Archive for March, 2012

The Job Coaches: Reaching across generations. Young workers bring different views

March 30, 2012

There is a great deal of discussion around whether or not naming certain generations is valid. If you look at academic models, there is plenty of literature supporting both points of view.photo

For my part, I think the names bestowed on the various generations capture some essence of the generation that the rest of us intuitively agree upon, such as the Silent Generation, the Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials, and are, therefore, useful.

The names spring from the characteristics associated with that group of people as they “come of age” or reach the place of adulthood in our society and culture, grouped together according to the years when they were born. The Millennials, also referred to as Gen Y, Echoboomers, Gen Next and even the Google Generation, were born 1982-2000 and now number roughly 76 million. These 20-somethings are literally the “next up” to enter our work force and graduate schools.

Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe, who wrote “Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation” (2000), probably have been the most influential in defining the term because they say members of the generation themselves coined the term millennials. As a group, “millennials are more numerous, more affluent, better educated, and more ethnically diverse” than previous generations, they write.

Here’s a summary of some of the generalized characteristics of this generation:

1. Millennials want to make a difference in the world, for work to have “meaning.” Nine out of 10 interviewed for the book “The M-Factor” (2010) by Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman said this was “the most important factor” in their work lives.

2. 20-somethings want a stimulating work environment where they can express their passions, and 51 percent, according to the Kelly Global Workforce Index, are prepared to take a lower salary to have this.

3. They want to use their tech savvy to communicate via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and any other social media you can think of, and they discuss their work. This demand for interactivity can be a boon to employers seeking to publicize themselves and also can be used to recruit and retain employees as new workers conduct job searches through the web.

4. Millennials “want to be heard” and will create innovative solutions if allowed. They are excellent collaborators and not so happy with working alone. They want praise for a “job well done,” and a sincere “thank you” goes a very long way to building their loyalty. Some employers, such as C.H. Robinson Worldwide, a global third-party logistics (3PL) provider, lets employees determine their own job titles, such as “Logistics Specialist” as a form of innovation.

The down side: Some researchers see too much emphasis on the individual who needs to be validated and feel good because they were overprotected as children. Jean M. Twenge titled her book “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever” (2006) and coined the term “Gen Me” to describe them.

Jane Healy and Neil Postman in separate books have argued that despite the technological connectivity and community the generation seems to crave, the connections are superficial and do not lend themselves to critical thinking and reflective, thoughtful learning. It also is not at all clear at this stage how the Millennials will compete. Will they be interested in building and staying in an organization they see as making a difference, or will they be about using the system to their own advantage?

For employers, teaching the “why” of what is being done may be one of the most important lessons to be learned in reaching this generation.

Hillary Hutchinson, M.A., M.Ed., is a certified career coach specialized in helping faculty, administrators and graduate students. Contact her via her website, www.TransitioningYourLife.com.

The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, June 25, 2010.

C4W Member Profile: Christie MacConnell, SCWBC Director

March 28, 2012

What is your profession? Director of the South Carolina Women’s Business Center (SCWBC)

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women?  Approximately 9 months. I was exceptionally fortunate to have met Jennet Robinson Alterman, the Executive Director of the Center for Women, and shared with her my professional experience working for Women’s Business Centers in Maine and in upstate New York. I was able to connect with Jennet and the Center for Women when they were in the process of writing a grant and applying for funding from the US Small Business Administration to create a women’s business center in South Carolina. I was thrilled when the Center for Women received the funding and I was offered the Director’s position.

what inspired you to become a member?  The opportunity to meet, network and learn from other professional women. The work that the Center for Women has done in this community is very impressive.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? Profound, I am now the Director of the SCWBC, an affiliate of the Center for Women. The Center for Women is such a logical organization to host a Women’s Business Center. The SCWBC focuses on helping women launch and be successful small business owners. We offer free, one on one counseling, educational workshops, networking and mentoring opportunities.  For many years, the Center for Women has been helping women with their Entrepreneurial Women Series programs and the Women in Business Conference.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? It makes me smile to know that there are so many great women out there will to help others!

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? This too shall pass, work hard and smart and believe in yourself!

How can people connect with you? I can be reached at 843.763.7333 x 212 or Christie@SCWBC.net. Please visit the SCWBC website: http://scwbc.net and on Facebook too: https://www.facebook.com/scwbc.

Women are the solution

March 23, 2012

Guest blogger Center for Women member and SC Women’s Business Center Advisory Council Member, Holly Fisher, recaps columnists talk on women’s rights.

Women hold up half the sky.

– Chinese saying

Among the grim stories of how women and girls around the world face abuse, discrimination and a life as second-class citizens, there are stories of hope. I left with that message after hearing Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Nicholas Kristof speak at a luncheon yesterday put on by the Center for Women here in Charleston.

Kristof is the author of “Half The Sky,” a book about how to turn oppression into opportunity for women worldwide. His talk fell in line with Women’s History Month and this year’s theme of education and empowerment for women.

A long-time reporter for The New York Times, Kristof has spent years reporting on foreign countries and many of the atrocities against women. It’s no secret females in China face an uphill battle. Kristof recounted a story from 1990 in which a young girl had to drop out of school in sixth grade, despite being at the top of her class. The $13 in school fees just weren’t a priority for her parents.

Kristof reported on this girl, and NYT readers responded with donations that were used to subsidize school fees for girls in this small Chinese village – provided the girls maintained good grades.

That sixth grade girl went to get an accounting degree and eventually start her own accounting firm. She was able to share the money she made with family members who went on to start businesses as well. The entire village prospered — all because girls were afforded an education.

Those are stories of hope. But for each story like that, there are countless stories, statistics and sadness that represent what Kristof calls “the central moral challenge of the 21st century: the inequitable treatment of women and girls around the world.”

So what is the answer? Education and empowerment. As Kristof said, “We have to educate girls and bring those women in the work force. Women and girls aren’t the problem but the solution.”

One significant issue facing women around the world — and even here in the United States is sex trafficking. Girls are often kidnapped and forced to work in brothels. In 2004, Kristof “purchased” two girls from brothels and returned them to their villages. The cost for both girls was about $350. But the price wasn’t even most disturbing to Kristof, it was that he received a receipt.

“When you get a receipt in the 21st century for buying another human being that should be a disgrace on the entire world,” he said.

It’s hard to even imagine living your life as a piece of property. I’ve certainly never been sold. I’ve never been denied proper medical treatment or an education because I’m a woman. All of us in that room yesterday are fortunate and because of that, we need to do our part to ensure women here at home and around the globe have the same rights, opportunities and chance to fulfill their dreams as we do.

How can you help?

Check out Kristof’s book “Half the Sky” and his website at www.halftheskymovement.org for resources and ways to get involved.

The website backpage.com regularly has advertisements for young girls who are part of this sex trafficking problem. The site is owned by Village Voice Media and you can put pressure on the company to stop running these ads. Encourage their legitimate advertisers to drop their ads, which hits the company where it hurts most – the bottom line. Also, visit www.Change.org to sign the petition against the Village Voice.

C4W Member Profile: Leslie Haywood

March 21, 2012

What is your profession? Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, inventor of Grill Charms™ , the “must have” grilling gadget that is revolutionizing the American Cookout.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career?  Tennis, vacationing, entertaining friends, and EATING!

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? Joined in November 2007

What inspired you to become a member?  When I first joined in 2007, most of us were living pretty high on the hog, so my reason for joining was simply because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself.   Since then “things” have changed and I truly believe that women owned businesses and women entrepreneurs are the answer to our country’s economic problems.  Now if we just had the right women in the white house, we’d be all set!

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you?  Every time I attend an event it reminds me just how powerful we women are and that our potential is limited only by our dreams.  I am constantly inspired by the people around me… and who couldn’t use a little shot of inspiration every once and while?

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? Can I get on my soap box for a minute?  This question brings up a topic that ONLY US WOMEN (specifically us mothers) deal with and it effects me greatly.  “MOMMY GUILT”!  I left my career of 9 years to become a stay at home mom (like my husband and I always planned I would do).  Three years into living my dream of being that ideal stay at home mom, I had an idea for a business. It was something I felt almost compelled to do!  (Much like the “need” to have children, I felt this was something I NEEDED to do!)  I followed that new entrepreneurial dream and completely derailed both mine and my husband’s expectations of the “perfect family”.  It is HERE that I feel my mommy guilt radiates from.  Growing up, my mother was a stay at home mom and my two younger sisters and I agree to this day that our childhood was just about PERFECT.  Our home was loving and caring and unbelievably happy.  Because of this, I wanted to do things exactly like the most perfect mom in the world… MINE.  (Which meant being a stay at home mom)  I never planned on having any kind of light bulb moment where I would find this urge… (Compulsion really) to start my own company, but I did.  Now I wrestle daily with what I can’t help but feel are my “selfish” desires to be a successful entrepreneur.  I hate that I feel this way and on an intellectual level, I know that these thoughts and feeling are RIDICULOUS, but I can’t help but feel “mommy guilt” none the less.  I have realized that my guilt stems from my preconceived notions and life experience which tell me that the most perfect childhood comes from having a mom that devoted herself completely to her children. Well…. as happy and wonderful as my childhood was, I am learning through new life experiences that a “perfect childhood” can come in many different shapes and sizes.  I do feel like our home is full of happiness, TONS OF LOVE, encouragement and all the things that make for happy, healthy, well balanced adults in training and the best part is, I’m showing them that it can be done “differently”.  My daughters were 1 and 3 at the time of my “deviation” so they have always grown up thinking all moms were also “entrepreneurs” or inventors. With this, I am hopefully breaking the chain of mommy guilt with them and showing them that happy childhoods don’t necessarily come from one perfect formula.  It’s too late for me, but maybe I am leading by example so that the next generation of mommies won’t suffer from the mommy guilt syndrome quite as much.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? I am the poster child for, “if you have a dream, you CAN Do it.”  Whether it’s inventing a product, starting own business or creative positive change in a business you already in, I guarantee that unless you are a rocket scientist… (and some of you MIGHT be!) what you want to do is NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.  It is simply a process that can be broken down into a series of smaller steps that will lead you to your goal. I am proof that with enough drive and determination ANYTHING is possible.  Simply start SOMEWHERE.  Put one foot in front of the other and the path will appear.  But be ready and be excited!!… because the path that appears isn’t always the one you intended to take!

How can people connect with you? People can connect with me at www.grillcharms.com  Twitter @grillcharmer  FB http://www.facebook.com/#!/GrillCharms

The Job Coaches: Managing up builds trust

March 16, 2012

It is no accident that women are moving into positions of team and organizational leadership and also that large numbers of them are well-positioned to make a leadership difference.photo

In settings where team performance is highly valued, a leader who encourages open exchanges, collaborations and collective creativity provides a new culture and becomes an enabler of productivity. Ursula M. Burns, the chief executive of Xerox, was quoted in The New York Times on this new approach when she said, “I want (Xerox) employees to take more initiative and be more fearless and frank with one another. … We’re family, so we can disagree.”

The interactive transformational leadership practiced by women developed over a period of time from learning to manage up.

The way organizations operate today is a product of the forces of rapid economic and technological change, an economic shift to a post-industrial, global economy, a work force that is diverse and evenly divided between men and women and the investment market emphasis on short-term profits that contributed to the current recession. Collectively, these forces have dismantled many old dysfunctional operating systems.

Driven by competition, organizations met these challenges by restructuring. They took advantage of the new information-sharing technologies to bring together in work teams, either physically or virtually, people with differing backgrounds, information sets, resources, perspectives and problem-solving skills. The approach worked so well that firms were able to raise productivity and profits while simultaneously reducing the layers of corporate bureaucracy, trimming the number of long-term employees and cutting back on benefits.

Much of the organizational work today, particularly the creative work, takes place in teams because, done right, the result is a collective creativity. But work teams are effective only when people buy into the organizational goals in a cooperative endeavor and the organization delegates power to the team to go ahead and solve problems.

The problem organizations have is that as they restructured employee trust eroded. Queried in 2009, more than half of American workers said they did not trust their organization’s leaders. An even higher percentage said their employer had violated a contractual relationship. A survey in January found that more than 60 percent of employees said they would leave for another job if they had the chance.

The organizational dilemma is obvious. Companies needed to find team leaders who excel at bringing people together and motivating them to solve problems, leaders who can create a climate of trust in a work team and themselves be entrusted with power.

What many firms are finding is that this means they need a new type of leader: one with an interactive, open style of leadership that is based on skilled communication.

Because this is exactly the job approach that many women cultivated so their talent, experience, education and work skills would not be brushed aside by gender bias, they are moving into these new positions of leadership in organizations. These women will be instrumental in putting our economy back on track.

What steps can you take to begin cultivating the skills to move into one of the transformational leadership opportunities in your company? Begin by managing up, building trust one step at a time.

  1. Know your job. Be so good at it that everyone in your work setting understands that you know what you are talking about.
  2. Figure out what your company needs to be successful. Do your homework.
  3. Network throughout the organization. Build relationships with people who understand your ability to get things done.
  4. Go where the action is. Join work teams and contribute in a collaborative way. When you think you are ready and the opportunity presents itself, don’t bypass a chance to lead.
  5. Focus on the task at hand and the goals of your team and organization. Remember, it is always professional, never personal. Avoid getting sidetracked into pushing your own agenda and personal interests.
  6. Articulate clearly what you and your team need to achieve its goals. Enlist your supervisor, keep him or her informed, leverage his or her strengths and talents in carrying out the team objectives, and make sure that the supervisor knows you appreciate and acknowledge the value he or she adds to the team.

Dorothy Perrin Moore, Ph.D., is professor emerita of business and entrepreneurship at The Citadel. The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, February 26, 2010.

C4W Member Profile: Connie Filippopoulou

March 14, 2012

What is your profession?  Owner of New Beginning Consignments.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? I love to read, paint when possible, traveling, and taking long walks with my dogs exploring.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women?  Just joined.

What inspired you to become a member?  The Women in Business Conference; It was inspiring and informing.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you?  I feel that it is a place where I and my business can grow and become more successful through it.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you?  Being a woman you wear many hats, daughter, sister, mother, wife etc. You have to be strong and at times work harder and/or smarter to achieve success. As a woman and a business owner, I strive to be the best I can be in my everyday life, be resourceful, kind and compassionate and help as much as I can. Being a woman in a business world can have positive or sometimes negative affect, but I always try to focus on the positives.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy?  Hang in there. Be strong, patient; stay positive even if some days it may feel you want to give up. When I feel down I refer to two different quotes that I keep handy and they help me get back on track. Always remember, in the confrontation between the stream and the rock, The Stream Always Wins…Not Through Strength, But Through Persistence.

“Determination; if you want to get somewhere you have to know where you want to go and how to get there. Then, never, never, never give up.” –Norman Vincent Peale

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” -Thomas Edison

So ladies, Swallow your tears, stand up to your own two feet, and show them that you are not giving up. No matter what!

How can people connect with you? They can connect with me through our web site at http://newbeginningconsignments.com/, by E-mail at ConsignNB@yahoo.com, Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Newbeginningconsignments, Or by phone at 843-494-9982.

The Job Coaches: Tests could help find right career

March 9, 2012

“Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.” — Unknown

photoJanice was determined that she would break free from her old habits this year, especially her job. She was miserable at work, feeling like the proverbial square peg in the round hole. Janice knew she didn’t enjoy her job anymore, yet she didn’t have a clearly defined sense of what she would like to do. She wanted to better understand her career strengths and occupations where those abilities could best be used.

Perhaps you’re like Janice, feeling burned out and wanting some new career ideas. Perhaps you’re part of the 45 percent of Americans who, according to a recent Conference Board survey, are unsatisfied with their jobs. If so, consider starting the new year by taking some self-assessments. These tests can help you gain better insights into your abilities and interests, then aid you in identifying career options that match your personal preferences.

Having this personal profile is good for making informed career and life decisions. As Carol Kleiman, former business columnist for the Chicago Tribune stated, “It is important that your future job or career fit your personality.”

Where do you find the ability, values, personality and career assessments? The Internet offers self-directed assessments. Self-directed means that you can take the test and review your own results. You do not need a certified third party to analyze and interpret the data. Some tests are free; others charge.

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth created a new Center for Leadership, noting that “effective leadership starts with intimate knowledge of yourself.” If you want to increase your knowledge of your strengths, weaknesses, what you like/dislike and gauge potential career options, here are some self-assessments you can check out.

–If you want to look at career choices that link to your job performance strengths and preferences, investigate the free Career Steer assessment at www.careersteer.org.

–The Career Interest Test, at www.careerplanner.com, costs $29.95 and identifies general types of work (broad categories like accounting, engineering, human resources, marketing, etc.) that might be right for you based on what you like, and want, to do.

–The Keirsey Temperament Sorter at www.keirsey.com. is a free assessment providing insights into how you respond to people and situations as well as how skillfully you get along with others. This information can be helpful in determining if working with groups of people or on your own is right for you.

–The Princeton Review Career quiz matches your interests and work style to careers where those interests are involved. The test is free: www.princetonreview.com.

–The work of Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, into personal tendencies and preferences is the foundation for the Jung Personality Typology Test. This is offered for free at www.humanmetrics.com and can offer insights to your personality and preferences.

–The free Career Values test helps you understand your values and what you want in a career: items like independence, creativity, knowledge, status, precision, earnings, etc. Find the test at stewartcoopercoon.com/jobsearch/career-values to help define what standards and principals are required for you to feel satisfied and engaged at work.

–The Kolbe A Index identifies your natural talents and how you take action. Your method of operation is then matched to careers in the Career MO assessment. The assessments are found at www.kolbe.com and cost $63.95 when taken together.

Use this information about your interests, values, natural talents and personality as data points in making the career decision that’s right for you.

Jane Perdue is CEO of The Braithewaite Group.The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. For assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $10 is requested for appointments.

C4W Member Profile: Liz DeLoach

March 7, 2012

What is your profession? Social Media Marketing Manager and Consultant with my own company, Social Strategies.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Gardening, teaching Body Pump at East Shore Athletic, writing, (which I also do within my career) volunteering, photography, socializing online and off, and spending time with my husband and two teens, and good friends. Life’s simple pleasures make me happy.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I am a brand new member and very excited about the opportunities for connecting with other women. I look forward to being a resource for them, as well as getting to know and learning from them.

What inspired you to become a member? Hearing over and over again from so many friends and acquaintances what a wonderful organization this is, and realizing that I simply must be a part of it.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? I attended my first Women in Business Conference this year, and seeing the diversity of talent and opportunity that abounds here in Charleston has unleashed a flow of ideas and energy that I am already putting to use. I am confident that successive events will enable me to keep the momentum going. We all need to to “fed” in this way, and the Center for Women provides that type of ongoing sustenance.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? I think women are truly amazing in our ability to successfully wear the number of hats we do. We hold more greatness and power in shaping this world than most of us truly recognize. I believe that power is best expressed with a strong servant leadership approach. This principle guides my life.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Stand firm to your values, keep learning all you can about your chosen field and yourself, and do whatever it takes to bolster your confidence. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel you can’t do something well if YOU know you can. Find what you love and do it. Use adversity such as job loss as a springboard to better things. Every job loss I have ever had has led me to something vastly better, both personally and professionally. Losses can do the same for you as well, as long as you are able to own and use your gifts.

How can people connect with you? So many ways! Would love your follow on Twitter via my biz and personal handles @socialstrateg and @lizdeloach. I am also on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. Email is liz@socialmediawiz.biz , and my website where I blog is www.socialmediawiz.biz. Finally, if you prefer to talk, my telephone number is 843-532-9335.

Women Helping Women Do Business Better.

March 2, 2012

By Christie MacConnell, Director, South Carolina Women’s Business Center

Sometimes, it’s just easier to talk to another woman about things than a man. The newly launched South Carolina Women’s Business Center is a place where women can freely express and explore their ideas about a new business concept or seek help improving their existing small business. It’s sufficiently scary and challenging enough to throw yourself into your own business without the added pressure of an unsupportive climate.

The South Carolina Women’s Business Center offers free, confidential, one-on-one business counseling by experienced counselors for women in all stages of business development. We can assist you with analyzing the viability of your business idea and your personal readiness to become an entrepreneur. We provide networking and mentoring opportunities that match you with the people you need to meet to further your own success. Our monthly training programs and workshops are designed to educate and help you create new pathways to get ahead. And, we’re knowledgeable about the resources available in the community, including financing and loans, to get your business going.

I’ve personally had over 15 years experience counseling women business owners in New York and Maine and I’m looking forward to bringing my know-how to this state. Women in South Carolina are opening businesses at unprecedented rates and we’re here to help. In the last 5 years, the number of women owned businesses nationally has grown by 50%. In South Carolina the number is even greater – 64%. In part due to fewer good job opportunities and lower pay, women are saying “bring it on” and striking out on their own. Women are creating, managing and building businesses that are a real economic engine in this state. Last year, women-owned or equally-owned businesses in South Carolina generated $27 billion in sales and employed 191,200 persons.

The South Carolina Women’s Business Center is an affiliate of the Center for Women, a non-profit organization that has been serving and inspiring women in the Lowcountry for over twenty years. We’re located at the Center for Women at 129 Cannon Street downtown between Ashley Ave and President Street. There is no fee for individual business counseling and all other program fees are very modest. If you’re a woman with a small business that is floundering or you need assistance with developing a strategic plan for growth, we can help you. If you’re strong in some areas, but weak in others, we can find ways to build up your expertise. If you have an idea for a business, but are unsure how to get started, we can point you in the right direction. An advantage of being part of the Center for Women is we understand that you’re a serious business professional, need assistance with your small business problems and still need to care for your family and other obligations. We’re unwavering in our recognition of needing a work-life balance.

The South Carolina Women’s Business Center is funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. We are proud to have the following local businesses as our 2012 sponsors: First Federal; Lynn Anne Gillen, CIMA, CFP and Mary Helen Condon Moore, CFM with Merrill Lynch; SC Biz News; Weight Watchers and Wynn Insurance. Visit our website www.scwbc.net for more information or contact me at 843-763- 7333 ext 212 or christie@scwbc.net. To receive our e-newsletter, send your contact information to info@scwbc.net.

First appeared in the Business Review section of The Post and Courier Monday, February 20, 2012.


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