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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.

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

The impact of COVID on women in the workplace

As a nation and as women, we cannot allow the pandemic to strip away the gains that have been made over the past twenty-five or more years. We have to fight for one another. We have to support one another. And we have to advocate for one another. Otherwise the losses incurred will have a long-lasting effect on us and on our daughters. There is no time better than today, right now, to reach out and support one of your fellow women colleagues.

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standard sign-shaped people standing in a pyramid formation with the first one blue and the ones behind in varying shades of gray.

Want to be a good boss?

I have written about good leadership in the past. Over the years, I have had a couple good managers, a number of mediocre ones, and a few terrible ones. When I think about each of these boss buckets, there are common themes and elements. While there is much to be learned, from a leadership perspective, from the horrible bosses, today I want to focus on the good ones, the great ones. There are five key consistent attributes that each of these good managers employed.

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Image of a female silhouette with the words like grateful and thankful in a word cloud

On being grateful

I’ve been thinking about gratitude a fair amount over the past couple of weeks as discussions about thwarted Thanksgiving plans are tossed about. This year has certainly taught us many lessons, one of which should be gratitude. And it is especially relevant in this season of giving to reflect on all that we are grateful for in our lives.

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Two neighbors talking as they run into one another. Older men, one with a bicycle

Stop saying,"How are you?"

I came across a CNBC article from May of 2019 and it brought me be back to high school when a classmate complained that people were hypocritical when they asked, “How are you?” When she responded honestly, she was stunned, frustrated, and angered when these strangers looked at her in silence conveying, they were only being pleasant, not really interested in the truth. She railed at the hypocrisy of the question and the expected response.

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Embroidered logo of Goodwin College in white on a navy fabric

I miss my colleagues

A few days ago, while listening to the news, one of the newscasters asked, “What do you miss most about the office?” In that moment, as if in a Harry Potter book, I apparated back to my Drexel office, but like the last time I was physically there, the office was empty. Eerily empty. Depressingly empty. Reminders of the time that has passed since we all congregated in the halls posted on the side of my computer or white board. Then the following day, Alba Berberena – the glue of Goodwin College - emailed us all and asked, “What do you miss most about the office?”

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Photo of a Zoom Call with a few people on the call.

The Unintended Invitation From Zoom

Zoom or other video conferencing platforms are not new, but in mid-March much of the workforce found itself spending the bulk of the day on Zoom meetings, and as such extending an invitation to colleagues, strangers, professors, students, etc., into their homes. But what about the unintended invitation? The intimate view into the lives of our students, professors, peers, colleagues, or clients?

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Image of a notebook with a design sketched out in pen

Yes, design matters

I am not speaking as a designer, rather I am speaking as a professor and a professional who cringes when I see poorly designed presentations or presentation materials. Keep in mind that poorly designed materials will prevent you from conveying your intended message. Follow these six tips to create presentations and presentation materials that are designed well.

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Image of the upper body of a woman in a suit, but her face is not visible. She is holding a sign: Chief Executive Officer

Offering a woman a leadership role is no longer enough

According to the Wall Street Journal, less than 6% of CEOs are women. Sure, companies can check a box when they hire women in leadership roles, even though those roles are often “more female oriented” such as VP of Human Resources, but its time companies cultivate and foster female advancement. Jane Stevenson, vice chairwoman of the board and CEO at executive-recruitment at Korn Ferry said, “The women who do make it to CEO, they’re almost flukes because there’s not a consistent pipeline being built.”

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Image of an empty desk with an Apple computer on it and a few other items, suggesting a home office

Looking toward the new normal

While you may have stopped talking about the “new normal,” there is no question most of the workforce who was suddenly catapulted into a home working environment, is wondering what work will look like post-pandemic. The answer is likely a hybrid model with employees working from home part of the time and in the office the rest of the time. Currently, employees are feeling burnout, having difficulty maintaining boundaries, and feeling a lack of community. These will all need to be addressed regardless of the number of days we return to the office.

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