Taking That Leap of Faith

I recently had the amazing opportunity to speak at an LMA event in DC called “Inspire Me! Life Lessons from Your Peers”. I was asked to prepare a 5 minute TEDTalk type presentation about something that I’m passionate about. What fun to dive so deep into that thought and get the chance to chat with a room full of people about it.

Feel free to take a listen or view the transcript below. Hopefully it leaves you feeling inspired to reach for a dream of your own.

My name is Laura Genovese and I’m going to be chatting with you all about a concept that’s slightly terrifying, but also extremely exciting. And that is the concept of “taking a leap of faith”

Before I dive in and start sharing some thoughts to help empower you to take a leap of faith, I want to share a little bit of insight on a very large leap I took in my life.

I have a business called Genovese Consulting & Coaching. I work out of my home office from my little farmhouse on the water in Colonial Beach, VA. I consult on nonprofit and association management, I do coaching (both professional and personal life coaching) and I’m launching a program that’s centered around self-empowerment called The Fullness & Grace Project. If I described what I was doing at the beginning of last year I would have said, I live in Old Town Alexandria and I am a program manager for a trade association.

I don’t know if you could see it in my eyes or hear it in my voice but the amount of passion I have when describing my current work is outrageous compared to the way I described my previous work. And the distance between the two–from my previous life to now–really was just in a leap of faith. I simply quit my job, moved to Colonial Beach and I pursued my dream of starting my own company. Now it’s been a little over a year and I’m living a life that I never imagined I’d get to experience!

For those of you in the room that are standing on the edge of that mountain, looking out at a dream that you’re considering taking that leap for—I have a few thoughts to help you feel more empowered to really do it and dive in.

First—be excited to commit to yourself. This is your dream that you want to take a leap of faith on. Be sure of it, be dedicated to it and be determined. There is no greater way to pursue life than to give yourself the chance to accomplish a dream. Believe in yourself and believe in the leap of faith you’re taking.

Second—give yourself permission to fail. When I first decided to go for it and try to start a business—I chose to believe that whether I succeed or if I don’t—either one would be fine with me. If my business did not end up working out and I’d have to go to my Plan B, I was not going to let it mean that I was a failure. By removing that concept of failure from my mind, I was able to relieve myself from so much pressure and stress and I was able to just enjoy every step of the process. I was able to view it as a huge accomplishment that I was going after this dream in the first place and I was going to be happy with the experience.

And lastly, always keep a mindset of appreciation and abundance. Usually when you’re taking a leap of faith, you’re doing something that you’ve never done before! So of course, there will be moments that you make mistakes. Instead of viewing it as a failure or a negative—view it as a growing opportunity. Take a look at what you did and what you can do better next time to feel stronger. Sometimes you’ll be hoping for things to come together one specific way and sometimes it just doesn’t workout the way you envisioned. Instead of feeling like everything’s going wrong or nothing’s going right—view it with abundance knowing that if it didn’t work out this way, it’s just opening you up for it to work out another way! The right time and the right opportunity will come to you.

So if you’re on the edge of that mountain, looking over, considering taking that leap of faith, I’ll leave you with these three things: be excited to commit to yourself. There is nothing more fun than working hard for yourself and watching yourself succeed! Give yourself permission to fail. The fact that you’re taking the leap of faith in the first place is amazing, and anything and everything that comes from it is something to be incredibly proud of. And finally, always have a mindset of appreciation and abundance. Every experience is an opportunity to grow and learn. So just keep an open mind and believe that what is meant for you will find its way.

Good luck everyone!

Inspiration. That is a wonderful feeling.

I’m up in Fairfax tonight for a client event and I had some time to kill before it started, so I found myself at Panera drinking iced coffee and searching for inspiration. I started on Instagram, made my way to Pod Save America, checked in on American Aquarium, then found myself on an old favorite of mine 7 Ways, 212 Days.

7 Ways, 212 Days is a blog I wrote back in 2014 that documented a 7 month project I attempted that involved removing excess from your life by spending 1 month increments removing prominent things from your days (each month removing something like television, social media, drinking, and so on). Mostly each post was reporting out on the project–but there were a few random posts that were more free-writes that put my thoughts onto paper. Things like My Exact Location in Life and Daily Haiku. But something that still felt so familiar was the one and only “monthly muse” I wrote (which was intended to be written monthly, but failed miserably).

Thursday, December 25, 2014 – Monthly Muse

One of the greatest feelings in this world is the feeling of being inspired. Whether it’s by a person, a song, a personal experience..anything. To get that true feeling of inspiration, making you so excited to put your hands and thoughts together to create something, having your eyes see a little brighter than normal, feeling only certainty and no doubt that you are meant for something. That is a wonderful feeling.

There are so many different people that bring inspiration into this world. Some are athletes who show such dedication to hard work, some are song writers whose music touches you so deeply, some are public figures who so gracefully live a life of success and sometimes, when you’re very lucky, some are personal friends of yours that are just truly remarkable examples of greatness for you.

I find it to actually be really good self reflection to take a moment to acknowledge the people and things that inspire you. Not only to send them a thought of respect and appreciation, but also to identify what it is about them that you respect or admire and determine if you’re doing the best you can to embody those same traits within yourself.

How-To: Develop a Strong Volunteer Committee

I absolutely love working with volunteers. Their passion, their creative nature, their dedication. I’ve had the great opportunity to support a number of different board of directors, planning committees and task forces during my day job. And I’ve also had the pleasure of developing the District Current committee (the committee assigned to create badass things for the young professional’s community of the American Marketing Association of DC) and the AMADC Educational Programming committee (the committee responsible for designing all educational events for the same organization).

Below are the 4 main steps I personally take when building a volunteer committee (with some helpful recommendations/thoughts to go along with each). Whether you’re on a board of directors and want to develop a new committee; you work for a non-profit that is supported by volunteers and would like some tips on how to work with them; or are starting a new business and are looking for some helping hands (think: interns) – this will show you how to develop a committee and then (most importantly) how to set them up for success.

Step One: Define Your Needs

  • Take a second to determine exactly what it is you need help on. Identify where your pain points are.
  • What tasks could volunteer(s) be responsible for? Define the different roles that could exist and what they’d do.
  • Think holistically—look at the project from a bird’s eye view. List out all the important tasks and determine how many volunteers you’d need to support those pieces.

Step Two: Write Position Descriptions

  • Once you’ve determined the roles, put together clear, concise position description(s) of exactly what that volunteer would be responsible for. This helps in so many ways:
    • It helps you think through the committee structure and ensure your plan makes sense and is attainable
    • It sometimes makes you realize that you forgot a task/role that wasn’t included in your initial planning (which is great—just go back to step one and add it to your list!)
    • It allows you to set clear expectations for the volunteer and it ensures they understand what they’ll be working on
  • In addition to the position description, be sure to include “qualifications” if there’s someone specific you’re looking for.

Step Three: Determine Benefits You Can Provide them

  • Yes, you are bringing volunteers on to help you—but it’s just as important to acknowledge that you should be bringing value to them as well.
  • It creates a much stronger relationship and team atmosphere when you put in the effort to support your volunteers and take an interest in their professional development. Most likely they are volunteering to get experience for a professional goal of theirs—so put in the effort to understand what their goals are and do what you can to support them.
  • Ask them about their professional goals during the interview/recruiting conversation to gain an understanding of that before you begin.
  • Identify benefits you can provide them as a volunteer.
  • Have no idea? Reach out to colleagues or friends and ask for recommendations. Think of what you would want as a benefit if you were in their position.

Step Four: Prepare an Organized Onboarding Process

  • It’s important to have an organized, professional plan when you bring new volunteer(s) onto a project. It can feel discouraging to a volunteer if things start off slow and unorganized. Show them that you’re ready for them to get started!
  • Start with a Kick-Off Meeting to launch the project/relationship (if it’s for a committee, try to bring all volunteers together in person to give everyone a chance to meet).
  • Be sure to provide a general overview of all necessary information they’ll need to have a solid foundation of knowledge for the project.
  • Review their responsibilities with them to ensure they’re aware of the expectations you have for them. This is also great as it gives them ownership over their tasks. They know what they’re meant to do and can go after it!
  • Once your volunteer(s) are selected and onboarded, have a meeting with them to discuss their professional goals and understand what they hope to get out of the volunteer opportunity. You can then tailor their experience accordingly to ensure it’s a positive and beneficial experience for both of you!


If you’re interested in diving deeper and/or are interested in receiving planning templates for each of these four steps, please contact me and we can schedule a meeting to chat!


UnBranding. UnMarketing. UnWhatTheHeckAreYouTalkingAbout.

Scott Stratten, the creator of UnMarketing, was one of the main stage speakers at NACS’ big annual conference this year in Vegas and they invited him to have a live chat (via podcast) after his presentation. He was relatively tame during this podcast episode. Usually he is sassy AF and I love it. I had the pleasure of seeing him speak back in April and there were tears streaming down my face he had me laughing so hard. I do want to add, though—he is brilliant as well. Incredibly hilarious, and incredibly intelligent.

Here’s a little snap shot of some of my favorite points from the podcast. Take a listen here if you’re interested in hearing the full conversation!

UnBranding. UnMarketing. What does that even mean?

Scott has the word “unlearn” tattooed on his arm. He explains the reason behind it being the need to un-learn things sometimes if it doesn’t benefit you (or the whole). For example, we are not born with the ability to hate. That is something we learn. There are so many things people learn in the world today, and Scott acknowledges the need to unlearn things sometimes.

The concept of un-branding and un-marketing is similar, in a way. He makes the excellent point that no matter how beautiful a brand/logo/campaign is—if a person has a negative experience with your brand (or hears their friend had a bad experience with it), that bad experience is what they’ll think of when they see your logo. UnMarketing focuses on letting go of the marketing campaign and investing in the experience you provide to make an impact on your customer. Build a reliable relationship and positive experience with your client/partner/customer and you’re guaranteed to create lasting business.

How did I apply this to my business?
This reminded me that when building a brand, it’s important to remember that it’s more than just the visual of my website, my business cards, the material items I create. It’s about the interaction I have with my clients/partners. By showing up, being a good team player, always delivering, providing a reliable experience – that is what will strengthen my brand most.

When someone has a negative experience, it’s an opportunity for you

Scott talks about how people having negative experiences with your brand/business doesn’t need to be the end of the world. It’s an opportunity to step up, show them that they’re valued and repair the mishap. Overwhelm them with your thoughtfulness. Make them a bigger fan than they were before the problem happened by SOLVING the problem.

How did I apply this to my business?
This reminded me that if I make a mistake, it can’t be the end of the world. Just turn your focus to the solution and work hard to come up with something new that repairs the problem. And this is more than just fixing the immediate mistake that was made—it means revisiting the situation, reviewing what happened, understanding how the mistake happened, and then actively creating a new process that will guarantee that that mistake will not happen again. By showing a client/partner that you understand the benefit of reevaluating a process, and that you can view mistakes as opportunities to create an even smarter processes – that is how you repair a break of trust after a mistake (as mistakes are bound to happen, no matter how hard you try).

Scott Stratten is number two in Canada on social media (to Justin Bieber)

They were just “hangin’ out” Scott says, in his Canadian accent.

Scott mentions that he always responds to social media mentions that people make to him. He acknowledges that yes, engagement isn’t always scalable (Pepsi will get 100 thousand mentions in a day), but when you can, it really means a lot to people when you respond to their outreach. “Return the high-five! Don’t leave somebody hangin’.” That simple engagement builds connection.

How did I apply this to my business?
I love how Scott acknowledges how much he truly appreciates any and all support he receives from his peers/colleagues/fans. This reminded me how important and valuable it is to acknowledge any and all support I receive. Whether it’s someone commenting kind words on an Instagram post, or a mentor offering to meet up for lunch sometime to talk business—I should always acknowledge them and take them up on the offer! That simple engagement builds lasting connections.

PS, I posted a shout out to Scott on Instagram when I was working on this blog post and (living up to his word) he was one of the first people to like it. #youreagoodmanscott


“If you have the best product and the best service—good luck to your competition.”
– Scott Stratten of Unmarketing, Convenience Matters LIVE Podcast

I highly recommend Scott’s Unpodcast, the business show for the fed-up.

You can also watch one of his full keynotes to get a good laugh and a good idea.

Advice From a Pro: Theresa Moore, Leadership Consultant

One of my very closest friends and mentors is a wonderful woman named Theresa Moore. She is the founder of Theresa Moore Consulting and spends her days working hard as a Leadership Consultant, Coach, and Speaker (that is, when she’s not volunteering as a mentor or teaching yoga!)

I had the pleasure of working for Theresa in 2017 and I have looked up to her since the moment I met her. Not only for her strong leadership and wealth of knowledge – but even more so for her authenticity, her desire to help others grow in their careers and her clear focus and dedication to teamwork and collaboration. She is truly an inspiration!

I turn to Theresa anytime I need advice/guidance/encouragement – so I thought she’d be the perfect first “badass” professional I feature on here. Below is the text from a blog post she wrote that provides AMAZING advice for consultants and solopreneurs (whether you’re brand new to it, or are thinking about diving into it – this will be so valuable for you!) Theresa dives into 7 key aspects of consulting and provides helpful advice on how to maintain success through it all. #puregold


So you want to be a consultant? 7 Lessons Learned
Written by: Theresa Moore, PCC, MSOD

I’ve been at this gig for five years now. And loving (almost all of) it. I can’t tell you how many invitations for coffee, lunch, and wine (mostly wine) I receive from people wanting to discuss what it’s like to leave the corporate world for consulting. (Just to be clear: I’m not talking about building an empire, but beginning a new career as a “solopreneur.”)

Here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way, working as a consultant and with other consultant collaborators. I hope they’re helpful to you.

1. Bunny slippers, fuzzy robe, and flexible schedule: Heck yes. Working for yourself gives you all the flexibility you want. You choose your clients, your schedule, the projects you want to work on, and most importantly, with whom you work.

But be careful: know your business model, your core competencies, and what you want to be known for. Once you take on a project outside of that, you risk becoming known for that and more of it comes your way.

I got really clear that I wanted to do consulting, coaching, and some speaking/team facilitation. While I am an expert trainer, I’ve been there and done that; I didn’t want to develop and deliver training week in and week out. I also know myself well enough to know that I enjoy working with corporate-like organizations that have the resources and infrastructure to support transformational change.

2. Taxes (and other trifling stuff): Be aware. Get yourself a trustworthy accountant who can help you navigate the wonderful world of working for yourself. Know that you have to pay quarterly taxes as a small business owner.

Also of importance: you are the IT department, the marketing department, the legal department, and the facilities manager.

Here’s what I’ve come to learn about all of this. Sure, it has the potential to become overwhelming (websites, blogs, Google analytics, city licenses, and on and on) but there are people who can help you (some for free, others for barter, some for cash, and many for wine and a home-cooked meal). Know that you can outsource this stuff. But you can’t ignore it.

3. Doing the work, getting the work, and balancing it all: That’s the million-dollar question. There’s a big difference between working in your business and working on your business.

It may seem like a chicken-egg dilemma in that you have to actually do work to get paid and to build your portfolio of client engagements, while keeping the pipeline full of prospective clients and future projects. I don’t have all the answers or a silver bullet here, but here’s my experience.

Networking is key. And when I say networking, I don’t mean reaching out when you need something. That’s not networking (that’s just selfish).

Check out Keith Ferrazzi’s book Never Eat Alone about networking as building (and sustaining) mutually beneficial relationships.

Let people know what you’re up to; ask them what they’re working on. Share something useful. Post interesting, thoughtful material- always being cognizant of your brand.

Some consultants and solopreneurs are more comfortable with the investment in social media than others. That’s not the point. The point is: if you are a well-kept secret, potential clients (and even friends and former colleagues) may not know that you’re available or have expertise in a certain field.

One final punctuation to “doing the work and getting the work”: one guaranteed way to ensure prospective clients come your way is to deliver excellence to existing clients. People are more willing to advocate for you and send work your way if you deliver outstanding results.

4. Clarity, sanity, and your reputation: Contracting is key. As a consultant you are hired to do a job. That’s what the client engaged you for. It will serve you (and your sanity and reputation) well to invest time and energy on the contract.

Generally speaking, consultants can serve as a “pair of hands” (doing a body of work that the client does not have the bandwidth to execute); sometimes you’re hired as the “expert” (giving advice and setting up structures to help the organization realize its goals); and third, the ‘business partner’ (working collaboratively with the client to create strategy and design execution plans).

It’s my experience that these three roles can exist simultaneously in a consulting engagement, and it’s important to contract clearly on the specific aspects and deliverables of the contract.

I like to draft contracts in phases and suggest that the client and I will revisit the contract after each phase. This provides flexibility to incorporate feedback and to make adjustments, as conditions often shift during organizational change.

Phase I, in almost all of my contracts, includes an analysis of the “opportunity”: current/ future state, success measures, desired behavioral changes, etc. More often than not, this assessment helps the client and key stakeholders gain clarity on the various dimensions of the issue.

5. Delivering excellence and exceeding expectations: Do your job. This follows from the previous lesson, in that you drafted, negotiated, and signed a contract. Now be sure to deliver on it! This is where you shine, add value, and make a difference… essentially living out the reason you went into consulting.

If you’re not living out your values or enjoying the work, whatever you do, don’t just not do your job. Suck it up and complete the contract. Or renegotiate it, or amend it. But don’t just “not do it”.

By delivering excellence, you earn the right to do the work you love.

6. Being a change agent is hard: Not everybody likes you. Get used to it. When you come into an organization, it’s typically because something is going on. Even when it’s good, there’s somebody who is not going to be good with you being there.

Any outside or foreign agent that gets introduced to the organization’s system disrupts the stasis. Humans are hard wired for stasis, and your presence can challenge that. Make sure you have a solid change plan, effective leader, and work with and through the team. Do it with the team vs. to them.

And sometimes when you work for yourself, it gets lonely and you can feel like an ‘outsider.’ Make sure you have a tribe to connect, learn, and grow with.

Which leads me to the final lesson learned about consulting.

7. Abundance vs scarcity: Working with other consultants can be rewarding.

When you’re an office of one, it can be energizing and stimulating to partner with other consultants. Like Brené Brown says, we are hard wired for connection. And there is enough work to go around. When you approach consulting and collaborating as a win-win-win vs. “this is my sandbox” you open yourself and your business up to even greater possibilities.

But be careful—collaborate with trusted partners who will help you protect your brand. Contract clearly, maintain clean conversations, and take good care of each other.

Together we’re better, so please use the link below to share this post and add your comments, experiences, and lessons learned. Ancora imparo!

View this blog on the Theresa Moore Consulting website to leave your comments, experiences and lessons learned!

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