January 2009


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact Person: Adrienne Graham
Company Name: Hues Consulting & Management, Inc
Phone Number: +1 866.779.4830 or +1 678.549.4028
FAX Number: +1 253.559.4028
Email Address: info@huesconsulting.com
Website URL: http://www.huesconsulting.com


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Fearless Networking, Without Asking Permission

 

Author Adrienne Graham will hold a book reading for the newly released Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers on February 7, 2009 at 12Noon EST.  Buck the system and circumvent the Glass Ceiling and the Ol’ Boys Network…without asking or waiting for permission. Learn the ABCs of networking from the woman who personifies networking! Become the networker you were born to be and be fearless doing it.

 

Atlanta, GA – January 31, 2009 – Author Adrienne Graham will hold a book reading for the newly released Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers- The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fearless Networking. The book  is a guide for women to elevate their networking game and be fearless about it. Networking is a team sport; and if you don’t get in the game, you’ll come up short on your career aspirations. Let’s face it, it’s all in who you know, but also the ACTION you take.

 

Written by the much sought after Recruitment Consultant and Networking Power Broker, Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers is a practical guide that gives readers key tips and personal networking experiences designed to show that all women can become fearless networkers. Women find it difficult to make time to network because they don’t make the time to fit it in their hectic schedules, or they fear that it won’t benefit them. Most don’t know how to network effectively, so they feel it doesn’t work for them. But with the economy in shambles and jobs (and companies) being obliterated daily, networking allows people to build key relationships they can tap into during their time of need. People are more willing to help people they know and have a relationship with.

“I am a successful Talent Acquisition Consultant and CEO. I am a Networking Power Broker who has mastered traditional and social networking. My Blackberry contains some pretty powerful people I can turn to at any time for advice or just to chat. I wrote the book on Fearless Networking and set the bar for how all women network in the 21st century” says Graham. “This book inspires women to actively build relationships and take “who they know” and turn it into a competitive advantage”.

 

Graham is hosting a book reading on the web on Saturday, February 7th at noon EST. Women all over the world can tune in to hear passages from the book and will have the opportunity to ask Graham questions about becoming a fearless networker. To get your copy of the book, learn about the author, or register for the book reading, visit www.goaheadtalktostrangers.com.

 

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22514097OK we’ve heard over and over again about how we have to get down and dirty and sometimes try off the wall tricks to land a job in this economy. Well, I have heard and tried just about every trick in the book. Some are a bit “out there” but effective none the less. You can try some or all of the tricks I’m about to reveal, but be responsible about it. Desperate times call for desperate measures so you must have the hunter instinct and be willing to try the unusual.
  • Find out who the hiring managers are at companies you would like to work at and then treat them to lunch! Managers get tons of resumes from tons of people on a daily basis. Hardly any stand out on paper, so this is your chance to shine and make a lasting impression. Reach out to the manager to “network”. Don’t ask for an interview or even intimate that you are on the market. Once you exchange a few email and perhaps a phone call to introduce yourself, suggest you meet for lunch. Then you can use this opportunity to let the manager talk about the company, their department and any hiring needs they may have. When you have your cue, mention that you might be interested in learning about any opportunities. At this point, give them a Resume Card, not an actual paper resume. If your card is designed right, it will have just enough information and key points to make you shine. But don’t leave it there. Follow up thanking them for their time and offer to forward a resume “just in case”. Then KEEP IN TOUCH. You don’t want them to forget about you.
  • Say you’re a Graphic Designer looking for work or freelance projects. Here’s a tip someone share with me. Wish I could take credit but I can’t. Do a search of Creative Director or Art Director job ads. Follow them until you know they are filled. About a month after it is filled, reach out to the new person in the position and introduce yourself.  Get to know them and make sure to let them know you do graphic design and that you are available for freelance or project work.  Ask to send a link to your online portfolio (which you will no doubt have because you ARE a professional, right?). Then follow up ever so often to establish a trusting relationship.  Of course the rules differ slightly from position type to position type.  But you get the gist of it.
  • Try the unthinkable. A few months back, I posted about a former Wall Street employee who was at his wits end. He had lost his job and had to send his family to stay with his wife’s parents so he could find work in NYC.  Well, this gentleman, feeling he had nothing to lose, would go out into downtown Manhattan and hand out copies of his resume. He also had one of those “Job Wanted” sandwich boards made. Well after almost a year, he got a job because his tactic worked.  Now I’m not saying do anything that will degrade you or make you feel uncomfortable. But as the title of that blog entry said Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures.  His tactics got him coverage in the Wall Street Journal, among other media outlets and it netted him a job.
  • Think Bond. James Bond. You have an arsenal at your fingertips that you take for granted every day.
    Remember the old Get Smart episodes where he’d get a message and after the message played, it said that the tape would self destruct? No, I’m not suggesting sending a tape or CD that will actually self destruct. But I am saying follow that lead. Everyone send resumes. We live in the YouTube age.  Many computers have the capability to play video, CD and DVD. Why not put together an homage of your past experience?  This would go over well for the more creative type jobs.  But who says only the creatives get to have fun? A long, long time ago, I had to take a series of temp jobs to get back on track financially. I decided to register with an agency and take an Admin job. Well I put together a CD with an overview of my “experience” (had to exaggerate a little because I was a Recruiter, not an Admin) and it culminated in the top 10 reasons why they should hire me. I later found out it was between me and two other ladies. I won out because of my CD. And even long after I left that temp job, the manager kept it on his desk as a reminder! You can break out your webcam, fire up Microsoft’s Windows Media Maker (which is free and already installed in most PCs) or use a media maker on Mac, and burn baby burn.  My teenage son has put together his own football highlight tape using his laptop.  Why can’t you do the same? Don’t forget to make an eye catching label and cover.
  • Drop the pride. We all have an ideal image of the perfect type of position. But in times of job scarcity, you have to adapt and accommodate.  You must be willing to step out of your norm to try new jobs. The more flexible you are, the better chance you’ll have to find a job. Now don’t resign to just taking “anything”. But keep your options flexible and open.
  • Pay per interview. Hold on. It’s not what you think. If you’re out of a job, chances are you don’t have funds to “pay” for an interview of any kind. But hear me out.  A young man, Javier Pujals, came up with an idea of paying per interview.  The pricing structure is based on actual real jobs posted and priced per level (HR, Managers/Directors, CEO/President). He gets 20 minutes of uninterrupted interview time with one of the above mentioned. The money he “pays” will go to an agreed upon legitimate charity. He set up a website to chronicle his journey. http://www.buyaninterview.com He is being very innovative and socially responsible.
  • Big companies not hiring? Well position yourself as a consultant. Attend industry events and market yourself as a “business”. Consultants in a sense are their own business. If you’re an Accounting whiz, hire yourself out to handle overflow from accounting firms.  Tax time is a great time to contract yourself out if you specialize in taxes. If you’re more of a general bookkeeper, you can sell yourself to handle bookkeeping for small businesses, or take overflow of other bookkeeping businesses. There are opportunities out there.
  • Recognize that social media and web 2.0 is dated. EVERYBODY (including me) uses Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, etc. There is nothing new or innovative about social networking any more. But you can do something to make yourself stand out from the crowd.Tap into your creativity. Know that recruiters are watching these mediums. Get out front and get seen.
  • Dress up everyday in your best interview attire and go hang out downtown.  Pay attention to the people who frequent certain hot spots like the local coffee shop or restaurant. Get a feel for who all goes in there on a daily basis. Once you’ve done your research, ask the shop or restaurant owner if you could host a group meeting there and advertise it with flyers.  You can put together your own “lunch and learn” and pick topics that would appeal to people and show off your professional knowledge. Or you could start a lunch meet up type thing. Reach out to the “regulars” and let them know that you are interested in starting a Lunch Up. Invite them to join you and bring co-workers. You get to network, meet new people and share your knowledge. Pretty extreme, but it works! But DON’T go begging for a job. It’s ok to let them know you are passively on the market. But don’t beat them over the head with it.
  • Get some resume cards made.  I create these for clients so reach out to me for more details.  A resume card is better than a resume, especially if you include your Linked In profile on it. They allow you to give people a brief overview of who you are and takes away the awkwardness of carrying around resumes. You can think of them as your own business cards.  When you run into someone who’s worth networking with, you won’t have to say “I don’t have any cards”. Who says only the employed should have business cards? Hand them out with care and be sure to use a P.O. Box address instead of your home address (for safety).
  • Volunteer. You can volunteer your time and expertise to non profits.  Keep in mind, CEOs and major decision makers often serve on boards of non profits. This is your opportunity to give back and get to know the CEO or decision maker of companies you’d be interested in working with. Now don’t volunteer for the sole purpose of connecting with a decision maker. That’s not genuine and people can spot a fraud a mile away. Approach volunteering with a pure heart and give it 110%. You never know who’s watching and where opportunities can lead.
  • Chronicle your job search (tactfully) in a blog.  Then promote that blog. If nobody sees it, how will they know of your creativity?

Step back and think about the times we live in. Every day, the media, much like a cuckoo clock pops out announcing “thousands of jobs cut, thousands of jobs cut!”.  There is a fine line between clever and stupid. Carefully plan out your tactics and make sure you don’t offend, harass or embarrass.  The goal is to capture the attention of those who may be in a position to hire you. Let them see your ingenuity, not view you as a sophomoric college prankster.  Multiple strategies will net you more leads than just relying on one or two. Combine your “extreme tactics” with traditional ones. It’s nobody’s job to find you a job.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

23291063Well now! It’s two days after inauguration day and I am stoked. Whether or not you voted for our new President, Barack Obama, one thing was evident on Tuesday- people are ready for a real change and to take action. The confetti has been swept up, the halls and streets cleaned, the formal wear put away. Now it’s time to get down to business. Tuesday felt just like New Years to me. People making renewed commitments and vows to do better. And just like New Years, these new vows and commitments will fall to the wayside if you’re not careful. So what are you going to do?

Take action-If you woke up this morning and realized that nothing has changed at your job or the company is facing some serious troubles, it’s time to make a plan. You need to find out from someone in the know what the status of your company and position are. If you don’t receive an answer you like, revamp that resume and put your ear to the ground. Start investigating other opportunities. I know the job market looks like crap right now. But trust me when I say there are opportunities if you have skills. A lot of people will say they don’t have many skills that they know of other than what they’ve been doing for the past how many years. Well, if this is true, then you need to figure out what you really want to do and then start getting the training you need to do it. It’s that simple. We live in the age of internet and YouTube. If you cannot afford to pay for college or training classes, there is no law that says you cannot seek out free training on the web. The point is, don’t make excuses, resolve to find a way.

Brush up your resume- I have a friend who hasn’t needed to use her resume in 10 years. She came to me and asked me to take a look at it. Honestly, it looked like something copied out of a resume book. The format was 80′s like and ineffective. So I sat down with her to rework it and highlight her accomplishments. If you are not good at writing, hire a professional resume writer. You want to put forth your best first impression, which will be on paper. Don’t leave it up to chance. Let the professional do his or her job.

Reach out to people-Yay! You get to network! Start reaching out to people you know to get their perspective on the job market, their industry and business, and how they perceive you as a professional. Ask for honest feedback and be prepared to take it gracefully. Start reaching out to people on your professional (social) networks. Don’t come out and ask for a job. That’s tacky. Instead ask to schedule some phone (or face to face time if possible). You don’t want to come to them hat in hand. It’s better to approach them as someone who can advise you. They’ll be more receptive. Don’t pester them every week. I can’t stress this enough. Recently, I had to delicately tell someone in my network to stop emailing me every week with his resume and “weekly update”. It’s annoying and rude. You can end up turning people of. Remember to keep other people’s schedule in mind and be respectful of their time. And if you’re inviting them out to coffee, lunch or whatever, pick up the tab. It’s the least you can do and consider it an investment.

Take an inventory of You- Start from the top down. Do you need a fresher, more polished hairstyle? Yes, I’m serious. Go ahead and get your hair done. Next take a look at your wardrobe. Can you stand to update your wardrobe. You can pick up a few inexpensive pieces to add to your wardrobe. Just make sure they are well constructed. Could you stand some diction or speaking lessons? Take a class or join Toastmasters. Do you have bad habits that are inhibiting you from succeeding? Get rid of them. Some habits may be hard to break, but you must. Could your attitude need improving? Work on it. Take note of any negativity you may be exuding and vow to correct it. Start surrounding yourself with affirmations and positive people. Attitude adjustments start from within. Take a total 360 degree assessment of yourself and determine the areas you wish to improve. Then improve them.

Just do it. Make yourself get out there and start taking risks. Look for leads, go meet people, and fix the perceived flaws you may have. Only you can dictate how successful you will be. Take the pre-emptive measures to be successful.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

businesswomanI was listening to the pastor deliver his sermon yesterday and a few things he said struck a chord with me. His words moved me to blog, but I had to get my thoughts together before blogging.  The one consistent message he delivered was about changing your circumstances and making your own way. If you don’t like the circumstances you’re currently in, CHANGE THEM.

I’ve always been a firm believer that nobody should be stuck in a job that they can’t stand. Yes, I understand that REALITY dictates we need a paycheck to pay the bills. But I choose not to live my life by that edict.  I was never the type to commit to a long term position with any one company. My agenda was to get in, do the job, learn all I could and make as many contacts as I could before heading off to another position. This kept my skills from getting stale and kept me from getting bored. Once I’ve mastered something, or have completed my goals, it’s time for me to move on and find another challenge.  With a full time permanent position, in recruiting anyway, this was not possible.  My job has a beginning, a middle and an end. Once the mission is complete, there really isn’t much more for me to do. Many companies don’t want someone to come in and change the way things are done. Shame on them. I’m all about innovation and change.  That is why I love being a contractor.

Being a contractor allows me to create my own work opportunities. I get to pick and choose the companies I want to work with and how long I work with them. I can work on just one or several projects if I like and as long as my work is done and my deadlines are met, I don’t have anyone to answer to but me. I wasn’t always a contractor though.  When I first took a chance on contracting, I was what is referred to as a Temp.  Yes, there is a difference.  A temp is someone who works a job for a specific period and is in a sense “owned” by the agency who places them.  The agency sets their rate, places them with a client, and handles their payroll and taxes.  A temp also has specific work hours they have to honor.  A contractor is one who works with companies independently, handles her own billing, files her own taxes, and, in a sense, is running her own business.  As a contractor, I determine the number of hours I want to work and what hours I will work.  A temp works for someone else, a contractor runs her own business and manages her own projects and clients.

As I learned the difference, I had to make the business decision to outfit my home office to accommodate my business and clients.  As a recruiter, there are certain tools I need that big companies often have exclusive access to. Thankfully, these tools have been made affordable for small businesses and independent contractors.  One such tool is an applicant tracking system. I use this to manage not just my candidates, but also my projects and clients.  Since this was a vital component to my work, it made sense to get it.  I also have the other standard tools (computer, internet access, headset, Blackberry, etc). Not only can I be independent, I can also work anywhere in the world I want.  With my recruiting business and the work I do as a writer, coach and webinar facilitator, I can create my own opportunities.

I have always been entrepreneurial in spirit.  This is not my first business nor will it be the last.  I have had a catering business, promoted career fairs and seminars, and I even had an adult toy business. Yes, I did.  But it wasn’t through that Passion Parties or any of those other vendors.  I found my own distributors and  did my research so that there was no middle man.  I made my own way.  My point in sharing this is that I don’t like to wait for opportunities to find me. I make my own. And you can too. You just have to step out on faith and make a conscious choice to make your own way.

Take an inventory of your skills. What can you do well? Are you a whiz at cooking? Start a side personal chef or catering business.  Are you a math genious? Well, if you don’t have a CPA, start a part time bookkeeping and/or payroll company. If you’re great at taxes, you can do taxes part time.  H & R Block has a course you can take to become certified as a tax preparer.  Or if those kinds of numbers don’t appeal to you, start a math tutoring business.  If you’re a teacher or aspiring teacher, a tutoring business may be right for you.  If you have strong organization or administrative skills, a virtual assistant business is a good idea.  Have a bunch of grandma’s home made soap and lotions recipes sitting in the draw collecting dust? Start your own product line.  If you have skills with jewelry, start your own line. Can you channel your skills into consulting? Do it! Just make sure you investigate all of the logisticvs and legalities of starting your own enterprise.

There are a million and one ideas out there.  All you need to do is tap into your self. Bring what your good at to the surface and you could be making your own way.  Never settle on “just a job” or “just a paycheck”. That line of thinking keeps people poor or just getting by.  You must not be afraid to stretch your limits and do what you love. Maybe your side venture will only serve as just a side venture to go along with your day job.  That’s ok. At least you’re still creating your own opportunity. Or, if what you do doesn’t make a good business for you, figure a way to apply those skills to your current job.  Set your mind for achievement.  Don’t be content with staying in that one job.  Always look for ways to move up and out.

Some people are destined to be in the corporate world.  And that’s ok too.  But if you choose to remain in corporate, have a plan for advancement.  Don’t get too comfortable in any one job. When you see yourself getting complacent, or stuck in routine, it’s time to explore growth opportunities. Find mentors who are willing to help you advance. Get more visible within the company. I know you’ve read my other blog posts about branding and networking. Establish yourself as an authority in your area of expertise.  Get others to see and believe in your work so they can be legitimate references for you.  Volunteer for more projects and always continue your education.  And the most important thing you can do is surround yourself with positive people. That is self explanatory.

We all have the capacity to do more. Not everyone has the desire. If you have the desire, keep that going.  As long as you train yourself to not settle, you will be able to achieve and good enough will no longer be good enough.  Don’t be resigned to complain about your circumstances. You do have the power to change them.  Lie throws some unexpected curves at us all. But how you adapt and recover is in your hands. You can remain a victim and always wonder why you can get ahead, or you can be a proactive agent for yourself and achieve any professional goal you want. Read inspirational stories about other women who have taken their fate into their own hands.  Magazines like Black Enterprise, Working Mother, Inc, Fast Company, etc. often showcase stories of women who did it. Maybe this will inspire you to step out on faith.  For me, those stories are affirmations. But the real motivator for me is wealth building.  I’m building professional capital for myself and wealth for my family.  Marinate on that for a little bit. Then go out there and make things happen. You can do it.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

full_cover_smallHi ladies!

I wanted to announce that the book is finally ready!  After months of agony and stress over the publishing process (not writing) and the mishap with the proof copy, it is finally ready to be unveiled to the world.  Please tell all your friends about the book and make sure you get a copy for yourself.  You can find it at http://www.empowermeseminars.com/book.htm. I am very excited and hope you all enjoy the book and find it useful. Keep in mind because it’s not through a traditional publisher, the books will be sent to me first then I will ship them to you. Please expect 12-14 days maximum for delivery. (Sorry!)

I have not announced any dates for a reading party or any workshops yet. But those details will be forthcoming. Thank you for your support and encouragement through this process. I am truly blessed to have so many people behind me.

Adrienne

22873766It’s no secret that I am not a corporate type person.  I thoroughly enjoy the freedom of being a contractor and running my own business.  I get to meet so many wonderful people and long term connections in my dealings and I get the luxury of variety.  That means I never get stuck in one place for too long unless by choice.  I get in, do what I do and get out.  I love it.  Every now and then, I run into a situation where someone feels threatened by me (nonsense) or I get false promises of heading projects.  Let’s face it, I take contracts based on the ability to flex my skills and challenge myself.  Rarely do I let much get under my skin.

But I don’t want to talk about me.  I’d rather address the collective.  How many of you have been promised something at the office and then find out you were either thrown under the bus for someone else or not included in the decision to go in a different direction?  It happens a lot in corporate America, and it can be really discouraging.  But how you handle it determines a lot.  Sure, the easy thing to do is throw a temper tantrum, or your boss. But in reality, you just can’t do that.  I know you WANT to, but you can’t. I’ll be honest, the “old me” would be livid and would let the boss have it (that’s why I’m not in corporate LOL).  But these days, I choose to be more strategic in my thinking. 

You have to look at the potential consequences of acting out.  There’s a chance you demotion, being placed on warning or probation, or even of being fired.  That’s never a good thing, of course unless you are looking for an out. but even then I would advise against acting out.  Instead, make it simple on yourself.  Start by documenting.  Always document every conversation and keep every email and voice message that has anything to do with what was promised to you.  That’s your leverage and your proof.  Make sure in each conversation, you ask the other person (or persons) to clarify points so everyone is on the same page. Then repeat back what was said and ask if you’ve got it right.  Don’t rest your hopes on anything unless it’s in writing.  I’ve found over the years that some people’s word means absolutely nothing. I believe things when I get it in writing.

If you’ve been slighted or passed over, after you’ve calmed down, request a meeting with your boss.  Prepare a list of logical questions that will make him or her deal with the situation and give it to you straight.  Don’t allow them to double talk or wiggle out of an explanation.  Don’t go in there like you’re the District Attorney, but by the same token, expect honest answers.  You may or may not get them, but expect them none the less.  Ask if there was something you did or didn’t do that contributed to the change.  If there was something, find out how it can be rectified.  Ask your boss to reconsider.  If you’ve been a proven talent at your company, come into the meeting with documentation to back it up.  Show your boss why you are the one for this project or lead position.  The more compelling ammunition you have, the better you can make your point. The calmer you are and the more confidence you exude, you might just be able to turn things back into your favor. 

A special note for my sisters. You know automatically, regardless of what the relationships may be in the office, Black Women are labeled as hostile or attitudish.  Even the most friendly woman is viewed as having the “potential” to get ghetto when necessary.  Personally, I hate that stereotype. But I never give anyone the satisfaction of saying “I told you so”.  It is vitally important that sisters maintain their cool.  I have a friend who is a high level director for a major company. One day, she called me sounding stressed. She unloaded about her day and how the offending party was rude and disrespectful to her.  But she maintained her professional demeanor. She had a colleague sit in on the call with her just so she’d have a witness. She said when she left the office, she sat in her car very upset. When we spoke I told her she needed to be proud of herself. I am known (in my past days) to have a jump off attitude when necessary. But there’s a time and a place for everything. I learned to pick & choose my battles.  I don’t do disrespect very well.  With that phrase, she felt better.  See, she’s the only Black Woman (in a power position) in her group.  She felt like nobody would understand what she was feeling.  But I did. She saw the situation for what it was and decided it wasn’t her and she moved on.  Sometimes we don’t have that outlet, the luxury of having a friend who understands and can talk us down in the heat of the moment.  So we need to always be on guard and mindful of the “time and place.

The bottom line is you cannot allow people to walk all over you. In corporate you must command a respect and do all you can to keep yourself in the forefront of people’s minds as a hot commodity.  Don’t allow things to go unchallenged. If you’re a diligent worker and a super start producer, protect that status by standing up for yourself and constantly producing “A” game work.  Corporate America is one big strategic game. The better you learn how to play the game and position yourself for success, the further you’ll go.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

untitled-2Happy New Year!!

Boy I’ll tell you, I was never so glad to see a year end as much as this year. 2008 was an unbelievable year. But I’m glad it’s over. Now is the time to move upward and onward. There are so many opportunities out there awaiting everyone, whether you know it or not. I come into 2009 full of optimism, hope and high expectations.
I want 2009 to be the year of professional development for every woman. I don’t believe in resolutions as much as I do goals. This year, professional development is at the top of the goal list. Contrary to popular belief, professionals development is not limited to just college courses or continuing education classes. You can make a proactive choice to do something the enhance yourself each month.
One of the cheapest and easiest things to do is read more. Go out an get books that will help you excel in networking, your industry or profession, leadership, etc. This month I decided I’m finishing the book Basic Black by Cathie Black of Hearst. While a lot of the information in there is old hat to me, there are some gems in there that I will implement. So far I’m enjoying the book and look forward to finishing it. There are several other titles I am getting myself ready to read. I’ll keep you posted.
Next, don’t take YouTube for granted. Yes crazy, zany people post crazy, zany videos on YouTube. But did you know you can find just about any instructional and/or informational video on there? Go to YouTube. There are tons of videos on there you can actually learn from, and it won’t cost you a dime. You can also find tutorials online by search the web.
Pick a conference. Any conference. Yes, this costs money. But think of it as an investment. Depending on your goal, one or two conferences should allow you to walk away with contacts, information and a new outlook on your career. Choose wisely and make sure to talk to someone who has been to the conferences to make sure it’ll be worth your while. If a conference is too costly, scale back and go to local events. For example, SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) has local chapters and they hold not only monthly meetings, but also special events. Check out your local chapters of the associations you belong to. Make a point to get out there and start mingling.
Learn a new language. OK I know this seems a little far fetched, but answer me this. Why NOT learn a new language? We are, after all, living in a global economy. Regardless of what you title may be, I think everyone can benefit from learning a new language. You can purchase programs like Rosetta Stone, or you can go to a college and attend a continuing education class, or you can get Cd’s and tapes from the library or internet for free. Meet Up has language specific groups that get together and meet in their local areas. If you learn better with other people, this is ideal for you. All it’ll cost you is some gas money and a meal. I am still working on my Spanish. I’m hoping to move onto either Italian or Japanese next. Oh yeah, knowing a second language can possibly increase your earning potential. Marinate on that for a little bit.
Network, network, network!!! You know I had to include the topic of networking in this post. Networking with other people can be an education in itself. Target people who are where you want to eventually be. Get to know them and put in some face time with them (if they’re local). I cannot stress enough that you need to build relationships. Get out there and put in the time, otherwise how do you expect people to want to help you later on when you really need it?
Tune into the news. No not the 6PM “five people were held hostage at the local Dairy Queen” news and definitely not E. Tune into CNN, MSNBC, Fox Business News, CNBC, Bloomberg, any news station that gives you insight into the industries and the world they affect. Pick up the newspapers and read more. Keeping in tune with current events not only educates you on the world, but gives you the arsenal you need in almost any networking situation. Read the blogs related to your industry and/or company. You’ll find those interesting as well.
Invest in certifications or licenses (if applicable to your professional development). My sister decided that although she has a real estate license and degree in Accounting, she now wants to add tax preparation to her skills. She is going to take the H & R Block Tax class. I have a diversity certification, but decided I wanted to add a few more recruiting certifications under my belt. I also want to get a private investigator license. Don’t ask! I believe getting more certifications and upgrading your licenses show that you have a continued commitment to your profession. It definitely can’t hurt.
Get a coach. Yes this can be rather expensive. But a good coach is worth his or her weight in gold.  A coach can guide you and advise you on you career path. I think the right coach is a valuable investment in your career and will give you and advantage over most people.  Think about enlisting the services of a coach and try it out for a few months.  If you don’t notice and significant changes, then you don’t have to continue.  But if you want to get out of stall mode and start making advancements, a coach is the way to go.
Attend free and low cost workshops, seminars and webinars.  These are perfect for gathering information.  Most times, though, they are meant as an outlet for the presenter to sell their products. But, if you go there and listen attentively and take notes, you’ll leave learning some new things.  It may not be everything you wanted to learn, but it’ll put you on the right path.  I take the free events for what they are.  I gather my information and research more after I leave.  I rarely make a purchase unless I feel it’ll help me in the long run.  But remember, they are for informational purposes only so don’t get sucked into making any purchases you’re not comfortable with.  This is not to say all workshops and seminars are like this.  Mine are actually learning sessions.  There are some out there that are specifically for learning.  Pick and choose carefully.
Take a continuing education class. Yes I know, I said this is not the only way and I meant it. But it’s still a good way to get training. I plan on taking a few continuing ed classes through the local college. But also, because I am serious about becoming a better writer, I’ll be taking some course through Media Bistro. If you search the web, I know you’ll be able to find courses that are ideal for you.
What will you do for professional development this year?
Til next time.
Adrienne Graham

1212_bus_vspink1Have you ever wondered why outside of Tyra Banks, you never saw any women of color, more specifically black women advertised anywhere in Victoris’a Secret? I love the VS brand, I really do. But it always bothered me that there wasn’t a fair representation of women of color in there.  I’ve never seen any Latina, Middle Eastern,or Asian women represented.  It’s sad that in this day and age this is still an issue. 

Victoria’s Secret launched a collegiate line including 33 schools back in June of 2008.  Only recently though, they decided to include HBCUs.  While they won’t admit it, I suspect they sped up the inclusion because of a young lady Amelia Reid who started a movement on Facebook called “HBCU Ladies Wear Victoria’s Secret Pink Too” and blogged about her displeasure that people like her were not represented. Not only is she an HBCU student, she is also an employee of Limited Brands- the parent company that owns VS.  Hhhhmmmmm. 

In any case, while late, VS is now in partnership with some HBCUs and is offering paid internships and scholarships to HBCU students. I think in theory it’s a great idea and it will help further the agenda of getting more black women educated and opportunities in the industry.  But I can’t help but wonder if this is just a move to pacify us. Yes, the CEO Richard Dent claims the company had been in talks with HBCUs way before Amelia’s blog.  I’m on the fence with that one.  We all know how the corporate heads try to cover their tracks.  I’ll definitely be watching as this unfolds. If you want to read the entire story, you can find it on Black Enterprise at http://www.blackenterprise.com/business/business-news/2008/12/16/pink-rolls-out-hbcu-apparel/

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

Hi all.

This year I decided to do things a little differently. I’ve been writing this blog for about two years and all you’ve had to interact with were words on a screen. I decided it was time to add video to my blogging. I wanted to give you an opportunity to see the person behind the words. Now I must warn you, I am not used to this. I can speak in front of hundreds of people, I can teach a class, I can interview people via video conferencing. But there was something nerve wracking about getting in front of the camera. If you can’t tell by watching, I was a nervous wreck. I did at least 15 takes before deciding on this one.

I will try to bring a video entry to the blog 3-4 times per month. This is a year of change, new beginnings, new opportunities. That’s why I decided to shake it up a little bit.

As I sat here this evening trying to figure out what I should say, so many things crossed my mind. I don’t like ending on a bad note, but there was so much that happened this year that cannot ever be forgotten. We lost several major institutions this year along with tons of jobs, housing values, 401K values and in some cases hope. Pretty messed up, huh?

Well, the bad news is that we cannot change the year that was. The good news is it’s over! We get a chance to make a fresh start in a new year. I for one feel very optimistic about 2009. I choose not to dwell on the negative of 2009 because in spite of it all, there were many great experiences in 2008. Onward and upward. I look forward to the new President and his administration. I look forward to climbing out of this financial hole that we dug for ourselves. I look forward to taking advantage of the markets and investing in stocks that I know will rebound. I look forward to the many business opportunities what await me in 2009. Yes, I am very optimistic about this new year.

The year is over in about 20 minutes. Once I count down and ring in that new year, I will leave all of the negative behind me and start fresh. Some people may feel that it’s just another day and that there is no real “do over”. I’m here to tell you there is. It’s all in perspective. Take time to evaluate what you need to do to better yourself. Make this year a year of change. Make things happen this year. Don’t stand in the sidelines, get out and participate in life. Go out and find (or make) opportunities, don’t wait for someone to hand them to you. If you wait, you’ll be waiting a long time.

I know things seem bleak right now to some people. But you have the power to direct your life and to achieve your goals. Bring a passion and desire into 2009 to succeed. I wish you all many blessings, much prosperity and great success in 2009. I will do my part in bringing you information I can to help guide you through your professional journey.

Happy New Year!

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

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