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“If you can’t both be liked and respected, then I think you should be sure that you are respected.”

Interview by Mike Sullivan


Dr. Madeline Anne Lewis is passionate about helping you.  She runs the Deline Institute for Personal Development whose mission is to provide career coaching, personal and professional development training to individuals, human resource services agencies, Federal, state, local government and educational institutions in the areas of leadership, diversity, women’s issues, professional image, life skills and self-esteem.  Dr. Lewis also provide personal one-on-one and group career coaching and consulting services.

Dr. Lewis has personally partnered with the Practical Management Institute and will be doing regional training with them in the DC area.  Dr. Madeline Anne Lewis is also hosting a 5 week teleseminar on the “5 Simple Steps to Finding Your Best Inside”

Tell us a little about your background and how it has led you to helping others with personal and professional development.

Dr. Lewis:
I am former military (retired w/ 22 years service) where I achieved the rank of Sergeant Major; I also have civilian government experience working in several different arena.  And I have been in business as a Career Coach and Consultant for about 7 years.  What led to my helping other in this arena….I noticed that most women do not know what their potential may be or what their strengths are. They either do not put themselves in a position to move up the career ladder or they make mistakes that could have been avoided if they only understood what was expected of them once they start climbing the ladder.

For me the defining moment or inspiration behind my business was seeing how hard it was for women to advance in their careers.  I always had a passion for helping others in any way I could.  Having been in the military for several years and in civilian federal government, I realized women were coming to me for advice on a lot of things such as going over their resume’, for advice on what they should do next to move their careers along, and to be a mentor.  I also noticed that there were not a lot of women in the federal government helping each other to move up the ladder.  There were not a lot of women who took the time to mentor or share their knowledge with others.  Seeing these things inspired me to want to start my own business and provide guidance, personal and professional development to those who needed and wanted to advance in their careers, especially in the federal government.  It also inspired my book “Playing from the Blue Tee: Women in the Federal Government” and then my new release “Finding Your Best Inside.”

Congratulations on being a nominee for Office Depot 2007 Business Woman of the Year Award!  How do you cater some of your services specifically to women, and what differences do you see when coaching men and women?

Dr. Lewis:
Most of my clients and training is geared for women. Why? because I feel men do the networking needed to get from point A to point B. However, women tend to be a bit lacking in networking and moving up the career latter as fast as men do. I see women all the time who feel their careers are stagnant. They want to advance, they want to  polish their image, and they want to understand the company culture; however, they do not know what steps they need to take to make these things happen. My goal is take them to the next step by providing the tools, training, guidance and confidence for them to think outside the box and further their progression in the workplace or in business if they so chose.

I am excited to hear that you are hosting a Women’s Conference for 2012 that will focus on professional development and business entrepreneurship.  What can we expect out of this workshop?

Dr. Lewis:
This conference is still in the planning stages, but my plan is to bring in a few dynamic speakers, that have been successful in their careers and in business that will provide valuable educational information and help the attendees realize and maybe even overcome the roadblocks and challenges that may be keeping them from moving forward. I believe if the attendees are able to see and hear the stories of others who started out in the same situation they now find themselves in, it will give them the inspiration to say, “If they can, I can” and take action to make the necessary changes needed to reach their full potential.

You have a 5 week teleseminar coming up in October on the “5 Simple Steps to Finding Your Best Inside.” Can you give us a sneak preview of one of the steps, or why you chose this specific topic for the teleseminar?

Dr. Lewis:
The 5 week teleseminar will be based on my new book “Finding Your Best Inside.”  It will be called “5 Simple Steps to Finding Your Best Inside.”  The focus will be the following:

1.    Discover your Purpose
2.    Learn the power of Perseverance
3.    Project a Positive self-image
4.    Produce the desired result
5.    Unleash your true Potential and  prosper

The general idea is when participants complete the 5 week training modules  they should have a transformation where their purpose is now clear and they have tapped into their “Best Inside.”  Meaning this training should clear their perception so they will have the confidence to go for that higher level job they had been wishing for but not acting on or have the courage to start the business they always dreamed of.

Because of how the training will be put together, I will be able to also provide one-on-one coaching as well as group coaching sessions via telephone or in person on this topic to those that may want the individual attention.

Your company now consists of you, Brenda Wilson (Executive Assistant) and Ruthie Jorgenson (Virtual Assistant).  Do you plan on expanding your team in the near future? What are some advantages of having such a small group leading the institute?

Dr. Lewis:
At present, these individuals have been a great help and have provided invaluable service to me and my business. Yes, I do plan on expanding in the very near future as I am in the process of submitting my application for business certifications such as the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) both of which will give me a better competitive age to receive federal, state and local government contracts. Once I have the certifications, I foresee the need to expand my team. I would like to have a few in-house trainers to relieve me of some of the load of having to obtain outside facilitators that may not be familiar with my method of training.

I really enjoyed your quote “Being proud of your background and unique attributes will ensure continued growth. Recognition provides the opportunity to speak about and showcase our experiences as women exhibiting strength in the business world.”  What other advice can you offer to young businesswomen, say those just out of college and starting their first steps in their career?

Dr. Lewis:
There is a lot of advice I could put out there for women starting in their first steps in their career. Here are some of the points I consider to be the most important:

–    Be a strong role model.
–    Be consistent with others no matter who they are or what they know.
–    Don’t pre-judge…listen closely to what other have to say.
–    Use criticism as a tool for self-improvement. Take criticism for what it is, and move on.
–    Learn to speak the language of management within the organization where you are trying to move up the career ladder.
–    Accept the fact that you cannot please everyone.
–    If you can’t both be liked and respected, then I think you should be sure that you are respected.
–    And remember, first impressions are very important.

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