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!
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…”
Did you know that our CEO, Minda Harts, has a podcast? It's called Secure The Seat, and is in its second season. Secure the Seat is about women of color in the workplace — what does it take to secure a seat at the table, and once you do, how can you bring others along with you?
We know many of you are like, “Hold up, wait a minute. I am still trying to get my last bit of summer out, don’t rush me.”
On, the other hand, we know you are ambitious women who like to plan ahead. For you, we've got four things you might want to start incorporating into your end of summer schedule to make the transition into fall a little easier.
Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is Tuesday, August 7th.
The day represents the number of extra days a black woman would have to work to earn what the average white man makes.
While black women are obtaining degrees at higher rates than other demographics, their take home pay doesn't match their ambition -- making only 63 cents for every dollar made by the average white male (all women make 80 cents on average).
In early July, we hosted our monthly Slack chat and talked about office best friends. It was a good conversation where we talked about the highs and lows of having friends in the office. (If you aren't in our private Slack group, send us an email and we'll add you so you can access that conversation and participate in the next one!)
As a follow up to our conversation in Slack, we asked others about their office best friends, both past and present…
We're more than halfway through the year, and it's the perfect time to start thinking about ways to level up in the second half of the year. Below we've included five new tools to add to your career toolkit.
1) For The Aspiring Entrepreneur: As some of us are preparing for our seat at the table or securing our seat, many might be thinking how to create their own empire…
I am constantly thinking about how to amplify the voices of women of color in the workplace.
The Memo is the foundation, and my upcoming book, The Memo (which comes out in April 2019), and podcast series, Secure The Seat, are other layers of amplification. I not only get the opportunity to tell my story, but I have the privilege of telling stories of other women of color I’ve met over the years and what it was like for them to “lean in.”
Often, I sit back and think, God must really have a sense of humor, because I never saw myself advocating in this way.
I am a HUGE fan of my local public library. It’s a treasure trove of information and entertainment: there are books, movies, storytimes for kids, language classes, passes to visit local attractions, access to language learning, info for small business owners, author talks, technology classes, and more. I cannot say enough nice things about the library.