Tracee Ellis Ross Teaches Us to Own Our Power
LinkedIn
a collage of Tracee Ellis Ross images with the cover of the magazine in the middle

By: Tawanah Reeves-Ligon

Tracee Ellis Ross is not new to titles or attention.

She is the second daughter of the legendary Diana Ross, a nine-time NAACP Image Award winner, a four-time Primetime Emmy nominee and a Golden-Globe recipient. She’s been recognized as a director, producer, philanthropist, social activist, fashion icon (for which she won the 2020 People’s Choice Award), founder of the haircare line, Pattern which caters to curly, coily, tight-textured hair, and, as of this past February, the Diversity and Inclusion advisor for Ulta Beauty. When it comes to owning her power, Ross has practiced what she preaches. “I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me,” says Ross.

Diligent about Diversity in Workspaces

Due to her main career as an actress, many believed Ross would be limited in her desired business ventures. “When I told a member of my team some years ago that I wanted to start a haircare line, their idea was to start a line of wigs!” she told Fast Company this past January. She took many early rejections and was even told by another associate during her early planning stages that, since she is an actor, who would want to buy haircare products from her? Ross went on to offer some powerful advice for those encountering this type of criticism, doubt or rejection, “Be patient, and stay the course,” she counsels other entrepreneurs. “Take in the information. Take in the disappointments. They will come. They are important. They are part of the opportunity to clarify what you want to do.”

She continued to press forward despite roadblocks and inexperience. Last October, Ross talked more about this during the U.S. Bank’s Women and Wealth Summit, “I did not know how to negotiate on my behalf. I did not know how to talk about money,” which is still a common phenomenon, especially in American society. “Culturally, women are not taught to talk about money. It is thought to be gauche, to talk about money, to be ambitious,” she says. “Patriarchy, racism, sexism, all of these things, have given the very clear message that women are meant to not take up space and not rock the boat.”

Tracee Ellis Ross standing behind a podium wearing a bright pink jacket smiling with arms raised high in a support gesture
LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 21: Actress Tracee Ellis Ross speaks onstage at the women’s march in Los Angeles on January 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
Ross encourages fellow women entrepreneurs, especially BIPOC entrepreneurs, to not allow their lack of experience or outside pressures to deter them though. “No one wants to give you money; no one wants to give you all the things you should have,” Ross said during the summit. “I strongly believe in women and women of color fighting for equity, for having a stake in what they create, because historically we give up our names, we give up all these things, and we have no stake in what we make.” This sentiment is evident in how she brands her business. Pattern, available exclusively at Ulta Beauty, focuses on a celebration of Black beauty, which Ross believes is still uncommon, but necessary. “If our hair could talk, it would tell you of our legacies,” she says, “all those ways our identity pushed through spaces where it wasn’t meant to be, but is nonetheless.”

Since launching, Ross has put her naysayers to shame. On its first day, the site yielded nearly eight times the expected sales, and its Instagram following grew to 130,000 within a week. Ross saw how underpenetrated the Black haircare market still remains. According to a 2018 Nielsen report, the Black haircare industry made an estimated $2.5 billion, showcasing that there is considerable opportunity for Black-owned businesses like Pattern to enter the mainstream market. This is exactly what Ross hopes to see happen as the new Diversity and Inclusion advisor for Ulta Beauty. She told BusinessWire, “This work requires commitment and accountability from Ulta Beauty to ensure measurable goals are achieved. I am hopeful and optimistic our work together will create foundational change.” According to Ulta CEO Mary Dillon, the company is “deeply committed to leading purposefully with and for underrepresented voices across retail and beauty on our D&I journey.”

It’s Ross’s goal to support and uplift current and future brands, suppliers and companies created by and for people of color sold at Ulta as well as to assist the company in developing diverse and inclusive leadership as well as in their supply chain. They are committed to joining executive diversity and inclusion council summits quarterly. “For so many years, there had not been products for women who wanted to wear their hair naturally and didn’t want to put heat on it or hold themselves up to a white standard of beauty,” shared Ross with InStyle.

FEBRUARY 24: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Image has been converteAshlee Simpson, Evan Ross, Diana Ross, and Tracee Ellis Ross seated at a table at a charity event posing together smiling
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – FEBRUARY 24: (L-R) Ashlee Simpson, Evan Ross, Diana Ross, and Tracee Ellis Ross attend the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/VF19/WireImage)

She also told them, “I walked into my relationship with Ulta as a person who always was looking to create a more equitable space for women, for Black people, for people of color across the board. It’s something that is my guiding force and mission in my acting career and my producing. That is how I move through the world, so it was no different in the beauty industry. And it’s one of the reasons I decided to go with Ulta. Mary Dillon has been focused on and fighting for inclusion and diversity at Ulta from when I started my relationship with them, and none of that has changed through all of this.”

Commitment to Personal & Professional Growth

The actress has had a stellar career from playing lawyer Joan Clayton in the critically-acclaimed show “Girlfriends” in the 2000s to Dr. Rainbow Johnson in the award-smashing “Black-ish” and most recently Grace Davis in her biggest film yet [that also showcased her singing debut], “The High Note.” However, it has not always been simple or easy. Ross had to find her own way in Hollywood without falling into the shadow of her famous mother. She’s also felt the challenges of being a woman (especially single and childless) in a ruthless, patriarchal industry still holding on to antiquated social ideals. As Ross explained in a past interview with Oprah, “My worth just gets diminished as I am reminded that I have ‘failed’ on the marriage and carriage counts,” adding she spent “many years waiting to be chosen” until it occurred to Ross that her power to be happy relied solely on her. “Well, here’s the thing – I’m the chooser,” she said.

Ross uses her platform and her projects to help other women feel comfortable with choosing their own power verses yielding it to others.

During her 2020 People’s Choice Award speech for Fashion Icon of the Year, she explained, “I spent years playing dress up in my closet as a way to find some freedom or some power, and the more that I discovered who I really was – the more I was able to hone my creative expression through clothing. I wear my insides on the outside, and if featuring Black designers at the American Music Awards helps someone see the power of Black artistry, or if joining the call to wear black at the Golden Globes led to solidarity with women saying time’s up on sexual harassment, then you heard me loud and clear…”

On an episode of the podcast, Can’t Stop Watching, she mentioned pushing back against outdated gender norms in her portrayal of Rainbow. “What I did speak up about from the beginning was, ‘Why am I carrying laundry?’ ‘Why am I the person in the kitchen cooking right now, when this has nothing to do with the scene?’…And I started coining them as ‘lady chores.’ ‘Why am I doing the lady chores?’ ‘Can’t Anthony [Anderson] do the lady chore?’” She was adamant that this role shouldn’t mimic the usual “sitcom wife” and that society can benefit from this kind intentionality in our programming.

“I don’t believe they’re ‘lady chores.’ I believe they’re house chores.

Laurence Fishburne, Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson speaking as a panel onstage
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – AUGUST 04: (L-R) Actors Laurence Fishburne, Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson speak onstage at the ‘Black-ish’ panel discussion during the Disney ABC Television Group portion of the 2016 Television Critics Association Summer Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 4, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

And I don’t believe that we should assume, because I believe every relationship is a negotiation between two people about what each of them feel comfortable doing, and I think the more that we portray that on television, the more that that becomes the reality out in the world, or matches the reality that the world actually is,” she said.

On Power, Politics & Progression

We connect to our personal power in so many ways and on varying levels. One issue that Tracee Ellis Ross advocates we should focus our power on is promoting positive social change in our government, specifically through activism and the vote. Ross was included in the 2020 Democratic National Convention lineup and spoke to Geoff Edgers, of the Washington Post, previously on what it was like when she was first asked to assist the DNC during the Obama administration as well as the relevance of her platform. “…I don’t think I knew at that time how personal politics were. They felt like something that was out of my reach. So for me, the [2020] DNC felt like a sort of an evolution from where I already sit. The career I have is about storytelling, but I’m more than an actor. I’m a producer and a founder of a hair company and a CEO. I’m an American citizen. I’m a black woman,” shared Ross.

These different, but inclusive, identities drive her pleas to other black and women voters to harness their powers and use their voices to bring about necessary changes in this continuously discriminatory and marginalized society. “It takes a lot of courage to advocate for yourself. 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,” Ross said in a chat with fellow Golden Globe-winner Kerry Washington for Elle this past August.

“And every courageous act that a marginalized person takes opens up a space for somebody else,” she continued. “…The system is mirroring back a powerlessness. That’s not the truth, but we so often believe in the system—because how could you not?—and you think that’s the truth.” She went on to discuss the value of power in community. “That is one of the ways that the system keeps you powerless. The system says, you’re alone in this, it’s only you. The more that you link arms and realize the fellowship that occurs in the same feelings, the more power you have.”

As for her haircare line, Ross to InStyle she believes her company to be “inherently political, because the celebration of Blackness in the face of racism in and of itself is a political act of resistance.” Pattern supports multiple related initiatives such as the Crown Act, the African American Policy Forum and United Way Worldwide, specifically as it relates to their programs helping Black communities which have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Ross told Yahoo Finance this past December, “Particularly during this pandemic, it was a little scary. And I think so much of what’s happened in this very unprecedented time has really reinvigorated my mission for the company, my intention and my promise of the brand.” Ross, with her tenacity and graceful perseverance, reminds us to be unapologetic with how we acknowledge and use our inner power. It is our own. Without our permission, our power cannot be taken; it cannot be shaken; it cannot be broken.

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.

Dolly Parton says she used royalties from Whitney Houston’s song in ‘The Bodyguard’ to support a Black neighborhood
LinkedIn
Dolly Parton pictures at the country music awards

By , Insider

Dolly Parton’s 1973 song “I Will Always Love You” found a new generation of fans when Whitney Houston took on the song for her 1992 movie “The Bodyguard.”

Houston’s version became one of the best-selling singles of all time and led to Parton pocketing $10 million through the 1990s in royalties, according to Forbes. Those earnings have only grown through the decades, especially following Houston’s death in 2012 when the song re-entered the charts.

So how has Parton spent that money? According to the country music legend, she used it to help a Black community in Nashville.

“I bought my big office complex down in Nashville,” she told Andy Cohen on Thursday’s episode of “Watch What Happens Live” (via Yahoo). “So I thought, ‘well this is a wonderful place to be.'”

“I bought a property down in what was the Black area of town, and it was mostly just Black families and people that lived around there,” she continued. “And it was off the beaten path from 16th avenue and I thought, ‘Well I am going to buy this place, the whole strip mall.’ And thought, ‘This is the perfect place for me to be,’ considering it was Whitney.”
“So I just thought this was great, I’m just gonna be down here with her people, who are my people as well,” Parton said. “And so I just love the fact that I spent that money on a complex. And I think, ‘This is the house that Whitney built.'”

In a November appearance on Apple TV+’s “The Oprah Conversation,” Parton recalled what it was like to hear Houston’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You” for the first time. She explained that she unexpectedly heard the song on the radio when she was driving and didn’t immediately realize it was her song.

“I was shot so full of adrenaline and energy, I had to pull off, because I was afraid that I would wreck, so I pulled over quick as I could to listen to that whole song,” Parton told Winfrey, according to Yahoo. “I could not believe how she did that. I mean, how beautiful it was that my little song had turned into that, so that was a major, major thing.”

Click here to read the full article on Insider.

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

‘Sex and the City’ Revival Casts Miranda and Charlotte’s Kids
LinkedIn
Sex and the City revival to include daughters and son of characters

Cathy Ang, Niall Cunningham, Alexa Swinton, and Cree Cicchino have joined the cast of the HBO Max original series and revival of “Sex and the City.” Entitled “And Just Like That…,” the 10-episode TV sequel follows Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) as they navigate the journey from the complicated reality of life and friendship in their 30s to the even more complicated reality of life and friendship in their 50s. The groundbreaking HBO series “Sex and the City” was created by Darren Star and based on the book “Sex and the City” by Candace Bushnell.

The half-hour series is currently shooting in New York and is executive produced by Parker, Davis, Nixon and Julie Rottenberg, Elisa Zuritsky, John Melfi, and Michael Patrick King. Writers include King, Samantha Irby, Rachna Fruchbom, Keli Goff, Rottenberg, and Zuritsky. The previously announced cast includes Sara Ramírez, Sarita Choudhury, Nicole Ari Parker, Karen Pittman, Chris Noth, Mario Cantone, David Eigenberg, Willie Garson, and Evan Handler.

Ang (“Over the Moon,” “My Best Friend’s Exorcism,” “Ramy”) will play the role of Lily Goldenblatt; Cunningham (“Life in Pieces,” Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Deadbeat”) will appear as Brady Hobbes; Swinton (“Old,” “Billions,” “Emergence”) will play Rose Goldenblatt; Cicchino (“Mr. Iglesias,” “The Sleepover”) will appear as Brady Hobbes’ girlfriend, Luisa Torres.

Ang is repped by ICM Partners, Authentic Talent & Literary Management, and Viewpoint; Cunningham is repped by Paradigm and Brillstein Entertainment Partners; Swinton is repped by A3 Artists Agency, Edge Entertainment Management, and Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler, Feldman & Clark; Cicchino is repped by A3 Artists Agency, Circle of Confusion, and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher.

Click here to read the full article on Variety.

Mena Suvari: “Slowly but Surely Meth Became My Life. And Then It Took Over”
LinkedIn
Mena Suvari pictured in a black and white photo holding her hand by her bottom lip and staring at the camera

By Mena Suvari, Yahoo! Life

Nineties It Girl Mena Suvari, who you recognize from hugely popular movies American Pie and American Beauty, is coming clean about her double life. In her new memoir, The Great Peace, the award-winning actor divulges intimate, moving, and, at times, shocking details about her off-camera world—including her teenage struggles with drug addiction, her emotionally destructive relationships with older men, and how the #MeToo movement ultimately inspired her to share her experience with the dark side of young Hollywood fame.

Below, read the chapter “Meth Month” from Mena’s debut memoir, out today.

Back home, I met up with Gabby one day in Burbank. She had a different group of friends from Burbank High, none of whom I had met before. I guessed things with her had changed while I was off doing the movie and hanging with Geoff and Franny, because instead of a casual let’s-smoke-some-pot vibe, we ended up at one of her friends’ houses and the darkness reappeared.

There it was again. I couldn’t believe it. How had it found me here in L.A.? Slowly but surely it became my life. And then it took over my life. The hours I was at school were spent thinking about getting out of school and doing some lines. I stayed up until late at night, slept a couple hours, then repeated the day. Before long I was pulling out my small gold lacquered butterfly embossed compact mirror and snorting a line in the school bathroom during a break. Later, I sat up all night playing eclectic indie rock on a large old-school boombox recorder Gabby had given me.

A part of meth made me hyper-aware, but there was that other part that was like the dark side of the road, and it led directly to paranoia. I spent a lot of the night waiting to hear whether anyone was going to knock on my bedroom door. While I maintained my grades, my health suffered. My entire back broke out in acne. I’d always had perfect skin. I knew it was the meth. And just like before with the birth control offered in exchange for no questions asked, I was given antibiotics to make it “go away.”

Years later, when I talked to my mother about this time when she left, she said that I had told her that I hated her. Maybe I did. At the time, I felt like no one cared about me. The drugs certainly didn’t help. But I hadn’t wanted to hear the things she had told me about my father and I absolutely couldn’t handle the situation we were currently in, so I probably did hate her for abandoning me to that situation, although I didn’t want to.

I didn’t want to be at home.

I didn’t want to see my father the way he was at that time. I wasn’t even sure who he was or had ever been.

I stayed out as much as I could. And stayed high as much as I could.

I still did everything asked of me. Schoolwork. Auditions. Sex. Only I had to know how fucked up I was getting every day. I thought I could, and should, suffer in silence. This was obviously my fate. I prayed someone would throw me a lifeline. I was ready every single day to be rescued. It never happened.

One day I scored some shit and went back to the apartment. I sat on my carpeted bedroom floor in front of the sliding mirrored closet doors and looked at the baggie. There was a small amount of powder in it, but it had a slight grey tinge that made me question it. Nonetheless, I cut it up, exhaled, and abruptly inhaled it into my nose. It had the burn I was pretty much used to, but as I sat there I realized it had done nothing. And I thought, What the fuck did I just put up my nose?

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Life

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.

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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