Hiring Managers Recall Their Scariest Scenarios

LinkedIn
Job Interview

Interviews are scary—there’s no denying it. We’ve all been there: sweaty palms, clenched fists, face to face with a potential employer. It’s perfectly normal to say something you might regret later because you let your nerves get the best of you.

Most hiring managers can overlook that awkward tension. But what makes an interview truly terrifying? What type of behavior sends hiring managers running for their lives?

We talked with a handful of hiring managers who shared their most shocking interview horror stories. From mistakes as basic as name blunders to stories as outlandish as being lectured by an angry mother, these interviewers were scared silly.

Learn from their experiences so you won’t find yourself haunted by a bad interview.

Six Seriously Scary Interview Stories

1. Too much information

One of the golden rules of interviewing is to never lie. But there are certain scenarios where it’s smart to tone down your true feelings, according to Brad Stultz, human resources coordinator at Totally Promotional. He recalls an interview with a candidate who was a little too honest—and borderline unprofessional.

“During an interview I had posed the question, ‘Why do you want to work here?’” he explains. “The candidate responded, quite candidly, with ‘I really don’t. I just need a job and figured you would do for now.’”

Stultz says he does appreciate candor, but a blunt statement like that left him feeling this wasn’t the best candidate for the job. It’s no secret that people use certain positions as stepping stones, but it is bad form to share this during the interview process. Instead, mention one or two things that impress you about the company.

“There are always positives to any position,” Stultz shares. “A little tact can go a very long way!”

2. Letting it R.I.P.

Sometimes nature calls during the most inopportune times. Gene Caballero, co-founder of Greenpal, remembers a particularly humorous interview experience involving a candidate’s bodily functions.

“The funniest thing that ever happened while conducting an interview was when the interviewee got a little gaseous and actually passed gas, not once, but twice,” Caballero shares. “All three hiring managers in the room lost it after the second one after letting the first one slide. It was very awkward there for a minute, and one of the managers actually had to leave because she couldn’t stop laughing.”

While it’s never a bad idea to show a hiring manager you’re comfortable and confident in their presence, you may want to take care of any disruptive bodily functions before an interview. Otherwise excuse yourself if necessary.

3. A bad sign

From your initial application through the interview and hiring process, honesty is always the best policy. You should never, ever lie on a resume, because you just might get caught red-handed. Ed Fisher, a consultant at Acumax, remembers catching a candidate in the middle of a lie.

While reviewing resumes for an open position, he noticed one candidate listed fluency in sign language as a qualification. This skill wasn’t really relevant for the job, but it caught his attention as he had taken several ASL courses himself. So he decided it would be fun to conduct a portion of the interview in sign language.

“I entered the conference room, sat down at the table with the Rasmussen Collegesmiling applicant and began signing,” Fisher says. “She had no idea what I was saying.” She went on to admit that she had never learned sign language, but her roommate had. Needless to say, the dishonesty made a negative first impression on Fisher.

“The interview concluded in 5 minutes,” he adds.

4. Family matters

We know family is important, but they don’t need to be involved in your interview process. Ben Histand of Equity Track will never forget the time he encountered an angry mama bear after passing on a candidate.

“We also interviewed someone and they had their mom call us after they did not get the job,” Histand shares. “The mother proceeded to berate us for not hiring her precious child.” Take note: While berating another human is almost always a bad idea, bringing a family member into the mix—especially into professional matters—can only make things worse.

5. Name games

If you’re applying for a job, make sure to educate yourself on the company’s background, including its key leaders. It just might come up in the interview, says Marcello Medini, sales team leader at PNG Logistics. He shares a story about a candidate who just couldn’t keep her details straight, at her own expense.

“An applicant had gotten the name of the president of our company wrong multiple times,” Medini recalls. He sent an email explaining that they decided to go a different direction and cited the name mix-up as an unfortunate error. “She then responded that she doesn’t understand and got his first name wrong yet again!”

6. Disappearing act

Though integrity is of utmost importance, there are some instances when too much honesty can be harmful, according to Brandon Hoffman, director of digital marketing for KEA Advertising. He explains on their job application, they include a question asking candidates what they would like to be doing in five years. Typically, he’ll see answers like “running my own business” or “advancing my digital marketing career.” But this candidate was different.

“The applicant answered ‘full-time magician,’” Hoffman recalls. “When he came into my office, I asked him, ‘Can you make yourself disappear?’” The candidate laughed, but Hoffman says he was serious.

“That was the end of the interview,” he says.

Author
Ashley Abramson

Source: rasmussen.edu/student-life

How to knock your next interview out of the park

LinkedIn
Women job interview

Give your interviewer a firm handshake. Make eye contact. Answer each question succinctly. Have questions to ask the interviewer at the end.

If you’ve had a job, then you’ve had an interview, and you likely know those interview essentials and these interview questions.

But if you want to move from being a viable candidate to the hiring manager’s top choice, you’ll need to go well beyond the basics. While the way you dress and present yourself is important, it will be the substance of your responses and interactions that leave the interviewer picturing you in the role—and, more importantly, being unable to imagine that anyone else could be a better fit.

Convey these four messages in your next interview, and you’re sure to hit a home run.

1. You Were Indispensable in Your Previous Jobs

Hiring managers want to hire people who have a history of getting things done. The logic goes that if you were successful in other jobs, then you’re likely to be successful in this one. Truly, nothing says “hire me” better than a track record of achieving amazing results in past jobs.

So, your first task in the interview is to describe how indispensable you were in your previous position. Now, you can’t just say, “I was the best Junior Analyst they’d ever seen, and the place will never be the same now that I’m gone”—you have to show the interviewer by providing specific examples of the actions you took and what results came because of them.

These are two of the four components of the S-T-A-R method for responding to interview questions. To use this method, set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context (e.g., “In my last job as a Junior Analyst, it was my role to manage the invoicing process”), but spend the bulk of your time describing what you actually did (the action) and what you achieved (the result).

“In one month, I streamlined the process, which saved my group 10 man-hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 5%.”

Don’t worry that someone else could have done it if they were in your position—they weren’t. It was your job, your actions, your results.

2. You Will Be Awesome in This New Job

Unfortunately, success in one role doesn’t necessarily translate to being a fit in another role—and to convince the interviewer that you’ll be able to hit the ground running and be awesome in the new job, you must explain how your skills translate. In particular, you want to highlight those skills that specifically address the issues that the hiring manager is facing.

To understand those issues, conduct industry research prior to the interview. Are there certain themes that come up again and again in job descriptions in your field, like being a shark at sales or a detail-oriented perfectionist? Also, listen closely to what the interviewer is asking—often, she’ll ask leading questions or share challenges that others before you have had in the role.

For example, say the interviewer asks, “We have tight deadlines and have to turn around our projects quickly. Can you work under time pressure?”

Don’t just say yes—give a response that showcases your skills and how they’d transfer, like: “Absolutely. In my last job, we often had short deadlines. I was great at managing these situations because I focused on consistent communication with the team, and used my organization skills to stay on top of everything we had going on.” Then, provide a specific example.

3. You’re the Perfect Fit for This Job

Companies have interview guidelines designed to hire the most qualified employees based on experience and aptitude, but let’s be honest: Often a big factor is likability.

Hiring managers don’t generally hire people that they don’t connect or vibe with. Of course, they don’t often say that—they cloak it in statements like, “She’s smart, but I just don’t think that she is the right fit for the role.” But the truth is, you won’t get hired if you’re not liked.

So, to get the job, you must connect with the interviewer. I’m not suggesting that you crack jokes or become buddies—but you should be confident and interact as if you’re already working together, through eye contact, active listening, smiling, and avoiding nervous laughter. I call it “relaxed formality.”

It’s an interview, so don’t get too comfortable, but try to be yourself and have a natural conversation.

4. You Really Want This Job

You’re almost there! But, it’s not enough that you’re capable of doing the job and would be pleasant to work with—you have to actually want the job. Hiring managers, after all, are looking for employees that really want to be there and will be part of the team for the long haul.

So, you want to show enthusiasm for the role. Not bouncy cheerleader “spirit,” but the type of enthusiasm that comes from understanding what the role entails, how you can add value in the role based on your previous experiences, and what new challenges it offers to you for growth and development.

Think, “One of the reasons I’m so excited about this role is because it allows me to leverage my client management skills [your expertise] with larger clients on more complex deals [the new challenge].”

And, of course, you’ll want to follow up with a genuine, seal-the-deal thank you note!

Read more great career advice articles from The Muse here

Author
Nicole Lindsay

Guide to Starting Your Own Small Business

LinkedIn

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 two­syllable 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

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

LinkedIn

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.

Continue onto VIBE to read the complete article.

Applications for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement’s 10th Annual Women’s Leadership Program Now Open

LinkedIn

Mujeres de HACE offers 14-week training on the crucial skills needed for professional growth.

The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE), a national nonprofit committed to the advancement of Latino professionals, announced today the program dates and cities for its 10th annual Mujeres de HACE program. The 14-week interactive program offers individualized content to fuel professional development and establishes influential relationships with peers and mentors that continue beyond the program’s completion. Sessions will be held across the country in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Houston, Dallas, Miami and the Washington D.C. metro area.

“Mujeres de HACE is a women’s leadership program aimed at empowering high-potential Latina professionals at the manager level or above to succeed professionally and thrive personally,” said Patricia Mota, HACE president and CEO. “For HACE members, achieving an entry-level position is the starting point, not the goal.”

This year, Mujeres de HACE is visiting San Francisco for the first time to address the lack of Latina leadership in technology. According to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Silicon Valley’s tech workforce is a mere 4.7 percent Hispanic. For this initiative, HACE will be partnering with Groupon who will host the program’s San Francisco cohort and sponsor the graduation ceremony.

“HACE is doing important work to cultivate Latina talent into leadership positions, and we are pleased to partner with them on this year’s women’s leadership program,” said Alison Allgor, Groupon senior vice president of Human Resources. “The events in San Francisco will be a natural extension of the work we’ve done to develop diverse talent across Groupon and bring more of these valuable perspectives to our organization and the tech industry at large.”

Over the past 10 years, Mujeres de HACE has led more than 800 women to grow professionally and break down barriers. Program graduates have gone on to achieve leadership positions across top companies, including NASA, Toyota and LinkedIn. In fact:

  • Two in five program participants report a promotion within six months of completing the program;
  • Two in five report a salary increase within six months of completing program; and
  • Four in five report serving on a non-profit board or volunteering after the program.

“In a short amount of time, the program has positively impacted my career and helped me explore my strengths and talents to unleash my leadership abilities,” said Angela Solis Sullivan, fall 2017 cohort. “It presented me with the opportunity to be a part of a sisterhood of women who can all relate to the challenges of being a Latina in the American workforce.”

In addition to a comprehensive training curriculum covering everything from leadership style to developing a personal brand, Mujeres de HACE will feature executive leaders from renowned companies. These speakers will share their keys to career progression and discuss the challenges Latinas face in the current political climate.

Joining Groupon as 2018 corporate sponsors are NBC Universal, Northern Trust, Marathon Oil and AT&T. AT&T will be hosting Mujeres de HACE’s first-ever program in Atlanta.

The Mujeres de HACE program costs $2,500 and accepts tuition assistance. The fee covers training sessions, coaching and materials. To learn more about Mujeres de HACE and to apply for the program, visit HACEonline.org/mujeres-de-hace. The deadline for the spring cohort application is March 30, 2018. The fall cohort application deadline is Aug. 5, 2018.

About HACE

The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement is a national nonprofit dedicated to the employment, development and advancement of current and aspiring Latino professionals. Since 1982, HACE has served as a resource for Latinos in the workplace and a source of expertise and insight for corporations seeking to access them. Through professional development, resources and networks, and by facilitating access to meaningful career opportunities, HACE helps Latinos succeed in every phase of their careers. With a network of over 52,000 members across the country, HACE works with employers to remain competitive in an increasingly dynamic economy by helping them attract, develop and retain Latino and diverse professionals.

###

TFS Scholarships Launches Online Toolkit to Provide College Funding Resources

LinkedIn
higher education

SALT LAKE CITY— TFS Scholarships (TFS), the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding, has launched a free online toolkit to provide counselors, families and students with resources to help improve the college scholarship search process. The toolkit, available at tuitionfundingsources.com/resource-toolkit, provides downloadable resources and practical tips on how to find and apply for scholarships.

The launch comes in celebration with Financial Aid Awareness Month when many families are beginning the FAFSA process and researching financial aid options.

“We hope these resources help raise awareness around TFS and the 7 million college scholarships available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students,” said Richard Sorensen, president of TFS Scholarships. “Our goal is to help families discover alternative ways to offset the rising costs of higher education.”

The resource toolkit includes flyers, email templates, newsletter content, digital banners and table toppers which are designed to be shareable content that counselors, students and organizations can use to spread the word about how to find free money for college.

The newly revamped TFS website curates over 7 million scholarship opportunities from across the country – with the majority coming directly from colleges and universities—and matches them to students based on their personal profile, where they want to study, and stage of academic study. By tailoring the search criteria, TFS identifies scholarships that students are uniquely qualified for, thus lowering the application pool and increasing the chances of winning. By creating an online profile, students can find scholarships representing more than $41 billion in aid. About 5,000 new scholarships are added to the database every month and appear in real time.

Thanks to exclusive financial support from Wells Fargo, the TFS website is completely ad-free, and no selling of data, making it a safe and trusted place to search.

For more information about Tuition Funding Sources visit tuitionfundingsources.com.

 

About TFS Scholarships

TFS Scholarships (TFS) is an independent service that provides free access to scholarship opportunities for aspiring and current undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Founded in 1987, TFS began as a passion project to help students and has grown into the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding. Today, TFS is a trusted place where students and families enjoy free access to more than 7 million scholarships representing more than $41 billion in college funding. In addition to its vast database that’s refreshed with 5,000 new scholarships every month, TFS also offers information about career planning, financial aid, and federal and private student loan programs as part of its commitment to helping students fund their future. Learn more at tuitionfundingsources.com.

###

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun(damental) Workplace Rights

LinkedIn
Elizabeth Bradley

Young women professionals entering the workforce have little to no knowledge on how to handle workplace issues such as harassment, discrimination, and the gender wage gap. “Unfortunately, this lack of knowledge could put an entire generation of women at a disadvantage and seriously affect their earning potential,” said Elizabeth Bradley, Partner with Beverly Hills-based civil litigation and trial law firm Rosen Saba LLP.

“Most women are not taught to recognize subtler forms of discrimination that are less obvious than open harassment, but no less pervasive,” Bradley said. “For example, they may not realize that a man getting more promotions and advancement opportunities than his equally qualified female colleague is just as discriminatory as a man being paid more than a woman for doing the same job. They also may not realize that in several states, now including California, prospective employers are not permitted to ask for candidates’ salary history.”

Bradley, who has handled countless discrimination and harassment lawsuits, explains that gender doesn’t have to be the only motivating factor that is taken into account when filing a discrimination lawsuit. She is available to discuss this, as well as:

  • Important workplace rights that many young professional women are unaware of.
  • Ways that women can document harassment and discrimination so that allegations are not dismissed as hearsay, and without jeopardizing their careers.
  • Why the gender wage gap persists, and how women can advocate for higher salaries even if they have been underpaid in the past.
  • Specific industries where these issues are especially prevalent.

For information about the law firm, visit RosenSaba.com

 

The “She” Suite Celebrates International Women’s Day with Women in the C-Suite and in Leading Roles

LinkedIn
International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is quickly approaching, and six leading business women will discuss their journey to the top of the corporate ladder. Gender diversity and inclusion remains a pressing issue across industries and sectors – and by ignoring this issue, companies may be hurting their bottom line.

WHEN
March 8, 2018
7:15 AM – 9:15 AM

WHERE
Washington University in St. Louis – Emerson Auditorium in Knight Hall
Snow Way, 1 Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130

WHO
Rebecca Boyer, Chief Financial Officer, KellyMitchell Group, Inc.; EMBA alumna
Andrea Faccio, Chief Marketing Officer, Nestle Purina North America; EMBA alumna
Linda Haberstroh, President, Phoenix Textile Corporation; EMBA alumna
Mary Heger, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Ameren Services Company; EMBA alumna
Deborah Slagle, Senior Vice President, Biologics Technology Cluster, MilliporeSigma; EMBA alumna
Joyce Trimuel, Chief Diversity Officer, CNA Insurance; EMBA alumna

According to a McKinsey study, diversity at the executive level strongly correlates with profitability and value creation. In fact, companies in the top quartile of executive-level gender diversity have a 27% likelihood of outperforming their less diverse peers.

On March 8, Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) will host a special panel discussion celebrating International Women’s Day featuring six business women who demonstrate their value to their companies as leaders every day. They are entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and global leaders representing companies. such as Nestle Purina, Ameren, and more.

One thing they all have in common: their Executive MBA experience from WashU, which is ranked among the top 10 EMBA programs in the country by several noted business publications including Financial Times.

From Real Estate To Tech Startup As An Over-40, African-American Female Founder

LinkedIn

Denise Hamilton left a very successful career in commercial real estate, as well as several other wide-ranging past endeavors, to start WatchHerWork. She elicits elegantly raw, specific and action-focused insights from professional women to help other women navigate successful careers. The thousands of interviews she’s done, combined with her own experience, fuel Denise’s powerful straight talk about career success, particularly for women and minority professionals.

Nell Derick Debevoise: What’s your current role?

Denise Hamilton: I’m the CEO and Founder of WatchHerWork, a multimedia digital platform that is closing the achievement gap for professional women by providing the much-needed professional advice they need when they need it, how they need it.

Debevoise: Tell us about your transition. It was a big one, right?

Hamilton: I had a successful career in Commercial Real Estate when I walked away to start a tech company, which is WatchHerWork.com.

Debevoise: What was scary to you about that big shift?

Hamilton: Economic Security is always the scariest part of any leap for me. There aren’t a lot of 47-year-old African American tech founders out there. I worried whether I would be welcomed into the space and if my unique perspective would be welcomed or marginalized. But I knew I had to bet on myself.

Debevoise: What was the hardest thing once you made the transition?

Hamilton: Patience. When you come from a salaried position with a large staff, it is a brutal transition to being alone or in a skeleton crew with limited resources. I used to have 10 direct reports to assign things to. Now, I have as many action items as they do at Goop with about 300 fewer people. I had to learn to be patient with what I was capable of accomplishing each day.

Debevoise: What was the most fun?

Hamilton: Constant reinvention and exploration. I learn something new every day and I am incredibly passionate about changing women’s lives the way we do at WatchHerWork. I feel the constant stretch and growth and I love it!

Debevoise: Who was most useful during your transition?

Hamilton: I had incredible mentors and cheerleaders who encouraged me and invested time to help me in the areas I needed support. No one has all the answers, but together, we all do.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Women With Disabilities Face High Barriers To Entrepreneurship. How To Change That

LinkedIn

The University of Illinois — Chicago is home to a unique education program for entrepreneurs with disabilities run by associate professor Dr. Katherine Caldwell. It’s called Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Education for People with Disabilities.

“We wanted to really bring disability studies and entrepreneurship to the same table to look at, ‘Okay, well where are we now?’” Caldwell said. “What does it look like, what are the main barriers that they’re running into, and what sort of facilitators would help them out?”

Caldwell found that Chicago-area entrepreneurs with disabilities had trouble finding resources to grow their businesses, had high barriers to entry and faced structural challenges from the disability benefits system.

Caldwell also notes that most of the entrepreneurs she works with are women of color. Women and minorities with disabilities face extra challenges. “There’s that whole discussion of the pay gap that we’ve been having in women’s rights circles,” Caldwell said. “But it hasn’t included women with disabilities.”

Accessible opportunities

Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Education for People with Disabilities aims to help participants understand the benefit system and other typical barriers to entrepreneurship so that they can find a way to be most successful in building a business.

Like in any demographic group, there’s plenty of desire to build businesses in the disability community. Perhaps, it’s even stronger, Caldwell said, because traditional employment opportunities for people with disabilities are often less than ideal.

“They want to take control,” she said. “ They want to start a business so they can, not just create a job for themselves, but also create jobs for other people with disabilities.”

Many people with disabilities are employed through something called sheltered workshops. Which, Caldwell said, “Is basically work in a segregated work setting where they’re paid less than minimum wage.”

Sheltered employment was originally intended to give people with disabilities a chance to get work experience and skills that they could use to get other jobs. But, “Only five percent of workers actually go on to competitive employment from sheltered workshops,” Caldwell said. “So it’s not effective at achieving what it was supposed to back in the ’30s and yet for some reason we’re still doing it.”

In fact, she argues many companies are exploiting workers with disabilities through sheltered employment because it’s a way for companies to employ people who they can pay significantly less than minimum wage.

In addition to entrepreneurship as an escape from sheltered work, people with disabilities can use entrepreneurship to tackle challenges they face every day navigating a mostly inaccessible world.

“They can tap into that innovative potential of having experienced the problems that their business serves first hand,” Caldwell said.

Representation matters

Caldwell believes there needs to be an increase in representation of entrepreneurs with disabilities on a wider scale.

“One thing that they really need, and one thing that they currently lack are mentors, are examples of success,” she said. “Which is why having more visibility of entrepreneurs with disabilities especially women entrepreneurs with disabilities in the media would be super helpful.”

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article