Letter From the Publisher – Professional WOMAN’s Magazine
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PWM cover Tracee Ellis Ross, Editors Kat C. and Tawanah R. with Mona Lisa Faris-publisher

It’s 2021, it’s Spring, and don’t you feel like we can finally take a breath of fresh air? Although we still have a long road ahead of us in getting the pandemic under control and healing our nation, there’s more optimism; a renewed sense of spirit and hope. We are turning a corner for the better and changes are happening!

We have had our own share of changes here at Professional WOMAN’s Magazine (PWM). We have brought Tawanah Reeves-Ligon onboard as Editor of PWM. Ligon is a Southern gal from Atlanta, Georgia, currently residing in South Carolina — quite a way from our California base — and has over nine of years of experience in writing and editing, working with magazines, blogs as well as on poetry and novels.

We have also promoted Kat Castagnoli to Managing Editor. Castagnoli, who has been with PWM for almost two years now, will oversee all editorial for the publication. Her goal is to keep it fresh and modern; chock full of relevant content for today’s 21st century woman.

Take this issue’s cover story on Tracee Ellis Ross. Actor, director, producer, philanthropist, fashion icon, social activist and entrepreneur are just a few of the titles this female powerhouse holds. Ross urges others to own their power and to never to accept status-quo. “It takes a lot of courage to advocate for yourself,” she says. “As a woman, and as a Black woman, advocating for yourself is actually a form of resistance. It is how each of us push the world, to make sure that the real estate matches the reality of who we are and what we deserve.” Read more about Ross’ inspiring story here.

Looking for that ever-elusive thing we call “balance?” Find out more here. If you’re job searching right now, check out eight ways to boost your confidence just minutes before your interview (page 32), as well as how to stay optimistic while searching for a job here. If you’re looking to refresh your workforce, check out the unconventional ways some companies are finding superstar talent here.

We here at PWM are refreshed and ready to help you reach your goals in 2021 and beyond!

~ Mona Lisa Faris

Publisher, Professional WOMAN’s Magazine

Warriors Name Jennifer Vasquez As Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
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Jennifer Vasquez headshot

The Golden State Warriors have named Jennifer Vasquez (she/her) as the team’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, it was recently announced. Vasquez brings over 15 years of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work experience to the franchise. She will play a central role in the continuation of the team’s internal and external DEI strategy, including oversight of the design, management and measurement of the team’s DEI strategy.

Vasquez will be responsible for the company’s DEI trainings and collaborate on strategic recruiting and hiring practices through a DEI lens. Additionally, she will lead the franchise’s established Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, which launched several years ago, and the ecosystem of employee resource groups (ERGs). Vasquez will report to Warriors Senior Vice President of People Operations and Culture, Erin Dangerfield.

“Jennifer has a proven track record driving strategies around corporate diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Warriors President & Chief Operating Officer Brandon Schneider. “In the creation of this role at the Warriors, we envision a dynamic leader to drive the success of our DEI initiatives, including organization-wide accountability and facilitation of our ERG network. We are thrilled that Jennifer is joining the team and look forward to more meaningful inclusionary practices that will continue to enhance the experiences we create for all of Dub Nation.”

Most recently, Vasquez led Amgen’s Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging efforts, integrating a DEI lens to the employee experience and organizational design. She was instrumental in launching the first unconscious bias training and learning journey focused on key behaviors in creating an inclusive culture. She served as the global lead for developing strategy for ERG engagement and established a strong ecosystem with over 11 ERGs globally, representing 40% of employees in over 100 countries. Through the ERG global network, she was able to lay a foundation for cross-pollination and collaboration, launching a cross-ERG Inclusiveness Series focused on intersectionality in social justice.

With over 15 years of experience in both the private and public sectors, her successful initiatives have focused on bringing fundamental and transformative changes to organizations to embed equity and inclusionary practices in corporate and political structures. She led the development of a think-tank framework to deepen engagement with government, industry and academia to diversify the STEM workforce. She has driven a variety of human capital management initiatives, including performance management process; wrap-around support and benefits; employee relations; recruiting efforts and talent development. Her experience, ranging from grassroots level to large global matrix organizations, brings a unique educational and data-driven lens to building communities of practice for equitable solutions to this space.

Golden State Warriors logoVasquez earned a dual Bachelors of Arts in International Relations and Government from George Mason University. She holds her Masters of Science in Intercultural Studies with a concentration in Education & Development and Masters of Business Administration from Florida International University. Vasquez also holds a Diversity and Inclusion Certification from Cornell University.

Vasquez was recently recognized as a Diversity Global Top 15 Diversity Champion, a DEI Advocate of the Year for California in 2021 from National Diversity Council and was featured as a DiversityComm 2021 Wonder Woman. She has published articles for Guerrero Media, DiversityComm, and Hispanic Network Magazine and has been a speaker at over 20 conferences nationally and globally.

For more information on the Golden State Warriors’ 2021-22 season, presented by Kaiser Permanente, please visit warriors.com

Girl Scouts of the USA Names Former Warner Media Executive Sofia Chang as CEO
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Girl Scouts of the United States (GSUSA) today announced Sofia Chang as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

By Cision

Girl Scouts of the United States (GSUSA) today announced Sofia Chang as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Ms.Chang, who is a mother of a Girl Scout, Lifetime Member and a member of the Juliette Gordon Low (JGL) Society, will assume the role on January 27.

She will succeed Interim CEO, Board Member, and lifelong Girl Scout Judith Batty, who came out of retirement to lead the organization in August 2020.

Ms. Chang joins Girl Scouts after three decades of experience in the private sector. During her 20-year tenure at HBO/Warner Media, Ms. Chang led the successful transformation of several businesses, developed high-performing teams, and advocated for women and diversity. Her leadership and business achievements were built on her strategic vision, her authenticity, and her inclusiveness. Ms. Chang brings her legacy of leadership and advocacy to propel Girl Scouts, the largest leadership organization for girls in the world, into its next chapter by working to reach more girls who can create an outsized impact in their communities, and around the world.

Ms. Chang has long been committed to advocating for women and for diverse voices across her professional and personal affiliations. She has served on the board of the Time Warner Foundation, was the Executive Sponsor of HBO’s AAPI resource group and was a member of HBO’s diversity council. Ms. Chang continues to serve on the board of the University of Pennsylvania’s Professional Women’s Alliance which provides young alumni with professional development and networking opportunities.

Ms. Chang will also be the first AAPI CEO in the organization’s 110-year history.

Click here to read the full article on Cision.

Discussing Your Strengths in a Job Interview
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interviewees on Zoom call discussing their resumes

When you’re interviewing for a job, there’s a strong chance that a recruiter or potential boss will ask what you believe are your strengths. This is an easy question to answer. Interviewers will certainly want to know that your perceived strengths line up with the position you’re seeking, but they are also interested in whether you’re self-aware and confident. With a little practice, you can answer that question without appearing either arrogant or overly humble. Here’s how.

Show Your Strengths: STAR Method in Action

Talking about your strengths is an opportunity to show why you’d be a great fit for the job and how your skills align with the company or team. The key is to think about what strengths you have that match one or more of the aspects of the job description. A strength can be either a technical skill or a soft skill, such as teamwork or communication.

Once you’ve decided which of your strengths you want to feature, it’s time to identify real life examples where you’ve demonstrated that strength. The best way to approach behavioral questions is to use the STAR method. This helps you break down a scenario and explain how you successfully navigated it.

Situation: Offer some background on the task or challenge that you’ll be addressing.

Task: Define what your role and responsibilities were for the particular situation.

Action: Explain what steps you took or ideas you offered to help solve the problem or tackle that challenge.

Result: Share how the situation was resolved, highlighting how your actions helped reach that conclusion.

Here’s an example:

If you interview for a position that requires you to lead or even be part of a team, you might choose to say one of your strengths is leadership.

Situation: I volunteer as a gardener at a local park and enjoy working with new volunteers.

Task: The park identified a need to educate new volunteers about native plants.

Action: I organized a training session to teach my team members about native plants.

Result: The new volunteers found it so useful that the training is now part of the new volunteer onboarding process.

In this scenario, an interviewer might recognize your ability to take initiative to address needs and lead a new volunteer training. While this answer may seem simple, it demonstrates your strength in both initiative and leadership, which are valuable traits to all employers.

If you find it is hard to identify your strengths, consider your ability to:

  • Collaborate
  • Solve problems
  • Take direction and focus on tasks
  • Use technology
  • Lead or mentor

Rehearsing your answers can also help you feel prepared when heading into your next interview. Common interview questions to consider include:

  • “Why do you want this job?”
  • “Tell me about a time when you had to learn something quickly but knew nothing about it before.”
  • “Tell me about a time you made a mistake.”
  • “Tell me about a goal you set and how you achieved it.”
  • “What is one of your weaknesses?”

Reflect on your skills and accomplishments. Think about why they qualify you to succeed in the job you’re applying for. Think about the strengths of your professional role models and whether you have some of those same qualities. Consider a time when a teammate shared something they admired about you. Or think back to any times you received recognition for your work and what skills allowed you to shine.

Source: Ticket to Work

5 Business Strategies You Need to Know Today
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business woman looking at silhoutte landscpae of big city

By Mark Quadros

Research shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected 76.2 percent of U.S. businesses. COVID-19 impacted most of these businesses negatively, disrupting everything from their supply chains to their in-store sales.

So, if you’re one of these business owners, how can you adjust your operation to thrive during lockdowns, stay open for customers and keep staff engaged?

Here are five COVID-19-involved business strategies to help small businesses survive the pandemic:

Redefine your business growth opportunities

The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent lockdown measures have disrupted many significant industries, including the hospitality industry, retail industry and entertainment industry. Naturally, companies in these fields have changed how they deliver their products and services to customers to continue growing.

But redefining your opportunities isn’t just limited to companies directly affected by lockdowns.

If you want to keep growing during the pandemic, you will need to seek out new ways to improve your profitability, including:

  • Entering new markets
  • Taking out a bridge loan and investing in new projects
  • Adjusting your marketing and sales approaches
  • Targeting new customers
  • Redesigning old processes with new online business tools
  • Forming new partnerships (especially with local suppliers)
  • Finding new ways to improve your offerings for customers

To identify the best opportunity for your brand, you must research potential options, identify the best ones and formalize them with a new business plan. According to this guide to business plans, your business plan should include detailed product and service plans, a market analysis, a management plan and a financial plan for each growth strategy.

Adapt your current business models

Experts predict that coronavirus will continue to spread around the world for the foreseeable future.

Naturally, if your brand wants to survive this new normal, you’ll need to crisis-proof your business so you can continue to operate in the current economic climate. To crisis-proof your business, you should:

  • Measure the damage to your company regularly so you can adapt to potential problems before they arise
  • Back up your data and embrace digital solutions to help staff work from home
  • Prioritize the health and safety of your employees with workplace safety measures like social distancing, hand sanitizer and masks
  • Reduce your cash flow to only essential expenses
  • Adjust how you deliver products and services to customers to ensure their safety when shopping
  • Re-organize your work processes to prioritize key functions (e.g., by redefining customer support)
  • Establish contingency plans for further lockdowns and pandemic restrictions

If you are self-employed or a small business owner, you could also take out a personal loan to keep your business’s cash flow steady as you adjust your business models.

Rethink your financial structure

A 2020 study on 5,800 small businesses from the U.S. found that the average brand with over $10,000 in expenses only had access to two weeks of cash at the start of the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, many of these companies had to adapt their spending habits to survive.

And the rest of us should learn from them.

To keep your brand alive during the pandemic, you will need to establish an emergency fund to cover any unexpected events (like lockdowns). You can build an emergency fund by saving the money you would have spent on unnecessary expenses.

To identify unnecessary expenses, sort your expenses into two key categories:

  • Value-adding expenses that are crucial to running the business (i.e., expenses like supplier costs, inventory acquisition costs, online advertising, staff wages and technology costs)
  • Extra expenses that are not crucial to running the business (i e., additional office space, extra professional training and food/drinks)

Once you have sorted your expenses, identify expenses you can eliminate to reduce your operating budget and make cuts according to your priorities.

Retrain your workforce

While it may seem wise to fire non-essential staff and redirect their salaries into your emergency fund, this decision may hurt your business financially long term. Currently, it costs $4,425 to hire the average employee and weeks to train and acclimate them. To avoid incurring this cost later, retrain your workforce and adjust their duties to match your new business model.

You should also consider ways to improve your employee’s productivity (the quantity of their work) and efficiency (the quality of their work). Improving productivity and efficiency will increase your business’s output, increasing your revenue and decreasing your expenses.

To improve efficiency, you can use a productivity formula and calculate your current figures:

Productivity = Total Output / Total Input

Efficiency = (Standard Hours Spent On Task / Actual Amount of Time Spent on Task) x 100

Then, brainstorm business-specific ways to improve productivity and efficiency.

Build meaningful relationships

Finally, you should prioritize maintaining good relationships with your customers. As research shows that the top 10 percent of customers spend three times more per transaction than the bottom 10 percent, maintaining a relationship with loyal customers will increase your revenue.

To maintain a connection with customers, you could:

  • Set up social media accounts and encourage customers to send you User-Generated Content (UGC)
  • Establish a customer loyalty program to keep customers happy
  • Improve your email marketing
  • Send digital ‘thank-you’ cards to customers
  • Offer special discounts to loyal customers
  • Improve your digital customer service practices
  • Convey your COVID-19 safety measures to customers with a poster

New normal, business

Periods of economic are very stressful for companies, but they frequently result in long-term growth and new industry-wide trends. For example, people often credit the fast rise of eCommerce to the 2003 SARS outbreak in China or the rise in click-and-collect to the early months of COVID-19.

If you follow the tips in this guide, your company can emerge from COVID-19 stronger and more profitable than ever before.

Source: Score

Formulating the Perfect STEM Resume for 2022
LinkedIn
Portrait of a young african woman holding resume document indoors

A fresh start is one of the gifts of a brand-new year, especially coming out of unprecedented times. If you’re looking to change up your career, here are some tips to help you revise your current resume and make the kind of impact you really hope for.

Polish visual elements

A resume that’s too visually distracting or disorganized can make an employer dispose of it without actually delving in. Use plenty of white space, and sharp, consistent formatting for each job. Use a limited number of fonts, preferably just one or two. Avoid using too many attention-getting methods such as all caps, bold and increased font sizes, or the reader struggles to know where to look. Make it neat and scannable by using clear headings.

Focus on Technical Skills

This is one of your strongest opportunities to introduce yourself; every organization, and even different jobs within one organization, may require you to make subtle tweaks to your resume to make it count. For STEM-related fields, it’s always best to showcase your skills for a specific position and the specific certifications that meet their needed criteria. Avoid listing expected skills required in any job and focus on special abilities that make you the best candidate for the job. It may also be helpful to list your expertise level (expert, proficient, etc.) to drive home your skillset.

Show Your Experience Across Disciplines

Though you want to be specific to the job, you will also want to showcase how your disciplines have crossed paths, especially in a time where scientific innovations and technological advances are increasing in overlap. Tell your reader about the experience you’ve had in your lines of work and school from outward appearance and design to the more behind-the-scenes work of sample collecting and data recording.

Add Results to Build Context

Do your jobs appear lacking in results? Maybe you didn’t track your statistics to — down the road — accurately report them on your resume. But numbers and impact are helpful to get a picture of what you’ve done. For example, a Conservation Corps worker described his experience as, “Coordinated group of 25 volunteers. As leader of 25-person team, removed invasive species growth over 50-acre wilderness, restored and maintained over 10 miles of trails. Developed new team protocols that led to improved communication and more efficient trail practices.” These numbers add more weight.

Revise Repeatedly, Even When You Can’t Stand It

The last thing you want is for your resume to be rejected over simple errors that could have easily been fixed. Go over your resume, use spellcheck, have a friend or trusted individual read through it, and ask for feedback from qualified individuals willing to help.

With these tips in mind, your resume will not only be ready to take on job opportunities, but your confidence will only increase. 2022 is a fresh start from the past two years; go make it count!

Source: CareerOneStop, KForce

Women’s education narrowing gender pay gap, but shift in childcare needed
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college student celebrating

By Ashleigh Webber, Personnel Today

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that since the mid-1990s women of working age have gone from being 5 percentage points less likely, to 5 percentage points more likely to have a university degree than men.

The 40% earnings gap identified its report is around 13 percentage points, or 25%, lower than it was in the mid-1990s.

However, women are still less likely to be in paid work than men (83.5% of women and 93% of men), and work fewer hours per week than men if they are employed (34 hours a week on average, compared with 42).

Women in paid work earn 19% less per hour on average than men (£13.20 compared with £16.30).In 1995 this figure was 24% and in 2005 it was 20.5%.

The research was based on data from 2019.

Monica Costa-Dias, deputy research director at IFS, said: “Huge gender gaps remain across employment, working hours and wages. After accounting for the rapid improvement in women’s education, there has been almost no progress on gender gaps in paid work over the past quarter-century.

“Working-age women in the UK are now more educated than their male counterparts and it seems unlikely that we can rely on women becoming more and more educated to close the existing gaps.”

The Women and men at work report, part of the IFS Deaton Review of Inequalities, also finds that:

  • The hourly wage gap between men and women is now bigger for those with degrees or A-level-equivalent qualifications than for those with lower qualifications. In fact, the minimum wage has helped reduce pay inequality in lower-paid roles
  • Of working-age adults with GCSEs or less, 26.5% of women do not work for pay compared with 9.5% of men
  • Working-age women do more than 50 hours a month more unpaid work (including both childcare and housework) than men
  • Gaps in employment and hours increase substantially upon becoming a parent, with women switching to more “family friendly” but lower paying occupations, or part time work
  • Women have more career breaks and spend more years working part-time, which contributes to them having lower hourly earnings further down the line.

“However, the gender gap in total earnings in the UK is almost twice as large as in some other countries which suggests the gender earnings gap is heavily influenced by the policy environment and cultural and social norms. For example, women are likely to take on more childcare even when they are the highest earner in the household, and a number of other countries also have more generous parental leave policies than the UK.”

Mark Franks, director of welfare at the Nuffield Foundation, which funded the research, said: “Differences in labour market participation, hours worked and hourly pay act together to lead to large and persistent inequalities in labour market outcomes between men and women in the UK. Some of these differences will originate from choices made by individuals and families relating to career and childcare decisions.

“However, the gender gap in total earnings in the UK is almost twice as large as in some other countries which suggests the gender earnings gap is heavily influenced by the policy environment and cultural and social norms. For example, women are likely to take on more childcare even when they are the highest earner in the household, and a number of other countries also have more generous parental leave policies than the UK.”

Click here to read the full article on Personnel Today.

How to File for a Small Business Patent
LinkedIn
woman's hand holding the word patent is written on a large design

By Deborah Sweeney

What Is a Patent?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines a patent for an invention as “the grant of a property right to the inventor.”

A patent helps protect the mechanisms, principles and components of an invention. The term for a small business patent starts on the date its application is filed with the USPTO. Generally, this lasts for 20 years. Patents tend to be filed less frequently than trademarks and copyrights within small businesses. However, this is still a necessary form of intellectual property protection for inventions. 
 
How to determine an invention is patentable

How do you determine that your invention is patentable? A patentable invention is defined accordingly by the USPTO: “Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefore, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.”

The USPTO further breaks down the four requirements of a patentable invention.

  • “A” patent: This is singular. Only one patent may be granted for each invention.
  • Useful: The invention must have a specific, substantial and credible utility.
  • Process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter: This is a description of the subject matter, and categories, eligible for patenting.
  • Whoever invents or discovers: The inventor is the only person who may obtain the patent.

Three types of small business patents

Once you determine your invention is patentable, you must figure out what kind of patent you need before filing for a small business patent. It’s important to understand which patent type is the right fit for your invention. Presently, there are three types of patents:

  • Utility patents
  • Design patents
  • Plant patents

Let’s explore how each patent protects a specific type of invention. Once you understand which patent is the closest categorization for your invention, we’ll look at how to apply for a patent.

Utility patents

Utility patents are among the most commonly filed small business patents with the USPTO. This type of patent may be a useful process, machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter or new or useful improvement. These are four categories of statutory subject matter and may be defined accordingly.

  • Process: This is an act, or series of acts or steps, typically from an industrial or technical process.
  • Machine: The USPTO defines machine as “a concrete thing, consisting of parts, or of certain devices and combination of devices.” Essentially, this is the literal meaning of inventing a machine.
  • Manufacture: These are articles made by the invention. They may be produced from raw or prepared materials and through either hand labor or by machinery.
  • Composition of matter: This is the chemical makeup of the invention. It may be composed of two or more substances and all composite articles. This may be gases, fluids, powders or solids.

A fifth category may also apply to the word “useful.” The invention must be able to operate and have a useful purpose. For example, a new search engine is a type of software that may qualify as a utility patent.

A utility patent also has the option to file as a provisional or nonprovisional application.

What’s the difference between the two terms? Provisional applications are a low-cost patent filing. Applicants may establish a filing date in the United States for their invention. Then, they may file a nonprovisional application to claim the invention later. Nonprovisional applications are reviewed by a patent examiner. If the invention is considered patentable, the utility patent application is filed with the USPTO.

Design patents

A design patent is granted to anyone who invents a new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.

How does this small business patent differ from a utility patent? A utility patent will protect the use of an article. Design patents protect the appearance of an article, but not its structural or functional features. Famous design patents include the Statue of Liberty and the original curvy Coca-Cola bottle. A recent example of a design patent are emojis, protecting the look and appearance of the digital icons.

The terms for a design patent, as effective May 13, 2015, may last 15 years from the date of the patent grant. Prior to 2015, the term was 14 years. This provides small businesses with over a decade’s worth of patent protection.

Plant patents

One of the most unique small business patents is the plant patent. This patent may be granted to anyone that has invented, discovered or asexually reproduced a distinct, new variety of plant. Here are a few examples:

  • Cultivated sports
  • Mutants (this is only applicable if the mutant is discovered in a cultivated area)
  • Cultivated hybrids
  • Newly found seedlings
  • Algae and macro-fungi
  • Asexually propagated plants reproduced through means other than seeds, such as layering or budding.

Plants that would not be eligible for a plant patent include existing plants, such as roses, bacteria, and edible tuber reproduced plants like potatoes.

A plant patent’s terms are for 20 years from the date of the patent’s application filing. Similar to that of a utility patent, a plant patent may file a provisional or nonprovisional application. The inventor filing this application must be the same person that invented, or reproduced, the plant they wish to patent.

Applying for a patent

By now, you likely have a good idea as to which small business patent is best for your invention. The next step is to get ready to apply for a patent.

As you prepare to apply for a patent, keep in mind the following.

  1. What is your application strategy? You may choose to file as yourself (Pro Se) or work with a patent attorney or agent.
  2. Will you file a provisional or nonprovisional application? This may be contingent on the type of small business patent you are filing.
  3. Do you have enough money set aside for fees? There are several fees associated with filing a patent, including application fees, search fees, examination fees and issues fees.
  4. How soon do you need the patent? You may consider expedited examination options to file for and receive patent approval sooner.
  5. Do I have everything I need for my application? Your patent application materials may require an oath or declaration, drawings and additional written documents. Make sure you understand each required part necessary for obtaining your patent and include it with your application.
  6. Will I mail my application or submit it online? Double-check everything prior to making this last step to ensure your application is complete. Remember that once your application has been filed with the USPTO, you will not be able to add new items to it.

Patent approval and next steps

If your patent is approved, congratulations! You will receive notice of approval and a patent grant that is mailed to you.

After receiving your small business patent, make sure to maintain the patent over the years. Pay any maintenance fees on time to ensure it does not expire and check the status as needed for this valuable piece of intellectual property.

Source: Score.org

 

Latina speaker, author helps women become confident negotiators
LinkedIn
latina Leadership and negotiation strategist Elizabeth Suarez aims to empower women to obtain more money and recognition and become better negotiators.

By Laura Casillas, 9 News

Elizabeth Suarez worked in the corporate world for 15 years. After holding countless leadership positions throughout the U.S. and Central and South America, she not only has extensive insight into a male-dominated industry, but according to Suarez, it also made her realize that more women were needed at the executive table.

“I would say I lived a syndrome of me, myself, and I. There was no other Latina; there was no other woman,” Suarez said. “When I decided to retire from the corporate world, that’s when I realized that what we had to do was basically be better negotiators to be able to be in meetings where people make decisions, the problem, many women, we – Latinas are not present where decisions are being made.”

Remembering all those years in the industry takes Suarez back in time to where her dreams began.

“I started out as this girl who wanted to make a difference in the corporate world,” Suarez said. “I grew up in Puerto Rico, I am of Cuban parents, I went to the university in New York as well as [got] my master’s degree, and I was in the corporate world everywhere.”

Today, Suarez lives in Denver, she is an author, and a coach and a leadership and negotiating strategist. Suarez empowers professionals to obtain more money and recognition, while helping organizations to develop a stronger workforce.

Suarez credits a big part of her success as an entrepreneur to the people who helped push her to take the plunge.

“I have to admit it, I had a lot of people who helped me and who believed in me,” said Suarez. “I had many mentors who believed in me and even today they follow me and want to help me.”

Since then, paying it forward has always been one of Suarez’s mottos as she remembered that her mentors told her, “Hey, remember that you have to help others in your community. This is not just about you. This is about your community.”

So following in their footsteps, Suarez became a mentor of young women and after mentoring for a few years, she came to another important realization.

According to Suarez, it’s difficult for many women to advocate for themselves.

“I always say to people that culturally we have always been told that we have to be grateful – grateful for living, grateful for our health, grateful for our work. And what I’m saying is that, yes, that is important, but at the same time, we have to be able to communicate to other people that we deserve the salary, that we deserve the promotion because we have brought a lot of progress to the company,” Suarez said.

Being a good negotiator, according to Suarez, is being able to be someone who can listen to what the other person is saying. One who can understand the needs of the other person and at the same time, can communicate effectively so that the other person can understand his or her needs.

“This is not about winning everything you want; this is being able to identify a solution that will be a good thing for both people,” Suarez said.

Suarez has a daughter in college and she gives her the same advice that she gives all young women.

“You cannot assume that if they offer you the job that that’s it. I accept it, it’s over, I’m going to party, no no no,” Suarez said.

According to Suarez, women need to take it upon themselves to do a thorough investigation of the going salary for the position that they are applying for.

“There are different ways to find out. There are different apps that tell you this. The average salary of the type of job where you are living, and you have to have the strength to say, ‘This is a competition; we are playing a game. I play, and even though they offered me the job, I’m going to have to ask for more,'” she said.

Suarez encourages women to negotiate in the same manner as men do because, according to her, “Study after study shows that men always ask for more than women.”

“From the beginning, you have to negotiate more,” Suarez said, “and if they tell you that they cannot give you more money, negotiate more things. Free days, bonuses – agree to re-analyze your work in six months, and from there you can get another raise.”

Suarez is the author of the book ‘The Art of Getting Everything,’ and she has been has a keynote speaker at women’s conferences across the country, including the Women in Technology Conference where she spoke to over 650 women about the power of negotiation, networking and self advocacy.

Click here to read the full article on 9 News.

Be The Change: Lessons From A Woman In Business (For Other Women In Business)
LinkedIn
Be The Change: Lessons From A Woman In Business (For Other Women In Business)

By , Entrepreneur

The need to break the glass ceiling has existed for the past couple of centuries, and women have been fighting long and hard for that big moment. Available statistics suggest that 36% of small businesses worldwide are owned by women. People ask me about what it’s like being a woman in business at my age, and I always have the same answer:

“It’s difficult, there are challenges, but you push through.” My challenges, of course, pale in comparison to the million others who don’t have the environment, access, or support that I have had. However, we often hear the words that it’s difficult, but I think it’s important that we take the time to break it down. I am a highly solution-focused person, for better and for worse, and so, I would like to plug in some guidance to all those navigating similar experiences.

LESSON 1: PROTECTION VERSUS ENCOURAGEMENT

Yes, everyone is familiar with the savior complex, but it gets so much worse in the world of business. I want to say this gets better as you get older, but I have seen it happen to my colleagues with 20 and 30 years of experience as well. The assumption that we, as women in business, are naïve, standing like deer-in-the-headlights, is a real stereotype that we find ourselves fighting against more often than not.

Getting advice from those more experienced than you can be useful; however, it is essential that you question the intention of that advice. Is the intention one of protection, fear of your inability to succeed, or for your safety? Here is what I am going to say: you know your work better than anyone. Trust your own instincts and critical analysis. For instance, when we at Mirai Partners were entering Lagos as a new location for our business, most people gave us incredibly discouraging advice. We thought differently, and here we are, three years later, with state-level contracts and further expansion planned over the next three years.

LESSON 2: BREAKING INTO THE BOYS CLUB

Do I feel entirely comfortable going for a meeting or networking at events after work hours or outside a conference? The real answer is no, but I have done it many times, because when you own your own business, you have to. A 2019 survey revealed that out of 600 female entrepreneurs, nearly 56% had experienced some form of discrimination or harassment in their capacity as business owners. As such, the reason many women do not feel comfortable with gatherings associated with work is that we fear that men in those spaces will behave in a way that we don’t expect or want. However, as someone who’s had her own share of such odd experiences, I do have a set of ground rules to prevent such occurrences in the future, which might help you as well:

– If you are not meeting someone in their office, try and pick a neutral and public place.

– If they make you feel uncomfortable, no business opportunity is worth it.

– Personal questions about your relationship status shouldn’t be asked, so don’t be afraid to not answer.

Click here to read the full article on Entrepreneur.

Afro hair comb inventor hopes to inspire young black women
LinkedIn
Afro comb designer would have "loved to be taught by a black woman"

By Felicity Evans, BBC

A woman launching an innovative new comb for afro hair wants to use her experience to get other young black women into engineering.

“I would have loved a young me to have been taught by a black woman,” said Swansea-based Youmna Mouhamad. She received an enterprise fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering to help her develop the product. Fewer than 2% of engineers are women from ethnic minorities.

“I want to be part of the change, so that a young person that comes after me is in a place where they feel much more heard and much more accepted,” said Youmna. She was doing a PhD in physics when she first got the idea for the Nyfasi Deluxe Detangler, which provides an easier way of conditioning natural afro hair.

Youmna supported her studies by working as a nanny and the little girl she looked after used to cry with pain when her hair was washed and conditioned.”The whole house would be full of tears,” she remembers. “I wanted her to have a better experience.

“I shifted to engineering because I always had a desire to work on things that I can touch with my hands, and I love the process of taking an idea and actually creating something.” Once Youmna had developed a prototype she looked for women with afro hair to join a focus group to test it. Lenient and her nine-year-old daughter, Goodness, were among the volunteers. “I have got three girls and I do their hair myself,” said Lenient.

“The washing process is dreadful because they don’t want to. Why? Because it’s quite painful for them, especially the combing part.” “And this detangler, the first time I tried it, it was really easy.” Goodness agreed, adding: “The normal comb feels like someone is pulling your hair, when it’s tangled it hurts. But with this comb, it’s very soft and easy to untangle.”

Click here to read the full article on BBC.

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. NAWBO Leadership Academy – Winter 2022
    January 31, 2022
  3. NAWBO LEADERSHIP ACADEMY 2022
    January 31, 2022
  4. From Day One
    February 9, 2022
  5. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022