Paying it Forward with Janine Branch

Janine Branch loves to give back to those around her, and she strives to be a good example because in her words, “you never know who’s looking up at you or looking down at you.” In this episode of Business Edge, listen to her speak to the challenges and misconceptions that come along with mentorship, the importance of cross-cultural engagement, and how she has been able to help steer the organizations she has been a part of to success. Plus, listen to her discuss the journey of her and her husband’s pin business!

Janine Branch is a servant leader on a mission to foster purposeful global engagement by uplifting and nurturing civic-minded leaders to persevere and be resilient. Currently, Janine is a Program Officer implementing the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program at FHI360, a nonprofit human development organization, and is the Onboarding Champion for the Global Connections department.

Janine spent more than a decade developing professional exchange programs at the World Trade Center Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. She uses her unique combination of over 13 years of international exchange program management and talent management experience to engage across cultures and create shared understanding through meaningful person-to-person interactions. In addition to the U.S. Department of State, Janine has worked with a variety of clients, including the Open World Leadership Center, U.S. Agency for International Development, Korea International Trade Association, the Embassy of the United States to the United Kingdom, and the University of Jos in Nigeria.

Janine is passionate about using professional development as a driving force to promote mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations around the world. Janine is dedicated to building practical training programs to provide young leaders with opportunities to explore the international exchange industry and apply their academic knowledge to the “real world.” In doing so, Janine hopes to increase the network of citizen diplomats who have the individual willingness to build relationships to help sustain a secure, economically sound, and socially interconnected world.

Janine is a master’s degree candidate at the University of Baltimore focusing on Global Affairs and Human Security and plans to graduate in the Fall of 2021. During her studies, she developed a study abroad course on the “Sustainability of Voluntourism in Haiti,” which cumulated with an experiential trip to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. She holds a B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business from Towson University. She volunteers as a career mentor at Towson University. Janine has been married for eight years to her college sweetheart, Taurean and a dedicated mother to their 5-year-old son, Matthew and 7-year-old Maltipoo, Obie. She enjoys long-distance road running competitions, gardening, and visiting as many gluten-free restaurants as she possibly can!


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Finding Your Home with Cheryl Dunson

In a time of rising interest rates and anxiety, how can young people today sort through all the noise to find their first home? In this episode of Business Edge, co-hosts Chrissy and Nicole ask featured guest Cheryl Dunson about what young professionals need to know about the process of home ownership. Listen to her speak about how you can know when you’re financially ready to buy a home, how to find a realtor who’s a good fit for you, and how you can go about finding your true priorities when it comes to a home.

Cheryl likes to work, and she likes to be interested in what she does and make a positive difference for her clients. Regardless of the type of work someone does, once the client/customer/parishioner/patient/reader is an annoyance, it’s time to do something else.

As a marketing major, she began her career in data center operations. A fraternity brother told her about cattle call interviews being held by a large corporation and she was there. Wandering away from the marketing section, she struck up a conversation with a gentleman and discussed the automated inventory conversion that was taking place where her dad worked, and next thing she knew, she was taking math tests and wound up working in data operations. There was no IT major at the time.

Fourteen years later, she took a three-year sabbatical and never returned. She was a single mom and started buying rental properties and helping friends look at dated homes to determine how to make them work for their families. Eventually, she became licensed and with a few detours has spent the rest of her career in real estate.

Ten years ago she needed a change and was hired by a developer for a traditional neighborhood development, a tnd. It was just the change she needed. She had always enjoyed introducing friends to friends and helping people become part of the community where she lived, but in a tnd, while the homes are beautiful, it’s all about community.

While real estate was not what she expected to do for the majority of her career, it has the flexibility of time, income, and versions that has worked through the various stages of her life. She has had the opportunity to work in a few tnds and is currently in a Best in American Living award winning community that looks like a movie set. She says that real estate can be stressful, but it can also be rewarding, and that she has the opportunity to help make people’s dreams a reality.

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Striving for Excellence with Raquel Tamez

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are hot button topics that we often expect immediate responses to and successes in, but in this episode of Business Edge, special guest Raquel Tamez urges that time is the biggest factor in overcoming many roadblocks associated with these aspirations. Listen to her speak to how organizations and individuals can evolve to foster positive change. She also explores how we can all be our best selves by educating ourselves by consistently reading, prioritizing our most important values, and always striving for excellence.

Raquel Tamez is the Chief Inclusion and Engagement officer at Charles River Associates. As CIEO, Tamez plays an integral role in the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, launching initiatives and designing programs that empower CRA’s workforce and strengthen its culture, allowing the firm to better serve its clients and communities.

Prior to joining CRA, Tamez served as CEO for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. From 2014 to 2017, Tamez held the role of Chief Legal Officer at SourceAmerica, a nonprofit that creates employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

In 2017, she was appointed to the FTC’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment. She also served as a board member for the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives.

In 2020, Raquel represented SHPE as part of the first Hispanic delegation to the World Economic Forum. That same year, she received the 2020 Ohtli Award from the Mexican government, in recognition of her efforts to empower Hispanics abroad.

External Links:

Raquel’s Facebook

Creating Meaningful Connections with Dan Harbeke

In an age of unlimited online connectivity, how can we sort through the noise to create meaningful connections? In this episode of Business Edge, Dan Harbeke explains that showing up and going the extra mile is something that can make you stand apart from the crowd. Listen to him speak to his current role with Google, and all of his experiences that led him to where he is now.

Dan serves as the Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager for Google in the midwest.

Active in the community, he has served on the Young Professionals Council board of directors through the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, is a past chairman of the Utah Foundation board of trustees and a past president of the board of directors for Keep Texas Beautiful, and has served on the board of directors for Junior Achievement of Utah and the Natural History Museum of Utah. Mr. Harbeke holds a degree in Marketing and Political Science from Creighton University, where he presently serves on the National Alumni Board, and is the proud dad of two beautiful girls, Elle and Emme.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.


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Being Yourself with Derrick Fleming, Jr.

How can you show up for others? According to Derrick Fleming, Jr., you have to start by showing up for yourself. In this episode of Business Edge, Derrick explains how being your authentic self and learning how to navigate the spaces that you’re in is the first step in learning to cooperate with and liberate those around you. He also speaks to his current work with helping black and brown youth in Chicago get into college, through college, and into the workforce through the Chicago Scholars program. Plus, hear him talk about his time working under the Obama Administration, and the important lessons he learned along the way.

When you think of style and class; organization and structure; education and empowerment; equity and advocacy, Derrick Marcell Fleming, Jr., also known as “Derrick The Gent”, is the man to make it happen. As a former White House Staff Member under the Obama Administration, now currently serving as the Managing Director of Strategic Engagement for Chicago Scholars, a social entrepreneur (The JUST BE campaign.) and serving in other national and local community/education leadership capacities – Derrick leads with a heart to serve and a passion for youth, collective impact, and systems change. Derrick brings electrifying energy to any atmosphere. With over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit and government sectors focusing on education, social impact, youth development, and mentorship; 8+ years of project management, coaching, and training experience; and 6+ years of program and people management experience.; Derrick brings a level of problem-solving skills that sets everyone at ease and makes solutions-focused work feel like fun.


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External Links:

TGEL Enterprises

Derrick’s LinkedIn

Stories of Personal Liberation Vol 1