Archive for February, 2009

Student leaders at Yale University

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

I was up at Yale University in New Haven today, presenting to a group of students members of the National Hispanic Business Association (NHBA).

The focus of my keynote presentation was leadership so I went over some things students can do while in college to develop their leadership edge. My first recommendation to them was that they should identify their passion and talents and what skills and knowledge they are acquiring in school. Combining all these aspects is what will help them achieve success in whatever it is they decide to do.

It was fascinating to see how interested students were in getting involved with professional and other non profit organizations and in giving back to the community, two great ways to hone their leadership skills. Although many of them were already engaged in several extra curricular activities, they were interested in getting more information about a program that I have developed for McDonald’s to provide workshops for parents of high school students that help them understand how to support their kids’ path to college.

It’s an ideal situation for college students to present to parents as they are an inspiration and a role model for their children. They can share their own personal stories as they conduct the workshop. And the truth is, this is a service oriented generation, looking for ways to make a difference. So, it would be a shame to waste all that energy, talent and willingness to help!

So, here’s the website where you too can download my workshop program for free: www.meencanta.com. Go to the “Becas” section and you will see the Facilitator’s guide and the Videos. They are both available in Spanish and English. Study the program, follow the directions and then contact your local high school to set up a workshop day.

In this difficult economy, schools can use a hand!

Obama’s education promise

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

If you missed this part of the president’s speech on February 24th, here it is! I’m excited that the campaign I just launched Latinos in College: Preparing Emerging Leaders for the Workforce is perfectly aligned with his view and where the efforts in education will be made! Let’s all be a part of this historical movement.

Free workshops for parents of students going to middle school

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Learning Leaders www.learningleaders.org is offering a wonderful series of free workshops for parents of 5th graders on making the transition to middle school called: How Can I Help My Child in Middle School?

These workshops are made possible by the generous support of New York City Council. They will take place in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan every week in March.

All workshops are from 10 Am to Noon. Here are the topic and dates:

1 Help! My Child is Going to Middle School!
Learn what middle schools are like and how you can help your child make the transition.

2 Help! My Child is Almost a Teenager!
Learn about changes during adolescence and how to communicate with your child.

3 Middle School Academics: How Can I Help?
Learn about skills and knowledge children must acquire in 6th grade to do well in middle and high school.

4 I Want to Go Back to School! Help?
Learn about opportunities to go to college, get a GED, take ESL classes and/or learn computer programs.

BROOKLYN
Brooklyn College
East 27th Street & Campus Road
Student Center, 6th floor

Monday, March 2– Workshop 1
Monday, March 9– Workshop 2
Monday, March 16– Workshop 3
Monday, March 23– Workshop 4

Saint Francis College
180 Remsen Street, btw Court & Clinton Streets
1 block from Borough Hall, Brooklyn
Wednesday, March 4– Workshop 1
Tuesday, March 10– Workshop 2
Tuesday, March 17– Workshop 3
Tuesday, March 24 — Workshop 4

BRONX
Bronx Library Center
310 East Kingsbridge Road
at Briggs Avenue

Friday, March 6– Workshop 1
Friday, March 13– Workshop 2
Friday, March 20– Workshop 3
Friday, March 27– Workshop 4

MANHATTAN
Learning Leaders office
80 Maiden Lane, 11th floor
Between William and Pine in lower Manhattan

Thursday, March 5– Workshop 1
Wednesday, March 11– Workshop 2
Thursday, March 26– Workshop 3
Tuesday, March 31– Workshop 4

To register for one or more of these workshops, email RSVP@LearningLeaders.org or call 646-519-8356. Please include your name, telephone number, borough, school and the date of the workshop(s) you want to attend. Your message will confirm your reservation.

Don’t miss them!

Reinvent yourself

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

With the economy getting even worse, what is one to do to find a job? Well, it really depends on your skill set and the industry where you work.

Many of my friends who work in the media business and in the financial markets have lost the jobs. Unfortunately, these are jobs that are unlikely to return. At least, they won’t be exactly the same and I’m sure there will be less of them than before the crisis. So in some cases, it makes sense for you to re-think about how smart it really is for you to try to get another job in that industry.

If you’re a journalist and have both English and Spanish skills, you can branch out into other areas, such as writing consumer market research reports for companies such as Mintel www.mintel.com or Nielsen www.nielsen.com.

Or you can work at the public relations or communications department of a large company that is currently doing well such as Walmart http://jobs-walmart.icims.com/jobs/intro

Or McDonald’s http://sh.webhire.com/Public/491.

You can also try to start your own business, something that Latinos are naturally prepared to do. As immigrants and children of immigrants we still have that great entrepreneurial gene that makes us great entrepreneurs. Look beyond what you were doing before you got laid off and come up with a business plan to make it happen. It may be the fastest way to getting back on your feet and you may be much happier than you were before.

There is no lack of great opportunities out there that you can take advantage of: from repairing household appliances (people will be less inclined to throw them out and buy new ones!), to buying and selling brand name-used clothing, to providing financial advice to families sending their kids to college or who need to refinance their homes, to coaching people on how to improve their resumes, to tutoring adults on using the Internet to improve their skills. The list is endless. Just take a deep look at your skills and experience, match it with one of the opportunities available in the market right now, and you will be on your way to a new career path.

There are plenty of online universities where you can acquire additional skills to help you in the new field of your choice such as Kaplan http://www.kaplan.edu or University of Phoenix http://www.phoenix.edu and you can also check your local community college.

Don’t let the general gloom and doom environment get you down. There are always diamonds hidden regardless of how tough the economy gets!

Show me the green

Friday, February 6th, 2009

A few days ago, I was having dinner with a friend who works at Big Oil and we were discussing the real impact that green jobs will have on the Latino community.

“When you look at it,” he said, “putting solar panels on buildings is not going to generate as many jobs as they are saying. I’m afraid many of these “green jobs” may turn out to be a fiasco like Ethanol which ended up costing jobs, driving up food prices and bad for the environment. I want to know what the real green jobs are.”

Yes, I know his looking at it from Big Oil’s angle, but he has a point. The expression “green jobs” encompasses such a wide range of industries and activities that it is becoming a “catch all” bucket. Unavoidably, people will call “green” lots of jobs that are far from being even moderately so, but calling them “green” will attract investment. So, it is obviously the fashionable thing to do.

But I also think that, eventually, we will figure out where the real deals are. My friend was suggesting that instead of calling jobs “green” we might as well call them what they are: jobs in reconstruction of infrastructure, expansion of highways, fixing our bridges, etc., and get the economy moving.

The key here is that as you look at reinventing yourself for the workforce, you look at opportunities that are real and long term and not that are here today and gone tomorrow like some of those so-called green jobs could be.

Here are some areas to explore and that may receive an influx of money from the incentive package coming down from Washington some time in the near future:

  • Computerizing medical records
  • Retrofitting government buildings
  • Anything connected with recycling: whether it has to do with recycling garbage or manufacturing products from recycled materials
  • Anything connected with energy efficiency: from manufacturing electro-domestic items to offering home improvements as an independent contractor
  • Working at car companies that are building hybrids and electrical cars
  • As more community colleges and colleges expand their offerings to prepare the workforce for green jobs, you’ll see a lot more options to “retrofit” your own education to fit the market.
    Check these sites for info on jobs: www.greenjobs.com, www.sustainablebusiness.com, www.ecobusinesslinks.com