Friday, April 17, 2015

Photos from Women Owned Business Day at the State Capitol

I was honored to serve as Emcee for the Women's Business Development Council's 2nd Annual Women Owned Business Day at the State Capitol in Hartford, CT on April 8.

The event was attended by women entrepreneurs representing nearly 60 towns and cities in Connecticut and more than 30 Connecticut state leaders and elected officials.

WBDC CEO and Founder Fran Pastore with Honorary Co-Chairs: The Honorable Patricia Billie Miller, State Representative and Deputy Speaker and The Honorable Terrie Wood, State Representative and Assistant House Republican Leader

Introducing The Honorable Terrie Wood, State Representative, Assistant House Republican Leader
and Women Owned Business Day Honorary Co-Chair

Keynote Speaker Amanda Brown, Executive Director of the National Women's Business Council (NWBC), spoke about the Council's mission to advise the President, Congress and the Small Business Administration on issues of importance to women entrepreneurs

Special guest Tina Byles Williams, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of FIS Group, shared insights from her trailblazing career in the investment management business

Facilitated breakout sessions included discussions about Access to Capital, Government Contracting, Entrepreneurial Training, & Pay Equity

Other speakers included: 
  • The Honorable Joe Aresimowicz, State Representative and House Majority Leader
  • The Honorable Denise Nappier, Connecticut State Treasurer
  • Catherine Smith, Commissioner, Department of Economic & Community Development 
  • Sharon M. Palmer, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Labor
  • The Honorable Themis Klarides, State Representative and House Republican Leader
  •  Moraima Gutierrez, Assistant District Director for Economic Development, U.S. Small Business Administration - 

Photos courtesy of WBDC

For more information about the WBDC, please visit

Sunday, April 12, 2015

FDR Anniversary

In honor of the 70th anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945: 

From Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four freedoms speech” Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union: 01/06/1941 

For more about the life and legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, visit

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot,com

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Stop Being a Bad Manager

Stop Being a Bad Manager from Gilda Bonanno

Being a manager is not easy.  It requires you to mobilize your team to achieve results while helping each employee maximize his or her potential.  My latest SlideShare PowerPoint presentation explains how to avoid the common pitfalls and mistakes of the bad manager. 

If the presentation doesn't load, click:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fools' Humor - Getting Glasses: The Comical, the Bad & the Ugly

In honor of April Fools' Day, a day for comedy and laughter, here is a humorous essay on a subject many of you are familiar with, getting new glasses: 

I’ve worn glasses since I was six years old, long before it was cool.  I don’t mind wearing them, but what I really dread is going to the eye doctor’s and getting new glasses.  The experience is rarely successful and hardly comfortable.  But my current glasses had outlived their usefulness and I could no longer see clearly.  So last week, I broke down and went to the eye doctor. 

When I got there, the sign over the front desk read “If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place." Perfect.

I was ushered into the exam room and pretended to read the magazines while secretly checking out the contraptions around me that looked like a cross between medieval torture equipment and James Bond spy gadgets.  Then the eye doctor came in, the house lights went down and we began with the alphabet. 

There was only one problem with the alphabet chart: the letters didn’t seem to be in English.  They were blurry blobs of ink, one in the shape of the Greek letter omega and another like the Chinese character for water. 

I tried to memorize some of the shapes on the top line with what I thought was my good eye, but when I switched to the other eye, what I remembered didn’t match what little I could actually read, so either my eyes are going or my mind is.

After the alphabet game, the doctor put on his miner’s hat, which had a laser light fastened to it which he focused directly on my eyes.  I felt like I was in a police interrogation.  I was supposed to focus on his ear and it was so close that had I scissors, I could have trimmed his ear hairs, though that would probably not have been a smart move given my astigmatism, near-sightedness and far-sightedness. 

Then came what I can only describe as a Star Trek hand-held phaser set on "stun," which was supposed to blow air into my eye so the doctor could check for obscure eye diseases.  The impact left my eyes watering and my nose running.  He gave me a tissue, just one (one of those flimsy, one-ply tissues like you find in public restrooms).  I tried to wipe my eyes and blow my nose with it delicately while he pretended not to notice. 

We then moved on to the multiple-choice test.  Which lens made my vision better, he asked, as he switched lenses rapidly, A or B, first or second, this or that?  I’m usually a good test taker, but here I felt stupid because I really couldn’t tell the difference and he gave no hints as to what the correct answer was.  It worried me that my vision and the safety of pedestrians everywhere depended on those split-second decisions.

When I had survived the multiple-choice test, it was on to the grand finale: pupil dilation.  I had been dreading this moment since I walked in the door.  The concept was for the doctor to put some eye drops in so my pupils would dilate and he could check for more problems.  The eye drops felt like needles shooting glue into my eyes. 

After he looked into my eyes, I was escorted to the waiting room for the mandatory one-hour waiting period.  My eyes were too stuck open to read anything so I tried to focus on the wallpaper and smile at the other patients who politely ignored the fact that I looked stoned.  Anywhere else, they would have called the police. 

Eventually, my eyes began to un-dilate.  Then, the fun really began when I got to pick new frames. I put in my contacts so I could see what I looked like.  The first pair I chose happened to be a designer frame that cost more than a trip to Tahiti. 

I quickly put that one back and tried to figure out the advertised sales, which offered free lenses, but only if I bought the designer frames, or free no-name frames, but only if I bought the lenses with UV protection, anti-reflective glare and no-line bifocals. 

So I gave up on getting the best price and decided to focus only on selecting the right frame. I pulled all the interesting frames off the rack and separated them into piles – “yes,” “no” and “what was I thinking.”

The sales clerk tried to be helpful by pointing out that the shape of the glasses should complement the shape of my face and we tried to figure out what could possibly complement my round face, square hair, oval eyes and triangular nose. After an analysis of my features that would have made my high school geometry teacher proud, she retreated to the sales counter across the room, cursing me under her breath because she would have to put back all the frames when I was done. 

After an hour or so, the qualifying heats were over and we were down to the finals.  But it was too close to call.  I was so confused that they all started to look identical and ugly.  It was near closing time, so I just sighed, closed my eyes and pointed, “this one and take all the others away.”

Of course, what I ended up buying was one of the first three frames I had tried on, which had looked okay, but I couldn't be absolutely sure until I had tried on the other 142 frames in the store. 

A few days later, I had my new glasses and was happily tripping down the stairs in them.  The ordeal was over… at least until the next time I needed new glasses.

© 2002 Gilda Bonanno
Gilda Bonanno's blog 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Simplify Your Organization - ASTD 4/13 Meeting Norwalk, CT

American Society for Training & Development - Southern CT chapter meeting (ASTD-SCC)
Monday, April 13, 2015, 5:45-8:00 PM
Norwalk Inn and Conference Center, Norwalk, CT

Yes, You Can Simplify Your Organization!  
How to Identify the Complexity We Create and  Do Something About It
Speaker:  Ron Ashkenas,  Senior Partner, Schaffer Consulting

Over the past decade globalization, technology, regulations and new business models have dramatically increased the complexity of many organizations. Faced with toao many choices, processes, and facts, managers often feel that they are working longer hours but getting less and less done. Unfortunately, a large portion of the complexity that managers must navigate is self-generated. 

In this session, Ron Ashkenas will discuss some of the common ways that we create unnecessary complexity in organizations and what we can do about it.

Attendees will learn how to:
  • Understand the four main types of unnecessary complexity in organizations; 
  • Gain self-insight into ways that we and our colleagues unintentionally create complexity; 
  • Identify ways to begin addressing complexity in our organization or with our clients. 

Ron Ashkenas is a Senior Partner with Schaffer Consulting and an internationally recognized consultant, executive coach, and speaker on organizational transformation, post merger integration, and simplification.  

Ron is an Executive in Residence at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and the author of Simply Effective: How to Cut through Complexity in Your Organization and Get Things Done (Harvard Press, 2010).  In addition, he is the author/co-author of over 100 articles and five books, including with Dave Ulrich and Steve Kerr, The GE Work-Out (McGraw-Hill, 2002).  Ron Received his BA from Wesleyan University, his EdM from Harvard University, and his PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University.

If you cannot attend the meeting in person, we will provide a link that will let you view a webcast, live from the meeting at the Norwalk Inn! Discover Video will do the webcast and archive a copy. Check back later for the link to view the presentation.

Monday, January 26, 2015
Norwalk Inn and Conference Center
99 East Avenue, Norwalk CT

Chapter Member (pre-registered) - $37.00
Chapter Member In-Transition - $25.00
Guest - $50.00
Student - $20.00

Networking: 5:45 PM
Dinner Served: 6:30 PM
Program: 6:45-8 PM

For more information or to register, visit

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Client Testimonial for Gilda Bonanno

Before working with Gilda, I was nervous and unpolished
"As a Virtual Assistant who is relatively new to producing webinars, I was nervous and unpolished in delivering my workshop introduction and lacked a clear purpose for my comments.

Gilda helped me isolate what was important to my presentation, while giving me great ideas for transitions and otherwise awkward moments. Gilda has been a pleasure to work with."

-Jennifer Werner, Owner, Executive Assistance

Contact Gilda to find out how her coaching can help you improve your presentation skills so you can increase your confidence, influence and success:

For more client testimonials, visit 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Drown Out That Negative Voice in Your Head

When I ask clients to share what that voice in their head is telling them right before they speak, they invariably come out with a whiny, annoying voice spewing negatives like "you're going to make a fool of yourself" or "who do you think you are?"

Click this link to read the rest of my latest post on the Constant Contact Community Blog: Drown Out That Negative Voice in Your Head: