Alpha Woman Today: Issue 1

Alpha Woman Today is a monthly newsletter to help women trade the glass slipper for the glass ceiling and achieve their fairytale.

Learn new insights from a new Alpha Woman each month in our column Alphas in Action. Offering their stories and tips you are sure to walk away feeling inspired!

Alpha(s) Rule(s) is our column each month to discuss rules we should and should not set for ourselves as Alphas. We will also share how to develop your own rules for your life.

Our newsletter would not be complete if we didn’t discuss Climbing the Walls. We all feel like that sometimes, don’t we? This column is dedicated to an Alpha Woman’s mental health. Learn how to stay cool under pressure and maintain professionalism no matter what.

Meet Rosanna Berardi, wife, mother, lawyer and entrepreneur. Fifteen years ago, Rosanna did the unthinkable and left a highly-coveted big-firm job to hang a shingle for herself in the legal world. Berardi Immigration Law, is a multi-million dollar company that proudly helps companies navigate the employment-based immigration system and foreign professionals achieve the American dream. Rosanna grew tired of feeling as though she could not “get it all done” and developed solutions and systems that helped her find balance as a working woman. Enter High Wire Woman, Rosanna’s latest entrepreneurial venture. Rosanna is ready to share her insights with others through Hire Wire Woman. She is passionate about women in business, especially fellow entrepreneurs of businesses operating from inception to six-figure companies. She believes you can have it all and should! Launching Hire Wire Woman while also being the Managing Partner of a robust law practice, Rosanna never skimps on time with her son, Salvatore, and husband, Jack. She also enjoys planning vacations (especially to Disney), parties, and reading.

Read on for Rosanna’s Alphas in Action 10 questions in 10 minutes:

Tell us about where and how you grew up. Family, friends and activities. I was born in Buffalo, New York to Antonio and Josephine Berardi. My father immigrated to North America in 1954. My parents had a hair salon, Bellissima Hair Fashions for over 40 years. My brother, Domenic, is five years older than me. Buffalo is a small town and some of my closest friends today are from elementary school. I played the clarinet and was in marching band.

What was the most important thing you learned during your education? How to critically think! I learned how to analyze and think about what things truly mean. In our fast-paced world, this skill is quickly evaporating!

Did you choose your career, or did it choose you? I worked at the US/Canadian border during college. I could never imagine it would be the foundation for my career. I decided to go to law school because I wanted a flexible graduate degree. Little did I know I would practice US immigration law for my entire career!

How did you develop your most utilized skills? I am a continual learner. I am constantly educating myself through in-person courses, webinars, etc.

How has your career affected your relationships, both past and present? I’ve been honored to make so many friends over the last 15 years through my firm.  I’ve forged strong relationships with employees, clients and vendors.  It’s been an amazing journey. I’ve also been able to be present in a very meaningful way in our son’s life.  I started my firm the year before he was born and worked around his life.  I’ve always worked unconventional hours so I could spend time with him, attend his school events and enjoy his early years.

What is it you might like to do next in both your personal life and career? I have started a coaching business called High Wire Woman that provides systems and solutions for working women.  I love helping women-owned businesses.

Who do you think has had the most influence on you overall? My parents.  They worked harder than anyone I know and treated everyone with compassion.

What did you learn from your biggest mistake? Mistakes happen.  They don’t need to be life-defining.

What does balance mean to you and how do you pursue it? Balance means taking time off for doing things I love such as spending time with family & friends, attending theater performances and going to Disney!

What one piece of advice would you give to young working women today? You can have it all but not all at once!  It’s important to remember that you are human and you only have so many hours in a day. 

Robin Rotenberg

Welcome Alphas! I’ve chosen a topic for my Alpha(s) Rule(s) column, which is near and dear to my heart:  Make Your Own Rules.  If you check out my website, which I hope you will, it opens on the home page with the statement “Make Your Own Rules.”  I think these are words to live by.

Why is making your own rules so important? For me, it has to do with being true to myself, living my values, and chasing my dreams.  No one should be allowed to make rules for us, which prevent us from dreaming big and living our values as our true selves.

I decided very early on that I would make my own rules and make decisions for my life even if others disagreed.  This decision was always critical to me. I wanted to trade the glass slipper for the glass ceiling and follow my career dreams, making my own decisions and rules along the way, wherever they might lead me.  That way, I could be true to myself, embrace the changes I sought, and persevere as I searched for that brass ring I wanted to grab.

The first significant rule I made for myself was about where I chose to go to school.  My entire family, parents, and grandparents had gone to the University of Toronto.  I didn’t want to go there.  It was a big, scary pond, and practically down the street from home. I wanted to go away, spread my wings, and fend for myself.  Off I went.

When it came time to decide what to study, I made my own rules about that too.  I chose Political Science, Education, and then Law School.  Career choices were mine also. My ideas.  My choices.  My rules. I know you are sensing a pattern, which continues to this day!

Despite the doubts of others, it’s essential to follow your path and make your own rules.  That’s not to say that we shouldn’t ask for advice if we want it. It’s the fundamentals that we set for ourselves, figuring out who we are, what we want, and how to get there, that we alone should set.

If we make our own rules, we can forge our path and stick to our principles.  Our rules are our guideposts, our values, and our beliefs.  We need to make our own, live by them, and never compromise.  We can only believe in ourselves and our path if we set the guidelines ourselves.  We need to understand ourselves, what’s important to us, how we want to live, and how we treat others.  All of our actions should align with our fundamentals, which is why we need to set them ourselves and live by them.

In my case, my fundamentals were to follow my career dreams to Pound On!! the glass ceiling and grab for the brass ring. How I got there helped me make my own rules.  With blood, sweat, tears, and tenacity, my rules formed.  Made by me, and for me.

What are your rules?   

Climbing the Walls: A Definition
Robin Rotenberg

“No one gave me a ladder; if there was one, no one told me about it.  I had to climb the walls instead, and some days, I truly felt like I was clawing at them just to stay in the same place. I couldn’t look up or down for fear of falling, and I felt all alone, hanging on for dear life.”

Robin Rotenberg
From the Glass Slipper to the Glass Ceiling

How many of you have ever felt like this?  That you were a fish out of the water, a woman in a man’s world, clawing your way up and trying to survive?  I felt like that a lot in the corporate world, especially at the beginning.

I asked myself every day:  Will I make it?  Who will help me?  Can I do this? I never got much help or very good answers unless I created them for myself.

When I talk about climbing the walls, I talk about them as something we do to succeed, as well as how we look at whether we can cope or not. It’s a two-fold analysis.  In the first thought, we are talking about trying to climb the corporate ladder and succeed in our careers.  I mean it as an analysis of how we ascend, and how we try to reach that glass ceiling and Pound On!! to bust through.  That’s why my book is called:  From the Glass Slipper to the Glass Ceiling.  It’s a metaphor for leaving behind the handsome prince, whisking us away on the back of his white horse to a charmed life. We trade it instead for a career and to ascend and reach the glass ceiling and beyond.  In this aspect, climbing the walls is about our education, career, hopes, and dreams, our professional success.

In another way, “climbing the walls” speaks to how we feel as we move up the corporate ladder.  We use the expression in everyday parlance to mean that we are frustrated, trapped, or tearing our hair out.  How often do we feel that way as we deal with our lives or our jobs or our career paths?  This aspect of climbing the walls means that we have to take care of our emotional and mental health, as well as our professional health and training.  It speaks to how we look after ourselves, help ourselves and others every day, and maintain a sense of equilibrium as we live our lives every day.  What are the tools we need to do this?  How do we get through the morning, let alone the whole day?  What and who will help us keep our feet planted so that we don’t fall and backtrack on our climb to the glass ceiling.

These two areas are what I mean when I talk about climbing the walls.

On the one hand, it’s the professional climb with all its potential blockages and pitfalls.  On the other, it’s the mental aspect of our lives as Alphas every day, how we cope, what frustrates us, and what will free us.

Stay tuned as we discuss Climbing the Walls in this column.  Pound On!!

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