Kirstie Ennis: Going “Full Throttle”

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Kirstie Ennis

By Brady Rhoades

Veteran Kirstie Ennis is one of the best Paralympian snowboarders in the world, and she’s also eying the seven great summits, recently climbing 19,341-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and 16,024-foot Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia. On one leg.

As a Marine Corps sergeant. in Afghanistan—a helicopter door gunner—she wrecked a leg when the helicopter she was in crashed. That leg was amputated above the knee in 2015.

Her jaw was destroyed, she lost teeth, she injured discs in her spine, and she suffered facial lacerations, traumatic brain injury, and PTSD.

In the process of undergoing more than 40 surgeries, she came to a realization, acquiring a come-to-terms toughness and wisdom that would help motivate her to train as a snowboarder for the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang County, in the Gangwon region of South Korea.

And to attempt to conquer the tallest peaks on all seven continents.

Countless times a day, she repeats one of her mantras: Stop worrying about what you lost. Look at what you’ve got. Or: What counts is what’s behind your rib cage and six inches between your ears.

She’s only 26, but her near-death experience offered an invaluable lesson on how precious time is.

“I go full throttle,” she said. “I come up with obnoxious goals and I go after them.”

It’s hard to believe that this fifth-gear athlete chasing Paralympian goals—and literally ascending historic heights for an above-the-knee-amputee mountain climber—spent months in hospital beds, nearly lifeless, filled with doubt, enveloped in depression. She wondered how she’d ever get around, go on. What would she do? Would she ever wear a dress again? Would anyone ever be attracted to her?

Idle time can be a wounded warrior’s worst enemy. Fathers can be their best friends.

“Dad said, ‘People in the Middle East couldn’t kill you, and now you’re going to collapse?'” she recalls. “The light went on and I said, ‘I made it home. Nobody owes me a damn thing.'”

Kirstie Ennis

Ennis had to mine for the toughness that is at her core, but her sense of humor? That comes effortlessly.

The same year her leg was amputated, she participated in the Walking with the Wounded event, in which wounded warriors trek 1,000 miles, ending at Buckingham Palace in London. Ennis left dozens of dog tags bearing the names of fallen comrades along the way. She also met Prince Harry, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

Prince Harry, not one to shirk his duties, logged many miles during the event. At one point, he turned to Ennis and complained that his knee ached.

“I looked over and was like, ‘That’s (expletive) cute, really,’” Ennis said. Prince Harry cracked up.

Ennis and Prince Harry became fast friends. At the conclusion of her walk, she presented the final dog tag to him.

Their embrace was photographed and zoomed across the wires, making her a celebrity in a matter of minutes.

For her service to the country, Ennis has earned the NATO Medal, Combat Action Wings with three gold stars, National Defense Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan National Campaign Medal, two Letters of Appreciation, Certificate of Commendation, and a Certificate of Appreciation.

But who says you can’t be uber-tough and sexy?

ESPN called, asking her to grace the cover of ESPN The Magazine‘s 2017 Body Issue, with rather risqué photos of her on the inside pages. They wanted her to climb Joshua Tree, sans clothes.

She had her doubts. But Ennis tends to run toward challenges, toward fear.

“I thought about it and considered the demographic and the people Kirstie Ennisthat would see it, and I realized that it wasn’t about me anymore,” she said. “Any man, woman, or child facing some sort of adversity has the potential to be inspired by these pictures of someone who has only been missing her leg for a few years go out and do things she wasn’t doing with two legs.”

Ennis appeared in the Body Issue, along with other great athletes, such as Javier Baez (baseball), A.J. Andrews (softball), and Malakai Fekitoa (rugby).

The daughter of two Marines, Ennis enlisted out of Florida when she was 17 years old, in 2008. She served for four years as a helicopter door gunner and airframes mechanic when disaster struck on June 23, 2012.

While on her second deployment in Afghanistan, Ennis’ CH-53D helicopter crashed in the Helmand Province.

Badly injured, she fought to remain on active duty but was medically retired in 2014. After her below-the-knee amputation on November 23, 2015, Ennis contracted the antibiotic-resistant MRSA and, because of a resulting infection, doctors were forced to remove her knee a month later.

“A below-the-knee amputation is night-and-day from above-the-knee,” she said. “You have to relearn everything. You’re basically a toddler.”

When she was told that surgeons would have to perform above-the-knee surgery, she said she “lost it.” She cried. She wailed.

“It’s one curveball after another,” she said.

She still struggles, emotionally. “I’d be lying if I said it’s easy,” she said.

Two years after her life-altering surgery, she’s adapted, and she’s developed coping skills, which is a critical component of recovery.

Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t.

Set lofty goals.

Stay busy.

And true to her military training, be of service to others.

“When I’m having a bad day, I help someone who’s missing three limbs,” she said. “There’s this common misconception about what strength is. In the grand scheme of things, we’re in this together. You have to realize that you have to turn to somebody.”

Some of her best days involving helping other wounded warriors—whether it be through her notoriety as a star Paralympian or simply visiting a hospital.

“I know I’m on a platform,” she said. “I want to inspire people to reach their potential.”

She recalls a wounded warrior uttering eight words that she’ll never forget and that make her journey—as harrowing as it has been—worth it.

“You inspired me to walk another 10 steps,” the woman said.

 

Helping Veterans Cope with PTSD during holidays

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army-man-sitting

The winter holiday season is regarded by many as a wonderful time of the year. However, the holidays can be a painful reminder of past times when life seemed better. Large groups of family and friends are often part of the holiday festivities, but this and other things may be stressful for someone with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Groups may tire a person out or make him or her feel overwhelmed. People may feel pressure to join family activities when they’re not up for it, or believe they must act happy when they’re not. People with PTSD may already find it difficult to get enough sleep or to relax and these added pressures can worsen those symptoms.

Someone with PTSD may be very sensitive to losses around the holiday.  Veterans and military families, in particular, tend to remember at the holidays those who did not make it home from war.  They may not know how to celebrate the holidays knowing those fallen heroes are no longer present.  There may also be recent losses: the death of a loved one, an emotional divorce, or separation from one’s children.  All of these circumstances may cause someone to feel melancholy about memories of holidays past.

Family and friends might ask the Veteran questions about his or her life or about PTSD. The person with PTSD may not feel comfortable answering these questions, but it is important that he or she keep in mind that their family may feel some of the same pressures, and may only be asking because they have a genuine concern for their wellbeing.

The holiday gathering may also be one of the few times family or friends are able to physically see the person with PTSD, and they may feel it is more appropriate they ask such questions in person rather than over the phone or online because they may think that is too impersonal. In either case, the person with PTSD has the power and right to not answer any questions.

Responding to sensitive questions

A polite way of handling these types of situations is by taking a few slow, deep breaths and calmly responding to someone, “I think it is nice of you to show you care by asking, but I’d rather not talk about that right now,” or “thanks for your concern, but I’m not comfortable answering questions about that.”  Then take the opportunity to redirect the conversation.  Ask that family member about work, their children, or their favorite sports team, and steer the conversation to safer ground.

Both people with and without PTSD can cope with holiday stress by following these tips:

  • Talk with your family about how you feel. Your family can help you. This does not mean you have to tell them everything, but let them know you’re feeling stressed.
  • Be honest about your stress level and let your friends and family know your plans ahead of time, especially if you are planning to take some time during the season to relax and de-stress by spending time away from home, work or people that bring stress into your life.
  • Set limits. Don’t join activities for longer than you can handle. You can choose when you want to be a part of the group.
  • Take breaks. Go for walks, or set aside a place where you can be alone for a while. This can keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
  • Get plenty of rest. You may already have difficulty sleeping, but do your best to maintain your usual bedtime or wake-up. Naps should be taken sparingly, as they may further disrupt your nighttime sleeping patterns.
  • Keep up with exercise routines. If you normally do yoga, go jogging, or lift weights, try to keep up those healthy routines.  These activities are all healthy ways to relieve stress.
  • Fake it ‘til you make it. Sometimes people who are feeling depressed find that if they go through the motions, they just might catch themselves having fun.  While the pain from the past hasn’t gone away, this is a chance to begin making new positive memories one step at a time.

One of the best tips to remember when coping with holiday stress is not drinking too much alcohol. Many people have a few drinks, thinking it will relax them, but instead, alcohol causes many people to have less control over their emotions and behavior.  As a result, your symptoms may be worse or you may end up having problems with your family. For those who are in recovery from alcohol, the suggestion from family or friends to “have just one” can be a big challenge. Carrying a glass of ginger ale or cola with you can help sidestep those offers without you having to share your personal matters with everyone.

Continue on to the VA to read the complete article.

Hampton Rose: The unbroken lens of a filmmaker

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Hampton Rose with his camer

Hampton Rose is a father of 7 who battles PTSD and was in two missions. He dreams of being a filmmaker to help other vets.

It’s 4 a.m. and instead of getting those precious hours of sleep – he’s doing homework. This moment of quiet gives him an opportunity to steal a few moments and get through his class assignments while the children sleep.

“Oh, yeah! I have seven kids and insomnia,” says the 46-year-old Hampton Rose who is about to graduate as he reflects on the constant juggle of a full course load in psychology, raising kids and completing homework before sunrise.

He’s straight to the point on his sleep disorder and the likely cause – a personal struggle with PTSD.

“I think more people should talk about it,” says Rose.

Rose is a military vet who served for 17 years and held several assignments including communications specialist. But, he switched jobs during his tenure and served as an Army medic, providing care in the toughest zones within Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I was called Doc, it was a sign of respect,” says Hampton about the nickname he earned within his unit. “I was a Charlie company senior medic. And as a medic you’re supposed to take care of the troops’ medical support, but what they don’t tell you is that you’re like their everything. Their doctor, their therapist, priest, big brother, and sometimes best friend, which is why I believe as medics, we suffer more because when a troop goes down, it’s not only a patient. Now, you’re looking at it with all eyes. And that’s the worst part, who wants to see all that in one person?”

In 2007, his career is nearly ended after a tumor was found inside his hip. For three months he spent time confined to a hospital and unable to walk.  “I couldn’t deploy and it was tough not being there for my fellow troops,” he said about his recovery period.

After Rose was cleared of the tumor, he rejoined his teammates and later deployed as part of a rapidHampton Rose response unit. However, in 2012, after serving for nearly two decades, his teenaged daughter Alexa asked him to stay and not leave home anymore – something that hit him harder than the tumor.

He decided to end his military career and one year later enrolled at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He selected to study psychology, because he desired to discover more about himself as he endures PTSD.

“The classroom and learning has been therapy,” he says. “And I wanted to know the ‘why’ of why I have twitches. I wanted to know my triggers.”

Rose suffers from severe social anxiety disorder too. Sometimes he gets gripped by fear to the point he cannot take a step.  A five-minute walking trajectory to the campus library can sometimes end up taking him 20 minutes.

“I even suffered panic attacks in class, it was horrible,” Rose said. “You think everyone is watching you. It’s beyond paranoia. But you have to remind yourself that you have to be patient, breathe and take your time, take your time.”

But there is a significant change for Rose, last year during a video class project, he was asked to produce a short film on any topic. Naturally, his work centered on the alienation he feels as a veteran and the difficulties he faces to reintegrate back to civilian life including attending school. The one assignment has resulted in three short films.

After graduation he plans to make it a go and launch a production company called “Nushottas,” borrowing from the street slang “shotta” for gangster, but also a nod to the transformation of the camera as his new weapon.

“Maybe I can help vets express themselves artistically and help others see the world the way I see it. I’m not broken, I just see it a little differently.”

After five years, Rose will now walk the commencement stage in December with dreams of meeting Spike Lee.

Author
Milady Nazir
The University of Texas San Antonio

6 Ways Employers Recruit With Artificial Intelligence

LinkedIn

Companies hope chatbots and video interviews will improve the recruiting process for everyone.

Most job seekers and human resources managers would agree that the hiring process is flawed.

It’s as if the two groups speak different languages. For example, there’s a disconnect in how HR and job seekers prefer to communicate, and there’s also a gap between how employers present job requirements and the skills job seekers include on their resumes. Applicant tracking systems seem to arbitrarily weed out candidates or, worse, lose them in a black hole. Employers say they can’t find candidates with the right skills and are eager to fill open jobs.

There isn’t an easy fix for recruiting process problems. But employers want to talk to qualified candidates and workers want to talk to recruiters. This human-to-human connection is still the most important aspect of hiring. As strange as it sounds, technology may actually help more of these conversations happen. Here’s how:

Improved Job Postings

In order to attract the best candidates, HR needs to write a compelling yet accurate job description. The technology exists to assess and analyze job postings based on how well they do. Manually analyzing this data consumes a lot of time, but algorithms can quickly analyze successful job postings and descriptions and make suggestions to improve the wording to address the unique needs of specific candidates. This saves hours and improves the applicant pool. It also better informs potential candidates.

Chatbots

Companies already use artificial intelligence to provide customers with answers at any time. Now HR can use it to provide more information to job seekers when they need it. Chatbots allow applicants to ask questions and get quick automated answers while perusing the company’s website. Do you want to know what the company’s culture is like? Just ask.

Chatbots are also used to pre-screen interested candidates by asking qualifying questions. Be aware that information given to and provided by chatbots is reviewed by HR.

Video Interviews

Once you apply to a job, you may receive a link to a video interview platform before you talk with a recruiter. Recorded video interviews save recruiters time by replacing screening calls. They also provide candidates with an opportunity to prepare answers to questions.

Algorithms review recorded video interviews to evaluate the answers by analyzing facial expressions, word choice, speech rate and vocal tones. If all goes well, candidates move forward for in-person interviews.

Proponents of this kind of evaluation claim it removes human bias while providing recruiters with better-quality candidates in less time. For job seekers, a video interview provides the opportunity to thoughtfully construct your answers and explain your qualifications. During a phone interview, you may not have as much time to plan your responses as thoroughly.

The best advice for a video interview is to make sure you are prepared. Research the company, know about the job and make sure you record in a neutral, professional setting.

Assessments

Don’t be surprised if you are asked to take an assessment during the application process. By asking candidates to answer work-related questions, companies can compare candidate answers against current employee answers. While this assessment is another step in the process and takes more time for job seekers, it enables the employer to build predictive models and personality profiles that help identify candidates who may fit the job requirements and company culture more accurately.

Improved Communication

Staying in touch with candidates takes a significant amount of time. That’s especially so for those who may be qualified but are currently employed.

From scheduling interviews to sending texts after job fairs, artificial intelligence can automate communication to help engage potential candidates. These small time-saving steps can go a long way to improve how the potential candidate views the employer. And most job seekers agree that some communication is better than not hearing anything at all.

Continue on to U.S. News & World Report to read the complete article.

Donation from Shoen Family of U-Haul to Restore a Pearl Harbor Icon

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HONOLULU and PHOENIX (Dec. 10, 2018) — The Ford Island Control Tower, the historic structure that witnessed and withstood the attack on Pearl Harbor 77 years ago, will soon be fully restored with a new working elevator thanks to a generous gift from the Shoen family of U-Haul International.

The announcement came Saturday evening at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum during the annual gala commemorating the events of Dec. 7, 1941 and the heroism of our WWII veterans.

Watch U-Haul Chairman Joe Shoen’s video to Pearl Harbor and WWII veterans: uhaul.com/about/veterans.

Repairs on the tower began in 2010, necessitated by decades of weather-related deterioration. This gift will allow the public to visit the tower’s upper deck, providing a 360-degree view of America’s first aviation WWII battlefield.

Pearl Harbor attracts about 2 million visitors each year.

U-Haul, founded by a U.S. Navy veteran and his wife as WWII was nearing an end in 1945, has been recognized repeatedly as a leading veteran-friendly employer. U-Haul proudly served as the Presenting Veterans Sponsor at the Pearl Harbor Day 75th anniversary opening gala in 2016.

“The Ford Island Control Tower remains an iconic symbol of Pearl Harbor’s resolve and the brave veterans who served there, many whom gave their lives defending our freedom,” stated U-Haul Chairman Joe Shoen, son of company founders L.S. Shoen and Anna Mary Carty Shoen.

“U-Haul honors our veterans and active military members for their service and sacrifice. One way we can do this is by helping to preserve a piece of American WWII history for present and future generations to appreciate.”

Elissa Lines, executive director of the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum noted the restoration efforts on the tower will now be completed before September 2020, when the global commemoration of the 75th anniversary of WWII’s conclusion will take place.

“This will be a day that we have all been dreaming about for many years,” Lines said.

The Ford Island Control Tower was a new building when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred, and was not painted until 1942. Today, the brightly striped structure is centrally located on the base, offering scenic views of the ships and memorials in the neighboring harbor.

Among those memorials is the U.S.S. Arizona, which holds special significance to         U-Haul and more than 3,800 of its 30,000-plus Team Members. The industry leader in do-it-yourself moving and self-storage has been headquartered in Phoenix since 1967.

“The restoration of the Ford Island Control Tower will greatly contribute to honoring the memory of those lost at Pearl Harbor and serve as a symbol of America’s resiliency and resolve,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. “I thank the Shoen family for their commitment to preserving this important icon of history and their dedication to honoring America’s veterans.”

About the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to steward America’s first aviation battlefield of World War II sharing the artifacts, personal stories, the impact and response to the December 7, 1941 attack and the pacific region battles that followed, honoring those who have defended our freedom so they might educate and inspire future generations. Contact: 808-441-1000; Marketing@PearlHarborAviationMuseum.org

About U-Haul of Hawaii, Inc.

U-Haul of Hawaii, Inc. has been in operation since 1984, when its first Honolulu store opened. Today, U-Haul serves the Aloha State with company-owned facilities on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, as well as 22 U-Haul neighborhood dealers across 16 cities. U-Haul soon plans to open a second store on the Big Island in Hilo, complementing its 2014 store acquisition in Kailua-Kona. U-Haul offers moving solutions, including U-Box portable storage containers, for families relocating between the islands or the mainland. Reach U-Haul of Hawaii president Kaleo Alau at 808-836-0970.

About U-Haul

Since 1945, U-Haul has been the No. 1 choice of do-it-yourself movers, with a network of more than 21,000 locations across all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. U-Haul Truck Share 24/7 now offers customers access to U-Haul trucks every hour of every day through the self-service options on their internet-connected mobile devices. U-Haul customers’ patronage has enabled the U-Haul fleet to grow to 161,000 trucks, 118,000 trailers and 42,000 towing devices. U-Haul offers nearly 632,000 rooms and 55.2 million square feet of self-storage space at owned and managed facilities throughout North America. U-Haul is the largest installer of permanent trailer hitches in the automotive aftermarket industry and is the largest retailer of propane in the U.S. uhaul.com

Bringing Virtual Reality and 3D Technology To Real Estate

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Dustin Gardner, the founder of Reality Capture Experts, was the fourth generation in his family to join the military but joining up had not really been on his radar until a school friend asked him if he wanted to go to the Army recruiter’s office. 90 days later he was at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). He became an MP (Military Police), transitioning into a SWAT officer role (referred to as Special Reaction Team) and spent time near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in South Korea, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and was stationed near the Pentagon in Virginia. Eventually being away from his newborn son took its toll and he decided it was time to transition out.

Following his time in the military, Dustin was a corporate executive at Chase Bank where he managed a team of mortgage officers. Then came the crash of 2008 and Dustin felt it was time to reinvent himself. He created Columbus Car Connection with a colleague, exporting Lexus products to clients in Dubai, but this was not financially stable enough for two partners so he went back into banking out of necessity. He eventually found himself at a crossroad where life was less about money, and more about fulfillment – owning a business and doing something fun.

USING 3D TECHNOLOGY IN THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY

Reality Capture Experts started in late 2016 as a result of a conversation Dustin had with a high school friend living in Silicon Valley who introduced him to Matterport 3D  technology. Before that, he hadn’t seen or heard of this specific 3D technology before but once Dustin was introduced to the technology he could instantly see the practical application of this tech to help business owners (of any size) showcase their physical space.

Having spent 12 years in the mortgage industry, residential real estate was an industry Dustin knew well. Knowing how realtors think, gave him an understanding of their need to be thrifty and corresponding unwillingness to spend money on marketing. According to Dustin, “the top 20% of realtors make 80% of the money since these folks are willing to spend dollars on marketing.”

“What Reality Capture Experts does well is help create an emotional connection with a customer or prospect viewing a business owner’s space in 3D virtual reality. Our digital marketing is immersive, interactive and emerging.” The term in the industry for this is “virtual storytelling” – telling the story of what’s inside that building you drive by every day, but have never ventured into. The goal of using this virtual storytelling is to help their clients “crush it on SEO.”As Dustin says, “our product catapults them on [search engines] to help them get found faster on Google.”

Read the complete article On Bunker Labs.

How to Answer the 31 Most Common Interview Questions

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interview sign on door

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what questions a hiring manager would be asking you in your next job interview?

While we unfortunately can’t read minds, we’ll give you the next best thing: a list of the 31 most commonly asked interview questions and answers.

While we don’t recommend having a canned response for every interview question (in fact, please don’t), we do recommend spending some time getting comfortable with what you might be asked, what hiring managers are really looking for in your responses, and what it takes to show that you’re the right man or woman for the job.

Consider this list your interview question study guide.

1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?

This question seems simple, so many people fail to prepare for it, but it’s crucial. Here’s the deal: Don’t give your complete employment (or personal) history. Instead give a pitch—one that’s concise and compelling and that shows exactly why you’re the right fit for the job. Start off with the 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences that you most want the interviewer to know about, then wrap up talking about how that prior experience has positioned you for this specific role.

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2. How did you hear about the position?

Another seemingly innocuous interview question, this is actually a perfect opportunity to stand out and show your passion for and connection to the company. For example, if you found out about the gig through a friend or professional contact, name drop that person, then share why you were so excited about it. If you discovered the company through an event or article, share that. Even if you found the listing through a random job board, share what, specifically, caught your eye about the role.

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3. What do you know about the company?

Any candidate can read and regurgitate the company’s “About” page. So, when interviewers ask this, they aren’t necessarily trying to gauge whether you understand the mission—they want to know whether you care about it. Start with one line that shows you understand the company’s goals, using a couple key words and phrases from the website, but then go on to make it personal. Say, “I’m personally drawn to this mission because…” or “I really believe in this approach because…” and share a personal example or two.

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4. Why do you want this job?

Again, companies want to hire people who are passionate about the job, so you should have a great answer about why you want the position. (And if you don’t? You probably should apply elsewhere.) First, identify a couple of key factors that make the role a great fit for you (e.g., “I love customer support because I love the constant human interaction and the satisfaction that comes from helping someone solve a problem”), then share why you love the company (e.g., “I’ve always been passionate about education, and I think you guys are doing great things, so I want to be a part of it”).

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5. Why should we hire you?

This interview question seems forward (not to mention intimidating!), but if you’re asked it, you’re in luck: There’s no better setup for you to sell yourself and your skills to the hiring manager. Your job here is to craft an answer that covers three things: that you can not only do the work, you can deliver great results; that you’ll really fit in with the team and culture; and that you’d be a better hire than any of the other candidates.

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6. What are your greatest professional strengths?

When answering this question, interview coach Pamela Skillings recommends being accurate (share your true strengths, not those you think the interviewer wants to hear); relevant (choose your strengths that are most targeted to this particular position); and specific (for example, instead of “people skills,” choose “persuasive communication” or “relationship building”). Then, follow up with an example of how you’ve demonstrated these traits in a professional setting.

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7. What do you consider to be your weaknesses?

What your interviewer is really trying to do with this question—beyond identifying any major red flags—is to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. So, “I can’t meet a deadline to save my life” is not an option—but neither is “Nothing! I’m perfect!” Strike a balance by thinking of something that you struggle with but that you’re working to improve. For example, maybe you’ve never been strong at public speaking, but you’ve recently volunteered to run meetings to help you be more comfortable when addressing a crowd.

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8. What is your greatest professional achievement?

Nothing says “hire me” better than a track record of achieving amazing results in past jobs, so don’t be shy when answering this interview question! A great way to do so is by using the S-T-A-R method: Set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context (e.g., “In my last job as a junior analyst, it was my role to manage the invoicing process”), but spend the bulk of your time describing what you actually did (the action) and what you achieved (the result). For example, “In one month, I streamlined the process, which saved my group 10 man-hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 25%.”

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9. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.

In asking this behavioral interview question, “your interviewer wants to get a sense of how you will respond to conflict. Anyone can seem nice and pleasant in a job interview, but what will happen if you’re hired and Gladys in Compliance starts getting in your face?” says Skillings. Again, you’ll want to use the S-T-A-R method, being sure to focus on how you handled the situation professionally and productively, and ideally closing with a happy ending, like how you came to a resolution or compromise.

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10. Where do you see yourself in five years?

If asked this question, be honest and specific about your future goals, but consider this: A hiring manager wants to know a) if you’ve set realistic expectations for your career, b) if you have ambition (a.k.a., this interview isn’t the first time you’re considering the question), and c) if the position aligns with your goals and growth. Your best bet is to think realistically about where this position could take you and answer along those lines. And if the position isn’t necessarily a one-way ticket to your aspirations? It’s OK to say that you’re not quite sure what the future holds, but that you see this experience playing an important role in helping you make that decision.

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11. What’s your dream job?

Along similar lines, the interviewer wants to uncover whether this position is really in line with your ultimate career goals. While “an NBA star” might get you a few laughs, a better bet is to talk about your goals and ambitions—and why this job will get you closer to them.

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12. What other companies are you interviewing with?

Companies ask this for a number of reasons, from wanting to see what the competition is for you to sniffing out whether you’re serious about the industry. “Often the best approach is to mention that you are exploring a number of other similar options in the company’s industry,” says job search expert Alison Doyle. “It can be helpful to mention that a common characteristic of all the jobs you are applying to is the opportunity to apply some critical abilities and skills that you possess. For example, you might say ‘I am applying for several positions with IT consulting firms where I can analyze client needs and translate them to development teams in order to find solutions to technology problems.’”

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13. Why are you leaving your current job?

This is a toughie, but one you can be sure you’ll be asked. Definitely keep things positive—you have nothing to gain by being negative about your past employers. Instead, frame things in a way that shows that you’re eager to take on new opportunities and that the role you’re interviewing for is a better fit for you than your current or last position. For example, “I’d really love to be part of product development from beginning to end, and I know I’d have that opportunity here.” And if you were let go? Keep it simple: “Unfortunately, I was let go,” is a totally OK answer.

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14. Why were you fired?

OK, if you get the admittedly much tougher follow-up question as to why you were let go (and the truth isn’t exactly pretty), your best bet is to be honest (the job-seeking world is small, after all). But it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. Share how you’ve grown and how you approach your job and life now as a result. If you can position the learning experience as an advantage for this next job, even better.

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15. What are you looking for in a new position?

Hint: Ideally the same things that this position has to offer. Be specific.

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16. What type of work environment do you prefer?

Hint: Ideally one that’s similar to the environment of the company you’re applying to. Be specific.

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17. What’s your management style?

The best managers are strong but flexible, and that’s exactly what you want to show off in your answer. (Think something like, “While every situation and every team member requires a bit of a different strategy, I tend to approach my employee relationships as a coach…”) Then, share a couple of your best managerial moments, like when you grew your team from five to 15 or coached an underperforming employee to become the company’s top salesperson.

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18. What’s a time you exercised leadership?

Depending on what’s more important for the the role, you’ll want to choose an example that showcases your project management skills (spearheading a project from end to end, juggling multiple moving parts) or one that shows your ability to confidently and effectively rally a team. And remember: “The best stories include enough detail to be believable and memorable,” says Skillings. “Show how you were a leader in this situation and how it represents your overall leadership experience and potential.”

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19. What’s a time you disagreed with a decision that was made at work?

Everyone disagrees with the boss from time to time, but in asking this interview question, hiring managers want to know that you can do so in a productive, professional way. “You don’t want to tell the story about the time when you disagreed but your boss was being a jerk and you just gave in to keep the peace. And you don’t want to tell the one where you realized you were wrong,” says Peggy McKee of Career Confidential. “Tell the one where your actions made a positive difference on the outcome of the situation, whether it was a work-related outcome or a more effective and productive working relationship.”

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20. How would your boss and co-workers describe you?

First of all, be honest (remember, if you get this job, the hiring manager will be calling your former bosses and co-workers!). Then, try to pull out strengths and traits you haven’t discussed in other aspects of the interview, such as your strong work ethic or your willingness to pitch in on other projects when needed.

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Continue on to Mashable.com to read the complete article.

Blind veteran pushing new documentary, anthem to bring attention to disabled vets

LinkedIn
Marty Klein on guitar

WOODSTOCK, N.Y.–A blind veteran from Woodstock has ambitious plans for his new full-length feature film and original theme song that grew out of it.

During the month of November, Marty Klein  was on a mission to get radio stations across the nation to play his “Veterans’ Anthem” and present his 54-minute documentary, “Why Can’t We Serve,” which he wrote, produced and directed, to a wide audience. He intends to keep the momentum going and shine the spotlight on helping disabled veterans.

The song, recorded at Natural Studios in Saugerties, features Klein on lead vocals. He is backed by famous musicians like John Sebastian on harmonica; folk singer Amy Fradon on backup vocals; Eric Parker on percussion; Jim Barbaro on guitar; and Cathie Malach on keyboard. Klein said the folksy anthem is intentionally upbeat to instill hope among America’s veterans.

Klein, who lost his sight to a rare eye disease called bilateral anterior uveitis while serving in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1960s, said the anthem was inspired by his film “Why Can’t We Serve,” which draws attention to high veteran suicide rates. According to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 22 veterans take their lives each day, amounting to about 8,000 deaths annually.

Klein said he could have been another statistic, particularly after his diagnosis, which included secondary glaucoma and minimal but progressive cataracts.

“Before that, I had 20-20 vision,” said the 70-year-old author, disability activist and yoga enthusiast, Marty in uniform shaking handswho was honorably discharged in 1970. “I had no idea that it would be the beginning of a total loss of vision.”

To make the film, Klein enlisted the talents of Hudson Valley photographer and videographer Mike Nelson as his cinematographer as well as other local experts and artists. He began working on the project in 2016 and raised funds to get it off the ground. The Kingston Veterans Association helped raise more than $8,000 for the project, according to Klein.

The movie, shot at various locations across the country, including California, North Carolina and New York, features interviews with veterans, policymakers and counselors. Among those interviewed are Bill Forte, the chairman of the Kingston Veterans Association, and Klein, who tells his story.

In 1967, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the Air Force, mainly to appease his patriotic father. After basic training, he went to weather school in Champagne, Illinois, fulfilling a childhood dream of being a meteorologist.

He was about to be sent to Vietnam when he was stricken with the disease.

“I had my own Vietnam,” he said. “Losing my vision was no picnic. I went through seven years of hell, being totally lost and had to recreate who I was.”

In the years that followed, Klein moved around the country before landing in Woodstock, where he would become a longtime counselor at Family of Woodstock’s crisis intervention center. He has also authored three books, two screenplays and created a CD program called “Beginning Yoga for the Blind and Visually Impaired.” He also is the founder of a holistic learning center in Tallahassee, Florida, which operated for eight years.

Marty Klein anthem songKlein said his goals for the film and song are not for personal gain, but to improve the lives of wounded military personnel and disabled veterans.

“My premise was that when these soldiers go to combat and come back wounded, there is no place for them in the military, so I decided to expose this with this film,” he said. “They get discharged and are given a disability check and that’s that.

“Many want to keep serving, but now, they’re floundering and don’t know what to do. The military unintentionally is pushing away a large number of people who would make it stronger and more diverse.”

Klein hopes that in some small way, the film will be a catalyst for change, but he said it will likely be an uphill battle.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that all businesses and corporations hire people with disabilities,” he said. “This applies to most government agencies as well. The only exception is the United States military.”

Right now, Klein is pushing to get his song played at as many radio stations as he can and hoping to get his documentary screened at prominent venues, including next year’s GI Film Festival.

For the link to the film, please go to whycantweserve.com.

To listen to the song, A Veteran’s Anthem, download it here.

Women Veterans in Los Angeles Get Needed Support To Grow Their Business

LinkedIn
microbiz.org

Los Angeles, CA – As of September 2017, there were more than 1.8 million women veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces with 143,211 of them living in California. More than 60,000 those veterans call Los Angeles county home.

Women who have served in the military face many challenges upon leaving and often feel isolated, financially dependent on others, and dismayed by their career prospects. Business ownership is a path to increased income without having the burden of functioning in a civilian workforce that may not empathize with their military experience

Resources do exist for women veterans who want to be business owners. However, when CAMEO (California Association of Micro Enterprise Opportunity) looked in the Los Angeles area, we found a need to outreach to this formidable community to foster the entrepreneurial spirit and develop local resources.

CAMEO hosted our first CAMEO’s WOVEN summit in 2014 at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall in Los Angeles with keynotes by senior executives from the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development in DC, inspirational stories from successful, decorated women veterans, and training in negotiating, marketing and business development.

Heidi Pickman, Associate Director of CAMEO, said, “The expression of gratitude from those involved compelled us to partner with Melanie Rae, founder of Guided Business Plan, to launch an ongoing community-learning program.”

CAMEO’s WOVEN (Women Veteran Entrepreneurs Network) fuels economic independence among military-connected women by facilitating professional alliances, ongoing mentoring and entrepreneurial guidance. We are a free peer support group that meets biweekly online and in-person to help launch and grow small businesses owned by military families.

Alicia, a United States Air Force (USAF) veteran, is an Arizona-based member who opened a store-front for her micro-blading and skincare salon. As an aircraft mechanic, her skin broke out and she found a solution that gave her near-flawless skin so she studied cosmetology and opened Exclusive Beauty. “After several discussions with CAMEO’s WOVEN members, I know that I’m not taking advantage of my full potential.”

Other success stories include:

  • Avis, USAF, participated in a VWISE conference after attending a meetup and practiced her pitch with us. She won $5,000 for her clothing line for women affected by cancer.
  • Joshica, USAF, has been featured on Etsy.com twice as a best seller for her beauty products. Through WOVEN she has been introduced to beauty industry leaders who have offered to mentor her. She served in the US Airforce within supply chain/logistics management which included storing, moving and tracking supplies, equipment and personnel.

More than 20,000 veterans will retire each year. They are looking to start their next chapter after devoting decades to their military careers. CAMEO’s WOVEN is well positioned to reach, guide and inspire the next wave of veteran-owned businesses as well as those separating after a shorter service period.

About Us

CAMEO is California’s statewide network made up of over 230 organizations, agencies, and individuals dedicated to furthering microbusiness development in California. Annually, CAMEO members serve about 21,000 very small businesses with training, business and credit assistance and loans. These firms – largely start-ups with less than five employees – support or create 37,000 new jobs in California and generate a total of $1.3 billion in economic activity.

microbiz.org/woven

Which Coding Language Should You Learn?

LinkedIn
Soldier using a laptop to code at desk

It’s a great time to learn how to code. Whether you’re looking to reinvent your career and become a developer, leverage a new skill in your current job, or just better understand what the developers on your team are up to, there has never been a better time to get into programming.

There’s been an explosion of coding boot camps and online resources to help you get started. But it’s a double-edged sword: with near-unlimited resources, countless different languages—and a rabbit hole of passionate voices debating which are the easiest to learn, best to help you get a job, and so on—where do you start?

The best way to learn to code is to stop endlessly analyzing what to learn and just start. So, with a giant disclaimer that these aren’t all of the languages you could consider learning to start your coding journey, here are a few languages you can learn.

JavaScript

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Think of the difference between dynamic, automatically updating Gmail account and your old static Hotmail, which needed to be reloaded to see new messages. That fundamental change was thanks to JavaScript. And, as one of the most popular languages out there, it’s still bringing websites to life in new, exciting ways. It has a ton of resources and tools available to help you use it effectively, and it opens you up to a ton of software engineering jobs. It can basically do everything, and if you’re going to be a full stack developer, you simply can’t avoid it.

Ruby

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Ruby was specifically designed by its inventor Yukihiro Matsumoto to make programmers happy, and it’s delivered upon that objective: Ruby is accessible and reads like English, allowing new programmers to focus right away on the fundamental concepts and logic, rather than basic syntax. Even beginners can start building right away. The teachers at the Flatiron School find Ruby to be extremely effective at helping students learn how to think like programmers, break problems down, express themselves technically, abstract ideas, and work together with other programmers. (The Flatiron Co-founder Avi is a little obsessed with it, too.)

Python

Great for: budding data scientists

There’s a massive amount of data out there. Companies that harness it can create better products and understand their businesses better; companies that don’t lose their competitive edge and get left behind. But while at its core, data science may be similar to your high school stats class, with so much data (hundreds of millions of records), your old spreadsheet is the wrong tool for the job. That’s where code comes in. The R language is super specific to statistics, whereas Python is a general-purpose language that happens to have great tooling available to make it a perfect language for data science. It’s actually similar to Ruby in a lot of ways: easy to read, forgiving for beginners, and there’s a passionate community around it, devoted to creating and improving the tooling to make Python even more powerful.

Swift

Great for: mobile developers, developers breaking out of their comfort zone

For beginners hoping to get into mobile app development, now is the perfect time to dive into Swift. It’s new enough that there is a lot of energy and excitement around it. Each year, Apple holds their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) where Apple engineers discuss the intricacies of Swift along with all the new and exciting features (don’t be surprised if it inspires you to try implementing all the new concepts into your own apps). But it’s also been around long enough that the early kinks have been worked out, and the open source community has grown significantly. If you’re already a programmer, learning Swift is a way to get out of your comfort zone—the constraints iOS puts on your code forces you to, as Apple would say, “think different.”

Still not sure where to start? That’s OK! There’s really no correct first language to learn. The important thing is to consider what you’re excited to build, what language will help you do that, and then to just start learning!

In the end, this is why schools like Flatiron School doesn’t focus on teaching one specific technology. It wants you to learn how to learn—the only coding skill that will be never become obsolete. You don’t see Fortran or ColdFusion developers anymore. Similarly, you probably won’t be a Ruby or JavaScript developer in 10 years. Eventually, you will need to know more than one language if you want to have an awesome career and build amazing things. If you become skilled at learning languages, you’ll be ready to keep pace with technology as it changes.

Source: This piece was originally published by WeWork, which provides companies with the space, technology, and services they need to success.

Diageo’s New American Anthem Vodka Donates to Families

LinkedIn
Diageo-American Anthem Vodka

Distilled. Distinct. Delicious. Dedicated. Here’s to American Anthem! Diageo, a global leader in beverage alcohol, is proud to introduce its new-to-world, 5× distilled vodka, American Anthem. This exceptionally smooth vodka offers a premium finish for a great value and is rooted in giving back.

Proudly American, this new brand of vodka is uniquely designed to celebrate the American spirit. American Anthem will donate $1 from each bottle made, split between Operation Gratitude and The Mission Continues—two exceptional charitable organizations that are dedicated to strengthening and supporting military personnel and their families.

With ingredients sourced from America’s heartland, this brand-new American vodka uses corn from Indiana and Iowa for a product that is delicious, versatile, and gluten-free. American Anthem is the perfect complement to backyard cookouts, rooftop parties, happy hour or by poolside, and it invites us to come together and unify. “American Anthem inspires us to unite with the pride, the generosity, the people and the uniquely American values of the place we call home,” said Ryan Robertson, Brand Director, American Anthem. “It’s a privilege to partner with two great charitable organizations, Operation Gratitude and The Mission Continues, and we’re honored to be able to offer additional local engagement opportunities for consumers to give-back with these partners via our brand website.”

“We are excited to partner with American Anthem to expand our support of our Military and our mission to give everyone over legal drinking age a way of expressing their appreciation to those who serve,” said Kevin Schmiegel, Chief Executive Officer of Operation Gratitude. “Providing opportunities like this for our nation to say ‘Thank You’ to service members and their families is critically important, because so many grateful citizens want to do so, but many don’t know how.”

“Our partnership with American Anthem vodka is an exciting new opportunity for The Mission Continues,” said Spencer Kympton, president of The Mission Continues. “Their contribution will further propel our efforts to empower veterans creating a positive impact in communities nationwide.”

For delicious American Anthem cocktail recipes and to find out where you can purchase the product, visit AmericanAnthemVodka.com.

About Diageo
Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan’s whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness. Diageo is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at diageo.com. Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource, DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.

Source: Diageo North America