Business, Career, Economic Equality, Economic Inequality, Entrepreneurship, Equal Pay, Gender, Gender Equality, Gender Inequality, Goals, Levo League, Money, Race, Racial Equality, Racial Inequality, Socioeconomic Status, Voice, Women Empowerment, Writing

Diversity Without Power Is Still Not Enough

I recently penned an article for Jet magazine in response to a photo posted by the Huffington Post. Below is the article in its entirety as well as the link: Diversity Without Power Is Still Not Enough by M. Michelle Derosier for Jet magazine.

huffpost_diversity-610x250

If you’re a professional and a person of color in America, chances are you’ve been part of at least one meeting, a team or a department where yours was one of (if not) the only [insert race or culture] face in the crowd.

Yet, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education reports, “In the U.S., the white portion of the working-age population (generally ages 25 to 64) is declining, while the minority portion is increasing.”

While we’d like to think that our personal experience is the exception and not the rule, the picture below tweeted recently by Liz Heron, Executive Editor at the Huffington Post, seems to spit in the face of this statistic.

HuffPost Editors Meeting Twitter Photo M Michelle Derosier

To answer Ms. Heron’s question, we notice much about this editors meeting. While we give kudos to the solid representation of women, we’re disturbed by the poor representation of people of color.

Even more disconcerting is the fact that in this room sits many who decide which stories are worth sharing and whose voices will tell them. In an organization that draws in more than 200 million unique visitors a month; she who controls whose story is told, shapes reader perception. For those who are saying that this group of women aren’t execs or CEOs and don’t move the financial needle of the company, remember that power can be just as much about who controls the narrative as about who controls the purse strings.

And that is at the heart of my issue with this photo. It’s such a vivid reminder that those climbing fastest or currently highest on the power pyramid – the key decision makers – rarely look anything like the changing American landscape. In 2014, nonwhites accounted for 38 percent of the U.S. population, but those who hold the power to shape multimillion dollar companies are barely a blip on the radar.

An article posted, ironically, on the Huffing Post found just over 4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs in 2014 were minorities, a classification including African-Americans, Asians, and Latin-Americans.

To underscore the significance of the power of those in control of the finances as an example, according to Fortune magazine: “In total, the Fortune 500 companies account for $12.5 trillion in revenues, $945 billion in profits, $17 trillion in market value and employ 26.8 million people worldwide.”

Whether 100, 250, or 500 – whatever the Fortune ranking of companies of total revenues for their respective fiscal year – minority representation in key leadership roles is practically nonexistent.

With so few minorities governing the path of these companies, our collective power to see real change that will elevate the social economic status of the masses and not just the few, is significantly diminished.

While we should celebrate–loudly–the people of color who make it into the door; we should never be satisfied with diversity in just the cubicles. We need equal representation at the decision tables. We can start with one voice, then push for two, and continue for three. However, may we never stop until companies such as the Huffington Post are tweeting photos that represent a racially and culturally diverse group of decision makers.

 

 

Standard
Career, Economic Equality, Economic Inequality, Education, Family, Levo League, Make It Rain, Money, Student Loans

Helpful Hints for Taking Control of Your Student Loans

Last year Gisele made in one day what my husband and I owe in student loans for one undergraduate and two graduate degrees. If I lived on a diet of sunflower seeds and divided my waking hours between Pilates and CrossFit for the next year, my chances of commanding Gisele’s daily rate would still be laughable. It would be as likely as throwing a rock and hitting the moon. Depressing. I know.

When you owe more money than you’ve ever written a check for, it can seem overwhelming and beyond your control to get a handle on repayment. However, as with most things in life, debt is considerably less intimidating when broken down into bite-size chunks.

Contrary to Navient’s prediction, we refuse to be shackled to this resource-suck for the next 22 years. Don’t get me wrong, the amount is substantial and will take time to pay off. But it seems considerably more manageable now that we understand the loans that make up the total (a process we completed using the spreadsheet at the end of this post).

Once everything was outlined, we devised a repayment plan that includes tackling the loans under $3k (7 in total) to keep us motivated towards the ultimate goal. Of the seven, we’re zeroing in on the one with the highest interest rate and working backwards. For each one paid off, the minimum payment (plus extra) will be re-rerouted to the one with the next highest interest rate. We’ll follow the same principle as Dave Ramsey’s snowball method because that makes sense for us.

You must, of course, do what works best for you and your family, but outlined below are some tips to help you take hold of your student debt.

  • Accept it. You owe the money. Stressing about it will only cause you sleepless nights. No sense being saddled with debt and dark circles under your eyes.
  • Know your debt. Who do you owe? How much exactly? What are the terms? All that information can likely be found by logging into your debt provider’s website. All you need is a little patience to copy and paste.
  • Start a budget. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as a couple of columns on a spreadsheet to keep track of what you’re bringing in and how you’re spending it. See spreadsheet below.
  • Find the “extra”. Now that you understand what you’re bringing in, how you’re spending it, and directing where it should go, keep your eyes open for the leftover dollars in your budget. Better yet, be proactive and cut back on a couple of line items to generate the “extra”. Nothing too drastic. Make it manageable. As an example, you’ll notice in tab 2, column G2 of the spreadsheet that we sent $63 extra dollars to our loans this month. This was cobbled together by taking excess money from last month ($34) and shaving a few dollars off several flexible items on our budget this month: $15 from the food allotment, $4 from the Christmas club account, and $10 from the weekly lunch. The amount isn’t important, the shift in mindset is. Make it a habit to critically analyze your spending for areas to cut back and be disciplined about using the savings to pay more than the minimum on your loans.
  • Appreciate the dollar. Every dollar, quarter, dime, nickel, and penny over your minimum snips away at the number of years, months, weeks, days, and hours you’re held hostage by debt.
  • Celebrate to stay encouraged. Laugh if you must, but I’m not above high-fiving myself for a job well done. Don’t wait until you’ve paid off huge chunks to celebrate. Take pride in every smart decision made to bring you closer to your debt-free goal.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Some months you’re going to hate having to be so responsible. You’ll cry, “Why can’t I spend that $100 on nosebleed tickets to see Beyonce?” Trust me, I understand. It sucks. Acknowledge that it sucks, but stay on course. And if you do fall off course, do as the late Aaliyah said, “Dust yourself off and try again.”

Share your thoughts. How are you handling your student loans? Do you feel in control of them, or are they controlling you?

 

MMDerosier Student Loans Helpful Hints

MMDerosier Student Loans Helpful Hints

Student Loans Tracking Spreadsheet: mmderosier_student_loans_and_budget_spreadsheet_8_2015_Jan_2016_Update

Standard
#DoGoodDoWell, #DoWellDoGood, Business, Career, Counseling, Crisis Counseling, Crisis Intervention, Economic Equality, Economic Inequality, Education, Entrepreneurship, Equal Pay, Gender, Gender Equality, Gender Inequality, Money, Skills, Women Empowerment

Happy International Women’s Day

#HappyInternationalWomensDay

Although not planned, how fitting that I should launch my blog on #IWD2015. According to Women’s Day, IWD is an important day to celebrate women’s social, economic & political achievements while calling for greater equality.

This year’s #MakeItHappen theme is surprisingly timely and appropriate as I celebrate the decision to finally make happen my idea to become a consultant. With over 10 years experience engaging communities to empower and provide opportunities for at-risk students and adults in crisis, I am well positioned to help organizations create and/or formalize their process for employees to do good while doing well. #DoGoodDoWell #DoWellDoGood

Thanks in part to the encouragement from perfect strangers at the Levo League (NYC) #GetBigThingsDone event last month, I was able to publicly declare my goal to get this big thing done this year.

The leaders of the #GetBigThingsDone movement espouse the concept of Connectional Intelligence. As they describe it, Connectional Intelligence is the ability to combine knowledge, ambition and human capital, forging connections on a global scale that create unprecedented value and meaning.

As I embark on this journey to get this big goal done, I hope to forge connections with readers like you who are also working to achieve a professional or personal goal this year. As well as strengthen the connections with my existing support system of incredible women and men.

What “It” do you intend to make happen this year? What “BIG THING” do you intend to get done? How can I or someone else help?

 

Standard