in the spotlight

in the spotlight

Teen of the Month
Volunteer of the Month
Question and Answer
Step Up To Success

Janeth Cordova

Chicago's Janeth Cordova

Step Up Teen of the Month

Janeth Cordova is a junior at Carl Schurz High School in Chicago. She's excited for college and joined Step Up to have support with the application process for both college and financial aid. She is also eager to meet dynamic women mentors to help her along the way. Janeth will soon meet her one-on-one mentor in the Pathways to Professions program this spring. She can't wait to talk to her mentor about how she can gain knowledge and experience in college to help her jump-start her career in medicine!


Barbara Bernstein

Los Angeles' Barbara Bernstein

Step Up Volunteer of the Month

Barbara joined Step Up in April 2011 as an Icon member. She jumped in with both feet and immediately began volunteering at nearly every event. Barbara has become a fixture at Step Up events and chances are, you have seen her speaking candidly with current members and members-to-be about her passion for the organization. Barbara follows the advice she gives to prospects and members, "Just get involved and start volunteering!"



Jess Weiner

Step-by-Step with... Jess Weiner

a monthly chat with Step Up's inspiring membership

Jess Weiner is currently the Chief Creative Officer for Talk to Jess, LLC (TTJ), and founder of the Actionist Network. TTJ is a multi-platform company creating media programs that focus on storytelling for social change. TTJ also offers consulting services for brands, individuals and companies who desire to reach a female demographic with an authentic and energetic message of empowerment.

Jess also serves as Dove's Global Ambassador for Self-Esteem and plays a vital role in Dove's global campaigns throughout North American and Canada. She travels the world speaking and hosting workshops on self-confidence for a multitude of corporate and educational audiences.

Jess is the author of two books, her first "A Very Hungry Girl" chronicles issues of body image, eating disorders, and depression. Jess was inspired to write her second book, "Life Doesn't Begin 5 Pounds From Now" to further explore how negative self-image controls the way women think about their health, wealth, family, career, and relationships. She is currently working on her third book aimed at helping mothers raise truly confident girls.

As a longtime leader and pioneer within the confidence community, Jess's unique story and prestigious career have been featured by hundreds of international media outlets and she was recently named by as one of the "14 Power Women to Follow on Twitter."

Jess and Step Up CEO Jenni Luke will be representing Step Up Women's Network at the inaugural National Conference on Girls' Education February 10-12 in Washington D.C. Here, Jess chats with Step Up members everywhere.

Step Up: Step Up is a mentorship organization. How did mentors play a role in your life/career?

Jess Weiner: Mentorship is a key reason why I've achieved success in my career. I started my first business when I was 21 years old. I've always been an entrepreneur and finding people to guide, help, and support my vision has been a key factor in my career growth.

You have to learn to fine tune your mentors - meaning not everyone is a one size fits all. Some mentors are great on email, some will do coffee. Some can stick with you for years and others will be momentary mentors. That's OK - continue to find folks who can believe and buy into you. We sometimes have an outdated view of what being a mentor looks like. A mentor doesn't have to hold your hand every step of the way, in fact, a great mentor in my opinion is someone who gently holds that mirror up to you and you catch a glimpse of your own greatness. Mentorship can be tactical and practical but I can also say that some of my mentors, like fellow Step Up member Diane Reichenberger, have become some of my dearest friends. Her advice, wisdom, and friendship have been huge gifts in my personal and professional life.

SUWN: In your new Step Up curriculum, Step Up teens make "confidence cards" – business cards that showcase their favorite qualities about themselves. What would be on your confidence card?

JW: Helping to re-create the Step Up Confidence Curriculum was so gratifying - I love the confidence cards we have teen girls make to realize that it's perfectly OK to acknowledge your greatness!
My confidence card would say: Jess Weiner: Able to leap tall dreams in a single bound!

SUWN: If a Step Up teen wanted to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give her?

JW: I'd say continue to learn about yourself. My work has been founded in my own self-knowledge. That's a luxury in my line of work - but I also made up that luxury. I created it. Early on, I knew I wanted to combine my passions: Media, Writing, Speaking and Women's Issues. I formulated a career as an entrepreneur where I can do just that. Whether it's speaking to large groups, writing my books, working as a media strategist for networks or brands, or being a voice for women and girls around the world, I found a way to turn my passions into a profitable business model. There was no one doing it exactly as I do when I started out - I took a leap. So I say - get rooted in your own self-discovery, load up your mentors and advisers, and follow your vision for your life. Make it up as you go along. Believe bigger and embrace failure. No matter if you open your own business or work in someone else's - your life is what you create of it - so make it a good one!

SUWN: Describe yourself in three words.

JW: Courageous, loyal, loving.

SUWN: What do you regularly read?

JW: I try to consume words that uplift me. That challenge my thinking. And inspire me to dig deeper in my life. I've given up gossipy reads. And anything (even FB status's) that demean someone else. I think the words we feed our mind - create our thoughts which lead to our actions. So whether it's my favorite novelist (Marisa De Los Santos) or my favorite Columnist (anything by Courtney E. Martin) - I try to consume words and ideas that remind me of the better version of humanity.

Liz Dennery Sanders

Step Up To Success: Five Steps to Having it All

Luminary Circle founding member and former chair of the Los Angeles Board of Directors Liz Dennery Sanders offers Step Up members insight each month into key steps to success.

Your to-do list is a mile long. You bring home the bacon and serve it up for brunch. Your Nike trainers get as much use as your Manolo's, and your social calendar is booked almost every evening for the next two months. You work 14 hour days, and that doesn't count the nine conferences you are attending this year.

Are you exhausted yet?

I like to say that you can have it all, but you just can't do it all yourself. Nope, won't work. I've tried it. It's a great recipe for a one-way ticket to crazy town. When I started my first business 12 years ago, I thought I was supposed to be tough, resourceful and all-knowing coming out of the gate. My ego got the better of me.

Boy did I have a lot to learn. I stumbled, made mistakes, thinking all along that I had to do this all myself: e-f-f-o-r-t. It wasn't until I learned to do two things well that I started to enjoy the fruits of my success: delegate and ask for help.

The smartest and most successful women I know are excellent delegators. They understand that there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. They also realize that there is tremendous power in community, and being humble enough to ask for help.

Here are the five steps they consistently take:

1. Identify Your Values and Live By Them. What's most important to you in life? What do you value above all else? Some of the most popular values include: Freedom, Family, Financial Independence and Health. Make sure that you dedicate time in your schedule to those things you value most. Otherwise, you'll be out of alignment with who you are, and I promise you, the feeling sucks.

2. Make a List of the Important but Non-Essential (read: it can be done by someone else). Take out a notebook and pen and set a timer for 30 minutes. Now write out everything you do that could be done by someone else (even if some preliminary training is needed). Everything from grocery shopping, errands, office filing, dog washing, laundry, cooking, scheduling, etc. If you're an entrepreneur, you don't have to do the math to realize that you can pay someone $15/hr to free up your time to do your genius work (what you do better than anyone else) to make a lot more money…or regain your sanity with a workout or a massage.

3. Build and Nurture Your Support Network. Identify other women who may be a couple of steps ahead of you in business and invite them to lunch or send them a hand-written note. Join a network with women you admire or start a mastermind group with a couple of other like-minded women. Never underestimate the power of multiple female brains focused on finding a solution to your most pressing problem. You've got to be willing to put yourself out there, and God forbid, admit that you don't know it all.

4. Create Your Resource Rolodex. Once you've got the "asking for help" thing down, now it's time to organize all of your new resources and contacts. You can use a traditional paper rolodex or create a list of contacts on your computer and/or online (Outlook and 37 Signals are good places to start). Start to create groups around your needs, such as: "Pet Sitters," "Graphic Designers," "Plumbers," "Massage Therapists," You get the idea. Now you're building your safety net.

5. Be a Resource for Others. This really goes without saying. You've asked for help. You've created your own list of great resources. Pay it forward and share the wealth. Be THAT girl. You know the one – anytime you ask her for a recommendation, she sends you three. It's called karma, baby.

Oprah Winfrey once said, "You can have it all, you just can't have it all at once." I don't completely agree. You can have it all as long as you realize it's a group project.

©Liz Dennery Sanders 2012

Would you like to use this article in your newsletter, blog or website? You're welcome to share this article. When you do, you must include this complete copyright blurb:

©Liz Dennery Sanders 2012

Liz Dennery Sanders is a dynamic combination of brand strategist, marketing consultant and personal development coach. She is the Founder of, a global, online business dedicated to helping female entrepreneurs build their confidence, their brands and their bank accounts. You can reach her directly at, on Twitter at or

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