of the moon, or walk into the rising sun for expanded awareness
-Wear cool colors, greens blues, whites. Avoid the hot and spicy colors of red and orange
-Meditate twice a day

Monday, June 15, 2009


An important event at the U.S. State Department on Friday means good news for women - and men - around the world, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swore in her friend and former Chief of Staff Melanne Verveer as the first ever U.S. Ambassador for Global Women's Issues.

"There is so much work to be done to improve the status of women and girls in many parts of the world" Hillary said earlier this week. "Every single day, you can pick up the newspaper or turn on the TV or log on to a website and see the reports of terrible assaults on women's progress. We have to fight these attacks on women's rights, and we have to address the conditions that hold women back and continue to make them the majority of the world's poor, hungry, and unhealthy."

"I don't believe that we can be successful in the many challenges that we face around the world if we don't stand up for the rights of women."

There is so much to be done; but let's take a minute to cheer the new Ambassador for Global Women's Issues - and the commitment of the United States to the lives of women and girls around the world.

Melanne was one of the founders, along with Secretary of State Clinton, of Vital Voices. When I congratulated Melanne via email on her appointment in March, she wrote back to me and said, "Thanks, dear Mary. You've been an ambassador for a long time."

That meant so much to me--and how generous of her--even though I'm still plugging along to try to do even part of what she has accomplished!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Leadership Provides Positive Public Relations

Recognition For a Job Well Done

The women I meet through my global work, including my work with Vital Voices, never cease to amaze me. I love watching the “light bulbs” go on with the communication ideas that I present. What most of the trainees do not realize is how much they in turn inspire me!

My professional goals are very closely aligned with Vital Voices’ – to help women have their voices heard! I look forward to this regular column to pass on communication tips that hopefully will help you “let your voices be heard.”

I actually met Vital Voices through Eva Muraya. When Eva, CEO of Color Creations in Nairobi, Kenya, attended a communications seminar given by me at a World Bank/International Finance Corporation conference in Accra, Ghana, in 2003, Eva learned that I was advocating for women to publicize their awards and honors.

Many women at the seminar had reservations about this aspect of Public Relations (PR), as culturally it is not acceptable for most African women to “toot their own horn.” Eva had recently been named one of the “top 30 entrepreneurs in their 30’s in Eastern Africa,” and she said it would not be good protocol on her part to publicize that award. After discussing a variety of ideas short of sending out a public announcement, which would be perceived as bragging, Eva decided she could put a line in her e-mail signature that stated the award. It was a start.

Since then, Eva, who is a natural leader not only in her Nairobi community, but for African women throughout the world, has used her leadership skills and activities to promote not just her business, but to advocate for women’s leadership on her beloved continent. She was chosen for the Fortune Leadership Program and won the Goldman Sachs Fortune Leadership Award. She became Chairperson of the Zawadi Africa Education Fund ( and started the Kenya Association of Women Business Owners (KAWBO). When Color Creations earned the coveted ISO 9001:2000 global management systems standard in 2007, making Color Creations the first business in communications, and first woman-owned, in sub-Sahara Africa, to gain the standard, Eva and her work team put together a communications plan to announce the award and to enhance their branding.

For a girl who grew up and was educated in the rural countryside of Kenya, Eva now knows that letting her voice be heard has a strong ripple effect in helping others. She and Color Creations have started the “BE Campaign” to respond to Kenya’s devastating high rate of youth unemployment (3 million Kenyan youth are currently unemployed). The retail merchandising business program targets helping 22,000 youth start businesses in the next 4 years.

Being a leader in your community or industry (and we all are in one way or another) can create a strong brand for your business as well. Qualities associated with leadership include professional excellence, valuable service, strong business skills, creativity, and initiative – these carry through from your leadership work to your business and its brand.
Most importantly, your story may inspire others to aim for their dreams. Put modesty aside and publicize your success.

PR tips on awards:

• It may take a significant portion of time, but enter award competitions in your industry. These are one of the highest forms of recognition for your work. However, rarely do these awards "find you." Contact your local industry association(s) and find out if they have an awards program. Search the Internet for other related associations that may have awards programs.
• Sometimes, you may even need to ask, or remind someone, that you need to be honored. If you have done outstanding work or service above and beyond what is usually expected of a responsible citizen/worker/business owner, don't keep it a secret.
• Publicize awards and special designations. Use them as an integral part of all of your outreach for public relations, investor relations, community relations, public affairs, marketing and advertising. Third party endorsements are hard to beat--it's actually someone else tooting your horn--not you.
• The award process provides unique networking opportunities that allow you to talk about your business and yourself to potential clients and sources of referrals.
• Routinely applying for awards should be a part of everyone’s PR strategy because even if you don't win, you have the opportunity to increase your visibility and expose your business to a whole new group of potential clients.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Top 101 Bloggers to Watch

I am so honored that WE Magazine for Women included this blog on the “101 Women Bloggers to Watch!” list for 2009. Please take a moment to check out the others who made the list. Thank you!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Presidential Slip

My daughter participates in a disability bowling league every Saturday morning. It’s probably the #1 thing she looks forward to during the week. Her presents at Christmas last year were her own bowling ball, shoes and bag.

I don’t know if she ever breaks 100 but she sure has fun. Thus, President Obama’s comment about “Special Olympics bowling” last week really hit home.

I’m not quite sure what to think about what he said. (I’m also not quite sure what to think about the President of the United States going on the Tonight Show!)

On one hand, when you are as overly scrutinized as he is, it is easy to make a blunder. His staff caught it during the taping and had an apology out before the show even aired!

On the other hand, the verbal “slips” that we make in public are often things that we may easily say – and believe -- in private.

Like the President, I grew up playing basketball and have played my entire life. I was an all-star, leading scorer, played Division I ball in college, but I learned more about life from basketball after I started coaching in a youth league. My daughter played in the Santa Monica YWCA basketball league and was on a team of nine-year-olds.. I was the coach. Erika usually had trouble catching the ball and would either fumble it out of bounds or get called for traveling. But one time, our top player, Stacy, got a pass from Erika and scored a lay-up. While running down to play defense, Stacy ran over to Erika and gave her a high-five to thank her for the pass. The audience knew Erika well and erupted in cheers to acknowledge the assist.

When I repeat that story, I add, “It took me to the age of 35 and a group of 9-year-old girls to show me the real meaning of basketball.”

Maybe President Obama hasn’t had the honor of having an Erika in his life, or seeing such an important play as Erika’s pass to Stacy. I have no doubt that President Obama has the best interests of the disabled in mind when he looks at policies, sets policy, etc.

Maybe this was a fortunate “slip” as it has increased awareness about the disabled and I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more on the subject. I understand some Special Olympians will be visiting the White House.

Now the challenge will be to keep the agenda for the disabled front and center, as there are many issues even more important than their bowling scores, such as employment opportunities, services, access to health care (including mental health services), etc. From the experiences of raising my daughter, I think that discrimination against the “differently abled” is the most prevalent discrimination we have. I also see it in my travels around the world. It by far surpasses most of the issues that get far more press. We may end up owing President Obama a thank you for bringing this to light by an “innocent”, yet no less demeaning, comment.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Here are highlights of my presentation:

The number of women-owned enterprises is now growing faster than the economy at large in many countries around the world. Women-owned firms comprise more than one quarter of businesses and are starting up in every industry sector. International trade offers new markets and new opportunities for businesses that can’t be ignored in this global environment.

With the cost in money, time and physical wear and tear of travel, communication and work projects will heavily depend on technology. This technology will need to address ways to find each other, get acquainted and build trust and actually carry out business.

However, these advancing technologies can not completely cut out personal interaction, especially for women who insert a lot of intuition and relationship-building into their business decisions. These factors are also more important in other cultures than they are in the U.S. culture, thus, technology will not take place of all face to face interaction, and using video on the internet will become standard operating procedure.

Women business owners, already good at collaboration, will find alliances to be of significant strategic advantage. A joint alliance, or teaming up, can provide an ideal and unique alternative – to team up through a contractual agreement to provide services, yet stay independently owned and operated. Joining forces with the right partner in another country or continent can leverage power and increase financial stability, helping a small company to effectively compete in today's ever-changing marketplace. The rewards can include personal and professional growth, immediately strengthening and growing your visibility and marketing efforts, and expanding your eyes and ears out in the business arena.

Associations, organizations and technology sites that give women in business an opportunity to easily connect and build relationships will be key in the expansion of accessing international markets. (Such as Although a social context is important for women to get to know each other and build a level of trust and respect, these entities will need to go beyond social events and business matchmaking. Women in business will demand more from these entities than gathering business cards, attending gala dinners and passing out awards.

It will be key for women to share resources and best practices and expand their networking arena to work together in important areas that impact women overall, such as policy, access to capital, communications, project management and leadership. Forums will need to be provided for education, discussion and carrying out work projects.

For example, training of even the most well-off and successful entrepreneurs in public relations and communication areas is vital. By combining leadership and communication training, women business owners can discover how the two go hand in hand and become skilled at using communications in a strategic manner. Women are historically reluctant to “toot their own horn” and share their triumphs, successes and inherent knowledge.

Government agencies worldwide, and in the United States, have historically focused their programs, trainings, funding and all forms of assistance at exporters of products, particularly manufacturing. Programs, trainings, financing, trade missions and other forms of assistance will need to focus more on women business owners, and even more specifically, service businesses. By reaching out to these specific sectors, governments should see exponential growth in export.

Friday, March 6, 2009


My computer’s auto-correct feature keeps changing WIEF to WIFE. I did not catch that on my hand-out. So the headline on my hand-out was

Presented at WIFE Businesswomen Forum, March 1, 2009

A Freudian slip, to say the least…..


The night before the Forum, I had dinner with Deb Leary, President of the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs. Amongst other important topics, we were discussing our hairdressers. She pays 250 pounds to have her hair cut and colored in London, whereas I just paid $165 in Arizona. The next day, when Dr. Mohamad said at the Forum, “We need to be seen as more than just women who wear scarves,” I tried to make a joke that I’m not sure came across well. I said, “Yes, we were discussing the high cost of hair care last night so we might all switch to wearing scarves on our heads.” Dr. Mohamad quickly said, “Oh, we still spend a great deal of money on our hair, too.”


When you think of spike heels (probably four-inches) strappy red sandals, do you think of:

1) Heidi Klum on the runway

2) What a Muslim woman wears under her long dress

3) Julia Robert’s favorite shoe in “Pretty Woman”

4) A holiday shoe—for Christmas or Valentine’s Day

I think very few people would select #2 as the right answer. Rina Fahmi Idris, Chairwoman of the Indonesian Business Women Association, wore the greatest shoes under her long dress during the Businesswomen’s Forum. Yep, they were strappy red sandals with spike heels. At lunch on the second day, I asked her if she was wearing her red shoes again. She said, “No, I just have slippers on today.” When she got up to leave, I saw her beautiful brown sandals which “only” had a two-inch heel.


The liaison officer’s job was to assist us in any way we needed and other than sleeping, Citra and I were together from the moment I arrived at the Jakarta Airport on February 28 until I left on March 3. And I mean together—I told her she did NOT need to go into the Ladies Room with me!


I was the only speaker at the Forum from the United States, but less than two weeks earlier, our U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Indonesia. When my 86-year-old mother commented to me that she saw this on the news, and it was the same place where I would be going, I said, “Yes mom, Hillary is doing the advance work for me.”


One of the stats I gave in my talk is that research from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows that 96 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States. Therefore it is vital that we look beyond our borders to do business. Further research by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce showed that women business owners who engage in international trade grew at a rate of 57 percent while those without international business grow at less than half that rate.

In contrast, another speaker said that, “The rest of the world can no longer depend on the 250 million US consumers. We must all become consumers for the good of the world’s economy.”


I may have been the only speaker who did NOT mention President Barack Obama. The excitement and the new optimism about the United States were apparent and I was proud in so many ways of my new government. It was as if I was the kid in a classroom, being showered with praise instead of scorn. The mood about the U.S. has definitely changed from my previous trips overseas during the past five years. I felt like I was being embraced again, instead of being held at arm’s length.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Greetings from Jakarta, Indonesia

I had the honor of participating in the Businesswomen’s Forum of the 5th Annual World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) on March 1 in Jakarta, Indonesia. There were women participating from many Asian countries, as well as Uganda, Kenya, UK, Pakistan, Egypt and Holland. I was the only attendee from the United States. The title of the day event was “Women Entrepreneurs: The Driving Force Towards a Stronger Future.”

We have set up a forum at to continue our discussions, and anyone that wants to join in is most welcome. The goal of the WIEF Businesswomen’s Forum was “not to talk too much about challenges but move forward in working together” said Dato’ Dr. Norraesah Mohamad, Chair of the WIEF Businesswomen Network. “We want to look beyond national borders and create serious and workable ventures together.”

I was quite excited about attending the event, and in talking about it with friends and colleagues in the U.S., most people would say, “Islamic women and economics? Isn’t that an oxymoron?”

Unfortunately, we are buying into the stereotypes we see in the media. Not only are terrorists a fringe group of Muslims, but so are Muslims that constrain women and their role in the family and the economy. The women I met at this conference are dynamic, educated, driven, strong, powerful, committed and about every other positive adjective you can think of to describe business women.

I met a woman from Malaysia whose company had revenues last year of $3.9 billion. I verified that with her, because it was hard to believe—of any woman or company! Her company builds and maintains highways in Malaysia, which recently privatized its road system.

I had a terrific talk with another public relations consultant from Indonesia. Mercedes Benz is one of her clients. We plan to stay in touch and continue to share stories.

We are all hoping to find ways for the associations to which we belong—such as the NAWBO and WIPP; the Indonesian, Egypt, Pakistan and Malaysian women business associations; and the Islamic and Ugandan Chambers of Commerces—to fully work together and stand united by sharing resources and ideas. And maybe, most importantly as a first step, to help break down barriers and stereotypes.

When I pursued this a bit further with Attiya Nawazish Ali, Assistant Secretary General for Coordination of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, she said their biggest need now (from US women business owners) is the sharing of resources and knowledge. “There is not a lot of interest or need now in doing business in the United States. We have such a big network that we can do business amongst ourselves first, while we learn.”

Ayesha Zaheer, Director of Zaheer Ahiekh Architects and Engineers in Pakistan, implored that women and the associations work together for another reason. “It is the women who will find peace in the world.”

Each conference speaker had a “liaison officer” that we dubbed “our shadow.” Citra Harshari was my liaison. She just graduated from a University in Australia in business and finance and is looking for her first professional job. I will write more about the great experience of working with her in a later post.

To illustrate that the stereotypes go both ways, Citra said she was very nervous about meeting me. I am the first American that she has met and she thought I would be arrogant, because that is how we are portrayed in the media.

But we departed almost tearfully after our three days together, we have already connected on Facebook, and I look forward to mentoring her in the future and continuing this new relationship. I am glad I was able to break through another stereotype.