Growing up in Terry, Mississippi, Sheena Allen didn’t spend much time in banks.
The small town, located 17-miles south of Jackson, only had one bank branch (and still does). Much of the community got by without ever having accounts, including Allen’s grandmother and great grandmother. They relied on fee-heavy solutions like payday loans and check cashing services.
Allen, a 29-year-old app developer, hadn’t given much thought to the issues associated with not having a bank accountuntil she came home for the holidays in 2015.She noticed how the people who still rely on non-traditional banking lose money on interest and fees for cashing checks, reloading prepaid cards, and borrowing and lending money. Without a bank account, they had difficulty establishing credit scores, buying homes, and saving for the future.
After years of living in a few large US cities, she unexpectedly found her biggest business idea back where she started.
In 2016, she started working on CapWay, an online banking and financial literacy app that aims to help the unbanked, underbanked and people living paycheck to paycheck.
“I know this problem from a personal point of view, from my family and friends, but I didn’t know this problem from outside of Mississippi,” said Allen, who spent a year traveling around the US researching the issue.
Users can connect existing accounts to the app or get a pre-paid card from CapWay, which Allen says will have a lower rate than most other cards currently available. It will make custom suggestions based on an individual’s spending habits, such as pointing them to a state-run program that can help renters become homeowners or telling them how to avoid overdraft fees. The ultimate goal is to change behavior and transition users to a proper bank account.
Although anyone can use the app, it is targeted toward Millennials who aren’t yet set in their ways to “stop them from going into a cycle that’s really hard to get out of,” she said.
CapWay is still in the testing phase. It will first roll out to iOS, Android and mobile web users in Mississippi, which has the highest population of unbanked and underbanked residents. When it launches nationally later this year, CapWay will partner with schools, employers, financial institutions and community organizations in the South to reach the people who need it.
Allen says the company will make money off paid partnerships, fees from pre-paid cards, and sponsored content and advertising.
Allen says CapWay is making sure its educational content easy to understand and tailored for its audience.
“In the end, education and understanding money along with giving them to tools to put that education to use will be the shift. You can’t give people one part and not the other and expect to see a big change,” said Allen.
The Siemens Foundation is advancing its mission to narrow the opportunity gap for young people in the United States in STEM careers by launching a new workforce training program to fill skilled positions in the intelligent buildings industry in collaboration with Siemens Building Technologies and the Association of Controls Professionals (ACP).
Together, the organizations will create community college training programs and develop career pathways into local K-12 systems, both aligned to new, non-proprietary industry certifications under development by ACP. This innovative program will focus on reaching traditionally underserved or underrepresented student communities and providing them the opportunity to excel in a software-driven field. The Foundation will invest more than $1.6 million in the workforce training program over a three-year period, with the first iteration expected to launch in DeKalb County in metro Atlanta in late spring.
“Operating and maintaining today’s smart building systems requires skilled, technology-minded professionals, but companies like Siemens continue to have difficulty in finding skilled applicants for these open positions,” said Dave Hopping, CEO of Siemens Building Technologies division, Americas. “The development of career pathways from K-12 through community college, leading to high-quality certification, will help address this gap and grow the diversity of individuals who have an opportunity to receive training, compete for these software-driven jobs and earn a competitive salary.”
“A career focused on how to make buildings smarter and more efficient is truly one of purpose, giving students the opportunity to pursue work in a field that will play a significant role in reducing emissions and making our world more sustainable for years to come,” said Brian Lovell, president of ACP. “There are tens of thousands of jobs in the building automation field open today and our program’s mission is to provide the next-generation workforce with the skills and opportunity to fill these jobs and move the industry, and our world, forward.”
The intelligent buildings workforce training program is a part of the Siemens Foundation’s new SPARKS (STEM Partnerships to Advance Real-World Knowledge and Skills) Initiative, an effort to stand-up focused and employer-informed STEM training programs across industries like smart infrastructure, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.
The Foundation will work in tandem with Siemens core businesses to develop targeted programming that addresses specific workforce development needs across their industry. Though each program will be unique, all share common goals under the broader SPARKS Initiative to provide economic opportunity for America’s next generation of workers and grow talent for relevant industries.
Since its inception, the Siemens Foundation’s mission has been to ignite and sustain today’s STEM workforce and tomorrow’s scientists and engineers. The Foundation has invested more than $115 million in the United States to advance workforce development and education initiatives in science, technology, engineering, and math. Its mission is inspired by the culture of innovation, research and continuous learning that is the hallmark of Siemens’ companies. Together, the programs at the Siemens Foundation are narrowing the opportunity gap for young people in the United States in STEM careers.
Recently, the Foundation took a closer look at the widening U.S. income gap and shifts in workforce demographics and determined it could better address the education and economic challenges facing young adults by leveraging Siemens own business expertise and the Foundation’s experience in building and implementing youth STEM initiatives. This focus led to the Foundation’s launch of the STEM Middle-Skill Initiative in 2015, its inaugural investment in workforce development.
“The Foundation’s mission, at its core, is to ensure opportunity for those who traditionally have been left behind and make good on America’s most basic social compact – to ensure that those who set goals and work hard can provide for themselves, their families, and their communities,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “Work like the STEM Middle-Skill Initiative and SPARKS partnerships allows us to continue to deliver on this mission by increasing awareness, advancing proven training models, and communicating the value of STEM middle-skill careers.”
Through the STEM Middle-Skill Initiative, the Siemens Foundation has created an ecosystem of national partners, government leaders, and educational stakeholders to further its workforce development mission including the National Governors Association, The Aspen Institute, Advance CTE, New America, among others. These partnerships have resulted in expanded work-based learning opportunities, including new registered apprenticeship programs, the first national conference on apprenticeship, growing excellent community college STEM programs, and building a new generation of CTE students.
Hyundai has shown off a small model of a car it says can activate robotic legs to walk at 3mph (5km/h) over rough terrain and also able to climb a 5ft (1.5m) wall and jump a 5ft gap.
The Hyundai Elevate could be useful for emergency rescues following natural disasters, Hyundai said.
It was part of a project exploring “beyond the range of wheels”, it added.
The concept has been in development for three years and was unveiled at the CES technology fair in Las Vegas.
“When a tsunami or earthquake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field. They have to go the rest of the way by foot,” said Hyundai vice-president John Suh.
“Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete.”
Mr. Suh also suggested that wheelchair users could be collected via the vehicles, which could “walk” up to the front door of a building with step-only access.
Prof David Bailey, from Aston Business School, said: “Often car companies bring out lots of concepts which may or may not make it into production but it’s great to think in new ways about mobility.
“For most of us, it’s going to be wheels and roads but in extreme situations there may be scope for this sort of thing.
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The first female African-American astronaut in space was not cured of curiosity when she whirled about the cosmos as part of NASA’s STS-47 in 1992. Her vision sharpened, like a kid who takes her first plane flight. Wondrous, yes, but still a hint.
Space, for Dr. Mae Jemison, is a wild trip in your bones and a homecoming in your soul. “It’s the one thing that connects us all around the world,” she said, in an interview with Diversity in STEAM Magazine. “And it also connects us to the planet and to the greater universe.”
Jemison is in demand, but she manages telescopic vision when it comes to her current project: 100 Year Starship.
The goal? Human travel to another solar system in the next 100 years. “Creating an extraordinary tomorrow actually creates a better world today,” Jemison said.
Jemison, the principal and leader of the 100 Year Starship program, stated on the organization’s website (100yearss.org): “When we explore space, we garner the greatest benefits here at home. The challenge of traveling to another star system could generate transformative activities, knowledge, and technologies that would dramatically benefit every nation on Earth in the near term and years to come.
“The concept of humans traveling to other star systems may appear fantastical, but no more so than the fantasy of reaching the moon was in the days of H. G. Wells. The First Men in the Moon was published considerably less than 100 years before humans landed on the Moon (1901 vs. 1969), and the rapidity of scientific and technological advances was not nearly as great as it is today. The truth is that the best ideas sound crazy at first. And then there comes a time when we can’t imagine a world without them.”
Jemison was the science mission specialist on STS-47 Spacelab. STS-47 was a cooperative mission between the United States and Japan. The eight-day mission was accomplished in 127 orbits of the Earth, and included 44 Japanese and U.S. life science and materials processing experiments.
She was a co-investigator on the bone cell research experiment that traveled with the mission. In completing her first space flight, Jemison logged more than 190 hours in space. She’d been starstruck all her life; that didn’t change. “I imagined myself on another star, and I was connected to that star because I’m part of the universe,” she said.
Dr. Jemison, the author of Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments From My Life and other books, overcame all the obstacles placed on the career course, and life course, of an African-American woman. She negotiated each pothole, each roadblock, moved on, didn’t look back. “You make sure you’re doing the best you can do, but you don’t hang out at stumbling blocks that other people want you to hang around.”
Her advice for those facing similar challenges? “You have to be comfortable with yourself,” she said. “The key issue is to understand criticism. Is it coming because you aren’t doing something right or because someone has a different expectation of you?”
Jemison, who earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University in 1977 and a doctorate degree in medicine from Cornell University in 1981, urges others to focus on education. “There is nothing we can do that is more important in this world than education,” she said. “Here’s the thing: Children don’t get to do 8 years old over again… if we fail to take advantage, then we have lost.”
The astronaut who went on to be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the National Medical Association Hall of Fame, and the Texas Science Hall of Fame, started off gazing at the night sky as a girl in Chicago and watching the Gemini and Apollo flights on TV.
“I used to be really irritated when I was a little girl that there were no women astronauts,” she said. “And no people of color in the astronaut program. Really irritated.”
She said there’s a difference between role models and inspiration. She’s had many role models, including cats (“They’re so confident; they don’t take nonsense”), but inspiration is another matter. “Life inspired me,” she said.
Jemison, a lover of the arts who dove deeply into dancing, has a background in engineering and medical research. She has worked in the areas of computer programming, printed wiring board materials, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, computer magnetic disc production, and reproductive biology. She completed her internship at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center in June 1982 and worked as a general practitioner with INA/Ross Loos Medical Group in Los Angeles until December of that year.
From January 1983 through June 1985, Jemison was the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa. On return to the United States, Jemison joined CIGNA Health Plans of California in 1985 and was working as a general practitioner and taking graduate engineering classes in Los Angeles when she was chosen for the astronaut program in 1987.
She worked on the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory and the Science Support Group activities.
Then she was chosen to go to space, and she made history. “We have been in science all along,” she said about women of color. “Even when people didn’t want us involved. I want folks to understand they have the right to be involved. They don’t have to ask.”
Jemison left NASA in 1993—with a new mission. “My path was to include other people,” she said. She formed the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, which fosters science literacy. The non-profit, founded in honor of Jemison’s late mother, who was a school teacher, is all about “personal excellence.” The foundation’s main program, developed in 1994, is The Earth We Share international science camp. Students from the United States and around the world work together to solve such global issues as, “How Many People Can the Earth Hold?” and “Predict the Hot Public Stocks for the Year 2030.”
Today, if you visit the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City, Jemison will speak directly to you about the contributions women have made to the space program, via a life-size hologram in the exhibit Defying Gravity: Women in Space. She narrates, discussing her career and those of other women involved in the space program while visitors wear Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality headsets and walk around the exhibit. Holograms appear, helping to illustrate her points, including a life-size rendering of an spacewalking astronaut that appears to be tethered to the real-life Enterprise that hangs above the installation.
Jemison’s story jumpstarted when, as a girl, she did a simple thing: she looked up.
The story never really ends; the cosmos are infinite; you can never look too closely or far enough. All this is to say Jemison is still looking up, and she wants others—especially generations to come—to do the same.
That’s why she coaxed a sea of people to do just that on September 28, 2018, as part of her Look Up project. “We want to chronicle what happens when you look up at the sky,” she said. “What do you hope, dream, think, fear, wish, plan, love?” Stories of those voyages were posted to the digital world as poems, songs, photos and art. That day and in the days after, Americans, Africans, French, Japanese, girls, boys, old, young and you-name-them connected in strange and soothing ways.
Ironman isn’t Ironman without the suit, but the suit has no power without the man. That is the future of robotic development, people and robots, working together hand-in-hand to accomplish more than we ever thought would be possible.
The next generation of robots isn’t working to replace people, it’s working to improve the lives and jobs of people. We see that in the industrial world, where robot design is pivoting from giant mechanical arms that take up factory floors, to smaller, more collaborative bots, that are designed to work alongside people. While these collaborative bots only make up 3% of the market today, they will make up 34% of the market by 2025.
In today’s world, to suggest that automation will eliminate the need for human workers is proving to be as ridiculous as suggesting that tablets will replace laptops. With the United States enjoying a 3.8% unemployment rate, the job market is more booming, and employees can be more selective about the roles they want to take. Locked in the battle for top talent, companies are looking to find ways to get more efficient and effective, rather than cut headcount.
Deloitte recently published a study confirming this fact, in that the majority of organizations leveraging automation are focused on the benefit of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of their workforce, rather than the motivation of replacing people. In most cases, as it becomes easier to accomplish formerly manual tasks through automation, organizations will take advantage of the extra bandwidth by retraining employees to manage more valuable or rewarding activities. And this suits the millennials just fine.
Millennials are Shaping the Nature of Work
When it comes to the workforce, no group has more to gain from the rise of robotics than millennials. As the most educated generation, millennials expect a lot from their time in the workforce. With different motivations than their parents, including a relentless focus on creating memorable experiences in all areas of their lives, millennials prioritize job opportunities that will allow them to develop their skills for the future, and find a rewarding career path.
Millennials crave opportunities for advancement and challenge, and they will not stay in roles that don’t offer it. The average job tenure was already in decline, but millennials will only accelerate this trend. A recent LinkedIn survey found that millennials were 16% more likely to switch industries and 50% more likely to relocate for a new job than non-millennials. Industries and jobs that have historically offered little room for advancement will be overlooked, as millennials expect to be trained on technical skills in their area of expertise, and want the opportunity to lead while pursuing creativity and innovation.
Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.
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.
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.
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.
A red laser pointer shining through a raw chicken carcass may not seem like groundbreaking science, but for veteran technologist Mary Lou Jepsen, it’s worth $28 million in funding for her latest startup, Openwater.
Jepsen performed the chicken act as part of her August TED Talk to illustrate how her imaging-tech company is building cost-conscious body-scanning technology by using the same components one might find at a science fair. The laser pointer’s light made both skin and bone of the plucked fowl glow, revealing a tumor just under its flesh. This simple demonstration shows the science behind what Openwater is trying to achieve; wearable diagnostics made from consumer electronic parts that offer higher resolution than multimillion-dollar MRI machines but cost as much as a smartphone.
Just as the chicken’s tumor blocked the laser pointer light, which shone through the rest of the chicken’s flesh, Openwater’s wearables will capture images by recording light particles and the negative spaces where they fail to scatter. X-rays use radiation and MRI machines use a magnetic field and radio waves because they can go through the human body and produce an image. But so does “red light, infrared light,” Jepsen tells Forbes. “Guess which one is cheaper by a lot?”
It’s a method similar to how holograms are made, and it uses readily available camera and display chips you can find in a smartphone. It’s also an idea that took Jepsen’s skill set to consider, and perhaps her impressive CV to convince investors to buy in. The serial founder led the display divisions at Intel and the semi-secret research group Google X and helped develop Oculus after Facebook purchased the virtual reality headset company in 2014. But Openwater began with Princess Leia’s projected message to Obi Wan Kenobi, when Jepsen aimed her life at building holograms like the one she first saw in Star Wars.
Hooked by the lasers and optical illusions involved, Jepsen made her first hologram as an engineering undergrad at Brown. Later, she’d use her growing skill set to develop computer display screens and VR glasses at the top tech companies in the world.
At that time, however, holograms did not pay the bills. Because holography was viewed as a frivolous “technology looking for an application,” no one would fund it, Jepsen says. “I just had to figure out a way to support my habit. I basically lived all through my 20s on $12,000 a year just because I thought I’d die if I couldn’t make holograms,” Jepsen said.
Her pursuit of holograms bought her to Melbourne, Australia, where she worked as a professor of computer science at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and helped put holograms on the country’s paper money. In Cologne, Germany, she built some of the world’s largest holographic displays, including one of historic buildings projected on an entire city block. Still, she didn’t feel her work was taken seriously, so Jepsen figured she’d need a Ph.D.
Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.
Adriana Ocampo, PhD, is the Science Program Manager at NASA headquarters. Take a look at NASA’s Q&A with the accomplished engineer.
Where are you from?
I was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and I was raised in Argentina. My family and I moved to the United States when I was a teenager. I now live in Washington, DC.
Describe the first time you made a personal connection with outer space.
When I was a little girl, I would go on the roof of my house and look at the stars and wonder how far they were away from me. I would also make “spacecraft” with the pots and pans from my mother’s kitchen. I would dress my doll up as an astronaut, and my dog Taurus was my co-pilot.
How did you end up working in the space program?
As soon as I landed in the USA I asked: “Where is NASA?” After my junior year in high school, and thanks to the Space Exploration Post 509—sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—I was able to first volunteer at JPL and then work there as an employee during the summer. As I started college I continued to work at JPL. I majored in geology at the California State University at Los Angeles, earning a B.S. there in 1983. I then got my Master of Science in planetary geology from California State University, Northridge. I received both my degrees while working full time at JPL as a research scientist. I’m currently finishing my PhD at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Who inspired you?
My parents were my inspiration. They always encouraged me to reach for the stars and instilled in me the knowledge that education was the gateway to making my dreams come true. Space exploration was my passion from a very young age, and I knew I wanted to be part of it. I would dream and design space colonies while sitting atop the roof of my family’s home in Argentina.
What is a Science Program Manager?
Some of my duties include being the New Frontiers lead program executive. New Frontiers includes the Juno mission to Jupiter, the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the asteroid sample return mission OSIRIS-REx. I am also the lead Venus scientist responsible for NASA’s collaboration with ESA’s Venus Express mission, JAXA’s Venus Climate Orbit and the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG), which develops strategic plans and assessments for the exploration of this planet.
Tell us about a favorite moment so far in your career.
A favorite moment would have to be my research that led to the discovery of the Chicxulub impact crater. The impact that formed this crater caused the extinction of more than 50 percent of the Earth’s species, including the dinosaurs. I wrote my master’s and PhD theses on this crater, and I have led six research expeditions to study this amazing event that changed the evolution of life on our planet.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to take the same career path as you?
“Dream and never give up.” When thinking about the great adventure that you have ahead, dream and never give up, be persistent and always be true to your heart. Live life with gusto. I would like to share my mnemonic (STARS) with you from the Girl Scouts book “Recipes for Success:”
Smile: Life is a great adventure Transcend to triumph over the negative Aspire to be the best Resolve to be true to your heart Success comes to those who never give up on their dreams
This past May, Ginai Seabron became the first African-American woman to earn a B.S. in nanoscience from the College of Science at Virginia Tech.
As one of only 20 graduating seniors in the nanoscience major, which is part of the college’s Academy of Integrated Science, Seabron accepted her degree at the Biocomplexity Institute in Steger Hall among shouts of support and cheers from her peers, friends, and family.
Social media has proven that more than just her personal connections are proud of her accomplishment.
“I didn’t expect it at all,” Seabron said of her post going viral. “It’s overwhelming, but I love it.”
Hours before commencement, Seabron spoke through tears as she reflected on her Virginia Tech experience.
“It is not easy at all being the only African American in the room,” she said. “It’s intimidating.”
She chose not to give up, and in doing so inspired others to pursue the degree. “I’ve actually helped a few other people in my black community transfer into the nanoscience department.”
“I met Ginai during her freshman year while talking to students about our shared interest in nanoscience,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, who also has a nanotechnology background. “We’re proud of her success, and I greatly appreciate her many contributions to the university community. Her strength and insight have been very helpful to me in our efforts to make the Virginia Tech experience more inclusive. I have no doubt that great things are ahead for her.”
Her advice to future students comes from lessons she’s learned along the way.
“Continue to push,” she said. “Rely on your family and your friends. Reach out to your professors. Go to office hours. Create your own office hours if you have to. Be social. Step out of your comfort zone. Get to know the people in your class—they could become your study buddies. You’ll think you’re the only person struggling, but as it turns out, everybody’s struggling.”
With the term “family,” she’s referring to more than just relatives. While her kin have been an incredible support system, the relationships she built through her involvement on campus have sustained her on long days and even longer nights.
“The black community at Virginia Tech is wonderful,” she said. “The Black Cultural Center and everyone in the cultural and community centers are all amazing. They know me as Auntie Nai here. They’re really my family away from home. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it. I can promise you that.”
In response to their encouragement, Seabron served as president of the Black Organizations Council and was a member of Enlightened Gospel Choir, where she was awarded for her commitment to diversity and inclusion at the University Student Leadership Awards. She was a resident advisor during her junior year, a teaching assistant during her sophomore year, and has volunteered with College Mentors for Kids.
“I love helping others, and in every single one of those positions, I’ve had the great opportunity of meeting and helping out other people,” Seabron said. “And they’ve also helped me through.”
Ginai’s mother, Sherita Seabron, describes her daughter as a natural-born leader and said last weekend’s events created the best Mother’s Day she could ask for.
“I feel overjoyed and overwhelmed with emotion,” Sherita said. “I knew she was destined for greatness, and I’m just excited to see what’s next for her.”
Ginai’s post-graduation plans have yet to be solidified, but one thing is certain: she’s looking forward to getting more sleep.
Photo Credit: Steven Mackay
Source: Original article from Student Affairs at Virginia Tech
Successful entrepreneurs usually have their hands full running one business, but Kalika Yap isn’t like other business owners. The self-described “serial entrepreneur” owns four profitable, distinct businesses with plans to launch a fifth in the near future.
“Being an entrepreneur, you learn something new every day,” says Yap, who was a journalist with Bloomberg and CNBC before she caught the entrepreneurial bug. “I meet so many people—it’s exciting. It can be crazy and nerve-wracking, but if you hang in there, it’s a huge learning opportunity.”
In 1999, Yap started her first business, Citrus Studios, Inc., a branding and digital agency that provides a wide array of services, from logo design, website development and content marketing to social media management. The Santa Monica-based firm and its 21 employees serve blue-chip clients including Hulu, Annenberg Foundation, Sephora, Dollar Shave Club, Sony, USC, UCLA, Stanford University and The Getty Center.
In 2005, she invented Luxe Link, a fashion accessory that keeps handbags off the floor and is sold online and in thousands of stores around the world. Yap, who holds patents in China, Hong Kong, Japan and Canada, has licensing deals with Cole Haan, Michael Kors and others.
Four years later, she launched The Waxing Company, the first high-end waxing salon in Honolulu. Last year, Yap founded Orange & Bergamot, which provides similar services as Citrus, but aimed at women-owned firms with smaller budgets. She plans to launch a brother company, Bergamot Brands, targeted at men business owners.
“I want to create companies that elevate business owners and help them succeed,” says Yap, who learned how to code in the 1990s before the technology boom. She honed her digital technology skills while working at the Getty, and after she left her job to start Citrus, the Getty became her first client.
“I did several projects for them, and as people left for other jobs at Norton Simon, USC and Huntington Library, they’d recommend me for other work. When you do good work, word gets around,” she adds.
Lessons Learned and Certification
With the Getty as a first client and others coming by word-of-mouth, Citrus didn’t face many struggles in the early years, although “back then, you had to convince people to get online,” Yap says. “Now, everyone knows they need to have a great online presence—your business won’t succeed without it. That’s how people remember you.”
Like most business owners starting out, she wasn’t selective about Citrus’ clients—taking any project that came her way. Then, she realized the importance of making sure her clients’ values aligned with hers.
Yap created the company’s core values, which include: Communicate kindly, Have heart, be All in, be Remarkable and Make lemonade out of lemons, or CHARM. “When I work with a potential client or employee, I share my values and make sure we’re aligned,” she adds.
Citrus, which has been SCMSDC-certified for several years, has benefited from its minority business enterprise (MBE) certification, according to Yap. “We do a lot of work with L.A. County as a subcontractor and all the primes want you to be certified, so certification really helps.”
In addition to attending council events, including Minority Business Opportunity Day and the Leadership Excellence Awards gala, Yap was a featured speaker at CEO Academy, SCMSDC’s leadership program for MBEs, where she helped participants reveal their brand’s core essence and convey their brand to better connect with audiences.
Yap has received many awards, including the National Association of Women Business Owner’s Rising Star award, Deborah Awards by the ADL and Asian Business Association’s Technology Firm of the Year. She is also the first woman and minority to serve as president of the Entrepreneurs Organization Los Angeles, a global, peer-to-peer network of influential business owners with 173 chapters.
Tips for Success
Her advice to minority entrepreneurs?
“Don’t give up. A lot of times, business owners are almost there and throw in the towel too soon. Don’t let fear take over. I told myself that failing wasn’t an option.”
“Have habits that will make you productive. I meditate twice a day and work out every day. I design my life the way I want it. My habits help me start off my day in a great mental state.”
“Leverage technology. I use technology to streamline my work.”
“Define what success means to you. Someone’s idea of success may be to sell a company, have a great family life or flexible schedule … define what it is and go for it.”
Every year people visit car shows, both near their home, and even states away. The country has a fascination with both old and new models, and car shows give auto enthusiasts a way to see a variety of vehicles all at one time.It also gives them the up-close “look under the hood” experience they can’t get from flipping through a magazine or watching a television show. Car fans can also get up close to significant crime car history at Alcatraz East Crime Museum, where it’s life in the fast lane that attracts visitors as they peruse the six must-see vehicles on public display.
“So many people love cars of all types, and when they are featured in an historical event it makes them even more interesting to our visitors,” explains Rachael Penman, director of artifacts and exhibits at Alcatraz East Crime Museum. “Guests immediately start sharing their own connections to the cars’ stories and it’s special to be able to make these artifacts available to the public”.
There are six crime and law enforcement related vehicles on display at the museum, two of which are located outdoors so are free to view. The other four are inside the museum in the Getaway Cars Gallery, which is part of regular admission. The vehicles on display at the museum include:
1933 Essex Terraplane– Actually owned and not stolen by notorious bank robber John Dillinger, he purchased the car new in 1934. Dillinger escaped FBI agents in the car along with his girlfriend Evelyn Frechette, and a bullet from the shootout can still be seen from inside of the car. He soon had to abandon the car after crashing in a field, and signed it over to his brother.
1934 Ford V8– The hole-ridden vintage Ford was featured as the death car in classic 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde starring Warren Beatty and Fay Dunaway. The ambush scene set new standards for onscreen violence, and the bullet holes seen in the car were made by local police who shot up the car for filming.
1968 Volkswagen Beetle– The museum’s VW Beetle was owned by serial killer Ted Bundy. The vehicle was integral to both his murders and his ultimate conviction when it yielded important DNA evidence. The car is displayed without the front passenger seat in the same way Bundy use the car.
1993 Ford Bronco– Owned and driven by OJ Simpson’s friend Al Cowlings, the white Bronco is the very vehicle where Simpson sat in the back seat during the slow speed chase that so many tuned in to witness.
Sevier County Sheriff’s Car – Purchased new in 2007, the Dodge Charger in front of the museum was used by three members of the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office during its 9-year career. It was retired in 2016, and found a new home on loan to the museum educating the public.
Government Surveillance Van– Located outside the museum, the van was used the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a Georgia police department. A display inside the museum gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the cramped quarters law enforcement spends time in during a stakeout, with barely enough room to stand and little privacy to use the toilet. The van was in active criminal investigations, including drug crimes and burglary surveillance.
“Our Getaway Cars Gallery is a highly popular area of the museum, and for good reason, as most people own cars so they connect with their stories as objects,” added Penman. “Our crime cars each represent a cautionary tale, symbolizing a warning about the consequences of crime, while our law enforcement vehicles are positive reminders of all law enforcement does every day, both in public and behind-the-scenes, to keep us safe.”
Alcatraz East Crime Museum offers a variety of permanent and temporary exhibits on all aspects of crime history, CSI, and law enforcement. Current temporary exhibits include “The Second Amendment” until September 2019, “It Happened Here: Tennessee Crimes & Justice,” until May 2019, and permanent displays featuring items such as “Old Smokey,” Tennessee’s electric chair.
The museum is always adding to its collection, and has a star-studded panel of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and others. The board includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: alcatrazeast.com.
About Alcatraz East
Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages – so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: alcatrazeast.com.