Serena Williams joins board of SurveyMonkey

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Tennis star Serena Williams has 39 Grand Slam titles, four Olympic medals, major endorsement deals and her own line of clothing and accessories. Now she is embarking on a new mission: She says she wants to help tech companies diversify their workforces and solve one of the industry’s most vexing problems.

Williams, 35, will get her chance as she joins a Silicon Valley boardroom. Online survey service SurveyMonkey announced Williams’ appointment to its board on Wednesday, along with Intuit CEO Brad Smith.

“I feel like diversity is something I speak to,” Williams said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Change is always happening; change is always building. What is important to me is to be at the forefront of the change and to make it easier for the next person that comes behind me.”

Williams didn’t offer specifics about her goals as a corporate director. She implied that her very presence can help push the company — and, by extension, the industry as a whole — in a more diverse direction.

Individual board members don’t usually exert great influence over the companies they oversee, though they are often compensated handsomely in cash and stock for their part-time work. SurveyMonkey, a private company, didn’t say how much Williams will be compensated.

Silicon Valley’s lack of diversity has become a recurring source of embarrassment in a region that has long sought to position itself as an egalitarian place that doesn’t favor one gender, ethnicity or race over another. That philosophy hasn’t been reflected in high-tech workforces, despite the efforts of companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook to fix the problem.

Williams has been hanging around Silicon Valley more frequently now that she is engaged to high-tech entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of the online forum Reddit. Like many other African-Americans, she says she’s disappointed that the vast majority of high-paying technology jobs are filled by white and Asian men.

At SurveyMonkey, which employs about 650 workers, only 27 percent of technology jobs are filled by women. Just 14 percent of the total payroll consists of African-Americans, Latinos or people identifying themselves with at least two races, according to numbers the company provided to the AP.

Williams’ appointment is part of the solution, according to SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie. “My focus is to bring in change agents around the table who can open our eyes,” he said.

Continue onto ESPN 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.

Jane Fonda Made a Powerful Statement With Her 2020 Oscars Dress and Coat

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Jane Fonda wears red dress and carries red coat on the red carpet

Jane Fonda knows how to make a fashion statement. The Grace and Frankie star looked stunning while presenting the award for Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars, and she made every single detail of her outfit count. The 82-year-old actress stepped onto the stage at the 92nd Academy Awards in a ruby red, beaded Elie Saab gown with a red coat and a gray pixie haircut.

As part of her fight against climate change, Jane chose to wear the long-sleeve, open back dress for a second time after originally debuting it at the 67th International Cannes Film Festival in 2014.

The activist also added a simple, yet powerful touch with her now-famous red coat. Back in November, she declared it was “the last article of clothing” she would ever buy.

“When I talk to people and say, ‘We don’t really need to keep shopping. We shouldn’t look to shopping for our identity. We don’t need more stuff,’ I have to walk the talk,” she said on Capitol Hill. “So I’m not buying any more clothes.” Since then, the coat has accompanied her to a handful of protests and subsequently, to jail.

And to pack the final punch, the former fitness guru traded in her signature blonde bob for a silver pixie cut. She was also considerate about donning Pomellato jewelry “because it only uses responsible, ethically harvested gold and sustainable diamonds.”

Fans watching the 2020 Oscars from home applauded Jane for speaking her mind wherever she goes.

“So beautiful and true to her beliefs! Thanks for standing up for our Earth!” one person wrote on Instagram. “YES our environmentally conscious queen,” another added. “You look so powerful in that dress ❤️😍” a fan commented.

Continue on to Good Housekeeping to read the complete article.

The evolving face of female entrepreneurship

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Black female business owner standing in building looking out large window

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

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira delivered a red-hot Super Bowl halftime performance in Miami

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Jennifer Lopez Super Bowl draped in Puerto Rican flag during Halftime show

The Latina powerhouses were joined on stage by J Balvin and Lopez’s daughter.

Ever since Shakira and Jennifer Lopez were announced as headlining the Super Bowl LIV Halftime show, it was expected that the two would bring the Latino Power, and the singers did not disappoint.

The divas delivered a nearly 15-minute performance that began with Shakira, who opened with “She Wolf,” followed by a medley of her hit songs, including “Whenever, Wherever” and “Hips Don’t Lie.” Viewers at home and in the stadium were surprised to hear Shakira launch into “I Like It,” the song made famous by Cardi B., until Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny, who was featured on the track, joined in on a Super Bowl remix of sorts. Shakira also wowed with her guitar playing — or slaying — skills, nodding to Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” as she belly danced atop a fiery projection.

J. Lo’s performance followed with a demonstration of her pole dancing talents, courtesy of the movie “Hustlers,” in which she stars. It was just one of a dozen-plus choreographed pieces which showed her versatility as a performer and, yes, as a singer. Among her greatest hits mini-set were the classics “Jenny from the Block” followed by snippets of “I’m Real,” and “Get Right.” She then changed into a silver and nude one-piece and launched into “Waiting for Tonight.”

Colombian artist J Balvin joined Lopez for a performance of “Que Calor,” while she sang “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” The two switched to “Mi Gente,” on which Balvin collaborates on with Beyoncé, who was also in the building. As Balvin exited the stage, Lopez went into “On the Floor” and touched hands with her daughter Emme, who led as a vocalist in a chorus of children performing a slowed-down moving version of “Let’s Get Loud.” This was followed by Emme, whose father is Marc Anthony (also present in the stadium), delivering the chorus to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” Referencing her own heritage, Lopez was draped in a coat bearing the Puerto Rican flag.

Continue on to Variety 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 poses 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 www.flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location, floorcoveringsinternational.com

Fire Destroys Working Wardrobes Headquarters in Irvine, CA

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Working Wardrobes floor displays professional career attire for men and women job seekers

Non-Profit Facility Providing Work Attire and Training to over 105,000 Job Seekers since 1990 Loses Building and Donation Inventory to Fire

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (February 3, 2020): On Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020 at 5:50 a.m., a fire broke out at the Working Wardrobes headquarters located at 1851 Kettering Street, Irvine, California. It was several hours before firefighters could access the building. Everything has been destroyed by this fire and we are working closely with the Orange County Fire Authority and Irvine Police Department for more details.

“We are absolutely devastated by this catastrophic loss, the heart of our operations is gone and so is 30 years of history,” said Jerri Rosen, Founder and CEO, after the fire. “We are grateful and relieved to report that no one was hurt or in the building at the time of the fire. Now our job is to get back on our feet so we can serve our clients very quickly and we aim to do just that with the help of our remarkable community.”

STATEMENT OF FACTS
● Approximately 100 firefighters were at the scene
● OCFA Public Information Officer Capt. Tony Bommarito was onsite
● No injuries were reported
● Working Wardrobes has been in this 22,000-square-foot building since 2016
● Everything has been destroyed, including:
●Donation Center: Large warehouse filled with racks, bins, and boxes filled with thousands of donations. Including jackets, pants, shirts, blouses, ties, shoes, jewelry and additional accessories. Home goods, office supplies, etc.
●Wardrobing Center filled with quality clothing and accessories for men and women in a department like setting.
●Career Center: Computer labs where clients worked to research and apply for jobs online, training rooms and IT computer lab. Plus, the VetNet team and program for veterans, SCSEP program for seniors, all client services for women, men, young adults, and all wardrobing services.
●Corporate Office: Entire operations of Working Wardrobes

We are determined to work with our employees, volunteers and the Orange County community to rebuild and continue to fulfill our purpose of helping men, women, young adults and veterans overcome difficult challenges so they can achieve the dignity of work.

NEXT STEPS FOR US
Financial donations are what we need the most to rebuild and continue to provide services to veterans, seniors, and unemployed get back into the workforce. To make a financial donation, please visit: workingwardrobes.org/donate-money/

Our friends at Goodwill have stepped up to provide temporary space for our offices, wardrobe departments and donation center in their Fitness Center at 1601 E St Andrew Pl. Santa Ana, CA 92705.

Donations can be dropped off beginning Tuesday, February 4, from 10 am to 2 pm. We are so grateful for their support and partnership. Much will change for us over the next few months as we start our journey over, but we know the strength of our friends and supporters will buoy us. We need volunteers to help get our new temporary home set up.

PLEASE NOTE: Donated clothing must be in great condition, clean and ON HANGERS.  

Please contact KathiS@workingwardrobes.org or call (714) 210-2460. We will release a list of our needs for donations soon, please contact (714) 210-2460 for more details.

MORE ABOUT WORKING WARDROBES:
Working Wardrobes is Orange County’s foremost career development nonprofit, championing on behalf of at-risk men, women, young adults, and veterans to help them achieve the Power of a Paycheck ® . The organization was founded in 1990 by CEO/Founder Jerri Rosen. This is Working Wardrobes’ 30 th anniversary year. Over that time, with the help of our Orange County community, we’ve been able to help more than 105,000 people overcome barriers to employment and achieve the Power of a Paycheck ® .

Michelle Obama Is On Her Way To Becoming An EGOT

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Michelle Obama dresses in all white giving a thumbs up sign

Our forever FLOTUS Michelle Obama is officially a member of the Grammy family, and on her way to the coveted EGOT status, meaning she’s earned an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award.

On Sunday, Obama won Best Spoken Word Album for the audio recording of her New York Times bestselling memoir, Becoming, which chronicles her life, from her childhood in Chicago to her days in the White House. Released in 2018, the book has held a place on the bestsellers list for 58 weeks.

The Best Spoken Word Album award goes to noteworthy audiobooks, storytelling and poetry recordings. Other nominees in the category included, National Poetry Slam winner Sekou Andrews and the Beastie Boys. Although Obama wasn’t there to collect her golden gramophone, jazz singer and fellow Grammy winner Esperanza Spaulding graciously accepted it on her behalf.

Snagging this honor from the recording academy puts Obama in good company with Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr. and her husband Barack Obama. The former president is a two-time Grammy winner for Dreams From My Father (2006) and The Audacity of Hope (2008).

Obama is the second first lady to add the Best Spoken Word trophy to her mantle. In 1997, Hillary Clinton received the award for the audiobook of It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us.

Although this is Obama’s first Grammy win, in 2012 she landed a nod for her audiobook American Grown. But she didn’t actually record the audio for that book.

Snagging this honor from the recording academy puts Obama in good company with Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr. and her husband Barack Obama. The former president is a two-time Grammy winner for Dreams From My Father (2006) and The Audacity of Hope (2008).

Obama is the second first lady to add the Best Spoken Word trophy to her mantle. In 1997, Hillary Clinton received the award for the audiobook of It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us.

Although this is Obama’s first Grammy win, in 2012 she landed a nod for her audiobook American Grown. But she didn’t actually record the audio for that book.

Fans must wait until the Oscars on Sunday, February 9 to see if Obama gets another step closer to the small group of celebrities enjoying rare EGOT air. There’s only 15 people who have the honor, and only two Black entertainers—Whoopi Goldberg and John Legend.

Continue on to Essence to read the complete article.

Cynthia Erivo could become the youngest EGOT winner

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Cynthia Erivo on the red carpet at the premiere Of HBO's "The Outsider"

Cynthia Erivo is one step closer to EGOT status with an Oscar nomination for her turn as the iconic freedom fighter and suffragist Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ ‘Harriet.’

British actress Cynthia Erivo was nominated for her first Oscar on Monday morning for her performance as the iconic freedom fighter and abolitionist Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ “Harriet.”

The stage and screen actress (along with powerhouse singer — she is also nominated in the original song category) also earned Golden Globe, SAG and Critics’ Choice nominations for the role.

And while BAFTA controversially snubbed acting nominees of color entirely, the ceremony still asked her to perform (she declined).

Erivo was the only person of color nominated for an acting Oscar this year.

“Harriet,” distributed by Focus Features, exceeded box office forecasts when it opened in November, debuting to $12 million on its way to $43 million to date in global ticket sales. It marks the first feature leading role for Erivo, who stole scenes in 2018’s “Widows” and “Bad Times at the El Royale.”

She was first approached about “Harriet” while in the midst of a Tony-winning turn in the Broadway production of “The Color Purple.” The production is also responsible for her subsequent Grammy (for the cast recording) and Daytime Emmy (for a cast performance on NBC’s “Today”) wins. (For those who don’t want to count Daytime Emmys in EGOT status, Erivo will also headline the upcoming limited series “Genius: Aretha” for National Geographic. And playing music singer Aretha Franklin could put her in Primetime Emmy contention as well.)

Continue on to the LA Times to read the complete article.

Tiffany Haddish Stars in ‘Like a Boss,’ in Theaters Today

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Like a Boss premiere photo of the cast, including Tiffany Hassish, pose on the pink carpet

Tiffany Haddish is her usual hilarious self in the new film Like a Boss, which recently opened across the nation. In it, Mia (Haddish) and her best friend, Mel (Rose Byrne), are living their best lives running the own cosmetics company they’ve built from the ground up.

Unfortunately, however, they’re in over their heads financially and the prospect of a big buyout offer from a notorious titan of the cosmetics industry, Claire Luna (Salma Hayek), proves too tempting to pass up, which puts Mel and Mia’s lifelong friendship in jeopardy. The beauty business is about to get ugly.

The Paramount Pictures film, directed by Miguel Arteta and executive produced by Haddish and Nicolas Stern, also stars Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge, Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell, Jessica St. Clair and Karan Soni.

Watch the Trailer!

Continue on to Ebony to read the complete article.

Awkwafina makes Globes’ history with ‘Farewell’ acting win

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Awkwafina holds up her Golden Globe smiling at this year's event in Beverly Hills

Awkwafina said she had a “mind-blowing” experience after learning backstage she made history at the Golden Globes. The rapper and actress on Sunday became the first woman of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe for best actress in a musical or comedy film for her starring role in “The Farewell.” She’s best known for her comic role in “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Awkwafina believes she has more to prove.

“It’s pretty mind-blowing,” she said. “It feels incredible. There’s also another feeling that you are going to do more. I hope this is just the beginning.”

Awkwafina shifted course to play a young woman in a Chinese family that is keeping their matriarch’s cancer a secret from her in director Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell.” She said she particularly related to the film.

“Immigrants in this country who were raised to feel very American … and when we go back where, you know, we’re told that you don’t belong here and you go back to where you belong,” she said. “You feel like a stranger there and this constant feeling of being lost in translation. And I think that’s what really resonated with me in ‘The Farewell.’”
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The win is part of a breakout two-year run for the 31-year-old actress, who had a breakthrough year in 2018 after appearances in “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Ocean’s 8.”

Continue on to the Washington Post to read the complete article.