Naomi Osaka launches media company in partnership with Lebron James

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Tennis Player, Naomi Osaka poses for a photo with LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers after the game on April 4, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.

By Ian Krietzberg, CNBC

Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka is launching a media production company in partnership with The SpringHill Company, a media conglomerate created by Lebron James.

The production company, called Hana Kuma, will produce scripted and nonfiction content, starting with a New York Times documentary about Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to U.S. Congress, according to a press release. The announcement says Hana Kuma will highlight “empowering” and “culturally specific” stories.

“There has been an explosion of creators of color finally being equipped with resources and a huge platform,” Osaka said in the release. “In the streaming age, content has a more global perspective. You can see this in the popularity of television from Asia, Europe and Latin America that the unique can also be universal. My story is a testament to that as well.”

The SpringHill Company, founded by NBA star James and business partner Maverick Carter, will provide production and strategic resources to Hana Kuma, the release said. Hana Kuma also has partnerships with crypto exchange platform FTX and health platform Modern Health.

In May, Osaka launched an athlete representation agency called Evolve.

Click here to read the full article on CNBC.

Resources for Beginning Your Self-Employment Journey

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A Black man in a business suit in a job interview

Unemployed, underemployed or just curious? Changing circumstances in the economy may be making self-employment a more intriguing option to consider, and there are plenty of helpful training and information resources to help you explore the possibilities.

a black man sitting at his laptop

Self-employment options

Independent work is a term that describes self-employed, freelance, temporary and “gig” work done by millions of workers in the U.S. It also includes individuals who sell items on e-commerce, vend private residential rental space on online platforms or drive for ride-hailing services. Independent work is an increasingly important means for either a primary or supplemental income in the U.S.

Another form of self-employment involves running a business with a physical location that employs others to make or sell goods or provide services. You might do this by starting your own business, buying a stand-alone existing business or joining a franchise program.

a black man on the train looking at his phone

Free entrepreneurship learning opportunities

Whatever your ideas for a business model, there is a wealth of valuable entrepreneurship learning and business counseling opportunities available. Check out some of these free resources:

Local American Job Centers provide small business skill training, career awareness and counseling and information to help you understand the types of services and products in demand in your local economy.

 

Entrepreneurial Marketing

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): A course designed to help participants develop a flexible way of thinking about marketing problems and understand key marketing concepts, methods and strategic issues relevant for start-up and early-stage entrepreneurs.
  • Money Smart for Small Businesses: This new instructor-led training curriculum developed jointly by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) contains 10 training modules covering key topics for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Small Business Administration Learning Center: Take free online courses covering how to plan for your successful business startup, launching your business, managing, marketing and growing your business. It also includes an overview for young entrepreneurs.
  • SBA Online Small Business Training: The Small Business Administration offers more than 30 free self-guided online business training courses covering a variety of topics including how to prepare a business plan, franchising basics, government contracting, green business opportunities and more.
  • SCORE entrepreneurship online courses: View all their free courses available, including hiring workers, setting up a physical location, pricing products and services, finding funding and more.

 

Resources for targeted audiences interested in small business

  • Minority Business Development Agency: The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises. MBDA programs, services and initiatives focus on helping MBEs grow today, while preparing them to meet the industry needs of tomorrow.
  • Native American Enterprise Initiative: The Native American Enterprise Initiative seeks to build on the U. S. Chamber of Commerce’s record of success and advocacy by focusing on the crucial economic issues confronting tribal business entities and Native American-owned enterprises.
  • Veterans Business Outreach Centers: The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard & Reserve members and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business.

 

Source: CareerOneStop

Black Celebrities Fostering Diversity in Business

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Serena WIllaims looking off into the distance as she competes in a tennis match

The celebrities we know and love aren’t jut making strides in their professional fields, but actively making a difference in diversity, equality and excellence.

 

Serena Williams and Nike Create Sportswear for Diversity

Photo Credit: Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

In collaboration with Nike, tennis champion Serena Williams has come out with a collection of women’s athleisure, designed to promote diversity in the world of fashion design. Currently, only 6.3% of US apparel makers identify as Black Americans while about 60% identify as White. To combat this, the collaboration brought together a group of ten new, talented and diverse designers of color to create Williams’ entire line. The clothes were designed to be fashionable, yet functional, for individuals of all backgrounds and body types. “I want people from all walks of life to have the opportounity to be in the room,” Williams told CNN of her collection, “I hope the next generation sees this program and is inspired to get involved.”

Source: CNN

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: Shawn Carter attends the Los Angeles Premiere of
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Jay-Z Fosters Small, Minority-Owned Businesses and Community Endeavors

Photo Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

About a year ago, successful rapper Jay-Z began using his platform to support minority-owned, cannabis businesses through his partnership with The Parent Company, a social equity corporate venture fund. As the company’s Chief Visionary Officer, Jay-Z has used his position to give out $10 million worth of funding to entrepreneurs of color in the industry, including the first women-owned cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles. According to the Parent Company’s CEO, Troy Datcher, Jay-Z has also expressed his vision to not only foster business success, but to support their local communities. In accordance with this vision, Jay-Z has additionally invested his funds into other black-owned businesses such as technology companies, the food and wine industry and projects centering on the arts.

Source: Benzinga, Wikipedia

SANTA MONICA, CA – JUNE 16: Host Tiffany Haddish attends the 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 16, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MTV)

Tiffany Haddish: Creating a More Inclusive Playing Field

Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MTV)

Tiffany Haddish is more than just an amazing comedian and actress; she is also a businesswoman looking to improve the lives of the community around her. After facing financial struggles for much of her life and early career, Haddish is dedicated to helping those with similar backgrounds make informed financial and business decisions through investing in causes that she cares deeply about. Having grown up moving from foster home to foster home, Haddish founded the She Ready Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of foster children. This not only includes the general well-being of children in these systems, but includes educational, internship and career opportunities through the “She Ready Internship Program.” To take it a step further, Haddish additionally has plans to open a grocery store in South Central Los Angeles with primarily black and minority-owned vendors to provide community needs to lower income areas, provide information on healthy food choices and to circulate money in the black community.

Source: The Hollywodd Reporter, She Ready Internship, Forbes

BET Awards 2021 - Arrivals
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 27: Issa Rae attends the BET Awards 2021 at Microsoft Theater on June 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

Issa Rae Helps Others Find Black-Owned Businesses

Photo Credit: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

In the United States alone, Black-owned businesses makeup $150 billion annually and are sought out by about 44% of all U.S. consumers. In her recent team up with American Express and the U.S. Black Chambers, Issa Rae is committing to helping others have easier access to discovering and shopping from these businesses through ByBlack, the first nationwide certification program for Black business owners. “I think it’s one thing to support them during a very specific time when you feel guilty, but we’re beyond that,” Rae said to Variety of the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses, “To support these businesses year-round, and to know what you’re supporting and actively making an effort to do so, is extremely necessary.” Rae is also an advocate for hiring people of color in the workplace, including her own small businesses and the entertainment industry.

Source: Variety

 

Sean “Diddy” Combs:

Photo Credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Sean “Diddy” Combs has been one of the most influential advocates for business diversity, especially in the last year. Not only does he have extensive experience in founding and investing in businesses across sectors, such as the immensely successful Combs Enterprises, but is constantly working to bring Black-owned businesses into the public eye. In the last year, Combs launched “Endeavour,” a development program for aspiring entertainment executives of diverse backgrounds and “Shop Circulate,” a digital marketplace for Black entrepreneurs. Combs has also gone out of his way to make sure minority-owned businesses are educated and advocated for through the “REVOLT Summit x AT&T,” a conference for black professionals in the entertainment industries to network with one another.

Source: Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, REVOLT, Combs Enterprises

Firsts of Firsts: Making Black History – Black History Firsts

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Maia Chaka Becomes the First Black Woman to Officiate the NFL 

This past season, Maia Chaka made history when she became the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game. Chaka, who has been a part of the NFL Officiating Development Program since 2014, has formally been added to the NFL officiating roster in an accomplishment that Chaka claims not only for herself but for her community. Her first game was on September 12, between the New York Jets and the Carolina Panthers. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment,” Chaka stated to the press, “It is an accomplishment for all women, my community and my culture.”

Source: NPR

 

Emma Grede is the First Black Woman Investor on Shark Tank

Emma Grede wearing a long black dress with her left leg showing skin peeking out
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 23: Emma Grede attends the Good American 3rd Anniversary Dinner Party at Casa Tua on October 23, 2019 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Good American)

CEO of Khloe Kardashian’s Good American and Co-founder to Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS, Emma Grede has become the first black woman to join the cast of Shark Tank as one of the show’s “sharks.” She will be the 13th season’s guest shark alongside show regulars Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavic, Daymond John and additional guest shark, Kevin Hart. Of her appearance, Grede simply stated on Instagram, “I’m beyond thrilled to be a guest shark on Season 13 of Shark Tank!”

Source: The Grio

Michaela Coel weaking a elegant
Photo Credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images

Michaela Coel Becomes the First Black Woman to Win an Emmy for Writing in a Limited Series

Writer Michaela Coel made history during the 2021 Emmys when she became the first Black Woman to win an Emmy for writing in a Limited Series. Coel’s victory came from her work on the series, I May Destroy You, which she wrote, directed and produced based off of her experiences as a sexual assault survivor. Coel kept her acceptance speech sweet and concise with what she wanted to say: “Write the tale that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that is uncomfortable…Do not be afraid to disappear — from it, from us — for a while, and see what comes to you in the silence…I dedicate this story to every single survivor of sexual assault.”

Source: ET and The Atlantic

Cast of The Black Lady show standing with their awards for the show
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 11: Daysha Broadway, Stephanie Filo and Jessica Hernandez pose with the award for Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Programming for “A Black Lady Sketch Show” at Microsoft Theater on September 11, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

A Black Lady Sketch Show Earns First Emmy for Picture Editing in a Variety Program

Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The editing team of the comedy series “A Black Lady Sketch Show” took home the award for Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Programming at the Emmy’s this last year, making them the first editing team of color to win and be nominated in that category. The award came specifically for Season 2, Episode 3 entitled “Sister, May I Call You Oshun?” starring Gabrielle Union and Jesse Williams. Editors Daysha Broadway, Stephanie Filo and Jessica Hernandez were present to accept their physical awards.

Source: Because of Them We Can

Sian Proctor standing in her uniform in front of a launch platform

Sian Proctor Becomes the First Black Woman Spacecraft Pilot

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

When SpaceX launched its historic Inspiration4 mission, it marked the first time that an all-civilian crew traveled into orbit. But as historic as this feat is, it wasn’t the only “first” that was accomplished that day. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist chosen to be a part of the missions’ crew, was assigned to be the pilot for the flight, making her the first black woman spacecraft pilot in history. Proctor’s position also makes her the oldest black woman to go to space at the age of 51 and the sixth black woman astronaut in history regardless of space travel status.

Source: Space.com, Wikipedia, Spaceflight Now

Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards - 2012 Tribeca Film Festival
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 27: Dr. Patricia Bath of Laserphaco attends the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards during the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival at the NYU Paulson Auditorium on April 27, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

The First Black Women Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame

Marian Photo: Wikipedia

Bath Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Dr. Patricia Era Bath (1942-2019), the groundbreaking ophthalmologist who invented one of the most important surgical tools in history, and Marian Croak, one of the astounding pioneers for Voice over IP adaption, will be inducted into the National Investors Hall of Fame in May of next year, making them the first Black female inventors inducted by NIHF in its nearly 50-year history. When asked what it meant to be a part of the 2022 class of inductees and as one of the first black women to do so, Croak stated, “I find that it inspires people when they see someone who looks like themselves on some dimension, and I’m proud to offer that type of representation. People also see that I’m just a normal person like themselves, and I think that also inspires them to accomplish their goals. I want people to understand that it may be difficult but that they can overcome obstacles and that it will be so worth it.”

Source: We R Stem, Google News, Wikipedia

NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500
TALLADEGA, ALABAMA – OCTOBER 04: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 McDonald’s Toyota, celebrates in the Ruoff Mortgage victory lane after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 04, 2021 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Bubba Wallace Breaks Record in NASCAR Cup

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Racecar driver, Bubba Wallace, broke records this last year when he won the YellaWood 500 NASCAR race, making him the first black driver to win a NASCAR cup since Wendell Scott’s victory in 1963. Wallace took the victory in early October, driving the number 23 Toyota Camry, owned by Michael Jordan’s racing team. The win not only marked Wallace’s first win since becoming a full-time racer in 2018, but named Jordan as the first black owner to win a full-time cup since 1973. When asked what it was like for Wallace to be the first black driver to win a cup since Wendell Scott, Wallace told NBC: “When you say it like that, it obviously brings a lot of joy, a lot of emotion to my family, fans and friends…just proud to be a winner in a Cup Series.”

Source: Deadline and NBC

Jessica Watkins standing in front of a world map with her uniform on

Jessica Watkins to Be the First Black Woman to Live and Work on the Space Station

Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA has assigned astronaut Jessica Watkins to serve as a mission specialist on the agency’s upcoming SpaceX Crew-4 mission, the fourth crew rotation flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. This makes Watkins the first black woman in history to live and work on the space station. The mission will begin in April 2022 and will be Watkins’ first trip to space after her astronaut selection in 2017.

Credit: NASA

Advocating For Women Entrepreneurs: A Conversation With Women Impacting Public Policy President And CEO Candace Waterman

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Advocating For Women Entrepreneurs: A Conversation With Women Impacting Public Policy President And CEO Candace Waterman

By Rhett Buttle, Forbes

October is National Women’s Small Business Month where we take time to recognize the achievements of female entrepreneurs and their positive impact on the economy. Prior to Covid-19, women were the fastest-growing segment of small business owners in the United States.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has slowed this progress and compacted long-standing inequities. For example, women-only receives 4% of all commercial loan dollars and the federal government has only reached its mandated goal of awarding 5% of its contracts to Women-owned small businesses only twice.

As President and CEO of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), Candace Waterman leads a national nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs, strengthening their impact on our nation’s public policy, creating economic opportunities, and forging alliances with other business organizations. She has more than 35 years of experience across the private and public sectors and has owned three successful companies in the medical, real estate, and hospitality industries.

I recently had a conversation with Candace about the state of female entrepreneurs and WIPP’s efforts. I am grateful to her for taking the time to speak with me and below is a summary of our discussion.

Rhett Buttle: Before Covid, women were the fastest-growing segment of small business owners in the country. What can we do to support women who want to open businesses and rebuild that momentum?

Candace Waterman: It is true that prior to the pandemic, women were the fastest-growing segment of business owners in the county. While growth was strong across the board, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the fastest-growing sector was businesses owned by Black women. The pandemic has certainly turned back a huge amount of progress, as many women left the workforce or permanently closed their businesses, wiping out savings and losing out on wages and income.

From a business-to-consumer perspective, the easiest way to support women-owned businesses recovering from the pandemic is to do business with those locally, in your area. By doing so, you are helping them to keep their doors open. You may want to go a step further and recommend their businesses to friends and family. If you want to do more and have the resources to do so, you could also invest in women-owned businesses in the form of venture capital or by becoming an angel investor.

October is National Women’s Small Business Month where we take time to recognize the achievements of female entrepreneurs and their positive impact on the economy. Prior to Covid-19, women were the fastest-growing segment of small business owners in the United States.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has slowed this progress and compacted long-standing inequities. For example, women-only receives 4% of all commercial loan dollars and the federal government has only reached its mandated goal of awarding 5% of its contracts to Women-owned small businesses only twice.

As President and CEO of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), Candace Waterman leads a national nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs, strengthening their impact on our nation’s public policy, creating economic opportunities, and forging alliances with other business organizations. She has more than 35 years of experience across the private and public sectors and has owned three successful companies in the medical, real estate, and hospitality industries.

I recently had a conversation with Candace about the state of female entrepreneurs and WIPP’s efforts. I am grateful to her for taking the time to speak with me and below is a summary of our discussion.

Rhett Buttle: Before Covid, women were the fastest-growing segment of small business owners in the country. What can we do to support women who want to open businesses and rebuild that momentum?

Candace Waterman: It is true that prior to the pandemic, women were the fastest-growing segment of business owners in the county. While growth was strong across the board, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the fastest-growing sector was businesses owned by Black women. The pandemic has certainly turned back a huge amount of progress, as many women left the workforce or permanently closed their businesses, wiping out savings and losing out on wages and income.

From a business-to-consumer perspective, the easiest way to support women-owned businesses recovering from the pandemic is to do business with those locally, in your area. By doing so, you are helping them to keep their doors open. You may want to go a step further and recommend their businesses to friends and family. If you want to do more and have the resources to do so, you could also invest in women-owned businesses in the form of venture capital or by becoming an angel investor.

Another, very important way to support women-owned businesses is to incorporate them into supplier diversity pipelines and supplier development programs and give them a seat at the table when discussing matters related to small business. When women don’t have a seat at the table, their voices get lost and they can’t share their pain points and what would be most helpful to them from a solutions perspective.

Click here to read the full article on Forbes.

How this 28-year-old’s pandemic cookie business became a celebrity favorite

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ABC News' John Quinones talks about California coming back in business

, Good Morning America

When Lara Adekoya started baking cookies at the start of the pandemic, she never anticipated that a year later, celebrities like Issa Rae, Jenna Dewan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Melissa Benoist and Lena Waithe would be lining up to order from her Los Angeles business, Fleurs et Sel.“What I’m doing is reaching beyond just the backyard,” Adekoya, 28, told “Good Morning America.” “It’s refreshing to have their support, because these are people that now know who I am, and they know that I make really great cookies.”

Her Hollywood clientele isn’t just limited to celebrities either. The business owner has catered to Amazon Studios, A24, the Oprah Winfrey Network, HBO’s “Insecure” set and, most recently, National Geographic. But even though Fleurs et Sel has quickly risen as a business that’s only a year old, its success is anything but a fluke — Adekoya said she hustled to make a name for herself.

“I’m customer-obsessed and social media-driven, and I use those skills to create community through my cookies,” the baker of Nigerian and Japanese descent said. “I hope that my voice transcends communities and transcends different cultural groups so people know that we, as young Black women, we are capable of doing so many things.”

Adekoya’s venture started when she was laid off during the pandemic as a designer shoes salesperson at Nordstrom. Like many Americans, the pandemic prompted her to reimagine her career goals. According to a survey by Prudential, 50% of workers admitted that the pandemic made them rethink their careers, and another study by Microsoft found that 41% of employees are considering leaving their current employer this year.

Despite the career change, Adekoya said her job at Nordstrom was invaluable to the success of Fleurs et Sel because of the work values and connections she built there.

“The key to me working in designer shoes was building relationships, because in order to be successful, my work was strictly commission driven, so it was up to me to make money — I wasn’t going to be there and not hustle,” she said.

Two important relationships she cultivated there were with female entrepreneurs Aderiaun Shorter and event planner Mindy Weiss, the latter who is known in Hollywood for throwing lavish parties for the Kardashians, Justin Bieber, Ciara and many others. When Adekoya started sharing her baking hobby on social media, her two former Nordstrom clients were the first to buy cookies and promote her. That’s when her idea for Fleurs et Sel really kicked off.

“I got a new entire following, and I was introduced to a new crowd that I would have never otherwise been exposed to,” Adekoya said. “Aderiaun and Mindy are both self-made women entrepreneurs, and they were both instrumental in mentoring me as a woman entrepreneur in this new space.”

The women’s support helped leverage Adekoya’s presence on social media, which in turn exposed her to high-end clientele. Adekoya credits community word-of-mouth and digital promotion for the social media craze of Fleurs et Sel.

Click here to read the full article on Good Morning America.

Black women are finally shattering the glass ceiling in dance

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Dionne Figgins, artistic director of Ballet Tech, is one of several Black women named recently to leadership posts in dance. (Jeenah Moon for The Washington Post)

By Sarah L. Kaufman, Washington Post

Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell knows how it feels to be the only Black dancer in the dressing room.

“Everyone was friendly, but it was a lonely feeling that nobody looked like me,” says the former star of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recalling her first dance job 30 years ago, with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

“So when it came to styling my hair, I couldn’t rely on anyone to help advise me. There were so many little things like that.”

Throughout the concert-dance world, dancers of color have often shared that sense of isolation and difference. But in recent months, some significant appointments offer hope of change. In March, Fisher-Harrell began leading the company where she once felt so alone. As the new artistic director of Hubbard Street, a widely respected contemporary troupe founded by Broadway dancer Lou Conte, she is one of very few Black women heading traditionally White-led dance organizations.

Fisher-Harrell, who most recently had been teaching at Towson University and the Baltimore School for the Arts, made changes quickly at Hubbard Street. She hired four dancers of color, bringing the total at the 14-member company to six dancers.

Three more Black women have recently assumed dance leadership roles, in front-office moves that are rare in the dance world. Each has led a distinguished performance career in premiere companies on international stages followed by years as dance educators.

Endalyn Taylor is the new dean of the dance school at the prestigious University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. A former leading ballerina of Dance Theatre of Harlem, an original cast member of “The Lion King” and “Aida” on Broadway, and a dance professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Taylor succeeds former American Ballet Theatre principal Susan Jaffe.

Click here to read the full article on the Washington Post.

6 Ways New Grads Can Standout and Land that First Real Job

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Students graduating university waving

Leaving an institute of higher education and moving on into the workforce isn’t always easy, especially on the cusps of the end of a worldwide pandemic.

But it’s never impossible to make yourself stand out and to find the right opportunity for your desired career path. Here are six ways that job expert Michael Altshuler suggests for new graduates looking to get into the field:

  • Create your own experience – If you have no work experience, trying alternative routes to creating some. A great place to start is volunteering. This looks great on a resume, and it is also a great place to start networking. Include any skills that you learned in school or elsewhere. Create independent projects. Whether it is a school project, such as a report that somehow relates to the industry, or something you make yourself such as a video or power-point presentation, having tangible evidence of skills can help. Take your time on it and make it look professional before you show it to a potential employer.
  • Focus on your people skills – New grads with little real-world experience can make a huge impression with their great people skills. Not only does this show how you will interact with customers, it also says a lot about your personality, how you handle stress and how you might react when the going gets tough. A few great people skills to work on are kindness, humor, caring, humbleness, honesty and being inquisitive.
  • Mirror the job description (in your resume and application) – For many jobs, the recruitment process begins with an algorithm that selects applications based on keywords. Try to include as many of the keywords from the job description in your resume as you possibly can without outright copying and pasting (remember, a human will probably look at this at some point, so don’t be too clever about this). For instance, if a job posting says something about independent workers who can manage their time well, include something about that in your application and resume as personal strengths.
  • Research, research, research – Don’t think that just because you have graduated you don’t need to study anymore. One of the best ways for inexperienced applicants to standout is to do research on the company to which they are applying. Demonstrating that you already have a familiarity with both the operations and the values of the company when you walk into an interview shows that you have the interest, initiative and innovative spirit that will make you a valuable addition to the team.
  • Michael Altshuler Headshot
    Michael Altshuler, Author

    Be Networking (all the time) – Let’s face it, job seeking, like life, isn’t always fair. Even with the best written cover letter, a resume without a lot of experience on it may find its way to the bottom of the pile of candidates quickly. Submitting resumes is not always enough; sometimes you need a personal connection to get your foot in the door. Begin by slipping your job-seeking quest into every conversation. Promote yourself without bragging. You might be surprised how fast someone will turn up who is either looking to fill a position themselves or knows someone else who is.

  • Be honest but optimistic – As a new grad, the interviewer doesn’t expect you to know everything. Sometimes an honest “I don’t know” is better than trying to fake your way through and make things up. A lot of employers will ask unexpected questions to gauge how a person reacts to unfamiliar situations. Whatever is asked, stay calm. Answer as best you can and remember that this is to see how you react. Remain optimistic and answer in the way that shows that you can keep cool under pressure.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Michael Altshuler

I am a Black female CEO, and this is how I redefined the white men’s club in tech

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CEO stock photo of two people walking on top of blue glass

BY Danielle Rose, Fast Company

Growing up in East Oakland, I personally experienced the diverse realities of the divide between the wealthy and poor, and the ricocheting effects of violence and substance abuse. My mother was the only one to graduate from college in her family and she understood the importance of education and the doors it could open.

Her determination to ensure that regardless of our socio-economic circumstances combined with the promise I showed in math and science meant that I was able to attend an affluent private boarding school at the base of Mount Diablo in California on scholarship. This is where, for the first time, I often found myself to be the only Black person in a classroom. I was isolated emotionally and physically, living in one of the wealthiest communities in the country, worlds apart from my humble Oakland beginnings.

Despite my ability to perform academically, my continued attendance at my new school was repeatedly threatened because I questioned the school administration’s exclusionary and invisibilizing practices towards students of color. Nevertheless, I thrived and I graduated. I was accepted in and awarded scholarships from 12 of the top engineering programs in the nation.

My story isn’t unique, but in many ways, it’s not nearly common enough. Education, particularly in STEM subjects, has historically been unwelcoming to young people of color. And for those passionate about STEM, there are countless hurdles including loneliness, doubt, sexism, and racism to name a few. So let’s talk about it.

EVERY EXPERIENCE IS NOT ALL GOOD OR BAD, SO KEEP LEARNING
Being Black, a woman, and an engineer I found myself shadowed by skepticism in every space I occupied from high school to the present day. In meetings, my managers would not make eye contact with me when I spoke. My ideas seemed to land only when regurgitated by white male counterparts. My white male managers questioned whether I was paid too much because they thought my clothes were too fashionable. A senior executive told me that I seemed to be a better fit working at “one of those fancy boutiques on Rodeo Drive.” With two Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics and mechanical engineering and a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the third top engineering school in the country, I cannot say I ever contemplated working at Gucci. All of these slights told me I didn’t belong as I was, the authentic and costume-free me.

The micro and macro aggressions I experienced, while staggering and hurtful, only made me more reflective and self-aware. The times when people who looked like me and tried to minimize me, were especially informative. I used those painful interactions with people who I assumed would understand my experience as a way to deconstruct my own biases and become a stronger ally and advocate for others.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN YOU
From my early education and into my career, I was often the only Black person in a host of STEM education programs and it was lonely. I quickly grew to understand how easy it can be to look for the exit and self-opt out of spaces where you don’t see yourself represented.

Spelman College graduate Marian Wright Edelman once said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” It is no coincidence that it was during my undergraduate studies at Spelman College that I realized the power of representation coupled with social and emotional support when it came to success.

CREATE NETWORKS OF PEERS, MENTORS, AND MENTEES
The importance of this can’t be understated. Who you know, and who you surround yourself with will have an incredible impact on how you envision your future and realize your maximum potential. Connect and enlist a team of people who can see you, especially when you cannot see yourself, and who are authentically committed to your success and want to support you along your journey. You need people who will nurture your spirit, remind you of how you have grown, and of your superpowers during the inevitable storms of life. You need people who will shout with joy and applaud the loudest when you win because your wins are their wins.

LEVERAGE PERCEIVED EXCEPTIONALISM RATHER THAN INTERNALIZE IT
Ursula Burns, the first Black woman to become a CEO of a Fortune 500 company (Xerox), writes about how there was a pattern where her colleagues would reconcile her success as a Black woman by elevating her to an “exceptional status.” They viewed her as incredibly gifted, instead of any other talented and hardworking Black person.

I lived this early on in my career. As an “only” or one of a few Black women in my engineering classes at Georgia Tech, the labs at NASA, the meetings at BP, and countless other spaces, I became the unicorn in the room. My achievements became my last name. When I was introduced it was, “This is Danielle. She has degrees from… She’s worked at…” Folks thought they were being complimentary, but instead, it felt “othering.”

What were considered rare accomplishments for someone who looked like me became the buoys that I grabbed hold of when I found myself in spaces that were not welcoming or generative to my professional development. I used the perceived exceptionalism to access roles and responsibilities that would otherwise have been considered uncustomary or too high-risk for someone with my academic and professional background. I successfully pivoted from engineering to working on a trade floor, to retail and marketing—all for the same company.

Click here to read the full article on Fast Company.

How to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out

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Let’s be honest — if you’re applying for a job, you’re probably not the only person qualified for the position. How can you stand out among the competition before an employer even gets to meet you?

One technique you can use to your advantage is to write an attention-grabbing cover letter. Today’s blog post offers some advice and a few tips to get you started.

What is a cover letter? 

A cover letter is a one-page document that introduces you to a potential employer. Your resume describes the facts of your work experience (either paid or volunteer work), while your cover letter gives the hiring manager some insight into your personality. While your resume tells what you did, the cover letter gives you the opportunity to describe how you did it.

Tip: For example, rather than stating that you have strong communication skills, provide the details of a particular problem you were key in solving and how exactly you used your communication skills to solve it.

Do I need to send a cover letter? 

Yes, you should include a cover letter with your job application whether the company requires it or not. It can help you catch the hiring manager’s attention!

What should be in my cover letter? There are 3 basic elements you need to be sure to include: 1) how your experience meets the job requirements; 2) how your skills match the job requirements; and 3) why you want to work for this specific employer.

Tip: Every cover letter needs to be unique to the particular job. There are templates online that can guide you, but there is no one size fits all. You have to do the work to research the company and understand the job requirements. Remember, your cover letter should be customized for each job application. Be sure to adapt it for each particular company and include keywords from each job description.

Should I disclose my disability in a cover letter? 

Disclosing your disability in a cover letter is up to you. If you decide to do so, employers may ask you to fill out a job application that includes a formal opportunity to discuss your disability and accommodations you may need on the job. Whether or not you disclose your disability, focus your cover letter on the skills you have that make you a great fit for the job.

How do I organize my cover letter? 

Below is a simple structure you can follow:

Heading — includes your full name, phone number, email and the date

Tip: Add your social media profile (e.g., LinkedIn) if relevant to the job.

Addressee — the name of the hiring manager, company and business address

Tip: Researching online (e.g., Google, LinkedIn, company website) to find the name of the hiring manager shows you’ve done your homework.

Greeting — specific to the person you determined was the hiring manager

Opening paragraph — briefly talk about 2 or 3 of your accomplishments that are specifically relevant to the job. Tell your story.

Tip: If you have results that can be quantified, e.g., I increased production by 10 percent, this is the place for those.

Second paragraph — identify the key elements of the job requirements and explain why you’re the best person for the job. Where do your skills and the job requirements overlap?

Third paragraph — explain why you want to work for this particular company. What is it about this one company that you admire? Their product? Their inclusive culture? Be specific about why this is meaningful to you.

Conclusion — thank them for reading your letter and put the ball in their court. For example, you could end by saying you’d love to discuss your experience with them.

Closing — use a formal sign off such as Best Regards, Kind Regards, Sincerely or Thank you.

Now what? 

You’re almost done! Just a few final tips:

Edit your letter to be sure that it is only one page.

Proofread your letter. Make sure there are no typos or errors in spelling or grammar. Better yet, ask someone else to read it over for you.

If you’re sending your resume and cover letter by email, consider including the cover letter in the body of the email message itself. That way, you save the reader an extra step and your letter is more likely to be read.

Source: Choosework.ssa.gov

Prime Universal Network, a husband and wife-owned, positive content television network signs with Hisense, the third largest TV manufacturer in the world

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Prime Universal Network, a division of Prime Local TV Network, Inc., has signed a distribution agreement with international manufacturer, Hisense, and their content platform VIDAA. They will place Prime Universal Network’s positive content TV App onto 140 million currently purchased televisions and an additional 30+ million new televisions annually.

Prime Universal Network’s content platform called – The Positive People Platform, came into existence in 2018 after Rodney and Holly Harris began their search for positive and uplifting human interest stories being showcased on a consistent basis.

The Positive People Platform offers only positive content produced by the couple and other content producers, with a variety of short stories, sports, documentaries, and events. Their platform showcases the positive and unique experiences of ordinary people.

Mission – To change the negative narrative and misunderstanding that positive content means boring. Positive can be and is exciting, interesting, and informative. Our world already has enough negative content.

History – How did they get started in media? Born in the Akron/Canton region of Ohio, they began covering their hometown hero, LeBron James, when he played with both Cleveland/Miami NBA teams. They also covered most of his NBA Finals games.

13 things you didn’t know about Shonda Rhimes

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Shonda Rhimes

For as long as Twitter’s been around, every Thursday night, the timeline is flooded with tweets cursing Shonda Rhimes’ name, usually, for something devastating that’s happened on “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Even though she hasn’t been the showrunner of “Grey’s” for a few years, she will forever be linked to the hugely successful, 17-season-long (and counting!) medical drama. But Rhimes has done plenty of other things in her career, including writing two films and a memoir.

Rhimes, who now lives in Los Angeles, is so dedicated to her home city that she gets Chicago deep-dish pizza flown in every Christmas Eve, she told Food & Wine in 2017. Her favorite comes from Illinois restaurant chain Aurelio’s, she told the publication.

She’s the youngest of six kids — two older brothers and three older sisters. While growing up in University Park, she shared a room with one of her sisters, Sandie, she wrote in her book, “Year of Yes.” Both of her parents were educators.

Rhimes earned her BA from Dartmouth College.

Much like her own creation Meredith Grey, Rhimes graduated from Dartmouth College. She even cameoed as herself in fellow Dartmouth grad Mindy Kaling’s show “The Mindy Project,” when she attended a Dartmouth alumni beer pong game. After Dartmouth, she earned her MFA from the USC School of Cinema-Television in 1994.

Read ten more interesting facts about Shonda Rhimes at Insider.

11 Great Jobs That Offer Student Loan Forgiveness

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By Kat Castagnoli

Did you know that 7 in 10 college students take out loans to pay for school? While it can take a long time to pay back student loan debt, there is a way to get your balance wiped out: by qualifying for a student loan forgiveness job.

If you work for a certain amount of time in a job with this option, you could get your student loan debt completely cancelled. While these types of jobs aren’t always the most high-paying, there’s often plenty of opportunity due to a shortage of workers to fill them. And what you might sacrifice in income, you could potentially make back with loan forgiveness after a few years.

Below is a list of 11 jobs that offer student loan forgiveness so you can decide if any would be a great fit for you:

  1. Federal agency employee

Here’s a little-known fact that applies to federal agencies: If they are having a hard time finding new employees to fill open slots, they are allowed to offer student loan repayment assistance. To qualify, the new employee must sign a contract to work for the federal agency for a minimum of three years. The agency is allowed to pay up to $10,000 per year per employee for federally insured loans, but the total assistance given cannot exceed $60,000 per person.

  1. Public service worker

If you work in a qualifying organization, such as a government agency or nonprofit, you could qualify for loan forgiveness. Full-time public service employees with Perkins loans can get full cancellation of their loans, as long as they haven’t consolidated them. Potentially eligible workers include family and child services employees, law enforcement and correctional officers and public defenders. Public servants with Direct loans (also known as Stafford loans) could pursue loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. PSLF is available to any worker in a government organization at any level, as well as tax-exempt organizations or for-profit organizations with a qualifying service.

  1. Doctor/physician

There are several options for doctors in need of student loan repayment help. The Association of American Medical Colleges maintains a list of loan assistance programs for doctors by state. Additionally, medical professionals who serve in the military have access to forgiveness programs as well. For example, through the Navy Financial Assistance Program (FAP), medical residents receive an annual grant of $45,000 on top of residency income, which can be put toward medical school debt.

  1. Lawyer

In addition to public service forgiveness options targeted specifically at graduates working in law, there are some other sources of loan repayment help for lawyers. For instance, every spring, the Department of Justice opens up its Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP) to help recruit and retain new talent. Justice Department employees must have at least $10,000 in federal student loans to qualify. For those who want to work as public defenders, the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program provides loan assistance of varying amounts, depending on where you live. In addition, there are dozens of programs for borrowers with law school debt.

  1. Automotive professionals

Any automotive aftermarket industry manufacturer who is an employee of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) can apply for the SEMA Loan Forgiveness Program. The SEMA program awarded $272,000 to 97 winners in 2019 in scholarships and loan forgiveness. To be eligible, you must have been a SEMA employee for at least a year, hold a degree or certificate of completion from a college or technical school and have graduated with at least a 2.5 GPA.

  1. Nurse

If you are a registered nurse, an “advanced practice registered nurse” (such as a nurse practitioner) or a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) facility nurse, you may be eligible for student loan repayment assistance through the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. The nurses chosen to receive assistance through this program will get 60 percent of their qualifying student loan balance forgiven, in exchange for a minimum two-year service commitment. Also, qualifying participants may receive an additional 25 percent off their original loan balance if they complete a third year of service. Please note that in this program, the full loan award amount is taxable.

  1. Teacher

If you’re a special education teacher, teach in a low-income school district or work in an underemployed subject area or a teacher shortage area, you may qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. If you qualify, you could receive up to $5,000 or $17,500 in loan forgiveness, depending upon what subject matter you teach and your number of years of service. Note that to qualify, your student loan debt must be from federal direct loans or Stafford loans.

However, if you have Perkins student loans, you could be eligible for the Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation program, where you could potentially receive cancellation of up to 100 percent of your loans.

  1. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps and other qualifying volunteer organizations

Did you know that certain volunteer organizations offer student loan forgiveness opportunities? Don’t let high student loan debt deter you from taking the opportunity to help others. Certain volunteer organizations like the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) all have student loan awards or repayment options. You can apply for these after you have completed your term of service with the organization.

  1. Dentist

Although dentists tend to make a high income — a median of $156,240, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — they also accrue a huge amount of debt before they start working. The American Dental Education Association found that the average dentist with student loans in the Class of 2019 left school owing a whopping $292,169. Luckily, there are some loan repayment assistance programs, or LRAPs, for dentists, such as the Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program and Maryland Dent-Care Loan Assistance Repayment Program. Programs such as these offer significant loan assistance to dentists who work in qualifying areas or workplaces.

  1. Pharmacist

Like dentists, pharmacists take on a lot of education debt to earn their degrees. According to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, pharmacists in the Class of 2019 who borrowed student loans took on an average of $172,329 to finance their education. Here, too, assistance is available: Several national LRAPs provide financial help to health care providers, including pharmacists. Plus, some state programs, such as the California State Loan Repayment Program, will pay back all or a portion of your loans if you establish residency and practice in a qualifying area.

  1. Veterinarian

Not only could working with animals be a fulfilling career, but it could also help you get forgiveness for your student loans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers $25,000 per year for three years in student loan repayment assistance to vets who work in underserved areas. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 44 percent of veterinarians in the Class of 2018 left school owing more than $200,000 in student loans, while the average debt for all graduates was $143,111.

Should you pursue jobs that offer student loan forgiveness?

Most student loan forgiveness jobs have strict requirements, contracts and a minimum term of employment to qualify for loan cancellation. Also, you have to be current on your student loan payments — your loans can’t be in default. But once you meet the requirements, you will receive debt repayment, cancellation or forgiveness. Giving just two or three years of your professional life to a qualifying job may be the answer to your student loan problems and the key to your financial freedom.

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