My mother first taught me about managing up. That isn’t what she called it, of course, but when I got my first job, she’d tell me stories about her career. She'd share how she went from working in the basement at her company to getting promoted to a number of different roles, and the little things she did to get there. She'd regularly give me suggestions on how to be great at work, and how to get the most done with (or in spite of) whatever boss I had.
by: Minda Harts, Founder, The Memo
If you have followed some of the commentary on social media around Black History Month, you may have seen many folks calling for a do-over (with all the atrocities taking place from Gucci to Virginia and beyond). And even though a lot of jaw-dropping moments have taken place, it doesn’t take away from all the amazing accomplishments of women of color so far this year--like Kamala Harris running for President or Rosalind Brewer joining the board of Amazon. And maybe you have hit a goal or received a raise this month, those accomplishments are just as notable!
One accomplishment that I want to share with our community is that my upcoming book The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table by Hachette Book Group is available for pre-order. The Memo is the much-needed career advice guide for women of color specifically, ending the one-size-fits-all approach of business books that lump together women across races and overlook the unique barriers to success for women of color. I have written a lot about issues that women of color face in the workplace and I am excited to expand the conversation beyond just our Monday Memos.
Many of our ancestors were not permitted to learn to read and write, and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to write a book that sheds much-needed light on how women of color and black women experience the workplace. My book debuts on August 20th and I hope you would consider purchasing one for yourself, your friends, and your team. This book provides a roadmap to help women of color and their allies make a real change to the system.
Let’s continue to make history all year long!
This past week, we had a lot of conversations with different women that seemed to revolve around the same topic: mentorship.
We spoke to a number of women doing amazing things in their careers. The higher they climbed, however, the fewer mentors they were able to find for themselves, they said. We all need good mentors and advocates no matter how far we've gotten in our careers.
Last week, I asked you to consider committing to yourself as the vibe for 2019. How is that coming along?
One of the things that I said I would commit to is incorporating some balance in my life. By nature, I am a workhorse; I don’t know how not to work. Which in turn makes all my conversations work-ish. Even when I am trying to have fun, it somehow comes back to work. My idea of fun these days is attending a good networking event. Just the other day, I was hanging out with one of my favorite people. They said “Minda please stop talking about work while we are at the museum.” I was embarrassed to be called out, but I must admit, I didn’t even realize I was doing it.
This won’t be a Memo that tells you to pull a list together of all of your new resolutions or even create a vision board.
Do I think some of these frameworks help us manifest our desires? I absolutely do, but by now you should know that anything we want to manifest will take work on our part. For instance, I can’t put out a book without writing it first. I can’t lose weight without changing my diet and putting in the work.
The one question I will ask you is what behaviors will you enhance or eliminate as you move forward in your life this year?
By: The Memo Staff
'Tis the season for a list, and we're using the last day of the year to honor those women of color that made us proud in 2018.
We are in awe of all the contributions that women of color made this year and every year. This week, we salute five “sheroes” who inspired us. Their contributions are vast, and we know we could not do all of their accomplishments justice, so we are sharing just a few facts about each!
Thank you, ladies, for continuing to push us forward!
I have come to terms with the fact. that I will never be “Beyonce," and I will always be a “Kelly”.
And I am cool with that--Kelly got coins and access to any room she wants. She is successful in her own right and has secured her seat. As a child you are always told to love the skin you’re in and be yourself. As you get older--adults, your peers and life experiences start to chip away at your self-esteem.
As we're thinking about the upcoming new year, it's only natural for us to take inventory of our successes and lessons from this one. On Friday, we hosted our monthly #memocareerchats on Slack -- we took inventory of the year, celebrated our successes, inventoried our lessons, and also discussed good books we read!
We first met Elena Valentine--Co-Founder of Womxn of Craft & CEO of Skill Scout--in the Civic Accelerator (CivicX) during one of our sessions in Chicago. Elena was a former participant in CivicX and came back as a successful alum to speak to the next cohort. From day one Elena was transparent and willing to help, which is something you don't always find in other women. But, don't take our word for it--find out for yourself why we think she's dope!
A few years ago I read, "Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office", by Lois P. Frankel. At that time in my life I was reading a lot of career development books for women; some were helpful and others made me feel overwhelmed by the amount of “steps” it might take to climb the proverbial ladder. In Frankel’s book, she mentioned the notion of women using touchy-feely language in the workplace and how we should learn to be more direct. What is "touchy-feely language"?
This weekend, I was thinking a lot about how far I've come along my career path. The person I was at the start of my career almost wouldn't recognize the stronger, more resilient professional that I am becoming. I thought about those situations in my life (personal and professional alike) that, while in them, felt impossible to get through or to let go of. But each of those situations helped to clear a path forward to where I am today.
It wasn’t until I was older that I understood the power I had as a woman, and more specifically, the power found in being a black woman. The power I found happened through the words of those before me: Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde, and Ntozake Shange all articulated a power I had yet to tap into.
Now, I hope that I don’t have to put together a full-on powerpoint presentation on why you should vote in the upcoming election on November 6th: if Kanye West alone hasn’t swayed you, then I don’t know what else to say. The good news about voting is that we get the opportunity to decide what side of history we want to be on, and we get to have a voice in what issues matter to us.
What would it look like if the rooms we walked into or the tables we sat at were diverse? What about in terms of board membership? Imagine sitting in a boardroom that was representative of the communities you live in and the customers you serve. I believe that is exactly what California is striving for in trying to pass a bill that would require publicly held companies to have women on their boards. Which is great news for women of color: we are not equally represented on corporate boards, so there is lots of opportunity and board seats to secure.
Most women have dealt with a “mean girl” or two starting from their first day of school. Unfortunately, some of those mean girls grow up to become mean women – and some of those mean women become mean co-workers. In my career thus far, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of amazing women, some of the most caring and intelligent women on the planet. Up until a few years ago, I couldn’t relate to the “mean girl” stories I heard about happening in the workplace… but then it happened to me.
My dad played tennis in the Marines, and growing up he took me and my brothers to the park and taught us how to play. This was one of the ways we spent quality time together. Years later, The Williams sisters hit the tennis scene and I remember how excited I was to see two black girls with beads in their hair disrupting the game.
I don’t know if my dad had the same intentions as their father Richard, but one of my brothers did go on to play collegiate tennis. When my youngest brother became the break out star of the Harts kids; he started to invest in his success and planned on going pro.
Working in groups doesn’t end in school. Depending on the industry you're in, collaborating and working well with others is a prerequisite for being successful.
We all know what a bad teammate looks like, but what qualities make you a good team member?
Here are four tips to make you a better teammate:
Step Up: Have you ever been in a group or committee and someone had to be the “leader…”