May 2009

23213988OK, I subscribe to all the major business news magazines & papers. I set my alerts to get any kind of corporate business information that will give me a competitive advantage. I get tons of alerts a day- so much that it annoys me to no end. But I need to do it. Tonight, as I search through the internet, I wonder why the only “black corporate news” I’ve gotten in a while was the story on Xerox’s new incoming CEO. Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand the huge significance of this. I am very proud of Ms. Burns. But where is the rest of “our news”?

I get my “black news” from Black Enterprise, Black Engineer, The Network Journal, you know the standards. But outside of that, you never ever see any black news from Wall Street, or the Fortune 500 set unless it’s about Barack or Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Johnson or Magic Johnson. I never really paid much attention to it because I’ve always had my old stand by BE.

As I set out to create my Google Alerts, I did a search. Black Corporate Women as a search was almost non-existent. African American Corporate Women did no better as a search term. I know we’re out there. I don’t want to just see them when Working Mother trots them out in their “diversity” issue or the BE top Blacks in Corporate issue. I swear to you, if I didn’t know the names of many prominent Black people in Corporate America, I’d be lost. I know who to search for to find news on them. But what about others who are looking for role models and turn to the web for information only to be disappointed? I found more links on crap (sex ads, naked women, black women got attitudes) than anything of substance.

We’ve got to start holding the media outlets accountable. This is not new. As much as I love BE, I need some diversity in my reading material. Why is it I still get shocked when I see a person of color in the pages of Fortune, Forbes, Bloomberg (a rarity) or any of the news tv channels?

What are we going to do about it?

Til next time,

Adrienne Graham


597068Hi ladies. I usually try to keep this blog focused on professional development, but someone in my network, Empowered Black Women, posted a question in the forum. She asked what does it mean to be black and I had to respond from my gut. So here is my response. I hope we can start some dialog on this and hopefully a movement!

In a Corporate context I think this is a great discussion. You already know I’m of mixed parentage as well (for those who don’t know my Mom is Hispanic and my Dad was black).  For a long time I had trouble identifying with either race because of the unspoken “rules”. I wasn’t black enough to be black and I was too black to be Hispanic (I know weird right). But eventually I had to learn that I am who I am and I embraced both of my ethnicities. I am very proud of both of my heritages. I formed Empowered Black Women to both honor that side of me and to give sisters a chance to form bonds and enhance their careers as Black Women in the corporate world. There are groups, organizations, etc out there but nothing that ever lasts and the fact that Empower Me has been around 11 years is a testament. I formed the Empowered Latinas for the same exact reason. But I digress.

I’m going to be real here (and raw) so I apologize if offend anyone. A lot of girls I speak to, and even some in my own family feel ashamed to be black because of the negative images out on the internet and media. The Video Hoe image is the number one reason. The young ladies walking around with attitudes and ghettofied mentalities is the other. It hurts my heart when I do a Google search on black women the type of junk that comes up. There is hardly anything of a positive nature describing us. Even when I do an image search on Google or Yahoo or whatever, I am hard pressed to find any positive images. I have a cousin who is 25 and has her behind plastered all over Myspace. She grew up awkward and with braces and wasn’t cute by society’s standards. Today she is a beautiful young woman (with a 2 yr old child) and she has her self worth tied up in what complete strangers think of her almost naked pictures. Somewhere her mother failed.

I am so grateful to Dove & Proctor & Gamble for the My Black Is Beautiful campaign. From what I heard, it is an inspiring and uplifting program and is really taking off. But it’s not enough. We need to tell our daughters, cousins, granddaughters, nieces, friends how beautiful and unique they are…then make them see and feel it. As professionals we need to show them there is a pride and dignity that comes along with success….then be that example. We need to teach them that they are worthy and to never ever settle for less than the best. And finally we need to encourage them in their dreams and help them achieve if even through coaching them along. That is what it means, in my opinion, to be black.

We need to look at the Ursula Burns’, Michelle Obama’s and Anne Fudge’s of the world and realize we CAN do it. We need to let our girls and young women know that we CAN do it. And we can do it being proud of being Black Women. It’s time to take back our image of the Black Woman and redefine it to reflect the respect, dignity and success that comes along with it. We need to stop working against each other and start working with each other and dispel the myth that black women can’t get along or do anything for each other. We need to tell one another how beautiful we are. Stop letting our children (boys and girls) watch this nonsense on tv that degrades women and especially black women. BET, MTV, VH1 all of them need a message sent. I find things like Candy Girls, New York Gets a Job, Flavor of Love and all of those other nonsensical shows to be one of the culprits in why our girls have low images of themselves. THAT is ugly. And it makes me go on the defensive to prove that all of us are not “ugly” like that. They seem to find the girls with the most jacked up problems and exploit them on these shows. it shows them being ugly inside and out and further damages the Black Woman’s image.

I am proud of my heritage- both of them. I am a 40 year old, mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, friend, entrepreneur, author, recruiter…but most of all a BLACK WOMAN. I hope this answers your questions. I kind of got off on a tangent. LOL But I take this very serious.

Til next time,

Adrienne Graham

edu_Ursula_M_BurnsI have been so busy with my son’s graduation but finally had time to catch up on news today. On Thursday, Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy officially passed the torch to Ursula Burns. I have been watching the grooming process for a while now and it was a given that she would get the top spot. I am so very proud to see that she has finally gotten it. Here is the link to the article. She is the epitome of an Empowered Black Woman! Sisters, hers is an inspirational story and proof that you CAN make it happen.

Ursula Burns Named Xerox CEO

Former president takes helm at tough time for company
By Renita Burns – May 21, 2009

Xerox Corp. named Ursula Burns chief executive office Thursday. Burns, who currently serves as president, will replace Anne Mulcahy July 1.

Anne “leaves the CEO role having created a rich legacy that I am honored to build on,” said Burns in a statement. “It is humbling to follow such a great leader and to serve as CEO of such a great company. I’m grateful for the opportunity and, like Anne, focused on creating value for our customers, our people, our shareholders and our communities.”

Burns faces mounting challenges as Xerox recently cut 3,000 jobs to reduce costs, instituted a hiring freeze, and suspended matching contribution to employees’ 401(k[b1] ). Showing further signs of strain under tough economic conditions, the company’s first quarter revenue fell [b2] 18% year-over-year.

The move was not unexpected since Burns, 50, was seen as Mulcahy’s heir apparent since she was named president in 2007.

Mulcahy, 56, is credited for leading the company in a multibillion-dollar turnaround, despite her retirement she will retain her post as chairman.

Mulcahy will continue to chair the Xerox board. The announcement made at the annual shareholders meeting.

“Anne has focused intently on developing the next generation of leadership at Xerox, with Ursula Burns prepared to strengthen Xerox’s industry-leading position in the marketplace,” said N.J. Nicholas, Jr., lead independent director of Xerox’s board of directors.

Burns has spent almost 30 years with the printer and copier maker. She joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern and later assumed roles in product development and planning. As she rose through the ranks of the Norwalk, Connecticut-based company, she led several business teams including the office color and fax business and office network printing business. In 2000, she was named senior vice president of corporate strategic services and later took on the broader role of leading Xerox’s global research as well as product development, marketing and delivery.

She is a regular on Black Enterprise’s 100 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America list, and Xerox has been a staple on Black Enterprise’s Best Companies for Diversity list since it’s inception in 2005.

Here are a few more links to read.

120X120Buck the system and circumvent the Glass Ceiling and the Ol’ Boys Network…without asking 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 (PRWEB) May 22, 2009 — Let’s face it, it’s all in WHO you know, but also the ACTION you take. The book Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers- The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fearless Networking 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. Now you can learn how to network fearlessly at the in-demand live Fearless Networking Webinar on June 6th and June 9th.

Written by much sought after Recruitment Consultant and Networking Strategist Adrienne Graham, 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 in a pinch. “People are more willing to help people they know and have a relationship with,” says Graham. “This book inspires women to actively build relationships and take ‘who they know’ and turn it into a competitive advantage. The webinar allows them to immediately put what they learn to work for them”.

People are more willing to help people they know and have a relationship with
This book inspires women to actively build relationships and take ‘who they know’ and turn it into a competitive advantage. The webinar allows them to immediately put what they learn to work for them

If you are ready to become a Fearless Networker, reserve your space for the Fearless Networking Webinar on Saturday, June 6th at 9AM EST or Tuesday, June 9th at 6PM EST. Women can tune in to learn the strategies to become a powerful and empowered networker, followed by a Q & A session. Networking Strategy Coaching and a Fearless Networking Bootcamp are also available to individuals and groups who want to become better networkers. To get your copy of the book, learn about the author, or learn more about coaching and the Fearless Networking Webinar, visit

About The Author:

Adrienne Graham, the author of Go Ahead Talk to Strangers, is CEO of Hues Consulting & Management, Inc, a diversity recruitment consulting firm, and Founder of Empower Me! Corporation, a media, publishing and networking organization for women. She writes blogs on corporate recruiting, career management and professional development for women, and is the host of the Blog Talk Radio Show Views From the Top.

Title: Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers- The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fearless Networking
Author: Adrienne Graham
Publisher: Empower Me! Corporation
ISBN: 978-0-615-25666-5
Softcover, $19.95


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AdriennesmallGo Ahead, Talk to Strangers- The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fearless Networking

Let’s face it, this economy is on shaky ground. As witnessed by the collapse of some of Wall Street’s powerhouse companies like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, we never know when our cushy job is in jeopardy. If your company collapsed tomorrow, what would you do? Do you have a contingency plan like starting a business? Do you have a solid network of key decision makers who could help you in landing your next opportunity? Chances are if you haven’t taken the time to build a strong network, you don’t have many allies who can help you in a pinch. Go Ahead Talk, to Strangers, based on the book written by Adrienne Graham, gives you the foundations of becoming a fearless networker. In this session, some of what you will learn includes:

  • Branding yourself
  • Build, communicate with and tap into your network
  • Networking with top executives and key decision makers
  • Making a memorable impression on the people you meet
  • Positioning yourself as a subject matter expert and an asset
  • Being a fearless networker
  • Navigating and tapping into traditional and social networking
  • Using networking to advance your career or build your business

Don’t miss this dynamic session that prepares you to become a powerful and empowered networker. Your real networking experience begins at this seminar. Adrienne Graham gives attendees a look into her own networking journey, shares her experiences and best advice on building your own network from a position of confidence and strength, and gets the audience involved in interactive networking exercises.

Each registered attendee will receive a FREE copy of the book Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers- The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fearless Networking, Companion Workbook AND a Networking Journal.

Space is limited and advanced registration is required. Drawing will be conducted for a $25 American Express Gift Check, and 1 free networking strategy session with Adrienne Graham.

Date: Saturday, June 6, 2009

Time: 9AM- 12Noon EST


Date: Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time: 6PM – 9PM EST

Location: Webcast (internet & phone access required)

Cost: $89

Register today:

blackpeopleHi ladies.

I haven’t been blogging much these days because I have a lot going on with new exciting projects that I’m bringing to all of you throughout this year. The past few Sundays I’ve been watching Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Union on TV One. I always watch these with a conflicted heart because each year we have this State of the Union and there’s always a lot of encouraging speech, praise and calls to action. But it seems like after all the fanfare, the Black Community falls back to where they were. Then we do it all again the next year. That saddens me. We’ve got to do better.

Now don’t view this as me dismissing this event, because I’m not. I think it is vital that we keep these going, but it got me thinking.  What I’d like to see is the same people on the panels, not only put out a call to action, but DO SOMETHING to get things moving. Holding an event is not enough. We can talk about it all day long, but if there is no real effort being made outside of showing up on tv, nothing will ever get better. Now it’s not fair for me to put it on others. Doing better starts within each one of us. We have to take a long hard look at ourselves, individually, and do an assessment. Are we living up to our potential? Are we pushing our kids to live up to their potential? Are we encouraging ourselves to take action? If the answer to any of these is “no”, then we need to take action. People, Black Women in particular, can come up with a zillion reasons why we can’t make it or why we feel things are against us. I’m here to tell you life is rough. But just like they say “it’s not what you’re called but what you answer to”, it’s not your circumstance but how you react and move on from it to prosper that counts. If you don’t instill positive thoughts in your mind, you have no chance to succeed. If you don’t take positive actions to improve your life, you can’t succeed. If you don’t start moving yourself out of negative environments and circles, you cannot succeed.

Self accountability and hard work is the starting point. We cannot continue to blame others for our misfortunes. Education and knowledge is power. It starts with you. If you have children, you can’t even get their lives straight until you get yours straight first. Kids follow by example. If you’re not setting that example of excellence, they will have a harder road. Let them know and understand that being smart and focused is not a crime. Keep them interested in always learning. It breaks my heart to see some women say “I can’t. I’m stuck with no way out”. I don’t believe that in even the most extreme cases. Education and knowledge is the great equalizer. We have way too much access these days to have excuses to fall back on. The internet has a wealth of information, mostly for free. Pick up a book. Talk to people. If you can’t afford traditional education, get a non-traditional education. You can self-educate. Just because your education isn’t from a prestigious university doesn’t mean the education or knowledge is an less valuable. Look for programs, grants and scholarships and apply if you are determined to get a traditional education. There is money out there, you just have to look. Connect with successful people you admire. Surrounding yourself with successful people is sure to put you in a positive mindset. It can be as simple as sending an email or picking up the phone to reach out. Don’t think of people in terms of being untouchable. Everyone is accessible somehow, some way. If you don’t ask, you’ll never get.

Upgrade your relationships. We all have different types of friends. The ones you go shopping with. The ones you can discuss world issues with. The ones you had from childhood. But all friendships aren’t meant to last forever. At some point we all experience a friend who is overly negative and adds nothing of value to your friendship. You dread having conversations with her because you know how they’ll turn out. These are the friends you prune from your inner circle. I know there is a lot to be said for loyalty and friendship. But you can’t allow negativity to invade your space. If you’re in a circle where you’re the smartest one, it’s time to find some smarter friends. If you’re in a circle where all they do is bitch about men and problems, it’s time to find happier friends. If you’re in a circle where all they do is cry over money woes or robs peter to pay paul with no plan to get out of the situation, it’s time to find savvier friends. You cannot allow others, no matter how long you’ve known them, to bring you down. Even the strongest of women will succomb to this negaitvity if exposed to it enough. Don’t be afraid to start over.

If you feel you cannot pull yourself up by yourself, get help. There are support groups and mentors out there willing to help. Now be careful though. If you join a support group, make sure it’s not a pity party but a group with goals on helping one another to succeed. Also be careful in choosing a mentor. Not everyone is meant to mentor people. Make sure there is good synergy between you and get at least two or three people to mentor you. Create an encouragement board. Some people call them vision boards. Cut out powerful words, affirmations, phrases and captions and put them on the board. You can also add images of what you wish to succeed. Keep it in a prominent place where you’ll constantly see it. Refer to it often, especially when you feel down.

Immerse yourself in things other than celebrity gossip or entertainment. Get politically active.  Get involved in empowering conversations. Get dialog going within your own household and talk to your kids. It has always bugged the hell out of me how women will blow up a conversation thread about Beyonce’s weave or last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, hair & makeup, or the Chris Brown/Rhianna saga. You’ll find threads online 40 pages deep. But throw out a conversation about goal setting, starting a business, helping one another, or anything work related, and it gets ignored. People, we’ve got to do better. I’m not saying entertainment doesn’t have it’s place. But have an opinion about something other than idle gossip! We need more intelligent dialog.

If you are a person who has achieved success, this blog is for you too. What have you done to uplift another person? Do you mentor or otherwise give your time? What are you willing to do, as your part, in helping our community? You cannot make the mistake so many have made. You cannot get into the upper echelon then cocoon yourself away from the world saying “not my problem”. I’m not saying you have to single-handedly save the entire world or Black Community. But don’t shut yourself off. The biggest complaint I hear from women, especially Black Women is that the sisters who made it turn their backs and are unwilling to reach back to help. Let’s work to dispel this notion. Get involved and give back. Remember, you once needed a hand. If someone gave it to you, consider it paying it forward. If nobody helped you, remember that feeling and work to help others as you wised someone would have helped you.

If you want something bad enough, go out and fight for it. Nothing is given in this life. You have to fight and sweat for it. Don’t let anyone or anything keep you from achieving it. If the election of President Obama has taught us anything, it’s that anything is possible. Say it with me again ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. It’s up to you to level the playing field. Not President Obama, Black “Leaders”, the government, your boss, nobody. Only YOU. Decide what you want to do and go for it with full force. Find out what you do best and work to refine those skills and create your brand. Be confident in what you do so others will believe in you. Remember, if you don’t believe in you nobody else will. What do you want to be synonymous with? What do you want your legacy to be? What do you want your message to the world to be?  Show up, be accountable, and start talking! Most importantly, start DOING.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham