In Business and Life, Context is Crucial for Empowerment

By Erin Joy, Founder and CEO, Black Dress Partners

As a strategic business consultant, confidant, and advisor, much of what I do for my clients is help them cultivate a sense of empowerment. Why? Simply put, most “successful” people are empowered people. One of the primary reasons I conceived the Midwest Women Business Owners’ Conference, in fact, was to provide women business owners with the resources they need to become more empowered in business, and in life.

What does it mean to be empowered?

Empowerment is defined as the process of becoming stronger and more confident. It is derived from a specific context you give to situations and to life. Empowered people have very specific conversations with themselves; they frame things positively, take responsibility for (and believe they are responsible for) their actions, and have conversations with their network about what they want versus what they don’t want or why they can’t.

Making Financial Sense: Protect Yourself at All Times
James C. Knapp, AIF®

Settling into 2018, we will soon be celebrating Earth Day.  According to, Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22 where various events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. 

Keeping Earth Day in mind, you might personally reflect about tangible ways to protect the environment.  As noble as your intentions are, you may become absorbed by the responsibilities of day-to-day life and before you know it, making your planned impact on the environment has been pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. 

Making Financial Sense: Bonds

James C. Knapp, AIF®

The latest data from the Society of Actuaries show that for men who live to age 65, average mortality is 86.6 years and for women it’s 88.8 years. As you know, your life isn’t average. I suggest thinking more broadly about longevity.

Of women with average health, 31 % will live to 90 and 12 % will live to 95, according to the Social Security Administration’s mortality data. Among women in better-than-average health, 42 % will live to 90 and 21 % will live to 95. I implore you to please be as involved as possible with the decision making process regarding your financial independence. Don’t rely solely on your significant other.

Barter, Trade and The Holidays
by Ardell Taykowski


Who would think they could barter/trade for almost everything they needed for the Holidays?


I know hundreds of thousands of businesses and individuals that do exactly that!


With our children going back to school, once again we settle into our daily routine…And that routine can be hectic! Rushing home from work to make dinner and then rushing off again to sporting events or Scout meetings or band practice or any of the myriad of activities that fill families’ schedules.

Barter can help with making your days run a bit smoother.