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Find Your Retirement
Time to get personal about your plan

When It Comes To Retirement Planning, Are Generations All That Different?

"I love what I do. Building a business is work, but it's not a grind. It feels more like living than working, so I can't imagine giving it up," said Lena Koropey, a Gen Xer and CEO of Gramercy Protocol and Strip Tees in New York City. "In a sense, my retirement started when my finances allowed me to start doing things my way. The difference between retirement and life isn't clear to me."

Gen Xer Koropey's grandmother built a medical practice after coming to the United States as a refugee who didn't speak English. "She told me she just leaped into whatever she had to do to get ahead at every step, and the big picture took care of itself," Koropey said. "She's a model for me. If she could do what she did, what excuses can I make for myself?"
Inside Edition with Deborah Norville- Lena Koropey Interview- Kiss Gone Wild:

Fox 5 News
with Mac King and Lena Koropey- Relationship Etiquette:
The proper etiquette for spending one-on-one time with someone other than one's partner

5 Tips for Sounding More Professional On Email and Slack

How to Communicate Virtually at Work


Lisa Eadicicco

The rise of workplace chat apps like Slack means there could be fewer meetings clogging up your afternoons in the office. But when communicating with colleagues virtually, it's more important than ever to choose your words wisely.

"We know that 55% of the message we convey is all about how we do it: our voice, our tone," says Lena Koropey, founder of etiquette consulting firm Gramercy Protocol. "Only 7% is the message itself."

How can you best communicate with your coworkers over chat or email? Check out these tips.

Get to the point

Whether you're posting in a Slack channel or preparing to send a team-wide email, being succinct is important. For emails, that means starting with a clear and accurate subject line. It's also a good idea to update the subject as the topic evolves if you're dealing with a long email thread. "Keep it as brief as possible and be respectful," says Koropey.

Paying attention to the conversation is also crucial to cutting down on inbox clutter. "You don't want to be redundant," says Diane Gottsman, founder of the Protocol School of Texas. "You want to be focused. You don't want to ask the same question over and over again in a different way."

Don't use chat or email to address an important issue

Chatrooms and emails can be great for tasks like scheduling meetings, doling out assignments, and keeping colleagues up to date. But when it comes to discussing a complex problem, especially with a subordinate's performance, it's best handled in person or over the phone. "The more human that you can be in that interaction, the better the outcome," says Koropey.

Avoid using these words and phrases

When discussing sensitive subjects, be it digitally or verbally, you'll want to cut these words and phrases from your vocabulary. Use "I" instead of "you" when providing feedback and pointing to a colleague's specific behavior. Bring up your concern with a line such as: "My concern is..." rather than "You messed up," says Gottsman.

If you're hoping to highlight a coworker's achievements while also bringing up concerns with their performance, Koropey suggests using the word "and" instead of "but" to conjoin the two ideas. For example, rather than saying "Your presentation was excellent, but you really need to boost your numbers," try saying: "Your presentation was excellent, and you really need to boost your numbers."

"Using the word 'but' negates everything prior," says Koropey. Phrases like "Don't take this the wrong way," and "It's not personal" harm more than help, she says.

Be aware of the tone in your office

Chatting with a coworker in Slack can feel as casual as pinging a friend on Facebook Messenger. But it's important to keep conversations professional, both in chat and in email. Grammar and spelling are just as important in brief conversations, even if you're writing informally, says Koropey: "All of these details make a big impression about who we are."

That pertains not only to how you communicate, but what you're saying, too. Although it can be tempting to sway the conversation in a spontaneous direction, you can risk wasting your colleague's time by doing so. "Stay focused on what the message is," says Gottsman. "If it's business, you keep it business-related."

What to do when a colleague isn't answering your emails or messages

If there's a pressing issue to discuss and a remote worker isn't answering his or her messages or emails, try contacting them through a different medium. How you approach the situation should depend on how urgent the issue is. Koropey says that if a person still hasn't answered their messages after about two hours, it's appropriate to try calling them if it's a time-sensitive matter.

But a 24-hour period is reasonable amount of time to give for projects that are less urgent, she says. "People are overwhelmed because they're on multiple websites, getting bombarded at times," says Koropey. "That's why we want to be mindful of what we share, how many people we reply to, and just be considerate with [our] communication."

Fox 5 News
with Baruch Shemtov and Lena Koropey- Texting Etiquette:

Fox 5 News with Mac King and Lena Koropey- Spoiler Alert Etiquette:
Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones
RKYHS Students Learn About Social Etiquette in the Technological Age


JLNJ Staff

Lena Koropey, founder of Gramercy Protocol, provides strategic business etiquette and communication skills counsel to Fortune 100 companies and entrepreneurs, representing some of the world’s most respected brands.

She recently addressed students at RKYHS and, through her presentation, students gained an awareness about the impact technology has on how we relate to one another. They learned valuable tools on how to maximize communication in the digital age while building relationships based on trust, mutual respect, kindness and professionalism in diverse business and social settings.

The interactive session built confidence and teamwork, increased self-awareness, developed leadership and communication skills, encouraged civility, and enhanced professionalism to help students achieve their best.

The talk appealed to the various types of learners. It covered the points above, from practical tips about putting away gadgets before speaking to someone, to a greater awareness of the impact our behavior has on others and how we can make the best impression. It also covered the importance of human interaction and how to navigate technology.

Fox 5 News with Mac King and Lena Koropey- "Phubbing" and Cell Phone Etiquette:

Want to Give Back? Here's What You Need to Know About Charitable Wedding Favors

"Donations in lieu of wedding favors is a growing trend that speaks to a general desire to make a difference in the world by giving back to the community," Lena Koropey, etiquette expert and founder of Gramercy Protocol, says. "It is a meaningful way to thank your guests for their presence, and to share the spirit of kindness and helping others with them."

Fox 5 News
with Mac King and Lena Koropey- Phatic Expressions and Greeting Etiquette:

Fox 5 News
with Raegan Medgie and Lena Koropey- Holiday Gifting Etiquette:

Holiday tipping: Here's who you should include and how much you should give them

Lena Koropey, the founder of the business etiquette consultancy Gramercy Protocol LLC, offered the following guideline on whom to tip and how much to give depending on where they serve you:


The standard in the domestic staff industry is to provide an end-of-the-year bonus around the holidays. This includes babysitters, nannies, house cleaners and dog walkers. It also includes handymen that you use often along with landscapers and gardeners.

Koropey said, in most cases, you should tip the cost of one week's salary. "If it's a house cleaner, you would tip the cost of one full cleaning. If it's a live-in, maybe it can be up to a month's pay."


This category includes people like building managers, supers, bellhops, porters, and parking assistants.

Koropey said a generous gift for building superintendents and managers can range from $100 to $200 per year, depending on how often you interact with them. "Maybe if you haven't seen them, you can bring that number down to fit what's appropriate," Koropey said.

For doormen and other building workers, tip anywhere between $25 to $150 during the holidays based on the level of service they provide. "Think — has this person gone out of their way for me?" Koropey said, "And tip them according to that."

Personal Care

Rather than worrying about how much extra to tip those who provide personal care, like hair stylists, barbers, manicurists, beauticians, personal trainers and beauticians, tip them each the cost of one service if you want to be generous, Koropey said.

"If you get a haircut and the cost is $50, feel free to give them a holiday tip that equals the cost of one service," Koropey said. 

She said to use the same rule of thumb for your pet groomer, masseuse and acupuncturist.

"It's a much more streamlined process," Koropey said.


Some service industry workers have unique situations that limit the amount of money you should tip.

For example, some mail carriers are government workers. "They are only allowed to accept up to $20 gifts," Koropey said. "They are allowed to accept gift cards. An Amazon gift card, for example, will allow them to choose a gift that works best for them."

She warned that giving money to your kid's teacher can come across as bribery. She said a small token gift from your child is more meaningful.

"It's a different type of gift because it comes from a place of appreciation for providing the support to the child."

Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown

Your 2017 Guide to Year-End Tipping

Postal Workers

"Federal regulations prohibit postal workers from accepting cash or gifts valued over $20," says Lena Koropey, owner of Gramercy Protocol. "They can, however, accept retail gift cards up to $20. In this case, a heartfelt note and a $20 gift card to Amazon, for example, would make a great gift".
Fox 5 News with Lidia Curanaj and Lena Koropey- Holiday Tipping Etiquette:
Proper Holiday Tipping Etiquette



During this time of year, you're expected to tip your doorman, hair stylist, mailman, even your parking attendant.

“A good gage for a parking attendant and building staff can range from $25 to $100,” said Lena Koropey, etiquette expert and founder of Gramercy Protocol.

 “These tips are not expected per se, but they are certainly appreciated. It’s a nice way to say thank you,” she said.

When it comes to your building superintendent, the etiquette expert said it should be at least a $100. As for your nanny- the gift should be one week's pay.

Most importantly you should try to personalize your gift.

“Beyond the money, be with the person, express to them ‘thank you for helping me out,” Koropey said.

A question many have when it comes to tipping: “What if you can't afford to tip everyone according to proper etiquette guidelines?”

Lena said you can also write a heartfelt note, that human element speaks volumes.

Also focus on the service people that matter.

“They take care of you, you take care of them,” said one tipper.

Because if you just ignore holiday tipping altogether, there's a good chance your service won't be as good as it used to be.

Fox 13 News with Chris Chmura and Lena Koropey- Re-gifting Etiquette:

Fox 5 News with Arthur Chi'en and Lena Koropey- Re-gifting Etiquette:

Fox 5 News
with Mac King and Lena Koropey- Facebook Tagging Etiquette:

with Weijia Jiang and Lena Koropey- The Etiquette of Timeliness:

Fox 5 News with Mac King and Lena Koropey- Party and Invitation Etiquette:

Think again about keeping your bed to yourself when overnight guests stay — especially if they’re older

Two experts agree that it is respectful and kind to give up your bed for overnight guests, especially if those guests are elders. (Simona Pilolla / EyeEm)

Q: You have some older houseguests staying at your home for the weekend. Are you supposed to give up your bed for them?

A: Simple social graces are as relevant today as they were ages ago. Whether you are a host or a guest, there is a specific protocol for what is expected and how to conduct oneself.

As a host, it is your duty to provide comfortable accommodations for your guests. This includes food, beverages, clean linens, towels and a proper place to sleep.

If you live in a studio or one bedroom apartment, offer that bed to your guests, especially if they are older. It is the polite thing to do and demonstrates a sign of respect. In this case, you could use the sofa, futon or an air mattress.

However, if you have a pull-out sofa bed or a guest room with a comfortable bed, that would be sufficient for your guests.

As a guest, be respectful while in your host’s home: Keep things tidy and noise down, and try to follow your host’s sleeping schedule, if possible. Bring a gift to show your appreciation for the host’s hospitality.

— Lena Koropey, founder of Gramercy Protocol

A: When you offer your home to a guest, it is your responsibility to ensure that the guest feels comfortable and welcome.

It seems that the level of respect for elders has diminished over the generations, but being kind to all is a sign of character and proper manners. We are taught to have a high level of respect for elders, so you may have to make some unusual sacrifices for them when you welcome them into your home.

When you lack a spare room or spare bed, offer your own bed, so that the elder in your home is comfortable. As a measure of safety and respect, avoid putting an elder on the couch. As the host, you made the choice to welcome someone, and accommodations should ensure that you provide the ultimate comfort.

Consider additional accommodations, such as extra blankets, privacy and fresh sheets that have been cleaned with an odorless detergent to avoid skin irritations.

— Akilah Easter, etiquette and lifestyle expert

NY1 News
Money Matters with Tara Lynn Wagner and Lena Koropey- Holiday Tipping Etiquette:

Fox 5 News
with Lidia Curanaj and Lena Koropey- Walking Etiquette:

Coveted Key Reveals a Magical Oasis in Downtown New York

7 Essential Principles of Business Social Etiquette for Executives and Entrepreneurs:


"We are now in an 'Era of Behavior,' where our behavior is our greatest source of competitive advantage."

- Dov Seidman


Join The Leader & The Muse host, Rasheryl McCreary, and her guest, Lena Koropey, to discover the power of your personal brand, and the 7 Essential Principles of Business Social Etiquette for Executives and Entrepreneurs, to help you "out-behave" the competition:


It was a sunny autumn afternoon in beautiful Gramercy Park, New York City. I was enjoying a moment’s rest on the sofa while reading Bloomberg Businessweek, to which I'd received a complimentary subscription for having completed my MBA. I'd always been fascinated with business and with the idea of starting my own company - it was only a question of what that business would be.

My background is in marketing communications, public relations, and branding for the luxury sector. I left my job working on the Product and Technology Communications team at Mercedes-Benz's corporate headquarters to study marketing and design at the Parsons School of Design. My colleagues thought that I was crazy to leave, since Mercedes is a remarkable company that values employees and invests in their professional development.

One colleague of mine gave me a memorable farewell card as a send-off. The card bore a vintage image of a woman at the bow of a sailboat, about to dive into the deep blue sea. I don’t recall exactly what the card said, but it was along the lines of, “Be courageous and dive deep into possibility.” The card resonated with me since I love the sea and since I was taking a leap of faith to follow my dreams.

It wasn’t until years later, after Parsons, after Voss water, and after Business School Lausanne - that I found myself on that sofa in Gramercy Park, flipping through Businessweek. And there it was: Etiquette School for Dummies! Actually, it was a three-page article bearing that title and describing the current need on the market for business etiquette training. The article contrasted Lee Iacocca, the polished "business magnate of yesteryear," with the hoodie-wearing Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. I was captivated by the article, knowing that etiquette was a field where I could make a difference, applying my talents towards making the world a better place. I loved the idea that good behavior is good business.

The need to embrace civility in the workplace would become the cornerstone of my business. The concept of principled profitability inspired me: In the words of Dov Seidman, "our behavior is our greatest source of competitive advantage." I knew that I could help people "out-behave" the competition.

What percentage of business is lost to bad behavior? How many times have we shaken someone’s hand and found that he or she didn't make direct eye contact? How did that subtle behavior make us feel, and what do such subtleties communicate about who people are? The fact is, trust can be lost or gained on the basis of such interactions. I knew that I could help people be their best and do my part to bring the human element back to business. Isn’t it amazing that eighty-five percent of our job success is directly related to our people skills?

Reading the magazine article, I noticed that The Protocol School of Washington was featured. Within minutes I was on the phone to sign up for their next Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol Consultant course. The course was starting in two days, but the school graciously made an exception for me so that I could participate as a last-minute addition to the class.

Pamela Eyring, the School's President, taught my class. “This course is going to change your life,” she told us on our first day. She was right. It set me on my path to helping make the world a better place through business etiquette training.

Shortly after the course ended, I launched Gramercy Protocol and have spent the last several years building my business. Gramercy is derived from the French words, “grand merci,” meaning “with gratitude" - and the need to do things with gratitude is a value that drives my business. My logo features a key, to inspire people to unlock their potential.

I have had the pleasure of working with some of the world’s most respected brands, such as Daimler and Louis Vuitton, as well as prestigious universities. I have trained executives in areas such as: networking, presentation and public speaking, media training, personal brand image, dining etiquette, and international protocol.

My customized training programs focus on enhancing interpersonal communication skills while underscoring the importance of civility. I encourage my clients to take the time to connect with their customers and colleagues on a more human level - above and beyond electronic media.

I have also been fortunate to be featured on television and radio as a commentator on various etiquette topics. Inside Edition, Fox 5 News, WCBS-TV, NY1 Money Matters, and VoiceAmerica Business Network are among the platforms on which I've appeared. Just like the woman at the bow of the sailboat on that card, I took the leap, and dove deep. I am grateful that I have found my niche.

Lena Koropey is a 2010 Graduate of Train to be a Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol Consultant course |