Networking 101: Real-Life Tips on How to Upgrade Your Circle’s Value

Make connections to build your brand.

Make connections to build your brand

The age-old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” still rings true for many opportunities for your prospective career. Clear goals and strategy can both be smart ways to make your network work in your favor especially at a time when the world is so connected by social media and the Internet.

Frances Harris-Burke, Ph.D., is the regional director of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction which provides leadership and organizational support for school districts in the North Carolina’s Triad area. Dr. Harris-Burke partners with district superintendents to solve problems that face the faculty and students. And Nandi Shareef who is the founder of the Shareef Group, which is a boutique learning and development consultancy that provides talent and career development solutions in times of change. In addition, Shareef works with individuals to improve their performance in their chosen careers.

BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Harris-Burke and Shareef, who share advice on vital face-to-face encounters, simple business etiquette and your online personas.

BlackEnterprise.com: A lot of people, especially young professionals, don’t want to be labeled as “thirsty” or “pressed,” both of which are negative terms engrained in the current millennial culture. How do they manage their networking relationships without being too pushy?

Harris-Burke: As a young, motivated career seeker, I think the best way to maintain a positive networking relationship is to …

Read more at Black Enterprise

 

In Her Shoes: Dorothy Ghettuba

I was utterly inspired after reading about Dorothy Ghettuba, a daring African entrepreneur who left her job at a venture capital firm in Canada , packed up and moved to Kenya to follow her dreams and  work toward the creation of a major African entertainment company, called Spielworks Media. Dorothy Ghettuba believed that there was a great need for local media, talent and stories that represent the people in African entertainment derived from racial pride and cultural heritage. Ghettuba provides an uplifting tale of her journey and urges African youth to continue to dream and remained empowered.

 In her interview with “How We Made it in Africa” Ghetttuba describes the challenges  and lessons she experienced during her journey to success as a “baptism in fire” but enriching her with lessons she will forever remember. One of the lessons Dorothy Ghettuba learned was:”Giving up cannot be an option. If you fall down, because we do, you get up and go again.” After almost having her dream destroyed before ever coming off the ground due to lack of financial resources, Ghettuba looked to her inner-circle for support. Her message is :”people don’t buy into an idea, they buy into people.” She believes that no matter how impossible her dream seemed, people that believed and cared for her were willing to support her.  I encourage everyone to read about her amazing story and how this amazing African entrepreneur is building her brand and empire in the continent.

Check out the full article: How We Made It in Africa

photo taken from: Dorothy Ghettuba Twitter

Congrats to 2013 Miss Ghana USA : Afua Osei

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Afua Osei, founder of the Savvy Madam & 2013 Miss Ghana USA

Congratulations to The Savvy Madam’s very own Afua Osei for winning the title of 2013 Miss Ghana USA! The Savvy Madam Staff and I are very proud of you! Continue to do your thing!

The Queen is Crowned! 2013 Miss Ghana USA

The Miss Ghana USA (MGUSA) 2013 Beauty Pageant took place on June 28th at the Alvin Ailey Theater in New York City, bringing to the public a platform of nine highly educated Ghanaian women from across the USA, each of whom represented one region from Ghana.

Competing to win the prestigious title of Miss Ghana USA,  each contestant not only showcased poise, talent, intellect, personality, beauty, but  also exhibited  passion to faithfully serve an adopted community within the US, and in Ghana.

The Miss Ghana USA Beauty Pageant was founded by Ghanaian native Gloria Abena Ofosuah Opare in 2009 to promote young women of Ghanaian heritage and to offer them an avenue to achieve their goals and carry-out social and humanitarian initiatives.

Overall, the pageant was very organized; on the other hand, the judges were faced with the tough challenge of choosing only one winner from the outstanding nine contestants. But by the end of the evening, Afua Osei claimed the title of 2013 Miss Ghana USA. The excitement onstage overlaid as cameras flashed, bouquets were presented and proud friends and family ran to the stage, gathering to congratulate all of the contestants for their efforts throughout the past months as they prepared to take part in the pageant.

In addition to Afua Osei, this year’s contestants were Lisa Aidoo and Rose Afriyie, Mary Andoh,   Adjoa F. Adofo, Diane Yeboah, Nadia Asiedu-Baah, Nana Adowa Adofo, and Pearl Agyare. For more information on this year’s pageant and the contestants, visit: http://www.missghanausa.org.

– See more at: Face2Faceafrica.com

You Better Shop Around!

shopLadies, never allow yourself to become trapped in a job.  My experience working two jobs this summer in companies that have employees that are nearly twice, my age doing the same work they have been doing for years, has made me realize I never want to allow myself to be trapped in a position at a company that isn’t what I want. I don’t want to be a businesswoman that wakes up every morning dreading work or counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds until she can finally leave work and go home.

Take Some Risks!

It is important for us as young businesspeople to seek careers. By this I mean positions that enable us to use our skills and do what genuinely intrigues, motivates, and excites us.  We can begin by never limiting ourselves because of fear of failure or instability. Success is something that it achieved through risk and adaption.  Go out on a limb when necessary, if you don’t have the certain experience or area of expertise that you need for your dream position go out and get it. Take a position that allows you to constantly learn, develop, and improve skills.  Never sell your self short. Never settle.

Go Shopping!  And try on hats!

Being new to the business world, this is the opportunity want to try on different hats. I have entered an explanatory phase of my professional life that will help me determine my needs in a position and to find what clicks.  I am curious and my passions are constantly evolving. I am unwilling to sacrifice both my happiness and the things in my life that I believe are important for a job.  Be curious.  Don’t limit yourself!

Photo taken from: Madame Noire

How One Black Entrepreneur ‘Powers’ Obama’s Africa Strategy

Jessica Matthews, co-founder and CEO of Uncharted Play Inc.

Jessica Matthews, co-founder and CEO of Uncharted Play Inc.

President Obama just ended his whirlwind multi-country tour of Africa. Traveling to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania over six days, his first major trip to the continent included moments both powerful and poignant: The First Family’s tour of the famous slave trade memorial, Maison Des Esclaves (House of Slaves) at Goree Island where millions of enslaved Africans passed through the “Door of No Return”; a trip to Robben Island, the former prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of incarceration for defiance of apartheid; and Obama’s visit to comfort the Mandela family as the revered leader fought for his life in a Pretoria hospital. The historic meeting between the first black president of the United States, the son of a Kenyan, and the first black president of South Africa would not take place though.
As expected, Obama’s trip was chock full of meetings with dignitaries and business leaders as well as speeches designed to deepen US-Africa relations. But his visit, along with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, to the Ubungo Power Plant holds special relevance to entrepreneurs. It was at that facility — a public-private partnership between the Tanzanian government and General Electric Africa — that Obama witnessed a demonstration of the Soccket ball, a soccer ball that harnesses the kinetic energy generated during play to provide a source of renewable, off-grid power. In fact, a single bulb LED lamp can be plugged into the ball to provide hours of light. This revolutionary portable generator was invented by 25-year-old Jessica Matthews…

For the rest of this interesting piece, go to Black Enterprise

Africa: U.S Makes Three-Year Commitment to African Entrepreneurs

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama land in South Africa

The U.S. African Development Foundation announced a three-year commitment July 3 to support President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, beginning in October 2013.

The Initiative is President Obama’s effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders, launched in 2010. Its new flagship program, the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, announced June 29, is designed to support young African entrepreneurs in ways that accelerate economic growth and strengthen democratic institutions across Africa.

The U.S. African Development Foundation will award up to 200 young Africans taking part in the Washington Fellows program from 2014 to 2016 with $25,000 entrepreneurship grants to initiate or expand their business and social enterprises in their home countries. USADF will help ensure that the opportunity to participate extends to the best and the brightest, even in remote and marginalized communities in Africa.

Obama announced the Washington Fellows program at a town hall meeting with students in Johannesburg, South Africa, in June. “We’ll focus on civic leadership and public administration and business and entrepreneurship, the skills you need to serve your communities and start and grow businesses and run effective ministries,” he said.

To read full article visit: AllAfrica.com

Photo taken from: the New York Times

Head Women in Charge: Black Women Climbing the Corporate Ladder

 I had the opportunity to read an amazing article on Maya World Peace entitled “Head Women in Charge: Black Women Climbing the Corporate the Ladder.” The article discusses the current pressingly low representation of black women in corporate America.  It is no secret that there are challenges and hurdles that make it hard for an inspiring businessperson to succeed in corporate America.  But these adversities seem to intensify with discrimination in the form of biases, sexism and racism making so that being a black businesswoman  becomes somewhat of a triple negative. Despite, this reality the article provided encouraging incite and inspiration for black businesswomen seeking to move up the corporate ladder and ways to counter these discrepancies through research, mentorship, and holding tight to ones dreams. 

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Black women executives are the most underrepresented in corporate America today. Studies have shown out of 19 million people in the world, black women make up less than seven percent of the population. This small percentage is recognizable everywhere, yet most disturbingly in corporate America.

Black women around the nation have acted upon powerful initiatives to advance their entrance into the boardroom. These advancements have inflicted change, although the scarcity in representation, levels of discrimination, and the many hurdles set before black women attempting to climb the corporate ladder has left many apprehensive about the future.

Candace Hockett-Henley, Senior Marketing Major from Morristown, New Jersey is one of them. She has dreams of becoming the Chief Executive Officer of a large scale marketing firm one day. The low numbers of women who look like her holding such esteemed positions is something she’s definitely took note of.

“I’ve done my research and I am well aware of the male-dominated field I am about to enter. I’ve had great mentors and teachers here at Howard University’s School of Business who I feel have prepared me and equipped me with the necessary skills to excel in corporate America.”Hocket-Henley has been very involved in developmental organizations and internships geared towards her professional interests. She believes not only her college experience but also her “amazing” mentors and teachers have provided her with the knowledge to take bold steps towards achieving her dreams.

Read the full article: Maya World Peace

Photo Credit: Adirée African Fashion Week