Anne Deeter Gallaher on Small Business Digest on Blog Talk Radio

Anne Deeter Gallaher was thrilled to participate in a radio interview panel on Small Business Digest blog talk radio. Editor Donald Mazzella asked Anne about her path to entrepreneurship and what insights from Students in High Gear and Women in High Gear are making a difference for the 21 million U.S. college students and women, who comprise 45% of our workforce.

The Key to U.S. Economic Growth? Unleash the talent of women entrepreneurs

This post originally appeared Pennsylvania Business Central. 

We are officially in political rhetoric season, and I’m fascinated by the candidates’ economic narratives on how we can shift our economy into high gear. One fact stands tall above the opinions as a powerful common denominator—everyone agrees we need more jobs. What we really need is more job creators—entrepreneurs, producers and big idea people. How do we achieve that? The rocket fuel for our economic growth, and for U. S. competitiveness, is to unleash the entrepreneurial potential in women.

That’s why a conversation around “Celebrating Entrepreneurship” is a much-needed call to action. At 45 percent of the workforce we are more than a niche audience; we are the prescription to economic anemia. Our aspirations combined with our potential is the game-changer for our future.

Whether you’re a recent college graduate, in mid-career, or an on-ramper, your potential as an entrepreneur is in demand. The road to small business ownership is not limited to BA, MBA, Wall Street or board seat. I never took a business class in college nor imagined that I would pursue entrepreneurship.

 Gallaher is owner/CEO of Deeter Gallaher Group LLC and has co-authored two books with colleague Amy D. Howell: Women in High Gear and Students in High Gear. Photo Courtesy of Anne Deeter Gallaher

Gallaher is owner/CEO of Deeter Gallaher Group LLC and has co-authored two books with colleague Amy D. Howell: Women in High Gear and Students in High Gear. Photo Courtesy of Anne Deeter Gallaher

“Women represent 51 percent of the nation’s Ph.D.s, 51 percent of business school applicants, and more than 70 percent of last year’s valedictorians. Women are well equipped to become entrepreneurs and are primed to look at different ways of approaching challenges to find better solutions. As a nation, we must make sure we tap into this supply of able business leaders,” says Sharon Vosmek, CEO of Astia in “The Decade of the Woman Entrepreneur.”

My own path to entrepreneurship was non-traditional: I started my business at the age of 40 after spending 15 years as a stay-at- home mom. Two days after college graduation, I started work for a non- profit publishing house. Five years later, I went on maternity leave with our first son.

Unsure of what my future looked like, I negotiated a part-time at-home position so I could keep my hand in the business world. Fifteen years and two more sons later, I was deciding where and how to on-ramp. I could return to work at the publishing house, or I could dive into the deep end and start my own business. With unconscious competence, I decided to bet on myself.

I saw a need for professional communications in business and believed that the market would pay for quality writing and marketing materials. I was brought up in an entrepreneurial family, but no one had ever said, “Anne, do you want to start a business?” Nor, I discovered, do clients knock on your door asking to hire your services.

I had been busy volunteering in classrooms, leading Cub Scouts and directing Vacation Bible Schools. As I embarked on entrepreneurship and built my network, I leveraged these skills into the workplace: If you can put three boys to bed on time, you have negotiating skills. If you can plan and execute Astronaut Day for third graders, you have operational skills. If you can persuade 100 children and 40 adults—who have worked hard all day—to sign up for a week of Vacation Bible School, you have leadership skills and passion.

Regardless of your background, there are two co-existing realities that the successful entrepreneur must master:

1. The business reality: economic climate, business intelligence, business skills, barriers to entry, understanding market forces, creating competitive advantage and financial acumen.

2. Your personal toolkit: communication skills, emotional resilience, determination, drive, passion, contagious enthusiasm, collaborative nature, emotional intelligence and confidence.

From Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX, to Taylor Swift, the 26-year- old singer and songwriting phenom, to Tory Burch, queen of the lifestyle lines, to Julia Hartz, co-founder of Eventbrite, the high gear catalyst is their personal toolkit—the soft skills. And chief among them is confidence.

Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup, famously captured the essence of confidence by declaring her intention to be CEO at a young age: “In 2007, The Wall Street Journal did an article on our family, and they put in that I wanted to be CEO. I remember getting phone calls from people saying, ‘I can’t believe you said that. What if you don’t get it?’ And I’m like, ‘The thought never crossed my mind.’”

Successful entrepreneurs believe in themselves—against all odds. There will be barriers to success, business failures, and client disappointments. But the good news is the market is gender neutral and age immune. Great ideas and seized opportunities win.

As you take your idea from think to build, here are five principles that will help you shorten your learning curve and reach high gear entrepreneurial success in 2016.

Assemble a personal board of advisors. Surround yourself with executives who are accomplished and will advance your career— people who will give you honest, critical advice. Ask one or two to be your mentors.

Create your personal brand. People are buying you. As the face of your business, you are the director of first impressions. Kindness, graciousness, good manners, handwritten notes, sincere apologies—these are deal- making assets.

Build your network. Be a people broker as you expand your influence. Seek board seats, volunteer for fundraising positions, help others succeed, and connect people for their business advantage. It is said that seats at governance tables are by invitation, not application. If people of influence don’t know who you are, you’ll never reach a high gear network.

Be social media savvy. Whether you’re starting a retail salon, a music career or opening a law practice, you need to tell the world who you are. There are 1.5 billion users on Facebook and 316 million on Twitter. More than 93% of online experiences begin with a search, and one of the fastest ways to appear on page one of Google is to write and share compelling content—tell your story. The reality of business today is, “you are who Google says you are.”

Get uncomfortable and grow. Challenge yourself daily to explore new lines of business, introduce yourself to new people, travel to seminars in different states and countries and find your voice.

This is our season of opportunity, not only to celebrate entrepreneurship, but to unleash our potential and to become the economic engine.

Anne Deeter Gallaher is Owner/ CEO of Deeter Gallaher Group LLC, headquartered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She is co-author of Women in High Gear: A Guide for Entrepreneurs, On-Rampers, and Aspiring Executives with Amy D. Howell. In 2015, Anne celebrated 15 years in business, purchased a commercial building, and opened a second office in Nashville. She also published her second book, Students in High Gear, co-authored with Amy. She can be reached at [email protected] and @ AnneDGallaher on Twitter. .

How parents can help children choose their ‘digital tattoo’

This post originally appeared at

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Teens today are exposed to digital media everywhere they go, and most are always carrying it with them.

“Social media isn’t part of their life, it is their life. These are the digital natives. They have grown up with this device in their hand,” said Anne Deeter Gallaher, CEO and owner of the Deeter Gallaher Group.

Deeter Gallaher helps companies create their online profiles and says parents can apply the same knowledge to their teens because what they post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others could make or break their future.

It’s called a digital tattoo.

“A digital tattoo is on for life. It’s all the content that you create,” Deeter Gallaher said.

“As parents, we just have to make sure our children understand the potential for creating a negative reputation for yourself.”

Deeter Gallaher said if teens are using social media, their parents should be using it, too.

“You will understand the environment. They are sharing content in what are other teens talking about, tweeting about, posting, Instagramming, what are the hashtags they are using. You won be a guru, but you will be a better parent and better informed.”

“It’s overwhelming because the kids know more than you do,” said Kathy Anderson-Martin, a mother of two teen girls who use social media.

“I’ve been amazed, overwhelmed, shocked by what kids are putting on those site and what is being said; fake sites, fake posts,” she said.

What teens post now could affect their future employment and college scholarships.

“Penn State, they will go thru an individual’s social media channels, and based on those – either the undisciplined nature of the content or inappropriateness – decide do we want to bring them on the team or do we not want to deliver a scholarship to him or her,” Deeter Gallaher said. “It has serious consequences.”

Parents should be sure to check text messages, too.

“Seventy-five percent of them are texting as their major form of communication, so the parents, we have to educate ourselves, and that begins with a very simple Google search and understanding what those acronyms are in their text messages,” Deeter Gallaher said.

A Google search turned up the following text codes:


– IWSN: I want sex now;

– GNOC: Get naked on camera;

– WTTP: Want to trade pictures?


– 420: Marijuana;

– CID: Acid, LSD;

– DOC: Drug of choice


– PIR: Parent in room;

– 99: Parent gone;

– KPC: Keeping parents clueless.

“You have to do your best to stay on top of it, just like you would anything else to protect your kids and their future,” Deeter Gallaher said.

So, the next time your teen wants to post something on social media, they should ask themselves this question:

“Are you OK with that being on the front page of the Wall Street Journal? If you are, click send,” Deeter Gallaher said.

Deeter Gallaher suggested parents set up a Google alert with their child’s name. That way, if their name starts trending in a conversation, the parent will get an alert.

Hilton Worldwide Celebrates Women

HiltonWorldwideToday I (Amy Howell) had the honor of serving on a panel with incredible women from Hilton Worldwide as well as a few women in high gear. The lovely and talented Mearl Purvis from Fox 13 Memphis was on hand to facilitate and entertain and as usual–she did a fabulous job and I promise you Mearl gets more gorgeous every time I see her! As the room filled with women from Hilton’s Women’s Team Member Resource Group, we took our seats and introductions were made. In honor of “Women in History” Hilton’s theme today was “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment.”  Program leaders, Denise Carpenter and Sherry Smith made introductions and we talked about key issues women face in business. Tweets were flying, using the hashtag #HWWCelebratingWomen for the discussion. (You can see some of the tweets there.)

Key messages for the panel included the importance of finding mentors as well as avoiding the “chip on the shoulder” attitude. One of my favorite messages of the day came from Roquita Coleman, Solutions Manager, CN Railroad who said that “instead of trying to be smarter than everyone and trying to prove it…often it is better to try and get along with other co-workers in order to get things done.” She described a tough lesson she had to learn the hard way and that added so much value to the discussion. Without the problems and challenges we cannot learn and grow.

I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Kathy Beiser, EVP, Hilton Worldwide Corporate Communications who is definitely in high gear and told the group that sometimes in a career you have to make hard, deliberate choices and sometimes that means really having to “gut it out and work hard” to get ahead. I loved her remark about never wanting to be the mom that baked cookies for her kids’ school. I totally relate to this and appreciate her tough-minded, high gear will and iron clad belief in herself. Another favorite comment she made was that women shouldn’t tell men things like “I have to go run the carpool but I’ll be back…we give them too much information sometimes that isn’t necessary.” Very good advice from someone in the executive suite!

Another Hilton Worldwide executive on the panel is a fellow Texan named Judy Christa-Cathey, VP Hampton & Hilton Garden Inn Brand Marketing. Judy is an inspiration and example of a woman in high gear who has been given a real red cape for her superpowers in the corporate world. Today she gave that red cape to a woman in the audience who commented on the difficulty and pressure on working women to be all to everyone and do it all. A very awesome moment and I need someone from Hilton to email me that photo so I can add it to this blog! Judy is someone I will be following up with and hope to get to know better. Plus, she’s from Texas and likes cowboy boots!

Finally, it was awesome to see my friend Felicia Suzanne Willett, chef and owner of Felicia Suzanne’s Restaurant who trained with Emeril Lagasse–a fact I had once known but forgotten! Felicia told us she knew she wanted to be a chef by the time she was 7 years old and would read food magazines and cookbooks as a teenager. Her passion for cooking and her depth of experience is reflected in her wonderful food and what I find even more exciting is her ability to continuously re-invent herself and her restaurant. She told me she has just re-vamped the patio to include farm tables in front of the fountain to accommodate family style dining or groups of 10 and 12. Not only has Felicia become a famous chef, but a savvy restaurateur. Congrats on your high gear journey Felicia!

Thank you Hilton Worldwide for supporting women, celebrating success and commitment and for hosting such an important panel discussion. I also appreciate the purchase of our book, “Women in High Gear” for those who attended and hope I have the opportunity to celebrate with you all again soon! Cheers to your high gear journey!

#BanBossy Campaign Is Not High Gear

WiHG book event NYC 2013By Anne Deeter Gallaher and Amy D. Howell

As women business owners and co-authors of Women in High Gear, we invest a lot of time and attention in writing, speaking, and encouraging women to “Find Their Voice” and “Tell Their Story.” Our own stories represent a tapestry of experiences, and that makes us each unique. We have benefited from the examples of strong men and women in business, and we challenge women to discover and reach their own high gear.

Last week the Girls Scouts teamed with to launch a #BanBossy PSA campaign. Using celebrities like Beyoncé and Victoria Beckham they make the case that “bossy” is a pejorative, a disparaging term, and as such should be banned (yes, you read that correctly) in reference to girls. Their assumption: if young girls are called bossy, perhaps they will be disinclined to pursue leadership roles. We haven’t seen data or Pew Research stats to quantify this claim, and Googling the term “bossy” to see what images appear based on gender is not scientific evidence.

Women will never advance by telling others—men or women—how not to perceive them and what language to use to describe them. As children, we were both called bossy—by our siblings and classmates. Our parents probably called us bossy too. Why? Because we were. We had ideas and weren’t afraid to share them.

The idea that we women will get ahead and reach new career heights, or see new doors open, because a word is banned is disingenuous to our gender and our individual leadership capabilities. Are we that sensitive? Is our emotional resilience that tenuous and delicate?

Just because someone is considered powerful, influential, politically connected, successful, or entertaining doesn’t mean we jump on a bandwagon to sign a petition to ban a word in the English language. The idea of banning a word like “bossy” is silly and a waste of our greatest resource–time. While many have asserted that this campaign has been positive for raising awareness, we believe it further isolates women from achieving the skills and experiences necessary to reach the C-suite. We all want opportunities for women to advance at work. We need women to open doors, to mentor, to advocate, to introduce young women to CEOs, to help connect the dots for success. This campaign belies the strength of women.

In fact, it’s condescending for an influential and elite group of women to create a video telling us what to do. Words are words. Actions speak louder.

At @WomenInHighGear, we want to make sure young girls and women celebrate what we can become. We need strong women who can boss (Margaret Thatcher), women who can nurture (Ruth Bell Graham), women who can lead with courage (Marie Curie), women who can explore (Amelia Earhart), and women who can negotiate (Condoleezza Rice). We need every type of woman who can recognize her high gear potential and take action. That won’t happen by telling others what words to use.

In an interview on Fox News last week, Penny Young Nance, President and CEO of Concerned Women for America (CWA) said, “True strength is being bossy in a way that empowers others to greatness, not to degradation.” Well stated.

In our experiences as mothers and women in business, High Gear means working hard and smart at the same time and not being afraid to tell your story, to rise to a business challenge, to recognize opportunities for professional development, and to seek support to reach goals. We believe that leadership, success, and profitability know no gender. The #BanBossy campaign diverts our attention from the more productive conversations of women in #STEM, Wall Street Journal Women in The Economy Task Force, and many other national women’s initiatives.

Being bossy can be a positive character trait. Bossy need not hold a negative connotation. We have known many men and women who are great at being bossy while leading others to success and high performance. Women in High Gear understand that our gender differences are also our strengths as we work together on teams. There are times to be assertive and there are times to be attentive. High gear means knowing the difference.

Finally, High Gear means selecting role models that possess the character, integrity, wisdom, and intelligence that young girls and women are seeking to learn from. It’s ironic that we would listen to an entertainer–who sells lyrics using profanity and intense sexuality–tell us what not to say to young girls. We do need real examples of everyday men and women leaders who work to help others, provide for their families, and care for aging parents while raising children and working.

We don’t need censorship of silly terms; we do need more high gear women and men to demonstrate confidence, courage, hard work, and emotional resilience–even to #EmbraceBossy if need be. The fortitude and productivity of future generations depends on it.