11 Gorgeous Afro-Latinx-Owned Online Shops To Support During National Black Business Month

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Afro-Latinx Owned products

By Andrea Reindl, Mitu

August is National Black Business Month and this year, there’s no better time to support Black businesses. After the racial reckoning of 2020, many of us are still educating ourselves on structural racism and the impact it’s had on Black business owners and generational wealth. And part of that education includes shopping at Black-owned businesses.

Luckily, there are Black entrepreneurs out there who are following their dreams and making money moves. Here is a list of Afro-Latinx-owned businesses you can shop at online.

Azteca Negra

Azteca Negra was founded by Jefa Marisol Catchings, who identifies as Chicana and Black. Her online store started off selling colorful hand-crafted headwraps, but since the pandemic, she has also expanded into selling face masks as well. Buy the Mami & Me Princesa Headwrap Set (pictured) for $38.00.

La Boticá Studios

Founded by Afro-Dominicana Dawn Marie West, La Boticá Studios is what she describes as a “luxury fragrance brand” that is “rooted in culture.” With scents like “Flor de Selva” and “República,” her candles are sure to transport you to the Caribbean. Candles start at $78.00.

Coffee Del Mundo

Belizean coffee connoisseur Jonathan Kinnard founded Coffee Del Mundo’s to “help people rediscover coffee the way it was meant to be enjoyed.” So unnatural additives are a no-no. You can get pods or whole beans via delivery. Buy a bag of El Salvador Whole Bean (pictured) for $13.50.

The Cozy Cup Tea

The Cozy Cup Tea was founded by a New York Dominicana who loves tea. While she throws tea party events for the tea-lovers out there, she also sells Caribbean-inspired tea on her website. Buy all teas starting at $10.00.

Breukelen Rub Spice Co.

Breukelen Rub Spice Co. is a Flatbush-located spice brand that produces hyperlocal artisanal spice blends and dry-rubs. Founded by Afro-Puerto Rican chef, Chef JD, Breukelen Rub Spice Co.’s most popular spice blend is the all-purpose, nostalgic spice blend Abuela’s Adobo. Buy for $15.00.

Reina Skincare

Inspired by her own skin troubles, Panamanian Jefa Adriana Isabel Robinson Rivera created a skincare brand fit for a queen. She sells everything from cleansers to toners to serums to oil. Browse their catalog.

Coco and Breezy Eyewear

Famous Afro-Puerto Rican twin DJs Corianna and Brianna Dotson created this luxury eyewear line as a creative experiment. Their brand has since achieved wild success. These are luxury eyewear, so the price point starts at $285.00.

Peralta Project

First-generation Dominican, M. Tony Peralta founded the Peralta Project. According to his website, his designs explore blackness in Dominican identity and pay homage to old-school hip-hop. This shirt is available for $35.00.

Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry

Valerie Madison is a fine jewelry business that describes itself as sells Black-Latina owned. The luxury retailer sells engagement rings, wedding bands, and other fine jewelry. These indulgences are a once-in-a-lifetime type of splurge, so prices vary.

Pisqueya Hot Sauce

Pisqueya hot sauce was created by Maritza Abreu from a recipe handed down “through a family of Dominican cooks.” With three delicious flavors (Smoky Hot, Medium Buzz, and Spicy Sweet), you’ll find a sauce for every occasion. Sauces sell for $6.99 each.

Click here to read the full article on Mitu.

Being Latinx: Identity, Community, Allyship
LinkedIn
Professional Latina woman smiling with workplace background

Open, candid conversations about race, diversity and inclusion in our society and workplace must continue in order to support the fight for equality. At Bloomberg, these exchanges are consistently fostered and sponsored, in various forms and forums.

Dialogues like this serve as an exploration of different facets of identity and experience from the first-hand perspectives of employees across the firm. With a focus on intersectionality, we’re seeking to answer honest questions about race and identity in corporate and personal life that maybe not enough people are asking.

Here, we discuss these nuances with a few of our Latinx colleagues: the various intersecting dimensions of their identities and how they shape individual experiences.

Camille Gonzalez, Human Resources, New York

Tell us about yourself – your background, how you identify based on your ethnicity and any other dimension of diversity, and how you came to Bloomberg.

I identify as a proud, second-generation Dominican American, queer woman. I joined Bloomberg in 2014 as an English, Spanish, French and Italian customer service representative, where I sat on our Global Customer Support Team (now BCS). By creating my own career path, I joined the Engineering Campus Recruitment team as a recruiting coordinator. Today I sit on the Engineering Diversity Recruitment Team as a recruiter and program manager, where I focus on generating pipeline from underrepresented backgrounds.

What has been your experience living in New York as a person of Latinx descent?

I was born in Bronx, NY, and raised in a predominantly White neighborhood in New Jersey where I struggled to come to terms with being Latina. As one of the very few persons of Latinx descent in my town, high school and even in college, I suffered a severe identity crisis. Constantly working to assimilate and avoid fulfilling any stereotypes, I quickly began to resent my background.

In all honesty, it wasn’t until after joining Bloomberg’s Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities that I began to not only learn about my layered identities, but accept and love who I was all along.

What can your colleagues, community, and family do to become better allies and continue these important conversations around equality?

Educate yourself, listen to your peers, speak up and take action! We should continue to have these important conversations, and especially with children. It pains me to think about the person I may have grown up to be if the adults in my life – parents, teachers, coaches, leaders – were more educated on how to support and encourage difficult conversations around racial inequality.

Click here to read the full article on Bloomberg.

Recognizing — and Celebrating — the Impact of the Hispanic Community
LinkedIn
diverse group of co-workers lined up

Hispanic Americans are launching more new businesses, achieving higher levels of education, and reaching the C-suite of Fortune 500 companies in greater numbers than ever.

Surprisingly, these advancements and economic milestones are often unknown by the very people responsible for them  – according to a recent survey, 77% of Latinx have no idea of their communities’ potential and contributions.

In that spirit, Bloomberg is spotlighting these accomplishments – and the perception gap behind them.

By celebrating and recognizing their influence and success, Hispanic Americans can feel more awakened, empowered and secure in the progress they’re making – both individually and as a united group.

bloomberg-latinx

And:
bloomberg latinx

However:

bloomberg latinx

Taking action

With this perception gap in mind, we spoke to members of the Hispanic community here at Bloomberg, learning their thoughts on this perception gap and the work necessary to close it.

As a Latina, I don’t see Latinx achievements promoted enough in our schools, the workplace, and in mass media. We are making progress through employee resource groups here at Bloomberg, which aim to highlight the achievements of Latinx in the corporate landscape and the world, but there is still lots of opportunity to expose all the wonderful growth and achievements of our community. I actively seek out Latinx representation on a daily basis by specifically supporting Latinx authors, joining organizations for Latinx advancement, reading Latinx news outlets, and supporting Latinx-run businesses. If we were more celebrated, with our contributions and presence being more prevalent, the perception could change. Our reach needs to be wider. – Juliana Rodriguez, Engineering

I’m driven by my heritage, coming from a family of Latinx small business owners and seeing how hard my family has worked over the years to start and grow businesses, making them successful not only for this generation but for my kids’ and beyond. That’s how I see the achievements of the Latinx community: work ethic, drive, and passion to pave a way for their families. There is still a huge gap when it comes to recognizing the community’s achievements because people need to care and be open to seeing this community as a whole for who they are. – Stephanie Saliba, Global Data

We need to make our collective voice louder than the spun narrative of the sensational news cycle. Let’s get comfortable with talking about the larger power the Latinx community has, including how we contribute to the economy, our workforce participation, our leading rates of entrepreneurship, business ownership, startup businesses, and overall contribution to GDP. Let’s also highlight our increased political power, in terms of percentage of the electorate, and our ability to demand change and action from our representatives that will benefit our community. – Priscilla Cunza-Marin, Global Data

Click here to read full article on Bloomberg.

Creating Truly Inclusive Workplaces for The LGBTQ Community
LinkedIn

The LGBTQ community is diverse and broad, bringing unique value to the workforce through its fabric of differentiated experiences. This often includes heightened levels of empathy and grit as well as a deeper understanding of social dynamics and cohesion building. However, Bain’s recent study found that more than 70 percent of LGBTQ employees do not feel fully included at work. This puts employers at risk of missing out on the full value of these diverse skills and perspectives.

“Many companies are awakening to the business benefits of welcoming LGBTQ employees, including an ability to attract and retain talent,” said Brenen Blair, expert associate partner in Bain & Company’s Houston office and a leader in its Organization and DEI practices. “But inclusion is about much more than ‘welcoming everyone.’ Being LGBTQ brings a distinct feeling of ‘otherness’ and comes with a life backdrop that often translates into differentiated perspectives and abilities in the workplace. Our research identified some of the most important steps employers can take to build more inclusive work environments for their LGBTQ employees and truly reap the benefits of this diversity.”

Because the category “LGBTQ” is so broad — and many organizations lack accurate data about the specific contours of their LGBTQ populations — it may seem daunting for employers to understand how to create greater inclusion for members of this group. For example, Bain’s research shows that while the top enablers for inclusion among the LGBTQ community consistently fall into areas of growth and career development — coaching, talent development programs and growth mindsets — notable differences exist between LGBTQ employees in North America and Europe as well as by gender.

LGBTQ men in North America place greater importance on the overall diversity, equity and inclusion mission and goals of an organization than LGBTQ men in Europe, who put a greater focus on open and honest communication. Bain’s research showed similar differences between LGBTQ women in North America, who place greater importance on the perceived empathy of others than women in Europe, who value growth opportunities and transparent feedback more strongly.

Leaders looking to ensure all queer talent feels included should focus on the following areas:

· Get the basics right. Create an environment where “coming out” is safe and easy. Revisit benefits packages, particularly healthcare and family leave, and ensure they meet the needs of all identities, genders, orientations and family setups. Build allyship programs that both educate and “lighten the load.”

· Embrace individuality in talent management. Examine role expectations, performance reviews and accepted language for describing success. Ask whether the organization is set up to encourage and cultivate diversity of thought in its most critical roles.

· Enable tailored career pathways. LGBTQ employees are continually coming out, and identities and passions may change significantly over the course of peoples’ careers. Inclusive organizations create clear pathways for lateral career moves that keep strong talent engaged. For example, part-time, hybrid and remote roles and sabbaticals benefit everyone, but are particularly important for creating equity for queer employees.

· Cultivate true sponsorship. Mentor programs for underrepresented groups are common, but true sponsorship opens doors, creates advocates and helps employees navigate their organization.

“To be truly inclusive, we must recognize the diversity of our people and celebrate their unique qualities,” said Andrea Arroyo, a senior manager in Bain & Company’s London office. “For example, my sponsor at work pointed out that my sensitivity — a trait I originally thought of as a flaw in the workplace — helped to make me highly attuned to both clients and teammates who were uncomfortable or even struggling. It turns out, being fully myself has helped me to be more effective in serving my clients and made me a better team member.”

Source: Bain & Company

Lining Up Your References
LinkedIn

Employers often ask job applicants for references. A reference is someone who can vouch for you, whether it’s confirming your professional experience or speaking about the personal attributes that make you a strong job candidate.

Because of the value employers place on what your references say about you, it’s important that you choose them wisely. A good reference can make all the difference in whether you’ll get that job offer. Let’s discuss the steps involved in obtaining and developing your reference list.

What are employers looking for in a reference?

When an employer contacts your references, they are really seeking information about you that will help them decide if you will be a good fit with their organization. They’ll often be interested in learning about your work habits. For example, are you a team player, self-starter or problem-solver? They will also ask questions about:

· Your previous duties and responsibilities

· Your accomplishments

· Your dates of employment

Who makes a good reference?

Now that you know what an employer is looking for, you can make a decision about who you should choose to be your references. A good rule is to have at least three references. These do not belong on your resume. Rather, prepare a list with the names of your references and their contact information that you can take with you to an interview or send separately when asked by the potential employer.

Who you choose depends on your own work experience. For example, if you’ve had a job before, you can ask your past supervisor or manager to be a reference. They can confirm your work history and your ability to perform specific job tasks. A coworker that you’ve completed projects with can also speak to your abilities, experience and your teamwork skills.

If you’re looking for your first job or just completed school or training, a teacher, advisor or instructor would be an appropriate choice. Similarly, a colleague with whom you did volunteer work could be a reference.

The important thing to consider is how well this person knows you and what they are likely to say about you. If you have any doubt that they will give a lukewarm or even a negative answer to any of the questions above, choose another person. You want your reference to be your enthusiastic supporter.

How to ask someone to be a reference

Once you’ve narrowed your list of possible references, there’s still work to be done. You not only have to ask the person if they’ll agree to be a reference for you, you also need to prepare them to be an effective voice for you. Take the time to follow these tips.

· Get their permission. It can leave a bad impression with a potential employer if someone you’ve listed as a reference is caught off guard when they are contacted.

o If you haven’t been in contact with the person recently (such as a previous supervisor), consider a written request by letter or email. Otherwise, an in-person or telephone request is best.

· Include details. If the person isn’t familiar with your current job search, let them know what sort of work that you’re looking for. Knowing what type of work you’re interested in will help the person think about skills and experience you have that relate directly to that type of job when they are contacted by the potential employer.

· Provide your latest resume. This gives your reference a better appreciation of your capabilities and also lets them know what the employer has seen.

· Follow up and stay in touch. If you learn that the employer called your reference, you’ll want to know how the conversation went. This will give you a sense of what the employer thinks is important and possibly more information on the skills and experiences for the position. Periodically, let your references know how your job search is going.

· Say thanks. Once you receive a job offer, remember that the people you’ve asked to be references helped. Let them know that you’ve gotten a job. If they agreed to serve as a reference, they’ll be excited for you! A written thank you note or a personal phone call will show your appreciation for the person’s time and help.

Source: Ticket to Work

Cover Letter 101
LinkedIn

A cover letter is a one-page document that supplements your resume. Though they may not be required for every job you apply to, including a short letter to accompany your resume is an excellent way to help you stand out in the application process. Your application materials should look like they belong together visually.

If you take the time to write a cover letter, be sure the style matches your resume. Remember, a generic cover letter is not worth your time. Make it personal, or don’t do it at all.

Why Should I Write a Cover Letter?

A cover letter lets you tell your employment story with some freedom to express yourself. You can explain your qualifications more fully. Clearly state why you are a good fit for the position and the company. You want to demonstrate an understanding of the specific challenges this company is facing and how you are prepared to add value. Keep this document to one page in length, max. If you can make your point in fewer words or paragraphs, do it.

The Cover Letter Structure

A cover letter, like your resume, should be developed individually for the position and company where you are applying. Remember, a great paragraph needs to have at least three complete sentences — a topic sentence and two supporting statements. The best structure for a cover letter can be described as the following:

· Heading and greeting. Include the date, your name and your contact information. Address the letter to a specific person whenever possible. If you can’t find an individual’s name, use the job title of the recipient (Maintenance Supervisor, Office Manager) or perhaps “Human Resources” or “Search Committee.” Do not address your letter to a business, a department or “To Whom It May Concern.”

· Opening and introduction. Explain who you are and your reason for writing, including how you found out about the position. Use the first paragraph to express your energy, enthusiasm, skills, education and work experience that could contribute to the employer’s success.

· Body. Sell yourself. Reveal why you are a perfect and unique match for the position. Explain why you have chosen the employer. Briefly summarize your talents, experience and achievements. Give a story about a time you went above and beyond in a similar role or share a specific problem you solved in a previous job. Don’t just repeat the information found in your resume. Go one layer deeper about what makes you the best candidate.

· Assertive closing. Thank the person for taking the time to read your letter. Use an appropriate closing, such as “Sincerely.” Tell the employer how you plan to follow-up.

Types of Cover Letters

While a generic cover letter is effective much of the time, you may want to consider one of the following types of cover letters depending on the nature of your application:

· Invited cover letter. Use this format when responding to an ad or other listing. Describe how your qualifications meet the needs of the position.

· Cold-contact cover letter. Use this format to contact employers who have not advertised or published job openings. Research careers to find the requirements for the job you’re applying for matching your qualifications with that research.

· Referral cover letter. Use this format if you were referred to a job opening through networking, informational interviews or contact with employers. A referral may be to a specific job opening (advertised or unadvertised) or to an employer who may or may not be hiring now. Make sure you mention the person who referred you.

· Job match or “T” cover letter. Use this format to match the specific requirements of the job one-to-one with your qualifications, for example “You need 10 years’ experience.” and “I bring 12 years’ experience.” You can learn about the requirements from the job ad, position descriptions, phone conversations, career research and informational interviews.

Remember, cover letters, much like a resume, are supposed to be brief and informative. Use the cover letter to show off your ability, talent and capabilities, but don’t worry about including every tiny detail in your letter. Give it a try and best of luck!

Sources: Ohio Means Jobs, CareerOneStop

Sal Perez, the first Latino ‘Sesame Street’ executive producer, welcomes its new season
LinkedIn

Sal Perez got his start in “Sesame Street” as a production coordinator in 2006, while he was still a senior in college.

Sixteen years later, Perez, 38, is making history as the beloved children’s show’s first Latino executive producer, ushering in a new season — the show’s 53rd — on Thursday.

“I did film school, and I never thought that I would be doing TV that was positive for kids,” Perez, a first-generation Mexican American who grew up in California’s Bay Area, told NBC News. “It’s such a big responsibility that I sometimes try not to think about it.”

“Sesame Street” holds a special place for generations of Americans who learned numbers and letters — as well as kindness and tolerance — through a show that helped pioneer diversity and positive representations of many groups, including Latino characters.

 

Read the entire story on NBC News
Women Leaders at Bloomberg From Around the World Share Their Career Experiences
LinkedIn
collage of professional women

With offices around the world, Bloomberg provides its employees with opportunities to hone their skills and expertise, progress to new roles, take on stretch assignments, and gain valuable insights through their work.


Below, a few of our female leaders share their career experiences, including working in different offices, experiencing new cultures, building support networks, and their advice on how to progress, professionally and personally.

 

Rieko Tada

Pictured top left
Data training & development
Dubai

What has helped you get to where you are today in your career?

I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at multiple offices in different business units and meet amazing colleagues and managers who support me. Most pivotal was probably the move from the Tokyo office to New York as a team leader. The office and business size, language, and lifestyle are so different. I had to learn and adapt. Managers and colleagues in New York welcomed and helped me; colleagues in Tokyo connected me to their networks so that I could build new relationships with people in the US office.

What piece of advice would you give to others?

Always be curious. Don’t hesitate to reach out to people you can build connections with and learn from. This year, I’ve taken on a new role, joining the Data Training and Development team in Dubai. When I was in Japan, I never imagined living in Dubai, but new opportunities always come up, as long as we are inquisitive and never stop learning.

We work on purpose. Come find yours.

SEARCH JOBS

Yinka Ibukun

Pictured top middle
West Africa bureau chief
Accra, Ghana

What has helped you get to where you are today in your career?

Seeking out feedback. Most people find it difficult to give candid feedback, so it helps to show that you’re open to it. Also, training your ear to sift out emotions and other distractions and extracting information you can actually use will help you become a better professional, and person. Both my best managers and closest friends have been people who give helpful feedback. I think that’s a gift.

What piece of advice would you give to others?

I definitely have my community: people who I trust to have my back and who can rely on me to do the same. That comes from investing in relationships over time. So, when you make a strong connection with someone, don’t take that for granted. Build your community.

Andrea Jaramillo

Bureau chief
Pictured top right
Bogota, Colombia

What has helped you get to where you are today in your career?

I can’t stress enough how important teamwork is in what we do. Throughout my years at Bloomberg, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of amazing people across different countries and cultures. With each role, you develop new skills and learn from those around you. So even when things feel difficult and challenging, just know you’ll come out stronger on the other side!

What piece of advice would you give to others?

Be open to taking on new challenges. Bloomberg is an exciting place to work, one where you know you can’t get too comfortable in one spot because things change and you might find yourself taking on a different role, or one in a different office, country or continent. In an ever-moving world, we constantly need to reinvent ourselves and learn along the way.

Carolina Millan

Pictured bottom left
Bureau chief
Buenos Aires, Argentina

What has helped you get to where you are today in your career?

I started as an intern in 2015 in New York and in September of that year I moved to Argentina to cover markets, first with a focus on bonds, and later dedicating more time to publicly-traded companies. Since 2019, I’ve overseen Bloomberg’s coverage of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, managing a team of six talented journalists who routinely break news on the biggest stories in the country.

When I look back to things that helped me advance in my career, I think about the importance of being open to new projects and opportunities and putting my hand up to participate. Bloomberg is a very fast-paced environment, where priorities and internal structures change every few years, and it’s important to be flexible and find ways to contribute to the latest projects. In my case, that has meant everything from jumping to cover regional conferences, moderating panel events, doing live radio and TV hits for Bloomberg shows, developing local Spanish-language coverage, and delving into new key coverage areas, like start-ups.

I also feel grateful to my managers and mentors, who encouraged me to get involved with projects beyond my comfort zone, take on different responsibilities, and consider the jump into a management role.

Merry Zhang

Pictured bottom left
Head of China Market Specialists
Shanghai

What has helped you get to where you are today in your career?

Not shying away from challenges. In my career, I’ve needed to face gaps and problems beyond my primary responsibilities many times. And, while I might not be the expert to solve a problem, I never shy away from it. As long as a challenge is crucial to the business, I always speak up, take full ownership, and move forward to solve it.

What piece of advice would you give to others?

See changes as opportunities. At Bloomberg, changes happen daily. Market, product, even team structure are constantly evolving.  I have seen people react negatively to changes, but the ones who can turn changes into opportunities are always rewarded at the end.

Alyssa McDonald

Pictured bottom middle
Executive editor, Bloomberg News
Sydney

What has helped you get to where you are today in your career?

A mixture of good luck and hard work. I’m very fortunate to have had supportive bosses throughout my career, who have repeatedly encouraged me to take on new and bigger projects (and helped me find ways to get them done).

For my part, I’ve tried to repay that good will by saying yes to opportunities when they’re offered and then being diligent about getting those things done.

What piece of advice would you give to others?

When you’re looking to change something about your job – whether it’s a new role or a move to a different bureau, you should think about what’s in it for your manager. Or the person you want to be your next manager. The more you can explain how they’ll benefit by giving you what you want, the more likely you are to get it.

Click here to read the full article on Bloomberg.

Cracking the code: Working together to engage and empower female technologists at Bloomberg
LinkedIn
diverse women working on laptop

To create products that serve increasingly diverse customers and solve a wider range of social problems, technology companies need women engineers. However, only 25 percent of math and computer science jobs in the United States are filled by women, and one-third of women in the U.S. and China quit these jobs mid-career due to factors like social isolation, a lack of access to creative technical roles and difficulty advancing to leadership positions.

At Bloomberg, we’ve established a company culture that supports gender equality in a multitude of ways – from company-wide Diversity & Inclusion business plans to a newly expanded family leave policy. But we know that’s not enough. In recent years, we’ve adopted a system-wide approach to increasing the number of women in technical roles, taking steps to remove barriers to advancement both inside our organization and beyond Bloomberg, supporting female talent from middle school through mid-career.

While the number of women in technical jobs at Bloomberg is growing, we’re committed to making progress faster and completing all the steps needed to solve the equation. Here are some of the ways we’re tackling this important deficit – and making quantifiable change.

Early engagement

Bloomberg supports organizations that help increase women’s participation in STEM and financial technology, exposing students to various career options through Bloomberg Startup and encouraging our female engineers to engage with the next generation of talent.

Collaboration, creativity, and a love of problem-solving drew Chelsea Ohh to the field of engineering. Now she works at Bloomberg as a software engineer team lead, helping to provide critical information to financial decision makers across the globe.

Recruitment

We target our entry-level engineering recruiting efforts at colleges that have achieved or are focused on gender parity in their STEM classes. And because not all the best talent come from the same schools or have the same experiences, Bloomberg actively seeks women engineers with non-traditional backgrounds or career paths.

Talent development

Women engineers can sharpen their technical skills through open courses, on-site training sessions, and business hackathons held throughout the year. Bloomberg is committed to inspiring our female employees, eliminating barriers like impostor syndrome, and encouraging them to pursue opportunities in engineering.

Community & allies

To strengthen its network of female engineers, global BWIT (Bloomberg Women in Technology) chapters organize more than 150 events, mentoring sessions, and meet-ups a year. The community also engages male allies and advocates, sharing strategies to help them support their female colleagues.

Click here to read the full article on Bloomberg.

Women break ceilings and conventions in the workplace and beyond
LinkedIn
Motion blurred shot of two business people talking through modern office hallway. People walking in office entrance hall.

Open, candid conversations about diversity and inclusion in our society and workplace must continue in order to support the fight for equality. Thankfully, these conversations continue to take place across Bloomberg, in various forms and forums.

One of the goals of these exchanges is to explore different facets of identity and experience from the first-hand perspectives of employees across the firm.

In this edition, we delve into the lived experiences of our colleagues as they have persisted in breaking glass ceilings and bucking conventions, and shows us how we can best support progress for women in the workplace.

Nayla Razzouk, Dubai

“Bring a new perspective, don’t try to blend in, embrace your differences. Learn something new every day. And most of all, be productive.”

Nayla Razzouk
Nayla with the UK Royal Marines while covering the Iraq War in 2003

Nayla grew up during the civil war in Lebanon, and naturally ended up covering these conflicts across the Middle East. She joined Bloomberg in 2010 to cover Iraq and energy/OPEC news, and recently took on the role of Managing Editor for the Middle East and North Africa.

In what way have you broken glass ceilings or conventions? What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?

Working as a journalist can have its challenges as a woman, and there are additional challenges in this part of the world, where the circles of power are dominated by men. Often, you’re the only woman in the room or at the front, so it can be intimidating and even dangerous. I’ve encountered situations where people I wanted to interview would try to intimidate me because I was a woman. Some wouldn’t speak to women – I once asked my driver to act as a go-between while I stood behind a door. It can only build character, and this has helped me acquire the confidence to say that I will always find a way to do my job — even more so today, in my new challenge as the first woman to lead the MENA region.

What strengths do you believe your identity and experiences bring to your professional and personal life?

Having grown up and worked in tough environments has helped me acquire assertiveness and an ability to tolerate stress in a calm manner, while showing empathy to others. These traits and experiences were very valuable in leading our teams through COVID-19, making sure everyone is safe, continues to perform well, and knows that they can count on us in uncertain times.

Stephanie Flanders, London

“Though a proud feminist, I would still hesitate to describe any particular attitude or experience as uniquely female.”

Stephanie Flanders

Stephanie has been both an economist and an economic journalist — she joined Bloomberg in 2017 and now does both, leading Bloomberg Economics and following a lifelong passion to demystify the global economy for a wider audience.

In what way have you broken glass ceilings or conventions? What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?

When I became the BBC’s Economics Editor, I was the first woman to occupy a specialist editor job. Happily, there have been plenty more since then, and in general I would say that economics has become a little less male-dominated over the course of my career. In a previous role, I was aware that I was paid much less than several male colleagues in similar roles. That’s a challenge I failed to overcome, but overall I don’t feel I have been held back by my gender. If anything, it has given me an edge — it’s striking how many of the major global banks now have female chief economists.

What advice do you have for future convention- and ceiling-breakers?

When you’re making a case for yourself, don’t start with the skills you don’t have. I thought it was just an outdated stereotype until I started interviewing women and men for jobs. So many women really do lead with the stuff they can’t do. It’s extraordinary. 

Vandna Dawar Ramchandani, Singapore

“Understand and accept that every person and situation is different, so be empathetic and encouraging, and build trust so women feel empowered to share and take risks.”

Vandna Ramchandani

Vandna was born and raised in India. She joined Bloomberg in 1997 as a Terminal Sales rep, while living in Jakarta, Indonesia, and is now leading Corporate Philanthropy for APAC.

In what way have you broken glass ceilings or conventions? What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?

In Asia, particularly in India, a woman’s role is primarily expected to be that of a home-maker. I was committed to growing my career — even after having a family — taking on additional responsibility and relocating. When I first took on the roles of APAC Global Data Manager and then Singapore Office Committee chair, the first female in those roles, I did feel nervous about the step up, but there is so much support at Bloomberg, women just need to believe in themselves and lean in.

The biggest challenge is creating a balance that works for you, and often managing your guilt as a mum. There are no shortcuts so you start to run your life through “to-do” lists and constantly prioritize. My social life and personal time became secondary; my work and family were the priority. I wanted to live the life I dreamed of for my daughter and “walk the talk.”

What strengths do you believe your identity and experiences bring to your professional and personal life?

Authenticity, drive, hard work, empathy, and the desire to constantly challenge the status quo! Multi-tasking is not a choice, so you just become good at it. You learn to problem-solve and be creative, which lends itself wonderfully to a career at Bloomberg. 

Nita Ditele-Bourgeois, New York

“Take risks and embrace failures. Be determined, never settle, and let your skills speak for themselves; not your gender.”

Nita Ditele Bourgeois

Originally from the South, Nita was raised in New York at the heart of a family that fostered continuous learning. She joined Bloomberg in 2007 as a Legal Negotiations Specialist, and is now a Product Operations manager in Enterprise Data.

In what way have you broken glass ceilings or conventions? What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?

Last year, after 13 years in Legal, I joined Enterprise Data. I saw an opportunity to leverage transferable skills, challenge myself, and grow. I wanted to be part of an exciting journey with the business from a different vantage point.

After encountering gender stereotypes and micro-aggressions throughout my career, I’ve found that the confidence and determination instilled at young age provided me the resilience and fortitude to address challenges head-on.

What strengths do you believe your identity and experiences bring to your professional and personal life?

Active listening has made the biggest impact. It takes time and intentionality, but the outcomes are enormous: positive engagement, sharing ideas, productivity, and stronger communication between individuals.

Celine Shi, Shanghai

“My experience has really been about breaking ceilings in my own mind.”

Celine Shi

A native of Sichuan, China, Celine joined Bloomberg Analytics in 2011 in Singapore before taking on the challenge of expanding team coverage in Beijing. She now manages buy-side product specialists in Shanghai.

In what way have you broken glass ceilings or conventions? What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?

Early in my career, I didn’t want to draw attention to my sexual orientation, as I truly believe it has no relevance to how well someone performs at work. I kept my identity as a queer woman to myself, even though Bloomberg has been very supportive and open about our LGBTQ community. I later realized that this secret impacted how comfortable I was with colleagues and friends — I wasn’t being myself. I came out in 2017 and was able to fully embrace my friendships and work relationships, which helped me become more confident and perform better.

What advice do you have for future convention- and ceiling-breakers?

Do not set your own glass ceiling. Many of the women I know feel less confident about opportunities and question themselves: Am I really qualified for this? Do I have what it takes? We should be more confident in the different values and experiences we bring, and give ourselves a chance to be seen.

Deanna Hallett, London

“Seek out individuals and groups of people who will support you, lift you up, challenge you, and affirm your identity and your goals — no one can reach that glass ceiling alone.”

Deanna Hallett

Deanna interned for Bloomberg twice before joining full-time after graduating university in 2019. She currently works in UK government and regulatory relations and is the co-lead for the LGBTQ+ and Ally Community in EMEA.

In what ways have you broken glass ceilings or conventions?

I was the first woman in my family to apply to university, the first to run for local councillor, the first to move abroad, and the first woman to come out as LGBT+ in my family. I faced a lot of challenges growing up, including poverty, and psychological and physical abuse from my father, which was particularly acute when I came out as gay. More broadly, I grew up in an environment where I was just expected to manage, have kids, and then become a full-time mum. It was difficult pursuing my own goals and independence when it didn’t marry the view of what my family expected.

What can our colleagues and communities to do become better allies to women in the workforce?

Actively listen. It’s only by taking into consideration people’s experiences that we can ensure the glass ceiling is shattered for all women — particularly LGBT+ women and women of colour, who are too often left behind.

Click here to read the full article on Bloomberg.

7 Options if You Didn’t Receive Enough Financial Aid
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If you did not receive enough financial aid to cover your school expenses, you have seven ways to fill the gap.

Your school’s financial aid office is an excellent resource to help you explore these additional options, even after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).

Apply for Scholarships

Scholarships are usually merit-based and do not have to be repaid. The key is being prepared, because scholarships have deadlines and may require time to write essays. So, get organized and regularly search and apply for scholarships.

Ask your school’s financial aid office or your academic advisor about school-specific or departmental (major-specific) scholarships. You should also look for local scholarships from where you live or graduated from high school. Scholarships may be offered by community, religious and fraternal organizations; and businesses in your community or those that employ your parent(s).

Look for scholarship resources that are available from your state government, or from statewide organizations with which you may have been involved. Research companies in your state that are related to your planned field of study.

National scholarships can be more competitive, but don’t let that keep you from applying. Prioritize local applications first.

Just be careful. With scholarship opportunities, it’s wise to be cautious of student aid scams. If you are ever concerned about the legitimacy of a scholarship opportunity, contact your school’s financial aid office. Prioritize local applications first and make sure you meet all deadlines.

Find Part-Time Work

Federal Work-Study can help you cover some costs throughout the semester since these funds are paid as you earn them. Remember, these funds are typically paid directly to you through a paycheck, so if you still owe an amount to your school, you would need to take those funds back to the school to pay your bill.

If you were not awarded work-study funds, most schools have other part-time, on-campus positions that can help pay for school. Working part-time on campus can be beneficial to your educational experience, as long as you can find a healthy balance between your school and work. Ask your financial aid office or career services office how to apply for on-campus position

Tuition Payment Plans

Your school’s billing office (sometimes referred to as the bursar’s office, cashier’s office or student accounts office) may have payment plans available to help you spread the remaining costs over several payments throughout a semester. The payment plan can help you budget the payments rather than paying in one lump sum, possibly helping you avoid costly late fees.

Request a Reevaluation of Your Circumstances

Sometimes a family’s finances are not accurately reflected on the FAFSA® form because of changes that have occurred, such as job loss/reduction, divorce or separation or other special circumstances. This may be a consideration now that you can file the FAFSA® form early with tax information that is two years old by the time enrollment begins.

Schools are not required to consider special circumstances, but those that do have a process, called professional judgement, by which you can petition for a reevaluation of the information on your FAFSA® form will likely require you to submit additional documentation to your school’s financial aid office. If warranted, the financial aid office can then recalculate your eligibility, possibly resulting in a change to your financial aid offer.

Request Additional Federal Student Loans

If you’ve exhausted other options and still need additional funds to help you pay for school, contact your school’s financial aid office to find out if you’re eligible for additional federal student loans. Just remember to borrow only what you need to pay your educational expenses.

Federal Direct PLUS Loans: If you are a dependent student and still need more money, your parent can apply for a Direct PLUS Loan. Most schools use the application on StudentLoans.gov, but others may have their own application. The PLUS loan application process does include a credit check. If your parent is not approved, he or she may still be able to receive a Direct PLUS Loan by obtaining an endorser (cosigner) or documenting extenuating circumstances. If a parent borrower is unable to secure a PLUS loan, the student may be eligible for additional unsubsidized student loans of up to $5,000 depending upon his or her year in school.

School-Based Loans, Advances or Emergency Aid

Sometimes you may have college-related costs, such as housing costs or other living expenses, before your financial aid is disbursed. Your school may offer an option to advance your financial aid, offer a school-based loan program or have an emergency aid procedure.

Several schools now offer emergency aid opportunities if you experience unexpected expenses or challenges that are making it difficult for you to complete the semester. Ask your financial aid office if they offer these options and always make sure you are aware of the terms and conditions (such as interest rates or repayment terms) of your agreement.

Private or Alternative Loans

Some private financial institutions offer education loans that do not require the FAFSA® form. While we recommend federal aid first, we realize it does not always cover the cost, especially for more expensive schools. Private loans will almost always require a cosigner and may have higher fees or interest rates depending on your credit. Ask your financial aid office if they have a list of lenders for you to consider. If your school does not maintain such a list, you can search for lenders on your own.

Compare products before making your choice: look at interest rates, fees, repayment terms, creditworthiness requirements, satisfactory academic progress requirements, etc. Students and parents are free to choose whichever lender best fits their needs — even if it is not on a school’s preferred lender list.

Before going out on your own and making any final decisions on how to fill the gap between your aid and your expenses, we recommend that you meet with a representative in your financial aid office to determine what campus resources might be available. You might still have time to change some of your choices before the semester begins: Can you change the type of meal plan you chose? The type of housing? The number of classes in which you are enrolled? Check with campus officials to see if you still have time to select a different, more affordable option.

Source: studentaid.gov

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Upcoming Events

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