Mexican-American chef Daniela Soto-Innes has become the youngest honoree to be named the World’s Best Female Chef by The World’s Best 50 Restaurants.
The award, which was announced Wednesday, recognizes the culinary achievements of one woman every year. Past winners include British chef Clare Smyth of London’s Core and Dominique Crenn, who leads San Francisco’s Michelin-three-star Atelier Crenn
Though she is known for running Cosme and Atla, two popular modern Mexican restaurants in New York City, Soto-Innes, 28, didn’t always plan on becoming a chef, according to the award announcement. She was a competitive swimmer during her young adulthood in Texas, where she moved from Mexico City when she was 12.
Yet the culinary arts were almost an inevitability for Soto-Innes, who was surrounded by a grandmother, mother and aunts who instilled a passion for cooking in her at a young age. “I grew up with a line of really strong women that love to cook,” Soto-Innes told The World’s Best 50 Restaurants. “When I was born, my mother was a lawyer with my father, but she wanted to be a chef because my grandma had a bakery and my great grandma went to school for cooking.
Everything was about who made the best cake, who made the best ceviche, who made the best mole. I just knew that it was the thing that made me the happiest.
It’s not only the flavorful food that appeals to Soto-Innes, but also the people who make it. Most of the staff at Cosme are Latin American immigrants, while a few hail from Russia and other countries, as well. It’s this fusion of people, ideas and recipes that makes the restaurant so successful, she said.
That shared knowledge has led to some of Cosme’s most famous dishes, including its fluffy fried tortillas called infladitas (which means inflated).
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The journey from Spanish Harlem to the boardroom has been magical. I have the benefit of being able to look back at my 20+ years as a consultant for Accenture, along with my life growing up, to identify all of the “hard times” as a kid, which have made me successful in the boardroom.
As a Latino managing director in a global Fortune 500 company, I have always given back to my community, from serving on the board of non-profits to leading up Accenture’s Hispanic American ERG for six years. With all the experience I have gained, it is my mission to help others achieve their dreams.
With the opportunity of stepping into the role of CEO of ALPFA, I am honored and humbled to continue the legacy built by our members, countless volunteers, leadership teams from our professional and student chapters, and corporate partners that have made ALPFA what it is today. As I think back to my childhood growing up in Wagner Projects in Spanish Harlem, New York, in the 1980s, I can’t believe that in the same way the Latinx community helped give me opportunities in life, I am now in a position to do the same for others. What makes it even more exciting is I am not alone—I have an extended family of 80,000+ members focused on the same mission.
Everyone has an origin story, but the ability to really understand how your story gives you power is critical for Latinos as we strive to elevate in the corporate world. Hearing stories helps inspire, but knowing how your story gives you strength translates inspiration to action.
So, the question I usually get next is, “How can we learn to better understand our story?” There are four components/activities that I tell people to focus on: (1) Journey Line (2) Value Tree (3) Value Mantra (4) Purpose Framework. I’ll focus on the Journey Line and Value Tree here because they are the most critical. I recommend everyone develop their journey line, which is a drawing of your life, starting at any point going to present day. Your level of happiness is on the y-axis, and time is on the x-axis. As you think back on your life, you will plot out the highs and lows, and it’s in these moments that we learn our lessons of life. The high of highs and low of lows are where we build our character and grow the most. When people take time to develop the line, they start to see all they have accomplished and all they have persevered through to achieve success. Once you have done that, you begin to see the strength you have on paper. This is your origin story; it’s no different than a Marvel comic superhero. Once you have documented your journey line, you realize just as Superman had his hero’s journey, so did you. You may not be able to fly, but you definitely have developed your own version of superpowers in finance, accounting, or blockchain. When people work through this, they often have more confidence because it removes the impostor syndrome issues they encounter. They see their story and realize: I belong in the boardroom!
The second key piece is knowing your values. My values are legacy, opportunity, diversity, justice, courage, fortitude, energy, and industriousness. When people talk about being their authentic self at work, I believe that means sticking to your values. Through a person’s journey he or she will change. Everyone should be evolving as a person, and if you stay true to your value system, then you are being authentic as a leader. Know your origin story, enjoy your hero’s journey, and remember to help others along the way.
Working for a big company has plenty of upsides. A large team means there’s tons of room to explore other areas and learn new things. There’s also a lot more opportunity to climb the ranks and—as an added bonus—the office has amazing facilities.
But like anything else, there are also some drawbacks to consider.
It’s tough to get to know people outside of your immediate team, you can barely figure out who does what, and you may find it challenging to develop any sort of reputation or name recognition for yourself.
It’s easy to feel like just another number in your massive organization. But the good news is there are some steps you can take to find your footing and make your mark at work.
1. Get Comfortable With Self-Promotion
We’re not always good at drawing attention to our own accomplishments because it can feel a little egocentric. However, owning your contributions and being vocal about them is a necessity when your work can easily slip by unnoticed at a large employer.
This doesn’t need to be as over-the-top as you’re likely imagining. It can be as simple as chiming in with a “thank you” when your boss points to something that was done well (that they weren’t aware that you were responsible for).
You can also incorporate some of your achievements into your introduction to new people in the company—particularly if your work is relevant to them in some way. For example, if you’re meeting someone from the sales team for the first time, you can shake their hand and say, “Great to finally meet you! I’m the one who worked on the new application for your customers.”
That statement not only highlights your work, but also pulls out a common thread between the two of you that you can use to get the conversation rolling.
2. Don’t Skip the Pleasantries
Speaking of conversations, I know how tempting it is to avoid small talk. It feels, well, small and completely inconsequential.
Maybe you’re waiting in line for coffee with a director from a different department. Introduce yourself and then get a conversation started—even if it means you just recommend the breakfast sandwiches.
These small interactions are a great way to expand your web of connections within your company and lay the groundwork for a continued relationship. Who knows, the next time you see that person, you might just move past small talk.
3. Raise Your Hand for Opportunities Outside of Your Team
When you’re part of an especially large organization, the bubble of your own department or team feels comforting. It’s daunting to venture out and surround yourself with strangers.
You already know what I’m going to say: If you’re eager to make your mark, you’re going to need to get over that and get used to saying “yes” to all sorts of different opportunities.
Is the product team putting together a golf outing that needs some more volunteers? Step in and help. Is there a happy hour or training program that you’d normally skip or a project that could benefit from a few extra hands? That has your name all over it.
Jump on those opportunities and you’ll meet more people, strengthen your impact, and feel more connected to your company as a whole.
4. Speak Up in Meetings
Do most of your meetings have a lot of different people packed into a crowded conference room? Do you still speak up and actively contribute—or are you too intimidated, so you choose to sit in silence and fly under the radar?
Of course, there’s no reason to chime in unnecessarily for the sake of being noticed. But if you do have something valuable to contribute, gather your courage and make it known.
It’s better to voice your thoughts and your opinions in the moment, rather than following up afterwards with an email. That way you’re giving people an opportunity to associate your face with your name.
5. Be Transparent About Your Career Goals
This tip is important whether you work at a company of two or 20,000. But, especially when you work for a big organization, you need to be upfront and vocal about your professional goals.
Your manager can’t read your mind, and you can’t expect them to advocate for you and your ambitions if you don’t make those known.
Whether you hope to eventually move into a management position yourself, want to learn more about a different department, or would like to pursue some additional training or education, have those honest conversations with your boss.
Not only does this investment in your own career and development help you stand out to your immediate supervisor, but being transparent about your goals also opens the door to other opportunities to make an impact at your company.
6. Solicit Advice From Others
Do you really want to know how to make your mark? Why not ask somebody who’s already successfully done it?
Within your organization, there’s bound to be someone who’s been there for years and successfully climbed the ladder. Reach out to see if you can take them out for coffee and find out more about their journey, as well as pick their brain for advice on how you can follow a similar path.
Even if you don’t walk away with a super-detailed action plan, you still have the benefit of forming connections and relationships with people outside your department.
When you’re one of hundreds or even thousands of employees at your company, it’s easy to feel like a small fish in a ginormous pond. Does anybody even notice all of the hard work you’re doing? Wait…does anybody even know your name?
You can’t snap your fingers and change the size of your employer, but you can change your own actions. That’s right—making your mark all starts with you.
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Rosario Dawson is more than just another famous face in Hollywood. In addition to her high-profile film career, she’s a philanthropist, activist, and entrepreneur. Not to mention producer, singer and comic book writer!
First and foremost, Dawson is fiercely passionate about her philanthropy and her desire to serve her community. Her early life wasn’t easy. Her family lived in a squatter’s apartment in New York’s East Village, where she grew up seeing poverty, sickness, and suffering all around her. “Growing up here in New York, with a mom who was a teenager when she had me, I had family and friends who were either trans and/or had HIV or AIDS and/or had drug problems or housing issues or issues with access to education,” Dawson said in an interview with the lifestyle website mindbodygreen. “I saw the whole maelstrom of privilege and access.”
Growing up in a liberal-minded family, she was raised to understand the value of social change at a young age. “My mother worked for a women’s shelter when I was young,” she said. “To see strangers helping other strangers, just showing up and giving, was so inspiring to me.” It’s not hard to see how her experiences have inspired her to make a change for others. She serves as a board member of V-day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. She supports charities like the ONE Campaign, Amnesty International, Oxfam, International Rescue, and Lower East Side Girls Club, and the Environmental Media Association, among many others. She is also active in such programs as Conservation International, Doctors Without Borders, National Geographic Society, The Nature Conservancy and Save The Children.
In 2013, Dawson partnered with her longtime friend Abrima Erwiah to found Studio 189, a fashion and media brand based in Ghana that produces African and African-inspired clothing and lifestyle content. In an interview with Google, when asked about their decision to launch in Ghana, Dawson and Erwiah had this to say: “We were impressed by the culture of creativity, craft, and innovation and the rich history present in Ghana. We felt it was a wonderful place to develop social infrastructure, to add value to natural resources, to create opportunities for work and support capacity building. At the same time, we wanted to support the growth of a local market of consumers as well and help create a space for more people to enter conversations and be included in the growth of the global fashion industry.” For these two partners, Studio 189 is not just a business, but also a social enterprise. Through their brand, they have been able to make changes in the community through educational workshops, counseling, and employment.
Politically active for much of her life, Dawson says, “The American future is here, and there’s great news: the future votes.” She co-founded the pioneering civic media nonprofit organization, Voto Latino, in an effort to boost Latino participation in the political process. Established in 2004, Voto Latino’s mission is to provide culturally relevant programs that engage, educate, and empower Latinos to be agents of change. It also seeks to transform America by recognizing Latinos’ innate leadership. Whenever we do voter registration, we ask, ‘Why haven’t you voted before?’ The response is often, ‘No one’s asked us.’ It’s not about telling people what to do—it’s about sharing what they can do.
“Voting is the umbrella to everything else that I’m doing,” says Rosario. “Women’s issues, health and disease, poverty, housing—these all fall under that voting power.” In recognition for her efforts, she was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2017.
Also a health advocate, Dawson, a self-proclaimed oat enthusiast, recently partnered with Quaker Oats to create a three-part video series that encourages people to incorporate healthier practices into their everyday lives. “I’ve been eating Quaker oatmeal since I was a young child, ever since my aunt taught me how to make it from scratch, so I’m excited to team up with them to help spread the word about the benefits of oats,” Dawson said. “As an advocate for health and wellness, I never want to short-term my health—I think it’s so important to have long-term plans. And what’s great is that you don’t have to start big, because even small steps can make a difference.”
Dawson’s first step on her journey to fame happened by accident when she was just 15 years old. Sitting on the front porch step of her apartment building, she was spotted by photographers Larry Clark and Harmony Korine. Aspiring screenwriter Korine thought Dawson would be perfect to cast in the 1995 film, Kids, where she played Ruby, a sexually active adolescent. From there, Dawson went on to star in more films, like Rent, He Got Game, Men in Black II, Seven Pounds, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and Sin City, among many others. In the music industry, she had a speaking part in the re-release of Prince’s 1980s hit, “1999,” renamed “1999: The New Master.” She also appeared in the music video for Out of Control by The Chemical Brothers and was featured on the Outkast track, She Lives in My Lap.
Currently, Dawson is set to voice the iconic heroine Diana Prince in the DC animated original film, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, a character she’s voiced since 2015’s Justice League: The Throne of Atlantis. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress has also been cast in Sony Pictures’ next installment of the post-apocalyptic comedy, Zombieland 2. She will be working alongside original cast members including Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin, as well as newcomers Zoey Deutch and Avan Jogia. In addition to these roles, Dawson will both produce and star in the upcoming drama series Briarpatch from Sam Esmail, the creator of Mr. Robot. Based on the Ross Thomas novel, the first season of the series will be produced by Universal Cable Productions and Paramount Television. In this drama, Dawson will be playing a Washington, D.C.-based investigator who returns to her hometown in Texas to help search for her sister’s murderer.
Last year, she announced her guest collaboration on La Borinqueña, an original character and patriotic symbol presented in a classic superhero story created and written by graphic novelist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez. Her powers are drawn from history and mysticism found on the island of Puerto Rico. Dawson and her writing partner David Atchison joined Dawson’s uncle, comic book artist Gustavo Vazquez on the project.
Although she has a full workload, she still finds time to make an impact outside the world of Hollywood. From being a political activist to running a sustainable fashion line, Rosario Dawson is continuously showing her passion and commitment to the causes she advocates for.
Using her platform to make a difference, Dawson’s activism has allowed her to not only witness change but also effect it. “I’m really moved by everything I’ve seen achieved over the years, and there’s so much that’s being worked toward now with many more people,” Dawson says in an interview with InStyle. “I’m inspired to just do whatever I feel called to do and to be of service and to be of use… There are so many different ways that we can serve, and I want to figure out as many ways as I can to fit into this lifetime.”
You’ve graduated college — congratulations! You are now ready to enter the professional world and start building your career with your first job out of college. The prospect can be very exciting and more than a little intimidating.
Remember how big your college campus seemed when you first arrived as a freshman? You were unfamiliar with the buildings and there were a lot of new people. But by your sophomore and junior year, you had it all figured out. As a senior, you felt as comfortable at college as you did at home.
Get ready to feel like a freshman again. Your first job out of college is a foray into the unknown, but that doesn’t mean you have to go into it completely blind. Here are few things you should expect from your first job after college. But first, what does “entry level” even mean?
What does “entry level” mean in terms of your first job after college?
Just like it sounds, an entry-level job is meant to get your foot in the door at a company. It may not require a lot of the specific skills that are expected of higher-level employees — it’s a training ground for new employees. However, the competition can be steep, so don’t assume you’ll get the first job you apply for just because you have that shiny new degree. You’ll need to think carefully about what you accomplished in college outside of the classroom and frame that properly on your resume. Did you have a part-time job, an internship, or work-study? Perhaps you were the leader of a campus organization. Anything that you can leverage to show that you’ve learned discipline and leadership skills can help give you an edge over the competition.
Now that you know what “entry level” means, here’s what you should expect when you land the job.
You need to be communicative
The ability to communicate clearly and effectively both in person and in print is an essential part of most businesses. Employers look for that in candidates — especially when it comes to entry-level candidates. An applicant with a strong resume but poor communication skills may lose out to a lesser qualified candidate who knows how to get his or her point across clearly.
Why? Because the same holds true after the person is hired. In today’s workforce, the ability to communicate is crucial. Whether it’s person to person, in meetings, or via email, communication skills are a must-have for employees at any level. But don’t just declare that you’re a good communicator; employers need to see it in action.
Make note of any internships, jobs, or even hobbies that showcased your ability to communicate verbally or otherwise. Most importantly, when you are looking for that entry-level job, make sure that everything they see shows how well you communicate. Your Linkedin bio, other social media, and especially your cover letter should be interesting and clearly get your message across.
If you do all of those well, you’ll set the table for a great first interview.
You won’t get paid a lot
Most entry-level jobs come with entry-level pay. Think carefully before you accept a job offer. This will likely be your pay for the next year. Most employers do not negotiate or give raises after three or six months anymore. On the bright side, while it may not pay as much as you were hoping to make, it’s probably a lot more than you were making in college.
Remember, it’s not about this job; it’s about where this first job out of college can take you. Do you know what you want to be doing in five years? Think about it because employers will ask, and they want to know that you have a plan.
You chose your field of study with certain jobs in mind. However, those jobs are probably at the higher end of the pay scale. For your first job out of college, you will find yourself doing things that may seem menial or beneath you. There are a few reasons for this.
First, as an entry-level employee, you’re at the lower end of the pay scale, therefore the lower-end tasks go to you. Secondly, and this is really important for you to realize quickly, you’re being tested.
If you want to get bigger, more exciting tasks to handle at your new job, you need to knock those trivial ones out of the park. Don’t just shuffle through them. Take care of your assignments and maybe even see if there is a better way to do them. When you show that you can handle these little jobs, and handle them well, you’ll earn the opportunity to get cooler assignments.
You need to embrace variety
Not only will you be doing things that may seem trivial to you, but they may not be relevant to your field of study at all. This can be challenging or even frustrating, but at this stage of your career, you can do yourself a big favor by embracing these diverse tasks. Why? By engaging yourself fully in a variety of jobs, you will give yourself a chance to discover what you really like to do. Maybe what you thought you’d like isn’t what you do best.
In any case, you’ll want to work to the best of your ability at this first job. Even if you find out what you don’t like doing, that can help you guide your career.
Your attitude matters more than ever
In college, you just needed to get your work done and done well. Once you enter the workforce, there’s a lot more to it. It’s not just what you do and how well it’s done — it’s how you do it. Do you roll your eyes when given an undesirable task? Do you pay attention in meetings, or are you zoned out or playing with your phone? Once you have a foothold on your career path, it’s not just about getting the work done, it’s about finding better ways to do it. Always be engaged and enthusiastic.
Does this mean you can’t challenge your boss on certain things? Absolutely not. If you believe you’re being treated unfairly or need a change of scenery, you need to speak up for yourself. Get your thoughts together and have a detailed argument for your points. A good boss respects an employee who is willing to speak up when they have a legitimate complaint.
You have more to worry about than just yourself now
You’ve grown used to being on your own and realizing that the choices you make impact your life. Once you join a new company in your new first job out of college, there’s more to it. It’s not just about you. The choices you make can affect those in your department or even across the whole company.
Sick days are a great example of this. They’re willing to pay you not to come to work when you don’t feel good. How cool is that? However, think about what will happen at work if you do call in sick. Who has to cover for you? Will they have to call someone else in on their day off? Will another worker be responsible for their own job plus yours?
You’re part of a team now, and while it’s okay to use sick days when you’re really sick, you have to be aware of how your choices affect the rest of your team. This same mode of thinking needs to go into every work decision that you make. Your employer needs to know that they can depend on you.
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Here’s advice on overcoming the mental roadblocks employment gaps create before they sabotage your job search, from those who’ve been there.
William Childs loves his new job. He is Marketing Director at Kitchen Magic, a growing national kitchen remodeling and cabinet refacing company. “This job is a creative person’s dream. The product, the people, the collaborative ideas we are generating, it’s totally amazing,” Childs says. “This is what I spent my 14-month employment gap searching for, and I am so glad I didn’t give up on my career goals.”
Employment gaps do not define you
According to a recent Randstad U.S. study, the average job search today takes about five months. When Childs was laid off late in 2017 from an executive-level marketing job, he did not anticipate a longer-than-average employment gap. He explained: “When my old job was eliminated, it was the first time in many years that I had no specific job to go to next. I had always benefited from people just knowing me and my work, so starting from scratch while unemployed felt pretty weird.” When a few leads at the beginning of his job search didn’t materialize, he felt a bit demoralized.
According to a 2019 Monster survey, 59 percent of Americans have had an unexpected gap in their career. For a lot of people looking for jobs with a gap on their resume, there can be internalized feelings of shame, says Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, Ph.D., organizational psychologist, CEC-certified executive coach, and author of “The YOU Plan.” “Shame puts on a lot of added pressure to an already stressful time, which can lead to obsession,” Dr. Woody explains. “Don’t victimize yourself over a lost job or a failure in the past. It can be debilitating.” He advises readers to recognize their setback as just that, a setback — then deal with it and move on to better things.
Childs did keep moving forward. He designed an online portfolio and kept adding to it during his hiatus by taking on freelance work. He wrote for an online magazine and volunteered his talents to local non-profit groups. A year into his search, he took an advertising sales job as he continued to apply for positions. “The sales job was what I needed to do financially, and what I needed to do for my own piece of mind,” he reflects. “I was earning income, learning, and connecting with people. It helped me a lot.”
While he did not give up on finding an innovative executive marketing position, Childs needed ways to stay focused and positive on his continued career search. When it comes to overcoming the mental roadblocks employment gaps create, the following advice can help keep you more focused, motivated, and confident.
1. Honesty really is the best policy
Susan is happily employed in Reno, Nevada at The Slumber Yard, a specialty online clearinghouse of reviews, comparisons, and deals for mattresses and bedding products. Prior to taking the job last year, this mattress review specialist (whose name has been changed for this piece) had left the workforce to care for her young son after he was injured in a serious accident. When she was ready to re-enter the workforce, Susan crafted a very targeted resume and cover letter that succinctly addressed her employment gap. Still, the two-year pause in her career had her a little nervous. “I wasn’t exactly sure what the job market would be like for me,” she remembers.
“Her resume had everything we were looking for, and when she told me why she had a gap in her employment history, her honesty really impressed me,” says Matthew Ross, The Slumber Yard’s Co-Founder and COO. Ross immediately called Susan in for an interview. “Her experience and knowledge of our industry are what got her the job. But, the way that she explained her employment gap really showed her character, both as a person and as a professional.”
You can explain your employment gap without oversharing, says Dick Lively, Partner and HR Consulting Director at RAI Resources in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “On a resume or in a cover letter, saying you took time to care for a family member who was ill or that you relocated across the country for your spouse’s job should be enough detail. Keep it professional but not too personal,” he says. It is also OK to exclude a gap explanation from the resume altogether, so long as you are prepared to address it during the interview if you are asked. Just don’t make something up. “At the end of the day, the truth always comes out, explains Lively. “You don’t want to face a potential employer or a new boss and try to explain why you lied.”
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Native American and Alaska Native students are in a college-going and completion crisis.
Research shows the national rate of all students going to college within six months of graduation after high school is 70%. For Native American and Alaska Native students, those numbers are closer to 20%.
The American Indian College Fund knows that education improves the lives of individuals, their families, and entire communities, yet scholarships are not enough for student success. It needed to create a college-going culture with prospective students to ensure the transition to college and support them while in college. Thanks to a $2.5 million grant renewal for 36 months from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the College Fund will continue its work to increase college access and success through the College Fund’s Native Pathways to College Program .
The College Fund’s Pathways program is divided into four components working with students. The High School Admissions Pathway program works to increase the college-going rate of Native Pathways participants closer to the national college going rate. The College Bridge Pathway works to bring Tribal College and Universities (TCUs) and area high schools together to help prepare students for the academic and social environments at college. The Tribal College Transfer Pathway aims to increase the retention rate of TCU students, increase the number of TCU graduates, and increase the number TCU graduates transferring to a four-year institution. The Student Success Pathway will support successful transition and increase retention of students who transition into a new institution of higher education.
The program will continue its work in broadening a college culture and college completion at more schools across the nation, with the goal of working with 90 reservation-based high schools and 30 TCUs in 11 states, impacting approximately 16,000 students. The College Fund will provide training materials and will work with students, staff, and community members on college access workshops, coaching, and events.
Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “The College Fund and the Andrew Mellon Foundation share a vision of equity that emerges when young people see themselves as having an education that leads to a better life. Engaged, active citizenship rooted in Native identity is our goal. We know that all of society benefits from healthy communities, diverse knowledge, and improved economies. We are pleased that the Andrew. W. Mellon Foundation looks beyond the academy to the future of our society in our youth.”
About the American Indian College Fund
Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided 5,896 scholarships last year totaling $7.65 million to American Indian students, with more than 131,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $200 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit collegefund.org .
Being good at your job can buy you a degree of security and set you on a path toward a promotion. If you’re eager to step up your game, it helps to understand the habits of employees who are already successful. Here are a few positive traits to mimic.
1. They communicate well
Communicating well means knowing when to share information and how to share it effectively. Strong communicators are able to express themselves succinctly and diplomatically when warranted, and they’re good at conveying information electronically, over the phone, and in person.
Working on your communication skills often boils down to observing those who are good at it and aiming to adopt their behavior. Being mindful of the language you use, however, will also help you improve in this regard, so start taking the time to really think about what you’re putting in emails or how you’re responding during live conversations.
2. They ask for help when they need it
In an age when multitasking is often hailed as something to celebrate, asking for help might seem like a sign of weakness. Actually, though, it’s anything but. Acknowledging the need for assistance, whether for a minor issue or a major one, is a sign that you’re aware of your own limitations and are being resourceful in seeking out other ways to get a given task done. And the more comfortable you get with it, the more you’re likely to excel.
3. They’re not afraid to step outside their comfort zone
Once you get into a flow at work, it’s easy to grow content with that routine. But if you don’t change things up or push yourself to do new things, you’re apt to get stuck in a rut. Those who are successful at work often take on challenges that scare them just a bit. But it’s their can-do attitude and willingness to take chances that sets them apart from the pack.
4. They build solid relationships with their peers
Developing relationships is an important part of being successful, and people who do that typically make a point of working well with their peers. If you’re eager to do the same, invest some time into getting to understand your colleagues better.
Figure out where their strengths and weaknesses lie and how you and your peers can help each other achieve mutual goals and overcome collective challenges. It also helps to get to know your co-workers on a personal level to take your relationship to a more solid level.
5. They stay organized
When you only have so many hours in a day, week, or month, you really need to make the most of that limited time. Successful employees are generally good at time management and being organized, so if you can’t say the same about yourself, make an effort to improve.
You can start by physically cleaning up your workspace so it’s easier to access the documents and tools needed to do your job. Additionally, it pays to get into the habit of creating daily or weekly to-do lists so you can keep tabs on various deadlines and ensure that priorities are addressed as needed.
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The oil and gas industry is facing strong competition in attracting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent, with 44 percent of STEM Millennials and Generation Zs (Gen Z) interested in pursuing a career in oil and gas, compared to 77 percent in the technology sector, 58 percent in life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and 57 percent in health care –according to the inaugural global Workforce of the Future survey released by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
The survey was commissioned by ADNOC to examine future workforce and employment trends in the oil and gas industry, particularly as the industry looks to attract STEM talent and enable the 4th Industrial Age. This is in line with ADNOC’s Oil & Gas 4.0 mission to help meet the world’s increasing demand for energy and higher-value products – by fostering a dynamic and performance-led culture that cultivates talent and applies the latest technology to optimize resources.
The survey interviewed STEM students and young professionals aged 15 to 35 in 10 countries – across North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, representing a mix of significant global economies, and producers and consumers of oil and gas – and looked at their perceptions across multiple STEM-related industries, including oil and gas, and the skills they value and believe are required to succeed in these industries.
“Salary,” “work-life balance,” “job stability,” “on-the-job fulfilment,” and “a good work environment” are ranked the top five drivers behind potential career choices for STEM Millennials and Gen Zs. Young STEM talent also associate the oil and gas industry with high salaries and see it as an industry that is invaluable. “The industry pays well,” “the industry is crucial for their country’s economy and development,” and it is “an industry we couldn’t live without,” are ranked as the top three positive attributes about the industry.
What young professionals want, by industry
58% life science/pharmaceuticals
57% health care
44% oil and gas
STEM Millennials and Gen Zs show the most interest in industries that they believe will be most impacted by new technologies. Globally, 42 percent say that new technologies will have a major impact on the oil and gas industry, while 56 percent say the same for health care, 53 percent for life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and 73 percent for the technology industry.
His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO, said: “The findings from the ADNOC Workforce of the Future survey show that the more STEM Millennials and Gen Zs associate oil and gas with new technologies, the more interested they will be in a career in the industry. “As we enter the 4th Industrial Age, we need to come together as an industry and – with our technology industry partners – better highlight the exciting opportunities our dynamic industry offers to young talent with strong technology skills,” he added. The results also show that STEM Millennials and Gen Zs appear divided on whether oil and gas is an industry of the future (45 percent) or the past (44 percent). The data also indicates a mismatch between what STEM Millennials and Gen Zs see as the most important skills to succeed professionally versus what they see are the most important skills for a career in the oil and gas industry.
“Information technology and computer” skills (37 percent) and “creativity and innovative thinking” (33 percent) are seen as the most important skill-sets for succeeding in the future, but only 18 percent see “IT and computer” and “creativity and innovative thinking” as important skills for a career in oil and gas. Similarly, while 26 percent say programing languages are key for future professional success, only 11 percent view it as an important skill in the oil and gas industry. The data also shows that some experience in the job market and a tertiary education in STEM subjects can help change perceptions positively toward a career in the oil and gas sector. While interest is low among secondary school-age STEM students (37 percent are interested in a career in oil and gas), this figure rises to approximately half (51 percent) of young professionals being interested in pursuing a career in the sector – representing a 14-point increase.
STEM is here. STEM is evolving. STEM is the future. The AISES Leadership Summit is focused on honing strategies to enable science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals and emerging leaders in STEM fields to think proactively about their goals.
This annual gathering focuses on the core competencies and capacities of individuals. It stimulates participants to think about their responsibilities and the impact of their work and studies on the global STEM community. It enables participants to stop, think, and plot their incredible life journey, and it supports them as they process the lessons and opportunities they come away with.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) generously sponsored and hosted the 2019 AISES Leadership Summit March 14–16 in Cherokee, North Carolina. The Qualla Boundary, the official name of this sovereign nation’s land, is adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in western North Carolina. This historic, scenic area is home to a close-knit community that proudly and graciously welcomed Leadership Summit participants as friends and relatives.
There was excitement in the room! Cherokee Principal Chief Richard Snead opened the Leadership Summit by sharing his message of goodwill from the Cherokee community. AISES is grateful to the EBCI community, tribal members, and Cherokee community partners that invested in the 2019 Leadership Summit, including the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, the Sequoyah Fund, Owle Construction, the Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute, the Cherokee Boys Club, and many programs of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Following Principal Chief Snead’s inspirational talk, the Cherokee Youth Council (CYC), a culturally based leadership program for students in grades 7–12, performed two social dances. The CYC is housed under the Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute at the Cherokee Boys Club and is funded by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. EBCI Youth Ambassadors invited conference participants to join them in the Friendship Dance, bringing together friends and strangers in unity.
Once again, AISES designed and presented a top-notch conference of action-packed days filled with meetings, tours, and events. Complementing all the activities were multiple forms of learning, from written materials and workshops to a choice of over 30 conference sessions. Participants arrived from Canada and 31 states as far away as Alaska and Hawaii. Over 260 students and professionals, including advisors and chaperones, were part of this year’s gathering.
Within the Leadership Summit was a lineup of AISES program events. The Faculty Career Development Workshop was a daylong program for Native people preparing to become STEM faculty.
Pre-college Energy Challenge poster participants presented their winning concepts and had an opportunity to showcase their work before skilled career professionals, who offered advice and feedback. Each student’s project is based on an energy challenge affecting his or her community, and students use a two-phase engineering process to create a real-world solution.
“The AISES Leadership Summit is an extraordinary example of how a Tribal community is committed to the future of their people and sustainability of their workforce,” says Alicia Jacobs, Vice Chair of the AISES Board of Directors. “I have seen the value of increasing the representation of American Indians in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers right here on the Qualla Boundary. The EBCI community through the exposure of a national organization such as AISES has a strong STEM presence within the professional body of the tribe along with our college students pursuing STEM fields, and down to our students at the Cherokee Central Schools level who are working on culturally-based STEM curriculum. The EBCI community, Executive Office and Tribal Council are setting a strong example for other tribal communities to follow when it comes to supporting STEM by investing in the AISES Leadership Summit.”
Investing in the Leadership Summit benefits us all. AISES could not accomplish the goals of the Leadership Summit without the support, involvement, and enthusiasm of our committed sponsors, which include the tribal programs and partners previously listed, along with BMM Testlabs, Chevron, HP, America’s Navy, University of North Carolina Asheville, General Motors, United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service, Double Rafter, and DiversityComm.
The Leadership Summit is an opportunity for STEM professionals, industry partners, and students to meet and interact with each other, as well as with the AISES board of directors, staff, and advisory council members. Together participants build a shared support base for the growth and development of essential leadership skills. Invest in yourself and you invest in the future.
Join AISES at the 2019 National Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 10–12, 2019. We’d love to see you there!
Working in retail, hospitality, a call center, or another job focused on customer service can give you vital workplace skills. No matter which industry you want to work in, the following six strong customer service skills are transferable to any job.
1. Strong Communication Skills
Good communication is the key to good customer service. It’s also the cornerstone of working in any industries where you need to work with other people, from customers to colleagues, and clients to business contacts.
Through your customer service role, you’ll learn how to explain concepts to others in easy-to-understand terms and how to placate people who may not share your point of view. You’ll find that you use these same skills in most roles. Your oral and written communication skills will also help you get your points across in meetings and during collaborative tasks.
2. Solid Active Listening Skills
Good communication and active listening skills tend to go hand in hand. Good communication is a two-way street. While effective public speaking skills are important, so is effective listening. Customer service professionals hone their active listening skills when they listen to what a customer says, then ask questions to clarify what they’ve heard before delivering a response.
A study by Korn Ferry International, an executive search recruitment firm, found that active listening is the most important competence for any workplace. The firm gave active listening this rating because it believes active listening can cover gaps left in other workplace areas. For example, if you don’t yet have skills in negotiation, you could rely on your active listening skills to get through a negotiation process.
3. Excellent Problem-Solving Skills
Customer service representatives are pros at problem solving. So much of their job involves handling complaints and queries customers have. They must use ingenuity to find solutions that work within a business’s preferred practices yet satisfy customers. Problem-solving skills cultivated in a customer service role are transferable to almost any profession, but they are especially important for creative and technology roles, such as advertising executives, engineers, and software designers.
4. Ability to Work as Part of a Team
No customer service worker is an island. Instead, customer service employees work as part of a team to support their employer’s positive image and customer service standards. Many customer service workers find themselves jumping in to help colleagues address customer queries or assisting their co-workers when they’re especially busy.
The kind of collaborative teamwork skills demonstrated by customer service workers is essential for success in many professional environments. It’s important for people in a range of industries to work within their designated roles but come together when required, such as for group projects and meetings.
5. Good Multitasking Skills
Many customer service professions require you to multitask well. Every customer wants to feel important, even though your attention may be pulled in several directions. It’s not uncommon for customer service professionals to run computers or cash registers while speaking with customers.
You might also deal with a number of customers at once if people with more urgent concerns need help while you’re dealing with more routine matters. And, of course, you must do it all efficiently and with a smile on your face! That aptitude for multitasking is useful for working in any busy profession.
6. The Ability to Show Resilience
Customer service workers must be resilient. While most members of the public are pleasant, some can be short-tempered and belligerent. In these circumstances, customer service workers must rely on their skills of resiliency to power through. Otherwise, they can’t deliver their best service to the next customer they interact with.
Similarly, you won’t find all the people you deal with any profession in good humor all the time. Sometimes, events in life simply don’t go your way. Despite the challenges, it’s important to rely on your skills of resiliency to move on to the next task. Demonstrating your resilience to a potential new employer will hold you in good stead on any job interview that you face.
Don’t underestimate how important having a background in customer service can be. A role focused on helping members of the public can position you well for landing any job.