Posts tagged with "Company Culture"

Actor, Model, Entrepenuer Vaughn Lowery shot by Andrea Marino inside 360 Magazine

VAUGHN LOWERY

Vaughn Lowery, the founder and president of the NGLCC certified, 360 MAGAZINE, has always strived for positive social change. He graduated from Cornell University. From there, he became active in modeling, acting and publishing.

A decade or more, Vaughn Lowery became notable when he appeared in Kmart’s smash commercial – Joe Boxer. It helped the retailer roughly sell US$20 million per week. By becoming an exclusive spokesperson, he appeared with Leeza Gibbons on Extra, Katie Couric on Today Show, and Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.

At the culmination of college, he relocated to New York City; and thus, Vaughn began a career as an actor and model. It was there where celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine set him up with a fashion photographer, Fadil Berisha. Above Joe Boxer, he worked as a successful print model for many companies such as GAP, Old Navy, as well as a runway model for Tommy Hilfiger, Phat Farm, and Karl Kani. He has graced the pages of Elle, Cosmopolitan and Glamour. Additionally, he flipped the Houston Chronicle.

Years back, ABC News Primetime aired a segment chronicling his life, along with the tragic John Ritter story. Vaughn has also filmed a Super Bowl commercial, completed a high-profile Dasani Water billboard ad campaign, appeared on America’s Next Top Model, guest-starred on the comedy, Scrubs, and screened his controversial 35mm festival film, The Young & Evil, at Sundance 2009. He was also named Seventeen Magazine’s 17 Hot Guys. His hindmost project The Company We Keep boasts director Roy Campanella II along with comedic co-star Leslie Jones. At present, Vaughn wrote a short, Chasen Life, which won a writing competition. He adapted audiobook Say Uncle into a feature-length film, pitched a reality series and is in the process of architecting an immersive design experience.

Due to his turbulent upbringing in Detroit, Vaughn has kept his personal promise to be a contributing citizen to those in need. He has lent his name and support to: Women At Risk, Human Rights Commission, March of Dimes, Heart of Los Angeles Youth, Awakening Young Minds and schools across the nation where he encourages adolescents to step into their power.

As of late, Lowery has developed their inaugural 360 MAG Podcast on Audible, Apple and Spotify as well as a new NFT Animal Series on OpenSea.

Futher, 360 MAGAZINE was named Business of the Month by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce [NGLCC]. The NGLCC is the business voice of the LGBT community, the largest advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people, and the exclusive certifying body for LGBT-owned businesses. It possesses deep affiliations with FORTUNE 100 Fastest Growing Companies.

Lastly, hard cover and auditory interpretations of Vaughn’s memoir, Move Like Water × Be Fluid, are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Walmart.

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OTG

Vaughn speaks on the NFT-VIP ‘press panel’ on Sun., June 19 at 2:30pm EST Margaritaville Times Square Resort NYC.

In his spare time, designs e-bike bras and reconfigures their silhouettes.

Mixed Media Fabrications

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Twelve Tips for Creating an Effective Onboarding Process at Your Startup

To run a successful start-up you need the right employees for your team. Once you find talent, you can start the onboarding process. This is an important step that helps workers adjust to your company. Here are twelve tips for an effective process. 

1. Start Early On

There are things you can do before the onboarding process even starts. Create an agenda for the workers first week, so everyone is on the same page. Also, talk to the other co-workers about the new hire’s responsibilities. 

In addition, get the new employees’ workspace set up. Fill their desk with office supplies and key documents, like the employee handbook. Place a gift at their desk, such as a mug with the company’s logo, to show how much you value them. 

Make sure you prepare the worker as well. Send them essential company information and their first-day agenda. Have it include the dress code and any company rules. Also, provide them a copy of their first week’s schedule, so they can plan ahead. Note where they should park and who they should speak to when they first arrive. Giving them this information will help put their mind at ease.  

2.  Allow Employees to Get Acclimated 

During the first week of orientation, give workers time to adjust to the company. Instead of having them jump into projects immediately, give them a tour of the office. It’s important they’re familiar with the work processes as well. Be sure to cover how to use company software, any website passwords, and the communication protocols. 

Plus, go over company culture and decision-making processes. Once new employees understand everyday operations, they will work more productively. 

Onboarding is also the perfect chance for staff members to build relationships. Introduce the new hire to multiple team members. Have the whole team go out for lunch to help welcome the new worker. Having strong co-worker relationships can improve team morale.

Also, schedule a meeting between the employee and the direct supervisor. It gives both of them a chance to get to know each other. Within the meeting discuss the worker’s goals and preferred management style. 

3. Be Open to Feedback

Receiving feedback from your employees can help you gain a new perspective. Remember they are looking at the company with a fresh set of eyes. Plus, it can help address any concerns before they turn into long-term issues. Be sure to encourage feedback from day one, so they feel more comfortable speaking with you in the future. 

Make sure you show genuine interest in their suggestions. To help move the conversation forward, ask questions. In addition, pay attention to non-verbal cues, such as limited eye contact. When addressing employees’ negative feelings don’t get defensive. Use surveys, interviews, or a question box to get feedback. 

4. Have Employees Job-Shadow

Job shadowing current staff allows the new hire to learn new skills. They also can see exactly how projects are completed and what mistakes to avoid. In addition, it gives them a chance to build relationships with other co-workers. They can even shadow someone with a different role to see how all the positions work together. 

5. Put a Plan in Place

Having a standard structure for onboarding is critical. After your very first onboarding process, write down everything you did. Make sure to note what worked well and what didn’t. Update the document after each time. Having this internal document allows for a smoother transition with less stress. Store the information in a safe place, such as the office filing cabinet.

6. Have Realistic Expectations 

When you hire new staff, you want to see immediate results. However, it’s also important you remain patient and give them time to adjust. Rushing through the training process can have long-term consequences. For example, the staff member may not feel comfortable in their new role. Take the time to properly train your staff and allow them to ask questions. 

7. Keep Up With Communication

During the first few months, regularly follow up with new staff members. Take time to see how they’re adjusting and address any of their concerns. You can send them a checklist to ensure they are completing all their necessary tasks. Another idea is forwarding them a quiz on the company’s policies and procedures. Keep in mind face-to-face communication is the most effective, whenever possible. 

8. Be Available 

Be available to answer any questions your employees may have. Set aside a small portion of your day for answering staff inquiries. If a coworker needs a larger chunk of time, have them schedule a meeting and place it on the calendar. To ensure proper communication, let staff members know the best way to reach you. Are you more responsive to emails or texts? 

9. Pair the New Hire With a Current Employee

When you pair a new hire with a current employee, they feel less isolated. They now have someone they can talk to and learn from. Plus, their partner can introduce them to other staff members. Having a support system increases office morale and promotes productivity. In addition, it gives workers an extra resource to help clarify project guidelines. Then you have more free time to focus on other management responsibilities. 

10. Go Over the Benefits and Policies 

When explaining the companies’ benefits, go over them in detail. Discuss what they are and how staff members can use them. For example, how much paid vacation time do they get off? When employees understand all their benefits they are more satisfied in their job. Have workers read the staff handbook as well. If they have any questions ensure they know who to contact. This helps prevent any future miscommunication.  

11. Emphasize Your Company’s Culture

Make sure the new staff member is familiar with more than just their role. You want them to have a strong understanding of your business’s vision and values. Give them background on your company’s history and your plans for the future. If you have a mission statement, share that as well. Then ask employees how they feel they can contribute to these values. The more connected new hires are to the company the more loyal they will be. 

12. Give Your Staff S.M.A.R.T Goals

These are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. When making them specific, consider who is involved and what resources are needed. Determine a deadline for completion as well. Setting goals for your new hires encourages them to take on more responsibilities. It can even motivate them to work harder and be more productive. 

How to Have a Successful Onboarding Process

The onboarding process is one of the most important steps for new team members. It gives them a chance to get settled into their role. There are many steps you can take to make the process smoother, such as open communication. Review these steps before onboarding your next employee. 

Heather Skovlund computer illustration for use by 360 Magazine

CSR In The Digital Age: With 360 Magazine

By: Kai Yeo

“We’re all connected through culture. Basically, we all must learn to adapt. We learn more through traveling and seeing more. When you’re in a different environment, everybody must love and laugh and dance. I don’t need to know your language. But companies need to focus on connecting everyone through love, not war.” – Vaughn Lowery

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been around for years, with its’ roots being found as early as the 18th Century. In my CSR research assignment before, I wrote that “the key idea of CSR is for companies to pursue pro-social objectives and promote volunteerism among employees (such as through donating to charity and participating in volunteer work), as well as by minimizing environmental externalities.” As an international student trying to find my career path in the United States, I find that company CSR is one of the first few things I look for when finding a suitable company to work with: how genuine they are and how much they care for their employees. The process of researching and writing my essay on CSR in the modern day and CSR within my internship site provided me with the valuable opportunity not only to learn about an important business topic, but also allowed me to develop a better understanding of what it is.

For my CSR Interview, I got the opportunity to speak on the phone with my supervisor Vaughn Lowery. His career started from “humble beginnings in Detroit to a full scholarship in Cornell University under the ILR program. From there, he became active in modeling, acting, and producing screenplays.” Now, Vaughn is the publisher and founder of leading fashion and lifestyle magazine, 360 Magazine, which is also my internship site. His job involves fostering relationships within the community and being an editorial director that curates and oversees content for all columns of the magazine. The position also entails making sure that Apple News, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all other news sites are updated. As a pop culture and design magazine, it is important to constantly be up to date with relevant content and breaking news. Being a quarterly publication, 360 is also working on their summer magazine issue. Vaughn mentions that with COVID making everything digital, the team has been working on expanding the business: creating a self-publishing division, developing e-commerce, getting sponsors, and most importantly, waiting for things to start opening back up.

With a background in studying business and company culture, Vaughn says that his education helped him design a company culture that made sense, “Transparency, cool kids, intelligence. I wanted a space for comfort regardless of race, age, and religion. Education was not the answer to my business but a part of the process to help with preparing for my magazine. The most important thing is life experiences, there are no books on it.” Vaughn emphasizes sending people in his company for events and communicating with clientele because “you can’t speak about things you don’t know.” COVID has made jobs in the media a little more mundane, but he’s excited about things opening back up and is hopeful for the future. Without in-person experiences, it is hard to understand the inner workings of media companies with everything being digitally produced.

Vaughn defines Corporate Social Responsibility at 360 Magazine as “having an environment that is inviting and inclusive, especially showcasing inclusivity.” As a magazine that promotes culture and lifestyle, it is important that everyone he works with is aware of what is going on in the world that we live in and what is happening with minority populations. He speaks about being the only African American in a lot of his school and work experiences, and he created 360 with the ideal of having more minorities and women working in his company: “We all live in the same world… and some people don’t know that. But we need representation and for people to see us. It’s not on us to educate them, but it’s on us to speak up.” 360 avidly speaks up for diversity (#metoo) and openly supports nonprofit organizations.

When asked about how veritable he thinks big companies are with CSR movements, he says that they’re doing it for a myriad of reasons. Companies get away with more stuff as a corporation, “But the responsibility is about being genuine. The board of directors and Zoom calls and the whole spiel. If they’re trying to just make money, revenue principals are not true to themselves. 360 was founded on real culture. The diversity is important. It is what it is.”

“Your company diversity is a reflection of the world, we’ve been doing this since the start of 360, we’ve been ahead of the trend.” The magazine has always featured drag queens, people who are transgender, and minorities, “This is very important when doing events and stuff, it’s a big family. We have less than 50 people. And it’s important for our clients to know that we have each other and rely on each other. That we know how to respect one another and appreciate each other, despite all odds.” Vaughn believes that diversity and inclusion of people of color has always been important, and he emphasizes that 360 will keep pushing these agendas and morals as long as he’s the head of the company. I see this in his effort to get everyone together (even if it is just on Zoom for now) to celebrate big articles, book releases, sponsorships, and so on.

As I type this interview essay, I find two key points to really reflect on: 1) assumptions about company morale and 2) why diversity is so important to me.

1) I think back on everyone else I’ve spoken to during my time as an intern here with 360, and I find that these core values that Vaughn spoke about with me are reflected in all the conversations I’ve had with him and other employees. Coming from a very structured, patriarchal Asian background, I came into this internship thinking that it would be like all my previous experiences (they talk of diversity, but it’s never really executed once you’re a part of it – school projects, internships, part-time jobs, and so on). However, no one in the company has been curt or condescending when speaking with me, and they truly mean it when they point out mistakes and gently correct me. Maybe it is because of the way I was brought up, or the environment I was most familiar in, but these good intentions had me on my toes for the first couple weeks I was here, and I’m honestly still getting used to it.

2) With the rise of Asian hate crimes in the past year, I find myself turning very reclusive and immediately trying to find fault with people when something brushes me the wrong way (though sometimes it really is a racist comment or remark). It’s been difficult having to correct people when they say my name wrong or trying to explain my culture when these simple things can so easily be looked up online. I’ve been very lucky growing up well-traveled and seeing different parts of the world, and I understand that not everyone has that privilege, but how far does “I don’t know” get you in the digital age? I need to work in a company where people are willing to learn and grow new perspectives, and I see this quality in Vaughn too as he speaks about his loneliness as the only African American in his industry when he was first starting out.

After 45 minutes of talking about diversity and the whole CSR conversation winding down, Vaughn tells me to keep doing what I love, “Understanding the industry through work experiences is how you’ll get in. It’s constantly changing.” He talks about learning to forecast and foreshadow and having connections at arms’ reach. By the end of our conversation, I felt that I learnt a lot and could have a clearer vision of what I wanted out of this internship. I’ve had the opportunities to go for company events (for brands including Lillet, Chinese Laundry, Rockstar Original, etc.), though I would really like to be able to go to a CSR event in the near future to promote these same values that I share with 360 Magazine.

To read more about Vaughn Lowery, please visit his Wikipedia and IMBD.