When it comes to relationships — whether family, community, the workplace, or the larger world — I have witnessed countless situations that could have saved lots of time and money, headache and heartache if only people had applied the principles of “life etiquette.”

By using a unique blend of vivid stories, humor, along with warm authenticity, I intend to inspire and motivate Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder readers to apply simple life etiquette principles in everyday situations. My monthly Life Etiquette column will answer questions, share expert advice and offer words of wisdom.

Allow me to share a little bit about my background. I was born and raised in Louisiana, and I currently live with my husband, Jim, in St. Paul, Minnesota. We are proud parents of seven adult children and 15 grandchildren.

After years of working in various leadership roles in customer relations and staff/employee development, I found my passion — helping others embark upon a journey of learning business and social etiquette. I took the giant step to follow my dreams. In 1991, I founded Eagle Wings, LLC — a powerful platform for my training, consulting and speaking business where I currently serve as CEO.

The core of my training is rooted in my educational background with a Master of Arts degree in human development from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and my long-standing certification from the prestigious Emily Post Business Etiquette Institute.

The name “Life Etiquette” was an inspired choice. After accepting the request to present social etiquette to a group of male inmates at Dakota County Jail, at the end of the pilot series one of the participants suggested, “Ms. J, you ought to call this Life Etiquette!”

That young man realized that the training series went way beyond social niceties. Although social niceties — how to use a knife and fork and say “please and thank you” — are core elements of social etiquette, life etiquette goes way beyond the basics. True to its name, Life Etiquette is about “how to be” in any situation one may encounter in “life.”

People often ask me why I do this work and why I believe it’s important.  I simply say — because manners are memorable. People remember what you say, what you do, and how you behave. So always, put your best foot forward.

I intend to help you put your best foot forward by sharing tips, strategies and techniques for addressing some of life’s simple faux pas, as well as some of life’s more complicated business and social interactions — from the handshake to the dining table.

True to its name, Life Etiquette is about “how to be” in any situation one may encounter in “life.”

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