Women In Action, Inc. 

Unifying and Empowering the Everyday Woman

WIA Newsletter

Women In the Spotlight - Women who Inspire

The quality of Women in the Spotlight is so remarkable, because you are dealing with women who lead from all walks of life with extraordinary caliber and capability but also a desire to assist each other and nothing is more valuable than that.

Anissa Pennyman

It is very important to maintain health and skincare. That rings most true for WIA member Anissa Pennyman. She is the founder of Defined Beauty Essential, which creates organic and natural skin and haircare products for improving health. Anissa prides herself on being a voice for health and beauty. “I like to think of myself as a wellness health advocate. I am passionate about helping people live a healthy, whole and healthy life now”, says Pennyman.

However turning that passion into becoming a small business owner was not always a part of Anissa’s plan. It came out of a necessity. Anissa says, “I was let go from a company I absolutely loved. The product of that company sold was not available at Target or Walmart, so I quickly discovered I could make the product myself, so I started making it for my twins”. Once the momentum started it was unstoppable. “I started making natural deodorants, which led to other products, such as body butters, facial moisturizers and scrubs, notes Anissa. Quickly Anissa became invested in helping others get products that were natural and good for people.

 Using her products to help, educate, and nurture people is truly the point of Defined Beauty Essentials. Her favorite part is being able to bring people to their best look and feel. “When we feel good our energy operates at a higher level, and when we operate at a higher level, we give and love more and our confidence increases”, exclaims Pennyman. Her products try to help unlock people’s best selves starting with the surface and works inside.  She also uses her products to educate people about the importance of natural products. “It concerns me that we are consuming way too many harmful chemicals that in the long term affect our overall health and well-being”. She hopes to educate people on the importance of organic products through her business.

With managing a small business on top of a full time job life definitely gets complicated. Creating balance is definitely an obstacle. “I’m no example of work life balance, I’m still in the process of implementing time management strategies” says Anissa. However these obstacles don’t take away from her passion and goals. She has reached a balance in being able to feel her emotions when life is overwhelming but then she changes her mindset. “I recently had an aha moment and quickly realized that when I changed my perception of an obstacle, it often isn’t awful. Obstacles allow us to grow and build character”.

It has been this insight and determination that led WIA founder and CEO Chantel Bethea and Representative Kate Campanale to nominate Anissa for the Unsung Heroine Award presented by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. Finding out about the award elicited a plethora of emotions for Anissa. “I was surprised and shocked when I first heard the news. Later I felt a sense of joy, peace, and happiness. I felt honored to receive such an award”. The actual day was very beautiful day of celebration for women. Her favorite part was being able to learn about all the women also receiving the award throughout the state. “It was great to hear about the the fascinating and incredible accomplishments achieved by women in their communities. It was an amazing way to honor women doing great service and work.” says Pennyman.

It is not any award or accolades that keep Anissa going. She has an important and powerful message to spread to consumers about natural and organic products. It is the pursuit of educating people and creating good products that makes it all worth it. Adding a business on top of family and work is definitely very hectic for Anissa. However she has an affirmation that keeps her going, “I am healthy, happy, abundant, and whole.” She believes all people should use it. “Say it in the morning and at night. Believe the affirmation and it will become a reality”. Maybe if everyone used that they would be as successful as Anissa Pennyman.  

Helpful Tips

Time Management

Gravel, rocks, sand and water. What do those items have to do with managing your time? And what is time management all about? Here’s a crash course, with just enough information and three important Time Management methods, for you to start creating your own strategy for better handling your 2,400 minute work week.

Lifestyles are becoming increasingly hectic. Lean business design, and the flattening of organizations, have led to new levels of complexity in the workplace. Because of these factors, effectively running on what never seems to be enough time, has become a “make or break” activity for people across all segments of life, including athletes, executives, line workers, soldiers, students, politicians, and parents.

Method #1

Decades ago, an idea was presented by President Dwight D. Eisenhower which became commonly known as the Eisenhower Method. This practice began with a memorable statement from our 34th President: "I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent." Using the Eisenhower Method, tasks are evaluated and designated into four categories as follows: delegated; dropped; completed personally and immediately; or completed personally and with a deadline.

Method #2

Later, in his book entitled First Things First, Steven Covey introduced a concept similar to the Eisenhower Model. Covey’s approach is widely used today, and is best explained through a hands on demonstration using a container in which is first placed gravel, then rocks, then sand, and finally water. The grid below is depictive of the theory, without the mess:

Similar to The Eisenhower Method, tasks are assigned a quadrant where they are most appropriately executed. Covey has included a deeper analysis of how to effectively distribute your time based upon the quadrants. For example, the recommendation of many time management experts is to spend 45% of your time attending to the tasks relegated to the upper left-hand box labelled “Important/Urgent”. Additionally, 35 % of your time should be focused on the upper right-hand box labelled “Important/Low Urgency”. What now remains is 20% of your daily 1,440 minutes to be spent on the bottom quadrants. 15% should be spent working on the lower left hand box, or the “Not Important/Urgent” items. The final 5% of your time could now be devoted to the remaining tasks, which have already been recognized as neither important nor urgent. Eisenhower, always every bit the general, grouped matters such as trivia, pleasant activities and time wasters into this box, and followed with the ruling that these tasks be abandoned.

The next step after learning Time Management theory and understanding the box approach, is to decide more specifically what tasks and occurrences are comprising your day, and then placing those tasks into the appropriate quadrant. In brief, the list below combines recommendations from several theories, including Covey’s and Eisenhower’s:

GRAVEL—crises, deadlines, problems, some meetings

ROCKS—planning, thinking, relationship building, recreation

SAND—visitors, mail, telephone calls, meetings, interruptions

WATER—trivia, pleasant activities, “escape” activities, chat rooms

Method #3

Finally, another expert in the field is Dr. Jon Warner, who has advanced a list of competencies associated with time management skills. Dr. Warner, in the following quote, describes our 1,440 minutes per day as if it were money in the bank: “Every night, our “time bank” writes off as lost whatever we have failed to invest in a good purpose. It carries no balance forward and allows no overdrafts. Each new day, it opens a new account with us, and each night it burns the record for the day. If we fail to use the day’s deposit, the loss is all ours. There is no going back, no drawing against tomorrow. We must live in the present—on today’s deposit. Invest in it to get the utmost in health, happiness, education, and service, and anything else that is valuable to you”.

Warner has identified and developed seven competencies in his Time Management Effectiveness Profile. The Profile scores an individual on each level of skill, in each competency, and from there one can create a personal action plan aimed at improving the areas that have been determined to be challenging. Using the assessment findings and the tools provided in The Profile, the individual now has the ability to collectively and generally improve his or her time management practices and results. Below are the seven Warner competencies:

  1. Organizational Ability
  2. Predisposition/Temperament
  3. Managing Interruptions
  4. Delegating
  5. Preparation
  6. Stress Management
  7. Results Orientation

What happens when you more effectively manage your time? The benefits include higher productivity at work, decreased levels of work-related stress, the ability to focus on a deeper level, and the discovery of new (and often more efficient) ways to approach your profession. Companies that implement time management training have also discovered deeper levels of innovation as well as increased employee engagement, which is a critical element in today’s business environment. Superb time management skills are essential for today’s executives. Join us for a three hour workshop on Time Management, offered by Women In Action, Inc. For details and workshop dates, please stay connected to WIA Inc. 

Meal Prep

Within your busy day you have many balls to juggle and deciding what to eat is without a doubt just another stressor on life. It can lead to eating out more and choosing unhealthy foods that are easier to make. One of the biggest reasons due to obesity in this country is because of terrible portion control. Preparing food before you eat it can make you to over make and overeat and overindulge in ingredients that are unhealthy. Having mapping out your meals for the week can help you avoid that. It also allows you to make healthy choices ahead of time to stay on track to live a healthy life.

If you have decided to prep your meals you have already made it to the second step because the first is deciding and committing to changing your lifestyle to be healthier! Now it’s not enough to just plan out a meal. It has to be done with conscious intention to make a healthy well balanced meal. The first thing that will be helpful with that will be clear your cabinet of all the food keeping you in bad habits. These are foods like salt, vegetable oil, chips, white bread, alcoholic drinks, sugar, etc. Purging yourself from these types of food will help you stay on track and resist temptation.

Set aside a day or two every week for meal planning for the week and grocery shopping. Making that commitment with yourself will help you stick to it. If you need help figuring out right portions of different food groups the USDA guidelines basically recommend that a quarter of your plate being designated to fruits, vegetables, grain, and protein. You can check out a more detailed description of these guidelines on My Plate.

Meal Planning can seem overwhelming at first but once you get into a pattern it will feel just a part of the routine. While this may seem stressful at first if you stick to it you will get to a place where it is stress relieving! No more worrying about “what am I gonna eat today”. You already have a map for the whole week and that will open up time in your life. Make it fun and get the whole family involved! If you have a family this will also help take away the stress of planning meals for the little ones! If you can put fun storage containers to help encourage meal planning. It’s tough making a plan and sticking to it so use these types to help meal planning work for you. Ultimately it takes a leap to get this going so why not start right before the fall starts?

Do You Have What It Takes To Own Your Own Business?

As a business attorney with a practice that focuses on small businesses I meet with many people looking to start up. While the idea of starting your own business may seem exciting, before you jump in you need to ask yourself: Am I cut out to be my own boss?

Being your own boss and controlling your schedule and calling all the shots can be an intoxicating thought. But before you get drunk with power, ask yourself, “Will I listen to my boss when my boss is me?” And Answer honestly. Getting out of bed to meet the demands of someone else can often be easier than getting out of bed to please yourself.

Being your own boss and owning your own business means getting up and creating tasks for yourself everyday, and meeting goals to bring in business and money, and ultimately a payday. It requires a great amount of discipline, diligence, resourcefulness, and resilience. If you don’t have the dedication to get up, get out, and get some owning a small business is not for you.