Confidence, In The Press, Public Speaking

Keep Putting Yourself Out There

In an ironic turn of events, our previous podcast on “How to Put Yourself Out There” was cut short by technical difficulties, giving us the excuse to record another episode for you!

Keeping with the same topic, we decided to dive deeper into what it takes to truly put yourself out there. This time, I open up about how moving to Los Angeles had me feeling lost for a while and how I finally found a new rhythm.

I also share what I believe is the most important take-away from our two episodes. Let me know if you agree!

Confidence, In The Press, Public Speaking

How do you put yourself out there?

If you were to walk down the street and just ask a few random people what scares them the most, I imagine you’d hear things like: the dentist, heights, spiders, and a dead cell phone battery. But in a room full ofentrepreneurs, what’s really keeping them up at night is the potential of failure.

Starting a company is a risky and very personal experience. You live and breath the idea, working longer hours than ever before. And when you finally launch, you can’t help but take people’s opinions personally. Sound familiar?

I had the chance to join Rajiv Nathan and Martin McGovern on Idea Lemon’s Discover Your Inner Awesome podcast. For this episode we talked about this exact dilemma: how do you put yourself out there?

Take a listen to our stories about taking big leaps in life. What big leaps have you taken in your life? How do you put yourself out there?


Public Speaking, Startups

Understanding people, even when you don’t

Last year, when we ran the very first Pitch Training Camp, one of the students was Ilana Milkes, founder of World Tech Makers. Over the last year Ilana and WTM have gone on to accomplish amazing things, including launching classes in multiple cities and being accepted into Startup Chile.

At the end of the latest WTM bootcamp, the students had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the rest of the class. The WTM team invited me to join in on the fun, watch the pitches, and help judge and select a winner.

I probably don’t have to tell you this, but technology is amazing. I was able to Skype in and watch each of the students pitch in Colombia.

Lisa Russell judging World Tech Makers pitch

Unfortunately, Skype couldn’t help me with the one bit of detail I managed to over look. Each of the students pitched their ideas in Spanish… and I do NOT speak Spanish.

Not wanting to interrupt or distract from the pitches, I continued to listen to each of them as they delivered their ideas. I would catch a few words here and there, but instead focused on the rest of their presence and delivery.

I watched how they navigated the stage.
Their comfort level as they spoke.
The stability and variety of their voice.
How the audience responded to them.
Their ability to smile, even if nervous.

While I wasn’t able to judge them on their every word, it served as an amazing reminder that so much more goes into a good presentation.It’s not just about havingall of the right information in your pitch, it’s about being able to confidently deliver your message.


Niger State Gala

Over the last week, the city of Chicago hosted a trade mission from the State of Niger in an effort to strengthen the agricultural capabilities of the state. This occasion provided me the pleasure of meeting two incredible women from Poize Magazine, Nigeria’s first magazine for and about women entrepreneurs.

Comfort and Zella stand as role models and leaders, encouraging women in Africa to consider entrepreneurship and to empower them along the way.  I greatly admire their work and look forward to following and supporting them in the future.

While in Chicago, we were able to join them in a celebration and gala in honor of the work of Chief Servant of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu. It was a beautiful event and a truly unique experience.



Breaking a World Record: The World Float

I am officially a world record holder – well me, and 600+ awesome friends from World Domination Summit!

The Friday before WDS, we all met at the Willamette River to create the world’s longest floating chain. The record was previously held bya group of Italians, who achieved the record with 542 people in 2008.

We managed to link up 620 people, holding hands for over 5 minutes, while floating the Willamette as one long chain.Breaking this Guinness World Record was so much fun and made for such great memories! It was the perfect way to kick-off an inspirational weekend at World Domination Summit.





Chicago Emerging Leader

A dear friend recently nominated me as one of Chicago’s Emerging Leaders for an upcoming award ceremony conducted by eWomenNetwork. Much to my surprise, I’ve been named the Chicago finalist and one of the top 10 across the nation.

eWomenNetwork Emerging Leader Lisa Russell

As part of the eWomenNetwork’s annual conference, they conduct the Femtor Awards. With my nomination, I had the opportunity to not only attend the conference but to take the stage and introduce myself as part of the awards ceremony.

Lisa Russell speaking at ewomennetwork


Throughout the conference, I was able to meet so many inspirational women in business, including the others nominated as an Emerging Leader.

The eWomenNetwork Foundation Emerging Leader Program reaches out to young women between the ages of 22-29 who are already demonstrating excellence in the areas of academics, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Our aim is to seek out the bright and the bright eyed and recognize them for their accomplishments and commitment, particularly as it relates to an ethic of integrating giving back into their professional pursuits.

It was a great honor to receive this award and I’ll forever be grateful for the opportunity.


Giving Back

A Career Day for New Mom’s Inc.

There are many days when I look back at my past and am in awe that I’ve been able to achieve so many of the ambitious goals that I’ve set for myself. I say this not to pat myself on the back, but to acknowledge that I am lucky. Most young girls who are put through similar situations, do not have the support system to help them overcome their circumstances. Many do not find the inspiration and motivation they need to break away.

This is why, when given the chance, I embrace opportunities to share my story and stand as a source of support and inspiration for young, at-risk youth.

This week, that opportunity was in partnership with New Mom’s Inc, a nonprofit organization that equips struggling, impoverished adolescent parents with the tools they need to permanently change their lives.

We filled the room with almost 50 adolescent mothers from the New Mom’s Inc. program, and provided them an uplifting day of career training. It looked something like this:

New Moms Inc Agenda

I am forever grateful that Brittany and the Zealous Good team connected me with this organization. I wrote a bit more about the event over on their blog and encourage you to check it out.

I wanted to thank you so much for hosting the Professional Development Day for the participants enrolled in the Academy of Professional Development here at New Moms. I cant express to you how grateful I am that our participants had this opportunity to interact and attend the different workshops that your Sharp Skirts volunteers conducted. The workshops were extremely informative and covered valuable information that each of the participants will be able to utilize during this beginning stage of their careers.

Angela Forcucci, Career Advancement Coordinator at New Moms Inc.