Latino CEOs Share Insights On Business Success

man sitting in chair talking

By Robert Reiss

As American companies focus on their growing success, perhaps one of the most powerful and widely accepted ways is for them to continue to expand on their achievements through building more diversity and inclusion efforts, especially at the executive and board levels. It’s not just the right thing to do, but research has proven to be effective in helping to enhance revenue, recruiting, innovation and reputation. However, findings from a recent study by the Alliance for Board Diversity show that in 2016 less than 15% of Fortune 500 board seats were held by minorities.

One of the fastest growing segments in the workplace is the Latino U.S. workforce, which has grown significantly from 10.7 million in 1990 to 26.8 million in 2016 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, only 3.5% of Fortune 500 board seats were held by Latinos in 2016. In fact, 2010 data from the Alliance for Board Diversity suggests that these figures represent a meager .5% increase in the representation for Hispanic board members between 2010 and 2016.

As there are currently only 11 Fortune 500 Latino CEOs, I thought it would be of value to gain insights from key Latino executives on building exceptional businesses and on fostering growth of Latino executives. The CEOs interviewed are:

– Pedro J. Pizarro, President and CEO, Edison International

– Geisha Williams, President and CEO, PG&E

– Cid Wilson, President and CEO, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility’s (HACR)

Robert Reiss: What is your philosophy for building an exceptional business in today’s world?

Geisha Williams: One of the biggest keys is creating a workplace where every employee feels comfortable speaking up and where leaders listen and follow up. Organizations that can achieve this transparent, engaging environment are better able to challenge old ways of doing business. They’re able to quickly call out risk areas and find solutions. And they’re better positioned to identify and pursue opportunities to grow and succeed. 

Pedro J. Pizarro: My philosophy for building an exceptional business is simple: Hire, retain and promote exceptional people, and create an environment where every team member feels like an owner. Our team must have a sense of purpose, be free to innovate, and feel energized by our mission. Equally important is fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. Diversity of backgrounds creates diversity of thought, and I encourage my team at every level to bring that to bear on the issues we face, even when that means disagreeing with me. That give-and-take process yields the insights needed to successfully navigate constant change, and flattens the hierarchies that can hold companies back.

Cid Wilson: My philosophy on building an exceptional institution starts with a compelling purpose-driven mission. Working with our board of directors and a dedicated staff of leaders, we are relentlessly pursuing our mission of advancing Hispanic inclusion in Corporate America. Secondly, you have to master the art of anticipated change. What worked in the past may not work tomorrow. When change is on the horizon, exceptional institutions adapt while others fall behind. Thirdly, having a strong reputation and credibility of being best-in-class in executing your mission will differentiate your institution and stand out from the rest. Lastly, exceptional institutions plan to achieve and dare to exceed so that they see great results and outcomes.  I believe in the time-honored principle that when you “under-promise and over-deliver,” your business or institution will create exceptional value and solidify your external credibility.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

The great Goya family


Since its humble beginnings in 1936, Goya Foods has expanded worldwide while keeping family values at its core.

Whether as a small store in lower Manhattan or as an international company with more than 4,000 employees, Goya Foods has always kept family values at heart. In fact, the Unanue family refers to their employees, surrounding communities, customers, suppliers, and business partners as “la gran familia Goya,” or “the great Goya family,” said Bob Unanue, the company’s president and CEO. “We are the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States and the premier source for authentic Latin cuisine, but we are not just a food company,” he said. “We have become a part of families and tables across the world. We have a tremendous sense of responsibility to our society ‘family,’ and as we have grown, our commitment to family grows even stronger.” Toby Babeuf, regional vice president for Wells Fargo in Summit, New Jersey, said, “When you visit Goya, you’re humbled by the magnitude of its international operations and family-oriented management style.”

From humble beginnings to a worldwide expansion

The family has grown quite a bit over its 81-year history. Unanue’s grandparents, Prudencio Unanue and his wife Carolina, started the company in 1936 as a small shop on Duane Street in Manhattan. Today, Goya Foods has 26 corporate, manufacturing, and production facilities in the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Spain. The company employs more than 4,000 people worldwide and manufactures and distributes more than 2,500 products.

“The history and story of Goya is as much about the importance of family and values as it is about achieving the American dream and helping to cultivate the Latin culture in the United States,” Unanue said.

Over the years, Goya Foods has relocated from its original storefront in New York City to its current, newly constructed headquarters in Jersey City, New Jersey. In recent years, Goya has also expanded its manufacturing and distribution centers in Texas, California, and Georgia.

And while Goya Foods has undergone many changes and expansions over the years, it has remained a Wells Fargo customer for 40 years.

“Wells Fargo has supported Goya’s growth and expansion with financing and treasury services to support our evolving business requirements and opportunities,” Unanue said. “Our banking service providers from Wells Fargo have always been proactive in offering and delivering services to support Goya’s needs. They have demonstrated an interest in understanding our business and delivering quality service and advice.”

As the company looks ahead to the future, Unanue said, Goya Foods is looking for opportunities in new and evolving distribution channels and growth through acquisition, joint ventures, and alliances.

Continue onto Wells Fargo to read more about the Goya Family.

What to wear to work

Work Attire Tips

For six months, Edward Rangel excelled as a waiter at a Red Robin in Bellevue, Washington. Customers and supervisors might occasionally notice the small religious inscriptions he had tattooed around his wrists, but no one complained about them, and they didn’t interfere with his duties serving food.

Then a new manager started at the franchise. Displeased by the tattoos, the boss told Rangel to conceal the ink, citing company policy. Rangel explained his belief that covering the tattoos violated his Kemetic faith and asked the company to accomodate his religion. Management refused to make an exception on the grounds that changing its dress code policy would undermine its “wholesome image.” So Rangel was fired.

That’s when the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stepped in, filing a suit to defend Rangel’s right to an accomodation. Red Robin eventually agreed to settle the case, paying Rangel $150,000 and making policy changes to protect the rights of other employees.

Choosing work attire poses a perennial puzzle. Companies often have both explicit dress code policies and unspoken rules about the unofficial office dress code, but as Rangel’s story demonstrates, those rules can’t infringe on workers’ rights. And just because an outfit is allowed at the office doesn’t necessarily mean it will make a good impression on your boss or clients.

What’s legal at work?

Companies are legally allowed to implement and enforce a dress code as long as it is reasonable and tied to a legitimate business purpose, says J.J. Conway, an attorney who specializes in employment law.

What’s appropriate for the office?

Choosing appropriate work attire depends on your industry, company and specific job function. The key consideration? “Dressing for your audience,” says Jacqueline Whitmore, etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach.

People who work in creative fields, like media, advertising, entertainment or cosmetology, may have more freedom to express their personalities in their clothing, Whitmore says. In those careers, bright colors, funky accessories and innovative hairstyles may be acceptable or even expected.

Conversely, employees in conservative fields like wealth management or a government agency often must dress more formally, sometimes in suits.

No matter your general industry, your company will likely have written or unwritten corporate culture rules for what to wear to work. Figuring out what’s acceptable may take research and a bit of inference. When you first go into an office for a job interview, make sure to look at what your interviewer and the other employees are wearing and take mental notes.

After you’re hired, if your workplace lacks a written dress code policy, or if you want more clarification, it’s best simply to inquire with the human resources department, says Edward Yost, manager of employee relations and development at the Society for Human Resource Management.

“Ask the questions rather than blindly roll the dice and send the wrong message,” he says.

Even if your company has a general set of guidelines, what you should wear depends on your particular job responsibilities. People who work in customer service jobs, for example, should dress for the comfort of their clients and in ways that project competence, Whitmore says.

Regardless of the particulars of your company dress code or office culture, office clothes should fit well, be clean and cover what children call “private parts.”

“Presentation is the most important,” says Bridgette Raes, personal stylist and author. “No matter what you’re wearing, make sure it’s in good shape, well cared for and you look groomed.”

What is business casual attire?

Many office environments call for business professional or business casual attire. That typically means slacks, khaki pants or modest skirts or dresses; cardigans, blouses or button-down collared shirts; and closed-toe dress shoes. Raes suggests putting thought into work bags, too: “Don’t take the same grubby backpack you carried all over your college campus.”

In terms of what not to wear, it’s important not to distract others with your outfits, Raes says. “You want to make sure you’re standing out for the right reasons,” not because your clothes call attention to you, she explains.

There are two universal “don’ts” for how to dress business casual: no shorts and no flip flops. Beyond that, Raes advises against casual sandals, sweatshirts, any type of “athleisure” wear and clothing that is distressed or ripped. Outfits that are too revealing are not appropriate for the office.

Dress for the job you want

It may sound trite, but experts agree that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Taking clothing cues from your boss could help you attain his or her position in the future.

You never want your manager to question your professional capabilities because of your outfits. Supervisors sometimes have to “fight the stereotype or that silent judgment that’s been formulated” because of what a worker wears, Yost says. “People who don’t work with the individual on a day-to-day basis may see the tattoos, piercings, vintage clothing that’s not your standard business casual, and when they’re up for a promotion, the question will come: ‘How serious are they?'”

This also means to think carefully about what to wear to an interview. It’s important to dress to impress when you’re hoping to get hired, so even if the company usually follows a business casual dress code, consider donning formal business attire. For example, after a period of job seeking, one of Raes’ clients changed the outfit she wore during interviews and saw immediate results: She received three job offers in one week.

The lesson? “When we change how we present ourselves, we send our message more effectively,” Raes says.

What happens if you violate the dress code?

If you had to wear a uniform in school, you’re probably familiar with the impulse to disobey the dress code. And although your boss probably won’t make you stand up in front of your co-workers while she measures the length of your hem, employers may take punitive action against workers who repeatedly violate the office dress code.

There’s usually a “progressive discipline process,” Yost says, meaning that a manager or HR representative may treat a first-time violation as a learning opportunity: “We’re not going to send you home today, but going forward, we would prefer you not wear jeans with rips and holes in them.”

If someone continually flouts the rules, an employer might send him or her home and dock pay. And if the problem continues, the employee may be fired.

What’s appropriate for the office gym?

Office gyms are popular perks, but they are also landmine fields when it comes to clothing. Employees who work out at the company gym should remember that they’ll likely run into their co-workers while putting in miles on the treadmill or lifting weights. Avoid wearing T-shirts with offensive slogans or outfits that are excessively revealing, Raes recommends: “You’re still in the workplace; this is not personal time.”

What’s appropriate for the office holiday party?

Similarly, treat your office holiday party as a work experience that requires appropriate dress. Your boss will take note if you wear anything too revealing or silly.

“You want to continue to send a professional and positive message,” Yost says. “People make silent judgments all the time. They’re not going to come up and tell you, ‘That tie you wore was stupid and I lost a lot of respect for you,’ but it still may be happening in their minds.”

On Halloween, if your workplace permits employees to wear costumes, keep yours reasonable.

What about tattoos and piercings?

Attitudes toward tattoos in the workplace and piercings in the workplace have changed in the past few decades, but not every employer will be happy to see them, Yost says.

“[Tattoos] are generally more accepted than they would have been 10 or 15 years ago,” he says. “However, there are going to be some ‘family-run’ environments, or ‘family-friendly’ environments who may be a little more rigid: ‘Sure you can have your tattoos, but we’re going to ask you to keep them covered while at work.'”

If you’re wondering how to cover up tattoos for work, Yost recommends long-sleeved shirts, strategically placed Band-Aids or applying foundation makeup that’s the same color as your skin tone.

Continue on to to read the complete article.

“America’s Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities” Announced


Today, OMNIKAL announced “America’s Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities”,  known as the “Omni50.”

The Omni50 represent the top 50 U.S. organizations who are awarding the most business to the growing culturally diverse marketplace. These same organizations are also successfully appealing to the growing millennial generation, which, by 2020, will be the largest diverse market segment in America (a market segment that is forcing brands to evolve from minority/diversity paradigms to inclusion).

Apple Inc. was named the #1 Organization for Multicultural Business Opportunities in the United States. Other companies at the top of the winners list include: Walmart Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation,AT&T Inc., IBM, The Coca-Cola Company, Bank of America, Raytheon Company, Verizon, General Motors Company, Time Warner Inc., PepsiCo Inc., United Parcel Service, Cisco Systems, Inc., Colgate-Palmolive Company, Altria Group and The Kroger Company.

Who are the Omni50?

The Omni50 represents the voice of OMNIKAL’s 2,100,000 members. The list is circulated by over 1000 organizations, which reaches millions of consumers every year. Since 1999, it has become a highly valued metric of excellence in reaching the diverse and inclusive majority marketplace.

The Omni50 Awards is the most recognized honor for diversity and inclusion in the country.  These award-winning companies truly differentiate themselves in the marketplace in a time when inclusion has become one of the most important goals of every organization. It is also at a time when public recognition is key to ongoing financial, ethical, social and cultural success.

“The inclusion practices of the “Omni50” Awardees have changed the course of our current economy and as a result, the world as we know it” said Kenton Clarke, CEO of OMNIKAL. “The changing multicultural and multi-generational landscape of our country has demanded this evolution. OMNIKAL is proud to have been a force in the business world for such positive change. Our mission and goal is to equalize, broaden and level the playing field for both brands and an increasingly varied vendor/supplier marketplace.”

Top Honors for Top Organizations Who Do the Right Thing

Most “top” lists honor companies for traditional economic growth, shareholder returns and similar metrics; however, the Omni50 awards are an indicator of which organizations provide the best business opportunities to the increasingly inclusive majority marketplace. This, in turn, influences more organizations, as they compete for market share in multicultural and multigenerational communities.

The Business Power of Inclusion

As the culturally diverse market gains more buying power, corporations have to focus their efforts on rebranding and reorganizing to avoid losing market share and to remain current and relevant.

The Omni50 list has therefore become the most critical guide for businesses as well as consumers. “As a business owner, I appreciate the business we receive from corporate buyers; and in turn, when I buy either personally or for my company, I am more likely to buy from the same companies that support my business or are supporting businesses like mine,” said Kathy Steele, principle of Red Caffeine headquartered in Elmhurst, Illinois.


OMNIKAL was founded in 1999. Now the Nation’s largest inclusive business organization, OMNIKAL promotes entrepreneurship and the belief that entrepreneurs create real world solutions to today’s business and economic challenges. By fostering deeper and broader collaboration between business owners and entrepreneurial support organizations, the OMNIKAL network fuels healthier ecosystems through job creation, professional development and drives innovation resulting in strong economic growth.


Click here to see the full list of companies

Applications for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement’s 10th Annual Women’s Leadership Program Now Open

business woman

Mujeres de HACE offers 14-week training on the crucial skills needed for professional growth.

The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE), a national nonprofit committed to the advancement of Latino professionals, announced today the program dates and cities for its 10th annual Mujeres de HACE program. The 14-week interactive program offers individualized content to fuel professional development and establishes influential relationships with peers and mentors that continue beyond the program’s completion. Sessions will be held across the country in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Houston, Dallas, Miami and the Washington D.C. metro area.

“Mujeres de HACE is a women’s leadership program aimed at empowering high-potential Latina professionals at the manager level or above to succeed professionally and thrive personally,” said Patricia Mota, HACE president and CEO. “For HACE members, achieving an entry-level position is the starting point, not the goal.”

This year, Mujeres de HACE is visiting San Francisco for the first time to address the lack of Latina leadership in technology. According to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Silicon Valley’s tech workforce is a mere 4.7 percent Hispanic. For this initiative, HACE will be partnering with Groupon who will host the program’s San Francisco cohort and sponsor the graduation ceremony.

“HACE is doing important work to cultivate Latina talent into leadership positions, and we are pleased to partner with them on this year’s women’s leadership program,” said Alison Allgor, Groupon senior vice president of Human Resources. “The events in San Francisco will be a natural extension of the work we’ve done to develop diverse talent across Groupon and bring more of these valuable perspectives to our organization and the tech industry at large.”

Over the past 10 years, Mujeres de HACE has led more than 800 women to grow professionally and break down barriers. Program graduates have gone on to achieve leadership positions across top companies, including NASA, Toyota and LinkedIn. In fact:

  • Two in five program participants report a promotion within six months of completing the program;
  • Two in five report a salary increase within six months of completing program; and
  • Four in five report serving on a non-profit board or volunteering after the program.

“In a short amount of time, the program has positively impacted my career and helped me explore my strengths and talents to unleash my leadership abilities,” said Angela Solis Sullivan, fall 2017 cohort. “It presented me with the opportunity to be a part of a sisterhood of women who can all relate to the challenges of being a Latina in the American workforce.”

In addition to a comprehensive training curriculum covering everything from leadership style to developing a personal brand, Mujeres de HACE will feature executive leaders from renowned companies. These speakers will share their keys to career progression and discuss the challenges Latinas face in the current political climate.

Joining Groupon as 2018 corporate sponsors are NBC Universal, Northern Trust, Marathon Oil and AT&T. AT&T will be hosting Mujeres de HACE’s first-ever program in Atlanta.

The Mujeres de HACE program costs $2,500 and accepts tuition assistance. The fee covers training sessions, coaching and materials. To learn more about Mujeres de HACE and to apply for the program, visit The deadline for the spring cohort application is March 30, 2018. The fall cohort application deadline is Aug. 5, 2018.

About HACE

The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement is a national nonprofit dedicated to the employment, development and advancement of current and aspiring Latino professionals. Since 1982, HACE has served as a resource for Latinos in the workplace and a source of expertise and insight for corporations seeking to access them. Through professional development, resources and networks, and by facilitating access to meaningful career opportunities, HACE helps Latinos succeed in every phase of their careers. With a network of over 52,000 members across the country, HACE works with employers to remain competitive in an increasingly dynamic economy by helping them attract, develop and retain Latino and diverse professionals.


U.S. Latinos: The Blind Spot Of America

latina sitting on a chair face towards the camera

Across America, there’s a shift happening in our economic landscape. Like a fast approaching vehicle caught in a blind spot, it is invisible to most.

The entertainment industry has created a narrow and stereotypical narrative of who Latinos are in the U.S. Since perception is reality, our substantial contributions to the American economy have essentially gone unnoticed, barely registering a blip on the radar in mainstream media. Contrary to popular belief, the “hot” investments of 2018 are not just cryptocurrency, high-tech drones, self-driving cars and artificial intelligence — it’s also U.S. Latinos.

The U.S. Latino gross domestic product (GDP) represents $2.13 trillion — larger than the GDPs of Italy, Brazil, India and Canada. If U.S. Latinos were a country, they’d be the seventh largest economy in the world. According to a report by the Latino Donor Collaborative, where I serve on the board, by 2020, the Latino population at large is predicted to represent 24.4% of total U.S. GDP growth, and the U.S. Latino GDP today is growing 70% faster than the country’s non-Latino GDP.

In the last decade, U.S. Latinos launched 86% of all new businesses in the U.S. Because the growth of American businesses and the majority of their customer base will inevitably be Latinos, if you want to future-proof your business, pay attention to the following trends and numbers:

The Latino population is growing in size. In the next five years, it’s predicted that Latino consumers will spend more than millennials and the over-65 baby boomer crowd combined, making Latinos the most desirable demo for the growth of any company.

Latinas are extremely influential in making purchases. U.S. Latinos are one of the single largest drivers of year-to-year sales growth for key CPG companies, retailers and durable goods. And Latinas, in particular, are responsible for influencing and buying the purchases made in Latino homes in categories like healthcare, beauty, apparel, auto and home purchases. In fact, according to a Nielson survey, 86% of Latinas say they’re the primary shopper in their household.

Automobile and home purchasing categories are driven by Latinos. Latinos are responsible for a large percentage of sales growth today for automakers, including Toyota, Nissan and Honda. In 2015, U.S. Latinos accounted for 69% of the total net growth in home ownership, and from 2010 to 2030, Latinos are expected to make up more than half (52%) of all new homebuyers.

We’re approaching a Latino-majority workforce. In the next few years, Latinos will make up 40% of the workforce growth in America. By 2060, Latinos are projected to account for almost 30% of the U.S. population, and contrary to popular belief, a supermajority of Latinos are U.S citizens or U.S. born.

How Being Underestimated Drove These Two Latinas To Publish Lil’ Libros


Have you ever dreamed of going into business with your best friend? Does it stay a dream, or in your mind does it turn into a nightmare? Ariana Stein and Patty Rodriguez, have been best friends since the age of twelve and will happily tell you that adding a business level to their friendship was the best decision they’ve collectively made.

After becoming moms, the duo kickstarted a business partnership with one goal in mind — creating the bilingual children’s book series that every Latina mom would love.

“The books aren’t designed to give lengthy, in-depth history lessons, as they’re only 22 pages long,” explains Ariana. “Instead the goal is to teach the basics, introduce them to culture, and motivate kids to continue learning additional words and languages. The books have always been about starting the bilingual learning journey with subjects that parents feel a connection with.”

Since its launch, Lil’ Libros has steadily become a presence on the shelves of Targets and local bookstores alike. The journey to getting Lil’ Libros on those bookshelves though has not been an easy one.

In her episode of Creating Espacios, Patty stated, “I think there’s so much strength that can be drawn from a bad day” and told a handful of stories of the ups and downs of building a business with her best friend.

But, those small glimpses weren’t enough. Here’s a full look at how Ariana and Patty describe their entrepreneurial success with Lil’ Libros.

Vivian Nunez: How did Lil’ Libros get its start?

Ariana Stein: It was our passion to ensure our children were raised to be bilingual.  Being best friends and knowing each other’s background, both being first generation Latinas, made it easier for us to decide to do this together.

Patty Rodriguez: Ariana and I have known each other since we were 12 years old.  We’ve always tried creating something together. There was a time when we actually worked on a hot dog start-up!  We were probably 18 at the time.  And then there was a time when David Beckham arrived to the states; it was such a big deal back then, we took it as an opportunity to capitalize on it, we ended up making shirts inspired by him!  That didn’t turn as planned, but we did it! I think Ariana’s husband still wears the shirts! So I feel that this was always meant to be.

Stein:  That’s not it! We also started a bilingual entertainment site.  This was actually picking up steam, and going the direction that we wanted it to go, but we weren’t passionate about it.  I think this is why it failed, but everything is a lesson.  Had we not had the hot dog business, shirt business, entertainment website, we wouldn’t have Lil’ Libros.

Nunez: How would each of you define Lil Libros mission?

Stein: Our mission has always been to introduce bilingualism and encourage parents to read to their children at the earliest age by focusing on subjects they are familiar with, and making it as fun and rewarding as possible.

Rodriguez: Each book we are creating is a seed. A seed we hope a parent plants at home with their child. We want parents and children to love to read, to create those moments together.

Nunez: What’s been the biggest entrepreneurial lesson you’ve learned since starting Lil Libros?

Stein:  To be fearless. Not be afraid to ask for anything. The worst thing that you can hear is the word “no.” Rejection can be hurtful and discouraging but this is what makes us stronger. Stronger to succeed and prove everyone that anything is possible.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Ten Questions Never, Ever To Ask At A Job Interview

Work Attire Tips

You must bring questions with you to every job interview.

Here are three good questions to ask your interviewer:

1. How does this position contribute to the department’s — and the company’s — success?

2. What will a successful first year in this job look like? What will your new hire accomplish?

3. Who are the internal and external customers of the person in this job, and what do those customers want?

You will come up with more questions to ask as you research the company you’re going to be interviewing with. You’ll develop questions about the position, the company’s goals, the manager’s communications style and much more.  New questions will pop into your mind during the interview. Don’t be afraid to ask questions — it’s the best thing a candidate can do!

At the same time, there are certain questions never, ever to ask at a job interview. Ten of them are listed below.

1. What does your company do?

You can say, “I know Acme Explosives manufactures stick dynamite for the coyote market — but I’d love to hear your perspective on the organization and its mission.”

You can’t show up at a job interview not knowing what the company does. That’s what the internet is for!

2. Do you have any other positions available, apart from this one?

Right now, you’re sitting in an interview talking about a specific job. Don’t ask about other positions unless the interviewer says, “I don’t think you’re a good fit for this job.”

If you feel that the job you’re discussing is not a good fit for you, you can say so — but until you’ve reached that point, keep the conversation on topic and remember that no one can force you to take a job if you don’t want to.

If they make you an offer and it doesn’t excite you, you can inquire about other available positions then. Cross that bridge later!

3. Which bus comes to your building from the east side of the city?

It’s up to you to figure out public transportation. Every public transit authority has online maps and schedules. It’s not the interviewer’s job to know every bus and train route, and this type of low-altitude question doesn’t brand you as a professional.

4. Do you use ABC Software here?

If they care about your proficiency with a particular software program, they will ask you. If you ask whether they use ABC Software and they don’t, you’ll be hanging in the breeze. The interviewer will say, “No, we use XYZ Software — are you proficient in that?” and you’ll have to say, “Nope.”

There’s no advantage to asking, “What kind of software do you use here?” in the early stages of your interview process.

5. Do you drug test applicants?

This is the biggest red-flag question you can ask. Even if you’re just asking out of curiosity or because you eat a poppy-seed bagel every day and you’re worried about the poppy seeds messing up your drug test results, don’t ask  the question!

If they drug-test applicants, they will tell you that when it’s time for you to take the drug test.

Cut back on the poppy seed bagels, just in case.

6. Are you interviewing other people for the job?

You can safely assume they’re interviewing other people. Also, what difference does it make? If it’s the right job for you at this moment in time, they’ll make you an offer, and you’ll accept.

Don’t worry about other candidates they may be considering. Focus on yourself!

7. If I don’t get the offer this time, how long do I have to wait to re-apply?

I include this question on our list of “Don’t Ask” interview questions because I have heard it from applicants’ lips so many times.

Everyone can understand how nerve-wracking the job search process can be.  Don’t make it worse by asking your interviewer what to do if you don’t get the job!

8. Are you going to talk to my former employer?

Any employer who’s considering hiring you is going to conduct some type of employment verification process. That process works through your former employer’s HR department.

Unless you listed your former manager as one of your references, prospective employers are very unlikely to talk to your old boss (or even to learn your former boss’s name).

Don’t put questions about your relationship with your ex-boss in their minds by asking, “Are you going to talk to my former employer?”

9. Does your company offer tuition reimbursement? How much is the deductible on your dental plan? How many vacation days will I accrue in the first three months? Does your health plan cover contact lenses?

It is a bad use of your precious face-to-face interview time to ask questions about the specifics of the company’s benefit plans. Ask for a copy of the health care program documents and read them when you get home.

You have a real person who works for the company in front of you — pick their brain about the work, the mission, the challenges, the opportunity and the culture.

Don’t turn your poor interviewer into a walking, talking employee benefits encyclopedia!

10. How long is your new employee probation  period?

This is another unnecessary and potentially alarming question for a job applicant to ask at an interview.

You can ask, “What is the waiting period for health benefits?” or, “What is your 401(k) eligibility schedule?” but don’t ask about the probationary period specifically.

If you do, it sounds like you’re anxious about making it through your probationary period. In reality, the probationary period for newcomers isn’t all that significant unless you work in a unionized environment that gives workers more protection after they’ve finished probation.

For everybody else, a major slip-up on Day 100 of your employment will outweigh the fact that you’ve completed your 90-day probation. Don’t give your possible next boss reason to wonder,”Why does this person care so much about the probationary period?”

Ask for a copy of the company’s handbook instead of asking this question — and read it cover to cover!

This article originally appeared on

Dollar General Announces Call for New Vendors


Suppliers, companies and manufacturers with exciting new products who want to reach millions of consumers and partner with one of America’s fastest-growing retailers that is currently listed #128 on the Fortune 500 list and posted $22 billion in FY 2016 sales, listen up!

Dollar General (NYSE: DG) is encouraging new suppliers and those who have not sold products to the Company within the past 18 months to apply to attend its inaugural Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit in April 2018. The event aims to pair potential new vendors with respective Dollar General buyers and category managers. Suppliers must sell items in at least one of the following categories to be eligible to attend:

  • Beauty, Personal Care and Over-the-Counter/Wellness
  • General Merchandise/All Non-Food
  • Grocery.

“As part of Dollar General’s continual commitment to provide quality products at everyday low prices to our diverse consumer base, we are thrilled to announce our first Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit scheduled for this spring,” said Jason Reiser, Dollar General’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. “Having the right products to best meet our customers’ needs is a foundational cornerstone at Dollar General. As such, we look forward to meeting with potential new vendors, learning about relevant products for our customers and expanding the number of unique and specialized offerings available in our stores.”

To apply, interested suppliers, companies and manufacturers may submit their product information at Tuesday, January 30 through end of day on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Selected companies will be subject to a $500 participation fee and notified via email by Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) of the time, date and location of their meeting with a member of the Dollar General merchandising team.

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Can You Attract and Retain Talent in an Adapting World?


By Nancy Altobello / Global Vice Chair, Talent, EY

In order to find and retain top talent in an increasingly disrupted working world, companies should look at ways to embed purpose and “intrapreneurship” into the organization.

The age of digital disruption and innovation is very much here—and it’s here to stay. The world has been disrupted by globalization, the rapid pace of technology and shifts in workforce demographics. While these developments have created innovative solutions to the way we work, it has also brought on new risks and challenges for the business community. This has led to uncertainty about the future of organizations and their ability to drive growth. In particular, talent attraction and retention is often identified as a competitive risk, even among large, well-established tech companies in Silicon Valley.

One way that companies’ search for top talent has been disrupted is through the rise of the “gig economy” in which many entrepreneurs have developed business models based on employees working on a flexible, project or freelance basis. This trend toward “contingent workers” has jolted a number of sectors as more and more professionals of varying and often highly sought after skill sets are shifting to freelance opportunities to generate personal incomes.

According to a 2015 survey by Upwork and Freelancers Union, an advocacy group in the U.S., 34 percent of the country’s workforce is now freelancing. In the UK, the Independent Professionals Association estimates there are currently about 4.64 million people who are self-employed. This shift in employment and the way we work over the last 10 years is in part due to the newer entrants into the labor market, with Millennials expected to constitute 72 percent of the workforce by 2025. It’s also been driven by undeniably accelerated disruption and technological innovation, which is fundamentally changing the way we operate in the working world and even how we perceive a working day.

As we see young university graduates trade in their graduation caps and gowns for business attire and laptop cases, there are certain questions that we must start asking ourselves: How can organizations find and attract the best talent in a shifting labor market? How do we find the people with the right skills to meet not only today’s business needs but tomorrow’s? What will the workplace of the future look like, and how we can prepare?

While these are all very complex questions without simple solutions, here are three areas that companies—from start-ups to long-established enterprises—can consider in aligning talent priorities with corporate growth.

Embracing flexibility

A key component that makes the gig economy attractive is the flexibility it affords contingent workers. If greater work flexibility is preferred over traditional work schemes, then we too have to embrace flexibility and agility. We have to think about how our colleagues can be afforded the same choice and independence that enables them to meet both their work and personal commitments. At EY, we are longtime proponents of flexible work environments that vary from working remotely or outside typical business hours on a day-to-day basis to formal flexible work arrangements involving reduced or seasonal schedules. As the gig economy grows, it will be even more important to examine what flexibility means for your own people and organizational needs.

The ‘intrapreneurial’ spirit

We recently introduced a simple system called “predictable time off.” The idea is that every member of a team posts to a shared calendar the evenings or weekends they’re busy with plans outside of work so that people know who best to contact in times of high volume. Originally introduced by our Assurance practice, this was so well received that it’s now been rolled out across other business lines as well.

“Predictable time off” is a good example of how to encourage colleagues to think differently and innovatively. By empowering employees to develop creative solutions, they’re able to find new ways to support all members of the team. It’s about fostering “intrapreneurship” or encouraging employees to act, think and behave like entrepreneurs within a large organization. A company that embeds an “intrapreneurial” spirit is able to encourage innovation and therefore raise productivity and efficiency. An added benefit is that it curbs high levels of employee turnover and will help in the long-term with attracting new talent. Perhaps the inclusion of contingent workers is a solution that would also invite untapped talent and a spirit of “intrepreneurship” into an organization.

The importance of purpose

Embracing flexibility and “intrapreneurship” internally are good solutions to attracting new talent. More importantly, they will help companies retain skilled individuals, but they will not achieve this on their own.

A clear sense of purpose can help companies navigate the challenges that come from disruption. It should underpin every new workplace initiative and every shift in strategy. According to recent EY research done in collaboration with Harvard Business Review, the majority of executives surveyed believed that purpose-minded organizations are more successful in terms of their ability to deliver high quality products and services, execution of business transformational efforts, and employee and customer retention. Yet, nearly half admit they don’t have a strategy that reflects their purpose.

When it comes to your employees, it’s important to ensure transparent and regular two-way communication with your people about the direction in which the company is headed and the role they play in achieving these goals. After all, your people are your most important asset, your strongest advocates, and the best at recruiting new individuals into the firm.

As technology and disruption overhaul the workforce across sectors, in some cases eliminating roles, in others changing the nature of existing roles and creating new ones, it’s clear that this is an exciting time for companies to seize opportunities that align their talent management strategies with future growth.


You Got the Job—Now What?

Job Interview

Great—you got the job! A lot of people in this situation might think, “Now I can relax, cruise a while, and rest on my laurels.” Actually, your work is just beginning.

Ford R. Myers, career coach, speaker, and author states, “Having worked with thousands of executives who have successfully secured new positions, in my opinion, there are six priorities that you should focus on during the first 90 days of any new job.” These include:

  1. Establish positive relationships with your new colleagues. Be honest, open, friendly, reliable, and clear. Be outgoing and introduce yourself to coworkers (don’t wait for them to approach you).
  2. Develop a reputation for producing tangible results. Immediately, start a “success file” and track your accomplishments and contributions. Make note of the positive feedback you get from others in conversation and in writing—from clients, managers, clients, colleagues, vendors, etc.
  3. Communicate plans and progress to your superiors and to your team. Become known for setting challenging goals and completing projects on time and on budget—with measurable results.
  4. Begin building your own in-house contact network. Cultivate good relationships with everyone, including the employees above and below your level. Get to know people’s names. Reach out to the mail guy, the security guard, the IT guru, your manager’s executive assistant—everyone. You want business friends and supporters in a 360-degree arc around you.
  5. Review and fine-tune your job description with your manager. Sit down during those first 90 days and create an “individual development plan” for yourself and your role, which includes your short-, mid-, and long-term goals. This is critical to ensure that the job you landed becomes the job you love.
  6. Maintain a healthy balance between your work life and your private life. Don’t “go overboard” with enthusiasm for your new job. Family time, hobbies, and “recharging your batteries” are all part of your long-term professional effectiveness and success.

“You must focus on garnering respect, visibility, and credibility during your first 90 days on the job. The precedents you establish during this period will tend to last for your entire tenure at that organization. So, this ‘thumbprint period’ is critically important to your long-term success,” Myers adds.

Source: Reprinted by permission of Ford R. Myers, a nationally known career coach and author of Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.