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  • 03/21/2018 9:06 AM | Deleted user

    As many of you know, one way we learn about what inspires our members and helps drive their career success is our monthly Member Spotlight email.This month we're adding the feature to our blog!

    We're excited to hear from Kirsten Bunch, Founder of The Changemaker Mentorship, who helps women start nonprofits, foundations, socially focused businesses and other "changemaking" initiatives. She's also writing a book!

    What is your networking philosophy or best tip to share with the group?

    Get out and meet new people, even when you don't feel like it. Don't ever cancel a networking opportunity or just not show up, unless you have a really good reason. Listen without judgement and ask questions. Be interested instead of interesting.

    What is some of the best career advice you've been given?

    If your job or career doesn't feel right, change it. If your heart is pulling you in another direction, don't let fear keep you from exploring it.

    What are the words you work by (or what is your motto when it comes to the way you approach your career)?

    I'm in the business of making our communities healthy, safer and more just. I know I am on the right career path when my clients want to create a better world as much, if not more, than I do.

    What are your hobbies and interests outside of your job?

    I play roller derby in order to give my brain a break from work. It takes a lot of focus and is completely exhausting!

    Where do you find the most inspiration?

    In my clients. They come to me with ideas to change their communities and I am floored every day by what they are able to accomplish.

    Do you have a favorite software system or app that helps you in your business that you would like to share with the group?

    I love Canva because I can create good looking marketing material without spending tons of money. Also, Calendly makes it easy for my clients to book time with me.

    Click here to learn more about Kirsten and The Changemaker Mentorship. Follow Kirsten's Facebook Group to find out how you can be part of her upcoming book launch; inspiring successful women to give back to their communities in a powerful way.

    Members in good standing who also wish to be profiled can take this short survey. 


    Mary E. Adams
    Executive Director, BCPWN

  • 03/14/2018 1:22 PM | Deleted user

    by Jill Eras, MS, MFT

    We all dream – whether or not we remember, this phenomenon is one we all share. Have you ever wondered why? Dreams have a profound and sacred purpose in our lives, indeed, they are gifts given to us night after night because they are our teachers and because we are loved. Each dream is designed by your own psyche (soul) to teach you about you in your own language. Our bodies connect to our souls through the feelings and experience of dreams – we learn how to decipher our own unique “road map” by thoroughly and consciously relating to our dreams. When we value the possibility to grow through engaging our dreams, the process begins almost immediately.

    Here are some tips to jumpstart your dream life:

    1. Keep a clean and orderly sleep space.
    2. Have a bedtime routine that includes a predictable bedtime, soothing sleep aides such as aromatherapy or music, and screen-free downtime.
    3. Limit caffeine and alcohol.
    4. Keep a journal or voice recorder handy so that you can quickly scribble the memory of dreams as you awake each day.
    5. Most importantly: set your intention to remember your dreams.

    Looking forward to the opportunity to hear about some of your dreams when we meet on April 6th! This is my invitation to step into the world of your dreams; what you will learn about you will enthrall. - Jill

  • 02/28/2018 3:55 PM | Deleted user

    The recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took on special significance for the people in Bergen County. Alyssa Alhadeff, one of the 17 victims, and her family used to live in Woodcliff Lake. And many of us know other students and families from Parkland, Florida.  

    Over the weekend, my colleague’s niece, Ruby, was on a TV news segment, along with her classmate. Both girls attend MSD and retold their experiences. Both girls are also using their creativity and their connections to raise money and help the community rebuild. I am inspired by all the powerful voices of change, coming from the students and faculty at MSD.

    Ruby and her sister Peri, another Parkland student, are also performers at Broadway Bound, a woman owned business in Coral Springs. For those of us who happen to be in South Florida on March 9th, or wish to contribute, Broadway Bound is performing a tribute concert to the students and staff of MSD.

    And here in Bergen County, Alyssa’s family and friends will be celebrating her life and “all the children of our community” at Superdome Sports on March 18th, with an evening of sports, activities, music and dance.

    Through our connections, our creativity, our voices and our contributions, together we can all be #MSDSTRONG.

  • 02/28/2018 3:46 PM | Deleted user
    The idea of negotiating can be intimidating. As consumers, we have been trained to pay the price marked on goods or services without question. If we feel the price is too high, we abandon the sale and look for cheaper options. But we have the option of asking for a lower price…so why don’t we? Because it makes us uncomfortable ... Because we are embarrassed ... Because we don’t want anyone to think we can’t afford it!

    Get over it! Step outside your comfort zone...ask
    for a discount! Follow the “Rule of the 4 B’s”:

    Be Brave: Ask the question “Is that the best you can do? It’s a simple question to ask, and politely posing it to the right person is absolutely free. Put the ball in their court and see what they’ll do in the interest of winning your business.

    Be polite: It’s hard to resist a pleasant person with a positive disposition. Being kind and courteous  can net you discounts anywhere you wish to flash your pearly whites. Many times you can make someone’s day just by being nice to them – once you win them over, you’ll be surprised just how far they’ll go to help you out.

    Be Powerful: You have the money and they are selling a product. Before you interact with the sales person, settle on the maximum price you are willing to pay for your item and never exceed that price. Take control of the buying process.

    Be Green: Merchant credit card transaction fees can range from 2% to 5%. Offering to pay for your purchase in cash could easily save you money if  the vendor is able to slash these built-in fees from a cash-only sale. Hint: Ask to see the Manager.  The Manager knows the merchandise markup, and can discount instantly.

    The 1st time is the hardest...then you will never pay full price again!

  • 01/31/2018 3:53 PM | Mary Adams (Administrator)

    Do you ever feel like sometimes you have too much of yourself? I don't mean "me time", because goodness knows we don't have enough of that. I mean, all you hear is your own voice and the same ideas and methods for accomplishing your goals. 

    Even with a staff and others around me, it can be isolating and I remain in a rut. A close friend of mine who is a financial planner for a big firm approaches her business in a very entrepreneurial way. 

    Over the years she has said to me, why don't you get out from behind your desk? Go to lunch with someone in your network. Troll LinkedIn and reconnect with colleagues or create a new connection. Because I don't have time. Why don't you go to the gym at lunch time? I used to, but I am so overwhelmed right now. 

    I am more than a quarter through Arianna Huffington's book Thrive and she really gives it to me straight. You can't afford to ignore your body or to settle for status quo. She drills into being mindful - and not in a way that requires you to sit cross legged near a brook for 3 days. It becomes a part of everyday function. She likens these practices to recovery for athletes Huffington touches on the teachings of Carl Jung and archetypal dreamwork, which our BCPWN First Friday Luncheon speaker Jill Eras will delve into on March 2nd. Our connection to ourselves and to our network of colleagues, friends and family is essential. 

    For me, it is useful, critical even, to hear the advice and practices of others. What resonates with you? Share it with our community of women.

  • 12/21/2017 11:46 AM | Lisa Pisano (Administrator)

    With the New Year comes a clean slate and a time to contemplate.

    In the quiet of these early winter months, I like to carve out some time to reflect on how things went with my business for the year behind, and how I see things evolving, diverging or expanding in the year ahead.  I also try to take a good hard look at HOW I spent my time during the year – how much time was devoted to my business, my blog, my home, my volunteer commitments, my family and friends…and myself.

    Do things seem off balance? Or just right?

    Where is there room for improvement?

    What brings me most joy?

    Where and how can I do my best work for my clients and my community?

    These are questions I will let marinate internally over the next few weeks so that by late January, I can make better decisions about how to allocate my time for the year ahead.

    As a result, perhaps I’ll explore a new layer to my business. Reconnect with old friends and acquaintances I haven’t seen in years.  Reignite my blog with a fresh look and more regular, updated content.

    There was a time when the doldrums of winter would make me sullen but these days, I’ve learned to embrace the quiet and stillness of the season to further invigorate my plans for the rest of the year ahead.

    How do you feel about the early winter months? And how do you use them to plan for your year ahead?

    Wishing you an inspiring Winter!


    Lisa Pisano is the President of Groupe a la Mode, LLC, a boutique Public Relations and Social Marketing firm based in Bergen County. She blogs at http://momalamode.net Reach her at lisa@groupealamode.com

  • 11/19/2017 9:28 AM | Lisa Pisano (Administrator)

    Do you have a Passion Project?

    Some call it a “side hustle” if it tends to bring in income, but I think a hobby or pastime can qualify, too.

    Whether you play golf, knit, write novellas, garden or – in my case – bake, having a creative outlet away from your day-to-day work is a fantastic way to keep you vibrant, engaged and fulfilled in your work, and life. A passion project may also nurture relationships in your life, unlock a skill that you didn’t realize you have and enlighten you in unexpected ways.

    For me, baking chocolate biscotti has been a passion project this time of year since 2001.

    I was a young publicist working in Corporate Marketing at Liz Claiborne Inc. and it was the beginning of the holiday season.  I struggled with what to “gift” to my boss and coworkers, which was a tall order, as fashion executives tended to have very specific taste. I was also told that “gifting up” was frowned upon in corporate culture.

    What to do?

    I Baked.

    Who can say no to an elegantly packaged box of homemade double chocolate biscotti? And there was no concern with “gifting up” since it was a box of baked goods that could have been easily shared with the team.

    That holiday season, more than one coworker came up to me to say, “These are so good….I’d pay you to make these for my own holiday baking needs.”

    And a seed was planted. As well as a passion project.

    I never really thought about launching a baking business. But that next holiday season, I did. LMD Biscotti Company was formed and word-of-mouth referrals propelled it forward.

    Over the next few years, at the holidays, LMD Biscotti Company sold at house parties, continued to flourish via word of mouth, and even provided hundreds of packaged baked goods at an AIG corporate party in NYC (for 2 years in a row)!

    Of course, there were a few years that LMD Biscotti Company turned the ovens off – when my mom was ill and when I was pregnant with my son and daughter. But the nice thing about a passion project is that you can just pick back up again and carry on where you left off.

    My biscotti business is fulfilling for me and allows me to work outside of my everyday format (seated, at a desk, on a computer) in a commercial kitchen, alongside my dad and bring joy to others in the form of a decadently sweet chocolate confection.

    I love what I do, and wholeheartedly believe that it shows in the product.

    For now, my passion project is tied solely to the holiday season and Valentine’s Day. But as I continue to network and as word-of-mouth picks up, I’m coming across new opportunities to consider taking LMD Biscotti to the next level.

    If you’d like to share in my passion project, you can learn more about LMD Biscotti Company here: http://momalamode.net/lmd-biscotti-co/

    Happy Holidays!

    Lisa Pisano

    Lisa Pisano is the President of Groupe a la Mode, LLC, a boutique Public Relations and Social Marketing firm based in Bergen County. Reach her at lisa@groupealamode.com

  • 10/23/2017 7:14 PM | Elizabeth Barnhard

    Oscar Wilde said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness, but as a business owner, the copying of your products and services by others can hurt your sales and may hurt your reputation.  How do you protect the knowledge, ideas, innovations and brands that give you and your companies a competitive advantage?  If they are protected intellectual property, you will have legal rights to stop the copiers of your products and services.  The main types of intellectual property include patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and trade dress.  We previously focused on trademarks in the post Business Assets You Do Not Want to Ignore, and we focused on patents in the post Necessity is the Mother of Invention.  Now we will focus on copyrights.

    What is a copyright?  In its broadest sense, a copyright protects creative expressions with our U.S. Constitution giving authors the exclusive right to their works for a limited time in Article 1, Section 8.  More specifically, copyrights give their owners the right to prevent the copying by others of original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression, including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. 

    What can be copyrighted?  The work must be original and must be fixed in a tangible medium of expression.  Only a “minimum level of creativity” is required.  Examples of works that can be copyrighted include poems, manuscripts, paintings, photographs, sculptures, musical scores, movies, dance, jewelry designs, architectural works, computer software, source codes, apps, video games, company websites, and product manuals 

    Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although the way these things are expressed may be protected.  For example, a manufacturing method cannot be protected by copyright, but an instruction manual describing how to perform the manufacturing method could be protected by copyright.  However, if there was a discovery that improved the manufacturing method in a new way, then the improved manufacturing method could be protected by a patent, which would provide an additional type of intellectual property protection.

    The owner of the copyright can be an individual author, co-authors if it is a joint work, an employer if the work is a work made for hire, or the assignee where the owner has assigned the rights in the copyright to the assignee.

    How long does a copyright last?  A very long time.  For a work authored by an individual, the term of the copyright is for the life of the individual plus 70 years.  For a work authored by joint authors, the term of the copyright is for the life of the last surviving author plus 70 years.  For a work for hire, the term of the copyright is 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.  Contrast that with patents, which have a term of 20 years from the date of filing.  When the copyright expires, the work enters the public domain and is available for anyone to use.


    The long copyright term means that valuable copyrights can provide revenue to a copyright owner’s heirs.  Over the years copyright heirs have gone to court to sue infringers of their inherited copyrights.  For example, in 2014, Marvin Gaye’s heirs sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, rapper T.I and their record company claiming that the song “Blurred Lines” infringed Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up”.  A jury found Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams liable for copyright infringement and awarded millions of dollars in damages and 50% of future royalties to Marvin Gaye’s heirs.  The trial court judgment has been appealed.

    Do I have to register for a copyright?  No, a copyright is secured automatically upon creation when it is fixed for the first time in a copy or recording, such as a phonorecord (vinyl is back!).  Publication of your work is not required to register for copyright.  For example, you have written a book, but your manuscript is not published.  You can apply for a copyright registration for your unpublished manuscript.  You do not have to re-register when the work is published, although you can register the published edition, if desired.

    Why bother registering your work for a copyright?  There are several good reasons for doing so in the United States in order to maximize the copyright protection for your work.


    A certificate of registration can prove ownership because it creates a public record of key facts relating to the authorship and ownership of the claimed work.  Registration, which can be made at any time within the life of the copyright, establishes prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and the facts stated in the certificate when it is made before or within five years of publication. 

    You must have a copyright registration for a work made in the U.S. before you can sue an infringer for copying your work in U.S. courts.  When you obtain a copyright registration prior to infringement or within three months after publication of your work, then you, the copyright owner, are eligible for the court to award statutory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, which can potentially amount to a significant award.


    Your copyright registration also permits you to establish a record with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)3 for protection against the importation of infringing copies of your copyrighted work.

    Is a copyright notice required on my work?  You are no longer required in the U.S. to put a copyright notice on your work, but doing so informs the public of your copyright and can also defeat the innocent infringement defense.  A copyright notice consists of three elements:


    (1) Symbol ©, the word “Copyright,” or the abbreviation “Copr.”


    (2) The year of first publication of the work

    (3) The name of the owner of copyright in the work


    Example: Leason Ellis LLP © 2017


    Remember, placing a copyright notice on a work is not a substitute for copyright registration.


    Protecting the knowledge, ideas, innovations and brands that give you and your companies a competitive advantage will add value to your business.  By working with an intellectual property attorney to obtain and protect your valuable intellectual property, you will have the options to generate revenue by selling these rights, licensing them to others, or using them as collateral to obtain financing.  You are creating business assets that you do not want to ignore.


    Want to know more?  I am here to answer your questions and help you recognize and protect your company’s valuable intellectual property assets.

    Elizabeth Barnhard

    Leason Ellis LLP


    (914) 821-3074



  • 09/20/2017 11:56 AM | Lisa Pisano (Administrator)

    One of the things I love most about BCPWN is the varied and rich backgrounds and working styles of our members. I can count on at least two hands my fellow members who operate their businesses from their home offices.  I think many would agree that there are pluses and minuses to when your commute is as quick as a walk up your living room staircase.

    I’ve been running a virtual public relations and social media agency for about 6 years now.  At first, it was a major change for me from the day to day of working in a corporate environment. The biggest challenge was – and if I’m being completely transparent, continues to be – setting BOUNDARIES.

    Over the years, I’ve benefited from the advice from many of the coaches here in BCPWN, and presentations from organizational experts on the importance of setting boundaries, and how to do that in a work from home scenario. Here are a few tips that have worked for me:

    • 1.     Communicate:  I make sure to share my posted office hours with those close to me. This is important for those times when I may have a very important conference call and when a pop-by visit or phone call from a friend is just off-limits. By simply being clear about my availability and when I CAN return a call, accept a visit or meet up for lunch has made a world of difference.
    • 2.     Put on your blinders: On my way up the stairs to my home office, there are times I’m distracted by the pile of laundry in my bedroom that needs to be folded, or  the reminder that my son needs shin guards for soccer when I pass his room, or that the baby’s drawers full of outgrown clothes need to be reorganized and sorted.  And then I put on my blinders, head directly to my office and shut the door, make a list on paper of these above to-dos and set it aside for several hours later.
    • 3.     Take a Brain Break: I read somewhere recently that you shouldn’t do the same activity for more than 20-30 minutes without taking a break. This can easily be applied to those working outside the home as well, and am proud to report that I abide by this rule on a daily basis. I find it especially effective after sitting on a long conference call.  Get up, get a fresh glass of water, grab a snack, take a quick walk, or just stretch – spend about 10 minutes just doing something ELSE. It will improve your concentration and productivity.
    • 4.     Find a Creative Spot: Every now and then I need to get OUT of my home office to keep my creative juices flowing.  I’ll head to an area café or a local bookstore, plug in and get to work. I don’t mind the background chatter or hustle and bustle around me and enjoy emerging from my little home office cave for a few hours.
    • 5.     Power Down: I’m working hard at enforcing this rule, but during key hours of my workday, I do completely power down to focus on family, dinner, my home, etc. I find that I’m much happier, balanced and productive when I can keep the boundary in place where work doesn’t spill over into family/me time.  This is a work in progress (for many of us, right?)

    I’m curious to hear from those within BCPWN who work from home – what tips do you have for an effective work experience?  Please comment below.

    Lisa Pisano

    Groupe a la Mode LLC


  • 08/15/2017 10:28 PM | Elizabeth Barnhard

    Have you ever said there has got to be a better solution?  If you said yes, then you are describing a need for something that can force you to find a new way of getting or achieving that solution.  This may result in your creating a new invention.  An old proverb, necessity is the mother of invention, sums it up.  Can you protect an invention to add value to your business?  Yes.  Your invention can be protected with a patent.  Fans of the show Shark Tank know that a frequently asked question is “Do you have patent protection for your product?”

    What is a patent?  A patent protects a new and useful invention by giving the owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling or offering to sell the patented invention for a limited period of time.  The quid pro quo for this patent right is that the inventor discloses information necessary to educate the public about the invention, which information is published in the patent.  Disclosure of the invention enables the public to learn from the inventor’s technology, thereby facilitating further innovation.  The promotion of the progress of science and the useful arts was considered so important when the U.S. was founded that the U.S. Constitution gives inventors the exclusive right to their discoveries for a limited time in Article 1, Section 8.

    What can be patented?  Any new and useful process/method, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement of these categories of inventions, or as the U.S. Supreme Court stated in 1980, “Anything under the sun . . . made by man”.  There are three types of patents to protect inventions: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents.

    Utility patents cover function or technical features and give the owner patent protection for 20 years from the date of filing a patent application.  Thomas Edison was a prolific inventor from New Jersey, nicknamed “the Wizard of Menlo Park,” who obtained 1,084 U.S. utility patent patents and 9 artistic design patents.  His many inventions included the phonograph, the kinetoscope, the Dictaphone, the electric lamp, the incandescent light bulb, the autographic printer, and a carbon microphone for the telephone.  However, necessity is the mother of invention, which is why one of my favorite utility patents is the first practical dishwasher patented in 1886 by Josephine P. Cochran (U.S. Patent No. 355,139).

    Utility patents do not just protect high tech inventions.  The original Barbie doll was patented in 1961 (U.S. Patent No. 3,009,284).  Do you love s’mores?  A high school girl did and she and her father obtained a utility patent for a machine and method for making s’mores (U.S. Patent No. 8,156,859).

    Design patents protect tangible, static articles, but can also cover animated articles, computer icons, web page features and web page layouts for 15 years from the date of grant of the design patent.  The purpose of a design patent is to protect the ornamental appearance of products and to protect portions visible to users.  Some examples include Apple’s design patent protecting the shape of the iPhone (U.S. D594087); Rolex’s design patent protecting the ornamental features of a diving watch (U.S. D404322); a design for a shank of a drill bit (U.S. D257511); an icon for a portion of a computer display screen (U.S. D649156); and, for golf lovers, a golf-ball shaped ashtray (U.S. D665125).

    Plant patents protect plants that are stable and asexually reproduced for 20 years from the date of filing the patent application.  Plant patents can also protect cultivated sports, mutants, hybrid, and newly found seedlings in a cultivated area, but not tube propagated plants.  The first plant patent was issued in 1931 to Henry Bosenberg for his climbing, ever-blooming rose (U.S. PP1).

    You can view copies of these patents at http://www.uspto.gov or http://patents.google.com.

    Is there a catch?  You can exclude others from making, using, selling or importing your patented invention, but your patent rights do not automatically enable you to make, use, sell or import your own invention.  Confusing?  This situation tends to arise where you have overlapping patent rights, especially in areas where there are improvements being made to existing products.  For example, the smartphone wars between Apple and Samsung have included Apple suing Samsung for infringing its iPhone design and utility patents and Samsung suing Apple for infringement of its mobile technologies patents.  The stakes are high for these two competitor companies who have been involved in more than 50 patent infringement lawsuits around the world, claiming billions of dollars of damages. 

    How do patents add value to your business?  Patents help you create a competitive edge with new and improved technological innovations that you created to address an unmet need, and these patents may dissuade potential competitors from attempting to enter your market until after your patents expire.  From a PR perspective, being named as an inventor on a patent is a significant achievement and you can market your product as being a patented product.  When your business owns the patents for the inventions you have created, these patent rights can be sold or licensed to others to use to generate revenue, or they can be used as collateral to obtain financing.  You can stop competitors from the unauthorized use or sale of your patented innovations. 

    Want to know more?  I am here to answer your questions and help you recognize and protect your company’s valuable inventions. 

    Elizabeth Barnhard

    Leason Ellis LLP


    (914) 821-3074


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