Archive for March, 2008

Money and Children

Friday, March 28th, 2008

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    I was at CS 92 in the Bronx, NY, today taping a segment for Bloomberg TV about children and money.

    Ms. Cunningham’s fourth grade class of eighteen English learners (in the picture with Ms. Ana Celia Delgado, Assistant Principal), had been preparing all week for this event. They had learned about credit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts, and making change.

      I had them at the library for half an hour where I asked them about the value of money and what they did with what they received as gifts and allowances. It surprised me to hear that a few of them were saving to go to college!! Others were incredibly generous: they were saving to help their parents in case of an emergency.

      During the past week they had also conducted some interesting research: they asked third, fourth and fifth graders around the school a few questions: 1) who received an allowance, 2) who saved, 3) who spent it, and 4) who shared it.

        Their discovery may be something for the adults in the family to pay attention to: the younger ones are saving at a much higher rate than the older kids who seem to already be caught in our consumerist society. Given the current economic situation of this country where savings levels per capita are close to 0, wouldn’t it be a great time to start teaching our kids about the value of money early on?

          The students in CS 92 have surely learned very important lessons about saving money this week, and I hope you can catch them on TV soon.

          What parents can do to help students get to college

          Thursday, March 27th, 2008

          This short video in Spanish gives parents a few tips on what they can do to help their students get on the path to college.

          Three things to avoid saying at work

          Friday, March 21st, 2008

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          There are certain expressions that when used at work, may not produce the best results.

          One example is when your boss asks you to do something that is not in your job description. It’s a bad idea to say: “it’s not my job” because it makes you look as though you are not a team player. If a deadline needs to be met, just do whatever needs to be done and after it’s done schedule a conversation with your boss to discuss areas of responsibility that may not be clear to you or others. The same goes when there is a problem and your boss asks you to resolve it.

          Answering: “it’s not my fault” won’t get you too many points. Better to help anyway you can and talk to your boss later about ways for your team to avoid repeating mistakes. At that time you can discuss what happened with a focus on what went wrong and how you can make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

          One third thing to avoid is to use the opportunity when your boss is giving you feedback about your work, to turn the tables around and tell your boss what you don’t like about him/her. I’ve seen this done too many times and it’s a bad idea. The mature position is to listen to the feedback without taking it personally and if there are things you wish to discuss with your boss, choose a different day to schedule an appointment. Then, prepare for that meeting so that you can provide facts and data about your concerns. 

          Future Latino journalists

          Friday, March 14th, 2008

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          I was at the 19th Annual Scholarship Banquet of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists yesterday at the Hilton in New York. It was a wonderful event where a large number of journalists and other members of the media got together to celebrate young, future journalists. Soledad O’Brien from CNN was the Mistress of Ceremonies and John Quiñones from ABC Primetime was the Honorary Banquet Chair.

          The NAHJ Scholarship Fund is named after Ruben Salazar, a columnist of the Los Angeles Times and news director of Spanish language TV station KMEX back in 1970, when he was killed by a tear-gas projectile fired by a deputy sheriff during an Anti-Vietnam War Moratorium that Salazar was covering in Los Angeles. Salazar will finally be immortalized on a US postage stamp to be released this year.

          The students who won scholarships from NAHJ and its supporters are promising journalists who have participated in internships organized by NAHJ where they learn how to handle and integrate all different kinds of media from the printed word to the Internet.

          If you are a student of journalism, or would like to become one, contact this leading organization to get all the help and mentorship you need to succeed. Top professionals who are experienced and passionate about their work are there to guide you: www.nahj.org

          Positive Latino stories on the media

          Friday, March 14th, 2008

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          Negative stories about Latino immigrants are rampant on the media nowadays. Whether the story is about a crime or undocumented workers being raided or deported, they are everywhere on the main stream media.I believe it is our responsibility to help change the negative image being portrayed in news across the country. But the only way to do it is by getting involved in what is being covered. Here is what you can do to help:

        • When you see a positive story about a person from a Latino background on the media (TV, radio, papers or magazines) find out who wrote it or produced it and write a note to that person thanking them for such a good story. If you can’t find the person directly, send a note to the station or the newspaper to the attention of the top executive.
        • When you see a negative story about a Latino, do the same: send a note complaining about the number of negative stories related to the Latino community they are covering.
        • If you have an inspirational story about yourself or someone you know, someone who overcame obstacles and succeeded, someone who is doing great things for the community and the country, write to your local news producer and to your local paper to share the story.
        • Share with your local news outlets positive stories happening in your community from events at your local schools, to the opening of a new Mexican restaurant.
        • Send letters to the advertisers who sponsor the media outlets where you see negative portrayals of Latinos expressing your feelings and letting them know you won’t support their products if they don’t support your community.
        • Been to a career fair lately?

          Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

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            With the economy in trouble, many companies are downsizing and letting people go. This unfortunate situation was evident at this year’s New York Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) Career Conference. The conference was a success with over 700 attendees who run the gamut of career stages. Some were fresh out of college, others were unemployed and others were mid-career changers. 

              HACE’s career fairs are very different from other fairs out there. The organization works with a selected group of sponsors who are committed to participate in several events a year and who actively recruit at these events. Goldman Sachs, Health First, Berkeley College, Caterpillar, Grainger, Wachovia and McGraw Hill where some of the exhibitors who spent time talking to interested candidates. 

                Before they talked to recruiters, however, candidates had the opportunity of having their resume reviewed by a career coach in a special Career Help area set up like a cafe, with small tables and two chairs per table. 

                  I presented my Secrets of Successful Networking workshop which was attended by a large number of very interested participants who also attended other three very relevant workshops: Latinas in the Workplace, presented by Sandra Guzmán, Associate Editor of the New York Post; Get your Career in Gear, presented by Rhonda Otten, Financial Success Coach and Strategies for Mid Career Job Seekers, presented by Lori Meier, a Senior Employment Representative at Caterpillar.  

                    So, if you are in the market for a job, this is the kind of event worth attending. The networking opportunities are priceless and the chances to interview with high quality companies are very valuable. 

                      Before you attend your next career fair, make sure it offers: 

                      • A variety of employers, and not just government agencies
                      • Valuable educational workshops
                      • Professional support for you as a job seeker 

                      The leaders of the future

                      Saturday, March 8th, 2008

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                      This Friday and Saturday, the Hispanic Support Organization, the Latino employee group of Verizon, sponsored a youth conference within its main conference for high school students of the New York area. I was one of the keynote speakers for the youth conference and had the great opportunity to meet a wonderful group of young students. 

                      We talked about leadership, mentors, the value of internships and community service. They were actively engaged and openly offered their insights and opinions.  For one of the final activities I asked them to chose one of five topics for a letter to Verizon as a way of thanking the company for this opportunity.  

                      The letters they wrote show the great impact that people who spoke at the conference had on them, they reflect how many new concepts they learned and how much they appreciated being taken seriously as the leaders of the future.  

                      One of the last questions I was asked before my workshop was over was: “What did you learn from us today?” I had learned so much, it was hard to put into a few words.  Yet undoubtedly, one of the most important lessons I learned, I told them, was that the bad reputation that today’s youth has of being apathetic and uninterested is undeserved. These teenagers showed me that they are passionate about their community and their advancement, that they want to acquire as much knowledge as they can, that they are respectful of the adults around them and that they have a lot to say and to offer. 

                      Maybe it is us, the adults, who need to create more opportunities for teenagers to show the world what they are made of and how they plan to lead the next generation.