Multifaceted and multi-talented author, motivational speaker, and career coach Rod Colon has helped countless individuals to become the “CEO of Me, Inc.” This week, we’re shining our Latino Spotlight on Rod and his tips for career success! Read his interview, listen to his podcast, and share Rod’s wisdom with the entrepreneurs in your life.
You wear many hats as an author, motivational speaker, radio show host, and career coach. Tell us, how did you end up on this career path?
I see myself as an educator first. In search of best practices to help students and professionals manage their career as a business. When friends ask me why I wear so many hats I tell them because 1) people learn in different ways and 2) the message is too important not to.
I educate and empower professionals in a bold new approach to career management. Key to managing one’s career is to own it and become the CEO of Me, Inc. As the CEO of Me, Inc. learning how to find jobs, clients, and business opportunities — as well as performing complete career make-overs are part of the process of career ownership. It’s about helping students and professionals win the race for 21st century jobs.
Many people out there are in pain. Their financial situations are dire. They have lost their jobs, their life savings and in many cases, their self-respect while chasing around looking for a new position. Students are graduating with no jobs and high debt. We must do better and my model is an excellent alternative to the traditional 20th century career mind-set.
It’s that “chasing around” part that started to bother me many years ago; long before today’s economic turmoil started creeping toward critical mass. It became obvious to me that far too many people were managing their career in an illogical and self-defeating way. They were lured into the easy, deceptive world of Internet job boards where hunting for a job simply meant finding an interesting opening, uploading a resume and cover letter, clicking a few buttons, then waiting for a response.
This is the connectionless void in which so many people have spent thousands of hours toiling their lives away in the false hope that a database somewhere in cyberspace would electronically ride to their rescue, find them a job, reinstate the flow of money into their households, and make things right with the world again. We must do better.
How have you seen your work impact others?
The CEO of Me, Inc. mind-set has transformed students in middle school to retirees wanting to reengage in the workforce. The message is global (Canada, China, India and the Philippines. The paradigm shift that happens occurs between the 9 to 12 inches between our ears and has incredible impact.
I will let my mentee Ashley Cisneros tell her story. “I consider myself very fortunate to have had an opportunity to attend college and benefit from all of the resources available — including lectures and programs on campus, my school’s career resource center, etc. Following a magazine layoff in 2008, I became a career advice junkie and still follow a ton of career blogs to this day to try to stay proactive in my professional growth. Even with all of these opportunities, I can tell you that there was so much I didn’t know about business and networking. Even worse, I didn’t have a clue that I was so … well … clueless. This changed when I met my mentor, Rod Colon, in October 2011 through the Unity Journalists of Color New U program. Rod has changed my life, and taught me incredible, must-know info for networking to professional success to becoming the CEO of my career (Me, Inc.). As a young woman, I wasn’t always comfortable negotiating salaries, tooting my own horn, or taking credit for my work. Rod has taught me so much in such a short time. I’m talking insider secrets from his experience working on Wall Street — a world that someone like me, the granddaughter of Mexican migrant farm workers, would never have access to. If your school, company, organization, church, etc. needs a dynamic speaker or coach to empower you … Rod is your guy. His message is too good … too essential … to keep to myself. You WILL benefit from meeting Rod Colon!”
What has been the biggest obstacle of your career so far, and how have you conquered it?
The biggest obstacle in my career is the time it takes for individuals to change from an “I am Entitled” mind-set to “Career Ownership” mind-set. How I have slowly conquered it is being consistent with my message over the past 16 years.
Me, Inc Educational Centers:
- Own Your Career (www.BlogTalkRadio.com/OwnYourCareer) weekly radio show
- Career Coaching Services
- Author “Win the Race for 21st Century Jobs
- Motivational Speaker on over 50 themes/topics on career ownership
- Outplacement Services
- Master Networker
- Empowering Today’s Professionals (Non-Profit 501(C)3 organization.
Owning your career requires you to embrace a paradigm shift in mind-set. You must learn to partition your responsibilities to ensure that all critical operations are carried out and none get overlooked. For example, your Research & Development Department will be in charge of networking — making connections, digging up new leads, gathering business information, etc… Right from the start, anything you do that’s part of this effort is processed in the R & D “department” of your mind. Likewise, your Sales & Marketing Department will oversee the development of a powerful value proposition.
Will people absorb this paradigm shift overnight? No. In a week? Unlikely. In a month? Maybe. People internalize it at very different rates. Most can tell rather quickly if they are cut out to be the CEO of ME, Inc.
In your expert opinion, what is one of the most common problems facing Latino job seekers today?
Three key issues hold many Latino job seekers. First, we personalize the process of networking rather than looking at it from a business perspective. If someone fails to get back to them in an appropriate time period they take it personally and refuse to follow-up. Second, many Latinos love to give and support others in their network but simply hate/fail to ask for support or seek the support for themselves. As if our DNA prevented us from doing so. Third, we are much too humble in the interview process. We speak in terms of “we, us and team” and not in our best interest to brand Me/I. We love to give credit to the group but dislike being in the spotlight … we expect our management team to speak and brand us (not my job). We enjoy being behind the scene and placing the spotlight on someone else. The interview is about Me/I.; the client is not interviewing or hiring the team.
What are Rod Colon’s top 3 tips for helping clients become the “CEO of ME, INC.?”
As the CEO of Me, Inc. your top goals are to:
- Secure a job/business where passion and income intersect
- Create a career backup plan
- Become a master networker
What inspires you to think BIG?
My work is a mission to help students and professionals world-wide embrace the power within and transform to the CEO of their career (Me, Inc.) We have seen 1000s transform in the past 16 years. Many have expressed a life changing mind-set to look and approach their careers/family differently. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ultimately is my biggest motivator. Our model helps people to have faith in self and society. Individuals cannot succeed in a silo by themselves. The John Wayne (I will do it on my own) mind-set is over, as is the 20th Century.
What is your advice to aspiring and established Latina professionals?
There are many great Latina leaders carrying the mantel for many young Latina professionals. They are empowered, motivated and networked. In contrast Latinos (men) have yet to achieve the same level of success. Possibly because of the machismo that doesn’t allow them to be humble within their circle of friends.
My advice for aspiring Latina professionals is to embrace their career as a business and develop a business plan for success. See their services as a business that needs to be branded, marketed and to leveraged within a powerful network. Hold their network contacts accountable to a high stand of ethics and value as they hold themselves. Remember that owning your career is not about you but about the services you provide.
Connect with Rod Colon at www.RodColon.com