Tamar Huggins, the visionary mind behind Tech Spark, is making waves with her latest creation—Spark Plug. In the ever-evolving landscape of artificial intelligence, this groundbreaking AI platform, positioned as a competitor to ChatGPT, is not just about technology; it’s a step towards equity and inclusivity in the tech world.
A $1.4 Million Game-Changer
Backed by a notable $1.4 million investment, Spark Plug is set to disrupt the AI scene. Huggins, driven by a mission to establish an “equitable alternative” to existing mainstream AI platforms, has garnered support from heavyweight backers such as TD Bank, Salesforce, The Government of Canada, NBA Canada, and the Foundation for Black Communities.
For Huggins, this achievement is more than a financial milestone; it’s a symbol of breaking barriers. In a conversation with AFROTECH, she highlighted the staggering statistic that Black women receive an average of $30,000 throughout the entire life of their business. The $1.4 million investment is a triumph, and Huggins hopes it inspires other women to pursue larger investments and create impactful businesses.
Tech Spark’s Evolution
Tech Spark, founded in 2015, initially aimed to empower K-12 students and educators of color in the education sector. Now, with Spark Plug, the vision expands to impact 100,000 students across the United States and Canada through an inclusive generative AI model. This evolution aligns with Huggins’ commitment to providing equitable opportunities for all.
Drawing inspiration from the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights movement, Huggins engaged her 13-year-old daughter, Talia, in the development process. This move reflects a conscious effort to capture the attention of Generation Z, ensuring that Spark Plug is not just innovative but also resonates with the younger demographic.
Cultural Inclusion and Deliberate Diversity
A pivotal aspect of Spark Plug’s development is the intentional inclusion of Black voices. Huggins recognizes the importance of training the AI model to respond aptly to African-American vernacular. This deliberate strategy aims to bridge cultural gaps and foster a more inclusive user experience.
Huggins emphasizes the need to approach emerging technologies with sensitivity, involving Black UX designers, engineers, and developers from the outset. This inclusive approach is a proactive step to avoid inadvertent harm within the community, a lesson learned from history.
A Vision for the Future
Looking ahead, Huggins envisions Spark Plug as a tool for leveling the playing field for children, ensuring essential resources are accessible to all. Beyond functionality, she aims to elevate the significance of African-American vernacular, advocating for its recognition and appreciation in the broader context of technology.
In a final note, Huggins stresses the importance of diversity in the AI space. Spark Plug, with its diverse team and perspectives, is a testament to her belief that true technological innovation comes from embracing a variety of skill sets and experiences.
The launch of Spark Plug represents a significant stride towards more inclusive and culturally sensitive AI solutions, embodying Huggins’ commitment to meaningful innovation in the tech world. As Spark Plug emerges, it stands not just as a competitor but as a symbol of progress toward a more equitable future in artificial intelligence.
Maryam Muritala is a foreign-trained lawyer whose expertise extends from Business and Technology to Copyright, Trademark Law, and Contract Management. As a seasoned Business Development Consultant, Maryam has successfully guided entrepreneurs across five continents, establishing herself as a driving force in the business world. In this exclusive interview with Esther Ijewere,Maryam shares her inspiring journey from Lagos, Nigeria, to becoming the founder of Canada Vendors and the visionary behind the renowned Brand Expo.
Born and raised in Lagos, Maryam’s entrepreneurial roots run deep, shaped by the influence of both her maternal and paternal grandparents. Inspired by her family’s commitment to service, Maryam’s journey into law was further fueled by her aunt’s encouragement. Her childhood laid the foundation for a life dedicated to building connections and providing opportunities.
Called to the Nigerian Bar in 2008, Maryam initially delved into corporate law, working on diverse projects involving contract agreements. Her pivot to business development was a strategic move, opening doors to a realm where she could blend legal expertise with entrepreneurial vision.
Canada Vendors and Navigating Challenges
Witnessing the evolution of the digital marketingspace post-COVID-19, Maryam founded Canada Vendors to empower businesses with structured online visibility. The challenges faced, from business registration hurdles to integrating digital marketing, prompted the Canada Vendors Team to host virtual info-session events, offering crucial support during the pandemic.
Brand Expo and its Purpose
Brand Expo, an annual business networking event initiated by Maryam, serves as a platform for businesses to showcase products, services, and brand image. More than a networking opportunity, the expo facilitates workshops, exhibitions, presentations, and networking events, fostering brand awareness, visibility, and valuable business connections.
The Entrepreneurial Journey
Against the backdrop of the pandemic’s impact on small businesses, Maryam launched ‘The Entrepreneurial Journey,’ a YouTube mini-series spotlighting the Canadian small business community. Emphasizing the benefits of technology integration and digital marketing, the series aimed to empower businesses with the tools for growth in the digital landscape.
Being a Woman of Rubies
For Maryam, being a Woman of Rubies means creating opportunities wherever she goes, wearing her crown proudly and tall. Her unique ability to seize opportunities aligns with the essence of resilience and strength that defines a Woman of Rubies.
Michelle Obama, Ibukun Awosika, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg stand as women who inspire Maryam on her journey, reflecting values of leadership, empowerment, and advocacy.
Nigerian Community in Canada
Maryam acknowledges the significant contributions of the Nigerian community to Canada‘s vibrant multicultural society. From business and politics to healthcare and technology, Nigerian trailblazers continue to positively impact various sectors, embodying the spirit of excellence in diverse communities.
Maryam Muritala’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of combining legal expertise with a passion for entrepreneurship. Her commitment to empowering others, evident in initiatives like Canada Vendors and Brand Expo, showcases the potential for positive change within the business landscape. As a Woman of Rubies, Maryam stands as an inspiration, embodying resilience, vision, and a dedication to creating opportunities in every endeavour.
Helen Williams, a Nigerian woman of exceptional creativity and dedication, has recently etched her name in the prestigious Guinness World Records. Her remarkable achievement involves the crafting of the longest hand-made wig ever recorded, measuring an astounding 1,152 feet and 5 inches (351.28 meters). This extraordinary creation stands as a true testament to Helen’s unwavering passion, unparalleled skill, and sheer determination in pushing the boundaries of artistic expression and hair craftsmanship.
The journey to this Guinness World Record was no small undertaking. Helen invested an incredible two million naira (£2,000: $2,500) and dedicated 11 days to meticulously craft the record-breaking wig. The sheer magnitude of the project is staggering—1,000 bundles of hair, 12 cans of hair spray, 35 tubes of hair glue, and a whopping 6,250 hair clips went into bringing this exceptional piece to life.
Expressing her excitement, Helen shared, “This achievement is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I still cannot believe it.” Despite her eight years of experience in wig making, she admitted that the process was far from easy. “I felt exhausted during the process,” she confessed. However, with the unwavering support of friends and family, Helen persevered, maintaining her focus to avoid letting anyone down. And the result? The longest hand-made wig in the world!
After completing this extraordinary hairpiece, Helen faced a new challenge—finding a suitable location to lay it out and measure it accurately. On the 7th of July, she chose a highway connecting Lagos and Abeokuta to unveil her masterpiece. Guinness World Records officially confirmed this incredible record, making it official and solidifying Helen’s place in history.
Now, the fantastic wig proudly adorns Helen’s office, inviting everyone to come and admire her remarkable achievement. Beyond being a personal triumph, Helen’s record-breaking wig stands as a symbol of African excellence and creativity. Her accomplishment is not just a Guinness World Record; it’s a cultural milestone, showcasing the talent and ingenuity present in Nigeria.
As we celebrate Helen Williams and her exceptional creativity, we are reminded that dedication, passion, and a touch of daring can lead to extraordinary achievements. Her story inspires us to dream big, push boundaries, and, quite literally, reach new lengths in our pursuits. Congratulations to Helen Williams, a Guinness World Record holder whose innovative spirit has left an indelible mark on the world of hair artistry.
In the spirit of International Men’s Day, I implore men to be allies in the fight against domestic violence. Today, as I share my experience as a survivor, it’s a call for men to do better and become safe spaces for women. If you see something, say something. It’s time for us all to break the silence.
In recent days, I bravely shared my journey as a survivor of domestic violence through videos on my Instagram and TikTok, using Keke Palmer’s situation as a poignant case study.
The responses I received served as a stark reminder of why so many women with voices choose to remain silent in the face of such harrowing situations. It’s a struggle that echoes with individuals like Cassie, who endured years of silence before bravely filing a heart-wrenching 35-page lawsuit against her abuser, known as “Mr. Love.”
After enduring humiliation and many challenges that could have compromised my character, I found the strength to speak up. For many years, I pushed back my pain as a survivor, focusing resolutely on my purpose. However, in the last three years, my body has been going through emotional re-healing to prevent my mental health from hanging on a thread.
The unfortunate reality is that countless women wear brave faces while trapped in abusive situations, often paralyzed by the fear of judgment and societal labelling. Every day, we encounter women in our lives or through social media, completely unaware of the battles they face behind closed doors.
When survivors find the courage to share their stories, judgments can inadvertently empower the abusers, perpetuating victimization and allowing them to escape accountability for their crimes. It’s disheartening to witness how society, while encouraging survivors to seek support, often turns around and stigmatizes them for doing just that.
Reflecting on my own experiences, I recognize that without a strong heart and a supportive network, the stigma I encountered could have broken me. At times, I find myself wondering if I’m made of steel, considering the resilience needed to navigate through such challenges.
The societal re-traumatization of domestic violence victims is a painful reality, highlighting the need for increased awareness and understanding. It is crucial to remember that survivors are not defined by their past but are individuals with strength, courage, and the ability to rebuild their lives.
As I share this featured photo, it’s a reminder to fellow survivors: Don’t let society rob you of your joy. Keep smiling, keep living your best life. In the spirit of positivity, let’s refrain from pity party comments – instead, send some food my way and share uplifting words.
Nuggets on Supporting Domestic Violence Survivors:
Believe and Validate: Acknowledge the survivor’s experience and believe their story.
Offer a Listening Ear: Sometimes, survivors simply need someone to listen without judgment.
Respect Boundaries: Allow survivors to share at their own pace; don’t pressure them to reveal more than they are comfortable with.
Provide Resources: Share information on local support services and helplines.
Educate Yourself: Learn about the signs of abuse and understand the complexities involved.
Be Patient: Healing is a process, and survivors may need time to rebuild their lives.
Citing Keke Palmer‘s example, where she courageously shared her story, let’s amplify the voices of survivors and create a supportive environment. Light always shines through the darkness.
In the dynamic landscape of business innovation, Vivian Ekwegh stands as a trailblazer steering the ship of Declutterdotcom into uncharted waters. As the formidable CEO of this transformative venture, she has not only reshaped the perception of household item resale but has also become a beacon of inspiration for aspiring women entrepreneurs. Let’s unravel the remarkable journey of Vivian Ekwegh, the visionary leadershaping the contours of e-commerce.
A Visionary Leader’s Genesis: From IT Sales to Declutterdotcom’s Helm
Vivian’s journey into the world of household item resaleis rooted in her passion for finding unique, quality items at affordable prices. From her early days of spotting bargains to launching her first-grade thrift business in 2018, Vivian’s vision evolved into the creation of Declutterdotcom in 2019. Her goal was clear—to bridge the gap between the price of new and used items, creating a convergence platform for sellers and buyers. What began as a personal passion transformed into a thriving online platform that has since grown to be the foremost declutter company, facilitating the sale of used items while allowing buyers to save on quality household goods.
Strategies for Success: Building a Clientele of 60,000 in Four Years
In just four years, Vivian has strategically positioned Declutterdotcom as the go-to platform for household item resale, boasting an impressive clientele of over 60,000 customers. The journey involved re-educating people about used items, creating a niche market for barely used items, and leveraging her network as a brand ambassador. The foundation of integrity, quality sourcing, and trust-building has made Declutterdotcom a success even without a physical location, thriving purely in the online space.
A Fusion of Expertise: IT Sales, Digital Marketing, and Academic Brilliance
With six years of experience in IT sales and digital marketing, Vivian’s trajectory in the tech industry has been nothing short of remarkable. Her early career milestones include being the Business Lead for Cisco sales at Technology Distributions and later serving as the Sales Account Manager at Cisco Nigeria. Armed with a first-class honours degree in Computer Science from the University of Benin, Vivian seamlessly melds technological expertise with business acumen, contributing significantly to the growth and success of Declutterdotcom.
A Trailblazer Beyond Business: Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs
Beyond professional accomplishments, Vivian Ekwegh has become a beacon of inspiration for women aspiring to lead in business industries. Challenging traditional norms and consistently breaking barriers, she encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to “Just START!” Her journey underscores the transformative power of ambition, determination, and strategic thinking.
Combatting Online Scams
Addressing the escalating issue of online scams within the declutter resale space, Vivian delves into the challenges posed by fraudulent activities. Emphasizing the imperative for a collaborative effort, she stresses the necessity for legitimate vendors to work together, educating clients to recognize potential scams and collectively preventing any deceptive practices in the industry.
To know more about Vivian’s work, Follow her on Instagram
Doreen Adekunle is that beacon of empowermentin the dynamic world of literature and inspiration. More than a professional writer, she stands as a charismatic voice, resonating with the strength and untapped potential of every girl.
From the stages to the accolades, discover the nuances of her craft and the profound impact it has had on audiences worldwide. This is more than just an exploration of words—it’s an odyssey through the soulful journey of a spoken word artist par excellence.
Let’s explore the facets of her impactful journey and the trail she’s blazing with her literary masterpiece, “More Than Just a Lady.”
A Visionary Leader at the Helm: A Lady and More Network (ALAM)
At the heart of Doreen’s influence is the A Lady and More network (ALAM), a vibrant community of over 57,000 empowered ladies. ALAM isn’t just a network; it’s a movement. Doreen guides and inspires youths, unraveling the mysteries of their existence, helping them identify their purpose, and unlocking the full extent of their potential.
Crafting Narratives that Transcend: Award-Winning Spoken Word Artist and Writer
Doreen Adekunle isn’t content with just weaving words; she crafts narratives with the power to transform lives. Her recent string of awards is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence. Each accolade reinforces her position as a literary luminary making waves in the world of spoken word and writing.
Passion Personified: Outspoken, Eloquent, and Creatively Driven
Beyond the ink on the pages, Doreen is an outspoken, eloquent, and creatively driven force. Her passion is a palpable flame that propels her to inspire and uplift through her writing. For her, it’s not just a career; it’s a calling to make a tangible difference in the lives of those who encounter her work.
Nurturing the Next Generation: Eminent Speakers and Writers Academy (TESWA)
Doreen extends her influence through the Eminent Speakers and Writers Academy (TESWA). Here, she imparts her wisdom to aspiring writers and speakers, fostering growth and nurturing the next generation of communicators. TESWA is a testament to her commitment to sharing knowledge and empowering others to find their voices.
Connect with Doreen Adekunle: Join the Movement
For those eager to connect with this literary maven, Doreen Adekunle welcomes you to join her on all social media platforms @DoreenAdekunle. It’s more than a connection; it’s an invitation to be part of a community driven by inspiration, empowerment, and the relentless pursuit of one’s true potential.
Doreen Adekunle is more than just a lady; she’s a force, a voice, and an inspiration to many. In her words, empowerment is not just a concept—it’s a journey. Connect with her, and let this transformative journey begin.
Toun Okewale Sonaiya, a name synonymous with empowermentand change, has emerged as a powerful advocate in a world where women’s voices are often underrepresented. As the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Women Radio 91.7 FM, Nigeria’s only radio station dedicated to women and their families, Toun has committed her career to the noble cause of amplifying women’s voices and championing their concerns.
Toun’s journey to becoming a prominent figure in the fields of journalismand women’s empowerment is nothing short of remarkable. Her unwavering dedication to advancing gender equity and putting an end to violence against women and girls has rightfully earned her a place as one of the most influential women in journalism in Africa.
A Trailblazer in Women’s Media
Toun’s brainchild, Women Radio 91.7 FM, stands as a testament to her commitment to providing a platform for women’s stories, concerns, and achievements. This unique radio station has become a beacon of hope, empowering women to speak up, share their experiences, and connect with one another.
Recognized for Her Impact
Toun Okewale Sonaiya’s influence reaches far beyond the airwaves. Her tireless efforts and dedication to nation-building have not gone unnoticed. She was inducted into the Nigerian Women Hall of Fame, a well-deserved honor for her significant contributions to her country.
Advocacy for Change
Toun is not just a broadcaster; she is a relentless advocate for change. Her advocacy extends to advocating for more women decision-makers in both government and the private sector. She understands the importance of women’s representation in positions of power and leadership.
Additionally, Toun is a staunch supporter of economic empowerment for women. She recognizes the pivotal role that financial independence plays in women’s lives, empowering them to achieve their dreams and contribute to their communities.
A Vision for a Better Future
Toun Okewale Sonaiya’s work is a testament to her unwavering belief in the power of women to drive positive change in society. Through her advocacy, she envisions a future where women’s voices are heard, their contributions are celebrated, and gender equity is not just a dream but a reality.
As we celebrate Toun’s incredible journey and the impact she has had on the lives of countless women, we are reminded that change is possible when individuals with a passion for progress take action. Toun’s story is an inspiration to all who believe in the power of women to transform the world.
Toun Okewale Sonaiya is not just a broadcaster; she is a force of nature, a visionary, and a champion of women’s rights. Her story is a testament to what can be achieved when one person dares to stand up and make a difference.
In her footsteps, may we all find the strength and determination to advocate for the change we wish to see in the world. Toun’s work is a reminder that our voices matter, and together, we can create a brighter, more equitable future for all.
As a seasoned public relations and media strategist, I frequently encounter entrepreneurs in pursuit of the elusive ‘magic’ formula for success. My response is simple: in our ever-evolving landscape, success hinges on one’s ability to learn and adapt at a pace that outpaces the competition.
I consistently emphasize the importance of pursuing relevance over mere popularity, emphasizing that this can only be attained through unwavering consistency and a commitment to continuous reinvention.”
In this article, we’ll explore 8 ways to stay relevant in your industry;
1. Network, network, network
Building relationships with industry peers will enable you to gain a broader perspective of what’s going on in your field, while also learning new work styles and problem-solving approaches. Here are 5 ways to network
2. Build a presence on social media
In today’s workplace, simply being on social media isn’t enough. To fully leverage these platforms, you have to be actively using these sites. This means taking the time to share other people’s tweets or posts, comment on industry news, and build your follower base. Consistency is key. Here are strategies to help build a presence on social media
3. Improve your visibility and develop high-quality content
Content is a valuable asset for staying connected and engaged with buyers. To remain relevant, create problem-solving content, and improve your visibility in the media.
4. Specialize in your niche
It is better to find your natural talent and excel in that area than to become someone who knows a little about a range of specialties. Becoming an expert in one area can attract offers from companies looking for experts in your field.
5. Stay Informed with Industry Updates
Stay ahead of the curve by regularly exploring industry-specific news and insights shared on various websites tailored to your skill set. This knowledge is a valuable asset for staying relevant in your field.
Accept innovative collaboration to make sure your business stays relevant. The best part of working with people from other industries is you can share your knowledge and skills and learn from others. It’s an exchange program where both parties benefit each other.
7. Study the Success of Your Competitors
When you encounter competitorswho have achieved greater success, take the opportunity to observe their operations and business practices. Investigate the strategies that set them apart and consider adapting these approaches to your profession.
8. Elevate Your Credibility and Reputation with the Guidance of a PR Expert
If you’re interested in delving into the world of PR and leveraging it to enhance your media visibility, You can also reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Explore my PR page to discover profiles of some remarkable women I’ve highlighted and gain further insights on how to maintain your industry relevance.
A woman who can multitask successfully has mastered her craft and knows how to navigate her chosen career path. Nora Agbakhamen is not just a woman who wears many hats, she has recorded success everywhere she uses her skillset.
She is one of the most influential Nigerians on LinkedIn who is making the motherland proud. Nora helps businesses get seen and paid through content and storytelling. With over 10 years of experience as a content creator and writer, Nora Agbakhamen knows how to help brands increase their credibility, visibility, and profitability.
A graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Maiduguri, she holds a certificate in Persuasive writing and Public Speaking from Harvard University (HarvardX), a certificate in Investigative Journalism from BBC MacArthur Foundation, and several certifications in storytelling.
In this interview with Esther Ijewere, Nora shares her inspiring journey and her passion for storytelling and branding.
Nora Agbakhamen’s Childhood Influence
As a little girl growing up in North-Eastern Nigeria, I loved to listen to beautiful narratives, and my dad was a powerhouse of tribal lore. While my mum believed in instant corporal punishment, my dad had a unique and memorable way of instilling discipline. He would tell us stories from the Bible about people who acted up and the high price they paid.
He would also share accounts of those whose conduct was above reproach and the beautiful rewards they earned. That profoundly affected me, and those stories played a significant role in molding me.
So, very early, I learned that the best way to impart moral instruction is through storytelling because you remember the lessons long after they cease to be told.
Why I Pitched My Tent In Content Creation and Media Sector
Almost every adult had a transistor radio in the North where I grew up. My dad had one, and most evenings, I’d sit with him while he listened to the news.
This piqued my interest in journalism, and I became intentional in watching the news. I particularly loved listening to Eugenia Abu, Ruth Benamaisia-Opia, Fatima Abass Hassan, and Hauwa Baba-Ahmed on NTA news those days. So when it was time to go to the university, my choice of Mass Communication was a no-brainer.
For content creation, I’ve always loved to educate and share value. Back in my university days, my classmates would come together and ask that I summarize our notes for them before exams. I would explain what we’d been taught but use relatable examples to help the point stick.
They lived for those moments, and it was a privilege to see how those explanations helped all of us ace our exams. The more I taught, the more the points stuck with me.
So I took the same love for teaching into the storytelling aspect of content creation. I went into it with the one aim of serving. I wanted to share whatever knowledge I had with my audience.
Nora Agbakhamen’s Journey So Far
When I started as a brand storyteller on LinkedIn in October of last year, I had 90 followers. One year later, I’ve built an over 100,000-strong community who come together to enrich each other by consuming my content and sharing heartfelt comments, tips, and suggestions for the benefit of others.
You know LinkedIn is a global platform. I’ve had folks send me private messages with a dose of racism. I’ve also had people drop comments like “this is not Facebook.” This is LinkedIn, where you share your career wins. Were it not for the overwhelmingly positive feedback I got from others on the platform, who knows if I’d have thrown in the towel by now?
Thankfully, I persevered, and today I can tell you that among my clients are Bank executives, Architects, Accountants, Founders, CEOs, etc. I work with them to increase their reputation in their various fields so they can become more visible and profitable. It’s a win-win for us, and I shudder to think that there was a time I gave up.
How My Work Has Inspired Other Women Around Me
I’ve mentored women, particularly undergraduates on LinkedIn, and the regular thank-you emails I get from these ladies are like the icing on the cake. I’ve had female undergraduates email me to say they started content as a side hustle because of the daily tips I drop on LinkedIn. That, for me, is the ultimate reward.
Other Projects And Activities
I am currently running a 7-Day Personal Branding Email Challenge for entrepreneurs and 9-5 workers on LinkedIn. Many are busy folks with little time to listen to or read long courses but want to build a sparkling brand online. So I created these daily email challenges to help them lay the foundation for a rock-solid brand so that they can become visible, trusted, and profitable.
Every day, for one week, they receive emails explaining a brand-building activity. Then I give them tiny tasks they can do immediately to increase their reputation on LinkedIn.
I’ve also worked as a brand influencer with local and international brands on LinkedIn. I do my due diligence before recommending any brand to my community. So any brand I feature on my page is vetted.
I’m also coaching ambitious women who want to monetize their knowledge on LinkedIn. This coaching is a 1:1 tailored for each client. So once every week, I go on a Zoom call with them. We review our wins and work on further steps to take them closer to their goals.
How I Became A Top LinkedIn Influencer and Marketable Brand
My watchword has always been to deliver top-notch service. I didn’t start content creation with profit as the drive. I was happy to share what I’d learned over the years with my community. I stayed consistent and built a niche around storytelling. Those who loved what they were learning tagged others to my page, and before long, I had a reputation as a “brand storyteller,” and my following grew exponentially.
3 women Who Inspire Me and Why
My mum (now late) Rose Ubek – taught me early on the value of service and hard work. She never believed in giving you fish because she was one to teach you where and how to get the best fish.
Amanda Cryer – This woman is a compassionate Social Impact influencer on LinkedIn who looks for ways to support other women’s businesses.
Every other woman who lives a life of service – Women who mentor other women and hold their hands so that we can shatter glass ceilings together.
To Ambitious Women Constantly Judged By Society
Don’t listen to people who want to pull you back. To every woman out there, there’s nothing more inspiring than a woman who knows what she wants and dares to pursue it. So get up, take back your power and lead your tribe.
To Women Who Can’t Market Their Brands And Business Properly
Firstly, if you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to market your brand. LinkedIn boasts over 850 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. So whether or not you have a job or business, you have an incredible opportunity to place yourself at the front and center and attract the opportunities you crave.
For other creators out there, please don’t just sell your offers. Instead, share values your readers can run with and use to better themselves. Take a genuine interest in your followers; sometimes, it takes a good word of motivation to help someone be the best version of them. Pay attention to that young lady that reaches out to you via private message to ask for tips, suggestions, and recommendations.
Being a Woman of Rubies
My God-given desire is to see other women thrive both personally and professionally. If every woman lives a life of service together, we will succeed and leave no one behind.
To a Young Person On The Verge of Giving Up
Please don’t give up. We, your sisters, love you and can’t wait to see you thrive.
My Work-life Balance Routine
I’ve implemented systems and processes that help me maintain a work-life balance. For example, even on lazy days, I have planned my content to auto-post at a particular hour, so my audience is not starved. This helps me have time for my family and loved ones.
WorkTorch, the only career discovery platform for the service economy workforce, raised $2.2 million in a seed round led by Tenzing Capital, Tech Crunch reports. Previously known as QuickHire, sisters and founders Deborah Gladney and Angela Muhwezi-Hall’s new focus since raising more funds is not only more recruiting but also retention, as proved by the name change
“Finding the right talent is just half the battle,” Gladney said. “Where companies are really being hit the hardest is losing people faster than they’re coming in the door.” Wanting to make more of an impact, they considered their recruiting efforts fruitless since businesses weren’t doing anything to keep their new employees. “We started leaning into what was happening to people post-hire and have started to focus on career development and talent retention tools,” Gladney continued. “So our new name is WorkTorch. We want to be a guiding light to a better career, a better workforce.”
Less than two years old, WorkTorch has a roster of more than 40,000 people actively looking for a job with 1000 scheduled interviews monthly. To continue to shift the company towards retention, users can now track their career development and connect with other users; employers now have access to new retention tools based on regional trends.
Despite things like “quiet quitting” or “The Great Resignation,” HR platforms are still on VCs radars, pouring $1.4 billion into the industry at the top of 2022 with HR startups raising a total of 12.3 billion last year. Based in Kansas, Gladney and Muhwezi-Hall are the first Black women to raise more than $1M in the Midwest. But according to Muhwezi-Hall, this time was harder than the last time they raised funding. “People would give soft commitments, perform extensive due diligence, and then back out, saying they actually never wanted to get into HR.” According to Forbes, Black founders were receiving less than 1% of VC funding; in 2021, they received 1.2%.
“It was very odd,” Muhwezi-Hall said. “A lot of these individuals have social media presences that are focused on diversity and inclusion. We were excited to meet with them. But when push came to shove, it was like any other — probably even worse than the VCs that just wouldn’t respond to our emails because they strung us along and wasted so much of our time.”
However, despite the obstacles, they were able to secure top investors such as Bloomberg Beta, MATH Venture Partners, Ruthless for Good Fund and Graham & Walker, which will allow them to expand to Chicago, Denver, Atlanta, and Dallas.
“Employers need better tools and capabilities to meet the needs of their workforce, and service-industry professionals thrive when offered opportunities to develop and grow their careers,” Josh Oeding, the founder of Tenzing Capital, told TechCrunch. “WorkTorch has figured out how to deliver value to employers, and professionals and the market is responding.”
Leslie Feinzaig, the founder of Graham & Walker, added, “I was deeply impressed by Deborah and Angela and had one of those magical first meetings where I immediately know I want to invest,” she told TechCrunch. “It was striking to me that this team deeply understands and respects the service workers, in a way that is rare in startup pitches. And this translates to metrics that are undeniable and unheard of for a startup at this stage.”
“WorkTorch is empowering people to pursue whatever they are passionate about. And then we come alongside them to help them get there,” Gladney said. This sister-duo is shifting the workforce. Looking at the economic downturn of the pandemic, we’re happy to hear that the relationship between employees and employers is changing. Not only is WorkTorch helping people snag interviews, but they’re also helping them grow professionally.