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From Mommy and Me to the Colleague and Me

From Mommy and Me to the Colleague and Me

Utilizing parenting skills in the corporate world

The Suffolk County News - July 24, 2008

By Emily Portoghese

SOUTH SHORE - Motherhood may take some women away from their careers for a point of time, but Sayville native Michelle Yozzo Drake's new book, From the Kitchen to the Corner Office, links the skills used at home to situations in an office environment.

It is well known that motherhood is demanding, but Drake applies the lessons she has learned from the women in her family to the workplace, a practice that is often discounted, but is very valuable, she noted.

Her book, released in May by New York City-based Morgan James Publishing, is intended to educate women on how to "get back into the working game," and to give the readers the tools they need to learn how to become a better businesswoman by becoming aware of one's strengths and weaknesses. This book features a foreword by Mark Victor Hansen, of the Chicken Soup for the Soul empire.

Drake's clients had been asking her if she had written a book, so when Drake made the mother and office connection, she also discovered the idea on which her book would be built. The tactics and systems Drake uses when coaching her clients are all similar to the way the women in family went about their everyday lives.

Once Drake started to categorize each anecdote of her own history with this phenomenon, she put the idea into motion; the first draft of her book was recorded by voice and then transcribed, which gives the book its interactive, conversational tone.

A former business teacher at Sayville High School, Drake is now the chief executive officer of the Cove Group, Inc., a communication strategy and consulting company which Drake and her husband, Rich, established.

Her first consulting business was Saxton Consulting, named after the street where she grew up in Sayville, and where her parents still reside. Saxton Consulting took on a new identity when Drake and her husband became business partners and became the Cove Group, Inc.

Other moms shared stories with Drake for her book. Two moms who know Drake and her husband on a more personal level and who were featured in the book are Ann Yozzo (Drake's mother) and Marty Drake (Rich Drake's mother).

The publication of this book was a proud moment for these mothers. "It's a refreshing kind of book, we women all know what we do," Yozzo said. "There's so many things we do on a day-to-day basis that we may not realize are setting a pattern to be used in other places."

Yozzo noted she did not plan out life lessons; she just parented, and felt she did a good job. Marty Drake, a Blue Point resident, agreed. "I just did the very best I could and hoped for a good outcome," she said.

The author is now a resident of Stonington, Connecticut, and mother to two young men in their 20s. Drake is better able to understand how the skills she has picked up in parenting her own children were just as useful as learning from her family was.

It especially taught her how to be able to assign different tasks to employees by recognizing the communication styles of fellow workers, like assigning different chores to children based on their attention span and interests.

Teaching and her experience working as a radio show host has helped Drake learn and pass on her knowledge to others. Drake thinks the most important message is that one's success is based on observation and accountability.

"It's your observations of your environment; to be able to interact with people in the most effective way possible," she said. "Really owning your role in where things may go wrong is important; you must look at yourself first."


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"Spirit has fifty times the strength and staying-power of brawn and muscle.� � Mark Twain