Another great event hosted by Femigrants, 'Get Business Done on Instagram' training at the Instagram HQ on April 26, 2018.
Highlighting Female founders
Check out the vast diversity of businesses the ladies represented:
My Objectives – why did I attend this event?
Key Insights – what did I learn?
Services offered by Femigrants
This event was the second Femigrants event I attended. I was amazed to discover the free services Femigrants offers in addition to the valuable community of female immigrants.
Femigrants provide key resources for success, free of charge: online marketing services for business owners; professional networking meet-ups; online live interviews to increase exposure for new and aspiring business owners, and a coaching-mentorship program for aspiring professionals.
I encourage you to join the community and enjoy the services offered.
Instagram for your Business
Until I attended the training, I was not aware of how much Instagram can help me grow my business. The statistics shared that 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business convinced me that I need a business page on Instagram.
Four useful tools for a business that Instagram provides include:
Tips & Tricks: Using Instagram Stories
Instagram stories offer much value for businesses as well as fun features. Stories can help a business gain more customers and bring traffic to their content. It provides a more personable experience with a brand, product or service.
For more information take the Bring Your Business Story to Life With Instagram Stories training.
Supporting each other's Business
It was great to learn more about the other great female-founded businesses. As we shared more about our businesses, we identified different ways we can support one another. Above all the value I got from the training, seeing women support other women was a highlight for me. Let's build a community of businesswomen who support each other's businesses.
Sharing our knowledge
As female immigrants, we can all benefit from each other's knowledge and experiences. In the training, we had female immigrants who had been in the US for six months to over 40 years. There was a lot of information exchange. Equip yourself with as much information as you can to make your journey more comfortable and share your knowledge.
Attending the Women's global leadership workshop on April 20, 2018, was a highlight of my Events series. I gathered a lot of practical tools and tips for my toolkit. I am excited to share my Insights with you.
My Objectives – why did I attend this event?
Key Insights – what did I learn?
Women supporting women
Diana Ruiz kicked off the event with a powerful statement "Equity starts when women support women.” Cristina Trujillo crystalized this point by saying Surround yourself with women supported and allies.
Imagine how much stronger we will be with stronger networks. My mission for “Her Perspective” is to build a community of women who support one another on their journey. Encourage the women around you and help them grow. Someone will do the same for you.
Know your worth and your contribution
Most women don’t know their worth and their investment. Recognizing your worth and your contribution is essential. If you do not believe in yourself and your cause, how can you expect others to believe in you? Start by knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
I recently wrote a blog post titled Know your worth! sharing my insights. Knowing what you are worth, and what you bring to the table will help you ask for the pay you deserve. Acknowledging your achievements will make you more fulfilled.
Prioritize your self-care
Cristina Trujillo hit the nail on the head with this point - "Make self-care a non-negotiable priority." Danielle DeRuiter-Williams shared the importance of taking care of yourself, knowing what you need and asking for it. She shared her experience in one of the most trying times of her life where she reached out to her closest friends for support. I used to be very good about taking care of myself, ensuring I got what I needed intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually to feel and be my best. However, in 2017 I got carried away with work and neglected my self-care. This led to me not being my best physically and in my relationship. I decided to prioritize my self-care this year. Whatever self-care means to you, please prioritize your self-care. You need to be whole to do the great things you are destined to do.
Nancy Marmolejo shared a simple way of communicating your strengths to the world through your brand statement. Nancy defined self-branding as a "process of establishing a truthful and authentic image or impression of who you are in the minds of others."
Who are the women you admire and why?
Rachel Harrelson took us through an exercise of thinking about why we admire some female leaders. When we were asked to identify women whom we admire, we go to the Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and so on. Try to list women you know personally.
Three things to consider when you chose women you admire:
My Next Steps - What am I going to do?
About the Speakers
Diana Ruiz - CEO Women's Global Leadership Initiative.
Danielle DeRuiter-Williams - Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Specialist and Organizational Development Strategist
Cristina Trujillo - Founder & Executive Producer at Reigniting Empowered Expressiveness & Motivation.
Nancy Marmolejo - Personal Branding, Leadership, Diversity. Executive Coaching for Executives, Teams, Entrepreneurs.
Start your journey to becoming a great mentor with five simple steps.
Mentorship is an important topic that is gaining more traction in the professional advancement arena. Research has proven that professionals that have great mentors are more successful. In this post, I want us to redirect our thoughts to ask a different question around mentorship: Whom can I mentor?
We can all mentor someone out there in some shape or form. The concept of building a community through giving back and sharing our knowledge is one that resonates with me. Let's create a community of women who mentor women.
Who is a Mentor?
The definitions of a mentor varied a lot. I decided to create my definition:
A mentor is a trusted coach, adviser, guide, counselor who offers their knowledge, wisdom, and advice to support their mentee's personal or professional development.
Myths about mentorship
We successfully talk ourselves out of giving back and being great mentors. I want to start by debunking three myths I convinced myself were true.
Myth 1: “I cannot be a mentor.”
When you think about being a mentor you might think "I do not have anything to share" or "I do not have enough time." We all have something to share. Our experiences when shared can help others grow. Don't hold yourself back from experiencing the rewards of being a mentor.
Myth 2: Mentorship can only be in a professional setting
Many companies promote mentorship today, which is great. However, there is a more significant opportunity in our private communities. Think about all how you can make a difference in your professional and private setting.
Myth 3: There are no potential mentees around me
Typically, after we have moved on from not believing we can be a great mentor, then we think no one around us needs mentorship. Look around you, who are the girls/women that come to you for advice? Who are the people you want to help grow? I am sure you have someone in mind.
Why should you become a mentor?
There are many benefits for a mentor and mentee in a mentorship relationship
For you the mentor
5 simple steps to becoming a great Mentor
Step 1: Prepare yourself
Before you embark on this journey, be clear on what value you want to derive from a mentorship relationship.
Step 2: Identify areas you want to mentor in
Be clear on what you want to offer your mentees. Identify your mentorship areas by doing the following:
Step 3: Seek out potential mentees
As with every relationship, it is essential to choose your mentees carefully. Remember even your peers might be great mentees.
Step 4: Start your mentorship relationship
Once you and your mentee decide to start a mentorship relationship - make it official and start working together. To make your mentorship relationship effective, consider doing the following:
Step 5: Learn, Adjust and Pivot
Be prepared to adjust and make changes to your mentorship relationship to ensure you and your mentee are getting value. The mentorship relationship might not meet the objectives set. It is important to reevaluate and make changes accordingly. Mentorship is a learning journey; we can all get better at being mentors through practice.
Call to action - Become a mentor
I want to challenge you to kick-off your mentorship journey. Identify a mentee within the next three months, start mentoring and share your experience with me.
Lately, I have been exploring different ways to start building the Her perspective community. In my research of different formats, Mastermind groups stood out to me in different ways. I liked the collaborative nature and the fact that all members could contribute their diverse skills and perspectives encouraged me a lot.
In the spirit of "if you want to be part of a community that doesn't exist build one," I am starting Mastermind groups for women.
Revisiting why I started this platform
In my first blog post titled What I want from my blog, I shared the following objectives:
What is a Mastermind Group?
Why am I starting Mastermind Groups?
The mission of the Her Perspective Mastermind groups is to connect women who can help one another achieve their goals in specific areas of their lives.
Why join a Mastermind Group?
There are so many benefits of joining mastermind groups, such as:
Starting point: What I heard?
Earlier this month I polled 20 women in my network to probe interest in joining a mastermind group, and this is what they said
Top 3 main reasons why ladies will join a mastermind group is:
Call to action
If you are interested in achieving your goals faster, please fill out the Mastermind Groups Survey. I have linked some vast resources to help you discover the opportunities Mastermind groups present.
Over the next months I am committed to doing the following:
Do you have a financial plan?
Recently at an event I attended, I heard a scary statistic - "20% percent of women are comfortable with their financial knowledge. The number is low because they lack planning or fail to take action" (Source: 2015 Insurance Barometer Study). The good news is "Women are eager for information about financial planning and investing - 92% of women want to learn more about financial planning" (Source: Money fit women study).
Continuing the "Her Finances" series, let’s discuss a tool that will help us take control of our finances and achieve our financial goals- Financial planning. In this post, I will focus on what a financial plan is, how to create your financial plan, the continuous process of financial planning and share some resources for additional research.
I encourage you to say the following about your financial journey:
What is Financial Planning?
There are many definitions of financial planning. Here are some that I liked:
Why do you need a financial plan?
Creating and managing your financial plan has many benefits. A financial plan will help you:
My financial planning journey
Until about three years ago my financial planning was focused primarily on growing my emergency fund and my savings. I set goals that I wanted to achieve and worked towards them. My commitment made me very successful in achieving my saving goals.
With my move to the US in 2015, I began to re-evaluate my financial goals, get exposure to other options and widen my perspective on financial planning. I updated my financial plan and started educating myself on different ways to achieve my financial goals. A few new areas I discovered were saving for retirement and investing in stocks. I am looking forward to exploring more areas as I learn more.
Six simple steps to start your financial planning
Step 1: Know your current financial situation
Start by being very transparent about your current financial situation. Before you begin setting your goals, you need to take stock of where you are today. Knowing your financial status will help you establish your starting point and set you up for success. Include your income, debt, current savings as well as other financial commitments.
Step 2: Define your financial goals
What are your financial goals? To be successful, you need to know what you are working towards. In my research on financial planning, I found the following essential categories: Savings, Debt, Emergency Fund, Investments, and Retirements.
Step 3: Create a financial plan
Like with everything we want to take control of, we need a plan. A financial plan helps you achieve your financial goals more efficiently. Set target dates and milestones to achieve your goals.
For example, if your goal is saving up $12,000 for a down payment on a house. You want to be clear on how much you can save monthly and how long it will take you to save up to your goal.
You want to be able to have a clear answer to the question: What can I do today to achieve my financial goals?
Step 4: Start implementing your plan
Now that you have a plan; it is time to take the first step and start working towards your plan. Practice being disciplined and staying committed to your plan.
Step 5: Track your progress
At all times, you want to be able to answer the question - How close are you to achieving your financial goals? Knowing where you are will either confirm that your plan is working or highlight areas you might need to change. Regularly measure the progress you are making towards achieving your financial goals. Seeing progress will encourage you to continue your journey.
Step 6: Review and adapt your plan
I recommend at least a monthly review of your plan. As we go through life, changes to your financial plan will be required. You create your plan based on some assumptions if they change you want to ensure your plan matches your learning. Plans are living documents, feel free to update.
Call to Action: Start creating your financial plan
As part of my orientation plan for 2018, I set a goal to attend more events this year. In the past months, I have worked towards my goal by attending 14 diverse events. Also, I started sharing some of my learnings on my Events blog posts.
After sharing my insights, I got questions about how I find, why I attend and the value I get from these events. I am excited to share my knowledge on how I select, prepare, participate in and wrap-up events. I get great value from events, and I want you to get value too.
Phase 1: Selecting an event
It is essential to spend time selecting events. I would encourage you to be very intentional about the events you attend as you are investing your valuable time and resources.
What is your objective?
Be clear on what you want to get from an event before you attend it. Some reasons I attend events include networking, meeting new people, sharing my ideas, learning something new, discovering trends in my industry as well as expanding my perspective.
What type of events are you interested in?
Know the topic areas that interest you and where you need growth. My focus areas are primarily women in leadership, women in tech, professional development, career advancement, entrepreneurship, social media, client acquisition and financial empowerment.
What events are coming up in your area?
Start your search on popular platforms for upcoming events that match your objectives and interest areas. Platforms I use regularly include ticket websites such as Eventbrite, company websites, networking websites like meetup and other sources.
What is your selection criteria?
It is crucial to have simple criteria that help you select events wisely. Personally, I recommend the following selection criteria.
Phase 2: Preparing for an event
Personally, I have discovered that I get the most value from an event when I prepare before I attend it. The time spent on preparing for events differs depending on my investment. Some activities I recommend you do in preparation for events include:
Phase 3: Participating in the event
You are prepared and want to get value from the event now let's discuss things to do at the event.
Phase 4: Wrapping up after the event
As a project manager, I have learned that it is essential to spend time reflecting and wrapping up an event afterwards. My learnings are amplified when I do the following after the events I attend:
Call to action
Do you have a professional portfolio?
When I started my new job in US, no one knew about the work I had done previously and who I was professionally. I had to introduce myself professionally. I found it very difficult to talk about the work I had done and my accomplishments. I quickly learned the importance of having my professional portfolio and started creating one to cover my work experience in Germany. Today, in addition to my regular Resume/CV, my professional portfolio is a crucial artifact in my toolkit. I encourage everyone to create and maintain your professional portfolio.
In this post, I share some fundamental principles and my Mentees’ journey to creating her and maintaining her professional portfolio. This post is co-authored by Jovian Chen.
What is a professional portfolio?
Why do you need a professional portfolio?
I like the view shared in the themuse article "Why You (Yes, You) Need a Professional Portfolio" on why you need a professional portfolio.
“Think of it like this: As a professional (regardless of your field), you are a business of one. When a company chooses to employ you, it is “purchasing” your business’ service. You can think of your professional portfolio as a marketing brochure for the services you are selling. By showcasing your skills, abilities, and achievements, your portfolio helps your customers (your employers) and prospects (your potential future employers) understand what services you provide and why they are special—and worth the purchase price!”
Your professional portfolio can help you do the following:
Jovian is an Asian American who grew up in Southern California. She is a thriving interactive Project Manager. She specializes in leading User experience and Innovation projects.
How long have you been keeping your professional portfolio?
I have been keeping a work portfolio for almost two years now. Initially, my only existing documentation of my work experience was my resume, but I realized that the descriptions I had were very high-level. Resumes are great for providing an overview of my entire career and educational background for recruiters, but my portfolio enabled me to have growth conversations within my company that extend beyond three bullet points. Similar to how resumes are updated continuously, I do the same for my work portfolio.
Why do you have a professional portfolio?
I started keeping a portfolio at the suggestion of Marie-Christin, who has been an amazing mentor and professional sponsor to me. Keeping a portfolio allows me to share updates during our monthly check-ins easily. It provided a visual overview of the skills I have acquired and challenges that I have faced on various projects. My portfolio also served a key role in starting a conversation on the promotion process with my manager. Most importantly, I was able to set aside time to reflect on my career path and receive feedback.
How did you build your professional portfolio?
What is the most significant benefit of having your portfolio? How has it helped you so far?
In addition to my resume, Linkedin profile, and personal website, my portfolio is a centralized workspace where I can take a deep dive analysis into my career trajectory. Each version helps me track milestones in my professional journey. I encourage you to do the same! I know that several years later, I will be able to look back and piece together my journey and track my growth. It is helpful to see how my goals have evolved. Now I have a reference document whenever I am asked about my background and work experience.
What were some of the challenges you faced initially or still encounter with your portfolio?
Lesson 1: Set actionable goals each time you make an update on your portfolio. Ask yourself:
Lesson 3: Share this with someone that can help you achieve your goals. Learning from other people’s experiences is extremely valuable, and it is essential to start building a community that will support you.
I want to share my story so women on their relocation journey know they are not alone with their challenges.
In August 2001, my relocation journey continued with a move to Germany from Nigeria. I was excited to start the next phase of my life - Studying. Looking back, I can see how unprepared I was for my move. I had no idea what opportunities and challenges awaited me and how the journey will change my life. A phrase to summarize my first two years in Germany is "It is all fresh, new and very scary."
This post continues the "Her relocation" series with a very personal story of my life in Germany. This post is the beginning of a series of posts of how I lived, struggled and thrived in Germany. My 14-year journey cannot be compressed into a single blog post. I will break my story into the following phases:
Why am I sharing my story?
You might be wondering what value I see in taking a trip down memory lane and sharing my story. I have three reasons for writing these posts:
Let me tell my story with the help of key challenges I faced.
Missing my family
For the first time in my life, I was alone without my twin sister and mother whom I spent every day with until I moved to Germany. In 2001, staying in contact and communicating with my family was very difficult. There was no WhatsApp back then and phone calls to Nigeria we extremely expensive. I went for long stretches of time without being able to talk to my family. I did not get to see my family for the first two years - Wow. I am so happy that technology now offers us multiple ways to stay in contact with our loved ones no matter where they are.
Before I moved to Germany, I had visited for summer vacation. A vacation does not prepare you for living in a country. Living in Germany was very different from my life in Nigeria. Unlike many people who relocate, I did not have the "honeymoon phase" when I moved to Germany, I went straight to feeling disappointment, confusing feelings, and frustration. My biggest challenge was getting used to how much longer it took people to interact with you. I later learned how to approach people differently and build bridges.
Grown-up Life is hard
I was only 15 when I moved to Germany, so the first years were fast-tracked growth years for me. I had to deal with aspects of life that my mum or other adults in my life took care of in Nigeria. Growing up we went through some difficult times; however, my mum was a rock and shielded us from a lot. Now being in Germany, I had to grow up, face everything that came my way and makes difficult decisions for myself. It started with choosing the course I would study in University. I learned the most valuable lessons from getting it wrong.
Finances and Jobs
Who knew babysitting would one day provide means for me to support myself financially? My first babysitting job was for a Doctor from England/Barbados, married to a German and new to Germany. I met her on a train when she was pregnant; we became friends when she finally had the baby I was happy to help and earn some money too. Babysitting served me well for my first years. There were many valuable lessons I learned about increasing, managing and stretching my income.
Not feeling at home
When I just moved to Germany, the questions people asked me the most were "where are you from?" and "when are you going back home?". I would quickly learn that to succeed in Germany; I had to start building a home and a community. I lived in a tiny village with nonexistent diversity which made having a community impossible. After a few months, I moved to a slightly bigger town where it was somewhat easier to build a community. I started the long journey of making Germany my home.
Living in a tiny village in Germany, no one spoke English, and I could not have a conversation in German. The communication barrier had a significant impact on me as someone who likes to talk to people. I took my language course seriously and practiced on anyone willing to listen - especially on the train. Being able to communicate helped me study, get a job, build a community and settle down in Germany.
I arrived in Germany in the middle of summer. Excellent time to move there. Autumn was a little cold but ok. Then winter came. I was not prepared for what winter will do to me. My first winter was real winter with a lot a lot of snow and temperatures of -20 degrees centigrade. I had never felt so cold in my life and wasn't prepared at all. Also, why was it getting dark at 4 pm? I am not sure I started liking winter later, but I got used to it and got very warm jackets.
Holidays and Key Events
Celebrating birthdays and major holidays like Christmas alone was very hard. Being a twin, I have always had a birthday companion. My first birthday alone, when I turned 16 was very lonely. If you are Nigerian or know any Nigerian, you know Christmas is a very big deal. I can tell you that my first Christmas was very cold and unhappy. Strangely, celebrating alone taught me to be comfortable with being alone and valuing the times I get to celebrate with my family more.
10 Tips to win in the first years
Are you in Year 1 or 2 of your relocation journey? You might feel like you will never settle into your new home. I can assure you that things will get better slowly but surely. These are some lessons learned from my experience and the experience of other women.
Please share any additional tips you have in the comment section below.