It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news of the passing of our local champion of the nonprofit community, Linda Dickerson.
Linda was a long-time supporter and former board member of Pennsylvania Women Work. But, to us, she was also our dear friend. We are grateful to have known her and for the years of outstanding leadership, wisdom, guidance, and generosity she shared with us.
Linda faced and overcame many health challenges in her life. But her disability didn’t stop her from building her own consulting business and supporting countless organizations with their missions. She dedicated her life to giving back, making Pittsburgh a better place, supporting vulnerable populations and those with disabilities, and assisting the nonprofit community to advance their missions.
Linda had a giving soul. She shared her time and talent generously and openly. She was always there to provide support and advice. Just recently, she authored an article in our Thought Leadership Blog series about the importance of giving back. She lived this virtue with all of her being despite the barriers she faced.
In 2014, we were privileged to honor Linda as our honorary Woman of Courage at the Circle of Hope awards dinner for her outstanding achievements. She was an inspiration to many, including our clients. She will be deeply missed.
We are creating a fund in Linda's honor to ensure that her memory lives on. It will be called the Linda Dickerson Fund to honor women like her who have overcome tremendous life obstacles. We will announce more information about the Fund in the coming months and how clients can apply for a scholarship or a grant award. We will also be sharing more information on how to donate to this specific fund soon.
By Amy Kaminski, Principal, Mulberry Public Affairs LLC
There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers. – Susan B. Anthony
Voting is one of the simplest and most effective ways to use your voice and influence the future of your community. People sometimes think their vote does not matter, but that could not be further from the truth. Elections are becoming tighter and tighter with some contests being decided by a few hundred votes. In local municipal elections, the margin can be even smaller.
You have probably heard the saying that all politics is local. This means that affecting change starts with each individual. The right to vote is a cornerstone of our democracy, and the choices you make on your ballot can affect everything from the education your kids receive in public schools to how much funding is spent on infrastructure.
While voter turnout is often lowest in local and municipal elections – township council members, school boards, commissioners, etc. – these are the elections that most directly affect your daily life. So, while national elections – president, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives – garner the most intention, remember that elections happen every year and it is important to use your voice in elections for all levels of government.
There is sometimes so much information about how to register to vote, who can vote, and where to vote, it can seem overwhelming.
Here is a simple overview of how to make sure your voice is heard this November:
1. Register to vote. Pennsylvania has a website that outlines the simple steps for registering to vote: VotesPA. To vote in Pennsylvania, you must first register to vote at least 15 days before the election. October 19, 2020 is the last day to register before the November 3, 2020, general election. If you think you may have registered in the past or if you need to update your registration, you can also check you registration status on the VotesPA site.
2. Vote in person. Pennsylvania now offers options for voting in-person or by mail. If you would like to vote in person, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. You can find your polling location online. This year’s general election is on November 3, 2020.
3. Request a mail-in ballot. If you prefer, you can request a mail-in ballot to vote by mail and not go in person. You have two options for mail ballots: (1) mail-in ballots can be requested by any qualified registered voter for any reason; and (2) absentee ballots can be requested by any qualified registered voter if you plan to be out of the municipality on election day or if you have a disability or illness. Mail-in and absentee ballots can be requested online. You will need a valid PA Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number to complete the application. On this same page, you can request to have an application mailed to you instead of applying for one online. Mail-in and absentee ballot applications for the November 3, 2020, general election must be received by your county election office by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
4. Submit your mail-in ballot. Once your mail-in application is approved, you will receive a ballot in the mail. Completed ballots must be RECEIVED by your county election office by 8:00 p.m. on November 3, 2020; postmarks are not enough. You will receive emails with updates to track your ballot and ensure it is received and processed.
Now that you are registered and ready to vote, how do you know who to vote for? The choice is yours! You can look up a sample ballot and learn more about the candidates in your area based on your address at Vote411. Happy voting!
By Jennifer Turner, Business Analyst – Operations, Port Authority
The current COVID-19 crisis has challenged companies unlike anything in the last 20 years. It has pushed CEOs to become great leaders, staff to work together in new ways, and has questioned the corporate culture of many organizations.
What if your company’s corporate values are not aligning with your own culture? As the late great Kenny Rogers stated, “You need to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.”
First let’s take a step back and define corporate culture. According to The Society of Human Relation Management, “Organizational culture can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including leadership behaviors, communication styles, internally distributed messages and corporate celebrations.” With so many different aspects creating corporate culture, many different terms have come to describe a company’s culture: customer-focused, innovative, fun, family-friendly, aggressive…just to name a few.
But no matter what culture you are examining, at the heart of all are values. Corporate value can be boiled down to seven basic categories: outcome orientation, people orientation, team orientation, attention to detail, stability, innovation and aggressiveness.
To determine if you are going to fit into a corporate culture, you must take a step back and ask yourself, “What do I value?” This should be something you know before accepting your position, however, what if you realize that the culture is not compatible after you start? What do you do next?
Step 1: Understand your Problem
As the terror and dread sets in of working in a culture that doesn’t align with your values indefinitely – and before you book yourself an expensive therapy appointment – ask yourself why. Determining why you are feeling unsettled can resolve the issue quickly before you experience burn out. If you are a new employee, it will give you an opportunity to walk away before you are “handcuffed” financially to the position.
Taking a few minutes to self-reflect is an extremely valuable tool at this stage of the problem. Ask yourself, “Am I really at odds with the company’s values, or am I just uncomfortable with being challenged?” Once you discover this it can lead to professional and personal growth and development.
Step 2: Take Action
This is the put up or shut up stage of the game. What if you enjoy your job and are good at it? How do you know when you should bail and when you should grit your teeth and stick it out? According to consultant and executive coach Margo Fawler, “I would ask myself: Is this an inconvenience, or is this a problem? Is what I’m encountering affecting my ability to be successful in my job?” If the answer is no, it will likely be easier to stay.
Keep in mind, if you choose to stay you will still be facing an uphill battle, but there are some techniques you can use to influence your surrounding corporate culture. For instance, you can request to work remotely with more independent work. You can also influence your department with new, innovative ideas and try to show how some changes could be good for everyone.
But if these ideas are not taken well, this extra effort could lead to burn-out at a much faster rate. If it doesn’t look like things are going to change, this is the point where you have to decide to either adapt to the culture or separate from it. You cannot be successful or satisfied by choosing to “Quit and Stay.”
Step 3: Learn from Your Experience
Falling for the wrong corporate culture is easy to do. With promises of bigger pay, more responsibility and better benefits, it is easy to put your own values aside and think you can adapt to your new norm. In the end, the square peg will never fit into the circle hole, and it will only lead to burn-out and frustration.
To avoid making this a pattern, you must be open and honest with yourself about your values. When interviewing for new positions do not be afraid to interview your interviewers about their management style and culture. You need to make sure this is an environment for you to thrive and achieve all your professional aspirations. Do not be afraid to stand firm to your values.
If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us anything it may be that it is incredibly important to stay true to our values. It is a lot easier to stand with a company whose values you understand and are proud to serve them as an employee. During this unprecedented time, whether you are looking for a new position or have realized your vision does not align to your company, stay true to your values and success and satisfaction will follow.
By Abby Swalga, communications manager, PA Women Work
COVID-19 has impacted each of us differently. For some, their days have changed from commuting into the office to walking from their bedrooms to their newly created in-home workspaces. But for others who are unable to do their full-time jobs from home, their days are filled with whatever they are choosing to fill them with.
What Netflix show can I binge today? How many rolls of toilet paper do I have left? Is 7 p.m. too early to go to bed? These thoughts can drive us all crazy.
We suggest looking at this time at home differently. Let’s make the most out of this situation by being productive, learning new things, exercising, growing personally and professionally, and offering a helping hand when we can.
Below is a list of suggested resources and ways for you to stay busy during your self-quarantine and most of all, make this time meaningful.
1. Participate in a free class or training: Universities across the country are offering hundreds of free courses you can take right now in things like computer science, business, humanities, education and more. And if your self-quarantine is getting a little gloomy, consider taking Yale University’s highly esteemed online course on happiness which was released for free last week.
2. Think outside the box for you and your kids’ schoolwork: Many sites are offering free resources to help you make your children’s daily lessons fun and productive – and keep you sane. You can find assistance with reading exercises, STEAM activities, mathematics projects and more. Some of the activities might even be helpful for adults.
3. Test the limits in your kitchen: If you bought a new cookbook last year that’s been collecting dust in your cupboard, it’s time to break it out. There are so many resources to find recipes, such as Pinterest or even just a quick Google search. The New York Times offered some suggestions for easy recipes you can try with limited ingredients during your quarantine – give one a go!
4. Be good to yourself: Getting out of the house every day for a 20-minute walk or some yardwork will really help break up your days and offer a reprieve from sitting in your house. Beyond that, exercise, yoga and meditation can really help curb anxiety and stress. Check out these sites and apps that are offering free self-care exercises during this situation.
5. Build your professional toolkit: Whether you’re working from home or your job situation has been impacted significantly, this is a great time to expand your professional skills. Work on updating your resume, create or update your LinkedIn (check out our past blog post for tips), search for free webinars in topics that interest you, watch TedTalks, and practice writing cover letters. Need more ideas? We’re here to help you grow as a professional and get your job-search on track.
6. Help whenever and however you can: While we’re all at a loss for what exactly to do during this time, it always feels good to help another human when we can. As the dust settles, and we dream about a day when we will be in recovery mode from this crisis, we know that thousands of people will be looking for jobs. Invest in our region’s economic recovery by reaching out to us about volunteering or giving to PA Women Work today.
What else are you doing to keep busy during your self-quarantine? We’d love to hear from you and share your suggestions and ideas. And most of all, we are sending well wishes of safety and good health to all of you.
By Linda Dickerson, long-time supporter and volunteer of Pennsylvania Women Work
It’s a new year, and I’m sure all of you have your resolutions in full swing. As we move through the year, I urge you all to keep the momentum going and consider setting a goal for yourself to give back to your community. Remember…when you give to your community, your community gives to you!
Here are five reasons why you should give back to your community:
Impact your well-being
It feels good to help others! When you’re making an impact in your community, it will ultimately impact your own well-being. With everything that we all have going on in our lives, volunteering your time or making a donation can make you feel good.
Learn new skills
When you volunteer, you expand your horizons. You learn new things, and that ultimately translates to skillsets on your resume. These new skills can often transform into new employment or professional development opportunities. Employers seek personnel with useful, versatile and applicable skills. Any chance to augment your skillset expands your chances to obtain a job and move your career forward.
Expand your network
When you get involved with a local organization or cause, you will meet new people with different backgrounds and experiences. You become inextricably bound by a commonality of purpose and perspectives, and longstanding friendships will often develop among volunteers. No one doubts the value of genuine friends. Whether you are in need or simply want to have some enrichment, new friends expand your curiosity and knowledge. They are a support system upon whom you can rely. They spark your interest in new experiences that you are likely to enjoy and value.
Not only that, expanding your network in this way broadens your opportunities. Fellow volunteers will become connections when you need them and expand your circle throughout your life.
If you volunteer, you gain a sense of accomplishment that will help build your self-esteem. When you have an appreciation of your value, you exude confidence. Every employer seeks confident employees eager to confront challenges that always proliferate in workspaces. A healthy and realistic sense of self is a precursor to challenging and rewarding employment.
Make a difference
When you volunteer, you change your community and the lives around you. You immediately add value to a community about which you care, and that in and of itself is the most important reason of all to give back.
You will not regret the decision to give back to your community. Should you choose to do so with PA Women Work, contact Kristin Ioannou at firstname.lastname@example.org or make a donation at www.pawomenwork.org/give.