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This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the August 7, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Power Tools: Metaphor for Growth
<d>Joni Daniels’ new book is Power Tools for Women.
A management development consultant, Daniels likes to use metaphors
to get points across to her clients, and finds that the portability
and efficiency of power tools make them good visuals. A metaphor for
her own career, however, might be a juicer, a blender, or any other
device suited to turning a sack full of lemons into a sweet lemonade.
On Thursday, August 20, at 5:30 p.m. she speaks on "Power Tools
for Women" at a meeting of the Central Jersey Women’s Network
at the Radisson Hotel. Cost: $30. Call 908-281-9234.
A graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego (Class of
1979), with a masters in counseling from the State University of New
York at Brockport, Daniels started out as a guidance counselor at
an alternative school for juvenile delinquents. She loved the work
and learned from her students that change is possible for anyone —
at any stage of life. After three years of working with the youngsters,
she moved with her husband, an engineer, when he was transferred to
Wilmington, Delaware. There she found few openings for teachers.
"I had to make the transition from education to business,"
she says, "but I had no business experience on my resume and I
had no contacts." She found that many people in the section of
the East Coast running from northern New Jersey through Philadelphia
and into Delaware stay put, working in the same area in which they
grew up and went to school. She found it hard to break into the network,
and so she enrolled in the Organizational Development Network in Philadelphia,
learning business skills and working at an internship. "I took
two steps backward to move forward," she says.
Staking out a niche in corporate training and development, she went
to work in a number of growth industries, and in every case, she says,
"two years later they were downsizing." She ticks off the
list — "oil, insurance, semiconductors…" Then came banking.
Her last employer was a bank holding company that, upon being acquired,
lopped off its entire human resources department.
Daniels, by then the mother of a two-year-old, immediately started
on yet another round of job interviews. "It was 1988, the recession
had not yet begun," she recalls. "I figured I’d just go out
and get a better job, with better pay."
But during each job interview, something struck her as being wrong.
Either the commute was too long, the boss was terrible, the neighborhood
looked dangerous, or the work was something she had just done, and
was not eager to start in on again. The last interview was with a
large Philadelphia company. "I had just put on the dog and pony
show," she says, "and the next day the company announced it
was being bought."
She called the human resources department and took her hat out of
the ring, not up for taking a job she knew could easily go away within
months. When she called, the head of HR asked if she had ever thought
of going out on her own.
Her response: "Who? Me? Never!"
"I had never been a vice president, I had no grey hair, I didn’t
have $100,000 in the bank," she recalls telling the HR chief.
"And besides," she went on, "I would feel too isolated."
"I think you may be underestimating your abilities, and overestimating
your competition," the HR chief countered.
She asked if he would hire her if she were out on her own. When he
answered in the affirmative, she turned a picture of herself as a
business owner around in her head for the first time in her life.
Shortly thereafter she ran into a friend who had a good industry contact
who wanted a training program, but did not have the expertise to conduct
the training herself. Daniels joined forces with her.
"I liked it," she says of the experience. "I was good
at it, and it allowed me flexibility." But she did not enjoy working
with her friend, and determined to strike out on her own. She began
by sending letters to all of the companies at which she had recently
interviewed, asking if they could use her expertise at management
"That was the spring of 1989," she says. "What I had learned
was, there is no job security. The only employment security is being
able to go out and find work." Successful in her work, which,
for the past five years or so, has centered around teaching managers
how to manage change, she makes sure to allocate 20 percent of her
week to marketing. "No one client should account for more than
30 percent of your income," she says. Remaining visible is vital
for business owners. Networking is a big part of visibility; so is
One of her articles, "Power Tools for Life," inspired her
book, the first she has written. The publishing consultant with whom
she was working suggested that she tweak the title, making it "Power
Tools for Women."
"No way!" she says of her response. "My clients are men
and women." But, her consultant persuaded her, publishers need
to market to niches, the narrower the better. She balked at aiming
the book only at professional women, or executives, or any other subset,
but did agree that women have "a much different issue with power."
Work for men, she says, is a game. A game they have devised and for
which they have set rules. Men, as a whole, are comfortable wielding
power. Women, often, are not.
Her book aims to use the metaphor of power tools to arm women with
the skills they need to build soaring lives — at home and in their
communities as well as at work. Women need to learn the nuances of
power, while avoiding stridency. "Nobody," says Daniels, "wants
to be a bitch."
Salespeople bogged down with hand-adjusting quotes that
can’t easily be sent through E-mail are finally getting relief. An
innovative new sales-quoting software tool that lets salespeople give
detailed product information and quotes over the Web was just released
by Electronic Business Universe (EBU) in the Straube Center.
QwikQuote 5, an upgrade on the existing sales software, combines a
detailed product catalog with a sales-quoting tools so you can really
"sell" customers on products and at the same time tally purchases.
"You don’t have to hand type in each new item and then print it
out and fax it," EBU president
create a catalog and every time you add an item it jumps into your
quote." When it’s complete, the quote can be sent directly to
the customer through E-mail.
QwikQuote 5 is compatible with Windows ’95, ’98, or NT, costs $199,
and you can test-ride it at www.qwikquote.com Among the software’s
pictures or video.
to PDF files and attached to E-mail.
ACT!, GoldMine and Maximizer so you can print, fax, or E-mail a sales
quote with an order.
Paul, a graduate of Princeton University, Class of 1979, and founder
of Clancy Paul Computer Centers in the Princeton Shopping Centers.
He sold off the computer business in 1986, and with the help of international
financier Win Straube, started QwikQuote — which later changed
Right now Paul is wrapping up another project — a website that
lets digital camera owners develop photos online. At Photosbynet (www.photosbynet.com)
anyone with a digital camera can upload photos to the web and instantly
look at thumbnails. Customers can choose their favorites and "click"
them off to MotoPhoto — a collaborator in the project — for
development. The pictures arrive in the mail a few days later. Photosbynet
should be fully-operating by mid-summer.
Paul suspects the Internet will put an end to film. "Some of the
photo companies are still fighting the last battle, but we said chuck
all that and go straight to digital," he says. "We think it’s
a billion-dollar idea."
It won’t cost consumers much, though. Even with a $1 monthly fee for
use of Photosbynet, Paul says it will cost less than taking your film
to the local drugstore or developer. The big cost will be that digital
camera, which could be anywhere from $200 to $900.
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