5 Current Keys to Success When Searching for a Job
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Job Search Laptop

By Debra Wheatman  

I have probably received more questions on the topic of conducting a job search in the current climate than I have on anything else in 2020. When the restrictions were first enacted, many people decided to go into a self-imposed holding pattern and shelve their job searches.

However, ongoing restrictions and contraction in the job market render this a nonviable option. So how do you search for a job amid the pandemic? Here are five strategies that can help you succeed.

Network. Networking remains the best way to find employment opportunities. The only difference is that networking has become almost entirely virtual. The good news is that you have more access to diverse networks than ever. Get on LinkedIn or Meetup and find people with common interests. Join groups that appeal to your goals, and interact with people and share your knowledge. Remember, don’t go into networking with the message, “I need a job. What can you do for me?” It’s a two-way street. Don’t just take; give as well.

Up your technology game. Have you been on a videoconference where someone’s Wi-Fi keeps cutting out? How about someone with poor lighting, making it look like they live in a basement, hiding from the feds? Yeah, no. Not a good look. Upgrade your internet, invest in a good webcam if your computer is sub-par, and consider a light ring to provide balanced lighting and show you in, well, the best light.

Look the part. We know you’re working from home. That doesn’t mean that you should show up for your virtual interview, looking as if you just rolled out of bed or came in from working in the garden. Dress the same as you would for an in-person interview.

Be specific about your goals. This is good advice outside of the pandemic as well. But it will be even more important than ever that you have an articulated and defined vision not only of what you’re looking for in your next role but what you can do for a potential employer. Why? Because everyone is on edge. And providing clarity will put people at ease and engender trust.

Manage your expectations. I’m hearing that the entire job search process is taking even longer than it was before restrictions when people were still doing in-person interviews. I think this is probably due to the heightened focus on proceeding with caution. A client recently had a first video screen with a new company and was told that the process would entail a one-on-one with the hiring manager, a series of four to five additional meetings with other team members, a presentation to the team, another one-on-one with the hiring manager, and finally, a meeting with the CEO.

Most importantly, be confident and proactive. Remember my number one piece of advice—job searching is not about YOU; it’s about how you can help an employer solve a pressing business problem. Approach your job search with that in mind, and tailor your tactics to reflect the current reality. Finally, the shining light at the end of the tunnel: it’s not a question of if you get a new role—only when.

Source: Careersdoneright.com

These Are The Most At-Risk Jobs Post-Pandemic
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Powerful Latin businesswoman leader standing with arm crossed

While many jobs were put on hold during the pandemic, there are a few that may not come back—ever.

Glassdoor’s Workplace Trends 2021 report finds that job postings for discretionary health services—or those that are elective and can be postponed during a pandemic—are down dramatically. The most at-risk job is that of audiologist, for which job listings on Glassdoor declined 70% during the pandemic.

Angela Shoup, president of the American Academy of Audiology, says she’s heard reports of  audiologists being placed on long furloughs, as well as some who’ve closed their private practices and retired early this year. Many recent graduates looking for jobs in audiology have been told that larger practices are not hiring, she says.

Job postings for opticians and physical therapists saw a similar fate, down 61% and 40%, respectively. There’s also been a shortage of administrative and lower-skilled office roles. Jobs for event coordinators are down 69%, making it the second most at-risk job post-pandemic. Similarly, openings for executive assistants are down 55%, human resources generalists are down 37% and receptionists are down 35%, as most offices have been closed.

Unsurprisingly, positions for personal services workers have also plummeted. Beauty consultants took the hardest hit, with jobs down 53%. Jobs for valets were down 51%.

“[These are jobs] where Covid-19 is in the driver’s seat,” says Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s chief economist. “People are not going to return to their nail salons or get discretionary LASIK eye surgeries or go to in-person events until the virus is under control.”

Discretionary healthcare, event and personal-service jobs won’t disappear altogether after the pandemic, but they will certainly be slow to come back, he says. However, he thinks it’s possible some jobs may be lost forever.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

 

Employees Share Views on Current and Post-Pandemic Workplace
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Successful group of business associates having internet based web conference over video chat

Robert Half conducted a study on employees’ views regarding the pandemic workplace.

“Our lives have changed as a result of COVID-19, including how we work,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half.

“When companies open their doors again, ‘business as usual’ will be different. Employers and their teams have been resourceful in operating from dispersed locations, and there are going to be important lessons learned that will guide future collaboration.”

Silver Linings
Of employees surveyed, 77 percent said they are currently working from home. These workers were asked, “Which of the following positive sentiments have you felt with respect to your job in the past several weeks?”

The top responses included:

I realize my job is doable from home. 63%
My work-life balance has improved due to lack of a commute. 60%
I’m more comfortable using technology. 43%
I’ve grown closer to colleagues. 20%
I’ve grown closer to my boss. 19%
*Multiple responses were permitted.

 
Parents doing their job from home were more likely than peers without children to report having better work-life balance, becoming more tech savvy and deepening relationships with their colleagues, survey results show. In addition, 78 percent of all employees surveyed think they will be more prepared to support or cover for coworkers who need to be physically absent when staff begin returning to the office.

Concerns About Returning to the Office
According to the research, professionals feel some apprehension about going back to their typical workspace:

  • 56 percent of professionals worry about being in close proximity to colleagues.
  • 74 percent would like to work remotely more frequently than before the outbreak. More parents (79 percent) than those without children (68 percent) expressed this preference.
  • At the same time, 55 percent believe it will be more difficult to build strong relationships with colleagues if teams aren’t in the same building as much.

Business Protocol in a Post-Pandemic World
Once stay-at-home guidelines ease, the workplace will likely evolve. Of office professionals surveyed:

  • 72 percent will rethink shaking hands with business contacts.
  • 72 percent plan to schedule fewer in-person meetings.
  • 61 percent anticipate spending less time in common areas in the office.
  • Nearly 6 in 10 will reconsider attending in-person business events (59 percent) and traveling for business (57 percent).
  • 73 percent think there will be fewer in-person social and team-building activities with colleagues.

Staff expect their organization to adapt to the new normal. Workers were asked, “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which of the following measures do you think your company needs to take?” Their responses:

Allow employees to work from home more frequently 79%
Have better cleaning procedures 79%
Hold fewer in-person meetings and trainings 70%
Stagger employees’ work schedules 55%
Require employees to wear masks 52%
Change the office layout 46%
 *Multiple responses were permitted.

McDonald added, “Managers should use any time of transition to reassess priorities and make meaningful change that improves the work environment. The pandemic is causing fear and anxiety, and employees will want reassurance their employer is prioritizing health and safety.”

Source: PRNewswire

Sacramento Hispanic Chamber launches tech assistance program for minority-owned businesses
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Business buildings in Sacramento

The Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is launching a wide lineup of resources and technical assistance to help minority-owned businesses during the pandemic.

The chamber announced the launch of its “#JuntosSacramento” campaign, which translates to “together Sacramento,” on Monday. The campaign is aimed at bringing together all corners of Sacramento’s Latino community, which includes immigrants and people who draw their heritage from a mix of countries and languages, said Cathy Rodriguez Aguirre, CEO of the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber.

Minority-owned businesses have been among the hardest hit during the pandemic, as they may have lower cash reserves and less access to banking resources to buoy their businesses.

The effort includes one-on-one consulting, resources on digital marketing and financial planning during the pandemic and job training programs.

The Sacramento Hispanic Chamber received about $615,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, dollars for the initiative. Those dollars arrived from a $3 million grant that the Sacramento Inclusive Economic Development Collaborative received from the city of Sacramento. The Sac IEDC was formed two years ago, and includes 15 groups within it like the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber and several property business improvement districts.

“Hispanic and minority owned businesses have been a historic pillar in the growth of Sacramento and our mission is to help the region recover from the impacts of Covid-19 by supporting the community through increased services and new, innovative programs,” Rodriguez Aguirre said, in a prepared statement. “Through our partnership with SAC IEDC we will be able to help foster more business development and spur economic growth.”

The program includes a free, six-part webinar series on topics like digital marketing, financial planning and disaster preparedness. The series starts on Oct. 23 and runs every other Friday, and will be conducted in Spanish and English.

Continue to the Sacramento Business Journal to read the full article.

The Importance of Employee Resource Groups
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Written by: Patty Juarez, head of Wells Fargo Diverse Segments, Commercial Banking with introductory remarks from Ramiro A. Cavazos, President and CEO, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

For the past ten years, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) has conducted the only Hispanic Employee Resource Group (ERG) Summit & Corporate Challenge in the nation. The USHCC was proud to award Wells Fargo and its ERG “Latin Connection” First Place in the competition during our 2020 National Conference.

More than 100 corporations have competed since our inaugural event, proving that ERGs are more ready than ever to provide value and impact their company’s growth. Since 2010, winners including Wells Fargo’s Latin Connection – have been recognized as the best ERG in the country during our National Conference. The USHCC continues to recognize the growing importance of corporate ERGs who increasingly demonstrate they have tangible impacts on employee growth and leadership development, community service, and create a strong network within each corporation where employees – especially employees of color— can meet, connect, and learn from each other.

Congratulations to Patty Juarez, Josephina Reyes, and the entire Wells Fargo Team at Latin Connection for their unwavering commitment to diversity, inclusion, and employee growth.

“Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.”Roberto Clemente

Supporting employees, communities, and business.
Employee resource groups (also known as ERGs, affinity groups, or business network groups) are networks of employees who join together in their workplace based on shared characteristics, life experiences, or ally aspirations. These groups are voluntary and employee-led, with a goal of fostering a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with the organizations they serve. These groups are a key component for a business’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. As president of Wells Fargo’s Latin Connection, I have seen first-hand the positive impact these networks can have on our Latino employees.

According to John LaVeck, program head of the Employee Resource Network program in the Enterprise Diversity and Inclusion Office at Wells Fargo, “Employee Resource Networks are formed around market and historically under-represented segments in leadership, and provide employees with personal and professional development, mentoring, leadership engagement, networking, and community outreach opportunities.”

From a career standpoint, an ERG provides mentorship opportunities to its members. Senior leaders are invited to share insights on their personal career journeys, allowing members to connect and seek their counsel. Sometimes, these connections mature into mentorships and sponsorships. Group members also have access to unique professional development opportunities, webinars, speaker series, and other educational opportunities. Many organizations host workshops aimed at enhancing and developing the skillsets of its members.

ERGs provide a number of benefits to a business and its employees.
 Internally, they provide networking platforms that encourage a sense of belonging. As businesses strive to create a sense of community among diverse employees, ERGs can often times be a bridge that closes gaps. They also open communications channels for leaders to foster and build involvement and engagement among employees and leadership. Allies are also key to impactful ERGs. Incorporating allies in the work allows for further education and expanded reach of an ERG. Senior leadership involvement is key to reinforcing a company’s commitment to supporting ERGs and all employees across diversity dimensions.

 Externally, ERGs have tremendous positive impact in diverse communities. At Wells Fargo, our Latin Connection members log more than five-thousand volunteer hours annually. It is amazing to see these teams making a difference in the communities where we live and work.

 Culture is another key to a strong ERG. It is often the shared stories and experiences that bring people together. We celebrate shared values, traditions, food, music, and backgrounds. In Latin Connection members celebrate shared holidays and the history of contributions of Latinos in our country and community. These celebrations allow members the opportunity to connect and celebrate who they are and what they represent. These celebrations also welcome and invite others to learn and share in the Latino culture.

ERG members are not one dimensional; many identify with multiple dimensions. It is important for ERGs to explore intersections. For instance, within Latin Connection, the group co-hosted an event with the Veterans Network, which celebrated the contribution of Latinos in armed forces. Group members represent a number of generations, including a growing number of millennials, and many are bi-cultural and have other diversity dimensions. It is important to meet members where they are in those areas of intersection, while addressing individual needs so they feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.

 The Latino market often represents a significant opportunity for businesses. ERGs represent the voice of a community or group – lending authenticity, value, and life experiences to shape the narrative for new strategies, testing products, and informing marketing campaigns, while ensuring our business is providing what the community wants and needs. This allows ERGs to also have a significant financial impact to a business’ the bottom line. Employee resource groups are key to the engagement and motivation of members and to business success. These groups will continue playing an important part of corporate culture and success.

In times like today, when COVID-19 is impacting the ability to be together in person, these groups serve as a critical bridge to maintaining and making new connections within our companies and our communities.

Ways to Organize Your Job Search
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two hands are tying on a keyboard coffee cup in background

By Catherine Burns

When on the hunt for a job, it’s not uncommon to be applying for multiple opportunities at once. This is especially true for those of us just starting out in our careers. But multiple applications mean different resume versions, various cover letters and many, many different deadlines to keep track of. With so many moving parts at once, it’s easy to become disorganized.

But a disorderly job search process can lead to embarrassing mistakes, such as lost phone numbers, confused deadlines, and missed interviews. To help you avoid these downfalls, we’ve put together a few tips to help you keep your job search organized.

Step 1: Start with Your Career Goals

It’s easy to want to jump right in and begin filling out job applications. But before you do, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Your career journey should start with a look at the direction in which you’re headed.

Though it may seem trivial to set aside time to organize your thoughts to clearly think through the career path you’d like to pursue, this is one of the most important steps to take. How are you supposed to start going anywhere if you don’t know where you want to go?

Reflect on what you’d like to do and why you feel that’s the right path for you. You might feel a little lost and be unsure about where you’re going, but at this stage in your life, that’s ok. Start by thinking about your long-term goals, as those don’t need to be overly specific. Where do you want to be ten years from now?

Then work backward from there down to five years, one year, and six months from now. Think through your personal goals in addition to your career and finances. Take your family, education, and anything else you value into consideration.

Step 2: Create a Schedule

After you’ve spent some time finding your direction and clearly thinking through your goals, it’s time to start building out a schedule. After all, to achieve the goals you now have in mind, you’ll need to set aside time to go after them.

The first step in this stage is to identify time you can set aside that’s dedicated to job searching. Find blocks of time within your schedule between classes, work, and any other responsibilities. Job searching is a time-consuming process and requires regular attention. So, aim to set aside at least two hours every day to fully focus on it.

Next, start building a schedule to complete certain tasks you know you need to get done. For instance, devote one hour to cleaning up your professional online profiles like LinkedIn. Devote another hour or two to preparing your resume. You should be able to fill up at least the first few days of your schedule, if not your first week, with tasks to complete.

Perhaps even more important than actually setting up this schedule is sticking to it. Let’s be honest here—activities like resume building and email sending are less than thrilling tasks. It can be easy to let these fall by the wayside and choose something a little more exciting to occupy your time. However, this will only put you behind and lead you down a path of disorganized job searching. Make sure you leave the time you set aside for job hunting devoid of any other activities.

Step 3: Minimize Your Job Applications

Looking for a job is more often than not a high-pressure situation, so you might be tempted to begin aimlessly applying for any open position you find. But even though applying for more jobs can make it feel like you’re increasing your chances, this is actually just a waste of your time—not to mention an easy way to become disorganized.

Remember that time you dedicated at the beginning of this process to think through your short-term and long-term goals? Here’s where that comes in handy. Start off by narrowing your search to only the jobs that align with those goals. Look out for the opportunities that will help you get to where you want to be.

Next, narrow your search down to only the openings that match the level of skill you have. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your qualifications need to match up with those listed on the job description exactly. In fact, this will likely never be the case. Job descriptions should be more of a directional tool for whether or not you’re a potential fit for a role, so look for those where you match around 80 percent of the qualifications listed.

Step 4: Track Each Position You Apply For

Here’s where things can get especially messy. Applying for multiple positions at once leaves you with a lot of different things to manage. Make sure you’re keeping track of all of the different details as you go along.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a spreadsheet. This is an easy and effective way to help you keep track. Don’t worry about making anything too fancy. Just include basic information, such as:

  • Company name
  • Contact details: include the name, email, and phone number of your contact at the company. In most cases, this will be a hiring manager.
  • Date applied
  • Deadlines and interviews: deadlines for upcoming information the company asks for and scheduled interviews
  • Date followed up: date you followed up after an application submission or interview
  • Status of application: whether you’ve been rejected, are waiting to hear back, or have an interview scheduled

JibberJobber is an online job search organization tool that helps you keep track of what you’re working on. If you prefer working off of your phone or tablet, then there are tons of great apps available. Keep in mind, though, that setting up a system for tracking alone is not enough. You need to be diligent in updating your system each time you take a new action or receive an update from a potential employer.

Source: Glassdoor

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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two students with books in their hands are talking at the university building

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.”

Air Force Civilian Service

Air Force Civilian Service

Robert Half

ALDI