What it Takes to be a Successful Woman in the Field of Architecture

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Gretchen Callejas poses for headshot in an outdoor setting

By Gretchen Callejas

Frank Lloyd Wright. I.M. Pei. Those are the familiar names of two of America’s best-known architects.

Wright’s distinct prairie-style homes dot the American landscape while Pei’s large but elegantly designed urban buildings and complexes are among the world’s most famous architectural works. Pei’s projects, among others, include the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the controversial glass pyramid in Paris’ Louvre Museum courtyard.

But have you heard of Julia Morgan, who designed California’s famous Hearst Castle?

Or trailblazers such as Marion Mahony Griffin, the first woman to be officially licensed as an architect, and Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize?

It isn’t surprising if you haven’t. According to a January 2019 article in ThoughtCo., which listed 20 famous female architects, the role that women have played in architecture and design often go under the radar.

While architecture has been a male-dominated field, that is not the case at Felder & Associates, where I have worked since its inception in 2012. We have four women and three men on staff. The forward-thinking leadership of the firm’s managing principal, Brian Felder, has played an extraordinary part in making our workplace a gender free oasis in an otherwise industry-wide testosterone-filled desert.

Why is architecture, like so many other professions, such a tough profession for women to crack?

According to a 2016 article in the Los Angeles Times, only 18 percent of licensed practitioners are women although they make up nearly half of U.S. architecture school graduates. This disparity sometimes is referred to as “the missing 32 percent.” Unfortunately, females leave the field in disturbingly high numbers after they’re confronted with lower salaries, given fewer career-building opportunities or find a lack of mentors, who champion for them.

Full-time female architects earn 20 percent less than their male counterparts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Plus, architecture’s history as a male-dominated profession has contributed to an all-consuming workplace culture that leaves little flexibility for women expected to balance work and family. According to the Times article, 75 percent of female survey respondents had experienced sexual discrimination on the job, and 83 percent believed having a child would hurt their careers.

My personal observations and experiences have confirmed some of these disparities, but I consider myself lucky.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to maintain a successful professional career while balancing family because I have a husband who shares responsibilities and encouragement. Without his support, it would be more challenging to continue with a professional career.

And while I have quite a few female friends who are architects, I have never worked for a woman nor had a strong female mentor. Contractors and clients often assume I need to ask my male boss for help in understanding construction, codes or a design issue. When I approach a problem with the same assertiveness as a male architect, I’m sometimes labeled with the “B”-word.

Since I was a kid, I dreamed of designing buildings before I knew what that encompassed. And now as an adult would I encourage young girls to enter architecture? Absolutely. I would tell young women (and men) entering the field that determination and passion go a long way. You will be successful if you work hard, tune out the negativity and chase your goals with perseverance. If you want to be an Architect, then go be one.

I finally believe that I am in a position to give them a hand. I’ve been around enough to help guide them and try to be the mentor I never had. I’m pleased we have two young women working with us at Felder & Associates. Alma Johnson and Cathryn Sinclair graduated with architectural degrees from the Savannah College of Art and Design last year and are interning with us as project associates.

Sinclair says she believes the playing field is more level than ever before but there is always room for improvement.

“I hope to continue to see the gap close,” she says.

For Johnson, success is based on how hard you work.

“Now, the gender gap does exist, but I think that the world is evolving on a more modern idea of a woman in the workplace. I don’t see gender. I see what skill sets I need to acquire to be as successful as the candidate next to me,” Johnson says.

I hope their perspectives will remain true and their positivity high after spending 15 years or so in the industry. I suspect they will reflect on their early days as a time when they had to deal with an old and outdated set of standards.

One thing I know for certain. They are in a wonderful setting to avoid bias and discrimination working at Felder & Associates. We are, thankfully, treated equally regardless of our gender, and we treat one another with mutual respect and understanding.

My hope for young women in architecture is that they will continue to mentor the next generations of women architects, have equal opportunities and respect. One day we will be as well-known as Frank Lloyd Wright and I.M. Pei.

Gretchen Callejas is a project architect at Felder & Associates, where she specializes in historic preservation, adaptive reuse, small scale commercial architecture and high-end residential design. She is also LEED-accredited from the U.S. Green Building Council. Callejas earned Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design from Ball State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design.

Citations:

  1. Craven, Jackie (2019, January). 20 Famous Women Architects. ThoughtCo. Retrieved from: https://www.thoughtco.com/famous-female-architects-177890
  2. Stratigakos, Despina (2016, April). Why is the world of architecture so male-dominated? LA Times. Retrieved from: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-stratigakos-missing-women-architects-20160421-story.html
  3. Newman, Caroline (2019, January). Three Generations Of Female Architects Seek To Bring More Women Into The Profession. UVA Today. Retrieved from: https://news.virginia.edu/content/3-generations-female-architects-seek-bring-more-women-profession

 

 

5 times when using paper and a pen is better than using an app

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woman writing at laptop with a pen and paper on table

We’re living in a digital world—one where screens dominate our time. The average American adult spends three hours and 43 minutes on mobile devices, according to 2019 research by eMarketer. This doesn’t include the time spent on a computer at work or parked in front of the television at home.

It’s easy to find an app or software platform to help you do run your life, making paper and pen feel old-school. But paper products offer advantages that tech does not.

Here are five times when you should choose analog over digital:

When you need to recall something

“One of the biggest assets that paper can provide is that it stimulates our reticular activating system,” says Holland Haiis, digital detox expert for How Life Unfolds, the consumer content site for the Paper and Packaging Board. “It boosts learning and helps with goal achievement by providing better recall and performance.”

This reticular activating system is responsible for filtering out unnecessary information, helping with memory. Instead of taking notes on a smartphone or laptop, use a journal or notebook to record important information you need to remember. For example, if you are working on a speech you want to deliver with fewer notes or slides, consider writing it by hand to boost retention.

When you need a fast option

Working with paper can make certain tasks faster, says Christine Hofler, owner of Curate for Joy!, a Marie Kondo-certified organizing professional.

“If you only have a short list, a simple calendar, or a small number of contacts to keep track of, paper is faster and easier,” she says. “You can grab a pen and paper and write out a few words much faster than you can open your digital device, locate the app or program, and type in those same few words.”

Retrieving the info can also be quicker, says Hofler. “Just a glance at the paper or page,” she says. “Paper doesn’t go to sleep or run out of power as a digital device can. Another advantage: A single piece of paper is more portable than even the smallest device.”

When you need to focus

When you are working with paper tools, your focus is increased, and you cannot attempt to multitask, says Haiis. “When we hold a device, we are subject to its rings, tings, pings,” she says. “The more we task switch, the more we get into brain fog and burnout.”

Paper commands your focus in and doesn’t have built-in distractions that can take you off track. If you need to finish an important project or get caught up on reading, consider paper tools instead of digital.

When you have an important meeting

Paper can help foster deeper collaboration during meetings because it doesn’t distract. If people take notes in a meeting with laptops, however, it can be too tempting to check email. When you’re looking for an email, you’re not contributing, says Haiis.

“Any time you are distracted by a device, you go into less depth with a conversation,” she says. “This creates less trust and less camaraderie. If you’re going to move projects forward, you need to work together as a team. Too often, we meet a week later and wonder why we haven’t moved forward. It’s because the meeting didn’t have our attention.”

Make a policy of no technology in meetings, and use paper to take notes instead of your laptop or phone.

When you don’t want things to fall through the cracks

Out of sight is out of mind, and if you store notes or to-do lists in a digital app, it can be easy to overlook them.

“You can’t accomplish what you need to do if you don’t know what that is,” says Debra Eckerling, author of the upcoming book Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals.

She recommends creating a dedicated notebook for your to-do lists, keeping it in the same location on your desk. “That way, you always know where to find your upcoming tasks and action items,” says Eckerling.

At the beginning of each week, put the date at the top of a new page and make as detailed a list as possible. Eckerling recommends dividing your list into categories, clients, or projects. “Whatever makes the most sense,” she says.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Being Intentional: Convening in a World with Too Many Conferences

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group of people gathered at table discussing STEM

By: Rochelle L. Williams, PhD, ARC Network Project Director, AWIS

The ARC Network, an initiative of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), elevates thought leadership on the successes and challenges to realizing equity in STEM. Since 2009, AWIS has worked with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to convene ADVANCE institutions and NSF Gender in Science and Engineering (GSE) program to discuss synthesizing quantitative and qualitative approaches affecting gender composition and representation in STEM education workplaces.

By combining AWIS’ convening power and the ARC Network’s mission to advance equity in STEM, we’ve sought to create community, not another conference that promises a magical solution to research problems.

The 2019 Equity in STEM Community Convening builds on the momentum of the NSF ADVANCE/GSE Workshops, while simultaneously curating an experience that embodies a culture of innovation and inclusion. Traditional meeting features (i.e., poster sessions, networking coffee breaks and interactive breakout sessions) are infused with components that amplify, revolutionize and cultivate a community of researchers and practitioners.

Amplify.

To increase the reach and visibility of proven strategies that promote equity in STEM, additional avenues for authentic storytelling have been incorporated into this year’s programming. To start, presenters will stretch themselves by submitting visual abstracts, visual summaries of their presentations instead of the traditional text-based abstract. Shifting to visual abstracts allows easy distribution of their work within the ARC Network and with external audiences using social media. In addition to having prominent keynote speakers and poster showcase, the Equity in STEM Community Convening will also feature Lightning Talks during the networking reception. The Lightning Talks will challenge presenters to outline the highlights of their work and explain its importance within five minutes.

Revolutionize.

The Equity in STEM Community Convening will highlight high-quality research and works-in-progress that have potential to advance and transform STEM workplaces. The Early-Stage Innovations sessions will support new researchers and practitioners looking to share the initial phase of their work or seeking feedback from the community. Experience Reports, sessions dedicated to those on the frontline of change, are designed for well-developed and/or later-stage initiatives or research.

We’ve also introduced a new priority area, ADVANCE to Market. Presentations will center on research, programs, and practices that discuss academic STEM entrepreneurship and commercialization, including social equity issues and taking diversity and inclusion research and resources to market.

Cultivate.

Advancing equity in STEM requires an intentional focus on creating authentic, sustainable and inclusive environments while simultaneously cultivating a community that collaborates, shares and implements promising practices and tools shown to affect change. Presenter-designed Symposia and Workshops are meant to give participants the time to reflect and create, both individually and with others. The informal setting of the Networking Breaks make way for relaxed exchanges that are crucial for the learning process.

In a world with too many conferences, too many broken promises and not enough time, you’ll leave the convening inspired to take your work to the next level and, more importantly, knowing there’s a community ready to support you in your efforts toward #EquityinSTEM.

Building and Gathering a Community

Join the ARC Network Community! This AWIS initiative connects scholars and practitioners committed to equity in STEM at no cost. In collaboration with Mendeley, the ARC Network hosts a dedicated online group for members to access and contribute to a rich library of curated resources – including reports, articles, datasets, toolkits, videos and more – that serve as an important part of systemic change efforts. As the go-to hub for community collaboration, the platform also offers members the opportunity to share events hosted by the community and their institutions as well as online learning opportunities, such as webinars and virtual workshops. There is no cost to register. AWIS Membership not required.

Equity in STEM “First Look.” Published on SSRN, this quarterly digest allows peers to share a wide range of STEM equity content and early stage research, empowering the community with early access to the tools and knowledge needed for change. The inaugural publication provides a historical perspective of the NSF ADVANCE program and outcomes of and lessons learned from past awardees.

Dr Rochelle L Williams standing outside with buildings in the backgroundRochelle L. Williams, PhD, is Project Director for the ADVANCE Resource Coordination (ARC) Network for AWIS. The ARC Network has a primary focus on organizational and institutional systemic change from both the research and practical perspectives. Before joining AWIS, Dr. Williams served as Research Scientist in the Office for Academic Affairs at Prairie View A&M University. Since 2012, Dr. Williams has worked as a subject-matter expert for the National Science Foundation on issues about cultures of inclusion, broadening participation, and university education programs. Dr. Williams received a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Spelman College and both a Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and Doctorate in Science and Mathematics Education from Southern University and A&M College.

AWIS is a global network with 80 grassroots chapters and affiliates connecting more than 100,000 professionals in STEM with members, allies and supporters worldwide. Founded in 1971, AWIS has been the leading advocate for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to achieve business growth, social change, and innovation. We are dedicated to driving excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors.

Funded by the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program, Award HRD-1740860, the ADVANCE Resource and Coordination (ARC) Network seeks to achieve gender equity for faculty in higher education science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. As the STEM equity brain trust, the ARC Network recognizes the achievements made so far while producing new perspectives, methods and interventions with an intersectional, intentional and inclusive lens. AWIS serves as the backbone organization of the ARC Network.

How One Family Turned their Recipes into a Restaurant Sensation

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Shawna Stanley is seated at dinner table toasting wine with family

America is considered to be the land of opportunity, and for one immigrant family, they harnessed the power of that to have a successful business. Armed with a desire to succeed and a variety of traditional Lebanese family recipes, the Chebat family brought their culture’s cuisine to the Woodbridge, Virginia, area. Not only has their restaurant survived, but it has thrived in the ten years since they first opened their doors. They have learned a lot of lessons along the way regarding what it takes to succeed in the restaurant business.

“Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant is a success story of one immigrant family coming together to build something special,” added Michael Chebat, the father and chief operating officer. “Many people believe that family shouldn’t work together, but if you have the right mindset and shared goals you can thrive and grow a successful business. Our success depends on our family synergy and happy customers, combined with our commitment to offering people high quality traditional recipes.”

When Michael started the restaurant with his wife, Mathil, they wanted to offer people a variety of authentic Middle East dishes. Each of the dishes served at the restaurant comes from traditional family recipes and are the same dishes that the family has eaten in their home for generations. The unique flavors and atmosphere help to create a dining experience that brings people back time and again.

The restaurant is run by the Chebat family, which includes their eight children. Together, they have created a menu that appeals to many, including those who are health-conscious, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and seeking organic options. Not every family can come together to create a successful business. There are lessons that they have learned and share regarding what it takes to succeed:

  • You have to approach what you are doing as a labor of love, and never forget who you are doing it all for, which is the customer.
  • Everyone on your team needs to be committed to growing the company and invested in helping it to succeed.
  • Define your core values and build your business around them. At Layla’s, their core set of values include love, family, trust, quality, and flavor.
  • You should infuse your business with your own styles, culture, and unique offerings, but always keep in mind what the market wants. For example, Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant has identified the growing trend in people wanting vegetarian, vegan, and organic foods when dining out, and they are happy to meet that need.
  • Have the team make a pact that they refuse to go anywhere but up. There is no failure; there is only multiple ways to succeed, and you have to find the route that will get you there.
  • Define your focus and don’t be afraid to stick to it. At Layla’s, they have committed to focusing on the family. Their entire business model is focused on the family, both within their team and in reaching their customers. They aim to bring families together and help them have a great dining experience.

“We wanted to introduce people to our food and culture, and a restaurant as well as a new product line was the perfect way to do that,” explains Jimmy Chebat, the uncle and president of Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant. “With that in mind, we worked to create something that would infuse a bit of our culture and flavors into the area. We are thrilled that it has been well received and look forward to many more years to come.”

Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant, located at 2217 Old Bridge Road in Woodbridge, offers a menu filled with authentic Middle East dishes, including kabobs, falafel, hummus, grape leaves, beef shawarma, meat pies, stuffed cabbage, a Lebanese version of steak tartar, and a wine and beer menu. The restaurant also offers full catering services for birthdays, graduations, business events, work lunches, and more. Those who sign up for their email list will receive 10 percent off their next visit. For more information about Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant, visit the site at: laylas.net.

The company also offers a line of ready-made products that are available in stores and farmer’s markets throughout Virginia and New York. The Layla’s Food Company product line includes Layla’s Garlic Whip, available in original, honey garlic, jalapeño cilantro, cranberry, and sun-dried tomato, and Layla’s Hummus, available in original and black bean. The website offers recipes and a free cookbook that can be downloaded. For more information about Layla’s Food Company, including which stores carry the product line, visit the site: laylasfood.com.

About Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant

Located in Woodbridge, Virginia, Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant has been serving up authentic Middle East cuisine for over 10 years. Family-owned and operated, the company offers a wide variety of traditional dishes made from family recipes. The restaurant also offers catering and has a dip product line that is available in stores. For more information, visit: laylas.net.

An Arkansas Lawyer Bought 1,500 Pairs of Shoes From a Payless Going Out of Business. Now She’s Donating Them to Kids in Need

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woman holding her children with boxes around them

When Carrie Jernigan was doing some last-minute, pre-vacation shopping with her kids at a Payless ShoeSource near their home in Alma, Arkansa, she had no idea she would soon be taking home upwards of 1,500 pairs of shoes.

“What have I done?” the 37-year-old lawyer and mother of three says she initially thought to herself.

But this was possible because in February, Payless ShoeSource announced it would be shutting down all of its stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It was the second time in two years the company was filing for bankruptcy — the latest casualty in what’s been dubbed over the years as the “retail apocalypse.”

Jernigan was taking advantage of the sweeping sales one day this past May when her 9-year-old daughter asked if they could buy Avengers tennis shoes for a classmate that needed a new pair. Inspired by her daughter’s act of kindness, Jernigan, jokingly, asked the clerk how much it would cost to buy the entire store. Hours later, she had purchased nearly 350 pairs of shoes with the intention of donating them all.

“We made a deal to buy almost all [that] was left on the shelves,” she says.

When she returned to pick up the shoes, she found out that a new delivery was coming in — days before the store was set to shut its doors. When her kids asked to take those too, she told them they could take a peek to see if there were any children’s shoes.

“Of course, the first box I opened up was JoJo Siwa shoes,” she says, referring to the mega-popular Nickelodeon star. “Pink glitter was everywhere.”

When it was all said and done Jernigan took home nearly $21,000 worth of merchandise — the majority of which she saved from the store’s blowout sale. She intends to donate roughly 1,100 pairs to kids, and local schools and give the remaining shoes to adults in need.

Being the local school board’s president, Jernigan knows how much some parents struggle to afford school supplies, let alone new shoes, for their children. When she realized that she had way too many shoes for her school alone, she decided to hold off for few months to do a back-to-school fundraising event.

Continue on to Money.com to read the complete article.

10 Reasons to Work for the Federal Government

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three professionally dressed women

Are you thinking of working for the federal government? If so, opportunities and benefits lie ahead. Check out these ten reasons to pursue a career in the field.

  1. Make a difference
    The work of government employees impacts the lives of every American and the lives of people around the world. Federal employees can play a vital role in addressing pressing issues, from homelessness to homeland security. Students interested in working in government can engage in high-impact work, such as helping disrupt the laundering of billions of dollars derived from illicit U.S. drug deals.
  2. Great benefits/competitive pay
    Average government salaries are competitive with the private and nonprofit sectors. Recent graduates can expect a starting salary from $32,415 to $42,631 a year. Pay can also increase fairly quickly for top candidates with experience and a strong education. Federal benefits, including health insurance, retirement and vacation, are extremely competitive with, if not superior to, other sectors.
  3. The government is hiring
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected an employment increase of ten percent through 2018 in federal employment.
  4. Location, location, location
    Federal opportunities are not only found in the D.C area. Eighty-four percent of federal government jobs are outside of Washington, D.C. If students are interested in international job opportunities, more than 50,000 federal employees work abroad.
  5. Jobs for every major
    Working in the federal government is not just for political science majors. In fact, 28.4 percent of federal employees work in STEM fields. There are federal jobs for every interest and skill, from art history to zoology.
  6. Opportunities for advancement and professional development
    Federal employees have many opportunities for career advancement in government. An internal Merit Promotion Program helps ensure that new employees succeeding in their job have easy access to information about job openings within government. The government also offers excellent training and development opportunities and has human resources personnel to help connect current employees with these opportunities.
  7. Interesting and challenging work
    Today’s government workers are leading and innovating on issues, such as developing vaccines for deadly diseases, fighting sexual and racial discrimination, and keeping our massive systems of transportation safe.
  8. Work-life balance
    Flexible work schedules, including telework, are a major plus for those with busy schedules or long commute. Competitive benefits also include generous vacation time combined with federal holidays and sick leave. All of these packaged together make government an attractive employer for students looking to successfully balance their work and personal lives.
  9. Job security
    Government work is steady and secure, an attractive selling point, especially during difficult economic times.
  10. The federal government can help pay for school loans
    Some federal agencies can help pay back up to $10,000 per year in student loans, up to a total of $60,000.

Source: ourpublicservice.org

The Top 25 Highest Paid Federal Jobs

Did you know that the 25 highest paying government jobs all pay over $50,000 per year?

Below is a list of 25 of the most sought after federal jobs, ranked by the Office of Personnel Management as the highest paid jobs currently offered by the U.S. Government.

1) Astronomer – $116,072

2) Attorney – $114,240

3) Financial Manager – $101,022

4) General Engineer – $100,051

5) Economist – $94,098

6) Computer Scientist – $90,929

7) Chemist – $89,954

8) Criminal Investigator – $88,174

9) Microbiologist – $87,206

10) Architect – $85,690

11) Statistician – $81,524

12) Librarian – $78,665

13) Accountant – $78,030

14) Chaplain – $76,511

15) Ecologist – $76,511

16) Human Resources Manager – $76,503

17) Health and Safety Specialist – $73,003

18) Air Traffic Controller – $72,049

19) Budget Analyst – $71,267

20) Correctional Officer – $67,140

21) Nurse – $65,345

22) Technical Engineer – $63,951

23) Border Patrol Agent – $63,550

24) Medical Technician- $59,840

25) Customs Inspector – $59,248

Source: Office of Personnel Management

Looking to Be the First Woman in the NFL

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Toni Harris-Headshot

Antoinette “Toni” Harris aims to be the first woman to play in the National Football League (NFL). “If it doesn’t happen, I can just pave the way for another little girl to come out and play, or even start a women’s NFL,” Harris said in a recent interview with NBC News, following her decision to sign with the Central Methodist University football team. Harris, a 5-foot-7 free safety, is on track to become the first female football player in school history as well as the first female skill position player to sign a letter of intent to play college football on a scholarship.

Harris chose Central Methodist over five other offers. “I picked Central Methodist because of the resilience within the school itself and how Coach Calloway had been communicating with me,” Harris said.

The endeavoring NFL player gained national notoriety after starring in a Super Bowl commercial for Toyota earlier this month and has been interviewed by the likes of CNN, NBC News, and Sports Illustrated. She spent two seasons at East Los Angeles College and says she felt Coach Calloway had her best interest at heart during the recruiting process.

“Sometimes you have to pick and choose,” said Harris. “I feel that Central Methodist will be the perfect place for me.”

Sources: becauseofthemwecan.com, cmueagles.com

Widowed Mother Of Four Begins New Chapter With No. 1 Home Inspection Company

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Sherry OConnor poses outdoors wearing a brown vest and gray sweater

In 2009, when the U.S. economy had taken a down-turn, Sherry and Mike O’Connor were looking for options. They decide to purchase a small machine shop, and moved with their four children from northern Michigan to Nashville, TN. Together they manufactured machines for the tire industry – until 2014 when their world was turned upside down. Mike O’Connor was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (kidney failure).

“At that point, we had to sell the business and spent the better part of the next two years learning about and dealing with Mike’s illness,” reflected Sherry. “When Mike passed in 2017, I sold our Nashville house and moved ‘home’ to Northern Michigan, where I had spent every summer of my life and had lived since graduating from college in the mid 80’s. It was the familiarity that brought us back, but I knew that I needed a fresh start in business.”

Over the years Sherry had developed quite a resume. She spent time as a travel agent, restaurant owner, bookkeeper, graphic artist, and real estate agent. “It is my time in real estate that led me to Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, and I know it will prove invaluable to my professional home inspecting business,” Sherry said.

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the brand to which more than three million families have turned to for 25 years to be their trusted advisor when buying or selling a home. Consistently ranked as the top-rated home inspection company on Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual Franchise500®, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is enjoying its 19th year in a row on that list.

A professional evaluation both inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors’ service. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors input data and digital photos into a computerized report that is printed and presented on site. All information is provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference, allowing homebuyers or sellers to make confident, informed decisions.

“When I was selling homes, I often said that I was more like a frustrated home inspector. It’s true what they say, ‘no home is without some problems, but every problem has a solution’, and I look forward to easing the process for prospective home buyers.”

About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with home offices in Toronto and Tampa. There are nearly 600 franchises located in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces. The company has been named as Best in Category in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise500® ranking for 19 years in a row. Long-term plans include adding 500 to 600 new franchisees over the next five years. For further information, please visit pillartopost.com. To inquire about a franchise go to pillartopostfranchise.com.

Charu Sharma: The Future of Women in Technology

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Charu Sharma poss for camera with a smile

By Jaeson “Doc” Parsons

Charu Sharma is the founder and CEO of NextPlay.ai, a company focused on intelligently pairing employees with mentorship and cross-functional relationships. Companies, such as Square, Netflix and Asurion, use NextPlay’s mobile app to build mentorship programs to better equip their employees to build critical leadership and coaching skills.

Diversity in STEAM Magazine spoke with Charu about her background, her insight into women in tech, and the future of Artificial Intelligence.

Growing up in India, she describes her early life as a bubble where women were raised to be stay-at-home moms.

“I was on track to go study at the premier engineering institute in India,” she said, “but I was very attracted to the liberal arts education in the U.S. where I could study a range of disciplines from world politics to physics to film studies and develop my critical thinking skills.”

Her family was unable to provide for an American education, but she was able to gain a scholarship to study in the United States. Charu decided on Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, which was the first institution in the United States where women could earn degrees.

“The values and culture at my college also hugely shaped how I looked at the world and the contribution I wanted to make in society,” she said.

While at Holyoke, Charu began as an intern at a startup called SumZero, which was funded by the Winklevoss twins of Facebook fame.

“I did meaningful business-critical work. And my mentor, the CEO of the company, was a young brown man. I identified with him. The next time I saw a problem, I built a solution for it. The power of role models is huge.”

For that reason, she started GoAgainsttheFlow.com, which through storytelling educated one million women around the world on starting their own businesses.

“I was lucky to have role models, and I wanted them to see someone like them in those shoes. In Go Against the Flow, I told stories of successful women entrepreneurs ranging from an 18-year-old college dropout to a woman in her 50s—they all went against the flow and wrote their destiny. Self-doubt holds us back more than anything else. Which is why it’s so important to create mentoring opportunities for young women so that they know their options and have someone cheering for them.”

Charu is working to effect change worldwide regarding the global opportunities for women. At her core she is driven by leveling the playing field to create real opportunities for women and minorities.

“I realize I’m part of a system and so I try to do three things. Do my part by mentoring women (and men) Creating systems at scale through my work at Nextplay for companies around the world. Partner with like-minded organizations and influencers to educate leaders around the world on creating equal access for their employees.”

Charu sees Nextplay as a conduit for providing equal access to advancement and growth for all employees.

“Nextplay is best in class in building such systems at scale, and I’d love to see us impact tens of thousands of organizations and billions of humans in a meaningful way.”

AI is an exciting new frontier and is being applied to everything from agriculture to health care. Her advice to new entrepreneurs is to fix the problem that they need to solve instead of focusing on becoming an AI company.

“Understand the path you want to follow. AI is becoming a massive field, and each stream requires different training and skills. So do informational interviews—and go find mentors!” she said.

Mentorship has taken center stage—and for good reason—as the experiences of Charu Sharma attest. Creating companies, which provide new avenues for individuals to pursue their dreams through entrepreneurship, will add more depth and opportunities for society as a whole. With the advances of AI and the leveling technology with these advancements, the inaccessible becomes accessible for groups once trapped by the barriers of an ethno- and gender-centric society. Through programs and companies like Charu’s the world becomes more accessible to the genius once hidden by ineffectual economic and social prejudices. The limits are bounded only by the imagination of the dreamers and their mentors.

Co-Parenting Tips Every Divorcing Couple Needs to Know

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Co-parenting couple arguing in front of their child

It’s well known that nearly half of all marriages in the country end in divorce. The rate is even higher for subsequent marriages.

What many people are not as focused on are the children involved and how to best go about co-parenting in a way that will help them grow into well adjusted adults. July is National Child-Centered Divorce Month, making it an ideal time to place the focus of divorce on the children, and what can be done to help ensure they come out of the situation in healthy manner.

“Divorce may seem like it’s something between the adults, but it is really something impacts the whole family,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author, who offer virtual workshops. “Children need parents who will commit to working together for the health and development of their child.”

In a study published in the journal called The Linacre Quarterly, researchers shared their findings of reviewing three decades worth of research regarding the impact of divorce on the health of children. Their research found that divorce has been shown to diminish a child’s future competence in all areas of life, including family relationships, education, emotional well-being, and future earning power. Parents can help to counter the negative impact that divorce has on the children by focusing on effective co-parenting that will help ensure their success throughout life.

Children who see their parents continuing to work together are more likely to learn how to effectively and peacefully solve problems themselves. They will also have a healthy example to follow. It’s important for parents to remember that their feelings about their ex does not, and should not, dictate their behavior. It’s better to focus on being a positive example, putting your child’s well being in the spotlight.

Patel offers some tips that will help with ensuring co-parenting success:

  • Commit to making co-parenting an open dialogue with your ex. Arrange to do this through email, texting, voicemail, letters, or face-to-face conversations. In the beginning, it may be hard to have a civil dialogue with your ex. There are even websites where you can upload schedules, share information and communicate so you and your ex don’t have to directly touch base.
  • The key is consistency. Rules don’t have to be exactly the same between the two households, but you and your ex should establish generally consistent guidelines. They should be mutually agreed upon for both households. For example, meal time, bed time, and completing homework need to consistent. This helps create a sense of belonging and creates a sense of security and predictability for children. Discuss and come to an agreement about each of these issues.
  • Don’t give in to guilt and try and outdo your ex by gifting you child with things, instead agree on discipline. This includes things like behavioral guidelines, rewards, and consequences, so there is consistency in their lives, regardless of which parent they’re with at any given time. Research shows that children in homes with a unified parenting approach have greater well-being.
  • Keep in mind that children will frequently test boundaries and rules, especially if there’s a chance to get something they may not ordinarily be able to obtain. This is why a united front in co-parenting is recommended.
  • Be flexible and update often. If there are changes at home, in your life, it is important that your child is never the primary source of information.
  • Speak in positive language about your ex. Remember, often times, the marriage is what was the issue, not the parenting style. Each of you has valuable strengths as a parent. Remember to recognize the different traits you and your ex have – and reinforce this awareness with your children.
  • Children exposed to conflict between co-parents are more likely to develop issues such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD. Keeping this in mind, strive to keep conflict around them to a minimal or none at all.
  • Keep the conversations child-focused. This will leave out problems that you and your ex have with each other. The focus now needs to be on the children.

“Effective and healthy co-parenting may be difficult at first and it make time some time to work everything out,” added Patel. “But getting this part right in the long run is going to have a huge positive impact on your children, so it’s worth it. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help to put a plan together or determine how to best put co-parenting into action.”

Patel has a new debut radio show on Dash Radio, North America’s first mainstream South Asian radio station, which premiered in April 2019. The station was founded by Rukus Avenue Music Group, and can be heard 24-7 on the Dash Radio app, as well as on the on the Dash Radio platform at DashRadio.com.

Patel is the founder of AutiZm& More. As a licensed educational psychologist and guidance counselor, she helps children and their families with the use of positive behavior support strategies across home, school, and community settings. She does workshops around California, and virtual workshops globally where she provides this information to health professionals, families, and educators. She also offers concierge parenting services, helping families to reach specific goals, such as focusing on college admission. She is also the author of a book that helps children with anxiety coping strategies called “Winnie & Her Worries,” and author of a book about autism awareness and acceptance, called “My Friend Max: A Story about a Friend with Autism.” Both of her books are available on Amazon. To learn more about her services, visit the website at reenabpatel.com.

About Reena B. Patel
Based in the San Diego area, Reena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA) is a renowned parenting expert, guidance counselor, licensed educational psychologist, and board-certified behavior analyst. For more than 20 years, Patel has had the privilege of working with families and children, supporting all aspects of education and positive wellness. She works extensively with developing children as well as children with exceptional needs, supporting their academic, behavioral and social development.  She was recently nominated for San Diego Magazine’s “Woman of the Year.” To learn more about her books and services, visit the website at www.reenabpatel.com, and to get more parenting tips, follow her on Instagram @reenabpatel.

Sources:
The Linacre Quarterly. The impact of family structure on the health of the children: Effects of divorce. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4240051/

UPS Launches First-Of-Its-Kind Women Exporters Program Workshops In The U.S.

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UPS representatives at the UPS booth during the WBENC Business Fair 2019

As part of its continuing efforts to create an inclusive business environment and growth opportunities for women, UPS (NYSE:UPS) has announced the launch of the Women Exporters Program workshops for U.S. businesses.

The program will help women business owners and leaders to gain access to the vast global marketplace, comprising 95% of the world’s buyers.

In the U.S., there are nearly 12 million women-owned small businesses, yet women-owned businesses comprise just 12% of U.S. exporters. Providing training to enable small- and medium-sized businesses owned by women to export would help propel those companies onto the world stage. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, “In a ‘full potential’ scenario in which women play an identical role in (global) labor markets to that of men, as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to global annual GDP by 2025.”

To provide a pathway for cross-border business opportunities, the U.S. launch of the Women Exporters Program  began at the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) National Conference & Business Fair, one of the largest events of its kind for women business owners in the U.S. At WBENC, UPS hosted a series of workshops and offered one-to-one coaching sessions, providing:

  • Insights and training on export strategies;
  • Tools and resources to enter new markets;
  • Insights on how to build an export-friendly digital presence; and
  • Guidance on package flow and preparing an export shipment.

UPS experts also provided tips on targeting, research, documentation and shipping processes to help build confidence and competence. The workshops are the first step in the U.S., with additional training sessions being planned for the future.

The U.S. launch is part of a global deployment of the program, which began in May 2019 in Mexico, Nigeria, Turkey and Vietnam, with planned expansion to the United Arab Emirates in September 2019 in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC) as part of the SheTrades initiative. The business training will help women entrepreneurs expand their potential customer base and growth potential, while strengthening communities. According to independent research commissioned by ITC conducted in 20 developing countries, women in those locations tend to invest up to 90% of their income in their children’s health and education. Helping women entrepreneurs build export skills has the potential to reduce intergenerational cycles of poverty.

“As a leading global logistics company, we have deep insights into how businesses move across borders and grow,” said Eduardo Martinez, UPS chief diversity and inclusion officer and president of The UPS Foundation. “Delivering this knowledge and expertise to women entrepreneurs to help expand their business opportunities is just one of the ways we’re helping to catalyze economic prosperity and inclusion across our value chain of customers, suppliers and communities. Our collaboration with ITC, and the launch of the U.S. program with long-time partner WBENC, are demonstrations of the power of public-private partnerships which will advance women entrepreneurs all over the world.”

Kathleen Marran, UPS VP of Diverse Market Segments, confirms the demand for the program, “No matter where I have traveled this year, from the UAE at a SheTrade event, to DC with the National Association of Women Business Owners, to the Women Presidents’ Organization national conference in Charlotte, to the WBENC Women Exporters Program lab, I am so encouraged by the energy, commitment and innovation coming from these women-owned and women-run businesses. Sharing UPS tools, approaches and expertise to help them achieve their objectives is not only worthwhile because it’s smart business, it is meaningful because of the progress we’re able to create.”

In March 2019, UPS was selected for WBENC’s Top Corporation for Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) Hall of Fame. While UPS has been recognized previously as a WBENC Top Corporation, this marks the inaugural year for this new, pinnacle designation, and UPS is one of only nine companies selected.

Pamela Prince-Eason, President and CEO of WBENC, said, “UPS has been a strong partner and consistent leader in increasing opportunities for women-owned businesses. Their commitment to diversity and inclusion sets the example, and we are so proud to have inducted them into our inaugural Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises Hall of Fame. The UPS Women Exporters Program launching at our National Conference & Business Fair will truly help move the needle for women-owned businesses by expanding opportunities to new markets and providing opportunities for exponential growth.”

UPS’s commitment to empowering women business owners is part of its broader diversity and inclusion efforts focused on employees, customers, suppliers, and communities. UPS recently announced a collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to promote women’s economic empowerment and improve women entrepreneurs’ ability to export. UPS’s Supplier Diversity commitment enables women- and minority-owned businesses to gain access into UPS’s global purchasing of products and services. UPS’s employee programs focused on diversity and inclusion help foster an inclusive environment that enables each person to learn, grow and contribute.

About UPS

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight; facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. UPS is committed to operating more sustainably – for customers, the environment and the communities we serve around the world. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. UPS was awarded America’s Best Customer Service company for Shipping and Delivery services by Newsweek magazine; Fortune magazine’s Most Valuable Brand in Transportation; and top rankings on the JUST 100 list for social responsibility, the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, and the Harris Poll Reputation Quotient, among other prestigious rankings and awards. The company can be found on the web at ups.com or pressroom.ups.com and its corporate blog can be found at longitudes.ups.com. The company’s sustainability eNewsletter, UPS Horizons, can be found at ups.com/sustainabilitynewsletter. Learn more about our sustainability efforts at ups.com/sustainability. To get UPS news direct, follow @UPS_News on Twitter.

About The UPS Foundation

Since its founding in 1907, UPS has built a legacy as a caring and responsible corporate citizen, supporting programs that provide long-term solutions to community needs. Founded in 1951, The UPS Foundation leads its global citizenship programs and is responsible for facilitating community involvement to local, national, and global communities. In 2018, UPS and its employees, active and retired, invested more than $114.9 million in charitable giving around the world. The UPS Foundation can be found on the web at UPS.com/Foundation and @UPS_Foundation on Twitter.