CCNY USG Career Building

4 Career Building Lessons I Learned From My Team

This article was originally posted on April 6th, 2016.


Anything worth something can not be done without a great team of people, period. The following are a list of career-building lessons I gained from my team at CCNY.

Regardless of your profession,whatever your goals and aspirations in life may be in they cannot be achieved without a great team of people by your side. After some time of self-reflection and  reminiscing on the experiences I’ve had for the past three years attending college, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of things.

Recruitment is the first thing you need to do.

You can’t do anything without a team. The objective doesn’t matter, if you can’t sell your ideas you won’t get people to join you. The biggest hurdle all leaders will face is recruiting team members. I learned this when I began conducting interviews for potential candidates for my fraternity. When a candidate is being interviewed, they are not only selling themselves to you, but you are also selling your company to them. I’ll admit, during the first couple of interviews that I was directly involved in, I found myself negligent when it came to making the candidates feel like they were a part of the team. This is why it is so important to follow up with accepted candidates immediately after their interviews and get them acclimated with the team’s mission and vision. A great resource I used to help with my hiring skills is “How Google Works” by Eric Schmidt, I cannot recommend this book enough.

You won’t get anything done if you can’t motivate people.

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed that my team members in student government seem to have a constant sense of urgency and purpose in everything they do. Whether it relates to our weekly meetings, daily tasks regarding student outreach, office management, reporting on tasks, or just general office maintenance, everyone seems to have found where they “fit.” This certainly didn’t happen overnight. Since the beginning of my tenure as President of this wonderful organization, I made it abundantly clear that I would be open to any communication from my team as well as constructive dialogue. Transparency is the pillar that our team stands on. I have observed in the past that important information that is given to the leadership of an organization usually becomes diluted (almost to the point where it’s completely vague) when it is relayed to the entire team. Being completely open with your teammates about all issues and objectives the organization is dealing with is essential for “team-buy-in.” If your team members don’t feel like they can be trusted with company information (especially any failures the leadership has committed) then they won’t be motivated to tackle challenges when they present themselves. There are numerous techniques today that can help you get started on initiatives to increase team motivation. As a team leader, it should be something that is on your radar at all times.

When it comes to getting things done, follow the “Four D’s.” 

The best article I’ve stumbled upon on this topic is here. I won’t go over all four D’s, what I will do, is go over the importance of delegation. Delegating tasks is by far the greatest and most important skill a leader must have if they want to get anything done. Once you have a team, and they’ve become motivated, the next step should be how well can you prepare them to execute a task. How effective is your organization right now? What can you do to increase your productivity tenfold? Are there any mitigating factors that are stopping your team from getting there right now? These are questions I ask myself on a weekly basis as I plan my goals for the week. The hardest part of managing a team is understanding which team member can handle a certain set of tasks. It always helps when team members ask for specific tasks without you having to announce them; these team members have a natural instinct for detecting the needs of the organization as a whole as well as understanding what they are capable of completing. Delegation for me is quite simple, I follow two basic rules:

 

  • Delegate tasks to people who want to do them.

  • Never set the deadline yourself.

 

Always make sure the tasks you assign people are something they actually want to do. This takes a tremendous amount of time requiring you to sit  down and listen to your team members. What do they complain about? Why are they a part of the team in the first place? Everyone has a goal in mind when they are working with you, there is a reason you were able to convince them to join you in your endeavors. Make sure you keep your ears on the ground, a great leader listens to all of their teammates. In addition, when giving a task to someone, make sure they set their deadlines. It took me a while to see the upside to this. When you set the deadline you don’t give your team room to breath (in the context of my work I find that whenever I give deadlines there are 1,000 other things going in their life). When you have them set their own deadlines it relieves stress on their part and if they honor their own commitments, they hold themselves accountable.

Meetings don’t equal productivity.

This is the most important lesson I have learned. No matter what happens, I have always made it a requirement  to follow this simple rule: always have an agenda for every meeting you attend. There should be absolutely no reason why you should meet with team members just to meet. If your team cannot produce actionable tasks after a meeting is conducted, then why was the meeting conducted in the first place? Meetings shouldn’t become part of the routine – there needs to be a reason for it to happen. You risk losing valuable working hours when conducting meetings that do not contribute to the vision of the company, tackle specific challenges that the team is currently facing, or addresses any internal conflicts the team may have.

Every team is different, but I do know that sticking to principles that your team defines as its priority, help steer it to success. Hopefully, one of these lessons resonates with you. Talk and share this article with your team, see what they think.

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Recommended Articles:

  1. 9 Super Effective Ways to Motivate Your Team
  2. 3 ways Steve Jobs made meetings insanely productive — and often terrifying
  3. 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Recruiting
Pr2politics Kenny Soto Raven Robinson

Pr2Politics: Interview With Raven Robinson

Public Relations, The Political Arena, Advice For College Students, and More…

“Never plan, always be prepared.” – We still haven’t found out…go figure.

Raven Robinson

Episode 2 is here! Raven Robinson is the owner of Pr2Politics, a consulting firm that offers public relations services to political candidates and emerging public figures. She currently holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from The City College of New York, where she served as the President of their Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter. She is also the author of “Your Campaign: A business owner’s guide to understanding public relations”, a workbook that helps entrepreneurs with their public relations strategies. In 2015, Raven was featured in City & State Magazine as a “Top 40 under 40 Rising Star in Government”. Ms. Robinson is currently the Vice President of Government Affairs for The Women In Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN).


 


Show Notes:

  • Interview starts. [0:00]
  • Raven’s background. [0:33]
  • How she began to “bridge the gap.” [6:30]
  • Her experience with “Early Twitter.” [8:00]
  • Her observations on social media usage from college students. [10:50]
  • What should someone consider if they plan to start a career in public relations?  [14:24]
  • What does entrepreneurship mean to you? [17:15]
  • What is a successful life? [22:17]
  • What is a personal brand? [23:04]
  • Raven’s question for the audience… [24:44]

Book mentioned at the end: “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person” by Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes Year of The Yes Kenny Soto

Recommended Articles:

  1. Why Every Marketing Major Should Toss Their Textbooks In The Trash
  2. 5 Tips for Politicians Using Social Media
Kenny Soto Futures For Students

Kenny Soto Launches Futures For Students

I’m Creating A Non-Profit!

FFS is a 501(c)(3) organization created in direct response to the growing number of lower-income underserved students that are graduating from New York City colleges with little or no Digital Marketing education, knowledge or abilities – critical skills in the modern workplace. These are the skills that lead to employment in the Digital Economy of the 21st Century.

FFS is a Digital Marketing Academy that is focused on storytelling across multiple digital platforms. We teach our students to use insights gained from analytics to drive optimized results across Digital Media.

Our rigorous program trains students to be marketing technologists capable of marketing themselves and organizations in the digital economy. Our program imbues them with the knowledge and confidence that they can compete with anyone graduating from elite private university marketing programs.

At FFS, students learn from doing. As they progress they become more deeply involved in an experiential work environment involving teamwork in support of other not-for-profit and other local underfunded small business clients and across FFS’s Written, Podcast, Video, Social Media and Live Streaming platforms. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that research analysts and marketing specialist jobs are expected to increase by 32 percent between 2012 and 2022—this is almost triple the national average of 11 percent predicted for all other occupations.

The reason we are creating this academy is to solve this one problem: college students not being able to get jobs after graduation. We want to, at least, make the job application process more manageable and allow our students to have the opportunity to showcase who they are.

Here’s where you can lend to our company and find out more information on how you can help: https://zip.kiva.org/loans/17666/i/t4rm

Art Collection 1

Art Collection 2

Why Every Marketing Major Should Toss Their Textbooks In The Trash Kenny Soto

Why Every Marketing Major Should Toss Their Textbooks In The Trash

I have a serious issue with textbooks. As college students, we have to pay for books made 2-3 years ago that decrease in value over time, yet it is still standard practice to teach us with textbooks. My frustration comes from textbooks being used in a particular field of study: marketing. Marketing majors should only get textbooks that cover the history of marketing up to the 1,990’s. After that, there is no point in making books.

They are slowly becoming obsolete

Take, for example, as a college student purchasing a textbook on Facebook marketing. As of right now, you will get information on EdgeRank (Facebook’s algorithm/add hyperlink for more research), best practices for Facebook’s Boost Posts and Ad targeting features, and useful tips on community management on the platform. However, that very same textbook can lose value over a period of just two months. The reason is that like all other social media platforms (let’s not even go into websites in general), Facebook has updates on a weekly basis. Some of these updates are announced beforehand. However, the real challenge the marketing professor who wrote the book faces is predicting the updates that Facebook will implement in response to its competition (i.e., it’s quick update of “Live Video” in response to Periscope). And this goes for Snapchat, Peach, Musical.ly, Twitter, Instagram, and every other platform that is currently used.

What are the next steps?

We need to begin thinking of new tactics in which the education of digital marketing can be deployed to college students that meet the needs of the constantly evolving market. As with business owners, educators need to understand that the market doesn’t give a damn about all the research you conducted while creating your textbooks. If the market shifts from Snapchat to an entirely new app, your textbook on Snapchat still has some value, but not as much as it used to. Our textbooks need to “evolve” at the same pace as the needs of the market, or we will continue to see a continuing trend of marketing students not being prepared to work in their field after graduation.

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emoji marketing

Emoji Marketing: Why you should take it seriously

Changes in marketing & customer service are bound to happen in 2016 due to many things. The use of Emoji marketing is one of them.

If you are selling any product today there are two things you can certainly on agree:

  1. The majority of customers are reaching your organization through mobile usage of the world wide web.
  2. A majority of them contact their friends and family using Emojis.

What does this mean for current business owners and digital marketing professionals? It means that all of us are going to have adapt to the customer’s need of being able to interpret what the emojis mean in the context of a client request—this is the core of emoji marketing today. Now there aren’t many scenarios in which an Emoji is an acceptable use of communication, such as when a customer is filling out an online form for a newsletter or an online support ticket. However, Emoji’s are commonly used when clients are interacting with brands on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, as well as  Snapchat.

 

This, along with the other factors demand that brands be more personal (leveraging employee personal brands) in the marketplace, present a new challenge to anyone who is selling products and services online. Companies who do not hire employees who are familiar with and have in-depth knowledge of how to express themselves with emojis will eventually fall behind to their competitors. There are several reasons as to why there has to be an Emoji guideline integrated into your organization’s community guidelines and marketing strategy.

Who uses Emojis? 

An infographic found on AdWeek states that, “Emojis are used by 92% of the online population.” Emoji is the online equivalent to body language. We live in a culture where we are always pressed for time and if a significant set of eyes can convey my curiosity towards a Facebook post or an emoji of a train can represent I am in transit, I expect the person texting/messaging me to understand what I am saying. Now not everyone uses emojis on their own; there are cases in which emojis are used merely to augment a message (i.e., make it more comical or to convey current facial expressions). What is essentially happening right now is the evolution of online slang.

 

Emojis help to save the user time. Remember when we made a big deal of acronyms such as lol, smh, & lmao that are used tremendously in social media? What’s most important is realizing that this a language that is here to stay  and it has to be considered in every aspect of your online effort as a business owner. Your customers are communicating with them, and you need to as well (wait too long and your competitors will get the higher ground).

Why Emojis matter for customer service?

“Emoji use has grown rapidly since Apple added the emoji keyboard to iOS in 2011…Nearly half of the text on Instagram contains Emoji.” – Emoji Research Team

The overwhelming ubiquitous nature of this language is frightening. The sheer magnitude of how fast Emojis have integrated into our daily lives shows all the more reason as to why companies need to train their employees (especially customer service representatives) in the correct usage of emoji’s online and why business and marketing majors have to learn this in college. If you are in charge of your company’s social media marketing effort here’s something you should know: the growth of Emoji usage is now over 40%!

Emoji Usage Over Time on Instagram

If you are selling any online services or products online, you know that Instagram is a vital tool you can use for brand awareness, hence why it’s so important that your organization starts taking Emojis seriously, now. You aren’t providing your customers with the great services they need if you can’t respond to them in a creative way utilizing Emojis. A great example of how you can start can be found here.

How does this affect college students?

I always try to tie into all of my posts a common theme of sharing my knowledge and making it useful specifically for college students. The reason we are in such an advantageous position is because many of the business professionals, especially in marketing, are going to stick to old forms of copy and customer engagement. Many of them will not make the transition to using Emojis more, and the will be a hindrance to their organization’s success. That’s where we will stand out. Under rigorous investigation, I’ve found at least one university has at least discussed on teaching a course on Emoji, more will follow suit if they are forward-thinking and can keep up with consumer culture.
The times are changing my friends, are you keeping up? Bear in mind, GIFs are an entirely different beast. If you found this article useful comment below and let me know your thoughts. All feedback is welcome; it helps me develop more valuable content for you in the future.

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Sources & Recommended Articles:

  1. Report: 92% of Online Consumers Use Emoji (Infographic)
  2. Will emoji become a new language?
  3. GARYVEE’S FIRST 5 #SNAPCHATSECRETS
  4. 2015 Emoji Report (PDF)
  5. Emoji lessons to replace language courses at University of Ulster
Kenny Soto End of 2015

2015 End of The Year Review: The Experiences and Lessons Learned

This blog post is an entry reviewing some of the many experiences I had over the past year and what knowledge I gained from them.


 

First Internship Experience: SCORE

SCORE NYC is a branch of the Small Business Administration (a government entity) that helps small business owners grow their businesses through one-on-one free consultations, workshops, and online webinars.

SCORE NYC was a very special place for me this year for all of the people I was able to meet. I was able to have the opportunity to surround myself with retired business executives who came from industries ranging from corporate law and hedge fund management to digital marketing and construction. I was also able to interact with aspiring entrepreneurs who came to SCORE with questions regarding their businesses and was able to see firsthand the challenges small business owners have to endure just to serve the market. In addition to all of the opportunities to grow and learn that I gained from the people I met, I also learned a lot about two subjects I never really put that much thought into before.

What the heck is the Internet?

The first thing that I learned from my experience at SCORE is that I knew only a small amount of information when it came to what exactly the internet is. Thanks to my mentor, Maurice Bretzfield, I was able to begin to understand the importance of not only knowing the difference between the internet, www, https, FTP, mobile, and wifi but, also identifying the importance of why I should know the differences. The first month studying under him showed me how little formal education had taught me on tools that I use every single day, and it helped me understand why learning about coding, digital design, and digital marketing is vital to how I interact through the internet.

Digital Marketing and what did it have to do with me?

My primary reason for applying for the internship was because under its description it stated that all interns would learn about digital marketing. As a music major, I have learned a lot about song composition, musical theory, and performance methodology, but I did not know how I would survive in the search for a job after receiving my Bachelor’s degree. Digital marketing showed me that it’s an essential skill to at least be aware of in today’s information economy. I learned over the eight months I was at SCORE how many people were having issues just getting their businesses to be known by potential customers. Eventually, I saw that the same concerns that these entrepreneurs were facing correlated with the issues myself and some of my friends at my college where dealing with: how do we stand out from the pack? Through my eight months of diligent work, I am now able to say with confidence that I have a good grasp of Digital Marketing overall and a niche part of it – personal branding.

Buying My Name Online

In regards to personal branding, I believe another pivotal point of this past year is when I purchased my URL and built this website. The benefits of using this website are tremendous. I am now able to google myself and what I want people to see is the only thing that is shown. Controlling my online presence was one of the first things that my mentor Maurice, advised me to do. In addition to this, blogging has helped me question my ideas and develop them even more. Without this platform, I would not have been able to gather my thoughts and had others comment and provide feedback on them. I strive to not only use my website to showcase what makes me unique and why I could be of value to teams but also to help a growing community learn with me. The World Wide Web is constantly growing with pools of both high quality and mediocre content, I want to become someone who contributes to the former. Let’s not forget to mention that blogging has also helped me with my writing and grammar. Finally, it’s helping me create connections with others that otherwise wouldn’t happen. I have had the opportunity to not only interview individuals online about their experience working companies such as Google but, also get good advice on what I should do to get a job after college (which in turn provides you, the reader, with valuable content).

Starting my school year as USG President

Many challenges were thrust upon me this semester. As my college experience rapidly comes to an end, I have the privilege to lead an exceptional team as the president of the undergraduate student government at the City College of New York, and it has certainly been a role that has helped me grow as a person. From improving my time management skills, delegating tasks, making sure the entire team is aligned, managing team stress, etc. I have been exposed to a lot of real life situations that I will have to deal with after college. I consider my experience in this role as an accelerated MBA, learning how to manage a team of people and not only serve them but, serve a whole community of people (the student body) as well. I’ll certainly use the skills I am learning as president in the future, and I will be forever grateful to undergo such an incredible growth period in my life.

Reading “Think On These Things” By Jidda Krishnamurti

Think On These Things Krishnamurti

This book changed my views on our current educational system and helped me understand why it’s important to question all information was given to me, and how to integrate that process into my daily life. It was the first time I ever experience a writer pierce through the veil of what should matter most in life, which is not necessarily the answer to questions we have but, instead finding the reasons to the questions themselves first. This book is a useful resource for anyone interested in getting a fresh perspective on what it means to be essentially a creative individual.

 

As the new year begins I will continue to provide as much valuable content to you, the reader, whenever I can. It helps me tremendously if you provide your feedback and thoughts in the comments section below. Let’s have an amazing 2016 everyone.

 

Cheers,

Kenny S.

 

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