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

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

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
LinkedIn
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.

Dr. Mary Bethune Honored As First Black Woman With Statue In D.C.’S Statuary Hall
LinkedIn
Members of the public view the newly unveiled statue of Mary McLeod Bethune at the News-Journal Center in Daytona Beach on Oct. 12. It's slated to move to the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall early next year. Nigel Cook/News-Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Co

By Erika Stone, The Black Wall Street Times

Dr. Mary Bethune, a pioneering civil rights activist from Florida, is finally getting her due.

The educator, who opened a school for Black children in 1904, will be honored as the first Black woman with a statue in the United States’ Statuary Hall in Washington D.C. It follows the statue’s unveiling in her home state of Florida.

The statue of Dr. Bethune in the nation’s capital will replace a statue of a former confederate general. The iconic Statuary Hall holds two statues of renowned citizens from each state. Dr. Bethune was nominated for the honor by Florida governor Ron DeSantis.

“Dr. Bethune embodies the very best of the Sunshine State — Floridians and all Americans can take great pride in being represented by the great educator and civil rights icon,” noted US Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida, who attended the Florida unveiling.

A trailblazer, educator, an presidential advisor
Dr. Bethune, the daughter of two slaves, founded the Daytona Beach Literary and Industrial School for Training Negro Girls in 1904. The school later transitioned into Bethune-Cookman University, a Historically Black College and University. Dr. Bethune also fought on behalf of womens’ rights, campaigning for voter registration after the suffrage movement won women the right to vote in 1920.

Dr. Bethune also served as an educational advisor to five Presidents. She served as the director of the National Youth Administration’s Office of Negro Affairs under President Franklin Roosevelt, who, along with his wife Eleanor, considered her a friend.

“Dr. Bethune was an amazing trailblazer,” said Nancy Lohman, Board president of the Dr. Mary Bethune Statuary Fund, Inc, in a statement to CNN. “She fought for African American rights, women’s rights. When she saw a problem, she got involved to help create a solution.”

Click here to read the full article on The Black Wall Street Times.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Two Latinas are working together to create a pipeline of diversity in STEM
LinkedIn
young Hispanic woman in lab coat with technology equipment behind her

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, collectively known as STEM make up the fastest-growing and highest paid fields in the U.S. with diverse job opportunities in careers ranging from aerospace engineers, programmer to operations director, yet Latinas only account for 3% of the industry.

Unfortunately, many Latinas are discouraged from pursuing STEM careers and loose interest in these disciplines as early as middle school. This is why early intervention curriculums like the ones provided by XYLO Academy are key to increasing the representation of Latinas in the STEM workforce.

Getting to college is another challenge as underrepresented students face steep costs and challenges to higher education. According to a recent study published in the journal Education Researcher Latino college students drop out of STEM programs at higher rates (37%) that their white peers (27%).

Continual increases in tuition and fees have pushed the cost of college education beyond the means of most minority and underrepresented students. This is why IO Scholarships offers free access to scholarships and financial education so high school, undergraduate and graduate students can find life-changing scholarships where their diverse background is valued.

Despite all the challenges, these two Latinas are working together to fix the leaking pipeline, providing scholarships, and creating STEM curriculums for women of color.

Gabriela Forter
Co-founder XYLO Academy

Gabriela Forter headshot

Born and raised in the California San Joaquin Valley, Gabriela’s first introduction to entrepreneurship was during a course with Professor Rostamian at UCLA in 2015. This class significantly shaped not only her academic interests but also her career path. Gabriela and Professor Rostamian have now launched XYLO Academy to scale this same impact. After spending two and a half years at Deloitte Consulting, Gabriela joined Facebook, focusing on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. She is confident that the most meaningful changes in society will come from advancements in disruptive innovations and seeks to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM. She is committed to increasing diversity in STEM and believes that change starts with education.

“Our goal at XYLO Academy is to educate students on disruptive innovation and inspire them to pursue degrees and careers in STEM and with our partnership with IO Scholarships we are creating a pipeline for these students to have access to the best scholarships in STEM and realize their dreams.”

María Trochimezuk
Founder IO Scholarships

María Trochimezuk headshot

Her determination and hard work paid off as she won grants and scholarships to pay for her entire education. In realizing how time consuming and complicated the process of finding scholarships for STEM diverse students was, María Fernanda created IO Scholarships to make things much easier. She learned first-hand to find, apply for and win scholarships and became an advocate promoting scholarships nationwide.

“IOScholarships was inspired by my own experience as I was very fortunate to access scholarships to attend prestigious universities and realized that more could be done to support minority students especially now as STEM education becomes more important to workforce opportunities,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IO Scholarships. “IO Scholarships will not only help underrepresented students find scholarships, but level the playing field so all students have the opportunity to achieve their education goals.”

ABOUT XYLO ACADEMY

We are a group of passionate and skilled storytellers. We believe that students everywhere should have the power and ability to access a world-class education. We believe that technology and innovation, especially disruptive innovation, provides unlimited potential for the future. XYLO Academy introduces this space to students in a bold, story-telling format breaking down any barriers that impede equal opportunity to explore, learn and thrive in the 5 disruptive innovation platforms: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies, Robotics, Energy Storage and Bio Tech. We have diverse experiences and backgrounds across technology, product innovations and education. We are united in our passion to provide equal access to the study of technology and innovation. Our diversity is our strength, and our mission is our singular focus. XYLO – Unlimited space for learning and opportunity.

ABOUT IO SCHOLARSHIPS

Most of the scholarships featured on the IOScholarships website come directly from corporations and organizations, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education. Each month IO Scholarships adds hundreds of new curated scholarships to its database and posts “The Scholarship of the Week” on its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media accounts (@IOScholarships), making it easy to find new scholarship opportunities.

In addition to providing scholarships, IO Scholarships website offers a free scholarship organizer, news articles designed to provide guidance on how to apply for scholarships, and money saving tips. The platform also offers a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.

For more information about IO Scholarships visit www.ioscholarships.com or for weekly STEM scholarships email maria.fernanda@ioscholarships.com.

The Ultimate Job Search Checklist
LinkedIn
Latina woman working from home with laptop and smartphone in her hand

Job searches can be overwhelming and sometimes it is difficult to know exactly where to start. Resume Worded has put together a step-by-step checklist to help you stay organized and task-oriented.

Here are the things you’ll need to think about when job searching:

Your Resume/CV
These introductory documents are what help you get an interview. A strong resume/CV gets past initial filters/screens and makes a strong impression on hiring managers. Make sure you understand what type of document (resume, academic CV, federal resume) to use for the job you are applying to. Create impact on your document through strong content and a clean, easy to skim format. Lastly, always have another set of eyes look at this document to help you edit for errors.

Your Online Presence
When you are job searching, you should assume people are looking you up online. It might be a good idea to make all of your personal Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, SnapChat accounts private. One account that should have a public present though is LinkedIn. Take some time to update it and optimize it with keywords for your intended career path/sector.

Finding a Job Online
Cast a wide net when searching for jobs online. General websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor can be helpful; however, you will also want to utilize niche job boards related to your field. Science Careers and Nature Careers often have relevant job postings. You might also want to check some professional associations connected to you field.

Applying for A Job Online
Your resume/CV and cover letter are your first introduction with an online application, so they need to be near perfect. Make sure you focus on quality not quantity and tailor each document for the relevant posting.

Getting an Introduction/Referral
A huge part of job searching is networking. Don’t hesitate to be in touch with your contacts and ask for resume referrals when appropriate. Informational interviews are a great way to learn more about a career path and a company, so start reaching out now and having these conversations. People who actively network tend to shave time off their total job search, so in the end it does pay off!

Interviewing
The key to interviewing well is in the preparation. Learn about the employer and your interviewers. Know what type of interview you might anticipate. Then, practice as much as you can! Rehearse or write out your answers to typical interview questions. Think about interview questions you have struggled with in the past. And last, but not least make sure you have prepared thoughtful questions for each interviewer.

Source: NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education

‘The Only Certainty in Life is Change’
LinkedIn
honna Jordan onstage sitting on couch talking to male guest laughing

By Shonna Jordan, owner of Jordan & Jordan Marketing

It was only about three weeks until my big event. I had sold tickets. I had sold exhibit tables. I had sponsors, food and beverage, volunteers, models and music all lined up. I put deposits on the venue and vendors. I invested in programs and pop ups, promotions and products. All the pieces of the puzzle were in place.

And I had just hung up with a friend who told me, “You can NOT have the event! No one is going to come!”

Not just my world, but THE whole world, had just gone on lockdown due to this thing called COVID.

What the hell was I going to do?

Jumping into Action
If you have not read Ken Blanchard’s book, Who Moved My Cheese, I strongly recommend that you do. Someone had just moved my big cheese and I had no time to hem or haw… I HAD TO sniff and scurry… like IMMEDIATELY!

I quickly wrote a script, downloaded a teleprompter app, turned my kitchen into a little studio, put on my “news anchor” face that I learned during my college days, recorded a great “don’t fear, the event isn’t cancelled it’s just postponed temporarily” message, uploaded it to YouTube and blasted it out through every social media outlet and every email I had in my database in less than a day. And then? Then I caved, crumbled, withdrew and went into hiding. I had put on the brave face, but underneath it all, even knowing I really had to keep moving, I was a mess and at a loss. Accustomed to producing and directing events, I found myself with lack of direction in uncertain times.

Not only did I have the March 2020 event, The Business Women’s Mega Mixer, which had to be postponed, I also had already started promoting my second large event, The Business Explosion, slotted for October 2020… both are annual events that were in their eleventh year. On top of that, I own and operate a women’s networking group, Good Ol’ Gals Business Connections, for which I held monthly meetings in three locations. Yea… those also came to a screeching halt in March 2020 and those also had attendees, sponsors and marketplace tables that had already been purchased for March AND April.

Before I could really get a game plan together, I had to get a read on where those who had invested in the meetings and events stood. I was in awe that the vast majority were incredibly understanding and committed to weather this storm with me. And that’s when it REALLY hit me. I wasn’t in this alone. There were a multitude of events that could no longer be held and we didn’t know for how long: no sporting events, no school or school-related functions, no weddings, celebrations, dance parties. No gatherings… at all. The magnitude of this pandemic had finally sunk in and after what I would consider a “fair” amount of time had passed and more than enough wallowing had been done, I started planning again.

Crafting a Plan

Determined to be ready the very second things started to open up again, I got creative. How would I handle putting on an event while still abiding by safety protocols? What could I do to create a safe environment in which participants would be comfortable attending while providing a platform for reconnection and rebuilding while ALSO honoring and respecting the choices of each individual? Ain’t that a doozy? And I wanted to be first to welcome everyone back to in-person events without jumping the gun. Quite the balancing act.

Month after month, I stayed up to date on the state and county guidelines. I took the networking group online and down to just one meeting a month and kept the same vibe behind the computer as I did in front of the room. Maintaining the connection was critical. For the larger business events, I kept in touch primarily with the venue, as they were truly on top of all the most current safety guidelines and projected dates for reopening or moving to the next tier.

It was challenging to keep plugging away, I won’t lie. But as I watched and listened, not only to the news but to my community of business professionals, I had hope. People were chomping at the bit to get back to “normal,” and I was prepared!

From providing commemorative kerchiefs to use as a personal microphone cover to personal, event-branded bottles of hand sanitizer to stars on a “walk of fame” that served double duty as social distance markers! My favorite creative idea was the one that honored individual choices… I provided pins to affix to each attendee’s name badge lanyard that had one of four symbols on it to denote the wearer’s comfort level with contact — from “no contact” or “fist bump only” to “handshakes ok” to “I’m good with it all”! No guilt, no judgement. The Good Ol’ Gals had their first in person meeting at the very end of April 2021… and it was a huge success!

Expect the Unexpected

But what about the two annual events? The GOG Gala (that April networking meeting I just mentioned) was maxed out at 60 attendees to stay within the 25 percent indoor capacity rule at the time. I realized early in 2021 that having the Mega Mixer in March wasn’t going to be an option as it draws upwards of 250 participants and that wasn’t permitted yet. But the Business Explosion could most likely be held in October… so what to do? Get creative, start planning, be prepared… and expect the unexpected. That came in the form of my venue being sold and would no longer be used for events! What the…?!?

The idea came to take the best elements from both events and blend them into ONE BIG EVENT… MegaBOOM2021! But where to hold it now that the venue I had used for years was no longer an option? And within the same budget? I put it out there to my tribe and they came through. The first big business event in my area is ON! And guess what? Even with less time to promote, I’m ready and so are those who have patiently waited.

This journey for me had its major ups and downs, both professionally AND personally, but like many I’ve heard from, I used this unprecedented situation to take stock, do some introspection and self-analysis, set a few things straight and let a few things go. Going through this ordeal gave me a new perspective on my business, my life and my self…. Emerging from it surprisingly a better human for having gone through it.

No matter what life throws our way, getting creative, being prepared and understanding that the only certainty in life is change will keep us moving forward in a positive direction.

Shonna Jordan is the owner of Jordan & Jordan Marketing, a North San Diego County-based marketing agency which, in addition to brand development, marketing messaging and marketing materials development for small businesses, also produces two annual events: The Business Women’s Mega Mixer and The Business Explosion. Jordan writes, speaks and trains on various marketing and business-related topics and owns and operates the women’s networking organization, Good Ol’ Gals Business Connections. You can contact her via e-mail at sljordan@jordanjordan.com.

Content Maven Media: Building Strong Relationships
LinkedIn
content marketing template with graphics

For many of us, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to reflect and reprioritize aspects of our lives.

Some individuals have built up the strength to undertake new initiatives and business prospects – and Kristy Ramsey, founder of Certified LGBTBE® Content Maven Media, is no exception.

“Being a one-woman show, I am most proud of having the courage to even start my own business, and during a pandemic no less!” Ramsey said.

Located in Chicago, Illinois, Content Maven Media is a content solutions group that draws on various forms of media to create custom digital plans for clients. Through her business, Ramsey focuses on podcast and video production services, photography, social media management, and overall content creation for audiences.

“What is unique about my business is my approach to relationships,” explained Ramsey. “I focus a lot on building relationships with my clients, so much so that I strive to know their business, just as well as they do.”

Content Maven Media was certified through the NGLCC in 2020, having joined the organization to explore further networking and partnership opportunities. As a result of the certification, Ramsey’s business has been able to connect with larger and larger suppliers.

“A strong network made even stronger through relationship building is an important part of the success of my business,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey also emphasized the need to share knowledge and resources with clients, striving to go above and beyond what is expected of her and her company.

“Be humble, collaborate, and listen,” she advised.

Content Maven Media owner Kristy Ramsey headshot
Kristy Ramsey, Content Maven Media

In the future, Content Maven Media aims to become a household name as an LGBT and minority-owned media business. Ramsey seeks to grow the business by continuing to place a strong emphasis on relationship building. Several years down the line, she hopes to introduce her own LGBT nonprofit to the world, which will focus on “getting young adults into the media and technology fields as a career.”

“My company will be known for quality, service, integrity and communication, and producing content that makes a difference in the business of our clients,” she explained.

Ramsey had stellar advice to offer to future LGBT entrepreneurs.

“To any LGBT+ person starting a new business, I would say join your local chamber, join the NGLCC, and keep going no matter what,” she said.

Source: NGLCC

Air Force Civilian Service

Air Force Civilian Service

Statement

#Stopthehate

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
  6. From Day One
    February 22, 2022
  7. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022
  8. WiCyS 2022 Conference
    March 17, 2022 - March 19, 2022

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