5 expressions to avoid in formal networking situations

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large group of diverse professionals networking

Networking is a delicate art. While it’s certainly evolved in the past decade, there are still certain situations (and certain industries) where you must abide by a particular set of strict, unspoken rules. Mess one of these up, and you risk missing out on a critical opportunity to advance your career.

When speaking to someone more senior—and business networking usually involves an “ask” for help from senior people—you need to convey respect and recognition of their status.

Remember: People will go out of their way for you if they like you and feel inspired by you. But turn them off, and they’ll tune out.

With that in mind, consider skipping any of the following casual or unprofessional expressions:

1. “Hey, I’m ______”

Introducing yourself casually is fine in most situations. But this language can come across as too casual if you’re introducing yourself to someone older or more senior who might be a good lead for a job.

Saying “Hello” is a better bet. And giving both your first and last names is more professional. You don’t want that other person walking away and thinking, “I met someone named Paul, but I never got his last name.”

2. “I’m VP of sales for company X”

When networking at a business event it’s tempting to rush in with your title. After all, you want your new contact to know you’re a professional with some status. But it will sound arrogant to add this so quickly.

I recently met a young woman at a networking event, and within the first 15 seconds she let me know that she worked for a big Silicon Valley firm and had a good job in IT. She never bothered to ask my name, work situation, or title. I was not interested in speaking to her again because the encounter was one way.

Rather than hurling your job title at a new face, wait until the other person asks for that information. If you ask them about themselves, they will likely raise the same questions about you. It means a lot more when they ask you what you do than when you shout it out to them.

3. “That’s cool”

Once you get into conversation with an executive, your words will define the kind of relationship you want to have with that person. If you’re too casual, you’ll sound like you don’t necessarily aspire to a professional connection.

Suppose you’re in conversation with a vice president who works in a firm you’d like to do business with. You ask, “Who do you hire for your sales training?” When you find out, you might be tempted to say something like “Hey, I know them,” or “Cool.”

Instead, opt for a more polished expression, such as “Yes, I’m familiar with that firm, and I believe we can offer something more.” This positioning will get you further in pursuing a possible business contact.

4. “Can I impose on you to make a call?”

Once you’ve gotten a good conversation going, you may be ready to pitch the other person for a lead. But the “ask” has to be handled with delicacy.

The phrase “can I impose on you” sounds like you haven’t done the groundwork for the “ask.” So go through the steps that will make you feel you are not imposing. This can include a lot of listening and selling yourself. Once you’re convinced you are not imposing, you can confidently say, “I’d love it if you could make a call on my behalf.” Now you’re off and running!

5. “Let me know how it goes”

If someone has been kind enough to speak to someone else on your behalf, be sure you do the follow-up—don’t expect them to get back to you.

Ask your new contact when you should follow up with them. You might also inquire “What is the best way to reach you?” They may give you their business card or phone number or say “Text me at this number.” The point is that you want to close on this networking opportunity, and that means the next step should be very clear.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Ways to Stay Productive When You Work from Home

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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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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.

Truth, Lessons, & Love of all things #BLACKGIRLSROCK

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everly Bond stands in front of large Black Girls Rock red promo background Black Girls Rock

By Tracy Yasinni

Beverly Bond is a woman who takes on massive responsibility in proving that Black Girls Rock! She is a social entrepreneur, model, mentor, DJ and now an author. Gifted with the ability to know what people want, Bond has worked to reshape the narrative of the Black woman and continues to celebrate the importance of #BlackGirlMagic.

This passion comes to life in her book Black Girls Rock, Owning Our Magic & Rocking Our Truth.

Bond views the book as a continuation of the movement and the mission of Black Girls Rock!

She elaborates, “I wanted something that people could have as a takeaway they could refer to at all times. With the awards show, we could only honor so many women at a time, whereas with the book we can share the magic, survival and achievements of Black women in this one space.”

Black Girls Rock, Owning Our Magic & Rocking Our Truth is dedicated to a close friend of the author who passed away from cancer. “I wanted to show that I had her presence in the books and her mantra, her affirmation, was something that I adopted in the book. It was contagious, it was to live true and dance free.

It resonated so much with me because she stood in her truth. She stood for her art. And I think that that’s something that I do as well. I believe in a truth and a justice in us as a people.

So I think that to live true and dance free, which I’m borrowing from Marjorie, who the book is dedicated to, I would say that that would be one of my mantras,” Bond shares.

About Black Girls Rock, Owning Our Magic & Rocking Our TruthBlack Girls Rock promotional book cover
From the founder of the mentoring organization and awards show Black Girls Rock! comes an inspiring and beautifully-designed tribute to the achievements and contributions of black women around the world, featuring moving entries from icons like Kerry Washington, Angela Davis, Misty Copeland, Serena Williams, Shonda Rhimes, Erykah Badu, Tracee Ellis Ross, and more! Discover the beautiful complexity, rich cultural traditions, and bountiful contributions of some of today’s most powerful black women with this one-of-a-kind celebration of their diversity, power, fortitude, spirituality, and tenacity!

Packed with anecdotes, affirmations, and inspirational essays from women of diverse backgrounds, Black Girls Rock! will empower and inspire you to be your best self.

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.

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

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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.

    BET Networks Announces Multi-Phased Social Impact Campaign, #ReclaimYourVote

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    BET Networks Announcement Promo of the Multi-Phased Social Impact Campaign, #ReclaimYourVote

    BET Networks recently announced #ReclaimYourVote, a social change campaign in partnership with the National Urban League and key national organizations committed to harnessing Black collective power and increasing Black participation in the 2020 Census and the 2020 Election.

    The nationwide #ReclaimYourVote campaign will layout the most significant issues, break down otherwise confusing processes, and highlight specific ways where we can reclaim our collective power by harnessing the power of media, entertainment, and technology to drive civic engagement.

    #ReclaimYourVote will leverage this opportunity through community activations, television spots, compelling print, social and digital media platforms and urge the Black community to be counted in the census and to take a stand and vote.

    “The 2020 Census and presidential election are pivotal moments for our communities—and will produce lasting effects for generations to come, so we’re tackling the critical issues of voting rights and voting suppression head on with #ReclaimYourVote,” said Scott Mills, President, BET Networks. “At BET, we take this mission very seriously because we’re uniquely positioned to mobilize our partners across media, entertainment and technology to drive civic engagement outcomes for the black community like no other brand can.”

    “Our nation’s pursuit of liberty, justice and economic empowerment for all hinges largely on the right to determine who will govern us and how. But the right of African Americans to vote—our right to participate in the civic processes of this nation— quite simply, is under attack,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said, referring to findings analyzed in the 2019 State of Black America® report. “Campaigns such as #ReclaimYourVote are essential to harness our collective power and protect our fundamental right to vote.”

    The year-long non-partisan campaign was revealed during the network’s day-long social impact conference ‘META: 2020’ in Los Angeles. META is designed to explore how the most influential people and platforms across these sectors can work together to impact outcomes for the Black community, with a 2020 focus on driving civic engagement ahead of 2020 elections. The convening featured special guest speakers including Senator Kamala D. Harris, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Angela Rye, Andrew Gillum, Elaine Welteroth, actress Skai Jackson, and many leaders within the social activism space including NAACP President Derrick Johnson, NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, Rashad Robinson, President of Color of Change and many more.

    The next phases of #ReclaimYourVote will focus on rallying the community around the critical matters that directly affect them with issues-based content and comprehensive analysis.

    “Right now, our participation doesn’t match our power. Our goal with #ReclaimYourVote is to build on the long history of work from our national and local organizations to mobilize our community—especially our young voters and African men because their power combined with the proven strength of black women is our true superpower,” said Jeanine Liburd, Chief Social Impact and Communications Officer, BET Networks. “We couldn’t be more excited to launch this campaign with Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris, a perfect partner who shares our commitment to amplifying our collective voices.”

    Kicking off the campaign are a series of spots that will launch starting Saturday, February 22, during the 51st NAACP Image Awards airing LIVE at 8 PM ET/PT on BET. Watch and share the first spot in the series at bet.com/reclaimyourvote.

    Join the conversation on social media by logging on to BET’s multiple social media platforms and using the hashtags: #ReclaimYourVote and #BETVote and following us @BET, @BETVote, and @BETNews.

    For more information go to BET.com.

    About META convened by BET Networks.
    META: Media, Entertainment & Technology Alliance, is BET’s invitation-only social impact conference created to explore how the most influential people and platforms across these sectors can work together to impact outcomes for the African American community. Given the importance of this year’s presidential election, the February 2020 convening is focused exclusively on the importance of galvanizing the Black vote on Election Day and beyond.

    About BET Networks
    BET Networks, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African American audience. The primary BET channel is in nearly 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks—BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET Networks around the globe.

    About The National Urban League
    The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization established in 1910 dedicated to the economic and political empowerment of Black people residing in urban localities and cities. The Urban League has stayed true to its original mission over the years, providing pathways to home ownership, economic literacy, jobs, educational and professional development to about 2 million constituents each year. The National Urban League conducts most of this work through its 90 Affiliate entities, across 36 states and the District of Columbia.

    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!

    Bay Area chefs honor Black History Month 2020

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    At PLaYT restaurant in Hayward, owner Michael LeBlanc, left, and executive chef Jerome "Spike" Williams will celebrate African-American culinary heritage during February, which is Black History Month. (Photo courtesy of PLaYT)

    Chefs in Hayward and San Francisco have created menus for Black History Month that pay tribute to treasured African-American recipes and black-owned wineries.

    For executive chef Jerome “Spike” Williams, of PLaYT in Hayward, it’s a chance to trace African-American culinary lineage from Africa and the Caribbean throughout this country.

    “To celebrate, my team and I have channeled dishes that span from northern Africa to Oklahoma and all parts of the southern United States,” Williams said. The downtown Hayward restaurant is owned by Michael LeBlanc; both men were formerly with Picán in Oakland.

    Chef Banks White, working on specials for One Market restaurant in San Francisco, sees Black History Month as an opportunity to inspire the next generation. “When I was the executive chef at the Hotel Shattuck (in Berkeley) I didn’t realize how much representation mattered until getting calls from other young cooks asking if they could join the team,” he said in a statement. “Most of them never saw themselves in leadership positions and wanted to learn how I became executive chef. I’m humbled to be in this position to inspire other chefs to achieve excellence in their field.”

    In Hayward, PLaYT will showcase a different Williams special every week of the month.

    From Feb. 3-8 they will be serving Curried Jerked Chicken braised with roasted peanuts, coconut and Cajun spices and served with smoked collard greens.

    The Feb. 10-15 menu will feature a dish that Williams says his grandmother, from Lumberton, Northern Carolina, loved: Low and Slow Braised Oxtails with tomato-okra-butterbean succotash over fried red rice.

    From Feb. 17-22 the focus becomes an Oklahoma recipe, Smoked Ham Hocks with smoky kidney beans and a side of cast-iron cornbread.

    And from Feb 24-29 it will be a PLaYT favorite, Pork Belly and Niman Ranch Beef Meatloaf, with homemade molasses barbecue sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and smoked collard greens.

    In San Francisco, chef White (Rambler, the Brixton) has collaborated with One Market’s chef-partner Mark Dommen to present a four-course menu available for both lunch and dinner Feb. 1-29 at the One Market Street site.

    Diners may order the prixe menu ($55) or try the dishes a la carte. Ten percent of the proceeds from the prix fixe menu will be donated to the Museum of the African Diaspora.

    The first course, Dommen’s Pickled Shrimp Salad, will be followed by White’s adobo chile-glazed South X Southeast Fried Ribs with okra. For the main course, White is preparing Grilled Trout with pineapple black forbidden fried rice, green papaya salad and Malaysian red curry. Capping off the meal will be pastry chef Lyndsay Pullem’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake with brown sugar ice cream.

    Featured wines from African-American vintners will include the McBride Sisters, Theopolis, Okapi, Maison Noir, Vision, Bodkin, DarJean Jones, Longevity and Tymphany.

    Continue on to The Mercury News to read the complete article.

    In Celebration of the 15th Anniversary of Art, Beats and Lyrics Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Makes $15,000 Contribution to National Museum of African American Music

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    Jack Daniels logo including the words Art-Beats Lyrics

    Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey announced its support of the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM), the only museum dedicated to preserving the legacy and celebrating the accomplishments of the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans.

    The alignment is an extension of the brand’s partnership with Cult Creative to support the wider community of hip-hop and urban artistry through its signature program Art, Beats and Lyrics (AB+L).

    Established in 2004, AB+L has celebrated artwork from nationally and internationally known visual artists who span a variety of styles and genres. Throughout the years, the “museum meets concert” experience has showcased innovators and creatives from both the art and music worlds.

    “For 15 years AB+L has been a platform dedicated to celebrating culture through music and visual art,” says Keenan Harris, Senior Multicultural Marketing Manager, Brown-Forman. “Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey is excited to expand the celebration of AB+L to support the anticipated grand opening of the National Museum of African American Music.”

    NMAAM will be a first-of-its-kind museum dedicated to celebrating and preserving the musical influence of African Americans to the American soundtrack, and is set to open in the summer of 2020, in the heart of Downtown Nashville, backyard to the Jack Daniel distillery in Lynchburg.

    In addition to the monetary donation of $15,000, Jack Honey will raise additional funds to support NMAAM by auctioning off original artwork from the traveling AB+L exhibit. The virtual auction will open in January and run through AB+L’s last tour stop in Chicago on February 14th.

    Auction Art Piece
    Auction Art Piece

    For more information on the AB+L virtual auction and the museum’s upcoming grand opening activities, please visit NMAAM.org.

    About Jack Daniel’s:
    Officially registered by the U.S. Government in 1866 and based in Lynchburg, Tenn., the Jack Daniel Distillery, Lem Motlow, proprietor, is the oldest registered distillery in the United States and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Jack Daniel’s is the maker of the world-famous Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select, and Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails. Fly Straight. Drink Responsibly.

    JACK DANIEL’S TENNESSEE HONEY is a trademark of JACK DANIEL PROPERTIES INC. ©2019. Jack Daniel’s. Whiskey Specialty, 35% ALC./VOL.(70 proof). Produced and Bottled by JACK DANIEL DISTILLERY, Lynchburg, TENNESSEE, U.S.A.

    About the National Museum of African American Music:

    The National Museum of African American Music, set to open in the summer of 2020, will be the only museum dedicated solely to preserving African American music traditions and celebrating the influence African Americans have had on music. Based in Nashville, Tenn., as part of the Fifth + Broadway development, the museum will share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring musical heroes of the past into the present. For more information, please visit nmaam.org.

    The BEYA STEM Conference is coming to Washington, D.C.

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    group of people arriving at diversity hiring fair

    Each year, the BEYA STEM Conference brings professionals and students together for three days to share their experiences and career information.

    This year’s event will be held in Washington, D.C., February 13-15 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

    Did you know that science, technology, engineering and mathematics career opportunities, referred to as “STEM” industries, are growing rapidly? Employers cannot fill job postings quickly enough, and there are a wide variety of openings for diverse candidates with the STEM skills necessary to succeed.

    You can network with attendees from around the country while participating in seminars and workshops that explore every facet of STEM career paths.

    The goal of the BEYA Conference is to create connections between students, educators and STEM professionals while facilitating partnerships with individuals and their local STEM resources.

    Make the most of the free career fair! Plan your visit before your arrival and get the most out of your experience. Easily search exhibitors by name. You can create a list of exhibitors your must see.

    Watch video from the BEYA STEM 2017 Conference:

    Standard registration is by January 31, 2020. Late Registration is by February 1, 2020.

    Get all the details about the three-day conference here.

    America's Leading African American Business and Career Magazine