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In the mix with Stephanie Millions

Stephanie Millions
In the mix with Stephanie Millions
Attendees at the Boston Black MBA’s Making Better Leaders with Gender Collaboration workshop. (Photo: Photo: Shannon Aubourg)

Author: Photo: Shannon AubourgDarla DeGrace (right) is the President and CEO of the National Black MBA Assciation-Boston Chapter; Imari Paris Jeffries a nonprofit consultant.

The Boston Black MBA’s Making Better Leaders with Gender Collaboration workshop

One of the most intensely discussed workplace topics these days is that men and women bring vastly different leadership styles to the table. As a young urban professional, it’s important to understand each gender’s leadership strengths and learn how to manage gender weaknesses in order to strengthen your professional repertoire. If working with the opposite sex poses a challenge for you, the “Making Better Leaders with Gender Collaboration” workshop hosted by the Boston chapter of the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) offered a great opportunity to learn how to alter your approach and actions to create the most productive work environment.

The National Black MBA Association’s mission is to lead the creation of educational opportunities, professional development and economic growth for African Americans. A premier business organization for black professionals, the Boston chapter is committed to serving members through five pillars of engagement: career, education, entrepreneurship, leadership and lifestyle. The NBMBAA’s membership base comprises both MBAs and professionals who do not have an MBA, and is positioned to support your professional and personal growth from the classroom to the boardroom.

The “Making Better Leaders with Gender Collaboration” workshop featured techniques for fighting against the inequitable treatment male and female employees sometimes experience in the workplace. Many women find it difficult to climb the corporate ladder even if they are as intelligent and talented as their male counterparts. The organizing principle: How do we put value on our voice in the work environment? The workshop, which was held last week, was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Liberty Mutual Insurance, State Street Corp., Santander Bank, Rockland Trust and Morgan Stanley.

A workshop highlight was the division of female and male attendees into two breakout discussion groups. The women’s discussion covered the importance of diverse female professionals supporting each other in the workplace. The trailblazers facilitating the women’s discussion included Denise Kaigler, founder and principal of MDK Brand Management; Joyce Beach, vice president, Risk and Administration Management at State Street Corporation; and Janelle Edem, vice president and general manager of National Insurance at Liberty Mutual Insurance. They discussed establishing and maintaining a positive brand in the workplace by carrying yourself in a manner where colleagues and management only speak of your remarkable work ethic and proactive attitude. In addition to having a positive personal brand, they talked about the benefits of having a workplace advocate who can speak on your behalf if there ever is a contentious issue, or if you need a cosign for a promotion.

The men’s discussion focused on code-shifting and authenticity in the workplace. Panelists included Imari Paris Jeffries, a nonprofit consultant, and Donnie Bedney III, regional senior consultant for Gallup. Men of color often deal with each other in one code, they said, and with others in a different code. They described their experience managing their identities, while also occupying environments where they find themselves “code switching.” Code switching occurs when you adapt your style, language and other aspects of your communication to fit within an environment.

For more information on events that can strengthen your personal identity as you navigate professional environments, visit www.bostonblackmba.org where you can sign up for email announcements.

Chef Series Event at Savvor Restaurant

Cool afternoons and delicious meals are definitely a must this fall. And getting together with your friends and supporting your local restaurants are absolutely necessary.

Savvor is a Haitian American-owned restaurant with a mission to bring Caribbean vacation meals to life here in Boston. With their third anniversary around the corner, they are adding new and exciting ways to offer something different to their loyal guests and surrounding communities. As part of the celebration, last week Savvor launched its Chef Series.

The D.W. band welcomed guests, playing covers of songs from well-known artists such as Floetry and Rihanna. But the stars of the evening were Top Chef Ron Duprat and local chef Stéphane Lamour, who served guests a four-course meal featuring Haitian cuisine for $75 per person. My favorite dish included the cumin-crusted snapper, five spice black rice cake and the sauce verte and mango escabeche.

Kea Ricketts, Savvor’s promotions coordinator, said, “Management at Savvor is very passionate about sharing the Haitian culture with others. When the opportunity to have Chef Ron, who is also of Haitian descent, come in, it was a no brainier.”

The Chef Series will showcase a different chef every quarter. For more information, visit http://www.savvorbostonlounge.com/. It’s located at 180 Lincoln St., Boston.

New England’s oldest graduate chapter of the first sorority founded by black women celebrates 90 years of continuous service in Greater Boston

Psi Omega (Boston Graduate) Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated celebrated 90 years of continuous service with a Jazz luncheon at Lombardo’s in Randolph, Massachusetts from Noon to 3:00 p.m. The festivities featured Bill Banfield’s Jazz Urbane and guest speaker Dr. Eva L. Evans, the 24th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. The Mistress of Ceremonies was Nicole Roberts Jones, a nationally acclaimed motivational speaker, author and coach. The program honored the seven scholastic and professional pioneers that chartered Psi Omega, and celebrated Psi Omega’s legacy of service to empower women, youth and disenfranchised populations in Greater Boston. Also honored were individuals and organizations that made significant contributions to empower Greater Boston and its residents through their professional and community service. The Catalyst honorees were Terri Lyne Carrington, a multiple Grammy Award– winning jazz drummer and native of Medford, and Alfreda R. Harris, a youth and family services public administrator and native of Boston. The Cornerstone honorees were The Bay State Banner, Boston’s oldest African-American newspaper, and the Edgar P. Benjamin Healthcare Center, the oldest nursing and rehabilitation center founded and operated by African Americans in Massachusetts. #PsiOmegaChp90Yrs

Meet Stephanie Millions — our new In the Mix reporter. Millions is passionate about media and works on many platforms. She anchors a morning motivational talk show called “Elevation with Stephanie Millions” on the Gag Order Network, and also hosts “The Secret Spot” every Monday night from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on WERS 88.9 FM. For more information, please visit www.stephaniemillions.com or email stephanie.millions@gmail.com to have her cover your event. Follow Stephanie on Twitter @StephMillions.