March: Make History and Celebrate You!

During the month of March, the world pauses to celebrate women.  It celebrates women who have made great strides and who have forever changed the condition of humanity. Be they inventors such as Mary Phelps Jacob, political leaders such as Margaret Thatcher , renowned artists such as Judith Jamison, or business stalwarts such as Muriel Siebert, power women all over the world are remembered and celebrated for at least these 31 days of the year.

At Dress for Success, we celebrate the power of every woman. Women who, much like you, aim to make the most out of their personal histories and set themselves up for a triumphant future.

This month’s blog is a headlined by a woman who is a history maker in her own right. Mikki Taylor, our March Power Woman, has broken through countless barriers as she worked to become one of the foremost authorities on international beauty. And because one power woman can always recognize another, Mikki shares with us how she leveraged her history-making career to unlock her limitless future, which led her to author a book on the ultimate power woman and history maker, First Lady Michelle Obama.

In this month’s issue we’ll also explore ways to make powerful fashion statements at affordable prices with one of Dress for Success’ generous corporate partners, jcp. We’ll also learn ways to manage minimal finances, take control of our career searches, and FASCINATE  the world.

By the time you finish this month’s blog, I hope you’ll realize that the power to make history lies inside of you.  In that spirit, I am proud to salute working and soon-to-be working women everywhere for the history that you are making in your homes and communities every day. I also look forward to seeing the fruit of your labor in the form of a brighter and more success-filled future for us all!

Happy International Women’s History Month, my friends!

Continue making history every day!

 

 

 

 

Joi Gordon is the CEO of Dress for Success Worldwide

Empowering Your Style with Mikki Taylor


“A quintessential authority on beauty and style.”

These are the words used to describe none other than author, speaker, television personality, and Editor-at-Large of Essence Magazine, Mikki Taylor.

Dedicating her life to helping women realize their true inner and outer beauty, Mikki’s priceless tips on beauty, style, and health have guided women on the path to personal and professional success for more than thirty years. This month, the bold, brilliant, and business-savvy Mikki spoke with Dress for Success about how finding personal style can lead to professional success.

In 2010, Essence announced the retirement of their groundbreaking Beauty and Cover Director to the world, leaving millions of fans disappointed at the departure of their beloved Mikki. Although this chapter of her career was coming to an end, the daring diva was ready for change and was not afraid to spice things up. “I knew that there were so many facets to Mikki Taylor,” she recalls.

Without missing a beat, Mikki hit the ground running, launching her own company, Mikki Taylor Enterprises, LLC. “Mikki Taylor Enterprises is brand Mikki. It comes back to my major goal, and that is empowering women.”

For Mikki, empowering women means helping them find their own flair for fashion and unique style, a platform which led her to quickly become the go-to glamour guru for women all over the world.  But Mikki always knew that her calling was about more than just finding the perfect stiletto; Mikki set out on a mission to help women who are looking for guidance and advice in every aspect of their lives, women who are looking for self-discovery.

“Self-discovery is one of the greatest gifts there is. I enjoy helping women discover how fierce, fabulous, and fascinating they are. There are many women inside each of us. My goal is to help women discover them all, and use the gift that’s been given to each of us to really make a difference, not only in our own lives, but also in the lives of others.”

Mikki’s mission is rooted in the belief that when a woman discovers the amazing and accomplished being inside of her, she’ll want the whole world to see her inner power too. Like Dress for Success, Mikki believes that how we look on the outside should be a reflection of how we feel on the inside, and that our greatest source of empowerment is self.

“You’ve been given one temple and I think how  you posses it is self expression. If you feel good you look good. At the end of the day, the question really is ‘What do you want to say about yourself?’”

Mikki encourages every woman to allow style and self expression to help  propel their journey towards success, but cautions that one doesn’t have to be a fashionista to develop personal style.

“Don’t take trends too seriously. You’re more than a season of style. Style is something that comes from within you. Identify it from within, and then work it. You can nod to the trends but don’t be victimized by them.”

Already wondering where you can find more treasured advice like this? Don’t worry, Mikki’s got you covered! In 2011, she published her second book, “Commander in Chic: Every Woman’s Guide to Managing Her Style Like a First Lady.”

Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama, “Commander in Chic” gives women the tools to live life to its fullest potential, and it’s got Mikki’s fun, fresh personality written all over it.

So, what’s next for the legendary Mikki Taylor? Believe it or not, Mikki isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon. She has plans to write several more books, and, in the meantime, she’s traveling as a part of “Versailles‘73: American Runway Revolution,” an innovative new documentary by Deborah Riley Draper currently out on DVD. Mikki’s also featured in the P&G documentary, “My Black is Beautiful.”

“You can count on seeing Mikki Taylor in every medium from social media to television to print,”the power woman explains. “My goal is to support, inspire, and simplify women’s lives. It will never be called work.”

What can we learn from Mikki’s journey that can help us along our own journeys toward self-defined success? Mikki teaches us that personal style can help us find professional empowerment.

Here are three tips from Mikki to help you kick-start your own career:

1. Identify your purpose. You owe it to yourself!

2. Move fear out of the way, so you can do great things beyond your imagination!

3. Surround yourself with wise women. They are your counsel as you move through your journey to success!

Is Getting a Loan from a Title Company Right for Me?

Financial Advice By: Carmen Wong Ulrich

Q: I’m thinking about getting a loan from one of those title companies that advertise on TV. The ads say I can use my car title and get automatically approved. Are these legitimate lenders and would you recommend them? I will repay the full amount as soon as I am working again to avoid so much interest.

A:  This one is an easy answer: NO WAY! Why?  Super high interest rates that could be on par with a payday loan.  Borrowing that pricey means keeping you in debt, possibly just to keep up with payments.  Fix what’s really wrong here.  Are you out of work or maybe just over burdened with other loans?  If you’ve got lots of debt, first head over to an NFCC.org office near you, which is run by nonprofit credit counselors.  For a small initial fee (they don’t make money off of you), they can give you a solid assessment of where you’re at credit-wise and what lenders you should avoid.  They can also help you with a debt management plan that not only gets you out of the red for good, but improves your credit, so you don’t have to borrow at such a high interest rate.  If you’re just in a tight spot income-wise and you need cash, look instead to make more money either by taking on a part-time job or being creative such as listing yourself as a “TaskRabbit” by the hour or by the task.  Also, make sure your budget is cut as far as it can go before you borrow.  Buy nothing but essentials.  And don’t forget about your local community banks or credit unions; they’re more likely to have lower rates and loans that won’t keep you on a borrowing spiral.

 

About the writer: Carmen Wong Ulrich is the co-Founder and former President of ALTA Wealth Management and a Professor in NYU PolyTech‘s school of Finance and Risk Engineering. She is an author and the former host and co-creator of CNBC‘s “On the Money,” and currently the money advice columnist for Good Housekeeping, a contributor to MSNBC and CNN as well as a frequent expert guest on ABC’s “The View.

Book Shelf: Sally Hogshead’s “Fascinate”

Every moment of every day, someone wants to influence our decisions. Flip through a magazine, turn on your television, or just look around you on your way to work. Annoying ads, confusing commercials, and big billboards are always trying to persuade us to buy the next big thing.

So, in a world where there’s always something new about to hit the shelves, how do we break through the clutter? What happens when we’re the ones who want to sell a product, pitch an idea, or start a business? In today’s competitive job market, you can’t rely on just your resume to speak for you. You have to sell yourself, and media personality Sally Hogshead has just the idea…

“Fascinate.” With this one word, Sally has transformed the business field as we know it. Her book, “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation,” teaches us that fascination is more powerful than any piece of paper and, with the right tools, “you can make anything become fascinating,” including yourself!

“And it all starts with seven universal triggers: lust, mystique, alarm, prestige, power, vice, and trust.” Now, Sally isn’t just throwing around ideas. In fact, she spent years researching the effects of fascination, studying thousands of people to understand why and how they choose the brand that’s right for them.

Now, her bestselling book can help you find your personal brand—the shining personality that your friends always notice, those key skill strengths you’ve gained over the years, and your willingness to learn, which is what helps you take direction so well—and what you bring with you every time you walk through a potential employer’s door.

Sally wants to help you harness those strengths and achieve amazing things! Whether you’re a working professional, an ambitious entrepreneur, or simply want to learn how to captivate those around you, delve into “Fascinate” and create your game plan for success today!

Everything You Need to Know About Kale

Kale: the trendiest green to hit store shelves since colored denim. If you haven’t worked kale into your diet already, chances are your mom has, your friend has, or even your next-door neighbor. So what exactly is kale? Consider this your ultimate guide to getting trim and fit with kale, while keeping your wallet nice and fat.

Kale is a leafy green vegetable known for its exceptionally rich nutrients, significant health benefits, and tasty, fresh flavor. High in calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, eating kale on a regular basis can benefit your health in so many different ways. Kale can lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of getting heart disease and cancer—and even help prevent you from getting chronic diseases, like osteoporosis, in old age.

Kale may belong to the same family as cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, but you’re not about to push this  vegetable to the side of your dinner plate anytime soon. According to WebMD, one cup of kale only has 36 calories, but it contains up to 5 grams of fiber, 15% of your daily calcium needs, over one hundred percent of your vitamin A and C, and enough vitamin K to last you the week! Together, these combined nutrients help your body run smoothly and stay in tip top shape.

The nutritional value of kale, like any other green vegetable, depends on how it’s prepared. But, don’t worry, you don’t have to be a cooking guru to transform kale into a healthy, delicious and affordable meal. Just visit your local farmer’s market, and follow these few tips to get started!

1. Know the three different types of kale:  curly, ornamental, and dinosaur. Each one varies in texture, color, and flavor. Curly kale is the most bitter, ornamental has a mellower taste, and dinosaur kale has the sweetest flavor.

2. Look for kale that’s fresh, colorful, and bruise-free. Buy your kale just like you buy your lettuce, and rinse the leaves with water when you get home.

3. Shop for kale in season to find the cheapest prices. In the fall and winter, fresh Kale costs as little as 75 cents a bunch, or find it at your local Walmart for less than a dollar.

There are a ton of healthy ways to cook with kale! You can boil it in a saucepan, sauté it in a skillet, simmer it in a pot, or even bake it for a crunchy snack. Sound appetizing? Try this easy, fun recipe from RealSimple.com today!

Whole-Grain Spaghetti with Garlicky Kale and Tomatoes 

Ingredients

6 ounces whole-grain spaghetti

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

kosher salt and black pepper

1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)

2 pints grape tomatoes, halved

1/3 cup chopped roasted almonds

1/4 cup grated pecorino (1 ounce), plus more for serving

Directions

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the kale and cook, tossing frequently, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, tossing frequently, until the tomatoes begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes more.

3. Add the kale mixture, almonds, pecorino, and reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve with additional pecorino.

Ask DFS: How do I explain short term employment on my resume?

Dear DFS:

I was only at my previous job for a few months before I was laid off.  Should I list that company on my resume? I want to be honest, but I don’t want the short employment period to make me seem irresponsible. What should I do? 

Counting the days away in Brooklyn,

Andrea

Dear Andrea:

Yes, you should definitely not be shy to list that company on your resume!  With the highs and lows of today’s economy, it’s not uncommon for an employer to encounter a candidate who has been laid off in the recent past.  This isn’t necessarily a reflection of your work ethic or skill level as an employee, but that your previous employer was undergoing certain changes and was forced to make the tough decision of eliminating a portion of their workforce.

Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to your interview with a new potential employer—you can even implement what I like to call the Three E’s!

Explain the lay off in factual terms when asked why your employment ended so abruptly.  Did the company simply downsize?  Was your position was eliminated?  Be as specific as possible to your lay off, but just remember to always talk about your pasta employers in a positive light!

Emphasize that you are eager to move forward with a new career and that you are looking for a company to grow with—and, in fact, to help grow!  Using the word “career” shows them that you are interested in a long term relationship with them and that previous short employment period shouldn’t be a concern.

Elaborate on your strongest qualities and how they can benefit the company that you are currently interviewing with!

Just like any other challenging question you’re asked in a job interview, you have the opportunity to turn this into a positive.  Anticipate that you will be asked about why you were only with your previous employer for such a short period and craft an answer ahead of time, so when the interviewer finally poses this question to you, you can answer with ease and keep the conversation flowing smoothly!

Sincerely,

Glynis W. Bell

Founder & Executive Director

Dress for Success Winston-Salem