Turning Twenty: A Decisive Moment

Claudia GonzalezIt’s not often that I have the opportunity to photograph a subject I know with certainty is at a pivotal juncture in their life. Just prior to the mark of her 20th birthday, Claudia asked me to photograph her before the end of her adolescence as a gift to her mother.

Claudia_Gonzalez-02-19-2016-0030-0033RT2

Claudia wanted to be photographed outdoors, serene and woodsy, in the way of a Midsummer Night’s Dream. It seemed unfortunate at the time that the date of our session — the last date possible — was forecast to rain, with the elements markedly against us. Thanks to Claudia’s sense of adventure, however, the wind and mist presented an added air of spontaneity and mischief.

“The setting was like I always imagined it, even better with the lake.  I was super cold but I’m glad it didn’t show in the pictures!  The wind was a plus!  And I’m glad my ideas for the shoot were all accepted.”

There is a sense of magic at a moment when everything is possible. Thank you, Claudia, for inviting me to share that moment!

I wish you all the best as you begin your next chapter. I hope it is filled to the brim with new adventures!

– Nancy

Claudia_Gonzalez-02-19-2016-0045-0055-0060

877-881-7221 | nancyrothstein.comnancy@nancyrothstein.com

Giving Back: Merideth Mehlberg Organizes Third Annual Holiday Pajama Drive

Holiday Pajama Drive: Benefit for Alameda Midway Shelter

Lorie Curtis, Development Coordinator of Building Futures with Women and Children, along side Merideth Mehlberg, founder of the Holiday Pajama Drive.


 

Three years ago, I was invited to photograph what was to become Merideth Mehlberg’s first annual Holiday Pajama Drive. The event serves to benefit the Midway Shelter, supporting women and children at a time of undeniable need through the donation of funds and basic necessities.

I first met Merideth when she came to me for new marketing imagery for her executive coaching and consulting firm based in Alameda. As our kinship grew, Merideth brought me onto her team to provide headshots to her clients. Throughout my time working with her, I have been endlessly impressed by her positivity, motivation, and ever-generous spirit. She is truly an inspiration!

The Holiday Pajama Drive began with a simple idea. With so much focus on receiving during the holiday season, Merideth wanted to give her kids the opportunity to experience the joy of giving. She had a strong memory of her parents helping a family in need when she was young, and she wanted to continue the family tradition of giving back. She soon learned that the sentiment resonated with others in her community and the wheels began to turn.

Rather than simply gifting checks, guests are encouraged to pick a specific family, who remains anonymous, to shop for each holiday season. Beyond building a spirit of generosity, Merideth’s event creates a feeling of community — with each family who shopped for a family coming to bring their gifts and enjoy an evening together, all in the spirit of giving.

Holiday Pajama Drive: Benefit for Alameda Midway Shelter

Three years from its start, this year’s event raised $1,100 and clothed 115 people, women and their children, across three shelters with fresh new jammies and other comfy clothes. The event featured a delicious spread from Lainie Acacio of Gather & Grub, a performance by the amazingly talented Barefoot Quales family bluegrass band, and a fun Zumba dance session for the kids led by Denise Lum.

This is beautiful event full of kids and parents coming together to care for other kids and mothers in their community. Thank you, Merideth, for continually inspiring us to be our best selves and showing the next generation what it means to be a good neighbor and a good human being!

-Nancy

Merideth Mehlberg is an executive coach based in Alameda. You can find more information on her firm, the Holiday Pajama Drive, and notifications for next year’s drive on her website.

Midway Shelter‘s mission is to advocate for homeless women and their children, assuring their right to live free of domestic violence in a safe and supportive environment. The Network strives to secure adequate funding to keep the Midway Shelter operating 24 hours a day while raising the consciousness of our community. Even though this year’s Pajama Drive is over, you can still help!

Holiday Pajama Drive: Benefit for Alameda Midway Shelter(Top to bottom) Merideth Mehlberg presents a check to Lorie Curtis of Building Futures with Women and Children; proud gift giver poses with this year’s presents.

877-881-7221 | nancyrothstein.comnancy@nancyrothstein.com

Linda Lancione: San Francisco Bay Area Author Portrait

Linda_Lancione-10-30-15-0033RT

I had the great opportunity of working with author and poet, Linda Lancione, earlier this month as the release date of her latest work, The Taste of Blood (Finishing Line Press), quickly approaches.

The experience was both a privilege and an engaging endeavor, as we worked together to cultivate the candor that her work so aptly portrays. I loved the process of getting to an honest image, where the true self came through.

Linda’s work takes on challenging issues, and it was important for her portrait to be just as honest, engaging, and real. Beyond capturing a simple or welcoming smile, we needed to convey a more complex message, one that her work ultimately does; that life is complicated, messy, and that she maintains her ability to be present with all of it and reconcile the extremes.

Linda kindly lent a few words of appreciation about our process working together:

“Having my author photo taken by Nancy Rothstein was a transformative experience for me. I was nervous about looking old in the photos–and, was I wearing the right earrings, the right top?—but she put me at ease and got me talking about my book. Later, when I saw the photos, I saw a woman I liked: animated, thoughtful, complex—the age and beauty questions didn’t matter anymore. The photos seemed to reveal me from the inside—that was enough. That was a gift!”

A big congratulations to Linda Lancione on her upcoming title. Thank you, Linda, for giving me the chance to take on the feat of distilling your inspiring, captivating, complexity!

– Nancy

 

The Taste of Blood is scheduled to be released on March 11, 2016 (available for pre-order through Finishing Line Press after November 16). Can’t wait? You can get a taste of her work on SoftBlow.org.

Linda_Lancione-10-30-15-0027RT

877-881-7221 | nancyrothstein.comnancy@nancyrothstein.com

My First Year: Bay Area Children’s Portraits

Josephine-0005RT-WebTime flies.  I realize now that it’s been over three years since I met Kerry, when she reached out to me for new headshots.  Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of photographing her as she and Chris were expecting their first child, and we’ve captured each phase of their darling girl’s first year.  Kerry has an amazing eye for design, and her clean aesthetic comes through in her home and wardrobe.  It’s always calming and inspiring to be in her home.  But, of course, the star of the show is this amazing little girl, whose smile lights up the room.  Every time I get to photograph her she absolutely wins my heart.

Kerry-3-28-15-0019RT-0020RT-0022RT-0023RT

We had our first session when Josephine was a mere three weeks old, and I was delighted to bear witness to just how much her charm had blossomed six months later.  I love how the warm, neutral tones in their home help to accentuate Josephine’s beautiful blue eyes.

Josephine-9-17-15-0001RT-0002RT

We met for our third session just last month, before Josephine’s first birthday, when she and Kerry joined me for a mother-daughter session. It’s always such a blessing to be invited along on a family’s journey to capture these landmark moments.

I am so excited to see what the future has in store for this winsome, young family.

Bon anniversaire, Josephine!

– Nancy

Josephine-9-17-15-0021RT-0022RT-23RT

 

877-881-7221 | nancyrothstein.comnancy@nancyrothstein.com

Best of Oakland & the East Bay!!

 

best of oakland

I’m thrilled to have been voted Best of Oakland and the East Bay in the Oakland Magazine 2015 contest!  Thank you so much for your support; I’m honored that treasured clients, colleagues, friends, and family all took the time to vote.

I remember the very first time I earned money with my camera…it was over twenty years ago and I was beside myself about making $100.  Well, I’ve raised my prices a bit since then!!  Building a business has been a long process, and it feels amazing to receive this recognition in the community.  Even better, I am humbled to be among such amazing businesses in the list of winners, like Giovanna Tanzillo, owner of Uptown Body and Fender; truly one of Oakland’s finest–the only body shop I know of that holds major art and cultural events! Trust me; meeting Giovanna should be on your bucket list.

Another great organization, and winner in the category of Non-profit Group, is the Alameda County Community Food Bank, a wonderful place to donate and volunteer.  Last year they distributed 25 million meals, more than half of which was fresh fruits and vegetables!

If you haven’t had a chance, grab a copy of the July issue of Oakland Magazine and check out the list!

-Nancy

 

877-881-7221 | nancyrothstein.comnancy@nancyrothstein.com

Social Media Expert and Author, Alice Myerhoff: Picking the Perfect LinkedIn Photo

Alice-0022RT-blog

Remember Alice Myerhoff, inspiring client and author of Social Media for Salespeople?  You may recall that I blogged about her a few months ago when her book came out.  I’m grateful that she took the time out of her busy schedule to share some tips on the importance of selecting a good LinkedIn profile photo.  Thanks, Alice!!

5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Photo for Your LinkedIn Profile, by Alice Myerhoff

Choosing the right photo for your LinkedIn profile picture may seem like no big deal but it is important. LinkedIn is the largest social channel for business and it is where you represent your professional self. If you are thinking of LinkedIn as just an online resume for job seeking you are seriously underestimating how powerful this channel is.

As a salesperson and social media expert it is one of my most beloved business tools. I use it a number of different ways. For example, whenever I get a new lead or contact, I look them up on LinkedIn. I do this so that I can know more about this person: their work background, where they live, where they went to school, what their interests are and knowing these things prepares me to have more enjoyable and effective conversations with my business contacts. One of my favorite features of LinkedIn is “InMails” which allows me to send “cold” emails through LinkedIn to people who aren’t yet in my LinkedIn network. Part of the beauty of using LinkedIn to to send cold emails is that the email comes with a link to my profile and allows the recipient to see a bit about me before deciding if they are going act on that email or delete it, which takes the email up a level and makes it “warm.” And, of course, LinkedIn is where I put my own best professional foot forward. I do this by highlighting my work experience ranging from employment history to consulting projects and mention of my book “Social Media for Salespeople.” I also have a very carefully chosen profile picture and you should too.

Here are my tips for selecting a the right profile photo for you:

  1. Show your face. I often see photos of people that are full body because the person is trying to highlight a hobby or experience. Because the image on LinkedIn is fairly small, choosing a photo like that means that people cannot easily see your face. Seeing your face is important for a number of reasons. First of all, if you’ve met someone in person already and you’re looking to connect with them on LinkedIn, seeing your face again is likely how they will recognize you. This will help them decide if they want to make that connection online as well. Also, as you continue to interact with that person online, each time they see your photo, your relationship with them grows a little bit. You become more familiar.
  2. Look like yourself. Of course you want to look your best in your profile photo but that should not mean that you look radically different from how you do in real life. Has your hair length changed? Did you grow a beard? Do you normally wear glasses? Is your photo 10 years old? Choose a photo that reflects how you look currently. This is important because you want help people make the connection between your online and offline selves. If you look much different, there can be a disconnect that is not conducive to a productive relationship. And please please please do not use an image that is a cartoon version of yourself or a photo of your baby or a picture of Bart Simpson because you think it’s funny. None of these choices will help you from a business perspective.
  3. Match your photo to your business style. I recently had an enlightening experience at a meeting with a potential consulting client. At the end of the meeting, my contact wanted to add me as a connection on LinkedIn. He pulled up my profile on his phone and said, “You’re much warmer in person than one would guess from your photo.” My personal business style is one that is warm and friendly so my photo didn’t match who I am. Shortly after this conversation, I swapped out the more stern looking photo for one where I have a friendly smile. It’s a much better choice for me. Think about the business image you want to project and consider whether your profile photo supports that image.
  4. Be consistent. Many of us have a variety of social media and other profiles. Typically these require having some sort of image as your “avatar.” I recommend that you use the same image across all of your profiles. This is helpful because when you are connecting with business contacts across these different channels, each time they see your photo it’s a touchpoint which allows your relationship to deepen and solidify. You become more familiar to them every time they see your picture. I like to think of these touch points as branding opportunities.
  5. Use a good quality photo. This last point may seem obvious but do make sure your photo is of good quality and by that I mean that it’s in focus and that it’s cropped well so that your face is centered. Of course, if you’re working with Nancy Rothstein, that’s all a given. :-)
Business is about relationships. A simple thing like choosing a great profile photo for your online profiles can help enhance your business relationships.

If you are interested in more social media and sales tips, please follow me on Twitter @motodot or look for my posts on the salesforce.com blog.

Alice Myerhoff is author of the e-book “Social Media for Salespeople: A Step-by-Step Guide to Increasing your Leads and Sales” and a business development/sales/marketing/management executive with over 18 years of experience in industries ranging from online games, educational technology and Social business to online news media, real estate & mortgage. She is currently heading up Sales at EdSurge, and has worked at Electronic Arts, Inman News, Pivot Conference, Philips Professional Publishing, Countrywide, Princeton Capital, and the Tomorrow Project. Her party trick is being able to count to 10 in 6 languages and she is fluent in German and French. Find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter: @motodot

877-881-7221 | nancyrothstein.comnancy@nancyrothstein.com

Finalist for Best of Oakland 2015!!

best of oakland

I am grateful and humbled to be a finalist in the Commercial Photographer category of Oakland Magazine’s 2015 Best of Oakland and East Bay contest!

This truly brightens my day!  Thank you to my clients and colleagues, who are friends and neighbors, for your help getting me to the finals!

It would mean the world to me if you would cast your final vote for me in the last stage of the contest.  It’s super fast and easy to VOTE HERE; no login required!  There are two stages of voting; so if you voted in the first stage, please vote again for the finals.  Voting ends May 31st.

This is a great opportunity to support your other local favorites.  The contest allows one vote per per IP address and you can use any device.

Thank you in advance with all my heart!

-Nancy

877-881-7221 | nancyrothstein.comnancy@nancyrothstein.com

Style Tips with Michelle: Figuring Out What to Wear

We’ve all been there – the impending morning meeting with an important client and the anxiety of opening that closet door and having to figure out what you could possibly wear to make the day great!  In this installment of Style Tips with Michelle, our personal style expert Michelle Moquin addresses a common mistake people make when buying new wardrobe items and how to figure out what to wear when finding the perfect outfit seems impossible.

Michelle-0030RT2What’s the most common mistake people make in selecting clothing?

Ohh, where to begin!  There are many common mistakes that I see people make.  But the one thing that stands out right now is women buying pieces they don’t really love, either because they were desperate for something new or they bought it on sale because it was such a great price.  Those are usually the pieces that I find still hanging in their closet with the tags still on when I conduct our first closet audit.

Many of us have days where we stand in the closet and figuring out what to wear seems impossible. What is the first step to eliminating that problem?

Insuring that you have enough “core basics” in your closet is the first step towards eliminating the problem of figuring out what to wear.

When your closet is truly working for you, meaning you have all of the core basics that are needed, you won’t have that problem because you will have interesting items that mix well into outfits with your core basics.  Everything in your closet should address your Personality and your Life-Style Requirements.  When those items also work best for your Body-Type and its Symmetry and Coloring, then you will have what I call a working wardrobe.

A working wardrobe makes dressing effortless because your core basics all work well with your “interesting items.”  Figuring out what to wear is eliminated. My Initial Consultation is the first step toward creating a working wardrobe.

Thanks Michelle!  I know from experience and from the testimonials of countless clients that working with Michelle is a life transforming event.  I’m so glad we can call on her for expert advice!

-Nancy

877-881-7221 | nancyrothstein.comnancy@nancyrothstein.com

Professional Portraits and Great News from MyFitnessPal.com

I love working with start-ups.  Generally there are bean bags, ping pong tables, games that make me nostalgic (think Etch-a-Sketch and Rubik’s Cubes) and lots of energetic people working away.  And the driving force behind it all is someone’s big idea.  They’re solving a problem, helping people, and hopefully turning a profit in the process…eventually.  The thing about start-ups is that the vast majority of them fail, even if they manage to get funded.  So, it’s particularly exciting when a company does actually succeed.  When a company has great culture and employees who are working together to support folks in their pursuit of health I can really feel the triumph and joy at their success. Today, that company is MyFitnessPal.com (MFP) whose free calorie counter app is helping over 80 million users achieve their health goals.

I first met the MFP team when I was brought in to do some photography by my awesome client, marketing maven Tara Nicholle Nelson, who was doing some contract work for MFP.  By the time we did our third photo shoot at MFP, Tara had been offered the VP of Marketing position, which she accepted; she’s now CMO.  MFP sees talent quickly and they were lucky to get Tara!

Tara Nicholle Nelson , VP of Marketing at MyFitnessPal.com

Our first couple shoots were in a pretty small office; I had to take folks outside to do the headshots, and working around the room to take candids was tight.  Showing up to our next shoot at their new offices was pretty amazing; it was huge in comparison with tons of light, an exposed brick wall, and multiple meeting rooms.   We had plenty of room to work, and room for all the new hires…things were moving in the right direction.  I’ve enjoyed showing up for each subsequent shoot and seeing familiar faces; great people in a great work environment, complete with ping pong table, of course.  It’s hard to believe that their first team photo had about 30 people, while the third one had more than 90 and was less than a year later!

MyFitnessPal at 90 strong!

MyFitnessPal as it grows!

Some of the headshots from our shoots are now being showcased on the MFP jobs page. These guys know that having a consistent collection headshots for a business team really adds to the polish of the website, ultimately helping empower the brand.  Here are a three that are currently featured, along with the quotes from the team members about MFP.  I love it that they have a job titled Customer Happiness Lead; that says a lot!

"The culture is fantastic. It's a great, super-smart bunch of people. The projects are fun and you can go home feeling like you actually accomplished something." - Paul, Senior Software Engineer

“The culture is fantastic. It’s a great, super-smart bunch of people. The projects are fun and you can go home feeling like you actually accomplished something.” – Paul, Senior Software Engineer

"The decisions we make impact so many people in a positive way. It's pretty incredible to think about it." -Suzanne,  Product Manager

“The decisions we make impact so many people in a positive way. It’s pretty incredible to think about it.” – Suzanne, Product Manager

"There's a real emphasis on member success. We know that if our members are succeeding, we'll succeed." - Steven, Customer Happiness Lead

“There’s a real emphasis on member success. We know that if our members are succeeding, we’ll succeed.” – Steven, Customer Happiness Lead

The big news came last week, when it was announced that MyFitnessPal has been acquired by Under Armour for $475 million!  Why is this exciting?  Well, Forbes magazine writes that “In its nine years of existence the firm has amassed more than 80 million registered users for its website and app, and will see its combined user base with Under Armour grow to 120 million, in what the acquiring company calls the “largest digital health and fitness community in the world.”  That’s 120 million people working together and using technology to better their lives to lead healthier lifestyles.  How much better can it get?  Congratulations MyFitnessPal, you deserve it!

So, I’m guessing there will be more growth at MFP; check out the jobs page and maybe MyFitnessPal.com will be your new professional home.  Perhaps we’ll meet at the next photo shoot!  In the meantime, download their app and join a community of 80 million folks supporting each other in the pursuit of better health!

-Nancy

 

 

877-881-7221 | nancyrothstein.comnancy@nancyrothstein.com

Professional Portraits And a Mini-Interview with Heather Reynolds, Estate Planning Angel

Heather_Reynolds-0014RT

Have you ever met someone and instantly wanted to cheerlead for everything they do?  That’s how I feel about my recent client Heather Reynolds, Estate Attorney.  I know what you’re thinking…estate planning; what’s the big deal?  Well, Heather isn’t your average Estate Attorney, or, I’m guessing, your average anything!

Why am I so excited?  I had a chance to hear Heather speak about her work last week, and it was a real eye opener.  Certainly her qualifications and background are impressive, her demeanor is approachable, and her professionalism is unquestionable.  But from what I can tell she has a super power that trumps all of that.  Compassion.  Let me rephrase that. Compassion on steroids.

Do you know how important a few key legal documents are in preventing major calamities for a person or family?  Heather does.  But she also knows that not everyone can afford an estate attorney, and not everyone has access to the information they need to translate legal jargon into something other than the alien language that it is.  Most people would take that knowledge and file it somewhere in the back of their minds, to be referenced as one of the many injustices in the world, and go on their merry way.  Not Heather; she created a solution.

Heather created a new website – YourLegacyLives.com.  She made educational videos. She provided free access to three key legal documents, and a slew of others at an incredibly reduced rate, all including detailed instructions.  Heather wants every Californian to have an estate plan.  Heather is rocking my world!

After hearing her speak, and while preparing for our portrait session, I spent time looking through the new site.  And I got it.  I really got it.  Because, honestly, while I knew I needed to do some estate planning paperwork (it’s been on my list since last January….oops) I did not know about some of the forms she mentioned, which are beyond essential.  I can think of countless people who can benefit from this resource.  And when I say countless, I mean likely everyone I know under the age of 40 and whole lot of the rest of us.

So, if you can afford to pay someone to do your estate plan, call Heather.  She is warm & kind, and she brings ease to an uneasy task.  If you can’t afford to pay, or know someone who can’t, visit her new site Your Legacy Lives, and start the process for free, and continue at fraction of the cost.

I would keep gushing, instead as a part of our mini interview series, I want you to hear directly from Heather.  Here goes:

1. What is an estate plan and how do you help your clients create one?  An estate plan acts like a parachute — everyone needs a parachute to jump out of an airplane and you won’t know if it works until it’s too late.  An estate plan is a set of documents that “saves us” like a parachute when we become incapacitated or pass away — so we’ll all need one at some point — we just don’t always have advanced notice.

The estate plan documents save us from the default California laws that “protect” us from our failure to plan.  California law assumes that our families cannot be trusted to handle our financial or health affairs without court supervision.  California’s plan for us is called Probate Court.  I’ve never met someone who liked the default plan except the judges and lawyers who get paid well to supervise a family’s finances and healthcare decisions.

Most of us would prefer a private plan — one that does not involve judges and lawyers when it comes to taking care of our loved ones.  That private estate plan involves your signing several documents that opt out of the court process and trusting your loved ones to follow your wishes privately rather than spending the rest of your life in court asking permission to make decisions.  It takes months to obtain court orders, which can be a serious problem if rent, mortgages and electric bills have to be paid on time or health decisions need to made immediately.

2. Why did you decide to create YourLegacyLives.com?  What is your vision for the site?  Almost daily, I see the horror stories of an overpopulated probate court, delays and unnecessary expenses on families in crisis.  Having grown up in a family of four children and a single mom, I noticed that there were few wealthy families in the probate court.  So I interviewed over a dozen families to find out what barriers stop them from creating the documents that would allow them to opt out of the probate process.  I discovered the following barriers:

1. they didn’t know what probate would be like
2. they didn’t know the cost of hiring a lawyer in the first place
3. they didn’t have the time it takes to prepare the documents
4. they were frustrated by the “legalese” of the documents

5. they were emotionally uncomfortable discussing the issues involved

No wonder 70% of Americans don’t have any documents in place!

So I set out to create a website that would overcome all of these barriers so that every family in California could have an estate plan — so we can write our own plan rather than letting the State of California write it for us.  New clients are often surprised when I tell them what would actually happen at the time of their death or incapacity if the process was left up to the state.

YourLegacyLives.com creates a step-by-step process that educates Californians how to create their own documents from my high quality templates — the same templates I use today in my law firm and have tested for over 15 years.  The process requires only about 2 hours per week for 3 to 4 weeks to complete at a fraction of the cost of hiring a lawyer.  The videos explain each document, paragraph by paragraph, so it’s easy to understand.  There is even a free assessment to determine whether a simple will or a living trust is most appropriate for their situation.  This online approach works great for a single person or family with traditional structures and wishes.

Not only can customers save their documents to their computer for future use and changes, they can print, sign and notarize them whenever they want.  Most online systems never give this kind of control to the customer.

3. What is one important legal document that everyone needs and no one knows about?  The HIPAA release is one of the most critical documents for any estate plan. HIPAA is the privacy law that fines health care providers $100,000 if they share health information with anyone other than the patient.  That means they can’t tell you what is wrong with your spouse or your 18 year old child in the emergency room unless you obtain a court order waiving HIPAA.  If your spouse or adult child waives HIPAA prior to incapacity, then the healthcare providers will be able to share information with you.  This comes as quite a shock to most of my clients.  It’s usually too late to get a HIPAA waiver by the time they come to me.  It’s one of the free documents on the website because everyone should have this document.

Now, this estate planning business is serious stuff.  So to lighten things up a bit, I am thrilled to be able to share a little taste of Heather’s sense of humor. Check out her video, “No Lawyers in Heaven”: 

Well, that’s all for now. I’ve got to get onto Your Legacy Lives and print out my HIPAA release!!  See you there…please use this link so she’ll know that I sent you: http://www.yourlegacylives.com/nrothstein

-Nancy

PS. Believe it or not, that’s not all there is to share about this powerful woman. She’s involved in at least one other amazing project that I will save for another time.  But, to keep you guessing and in suspense, I’ll just give you one hint: MERMAIDS.  Stay tuned!

877-881-7221 | nancyrothstein.comnancy@nancyrothstein.com