The 21 hottest women-founded startups to watch in 2017

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There has never been a better time to be a woman in the startup world.

There’s no denying we have a long way to go. After all, venture capital firms are made up of mostly men, and some continue to suggest that women aren’t cut out for the tech world at all. And way more VC money is offered to male founders than women.

But more and more women are building multimillion-dollar startups, and venture firms like Forerunner Ventures, BBG Ventures, and Female Founders Fund all focus on companies founded by women.

It’s paying off. 2016 saw female founders launch innovative companies and raise millions to help them grow, while startups in their second or third year of life began gaining ground.

And 2017 will likely be even bigger. Here are some of the most exciting women-run companies to keep an eye on in the coming year.

Parachute wants to make a comfy night’s sleep affordable.

What is it: Parachute is changing how you buy one thing you use every day: your sheets. It produces high-quality bedding from a factory in Italy and then sells it through its website and one store at its headquarters in Venice Beach, California. Parachute bedding has gained a bit of a cult following, and now co-living startups are even advertising that they have Parachute sheets.

Every time a customer buys a set of its Venice line, the company donates a mosquito net to help kids in Africa sleep safer.

Founded: 2014 by Ariel Kaye

Funding: $10.3 million from Upfront Ventures, Joanne Wilson, QueensBridge Venture Partners, and Structure Partners, among others.


Laurel & Wolf connects interior designers with people who want to give their homes an affordable makeover.

Laurel & Wolf connects interior designers with people who want to give their homes an affordable makeover.

What is it: Laurel & Wolf wants to take advantage of a Pinterest-obsessed generation and make it easy and affordable to design your dream home. People searching for a new look can take a survey about their style, upload pictures and information about the space, and post their project. Typically, three to five designers respond with their ideas, so you don’t have to settle on one from the start.

Founded: 2014 by Leura Fine and Brandon Kleinman

Funding: $26.6 million from Benchmark, Charles River Ventures, Tim Draper, and others.


Maven lets you video chat with doctors.

Maven lets you video chat with doctors.

What is it: Maven is a women’s health app that connects you with doctors via video chat, allowing you to ask questions, receive advice, and get prescriptions. Maven was founded by Kate Ryder, who came up with the idea for the app when she was working at a venture capital fund in London. Ryder noticed that her friends were getting pregnant and receiving a lot of misinformation or having trouble finding the right doctor.

Users can connect with doctors, nurse practitioners, and mental health experts through the app.

Founded: 2014 by Kate Ryder

Funding: $4.5 million from Female Founders Fund, Grand Central Tech, BoxGroup, and others.

Read the complete list of start ups on Business Insider.

9 Non-Clinical Healthcare Careers to Consider

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Medical administrative assistants sitting at table together

It’s hard to ignore the healthcare field if you’re searching for a stable career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the healthcare field is expected to add 2.4 million new jobs from 2016 to 2026—which is more than any other occupational group!

There’s no denying that there are plenty of opportunities waiting for you in healthcare. But what if you don’t see yourself working in direct patient care? Luckily you don’t have to work in a clinical setting to take advantage of a career in the booming healthcare industry.

The healthcare field revolves around caring for people, but it takes more than just doctors and nurses to make it happen. High-quality healthcare gets plenty of support from non-clinical workers who take care of administrative tasks, coordinate care efforts, manage technology and more.

These non-clinical healthcare occupations are a valued part of the medical field and play an important part in keeping the healthcare industry running smoothly. Explore these non-clinical healthcare career descriptions to find the one that’s the best fit for you.

  1. Medical coder

In a sense, medical coders are the translators of the healthcare industry. They convert patients’ medical records and physicians’ notes into specially designed codes so insurance companies can accurately bill for the services patients receive. Because these healthcare professionals have access to sensitive patient information, they also need to be well-versed in government regulations surrounding healthcare privacy and electronic health records.

This role may sound simple, but it keeps a healthcare provider’s financial records in tip-top shape.

  1. Health information technician

Technology is changing the way the healthcare industry works, especially where electronic health records (EHRs) are involved. Health information technicians (HITs) ensure that a patient’s EHRs are accurate and secure. They also analyze data on patient outcomes.

Like medical coders, HIT professionals are expected to stay current with regulations about patient privacy.

  1. Healthcare manager

Healthcare managers oversee the day-to-day operations of a medical department. They set and monitor budgets, train new staff members to their team and look for ways to increase efficiency and quality of care.

Healthcare managers set the tone for their department and their team, so their leadership influences every patient who walks through a facility’s doors.

  1. Medical administrative assistants

Medical administrative assistants, sometimes called medical secretaries, are often the smiling faces you see when you first enter a medical facility. These administrative experts greet patients and provide customer service, schedule appointments, enter insurance information and work with patient billing.

Medical administrative assistants keep a healthcare facility running smoothly behind the scenes, and they make patients feel welcome and cared for.

  1. Healthcare administrator

Healthcare administrators are the leaders of their medical facility. They set financial goals for their facility, create policies that benefit patient care and ensure that their facility stays in compliance with healthcare regulations.

Healthcare administrators might seem far removed from patient care, but their work directly impacts the quality of care a facility is able to provide.

  1. Community health worker

Community health workers focus on improving the well-being of the people in a particular area or region. Their tasks include educating community members on important health issues, reaching out to at-risk populations to improve their health and assisting with disaster preparedness. These healthcare workers are in the unique position to impact individuals’ general well-being on a large scale.

  1. Human service assistants

Human service assistants work with patients to help them arrange the medical care and other services they need. Their work varies depending on the population they serve. Human service assistants who focus on the elderly might help patients arrange transportation to the doctor, set up a meal delivery service or navigate Medicare. Those who work with people with disabilities might help them arrange personal care services or find a job that accommodates their disability.

Human service assistants spend their days making it easier for patients to navigate a complex healthcare system so they can live their lives to the fullest.

  1. Corporate wellness coordinator

Corporate wellness coordinators work at the intersection of healthcare and business. These healthcare pros bring wellness programs to corporations to help their employees improve their overall health—which in turn gives a boost to the company’s bottom line. They often run fitness initiatives and evaluate individuals for health risks.

This healthcare career puts the spotlight on wellness so individuals can be aware of their risk factors and take control of their health.

  1. Patient advocate

It can be easy for patients to feel overwhelmed in a medical setting, especially if they’re experiencing health issues. Patient advocates help bridge this gap by explaining medical terms and procedures to patients, ensuring they have access to the treatments they need and helping them understand their treatment plan. Patient advocates also communicate a patient’s concerns to doctors or nurses.

Patient advocates dedicate themselves to making sure patients feel heard. They’re the ones patients can turn to if they need support and aren’t sure what to do.

About Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college that is dedicated to changing lives and the communities it serves through high-demand and flexible educational programs. Since 1900, the College has been committed to academic innovation and empowering students to pursue a college degree. Rasmussen College offers certificate and diploma programs through associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in seven schools of study including business, health sciences, nursing, technology, design, education and justice studies.

Author-Ashley Brooks

Source: rasmussen.edu

How To Calm Your Nerves Before Public Speaking At Work

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latina woman speaking in public

No other everyday office opportunity can strike terror in employees quite like public speaking. Giving a presentation can be a chance to get your voice heard, but 1 in 4 Americans fear it.

It scares more of us than snakes, hell, walking alone at night and insects, according to a 2018 survey by Chapman University.

But research shows there are ways to calm your jitters and not feel overwhelmed. Here are some that tips psychologists and experts have for the nervous public speaker:

1) Reframe those nerves as excitement.

Don’t listen to the advice of those “Keep calm and carry on” posters if you’re anxious about public speaking. Instead, try embracing your sweaty palms and racing heartbeat as signs of excitement. This reappraisal of anxiety can actually help stop nerves from overwhelming you, a 2014 Harvard Business School study found. How you think about your anxiety can change how you perform under it.

In the study, business professor Alison Wood Brooks recruited participants to sing the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’” in front of a group. Before they belted their hearts out, they were told to say, “I am anxious,” “I am excited,” or nothing. A video game measured how well they performed. The group that declared their excitement improved their singing performance more than the “anxious” and say-nothing groups.

Similarly, in a separate experiment, participants were asked to give a short public speech after being told to say “I am calm” or “I am excited.” The “excited” group gave better speeches, independent raters judged. Brooks suggested that this works because encouraging excitement can prime you to see the task as an opportunity, whereas trying to calm down can make you see the challenge as a threat.

2) Make it about the ideas you want to share; don’t make it all about you.

Yes, being asked to speak in front of your peers can be an honor.

But don’t make the opportunity about more than it is if you’re worried about your boss’ approval or what the audience will think.

Amanda Hennessey, founder of Boston Public Speaking, has coached people for more than a decade. She advises taking the focus off of yourself and putting it instead onto the valuable information you are going to deliver. That way, the speech becomes “an exchange of ideas rather than a referendum of our self-worth,” she said.

Hennessey said public speakers in the office can focus on why the public speaking matters for their team or client and “what’s at stake for the people.”

“That brings us to that place of passion and purpose, where our bodies feel very alive,” Hennessey said.

If your mind starts to narrate a horror story about how your talk will go, Hennessey suggests a physically grounding technique to help you stay continually present. “Feel your feet on the earth and start to notice things around you, look at something on your desk that makes you happy and really look at it,” Hennessey said. “We want to get back to the present, instead of projecting about the future.”

3) Don’t obsess over each word.

If you have done the necessary preparation, don’t monitor what you are about to say right before the public speaking opportunity, advises Sian Beilock, a psychologist who authored “Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To.” Looking at famous examples of people “choking” under pressure, she found that high-achieving people can underperform when they are struck by “paralysis analysis” and try to control every part of their performance by paying too much attention to step-by-step details.

“Oftentimes, the reason that we mess up, especially something that’s well-learned or practiced, is that we start paying too much attention to the details,” Beilock said. “When you’re focusing on every step of what you’re going to say right before you go in, that can be problematic.“

Beilock says a public speaker can distract themselves with an activity that takes their mind off what they are about to do. “One way that research has found to get rid of that monitoring is to focus on something at a higher level,” Beilock said. “In golf, they talk about one swing thought, or a mantra that encapsulates the entire putting stroke. When you’re speaking and you’re trying to get the point across, think about the three points you want to get across. What are the three goals?”

With those in mind, when you do open your mouth, you can focus on the outcome of what you’re trying to say rather than “every word coming out of your mouth,” Beilock said.

Hennessey suggests carrying positive self-affirmations that speak to you, such as “I got this,” “I release the need to prove my worth,” “I am excited to share what I care about,” or “I am enough.”

Continue on to HuffingtonPost to read the complete article.

La La Anthony: Power Through Philanthropy

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La La Anthony speaking on stage to audience

By Brady Rhoades

So, La La Anthony, how do you become a movie star, TV star, producer, best-selling author, and fashion icon?

You might be surprised things don’t come so easily to the self-described Afro Puerto-Rican, considered one of the most beautiful and glamorous women in the world and currently starring in the much-anticipated final season of Power (first episode is Aug. 25).

“Hard work! You can’t fake that,” she said, in an interview Hispanic Network Magazine.

Anthony is affable. Movie star looks and chops with a girl-next-door approachability.

She’s never forgotten where she came from.

She started working as a radio DJ at 15, when she was very green and made mistakes that she learned from. Those mistakes were forgiven by radio executives at WQHT-FM, HOT 97.5 and 102.3 in Los Angeles because they saw her star power and her toil and sweat.

Also: humility, kindness, resilience and friendships.

Anthony has forged relationships with former First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, and she’s sponge-like: she learns from those who forged paths before her.

“She embodies the type of woman I aspire to be,” she said of

Power Play Playbook by La La Anthony
La La Anothony attends the La La Anthony “The Power Playbook” book signing at Barnes & Noble. PRINCE WILLIAMS/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES

Michelle Obama. “I read her book, Becoming, in one day and it’s still one of my faves.”

“Renaissance Man” is a common term. Anthony is a 21st Century woman. She’s a realist when it comes to obstacles, but she’s not so big on putting limitations on yourself, and she wants other Hispanic women to think likewise.

“You can do anything you want,” she said. “But it doesn’t always happen overnight.”

And you don’t do it alone.

“Being kind goes a long way. People want to work with people who are nice and who they like.”

In an effort to make a difference in the lives of inner-city kids, Anthony formed La La Land, Inc. Foundation. Better schooling and greater opportunities for children are at the top of the foundation’s list of goals.

“I would love to continue to grow my philanthropy efforts to help inner-city kids through my La La Land, Inc. Foundation,” she said. “This is something dear to my heart. I would like to continue building the confidence of young inner-city kids by providing better schooling and opportunities that may not already be afforded to them. The youth are our future; anything I can do to help them achieve their hopes and dreams would bring me the most joy.”

Anthony, born in Brooklyn, New York, came to prominence as an MTV VJ on Total Request Live in the early 2000s. She was the host of the VH1 reality television reunion shows Flavor of Love, I Love New York, For the Love of Ray J, and Real Chance of Love, and was a dean on Charm School with Ricki Lake.

Anthony, 36, ventured into acting, landing roles in Two Can Play That Game, You Got Served, Think Like a Man, Think Like a Man Too, November Rule and Destined.

In 2011, she made her stage debut in the off-Broadway production of Love Loss and What I Wore. Anthony also starred in and executive produced five seasons of La La’s Full Court Wedding, one of VH1’s highest-rated shows, which chronicled the time leading up to her wedding to NBA star Carmelo Anthony.

In 2012, she launched MOTIVES by La La, at the Market America World Conference held at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Her cosmetic line—for women of color—consists of mineral-based products for face, cheeks, eyes, lips and nails.

La La Anthony speaking on stage onstage about her clothing line
La La Anthony attends her Denim Collection Launch at Ashley Stewart. CASSIDY SPARROW/GETTY IMAGES

In 2013, she created a clothing line, 5th & Mercer. No, you don’t have to look like her to wear her clothes. And you don’t have to be a billionaire.

In 2014, she released her debut book, The Love Playbook, in which she shares how she found love and success on her own terms. The book hit No. 1 on the Barnes & Noble Best Seller list and The New York Times Best Seller list. Anthony’s second book, The Power Playbook, was released in May 2015.

This year, she is wrapping up the sixth and final season of the critically acclaimed, StarzTV show, Power.

Any secrets about the final season of the crime drama series and what’s in store for Anthony’s character, Keisha Grant?

She laughs.

“Anything and everything’s going to happen,” she said. “It’s really going to be crazy.”

Power is a megahit; fans will surely be in mourning following the final season.

The show centers on James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a wealthy New York night club owner who has it all, catering to the city’s elite and dreaming big. He lives a double life as a drug kingpin.

Initially, Anthony’s character, Keisha, did not have a starring role.

That changed.

Anthony has turned her character into a fan favorite. She gets involved with drug-dealing Tommy. She’s in over her head. We find ourselves rooting for her. We know in season six the bills are coming due.

Anthony, who is married to NBA star Carmelo Anthony and has a son, stresses that she is not Keisha, and Keisha is not her.

La La and Power cast at a party
Rotimi Akinosho, La La Anthony,Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Lela Loren attend STARZ “Power” Season 4 L.A. Screening And Party at The London West Hollywood.

Keisha has plenty going for her—including a legion of adoring fans—but she has not lived the life Anthony has. She’s not as street-smart or as accomplished. She’s not in a position to “pay it forward.”

Anthony is.

So take heed, inner-city kids.

Here are three of Anthony’s secrets to success, emphasized through her foundation.

—Forget “fake it until you make it.” Work until you stake it, Anthony says;

—Be kind. Hollywood is big-time, yet it’s a small town, all in all. Besides, being kind helps you live your best life;

—Never give up.

Anthony never did, despite challenges that an Afro Puerto-Rican from Brooklyn would inevitably face.

“I believe in myself,” she said. “Who else will? I never believed the haters.

5 times when using paper and a pen is better than using an app

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woman writing at laptop with a pen and paper on table

We’re living in a digital world—one where screens dominate our time. The average American adult spends three hours and 43 minutes on mobile devices, according to 2019 research by eMarketer. This doesn’t include the time spent on a computer at work or parked in front of the television at home.

It’s easy to find an app or software platform to help you do run your life, making paper and pen feel old-school. But paper products offer advantages that tech does not.

Here are five times when you should choose analog over digital:

When you need to recall something

“One of the biggest assets that paper can provide is that it stimulates our reticular activating system,” says Holland Haiis, digital detox expert for How Life Unfolds, the consumer content site for the Paper and Packaging Board. “It boosts learning and helps with goal achievement by providing better recall and performance.”

This reticular activating system is responsible for filtering out unnecessary information, helping with memory. Instead of taking notes on a smartphone or laptop, use a journal or notebook to record important information you need to remember. For example, if you are working on a speech you want to deliver with fewer notes or slides, consider writing it by hand to boost retention.

When you need a fast option

Working with paper can make certain tasks faster, says Christine Hofler, owner of Curate for Joy!, a Marie Kondo-certified organizing professional.

“If you only have a short list, a simple calendar, or a small number of contacts to keep track of, paper is faster and easier,” she says. “You can grab a pen and paper and write out a few words much faster than you can open your digital device, locate the app or program, and type in those same few words.”

Retrieving the info can also be quicker, says Hofler. “Just a glance at the paper or page,” she says. “Paper doesn’t go to sleep or run out of power as a digital device can. Another advantage: A single piece of paper is more portable than even the smallest device.”

When you need to focus

When you are working with paper tools, your focus is increased, and you cannot attempt to multitask, says Haiis. “When we hold a device, we are subject to its rings, tings, pings,” she says. “The more we task switch, the more we get into brain fog and burnout.”

Paper commands your focus in and doesn’t have built-in distractions that can take you off track. If you need to finish an important project or get caught up on reading, consider paper tools instead of digital.

When you have an important meeting

Paper can help foster deeper collaboration during meetings because it doesn’t distract. If people take notes in a meeting with laptops, however, it can be too tempting to check email. When you’re looking for an email, you’re not contributing, says Haiis.

“Any time you are distracted by a device, you go into less depth with a conversation,” she says. “This creates less trust and less camaraderie. If you’re going to move projects forward, you need to work together as a team. Too often, we meet a week later and wonder why we haven’t moved forward. It’s because the meeting didn’t have our attention.”

Make a policy of no technology in meetings, and use paper to take notes instead of your laptop or phone.

When you don’t want things to fall through the cracks

Out of sight is out of mind, and if you store notes or to-do lists in a digital app, it can be easy to overlook them.

“You can’t accomplish what you need to do if you don’t know what that is,” says Debra Eckerling, author of the upcoming book Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals.

She recommends creating a dedicated notebook for your to-do lists, keeping it in the same location on your desk. “That way, you always know where to find your upcoming tasks and action items,” says Eckerling.

At the beginning of each week, put the date at the top of a new page and make as detailed a list as possible. Eckerling recommends dividing your list into categories, clients, or projects. “Whatever makes the most sense,” she says.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Being Intentional: Convening in a World with Too Many Conferences

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group of people gathered at table discussing STEM

By: Rochelle L. Williams, PhD, ARC Network Project Director, AWIS

The ARC Network, an initiative of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), elevates thought leadership on the successes and challenges to realizing equity in STEM. Since 2009, AWIS has worked with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to convene ADVANCE institutions and NSF Gender in Science and Engineering (GSE) program to discuss synthesizing quantitative and qualitative approaches affecting gender composition and representation in STEM education workplaces.

By combining AWIS’ convening power and the ARC Network’s mission to advance equity in STEM, we’ve sought to create community, not another conference that promises a magical solution to research problems.

The 2019 Equity in STEM Community Convening builds on the momentum of the NSF ADVANCE/GSE Workshops, while simultaneously curating an experience that embodies a culture of innovation and inclusion. Traditional meeting features (i.e., poster sessions, networking coffee breaks and interactive breakout sessions) are infused with components that amplify, revolutionize and cultivate a community of researchers and practitioners.

Amplify.

To increase the reach and visibility of proven strategies that promote equity in STEM, additional avenues for authentic storytelling have been incorporated into this year’s programming. To start, presenters will stretch themselves by submitting visual abstracts, visual summaries of their presentations instead of the traditional text-based abstract. Shifting to visual abstracts allows easy distribution of their work within the ARC Network and with external audiences using social media. In addition to having prominent keynote speakers and poster showcase, the Equity in STEM Community Convening will also feature Lightning Talks during the networking reception. The Lightning Talks will challenge presenters to outline the highlights of their work and explain its importance within five minutes.

Revolutionize.

The Equity in STEM Community Convening will highlight high-quality research and works-in-progress that have potential to advance and transform STEM workplaces. The Early-Stage Innovations sessions will support new researchers and practitioners looking to share the initial phase of their work or seeking feedback from the community. Experience Reports, sessions dedicated to those on the frontline of change, are designed for well-developed and/or later-stage initiatives or research.

We’ve also introduced a new priority area, ADVANCE to Market. Presentations will center on research, programs, and practices that discuss academic STEM entrepreneurship and commercialization, including social equity issues and taking diversity and inclusion research and resources to market.

Cultivate.

Advancing equity in STEM requires an intentional focus on creating authentic, sustainable and inclusive environments while simultaneously cultivating a community that collaborates, shares and implements promising practices and tools shown to affect change. Presenter-designed Symposia and Workshops are meant to give participants the time to reflect and create, both individually and with others. The informal setting of the Networking Breaks make way for relaxed exchanges that are crucial for the learning process.

In a world with too many conferences, too many broken promises and not enough time, you’ll leave the convening inspired to take your work to the next level and, more importantly, knowing there’s a community ready to support you in your efforts toward #EquityinSTEM.

Building and Gathering a Community

Join the ARC Network Community! This AWIS initiative connects scholars and practitioners committed to equity in STEM at no cost. In collaboration with Mendeley, the ARC Network hosts a dedicated online group for members to access and contribute to a rich library of curated resources – including reports, articles, datasets, toolkits, videos and more – that serve as an important part of systemic change efforts. As the go-to hub for community collaboration, the platform also offers members the opportunity to share events hosted by the community and their institutions as well as online learning opportunities, such as webinars and virtual workshops. There is no cost to register. AWIS Membership not required.

Equity in STEM “First Look.” Published on SSRN, this quarterly digest allows peers to share a wide range of STEM equity content and early stage research, empowering the community with early access to the tools and knowledge needed for change. The inaugural publication provides a historical perspective of the NSF ADVANCE program and outcomes of and lessons learned from past awardees.

Dr Rochelle L Williams standing outside with buildings in the backgroundRochelle L. Williams, PhD, is Project Director for the ADVANCE Resource Coordination (ARC) Network for AWIS. The ARC Network has a primary focus on organizational and institutional systemic change from both the research and practical perspectives. Before joining AWIS, Dr. Williams served as Research Scientist in the Office for Academic Affairs at Prairie View A&M University. Since 2012, Dr. Williams has worked as a subject-matter expert for the National Science Foundation on issues about cultures of inclusion, broadening participation, and university education programs. Dr. Williams received a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Spelman College and both a Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and Doctorate in Science and Mathematics Education from Southern University and A&M College.

AWIS is a global network with 80 grassroots chapters and affiliates connecting more than 100,000 professionals in STEM with members, allies and supporters worldwide. Founded in 1971, AWIS has been the leading advocate for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to achieve business growth, social change, and innovation. We are dedicated to driving excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors.

Funded by the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program, Award HRD-1740860, the ADVANCE Resource and Coordination (ARC) Network seeks to achieve gender equity for faculty in higher education science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. As the STEM equity brain trust, the ARC Network recognizes the achievements made so far while producing new perspectives, methods and interventions with an intersectional, intentional and inclusive lens. AWIS serves as the backbone organization of the ARC Network.

How One Family Turned their Recipes into a Restaurant Sensation

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Shawna Stanley is seated at dinner table toasting wine with family

America is considered to be the land of opportunity, and for one immigrant family, they harnessed the power of that to have a successful business. Armed with a desire to succeed and a variety of traditional Lebanese family recipes, the Chebat family brought their culture’s cuisine to the Woodbridge, Virginia, area. Not only has their restaurant survived, but it has thrived in the ten years since they first opened their doors. They have learned a lot of lessons along the way regarding what it takes to succeed in the restaurant business.

“Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant is a success story of one immigrant family coming together to build something special,” added Michael Chebat, the father and chief operating officer. “Many people believe that family shouldn’t work together, but if you have the right mindset and shared goals you can thrive and grow a successful business. Our success depends on our family synergy and happy customers, combined with our commitment to offering people high quality traditional recipes.”

When Michael started the restaurant with his wife, Mathil, they wanted to offer people a variety of authentic Middle East dishes. Each of the dishes served at the restaurant comes from traditional family recipes and are the same dishes that the family has eaten in their home for generations. The unique flavors and atmosphere help to create a dining experience that brings people back time and again.

The restaurant is run by the Chebat family, which includes their eight children. Together, they have created a menu that appeals to many, including those who are health-conscious, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and seeking organic options. Not every family can come together to create a successful business. There are lessons that they have learned and share regarding what it takes to succeed:

  • You have to approach what you are doing as a labor of love, and never forget who you are doing it all for, which is the customer.
  • Everyone on your team needs to be committed to growing the company and invested in helping it to succeed.
  • Define your core values and build your business around them. At Layla’s, their core set of values include love, family, trust, quality, and flavor.
  • You should infuse your business with your own styles, culture, and unique offerings, but always keep in mind what the market wants. For example, Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant has identified the growing trend in people wanting vegetarian, vegan, and organic foods when dining out, and they are happy to meet that need.
  • Have the team make a pact that they refuse to go anywhere but up. There is no failure; there is only multiple ways to succeed, and you have to find the route that will get you there.
  • Define your focus and don’t be afraid to stick to it. At Layla’s, they have committed to focusing on the family. Their entire business model is focused on the family, both within their team and in reaching their customers. They aim to bring families together and help them have a great dining experience.

“We wanted to introduce people to our food and culture, and a restaurant as well as a new product line was the perfect way to do that,” explains Jimmy Chebat, the uncle and president of Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant. “With that in mind, we worked to create something that would infuse a bit of our culture and flavors into the area. We are thrilled that it has been well received and look forward to many more years to come.”

Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant, located at 2217 Old Bridge Road in Woodbridge, offers a menu filled with authentic Middle East dishes, including kabobs, falafel, hummus, grape leaves, beef shawarma, meat pies, stuffed cabbage, a Lebanese version of steak tartar, and a wine and beer menu. The restaurant also offers full catering services for birthdays, graduations, business events, work lunches, and more. Those who sign up for their email list will receive 10 percent off their next visit. For more information about Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant, visit the site at: laylas.net.

The company also offers a line of ready-made products that are available in stores and farmer’s markets throughout Virginia and New York. The Layla’s Food Company product line includes Layla’s Garlic Whip, available in original, honey garlic, jalapeño cilantro, cranberry, and sun-dried tomato, and Layla’s Hummus, available in original and black bean. The website offers recipes and a free cookbook that can be downloaded. For more information about Layla’s Food Company, including which stores carry the product line, visit the site: laylasfood.com.

About Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant

Located in Woodbridge, Virginia, Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant has been serving up authentic Middle East cuisine for over 10 years. Family-owned and operated, the company offers a wide variety of traditional dishes made from family recipes. The restaurant also offers catering and has a dip product line that is available in stores. For more information, visit: laylas.net.

An Arkansas Lawyer Bought 1,500 Pairs of Shoes From a Payless Going Out of Business. Now She’s Donating Them to Kids in Need

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woman holding her children with boxes around them

When Carrie Jernigan was doing some last-minute, pre-vacation shopping with her kids at a Payless ShoeSource near their home in Alma, Arkansa, she had no idea she would soon be taking home upwards of 1,500 pairs of shoes.

“What have I done?” the 37-year-old lawyer and mother of three says she initially thought to herself.

But this was possible because in February, Payless ShoeSource announced it would be shutting down all of its stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It was the second time in two years the company was filing for bankruptcy — the latest casualty in what’s been dubbed over the years as the “retail apocalypse.”

Jernigan was taking advantage of the sweeping sales one day this past May when her 9-year-old daughter asked if they could buy Avengers tennis shoes for a classmate that needed a new pair. Inspired by her daughter’s act of kindness, Jernigan, jokingly, asked the clerk how much it would cost to buy the entire store. Hours later, she had purchased nearly 350 pairs of shoes with the intention of donating them all.

“We made a deal to buy almost all [that] was left on the shelves,” she says.

When she returned to pick up the shoes, she found out that a new delivery was coming in — days before the store was set to shut its doors. When her kids asked to take those too, she told them they could take a peek to see if there were any children’s shoes.

“Of course, the first box I opened up was JoJo Siwa shoes,” she says, referring to the mega-popular Nickelodeon star. “Pink glitter was everywhere.”

When it was all said and done Jernigan took home nearly $21,000 worth of merchandise — the majority of which she saved from the store’s blowout sale. She intends to donate roughly 1,100 pairs to kids, and local schools and give the remaining shoes to adults in need.

Being the local school board’s president, Jernigan knows how much some parents struggle to afford school supplies, let alone new shoes, for their children. When she realized that she had way too many shoes for her school alone, she decided to hold off for few months to do a back-to-school fundraising event.

Continue on to Money.com to read the complete article.

10 Reasons to Work for the Federal Government

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Are you thinking of working for the federal government? If so, opportunities and benefits lie ahead. Check out these ten reasons to pursue a career in the field.

  1. Make a difference
    The work of government employees impacts the lives of every American and the lives of people around the world. Federal employees can play a vital role in addressing pressing issues, from homelessness to homeland security. Students interested in working in government can engage in high-impact work, such as helping disrupt the laundering of billions of dollars derived from illicit U.S. drug deals.
  2. Great benefits/competitive pay
    Average government salaries are competitive with the private and nonprofit sectors. Recent graduates can expect a starting salary from $32,415 to $42,631 a year. Pay can also increase fairly quickly for top candidates with experience and a strong education. Federal benefits, including health insurance, retirement and vacation, are extremely competitive with, if not superior to, other sectors.
  3. The government is hiring
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected an employment increase of ten percent through 2018 in federal employment.
  4. Location, location, location
    Federal opportunities are not only found in the D.C area. Eighty-four percent of federal government jobs are outside of Washington, D.C. If students are interested in international job opportunities, more than 50,000 federal employees work abroad.
  5. Jobs for every major
    Working in the federal government is not just for political science majors. In fact, 28.4 percent of federal employees work in STEM fields. There are federal jobs for every interest and skill, from art history to zoology.
  6. Opportunities for advancement and professional development
    Federal employees have many opportunities for career advancement in government. An internal Merit Promotion Program helps ensure that new employees succeeding in their job have easy access to information about job openings within government. The government also offers excellent training and development opportunities and has human resources personnel to help connect current employees with these opportunities.
  7. Interesting and challenging work
    Today’s government workers are leading and innovating on issues, such as developing vaccines for deadly diseases, fighting sexual and racial discrimination, and keeping our massive systems of transportation safe.
  8. Work-life balance
    Flexible work schedules, including telework, are a major plus for those with busy schedules or long commute. Competitive benefits also include generous vacation time combined with federal holidays and sick leave. All of these packaged together make government an attractive employer for students looking to successfully balance their work and personal lives.
  9. Job security
    Government work is steady and secure, an attractive selling point, especially during difficult economic times.
  10. The federal government can help pay for school loans
    Some federal agencies can help pay back up to $10,000 per year in student loans, up to a total of $60,000.

Source: ourpublicservice.org

The Top 25 Highest Paid Federal Jobs

Did you know that the 25 highest paying government jobs all pay over $50,000 per year?

Below is a list of 25 of the most sought after federal jobs, ranked by the Office of Personnel Management as the highest paid jobs currently offered by the U.S. Government.

1) Astronomer – $116,072

2) Attorney – $114,240

3) Financial Manager – $101,022

4) General Engineer – $100,051

5) Economist – $94,098

6) Computer Scientist – $90,929

7) Chemist – $89,954

8) Criminal Investigator – $88,174

9) Microbiologist – $87,206

10) Architect – $85,690

11) Statistician – $81,524

12) Librarian – $78,665

13) Accountant – $78,030

14) Chaplain – $76,511

15) Ecologist – $76,511

16) Human Resources Manager – $76,503

17) Health and Safety Specialist – $73,003

18) Air Traffic Controller – $72,049

19) Budget Analyst – $71,267

20) Correctional Officer – $67,140

21) Nurse – $65,345

22) Technical Engineer – $63,951

23) Border Patrol Agent – $63,550

24) Medical Technician- $59,840

25) Customs Inspector – $59,248

Source: Office of Personnel Management

Make Your Resume Stand Out with This One Skill

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Most applicants don’t know that businesses are looking to fill positions with individuals who are leaders—people who aren’t afraid to take charge, organize, and grow with the company.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that administrative assistant positions will grow at a slower-than-average rate of just 3 percent between the years 2014 and 2024. For a position whose prospects could stagnate over time, it’s more important than ever for applicants to set themselves apart, both in person and on their resumes. By including leadership skills and experience on your applications, you’ll indicate to employers that you’re someone who will exceed expectations and help their business thrive. Here are a few ways to demonstrate leadership on your resume and in your role.

Take initiative

The easiest way to demonstrate leadership as an administrative assistant is by showing initiative. For instance, if an old filing system isn’t the most productive method, don’t continue using it—take the initiative to create and implement your own improved version. Proposing solutions to your manager for problems they may not even be aware of is a great way to showcase your creative thinking, project management skills, and assertiveness; even if they don’t approve a project, they’ll remember the unprompted initiative you took when new problems arise.

Another example: if you’re put in charge of scheduling a meeting, take the initiative to see the smaller details through—finding space, ordering food, ensuring that all technology is working, etc. Think about how you can go above and beyond your standard duties to let employers know that you’re thoughtful and don’t always need to be told what to do; after all, the mark of a leader is leading!

Communicate

Good leaders are effective communicators. Since many of the tasks of administrative assistants involve working closely with other employees, having strong communication skills ensures that all interactions and transactions are clear. This includes having proper email etiquette—written communication is even more common than verbal for administrative assistants. Listen attentively, but don’t be afraid to ask clarification questions if something isn’t obvious; the last thing you want is to inadvertently cause trouble for your manager, team, or company. Effective communication across all methods can also help build an effective rapport between you and your supervisor, expediting tasks in the future.

Be adaptable

The best leaders don’t boss people around—they adapt to different people’s different personalities and working styles. As an administrative assistant, you’ll be interacting with a multitude of people on different teams, in different departments, and often at other companies, each with their own quirks. Good leaders are adaptable, and they’ll be able to recognize personality differences and work with them rather than against them, making sure everyone’s needs are met. Good communication skills (including being a good listener) are key to adaptability.

How to include leadership on your resume

When composing your administrative assistant application, you may not know how to convey leadership skills and experience, especially if you haven’t previously held a leadership position. As a workaround, think about times when you showed initiative, facilitated communication, or demonstrated adaptability, perhaps on previous projects or as part of other groups. What steps did you take to help a project come to fruition successfully? How did you mediate communication between two groups, or change tactics when it was clear one wasn’t working? Even in the absence of formal leadership positions, there are so many ways to show you’ve got what it takes to thrive as an administrative assistant.

Leadership is a multi-faceted skill comprised of a wide array of valuable personal qualities; putting them on your resume tells potential employers that you’ll be an asset to their company, and they’ll also help you advance into positions with more responsibility in the future.

Source: By CareerBuilder

Looking to Be the First Woman in the NFL

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Antoinette “Toni” Harris aims to be the first woman to play in the National Football League (NFL). “If it doesn’t happen, I can just pave the way for another little girl to come out and play, or even start a women’s NFL,” Harris said in a recent interview with NBC News, following her decision to sign with the Central Methodist University football team. Harris, a 5-foot-7 free safety, is on track to become the first female football player in school history as well as the first female skill position player to sign a letter of intent to play college football on a scholarship.

Harris chose Central Methodist over five other offers. “I picked Central Methodist because of the resilience within the school itself and how Coach Calloway had been communicating with me,” Harris said.

The endeavoring NFL player gained national notoriety after starring in a Super Bowl commercial for Toyota earlier this month and has been interviewed by the likes of CNN, NBC News, and Sports Illustrated. She spent two seasons at East Los Angeles College and says she felt Coach Calloway had her best interest at heart during the recruiting process.

“Sometimes you have to pick and choose,” said Harris. “I feel that Central Methodist will be the perfect place for me.”

Sources: becauseofthemwecan.com, cmueagles.com