7 Strategies to Advance Women in Science

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stem cell research

Despite the progress made by women in science, engineering, and medicine, a glance at most university directories or pharmaceutical executive committees tells a more complex story. Women in science are succeeding in fields that may not even be conscious of the gender imbalances.

In a recent issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell, the Initiative on Women in Science and Engineering Working Group—of more than 30 academic and business leaders organized by the New York Stem Cell Foundation presented seven strategies to advance women in science, engineering, and medicine in this modern landscape.

“We wanted to think about broad ways to elevate the entire field, because when we looked at diversity programs across our organizations we thought that the results were okay, but they really could be better,” said Susan L. Solomon, co-founder and CEO of the New York Stem Cell Foundation and a member of the working group. “We’ve identified some very straightforward things to do that are inexpensive and could be implemented pretty much immediately.”

  1. Implement flexible family care spending

Make grants gender neutral by permitting grantees to use a certain percentage of grant award funds to pay for childcare, eldercare, or family-related expenses. This provides more freedom for grantees to focus on professional development and participate in the scientific community.

  1. Provide “extra hands” awards

Dedicate funds for newly independent young investigators who are also primary caregivers and hire technicians, administrative assistants, or postdoctoral fellows.

  1. Recruit gender-balanced review and speaker selection committees

Adopt policies that ensure that peer review committees are conscious of gender and are made up of a sufficient number of women.

  1. Incorporate implicit bias statements

For any initiative that undergoes external peer review, include a statement that describes the concept of implicit bias to reviewers and reiterates the organization’s commitment to equality and diversity.

  1. Focus on education as a tool

Academic institutions and grant makers must educate their constituents and grantees on the issues women face in science and medicine. For example, gender awareness training should be a standard component of orientation programs.

  1. Create an institutional report card for gender equality

Define quantifiable criteria that can be used to evaluate gender equality in institutions on an annual basis. For instance, these report cards may ask for updates about the male to female ratio of an academic department or the organization’s policy regarding female representation on academic or corporate committees.

  1. Partner to expand upon existing searchable databases

Create or contribute to databases that identify women scientists for positions and activities that are critical components for career advancement.

“The issues in science, technology, engineering, and medicine are the kinds of challenges that we as a society face, and we need to have 100 percent of the population have an opportunity to participate,” Solomon said. “We need people who care because they’re thinking about their daughters or granddaughters or nieces, sisters or wives, or larger issues like finding cures for disease or climate change and they want to make sure that we’ve got enough horsepower behind us.”

Source: Cell Press

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

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LaShyra Nolen stands outside of class looking confidents at Harvard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue on to Teen Vogue to read the complete article.

How Women Can Break Into the Tech Industry

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Programmers working in a software developing company office

With how popular technology has become within many industries, jobs are always in demand for tech. Though it is true that, statistically, the field of technology is seemingly male-dominated, it doesn’t mean that you should be discouraged from giving this field a try. You don’t have to have a degree in this particular industry to get a job working with computers.

There are plenty of tools and resources at your disposal to help you gain and build technical skills you will need in these various demanding occupations.

Having the right skills is one thing, but surviving the “macho” environment that has caused so many women to leave the industry is another factor to take into consideration.

Luckily, there are ways to push back on this and keep your position.

Get the Skills

If you have zero technological skills, then give coding a try. There are a multitude of free Coding Bootcamps online you can try. They could be full-time or part-time, and some could even provide you with job opportunities. Some of them are available in person. That way, you could ask questions to a teacher and get an immediate response rather than send an email and wait for a day. There are coding bootcamps that cost money, but they are worth it for the hands-on learning that will apply to your future career.

Find Your Niche

You’ll need to stand out from the competition if you want to get hired. In this male-dominated industry, you’ll most likely get employed as a woman if you have a unique portfolio. That doesn’t mean that you need to have a very particular set of skills. You could have the same skills you learned in your coding Bootcamp but used in a relatively new and obscure way. Being able to utilize your technological knowledge for things like mobile development, cloud infrastructure, bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, management, and much more is going to increase the chances of businesses looking in your direction. You could also look for an industry that lacks but also needs technological workers.

Apply for Jobs Where Women are in Upper Management No matter how skilled you are, you may still face discrimination in the workplace. Many work environments of technology companies tend to have a fraternity-like atmosphere. That means that not only can you face situations ranging from uncomfortable to sexual harassment, but upper management and human resources probably wouldn’t do much about it. If you get a job where there are women in upper management, then they’ll be more likely to fight for you. As a whole, they could help foster a healthier work environment where female employees wouldn’t have to face discrimination every day.

Soft Skills Play a Role in this Industry

Being great at specific tasks in the job is just half of what you need to work successfully. Cooperating with others and proper communication is just the beginning of having excellent soft skills. You must be someone who can both take and give constructive criticism. Know how to read the room, and determine whether someone wouldn’t mind interaction or would prefer to be left alone. Also, don’t forget to be yourself. Even if you’re the only woman at your job, there’s no need to compete with your coworkers for the sake of proving yourself.

Start a Passion Project

For many women, technology is their passion. If you’re in this group of women, then use that passion for creating websites or working on a video game. Technology itself may not be your passion, but you can use technology to follow the passions you do have. If you like playing the piano, then you could develop an app and corresponding device that can help people learn the piano through playing games. A passion project driven by technology is a great way to get your foot in the door of the industry. It will help build your skills and experience as well as keep your knowledge sharp.

The technological industry still has a long way to go in terms of making their occupations more welcome to women. There will be a lot of things out of your control if you get a technological job, but don’t let that discourage you. More and more occupations are becoming available in this industry, and it’s becoming easier for everyone, including women, to get the skills needed to qualify. Technology can be a lot of fun as well as rewarding. There are many success stories of women who have made a significant impact on the technological industry, and you could be one of them. So find a coding bootcamp and start your career path to technology today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

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

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    Group of diverse co-workers standing around talking

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

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

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

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

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

    Letting people in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Dealing with people you’ve already let in

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

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

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

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

    Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

    What Women Want At Work

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    Smiling young African American businesswoman leaning on a table in an office lounge working on a laptop

    Generation Z is set to make up over a third of the workforce in 2020, and the oldest of the generation are settling into their careers, or are already moving into their next roles. At Fairygodboss, the largest career community for women, we took a look at what Gen Z women expect from employers, managers, and companies as well as their general opinions about the workplace and their careers.

    A surprising and significant takeaway from the survey was the value, or lack thereof, that Gen Z places on long-term, professional relationships. Most notably, over half of the survey respondents have never had an internship and almost a third think you don’t need any internship experience to land a job. And once landing the job, over half (55%) of respondents said that they plan to stay or stayed in their first full-time position for less than four years, and almost a quarter (24%) reported planning to stay or staying for less than a year.

    A crucial part of establishing yourself as a professional in an industry is building a strong network, which is typically something that takes time and requires more long-term professional relationships. Not to say that a person can’t build a network while they’re hopping between jobs or even working for themselves. Many individuals can prove this to be true. But it does suggest a major change in the future of career development for this new generation of the workforce.

    There’s a well-known statement that 80% of jobs are never posted, meaning that having a robust network may help you get a leg up on these “hidden” opportunities and give you a better chance at accessing them. Yet, from our research, we found that the number one way Gen Z women reported looking for their most recent job or internship was through an online jobs board, followed by their college or university jobs board.

    Not to discount the value of a network, the third and fourth most popular ways respondents found their positions were through friends and connection referrals, but when it came to researching companies, Gen Z women still rely on digital sources like the company website (69%), social media (49%), and company review websites (44%) as their main sources of information. To sum it up: Gen Z women don’t believe it’s who you know, but rather it’s what you know that matters.

    While the notion of changing jobs one or more times in the span of a few years is a foreign concept for some individuals, it may actually stand to benefit this new generation of workers. Overwhelmingly, throughout the survey, we found that the aspect of any job that respondents value most is the compensation. Sixty-three percent of female respondents said the most important quality they look for in a company is that it pays well. When asked if they could only have one thing at their next or first full-time job, 53% of respondents said they want a high salary. This may also explain why over half of respondents have never had an internship where the pay is very low or, sometimes, even nonexistent.

    Perhaps changing jobs is the best way to get that desired high salary. Research has shown that when individuals stay in their jobs for too long they may actually lose money, as compared to if they changed jobs. When you accept a base salary for a position, you can only receive raises based on a certain percentage of that salary. If you’re a master negotiator, you might be able to get the raise you want every time, but for many others, the only way to get a 10% or 20% (or more) pay increase is to change jobs where you can ask for a higher starting salary.

    It will be interesting to watch as Gen Z continues to enter the workforce and make up a larger portion of working individuals and see how their opinions change, or if they stay the same. Members of this generation are only beginning their careers, so they’re here for the long haul–although maybe not too long.

    Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

    Retired US Navy Commander and Harvard MBA Begins New Career with Floor Coverings International

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    Kris Piotrowski stands outside in front of her work vehicle

    Kris Piotrowski’s background couldn’t have positioned her any better for her “second career.” The fact that she’s following in the legacy of her father is only icing on the cake.

    The 48-year-old Piotrowski, a retired U.S. Navy Commander who holds a Harvard MBA and also had a successful stint working in Corporate America, launched operations as a franchise owner with Floor Coverings International, visiting customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Floor Coverings International Mesa, AZ serves clients throughout Mesa, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Queen Creek, Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Laveen, Litchfield Park, Tolleson, Avondale and Goodyear.

    “I do think that my military experience, coupled with my leadership and business training from Corporate America, is a definite asset to my business,” said Piotrowski, a Scottsdale resident who spent four years after her military career as a Facilities and Logistics expert. “Additionally, I have more than 10 years of facilities/flooring experience and am organized and driven.”

    Piotrowski was further inspired to pursue small-business ownership when she recalled her father’s trade when she was a youngster. “I have always wanted to own my own business,” she said. “I grew up with a father who was a cobbler and supported his family by making and repairing shoes. When I received my MBA, I realized I wanted to be an entrepreneur and it was an inspiring moment in my career.”

    In Floor Coverings International, Piotrowski found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations.

    “I was inspired to select Floor Coverings International over other franchisors based on its culture, franchisee support, initial investment, and of course, being able to set my own schedule,” Piotrowski said. “Floor Coverings International was head and shoulders above the rest.”

    ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

    Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2020. 

    For franchise information, please visit flooring-franchise.com

    And to find your closest location, please visit floorcoveringsinternational.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Qualcomm is Hiring! Browse Opportunities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What kind of questions should you ask at the end of a job interview?

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    group of people sitting outside office waiting for an interview

    It’s a scenario many of us have found ourselves in. You’re nearing the end of a job interview and finally, you can begin to relax a little. Despite the nerves, you’ve come across well and answered all the questions confidently – and with a little bit of luck, you may just be offered the position.

    Before you can run out of the room, however, the interviewer wants to know if you have any questions for them.

    It might be tempting to say no, so you can leave as quickly as possible – but asking questions can be of huge benefit when it comes to interviewing for a job.

    Firstly, it’s important to remember that interviews should always be considered a two-way street. Yes, the recruiter is interested in finding out if your skills and abilities are suited to the role in question. But a job interview is also a chance for you to work out if this is the right job for you – and if you are going to fit in well at the company.

    “As candidates, we can often get caught up in the whole process, particularly as we try to remember the answers we’ve prepared but it’s equally as important to take time towards the end of the interview to ask your own questions,” says Row Davies, HR business manager at the recruitment firm Macildowie.

    While you’re preparing for your interview and imagining the kind of questions you might be asked, it’s also useful to think about any queries you might have too. However, don’t ask an interviewer anything you can find out easily yourself, either online or on the company’s social media channels.

    “It’s crucial for you to assess whether the company is the right fit for you, as just like any relationship, both need to benefit and feel comfortable with the partnership,” Davies says.

    “Not only does the process allow you to show your enthusiasm for the company, asking questions also gives you the opportunity to check your goals and values are aligned with the business. You don’t want to be a year or more down the line and find that the company is heading in a direction that you don’t want to or perhaps can’t follow.”

    So what kind of questions should you be asking as an interview candidate?

    Davies believes there are three key questions that should be on every job applicant’s list.

    “The first, is asking the interviewer ‘is there anything regarding my experience you would like me to expand upon?’. Not only does this show that you are engaged, it also provides you with the opportunity to further emphasise your strengths and how you believe these will be an asset to the company’s objectives,” she says.

    The second is about learning and development – and specifically, whether the company is actively investing in their employees. After all, you want to know that you’re going to move forward in a job.

    “Ask, ‘how do you support the professional development of your employees?’. Answers to this question will give you an insight into how the business will support you as you progress up the career ladder,” Davies says.

    “It also shows the interviewer you have aspirations and a drive to succeed in the organization.”

    Finally, it’s a good idea to find out more about the company’s environment and whether they look after their employees.

    “I would encourage any of my candidates to ask the interviewer, ‘what do you like most about working for the company?’ This is great for building a personal connection with the interviewer, giving them the opportunity to share their personal views and the passion they have for the company,” Davies says.

    Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

    5 times it makes sense to include your high-school job on your résumé

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    Whether it was bagging groceries, manning the fast food drive-through, or babysitting, many of us had jobs in high school. Entry-level roles give us our first workplace experience and help shape our work ethic. But do they belong on a résumé?

    According to a report by recruitment software provider iCIMS, 70% of recruiters identified past work experience as being more important than an entry-level applicant’s college major. But there is not a one-size-fits-all approach for knowing how far back to go on your résumé, says Amy Warner, iCIMS director of talent acquisition.

    Think about what you want to convey to the employer,” she says. “Highlight the roles or skills that are relevant.”

    Career experts often recommend going back about 10 years on your résumé. Here are five times when adding your part-time positions to your résumé could be helpful within or even after that timeline:

    1. If the experience is relevant

    If the role is relevant and you can connect the dots to the job you’re applying for, keep it on your résumé, says William Ratliff, career services manager at Employment BOOST, a professional résumé writing and career services firm.

    “For example, a job you had bussing tables or serving coffee in college won’t help much if you’re applying for a marketing management role five years out of school,” he says. “If you’re fresh out of college with no job history, those positions can help showcase your work ethic and customer service skills, but they lose relevance as soon as your professional career begins in earnest.”

    Be strategic in how you present your customer service-oriented roles. Ratliff recommends searching job descriptions for skills and traits that crossover, like team leadership, problem-solving, financial reporting, relationship building, or anything you else you can feasibly connect to the positions.

    “Focus your résumé’s content on those skills, how you used them, and the concrete result of their application,” he says. “That way, your résumé will include the right key terms while illustrating how you benefited your former employers in those roles.”

    2. If the job was in the same industry

    Listing high school and college jobs can be helpful if they demonstrate you’re familiar with the industry, says Dr. Wanda Gravett, academic program coordinator for Walden University’s MS in Human Resource Management program.”Listing that early experience could advocate for your foundational knowledge and learning from the bottom up,” she says. “Coupled with your education, this might be a good sell and get you in the door for a low- to mid-level position.”

    Candace Nicolls, senior vice president of people and workplace at Snagajob, an hourly job marketplace, agrees. “If you’re applying for a role that’s related to an hourly job you once had, list it,” she says. “If you want to get into merchandising, list your retail experience. Mention your restaurant experience if you want to work at their corporate headquarters. Nothing teaches hustle like hourly jobs.”

    3. If you were promoted

    If you started washing dishes and worked you way up, include your experience, says Louisiana restauranteur Chris McJunkins. “If you show growth, such as starting as a busboy and making it to manager, it is something I would want to show,” he says. “Your future employer would see that you started here and were respected enough to keep getting promoted.”

    McJunkins started in the restaurant business at age 15 bussing dishes and now owns his own independent restaurant, eight Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux locations, and one Cantina Laredo. He says if you can do restaurant work, you can do anything.

    “You deal with people on every single level, he says. “If you’re in management, you’re dealing with employees of all different educational and financial backgrounds. And you’re dealing with all levels of people with customers. You learn to communicate with people.”

    4. If you want to demonstrate work ethic

    High school or college jobs often demonstrate your level of motivation, says Dena Upton, vice president of people at Drift, a conversational marketing and sales platform. “These jobs can be a great indication of your work ethic and drive—particularly if you are early in your career,” she says.

    For example, if you were a manager of a restaurant when you were in college, it can speak to leadership experience. Or if you were a retail salesperson, it can demonstrate your customer service abilities.

    If you had a part-time job and participated in extracurricular activities, this can be especially telling, says Upton. “You shouldn’t shy away from showcasing things like sports achievements or volunteering, as not only do they paint a fuller picture of who you are and what makes you tick,” she says, “but they can be a great indication of your leadership, time management, and teamwork skills.”

    5. If you plan to talk about the job in an interview

    Employers often ask behavioral-based questions during an interview, such as “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer.”

    Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

    The evolving face of female entrepreneurship

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    With more women embarking on the entrepreneurial journey today than ever before, female business owners no longer fit a single mold. Whether women turn to entrepreneurship to have more flexibility or more control over their future, the growing number of small business owners is playing a positive role in the overall health of the economy by creating jobs, increasing exports and fostering innovation. In fact, women are starting companies at higher rates than ever before, with the number of women-owned businesses increasing by 45 percent from 2007 to 2016.

    To better understand the motivations female entrepreneurs have for starting a business and the challenges they face, Northwestern Mutual conducted a survey of entrepreneurs whose companies made at least $50,000 in annual revenue.

    Key findings that emerged from the report include the varying attributes and aspirations of female entrepreneurs, their motivations for starting a business and differing investment styles.

    The four personas

    The research found that entrepreneurial women generally approach their business in one of four ways: Dreamers & Doers, Family Legacy Entrepreneurs, Passionistas and Lemonaders.

    • Dreamers & Doers are drawn to the attractiveness of a new idea; they see opportunities in the market they want to expand upon. Mainly consisting of Caucasian women, these entrepreneurs are more likely to be single and unrestricted by family responsibilities.
    • Family Legacy Entrepreneurs have inherited their business or want to provide employment to family members. These entrepreneurs are mainly Asian and Hispanic women and more likely to be married and caring for family members. Of all groups analyzed, Family Legacy Entrepreneurs were the most substantial in size.
    • Passionistas are focused on doing what they love. They are not necessarily concerned with business growth, but ultimately aim to support the lifestyles they desire. This persona is predominantly Caucasian women, and many are likely to be caring for family members. As a result of feeling conflicted between work and family, these women tend to have created their business as a way to achieve a better work-life balance.
    • Lemonaders created their businesses because they were unemployed or under-employed. Entrepreneurship was a viable option for them, and some of their companies grew to a substantial size. These entrepreneurs are primarily African American women and tend to be younger than other female business owners.

    Entrepreneurial motivations

    While female entrepreneurs cited many reasons for starting their own business, the desire to make a difference often factored into their decision. Research found that women are more likely to start companies that make a social impact than men (43 percent versus 33 percent).

    Other top reasons for starting a business included being their own boss (69 percent), flexible working hours (60 percent) and controlling their destiny (58 percent).

    Self-perception and behavior

    The study also looked at how female business owners think and behave. For instance, women are more likely to lose sleep over business concerns than men (71 percent versus 61 percent). Those concerns include how to maintain and improve profitability, keeping up with the competition and coping with irregular income. Due to their greater family obligations, Family Legacy Entrepreneurs had the highest business concerns.

    As a result, women launching businesses are more likely to take preparatory steps than men, which includes determining their business goals and consulting a professional about financing. Women who identified as Dreamers & Doers took more preparatory steps than any other persona, while African American women were the most likely to consult a professional advisor.

    Investment styles

    Another key survey finding indicated that female business owners put more time into their investments. Because women tend to be more risk averse than men, they are more likely to prioritize business goals, seek opinions and value professional guidance when making investment decisions. For instance, women who identified as Passionistas stated they often seek advice from professionals even if they do not go along with it.

    Female entrepreneurs noted that business and financial planning was important to the continued growth of their business. In fact, female business owners were almost 10 percent more likely to revisit their financial plan regularly. Since many female entrepreneurs are supporting family members, ongoing financial planning helps them create the security they need and align their personal goals with their business objectives.

    Looking ahead

    As more and more women make the entrepreneurial leap, staying informed and seeking professional guidance can help female entrepreneurs improve the state of their company and run a more successful, enduring business.

    Author: Ashlee Bridge, Financial Advisor