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Professional Studies Blog

The Goodwin College of Professional Studies Blog is a warehouse of relevant information, tips and tools for students and professionals looking for career development and advice. Topics range from leadership and management skills to interpersonal communication and innovation in the workplace. Our Department Head of Graduate Studies and faculty member, Anne Converse Willkomm, along with guest expert contributors provide weekly insights into the latest professional trends, challenges and skills needed to thrive.

Image of a computer in a home office with a teddy bear sitting on the laptop.

Happy Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and what better opportunity to send some extra love to moms everywhere. Mothers are a true force to be reckoned with. Life does not slow down for anyone once they have a baby, and there are a million things to juggle every minute of the day. Raising children is no easy pursuit but raising children while working seems almost impossible. Moms are no stranger to the impossible, though.

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illustrated image of a women sitting at a desk with men giving her more work to accomplish

Advice to women - just say, "no"

Did you know that women are far more likely to volunteer for tasks that do not lead to a promotion or a raise? According to a small-scale study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, 696 students participated in an exercise in which they were asked to volunteer. Researchers found that women raised their hands 48% more often than their male counterparts.

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Image of a business woman with her head in her hands with many colorful arrows pointing at her.

Where is the grace?

When the pandemic interrupted our daily lives a little over a year ago, we had no idea how long the interruption would last or the lasting impact it would have. There are a number of silver linings, some of which I have discussed in prior posts, and there are – of course – challenges. But one thing that impressed me was the grace we extended to one another. Where is that grace now?

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Image of a black woman in the background with a chart in front of her with silhouetted women depicting a increasing number, i.e. of women succeeding in the workplace.

Advice to women

This is Women’s History Month – it is definitely a time to celebrate the many achievements women have made, but the reality is that there is still so much more to do. As I have written recently, women have lost ground in the workplace due to COVID, women have made progress in deepening the cracks in the glass ceiling, yet we only hold 6.2% of the CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies. So, instead of writing about our achievements and our progress, I decided to offer advice to women, so we can close these gaps.

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Image of a woman, likely Hispanic, in business attire with the word in red across the image saying "She-Cession"

Let's keep talking about women in the workplace!

On Wednesday (3/3/21), I moderated the Pennoni Honor’s College Panel Discussion entitled, “COVID-19 and the ‘She-Cession’.” It was an excellent discussion - one that needs to continue. So, my goal in writing this week's post is to follow up on my call to action in the panel, which is to for all of us: women, men, trans people, marginalized people, everyone to continue this dialogue. The cat is out of the bag regarding the status of women in the workplace and the changes that need to occur, and we have to ensure the status quo doesn't continue. We do this by pressing the issue forward with all around us – with each other, with colleagues, with friends and family, acquaintances, our local representatives and our national representatives.

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Image of Shirley Chisholm - first woman to run for President, standing in front of the US Capitol building

Thank you shirley chisholm

How many times did we hear during the 2016 Presidential election that Hilary Clinton was the first woman to run for President? And there is no doubt, regardless of one’s political affiliation, Clinton put some serious cracks in that glass ceiling, but she was not the first. That honor goes to Shirley Chisholm.

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Compilation of 6 headshots of Black entrepreneurs, some old and some current.

Highlighting 6 Black Entrepreneurs - Among Many

Each of these entrepreneurs shows us that life interrupts and life is not fair, but they also show us that grit, resolve, agility, and creativity is crucial to an entrepreneurial spirit. Some of the older entrepreneurs shared in this post, may not have been celebrated in my history books, but I have no doubt the newer ones will become, if they have not already, household names associated with innovation, tenacity and the epitome of an entrepreneurial spirit. They are true models of inspiration, showing us what it takes to succeed.

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Image of 4 Black women featured in the blog post.

Celebrating Black Women Trailblazers

I have decided, since it is Black History Month, I will be dedicating this month’s blog posts solely to the contributions and achievements of Black people. And this week, I begin by celebrating Black women trailblazers!

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Image of a broken window - or glass ceiling with many cracks feathering outward.

The Glass Ceiling is Cracking

With the inauguration of Kamela Harris as the first woman Vice President last week and the confirmation of Janet Yellen as first woman to serve as the Treasury Secretary, that proverbial glass ceiling has more than cracked. It hasn’t shattered – yet – but as women, we are making great strides to take it down. With each woman taking aim at that glass ceiling, they pave the way for more women to follow.

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Chart depicting with a red line a downward trend on a blue background

Women lose ground on jobs in 2020

The jobs numbers for December were anticipated to be a slight gain, but instead, according to CNN, the economy lost 140,000 jobs. And all of these losses were felt by women. Yes, men lost jobs, but they gained more than they lost in December, women just lost. And it was primarily Black and Latina women.

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Image of a chalk board with a woman standing back-to, in front of it. THe words on the board read: Self-Confidence

5 Practices To Boost Your Confidence

I’ve written about the imposter syndrome in the past and one of the major components of it is, especially in women, a lack of confidence. Harvard Business School’s Assistant Professor Catherine Hoffman attributes this lack of confidence in women to gender stereotypes. In an article for HBS, Dina Gerdeman writes about Hoffman’s work, specifically noting that Hoffman argues some of this is related to “occupational sorting” where women tend to choose (or are pushed toward) careers with lower wages than men, but she also attributes this to general confidence levels. For example, after taking a test, Hoffman noted that women when asked about their estimated scores, consistently underreported them versus their male counterparts.

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Image of a 2020 calendar with Coronavirus cells floating over it.

What a year it has been...

Take yourself back to January last year, before any of this madness started, before the word Coronavirus was a household term we used or thought about every…single…day. Think back to before Kobe Bryant’s helicopter went down killing him, his daughter, and others. Think back before George Floyd was murdered in the street by the very same people who are supposed to protect. Think back to the moment when you were filled with the thoughts of what 2020 would bring, high school and college graduations, births, family trips, gatherings with friends, trips to the gym, marathons, sporting events, or catching the latest greatest movie with a big bucket of popcorn. My intention is not to depress you, but rather to have you see that while 2020 bit the big one in many ways, we should also see it as a period of awakening and also as a period of hope.

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