From The Publisher

From the Publisher

Marking Time

As we age, our birthdays seem to come around more and more quickly. And, with each passing year, we greet these special days with various forms of recognition. 

I’m keenly aware of this now, as I privately (and without ceremony) celebrate the 11th birthday of Houston Woman Magazine. 
 
Instead of hosting a party or popping  open a bottle of champagne, I am reflecting on the 4,000+ days I’ve spent on the work (and pleasures) of informing, inspiring and connecting successful women via this publication.
 
Top of mind are the women I’ve met and gotten to know well over the past 11 years. The number is staggering!
 
I am thinking about the amazing women who have been featured on the cover and among the pages of Houston Woman Magazine.
 
I am thinking about the financially supportive women who have signed up as subscribers and/or advertisers.
 
I am thinking about the ever-evolving women who have joined the Houston Woman Business Book Club.
 
I am thinking about the fun-loving women who have attended our networking events and/or workshops and classes. 
 
I am thinking about the women who have become the most fully engaged with what we do here and become a part of the Houston Woman Community!
 
Together, all these women make up a diverse group. Many are native-born Texans, the others got here, as they say, “as fast as they could.” Some grew up as Americans and in other states. Many, however, immigrated here from countries far and near. 
 
These women are smart and savvy. They are well educated,  energetic and enthusiastic. They are dreamers and achievers of great things – professionally, as well as in and for our                                    community.
 
Each of these women has a different story; yet, all have so much to share, so much to teach. In doing both, they inspire us all to do more - and better!
 
So, on this particular birthday, I am thinking about these women and celebrating — with grace and gratitude — their generous gifts of connection! 
 

From The Publisher

Beverly DenverQuestions and Answers
 
During the holiday season, I always find myself looking ahead to the next year and asking myself a lot of questions: What will the New Year hold? Will there be pleasant surprises? New challenges I can’t even imagine right now? Will new people come into my life? To learn from? To enjoy shared interests? Love?
 
Other questions come to the mind, as well. Are there things I’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t? Why is that? What should I do about it? Are there things I’m doing that no longer hold my interest or fascination? 
 
Why is that? What should I do about it? 
 
These are the same questions I asked myself at the end of last year. Mostly, the answers have revealed themselves. 
 
Today, I can look back and say, “It’s been a very good year — maybe the best one ever!”
 
I can say that because I’ve really thought about it — by asking myself more questions, seeking more answers.
  • What was the single best thing that happened this past year? Easy, Houston Woman Magazine turned 10 years old, and this 10-year breast cancer survivor is still hear to crow about it!
  • What was the single most challenging thing that happened this past year? That’s easy too: Finding time to do what I need to do for me (work out regularly, for example). 
  • What was an unexpected joy this past year? Another easy one, but I have two answers: Learning my son passed the CPA exam and finding out my daughter and her family will relocate from Chicago to Austin in 2015.
  • What was the best book I read this past year? Because I am a member of two books clubs, I read a lot of books in 2014. Picking the best one is too much like picking a favorite child. Just can’t do it. Suffice to say, I love them all — for different reasons! 
  • In what ways did I grow? Does growing out of a Size 8 count?
  • With whom are my most meaningful relationships? Family is a given, of course, but beyond relatives? 
Another easy one: It’s the relationships I have with women (and men) who encourage and inspire me to dream and envision, to serve this community in the ways I can and, most importantly, live my best and most authentic life ever. 
 
Answering questions may be the best exercise of all at this time of the year. Doing so gives me time to reflect and time to resolve: This year was great; next year will be even better. I just know it!

Go Big or Go Home

The phrase, “Dream Big,” is heard a lot these days. So often, it has become somewhat cliché. Its strong message has been diluted and, much like decaffeinated coffee, it no longer energizes the very ones for whom it is intended. That really is too bad!

As a young professional, I was often told to “dream big” and “go for it!” The advice inspired and encouraged me. It affirmed my ideas and provided the fanatic chant I needed to push me towards my goals. 
 
Back then, I would think, “If she (or he) thinks I can do it, perhaps I can. There is no harm in trying, I guess. Oh heck, what do I have to lose?”
 
Clearly, thinking like that — often  — is the reason I’ve accomplished the things I have, and not thinking like that — at other times — is the reason I didn’t follow through on some things I now wish I had. 
 
Never underestimate the power of positive feedback!
 
Early on, my “cheerleaders” were people I knew well, liked and admired. Thus, I was eager to listen to what they had to say.  I was grateful for their attention, but I was very young and not one bit savvy. Truly, I was clueless when it came to the long-term value of the gift they were giving me. 
 
Now, as a woman of a certain age, I know it well. And, with much appreciation, I try to give back in kind  — to be available to young people who seek my input, to offer information and advice based on my own experience and to be candid about the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned. 
 
At the same time, I try to connect these Gen X, Y and Zs with others who will reinforce their ambitions and to warn them about naysayers who will sabotage their ambition and success. 
 
These days, another phrase, “Go big or go home,” has become my mantra for mentoring others. I am committed to going big with my engagement, giving it all I have to give. Young people deserve nothing less from me — nothing less from any mentor.

Ten Years! Already?

Beverly Denver PhotoTen Years! Already?

A friend called recently and asked, “Does it really seem like 10 years since you launched Houston Woman Magazine?” 

Without hesitation, I said, “Yes, it sure does!”
 
I was thinking, of course, of all the work that’s been done over the past decade! In our case, the work has included tracking down hundreds of busy and, often times, hard-to-reach women for interviews, write their stories, design, build and proofread pages, meet those ever-looming print deadlines, be present for press checks.
 
At the same time, there were requests (thousands of them) to cover special events — conferences, fundraisers, galas, lectures and seminars. If the event or the sponsor of that event had the words “woman or women” in it, we were asked to be there. And, even if they  didn’t we were still asked! As often as possible, we happily obliged. After all, telling the stories of Houston women and what they do in and for this community is what we do. It’s what we love to do!
 
Somehow, along the way, we squeezed in enough time to reach out to prospective advertisers and subscribers and attracted just what was needed to get Houston Woman Magazine off the ground. And, thankfully, over the past 10 years, others have joined our community and kept this publication going — and growing! 
 
Their interest and ongoing support turned my vision into reality, and for that, I will be forever grateful. 
 
Longtime readers of Houston Woman Magazine know I launched this publication after many years as a career journalist and publishing entrepreneur. Too often, however, that knowledge leads them to believe I do everything here. Wrong! 
 
I do a lot, but I don’t do everything! 
 
The idea of working with (but not managing) a lot of creative professionals has long held special appeal for me. So, the idea of being able to provide ongoing assignments for top-notch, self-employed writers and photographers seemed like a worthy goal, a true win-win. Happily, via Houston Woman Magazine, I’ve been able to do that!
 
Now, after all these years, I so want you to meet the members of my team. Thus, I’ve devoted space in this issue to introduce them to you. Please read their “bios,” and you’ll understand why working with this smart and savvy group has made my job — despite all the work — so much fun. 
 
Admittedly, when I think about how much these women and men have contributed to Houston Woman Magazine, and how fantastic it has been to work with each and every one of them, I just can’t help but say, “Thank you! Ten Years! Already?”   
 

From The Publisher

Beverly Denver Photo Pleasure of Your Company

Like most professionals these days, my mailbox and inbox are overflowing with invitations to attend lots of meetings, gatherings and special events. Mostly, these invitations come from friends and associates. And, it doesn’t matter to me if the requests come by phone, via email or on a beautifully designed and printed card; each of them always puts a smile on my face.

The truth is, I love when opportunities arise that allow me to connect and keep up with those I care about. I love knowing what they are doing, and I love being present to see them do it. I also love the fact that someone thought of me and requested the “pleasure of your company.” Admittedly, that gracious little phrase gets me every time! When I receive personal invitations, I do everything in my power to respond promptly and courteously (with an RSVP) and in the affirmative — and then, God willing, I show up! I want to stay engaged with my friends and support them and their special interests. And, why wouldn’t I? My friends do the same for me! Often and big time!

However, like most professionals, I’ve gotten used to receiving invitations (to a variety of events) from people or groups I either don’t know or have no obvious connection to. I used to wonder, “Why me?” In the old days – when I was dumber than dumb – I simply tossed the “mystery” invitations aside and moved on to other things. Rarely, if ever, did I give them a second thought, like that all-important one — “maybe this could be a great opportunity!” But, over the years, I’ve grown and evolved and learned a whole lot about the joys of connecting with new people and exposing myself to the unexpected. I know now that “talking to strangers” is fun and, sometimes, life changing. I was reminded of this recently when a brand new subscriber to Houston Woman Magazine — another very busy professional woman — sent me an email and asked if I could meet her for coffee. Of course, I could, so we set a date.

We got together several days later. We met not knowing if our visit would be long or short, if the topics of mutual interest would be light or heavy. And, of course, we met not knowing whether this was the beginning of a new friendship or the only time we would ever want see each other! As it turned out, the woman and I really hit it off. A one-hour meeting turned into more than two and, over several cups of coffee, we shared stories about our childhoods, our parents, our children and, yes, business and our beloved work. We talked about being self-employed and why we had first chosen to go out on our own. We talked about the positives and the negatives.

We talked about the changes we see ahead. Though our fields could not be more different, we found ourselves sharing ideas and offering suggestions. We found ourselves being exposed to some new ways of thinking and new ways of doing things. Throughout it all, we laughed and sighed — like old friends — about the challenges of the future and how we would meet them. Like I said, “talking to strangers” is fun and, sometimes, life-changing. 

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