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President Clinton Announces Impact of Commitments Made at the Second Annual Clinton Global Initiative America Meeting

AscentiveBusiness news from the Ascentive team

President Bill Clinton announced the impact of the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America), a meeting dedicated to forging collaborative solutions to the United States’ most pressing economic challenges. This year, CGI America attendees, who include leaders from government, business, and nonprofit sectors, made more than 50 new commitments valued at more than $1 billion that will create 32,000 jobs and fill more than 500,000 vacant jobs in the United States.

“This year’s CGI America participants have formed creative partnerships and come up with inventive strategies to accelerate employment, start new businesses, and prepare Americans to take the jobs that are open in the new U.S. economy,” said President Clinton. “From nearly $176 million of new capital that will go to small or medium enterprises, to the nearly 150,000 students who will gain access to STEM education opportunities, this year’s meeting has demonstrated the important advances we can make when working together towards a shared prosperity.”

Throughout the meeting, attendees generated Commitments to Action: new, specific plans to address an economic challenge facing the United States, such as job creation, small business development, clean energy, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, housing recovery, and workforce development. Some of the commitments announced today will provide underserved young people with skills in digital media and construction, give women and minorities opportunities for entrepreneurship, and transform foreclosed properties into affordable housing.

When fully funded and implemented, the 58 new CGI America commitments aim to positively impact the lives of nearly 3.9 million Americans in the following ways:

  •              More than 32,000 jobs will be created, including 6,600 green jobs.
  •              More than 500,000 jobs will be filled by veterans and their family members.
  •              Nearly 68,000 people will receive improved access to capital or financial services.
  •              More than 117,000 people will benefit from access to job training and certification.
  •              Nearly 760 million kilowatt hours of energy will be saved.
  •              More than $84 million of new capital will be invested in green initiatives.
  •              More than 12,000 people will gain increased access to health services.
  •              More than $640 million of the total value of the new commitments will address housing recovery, including returning distressed single-family housing to productive use, retrofitting homes in 25 new cities, and developing affordable housing units for low-income individuals.

President Clinton concluded the two-day meeting by encouraging leaders to find ways to create an innovative and sustainable tomorrow. In the final session, “What’s Next? Towards a More Perfect Union,” Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Regina E. Dugan, senior vice president of Advanced Technology and Projects at Motorola Mobility; Duncan Niederauer, director and CEO of NYSE Euronext, Inc.; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director of Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History; and Mark Vachon, vice president of Ecomagination at General Electric, spoke about the importance of STEM education, supporting American innovation, and the future of the American economy.

The second day of the CGI America meeting opened with the “Sustainable Finance” plenary session, where Donna Gambrell, director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund; Lisa Hall, president and CEO of Calvert Foundation; Ted Howard, executive director of the Democracy Collaborative; and Jim Koch, chair and founder of the Boston Beer Company, Inc., discussed sustainable access to capital to both grow existing businesses and finance new ventures.

Equal opportunity in employment and entrepreneurship was the topic of the second plenary session, “Pathways to Opportunity,” which featured Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Peter G. Peterson, chairman and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation; Chelsea Clinton, board member of the Clinton Global Initiative and William J. Clinton Foundation;  John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman, and CEO of Operation HOPE, Inc.; Kyle McCollom, founder of Triple Thread Apparel; Ai-jen Poo, director of National Domestic Workers Alliance; Jerry Sue Thornton, president of Cuyahoga Community College; and Joan Walker, executive vice president of corporate relations at Allstate Insurance Company.

CGI America is sponsored by J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, Allstate Insurance Company, The Dow Chemical Company, ExxonMobil, The Joyce Foundation, The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and APCO Worldwide.

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Five Questions You Need to Ask at Your Next Interview

AscentiveBusiness tips from the Ascentive team

Although you should prepare your self for any of the typical questions that you may be asked at your next job interview there are several questions that you should ask your interviewer as well. When you interview for your next job, you should really know what you’re getting into. Here are six questions you should really ask at your next interview.

Can you tell me about the person who previously did this job?

It’s crucial to know any problems or past history associated with the position that you are interviewing for. For example, was your predecessor fired or promoted? Is this a temporary position or brand-new? These answers will tell you about management’s expectations and how the company is planning to grow.

What do You Enjoy about Your Company?

Although you may like the company that you are interviewing for, you’re still an outsider. You need to find out what an actual employee has to say about working there. Who better to ask than your interviewer? This also forces the interviewer to step out of their official corporate role and answer personally as an employee and potential coworker.

What is the First Task that Needs Attention?

In order to successfully perform your future role you need to be on the same page as your new manager, as well as be clear on what the initial expectations are and that you can deliver. What you don’t want is to allow yourself to be misled about the job’s requirements and end up overwhelmed and over your head after the first week on the job.

Can you tell me about the Manager to whom I would report?

You need to find out whom your manager will be and what kind of manager they are in order to tell ahead of time if you will be a good fit. For example, if you’re an independent type used to creating solutions on your own, you probably won’t work well with an editor who is really hands-on.

What are your company’s five-year sales and profit projections?

This may seem like an unusual question, but you need to know about the future of the company you plan to spend several years of your life working for. Although you can research this question on your own, nothing can beat an insider’s observations and insights. This also shows you’ve done your homework and are serious about this company.

What’s the Next Step?

Finally, you need to know what happens after the interview and set a plan for follow-up. You’ll also be able to gauge the company’s enthusiasm with your interviewer’s answer. Be sure to ask for your interviewer’s direct phone number and the best time to call.

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Build Trust and be a Successful Freelancer

Business tips from the Ascentive team

When it comes to being a successful freelancer, the most important thing you need to do is to inspire trust in your current and potential employers. Every interaction your have with employers can increase – or decrease – their trust in you. If you’re not careful, something as seemingly minor as taking too long to respond to an email can make you appear less dependable to an employer.

Being a freelancer who is responsive, pleasant, engaged, and meets expectations, is the key to acquiring more (and better paying) work. So how does one go about becoming a trustworthy freelancer? Start by following these principles:


Make Great First Impressions

Your first communications with potential employers are crucial in creating a high level of trust. Make every effort to appear intelligent, eager and on time. Always reread your email drafts aloud and use a spell-checker before you send them off. If you’re not communicating in your native language, make the extra effort to have a friend proofread your communications.

Don’t Lie about your Skillset

Always be honest about your skillset.  If you disappoint your employer when called upon to use your stated skills, you’ll never get a chance to demonstrate your real value. This is especially important when it comes to language skills.

Know the Big Picture

Always learn an employer’s business and their specific goals.  Employers trust freelancers who care about the big picture and understand their priorities.

Make your Deadlines

Without a doubt, there’s nothing’s more important than meeting your deadlines. In addition to hitting your dates, always be available for communication on the agreed days and times, and deliver the quality that you promised.

Document your Processes

Always document your process and record why you completed a task a certain way. This explains to your employer why you determined that process A was better than B and reinforces their trust in you.

Save your Employer Money

Anything you do that brings your contract work in under budget will help establish your integrity and your respect for the employer’s resources. That isn’t to say you should lower your own cost so much you can’t actually make a living; but if you have to make a choice that has a financial impact on your employer, try to choose the option that’s the least expensive.

Admit your mistakes and fix them

In the event that you’ve turned in your work and the employer isn’t happy, submit a second pass. Better yet, build a second pass into your delivery schedule on all major projects.

Follow up

Always check in with a quick email after you’ve delivered your work. This shows that you’re concerned with client satisfaction and will encourage them to hire you in the future.

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