It's hard to believe the summer is nearly over, and that we're approaching another fall season. Many of us (or our children, nieces, nephews, friends, etc.) are starting school, and turning the page on a brand new year. As we start this new season, we want you to consider: What you are doing this season to invest in your own success? How are you turning a new page in your own life?
Part of securing our seat at the table is making sure we bring others along with us. We're combing the archives for some of our favorite articles that you may have missed, and this one really speaks to us. The following post, "It's a Privilege," by founder, Minda Harts, reminds us that when one of us wins, we all win. We have had so many people help us along our journey -- thank you! The post originally appeared January, 2018. We hope it speaks to you as well.
In 2015, The Memo LLC was created, and it blows my mind that on August 20, 2019, my debut book with Hachette Book Group, The Memo: What Women of Color Need To Know To Secure A Seat At The Table will be available wherever you like to buy your books. I realized there was a gap in business and career books for black and brown women and for our experiences in the workplace.
By: The Memo Staff
Last week, Minda Harts, CEO at The Memo had the opportunity to share 5 Big Challenges Women of Color Face Securing Their Seat at the Table, with the founder of "Know Your Value" and "Morning Joe" co-host, Mika Brzezinski.
Check out the article and video on their site and let us know what other challenges you think we might have missed!
This week is a short work week -- wishing everyone a restful and safe holiday!
It’s an age-old story that doesn’t seem to be changing fast enough: women are struggling to get a foothold in the tech industry. This is especially true for women of color who have had to contend with both gender and racial bias. Yet, the good news is that change is happening, and today many women of color are succeeding in forging top careers in the tech industry. Here are four women of color who are making a name for themselves in the male-dominated tech industry-- they are undoubtedly opening a door for more women to succeed in the future.
By: The Memo Staff
We often discuss what it’s like to advocate for ourselves, but what would it look like if we advocated for others? What would it look like if we stood in the gap for others when they aren’t able to stand in the gap for themselves? The happiness that we feel when we stand up for ourselves during those times that require us to -- think how good it might make another colleague feel when that is done for them unsolicited. If we want folks to advocate for us, sometimes we have to signal to others that we would advocate for them, too.
Here are four ways you can be an advocate for someone else:
- Listen & Learn: Actively listen to what your colleagues are telling you about their experiences at work. Take the time to learn about another marginalized group. Don't count on others to do all the work teaching you how to advocate for them. Find books, articles, films, etc. Learn what it's like to be in someone else's shoes. The more you understand about what your colleagues are going through, the better you can be at advocating for them when appropriate.
- Raise Your Hand On Their Behalf: Speaking of listening and learning...some of our greatest opportunities come from other people speaking our names when we aren’t in the room. Listen when your colleagues share what they want out of certain roles and their careers. That way, when you see an opportunity arise that would be great for them, you can speak up. Maybe you heard about a new committee opening up, and you remember that one of your colleagues mentioned being interested in getting more involved in the company in that way -- if you are in a position of power in the company, or you happen to know someone on the selection committee -- consider mentioning them for the role. Even if you aren’t a decision maker, consider mentioning the opportunity to your colleague. Maybe they hadn’t heard about it, and you can be their eyes and ears.
- Recognize Others’ Authenticity: Just as we’ve discussed self-advocacy, there are certain identity points that resonate with us that allow us to bring those authentic parts of ourselves to the workplace. How does your colleague identify? If no one else in the office acknowledges their authenticity, and you know it would mean the world to them if someone in the office “sees” them---be the one to help foster that visibility. For example, if one of your colleagues identifies with the pronouns “they” or “them,” help facilitate inclusion by addressing them in the way they have requested. As Lauryn Hill told us, “Respect is just a minimum.”
- Step Up: Have you ever been in a situation when someone at work said an off-color joke and no one said anything? Perhaps that joke was said, and you were the only woman or person of color, and it left you feeling awkward while everyone else pretended like it was not a big deal? How powerful would it have been if one of your colleagues vocalized that the joke was inappropriate and we don’t use that type of language? Or they approached you to see if you were okay, and apologized for not stepping up at that moment. These types of activities go on daily. Be the person that steps up when your colleague is feeling isolated and alone. Don’t be the person that normalizes bad workplace behavior.
A huge part of building a strong network is relationship building, and I don’t know any better way to start building stronger relationships with your colleagues than advocating and speaking up on their behalf. Again the great Lauryn Hill said, “Tell me, who I have to be to get some reciprocity.” Even though she was talking about an ex, I think if we flex our ability to advocate for others, hopefully, they will reciprocate when given the opportunity. You might be surprised by who steps up for you next time.
Three years ago, we were thinking of ways to highlight more women of color in business that might not be celebrated in the ways that some of our counterparts are celebrated. And, that idea manifested in the creation of The Women of Resilience Awards--three years ago. And each year it has been a privilege to celebrate our accomplishments together.
I am trying to do a better job of having more of a balance in the media and messages I consume (I mean, one must learn to find balance outside of catching up on Game of Thrones). I found this new five-day devotional by Tauren Wells, called “Known”.
He said two things that resonated with me:
We often create superficial selves and relegate every relationship to the shallow end of the relational experience.
The foundation of intimacy is vulnerability.
These two statements might not mean too much to you, but vulnerability has been something I have been struggling with over the last year.
Have you ever needed to have a difficult conversation at work? You know the one where your coworker might have touched your hair without permission, and --being that it's 2019-- you were left standing in shock not knowing how to address it? Or a colleague or manager has said something disparaging about you or your work that you know isn't accurate? Lastly, maybe you remember a time where you had an idea in a meeting and one of your colleagues continued to talk over you. You left that meeting thinking to yourself, "I should have said something."
As we wrap up the first quarter of the year, I am reminded of the resolutions many of us made for ourselves. Weight loss, changing your job, quitting smoking, getting rid of/staying away from that no good ex once and for all, or putting down that alcohol. How have you done on staying committed to your goals and resolutions?
Some of you might not know that I teach a course on Leading Talent Development at NYU Wagner. One of the reasons I decided to add "Professor" next to my name is because I wanted to help influence the next generation of leaders and managers in relation to how they see human capital in the workplace. More importantly, I wanted to reinforce how they should invest in human capital that might not look or identity like they do.
Part of self-care is being kind to yourself. If we are running this marathon called life at a sprinter's pace, we won't be able to give the best parts of ourselves to our family, friends, projects, or ourselves. Running too fast will ultimately result in burn out. We have too much work to do on this earth to be worn down and tired, just because we didn't heed to our body's warning signs to slow down.
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!
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!