Wonder Women Tech Diversity & Inclusion in STEAM Conference

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─Sponsors include Amazon, Google, Deloitte and Microsoft─

─Diversity Career Fair Presented by Amazon is Open to the Public to Connect Attendees with Organizations Recruiting Talented, Diverse Candidates─

The Third Annual Wonder Women Tech Diversity & Inclusion in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Conference is taking place August 18- 20 at the Long Beach Convention Center in California. Organized and produced by Wonder Women Tech (WWT) Foundation, a nonprofit organization that educates and celebrates women and diversity in STEAM, the conference is designed to further the development of women, girls and the underrepresented as innovators. The three day event will feature a wide range of programming including presentations and panel discussions, coding classes and career development workshops to spotlight women, diversity in tech, and the pioneers leading the way for technology innovation.

This year’s conference is being supported by leading brands such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Deloitte and Molina Healthcare.

New this year is the Diversity Career Fair presented by Amazon that offers the opportunity to learn about and engage with hundreds of companies – ranging from Fortune 500s and startups to academic institutions and nonprofit organizations – who are actively seeking to hire talented diverse candidates. The Fair will also offer workshops and sessions on career development, mentoring and resume review. Open to the public from 10am-4pm on Saturday, August 19th, the fair is free to those who submit their resumes in advance.

With the goal of inspiring women and creating solutions around diversity and inclusion in STEAM industries, WWT has lined up over 150 speakers including:

  • Johanna Maska, CEO, Global Situation Room and former White House Director of Press Advance for former President Barack Obama
  • Barbara H. Whye, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for Intel and VP of Human Resources
  • Danielle Merfeld, Vice President, GE Global Research

Disney, Pixar and Lucas Films are set to present a special panel discussion on breaking into the industry, and Amazon’s Alexa AI team will be on-hand to discuss the future of artificial intelligence technology. Additionally, BuzzFeed will be presenting a series of panel discussions hosted by its editorial and video production teams. Speakers will include influencers in digital content and the entire cast of hit show Ladylike who will discuss using digital media platforms to create success.

Other speakers confirmed to date include: Aura Moore CIO, Los Angeles World Airports (LAX); Sabine Quetant, Director of Marketing, Blavity; KR Liu, Director, Advocacy and Accessibility, Doppler Labs, Janet Ipka, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lead, Hired Inc.; Arabian Prince, Founding Member, N.W.A., Rapper, Technologist, Innov8te Next and many more.

“Wonder Women Tech’s goal is to continue breaking the glass ceiling for women in technology, and creating opportunities for the underrepresented to gain access to thought leaders, tools and resources, as well as highlight these great innovators who are creating great change in STEAM. We are thrilled to have the support of so many inspirational people and sponsors who share our vision,” said founder Lisa Mae Brunson. “Our theme, #WeAreChangeMakers, applies to all people – and our goal is to empower and show women and the underrepresented of all ages how they can be change makers and can innovate, empower and ignite to make a difference.”

The conference strives to create a shift in diversity and inclusion within STEAM industries by offering the latest game-changing trends and revolutionary content. Additional highlights include:

  • Science Fair Showcase – features new, student-created inventions and inspirations and provides an opportunity for networking, future mentorships and collaborations
  • Steam Camps – workshops and panels designed to help empower seniors, deaf, hard-of-hearing and disabled community members (interpreters/closed-captioning available)
  • Junior Innovation Camp – free STEAM workshops geared toward underserved youth ages 13-18

WWT is committed to creating a truly inclusive and immersive conference that everyone can enjoy – from mothers, seniors and youth to those with disabilities, or those who are deaf or hard of hearing, and other underrepresented groups.

For more information and updates on sessions and speakers, click here.

To purchase a ticket to the Wonder Women Tech Diversity & Inclusion in STEAM Conference click here.

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About Wonder Women Tech

Wonder Women Tech (WWT) seeks to create a shift in diversity and inclusion within STEAM industries by offering revolutionary content and impactful discussions by producing year-round programming and national and international conferences that highlight, educate, and celebrate women and the underrepresented in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), innovation and entrepreneurialism. The conferences include speakers, panel discussions, coding classes, workshops, hackathons, community inclusion activities, thought leadership, and other dynamic programming geared towards empowering women, girls, people of color, the underrepresented and diverse communities. For more information on Wonder Women Tech, please visit www.wonderwomentech.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Black Wealth Transfer and Confronting the Racial Wealth Gap
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The second installment of Bloomberg’s Power of Difference series on Black wealth offered a deep dive into issues that impact intergenerational Black wealth transfer. The three part series, hosted by Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, seeks to highlight and encourage dialogue about the structures that aid in Black wealth accumulation and extraction.

Speakers discussed why wealth transfer remains pivotal to building wealth in the United States and explained how the historical lack of opportunity for Black families to preserve and pass on wealth has contributed to the prevalence of racial wealth inequality today.

 

Inherited wealth plays a pivotal role in advancing the economic launch point for future generations. Despite the pervasiveness of the American rags to riches story, the wealthiest families have certainly benefited from this capital infusion power–about 30% of the Forbes 400 inherited at least $50 million. Middle and working-class families can use transferred capital and assets to boost emergency savings, make down payments on homes, pay tuition for private schools and higher education, and invest in the financial markets or new entrepreneurship.

Black families, however, are five times less likely than white families to receive a sizable inheritance. When they do, the amount is still typically three times lower on average than what white families receive. This disparity has contributed to Black Americans falling behind in wealth accumulation while white generational peers are empowered to move towards further economic stability and advancement. Black families have certainly been capable of growing assets even in the shadow of Jim Crow and other forms of systemic racism that persist to this day. So why haven’t they been able to hold on to this wealth and pass it to their heirs?

Before the Race Massacre of 1921, the Greenwood district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a vibrant, thriving community of Black residents, like many of the “Freedmen’s Towns, and “Freedom Colonies established after the Civil War. Families there owned land, operated businesses, and ran community-sustaining institutions to create property wealth with an estimated value of over $200 million in today’s dollars, earning Greenwood the moniker “Black Wall Street.” When the Greenwood neighborhood was burned to ashes during a violent racial attack, hundreds of residents lost their lives and businesses, thousands of survivors were left homeless and impoverished, and many of them were hunted down, executed, or imprisoned. Laws were passed by the city of Tulsa to impede the rebuilding of Greenwood by survivors and their families. The most disheartening part of Greenwood’s story: this was not an uncommon occurrence.

In Chicago alone, approximately 1,000 Black homes and businesses were burned down during the Red Summer of 1919, a season of racism-fueled on Black communities across the nation. The segregation and violence of Jim Crow, in particular, have been theorized to have had a pervasive impact, stifling Black innovation and entrepreneurship with the threat of violent reprisal for Black wealth building.

In the latest Power of Difference event, speakers discussed how racially driven violence toward Black people like in Tulsa, Chicago, and elsewhere — particularly during the several decades following the abolishment of slavery — was used to rob Black people, destroy their property and intimidate them from building wealth. Government policies, local and federal, often neglected to protect Black communities from this ongoing threat, and instead have codified many racially discriminatory policies such as redlining, government seizures under eminent domain, and disenfranchisement. In turn, such practices have systematically destroyed and eroded the value of Black wealth since the Reconstruction era, with the effects felt to this day.

Pathways to recovery and resilience

Despite economic impediments and discriminatory policies, strategic options and vehicles for securing assets can help more Black families strengthen the economic mobility of future generations. Session speakers painted a detailed picture of how to address these systemic injustices: loopholes in state property inheritance laws can be closed; discriminatory institutional practices and local ordinances, such as those that might assign more value to land according to who owns it, can be revoked; and concentrations of wealth in Black communities, like those created in Greenwood can be systematically encouraged through initiatives that can start at the individual level.

Sean Anderson, a curator from The Museum of Modern Art, discussed the Reconstructions, Architecture, and Blackness in America exhibition he created with scholar and architect Mabel Wilson and 11 Black architects, designers and artists. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the project aims to encourage reflection on how Black communities strive to build and rebuild in the face of economic and social challenges, and “…how history can be made visible and equity can be built”. The exhibition sparks questions about topics such as “What might our nation look like today if all-Black towns of the past had been allowed to thrive?” and “How might Black community spaces be used to prepare for threats imposed by climate change?”

Reggie Lee, Partner and Chief Transformation Officer at The Carlyle Group described the ten-year journey he took to reclaim the family land that his great grandmother, a formerly enslaved person, had purchased during the Reconstruction era. His story serves as a case study for reclaiming and preserving family-owned assets. For example, to keep the newly reclaimed property intact for future generations, using a trust to ensure legacy building.

The panel Q&A delved into reasons for the continued loss of Black assets and different ways better laws, policies, and individual practices could help reverse this trend. Lack of wills and vehicles like trusts, for example, can make family land and other asset claims vulnerable to loopholes in policies, such as heirs property laws (aka ownership in common) or inheritance taxes. However, it is estimated that 70% of Black Americans do not have a will or estate plan.

Click here to read the full article on Bloomberg.

Six Apps that Help you Stick to a Budget
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In these days of furloughs, layoffs, and shortened hours, when many people are struggling to pay their rent, figure out how to manage their bills, and looking askance at their college loans, it can help to have a solid financial app to assess your situation, create a budget, figure out exactly what you can (or can’t) afford, work with those pesky and confusing figures, find a better way to save, or just keep from panicking.

We asked four staff members from The Verge to talk about what they used to keep financially sane, and here’s what they recommended.

Buxfer: All Around Accounting

First of all, I need to admit that I monitor my finances in an absurdly old-fashioned way. I don’t use an app that downloads all of my accounts and tracks everything for me (although I have played around with Mint a bit). Instead, I enter all of my expenses and income manually into my accounting software and then check off which expenses have cleared at the end of the month. That way, I can “pay” many of my bills ahead of time by entering them before the payments are actually made and end up with a much clearer picture of how much cash I’ll have available afterward.

For years, I used native accounting software that just sat on my personal computer, like Microsoft Money. In fact, I held on to Money for several years after Microsoft sunsetted it but still kept it available as a download. (Thank you for that, Microsoft!) However, I found out how much of a mistake that was the day my computer decided to (figuratively) crash and burn. I had a backup, so I wasn’t in much trouble — except I decided I didn’t want to be dependent on a backup. I wanted to be able to access my data from the cloud, so I could access it from a computer or from my phone. However, I still enter it manually.

It took a while, but I found Buxfer. This personal accounting software is simple to learn, easy to use, and flexible enough so that, while it will happily download all of your data for you, it will also let you manually enter your expenses and income (something most other current accounting apps do not). Buxfer does pretty much everything more well-known accounting apps do: it downloads your accounts (if you want it to), tracks your budget, lets you know how you’re doing using charts and tables, follows your investments, and lets you set goals for, say, saving up for a home or paying down a credit card. It even lets you split bills with a spouse or a roommate, so you can track who is paying for what.

If you only need something to manually add expenses and income to, Buxfer is free to use. If you want more sophisticated features — like, for example, automatic syncing with your bank and credit card accounts or automatic tagging of your accounts (so you can easily find “utilities” or “mortgage”) — then a “Pilot” account costs $2 / month. The cost increases up to $10 a month, depending on how many features you need.

I really like Buxfer. It has a clean, understandable interface; lets you choose how many of your features you want to use (and lets you ignore the others); and doesn’t bother you with intrusive ads — even on the free version. And although I was using the free version, when I had a question, I got a prompt reply to my email. Buxfer may not be as well-known as Quicken or YNAB, but it’s certainly worth checking out. —Barbara Krasnoff, reviews editor

Credit Karma:  Keep your Data Secure

A couple of years ago, I needed to find a company (cheap or free) that I could use for identity monitoring, and someone at work recommended Credit Karma. I soon found out that, in signing up for Credit Karma, I was signing up for much more than just identity monitoring.

Credit Karma watches all of your accounts for possible data breaches, monitors your credit standing and notifies you when it changes and why, and helps you to do things like lock your credit so that it’s harder for somebody to open an account in your name, among other services. It also offers links to information about buying a home, buying or leasing a car, paying down an overdrawn credit card, and other financial services. There is an entire section on financial relief, which could be very useful for those impacted by the current situation.

The site makes a variety of suggestions for low-interest credit cards, loans, and other financial instruments. Of course, these suggestions aren’t given strictly out of the kindness of its heart — you know that Credit Karma is getting compensated if you take it up on any of its offers — but I’ve checked out a few of its deals, and most of them aren’t bad. For example, one of their savings accounts offered considerably more interest than my local bank, without charging anything extra. (Unfortunately, when interest rates began to dive, the usefulness of that particular account dove with it.)

Unlike most of the other apps mentioned here, Credit Karma will not help you pay your bills or track your bank account. But it does offer some really useful information and services, and while I don’t check it more than once a month or so, I find it helps me make sure my finances are safe and on the right track. —Barbara Krasnoff

Continue to The Verge to read the full article

How to Refinance Student Loans
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By Adam Hardy, Yahoo! Money

In an ideal scenario, refinancing your student loans can help you secure a lower interest rate, reduce your monthly loan payments or both. However, refinancing isn’t a smart move — nor is it always possible — for every borrower. And there are several downsides to refinancing federal student loans that you should be aware of.

Still, if you refinance your student loan under the right conditions, it could save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

Read on for a step-by-step guide to refinancing your student loans, FAQs and everything else you should know before refinancing.

1. Decide if refinancing is right for you

Throughout the pandemic, student loan refinancing rates have been near historic lows. As a result, refinancing has received a lot of attention. But that isn’t reason enough to do it.

Your personal situation is what matters most. Here are some general scenarios where refinancing makes sense:

  • Your personal finances have improved since you took out your current loan(s). If your credit score, job situation and debt-to-income ratio is much better than when you first took out the loan, it may make sense to refinance. This also applies to the financial situation of your co-signer, if you have one.
  • You have private student loans. Only private lenders will refinance your student loans. Unfortunately, the federal government will not. You can still refinance a federal loan, but know that it then becomes a private loan and you lose all of your federal borrower protections (more on that below). On the other hand, if your current loan is a private loan, essentially all you’re doing when you refinance is trading a private loan for a (hopefully better) private loan.
  • The new loan fits your needs. Ideally, your new loan will have a lower interest rate and/or monthly payment. In some cases, you might want a shorter loan length with a higher monthly payment to knock out your student debt faster. You may also be willing to lengthen the term of your loan for lower monthly payments. Whatever the case, if the new loan terms aren’t helping you, there’s no reason to refinance.
  • You’re OK with giving up federal borrower protections and programs. When you refinance a federal student loan, it becomes a private loan. Thus, you lose all eligibility for federal forbearance, forgiveness, income-based repayment and financial-hardship programs. Unfortunately, once you refinance your federal student loan into a private one, you can’t revert it.

Also weigh these pros and cons before refinancing your student loans.

Pros

  • You can take advantage of market fluctuations to lower the interest rate on your loans.
  • You can choose the length of your repayment term (usually between five and 20 years).
  • New rates or term length can lower or raise your monthly payments.
  • If your old loan had a co-signer, you’ll have the option to remove that person

Cons

  • You won’t be eligible for any repayment perks tied to federal positions, like military or volunteer service (if your previous loans were from the federal government).
  • You won’t be eligible for federal student loan forbearance or forgiveness plans (if your previous loans were from the federal government).
  • Private lenders usually don’t offer income-based repayment options.
  • If you switch your federal loans into private loans, that’s irreversible.

Thinking about your long-term goals with refinancing will prepare you to better evaluate different lenders’ loan repayment options. Are you trying to pay off your student loan debt as quickly as possible or reduce your monthly payments? Or is consolidation (i.e. lumping all your private and/or federal loans into one monthly payment) your primary goal?

Once you have your goal, you can think more about the terms to look for.

2. Check your credit score

Just because you’ve decided refinancing makes sense for the type of student loans you have doesn’t mean you’ll actually get the better loan terms you want. Most lenders have strict requirements for who they’ll let into their club, though it’s easier to get approved today than it was when refinancing first came on the scene.

For starters, you’ll generally need a credit score between 650 to 680 — but that’s only to meet basic eligibility requirements. To receive the best student loan refinance rates, you should have a FICO score of about 750 or above.

To make sure you’re in that ballpark, do a credit check before proceeding. And to avoid any surprises when you’re finalizing the terms of your new loan, try early on to get your FICO score, which is essentially a brand-name version of your credit score. Many lenders look at your FICO score — or they set outright FICO score requirements — when determining their loan rates.

If you get your credit score from a bank, credit-card provider or personal-finance app, double check to see if it’s your FICO score. If not, you can purchase the most accurate and up-to-date versions of your FICO score directly from FICO at myFICO.com. Alternatively, you can access a version of your FICO score for free from the credit bureau Experian.

If your score comes back lower than you anticipated, then your next step should be pulling your credit report to find out what’s affecting your score.

As a reminder, you shouldn’t pay for your credit report in almost all cases. You can access your credit reports for free through AnnualCreditReport.com. Until April 22, 2022, each of the three major credit bureaus are providing free weekly credit reports — also available on the site.

Continue to read the full article posted on Yahoo! Money.

Your Guide to Economically Surviving COVID-19
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By Kathryn Porritt

The financial impacts of COVID-19 are yet to be fully seen, but small business owners and entrepreneurs across the world are already seeing major impacts to their businesses. Many are scared, wondering what options they have to economically survive this time.

There are ways for businesses to survive – a business can even thrive during an economic downturn. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small business with less than five employees or a large corporation with 50,000 employees. Economic thriving is possible, even amid COVID-19.

Here’s how owners can create economic thriving:

Lead with Authority

Now is the time for owners to lead with authority. This time of transition and transformation can be a positive, powerful one if leaders show up for themselves and their businesses. Both their employees and their audience will feed off of the energy they show up with and produce. So, owners need to be the powerful leader and spokesperson who shows up for their team.

Brainstorm Ideas

It’s a key time for business owners to brainstorm ideas, both with their niche audience and with other business owners. The creative ideas that this process produces will allow an owner to figure out how to creatively pivot and shift their offerings to meet the needs of their audience. These ideas will help them navigate the rough waters with more ease and come up with their most creative offerings.

Think Big

Unfortunately, when times of chaos and crisis hit, many business owners start to fall into the trap of a scarcity mindset. This is the exact opposite of what needs to happen. Instead, this is a prime time to really think big, and outside of the box. Owners need to take the time to get crystal clear on their business goals and re-outline the steps needed to achieve them.

Know the Message

A businesses’ message and attitude need to remain positive. The message of a business can cause a ripple effect, from top down, so it’s paramount that owners find gratitude in their business, its offerings, and for their audience market. What is the key message that the business wants to promote? And how is that creating a positive impact in the market the business serves?

Own the Position of Authority

Now is a business owners’ time to shine by owning their authority in the marketplace they serve. Don’t be shy! This is the time for them to show their audience and the public why they deserve to be a market leader.

Stay Connected

More than ever, it’s times like these that connection is paramount. Business owners need to be connected to their market, their audience, and also their friends and loved ones – so that they can rest and recharge. Technology makes it possible to connect in a variety of ways, so take advantage of it!

Business owners can now take up their position of authority, own their expertise and lead powerfully. The world is craving positive, insightful and creative leaders with engaging solutions. Business owners need to take a slight pause, step back, and realize the opportunities before them. Instead of caving to fear and market unrest, they need to be pushing forward toward their goals. Just because the way to reach a goal may have changed for the owner, doesn’t mean the goal itself has changed. And, above all else, owners need to remember to rest and take care of themselves, so that they can continue to lead from the front.

UT Arlington to Give $10.6m in Student Grants
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The University of Texas at Arlington, otherwise known as UT Arlington, will be giving its students $10.6 million in grants through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The CARES Act provided UT Arlington with more than $21 million in April. About half of this amount will be given as financial aid to UT Arlington’s students, while the other half will be used for other university-related needs.
Of the $10.6 million in grants, full-time students are eligible to receive $1000, while part-time students will be eligible to receive $500.
However, not all students will be eligible to receive these funds, such as international, undocumented, and unenrolled students, as well as students in certain online exclusive programs, who do not qualify for financial aid, or do not have a need for the money.

For students who are not qualified for the grant and need financial assistance, UT Arlington’s emergency assistance fund can be applied for here.

Studies Show 1 in 4 Americans are Seeking Type of Advisor During the Pandemic
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While health concerns continue to be top of mind surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, other aspects of day-to-day life contribute to the anxieties due to these uncertain times. One significant additional concern is the future of financial sustainability.

To truly understand the concerns of the public, Nationwide surveyed over 2,000 Americans, including 600 investors, to see how the pandemic has changed their financial concerns. John Carter, the president and COO of Nationwide, stated of the survey, “People are struggling, they are making sacrifices, and we firmly believe that their health and safety should be everyone’s top priority right now. We are also committed to helping Americans protect their financial health for the long term. Our latest research identifies areas where they are challenged and looking for guidance.”

According to Nationwide’s study, 70% of respondents testified to feeling either cautious or uncertain for the future of their personal finances, including 69% of the surveyed investors. This data doesn’t come as a surprise to Nationwide’s additional data that stated nearly 1 in 4 of those surveyed testified to having reached out to a financial advisor for the first time because of the pandemic, including 26% of the investors asked. Only 31% of all surveyed had previously used a financial advisor, with only 58% of the investor subset being included in that tally.

Financial concerns among those who responded to the survey stated their two biggest concerns over the effects of the virus were the inability to pay bills and the fear of losing their life savings. Other concerns included the fear of losing their jobs, affording healthcare, and not being able to retire.

Kristi Rodriguez, the leader of the Nationwide Retirement Institute, stated, “Americans feel a lack of control and a need for more guidance. Even if they do all the right things to manage their finances and investments, the vast majority of Americans, including 80% of all respondents and 85% of investors, agree they can still be blindsided by outside events.”

But just because there are fears surrounding finances during this time, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Nationwide is dedicated to helping those concerned with their financial situation through their various resources. To find out more about what Nationwide has to offer and see more of the survey’s results, check out Nationwide’s full press release here

Does a Career in Finance Pay Off?
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Often requiring long hours and grueling days at the office, finance remains one of the highest-paying sectors in the U.S. economy.

Those who stick with it are rewarded with high pay and typically shorter hours as they move up the ranks in the industry.

If you’re looking for a high-paying career, browse through the following list:

Finance Jobs with the Highest Salaries

Investment Banker–
$81,000–$183,000
Investment bankers have a wide range of responsibilities that touch many areas of the financial industry. In general, investment bankers raise money for their clients by issuing debt or selling equity in companies for their clients. They also advise clients on investment opportunities and strategies, as well as assist with mergers and acquisitions. Typically requiring long hours and a strong work ethic, aspiring investment bankers must be tenacious in their approach to the job.

Equity Analyst–
$64,000–$164,000
Equity analysts are typically employed by brokerages or financial firms to analyze the value of a company’s stock and make financial predictions about a company. This type of research is accomplished through numerical and qualitative analysis of financial data, public records of companies, recent news and other information sources.

Financial Analyst–
$49,000–$89,000
Like equity analysts, financial analysts use quantitative and qualitative methods to study the performance of investments, such as stocks, bonds and commodities to provide investment guidance to businesses and individuals. Financial analysts also may advise companies on their financial strategy decisions.

Credit Risk Manager–
$67,000–$134,000
Credit risk managers develop, implement and maintain policies and protocols that help to reduce the credit risk of financial institutions. Their duties include building financial models that predict credit risk exposure as well as monitoring and reporting on credit risk to the organizations they are employed by. A highly quantitative job, becoming a credit risk manager often requires an area-specific master’s degree.

Director of Financial Planning and Analysis–
$113,000–$175,000
The director of financial planning and analysis is typically in charge of creating and overseeing budgets, long-term financial plans, analyses and predictions for a financial organization or team. This role often requires an MBA or degree in accounting or finance, and sometimes it is required that employees in this role are certified as an accountant.

This app wants to bring banking to the unbanked
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Growing up in Terry, Mississippi, Sheena Allen didn’t spend much time in banks.

The small town, located 17-miles south of Jackson, only had one bank branch (and still does). Much of the community got by without ever having accounts, including Allen’s grandmother and great grandmother. They relied on fee-heavy solutions like payday loans and check cashing services.

Allen, a 29-year-old app developer, hadn’t given much thought to the issues associated with not having a bank account until she came home for the holidays in 2015. She noticed how the people who still rely on non-traditional banking lose money on interest and fees for cashing checks, reloading prepaid cards, and borrowing and lending money. Without a bank account, they had difficulty establishing credit scores, buying homes, and saving for the future.

After years of living in a few large US cities, she unexpectedly found her biggest business idea back where she started.

In 2016, she started working on CapWay, an online banking and financial literacy app that aims to help the unbanked, underbanked and people living paycheck to paycheck.

“I know this problem from a personal point of view, from my family and friends, but I didn’t know this problem from outside of Mississippi,” said Allen, who spent a year traveling around the US researching the issue.

Users can connect existing accounts to the app or get a pre-paid card from CapWay, which Allen says will have a lower rate than most other cards currently available. It will make custom suggestions based on an individual’s spending habits, such as pointing them to a state-run program that can help renters become homeowners or telling them how to avoid overdraft fees. The ultimate goal is to change behavior and transition users to a proper bank account.

Although anyone can use the app, it is targeted toward Millennials who aren’t yet set in their ways to “stop them from going into a cycle that’s really hard to get out of,” she said.

CapWay is still in the testing phase. It will first roll out to iOS, Android and mobile web users in Mississippi, which has the highest population of unbanked and underbanked residents. When it launches nationally later this year, CapWay will partner with schools, employers, financial institutions and community organizations in the South to reach the people who need it.

Allen says the company will make money off paid partnerships, fees from pre-paid cards, and sponsored content and advertising.

Allen says CapWay is making sure its educational content easy to understand and tailored for its audience.

“In the end, education and understanding money along with giving them to tools to put that education to use will be the shift. You can’t give people one part and not the other and expect to see a big change,” said Allen.

Continue onto CNN to read the complete article.

TFS Scholarships Launches Online Toolkit to Provide College Funding Resources
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SALT LAKE CITY— TFS Scholarships (TFS), the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding, has launched a free online toolkit to provide counselors, families and students with resources to help improve the college scholarship search process. The toolkit, available at tuitionfundingsources.com/resource-toolkit, provides downloadable resources and practical tips on how to find and apply for scholarships.

The launch comes in celebration with Financial Aid Awareness Month when many families are beginning the FAFSA process and researching financial aid options.

“We hope these resources help raise awareness around TFS and the 7 million college scholarships available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students,” said Richard Sorensen, president of TFS Scholarships. “Our goal is to help families discover alternative ways to offset the rising costs of higher education.”

The resource toolkit includes flyers, email templates, newsletter content, digital banners and table toppers which are designed to be shareable content that counselors, students and organizations can use to spread the word about how to find free money for college.

The newly revamped TFS website curates over 7 million scholarship opportunities from across the country – with the majority coming directly from colleges and universities—and matches them to students based on their personal profile, where they want to study, and stage of academic study. By tailoring the search criteria, TFS identifies scholarships that students are uniquely qualified for, thus lowering the application pool and increasing the chances of winning. By creating an online profile, students can find scholarships representing more than $41 billion in aid. About 5,000 new scholarships are added to the database every month and appear in real time.

Thanks to exclusive financial support from Wells Fargo, the TFS website is completely ad-free, and no selling of data, making it a safe and trusted place to search.

For more information about Tuition Funding Sources visit tuitionfundingsources.com.

 

About TFS Scholarships

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Sharks Talk Tech, Trends & Tenacity
LinkedIn
Shark Tank

By Brady Rhoades

On a recent episode of the Emmy-award winning Shark Tank, a 17-year-old entrepreneur—a born salesman—pitched a product that would help prevent Plantar Fasciitis, a debilitating foot condition.

This prompted toothy smiles all around from the sharks, until the teenager stated that he planned on skipping college and pursuing his business full-time.

Those smiles turned to winces.

“I’ll be devastated if you skip college,” said shark Mark Cuban, a billionaire who owns the Dallas Mavericks. Cuban gently lectured the youth on the importance of learning science, technology, engineering, finance, statistics, and marketing.

“Knowledge gives you the greatest competitive advantage,” he said, adding that he ran businesses out of dorm rooms while in college.

Everyone knows that Shark Tank is about entrepreneurship. And everyone knows there are lucrative opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math (STEAM). The economy is leaning—and none too lightly—in that direction.

Just take a gander at a few of the tech-startups that have made it big by partnering with sharks:

  • Groovebook: People love snapping pictures on their phones, but until Groovebook, there really wasn’t an easy way to get them printed and placed into an album. With Groovebook, users can select photos right from their camera roll, and upload them to the app. The selected photos will be printed and delivered right to your door in the photo album of your choice. Founders Julie and Brian Whiteman got the idea when Julie lost all her family photos on her smartphone. After its deal with Shark Tank, Groovebook sold to Shutterfly for $14.5 million;
  • PhoneSoap: Thanks to PhoneSoap, your phone can be properly cleaned. Makers Dan Barnes and Wes LaPorte landed the deal on Shark Tank. That move earned PhoneSoap a spot on QVC, where it made the bulk of its initial earnings. By the beginning of 2016, Phonesoap had sold more than 100,000 units after landing a retail deal with Bed, Bath, & Beyond;
  • Breathometer: Charles Yim’s Breathometer brought six sharks together. It was a feeding frenzy. The Breathometer was a mobile device app and attachment initially developed to analyze blood-alcohol-content level. The idea was that the Breathometer could help party-goers make better judgments and avoid drinking and driving. The cast of the show agreed to go in on a deal with Yim. Since then, Yim has raised $1 million and has a new product called Mint that monitors oral health.

Shark Tank, which has become a cultural touchstone in America and around the world, premiered in August 2009 and aired 14 episodes through January 2010. In August of that same year, it was renewed for a second season. Season 2 secured a Friday night time slot.

By 2013, CNBC licensed exclusive off-network cable rights for the series from ABC.

Shark Tank is now in its ninth season, and stronger than ever. Sharks have invested more than $100 million in contestants’ businesses, turning dozens of entrepreneurs into millionaires.

The show has won four Emmys, in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

The show’s success comes, in part, from its premise. Entrepreneurs present their products to the sharks, who are tough, sophisticated investors. Also accounting for the success is the educational value the show provides: viewers learn about profit margins, scale-ability, branding and more.

But make no mistake: the sharks are the stars; they draw eyeballs to the screen.

Viewers have gotten a glimpse into the minds of Richard Branson, Troy Carter, Ashton Kutcher, Chris Sacca, Phil Crowley, and Kevin Harrington.

The mainstays have been the straight-shooting Cuban, take-no-prisoners investor Kevin O’Leary (“Mr. Wonderful”), QVC phenom Lori Greiner, real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, global tech-innovator Robert Herjavec and fashion visionary Daymond John.

Cast

This season, baseball great and business superstar Alex Rodriguez and Skinnygirl Cocktails founder Bethenny Frankel (who you might also recognize from The Real Housewives of New York) have joined the show.

The diversity of the sharks is a big part of Shark Tank’s appeal.

There have been women, African-Americans, immigrants and, now, a Hispanic (Rodriguez).

That means viewers get all manner of perspectives.

In turn, the show attracts a diverse group of entrepreneurs. Any businessman or woman worth his or her salt will tell you that a key to success is drawing from the biggest talent pool available. Contestants’ ideas matter; their knowledge matters; their work ethic matters. Their gender, race, religion, age … not so much.

A Shark Tank panel recently discussed secrets to the show’s success, and keys to success in business, touching on tech-startups and the importance of inclusion when it comes to talent. Here are some nuggets from the sharks:

  • Frankel, on how she branded Skinnygirl: “I used that platform BETHENNY FRANKEL(TV) to communicate with women about business, be relatable, to tell people about my life. Through stories on the show I created my brand in real time, from the logo, to the concept, and so I think the audience enjoyed watching it happen. A lot of the time with Shark Tank people were successful already, they were making money, I was completely broke when I was on housewives and so people watch it unfold… For me, with the creation of the skinny girl margarita, to me it was a simple, basic idea. It was the first ready-to-drink low calorie cocktail. I didn’t know anything, and it was a male run business. I pitched it to everyone and no one wanted to do it. People didn’t even come to the meetings. And I didn’t know what licensing meant, I didn’t know what equity meant, I just had this idea. You just are hustling. It’s about the execution, it’s the hustle.”
  • Rodriguez, on his transformation from athlete to investor: “I was always thinking about life after baseball, I was looking at athletes, average career is five and a half years… At 18-19, I started thinking that I didn’t want to be one of those guys who ran into financial trouble so I started ARod Corp out of fear… and now I manage over 15,000 apartment units in 15 states and we have over 500 people working for us. I’ve been doing this for a while and it is a great thrill and privilege to be allowed on the Shark Tank platform and do what I’ve been doing. Help young entrepreneurs, collaborating, and helping them meet their dreams and mentor them. And of course being the first Hispanic shark is something to be really proud of.”

Rodriguez also talked about the importance of failing. That’s right. Failing.

“I always tell young entrepreneurs to not to be afraid to try, failure is part of it. When people think about my career, they think about the championships, the RBIs, the home runs, but what they don’t realize is that I’m fifth all-time in striking out, so that means I have a Ph.D in failing. But I also have a masters in getting back up and that’s what America is all about, getting back up, not getting defined by your mistakes, and pushing forward.”

  • Daymond John, AKA “The Brandfather,” on the beauty of owning your own business: “I find it gratifying when we found out that it was one of the top shows in Kids and Family. There is nothing wrong with kids wanting to be a rapper or player, but when they realize and understand what their parents go through, they want to start their own businesses, they are creating their own business, and we are creating entrepreneurs. ”
  • The ever-optimistic Herjavec, on the importance of diversity: “Look at the diversity on this stage, that’s what I love. There is no color, race, or sex for success … We are all different, look at all the different answers. We all respect each other. You see people come out in the pressure, and I can’t help but empathize with these people.”
  • The shrewd, motherly Corcoran, on her love of the show: “What’s satisfying for me and for us sharks is when we look back at own careers and we were enormously at risk, we didn’t know when we were going to get paid, we didn’t even have a payroll. And so what we get to do as sharks is that we live through that experience again and again.”
  • Greiner, known as the “warm-blooded shark,” on the value of digital media: “You can also do things digitally, that’s huge. Today, you can do digital tests. You can do a Facebook ad, or an Instagram story. You can find a world of information, and if that works out, then you can do an infomercial.”

Griener knows what she’s talking about. She’s negotiated deals for Simply Fitboard, Scrub Daddy and Sleep Stylers, netting hundreds of millions in sales

  • O’Leary, whose sale of The Learning Company to Mattel in the 1990s made him a multi-millionaire, on honesty: “Shark Tank is a place where not everyone can win; you need to tell them the truth.”
  • Cuban, nothing if not astute, recognized the coming tech-boom as early as 1982. Perhaps that’s why his eyes sparkle when an exciting tech innovation is introduced on the show.

After graduating from the Kelley School of Business in Indiana, he started his own company, MicroSolutions, a system integrator and software reseller. The company was an early proponent of technologies such as Carbon Copy, Lotus Notes, and CompuServe. In 1990, Cuban sold MicroSolutions to CompuServe—then a subsidiary of H&R Block—for $6 million.

About a decade later, Cuban become a billionaire during the dot-com explosion, selling Broadcast.com, a pioneer in webcasting, for more than $5 billion.

What’s going to be the NBT (Next Big Thing) to hit Shark Tank? Given that a generation of students are getting schooled in STEAM, the possibilities are limitless.

Isn’t that a big reason why we tune in?

“Technological change always accelerates,” Cuban said. “It never stagnates over time.”

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