The president of the Chattanooga area Chamber of Commerce opened the combination reception, celebration, and press conference at Chattanooga’s Hunter Museum on July 15, 2014. The online invitations had gone out only 24 hours earlier, but the room was packed with 800 people. It had been six years since I attended the announcement of the Volkswagen plant coming to Chattanooga in this room. This year was noteworthy because of the wrangling over union representation, politics, state funding, and various personality driven conflicts that would determine whether Volkswagen would build a second car here.
With all the talk about economic growth, small business is big business in American and women entrepreneurship on the increase; I am often asked by others how do I start my own business? As quick as the answer is provided, it is often dismissed immediately. Why? I must let you in on a secret, you are not alone. This is called the shoulda, woulda, coulda club, the special guest is “FEAR” and it resides in our mindset.
Coming from a diverse background, I have always had an interest in diversity and thought about it holistically. From a very young age I was very passionate about diversity and wanted to take in as much knowledge as I could about it. I recall speaking to various elders about the topic; some were family members, many were family friends and acquaintances. They spoke of the changes that were inevitable and only a matter of time. When an individual comes from a diverse background they tend to be more aware and in tune with diversity. That is not to say they are more knowledgeable about the topic than someone that is not from a diverse background, but they sense the emerging trends.
In my first business, I was a federal minority subcontractor providing software development servicing to the energy industry. Even with only one client and one type of revenue source, I still didn’t put forth any sales and marketing efforts.
I recently came across an article titled “Millionth Child Flees Syria” on Yahoo News. The picture under the headline was one of a young girl, with dark circles under her eyes, staring hauntingly at the camera. She’s pretty, too, with curly brown hair that many people try to imitate using hair gel. In the West—perhaps in Canada—she would be going to school in a few years, wearing nice clothes and hanging out with friends. She might meet even meet a guy.
Business English has become a basic requirement in the current corporate landscape. Without a solid understanding of English grammar and usage, a non-native English speaker automatically loses any advantage ithe commerce global world. Whether within negotiations, presentations, or just social conversation, many citizens of European nations are realizing that the global economy is driven by the English-language. In the Netherlands, Language Institutes and communications coaches are becoming the norm. Germans, Belgians, and most Western Europeans frequently travel to language schools in the Netherlands to improve their business English vocabulary. In doing so, they also develop their multicultural competencies.
For many career women success means achieving not just professional recognition but also a fulfilling family life and personal happiness. But what is the price is paid by a career women and other women leaders in the diversity of culture they represent? There are many different answers to this question and the diverse cultures are key. My answer comes from the perspective of a Latina working for a Fortune 500 company who also constantly feels the need to challenge cultural differences in leadership styles. At the same time, it’s coming from a person who looks for life work balance, whether that means enjoying time in the kitchen cooking my favorite traditional cuisine, or impressing upon my children the value and importance of their multicultural background.
Most people don’t change, or willingly go along with change, because the change is “the right thing to do.” They do it if there is an important reason to change. Businesses don’t change their corporate cultures so that they retain women because doing so is nice for women. They do it if there is a compelling business reason to do so. The bottom line reasons to achieve gender diversity in leadership are exactly that—compelling.
The globalization of organizations is an undeniably reality. Businesses and governments are working together to solve problems too big and too complex for any one country. Unfortunately, a quick glance through the recent news headlines points to a critical roadblock in the path to successful international collaboration: a severe lack of trust across organizational and national borders. Trust is one of the basic building blocks of successful collaboration.
The tips of our fingers and the swipes of our thumbs have the power to prompt a call to action or to cripple established marketing efforts. Social media is a juggernaut that includes networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, and Reddit. In addition, new media types include feeds, blogs, vlogs and podcasts. The list grows and adapts to the global information-on-demand market. However, few global leaders think about the intersection of culture and social media in their attempts to convey their organization’s values and voice. Mismanagement of messages to global audiences can have substantial consequences, and these consequences are permanent. Online actions made by global organizations exist in a living record that is continually updated to a worldwide online repository.
Nearly 30 years ago, the use of online media for corporate messaging began with assigning website domain names to organizations that many would recognize. Xerox, Hewlett-Packard (HP), International Business Machines (IBM), and Intel were among the first named. These early adopters set initial standards for corporate websites and later social media campaigns to deliberately communicate their organization’s values, mission, and goals.