Why Economic Freedom is Key to Female Autonomy.

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President of Mediafy Communications Group

The 1960’s represented a time of cultural change for women in America. Women banded together and fought for their rights, demanding acknowledgment as individuals and not just as marital property. By doing so, women won the right to a workplace without discrimination, the right to have their income counted toward home loans, the right to reproductive freedom, and even the right to keep their own last names. Women moved steadily into the workforce and for the first time since the outbreak of WWII the economy, as well as the social landscape of America, rapidly changed.

As the women’s rights movement progresses through time, there are still serious factors that derail our progress and development as individuals. One of the most serious factors is economic dependence on the male gender. As a female growing up, my mother stressed to me over and over, “You will go to college, you will have a career, and you will always work. You will never depend economically on a man because you never know when he might leave.” As a result, I got a college degree, a master’s degree, and further post-graduate work, ultimately becoming the CEO/President of my own company. To this day, my mother never hesitates to tell me how proud she is of me, and that while telling me those things as a child, she honestly thought her words “went through one ear and out the other.” I have demonstrated to her through my life choices that they most certainly did not.

Queen Jezebel, Feminist Icon

Despite my life choice of economic independence, I have family members and friends who have chosen otherwise. I have friends that are career stay-at-home mothers, friends that work as their significant other’s personal assistant, and a friend that chose to re-enter the workplace once her children were school aged. In all cases, these women gave up portions of their autonomy, because they did not control the checkbook, putting themselves in positions of being economically dependent on their husbands. Why is this dangerous? Many people argue it is not. These people may believe that women are meant to be dependent on men economically, or that taking care of the family and not working outside the home is the best option for women. They even point to the Holy Bible as vindication for this belief, referencing the book of Kings, and the ancient Phoenician Queen Jezebel. Anyone who has attended a fundamentalist Christian church is likely familiar with “the spirit of Jezebel,” that is, the “unholy spirit” that tempts women to wear makeup, have sexual freedom, and speak their minds to others, including their husbands. A beautiful, strong-willed woman, Jezebel did all of these things, and when her son died, she attempted to rule Judah on her own. In an act of independence, she confronted a rebellious commander, adorned in a fine wig and make-up, and this simple gesture resulted in her being thrown out a window and devoured by dogs. She didn’t even get a chance to plead her case or mourn the loss of her child before she was murdered for attempting to take control of her own life. Today, many fundamentalist Christians associate female independence as “the spirit of Jezebel,” and warn that this spirit is indicative of the downfall of our civilization. They argue that women and men are meant to work together but women are supposed to be submissive to males. They say that is the natural order and the way God intended.

Again, why is this belief dangerous? It is dangerous because, as my mother said to me, “You never know when the man might leave.” Just this week, a friend of mine lost her significant other in an automobile crash. Having put herself in a position of financial dependence, she now faces a very uncertain economic future. I personally know women who have suffered through a disastrous and abusive marriage, because they felt they could not economically survive without their husband. There are cases of healthy families with stay-at-home mothers, but an enlightened husband must be the breadwinner, and the wife must be willing to give up at least some, if not all, of her financial autonomy.

As a female business owner, I feel it is my duty to empower all of my employees. However, I especially feel an obligation to empower the women within my company. I am fortunate to have females in managerial positions who are transforming themselves, as well as our industry. By providing them careers, I am providing them with an outlet for their talents, as well as economic independence. As women, I feel strongly that we need to bind together, help one another, and support one another, especially in the workplace. Perhaps Jezebel, while demonized by many fundamentalist Christian churches, represents what we all should aspire to be-Queens in our own right, outspoken, and beautiful. Today, as a result of the feminist movement, we have a much better chance of achieving our goals, unlike the unfortunate Queen Jezebel, who met such a gruesome end.

In conclusion, the 1960’s represented a time of great economic and social change for women. While elements still exist in our society attempting to hold women back from economic independence, such as the notion of the “spirit of Jezebel,” we still have a much better chance of achieving economic freedom then our foremothers ever did. As women, economic independence is key to having autonomy over our own lives, wellbeing, and safety. Binding together as women is key to the success of our gender as a whole, and to our lives individually. Let’s allow Queen Jezebel to stand as a role model for what could not be in the Old Testament, but for what we can be today.

Why The Emotional Support of Family is Key to a Successful Business

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President of Mediafy Communications Group

Ten years ago I made a decision-a decision that would ultimately change the direction of my life forever. Rather than remaining in England and working as a broker, or moving to Chicago for a cushy job in a financial firm, I decided to forge my own path and start my own business. I would return to my roots in the publishing industry, and at the same time assist in taking care of my ailing grandmother.

My father, an entrepreneur, provided me a great deal of emotional support. My mother did also, suggesting she might come and stay with me for a while, to make sure I knew my way around town. My grandmother, now living in an assisted living facility, encouraged me to come and live in her home. In turn, I promised to assist in her care and visit her daily.

This plethora of family support provided me a much needed fountain of strength, especially when things became challenging. After difficult days in the field, overcoming objections and convincing people to participate in my project, I loved coming back to a grandmother and her friends who provided me with a respite from the stress of my daily working life.

It is important to understand that when one embarks on a new endeavor, stress levels can run high, even if the stress is positive. In the early days, I often thought of my childhood role model, Princess Diana, and how the lack of family support in her situation ultimately, albeit indirectly, led to her untimely death and to the end of what I like to call “Diana Inc.” Regarding her first official royal tour in Australia, Diana stated that when she heard people saying “Oh, she (Diana) (i)s on the other side,” Charles felt quite “low about it, instead of feeling happy and sharing it.” In response to what would ultimately become the theme of their entire marriage, Diana stated,

“It was isolating, but it was also a situation where you couldn’t indulge in feeling sorry for yourself: you had to either sink or swim. And you had to learn that very fast.” “And what did you do?” the reporter asked. “ I swam.”

She swam-for the next fifteen years-most of it alone. But ultimately, Diana quit, citing lack of support on the part of the Queen, The Queen Mother, and Prince Charles. Without their love and support, she simply could not carry on her duties. The way Diana reacted is not uncommon. In fact, more than half of all businesses fail.

One of the primary reasons cited by business owners for the reason business failure occurs is the lack of emotional support provided by family and friends. For me, this support has remained a key factor in my success. For example, I chose a spouse who supports me emotionally and encourages me in my work. I knew from Diana’s failure, that the choice of a supportive spouse would be a substantial key in my success. At one point, my husband made a financial investment in my business, citing his faith in my business acumen. Another time, when a partnership upon which I had embarked became distasteful, my husband provided loving guidance on how to buy out the partner’s shares. Through it all, he has remained my rock and given me much needed trust, support, and encouragement.

In a similar manner, when Lisa Halaby married King Hussein of Jordan, she stepped into unfamiliar territory, as an American Queen in a foreign country. Viewed with suspicion by the people of Jordan, she did not exactly experience a fantastic “homecoming.” However, with the loving and unwavering support of her husband, Lisa (now known as Queen Noor) opened an office, hired a staff, and began offering micro-financing loans to poor Bedouin women making handicrafts from home. Queen Noor set up consignment agreements with local shopkeepers, subsequently spawning an entire cottage industry of women able to support their families. When the occasional husband expressed jealousy in the success of his wife, King Hussein personally stepped in and told the men that they should be proud of their wives, just as had tremendous pride in his own wife. Queen Noor went on to be the most successful Queen in Jordan to date, helping more people economically than any other person in the history of the country. She always cited the loving support of King Hussein as the key to her success.

In conclusion, businesses fail for many reasons, but a major reason is the lack of family support provided to entrepreneurs. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely, difficult road. The support of family and friends is a major factor in long-term success. As indicated by the failure of Princess Diana in her royal role, all the money in the world cannot make up for the lack of emotional support. I have succeeded because I received this support from loving parents, a wonderful grandmother, and a husband that believes in me above all else. As entrepreneurs embark on their journey, it is important to create an environment where this need is fulfilled, or the business is likely to ultimately fail.

Entrepreneurship, Stress, and Self-Care

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President of Mediafy Communications Group

Entrepreneurial Self Care Steps For Creating And Maintaining A Transformational Workplace

As an entrepreneur, I have undergone a great deal of personal and professional stress over the last ten years. My devotion from the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey has always been to the clients. I swore to myself from the very beginning that I would do everything correctly, and never make a mistake. Like during my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I knew that if I did my homework correctly, aced all the tests, and never missed a class, I would undoubtedly make an A in the class. I approached entrepreneurship the same way. Just as in school, I crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s.

I gave it my all. For a while, I lived in my office, because I was afraid to take a salary. As a matter of fact, I did not draw a paycheck for 3 ½ years. I made 30 cold calls a day and I sold, sold, sold. I always answered the phone, I put myself last, and yes, the company got what it needed. However, my mental and physical health drastically suffered.

My teeth grinding became exacerbated to the point that my jaw would freeze shut. My anxiety levels became unbearably high, to the point I developed migraines. I gained weight, lost patience with my employees, and in many ways became an unpleasant person. There came a point where something had to give.

I have a strategic partner who believes strongly in branding oneself. She has her own website, writes books, and gives speeches. Essentially, she is a role model to others in the industry. Following her example, I thought to myself, “If I am going to brand myself, I must care for myself, and I must like myself.” This led to a profound paradigm shift.

In retrospect, my high stress levels and subsequent attitude had alienated some employees. My thoughts ran faster than they could work, and this made some employees feel as though I did not respect their time. I was short with them, and this led to bad attitudes. The bad attitudes ultimately led to the turnover. It became obvious that the first step in my self-care needed to be transforming myself from the inside out. My transformational journey can be summed up on the following steps:

1. Decide upon a leadership approach.

I decided to at least attempt becoming a transformational leader-that is one who provides a nurturing environment where employees are encouraged to learn and transform themselves as well as the company, in a professionally structured work environment. In doing so, I changed the lighting in the office, brought in a refrigerator with food and drinks, started offering paid vacation to people on salary and began offering continuing education to the staff.

2. Work through your managers.

I decided to adhere to the corporate hierarchy already in place and work through my managers rather than going directly to employees. This forces me to respect their time and not disrupt their flow of work because it is the manager who discusses matters with the employee according to the employee’s schedule, and not me. In many ways, this makes me “the good guy,” and perhaps makes me more approachable. If an employee has a legitimate concern, they might feel more willing to approach me with a solution.

3. Hire competent people

In the beginning, I had people in positions who were not qualified. As the business grew, it quickly became obvious that these individuals were in way over their heads, and everyone suffered. My stress levels skyrocketed, and my anger reached a boiling point. As the company grew, I upgraded my staff, allowing me to loosen the reins and put more responsibility on others.

4. Do not hire people who think they are doing you a favor.

I have learned that if someone says, “I don’t need the money,” or “I am just working here to help you out,” they need to be shown the door immediately. Entrepreneurs need people who need to work, who want a career, and who want to transform themselves as well as the company. If these motivations are not there, then employees develop bad attitudes, leave early, and remind you constantly that they are doing you a favor. As business owners, we need to pat ourselves on the backs and realize that we create jobs and we create opportunities for professional and personal growth. Employees that are money-motivated, and motivated to better themselves as well as the company, become a substantial asset. Anything else is unacceptable and needs to be cut loose. Employees that think they are doing you a favor by working for you merely increase stress levels in the long-run, and demotivates other employees. Keeping your employees all on the same page in terms of motivation is essential to keeping stress levels under control, and entrepreneurial self-esteem at the forefront.

5. Respect your own time, and then others will follow suit

I simply had to start making clients respect my time. In making myself constantly available, I allowed clients to essentially manipulate my entire day. While I treasure my clients and tell them they are welcome to call me at any time, I have learned that I am not always able to answer or drop everything to come and see them. I have a schedule of dates and times that often are scheduled out weeks in advance. I also blog at scheduled times, exercise, and spend time with my family. All of these activities are critical to self-care, and once I started respecting my time, others did also. This predictability in my schedule has contributed to much needed down time, where I am able to decompress and return to work refreshed.

6. Start exercising and eating right.

The stress of my career completely exhausted me by the end of the day. As a result, for many years, exercise of any sort remained completely out of the question. Consequently, I gained weight and became very physically uncomfortable. As part of my entrepreneurial self-care routine, I started working out with a personal trainer three days a week and made these times non-negotiable. While exercising, I do not see clients and I do not answer the phone. As a result, exercise has become an integral part of my life, and my stress levels have gone down substantially. Additionally, my adoption of a low-carb, high vitamin B12 diet has lowered my stress levels and literally changed my life for the better.

In conclusion, the starting and maintaining of a healthy business ultimately requires a physically and mentally healthy person at the helm. While the conditions of entrepreneurship make it easy, and sometimes even preferable to let yourself go, it simply is not healthy for the entrepreneur or the business in the long-run. Entrepreneurial self-care is ultimately a requirement for the creation and sustainment of a transformational working environment. By choosing a leadership style, refining it, and then bettering yourself as a leader, your business and entire entrepreneurial experience will be better for everyone involved. Ultimately, clients, as well as employees, will be encouraged to transform themselves and the opportunities provided by the business will become an overwhelmingly positive experience. Following the self-care steps outlined in the article will lower stress levels and lead to an overall happier, healthier company, with lowered stress levels for all.

Kavanaugh, Rules for Radicals, and the Politicalization of the Supreme Court

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President of Mediafy Communications Group

In the UK, the Queen does not answer to anyone in the government. Her Queenship is not dependant upon pandering to special interest groups or negotiating with members of political parties. She is anointed by God-not appointed by the people. Therefore, she is answerable only to God, and not to the people. One of the weaknesses in the United States’ political system is that a great part of its existence revolves around favors, personal agreements, and sometimes payoffs. A beacon of light within all of this potential chaos is the Supreme Court of the United States. Once appointed by the president, and confirmed by the Senate and Congress, Supreme Court members, like the Queen, are answerable only to God and their conscience. Their vote cannot be bought and they do not have to answer to anyone-they are on the court for life. However, this makes the process of confirming a candidate all the detrimental, since it is like entering into a marriage where divorce is not an option. You have to make sure the correct choice is made at the onset.

Brett Kavanaugh, on paper, looks like an ideal candidate. A cum laude graduate of Yale Law School, he has had a stellar career in the United States Judicial System. However, because of the partisan nature of the American Political System, he is a declared Republican. Removing politics from the equation, he has, for all accounts, turned to legal precedent and the constitution when deciding legal cases. He has also stated that he considers the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade to be the settled law of the land.

Women in the United States have fought hard to establish their rights to vote, to own property, to have their income counted when applying for a loan, to have access to birth control, and to have reproductive rights. For some, this is a crusade, because they are afraid of the loss of these rights. For others, these rights are now simply part of their daily lives. Brett Kavanaugh, because he is a Republican, and arguably a conservative, represents a threat to many women who fear the loss of the reproductive freedoms women in the United States currently enjoy. In a confidential 2003 email, Kavanaugh states that he isn’t sure all legal scholars would agree that Roe v. Wade is the “settled law of the land,” and argues that the Supreme Court can “always overrule its precedent.” Contention regarding Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings began shortly after a former lawyer of George W. Bush turned over the email to the Senate Judiciary committee.

This is a pivotal time on the Supreme Court’s history, with four conservatives on the Supreme Court out of the total of nine. Another conservative on the court could potentially upset the balance, and lead to the possible appeal of Roe V. Wade. Kavanaugh’s confirmation, then, presents a problem.

Having been raised by a feminist woman of the 60’s, I do not take our rights for granted. I have been sexually harassed, and I have faced discrimination in the workplace. I am thankful to have the “right to choose.” I know the struggle for gender equality is real and ongoing and I identify as a feminist. However, when I see the accusations being leveled against Kavanaugh, it takes me back to a book I read in college called “Rules for Radicals,” written by Saul Alinsky. What is happening to Brett Kavanaugh is literally a play by play of what this book advocates.

Alinsky’s First Rule Is:

“Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”

If Kavanaugh is the enemy, then, according to Alinsky, we must scare him into thinking we have “information on him.” We must bring forward women he may or may not have known, and have them give testimony, real or imagined. Make him worry that more may appear. This may cause him to withdraw, to prevent any further damage to his reputation and career. Whether these women are telling the truth or not becomes irrelevant. The goal is to get him to step aside.

Rule Number Two Is:
“Never go outside the expertise of your people.”

An argument based upon the balance of the Supreme Court and its eventual repercussions regarding reproductive rights in America is arguably over the heads of many people, and a divisive one at that. Keeping the argument simple and dramatic is far more effective. Women coming forward and claiming molestation and potential rape is an offense to anyone, on the right or on the left. It garners popular support and gets you closer to the goal-having Kavanaugh step aside or not garnering enough bipartisan votes to be confirmed.

Rule Number Three:
“Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.”

If Kavanaugh is innocent of the charges levied against him, then he has no experience in the area of molestation or rape. He is a conservative Republican, married with children. He works every day and then goes home to his family. Having accusations levied against him such as these is completely foreign to him. Most likely, Kavanaugh was blindsided. As a result, his reactions are angry and emotional. This matter, and how to react to it, are “outside his airspace.” An emotional response to the accusations strengthens the enemy’s argument that he is dangerous and untrustworthy.

Rule Four:
“Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

Go back through Kavanaugh’s emails over the past 20 years and find something that does not agree with what he is saying now. Find old girlfriends who claim he misbehaved, creating a conflict with who he is now. bring into question the enemy’s credibility and reputation, creating more and more damage until all trust is gone.

Rule Five:
“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

There is no doubt that Kavanaugh is facing ridicule. For what he is being accused of, there is no defense. Bringing up women from years ago when Kavanaugh was a minor, is arguably irrational but it is also infuriating. More importantly, it can also force the enemy into conceding. That is the goal with Kavanaugh. If the ridicule leads to him bowing out, then the “means was worth the end.”

Rule Six:
“A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”

Radical activists love nothing more than taking down a conservative Republican. Everyone avoids activities that are “un-fun”, but we all enjoy activities that bring results and actually work. Kavanaugh represents the stereotypical, privileged, conservative, pro-life male with a wife at home. What’s more entertaining than destroying him completely?

Rule Seven:
“A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”

The accusations against Kavanaugh and resulting testimony are quick and dirty. This whole thing might be over tomorrow. Moments like this keep activists excited, involved and constantly coming up with new tactics. It is a radical liberal’s dream come true because there’s almost instant satisfaction.

Rule Eight:
“Keep the pressure on. Never give up.”

Continue introducing new tactics to constantly keep the enemy off kilter. When the enemy addresses and conquers one approach, hit with another. Keep attacking from all sides, never allowing the enemy to rest, recoup, recover, or re-strategize. With Kavanaugh, once one woman is derided, another one appears. Once one email is addressed, another is produced. It is a never-ending cycle of attacks, with the goal of getting Kavanaugh to either not be confirmed or to quit first.

Rule Nine:
“The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”

In order to defeat Kavanaugh, radical activists have accused him of wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade. This worst-case scenario is contrary to what Kavanaugh himself has stated that, in his opinion, this is the settled law of the land. He has acknowledged that others may disagree and that the courts could overturn the landmark case. But he has indicated his intentions are not to do so. Nevertheless, because of a confidential 2003 email, he has become the face of forbidding abortion in America-the big bad white male who wants to take away reproductive rights for women. Imagination can lead to imaginary consequences, and fear of those imaginary consequences leads to confirmation hearing being delayed, just as we are seeing now with Kavanaugh.

Rule Ten:
“If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.”

If more and more women come forward, detailing alleged instances of molestation and rape by Kavanaugh, even if it is not true, it could result in his nomination not being confirmed. The left then has a chance of getting a feminist pro-life candidate on the Supreme Court, swinging the pendulum in their favored direction. The ends justify the means.

Rule Eleven:
“The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”

The successful alternative, in this case, is a democratic, pro-life candidate. Who has not molested or raped any of his or her significant others? At this point, Kavanaugh has been portrayed so poorly, that just about anyone without a love life appears better.

Rule Twelve:
“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Branding Kavanaugh as a molester and rapist cuts off his support network and isolates him from sympathy. It is easier and more effective to attack Kavanaugh personally, then to attack the Roe v. Wade issue directly. People fall faster than institutions. This may be cruel, but it is very effective, and it gets the job done.

In conclusion, Brett Kavanaugh may or may not be in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, but the fear of him doing so has resulted in a play by play of “Rules for Radicals”. As a feminist in favor of reproductive rights for women, and one schooled in the methods used by radicals, I am more than aware of the tactics being used against Kavanaugh and why they are being used. But the bigger question remains; are we as Americans, pro-life or not, willing to sit by and watch a man’s life get destroyed because of the mere possibility that he might sway our Supreme Court in a conservative direction?