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Insurance is an Under-Valued Essential for New Generation of Entrepreneurs

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Friday, August 18, 2017

In the beginning, most startups have lofty goals and big dreams. Quite often, those goals involve bootstrapping your way through a few rough years with a lean, dedicated team, pulling in the investor interest, and eventually creating a profound space for yourself in the market. Whether that means spending some time in an incubator or running your startup from your living room, there’s a good chance you’re singularly focused on getting the job done, with little time for much else. Throw in the need for family time and—if you can find it—time to decompress from the high-intensity world of entrepreneurship, and there are often few other concerns to think about beyond the core essentials.


Although one of those “core essentials” is often the potential risk for different lawsuits, many startups may need to expand their view of what legal hazards exist, even in the early stages. Despite some misconceptions, it’s not just patent infringement or employee treatment that need your attention and risk mitigation early on. Particularly for a new generation of entrepreneurs, risks associated with cyber security, misconceptions about general liability, and the need for professional liability all exist as well.


Cyber Threats Are Nothing to Ignore

The name Yahoo keeps popping up in the news when it comes to cyber security threats. It’s easy for a small startup to assume that cyber risks are just a problem for large enterprises. One day your business may be big enough to make it on the radar of cyber criminals looking to hack servers, steal data, and make off with large paydays from ransomware attacks against your company. For now, that’s not a concern. Right? Not quite.


The 2016 Internet Security Threat Report found that while only 1 in 40 small businesses are at threat of a cyber attack (a stark difference compared to the 1 in 2 for large enterprises), 43% of cyber attacks targeted small businesses. How do we reconcile those numbers? By considering volume. There are over 27 million SMBs in the US, compared to just over 16,000 companies in the US that might qualify as “large enterprises.”


Meanwhile, some data appears to reveal that small businesses are at a far higher risk than what the above numbers might indicate. A 2015 report from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission referenced a 2014 version of the Internet Security Threat Report which found that 60% of cyber attacks were against small businesses. Did the threat against small businesses somehow drop 17 percentage points between 2014 and 2016? Unlikely. The more likely scenario is that this information is painfully hard to track, making the actual threat difficult to predict and measure fully, and therefore, makes it a dangerous problem to ignore.


But let’s say your company does decide to gamble a bit on cyber security threats. That’s perhaps the most dangerous game to play for a startup. Part of that is due to the high costs associated with recovering and handling cyber attacks, as well as the hit your startup will take to its reputation.


According to the Allianz 2016 Business Risk Barometer, 69% of a company’s economic loss following a cyber incident is due to reputational loss. For a startup trying to attract investors, reputation is everything. Such a hit to your reputation may knock the steam out of your growth, permanently.


Such risks can be mitigated by cyber insurance, which is designed to help businesses recover from these incidents. Cyber insurance often includes valuable business interruption coverage, as well as coverage for cyber extortion, a growing threat more commonly associated with ransomware.


Misconceptions About General Liability Abound

Perhaps the biggest problem with general liability is not in what it does cover, but what it doesn’t. Many startups tend to assume that general liability insurance operates as a sort of “catch-all” for far more types of risks it than it will actually mitigate.


For example, a 2013 Chubb survey found that 52% of businesses assumed that their general liability policy protected their business against risks more commonly associated with errors & omission insurance. (A further 65% incorrectly believed it also covered directors & officers liability, while 32% also thought it included cyber liability.) The reality of general liability is that it’s fairly limited in scope. Perhaps the name “general liability,” is a bit misleading.


To be clear, if your business is providing more than just products, but services and advice to clients, you’ll need coverage such as professional liability. This policy is designed specifically to mitigate the risks associated with providing advice that will lead clients toward some kind of independent action. Increasingly, these kind of services are a boon for businesses, but even a small oversight, such as failing to add a legal disclaimer in the right place, can result in consequences for your business.


Additionally, it’s important to recognize just how all-encompassing that advisory role can be. Even startups that operate entirely online, and that don’t offer advice for a fee can be at risk. This is where those legal disclaimers, or more importantly the lack thereof, can get some startups in trouble.


Still, if advice and services are what your startup is doing in general, some form of insurance to help mitigate the risk of accidentally providing erroneous advice or not meeting service expectations is a necessary purchase.


There’s Value in Risk Protection

Beyond cyber security threats and potential lawsuits that may arise from providing inaccurate advice, startups need to consider the possibility of the many unknowns associated with running a business. Your startup may be on the bleeding edge of its niche but it may end up doing more bleeding than anything else if you’re unprepared to handle the increasingly 21st-century-themed risks associated with entrepreneurship.


It might be time to ask all of the right questions that you’re avoiding asking yourself. Seek advice from others who have been at it longer than you have. Do a bit of research on the type of risks most common with your industry. Getting a handle on risk mitigation early can keep those risks from creating unexpected and painful disruptions to your startup as it takes off.


About the Author

Rashmi Melgiri is the COO & Co-founder of, a company reinventing how people buy and manage insurance.

Rashmi has over 10 years of experience in the technology & media sector. Prior to founding CoverWallet, Rashmi was a strategy consultant in the Technology, Media and Telecom sector at the largest North American TMT consulting group (AltmanVilandrie & Co.). In that position, Rashmi advised companies on go to market strategy, new product development and M&A transaction. Rashmi has also worked a number of start-ups including Visible Measures and portfolio companies within Comcast Interactive Media.
Rashmi has a bachelors degree from MIT and an MBA from MIT Sloan. 

Tags:  Business  insurance  leadership  MBA Women  NAWMBA  Professionals  technology  women  WomeninBusiness  womenintech  WomenMBA 

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Why Your Career Matters

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Monday, August 14, 2017


Why Your Career Matters

By Bethany Miller, DBA

Jobs are meaningless. And everyone knows it.

Careers, on the other hand, are occupations that incorporate all of your diverse skills, draw upon your past experiences, and should be designed to serve your community with purpose. But it’s a huge shift in mindset to go from “I have a job” to “My career serves a purpose.”

You can almost immediately identify the people who have made this shift. They’re the ones that approach their work holistically. It’s the person who talks to people at the service counter with a genuine concern for their problem. It’s the person who makes your coffee with care and asks you how your day is going during the process. It’s the manager who asks you what else they can do for you when you approach them with an issue. They know that their work is as much about solving problems as it is about doing the tasks.

How do you turn your job mindset into a career mindset?

Very few people can articulate their life’s purpose with ease. It’s a difficult thing to see because we are mired in the details of our jobs. Therefore, real power comes when we deliberate over and identify our career’s purpose. Disclosing it gives it strength. Sharing it with others gives us influence.

Take a wider look at your work. Your career is your entire body of work. It’s everything you’ve worked on professionally- the job tasks themselves, the volunteer work you’ve done, the expertise you’ve shared through mentoring or teaching, and the peripheral skills you’ve honed over the course of years. All the travel you do? That’s shaping the way you see the world and changes how you approach your work. That community group you’re a part of? That’s building your network, making you a thought leader, and changing the way you approach work. That yoga class you take regularly? That’s creating physical and emotional flow and structuring the way you physically and emotionally approach your work. There is no separating the “you” from “your career.” Your life and career mindset are set in the same direction when you recognize your patterns and purpose.

Take stock of your values.

What is it that you truly value? Take a moment to search for “list of values” on the internet and print one out. Circle the ten that you cherish the most. Look at those ten and think about how these things that you hold most dear shape who you are, how you behave, and the work that you do. Now cross off five. These are the ones that motivate you in your most challenging situations. Now cross of three. The remaining two are the ones that define you. Finally, (you know where this is going), instead of crossing off one of the two top values, select your top value. The act of choosing instead of eliminating is an act of power. It’s a bold step in defining yourself. We’ve all had moments of crisis where we lament, “I don’t know who I am!” THIS is who you are. You are the person who was put on this earth to work for things beholden to these few selected values, but never ever forsaking Value #1.

So What?

The only way to get to the true point of our career- to see how we are really changing the world- to know why we’re really working as hard as we do- is to ask “so what?”. This is a powerful question.

If you’re a marketing manager, I’m sure you do a lot of important and interesting things for your company. So what? What’s the big deal about your work? What matters isn’t that you put out a new campaign. What matters is that you influenced the way people feel about your products. You changed someone’s mind about what they needed to consume. You generated greater sales with a powerful voice. Those actions may have tipped the scales for your company. Your work not only mattered to the bottom line, but it changed a customer’s life, even if only in the smallest way, and even if only for a moment.

If you’re a member of a volunteer organization, I’m sure you do a lot of work keeping the ship running, planning events, and advocating for the cause. So what? Anyone could do that, right? Maybe. But it matters that it’s YOU. Because you care, and you value the mission of that organization, YOU will do more impactful work than anyone else. It’s part of your purpose.

Know your worth, and grow it wisely.

You are unique in what you do because of your individual background and experiences, because of your intrinsic motivation and drive, and because of your well-earned skillset. Sure, there are people better than you at certain things. Someone will always be faster at work, more intelligent about a particular briefing, or funnier and more at ease with a particular client. But you have a unique place in your field and how you shape your career. The activities you pursue and the communities you build make you more valuable in your work than anyone. You just have to see where that space is. And if you can’t see it clearly, create it.

There are a lot of fantastic speakers at this year’s NAWMBA conference. They all can help you see a bigger picture of you and your work. Approach the keynotes, sessions, and networking with purpose, because it’s building your career. And when someone asks you what you do….tell them about your career’s purpose and your values. Then help them identify theirs.


Dr. Bethany Miller researches career psychology and works with people on identifying their career’s purpose. To find out more or contact her, visit and see join her at the 2017 Conference and Career Fair in Chicago! Go here to register now! 

Tags:  Business  Career  job  jobs  leadership  NAWMBA  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA 

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Academic Chapter of the Month-Oklahoma State University: A Chapter with Heart

Posted By Nadia Alhashimi, Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Oklahoma State University’s chapter is new to the NAWMBA family. They are going on their second year, but after only a year of establishment their personality is clear. They are a chapter with heart. I always say that my favorite thing about NAWMBA is that it feels like family. Nobody has embodied that more than NAWMBA’s Oklahoma State University chapter. Here’s a little bit about what drives the chapter at OSU in the words of their president, Dylan Dean.

The first thing that we did as new leaders was to go to NAWMBA’s conference and career fair. At the time our President was Holly, and even though I’ve taken over this year I’m still close to her. We went to conference and became inspired by what other chapters were doing. When we came back we brought what we learned. We built on programs that already existed within Price College. For example, Price has a Friday class that we call, ‘Professional Development.’ Through that class we are connected directly to faculty, staff, and representatives from the community. Students are introduced to speakers and then go to networking events with the members of our community who present on different topics. Some entrepreneurs discuss how they got their start or why/how they switched careers. From that program, we decided what was most interesting to us and economic opportunities in our community. We pulled ideas as to what we want to be our focus for the month. It’s an easy way to get the ideas going! This past spring, we watched the documentary, “The Women’s List” highlighting 30 women who have made their mark in their respective industry. This gave us so many ideas! Currently we meet monthly but we also have volunteer events that make it more frequent. For example, this past spring we volunteered at the Children’s Museum, engaging with Elementary aged students. We enjoyed interacting with them, but also were proud to let them see that there are women in the community (outside of their teachers) who are leading as examples of community activists and goodwill models. This community volunteer aspect is extremely important for our chapter. We volunteer on and off campus and interactive volunteering is an important aspect of our service. We see the value in food or toy drives, but for us it’s not as beneficial for members as having interactive experiences together. In the next year, I hope to develop these community partnerships so that we can find more opportunities for volunteer work in the community. The leadership and organizational skills helps us build community connections but also helps to develop our skills in marketing, communications, leadership, and stewardship that we may not have in our internships or entry level jobs. Our chapter is incredibly grateful to also have such great support from our MBA program. Whatever we choose to attend, OSU provides transportation, funding, and/or training. They really give us support to make our goals a reality. For example, last year only our chapter leaders attended the 2016 NAWMBA Conference and Career Fair, but we are looking forward to getting a large group to Chicago this year!

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Tags:  Chapter of the Month  NAWMBA  womeninbusiness 

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Professional Chapter of the Month: THRIVE with NAWMBA Nashville

Posted By Nadia Alhashimi, Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Last month, NAWMBA Nationals joined the Nashville Professional Chapter for their THRIVE Conference, an all-day conference that focused on the chapter’s annual theme of The Whole Body. Our Manager of Operations sat down with Claire Lord Jarrett the President Elect of that chapter.

I got involved with NAWMBA Nashville when it first began in 2011. It was an important time in my life because I was in the middle of a career transition. I was transitioning both with my job and career, which is difficult after you’ve been out of the job market for awhile. Jennifer Way, a member of this chapter and now a dear connection through my NAWMBA network, helped me! She helped me revamp my resume and got me back into the interview mode after I had been out for so long. With her help in navigating career transitions, I decided on financial advising. Now I am an independent financial advisor providing comprehensive planning services specifically focused on single, divorced, and widowed women. I know that the industry is male dominated but I want to provide support from the perspective of someone who has been there. As a young professional woman, NAWMBA provides me with a network of support to help me professionally and personally. The thing that I specifically like about NAWMBA is that it has both local and national support. There are a lot of local organizations and women’s groups in Nashville, but not many of them have a national presence. With nationals you have that backbone of support, a national conference, and a network no matter where you go.  

The Nashville chapter began in 2011 and has grown and changed over the years as Nashville has changed. The city of Nashville has grown tremendously so we are trying to change with the city right now and figure out where we fit.  We’ve especially enjoyed meeting new people, specifically younger women who are earning their MBAs. It’s a wonderful opportunity to interact with them and keep our skills sharp. That’s especially true for someone like me who may not be going into an office environment every day and interacting with a lot of different people. I like networking with women of all ages -- learning from young MBAs who have all of the new information and keep you on your toes but also from the women who have been in the field for 20, 30 years and have been through the trenches. It has created an incredibly effective work environment as we learn how to work together and delegate tasks that make sense generationally.

At NAWMBA Nashville we focus alot on programming and building practical knowledge that you can implement today. Our goal is that once you leave a NAWMBA meeting over breakfast or lunch you can implement what you learned at your workplace immediately. THRIVE is an entire day of that programming where you can reevaluate where you are and how to improve. Working with women across industries, we utilize our network of diverse women that can help provide a wider scope both personally and professionally. If I need an event space or marketing ideas I have a network of women already built in that can help me out. I think that most people think about networking as they look for jobs but I’ve used it more to learn different skillsets and mentoring even if it’s not formal. How people interact with their contemporaries or asking other women how they got from point a to point b is critical and our chapter provides the opportunity to do that. Our core group is women with MBAs but we reach out beyond that as well. If you don’t have an MBA we welcome you to join us. We put on a monthly event and then we do two large events annually-the THRIVE conference that we are at today and our “Little Black Dress” event that we use to celebrate our birthday in August.

Our other focus besides programming is membership. Our membership has been pretty consistent for the last 6 years that we’ve been involved. We have a dedicated group of about 75 women which is great, but we do want to grow our membership and monthly participation. We want to take the lead from nationals and incorporate mentoring as part of building a pipeline of engaged membership. On the other end of the spectrum, once we get members they tend to stay! We’ve only had two past presidents and they support us in everything that we do. Kristina Bow, the current president and I also work together on everything to ensure a stable succession plan. Even the board that started our chapter continues to provide support. We all work to make these events happen. I’m very proud that the people who started it are still involved. It speaks to the character of the local chapter. When I moved from my hometown, someone told me ‘you’re going to love Nashville because it’s just an overgrown small town.’ It’s very urban and new blood is constantly being introduced, but it’s still very personable. Our chapter reflects our city--it has the same feel of growth and development while maintaining community and warmth that defines our NAWMBA family.

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Tags:  Chapter of the Month  nashville  NAWMBA  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA 

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The Benefit of Focused, Intentional Action

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Monday, August 7, 2017


When I made the decision to go back to school to get my master's degree, I thought my life would run the same - and I would just add in school.


At the time, I was working as a Federal law enforcement officer for the United States Customs Service on the Outbound Enforcement Team -- and I talked my partner into going back to school with me.


I figured having someone to go to classes with and study with would make it a bit easier.


We were both working our 8-hour days with at least two nights of mandatory overtime.


I didn't give any thought to how I would add in an additional 6 hours of class time in the evening plus 4 hours of writing papers each week to my already full life.


Looking back at how silly that seems now, in my business I've discovered that most people run their lives like that.


Do you?  

  • When new opportunities come your way do you believe that if you close your eyes and wish hard enough you'll be able to magically add them to your already full schedule without a change of pace?

  • Is the phrase from The Little Engine that Could (I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.) a daily motto to get more done?

  • Do you believe that getting more done will happen if you worked harder or gave more effort?

Living your priorities is not about muscling through tasks.


Often, the deadlines you impose on getting something done are ones you created yourself.


Here are three tips to ensure that you remain focused and not frazzled as you live out your big mission and claim being a leader worth following.


  1. Create space. When you allow for spaciousness to exist in your life, you acknowledge that life is constantly changing. This openness makes it easy to be flexible and give attention to what may not work out according to your plan. (Believe it or not, there will be things that don't work out the way you envision.... )

  2. Choose to be perfectly imperfect. Several years ago when I was hosting my annual Design Your Destiny Live ( leadership event, my dear friend Peter Michael whisked me off stage and took me to the green room to rest in between segments. I shared with him that I was concerned about the sound and how it was affecting the audience and their experience. Peter looked me in the eye and said, "Rather than choosing to have a perfect event, choose to have a great one instead. No one has any idea that what you planned is different than what has been delivered." His first sentence had me pause and breathe in his message. And, in a moment, I fully understood what he meant. Perfectionism is a dream stealer. It was my responsibility to deliver excellence, and not to be perfect. I recognized that I'm perfect in my imperfections - and I had a fabulous event. Today, I claim this truth and it’s made my life a lot easier.

  3. Stop playing the comparison game. One of my favorite lines to capture this truth is from Max Ehrmann's poem the Desiderata. ".....If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself…." You are a one-of-a-kind treasure. No one in this world who has come before you or will come after you will be quite like you. No one has had your upbringing, experiences, challenges, and opportunities. Revel in the wonder of who you are. The world needs you and your brilliance.

And, a bonus on leading with intention would be to engage in self-care.


Do something just for you.


While I am always in-action, my action is focused and intentional.


Yet, I create enough space in my calendar so that I'm well cared for which is what enables me to give my best to my clients, colleagues, friends, and family.


You can't give the best of who you are to those you love when your own tank is empty.


I invite you to choose one of these three items to work on this week.

Whether you choose to create space, be perfectly imperfect, or stop playing the comparison game, comfort doesn’t change the world.

The world needs you and your brilliance.

Lisa Marie Platske is an award-winning leadership expert and #1 international best-selling author, she creates high-performing, leaders, coaching women in business around the
globe. She uses her law enforcement journey to demonstrate what exceptional leaders do differently, sharing how vulnerability in leadership is critical to being a leader worth
following. The founder of Design Your Destiny Live, she lives in Alexandria, VA with her loving and supportive husband, Jim and their two pet foxes.

She is one of our esteemed speakers at the 2017 Annual Conference and Career Fair. Register now to see her and meet her in person! 

Tags:  Business  leadership  management  NAWMBA  NAWMBA2017  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA  WomenSupportingWomen 

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