10 Reasons We're Grateful for Oprah
Long before there were social media influencers, there was Oprah... and she influenced much more than what brand of moisturizer we purchased.
She reached multiple generations of women (and men) from numerous backgrounds, and helped us believe that we too could be influencers in our own way by making the world a little bit better each day. She inspired us to be better, while reminding us that we were already enough.
So on her 65th birthday, we wanted to take some time to thank her for all she's done for millions of women, by listing just 10 of the many reasons we're grateful for her.
1. For reminding us that even the most accomplished people once doubted their abilities.
During an interview with Larry King, Oprah shared that when filming began for The Color Purple, she still wasn't sure if she could act. But that didn't stop her from trying.
She actually took acting books with her to set. It wasn't until this famous monologue that she knew she could. And she's since delivered stunning performances in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Butler, and Selma (just to name a few).
2. For teaching us how to pay it forward.
Oprah at an orphanage in South Africa
In 2003, Oprah shared a memory of her favorite childhood Christmas with her audience. Her mom had told her they weren't going to have Christmas because they couldn't afford it. Oprah says this is when she stopped believing in Santa Claus, "'Cause now he ain't coming cause we're poor?"
She was worried what would happen when the other kids asked her what she got for Christmas, and she'd have to say, "nothing." But the day was saved when three nuns showed up at her house on Christmas morning with food and presents. "That was the best Christmas of my life, because somebody remembered, and I wasn't going to have to be the kid that said I got nothing."
That same year, she went to South Africa to personally give Christmas gifts to no less than 2,000 children a day, because she wanted to give them the same feeling the nuns gave her, that "somebody remembered you."
3. For showing us that "failure" often has a silver lining.
Oprah credits being demoted as a news anchor in Baltimore with opening the door for her to pursue her true passion - helping people. In her words, "I was not a good television reporter. I was too emotional." Her demotion allowed her to start using this "weakness" as what is now seen as one of her greatest strengths - empathy.
4. For teaching us that, “There is no real doing in the world, without being first.”
It's easy to get caught up in the rat race, be it in career or another aspect of our lives. But Oprah's always been a calming voice, reminding us to look internally - to be present - before we turn our sights outward. From that, the "doing" comes naturally. "[If you want to change the world], you can only do that if you know yourself."
5. For leading by example and inspiring all of us to overcome the adversity in our lives. (And reminding us that luck and timing matter, too.)
Oprah was born in Mississippi the same year the famous Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education established that, "separate but equal is inherently unequal."
Born in a place and at a time when the deck was naturally stacked against her, Oprah actually considers herself lucky for being born "at the right time," and for leaving Mississippi before having to spend any time in a segregated school there. Otherwise, she's not sure if she'd be where she is today.
By any measure, Oprah defied the odds for a young black girl growing up in poverty in the U.S. in the 50s and 60s, but that doesn't even begin to account for the trying moments Oprah encountered and overcame to be who she is now.
When she was 14, she became pregnant after being abused and hid the pregnancy for seven months. Her mother actually took her to a detention home, but it was full, so she went and lived with her father instead. Oprah sees this a saving grace, because it prevented her from being stigmatized as a "bad girl."
The child ultimately passed away shortly after birth, and Oprah seized on that as a second chance to make her life what she wanted it to be.
Through her own actions, Oprah has taught us not to underestimate the role of luck, timing, and resilience in shaping our destiny.
6. For achieving so many firsts and making it easier for others to follow in her footsteps.
President Obama awarding Oprah with the Presidential Medal of Freedom
From talk show host to movie star to philanthropist to chairwoman and CEO of Harpo Productions and The Oprah Winfrey Network, it's hard to think of anything she can't do. The first black woman billionaire, and recipient of way too many awards to list here, Oprah's achievements are not just her own.
They are victories for women, people of color, and anyone who has felt the disadvantages of a deck stacked against them. As she's reached new levels of success in business, film, media, and more, she's not just broken down barriers - she's paved the way for others to follow her. At the very least, she's been a face millions of children can look up to and be inspired by. A face they can see themselves in.
7. For reminding us that nobody has it "together" in their mid twenties. And that's okay.
Talking with a young guest on her show, Oprah reminisced about how she felt when she was 25 - "I was a wreck." She didn't feel fulfilled by her career and wasn't sure where she was headed... but that's okay, she said. "This is what the 20s are for, for figuring this stuff out."
So to my fellow twenty-somethings, don't fret - not even Oprah was impervious to a mid-20s existential crisis. And look how well things turned out for her!
8. For teaching us that listening matters and that we are enough.
On her last show, she famously said, "You alone are enough...I've talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted validation. They want to know: 'Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?'"
If we take this to be true, then each of us has the power to remind others of their worth simply by listening to them. And we affirm our own when we remember that we deserve to be heard.
9. For reminding us that there will be times when we don't know what to do, and that's okay.
In a recent interview with People, Oprah confided that when her mother was on her deathbed, she wasn't sure how to say goodbye. After 30+ years helping others find words to express themselves, she couldn't find her own.
"Isn't this strange," she said, "I'm Oprah Winfrey, reading a hospice care book on what to say at the end." She eventually realized that she had to find the answer on her own - that it wouldn't be in a book. But we can all learn from her vulnerability and humility - sometimes, no matter how much of an expert we think we are, we will be faced with a challenge and find ourselves at a loss for words. And that's okay - we just have to keep searching.
10. For teaching us all to appreciate the little things.
As rich and famous as she is, Oprah still knows the value of gratitude.
In her words, "If you concentrate on what you have, you will always end up having more. If you focus on what you don't have, you will never, ever, ever have enough."
She started a gratitude journal and wrote down 5 things each night that she was grateful for without fail for a decade. It's amazing how your mindset starts to shift when you begin each day actively looking for the good things you want to write down that night.
Chainalysis’s Ashley Vaughan on Why She Finds Cybersecurity So Meaningful, and How More Women Can Find Their Niche in the Industry
How much money do criminals control today, and where is it?
These are some of the many questions that Ashley Vaughan, Senior Solutions Architect at blockchain data platform Chainalysis, spends her days working to answer.
“You learn more about a situation or problem by following the money than from any other resource or piece of information,” she explains. “Money doesn't lie. People can lie in text messages or other means, but the path of the money leads you to what you're trying to accomplish.”
Though Ashley always knew she wanted to work with computers, she found her way into roles in cybersecurity, and then specifically blockchain security, through networking and exposure — not by setting out to do so.
We sat down to talk about her career journey, as well as what advice she has for other women looking to make their mark in these burgeoning fields.
Resilience and Curiosity
Ashley doesn’t often give up, and credits some of that attitude to an obsession with soccer as a kid.
“Playing sports makes you a more resilient person, I think. You learn failure and risk, which are very applicable to my job and my career path,” she says.
That resiliency was a good thing, notes Ashley, because as a young girl, she wasn’t always encouraged to pursue what she was most interested in: math and science. A teacher early on had told her that she wasn’t good at math, and Ashley believed that narrative until high school.
“We really shouldn’t put those ideas in children’s minds, because it affects them for much longer than you might think,” she says of the experience. “But I’m the kind of person that when someone tells me I can’t do something, it makes me want to do it even more, and do it better.”
Finding out in advanced high school math classes that she actually was good at math turned into choosing a computer engineering major when she got to college.
Graduating during a recession in 2010 meant Ashley didn’t have the job market of her dreams, but after working in IT, she networked her way into a role in the cybersecurity department of a prominent DC law firm.
“They were getting hit left and right from social engineering and phishing attempts,” says Ashley. “Due to the sensitive nature of the work they dealt with, I was exposed to the darker realities of the digital era, and I began to see a new side to the world—one of real significance to national security.”
Specializing in Cybersecurity — and Finding a Home in the Private Sector
Inspired by what she was working on at the law firm, Ashley pursued a master’s in cybersecurity with a focus on counterterrorism.
“I wanted to help protect our country,” she explains. “I have a lot of family members who are former military, so that was a natural step for me.”
That led to her taking a contract role specializing in offensive security at a government agency that frequently worked with Chainalysis. After working with Chainalysis folks onsite, she was sold and started pursuing a position with the company.
“I wanted to help make sense of blockchain data for a bigger purpose, like assisting in the continued threat of ransomware activity against American interests,” she explains.
Although she credits her public sector work with providing a solid foundation in blockchain security, the private sector turned out to be a better fit for her.
“What I love about Chainalysis is that my colleagues are really happy people, and I’ve always felt welcome and not scared to ask questions,” says Ashley. “In past jobs, where I was one of five women in a group of 150, I felt a lot of pressure. I didn’t ever want to make a mistake. I felt as if I had to be a chameleon to match the social environment of my male counterparts.”
Blockchains are all about democratizing data, and Ashley likes working with a team of people of all backgrounds to help support that mission. At Chainalysis, Ashley works with internal product and engineering to show customers how Chainalysis data can help them use complex blockchain solutions to solve data problems — and catch bad guys.
“Sometimes we’re following a bad actor who’s tied to child sex trafficking. Being part of a coordinated operation to put a stop to things like that is really fulfilling,” she says.
3 Tips for Women Who Want to Find Their Place in Cybersecurity
For a long time, reflects Ashley, she just wanted to come into work, do her job, and feel supported, without feeling like she didn’t fit in or was representing her entire gender. Fortunately, she found what she wanted — and she hopes other women will find that, too. They can start their search by:
- Knowing they’re not alone in having tough experiences. “Everyone has different definitions for how you’re supposed to act or supposed to handle your emotions as a woman at work, and it’s exhausting. It’s like, ‘This is just me.’ I can’t repeat enough how tiring that is,” she says.
- Prioritizing self-directed learning. Although Ashley completed a master’s in cybersecurity, she emphasizes that there are many other routes into the industry, including self-study. Whether you get involved in programs like Girls Who Code or do self-paced learning through platforms like Udemy or Coursera, the important thing is that you pursue independent learning about topics that interest you, she says.
- Creating and maintaining relationships. “Really talking to people is almost a lost art,” says Ashley. “Getting together with someone who has the same sort of mindset and leveraging their knowledge, and making sure you keep in touch with people who help further your career, is a good move. Most of the places I got to professionally were based on my human connections.”
Nowadays at Chainalysis, Ashley is no longer one of five women in the office, and is excited to start paying it forward so that more people with backgrounds like hers can pursue their own professional success.
“We tend to feel more comfortable talking to people who might have our same gender or educational background, and being open and vulnerable with them,” she says. “Being a visible role model is really important to me.”
Check out Chainalysis’ open roles here!
We all have our favorite websites– the ones we frequent, bookmark, and recommend to others. You might even enjoy some website features so much that you’ve found yourself wondering why they aren’t more popular. Or maybe you’ve experienced times where you were frustrated with a website and wished you could add features or even design your own!
If you’ve ever found yourself intrigued at the prospect of designing and developing your own websites, then a career as a web developer might be just for you!
As a web developer you would be responsible for coding, designing, optimizing, and maintaining websites. Today, there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world and, in turn, the demand for web developers is on the rise. In order to figure out what kind of web development work best suits you let’s start with an introduction to the three main roles in web development that you can choose from.
The Three Types of Web Development Jobs
Front-End Web Development: The Creative Side
In addition to programming skills, front-end developers need to be detail oriented, creative, willing to keep up with the latest trends in web development, cyber security conscious, and geared toward user-friendly designs. The median salary for a front-end developer can reach well into the $90,000 to $100,000 range.
Back-End Web Development: The Logical Counterpart
While a house can be beautifully decorated, it’s incomplete without a solid foundation and efficient infrastructure. Similarly, a well-designed website depends on logical and functional code to power the features of that website. Back-end web development is code-heavy and focused on the specifics of how a website works. If you enjoy the analytical challenge of creating the behind-the-scenes code that powers a website, then back-end development is for you.
Full-Stack Web Development: A Little Bit of Everything
A full-stack developer is essentially the Jack (or Jill)-of-all-trades in web development. Full-stack developers need to be knowledgeable about both front-end and back-end roles. This does not necessarily imply that you would need to be an expert in both roles, but you should fully understand the different applications and synergies they each imply. In order to work in this position, you will need to know the programming languages used by front-end and back-end developers. In addition to these languages, full-stack developers also specialize in databases, storage, HTTP, REST, and web architecture.
Full-stack developers are often required to act as liaisons between front-end and back-end developers. Full-stack developers need to be both problem solvers and great communicators. The end goal for a full-stack developer is to ensure that the user’s experience is seamless, both on the front-end and on the back-end. In return, you can expect to earn a median salary of $100,000 – $115,000 a year for this role.
Taking the Next Step
Web development is both in-demand and lucrative! All three roles described above contribute to specific aspects of web development and the scope of each one can be customized to the industries and positions you feel best suit you. Regardless of which role you choose, all of them need a foundation in programming.
To gain the programming skills needed in each role, you can enroll in courses or learn independently. Coding bootcamps are a great way to boost your skillset quickly and efficiently.
Click here for some of our highly rated programming bootcamp options! Make sure to check out the discounts available to PowerToFly members.
💎 “What are you passionate about?” In an interview, you may have to answer this and other personal questions. Watch the video to the end to succeed in your job interview at Ribbon.
📼If asked “what are you passionate about?” in an interview you need to show how your passion can make you a good candidate for a job position. Ryan Key, Talent Partner at Ribbon, shares some tips and tricks for you to stand out!
📼Answering what are you passionate about in an interview is not the only thing you need to know how to do to succeed. You should try to make sure that you express your experience in a way that shows your interest in Ribbon’s mission. Also, prove that you did your research and demonstrate to the recruiter that you understand exactly how your role affects Ribbon’s purposes. Don’t forget to share some ideas on how you intend to fulfill the company’s mission!
📼 You are asked what are you passionate about in an interview, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t ask as well. You should feel empowered to ask any question you want during your interview process. It may be helpful to save certain questions for certain people. If you're in an interview with your potential manager, you should take that time to ask about their assessment metrics for the role and their management style. If you're speaking with a potential peer, this would be a great time to ask about their experience during training and to learn a little more about the team and culture.
What Are You Passionate About? Show In Your Interview That You Are Aligned With Ribbon's Values
The mission at Ribbon is to make homeownership achievable for everyone, especially communities traditionally left out of the homeownership story. One way Ribbon addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace is through its support of employee resource groups. Remember to show that your passion is aligned with these core values!
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Ribbon? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Ryan Key
If you are interested in a career at Ribbon, you can connect with Ryan Key on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Ribbon
Ribbon is a first-of-its-kind real estate technology company transforming the real estate transaction by delivering certainty, transparency, and joy to the home buying process. Consumers and realtors deserve a better experience, and they have designed an open platform that welcomes everyone in the ecosystem to participate.
💎 Partnerships in remote environments is one of the most important aspects to construct in a company. Watch the video to the end to get good tips on how to do it successfully.
📼Wondering how to create partnerships in remote environments? Play this video to get three top tips that will help you to achieve it. You'll hear from Olga Shvets, HR Business Partner, and Viktoriia Litvinchuk, People Team Operations at Unstoppable Domains, who will explain the essentials of this process.
📼How to build partnerships in remote environments? Tip #1: Communicate Effectively. Communication is the key to enabling your remote team to be successful. Choose the channel that works best. For this, chat with your employees and see what they use to communicate, that's how you find the best solution. Also, make sure your team is on board with your internal tools and they know what, how, and where they need to use them.
📼A requisite for building partnerships in remote environments is Tip #2: Show appreciation. Appreciation is shown through your actions. Let your employees know that you value everything they do for the company. Create a special gratitude channel where everyone can share their appreciation for their colleagues for some contribution. Celebrate some wins, promotions, and everything that is important for the company. If you appreciate the employees, employees do the same for the company.
Create Partnerships In Remote Environments Using Trust - Tip #3: Give Honest Feedback
Use engagement surveys! They are a quick and effective way to receive honest feedback from your team and you can see what's working well and what needs to be improved. Your main priority is to create spaces where managers and employees can share honest, relevant feedback.
📨 Are you interested in joining Unstoppable Domains? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Olga Shvets
If you are interested in a career at Unstoppable Domains, you can connect with Olga on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Unstoppable Domains
Unstoppable Domains is bringing user-controlled identity to 3 billion+ internet users by issuing domain names on the blockchain. These domains allow users to replace cryptocurrency addresses with human-readable names, host decentralized websites, and much more.
By selling these domains direct to consumers for a one-time fee, the company is making a product that will change cryptocurrency and shape the future of the decentralized web by providing users control over their identity and data.