I’m now 40!

Thank you for celebrating my 40th birthday with me. I’ll mark this milestone with family and friends, on and off the water, at the opera and over bluegrass, and will finish off the week with a family dinner at Charlie’s Hamburgers. But there is more to come!

This June, my brother Michael will lead Team I Hate Cancer’s cycling team on the “Lobster Roll,” their 6 day, 600 mile ride from Philadelphia to Maine, to raise funds for mental health therapy for families facing a cancer diagnosis. Would you donating $1 for each mile they’ll ride? $100 / day, $600 / week, or $3,000 for the miles of all 5 riders. We’re going to raise $50,00 this summer. Learn more about the Lobster Roll at! PS - I’m driving the  support van full of bike parts, snacks, and cancer-hating gear.

Closer to home, I’m starting my third year co-chairing the young friends program at the Curtis Institute of Music here in Philadelphia and serving on its Board of Trustees. Curtis’ 170 students attend tuition-free, allowing the school to train the next generation of the world’s best classical musicians. I’d love to meet you at one of 200+ Curtis performances this coming year.

This summer, I’m rebooting my business development practice as a coaching service for busy professionals looking to find new clients or grow their revenue. I’ve worked primarily with lawyers and doctors, but my referral marketing strategies benefit all sorts of professionals.

If you were worried, I’ve already been fishing this spring, catching and releasing American shad and striped bass. Let’s bend a rod together this summer, but not before our annual Radnor Hunt Tailgate in two weeks. Join Michael, Abbey, and me for a casual afternoon. Ask me about parking passes et al.

Finally, here’s what I want for my birthday:

1) That you support Team I Hate Cancer

2) That we catch up this year

3) Please send me a postcard from somewhere cool that you visit this summer. 

My address is 2134 Pine Street Apt. 5 Philadelphia PA 19103-6575

I’m not kidding - I love mail.



Put a Punch into Boxing Day

Did you know that today is Boxing Day?  Many English-speaking countries the day after Christmas celebrate by watching soccer and eating leftovers. It’s also a day when churches in those countries traditionally distribute funds collected in their alms BOXes to the less fortunate, keeping Christmas’ generosity going for one more day.

Whether you’re back to work or still celebrating with families and friends, does your Christmas spirit have room for one more present? People in our communitiy would immediately benefit from a gift of your time or funds. 

Here are two ideas for those feeling generous.

2,500 chronically homeless Philadelphians count on Bethesda Project for food and shelter each winter. 

Generous friends help fund the $4,000 weekly care of Libby Judge, mom, wife, and tennis champion who has been paralyzed since a 2014 car accident. 




Gift Ideas for Fishermen

As a lifelong fisherman, I’ve hear your frustrations in finding the perfect Christmas present for us. As the brother of an avid cyclist, I feel your pain trying to understand someone else’s niche passion. So I write to share some Christmas gift ideas for the fisherman in your family. 

The best winter socks ever - $33

Whether your fisherman fishes all winter or chops wood in the backyard, he needs these merino wool socks to keep his feet warm and dry. Get them here:

Service their fishing reels ~ $25 per reel

I trust the team at Fisherman’s Headquarters on Long Beach Island to disassemble, clean, and service my spinning reels every other winter. They replace bail springs, remove salt and corrosion, and re-grease the reel’s guts, extending the lives of our expensive toys. You can drop-off or ship your favorite fisherman’s reels in January before the spring rush! Learn more here:

Custom Fishing Rod - $300-$500

Much like a suit, you can buy a fishing rod off the rack, but a custom fishing rod fits its angler like a glove, allowing for longer casts, better presentations, and more fish pictures.  Advanced Fishing USA specializes in spinning rods from back bay flounder to 11’ surf-casting sticks. Call or text Tim Davis to see what your favorite fisherman might want and to order a gift certificate. (609) 290-1367

A personal rescue beacon - $300

I’m not a gadget guy but this pocket-sized device alerts search and resce authorities around the world where you are and that you are in need of help. Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef? Yup. Heliskiing in British Columbia? Yup. African Safari? Yup. Locally, it’s just as effective if your favorite fisherman falls overboard. I already bought one. Get yours here.

Fish with an incredible guide -$400-$4000

After a certain point, every fisherman has read every book and blog out there. But we can continue to learn by fishing with the best professional fishernen. I’d be delighted to introduce you and your favorite fishermen to one or more top captains locally and/or abroad. PS - There are great female captains on my list, too!

Bring, help, or clean - FREE

Fishermen appreciate the details. I bring handwarmers everywhere this time of year. A good friend always bring 2 bags of ice and a Wawa coffee for me for a boat ride. My dad and I routinely wash the boat as if she were “boat show ready.” But we can always use your help, whether washing, waxing, fueling, or fixing, especially when preparing to launch the boat each spring and hauling the boat each fall. Raise your hand and commit to help your favorite fisherman with his or her gear. You’ll probably get invited to participate more frequently!




Give a Damn



It’s no secret that I’m involved in non-profit organizations. My brother’s first LIVESTRONG bike ride started what’s now Team I Hate Cancer in 2006.  Tuesday asks consumers, for one day, to use their credit cards for charity. I ask - would you consider deepening your relationship with your favorite charity?

Have you thought about monthly contributions? You may be able to have it deducted from your paycheck.

Would your employer, client(s), spouse, friend(s), &/or parent match your donations?  Have you asked them to do so?

Have you considered your favorite charity in your estate plan? Ask your financial advisor or HR contact whether you cn name a charity as the beneficiary of your retirement plan. 

As a volunteer leader for multiple non-profit organizations, THANK YOU for your generous support of our work. It is incredibly humbling to see our collective efforts benefit so many!

Please consider supporting those causes that are so important to me.

Team I Hate Cancer supports families facing. a cancer diagnosis. 

The Curtis Institute of Music trains the world’s next generation of classical music.

Bethesda Project feeds and houses more than 2,500 chronically homeless Philadelphians at 13 locations across Center City.



Sales Lesson: Pre-vacation family planning

I recently spoke with a planned giving expert about our practices. While my coaching practice slows during the holidays, his estate planning colleagues face a glut of legal work BEFORE a family goes on vacation together. Why? So the lawyers know how to distribute assets should something should happen to one or more family members overseas.

Lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, and estate planners should consider seasonally checking-in with clients to ask about upcoming vacations to ensure that everything is in order before the family trip to Ireland, Kenya, or Australia. 

Let me know how it goes for you!


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What’s up with Curtis?

This week, you’ve seen me in a lot of social media involving the Curtis Institute of Music. Located on Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square, Curtis’ 175 students are among the best classical musicians in the world. In fact, Curtis is the most selective college or university anywhere, accepting about 3.3% of  applicants each year, competing, at times, with Yale and Juliard. A majority of its students are musicians in the Curtis symphony orchestra, while piano & organ students, opera singers, composers, and conductors round out its diverse student body. To attract the best young musicians from around the world, Curtis has been tuition free for more than 90 years! The heiress of the Curtis Publishing Company (Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal ) founded the school in her Philadelphia mansion and endowed the school with her sizable inheritance. Curtis students “learn by doing” and the school hosts more than 200 student performances each year from Hong Kong to Havertown. 

A decade ago, Tony Brown brought a few friends to a Curtis recital and the Crescendo Club, Curtis’ young friends group, was born. Currently, Eileen Murphy and I co-chair the Crescendo Club’s Steering Committee and I also serve on Curtis’ Board of Trustees. While we have a philanthropic role, we want to introduce fellow young professionals to the Curtis experience, where incredible musicians perform classical music every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night in historic Field Concert Hall, like Leonard Bernstein (‘41), pianist Lang Lang, and violinist Hilary Hahn and countless others have.

Would you like to be my guest at a Curtis performance this winter? I’d introduce you to Philadelphia’s most unique live music experience and the bright, witty, and terrific friends I’ve made there.

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I almost threw up at yoga


I almost threw up at yoga

I kicked off Movember at Gina Bates’ yoga class, trying not to laugh out loud at the whale sounds that began her playlist. Who knew the last laugh was on me?

Twenty minutes later, with my head below my knees, I began to regret the pre-class coffee and M&Ms as a terrible bead of sweat rolled off my nose and my stomach contracted like a ball of tin foil. 

Thankfully, 20 years of “sea legs” inspired my core and my gag reflex to tagteam my esophogus, preventing an unwanted emission from interrupting the class. 

After refueling with clam chowder and apple pie (not kidding), I realized a few things about last night’s yoga class.

1. I immediately felt better. 

2. My core deserves better. 

3. My yoga practice could be a lot better.

So if you’d like to sweat with a Portly Redhead, this Movember’s your chance. You’re invited to experience a short list of Philly studios with me. No moustache required. I’ll bring my own.


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Walk (the talk)

At a summertime crossroads, my physician and I agreed that physical activity would likely solve more problems than an additional prescription.

So I started walking to the bait shop, to the post office, and to Philly’s best barbeque spot. I quickly wore out my favorite Vans and treated my feet to a new pair of sneakers.

I not only discovered Philly’s great coffee shops but also that I felt better - physically and mentally. A bonus? I (again) fit into suits, waders, and shorts otherwise banished to a closeted pergatory. 

So here’s my plan for Movember 2018. Instead of seeing specialists, I’m exploring new streets (and snacks) throughout my 30 day moustache journey. Along the way, my furry upper lip will spark conversations about  how men can take charge of their health, conversations that are saving lives right now.

Would you please join me in this journey, whether by growing a moustache, by starting conversations about men’s health, or with a donation? Every awkward moustache needs a brave woman 

PS - Are you feeling soft &/or sad this fall? Let’s go for a walk together this Movember. We’ll both feel better.

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Business Development Tune Ups!

Does your business plan (or LinkedIn profile, job search, or sales process) need a tune up? I’m between projects this week and have time to speak with you on Tuesday and Wednesday. Call or text 484.437.8409 to schedule your free 20 minute conversation!




Fail to plan? Plan to fail.

I've worked with two businesses that, I have little doubt, will soon close. Both principals / ownwes insist that, by simply opening their doors, their businesses will succeed.

In my consulting practice, I insist that my clients develop a plan to grow their business, a plan that includes revenue targets, financial obligations, and various metrics for success. We regularly revisit these plans to see how we're doing and to consider how we can do better. 

When I worked at a large law firm, senior attorneys would draft annual “plans:” lofty goals about new areas of law in which they would practice in the coming year. Following a rousing round of backslapping at the next practice group meeting, those alleged "business plans" were lost in desk drawers for another 50 weeks. No one held those attorneys to their business development goals. Subsequently, many of those attorneys still lack clients and must still service a rainmaker.

In contrast, I look at how Magna Legal Services has exploded in the last ten years, starting with providing the best court reporting and legal technology for depositions anywhere in the country. Now, they provide end-to-end legal assistance to law firms, corporations, and governments, whether in the court room or board room. They had a plan (still do) and are constantly adjusting their goals upward!

Where's your business this summer? How's your plan? Let's find 20-30 minutes to chat (no cost) this week to talk about it. 



Lucky 13

As of today, 13 years have passed since I quit drinking alcohol. Before you throw me a high five for the last 13 years, I want to tell you about those 6 final weeks before I quit.

In hindsight, I should have known something was wrong. I had finally found financial success in my first job out of college (selling television advertising), but I regularly stretched work happy hours until after midnight before driving home. I’d wake up in my apartment hungover and still wearing my suit. Along the way, I embarrassed friends, family, and colleagues with my actions and was repeatedly pulled aside with well-intended words of caution. As much as I tried to control my alcohol consumption, I went off the rails at least once a week and spent remaining nights sober and ashamed.

I started asking for help. Some suggested prayer. Some suggested AA**. Some just suggested that I get my shit together. While I don’t remember who convinced me to go, I thankfully sought the advice of a counselor (c/o my employee benefits plan) and my physician, both of whom agreed that my problem drinking was a symptom of depression rather than the problem itself. Until then, I couldn’t differentiate between depression, a mental health issue, and being depressed, a feeling. In fact, 1 in 4 Americans experience a mental health issue each year. The counselor showed me that I was not alone in self-medicating my depression with Jim Beam. My physician prescribed a few months of Paxil, the same small-dose antidepressant which had recently helped hin bounce back from his divorce.

Buoyed by this knowledge and the support of countless people, I really tried to limit myself to two drinks when I drank but, after my 4th beer with clients at a Phillies game, I knew that my time was up. That was June 30, 2005.

Flash forward to June 2018, when Chef Eric Ripert found his friend and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain dead in a Paris hotel room. In his writings, Chef Bourdain shared his mental health struggles and perennial penchant for drugs and alcohol, including a successful stint in rehab for cocaine and heroin as a young chef. Yet people were still surprised when Anthony Bourdain took his own life.

We shouldn’t be. 3 out of 4 suicides are men.  Mental health issues are very real and they manifest themselves in myriad ways, including substance abuse. Bourdain and I are not alone. But I’m lucky and thankful that family, friends, and colleagues pulled me aside, encouraged me to seek professional help, and helped me to follow through with a plan that likely saved my life, whether from a drunk driving accident in 2005 or something worse.

If somebody in your life is drinking too much, withdrawing from family and friends, or just tells you that he’s not himself these days, let him know that he’s not alone. There are a ton of resources locally and online. In fact, you can have that person call me. My number’s 484.437.8409. I have at least 10 of these conversations each year. I’d gladly have 50 more.

**A very successful bar and restaurant owner, with decades of sobriety, encouraged me NOT to go to Alcoholics Anonymous, as we’re both too independent for its 12 step program.


What I want for my birthday

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What I want for my birthday

I turn 39 on Friday and, before you start wondering what to get me, let me tell you.

I want to catch up. I want to hear about your family, your growing kids, your aging parents, and your awesome spouse. I want to hear about your continued career success and what will it fund. That dream trip? Both kids in private school? A second home? Finally, I want to hear about the cause(s) that you support after your bills are paid. Are you involved in your church? Do you support  your college or university? Has fate made another cause important to you? I look forward to hearing all about it.

Call or text me 484.437.8409 or send an email to

What I want to share with you is the work that Team I Hate Cancer is doing here in Philadelphia. As our name suggests, we’ve raised $350,000+ for oncology causes since 2006. A cancer diagnosis creates incredible stress on a family, whether for the patient or the caregivers, This stress can manifest itself as anxiety, depression, or trauma, among other maladies.

To address these unmet mental health needs, we have partnered with the Austin-based Flatwater Foundation to provide, at no cost, mental health therapy to cancer patients &/or their caregivers in the Philadelphia area. Flatwater’s proprietary and HIPAA-compliant software allows cancer center social workers to match families in need of mental health therapy with eager counselors in their area. Many mental health professionals in the Flatwater program offer us a preferred rate, further stretching our funds.

In Central Texas, Flatwater is currently funding $40,000 in mental health services each month. Imagine the mental health needs for families in Philadelphia - the nation’a 4th largest city - we want to help these families facing a cancer diagnosis in our area, one cancer center at a time. 

To do this work, we need your financial support. $100 funds one therapy session with a mental health professional. $250 funds a small group therapy session for cancer patients. $1,000 can likely fund the entire mental health needs of a cancer patient’s journey or her caregiver. Would you please consiser donating to Team I Hate Cancer? Our outrageous ambitions are already making differences in families facing a cancer diagnosis.  Make your donation here.

You can also celebrate with us on Saturday, May 19 at our annual tailgate at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pennsylvania. 

Thanks for hating cancer with us! 

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I was a flabbergasted client

My neighbors and I live in and maintain a 100+ year old building near Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square. As much as we baby her,     2134 Pine is showing her age. In my home, the windows are about shot. Because  Philadelphia’s Historic Commissiom deems our building to be archictecturally significant, proposed replacement windows must be approved by the Commission.

As you probably know, I love having “a guy” that  solves problems. In this case, my mailman Frank introduced me to a window installer thaf has seemingly worked on every historic brownstone in my neighborhood. John came over, measured the 5 windows, answered my silly questions, and promised me an proposal. A month later, I get a text with a $15,000 price tag. I was flabbergasted.

Had I known each window was $3,000, I would not have wasted the vendor’s time. A “back of the envelope” estimate would have primed me, the potential customer, for sticker shock.

How do you discuss pricing with your potential customers?



Are you a lifelong learner?

I was flabbergasted.

Two friends had asked me to help them reboot their business, a true side gig that has potential to become their careers. We’ve talked about financing issues, real estate options, managing inventory, marketing plans, and new business development efforts. After countless texts and abrieviated phone calls, I finally felt like the partners saw eye-to-eye on their business goals when they sat down face-to-face. We were ready to move forward and I was stoked. 

Out of nowhere, one partner exclaimed that he repeatedly passed on learning new skills at his full-time position because (allegedly) he wouldn’t be doing it for the rest of his life.

Someone was going to pay you to learn something and you skipped it? Are you kidding me?

I was flabbergasted.

Whether it’s your day job or side gig, would you turn down the opportunity to learn new skills that would benefit you professionally or personally? I wouldn’t, especially if my employer was paying me for it.




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Don't second guess Security Sam

Tomorrow morning, I have an appointment with Security Sam, an appointment during which he'll tell me how much the security cameras and door buzzer system my condo association want are going to cost. Seeing as two other security companies have failed to submit a proposal after similar meetings, this appointment should be the ultimate one-call close.

But Security Sam's sales manager got in the way. 

Security Sam's sales manager made Security Sam contact his customer (me) to "clarify" that Security Sam is visiting a multi-family dwelling and not a single family home, a fact easily learned from a quick Zillow search. Why? Because single-family homes are serviced by a different sales team and Security Sam's sales manager wants to be Security Safe.

By second guessing Security Sam, his sales manager added an unnecessary layer of bullshit into a sales process that should be cut and dry. Security Sam, the security expert, should hear my needs, propose a solution, cash my check, and collect his commisssion. Instead, he has TWO sales managers worried that he might step outside of his contractual role and they are bothering the customer BEFORE the first meeting.

When I managed the business development process for a growing low eight-digit legal practice, I dealt with similar bullshit among the law firm partners, which only impaired my ability to service the legal needs of financial services companies nationwide. Too often, our clients were involved in conversations about how the origination credits for their bills would be divided, conversations which I often likened as having kids in the courtroom while their parents argued over their custody.

Nobody wins when you second guess Security Sam. Don't undermine your sales process with internal drama, and empower your team to always keep your customers' needs as Job No. 1. Your top line revenue will soon reflect your investment in your customers.



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You can't sell it if you don't stock it.

I recently spent a few weekend afternoons stocking shelves and sweeping floors in the deli and bait shop where I worked as a young person. In addition to making a few bucks, I remembered how important it is for seasonal retailers to have as much of their inventory on the shelves as possible. The Jersey Shore has absolutely emptied since Labor Day and, if you haven't sold it, odds are you'll have it next spring.

As a professional, you may have skills on the shelf that don't make you any money right now. This week, I'm rewriting my website, taking the opportunity to expand the  services that I offer to professionals like you. I might not sell some of them for a while, but visitors now know that I counsel both non-profit boards on fundraising and boaters looking for a new ride in addition to my coaching practice.

What skills do you have that you're not selling this fall? Let's talk about marketing them this fall to your new and current customers.



“I don’t know if this is a fit for what you do …”

Aside from insulting someone, this is among the least effective ways to start a sales email.

Here’s a better way:

“HI CJ, having reviewed your website, I think that [this thing that I sell] might be relevant to your business. Would you have a few minutes to speak with me via telephone tomorrow so I can learn a little more about what you do and whether [this thing that I sell] might be relevant to you and your colleagues?”

If this is useful to you, let's talk this week about a few more tips to get yourself in the door.


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Sure, I'll talk to him.

My friend Tim* recently graduated from law school and is looking for his first full-time opportunity this fall. His grades and experience have yet to yield him a job, so I’ve connected with a few business lawyers, many of whom have graciously said, “Sure, I’ll talk to him.” So far, he’s learned a lot from some experienced deal lawyers and litigators, and hopefully one of them can connect Tim with another friend or colleague who needs a junior lawyer on her team.

Can you help Tim or another junior lawyer like him? Who are you helping in your network? How rewarding do you find these professional courtesies?


PS – Tim isn’t his real name.

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After a day with friends at the Jersey Shore, I had a hankering for a slice of pizza and friends had recently recommended that I consider Nemo’s as a late night option. Sitting in the driveway, I googled “Nemo’s Avalon,” quickly found the website thanks to a smart SEO investment, and clicked “Menu.” I drove towards the pizzeria, figuring that the menu would load along the way. 1.3 miles and 5 minutes later, I parked out front and walked inside. The menu finally loaded as I was halfway through my first slice. The “menu” was the 4 page high-resolution .pdf file used to print the thousands of menus that they distribute each summer.

When I asked the owner about the menu’s challenges for mobile device users, he told me that his most effective marketing tool are the menus printed and distributed to families that rent homes on the island and that he would look into a mobile-accessible menu at some point. As a marketer, I’m sure that the bags of brochures given to renters are effective. But how many other pizza shops have their menus in the same bag? Local realtors routinely recognize the diminishing number of homes available for rent in Avalon, New Jersey. Targeting only renters eliminates the opportunity to create repeat customers among island homeowners and their families, who will eat Nemo’s pizza for summers to come. Finally, who doesn’t realize that nearly everyone has a smart phone? The owner, in fact, was holding one while we chatted.

As you’re evaluating your summer marketing plans, are you making the most of the marketplace from which you’d like to mine more customers? A smart SEO (search enginge optimization) investment for your website and making your website mobile friendly are great places to start. I'd love to introduce you to my friends at Huddle Up Consulting to learn more.

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City People - City Problems

“I’ll only make $160,000 this year,” my friend whined as she explained to me how busy her big city life is. She complained how she had to squeeze her Botox treatments and Soul Cycle classes in between client meetings, how her associate’s beach house gang parties, and how her Uber Black ride to her suitor’s un-air-conditioned apartment was almost $100 each way.

I tried to empathize, but could only think how many families could do so much with more than $3,000 each week, and how little direct human interaction her day-to-day life contained. It was like talking to 50 Accenture consultants at once, all rattling off their Starwood points numbers to fund their next Instagram-perfect vacation.

When she started complaining about online dating, my poker face vanished. In a lifestyle punctuated by colored boxes in IPhone calendars and messages sent through a dozen apps, it’s no wonder that so many of peers turn to Bumble, OkCupid, and the League to find the next Mr. / Ms. Right (Now). But what amazes me, especially as a sales professional, is how few meetings come from the leads that these dating appps create. It’s so easy to over-analyze the other person, that it allows users to never settle to never meet someone who’s not perfect.

I’m usually pretty tolerant of these so-called “first world problems,” but after I spent so much quality time with friends over the 4th of July week at the Jersey Shore, my calluses had healed. Whether on  the boat, in line at the Post Office, or over coffee at Moran’s, I spent a lot of time just talking with friends. There was no agenda and, unlike for my lawyer clients, there was no clock. A conversation lasted until your coffee got cool or you caught your next fish.

It was remarkably relaxing and refreshing to have unfettered conversations, to share, and to listen. In my practice, I aim to make conversations like these an important part of my work as we seek to grow professional practices. My clients who are able to slow down long enough to participate definitely find our time together very productive as the follow-up work more closely solves the client’s challenges than if I just took a stab at it.

With the weekend upon us, put the IPhone on silent or in airplane mode and see what kind of conversations you have with friends or families. You’ll likely approach Monday morning with a new attitude.