Meet NBMBAA’s New President & CEO: Kay Wallace

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Kay Wallace of the National Black MBA Association stands with a dress suit on in front of a NBMBAA logo filled canvas for picture taking

Kay Wallace lives by the quote, “Results. Period.” The new president and CEO of the National Black MBA Association—which just held its 41st Annual Conference and Exposition in Houston, Texas—is all about achieving results.

Black EOE Journal attended the action-packed conference in September and had the pleasure of speaking with Wallace about her goals as new president of NBMBAA.

Tell us about your background and how you became the new president of NBMBAA.
I have a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Alabama and a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. My experience is in strategy and operations. I was the deputy chief operating officer of the Atlanta Olympic Games, and worked for Coca-Cola in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. I’ve worked for McKinsey & Company and Dow Chemical, have had experiences inside and outside of the U.S., and have worked for nonprofit startups, which is all part of my background before coming to National Black MBA.

What are your goals for NBMBAA, now that you’re the new president?
Meeting the needs of our 16,000 members is [goal] number one. That we’re providing products, services and programs that are relevant to them. We are always engaging in conversations with them, about what they need and what will be of value to them. Number two—the organization is going into our 50th anniversary next year, and we want to make sure that not only do we celebrate where we’ve been, but we also take that same celebration to where we’re going. That is part of my vision for the organization— to be clear about what we’re going to do to make sure there are more black people in corporate America, that there are more entrepreneurs and that we are also building and retaining wealth within black families. Education, development and wealth generation—those are three parts of our mission that we’ve been focusing on in the last 50 years and will continue to do so.

Why do you think it’s important for students to join NBMBAA?
Fifty years ago, this organization was created out of a need. That need still exists today because in a lot of places in corporate America, there’s still very few of us, meaning black people. Students should look into joining this organization because it is made up of people who have been where you’re going. Some of them are still there, so they can provide the same things to you. Students can network with people who know and understand what they may experience. Then bring together those experiences for professional development. You can do it at your chapter and then nationally when we come together for Conference, where you are going to meet thousands of people like yourself—that is very powerful.

What advice would you give to a student looking for their next job or career at the expo?
The first question I would have to ask is, “What is your vision? What do you want?” Because what has to be talked about is within the context of what their desires are. Once I understand that, I’ll be looking at the 170 companies on the career floor that can provide opportunities to meet their needs. Sometimes we find that students will be thinking about their major, but not all the companies they can work for are based on their degree. They may have their sights set on a particular industry, like a marketing company. A student may say, “I’m in marketing, I want to work for Coca-Cola, or I want to work for Pepsi.” But when you broaden their vision to understand that there’s marketing in everything, all of a sudden, companies out of the 170 that they weren’t considering, they [now] realize they can interview there. I would then ask them, “Is there an entrepreneurial opportunity for you here? If your vision is to own your own company, then think about what’s the best company to work for, that will allow you to learn while you’re there so you’re able to start your own without starting from scratch.”

To learn about the National Black MBA Association, visit nbmbaa.org

Here’s Everything That’s Happened With Your Student Loans In 2 Weeks

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Graduation mortar board cap on one hundred dollar bills concept for the cost of a college and university education loans

In case you missed it, there have been major changes regarding your student loans. President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act, which includes a $2 trillion stimulus package in response to the Coronavirus health emergency.

Among other benefits, the CARES Act has major implications for the way you pay your student loans, think about student loan forgiveness, and manage your money during Coronavirus.

Fortunately, let’s make it easy for you and put all the updates in one place so you’re up to speed. Here are the major changes:

Student Loans

President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act, which is a $2 trillion stimulus package that provides economic relief as a result of COVID-19. The CARES Act includes several benefits for your student loans, which are intended to help you manage your money due to the coronavirus emergency. Among other benefits, the CARES Act provides:

1. Stop paying your federal student loans through September 30, 2020.

That’s not a typo. You can stop paying your federal student loans through September 30, 2020.

What This Means: This means that you have the option to stop paying your federal student loans. If you choose this option (and you don’t have to), you will not face any penalties or late fees.

What This Doesn’t Mean: This doesn’t mean you can stop paying all your student loans. Remember, this is only for federal student loans that are owned by government agencies such as Direct Loans. However, this does not include private student loans or FFEL Loans.

2. Pay no interest on federal student loans.

What This Means: This is not a typo either. Through September 30, 2020, no interest will accrue on your federal student loans. This means that for this period, the interest rate will be set to 0% and no new interest will accrue on your federal student loan balance.

What This Does Not Mean: This only applies to federal student loans only, not private student loans or FFEL Loans.

3. Student loan debt collection has been halted.

What This Means: This means that wages, tax refunds and Social Security benefits will not be garnished during this period to pay for federal student loans. Trump previously stopped student loan debt collection for 60 days.

What This Doesn’t Mean: This does not mean the federal government is forgetting about student loan debt that is in default. Rather, the federal government has suspended student loan debt collection during this period.

4. Pausing student loan payments won’t negatively impact your payments for student loan forgiveness.

What This Means: If you choose to pause federal student loan payments during this period, the federal government will still count these “payments” (even if you don’t make any) as part of any required federal student loan forgiveness program, including public service loan forgiveness.

What This Doesn’t Mean: This doesn’t mean that you will hurt your chances to qualify for public service loan forgiveness because the 120 payments do not need to be consecutive.

Important Questions

1. If I don’t have to make federal student loan payments, is the federal government paying my student loans for me?

No. Your federal student loan balance will not change. Consider this a break from student loan payment. However, no one is paying your federal student loans during this period.

2. Is all my federal student loan interest being waived?

No, your existing federal student loan interest will remain. The only portion that is being waived is new student loan interest that would have accrued on your federal student loans through September 30, 2020.

3. Can I still make federal student loan payments if I want to?

Yes, you can still make federal student loan payments. Even though your interest rate is 0%, your monthly student loan payment unfortunately will not be lower. Rather, your student loan payment can help pay off your existing student loan balance (since there is no new interest accrual).

4. So, how much student loan forgiveness will I get?

Many borrowers ask, “What should I know about student loan forgiveness and Coronavirus?” Senate Democrats proposed a student loan forgiveness plan that would forgive at least $10,000 of federal student loans for all borrowers. House Democrats proposed that every borrower receive $30,000 of student loan forgiveness. Former Vice President Joe Biden supports $10,000 of student loan forgiveness, although this new plan differs from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s original student loan forgiveness plan to cancel student loan debt. Despite these proposals, the CARES Act does not include any student loan forgiveness.

5. I checked my student loan servicer’s website and it says that if I stop making payments on my federal student loans, I won’t qualify for public service loan forgiveness. This must be wrong.

Since this legislation is new, many student loan servicers have not yet updated their website to reflect these updates. (Also, make sure you know how not to get disqualified for student loan forgiveness).

Remember, this announcement applies only to federal student loans (not private student loans).

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Ways to Stay Productive When You Work from Home

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young latin woman working at home with laptop and documents

Globally, there has been 1.5 billion people who have been ordered to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many executives and managers are finding that managing remote workers blindly is is like conducting an orchestra without seeing or hearing the musicians. One company, TransparentBusiness, provides the solution that will allow a business to remain productive and profitable, while protecting their employees from the virus risks.

“Our TransparentBusiness platform, designated by Citigroup as the Top People Management Solution, makes remote work easy to monitor and coordinate, allowing many businesses to operate efficiently despite the shelter-at-home orders,” explains Alex Konanykhin, co-founder and chief executive officer of TransparentBusiness. “The goal is for companies to be able to allow their employees to work remotely, but yet still ensure they are being productive. That’s exactly what our collaboration software provides, giving business owners the peace of mind they need to give the green light to work from home.”

Employee engagement has been an issue with many companies, and the ability to work remotely is believed by some to be a solution to the problem. Employees who work remotely three or four days per week report that they feel the most engaged with their team.

In addition to improving employee engagement and providing a way to reduce the risks of spreading viruses, there are additional benefits to allowing employees to work remotely. These include improving employee retention rates, saving commute time, offering a better work-life balance, increased productivity, lower costs, and having access to a large pool of talent. Working remotely allows more flexibility, as well as prevents people from unnecessary distractions in the workplace.

While many companies are aware of some of the benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely, they are hesitant to allow it because they feel there is no accountability. That’s where TransparentBusiness comes in, providing the solution to that problem. TransparentBusiness offers a unique tool that will allow them to bridge the gap between working from home and still being a connected part of the team. The software offers such solutions as:

  • Being able to see all team members as they are working in real time. Employers don’t have to wonder if the employee is working or being productive, because the software will provide them with the immediate information they need.
  • Smart management and collaboration, providing an efficient way to collaborate and offer immediate feedback.
  • Increased productivity, ensuring that every billable minute is tracked, which helps to eliminate overbilling problems.
  • Performance monitoring that includes billing and cost data for the company or for a specific team or project that is being worked on.
  • Efficient communication capabilities, including multilevel chat options.
  • The ability to manage remote workers from one central location, while receiving all of the information that is needed to verify billable hours and productivity.

“TransparentBusiness is the ideal solution when having your employees work from home, or to make it easier and more cost-effective to work with freelancers,” added Silvina Moschini, co-founder and president of TransparentBusiness. “TransparentBusiness is a win-win solution for employees and employers.”

There are various ways that businesses can help employees stay productive when working from home. Some tips to help with that transition include:

  • Businesses can start the transition by identifying company goals and how they will be achieved. What is it they want their employees to accomplish while working from home?
  • Set the timeframes and deadlines that you want to have these items achieved in. Be realistic, especially since you are new to transitioning your workforce to working from home. The timelines can always be adjusted later.
  • Make the announcement to your employees that they will be transitioning to working from home. Share with them what the goals are, as well as the timeframe you have you settled upon.
  • Ensure you have the right software to help you make it a smooth transition, keep your employees working efficiently, and be able to track accountability. Opting for a software program such as TransparentBusiness will help improve task management, time management, team communication, productivity tracking, and more. TransparentBusiness has been designed to meet the needs of a remote workforce and increase productivity.
  • Know the difference in remote working tools, such as Zoom and GoToMeeting, DropBox and Google Docs, Skype and Whatsapp, and more. These remote working tools serve an important purpose and will make working from home easier and help keep people more efficient and productive.
  • Share with employees how they can be more productive working from home, by doing things such as setting regular hours, having a plan for the day, having a good location in the home where you can work from, and taking breaks when you need them.

One look at the data and trends and it is easy to see that working remotely is the future of how business will be conducted. It is estimated that two-thirds of employees around the world work remotely at least one day each week. In some countries, such as Switzerland, it’s estimated that 70% of the professionals work remotely at least one day per week. An estimated 53% of the workers there work remotely for half of the week. This is a trend that is taking place worldwide. It’s predicted that soon, half of the U.S. workforce will work remotely, at least part time.

TransparentBusiness has been expertly designed to cover all the bases and provide businesses with a unique solution to holding employees accountable who work remotely. The software is available for purchase through ADP, making it easy to streamline the process of adopting its use. It has also been designed with the same software as a business service model, making it easy to understand, efficient, and thorough, providing meaningful insight to business leaders worldwide.

Co-founded by Silvina Moschini and Alex Konanykhin, TransparentBusiness recently received a second round of funding, for a total amount raised of $6 million. Moschini was dubbed “Miss Internet” in 2003 by Fortune, and has made hundreds of appearances on major media outlets. Konanykhin has been referred to as the “Russian Bill Gates” and is also the founder if KMGi, an advertising company started in 1997 and known for innovation. For more information about TransparentBusiness, visit the site: https://transparentbusiness.com/.

About TransparentBusiness

TransparentBusiness is a unique solution for businesses, helping to provide them with the tool they need to allow their employees to work remotely. The software offers full transparency and real-time coordination, boosts productivity, and eliminates overbilling. For more information about the software, visit the site: https://transparentbusiness.com/.

 

Sources:
CNBC. 70% of people globally work remotely at least once a week. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/30/70-percent-of-people-globally-work-remotely-at-least-once-a-week-iwg-study.html

Forbes. 50% of the U.S. workforce will soon be remote. https://www.forbes.com/sites/samantharadocchia/2018/07/31/50-of-the-us-workforce-will-soon-be-remote-heres-how-founders-can-manage-flexible-working-styles/#5242d43c5767

Career Opportunities

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African American woman working on her laptop

There are many nationwide companies hiring now for remote work and more. Black EOE Journal connects you with our Job Postings Board.

Click here to view the many current job openings for companies looking for candidates now.

How to Successfully Work Remotely

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Smart cheerful woman working from home

Suddenly thrust into remote work? Here’s how to cope – and thrive – as a telecommuter.

The past decade has seen the rise of remote work or teleworking for a number of professions, but with the coronavirus outbreak, many people who might never have left the comforts of a traditional office are suddenly thrust into remote life.

A number of companies throughout the U.S., large and small, have either asked or mandated that employees work from home, and as the outbreak continues to spread, there’s no sign of that slowing down.

Massachusetts-based biotech firm Biogen has asked its 7,400 employees worldwide to work from home after employees tested positive for the coronavirus. In Indianapolis, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly requested that all its U.S.-based employees work from home and restricted all domestic travel. And in the tech hubs of the Bay Area and Seattle, several companies, including Twitter, Airbnb, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and more, have asked employees to stay away.

Those experienced in teleworking have greeted the news with a virtual shrug, while others are working to adjust to their new realities. Consider the following advice if you’re new to full-time telework:

    • Adjust quickly to working remotely.
    • Build solidarity with your remote team.
    • Get savvy and connected with technology.
    • Look at remote work as an opportunity.

Adjust Quickly to Working Remotely

To those who are working from home for the very first time, comedian and author Sara Benincasa, who wrote “Real Artists Have Day Jobs,” offers this sound advice via email: “Strap in. You’re about to get to know yourself a LOT better.”

“What I’ve found is that regardless of perceived social cache or any so-called cool factor, your work-from-home job can be dismal or pleasant. That’s because so much of the work-from-home experience depends on YOU,” Benincasa says. “When you work from home, you are your only in-person co-worker and supervisor.”

Benincasa recommends establishing a routine, creating a dedicated workspace and taking periodic breaks. “Do not overdo the caffeine. If you need to write down everything you eat and drink each day in order to keep your caffeine, sugar and alcohol intake low, do it,” she says.

“Also, don’t drink during work hours, please,” she adds.

Isha Kasliwal is a senior developer at Twitch, the video live-streaming service and Amazon subsidiary, based in San Francisco. She and her co-workers were asked to work from home if possible, for their own safety, at least through the end of March. While Twitch has long had a fairly flexible work-from-home policy, Kasliwal says the prolonged experience of remote work is something new for many of her colleagues.

“I’ve had to make adjustments with regards to how I get myself ready in the morning, still getting semi-dressed for the day and not staying in pajamas all day,” she says, “and making sure that I set some time to take a walk outside during the middle of the day so I get fresh air and can get some steps in.”

Kasliwal says she doesn’t mind working from home temporarily but is looking forward to getting back to the office when she and her colleagues are able.

“I’m actually enjoying working from home because I don’t have to deal with commute times, which is great,” Kasliwal says. “But I do miss seeing my co-workers and the Twitch kitchen, which is amazing.”

While it might seem foreign to those who work independently or remotely full time, some people do actually like going into an office and spending time with co-workers. Kelly Hoey, author of “Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships In a Hyper-Connected World,” says managing interpersonal relationships remotely can be an often-overlooked challenge in suddenly having to work from home.

Build Solidarity With Your Remote Team

“For managers, it’s important to keep some sort of routine for your team. There’s a structure to getting up, getting dressed and the community in the office. Some of your staffers might feel lost without it,” Hoey says. “If you usually have Monday meetings or Thursday lunches, for instance, try to arrange a video chat or brown-bag virtual gatherings. Check in with each other.”

She reminds managers to ask their employees if anything else has changed in their lives or routines due to the outbreak. For instance, if an employee’s child’s school is closed or if they’re suddenly caring for an elderly neighbor or relative, that might impact how and when they’re able to log in every day. And if a manager doesn’t ask, Hoey suggests employees communicate that information directly.

Hoey warns teams against simply using the same tools in the same way as they do in a traditional office setting. “If you’re using Slack or email in the office, many times you have that line of sight. You can look up and see if your colleague got your message, and if it came across the way you meant it,” she says. “Now that you’re remote, maybe now you leverage other, more personal technology – even hop on a call – to really connect.”

Get Savvy and Connected With Technology

And for all those conference calls and video chats that will suddenly be required? Hoey recommends setting up a dedicated video space with a neat background, good lighting and no distractions. After all, it might not just be fellow employees also in their pajamas on the other end of the call. Salespeople might need to speak with clients, managers might need to speak with board members and other stakeholders. Working from home is no excuse not to keep it professional. (At least from the blazer up!)

Continue on to U.S. News to read the complete article.

6 ways to show your boss you’re a high-potential employee

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Woman of color business owner speaking to staff

If you want to get ahead in the workplace, it helps to be seen as a “high-potential employee,” or HIPO. As reported previously in Fast Company, , Gartner’s research finds that HIPOs exert 21% more effort than their non-HIPO peers and have a 75% chance of succeeding at roles that are critical to business performance and the future leadership pipeline. These are the folks who get plum assignments and are selected for training, mentoring, and other advancement programs, if they’re available.

So, if your goal is to advance your career, it’s a good idea to ensure that your boss and the rest of the management team think of you as a HIPO. If you’re not sure that you’re on their radar as such, here are some ways to get there:

Get the right intel

Too often, employees think they know what their bosses and company leadership want, but those assumptions can lead you down the wrong path, says executive coach Shoshanna Hecht. Being clear in your communication with your boss and, if possible, the company’s leadership team about your goals and asking for advice about how to get there is usually one of the quickest ways to get noticed.

Observe

Many clues about what your supervisor and company value are available if you know where to look. Notice the work styles of the leaders around you, says Jay Conger, professor of leadership studies at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, and author of The High Potential’s Advantage: Get Noticed, Impress Your Bosses, and Become a Top Leader.

New research provides the latest insights into what makes millennial small business owners tick. And the findings are surprising.

He points to Bob Iger, former CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Iger is known for arriving early at every meeting. Those who arrive on time may be perceived as late, Conger says. Get to know those types of habits. “If you follow them, you’re a good citizen. If you break one or two of them, you’re now a problem for your boss,” he says.

In addition, notice the ways you can make your boss’s life easier, he says. If you can be a solution by helping to solve problems or avoid tasks or situations they don’t like, that’s an opportunity to build goodwill and show leadership that you understand the needs of the people around you.

Meet regularly

In our time-crunched world, meetings deemed “unnecessary” are often the first to be scuttled. But Hecht encourages her clients to set up regular check-ins with supervisors, even—or, perhaps, especially—when things are going well. If you’re only meeting when there’s a problem, you may be inadvertently reinforcing negative messages about your work performance. Regular check-ins “make sure that you have a chance in the room and space to talk about the good stuff, what’s happening, the achievements, the wins,” she says. And if you do come to the meeting with a problem, be sure to have some ideas about solutions. That shows you’ve thought through the issue and have ideas to contribute to the team, she adds.

Act like a leader

No matter where you fall in the corporate hierarchy, you can always find ways to be a leader, says Bryan Zawikowski, vice president and general manager of the military transition division for Lucas Group. You don’t want to be pushy or overstep your role, but when you approach leadership as helping others get better, it’s usually well-received, he says. How can you contribute? How can you mentor others? How can you help the team achieve its goals?

“A lot of people want to be leaders because they want control, and they want to be able to direct things that are most advantageous to them,” he says. But when you approach your role as looking out for everyone around you too, you earn trust and stand out, he says. “Frankly, people either feel that way or they don’t feel that way. And the key for corporate leaders is to identify people that have the heart of a leader.” By mentoring others and helping them develop, you also help build a pipeline of talent who can ease the transition when you get your next promotion.

Promote your work—and find others to do so too

Finding ways to toot your own horn without being obnoxious can be challenging. But you can’t assume that everyone around you is tuned in to what you’re doing, Zawikowski says. No one wants to be as overbearing as Dwight from The Office, but you can still find ways to point out your successes. And build relationships so that others do so too, he says.

For example, at a job earlier in his career, he had gone out of his way to make his name known and learn a lot about others’ jobs and how to make them easier. He built good relationships with peers and management. So, when a big promotion came up, he easily landed it. “The CEO even kind of joked about it. He said, ‘You know, you’re the first person to ever be elected general manager,’” Zawikowski says.

Take matters into your own hands

If you find that your skills really are lacking or you need additional help, take the steps necessary—internally or externally—to build them, Hecht says. It’s best if you have concrete feedback to act on. But if you feel like you need management skills, communication improvement, or other necessary leadership skills, there are a number of places to build them.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Program Provides Full Spectrum Learning

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Samuel Coleman, a Tennessee State University senior civil engineering, wearing a hard hat inside a warehouse

By Antwaun Parrish

Working alongside industry experts provides university interns with a comprehensive and elaborate spectrum of experience, which can help them secure employment in the future.

Oluwaferanmi Ogundana, a junior civil engineering student, and Samuel Coleman (pictured left), a senior civil engineering student, were both selected as the Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering interns for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Far East District (FED).

The AMIE program provides the interns with real world experience in several capacities throughout the district.

Ogundana attends Morgan State University—he states that he selected this program for his first internship because of his interest in learning new skills and his interest in East Asian culture.

“This is the first time I have been this far away from my parents, and I wanted to experience that feeling,” said Ogundana. “I was interested in Korean culture and the technology here. When they started telling us about 5G being in use here, it was impressive to me.”

The district interns are placed on a learning rotation throughout their stay where they work within the project management, engineering and construction divisions during the nine-week program. This rotation provides them a full scope of how daily and long-term operations are executed here.

According to Ogundana, in school, he is shown what he can look forward to within the engineering field, but here he can see the process, which he describes as eye-opening.

“I actually know what the program managers are doing and what the construction and engineering teams are doing throughout the project development process,” said Ogundana. “It actually put everything into perspective and gave me more of a focus of what I can reach toward. I came here with the idea that I wanted to learn engineering, but definitely my eyes opened up to program management, and the construction division.”

He went on to state that it is fun going to construction sites and observing the facilities actually being developed.

“When I was in school, I was looking at a screen and they were trying to describe it [project management] to me,” said Ogundana. “Now that I actually see it, I can actually understand it more, and I feel like it is going to help with my upcoming year in school.”

Ogundana wishes that the district could implement a winter program, however, he is definitely interested in being selected as an intern next summer.

Oluwaferanmi Ogundana, a Morgan State University junior civil engineering major, is interviewed at a construction site, Camp Humphreys, South Korea, July 15. Ogundana is currently working as an intern at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District, as a part of the Advancing Minorities wearing a hard hat inside a warehouse.
Oluwaferanmi Ogundana, a Morgan State University junior civil engineering major, is interviewed at a construction site, Camp Humphreys, South Korea, July 15. Ogundana is currently working as an intern at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District, as a part of the Advancing Minorities Interest in Engineering program.

Coleman attends Tennessee State University and states he wanted to experience working outside of the United States. He said he expected to learn the full range of project management and how it all ties together for project delivery.

“I wanted to learn why the Corps of Engineers was so prevalent in influencing other engineering companies and why it was a great place to work,” said Coleman.

Coleman enjoys the rotation program that FED provides him as an intern at the district. He goes on to explain what he learned from each division within the district.

“In project management, I learned the process of a project and how it’s executed from start to finish, and all the different people that are involved,” said Coleman. “I learned how to talk to different clients and different contractors and engineers, and how it ties them all together to get the project done.”

For Coleman, this is his fourth internship and as he completes his senior year this fall, he said that he feels prepared to apply what he’s learned toward his near-future career.

“This experience will assist me with future employers and describing my experience to them,” said Coleman. “This internship was different because it provided me the full scope of engineering and I appreciate this experience.”

Source: army.mil

Photo credits: ANTWAUN PARRISH

Cecily Myart-Cruz becomes 1st woman of color to lead L.A. teachers union

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Cecily Myart-Cruz speaking into microphone at a rally

The L.A. teachers union has elected the first woman of color, Cecily Myart-Cruz, to lead the organization, part of a familiar and experienced team that will include outgoing union President Alex Caputo-Pearl, who was elected as a vice president.

“I’m proud of the way we have worked with members to create a union that is inclusive, that is a fighting union, that cares not only about educators, but about parents, the community and students,” said Myart-Cruz, 46, who as union president assumes a role of influence and power in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest in the nation.

Myart-Cruz received nearly 69% of the vote to represent some 31,000 Los Angeles teachers, school nurses, counselors and librarians. The next closest was Marisa Crabtree, with nearly 11% of the vote in the five-candidate field. Crabtree had proposed to turn the union more toward classroom and teaching issues, while deemphasizing politics.

But Myart-Cruz said she sees the fight for political influence as essential to improving teaching and classroom learning conditions.

A little over a year ago, United Teachers Los Angeles went on strike for six days, bringing a focus to overcrowded classrooms and staffing shortages. While Caputo-Pearl headed that effort, Myart-Cruz was a key advisor. Caputo-Pearl is barred by term limits from seeking a third three-year term.

“The work is not done. Our educators need the resources and our babies need the resources as well,” Myart-Cruz said.

“By almost any measure, Caputo Pearl has been a strong and effective leader,” said Charles Kerchner, professor emeritus of the Claremont Graduate University School of Educational Studies. “The plan to swap offices with Cecily Myart-Cruz would essentially keep the leadership regime in place. That creates stability in ideas and agenda.”

All the same, Myart-Cruz emphasized that she will be fully in charge when she takes office in July.

The momentum from last year’s strike carried over into the May election of Jackie Goldberg, a union-backed candidate, to the school board. But soon after, L.A. voters defeated Measure EE, a parcel tax that would have increased local resources for schools.

The union is currently engaged in a high-stakes, big-money battle with supporters of charter schools for three contested seats on the seven-member Board of Education. If even one union-endorsed candidate loses, the direction of the board could shift away from some union priorities. These include limiting the expansion and spread of nonunion, privately managed charter schools and pushing for higher pay and increased school staffing.

Myart-Cruz, a district parent and single mother who identifies as biracial, black and Latina, has 25 years of teaching experience in elementary and middle schools. She has long been part of the union’s activist wing and helped lead a campaign to remove principals whom the union felt treated teachers unfairly.

As a regional chair she also helped organize a yearlong boycott against some standardized testing to take on what the union described as the “overtesting” of students. Union leaders argued that students took too many standardized tests and wanted the number reduced because they take away from learning time.

The new president also has been active at the state and national level in teachers unions.

The election turnout was low, but that’s been a consistent recent pattern in union internal elections. Close to 5,300 union members cast ballots out of about 31,000 eligible voters.

Continue on to the LA Times to read the complete article.

Lash Nolen Is Harvard Medical School’s First Black Woman Class President

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LaShyra Nolen stands outside of class looking confidents at Harvard

Most people call her “Lash,” but LaShyra Nolen’s name is hardly the only unique thing about her. Last year, she became the first black woman ever elected as class president of Harvard Medical School (HMS).

Born in Compton, California, and educated in Los Angeles, Lash grew up with big dreams and equally daunting challenges. Despite not seeing black women leadership reflected in society in general, she found inspiration in the strength of the women around her. Lash’s mom had her when she was only 18 years old. But as a single mom, she got her masters, while working numerous jobs to support Lash’s dreams.

“Mom pursued life with grit and a desire to win. She would tell me: ‘I’ll see you at the top,'” Lash tells Teen Vogue. In third grade, Lash won first place in a school science fair for a project that studied the patterns of fish. After this, she told her grandma she wanted to become a brain surgeon-slash-astronaut.

“My grandma would tell me that whatever I wanted to do, we were gonna make it happen,” Lash recalls. “After telling her I wanted to become a surgeon, she would tell me to protect my hands.”

Today, Lash is a Fulbright Scholar, activist, and an emerging leader in medicine.

Lash spoke to Teen Vogue about this moment in Harvard’s history and the advice she has for black girls everywhere.

Teen Vogue: What does it mean to you to be the first black woman elected as class president of HMS?

Lash Nolen: For me it means opportunity — opportunity in the sense that it will allow me to create a pipeline for others who look like me to hold positions of leadership at Harvard Medical School. When applying to HMS, I didn’t see people who looked like me in student council or positions of leadership at that level. I think it is important to show that black people can also be the face of a university.

TV: How do you use student council leadership to make a sustainable impact?

LN: I try to use my resources and platform intentionally. For example, this year with our budget, we decided to create an annual community outreach event for youth at local elementary schools for Halloween. Right now we are working on a project that will highlight members of our community who are custodial staff, cafeteria workers, security guards — the people that make our community whole, with portraits that will be displayed in the main atrium at HMS. By doing things like this, we’re able to sustainably change the narrative of who belongs on the walls and on the grounds of Harvard Medical School. To me, that answer will always be our community.

TV: What advice would you give to young girls of color pursuing their wildest dreams?

LN: Go get it. Our society has a way of implicitly reminding young black girls what they cannot achieve and what they cannot be, while explicitly giving the green light to white men. For those same reasons I almost didn’t apply to HMS. It wasn’t until my mentors told me that I was capable of being a student at a place like this. And there are so many young girls out there who are excellent and deserve access to opportunity, but won’t take the leap because society tells them that it’s not for them. So no matter how crazy it might sound, no matter if someone in your family has done it or not, just go get it, because you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

TV: How have you personally dealt with moving through the largely white, male-dominated world of science and medicine?

LN: I know myself and I know my history. Over the past couple of years, I have been doing a lot of unlearning and investigative research on systemic racism and the hidden contributions of my people to our society. This has given me a great deal of strength. When I walk into a room, no matter where I am, I know the strength of my people and how much they are the reason why these spaces even exist.

TV: What does being a student from Compton at Harvard Medical School mean to you?

LN: My mom raised me as a single mother. My grandmother is the most kindhearted and giving human I know. The city of Compton is one of the most resilient in the world. Growing up and watching them struggle and work so hard to give me what I had in my life, I couldn’t help but do everything in my power to make them proud. I feel like Compton made me scrappy. I’m hungry for opportunity, I’m hungry for justice, I’m hungry to see my people win. So, when you put someone like me at a place like HMS, I’m going to do whatever it takes so make that vision a reality.

Continue on to Teen Vogue to read the complete article.

You’re most likely to be single at 40 if you have one of these jobs

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Closeup of woman's hand iworking by touching laptop

People can be workaholics. Sometimes work becomes so hectic that people can block out everything else in their life—including love—in hopes of making a successful career for themselves.

There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, being single longer is a trending topic in today’s society. There are plenty of benefits of staying single and marrying later in life.

Being financially independent, creating a successful career for yourself, and building a strong network of friends and coworkers are just a few of the things one can focus on if they’re not wrapped up in a committed relationship.

That’s not to say those things are impossible if someone is married, either. There’s just a lot of time that tends to be invested in those serious relationships that could be used for other things by single people.

Still, the thought of one being single later into their life made us wonder—what types of work are these people in that has them so wrapped up? We looked through some census data to see which jobs are most common for single people at age 40.

Top 10 jobs where you’re most likely to be single at 40

  • Bartenders: 74%
  • Tile installers: 73%
  • Food servers, nonrestaurant: 69%
  • Tour and travel guides: 65%
  • Parts salespersons: 64%
  • Personal-care workers: 63%
  • Flight attendants: 61%
  • Veterinary assistants: 61%
  • Postal-service mail workers: 60%
  • Food batch makers: 60%
  • Many of these professions seem to fall within industries with the highest turnover. A possible explanation for this could be that workers are so concentrated on their craft and making their careers as stable as possible that they cannot fit a serious relationship into their personal life schedule.

    A lot of these positions also offer the opportunity to travel for work, too, so people may believe that they’re better off traveling solo than bringing a partner along.

    Finally, a fair amount of the jobs listed have a commission aspect to them. There may be incentive to work longer hours with the opportunity to be paid more, again decreasing the opportunity workers have to enter a serious relationship.

    A logical reason why so many bartenders tend to remain single is that the majority of their income comes from their patrons’ tips—which can be increased with a little friendly flirtation. That’s definitely not a bad thing. Bartenders in some of the bigger cities are raking in six figures annually.

    Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

    How to decide if your social circle needs an upgrade in 2020

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    Group of diverse co-workers standing around talking

    You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, motivational speaker John Rohn once said. If you’re not happy with your current situation at work, you may want to take a closer look at your inner circle.

    “We have to be really good at [deciding] who we allow into our life,” says Ivan Misner, author of Who’s In Your Room: The Secret to Creating Your Best Life and founder of the global business network BNI. “Imagine your life is one room and the room had one door. The door could only let people enter, and once they’re in the room, they’re there forever.”

    It’s a scary metaphor, but it’s true, says Misner. “Think about a person you let into your life and then had to let out because they were toxic, difficult, or angry,” he says. “If you can remember the emotions and what they did, they’re still in your head. If they’re in your head, they’re still in your room.”

    For this reason, it’s important to surround yourself with the right people from the start—or they’ll be in your “room” for the rest of your life.

    “When you realize that this happens, you can get better at screening out people before they get in and dealing with the ones you already let in,” says Misner.

    Letting people in

    Opening the door to the right people means getting clear with your values. “If you don’t know your values, you don’t know where to start,” says Misner.

    Start with deal breakers—behaviors that  you hate, such as dishonesty or drama. Look for people who demonstrate these behaviors, and don’t let them into your social circle.

    “Pretend your mind has a doorman or bouncer,” says Misner. “Train your doorman—your subconscious and conscious mind—to identify people with these behaviors. By understanding your deal breakers, you’ll be better able to start understanding your values.”

    A common mistake people make when letting others in is weighing too quickly “what’s in it for me” and disregarding the things that go against their values. When we make decisions based on short-sighted gains, we also choose values that don’t resonate with who we are.

    “In physics, resonance is a powerful thing,” says Misner. “It’s a phenomenon that occurs when an extra force drives something to oscillate at a specific frequency.”

    To understand how it works, imagine two pianos sitting side by side in a room. “If you hit the middle C key on one piano while someone presses the sustain pedal on the other one, the middle C of the other one will vibrate on that second piano, without [it] being touched,” says Misner. “That’s resonance. People are like that.”

    When you make a decision based on what you think we can get instead of your values, you invite values that don’t align with yours to resonate in your life.

    “Be mindful about creating relationships with resonance and get your values down,” says Misner. “Companies often recognize the importance of knowing your values, but people don’t always think about them. Values should be at the foundation of everything you do. Otherwise, you’ll create the wrong room.”

    Dealing with people you’ve already let in

    If you have people in your circle that are creating a bad environment, decide if they have to be there or if you can exit the relationship. If they must be there, it’s time to draw a line in sand.

    “Evaluating your social circle means recognizing that someone may be in your life but their baggage needs to stay out,” says Misner. “Draw a line in the sand by saying that you’re not letting their behavior continue around you.”

    For example, if you have a coworker who demonstrates toxic behavior such as frequent gossiping or complaining, establish boundaries. Say, “Starting now, if you start talking badly, I will walk away. I respect you and will talk to you again, but only if you can have a mature adult conversation.” Then follow through. It may take a while for the person to understand the new boundaries and rules, but once you draw the line in the sand, you can eliminate the toxicity from your circle.

    “Stand firm,” says Misner. “Part of that is learning how to say ‘no.’

    Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

    Diversity in Tech is More Important Now Than Ever — Here’s How I’m Helping Make it More Inclusive

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    Fatim Mbaye pictured sitting on short wall outside of her Qualcomm office

    In celebration of Black History Month and International Women’s Day, Qualcomm is proud to feature Fatim Mbaye, who has been extremely influential in recruiting and empowering African and African American employees.

    Fatim Mbaye, a program manager based in San Diego, has always been an advocate for diversity in the tech industry, which gets a bad rap for being very white, very male and very unable to reconcile its shortcomings.

    But at Qualcomm, she has found an entire community dedicated to representing, recruiting and supporting African and African American employees.

    And from attending her first event with the group, she’s understood the diversity and inclusion work being done at Qualcomm is the real deal.

    Qualcomm is Hiring! Browse Opportunities.

    “Leadership at Qualcomm is investing more and more in our diversity initiatives. I believe that’s a good reflection of the evolving and progressive culture,” Mbaye shared. “I am most proud of our efforts in recruiting black talent. With Qualcomm’s buy-in, we have been able to attend conferences and bring in interns and new hires.”

    We spoke to Mbaye about how her work with Qualcomm’s African and African American Diversity Group (QAAAD) has made her everyday work feel more meaningful, how the group is approaching intersectionality in tech and how Qualcomm’s support has made their campaigns feel worthwhile. She also shared her best advice for women who want to do inclusion work within their organizations — and spoke to the recruiting event that she was able to participate in years after it supplied her an early-career internship.

    How long have you been in your current role and what were you doing previously? 
    I have been in a Program Management role at Qualcomm for four and a half years. Prior to that, I was a Program Manager at Texas Instruments for supporting new product development of high-performance analog products.

    How and why did you first get involved with Qualcomm’s black affinity group? Did the group draw you to Qualcomm?
    I was not recruited by QAAAD, but I looked for them as soon as I joined Qualcomm! I have always been an advocate for diversity and was an active member of the Black Employee Initiative, as well as Women’s Initiative, at my former employer. Once I reached out to QAAAD, the group was getting ready for their main annual recruiting trip at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) convention and I volunteered to join them.

    NSBE holds a special part in my heart because I was very involved as a university student and was the secretary of my school’s chapter while completing my graduate studies. I actually got my first internship through a NSBE conference! I was so excited to go full circle and talk to candidates at the Qualcomm booth, hopefully opening the doors to their first job or internship.

    I came back from that trip feeling like a part of the QAAAD family and accepted the invitation to be part of the Operating Council. I’ve been serving on the board ever since.

    What have been the benefits of getting involved with your affinity group? Who have you met? How have they helped you in your professional journey? 
    There are so many benefits! From networking with peers and senior management to making an impact in our local community through event sponsorships to hosting middle and high school minority students and inspiring them to pursue STEM to being part of a mentorship program. Ultimately, there’s a feeling that there are others around you with a shared experience.

    What has the affinity group accomplished that you’re most proud of? 
    I am most proud of our efforts in recruiting black talent. With Qualcomm’s buy-in, we have been able to attend conferences and bring in interns and new hires. And with the support of our Diversity and Inclusion team, the Qualcomm University recruiting team added two new universities that are historically black to their list of targeted campuses for their annual recruiting campaigns. We are already seeing an increase in our numbers.

    What’s the #1 thing you think you colleagues should know — but probably don’t know — about the group?
    The talent is there — we need to go to it. Diversity in a technology field is very important and QAAAD can be a powerful tool to help attract black talent. With the emergence of AI, it is even more important to ensure that all voices are at the table to come up with better solutions and counteract unconscious bias.

    How does the black affinity group engage with or collaborate with other affinity groups? How has this intersectionality created value at Qualcomm?
    One of our goals this year is to collaborate more with other diversity groups and I am looking forward to it. Our first effort of synergy will be with the women affinity group, Qwomen. We are co-sponsoring a symposium organized by the San Diego Commission on the Status of Women and Girls on human trafficking. The topic is very timely and both organizations want to raise awareness within our community. The event will be held on the Qualcomm campus and is open to the public.

    How are your company’s affinity groups reflective of the overall culture at Qualcomm?
    I’ve personally noted that leadership at Qualcomm is investing more and more in our diversity initiatives. I believe that’s a good reflection of the evolving and progressive culture at Qualcomm.

    What is your advice for women who want to make the company they work for more inclusive?
    It starts with women! We need to be more supportive of each other and mentor and sponsor our junior colleagues. In addition, we need to recruit more male allies, as this cannot be done without their support. As a longer-term strategy, there is power in numbers; we need more women to pursue engineering and STEM in general. So, let us inspire all young girls through mentoring and school visits to show them that the possibilities are endless. I truly believe in reaching out to the youth because representation matters and can make a difference in what someone can dare to dream of.

    Fairygodboss is proud to partner with Qualcomm.Find a job there today!

    NMSI and UNCF to Launch STEM Teacher Preparation Program with HBCUs in Six States and the District of Columbia

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    Focused young African female college student working on a laptop on some stairs on campus preparing for an exam

    The National Math and Science Initiative has received a planning grant from the Fund II Foundation to design UTeach STEM teacher preparation programs at up to 15 historically black colleges and universities in six states and the District of Columbia. The Dallas-based non-profit has partnered with UNCF (United Negro College Fund) to support the universities as they design their programs.

    “NMSI and UNCF are nationally recognized leaders in the advancement of American education,” said Fund II Foundation Board President Robert F. Smith. “I look forward to supporting them to develop strong programs that meet the unique needs of students at HBCUs. I’m also excited to see how this new work allows more young people to reach their highest potential in their personal lives, professions and communities.”

    NMSI, UNCF and the UTeach Institute are working with academic leaders at potential program schools. Those institutions include Alabama State University, Bowie State University, Claflin University Clark Atlanta University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Spelman College, Talladega College, Tougaloo College and Tuskegee University. The institutions that move forward with the program will work with the program team to design their new STEM teacher preparation programs.

    The new programs will be based on UTeach, a renowned university-based STEM teacher preparation program founded at The University of Texas at Austin. Since 2009, NMSI has worked with the UTeach Institute to expand the program, which provides math and science undergraduates at 45 universities with teaching skills, classroom experience and continuing support in their early teaching careers.

    UTeach teachers average longer classroom careers than graduates of other teacher preparation programs, and nearly 70 percent of UTeach graduates teach in Title 1 schools. Based on standardized testing, their students perform as if they had almost six extra months of science and four extra months of math instruction.

    “Addressing STEM teacher shortages and ensuring that all students benefit from teachers of diverse backgrounds is critical and core to NMSI’s mission,” said NMSI CEO Bernard A. Harris, Jr. “Expanding the UTeach program to HBCUs will benefit students across the nation.”

    The initiative comes just after passage of the FUTURE Act, providing permanent federal funding for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions and providing significant STEM-focused funding for those schools.

    “As a two-time graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, a professor of 40 years at Bennett College for Women, and the author of the FUTURE Act, which guarantees permanent federal funding for HBCUs to prepare the next generation of diverse STEM professionals, I applaud this effort from the private sector to supplement that effort,” said U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC). “In 2017, when my office introduced the HBCU Partnership Challenge, my hope was to encourage the private sector and non-profits to view HBCUs as key to accomplishing industry diversity goals, particularly in our STEM fields. Through this STEM teacher diversity initiative, we are seeing an example of true private investment and engagement with these producers of top diverse talent. I commend Robert Smith, the Fund II Foundation, NMSI and UNCF for their efforts in diversifying our workforce by helping prepare our diverse leaders of tomorrow.”

    A 2017 study from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics found that having at least one African American teacher in third through fifth grades increased African American students’ interest in attending college by 29 percent and reduced the probability of dropping out of high school for male African American students from very low-income families by 39 percent.

    “Research clearly shows the powerful impact black teachers have on black students. HBCUs already are punching above their weight in the production of STEM graduates – generating 24 percent of the STEM bachelor’s degrees earned annually by African Americans,” said Dr. Michael Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “The nation continues to have incredible need for math and science teachers of color, and students of color deserve to have educators who look like them.”

    ABOUT NMSI
    Founded in 2007, NMSI’s mission is to advance STEM education to ensure all students, especially those furthest from opportunity, thrive and reach their highest potential as problem solvers and lifelong learners. The nonprofit organization helps develop new STEM teachers through its Teacher Pathways programs, and supports schools, teachers and AP students through Laying the Foundation, the College Readiness Program and other research-based programs. Learn more at nms.org.

    ABOUT UNCF
    UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization and for 75 years, it has supported private HBCUs and hundreds of thousands of deserving students, strengthened its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocated for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 17 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Learn more at UNCF.org.

    About Fund II Foundation
    Fund II Foundation makes grants to 501(c)3 public charities in five areas: 1) preserving the cultural richness of the African-American experience; 2) safeguarding human dignity by giving voice to the voiceless and promoting human rights; 3) conserving the environment, promoting the benefits of the great outdoors to people of all ages and backgrounds; 4) affording music education to nourish both talent and the soul; and 5) sustaining the American values of entrepreneurship, empowerment, and innovation. For more information, visit: fund2foundation.org | @Fund2F

    About the UTeach Institute
    The UTeach Institute works to improve secondary STEM teaching and learning through national expansion of the UTeach secondary STEM teacher preparation program to colleges and universities. Over a decade, the Institute has developed and employs a comprehensive approach to successful program development in higher education settings and serves as the national hub to a networked community of 45 universities implementing UTeach programs.

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