By Rick Garcia
A unique partnership between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Arab American Women Business Council (AAWBC) was evident as approximately 75 women and a few men gathered for a dinner presentation at the Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle early June.
Tiffany B., African American Program Manager and Community Outreach under the agency’s Center for Mission Diversity and Inclusion in Washington D.C., spoke to an audience of predominately business women of Arab American descent who are all part of the AAWBC’s business network series.
The keynote speaker’s presentation was not a “Cloak and Dagger” instruction or recruitment training but a casual, compelling and humorous talk on professional branding.
The CIA, along with other Federal agencies in Anti-Crime such as the FBI and IRS – all have a presence in the Metro Detroit and have become a great business partner providing resources and professional support not only for our group but the entire community, according to Rene Ahee, AAWBC President, who says that the federal agencies continually partner with AAWBC providing professional workshops such as this.
Tiffany B. (All CIA employees only provide initials of their last name) opened up to the group asking first, “What makes you unique?” second “What makes you memorable when you leave?” and third, “Who do you associate with?” She then outlined her talk on branding using five steps:
1) What is your passion? What can you not see your life doing? In the case of Tiffany B., recruiting and doing outreach to groups of ethnic diversity was natural to her because of her humor and storytelling engaged people.
2) Find opportunities to put passion into action. Volunteering or taking on additional responsibility related to your interest or desire can lead to future opportunities.
3) Look at indicators of success that can leverage your brand. Whether you took on a small project successfully or mentor a youth who succeeds and follows your example, are both direct and indirect victories adding to your profile or reputation.
4) What values are important to you? Is there something personally you will not change? For some it may be spiritual, family values or personal belief. Whether or not others subscribe to your values, you stick to your principles and stand by your decision.
5) What circles do you want your brand to operate? According to Tiffany B., this could be the most challenging for women, because their brand operates differently in certain situations, like separating family issues from work, and behaviors and actions could either enhance or undermine their brand. In other words, they are emotionally invested in both but feel conflicted.
Founded in October 2007 in Dearborn as a 501(c)3 nonprofit professional organization, the Arab American Women’s Business Council addresses the needs of Arab American women professionals and business owners as well as young Arab American women seeking professional or business careers in Michigan and across the country. Its purpose is to assist its members by providing mentorships, internships, scholarships and professional development programs.
To learn more about AABWC, visit their website: www.aawbc.org
This was printed in the June 29 - July 14, 2014.