Category: Business Written by Cheryl Pearson-McNeil
As I write, Chaka Khan's empowering "I'm Every Woman" loops in my head – like a soundtrack. (By the way, have you seen her lately? All slim, trim and more fabulous than ever). It's Women's History Month and the lyrics to that iconic anthem should be resonating with all women, and those who love us, as we celebrate ourselves and the countless contributions we make everyday – both large and small – that keep the world turning.
No matter how small or far-reaching the radius of your world is every choice you make is important. Nielsen shines the light on women's choices and our dynamic impact as consumers with two new global reports: Does Gender Matter and 10 Things to Know About Today's Female Consumer.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again – "Vive la différence." Yes, we know that girls are just as smart as boys and women can do pretty much everything a man can – but, like it or not – our brains are wired differently. And, that's ok. Women are master multitaskers and there's a scientific reason for that. Who knew, right?
Nielsen's NeuroFocus research shows that "ability" is driven by what happens to developing brains in the womb. Traits like big-picture thinking and multitasking are hard-wired in women's brains, along with "gut" reasoning, social and verbal skills and the worry/empathy tendency. We balance work (either outside or in the home), take care of our families – nurture, budget, shop, schedule, run hither and yon – and keep it tight with ourselves as best we can.
Men's brains, on the other hand, are pre-conditioned for concrete thinking, goal-oriented tasks, logical solutions and competition/defense. (Cheryl's translation: give them one thing to do at a time if you really want something to get done).
How we think and respond influences the way companies and advertisers design their messages to us to achieve their economic bottom line. See how much power we have? These types of insights tell them that women respond to concepts that are authentic. Touch our hearts and you might earn our dollars. Even those of us who may be tomboys at heart, messages that focus on conflict simply aren't going to resonate.
And, you know how we love a bargain and will hunt high and low to find the best price? That's something American women have in common with our sisters around the world. A Nielsen survey of more than 29,000 people with Internet access in 58 countries shows that we women are browsers, no matter where we live – going for the best deal (in the store or online) while men are more likely to pay a higher price. That's because men are typically on a mission to just win (uh, get the item no matter what).
Here and across the globe, women are responsible for $12 trillion of the $18 trillion of global buying power. So, if marketers want our business, they need to offer products and services that reflect our needs. Consider these facts:
• Women worldwide are optimistic about their roles, with 90 percent reporting they believe their role is changing for the better.
• Worldwide, 70 percent of women surveyed have cut household spending over the past year in clothes, gas, electricity and entertainment outside the home.
• Women in the U.S. spend significantly more time on social media sites than men. We're online users of social media 44 percent more than men; and visit social media sites on our mobile devices 39 percent more than men.
• African-American women between 18-35 are 72 percent more likely to publish a blog or express our preferences online via links or "likes" than the average adult in this country.
• In the United States, African-American households are 127 percent more likely to include a single parent – usually a woman. (These are my people as I am one of them and I live by the mantra, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.")
• Women in the U.S. talk 28 percent more and text 14 percent more than men every month.
• Globally, women are 25 percent more likely than men to rely on friends or family for personal finance advice.
There's so much more wonderful information on www.nielsenwire.com that affirms women's power and influence as consumers. Take time to visit the site during March, and feel free to belt out a couple of lines along with Chaka: "I'm every woman. It's all in me . . ."
(Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of public affairs and government relations for Nielsen. For more information and studies go to www.nielsenwire.com.)
Last Updated on Monday, 18 March 2013 16:49
Category: Business Written by James Clingman
(NNPA)—Who is the first Black person that comes to your mind when you think of wealth? Probably 99 out of 100 of us think of Oprah Winfrey, followed by Bob Johnson and his ex-wife, Sheila Johnson, and then on down the line with the likes of Michael Jordan, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and Tiger Woods. Let’s not forget about P Diddy (or whatever his name is these days), Jay Z and Beyoncé, Tyler Perry, and Bill Cosby. Sadly, we’d probably leave Dr. Michael Lee-Chin and the Roberts brothers, Michael and Steven, off the list because they choose not to be as visible and flamboyant as the others.
The estimated net worth of the top 12 Black tycoons in this country is approximately $10 billion, with Oprah leading the pack at a robust $2.7 billion. Following are athletes, entertainers, corporate execs, and entrepreneurs—not necessarily in that order, which comes to an additional estimated $10 billion. That’s a lot of “jack” as they say; makes those folks who are “only” millionaires look poor.
Now most of us know that Warren Buffet and Bill Gates alone have more than $100 billion in net worth. Heck, the mayor of New York is worth $25 billion! What does that tell us about the so-called “wealth gap” disparity between Blacks and Whites that has once again raised its ugly head? What it tells me is that we had better not go for the distraction of trying to get even, which would be an exercise in futility. Closing the wealth gap is a worthwhile cause, but getting even is out of the question.
There is another group of Black folks we should be cognizant of when it comes to wealth: Africans. Those of you who still have images of Tarzan movies in your mind, and those of you who picture Africa as “the Dark Continent” are in for a pleasant surprise. While we know about all the natural resources Africa possesses, despite it being called by some the “poorest” continent, we should learn more about its “official” 54 countries. Pull up some photos of the cities in various countries and you will notice they look just like American cities. Prior to his transition, Brother George Subira would bring large posters of African cities to any conference he attended. I bought one for my daughter when she was very young so she would not grow up like I did—cheering for Tarzan.
To add even more positive information about the land from which we came, there are three men and two women whose collective wealth is more than $37 billion. According to the latest Forbes calculations, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria tops the list with a net worth of more than $16 billion. Mohammed Al-Amoudi, with a net worth of $13 billion, is said to own more than 70 percent of all the oil in Ethiopia and produces four tons of oil per year. Mike Adenuga, a Nigerian who made his fortune in oil, telecommunications, and banking, is worth about $4 billion. African females, Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria, and Isabel dos Santos of Angola, billionaires themselves, also stand out as some of the wealthiest people in the world with more than $5 billion in net worth.
Our images of Africa and Africans must be couched in reality, not myth and certainly not stereotypes promulgated by those who want us to think Africa is not worth anything. Black Africans are leading the world in wealth creation and growth, and we should be proud of the brothers and sisters who have turned the tremendous natural resources of Africa into billions of dollars for themselves and their families. Notwithstanding other Africans such as the Oppenheimers and their diamond empire, along with other Europeans who benefitted from the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 to divide Africa, Black folks have made significant strides in the Motherland.
Let’s work to change the perception of Africa, especially among our young people, as they will be exposed to the many opportunities therein. As they approach adulthood and begin to choose careers and business strategies, they should have information about Africa so they will not continue to see Africa in a negative light, the way many of my generation were taught. Believe me, the Chinese, Lebanese, and Indians have not missed the opportunity.
Don’t hate. Don’t rationalize African prosperity with corruption excuse. Yes, corruption exists, but you don’t have to look all the way across the ocean to find it. Just look around here in the U.S. Congratulations to all of those Africans who are taking care of their business and doing quite well at it. They have capitalized on Africa’s natural resources, in many cases starting from meager beginnings, and used what they had to become some of the wealthiest people on earth.
(Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He can be reached through his Web site, blackonomics.com.)
Last Updated on Friday, 15 March 2013 09:44
Category: Business Written by Charlene Crowell
(NNPA)—As long as most of us can remember, Black communities have taught and believed that a college education is the key to social and economic advancement. But according to a new research and policy brief by Brandeis University scholars, that long-held belief is only one of several factors affecting Black America’s ability to build wealth.
After Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Policies traced 1,700 working Americans households over 25 years, the researchers found that the wealth gap between White and Black families nearly tripled, increasing from $85,000 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009. For each dollar in income increase during these years, White wealth grew $5.19 while Black wealth growth amounted to 69 cents.
“Our analysis found little evidence to support common perceptions about what underlies the ability to build wealth, including the notion that personal attributes and behavioral choices are key pieces of the equation,” said the report by the Brandeis’ Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP). “Instead, the evidence points to policy and the configuration of both opportunities and barriers in workplaces, schools, and communities that reinforce deeply entrenched racial dynamics in how wealth is accumulated and that continue to permeate the most important spheres of everyday life.”
The report ranked the biggest drivers of America’s racial wealth gap:
Years of homeownership;
College education and
Inheritance/other financial support
On average, White families became homeowners eight years earlier than Black families. Oftentimes inheritance and other financial support favored families with pre-existing wealth. With more White families able to receive family financial assistance, make larger up-front payments for home purchases, they benefited from lowered interest rates and lending costs.
By contrast, Black homeowners were more likely to have high-interest, risky mortgages even when income and credit scores were comparable to those of Whites. As labor market instability tended to affect Black more negatively than Whites, accrued monetary assets became the vehicle to withstand the lack of income and eliminated many opportunities to invest to build wealth. As a result, Black mortgage borrowers became more than twice as likely to lose their homes to foreclosure.
Brandeis also found that for White families, homeownership represents 39 percent of family wealth; but is 53 percent of Black wealth. Because of historic differences in access to credit, the homeownership rate for White homeowners is also 28 percent higher than the same rate for Black families.
The State of Lending in America and its Impact on U.S. Households (State of Lending, http://rspnsb.li/stateoflending) published earlier by the Center for Responsible Lending cited similar Pew data that found from 2000-2010, Black family wealth dropped 53 percent, and Hispanic families lost 66 percent. By comparison, average White household wealth dropped only 16 percent.
According to the IASP report, “The paradox is that even as homeownership has been the main avenue to building wealth for African-Americans, it has also increased the wealth disparity between Whites and Blacks. . . Wealth in Black families tends to be close to what is needed to cover emergency savings while wealth in White families is well beyond the emergency threshold and can be saved or invested more readily.”
So is a college education still a part of building wealth?
The answer is still yes. But the rising costs of college and mounting student loan debts together lead to more students—both Black and White—leaving school to earn a steady income before graduation. For Black college graduates, 80 percent begin their careers with student debt. For White college grads, the corresponding debt is 64 percent.
Reflecting on these findings, Tatjana Meschede, the report’s co-author observed, “Public policies play a major role in widening the already massive racial wealth gap, and they must play a role in closing it. We should be investing in prosperity and equity. Instead we are advancing toxic inequality. A U-turn is needed.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 09:31
Category: Business Written by Damon Carr
The paradox of singles and money is—the good thing is that everything falls on you and the bad thing is that everything falls on you. When you’re single you have the luxury of spending, saving, and investing money when, where, and how you want to. You are independent, self-reliant and self-sufficient. You don’t have the nagging money fights that many couples have about money. The downside of being single is that the income, decisions, and responsibilities associated with spending, saving, and investing money starts and stops with you. There’s no one to fall back on in the event you lost your job or source of income. There’s no nagging partner who will challenge you and force you to rethink certain money decisions that oftentimes lead to mistakes. As a result when you’re single, you have to be twice as smart, twice as cautious, and twice as responsible than the average couple with money.
Whether you’re married, single, shacked up or have a lifetime partner, we all have similar financial goals. We desire to work in a career that we enjoy and that pays well. Other financial goals include buying a home, saving for retirement, saving for college, building an emergency fund, eliminating debt, buying a newer car, making repairs to home, taking nice vacations, paying off home early, purchasing investment property, building an investment portfolio, giving to charity, becoming financially independent and building wealth.
The only real difference that we have is that we are at different phases in our life. Because we are at different phases in our life, our financial goals are prioritized differently. A younger person just starting out may be more focused on career planning and buying a home whereas a person who is nearing retirement may be more focused on paying off the mortgage early before retirement and saving for retirement. Given the fact that we all have similar financial goals, the process of financial planning is similar. You have to identify short-term and long-term financial goals and identify financial concerns and fears. Prioritize your financial goals. Develop and execute a game plan to achieve your financial goals and tackle your financial concerns and fears. But because singles are doing it alone, they have less room for error. Singles have to be more strategic in their planning and error on the side of caution when making financial decisions. For example, it’s recommended that you should have 3-6 months worth of living expenses set aside for emergencies. If you’re married and your spouse works, 3-months of living expenses will be okay. But if you’re are single, your goal should be saving the full 6-month worth of expenses.
There are four types of singles: Never been married, Divorced with no kids, Single parents, and Widows. Each type of singles has their own set of unique circumstances.
Never been married: This group of single’s primary focus is finding a soul mate. Their desire to find someone to love and grow with oftentimes overshadows their career and financial goals, resulting in poor financial planning and in many cases no financial planning at all. This group tends to overspend on dining out and entertainment and are very prone to impulsive shopping. It is extremely important for people in this group to get a financial game plan in place and stick to it. It is also recommended that people in this group find a money mentor—someone that they respect and admire in the area of money management. This mentor will serve to help you remain accountable to your financial plan. They will also serve as someone you can talk to and help you way the pros and cons before making large money purchases.
Divorced with no kids: Considering the fact that 80 percent of people who go through divorce sight money problems as the leading cause, this group is likely to be carrying both emotional and financial baggage. In addition to facing many of the same problems that the never been married group faces, this group tends to indulge more as a way to block out many of the negative experiences in the former marriage. This group also tends to try and maintain the lifestyle they lived when they were married even though there’s been a substantial drop in income. Because of the negative experiences this group faced with money and marriage, they re-enter the single world wiser and more cautions. A solid financial plan will help to bring about Hope and a fresh perspective on life.
Single Parents: This group is overworked, underpaid, tired and many times scared out of their minds because they face many of the same problems in the first two groups and they have the added pressure of their dependent children relying on them for guidance, safety, and money. The importance of this group having a solid financial game plan is magnified because it’s no longer all about you. Although single parents lack both time and money, it’s important to note that managed money works harder. Having a financial game plan in place where you know your children will be provided for if something happen to you will help ease the tension and fear associated with being scared.
Widows and Widowers: It can be emotionally crippling to lose a life-mate. Hopefully you and your mate had a financial game plan in place that will ease the financial tension that comes with the transition of now having to do it alone. This group faces many of the same issues that the other groups faces. One of the biggest problems with this group is when the spouse who handled all of the money and money decision precedes the other spouse in death. This leaves the surviving spouse who generally has no basic financial skills to fend for his or herself.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 09:32
Category: Business Written by Diane I. Daniels
READY FOR BUSINESS—Curtis Morehead of Emerald Electrical Services; Ruth Byrd-Smith, director of the Allegheny County MWDBE Department; Robert Chambers of RWIV; Lisa Coffey of All Purpose Cleaning; Joel Acie, MWDBE project manager of supply chain management, and Toni Silva-Jeter, director of supplier relations both of UPMC; Bob Marshall of Professional Mechanical; and Ronald Scott of RS Supply take a breather during the 32nd Annual Duquesne Light Home and Garden Show. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)
For 31 years the Duquesne Light Home and Garden Show has provided thousands of exhibitors locally nationally and internationally a venue to showcase their products and services. This year the Supply Chain Management division of the Supplier Diversity Program of UPMC provided sponsorship for five of their minority, woman-owned, and disadvantaged businesses (MWDBE) to participate in the 32nd annual event. A good experience and a great opportunity to make contacts is how the MBEs described the 10-day affair.
“This is our way to showcase a few of our vendors. To expose them to a larger audience,” said Toni Silva-Jeter, director of supplier relations at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
She also pointed out that their presence at the show demonstrates UPMC’s commitment to the region.
The experience was each of the Supply Chain Management vendor’s first time to participate in the Home and Garden Show, which is considered the largest home event in Pennsylvania and one of the highest quality Home Shows in the United States.
Businesses taking part in the show at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center included All Purpose Cleaning Inc., Emerald Electrical Services LLC, Professional Mechanical Sales and Services, RS Supply LLC and RWIV LLC Construction.
In business 35 years, All Purpose Cleaning is a complete facility maintenance service that offers high quality, low cost and on time performance to commercial and industrial clients. Their clients are inclusive of some of the largest general contracting companies in the region, sports teams, government entities and non-profit agencies.
The most experienced of the five companies, Lisa Coffey, director of administration, said the Home and Garden Show was good for their business. Acquiring hundreds of leads, as a result she said her company, is going to reinstate the residential cleaning component of their firm. With more than 100 employees, she said they are truly a family establishment. Her mother Mary founded the business, her brother John is operations manager and four of six grandchildren work in the business.
While continuously introducing his business to people as they approached his table, Curtis Morehead distributed material explaining that Emerald Electrical Services, owned by he and his wife Deborah had the capabilities to provide electrical services for large and small jobs.
“Even though our projects have consisted of major jobs like the Consol Energy Center and this building, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, you never know who is patronizing this show. A developer can be attending with his family that needs my services,” he said.
Emerald Electrical Services is an electrical power and datacom contracting firm. Morehead said working with Jeter and the staff of the UPMC Supply Chain Management team has been good for his business.
“We have been certified with the PA Unified Certification Program for at least four years. It’s awareness like this that the certification has brought to our company,” he said.
Also dealing with large projects like the Consol Energy Center, the Rivers Casino and UPMC East, Bob Marshall, sales manager for Pro-Mech described the experience at the Home and Gardens Show as priceless. Agreeing with Morehead he said you never know who might come pass your table.
In business 18 years, Pro-Mech, owned by Stanley Loper, is a full service preferred contractor who specializes in sales, service, installment and maintenance of energy conservation systems, commercial and industrial refrigeration and HVAC equipment.
“We are a minority company that does majority work,” described Marshall. “We are a union contractor that has grown from a $2 million firm to a $10 million firm with 60 employees.”
Based in Homewood and classified as your reliable source for paper products, janitorial and sanitation supplies, RS Supply, owner Ronald Scott said for the last eight years he has been striving to provide his clients with products from the highest quality manufacturers at competitive prices. Serving a clientele consisting of churches, daycares, the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Pirates he said their customer service vision is to be regarded as the best and most sought after Jan/San Solution provider in the Pittsburgh region by leveraging a commitment to provide quality products and services and high level customer satisfaction. While showcasing his company during the March show he said he made contacts that he hopes leverages into profitability.
The neophyte of the five firms, Robert Chambers III, CEO and owner of RWIV Construction thinks he gained the most from the experience. “Being here assisted in getting my name out in the region and helped in building a bigger footprint in the residential sector,” he said.
For the past year Chambers has been focusing on providing all phases of building design and construction services. Considering himself an established construction industry professional with experience in all phases of the construction field, Chambers believes that his unique skill set adds great value to the building process for a wide range of project owners. Since establishing his firm his projects have included Ben and Jerry’s, Bellefield Dwellings and the Pennsylvania State University.
Chambers said the show provided him the opportunity to exchange views and learn from the other venders.
“Any time you can share a situation with businesses like All Purpose Cleaning who has over 30 years’ experience and Pro-Mech who has 18 it is valuable,” he said.
Grateful to Jeter and Ruth Byrd-Smith, director of the Allegheny County Minority Women Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Department for the support their agencies have provided them, the certified vendors all concur that the assistance and contracts they receive has been invaluable.
Viewing supplier diversity as an integral part of the UPMC Supply Chain Management strategy, Jeter said providing the opportunity for the five businesses to receive the exposure the Home and Garden Show provided is just one of the ways they aim to help their MWDBEs. Existing since 1989, the UPMC Supplier Diversity Program is designed to provide MWDBEs equal access to procurement opportunities. The program ensures that the certified establishments are provided the maximum opportunity to participate as partners and suppliers of goods and services to UPMC.
Since 2006 Jeter has been responsible for providing strategic direction to the Supplier Diversity Program, leading the Supply Chain Management Social Responsibility Program, which includes the Green Initiative and the MWDBE Health Plan Initiative. She is an active member of the Allegheny County MBE Advisory Committee.
“It is opportunities like this that we are happy to provide for our certified businesses,” said Byrd-Smith. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to gain exposure. Venues like this demonstrate the work it takes to become even more successful.”
She indicated that some of them already do significant work with the County and that she looks for great things from the newer businesses like RWIV.
The County MWDBE Department provides certification as a Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, to qualifying firms and is a certifying participant in the PA Unified Certification Program. The Department serves as the catalyst for business development by providing technical assistance, serving as an advocate for MWDBE business concerns, and provides information on opportunities within Allegheny County, as well as other local public agencies.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:10
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