Arlene Guzman Todd: COVID, Women in the Workplace & Losing Ground 

An odd thing happened during the COVID pandemic, but in hindsight the reasons seem unfortunately clear and obvious. Arlene Guzman Todd and others focused on women’s leadership in business saw with shock that the pandemic reduced the number of women in the workplace, particularly in key director roles. As the workplace returns from the pandemic, the number of women leaders and in key functions have dwindled, much of it due to having to choose between the traditional caretaker role, notes Arlene Guzman, and a career.

Women in particular were challenged on three fronts. Arlene Guzman Todd points out women are already handicapped by the fact that many have had to play the dual role of being the homemaker and career person at the same time, raising kids as well as running an eight-hour work day at the office. However, when the COVID pandemic hit, sending everyone home, including the kids from school, it created a third demand element on women: home teachers. For many women, that was too much. And, as Arlene Guzman Todd and others have seen in retrospect, working women made choices that reduced their presence in the office.

Including her own experience, businesswomen like Arlene Guzman Todd have historically had to push harder to achieve and retain leadership roles. Only in recent years with diversity pushes have the number of women in leadership grown notably, especially in the C-suite and executive ranks. In many cases, women have finally figured out how to strike a working balance, although tenuous, between raising a family and keeping on par with peers in a power-career role. However, interestingly enough, this balance had a critical reliance on schools. When COVID requirements forced schools to send kids home, it produced an additional factor that was never part of the balance, yet again pushing many women off-balance. As Arlene Guzman and others concluded, the fundamental role of raising children again handicapped career women.

Companies failed to provide alternatives as well, Arlene Guzman Todd notes. Since mothers and their kids were at home already, the issue of split demands seemed to be a personal matter. Already struggling with entire workforces suddenly telecommuting, many companies were unwilling to do more for women employees suddenly managing kids’ schooling as well. If women managers and workers couldn’t figure out something with their partners, they were out in the cold, according to Arlene Guzman Todd. No surprise, many chose family over the job.

Now, as the workforce is partially returning, women being encouraged to pursue and retain leadership positions matters even more. Arlene Guzman Todd and others in leadership guidance are even more pressed to convince women to keep pursuing key roles and business functions, and its an uphill battle. Fortunately, the job market is in the favor of employees, and the demand is high for anyone with the right skills. This silver lining, Arlene Guzman Todd notes, is a key saving grace for returning women employees or those seeking a career change. If they can’t return to their old role, there are plenty of opportunities for new paths right now. But how long, Arlene Guzman Todd asks, will that offset be available?

The fact that a public health impact had such a disparate impact on women in the workplace is notable and should be addressed by companies going forward instead of ignored. Companies have an opportunity to use COVID as an active lesson on how to prevent a similar impact to women going forward, Arlene Guzman Todd argues. And those businesses that act proactively will be at the forefront of protecting women’s equal opportunities in the workplace, particularly in leadership.

Jim Marchese Knows Many Individuals Who Are Pondering the Question About Whether or not to Get Vaccinated

Jim Notes That the Question Everyone Is Asking Now Is, “To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate?”

People have been living under extraordinary circumstances for the past 18 months or so, ever since the first signs came to light about the novel coronavirus. The virus quickly spread to become a worldwide pandemic and has infected a large percentage of the population with COVID-19 and its variants. Gazing upon this health crisis, Jim Marchese is a well-known mortgage banker, entrepreneur, and financial consultant points out that everyone has been asking lately whether to vaccinate.

To Vaccinate or Not?

Jim Marchese expresses that people have become accustomed to getting vaccinated for a variety of purposes. To be allowed to attend a school or play extracurricular sports, a school may require a range of childhood vaccines, for example. Vaccines are how medical science addressed such awful scourges as polio and smallpox.

With a vaccine, the body is exposed to a substance that provokes an immune response. For example, individuals will get a flu shot every winter to protect themselves against influenza. Vaccination is appropriate late in the year since the flu spreads more quickly when more people congregate inside, often without much ventilation.

But some people do not want to get vaccinations for religious reasons, medical reasons or personal beliefs. Others are worried about how effective a particular vaccine might be any about side effects or allergic reactions.

And then, some individuals have already been exposed to coronavirus and have tested positive for COVID-19 without ever having been vaccinated. Since their immune system handled the COVID-19 infection, they would like to rely on their natural immunity.

The Question to Vaccinate or Not Will Be with Us for the Foreseeable Future

It seems that the issue about vaccination for COVID-19 and a whole host of other diseases is not going to go down quietly. Jim Marchese is anticipating that cooler heads will prevail regarding vaccinations and the personal choices we all must make about protecting ourselves.

There are many people with strong feelings on both sides of the issue. In the meantime, here’s hoping that the current pandemic will ease up soon. In the meantime, it’s safe to say that more people will be protecting themselves against the virus in consultation with their primary health care provider.

Wherever you happen to stand on this complex issue, one thing is certain. People who disagree about policies on vaccination are looking for a suitable approach to protect themselves, friends, and loved ones.

Powder Coating in Metal Fabrication: What Are the Advantages?

Metal fabrication is an essential industry that supports our infrastructure and economy. Most aspects of civilization benefit from a form of metal fabrication product, including household appliances and vehicles. As you consider finishing your metal fabrication project, you will need to choose from several options, including paint and powder coating. If you want to buy powder coating, you can find it in a powder coating equipment company. Below are some benefits of powder coating in metal fabrication.

Highly Efficient

Powder coating uses an electromagnetic charge to hold powder to the part; therefore, there is minimal waste created during this process. Additionally, coating professionals spray the amount of powder they need in one application. Instead of waiting for each coat to dry and then apply the next coat, they do this in one step, which still cures evenly. Doing this will save you some operating costs.

Highly Durable

Professionals apply powder coating to metal and non-metal materials in various thicknesses, colors, finishes, and textures that other coating methods cannot achieve. Powder coating will give any business, consumer, and industry one of the most economical and long-lasting finishes available on any kind of metal. After powder coating, the material is more resistant to chipping, scratching, and fading. The colors also stay vibrant and bright for a long time.

Powder Coating Reduces Processing Time

Powder processing does not need much time, unlike those other methods we use for wet stoving paints because there is no solvent. Moreover, powder processing does not require a flash-off period. Instead, you can pass the material with powder coating directly into the oven.

Eventually, this saves a lot of space and time.

Powder Coating Is Uniform

Treating products with powder coating gives them a smooth and uniform appearance that you cannot achieve with the conventional painting unless a professional painter applies it while working in a sterile environment. Using powder coating ensures that there are no runs, streaks, and weak spots. You will also not see any imperfections like bubbles or dust bumps. All surfaces of products with a powder coating come out smooth and perfect to the consumer’s eye.

Corrosion Resistance

Many metal fabricated products experience rusting. If an outdoor piece comes into contact with rain, snow, or hail, rusting occurs. Indoor items also suffer corrosion after exposure to humidity and water. Powder-coated products are thoroughly and evenly covered, providing zero opportunity for moisture to seep through to your metal pores.

Cost Efficiency

Since you do not need extra time to dry your product before your next step, you will save money and time. You can purchase the raw materials you need for the job according to the exact size of the project and specifications. This means that you won’t waste any money on extra materials.

The powder is also less costly than paint which further cuts costs. Moreover, storing powder coating requires less space than paint cans; therefore, you won’t need much room for storage. Powder coating is a great option for finishing your metal fabrication projects. The process is ideal because it is cost-efficient, corrosion-resistant, uniform, highly durable, and efficient.


Mobile Learning Technology and Its Benefits

Mobile learning, also M-learning, is a flexible form of learning which is done across multiple contexts via the internet using mobile devices, including digital notebooks, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. The M-learning platform offers the users a great experience and helps resolve a poor workforce by making learning easily accessible.

The popularity of mobile learning over the years is attributed to its flexibility and easy accessibility. It can be done online through live discussion and delivery of content and offline, where content can be downloaded and referred to later without need for the internet.

Mobile learning technology builds on text, audios and videos to relay information and transmit knowledge effectively. It is a learning approach that has been adopted in the digital era to meet the various training and learning needs. It allows for real-time sharing of information between instructors, learners, and administrators from different geographical locations.

With the prevalence of Covid-19, mobile learning has become a must-use strategy in the new learning environment.  It has greatly addressed the need for learning and development in organizations through the training of remote workers.

The technology has ensured that training needs are met through blended learning programs and self-directed online training. Experiential learning opportunities are also ensured to enforce the formal training.

Here are some of the benefits of M-learning:

  1. i) Flexibility in learning

Gone are the days when learners’ physical presence in the lecture hall or classroom was required to acquire knowledge. Learning on the go has been made possible through mobile learning, where you can access learning material and interact with fellow learners or instructors from the comfort of your home.

You don’t need to follow a fixed schedule when the learning material is available. This encourages a more self-driven and voluntary study plan. It is also efficient for people who have several activities to deliver on, especially those working.

  1. ii) It promotes a self-paced learning approach

Fixed timeframes to deliver content puts pressure, especially on the slow learners, to ensure they grasp the available material within the stipulated time. Mobile learning allows them to concentrate on challenging areas for more prolonged periods until they understand. It becomes less frustrating when students learn at their pace.

iii) It is more dynamic

Mobile learning has diverse formats to relay knowledge, including different types of media, i.e., YouTube videos, imagery, audio files, and other M-learning features. This allows the students the choice of their preferred learning style that is more convenient for them.

  1. iv) It encourages collaborative learning

Mobile learning encourages the formation of an online learning community that is open for sharing of information. Learners can freely contact their peers as well as instructors online to seek clarification and discuss challenging areas.

  1. v) It allows multi-device support

The availed learning content can be accessed in the same form from either a laptop, smartphone, or notebook. You don’t need to purchase a specific device; the content is responsive on all the devices regardless of the screen size.

  1. vi) It is cost-effective

M-learning promotes greater participation and access to knowledge without necessarily having to break the banks. Instructors are tasked to create learning material using a web-based authoring system and distribute it to the learners, who only need a device and access to the internet. Huge savings on resources are ensured in terms of time and money.

vii) It improves knowledge retention and information recall

Learning material is downloadable and therefore serves as a reliable reference point whenever the need arises. Learners can choose to dedicate suitable time in their schedules to revise a specific topic in greater depth for better understanding.

viii) It encourages bite-sized delivery leading to faster learning

The presentations prepared by the instructors are usually topic-specific. Microlearning beats the challenge of handling information overload, thus improving learning efficiency, especially for those undergoing on-the-job training.

Mobile learning technologies have played a key role in capacity building at the workplace since the learning gaps identified can efficiently be filled through training without necessarily taking a break from the job.

Mobile learning and educational apps are essential baseline mediums for mobile learning. You can select and work with the one that best suits you from the variety, all thanks to mobile learning software technology. The software tools can be customized to meet user needs and can support teams of all sizes.

Mobile learning has played a key role in ensuring continuity of learning, especially when the Covid-19 pandemic has constrained physical learning.





Five things you should do to win Africa’s consumer market


In just the last few years alone, business giants and shareholders have grown increasingly interested in the considerable potential of Africa’s flourishing consumer market. This ethnically and culturally diverse continent is now home to more than 1.1 billion inhabitants that speak more than 2,000 languages. It will make up one-fifth of the world’s growing population by 2025. Africans are continuously entering the consumer class, with millions emerging from poverty in the last few years. With the emergence of this new consumer class and increasing buying power, and the need for products and services that seemed unfeasible but now a reality, expanding to the African continent is a no-brainer for progressive companies.

Still, there are well-known limits for businesses wishing to expand and do business in Africa. Poor infrastructure in parts of the continent to political uncertainty, to name a few, can cause companies to be cautious when entering this market. All things considered; a growing number of international companies have managed to leap into Africa as it presents an emergence of opportunity for organisations across the continent with predictions that this ever-increasing market could be valued at well over $1 trillion by 2020.

To do this right, here are five things you should do to win Africa’s consumer market.


Target the young and urban population

Targeting is vital, especially for businesses wishing to venture into the African continent. We know that African consumers are relatively young, in urban areas, and eager to have desired goods. Approximately 53% of African income earners are between the ages of 16 and 34 years. Undoubtedly, this is a critical age group conscious of trends and willing to try new products and services. $400 billion in overall consumption growth in the next decade will result from the spending habits of these young consumer groups.

It is also worth noting that urbanisation will have an immense impact on the continent’s consumer market and the rise of technology, specifically smartphone usage. In the next five years, almost half of the African population will be residing in cities. There are already several cities with over a million residents.

Africa’s working-age population is also rising at a rate of 2.7% per year compared to Latin America’s 1.3% rise and Southeast Asia’s 1.2% rise. By 2025, almost two-thirds of African households will have a disposable income. This vast growth of the consumer pool will help drive Africa’s GDP growth. This growth is why multinational organisations should target these young, technology-driven consumers located in urban areas.


Micro-targeting works well in this region.

The most successful companies entering Africa have done their due diligence concerning their marketing approach when entering Africa. Although it might seem like a good idea to mass target, instead, target the most lucrative and quickest growing urban centres and hubs where household income and consumer spending habits surpass the national average.

So, what does this look like exactly? For example, let’s look at Lagos, where residents earn an average of twice as much as Nigerian citizens in other cities or Luanda, which accounts for 45% of the total consumer consumption in the southern African nation of Angola. By 2025, 60% of consumer spending in Africa will come from the 20 largest cities.

A micro, city-led strategy is crucial in Africa, provided the disparities in growth rates even among cities within a country and the speedy pace of urbanisation. Having said this, selecting the most promising cities is one factor, but focusing efforts on reaching new audiences at the right time is another. Forward-thinking companies create evidence-based projections of potential markets.


Adapt the offer to local needs and preferences.

Companies embarking into the African market must learn about local needs and preferences that push mass adaptation of their products or services, then localise accordingly. A great example of a localised product is when P&G adopted one of its detergents for Nigeria. The company had learnt that Nigerian buyers valued how well a detergent can lather to characterize its quality. As a result, they formulated the detergent so it would lather quickly. This adaptation is an excellent example of localising products or services to suit local audiences in their cultural language.

Emerging businesses should also focus their efforts on local product preferences and local purchasing behaviours. For instance, in some cities, consumer spending is not affected by the low prices of goods. These customers still buy items at a lower value without any hesitation. In contrast, many consumers in places such as Lagos view low-cost items negatively and even question the quality of these items.

Companies must understand consumer insights before expanding into a region. Not only this, but other components and categories should matter when adapting to local needs, from brand packaging to choosing whether a company is going for a premium or low end, colours, and recognizable language intended for the local market. For instance, a well-prepared company knows that it should localise its use of language to seamlessly gauge its new African demand. It can quickly go wrong, and the last thing any company wants to do is offend or confuse new audiences. A simple word-for-word translation of marketing copy will not suffice. Partnering with a specialised African translation service provider will bridge any language gap.


Quality matters to many African consumers

Many African consumers believe in having the right balance between high quality and price. Many of these consumers correlate the price of a product with quality. Consumers are willing to pay a higher price for a better-quality product and, specifically, consumer durables for longer-lasting items. Many consumers will find a way to purchase higher-valued, quality goods.

To be successful in Africa’s markets, entrants can’t presume that any international product or service will be a guaranteed success. As an alternative, corporations should learn and understand consumer preferences and find an equilibrium between quality, endurance, notability, and price. Furthermore, these emerging companies should focus their efforts on the quality of their products and services and emphasize that message through sampling, marketing, and advertising.


Leverage the Internet and social media.

A technological revolution is sweeping this vast content. The Internet and easy access to information are leading drivers of change for this generation, especially in the past ten years. These drivers act as a clear catalyst for Africa’s revamped economic and political stability.

Mobile phone usage is supporting the continent in conquering its lack of infrastructure. Smartphones have also been ground-breaking by enhancing consumers’ access to information and knowledge like never before. Internet and mobile phone usage are high in Africa and rising rapidly. Social networks are also essential factors, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms on the climb.

Viral communication is becoming more and more essential for reaching African consumers. As a result, companies should seek ways to leverage the internet and social media to market themselves and build brand awareness authentically; this will set companies apart from one another. Suppose a multinational is thinking of entering a region where its native language is not spoken; with the support of a certified language translation service, companies can market to consumers regardless of their native language and on a larger scale, thanks to this technology.