#NBCLatino20: The Astronaut, Frank Rubio
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By the time you read this, Frank Rubio, who was chosen as one of 12 astronaut candidates from NASA’s largest pool of applicants in history, will already be starting his two-year basic training.

Becoming an astronaut wasn’t something Rubio had planned as a kid. Still, he admits “every kid thinks of how awesome it would be.”

Although Latinos are underrepresented in science and technology, Rubio is part of a small but influential group of Hispanic astronauts.

“I think the opportunities are limitless for us just like they are for anybody else,” Rubio told NBC Latino during one of his final interviews before beginning training.

Rubio’s family is from El Salvador. He was born in Los Angeles and as a teenager moved to Miami, the city he calls home. He attended public high school and eventually graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Rubio flew over 600 hours of combat missions during deployments to Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq as a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot.

He later went on to medical school and became a family physician and flight surgeon.

This list of accomplishments was not enough for Rubio. He applied to become an astronaut and at 41, was chosen out of more than 18,000 applicants.

He hesitated telling his mother, who now lives in El Salvador, that he would be going into space. Afraid of what her reaction would be, he waited until the week he found out he was selected.

“She really surprised me. She was very calm and very supportive; I think she was more confident than I was,” he said, laughing. “She was obviously very proud, like any mom would be. But I was happy that my worries about her being worried were unfounded.”

Rubio, who is married and has 4 children, was serving as battalion surgeon for the 3rd Battalion of the 10th Special Forces Group in the U.S. Army when he was selected.

Rubio is looking forward to participating in NASA’S cutting edge research. “Obviously, with my background as a medical doctor I would be excited to participate in things that have to do with human physiology and the effects space has on that,” he said. “But honestly, this is such a cool job I’d be happy to take part in anything.”

For Latinos, Rubio believes, “there are no limitations. You just have to commit to it, go after it, and be ready to fail along the way.”

Continue onto NBC News to read more about Frank and his journey to NASA.

Meet Georgia Sandoval
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Georgia Sandoval standing outside University building smiling with arms folded

Zigzag. That’s the advice Georgia Sandoval, a high-performance architect at Intel, has for STEM students.

“You think there’s only one path for you and if you fail, everything’s going to fall apart,” recalls Sandoval, 28. That’s when you learn to zigzag.

Sandoval bases that insight on her own story. “If you don’t get an internship, then try for a research opportunity,” she says. “If one path doesn’t work, try another until you get where you want to be. Nobody has a linear path in life.”
In high school in Tuba City, Arizona, Sandoval was often the only girl in math classes. Because she was shy, she never applied for extracurricular programs. “It was a lack of confidence,” she explains. “I didn’t think I’d get in any, so why bother?”

Things didn’t click until she was a junior at Arizona State University and took a coding class. “I really loved it,” she says. A year later, she graduated with a degree in computational mathematics.

Today, after stints at Boeing and Raytheon, she’s at Intel helping create the world’s first exascale computer. Able to perform a quintillion floating-point computations per second, this new breed of ultra-supercomputer will help scientists model climate change, map the brain, and conduct advanced physics research.

Sandoval’s job involves making performance projections, a role that entails far more than crunching numbers. “We have brainstorming meetings throughout the day on how we’re going to solve the next problem,” she says, and collaborates with scientists from multiple national labs, who send her bundles of their code to evaluate.

Her Navajo heritage has guided and strengthened Sandoval along her path, which has not always been easy. She was single mother in college who had to work her way from tribal college to community college and finally to Arizona State University. Being a role model for her child inspired her to finish her college degree.

“My parents continue to say, remember who you are, and remember who your people are, so you’re grounded,” says Sandoval.

She has a special fondness for her masani (her mother’s mother) who told her, “The way to succeed in this new world of technology is to use your brain, study, and always walk on dirt to remember where you came from.” Sandoval offers that advice to today’s students: “Find the balance between culture and modern society, without sacrificing your core identity.” Above all, she wants students to remember they’re not alone. “In college I was pushed to network, even when I didn’t want to,” she recalls. “But I made sure to be myself. People can see when you’re faking it. Explore new areas — there are so many opportunities out there.”

Succeeding in college networking was a big step from her days as a shy high school student. She wishes that back then she had learned an important lesson. “It is okay to admit you need help, to admit you’re scared,” she explains. “The most important thing is to talk to someone, to ask for help — to figure out what you want and build your confidence.”

Georgia Sandoval has come a long way. “I was always the quiet girl in the corner,” she says. “I’m far from that now.”

—George Spencer

Reprinted by permission from Winds of Change © 2020 by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).

Former Firefighters Find Great Job Opportunities as Emergency Recovery Coordinators at Top Restoration Company Paul Davis: Meet Ruben Rodriguez
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Ruben Rodriguez headshot

(Jacksonville, FL) Ruben Rodriguez, a former firefighter for both the City of Miami Fire & Rescue and the Tallahassee Fire Department, is currently the Emergency Recovery Coordinator for Paul Davis of Tallahassee.

He also is active in the Business Development end of the company which involves creating and maintaining client relationships. Ruben came aboard the Paul Davis team in January of 2019 and explains how much he enjoys the work.

“For me, this was just a continuation of the work firefighters do, in that we are all about serving others and helping people in their time of need. It feels great to offer some help and solace to someone who is overwhelmed from a disaster,” Ruben shared.

The formal description of Ruben’s job and all ERC’s at Paul Davis is coordinator of who and what is needed for the recovery for people, communities, and businesses after a disaster, particularly fires.

“People often experience numbness, shock, fear and difficulty focusing during these situations and, as with any trauma, they shouldn’t be making important decisions during this period,” explained Ruben. “That’s where we come in. We excel in coordination among all the players; adjustors and insurance carriers, and mitigation workers and gently guide shocked property owners through the stressful process. ERC’s from Paul Davis are trained and have the knowledge needed to protect the point of origin in a fire loss for example. This is important because sometimes insurance companies want to perform an origin and cause investigation. One of my duties would be to make an accurate assessment of what needs to be done to secure the scene. This eliminates a crucial task for the fire victim at that awful time.

Among the rewards Ruben feels in his job is working with civic causes and fire prevention programs, one of which involves the Tallahassee Paul Davis team helping to assist in installations of smoke detectors for the needy.

For National Fire Prevention Week October 4th-10th Paul Davis offers many important tips but Ruben’s top tip is “Candles and Space Heaters…Never leave them unattended!”

About Paul Davis Restoration

For more than 50 years, Paul Davis Restorations Inc. has restored residential and commercial properties damaged by fire, water, mold, storms, and disasters. Paul Davis is a one-stop shop for disaster damage and restoration and has more than 300 independently owned franchises in the United States and Canada. The professionals at Paul Davis are certified in emergency restoration, reconstruction, and remodeling. For more information, visit the company website at www.pauldavis.com

 

The one characteristic that will make you an all-star according to science
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By Amy Stanton

A few years ago, an interesting study came out of Harvard Business Review titled “The Business Case for Curiosity.”

In the study, HBR reported how an increase in employee curiosity led to a dramatic increase in company-wide creativity; how curiosity leads to empathy, which leads to reduced conflict among team members; and how “Google identifies naturally curious people through interview questions such as these: ‘Have you ever found yourself unable to stop learning something you’ve never encountered before? Why? What kept you persistent?’”

And then a few weeks ago, I came across a piece on Medium titled “The 2-Word Trick That Makes Small Talk Interesting.”

What are the two words?

“I’m curious…” before asking a question.

Whether we realize it or not, curiosity is one of the most appealing qualities . . . in a friend, an employee, a boss, or a leader.

Curiosity leads to improved problem-solving—in just about every capacity (logistically, emotionally, financially, etc.).

As the HBR study goes on to explain, “To assess curiosity, employers can also ask candidates about their interests outside of work. Reading books unrelated to one’s own field and exploring questions just for the sake of knowing the answers are indications of curiosity.”

I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I was starting my company, originally focused exclusively on female athletes and women’s sports, a number of people told me, “There’s no money in women’s sports.” And the reason I pressed on regardless was that I was curious. “Is that true? If it is true, why? And shouldn’t we change that?” Those questions and my curiosity started the Stanton & Company journey (thank goodness!).

And then a few years ago, when I decided I wanted to write a book about femininity, I was curious about my behaviors, feelings, and ideas—was I experiencing something unique, or were my feelings and human responses part of a larger societal reality? (The answer turned out to be the latter.)

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Meet the Latina CEO who Won’t Stop Exceeding Expectations
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Irma Olgui stands smiling with arms folded

Irma Olguin, the tech CEO of Geekwise Academy, is not your typical CEO. Though she lives in California, where many business owners have taken to big cities, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, Olguin runs her business in Fresno, California, one of the poorest cities in the United States.

She spends her workdays with pink hair, normally wearing T-shirts and jeans, and depended on recycling cans and bottles to afford the transportation fee to the University of Toledo, where she was the first person in her family to earn her degree.

Through her studies, Olguin found her passion for computer science and engineering, a field that is predominately male. Following her graduation in 2004, Olguin had several opportunities to work various tech jobs near her school but ultimately decided to return to Fresno in an attempt to boost the economy. While working with Fresno school districts in both teaching and performing computer programming work, Olguin teamed up with property lawyer Jake Sobreal in 2012. Both being Fresno natives, Olguin and Sobreal decided it was time to teach the natives of their hometown the skills they would need to boost their economy and to better provide for themselves.

In 2013, Geekwise Academy was born, a crash course learning center for coding, technology, and business skills. The academy has given people with a wide variety of backgrounds the inspiration and tools needed to jump back into the workforce. Graduates of the Geekwise Academy have included military veterans, newly released prisoners, and even make up 25% of Shift3 Technologies’ staff.

With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, Olguin decided to defy the expectations of a potential crashing economy and use the situation to her advantage. In March of 2020, Geekwise Academy went digital where the company received double their usual clientele, despite having opened more locations two years before. Despite the pandemic, Olguin and Sobreal are still working toward opening new locations, despite uncertain real estate numbers.

Given their estimated $27 million in capital backing, $20 million in revenue, and her past of consistently defeating the odds, Olguin’s desire to grow her company, stimulate the economy, and help those desiring a better career, are looking positive. Of her company, Olguin says, “We’ve found a fundamentally different way to rebuild American cities, especially at a time when folks are looking around and saying, ‘What do we do with our economy?’ We think we have the answer to that.”

Andrea Garcia: Breaking the Gender Barrier to Accounting Success
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A headshot of Andrea Garcia

By Mary Marshall

The sun-drenched skies, sculpted rock formations and Saguaro cactus of the high desert are part of the landscape that Andrea Garcia calls home. Garcia, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, is proud of her Hispanic heritage and feels fortunate to be able to crossover the language barrier from English to Spanish and collaborate in two languages as a bilingual accountant.

“So many people within the Hispanic community appreciate someone who can speak Spanish in everyday business interactions,” said Garcia. “Especially when it comes to tax accounting. It truly makes everyone feel comfortable and at home when you can convey the message in their own language.”

Garcia, an entrepreneur and founder of her own accounting firm AG Tax and Accounting as well as an accountant with Nahrwold Associates in Phoenix, received a wealth of opportunity that opened many doors for her as a Hispanic woman in a male-dominated profession like accounting.


“I landed a part-time administrative job with Nahrwold Associates, a small accounting firm, while still in college,” reminisced Garcia, 27. “The owner, Allen Nahrwold, noted my interest in business and finance. He became my mentor in the field of tax accounting. Many employees were part-time college students, such as me, who left the firm and moved on to other jobs. I ultimately stayed and learned the accounting business from the ground up. I have never found that being a woman or Hispanic has been an issue – if anything it has been an asset since I speak Spanish as well as English. That is an area where many young Hispanic women could find themselves in a career, and truly excel rapidly by being able to speak both languages.”

Now into several months of being a business owner, Garcia has discovered the freedom of creating her own business identity while remaining a Nahrwold employee.

“This is the best of both worlds,” said Garcia, “being able to work for myself and Nahrwold. I am building a great network based off referrals and additional business contacts provided by Nahrwold. It is amazing how the clients and referrals come when people discover you are starting a new business.”

When contemplating college following high school graduation, Garcia’s exemplary grades led to a wealth of scholarship opportunities including several that she received from the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA), an educational and professional association for women in the field of finance and accounting, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky. Garcia has since completed a master’s degree in accounting and plans to complete the two phases of the CPA exam by the end of the year.

“The AFWA scholarships were so beneficial to my college success,” said Garcia. “The whole organization has been a wonderful education and networking experience. I joined our local AFWA chapter (East Mesa and Phoenix Chapters) shortly after finishing college. Now I am the president of East Mesa and enjoying every minute of it. It is a great way to network, make friends in your profession, create revenue streams, and get involved in the community. I have also served for several years on the national AFWA Board of Directors, and that has been a wonderful experience.”

Garcia’s advice to young women interested in pursuing a profession as an accountant or in the field finance includes becoming an intern for valuable experience and finding a mentor to guide you down the career path of choice. She also believes that it is important to join a professional organization while still attending college, like the AFWA, that offers a student membership and scholarship opportunities.

“Working as an intern in a position is a wonderful chance to discover if accounting or finance is the career path you want to follow,” said Garcia. “It is even more beneficial to find a mentor to help you learn the ropes and give you advice along the way, help develop skills, and create your business acumen. It is also important to join a professional organization, like the AFWA, to develop soft skills, networking, and leadership skills. Women are underrepresented in the field of finance and accounting. There are so many opportunities available it just takes making yourself aware, willing to step out of your comfort zone and into a role where you can learn, lead, excel and grow in your business and interpersonal skills.”

Changing the Dialogue
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Len's Headshot

Len Necefer, Ph.D, is fearless in his pursuit of change in the Navajo Nation. He is changing the national dialogue around issues facing Indian Country by making sure American Indian voices are heard and engaged.

Necefer carefully chose each step he took as he pursued one degree after another, all so that one day he could do exactly what he does today—find the balance of competing uses of our public lands and natural resources and the interests of Native communities and teach others how to do the same.

Finding his voice was a focus through his entire academic journey, which started at the University of Kansas and was ultimately completed by achieving his doctorate in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

Frustrated and saddened by the environmental destruction and mismanagement occurring in Indian Country, Necefer decided to dedicate his career to bringing sustainable environmental practices to the Navajo Nation. This work began at the University of Kansas, where he developed his own community recycling program in coordination with the dean, University of Kansas Recycling, and the Coca-Cola Company. In just two years, the program was responsible for diverting more than 9,000 pounds of recyclable materials from landfills.

It was this experience that inspired Necefer to pursue his Ph.D., to further hone his talent for creative problem solving in the environmental sector. Like many Native students, academic attainment is not possible without help. Necefer’s help came from the American Indian College Fund, an organization Necefer continues to work with today in his role as an organization Ambassador. The College Fund’s support was critical in Necefer’s success, as the transition to Carnegie Melon, where he completed his doctorate, was difficult—he was the only Native student among more than 5,000 graduate students. But Necefer did not let his circumstances defeat him, instead he used them as motivation.

Following the completion of his Ph.D., Necefer chose a position with the Office of Indian Energy in the Department of Energy, working with almost 300 tribes to plan and fund more than 40 renewable resource projects for development,

“Helping tribes actualize their vision of what they want their future to be was incredibly fulfilling,” said Necefer, whose initial efforts were directed at finding the most sustainable and cost-effective ways to provide energy to people on reservations.

However, he soon realized that perhaps the most innovative and useful aspect of his project involved determining how to incorporate traditional Native values into environmental planning. He began interviewing tribal members on the Navajo Reservation, and based on their responses, developed an interface that allowed anyone from the tribe to determine the environmental impacts of various methods of energy development, including wind and solar.

Perhaps most importantly, it allowed Navajo people to become engaged with the issues and to have a voice in the decision-making process regarding environmental issues affecting their communities. “It was a really good learning experience for me just to have that engagement with folks,” said Necefer. “I saw a lot of frustration from people. Just being asked gave them hope.”

His next career move was to start his own company, NativesOutdoors. The aim of this company is to develop outdoor gear with indigenous artists and athletes and give a voice to native people in the intersection of the management of public lands and outdoor recreation. While continuing to build his company, Necefer is also an assistant professor at the University of Arizona, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. This position affords him the opportunity to both teach a new generation of people about the things most important to him—indigenous peoples and environmental issues impacting their communities—as well as engage in public policy.
In his spare time, Necefer is an avid outdoor adventurer using rock/ice climbing, high altitude and ski mountaineering, and bikepacking to convey stories focused on environmental activism and indigenous history. These adventures are documented through his writing and photography, which has been featured in the Alpinist, Outside Magazine, the Climbing Zine, BESIDE Magazine, Patagonia’s the Cleanest Line, and various film festivals.

About Len Necefer

Len Necefer, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the University of Arizona, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, with joint appointments with the American Indian Studies program & the Udall Center for Public Policy. In addition, he is the founder & CEO of Colorado-based outdoor apparel company NativesOutdoors. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kansas & a doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy. Previously he worked at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio on supersonic vehicle research and most recently worked for the Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs supporting tribes realize their energy futures through research and grant making. His research focuses on the intersection of indigenous people and natural resource management policy. This has included work from energy and water issues in the lower 48 and Alaska to outdoor recreation management policy.

How Does the Black Lives Matter Movement Affect Latinos?
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The Latino community has been standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. LULAC Chief Executive Officer Sindy M. Benavides and UnidosUS Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Eric Rodriguez shared their thoughts with HISPANIC Network Magazine (HNM) on the Black Lives Matter movement, Latinos’ participation, and the changes they hope to see.

HNM: What were your thoughts when you first heard what happened to George Floyd?

Benavides: Horrified, deeply saddened, but unfortunately not surprised to learn that yet another criminal cop had taken the life of a person of color. America is built upon systemic oppression and discrimination, systems that activists have tried to bring to light and fight against for decades. When we heard of what happened to George Floyd, and when we watched the video of police officers watching their colleague murder a man and refuse to stop him, we were distraught over the state of the police force and the loss of life. We share our thoughts and prayers with George Floyd’s family, as well as the family and communities of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Andres Guardado, Carlos Ingram-Lopez, Erik Salgado, and the hundreds of others who have lost their lives to a discriminatory policing system.

Rodriguez: I was horrified and shocked by George Floyd’s murder. Police killings of unarmed minorities is not a new story, and anyone who is Black or Brown is likely familiar with the type of racial profiling and hyper aggression by law enforcement that played out in that episode. But this incident transpired in daylight, surrounded by people filming it on their smart phones, and with other police officers standing by watching while a handcuffed Black man on the ground is slowly incapacitated and ultimately killed by an officer before their eyes. That’s something most Americans do not see every day.

HNM: What are your thoughts on the policy changes happening? Do you feel they are affecting genuine and lasting change?

Benavides: We need to urgently implement policy changes at the local and national level to dismantle police brutality. LULAC fully believes that these changes, combined with the work of thousands of activists, can help enact lasting change in this deeply flawed society. Policy initiatives like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act are a good start in the long battle of eradicating policy brutality and addressing the variety of issues that take the lives of our Black community in this country. This is a good start, but much more needs to happen both at the federal and local levels for true change to be achieved. We have also joined efforts by progressive allies such as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and support the following federal reforms:

  1. Prohibit racial profiling with robust data collection on police-community encounters and law enforcement activities. Data should capture all demographic categories and be disaggregated.
  2. Prohibit all maneuvers that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, including neck holds, chokeholds, and similar excessive force, deeming the use of such force a federal civil rights violation.
  3. Require a federal standard that use of force be reserved for only when necessary as a last resort after exhausting reasonable options, and incentivize states to implement this standard; require the use of de-escalation techniques, and the duty to intervene; ban the use of force as a punitive measure or means of retaliation against individuals who only verbally confront officers, or against individuals who pose a danger only to themselves; and require all officers to accurately report all uses of force.
  4. Prohibit the use of no-knock warrants, especially for drug searches.

Rodriguez: The demonstrations and protests have opened up the possibility for real social change. The death of George Floyd, and other recent incidents of racism caught on video, has also helped to open the eyes of many Americans about the many ways that racism shows up in our society. One result is the cross-racial solidarity we have witnessed among the protesters and the advocates calling for change. Another result is the heightened consciousness we see on display across the country. For instance, the historical symbols of racism and prejudice in America are now under intense public scrutiny. Many more Americans seem ready to acknowledge that the heroes and flags of the Confederacy belong in American history books and museums rather than displayed and honored in public places, or on government buildings or civic institutions. And in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, how many more Americans today know what Juneteenth is?

Despite this, when it comes to public policy, I am less hopeful. There are few examples in our history when widespread justice for racial and ethnic minorities transpired absent a strong federal role. The power of the federal government has in most cases been necessary to break up the culture and practice of racism that fossilized in cities, states, and within our institutions.

Yet, we certainly cannot stop fighting for change in political leadership and federal laws. Our CEO and President Janet Murguía contributed to President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force, which identified recommendations for local and state authorities that included community policing and accountability measures. We also support policy changes working their way through Congress, and there is a good chance that some cities will be able to put in place some new practices that can help. Finally, UnidosUS is registering, educating and mobilizing voters this fall in what stands to be a pivotal election.

HNM: How have Latinos stood in solidarity with the Black lives matter movement?

Benavides: Police brutality is an issue that affects both Black and Brown communities. Something that is often missed is that under the ethnicity of Hispanic, we have members who identify as Black, who may be Afro-Latino, or mixed. That is why many Latino organizations and Latino leaders have come out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, including LULAC. We are also working with our councils to ensure they also have the tools to work with their local elected to implement local reforms. LULAC has also created a microsite on our website to make sure that we are providing resources and information to the Latino community on how it can support the Black Lives Movement.

Rodriguez: Latinos are speaking out, protesting and marching, joining advocacy efforts to push for needed policy changes and encouraging self-reflection about how anti-Black racism and colorism shows up within the Latino community. The Latino community, which is about 58 million strong, has also felt the blows of prejudice and inequality. Nearly 25 percent of Latinos identify as Afro-Latino and experience both racial and ethnic discrimination in their daily lives.

The same unchecked police power that has taken the lives of Black Americans is used to separate our families, put children in cages and racially profile us. This broken system has led too many Latinos to fear law enforcement, with deadly consequences—as in the tragic cases of Andres Guardado in Los Angeles and Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez in Tucson.

So, our solidarity with the Black community is rooted in the shared lived experience of facing racism and oppression that harms all communities. Most Latinos do not just empathize with the experience of Black Americans who are abused and targeted by police, but they also identify with that experience.

HNM: How has the Black Lives Matter impacted the Hispanic community?

Benavides: Black Lives Matter has shown the power of sustained grassroots organizing, a great model for the Latino community to follow. We have learned that change takes time and this moment has been 400+ years in the making. Most importantly, we know that their success is our success and that it will benefit all communities who are targeted and marginalized. And, in this process, BLM has spurred a national conversation among Latinos around anti-blackness. It has forced us to look into the mirror and acknowledge our own shortcomings. I think this is a valuable conversation that is sorely needed and we have and continue to learn from it.

Rodriguez: The Black Lives Matter movement has brought necessary attention to the pervasiveness of police abuse and bias that results in the death of Black Americans and the lack of accountability and injustice that follows. The movement has given many Latinos, who have also been harmed, aggrieved or offended by police practices, a voice and a means of expressing their frustration in a way that advances social change. The movement has sparked needed conversations that can push state and local governments to reinvest in their communities in a way that enhances public safety while helping residents thrive economically and socially.

HNM: How can Latinos participate in this movement?

LULAC CEO Sindy Benavides headshot
LULAC Chief Executive Officer Sindy M. Benavides

Benavides: Latinx people can participate in the movement by being physically present in support of this movement. And using our voices to practice proper allyship in this time of need and centering Black voices in everything you do. Acknowledge your privileges and make an effort to learn about the Black Lives Matter experience. We encourage everybody in our Latinx community to use their voices for good and support Black voices in all of their actions. ‘Tu lucha es mi lucha’ should ring true to our hearts as we strive to build a more inclusive democracy where all of us are equal and treated equally in all aspects of society.

Rodriguez: Latinos have long been in the fight to end systemic racism and discrimination that manifests across our society and filters through the private sector and our government systems. Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health, housing, education, and voting through the courts or Congress have been important ways to tackle structural racism.

Right now, the Congress is debating police reforms. Latinos can call their senators and demand that Leader McConnell bring the Justice in Policing Act to a vote. They can call members of Congress and demand annual congressional oversight hearings to review the status of the implementation of the Death in Custody Reporting Act to compel the collection, reporting, and analysis of all deaths, by race and gender, that occur in law enforcement custody.

Those who are moved to organize and express their concerns about the status quo can do many other things, such as join peaceful marches and protests, demand accountability from political leaders, fight for policy changes at the local level and support and donate to organizations at the forefront of the fight, like Black Lives Matter, NAACP, Color of Change, UndocuBlack, RaceForward and many others.

Latinos can contact their police departments, city council and/or Attorneys General and demand meaningful investigations and prosecutions of incidents involving abuse of force against racial and ethnic minorities. They can vote with these concerns in mind.

And most of all, for those Latinos who, upon self-reflection, recognize that they have been too silent and accepting of anti-Blackness within their circle of family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, it is time to take responsibility and act. If we are to dismantle systemic factors that enable the scourge of anti-Blackness, colorism and race-based violence to grow, we must start by healing ourselves and preparing for the hard work and courageous conversations ahead.

Smart Ways You Can Prepare For Job Loss While You’re Still Employed
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Approximately 44.2 million people have filed for unemployment since the start of the coronavirus shutdown in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

If your employer is struggling to stay afloat in the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re probably concerned about your job.

Preparing for a possible pink slip in your not-so-distant future can help you find a new job faster and stay afloat financially in the interim.

In order to brace yourself for job loss, take these steps now.

Update Your Resume

If your resume is updated, you’ll be able to start applying for jobs the day you’re laid off. You’ll need to customize it for each position, but having a generic version ready to go will be a huge start.

This is the first impression you’ll make on potential employers, so take the time to create a polished and professional document. Most employers (77%) cite typos or bad grammar as an instant deal breaker and 34% aren’t interested in resumes without quantifiable results, according to CareerBuilder.

Reach Out to Your Network

Over the years, you’ve made a lot of connections in your industry — and now is the time to leverage them. Reach out to former managers, colleagues, clients, classmates and friends to see if they know of any openings that might be a good match for you.

If you don’t want your current employer to know you’re seeking new opportunities, ask them to exercise discretion.

Take On a Side Hustle

A traditional full-time job isn’t the only way to earn money. Finding alternative ways to earn cash now can help you pay the bills if your steady paycheck disappears for awhile.

When it comes to side gigs, the sky’s the limit. You could leverage skills from your current job — like an accountant might become a tax preparer — or find a part-time job — such as delivering pizza on the weekend.

Start Thinking of Places You’d Like To Work

A new job is a big deal, so avoid having to make a rush decision by making a list of employers you’re interested in. Use the company website, blog and social media presence to learn more about what they do, the company culture and possible roles for you.

Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

How to Be an Effective Teleworker
LinkedIn
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Many employers and employees are shifting to telework structures. For some, conducting business from home may be a new adventure, while others are veterans of remote work.

Regardless of experience, it can be helpful for us all to think through approaches to teleworking to ensure that we are both effective and content when working from our home offices.

The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) has created the following telework tips for employers and employees. Though they’ve been designed for people with disabilities in mind, they provide information that can be useful to anyone who is transitioning to remote work.

Creating a Comfortable Workplace

Pick a Spot

Designate a long-term space to work in your home where you can focus during work hours, making sure it’s clean and uncluttered. Avoid using a space you frequent in your personal life, like your kitchen table or couch. If there are things that make you happy or motivated (a candy jar, your favorite chair, etc.), don’t be afraid to include them in the space.

Make it Comfortable

Think about the comfort level of the location you choose. Find a spot with room to spread out, a place to type away without hitting your cat in the face with your elbow. If available, pick furniture that won’t put a strain on your body after hours of sitting. Ask yourself: Is this chair causing me to slouch? Is the table too high to type?

Evaluate Accommodation Needs

If you have a disability/chronic condition, evaluate what tools you need to be productive. Don’t be afraid to request accommodations and/or permission to use personal devices that you may already own with the features you need.

Visit the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology at peatworks.org to read telework tips for staying on schedule, communicating with your team, staying productive, and more!

Source: Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology

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How Superstar Candidates Know if a Company is Right for Them
LinkedIn
Job interview, Young executive man asking questions to applicant

It’s all about how you interview. But not in the way you might think.

By Jeff Haden

You need to hire the best possible employees. You need to hire superstars. But superstars have options.

For talented people, the job market is a seller’s market: Because they’re in demand they can to a large extent choose where they want to work. That’s at least partly why recent research involving nearly 100,000 interview reviews and offer decisions shows that last year, more than 17 percent of job offers were rejected by candidates, according to Glassdoor.

That’s right: Nearly 1 in 6 were offered a job they decided to turn down.

So how can you increase the odds that great candidates will accept your job offer? Make the job interview more difficult. The survey showed that the acceptance rate for people between 25 and 34 increased by 3 percentage points when the interview process was more “difficult.” And candidates in professional and technical fields are most likely to accept an offer if their interview is “difficult.”

Toughening Up the Interview Process

For the candidate, the interview is a good way to gauge the potential of a particular employer or job. “If the interview process is tough,” the thinking seems to go, “then that means getting a job here is tough—which means getting in the door should be great for my career,” according to Daniel Zhao, co-author of the survey.

Research clearly shows the interview has a huge effect on how candidates see you as a company. Skills and career development are a priority for younger workers, and interviews are an opportunity for them to see if the company they’re applying for will equip them with the experience they want. Of course, you might think your interview process is already tough. Think again. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “easy” and 5 being “very difficult,” only 10 percent of interviews were ranked as a 4, or “difficult.” And only 1 percent were considered “very difficult.” Which means the odds are, candidates feel your interviews are easier than you think. Which means making your interviews harder should pay off: Increasing the interview difficult by one level increases acceptance rates by nearly 3 percentage points.

Tests Work—As Long as They’re Skills Tests

Aside from asking more difficult interview questions, one way to increase the difficulty of the interview process is to have candidates complete some form of testing. Skills tests, though—not personality tests. Taking personality tests actually lowered acceptance rates by over 2 percentage points. Maybe that’s because superstars want to work for people who care more about results than personality: Taking applicable skills tests increased acceptance rates by over 2 percent.

Don’t Involve Brain Teasers

Many people feel having to answer a brain teaser question during a job interview feels like a bad move, and science backs up their intuition. How you answer a brain teaser says almost nothing about how you will perform on the job, but it says a lot—and none of it good—about the interviewer who enjoys asking the question. All brain teasers reveal is that the interviewer enjoys putting people on the spot and watching them squirm. Which is the last thing any interviewer should want to do—especially since great candidates will see that as reason enough to turn down a job offer.

Instead, do this. First, establish a consistent rubric for how you assess candidates. Then use behavioral interview questions to not only determine how candidates have performed in real-world situations but to also get a sense of what they consider to be “difficult.” The answer to, “Tell me about the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last six months,” instantly gives you a sense of what the candidate considers to be a “tough” decision. Then consider adding a skills test to the process. (Tests are available for just about every job and industry; just make sure you administer the tests consistently and that every short-list candidate takes the test. Where hiring processes are concerned, consistency—and fairness—is everything.)

And then ramp up the difficulty, because the research shows many candidates, especially the great ones, won’t think your process is as tough as you do. They’ll know, within minutes, if your process is easy, or difficult, or very difficult. The answer to that question plays a significant role in how likely they are to accept your job offer. Which means increasing the difficulty of your interviews will not only help you better evaluate candidates… it will also make it more likely that a superstar candidate will say, “Yes.” Win-win.

Jeff Haden is a speaker, Inc. Magazine contributing editor, author of The Motivation Myth.

Air Force Civilian Service

Air Force Civilian Service