Stuck in a Career Rut? Allow us to point you in the "Wright" Career Direction

Executive Resume Writing, Resume Strategist, Resume Service, Professional Resume, Manager Resume, Mid-career professionals, Resume, Career Coaching, Interview Coaching

Executive Resume Writing, Career Coaching, Interview Coaching, Executive, Senior Management Resumes, Manager Resume, Experienced Professionals, Mid-Career Professionals Resume, Resume Service, Professional Resume,

About Daisy

I am Daisy Wright, an award winning certified career management and interview coach, author, and certified resume strategist. I collaborate with executives, managers, and mid-career professionals in all aspects of their career and job search to help them get hired FASTER! I am the Founder and Chief Encouragement Officer of The Wright Career Solution and quite passionate about diversity and inclusion and women's issues.

Website: www.thewrightcareer.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/daisywright
Twitter: @CareerTips2Go

Meet Daisy Wright Daisy

Daisy Wright is an award winning career coach, author and certified resume strategist who collaborates with mid-level professionals, managers, and executives to develop attention-grabbing resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and other career marketing documents that focus on telling their career stories and getting them hired FASTER!

Visit her website at www.thewrightcareer.com

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Here are my most recent posts

Reframing the Narrative Around ‘No Canadian Experience’

It’s ironic that the same qualifications that allow newcomers to gain permanent residency status and come to Canada seem to work against them once they arrive.

Last Saturday, I hosted a Webinar through New Canadians TV on this notion of “No Canadian Experience”, and am sharing a synopsis of what was discussed. While the content is geared to newcomers, other job seekers will find some of these tips beneficial.

Reframe the Narrative

First of all, the phrase – No Canadian Experience – is a conversation stopper. It’s one way to stop you in your tracks and prevent you from talking about your unique journey and the benefits an employer could gain from hiring someone like you. Instead of ending the conversation, use the opportunity to engage and reframe the narrative.

Address the Elephant in the Room

(Image: Reddit)

If you get the sense your lack of Canadian work experience could be a concern, you might want to address the ‘elephant in the room’ upfront. Admit it (see a sample script below under elevator pitch), then steer the conversation to how your international experience aligns with the organization’s goals and the benefit they will gain from hiring you. However, before you can have such a conversation, you will need to do some preliminary work. This work won’t be easy, so commit to playing the long game. You will discover it’s a better use of your time than sending resumes to every company and not getting a response.

Take an Inventory of Your Skills

Look at all the things you have done, the skills you used and the outcome / impact you made and write them down. This exercise will help you quantify your achievements, make you stand out from other candidates, and provide you with an inventory of your skills to help you showcase your value.

Research, Research, Research

Every job is NOT for you so don’t go sending resumes to every company that has an opening. Research the ones you would want to work with, and you can start with these lists:

Extend your research to social media platforms, starting with LinkedIn. Sometimes names of your connections who work at a particular company may show up. If not, check if someone in your network knows someone at the company, and ask if they could introduce you. Keep in mind that not everyone is going to respond so don’t become despondent and give up if they dont. Remember you are in it for the long haul.

Once you have gone through the lists, select about 15-20 companies, whether or not they have advertised. When you are focusing on just the ones with advertised openings, you could be missing out on hidden opportunities.

Target Recruiters

While I am not aware there’s a Top 100 Best Recruiters list, you can find many recruiters on LinkedIn. Follow the same process as you did with companies. Check your network, then Connections, then search for recruiters (or any other related title). Make sure to target those in your industry. Start with 5-10 such recruiters and reach out to them. See how to forge authentic relationships below.

Dissect the Job Posting

To get the attention of an employer takes much more than sending a resume and cover letter. It requires an understanding of the employer’s needs. The first indicator of what the employer needs is in the job posting. Pay very close attention. Assess your skills and qualifications against the posting. What do you have to offer? How does your experience align with the requirements?

Prepare Your Career Documents

Depending on who you are talking to, employers take between 6 and 10 seconds to scan your resume; the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) probably takes less. This means if your resume isn’t addressing what’s asked for in the job posting, it will be rejected by the employer leaving them to think that you don’t understand their needs.

Forge Authentic Relationships

The key to a successful job search is to build relationships first, ask for assistance second, and offer to be of assistance always. This is where playing the long game will help you forge authentic relationships, build credibility and gain visibility. In the early stages of building these relationships, don’t go asking for a job (unless there’s one that you know they are hiring for.) After all, you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on a first date! Develop a ‘give, give, get’ mentality. Always ask how you can help your new connections. If you happen to know that an employer is recruiting for another position and you have someone you can recommend, let them know.

Use Every Tool at Your Disposal

As a follow on to building relationships, you are now at the stage where you need to use every tool at your disposal to find the right contacts. You have experimented with LinkedIn, try Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Employers recruiters are on these platforms. What about emails? Most companies have standard e-mail formats. Try sending multiple emails in different format until you no longer receive a “mail delivery error.” You may even want to use the Advanced Search on Google.

Contact as many people as possible while being realistic — not everyone is going to respond.

Develop Your Elevator Sound-Bite

Once you have connected with people you need to tell them about yourself in approximately 30 seconds – the time it takes for an elevator to move from one floor to the next. This is when you craft your elevator pitch or sound-bite. As important as your degrees are to you, that’s not what you want to begin your introduction with. They want to know first how you can help them make or save money. Tell them what it is you do, and name a couple of your accomplishments.

Below is a sample script of an elevator pitch or sound-bite. While it is structured for the interview and will help you address your lack of Canadian experience, it can also be reworked to create a brand paragraph for your resume or help you perfect your elevator sound bite.

“First of all, thank you for inviting me to the interview. I am pleased that something in my background and experience caused you to select me as one of the candidates to be interviewed.

Second, it is true that I haven’t had an opportunity to work in Canada yet and I am hoping you will give me that first chance.

Third, and most significantly, my experience aligns very well with the position. For four years, I was the head of Digital Marketing at _______, with offices in Canada, the US and 17 other countries. My experience includes diverse managerial experience in performance marketing, digital media and marketing technology, and building partnerships with clients to achieve extraordinary results. Conducting regular meetings with staff across all locations and utilizing my bilingual skills, I gained a good grasp of workplace culture and norms allowing me to resolve problems and conflicts before they escalate. With such a background, I am confident I will be able to help you develop and implement your digital marketing strategy across all media channels and platforms.” 

Get Ready to Toot Your Own Horn

“Accomplishments don’t speak for themselves”, is a mantra from Google’s #IamRemarkable workshop that I have had the honour of hosting three times over the past several weeks. This means if you don’t speak up about your accomplishments, you will go unnoticed. In other words, if you don’t toot your own horn, no one will know you are coming.

I hope the above tips will help you reframe the narrative around your lack of Canadian experience and steer the conversation towards the value you will bring to the company. Your unique journey has value. Talk about it. “It’s not bragging if it’s based on facts!”

Have questions? Let’s connect!

Ready to Create Your Big, Bold and Audacious Goal for 2021?

Image: Purchased from Dreamtime

Are you ready to make some Big, Bold, and Audacious Goals for 2021? If you are, then connect with me.

The beginning of a new year is a time of renewal. It’s a time when people get focused on what they want from the year ahead. But, sometimes the year catches us at a cross point, still wavering and uncertain about what to do.

If you are feeling stuck, hopeless, and alone, maybe it’s time to craft a vision of where you want to be by this time next year.

Join me and some other B.A.D. (Brilliant, Audacious and Daring), women at my once-a-year Visioning event. For the first time, it is being held virtually, allowing you to attend from the comfort of your home!

On Saturday, January 9, I will be hosting Visioning 2021: #GettingItDone. It’s a space where you will begin an exciting journey of crafting your 2021 Vision. You will be given tools and resources to help you craft your one-year vision, determine what steps you need to take, then create a plan. This might be the single most important step you will take in 2021 to achieve your goals. And, we do so in a fun setting.

Get the details right here >> Visioning 2021: #GettingItDone, but before you go there, here’s a snippet of what some past attendees have said:

“Thank you so much for inviting me to the Visioning event that was held today. It was a fabulous session ~ enlightening, inspiring, and meaningful. You provided so many valuable tools and resources for participants to assist everyone in setting their Goals to move forward in their life. This was a perfect session to “kick-start” the new year and motivate me to make changes in my life. You’re a perfect example (and walk the talk) when it comes to goal setting and taking action. You’re an inspiration to others! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise. You’re SIMPLY THE BEST!” ~Ingrid N.

 “I am extremely grateful to you for giving me an opportunity to share and be enriched! Perfect time to identify goals for 2018 I am so thankful to you for helping me find my word of the year, envision a bigger purpose through collaboration and being the Oprah Winfrey in action, body and spirit!“ ~Taranum K. 

“Thank you again for the opportunity to take part in your workshop yesterday. I had a tremendous time and am grateful for the chance to meet so many talented people. The real power came from the activities and exchanges with the group.”

This will be a highly productive day. Lots of work, and no speeches, except that a very special guest may join us briefly. (Am awaiting confirmation).

Plan to set aside the time for yourself and get rid of all distractions.

If you wish to gain clarity, confidence, courage and connection, and be part of a community that learns, supports and inspires, you need to attend this event. Act now!

I Am Proud of Me!

This year, 2020, has been a year most of us have never seen. While there is enough I can celebrate, it would be remiss of me not to pause and reflect on the many families who had an empty chair at the dining table this Holiday Season.

If the pandemic didn’t hit us directly, we knew someone who was affected. I lost a family member to the COVID19 virus. He contracted it after being hospitalized with a stroke. I last saw him when I visited Jamaica in June 2019 and I spoke with him just three weeks before his stroke. That was pretty close to home.

At the start of the year, I predicted it was the only year when we were all going to have 20/20 vision. We now know how that turned out. However, that shouldn’t negate the fact there were many moments when ‘you were proud of you’ and ‘I was proud of me’. As you read this, you might be saying to yourself “How narcissistic and me-centered can this woman get?” And I would counter that narcissism has its place.

Too often we feed our minds with negativity and wondering what people will say if we begin to ‘toot our own horns’ and holler out that “I Am Proud of Me!” We find it easier to relegate our accomplishments (our proud moments), to imposter syndrome status. We become friends with it, telling ourselves we are frauds; devaluing ourselves, feeling undeserving of our achievements, questioning our capability, wondering if we are the right person for the job, being afraid to speak up because of what others might say, looking behind our backs to see if we are the ones being called on to step forward. We hand over power to imposter syndrome rather than acknowledging our proud moments.

With 2021 only a few hours away, I won’t be predicting anything, but I want you to tell yourself how proud YOU are of YOU! Whether you had one achievement, or 100, start saying, “I am Proud of Me!”, and do it as many times as you can, until you believe it to your core. That’s one sure way to counter imposter syndrome as you move forward.

What have been my Proud Moments?

Turned Lemons into Lemonade. One of the lemons thrown at me was when I was zoom-bombed with pornography and racist tirades during a webinar. I could have left it up to ignorance of the perpetrator(s), but it fired me up to speak out and write about racism and social justice. It made me realize it is more powerful to speak up than to quietly resent. I also recognized that although not everyone will appreciate my truth, I have to speak it anyway because silence is complicit.

Honest Conversations Build Bridges. With all the mayhem that was going on with George Floyd’s murder and Black Lives Matter protests, performative statements by individuals and corporations were challenged and allyship became a verb in some quarters. Several people reached out to me to ask how I was feeling and to have deep, genuine conversations.

Professional Development. On the professional development level, I had registered to attend Career Thought Leaders’ in-person conference in Philadelphia, but because of the pandemic, it was cancelled. I made lemonade from that the situation and signed up for their Certified Career Transition Coach program.

Living, Learning and Working. Career Professionals of Canada is an organization that thrives on innovation in the career space. I volunteered to be part of the review and beta-testing of its epic Work-Life Strategist program.

As career coaches, we tend to look at our clients through the lens of job search and/or career change, but how often do we take the whole person into consideration? This Work-Life Strategist program helps career practitioners do that from the perspective of: Living (Self-care & Happiness), Learning (Life-Long Learning), and Working (Workplace Well-being).

As part of the cohort of careerpros who took part in the beta-test, and the calibre of their contributions, I know I gained far more than I offered. Pleased to have been a part of this pioneering program and to earn the Certified Work-Life Strategist designation.

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For the third time, I was awarded Outstanding Canadian Career Leader by my peers at Career Professionals of Canada.

Thanks to career and job search icon, Alison Doyle, I was introduced to The Balance Careers, where I have been contributing articles on diversity and inclusion. My latest article is How to Appreciate Diversity During the Holidays.

And, the highlight of my year and very near and dear to my heart are the 20 women who jumped on the 2020 Let’s GROW Project bandwagon, and wrote the anthology, 21 Resilient Women: Stories of Courage, Growth, and Transformation. A few days after publication, it became an Amazon #1 in Motivational and Self-Help and Women’s Biographies categories! How epic is that? #IAmProudofMe!

https://www.amazon.com/21-Resilient-Women-Stories-Transformation/dp/0981310478/

How about you? Were there times when you felt like shouting “I Am Proud of Me!”, and you didn’t because imposter syndrome reared its head, or you feared people would think you had gone crazy?

We have been conditioned to believe that we should not talk about our proud moments because we will be seen as narcissistic, conceited and egocentric. As a career coach, I always encourage clients to be proud of their achievements and make sure to talk about them in interviews. I should heed my own advice, and so should you.

One client told me once that she did not realize the contributions she had made to her company until she saw her accomplishments summarized in her boss’ LinkedIn Profile. She was a spectator at her own career game, but that discovery led her to start capturing her accomplishments.

Let 2021 be the year, you leave imposter syndrome behind and embrace your proud moments. If you don’t toot your own horn, no one will know you are coming; It’s time to give a shoutout to yourself and say “I am Proud of Me!”

By the way, I am getting ready for the virtual edition of the Let’s GROW Project under the theme: Visioning 2021 – #GettingItDone. It’s happening on International Vision Board Day!

Save the date: January 9, 2021, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Eastern.

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Watch this space for details. Or, if you cannot wait, send me a message.

 

Our Baby Has Arrived…

While the COVID pandemic was (and still is), playing havoc in all lives around the world to varying degrees, 21 of us decided to collaborate and write our stories, without missing a beat with our daily work.

Twenty-one ‘ordinary’ women doing extraordinary things. Our stories matter!

The anthology, 21 Resilient Women: Stories of Courage, Growth and Transformation, is the brainchild of executive career coach Daisy Wright, Chief Encouragement Officer at The Wright Career Solution and founder of the Let’s GROW Project.

This year’s Project would not have been possible without the stories of the other 20 co-authors. The Press Release below gives a quick overview of the book:

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PRESS RELEASE

GTA women share personal stories of courage and transformation in new book of essays

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, TORONTO, November 19, 2020 – 21 Resilient Women: Stories of courage, growth and transformation is launching at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has many people searching for hope and inspiration.

Brampton executive career coach Daisy Wright knows that ordinary women often lead extraordinary lives. That’s why she invited 20 women to share stories about their challenges, triumphs and journeys for a book being released this week.

“We are constantly bombarded with stories about celebrities’ lives, but ordinary women have powerful lessons to teach us. The women in this book found the courage to overcome challenges that range from devastating health diagnoses to bias and discrimination. Others reflect on their experiences of motherhood, menopause and adapting to life in a new country. I hope readers will see themselves in some of these stories and say: ‘If she overcame that, I can, too!’” says Wright.

One of the women in the book was attending university on a basketball scholarship when a car accident left her paralyzed. Although she struggled, the accident didn’t prevent her from completing her studies, and now has a rewarding career as a physician assistant. The other contributors write about experiences that include: immigrating to Canada and having to work two jobs to support their family; starting non-profit organizations; being diagnosed with a brain aneurism; and dealing with microaggressions and harassment in the corporate world.

The 21 co-authors featured in the book reflect the diversity of the GTA. All Canadians, with roots in, Canada, Chile/Venezuela Guyana, India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Nepal, Philippines, Saint Lucia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad & Tobago, and the United Kingdom. They were determined to use this sombre downtime that 2020 brought, to do some deep reflection and contribute to this legacy. They also decided that part proceeds from the sales of the book will be donated to a local women’s shelter.

Daisy Wright’s story is the first essay in the book. Growing up in Jamaica, her family taught her that the sky’s the limit when it comes to achieving your career dreams. “But I was jolted to reality when I realized things were different in Corporate Canada. Your career ambitions can be limited – not based on your qualifications, but because of the colour of your skin,” says Wright. Not one to linger too long at her “pity parties”, Wright tapped into her entrepreneurial spirit and started a successful career coaching business known as The Wright Career Solution.

21 Resilient Women: Stories of courage, growth and transformation is for sale on Amazon and IngramSpark. This is Daisy’s third book; her others are Tell Stories: Get Hired and No Canadian Experience, Eh?

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Daisy Wright at 647 930-4763, or daisy@thewrightcareer.com

 

What Happens When You Tell Lies to Gain a Competitive Advantage?

We are living in uncertainty times and no one knows what the new normal is going to look like after this pandemic. No where is there more angst than in the job market. Many people have been laid-off or furloughed, and some of those who are still employed are nervous about their future. And with the unemployment rate at an all-time high, it is tempting to fudge credentials when applying for jobs. BUT, lying on your resume can hurt your professional reputation.

In a blog post titled Resume Fraud and the Law, the writer from Zelikman Law, states, “It is not uncommon to embellish one’s credentials in the course of an interview or through a resume in order to “get one’s foot in the door.” To a certain degree, most people are guilty of some form of self-aggrandizement when employment is within reach.” 

It has become a common practice over the years for some job seekers to do exactly that – deliberately lie on their resume – and it runs the gamut from entry level candidates to executives.

Some of these individuals have been caught fabricating their accomplishments and churning out information that is incorrect. Some have been rewarded with job opportunities by misrepresenting facts. A former Blue Jays manager also lied on his resume and had to resign. Here’s a list of more recent ones:

A former deputy assistant secretary in the US State Department had to resign from her job for allegedly lying on her resume. It appears she had built a career out of faking her accomplishments and inflating her educational achievements. She even created a fake Times Magazine cover. Why would she do that? To gain a competitive advantage!

A former admissions director at MIT was forced to resign after 28 years because it was discovered she lied on her resume when she applied for the job.  She claimed she had had three degrees when she only had one. Why did she do that? To gain a competitive advantage!

An article by Business Insider lists several successful executives who also lied on their resumes. It includes the former CEO of Yahoo, Herbalife, MGM Mirage, Bausch & Lamb, and others. Why did these CEOs do that? To gain a competitive advantage!

In some countries you can get jail time for lying on your resume.

One Australian woman pretended to be actress Kate Upton, and got a government job as Chief Information Officer (CIO). She is serving a 25-month sentence in jail for this act. Why did she do that? To gain a competitive advantage!

Back in 2002, the former CEO of a television station in New Zealand, Canadian John Davy, was sentenced to eight months in jail after pleading guilty to one charge of using a document — his resume — “to obtain a benefit or privilege”. He stated he had an MBA from Denver State University, but the degree was a counterfeit credential sold online. He said he had worked with the BC Securities Commission in Canada. That wasn’t true either. The Commission didn’t have any record of him working there. Why did he do that? To gain a competitive advantage!

HireRight’s 2019 Employment Screening Benchmark reported 87% of survey respondents believe that some percentage of candidates misrepresent themselves on applications and or resumes.

The Georgetown Professor Who Falsely Claimed She was Black

The biggest lie of them all is what Jessica Krug did. For years she pretended to be Black when she knew otherwise. She also created a new identity as Jess La Bombalera an AfroLatina activist from the Bronx. The twist here is that Jessica Krug aka Jess La Bombalera is an associate professor at Georgetown University.

In Krug’s own words on Medium, “To an escalating degree over my adult life, I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness. I have not only claimed these identities as my own when I had absolutely no right to do so — when doing so is the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation, of the myriad ways in which non-Black people continue to use and abuse Black identities and cultures — but I have formed intimate relationships with loving, compassionate people who have trusted and cared for me when I have deserved neither trust nor caring. People have fought together with me and have fought for me, and my continued appropriation of a Black Caribbean identity is not only, in the starkest terms, wrong — unethical, immoral, anti-Black, colonial — but it means that every step I’ve taken has gaslighted those whom I love.”

Krug, as mentioned above, is a Professor at George Washington University where she has taught African history and African diaspora courses since 2012. Her book, Fugitive Modernities, about slavery, was published in 2018 by Duke University Press, and was a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Book Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize, named after two Black American icons.

Why do people lie on their resumes and embellish their credentials? To gain a competitive advantage! But what would drive someone to pass herself off as Black and assume an added identity, as an Afro Latina? She has said it’s because of mental health issues she has battled since childhood. I am not going to second-guess her; that’s for the medical experts to do. Did she receive grants, fellowships, scholarships? If so, then it would appear she benefited from spaces and resources that could possibly have gone to Black and Latino professionals. This could be considered cultural appropriation.

Lying on your resume is bad; seriously lying for years about your identity and misrepresenting your lived experience is worse. Whether you are looking for a job or a position in academia, do not embellish the truth. If you do, your integrity and reputation will be adversely affected. Your deception will be uncovered, and the consequences could be severe. You will either have to repay your employer or spend some time in jail. As for Ms. Krug, Georgetown University is investigating, and no one knows what the penalty, if any, will be.

As a job seeker, you may be quite desperate to find a job, but now is not the time to participate in such unethical job search practices. The responsibility is on you to carefully consider what you list on your resume. As the Zelikman blog post states “…when applying for a job, the best advice is the simplest: be honest.”

Sources:

NPR – White Professor invented her Black identity

Forbes – Jessica Krug admits she falsely claimed Black identity 

 

Take the Leap and Lead (You Do Not Need a Title)

The next time someone infers that you are not a leader, think twice before responding. Some people are ‘positional leaders’ by virtue of their titles; others are ‘non-positional’ leaders who find a gap and take action. They don’t wait for a title; they take a leap and lead!

In May, I was invited by the Regional Diversity Roundtable to speak to participants in their Community Leadership Program (CLP). The topic was Leadership Model: Vision for Inclusion & Diversity. Below I share some notes from my presentation.

McKinsey report states that, “Awareness of the business case for inclusion and diversity is on the rise. While social justice typically is the initial impetus behind these efforts, companies have increasingly begun to regard inclusion and diversity as a source of competitive advantage, and specifically as a key enabler of growth.”

As the topic takes centre stage, some companies have issued performative statements indicating what they hope to do to make sure all their employees have a chance, not only to sit at the table, but to contribute, to feel a sense of belonging, and to thrive.

Considering the current social and economic upheavals, the topic for the presentation was quite timely.

One of the sources I consulted for my presentation was a report from Deloitte University Press titled “The Six Signature Traits of Inclusive Leadership – Thriving in a Diverse New World”. This report is aimed primarily at individuals in the upper echelons of organizations to help them rethink the traditional notions of leadership. However, these traits are not only meant for these ‘positional’ leaders; ‘non-positional’ leaders also need to develop these traits.

Difference Between Positional and Non-Positional Leadership

Positional Leadership operates from the traditional understanding of hierarchy; people who possess ‘positional power’ because of their titles (CEO, director, manager). Non-Positional Leadership is not constrained by a title; it emanates from people who are able to impact, influence and inspire others to action.

Below I have highlighted the six traits from the Deloitte report. It’s important to note that there is nothing in these traits that suggest one has to have a title to be an inclusive leader. “Lead from where you are”, I told the participants. “No one has to tap you on the shoulder and anoint you a leader. Leadership is noticing the gap and stepping in to do something about it.”

Trait 1: Commitment – Highly inclusive leaders are committed to diversity and inclusion because these objectives align with their personal values and because they believe in the business case.

Inclusiveness requires a commitment to making things better, and that’s done by ensuring fairness and equality of opportunities.

Trait 2: Courage – Highly inclusive leaders speak up and challenge the status quo, and they are humble about their strengths and weaknesses.

“The courage to speak up – to challenge others and the status quo – is a central behaviour of an inclusive leader, and it occurs at three levels: with others, with the system and with themselves.” (Pg. 10). Sometimes self-preservation prevents us from ‘ruffling feathers’ but there are times when we find ourselves in situations that require us to demonstrate courage in speaking up and challenging the status quo.

Trait 3: Cognizance of Bias – Highly inclusive leaders are mindful of personal and organizational blind spots, and self-regulate to help ensure “fair play.”

Everyone of us has some form of bias – conscious and unconscious. As such, we are naturally inclined to lean toward self-cloning and self-interest, but this can be mitigated if we identify and confront our own biases, self-regulate and adhere to existing policies, processes and structures.

Trait 4: Curiosity – Highly inclusive leaders have an open mindset, a desire to understand how others view and experience the world, and a tolerance for ambiguity.

Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell said “…with curiosity comes learning and new ideas…If you’re not curious you’re not learning.” Inclusive leaders know their limitations, and are open-minded; they engage in curious questioning; they listen, empathize, suspend judgement, and entertain other viewpoints. Curiosity helps us learn and grow.

Trait 5: Culturally Intelligent – Highly inclusive leaders are confident and effective in cross-cultural interactions.

When it comes to cultural intelligence, all of us need to recognize that our own culture determines our worldview, and that view can influence our expectations of others. It is important, therefore, that we deepen our cultural understanding and learn from the experiences of others.

Trait 6: Collaborative: Highly inclusive leaders empower individuals as well as create and leverage the thinking of diverse groups.

Cultural diversity is a huge economic advantage and leaders should always be looking at ways to be more inclusive. One way is to ensure that when people collaborate, group members don’t all look and think alike. Groups benefit from people with different ideas, perspectives and experiences.

During the webinar, one program participant asked if she would be considered a leader if she didn’t have followers or a title. I told her that leadership is based on how one acts, not by a title. John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Based on the foregoing, it is obvious that inclusive leaders do not always have titles. Inclusive leaders, as the Deloitte report states:

  • Treat people and groups fairly based on their unique characteristics, not on stereotypes.
  • Understand and value the uniqueness of each person and accept them as members of the group.
  • Leverage the diversity of thoughts that lead to good decision-making.
  • Inspire confidence. When people feel that they ‘belong’ and that they have a voice in decision-making, it makes a difference.

There you have it! You do not need a title to be an inclusive leader. You can lead from where you are. Take a leap and lead!

Sources: The Six Signature Traits of Inclusive Leadership

Book: How to Be An Inclusive Leader, Jennifer Brown

Take Your Knee Off Our Necks!

Micheile Henderson-Unsplash

The world saw how the life of George Floyd was snuffed out of him by the white police officer who had his knee on his neck. To say it was outrageous is an understatement, and people immediately condemned what they saw. For me, I felt it on a deep, personal level because I have a husband, a son, brothers and nephews.

But, here’s one uncomfortable truth: after the dust settles, the invisible ‘knee-on-the-neck’ of black people in the workplace and in our schools will continue, unless some things change.

The Peel District School Board that has long ignored the cries of black parents about the treatment of our children was forced to acknowledge their knee-on-the-neck behaviour after parents, community members and two trustees decided enough was enough. It took the intervention of the Minister of Education to shake things up.

Being quiet is comfortable. Being silent serves no one, and I am done with both. For anyone who watched that white officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd until he breathed his last breath, I would like you to envision the same thing happening to black people’s careers in their places of work.

Highly-qualified black people are being denied opportunities solely on the colour of their skin; having their careers stifled because they are not a ‘good fit’; being passed over for promotions or being told “you were a close second”. How do I know this? I am a career coach who often hear from my black clients about their experiences, and I believe them because I have my own personal stories. The emotional tax they are paying in the workplace is equivalent to having a knee on their necks, and it’s suffocating.

Although I have long left the corporate arena, I have experienced having a knee on my neck when a less-qualified white woman who had joined the company as a temp three months prior, was given a job in the corporate affairs office, a position for which I was interviewed. I was with the company for three years at the time. When I asked HR for an explanation, especially when I had had two certificates in public relations and had previously worked in the field, I was told I was ‘a close second’. How could I be a close second when the woman neither had the experience nor the education for the role?

A highly-qualified South Asian woman was also interviewed. We compared notes. She was with the company a bit longer than me, but she said she didn’t want to ruffle feathers. I told her I would speak up about my situation, and if it benefited both of us, so be it.

Another experience when I had the knee of racism on my neck was when a white woman at a well-known non-profit told her staff that they shouldn’t hire me for a workshop because people “won’t show up”. Well, people used to show up when I delivered the workshops for free. Nepotism got the better of her and she chose her friend for that paid opportunity. I am looking at her right now with the smug of perceived superiority on her face, probably still denying black people opportunities in that same space. It was not long after that I was asked by the YMCA in Windsor to deliver a keynote to 400 new immigrants for which I was paid.

Prior to the COVID19 lockdown, I was in a Tim Hortons waiting to be served when I overheard two middle-aged white ladies talking. One told the other that she had applied to work at that same Tim Hortons and the manager told her he would get back to her if he didn’t find a qualified candidate. Her friend asked her if she had heard back. She said “No, but it’s probably because I am white!” I was a bit taken aback but thought to myself, “How the tables have turned!”

As I said in a previous article when I was zoom-bombed during an online workshop in April, when black people tell you about what’s happening to them, don’t be too quick to judge. Believe them. Not only believe them but make a concerted effort to become an ally. A true ally does not keep silent. Begin by authentically reaching out and building relationships.

Let me hasten to add that having a ‘knee on the neck’ in the corporate workspace is not only a black and white issue. This means I am not going to give a pass to other people of colour. It is easy for you to say, “I am not one of them!” because that makes you comfortable, but many of you exhibit the same behaviour. Remember, what lessens one of us, lessens all of us.

It is heartening to see people of all hues protesting because they saw what happened to George Floyd, thanks to a cell phone. That is what fair-minded people do. But it would help if some of those same people would step up and challenge those with a biased mindset, or those who spread misinformation in the workplace. Here are some ways you can help your black coworkers cope when a knee is on their necks:

  • Don’t let fear hold you back. Decide to wade into uncomfortable waters and speak up when you notice inequities at work.
  • Don’t be afraid to rock the boat, because sometimes to steady the ship, you need to rock it.
  • Don’t just invite them to sit at the table (that’s optics); make sure they are contributing to the discourse in meaningful ways (that’s inclusion).
  • Don’t be another Amy Cooper. Use your position of power and privilege to help not hurt.
  • Don’t pass off casual racism or microaggressive  behaviours as jokes. It’s hurtful and insulting.
  • Don’t imply it’s because of quota or lowering of standards when a black person gets a promotion. Check their credentials.
  • Don’t accept the status quo at work; act. Inaction is not only the result of fear, but the cause of fear. 

COVID19 has laid bare the stark realities of institutionalized racism on all fronts, but black people and people of colour can’t do it on our own. When the dust settles, let’s not return to business as usual in the workplace and in our communities. Prepare to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

The quotes below speak directly to what leaders in the workplace can do:

Minda Harts, author of The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table said, “…it’s extremely hard to constantly hear your leadership talk about diversity and inclusion and take no real steps toward hiring and retaining diverse talent.”

Darryl White, CEO at Bank of Montreal said in a recent LinkedIn post: “There can only be one response to racism and violence and that’s to deepen our commitment to making change. There is no easy path, we all have very hard work to do.”

It’s time to hold your leadership accountable to what they say they will do. When we do that, racism, bigotry and ‘knee-on-the-neck’ behaviours cannot thrive.

 

10 Ways to Support Your Career Coach & Resume Writer Colleagues During COVID19

www.thewrighcareer.com

As we brace for what will certainly become the ‘new normal’, the grim reality is that some businesses will thrive and some will not survive. Hopefully, those of us in the career space will be on the thriving end of things. Crisis tends to bring opportunities; we only need to look for them.

At the moment, many of us are engaged in activities aimed at supporting job seekers and our clients during this COVID19 crisis. There are free webinars and online courses on a wide array of career and job search topics, and based on comments I have heard and read, these actions are having a positive impact.

Amidst all of this, it occurred to me to ask the question, how are we doing as a career collective? What support do we have or need? What are some simple ways we could support each other (for free), during this time?

The ten tips on the attached image would be a great place to start. Are there others you could add?

Which career coach or professional resume writer could you reach out to today?

What Happened at Our Quarantine Networking Party

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At the start of 2020, the beginning of a new year, and a new decade, many of us had had lofty plans, resolutions and goals, or whatever we chose to call them. A few months in, and COVID-19 has upended every facet of our lives. We are now reaching for some semblance of stability in a world of uncertainties. Some of the everyday things we once took for granted now have a deeper sense of purpose. Chief among these are the relationships between family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues. There seems to be an urgency to connect, of course within the #StayatHome restrictions.

Last Saturday night I decided to host a “Quarantine Networking Party” via Zoom with a few women from my Let’s GROW community. We hadn’t gotten together since January 11, and I thought it would be a good idea to schedule a quick check-in. What I thought would’ve lasted an hour, took two hours.

We opened with an upbeat rendition of Bob Marley’s One Love: “One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright.” What is striking about this is, I wanted to begin the get-together with something fun and upbeat. It wasn’t until one of the said out loudly, “Everything is gonna be alright!” (another of Bob’s songs), that I realized we were actually going to get together, and whatever happens post-COVID19, everything is going to be alright.

We took a few minutes to introduce or re-introduce ourselves and discussed how the evening would proceed. We then entered the breakout rooms where the aim was to go beyond the customary “How are you doing?” question and really dig deeper. This idea came from a Quartz article written by Elizabeth Weingarten of Ideas42.org. (Credit goes to my friend and supporter Kasindra Maharaj who shared the resource with me.)

In the article Weingarten says, “In this challenging moment, let’s move beyond “how are you doing?” and get more serious about the questions we’re asking our colleagues, friends, and family…It’s a matter of keeping our relationships strong and solvent during what may be a long stretch of healthy spacing ahead of us.”

Asking the right questions

In line with the article, I preselected a few of the questions to do just that – move beyond “how are you doing?” Each person was to choose any of the questions and discuss them in their group. The seven below is from an original list of 20:

  1. How are you taking care of yourself today?
  2. What part of your shelter-in-place residence have you come to appreciate the most?
  3. What surprising thing have you been stocking up on (that isn’t toilet paper)?
  4. What habit have you started, or broken, during the quarantine?
  5. Which specific place in your neighborhood are you most looking forward to visiting once this is all over?
  6. What’s the easiest part about the quarantine?
  7. What are some things you have realized that you don’t really need?
  8. “What problem—either yours, or something more global —do you wish you could solve?”

The Debrief

We regrouped for a debrief. We learned that someone in the group was recently laid off as a result of COVID-19, and two had been job hunting. Someone immediately shared a link to jobs in the GTA. The others of us are okay at this point. In view of the COVID-19 crisis, it was not surprising during the debriefing to hear comments such as:

  • Family is much more than “How are you?” Deeper conversations are taking place.
  • Nobody knows what the new normal will look like. It is scary in one respect, but exciting in another.
  • People seem to have become more collegial, and empathy and compassion are more evident. This is one thing we would want to see continue.
  • Remote work is here to stay. More employers are going to buy into the concept that remote work makes good business sense. Put another way, the toothpaste cannot be put back into the tube.
  • There is more communication between employers and employees, online meetings are more prevalent, and relationships overall seem to be much better.
  • Those deemed essential workers are garnering more respect. Not only those in health care, but train and bus operators, retail and grocery clerks, delivery drivers, etc. People are waking up to how important they are.
  • Some companies are demonstrating social responsibility by, not only keeping their staff pretty much intact, but also ensuring that PPEs get to some hard-to-reach northern communities.
  • Being laid off come with blessings, but the job search will continue
  • Virtual coffee chats and kitchen table bible study groups have been created.

The last question, “What problem—either yours, or something more global —do you wish you could solve?”, was reserved for the main discussion during the get-together. It was to put legs to a book idea I have been mulling over for my 2020 Let’s GROW theme. It was a question we agreed to contemplate beyond the meeting, but it provided a segue into a brief introduction of Ikigaki.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that examines all areas of our lives that give us purpose and meaning. “Having a direction or purpose in life, that which makes one’s life worthwhile, and towards which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.”

The plan, moving forward, is to apply aspects of the Ikigai concept to our lives: What’s our passion and mission? What can we do in the space that we have? Who can we empower, inspire and motivate? What will our legacy look like, and how can we capture that legacy? Equally important, what are we learning, or what have we learned? How are we growing, or how have we grown?

That’s how we ended our quarantine party – with lots of food for thought, as we consider the book project and where it will take us. The coronavirus may have descended on us and created a lot of uncertainties, but all is not doom and gloom. Out of a crisis comes opportunities, and we need to seize the moment. That’s what the Let’s GROW 2020 project is going to do.

I Was Zoom-bombed On a Career Chat…and It Wasn’t Pretty!

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Since the onset of COVID19, and realizing that some job seekers and employees are facing anxiety and uncertainty, I decided to host a few weekly Casual Career Chats where I would answer questions about job losses, job search, career transition. resumes, etc. I invited three of my colleagues, Maureen McCann, Michelle Precourt and Christine Cristiano, to be a part of the panel answering the questions.

The first Zoom meeting was on March 27, and it went without a hitch. Last Friday, April 3, I logged into the meeting a few minutes early to give us (the Panel) a chance to chat before the 3:00 pm start. Suddenly, I saw a message that my screen was being shared, and in seconds the vilest of pornography started broadcasting, interspersed with the N-word. At the time, my daughter and her son were in the adjacent room, and she shouted, “Mom, what’s that I am hearing?” They were not online, and didn’t see the images, but I quickly rambled off what was happening.

As one can imagine, the invasion of my computer screen startled me. I was in shock as I grappled to find a way to end the nightmare. Eventually, I gained some semblance of composure and clicked on “End Meeting for All”. Assuming it was an error, I re-started the meeting a few minutes afterwards, and in a flash, the pornography began. I immediately terminated the meeting.

In speaking with my colleagues afterwards, I learned for the first time about Zoom-bombing. One shared a link to an FBI article on the subject (which is posted below). Prior to the article, I had only heard about the lack of proper security on Zoom, but I didn’t pay it much attention. One reason was that I have had a Zoom account for years, and never had a problem.

After the conversation with my colleagues, I proceeded to do a bit of research, and what I discovered was horrifying. There has been a litany of incidences where hackers have been bombarding online classrooms (from kindergarten to university), and primarily targetting people of colour. A young African American man was defending his PhD dissertation via Zoom when his screen infiltrated. An article in last Friday’s USA Today summarizes what happened to K’Andre Miller, a hockey prospect for the New York Rangers. An online community gathering by a Jewish high school in Vancouver was also invaded. Most of these incidences have escalated since COVID19, when the use of the Zoom app ballooned from 10 million users in December 2019, to 200 million now.

A half hour after my incident, and without contacting Zoom, I received a “Dear Valued Customer” email from them. It was advising me of what they were doing to tighten security and what safeguards I should put in place.

I spoke with Peel Regional Police Communication Bureau to find out what they knew about Zoom-bombing. The woman I spoke with hadn’t heard of it but her colleague did. I then called the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and they had heard about it, and urged me to take greater security.

Putting the onus on me to adhere to Zoom’s security protocol is not a problem. But, let’s face it, this infiltration of my screen speaks to a larger issue: RACISM! And before anyone hastens to dismiss my pronouncement, let me say this, whenever someone tells you they have experienced racism, believe them. Don’t be too quick to write it off as “playing the race card.” It’s too easy to resort to that, and then miss the opportunity to have a civil discourse on the topic.

Many of us shy away from such discussions because it’s uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable because race is a social construct that places people in boxes, or on a hierarchy that presupposes one group is more, or less, than the other. Herein lies the problem. It’s awkward to argue such a concept, but if we are not prepared to have a candid discussion about racism, we will continue to perpetuate this fallacy.

Many years ago I was invited to speak to a group of university students in a women’s studies class. Of the 50 students, 3 were non-white. During the Q&A, one student asked me if I had ever faced racism. I smiled, then said, “If I tell you I haven’t, I would be lying. I have had my share, but I never allow racism to stop me from doing whatever I want to do or going wherever I want to go. If it means going up, down, sideways or plowing through, I am going to get there. Obstacles may slow me down, but nothing is going to stop me.”

That has always been my approach. Probably it’s because of my Jamaican background, where we don’t cringe when faced with obstacles like these. We deal with the elephant in the room if it raises its head, and then move on. And, by the way, sometimes, the racism is not as blatant as the Zoom-bombing experience. Sometimes it’s the microaggressions that we face in our workplaces, schools, and communities, both on- and offline. They are real!

There I was, with my colleagues, offering free career advice to job seekers and people who feel uncertain and lost during this COVID19 scare, and someone (or group) decided that invading my online space with pornography and racist taunts was more important. I don’t get angry very often, but this time I did. However, I won’t focus on the anger lest we miss the point of the real issue.

I know what I am saying is not at all comfy, but it is not meant to be. Sometimes we just have to call a spade a spade! That said, I am not going to allow trolls to stop me from doing my work. The Casual Career Chat will continue for a couple more weeks as was intended, but with a different set of security protocols.

As I conclude this piece, I want to say I am privileged to have built relationships, and serve a client base from diverse races and cultures. I am the better from the experiences, and I am confident my clients and connections would say the same. But this should, and will not prevent me from calling out racism when I see it, and this one hit close to home.

Related Posts:

New York Rangers Prospect Zoombombed

CNN’s Interview with Zoom’s CEO Eric Yuan

Zoombombing attack Left Doctoral Candidate Shaken

FBI Warns of Teleconferencing and Online Classroom Hijacking