Normalization of U.S. and Cuban Relations, WIIFM… What’s in it for me?

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Recently, the president has proposed the normalization of relations with Cuba causing a mix of emotions and heated debates throughout our country. I see this as a potentially huge possibility for entrepreneurs and the United States in general.

We have blocked this country from all things American for decades. With this opening up between the two countries, we can create an abundance of opportunities for citizens in both places. There is a ton of potential there if it comes to fruition. Obviously, some entrepreneurs will get out in front of it all. There are all types of possibilities for new business. One could possibly open a Cuban cigar store here in the States, or open a dealership in Cuba with cars that are from this century. Cubans have had to fix up the same, old cars (for eons) because they cannot get cars imported from other places. Restaurants could be opened in the U.S. The cuisine from Cuba can be shared and enjoyed. Some of the food from Cuba has never even been tasted by American lips. Of course, this is only if relations are normalized.

Despite many in congress speaking out against the change, I still believe it is a great step forward for a country 90 miles off our coast. Besides, why shouldn’t we, as Americans, also benefit? It can easily be seen that Cubans can benefit from this opening of trade, but so can we. What is wrong with taking advantage of this mutually beneficial opportunity?

This is a great time to capitalize on diversity. Some who were born in Cuba have never been able to leave. They have no way to keep track of current events happening in much of the rest of the world. They have little to no access to the latest technology; many having no money to buy and maintain a cell phone or internet service. According to a Cuban citizen’s, “average monthly salary is between $20-$30.” The people of this country have no choice but to live in the past.

By opening up the possibility of trade and tourism, both countries will have an opportunity to participate in the fruits of diversity. Generating money for Cuba through tourism would give the country the ability to rise up and become part of the rest of the world, which would add to and enhance diversity.

On the other end, this would be a great opportunity for U.S. business people to learn about the Cuban culture and ways and come back to the states and teach this to the entrepreneurs interested in moving to Cuba to open up shop. This could even be something that is set up with the Cuban government. Learn about the people and their ways in order to share with the US in order to enhance trade. WIIFM… What’s in it for me? We can make money and expand our knowledge base. All in all, the opportunities are endless. I truly hope the effort succeeds.

Inauguration of Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick

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It is the first inauguration in Texas in 12 years. The two most conservative Governor and Lt. Governor have been elected to represent our state. Liberals are up in arms because they are afraid of change. We all are. Some fear that now that conservatives are in control, there are changes that are coming that they are not going to like.

I say, who cares.  They don’t run the state. We have instituted checks and balances to prevent any one entity from just completely taking over. And yes, there’s been some turn over, but no man can run the state by himself. Your control point (the place citizens have and need control) are the house and senate, so don’t worry about how conservative the two new elects are. It really doesn’t matter.

For those who are upset, I say use this time to appreciate the diversity around you. Find out what Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick have on their agenda and be positive. Think about Greg Abbott. He is a diversity story within himself. His wife is Hispanic and he himself is physically challenged and is confined to a wheelchair. There are many layers to these individuals that have nothing to do with their political views that we all can find and appreciate.

As my Grandma Maggie used to say, “Quit fretting over nothing, it will all come out in the wash.” Go out and influence what you have the power to have influence over. Just worrying is a waste of energy. The rest is like the washing machine. You throw it in dirty, it comes out clean. Who cares what happens in between!

Diversity in the Virtual Workforce

The Future of the Workplace. Telecommuting is the next big thing. It shrinks the size of the offices and the people needed to be present to be influential. How do you prepare yourself so that you are viable in this new age? See what I think below:

Featured imageThere are fewer offices, more cubicles and there are even shared cubicles. In this day and age, there is no reason to be in the office, unless face to face interaction is necessary for management and leadership. Eventually, fewer and fewer people will be needed to show their face in the office on a daily basis.

You can’t be like me and be a dinosaur when it comes to technology. Get ahead of the curve, be knowledgeable, viable and relevant. If you fall behind, you can forget it. Technological education needs to begin with elementary and junior high students and should continue throughout adulthood.

How does diversity differ in a face to face world verses one that is not face to face? You do not have to deal with the culture of people as much, for the most part. There are less issues when you do not have to personally interact with people on a daily basis. Many years ago, most companies had a steno pool, a room of 30-40 women who did typing, transcription and such, as a fill-in (or temporary) type basis. If my administrative assistant was out, then I’d have to go to the steno pool. That place was so full of drama and arguing one had ever seen. I believe more people working from home can help to ease some of the “office drama”.

Companies who are worldwide, need to learn about the culture of other companies. Even if they do not meet them face to face, there is still room (and necessity) to learn their practices and rituals.

You do what it takes to get everyone on board in order to get the job done. It is different for each member of the team, but you must be equitable. You need to know what is required for each part of the company, suitable to the situation regardless of whether you sit at home to do your job, or you come into the office on a daily basis.


Intel Allocates $300 Million to Develop Workplace Diversity. How is the money best spent?

Featured image$300 million is fine, but companies have been spending lots of money for years and few accomplish anything significant. They do things like having a conference to talk about all of the great things they are doing to improve workplace diversity and sponsor an all Asian baseball team. It has been primarily about fluff, and here we are many years later, in a boat we were in 30 years ago. Nothing has really changed very much.

My past budgets have included things like:

First, and foremost, to pay salaries. Other things included creating a vision and developing active steps and measurement tools. After that, quite a bit was spent on various employee support groups (black, gay and lesbian, women’s groups, etc). The goal is to extend the progress from senior level management, all the way to the employees.

Hire Jefferson Consulting and I will create the optimal budget allocation for your company.  I can even show you how to save some money. Here’s a freebie: Diversity Inclusion study groups are often formed from employees within a company. Much of the time, the Diversity budget allocates money to pay the group’s bosses for their employee’s time out of the office. Ask each boss to waive the inter-office fee to help free up some of the budget. Many will gladly oblige for the overall benefit of the company.

Wondering what to do with your company’s Diversity plan? Ask Jefferson Consulting. I have created Diversity and Inclusion plans for budgets that are in the millions. No budget is too large or too small!

Who Said You Can’t Have it All? Pushing You Through to Your Full Potential.

Major Career or Life Change? Are you retiring from the military, a recent grad, just out of the professional sports field, or someone who is changing careers or starting new? What is the first step?

Take the first step in the journey towards success with Jefferson Consulting!

What did I want to be when I grew up? I wanted something with competitive pay and a chance for advancement. Equal opportunity was on the forefront at the time. Companies were going to have a person of color sitting by the door. Many companies just wanted to make sure that they checked the box of having a minority employee.

What I felt was, if I have something to contribute, and I see a chance of upward mobility, I will be part of the company.  One potential employer was excited about the opportunity to have me onboard, but for all of the wrong reasons. “You’ll be paving the way, you’ll be doing this for your community, and you’ll be the first.” I said, ‘No I won’t be paving the way. I’ll be doing what is best for me and what is best for the company I choose.’

How do you do it? Figure out where you think you want to go. Take a self-assessment, write down your interests in a generic sense. Start with the end in mind. Here are a few suggestions:

What is it you want to be?

Are you primarily money oriented or purpose driven?

Do you want to LOVE your job?

Do you want to travel the world?

Sometimes the picture isn’t so pretty. Sometimes the picture is unclear. Sometimes you figure out you have quite a hill to climb. At the end of the day you can be whatever you want, but it always takes a sacrifice. The question is: What’s the price you are willing to pay? You have to know yourself and what drives you.

Let me build THE plan for you. With Jefferson Consulting, you won’t need a plan B. As long as you follow the plan, you will get it right the first time. If you invest the time and energy to follow the plan I lay out for you, you can accomplish anything you want.

Take President Obama, he was simply a community organizer before being elected to the U.S. Senate. Of course he did a lot of hard work and sacrifice in between the two. But today, at the end of it all, he is the president. You too can reach all of the dreams and aspirations you can imagine.

Build your community, don’t burn it down!

What could have been done differently in Ferguson? See my thoughts below.

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First, the media could have highlighted the issue of coming together as a community to TALK and plan a solution. Instead, the media played on the emotions of the crowd.  They could have helped the police and the citizens come together as a unified group instead of playing on the divisiveness of the emotions of the group.

The community could have shown more restraint, following the lead of Mike Brown’s Mother, as she asked for peaceful protest. They could have done more to keep outside influences, such as negative media and violent protesters, away. On top of that, how stupid is it to burn down your own community? You’re going to burn down businesses that you use, that are there to serve you? That doesn’t help anybody.

How could the public officials have done to help put the fire out?

I think they tried. They appointed the senior level black state policeman to deal with crowd control, public appearances and so forth. If anything could have been done differently, the governor could have stepped up in support of the community a little more. I believe the public officials did the best they could.

Overall, we need to do something to revamp and modernize the grand jury process, making it more transparent. Because the grand jury meets in secret, the process of selection is questionable and their deliberation is not transparent, people feel starved for information and facts. If citizens were informed on what happens behind those closed doors, then their reaction could have possibly been different, maybe causing the community to react differently regardless of the outcome of the grand jury’s decision. Changing the process of the grand jury could be the key to start the process of building the community, instead of burning it down.


Update! February 17th, 2015:

Harris County DA Anderson has stated her support for legislation that will revamp the grand jury selection process. (Houston chronicle)

Although I am not aware of the details, there is legislation that will be considered by the Texas lawmakers in Austin. It is my hope that any such legislation will not only deal with the selection process of the grand jurors, but will also deal with overhauling the grand jury system in total. This would include, looking at things like making the entire process more transparent.