All posts by Sara Sabourin

Diversity and Inclusion Matters in the Workplace

Six people placing their hands together for a huddle over a wooden desktop.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts in the workplace are being elevated more in light of recent events across the country surrounding continued racial injustice.  Like many other job-seekers, you may be wondering how to find out if a company values diversity and inclusion and why that matters. 

According to a recent article in Business Insider, Joe Gerstandt, a diversity and inclusion expert who has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies, shared the following tips to determine if a company actually cares about D&I:

  • Find out what the leadership team and board look like.  Check out their LinkedIn profiles and the company’s website and social media sites.  Are women and people of color holding leadership roles? In their bios, do leaders openly discuss causes they support or personal testimonies such as living with a disability?
  • Dig deeper than the surface and check out employee reviews such as on Glassdoor.  Look if the company has made a list such as “best companies for diversity” or “best places to work for LGBTQ+ employees.” 
  • Note how the job interviewer replies to your questions about diversity and inclusion, such as, “What resources does the company provide to support LGBTQ employees?” or “How does the company measure diversity and inclusion initiatives?”
  • Ask if you can talk to a current employee, such as someone in one of the company’s employee resource groups (ERG) if they mention having them.

Why does any of this matter?  Knowing that a company values diversity not only in gender and race but also in people’s background and mindset, helps build employees’ morale and performance.  Not only does it feel good to have a sense of belonging and support in the workplace, but the bottom-line is often improved when a company focuses on building diverse teams, as noted in a study by McKinsey & Company. 

With many employers placing emphasis on D&I efforts, they desire a candidate who will aid the initiative to create a supportive environment.  As you prepare for your interview, here are some questions outlined in a Business Insider article that you may be asked around diversity, equity, and inclusion:

  • Please share with us what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you and why they’re important.
  • In your opinion, what is the most challenging aspect of working in a diverse environment?
  • What is your approach to understanding the perspectives of colleagues from different backgrounds?
  • How would you handle a situation where a colleague was being culturally insensitive, sexist, racist, or homophobic?
  • How would you advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion with colleagues who don’t understand its importance?
  • Tell me about a time when you advocated for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
  • Can you give me an example of how you make your direct reports feel a sense of inclusion, belonging, and equity on a daily basis?
  • What steps will you take to eliminate bias from your hiring process?

To delve further into these topics, join industry experts and the SPC Career Services team for an important discussion Wednesday, September 30th from 11am – 12pm via Zoom.  Cal Jackson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion Global Programs at Tech Data and Kimberly Jackson, Executive Director of the Institute of Strategic Policy & Solutions at St. Petersburg College will lead the conversation, “Diversity and Inclusion Matters in the Workplace.”  

To participate in the online event, please register via Zoom. For more information, please contact Monica Roberts at Roberts.Monica@spcollege.edu.

Just Breathe!

Stress Reduction Tips for Virtual Learning and Career Searching

Are you feeling stressed about searching for a career?  Do you feel tension at your current job? Did you know the way you breathe can make a huge impact on your stress levels? 

We don’t typically stop to think about breathing.  It’s just something we do naturally.  Stop a moment now and notice how you’re breathing.  Is it shallow? Or are you breathing fully?

Benefits of Breathing Properly

Proper breathing techniques can help rid toxins from the body, decrease fatigue, improve sleep, calm the nervous system, and reduce stress, all of which are very important to staying healthy and alert on your career path and in general in life.

Ready, Set…Breathe!

Here are a few exercises you can do now to begin feeling calmer.  For a demonstration of these breathing techniques and additional wellness tips, go to the Career Services Hub group on Workplace. Go to minute 19:23 in the Work-Related Wellness Tips recording to see the following in action:

4-7-8

The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as the “relaxing breath,” involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds.  Repeat a few times.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Inhale through both nostrils.  Then, press your finger against your left nostril to close it and exhale through the right.  Keeping the left nostril closed, inhale through the right nostril.  Next, change sides, exhaling through the left nostril and inhaling.  Continue alternating closing each nostril to complete a full breath.  Repeat a few cycles. 

Deep Exhale

Breathe regularly.  As you exhale, bend at the waist as comfortable.  Then, expel all the air you can until you feel you cannot exhale anymore.  This pushes all the stagnant air out of your lungs.  You will naturally draw in a deep breath when finished.  Repeat a couple times.

Take it Easy!

As you ease into these breath-work practices, start with doing these for only a few minutes a day.  In short, our brains typically aren’t used to being so well oxygenated.  So, you’ll want to start s-l-o-w-l-y. 

You can use these relaxation techniques in challenging moments. However, maintaining a daily habit of breath-work will help you remember these tips more easily in stressful times.

Stay Connected

As always, reach out to the Career Services team so we can help you prepare for your job search.  Along with stopping to take a deep breath, preparation is key to feeling less stress, too!

Self-care and the Power of Visualization

A young woman with a graduation cap drawn over her head.

“Self-care” usually conjures up images of exercise, nutrition, and drinking plenty of water.

While those are fundamental to self-care, here is something else to consider: the power of visualization. This simple technique uses mental images to influence the body, to prepare for performances, and even control pain.

Olympic athletes do this. Famous actors apply this technique. Those successful in business and other industries know the power of visualization. Here’s a shortlist of celebrities who have claimed creative visualization has played a significant role in their success: Tiger Woods, Anthony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Ellen Degeneres, Will Smith, Drew Barrymore, and Bill Gates. Even Oprah has claimed that she learned about the power of visualization from actor Jim Carrey.

Trying Out Visualization

Try the following exercise and note what happens:

Imagine you are holding half of a lemon. You feel the weight in your hand. The skin is a little bumpy. Hold the lemon to your nose and squeeze it a little. Smell the lemon. Now squeeze the lemon into your mouth and bite down. Feel the juicy flesh and taste the sour flavor. Keep chewing on the lemon. 

Two halves of a yellow lemon.

Did you salivate a little? Did you pucker up just thinking about it? Did you grimace a little when you imagined eating the lemon or did you enjoy it?

Your thoughts alone likely created a physical reaction in your body. Now, what if you used the power of your thoughts to intentionally create what you would like to see or experience? 

How can you use this in school or in your career? Think of an area you want to improve and start with that.

Real-World Application

Imagine you have an interview scheduled. How do you want to feel before and during the interview? See yourself arriving on time and feeling calm, confident and prepared. For added impact, tell yourself, “I am calm, confident, and prepared.” Say this over-and-over because the words you tell yourself stick.

On an exam day, try seeing yourself as relaxed, yet alert, and feeling smart and prepared. Imagine sitting at the desk, computer or wherever the exam takes place and the answers easily coming to you and you easily showing what you know. Tell yourself, “I am relaxed, alert, smart and ready.” 

The movie you are playing in your mind often plays out in real life. There are some techniques you can use to help change the station if you don’t like what is playing in order to help direct some new outcomes.  Along with visualization, you can try:

  • Breathing practices
  • Meditation and mindfulness methods
  • Affirmations
  • Vision Boards

For additional information on the power of visualization and how to stay focused, please contact your local SPC Career Services office.

LaunchCode: Plugging into Tech Jobs

Are you a CCIT graduate? Are you currently in one of our technology programs and in your final 15 credit hours? Do you want to learn more about earning an average of $15 per hour in a paid apprenticeship with an IT company? Are you plugging into tech jobs? LaunchCode may be the answer.  

LaunchCode is a company that matches you with one of over 500 employer partners for a paid partnership. Many apprentices are then hired into full-time roles. LaunchCode also offers free training programs and resources.  This company will be on the St. Petersburg College Gibbs Campus Thursday, May 30. Join us from 12:30-2:00 pm for an information session. The session will take place in the Social Arts building, SA114.

launchcode flyer

Are you preparing for a job? If so, LaunchCode also offers help with interview readiness. They will share tips to prepare you to share your experience and skillset in an interview in the most effective way possible. LaunchCode also provides training for on-the-job skills.Come find out what it takes to land your first job in the tech arena. Former apprentices will share their experience and answer questions. This is a great opportunity to build your network of tech professionals. 

All the jobs are Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. Please keep this in mind if you are taking classes or have other commitments. This event will be an excellent professional networking opportunity. Mark your calendars and make a plan to attend this “don’t miss” event. 

Feel free to RSVP using Handshake, our internal job and event board.

CLICK HERE TO RSVP

We have preloaded your information in Handshake for you! Activate your account today by logging in with your SPC email address at spcollege.joinhandshake.com or click on the Handshake link in MyCourses (under Career Planning).

Once logged in, make sure to finish the account setup process. Check the grey progress bar at the top of the page to make sure you complete all the steps. Once you complete the steps, feel free to download the Handshake App for iOS devices or android devices.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Sara Sabourin. Sara is the Career Outreach Specialist on the St. Petersburg Gibbs Campus.