Follow by Email

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Country’s Job Creators Are Increasingly Women Of Color

August 27, 2015, Bryce Covert

   Shelly Kapoor Collins had spent more than 10 decades in technology, but she felt that something was still missing from her career. “I knew that I loved tech, but I never quite understood the concept of working for someone else,” she said.

And eventually, the mother of a 10-month-old daughter who was pregnant with a son got sick of waiting for the right time to branch out on her own. So she decided to go ahead and launch her company, Enscient Corporation. And she couldn’t be happier.

“The lesson I learned is that you can’t wait for the right time, you have to be the one to pick the right time,” she said. Now she’s taken her experience in the tech world — first at MCI, then at Oracle — and put it to work serving clients in government. “It was chaotic, but I thrived on the chaos,” she said of her experience launching a company while parenting young children.

It seems that a lot of American women have decided that it is their time to take the same dive. According to an analysis of new data on business creation from the Census Bureau conducted by the National Women’s Business Council, woman-owned businesses increased 27.5 percent between 2007 and 2012, adding 2.1 million to the total, outpacing the growth the 20 percent growth they saw in the five years before that. Women now run more than 36 percent of all businesses (that aren’t farms), up from just under 30 percent in 2007.

Businesses owned by men, meanwhile, just puttered along. They grew less than 6 percent between 2002 and 2007 and less than 8 percent between 2007 and 2012.

And companies run by women now employ 8.9 million people. In fact, the number of people working for a woman-owned business increased 19.5 percent, while it only increased 11.5 percent for those run by men.

The increases are even more dramatic for businesses started by women of color like Kapoor Collins, who is Indian American. Businesses owned by black women increased 67.5 percent between 2007 and 2012, versus less than 19 percent growth for those started by black men. Nearly 60 percent of all businesses run by a black person are now run by women. Hispanic women saw an even bigger gain, as their businesses increased more than 87 percent in the same time period compared to about 39 percent growth for Hispanic men. And those run by Asian American women grew 44 percent, compared to 25 percent for Asian American men.

Of course there are still far more companies run by men. The total came to nearly 15 million as of 2012, compared to 9.9 million owned by women.

And money can be a concern. Kapoor Collins has experienced funding hurdles firsthand. When she decided to launch a new product that helps politicians and nonprofits fundraise, she needed funding herself to get it up and running. Two things got in her way, though: one is the time demand of fundraising for someone with young children, and the other was plain sexism. “Men give to men, they raise from each other and give to each other,” she said. “It’s an old boys’ network. As a woman, it’s hard to tap into that.” In the end she decided to have her company fund the project itself.

It’s a well-known problem that women struggle to raise money. They only net 13 percent of of venture capital funding and get less than 5 percent of government contracts. Business school students are four times more likely to recommend investing in a company led by a man, something that holds true even with the exact same pitch.

And once they get up and running, women’s businesses can struggle to bring in the big bucks. The vast majority of companies they own bring in less than $25,000 in receipts and companies that size saw the highest rate of growth. Just 1.8 percent make it past the $1 million revenue mark, compared to 6.3 percent owned by men.

Still, Kapoor Collins thinks the trend of women starting companies will only continue thanks to the visibility of female businesswomen like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer. “Women can’t be what we can’t see,” she said. But things have changed. “Mentorship is on the rise, contributing to more women doing and starting businesses.”

And her message to any woman who might be considering making that move herself: jump in. “The worst thing you can do is to not do it,” she said.

This blog originally appeared at on August 20, 2015. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Bryce Covert is the Economic Policy Editor for ThinkProgress. She was previously editor of the Roosevelt Institute’s Next New Deal blog and a senior communications officer. She is also a contributor for The Nation and was previously a contributor for ForbesWoman. Her writing has appeared on The New York Times, The New York Daily News, The Nation, The Atlantic, The American Prospect, and others. She is also a board member of WAM!NYC, the New York Chapter of Women, Action & the Media

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Black American Airlines Workers Told to “Go Back to the Plantation”, Letter to Attorney General Claims

Aug. 23, 2015

Washington Post

Black American Airlines workers at Reagan National and Philadelphia claim they are victims of racial discrimination and are reaching out to Attorney General Loretta Lynch for help.

The 80 airline workers sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, according to TribLIVE,claiming that they were subjected to racial taunts and an unsafe work environment. The workers are asking Lynch to open an investigation into their claims. “I was told by one manager to go back out to that plantation, go back out to the cotton field. They thought it was hilarious, but I didn’t think it was one bit funny,” said a woman who worked 30 years at National. “They even used the n-word.”

“I’ve heard it referred to as the plantation, the cotton field; get back out there with your cousins,” said a baggage claim employee at National.

The Justice Department has not confirmed whether it will investigate the discrimination claims.

American Airlines released a statement regarding the allegations.“The training procedures and equipment that we use have been recognized as the best in the industry and fully comply with government safety regulations,” American said in the statement. “Ours is a diverse workforce serving customers who are equally diverse, and we are committed to fostering a work environment that is based on collaborative teamwork and mutual respect.”

Your Black World first reported on discrimination claims in July of this year. In the lawsuit workers allege that managers called them “circus monkeys,” “the n-word,” “ghetto,” “Darfur.” The managers also allegedly referred to segregated break areas as the “black panther break room” and “chocolate break room.”

The lawsuit also alleges that the “managers did not provide overtime opportunities for minority workers, enforced unfair punishment on African American workers in comparison to white workers, and refused to give African-American workers proper training, leaving them unqualified for some job opportunities,” NBC Philadelphia reported at the time.

Monday, August 10, 2015

4 Ways to Boost Employee Performance and Job Satisfaction

By Ascanio Pignatelli

Kevin Wilson was a great leader, but his team was not producing the results he knew they were capable of. One day he arranged a meeting with Jim Hefner, a recently retired executive who had built and led a team that shattered every single company performance record. 

“Jim, how’d you build such an amazing team? They not only outperform the rest of us but they seem to have more energy, confidence and fun than anyone else.”

“Kevin, I’m a big fan and follower of CSE. It’s a branch of industrial-organizational psychology known as core self-evaluations. That’s what made us so successful. Ever heard of it?”

Kevin shook his head, “No.”

Excitedly, Jim leaned in to explain: “Well, CSE is the personality trait responsible for our temperament, our well-being, and how we judge our circumstances. It also drives our behavior. Those with high CSE are far more positive and confident in their abilities, satisfied with their jobs and perform them far better than those with low CSE. As a manager, your job is to coach and raise each of your employees’ CSE levels.”

Jim is correct; as a leader, your primary focus should be to personally coach the best out of your team members and raise their CSE levels. Doing so will ensure you are more satisfied with their work and perform it better. 

Fortunately, CSE can be easily assessed and increased by:

Shifting the ‘Locus of Control'

The “locus of control” is determined by the extent to which people believe they control their success or performance. Employees who believe that they control their future (internals) have an internal locus of control and are generally happier, more empowered, and more productive than those who attribute their success or performance to fate or their surroundings (externals). As a result, internals are more satisfied with their work and perform better than externals. You can find out whether an employee is an internal or external by simply asking “What’s been responsible for your success/performance?”

If the answer reveals an external locus of control shift power back to your employee by asking “How has believing that you aren’t causing your success affected your career?” Let them explain so they can really experience how they've been limiting themselves, then ask: “If you knew that you were in complete control of your success, what would be possible?

Increasing Emotional Intelligence

Employees with a tendency to easily experience unpleasant emotions like anxiety, depression and despair have lower emotional intelligence (the emotional quotient, or EQ) and will react far more negatively to stress. 

Because their EQ levels are lower, their ability to connect, understand and influence others is severely impaired. For Kevin and others in leadership positions, the need for emotional stability is even more paramount because they are the face of the organization and set the tone for employee morale. If you have an employee that's emotionally unstable consider asking: “What can you do to not get so stressed out next time you have a presentation/sales call)?” Or “What might be a more appropriate way to react to an upset client/colleague?”

Instilling Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy is the trait responsible for how likely we are to succeed with current goals and tasks, or take on a challenging assignment or write it off as impossible. (How likely we are to adhere to a diet or workout program is dictated by our self-efficacy.)

Those with high self-efficacy are more determined and persistent when dealing with adversity, and more likely to welcome new challenges as opportunities. The greater a person’s belief in their own power to influence an outcome the more likely they are to succeed with a new challenge. The following four-step process can help you develop someone else’s self-efficacy:

Build confidence. Question any belief they might have that is limiting their performance. For example, if an employee thinks they aren’t experienced enough to manage a project you can remind them of their unique strengths and capabilities.

Promote modeling. Have inexperienced employees watch other colleagues with similar skills perform more advanced tasks so they too can develop those positive, “can-do” beliefs.

Evaluate to motivate. Rewards, recognition and positive feedback are key to helping your employees feel more competent, motivated and open to growth. Negative feedback can devastate those with low self-esteem, as they almost always take it personally.

Optimize the environment. Create a vibrant, energetic, stress-free workplace that encourages your staff to get the nutrition, exercise and rest they need so they can perform their best.

Increasing Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is the approval we have of ourselves and the extent to which we see ourselves as capable, significant, successful and worthy. It is the most essential of the CSE domains since workers with low self-esteem are often unproductive because they are indecisive, fear making mistakes and strive for perfection which leads to frustration when it isn’t attained. Generally they are highly irritable and pessimistic, and can drain the positive, enthusiastic energy of their more self-assured colleagues. 

Predictably, those with low self-esteem are more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs, performing them considerably worse than those with higher self-esteem. 

To boost the self-esteem of your employees:

Recognize and celebrate their successes and accomplishments as much as possible.

Express your gratitude and appreciation to them for the contribution and difference they keep making.

Be a model of kindness and compassion to others, especially those with lower self-esteem.

Jim Hefner understood that coaching the best out of his team meant raising their CSE levels. He did everything he could to raise those levels and as a result his team was always more satisfied with their work, performed it better, and were more confident, motivated and enthusiastic. They were also far less stressed, had less conflict, coped more effectively with setbacks and were better equipped to capitalize on opportunities. To better engage, empower and motivate your greatest resource and boost the bottom line, lead like Jim and raise those CSE levels.

Ascanio Pignatelli is a speaker, coach and author of the forthcoming book Lead from Need. He is the founder of ApexCEO, an executive coaching and leadership development group.

(Image via Surrphoto/