All Articles Tagged "African American women"
Valorie Burton was 24 years old when she started her first business, a PR firm. It’s been more than a decade since she founded Inspire Incorporated, a company that aims to equip business leaders with the tools to live happier, more successful, fulfilling and enriching lives. Through the company’s Coaching and Positive Psychology Institute Division, Burton offers coaching certification training to nearly 100 coaches a year; she also offers one-on-one coaching sessions for busy executives. Some of her clients include McDonald’s, Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). This University of Pennsylvania graduate also appears weekly as the expert on CNN’s “Reclaim Your Career” segment. Other media outlets Burton has appeared on include Oprah Radio, ABC Radio Network, TD Jake’s “The Potter’s House” and ABC’s Family Channel. From 2001 to 2003, Burton served on the Governor’s Commission for Women in Texas. Burton is also the author of the books Successful Women Think Differently, Where Will You Go From Here, What’s Really Holding You Back, Why Not You, How Did I Get So Busy, and Rich Minds/Rich Rewards.
MN: When and why did you found Inspire Incorporated?
VB: I went into business for myself in 1997, founding a public relations. Four years later, I founded Inspire Incorporated. I launched the Coaching and Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute in 2009, as a division of Inspire Inc., to address the training needs of organizations. In the current economy, many companies and organizations are dealing with a lot of change. Large amounts of change affect employees. Even the most resilient people get tired of change: layoffs, taking on more work, etc. For this reason, one of our training programs revolves around resilience. For example, organizations and professionals can receive training on how to deal with and overcome unexpected change. Another piece of training provided through Inspired Inc.’s CaPP division deals with personal and executive coaches. There haven’t been a lot of programs that teach an academic foundation around what makes people happier, more resilient and prepared to perform better. When I created the coaching programs I also noticed that many coaches lacked a research foundation. What I mean by this is, just because someone is great at being a coach doesn’t mean that they know how to market and build a business. Inspire Inc. and CaPP fill that need.
MN: Was gaining access to capital a challenge for you? If so, how did you face and overcome this challenge, and how much capital did you initially invest in your business?
VB: Inspire Inc. launched as an offshoot of my writing and speaking endeavors. After I sold my PR business, I used some of that money to start Inspire Inc. in 2001. I also made sure that I didn’t have a lot of expenses when I started my business. It’s important to remember that when businesses first start, money may not come in as quickly or as regularly as it did when you worked for someone else.
MN: Tell us about the coach certification process at CaPP. What types of training and certification examinations do you provide?
VB: Through CaPP, we’ve been training coaches for about two years. As part of our certification process, coaches go through an in-person and online training process. After finishing a certain number of training hours, coaching client hours they then complete a written and oral exam to complete their certification. Coaches certified through CaPP also complete written exams in business development and positive psychology. We train about 100 coaches a year. We conduct in-person and online programs twice a year.
MN: What was your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur during the formative years of your business? What is your biggest challenge today and what strategies do you use to overcome those challenges?
VB: In the beginning I didn’t know how long it would take to ramp up business, particularly as a writer. I thought my business would be fully ramped up in six months. Keep in mind that I had begun writing and speaking before launched Inspire Inc. full-time. I was overly optimistic in terms of how long it would take to see my marketing efforts manifest into revenue. What I thought would take six months probably took the first few years of the business. Today the challenge is maintaining clarity about the business vision because there are always multiple opportunities to do something else that might be related to but not precisely what we do at Inspire Inc. This is so important – when you see opportunities – ask yourself if the opportunity is right for your business. As yourself if the opportunity is it at the core of your business’ mission.
MEET Vera Moore: Vera Moore, the President and CEO of Vera Moore Cosmetics, is a former actress who has portrayed “Linda” on Another World for 12 years. Her cosmetic credits include working on Hollywood movie and television sets for The Antwone Fisher Story (starring Denzel Washington), The Bill Cosby Show, The Guru and Saturday Night Live. This dynamic beauty expert offers a comprehensive line of cosmetic and skincare products for the professional and retail market. With more than 30 years of experience in the theatre, television and beauty industry, and the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, Vera now celebrates the launch of Vera Moore Cosmetics in the new upscale environment of the Duane Reade stores and, nationally, in select Walgreens LOOK boutique locations.
MN: Earlier in your career you portrayed the character “Linda” on the soap opera, Another World. You also acted on Search for Tomorrow and As The World Turns. What inspired you to go from acting and television to starting your own cosmetics company?
VM: There was a void in the market for quality makeup for Black women at that time. This was in the 1970’s. I didn’t want to wear what the masses were offering, because it was red, oily and rubbed off on your clothes. Also, the colors offered for the beautiful women of a darker hue turned gray and ashy on their skin. Makeup at that time didn’t allow the true color of women with beautiful dark skin to shine through. Add to this the fact that on Another World I portrayed “Linda Metcalf” a nurse from Bay City General. I had a big problem. Not only were the makeup colors not right, I didn’t want to get the colors on my white uniform or anything else I touched. As I sought a way to meet this challenge, I became inspired to go into the cosmetics business.
MN: Businesses cannot succeed without capital. What resources did you use to finance your business and how much did you initially invest in Vera Moore Cosmetics?
VM: In 1979, when I started Vera Moore Cosmetics, I received a loan for $70,000 that was backed up by the Small Business Administration (SBA). I had to repay the loan within seven years. My husband and I had to personally guarantee the loan by putting our house up for collateral. This was a herculean challenge, a huge risk. Not many people are going to mortgage their home for a business not knowing the end results. However when you are passionate, determined and laser focused, that’s what you do. We let go of the trunk of the tree and got out on a limb where the fruit is. There are no guarantees, no paycheck every Friday when you own your own business. It’s risk and reward.
MN: What was the biggest challenge you faced as a business owner? How did you overcome this challenge?
VM: The biggest challenge I faced involved capital and expansion. As you grow your business, expenses grow right along with you. Every entrepreneur knows that it’s imperative to keep the mentality of lean and mean but inevitably you must hire more employees to meet business demands. However you learn how to work smarter vs. harder as you become a seasoned business owner. As a bit of advice, have a business plan and a marketing plan to use as road maps as to how you are going to get through your daily hurdles and your projects. Proper planning also allows you to know in advance how you are going to achieve your short and long term goals. When you put your plans down on paper and see it in writing, the challenges are not as frightening. The tasks of operating and managing a business are still daunting, but, with plans, you know which priorities to focus on first. For example, would you go on a trip without a plan, without knowing where you’re going, what you’re going to wear, where you’re going to stay, the expense of the trip, etc.? As you can see it takes a plan to succeed.
MN: When did you realize that you had a viable business and what did you do to celebrate this milestone?
VM: We realized that we had a viable business when the phones started ringing. New customers were calling based on referrals. People were talking about Vera Moore Cosmetics. We did out of town trade shows to get new customers and to get the word out. People knew our brand. Our marketing strategies paid off and soon customers wanted to know how they could get the products in the future. These marketing events blossomed into another avenue of distribution, mail order. Also, and I will never forget. . . . A wonderful thing happened to me. I was at an event. I went into the bathroom and a lady took out a compact and it was a Vera Moore compact. Seeing the compact brought a feeling of exhilaration, created a Wow! moment, letting me know that all the years of hard work were worthwhile. I celebrated by thanking God for the faith to persevere, for allowing me to stay the course and not give up. I also reinvested back into my business by purchasing technology which allowed me to work more efficiently and effectively.
Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 – the document that expresses the want, will, and hopes of the people – the country’s political system has reflected a disproportionately low number of women. Black females are even scarcer. However, some black women have been trailblazers in the political arena, shaping history and leaving a legacy that cannot be erased.
Patricia Roberts Harris
Patricia Roberts Harris broke several racial and gender barriers throughout her distinguished political career. In 1965, she became the first black female ambassador when President Lyndon Johnson appointed her as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg. Two years later, she returned to her alma mater, Howard University, where she became the law school dean, making her the first black female law school dean in the country. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Harris to serve in his cabinet as secretary of housing and urban development. She was the first black female in a presidential cabinet.
Interracial dating may be deemed as a touchy subject by many people, but in this installment of Madame On The Street, we discovered it’s no big deal for many New Yorkers. Check out what they had to say about their dating choices.
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Current Occupation: Managing Director, Moguldom Studios
Favorite website: I’m pretty sure it’s Twitter.com! Yes, I read via the website.
Favorite read: Anything non-fiction about business.
Recent read: Act Like a Lady, Think Like A man—this was for work purposes, I promise!
2012′s ultimate goal: Make it better than 2011!
Quote Governing Your Mission or a Quote that Inspires You: “”I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. ” It’s from Nehemiah 6:3, and reminds me to stay focused on whatever mission I’m looking to accomplish.
Twitter handle: @calinative
Full disclosure: Madame Noire is owned by Moguldom Media Group. Phew, now that we got that out of the way, let’s get back to the task at hand. For this edition of Behind The Click, we highlight Liz Burr who is a techie in the video production world. She took her years of experience as a digital consultant and social media expert and applied it to her current position of managing director at Moguldom Studios, the video development arm of Moguldom Media Group.
What got you interested in tech?
I went to MIT initially as a Biology major, and many of my classmates were Computer Science majors, as this is a very popular major there. My classmates were always hacking things and making cool projects in their free time, and I felt left out because I couldn’t do any of those things. While I was very much an eager technology consumer in high school, I wanted to be able to make cool things without the help of my friends and classmates. After pledging my sorority (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.), we needed a new website for our local chapter. I decided that instead of asking my (male) friends to help me build it, I would teach myself. So, I taught myself HTML, CSS and I loved it! I felt so empowered. Since then I’ve continued to teach myself other coding languages, and am generally very curious about how things work. My mother also knew some programming languages, and when I was a kid I used to read through her college course books for fun, so maybe that helped empower me on some level.
Did you already know what you wanted to do by the time you got to MIT?
Yes and no. I knew I loved Biology, but that I didn’t want to be a doctor. I knew I loved media, but wasn’t sure how being at MIT would help me with a career in media. I entered MIT with the mindset that I would double major in Biology and Media Studies and see what happened from there. I ended up later realizing I didn’t love Biology for a career path as much as I thought I would. Trust me–I forced myself to stick with Biology for 3 years in college, but eventually I dropped it and focused more on majoring in MIT’s Comparative Media Studios program.
Here at Madame Noire we talk a lot about interracial dating. In one of our most popular (and most controversial) articles of all time, our writer listed reasons why black women should look to our fairer skinned brothers when it comes to dating options. We’ve done very popular slideshows about the white men in Hollywood who have a sista on their arm. We’re about keeping our options open when it comes to dating and marriage. That being said, please don’t look to the white man to save you from your brothas.
Yeah, I said it…because it had to be said.
As an editor on this site, it’s so frustrating to see black woman after black woman claim that she’s “done” with black men; that she’ll just go out and get herself a white man, as if they sell them at your local corner store. If you want to date a white man, by all means go right ahead but make sure you’re “swirling” for the right reasons.
It seems that some black women have forgotten that sickening, rejected feeling we get when we hear a wayward brotha talk about how he’s “upgraded” to white women because black women have too much attitude, are nothing but gold diggers and welfare queens. How are these hurtful stereotypes any different from black women saying black men are all cheaters, incarcerated or don’t take care of their children? It isn’t. Just like those stereotypes [hopefully] don’t apply to you, neither do these stereotypes apply to all black men.
I realize, some of us have been so scarred, so emotionally (and sometimes physically) battered by a black man or two, that we can’t recognize and appreciate the good brothas there still are in this world. If you want to cross the color spectrum, more power to you; but assuming that all of your male problems will disappear right along with the melanin, is just ridiculous. Any sane person, whether they’ve dated interracially or not, will tell you that people are people, men are men. Some are shady and some are sweet.
Furthermore, resolving to be with a white man by any means necessary might not be as easy as you think. Just like there are some black women who are not physically attracted to white men, there are some white men who are not physically attracted to black women. You heard John Mayer. Please believe, he’s not the only one who shares such sentiments.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to discourage or dissuade you from dating interracially; but stepping into the game believing that every white man is going to want you because you’re black, is simply unrealistic.
If and when you do find a white man to love you, how do you think he’ll feel knowing that you chose him and his color as a last resort? Just like we don’t want to be someone’s chocolate fantasy, I’m sure white men don’t want to be the milk in your coffee. There’s so much more to people than skin tone and there’s so much more to a successful relationship than the union of two different races. Whatever man you find, whether he’s black, white or leopard print, you better make sure the two of you have more in common than your obsession with each other’s hue.
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Meet Tanya Fields, the Creator and Executive Director of the BlK ProjeK. The BLK ProjeK is a much needed program that seeks to address food justice, public and mental health issues as they specifically relate to under served women of color. Through culturally relevant education, beautification of public spaces, urban gardening and community programming, Fields has set out to empower less fortunate women of color. The BlK ProjeK looks to create easy accessible resources and enrich the lives of women who are routinely overlooked and overburdened yet serve an important and critical role in the larger fabric of society. The goal is to strengthen overall mental and public health, as well as to elevate the collective self esteem of the larger communities they live in.
Turn the page to learn more about this phenomenal women and all the extraordinary work she is doing for us and our community. We had a blast chatting it up with Ms.Tanya, who’s not only informed and intelligent, but also funny as heck and full of charisma!
Are you looking to do something new with your afro? Look no further than the blow out. It straightens your hair but in a way that allows you to maintain the fullness and body you love.
If you’re ready to tackle this styling process head over to StyleBlazer.com to get tips from professional stylist, Gabrielle Corney.
Have you ever had a blow out before? Can you do them yourself?
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According to the Washington Post, Black women are bearing a heavier responsibility for family and friends than their white counterparts, even as they struggle to emerge from an economic downturn that has hit them harder. The Post came to this conclusion after it, along with the Kaiser Family Foundation, conducted a survey of 800 black women and discovered that Black women have more hardship paying bills and getting loans than their white female counterparts.
I’m not the least bit surprised by this information. In fact if it said that the vast amount of black women weren’t struggling financially I would be more surprised. Generally speaking, married or cohabitating black women have a median net worth of $31,500, which is generously less than their white counterparts. Black women are disproportionately more likely to receive a subprime loan and other predatory high-cost loans than any other demographic. And while women of all races tend to bring home less income and own fewer assets than men, the disparities for Black women are so great that their debt to wealth ratio results in only a median wealth income of $5. That’s right, generally speaking our acquired wealth amounts to the price of a Subway foot long hoagie. All of this combined has undermined financial sovereignty and stability for many families, leading to devastating economic consequences that evidence shows may disproportionately affect Black women.
However, the other portion of this article focused on a cause that we rarely talk about when discussing financial matters. According to the Post, nearly half of the women surveyed said they help out elderly relatives, and more than a third regularly assist friends or family with child care — outpacing white women in both cases. On the surface, it would seem admirable, if not idyllic – that with so much happening in the world it is nice to know that there is still a sense of community happening. But at what cost are we as Black women holding down the community while we struggle to make ends meet? I have two stories to help illustrate these situations.
About six months ago, I was driving a young woman in distress home after the father of her child refused to come pick her up from her job. We got to talking about her current situation and future goals. Currently she was in a bad situation, bouncing between the shelter and the house of her drug addicted mother and had no money, no family to fall back on or any other place to go. Despite the direness of her situation, this young woman still had it in her to assist another young woman in distress with housing. Despite not really having a place of her own to call home, this young woman offered to share her room with this stranger she had met in the shelter. Despite her generosity, the stranger, whom she had opened up her space to, stole the money that was supposed to be used to eventually find herself a place of her own.
Recently, I was in the gas company’s service center, paying my high-A$$ gas bill before they come to shut it off, when a woman in front of me started chatting with another older Black woman in the adjacent utility assistance line. Her son accompanied the older woman. I know this because she kept talking about him extensively. She said that he was a good boy, despite still living at home, being tatted up to his eyeballs and having a penchant for prison and baby mama drama. Mind you, the “boy” appeared to look somewhere in his late 30s.
Anyway, the conversation switched to talk about her heating bill, which was in the thousands, and how they were going to turn her heat off. I listened as she talked about the rising cost of home heating, which is true, and the struggle we were all having in paying our bills, which is another truth. However, I kept looking at her son, who seemed much more able bodied than his mother, who seemed to be somewhere near her 60s, and wondered why she had to be at the gas company at all begging for them to not cut her heat off.
This week we tackle questions about online degrees and money. We all know that higher education is a great way to improve your financial standing — but you have to pay dearly for the upgrade. Is it worth the time? Also, how do you deal with a partner who makes more money than you? Check out the questions, and be sure to comment.
I already have a full-time job and I really want to go back to school, but I don’t feel like I have the time. I’m considering an online program. Do you think they’re a good investment? I’ve heard that the degrees aren’t as well respected. — Ready for More
Dear Ready for More,
I won’t mince words: Some people do turn up their noses at online schools. However, historically Black colleges, community colleges and trade schools also get snubbed in various circles. Only you can decide what school and program best suits your needs. There’s only one consistent standard: You must pick a school that is accredited (which means the degree is universally recognized as meeting state and/federal standards). If not, it’s worthless. Going online may work best with your schedule and general program desires. If so, pick the best of the best. You can check out http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/ to make sure the schools you’re interested in meet the proper standards. Best of luck.
Tia’s Tips: Picking an Online School:
Take an aptitude test. It will help you determine what areas you are strong in and pick a major.
Research schools. Select schools that have a proven record in job placement in your field and a high graduation rate.
Make sure it’s an accredited program. Check http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/ to guarantee your degree is worth the investment.
My partner and I work in the same field, but our careers have taken totally different paths. In the past few years I’ve gotten three promotions and she’s had zero (we’re a same sex couple). How do I help her without being offensive? — Promo Bound
Dear Promo Bound,
I have one question: Has she asked for your help? While climbing up the corporate ladder is great, it isn’t something everyone aspires to do. Some people are content with their job duties, office environment and are genuinely fulfilled. However, if she is ready to make a move you must ask her whether she wants your advice — don’t just give it to her. You want to avoid making her feel uncomfortable or competitive. Next, ask her what she would like to know, or how can you be helpful. Don’t assume she wants hours of lecture time, or to be tracked daily. Let her set the pace. Hopefully you’ll both end up exactly where you want to be.
Tia’s Tips: Career Advice:
Offer first, don’t give. Make sure the person you want to help is ready to receive it — from you.
Ask how you can help. Long-winded lectures aren’t always best. Let the person determine what kind of support they need.
Remember each office is different. What works for you may not fit another person, or be successful in another office climate. Be flexible and talk about specific issues. Don’t generalize.
Got questions about your career path? Need life coaching or advice? Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include Life Advice With S. Tia Brown in the subject line.
S. Tia Brown, CSW, is a journalist and life skills coach whose work has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Teen People, In Touch Weekly, Essence, Heart & Soul and a host of other magazines. In addition, Brown’s witty commentary style has made her a familiar face on VH1, MSNBC, CNN and TV One. Follow S. Stia Brown on Twitter: @tiabrowntalks