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.


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.



Business, Career, Coding, Confidence, Education, Entrepreneurship, Goals, Money, Skills, Travel, Voice, Writing

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you!

When was the last time you attempted something that hurled you from your comfort zone? How about something that shoved you out of your safe and comfortable bubble? Or maybe something that gave you a slight nudge out of your big-fish-small-pond reality?

If it took you longer to answer these questions than it does for Kanye to have a meltdown, it’s probably time for a new challenge.

Here are 3 Growth-Encouraging Challenges for your consideration.

1. Learn a new skill. I kicked off 2015 and continued into 2016 not with a resolution, but with the goal of undertaking a project that would squeeze every last drop of brain power not sucked dry by the education system. Learning to code is most certainly living up to this goal. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery. I’m just getting started, but it already feels like I’ve gone a couple of rounds with a Lifetime TV Child Genius.

Maybe your challenge is not a new programming language. Maybe it’s a traditional language. Bonjour! Buenos dias! Guten Tag! Perhaps it’s learning to cook. Mayhap it’s learning to budget. Or maybe to knit. Or to become a more powerful public speaker. Whatever the skill, find something that you’re not traditionally “good at” and learn it. Because time is a precious resource and we can’t always afford to learn for the sake of learning, invest the effort, time, and possibly money in a skill that aligns with one or more of your long-term goals.

mmderosier edit this code

2. Take a trip. In 2011 a group of friends and I went on a whirlwind five-city tour that culminated in Cairo, Egypt. To refresh your memory, 2011 in Egypt was a year of civil unrest that toppled the 30-year reign of President Mubarak. I can’t say it was the most stress-free time to visit the country. We went through a metal detector before we could enter our hotel. When I jokingly asked what it was we were being screened for, the officer succinctly answered, “bombs”. Insert big, fearful eyes.

I’m not suggesting that you pack up and head to the nearest country facing political instability, but just go beyond Montreal or Cancun. Not that there’s anything wrong with either place. What I’m saying instead is to find your Egypt – someplace that readjusts your world view and leaves you with a new understanding of the things you take for granted. If Montreal is your Egypt, great, go! But if Montreal is your “they know me and I know them” default location, throw a dart on a map and land somewhere else.


3. Share yourself with others. When I clicked submit and officially entered the 2013 So You Think You Can Write Harlequin contest, my heart dropped to my stomach. I had yanked the door wide open for others to see my heart. To criticize. To judge. I took my writing – something that’s always been very personal to me and closely guarded – and shared it with an audience. But I needed that experience to give me the courage to work towards becoming a published author. Something that hasn’t happened yet, but now there’s no turning back from.

What are you fearful of sharing? Are you the soul-touching singer refusing to share your voice with an audience? Or the brilliant painter passing on the opportunity to display his work? Whatever the reason for your hesitation, why not make today the day to overcome it?

mmderosier reader feedback

mmderosier Reina and Eli

Remember that if doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

So, what challenge will change you this year? What challenges have changed you in the past? How can you apply lessons from the past to grow this year?

Career, Education, Make It Rain, Money, Student Loans

I Finished Paying Sallie Mae Back

I am here for this #Dee1Nation song. It’ll probably be out of style by the time I too can sing “I finished paying Sallie Mae Navient back”, but you best believe I’ll be screaming it at the top of my lungs. I finished paying Sallie Mae back, Mae back!!! 🎧🎤🎧 🎉🎉🎉  And I’ll take one of those t-shirts.

Make it rain on sallie mae mmderosier



90s, Education, Make It Rain, Money, Student Loans

Struggling to pay your student loans? Find the “extra”.

Let’s be honest. At times we complain about wanting things to change, but secretly want the change without the effort. Whether it’s weight loss, saving money, or paying off debt, sometimes we just want the issue to resolve itself without any sacrifice on our end.

Sometimes we’re simply too tired to keep trying. Too tired to keep giving up what we want now for what’s better for us in the long run.

make it rain on navient mmderosier

I understand. I’ve had those moments. And had one recently that I had to push through.

While I celebrated that we were able to find the “extra” last month to make it rain $203 on Navient,

make it rain on navient mmderosier

it was frustrating that we did so in part by reducing our personal ‘fun money’ (discretionary fund).

And with less money, comes less fun. At least in NYC.

make it rain on navient mmderosier

I admit to stomping my feet and crying about life not being fair. But then came to my adult senses and snapped out of it.

Not having enough to do everything, I had to be strategic about how to use what I had left when it came time to hanging out with friends.

First, I couldn’t accept every invitation, unfortunately. Second, I had to schedule meetups after the start of a new budget. And third, I had to be straightforward about needing to work around limited funds.

making it rain on navient mmderosier

Thankfully, my friends are Waldo-Geraldo-Faldo laid-back and just said “cool” and kept it moving.

make it rain on navient mmderosier

It’s good to be surrounded by people who support instead of derail your goals.*

make it rain on navient mmderosier

Student debt repayment is a commitment. Unless a rich eccentric aunt comes out of the woodwork to offer us a windfall, most of us won’t be rid of it overnight.

It’s okay if we get tired. To say it’s not worth doing more than the minimum. It’s okay to be frustrated in the moment. To walk away to clear our heads. Go for a run. Have a good cry. Play music. Read a book. Watch a silly movie.

And when we’ve done so, we can come back renewed and refocused on why this goal matters to us. And then we can keep going.

Make it rain on Navient mmderosier

I’d love to hear your updates. What changes have you made recently to make it rain on your goals? Where are you finding the “extra”? How are you handling the too-tired days?

* 😦 Brittany Murphy. And I miss pre-Fox News Stacey Dash.

Education, Make It Rain, Money, Student Loans

Paid!!! Paid!!! Paid!!! One Student Loan Paid!!!

When you make your security deposit rain on Sallie Mae Navient instead of buying lovely living room furniture.

responsible adult Paid!!! Paid!!! Paid!!! One Student Loan Paid!!! mmderosier

living room grey Paid!!! Paid!!! Paid!!! One Student Loan Paid!!! mmderosier

When you pay off a $2,400 student loan!

excited Paid!!! Paid!!! Paid!!! One Student Loan Paid!!! mmderosier

PAID Paid!!! Paid!!! Paid!!! One Student Loan Paid!!! mmderosier

When your mind whispers *loudly* that you still have $126k to go!

scared Paid!!! Paid!!! Paid!!! One Student Loan Paid!!! mmderosier

loan balance Paid!!! Paid!!! Paid!!! One Student Loan Paid!!! mmderosier

When you take a breath to stop freaking out. Just remember to tackle this in bite-size chunks.

stop freaking out Paid!!! Paid!!! Paid!!! One Student Loan Paid!!! mmderosier

Rain forecast Paid!!! Paid!!! Paid!!! One Student Loan Paid!!! mmderosier

Paid!!! Paid!!! Paid!!! One Student Loan Paid!!! mmderosier

When you exhale ready to start over again. Bring it on!

Paid!!! Paid!!! Paid!!! One Student Loan Paid!!! mmderosier

Education, Make It Rain, Money, Student Loans

Make It Rain On Sallie Mae

In August I shared that my husband and I decided to take control of our combined $128k student loans by breaking the debt into bite-size chunks.

This month kicks off our official goal:

Make It Rain On Sallie Mae Navient!

Aziz rain LARGE

Follow along as I provide weekly, bi-weekly (more like it), or monthly updates on how we’re “making it rain” on Sallie Mae with every spare penny, nickel, dime, quarter, and bill that we can find.

Statistics report the U.S. student loan debt at $1.2 TRILLION, so I assume a few of you are on this Titanic with us. Fortunately, we’ve watched the movie and know to prepare to avoid the iceberg.

*A quick pause to ponder life’s random thoughts: Rose didn’t have to hoard the wood. She could have moved a couple of inches to save Jack’s life. Just selfish.*


*End pause* While it’s too late to bring the ship back to shore, we can still be thoughtful and aggressive in avoiding the iceberg.

Some days it will drizzle more than rain, but I don’t care.

fo drizzle

Whatever we send above the minimum is going to be celebrated with champagne (aka tap water). A toast to November’s $75.56 worth of showers!

Month & Year Rain Method Rain Amount
November 2015 Budget Leftover $63
November 2015 Ebates $10.03
November 2015 Purse Find $2.53

Comment and let me know how you plan to make it rain on your loans.

#DoGoodDoWell, #DoWellDoGood, Business, Career, Confidence, Education, Entrepreneurship, Equal Pay, Gender, Levo League, Money, Networking, Voice, Women Empowerment, Work Life Balance

What Do You *Really* Need From Your Career?

What do you really need from your career?

Not the cursory responses that most people spit out when asked: money, health benefits, 401k. To be clear, I am not turning my nose up at these perks. On the contrary, they’re great, and should be appreciated. But when I think about the statistics below from a 2014 Gallop report, I can’t help but wonder what thought (if any) goes into deciding what one needs from a career.

  • The average American work week is now 47 hours
  • 21% of full-time U.S. employees work 50 to 59 in a typical week
  • Only 13 percent of workers actually enjoy going to work

Is money the highest need? It could be. But if it is, why are so many spending such a huge chunk of their lives miserable? Is it that the money is not enough? Or is the money enough but there’s nothing else about the work that brings satisfaction?

I can’t answer these questions for everyone else, but I had to answer them for me. And what I found was that my career needs generally fall into these five categories, in order of importance:

1. Glorify God. This means work that won’t ask me to compromise my morals. As Mark 8:36 says, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

2. Impact a greater mission. Especially when my work equips others to better support those lacking opportunities. Opportunity to eat. Opportunity to be safe. Opportunity to be educated. Opportunity to seek a better future.

3. My voice is valued. Working in an environment where my input and contributions are clearly appreciated and not just tolerated.

4. Flexibility. The archaic mindset that good work can only happen when employees punch a clock in, sit in a cubicle for 8 hours, and punch a clock out, doesn’t encourage creativity and innovation. And that kind of environment is not where I will be happy for long.

5. Money. Yes, it does matter. It doesn’t rule my decision, but it is a determining factor when considering an offer. I read a great quote recently that says, “When you learn how much you’re worth, you’ll stop giving people discounts.” I learned my worth long ago and make no apologies for expecting to be compensated according to the value that I bring to the team.

To return to my original question: What do you *really* need from your career?

Maybe it’s better work-life balance. Maybe it’s a clear path towards growth. Maybe it’s a continued creative outlet. Whatever it is, take the time to think it through if you haven’t already. And once you’ve done so, let those needs be the guiding principles for seeking and choosing your career opportunities. Most of us have to work, that’s the reality of today’s economy. But we don’t have to approach it with dread. The closer we are to a job that fulfills our top career needs, the less likely we are to spend our days upset and daydreaming about quitting.