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I have SOMETHING to say!
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I have SOMETHING to say!

Author: Sami Haiman-Marrero

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Welcome to “I have SOMETHING to say,” where subject matter experts are unafraid and unapologetic about sharing their perspectives regarding issues that impact our lives. They speak up because they give a shit. If you’re tired of canned answers and want to FINALLY hear real people cut through the B.S. and talk about real issues, this podcast is for you.
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How do you go from being a corporate executive to becoming a celebrity nail artist and entrepreneur? It takes the 6 C’s: Courage, Confidence, Curiosity, Candidness, Creativity, and some major Cojones. Naomi Gonzalez-Longstaff shares with I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY how she was determined to create her own space in the beauty industry by being herself. As an industry leader, Naomi has worked across the US and UK, leading nail teams backstage at fashion weeks, creative directing nail art for huge campaigns, and working with top brands like Zoya, Essie, The Body Shop, and CND. Since kicking off her career in 2009, she has worked with the likes of Shakira for Super Bowl LIV, Serena Williams, Marchesa, and Ralph Lauren. Nothing could stop this New Yorker, Latina, entrepreneur, and mom. Working with models and talent of all races and backgrounds, she often struggled to find the right nude shades. This inspired her to create her own line of inclusive vegan-friendly nude polishes for every skin tone: NAOMI Nail Lacquer. It wasn’t easy, but Naomi’s got what it takes: the 6 C’s.
Most people would agree with the saying “You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”  However, we all do this ALL THE TIME: make assumptions about people because of their demeanor or appearance.  In this episode of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, Nancy John, Co-Founder & CEO of Seed Leadership, talks to us about how her podcast “Relational Introvert”, which highlights the strengths of people considered the “quiet ones”, gives a voice to a type of leadership that is often overlooked. You may not always hear from them, but introverted leaders are everywhere and are affecting change.  We also explore with Nancy the concept of “belonging”, and how people of diverse backgrounds living in North America are often asked, “Where are you from?”, again judging a book by its cover, and perpetuating the concept of “the other”.
Needless to say, our team has been very busy sifting through and filling out Requests for Proposals (RFPs), crafting bids for modest and lofty projects, all in a rather successful attempt to keep our small businesses alive and well during the pandemic. So far, so good. In this Roundtable edition of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, we share some practical tips for small businesses to consider when participating in RFP processes, whether for private, public, or nonprofit sector accounts. Even though it may seem that more RFPs floating around means a higher chance of landing new business, the actual RFP process can be labor-intensive and suck away at your limited resources with no guarantee of winning the award. Listen in as we get down to the nitty-gritty of effectively sifting and participating in an RFP process.
“Wow! This workshop says that we are facing a tsunami of bereavement due to COVID-19,” texted licensed bereavement and mental healthcare expert Eva Pagán-Hill to I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY’s host Samí Haiman-Marrero just hours after recording this episode. With almost 30 years of experience helping families manage loss, grief, and mental trauma, we invited Eva to share her views on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting people from a mental wellness standpoint. She offers insight on symptoms to look out for within ourselves and in others, on how to be mindful of co-workers and employees, and to consider the anguish and trauma suffered by people who have lost a loved one to Coronavirus.
Class is in session. As we started this episode of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY with Emmy-award winning journalist, author, and documentary-filmmaker Sandra Guzmán, a bell for classes to begin started ringing on the University Campus where she lives. And indeed, Sandra dove right into breaking down social constructs like the patriarchy and its impact on humanity, she discussed the role of women in healing and reimagining the future, and explained how to tap into the heritage and the teachings of our ancestors to know how we should be operating as humans. The author of “The New Latina’s Bible: The Modern Latina’s Guide to Love, Family, Spirituality, and La Vida”, Sandra also shares her experience co-producing “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I am” (2019) an inspiring film about her literary hero, Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison. She describes what she learned during the powerful conversations she had with the literary great, and how blissful it was to sit at Toni Morrison’s feet as both her interviewer and devoted student.
The recent global social justice movement has compelled large corporations to throw millions of dollars to Black organizations following the same-o-same-o processes that amount to monies not necessarily getting to where they need to be to have an impact on underserved communities and Black-owned businesses. Dr. Kelly Burton, President of Founders of Color developed a 10-step roadmap for the Corporate sector to stop spinning their wheels and perpetuating cycles of funding that doesn’t lead to sustainable growth and social mobility in communities of color. We asked Kelly to expand on this topic in this episode of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY and to tell us why she had to address the shortcomings of knee-jerk investments to “fix” the inequity problem. Kelly and a group of leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs from across the U.S. launched the Black Innovation Alliance, a united front that will leverage their power and use capital, education, public policy, research, and media as their change agents. They will ensure that Black people may participate in the innovation economy as builders, owners, and creators, not just as source material, workers, and consumers, rejecting the mining of the Black community for labor and ideas.
Meet Janet Kitui, City Council candidate for Edina City, Minnesota, and Alberder Gillespie, the Co-Founder of Black Women Rising who is running for Congress representing Minnesota’s 4th Congressional District. They share with I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY why they both decided to run for office in the first place back in the 2016 and 2018 election cycles, coming close to winning the seats they ran for by very close margins. They are both focused and determined to get through the finish line in the 2020 voting cycle to give a voice to their communities. Janet and Alberder are fierce advocates for equity, social justice, and good wages, housing, education, and healthcare for under-represented and underserved Black and Brown Minnesotans. Their first-hand experiences learning how to navigate living and assuming leadership roles in predominantly White Minnesota neighborhoods, have given them an inside look into what needs to be done to ensure all citizens have an equal opportunity to thrive.
It’s like a war zone. Lake Street was destroyed during recent protests for Justice for George Floyd. This is the account of Nasibu Sareva (African Development Center, African Economic Development Solutions), Jaylani Hussein (Council on American-Islamic Relations-MN), and Henry Jiménez (Latino Economic Development Corporation). With African Economic Development Solutions, they have created a collaborative called RebuildandHealMN.org to support immigrant-owned businesses on Lake Street, Midway, and in the Twin Cities. In this very poignant episode of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, Nasibu, Jaylani, and Henry share how their work has helped immigrant business owners and their determination to rebuild through an equity lens with funds they secure. Once a depressed neighborhood, Lake Street became the home to a growing immigrant and Black community that changed the city by building micro and macro businesses that showed promise. They need our help. 
Has technology taken over our lives? In this Roundtable Edition of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY our team has a candid discussion about the major shift in the volume of time we spend glued to electronic devices during quarantine, and our individual approaches in sifting through the bombardment of content to determine what’s worth the time investment or not. From meetings to learning opportunities, social media to news consumption, we explore how to best navigate the information overload and establish healthy boundaries to give the mind, body, and soul some rest.
In this episode of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY we meet with Joe Rapisarda and Mike Figueroa, Co-Editors, and Hosts of The Nonconformist (a financial newsletter and podcast), who explain to us digital currencies such as Bitcoin. In a world where we need to question social constructs and the manipulation of the economy to benefit a few, we tapped into these two U.S. Army Veterans and entrepreneurs who are well-versed on this topic and are challenging the skeptics, including our host Sami Haiman-Marrero. They predict digital currencies will overtake the U.S. Dollar as the reserve currency in a post-COVID-19 economy.
MILLIONS of Americans have been laid off and are searching for new employment opportunities. For many, it’s been a very long time since they have looked for a job and much less interviewed online. In this episode of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, our host Samí Haiman-Marrero talks to Tiffany Osborne, who has over 10 years of experience in workforce development, job placement, and helping employers with their talent needs across all industries. An advocate for distressed communities impacted by job loss or underemployment as well as people faced with the challenges of reentering the workforce after incarceration, Tiffany shares valuable tips on how to prep for an interview during these trying times.
SALES 101 is a key skill set that is not taught formally in academic settings, and it’s such a critical aspect of successfully navigating your career path or owning your own business. In this episode of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, our host Samí Haiman-Marrero talks to old friend and colleague from her days at the New York Post, Peter Smith (aka Smitty), who is currently the Sr. Sales Director for S4M – a global digital marketing firm specializing in mobile advertising campaigns. As they reminisce on their days working together in the fast-paced grueling grind of selling ad space in a major newspaper back in 2004, Smitty shares the basics of good salesmanship, offers helpful tips in his characteristic upfront, practical and down-to-earth approach, and demonstrates why Samí thinks he’s the best at what he does.
MAJOR HINT FOR JOB SEEKERS:  If you are proficient in another language, your foreign language skills could be THE key point of differentiation in landing employment when compared to a monolingual candidate interviewing for the same position. In this episode of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, we speak to Lisa March, Marketing Strategist for Language Testing International, a global language assessment and certification provider. She shares with host Samí Haiman-Marrero specifics regarding the growing importance of having a bilingual and multilingual workforce across all industries and the value of certification, both for individuals seeking employment as well as Human Resources departments looking for new talent.
WHO IN THE WORLD QUITS THEIR JOB and successful career in the middle of a global pandemic? Meet Khnuma Simmonds in this episode of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, where she shares with host Samí Haiman-Marrero the reasons she decided to leave her full-time employment as an Executive Director to fully focus on developing her long-time side business headquartered in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. A modern-day renaissance woman, Khnuma balances and taps into her multifaceted skills, her formal education, and her unwavering faith to pursue and fulfill her purpose…and she’s having the time of her life doing so!
“Follow your bliss”, says Mercedes Jaime, Founder & CEO of Enter-Entra to kick-off this transformational episode of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY. If your life is caught up experiencing a major shift (personal, professional, entrepreneurial) in the midst of this worldwide pandemic, we encourage you to invest the next 40 minutes into hearing how Mercedes has navigated several major shifts in her life, including saying goodbye to a successful 30-year corporate career to start her own business and follow her BLISS. A powerful story of resiliency, determination, faith, and purpose that delivers a joyous outlook on life because she dared to answer the question: If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?
Working while in quarantine has exposed a lot about universal human behavior and situations that were not OK to share or divulge publicly before stay at home orders were implemented. Some of the stuff we are learning about others is very meaningful and other stuff not so much. In this Roundtable Edition of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, our crew pokes a little fun at video conferencing experiences and helping kids manage distance learning. They also share some very personal revelations, and that’s when it gets very REAL, really quick. WARNING: Use of colorful language.
If you are wondering what’s the latest with the Stimulus Package passed by Congress to help families and businesses get through the current economic standstill, tune-in to this episode of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY.  Our guest, Gustavo Torres Decos has been a CPA for 15 years, AND he’s been a business owner for 30 years. He’s a friend of the show and sat with us to have a candid conversation about how to access the different aspects of the CARES Act if you own a business, have been laid off, run a nonprofit, etc., so you can find your footing during the Coronavirus crisis.
In the last few weeks, our crew has made some quick adjustments and investments to make up for that 15% of our collaborations that required us to meet in person. For this episode of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY we are launching two new things: First, “Business As Unusual” – an initiative where our team will share collective experiences and ideas on how entrepreneurs, professionals or people wanting to start their own thing can navigate these uncertain times (in the form of articles, posts, videos, etc. on social media). And second, starting this week our podcast will be available as a videocast, too! Tune in to this week’s Roundtable conversation where we share some tips on how to manage this new business environment and try to survive it. 
In these uncertain times, it’s important to have cheerleaders – and THANK THEM. In this Roundtable Edition of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, our podcast team members take a moment to recognize and celebrate our personal and professional cheerleaders. We discuss how and what they do to encourage us to be the best versions of ourselves, and why we are so grateful to them for cheering us on. We hope this inspires our listeners to call and thank THEIR cheerleaders, or to become a cheerleader for someone who needs to know someone gives a shit about them during the current existential crisis we are living.
One of the big takeaways of the current political landscape of America is the impact of Latino participation on the electoral process and also that they are gaining tremendous economic influence. Basically, Latinos are no longer invisible and they are starting to have some CA$H to invest in what they believe in.  In this episode of I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, we have an open conversation with Marcos Vilar, Executive Director of Alianza for Progress, a Latino-led PAC focused on advocating for policies and candidates that align with the interests of the Hispanic community in Florida. We talk about the current Democratic primary and how things may or may not work out for the betterment of our country.
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