Posts Tagged ‘President’

President’s Message, October 2015

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Vanessa Seifert, President

Vanessa Seifert, President

I was looking for ideas and doing research for this blog so I did what everyone does…I Googled “blog for organizers”! It has been awhile since I did this and the sheer volume of information was overwhelming. English (American, Australian and British), Spanish, German, French articles flooded my computer screen. This started me thinking, if I was having issues finding something specific with organizing how complex must this be for people who are looking for advice for their homes and business? So, I Googled some more – organizing tips, organizing marketing, organizing for dummies – YIKES!

Now add to that extensive list the multitude of electronic options for marketing: mobile, Evernote, Constant Contact, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and so on. Where do we begin? How do we possibly manage it all? To that end, NAPO WDC has been making an effort to enlighten and educate its members on some of the vast options available to us. Last year we had presentations from Google and Virtuallinda. This year we will continue our education with Constant Contacts, Home Zada and virtual organizing.

We will host our first live webinar meeting October 5th with Elizabeth Dodson of Home Zada. She will be discussing how to go digital in our clients homes and help them organize & manage their documents & possession. This is a closed webinar and you can only view it at the meeting so please join us.

Change of Leadership

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

On May 15, the new Board of Directors takes office, and my role as NAPO-WDC President will come to an end. It’s been a terrific two years in many ways and I’d like to share a few thoughts with all of you.

We have a very strong chapter. There are members who come to every meeting to soak up the knowledge that is presented. Some members get what they need at neighborhood meetings and book clubs. Our chapter is full of enterprising and diverse organizers who have different ideas, challenges and expectations. And that’s a very good thing.

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have served as president. I learned so much! I’m a better listener and a better communicator. I don’t dread getting up in front of an audience anymore! I’m tougher. All because I took a chance and stepped up to a new challenge.

Thank you to my fellow board members who have served over the last two years. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside a group of dedicated, smart, funny people who made my job easy. You’re all spectacular, and I’m looking forward to being on the board next year with some of you.

Let’s all pitch in and make the next year of NAPO-WDC the best ever. I’m looking forward to it!

Four Organizers Dish on Professional Boundaries

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

This blog was first published last year, but it has relevance today. Enjoy!

As Professional Organizers, we each have to define the amount of personal information we share with our clients.

Each situation is different. Some of us are extroverts and some are introverts, and the same goes for the people we work with. While there are no hard and fast rules, most of us agree we each need to create personal boundaries – boundaries that keep us within the NAPO Code of Ethics as well as within our comfort zones. But how? 

I recently asked four organizers for their insights on sharing personal information. While some of their viewpoints differed in small ways, I’d like to share the main points we agreed on. Thank you Tiffany Mensing, Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton, Janet Schiesl and Susan Unger for your input!

First, we all agreed that many new clients want to know how we got started in the professional organizing business. It’s a logical question we’re all willing to answer. Often clients ask about our families, and we’re all willing to share basic information such as the city we live in, number of children, marital status and our age.

We view our answers as information that helps establish a personal connection. After all, we’re in the client’s personal space – going through financial information and/or personal belongings. They’re in a vulnerable position, and part of our job is to help them feel comfortable with us and the services we offer.

When working with long-term clients, we all tend to share more information about our lives – but we keep the conversation client-focused. For instance, we’ll share a personal story that relates to a specific task we’re working on together. Our clients like to know that our homes aren’t always perfect, and that we have organizing struggles too. That said, we all agreed the focus needs to remain on ways the client can use our information to make progress on his or her project.

Like you, we’ve all been asked inappropriate questions. One client asked how much money an organizer had in the bank! Another asked how much an organizer paid her employees. I have a client who consistently asks me for advice on the stock market. We all agreed these questions need to be redirected in a friendly, professional manner.

Finally, I asked each organizer if she spends social time with her clients. The unanimous answer? No. In a few instances, organizers took a client out to dinner or coffee after the completion of a difficult job, but kept those meetings on a professional level. Each organizer felt it important to keep the boundaries of client relationships business-centric to protect both the client and the organizer.

How do these viewpoints compare with yours? Are you more relaxed about sharing personal information? Less relaxed? No matter what our individual style, it’s important to identify our boundaries and respect them. This frees us up to focus on our clients’ needs while building a comfortable, professional relationship.

Who’s In Your Network?

Monday, February 23rd, 2015
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Networking. For some of us, the word conjures images of slick haired sales people pressing business cards into our sweaty palm. It’s about going to Events. Listening to elevator speeches. Making yourself stand out. Stale cheese plates. Ugh.

The truth is that networking is something that happens every day if we choose to take advantage of a more natural, relationship based point of view. Think about these four categories of people with whom you can establish relationships. 

Clients are a natural part of our network. They have paid us well for performing a service, and it’s smart to keep in touch. They may need services down the road, or be able to refer to you people they know. We’ve heard it a thousand times – it’s easier to provide services to existing clients than it is to find a new ones.

Peers and colleagues are another good source of networking partners. Attending NAPO-WDC chapter meetings and neighborhood groups allow us to develop deep professional relationships that grow over time. Colleagues are also good referral sources – many of us consistently use each other for overflow projects or subcontracting.

Mentors and more experienced organizers are a valuable resource for all of us. Whether you’re a newbie or have been in business for years, we all learn from one another. Let’s use our collective experience to help each other be more successful.

Traditional networking groups are also valuable places to gain trusted, like-minded business referrals. Find a group that is a good fit for you, and work at establishing relationships that grow both your business and the businesses of others. People generally love to help someone who is willing to extend themselves for the benefit of another.

Real networking is about cultivating relationships that have mutual value. Find the people in your life who make that happen, and focus on helping each other.

What To Do When Business is Slow

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

The dreaded lull in business. Depending on our client base and business specialties, some of us can predict slow times of the year. For others, it seems like there’s no telling why some weeks and months are busier than others. The important thing to remember is that it happens to all of us, and we can choose to use the down time to our advantage. Here are some tips:

Touch base with past clients by sending a card or email. You may trigger their desire to start a new organizing project. Even if they don’t have work now, staying in touch will keep you in mind for the future.

Renew connections. When business is slow, it’s easy to panic and go on a networking whirlwind. Cultivating relationships is important, but make sure it’s focused. Set up meetings with your best referral partners. See if there’s anything you can do for them, and ask for help in return.

Reach out to your trusted colleagues. There is no shame in going through a slow period, and yet we have a hard time admitting it to others. Develop a small group of organizer “buddies” with whom you can share your business ups and downs. One of them may be able to use you for subcontracting work, or refer you to a client with whom they would rather not work.

Work on your marketing materials. Make sure your website and Facebook pages are up to date and speak to your target market. There may be other marketing avenues you’ve been exploring, but haven’t gotten to. Now’s the time to take action.

Do some pro-bono work. There are always people in our lives who could use some extra organizing help. Use the lull in your business to help someone out. It’s good karma.

Expand your knowledge base. Take a class, attend a conference, read a book. There is always something new to learn. You never know where your next big idea will come from!

Stay positive. When we learn to expect lulls in business, they don’t seem so disastrous. Use the down time to focus on filling your client pipeline, keep in touch with your clients, and do the all-important business planning that can get overlooked when you’re busy.

Time to Join NAPO-WDC Leadership Team?

Monday, December 29th, 2014
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Every January NAPO-WDC begins the New Year with its board election process.

Just as many of us make yearly goals for our businesses, it’s time to consider how we can each contribute to our local chapter. There are many ways to volunteer throughout the year, but being part of the leadership team helps us maintain our excellence and grow our chapter.

There are many reasons members decide to take on leadership roles. We want to provide direction for the group. We want to be part of a team that respects each other and takes pride in the work we do. We realize that our chapter needs to change and adapt as our industry does, and we want to be part of it.

While volunteering can be demanding at times, the benefits far outweigh the effort. Leadership team members learn new skills in a trusting environment. We learn to communicate better and become more tech savvy. We use our talents to improve our professional association. We make new friends and expand our network.

Last but not least, we have fun!

Is this the year you’d like to run for a position on the leadership team? If so, applications are available on the Members-only section of the NAPO-WDC website now to February 21. 2015. You can also request an application from Janet Schiesl

Happy New Year!


What Should I Do Next?

Monday, October 27th, 2014
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

This month I’m sharing a blog post written Janet Schiesl, our Immediate Past President. It seems particularly relevant in light of everything we learned at our excellent MARCPO conference. Enjoy!

What should I do next? This question was asked recently in a blog post by Seth Godin, “America’s Greatest Marketer”. I often ask myself this same question. Since I have become an entrepreneur, I have found myself always looking for ways to improve and evolve my business. I look into the future and ask myself how will I get there? Do you do this too, or am I the only one?

It is important to ask yourself what you will do next. What is next for your business, your day or your life? Maybe, this question used to be answered for you by a boss. Then you decided to make the move to become a business owner. Now, you have to answer that question for yourself. It’s a little scary at first – but also empowering! You have total control over your future and you can make a difference! Even though you may not look at it in the same way, this question is asked of you by your clients every day. You need to be confident that your answer is something they and you can achieve.

With so many business opportunities and directions you can take, picking what to do next deserves a great deal of attention. As Seth said, “dance with the opportunity”. Do a little daydreaming. What will your business look like in one year from now? How about five years? What you will do next deserves some consideration. Think about it!

How to Avoid Burnout

Monday, September 29th, 2014
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Being an entrepreneur is an exciting and exhilarating life choice. We are creating a business where one did not exist, and we’re motivated by the limitless potential we see each day. We set our own schedules, create our own opportunities and choose the work we love to do. But, running your own business takes tremendous time and energy. We can easily become susceptible to burnout unless we establish safeguards to protect ourselves

We usually think of burnout when we have more work than we can handle and are working extra hours. However, it can also happen when business is slow and we’re stressed out about finding new clients. Burnout is defined as fatigue and apathy resulting from prolonged stress or overwork. It can totally change our outlook on ourselves, our work and our health. Here are some preventive measures you can take to avoid burnout.

  • Weigh the payoff of every task. Make sure you’re working on things that align with your business goals. Finishing a customer proposal is more important than cleaning out your inbox.
  • Make progress with small steps. We all have visions of what our businesses can attain, and that’s a good thing. It can also be overwhelming. Keep in mind that the way to reach your goals is by taking small, persistent steps. Remember Nemo’s mantra, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”You will get where you want to go.
  • Use your support team. Never underestimate the power of the people in your network. There is a tremendous amount of experience, support and knowledge within our local NAPO chapter as well as from other sources. Take advantage of it.
  • Set strong boundaries. It’s hard to turn work “off”, but it’s essential for long term growth and health. Establish your working hours and stick to them. Don’t return phone calls and emails after hours. Set a consistent day off where you are completely engaged in something besides work.
  • Do something different. Life is more than our work. Being involved in other activities enriches our lives and makes us more productive. Read a book that isn’t about business. Take a ride somewhere you’ve never been. Even traveling to a client by a different route is good for your brain. Think of ways to shake up your routine.

Ready For Another Great Year?

Monday, September 1st, 2014
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

 Welcome back to NAPO-WDC! September is here – again!! Did the summer fly by at unusual speed or was it just me?! Hopefully you had your share of sun, fun and relaxation and are ready to tackle a new year.

 At NAPO-WDC, we have been busy! The board of directors met for two days over the summer to plan our strategy for a great year. A group of volunteers is working on revising our Bylaws and Operations manual. MARCPO registration is in full swing and volunteers have been working hard to ensure a successful conference. And we have a new community partner and GO month project for next January, with details coming soon.

 I encourage all of you to participate in our upcoming and ongoing activities. The benefits of being an involved member are many – you’ll meet new people (enriching not only your personal life but your business life too), generate more ideas to grow your business, learn new skills, help the chapter stay healthy – and have fun! What’s not to love about that?!

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at our next chapter meeting on September 8th in Bethesda. Remember my email ( is always open for suggestions and constructive opinions.

Change in Leadership

Monday, April 28th, 2014
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

The NAPO-WDC Board of Director terms end on May 15, and I would like to offer the current board my thanks for a job well done. It has been my complete pleasure to serve as chapter president this year, and to work with such professional and encouraging colleagues. I have learned so much from this experience, and am looking forward to putting my gained knowledge into practice in the coming year.

To our outgoing board members: Tiffany Mensing, Kimberly Gleason and Mary Malmberg – thank you for giving your time, effort and expertise to the chapter. We have all benefitted from your unique talents (and general awesomeness!).

To our incoming board members: Vanessa Seifert, Linda Pray and Lori Krause – welcome!! I’m sure I speak for the entire chapter in thanking you for stepping up to serve. We look forward to the new ideas and enthusiasm you will bring to the table.

Finally, to the board members who will continue to serve for the coming year: Janet Schiesl, Cara Bretl, Janice Rasmussen, Keri Myers, Penny Catterall and Stephen Bok – thank you for your continued support and commitment to maintain a thriving chapter. I am looking forward to another year of working with all of you!