Author Archives: Raymond Prescott

Top 3 Tips For Networking Success

Our Networking pro of the month is Stephanie Phillips, director of member value and engagement for the Greater Richmond Chamber.

She jokes that it’s a good thing her first career choice — being “the social worker who saves the world” — didn’t pan out. “I ended up instead in an entry-level job with the Greater Richmond Chamber, where I found my calling,” she shares.

During her 22 years with the Greater Richmond Chamber, Phillips has focused on maximizing strategic partnerships, being a resource to thousands of members, and creating dynamic events and volunteer programs.

“The bottom line,” she says, “is that my job is about providing a positive and thoughtful experience with everyone I work with.”

With decades of experience helping business leaders network, what are Phillips’ top tips for networking success? Scroll down for our Q&A.

Be Inkandescent: Tell us about the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, and how it has grown in the last few years.

Stephanie Phillips: As a regional Chamber, our goal is to help move the Richmond, VA, region (RVA region, for short) forward through our leadership, community, and brand initiatives. We are not a traditional chamber, as our philosophy is one of quality, not quantity. This means no membership drives, campaigns, golf outings, etc. Our philosophy has proven successful, as seen by our retention rate and our approach in engaging our members.

Say hi to our newest members Wenatchee Christmas Lighting

Be Inkandescent: What is your mission, and how has it changed to keep up with the times?

Stephanie Phillips: Our mission is to support the success of our members, provide a strong business voice, and develop leaders and entrepreneurs. As times change, so do the areas of focus not only for businesses, but also for nonprofits. We always keep our fingers on the pulse of what our members and the RVA region is experiencing. By working together, the business community plays a powerful role in determining how this community looks and feels. Our mission helps support that very sense of place.

Campowerment Retreat!

What the heck is Campowerment? Campowerment is an experience engine designed to re-ignite your life. It combines the magic of childhood summer camp with empowering, interactive workshops led by experts in health, wellness, love, spirituality, parenting and business empowerment, where brand new friends turn into lifelong camp buddies.


What’s a Campowerment weekend camp? It’s a hilariously transformational sleepaway camp retreat for grown-up women. Yep, it’s the weekend girlfriend getaway you’ve talked about and know you need, but never found the time to take.

Join us for an awesome three days of fun & games, and the wisdom & space you need to kick-start the beginning of the rest of your life. Do it. Learn more:


  • Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event? Campers must be 21+ years old.
  • Where can I contact the organizer with any questions? Shoot us an email! We’re Give us a call! Our Goodwill Ambassador, Joan, is happy to help: 305.965.7561
  • What is the refund policy? Is my registration/ticket transferrable?
    Conditions of cancellation policy accepted upon registration. Details here.

Fun Fact: Our camp land was excavated by Brandon with

Are you ready to change your life? Click to register.

Press Release: Sheldon Weiner Details How to Keep Your Family Financially Healthy


Contact: Hope Katz Gibbs, founder
Inkandescent Public Relations,
Cell: 703-346–6975

Washington, DC, June 22, 2015 — With more than 35 years of financial planning experience, financial adviser Sheldon Weiner has seen clients make literally hundreds of mistakes regarding their retirement planning.

However, the founding partner at Egan, Berger & Weiner LLC, based in Northern VA, has made a point of learning from his clients mistakes.

“As a husband for more than four decades, I do not want to have to explain to my wife, Sharon, why we do not have the quality of life in retirement that she has been looking forward to,” explains Weiner, who offers 10 simple steps to consider when planning for a comfortable retirement.

1. Save enough money! Yes, this should be obvious. And I am amazed that this very basic fact eludes so may people. Write this down: Save early and save often. I don’t care if it’s $5 a week. The sooner you start saving, and the more you can save, the better off you will be financially when you retire.

2. Make sure you put the plan in writing. So many people do not write down their plan for retirement. As a result, it is harder to stick to — and you are liable to sway from the proper path that can take you where you want to go. To keep this from happening to you, make sure your plan is realistic, complete, and gets you to your ultimate financial goals. Also, make sure you communicate these long-term goals to your spouse and your financial planner to ensure you are all on the same page.

3. Don’t take your Social Security too early. Although you can technically begin taking your Social Security as early as age 62, it is usually not a very good idea. Studies show that the longer you wait to take the money out, the better off you are. For instance, from age 66 to age 70, your Social Security check will grow at about 8 percent per year. Where else can you get 8 percent guaranteed with no risk? You cannot. Therefore, if you are really ready for retirement and your cash flow is adequate, wait until you are 70 to begin collecting.

4. Plan for unexpected events. So many people fail to plan for those “rainy day” financial expenses: You need a new furnace, or dental work, or you want to attend an out-of-town wedding. This type of thing happens more often than you would expect — so I always promised my wife that we’d keep enough cash on hand. I recommend you save enough to get you through five to six months of your living expenses. Keep that cash in a bank account that can be accessed quickly. You also need to be mindful of infrequent expenses that you can anticipate — such as taking a vacation or buying a new car. Another thing that can occur is fire/water damage. Our team at Water Damage Restoration Seattle can help!

5. Don’t underestimate your life span. Today, more than 70,000 Americans are over 100. Even more startling, more than 2 million Americans are currently in their 90s. And with longer life comes escalating health costs. Plan to be around for this extra time and save accordingly.

6. Don’t ignore insurance — especially long-term care. On average, the amount of money needed in retirement to pay for medical expenses is $116,000 for men and $131,000 for women. And as my colleague Dave Beck has explained, you should have enough life insurance to care for your family in case they outlive you. More and more people are expected to need long-term care sometime in their life. It is also important to make sure that your home and automobile are properly insured with enough liability insurance.

7. Make sure you have an estate plan. It is important that you have a will, have given powers of attorney to someone who has your best interests at heart, and that you also have a trust. To make sure you draft these contracts correctly, consult a lawyer to make sure you are following the laws of your state, etc. You can craft these documents yourself, using online tools, but in my experience that isn’t the best plan — mostly because you don’t know what you don’t know.

8. Keep track of old retirement plans and pensions. Odds are good that you have had more than one job in your career. It’s also likely that you have lived in more than one state. With all that moving around, it is fairly easy to lose track of a small 401(k) plan that you may have left behind. Remember that small pension plan that you had 20 years ago? There are also a number of IRAs that people have opened up, put $2,000 into, and forgotten about. Over a period of time, these can grow into large amounts, which could increase your financial cushion in retirement. So look back and track these accounts. And if you do change employment or move to a new location, be sure to discuss all of your options regarding this money with a financial professional.

9. Consider working part-time in retirement. Another huge mistake that I often see is that many people don’t consider what they will do with their spare time once they retire. Some people tell me they are busier in retirement than they were when they were working. Other people don’t know what to do with themselves. I suggest getting a calendar and writing down what you do each week before you decide to retire. Then write down what you plan to do each week once you retire. Where will you go each day? Which hobbies will you pursue? How much time will you spend, and what do you want to do, with your spouse and kids?

10. Consult with a financial adviser and other professionals when creating your financial plan. I realize this sounds self-serving, but I caution anyone who wants to put together a plan on their own. I’m not alone in this belief. According to the latest investment behavior study research by the organization Dalbar, investors are their own worst enemies and need good advisers to step up and manage investor behavior. In its 21st annual edition, the study exposes the wide gap between investment returns (the returns of a benchmark index) compared to the much smaller returns a typical mutual fund investor actually captured.

Weiner’s bottom line: As I approach my own retirement and look back over the years at all the mistakes that I have seen people make, I am confident that I can honestly tell my wife I have prepared for our future as well as possible. And I’m pretty sure she’ll be happy with the outcome.

Learn more about Sheldon Weiner and Egan, Berger & Weiner LLC at and gain more insights into

About Sheldon L. Weiner, LUTCF
Financial Adviser / Partner

  • Founding partner of Egan, Berger & Weiner, LLC
  • 36 years of experience in the financial industry
  • Attended the University of Maryland and the Hartford Insurance Company School of Advanced Underwriting
  • Earned the LUTCF designation (Life Underwriters Training Council Fellow)
  • Served as president of Creative Financial Programs, Inc.
  • More than 10 years of experience as a teacher and lecturer for various educational institutions in the area
  • Active member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA)

Weiner resides in Olney, MD, with his wife, Sharon. He has two grown children and three grandchildren. He is active in his community; he has served on several boards of directors and has worked with a number of fundraising groups. He has also been an active member of the Masons, Eastern Star, and The Order of DeMolay, where he achieved the rank of Chevalier.

PR Is Like Fireworks

PR Is Like Fireworks

PR is like fireworks. If you don’t catch the embers, your moments in the spotlight will just be a pretty memory.

Inkandescent Public Relations is here to help you glow so your company can grow.We are a full-service PR, marketing, publishing, and website design firm that gets entrepreneurs the visibility they need to showcase their expertise—and spread the good word to reporters and customers.

Our mission: Since 2001, Inkandescent founder journalist Hope Katz Gibbs has been promoting, inspiring, and educating entrepreneurs, educators, authors, and artisans about best practices in PR and marketing. Her goal is to help them polish their message, create growth strategies, and grow their companies using the tools in her playbook: PR, marketing, advertising, and social media.

Our approach: Our team consists entirely of journalists who know how to sniff out a good story and work well with other reporters. We’re also all entrepreneurs ourselves, so we know the trials and tribulations felt by the small-business owners we represent. The key to success is our “8 Steps to PR Success“—the strategies outlined in our first Inkandescent Rulebook, “PR Rules: The Playbook,” available on from


Check out the 8 Steps in our new book, designed to help small business owners master their PR, marketing, advertising, social media, and sales campaigns:

Available on Amazon:

In 200 pages you’ll learn how to:

1. Create a stunning website
2. Develop an explosive PR campaign
3. Make a splash in the news
4. Write a column in a magazine and 
Host a radio show
5. Network wisely
6. Join a Speakers Bureau
7. Write a book
8. Pay it forward

Are you ready to Be Inkandescent?

  • Get a free subscription to our popular monthly business magazine.
  • Download our 8 Steps to PR Success
  • How have we helped other companies? Check out what our clients say.

Here’s to your incredible, indelible, Inkandescent success! — The Inkandescent Team