Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dress for the Job You Want?

Hectored by the blogosphere, mocked by the press, UBS has recanted its 43-page employee primer on how to appear polished, proficient, and professional. As a result, a lot of up-and-comers badly in need of grooming guidance simply won't get it.
The brouhaha over the Swiss bank's dress code manual, which dictates protocol on everything from heel height to hair coloring, erupted late last year, when The Wall Street Journal reprinted some of the manual's more pointed advice ("Light makeup consisting of foundation, mascara and discreet lipstick...will enhance your personality," and "Avoid garlic and onion-based dishes"). Before one's tasteful nail polish could dry, The Huffington Post and MSNBC were sniggering about UBS's micromanagement. London's Daily Mail likewise derided the banking giant for "tak[ing] the sexiness out of the City." The Vancouver Sun published a translation of the French booklet, the better to caption its own online gallery of snarky photos.
Perhaps the Swiss were a bit over the top in the particulars they imparted. But new research from the Center for Work-Life Policy suggests that the dress code's target audience — those on the front lines of the bank's retail operations, many of them temporary staffers new to the banking environment — absolutely needed the advice, and may have even been grateful for HR's over-rotation on red lingerie, gray roots, and two-day stubble. These turn out to be exactly the issues CWLP survey respondents (1,000+ male and female college graduates working in the U.S. within large corporations) identified when asked what contributed to, or detracted from, "executive presence" (EP) at their firm.
Women, in particular, believed that dressing the part was a vital factor in attaining success: 53% of them felt aspiring female execs needed to toe a very conservative line, avoiding flashy make-up, plunging necklines, too-short or too-tight skirts, and long fingernails — exactly the sort of sartorial no-nos UBS spelled out. Indeed, half the women surveyed and 37% of the men considered appearance and EP to be intrinsically linked; they understood that if you don't look the part of a leader, you're not likely to be given the role. Far from imagining that appearance is a personal matter, they perceived that looking well-turned-out engenders self confidence, a trait they considered the bedrock of authentic leaders.
The research also revealed, however, that it is one thing to grasp the importance of looking professional, and quite another to interpret the ever-shifting notions that define a professional appearance. Women, certainly, struggle more than men to achieve the look of leadership, a factor that contributes to their overall stall in middle- and upper-middle management. On the one hand, they're told to conform; on the other, they're advised to stand out. They're told to downplay their sexuality, but warned against coming off as too mannish and threatening. They know they will be judged on their appearance, perhaps unreasonably so.
Yet they cannot get the guidance they so desperately need, because their superiors are afraid to give it. Men who wouldn't think twice about telling a male colleague to take a breath mint clam up around women. Some fear being slapped with a harassment suit; most simply don't wish to hurt feelings. "Women are so hypersensitive about their appearance already," one male executive shared in a CWLP focus group. "I told one of my directors I thought her skirt was on the short side — that's all I said — and she never wore a skirt again!"
Hence the wisdom of the ever-precise Swiss in detailing the dos and don'ts of personal grooming and banker wear. The "beauty bias," as Stanford scholar Deborah Rhode calls it, continues to favor the attractive at every step along the path to power; when it comes to overcoming it, everyone, from the new hire to the seasoned manager, could use some pointed advice. Since leaders shrink from suggesting that subordinates don flesh-colored underwear, a 43-page handbook on dress, decorum, and grooming is precisely what thousands of would-be professionals need to negotiate treacherous fashion fads.
One can only hope that the new "pared-down" manual of "general guidelines" that UBS now plans to distribute might be augmented with workshops on executive presence , as Morgan Stanley and ADP provide for their female managers, or dedicated sponsorship, such as American Express, Citi, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young have spearheaded among their ranks. Until more up-and-comers — predominantly women — get the constructive feedback they need to succeed, the executive suite will remain the domain of those whose social privilege makes "obvious" what patently isn't to the majority of the workforce.
Not that clothes make the man, of course. But they might make the woman.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Women of Power - Creating a Power Network

When it comes to professional success and climbing up the ladder, the importance of a solid network to drive the momentum can't be denied. But just how do you build such a network, one that will not only help you advance in your career but also enrich your social and personal life?
Debra Langford, vice president, inclusion and business diversity, at NBC Universal,  can attest to the power of a great network. "When I have made career transitions, it was because my network believed I could do it," Langford says. "They helped me move up and helped me strive. I had my network's support."

BlackEnterprise.com talked with this industry veteran and woman of power on how to ensure your power networking strategy is one that will bring lucrative results and career success.
BlackEnterprise.com: What are three tips for creating a power network?
Debra Langford: Start with the three Ps:
  • Preparation: Be prepared with your 30-second elevator pitch, or brief introduction about yourself, so that you’re not caught off guard. It doesn't have to be rehearsed, but be comfortable with it. Also, know who will be in the room when you do network. Know who you’re interacting with or who you would like to interact with.
  • Presence: Attend events. It’s not just enough to be on social networks. You have to have a physical presence and interaction as well.
  • Purpose: What’s your purpose in building your power network? What are your goals? Is it to be more successful in the area you’re in or to communicate that you want to do something different? You must determine that.
How important is it for black women to create a network of support among themselves in working toward career advancement?
It’s incredibly important to have a strong network of black women, but it's not the only thing they should do. The people within your network should be pretty diverse--from men to people of various backgrounds and races.
You must also build networks both internally and externally. I need to have a strong network of people at my company, at other companies, outside of my industry and socially.
How can Black women in the workplace get past an unhealthy sense of competition between one another, and build a network of support in the professional arena?
I always advise people in building a network to offer assistance to someone. Ask what you can do for them. That would be my advice to decrease the perception of conflict among ourselves. It’s not a healthy or smart strategy. It communicates that you are not a team player.
Once you have your network in place, what are way to expand it or keep the ties strong?
Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. Keep thoughtful notations.  Send an e-mail saying it was great meeting you and develop a dialogue.

Also, in my notes in Microsoft Outlook, I indicate where I met someone. I might send them a nice note at Christmas time. If I’ve met someone, and I see or hear that they’ve been promoted, I’ll send a note of congratulations. It's all about the follow-up.

How can women navigate a corporate arena that still seems to embrace the good 'ole boy’s club?
Don’t get distracted by that. Have your own strong network. Your network may be beneficial to you in ways you may not see now. Don’t worry about the things that you can’t control. Concentrate on having a life of purpose, and let that drive you.

Check out the latest stories at www.blackenterprise.com

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Go, Tell Michelle: Letters to the First Lady Michelle Obama

Three local professors from Buffalo, New York are sharing the hopes and advice of thousands of women with the new first lady, Michelle Obama.  Doctor Peggy Brooks-Bertram (University at Buffalo) said, "When you move into the White House as the nation's first African-American, you will not be alone."Doctor Barbara Seals Nevergold (University at Buffalo) said, "I and the poor women of Niger have faith in you we present this to as a gift."  To learn more about this book and the Uncrowned Queens - please check out their website at http://uncrownedcommunitybuilders.com.

Mom, Entrepreneur and Author of Pitted Cherries- Sophia White

Sophia White, author of Pitted Cherries - an amazing and brilliant read that leaves the reader in suspense, bracing to hit rock bottom. Like a spider slowly spinning a tale of mystery, intrigue and cliffhangers this book is sure to make one think about the consequences and repercussions of their actions. As do the characters, you too will experience a tailspin of emotions that will leave you strangled and breathless! PITTEDCHERRIES is NOW available at lulu.com, barnesandnoble/PubIt and Amazon/Kindle.  To find out more about Sophia White - check out her website @www.applefacepublishing.com

Nia McAdoo & Cocoa Babies

Nia McAdoo officially launched in 2005 with 2 eye-catching designs, cornbread fed and pretty little brown girl. The idea for Cocoa Babies was born a year earlier after the line's creator was inspired to design clothing that represented a healthy alternative to the sexually explicit and otherwise inappropriate messages she found were far too commonplace in the wardrobes of our young people.

Cocoa Babies began with a focus on children's clothing and quickly expanded to include a full range of both children and adult items. Driven by the same spirit that inspired the Black Power Movement of the 1970's, Cocoa Babies has cultivated and reincarnated many times over the message that 'Black Is Beautiful'.

As we continue to take baby steps toward providing creative and stylish clothing. We hope that you enjoy and share the site with others (please)! Check out cocoa babies @ www.cocoababies.com

Do You Have What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur?

How many times have you heard a friend, family member or a co-worker say, "I want to start my own business?"  Often times more thought is placed on the creative aspect of owning a business rather than the "business" of being an entrepreneur.  After meeting with countless people over my 14 year career in Economic Development, it became clear to me rather quickly that entrepreneurs are risk takers, real entrepreneurs won't take "No" for an answer (but they take great advice) and successful entrepreneurs - eat, sleep and think about their business - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – a day off is unheard of.

The key to any successful business is to understand your business plan (if done correctly) is your BLUEPRINT for success.  Strategic planning is a critical component to the success of any business and these are some of the questions you should ask yourself before taking the leap into entrepreneurship - are you bankable, does the numbers in your budget make sense, location, location, location - have you found your niche, did you check out the competition - what separates your business from everyone else in the game - where do you see your business in the next five years?

Entrepreneurship is a sink or swim venture and without the proper planning in place - running your own business can become your worst nightmare, or with commitment, insight, drive, determination  and the continued hunger for success - there's nothing better than being your own boss!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Essence Girlfriend' Appreciation Day

Sure you could live without your girlfriends, but would you really want to? Who would you shop, workout, talk trash or watch reality TV with? Who would you tell your deepest, darkest secrets. Who would you cry to or celebrate with? Let these 40 reasons we love our girlfriends remind you why life is way better with good friends by your side.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Women at Work: Act Like a Lady, Play Ball Like the Guys

Arguably one of the biggest reasons men tend to be more progressive than women in business is because they are socialized around sports. In competitive sporting arenas, boys are taught to be tough and aggressive with a focus on winning at any cost. Girls have been traditionally taught to be modest, kind and to “play nice.”

Treats, Treats and more Treats

jDelicious- A hobby turned into a passion.  It's the goal of jDelicious to give our customers a total experience for both your eyes and taste buds.  jDBakeShop has a passion for creating delicious homemade cakes with a twist.  The twist... taking age old recipes and adding a dash of modernization, a twist of risk and a ton of love to create cakes and cupcakes loved by many.   jDelicious has several different categories on their menu to satisfy the diverse sweet tooth.  Please feel free to take a peek around the website @www.jdeliciousbakeshop.com

Single.Women Entrepreneurs

This book interviews single women entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. to discern why they started their own original businesses, what they perceived advantages and disadvantages are for the single woman entrepreneur, what they each learned from the experience, and what advice they have for the next generation of single women entrepreneurs.  If you want to know more about author Erin Albert - check out her website at www.erinalbert.com

Why Do We Think Small When It Comes to Women?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Author, Motivational Speaker & Life Coach Valorie Burton

A Certified Personal and Executive Coach who has served hundreds of clients in over 40 states and seven countries, will grace the ladies of Goinglobal Women In the Spotlight with her presence on July 30, 2011.

Valorie Burton is founder and director of The Coaching and Positive Psychology (CAPP) Institute. She is author of six books on personal development, including How Did I Get So Busy?, Listen to Your Life, and What’s Really Holding You Back?, all published by divisions of Random House. She is deeply committed to helping people be more resilient so they can thrive in life and work.  More posts to follow on this upcoming event.

Check out The VIEW by listening to the Ladiez Room

Welcome to Goinglobal Women In the Spotlight!

Goinglobal Women In the Spotlight (GGWITS) is a networking group designed to “spotlight” empower, educate, and inspire women to be the architects of change. Our mission is simple – we are dedicated to connecting, creating opportunities and providing women with the tools necessary for professional development and personal growth.

GGWITS will INVEST in our women entrepreneurs. In the spirit of entrepreneurship, WITS will support/ empower women to launch or grow their businesses. As an entrepreneur, you are your brand! It is important to be conscious of your role as you are your business most important ambassador.

GGWITS will provide special features on issues that shape our lives – work, money, health and life balance.

GGWITS will inspire women to make their own mark on history, and we will partner with other organizations i.e. Dress for Success and other life saving programs to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

It is our goal to create a linkage with other groups - Girls Inc., to develop and support the next generation of young girls while promoting organizations within our network. Ladies the young girls need us!

This group is intended to inspire women from all walks of life as we continue to come together and transform ourselves and support women in their journey to become independent and successful.

Lastly, we want to hear from you – we all have valuable information to share. You never know how many lives you may impact by sharing good sound advice, a quote/scripture to motivate or an article you glanced over in your favorite magazine. It may be just what we need to move us closer to our goal.

GGWITS group mantra, “You can’t see your footprint, if you don’t make a move.”

Ladies,GGWITS is a movement, it’s our time to move!