Posts Tagged ‘Business’

C4W Member Profile: Sarah McLeod

November 18, 2013

rsz_1dscn4048What is your profession and how long have you been in that profession?
Independent Insurance Agent. 6 months

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career?  

Being outdoors, spending time with husband, family, friends, and my two dogs (Raleigh and Bronco), playing and watching sports, sewing/redecorating my house, reading, thrift shopping!

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

Brand New Member

What inspired you to become a member?

I just moved back to Charleston and wanted to meet other professional women in the area!

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you?

It has been great so far and I have been inspired to work harder and help more people!

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you?

I embrace being a woman and try to use my knowledge to succeed.

What woman (living or past) do you find most inspiring?

Ellen DeGeneres for her philanthropies and for the ability to laugh that she brings to so many people.

If you could have one super power what would it be?

To go invisible!

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy?

Never give up, smile, and hold your head high.  When bad days come or the road gets rough always remember this too shall pass!

C4W Business Member Profile: Teri B. Lash, Bernstein Lash Marketing

December 12, 2012

What is your profession?  Graphic Design / Sign & Print Broker / Promotional Products Distributor at Bernstein Lash Marketing.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career?  Love spending time with my husband and family. Looking forward to having my first grandchild in March!

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

What inspired you to become a member?  I am a woman-owned minority business. I was lucky to inherit my father’s business.  Not many women have that opportunity. I want to help those that are just starting in business get the marketing materials they need in order to succeed in their business.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? I am sure I will be inspired to help others even more.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? I have found that more and more women are making decisions, becoming business owners and making a difference in other’s lives.  I have tried to be a mentor for those just staring out.  I have a passion for helping others.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Follow your dreams…don’t give up! 

How can people connect with you?  They can reach me by email (TLash@BernsteinLash.com) or phone (843.747.7767).

Social Media for Recruiting: Are Women Business Owners at a Disadvantage?

September 7, 2012

No matter the size of your business, recruiting the best employees is a challenge. With the increased usage of social media as a recruitment tool, women business owners may be at a bit of a disadvantage.

According to a 2011 study by the Pew Research Center, women use social media more than men. This would seem to give women business owners a bit of a leg up when it comes to using social media to recruit candidates, but that may not be the case.

The Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey 2012 showed that 93% of business owners who use social media for recruiting used the site LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the only social media site that is used by more men than women. In fact, the Pew Research study showed there were nearly twice as many men using LinkedIn as women.

Because business owners who use social media for recruiting report a 43% increase in the quality of candidates, women business owners may be missing the boat on some of the best available talent.  Of course, you can also use Facebook and Twitter for recruiting, and women use these sites much more than men.

Now is the time for women business owners to consider using social media as a recruiting tool.

Ways to Use Social Media for Recruiting

Identify Candidates

Just as business owners are learning to use social media to recruit candidates, job seekers are using their LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages to seek work. Some of the best candidates aren’t actively looking for a job, but you can still reach out to them. By identifying these passive candidates, you will expand your pool and increase your chance of finding the best talent.

Post Open Jobs

Posting open jobs on social media sites is another way to use social media as a recruitment tool. Some of your followers will share the job posting with their own network, and greatly increase the number of potential candidates.

Social media isn’t only effective for recruiting full-time employees. It is possible to effectively recruit a seasonal or part time employee using social media as well.  You will reach college students, stay-at-home moms and other groups who are looking for supplemental income.

 Current Employees

Ask your current employees to aid in your recruitment efforts. One way that they can do this is by posting about their job and spreading the word to their social network about any openings. Having a current employee vouch that your business is a great place to work can further increase the interest from qualified candidates.

Consider offering your employers an incentive should their networking result in a new hire.

Screen Candidates

Another way that you can use social media in the recruitment process is to screen candidates once they have been identified. A quick peek at their Facebook profile may be enough to knock some candidates out of the running.

Keep in mind that when you look at the profiles of potential candidates, there is a good chance that you will see protected class information – that is information that cannot legally be used to eliminate candidates. This includes race, gender etc.. Even if you do not use this information to make a decision there is a chance that someone will say that you did.

A Helping Hand

Social Media – Just a Tool

Social media is just one tool. It does not take the place of other methods of recruitment and it certainly does not eliminate the need for the proper screening of candidates. To be sure that you are following all applicable employment laws during the recruitment process, it is a good idea to have a helping hand.

Working with a human resources consultant can ensure that you don’t put yourself in a position to come under scrutiny. A qualified HR consultant can make the recruitment process easier and give you a better chance at retaining quality employees.

Other Tips

Get on LinkedIn

If you do not use LinkedIn, you need to start. While the other social networking sites can aid in your recruitment efforts, LinkedIn is the only one that is specifically for business use.

Need a Following

For any type of social media initiatives to be as effective, you need to continue to develop a following. The more followers, the more access you’ll have to qualified candidates.

Continually work on developing your social media presence.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read

It is no secret that many candidates embellish their resumes. The same is true for what you read on their social media profiles. Don’t believe everything that you read. Instead, you will need to verify important information.

Women in business who are not using social media as a recruitment aid may be missing out on some of the best talent. The next time you have a job opening to fill, or if you just want to develop a list of potential talent for future positions, social media is a great place to start.

Pat Eardley is a Human Resources Advisor with more than 16 years’ experience in human resources management as a recruiter, trainer, and executive. Pat has a diverse background, having industry experience in retail, telecommunications, hospitality and manufacturing. As an Advisor she supports small-business owners in managing growth, compliance, work performance and employee relations, allowing Small Business owners to focus on creating a successful business environment for them and their employees. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, a SCORE Mentor and Center for Women Job Coach. Pat volunteers with local shelters and nonprofit organizations and assists with resume writing, interviewing skills, professional appearance and job placement. You can find out more about Pat and the services she offers at www.pateardley.com.

* First appeared in the Business Review section of The Post and Courier on Monday, July 31, 2012.

After Passion Comes the Work: Five Tools to Succeed As an Entrepreneur

July 13, 2012

Anyone who’s sought to be in business for themselves has probably heard this sage old advice: Find what you love to do and the rest (meaning cash) will follow. Of course when I was younger, all I thought I wanted to do was to make money, and the ride didn’t seem to matter if I could eventually get there in a Ferrari.

I can’t put my finger on the exact day or time or place, but I do remember at some point, very early on in the creation of our first business, I began to actually understand that sewn-on-a-pillow advice: We weren’t making a dime yet, but we were having so much fun!

When customers realized how much we loved what we were doing and how much fun we were having, they responded. And soon, while we were enjoying every bit of the ride – even though it was in a Jeep with no air-conditioning – we even started to make money.

But that was just the beginning, because what lies beyond the burning passion to birth a new business and raise it up right takes tools we don’t necessarily see sewn on pillows. Once you have the idea, the passion, the financing, the desk and the laptop, there are other tools you’ll need to bring to the table.

Here are five favorites you actually already have at your disposal. Reach for them often as you launch or grow your business:

1. A Sense of Humor: Work doesn’t have to be a four-letter word. Not everything about every business is fun, but if our approach to it is, even the difficult parts can be enjoyable. This usually amounts to taking the project seriously, but taking ourselves a little less seriously. And on days when it all seems to go wrong (we all have them) find a movie that will make you laugh out loud. Sometimes just the simplest realignment of our perspective can make the day go easier and perhaps even offer us a solution to a nagging problem.

2. Dialing into Your Community: No woman is an island, and we’re lucky to live in a community that supports and encourages new businesses.

The SC Women’s Business Center is a valuable resource for women launching businesses, and the Center for Women helps women succeed every day! Both offer loads of workshops at reasonable prices, but the greatest resource these organizations and their events offer is the opportunity to connect with others during these events. The women I’ve encountered there go far beyond networking; they are each powerful “plugins” with whom to brainstorm ideas and improve your business.

Other groups that make a difference and encourage community-based support include Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce, and online communities. And by approaching each with an open mind as to what you can give of your own talents, you’ll find you come away with a whole lot more!

3. The Third Option: This one seems to elude us when we most need it, so sew it on a pillow if you must. It simply requires the ability to recognize that every dilemma we think is limited to “either this or that” always has a third option.

Example: A client knew she could bring in another $250 a week and save towards her home if she took on just one more day of work each week, but she believed doing so would not allow her time to keep the house and home office clean. She was trying to decide between two options: increased income and dusty chaos, forgetting that a third option definitely existed. Now, she enjoys the extra income, pays someone far less to come in to clean once a week, and as a bonus has helped fund another woman business owner.

4. Conviction Sometimes Means Confrontation: Unfortunately, if we have the passion and conviction to execute our business plans, sometimes confrontation is a necessary by-product.

But more unfortunate is the negative connotation with which this word has been saddled. After all, to confront something is to meet it head on, to face it. And a confrontation need not be hostile; it’s typically just a matter of how we approach a situation with opposing viewpoints.

The two most common statements we hear from women faced with confrontation begin with either, “What I wanted to say was…” or “I probably shouldn’t have said…”

Neither is effective, for obvious reasons. Shrinking in the face of confrontation can dent and damage our conviction. Likewise, getting over-emotional creates a loss of control over the situation.

Instead, take a deep breath, state your case calmly, logically, and without emotionally charged words, and persist until you get your way (without stomping your feet!).

5. Stay Open to New Ideas: This works well with the Third Option tool, but stands on its own merit, especially in today’s business climate where the “new normal” changes nearly every day. Sure, we all used to love browsing record stores and renting videos, but as these industries plainly demonstrate, those who’ve refused to stay open to new ideas have, sad to say, ceased to stay open!

This tool begins with the premise that every product and/or service can be improved upon. My favorite example involves Apple. They didn’t build the first PC, or the first mp3 player, but being open to new ideas and innovation sure let them do it better!

In the publishing business, everyone from magazines to books has had to embrace new tech that seemed at first to most publishers to just be looming competition. But by learning to package content digitally many were able to actually improve their products and increase their customer base. In fact books, despite a once shrinking market, are now the highest selling product online.

Who knows, the laptop (or business) we love today may be a dinosaur tomorrow, and we may hate that, but we’d also better be open to what we’re going to do to retool it or we’ll be left behind…

Shark Marketing Co. CEO and creator of Where Writers Win, Shari Stauch has been involved in publishing, marketing and PR for 33 years. She is the co-creator of Pool & Billiard Magazine, celebrating 30 years as the sport’s oldest monthly. She retired from the Women’s Pro Billiard Tour in 2004 after a 20-year career as a top player and marketer/co-creator of the tour (inducted into the WPBA Hall of Fame in 2007), to serve a growing community of writers using their words to promote greater issues. As president of Charleston’s Center for Women, she moderates the Center’s Women Writers Forum. Shari serves on the executive board of LILA: Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts, and co-directs programming for Words & Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans, where she continues to help emerging authors create and broaden their audiences.

First appeared in the Business Review section of The Post and Courier on Monday, June 25, 2012.

The Job Coaches: Take steps to develop team

November 18, 2011

When it comes to the issue of teams in business, you would think that somebody, somewhere, would have covered everything there is to say about the topic by now. Using teams of people to get work done in organizations is a concept that has become firmly entrenched in the business environment. So why is it that so many teams still aren’t working very well?photo

If you look up the textbook definition of a team, you’ll see it described as a group of people who come together to accomplish a common goal. We assemble teams in business for a range of purposes, such as to develop new products, deliver customer service, create marketing strategies and lead organizations. While this common purpose is essential, it often results in an orientation that is focused solely on the external objective, rather than providing sufficient attention to the team itself.

Strong teams don’t just happen. They are developed intentionally, strategically and with careful consideration for both sound design and good chemistry. Unfortunately, in their rush to address the pressing needs of the business, many teams fail to get their own acts together before they charge off to pursue the work at hand. The results are frequently, and predictably, disappointing.

I once worked with a client organization that was undergoing a radical change in the nature of their core business as a result of changes in technology. Resignations and replacements of several key manager positions had resulted in a leadership team that was essentially thrown together and charged with figuring out how to move the business from where it was to where it needed to be in order to compete in the new arena. At first, these folks took the position that they couldn’t afford the luxury of time needed for team development. After all, they were mature and seasoned leaders who should know what to do. The problems started showing up almost immediately: conflicting priorities, false starts, communication mix-ups and bruised egos.

It didn’t take long for them to realize that their lack of alignment was seriously undermining their ability to make progress on the priorities they were all genuinely committed to.

What got in the way for this team? Plain and simple: They hadn’t taken the time to focus on themselves as a team and define how they would work together before they dove headfirst into the deep end of the pool. They needed to take a brief time out to develop a team charter and establish their rules of engagement if they wanted to move forward in a cohesive and collaborative manner.

These are the essential foundational questions that a team needs to address if it is to be powerful and effective in moving an organization forward:

  1. Why do we exist? What are the mission and purpose of this team? What will our contributions be to the overarching mission of the organization?
  2. What are we trying to create? What is our vision of what’s possible for this team? What strategic opportunities in the marketplace will we choose to pursue on a short-term/long-term basis? To what extent are we aligned in terms of direction and priorities? What really matters for us?
  3. Who are we in relationship to one another? What are our similarities and differences in terms of leadership style, personality patterns, skills, values and strengths? How can we leverage our differences and harness the richness of our diversity, rather than having it drain our effectiveness?
  4. What structure will maximize our effectiveness? What should our respective roles and responsibilities consist of? Who will be accountable for what? What are the explicit and implicit assumptions that govern our interactions with one another?
  5. What will our team processes look like? How will we share information, make decisions and solve problems? What will our meeting arrangements consist of? How will we collaborate in a way that adds value while respecting one another’s individual domains? What kinds of issues will require team input and consensus?
  6. How will we keep ourselves honest? What will we do to ensure that we are truly communicating on a deep and meaningful level? How will we resolve conflicts when they occur? How will we create an environment in which each team member can honor his/her individual needs and values in the context of getting the team’s work done?
  7. How will we measure our progress? What will our metrics consist of? How will we regularly evaluate our own performance as a team?
  8. How will we celebrate our accomplishments and provide for renewal? What will we do to ensure that we stay fresh, cutting edge and energized?

Teams that take the time to grapple with these critical questions head-on are the ones that are able to create and sustain world-class results.

Does this mean that a new leadership team must take weeks to deal with these issues before it can even get started, or that an existing team should take a major sabbatical to get it all nailed down? Of course not. In a dynamic business environment, time is of the essence and customers won’t wait for a lengthy round of team development to jell.

But it does mean that a team must make resolving these issues as much of a priority as any other critical business need if it wants to retain a high performance edge.

And in today’s competitive arena, that’s the key to true success.

Barbara Poole is a master-certified coach and the president of Success Builders Inc.

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, March 5, 2010.

The Job Coaches :: Organize listing resources to search for the right job

November 5, 2010

By Jane Perdue, Principal/CEO with The Braithewaite Group.

Q: Where’s the best place to look for a job?

A: Knowing where to look for a job used to be straightforward: You read the help-wanted ads in the local newspaper, especially on Sunday. Now, like the number of cable channels, the options have exploded for finding open jobs. While the sheer volume of places to look for a job can be overwhelming, using simple steps can help you organize and focus your search.

–Use your network. Fifty percent of all jobs are found through networking. Tell friends, colleagues and relatives that you need a job. Ask them to share job information at their company with you. Tap into social media networking sites such as Linked-In, Plaxo or Digg. With its exploding growth, Twitter is another source. Go to search.twitter.com and enter jobs, career, hiring or job angels in the search box.

–Check major job boards for general positions. If your area of expertise applies to many industries, skills such as administrative support, supervision, etc., use Monster.com, CareerDirect.com , Indeed.com or CareerBuilder.com.

–Tap into local job boards and services. Charleston offers a number of online job-hunting resources: charlestonjobmarket.com, SCIway.net, Charlestonjobs.com, charles.sc.jobs.com, postandcourier.com and lowcountrytoday.com. Be sure to check out the services offered by The Trident One Stop Career Center in North Charleston.

–Visit the career placement department at your alma mater. Many colleges and universities offer free job assistance to students and recent graduates, so give them a call.

–Check out specialized job boards. If you know specifically what job you want, target Web sites that focus on that industry. CoolWorks.com, mediabistro.com, artsusa.org, salesgravy.com and accountingjobstoday.com are just a few examples. Internetinc.com offers a list of the top 100 niche job sites.

–Watch the classifieds. Not all jobs are posted, but the local newspaper remains a viable source of open jobs. If you are targeting a particular industry, trade journals and magazines are other sources.

–Target specific companies. If you have a clear idea of the company you want to work for, frequent its Web site to look for job openings.

–Use online job boards that specialize in freelance work. If you’re tired of the 9-to-5 routine, check out sites that specialize in freelance opportunities: guru.com, elance.com, sologig.com, sparkplugging.com or workathomesuccess.com.

–Executive positions. If you are looking for a job with a six-figure salary and have funds to invest, TheLadders.com and ExecuNet.com are resources that require a membership fee to see their job listings. Using a recruiter who specializes in your area of expertise is another alternative.

So the best place to find a job means understanding the kind of job you want, then organizing job listing resources to match your needs. That can simplify what otherwise can be a complex process.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, August 21, 2009.

Marketing yourself gets the job

September 16, 2010
Virtual Resume & Letter

Image by Olivier Charavel via Flickr

By Dorothy Perrin Moore, a professor of business administration emeritus, The Citadel.

Q: I am a recent newcomer to Charleston. I feel that getting a job depends on who you know. But I don’t know many people. How can I get a job without contacts?

A: Four things: First, understand it is not about you. The approach, “Here I am, here is what I have done,” will not interest many recruiters. Anyone with a job opening is interested in what you can do for them.

Second, market your skill set. Your education, background and employment record will be important, but sending the same resume and cover letter to 50 different potential employers and following the same personal script at any resulting interviews only makes you one of the crowd. Take advantage of the job coaching sessions held by the Center for Women. Having a job coach review your resume will enable you to gain a fresh view of your accomplishments and transferable skills. The position you find may not be in the job field you just left.

Third, make any position you apply for your sole focus. Do some research to find out what the company is likely to want. Tailor your resume and cover letter to their position description and explain how hiring you will advance their interests.

Finally, create the networks you need. Who you know and who knows you is important. As a newcomer, attend professional meetings and events of all kinds. Get involved in community and social organizations and your church. Circulate. Talk to people. Volunteer. Keep busy and always be professional. (See below.)

Q: I keep reading that the way I dress and act and carry my body is critical to a successful job search. What does this mean?

A: Appearances count. Most people make up their minds about someone in the first 10 seconds. A friend, a specialist in interviews, recently told me, “When she came in for the interview, I knew she thought she was wearing appropriate clothes, but she wasn’t.”

Unfair because people don’t see the inner you? Perhaps, but that’s the way things work. Proper attire and the projection will effect not only every job interview but also every potential business and social encounter.

Classic works best. In attire, this means ankle-length, well-tailored slacks or a knee-length skirt that is not too tight, a blouse with sleeves below the elbow or at the wrist and is not see-through, tight or cleavage revealing. Go light on accessories. Avoid long hanging or big loop earrings, jangling bracelets and long painted fingernails. Professionally groom your hair. Wear shoes that enclose the toes. Avoid heels that can get caught in a grate, sidewalk or carpet. Sandals and flip-flops are out.

Remember the importance of the first 10 seconds. Practice pitching your voice low and speaking slowly and clearly. Shake hands firmly. A shrill, piercing voice, nervous laughter and a handshake like a bear or a fish will strongly impact that first impression.

Upset that projecting a professional appearance in your job search excludes piercings, tattoos, strangely colored cosmetics, miniskirts and the sexy clothes you see on TV? OK, go ahead and make a strong statement of your personal right to express yourself. Just understand that you will probably need an independent income for the duration of your job search.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, July 24, 2009.


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