How Shavone Charles Created Her Dream Job In Tech

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Shavone Charles holds many titles. From being a musician and artist to her role as Head of Global Music and Youth Culture Communications at Instagram and recent founder of a passion project, Magic in Her Melanin, Charles is undoubtedly known to her peers and the surrounding tech and entertainment industries as being a renaissance woman and connoisseur of culture.

The term, “Do It For The Culture”, according to the Urban Dictionary, is a statement requesting that someone carry out a specific action for benefit of their shared culture. Charles is doing just that with not only her work in Silicon Valley but for black creatives globally. With her deep Trinidadian roots, Charles is passionate about maintaining her self-identity while creating an environment of inclusivity for women of color in tech.

Before she was trailblazing a new path for future generations, millennials and black women in tech, or creating her own job title at multi-billion dollar companies like Twitter and Instagram, she was a San Diego native and first-generation college graduate from UC Merced, just trying to figure it out. Upon graduating in 2012, Charles snagged several high-profile entertainment and communications based internships at Google, BET Networks, Capitol Hill and The Department of Justice. Her big break happened when she was the presented with the opportunity to create her own role and title at Twitter.

At Twitter, Shavone established her niche career focus on culture-focused communications and social marketing, business partnerships and data analysis with a close lens on music, online communities and youth culture. Upon joining the Twitter team, Shavone created her own role, as the first person to join her team and head up the company’s global music and culture communications, with a focus on data, often working on efforts tied music partnerships and high-priority product launches and acquisitions (including Vine and Periscope). During her time at Twitter, Shavone also remotely oversaw all of the company’s communications efforts for Brazil and Canada out of San Francisco and employed a number of successful global culture-driven communications programs tied to major entertainment and consumer moments in market (including Rock In Rio, Brazil’s Fashion Week, Juno Awards and more). She led content management and curation for the official @TwitterMusic account and helped grow it by over 5 million followers, as result of social campaigns with talent and highlighting the best uses of Twitter and Vine in music.

In addition to launching PR and social campaigns, Charles had the unique opportunity to create the first-ever employee resource group for African-American employees, aptly named Twitter BlackBirds. Her role at Twitter, catapulted her into a new realm of visibility and influence, leading her to head up communications and culture at Instagram. Charles has always been intrigued by the notion of connecting diverse groups of people through social media and cultivating an accepting community for people to have the choice to share commonalities.

Technology has allowed the culture to be seen on a global scale, with creatives now at the forefront of the movement and art form. It’s not a “niche” community anymore and people are using the internet to build a community around their interests,” which she said at Forbes I.D.E.A Summit.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

How the women in charge of programming at CNN are changing the news we see

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CNN Digital has more women in leadership and on staff than ever, and their perspective is changing video storytelling.

“The best ideas come from people who don’t think like everybody else,” says Wendy Brundige, vice president of global video for CNN Digital. “So, it’s been really important to me to build a team of people who represent different kinds of backgrounds, who’ve had different kinds of experiences.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by four other women in leadership at the network when they talked to Fast Company in the run-up to covering the midterm elections, which had an unprecedented number of female candidates at the federal, state, and local levels.

Election coverage itself is just a flash in the news pan for these women who are collectively responsible for the creation and promotion of a massive amount of video reporting. CNN is just behind YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, and ESPN, yet still reaches over 2.2 billion people across the globe every month. The network asserts that they experience over 500 million starts a day, which they claim is more than any other news brand. Doing this work is a global staff of 660. Although they weren’t able to disclose actual specifics of the breakdown, CNN Digital currently has more women than men on staff.

This is significant. The news business has long suffered from a lack of female representation. Women make up just 32% of U.S. newsrooms (and women of color represent just 7.95% of U.S. print newsroom staff, 6.2% of local radio staff, and 12.6% of local TV news staff), while men get 62% of bylines and other credits in print, online, TV, and wire news, according to the most recent Status of Women in the U.S. Media study. The media industry has also faced criticism for a lack of racial diversity. Data from a 2016 survey by the American Society of News Editors found that underrepresented minorities represent less than 16.94% of newsroom personnel at traditional print and online news publications overall. CNN declined to disclose the racial and ethnic breakdown of its news staff.

In an industry that reaches people of all genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and is supposed to prize objectivity, lack of diversity is a potentially huge stumbling block.

Cullen Daly, executive producer for CNN Digital Productions, says there are a lot of different factors that determine what gets covered. Some of it is based on the calendar, other times it’s news that’s bubbling at the moment, but deserves a more comprehensive look. “I’d say a lot of it has to do with innovation,” Daly says, “stories that we think could be told in new and different ways.” Chris James, who did the story on the trade war, told it through a different lens, she says. “He told it through what’s going to happen to people in the middle of the country.”

From left: Cullen Daly, S. Mitra Kalita, Courtney Coupe, Ashley Codianni, Wendy Brundige

Brundige takes a somewhat controversial stance when she says she believes that for too long, people have thought about diversity as mostly about race. While experts like Scott Page, the author of The Diversity Bonus, argues in favor of cognitive diversity (which occurs naturally among people of different backgrounds, regardless of race, gender, or other factors), it wasn’t that long ago that Apple’s former vice president of diversity and inclusion Denise Young Smith came under fire for stating that a room of “12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men” could be diverse.

“We have a lot of racial diversity in particular in my team in New York,” Brundige asserts, “but it’s most important to me to have geographic diversity and not just have a bunch of people who grew up in the Northeast and went to Ivy League schools.” Still, she’s quick to add that there’s room for improvement.

Taking another tack, S. Mitra Kalita, the senior vice president for news, opinion, and programming for CNN Digital, observes that sometimes differences can illuminate common ground, too. She grew up in northeast India. “It’s a very rural region, but Wendy’s family and my family both had cows,” Kalita says. “We look nothing alike, and you would never put the girl from Kentucky next to the girl from Assam, and yet our families are actually very surprisingly similar.”

The mission of CNN Digital, according to Kalita, is to find some common factor with your audience. “So, I don’t think your background can be divorced from that process of storytelling,” she says. As the mother of two, Kalita recalls how she felt when Brundige brought a story idea about a woman in Chicago who was on a quest to find out how her son died because he was left with marks all over his body. It was called “Beneath the Skin,” says Kalita, and remembers Brundige talking about the period between the death and the funeral and what that’s like for a mother. “That just haunted me for days,” she confesses. “I would argue that she probably had a similar reaction,” says Kalita, noting that the creators of the piece were also women. “So on projects like that, it’s wonderful to be able to bring yourself to the work, and have it enhance the work,” she says.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

The first female product manager at Google built a nonprofit to combat the sexism in tech

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Women make up only 26% of the tech workforce, and in product management that number drops to 5%. So Nancy Wang cofounded a nonprofit to help women change the ratio.

Nancy Wang remembers sitting down in a vendor meeting. “There were 12 middle-aged men of a very similar demographic and me.” Ten minutes after the meeting was supposed to start, she spoke up to ask what the holdup was. “It is because your boss isn’t here,” she recalls one of the men saying.

The thing is, as the first, youngest, and only female product manager at Google Fiber between 2014 and 2016, she was the boss. “I am the person making the decisions,” she said as she reminded him that a multi-million-dollar deal was in the balance. The vendor in question was taken aback by this information.

For Wang, however, this treatment was all too familiar. Over the course of nearly a decade of work experience in infrastructure product management and engineering, Wang has witnessed firsthand how few women there are in tech. In her current role as lead product manager for the startup Rubrik, she was also the first female to be hired into that role.

THE LACK OF WOMEN TECH MENTORS

According to the National Center for Women in Technology, women make up only 26% of the tech workforce, and Wang adds that in product management that number drops to 5%. She recalls one female tech leader pointing out that while that number may be growing (albeit slowly), adding three women to a marketing team at a tech company isn’t the same as increasing the number of women in actual technical roles. “We need to find ways to address that,” she asserts.

And she’s seen that companies aren’t stepping up. In fact, thousands of staff at her former employer staged a walkout on November 1 to protest Google’s policies on sexual harassment following reports that male executives accused of sexual misconduct were given multi-million-dollar exit packages for years.

“On one hand Google does well with support groups,” Wang points out, but at the same time, there’s a distinct lack of female role models. Wang says that holding up Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg as examples of female leadership is great, “but not very accessible to mid-level project managers.”

Wang says accessibility is crucial to mentorship as well as to see evidence of representation in roles you can aspire to reach. “I was fortunate that the director of product and the director of engineering were both very supportive,” she recalls, and they promoted her in her first year. But the fact that she had to rely on male mentors who couldn’t understand a woman’s challenges in the space wasn’t helpful. And her only female mentor was on the business side–not in a tech role. So when Wang had a question about how to best motivate engineers, her female mentor wasn’t equipped to answer. “It’s hard to empathize with someone not in the same career role,” she explains.

FILLING IN THE GAPS

Wang’s had to figure out strategies on her own. Right now at Rubrik, there is less female representation than there was even at Google. As a result of collaborating with so many men who aren’t accustomed to working with women, she’s had to be extremely thorough in preparation for presenting ideas so they don’t get dismissed out of hand. Not only does she come armed with data points, says Wang, but she records testimonials from customers asking for a specific feature. “This is all the supporting facts I present before I even advance my idea,” she says.

Admitting that even with a rock-solid format like that, not all of her ideas have come to fruition, but she does say that through putting some of these tactical strategies in her own proposals at Rubrik, she’s been able to lead a significant portion of the company’s P&L and annual revenue for product lines for this year as well as those coming out in 2019.

Sharing her hard-won knowledge with others was the incentive to start Advancing Women in Product (AWIP), a tech networking and mentoring organization. Wang says that the events the AWIP sponsors are designed to provide the kind of mentorship to women that is lacking in the sector.

For example, there was a workshop on how to get executive buy-in when presenting to a manager or at a board meeting. The goal was not only how to present ideas but how to put them forth in a way that they are advanced and championed. This also tackled how best to respond to pushback as a woman, “because society paints this picture that we are softer and more malleable oftentimes that we can be taken advantage of,” says Wang.

AWIP provides tactical training and advice when encountering those who might discount their ideas out of hand. Another panel dealt with expanding your sphere of influence when vying for promotions at different levels.The need was evident in the fact that membership is now in excess of 3,000 with its largest contingent in the Bay Area, but also across the U.S., North America, Europe, and Asia. And part of their mission statement is equality, so AWIP has a number of male ambassadors and was recently actively recruiting for its Seattle team.

As she told Built in Seattle, “We try to keep an even ratio of 50% women and 50% men because men, in my opinion, are an essential part of the conversation. We’re talking about diversity in boardrooms, and 100% women isn’t the right answer either.”

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

Apple will soon offer coding camps for women-founded startups

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So far in 2018 only 2.2% of venture capital funding has gone to startups founded by women. There are multiple reasons for that (none of them good), but Apple is trying to address the problem by providing some valuable design and coding help.

The company will offer a two-week technology lab at its campus in Cupertino in which participants will receive one-on-one app development guidance from Apple experts and engineers. That includes “mentorship, inspiration, and insights from top Apple leaders,” the company says.

Participating startups can send up to three people to the sessions. At least one must be a woman developer, and one must be a female founder, cofounder, or CEO. A third person can be any gender, Apple says. The tech giant says it’ll keep doing the coding labs–once every three months starting with the first one in January. Each event will accept 20 startups.

The relationship doesn’t end after the two weeks. The startups get ongoing follow-up from an Apple developer who knows the industry niche that the startup is involved in. The startup also gets a membership to the Apple Developer Program, which allows them to submit their apps to the App Store. And the startup’s founder, cofounder, or CEO, along with one female developer, get to attend Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

The tech industry is still largely a male industry, and the numbers show it. Just 23% of all tech jobs at Apple were occupied by women in 2017; that’s only a slight improvement over the 20% reported in the company’s diversity breakdown in 2014. A quarter of skilled tech jobs at Google are filled by women, up from 21% in 2014.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

How This Former MIT Professor And Google Engineer Used Holograms To Build A $28 Million Startup

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A red laser pointer shining through a raw chicken carcass may not seem like groundbreaking science, but for veteran technologist Mary Lou Jepsen, it’s worth $28 million in funding for her latest startup, Openwater.

Jepsen performed the chicken act as part of her August TED Talk to illustrate how her imaging-tech company is building cost-conscious body-scanning technology by using the same components one might find at a science fair. The laser pointer’s light made both skin and bone of the plucked fowl glow, revealing a tumor just under its flesh. This simple demonstration shows the science behind what Openwater is trying to achieve; wearable diagnostics made from consumer electronic parts that offer higher resolution than multimillion-dollar MRI machines but cost as much as a smartphone.

Just as the chicken’s tumor blocked the laser pointer light, which shone through the rest of the chicken’s flesh, Openwater’s wearables will capture images by recording light particles and the negative spaces where they fail to scatter. X-rays use radiation and MRI machines use a magnetic field and radio waves because they can go through the human body and produce an image. But so does “red light, infrared light,” Jepsen tells Forbes. “Guess which one is cheaper by a lot?”

It’s a method similar to how holograms are made, and it uses readily available camera and display chips you can find in a smartphone. It’s also an idea that took Jepsen’s skill set to consider, and perhaps her impressive CV to convince investors to buy in. The serial founder led the display divisions at Intel and the semi-secret research group Google X and helped develop Oculus after Facebook purchased the virtual reality headset company in 2014. But Openwater began with Princess Leia’s projected message to Obi Wan Kenobi, when Jepsen aimed her life at building holograms like the one she first saw in Star Wars.

Hooked by the lasers and optical illusions involved, Jepsen made her first hologram as an engineering undergrad at Brown. Later, she’d use her growing skill set to develop computer display screens and VR glasses at the top tech companies in the world.

At that time, however, holograms did not pay the bills. Because holography was viewed as a frivolous “technology looking for an application,” no one would fund it, Jepsen says. “I just had to figure out a way to support my habit. I basically lived all through my 20s on $12,000 a year just because I thought I’d die if I couldn’t make holograms,” Jepsen said.

Her pursuit of holograms bought her to Melbourne, Australia, where she worked as a professor of computer science at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and helped put holograms on the country’s paper money. In Cologne, Germany, she built some of the world’s largest holographic displays, including one of historic buildings projected on an entire city block. Still, she didn’t feel her work was taken seriously, so Jepsen figured she’d need a Ph.D.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

How Diversity Officers Change Corporate Culture

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Diversity executive

By 2045, people of color will make up the majority of the U.S. population.

That demographic shift, predicted by the U.S. Census Bureau, is one reason why companies are starting to take workplace diversity, inclusion and equity more seriously.

In corporate America, this has manifested in part through the proliferation of chief diversity officers, who are charged with creating policies and climates supportive of workers from an array of backgrounds.

As of 2012, 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies had diversity executives, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“It’s becoming standard across companies,” says Allison Scott, chief research officer at the Kapor Center, which aims to increase diversity in the technology and entrepreneurship sectors. “I think that’s a promising and important sign.”

However, having a chief diversity officer on the payroll is not a panacea, researchers say.

“That all sounds good and well, but in the past there wasn’t as much accountability for it,” says Kisha Jones, assistant professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University. “You could get an A for effort for attempting the different practices but not have to show how change happens.”

Still, the presence of a diversity executive in the C-suite is one sign job seekers should look for when assessing whether a company is equipped to hire and retain diverse workers and effectively market to the heterogeneous customer base of the future.

Learn more about what these officers do and other signs to look for when evaluating a company’s commitment to diversity.

Duties and Conditions for Success

The work of diversity officers, also known as equal opportunity professionals, cuts across departmental boundaries. They influence hiring, training and company cultural practices that relate to three “big buckets,” explains Archie Ervin, vice president and chief diversity officer at the Georgia Institute of Technology and president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

Continue on to US News to read the complete article.

Which Coding Language Should You Learn?

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It’s a great time to learn how to code. Whether you’re looking to reinvent your career and become a developer, leverage a new skill in your current job, or just better understand what the developers on your team are up to, there has never been a better time to get into programming.

There’s been an explosion of coding boot camps and online resources to help you get started. But it’s a double-edged sword: with near-unlimited resources, countless different languages—and a rabbit hole of passionate voices debating which are the easiest to learn, best to help you get a job, and so on—where do you start?

The best way to learn to code is to stop endlessly analyzing what to learn and just start. So, with a giant disclaimer that these aren’t all of the languages you could consider learning to start your coding journey, here are a few languages you can learn.

JavaScript

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Think of the difference between dynamic, automatically updating Gmail account and your old static Hotmail, which needed to be reloaded to see new messages. That fundamental change was thanks to JavaScript. And, as one of the most popular languages out there, it’s still bringing websites to life in new, exciting ways. It has a ton of resources and tools available to help you use it effectively, and it opens you up to a ton of software engineering jobs. It can basically do everything, and if you’re going to be a full stack developer, you simply can’t avoid it.

Ruby

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Ruby was specifically designed by its inventor Yukihiro Matsumoto to make programmers happy, and it’s delivered upon that objective: Ruby is accessible and reads like English, allowing new programmers to focus right away on the fundamental concepts and logic, rather than basic syntax. Even beginners can start building right away. The teachers at the Flatiron School find Ruby to be extremely effective at helping students learn how to think like programmers, break problems down, express themselves technically, abstract ideas, and work together with other programmers. (The Flatiron Co-founder Avi is a little obsessed with it, too.)

Python

Great for: budding data scientists

There’s a massive amount of data out there. Companies that harness it can create better products and understand their businesses better; companies that don’t lose their competitive edge and get left behind. But while at its core, data science may be similar to your high school stats class, with so much data (hundreds of millions of records), your old spreadsheet is the wrong tool for the job. That’s where code comes in. The R language is super specific to statistics, whereas Python is a general-purpose language that happens to have great tooling available to make it a perfect language for data science. It’s actually similar to Ruby in a lot of ways: easy to read, forgiving for beginners, and there’s a passionate community around it, devoted to creating and improving the tooling to make Python even more powerful.

Swift

Great for: mobile developers, developers breaking out of their comfort zone

For beginners hoping to get into mobile app development, now is the perfect time to dive into Swift. It’s new enough that there is a lot of energy and excitement around it. Each year, Apple holds their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) where Apple engineers discuss the intricacies of Swift along with all the new and exciting features (don’t be surprised if it inspires you to try implementing all the new concepts into your own apps). But it’s also been around long enough that the early kinks have been worked out, and the open source community has grown significantly. If you’re already a programmer, learning Swift is a way to get out of your comfort zone—the constraints iOS puts on your code forces you to, as Apple would say, “think different.”

Still not sure where to start? That’s OK! There’s really no correct first language to learn. The important thing is to consider what you’re excited to build, what language will help you do that, and then to just start learning!

In the end, this is why schools like Flatiron School doesn’t focus on teaching one specific technology. It wants you to learn how to learn—the only coding skill that will be never become obsolete. You don’t see Fortran or ColdFusion developers anymore. Similarly, you probably won’t be a Ruby or JavaScript developer in 10 years. Eventually, you will need to know more than one language if you want to have an awesome career and build amazing things. If you become skilled at learning languages, you’ll be ready to keep pace with technology as it changes.

Source: This piece was originally published by WeWork, which provides companies with the space, technology, and services they need to success.

Take Your Publishing Career to the Next Level with a Writing Re-TREAT

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Many people want to be authors. They have ideas for a novel, or have dreams of having a best seller, but they are often so caught up in the day-to-day duties and stresses of life that they rarely get time to simply focus on telling their story.

One expert writing coach says the best way to combat that block is to opt for a re-TREAT, which will give you the guidance, time, space, inspiration, and tools to focus on your story and help move your career along. Plus, she has an exclusive manor house retreat coming up May 5-10, 2019 in England. With only six slots, spots are filling quickly.

“You owe it to yourself to have some time to focus on your writing,” explains Annalisa Parent, fiction writing coach, author, and international speaker. “If not now, then when? If you take action now to get serious about finishing your book, just think of where you will be a year from now, five years from now. This is the time to put your dreams first.”

Parent runs workshops and retreats around the world, helping to guide countless writers to start, complete, and sell their novel. The 2019 Writing Gym England Retreat will be held in Devon, England in a historic country manor located on the edge of Exmoor, a national park famous for its beautiful coastline and spectacular views. The retreat will offer writers five days and five nights of relaxing, peaceful, and focused opportunities to tap into their creativity, learn more of their craft, and focus on writing.

The 2019 Writing Gym England Retreat includes:

  • Daily guided writing sessions led by Parent, where participants will engage in a feedback-response process that is based on neuroscience and how the brain learns and creates best. This is geared to help people advance quickly and boost their creative confidence.
  • Afternoon tea and coffee session where people can relax, mingle, and be at peace.
  • Open writing sessions, as well as time to enjoy the garden and views to get inspiration, and an optional group literary tour of Coleridge Way the path poets such as Coleridge, Byron and Shelley walked to get inspiration.
  • Writer’s discussions each evening on publishing topics, plus a one-on-one session with Parent to discuss your manuscript
  • Three home-cooked meals per day that are made from fresh local ingredients. Foods being served include free-range eggs, leg of Exmoor lamb, a full English breakfast, and fruit compote from the manor house garden.
  • An exclusive group with a focused intent, with the retreat being limited to only six participants.

“If you want to be a writer, this is where you need to be,” Linda Butler, a participant at last year’s retreat said of the experience.  “If you’re serious about writing and you’re serious about learning your process and who you are, then find a way to make the sacrifice to get into her programs. They’re some of the best I’ve ever seen,” Janiel Miller, another participant said.

To see first-hand what the retreat is like, go toThe Writing Gym Writer’s Retreat in Devon England. To hear what her attendees had to say from her past England Retreat visit: Date with the Muse. For more information about Annalisa Parent, her book Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise your Novel Without and Outline, and her coaching services, visit her site at: datewiththemuse.com. For more information on how to become a published author, download her free e-book The Six Secrets to go from Struggling Writer to Published Author here: datewiththemuse.com/6secrets.

About Annalisa Parent

Annalisa Parent has worked with writers all over the world. She offers writing coaching services that have been instrumental in helping writers to go from idea to publishable piece and have the confidence to take their work to the market. Parent focuses on three main areas: Quality, Clarity and Creative Flow, all through a neuroscientific approach. For more information on her services and to set up a chat about publishing, visit her site at: datewiththemuse.com.

How to Talk to Your Boss (When the Questions Get Tricky)

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Portrait of business woman smiling

Landing a job doesn’t mean your days of navigating difficult questions are over. You should be prepared to handle uncomfortable queries, an especially tricky feat when it’s coming from your boss.

You may face one or more of these awkward questions at some point in your career. Here are ways you can respond to them professionally and keep the relationship with your boss intact.

 

  1. “Are you looking for a new job?”

If you’re putting yourself back on the job market, tell the truth. Chances are that your

boss has a good reason for asking, so a denial will only make you look bad. But don’t overshare. This question isn’t an invitation to air all your complaints about the position or the company. When responding, keep the focus on you and your career.

Keep the answer short and to the point: “I’m interested in exploring positions in a different industry. “I’m thinking about relocating to another city.” “A former colleague contacted me about an exciting opportunity, and I feel I should look into it.” “I’m looking for a position with more flexibility.” “I don’t feel I’m making much progress here.”

Be polite and emphasize that you’re committed to performing your current job to the best of your ability.

  1. “Have you heard the latest about Jamie?”
    Co-workers who spread rumors are difficult enough to deal with, but having a boss who engages in office gossip is a potential landmine. You don’t want to sound disapproving or like a Goody Two-Shoes. Your best option is to offer a noncommittal response, such as, “I really haven’t heard,” and then either change the topic or try to leave the conversation. Maintain an attitude of polite disinterest. Once your boss realizes you’re not a gossiper, he or she will drop the subject.

 

  1. “How would you rate my performance as a manager?”
    This question is particularly tricky because you might not know your boss’s motivation. Has upper management requested that he or she seek feedback from employees, is the person just fishing for compliments, or is he or she genuinely interested in constructive criticism?

To remain on safe ground, lead with positive feedback. Then choose one aspect of the person’s managerial style that could use some work, and make it actionable. For example, “The next time there’s a new project, I’d like a little more guidance so I don’t go in the wrong direction.”
 

  1. “How would you rate your performance during Q1?”
    Balance is key. Outline what you did well, and reference tangible results, such as exceeding goals or meeting tight deadlines. Then discuss a few ways you might do better next time. To show you’re serious about self-improvement, ask your boss for an assessment—and any tips for Q2.

 

  1. “Can you take on this project (that no one else will do)?”
    You may feel pressure to say yes to every request to maintain a good relationship with your boss. While it’s occasionally necessary to “take one for the team,” you need to be honest about how Project X will affect your present workload and whether it’s within the scope of your job description.

If you’re genuinely reluctant to lead this project, tell your manager that you simply don’t have the bandwidth to do it justice and get all of your regular assignments done on time. But also think about what may happen if you agree: If leading Project X will win you points with the boss and prove your leadership skills, it might be worth the extra work to say yes—this time.

Source: careerbuilder.com

How to Answer “So, Tell Me About Yourself”

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Job Interview

So, the first question you’re probably going to get in an interview is, “Tell me about yourself.” This is not an invitation to recite your entire life story or even to go bullet by bullet through your resume.

Instead, it’s probably your first and best chance to pitch the hiring manager on why you’re the right one for the job.

A formula The Editor at The Muse likes is called the Present-Past-Future formula. So, first you start with the present—where you are right now. Then, segue into the past—a little bit about the experiences you’ve had and the skills you gained at the previous position. Finally, finish with the future—why you are really excited for this particular opportunity.

Below is an example:

If someone asked, “tell me about yourself,” you could say:

“Well, I’m currently an account executive at Smith, where I handle our top performing client. Before that, I worked at an agency where I was on three different major national healthcare brands. And while I really enjoyed the work that I did, I’d love the chance to dig in much deeper with one specific healthcare company, which is why I’m so excited about this opportunity with Metro Health Center.”

Remember throughout your answer to focus on the experiences and skills that are going to be most relevant for the hiring manager when they’re thinking about this particular position and this company. And ultimately, don’t be afraid to relax a little bit, tell stories and anecdotes—the hiring manager already has your resume, so they also want to know a little more about you.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article and watch the video.

Is a Sustainability Career on Your Green Horizon?

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Woman engineer

In addition to being vital to many people, protecting the environment has become an important goal for many organizations.

A way to achieve this goal is to pursue sustainability, which is using resources to meet present needs without compromising future resources. Although sustainability most often is associated with environmental protection and conservation, it also has social and economic impacts. In fact, many companies adopt sustainability strategies to increase profits, and the environmental aspects become an added bonus.

Sustainability professionals help organizations achieve their goals by ensuring that their business practices are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. Sustainability is a diverse field that includes a wide variety of professionals. Sustainability professionals can be business managers, scientists, or engineers; or they can come from other backgrounds. Although their specific career paths might differ, sustainability professionals promote environmental protection, social responsibility, and profitability.

 

What is sustainability?

The most common definition of sustainability comes from a 1987 United Nations (UN) conference. In a report, the UN defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Alternately, according to a report from the National Association for Environmental Management, sustainability is “a term that describes a company’s strategies for acting as a responsible corporate citizen, ensuring its operations are financially sustainable and minimizing its environmental footprint. Sustainability initiatives may include natural resource reduction, supply chain management, worker safety and health initiatives, stakeholder engagement and external reporting.” External reporting involves reporting information on a company’s environmental and safety record to the general public, or to government agencies.

The environmental aspect of sustainability focuses on the goals of protecting the environment and the conservation of natural resources. To accomplish these goals, sustainability professionals help organizations, such as businesses, government agencies, and non-profits implement policies to manage the resources consumed and the waste generated by an organization. For example, a sustainability professional might suggest that an organization reduce the amount of packaging it uses when it ships its products, and a reduction in packaging could help the company decrease the amount of raw material it consumes and as the environmental cost of shipping products. Less material used in packaging would cut down on materials cost, as well as weight and space taken up during transport. Since the products would take up less space, there would be fewer shipments. Fewer shipments mean less energy used for shipping products, as well as lower emissions. For example, fewer shipments made by trucks would reduce fuel consumption and lower the amount of exhaust emitted into the air.

To fulfill sustainability’s social aspect, sustainability professionals attempt to minimize the negative effects and to promote the positive effects of the organization’s activities on stakeholders. Stakeholders are persons or groups, such as employees, customers, and citizens of surrounding communities, who have an interest in the organization and its activities. Sustainability professionals work to ensure that the workplace is healthy for employees and that the products or services the organization provides are safe for consumers to use. Some sustainability initiatives affect more than one stakeholder. Many companies promote corporate responsibility where they will provide pro bono products and services to the needy, or make attempts to lessen their environmental impact. For example, although many companies are required by law to keep emissions below a certain level, a sustainability professional might help a utility company lower its smokestack emissions to an even lower level than required. This additional reduction would benefit the health of workers and local citizens, as well as provide the company with positive publicity to entice new customers and retain current ones.

Sustainability can affect current and future profitability. Whether they work for private corporations, government agencies, or non-profits, sustainability professionals strive to ensure that the costs of implementing a sustainability program are worth the expected benefits. Because organizations would not knowingly implement sustainability policies that could cause them to become financially unsound, sustainability professionals help a company’s leaders understand the benefits of implementing such techniques, by explaining future cost savings. For example, energy-saving techniques, such as installing motion detectors and changing light bulbs require an upfront investment but result in future savings.

 

Sustainability issues facing companies today

Many organizations are implementing sustainability measures for a variety of reasons. Sustainability allows companies to increase profits, to manage risks, and to engage stakeholders, such as employees, the local community, and shareholders. By pursuing sustainability, many organizations are able to run more efficiently, improve corporate reputations, retain employees, and have a more positive impact on their communities. In addition, there are other benefits to practicing sustainability. These include minimizing the effects of rising costs for energy; complying with increased regulations at the federal, state, and local levels; and pleasing customers who expect organizations to be environmentally and socially responsible.

Prices for oil, natural gas, coal, and other energy sources have been volatile over the past several decades. Most prices have been on an upward trend with significant fluctuations. Experts believe that U.S. energy prices will continue to climb, because of a limited supply of energy sources (due to a wide range of factors) and increased demand from other countries, particularly China.

Increasing costs have led many firms to seek ways to cut back on the amount of energy used in everyday operations. Companies have been finding new ways to do more with less. This includes reducing the amount of energy used for production and other operations, in addition to finding alternative sources of energy. Alternatives include wind, solar, and biofuels (fuels derived from renewable sources, such as corn, grass, or algae).

Federal and state governments have been enacting climate change regulations. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently been granted the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and many states have enacted legislation to limit carbon emissions with the goal of reducing their carbon output. Companies in these states will be under increasing pressure to reduce their carbon footprint (the amount of carbon a company releases into the atmosphere) or face increased regulation and possible fines for their emissions.

Consumers are increasingly paying attention to companies’ environmental records. Consumers base decisions on products or services to purchase at least partially on environmental factors. Companies that have a positive environmental record can appeal to these environmentally sensitive consumers. In addition to consumers, many environmentally conscious businesses and other organizations prefer to work with, or purchase, goods or services from organizations that also are conscious of the environment. Thus, by implementing sustainability measures, companies will be able to appeal to more customers.

Concerns about corporate impact on the environment and local and global communities are being incorporated into strategic business decisions. Sustainability is becoming part of how companies do business in the United States, rather than being viewed as a cost.

 

Who are sustainability professionals?

A job in sustainability encompasses the concept of stewardship—the responsible management of resources. Sustainability professionals seek to improve an organization’s environmental, social, and economic impact. Some have specific titles such as sustainability manager and director of corporate responsibility. Sustainability professionals in other roles may have had experience as industrial managers, logistics (transportation, storage, and distribution) managers, environmental scientists, civil engineers, or recycling coordinators, among others. Many of these workers are dedicated to sustainability, but some may have sustainability responsibilities, in addition to their primary job duties. These workers might implement corporate recycling programs, install equipment to increase efficiency, and monitor processes to ensure their proper function.

There is no set career path for jobs in sustainability—jobs have varying responsibilities across different organizations. For many organizations, sustainability is ingrained in their cultures and is the responsibility of many employees. Thus, these organizations may not have dedicated sustainability staff, but still pursue sustainability.

Many large corporations, some non-profit organizations, and some government agencies employ sustainability professionals. Some organizations do not employ their own sustainability professionals, but still seek advice on sustainability practices. Such organizations frequently hire consultants from sustainability firms to offer specialized skills and services, as well as additional temporary manpower for specific projects.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) currently does not have data on the number of workers involved in sustainability activities. However, data on employment related to the use of environmentally friendly technologies and practices are available from the Green Technologies and Practices survey. Although many different workers may be involved in carrying out day-to-day sustainability operations, the BLS definition of a green job involved in green technologies and practices is one whose primary duty is related to the use of environmentally friendly production processes. Workers must spend more than half their time involved in researching, developing, maintaining, installing and/or using technologies or practices to lessen the environmental impact of their establishment, or in training other workers in these technologies and practices to be considered in a green job.

 

Management occupations

Sustainability managers come from diverse backgrounds, have different job titles, and perform a broad range of duties. Sustainability managers are responsible for developing and implementing an organization’s sustainability plans and presenting these plans to senior staff. They might also be responsible for ensuring that an organization is in compliance with environmental, health, and safety regulations. Many sustainability managers rely on their public relations and communications skills to work with concerned citizens in local communities.

 

Science occupations

Scientists who work in sustainability devise technical solutions for reducing waste and cutting costs. They assist in the development of strategies to increase safety and to reduce the risk of illness and injury for a company’s employees. Some scientists often serve as advisors to sustainability managers and are involved in performing research to minimize a company’s environmental impact. Many sustainability scientists also serve as consultants, working as technical experts at firms that specialize in providing sustainability services to companies that do not have their own sustainability staff, or those who need specialized knowledge to implement sustainability strategies. Many people with a science background move into management positions and become top-level decision makers in the business community. They use their technical knowledge to guide an organization toward more sustainable practices and are frequently promoted to top-level management positions.

Occupations in scientific research and development have become increasingly interdisciplinary, and as a result, it is common for biological scientists, chemists, materials scientists, and engineers to work together as part of a team. Most scientists work in an office or laboratory and also spend some time in manufacturing facilities with engineers and other specialists. Some scientists, such as environmental scientists or conservation scientists spend a large portion of their time working outdoors, studying the natural environment.

If the growth of sustainability continues, more organizations will employ sustainability professionals. The benefits of this growth should be noticeable in many sectors of U.S. industries, from services, such as finance and health care, to manufacturing and construction.

Sustainability professionals have a broad range of education and experience levels, mainly in science, engineering, and business management. Although many of the occupations with sustainability responsibilities require at least a bachelor’s degree, there are opportunities for individuals with a wide variety of work experience and knowledge.

As sustainability becomes more widespread, new opportunities to contribute to the field will arise. A new market focused on sustainability should build job prospects for more future workers.

 

Source: bls.gov/green/sustainability