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.

 

3 Essentials to Turn Girls Onto STEM

science

The benefits of early exposure to foreign languages, music, travel, and sports on a child’s developing brain are well studied. The early years become the architecture of future learning. The same holds true of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM exposure at an early age becomes an integral part of the intellectual scaffolding upon which other disciplines and interests thrive.

But what if the girls in your life—your daughters, nieces, even neighbors—are past those early, formidable years? What if they wear headphones instead of footie pajamas and are more likely to crack a Geometry book than Dr. Seuss? Brain architecture in late-blooming STEM Gems is no less impressive. All women, regardless of age, are capable of erecting skyscrapers of the mind.

Early is good. Now is even better.

 

1: Talking STEM

 

STEM is all around us. STEM is in the car that takes your daughter to soccer practice, in the pink hair dye your niece uses to assert her independence, and in the street angles where your neighbor girl does trick skateboarding. Having adults around who point out the greater STEM picture in everyday life can leave a tremendous impact on a child’s STEM perspective. And you don’t have to be a STEM-oriented person to help your daughter or niece or neighbor recognize the STEM possibilities in the world around her.

Raising four children, my mom always looked for the best deal. She was a walking calculator. Mentally calculating percentage-off prices during holiday shopping and gratuity when dining out became a fun ritual she passed on to my siblings and me. When a delivery came inside a cardboard box, we made a game of the volume and dimensions, creating units out of everything from foam peanuts to stuffed animals. We figured out how many boxes we needed to construct the cities in our minds.

My dad was a firm believer that girls should work with tools and throw balls, not just play with dolls. My sisters and I were often outside with my brother, helping dad fix his car. We passed him tools and laid on the ground beside him, looking at the car’s undercarriage to understand what he was doing. After, we tossed baseballs and dribbled basketballs in the backyard. Without us knowing, my dad was teaching us the fundamentals of physics. After these experiences, learning about force and acceleration in high school was intuitive.

My parents didn’t simply sit us down one day to teach us about how to be an engineer. Through their actions and words, they intentionally demonstrated the fundamentals of STEM all around us. This foundation helped us to find our way into STEM careers.

Talking STEM means deconstructing life, one small moment, one small experience at a time. Every piece of technology, every tool, every food, every event, has a basis in STEM. Pick the moments and experiences that speak to your daughter, neighbor, or niece. Help her to realize that someone in a STEM field had a hand in making those ideas a reality.

 

2: Seeing Women in STEM

 

Not every girl is fortunate enough to build cardboard cityscapes and share a nightly dinner table with a STEM Gem. It’s important to remember, however, that STEM Gem role models are closer than you might think. STEM Gems are pediatricians, science and math teachers, and web designers for your small business. STEM Gems can also be found in books, magazines, online, and at local events.

Media can be an amazing source of STEM inspiration, but it can also send young women mixed messages. Overwhelmingly in television and movies, STEM roles are portrayed by men. The few women who fill STEM roles in the media are often eccentric, goth, socially awkward, or just stereotypically nerdy. While some girls can relate, the majority of girls cannot picture themselves cast in that type of role in their lives. The media has only just begun to embrace women of all shapes and sizes and colors in science, tech, engineering and math roles. Pay attention to these STEM messages and guide the young women in your life into meaningful conversations about the perception of STEM and how perceptions might influence her and her peers.

Seeing women in STEM roles is critical to combatting the inevitable disparaging remarks that girls who show an interest in STEM sometimes face. If girls have an established mindset from a trusted source that women can excel in STEM fields, they will be better equipped to respond to naysayers who tell them they’re not good enough or that girls can’t succeed in STEM fields.

 

3: Exposure to STEM

 

When I applied to MIT to pursue a chemical engineering degree, I never dreamed so many girls had the mentality that STEM was a boys-only endeavor. Beyond the tremendous role models I had in my childhood, I participated in countless programs that exposed me to STEM. By the time I reached college, my rightful place in STEM was so ingrained, no one could crush my determination.

Participating in STEM programs geared toward girls unleashes something powerful in young women. Being part of a room full of like-minded individuals, engaged in a unifying project or experience, energizes. Once girls are surrounded by peers who are excited about robotics or creating software or studying animal species so that we may better preserve them, our daughters and nieces and neighbor girls find their tribe—a group of individuals who share common passions.

Many universities, corporations and non-profit organizations are trying to remedy the lack of a solid STEM pipeline for girls and other underrepresented populations by offering programs and initiatives, both in summer and year-round, often fully or partially funded to the participant. I highly encourage participation in these local STEM opportunities. Not only does the content open up the STEM world to girls, but it also fosters discussion about STEM and models women in STEM roles.

Talking STEM, seeing STEM, and exposure to STEM are the most consistent themes in the back stories of the 44 STEM Gems highlighted in STEM Gems: How 44 Women Shine in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, And How You Can Too. These three factors are doorways to the enriching world of a STEM career. Above all, approaching science, technology, engineering and math with intentionality is the best way to ensure future generations of women are well-represented in STEM fields.

 

ABOUT STEM GEMS:

STEM Gems: How 44 Women Shine in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, And How You Can Too is designed to inspire possibilities in girls and young women of all ages. Profiles of forty-four successful women in each of the four STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering and math—highlight vastly different paths, but three factors consistently made an impact on their willingness to consider a STEM career.

 

 

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.

Smart Money Moves Every Woman Needs to Master

smart money

This year’s Women of Power Summit included a session titled “CFO of You: Smart Money Moves Every Woman Needs to Master,” which empowered women with the knowledge, resources, and confidence they need in order to overcome their financial fears and make good financial decisions.

Hosted by Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, three different financial experts shared their personal testimonies, struggles, and helpful nuggets about financial success. In addition to moderating the panel, Ashley Fox, a Black Enterprise contributor and the founder and CEO of Empify, also offered insight on how to make your money last while she was moderating the panel. “Our responsibilities and our money is our job,” she said stressing the importance of taking responsibility when it comes to self-educating oneself about money.

Here are a few of the gems that the speakers shared.

 

Jacquette Timmons, President and CEO of Sterling Investment Management Inc.:

 

  • “You don’t manage money, you manage your choices around money.”
  • Purchasing life insurance is important because it gives your family the ability to grieve without interruption. “Passing on wealth is not about death, it’s about love.”
  • Get a prenup: You work really hard for what you build and you need to protect it.
  • It’s important to recognize and understand the “sheconomy” or “the local spending power of women,” which is estimated to reach $18-20 trillion by 2020. This gives women the financial power to use [and] flex their collective dollars as a form of activism and support films, products, companies, and causes that support them.

 

 

(From left to right: Ashley Fox, Michelle Fisher, Jacquette Timmons, and Vania Laguerre)

 

Michelle Fisher, Founder & CEO of Blaze Mobile:

 

  • You don’t spend what you don’t know that you have, which is important to “take advantage of your company’s 401(k).”
  • Invest in your own products. “Become divas of your own products.” We have, historically, been able to do more with less. So, “if there is a trail, go ahead and blaze it.”
  • Fisher, who currently owns 42 patents, emphasized the importance of protecting your ideas with copyrights and getting your inventions patented. Plus, patents can help you attract investors and make money if you license your patent. You “can’t underestimate the value of protecting your ideas.”

 

Vania Laguerre, Vice President and Sr. Resident Director, Global Wealth and Investment Management at Merrill Lynch:

 

  • When facing a difficult situation, like a divorce or a major career change, it is important to “know yourself.” You have to find your strength within yourself.
  • After sharing the tough lessons that she learned following her divorce, Laguerre advised the women to “become a little bit more selfish” when it comes to protecting your assets and interests.

 

 

This is Why Women Are Refusing to Do Any Work Today

work

A Day Without A Woman

 

The world would be a scary place without the work that women contribute. In addition to making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, women complete an immeasurable amount of unpaid domestic labor as caretakers, while black women make up one of the fastest growing segments of business ownership in the country. Yet, in still, their contributions to society often go unrecognized and underpaid.  On top of that, women are subjected to workplace inequality, sexual harassment, and rollbacks against reproductive rights.

To bring these issues to light, women across the country are refusing to do any work today. Instead, they are participating in A Day Without A Woman, a national campaign aimed to highlight the crucial role women play in the U.S. economy and abroad. It is also a strike to fight back against gender-based inequality, violence, and discrimination.

Organized by the women behind the history-making Women’s March in January, A Day Without A Woman encourages women to stay home from their jobs and take rest from their routine domestic duties, like household chores and caregiving. Those who couldn’t get the day off from work are encouraged to wear red in solidarity and avoid shopping at all companies outside of small, women and minority-owned businesses.

A Day Without A Woman was intentionally planned to be held on March 8 to coincide with International Women’s Day. This is also the day when millions of women’s rights advocates in more than 30 countries around the world are partaking in the International Women’s Strike.

How Can Allies Show Support?

 

Business owners can support this cause by giving their female employees the day off from work. Meanwhile, husbands and boyfriends can show support by doing chores on behalf of their wives and partners.

 

The Cost of A Day Without A Woman

 

Research published by the Center for American Progress shows that the U.S. would not be able to function if all paid female workers simultaneously take one day off from work. If that happened, it would cost the country nearly $21 billion in gross domestic product (GDP.) The study, which is titled A Day in the U.S. Economy Without Women, also found that women’s labor contributes $7.6 trillion to the U.S. each year.

But women’s work expands beyond paid labor. If the GDP were to include all of the unpaid domestic work primarily performed by women, then that number would increase by 26 percent.

“Women have long played a vital role in the economy, but women’s earnings and economic contributions are becoming more and more essential,” said Kate Bahn, an Economist at CAP and co-author of the analysis, in a press release sent to Black Enterprise. “However, due to occupational segregation and the devaluation of jobs that women disproportionately hold, outdated labor standards, and insufficient work-family policies, women in the United States aren’t able to meet their full economic potential.”

In addition to calling for respect for their labor, activists are also using A Day Without A Woman to push lawmakers to pass policies that support women and mothers like paid family and medical leave, paid sick leave, and access to quality, affordable child care.

 

This is Why Women Are Refusing to Do Any Work Today

work

A Day Without A Woman

 

The world would be a scary place without the work that women contribute. In addition to making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, women complete an immeasurable amount of unpaid domestic labor as caretakers, while black women make up one of the fastest growing segments of business ownership in the country. Yet, in still, their contributions to society often go unrecognized and underpaid.  On top of that, women are subjected to workplace inequality, sexual harassment, and rollbacks against reproductive rights.

To bring these issues to light, women across the country are refusing to do any work today. Instead, they are participating in A Day Without A Woman, a national campaign aimed to highlight the crucial role women play in the U.S. economy and abroad. It is also a strike to fight back against gender-based inequality, violence, and discrimination.

Organized by the women behind the history-making Women’s March in January, A Day Without A Woman encourages women to stay home from their jobs and take rest from their routine domestic duties, like household chores and caregiving. Those who couldn’t get the day off from work are encouraged to wear red in solidarity and avoid shopping at all companies outside of small, women and minority-owned businesses.

A Day Without A Woman was intentionally planned to be held on March 8 to coincide with International Women’s Day. This is also the day when millions of women’s rights advocates in more than 30 countries around the world are partaking in the International Women’s Strike.

How Can Allies Show Support?

 

Business owners can support this cause by giving their female employees the day off from work. Meanwhile, husbands and boyfriends can show support by doing chores on behalf of their wives and partners.

 

The Cost of A Day Without A Woman

 

Research published by the Center for American Progress shows that the U.S. would not be able to function if all paid female workers simultaneously take one day off from work. If that happened, it would cost the country nearly $21 billion in gross domestic product (GDP.) The study, which is titled A Day in the U.S. Economy Without Women, also found that women’s labor contributes $7.6 trillion to the U.S. each year.

But women’s work expands beyond paid labor. If the GDP were to include all of the unpaid domestic work primarily performed by women, then that number would increase by 26 percent.

“Women have long played a vital role in the economy, but women’s earnings and economic contributions are becoming more and more essential,” said Kate Bahn, an Economist at CAP and co-author of the analysis, in a press release sent to Black Enterprise. “However, due to occupational segregation and the devaluation of jobs that women disproportionately hold, outdated labor standards, and insufficient work-family policies, women in the United States aren’t able to meet their full economic potential.”

In addition to calling for respect for their labor, activists are also using A Day Without A Woman to push lawmakers to pass policies that support women and mothers like paid family and medical leave, paid sick leave, and access to quality, affordable child care.

 

How to Narrow the 37% Pay Gap Between Black and White Women

pay gap

First of all, that’s huge! A 37% pay gap? Did you know that? Because, if you didn’t, now you do.

Black Enterprise chatted over the phone with Jasmine Gill of Gyal’s Network, an online platform that connects diverse women and confronts intersectional issues, which impacts them on a larger scale. They hosted a recent seminar by executive career consultant, Michelle Kem, on salary negotiation. So, we thought that it was particularly important to share some tips that can get you on track toward generating a healthy salary.

The Statistics

 

Gill shared the current data with us on the sad statistics. Women in the United States earn just 79 cents for every dollar men make. Unfortunately, what many don’t realize is that those 79 cents represent all women in the United States. When broken down by race, black women only earn just 63 cents to that dollar.

According to Gill, a recent analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) states that a black woman starting her career today will lose an average of $877,480 over her 40-year career, relative to a white man. We know that there are several factors that drive the gender wage gap, but we asked Gill what can we do to make change.

Creating a Culture of Transparency

 

Since 1963, the Equal Pay Act has stated that men and women doing the same work have to be paid equally. Unfortunately, with this legislation, the onus is put on women to take action. This can be an uphill battle, especially when salary transparency is not required.

In an effort to enforce the Equal Pay Act, the Obama administration’s new equal-pay rules require companies with more than 100 employees to report their employees’ compensation—broken down by race, ethnicity, and gender—to the federal government. These new rules will go into effect in 2017.

Empower Women: Negotiations Training and Salary History Ban

 

One study of graduating MBA students found that half of the men negotiated their job offers as compared to only one-eighth of the women. To encourage more women to negotiate, cities like Boston are offering free salary negotiation workshops to every woman living within a certain jurisdiction.  Gyals Network also offers free or low-cost negotiations webinars designed specifically for women and people of color.

In addition to negotiations resources, there have been great strides towards a salary history ban. Last August, Massachusetts became the first state to ban employers from asking about job applicants’ salary histories until they make a job offer, and other states are expected to follow suit. Women’s rights advocates say that basing pay on past salary is a key contributor to the gender pay gap, because it discriminates against women who earn less than men from the start of their careers.

The consensus is to stick to the present, and when things look grim, be ready to act.

How to Narrow the 37% Pay Gap Between Black and White Women

pay gap

First of all, that’s huge! A 37% pay gap? Did you know that? Because, if you didn’t, now you do.

Black Enterprise chatted over the phone with Jasmine Gill of Gyal’s Network, an online platform that connects diverse women and confronts intersectional issues, which impacts them on a larger scale. They hosted a recent seminar by executive career consultant, Michelle Kem, on salary negotiation. So, we thought that it was particularly important to share some tips that can get you on track toward generating a healthy salary.

The Statistics

 

Gill shared the current data with us on the sad statistics. Women in the United States earn just 79 cents for every dollar men make. Unfortunately, what many don’t realize is that those 79 cents represent all women in the United States. When broken down by race, black women only earn just 63 cents to that dollar.

According to Gill, a recent analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) states that a black woman starting her career today will lose an average of $877,480 over her 40-year career, relative to a white man. We know that there are several factors that drive the gender wage gap, but we asked Gill what can we do to make change.

Creating a Culture of Transparency

 

Since 1963, the Equal Pay Act has stated that men and women doing the same work have to be paid equally. Unfortunately, with this legislation, the onus is put on women to take action. This can be an uphill battle, especially when salary transparency is not required.

In an effort to enforce the Equal Pay Act, the Obama administration’s new equal-pay rules require companies with more than 100 employees to report their employees’ compensation—broken down by race, ethnicity, and gender—to the federal government. These new rules will go into effect in 2017.

Empower Women: Negotiations Training and Salary History Ban

 

One study of graduating MBA students found that half of the men negotiated their job offers as compared to only one-eighth of the women. To encourage more women to negotiate, cities like Boston are offering free salary negotiation workshops to every woman living within a certain jurisdiction.  Gyals Network also offers free or low-cost negotiations webinars designed specifically for women and people of color.

In addition to negotiations resources, there have been great strides towards a salary history ban. Last August, Massachusetts became the first state to ban employers from asking about job applicants’ salary histories until they make a job offer, and other states are expected to follow suit. Women’s rights advocates say that basing pay on past salary is a key contributor to the gender pay gap, because it discriminates against women who earn less than men from the start of their careers.

The consensus is to stick to the present, and when things look grim, be ready to act.

Reality Star Opens Up About Illegal Butt Injections

Butt Injections

Kimberly Smedley was a single mother, devoted church goer, and licensed cosmetologist working in a hair salon when her life turned upside down in 2012 and she got busted for running an illegal butt injection business.

Although she lacked a medical license and training, Smedley made millions of dollars giving average women, strippers, and even celebrities bigger butts on the black market for over a decade. She performed the medical procedure in hotel rooms across the East Coast, using commercial-grade silicon commonly found in paint and furniture polish, glue, and cotton balls, charging between $500 and $1,600 per session. At times, Smedley would inject 10 to 20 women per day.

Journey Into the Black Market

Smedley  decided to tap into the booming underground booty business after receiving an illegal butt injection, herself, from a friend in 1999. After this friend died in 2000, she inherited his business and then began giving women the butts they desperately desired.

butt injections (Image: Kimberly Smedley)

“I’ve always been a business [woman],” Smedley told Black Enterprise in an email. “After having the injections myself— because I suffered from low self-esteem—I actually felt like I was helping women feel better about who they were. Just like I transformed their look through hair, I felt like I was doing the same by giving them a bigger bottom.”

Despite her intentions, Smedley was aware that this practice was illegal, plus the silicone she was using was not FDA approved. Still, she injected thousands of women until her secret, illegal side-hustle was uncovered in late 2011 after one of her clients, an exotic dancer in Baltimore, almost died when silicon leaked into her lungs.

This tragedy sparked a federal investigation into Smedley’s practice. Smedley was eventually arrested in a Washington, D.C. hotel, where she was caught in possession of 18-gauge medical needles, as reported ABC News. This ultimately resulted in an indictment for transporting misbranded medicine and devices across state lines.

Facing up to five years in prison, Smedley pleaded guilty in March 2012. She was sentenced to two years behind bars, along with a $250,000 fine. She was also forced to come clean about her underground practice to her friends, church members and her family, including her two sons and her adopted daughter.

“In the midst of doing something illegal, in your mind, you’re telling yourself that you’re helping people to feel better about themselves. […] I didn’t stop to think about the negative consequences,” she told Vlad TV earlier this year.

After 17 months behind bars, Smedley was released from prison and forced to start all over. However, in spite of her situation, she never lost her entrepreneurial spirit and eventually opened up a spa in her hometown of Atlanta.butt injections

She has also published a book in which she discusses her career in the booty business, titled The Backside of the Story: My Journey into the Black Market Butt Injection Scandal. Though she refuses to name her celebrity clients in the book, she hints at working with high-profile celebrities, like Nicki Minaj, and alludes to consulting with Whitney Houston before her untimely death in February 2012.

Smedley’s interesting journey also landed her a spot on Queen Latifah’s reality TV show/docu-series From the Bottom Up, on Centric. Now in its second season, the show focuses on Smedley, as well as four other women, all of which have needed to rebuild their lives from scratch.

In an interview with Black Enterprise, Smedley opened up about the lessons she learned throughout her experiences an entrepreneur, an ex-con, and as a woman that, like many others, struggled with low self-esteem. Here are six takeaways from her unique personal and professional journey:

1. On Opening Up

“The biggest lesson [I’ve] learned is that my life was a story to be told. This is what gave birth to my book, The Back Side of The Storyand other projects I am working on. The women I met in the black market as well as in prison showed me that I wasn’t alone in what I was experiencing. All of this inspired me to share my story with as many people as possible.”

2. On Self-Acceptance

“I saw much of the reason why I—and hundreds of other women—alter their bodies is due to a lack of self-acceptance. Being in prison clothes without much of a wardrobe and accessories, [forced me] to face the real me. Being locked up kind of forces you to see YOU, and I’ve found that’s not such a bad thing.”

3. On Taking Responsibility for Your Own Life

“Negative actions breed negative results. A lot of people are stuck, because they don’t see the power they have to make different choices and really change their situations for the better. The show From The Bottom Up is almost like a metaphor; it’s about being accountable and doing the work to actually move forward and go up!”

4. On Acknowledging That There Is No Such Thing as a Fast-Track to Success

“Sometimes, we try to take the easy route, which turns out to be much longer than we ever expected or even want.”

5. On Failure Being Part of the Process

“Continue to move and use the resources that are available to you. We should use what we have and just start! Sometimes they are right in our face—I still struggle with that (lol). Know that it starts with a dream, which isn’t only about you. I really believe our dreams should be bigger than us.”

6. On Accepting That Which You Can’t Control

“It’s a waste of time focusing on other people or circumstances you didn’t or cannot create in your own strength. The same power that exists in knowing what you can control is in knowing what you can’t.”


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

TSL Sports Talk 8/11/16- Carmelita Jeter and LaTroy Hawkins

Carmelita Jeter

Folks, we have a special show for you today.

First, we speak with former MLB pitcher, and current MLB TuneIn host, LaTroy Hawkins about everything baseball. And after a 21-year pitching career, Hawkins has lots to share. Then we turn our attention to the Olympics and speak with the world’s fastest woman, three-time Olympic gold medalist Carmelita Jeter about the past and present Olympic games.

Then we pay our respects to legendary sports journalist and broadcaster John Saunders, who passed away earlier this week

Listen in and tell a friend, because TSL Sports Talk has just dropped another amazing show on you!

Listen to the conversation here at www.theshadowleague.com…

In 2016, Black Votes Matter

black votes

When legendary civil rights activist and Georgia Congressman John Lewis talks about the struggle to afford the right to vote to all Americans, he often recounts a time during Jim Crow when methods to disenfranchise blacks were random and arbitrary.

“They would tell us to count the number of bubbles in a bar of soap, or to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar,” he says.

Those methods have been resigned to the waste bin of history, but until recently, the resurgence of efforts to deny African Americans and other historically marginalized groups the right to vote was very real. However, recent court decisions across the country are beginning to correct the record and restore actions that are designed to make it easier for all Americans to vote.

This new wave of systemic voter restrictions began immediately after the Supreme Court struck down sections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2013. These previsions required that states submit any changes to their voting regulations to the Department of Justice for pre-approval within a certain period of time before an election. Justices used the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, and the most diverse electorate in our nation’s history, to justify the ruling, noting that it was unfair to continue penalizing states for an issue that had evidently passed on.

However, before the ink was dry on the Supreme Court’s ruling, Republican state legislatures including North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin, passed new laws making voter access harder and targeting likely Democratic voters—African Americans, Hispanics, seniors, and students. These methods included tougher voter ID requirements, eliminating early and weekend voting, and cutting poll hours.

While this election will be the first national contest held with the VRA in shambles, recent court rulings rolling back these restrictive state laws will renew efforts to make it easier to vote. This is critically important in several key states where minority votes will make a big difference.

Key states with high minority voting populations include Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. While Donald Trump and the GOP are hoping to redraw the electoral map and take a few recently consistent Democratic states including Michigan and Pennsylvania, minority votes, and particularly black voters, may provide a firewall for Hillary Clinton.

In fact, recent polls have been so favorable toward Clinton that she has stopped advertising in Pennsylvania for now. Even the state of Georgia is in play this fall thanks in part to a large black voting population in Atlanta and its suburbs.

African Americans voted in record numbers in 2008 and 2012, particularly with African American women who voted in higher percentages than any other voting bloc in 2012. With Clinton’s historic nomination, we should expect the group to show up and show out again in 2016 and bring along their male counterparts.

Once again, black votes will matter continuing a trend that will impact our presidential elections for years to come.

Corey Ealons is a partner with VOX Global, a public affairs communications firm based in Washington, DC, and a former White House spokesperson for President Barack Obama. Follow him on Twitter: @CoreyEalons and LinkedIn.