From Intern to Mogul: 5 Celebrities Who Were Once Interns

intern (Image: Creative Commons/Wikimedia)

 

Chance the Rapper has accomplished a lot in his young and busy life. At just 23-years-old, the independent artist earned $500,000 with his Apple Music dealwas named on Fortune’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” list; and was the first independent artist to be nominated for a Grammys where he took home three of the coveted awards, in total. So what’s Chance’s next move? Getting an intern.

On Monday, the hip-hop star tweeted:

 

 

Like most internships, this will probably provide a recent college grad with firsthand work experience, along with the opportunity to hone their skills while learning new ones. Of course, interning for Chance will also probably come with amazing perks, such as going on a world tour, or meeting some of the superstars he is affiliated with, like Kanye West or Barack Obama.

Although most people will never experience an internship of this magnitude, this doesn’t mean that an ordinary internship can’t transform into an extraordinary opportunity. Many business moguls, in fact, actually started off as interns before launching extremely successful careers. Here’s a list of five celebrities who, just like you and me, were once interns.

Here’s a list of five celebrities who, just like you and I, were once interns:

 

1. Sean Combs

 

Before building a music empire, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs started off as an intern at New York’s Uptown Records, after he reportedly begged Heavy D. to connect him with some at the label. After Uptown Records Founder Andrew Harrell gave him a shot as an unpaid intern, Combs worked his way up, eventually becoming an A&R executive. Eventually, tensions developed between Harrell and Combs, and he was fired from the label. However, two weeks later, Combs established Bad Boy Records—and the rest is history.

 

2. Oprah Winfrey

 

Today, Oprah Winfrey reigns as the “Queen of all Media,” boasting a net worth of $3 billion, according to Forbes. However, during the early days of her career in television, she was an intern for the CBS affiliate channel, WLAC-TV, in Nashville. Following the internship, she was offered a full-time position as an anchor-reporter, which made her the first black female news anchor at the station.

 

3. Spike Lee

 

After obtaining a B.A. in mass communications at Morehouse College, the award-winning director went on to intern at Columbia Pictures.

 

4. Kanye West

 

Although Kanye West was already a multiplatinum hip-hop artist by 2009, he launched his fashion career by starting as an intern for Fendi. Rather than being treated as a superstar, West told Hot 97 that his duties included coffee errands and making photocopies at the Italian fashion house, reports The Guardian. Today, West owns his own successful fashion line called Yeezy.

 

5. Steve Jobs

 

Steve Jobs was just 12-years-old when he landed his first internship working on an assembly line at Hewlett-Packard. In addition to learning how to put screws into computer parts, the summer internship gave Jobs the opportunity to connect with Steve Wozniak. Jobs and Wozniak later went on to become business partners, launching Apple in 1976,  which has since evolved into one of the most iconic brands in history.

 

 


Selena HillSelena Hill is the Associate Digital Editor at Black Enterprise and the founder of Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio. You can hear Hill and her team talk millennial politics and social issues every Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.

Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @MsSelenaHill.

18 Takeaways from International Women’s Day with General Assembly

General Assembly

On March 8th, we celebrated with our friends at General Assembly with a series of global events that featured amazing women from Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Melbourne, NYC, Seattle, Singapore and Sydney, all spearheading local innovation in tech, culture, social media, and politics.

They discussed how they’ve pioneered gender equality in their industries, the challenges they’ve faced, and provided key tips and strategies on taking action.

Excitedly, the turnout was great, and, more importantly, all of our attendees were able to walk away with action-items, food-for-thought and inspiration from the speakers and their fellow attendees.

HERE ARE A FEW OF OUR FAVORITES:

“Why don’t we have more diversity at the top when there is diversity in the company?” – Claire Wasserman, Founder of Ladies Get Paid

When asked about how a company can help women become leaders: “Shared parental leave is the answer.” – Sophie Guerin, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Dell

“When I am challenged, when I am given a deck of cards, I can accept what is given to me, or I can life-craft. Life-crafting is changing the game, not accepting the limitations that others ascribe to you. We are game-changing entrepreneurs.”Dima Elissa, CEO and Founder at VisMed3D and Tech & Innovation Lead at American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)

“The moment you stop learning new things, it becomes easier to exclude others….We need to start talking about what exclusion feels like and looks like and sounds like, so we can begin to create a more inclusive world” – Sheree Haggan, Staffing Services at Google

“We are women and we should be very proud of our process.” – Suzanne Tonks, Director at Oliver & York Public Affairs

“It’s only lonely at the top if you arrive there by yourself. So as women, we have a responsibility. How seriously do you take the responsibility that we have to lift as we climb? Because that pinnacle at the top can only be fully appreciated and enjoyed if it’s shared with others.”Star Cunningham, Founder & CEO of 4D Healthware

“If I was going to do this, I had to embrace who I was unapologetically, I had to understand success would happen not despite who I was, but because of who I was- who I am” – Jessica O Matthews, Founder & CEO of Uncharted Play

“I did not come to this world (politics) naturally, I came to it because of things in my gut and my life experiences that drove me to be fighter for people who I knew were sharing the same lived experiences and challenges that I once faced. We all have those stories in our guts that drive us, and that motivate us towards the things that we care about and that we want to work on and I hope that you’ll tap into that.” – Wendy Davis, Founder of Deeds Not Words and Former Texas State Senator

“I needed to give women a safe place to be, a place where they could talk about their kids and their families.” – Lee Rolontz, EVP – Production Entertainment Enterprises at iHeartMedia

On pitching to investors: “Unconscious bias exists…Know your numbers…Think analytically…Lead the conversation where you want it to go.”– Eveline Buchatskiy, Director of Techstars

“Millennials and woman are about to experience the greatest wealth transfer of our time”– Emily Winslow, VP of Operations at Peak Change

“Ask yourself: How can you help? Become a mentor…Say yes to coffee.”Amy Hirotaka, Public Policy and Community Engagement Manager at Facebook

“One of the most powerful tools we’ve got is calling out things as we see them.” – Nithya Gopu Solomon, Executive Lead of the Innovation Office at VicHealth

“I can be nice, but I can also be successful, I can be strong and I can be creative….Nice is not straightforward, especially for women.”– Sarah Iooss, Senior VP of Business Development at Viacom

“You shouldn’t apologize for sharing your opinion.”– Moe Kiss, Data Scientist at The Iconic

“Tell me what you were doing 12 months ago and what you’re doing now. Tell me what you’e worth” Alyce Tran, Founder of The Daily Edited

“Maintain militant eye contact when negotiating a salary” Camilla Gulli, Social Media & Content at Vodafone AU

“Keep asking questions about how you can be thoughtful, be bold and be inquisitive.”Caroline Ng, Investment Director at Vertex Ventures

This post originally appeared on Women 2.0.


Women 2.0 is building a future where gender is no longer a factor. Founded in April 2006, it’s now the leading media brand for women in tech. The for-profit, for-good company takes an action-oriented approach that directly addresses the pipeline from all sides: hiring, founding, investing, and leading.

 

Black Women Making an Impact in Corporate America

black women

I love seeing people’s reactions when I tell them that there is a real job that allows people to distribute money to help do good in the world. Their remarks range from disbelief to total astonishment. Yes, in a world filled with challenges and endemic social ills, it’s refreshing to know that there are corporations that care deeply about local communities.

These corporations hire people with skills and knowledge to lead this function. These people are typically referred to as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) officers.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it is important to note that bringing awareness to the growing number of black women leading corporate and private foundations, is important for the third sector.

If you want to have a career in corporate social responsibility, you must possess great communications skills and knowledge on subject matter related to the company. A growing number of people employed in this role are black women. They possess the required set of skills for the position but more importantly, they bring an awareness of the issues impacting underserved communities. This will have a positive impact on the company’s reputation and brand but more importantly, it will help strengthen the connection to the local community and ultimately, improve the bottom line.

Black women have not earned much recognition for leading the charge on many major social impact issues. However, there are some who are motivating their corporations to address some pretty stubborn issues.

These stubborn issues take on many forms—ranging from what’s required to lead an effective nonprofit organization to financial literacy. There is a growing trend among corporations to identify ways to amplify the work that impact leaders are doing. This approach is known as capacity building for nonprofits. This approach answers a very important need that often goes unaddressed, particularly with organizations led by people of color.

“For News Corp., supporting philanthropy is about producing tangibly positive outcomes for underserved communities. Our approach has been to seek out innovative philanthropic organization partners’ approaches focused on root causes. We want to be a part of the ecosystem that actually eliminates—not just mitigates—the lack of access to critical resources that impoverished communities experience,” stated Keisha Smith-Jeremie, chief human resource officer for the media company.

Smith-Jeremie’s work is transformational in that most foundations lack the ability to focus on capacity-building, which is one of the greatest needs for startup organizations.

These women are tasked with more than just writing checks for galas and luncheons. Their most important task is to help bring about meaningful change. According to Stephanie Bell-Rose, senior managing director and head of TIAA Institute, “It’s important for financial institutions to invest in communities because their expertise is sorely needed and can make a significant difference: the Personal Financial Index, a survey conducted by TIAA Institute and George Washington University, found that one-fifth of the adults surveyed have a relatively low level of personal financial knowledge.”

This is an excellent example of a company utilizing their platform to impact a social issue directly connected to their business focus. The benefit of a Bell-Rose to financial literacy is that she has the ability to provide crucial data points from research done by the institute. This is critical in mapping a strategy around how to reach those most in need of the training and resources.

Smith-Jeremie and Bell-Rose are not alone but they represent a very small group. LaJune Montgomery Tabron leads the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and works with communities across the country to create conditions that will support vulnerable children. To learn more, please visit www.wkkf.org.

Tonya Allen leads Skillman Foundation based in Detroit. The foundation is focused on supporting quality education and economic opportunities for children. To learn more, please visit www.skillman.org.

Sherece West-Scantlebury is the President and CEO of Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, a private independent foundation based in Arkansas whose mission is to improve the lives of Arkansans. To learn more, please visit www.wrfoundation.org.

 

 


This article was written by Christal M. Jackson, Founder, Head and Heart Philanthropy, a social impact agency focused on solving social issues impacting communities of color and supporting investors and entrepreneurs of color.

Florida’s Lulu Orange Tyson Captures the Mrs. Corporate America Crown

Lulu Orange Tyson

 

“And the winner is….South Florida native Lulu Orange Tyson!”

On Saturday, March 4, 2017, Lulu Orange Tyson took home the esteemed title of Mrs. Corporate America, during the Ms./Mrs. Corporate America (MCA) pageant, held in Orlando, Florida.

Most pageants laud themselves on the beauty and brains that contestants bring to the competition. However, the women competing for the title of Ms./Mrs. Corporate America (MCA) have to bring another in-demand trait to the pageant: business skill.

During a panel interview, contestants answer questions from a professionally diverse panel of judges, who are interested in learning more about contestants’ accomplishments, business platforms, and how they intend to advance the professional pursuits of women if they are awarded the Mrs. Corporate America crown. Each contestant only has five minutes to sweep the judges off their feet. While some women entered the interview room with sweaty palms and jittery legs, Lulu Orange Tyson brought in her most confident self, and ultimately took home the “Best in Interview” award.

Lulu Orange Tyson isn’t just in it for the crown, sash, or the glamorous prizes; her relentless drive and impressive list of accomplishments make her the perfect representation of what the MCA pageant is all about.

During Lulu’s reign, she will have the opportunity to promote her entrepreneurial endeavors, while sharing her platform of “investing in youth for a better tomorrow.” Through mentorship, community service, and empowerment, she will uphold the legacy of MCA by helping young girls reach their many goals.

Do you want to go behind-the-scenes to find out what the resume of a corporate queen looks like? Quick hint: most corporate queens aren’t just cranking away on a keyboard in the corner of their cubicle.

With this in mind, here are five facts about your new Mrs. Corporate America, Lulu Orange Tyson:

 

1. Lulu Orange Tyson Is a Licensed Practical Nurse

 

The newly crowned Mrs. Corporate America is an area admissions director and nurse liaison in Palm Beach County, FL, which serves three rehabilitation centers. She was also once presented with an “Outstanding Contributor” award, after generating over $15 million in revenue for a corporation. Lulu plans to continue her education as a licensed practical nurse, as she works to reach her goal of becoming a registered nurse.

“My mother became a certified nursing assistant when I was younger, and I got to see first-hand how she impacted the lives of seniors in continuing care retirement communities,” she said, during an interview. “Years later, I now work in the same environment, and I love it. When the CEO of the company I worked for appointed the first woman to head the company, I was ecstatic. It makes me confident [to know] that the work I am doing and the effort of those around me will make the glass ceiling nonexistent.”

 

2. She’s a Media Maven With a Master’s Degree

 

Having been featured on many popular TV and radio shows, Lulu Orange Tyson is a familiar face in media. She has headlined a web TV series; hosted her own shows, such as The Boardroom TV Show and OJ in the Morning With Lulu Orange; and was even selected to give a news segment for an upcoming Miss Florida U.S.A. preliminary pageant, on WJHG News Channel 7 Panama City.

However, Lulu is more than just a photogenic, pretty face. Her accomplishments are as equally as impressive in the classroom, and she has the degrees to prove it; she’s a graduate of Florida State University, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in communications, and later Florida International University, where she earned a Master’s in corporate administration.

 

3. She Thrives During Choreography on the Football Field

 

Who says corporate queens can’t dance? Lulu Orange Tyson shatters all stereotypes with her versatile movement, agility, and enthusiasm as a cheerleader. As the former captain of her high school cheerleading team, Lulu developed into a quality leader and the value of discipline and teamwork—all of which are skills essential to thriving in professional environments. However, Lulu’s cheering experiences it didn’t end in high school; at the age of 28, she auditioned to become a member of the professional cheer squad for the Miami Dolphins, where she made it all the way to the second cut.

 

4. She Knows the Value of Sisterhood

 

Lulu is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority: the Beta Tau Zeta chapter based in Miami. She has served in various positions on the local level as the second vice president, in addition to serving as a state-level reporter, a business partnership chair, and as the national interim director of the Miss Zeta Phi Beta Pageant. Lulu has also been honored as Miss Florida Zeta and Regional Miss SE Regional Zeta, among others.

According to the Zeta Phi Beta, Inc. sorority website, Zeta Phi Beta was founded on the campus of Howard University in January 1920. With a membership of over 100,000 individuals, Zeta Phi Beta “seeks to educate the public, assist youth, provide scholarships, support organized charities, and promote legislation for social and civic change.”

 

5. She Coached the First Runner-Up of the 2017 Miss Universe Pageant

 

Any queen that is willing to help other women unlock their hidden potential is a woman who should be admired. To that end, Lulu has developed the organization, Pageant Role Models, for this very purpose. This organization empowers women to love the skin that they’re in by exposing them to industry professionals, who teach workshops on interview skills, proper etiquette, and image management.

One of Lulu’s protégés, Raquel Pelissier, was crowned 2016 Miss Haiti Universe, and eventually went on to become the first runner-up at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant. Did I mention that this was Raquel’s first time competing in a pageant?

 

For more information on the Ms./Mrs. Corporate America pageant, or to request to have this year’s winner, Lulu Orange Tyson, speak at your next event, please contact the pageant at www.mscorporateamerica.com.

Florida’s Lulu Orange Tyson Captures the Mrs. Corporate America Crown

Lulu Orange Tyson

 

“And the winner is….South Florida native Lulu Orange Tyson!”

On Saturday, March 4, 2017, Lulu Orange Tyson took home the esteemed title of Mrs. Corporate America, during the Ms./Mrs. Corporate America (MCA) pageant, held in Orlando, Florida.

Most pageants laud themselves on the beauty and brains that contestants bring to the competition. However, the women competing for the title of Ms./Mrs. Corporate America (MCA) have to bring another in-demand trait to the pageant: business skill.

During a panel interview, contestants answer questions from a professionally diverse panel of judges, who are interested in learning more about contestants’ accomplishments, business platforms, and how they intend to advance the professional pursuits of women if they are awarded the Mrs. Corporate America crown. Each contestant only has five minutes to sweep the judges off their feet. While some women entered the interview room with sweaty palms and jittery legs, Lulu Orange Tyson brought in her most confident self, and ultimately took home the “Best in Interview” award.

Lulu Orange Tyson isn’t just in it for the crown, sash, or the glamorous prizes; her relentless drive and impressive list of accomplishments make her the perfect representation of what the MCA pageant is all about.

During Lulu’s reign, she will have the opportunity to promote her entrepreneurial endeavors, while sharing her platform of “investing in youth for a better tomorrow.” Through mentorship, community service, and empowerment, she will uphold the legacy of MCA by helping young girls reach their many goals.

Do you want to go behind-the-scenes to find out what the resume of a corporate queen looks like? Quick hint: most corporate queens aren’t just cranking away on a keyboard in the corner of their cubicle.

With this in mind, here are five facts about your new Mrs. Corporate America, Lulu Orange Tyson:

 

1. Lulu Orange Tyson Is a Licensed Practical Nurse

 

The newly crowned Mrs. Corporate America is an area admissions director and nurse liaison in Palm Beach County, FL, which serves three rehabilitation centers. She was also once presented with an “Outstanding Contributor” award, after generating over $15 million in revenue for a corporation. Lulu plans to continue her education as a licensed practical nurse, as she works to reach her goal of becoming a registered nurse.

“My mother became a certified nursing assistant when I was younger, and I got to see first-hand how she impacted the lives of seniors in continuing care retirement communities,” she said, during an interview. “Years later, I now work in the same environment, and I love it. When the CEO of the company I worked for appointed the first woman to head the company, I was ecstatic. It makes me confident [to know] that the work I am doing and the effort of those around me will make the glass ceiling nonexistent.”

 

2. She’s a Media Maven With a Master’s Degree

 

Having been featured on many popular TV and radio shows, Lulu Orange Tyson is a familiar face in media. She has headlined a web TV series; hosted her own shows, such as The Boardroom TV Show and OJ in the Morning With Lulu Orange; and was even selected to give a news segment for an upcoming Miss Florida U.S.A. preliminary pageant, on WJHG News Channel 7 Panama City.

However, Lulu is more than just a photogenic, pretty face. Her accomplishments are as equally as impressive in the classroom, and she has the degrees to prove it; she’s a graduate of Florida State University, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in communications, and later Florida International University, where she earned a Master’s in corporate administration.

 

3. She Thrives During Choreography on the Football Field

 

Who says corporate queens can’t dance? Lulu Orange Tyson shatters all stereotypes with her versatile movement, agility, and enthusiasm as a cheerleader. As the former captain of her high school cheerleading team, Lulu developed into a quality leader and the value of discipline and teamwork—all of which are skills essential to thriving in professional environments. However, Lulu’s cheering experiences it didn’t end in high school; at the age of 28, she auditioned to become a member of the professional cheer squad for the Miami Dolphins, where she made it all the way to the second cut.

 

4. She Knows the Value of Sisterhood

 

Lulu is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority: the Beta Tau Zeta chapter based in Miami. She has served in various positions on the local level as the second vice president, in addition to serving as a state-level reporter, a business partnership chair, and as the national interim director of the Miss Zeta Phi Beta Pageant. Lulu has also been honored as Miss Florida Zeta and Regional Miss SE Regional Zeta, among others.

According to the Zeta Phi Beta, Inc. sorority website, Zeta Phi Beta was founded on the campus of Howard University in January 1920. With a membership of over 100,000 individuals, Zeta Phi Beta “seeks to educate the public, assist youth, provide scholarships, support organized charities, and promote legislation for social and civic change.”

 

5. She Coached the First Runner-Up of the 2017 Miss Universe Pageant

 

Any queen that is willing to help other women unlock their hidden potential is a woman who should be admired. To that end, Lulu has developed the organization, Pageant Role Models, for this very purpose. This organization empowers women to love the skin that they’re in by exposing them to industry professionals, who teach workshops on interview skills, proper etiquette, and image management.

One of Lulu’s protégés, Raquel Pelissier, was crowned 2016 Miss Haiti Universe, and eventually went on to become the first runner-up at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant. Did I mention that this was Raquel’s first time competing in a pageant?

 

For more information on the Ms./Mrs. Corporate America pageant, or to request to have this year’s winner, Lulu Orange Tyson, speak at your next event, please contact the pageant at www.mscorporateamerica.com.

10 Ways to Tell Whether a Networking Event Will Be Worth Your Time Before You Go

networking event

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

 

 

  1. It’s Small, Focused and Relationship Oriented

 

I’ve soured on formal networking events focused on broad and shallow groups. Hardly anyone goes to those events to do real business. In my experience, events where you get to know a few people deeply or repeatedly spark friendships. Friendships drive thought and consideration about the person without the pressure of “business.” That leads to real listening, understanding and business connections.

Brennan White, Cortex

 

  1. You’re the Least Accomplished Person in the Room

 

You can tell that a mastermind or networking event is worth it when you are the least accomplished, dumbest person in the room. We are the average of the five people closest to us. So you want to be meeting people who have knowledge, experience and mindsets that exceed your own. That’s how you upshift and benefit from a mastermind or event.

Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Doorbell

 

  1. Attendees Don’t Speak Before They Listen

 

From time to time, you’ll come across “business experts” who look and sound the part, but love to pontificate based on some theoretical system or business ideology with no knowledge of the specifics of your business. If a business mastermind is worth your attention, they’ll listen more than they speak — every business is different and the specifics matter.

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

 

  1. It’s in Your Industry/Field

 

I’ve seen some very smart people give very bad advice about industries they aren’t in. In my experience, there is almost never any such thing as a “mastermind” outside of their narrow field of expertise, so people with experience in your own field should be your priority. If you hear that someone is both in your field and considered amazingly talented, they should be your first introduction.

Matt Doyle, Excel Builders

 

  1. It’s Focused on Outcomes

 

As an active participant in a number of networking and mastermind groups (member of many, moderator of some), each serves multiple purposes. Are you seeking to generate leads? Would you like to focus exclusively on professional or personal growth? Truly, the value of any business mastermind or networking group is at the intersection of the opportunity cost of one’s time and the desired outcome.

– Scott Krawitz, PM Talent Global

 

  1. You Have a Good Feeling

 

You’ll know when it’s become rote, just like a weekly team meeting that no longer serves a purpose. We get into the habit of doing something, and then we just keep doing it. But if you’re sitting there going, “I’ve heard that, I know that, I get it already,” you’re ready to move on. No need to intellectualize this -– just go on your gut instincts.

Ismael Wrixen, FE International

 

  1. You’re Unimpressed Before You Go

 

Don’t trust that someone’s a mastermind. You’re never more than a Google search from finding out what kinds of things a person has done or written. It will only take a few minutes of reading someone’s work or accomplishments to know if he or she is as interesting as their reputation says. As long as they have a reputation, you should meet them anyway. You’ll at least learn something about charisma.

Adam Steele, The Magistrate

 

  1. You Are Amongst Your Peers

 

Look at the other participants to quickly identify if the event is right for you. If you share commonalities with other members, chances are it is. If you find that you have more or less experience than others, you might be spending your time in the wrong place. Compare yourself by revenue, years in the business or customer type.

Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

 

  1. You Have Actionable Follow Ups

 

You should return from an event with either a head full of ideas to implement, strategies to test or a Rolodex of new contacts to foster. Events should invigorate you and help you push your business further. If you come back from an event and don’t have any action items, then it’s likely that there was little that you took away.

Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS

 

  1. It Seems Like a Good Fit

 

Finding events or masterminds that fit you and your business are key. Business and personal needs vary drastically from person to person. Strive to match yourself with equal or slightly higher caliber attendees. This ensures you continue to grow and network with those that can provide value. Find reviews or a past attendee list and compare yourself. Will you fit in? If so, then give it a try!

Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck LLC

 

 

 


BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.

10 Ways to Tell Whether a Networking Event Will Be Worth Your Time Before You Go

networking event

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

 

 

  1. It’s Small, Focused and Relationship Oriented

 

I’ve soured on formal networking events focused on broad and shallow groups. Hardly anyone goes to those events to do real business. In my experience, events where you get to know a few people deeply or repeatedly spark friendships. Friendships drive thought and consideration about the person without the pressure of “business.” That leads to real listening, understanding and business connections.

Brennan White, Cortex

 

  1. You’re the Least Accomplished Person in the Room

 

You can tell that a mastermind or networking event is worth it when you are the least accomplished, dumbest person in the room. We are the average of the five people closest to us. So you want to be meeting people who have knowledge, experience and mindsets that exceed your own. That’s how you upshift and benefit from a mastermind or event.

Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Doorbell

 

  1. Attendees Don’t Speak Before They Listen

 

From time to time, you’ll come across “business experts” who look and sound the part, but love to pontificate based on some theoretical system or business ideology with no knowledge of the specifics of your business. If a business mastermind is worth your attention, they’ll listen more than they speak — every business is different and the specifics matter.

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

 

  1. It’s in Your Industry/Field

 

I’ve seen some very smart people give very bad advice about industries they aren’t in. In my experience, there is almost never any such thing as a “mastermind” outside of their narrow field of expertise, so people with experience in your own field should be your priority. If you hear that someone is both in your field and considered amazingly talented, they should be your first introduction.

Matt Doyle, Excel Builders

 

  1. It’s Focused on Outcomes

 

As an active participant in a number of networking and mastermind groups (member of many, moderator of some), each serves multiple purposes. Are you seeking to generate leads? Would you like to focus exclusively on professional or personal growth? Truly, the value of any business mastermind or networking group is at the intersection of the opportunity cost of one’s time and the desired outcome.

– Scott Krawitz, PM Talent Global

 

  1. You Have a Good Feeling

 

You’ll know when it’s become rote, just like a weekly team meeting that no longer serves a purpose. We get into the habit of doing something, and then we just keep doing it. But if you’re sitting there going, “I’ve heard that, I know that, I get it already,” you’re ready to move on. No need to intellectualize this -– just go on your gut instincts.

Ismael Wrixen, FE International

 

  1. You’re Unimpressed Before You Go

 

Don’t trust that someone’s a mastermind. You’re never more than a Google search from finding out what kinds of things a person has done or written. It will only take a few minutes of reading someone’s work or accomplishments to know if he or she is as interesting as their reputation says. As long as they have a reputation, you should meet them anyway. You’ll at least learn something about charisma.

Adam Steele, The Magistrate

 

  1. You Are Amongst Your Peers

 

Look at the other participants to quickly identify if the event is right for you. If you share commonalities with other members, chances are it is. If you find that you have more or less experience than others, you might be spending your time in the wrong place. Compare yourself by revenue, years in the business or customer type.

Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

 

  1. You Have Actionable Follow Ups

 

You should return from an event with either a head full of ideas to implement, strategies to test or a Rolodex of new contacts to foster. Events should invigorate you and help you push your business further. If you come back from an event and don’t have any action items, then it’s likely that there was little that you took away.

Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS

 

  1. It Seems Like a Good Fit

 

Finding events or masterminds that fit you and your business are key. Business and personal needs vary drastically from person to person. Strive to match yourself with equal or slightly higher caliber attendees. This ensures you continue to grow and network with those that can provide value. Find reviews or a past attendee list and compare yourself. Will you fit in? If so, then give it a try!

Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck LLC

 

 

 


BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.

Ladies, Get Your 20% Back: 3 Tips for Salary Negotiation to Close the Wage Gap

salary negotiation

It’s 2017, and women in the job market still make 20% less than men in most industries. (And, according to recent research, black women make even less—60 cents to the dollar.) Though the solutions start with managers and CEOs taking action to level the playing field, there are ways you can take back your power, and the key is in your salary negotiation mojo.

Sherry Sims, an experienced corporate recruitment professional who has worked to review and hire candidates for jobs at top companies including CVS and AT&T, knows the inside scoop on what to do when it’s time to negotiate.

“It’s best to talk salary and benefits when the employer extends an offer,” Sims says. “The more you speak up, the more confident you’ll become with negotiating.”

Read below as Sims, also the founder and CEO of the Black Career Women’s Network, shares three creative and smart ways to close the pay gap, one woman at a time:

 

Start with the right questions.

 

When a prospective employer starts talking benefits, speak up, or forever hold your peace. “Ask them, ‘Do you have an incentive compensation plan? If so, what is the criteria?’” Sims advises. “Inquire about their tuition reimbursement or an allocated budget for professional development programs. Ask about perks that promote work-life balance such as flex vacation or working from home. These are all valid questions and equal more dollars in your pocket as well as chances to avoid being overworked or getting burned out.”

 

If a promotion or raise is what you desire, be prepared with real “receipts.”

 

Sims advises gathering your documentation or notes of achievement for what you have accomplished or implemented. “How have you saved the company money, increased profits, or boosted the client base? Explain how you’ve added value within the last year. Share client testimonies,” she says. “You can start the conversation with, ‘Here are the reports to show [that] within the last 12 months I’ve been able to…’ and go from there. Your strategy should be to show what you’ve done and also, how to continue to keep adding value, saving money, and being profitable—your strongest skill sets.” Don’t be shy about this. Trust, the men in your office aren’t.

Also, use smart nuances when broaching the conversation. You can be bold and authoritative without being combative or seeming entitled.

 

Arm yourself against a case of low-balling.

 

“Here’s a corporate recruiter secret: They will start with the low or midpoint salary range, so if you reject the offer there is room to negotiate,” Sims says. “I know, because I was a corporate recruiter for over a decade.”

Sims advises women to conduct market research and gain knowledge of your professional value so you can ask for what you want. Base this on factors such as the average pay for that position in your location, your educational and training background, your work experience and your network. “It’s all about career empowerment, so why not start with getting paid what you are worth?”

Iron Sharpens Iron: Mastermind with Eric Thomas and Breathe University

mastermind

Breathe University (BU) is a mastermind and accountability group that I use as a part of an arsenal of tools to grow in life and in business. The term mastermind was coined by Napoleon Hill in the early 1900s. Around the same time, contemporaries and self-made men in American industry such as Henry Ford, automobile mogul; Harvey Firestone, tire inventor; and Thomas Edison, scientist and inventor; formed masterminds.

In a mastermind, two or more people come together to share ideas. Their time is spent discussing and debating new ideas. Participants in the group provide feedback, support, and inspiration to the others. Masterminding is based on the idea that iron sharpens iron.

“When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe.” —Eric Thomas, Ph.D.

Today, Breathe University is one of the fastest growing mastermind communities. It is led by Eric Thomas, Ph.D., a former high school dropout turned educator and motivational speaker with a global following. His messages have been largely popularized via social media videos like the infamous Guru Story and Nothing Funny videos with views surpassing some of Beyoncé’s most popular hits.

As one of the world’s top 10 motivational speakers, he is requested by businesses and brands such as the NFL and NBA to help athletes and professionals with mindset mastery.

 

Successful people are aware of their environment

 

Thomas shares that he was able to reach to new levels of success, both personally and professionally, when he got himself around the right people in the right environment. BU is a diverse community of entrepreneurs, professionals, and students. It is supported by an e-learning platform that includes on-demand video courses, live events, and mastermind calls. Thomas and the team who helped build his brand, all actively participate on every call and show up to local meetups.

 

The environment is ripe for success

 

I asked fellow BU member, David Shands, to share how masterminding in BU has shaped his experiences as an entrepreneur. David Shands is the founder and CEO of Sleep is 4 Suckers and Sleepless Society Inc., a motivational speaker and author of Dreams are Built Overnight.

Shands says:

 

“I am a firm believer that your environment will change you before you change it. Most people don’t enjoy their lives or their work. You might find yourself surrounded by these people. When I was in past friendships or environments like this, it was difficult to dream big and speak positively. When you’re in a positive environment, it’s hard to focus problems. Get yourself in the right environment and see the results you want in your life”.

Shands met his mentor Eric Thomas and team in 2011. His drive for success moved him to seek out their advice and soon he began investing in coaching with BU. He bet on himself and today he is winning. In seven short years, Shands’s Sleepis4Suckers concept has evolved from T-shirts and wristbands to a flagship store and merchandise in stores all over the country.

My goal in writing this article is to shine a light on the importance of masterminding and inform readers about a powerful group that I use to grow. More importantly, I want you to ask yourself, who’s in your environment and what have they done for you lately?

If you’ve found this article helpful, find more HERE. Questions? Share in the comments section and send this to friends.

 

 


Elisha Lowe is a registered nurse, business strategist, writer, entrepreneur and inspirational speaker with two decades of experience in healthcare. She works with top healthcare organizations to grow novel products that support improved patient outcomes. You can follow her on Twitter @ElishaLoweRN or learn more at www.elishalowe.com

 

5 Key Career Takeaways from the 2017 Women of Power Summit

I had the privilege of attending the 12th annual Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit as a BE Contributor with behind-the-scenes access to one of the most incredible conferences I’ve ever attended. Seriously, the Women of Power Summit was the Super Bowl of career conferences—an abundance of corporate and entrepreneurial powerhouse women who are changing the game.

From awards ceremonies honoring living legends like Phylicia Rashad, Shirley Caesar, Ursula Burns, and Marcia Ann Gillespie to intimate fireside chats with pop culture critic and New York Times best-selling author, Luvvie Ajayi, and career conversations with author Tiffany Dufu, to sister girl sessions with Apple rock-star executive, Bozoma Saint John and Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth—oh, and dance lesson with Beyoncé’s dance captains—this conference was e-ve-ry-thing!

Before I get carried away reliving the moments, let’s get into these top career takeaways from the weekend.

 

  1. Pick Your PowerSUITE

(Image: Dee Marshall/Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

 

Certified coach and empowerment speaker Dee Marshall kicked off the weekend by empowering attendees with the secret to ‘up level’ their careers and extend their reach—identifying their ‘power suite’—“a group of like-minded, advancing professionals who are mutual contributors to each other’s careers.

 

2. To Thine Own Self Be True

 

power summit (Phylicia Rashad 12th Annual Legacy Awards Gala hosted by PepsiCo. Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

 

Not to quote Hamlet, but to channel Legacy Award recipient, Phylicia Rashad who shared that the key to her success has been knowing herself and staying true to who she innately is, in other words—do not search for accolades, just do the work.

 

3. Carpe Diem . . . Seize the Day

 

(Ursula Burns 12th Annual Legacy Awards Gala hosted by PepsiCo. Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

 

Who knew that my power suite partner’s bio break would turn into a career high for me; her trip to the restroom put me squarely in the path of my career idol, Ursula Burns, the first African American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company (Xerox). You know you’ve picked the right partner when the universe conspires with her to make your dreams come true. My point is . . . check out the attendee list, plan who you want to connect with, and put yourself in the path of your plan and for heaven’s sake, INTRODUCE YOURSELF!

 

4. Connect…We are Stronger Together

 

(Image: Bozoma Saint John and Elaine Welteroth. Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

 

Boz Saint John and Elaine Welteroth talked intimately about the power of sisterhood at the top. Both shared candid ways they’ve supported each other since acquiring top roles at Apple and Teen Vogue and how they both have used their platform to demonstrate that being your authentic self is possible all while influencing change. Saint John shared intimately about how early on in her career she attempted to assimilate into what she thought was the corporate image of a leader, but in the end, she discovered that people responded the same even when she showed up with out-of-the-box attire, big hair, and brazen professional courage. She encouraged women not to shrink from who you are. She also shared how she sought out Elaine after her promotion was announced to provide similar lessons learned because she genuinely wanted her to succeed. Welteroth shared that largely because of women like Boz and her powerful circle, as well as women across the globe, she doesn’t take her responsibility as the first black female editor of Teen Vogue lightly. So the moral is, other successful women aren’t your competition, in fact, many are rooting for you. Remember to stay connected to women who align to your core values and career pace … there is room for everyone to win at the TOP!

 

5. Mix It Up

 

(Image: TV personality Alesha Renee, Altrichia Cook, Ashley Everett, and Denee Baptiste. Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

 

Branch out. Attend the scheduled social events. And maybe sit in on sessions you wouldn’t normally attend like the Get in Formation panel that was moderated by TV personality Alesha Renee featuring Allusions by A. Lekay designer, Altrichia Cook and Beyoncé’s dance captains Ashley Everett and Denee Baptiste. These ladies didn’t hold back on sharing secrets for staying physically fit on the go and mentally fit by celebrating the accomplishments of one another; to empower and not envy.

Black girl magic was served in Phoenix! Make sure to mark your calendar now for the 2018 Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit at Walt Disney Resorts in Orlando, Florida— I’m sure sisters will be serving magic AND sunshine!

 

 

 


Toni is the CEO & founder of The Corporate Tea, an online resource that provides unfiltered advice to help professionals navigate their careers. Toni is a Career Strategist & HR Blogger with over a decade of experience in corporate America. For more insights and advice, follow her @thecorporatetea