Wonder Woman in Business, Wendy Toth


Wendy Toth

One day, I was on a plane to Boston and I sat next to a most remarkable woman named, "Wendy Toth" from Belmont, CA. Wendy was a C-suiter in tech in the communications realm so we had plenty to talk about. However, Wendy and I connected on a much deeper level. I felt as if I had known her for many lifetimes. She is a strong, sensitive, take-no-BS, kind of woman. She is a lover to her sculpture artist husband and friend to her sports racer son. She is a best friend to few and a good friend to many. She and I got off that plane never having met before but having decided to dine together at Legal Seafoods on Boston Harbor. Mike was already in Boston so he met us for dinner and we enjoyed one of the most memorable evenings ever. After Boston, Wendy changed positions and is now with Amazon. Though we have not kept in touch, I still feel her friendship. 

Well, while in Healdsburg, Wendy Toth "followed" me on Twitter. I immediately sent her a picture of Mike waving at her and this message:

"Omg! We thought you were out of our lives. We miss you! We have to get together! Follow @mikefutrell too!"

As I explored her profile on Twitter, I saw:
Wendy Toth 
Writer & Editor. Content Director. Editor-in-Chief @PowerSuiting Contributor to NY Times, NBC, PetCoach and more.

I quickly realized it was not the same Wendy Toth

After I realized, I messaged to explain my mistake. We had a good laugh and then continued to chat. This Wendy Toth is as exciting as any and I am now thrilled to interview her on my "Wonder Women in Business" podcast. She is delightful, smart, kind, funny, and has terrific content. Follow her if you're on Twitter: @bestWendy and tell her @susfree sent you. ;-)

It's a small world and we should welcome new people, places and things into our heads and hearts. That, and "Wendy Toths" across the nation, coast-to-coast, are pretty cool people!

Today, I had an incredible conversation with the East Coast Wendy Toth!

Wendy is a writer, editor, and mom of two boys, with a focus on making life more fulfilling for families. For the last 15 years she has held staff and freelance positions at some of this country’s top publications. She’s been a staffer at Parents Magazine, NBC, PetSmart and most recently Happy Wellness Life. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Weight Watchers Magazine, Esperanza, and many more. Because she loves her work so much, she’s obsessed with helping others find career fulfillment, and writes about it regularly at PowerSuiting.com.

In the podcast, Wendy speaks about her proudest professional accomplishment (to date, as she is young and is sure to have many more) and she mentioned having been published in the New York Times. I asked her if I could share the piece, “No, You Can’t Run With Me” and she said yes so enjoy. She also mentioned one of her inspirational mentors as Susan Shapiro, an award-winning writing professor, freelances for the NY Times, NY Magazine, WSJ, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Elle & Oprah.com. She's the bestselling author/coauthor of 12 books. I thought I might share her site here as well: SusanShapiro.net for those aspiring writers who are reading this!

Contact Wendy:

Website: PowerSuiting.com http://www.powersuiting.com/

Portfolio Site: WendyToth.com https://www.wendytoth.com/

Twitter: @PowerSuiting https://twitter.com/PowerSuiting

Twitter: @BestWendy https://twitter.com/BestWendy



Don't Keep Calm, Go Change the World!

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Men often find it hard to understand women, specifically, how they behave, their attitudes, their creativity, their feelings unless, like my husband, Mike, they have been influenced all their lives by women. We are wired differently, we lead differently and we make decisions differently. Our communication styles and personalities differ, as well. Great women support men and show them how to be successful communicators when dealing with other women. Great leaders, regardless of gender, make it a point to listen, learn, and then and only then, take action.

Some women are highly collaborative and are still masterful leaders. We enjoy team leadership and our own space and time. I march to the beat of my own drum and I am fine with that, I learned long ago that other people’s opinions of me are none of my business. Mike knows I am a strategist and problem solver, especially where others have failed. I prefer to be preventive, but sometimes that is not always an option. Most women leaders don’t quit until the job is done. Wise women are knowledge seekers, forever learners.

Women leaders enjoy good challenges – and seek to find meaning and purpose from each circumstance they face and opportunity they are given. They like to see and understand the connectivity. They want all the facts before making decisions. Competitiveness amongst themselves may often seek validation — an identity that matters and a voice that is heard. Successful, secure, mature women empower one another, yet they never rely on favors. Period. Women leaders earn respect and truly believe they can influence their own advancement by serving others — yes, by serving others. It is my belief that being personally fulfilled comes from living in service to others.

Collaborative team players — and often team leaders — they also seek to prove their value and self-worth by exceeding performance expectations — looking for respect more than recognition. Yep, the most successful women leaders don’t seek to become the star of the show — but they enable others to create a great show — influencing positive outcomes with maximum impact! That’s the ticket!

I will tell you this: Women understand survival, renewal, and reinvention. This woman most certainly personifies survival, renewal, and reinvention and I am not afraid to fight for what I believe in or stand for; doing more with less is simply a matter of knowing how to be strategic. Part of my strategy has been compassion. Yes, that’s right, compassion. Compassion as a strategy. Amazing concept, eh?

According to Glen Llopis, leadership expert: “Women often have strong leadership traits that go unnoticed or undervalued in a man’s world. Insecure people fear these traits, some being the following: 1. Opportunity-driven; 2. Strategic; 3. Passionate; 4. Entrepreneurial; 5. Purposeful and Meaningful; and 6. Traditions and Family”

Whether at home or at work, I am often the glue that keeps things together — ask James, ask Mike. I will take charge before circumstances force my hand and whether recognized for it or not, I give a good dose of preventive meds stat! All too often, Mike calls me in after someone else has waited too late to be as effective on an initiative or has gone too fast, too far down the wrong path, or is charged with a task they have no tools to complete, and so on. (sigh). My boys also know, women in general, are usually the ones to protect family — like a mama bear.

To the great women in my personal and professional life from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to Boston to London to Honolulu to the Bay Area, thank you for the opportunity to be inspired and mentored by your leadership (you know who you are). I’ve read many things about women in the workplace and their lack of advancement into senior executive roles and in the boardroom, and all I can say is “Women, next time any man tells you to calm down… DON’T KEEP CALM, GO CHANGE THE WORLD.”

If You Want to Be a Speaker, Hone your Pitch!

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Cindy Ashton writes: If you want to be a speaker, you’ll need to hone your pitch for the various associations hosting. Here are some great guidelines:

1. Who is your market (corporate is too broad for example but business development in legal is more specific)?

2. What is your point of view? What do you have to say that is radically different than other speakers in your topic and market? (And remember, it is NOT your story. It has to be a specific deliverable you can give to the audience that addresses their needs)

3. What are your 3 signature talk titles and description and for WHO (it needs to be specific and most speakers say anyone)

4. Prep your 300 word bio, 100 word bio and 100 word introduction

5. Have at least 2 high resolution pictures (one headshot, one in action)

6. A list of previous clients (choose your top 10 most recognizable ones)

7. A list of your top 5-10 media you have done

8. Your speaker reel

9. A video of you speaking continuously for at least 5-10 minutes. They need to see how you carry yourself in a longer clip

10. Testimonials

Asking Good Questions is Often More Important than Having all the Answers

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"Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity or undue depression in adversity." -- Socrates, 469 - 399 B.C.

While it is important to provide the prospect / client with as much information as you can, it is also important to find out as much as possible about their business. In doing so, we might think about a strategy for the specific kinds of work on which we would like to partner with clients. The best way to do this is by conducting a Client Needs Assessment. The basis for conducting the assessment is simply to identify the client’s needs and objectives. It will also give you and the client the opportunity to brainstorm and create a plan that the client can clearly see will address their needs and objectives. The key is to strategize and present this information in a way that addresses their questions and concerns before you ask for their business.


1. From your perspective, what would be a valuable way for us to spend this time together? 

2. What would be useful for you to know about our firm? 

3. What prompted your interest in our meeting? 

4. In talking to my clients in your industry, I'm struck by a couple of particular issues they are grappling with. These include: [give examples]. How would these resonate with you and your management? 

5. How is your organization reacting to. . .? (a recent, important development in this client's industry or function) 

6. How are you handling. . .? (new competition, low-cost imports, a new regulatory framework, etc.) 

7. Is there is a particular competitor you admire? 

8. Can you tell me what your biggest priorities are for this year? 

9. What are your most significant opportunities for growth over the next several years? 

10. What exactly do you mean when you say. . .? (“risk-averse”, “dysfunctional”, “challenging,” etc.) 

11. Who would you say are your most valuable customers? 

12. What would your best customers say are the main reasons they do business with you? 

13. Why do customers stay with you? 

14. Why do customers leave? 

15. When customers complain, what do they say? 

16. How have your customers’ expectations changed over the past five years? 

17. How would you describe the biggest challenges facing your own customers? 

18. What's the driving force behind this particular initiative? (What is behind the drive to reduce costs, design a new organization, etc.?) 

19. What would “better” (risk management, organizational effectiveness, etc.) look like? 

20. How did you reach the decision to seek outside help? 

21. How much agreement is there, internally, about the problem and the possible solutions? 

22. From your perspective, given everything we've discussed, what would be a helpful follow-up to this meeting?

Top Five Traits Common to Top Relationship Sales People in Any Profession

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1. Optimism - optimistic people are generally more pleasant to be around than their gloomy counterparts, so clients are attracted to upbeat lawyers. Lawyers may be trained to think in terms of worst-case scenarios, but the ones who exude confidence will retain and attract more business. There’s a huge difference between the lawyer who finds a way to win a case and the one trying not to lose. There’s also a great attitude difference between the lawyer finding a way to get a transaction done and the one searching for all of the problems with the deal. 

2. Resilience - it’s the ability to hear no fifteen times before getting a yes. This may conjure up an image of a lawyer badgering a prospective client but I have never given up if an initial approach isn’t successful. In a law practice, winning a client can be a matter of timing. Some relationships take a while to develop, and the clients’ needs change. The business owner who didn’t need your services in January might feel differently in June or October, and you will be remembered favorably if you’ve kept in touch during the intervening months.

3. Self-motivation - some experts say self-motivation is difficult to teach, and this may be true when it comes to reaching external goals like a sales quota or billable hours. But everyone has a desire to meet personally devised goals that really matter to him or her. If you take responsibility for your future and design an action plan with your goals in mind, your internal motivation will propel you to meet those goals. You will also attract the clients whose needs are aligned with yours.

4. Personability - clients gravitate to lawyers they like. A friendly, sociable associate will attract more clients than a surly lawyer who finds meeting people an unpleasant chore. Although some people may be naturally more outgoing than others, anyone can improve his or her social skills through coaching or simply observing how others do it. Research has shown that top sellers come from every personality type, and the best of them work within, not against, their personality type. If you’re not a pit bull, it won’t serve you well to act like one. If you’re a nurturer, learn ways to successfully nurture your clients. Learning to genuinely enjoy your clients, regardless of how naturally outgoing you are, will also help you enjoy your work. And that is contagious.

5. Empathy - this is the underpinning of all Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills. Using emotional radar to discern what makes a person tick is essential. If you’re a good listener, you study body language, and you communicate well, you’re an empathic person. In Myers Briggs tests, the vast majority of lawyers are thinkers rather than feelers. For this group, listening and trying to see the world from the client’s perspective is even more important.