How One Woman is Reinventing the Wedding Industry
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Amy Grace decorating for an outdoor wedding while looking at the camera

Amy Grace Collins loved her work through Amy Grace Events. She was doing incredible corporate events and weddings for organizations and couples at the most amazing venues in California and Michigan, with the very best in everything—food, flowers, music, photography, videography and more.

But she saw a trend that concerned her with the dream weddings she was helping California brides make a reality: They wanted $60,000 events when they could barely afford $15,000, so they were headed out of Santa Barbara to less expensive destinations, like the dessert of Palm Springs.

“My background is in finance, so I’m acutely aware that the money goes where the trends are,” said Collins, a NAWBO-Central Coast California member, who currently resides with her family in Michigan but works in California as well. “I started looking for an option to keep Santa Barbarians in their local town.”

Part of an international mastermind group of wedding planners, Collins began sharing her thoughts on calls. She learned that a fellow planner in Australia was in the process of implementing pop-up weddings. The concept was that several couples would have their wedding at the same location, on the same day, enjoying the same vendor resources—just in their 3- to 5-hour window and with a small group of friends and family in attendance.

While the concept would take some time to tweak for the American market, Collins knew she was onto something big.

“I reached out last summer to all my vendor friends saying, ‘I have this crazy idea…’ We talked about it and I ran every financial number I could,” says Collins. “There are a lot of models out there that undercut the vendors, so they only do the events on off-days.

“But couples want a Saturday or Sunday wedding for less, so we created these and started working on marketing them in February.”

Then COVID-19 hit. “There were brides booked for March and April who were stuck in contracts and out $60,000,” said Collins, adding that the biggest engagement season is between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day and brides usually start reaching out to wedding planners in the spring…and it’s been silent.

Collins’ thoughts immediately turned to the women who are part of MasterBrides—her other business, which is a free, online community for brides to learn about weddings from an industry veteran. She knew these women didn’t have tens of thousands of dollars to lose. Also, would it even possible for them to plan their weddings in the age of Coronavirus with so many unknowns from state to state, especially in California and Michigan, that tend to be among the strictest? Amy began sharing her research and expertise in blogs like, How Do I Know If I Should Cancel or Postpone My Wedding? and The Phased Strategy to Open America: What Does This Actually Mean for My Wedding? By the response she received from brides, it was clear it was time to pivot and focus on pop-up weddings. Her own industry, on the other hand, wasn’t so thrilled about what she was putting out there, but Amy felt strongly it was the right thing to do.

Today, that honest, timely communication has paid off. Amy is now offering pop-up weddings where she leverages the cost of a $60,000 wedding and distributes it three ways between couples so they can have stunning weddings for a fraction of the price. These are all-inclusive, with 90 percent of the decisions already made. She just helps each couple finalize the personalization aspects to make it their own event.

There are other advantages to this model, too. For one, it’s recommended that the guest list is small with just 40-80 people. In this time of social distancing, that’s the perfect size. Also, it’s environmentally friendly. Whereas before, thousands of dollars on everything from flowers to food would go to waste after one big event, now several couples are taking advantage of the same resources.

“I think this will completely shift the mindset of brides,” Collins says. “To see the couples’ expectations from 2002 when I first started, to 2020 is mind-blowing—it’s the same amount of money with way different expectations. This is really resetting the industry so that couples are having a wedding within their means.”

Collins is equally excited about another outcome: A focus on the ceremony more so than the party. “I have always been frustrated by the lack of reverence given to the ceremony portion of the wedding,” she explains. “To have people now see the importance of the actual ceremony and license and how it affects so much in their life, from health care to taxes to immigration. It’s so much deeper and I think we, as an industry, will be appreciated in such a different way. I look forward to that.”

How Cooks Are Helping to End World Hunger
LinkedIn
woman wearing a blue apron that says Cooks Who Feed

Everyone has food waste, even if we try to be mindful about our purchases and how much we are preparing. While we may all account for a little here and there, it adds up to a lot of wasted food.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it’s estimated that 30-40 percent of our nation’s food supply is wasted. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization estimates that over 800 million people per year around the world do not have enough to eat. One organization, Cooks Who Feed, is taking on the mission of helping to feed the people who need it most.

“When I realized the facts surrounding food waste and world hunger, I felt I had to do something about it,” explains Seema Sanghavi, founder of the organization Cooks Who Feed. “We help make it easier to get involved in helping to end world hunger. One of our aprons will top the list of many gift buyers this season.”

The Cooks Who Feed organization has teamed up with well-known chefs to create a line of aprons that people can purchase. Every apron purchased provides 100 meals to those in need. The organization has addressed numerous areas of concern by working with charitable organizations around the globe that collect surplus food to provide immediate hunger relief.

The mission is helping to end world hunger, but the company is also addressing the environmental impact of food waste. The organization works with three charities that obtain food surplus and provide it to those in need. The charities they work with are Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, Second Harvest, and Zomato Feeding India. Over a third of Cooks Who Feed profits go to supporting their charity partners.

Beyond the food benefits that the apron sales provide, they also help to support underprivileged women in India. The aprons are all made in a fair-trade facility, giving the women a way to earn a living and rise above poverty so they can feed their families and help others. All of the aprons are environmentally friendly, handcrafted with natural and recycled fabrics. A lot of details have gone into each apron creating a stylish, functional and eco-friendly product that brings sustainable fashion to the kitchen.

Each of the organization’s celebrity chef ambassadors have created their own apron so their fans can purchase an apron designed by the chef. People can choose the one that suits them or the person they are gifting it to. Some of the celebrity chefs that have teamed up with Cooks Who Feed include:

  • Art Smith – Chef Art is an award-winning chef and co-owner of several restaurants, including Blue Door Kitchen & Garden, Art and Soul, and Southern Art and Bourbon Bar. He also spent 10 years being the personal chef of Oprah Winfrey. He’s known for his Southern fried chicken. Every purchase of his specially designed apron also supports Common Threads, which provides disadvantaged children free cooking and nutrition lessons.
  • Christine Cushing – An award-winning chef, Chef Christine is a judge on the hit Food Network program called Wall of Chefs, and won the 2020 Taste Award for “Best Chef” in a TV series for her food, travel documentary series called “Confucius Was a Foodie.” She also has an artisan line of tomato sauces.
  • Romain Avril – Best known for his appearance as a judge on Top Chef Canada All-Stars, Chef Romain has worked at a one and two Michelin star restaurant. He’s a star chef at such restaurants as Colborne Lane, Origin North Bar, and La Société Bistro.
  • Devan Rajkumar – After several years of high-end catering with the Food Dudes, Chef Romain moved into an executive chef role at Luxe Appliance Studio.
  • Gaggan Anand – Known for his progressive Indian cuisine, Chef Gaggan has repeatedly placed on the Restaurants of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. He earned two Michelin stars in the first edition of the Thailand Michelin guide in 2018. He opened the restaurant Gaggan Anand in Bangkok in 2019, and has been profiled in Netflix’s Chef’s Table.

“The greatest lesson in life is taught by our family, simply share our food,” added Chef Art Smith. “By being a part of this great program I’m living that lesson, because every apron purchase shares food with the world. It’s a great feeling to be a part of doing that.”

Cooks Who Feed was founded by Seema Sanghavi. She loves cooking and got the idea for the organization after visiting a nongovernmental organization in India, where women were earning a living by performing safe work. Two years later, she came across information about the food waste problem, and an idea was formed. The mission of the organization is to create a movement, providing 1 million meals per year, which would be made possible by 10,000 apron sales annually.

The Cooks Who Feed aprons come in a variety of colors and styles and start at $55, with free shipping within the U.S. In addition to the celebrity chef aprons, there are others to choose from. The aprons make great gifts for those who enjoy cooking. To get more information about the program or see the selection of aprons, visit the site: https://cookswhofeed.com/.

About Cooks Who Feed

Cooks Who Feed sells a line of fashionable aprons that have been sustainably made and help to feed the world. Working with charities that obtain surplus food, and providing it to the people who need it, the company helps people and the planet. The aprons are handcrafted, eco-friendly, and available online, for retail and for wholesale. To get more information, visit the site: https://cookswhofeed.com/.

Sources:

US Department of Agriculture. Food Waste FAQhttps://www.usda.gov/foodwaste/faqs

World Health Organization. World hunger is still not going down after three years and obesity is still growing.https://www.who.int/news/item/15-07-2019-world-hunger-is-still-not-going-down-after-three-years-and-obesity-is-still-growing-un-report.

What Are the Most Secure Jobs in America Now?
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Closeup of woman's hand iworking by touching laptop

Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the past months. Most states have been under stay-at-home orders, which have meant nonessential businesses have shut their doors and laid off workers. Below is a list of the most secure jobs in America now.

Nurses

The median annual wage for registered nurses was $73,300 in May 2019.

Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur for a number of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventive care; increasing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for healthcare services from the baby-boom population, as this group leads longer and more active lives.

Physicians & Surgeons

Wages for physicians and surgeons are among the highest of all occupations, with a median wage equal to or greater than $208,000 per year.

Overall employment of physicians and surgeons is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Physician’s Assistant

The median annual wage for physician assistants was $112,260 in May 2019.

Employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 31 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As demand for healthcare services grows, physician assistants will be needed to provide care to patients.

Home Health Aide

The median annual wage for home health aides and personal care aides was $25,280 in May 2019.

Overall employment of home health aides and personal care aides is projected to grow 34 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the baby-boom generation ages and the elderly population grows, the demand for the services of home health aides and personal care aides will continue to increase.

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor

The median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors was $46,240 in May 2019.

Employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is projected to grow 25 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth is expected as people continue to seek addiction and mental health counseling.

Software Developer

The median annual wage for software developers was $107,510 in May 2019.

Employment of software developers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Software developers will be needed to respond to an increased demand for computer software.

Researchers and Scientists

The median annual wage for computer and information research scientists was $122,840 in May 2019.

Employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects are expected to be excellent.

Teachers

The median annual wage for high school teachers was $61,660 in May 2019. The median annual wage for middle school teachers was $59,660 in May 2019.

Employment of high school and middle school teachers are projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Veterinarian

The median annual wage for veterinarians was $95,460 in May 2019.

Employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 16 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Overall job prospects are expected to be very good.

Lawyer

The median annual wage for lawyers was $122,960 in May 2019.

Employment of lawyers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Competition for jobs over the next 10 years is expected to be strong because more students graduate from law school each year than there are jobs available.

Source: money.usnews.com; glassdoor. com; bls.gov

WBC2020 RECAP: Brave Is An Unstoppable Community of Women
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collage of pictures featuring three diverse businesswomen

Even a pandemic can’t stop the women of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and their community of supporters.

That was clear by the turnout for NAWBO’s first-ever virtual National Women’s Business Conference (WBC) with the theme of “Brave Is…” in a year that marked the 45th anniversary of NAWBO as well as the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave most women the right to vote.

As Jill Calabrese Bain, managing director, internal and corporate communications for Bank of America (WBC presenting sponsor for the eighth year), says: “Brave is all of the women who came before us and made it possible for us to be here today. Brave is all of you who are paving the way for the next generation of business owners. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine all the accomplishments that are to come in the next 45 and 100 years.”

A fireside chat followed between Eva Saha, professional emcee and moderator, and Glennon Doyle, author, activist and founder of Together Rising. It was part of six live, interactive conference days filled with keynote speakers like Glennon, breakout sessions, workshops, networking, exhibit hall, awards gala and more.

Glennon, who recently released her latest bestselling book Untamed, shared about how for a long time, she felt like a “dormant cheetah with lipstick on.” “We are hiding from each other the very thing we’re meant to share and carry,” she explains. “It’s the shame about the pain in life that takes us out of the game.”

For Glennon, who opened up about everything from her broken marriage to her struggle with abandoning herself, truth telling in her writing proved life changing. “The only way to successfully parent, partner and love is to fully emerge.”

She went on to speak about what women are being charged with right now—juggling homeschooling, crisis parenting, keeping businesses going and more. “It’s not just hard, it’s impossible,” she says. “We’re so busy asking the world what it wants from us that we don’t stop and take the time to ask ourselves what we want from the world.”

She encouraged women to use this time deliberately and intentionally to create the life they really want for themselves—and to not go back to “normal” after COVID-19.

(Pictured l-r: Dr. Yasmin Davidds, Multicultural Women Executive Leadership Foundation, Rebecca Fyffe, Landmark Pest Management; bottom: Dr. Bertrice Berry, Lecturer & Comedienne)

Another keynote featuring several leading ladies of business was equally inspiring. They discussed obstacles they overcame, failures they learned from, wins that propelled their success and what bravery means to them.

Gail Becker, founder and CEO of CAULIPOWER and 2019 NAWBO Woman Business Owner of the Year, shares, “One thing I think I did right was I wasn’t afraid to admit I didn’t know it all. Part of being a successful entrepreneur is being free to admit this and then hiring around it.”

Amanda Spann, founder of The App Accelerator, built on the concept, saying, “You’re not always qualified to do things, but sometimes you’re just called to do them. When you have new ideas and projects, they’re on your spirit for a reason. Lean into your tribe and community to make these things happen.”

Other tips from these leading ladies, who also included Usha Boddapu, CEO of ESOLVIT, and Dr. Yasmin Davidds, CEO of the Multicultural Women Executive Leadership Foundation, Women’s Institute of Negotiation, were:

  • Bet on yourself.
  • Get out of your comfort zone.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail.
  • Be curious to learn.
  • Know you are enough—and leverage that.

WBC attendees agreed this year’s event was as near in-person as you can get and left them feeling even braver. “The theme this year ‘Brave Is…’ could not better exemplify who we are as women business owners,” says Vikita Poindexter, CEO of Poindexter Consulting Group, LLC and president of NAWBO California. “However, the year 2020, this theme resonated more than we could have ever imagined.”

“To come together and support each other, laugh, cry and share our trials and tribulations in this incredible virtual world was extremely powerful,” she adds. “The conference displayed our rich history, where we are today, what our focus should be going forward and how the next generation is blazing paths as well. It allowed us to be authentic and show our strength and resilience. NAWBONation is the definition of what brave is.”

And that’s not stopping anytime soon.

Winning Women
Click here to read about the four amazing women entrepreneurs who were honored at this year’s virtual awards gala, including our 2020 Woman Business Owner of the Year.

Photo Credit: Karianne Munstedt Portrait

Rihanna Joins ‘Forbes’ List Of America’s Richest Self-Made Women
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Rihanna feature cover on professional women's magazine wonder woman

Forbes has unleashed its list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women and there are plenty of recognizable names.

According to the outlet, the entire ranking of trailblazers are worth a collective $90 billion and have “have started or helped expand companies that do everything from build rockets to create snowboards to make Covid-19 tests.” At the top of the ranking is roofing entrepreneur Diane Hendricks, co-founder of ABC Supply, one of the country’s largest wholesale distributors of roofing, siding and windows. She tops the list for the third year in a row with her empire, which reportedly exceeds $8 billion.

Meanwhile, Rihanna makes her first appearance on the list at the No. 33 spot, courtesy of her cross-genre ventures. In addition to her Fenty Beauty line, the pop titan also has her Savage x Fenty lingerie line, as well as her music ventures, racking up an estimated $600 million for her earnings across the board in 2019.

Among the other celebrity appearances include Kris Jenner, who nabbed her first entry at the No. 92 spot with a net worth of $190 million. Oprah Winfrey returns to this year’s ranking at the No. 9 spot with a net worth of $2.9 billion, while Kim Kardashian took the No. 24 spot with her net worth of $780 million and little sister Kylie Jenner took the No. 29 position with a net worth of $700 million. Lady Gaga and Jenniffer Lopez both snagged the No. 97 spot with their net worth of $150 million.

Continue on to 1043myfm to read the complete article.

STEM Female Founders Can Get Funding Without Giving Up Equity In Their Companies Or Need To Pay The Money Back
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woman in background pointing finger to digitally enhanced image floating across screen

Female founders have more options for funding than many realize. Making those options known is the next step. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) are federal grant opportunities for women who start STEM companies.

We all know that female founders don’t get their fair share of venture capital. According to the Q3 2020 PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor, startups with all female founders receive a low and declining amount:

  • VC capital: 2.6% in 2019 and 1.8% in Q1,2&3 2020

It makes it all the more critical that women know about other funding sources. For women with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) startups, grant dollars from the federal government could be an additional capital source. While the dollars available are lower ($3.6 billion in 2018) than venture capital ($135.8 billion in 2019), your chances of getting funding are nearly five times higher. Best of all, the grants are non-dilutive. That means you do not have to give up any equity in your company. Since it’s a grant, you also don’t have to pay the money back.

Currently, 11 Federal agencies participate in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and five of those agencies also participate in the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. Each agency administers its program. The agencies include the Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and National Science Foundation.

The SBIR and STTR programs mandate those federal agencies with procurement budgets of $100 million or more set aside 3.2% to fund their SBIR programs. Agencies with an R&D budget above $1 billion must also set aside 0.45% of those funds for the STTR program. The pool of money available in 2018 was $3.6 billion.

Just as getting venture capital is a complicated process, so too, is receiving SBIR/STTR grants. The application process is highly competitive. However, if the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) has anything to do with it, it will be easier for you to learn about opportunities like these and evaluate if they are a good fit for you.

NWBC is a federal advisory committee established to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations for the President, the US Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on issues of importance to women business owners and entrepreneurs.

The Council recently released America’s Seed Fund: Women’s Inclusion in Small Business Innovation and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs. The report is the first comprehensive analysis of women’s participation in the SBIR/STTR programs as business owners or principal investigators.

“The idea to do this research came out of our annual meeting in 2019,” said Monica Stynchula, chair, NWBC’s Women in STEM subcommittee, and REUNIONCare CEO and founder. An official from the Patent and Trademark Office had a deck of cards with female trailblazers and their different inventions. “We had never seen anything like this. The committee recommended that the Council do a study to find out exactly how many women are accessing the SBIR/STTR opportunities.”

The total number of women-owned small businesses (WOSB) SBIR/STTR Awards decreased to 13% in 2018, down from 14.4 in 2013. Even though the number decreases, the percentage is higher than venture capital (2.7% in 2019 and 2.2% in Q1&2 2020). The Department of Education (29.5%), followed by the Department of Transportation (22.7%) and the National Science Foundation (17.6%), gave out the highest percentage of awards. The Department of Defense ($1.75 billion), followed by the Department of Health and Human Service ($1.08 billion) and Department of Energy ($280 million) have the largest budgets.

To increase the representation of women-owned businesses in the SBIR/STTR programs, NWBC is recommending that:

  • The SBA ensures streamlined and more consistent data collection and reporting on women’s inclusion in these programs. “Data needs to be collected on an annual basis and provide more granular information,” said Stynchula. For example, currently, male/female teams aren’t tracked. It is well documented that diversity leads to greater success.
  • Congress should ensure the agencies have enough resources to do outreach to women and other economically disadvantaged groups. “Some agencies do a better job than others,” said Liz Sara, chairmen of the board at NWBC and founder and president at Best Marketing. “There no one size fits all, but, by sharing successes, each agency can develop a program that works for them and female founders,” said Stynchula. “Finding a champion in an agency is critical to success.”
  • The definition of ‘women-owned business’ should be expanded to allow women and minority-owned firms to accept VC and equity investments. Many of these firms have angel and venture capital investors. I’ll add that because the most successful companies have diverse teams that include both men and women, diversity needs to be considered.
  • Participating agencies should offer the opportunity to do an initial pitch to determine if the company’s idea is a fit for the program. “The process to do these applications takes a significant amount of time and research to do,” said Sara. “If there were a quick pitch phase, it would eliminate women-owned businesses that are outside the scope.”

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Resume and Skills Refresh: Don’t Waste Your Pandemic
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woman holding her resume in her hand smiling

By Greg Stuart

While I’m not that old, just over 40, I can’t remember living in a crazier time. This pandemic has affected how we go about our daily life in so many different ways.

The closest thing I have to compare to this crazy time is the post 9/11 era. While COVID-19 has changed all of our travel plans, it has also changed how we function in the everydayness of life too. Most prevalently, the way in which we work and communicate has drastically changed. Remote work filled with Zoom meetings and Webex presentation have become the norm. I have enjoyed working from home because it has allowed me much more flexibility. No sitting in traffic or heading back and forth from the airport (I travel a lot for work). When I’m done for the day, I’m left with time that I normally don’t have. So, what should we do with that time? It’s a perfect time to refresh your skills and update your resume.

Remote Work Is the Best Time to Refresh Your Resume

Since the shift to remote work, I’ve taken three certification exams and added them to my resume. My skills are growing because I have time to do a lot more self-study than I had before. Here are some ideas as to how you can use this quarantine/pandemic to refresh your skills and update your resume.

Study & Learn

There is no better time than now to get online and learn something new. If you have ever thought about learning coding, there are free online resources for that. Try Code Academy. They have a large library of practice labs and exercises to teach you how to code. They offer classes in Java, Python, Perl, Ruby, and more. If cybersecurity is your thing, you can go to sites like PluralSight and Udemy to learn about the latest cybersecurity initiatives and training. Maybe being online all day for work and then staying online after work to study isn’t your thing. I get that. I prefer to crack open a book and study up on my next certification goal.

Grow Your Network

Having extra time on your hands will give you an opportunity to reach out to people within your professional network and catch up. Reaching out to someone within your network gives you an opportunity to update them on what you have been up to and find out what they are doing. Maybe you are working on projects of interest to each other and you can swap notes and ideas. In the event you are planning to be back on the job market, refreshing your professional network helps to keep multiple sets of eyes out for the best next opportunity for you. Updating your professional network helps to grow it and keep it strong. The best thing you can do is cultivate a strong professional network that you can call on for help and/or guidance from time to time.

Build a Home Lab

If you have extra time and extra money lying around, build yourself a home lab to keep up to date on the latest and greatest technologies out there. Even if you don’t have a lot of extra money, you can always download a trial license of VMware Workstation and start building yourself a nested lab that you can use to build virtual servers and appliances to further your learning. Find an older PC that you might have lying around and throw Workstation on it, and you are off to a good start. Some companies even give a lab allowance to their employees for licenses and hosting.

Attend a Virtual Event

Lastly, with this pandemic still going strong, there are many opportunities to attend a conference virtually that you might not have been able to physically. VMworld 2020 has gone virtual and has opened registration up to anyone for free (no, you don’t get a backpack!). There are other events you can attend as well, such as networking events in which you join a Zoom meeting to sync up with others in your field and learn from one another.

Balancing Personal Life with Resume Refresh Goals

There are so many things you can do to optimize your time during this phase so you are ready for a resume refresh. Find something you can do to balance learning and growing your sphere of influence within your field. At the same time, remember to enjoy your family and friends and be safe.

Source: news.clearancejobs.com

This Is the Biggest Career Mistake You’ll Ever Make, Experts Say
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woman manager working on her computer

We’ve all had a lot of time to ask ourselves big questions about our lives these days, including what we wish had gone differently, whether it’s in regards to our relationships, our health, our families, or our careers.

But when thinking about why our professional lives may have gone awry, we tend to focus on things we actively did wrong—like the deadlines we missed or the bridges we burned.

However, experts agree that when it comes to career missteps, we should be thinking about what we didn’t do instead.

So, what’s the biggest career mistake you’ll ever make? Giving up on learning something new. Read on to find out why, and for another regret you don’t want to live with, check out The One Thing Experts Say You’re Doing Every Day That You’ll Regret.

The career experts at Monster note that in order “to continue to advance in your field and attract new potential employers, you need to stay current. Unfortunately, it’s easy to let your skills development lapse.” And that, they say, is one of the biggest career mistakes a person can make. To combat this, they suggest that you “take an online class, attend seminars, research available certificates in your industry—just don’t let your brain gather dust.”

Similarly, in her article for The Muse on the biggest career mistakes a professional can make, career acceleration expert Olivia Gamber explains that after a decade or two in the work force, people tend to “stop hustling and stop gunning for future promotions and breakthroughs.”

If you don’t want to fall into that rut, Gamber, author of The Career Upgrade Roadmap, suggests that you “take proactive steps that would qualify you for advancement like taking classes [or] learning new skills.”

The results speak for themselves. When Coursera conducted a survey of 52,000 learners across a wide range of subjects, they found that 72 percent of participants reported career benefits from taking online classes, including increased efficiency, success at finding a new job, or receiving a raise.

That’s why, in Fast Company’s report of what makes people the most proactive professionals, “Never stand still” tops the list. “People who do the things the way they have always been done will in the best case get the same results all over again,” writes leadership and coaching professional Anush Kostanyan. “You should constantly search for new solutions and more effective approaches.”

Seeing through the learning process itself, nixing some old bad habits, and forcing yourself outside of your comfort zone mentally is what will give you the edge in your career. For more mistakes you may be making, according to the experts, read on.

Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

SBA Helps Woman-Owned Business Receive $140 Million in Federal Contracts
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Necole seated on office desk smiling

Each year, companies graduate from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Business Development 8(a) Program, with the potential and capabilities to grow into successful businesses.

SBA’s 8(a) Program helps firms develop and grow through one-on-one counseling, training workshops, management and technical guidance. It also provides access to government contracting opportunities, allowing the companies to become solid competitors in the federal marketplace. In fiscal year 2018, small businesses received more than $17.6 billion in 8(a) contract dollars.

Enter The ELOCEN Group, which is the first name spelled backwards of the owner, Necole Parker Green, who started the company in her parent’s basement in 2006. The ELOCEN Group is a woman- and minority-owned construction company specializing in construction, consulting and design services for federal and commercial clients.

One of the biggest challenges for Necole was gaining equal respect and access to the same opportunities as her male counterparts in the construction industry. Necole entered the SBA’s 8(a) Program in 2009. While in the program, Necole said, “We’ve been able to regularly exceed targeted goals, consistently increase staffing year over year, and leverage relationships established throughout our engagement with SBA.”

The SBA certifies socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses under its nine-year 8(a) Business Development Program. Individuals who are members of certain minority groups are presumed socially disadvantaged. These groups include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian Americans. Firms owned by Alaska Native Corporations, Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian Organizations, and Community Development Corporations are also eligible to participate in the program.

Necole has since graduated from the 8(a) Program and believes it was instrumental to her growth. The proof is in the pudding. The ELOCEN Group has received more than $140 million in federal contracts throughout its tenure in the 8(a) Program.

Necole has now established a joint venture agreement with the SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé Program and has partnered with large prime contractors on other federal contracts. In 2015, the SBA named The ELOCEN Group DC’s Small Business Person of the Year.

Necole has been an American Express Summit for Success ambassador at their annual events, providing business insight to entrepreneurs on becoming a trusted government contractor, growing to scale and successfully navigating the complexities of working with large firms.

Today, The ELOCEN Group’s core values continue to include operating with uncompromising integrity, showing a commitment to building synergistic “win-win” relationships, offering unparalleled excellence in service through partner collaborations, and melding growth opportunities into demonstrated best practices.

Small businesses interested in the 8(a) Program should contact their local SBA district office to attend an informational session.

More information and an online 8(a) application are available at: sba.gov/8abd/.

Time to be Her Own Boss While Family Operates Three Businesses
LinkedIn
Kelly Amundson sitting behind the wheel of her Pet Butler work vehicle that says We Scoop Poop

Although Kelly Amundson loved her 16-year career as an occupational therapist, she realized in 2019 that the time had come to help husband Marty manage the family farm and his lawn care businesses.

It would allow her to spend more time working towards a common goal alongside her husband and also allowed her to run and operate one of the newest, hottest franchise concepts Pet Butler with their location serving all of South Eastern Minnesota. All this and more time to spend her family in general.

“I learned so much in my career working with teenagers and young adults in the areas of mental health experience and many lessons about teamwork, dealing with whole families and working towards a common goal. It was all invaluable. And now I am using those skills to run my own business, and my husband’s lawn care businesses.”

Husband Marty has worked in lawn care for 19 years, initially starting his own lawn mowing business up years before with Kelly’s brother. The team serviced residential and commercial properties. He began moving into providing fertilization and weed control programs for these local customers and realized there was so much more to a good lawn care business than mowing lawns. When approached by top lawn care franchise Spring-Green Lawn Care, based in Plainfield, Illinois five years ago, Marty decided the time was right to add this proven concept to his already existing Green Edge Lawn Care. At one of Spring-Green’s conventions he was introduced to a new concept the parent company had acquired, Pet Butler.

Pet Butler provides pet waste removal and other pet related services to homes and multi-family communities, also offering a variety of scheduling options. The business model is also set up to add expanding services such as; pet sitting and pet shuttles. The franchise offers large, protected territories that foster scalable growth and strong recurring revenue.

Said Kelly, “Marty has been blessed with the courage to take risks, to start business’, and with the opportunity to hire good staff and delegate work. Now we get to have a hands-on opportunity to start a new business together with Pet Butler, working off of Marty’s experience, corporate’s assistance, and my willingness to take on something out of my comfort zone. This will be a chance to promote more personal growth, and an opportunity to provide jobs for more people as the business grows. This will be another business we can begin as a legacy for our family. We feel our children have a lot of great learning opportunities here at home.”

About Pet Butler

Pet Butler Franchise was acquired in 2017 by Spring-Green Enterprises, the parent company of +43 years old Spring-Green Lawn Care and SGE Marketing Services. They currently have 30 franchisees located in 25 states with long term plans to open 60 more within the next 5 years. Pet Butler provides an opportunity for pet lovers to turn their passion for pets into a business. To learn more about how Pet Butler serves pets and their people, visit www.petbutler.com and connect on Facebook and LinkedIn. To inquire about a franchise call 844-777-8608 or go to www.petbutlerfranchise.com.

 

Avoid These Mistakes When Applying Online
LinkedIn
female professional working excitedly on laptop with arms raised in joy

By Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC

The resume black hole. The abyss. The void. The applicant tracking system (ATS) creates all kinds of stress and irritation for job seekers. Candidates almost universally loathe the experience.

The ATS requires them to copy and paste sections from their resume into tiny boxes and answer questions that could be easily discussed in a quick phone call, adding to what is already a user-unfriendly, often tedious experience. While they are far from perfect, most companies are using them, and they appear to be here for the foreseeable future. Decrease some of the angst by being alert for the following common mistakes people make when applying to jobs via the ATS:

Important details in the header or footer. Some ATS systems are sophisticated. Some are clunky. The clunkier they are, the pickier they are. If you have critical information in the header or footer of your resume, there’s a real chance that it won’t translate into the system.

You don’t bother with keywords. Keywords are king. There is no way around it. The ATS allows employers to search for candidates by select keywords. Ensure that your resume is optimized for this purpose.

Wrong file type. Most ATS systems accept Word and PDF files. If your resume is in a format other than these, you will find yourself filling in each field manually.

Being overly creative or “original.” Most applicant tracking systems are unable to read charts or embedded graphics. Stick with text and standard characters only.

Functional resume format. The functional resume format is one which is organized by theme—key skills, major achievements—instead of chronologically. Recruiters and hiring managers hate them because they make it impossible to understand career progression. Applicant Tracking Systems only accept information in reverse-chronological order. Stick with that format.

Wonky fonts. ATS systems are very finicky when it comes to font, so keep it simple and use a standard serif font.

Spelling and grammatical errors. Just as you want an actual human to understand what you’re talking about, you also want to ensure that what you upload is digestible by the ATS. Incorrectly spelled words and overuse of acronyms can land your resume in the digital trash bin.

You don’t bother with the cover letter. If the ATS gives you the option of submitting a cover letter, by all means do it. This is the opportunity to address your skills and experience in narrative form.

The objective statement. ATS applications are often limited to a certain number of characters. Do not waste any real estate with an objective. Instead, summarize your career and its highlights.

You don’t review before hitting “submit.” There’s a decent chance that despite your best efforts, something wound up in the wrong field or is otherwise incorrect on the ATS. Review scrupulously before you submit.

Source: careersdonewrite.com

Air Force Civilian Service

Air Force Civilian Service

Breast Cancer

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Verizon

Verizon