How a former Target intern became one of America’s most successful Black women
LinkedIn
Caroline Wanga on stage at Cannes Lions 2019 in Cannes, France.

By Samantha Subin

Caroline Wanga thrives on chaos.

That’s why she stepped away from roughly 15 years of hard work at Target in 2020 to tackle a new obstacle: helping a half-century-old Black media brand reinvent itself.

When Wanga joined Essence in June, the Black culture mainstay was a little under two years out from a buyout by African-American entrepreneur Richelieu Dennis, founder of Sundial Brands, a beauty company — now part of Unilever — that creates products for Black consumers. After nearly two decades under the ownership of Time Inc., it was back to being Black-owned for an Essence in the midst of an identity shift.

Photo : Richard Bord | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

For Wanga, who easily gets bored with the status quo and says she works at her best when things are “falling off the rails,” it was the perfect project.

“I like to go to the problem when the fires are there,” says Wanga. “Throw me in when things are impossible and it’s the end of the world.”

Over the course of her decades-long career, Wanga has defied boundaries, working her way up the corporate ladder at Target from an intern to positions including vice president of human resources and chief culture, diversity and inclusion officer. As a Black woman, single mother at 17 and Kenyan immigrant, Wanga hasn’t let stereotypes define her. Now, she’s running one of the largest media ventures in the world that caters to underrepresented communities, and she is leading with authenticity.

A self-described oversharer, Wanga prides herself on being unapologetically open with employees, so that they can feel welcome. She says her approach to leadership and life helped overcome negativity and succeed in corporate America, and she has several lessons to offer those just starting out.

1. Don’t let unexpected events derail success

Wanga started at Target in the “most non-strategic way possible.”

After getting pregnant at age 17, she dropped out of college to raise her daughter Cadence. It was the first major disruption in her life, especially troublesome for her parents, who both have doctorates, but it was far from a life-altering setback.

“That particular moment is actually the theme of my life in a very interesting way,” Wanga says. “After that happened, I became indignant that this wasn’t going to end my plan to success.”

Back at home in Minnesota, Wanga — who moved to the U.S. from Kenya as a tween — attempted several hybrid school programs before quitting to work a series of jobs in the nonprofit sector. In 2003, she enrolled in a business program at Texas College at the age of 25.

“The barrier to the degree was not the program,” Wanga says. “It was my life. I had this little girl and I was not going to ask for help because I’m going to prove I could do this on my own.”

2. Set a destination, be flexible on the path

When she joined Target in 2005 after attending a career fair, Wanga says she didn’t have a passion for improving supply chains, nor was she thinking about the end-goal. It paid well and she wouldn’t have to worry about taking care of her daughter. While at Target, Wanga hopped between roles and worked her way up the human resources chain from a distribution center intern. But human resources was a path Wanga admits she never thought she would take.

She eventually set her sights on director of diversity and inclusion, a position she jokes is the “closest you get to a soul in corporate America.”

Wanga planned on attaining that by 2018, but she leapfrogged her mission years ahead of schedule and worked her way up to chief diversity and inclusion officer by 2015. Her lesson: agree on the destination, negotiate the path to get there.

When Wanga joined Essence as chief growth officer in June 2020, she saw it as an opportunity to give back to an institution integral to her identity and that of many other Black women. At the time, Wanga had reached a crossroads at Target and was looking for the next project to add to her portfolio.

It was a new brand, a new workplace, and while difficult to walk away from Target, it’s what Wanga calls the “next role I didn’t know I wanted.”

Within a month, Wanga was promoted to interim chief executive officer at Essence, before taking on the CEO title full-time this February.

“You don’t have to have all the answers, the path can be different,” Wanga says. “If I had waited to define the job I wanted and waited for the perfect job, I’d still be an intern.”

3. Your story is as important as the business strategy

Over the years, Wanga says one of the biggest drivers of her success is authenticity. Often known to overshare her personal life experiences, Wanga told CNBC’s Inclusion in Action forum last September this is foundational to being a good leader. Telling the story of who you are is as important as explaining the strategy of the business you are running.

“Because at the end of the day …  you have to model what you’re saying you want them to experience and you have to be willing to go first,” Wanga says. “You cannot on the one hand talk about authenticity and wanting to have inclusion and wanting to have representation in your group … and then people only know you to be the CEO that shows up at team meetings.”

When working with a new team, Wanga shares a list of 20 slides which she refers to as her “dimensions of difference.” They cover everything from who she is, to where she is from, to what her family looks like, to being a D+ Christian and having diabetes.

“She brings her authentic self to her work,” says Minda Harts, author of “The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table.”

“From the outside looking in she has not adapted to the status quo, but has changed the norms of what leadership looks like,” Harts adds.

Read the full article at  CNBC.

Employee Mentoring Helps Engage and Retain Diverse Talent
LinkedIn
Happy black businesswoman talks to female mentor who leads her through office building

Organizations that want to attract, engage and retain diverse employee talent often include mentoring as a key piece of their talent development strategy—and for good reasons.

Mentoring can help employees feel valued by their employers, build supportive relationships with coworkers and develop critical skills that can help them advance their careers.

All of these can lead to employees receiving job growth opportunities, feeling more engaged at work and staying with their organizations longer.

A survey of mentees and mentors by MentorcliQ found that:

  • 90 percent of participants said mentoring helped them develop a positive relationship with another individual in their company.
  • 89 percent said mentoring allowed them to contribute to the success of their company.
  • 89 percent said that they felt like their company valued their development because they offered a mentoring program.

Those types of outcomes help companies build a positive—and profitable—workplace.

Innovative companies that want to retain and engage diverse talent have begun using reverse mentoring as a way to promote diverse employees and help them gain visibility with senior leadership. This creates a critical component within the push for equity in the workplace.

Reverse Diverse Mentoring at Labcorp
Addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion through a mentoring program has become a must-have need for companies today. Labcorp implemented an innovative and thoughtful reverse-diverse mentoring program that has received rave reviews from people at all levels of the company. This program pairs executive mentees with emerging leader mentors who are from a diverse background.

Labcorp’s CFO brought this idea with her to the company based on previous experience she had had with a similar program. “Our CFO had learned so much from her experience as a mentee based on her previous experience, and she wanted to see this valuable experience extended to other leaders in our organization to help them develop from both a cultural and strategic standpoint,” said Mary Schlegel, mentor program manager and senior instructional designer at Labcorp.

“Black employees in the U.S. are significantly less likely than White employees to report seeing leaders of their own race in their organization, and that appears to matter in creating a healthy corporate culture.” — Camille Lloyd of Gallup

They leaned on two Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to help identify and invite diverse young talent into the program as mentors: (1) the Ascend ERG, which focuses on young professional leaders, and (2) the Pulse ERG, which focuses on Black professionals. By engaging leaders from these ERGs, Labcorp was able to connect up-and-coming diverse talent with executive leaders whom they might otherwise never have met. “People really valued the opportunity to be heard, as well as helping to pave the way for other people to have a voice,” said Schlegel.

The reverse diverse program also provided an opportunity for Labcorp to engage more Black employees and other underrepresented employees in more mentoring relationships, which the team had identified as an area of growth for their overall mentoring strategy. “The unexpected benefit and learning that I’ve had with this reverse diverse mentoring program is to hope. This program allowed me to support change and amplify diverse voices within Labcorp. And the organizational commitment to this program has spread hope to my fellow colleagues,” said Schlegel.

Laura Francis headshot
Laura Francis, Chief Knowledge Officer for MentorcliQ

Tips for Your Own Reverse Diverse Mentoring Program
To implement a powerful and effective reverse diverse mentoring program that will help retain and engage diverse talent, consider these three tips.

  • Listen – Listen to your diverse employee populations, ask them what they need and work to uncover what will help them advance and grow with your organization.
  • Include – Include your diverse employees in the program planning process, get their input on key factors of your mentoring program design and ask them to be ambassadors for the program to help spread the word.
  • Act – Act on the feedback you hear from the employees, create a program that reflects their needs and look for opportunities for growth within your mentoring program to help you create and sustain a mentoring culture.

Laura Francis is the Chief Knowledge Officer for MentorcliQ. The proud mom of a child with disabilities, she enjoys writing about the connections she sees in her personal life and professional life. Her articles can be found on Training Journal, ATD, Chief Learning Officer, Training Industry and other learning and development websites.

5 Great Careers for MBA Graduates
LinkedIn
Recent graduates tossing caps in the air

By Tawanah Reeves-Ligon

After the pandemic, overall demand has increased for MBA degrees. Successful MBA grads, on average, earn $30,000 more than other business school graduates.

Getting the most of your degree means attending a top school with a well-put together program that includes a strong career services department as well as networking and internship opportunities.

After that, how do you choose the best career path for yourself?

First, you can check out these great job opportunities available to MBA graduates:
 

  1. Human Resources Manager

Human resources (HR) managers plan, coordinate and delegate administrative functions within their company. By utilizing management skills and knowledge in organizational behavior, they can recruit, manage performance and discipline and develop new ideas for helping increase productivity in the workplace.

Most top MBA programs will emphasize management and include HR-based courses like organizational behavior and human resource management.

If hired by a top employer, such as Amazon and Microsoft, they pay their HR managers as much as $120,000, about $40,000 more than average.

  1. Investment Banker

Investment banking is a popular after graduation career choice for MBA graduates. They have a simple task: advise clients on how to be financially successful. Their clients can be individuals, but they can also be institutions, corporations, governments or similar entities.

Thus, multinational companies like UBS and Credit Suisse pay well for qualified graduates (sometimes as much as $155,000). So, opening the door to this career path is easier if your school has a well-connected and active career services program.

Career services is there to help students overcome the gap between their limited network and the potential employers. They facilitate networking events, recruitment gatherings and company visits, to name a few.

  1. Management Consultant

Known as the ‘Big Three,’ McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) are some of the top consulting firms for this career. These three, along with firms like them, hire thousands of graduates each year.

Consulting allows students to specialize across several fields, so you will want to find a curriculum or take advantage of your school’s opportunities to learn a variety of skills, like strategic management or international business.

For example, environmental consultancy is increasing in popularity because organizations are growing more concerned with the consumer focus on corporate social responsibility and corporate environmentalism.

The Big Three offer starting salaries of $165,000 per year to their MBA graduates, plus bonuses of $50,000 for consulting.

  1. Project Manager

Top employers, like IBM and Accenture, pay graduates around $110,000 as new project managers.

The most important focus for students should be on business strategy since, regardless of what types of projects you want to specialize in, directing a company’s business strategy is always the main function of its project managers.

Developing one’s problem-solving abilities and leadership skills are also essential. It would be helpful to study at an MBA program where professors have years of real-world experience as well as ample opportunities for internships to gain firsthand practice working in project management before graduation.

  1. Financial Analyst

One of the most sought-after post-MBA finance careers is a financial analyst. Their main job functions involve gathering data and building financial models. Courses that can be helpful to a student on this career track include, international and corporate finance as well as financial accounting. A security investment course might be helpful too, if it’s available.

To be a financial analyst requires either a certification as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or an MBA.

Take advantage of the opportunities provided by your MBA program or look for the types of program benefits discussed here during your school research. Developing a plan and executing it will not only help to make you a more qualified candidate for these types of jobs in the future, but it will also help you gain the expertise needed to be successful in your new role after graduation.

Source: businessbecause.com, fortune.com

How to Nail a Virtual Job Interview
LinkedIn
businesswoman looking at computer screen on her desk in home office

By Kat Castagnoli

If you’re looking for a job right now, then there’s a good chance you’re interviewing remotely. There are some upsides to this – there’s no traffic to endure, you can reference your resume or notes without being obvious and you have the same access to any position no matter where you’re located in the country.

But there are also some serious downsides.

From technical problems and unplanned disruptions to appearing distracted or unprepared, there are many ways a virtual interview can go awry.

Below are a few tips to help you best prepare and turn your next online interview into a solid job offer:

“Of the 72% of job candidates we observed who did not bag offers, the majority (around 80%) appeared to be distracted, failed to engage their recruiter in a meaningful way, or seemed as though they were reading from a script.”

A Clean & Simple Space
You don’t need to rearrange your entire house – just find a spot that’s clean, uncluttered and free of distractions. You can also use a virtual background instead of putting yourself in front of a messy bookshelf or cluttered living room. Keep in mind that contrary to previous research, unconscious biases are less likely to creep into the decision-making process when candidates have a clean backdrop. Studies show that 97 percent of recruiters prefer virtual backgrounds of office settings over beaches, mountains or outer space.

Prepare For the Unexpected
It’s quite common for recruiters to ask candidates for examples of their most impactful work during a job interview. Don’t let this unnerve you or leave you unprepared. Create a Word document or a printout of notes with bullet points that highlight a few projects or accomplishments that you want to share. You can sort your projects under a few headers: accomplishments, research and volunteer work.

The goal is to refer to your notes minimally, so it’s best to keep these to a single page.

Rehearse Your Responses
In a virtual interview, your body language counts for a lot. One study found that 89 percent of successful candidates used wide hand gestures for big and exciting points, while moving their hands closer to their heart when sharing personal reflections. To better connect with your interviewer, be sure to keep an open posture and remember not to cross your arms.

Look into your webcam, not at your reflection, and frame yourself in a way where you are not too far from the camera – no more than two feet. Be sure to make your head and top of your shoulders dominate the screen and most importantly, look directly into the camera whenever you are speaking.

Spark Conversation & Ask Questions
There’s always an opportunity to ask questions about the office and culture in a job interview, but when you’re interviewing remotely, you will probably have a lot more questions than usual. Whatever you’d like to know, be sure to ask. The recruiter will appreciate your curiosity and interest in the company. Good questions to ask include the kind of technology you’ll have access to when working remotely, if you’ll be working in a hybrid team or how success is measured at the company.

Studies have shown that 85 percent of successful candidates who asked these kinds of questions did so to demonstrate their values and priorities, while at the same time, revealing vital bits of information about their personality.

For example, if you asked, “Do you have a flexible work policy?” you could bookend your question with something like, “I’ve been volunteering at a local shelter twice a week, and it would be great to be able to continue doing that.”

Lastly, don’t monopolize the conversation. It should have a natural ebb and flow. Listening carefully and asking insightful questions demonstrates your interest and lets the interviewer know you’ve come prepared and done your homework.

For the time being, remote hiring is here to stay. And while there are many benefits, you need to do your part to ace this relatively new process. While trousers may be optional, being prepared and ready for the unexpected is not.

3 Ways to Set Up Your Post Pandemic Workplace
LinkedIn
smiling asian woman on her laptop seated at a desk

By Drake Forester

The pandemic has ushered in a widespread acceptance of working from home and less dedication to the traditional 9-5 workday. Indeed, the benefits of remote working, including greater flexibility for employees, lower real estate costs and increased productivity, have led some large companies—such as Twitter and Spotify—to say they plan to allow employees to work from home indefinitely.

But remote working can pose challenges for employees and businesses, from communication barriers to decreased visibility.

As a leader, understanding your options and how workplace needs differ from one employee to the next can help you craft a flexible workplace strategy—and keep your staff members happy and productive.

Here are three working models to consider as your business adjusts to the post-pandemic economy.

Primarily In-Person

Not every business can operate remotely and stay successful. If your company has faced significant challenges since going remote, you may be leaning towards reinstating an office-centric working model.

Gauging your employees’ willingness to give up working remotely—and identifying where each of them falls on the remote-working spectrum—may be a beneficial first step. Some workers may be thriving at home, while others may be counting down the days until they can return to the office full-time.

Achieving the right balance—for example, allowing staff members to continue to work from home at least 1 day per week—may be crucial in retaining those employees who are less than eager to return full-time.

Key Considerations:

  • What safety measures (such as a mask-wearing policy, regular cleaning, desk spacing, staggering attendance) need to be implemented to make employees feel comfortable returning to the office?
  • Do you have employees that will consider looking for a new job if returning to the office is mandatory?
  • Will you wait until most employees are vaccinated before requiring your team to return full-time?
  • What kind of perks can your company offer to help retain employees that prefer remote working?
  • Can you renegotiate your commercial lease in light of falling office rents?

You may be going against the grain by asking your employees to work primarily in-person, but here’s something worth noting: your new employees may benefit.

In a remote work survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 30 percent of new hires stated they wanted to work remotely no more than 1 day a week, compared to just 20 percent of all respondents. These newer employees were less likely to feel productive working from home and more in need of company training programs and meetings with managers.

Hybrid

The hybrid working model—with employees working 1-3 days in the office each week and at home the rest of the time—is likely here to stay for many businesses.

Many large companies, from Salesforce to Target, have adopted “flex” working arrangements which offer employees a balance of in-office and at-home workdays.

This model has the advantage of allowing employees to work in the way that suits them best, which could mean working from home most days, coming to the office regularly, or something in between.

Key Considerations:

  • Will you require your workers to stick to a fixed schedule with set office days?
  • What other scheduling guidelines need to be put in place (for example, do you want all employees to spend at least one day in the office)?
  • If you have some employees that plan to work from home more than others, how will you help them stay connected to your team?
  • How often will in-person meetings and collaborations be necessary?

If your company has operated remotely for months, some employees might miss the collaboration and camaraderie of an in-person work environment. Allowing these employees to come into the office a few days a week (voluntarily) may be one way to test the viability of a hybrid working arrangement for your business.

Primarily Remote

The remote-working model is flexible and often cost-effective, and many companies plan to stick with it even after the pandemic has ended.

The same Pricewaterhouse Coopers study found that fewer than 1 in 5 executives say they plan to return to the office as it was before the pandemic, and a survey by The National Association for Business Economics revealed that just 1 in 10 companies expect all employees to return eventually.

If your team has experienced success with a fully remote working model, there may be no reason for you and your staff to return to a traditional office environment. That said, you still might look for ways to accommodate employees who miss having an in-person workplace.

Key Considerations

  • What tools (software and technology) do your employees need to be productive at home?
  • How will you help employees engage and collaborate with each other while working remotely?
  • If you plan to give up your office space (or have already done so), how can you make the best use of your real estate savings?
  • What guidelines and systems will you put in place to track productivity and measure job outcomes?

If you do settle on a remote working model for the long-term, you’ll need to think of creative ways to support your employees, keep them engaged with the company mission (and each other), and ensure they continue to do their best work.

Final Thoughts

Only a quarter of office workers, on average, have returned to working in person. While more than one-third of office workers are back in Texas’s large cities, for instance, only 20 percent of remote workers have returned to traditional offices in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.

Of course, these office occupancy rates will likely continue to increase somewhat as coronavirus cases across the country decline. However, many U.S. companies are still waiting to bring employees back—and some businesses don’t envision a return to the pre-pandemic office at all.

Trends and forecasts aside, it will be up to you to determine which working model will benefit your business—and your employees—the most.

Source: Score.org

How sustainability achieved gender parity and what it means for women in business
LinkedIn
Our recent report on chief sustainability officers (CSOs) in the U.S. revealed that women went from holding 28 percent in 2011 of the CSO positions to 54 percent in 2021. That’s a 94 percent increase.

Our recent report on chief sustainability officers (CSOs) in the U.S. revealed that women went from holding 28 percent in 2011 of the CSO positions to 54 percent in 2021. That’s a 94 percent increase.

It’s a positive development to see the playing field level for women in sustainability, but what’s driving this trend? And what are the implications for women’s leadership in business more broadly? Before diving into those questions, it’s interesting to look at the trends in gender and leadership in sustainability and business.

The state of women’s leadership in sustainability
When it comes to women’s leadership as CSOs, the biggest jump happened between 2013 and 2014, when the number of women went up by 11 percentage points. There was another significant increase between 2018 and 2021, around the time the #MeToo movement gained momentum. In 2020, when more companies than ever hired their first CSO, female CSOs broke the 50 percent mark to reach their current status.

Outside of sustainability, women in business have not advanced as quickly. In the C-suite, men still far outnumber women. According to a Morningstar report looking at data from 2019, women hold only 12.2 percent of named executive officer roles at companies, up just 2.8 percentage points from 2015. The report authors noted that “this reflects a rate of growth that would only deliver equal representation sometime in the second half of this century.”

So why are women advancing more quickly in sustainability?

3 reasons women in sustainability are moving up
I can surmise three reasons women are advancing faster in sustainability than they are in business more broadly.

1. There’s a robust pipeline of women vying for these roles.
According to the 2020 GreenBiz State of the Profession report, which my firm sponsors, the percentage of women holding any sustainability position has been steadily rising since 2010. Between 2011 and 2020, the percentage of women holding a vice president role grew from 31 percent to 51 percent. The pool of female directors grew by 18 percentage points, from 37 percent to 55 percent. And the percentage of female managers in sustainability roles has gone up the most, from 39 percent to 63 percent. By contrast, the Morningstar authors pointed to the “broken rung” at major corporations, in which “women are systematically passed over being offered their first and crucial career promotion.”

Based on the GreenBiz data and my experience as a recruiter, I believe this is not happening in sustainable business roles, where there’s a deep talent pool of women, starting at the manager level and steadily making their way up the ranks.

2. Women excel in these roles.
As I have written about before, research suggests that women are well-suited to succeed in sustainability roles. A 2018 Business and Sustainable Development Commission report argued that women have the necessary leadership qualities to take on sustainable development, and they have the desire to address social and environmental challenges.

In my work, I have also found the “feminine” traits such as the ability to collaborate, translate complex issues and demonstrate humility help CSOs succeed. CSOs are not in it for the ego boost; they find it more fulfilling to champion others, praise generously and inspire others to support a vision for the future that benefits all.

3. The path to sustainability leadership is inclusive.
Unlike other C-suite positions, there’s no specific set of credentials that CSOs are required to have, so the path to leadership can be more varied. Moreover, sustainability is, by nature, an inclusive field. The job requires engagement with diverse stakeholders, so it makes sense that hiring managers would seek out people with diverse experience and backgrounds. However, while this has led to gender diversity, it has not yet supported racial diversity: Only 16 percent of U.S.-based sustainability professionals today identify as a race other than white.

Is this trend good or bad for women?
I have many anecdotes pointing to executive leadership clarifying their preference for a woman to hold their CSO position. It made me wonder: Is this trend going to create a pathway for female leadership in business? Or are women being pigeonholed in sustainability?

While the Morningstar report authors noted that women in business face a “glass wall” blocking them from career tracks with room for advancement and higher pay, it’s my belief that gender parity in the CSO role is a good thing. With the growing importance of ESG at global companies, the women in the CSO role have great potential to influence the future of business.

Moreover, women have the skills to excel in these roles. Whereas in business generally there’s the “glass cliff” phenomenon — whereby women are promoted into leadership positions during a crisis and then blamed when they fail — my sense is that women’s aptitude with communication, influence and agility will help them succeed in the CSO role.

Click here to read the full article on Green Biz.

Must-have Tech Skills for Career Changers in 2021
LinkedIn
Smiling young African American businesswoman leaning on a table in her office

The year 2021 has been a tough one for everyone. The coronavirus pandemic has forced corporations and individuals to adapt and implement new strategies. Because of the coronavirus lockdown, many workers lost their jobs and found themselves in a difficult situation.

Jobless people often feel stressed and overwhelmed. Dealing with the expenses and the bills can take away their sleep and make them perform awfully. To move forward, many workers began to take online courses and learn new skills. If you are thinking about changing careers, these must-have tech skills will allow you to start your journey in 2021. Employers are looking for candidates with these skills, and they will enable you to stay competitive.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is among the best cloud computing services these days. Many organizations are using it to keep their data safe and have instant access to their databases. Using the cloud has gone mainstream as it enables companies to save time and money in data backup and recovery.

Database administrators are responsible for managing databases. They have to protect companies’ information and keep databases well-organized. They are in-demand because they play a key role in companies where large amounts of data are generated.

AWS also has exceptional features to help organizations create better insights. For example, AWS machine learning features make data scientists’ jobs much more comfortable. As they save time on analyzing and interpreting data, they can create better insights and help companies develop better products. To master AWS, you can enroll in Coding Dojo’s coding bootcamp.

Coding Dojo is an education company that offers a part-time online program that allows aspirants to become self-sufficient developers in only 16 weeks. At Coding Dojo, students can learn how to code from home. Their course is an excellent option for those who have a very busy schedule.

Python

Learning Python is a great idea if you want to start a career in tech. Python is a versatile programming language fantastic for analyzing, interpreting, and visualizing data. It’s a must-have tool for data scientists and data analysts because it’s great for creating machine learning solutions. Many tech professionals, like web developers and software engineers, also use Python in their daily work lives.

Python is easy to learn, and it’s a great alternative for beginners. It has a huge community of developers who are always willing to give an extra hand. In that case, no matter what challenge you face while learning or during projects, you can always ask for help.

In 2021, a Python developer can make, on average, $110,092 per year in the US. If you’re looking to go big, you can enroll in Lamda School’s coding bootcamp. The company offers an immersive six-month program that will allow you to learn Python skills and become a full stack developer. You won’t have to start paying tuition for their computer science & software engineering course until you get hired and start making at least $50,000 per year. In other words, money won’t be a barrier to begin learning.

Digital Marketing

Nowadays, the demand for workers with digital marketing skills has increased because customers are spending more time online. Companies need professionals that are able to create better marketing campaigns and reach the target audience. Digital marketers play a crucial role in increasing brand recognition. They use tools like social networks to approach customers and email to provide a better customer experience.

Digital marketers also use their SEO skills to appear on SERPs. When companies get their work listed high on search engines, they can receive more traffic on their sites without spending a penny. Becoming a digital marketer is an excellent option for those who like to deal with customers. Digital marketers need a lot of patience and creativity to create outstanding strategies and help companies keep customers happy.

Thinkful offers a digital marketing program that enables aspirants to get equipped with SEM, content marketing, and email marketing skills in only six weeks. Students need to spend 40 hours per week on learning. However, as it’s available online, it’s a great choice to make a career change in 2021.

Web Design

In 2021, customers are more concerned about their experience, and companies are investing vast amounts of money trying to meet their needs. Providing an excellent user experience is what companies are aiming to do. A good user experience allows companies to engage visitors, which means firms are offering fantastic salaries to attract the most skilled web designers.

Web designers are responsible for creating storyboards, user flows, and wireframes to communicate design ideas. Without web designers, websites would not be user-friendly. In fact, they would be very complex and hard to navigate. Web designers also have to keep designs as simple as possible to meet customers’ needs and allow companies to stay at the top of the competition.

Many coding schools offer web design courses. Consider joining Springboard’s coding bootcamp if you’re looking to learn from home. The company provides a self-paced UI/UX design program that allows aspirants to master a skill in 36 weeks. During the course, you’ll have private video calls with a mentor every week. They will answer any question about the curriculum, provide project feedback, and career advice. Springboard’s course is suitable for anyone who’s looking to start a new career in web design.

SQL

SQL has become an important skill for those looking to enter the tech industry in 2021. It’s the right tool to deal with large pools of data. Also, it makes tech workers’ jobs much easier as it is excellent for combining data from multiple sources. Today, a SQL developer can make, on average, $81,622 per year, according to Glassdoor. Whether you seek to become a mobile developer, software engineer, or data scientist, learning SQL will allow you to make a career transition with ease.

Learning SQL is as easy as enrolling in Kenzie Academy’s coding bootcamp. Their software engineering course allows you to become a skilled coder in 12 months. The program is designed to provide students with the right knowledge to design, build, and maintain complex apps. Also, students learn core computer science concepts that are indispensable for accessing senior roles.

In Summary

The digital transition has accelerated its pace in 2021, and the need for tech skills will continue to increase. Learning these tech skills is necessary if you’re willing to make a career change and get hired. They will allow you to become an attractive candidate and change your way of life. And, as you’ll be ready to face any challenge, you don’t have to be afraid of losing your job or being left behind.

11 Great Jobs That Offer Student Loan Forgiveness
LinkedIn
latina teacher smiling at camera at back of classroom

By Kat Castagnoli

Did you know that 7 in 10 college students take out loans to pay for school? While it can take a long time to pay back student loan debt, there is a way to get your balance wiped out: by qualifying for a student loan forgiveness job.

If you work for a certain amount of time in a job with this option, you could get your student loan debt completely cancelled. While these types of jobs aren’t always the most high-paying, there’s often plenty of opportunity due to a shortage of workers to fill them. And what you might sacrifice in income, you could potentially make back with loan forgiveness after a few years.

Below is a list of 11 jobs that offer student loan forgiveness so you can decide if any would be a great fit for you:

1. Federal agency employee
Here’s a little-known fact that applies to federal agencies: If they are having a hard time finding new employees to fill open slots, they are allowed to offer student loan repayment assistance. To qualify, the new employee must sign a contract to work for the federal agency for a minimum of three years. The agency is allowed to pay up to $10,000 per year per employee for federally insured loans, but the total assistance given cannot exceed $60,000 per person.

2. Public service worker
If you work in a qualifying organization, such as a government agency or nonprofit, you could qualify for loan forgiveness. Full-time public service employees with Perkins loans can get full cancellation of their loans, as long as they haven’t consolidated them. Potentially eligible workers include family and child services employees, law enforcement and correctional officers and public defenders. Public servants with Direct loans (also known as Stafford loans) could pursue loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. PSLF is available to any worker in a government organization at any level, as well as tax-exempt organizations or for-profit organizations with a qualifying service.

3. Doctor/physician
There are several options for doctors in need of student loan repayment help. The Association of American Medical Colleges maintains a list of loan assistance programs for doctors by state. Additionally, medical professionals who serve in the military have access to forgiveness programs as well. For example, through the Navy Financial Assistance Program (FAP), medical residents receive an annual grant of $45,000 on top of residency income, which can be put toward medical school debt.

4. Lawyer
In addition to public service forgiveness options targeted specifically at graduates working in law, there are some other sources of loan repayment help for lawyers. For instance, every spring, the Department of Justice opens up its Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP) to help recruit and retain new talent. Justice Department employees must have at least $10,000 in federal student loans to qualify. For those who want to work as public defenders, the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program provides loan assistance of varying amounts, depending on where you live. In addition, there are dozens of programs for borrowers with law school debt.

5. Automotive professionals
Any automotive aftermarket industry manufacturer who is an employee of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) can apply for the SEMA Loan Forgiveness Program. The SEMA program awarded $272,000 to 97 winners in 2019 in scholarships and loan forgiveness. To be eligible, you must have been a SEMA employee for at least a year, hold a degree or certificate of completion from a college or technical school and have graduated with at least a 2.5 GPA.

6. Nurse
If you are a registered nurse, an “advanced practice registered nurse” (such as a nurse practitioner) or a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) facility nurse, you may be eligible for student loan repayment assistance through the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. The nurses chosen to receive assistance through this program will get 60 percent of their qualifying student loan balance forgiven, in exchange for a minimum two-year service commitment. Also, qualifying participants may receive an additional 25 percent off their original loan balance if they complete a third year of service. Please note that in this program, the full loan award amount is taxable.

7. Teacher
If you’re a special education teacher, teach in a low-income school district or work in an underemployed subject area or a teacher shortage area, you may qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. If you qualify, you could receive up to $5,000 or $17,500 in loan forgiveness, depending upon what subject matter you teach and your number of years of service. Note that to qualify, your student loan debt must be from federal direct loans or Stafford loans.
However, if you have Perkins student loans, you could be eligible for the Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation program, where you could potentially receive cancellation of up to 100 percent of your loans.

8. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps and other qualifying volunteer organizations
Did you know that certain volunteer organizations offer student loan forgiveness opportunities? Don’t let high student loan debt deter you from taking the opportunity to help others. Certain volunteer organizations like the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) all have student loan awards or repayment options. You can apply for these after you have completed your term of service with the organization.

9. Dentist
Although dentists tend to make a high income — a median of $156,240, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — they also accrue a huge amount of debt before they start working. The American Dental Education Association found that the average dentist with student loans in the Class of 2019 left school owing a whopping $292,169. Luckily, there are some loan repayment assistance programs, or LRAPs, for dentists, such as the Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program and Maryland Dent-Care Loan Assistance Repayment Program. Programs such as these offer significant loan assistance to dentists who work in qualifying areas or workplaces.

10. Pharmacist
Like dentists, pharmacists take on a lot of education debt to earn their degrees. According to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, pharmacists in the Class of 2019 who borrowed student loans took on an average of $172,329 to finance their education. Here, too, assistance is available: Several national LRAPs provide financial help to health care providers, including pharmacists. Plus, some state programs, such as the California State Loan Repayment Program, will pay back all or a portion of your loans if you establish residency and practice in a qualifying area.

11. Veterinarian
Not only could working with animals be a fulfilling career, but it could also help you get forgiveness for your student loans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers $25,000 per year for three years in student loan repayment assistance to vets who work in underserved areas. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 44 percent of veterinarians in the Class of 2018 left school owing more than $200,000 in student loans, while the average debt for all graduates was $143,111.

Should you pursue jobs that offer student loan forgiveness?
Most student loan forgiveness jobs have strict requirements, contracts and a minimum term of employment to qualify for loan cancellation. Also, you have to be current on your student loan payments — your loans can’t be in default. But once you meet the requirements, you will receive debt repayment, cancellation or forgiveness. Giving just two or three years of your professional life to a qualifying job may be the answer to your student loan problems and the key to your financial freedom.

6 Things Interviewers Want Us to Know About Remote Interviews
LinkedIn
Concept of remote video with multiple images of business in a shared screen

by Eileen Hoenigman Meyer

In some ways, a remote job interview can seem like a welcome relief from the traditional format. You don’t have to worry about directions or getting stuck in traffic; plus, you only have to agonize over half an outfit.

But a remote meeting doesn’t earn you full access to the body language and social cues that your interviewers exhibit.

The social awareness and mores around remote interviews are still emerging for those on both sides of the interaction.

As you prepare for your next remote job interview, consider this inside scoop from several interviewers-their insights about what matters and what may be less important.

Small talk helps.

Chit chat breaks the ice and can help make a remote conversation feel comfortable. Come prepared with a couple of easy talking points to kick things off (a funny story, a sports reference, etc.).

Jonas Bordo, CEO, and co-founder of Dwellsy, explains: “I need to get to know you via zoom, which is hard. In the old days, we would have made small talk while we walked to the interview room, but we don’t get to do that anymore. All of that preliminary small talk is important – it’s in those conversations that you get to learn about me and me about you. Invest in that time, and don’t rush into interview questions.” Researching the company and your interviewer can help you generate material.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Remote interactions have their own unique brand of uncomfortable moments-glitches, freezes, etc. Please do your due diligence when it comes to tech and interview prep so that you’re prepared and practiced for your meeting. Know, however, that even when you’re well-prepared, meeting technology can be unreliable, which can leave you navigating some complexities off the cuff. “I know that remote interviews are awkward and a poor substitute for in-person interviews, but it’s best just to accept the awkwardness,” explains Calloway Cook, President of Illuminate Labs. “If you worry about an awkward pause or an accidental moment where you spoke over the interviewer due to a connection delay, it’s easy to get frazzled and have your actual interview responses become negatively impacted.”

Cook recommends, “Stay mission-focused, and make light of remote awkwardness whenever possible. Acing remote interviews requires more focus than acing in-person interviews, in my opinion, because there are so many external factors like connectivity that affect the dialogue.”

Adopt remote-friendly mores.

Another dimension that makes a remote interview challenging is that the social mores around these interactions don’t feel totally natural. Kevin Lee, CEO of JourneyPure, recommends:

“If there’s an awkward silence during the interview, don’t panic. It’s natural to have silences because you can’t rely on visual body language cues like you can in an in-person interview. If you’re done speaking, pause and let the interviewer pick up the conversation. Rushing to fill the silence may lead you to say something that you might not normally say or fill it up with chatter, which would let the interviewer know you are nervous about the interview. You may want to practice with a friend to learn how to manage awkward silences and find appropriate times for small talk during an online interview.”

Recognize it during other remote meetings when you’re involved, when you notice participants handling pauses well. Then mirror their approach. It’s a good way to stay controlled and calm during your interview.

Be authentic.

There’s often a feeling of obligation to overprepare when it comes to job interviews, leaving interviewees flustered if anything unexpected happens. When it comes to remote interviews, though, the unexpected happens often, even when prepared. Being anxious and rigid makes it more painful to weather these inevitable occurrences.

Erik Rivera, CEO of ThriveTalk, explains: “The best advice I can give anyone going into an online interview is to make the interview as candid and relaxed as possible. If you have a child who is likely to interrupt, tell your interviewer this at the beginning of the meeting! Similarly, if you’re expecting someone to come by, full disclosure is best.”

Rivera emphasizes the importance of the human touch. He explains: “Finally, treat your interviewer like a PERSON, as they are also in this COVID nightmare. Discuss what has been hard, what has been good, how crazy everything is. Humanity needs humanity now more than ever.”

Soft skills are a selling point.

Flexibility, adaptability, emotional intelligence, innovation, problem-solving, work ethic, and other soft skills are valuable. It’s not just that the process for interviewing has changed; the reality of work has changed post-COVID. Soft skills can help finesse a changing workplace. Showcase them.
Bordo, for example, emphasizes the importance of flexibility: “I interviewed a candidate recently who was working hard to keep a pacifier in a baby’s mouth, and it was awesome. I’ve seen kids, husbands, wives, and roommates walk through backgrounds. . . I even interviewed someone with a parrot on her shoulder for the entire interview. All of that is wonderful. But, if you can’t create an environment with enough peace that you can have an interview conversation, then I worry you can’t create that kind of environment for your work.”

A culture that fits your life.

Just as you would with a face-to-face interview, do your interview prep before your meeting. Learn about the organization and the professional culture as you think about presenting yourself for your interview.

Good luck!

Click here to read the original article posted on Glassdoor.

8 Tips to Successfully Manage a Remote Team
LinkedIn
six diverse team members on a zoom call

By Kristina Žiaukė of Score

Business owners and their teams are working remotely now more than ever. But if you’re new to managing a remote team, it can feel overwhelming. Below are eight tips to keep your team motivated and engaged when face-to-face interaction is no longer an option.

  1. Schedule Meetings

Tony Sherba, President and founder of Yeti LLC, highlights the benefit of creating a standard meeting structure for employees to follow. During the pandemic, Sherba’s team is working hard to incorporate standard team meetings to mimic what would have happened in the office.

At Yeti LLC, all teams ‘meet’ at a set time on Mondays to discuss weekly strategies and allocate tasks. The individual teams then have daily “scrums” and follow-up meetings throughout the week.

This consistent conversation ensures that everyone feels involved and knows how their work impacts the overall company. It also provides a sense of certainty in an incredibly uncertain time; we can’t control much at the moment, but at 10 a.m. on a Monday, at least this team knows what’s expected of them.

  1. Huddles and One-on-Ones

In addition to large weekly meetings, Sherba also emphasizes the importance of smaller, scheduled meetings throughout the week. In particular, a group call on Fridays allows the team to share their successes and discuss improvements that can be implemented over the weekend.

It’s also vital to check-in with your team in a one-on-one setting. Use a team calendar to schedule individual meetings where you can discuss triumphs and struggles in a more personal setting.

By showing your team you’re still there for them, even when you’re not in the same room, you’ll be able to maintain relationships and ensure your team feels valued and heard.

  1. Offer Flexibility

In the office, it’s easy to manage distractions and foster a productive working environment. At home, however, daily distractions can be much harder to control.

Lynette Pettinicchi, the founder of Lynette Nicole PR, suggests giving your employees space to deal with children needing help with homework or dogs who need to go outside. This adaptability will enable your team members to be more productive and focused in the long run.

She believes that not micromanaging your team and permitting some flexibility to deal with personal matters during “work hours” can help cultivate focus and result in more quality work.

Tom Seery, founder and CEO of RealSelf, also believes that offering team members a little more flexibility can help build a sense of team spirit. “I’ve seen firsthand how our team has come together… thanks to leaders revealing the impacts they’ve endured as parents, taking care of family members and their own mental well-being.”

  1. Use Messaging Tools Effectively

If your team is new to online working, it’s a good idea to utilize messaging tools, such as Slack, to your full advantage.

Not only do these tools offer communication between staff and management to answer the smaller everyday issues that arise, but they also offer the team a chance to chat amongst themselves, perfect for building morale.

Emails should be reserved for lengthier communications, external messages or daily updates relevant to everyone. Group chats are great for keeping the team engaged and passing on smaller updates as they arise.

  1. Video Conferences

If you’re only communicating with your team via conference calls or the written word, you’re missing out.

Group video chats using software such as Zoom can ensure your team gets valuable face-to-face time with you and their colleagues, even when you’re not physically in the same space.

Video calls are also a great way to ensure your team is engaged: it’s much more difficult to be playing with your phone or multi-tasking when you’re on a video call versus audio-only.

  1. Office Hours

But while flexibility is important, many entrepreneurs also recognize the benefits of having set working hours.

Ensuring everyone is in the same virtual space during particular hours (for example, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) enables open communication and ensures everyone is available for important updates and information.

Having these hours set also gives your team (and yourself) a vital lifeline: the ability to switch off.

By ensuring meetings, one-to-ones and general office hours are scheduled, your team can have a clearer idea of what they need to be doing and when. It also means that they can switch off their computer at the end of the day and leave their designated workspace, rather than feeling like they need to stay available all night long.

  1. Make Time for Mental Health

Working from home can be an invaluable way to boost productivity and motivation, but only when managed effectively. Try to prevent every communication from being work-related and set aside time in your day, week, month to share social moments and celebrate special occasions.

Some successful leaders suggest hosting a weekly “happy hour” or “coffee break” to allow their team a little down-time and the chance to develop emotional connections. Celebrating moments such as birthdays or work anniversaries via video chat also cultivates a sense of connection that can be tricky to achieve when working remotely.

But while it’s important to focus on your team, your mental health should not be overlooked. Lily Scanlon, principal at Korn Ferry, encourages leaders and entrepreneurs to remember you’re “not in this alone.” Sharing your experiences, resources and lessons learned — or even just offering empathy and support — can all be invaluable for leaders trying to navigate a strange new world of remote working.

  1. Support

Making time for communication, sharing valuable work-related updates and keeping your team involved in the daily decisions are brilliant ways to keep remote workers engaged. But permitting ‘down-time,’ chatter and a little flexibility can also go a long way to cultivating a virtual workplace that feels supportive and welcoming.

Talk with your team about how they would like to be supported and utilize other contacts to create a positive work environment. This way, you’ll have a happy and productive team — even when they can’t all be together physically.

Source: Score.gov

Scarlett Johansson is launching a beauty brand
LinkedIn
Scarlett Johansson will launch her own beauty brand in 2022

By Lisa Fickenscher, New York Post

Scarlett Johansson is the latest Hollywood mogul to launch a beauty brand. The Iron Man star will team up with the Najafi Companies, a firm that’s investing between $5 and $10 million in the as-yet-unnamed label, according to a report. Little is known about the initiative, including whether the products will be makeup or skin treatments or both. Either way, it will be the star’s first turn as an entrepreneur.Johansson has previously been a brand ambassador for L’Oreal Paris, as well as a celebrity model for Dolce & Gabbana’s fragrance line, The One. In this case, however, she’ll be founder and chairman of the new company.

“Several years ago, I took a step back from my beauty deals with the goal of creating something true to me. The result is a clean, accessible approach to beauty,” Johansson said in a statement, according to the report in Women’s Wear Daily. Johansson’s brand is slated to come out early next year, according to the report.

Johansson tapped a former Juicy Couture executive, Kate Foster, to be chief executive according to Foster’s LinkedIn profile which says “Co-founder and CEO of new beauty company coming soon.”

“We are passionate about supporting ambitious and thoughtful founders and management teams who lead with integrity and vision,” chief executive of Phoenix, Ariz.-based Najafi Companies, Jahm Najafi told WWD. “Scarlett and Kate fit squarely in the type of leaders with whom we love to partner for the long term.”

Click here to read the full article on the New York Post.

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Upcoming Events

  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE)
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  2. WIFLE Annual Leadership Training
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  3. WiCyS 2021 Conference
    September 8, 2021 - September 10, 2021
  4. 2021 ERG & Council Conference
    September 15, 2021 - September 17, 2021
  5. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021