Posts tagged Professional Development
The Gift of Professional Reinvention

Written by Tyeshia Miles

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   Have you ever pretended to be happy with your career yet, you secretly desired something else? I can relate because that was me a few years ago.

At twenty-one years old, I earned my first six-figures in seven months simply by using my natural talents and skill sets as a cosmetologist. I vividly remember that feeling of financial relief; something that I was not accustomed to. I grew up in the projects watching my mom work several jobs, barely making ends meet to provide for her four girls. $243.12; an amount forever stuck in my mind. That was the amount on my mom’s check stub for two weeks of work. It serves as a reminder that I control my earning power. I will not allow anyone to profit off my labor more than me. It was motivation for my entrepreneurial journey. I opened my hair salon, The Signature Salon, with nearly $40K in cash, one year after serving my first client. Discipline and delayed gratification made opening my shop a dream come true. This journey was not without obstacles. I endured being racially profiled and I was discriminated against. I persevered while searching for a building, networking, creating sustainable revenue while enduring the mental pressures that

encompass entrepreneurship. Soon after, my business generated more revenue than I expected, and my life was good. Finally, my blood, sweat and tears paid off. I didn’t realize I generated over half a million dollars until my accountant told me. I no longer worried about being able to pay my bills. I wondered what I would do with the additional money. I had enough money for my needs, my wants and I was able to be a blessing to my family and others

in need. I asked myself, “what can I do to add another 100K to my income?” Adding more clients was the answer but unfortunately, it meant more time away from my family and on my feet. I had all the signs of success, yet I didn’t feel the freedom of success. Money was no longer my motivator. I knew I was meant for more and was not scratching the surface of my full potential. I wanted to do something that fed my soul. I had no clue that what I was seeking would require me to realign my complete life and career to obtain it.

   One day, I was in a group of heart-centered entrepreneurs. We all wanted the same things – to use our gifts and skills to earn money doing what we loved while positively impacting the lives of others. A seed was planted. I chose to become a certified professional coach. I invested in a high-level business mastermind program to surround myself with like-minded people to hold me accountable to achieving my new goal. The idea of professionally realigning was overwhelming, intimidating and scary. My journey of realignment also became a self-discovery deep dive. I strongly believe that we cannot

find our purpose without understanding who we are as a person. We must know what we want in order to obtain it. In my realignment, I discovered there are several questions that we must answer to gain clarity in order to move forward.

• Who are you and what do you value?

• What do you want to be known for?

• How much money do you want to earn?

• What problem do you want to solve?

• What are your strong and weak skills?

• Do you feel you deserve better and do you believe you can achieve it?

• Are you committed to doing the uncomfortable actions needed to achieve your desired professional goals?

• Do you need additional training or education?

• What obstacles do you need to proactively overcome?

• What is your financial plan to sustain you during your realignment?

   I diligently worked through each of these questions on my realignment quest. I am a former hairstylist and salon owner who is now, a sought-after business strategist, Inner Work Coach, author and speaker. I help unfulfilled entrepreneurs and professionals, who are ready to push past their fears to create practical plans for achieving both the career and lifestyle they desire with confidence. My journey of professional reinvention stretched me beyond familiarity into unchartered territory to create a fulfilling career and lifestyle. I happily work with less mental and physical effort while earning more money. More rewarding than that, I am blessed to use my life experiences and expertise to inspire and help others live their boldest life, NOW!

Tyeisha Miles is an international coach. Her mission is to teach service-based entrepreneurs, experts and speakers who  are tired of living beneath what they know is possible for their life and who are ready to profit from their passion and how to authentically share their knowledge to  help others and earn great money doing what they love. Learn more about her and her work at https://tyemiles.com

Your Personal Brand is Really Your Reputation | Your Power is in Your Story
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*Written while listening to "Everything" by Nas

"See 'cause you've never been the same as anyone else.

Don't think the same as anyone else."

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"Personal Branding" is not just social media or public speaking… in a corporate setting it is your "personal reputation" especially when you're not even in the room.  More importantly as an emerging leader, your personal reputation is assessed by both your own skills and results AND your ability to lead, coach, and amplify the work of others.

 

"Networking" is not about what you can G E T. It's about "building relationships" and "building connections" based on using your unique gifts.  More importantly as an emerging leader, think about how to use those gifts to G I V E and pour into others. Think about how to sow a seed that grows into fruit only if you are able to nurture and water that relationship consistently over time.

 

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For those who know me, thank you for your support.  It has empowered me to continue to P O U R into others up until this point.  For those who don't know me, My name is Osazuwa George Michael Okpamen. I'm the first of three boys born to pastors Michael and Christy Okpamen.  They came over to the United States from Benin City in Edo State, Nigeria over 30 years ago.  After giving birth to me in Dallas, Texas my family moved to Houston where my two younger brothers were born.  Growing up in Houston, I wasn't too proud of my Nigerian heritage. I can still vividly remember being made fun of and being called an “African Booty Scratcher.”  Even worse I was made fun of because of how I smelled. My Dad was a hustler who worked at the hospital during the day and sold stockfish at night. He would cut the fish I N S I D E the apartment.  If you've ever smelled any fish, let-alone stockfish, you know how it can seep into the fabric of your clothes. He was the number one supplier to all Nigerian restaurants and stores in Houston. Over time, my Dad had made a large enough profit to move our five-membered family from a small two bedroom apt in Houston to the middle-class suburb of Stafford, Texas.  He also became the assistant Pastor of one of the largest African Churches in Houston, Chapel of Praise. Fast forward a few years, My dad opened his own church, and I became a stand-out high school athlete who in my junior year of high school, had an epiphany about my family's history and legacy after traveling to Nigeria to meet my grandparents for the first time.  That trip changed my life forever.

Without that trip, I won’t turn down football scholarships to pursue pharmacy at the University of Houston.  If I don't F A I L to get into pharmacy school the first time, then I won’t get mentored by Rebecca, the president of SNPhA (Student National Pharmaceutical Association). If I don't get mentored by Rebecca for a full year, then I won’t realize the P R I V I L E G E of getting into pharmacy school on the second try across the street at Texas Southern University.  If I don't try to pay her back by running for SNPhA national office, then I can’t help more people behind me. Without running, I won’t win the election and have a P L A T F O R M to showcase my leadership skills and amplify the work of others.  Which means I won't get my rotation (internship) at the FDA, or my post-doctoral fellowship at Lilly, no "Ted Talk" for George, and most importantly no Living Corporate podcast to share my perspective on navigating a Fortune 200 company in corporate America.

Now, I could have easily introduced myself as George, listed out my schools, degrees, and shared a few key takeaways from the personal branding podcast.  But as the title says, your P O W E R is in your personal story. The stuff you won't find on your CV/resume, or on LinkedIn - your highs, your lows, your family background, why you were named what you were.  In essence, What makes you - Y O U?

In honor of me and Beyoncé's favorite number AND being the fourth guest on the show, I'll share FOUR quick takeaways to establishing a positive personal brand at work.

1.       Understand that your "personal brand" is really your "personal reputation" | It is what your colleagues think of you when they work on your team, how your manager talks about you to other managers in meetings, it is the perception your VP has of you when he runs into you in the elevator.

2.       Understand that "networking" is really "building connections" at least OR "building relationships" at best | Have a mentality to give first instead of get.  Also remember you are sowing a seed, so the fruit only grows if you nurture it consistently over time

3.       Take intentional time to reflect on your values, passions, and superpowers | It is this self-awareness that will allow you to understand how to be authentic about who you are, what you stand for, and what you are actually good at.  It also will allow you to be vulnerable with your weaknesses and give you the opportunity to show and demonstrate growth over time.

4.       Be Persistent and Consistent |  You will hear NO.  You will fall down.  You will fail. All of that is part of the process.  It is through these trials that you figure out who you are and find out how to leverage others.  You can only G R O W through what you G O through. It was the 21st call to CVS that got me my first pharmacy tech job.  That means there were 20 other "NO's" that were not the store I was supposed to work at in front of it. Imagine if I would have stopped calling at 19?  If you have a vision for what you want - GO after it.

The name Osazuwa translates to "God's Gift of Wealth".  And for the first ~17 years of my life I never really appreciated what that truly meant.  In meeting my grandparents, they let me know that "wealth" wasn't money in the literal sense.  It was that I was the first born and "gift" to the family. I brought "good fortune" and therefore had the responsibility to C R E A T E the legacy for future generations.  My gift was inside me the whole time and I was hiding it - ashamed because of what others saw, what others felt, what others said. This is very similar to what a lot of us do when we walk inside that corporate building.  We hide our gifts. If you take nothing else from this blog, my podcast, or the TedTalk - take this - "No one is Y O U, and that I S your P O W E R"

Own and tell your unique origin story.

Give first before expecting to get.

Operate in your gift.

"Go.  Go do what they say you couldn't.  Go be who they say you wouldn't. Go." - George Okpamen

A Seat at the Table
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Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. (TIAA), Kenneth C. Frazier (Merck), Marvin R. Ellison (J.C. Penny’s); as of today these are the names of the only black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, the lowest it has been in over 15 years. While diversity and inclusion initiatives have become a higher priority for companies, white males continue to disproportionately occupy the majority of corporate leadership positions.

When I started my career in management consulting I didn’t fully understand how these statistics would impact my career progression. I soon realized hard work, stellar performance metrics, and subject matter expertise weren’t going to be enough to get me to the next level. I started to learn about informal support systems such as the “good old boys club” and “partner trains” - all of which were white male-dominated spaces. There wasn’t a clear path for first-generation Nigerian-American women like myself.

My hope is that Living Corporate brings visibility to the extremely talented pipeline of corporate leaders from underrepresented groups. It’s time we pull up our chairs and start having REAL conversations about the diversity and inclusion issues in Corporate America.

We out here for real, y’all!

-Latricia

The Hope and The Dream
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I’m a young, first-generation, queer black woman out here just trying to do it right. Except I’m not super sure what “right” is. Or what it looks like. At my very first corporate job, I took the absolute first offer I received and then realized later that I was one of the lowest paid in my cohort. I never knew I could negotiate, nobody ever told me that. While platforms are changing the level of transparency involved in negotiating your pay, I don’t believe that people who come from the background that I do are having the same empowering conversations.

I also struggle with what it means to bring my whole self to work, struggling with deciding when it’s appropriate to talk about my amazing weekend with my partner while everyone else is sharing theirs. I struggle with not appearing unfriendly or even hostile to my coworkers while also protecting my privacy and sanity.

Living Corporate is important to me because I believe in the standing on the shoulders of giants. Someone somewhere has lived this life before, has been in these rooms, has dealt with these same struggles. I am not unique in my experiences in corporate America, good and bad, and I would like to reassure others of the same. Living Corporate for me means a safe space, a platform for conversations I can participate in wholly, and be myself.

- Adesola

Representing!
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My experiences thus far in the journey to Corporate America have left me with the shocking awareness that corporate spaces today continue to be the exact opposite of what they market themselves to be; diverse and inclusive. I can count the number of times when I have not been the only professional who is black, female (or both) in the room. These instances are mostly limited to conferences and events that are specifically geared towards black professionals.

This is in many ways problematic, not only to those who are already in corporate America but those who seek to join it at some point in their lives. The sheer lack of representation and continuous pressure to conform in order to succeed are the norm and navigating spaces that in many ways are alienating is a challenge to many.

This is why Living Corporate is important to me; I see it as a platform to have frank dialogue about everyday issues facing underrepresented groups in corporate America. I believe representation matters and hope that the conversations we have are beneficial to everyone else out there and help people understand that they are not alone in whatever challenges they face.

- Parin

We Out Here!
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The first time I saw a room full of black professionals felt like a sweet shock to my system. Over 4,000 Black engineers and aspiring professionals in one opening ceremony - I was at the National NSBE Conference and in my final year in college. I was finally looking for a job post-graduation and was overwhelmed at the sheer size of the conference, and the number of large companies that invested so heavily in recruiting black engineering talent.

I knew there were plenty of black people out there in professional spaces, but to see thousands of us in the same convention center was a wake-up call for me. For all of the axes of my identity (including race, gender, and sexuality), I could see that there were many of us navigating often homogenous corporate spaces, and succeeding while breaking the mold.

That’s why I’m excited about Living Corporate. I want to share insights and have discussions about corporate america because the culture shock is real, and the pressure to assimilate is real, and the best way to feel more comfortable about preserving our identities in career paths that historically reward a certain kind of performance is by sharing our experiences and opening up more conversations.

We all have different ways of coping with the overt and subtle ways we’re asked to change ourselves to fit in, and I’m excited to hear from everyone else who wants to join in this conversation.

- Olabimpe

Baldwin Taught Me

“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” - James Baldwin

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I don’t believe when Baldwin used “rage” here that he meant some mindless, violent blind fury - a reckless, hulk-like aggression that swings into the void, striking nothing. No, I believe the rage Baldwin was referring to here was the feeling when one understands - by any degree -  the overwhelming, ever present, inescapable reality that is white supremacy. White supremacy is what established our 13 colonies and the bedrock upon which our government stands. White supremacy undergirds our economy, the structuring of our neighborhoods and schools. White supremacy provides the mark by which we measure acceptable behavior, language and dress. It is what makes diversity and inclusion programs necessary -- if only for window dressing -- at our jobs. It is what makes Living Corporate, LLC relevant. Baldwin states that rage is consciousness for the marginalized, and I agree. 

Eventually, I had to ask myself what I was going to do with my rage. If you are reading this blog, you are seeing it. Living Corporate is a space that was created by a group of relatively conscious people representing a wide array of perspectives, religious beliefs, nationalities, sexual identities and cultures. This space isn't to comiserate with one another, screaming against instiutions too expansive to wrap our arms around. This space is meant is to provide a platform to celebrate, educate and empower underrepresented identities in Corporate America in authentic, approachable ways. As we've said before, we want to engage with other voices that often go unheard and have our conversations out loud.

My hope is you join us.

- Zach