America’s Diversity Lesson

The following is an op-ed piece written by Colette Phillips, President and CEO of Colette Phillips Communications and founder of Get Konnected, published on Boston.com on November 12th 2012.

If there was ever a case to be made that “diversity” pays and pays big, it was made convincingly last Tuesday’s election. It was a significantly diverse electorate that gave President Obama a second term and Massachusetts its first female senator in Elizabeth Warren.

Those who viewed “diversity” only through politically correct glasses have come to recognize that it was President Obama’s secret weapon. The Obama campaign tapped into the diverse groundswell that got him elected in 2008, particularly people of color, women, members of the LGBT community, young first time voters, Gen-Xers, and blue collar white men.

The 2010 US Census made abundantly clear that racial and ethnic minorities, especially Hispanics, are growing at a rate faster than the white population, and will continue to dominate national growth for decades to come. The Obama campaign understood what the Republican Party, the political pundits, the pollsters and the media all did not: that demographics and diversity was on their side and would play a deciding role in several key swing states.

It is not just political parties for which this “diversity” phenomenon we witnessed on Tuesday holds lessons, but also for corporate America, nonprofits and other democracies around the world grappling with issues of inclusion and immigrant emersion. Diversity should be — must be — regarded not just as a business and political imperative, but a competitive advantage as well.

Blacks, Latinos and Asians now represent more than 30 percent of the United States population. They have tremendous purchasing power, with a combined income of more than $3 trillion – a figure that exceeds the gross national products of Canada, Sweden and Mexico. Diverse voters, like diverse consumers, and diverse donors notice candidates, political parties, companies and nonprofits who notice them, and reward them with their votes, their loyalty, their donation and their business.

Any political party, business, or nonprofit that does not go the extra mile to attract, engage, and retain a diverse voter base, customer or donor base will find themselves leaving votes, money, and donations on the table. The Census Bureau predicts that by the year 2040 people of color will account for almost half of the nation’s population. The lesson should be this: Ignore racial and ethnic minorities now, and lose the majority later.

Obama’s strategy for a second term ushered in a new era of diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism in the United States. If he and Congress are able to work collaboratively to move our country forward and out of this economic basement, recognizing our diversity as our strength as a people, America will forge a new normal. It will signal a socially and economically inclusive society, but more importantly, a sound reinvestment in our own future, global competitiveness and economic survival.

Mentorship And The 7 Steps To Building A Successful Career!

MENTORSHIP AND THE 7  STEPS TO BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL CAREER!

Mentoring will always be an important avenue to the executive suite.  It’s a sad but real fact that hard work, education and talent are not enough to take a person to the top.  That is why it is so critical to forge connections and contacts in and out of the corporate corridors. I believe that organized corporate mentoring programs can be one of the most successful ways to not just shatter but eliminate the glass ceiling in corporate America. This mentoring takes the form of guidance, counsel and, in many cases, access and exposure to the kinds of positions and assignments that will help women and people of color develop the desired management skills required to succeed in business.  Women and people of color in particular must be willing to reach out across cultural and gender lines to cultivate mentors.

Ask any successful person about their career and most will tell you that while they certainly worked hard to get to where they are, a few people have been instrumental in helping them achieve success.  I am a big proponent of mentoring.  I have been blessed in my life to have a group of loving, supportive, and encouraging people whom I affectionately call “my council of wise people.”  Both as an employee for various companies and now as an entrepreneur/business owner, there are 7 basic principles by which I have conducted my personal and professional life.

These principles have been invaluable to my career and business growth. 

 
1.      THINK POSITIVE – Positive people have a way of attracting positive outcomes. Smile and the world smiles with you – frown and the world avoids you.  Ever notice how people avoid those whose attitude and demeanor are depressing and negative? Everyone likes being in the company of someone who sees the upside of a situation.Confidence is possible only if you believe in your ability to succeed. Negativity and negative attitudes will undermine your chances of moving up the corporate ladder and succeeding. These two credos have been my mantra:  “A positive attitude creates positive results and if it is to be it is up to me.”

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Protocol And Etiquette For Cross Cultural Business Networking

An Insider’s advice to making the most of your networking experiences

Against the backdrop of today competitive global marketplace, etiquette, manners, cross cultural, or intercultural communication have become critical elements required for all business executives, managers, and employees.  Going global is not a simple task.  With India and China emerging as world economies, cross -cultural protocol is no longer relegated to diplomats but must now be considered a business imperative.

Communicating across cultures can often be confusing and uncertain

As the founder of Kaleidoscope/Get Konnected a cross–cultural business networking event for urban and international business executives and professionals of all cultures,  I would like offer the following do’s and don’t’s  that can help you avoid embarrassing gaffes, faux pas and misunderstandings and communicate effectively across cultures.

1. Do your homework:

Research ahead of time what is an appropriate greeting among business men and women in particular culture. For example is it a nod, a handshake, a bow, names etc.) In the Asian culture particularly Japanese and Chinese a nod or bow is an appropriate and acceptable form of greeting. For women while I do not advocate subservience to blend with a particular culture, I do recommend that you be a reserved version of yourself.

2. Do pay attention and be observant:

If you are in doubt about what to do observe what others are doing, discern what seems to be the “norm” and then follow suit. For example Wait to be seated if you are sitting down.  You don’t want to sit in the most important seat if you are not the most important person at the table.

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12 tips from one fashionista to the next

When was the last time you saw a great pair of shoes only to gasp at the price tag? However, don’t panic and don’t fret. From one fashionista to the next, I’ve got you covered. You don’t need to have a million dollars to look great!  In today’s economy and with so many fabulous stores, online discount sites and coupons, no one should pay full price for fashionable clothing. For the fashionista on a budget, I have some tips.

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Click for tickets to Swellegance 2011 – now on sale online. Come see BYM and Alvin Ailey Dancers. Read the full post »

The Wire Speaker Series – April 12 2011 at 5pm with Professor Charles Ogletree

Boston Latino TV

Courtesy of Boston Latino TV

Happy New Year! Gung Hey Fat Choy!

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Happy Black History Month

Black History Month is a month set aside to learn, honor, and celebrate the achievements of black men and women throughout history. Since its inception, Black History Month has always been celebrated in February.  This year 2011, marks the 35th anniversary of Black History Month which dates back to 1976, when “Negro History Week” was extended to the month of February.   Read the full post »

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