Black, queer and female: VC founder starts her ‘own league’

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Five years ago, Arlan Hamilton set her eyes on becoming a venture capitalist in “the land of opportunity” she called Silicon Valley.

But as a queer black woman, she found the industry wasn’t in her favor.

“I tried earnestly and with wide eyes,” Hamilton told CNN Tech. “But I just got doors slammed in my face. Nobody was interested.”

Hamilton, then 34, also struggled to afford a place to live. Even as she tried to set up meetings with potential partners, she spent nights on the floor of the San Francisco Airport.

Later that year, her first investment came through. She started Backstage Capital, a firm dedicated to funding underrepresented founders who identify as LGBTQ, women and people of color.

Since its launch in 2015, the company said it has invested over $2 million in more than 50 startups. This includes ShearShare, a platform that connects stylists to salons, and Astral AR, an augmented reality piloting system for dronesIts goal is to reach 100 founders by 2020.

Starting her own fund meant facing a system that has not been fair to people of color, especially black women. According to a study by researchers from Babson and Wellesley colleges, female CEOs receive 3% of all VC funding. Meanwhile, black women founders made up only 0.2% of all VC deals between 2012 to 2014, according to #ProjectDiane. The study, which published last year, examined more than 60,000 startups in the U.S.

“I realized that [access to] opportunities were only for certain people. If anyone else wanted in, they’d have to create their own access and their own experience,” Hamilton said.

“I said, ‘I could not do this, but then I won’t see any change. If they wont let me in, I’ll start my own league.'”

Backstage Capital has since attracted support from Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield and Marc Andreessen, an investor in Twitter, Skype and Facebook.

Starting her “own league” wasn’t and still isn’t easy. The few black women founders who receive VC funding get significantly less of the pie. The average amount of money for a failed startup raises $1.3 million, but the average black female founder received $36,000, the #ProjectDiane study showed.

Part of the battle is explaining diversity can be good for business, said Hamilton. For example, companies with female founders saw 63% higher returns than companies with all men did, one study showed.

“It’s not about “helping” founders,” she wrote in a viral Medium post called “Dear White Venture Capitalists: If you’re reading this, it’s (almost!) too late“. “It’s about fueling an untapped ecosystem so that you may be lucky enough to reap the rewards in years to come.”

Continue onto CNN to read the complete article.

The Growing Influence of Women Entrepreneurs

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Business people meeting in conference room

There are many challenges that women face in the modern workplace — and that goes double for the boardroom or when trying to break through the ever-present ‘glass ceiling.’ These issues are never more of a challenge than when a woman decides she is going to go ‘off on her own’ as an entrepreneur. With locating reasonable financing, confronting gender bias and the paucity of appropriate mentors and the diminutive learning curve, a business owned and run by a woman can be a real struggle for survival.

Because of these special challenges, some backward-looking people still insist that women aren’t cut out to become business owners in their own right. This kind of negative mindset increases, sadly, when the woman is a person of color or disabled — or in any other way marginalized by lingering male prejudices. To break down these persistent barriers to success, women must be willing to understand and recognize the problems they face when beginning a woman-centric enterprise. With understanding comes the determination to not let such medieval concepts upset their plans and helps to bring more women into entrepreneurial endeavors.

Finding the money

Traditional lenders, such as banks and credit unions, are some of the worst offenders when it comes to gender prejudice. Studies show that such lending institutions continue to be resistant to loaning out seed money to women entrepreneurs, to the extent that their approval rating is as much as 20 percent less than it is for men who are starting their own companies. While women do have a healthy access to alternative lenders offering business loans, which somewhat levels the playing field, these other lenders, usually online, charge interest rates that are always higher than a regular bank. So this means a woman-owned business starts off with a heavier debt load.

One alternative that seems to be working in women’s favor, though, is the rise in crowdfunding initiatives. This is a completely gender-neutral venue for raising capital for new businesses.

Mentoring

The process of mentoring is a recognized necessity for most male entrepreneurs, and there are many channels through which a man can obtain another older and experienced man’s help in starting up a new business. The same cannot be said for women — yet. Luckily, the numbers are going in an encouraging direction.

While traditional infrastructure, such as banks, is still male-dominated, other areas, especially in sales and marketing, are now becoming rapidly equalized between men and women, and a woman who is beginning her own business should look to the marketing and/or sales sector for an experienced and savvy mentor to help her steer her ship through the riptides and shoals of the startup ocean.

Continue onto Entrepreneur to read the complete article.

The iGen iEverything Train is Coming, but Are You Ready?

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iGen

Technology is being consumed at an ever increasing rate causing executives, managers, and process improvement experts on the factory floor to re-define the methods of training and dissemination that have become obsolete.

Critical skills and tribal knowledge are being lost as boomers retire and training plans for new employees fall short of preparing workers for the sophistication of the new manufacturing environment.

Move over millennials, here comes the IGen! Born between 1995 and 2005 this group of tech savvy natives is the next cohort and are just now entering the workforce. IGen, or Gen Z as they are often referred, have grown up in a world of social media where Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter reign supreme. These kids are a force to be reckoned with and require access to information in ways that are familiar, immediate, and actionable. Our success depends on them because as the IGen goes, so goes the manufacturing industry, the nation, and the world.

Alliance Resource Group, in partnership with Sify Technologies has pulled together experts from manufacturing, academia and automated methodologies to develop a solution that addresses the manufacturing challenge of this next generation and identifies the key components of a successful framework including content management, dissemination methodology, scalability, and integration with current learning management systems. These components constitute a micro-learning strategy that facilitates current and future state requirements.

Alliance Resource Group (ARG), is a service disabled veteran owned business located in Newport Beach California. With a foundation in resource management, recruiting, and consulting, ARG provides services to small and medium size companies throughout the United States.

View the ARG White Paper here! Better be prepared for total process transformation if you want to remain competitive.

Female CEO Takes on Tech Industry with Edge Music Network

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Elizabeth Vargas

Professional Woman’s Magazine (PWM) recently had the pleasure to speak with Elizabeth Vargas, founder and CEO of Edge Music Network.

PWM: Let’s start with the obvious question first: What’s your take on the lack of female leaders in the tech space?

EV:   I could give a dozen reasons and even more excuses for our gender’s absence in the C-suite—not only in tech but in nearly every industry—but I won’t. The truth is that no one cares about why you haven’t succeeded; they’re only interested in how you’ve succeeded. That’s where I want to go. I want to focus on the future, and prove that with vision, hustle and commitment that you can break through and achieve your dreams. That’s how I think I can help young and mature female entrepreneurs achieve their goals and dreams.

PWM:   Okay. Let’s go there… tell us your story.

EV:   As a child, I always loved music and theory but wasn’t allowed to watch TV until I was 13. My dad was a preacher and I think he thought that delaying my exposure would protect me from the outside world. So, it’s kind of funny that, of all programs, I got hooked on MTV. I remember thinking I would own it one day! That was my big dream– which eventually evolved into what is now Edge Music Network.

PWM:   A lot must have happened between “one day” and now…

EV:   In between, I gravitated to all things music, first studying jazz vocals at the Cornish College of the Arts and then creating the Vargas Girls Jazz Cabaret in Seattle–where we played in nightclubs. My experience in the music industry paved the way for Edge Music Network to acquire the content libraries of some of the largest music publishers in the world.

PWM:   Has there been anyone who has helped you along the way to achieve your big dream?

EV:   I get asked that question often. People assume since I’m a successful female CEO and entrepreneur, I have a powerful man or group backing me. It was the exact opposite. I had everyone around me including those closest to me telling me to quit while I was ahead and it couldn’t be done and to give up on a regular basis. But I can tell you, everything I’ve achieved has been of my own sheer will, passion and desire to work hard– beginning with the Vargas Girls. I had a day job testing software, which came naturally to me. Being tech-savvy helped me launch our first website and later, my own digital channels like YouTube live video, where I live-streamed and interviewed bands and rock legends—all while keeping focus on becoming the next MTV. The only thing that changed for me was the platform. Television wasn’t the only game in town.

PWM:   Speaking of the only game in town, explain Edge Music Network and how it diverges from other music video platforms like Spotify and Vevo.

EV:   Edge Music Network (EMN) globally streams premium music video content from top-tier distribution partners and independent artists. But it’s more than a free platform for fans to watch their favorite music videos and entertainment programming. EMN offers fans access—from phones, tablets, computers and TVs—to the music and artists they love while providing artists and record labels with the royalties they deserve. We’ve completely flipped the compensation structure of platforms like Spotify and Vevo that give artists 10 percent or less of the profit share. We ensure a 90/10 split in the artists’ favor. On top of that, because EMN believes in the transformative power of music, we dedicate 10 percent of ad revenue to charitable causes such as those that feed the hungry, house the homeless and help victims of natural disasters.

PWM:  Sounds like you found a straight path to your dream. Was it really so simple?

EV:   It has been anything but simple. I spent years learning how to navigate application development, digital rights agreements, content licensing and distribution and how to acquire the content libraries of some of the largest music publishers in the world to bring EMN to life. But it’s the decades of relationship-building with my partners, advisors, record labels and artists that serve as the foundation of EMN.

PWM:   What’s your advice for women today who want to pursue a career or start-up in tech?

EV:   Today, every business is tied to technology, whether you work behind a desk, with your hands, your voice or your heart. So, to say there are few women in tech will eventually become a thing of the past. What may remain unchanged is the lack of female LEADERS in tech and that’s a personal choice. It’s up to each one of us to find our passion, find a mentor, find a way to achieve our goals, whatever the odds or the required education. Learn it. Do it. Fail. Get back up and do it again. And again. And that’s never easy. But it’s certainly fulfilling.

About Elizabeth Vargas:
Elizabeth Vargas is the founder and CEO of Edge Music Network, a music video streaming service providing live and on-demand content through a video syndication platform. After studying jazz vocal and music theory at Cornish College of the Arts and attending Bellevue University to study international business and media technology, Vargas combined her passions and pursued a career in the music industry. Over several years, Vargas was able to learn the ins and outs of application development, which allowed her to effectively lead the development and engineering of EMN’s platform. She has decades of experience architecting and brokering digital rights agreements between content creators and publishers to ensure equitable revenue share and royalty distribution and has worked with industry leaders to fight for fair compensation structures to keep the music alive—all of which paved the way for Edge Music Network. With deep working knowledge in content licensing and distribution, application development, as well as strong industry partnerships, Vargas acquired the content libraries of some of the largest music publishers in the world to bring to life the Edge Music Network app that gives artists the royalties and respect they deserve while giving fans access to the music they love—anytime, anywhere, from any device.

With philanthropy at the core of Edge Music Network, Vargas has built one of the most technologically advanced platforms to bring people together with the power of music while providing support to charitable organizations that feed the hungry, aid victims of natural disasters and support homeless veterans. For more information, visit edgemusic.com. Download the app at Apple ITunes Store and Google Play.

Meet The Millennial Women Bringing Black Girl Magic To Advertising

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The ladies of 19th and Park, a creative marketing company are currently shaking up the male-dominated advertising industry, through their fresh take on video, social and experimental content. Meet Whitney Headen, Tahira White, and Nicole Januarie, affectionately coined as the trifecta of #blackgirlmagic. These three millennial women are passionate about helping companies cut through the noise of the media industry to create lasting and compelling content targeted to their key consumers. 19th & Park is committed to consistently integrating new technologies, influencers, micro-influencers, celebrities, and creative strategy to reach the population at mass to not only sell products but sell the lifestyle that comes with it.

Headen, White, and Januarie, started 19th &Park with the intention of creating a more diverse representation on the creative and innovation side for brands and agencies, given that there is a lack of inclusion within the advertising, social media and communications industries for African-American women.

Not only does the agency offer a full-service production and execution team ran and operated by women but they also provide an extended team of experts that lend out creative consultation, brand development, budget management and project for all creative products. The trifecta adds diversity and efficiency to rooms where those positions have never really existed while reinventing the traditional contractor role by presenting a full agency as an in-house creative team.

Since 2017, 19th & Park has worked on creative campaigns with Issa Rae, Nike, Prudential, Smirnoff, Coca-Cola, and Intel, to name a few. I spoke with the ladies of 19th and Park to learn about how they provide a 360-degree multimedia branding experience, what sparks their creativity and advice for the millennial determined to make it in the marketing and advertising industries.

Dominique Fluker: Share your career journeys. From working in marketing and production at Essence Magazine to freelancing for companies like Nike and Samsung, what led you all to collectively establish 19th &Park?

19th &Park: Whitney Headen: I grew up in a small town in Virginia and graduated college at the height of the recession. I chose to move to New York City to pursue opportunities in media that I knew I wouldn’t have a chance at getting in Virginia. For an entire year, I worked odd jobs in retail and volunteered with no luck at landing any opportunities in my field. Right when I was ready to leave and head back to Virginia, I received an email that I got an internship at MTV about a year and a half after graduation. Although you had to be a student to be an intern, I knew this was my one shot to get into my field so I told them I was still in school and started interning. After working on set for about a year, I realized that that wasn’t my passion or the journey I wanted to take so at a networking event I met the head of digital at BET and was offered a job as his assistant immediately. This job introduced to the world of integrated marketing basically where you used production and marketing strategies to seamlessly integrate brands into digestible content.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Why is Professional Woman’s Magazine a top magazine for professional business women?

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Professional Woman

Given that 2018 has been cited as the “Year of the Woman,” it only makes sense that there be reputable, and relevant publications like “Professional Woman’s Magazine” to connect professional business women all over the nation.

Today, women are more engaged, energized and determined than ever. Issues that were long ignored are finally coming to the surface, and women are beginning to speak up and use their voices and influence to demand real change.

In the workplace, professional business women have made huge strides in the past twenty or thirty years, but statistics show that there is still more to achieve. As one of the nation’s fastest-growing magazines, Professional Woman’s Magazine promotes the advancement of multicultural women in all aspects of business and employment to ensure equal opportunity.

It is important that women feel supported, respected and represented and that is what makes Professional Woman’s Magazine a top magazine for professional business women.

The magazine covers news that ranges from professional concerns to civic affairs, trends, diversity careers and business. Every issue includes articles on education, finance, health, technology, travel, arts, lifestyle and family issues– all topics that impact the professional business woman.

Professional Woman’s Magazine, provides the latest, most important diversity news, covering virtually every industry, business and profession. This includes up-to-date statistics on workforce diversity as well as business-to-business trends. We offer both recruitment and business opportunities, along with accurate, timely conferences and event calendars. And, just as important, we spotlight inspiring role models and noteable mentors.

Looking for tips on how to boost your LinkedIn profile and land your dream job? Or maybe, you are an entrepreneur looking for a guide to start your own business.

Professional Woman’s Magazine gathers these types of informative, helpful  topics in one place.

And yes, Professional Woman’s Magazine does share articles featuring celebrity women, but on closer look you’ll see they’ve found celebrities who uphold the same values as the professional business woman.

We’ve highlighted inspiring celebrity business-minded women like Salma Hayek, Lucy Liu and Ellen Degeneres on our magazine covers and we shared an article about model Karlie Kloss helping girls learn code.

We believe that Professional Woman’s Magazine is a top magazine for women because women have a different perspective in work/life balance, customer service and employee relationships. They usually have a greater focus on community and charity causes and maybe even some contrasting views on entrepreneurship.

Based on their experiences, women entrepreneurs see the world through a different lens and, in turn, do things differently. We’ll be quick to note that we do not mean better, just differently.

This is reflected in the kinds of businesses women start. Whether it’s Priyanka Chopra, star of the ABC series “Quantico” who is standing up for girls as UNICEF’s Global Goodwill Ambassador, Estée Lauder, who turned a passion for skincare and make-up into a beauty empire, or Oprah Winfrey, whose media business continues to help women reach their potential.

As times continue to change there are more and more role models for professional business women to look up to and “Professional Woman’s Magazine” aims to honor these women. There are so many women in the world who can show us how to strategize, how to combine work and family and how to give back.

These are the stories that are going to empower other women to create a legacy of their own and that is what Professional Woman’s Magazine is about.

The Pipeline: How A Mars 2020 Engineer Started Her Career Later In Life

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When Melony Mahaarachchi interviewed at SpaceX in 2010, she was asked a question that would make most candidates go into panic mode: “We hire rock stars at SpaceX. You just presented a failed project. How do you expect us to think you’re a rock star?”

Mahaarachchi didn’t skip a beat when she answered, “Two reasons: Number one, rock stars are rock stars because they failed at the beginning and learned from their mistakes. Number two, be happy I failed before joining SpaceX so that failure is not at your cost.”

That searing reply was a bit unusual, but it was carefully crafted well before the presentation. Mahaarachchi, then applying for her first job, was different from many of her fellow applicants. The recent UCLA engineering grad was at least 10 years older, with two young children, and no summer internship experience. (“I was busy doing summertime with my kids.”)

But Mahaarachchi knew she was qualified enough to get the job as a mechanical design engineer and excel at it. So when an on-site interview was scheduled with only three days to prep, she started searching for a way to stand out in the competitive pool of candidates. Mahaarachchi was asked to create a 30-minute presentation on an engineering project. The audience would include her hiring manager, the VP of her prospective department, and the entire team of people in that department. She was also told that Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and tech wunderkind, might attend.

Mahaarachchi spent an entire day learning everything she could about Musk, reading blogs and biographies and watching every interview she could find on YouTube. She took notes: Musk liked going to Burning Man, he sold a computer game when he was 12, and as a student at the University of Pennsylvania, he reportedly turned a frat house into a nightclub. Since there’s so much coverage of Musk, Mahaarachchi confesses she also found out about “a lot of private things you should not know about your future boss.”

But the perceptive engineer derived a larger, more important message from her research on Musk and SpaceX: “I realized he was a man with many failures. At that time, SpaceX had not even launched the Dragon.”

So she decided to appeal to her future boss’s history with losing, and present her senior project from UCLA — one which her entire team had failed. It was a risky, but clever move, that ultimately paid off. By the time she arrived home, Mahaarachchi had a job offer waiting in her inbox.

Mahaarachchi’s journey to that first job was anything but usual, but it speaks to the persistence that has always defined her.

Continue onto Refinery29 to read the complete article.

Guide to Starting Your Own Small Business

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By: Jessica Goodman

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had the Sunday scaries. As in, those sinking, pre-Monday feels you get before another week at your whatever job. Yeah, it can be a slog — one you needn’t do any ­longer. If you’ve ever fantasized about being your own boss or setting your own hours, there is a solution. A good one: Start your own business.

There’s never been a better time for a woman to strike out on her own. In 2017, there were 11.6 million female-owned companies in America, generating an astonishing $1.7 trillion in profits, according to American Express. Women now make up 40 percent of new entrepreneurs. Why can’t you be one of them?

You just need the right tools, people, and yes, money on your side…and this comprehensive guide. It’s time to turn those Sundays into can’t-effing-wait-for-Mondays.

Always known you’d kill it as a personal trainer or long dreamed of opening a ­coffee shop? Get it, girl. But if you’re ­struggling to define the something you want to start, follow these steps.

Find Your Idea

Ask yourself: What’s missing in my area? What do friends always complain about? “Go into the world looking for problems,” says Amy Wilkinson, a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and author of The Creator’s Code. “When you find solutions, that’s where your business idea will be.” Maybe your town has great hiking trails but no tour guides or your city has a dozen yoga studios but no cycling classes. Just pick something you’re actually into, says Wilkinson. “When it’s your company, you need to be committed.”

Then, figure out who you’re up against, says Tina Wells, CEO and founder of Buzz Marketing Group. If you want to open a gluten-free pizza shop, list every pizza place within 10 miles, then tally how many do gluten-free. None? You’re good to go. But if you’ll be competing with two spots in the next town, think again. (If you’re dead set on slinging that GF crust, you must have stuff that sets you apart: original toppings, 24/7 delivery, etc.)

Finally, ID your customer. “If you can’t name your first five customers right away, yours isn’t a good idea,” says Wells. So if you’re starting an SAT tutoring service, you should be able to say, “My friend Maria’s sister would pay for this. Ditto my cousin Nikki.”

Write A Legit Business Plan

One study found that 78 percent of unsuccessful companies crash because they didn’t ace this crucial step. “But you don’t need an MBA to write a good one,” says Elizabeth Gore, ­president of Alice, a digital ­business ­adviser for women. You can download easy-to-follow ­templates from Alice, the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), or the Kauffmann Foundation’s FastTrac. Spend extra time on the below key factors, and seek help from SCORE, a nonprofit that matches entrepreneurs with mentors.

The Mission Statement
It should be hyperspecific and short — a few sentences max, says Gore. The tone needs to match the overall vibe of your brand.

The Background Research
To nail this section, you’ll need to amass in-depth details on similar businesses. If you’re opening a smoothie shop, go to every existing one you can and take notes on how long it takes customers to be served, what menu items are most popular, how many employees work at any one time, prices, and how the space is laid out. Are customers taking selfies? If so, perhaps your joint will feature a graphic selfie wall. Insta-success.

The Financial Proposal
Create Excel docs with estimates of how much money you’ll need to launch, how much you expect to make in the first year, how much you expect to spend in the first year…and whether you’ll break even or make a profit. In 2002, when Jeni Britton Bauer started Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in her home in Columbus, Ohio, she asked herself: How much can I charge for ice cream? If I got 10 people to buy from me every day, how much would we make? Would that total be enough for me to buy ingredients, pay myself, and pay back any loans?

Make It Official

Settle on a name that’s short, unique, and easily searchable. Try to think in two ­syllable words (á la Starbucks, Twitter, Facebook, Tinder). Bonus points for wording that carries personal meaning you can later use to promote your brand’s backstory. Go to USPTO.gov to see if someone has already trademarked your first choice. If not, apply ASAP with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on the same website.

Then, register your ­business with state and local governments to make it totally legal. The whole process should cost about $300. (Google “[your state] SBA” for help.)

And lock down a URL. Typically, [brand name]+[industry] setups work well (for example, MILKmakeup.com). But check what’s available by searching the WHOIS.net database. Claim your domain name via host sites like NameCheap, DreamHost, or GoDaddy, all of which charge around $15 a year.

Next, get an Employer Identification Number. You’ll need one to open a business bank account, apply for licenses and permits, and pay taxes. Apply for free at IRS.gov.

Then you can open a work-only bank account. Use this — not your personal one — to pay for legal and insurance fees, manufacturing costs, office supplies, and whatever else you need to keep the lights on. And once you launch, apply for a business credit card, which tends to have higher credit limits than personal cards.

Continue onto Cosmopolitan to read the complete article.

Sell Yourself and Your Brand

LinkedIn

Creating a personal brand helps employers see your uniqueness

Why take the time to develop a personal brand? See how you can stand out to employers.

  • In a tough job market, you need to stand out. Besides helping you identify your personal strengths, having a brand can pull your resume to the top of the pile, make you shine in interviews, and leave your LinkedIn readers positively wowed.
  • Corporations take great care to develop a brand that defines their product. Brands help inspire trust and commitment in consumers; if you apply similar thinking to your personal brand, you can distinguish your value in a way that inspires an employer’s interest in you.
  • With so many marketing options, you need to be consistent. Use your brand in all your job search communications, including your cover letter, in interviews, and in thank-you notes. Your LinkedIn and other social media should clearly reflect you and your professional brand.
  • Most work is project based. Your brand is a shorthand description of what you bring to a team or to the table for projects.

So, are you ready to start thinking—or rethinking—your personal branding strategy?

Consider several of your best work experiences and how you contributed to them. What skill or characteristic is reflected in your best work stories? How did you use it? With what result? Ask yourself: “Why do people like to work with me or employ me?” What earns you compliments or accolades? What do people depend on you for?

Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Are you friendly and always the one to organize social events at work? Your brand could include “an inveterate team builder and initiator.”
  • Do you take unusual care to ensure details are thoroughly thought through and accurate? Your brand could be “willing to take on the precision that scares others away.”
  • You might be an outstanding supervisor who makes operations flow and brand yourself “a problem-solver who excels at developing talent.”

You can identify your signature characteristics yourself or work with a career coach or counselor to help you identify them. It’s a good idea to ask for some feedback on your ideas from a few trusted friends or colleagues before you go public with your brand to avoid a mismatch of how you see yourself and how you may come across to others.

Source: careeronestop.org

Karlie Kloss and Teach for America team up to help 1,000 girls learn to code

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Karlie Kloss’ passion for coding hasn’t faded. And to prove it, the 25-year-old model and entrepreneur is taking her nonprofit coding program to the next level.

After taking a coding class herself, Kloss launched Kode With Klossy in 2015 in the hopes of making coding lessons more accessible to young girls and inspiring them to pursue careers in the tech industry. Now, the program is expanding its reach by launching 50 coding summer camps in 25 cities across America.

As a result, Kode With Klossy will be able to serve 1,000 girls this year between the ages of 13 and 18. The nonprofit is also partnering with Teach For America in a new initiative to train educators, so they can bring coding curricula back to their own communities.

“I initially took a coding class because I wanted to understand what this language I kept hearing about was,” Kloss said, explaining that she didn’t originally set out to start a nonprofit.

But after realizing what a powerful role coding plays in creating technologies that can transform society, she knew it was something she wanted to expose others to.

“I realized coding is amazing and thought, ‘How did I not have access to these skills sooner?'” she said.

“I wanted to offer that experience and that kind of learning to other girls who also might not have access to it,” she added, “because it’s going to continue to be relevant in the world that we live in.”

A day in the life of a Koder

The 1,000 girls that will get the opportunity to attend Karlie’s coding camps this summer will ultimately learn how to build a mobile app or website by the end of the two-week program.

Kode With Klossy currently teaches different “tracks,” including back-end and front-end development, allowing kids to learn the fundamentals of programming languages such as HTML, CSS, Ruby, and Javascript.

“This year we’ve also got a really exciting new track on Swift, so the girls at our camps not only learn the ABCs of code, but real-world examples of tech that touches our lives today,” Kloss said. “They’re learning what a loop is or how to interpolate using concepts or ideas that touch their lives, like Instagram, Twitter, or Postmates.”

Continue onto Mashable to read the complete article.

This 21-Year-Old Vegan Cafe Owner Is Making Healthy And Affordable Foods “Accessible To Everyone”

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Francesca Chaney is changing the game, one meal at a time. The 21-year-old college student is the owner and creator of Sol Sips, a vegan cafe located in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood.

Sol Sips started as a temporary pop-up shop that is being renovated to become a permanent location for anyone looking for a healthy and affordable meal. The cafe features an entirely plant-based menu of food and drinks, with no more than four ingredients in every product.

“The response that we got in the three months was really positive,” Cheney told VIBE of the pop-up shop. “We got a lot of feedback that encouraged us to keep going, so what it’s grown into is making these foods accessible to everyone.”

Despite being the daughter of a vegan nutritionist, Cheney was never pressured into following a plant-based diet. Instead, her mother made sure that she “understood the importance of eating healthy and eating plants.”

At age 16, Cheney (and some of her friends) transitioned into vegetarianism, but she wasn’t exactly eating the best foods. The only after-school meatless meals available in her neighborhood were fried tofu and broccoli from a local Chinese restaurant. “In terms of being a ‘healthy vegetarian’ or ‘healthy vegan,’ I didn’t really start that until around the time that I started creating the Sol Sips brand,” she said.

Cheney began making her very own beverages and unique herbal tea mixtures three years ago, which she sold in her community, and at different festivals and events. By 2017, Cheney scored a temporary pop-up space, and as of this year, her story has been spreading all around the internet.

Going forward, Chaney wants to lead neighborhood food tours and visits to local farms, to teach residents about the food options in their own communities. Her main goal is to educate people on the benefits of a plant-based diet without being pushy or overbearing.

Days before her official grand opening, VIBE spoke with the young entrepreneur about the challenges of running a business, and how she plans to turn Sol Sips into a global brand.

VIBE: How did Sol Sips evolve into a cafe?
Francesca Cheney: We were doing events, weekend gigs and festivals and we had an opportunity to do a pop-up [cafe] in an actual space. It was our trial period to test that vision with regular, local people, as opposed to somebody that is going to the festival because they know that they want to buy certain things. This was solely to be in the space of community.

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