The Big Comeback

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by: The Memo Staff

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."

Navigating difficult conversations at work is not easy, but is necessary. It must be done with finesse to avoid someone calling us "angry," "excited," or "emotional," but we must be our best advocates in addressing disrespectful interactions, or how else will our colleagues learn what is appropriate and acceptable?

Here are a few tips to help you with your comeback when some of your colleagues might have lost their mind -- it's up to us to help them find it.

1) Prepare. I once heard a black woman say--she always has a "comeback" ready. I asked her to explain what that meant. And she frankly said, "There will always be someone at work that says something out of pocket to you, especially if you are the only one or one of few in the workplace. So I always have a comeback ready." She admitted that it took years for her to build up her courage to address bias and microaggressions in the workplace, but at some point, she said, she couldn't let them slide anymore. So she prepared statements ahead of time to help her address these occurrences and she felt so much better doing it. It helped her not have to replay woulda, coulda, shoulda moments after the fact. Try practicing your comebacks with tact like Issa Rae in the mirror on episodes of Insecure.

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2) Learn to be Direct. This is a good opportunity for you to pull "Bob" over after a meeting. For example, "Hey Bob, can I talk to you real quick? I noticed in our meeting that you continued to talk over me when I had something to say. I realize you probably weren't doing it on purpose, but I wanted to make you aware of it for next time. Thanks for understanding." You have ideas and a perspective that needs to be heard and your voice will never be heard if you allow others to silence it. Yes, this isn't an easy conversation to have with "Bob," but part of securing our seat at the table is learning how to navigate hard conversations at work. P.S. It's not always what you say, but it's how you say it, so this conversation can be delivered better than Bruno Mars and his finesse.

3) Have The Receipts. Starting out in the workplace, I'd often hear the advice from mentors, "Document everything." This is so helpful, especially when a boss or colleague has said something about your work that you know to be untrue. Perhaps they said you didn't deliver something in the way you were asked to. Go back through your notes! Then when you have that difficult conversation, you will be armed with facts -- dates, emails, work submitted -- that you will contribute context to situations where otherwise it would be your word against theirs.

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4) Know Your Value. Oftentimes, we don't want to make waves. We want to keep our heads down, do our work, and avoid confrontation altogether. Of course, every little thing isn't worth bringing up, but others are. Think -- "If this happened to my best friend, would I be ready to fight for her? Would I encourage her to speak up for herself in this instance?" Know that you deserve to be respected at work. Treat yourself like you would your best friend, and be your own best advocate!

Carpe That Diem

Carpe That Diem

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?

Getting Unstuck

Getting Unstuck

These past few months, I've stared at a lot of blank screens. I’ve had a few big projects come up, and didn’t know where or how to begin. So I stared at the screen. I stared for long stretches of time, trying to will myself in a direction that seemed to not come.

We Are All Leaders

We Are All Leaders

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.

Take a Break

Take a Break

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.

Our Super Power

Our Super Power

As we move out of Black History month and into Women’s History Month, it’s hard for me to not think about all the amazing women that helped to raise me. From my mother to my grandmother and aunts--they have each poured into me in a variety of ways that remind me of how fearless and wonderfully made I am: in all my blackness and my womanhood.

I not only celebrate them, but I also celebrate you.

Unsung Heroes

Unsung Heroes

Today, as we head into the last official week of Black History Month, we want to continue to shout out trailblazers. Every year, we hear about the usual names: Rosa, Malcolm, Martin, Sojourner. While they have certainly earned their right to grace the pages of our textbooks and our social consciousness, there were so many others blazing a trail in history.

Here are four black women trailblazers that you may or may not have heard about.

Securing Our Seat

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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!

Paying It Forward: Mentorship Quotes

Paying It Forward: Mentorship Quotes

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.

Re-Imagining Success

Re-Imagining Success

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.

Make Yourself a Commitment

Make Yourself a Commitment

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?

The (S)Heroes of 2018

The (S)Heroes of 2018

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!

#MemoMonday: Best of 2018

#MemoMonday: Best of 2018

It's almost the end of another year, and we have so much to be thankful for. Thank you to our community for riding with us all year -- for sharing articles, for attending events, being part of the conversation, and working to secure your seat!

Unapologetically Kelly

Unapologetically Kelly

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.

Meet Elena Valentine, Womxn of Craft Co-Founder & Skill Scout CEO

Meet Elena Valentine, Womxn of Craft Co-Founder & Skill Scout CEO

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!

I Said What I Said!

I Said What I Said!

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"?

Blessings on Blessings

Blessings on Blessings

Remember the first few days or weeks (or months) at a new job? If you were lucky, that was the time that you'd get trained on the ins and outs of your role. If you weren't so lucky, you'd be left to fend for yourself and learn as you went.