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3 Sites That Are Great for Starting A Solid Financial Foundation for Boss Women

Stocks, mutual funds, treasury bonds? Sounds like a foreign language to many, and to more than a few probably intimidating. Luckily, there are great resources to help future investors on where and how to invest their money to start an investment portfolio.

Computershare

This site is great for new investors who are interested in gaining insight on how to start investing in companies such as Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, and Caterpillar. The site is super user friendly and allows users to gain insight on performance on stock options prior to investing. Feel free to sign up for the eco friendly paperless option when it comes to receiving information from the site.

Scottrade, Inc.

Not quite ready to tackle the world of investing on your own yet? No worries! Scottrade Inc, a prized investment platform that has been around since 1980, offers future and current clients one on one consultations with a wealth advisor. Whether your interest revolves around having a hefty retirement fund, or ways to grow your money further Scottrade offers a wide range of services to get your started. They offer low fees and commissions and the site is super user friendly.

LearnVest

If you’re looking for a mixture of gaining financial insight on your short and long term financial goals, LearnVest is a great start. LearnVest offers the tools for the foundation of a great investor! Known as a finance company, LearnVest offers services for financial planning for retirement, savings, and boost a overall mission of helping clients make overall better financial decisions. The company is home to Certified Financial Planners and Investment Representative Investors, who help their clients to get on task with reaching their financial goals. Who doesn’t want financial freedom!

Click here for LearnVest! LearnVest

Click here for Scottrade, Inc! Scottrade Inc

Click here for Computer Share! Computer Share

 

 

 

 

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Women Who Inspire – Mellody Hobson : A Girl From Chicago Conquers the World of Finance

They say whatever happens to you as a child really sticks with you, and I think it’s because of that I sometimes have very irrational points of view about how I could slip backwards.” – Mellody Hobson

Growing up in the inner city of Chicago, Mellody Hobson has come a long way from her humbled beginnings. As acting President of Chicago based Ariel Investments, television contributor for CBS News and acting Board Member for Starbucks Corporation and DreamWorks she has a successful career of helping businesses operate.

Still, with all of her successes in the world of finance, Mellody Hobson continues to keep things in perspective. She credits her childhood as a defining factor in finding her calling in investing and finance, because growing up her family didn’t have much money. “My mother always wanted me to be in the best environment that I could be in. She wanted me to go to the best schools. Every now and again she’d save up enough for us to get a nice apartment in downtown Chicago, but we were never able to sustain it.”, Mellody shared with Saturday Extra.

The Princeton graduate started her career with Ariel Investments 25 years ago, and was quickly taken under the wings of CEO/Founder John Rogers. “For years I traveled with our CEO, John Rogers, everywhere he went. I was pseudo chief of staff. He would hand me things off his desk and say, “Do it, fix it.” The assignments got more important over time.”, she recently shared with Bloomberg.com. She’s passionate about making sure finance is included within the Black Community in particular, and shares that she wants everyone to have the ability to be financially secure and really take control of their finances and understand money. In fact, her passion allowed her to recently sponsor a Ariel Community Academy , where many Chicago students can benefit on the importance of investing and managing their finances from a early age. Still she understands that the face of finance needs to be changed with more diversity, and often feels like the “Beyoncé” or “Cher” in the industry, because she’s one of the few African American woman dominating her industry.

I’ll meet people and they’ll say “You’re Mellody” and I’ve always wonder how people know me. They know me because there aren’t a lot of people like me. I’ve joked that its like Beyoncé or Cher – I could go with just one name and be recognized. I’m very different. But I want more people to be like me where I go“, she told ABC recently.  Today she oversees the growth & development of Ariel Investments Sydney’s operations that is in recent expansion. She’s a true believer in partnering and implementing strategies that will help further the firm’s growth in the next few years. But, she continues to dish out some great advice for any woman looking to get some strong points across in their career:

“I understood that the presence of not being small can be not only intimidating, but also lead people not to reveal themselves in ways that would be good for them and good for me. Mellody, don’t be a ball hog.”

Read more on Mellody Hobson here.

Women Who Lead : Ericka Pittman

Being Vice President of the Chairman’s Office at Combs Enterprises isn’t an easy feat, but Ericka Pittman handles it with grace. She also comes with some great business lessons that any woman can take in. The Baruch College graduate holds a B.A in Corporate Communications and a successful career in helping music mogul Sean Combs build his empire.  Still, the business beauty has shaped out her own individual brand that includes television, a book and running multiple business divisions for Comb Enterprises. How did she make it to the top in such a male dominated industry?  Her profound integrity, demand in respect and understanding of conducting her personal and business life has helped her climb the ladder. ( Not to mention, break some major glass ceilings.) But here are a few tips from Pittman for any woman on the path to success.

Work Life Balance – It’s a constant juggle!

Pittman acknowledges that her career is incredibly busy and with a schedule to match it’s important for her to include a good balance with life and work. “Work/life balance is a constant focus. Doing what I say I am going to do in the moment, time management, boundaries, and focus are the keys to balance for me.” , she tells The Network Journal. She respects her boundaries and tries to focus on one thing at a time when she is in the present.

The Biggest Lesson In Business- Happiness is a Personal Choice

“My heart. I have a very gum-drops and rainbows approach to life. I’m one of those people who will put a coin in an expired meter so no one gets a ticket or towed; I’m one of those types in my heart and in my core. Most people who have known me and know my heart see that side often, but I feel in business I’m not able to be that person 100% of the time- so I try to keep a balance.”  – Ericka Pittman

She believes that her life has occurred exactly how she imagined. ( Insert, super confident and determined as well.) She credits integrity in particular because that’s a needed quality in business today. You do well by doing good!

Giving Back Is Fulfilling – The Give Back Element

“That giving back element- when I elevate those around me, it just feels good. For me, I try to give back even in business. Doing well by doing good is very important to me. The same way I was blessed in my career, I try and pass on the good karma by doing everything in my power to advance the next woman that deserves it.” she tells Good Black News. She’s super passionate about mentor ship and helping other women reach their goals in business. She understands that giving back ultimate is about passing the baton to the next woman in line. Empowering and uplifting others is one of her favorite joys in her career in business.

 

 

 

How Having A “Just Do It” Attitude Can Empower You

It’s a known saying that those who are willing to succeed must be willing to fail, and that might be repeatedly. But having a determined attitude separates a successful woman from the pack because obtaining goals takes some serious work and rearranging. ( Let’s be real- more work comes with big dreams.)  There are two cards that you are dealt: suffer the long but temporary road of hard work and grit, or give up and be okay with whatever life hands you. The only difference is one has a happier ending, and nothing can replace the feeling of reaching a goal that you’ve worked so hard for. Having a determined, and focused mindset can lead you to many of life’s blessings that are just waiting for you. ( I assure you, you will make it!)  But you can continue to persevere in the jungle of life’s battlefield if you always keep these smart pointers in mind.

Ambition – Keep It Alive

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” – Bill Bradley

A woman lacking ambition will never achieve the greatness she wants for her life. Now, the perspective of what is ambitious to an individual can differ based off of her own dreams and aspirations. Still, at the end of the day a woman must possess a attitude of believing in her dream, and following through by working hard at her passions. Rejection is apart of life, but not an excuse to throw aside a dream. A successful woman keeps working hard to obtain her dreams everyday so that she can fulfill her calling in what she loves.

Personable – Engage & Networking

Networking and building connections are apart of having a attitude of being outstanding. One must go out and conquer, but you can’t do that from sitting on your couch watching re-runs of Sex in the City all day. Success takes more than just you and yourself, and you will never reach your full potential if you aren’t willing to collaborate with others on your dream journey. Getting out and networking with other business professionals at conferences, and business invested clubs can help give your business and goals a boost when it comes to connecting with like-minded individuals.

Confidence – Believe In Yourself

“Every time you suppress some part of yourself or allow others to play you small, you are in essence ignoring the owner’s manual your creator gave you and destroying your design.” – Oprah Winfrey

If you don’t believe in yourself, than nobody else will. Keys to success is realizing what your talents are and what you bring to the world. No one else will believe in your talents and gifts all the time, and that’s okay. You know that what you possess is super incredible and in order for you to keep your A- game strong, you must be willing to walk alone to prove that you got this! Keeping things in perspective and mastering your craft helps with instilling confidence in your business,  or the vision for your life. Not to mention, you’re more likely to hit goals when you’re fueled with confidence. Making a way and staying determined will make a huge difference, if you can continue to back yourself up. Believe in your direction, and the believers will gravitate towards your aura.

 

 

The Art of Balance : Being A Business Woman 101

The art of balance is something that has been talked about so frequently amongst career women that you could Google this very topic and I’m sure a million articles will pop up through the search engine. One of my favorite quotes by Oprah Winfrey always stands out when I think of the complexity of juggling different hats. “You can have it all, but not all at once.” For many women, this statement can be a reoccurring ponder in your head. In the mist of conference calls, frequent flyer miles, studying for licenses and late night evenings going over client work; the dust settles. Then that daunting thought comes floating across your mind once again.

In fact the further that my career has advance, I continue to find the answer in response to that ponder. I now understand that there will be moments where it will be a 80/20 percentile and that’s perfectly perfect. Rest in knowing that it’s okay that you will not be superb at everything all at once.

Don’t Compare Your Life To Another

“Every one of our lives is unique. My life was not the same as my friends’ growing up, and it isn’t now. I had to learn to stop comparing myself to others. When we strive to be like others, or do what they do, we can become unhappy. I strongly believe that comparison breeds discontentment. I’ve learned to invest in the things that are valuable to me.” – Candace Cameron Bure , Balancing it All : My Story on Priorities and Purpose

One week you might kill it on that presentation on Tax Compliance for a new client but be disappointed that the prior evening you ended up missing a night out with a girlfriend, to celebrate her new promotion.  Or you might excel at being an attention doting girlfriend and accomplish cooking a 5 course dinner for your anniversary, but that week you might be having a hard time hitting sales, while second guessing your marketing strategy. In fact, that’s life! The journey gets better when you realize that life is about the purpose and not about being perfect at everything. It’s when you embrace change, growth, and many of life’s challenges; is when you will see yourself excel.  You will ultimately focus on the things that bring life and value to your life, which will result in happiness because you’re doing things that are important to you.

Redefine Work Life and Love On Your Terms

We work and create based off of our passion, which is ultimately nurtured by what’s important to us personally. Be it career/a spouse/or a personal goal, we base our drive off of exterior influences. These experiences shape and mold us into the people we are to become and it’s important to not get too far away from the essence of yourself. CEO Ursula Burns states that, ” It’s a fools journey to try to achieve perfect balance between one’s professional and personal lives. Get comfortable with the idea of taking your entire life to find balance.” Most importantly, she states ” Don’t take life too seriously, and it should be enjoyed.”

Know When To Say No

How do you know when you have a good work life balance? ” When I am able to say no. When I can put the phone down to enjoy my family after I’ve worked a great day. That’s how I know I am in balance.” – Lisa Cash Hanson, CEO of Snuggwugg Inc. Knowing when to tune out the world to get back in tune is vital and helps rejuvenate any working women to get back on her A game. Understanding what is most valuable to you will help keep you in line when you are attempting the balance act. So to answer Oprah’s statement, it’s true. You can have it all, but in the way that suits you best!

Work Hard for The Money : Why It’s Important For Women To Negotiate

Money is such a taboo topic to speak about, but it’s become more important for women today to think about this topic more thoroughly when it comes to earning what they are worth. According to today’s statistics women comprise of 47 percent of the United States work force, with 73 percent of women holding full time employment. That’s not a alarming number considering the change of social responsibility in today’s decade. (With the decision of many women to hold off on marriage, and pursue their career aspirations instead.) So if women are making such strides in business, technology and many other fields what is such the big deal? According to Women’s Bureau ( WB ) ”  The medium weekly earnings of women who were full time wage and salary workers were $669, or 81 percent of men’s $824.” There might be a bigger reason why there is such a difference in wage variance, women don’t ask!

Personally, from my experience I feel that asking is never a bad thing, especially if your talents will prove to your employer that you are totally worth it. Being vocal about your work value is very important and when you understand what you bring to the table, you’re better equip to get the number you are asking for. To better understand how it works, here is a breakdown of it’s importance for women to be a better negotiator when it comes to money.

Women Don’t Negotiate

Okay, we get it , you’re a boss! Your talent speaks of hard work ethic and professionalism ,but you’re not getting paid for what you’re worth. Since when are you so timid? The number one issue is that women tend to negotiate less or not even at all! Shocker? Not really, according to Inc.com. ” Women were only willing to negotiate when the employer specifically indicated: The position pays $17.60 per hour. But the applicant can negotiate a higher wage. Women are likely to discuss their pay rate over email than they were in interpersonal settings like interviews.” When it comes to negotiations, women should go into a offer with a range they are willing to accept. A range that will leave you comfortable, and equate to what you feel you deserve based off your talents. It never hurts to ask ladies, but the key is to not be demanding unless you’re willing to walk away from the offer altogether.

Don’t Accept the First Offer Salary

The employer loved you, and they want you to jump on board. They extend you their official offer and you’re elated until you see the figure jumping off the page. It’s pretty good, but are you leaving money on the table? More likely yes! It’s important for you to have a counteroffer ready, which can include an assortment of compensation increases. Bonuses, stock options and well maybe another bump in a few grand if you ask. This is a big mistake that women make when it comes to negotiating salaries. Make sure you’re weighing all your options on the playing field before you forfeit the game.

Women Take Negotiation Personally

Women tend to shy away from bold behavior because it’s what society has taught them. It comes off as aggressive, impersonal or many are afraid it will come off as rude. See the issue? Due to this fear, many women start off in a bigger hole than their male counterparts due to issues of not asking for what they want upfront. What’s most important is that women need to focus on what they are offering their employer, not what the position will do for them. You’re indeed an intellectual asset to the organization and any employer should be elated to have you on their team.

Negotiation is a large part of business and life in general, and if women continue to develop this type of skill, many will also become a much better leader in the process. Believing in your work and your skills starts first, and then the money will come when you ask of it!

Interested in learning more about how to mold your negotiation skills. Click here.

Technology Startups : Chicago’s Most Promising Tech Startups That Happen to Be Founded by Women

Chicago is known for dominating the manufacturing, publishing and insurance industries, but they might be the new home for “most tech startup companies”. Based on new statistical research done by Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2015, Chicago ranks as the number one city for women startup companies. (That’s exciting for a Chicago native like myself and just makes Chicago’s economy stronger all around.) With so much change occurring within the development sector of technology, I wanted to shine some light on a few Chicago Tech startups that are developing in Chicago’s backyard arena, that are making major moves.

Shradha Agarwal, President Context Media & Co-Founder, Jump Start Capital

Context Media is a digital media technology that was developed to service organizations with their health information services and to deliver lifestyle education to their patients. The end result, to improve patients health outcomes and engage physicians with a technology tool that is user friendly. Agarwal, also is passionate about the startup scene, which prompted her to be a co founder of Chicago tech venture capitalist firm Jumpstart Capital. She has actively invested in Chicago tech startups WeDeliver, and Packback Books.

Coco Meers, Founder CEO Pretty Quick

Meers is one of the key leaders in the tech industry in Chicago, with  the success of recently selling her beauty concierge app Pretty Quick to Chicago based Groupon. The app is a instant success with users, which allows for you to find your service, book your appointment and enjoy cashless payments as you walk in. A brilliant idea for users that are eager to get in and out. Meers’ inspiration behind starting the tech startup, “ As I discovered the creativity and determination of the startup culture here in Chicago, I knew I wanted to start my own company. Next step, what problem needed solving?”. After, moving to Chicago in 2009, Meers left her career in brand management to pursue her MBA at University of Chicago, that helped develop her entrepreneurship spirit. After working long hours for major brand L’Oreal Paris, she had very little time for herself and decided to pursue her dream.

Genevieve Thiers, Founder SitterCity

Sitter City was launched in 2001 after Thiers saw a young pregnant woman posting help wanted flyers for a babysitter. She ended up taking the job and eventually went on the launch SitterCity after securing backing from a Venture Capitalist firm. Her idea to connect families and babysitters worked well with the online platform and has been successful every since. Based out of Chicago, her startup now services major cities such as New York and Atlanta.

Interested in learning more about Chicago’s tech industry. Click Here.

The Toshiba Accounting Scandal : Lack of Internal Controls & Profits Presented Red Flags

Toshiba Corporation is in hot trouble! The news has been buzzing with the recent discovery of Toshiba’s recent accounting scandal that has left investors in awe. Toshiba Corporation, a multinational Japanese corporation, has changed the tech industry by providing leading PC’s internationally. But things have seemed to take a major change for the worst. The organization has been performing in the red according to market analyst and the decline in PC sales, has caused the company to meet lack luster results with projections of 22m units sold last year. With the turn of recent events, the organization has been founded to have overstated their profits by 1.3 billion over 5 consecutive years. Ouch!! To say the least, investors and the stock market are not taking this lightly and in turn has furthered an open investigation of the accounting discrepancies within the organization.

With several top executives exiting to the left, its not looking pretty. According to USA Today, “The scandal surfaced less than two months after Japan adopted its first corporate governance code. Japan companies have long been criticized for weak internal financial controls and resistance to outside oversight.” If you are familiar with internal controls in a financial sense then you can see how this scandal was possible. Lack of internal controls in accounting can lead to major melt down of organizations integrity and moral standards. Due to the lack of checks, and procedures implemented in Toshiba’s finance division, there were major pressures put on accountants to record transactions that were indeed fraudulent. Downfall of Enron sounds familiar anyone?

With the exit of CEO Hisao Tanaka and 7 other executives, who happen to also be senior managers and Board of Directors that raises a major red flag for the incentive to boast fraudulent profits. Still the biggest concern will be how Toshiba will bounce back from this scandal and if their sales will continue to decline. Tech and business is about constant innovation and adaption to change. In honest sense, the use of a new PC would only be needed if a replacement were needed. With smart phones and tablets being on trend, it’s hard to tell where the company will go in the future. The company could potentially adapt a new strategy and introduce products that can help launch them in a new light. However, change takes time, and we will have to wait for the outcome of Toshiba’s future.

Learn more about Toshiba’s recent events here.

Power Your Way Forward Women’s Conference : Dallas Texas 2015

Power Your Way Forward 3rd Annual Women’s Conference was an inspiring event that established the meaning of women’s entreuprenuership and the importance of women building one another up. Based out of Dallas, TX,  Founder Star Williams started the organization to help women discover their life purpose in business. With the keynote speakers ranging from retail , fitness, finance, and public relations industries, it offered a range of credible advice for women that were interested in discovering their purpose and how to follow through with the next steps. Here are a few things that I learned at the conference.

1. Seek Out Your Purpose

The conference was centered around the importance of women ultilizing their purpose and to continue to discover what their God given talents are. If you are fortunate enough to know what your talents are, you should focus soley on becoming a master of your gift. Business Strategist, Cherise Riley adds that you must be consistent with your purpose, speak life into your passions & goals, and optimize on every opportunity.

2. Women Grow Women

This philosophy was presented by CEO , Daniell Veasey founder of UB4ME,  the Business Consulting & Marketing Firm focuses on promotional products and marketing strategies for new companies. She stressed the importance of how women can only teach one another to be great. It’s important to garner a close business relationships and to encourage one another to fulfil our talents.

3. Help Those By Passing The Torch

Once a woman has master the art of being a success, then it’s important to share success tips. By passing the torch, you’re uplifting one another to go on to live out their dreams by providing resources, advice and expertise from past failures and sucesses. Founder of PYWF Star Williams, ended the conference by adding the importance of staying postive in your vision, stay on track with your vision, and understand what God gave you.

Interested in learning more about Power Your Way Forward Conference and its Founder Star Williams. More information here. 

CEO Marc Benioff : The Salesforce Culture Lacks Women Leadership

Women’s inequality in leadership roles have been an ongoing issue in many corporate cultures, but it seems that there is a new wave of top executives who would like to change that. Saleforce CEO and founder Marc Benioff, started his cloud computing organization in 1999, after leaving Oracle as a top executive. He set out to change the face of integrated technology and he did just that. The risk paid off tremendously for Benioff, with Salesforce generating $4 billion in revenues last year alone. The company is known for their cloud computing, which relies strongly on the sharing of resources to achieve coherence and economies of leverage, over a large massive network. It’s a broader spectrum of a converged infrastructure and shared services. Still, as advance as the tech company has differentiated itself, there is still major progress to be made when it comes to gender diversity in the Saleforce work culture.

Benioff speaks with CNN Money, about his regrets of not integrating more female leadership in his startup stating, “I wish I could rewind time and go back and put that women’s equality issue into the culture from the beginning. Looking back, 16 years, that was as big an issue as the philanthropy issues are for me now.” Looking at the numbers are astonishing, with Saleforce employing less that 30% of women in general. The upper leadership level for women shows a decrease of 15%. Still, Benioff has some huge goals that focuses on changing these numbers, by adding, “We have to take the goal of 50-50. This should be a metric that every CEO manages.” He also has implemented more mentorship programs that are geared towards women, increased job promotions, and is currently focusing on making sure employees, men and women, have the same pay. A 12 month implemented plan to make these changes has been made and he hopes that this restructure will build a culture that will inspire gender diversity for other industries.

Other technology companies, such as Intel, Apple, and Google have recently spoken out about implementing similar plans to change the face of leadership by adding more women. Google has recently started a voucher program for women to learn coding by offering free lessons just for starters. All in all, effective change must start with action, and we all know that change is necessary for growth. It will be exciting to see how Saleforce will pull through after these positive changes.

Interested in learning more click here.