WHEN IT COMES TO CHUTZPAH, SHE'S A PROFESSIONAL.
Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother,
I am a newspaper reporter, so of course I have more questions than answers. Let's start with an obvious one:
Q. Who are you, really?
A. Beneath my cape and wand, I am Helen Rosenau, Eugene resident since 1981, formerly administrator and instructor for the Linfield College Eugene Program, currently administrative and marketing manager of ECONorthwest, an economics consulting firm. I live happily with my partner, two dogs, two cats and my laptop.
Q. What's the nature of your business?
A. www.YourJewishFairyGodmother.com is a consulting and coaching service for individuals and small businesses. I offer motivation, inspiration, support and problem-solving through questions, values clarification, brainstorming, advice and advocacy.
Q. How did you get the idea for the business and when did you start it?
A. Divine inspiration. Literally a voice in my head (April 2000) saying "www.YourJewishFairy Godmother.com." OK, I had a glass of wine in my hand at the time, but I know a good idea when I hear one.
Q. Where did you get the chutzpah for such an idea?
A. I'm always telling people how to "fix" their lives. Ask any of my family, friends or colleagues. My ideas usually help. So I hung out my cyber-shingle.
Q. How do you pronounce "chutzpah"?
A. KHOOTS-pah. It means guts, willingness, nerve, audacity.
Q. How old is Your Jewish Fairy Godmother?
A. 54 in May. Fairy godmothering takes decades of wisdom, with all the lumps and thumps along the way. The clever and relentless streaks have been around since childhood.
Q. What do you do, exactly?
A. The Web site says: "What does she do? What do you need?" I'll e-mail anyone a first answer for free. Coaching time is $1 a minute. I advocate progress and solutions, not long-term whining. I also write an advice column, "Ask Your Jewish Fairy Godmother."
Q. Where is your advice column published?
A. Currently in Jewish newspapers in Florida, New Jersey and California. My goal is mainstream daily syndication. Appeal to readers: Ask The Register-Guard to run this column! (Note application of Commandment No. 1: Ask for what you want.)
Q. I noticed your Web site lists the Jewish Fairy Godmother's Ten Commandments. Which is the most important, and why?
A. To "Ask for what you want" you really need to "Believe in yourself." I use and coach each of them as needed.
Q. Just what are your qualifications for this line of work?
A. My attorney says to remind people that I'm not a certified anything, except a statistics instructor. But superheroes are almost always self-appointed. I've been an administrative, personnel, contracts and marketing manager in the private sector. I like thinking up creative solutions to problems. Probably my greatest qualification is a willingness to ask, "Can I pull this off?" and then trying to make it so.
Q. Where did you get your "black belts in schmoozing and manipulation"?
A. I'm Jewish, so heredity gets some credit. Note: I never use guilt with clients, but have no limits when I work on their behalf.
Q. How Jewish are you, anyway?
A. Genetic, secular and ethical more than practicing. My parents were immigrants who escaped Germany in the 1930s. I grew up hearing Holocaust stories. I love the heart of Judaism, and the music. I'm also a good Eugenean: a new-age, Buddhist, pantheist, eclectically spiritual Jew.
Q. OK, give me some advice on this: How can we talk to each other about the war in Iraq?
A. We need less shouting, less shooting and less anger. We all want a world of peace, freedom and justice. The challenge is creating that through listening and mutual respect, not by fighting.
Q. What about Luke Ridnour - should he stay or go?
A. As his Jewish Fairy Godmother, I'd advise reviewing his options. As a fan, I'd beg him to stay. He's a winner wherever he goes. (Luke: One more year, one more year ...)
Q. Who's your typical client?
A. The advice column has thousands of dedicated readers. I've also helped several hundred people more directly, men and women ages 13 to 78. This past week I coached people in Oregon, Minnesota, Missouri, Florida, Los Angeles and New York City. Only a small percentage are Jewish. Each wants an adviser, advocate and ally.
Q. Can you actually make a living at this?
A. I love my day job, but being Your Jewish Fairy Godmother is a growing enterprise. So far there's enough energy, enthusiasm and adrenaline (with occasional infusions of dark chocolate) to hold me together.
Q. How do people hear about you?
A. By word of mouth, linked sites on the Internet and the advice column. Some folks think the idea is silly. But almost everyone smiles when I say, "I'm Helen. I'm Your Jewish Fairy Godmother."
Q. Your Web site includes your recipe for Moroccan Chicken Soup. After the chicken, what's the most important ingredient?
A. Butternut squash, cumin and saffron. For vegetarians the chicken is optional.
Q. Your Web site is pretty hip, with clever art and marketing techniques, inviting visitors to buy Jewish Fairy Godmother T-shirts, tote bags and gift certificates, for example. Do people really buy that stuff?
A. Not often enough, and they're really cool. But I have been given as a birthday present.
Q. Why did you claim "Your Jewish Fairy Godmother" as your own registered trademark? Do you think you're the only one?
A. Some people hope so. Others want me cloned.
Q. What's the most common question you get?
A. There's no most common anything for a fairy godmother. People ask about every aspect of their lives: relationships, careers, money, self-esteem and ethical dilemmas, small and large.
Most boil down to: I need a new way to think about X (whatever X is).
Q. What's the strangest request?
A. Getting speedy cremation turnaround so the unexpectedly deceased could be on time for a family reunion. Runner-up: telling a client's supervisor that the supervisor's deodorant wasn't meeting office standards.
Q. Your greatest success?
A. Would you ask a mother to name her favorite child? This month I'm tackling Priceline, Visa and an airline for a refund; evaluating living arrangements for a client's mother with dementia; coaching two job searches, an exit from an incompatible business partnership and the startup for a new consulting venture; plus designing a fund-raising strategy for a dance troupe.
Q. Where are you going with this?
A. If my wand could make it so: becoming an on-call ombudsperson for businesses ... call-in radio show ... nationally syndicated daily column ... writing "the book" ... Oprah. I get teased about Your Jewish Fairy Godmother the sitcom. Any or all of the above plus weekends at the coast, five extra hours in a day, health, wisdom and peace in our times.
Q. What's the meaning of life?
A. Meaning is relative. Start with compassion toward yourself and others. Live joyously. Be creative. Practice gratitude. Help everyone else to do the same.
Hey, I feel better already. As your Web site says, when it comes to Your Jewish Fairy Godmother, "Everybody needs one." Thanks!
- Euphoric in Eugene
Jewish Fairy Godmother's 10 commandments
1. Ask for what you want.
2. Think strategically.
3. Treat other people well.
4. Keep asking questions.
5. Work every angle.
6. Use charm and chutzpah.
7. Say what needs to be said.
8. Enjoy the ride as much as the win.
9. Make your own good luck.
10. Believe in yourself.
Helen Rosenau credits divine inspiration for the idea for her business. "Literally a voice in my head saying `www.YourJewishFairyGodmother.com.' ' Your Jewish Fairy Godmother is on the Web at www.yourjewishfairygodmother.com. Jewish: Advice available for $1 a minute Continued from Page B1 Keyword: Jumphead goes here and here Continued from Page X1 Please turn to JEWISH, Page B2 S e l f - h e l p
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|Title Annotation:||Jewish Fairy Godmother has all the answers; go ahead, just ask her; Business|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Mar 30, 2003|
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