The Changing Face of the Workplace – Part Three

Please note: this blog post is part three of a three part series. Read the first post on what it’s like bringing my baby to work with me here and the second post on starting your own business and working from home here.

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Emma Willard School – 285 Pawling Avenue, Troy, NY

Still pondering what it means to create and work in a nontraditional workplace, I reached out to, Julie Clancy, Head of Admissions at Emma Willard. Julie is an amazing YWCA-GCR board member, one of the smartest people I know, and by far the most organized. Emma Willard is uniquely situated as not only working to provide a flexible, progressive work environment for its employees, but also is helping to educate and prepare the next generation of women for their careers. In today’s global world, schools are preparing children for jobs that do not yet exist.

Julie says she see students preferring versatile workplaces, and more so than ever, employees need flexibility in what defines “office” and what defines “workday.” She also sees a trend with more and more organizations and companies recruiting candidates who can work remotely; who can join a meeting virtually; who can keep deadlines; and who can keep their own schedule all the while being productive. This saves companies money (less office-space) and these companies are finding their employees are happier, more productive, and more accessible.

Julie believes that skill sets are ever-changing, yet strong communication skills will always be the hallmark of a highly competitive candidate. That means speaking, digesting information, and responding articulately.

“We live in a world that is deeply inter-connected, so relationship cultivation and management is key. The workforce also needs to be prepared for jobs and careers that are cross-disciplinary, otherwise known as “wearing multiple hats.” Very few jobs exist in silos, so the workforce needs to be dynamic, brave, and nimble,” says Julie. These are some of the skills Emma Willard works to develop in their students.

When asked how Emma Willard is helping to prepare its students for the workplace of the future, Julie says,

“You can’t be what you can’t see. At Emma, we consistently expose our girls to examples, representations, and experiences that showcase what is possible. We cannot know what the workforce will look like in 20 years, let alone 40 years, but to leave Emma with a toolbox of the essential skills highlighted above, plus self-awareness, curiousness, and drive, these girls are able to see what kinds of life-paths are very possible. Also important to keep in mind is that humans are living longer than ever now and are staying in the workforce well into their 70s and 80s. This means that people are having multiple careers, multiple chapters of their lives, and even more experience under their belts. It is exciting to know that at 50 years young, one might embark on a new job opportunity and stretch themselves in ways that hadn’t happened in the first 25-30 years of working.”

Julie thinks one of the biggest challenges her students will face in these nontraditional settings is fear of the unknown, but she believes there are several tools that are hugely helpful in understanding unconventional or new experiences.

“First, of course, is an open mind. Soak in all that is happening; be sponge-like. Then, ask questions, and let them bubble up from a curious place instead of a place of judgment or fear. Consider asking your questions based on what you are observing- as if you are a journalist. Be ready to change course several times as you find your way. I also think everyone needs to be prepared to put on overalls from time to time and do the heavy lifting. Organizations are multi-layered and rely on the full participation of all employees to get small and big projects done well. Lastly, it’s important to be ready to feel very invested in your work. Career and work should be energizing and should light up the brain.”

As the above examples illustrated, we are all trying to Lean In in our own ways – trying to find that delicate work-life balance. Yet, for many of us the boundaries that used to exist between home, office, passion-projects, co-workers and friends aren’t as relevant anymore. And in workplaces where those formal barriers do exist, many of us are finding they no longer work for us. I think what’s important is to identify your priorities, whether that’s job stability, compensation, flexibility, etc. Once we know what’s important to us and our motivations, it can be easier to find a workplace that fits our needs. Many people ask me how I found a job that allows me to bring my baby to work, right at the exact time I needed it. I didn’t know an environment like that existed, but I did know that in order for a position to be right for me, it would have to allow for an extreme amount of flexibility. Knowing what I wanted (and more importantly what I didn’t) allowed me to focus my job search and to know when I had found the right place. But, as Julie tells us, it’s not just about finding the right fit for you, you have to possess the skills necessary to succeed in these new nontraditional workplaces.

 

Success is a Mindset

Attitude is everything. We’ve all heard the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” and “perception is reality”. Sometimes having confidence in ourselves is the biggest obstacle we have in achieving either professional or personal success.

I’ve always been a strong believer in the book called The Secret. It details the connection between the law of attraction and positivity. I’ve recited my positive mantras, sent them out into the universe, and created more than my fair share of vision boards to help me accomplish my goals in life. I remember almost 5 years ago when I was at the point in my career when I was ready for the next step, the new challenge, and I put out into the universe that I wanted to be an Executive Director of a non-profit organization that I was passionate about. I stumbled across the job posting for Executive Director of Girls Inc, mission statement – to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. The universe had listened and sent me what I asked for. But I almost didn’t apply. I was counting myself out, like we all too often do. I was 30 years old (who would hire a 30 year old to run a non-profit?!) and I had never been an Executive Director before. My attitude was not confident, and was certainly not going to “sell me” to get the job. My stepdad asked me if I had done most of the responsibilities listed in the job description and if I thought I could do the job. Of course I said, “yes”, so he said, “then apply for the job. Every Executive Director has to be an Executive Director for the first time at one point in their lives”.

My mindset shifted and my confidence grew. I didn’t focus on what I didn’t know 100%, but on my strengths. It just so happened that my strengths were exactly what the organization needed, and the other things could be learned. Having a clear plan in place for how to achieve goals was the second step in not only obtaining my dream job, but now continuing the success in the organization. Regardless if you are in for-profit or non-profit work, you need to have a sound plan. Goals should not be random numbers that could just set you and your team up for failure. Furthermore, you should surround yourself with a team that has the strengths and skills that you may not have. Too often people focus on their weaknesses vs. their strengths, instead of surrounding themselves with people who have those areas as their strengths.

When you put all of this together, a confident attitude, behavior that is systematic and intentional, and techniques that include your strengths and skill set, the possibilities are endless. I found this quote in an article written by James Alberson that sums it up perfectly, “The goals become your destination, your plans the road map, and your daily activities is the car that gets you there. So where do you want to end up?”

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Why WIC Matters

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From the desk of Katie Palmer, Whitney Young Health’s WIC Program Manager

My name is Katie Palmer and I am the WIC Program Manager at Whitney Young Health. Our office is one of only three WIC agencies in Albany County, serving about 2,500 participants annually. We are located at WYH’s Albany Health Center, but we also accommodate our other non-Albany residents by having a satellite site at WYH’s Watervliet Health Center.

So what is WIC? WIC is a special, supplemental Nutrition program for women, infants and children (WIC) and is used as a short-term intervention program designed to influence lifetime nutrition and healthy behaviors in a targeted high risk population.  WIC serves pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women and infants and children up until age five.

Our program is so important because we help save lives and improve the health of nutritionally at-risk women, infants and children.  WIC is actually one of the United States’ most successful and cost-effective nutrition intervention programs. Since its beginning in 1974, the WIC Program has earned the reputation of being one of the most successful Federally funded nutrition programs in the United States. It has also been proven for every dollar spent on WIC over 3 dollars are saved in Medicaid cost. Some proven benefits of WIC are.

  • Improves the dietary intake of nutritionally at-risk children and infants which decreases the incidence of iron deficiency anemia which leads to improved intellectual development.
  • Children enrolled in WIC are more likely to have a regular source of medical care and have more up to date immunizations.
  • Improves the dietary intake of pregnant women which leads to improved weight gain, reduction of low birth weight babies, fetal deaths and infant moralities.
  • Families on WIC receive referrals to other human service agencies.

These families not only rely on WIC for the nutritional foods we provide, but also to help them navigate doctor’s appointments, immunizations, health insurance and over all safety.  Participants are often much more comfortable discussing sensitive issues with WIC staff rather than a doctor or case worker.  Participants know that they can discuss anything with WIC staff in compete confidence.  The WIC staff is diligent about making sure participants get and follow through with referrals to any services their family’s need.

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Whitney Young Health’s WIC Staff

Our office is staffed by four qualified nutritionist, four Certified Lactation Consultants and one Registered Dietitian.  All of our services are “participant centered,” meaning we gear our services on what the needs of the participant are.  If we cannot help a family with something we will find someone who can.  The Whitney Young Health WIC staff are all very dedicated and passionate about helping our participants achieve a healthy safe life for their families!

7 Laws That Helped Women Make History in the Workforce

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Women’s Business Council- We are a force. 

As Women’s History month came to a close in March, I found this article on LinkedIn.  What caught my attention were the dates.  Take a quick look at the long history and recent history of the laws that have helped women in their fight for equality in the workplace.

  • Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938
  • The Equal Pay Act if 1963
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Action of 1978
  • The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994
  • The Affordable Care Act of 2010

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/7-laws-helped-women-make-history-workforce-tom-spiggle

om Spiggle, Principal at The Spiggle Law Firm
Published on March 31, 2017

The Changing Face of the Workplace – Part Two

Please note: this blog post is part two of a three part series. If you would like to read the first post on what it’s like bringing my baby to work with me, you can check it out here.

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Richard Nacy Warner in his home office

Bringing your child into the office is just one way path towards a nontraditional workplace. Starting you own business or working independently is another option for people looking outside of the traditional workplace mold. Ten percent of all adults are self-employed, including four percent who own their own business. What’s really interesting is that if given the choice, fifty-seven percent of Americans would opt to work for themselves. I believe that self-employment, business ownership and consulting are going to continue to grow, especially with the millennial generation. My mentor, friend, and former boss, Richard Nacy Warner started his own consulting firm a few years ago, and I wanted to hear his take on this trend. He and I worked together at a local nonprofit more than five years ago. The organization does amazing work, but we both felt the traditional work culture did not fit our personal life.

“There was a mixture of several factors that caused me to seek out a nontraditional workplace arrangement, says Richard. “I’d wanted to work as a consultant for years, with the hope that I could focus on the aspects of development that most appealed to me; I’d moved from a five-minute commute to my office to a sixty-plus-minute commute and was growing increasingly disenchanted with the drive; the idea of working from home at the times when I felt most productive was a huge draw. I also felt the desire to control my own destiny for a bit – to put myself out there without a safety net and see if I could do it.”

Richard says that one of the biggest advantages is that “I can wake up early, brew coffee, and start working immediately in my pajamas.” He loves that he can get my work done and have the flexibility to break up his day as he chooses.

“Before I started working from home, I was afraid that I’d procrastinate or get easily distracted. That hasn’t been the case – I’m more productive and more efficient and I find that I can make better decisions because I’m working when my mind functions best. I find it very civilized: I manage my work, and my work no longer manages me. It allows me to have true work-life balance,” he says.

He says one of the biggest learning curve for him was learning to set limits. Early on he was tempted to look at himself as being available to clients 24-7, and that every single project had to be top priority (the most common drawback and challenge when working remotely). He found that was not sustainable, nor was it practical. He also finds himself missing an office atmosphere from time to time, But then he’ll get work done early on a Wednesday and go to a matinee and I’ll think,

“Yeah, this really isn’t so bad…”.

Richard enjoys the flexibility that starting his own business has allowed him and says he would enjoy working from home for the rest of his life.

“Even if I were to pursue an opportunity where I was once again an employee (as opposed to a consultant), I would only consider working for an organization or company that had a very liberal work-from-home policy, and flexible in-office hours. Being able to stop in the middle of the traditional work day to get in a workout or spend an hour pulling weeds is incredibly empowering, and allows me to reboot and revitalize – which makes me perform better in my work.”

Be sure to check out part three on the skills students need to learn today to succeed in the nontraditional workplaces of the future of this three part series which will be posted soon.

“A woman baked cookies. She didn’t run marathons.”

No piece of modern health advice for both men and women is complete without the admonition to stay physically active. Experts now recommend 30 to 60 minutes of daily physical activity for optimal health. Images of women in exercise gear are everywhere, and entire clothing lines and stores are dedicated to women’s exercise fashion.

A look at women’s history shows that this is a fairly recent development.

When Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb requested a spot to run in the 1966 Boston Marathon, her application was denied with a terse letter. “Women aren’t allowed, and furthermore are not physiologically able,” the director of the race informed her.

Gibb ended up running the race as an unregistered entrant and finished the marathon in a time of 3:21:40. A historic picture shows her running in a swimsuit and shorts. She wore boys running shoes because no commercial women’s running gear was available.

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Getty Images: Roberta Gibb in the 1966 Boston Marathon

“People don’t really understand it now,” Gibb said in an interview in 2016. “It was so unbelievable that a woman could run the Boston marathon. A woman baked cookies. She didn’t run marathons.”

Following the introduction of Title IX in 1972, a larger portion of athletic budgets on college campuses was spent on female sports. The policy change would eventually lead to a 600% increase in the number of women playing college sports.

With spring just around the corner, many more runners are hitting the streets for their spring training. As women of all ages put on sports gear tailored for our bodies, special exercise bras, and properly fitting shoes, we have a lot to be thankful for. Not just for our health and strength, but also for those who took down barriers and dared to be different.

Be A Part Of Whitney Young Health’s Legacy

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Every year, Whitney Young Health throws a fundraising dinner called the “Legacy Event.” It’s a chance for us to celebrate those who are making a positive impact on our community and it is also an opportunity to fundraise in support of our medical, dental and behavioral health services throughout the Capital Region.

This year’s Legacy Event will take place on Thursday, September 14th Revolution Hall in Troy from 5:30-8:30PM. Whitney Young Health wants this year to be our best year yet – so people have a fantastic time while raising more money than we have ever before, and we need your help!

We are looking to form an Event Committee – a group of professionals dedicated to Whitney Young Health’s mission who can collectively help us put on a successful Legacy Event. The Women’s Business Council is full of intelligent, hard-working, and dedicated women who we believe would be assets to our event. We are seeking an Event Committee Chair as well as 8-10 members to be a part of the committee.

Below are job descriptions for both. If you’re interested, please contact Kate Renna at krenna@wmyhealth.org or (518) 591-4472.

Event Committee Chair Job Description here

Event Committee Member Job Description here