September 8, 2010

Checking in with Mary...

First, let me say Thank You to everyone who has reached out to me. I'm not much accustomed to being on the receiving end of "Oooooooh, I'm so sorry to hear the news." but I've come to understand that these expressions are very heartfelt and I've also come to understand that although Mary in The Morning and Marigold were my livelihood, they meant a great deal to the folks that were engaged in all that we did. 

On Tuesday, the first day of school, I heard from many moms and dads that the morning drive to school just wasn't the same without their dose of Mary in the Morning. Even the kids were asking, "Where's Mary?". On the Marigold side of things, the women whom we have served have been amazingly supportive, but their condolences always include the question of how will they all stay connected to each other without us. And so, to all of them and you, I want to convey how sorry I am that it came to an end.

I do feel a sense of commitment to everyone. I couldn't change the decision that was made by the owners, and I don't have the wherewithal to buy back Marigold and start over.

The Future: There IS something in the works and I am thrilled to experience the entrepreneurial seizure-like passion for a new project. I am putting the pieces together with the bonus of implementing all that I have learned from the experiences of Mary in the Morning and Marigold. My every impulse wants to scream from the mountain top what I'm planning, but I need to do my due-diligence on researching the viability of the concept and secure the sponsors, media partners, etc... For those wondering if I'm returning to the airwaves, well... we'll see if that fits in. I imagine that it will, in some format.

Getting Together: One of the great joys of my career is helping local charities raise funds and awareness for their programming and services. I am continuing to emcee local events and speak to groups around the state. There are several events in the coming weeks.  I would love to see you and catch-up at any of these. My newsletter,  presently named  Mary's Next Big Thing, is where you will find info and links to buy tickets and learn more about, well, my next big thing. You can register HERE to subscribe. To read the current issue, CLICK HERE.

The Lame Arm: For those who are wondering..... I had major shoulder surgery on Aug. 20th. I came home from Munson with the equivalent of the backseat of a small car strapped to my waist. My arm was then strapped to the "backseat". I've since traded that in for a smaller model, but the concept is the same. Friends have suggested that I name the darned thing, but nothing has stuck. I now type and write with only my left hand, which is not fun or efficient when you are right-handed.  I am 4 weeks away from freedom from this thing. No driving, no cutting into a juicy steak, but no folding laundry either! And certainly no ice skating which got me into this trouble in the first place.

I would love to hear from you, my new e-mail address is Feel free to drop me a note. 

My Next Big Thing has a role for everyone. Stay tuned!

Your friend,

August 26, 2010

Mary's Next Big Thing

Let's be frank. My radio show, Mary in the Morning, has been canceled. Marigold, the company I founded in 2005, sold to the radio station in 2008 and have been the consultant to, has been shuttered and I'm trying to figure out where to go from here. In case you are wondering, I'm having a ball with this bizarre turn of events. Sure I shed some girly tears, but rest assured, I'm good to go.

I have received hundreds of e-mails, phone calls and Facebook messages offering condolences and eager enthusiasm for my Next Big Thing. I have also had numerous inquiries from businesses and organizations wanting to partner (literally offering to write the check!) with my Next Big Thing. Funny thing is... I hadn't really planned for this. This is The Penske File.

I'm not being coy or mysterious about this thing. I don't know what it is yet. I just know that we're on to something. It will most likely involve a website, events, deals & discounts, maybe a membership thing, audio and/or video in some form, great collaborative opportunities, lots of ways to connect you to great people and your world.

The one thing I know is that my Next Big Thing needs you. You and your friends, co-workers, neighbors and any body else you know who has been missing Mary's Last Big Thing. I'm asking you to subscribe to and promote something that doesn't exist.

Soon after you subscribe, I'll be asking you for some basic info about yourself and what you miss. I'll take it from there, put it together, make it fun, make it relevant to your life, shop it around, put it through my entrepreneurial filter, and see what comes out the other end. I can't be much more transparent than that.

Would you like to be part of this? Cool! CLICK HERE 

Want to help even more, great! Here's what you can do for me: In the right-hand column of this blog page is a link to share this on your Facebook wall. Please add your own encouraging message to your friends.

Help me even more? Wow! Get your non-Facebook friends (Gasp...) on board. Send an e-mail to friends with this link: pasted into your message and we'll really get this thing, whatever it is, growing.

Thank you, thank you thank you. I can't wait to get started. You can REGISTER YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS HERE.

Please comment here, am I crazy or am I making some sense?
Your friend,

August 18, 2010

The Kitchen Counter Version of Mary in the Morning

Today is Day 3 of Mary in the Morning broadcasting from my kitchen counter into my hairbrush. This morning, Dr. Laura stopped by to be on the show. It was Foodie Wednesday so she brought me a box of Lucky Charms. We began our chat but she kept grabbing at my mic (the hairbrush) and saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry". That got old very fast. 

A few more guests stopped by. Dave Dennison of Amical made me pancakes, which were delicious! That is him in the picture from my kitchen. Mario Batali came next and made the mistake of using my microphone as a hairbrush. Now I have long red hairs all over my show prep. I forgave him after he gifted me with a pair of bright orange Crocs just like his.

You may be asking what is in store for us tomorrow? Well, Thursdays, we usually Hit the Road with Travel Michigan. I may make a visit to Grawn, or perhaps Buckley for the Old Engine Show. Of course, you never know who will come knocking at my front door and join the conversation. If you would like to stop by, please bring your own hairbrush.

You will find the show, as it is, from 7 to 9AM on the Mary in the Morning Facebook page until other arrangements can be made. You will need to visit that page and "Like the page" (not just the Link). I will then recap the show here on my blog for those of you who don't get up that early.

Help me spread the word, and come back often!

Thanks for visiting the Mary Rogers' Blog!,

August 16, 2010

A Congenial Disentanglement

I am separating from Northern Broadcast which owns Marigold and until last Friday, aired Mary in the Morning. Last week I sat down with the powers that be, looked at the options and we agreed to a congenial disentanglement. I believe it was as tough of a conversation for both sides. I honestly have no bad feelings toward the makers of this decision, it makes sense from a strictly business perspective.

Northern Broadcast’s management reviewed revenue and expense budgets – and although the quality of our programming was excellent, they needed to allocate their resources to more profitable cost centers.

I do feel just terrible for the rest of the team who are now looking for jobs. They are all awesome women who will make great additions to any organization. I will tell you in a moment how to stay in touch with them.

But what about you? In speaking with many of you over the weekend I heard sadness, shock, and some anger. I understand. Marigold and Mary in the Morning are very personal brands. They were designed to be that way. They were sincerely designed to make you feel like a part of something, to give you a warm and positive feeling about your community, your world and yourself. I think we accomplished that very well because it came from our hearts and not just a marketing plan. Karyn Hertel did a wonderful job as Director of Marigold because she believed in and embodied the Marigold spirit.

When Proctor & Gamble sold Spic n' Span, consumers went nuts when the pine scent was discontinued. There are blogs and websites populated by crushed consumers pining for their...pine! Men & women relied on their Spic n' Span  not only to clean their homes, but they connected the unique pine scent with a job well done cleaning their house. The truth is, not enough people bought the pine scent. You can still find the product through eBay where savvy folks have stockpiled the stuff and sell it at huge profit margins.

Unfortunately, we can't sell you what we made in a box. It was the community that we brought together that made it what it was. Both Mary in the Morning and Marigold could resurface in the future in other forms. But when they operated side-by-side, it created a certain magic for us all: staff, sponsors, show guests, event speakers, attendees, advertisers, publicists, even our vendors loved being a part of what we were doing.

Please subscribe to this blog, there is link on the right-hand side of this page. Here, I will continue to post my blog, also you can keep track of our happenings and stay in touch. I will also continue my Mary in the Morning Facebook page which I hope you will "like".

Please keep our community together by sharing your comments here on the blog.

You can reach our team members as follows:
Karyn Hertel -
Erin Cheney -
Heather Daniels -
Carol Vernam -

Thank you for everything,
Mary Rogers

August 9, 2010

Homemaker of the Year

On Monday, the 2010 Homemaker of the Year was named at the Northwestern Michigan Fair. This makes many women very edgy. First, because it takes a very narrow view of a woman's talents and yet to discount the importance of "making a home" under values the role of women. Once again, we sigh a collective sigh and mutter, "I don't even know what to think about this!".

I do think you need to put this in the context of a county or state fair, where these competitions are held. The fairs spotlight the agricultural community and the traditions of farming. This is where the womanly arts of canning and quilting (yes, both are judged categories) were developed and remain part of our historical perspective. Back in the day, these skills, along with rug beating, clothes line drying, sewing, plucking  feathers for down pillows, were all necessary and valued skills. Today, we buy Smuckers jams, get a poly-something bed quilt which we wash and dry in machines and use a vacuum cleaner from Sweden. 

Homemaking has changed, but I put forth that it is no less important.

When you first walk into a family's home, in that first moment, you can grasp the effort, or lack of, that has been made to make a home. It can be chaotic or peaceful, rustic or stark and modern, richly adorned or a mismatch of yard sale furniture, it doesn't matter. You can sense when a house or apartment is a home.

Regardless if it is a man or woman in charge of the home, you can tell when somebody cares enough and knows enough to create an atmosphere of home. Looking closer, there is the care to manage the family schedules and finances. Thoughtful parenting is taking place here. I think these are very important skills, not just Donna Reed-isms.

Yes, I hope my daughter grows up to be the president of something, but when I am invited to her home, I will be a bit disappointed if she doesn't know how to make a pot roast. Because, pot roast is delicious. Nothing you buy in the frozen food section is every going to taste as good as pot roast with potatoes and gravy. It won't make her a good or bad person, but she and her family will miss out if they don't have a home that when other people walk in, they feel happy.

Keep in mind, I am an extremely homey person. I can feed 10 people dinner with an hour's notice, I can sew (but don't), I can knit, I can design, plant and care for a garden, I know how to set a dinner table, throw a brunch for Mother's Day, needlepoint Christmas stockings and remove most stains. I truly enjoy the effort it takes to make my home a home. It should also be noted that my house is usually quite cluttered and we do eat fast food when all fails.

Most of my accomplishments have been made outside of my home, in the arena of my career and community involvement. And an equally important role most women play now includes management of the family finances, but I consider these "domestic arts" to be just as much a piece of Me. My family means enough to me to warrant Making The Effort to Make a Home.

If you work 60 hours a week, then you can pay somebody else to do a lot of this, but you yearn to have time to put in the Effort.

I will certainly never be a Homemaker of the Year, but I appreciate the art!

August 2, 2010

Mary's New Blog

Thank you for visiting my blog. New content is coming daily, so do check back and see how I've grown. 

The best new feature of my blog is access to a store of all the books featured on Mary in the Morning or my Facebook page booknotes, plus more great books that I personally recommend. Check out the store featuring all these great reads (growing daily!). You can buy them right here, or make a list and visit a local bookseller or visit your local library.

If you would like to contribute content to my blog or wish to link in a mutually satisfying sort of way... drop me a note here.

August 1, 2010

Never Negotiate the SPIRIT of the Deal

Okay, so I am an organizational development geek, admittedly. But I want to share with you a moment in a meeting that I found so perfect, so clarifying, so break through the bull, because I promise you can use it immediately in just about any situation. Here it is: Before collaborating, and I use that term very loosely, be sure that all parties share the same spirit of the agreement to come.

Some examples:
Before you agree to co-host a bridal shower, be sure you both will share in all expenses and work involved. True Co-Hosting, Big C Big H. Or does the other person mean: she expects you to have it at your clean house, you to pay for the food and drink, you clean up the mess, handle RSVPs and she's just "helping where you need her". She'll "be there for you". Small c Small h.

Entering a business deal as partners on a project to a shared client. What does the term partnership mean? 50-50? 10-90? Both are perfectly acceptable, as long as it is clear from the beginning. 

What is the spirit of the deal?
What is the spirit of the collaboration?
Warning!! Warning!! If you are walking into the deal WITHOUT the same spirit, no matter what you  negotiate, there will be trouble ahead!!

In the meeting I was at, we were discussing a possible collaboration between two organizations with complementary missions coming together for a joint event. A collaborative effort. A partnership. One of the masterminds behind this plan said: "Before we sweat the details of this proposal to organization #2, let's make sure that they are open to the spirit of the deal. Organization #1 is in charge of and owns the overall event. Organization #2 will own a portion of the overall event". She was absolutely right in simplifying the approach. Be sure the spirit is agreeable before you commit to anything.

You've probably learned that a lack of communication up front can sour a deal later on. But this "spirit discussion" will bring clarity to all the little details along the way.

I wish I had learned this a long, long time ago. I could have saved myself from so many business regrets, not to mention cursing under my breath during bridal showers!

When you you get to the dirt of the deal, here's the best book yet on negotiating: You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen

July 23, 2010

Imagine! The Joy of Backward Thinking!

Imagine that it is the year 2015 and you are in a courtroom. You are well dressed but your feet hurt. You are there to finalize matters with creditors at your bankruptcy hearing. Huh?!? How did THAT happen?

Imagine that it is the year 2020 and you are in a courtroom. You are well dressed but your feet hurt. You are there for the final dissolution of your marriage. Huh?! How the heck did THAT happen?

Take a few moments to consider what events most likely happened in your near future as the building blocks to the disastrous outcomes above. What could you have done to prevent these things? What is well within your control that you maybe neglect or get too busy for that may  prevent such dreadful outcomes.

For many of us, looking backward is easier than looking forward. I suggest you use this exercise to look back from your future. This is a great way to rethink your own behavior before it leads to disaster. The beautiful thing about this backward/forward vision is that you can utilize it to prevent failures and also to get you closer to your desired goals. 

Imagine that it is the year 2016 and your are writing the tuition check to your kid's college of choice for a full year. Today, you have enough in the college savings account to pay for a tank of gas. Visualize how you get there in just 6 years time. You can still do this, you have 6 years!!!!

Imagine the day you retire from the career you love. Visualize the hobbies and travel that can become your daily life. Now is the time to plan that future.

Companies routinely use this backward thinking in their strategic planning for future growth. See the goal and work backward, planning the action steps, resources needed, etc... to get them there.

The next time somebody accuses you of backwards thinking, say "Why yes, thank you!".

Mary Rogers

July 21, 2010

What do they say when you walk out the door?

Aren't we all experts on our friends lives? We know what their "issues" are, how much their "baggage" weighs, and we are also blessed with the solutions to all of their problems. If only we had the guts to tell them.

In an interview with Dr. Phil, he said that he had left private practice because of his frustration with clients that wanted to stay clients, even after he had given them clear advice on how to solve their problems. They didn't really want to bring and end to their woes, just talk about them. Every week. For 50 minutes. With him.

What about you? Would you want to put an end to your business, career or personal troubles if offered a solid solution?

Several years ago, I hit a point in my life where nothing seemed to be working. My career and family life were out of balance, I didn't feel very well, my business was growing but not in ways I expected or was prepared for. I kept tweaking the formula of my attention and nothing seemed to work. I did something that sounds simple, but it simply wasn't done.

I surveyed the people in my life that spent the most time with me: friends, family, co-workers, employees and individually asked them this: Imagine that you are gathered with my circle of friends. I come in all cranky about my life, and then leave the room. What would you all agree on that I needed to change or do with my life. I asked them to be blunt.

I did this with 4 or 5 people. They all had the exact same answer. Some of these people had never met each other, but they all knew me. Guess what? I did what they suggested and it worked. It took a long time for me to go through the process, but I did it and I am 100% happier and healthier.

Does your life seem a wee bit out of whack? Try it. Ask them "What do people say about me when I walk out the door?" It usually starts with something like "If she could just stop going back to that man!" or "Why doesn't she just tell her mother she can't send her anymore money?" or "Stop writing prisoners!".

If all of your peeps say that you should start a business, do it! If they all say you should quit that job, maybe their perspective gives them something you should listen to. You are surrounded by advisors, make an appointment!

July 14, 2010

Connecting the Dots

Thanks to all who commented on my July 5th blog about finding my sweet spot (that whole career/family/self balance point) and how I could deliver the message of a scaled back picture of success in a speech to Detroit women business owners in a few months. What insightful readers and writers this blog has! Please go back and read the comments, it will be very worth your time.

One of my concerns about this speech is that these business owners are up against a monster of a bad economy. My Little Mary Sunshine message of "Hey, maybe where you are RIGHT NOW is just fine" felt a bit uncomfortable for me. 

Bill Marsh Jr, of Bill Marsh Auto Group read my blog and was good enough to send me a  speech given by executive coach and speaker Connie Podesta of Texas. I took away many ideas from Connie's remarks. One that I thought most worth sharing is this: We rarely question our happiness when all is going well: customers are beating a path to our door, employees are happy and productive, vendors are meeting your demands, etc... Rather, it is when sales have dumped, you can't meet payroll, and vendors have turned into creditors that unless you really love what you are doing and have a clear priority to succeed at it, work just sucks.

When I started doing the Mary in the Morning Show, the general manager of the station told me that the first day I found myself not wanting to get out of bed at 4AM would be the day to hand in my resignation. It messes up your family life and plain old hurts too much to wake up that early if you aren't excited to get to work. After 3 years, I completely understand what he was telling me. There is no way that I would sacrifice normal life for this job if it was anything less than the most fun job imaginable.

So, the message here is: If in this rotten economy you have lost the love for your business, career or job, you probably never really loved it all that much. Time to reevaluate what makes you happy, good times or bad, and get moving in that direction.

July 12, 2010

Grow or die... or not?

I love making speeches! I am a freak, I know. Like a songwriter who will tell you that the song must be sung, that it is bursting from their very pores, I get the same way with a speech.

But everything has a time and a place. Barbra Streisand would probably not be well received at a Tattoo Festival. In a few months from now I am scheduled to make a keynote speech at a women business owners conference in Detroit. For me, this is something of a homecoming appearance and frankly, I want to knock it out of the ballpark. My old colleagues wonder what the heck happened to Mary after she moved up north? I'm sharing with you my thoughts about preparing for this in hopes that it will help you in how you approach your own communications, be they one-on-one or one-to-one thousand. My second reason is to get some feedback from folks I know and trust who may want to tell me to re-think this.

My experience as a public speaker has taught me:
  • Speak from the heart. You can never fool a crowd
  • Give your audience information or inspiration that they can use that very day
  • Speak for the benefit of your audience not yourself
My heartfelt message these days is to enjoy the place (emotional, physical, financial, etc) that you are in, so as not to overlook the joys that are yours while scrambling to figure out how to be bigger and better than you are right now, right here. Could you find yourself in your sweet spot and not be living the life of a millionaire? Find yourself living where the ranking of your priorities match the energy expended.

A few years ago, when I was scrambling for career and business growth, I had a conversation with a businessman who was new to the area. He wanted to work with local companies to help them expand into new markets. He shared his frustration with me over local folks satisfaction with "enough". He told me that he found himself actually having to convince people (plumbers, insurance agents, small manufacturers, etc...) that they should want to grow. I completely sympathized with the guy! "You're kidding! Grow or die, baby!". They told him they made more money than their parents ever dreamed of, had a nice house, 2 cars in the driveway, went to Florida for a week each winter. Why grow? They would have more work, more worry, and less time to spend enjoying things that really mattered to them. They had enough right now. The poor guy was left speechless.

I feel compelled to share this message because I have spent a great deal of my time in "scramble mode" and I can practically smell the burn of it on others. We are programmed to expand, grow and win. 

I suggest that you re-examine your assumptions of your own priorities, your own goals, and then decide if ambition is your driving passion. If it is, go for it! If you adopted in from the ad managers at Proctor & Gamble or More magazine, I say hit the brakes. 

Personally, I feel like Alice in Wonderland when she drank from the cup labeled "Drink This". I see things from a very different perspective these days. I am fully committed to do the best at what I do, but not in a bigger, splashier, more recognized way. I love what I am doing right now. Yes, I could make more money somewhere else, but then I would have to give "this" up! I love this. Right now, right here. And that's okay dammit! Maybe next week I'll want to conquer the world. But not right now.

This might sound like a message of giving up your dreams and that is when I get nervous about ending a major address on this note. Keep in mind, I will be speaking to hundreds of women running businesses in a cut throat depressed economic market. I am the first speaker of the day before the conference goers spend the morning at various workshops on business marketing and finance and technology. Is it unrealistic to ask frightened business owners to take a moment to smell the roses, celebrate their accomplishments and maybe (just maybe) accept this time as a season of maintenance and not growth?

Am I creating this message because I want to give it OR because it could be inspirational to the women I'll be speaking to. Am I ignoring the reality of their daily life?

Your very satisfied friend,
Mary Rogers

June 28, 2010

Would you like fries with that?

No matter what type of business you are in, the old truism stands: Nothing happens until someone sells something. You may be the best at what you do, but if you avoid selling, you are dead in the water. If prospecting isn't your idea of fun, and let's face it, who among us enjoys cold calling, maybe there is another way to boost your selling. 

Before you get a cold call panic attack, let's maximize each sale that comes in the door now. Fast food companies are the ultimate marketers of selling more than the customer plans to buy. "Would you like fries with that?" or, " Would you like to Super Size that for just a dollar more?" Why not apply the same philosophy to how you service your current clients? 

Keep them in the Family
Do you have related products or services to your core business? Begin today to offer them with every sale! Consider packaging or bundling products and services with different names (Silver, Gold, Platinum). Example: Siding installers can offer power washing. Call it what you want but offer an add-on of 3 annual power washings and free inspections. 

Get a Commitment
Do your customers need your services repeatedly? Example: Hair stylists... Offer an annual hair care package of a cut every 8 weeks, color every 16 weeks, nail service and a $50 retail credit for products. Discount it for advance purchase or throw in a labor only expense such as unlimited brow waxing.

There's a place down the road...
Could you expand your line of products or services. Here's an exercise: What type of referrals do your salespeople make most often to another business. Why pass revenue to someone else's cash register. If you are a window cleaning service, think about adding screen repair. If you are a travel agent, consider a house or pet sitting service.

It's that time of year
Check in with customers as they near the anniversary date of their last purchase. Your business may be seasonal, or the customer always calls you in October because that is when their birthday reminds them of your service, in any case, take advantage of the opportunity to call and check in. Even if it is just to "see how things are". It is a chance to tell them about new offerings that may be of interest.

Your current clients are the easiest path to larger revenues. Before you embark on a prospecting campaign, be certain that all staff with customer contact are looking for sales potential of current buyers and that they have a menu of offerings.

Good luck and get selling!,

June 22, 2010

Men in bras

In 1986, I was charged with establishing The Women's Business Council of a local chamber of commerce. As the staff member leading a group of member volunteers, it was my role to implement the member's vision of the Board of Directors directive to serve the needs of women in the business community. I was filled with a passion for celebrating modern empowered women. I came to my first meeting with the group armed with a folder full of workshop and speaker ideas on accessing capital, establishing gender-neutral employee policies, sexual harassment awareness programs, etc... All designed to provide cutting edge information and strategies to liberate us from the oppression of the patriarchal business culture. The group wanted to host a fashion show.  I wanted to cry.

"No!" I railed. I probably said something like "Over my dead body", but I can't be sure, it is a blur, a big pink blur. But I am sure that I tried something along the lines of..."Ladies, we have been given an opportunity to be taken seriously, to rise above the ranks of the secretarial pool, we must provide programming that not only serves women but sends a message to the entire community that women in business must to be taken SERIOUSLY!!!!! They stared at me. "Oh".

Keep in mind that my manila folder full of ideas was the ONLY accessory to my plain blue suit with sensible flat-heeled shoes and understated (if even existent) jewelry. We were dressing like men so that we would be treated like men. Those of us at the helm of the womens' business movement were denying our every feminine quality.

Twenty-five years later, I would host a fashion show without a second thought. In fact, Mary in the Morning and Marigold are the proud sponsors of the National Cherry Festival's Royal Pageant of Fashion . Whodathunkit? So what's changed? We can now be WOMEN instead of men in bras.

The worlds of feminism and fashion have always clashed. When I think of an over-the-top hard-core feminist I see a hairy arm-pitted woman in no make up with stringy, if not un-brushed hair. She's not prettying herself up for a man! Well, the message is she's not prettying up for ANYBODY! 

Nowadays, I'm perfectly comfortable expressing myself through fashion and beauty as a complement to what I have to contribute to a conversation. I see a fashion show as an opportunity to preview what is available in stores to help save me precious time when I need or want a new outfit. I am definitely not a fashion plate and consider myself to be fashion-challenged, so for me, a fashion show is like spell check, preventing me from making gaffes that would be potentially embarrassing to "Brand Mary".

I hope to see you at The Royal Pageant of Fashion!

June 15, 2010

Change Your Plans for Thursday!

Whatever your plans may be for Thursday morning, you will want to change them. At 7:30AM you want to be by a radio, tuned in to my conversation with Donna. Donna? Yes, Donna. She's going to say some things that may shock you, may make you uncomfortable, but I guarantee that you will be talking about her for the rest of the day.

Donna Estes Antebi has written a book, The Real Secrets Women Only Whisper, The 21st Century Woman's Guide to Success and Survival - including dirty tricks every woman needs to know! 

The book is not being released until this fall, but I have an advance copy. Now, keep in mind that I get a pile of books each and every week from publishers and publicists wanting to get their author on Mary in the Morning. I've become very discerning in deciding who I feels has something new, relevant and original to lend to my show. Since first picking up this book about a month ago, I've thought about it every single day. I've given it to friends to read and review, and despite her Keep This Book Away From Men warning on the cover, I've given it to men and listened to their ideas as well.. Everyone who reads it is somewhat shocked, somewhat jarred, but all are impacted.  

Last week I caught up with Donna by phone at her office in Los Angeles. We spoke for an hour or so about our adult sons and their choices of women, WEEDS (her term for younger women stealing married men and destroying families), the swinging pendulum and backlash of feminism on the role of men. It was fascinating conversation. 

She'll tell you to just stop being a bitch to your husband, why to sign a pre-nup, why not to sleep with men you wouldn't marry, how to be a Cleo instead of a Cougar,why it's okay for your man to dress badly, and why you will never be Oprah.

I will interview her on Wednesday afternoon, it will air on Thursday at 7:30am. We do have a few copies to give away to listeners, but don't expect me to give up mine!

June 8, 2010

What does Mary think of Dr. Laura

Last month YOU-FM, the home of Mary in in the Morning, switched to an all talk format. Will it be a ratings coup? A bomb? It will be a couple years before we know for sure, but the line-up of shows has certainly gotten some tongues wagging. I'm thoroughly enjoying the comments I'm getting from listeners.

The reaction so far has been completely random from love to hate, very little middle ground here. The prime time line-up includes the Queen of the Left, Stephanie Miller who airs immediately after Mary in the Morning; Dave Ramsey the Live Debt Free guru who brings Jesus into the conversation with callers quite comfortably; the acerbic Dr. Laura is there for your afternoon drive, followed by rightie-pants Jerry Doyle.

When I'm out and about I'm asking people their thoughts on the line-up, 90 percent of the time the conversation leads to: "Mary, what do YOU think of Dr. Laura?" This is a very polarizing question, or at least I think it is meant to be. If you say they you like Dr. Laura, people can fit you into a box full of assumptions (pro-life, anti-gay, women should stay home with the kids, blah, blah, blah) So here you have it: I love Dr. Laura for being Dr. Laura. I don't agree with many of her positions on how we humans run our lives, but I do respect and cheer for her decision to not be politically correct.

This woman has balls.  Dr. Laura filters her callers questions through a simple filter of right and wrong, black or white, her way the highway. She doesn't have the inclination or interest or time to sugar coat it. She gives her opinion. And that is why people continue to call and take the abuse. She makes the drama of our lives so simple. Do this, goodbye, Next caller....
Even when I'm disagreeing with her, calling her names, rolling my eyes at the radio, I am completely and thoroughly enjoying myself. I try to catch at least part of her show every day. We seem at times to be a nation of very stupid people, and Dr. Laura is one of the only brave voices out their.

Most importantly, Dr. Laura has been on the scene long enough that every caller to her show should know what to expect. She is so predictable that she couldn't possibly be accused of ambushing anybody. Simplistic? Yes. Heartless? Perhaps. Ambivalent? Never!

Tune in to Dr. Laura daily 3-6PM and let me know your thoughts on her show.


May 31, 2010

Trash Talk Recycling

Would you tell Barb what Jill said about her if you were certain that Barb was going to confront Jill using you as her source of information? Confused? Let's make it a story problem.

You and Barb have been close friends for years, you support each other through thick and thin, working on community projects together, helping with each others garage sales, you are known for being best friends. Jill, an acquaintance of both of yours tells you that she thinks Barb's decision to keep chairing the Festival of Bird Baths is ridiculously but predictably selfish and that it's time Barb passed the torch to another member of the Babes for Bird Baths Association. She has plenty more to say about your friend Barb, but realizes she's getting a chilly reception and clams up.

All too often, we pass this sort of trash talk along to the "trashed", but forbid them from telling the "Jills" of the world who spilled the beans.  This leaves Barb insulted and powerless (probably the worst one-two combo in the world). Here's my view of this: If you aren't completely comfortable being quoted on your reporting of trash talk, keep it to yourself. Or better yet, tell the Jill to take a hike. "You are talking about my friend and I don't like it".

It seems to me, when we pass along an insult in the spirit of "I thought you should know....", but haven't...
  1. had the guts to confront the trash talker yourself and defended your friend; and
  2. given your friend your permission to cite you the source leave her in the position to doubt YOUR friendship. I sure would.

This happened to a good friend of mine recently and as she told me the details, my very first question was: Why in the world did she tell you this? And she swore you to secrecy, that you could never mention it? Huh? Who is the queen of mean here?

If this sounds like high school junk, I agree. As we get older and wiser(?), the stakes get higher with careers and families in the balance. Let's all stand up for each other when we hear this junk, and to the betrayed: the favor of not retelling the story.

May 25, 2010

Lady Campers!

Is it always such a good idea to get out of your comfort zone? When you get that "uncomfortable" feeling, isn't that a message to re-evaluate your circumstances and plan the exit strategy? Or does it mean that you are growing? Growing is supposed to be good for you I hear.

Here's the story: My family wants to go camping. Yes, camping. Outside. In the woods. I've gotten this far in life with "Just Say No".  Camping just isn't my thing, and yes I say that for all the girlie reasons that you would expect. I'm not proud.

I recently made the mistake of adding a caveat to the whole camping issue: OK, I will go, IF: We go with another family of veteran-campers who have kids and all the equipment to make it something I ATTEND not CREATE. I don't know how to camp. I'm certain that other women like myself have been initiated into camping and have figured out all the tricks to make it fun for kids and grown-up sorts.

Just like when you negotiate with God and tell him you'll never eat chocolate again if he could just make that police officer pass you on the highway and pull over the the car ahead of you, my wish has been granted and just such a family has invited us to go into the woods with them. In fact, two families have come forward. They have the equipment. My family looks at me with  raised eyebrows and they smirk at me. I am cornered. I want my chocolate back.

So lady campers... send me your secret tricks to make camping a magical family experience...please!

May 17, 2010

Is there anything new to say about Family/Work Balance?

The very worst guest on Mary in the Morning is the "expert" that points out a very serious issue and then spends the next 15 minutes of valuable airtime saying exactly that, over and over and over. This issue is SOO important. No innovative solution, no 3 step plan to make things better. Just a reiteration of why the topic is so important and even more annoyingly, how important it is that you resolve this issue... or else here's the bad news: (fill in the blank). BUT NO ANSWERS WE CAN USE.

Whenever I hear from a publicist about an author who has tackled the Work vs. Family Balance issue, I ask to see the book before agreeing to the booking. I have yet to read anything new on the topic. There are some guiding principles that we are all familiar with:
  1. Learn to say no
  2. Delegate at home and work
  3. Demand support for your career from family members
  4. Work for a company that supports family-friendly policies
  5. Approach your career phases as seasons, relating to the demands of your family over a period of time
Beyond these basics, I have yet to hear anything ground-breaking or even interesting on the topic. I just crave my Calgon Take Me Away moment when I consider the issue. I just read an e-mail from a listener who would like more conversation on the Mary in the Morning show about family/work balance. She is hopeful that other listeners will have great ideas that they could share with each other. Have I become cynical and skeptical? I predict a morning of dead air.

This is a challenge for every woman I know and I have come to believe that there exists a unique approach for every woman. No one-size-fits-all answer. Some of us get it and some of us spend way too much of our time feeling inadequate and a disappointment to others.

Our mothers blazed the trail for us, gaining entry to many career fields that were closed to us. They told us we could be anything we wanted and we did it! But we haven't figured out how our families are going function if we aren't there. Carol the Corporate Wonder thinks that her 11 year-old daughter will be so proud of Mom for being the first woman in her company to be promoted to Regional Manager, but in reality, she'd prefer you be home after school to help make banners for swim team. Women go around and around in their minds, trying to remember what is really important and what is not. How much are they willing to sacrifice for their families, how much for their careers? Would your husband's give up your $45,000 salary in exchange for a more relaxed life partner?

Do you have ideas to share? Let's start the conversation here and see where it goes...

May 7, 2010

Rest and Win!

Ten years ago (post 9/11) the trend was Nesting. In February, I was remarking to my geeky marketing friends that I believed that an upcoming marketing trend would be Resting. My geeky friends scowled at me, thinking I had lost my trend-spotting touch. After all, our culture prizes the go-go-go lifestyle accessorized with speedy technology pushing us to heights of frenzied productivity and madness. 

I held firm. More and more research is showing that without REST, we diminish the returns from our efforts, both cerebral and physical.. Think about your weekends and vacations, restful? I'm not asking are they fun. Are they Restful? Do your body and mind ever, ever, ever get a chance to catch up. Just relax. Do you find yourself creating to-do lists while getting a massage, having sex, trying to fall asleep. Perhaps, you have forgotten how to... rest.

I had put my Rest Marketing Trend  on the upper shelf, out of my reach with a wait and see attitude, until this conversation took place:

Mary: Thank you doctor for taking my call. I'm wondering what I can do to speed up my recovery from surgery?

Doctor: Rest.

Mary: Yes, I understand, but what else? Supplements? Pharmaceuticals? CDs or tapes I can download to my iPod?  Special exercises? A class? Yeah, an expensive Get Better Faster class? I'd like to sign up for that right away!!!

Doctor: Rest and time are the only two things you need. And maybe more sleep.

Mary: Tell me, please, that you are kidding.

Doctor: Mary, all you need is rest.
Now not every one needs to recover from surgery, but I think we are all going to start getting the message from health and mental wellness folks that what we need, in order to be more of whatever we are trying to be, is, in fact, rest.

I predict that:
  • You will see products launching to help us get better rest, like Zeo, your personal sleep coach. 
  • You will learn strategies from the sports world about resting for winning.
  • You will begin to hear more about the impact of fatigue on your body and mind.
So my message is twofold: 1) get more rest; and, 2) if you are a marketer, begin to think of how you can bring a promise of rest to your customers and clients.

April 23, 2010

The Fair Factor of a Family Business

I've bumped into one topic several times in the past few days and figure that somebody who follows this blog will benefit. "That's not fair", we all say this as kids when a sibling got some thing or privilege that we did not. Where was the equality????? As parents we do try to be fair with our kids and, for the most part, kids expect that their parents will do right by them. Hence the outrage when they experience a violation of the code.

Fast forward to real life where guess what? Life's not always fair, especially in the work place. Is that bad? Can we still cry "That's not fair!" Nowhere does this issue of fairness become a convoluded contest of contestents and judges of equality over performance than in a family owned business. A very wise working partner in a family business pointed out to me that trouble erupts when you apply the same principles of family life to a business culture. It just doesn't work. Compensation and promotion must be based on performance not the membership card to the gene pool.

Not easy to implement when you have siblings or cousins (of any age) working in the business. Just because you own equal equity does not mean equal compensation.

What to do? Three principles to guide family member/owner income from the family business:
  1. Family members should share equally in business equity, especially if inherited from parents. Any draws on equity should be handled following strictly agreed to policies that are consistently applied to all family member owners.
  2. Compensation (salaries, commissions, bonuses, etc...) for family and non-family should be based on the market value of the employee within your region's economy and circumstances. Inflated salaries for family members will have non-family employees stormin' for the door.
  3. Family members not employed by the business should never receive benefits of employment.
These principles will serve you well in times of "That's not fair!". They will also give non-family member employees a sense of fairness. It doesn't matter if you are 8 or 48, we all want to be treated fairly, if not equally. 

April 19, 2010

Love and Business

As women will do, I was chatting with a friend about well, yes, relationships. We were talking about people marrying up or down. My friend recalled a conversation she had with her bright, successful niece about her engagement to a man that was quite frankly a total loser. The bride-to-be beamed when she spoke of how her loser fiancĂ© made her feel special and loved like never before. The wise aunt asked her “Tell me what you love about him?” Again the bride rallied on about his understanding of her personality, his patience with her, how he adores and accepts everything about her. She had never felt so confident about herself in a relationship or even in general. She owed it all to him. Asked again, “But really, what do you love about HIM?”  The young woman cocked her head and said “I don’t get what you mean?” Yikes. Fast-forward three years, and predictably the niece had taken her now self-confident self on the road and left the loser, telling her friends that she realized she never really loved him. Double yikes. Aunt: 2 points!

So what does this have to do with business? Plenty. The employer/employee relationship is very similar to a marriage. If an employee judges their marriage with your company only by what they get from the relationship, it won’t last. However if an employee loves being a part of the company, feels pride in how the company operates, can point to specific examples of the company doing the right thing, acting with integrity and charity in the community, respecting all employees, and making smart decisions, the employee will stay with you through thick and thin.

These are the businesses that when a company-wide pay cut is needed, employees don’t gripe or curse; they work harder to save the company they love. How do you know which type of company you are?

Ask yourself:
Do departing employees typically leave for higher paying companies?
Are company parties, special occasions poorly attended?
Employees would prefer to not wear logo attire?
There are many long time employees?

Your answers should give you some insight into how lovable your company is. Surprisingly it has very little to do with compensation and more to do with integrity, smart management and caring about your staff.

My advice: People need to know that they a part of something bigger and better than themselves. Be a good company and communicate the how and why to your employees and your community. Make employees feel proud of their association with your company.

If you work for a company you love, tell us why. Maybe an employer will learn something.


April 12, 2010

Guest blogger: Jim Scherrer, CEO Child & Family Services

I’m honored to be Mary’s guest blogger this week…. Glad she is home in the “Rogers Spa,” and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Maybe if I do a good job, she will promote me to guest hosting the show someday!

We at Child and Family Services are fortunate to have Mary’s commitment, expertise, not to mention sense of humor on our Board of Directors, as well as Marigold’s and Mary in the Morning’s partnership on our 9th Annual Festival of Tables, set for Friday and Saturday, May 14 and 15, 2010, at The Hagerty Center.

The Festival of Tables celebrates good food, good company, and the art of entertaining at home. It includes dozens of exquisitely designed dining tables—all to inspire but some to be taken home with lucky raffle winners! You will also have an opportunity to win one of five fantasy raffle packages such as “”Room Re-Do” or “A Year of Fine Dining,” each with a value of at least $2,000! And the Festival of Tables will host one of the best silent auctions you’ll see anywhere. Back this year for the Friday Night Gala will be the popular “(Not) Just for Men” Tent, with all sorts of great fun for the fellas, and those who love them. And Saturday will be the traditional Ladies’ Luncheon with all the fun, friendship, and creativity you’ve come to expect. Visit for all the details.

The Festival of Tables is a great event for a great cause—that cause being our foster care, adoption, counseling, and advocacy programs for children and families throughout Northwestern Michigan. We’ve been at this work since 1937—quite a long, home-grown history.

As I thought about what to write about here, one of our staff members perceptively noted that most often we celebrate the adoptions that take place at Child and Family Services, the creation of new “forever families.” We don’t give as much time or attention to those biological families whose children are placed in foster care because they have not been able to keep home safe. We forget that foster care is a means to an end, that the reunification of families is its main goal. And we have been seeing enough reunifications of families that it seemed, in this spring season, worthy of celebration. I’d like to tell you a couple of stories that illustrate this success.

“Nicole” is a single mom of three children, Adam, 5 years old, Sierra, 3, and the 18 month-old boy, Andrew. Nicole had become pregnant with Adam as a junior in high school, and now at the age of 24 she looked 10 years older, probably mostly due to the alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine she abused. She was living with a man who was not the father of her children and who was physically abusive toward her and them. As a result of his traumatized family life her older son had severe anger and anxiety issues.

The children were placed in foster care when it became clear that Nicole was about to become homeless. The foster family with whom the children were placed were very seasoned, having been foster parents for more than 15 years. Dave and Karen spent a good deal of time with Nicole, talking with her about effective parenting techniques and using love and reasoning to deal with behaviors. She began to say things like “I cannot accept the words you are using” to Adam when he cursed at her, or used loving touch, held him close and stroked his hair and back when he threw tantrums. At the same time, Nicole made the personal decision to fight to get her children back. She took advantage of the community resources available to her to get off drugs and alcohol. She kept up her appointments, left her abusive companion, and found temporary shelter for herself while she looked for a home. In short, she did what the court required of her. At her three-month court review, she had met all her goals. At her 6-month review, her workers were so impressed with her that they recommended unsupervised visits. It has been nearly a year since Nicole’s children were in foster care, and while we don’t always know exactly what happens after children leave us, I’d guess the family is probably still doing pretty well.

A trend in the past year or two is that of relative placements—licensing grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other kin to foster children within an extended family. This process helps maintain family ties and builds on family strengths in the best interests of the children. After a young mom died of an accidental drug overdose, her husband was so distraught he was unable to adequately care for their children James, 15, Jesse, 12, and Joshua, 9. He began drinking heavily and lost his job after several warnings about tardiness and other issues. His late wife’s parents, as grief-stricken as they too were, were up to the task of caring for their grandchildren while their son-in-law worked to confront and overcome these terrible life challenges. They became licensed foster parents and the children lived with them for nearly a year while dad got the counseling and support he needed to parent well again.

It is this work that your support of the Festival of Tables helps make possible. Not only will you be lending a hand to children and families as they heal and grow, you will have a blast. We promise! Buy your tickets at For more about Child and Family Services visit

Thanks, Mary, for giving me this forum to share a little bit about Child and Family Services with your readers and fans!

Jim Scherrer, M.A.
CEO Child and Family Services
3785 Veterans Drive
Traverse City, MI 49684

March 30, 2010

Which Jane are you????

Which "Jane" are you?

Last week, I spent time interviewing Michele Dekinder Smith, author of See Jane Succeed: Five Types of Female Entrepreneurs Reveal What it Takes to Win in Business and in Life.She contends that female entrepreneurs usually fall into one of 5 types of "Janes". After interviewing over 3,000 of them, she should know.

You can take her assessment at to find out what type of Jane you are. After talking with her, I think she has nailed down the profiles very well. It's worth your time to check out the site and the book. For each of the five "Janes" there are action plans to overcome the unique obstacles to your success. You may find that you are a Merry Jane, a Go Jane Go, a Jane Dough or perhaps, like me, an Accidental Jane.

When I launched Marigold Women in Business in 2004, my end goal was to produce 6 luncheons for women in business, assist a handful of local businesses in reaching that market and replace my very modest income from a part-time position at the Chamber of Commerce.I had achieved that goal within 2 months of conceiving the idea. That is when I accidentally became the force behind a much larger enterprise. The tail started to wag the dog, the horse was out of the barn before I hitched my wagon to it, you know all of the analogies. 

Accidental Janes find themselves running a business that demands more of them than they expected or in some cases, more than they desired. It may sound like a good problem, but requires a re-focusing of her priorities and capabilities.

Many laid off workers are taking on contract work, or freelancing to keep the wolves away from the door. One day she realizes that she has no time to job hunt because she is to busy working. "Wait," she says, "how did that happen?" That's an Accidental Jane.

March 23, 2010

The Final Period

So, what does THE FINAL PERIOD mean to you:
Noun    1.    final period - the final division into which the play of a game is divided
division, section, part - one of the portions into which something is regarded as divided and which together constitute a whole; period of play, playing period, play - (in games or plays or other performances) the time during which play proceeds; "rain stopped play in the 4th inning"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
My final period, is, well, exactly that, my last period. I'm having a hysterectomy in a few weeks and my next period will be my last. Believe me when I say that I am so past baby making this is not going to change any family building plans I may have had. As pleased, thrilled, excited as I am to have this monthly ritual with me, I do feel that it is a milestone worth noting.

There are few things in life that you can be sure are the LAST time you will experience them.
"This is the last time I'm splurging on shoes!"
"This is the last time I am going to eat a chocolate cake in one sitting"
"This is the last man I'll marry"
This is for sure the last time I am going to get cranky and emotional, be dogged by cramps and bleed so heavily I can't leave the house. Woo-Hoo! No more making sure I have a tampon in my purse, just in case.

Since humankind began, religions and cultures have marked the milestones of our lives like weddings and bat mitzvas. You've also heard me advocate for gatherings of friends and loved ones for business closings and divorces. I just think closure and public recognition are important. 

In this spirit, I have chosen to have a Final Period Celebration. I think other women would do the same if they only knew when it was going to happen. It is a bit dicey planning this soiree because I don't know precisely when it will happen, darned that I'm not regular. This is a party hostess nightmare!

I'm picturing centerpieces made from a variety of feminine hygiene products. A friend today suggested I serve Red Velvet cake. One thing for sure... Bloody Mary's will be available. Aw come on, you knew it was coming!

February 23, 2010

What do Joan Rivers, David Letterman and Rich Brauer have in common?

Joan Rivers, David Letterman, Garry Shandling, Bob Newhart and others, all moved their careers ahead by guest hosting The Tonight Show while Johnny Carson was on vacation. No doubt my guest hosts will meet with fame and fortune when they take over for me while on vacation March 2 through the 10th. 

Yes, these fine folks all enthusiastically answered my call to sit in for me. Interestingly, as the time approaches there are some nervous jitters. So, I'm asking you to show your support, call the show with questions and comments, post your greetings on the Mary in the Morning Facebook page and generally make them feel loved and adored.

How lucky am I to have friends offer to do my job for me while I'm gone?  They are all choosing their own guests and topics, some of which I'm aware, but most remain under wraps. 

Here's the line-up:
Tuesday March 2: Steve Wade, Executive Director, United Way of Northern Michigan                                         
Wednesday, March 3: Karyn Hertel, Director, Marigold & YOU-FM

Thursday, March 4: Rich Brauer, President, Brauer Productions

Friday, March 5:  Bryan Crough, Community Development Director, Traverse City

Monday, March 8:  Brett Gourdie, Publisher, NM3 (Northern Michigan Men's Magazine)

Tuesday March 9:  Bonnie Alfonso, President, Alfie Logo Gear

Wednesday, March 10  Karyn Hertel, Director, Marigold YOU-FM
Rich Brauer asked if I would be listening to the show while I'm gone. No, I will be sitting under a palm tree with a Margarita in my hand reading a trashy novel considering if it is time to turn over for a more even tan. Now, I'm a little jittery wondering why he wanted to know. Hmm....