A Friend in the Forest

The sun seems to shine the brightest through the branches of this beautiful tree. Her mighty trunk divides a few feet up into three very strong trunks and there is a little bit of a clearing around her, making it a perfect place for a picnic. It was at this moment of discovery that I knew we needed to buy the tree farm where she lives. I made a tree friend and had to keep coming back to see Caroline. Yes, I named the tree. And, right again. There must be thousands of trees, why this tree? And, I think, “Why not?” She has stood for generations waiting to be discovered. I visit her as often as I can to marvel at her strength, her steadiness, and to help pull a few dead branches from the crook in her trunk.

Have you ever had a tree friend? Have you ever thought about how trees are a little like friends? In the book “Higher is Waiting” by Tyler Perry , you can read about Tyler’s Tree of Life test. It makes sense. Here’s how Tyler describes the three types of people you have in your life.

First there are the Leaf People. These folks are in your life only for a season. You can’t depend on them or count on them because they have weaknesses of their own and are only able to offer shade. Like leaves, they take what they need and as soon as it gets cold, or a fierce wind blows, or the rain comes, they’re gone. You can’t be angry with them, it’s just who they are.

Next there are the Branch People. They are stronger than the Leaf People, but they need care. They may stick around from one season to the next, but if a storm rolls through, it’s possible they’ll break apart and you’ll lose them,  It’s important to test their strength before you can rely on them. It really depends on how long they’ve been growing with you. If it’s been a while, they’ve probably gained strength with time. New branches may not be able to handle too much heaviness. They can split when the going gets tough, it’s just who they are.

Then there are Root People. When you find someone who is like the roots of a tree, you know you found someone special. Root People may be hard to find because they’re not trying to be seen. They do their work underground. But quietly and without fanfare, they provide help and support and nourishment. They are happy when you thrive. Come what may, they support your soul. They hold your soul up. A tree may have many more branches and many leaves and only a few roots, yet it is the roots that are strong, resilient, and powerful.

I am thankful for the Root People in my world and if you are reading this, I am pretty sure you are one of them – thank you!

“A Pastor’s Heart”

Take a step back in time with Katharine Wool Parrish’s latest book that tells the story of leaders from two very different pastorates in the American South. “A Pastor’s Heart” is a fictional story drawn from the lives of real people very dear to Katherine and that love shows on every page of this charming book. Purchase the book today on Amazon or by emailing Katharine.

A Pastor’s Heart begins with the story of Jim’s father, a Presbyterian pastor in Virginia and North Carolina. His mother’s prayer for a son “with a pastor’s heart” was granted, just before her death, in 1901, when he was born. Written as fiction (names changed) based on the known facts about Jim’s family, background and ministry, the book honors his faith and calling. From a small pastorate in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, to pastorates and church courts served in Alabama, West Virginia and South Carolina, the story honors the family life, trials and victorious faith of an ordinary man endowed with a pastor’s heart.

Listen in as Katharine tells more about her life and why she wrote “A Pastor’s Heart.”

About Katharine Wool Parrish:

Katharine has published five books and over a hundred articles. She grew up in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia and is a Cary High School graduate. Katharine’s articles have appeared in OUR STATE Magazine, GUIDEPOSTS, THE CARY NEWS, MATURE LIVING, CHRISTIAN HOME, HOME LIFE, MATURE YEARS and numerous publications, as well as two anthologies. She has earned awards from Tar Heel Writers’ Roundtable, Blue Ridge Christians Writers’ and Florida Christian Writers’ Conference for poetry, short stories and articles. Katharine also taught writing for several years at Cary Christian School, the Town of Cary Arts and History Center as well as weekly writing classes for home school students in Cary.

Katharine taught Sunday School and Women’s Bible studies while writing her first book, Dustmop Devotionals, a devotional for women. Here is more information on three of Katharine’s books:  

Time of Singing: A Collection of Poems is a collection that includes some of Katharine’s thoughts on God’s love, mercy, grace, creation and majesty, the family, motherhood, grief and even some entertaining poems she calls “Nonsense Songs”.

Ready or Not: Surviving Grief, Living Abundantly  is a “been-there” guide to surviving the devastation of grief. Through this book, Katharine offers true sympathy, practical help and encouragement toward the promise of healing and new life. Presented in a devotional format, the book uses personal stories, applicable Scripture and the sound advice of trained counselors to offer understanding and a sense of accountability to the newly bereaved. 

Anna Kate and the Secret Treasure is written for 3rd graders and in this book that includes hand drawings, Katharine tells the story of Anna Kate who unearths a treasured family heirloom and learns its hundred-year-old story, she discovers the meaning of faith and family.

Disrupting Foster Care

Angela Quijada-Banks is not only an incredible young woman who successfully aged out of foster care, she is making the time to disrupt the system in a positive way by sharing her story in “The Black Foster Youth Handbook,” a book set for publication September 29th. Please consider supporting Angela in getting this handbook into the hands of foster youth through her GoFundMe page.

The challenges of kids in Foster Care are beyond the reality that many can imagine. The lingering impact and trauma is carried deep inside. It is not often that a child can go through that process and emerge as an adult who wants to help other foster youth.

 “For a long time, I became accustomed to having one traumatic event happen after the other non-stop. I was constantly reliving my past, catastrophizing my next moves in a perpetual state of survival mode,” writes Angela.

The handbook Angela is working on is geared toward Black and brown youth and features 50+ lessons. Her words “brings a light to a taboo topic” of why and how youth of color fall through the cracks with ways that Angela has broken the cycle and reversing statistics that include:

I met Angela Quijada-Banks when she was 16-years-old and recently removed from the care of her parents. I was assigned to be her Guardian-ad-Litem, essentially the eyes and ears of the court in Angela’s journey in foster care. I am pretty sure I was the last person Angela wanted to talk to about her life. I told corny jokes, wore “old lady” clothes, and was just one more adult in a long procession of strangers that were dropped into her life in what felt like random and confusing ways.

More than anything else, Angela wanted someone who could give her encouragement and advice. In time, Angela started to open up and share. In part, it was because I kept showing up. When it was awkward to explain who I was to Angela, we settled on me being her “Aunt.” Over the years, I have become more than just her GAL to become family she can count on. It’s been such a privilege to walk alongside her and am so happy she is now sharing her experiences.  

I hope you will join me in supporting Angela with not only publishing The Black Foster Youth Handbook, but also funding the next steps for the book.

Milestone 1:  ($2,755 Raised will guarantee my self-publishing ( paperback and e-book Launch by September 29,2020)

Milestone 2: ($3,150 Raised will guarantee The Black Foster Youth Workbook to help young people and their supportive adults in congruence w/ the Handbook Launch by October 10,2020)

Milestone 3: ($4,255 Raised will guarantee production and launch of The Black Foster Youth Handbook *Audiobook* which will be given away for free with the purchase of this book Launch by November 11,2020)

“Let’s continue to make the world a better place and support those who speak up about the things that matter! Thank you for your contributions even if it is $5 or more or less…. your gift would be a blessing!!!! Your healing light, prayers and affirmations are also a huge help!”

Angela Quijada-Banks, author “The Black Foster Youth Handbook”

Back to School Resources

Whether children are attending school in-person, digitally, or homeschooling, COVID-19 has made this school year much more difficult for both students and parents alike. FRS Communications is reviewing resources for parents to use. This week’s blog includes a free downloadable journal, a fun game to play, and a good book that teaches giving back. If you have a resource to share, please send our way.

Big Life Journal

The people behind Big Life Journal understand that trying to juggle running a household, raising children, and adding work stress on top of everything else is overwhelming.  That’s why the company has created an exclusive and FREE downloadable “Back-to-School Care Package.”  This wonderful resource for parents and kids is jam-packed with helpful information, worksheets, tips, activities and exercises.  Consider picking up other Big Life Journal engaging resources that help children develop strong Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and growth mindset skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Dino Crunch

This game is designed to help kids over 4-years-old develop fine motor skills while learning the basic strategy of game play. The idea is for kids to save all the dinosaur eggs before the T-Rex leaps. This is fast-paced game that will keep a child’s attention. For kids that are sensitive, the T-Rex leaping may be quite a surprise. The game is just $20 and available at Target.

These Are My Pants: Sam’s Giving Adventure by Jane and Katelyn Plank.  Children learn the joy of sharing while having fun with Sam the Squirrel in These Are My Pants! This charming book reminds us to donate and give when we have more than enough and someone doesn’t have enough.Plank Books has decided to continue the giving circle and will be giving 20% of their proceeds to the Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona.

Education is all about inspiring children to get excited about learning. This year will be different, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be great. The resources that are being provided are among the best I’ve seen. If you have ones to share – especially if they are free, please let us know by commenting below.

Know Your Worth

The news that North Carolina is lingering in Phase Two for five more weeks isn’t easy on jobseekers who are hoping to land their next opportunity. Press on toward your goals and consider these tips.

Add to your Network

Reach out to your current LinkedIn connections.  Get the conversation going by adding the following to your profile:

 If you’ve recently been laid off, and we’ve worked or collaborated together in the past, please get in touch and let me know how I can help you. Can I write a LinkedIn review for you? Do you need me as a reference? Do you want me to send someone an email to put in a good word or help with networking? Please let me know if there’s anything I can do. DM me and I will follow up to help you get back on your feet. #bounceback #payitforward

Note: Please feel free to copy and paste this note, as I did, for your network. Let’s reach out to help people get back into the workplace. #strongertogether2020 #bekindalways

Add Skills

If you just gagged when you saw the image of top jobs for 2020, it’s OK. Many of the emerging careers require skills that you can learn from the nearly 10 million available online for free. Seriously, the courses are free – just Google free Covid-19 courses.  

Be sure you also start signing up for virtual networking events.  You never know who you might meet when you drop into an online course or offer your skills to help with an open source project. It could be the very thing that leads to your next job.

Know Your Worth

Before you go into a job interview, you must know your true worth. One of my favorite quotes to help me overcome this is from Tene Edwards, “You must find the courage to leave the table if respect is no longer being served.” Glassdoor and Indeed can help you understand what your worth is today.

Think Way Outside the Box

When you prepare for an interview, not only should you research the company’s social media, but also the interviewer’s background. Some companies ask questions to see how you might work through unexpected situations. Take a look of these questions share recently by Glassdoor.

How many ridges are there around a quarter?

How would you move to Mount Fuji?

Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

Top Jobs in the Triangle

Senior Financial Analyst at BASF: Leveraging your education in Business, Finance, Accounting or Economics and your relevant finance/controlling experience, you will be responsible for the budgeting and forecasting for the AP NA affiliate and misc. 3rd party business.

Director of Marketing at V Foundation:  oversee the development and delivery of marketing strategy through the development and execution of an integrated marketing plan covering brand extension and awareness, social and digital media, and donor marketing. Apply by August 14 with resume, cover letter and salary expectations.

What are your dreams?

Is it a new career? We have jobseeker packages for that.

Is it to write and publish a book? We have a package for that.

Is it to get a business off the ground? We offer packages for that too!

For a limited time, we are offering a free 30-minute consultation to encourage you toward your goals. We are also culling through the best possibilities in careers and sharing through LinkedIn, blogs, and enewsletters. If you have a job to share, let us know! We want to help connect great people to new careers.

3 Things to Ask about Job Descriptions

Be encouraged. Job descriptions often read like the company is looking for a purple squirrel that bakes cookies. It is such a common thing that Wikipedia now defines Purple Squirrel as a “job candidate with precisely the right education, experience, and qualifications that perfectly fits a job’s multi-faceted requirements.”

For example. One local company wanted someone with 10 years cloud computing experience and the only person who seemed qualified was Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider who couldn’t apply because he was dead.   

This doesn’t mean to go crazy applying for jobs that you may not be qualified for – just to use common sense. Here are three questions to ask when reviewing a job description.

How old is the posting? If it is more than 30 days, it may well be an old, inactive posting that a recruiter forgot to take down or in the case with Glassdoor and Indeed, can’t be taken down.

How is the company doing? Google the company before you apply — if they’ve done mass layoffs, you will be able to find news articles reporting this easily enough. If you have connections at the company, reach out and ask them how the company has been impacted by COVID.

How many open roles are listed on the company’s site? If they only have one or two openings listed, this may actually be a good sign that means someone is actively posting and reviewing job listings. Plus these may be the most ‘critical roles’ that are needed to be filled quickly.

Jobseeker Event

Beat the Applicant Tracking Systems: In this Wake Technical Community College class you will discover how to make your resume “robot” friendly and get it past the machines to a human being, including several strategies to determine the right keywords and important formatting considerations. The class is 4.5 hours, with about 2.5 hours of independent online work and live Microsoft Teams meetings 8/6 & 8/10 from 1-2pm. Facilitated by Gail McCowan.

Students MUST register online before 8/3 at https://tinyurl.com/y2d7zfm3. Fee-waived for qualifying individuals who are unemployed, underemployed, or who have received notice of layoff or pending layoff. To determine your eligibility, contact the HRD office at hrdstudent@waketech.edu

Jobs Opportunities

Organizational Strategy and Communications Coordinator for NC State University. This opportunity supports NC State’s mission and vision by providing consistent and reliable data that informs and supports the university’s strategic decisions.

Communications Associate for Autism Society. The Coordinator is involved in all aspects of organizational content development, including writing, editing, and concept design. The job involves work with the organization’s website, social media, email marketing, and public relations.

What are your dreams?

Is it a new career? We have jobseeker packages for that.

Is it to write and publish a book? We have a package for that.

Is it to get a business off the ground? We offer packages for that too!

For a limited time, I am offering a free 30-minute consultation to encourage you toward your goals. I am also culling through the best possibilities in careers and sharing through LinkedIn, blogs, and enewsletters. If you have a job to share, let us know! We want to help connect great people to new careers.

Be Prepared

When it comes to landing a job, consider treating the effort as you would a job. Plan your day in about 4-hour increments; one for the morning and one for the afternoon. The mornings are a great time to follow-up on communications from earlier. A good rule of thumb is to reach out about once a week to people you either interviewed with or asked for support.

Use your afternoon time to research new opportunities and reach out to connections for leads. When making requests for informational interviews, be sure to treat the other person’s time with respect by blocking out time on your calendar and being in a quiet environment where you can focus on the conversation.

When applying for a job, be sure your qualifications are a good match.

When you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break by stretching or going for a walk.

Be a friend to others by writing recommendations or helping them make connections.

Free Jobseeker Resources

Pump Up Your LinkedIn Profile: When it come to improving LinkedIn profiles, Debra Mathias is a legend in the industry. Be sure to register today for this FREE SHE NC virtual workshop on July 30 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. 

Join the “Colonial JobSeekers Virtual”: CJS meets weekly on Monday mornings via Zoom from 8:15-9:30 a.m. To receive Colonial JobSeekers weekly virtual meeting Zoom invitations, group announcements and incoming job leads, send an email request to join the Colonial JobSeekers Yahoo Group to:  colonial_jobseekers-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

July’s Best Career Opportunities

Community Home Trust has an opportunity for a dynamic and effective Manager of Marketing and Communications.  The position will set and guide the strategy for all CHT communications, website, social media, public relations messages and collateral in order to consistently articulate CHT’s mission to strengthen our community with permanently affordable housing opportunities.

Self-Help is seeking a Vice President of Marketing and Communications to join the team in Durham, NC. The VP leads the planning, coordination and implementation of strategic communications and marketing programs to increase awareness and support for Self-Help’s work among internal and external audiences. Through its credit union network, Self-Help serves over 150,000 people in North Carolina, California, Chicago, Florida and South Carolina.

What are your dreams?

  • Is it a new career? We have jobseeker packages for that.
  • Is it to write and publish a book? We have a package for that.
  • Is it to get a business off the ground? We offer packages for that too!

For a limited time, I am offering a free 30-minute consultation to encourage you toward your goals. I am also culling through the best possibilities in careers and sharing through LinkedIn, blogs, and enewsletters. If you have a job to share, let us know! We want to help connect great people to new careers.

Moving from COVID Chaos to Calm

Take the stress out of finding a job and rethink your skills to fit the new job landscape.  This process in the middle of COVID-19 chaos can feel impossible when no one knows when the economic impact will settle, but this doesn’t mean despair. It’s not good for you and certainly not good for the pencils you keep gnawing on.

It’s time to focus on your abilities, your skills, and your values. This can be fun a process to re-imagine your life. In college, I set my goals to a career in Human Resources. By the time I graduated from Meredith College with a B.S. in Business and Minor in Psychology, the HR related jobs dried up and I used my sales savvy to work in retail management then moved to mortgage sales. When my first son arrived and I wanted to work more from home, I used my creativity to launch a marketing career with a local winery. When we made a move back to North Carolina, I used my creative writing skills to launch a career as a columnist and reporter.  I switched to nonprofit leadership work for a while and then circled back to my first career passion – Human Resources.

None of the career pathways required a certification or more degrees. Pivoting in a career can be as a easy as re-imagining the skills you have, networking, and being open to opportunities that come your way.

Through my years of experiences, I discovered I am really great at transforming a vision into reality. This is the foundation of the work I do through FRS Communications.

What are your dreams?

  • Is it a new career? We have jobseeker packages for that.
  • Is it to write and publish a book? We have a package for that.
  • Is it to get a business off the ground? We offer packages for that!

For a limited time, I am offering a free 30-minute consultation to encourage you toward your goals. I am also culling through the best possibilities in careers and sharing through LinkedIn, blogs, and enewsletters. If you have a job to share, let us know! We want to help connect great people to new careers. Do you have special talent and want to join our list of consultants? Let us know that too!

July’s Best Career Opportunities

State of North Carolina Jobseeker Site: It’s easy to navigate this site with careers or locations. Top pick is Recruitment Manager that will among other things be responsible for recruiting strategies through advertising, social media, job fairs, college fairs, networking, business and employee referrals, internship programs, and/or third party assistance.

Seqirus in Holly Springs: There is a wide variety of opportunites at this fast-growing pharmaceutical company. Top pick is Senior Communications Manager

Epic Games in Cary: There are almost 50 opportunities in Cary ranging from programming, design, and marketing.  

Virtual Chat with Beth Wood at Cary Pink House

Enjoy getting to know your NC State Auditor, Beth Wood through this exclusive Cary Pink House livestream benefit event on Thursday June 30 from 7 to 8 p.m.

“Beth is sassy, classy and smart,” said Sheila Ogle, Cary Pink House owner who will moderate the livestream event. “Prepare questions to ask and learn how Beth’s strong leadership with 30 years of auditing experience has identified hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending during her 12 years as our NC State Auditor. Beth remains undeterred in her mission to protect taxpayers every step of the way.”

Register through the Cary Pink House Facebook Page.

“The citizens of North Carolina recognize my devotion to this office and the need for for me to complete the work I started. I want to continue to serve as your eyes and ears,” said Beth.

Listen in as Beth shares a little about the work of the NC State Auditor’s office.

Please support Beth with a $50 donation that will help her prepare for the November election.

A Note from North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood:

Growing up on the farm in Craven County, I had daily chores from an early age and my parents taught me the value of hard work. I became a dental assistant and worked my way through college at ECU to earn my accounting degree. I have worked as a Certified Public Accountant for 30 years, and for the past 22 years I have worked in the State Auditor’s office, including my three terms as North Carolina State Auditor. I work every day to protect all of our tax dollars.

As State Auditor, I have:

  • Identified hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending
  • Maintained objectivity and independence in the Auditor’s office
  • Produced audits with irrefutable findings
  • Aggressively presented audit reports for legislative action
  • Followed up on previous audits to ensure corrective actions are taken
  • Continued to identify abusive and wasteful spending of your taxpayer dollars

I remain undeterred in my mission to protect taxpayers every step of the way. From start to finish, I vow to safeguard how your tax dollars are spent.

About Beth Wood: Beth is a long-time public servant with over 30 years of auditing experience. The first woman elected to that office, Beth has served as State Auditor since 2009. She previously worked in the State Auditor’s Office for more than a decade and also served in the State Treasurer’s Office. Prior to state government, Beth worked with Rayovac Corporation, as a CPA with McGladrey & Pullen and was the CFO for a North Carolina-based furniture company.

FRS Communications is providing the technical and social media support for this event.

Betcha Can Create Something Fun

Board games are my addiction and one of the latest games to capture our family’s attention is Betcha Can’t! The game is fast moving and tests your ability to name common and not so common things in a short time. Sometimes you have 10 seconds to list ice cream flavors or you might have 45 seconds for arctic animals. Get your bet right and you get the card. Collect five cards and you are the winner. Challenges, time outs and proving you are the better bettor are all part of the fun.

Teen Inventors

What I like most about this game is that is created by teen entrepreneurs Lily Brown and Tait Hansen. After overcoming the hurdles of designing a game that can be mass produced by a toy company, the teens entered the game into a competition and won the chance to meet a toy manufacturer. The rest as they say is history or in this case herstory!

Think you can invent a game? Now is the time to try. Betcha Can’t! was entered into the Young Inventor Challenge that happens annually during the Chicago Toy and Game Fair in November. 

To enter, kids must first design and prototype a game or toy and create a pitch video for their product. During the Fair, kids present their products to major toy companies and, ultimately, the judges. From a pool of approximately 200 entries, a handful of winners are selected across a range of categories. Only one grand prize winner is chosen, and that winner’s product is eligible to be licensed by a major toy manufacturer (in this case Pressman Toys) and launched by Target.

Listen in as Lily and Tait talk with Eyewitness News WTVO WQRF