Posts made in April 2019

Mommy I want to do THIS!

In 1993 Take your Daughter to Work Day began so that young women could expand their career horizons as the domestic roll was waning out. This was an incredible initiative to expose young women to the workforce and introduce careers that even 20-30 years prior were not “allowed”. Now it has evolved to take your child to work day so that children can get a sneak peek into what Mommy and Daddy do everyday, which introduces their career options or nurtures the idea to hold an excellent paying job and possibly own their own business. We are in an excellent time now where mothers, who this was not fathomable for 50-60 years ago, can imprint a work ethic within their child/children and make them say “Mommy I want to do THIS.”

It’s adding up to success

Women who work influence the entire household to push for more, whether they are married or not. Mothers are naturally gifted in multitasking, so working or running a firm, then coming home to manage the household successfully is not unusual. While it can be stressful at times the results are outstanding; especially for women of color. Women of color have been historically given barriers to climb the corporate ladder. Household incomes have doubled due to women working regardless of the type of the work. And single-mother households must work and take care of home without the help of a partner, so management of time and resources is key. Being able to manage all of these rolls can be mentally exhausting and many women suffer from depression, high blood pressure, and more. However for the sake of their children more women are taking the initiative to create balance in keeping themselves healthy and working smarter to create prosperity for their families. So if a woman of color who is single or married works for herself or is gainfully employed, whilst caring for a child/children and breaking through barriers to create generational wealth, this next generation will be on track to create a world of equity in business and a healthy balance in life. Because if Mommy can do this, so can ‘I’.

  • 11.6 million women own firms of various sizes in the U.S.
  • 5.4 million firms are majority-owned by women of color in the U.S. and 37% are in the workforce.
  • 70% of mothers with children under 18 are working, with 75% working full time.
  • Daughters of working mothers in the U.S. make approximately 23% more than daughters of Stay-at home-mothers and with 21% get managerial positions.
  • The median family income has increased 84% since 1980 due to women working, regardless of the industry.
  • 76% of the workforce are single mothers regardless of full/part time status or industry.

Doing THIS

On this incredible day women can show their children what means to be a balanced adult and manage their lives better regardless of what career is chosen. It’s not expected that your child follows the same career path as you, but they need to see who they want to be as individuals while they make that choice. Whether a single or married Mom it is also important to show children how to manage relationships, and that too is work. Seeing mommy at work whether in the office or home teaches youth to:

  • Create a good work ethic that provides stability in their career and mental state.
  • Manage time between work, home life, and fun.
  • Create opportunities for growth for the family and personally.
  • Create generational wealth by managing spending habits.
  • Taking chances on yourself to try something new.
  • Making sure your health is well balanced.
  • Cultivate sustainable relationships while at home and work.

Every day is take your child to work day, because the work on yourself is never ending. Be someone they can look up to.

RESOURCES

The Good Thing About Chaos

The Louisiana Church arson attacks, the fire at Notre Dame, the attack in Sri Lanka and the death of rapper Nipsey Hussle have all shaken many in those respective communities and around the world. However, it has also rallied support both locally and internationally and pushing forward our need to unify and empathize to make our communities better. When chaos strikes the affected community rallies together to provide support. Unfortunately, when the issue seems resolved the comradery dwindles and everyone is back to their regularly scheduled programming. It’s not that people do not care anymore, but the issue no longer affects them, and empathy is lost. We shouldn’t need chaos to remind us to stick together, but with that alarming reminder we can grow from chaos in many ways.

I do not listen to a lot of rap music, so I had no idea who Nipsey Hussle was until he died. What impressed me, was that he became the voice and activator for his community that sent a message to grow and prosper together. When Notre Dame caught fire, the world stopped and watched as centuries of sanctity and intricate construction were destroyed. Donations poured in to save this treasured relic and it left some Americans saying what about Louisiana? Soon after many donations were made to the affected churches to rebuild. When disaster struck on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka the world stopped once more and world leaders condemned the acts of terror and offered support to the people.

What all these disasters have in common is that none of the external communities have a direct link to it. Because each person/entity represented a place of peace and progress in many capacities it has unified us as a global community to become empathetic again and grow from that place instead of forgetting about it because it does not affect us. The same lesson about learning from our mistakes applies to our response to chaos, grow from them and create an opportunity to be better. Whether that is stopping unnecessary violence, giving support to causes, or providing aid to entities that are focused on making a community better. From that initial aid and empathy, we can gain a clear understanding of how these communities can grow. Nipsey Hussle and these churches used their voices and resources to provide a path to prosperity and peace and we have the capacity to do that together. When things need to change, something chaotic happens to provoke that change. However, on the other side of chaos is a process to create an opportunity to be better as people and better as a community.

Fill the hole, serve your community as yourself.

You do not have to own a company or nonprofit to make a difference, all it takes is asking the question of what can I do for this cause, movement, organization…my community? How can we as individuals fill a void, whether big or small, that will make a difference and possibly a ripple effect? The outside perspective on corporate community service is that a CEO gets their hands dirty occasionally, to show the local or global community that they care. This is not untrue. However, serving the community goes deeper than taking an opportunistic photo with a thumbs up and a plastered smile that says tax write-off. It’s imperative to remain a part of the community, no matter the heights you reach. And more importantly not allowing the prospect of recognition to be the driving force to solve a problem. Make it a point to volunteer, give, work but do something.

Monte Scott, a 12 year old from Muskegon Heights, MI, was fed up with the pot hole ridden street that he lived on and took it upon himself to fill 15+ potholes. He knew the issue was affecting everyone and decided that waiting for someone to “save the street” he needed to use what he had to make a difference. The Grand Haven Tribune reported that he picked up his shovel, got some dirt from his back yard, and evened out the road. He did not have any concrete or money to correct the road. However with enough gumption and worry after his watching his mother mess up her car on the road he knew the problem was bigger than just him.

How many of us take the time to take what we have, regardless of the amount, and fix something in the community? The city or state may not always allocate funds to your cause. The fundraiser may not always raise enough funds. The interest or care to fix something may not garner a news story. It may not be a great public image for yourself or your company. But does it make it any less significant to fill the hole in your community with your gifts, a favor, an act of kindness, or your influence to make your community better? We have the unlimited ability to take care of ourselves and each other with simple actions that create an even road to prosperity for our respective corners of the world.

Being a leader is overrated. Be an inspiration.

“When you’re told to be a leader there are very few people that give you a blueprint on how to do it.”- Stacey Abrams

This statement struck me about how the concept of leadership had become so skewed by an ego driven approach and not a nurturing approach that creates more leaders and/or exceptional people within your company or community.

What is leadership? Is it a person who commands or a person who inspires action and creates a momentum towards a successful direction? I believe it is the latter because the “top dog” authoritative style leader is not only toxic, but ineffective. In business school they go over different styles of leadership: Transformational, Democratic, Autocratic, Bureaucratic, Servant, Transactional and Laissez-Faire.  But is there really a correct way to lead this generation of Millennials in the workforce? In my opinion, yes, Inspirational Leadership.

Inspirational Leadership energizes and creates a sense of direction or purpose for employees. An effective leader in this style would pull aspects of the other leadership styles because there is a time for each of these to meet the end goal of a project or purpose. By using this style, it encourages workers to lean in and grasp the company’s vision and conquer fears that would otherwise hinder the employee personally and ultimately professionally.

Millennials are the driving force of success for this country and to negate their ideals of how “comfortable” someone should be at work is antiquated and inefficient. Just as many seasoned CEOs or managers they entered the workforce with both gumption and fear, and to save their mental health from antiquated leadership styles they job hop. This is due to the lack of responsibility taken in leadership to create an environment for healthy consistent growth that dwindles fears and raises personal expectation to be the best.

Make fear your new friend.

When I decided to start my own business, I was terrified because I knew that the road ahead of me was not paved with open arms. I had to face my fears and lead myself before I could lead anyone else. I had to lead myself away from anticipating the worst, from fearing being the only woman of color in the room, from feeling like I would be a neglectful wife and mother, and many other fears that would hinder my success. By using inspirational leadership to build up myself, why wouldn’t I use the same style to build my company and create a space for employees to come in and conquer their own inhibitions. How could a manager direct or encourage an employee to complete a task when they themselves have yet to conquer something similar.

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Richard Branson

Richard is talking about the trickle up effect of investing in the people around you so that they can evolve and the company will always operate at their absolute best. If you can lead by inspiring people to be the best that they can be they can create their own blueprint for success that would likely benefit you or be an excellent ally for further growth. This is true in a company or community. When we as leaders, or inspirers, lean in to the people who are under our guidance we create streams of opportunities for success that benefit everyone. Let’s thrive together. 

Her Code is Different: Women Growing an IT Business

Although over 12 million businesses in the U.S. are owned by women, they only make up 30% of the technology world as either employees or business owners. 13% of women owned companies have been in business for more than 20 years and 47% of women owned businesses are owned by women of color, and ARMA Inc. is one of them. The percentage of women that are not CEOs barely rise to 17% and of the 41 Fortune 500 tech companies only five are headed by women. However some of the smaller tech companies and start ups are flourishing and may just tip the scale by 2020.  This is a glimmer of promise for women in the tech field. Women cannot run a technology company like men do, and that is a wonderful attribute to have. Instead of taking a conquering approach, women are open to learn, regard their teams’ talents, and take calculated risks that will benefit the company’s growth. 

My Story

As a minority woman-owned small business the landscape for women in technology was nearly non-existent 30 years ago and although we have grown substantially we have a long way to go. In 1990 as a fresh Black face in IT I you didn’t see a lot of women that looked like me in the business  After being deciding to take the leap and start my owned business, leaving behind the security of a paycheck every two weeks, the idea of becoming an independent contractor was terrifying.  However, I took the risk and received my first $25k contract that bloomed into a successful business for the last 29 years.

In the beginning, I wish that I understood the importance of relationships and tribe building when it came to growing my business.  I thought it was far more important to keep your head down, work hard and always and I mean always focus on your customer. I worked hard to cultivate relationships with my clients, community, and my valued employees to expand successfully. I had to treat them as if they were a family member who deserved attention and regard for their needs and aspirations. However, the most important lesson was to let go of control. Which meant I could not be super woman all the time, I had to ask for help, be open, and transform opportunities into success.

THE WOMAN’S CODE

1.      Get a mentor: Women can have a lot of gumption but there is more to be learned about how to navigate the ever-changing landscape of Technology. Statistically women who receive mentoring from either a man or woman within their field were equally successful. Seek out someone who is where you want to be and be open to learn.

2.      Create a culture of learning and growth: Since technology rapidly evolves as a business owner you must be open to change, nurturing that change with intent studying, and using it to grow as an individual and company.

3.      Give back to your community: STEM/STEAM non-profit organizations are blooming, especially for women of color interested in IT. What better way to make an investment into possible future employees or entrepreneurs than to have your staff reach out to teach youth about how to code. This puts the company and individual ahead of the next curve, because the youth may be discussing possible changes they want to see and provide the seedling of a new venture.

4.      Investment means growth: Speaking of investing, sometimes investment comes in form of risks. Taking the time to go after a contract that you know the company can do, even if not everything lines up in skill, can be the best choice. It forces the company to get up training, expand their expertise, and improve moral by achieving a new challenge together. Investing in your people is critical to the success of your company.

5.      Take it one day at a time: Make your plans, set your goals, leave room for surprises and process every day as something new because it is. There will be good and bad surprises and while being ready for anything is proper planning, the small margin for error can tip the scale in another direction. Be open.

Women can not and will not run a business like man, because she is not built like man, and that is a wonderful thing because our code for success is written differently.