Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

No powerful Latinas in New York City. Seriously?

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

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During the last few months I’ve been sending letters to the editors of general market publications such as Time magazine and Crain’s New York Business complaining of the fact that there are either too few or no Latinos at all in the lists they love to put together. Whether it Time’s Most Influential People or Crain’s “40 under 40″ or “50 Most Powerful Women”, there’s a worrisome absence of Latino leaders in these lists. Is this because there are no Latino leaders? No entrepreneurs under 40? No powerful women in New York? No. It’s likely because the committees that nominate and select the winners are not diverse enough. They make recommendations based on who they know and they ask their own network to suggest others that they know, perpetuating the nomination and selection of the same kind of people. If you look at this week’s 50 Most Influential Women list, you’ll see that it is a white girls club.

Why is this important? Because visibility breeds more visibility and opportunities. It also perpetuates the perception that there are no Latino and Latina leaders out there, nobody worth mentioning in a general market list. And what’s worse, no inspiration for our younger generation. If they don’t see diversity in the higher ranks, how are they expected to believe there’s a path for them?

I’m not saying that Latinos are not being honored in lists by Diversity Inc.magazine, Hispanic Business and Latina Style magazine amongst others. But Latinos and diverse talent in general should be featured alongside white talent if we are going to continue making inroads at the higher levels of society. So, here’s the letter that I sent to Crain’s New York Business. Feel free to use it as a template to create your own letters and send them to all the publications and media outlets that don’t realize that Latinos are more than just 50.4 million consumers of their advertisers’ products. We are powerful, we are leading companies and industries and contributing enormously to the growth of this country.

Letter to the Editor, Crain’s New York Business,

I was thrilled to see that you decided to publish again the “50 Most Powerful Women” list to highlight the great accomplishment of women in New York City. They are an inspiring, accomplished group of professionals who prove that women make great leaders.

As I went through the list though (just as when I go through all of your lists), I noticed that it really only features the “white girls club.” With the exception of one African American (Edith Cooper), one Chinese American (Andrea Jung) and one Indian born American (Indra Nooyi) there is little diversity in this list and there’s a blatant absence of Latinas.

Maybe you haven’t heard of Mónica Lozano, CEO of Impremedia (just named by Adweek Magazine one of the 10 Most Influential Executives in U.S. Hispanic Media), Jacqueline Hernández, Chief Operating Officer Telemundo; Ruth Gaviria, Senior Vice President Marketing Univision; Lucía Ballas-Traynor, recently named co-founder of Cafemom’s Hispanic site and former publisher of People en Español; Lisa Quiroz, Senior Vice President- Corporate Responsibility Time Warner; Galina Espinoza, co-President Latina Media Ventures (which publishes Latina Magazine), Ana Duarte McCarthy, Chief Diversity Officer Citigroup, Jessica K. Asencio, Chief Administrative Officer Investment Bank JPMorgan Chase; Enedina Vega, Publisher Multicultural Ventures Meredith, and many, many others.

As you must know, according to the U.S. Census there are now 50.4 million Hispanics in this country and this group was responsible for 50% of the population growth during the past decade. As a loyal reader of Crain’s New York Business, I can’t help but wonder why your magazine so seldom covers positive stories about this community and seldom (if ever) features Hispanic entrepreneurs and executives.

With one out of every four people under 18 in the U.S. being Hispanic, this population is not only where consumer growth is today but also the workforce of the future. Something both your magazine and your readers need to start giving serious consideration.

Cordially,

Mariela Dabbah
Author Latinos in College: Your Guide to Success, co-author The Latino Advantage in the Workplace and several other books on success for Latinos.

The mean girls club

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
Panel of executive & non executive women at a P&G Latina conference

Panel of executive & non executive women at a P&G Latina conference

I had lunch with a girlfriend the other day and was surprised to hear yet another Latina executive talk about the “mean girls club.” I was starting to wonder if this was an actual club with locker rooms, a swimming pool and a lounge where all these wicked women got together to plot against their gender-mates. As if the space for women in the top ranks were limited and all the seats taken.

In the two previous weeks I had heard similar stories from other girlfriends and female colleagues, all of them executives, who were having a hard time aligning their management style with the corporate culture of their respective companies. In many situations, the people making things hard for these women were other women.

The truth is that it continues to be a struggle for diverse women to succeed at the highest levels of a corporation — most likely the result of a conservative corporate culture that has a hard time embracing different styles and values combined with the need to further coach and mentor these women.

One of my smartest friends found an outstanding executive coach who not only helps her understand the unwritten rules of the game but also plays the unofficial role of therapist lending an empathetic ear at the end of a migraine-inducing discussion with one of the mean girls. Another one, sadly, decided to quit her high paying job.

So, when it comes to doing what it takes to get your posh office and the corporate credit card, how much is too much? It obviously depends on your goals and your resilience levels. On your priorities and willingness not to take things too personally. On your ability to find allies and mentors, sponsors and advocates within and outside of the organization that can be part of the support network that keeps you focused and learning. And on your commitment to conducting an ongoing introspection.

Let me explain. As you move up in your career, there’s no question that you will constantly have to engage in a profound soul searching to identify what you have learned and what you’re still missing, what cultural traits impact your ability to connect with others and communicate in a productive way. What in your upbringing or in your life experience makes you overreact when someone tries to control you, keep you in a corner, or treat you like you don’t know what you’re talking about in public.

When you commit to this kind of ongoing reflection alone or with the help of a coach, you can identify the areas where you need assistance and seek it. Sometimes the problem stems from the fact that you haven’t identified the source of the conflict because no matter how much you try not to take it personally, every time the mean girl (or the mean boy) says that you are a failure, your gut turns inside out and you become paralyzed. But the moment you realize, for example, that that person makes you feel the way your father made you feel when you were a kid, when nothing you did was ever good enough for him, you can give new meaning to the overreaction and slowly modify your behavior. Because now you know that the paralysis you experience in that situation is a reaction to something else that happened long ago. That you are no longer a vulnerable little girl. That you have lots of tools at your disposal to fight off mean people.

For instance, in this scenario, you could find out about this woman’s life and realize she’s had an abusive childhood and as a result needs to be overly controlling of her environment. Developing some empathy for her may be the first step to developing a better relationship with the witch.

So don’t quit just yet. Lots of women in the workforce need you as a role model who will prove that it’s possible to make it in corporate America. And, bit by bit, we will fashion together a workplace that’s more embracing of our collective cultures. These women need you there to help them fight the dragons.

Where will the jobs be?

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

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Most experts believe the economy is showing signs of recovery. Officially, the Great Recession ended in June 2009. But if you were one of the 8 million people who lost their jobs or if you’re a recent college grad, the picture doesn’t look that bright, does it.

It’s not only that companies are hiring at a slower speed but also that whole industry sectors have been destroyed and certain jobs just won’t come back. In the global economy some manufacturing jobs, for example, have been lost to other markets with cheaper labor. So have jobs for people with less than a high school diploma or even for high school graduates without any college.

According to a Moody’s Analytics for TIME magazine, in the next couple of years, 37.6% of jobs will require a Bachelor’s degree or higher; 10.2% will require an Associate’s degree and another 17.5% will require some college. How are you positioned to get or keep your job?

One of the greatest problems we are facing as a nation is the mismatch of labor needs and workers’ skills. Even during the worst of the recession there were companies that couldn’t fulfill their open positions because there were few candidates with the right skill-set. People who work with technology: engineers of all kinds, artists, designers, programmers are at the top of the list for companies across the globe.

Opportunities in the professional services are also growing because as large companies have downsized they are now looking to outsource the capabilities that they don’t longer have in house. So, you may need to consider setting up your own consulting firm to serve several clients rather than seeking a full time job.

And looking beyond your own city and state may be more of a necessity than a choice as well. When you think that North Dakota has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate (a mere 3.8%) you realize that you may want to move from Detroit were the unemployment rate is anywhere between 30-50% depending on who you believe.

It’s a great time to leverage your Latino nimbleness: To become independent if you were used to full time employment, to get extra certifications and higher degrees if you notice that the available jobs require them, and to move wherever the jobs are. Keep in mind that you were raised with the ability to adjust to change, to try new roles, and to think out of the box. This is the time to make those traits work for you!

Putting STEM on the Latino map

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

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On April 1st, top thought leaders from the public, private and non profit sectors got together for the Latino Education conference organized by Latino Magazine in Washington DC. The conference featured great speakers and panelists who are experts and practitioners in the space.

The main theme of the conference was furthering the involvement of Latino students in the STEM fields. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.) You wonder why is this so important as to warrant a conference on the topic? Well, thirty years ago, the US was number one in graduating high school and college students. We were leading the world in science and math scores. Thirty years later we are near the bottom half of the developing world. Given that 25% of our country’s Kindergarten students are Latinos, and our community has a 50% dropout rate, the situation presents a huge challenge for the United States future.

These are some of the key learnings I’d like to share with you:

  • Eight out of the top ten jobs of the future are STEM field related
  • There are no lack of programs that are helping students succeed in high school and pursue a college education with emphasis in STEM
  • There is no shortage of talent in the Latino community but institutions, organizations and companies need to learn how to identify it better
  • Training teachers to teach STEM subjects is critical to the success of students
  • Taking an AP course and passing an AP exam increases a Latino student’s chances to graduate college from 15% to 65%
  • Passing Algebra by 8th grade is a great predictor of college success
  • It’s critical to scale up programs that work and to work with partners
  • We need to continue informing Latino parents and students of what’s available in terms of resources, opportunities, organizations, etc. so they can take advantage of all these.

    My question to you is the following: Are you doing anything that is related to this field that others need to know about, or are you aware of resources, initiatives, organizations that help students engage in this important field? Let me know!

    I’d like to continue to give visibility to those who are working in this field to help Latino students succeed.

    Obstacles Welcome

    Thursday, February 11th, 2010
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    More often than not, the difference between leaders and less successful people resides in their interpretation of one word: “obstacle.” Whether you interpret the word to mean a barrier to achieving whatever it is you wish to achieve or as an opportunity to create an alternative solution to attain your goal, you act accordingly. In the first case, you tend to give up your goals and in the second case you find a way to turn that obstacle into fuel for your new approach, strategy, point of view, and so on.

    Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO of AT&T Mobility, is a firm believer in turning obstacles into opportunities. He started early — when he was 10 years old and his parents decided at the airport, about to board a plane in Cuba for the US, that Ralph would be the only one in the family to travel while everyone else would stay behind to resolve some documentation issue. Thinking his parents would join him in a few days, Ralph left for his new adventure. The only problem was that he didn’t see his family again for the next four years. Since then, Ralph has had an incredibly successful career in this country and is now one of the highest ranking Hispanics in Corporate America.

    I recently interviewed Ralph about his new book, Obstacles Welcome.

    Mariela– What makes your personal story unique and, at the same time, an example that others can follow?

    Ralph– My story is unique because although I got here as a 10-year-old without my parents, without money and without knowing the language, I’ve been able to reach the top of corporate America. Also, what makes my story relevant to others are the lessons I learned along the way, which I share in my book, Obstacles Welcome, as a guide for them to overcome their own obstacles and achieve their goals.

    Mariela–How did you turn the concept of obstacle into “opportunity”?

    Ralph– Once I succeeded in overcoming the obstacles I encountered during my first years as an immigrant I realized that these difficulties led to bigger and better opportunities. That was a huge lesson for me and one that I’ve applied ever since in business and in life.

    Mariela– What suggestions do you have for people who are frustrated by the bad economy and the long time it is taking them to find a job? How can they turn this big obstacle into an opportunity?

    Ralph– We are living in one of those turbulent times I describe in my book where the old status quo is no more but also where opportunity is being created. My suggestion any time you are faced with adversity is to turn it into opportunity. Right now, even as some fields are being shrunk, others are being created: green jobs, smart grids, digital healthcare records, hybrid cars, and many others. I tell people to look for those opportunities and to develop new skills so that they can compete successfully. This is a great time to put into practice the four pillars that are described in detail in my book.

    1. Develop a plan for success. Hope is not a strategy.
    2. Take calculated risks
    3. Recognize opportunities
    4. Overcome obstacles

    In times like this it’s easy to let a word like “obstacle” run our lives, to use it as a justification or an excuse for not moving forward. If you think of it as just a word, however, you can create your own interpretation. And who knows, you may chose to define is a your next great opportunity!

    Diversity best practice: networking and recruiting

    Friday, December 18th, 2009
      Soledad O'Brien and Mariela Dabbah at NAHJ gala '08

      Soledad O'Brien and Mariela Dabbah at NAHJ gala '08

    How many networking events have you attended lately? If you are anything like me, the answer is akin to: “I don’t remember anymore!” In my case, networking is not just something I do to grow my career but one of the themes I weave into most of my presentations, regardless of the particular topic.

    In the last two years, conferences and industry shows where I often present have become the favorite place for job hunters to get a chance at connecting with prospective employers. The trouble has been that even at “job fairs,” participating companies have not been actively recruiting; and the ratio between candidates and job openings has been stacked against the candidates.

    Enter CNN’s networking event series conceptualized by their Diversity Council with the goal of developing strong relationships that lead to increased hiring from a diverse pool of candidates. Because they reached out to many of the diverse journalistic associations, I had the good fortune of receiving an invitation from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), to which I belong.

    I made my way up to the rooftop of the Empire Hotel in NY, a beautiful room overlooking the Lincoln Center area, and was welcomed by a smiling woman who checked off my name on a list and stamped my hand. Right away, I felt part of a select group of guests that had been hand picked to attend. This was a great first sign which, combined with the top quality hors d’ouvres, the open bar and the attentive waitresses, all contributed to making it a first class experience.

    As I walked around meeting people, the multicultural feel of the room was amazing and although this is not unusual in New York, it is less frequent in newsrooms and networks across the country.

    What caught my attention was that, unlike many events where the candidates have nametags and the recruiters hide their positions so you can’t bother them, the CNN hosts were clearly identified. But that wasn’t all. The recruiters made sure guests were meeting the right people, and they officiated many an introduction with key contacts.

    The event was so impeccably run that at times it felt surreal. From a relationship-building point of view, a big part of the success of the event was the level of CNN’s staff that was present and actively engaged. From CNN USA’s president Jon Klein to Soledad O’Brien to senior HR executives who flew from Atlanta for the occasion, everything spelled: “We are interested in you and we are committed to diversity.” This is not always the message that well intentioned companies send when they host diversity activities. Most commonly the Executive Sponsor of the diverse group says a few words at the beginning of the event and then leaves.

    “We are what we air. We air what we are,” says Johnita P. Due, CNN’s Assistant General Counsel and Diversity Council Chair, sharing the council’s mission statement. “We have a recruiting booth at many diversity journalistic conferences but this is a different touch. It allows senior management to meet people. And the truth is that unless you have the opportunity to meet someone in person, it’s hard to make an impression through paper.”

    In the words he shared with the audience, Klein said that the network is interested in expanding its coverage of stories about African Americans, Latinos and other diverse populations above and beyond the once a year documentaries. Increasing diverse hires is certainly a wonderful step towards that goal. Creating real opportunities that show respect for prospective employees is most definitely a positive sign in an economic environment in which this diverse community of journalists, reporters and producers has suffered more than their fair share of pain.

    So, if you are a member of a Diversity Council or an Employee Resource Group and you are working with your company’s recruitment team, think of the impact that this type of best practice can have on your business. Your input can help change the way things are done.

    A simple way to end conflicts

    Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
      habitacion-de-adolescente-2

    I often hear friends, colleagues or clients complain that others don’t understand them. “He’s not listening to me,” or “She doesn’t understand what I want.” Sounds familiar? This kinds of misunderstandings happen in our private and professional lives all the time and more often than not, what’s behind them is a difference in unconscious standards. Let me explain what I mean through a story.

    Marta is angry at her assistant Lisa because she frequently interrupts her while she’s trying to focus on her work. When she tells her: “Lisa, I can’t work if you are constantly interrupting me,” Lisa, surprised by her boss’ reaction responds: “That’s not true. I don’t interrupt constantly! I come in here once in a while to get answers so I can do my job well.”

    What is true for Marta is not true for Lisa, and that is usually the case when the focus of our conversation is on who is right and who is wrong. What really matters is: is this type of communication producing a positive result for either one of these two women? If the answer is “no” then it behooves them to find a different approach regardless of who is right.

    This situation can be easily resolved if Marta and Lisa sat down and discussed what constitutes “frequently,” “constantly,” and “once in a while” for each one of them. Say that Marta considers being interrupted three times a day as “frequent” and anything over three times a day “constant,” and Lisa thought that only five interruptions a day would be considered “frequent” and over that “constant.” Do you see how their differing standards (of which most of the times we are not aware) get in the way of producing positive results?

    Once they sit down and clarify what each one of them means by these words, they can agree on new actions that help both of them achieve their goal: Lisa gets her answers and Marta feels that she’s maintaining her relationship with a valued employee. They can now agree on a new course of action: Lisa will accumulate questions and come into her boss’ office twice a day to get her answers and Marta will stop work at specific times during the day to focus her attention on her assistant.

    Think about how many of these situations you experience in your life daily and ask yourself if there are certain “behind the scenes” standards about which you and the other person need to talk. What is “late” for you and what is “late” for your boss; what is “a clean room” for you and what is “a clean room” for your teenage child, what is “too much” work, talk, food, travel, for you and for someone else? The moment we start exploring these standards for ourselves and the people we interact with, a new realm of possibilities open up. I encourage you to try!

    Don’t go it alone

    Sunday, July 12th, 2009
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    If you’re trying to find a job or would like to leave yours but are afraid that you won’t find another one in this economy, what about connecting with a few talented individuals and coming up with project that you can promote/sell as a team?

    Assembling a team for a particular project is how movies are made. You have a director and producers who get together, look for actors, hire designers, assistants and all types of professionals with the goal of producing one movie. Once the movie is finished, the group is dismantled, so to speak.

    What stops you from doing the same, connecting with individuals with different interests and abilities? Pull your collective resources including money, contacts, specialties and create your own job instead of lining up for an interview along with hundreds of others who are trying to get the same position?

    I believe this is going to be very much the way of the future and the sooner you start figuring out how to make it work the better. I’ve been doing this in my practice for a while and the key is in finding the right people. Not just the right talent for your project but people who you trust will do their part to make the project successful. It may take several tries before you identify the colleagues you work with best, but it’s worth the effort. I currently have four of those teams.

    Contrary to what you might think, this is a great time to explore this idea because there are lots of extremely capable and talented people out there looking for their next opportunity. Why not leverage all that energy for your next career move?

    Students looking to make money?

    Sunday, July 5th, 2009
      webpage-picture

    Latinos in College, the nationwide public awareness campaign to help increase the number of Hispanic/Latino students who graduate from college, is implementing a strategy that offers students across the country the opportunity to make money.

    Here’s an idea of what it entails:

  • Contacting local high schools and universities to tell them about our initiative
  • Offering our student and parent workshops and the Latinos in College: your Guide to Success book
  • Conducting student and/or parent workshops

    You are:

  • Interested in helping Latinos and Latinas graduate from college
  • A college student or recent grad
  • Self motivated, perseverant
  • A great communicator
  • Good talking to groups
  • Comfortable calling people you don’t know
  • If you are interested in finding out more, contact us at: mariela@latinosincollege.com. Please share this posting with your friends and colleagues on your social networks.

    Refine your work ethics

    Friday, July 3rd, 2009
      writing-on-flipchart1

    Nowadays, a lot of young people are having a hard time figuring out how to enter the job market or how to keep the job they have. There’s tons of competition from other people their age and from older employees who have lost their jobs and have more experience. Even internships are hard to get by.

    If you find yourself in this situation, take a good look at your work ethics because you may have to change a thing or two if you want to stay in the game.

  • Be punctual and observe deadlines. Having an excuse for every time you are late is not going to win you extra points.
  • Be thorough in the work you do and focus on the details. It shows that you care.
  • Be creative: think of new ways in which you can help your boss, your company, or a colleague. Anything that helps reduce costs or increase income is a step in the right direction.
  • Be self motivated. Employees who look for opportunities to grow or expand their responsibilities show leadership.
  • Turn off your cell phone and any other electronic devices that you carry around with you while you are at work or in a job interview. Nothing says “I don’t care about this business” as you talking to your friends (or texting them) every ten minutes.
  • Avoid spending time on your Facebook page or any other social network while you are at work. Try to use the computer for business only.
  • Take care of your appearance. With more and more options to choose from, employers can get their pick and they tend to choose people who take good care of themselves and look clean. So, you may have to cover up excessive body art, piercings, or tame down your hairdo.