First FedEx African American Woman Pilot Reflects Journey

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FedEx Airbus Captain and Line Check Airman Tahirah Lamont Brown recalls her very first time in the cockpit in 1992—a momentous occasion for any pilot, but especially for an African American woman entering an industry dominated by men.  Brown later became the first African American woman pilot for FedEx, and shares how hard work, creativity, determination and mentors helped her build her “office in the sky.”

FedEx:  When did you decide you wanted to be a pilot, and what about flying intrigued you?

Tahirah: I decided to be a pilot in high school. At that time I had only flown twice in my life, but the more I learned about aviation, the more fascinated I became. I enjoy traveling, meeting new people, and learning about different cultures. Aviation matched my personality. It was an epiphany for me. I decided this is what I want to do, and God put people in my path along the way that helped me achieve my goal.

FedEx:  How did your parents react when you told them about your plans? 

Tahirah: My mother was nervous. My father was supportive, but wasn’t sure I was serious.

FedEx:  As an African American woman in a field dominated by men, did you feel there were barriers to your dream? 

Tahirah: There were barriers, for sure. I didn’t know any pilots and didn’t know how to pay for flight school.

I worked two jobs to pay for college and for flight training. I also wrote my family a letter asking them for support. I promised that if they would help me now, I would pay them back when I had the money, and they helped me.

I met Bill Norwood, the first black pilot at United Airlines, while in Tuskegee, Alabama, at Operation Skyhook and he introduced me to OBAP, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals. That introduction provided me with the guidance I needed, and also helped me with scholarships for flight training.

FedEx: Describe your first flight and how it made you feel.

Tahirah: I still remember it vividly as it was exhilarating. I was twenty years old. My first flight was in a Cessna 172, a four-seat single engine prop plane. My instructor in college was with me, along with my supportive, yet reluctant father in the backseat. We took off out of Long Island and flew to Greenwich, Connecticut. I was on top of the world. I could not believe that my view was the sky.

We flew around as I tried to maintain wing level. I looked back at my dad and he was giving me the thumbs up, but I could tell he was getting a little queasy. I said: “you’re doubting me, right?” When we landed I felt like a child that was taking her first step–like the world had no limits. My father told me this was what I was meant to do. All his doubts were alleviated at that moment and going forward he only asked how he could help me.

Continue onto FedEx to read the complete article.

How to Stand Out on the Job

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Workplaces can be extremely competitive! It can be tempting to rely on gimmicks like flashy clothes or jokes to stand out at work, but this can backfire if you’re looking for a promotion. If you want to get noticed by your superiors at work, the best way to stand out is to conform to your workplace, do quality work, and be a good colleague.

Why Work on Getting Noticed?

You might be the hardest worker in your organization, and the one everyone wants on their team—but, if you’re not in people’s thoughts, then you’ll be passed up for new projects, additional responsibilities, awards, and promotions.

That’s why you need to be visible at work!

Let’s look at some strategies that you can use to get noticed in the workplace.

Developing Specialist Skills

Do you consider yourself a “generalist,” someone who does many different things in different roles, or a “specialist,” someone who is an expert in one or two specific areas?

New businesses often hire generalists, because they can perform in so many different roles. As organizations grow, however, specialists are often hired to focus on key areas. This may leave the hard-working generalists feeling pushed aside and disempowered.

If you’re a generalist, think strategically about what types of skills your organization needs. Work on building these skills to become a specialist. The more knowledgeable and skillful you become in a particular area, the more likely you are to be noticed for your work.

Remember that organizations also tend to look for people with great “soft skills”—non-technical skills such as creative thinking, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, communication skills, flexibility, and coaching. These are often as important as professional expertise.

If you’re thinking about becoming a specialist in a certain area, don’t forget to consider these important soft skills. Helping your boss resolve a major conflict within your team will get you noticed just as much as delivering a great presentation or sales report.

Essentially, if you help people out when they need assistance, then people will help you out too.

And if you take the time to build and nurture relationships with the people around you, you’ll build a network of “allies” who can help you get assigned to interesting, significant, or eye-catching projects that might otherwise go to someone else. They may also recommend you to other departments, which can open up opportunities that might not have been available to you without their recommendations.

Build a network of alliances within your department, with other departments, and with the executive team or board. Try to get assigned to teams that involve a wide variety of people. This can help you build your reputation and make important friendships.

Also, build your network outside of office hours. Socializing with colleagues after work often makes everyone feel more relaxed and open to new friendships.

Tracking Your Accomplishments

When you’re working hard, it’s easy to forget all of your achievements over the last 6 to 12 months. This won’t help when it’s time for your performance review.

Keep track of all of your accomplishments within the organization. If clients or colleagues give you compliments, write them down. If the compliment came in an email, print it. If you exceeded last quarter’s sales goals, get the paperwork that proves it.

Put all of these great compliments and achievements in a file and bring the file to your performance review. This gives you hard evidence to prove to your boss what a great job you’re doing. Then, when it’s time to ask for a pay raise or promotion, it may be harder for your manager to say no.

Getting Out of the Shadows

Sometimes, whether intentionally or unintentionally, your manager or colleagues may present your ideas as their own.

However, if you want to get noticed, you must receive credit for your ideas.

If this happens to you, first find out if it’s also happening to anyone else. Often, a colleague or boss “borrows” ideas from several people, not just one. One way to discover this is by simply watching other people’s body language around this person.

If your colleague or manager is taking credit for only your work, but no one else’s, then document it every time it occurs. If practical, “watermark” your work whenever you can (this is a feature in some word processing software packages). If the person claims your ideas as their own in a meeting, gently but firmly correct the misstatement.

Taking on More Responsibilities

You can also get noticed by your manager and other executives by taking on more responsibilities whenever possible.

This doesn’t mean that you should overwork yourself! But if you see a new project or role that will help you expand your skills, take advantage of it. Do this, particularly if it’s one that has high visibility within the organization or has a significant impact on the bottom line.

This is particularly important with innovation and process improvement. Developing a reputation as an innovator or creative thinker can be valuable. If you believe that you have the ability to innovate and think of good ideas then try to get assigned to projects where these skills are valued.

Tip: While you’re doing this, make sure that you continue to do the core parts of your job well. If you fail to do this, you’ll get noticed—but for all the wrong reasons!

More Tips on Getting Noticed

Here are a few more ideas for getting the people you work with to notice you:

  • Make sure you’re visible. Spend a few minutes every day greeting and talking with your coworkers. A simple smile can help tremendously. Also, try to speak to colleagues face-to-face from time to time, instead of sending emails or instant messages.
  • Praise others. If you have a colleague who works as hard as you, then praise the person in front of your manager. Be specific, and sincere, about what the person is doing.
  • Stay updated on your industry. Read trade newsletters or other relevant materials that keep you up-to-date on trends and technology. You never know when this information will be valuable.
  • Find a mentor. Mentors can offer valuable advice and career coaching. The chances are that the mentor has been through the same situations that you’re experiencing and can help you navigate them successfully.
  • Get involved with your organization’s charity events. Volunteering for these activities—like running in a race or coaching a children’s team—can help you build your network within the organization.

Source: mindtools.com

The Three Smartest Ways To Use LinkedIn Early In Your Career

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Why bother using LinkedIn when you don’t have much job experience to put on your profile page? Here’s why–and how to do it.

LinkedIn is a great place to build a network, diversify your knowledge, and find new career opportunities–even when you’re early in your career. Students and recent grads may neglect LinkedIn, thinking it’s premature to start investing time into the platform before actually building up a solid amount of work experience. That’s a mistake.

I’ve found unexpected opportunities lurking within LinkedIn that simply require some ingenuity to take advantage of. Here are a few tips that have worked for me in the past few years I’ve spent in the tech industry after graduating.

1. START NETWORKING CONVERSATIONS YOU CAN TAKE OFFLINE

Yes, LinkedIn is kind of like a database. You load it up with information on your interests, objectives, skills, and accomplishments so the leaders and peers you connect with can tell what you’re all about. Obviously, when someone checks out your profile, you’ll want it to be thorough and compelling.

But all the work you put into your profile is just a springboard for reaching out to other professionals in your industry. Whenever you come across someone you’d like to connect with on LinkedIn, your real objective should be to take the conversation you strike up offline as quickly as possible. Don’t treat LinkedIn the way you might operate on Instagram, racking up contacts you have no intention of interacting with in the real world.

LinkedIn is a means to an end, and that end goal should always be real-time conversations–ideally face to face, or by phone if necessary when you live in different places and don’t plan to visit soon. Using LinkedIn to set up face-to-face meetings with new people is a crucial and underutilized tactic for younger professionals working to build their networks in a meaningful way.

2. TREAT LINKEDIN LIKE A FREE SEMINAR

Learning quickly at a new job is one of the most exciting and daunting tasks entry- and associate-level workers usually face. First you have to learn your role and size up the work culture. Then you’ve got to get a handle on the industry and understand how your company is competing in the market. LinkedIn can actually help you with all of that.

So search for and join groups, follow leaders, comment on conversations, and share interesting stories. You can start by following industry-specific groups, first as an observer, and then as a participant as you get more comfortable. Make sure you also pay attention to what your company and its competitors are posting. Staying engaged–even by checking in on the chatter just once a week or so–can help you stay informed and ahead of the game.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

How to knock your next interview out of the park

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Give your interviewer a firm handshake. Make eye contact. Answer each question succinctly. Have questions to ask the interviewer at the end.

If you’ve had a job, then you’ve had an interview, and you likely know those interview essentials and these interview questions.

But if you want to move from being a viable candidate to the hiring manager’s top choice, you’ll need to go well beyond the basics. While the way you dress and present yourself is important, it will be the substance of your responses and interactions that leave the interviewer picturing you in the role—and, more importantly, being unable to imagine that anyone else could be a better fit.

Convey these four messages in your next interview, and you’re sure to hit a home run.

1. You Were Indispensable in Your Previous Jobs

Hiring managers want to hire people who have a history of getting things done. The logic goes that if you were successful in other jobs, then you’re likely to be successful in this one. Truly, nothing says “hire me” better than a track record of achieving amazing results in past jobs.

So, your first task in the interview is to describe how indispensable you were in your previous position. Now, you can’t just say, “I was the best Junior Analyst they’d ever seen, and the place will never be the same now that I’m gone”—you have to show the interviewer by providing specific examples of the actions you took and what results came because of them.

These are two of the four components of the S-T-A-R method for responding to interview questions. To use this method, set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context (e.g., “In my last job as a Junior Analyst, it was my role to manage the invoicing process”), but spend the bulk of your time describing what you actually did (the action) and what you achieved (the result).

“In one month, I streamlined the process, which saved my group 10 man-hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 5%.”

Don’t worry that someone else could have done it if they were in your position—they weren’t. It was your job, your actions, your results.

2. You Will Be Awesome in This New Job

Unfortunately, success in one role doesn’t necessarily translate to being a fit in another role—and to convince the interviewer that you’ll be able to hit the ground running and be awesome in the new job, you must explain how your skills translate. In particular, you want to highlight those skills that specifically address the issues that the hiring manager is facing.

To understand those issues, conduct industry research prior to the interview. Are there certain themes that come up again and again in job descriptions in your field, like being a shark at sales or a detail-oriented perfectionist? Also, listen closely to what the interviewer is asking—often, she’ll ask leading questions or share challenges that others before you have had in the role.

For example, say the interviewer asks, “We have tight deadlines and have to turn around our projects quickly. Can you work under time pressure?”

Don’t just say yes—give a response that showcases your skills and how they’d transfer, like: “Absolutely. In my last job, we often had short deadlines. I was great at managing these situations because I focused on consistent communication with the team, and used my organization skills to stay on top of everything we had going on.” Then, provide a specific example.

3. You’re the Perfect Fit for This Job

Companies have interview guidelines designed to hire the most qualified employees based on experience and aptitude, but let’s be honest: Often a big factor is likability.

Hiring managers don’t generally hire people that they don’t connect or vibe with. Of course, they don’t often say that—they cloak it in statements like, “She’s smart, but I just don’t think that she is the right fit for the role.” But the truth is, you won’t get hired if you’re not liked.

So, to get the job, you must connect with the interviewer. I’m not suggesting that you crack jokes or become buddies—but you should be confident and interact as if you’re already working together, through eye contact, active listening, smiling, and avoiding nervous laughter. I call it “relaxed formality.”

It’s an interview, so don’t get too comfortable, but try to be yourself and have a natural conversation.

4. You Really Want This Job

You’re almost there! But, it’s not enough that you’re capable of doing the job and would be pleasant to work with—you have to actually want the job. Hiring managers, after all, are looking for employees that really want to be there and will be part of the team for the long haul.

So, you want to show enthusiasm for the role. Not bouncy cheerleader “spirit,” but the type of enthusiasm that comes from understanding what the role entails, how you can add value in the role based on your previous experiences, and what new challenges it offers to you for growth and development.

Think, “One of the reasons I’m so excited about this role is because it allows me to leverage my client management skills [your expertise] with larger clients on more complex deals [the new challenge].”

And, of course, you’ll want to follow up with a genuine, seal-the-deal thank you note!

Read more great career advice articles from The Muse here

Author
Nicole Lindsay

Sell Yourself and Your Brand

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Creating a personal brand helps employers see your uniqueness

Why take the time to develop a personal brand? See how you can stand out to employers.

  • In a tough job market, you need to stand out. Besides helping you identify your personal strengths, having a brand can pull your resume to the top of the pile, make you shine in interviews, and leave your LinkedIn readers positively wowed.
  • Corporations take great care to develop a brand that defines their product. Brands help inspire trust and commitment in consumers; if you apply similar thinking to your personal brand, you can distinguish your value in a way that inspires an employer’s interest in you.
  • With so many marketing options, you need to be consistent. Use your brand in all your job search communications, including your cover letter, in interviews, and in thank-you notes. Your LinkedIn and other social media should clearly reflect you and your professional brand.
  • Most work is project based. Your brand is a shorthand description of what you bring to a team or to the table for projects.

So, are you ready to start thinking—or rethinking—your personal branding strategy?

Consider several of your best work experiences and how you contributed to them. What skill or characteristic is reflected in your best work stories? How did you use it? With what result? Ask yourself: “Why do people like to work with me or employ me?” What earns you compliments or accolades? What do people depend on you for?

Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Are you friendly and always the one to organize social events at work? Your brand could include “an inveterate team builder and initiator.”
  • Do you take unusual care to ensure details are thoroughly thought through and accurate? Your brand could be “willing to take on the precision that scares others away.”
  • You might be an outstanding supervisor who makes operations flow and brand yourself “a problem-solver who excels at developing talent.”

You can identify your signature characteristics yourself or work with a career coach or counselor to help you identify them. It’s a good idea to ask for some feedback on your ideas from a few trusted friends or colleagues before you go public with your brand to avoid a mismatch of how you see yourself and how you may come across to others.

Source: careeronestop.org

Microsoft now offers public courses for building AI skills

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African American businessman

Microsoft has added an AI track to its Professional Program courses. The track is open to the public and is comprised of nine online courses — each of which take eight to 16 hours to complete — as well as a final project. “The program provides job-ready skills and real-world experience to engineers and others who are looking to improve their skills in AI and data science through a series of online courses that feature hands-on labs and expert instructors,” the company said in a statement.

The track features courses focused on AI ethics, how to conduct a data study and building different learning models. Enrollees have three months to complete each separate course and each are offered four times per year. The final project course is six weeks long and is also offered four times per year. Once the full track is completed, students will receive a digital certificate. However, to get credit for each course, enrollees have to purchase Verified Certificates from edX.org, which hosts the program.

With so many companies focused on AI, providing ways for people to build their AI skills is useful to both those looking to work in the tech industry and companies who will need to recruit more AI experts as their development efforts expand. “AI is increasingly important in how our products and services are designed and delivered and that is true for our customers as well,” said Susan Dumais, assistant director of Microsoft Research AI, in a statement. “Fundamentally, we are all interested in developing talent that is able to build, understand and design systems that have AI as a central component.”

You can learn more about the program here. academy.microsoft.com

This article originally appeared on Engadget.

70 Different Email Sign-offs (for When You’re Sick of Saying “Best”)

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Black Man on Cell phone

I have an embarrassing confession: The vast majority of the time, I sign off my emails with “thanks!” It doesn’t matter if I have anything to show appreciation for or not—it tends to be my default signature.

When I’m not busy expressing my gratitude for absolutely nothin’? I go with a standard “best” at the end of my messages. Isn’t my creativity just astounding?

It’s not that I don’t want to cap off my email with something great. It’s just that I often find myself drawing a blank. Are there even any other options aside from those two widely-accepted favorites?

Yes, there are. And, as a matter of fact, there’s a lot of them. Fortunately for you (and for me!) I pulled a huge selection into this list right here. Of course, not all of them will be suitable for every sort of situation or office. But, with so many options, you’re bound to find one that fits the bill.

So, go ahead and bookmark this page and come back to it when you feel like straying from your standard email sign-off and trying something a little different.

If You Need Something Formal

  • 1. All My Best
  • 2. Best
  • 3. Best Regards
  • 4. Best Wishes
  • 5. Congratulations
  • 6. Cordially
  • 7. Faithfully
  • 8. Goodbye
  • 9. Looking Forward
  • 10. Regards
  • 11. Respectfully
  • 12. Sending You the Best
  • 13. Sincerely
  • 14. Sincerely Yours
  • 15. Speak With You Soon
  • 16. Take Care
  • 17. Warm Regards
  • 18. Warm Wishes
  • 19. Warmly
  • 20. Yours
  • 21. Yours Truly
  • 22. Wishing You a Wonderful Day

If You Want Something Friendly

  • 23. Cheers
  • 24. Enjoy Your [Day of the Week]
  • 25. Good Luck
  • 26. Happy [Day of the Week]
  • 27. Have a Good One
  • 28. Have a Great Day
  • 29. Here’s to a Great [Day of the Week]
  • 30. Hope This Helps
  • 31. Hope You’re Making it Through [Day of the Week]
  • 32. Make it a Great Day
  • 33. Pleasure Catching Up With You
  • 34. See You Tomorrow
  • 35. Sending Good Vibes
  • 36. Talk Soon
  • 37. Until Next Time
  • 38. You’re the Best
  • 39. Your Friend

If You Need to Show Appreciation

  • 40. All My Thanks
  • 41. I Can’t Thank You Enough
  • 42. I Owe You
  • 43. Many Thanks
  • 44. Much Appreciated
  • 45. Thank You
  • 46. Thank You for Everything
  • 47. Thank You in Advance
  • 48. Thanks a Million
  • 49. Thanks for Reading
  • 50. Thanks for Your Consideration
  • 51. Thanks for Your Help
  • 52. Thanks So Much
  • 53. With Appreciation
  • 54. With Gratitude
  • 55. You’re a Lifesaver

If You’re Feeling Funny (or Cheesy)

  • 56. Anonymously
  • 57. Bye, Felicia
  • 58. Congrats on Reading This Whole Email
  • 59. Don’t Stop Believin’
  • 60. I Need Coffee
  • 61. Keep On Keepin’ On
  • 62. Later Alligator
  • 63. Live Long and Prosper
  • 64. Looking Forward (to Friday)
  • 65. One Step Closer to Friday
  • 66. Peace Out
  • 67. So Long, Farewell
  • 68. Tag, You’re It
  • 69. The End
  • 70. Toodles

Again, not all of these will be appropriate for every single email you send. Just like in spoken communication, the words you use with your boss or an important client will be much different than the ones you’d use with a close friend or co-worker.

Read the complete article and more from The Muse at themuse.com/advice/70-different-email-signoffs

This Simple Exercise Will Help You Make Better First Impressions

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Making good firt impressions

Like it or not, the world’s built on first impressions. People’s perceptions of you—how much they remember or pay attention to you, whether they’re engaged by you, whether they’ll have or even want another conversation with you, what they’ll tell others about you, and why they may seek you out in the future—are all based on their initial encounter with you.

And knowing what kind of first impression you make involves a little self-awareness. But obviously, being self-aware doesn’t magically occur overnight. It requires you to understand the ways you shine and the ways you suck. You have to know your pitfalls and shortcomings. (We’re sure you don’t have many, but we all have things we can work on.) It’s worth taking the time to become though. Because when you’re self-aware, you learn to play to your strengths and minimize or eliminate your weaknesses.

This takes practice, of course. So, that’s why we suggest people start by taking inventory—as in make a list, check it more than twice, and write down your answers on a piece of paper. When you’re forced to write it down, you’re forced to be truthful with yourself.

This is for your eyes only (unless you want to share it with someone else), so we encourage you to be honest. By looking into yourself, you can determine what needs adjustment, what calls for just a little tweaking, and what works in your favor:

-Do you understand the concept of personal space?
-Do you exude confidence or arrogance?
-Are you a listener or a talker?
-Do your words carry weight or air?
-Are you a good public speaker, or are you better online?
-Are you comfortable walking up to a stranger and striking up a conversation, or would that give you a panic attack?
-How do others really see you upon first contact?
-What sorts of things are you really bad at when it comes to meeting with people?
-Do you need help getting organized?
-Are you a good decision maker?
-Do you take time getting back to people?
-Do you hate conversations that aren’t about your interests or matters of importance to you?
-Do you like small talk?
-Are you naturally inquisitive or close-minded?
-Have you ever changed your position on a deeply held belief?
-Do you lie? If so, why? Is it because you want to feel self-important or because you feel like you need to keep up and fit in?
-Finally, are you okay with what you’ve learned about yourself? Is there anything that bears correction?

So, now what?

Well, we’ve done this ourselves, by the way. And what we learned has helped us immensely in our own lives.

Scott, for example, often makes business decisions in the moment, but sometimes that’s been a negative in his life. Earlier in his career, acting quickly on introducing people backfired. He skipped critical thinking steps that could have avoided burning bridges or turning people off. After doing this inventory and realizing this, he’s changed the way he makes decisions. While he still makes business decisions daily, he rarely acts impulsively anymore.

Ryan, on the other hand, is a better listener than talker in group situations. This can be a strength and also a weakness, especially when more outgoing people are involved in a group conversation and his instinct is to take the backseat and let them tell their stories. “It’s great to be a good listener, but difficult for me to make an impression and drive the conversation in these situations,” he says. To compensate, he often carves out one-on-one time with the people who matter to him. Sharing a cup of coffee at a cozy café is probably more valuable than an open bar at a group networking event.

Try this exercise out for yourself and use it as a jumping off point to decide in what situations you shine, and in which situations you might not. The more you understand about yourself, the easier it’ll be for you to create those powerful connections and become a superconnector.

Originally posted on The Muse

45 Pieces of Career Advice That Will Get You to the Top

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When it comes to your career, sometimes it feels like you could use all the advice you can get. From picking the “right” career to actually excelling in it, there’s certainly a lot to learn.

And that’s why we’ve gathered our all-time best career advice. From starting out at the bottom of the totem pole to advancing to a more senior position to—who knows?—maybe even branching out to open your own business, we’ve collected 45 of the best tips for whatever stage you’re at in your career.

Working a Not-Quite-Dream-Job

  1. The best career or job is the one in which you’re using the skills you enjoy. But, not every job needs to address all of your passions. Use every job as an opportunity to learn something new and keep an open mind; you may find that you really enjoy something you never imagined would appeal to you.—Miriam Salpeter, Founder of Keppie Careers
  2. Don’t take yourself (or your career) too seriously. Plenty of brilliant people started out in jobs they hated, or took paths that weren’t right at the beginning of their careers. Professional development is no longer linear, and trust that with hard work and a dedication to figuring out what you want to do with your life, you, too, will be OK!—Kathryn Minshew, CEO of The Muse
  3. Every person you meet is a potential door to a new opportunity—personally or professionally. Build good bridges even in that just-for-now job, because you never know how they’ll weave into the larger picture of your life.—Kristina LeonardiCareer Coach
  4. My friend Andre said to me, “You know, Marissa, you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to pick the right choice, and I’ve gotta be honest: That’s not what I see here. I see a bunch of good choices, and there’s the one that you pick and make great.” I think that’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten.”—Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!
  5. No matter how low on the totem poll you are or how jaded you’ve become by your to-do list, it’s still important to show up early, wear something sharp, and avoid Facebook like the plague. I discovered that when I acted like a professional, I suddenly felt like my work was a lot more valuable. “Looking the part” boosted my confidence, helped me begin to see myself as a highly capable contributor to the team—and ultimately led the rest of my team to see me in the same light.—Lisa Habersack, Writer
  6. Remember that a job, even a great job or a fantastic career, doesn’t give your life meaning, at least not by itself. Life is about what you learn, who you are or can become, who you love and are loved by.—Fran Dorf, Author and Psychotherapist
  7. If the career you have chosen has some unexpected inconvenience, console yourself by reflecting that no career is without them.—Jane Fonda

Continue onto The Muse to read the complete article.

From Real Estate To Tech Startup As An Over-40, African-American Female Founder

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two people working

Denise Hamilton left a very successful career in commercial real estate, as well as several other wide-ranging past endeavors, to start WatchHerWork. She elicits elegantly raw, specific and action-focused insights from professional women to help other women navigate successful careers. The thousands of interviews she’s done, combined with her own experience, fuel Denise’s powerful straight talk about career success, particularly for women and minority professionals.

Nell Derick Debevoise: What’s your current role?

Denise Hamilton: I’m the CEO and Founder of WatchHerWork, a multimedia digital platform that is closing the achievement gap for professional women by providing the much-needed professional advice they need when they need it, how they need it.

Debevoise: Tell us about your transition. It was a big one, right?

Hamilton: I had a successful career in Commercial Real Estate when I walked away to start a tech company, which is WatchHerWork.com.

Debevoise: What was scary to you about that big shift?

Hamilton: Economic Security is always the scariest part of any leap for me. There aren’t a lot of 47-year-old African American tech founders out there. I worried whether I would be welcomed into the space and if my unique perspective would be welcomed or marginalized. But I knew I had to bet on myself.

Debevoise: What was the hardest thing once you made the transition?

Hamilton: Patience. When you come from a salaried position with a large staff, it is a brutal transition to being alone or in a skeleton crew with limited resources. I used to have 10 direct reports to assign things to. Now, I have as many action items as they do at Goop with about 300 fewer people. I had to learn to be patient with what I was capable of accomplishing each day.

Debevoise: What was the most fun?

Hamilton: Constant reinvention and exploration. I learn something new every day and I am incredibly passionate about changing women’s lives the way we do at WatchHerWork. I feel the constant stretch and growth and I love it!

Debevoise: Who was most useful during your transition?

Hamilton: I had incredible mentors and cheerleaders who encouraged me and invested time to help me in the areas I needed support. No one has all the answers, but together, we all do.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Let Me Tell You About Athalie Range…

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Mrs. Athalie Range and Santura Pegram

By Santura Pegram

It was once said that boxing great Muhammad Ali believed parents should be very careful when considering the name of their newborn child(ren), because that name will follow the child throughout their lifetime and often serve as an introduction to an unfairly judgmental world.

The late boxing-civil rights icon felt a name should serve as an ‘honorable title’ to be remembered by, as opposed to being a discriminatory reason to dismiss someone from a particular subject matter. Therefore, this belief should’ve served notice to those who initially questioned the name M. Athalie Range.

Unusually small in stature, yet awe-inspiring and captivating in presence, Mrs. Mary Athalie Range of Miami was a giant in a small body. A profoundly impactful political visionary, effective civil rights trailblazer, and successful black female entrepreneur, she had no choice but to be a person of significance with a unique name like Athalie.

Long considered the Political Matriarch of the State of Florida, a trusted advisor to President Jimmy Carter and several governors in Florida and from other states too, those who were blessed to know her understand why it was so easy for people of all generations and backgrounds to adore this sweet little woman. She had a magical presence about her that even melted the hearts of the most hardened politicians and business leaders, and won her favor among countless notable figures throughout the U.S. When she entered a room—whether it was a corporate board room full of high-powered executives or the political chambers of government buildings throughout the State of Florida—she characteristically had the E.F. Hutton effect upon most people: “when Mrs. Athalie Range talked, everyone listened.”

Mrs. M. Athalie Range
Mrs. M. Athalie Range

Commanding such respect and admiration from people came natural for her, which explained why she had over 125 local, statewide and national awards and honors covering every space on one wall of her office. Additionally, it’s also why she was blessed to see the main branch of the U.S. Post Office in downtown Miami, and a public park and swimming pool named after her long before she died in 2006. Since her passing, a special group of local leaders, which includes her grandson N. Patrick Range II., are preparing to spearhead a multimillion-dollar capital investment campaign to build a state-of-the-art museum educating people about the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, once the only public beach in Dade County, Florida open to African-Americans (virginiakeybeachpark.net).

In 1999, after years of being closed and virtually abandoned, it was Athalie Range’s final mission when she, Gene Tinnie, and a small group of progressive minds prodded the City of Miami to not only eventually re-open the park, but also agree to designate it to the National Register of Historic Places list. A few years later, the park officially re-opened to the public and is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful, serene beach locations in the entire U.S. today. Unfortunately, most tourists visiting South Florida don’t realize that a breathtaking pristine beach is available to them just a 15-minute drive from downtown Miami and is a far more relaxing option than the typical overly-congested beachfront, streets and sidewalks of South Beach.

Residents of South Florida and visitors alike should forever feel indebted to Athalie Range because without her selfless endeavors and tireless advocacy, one of the last remaining examples of paradise on Earth simply would not exist.

To see a woman of her caliber evolve from fighting for the rights of children as the PTA President of her son’s school, to becoming a political and civil rights legend known for advocating for fairness among people, one can not help but wonder what Mrs. Range would’ve voiced about the current dynamics surrounding the senseless killings of black people by black people and black males by police officers.

President Jimmy Carter & Athalie Range
President Jimmy Carter & Mrs. M. Athalie Range

Her grandson, N. Patrick Range II., recently expressed, “my grandmother would have been very disturbed by the violence and senseless killings taking place in our inner cities today. She always fought for blacks to have the same rights as others. During her lifetime, she dealt with issues like racial profiling and police violence in the inner cities. As an example, she was very vocal and extremely active during the killing of Arthur McDuffie. She was a loud and calming voice during the Miami riots, too. She urged blacks to stop the violence because we were only destroying our own community.”

He went on to say, without a doubt, Mrs. Range “would be unhappy with the lack of progress in community relations with police all over this country. She also would be equally concerned with the amount of black-on-black violence in every urban neighborhood and the proliferation of guns as well. She actually helped to start a program to encourage violent youth offenders to change their ways.

The program is called GATE and was designed to help minors avoid being convicted and carrying a record before they are adults. If the minor offender completes the coursework and program satisfactorily, then they have an opportunity to have their case dismissed. She was always proactive in doing things to resolve issues as opposed to sitting back and merely talking about the issue(s). She knew she could effect change with the right approach and that was always her goal.”

While many communities have never had the chance to learn from someone like M. Athalie Range, there’s always hope that the youth of today will grow into a modern day version of her. And, just maybe, help to make the world a far better place today and tomorrow than it has been for most disadvantaged people of color.

After all, we only live once. Why not make your life as meaningful as Athalie did?

• (Santura Pegram is a freelance writer and a business professional in South Florida. A former protégé – aide to M. Athalie Range – Santura often writes on topics ranging from socially relevant issues to international business to politics.)

Which MBA Program is Right for You? You can get your MBA your way.

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Today’s business schools offer more opportunities than ever to help you find a program that meets your specific needs. Programs generally fall into the following categories:

Full-time MBA programs are primarily for students who are able to take time off from working full-time to concentrate on their studies. These programs are ideal for both “career switchers” and “career enhancers.” Global companies sometimes send employees for a total immersion experience in countries that represent an important business market.

  • Programs typically last from 12 to 21 months
  • Longer programs often include a three-to-four month internship option
  • Core course requirements are completed in the early stage of the program
  • Specific concentrations and elective courses finish the latter stage of the program
  • The mix of electives and requirements varies among programs
  • Students often relocate to attend full-time programs

Part-time MBA programs are designed for working professionals and allow students to work full-time during the day and attend classes in the evening or on weekends. Part-time programs are popular among career enhancers—those who have experience and want to further their career in a chosen field. They are also a smart choice if you already have a network in your field to help you find a new position post-graduation.

  • Courses are scheduled year-round
  • Programs typically lasts 2 to 5 years
  • Commuting is more common than relocation

Executive MBA (EMBA) programs enhance the careers of professionals who are already specialists in a field or industry. EMBA programs focus on honing general management skills in core classes, with little or no opportunity for specialization. Enrollment is often tied to a new or anticipated promotion, and most students are company-sponsored.

  • Students work full time and attend classes on Fridays and Saturdays, usually on alternate weekends, over two academic years
  • Offers a full immersion experience, with learning outside the classroom and extensive faculty and student/team interaction
  • The shared professional experience and expertise of students becomes part of the curriculum

Virtual/Online MBA programs are a good option for those who need or want to work full time and who cannot or do not want to attend classes in person. Most online programs allow students to complete assignments and review lessons when and where it works best for them.

Which type of program is best for you?
Before you make your decision, you’ll want to consider a variety of factors to determine which type of program will best overall experience to meet your professional and personal goals.

Goals and Program Elements

  • How do you learn best?
  • How much flexibility are you looking for in a program?
  • What is your industry or job function goal and how that could affect your choice in program type?
  • Do you already have a functional or industry specialty, or do you need an MBA to develop one?
  • Will an internship help you make a career transition?

Lifestyle

  • Can you handle going to school full time and working part time, or vice versa?
  • Do you want classmates who share your interests and experience level?
  • Are you ready for the responsibilities of an MBA-level position upon graduation?

Family Considerations

  • Will your partner need to relocate and/or enter a new job market?
  • Does the school offer support for partners and families?

Location/Other

  • Do you want to study locally, in your home country, or abroad?
  • Do you prefer to be in a college town or a city?
  • How will the school’s connections with the local business community help?
  • Will your current employer support you in a full- or part-time program?

Carefully consider your answers to these questions, and you’ll have a much better idea of which type of program will be your perfect fit.

Source: FORTÉ Foundation

Why These Three Southern Cities Attract The Most Black Entrepreneurs & Business Owners

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There are currently 2.5 million businesses owned and operated by African-Americans, according to the U.S. Census’s most recent survey of business owners.

Although black entrepreneurship is on the rise, black founders are still receiving less VC funding than their white peers and have limited access to capital. Less than 1% of black founders receive funding, and this lack of capital leaves many black-owned business to be operated by one person,limiting their ability to hire other employees in order to grow and build their businesses. As cost of living soars, underrepresentation and limited support for these business continues for many of these black enterprising professionals in tech hubs like New York City and Silicon Valley. However, others are thriving in the Southeast.

A recent report by Blacktech Week that used data from the U.S. Census Bureau Statistics Data and Kauffman Foundation’s 2017 Index for Startup Activity revealed that the top three cities where black-owned businesses are thriving are Memphis, Montgomery, Alabama, and Atlanta.

With a large number of African-Americans residing in the Southeast, a low cost of living, an increase in incubators like Atlanta’s Digital Undivided popping up in Southeastern metro cities, along with support a historical lineage of supporting their own, black entrepreneurs are finding their niche below the Mason-Dixon line.

Mandy Bowman, the founder of the Official Black Wallstreet app and website, which has a listing of over 4,000 black-owned businesses in the U.S. (and has been downloaded over 70,000 times), isn’t surprised that the Southeast is popular with black entrepreneurs. “The reason why these cities stand out so much is that the cost of living is much lower. The South also has a long history of entrepreneurship, especially through the Jim Crow era. People in these cities had no choice but to start their own businesses, and because of that history, I think it’s something that’s been ingrained in those cities. On top of that, these cities have a large African-American population, which is why there are many entrepreneurs in the Southeast.”

There’s also been an increase in new residents: In the first decade of the 2000s, there’s been a reversal migration of black Americans moving to the South. According to USA Today, “From 2005 to 2010, the average result each year was a gain for the South of 66,000 blacks. Many came from the Northeast, but the flow also includes the Midwest and West.” As the South attracts college-graduate crowds and retirees to economic opportunities, it’s also attracting entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. There are also over 1,600 listings of black-owned businesses in the Southeast on the Official Black Wall Street app. Here’s a look at why these three cities are the top choices for black entrepreneurs.

1. Memphis

Memphis reigns supreme as the top city for black-owned businesses. It offers more than great BBQ and music. The city’s low unemployment rate in comparison to Atlanta and Montgomery supports a healthy economy to start a business. Nearby Bluff City also boasts a higher percentage of black-owned businesses than Atlanta, while having a lower cost of living index.

Brooklyn native Ekundayo Bandele moved to Memphis in 1994 and found a “thriving black intellectual and cultural community” where his love for theater flourished through his playwriting and eventually led him to become the founder and executive director of Hattiloo Theatre.

“The city invested in Hattiloo Theatre, which gave us $1.5 million to help us build our infrastructure. We started as a community theater and have worked our way to the top. The generosity of the Memphis community to volunteer their time and talent helped make Hattiloo successful. The philanthropic community of Memphis understands the equity in Memphis,” he says. His only drawback is access to talent. “Since Memphis is not categorically a theater town, there aren’t as many technical theater people in terms of theater arts,” he says.

Brit Fitzpatrick, the founder and CEO of MentorMe, chose to move to Memphis  because of its affordability. “The biggest advantage to starting up in Memphis as opposed to Silicon Valley is that it’s more affordable. Having raised a relatively small amount of money, I was able to stretch it a little further,” she explains. Proximity to other cities also makes Memphis a great choice for Fitzpatrick. “In the first two years of MentorMe, I traveled a lot to meet new customers, create partnerships, and find advisory board members. Memphis is a reasonable driving distance to cities I needed to hit.”

Although the city is in an early stage in comparison to New York City and San Francisco, “Memphis has a culture of hustle and hard work. I love that about the city. It makes it really conducive to entrepreneurship,” says Fitzpatrick.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

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