How This Tech Founder Is Giving The Internet A Face Lift By Changing The Way We Shop

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Shirley Chen’s list of experiences is as diverse as it is impressive: she spent her childhood on China’s national gymnastics team, studied biochemical engineering at Columbia University, interned at Chanel, Bergdorf Goodman, and Vogue, and worked as a media and retail consultant at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm.

Chen never imagined her resume would include founding a company. But when a former Vogue colleague tapped her on the shoulder to run the marketing and business development for luxury goods brand Moda Operandi, a seed was planted. Chen was tasked with driving customer acquisition with a specific focus on digital e-commerce, and that’s where she spotted a gap in the market.

Companies were so focused on the traffic from traditional platforms like Google and Facebook that they were missing a valuable source of customer acquisition—online content. When consumers wanted to find the trendiest swimsuit, most effective blackout curtains, or best-priced coffee maker, they looked for the answer in online magazines and blogs. The problem with that was two-fold. On the one hand, thanks to an aging internet, many older links on publishers’ pages are dead, leading consumers to 404 pages. On the other, many publishers were using hardcoded, static links to Amazon product pages (some 650 million times per month), meaning consumers didn’t have the opportunity to consider purchasing from other retailers, even if Amazon didn’t have the best price. In either case, it was a lose-lose-lose situation for consumers, advertisers, and publishers alike.

Chen devised a solution with Narrativ, a tech company that’s using AI to #EndThe404 and build a better internet for shoppers by making sure that every time they click on a product link on a publisher’s site, it will lead not just to an active page, but to the retailers with the best price.

“We built a SmartLink technology that repaired broken links online, and we democratized that pipeline that was being hard credited to Amazon through content,” Chen explained. “The mission is to improve the consumer shopping experience and build a better research experience as well when it comes to buying products.”

The results so far have been stellar. In the year since their launch out of stealth mode, Narrativ has raised over $3.5 million in venture capital, rewired more than one billion links, and impacted more than 200 million internet users each month. Narrativ, who has also partnered with notable brands like Dermstore, Ulta Beauty, and New York Magazine, is set to deliver more than $600 million in advertiser value in 2018, and has earned a nod from the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer.

Chen stands at the helm of it all, CEO of a game-changing tech company she was once almost too afraid to build. She recalls the nervousness she felt when the idea first came to her. She approached two former employers to build it, but both declined. That’s when Chen’s mentor, head of McKinsey’s North America Media spoke the words that fired her up: “Why don’t you build this thing on your own? I think you’re being a real coward.” She knew that he spoke not to discourage her, but to push her to make a move.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

How Women Can Break Into the Tech Industry

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Programmers working in a software developing company office

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

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

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

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

Get the Skills

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

Find Your Niche

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

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

Soft Skills Play a Role in this Industry

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

Start a Passion Project

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

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

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

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Kris Piotrowski stands outside in front of her work vehicle

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

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

For franchise information, please visit flooring-franchise.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Qualcomm is Hiring! Browse Opportunities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The evolving face of female entrepreneurship

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Black female business owner standing in building looking out large window

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

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

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

The four personas

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

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

Entrepreneurial motivations

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

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

Self-perception and behavior

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

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

Investment styles

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

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

Looking ahead

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

Author: Ashlee Bridge, Financial Advisor

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

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Kris Piotrowski poses outside in front of her work vehicle

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

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

“I do think that my military experience, coupled with my leadership and business training from Corporate America, is a definite asset to my business,” said Piotrowski, a Scottsdale resident who spent four years after her military career as a Facilities and Logistics expert. “Additionally, I have more than 10 years of facilities/flooring experience and am organized and driven.” Piotrowski was further inspired to pursue small-business ownership when she recalled her father’s trade when she was a youngster. “I have always wanted to own my own business,” she said. “I grew up with a father who was a cobbler and supported his family by making and repairing shoes. When I received my MBA, I realized I wanted to be an entrepreneur and it was an inspiring moment in my career.”

In Floor Coverings International, Piotrowski found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations. “I was inspired to select Floor Coverings International over other franchisors based on its culture, franchisee support, initial investment, and of course, being able to set my own schedule,” Piotrowski said. “Floor Coverings International was head and shoulders above the rest.”

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

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

Fire Destroys Working Wardrobes Headquarters in Irvine, CA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Biz Owner Adds Family Into Fold; Becomes Franchisee With #1-Rated Mobile Flooring Franchise

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Sheri Landry poses in front of her mobile floor coverings showcase van

Sheri Landry needed a change from her 20-year corporate career in the automotive industry. But she’s certainly not going it alone in her new venture since launching operations as a franchise owner with Floor Coverings International, visiting customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Landry is the owner and handles outside sales while her husband, Greg, is her business partner and sales manager.

Her sister, Vanessa Koger, is the business manager. And as if she hasn’t had enough going on, the 44-year-old Landry – whose past business experience includes sales, service and marketing – recently earned her master’s in Communications from the University of Michigan-Flint. “I just wanted more in life,” said Landry, a Lapeer, MI resident and mother of two. “I decided I wanted to work for myself for the next half of my career

Landry’s objective was to find a business that helped solve other people’s problems, especially since in the past she had encountered issues of her own in finding reliable contractors. Landry also has a passion for design and making an old space feel new again. “My motto is ‘helping people fall in love, one floor at a time,’” she said.

In Floor Coverings International, Landry found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations. Those steps include educating and consulting with customers to get a clear understanding of how they use their floors to best be able to make a personalized recommendation, a solution unique to each and every homeowner- NOT whatever is in stock in the warehouse, product that has been sitting there for who knows how long, product that is being pushed to everyone. “We want to make the experience fun and as unique as each person and space,” adds Landry.

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

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

How Black Girls Code transformed from basement experiment to international movement

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Kimberly Bryant stands behind a podium wearing a shirt that read Phenomenal Woman

By Halley Bondy

Throughout her biotech engineering career, Kimberly Bryant was the only black female in the room most of the time. And as Bryant rose the ranks to become manager at companies like DuPont, Phillip Morris and Genentech, she yearned for a more inclusive world for her daughter Kai.

Kai had developed a knack for gaming and coding, which is a very male, white and Asian-dominated business.

“It happened that I stumbled into this issue of diversity of inclusion and tech,” said Bryant in an interview with Know Your Value. “My daughter was about to go to middle school and was interested in tech and video gaming and gaming in general…I found that there wasn’t a strong program that would focus on girls of color and getting them prepared in the skills they’d need to move into this career field.”

Women of color earn less than 10 percent of bachelor’s degrees in computing, according to the Kapor Center. And black women make up less than 0.5 percent of leadership roles in tech. Even in women-led small tech businesses, women of color only comprise 4 percent of the workforce.

With Kai’s help, Bryant called upon colleagues at Genentech to put together a six-week coding curriculum for girls of color in 2011. She conducted the first educational series in a basement of a college prep institution in San Francisco, which was loaned to Bryant for free. Bryant expected about six students, but the class attracted about a dozen girls, including of course, Kai.

Bryant’s small community effort attracted the attention of ThoughtWorks, a global tech consultancy company. ThoughtWorks invested in Bryant in January 2012 and gave her access to space and resources across the country, as well as in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a few years, the operation transformed from a basement experiment into a global non-profit with 15 chapters. They called themselves Black Girls Code.

The more mature chapters might boast up to 1,000 students a year, according to Bryant, who runs the organization full-time.

“I didn’t know it would be a nonprofit,” said Bryant. “This was us just trying to test the waters and make something locally where I could bring my daughter, so she could find a tribe of girls interested in the same thing, but it took off from humble beginnings.”

The Black Girls Code curriculum teaches everything from web development to robotics to Artificial Intelligence. Many of the first-year students are now in college, including Kai, who is in her sophomore year studying computer science.

Bryant wants to expand Black Girls Code into a life-long support network to help retention rates in tech.

“One of the things that I’m really excited about is building out this alumni network that we’ve grown over the last eight years,” said Bryant. “Many of the girls…are about to go to college, and they have a need for support as they continue their career and collegiate journeys.”

Bryant said she was never interested in coding — that was all her daughter. Instead, Bryant studied engineering at Vanderbilt University. She said she met only one other African American female engineering student in her four years there, and that none of her professors were even female, let alone black.

“I didn’t have any role models,” said Bryant.

Still, she excelled. Bryant was only 25 when she became a manager at DuPont in Tennessee. She said her manager there—whom she otherwise adored—jokingly introduced her to the team as a “twofer,” because she was black and a woman.

The Black Girls Code curriculum teaches everything from web development to robotics to Artificial IntelligenceCourtesy of Black Girls Code.

“I’m positive those men had never worked for a black woman as their manager,” she said. “It was a learning experience. I spent most of my career in these types of positions. There were always these implicit and explicit biases that I had to deal with as I tried to establish authority as a black woman.”

Continue on to NBC News read the complete article.

Angela Merkel, Christine Lagarde and Nancy Pelosi Top Forbes’ 16th Annual List of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women

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Forbes most powerful women collage pictured for 2019

The World’s Most Powerful Women List Highlights the Female Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Investors, Philanthropists and CEOs Who Are Wielding Their Influence to Drive Change

NEW YORK– Forbes recently announced the 16th annual ranking of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. The women on Forbes’ 2019 ranking represent women in six categories: business, technology, finance, media & entertainment, politics & policy, and philanthropy. They’re  women who are building billion-dollar brands, calling the shots in the financial markets, and using their enormous platforms to broker agreements, provide aid and drive change.

For the ninth consecutive year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes the No. 1 spot, also marking her 14th total appearance on the list. Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank rose one spot to No. 2. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, returns to the list in the No. 3 spot this year as the highest-ranking and most powerful female elected official in American political history. Rounding out the top five is newcomer Ursula Von Der Leyen, President of the European Commission (No. 4) and Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors (No. 5).

“This year’s list of World’s Most Powerful Women is a collection of innovators and instigators who are leading on the world stage to redefine traditional power structures and forge lasting impact in every industry and sphere of influence,” said Moira Forbes, Executive Vice President, Forbes and President, ForbesWomen. “As we come to the close of the current decade, our 2019 listees remind us of the huge strides that have been made by women, and the great opportunity they have to define the decade ahead.”

“We are seeing more women at the heads of the world’s most influential institutions—the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the U.S. House of Representatives—and more women taking power in c-suites and board rooms across America,” said Maggie McGrath, Editor, ForbesWomen. “Systemic change takes time, but the women on this year’s Power list are wielding their influence across the world to help make that change.”

The 100 women on the 2019 list are builders, disruptors, and innovators in every sector from business to creative worlds, taking a modern, forward-looking view on power. Members of the 2019 Most Powerful Women list represent women in six categories: business (31 honorees), technology (17), finance (12), media & entertainment (14), politics & policy (22), and philanthropy (4). In total, the Power Women control or influence more than $2.3 trillion in revenue and oversee nearly 6.5 million employees.

The 2019 list spans more than seven generations of influential women, with environmental activist Greta Thunberg becoming the youngest honoree in the list’s history at age 16. With individuals from 32 countries/territories represented, North America maintained the most women on the list at 50, followed by Asia Pacific with 21, Europe (inclusive of Russia and Turkey) with 18, the United Kingdom with 5, the Middle East with 3, Latin America with 2, and one in Africa.

Twenty-three women made their debut on the 2019 World’s Most Powerful Women list, with notable newcomers including Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of IMF; Greta Thunberg, environmental activist, Jessica Tan, Co-CEO, COO, CIO of Ping An Group in China, Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture; Judith Mckenna, President and CEO of Walmart International; Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister for the Government of India; Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios; Rihanna, entrepreneur and singer/songwriter; and Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General for the United Nations.

Notably, Theresa May, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was not included on the 2019 list after maintaining the second spot in 2018 due to her resignation from the position this year. Queen Elizabeth, fell 15 spots to No. 38 and Ivanka Trump, First Daughter and Advisor to the President, fell 18 spots to No. 42.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Women Knocking it Out of the Park in STEM

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Miranda Cosgrove pictured from series Mission Unstoppable

New CBS Series Mission Unstoppable Showcases Leading Women in STEM

A new series called Mission Unstoppable has joined the seventh season of CBS’s three-hour Saturday morning block, CBS Dream Team….It’s Epic!

In Mission Unstoppable, celebrity host and co-executive producer Miranda Cosgrove highlights the fascinating female innovators who are on the cutting edge of science–including zoologists, engineers, astronauts, codebreakers and oceanographers. Each week, viewers will be inspired by female STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) superstars in the fields of social media, entertainment, animals, design and the internet–all categories key to the teen experience.

Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis serves as executive producer, bringing her passion for creating change in the portrayal of strong female characters in entertainment and media that positively influence young viewers.

“Strong female role models are essential to breaking down barriers and educating the next generation of leaders about gender equality,” said Geena Davis, executive producer, Mission Unstoppable. “Girls need to see themselves on and off the screen as STEM professionals, and as I always say, ‘If they can see it, they can be it.’ This new series strives to empower young women and showcase the many ways they can impact the world through careers in STEM.”

Source: Litton Entertainment, IF/THEN, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

Purdue’s Computer Science Department Graduates First African-Purdue’s Computer Science Department Graduates First African-American Woman PhD Amber Johnson pictured leaning on a tre outside smilingAmerican Woman PhD

Amber Johnson made history as the first African-American woman PhD graduate from Purdue University’s Department of Computer Science this past summer. Johnson sees Purdue’s Computer Science Department having an African-American woman PhD graduate as definite progress and would love to see more. It’s the same kind of progress she sees in her mentorship of African-American students in Black Girls Rock Tech, a computational and leadership program for adolescent girls where she serves as an instructor. “I have mentors like Dr. Raquel Hill and Dr. Jamika Burge, who are pioneers in the CS community, and I want to pay it forward,” Johnson said. The graduate, who will be joining Northrup Grumman in Maryland, remains active with the Future Technical Leader program, where she will have an opportunity to work in various locations around the country.

Source: cs.purdue.edu

World Class Skier Lindsey Vonn Inspires Girls in STEM

The greatest female snow skier of all time, Lindsey Vonn is on a mission to help young girls become more involved in STEM education through the Lindsey Vonn Foundation (LVF). This past summer, Vonn surprised 38 scholarship applicants with a personalized congratulations video:

“I want to be the first person to tell you that you have officially received a Lindsey Vonn Scholarship. So proud to have you on the team and I’m US former alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn attends the world premiere of "Fast & Furious presents Hobbs & Shawreally looking forward to see what you are going to accomplish in the future. We’re very impressed by you so keep it up, keep making an impact and a difference, and most importantly keep having fun.”

The kids’ parents recorded “reaction videos,” of their kids watching the video from Vonn.

Reactions ranged from disbelief to jumping on beds.

Scholarships were awarded for enrichment programs that included dance camps, travel abroad, U.S. Space & Rocket center camp, youth theatre, The School of the New York Times, cycling, The New Charter University Congress of Future Medical Leaders, Rustic Pathways, University of Wyoming Summer Music Camp, Aerospace Engineering Camp at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Blue Print Summer Program for college prep.

This year marks the inaugural partnership between the LVF and iD Tech Camps—the world leader in STEM education. LVF’s goal for the summer was to award scholarships to 20 girls to attend iD Tech’s renowned summer STEM programs, and iD Tech pledged to match this philanthropic commitment.

In the end, LVF exceeded this goal with 22 girls receiving full scholarships to iD Tech. Recipients have the option of attending either iD Tech’s co-ed camps or its highly successful and innovative all-girls program, called Alexa Cafe.

Recipients can enroll in iD Tech courses such as Game Design and Development, Al Lab: Robotics and Coding, Film Studio Video Production for YouTube, Make Games with Java, 3D Character Design Modeling program, Create Apps with Java, Photo Booth: Pro Photography for Instagram, Roblox Entrepreneur: Imaginative Game Design, 3D Studio: Modeling and Animation, and Python Coding.

Source: Lindsey Vonn Foundation, snewsnet.com

Shake Those Pom-Poms for Science!

Let’s Go STEM!! More than 200 current and former professional cheerleaders for the NBA, NFL and UFL who are also pursuing careers in science and technology have banded together to form the Science Cheerleaders. The organization’s mission is to challenge science and cheerleading stereotypes and inspire the nation’s 3-4 million cheerleaders to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). SciStarter.com, Science Cheerleader’s sister site, connects millions of “regular” people to hundreds of opportunities to do real research as Citizen Scientists.

Science Cheerleaders holding up a "Science" banner on a football field“One of our goals at Science Cheerleader is to show kids that they can have fun cheering and dancing and still pursue fulfilling careers in science and technology at the same time,” said Darlene Cavalier, founder of the Science Cheerleaders.

Carvalier says the cheer squad does this by recasting the image of scientists and engineers while giving people the opportunity to explore their personal interests as a gateway to science. They communicate in ways that inspire people using their very real, very personal stories at schools, festivals, malls, on tv, online, at cheer events, games…wherever the people are. The point: science is accessible to ALL!

Source: sciencecheerleader.com