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.

Goldman Sachs Turns Its Sights On Black And Latinx Founders With New Entrepreneurship Program

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Happy successful professional posing near office building. Young African American business woman with arms folded standing outside, looking at camera, smiling

The investment bank announced its inaugural black and Latinx entrepreneur cohort, part of Launch With GS, its $500 million commitment to allocate capital to companies with diverse leadership.

Less than 3% of venture dollars went to female-led companies in 2019. For black and Latinx founders, that number dropped to 1%. Combining both factors, less than 1% of funding was directed to black or Latinx women-founded companies.

“That seems like a real misallocation of capital,” says Jemma Wolfe, head of Launch With GS. “So for us [Goldman Sachs], this is clearly an investment opportunity.”

The entrepreneur cohort program is a customized, 8-week virtual workshop with access too specialists across Goldman Sachs’ investment banking and research teams, curriculum on various subjects, such as market predictions, branded marketing, and legal expertise, as well as Goldman Sachs’ sprawling network of Fortune 500 companies, leading startup advisers and executives within the venture ecosystem.

Selected applicants will also collaborate closely with the program’s external advisory council, featuring the likes of Jennifer Hyman, CEO and cofounder of Rent the Runway, and Jewel Burks Solomon, head of Google for Startups in the U.S. and a 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree.

“Goldman is just one organization. We can’t do it along and we shouldn’t do it alone. There are a lot of incredible VCs and investors who are focused on this space and we really wanted to tap into the strength of that community and the work that everyone is doing,” Wolfe says.

At the culmination of the program, attendees will participate in an invite-only investor showcase, with attendees ranging from Goldman Sachs’ private clients to institutional clients, family offices and other venture firms.

“Whether or not these companies are looking for capital, we think it’s really important for them to be able to start building those relationships with investors early,” says Wolfe. “Even when thinking about our investing business, we always tell entrepreneurs that the time to get to know us is 12 months before you might actually need to engage. Really build those relationships over time.”

To be eligible, applicants but must own and operate a fintech, enterprise software, consumer or healthcare company based in the U.S. and have a 2020 projected annual run-rate revenue of at least $1 million.

This diversity initiative comes just one month after Goldman Sachs’ CEO, David Solomon, announced that the firm will no longer carry out IPOs for companies without at least one diverse board candidate. Since the start of Launch With GS, nearly two years ago, the company has invested $230 million globally.

“Our thesis is that if you invest in businesses with diverse management teams, they will outperform their peers,” Wolfe says. “But our long-term goal is for initiatives like Launch With GS to not exist anymore because the way people access capital, the way entrepreneurs are evaluated and the way investors think about their portfolio has become a more diverse and equal process that’s deeply embedded.”

Applications for the black and Latinx entrepreneurs cohort close on April 17, 2020.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

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.

7 Ways To Make Your Online Virtual Conference Successful

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Virtual Conference floor

The COVID-19 global pandemic has upended the conference and events industry. While some events have been canceled or postponed, others are being moved to an online, virtual setup in order to safeguard the health of attendees and presenters.

Virtual conference events aren’t new (indeed, some very large ones are held each year). However, they are unfamiliar to many meeting planners, and it’s important to understand that the keys to a successful virtual conference event are a bit different than those for a traditional live event. Keynote speakers need to recognize this, as well, since keynote programs that work well onstage might not translate well to an online format.

As a keynote speaker who’s headlined both live and virtual conference events for over a decade, here are 7 tips I’ve learned about how to make digital events successful, from large online gatherings to small eLearning sessions:

1. Use video if at all possible.

Even when delivered by the best speakers, it can be difficult to hold a virtual audience’s attention with a slide-based presentation, alone. Most webinar platforms support videoconferencing, and virtual conference speakers should absolutely make use of that capability. When your audience can see the speaker at a virtual event, it makes for a more engaging, more personalized attendee experience. If video is not available, then consider shortening the speaker sessions from a standard one-hour keynote to something more abbreviated, in an effort to maintain audience engagement throughout the entire presentation.

2. Carefully consider the best available audio option.

One surefire way to disengage a virtual audience is to subject them to poor audio quality. If they’re unable to hear the speakers clearly, they’ll tune them out (if not actually disconnect from the live feed). In contrast to a live event, with carefully controlled, professional A/V equipment – audio quality for a virtual session can be negatively impacted by a wide variety of factors: the quality of the speaker’s microphone, the platform used to capture the audio (landline phone, cell phone or VOIP), and network quality/connectivity (for cell and VOIP audio). The most reliable, high quality alternative is a landline phone – encourage your speakers to use that device, if at all possible. If a landline isn’t available, the second-best option will vary depending on the speaker’s equipment setup and connectivity. Test out those different options well before the event, and select the one that provides the best listening experience for the audience.

3. Make sure your speakers have customized their presentations for a virtual audience.

A speech that works well in a live venue may not translate perfectly to a virtual one. Speakers may not at first realize it, but gestures and other visual cues that they (sometimes unknowingly) use during a live speech won’t work in the virtual event. For this reason, speakers skilled in virtual events will utilize special materials for that delivery medium, such as a modified slide deck which helps convey information or emotion that wouldn’t otherwise be communicated effectively across a digital medium.

4. Keep the session interactive.

Depending on the size of the audience, the degree to which the virtual session can be made interactive will vary. Even large virtual conferences, however, can be made more interactive simply by using the audience polling features which are available in many online event platforms. Explain to the audience how to submit questions via the platform, and encourage them to do so, be it during a designated Q&A period at the end of the session, or during the program. Make sure speakers keep an eye on questions as they are submitted, so they can address some of them on the fly during their prepared remarks.

5. Do a comprehensive A/V check – and take it seriously.

Most speakers can do A/V checks at live events in their sleep, as it’s an exercise with which they are exceedingly familiar. That’s not the case with virtual events. Even if a speaker has done virtual sessions in the past, there’s no guarantee their next virtual event will use the same technology platform as their last. Great speakers leave nothing to chance when preparing for an event, and that approach is especially important with virtual sessions. Check everything in advance – audio/video quality, screen sharing, host-to-speaker private messaging, audience Q&A – and do it all with the same equipment and internet connection that the speaker will be using on event day.

6. Plan for technical issues.

Live events are conducted in well-controlled environments, where skilled A/V technicians are overseeing the entire endeavor. That’s not the case in a virtual conference event, where there are a host of potential breakpoints (network connectivity among them) that nobody has to even think about when putting on an in-person meeting. Develop contingency plans for whatever technical issues might crop up during the session. For example, if speakers are using slides, have them send their presentations to the event host in advance – so if the speaker loses connectivity, the host can at least step in and advance the slides for them.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

WBENC: Building a Dynamic Ecosystem for Women of Color Entrepreneurs

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Woman of color business owner speaking to staff

The Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBENC) first launched the Women of Color Program in 2017 to create an effective and successful business ecosystem designed to engage, advise and drive the growth of women of color women-owned businesses.

Since then, hundreds of women entrepreneurs have attended in-person sessions at WBENC national events, designed to address the challenges faced by many women of color business owners and provide resources and programming to address those challenges.

As an outreach and development program, the WBENC Women of Color (WOC) program is open to all women business owners—both WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprises and those not yet certified.

“The growth of women of color-owned businesses and creating an ecosystem that serves as a Sister Circle for businesswomen is my main focus. To drive and connect the growth of inclusive entrepreneurship and economic development for the Women of Color Community has been a lifelong passion,” says Jade Melvin, Senior Manager of Strategic Programs at WBENC.

“We are thrilled to invest in the development of women of color entrepreneurs to advance this dynamic segment of the women-owned businesses landscape,” says Pamela Prince-Eason, President & CEO of WBENC.

Confronting Challenges with Solutions
The WBENC Women of Color Program is cultivating a business ecosystem for women of color through seven program pillars:

    1. Community Building: WOC is a tight-knit community, sharing resources for accelerating growth, strategizing to overcome problems, and meeting new customers.
    2. Market Access: WOC identifies and leverages regional network areas that focus on the advancement and development of WOC businesses and connects them to the WOC community.
    3. Resources: WOC provides support throughout the year with resources in education, support, leadership development, mentorship and provides materials to help strengthen and enhance WOC businesses’ capacity for doing business with corporations.
    4. Human Capital: WOC empowers and advances women-owned businesses by providing education, inspirational speakers, facilitators, consulting, trainings, subject experts, coaches and more, for aspiring WOC leaders. The program also connects women of color entrepreneurs to pipelines of talent and emphasizes the importance of developing their teams as their most valuable asset.
    5. Innovation: WOC facilitates innovation and growth by building bridges with the next generation of women-led firms and entrepreneurs through partnerships with universities and the WBENC NextGen Program.
    6. Policy: WOC partners with government advocacy organizations including Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) and the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) to promote federal legislative priorities that are necessary for sustained women-owned business success.
    7. Capital: WOC researches and communicates access to capital programs and other outside resources and opportunities for women entrepreneurs to the network on a regular basis.

How to Get Involved

WBENC is expanding the Women of Color program to include opportunities throughout the year, including introduction of the Women of Color City Tour, a premier networking event for women of color business owners interested in doing business with corporations and/or government entities. Learn more at wbenc.org/WOC

About WBENC
WBENC is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States and has a mission to fuel economic growth globally by identifying, certifying, and facilitating the development of women-owned businesses. WBENC partners with 14 Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs) to provide its world-class standard of certification to women-owned businesses throughout the country. WBENC is also the nation’s leading advocate of women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. Throughout the year, WBENC provides business development opportunities for member corporations, government agencies and close to 16,000 certified women-owned businesses at events and other forums. Learn more at wbenc.org.

Two Upcoming Webinars-Business Resource Group Leadership Development and the Impact of Supplier Diversity Outreach Activities

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NUDC Webinars

Join Us for Our FREE Webinars on 3/25 and 4/21!

MARCH:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Developing Business Resource Group Leadership

Kristine Maciolek Small, PPL Corporation and Deb Dagit, Deb Dagit Diversity

Business/Employee resource groups can be one of a company’s hidden treasures, helping to identify new sources for the talent pipeline, shining a spotlight on current and high potential leaders and creating a cross-functional multi-level team of advocates to help retain valued employees. BRGs are also a key component of a successful diversity and inclusion strategy, helping to improve culture, serving as advocates and allies for awareness and change.

Successful BRGs have effective leaders who know how to connect and collaborate with members, colleagues and more importantly, the company’s leadership.

Join Kristine Maciolek Small, PPL and Deb Dagit, Deb Dagit Diversity, to understand how leadership development opportunities for BRG leaders and members can improve professional skills and foster BRG collaboration across demographic and business lines, thereby increasing the effectiveness of not just the BRGs, but the enterprise. Register today!

This webinar will offer useful insights and ideas for BRG leaders and members, human resource professionals, business managers and both formal and informal executive sponsors.

APRIL

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Impact Analysis: Supplier Diversity Supporting Activities
How does data inform the impact of outreach activities to advance opportunities for diverse suppliers?

Jose Espinoza, CalWater
How do you prioritize activities? Why measure impact? What does impact look like? Join Jose Espinoza, as he reviews a data-driven program: the importance in measuring impact, top-five activities; he will share tips for supplier diversity managers, advocacy organizations, and diverse suppliers. He’ll conclude with how to implement a similar approach.

In addition to going beyond demonstrating diverse spend, this webinar will illustrate the importance of each step in the supplier diversity process including why it’s important to know where diverse suppliers are coming from, so you can identify barriers. More importantly, when you have current metrics on suppliers, those metrics can be used to encourage supplier diversity growth. Register today!

The webinars and the work of NUDC is made possible in part by grants from Academy Securities, ACT-1 Group, AG Tools, Alcoa Traffic Control, American Association of Blacks in Energy, American Water, Anonymous, Arnita Smith, Burns Environmental Services, Inc., C.L. King & Associates, California Water Association, Center for Energy Workforce Development, Conitsha Barnes, Connecticut Water, Consumers Energy, Damian Rivera, Diversity Comm, Donna Ruff, Dr. Alexander Washington, Duke Energy, Edison Electric Institute, Exelon Corporation, Gainesville Regional Utilities, Gunster, Heather McCreary, Hispanics in Energy, Jesse Castellanos, Liberty Power, Loop Capital, MFR Securities, Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council, New York Power Authority, NRG Energy, Osceola Consulting, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Penserra, Philadelphia Gas Works, PJM Interconnection, PPL, Ruben Strategy Group, S&H Metal & Fabricating Co. Inc., Salesforce, Sanjay Kucheria/Trinus, Southern California Edison Company, Southern California Gas Company, Southwest Gas, SouthWest Water Company, TAS Strategies, TechSoup, The Dowling-Woo Company, The ELITE SDVOB Network, Utility Workers Union of America, Yolanda Pollard; Support for the Diversity Toolkit also received from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity; the Supplier Diversity webinar series is sponsored in part by generous support from Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

What Effective Managers Do to Organize Their Time

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woman manager working on her computer

By Vartika Kashyap

Do you often find that there are never enough hours in the day? As a manager, are you able to give time to help your team each day? Can you adjust when something urgent comes up?

If not, you probably need some useful time-management hacks that you can use right away to achieve your goals.

Time-management is all about bringing the joy back to your life. And experiencing every bit of joy that you deserve.

The phrase “Time and Tide wait for none” explains the importance of time to succeed in all aspects of life. How you value your time-management dictates the quality of your life.

Particularly, for project managers, it is important to possess these skills to be successful.

Read below for how managers organize their time.

 

They have an ideal morning routine

Starting a morning routine is involves trial and error, which greatly affects your life. Tony Robbins also uses a morning routine to prepare him for a productive day. High performers find good routines for themselves and stick to them.

As managers have a lot on their plate, they should design their morning habits to help start the day right off.
• Rise early to get the rest of the day under control.
• Visualize the good things that will come to you for the day, while detaching yourself from the negative self-talk.
• Get some exercise to increase your overall energy levels to fight depression and anxiety.
• Consume the best food possible that includes good carbs and fiber, plus some protein.
With a good morning routine, you will be prepared to face anything that comes to your way.

They categorize their priorities

All the projects you work on with your team need clear priorities. Take time to sit down, know how to set priorities and categorize your priorities based on the time you have. One of the biggest challenges for project managers is to have the right kind of project insight to manage the team’s workload. It becomes a problem when everything feels important and you have to make categories of the tasks based on their priorities.

So, here’s what you can do:
• Know what is important and what is not
• Get organized
• Delegate well
• Be flexible and adaptable
So, overall, knowing how to prioritize work will affect the success of your project by time-management and role as a manager.

They use a to-do list in the right way

Keeping a properly structured to-do list the evening before will make it easy for you to focus your time on important activities. Everything you add to your to-do list needs to be important. As you complete the tasks, check the items off your list, and you will feel more powerful.

They eliminate distractions

Sometimes the world around us makes it difficult to maintain focus. In this age of constant distraction, managing your mind from wandering is equally important when it comes to managing your time. Apart from scheduling your lives to every second, the idea of keeping distractions from coming in should also be looked upon.

Make it a ritual to set boundaries for the day to structure your time. Have a plan for the day to eliminate distractions to focus on the quality of your work.

They work smarter, not harder

The bitter reality is everyone has 24 hours in a day with each hour defined conveniently for our job, relationships, family, personal life and hustle and bustle. But the successful people are those who work smarter in these hours that keep them stay afloat.

Nobody can be efficient with their time if they do not think before taking any actions. Set a plan and strategy for your workday on a work-tracking software, take a look at your daily tasks, control your habits to improve time-management skills and don’t let your day control you.

They create time estimates for more productivity

If you are use a dedicated time-management software, you can log your time estimates to track how you spend your time working on different tasks. With accurate time estimation, you will know how long your project will take and if it will be delivered on time. With a time-tracking tool, you get to make better time estimates for all tasks to manage time efficiently.

They break big projects into small tasks

Project managers often feel demoralized seeing large projects before they even begin working on it. They find it difficult to consume to work on large projects and delegate it to the team. But the best way out to conquer large projects is to break down the large projects into small components to make it doable. By this, you can possibly get everything done on time, as time-tracking online is much simpler for smaller tasks.

They commit to work-life balance

How do you maintain a well-balanced life to master your life? You definitely need to delegate your personal and professional time. While it is important to manage time, you will have to restructure your life around your strengths and weaknesses. Here’s what you should do:
• Balance your personal and professional goals
• Become the master of estimating time by making timesheets
• Set boundaries to be more balanced

They beat procrastination
Are you always procrastinating? Addressing time-management and procrastination is a simple act of self-care. If you are struggling with managing time well, a small change in avoiding procrastination can be beneficial for delivering your projects on deadline.

This act of self-management can lead to a more productive life.

Source: proofhub.com

Internet companies won’t disconnect people for unpaid bills for 60 days, FCC says

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Close-up view of young professional businessman using smartphone while working on his project

The Federal Communications Commission has won commitments from phone and broadband providers to support the swelling numbers of adults and children working and attending classes from home, respectively, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A group of broadband and telecommunications firms signed up to the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge,” which asks connectivity companies to postpone termination of services for the next 60 days on homes or small businesses because of an inability to pay bills because of the outbreak.

Among the companies to endorse the pledge are major and minor internet providers including AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Cox, Google Fiber, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile.

FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel asked the FCC to go farther by asking companies to also lift and eliminate data caps and overage charges, and get hospitals connected and make sure there are hot spots for loans to school children.

Internet service providers are beginning to advertise temporary discounts, including for students whose schools are closed because of the coronavirus.

Charter Communications said Friday it would offer free broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students who do not already have a broadband subscription. Cox Communications said it was offering one month free service to new customers of its low-income service beginning Monday, and increasing the service’s speed beginning Tuesday.

AT&T said Thursday it was waiving internet data overage fees for customers who did not already have unlimited home internet access. Comcast said it would give its Internet Essentials service away for free for 60 days. (Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.)

The FCC said Friday that Chairman Ajit Pai was “calling on broadband and telephone service providers to promote the connectivity of Americans impacted by the disruptions caused by the #coronavirus pandemic.”

Continue on to NBC News 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

Netflix Premieres First Ever Documentary About Black Women CEOs

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multiple images of the stars of She Did That Netflix series

Black women CEOs and entrepreneurs are the stars of the newest Netflix documentary called She Did That. Filmmaker and blogger Renae L. Bluitt created the documentary to promote a more accurate representation in the media of Black female business owners.

She Did That is Bluitt’s first cinematic project, and as a digital content creator and PR consultant, she has been writing about the entrepreneurial pursuits of Black women on her blog, In Her Shoes, for nearly a decade. But now the topic is being brought to the world’s attention via the world’s most popular streaming service.

The film revolves around the lives of four Black women entrepreneurs, their journeys, and how they face issues such as the funding gap for Black women. Inspired by #BlackGirlMagic, Bluitt wanted to show how Black women turn challenges into opportunities and become an inspiration to the next generation.

“As the fastest group of entrepreneurs in this country, [Black women] are literally turning water into wine in spite of the many obstacles we face on our entrepreneurial journeys. This film was created to let the world know what it really takes to be a successful Black woman entrepreneur in this world. Platforms like social media only show us the results and the highlights, but “She Did That” pulls back the curtain to reveal how and why we do it,” Bluitt told Forbes.

She Did That highlights the perseverance and determination of Lisa Price, the founder of hair care brand Carol’s Daughter; Melissa Butler, the founder of beauty brand The Lip Bar; Tonya Rapley, the founder of My Fab Finance; and Luvvie Ajayi, a New York Times best-selling author, speaker and digital strategist.

For the project, Bluitt intentionally hired a camera crew of Black women as well as production staff, assistants, and researchers for filming locations. In addition, after almost 2 years of filming, the documentary premiered at a sold-out screening event at ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans. It has since been screened at several HBCUs and other cities in partnership with organizations that cater to Black women.

Bluitt said she is overwhelmed with the opportunity to partner with Netflix. Now with a wider audience, she hopes that the film willl touch more Black women’s lives.

“I want women to know that even the most successful women in business have experienced the challenges and obstacles they face while building their brands. We all make mistakes, learn from them, and stop to refuel or keep going even stronger. I want women to know they are not alone in their fears and the biggest takeaway is this – if the women in this film can do it, you can do it, too!”

Stream it now on Netflix by visiting netflix.com/title/81194454

Continue on to Black Business to read the complete article.

FedEx Appoints First Ever Black Woman CEO

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Ramona Hood is pictured wearing a black dress smiling with arms folded

Ramona Hood, the newest CEO at FedEx, is the first Black woman to take the lead in the company’s history. Hood, who was formerly the company’s Vice President of operations, strategy, and planning, has specifically been promoted to both President and CEO of FedEx Custom Critical, which provides same-day and overnight delivery of expedited freight.

She started out in 1991 as a receptionist for the company, which at the time was called Roberts Express. She has always shown great potential in leadership and through the years was given various roles in operations, safety, sales, and more. Along the way, she admitted having been “pretty intentional and purposeful with gaining experience” in the company.

Over time, Hood began offering innovative and strategic ideas that distinguished her from her peers. For example, she was the one who initiated the program that allows FedEx Custom Critical employees to work from home in the early 2000s. She said, “At that time, it was not common to have call centers where you would have individuals working from home. I looked at our processes and the technology that we had, and I realized nothing was preventing us from that.”

Hood has climbed up the ladder of success from heading subsidiary FedEx Truckload Brokerage before moving to an officer position at FedEx Supply Chain in 2016. She then returned to FedEx Custom Critical for an executive position, a full-circle move after being a receptionist there years ago.

She brings more than 28 years of FedEx experience to her role, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Walsh University, as well as an Executive MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

Continue on to Dallas Weekly News to read the complete article.

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.

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