The Entrepreneurial Journey, Family Support and Success

Why The Emotional Support of Family is Key to a Successful Business

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President of Mediafy Communications Group

Ten years ago I made a decision-a decision that would ultimately change the direction of my life forever. Rather than remaining in England and working as a broker, or moving to Chicago for a cushy job in a financial firm, I decided to forge my own path and start my own business. I would return to my roots in the publishing industry, and at the same time assist in taking care of my ailing grandmother.

My father, an entrepreneur, provided me a great deal of emotional support. My mother did also, suggesting she might come and stay with me for a while, to make sure I knew my way around town. My grandmother, now living in an assisted living facility, encouraged me to come and live in her home. In turn, I promised to assist in her care and visit her daily.

This plethora of family support provided me a much needed fountain of strength, especially when things became challenging. After difficult days in the field, overcoming objections and convincing people to participate in my project, I loved coming back to a grandmother and her friends who provided me with a respite from the stress of my daily working life.

It is important to understand that when one embarks on a new endeavor, stress levels can run high, even if the stress is positive. In the early days, I often thought of my childhood role model, Princess Diana, and how the lack of family support in her situation ultimately, albeit indirectly, led to her untimely death and to the end of what I like to call “Diana Inc.” Regarding her first official royal tour in Australia, Diana stated that when she heard people saying “Oh, she (Diana) (i)s on the other side,” Charles felt quite “low about it, instead of feeling happy and sharing it.” In response to what would ultimately become the theme of their entire marriage, Diana stated,

“It was isolating, but it was also a situation where you couldn’t indulge in feeling sorry for yourself: you had to either sink or swim. And you had to learn that very fast.” “And what did you do?” the reporter asked. “ I swam.”

She swam-for the next fifteen years-most of it alone. But ultimately, Diana quit, citing lack of support on the part of the Queen, The Queen Mother, and Prince Charles. Without their love and support, she simply could not carry on her duties. The way Diana reacted is not uncommon. In fact, more than half of all businesses fail.

One of the primary reasons cited by business owners for the reason business failure occurs is the lack of emotional support provided by family and friends. For me, this support has remained a key factor in my success. For example, I chose a spouse who supports me emotionally and encourages me in my work. I knew from Diana’s failure, that the choice of a supportive spouse would be a substantial key in my success. At one point, my husband made a financial investment in my business, citing his faith in my business acumen. Another time, when a partnership upon which I had embarked became distasteful, my husband provided loving guidance on how to buy out the partner’s shares. Through it all, he has remained my rock and given me much needed trust, support, and encouragement.

In a similar manner, when Lisa Halaby married King Hussein of Jordan, she stepped into unfamiliar territory, as an American Queen in a foreign country. Viewed with suspicion by the people of Jordan, she did not exactly experience a fantastic “homecoming.” However, with the loving and unwavering support of her husband, Lisa (now known as Queen Noor) opened an office, hired a staff, and began offering micro-financing loans to poor Bedouin women making handicrafts from home. Queen Noor set up consignment agreements with local shopkeepers, subsequently spawning an entire cottage industry of women able to support their families. When the occasional husband expressed jealousy in the success of his wife, King Hussein personally stepped in and told the men that they should be proud of their wives, just as had tremendous pride in his own wife. Queen Noor went on to be the most successful Queen in Jordan to date, helping more people economically than any other person in the history of the country. She always cited the loving support of King Hussein as the key to her success.

In conclusion, businesses fail for many reasons, but a major reason is the lack of family support provided to entrepreneurs. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely, difficult road. The support of family and friends is a major factor in long-term success. As indicated by the failure of Princess Diana in her royal role, all the money in the world cannot make up for the lack of emotional support. I have succeeded because I received this support from loving parents, a wonderful grandmother, and a husband that believes in me above all else. As entrepreneurs embark on their journey, it is important to create an environment where this need is fulfilled, or the business is likely to ultimately fail.

Entrepreneurship, Stress, and Self-Care

Entrepreneurship, Stress, and Self-Care

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President of Mediafy Communications Group

Entrepreneurial Self Care Steps For Creating And Maintaining A Transformational Workplace

As an entrepreneur, I have undergone a great deal of personal and professional stress over the last ten years. My devotion from the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey has always been to the clients. I swore to myself from the very beginning that I would do everything correctly, and never make a mistake. Like during my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I knew that if I did my homework correctly, aced all the tests, and never missed a class, I would undoubtedly make an A in the class. I approached entrepreneurship the same way. Just as in school, I crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s.

I gave it my all. For a while, I lived in my office, because I was afraid to take a salary. As a matter of fact, I did not draw a paycheck for 3 ½ years. I made 30 cold calls a day and I sold, sold, sold. I always answered the phone, I put myself last, and yes, the company got what it needed. However, my mental and physical health drastically suffered.

My teeth grinding became exacerbated to the point that my jaw would freeze shut. My anxiety levels became unbearably high, to the point I developed migraines. I gained weight, lost patience with my employees, and in many ways became an unpleasant person. There came a point where something had to give.

I have a strategic partner who believes strongly in branding oneself. She has her own website, writes books, and gives speeches. Essentially, she is a role model to others in the industry. Following her example, I thought to myself, “If I am going to brand myself, I must care for myself, and I must like myself.” This led to a profound paradigm shift.

In retrospect, my high stress levels and subsequent attitude had alienated some employees. My thoughts ran faster than they could work, and this made some employees feel as though I did not respect their time. I was short with them, and this led to bad attitudes. The bad attitudes ultimately led to the turnover. It became obvious that the first step in my self-care needed to be transforming myself from the inside out. My transformational journey can be summed up on the following steps:

1. Decide upon a leadership approach.

I decided to at least attempt becoming a transformational leader-that is one who provides a nurturing environment where employees are encouraged to learn and transform themselves as well as the company, in a professionally structured work environment. In doing so, I changed the lighting in the office, brought in a refrigerator with food and drinks, started offering paid vacation to people on salary and began offering continuing education to the staff.

2. Work through your managers.

I decided to adhere to the corporate hierarchy already in place and work through my managers rather than going directly to employees. This forces me to respect their time and not disrupt their flow of work because it is the manager who discusses matters with the employee according to the employee’s schedule, and not me. In many ways, this makes me “the good guy,” and perhaps makes me more approachable. If an employee has a legitimate concern, they might feel more willing to approach me with a solution.

3. Hire competent people

In the beginning, I had people in positions who were not qualified. As the business grew, it quickly became obvious that these individuals were in way over their heads, and everyone suffered. My stress levels skyrocketed, and my anger reached a boiling point. As the company grew, I upgraded my staff, allowing me to loosen the reins and put more responsibility on others.

4. Do not hire people who think they are doing you a favor.

I have learned that if someone says, “I don’t need the money,” or “I am just working here to help you out,” they need to be shown the door immediately. Entrepreneurs need people who need to work, who want a career, and who want to transform themselves as well as the company. If these motivations are not there, then employees develop bad attitudes, leave early, and remind you constantly that they are doing you a favor. As business owners, we need to pat ourselves on the backs and realize that we create jobs and we create opportunities for professional and personal growth. Employees that are money-motivated, and motivated to better themselves as well as the company, become a substantial asset. Anything else is unacceptable and needs to be cut loose. Employees that think they are doing you a favor by working for you merely increase stress levels in the long-run, and demotivates other employees. Keeping your employees all on the same page in terms of motivation is essential to keeping stress levels under control, and entrepreneurial self-esteem at the forefront.

5. Respect your own time, and then others will follow suit

I simply had to start making clients respect my time. In making myself constantly available, I allowed clients to essentially manipulate my entire day. While I treasure my clients and tell them they are welcome to call me at any time, I have learned that I am not always able to answer or drop everything to come and see them. I have a schedule of dates and times that often are scheduled out weeks in advance. I also blog at scheduled times, exercise, and spend time with my family. All of these activities are critical to self-care, and once I started respecting my time, others did also. This predictability in my schedule has contributed to much needed down time, where I am able to decompress and return to work refreshed.

6. Start exercising and eating right.

The stress of my career completely exhausted me by the end of the day. As a result, for many years, exercise of any sort remained completely out of the question. Consequently, I gained weight and became very physically uncomfortable. As part of my entrepreneurial self-care routine, I started working out with a personal trainer three days a week and made these times non-negotiable. While exercising, I do not see clients and I do not answer the phone. As a result, exercise has become an integral part of my life, and my stress levels have gone down substantially. Additionally, my adoption of a low-carb, high vitamin B12 diet has lowered my stress levels and literally changed my life for the better.

In conclusion, the starting and maintaining of a healthy business ultimately requires a physically and mentally healthy person at the helm. While the conditions of entrepreneurship make it easy, and sometimes even preferable to let yourself go, it simply is not healthy for the entrepreneur or the business in the long-run. Entrepreneurial self-care is ultimately a requirement for the creation and sustainment of a transformational working environment. By choosing a leadership style, refining it, and then bettering yourself as a leader, your business and entire entrepreneurial experience will be better for everyone involved. Ultimately, clients, as well as employees, will be encouraged to transform themselves and the opportunities provided by the business will become an overwhelmingly positive experience. Following the self-care steps outlined in the article will lower stress levels and lead to an overall happier, healthier company, with lowered stress levels for all.

Kavanaugh, Rules for Radicals, and the Politicalization of the Supreme Court

Kavanaugh, Rules for Radicals, and the Politicalization of the Supreme Court

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President of Mediafy Communications Group

In the UK, the Queen does not answer to anyone in the government. Her Queenship is not dependant upon pandering to special interest groups or negotiating with members of political parties. She is anointed by God-not appointed by the people. Therefore, she is answerable only to God, and not to the people. One of the weaknesses in the United States’ political system is that a great part of its existence revolves around favors, personal agreements, and sometimes payoffs. A beacon of light within all of this potential chaos is the Supreme Court of the United States. Once appointed by the president, and confirmed by the Senate and Congress, Supreme Court members, like the Queen, are answerable only to God and their conscience. Their vote cannot be bought and they do not have to answer to anyone-they are on the court for life. However, this makes the process of confirming a candidate all the detrimental, since it is like entering into a marriage where divorce is not an option. You have to make sure the correct choice is made at the onset.

Brett Kavanaugh, on paper, looks like an ideal candidate. A cum laude graduate of Yale Law School, he has had a stellar career in the United States Judicial System. However, because of the partisan nature of the American Political System, he is a declared Republican. Removing politics from the equation, he has, for all accounts, turned to legal precedent and the constitution when deciding legal cases. He has also stated that he considers the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade to be the settled law of the land.

Women in the United States have fought hard to establish their rights to vote, to own property, to have their income counted when applying for a loan, to have access to birth control, and to have reproductive rights. For some, this is a crusade, because they are afraid of the loss of these rights. For others, these rights are now simply part of their daily lives. Brett Kavanaugh, because he is a Republican, and arguably a conservative, represents a threat to many women who fear the loss of the reproductive freedoms women in the United States currently enjoy. In a confidential 2003 email, Kavanaugh states that he isn’t sure all legal scholars would agree that Roe v. Wade is the “settled law of the land,” and argues that the Supreme Court can “always overrule its precedent.” Contention regarding Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings began shortly after a former lawyer of George W. Bush turned over the email to the Senate Judiciary committee.

This is a pivotal time on the Supreme Court’s history, with four conservatives on the Supreme Court out of the total of nine. Another conservative on the court could potentially upset the balance, and lead to the possible appeal of Roe V. Wade. Kavanaugh’s confirmation, then, presents a problem.

Having been raised by a feminist woman of the 60’s, I do not take our rights for granted. I have been sexually harassed, and I have faced discrimination in the workplace. I am thankful to have the “right to choose.” I know the struggle for gender equality is real and ongoing and I identify as a feminist. However, when I see the accusations being leveled against Kavanaugh, it takes me back to a book I read in college called “Rules for Radicals,” written by Saul Alinsky. What is happening to Brett Kavanaugh is literally a play by play of what this book advocates.

Alinsky’s First Rule Is:

“Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”

If Kavanaugh is the enemy, then, according to Alinsky, we must scare him into thinking we have “information on him.” We must bring forward women he may or may not have known, and have them give testimony, real or imagined. Make him worry that more may appear. This may cause him to withdraw, to prevent any further damage to his reputation and career. Whether these women are telling the truth or not becomes irrelevant. The goal is to get him to step aside.

Rule Number Two Is:
“Never go outside the expertise of your people.”

An argument based upon the balance of the Supreme Court and its eventual repercussions regarding reproductive rights in America is arguably over the heads of many people, and a divisive one at that. Keeping the argument simple and dramatic is far more effective. Women coming forward and claiming molestation and potential rape is an offense to anyone, on the right or on the left. It garners popular support and gets you closer to the goal-having Kavanaugh step aside or not garnering enough bipartisan votes to be confirmed.

Rule Number Three:
“Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.”

If Kavanaugh is innocent of the charges levied against him, then he has no experience in the area of molestation or rape. He is a conservative Republican, married with children. He works every day and then goes home to his family. Having accusations levied against him such as these is completely foreign to him. Most likely, Kavanaugh was blindsided. As a result, his reactions are angry and emotional. This matter, and how to react to it, are “outside his airspace.” An emotional response to the accusations strengthens the enemy’s argument that he is dangerous and untrustworthy.

Rule Four:
“Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

Go back through Kavanaugh’s emails over the past 20 years and find something that does not agree with what he is saying now. Find old girlfriends who claim he misbehaved, creating a conflict with who he is now. bring into question the enemy’s credibility and reputation, creating more and more damage until all trust is gone.

Rule Five:
“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

There is no doubt that Kavanaugh is facing ridicule. For what he is being accused of, there is no defense. Bringing up women from years ago when Kavanaugh was a minor, is arguably irrational but it is also infuriating. More importantly, it can also force the enemy into conceding. That is the goal with Kavanaugh. If the ridicule leads to him bowing out, then the “means was worth the end.”

Rule Six:
“A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”

Radical activists love nothing more than taking down a conservative Republican. Everyone avoids activities that are “un-fun”, but we all enjoy activities that bring results and actually work. Kavanaugh represents the stereotypical, privileged, conservative, pro-life male with a wife at home. What’s more entertaining than destroying him completely?

Rule Seven:
“A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”

The accusations against Kavanaugh and resulting testimony are quick and dirty. This whole thing might be over tomorrow. Moments like this keep activists excited, involved and constantly coming up with new tactics. It is a radical liberal’s dream come true because there’s almost instant satisfaction.

Rule Eight:
“Keep the pressure on. Never give up.”

Continue introducing new tactics to constantly keep the enemy off kilter. When the enemy addresses and conquers one approach, hit with another. Keep attacking from all sides, never allowing the enemy to rest, recoup, recover, or re-strategize. With Kavanaugh, once one woman is derided, another one appears. Once one email is addressed, another is produced. It is a never-ending cycle of attacks, with the goal of getting Kavanaugh to either not be confirmed or to quit first.

Rule Nine:
“The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”

In order to defeat Kavanaugh, radical activists have accused him of wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade. This worst-case scenario is contrary to what Kavanaugh himself has stated that, in his opinion, this is the settled law of the land. He has acknowledged that others may disagree and that the courts could overturn the landmark case. But he has indicated his intentions are not to do so. Nevertheless, because of a confidential 2003 email, he has become the face of forbidding abortion in America-the big bad white male who wants to take away reproductive rights for women. Imagination can lead to imaginary consequences, and fear of those imaginary consequences leads to confirmation hearing being delayed, just as we are seeing now with Kavanaugh.

Rule Ten:
“If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.”

If more and more women come forward, detailing alleged instances of molestation and rape by Kavanaugh, even if it is not true, it could result in his nomination not being confirmed. The left then has a chance of getting a feminist pro-life candidate on the Supreme Court, swinging the pendulum in their favored direction. The ends justify the means.

Rule Eleven:
“The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”

The successful alternative, in this case, is a democratic, pro-life candidate. Who has not molested or raped any of his or her significant others? At this point, Kavanaugh has been portrayed so poorly, that just about anyone without a love life appears better.

Rule Twelve:
“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Branding Kavanaugh as a molester and rapist cuts off his support network and isolates him from sympathy. It is easier and more effective to attack Kavanaugh personally, then to attack the Roe v. Wade issue directly. People fall faster than institutions. This may be cruel, but it is very effective, and it gets the job done.

In conclusion, Brett Kavanaugh may or may not be in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, but the fear of him doing so has resulted in a play by play of “Rules for Radicals”. As a feminist in favor of reproductive rights for women, and one schooled in the methods used by radicals, I am more than aware of the tactics being used against Kavanaugh and why they are being used. But the bigger question remains; are we as Americans, pro-life or not, willing to sit by and watch a man’s life get destroyed because of the mere possibility that he might sway our Supreme Court in a conservative direction?

Leadership Styles, Transformation, and Success in the Business World

Leadership Styles, Transformation, and Success in the Business World

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President of Mediafy Communications Group

As many individuals with business degrees know, there are nine common leadership styles; transformational, transactional, servant, autocratic, laissez-faire, democratic, bureaucratic, charismatic, and situational. As a business leader, it is not only wise, but arguably essential, to ask oneself, “What type of leader are you?” It is also important to determine what type of leadership style best motivates ones team. Asking these questions not only assists business leaders in adopting successful characteristics for themselves, but it also assists them in selecting effective managers for their teams. Here, we will analyze four of these leadership styles.

Richard Branson

Transformational Leadership

In the marketing world, individuals are encouraged and even required to use their intellect. Websites, digital marketing, and marketing campaigns, all require an open environment that fosters creativity as well as critical thinking. This includes hiring professionals who are able to lead projects without a great deal of supervision, ultimately transforming the company as well as themselves. In order to have transformational employees, a company must have transformational leaders. In short, these are leaders who trust their employees and want them to contribute as well as grow. Company cultures with transformational leadership often provide continuing education to their staff, and reward “thinking outside the box.” Richard Branson is an excellent example of a transformational company culture. An overwhelmingly inspiring individual, everything from his social media to his public appearances oozes with transformation. Arguably, this is why he has been so successful in the business world.

Transactional Leadership

In contrast, transactional leadership is based more on a “carrot and stick” type of approach. In this leadership dynamic, employees must follow a clear chain of command, and not go outside “their lane.” Company cultures implementing this approach reward adherence to the rules, and are punished for breaking them. In public agencies, government, and even schools, the transactional leadership role is predominant. If a student follows the rules, they are rewarded. If they do well on a paper, they get an A. However, what is standard and effective in the public sector, often backfires in the private one. Critics state that transactional leaders do not foster creative thinking, and in fact, often penalize for it. Companies providing creativity to their clients often find themselves stifled by a leader utilizing this approach.

Autocratic Leadership

The autocratic leadership style is often employed by unseasoned business leaders, with little to no managerial experience. With time, and a willingness to learn, this can transform into a more advanced leadership style. However, during an autocratic leadership period, business leaders often display extreme control over their staff, rarely taking suggestions, and rarely sharing power. Companies with autocratic leaders typically have “stressed out” employees, high turnover, and a lack of intellectual stimulation amongst their staff. Business leaders who remain autocratic typically do not remain business leaders for long, because unhappy staff typically flee at the first opportunity. In the marketing world, autocratic leaders must “change or die.” Creative individuals will not stand for it, and non-creative individuals will flee from it. Schooling in management techniques can result in the dissolution of autocratic leadership, but the leader must be willing to change. If the business leader displays an unwillingness to transform their leadership style, the transformation is often made for them, through the business dissolving or being sold to another with more a more advanced leadership style.

Laissez-Faire Leadership

Laissez-Faire leadership or leadership led by “the invisible hand” is one in which employees are allowed to complete their tasks as they see fit. Business leaders who employ this approach have the ultimate task of completed projects, happy employees, and happy customers. However, leaders utilizing this approach realize their are various means “from A to D.” As a result, teams are encouraged to sort out the particulars themselves, as long as the final result is achieved. However, such a leadership style often results in a “double-edged sword”-happy employees but unhappy customers. When staff performance is monitored, productivity and quality can slip, resulting in details “falling through the cracks.” The Laissez-Faire leadership style is often employed by company leaders who view their jobs as a hobby, or who on the verge of retirement. While great in theory, it is very rarely an effective way to run a profitable and successful company. Employees need structure to achieve their deadlines, and structure often disappears in such a laid-back environment. Laissez-Faire leadership is often considered the opposite side of the spectrum from Autocratic; while one is often present at the beginning of a leaders career, the other is often often present at its end. Success is arguably found in the middle.


In closing, there are nine forms of leadership styles and four have been analyzed here. Transformational leaders encourage profit and success through the transformation of their employees and ultimately their company. Transactional leadership, while effective in the public sphere, is not nearly as effective in the private one. Autocratic and Laissez-Faire leaders represent extreme side of the spectrum, and companies as well as individuals often suffer as a result. Quite simply, Transformational leaders are open to transformation, and this leads to more effective leadership, happier staff, and more successful companies.

Press Release

Katherine Fry, CEO/President of Mediafy Communications Group in Chattanooga, TN., is pleased to announce the hiring of Martin Cooper as the company’s new Digital Search Specialist. A graphic design graduate of Montevallo University in Shelby County, Alabama, Martin moved to the Chattanooga area for its beautiful scenery and culture of outdoor sports.  The leadership team at Mediafy Communications are thrilled to have Martin on the team and look forward to watching his career blossom. Welcome, Martin!


Sales Executives, Sales Support, and the Royal Yacht Britannia

How Taking Away Tools and Benefits Ultimately Hurts Sales Organizations and Countries

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President of Mediafy Communications Group

The British Government decommissioned the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1997. According to the government’s official website, “On 23 June 1994, John Major’s Government announced there would be no refit for HMY Britannia as the costs would be too great. After a long and successful career spanning 44 years and traveling over 1 million miles around the globe, it was announced that the last Royal Yacht was to be decommissioned.

There was no immediate decision about a replacement, but the question of a new Royal Yacht became a political issue in the run up to the 1997 General Election. The Conservative Party’s Secretary of State for Defense announced that if they were to be re-elected, they would build a new Royal Yacht, funded entirely from public monies. However, the Labour Party opposed this, stating the expense could not be warranted given the state of the economy. After the election, the new Labour Government eventually confirmed in October 1997 there would be no replacement for Britannia.”

While to many this seemed like a practical decision, to others it appeared incredibly short sighted. With the royal family’s popularity at an all-time low following the death of the Princess of Wales, this decision could not have been altogether unexpected. Nevertheless, following my most recent trip to Scotland, I encountered a completely different and perhaps enlightening perspective.

For many months, my niece and I anticipated our invitations to dinner on the Royal Yacht Britannia. My husband purchased our niece a tiara at Universal Studios. Everything from our dresses to our nails had been planned to the finest detail. And the Brittania delivered. A very knowledgeable historian gave us a tour of the royal yacht, showing us everything from the former royal car, to where the Queen would sit and have breakfast. Most poignantly, and perhaps unexpectedly, our guide showed us the royal family’s sitting room and dining room, where multi-million dollar trade deals were stuck all around the world. Trade envoys, vying to open trade routes around the world for British goods, succeeded in getting individuals to the table on Brittania, where others had failed. Billions dollar deals were struck at the very tables and couches where we sat drinking champagne, pouring countless monies into the British economy. In truth, while the Labour Party in Great Britain viewed the Royal Yacht Britannia as merely an expensive toy for the British royal family, it actually functioned as a highly valuable sales tool for the the royal family and the British government. After the decommissioning of the yacht, Tony Blair expressed his regrets in not fighting this haphazard decision. He realized it was shortsighted, and ultimately hurt the British economy.

Shortsightedness in making business decisions is a common malady often affecting business owners. The Queen is, in effect, a sales executive for the country of Britain. She earns a commission of 17% on the gross profit brought in by all of the crown properties. The better she performs, the more money she makes. But like all sales executives, she needs support. And her majesty needs a vacation.

Being a sales executive is a tremendously difficult job. When I chose this as my career, I truly had no idea it would become not only a career, but also a way of life. I am always on call, always on my best behavior, and always having my customers at the forefront of my mind. Even on vacation, I am not truly on vacation, because clients still need my assistance, regardless of my circumstance. As a sales executive, and now a business owner, I am well aware that sales executives need support. Most importantly, they need the tools to succeed. Over the course of my sales career thus far, I have encountered hard-headed sales managers who felt that sales executives expected too much, and should thus be on commission only, with no benefits. Arguments for this include, “it makes then more motivated to sell,” “they are in control of their own destinies,” and “they put less drag on a sales organization.” However, in my experiences as a business leader, I have become convinced that putting sales executives on commission only is a grave mistake. Because they are not held accountable to the organization for which they work, they ultimately are not successful. In order to monitor the time of a sales executive, and to hold them accountable for their behavior during a sales day, that sales executive must be receiving an hourly wage. A smart sales organization also provides that executive the tools they need to be successful. Benefits such as paid vacation, a company car, and/or a 401k, not only enhance the life of a sales executive, but also increase employee loyalty. Ultimately, the entire organization benefits.

The life of a sales executive is incredibly difficult. As a sales executive for Great Britain, the Queen’s life, also, has substantial challenges. Her Majesty and her family must perform to earn their 17%. The Queen must generate enough interest in herself and her family that tourists will flock to Britain, visit her properties and buy her goods offered in crown property gift stores. She is constantly on display, with her every move scrutinized, and face the constant criticism upon her and her family for not inheriting and not “earning” her position. But the reality is, if the Queen does not sell, she does not get. Items such as the Royal yacht Britannia not only had a direct positive impact on the British economy, but they provided for the Queen and her family a much needed respite from constantly working for not only their country, but also their own livelihoods. When tools for success and benefits are taken away, sales executives can “lose their will to sell,” and then they truly do become a burden on the organization of which they are a part. If the Queen and her family are stripped of all their benefits, they may stop performing, with dire consequences not only to themselves but to the British economy as a whole.

As business owners, the well-being of our sales executives is paramount. Their positions are challenging, as well as stressful, and they need the tools and benefits for their own success as well as the success of the organization to which they belong. I, for one, no longer hire sales executives on strict commission. I provide them with a salary, as well as additional perks. As time goes on, my organization will provide them more. Punishing sales executives by taking away tools and benefits, as parliament punished the Queen by taking away Britannia, is a terrible mistake and very shortsighted. Let’s remember this when hiring sales executives and then when supporting them out in the field.

Are Traditional Gender Roles Obsolete?

An Analysis of the Relevance of Traditional Gender Roles in our Homes, Governments, and Businesses.

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President of Mediafy Communications Group

Is traditional marriage dead?  Having been raised by a feminist mother of the 60’s, I have often asked myself this question.  My marriage is definitely a contemporary one-my husband and I both have careers, we split the bills, and keep our finances separate.  My mother raised me with the ideals of education, self-worth, and independence. “Never be dependent on a man,” she would often say. “Because you never know when he might leave.”  As a result, I married later in life, and the traditional homemaker gender role is not one that I have embraced-at all. In fact, all of the household chores have been delegated to others, so my husband and I can focus on our careers.

As I perused around Paris with my 9-year-old niece, the fate of Marie Antoinette weighed heavily on us.  Her ghost could be felt everywhere-from the Conciergerie, where the revolutionaries held her, to the Place de la Concorde, (previously the Place de la Revolution), where she died at the blade of the guillotine.  “Why did they kill her,” my niece asked, over and over. “What did she do? And why did they throw eggs at her and her children”

As I researched the fate of the last Queen of France before its first revolution, I became struck by the lack of control she had in her life.  Forced to marry the King of France by her mother, Marie Therese, Empress of Austria, Marie Antoinette did not reign herself. Instead, she filled the position of Queen consort, or wife to the king, and mother of future heirs.  A foreign royal of Austrian descent, the French viewed her as an outsider, and worse, a traitor providing information to one of France’s main enemies. Nevertheless, she relished her life as a wife and mother and did her duty giving birth to two beautiful children.  While arguably in an often difficult position, Marie Antoinette could at least find solace in her traditional gender role.

As the winds of revolution blew into France, Robespierre, a leader in the movement, proposed the new idea of a “Constitutional Monarchy.”  In this scheme, traditional gender roles arguably came into play- with the proposed elected parliament operating as “the husband,” and the hereditary monarchy operating as “the wife.”  In such a proposed government, Robespierre advanced that the Parliament would serve at the pleasure of the King officially, with the King offering advice, support, and influence. Additionally, the King would remain a figure beloved by the people, providing future monarchs for the continuation of the government.  Essentially, the people would view the King as a loving parent, and the prime minister as the disciplinarian. While to many this proposed government sounded fair and reasonable, Marie Antoinette felt it made her position redundant. As the spouse of an absolute ruler, she enjoyed the position of consort or wife to the Monarch.  Under this new government scheme, Marie Antoinette would become “the wife of the wife.” Already despised by the people of France, Marie Antoinette would accept a feminine gender role for herself in her marriage and in a traditional monarchy, but would not accept a feminine gender role for her husband in a new government. With her traditional role being usurped by her husband, her position disappeared altogether.  Of course, Marie Antoinette could not accept this. She encouraged her husband to reject this “unholy idea,” and the royal family tried fleeing to Austria, in an attempt to gather Austrian forces and retake absolute power. Along the way, revolutionaries intercepted the family, betrayed by their lack of cooperation in the development of “a new France.” Ultimately, the entire family died at the hands of the revolution, save the daughter, who lived out her years in Austria.

In America, royal families are simultaneously celebrated and ridiculed.  It is argued that they are not elected, and they don’t deserve it. In the UK, one could argue that Parliament is the husband, making laws, acquiring funds to run the country or the larger family of England, while the Queen is the one people love, offering counsel, advice, and support to the Prime Minister.  She must sign off on all laws before they are implemented and she is technically “the boss,” but her significance is primarily one of national pride and influence.

The American revolution paved the way, not only for a new government, but also for a new business structure.  With the people having lost confidence in their King, the new United States threw out the entire royal family and parliament, replacing it with what one could call a delegatory form of government.  With a Commander in Chief at the helm of government, the judicial and legislative chores became delegated. In businesses, the CEO also delegates authority to a COO, a finance department, and a human resources department, amongst others. Traditional gender roles in this government or leadership structure are gone, allowing for either a male or female to play the lead role, while delegating responsibilities,  without a spouse to provide balance. As Americans, we prefer this structure in our government and in our businesses, but does it work at home? For me in my marriage, it does. Yet, as an Anglican, I love and admire the Queen, as well as the role she plays in the UK’s larger governmental structure. I can’t imagine an England without her. The Queen’s influence is constantly felt, and her consistent presence is highly valued.  While raised a feminist, I rather like the idea of a constitutional monarchy. Is the female gender role relevant anymore, in a modern government, business, and families? For that matter, are gender roles relevant at all? When Marie Antoinette tried to retain her wifely role, she lost her head. As women, do we need to move forward and shed our feminine personas, or risk becoming redundant? I am unsure, but while I am a traditional feminist, I still feel comfortable in saying, ‘God save the Queen!”   As we embark on this new world, the gender roles of women will continue to evolve, as we reach outside the traditional confines of marriage, and pave our own ways in government, business, and our own homes.

The Relevance of Gender, Class, and Joan of Arc in The Business World Today

The Relevance of Gender, Class, and Joan of Arc in The Business World Today

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President of Mediafy Communications Group

Today, Joan of Arc is revered around the world. The Roman Catholic Church canonized her in 1920 and claimed her image as their own. During my most recent trip to Paris, we visited a prominent boulevard named “Jean D’Arc”, after the beloved “Maid D’Orleans.” However, my visit to Rouen, France recently, with my nine-year-old niece in tow, revealed quite a different side to the story. Why is this young girl, only 18 when she led the army of France into battle, and 19 when burned at the stake, portrayed so differently now, than at the time of her execution in 1431?

Joan of Arc’s family expected her to marry and have a family. Constrained by both class and gender, Joan’s life consisted of church and farmwork. At the age of 18, most women in France married and began families. Nevertheless, Joan, by her own account, asked to be brought to the Dauphin, or “Crown Prince” of France, and, while dressed in men’s clothing, asked to lead his army into battle. While at first, the Dauphin did not take her seriously, he ultimately acquiesced, figuring he had nothing to lose. Dressed as a male knight, and indistinguishable from her male counterparts, Joan led the French army to victory over the English at Orléans. Soon thereafter, she accompanied the Dauphin to his coronation, made possible by this military success.

No one had ever seen the likes of Joan of Arc, with her unsurpassed bravery. A slight young girl, no one expected such behavior or such bravery. Celebrated by the French, the English demonized her as a witch. Captured a year after her military success by the angry British, Joan of Arc faced various accusations, including, the charge “of wearing men’s clothing.” Having stepped outside her traditional gender role, in the field of battle, no less, against a very bitter enemy, Joan of Arc found herself declared “a witch” and burned at the stake in a public market.

Despite the strides that women have made today, we still face hardships and criticisms with very real consequences. Women in business today often find themselves “playing in the sandbox” of men, and war in business can be as real as war on the battlefield. Previously, as a business co-owner, I personally felt the repercussions of demanding equality with a male counterpart. The struggle included demanding equal pay and authority, followed by the pushback, the slander, and the demonization he portrayed about me to others. Nevertheless, I continued on without him, rebuilding and rebranding the company. Joan of Arc, while also very strong, could not escape the harsh Catholic trial at the hands of the English. 500 years later they publicly apologized and made her a saint. I am unsure if any such apology will ever come to me, or the countless other women who have categorically suffered after demanding equality within the confines of the business world.

My nine-year-old niece sat through the trial of Joan of Arc and heard the stories of a black cat being thrown at her burning body. A cross now stands where her execution occurred. Had Joan of Arc lived, she would have been at the right hand of the King of France? Today her identity is defined and claimed by those her killed her. Contemporary women have a greater opportunity to define themselves, their successes, their gender, and their lives. While we still face barriers, they can be overcome through personal perseverance, and by not allowing others to define our identities to others. As a female business owner, I am certainly thankful to have received an excellent education, to have a supportive husband and the self-esteem that my parents encouraged within me, to fight, to win, and to most importantly help others do the same.

My visit to Floors Castle and American Ingenuity in the Face of Adversity

My visit to Floors Castle and American Ingenuity in the Face of Adversity

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President of Mediafy Communications Group

Born of a father from the North and a mother from the South, I am more than familiar with the terms Yankee and Dixie. I have been called both, as well as half-Dixie. However, in England, Americans are all referred to as “Yanks,” and it is not always as a compliment. Nevertheless, as a child of America, I have come to recognize the inherent qualities that are readily existent in nearly all Americans. Northerners call it “Yankee ingenuity,” but it truly applies to all the children of America. Americans tend to have a tenacity to compete, to win, and to most importantly, to make the best of any and all situations.

A prime example is Mary Goelet, a so called “bride of fortune,” married off at the turn of the century to a well-titled, well-connected, but nevertheless very broke Scottish Aristocrat. Following in the footsteps of her very unhappy distant cousin, Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough, opinions regarding the match vacillated between exuberance and pity. Consuelo made no secret of unhappiness with her aristocratic, arranged marriage. She loved another, and lived a life of dometic upheavals. High society worried that such a fate awaited the young Mary Goelet. Nevertheless, they needed not to worry.

Mary Goelet, Duchess of Roxborough, restricted in her choices by both class and gender, embraced her new life and did more than make the best of it. Rather than marrying an aristocrat, she viewed it as marrying an opportunity–that is, the opportunity to put her own stamp on a once grand, but now somewhat downtrodden, country home. The home had potential, and with her dowry of $20 million dollars, Mary turned this country home into a castle. Today this country home is known as Floors Castle, and the family is supported, at least in part, by the opening of sections for a fee to the public.

During the time period of Mary Goelet, very little of heard of the Duke. Probably a meek and mild fellow, it seems he deferred almost entirely to his American wife. My tour of Floors Castle was sprinkled with negative comments about Mary Goelet. The tour guides simply referred to her as “The American lady,” who “made unfortunate changes…..nothing we can do about it now.” They explained she turned a dining room into a ball room, turned a bedroom into a sitting room, closed off hallways, eliminated windows, added a new wing. Most wretchedly, they commented, she brought in French tapestries, and frenchified an entire room! Despite all the negativity regarding this “American lady” from the staff, I could not help but see the penumbras of Yankee ingenuity in her work. Mary Goelet did not marry a man-she married a house-and she made that house her castle. She ran the home like a business, growing and selling vegetables in the garden. She opened a wing of the castle and starting charging a fee. The money she brought with her became supplemented by the business practices she likely learned from her prominent, business-minded relatives in America. The Floors Castle we know today is in great part, because of Mary Goelet. Unlike Consuelo Vanderbilt, who ultimately left her husband, Blenheim Palace, and her riches she brought with her to marry another, Mary Goelet held the course of her marriage and set the foundations for an empire. While a bride of fortune, forced into an arranged marriage, she claimed the house and the life as her own-arguably, Yankee ingenuity at its best.

As Americans living in the 21st century, we are lucky to live in a time period, almost entirely free of class constraints, where we can pick our own spouses and forge our own paths. And yet, these freedoms came about because of the evolution of past cultures our forefathers lived in- a culture today that cries the anthem of Winston Churchill, an English politician with an American mother- ‘Young men (and women), never give up. Never give up! Never give up!! Never, never, never-never-never-never!'” Play the cards you have-and if you don’t like the cards you have-reach for another. This is Yankee ingenuity at its best.

As a business leader, one constantly comes across problems. They key is to always search for a solution, and to never give-up. As Americans, this anthem is in our blood. As an American, I was thrilled to see good old Yankee ingenuity within the walls of a Scottish Country home. As a business owner, I will continue striving to apply that Yankee ingenuity into the lifeblood of my business. May we all strive to do so within our lives and businesses, as Mary Goelet did within hers.

New Promotion

Katherine Fry, President and CEO of Mediafy Communications in Chattanooga, TN announces the promotion of Marley Moyer to Media Director.  Marley has been with Mediafy Communications since June of 2016, and has worked her way up through the ranks of the company. With all of her multiple contributions, she has more than earned her wings as a leader in our company. As Mediafy Communications continues to change and grow, Marley continues to be an integral part of the company’s development.  Congratulation Marley!