Idyllic Abundance

I’m a big fan of idyllic life styles. I grew up the daughter of a Pennsylvania State Park Superintendent, later the COO, and a mother who was either home with her children or working at the school we attended. We moved frequently from one glorious park to another. I spent most of my childhood in the woods or on a beach. I started playing the flute as a young girl, developing a deep love and appreciation for music, and still play weekly and perform often with a large symphonic concert band. I have loved learning, and have learned easily, my entire life. I am a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with distinction in Linguistics from Penn State University. Within a month of graduating, I became the Director of the Office of Theses and Dissertations at Penn State. I’m still learning every single day. While conducting consultations, I was a stay-at-home, home-schooling mom of seven for more than 20 years. When my children started leaving home, I started my first business as an image and brand consultant.

Within a few years, I was running a growing business, strategizing with and for high profile politicians, executives, athletes, and media personalities. I loved what I was doing, and I was very good at it. The business and my vision continued to change. I leveraged highly talented professionals to build a dream-team of experts, strategists, and advisors. The company morphed from helping individuals maximize their characteristic assets to providing reputation management and branding for mid-size companies to multi-billion dollar corporations and high-profile, high-powered individuals. Suddenly we were “blowing it out of the water” when I realized that I had become a CEO instead of doing what had gotten me there in the first place, which was being a strategist, consultant, and advisor. At that point, I was seldom working hands on with individual clients; instead, I was managing projects and employees, and I wasn’t as happy and satisfied as I imagined I would be.

I realized at that point that scaling meant scaling back. I sold the company and started a search for a career that would bring me satisfaction and happiness. My first three work-for-the-man positions were in sales – I was very good at influencing people but I found myself wanting to provide performance strategy for the people for whom I was working. I yearned for that deep sense of doing something meaningful. I didn’t want to sell people things; I wanted to make a difference in their lives. Wasn’t that where I started so many years ago?

So here I am—an Elite Performance Strategist, helping people live their exponentially idyllic lives.

Am I living the dream? You bet I am. I’m driving a high-performance car, enjoying weekends on the family’s yacht, and cherishing my husband, our seven children, and seven grandchildren. I recently bought and am renovating a beautiful little house, which is a three-minute walk from my gym, from my office, and from shopping and restaurants. Because I learned many years ago to step beyond my comfort zone, discipline my actions, maximize my capabilities, and manage obstacles and distractions, I continue to become the person I want to be, doing what I love to do, having the abundantly idyllic life I always wanted.

Chapman International Announces New Promotions

Chapman International Hires Spring Interns

(From left to right: Lilah Halbkat, Rebecca Younce, Alex Saunders and Joanna Matanga).

Improve Your Interview Image


Finding a job, especially in today’s rocky economy, is not for the faint-hearted. It takes determination, patience, and know-how. Networking, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media, your resume (paper and scannable), Career Builder, and countless other services can make the job of job hunting complex and often frustrating. More often than not, you might not get past the resume stage. Interviews are hard to come by, which is why when you do land one, you have to be ready. Learn about the company, prepare a list of questions to ask, and prepare yourself for a plethora of possible questions they may ask. And then think about what to wear. When it comes to job interviewing, fashion is not vanity, it’s an essential tool of the trade. According to the Department of Labor, there are approximately 15 million Americans unemployed. That’s a lot of competition for job seekers, and employers are usually swamped with applicants. How are you going to stand out in a sea of job seekers?

First, if you got an interview, you’ve already done something right. Your resume and letter of application have already stood out. Now you are about to go face-to-face with a hiring manager or prospective employer. Your physical appearance, verbal and non-verbal communication, and knowledge of etiquette are about to go on trial. Some experts believe that 55 to 70% of your first impression is determined by your clothes, grooming, and body language. This is where having learned to manage your personal image will be extremely important. Those first few seconds, frequently before you have even uttered your first word, may very well make or break your chances of landing that job.

Here is a list of image tips to consider well before heading off for your job interview:

  • Research the dress standard for the company with which you are interviewing
  • Remember to dress appropriately, authentically, and attractively
  • Dress comfortably but appropriately
  • Be conservative and refined
  • For professionals, a classic, tailored suit in dark neutrals is best
  • Avoid predominant patterns, trendy styles, overly bright colors, and immodest cuts
  • Use conservative accessories and color to accent your conservative suit
  • Avoid too much perfume or cologne
  • Do not wear brown
  • Wear shoes that are shined and in good repair
  • Carry a quality briefcase (black or dark brown)
  • Hide any tattoos and body piercings

Especially for women:

  •  Wear slacks or a mid-knee-length skirt in navy blue, gray/charcoal, or black with a light-colored blouse or shirt; colors, nothing too bright or loud; wear a shell, blouse or camisole 
  • Remember to cover your cleavage, stomach, back, and underclothing
  • Be sure you have a properly fitting bra and seamless underwear; if you need a shaper, wear one
  • Hosiery should be sheer and flesh-colored
  • Do not wear excessive high heels (1 to 3 inches are acceptable)
  • Avoid excessive jewelry; stick with a watch and conservative earrings
  • Wear light, neutral makeup, but unless you are a young, natural beauty, wear some makeup

By following these tips, you will be well-armed and confident as you go forth into the highly competitive world of job interviewing.

Look the Look to Land the Job


Job interview coming up?  I strongly suggest doing your research on the web for interviewing tips.  There are a plethora of them out there, but not so many that discuss your physical appearance.  Remember this important fact and you will be well on your way to a successful interview: first impressions are the most important and lasting impressions that your interviewer will take away from your meeting.  His first impression will probably be formed before either of you speak.  So here are five checkpoints for the physical you that you want to take to the interview.

Be Shoe Smart: Lots of people judge others in large part based on their shoes.  Both style and maintenance are important.  Assuming you are not applying for a position as a gypsy, be sure to wear a dress shoe, nothing too dramatic ladies.  If you are wearing a leather shoe, be sure you have shined them. Pick shoes that are comfortable, especially for walking as they may want to give you a tour of the facilities.

Do Your Do: Your hair is such a visible part of your appearance that you want it to express some important aspects of your personality: neatness and attention to detail, especially.  If you care what your hair looks like, there’s a good chance you will care about a lot of other things too. Women with long hair should be sure that their hair says “business” and not “hot date.”  And don’t forget that one last glance in the mirror to make sure your hair is still under control.  And whatever you do, you want to avoid touching your hair during the interview, so make sure (ladies especially) that it’s not going to be falling into your face throughout the interview.

Shave It:  If it’s something that people would expect you to shave, then by all means shave it within a few hours of your interview.  And shave it carefully.  Get rid of renegade hair growing out of or under your nose or ears or under your Adam’s apple (men).  Clean shaven legs and armpits (women) are important and state to the interviewer that you have come to win the job.  As with other aspects of your appearance, you want to show that you pay attention to the little but important details.  In addition, you don’t want your interviewer to be distracted by something growing where it oughtn’t.

Dress for It: The first rule of thumb is dress a step up from the daily dress code requirements of the company with which you are interviewing. For example, if you are applying to a company that does business casual, you should wear a dress shirt, sport coat, and tie (men) or a conservative, monochromatic dress or pants suit (ladies). If you under dress, the interviewer may assume that you don’t really want the job, and if you overdress, the interviewer may assume that you are looking for something higher than the job for which you are applying.

Tuck It: Once you have selected an outfit appropriate for the interview than the , do a last assessment to ensure that everything is tucked in, pulled out, rolled up or down, as appropriate, and hanging straight. Nothing says “dufus” quite as quickly as a pant leg tucked into a sock or a collar that’s sticking up.

Impressing the interviewer with your credentials and knowledge is obviously important, but so is making that first visual impression.  So spiffy up and land that dream job!

Chapman International’s Creative Director Wins Contest

Commanding Branding: Do This, Not That


Even well-known market leaders can head toward disaster by not establishing and remaining congruent with their brands. For example, companies like Michael Kors, Coach, and Tommy Hilfiger have seen their market positions weakened by losing sight of the brand identity that once made them marketplace leaders.  Each of these once-luxury icons is experiencing a dilution of their brand as they have become big players in the outlet market.  The result is a disillusionment among shoppers who no longer consider these brands as elite.  Now that the aforementioned brands are easily accessible and affordable at discount department stores, these once exclusive brands are losing their glitter. Although there are many, here are three branding pitfalls awaiting unaware professionals and business entities:

1.  Making your product too accessible:  Thomas Paine noted, “What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly.”  When, without wise and proper strategy, you discount your products or services, customers will usually assume the quality of your product is poor.  Is your product or service a discountable commodity that can easily be compared and acquired at a bottom-dollar price?  If not, think twice before offering discounts, coupons, or continuous opportunities for “special deals.”

2.  Not evaluating and controlling physical presentation:  The physical presentation of your product, service, and personnel must be coherent, defined, and distinct.  How easily can you identify a 2014 Ford or even Cadillac from 100 yards away?  But how about the 1955 models?  It has become increasingly more difficult for auto manufacturers to establish brand loyalty as it has become more difficult for consumers to visually differentiate the brands.  This principle applies in spades to the appearance of company collateral, personnel, and physical space.  Are your collateral materials expertly created and congruent with the established brand, or do they clash with the brand identity, company physical space, and personnel presentation? Do your leaders exude executive presence?  Do your salespersons and front desk staff elevate your brand through appearance, behavior, and communication? Is your company dress code implemented and consistent with your company brand?  Aside from the obvious musts of cleanliness and upkeep, is the company physical space (building, reception area, grounds, manufacturing floors, and offices) in harmony with your product and service brand identity?

3.  Neglecting online presence.  It’s almost impossible to avoid an online presence.  If you and/or your company do not pay strict heed to this presence, you will eventually see the reputation of your brand erode or even implode.  Large companies frequently push the concept of “one [insert company name].”  This concept of “oneness” means that the successful company is consistent in its approach and messaging across all locations, departments, and product lines. A company with a conservative brand that tries to be “hip” online is going to confuse and alienate segments of its market. Another aspect of controlling online presence is ensuring that the company’s online reputation is monitored and protected. Every company, large or small, should know who in the organization is minding the online and social media stores.

We do judge books by their covers.  Your company’s brand is its cover.  No matter how good the story is, if no one picks up the book, it won’t be read. Branding is not glitz or superficiality. It is an extension of the quality of your product or service.  Those products and services sell because consumers are intrigued by and recognize the brand, using the product/service, and grow to trust the brand.  This trust creates what every business should be seeking: brand loyalty.  If the brand presentation is strong, distinct, consistent, and founded onintegrity, your product or service will be perceived as exceptional.

Chapman helps individuals and businesses define, refine, and manage their successful brand identity.

For more Brand Management and Presence Management information, we invite you to visit us at

Skin In The Game? Professional Dress Messages


“The finest clothing made is a person’s skin, but, of course, society demands more than this,” said Mark Twain.

Messages of authority, credibility, approachability, and receptivity are best sent by color, texture, line, shape, and pattern in fabric—and skin is not a fabric.

But skin definitely does send messages.

Skin is not inherently good or bad, nor is a return to Victorianism advocated. Simply, the fact is the more skin you show, the more accessible, relaxed, and social you will appear, and the less authority and credibility you will exude.

Skin is approachable, intimate, and invites touch.  Dress casualization in the workplace, with the corresponding increase in the amount of skin displayed, coincides with a dramatic increase in sexual harassment accusations and litigation.

Women, pay attention:  Men in a board room are never sleeveless, bare-legged, or chest-exposed.

Men, a short-sleeved shirt with a fine loafer and quality khaki trouser–sans socks–is perfect for dockside dining but will send casual messages in a business environment.

And there’s nothing casual about conducting business.

Of course the suggestion is not that everyone wear turtlenecks, wool hosiery, and maxi-skirts at all times.  There are times and places for baring more skin: the beach or pool, social events, athletic contests, and home life, places where we want to be more relaxed and more approachable.

Evaluate and then control the messages your fabrics and skin are communicating, and dress to be perceived the way you’d like to be and need to be to achieve your presence goals.