Friday, February 8, 2013

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it

As a girl growing up in the fashion capital, I am obviously watching every head-turning outfit on the runway at NY Fashion Week #nyfw. You might have heard that the east coast is being pounded by blizzard Nemo, but let me tell you fashion and New York City never sleep.

via Daily News
Ergo, the show went on today at Lincoln Center where Project Runway shot the finale of its 11th season, this time featuring teams of designers and new judge Zac Posen. On each episode of Project Runway, designers transform yards of fabric into unique fashion-forward looks that answer the challenge set by host Heidi Klum. The show provides talented fashion designers with exposure and a substantial prize for the winner including $100,000 to start his or her own line.

When Project Runway gives you lemons, be sure to put blood, sweat, and tears into making some delicious lemonade. Though the designers battle the clock and put up with diva behavior, the light is at the end of the tunnel for those who prove they are 'in.' Glamorous American designer Zac Posen reflects Charles Swindoll's view that "life is 10% what happens to [you] and 90% how [you] react to it," and reminds us, "Think of the opportunity they're all being given. They can take it from here. They are in the big tent, and they have that for the rest of their lives."


1. Althea Harper:
- Knitwear designer for Tory Burch
- Dressed the Kardashians
- Items pulled for Rent the Runway

2. Austin Scarlett and Santino Rice
- Lifetime show: "On the Road with Austin & Santino"

3. Chloe Dao
- Owns boutique in TX
- Sold out on QVC
- Line of laptop cases for Staples

4. Chris March
- Dressed Meryl Streep, Lady Gaga, Madonna

5. And most notably, fierce all-star Christian Siriano:
- Payless shoe collection
- Cosmetics line for Victoria's Secret Beauty
- Dressed Christina Ricci, Nicki Minaj, Heidi Klum for events

All these designers took steps to leverage their experience on Project Runway to promote their brand -- a zealous attitude we should all learn to embody in our passions-- and manage to stay relevant -- a difficult task to accomplish in an industry defined by the lastest trend.

With that, I wish you all good luck in your endeavors!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Success is an attitude, work ethic, way of thinking...

The media often reports extremes. Stories of people who suffer from eating disorders or chronic obesity, pictures of mansions or slums, and examples of good or bad cover letters, for instance. In the wake of some unfortunate news, we remember Aleksey Vayner with some uplifting quotes.

Aleksey Vayner was a senior at Yale who submitted his boastful application to Swiss bank UBS. Within hours, his application circulated to other financial powerhouses from Bank of America to Barclay's Capital, and went viral on Youtube.  He was bombarded with mocking e-mails and negative feedback for his video titled "Impossible is Nothing," an 11 page resume, and glamour shot. In the video, he lifts a 495-pound weight, ballroom dances, serves a tennis ball at 140 miles/hour, and karate chops seven bricks, which he explained shows "that he had achieved success in physical endeavors that could carry over to the financial world."

Vayner's application was indeed very creative, but not Wall Street's cup of tea. (Quite surprising, since Wall Street is known to house tough alpha males, but that is a discussion for another day). Underlying the pretentious exterior, however, are some very true and inspiring lessons:

"Success is not one event that happens to you. Rather, it's an attitude, work ethic, or way of thinking that continuously gets results, even through obstacles. You know those people that win the lottery or write a hit single and then go on to live miserable, poverty-stricken, friendless lives? The external event was there, but not the mental transformation." (Interpreted by Vault.)

"Successful people think in very specific patterns which then create opportunities for them that they can see; an average obserrver thinks that's luck."

"Live your life openly; if you're going to work, work; if yo're going to train, train; if you're going to dance, dance, and do it passionately."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Marissa Mayer is Turning the Tide at Yahoo!

Source: The Daily Beast
In just a few short months, Marissa Mayer has shown the world that she can play with the big dogs of the tech world. She is responsible for reinvigorating Yahoo! - a company that suffered a downward spiral caused mostly by strategic mistakes. Difficulty recruiting and retaining the right leadership prompted investors to deem Yahoo! a bearish stock, allowing Google and Facebook to eat up its market share.

Since Mayer took the seat as Yahoo!'s CEO in mid-July of 2012, however, the former Google executive has helped the company reach positive revenue growth for the first time in four years. She owes some of her success to her repertoire, but hopes to keep consumers on their feet with new initiatives every week. Her strategy moving forward includes returning $3 billion in cash to shareholders, assembling a capable executive team, and customizing content as well as taking advantage of mobile offerings.

Mayer graduated with honors from Stanford University with a B.S. in symbolic systems and a M.S. in computer science while specializing in artificial intelligence for both degrees. Marissa joined Google in 1999 and became the company's 20th hire and first female engineer. She held key roles as an engineer, designer, product manager, and executive, and had a hand in Google Images, Google News, Google Maps, Gmail, and Google Books.

Marissa is opening doors for girls who are apprehensive in pursuing math or science related careers and aims to remove the stigma that these fields are a mens' club. The Oscar de le Renta and Armani wearing trailblazer dispels the myth that tech is only for coders with wide glasses and pocket protectors, proving geek can be chic also. The percentage of women engineers in Silicon Valley currently hovers around 16%, yet Marissa says in her experience, organizations value gender balance. Her impetus to enter tech were words of encouragement from her computer science professor and mentor Eric Roberts. He said, "You know what? You're really good at this. You could go far in this."

There is no doubt in my mind that Mayer will revolutionize Yahoo! into a company that rivals Google's if she can revamp Yahoo!'s image and differentiate the two. Providing consumers with services that Google lacks or in which it fails to provide a good user experience should be the point of attack. I will surely keep an eye on Mayer for her next move.