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Being Spunky and Bold: Hope Reichbach

I was saddened to learn about the unexpected passing of our neighbor and friend Hope Reichbach, Communications Director for City Councilman Steve Levin. I found out about an hour after the story was published in The Brooklyn Paper via email from an online friend and website visitor who asked if she was the young woman I interviewed on my podcast. It is.

Hope I met Hope in July 2010 through my colleague Eve who was helping market The Opportunities Project when it was just an idea. Hope had begun her campaign for District Leader and she offered to be interviewed for my first podcast. It was a mutual admiration society. Hope was everything that was good about GenY- young, spunky, idealistic, about the social good, driven and after results. She loved the idea of The Opportunities Project and our mission to coach young people on professional success because she knew her peers needed it and wanted to help.

In September 2010, Eve, Hope and I got together and recorded a 45 minute interview in Hope’s apartment, surrounded by stacks of campaign materials. Her interview was everything I could hope for in my first run. She was direct and open about how important her family was to her success and how young people needed to think differently if they were going to achieve their dreams. You can listen to the podcast here.

Hope and I only hung out a few times after the interview, but as a Brooklynite, I felt like I saw her everywhere doing everything she could to make this borough a better place. There is not much you can say when someone so young passes. As a coach, I almost feel obligated to say something about how we should take lessons from how Hope went for it no matter what, and what are you doing today, yada, yada, yada. But instead, I think I’ll just be sad and feel the loss. I saw a blog tweeted last night that said it better, anyway.

“She was a very nice person, Hope Reichbach. I’m so sorry for her family and friend’s loss. And ours too because this girl was going somewhere. And she would have taken Brooklyn with her.”

Our thoughts and tears are with her family and friends today.


PS: I never published the podcast on ITunes, nor recorded another episode because podcasting never found its place in my schedule (though I have talked about bringing it back with my team a few times). I received an email via my website from a friend of Hope’s who asked if I could make it downloadable because he’d like to have her voice on his IPod. A colleague is helping me do that and when we can get it up, I’ll put an update on this blog post with the link if you’d like to download it.

UPDATE: Hope’s interview was uploaded to approved by ITunes. You can download it directly from the ITunes Store. We hope it offers comfort to her friends and family.

P.P.S. The Park Slope Patch will have information about Hope’s memorial service on Sunday, May 1.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog


Thank You From the Bottom Of My Heart

I am getting ready to get on a train to Providence to speak at the Aspiring Teachers of Color summit at Brown University and then a plane to New Orleans to present at the American Educational Research Association conference. My scholarship contest (closing in 14.5 hours as I write this) was designed to celebrate my six month in anniversary serving clients and changing education. But it really began a year ago. As of April 2010, I’d given notice to my job and told all my staff, written the first draft of my business plan and finished the first level of my coach certification. It still seemed like a pipe dream and I some days I can’t believe I am now living my professional dream, a year later.

As of last night, I’d received over 200 Retweets and Facebook likes for all the posts I did this week about the scholarship. It brought tears to my eyes. Many of those people are strangers to me (right now), but they’re now part of my journey. Yesterday I met with four entrepreneurs who I met via Brazen Careerist and Twitter and had the most amazing conversations about changing the world. I can’t even believe that I didn’t know what Brazen Careerist was a year ago!

Since I am traveling next week, the blog will be dark except for an update on exciting events on April 19 and May 7. If you are a college student, young professional, or woman veteran and haven’t yet finished your application, I am shaking my head and giving you my best teacher look through my computer. Let’s do it, people!

Whether I know you or not, thank you so much to all of you for your support and love to me and this little start-up that could.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog


2011 Reverb Update
: Achieving

As my readers know, I participated in the #Reverb10 blogger campaign in December 2010. During December, the campaign sent participating bloggers a daily reflection prompt in order to help you manifest more good stuff in 2011. I found the campaign mid-December and posted ten blog posts that covered 18 of the 31 prompts. I drafted posts that touched upon most of the other 13 prompts and still hope to publish those when appropriate, like today.


In February, I re-categorized my blog to improve the overall performance of the site. The project included re-reading almost all of the 50+ posts I had written since I started blogging in fall 2010. When I re-read the Reverb posts, I felt a series of warm emotions.

– First, I was proud of myself for being so open and setting my intentions to the world.

– Second, the prompts made me do hard work on myself and think about what I needed to change for 2011. I am not sure I would have done it as effectively otherwise.

– Third, while I try to keep my personal and business lives separate, I shared most of the Reverb posts on my personal Facebook wall and it brought me closer to friends.

– Finally, I believe that what I shared can help people I don’t know. I am thankful that Reverb prompted me to put my experiences out on the big, bad internet for that reason alone.

I’ve received emails that Reverb 2011 is starting with monthly prompts. Since I’m still going at my own pace, I’ve decided to take on the February prompt and a December 28th prompt from Tara Sophia Mohr because they go hand in hand. Tara’s also been on my mind. She is launching a Playing Big coaching program this month and it looks exactly like what I wish I’d had when I decided to start my own business. If my professional development resources and time weren’t tied up right now, I’d be enrolled and am jealous of all the wonderful women who will participate.

The Prompts

December 28 – Achieve: What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. (Author: Tara Sophia Mohr)

February 2011: One month into 2011, what question(s) are you living? Are there any prompts/questions that arose during #reverb10 that are still resonating in your life? Are you living new questions?

Projecting: Achieving

I’ve talked a few times about a strategic change I made in 2011 to work with a time management and productivity coach. There is so much to do when launching a new business and I needed professional support to help me develop systems for making better decisions. I am always fascinated when she tells me something I told one of my own clients earlier in the day, but I just couldn’t see for myself!

After working with my coach for a little over two months, I feel that I am more productive on a day-to-day basis and when March 1 rolled around, I could see and feel growth in my business. I suddenly understood what could happen if I start thinking even bigger. “Feeling” growth is not comfortable to me- I need to express things in a very quantifiable way. So I am in the process of setting big, measurable goals for The Opportunities Project and myself between now and December 2011. It all came together once I had control of my time and focus.

With the haze cleared, I know that in 2011 I want to achieve two things – making my business its own “being”, and finding someone to share my life with. I am not sure how comfortable I am in talking about my love life on my public business blog, but it’s important to me and I need to start putting it out there. So it’s out there. On the business side, a quote that keeps resonating with me is from Michael Gerber about the difference between working ON your business and working IN it. He actually talks about business owners neglecting to work ON their businesses versus in them. At this point, I feel the opposite. I spend so much time on marketing, content and planning for the future and I want to switch so I am devoting more of my focus to client and service delivery. I want my business to be in a place where it starts working for me. Achieving this will make me feel secure and yet free. It will also allow me to devote focus to what I want to achieve in my personal life.

So what are ten things I could do or beliefs I could have to achieve my business goal?

1. Outsource and ask for help. (DONE- see an upcoming post.)
2. Be honest with people in my life about my intentions.
3. When looking at my To Do List, concentrate on the things that will bring me money ($)  or happiness ( :) ).
4. Put my current clients first before future clients.
5. Ensure that what I do everyday connects to my goal of creating a functioning business and is not a distraction.
6. End relationships that are not helping me with points 1-5.
7. Believe in the value that I bring to clients.
8. Remember that the whole is always more important than the parts.
9. Love and care for my whole self and not just my mind.
10. Understand that my personal goals are just as important as my professional goals and are often interrelated.

Reflecting: Lingering Questions

When looking at the Reverb topics I delved into, there are still some things that linger after three months. It’s good to look at them so I can re-prioritize.

The Wins…

Writing and Action: I’ve made great strides in organizing my writing, committing time to it, and producing content. I’ve created new systems for collecting ideas so I can focus on what’s open and ready to be completed.

Letters to Myself: I think that I’ve been better about intuition. I started the year off strong by not reading so much, but that’s crept back in. Interestingly, I was at a conference in February where I was confronted with people I used to hang out with in the year 2000, as well as the regrets I have about not taking the same paths they took. It was sobering, but it made me realize that it’s time to move on and pay attention to what I want in the here and now. I am meeting more people every day who have goals similar to mine.

Wisdom of Letting Go: This is a resolved. Even if entrepreneurship does not work out for me, I have no doubt that I made the right move at the right time.

11 Things to Leave Behind: To varying degrees, I’ve left grudges, procrastination, obligations, and impatience behind. The things to leave behind that I’ve been struggling with are related to personal/professional balance… which brings me to…

My challenges… Also known as my Next Wins!

Parties, Travel and Pleasures: Definitely not enough of this and when I think about how to bring this into my life, I see chaos and feel anxious. How can I have fun with such limited personal time and money? There’s a way, I’m sure. I am going to New Orleans next week with the NYU crew. It’s a work trip, but I Must. Involve. Fun. And. Beignets.

Big Wonders and Ordinary Joy: One of the down sides of clearing out the haze has been being stuck on very tactical things. I guess one of the big wonders I’ve felt is beginning to realize the power of social networking and what can be accomplished with it. This floors me every day.

Make: Use Your Artistic Side: I’ve definitely been using my artistic side to write more, but haven’t painted the sign for my door that I referenced in this post. I am in the process of clearing out my home office of paper as I am moving everything online, and also reorganizing the layout of furniture. I am eager to take the sign on as part of this office project.

You Are Your Best Investment (body integration)
: Next, please.

My Word for 2011
: I chose the word Living. I don’t feel like I am honoring this commitment the way I should and the February prompt is a good reminder to me. Again, it’s about thinking big, right?

How is your 2011 going?

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Wonder and Ordinary Joy: #Reverb10

These were two prompts in the #Reverb10 campaign I was going to let go, but as I was finishing the other prompts, they became things I wanted to talk about so here are some quick thoughts!

#Reverb10 Prompts

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis) 

December 27 – Ordinary Joy. Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: Brené Brown)

Big Wonders

I most often discovered wonder in 2010 by finding myself in situations that made me question my entire being. It sounds scary, but it was also welcoming because I suddenly felt like my eyes were open when they’d long been closed. Here are two times that stand out to me.

1. Spending time with my best childhood friend Laura’s kids this October. I’ve been tentative around other people’s kids in the last few years because they made me self-conscious. I’ve been unsure about my desire to have kids and I feel pressure at my age to know. Plus, I am afraid of breaking them.

Not only did I not break James and Lily, but I fell in love. Next time you see me, ask me to act like a proud aunt and show you a picture of them in their NYC J and L train subway t-shirts. Spending time with her kids made me realize that I really do want to be a mom, and not just a mom of a new business. It’s a wonder because I am not sure what happens next, but I’m eager and happy to explore it.

2. Discovering Buddhist meditation in the last few months has also been a wonder for me. For the first time in my life, I’ve really discovered a way to change my thoughts. This possibility is a wonder for me and I am ready to learn and practice more in 2011 and see where it fits with the other spiritual parts of my life.

Ordinary Joy

My ordinary joys are moments so small, but so peaceful that they made me pause so I could remember them and feel them again.

1. Living close enough to Cobble Hill Park to go there on any summer or spring weekend and sit with my laptop while enjoying Ted & Honey’s #1 Breakfast sandwich, a Red Eye, and their wireless internet that extends to the park. It’s like my personal outside office.

(Photo of Cobble Hill Park courtesy of j_bary, flickr)

2. Grinding my own beans every morning to make coffee in my French Press. I bought a coffee grinder with the earnings from my first sale. I love the ritual and smell every morning of grinding fresh beans and making my coffee before I start writing and checking emails.

3. Walking on the beach for an hour on a weekend at the shared beach house on Fire Island just collecting shells and thinking about nothing else but how they’re all unique and how they feel in my hand. I keep them in a jar in my apartment so I always feel close to the Atlantic, a place that seems to give me incredible energy.

Big and unwieldy, small and simple. All important to my life.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Entering the World of Reverb 2010: My Word is Learn

Last week I joined a campaign of over 3,000 bloggers who are participating in Reverb10, “an online initiative for people to reflect on 2010 and manifest what’s next.” I read about it on Gretchen Rubin’s blog for The Happiness Project (great book, go buy it!) and kept seeing the ever present #reverb10 hashtag on Twitter so I made my way over to the website to find out more about it.

The inspiring people behind Reverb10 have set up 31 reflection prompts for December with that day’s prompt emailed to you daily. You don’t have to do them in order and since I started late, I have been trying to figure out which ones to tackle first or at all. I thought this would generally be easy for me because I have so many “hopey coachy changey” (sorry Sarah, I think it’s a compliment) things up my sleeve, but it has been much harder than I thought. The writers at Reverb10 do not play. Each topic has sub prompts and they require more thought and reflection than almost any self-improvement activity I’ve participated in this year! So I’ve decided to start at the beginning and keep it simple.

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (Author: Gwen Bell)

And so my word is Learn. Some of you who know me personally may be surprised that it is not a more active word like “change” or “implement” because of the things I have done this year, but the last 12 months has truly been about learning, especially after a 2009 where I grappled with loss and being stuck in a place I didn’t like, literally and metaphysically. Learning was the next step in my journey and in 2010, Learning happened in countless ways. Learning what I actually wanted to accomplish in life. Learning how to start again. Learning that I am stronger than I thought. Learning how to deal with disappointments and failure. Learning how to do all the things I’ve posted on big chart paper on the walls of my home office. Learning how much my friends care about my happiness. Learning that I can make new friends.

In 2011, I would like my word to be Living. Not that I don’t think Learning is key, but I am ready for the next step and that to me is Living. I want to be Living the things I have on the paper on my wall, including the other one with all the personal things I want (but am not feeling up to blasting online!). I want to be Living the intentions of my business all the time. I want to be Living strong, peacefully, and fully.

What do you think? What are your words?

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Personal Career Insights for the Fall

After graduating from the Fast Trac entrepreneurship program, I helped a consulting client with their recruitment and HR issues and took some time. Time, the one great resource we all have! I used my time to plan the fall programs and services for The Opportunities Project, as well as step back and think about how I am doing on my own personal goals.

Careers and InsightsPart of my reflection involved spending the last few days out on Fire Island to do some writing. For those of you unfamiliar with Fire Island, it’s an amazing little island off  Long Island with no cars- you have to take a ferry to get here. I have been coming out here for about seven summers, but never so late in the year. The markets and restaurants are closed so I am enjoying some yummy packaged food from Trader Joe’s, some local red wine, and lots of tea to keep warm. It’s colder in my rented apartment than out on the beach!

So as I finish this period of looking inwards, here is a preview of what to expect in the next few weeks.

· More Cocktails and Careers Happy Hours where you can expand your network and get free career advice

· Special workshops with partners who have a lot of value to add to everyone trying to launch or take the next step in a fabulous career

· More guest blog posts and online interviews with people who have great advice for you

· Insight into why I launched The Opportunities Project, which I still haven’t sufficiently explained

· Rocking career advice from me

· Reflections on education policy. The press over the movie Waiting for Superman has made me realize that my work in that sphere is not done, no matter how successful a career coach I become. Why should you pay attention as a job seeker or someone interested in recruitment? Because of extensive government data, we know more about employee performance than in almost any other industry- and that’s not saying a lot. Still any understandings are helpful, right!

· An updated website, including new service prices now that my October 1 milestone passed.

Another day of walks on the beach and then looking forward to talking more this fall!

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog