Celebrating Black History Month: Ken Chenault Talks Diversity in the Workforce, TIAA Takes Students on an Educational Journey

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TIAA_Chenault Group

“Be intellectually curious, push the envelope, and be caring and decisive.”

These are wise words from Ken Chenault, Chairman and Managing Director of General Catalyst and former American Express Chairman and CEO, who spoke to TIAA employees on February 6 in TIAA’s New York City office and broadcasted nationally to TIAA employees via phone and video conference.

In honor of Black History Month, and in support of TIAA’s Empowered Employee Resource Group (ERG) for Black professionals, Mr. Chenault spoke about the importance of diversity in the workplace and actions we can all take every day to embody true leadership.

Mr. Chenault shared his experiences with becoming an effective and decisive leader. He also shared advice and actions everyone can take to push for diversity and change in the workforce nationwide:

  • Rely on your values in times of crisis, being decisive and compassionate
  • Bring your whole self to work
  • Express yourself fully
  • Create a welcoming environment
  • Take personal responsibility to drive innovation

Mr. Chenault also shared best practices on how companies can be innovative in their approach to increasing diversity. He explained that diversity and inclusion needs to be handled like a core business initiative.  He reiterated the obvious need for more diverse leadership in America – more CEOs of color and women are needed.

Mr. Chenault encouraged companies to increase hiring of diverse talent to build a diverse pipeline as a way of increasing diversity in leadership as well.  “We have a long way to go, to improve diversity,” he said. He emphasized that the company culture has to be evident that people are truly included and engaged with each other. “Fundamentally, if you’re talking about culture – if people are proud and engaged – that’s what you want,” he said.

Other best practices he shared:

  • Define objectives and execute to create outcomes
  • Have great invention and transformation. Become the company that could put you out of business one day
  • Innovate or die. Don’t stand still
  • Build a diverse pipeline of talent
  • Have survey and metrics on diversity – it creates accountability
TIAA_Chenault and Zarifa
Ken Chenault with Zarifa Reynolds, Head of Corporate Development at TIAA

After the discussion, TIAA recognized Mr. Chenault with the inaugural TIAA Leadership in Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) Award for demonstrating commitment to I&D, challenging the status quo, and raising the bar in the workplace for fair and equitable treatment.

“Ken Chenault’s fireside chat energized and inspired those who attended the event.  TIAA employees commented that they were most struck by Ken’s definition of his leadership style as one that was caring and decisive, where he defined reality and gave hope and one where he integrated diversity and inclusion into every aspect of business outcomes,” said Zarifa Reynolds, Head of Corporate Development at TIAA and New York Chapter Co-Lead of the Empowered Employee Resource Group (ERG).

“Mr. Chenault’s perspective resonated with our employees by demonstrating the efficacy of inclusion as a business imperative. Inclusion is not simply morally right – it’s a key source of customer centricity, innovation, and business results,” said Jourdan Jones, Sr. Director of Marketing Strategy at TIAA and New York Chapter Co-Lead of the Empowered Employee Resource Group (ERG).

TIAA advocates for diversity and inclusion – in and outside the office.  In addition to inviting Ken to speak to employees for Black History Month, TIAA is also celebrating by giving back to the community and pushing the envelope for diversity in education and opportunities for students.

“Innovation – we have to own it every day,” said Corie Pauling, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer at TIAA. “Getting everyone involved in the I&D work is an important strategy and goal for TIAA, which will help position the company for the next 100 years.”

TIAA’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team is providing an opportunity for local students in Charlotte at Vance High School, an adopt-a-school relationship TIAA has established, to participate in an educational Washington D.C. field trip. Fifty students (10th-12th grades) will partake in a unique tour experience within the National Museum of African American History and Culture on February 23.  Students and chaperones will also tour Howard University, a HBCU in D.C., to learn about the college and its programs. TIAA is also providing EverFi’s digital 306 African American Curriculum to an entire school district in Charlotte at no-cost.

Chosen for their exemplary African American Studies essays, these students will also have exposure to a digital, online education & training company that will further their career connections via a speed networking event at EVERFI’s headquarters in the D.C. area.

The CSR team arranged a volunteer event with the Empowered Employee Resource Group members to host a discussion at Vance H.S. around the 306 curriculum, specifically on the lessons / modules of the “Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,” “The Tuskegee Institute,” and “W.E.B. Du Bois.”

TIAA CSR Black History Program CLT

Da Lucky Spot: Meet the Charlotte Man Behind Walmart’s First Black-Owned Barbershop

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Entrepreneur Shaun Corbett cuts the ribbon on Da Lucky Spot, Walmart’s first Black-owned barbershop.

The philosopher Seneca said luck is where opportunity meets preparation. For Charlotte, North Carolina, barber Shaun “Lucky” Corbett, his golden opportunity paved the way for what would become Walmart‘s first Black-owned and operated barbershop.

On Sept. 26, Corbett was joined by dozens of community supporters eager to witness the moment he opened the doors of Da Lucky Spot Barbershop at the Walmart on Wilkinson Boulevard. The grand opening festivities were replete with balloons, laughter and plenty of smiles as folks gathered to celebrate the accomplished businessman.

Corbett, 40, has established himself as a leader in the local community over the last several years with his charitable give-back programs. As a licensed barber, he envisioned his shop as a space offering fellowship and suppport, especially for the neighborhood’s youth.

The road hasn’t always been smooth, however, and like most business owners, Corbett relied on his faith to get him through the rough spots.

“How I landed it was never giving up, seeing the vision [and] just working diligently,” he told Atlanta Black Star via phone. “Development is the main thing … understanding and being intentional about conversations I have when I have the opportunity to help.”

Corbett got his start in 2005 after enrolling in the No Grease barber school, the Charlotte Agenda reported. He spent his weekends cutting heads at the barber shop and served up slices at a local pizzeria to cover his hefty tuition — $10,000 to be exact.

By the next year, he was a full-time barber with his own chair. Corbett was eventually able to open his first Lucky Spot shop on North Tyrone Street in 2010.

The space quickly became more than just a barbershop. Corbett hosted a number of community programs, including his handing out of turkeys to families in need each Thanksgiving, after-school tutoring sessions for the kids and a backpack drive for students headed back to school in the fall. The local leader is perhaps best known for his acclaimed Cops & Barbers program, which aims to build trust between police and the communities they serve.

Continue on the Atlanta Black Star to read the complete article.

JAY-Z Is the First Hip-Hop Artist to Become a Billionaire: Inside His Fortune

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JAY-Z in blue suit and white collared suit on stage before performance

When JAY-Z rapped “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man” on Kanye West’s 2005 track “Diamonds From Sierra Leone,” he really meant it.

According to a new report released by Forbes on Monday, the rapper turned mogul has become the first hip-hop artist to amass a billion-dollar fortune with his impressive investments across liquor, art, real estate and companies like Uber.

Before becoming a musician, JAY-Z, 49, was a drug dealer in his hometown of Brooklyn. In 1996, he started his own label, Roc-A-Fella Records, to release his debut album, Reasonable Doubt. Since then, he has earned 14 No. 1 albums, 22 Grammy wins and a reported $500 million in pretax earnings, according to the outlet.

In order to calculate JAY-Z’s net worth, Forbes says they first looked at his stakes in companies like Armand de Brignac champagne (which he owns 100% of) and applied their customary discount to private firms. They then added up his income and subtracted “a healthy amount to account for a superstar lifestyle.” Additionally, they say they ran the numbers with a roster of outside experts to ensure that the estimates were “fair and conservative.”

Since its launch in 2006 in JAY-Z’s music video for “Show Me What You Got,” Armand de Brignac is estimated by Forbes to now be worth $310 million. JAY-Z’s cognac D’Ussé, which is a joint venture with Bacardi, is estimated to be worth $100 million.

JAY-Z is also estimated to have $220 million in cash and investments, including a stake in ride-share service Uber which is estimated to be worth $70 million itself.

JAY-Z’s music-streaming service Tidal — which launched in 2015 with a number of celebrity investors including his wife, Beyoncé, Kanye West and Calvin Harris — is estimated to be worth $100 million.

Continue on to Yahoo entertainment to read the complete article.

The Best And Worst States For Entrepreneurs In 2020

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black man looking excitedly at his laptop

There might be an ongoing trade war and recession worries, but small businesses in the United States continue to flourish. According to a report by Guidant Financial, 78 percent of small businesses are reporting profits, with both confidence and happiness indices ranking among the highest in recent years. Approval rates for small business loan applications at big banks rose from 26.7 percent in Sept. 2018 to 27.9 percent in Sept. 2019, according to Biz2Credit.

Thus, the overall small business climate looks favorable for an enterprising entrepreneur. However, one fundamental factor that can change business climate is geography. Depending on the state — not to mention the city — where you want to start a business, these overall conducive conditions can change dramatically.

Seek Capital conducted a study of all 50 U.S. states to determine which ones were the best and which ones were the worst for entrepreneurs wanting to start and maintain a successful business. The study analyzed states in terms of 21 factors, ranging from socio-economic factors such as the five-year increase in working-age population, unemployment and labor force participation rates, to factors more specifically focused on entrepreneurial activity, such as the rate of new entrepreneurs, the opportunity share of new entrepreneurs (the percentage of entrepreneurs who said they started their business out of opportunity rather than necessity) and startup survival rates, sourced from the Kauffman Indicators of Entrepreneurship.

There are definitely some geographic patterns that emerged from the results of the study. The list of the top-10 best states are a combo of states located in the U.S. West and South regions, as designated by the Census Bureau. Midwest states are scattered across the middle of the rankings. And among the 10-worst states, the list of states includes those located in the South and the Northeast, the latter being the most unfavorable region in general for starting a business.

Here are the top-10 best states for starting a business:

  1. Utah
  2. Florida
  3. Texas
  4. Colorado
  5. California
  6. North Carolina
  7. Idaho
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Georgia
  10. Wyoming

Each of these states saw sizable injections of venture capital into new companies in 2018. California startups received the most money, with 2,869 companies getting $77.3 billion in venture capital funding, for an average of $26.9 million per company. No. 6 North Carolina was no slouch either, with $2.6 billion in venture capital funding going to 173 companies, for an average of $15.1 million per company. Not coincidentally, these 10 states had very active entrepreneurs. Florida has the highest rate of new entrepreneurs with 0.46 percent of its population starting businesses, followed by 0.45 percent in California and Wyoming.

The 10 Worst States for Entrepreneurs in 2020

The states that made up the worst states for entrepreneurs shared several traits. One of them mentioned is geographic: Six out of the 10 worst states are located in the Northeast — Pennsylvania (41st overall), New Hampshire (44th), Maine (47th), New Jersey (48th), Connecticut (49th) and Rhode Island (50th). The remainder of the 10 worst states are located in the South.

Declining working-age populations was shared by all of the 10 worst states with the exception of Arkansas. In absolute terms, Pennsylvania lost the most, suffering a decline of 148,126 working-age people from 2013 to 2018. In percentage terms, Louisiana and Maine lost the most, down 2.2 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, over the last five years. Business taxes in these states are also mediocre to outright unfavorable

Here are the bottom-10 worst states to start a business, with No. 1 being the worst:

  1. Rhode Island
  2. Connecticut
  3. New Jersey
  4. Maine
  5. Alabama
  6. Maryland
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Arkansas
  9. Louisiana
  10. Pennsylvania

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

 

Chef Big Shake Debuts New Online Store, Offers Deep-Fried Turkey for the Holidays

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Chef Big Shake in Chef's uniform smiling with arms folded

People line up at Big Shake’s Nashville Hot Chicken, excited to get the array of unique flavors being served up. Now, people across the country can simply log online and buy whatever they want, and it will arrive at their doorstep within two business days. With the launch of the online store, Chef Big Shake has made it possible for everyone to get in on the hot chicken, deep fried turkey and “famous” shrimp burger action.

This comes just in time for the holiday season, giving people the ability to order Chef Big Shake’s custom deep-fried turkey that they can serve up for their special meals with family and friends.

“There are many people who have been waiting for this store to go live, so it’s an exciting time,” explains Shawn Davis, otherwise known as Chef Big Shake, the creator of The Shrimp Burger and owner of Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish. “The online store will let everyone get a taste of our food, whether for themselves or as a special gift for someone else. Some say you can’t find a better gift than my famous hot chicken.”

Chef Big Shake’s online store, located at ShopBigShakes.com, serves up a full menu of options to choose from, including his famous Nashville hot chicken, seasonings and peppers, shrimp burgers, and more. For those wanting to ensure their holiday meal is simple and a big hit this year, they may want to order Chef Big Shake’s deep-fried turkey, for only $89.99.

The deep-fried turkey offered through the online store serves 10-12 people and is shipped Monday-Wednesday. After it has been expertly deep-fried, it is then frozen to seal in the flavor, then packed in a reusable cooler with dry ice, and shipped anywhere in the country, arriving in two business days. Once the person receives it, they put it in the freezer, and then follow the simple instructions for heating it in the oven, so it’s ready for that special holiday gathering. Chef Big Shake’s deep-fried turkeys are crispy on the outside, and tender and juicy on the inside. They can also be ordered infused with their award winning Nashville Hot Chicken heat injections: such flavors as CryBaby® – Mild, Stop Drop n Roll® – Medium, Rambo – Hot. Or, classic flavors such as: honey butter, honey BBQ, Cajun butter, Jerk, lemon pepper, and classic seasoning.

“Whether you are someone who lives near a Big Shake’s or you wantDepp fried turkey being cooked someone who doesn’t to try the food, we want to make sure you have the best tasting turkey this holiday and ready to help,” added Davis. “But be careful, once you go Big Shake, you never go back! This food will keep you coming back time and again.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving. Here are some safety tips for those who plan to deep-fry their turkey themselves for the holidays:

  • Never leave food cooking in the kitchen unattended, and don’t leave the house while the food is cooking.
  • Make sure that children stay away from food that is being cooked, so they don’t get burned.
  • Keep the outdoor deep fryers away from flammable sources, including garages and balconies. Also, check the weather to ensure that it will not rain or snow.
  • Be sure that the turkey is completely thawed, which will help eliminate flare-up risks.
  • Those using a propane-powered deep fryer will need to ensure there is a two-foot buffer between the burner and tank. Ideally, you should use a fryer that has temperature controls, so that the oil is not heated beyond its smoke point.
  • The fryer must be on a level surface before it can be used. If it’s not, there is a risk of it being tipped over, starting a fire.
  • Avoid overfilling the oil in the fryer, which can ignite if it comes into contact with the burger. Check with the manufacturer’s directions for the correct amount to use.
  • When it’s time to submerge the turkey, shut the burner off. You can turn it back on once the turkey is submerged in the oil.
  • Use protective gear, such as safety glasses and oven mitts when working with the fryer.
  • Once the turkey is done, remove the pot from the burner and place it in a safe, level place to cool overnight, before disposing.

Big Shake’s currently has three locations, in Franklin and Goodlettsville, Tennessee and Huntsville, Alabama with a fourth location opening soon in Huntsville, Alabama. Chef Big Shake became famous for his signature shrimp burgers, which were featured on the hit show “Shark Tank.” They have sold hundreds of thousands of them. The restaurant has also become famous for its hot chicken plates, chicken sandwiches, hot chicken and waffles, hot chicken tacos, and more. They also feature a variety of fish entrees, including whiting and catfish. Diners can choose their level of heat, ranging from “cry baby” to “executioner.”

To learn more about Chef Big Shake’s online store or to order a deep-fried turkey, visit the site at: https://shopbigshakes.com/. To learn more about Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish, visit the site at: bigshakeshotchicken.com/.

About Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish

““Chef Big Shake,” was named after and founded by Shawn Davis, a man who worked his way up from restaurant dishwasher to chef to entrepreneur. After being passed up on the reality business show “Shark Tank,” he received the funding he needed to take his business national. Today, his product line, which features five varieties of “The Original Shrimp Burger,” is available in over 2,500 stores, and he owns Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish restaurants. To learn more about the restaurant chain, visit the site at: bigshakeshotchicken.com/.

Interland Free Game Makes the Holiday Season Fun

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Interland games

Be Internet Awesome Teaches Kids the Fundamentals of Internet Safety in an Interactive Way

Just in time for the Holidays, Interland aims to teach kids in a fun way how to stay safe online.

The Interland game is free and accessible to everyone and teaches important lessons like being careful about what kids share online, how to spot scams and protect their privacy and the importance of being respectful with others.

The four lands and their key learning objectives are:

 

Reality River

Don’t Fall for Fake.  The river that runs through Interland flows with fact and fiction. But things are not always as they seem. To cross the rapids, use your best judgement and don’t fall for the antics of the phisher lurking in these waters. Learning objectives include:

  • Understand not everything is true online.
  • Recognize the signs of a scam.
  • Understand phishing and how to report it.

Mindful Mountain

Share with Care. The mountainous town center of Interland is a place where everyone mingles and crosses paths. But you must be very intentional about what you share and with whom…information travels at the speed of light and there’s an oversharer among the Internauts you know. Learning objectives include:

  • Be mindful of what is shared and with whom.
  • Understand consequences of sharing.
  • Understand some info is extra sensitive.

Kind Kingdom

It’s cool to be kind. Vibes of all kinds are contagious—for better orInterland game with water and a boat for worse. In the sunniest corner of town, cyberbullies are running amok, spreading negativity everywhere. Block and report bullies to stop their takeover and be kind to other Internauts to restore the peaceful nature of this land. Learning objectives include:

  • The web amplifies kindness and negativity.
  • Not tolerating bullying and speaking up.
  • Block and report mean spirited behavior.

Tower of Treasure

Secure your secrets. Mayday! The Tower is unlocked, leaving the Internaut’s valuables like personal info and passwords at high risk. Outrun the hacker and build an untouchable password every step of the way…to secure your secrets once and for all. Learning objectives include:

  • Take responsibility to protect your things.
  • How to make a strong password.
  • A good password should be memorable.

Interland is currently available in English, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese. To access this free game visit:

https://beinternetawesome.withgoogle.com/en_us/interland

Stedman Graham: Lead Yourself First, Others Second

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Stedman Graham pictured in front of large military plane with several servicemembers

By Brady Rhoades

Once upon a time, Stedman Graham—yes, that Stedman—was a soldier in the United States Army, trying to figure out who he was and where he was going. More than 40 years later, he’s a world-renowned businessman, author and speaker with a laser focus on identity leadership.

“Understanding who you are is the key to your growth,” he told U.S. Veterans Magazine.

Five years in the Army in the 1970s gave him a solid foundation. “I would not be here today without the military,” he said. “I needed structure.”

Graham learned to be on time. To listen when others were speaking. To do his best. To not quit. To be a follower. To be a leader. To get down to the nitty-gritty details of whatever task he was working on.

“It helps you lay out a process for continual improvement,” the 68-year-old founder and CEO of S. Graham & Associates and bestselling author of 11 books said of his experience in the military.

Graham has never forgotten those lessons, and he is forever grateful. Which is why he continues to visit military bases and stay in touch with servicemen and women.

It’s also why he lobbies employers to hire veterans.

“The message of learning while you’re experiencing is a great message for our troops,” he said. “It’s a great design for self-actualization…You couldn’t have a better opportunity than serving.”

And, he added, you won’t get a more grounded, humble, flexible and

Graham’s latest book helps people identify themselves before taking the lead
Graham’s latest book helps people identify themselves before taking the lead

can-do employee than a veteran.

Graham was born on March 6, 1951, in the Whitesboro section of Middle Township, New Jersey, the son of Mary Jacobs Graham and Stedman Graham Sr. He is one of six children.

He received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Hardin-Simmons University in 1974, and a master’s degree in education from Ball State University in 1979. Graham, who stands at 6-foot-7, played basketball at Hardin-Simmons.

He later moved to High Point, North Carolina to establish himself in public relations. At B & C Associates, he worked on behalf of African-American causes and had many distinguished clients, including author Maya Angelou and South African activist Winnie Mandela.

He is also founder of Chicago, Illinois’s Athletes Against Drugs (AAD), a non-profit organization that provides services to youth and has awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships since its founding in 1985. Moreover, the organization arranges for sports figures to educate children about substance abuse.

In 1988 Graham created S. Graham & Associates, a Chicago-based corporate and educational marketing and consulting firm.

Graham has delivered speeches at many public and private schools on the topics of identity and self-awareness. He is perhaps most famous as an author of business and self-help-related books, including, Who Are You? and his newly-released, Identity Leadership: To Lead Others You Must First Lead Yourself.

Graham has been partners with Oprah Winfrey since 1988.

Identity leadership employs a simple but profound premise: You can’t lead anybody until you lead yourself. And to lead yourself, you must know yourself. The “self” is the biggest enigma in the world, the more provocative challenge, and the most rewarding mountain to climb, according to Graham.

Stedman speaking to servicemembers
“It takes years to do simple. People think there is such a thing as an overnight success. There isn’t. Success is hard work. The success I am having today took me 25 years. You have to put the time in to get the rewards out.” —Stedman Graham

Graham talks about being a learner, a hard worker, and knowing who you are, but if you go deeper, he invokes what he calls the most important word in the English language.

“Love is the key word,” he said. “Passion, talent and skills are related. Do what you love.”

In Identity Leadership: To Lead Others You Must First Lead Yourself, readers learn how to define themselves. The alternative, Graham said, is that society “puts you in a box.”

“When you can’t define yourself, the world defines you by your race, by your house, by your car, your money or your title,” he said. “It’s kind of socially constructed and designed to control your development.”

Graham said once he figured out who he was, he began to lead himself and, “to create a vision beyond my circumstance.”

If love is the most paramount word, purpose might be second, or in the top five. “Everything starts with a purpose,” said Graham, adding that purpose is essential to self-actualization.

In his world travels, he is intensely interested in motivating people to get rid of labels—whether they are linked to race, gender, class, you name it—and to take control of their own destiny.

He wants others to realize the process for success is the same for everybody in the 24 hours we have in our days.

Graham says being able to teach that, and to help people realize their potential, is a passion and a joy. He advises his readers and listeners to not be afraid.

“Failure, in fact, is a phenomenal teacher,” Graham says. “The concept goes back to ‘learning while you’re experiencing.’”

He said veterans know what it’s like to be part of something bigger than themselves, and they’ve learned how to adapt, particularly when faced with adversity. But they aren’t superheroes. They could use a helping hand—be it by a prospective employer, a nurse, a clerk, or a citizen on the street.

“There’s so much work to be done as far as helping our troops,” Graham said. “I’m just honored to be of service.”

Expert Advice: Getting into an HBCU Grad School

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graduates walking in cap and gowns on HBCU campus

Need help getting accepted to an HBCU grad school? Dr. Fred Bonner—professor and endowed chair in educational leadership and counseling, and founding executive director of the Minority Achievement, Creativity and High-Ability Center at Prairie View A&M University—gives his best advice in an interview with gograd.com.

What are some of the top reason’s students should seriously look at HBCU grad schools as their best graduate option?

There are a number of reasons that HBCU graduate schools should be considered as the best option:

  1. HBCUs provide holistic nurturing. Both the academic and social needs of students are addressed by administration, faculty, and staff in the HBCU context. All too often in majority settings, students, particularly black students, must live a bifurcated existence; namely, their needs related to academic and classroom endeavors supersede their needs for mentoring and nurturing along social dimensions.
  2. Faculty in the HBCU context serve as role models and guides to assist the student to negotiate and navigate the postsecondary terrain. This mentoring and role modeling in the HBCU environment are nuanced with cultural inferences and understandings that provide a more authentic rendering of what the students are experiencing.
  3. Being in an environment where students are able to interface with like-minded peers is critical. Students are able to “see themselves” on campus—the literature is clear in stating the importance of peer mentoring and support in the postsecondary context.
  4. Students are placed in an environment in which their academic potential and success are the expectation and norm, as opposed to being viewed as an outlier.
Headshot Dr. Fred Bonner
Dr. Fred Bonner

Any tips for students on what to look for when choosing the best graduate programs at HBCUs?

Students should “do their homework” and find out how programs are ranked—they should look into the various course offerings. What are the majors and minors offered in the program of interest? Who are the faculty members in the respective colleges, schools, departments, and programs? What are their areas of expertise? How is the curriculum structured—what courses are offered and how often? Is the program a face-to-face, online, traditional, cohort-based program? What has been the program’s graduation rate? What is the graduate school graduation rate? What are graduates doing with their degrees? Are they finding employment in their intended area of focus?

Anything else you’d like to add about HBCU grad schools?

HBCU graduate schools are ‘citadels of excellence,’ and I am not surprised that the extant literature indicates that in many fields—particularly the STEM fields—more than 50 percent of the graduates and working professionals have had some educational experience in the HBCU context.

Follow Dr. Bonner’s advice, and you can make your dream of going to an HBCU grad school a reality.

Source: Reprinted with Permission by Dr. Fred Bonner

Shaquille O’Neal Wants to Bring Papa John’s to Every HBCU Campus

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Shaquille O'Neal smiling wearing a suit

It seems that after Papa John’s founder John Schnatter was forced out for saying the n-word on a conference call last year, the pizza chain has been trying hard to win back Black customers.

And one of the first moves they’ve made was partnering with Shaquille O’Neal earlier this year, who now wants to put a Papa John’s restaurant on every HBCU campus.

To do so, he’s teamed up with Miles College, an HBCU located in Fairfield, Alabama, and he’ll make an announcement on Saturday, Oct. 26, with the school’s president, Bobbie Knight. They’ll make the announcement on the Miles College campus in the Student Activity Center at noon.

“HBCUs have been pivotal in the development of young minds; influential in highlighting the history and culture of African Americans and effectively provided a means for academic success,” said O’Neal in a statement. “It is in these great halls of these wonderful institutions that students saw their potential magnified and exemplified.”

“Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘If you want to move people, it has to be toward a vision that’s positive for them, that taps important values, that gets them something they desire and it has to be presented in a compelling way, so that they feel inspired to follow,’” he added.

“Join me and President Bobbie Knight of the great Miles College, as we move toward a business initiative that will open avenues of opportunities for our HBCUs. Today is our day. This is our time,” the statement concluded.

Earlier this year, O’Neal spoke to The Undefeated about joining Papa John’s and said he would only be involved if the company “got some diversity” in its leadership.

So to honor that request, he was asked to come on as a board member.

“‘How about a triple threat?’” O’Neal remembered telling CEO Steve Ritchi at the time. “’Board member; I want to invest in stores to show you I’m serious, and of course I’ll be an ambassador to the brand.’”

Continue on to the Atlanta Black Star to read the complete article.

Young Hotel Employee Surprised With New Car After Working Solo For 36 Hours During Flood

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hotel employee being gifted a car for his flood heroics

The 21-year-old who made headlines around the world for single-handedly running a hotel and caring for its 90 guests trapped along with him during a flood was rewarded in big way by the city of Beaumont, Texas.

Homewood Suites employee Satchel Smith was honored with a proclamation for his heroics during tropical storm Imelda, which included answering phones, cooking, doing dishes, and washing laundry, during a solo shift that lasted over 32 hours.

The young man, who said he was “just doing his job,” also lost his car in the flooding—but, after his marathon of good work, city officials surprised him with a new one, a 2013 Honda Hybrid, during an event.

“I mean it was a bit unexpected—overwhelming!” he told KFDM News. “I mean I don’t expect anything for what I did.”

“I’m truly thankful.”

And, too, so are the guests he catered to, including Angela Chandler, who said Smith handled the situation “with grace, kindness, and a beautiful smile on his face.”

Continue on to the Good News Network to read the complete article.

Couple Brings A Wealth Of Experience To Help Combat Workplace Contagion With Enviro-Master Services

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Pictured outside their building is Willlie Jenkins, Jr., Kimberly Jenkins, Willie Jenkins

When you see terms such as “leading provider, recession-resistant, lack of competition” and “scalable,” associated with a franchise opportunity, it’s undoubtedly going to pique your interest.

And if it’s in an industry that can literally impact millions of people – by creating its own unique niche – you’re almost certainly going to want to know even more about this ground-floor opportunity. Mix in a company culture that’s equal to its growth potential… and you have the perfect list of ingredients that drew Willie Jenkins and Kimberly Clark to become franchise owners with Enviro-Master, North America’s leading health and safety-focused commercial cleaning service, which has doubled in size since 2012. They are seeing demand from many markets for their service because of the growing concerns about MRSA and other new tough to combat bacteria. Pictured left to right are Willie Jenkins, Jr., Kimberly Clark, Willie Jenkins, El Paso,TX.

“We are NOT like anyone else. We are UNIQUE,” said Willie. “When we first met with the corporate team from Enviro-Master we were truly impacted with how welcoming they were and that they wanted to know about ‘us’ and not just about our previous business experience. They genuinely cared about us as a family.”

Launched in January, Enviro-Master’s El Paso location serves businesses throughout El Paso, Las Cruces and Alamogordo, N.M., as well as Juarez, Mexico. Surrounding franchise areas still available are Albuquerque, Lubbock and Amarillo.

Willie, 49, has owned a janitorial cleaning company for 15 years while Kimberly, 57, has spent a decade in a civil servant role as an inventory/warehouse manager after a 24-year career in the U.S. Air Force before joining Enviro-Master, which provides unique processes and products that disinfect and sterilize surfaces that serve as breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses such as the flu, Hepatitis, Norovirus and MRSA. Enviro-Master’s commercial restroom hygiene service, which is applied with EPA-registered, non-toxic products, ensures 99.99 percent of germs are killed. “As a border city, we have many challenges dealing with the health and safety aspect due to travelers constantly going back and forth into Mexico,” Kimberly said. “We wanted to be a part of helping our neighbors within the city and even in Mexico.”

In Enviro-Master, Willie and Kimberly found a company that is a recognized leader in the $61 billion commercial cleaning industry, which is expected to grow by an additional two percent in 2019 alone, according to experts. Enviro-Master International Franchise has ranked five years in a row by Inc. 5000 as one of American’s Fastest Growing Private Companies. Their niche, which focuses on killing germs and bacteria, protects businesses, their employees and clients against the spread of infectious diseases. Currently targeting growth in major markets throughout North America, Enviro-Master’s continued growth is fueled by five basic fundamentals: 1) Large, identifiable markets; 2) Lack of competition; 3) Recession resistance; 4) Recurring revenue model; and 5) Service that can’t be displaced by technology.

“I’ve been in franchise development for more than 30 years and have not seen a concept with the strong fundamentals that we have at Enviro-Master,” said Brian Wieters, executive vice president of franchise development. Said Willie: “This is something we want to pass on to our children. We believe in leaving a legacy for our children’s children. Our plan for them is to be very aggressive in the future growth of our company.”

Markets being aggressively targeted for new franchises are Phoenix, Toronto, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Reno, New York and its boroughs, Denver, Boston and New Orleans. Call 1-833-GERMPROS for more information, or visit the website at enviro-master.info

Rihanna Launches Another Big First: A Visual Autobiography

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Rihanna pictured in gold and black long dress at her book launch party

With only two months left in the year, Rihanna continues racking up a number of big wins. Recently at New York City’s revered art institution, the Guggenheim Museum, the fashion and beauty industry disrupter celebrated the release of Rihanna, the lavish large format book that features 1000 photos—many never seen before images from her days growing up in Barbados to candid moments between her global jaunts with friends and family.

As Rihanna welcomed invited guests—including many Navy fans—to the book launch, she acknowledged the book’s many contributors and artisans, including the Haas Brothers, who she said “they decided to do something this huge and dream this up with me.”

But the celebrated multihyphenate couldn’t finish her next acknowledgment after simply saying three words, “my bestie Melissa.”

The crowd erupted into thunderous applause for her long time friend Melissa Forde, who has a number of photographs featured in the book. “Thank you for these intimate images of life,” said Rihanna. “I didn’t even know the camera was here.”

She also thanked her tour photographer Dennis Leupold, who has shot a number of ESSENCE covers including Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson and the cast of Black Panther, by calling him “a legend in his own right.”

Rihanna book is pictured opened with two pages filled with photos

And if Rihanna, which is 504 pages and weighs 15 pounds, wasn’t special enough, the artist has created three other unique editions. Already available, the Fenty x Phaidon edition, “This Sh*t is Heavy,” includes a copy of the book and a tabletop bookstand inspired by Rihanna’s hands. On November 20, the Luxury Supreme edition is signed and numbered by Rihanna and a “Drippy + The Brain” gold toned bookstand covered with a bespoke black vermiculated fabric (together it weighs 126 pounds). Lastly, the Ultra Luxury Supreme edition, entitled “Stoner,” includes a Portugal marble pedestal.

Rihanna will be available on October 24.

Continue on to Essence to read the complete article.

Restaurants Can Now Carry Healthier Famous Shrimp Burger with Big Shake’s New Partnership

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Big Shake's restaurant owner and partners standing ooutside restaurant

Known for some of the best fried chicken and famous shrimp burgers, Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish has entered into a new partnership with Performance Food Group. The partnership will help the restaurant expand, by giving other restaurants an opportunity to carry their famous shrimp burger. The partnership and growth is being fueled by their new and improved shrimp burger, which is currently available at several restaurant locations.

“We are excited to partner with Performance Food Group and look forward to bringing our famous shrimp burger to more people,” explains Shawn Davis, otherwise known as Chef Big Shake, the founder of The Original Shrimp Burger and owner of Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish. “People are increasingly looking for healthier options when dining out, even when it’s fast food, which has made our shrimp burger a massive hit.”

The famous signature shrimp burgers by Chef Big Shake include the Southwest Shrimp Burger and the BBQ Shrimp Burger. Big Shake’s currently has three locations, in Franklin and Goodlettsville, Tennessee and Huntsville, Alabama with a fourth location opening soon in Huntsville, Alabama. In addition to the shrimp burgers, which they have sold hundreds of thousands of, their menu features hot chicken plates, chicken sandwiches, hot chicken and waffles, hot chicken tacos, and more. They also feature a variety of fish entrees, including whiting and catfish. Diners can choose their level of heat, ranging from “cry baby” to “executioner.” The shrimp burger sales have been so popular that is fueling interest in people wanting to franchise the restaurant.

The shrimp burger has become so popular that Chef Big Shake is now giving other restaurants the ability to offer it on their menu. Distribution of the shrimp burger will be through Performance Food Group. The product being offered is a new and improved shrimp burger that was based off of the one that Chef Big Shake pitched on the hit show “Shark Tank.” With the new partnership, restaurants will be able to put it on their menu, giving diners a healthier option. It’s the perfect menu item for those looking to capitalize on the consumer demand for healthier food options. The shrimp burgers are made with 100% Gulf Shrimp/ Domestic.

“Our customers include restaurant operators, government agencies, healthcare facilities, schools, and more. Our goal is to get the Shrimp Burger in front of as many of the customers as possible,” says Chris McKee, the area manager for Performance Food Group. “Any operators will want to consider the shrimp burger as a new menu item because it’s a beef-alternative burger that is low in fat and calories and high in protein, not to mention is tastes great, too. As consumers become more and more concerned regarding their food choices (consider the popularity of the Impossible Burger), operators need to have new options available for their customers. That’s exactly what we are giving them.”

Performance Food Group was founded in 1885. They distribute a range of food products and have over 14,000 employees. Interested parties that would like to start offering Big Shake’s famous shrimp burger can also contact Performance Food Group and mention item #610377.

Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish is also currently offering franchise locations in the Nashville area. To find information and franchisee qualifications, visit the site at: bigshakesfranchise.com/.

About Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish

Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish was named after and founded by Shawn Davis known as “Chef Big Shake,” a man who worked his way up from restaurant dishwasher to chef to entrepreneur. After being passed up on the reality business show “Shark Tank,” he received the funding he needed to take his business national. Today, his product line, which features two signature varieties of the new and improved “The Original Shrimp Burger,” is available online and through, his Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish restaurants. To learn more about the restaurant chain, visit the site at: bigshakeshotchicken.com/.

 

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