Hot Winter Hair Styles for the Cold Months

African Pride, the premium quality, affordably priced hair care line for women of color, served as proud official sponsor of the 2015 Soul Train Awards that aired nationwide on BET Networks’ Centric TV last month.  Viewers were treated to the most on-trend celebrity red carpet hairstyles and fashions exclusively with actress and model Eva Marcille hosting the Soul Train Awards Red Carpet Style Stage.  For our ladies who want to gear up for the holiday season in style, African Pride is pleased to share a variety of tips to achieve your most stylish holiday hair ever!

Let us know what looks you’ll be rocking this winter @dressforsuccess!

How Networking Works

Guest Post by Reesa Staten of Robert Half

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature,

he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

Recently, I accepted an invitation to attend an industry conference in Chicago. I rarely go to these events because my job in California takes so much of my time. But I was curious to meet the people at this particular meeting because they hold roles similar to my own. It was a chance to compare notes on our jobs and make new connections.

Networking doesn’t come second nature to me. But connections do. Career experts will often tell you to “keep moving” when you are at a networking event or reception: make small talk, share a few things about yourself, exchange cards and go on to the next person. That never works for me. I like to connect with the people I meet by finding common ground, sharing a personal story, looking for ways I can use my experience to help the other person, or vice versa. I may spend the majority of my networking time speaking to just a handful of people.

This approach doesn’t work for everyone. It might not even work for the majority. But it feels right to me. And that is exactly the point. You need to find the networking style that best fits your personality. I like to get to know people, and I’m not thinking about how they can benefit me professionally — not immediately that is. Later when I reflect on our conversations, those opportunities to ask for advice or assistance invariably surface. I’m convinced this wouldn’t happen if I hadn’t taken the time to make a genuine connection. When I do, the door is wide open.

When you network, meeting new people is part of the process, but don’t forget your own self-interests. If you are in the job market, make sure you let people know. If you’re currently employed but exploring new job opportunities, let them know that, too.

A recent OfficeTeam survey of senior managers found that not asking others for help is the top networking mistake people make. Failing to keep in touch with contacts and not thanking the people who help you were also common pitfalls.

If you’re not yet confident networking, here are few tips to increase your comfort level:

1. Leave no stone unturned. Don’t rely solely on formal networking events or social media to broaden your list of contacts. Everywhere you go, you have an opportunity to make new connections that could lead you to your next big thing. Look at even chance encounters as opportunities for networking.

2. Nurture your network. Keep connections alive by checking in with your contacts periodically. Networking should be a process, not a one-time event. If you see something in the news you know would be interesting to people you know, share it with them. If you learn of a job that seems right for someone, pass that information along, too.

3. Don’t procrastinate. You should follow up with people within a week of meeting them and ideally sooner. That way, your conversation is still top of mind. If someone contacts you, respond quickly to show your interest in keeping in touch.

4. Be courteous. Don’t make networking all about you by constantly pushing your agenda. Not everyone you meet is in a position to help you, nor will they always have time to stop everything and hear you out. Treat new connections like you would any new friendship by being friendly, diplomatic and open. You’ll be rewarded with a more loyal network.

5. Perfect your grip. Networking may not come naturally to you. If you’re afraid or embarrassed to meet new people in a business setting, have more career-related conversations with people you already know. It will give you practice describing what you are looking for and what you can do. The more you have these conversations, the more confident you will be when you meet someone who could more directly influence your job prospects.

When we are very young, making new friends comes easily. But as we grow older, insecurities emerge that chip away at our confidence. Just remember that other people have the same insecurities — and the same desire to make connections — that you do. Take your cue from your 5-year-old self, and don’t be afraid to start a new conversation. If you’re positive and genuine, the people you meet will be happy not only to make a connection with you but also to invite you into their network. That’s how networking works!

Reesa Staten is senior vice president of Corporate Communications and director of workplace research for Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. Staten has been writing job search advice for more than 15 years and oversees Robert Half’s extensive workplace research program. Write to her at reesa@roberthalf.com.

Lizanne Kindler on Rekindling the Talbots Brand

 

In 2012, Talbots was predicted to be one of top ten brands that would disappear by 2013. Coming out of the recession, the Massachusetts-based women’s clothing company experienced a period of profit losses, waning clientele and was looking to close almost 20% of their stores. Enter Lizanne Kindler. The retailer was barely treading water when Lizanne, the brand’s former Executive Vice President of Merchandising, returned to the company as the President and Chief Executive Officer.

“We like to call it my very long vacation away from Talbots,” she jokes.

Today, Talbots has more than 500 retail stores and outlets throughout the U.S. and Canada, and attracts some of the country’s most powerful women as clients, including First Lady Michelle Obama, who touted the brand on national television this year with Jimmy Fallon.

Emerging from years of brand dilution and experimentation with trends and audiences, Talbots has recreated a cohesive style, focused on women’s professional wear with a classic foundation and modern edge. Under Lizanne’s direction, Talbots has streamlined its marketing and defined itself as a brand that empowers women both through the power of fashion choices, as well as the company’s philanthropic support of our very own organization. Such tactics have brought Talbots out of the rat race and into a unique space in the retail industry. Lizanne credits her part in the redirection to an internal sense of competition.

“I don’t get caught up in what you would call the shiny bright objects,” she explains. “I don’t really think about my drive as it relates to other people and that has enabled me to stay extremely focused with a tremendous amount of clarity around what I can achieve.”

Unlike many in her field, Lizanne was equally attracted to the business aspect of retail as she was to the fashion. Before originally linking up with Talbots, Lizanne began her career at Ann Taylor Inc., where she climbed the ranks to serve as Senior Vice President of Merchandising over the course of 15 years. At Ann Taylor, Lizanne was instrumental in guiding the foundational stages of their ecommerce, as well as kick-starting the now lucrative youth brand, Ann Taylor Loft.  She then joined the Talbots team for a three-year period before accepting a position as Executive Vice President of Product Development at Kohl’s to gain a piece of retail education missing from her resume. Without any direct knowledge of product development and sourcing, Lizanne’s strong communication and relational skills gave her an edge, but the ability to recognize her own strengths and weaknesses became her most valuable asset.

“In any leadership position, but especially as a female executive, you don’t want to appear as if you don’t know, so you have this need to feel like you have everything under control, but I’ve found that it’s so much more powerful to just understand that you can’t control it all the way down to the lowest level, you have to trust that the talent you have around you is going to drive it,” she says.

Now back at Talbots, Lizanne has the self-awareness to trust in her own strengths as an executive and the humility to place the same amount of confidence in her team. This model has encouraged her employees to work collaboratively in cultivating a mutual respect and opening Talbots to new opportunities for growth, both internally and externally. Lizanne maintains a diverse team of professionals around her and is proud to lead an executive leadership team where seven out of 12 members are women.

With more than two decades of experience as an executive, Lizanne now leads an international brand with employees that number in the thousands, but her business savvy can be traced back to childhood.  Born in Denmark, Lizanne and her brother were raised by deaf parents. From a very young age, she became somewhat of the family ambassador, handling everything from her parent’s tax returns to booking their plane tickets. Early exposure to handling her parents’ external affairs gave Lizanne the interpersonal skills necessary to move steadily up the corporate ladder.

“I was sort of their ears and voice to the world, so I learned very early on that communication and how you connect with people can be very powerful, and can change the outcome of a situation,” she says.

As Lizanne got a little older, her parents braved drastic career changes, quitting their jobs in factories to become teachers for other deaf learners. As an integral part of their interaction with the outside, she was inspired by her parents’ strength and curiosity to make their mark on a world where they were intrinsically marginalized.

At 11 years old, Lizanne traveled to the United States for the first time to visit her aunt, who had moved to Washington, D.C., and ran a department store chain. Though Lizanne admittedly didn’t know exactly what she was witnessing at the time, she watched as her aunt in a leadership role and returned to Denmark devout in her career choice. Her aunt was breaking through “glass ceilings” before that phrase became commonplace and Lizanne became enamored with her aunt’s work ethic and business savvy, as well as her accomplishments within the workplace.

“She became my role model. My parents were my backbone, but she was really my north star,” says Lizanne.

Even with decades of experience and as an accomplished CEO, Lizanne consistently leverages the foundational skills she learned outside of the classroom and the office. “I wake up every day coming in to win and do better, but with the appropriate amount of humility and ambition,” she laughs. And it is this mix of qualities in Lizanne’s leadership that has helped Talbots recreate a legacy that is shared through generations and consistently keeps women coming back to shop for more.

Fall in Love with Your Hair!

Guest post from Beautiful Textures™ Celebrity Stylist Felicia Leatherwood 

It’s been said that fall is “a second spring where every leaf is a flower.”  Summer may be coming to an end, but fall is a season of promise and a great time to consider a new hair style to usher in the “second spring.”   Proper hair care and maintenance are essential to looking good and to maintaining overall hair health.  “Hair whisperer” and stylist to the stars Felicia Leatherwood is working with Beautiful Textures™ to offer up a variety of tips to ensure that your hair is at its best for the new season. Humidity? Not a problem. Sun exposure? Covered.  Dryness? Moisture is on tap, thanks to Beautiful Textures’ innovative hair care solutions for women with curly, kinky, coily or relaxed hair.

  1. Up the moisture, say good bye to dry. Use moisturizing shampoos and conditioners to avoid breakage.
  2. Read labels and avoid hair products containing alcohol and other drying ingredients.
  3. Make timefor deep conditioning treatments. Despite the warmer temperatures of late summer and early fall, textured hair requires extra moisture at this time now more than ever.
  4. Be good to your ends, get regular trims and in between use products enriched with ingredients like jojoba oil.
  5. Protect, protect, protect. Limit use of heated hairstyling tools and if you must, use a leave-in conditioner for added protection.
  6. Take a break from regular shampooing to allow hair to absorb natural oils. When you do shampoo be sure to finish with a cool rinse to seal the hair cuticle.
  7. Consider a new approach to managing your hair texture. Try Beautiful Texture’s new Beautiful Textures Naturally Straight Texture Manageability System™. This allows you to manage your hair texture your way with a simple four-step process that can be done at home without harsh chemicals.
  8. Say goodbye to frizz and control your curls. Despite our best efforts, curly hair styles can easily become frizzy without the proper preparation. Consider lightweight curl products such as Beautiful Textures Curl Definer. 
  9. Shine, shine, shine. Whether it’s sunny or showering, hair should be shiny and glossy. Make dull locks shine with treatment aids that also promote growth. Try Beautiful Textures signature Shine & Silken Growth Oil.
  10. Stay hydrated – healthy hair begins from the inside. Drink plenty of water to promote healthy skin, hair and scalp.

A Lot Rides on Teamwork

By: Reesa Staten of Robert Half

Early in my career with Robert Half, I joined a cycling team organized by the company for a two-day charity ride through California’s Napa Valley wine country and Sonoma coast. It was a great way to meet colleagues and raise money for a good cause (in this case, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society). Over the years, the work friendships I formed on that first ride and subsequent team events have benefitted me professionally and personally.

I kept biking, occasionally taking vacations that included bike tours. This summer, I completed RAGBRAI (the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), a weeklong, 468-mile ride across the state of Iowa. As an Iowa native, the ride had long been on my wish list.

I bring up the ride in a career column because I learned a lot about teamwork on this journey. I also learned the value of having personal goals in addition to your professional ones. For years I had put off signing up for RAGBRAI because it fell on one of my busiest weeks at work. It was easier to push off the ride than to try to explain to colleagues who would need to cover for me that I wanted a week off to ride my bike. And, yet, as it turned out, my colleagues were happy to help — and even a little inspired by my commitment to putting in the weeks and months of training it takes to prepare for a major endurance event.

I am not an athlete by nature, so my first hurdle was making room for training. Exercise doesn’t generally top my list of things to do after a long day at work. I eventually had to book appointments with myself just so it was on the calendar. And that was the secret. By prioritizing exercise and training the same way I prioritized other aspects of my life, I was able to find the time to get active. As I grew stronger physically, I found I became sharper in my job. I also had more interesting stories to tell friends and family that did not revolve around what I did at the office that day!

I admire people who have mastered work-life balance. The ones who can successfully juggle career demands and family obligations, make time for volunteer activities with a local church or nonprofit, and maintain an active fitness regimen. Work has always come first for me, often at the expense of being a well-rounded person in other aspects of life. I learned this summer that making time for myself made me better in all aspects of my life, including my career.

I also realized teamwork extends beyond the workplace if you have developed strong ties with coworkers. My office colleagues regularly asked me about my training progress. When an injury sidelined me for a few weeks, my inbox was filled with emails encouraging me to keep going. On my birthday, my office was decorated with inspirational messages and cycling photos to get me excited about the ride. I am fortunate to have an amazing group of colleagues — but I’ll bet many of you work with people who are equally engaged in helping you be successful in whatever you pursue.

I was in touch with the office at several points during the seven-day ride. Not for business updates, but to share photos from the various towns along the way. And I will pay it forward the next time one of my coworkers needs support to help reach a goal — at work or outside the office.

I had an amazing time riding RAGBRAI — it was physically challenging, but just like my coworkers back at the office, there was a support network of fellow riders at every stage. People are like that. It’s human nature to want others to succeed. So don’t be afraid to share your goals.

Chances are there is something you have always wanted to do, but work or family obligations have held you back. If you have a personal ambition, find the time to make it a reality. Your goal may or may not relate to your career. In either case, don’t put it off. You are capable of more than you imagine — and you have more support than you realize.

If you’re reading this, you are most likely already part of the Dress for Success network, and you know firsthand the support available to you from DFS staff, volunteers and fellow clients. Helping others reach their full potential is embedded in the mission of this organization. Use the resources available to you to gain the confidence and support you need to reach your goals.

And don’t forget to leave a little personal time, just for you.

Reesa Staten is senior vice president of Corporate Communications and director of workplace research for Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. Staten has been writing job search advice for more than 15 years and oversees Robert Half’s extensive workplace research program. Write to her at reesa@roberthalf.com.

Working to Further Advance the Careers of Retail Workers across the United States through a Strategic Corporate Foundation Partnership

The skills gap among U.S. workers is a pressing challenge facing our country today that is impacting the 15 million people working in retail. According to the Bridge the Gap report published by Harvard Business School, 51 percent of retailers find it difficult to fill middle-skills roles.

Through a $2.5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, Dress for Success Worldwide is taking steps to address this gap by provide over 5,000 disadvantaged women from more than 30 states with pre-employment training that will help them obtain jobs and advance in their careers. This grant is part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s $100 million five year commitment to help increase the economic mobility for entry level workers to advance in their careers, which happens to be one of the single largest investments focused on the retail sector.

“It is not enough for Dress for Success to help women gain employment through our workforce development programming – we have to ensure they obtain stable and sustainable employment to help them achieve self-sufficiency and economic independence,” said Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success Worldwide.  “With the generous support of the Walmart Foundation, we are able to provide career pathways that offer the women of Dress for Success the tools and resources to become upwardly mobile in alignment with employment trends and client needs.”

Through the grant, Dress for Success Worldwide now has the opportunity to help over 5,000 future retail workers nationwide advance in their careers.

Over five years Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s commitment will support programs that will develop industry-wide tools to map out career pathways and enhance demand-driven skills training programs and certifications. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have set goals to provide retail training for more than 50,000 workers and help 30,000 of those workers move from entry- to middle-skills jobs. This commitment will also support work to create career pathways for the 15 million people working in retail today, including seven million women. You can learn more about the Walmart Foundation’s commitment at http://ow.ly/JKf3Y.

How to Answer When Success is Calling!

There’s nothing easy about the job search, but if asked to pinpoint the most unnerving part of the process, many would say it’s interviewing. Yet, even more harrowing than a face-to-face meeting is the initial phone interview. Today these preliminary interviews are so prevalent that 92% of HR managers surveyed say they screen applicants via telephone before ever requesting an in-person meeting and 95% rely on these conversations to gauge a candidate’s qualifications.

Over the years, we’ve seen many talented and intelligent women come through our doors who are more than capable of getting the job, but were simply unprepared to handle a phone interview.  It was these women who inspired us to partner with TracFone to create Success is Calling.  As part of the program, TracFone created a series of training videos that offer career tips from multi-talented performer Vanessa Williams. Check out the videos below to find out Vanessa’s advice for nailing a phone interview, as well as fashion tips and practice questions to prepare for your next big opportunity.

Kim Cattrall: Tuning Into Your Career

Part of one of the most iconic feminine foursomes in our history, Kim Cattrall was 41 years- old when she landed the role of Samantha Jones on Sex and the City as the brassy high-powered public relations executive who gets what she wants. There’s a scene where Samantha is shopping for an outfit and the sales clerk suggests she may be too old for the dress she chose. Venting some choice words that send the frightened woman running to the stockroom, Samantha proclaims she’s 52 and will “rock that dress.” Not unlike her character, Kim never let demographics dictate any steps on her path to success. Looking back, she shared with Dress for Success how she got the career she always wanted and how she’s constantly reinventing it to keep it meaningful each day.

It only takes a minute sitting down with Kim to realize her mellow demeanor could not be further from the racy reputation of her alter ego, Samantha. She’s calm, modest and even soft spoken at times, but when it comes to her career, Kim has taken a few pointers from Samantha’s forward approach to help her recognize her own self-worth.

“It was like a revolution in my life, playing a character who is such an empowered and confident woman,” says Kim.

She channeled her inner Samantha when negotiating a salary raise for the first Sex and the City movie. Like most industries, Hollywood is still a male dominated world, with women only making up 10 percent of writers and 15 percent of executive producers. Knowing she was standing on an uneven playing field only fueled Kim’s desire to fight for what she knew she deserved.

“I would rather be in a place and be heard than be in a place where I feel very compromised,” she says.

Though she admits standing up for what you believe in is intimidating, Kim suggests this is what gives women an edge. It’s the same societal parameters that hold us back that can also inspire us to find more creative routes to move forward.

Playing an empowered female on the big screen is far from Kim’s only inspiration. Growing up, she did not have a stable home life, moving from England to Canada and living in a car with her family while they drove cross-country. Despite a lack of material wealth, one thing that has always been present in Kim’s life is a supportive group of female friends and family members. Though Kim is best known for her part in the SATC sisterhood, it’s her real life female support system that has had the biggest impact on her. Knowing that others may not be as lucky, Kim believes it’s banding together to cultivate a culture of women helping women that is the key to empowerment and progress.

“We spend so much time in our lives as caregivers: as mothers, wives and sisters, but to be sisters to people who are not your blood, simply your same gender, that’s when change happens,” Kim says.

Realizing the importance of helping those who are coming up after her, she mentors many young actresses, even setting up a scholarship fund at her high school alma mater to financially aid young people entering into the arts.

“These girls are as passionate as I was at that age and I want them to have a life that is worthwhile and fulfilling to them.  I would hate for them to take a job where they had no kind of future or were unable to express themselves,” says Kim.

Raised in a working class family, Kim worked tirelessly to reach fame at mid-life. Now as a single woman at 58, she knows the importance of financial independence. She set up a foundation to allow others the chance to pursue their dreams without the stress she endured early in her career.

As Kim’s career has evolved, so has her definition of success. Today, she says, it is all about how she feels rather than what she can get. When she was younger, she couldn’t work enough, constantly searching for the next role and defining her worth solely on that success. But as she’s gotten older, the same woman who once thought she was too old to play the part of Samantha has embraced her age, realizing jobs, priorities and appearances are all fluid.

Now that she feels the freedom to be selective with her work, Kim puts her energy into parts she finds meaningful and relevant. Recently, she appeared in The Boomer List, a documentary about the last generation of baby boomers, as part of the PBS series American Masters. And, she has partnered with Pfizer in the Tune In To Menopause (tuneintomenopause.com) awareness campaign to encourage women to learn more about managing their menopause experience, and to embrace this time of life. A component of this program provides a donation to Dress for Success.

Today, she is dedicated to giving a voice to the women of her generation, explaining, “It’s so important that, as women, we really take care of other women. As I get older, I get more aware that it’s not just about me and my work, it’s about everyone else around me. I want to give more stories about women my age, there’s so many of us out there, but there really hasn’t been programming to address us and the issues we face.”

Although success has taken a new form in Kim’s life, one constant has always been the support she’s received. Now she plays a large part in cultivating that kind of foundation for others and is redirecting her passion for women and the arts to give her career new life, during mid-life.

Kim Cattrall has teamed up with Pfizer Inc., makers of prescription treatments for certain menopausal symptoms, to launch the Tune In To Menopause campaign, which is designed to bring the conversation front and center and motivate women during this time of life. Kim encourages women to define their own “menopause style” at TuneInToMenopause.com. Visitors can take an interactive quiz about their approach to menopause and get a unique look into some of the changes they may experience. For each quiz completed, Pfizer will donate $1 to Dress for Success, up to $50,000. You can also enjoy Kim’s “Tune In” playlist on Pandora®!

Tips on Hand Writing Your Thank You Notes!

Guest Post from Pilot Pen

You’ve created your resume, customized your cover letter, and had a successful interview. Now what? You write a personalized thank you note. Thank you notes are necessary to write because it is just one more way for you to stand out among all the other potential candidates your company of interest is considering; especially in a world dominated by follow up emails!

Legible, clear handwriting shows you pay attention to detail and it gives you the opportunity to thank your potential employer in your own words. Think about it this way, would you consider a handwritten holiday card more valuable than a holiday e-card? This serves as a tangible reminder that you go the extra mile. Here are several key elements to consider when writing a thank you note.

  1. Thank the interviewer for their time. This is a great way to start your note. It also serves as a great place to transition into the main points of what you want to say.
  2. Consider including details discussed during your interview. Take the opportunity to remind your potential employer about a skill you relayed or a project you are interested in.
  3. Keep it simple and sincere. Be clear and concise with your words. Wordier does not always mean better.
  4. Draft your message before writing the final version to ensure the card looks exactly the way you want it to.
  5. Finish the card with a special touch, a message stating that you would love to be a part of the team.
  6. Be selective with your writing instruments and stationary. Pilot recommends selecting a pen known for a smooth, skip-free writing experience like the Precise. Or use a modern take on the classic fountain pen, which delivers smooth, expressive writing, like the striking MR Animal Collection or pre-filled Varsity.