4min readCareer 09 August 2019
Being an expert in the voice space wasn't always my calling - I was previously in the finance world as Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Strategy at a global alternative investment firm where I spent eight years.
I had been on the sidelines of emerging tech for many years because my husband is in the tech space, and I saw a huge opportunity in the voice industry. I believe it's the next frontier in tech and will be as important as web and mobile and as a way we interact with technology -- after all, speaking is the most natural way that we communicate. Voice is one of the fastest adopted technologies ever -- just 5 years after Amazon first introduced the Echo in 2014, 1 out of 4 adults in the US has a smart speaker. It's also on the cusp of a huge wave of monetization as smart displays with screens get in the hands of more consumers. Voice commerce is where mobile commerce was, not that long ago!
As a consumer, I also noticed the disconnect between, on the one hand, the fast adoption and remarkable capabilities of smart speakers with built-in voice assistants like Alexa, and on the other hand, how people were using their smart speakers. Half of smart speaker owners have never even tried a third party voice app (that's like saying half of iPhone owners have never downloaded an app from the App Store).
It was clear to me that the millions of people with Alexa in their homes are not unlocking the full potential of Alexa and other voice technologies -- and that they needed a trusted third party resource to help guide them. That's why I started VoiceBrew as the first-ever digital media company fully dedicated to helping people get the most out of Alexa. We're a one-stop shop for everything you need to know to get the most out of Alexa.
VoiceBrew offers comprehensive guides on a range of Alexa features and devices, advice for users, and a variety of simple and insightful tips & tricks for unlocking Amazon Alexa's full potential - and it's a great resource for busy female professionals.
Here are VoiceBrew's tips on 4 easy ways Alexa can help boost productivity:
#1. Alexa flash briefings provide your daily news in just a few minutes
If you find that your mornings are crunched for time, but still want to hear the latest news before starting your day, you'll love listening to your Alexa flash briefing.
Alexa flash briefings are short, 2-4 minute clips from your favorite news sources. Whether you prefer to listen to NPR, BBC or even your local TV station, there are thousands of briefings to choose from! And since the clips are so short, you can easily enjoy a few as you go through your morning routine.
You can easily start listening to flash briefings with one minute or less of set-up.
To add your favorite news sources' flash briefings to your personal flash briefing list: Open your Alexa app, tap the hamburger icon in the upper left corner > tap "Settings" > (scroll down and) tap "Flash Briefing" > tap "Add Content" > search for a flash briefing by tapping the magnifying glass in the top right corner > tap "Enable to Use" > repeat for additional briefings.
To listen: Just say "Alexa, play my news" to hear your daily briefing.
#2. Linking your calendar to Alexa enables hands-free time management
Need to add a new event to your calendar? Put your phone down and give hands-free a try! Gone are the days of picking up your phone, opening the calendar app, creating a new event… you get the idea. Alexa integrates with all popular calendars, making it easier than ever to hear your daily schedule or even create an event.
To link your calendar to Alexa: Open your Alexa app, tap the hamburger icon in the upper left corner > tap "Settings" > (scroll down and) tap "Calendar & Email" > tap "Add Account" > tap your calendar service name (Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc.) > toggle "Calendar" on > tap "Connect Account" button > follow simple linking instructions.
To get or add calendar info: For a birds-eye view of your schedule, ask "Alexa, what's on my schedule today?" And the next time you need to schedule an event, just say "Alexa, schedule (appointment name like lunch with Kathy) on (date) at (time)."
#3. Let Alexa guide you through a five-minute workout
Crunched for time, and finding it hard to sneak in even a short workout? Alexa can help. Whenever you're ready for a small burst of activity, use Alexa's Five Minute Workout skill for five minutes of fat-burning fun.
The best part? These exercises can be done in a small area, making it perfect for a 3pm pick-me-up at the office — or even a morning workout in your hotel room when you're traveling (you can always access Alexa via the Alexa app on your phone).
To enable the skill, tap/click here > tap/click the "Enable" button.
To get started with your workout, just say "Alexa, open five-minute workout."
When you're ready to step it up a notch, set an automatic Alexa reminder by saying "Alexa, remind me to exercise every day at 3 pm."
#4. Calm your mind and increase focus with a meditation led by Alexa
Exercising the mind is as important as exercising the body. Research has shown that meditation can help you make smarter choices and increase your ability to focus by 14%. Even a short meditation equal to the time it takes to grab your afternoon coffee can work wonders.
And if you're new to meditation, don't worry: the Headspace Alexa skill has everything you need to get started. The first time you use it, Alexa will walk you through a brief demo to bring you up to speed.
To enable Headspace, tap/click here > tap/click the "Enable" button.
Then, just say "Alexa, open Headspace" to get started.
To unlock more meditations, create a Headspace account (or connect an existing account by following Alexa's prompts).
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."