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In this Interview, Amina Bibi Rumjon, Public Speaker and Marketing Expert, Shares Valuable Tips for Marketers



Amina Bibi Rumjon

Amina Bibi Rumjon is known for her expertise in contemporary marketing strategies. Apart from running her businesses, she is also a ‘Mumpreneur’ for the last 16 years, juggling 5 kids. In a recent interview, she shared some valuable insights on how the marketing space has evolved and how marketers can adjust to the ongoing changes.

Amina, Thank You for talking with us. Kindly describe your journey as an entrepreneur so far. 

I started my online journey listing a few items on EbayUk, just to dip my feet really. I was so impressed with the ease of this online business model that within 2 weeks, I started creating my own products to sell and it was a success.

I then proceeded to import fashion products to sell on my own website back in 2003 when I was pregnant for my 4th child.  Since then, I have expanded in several niches and my businesses flourished and grew.

One of my big success is becoming an Eagle Manager in Foreverliving and managing a team of 350 members across the world. This wonderful experience took me off my comfort zone of being a work from home mummy to a leader and public speaker.

With the vast experience acquired during the years, the next natural step was to make a move and start helping other businesses to thrive. And this is what I do now.

What were the initial challenges that you faced in your endeavor? 

Regarding challenges, there have been lots and there are still. The main thing with challenges is that it helps us to grow. Well, from the beginning of my career I have had to learn to deliver to clients in a fast and professional manner at all times. There were days when I was unwell or kids were in the hospital, while enjoying the flexibility of my businesses, I also had to be there for my clients.  Moreover, I had websites being hacked, eBay accounts being closed by malicious reporting from competitors. But with determination, I have always come out stronger and faced these challenges successfully

In your experience, tell us more about how marketing has changed with the advent of various social media platforms? 

Social media has decidedly intertwined with human existence, sparing only a handful of the population who are unsynchronized with the development within this realm.  Users from all walks of life actively use social media on day to day basis, which consequently amplifies the opportunity for marketers to establish and nurture sales relationships.

Legions of brands are choosing social media as a mainstream channel to communicate with patrons. The responsive nature of social media sustains communication from the brands, leading to the growth of ideas and understanding the diverse mindsets. Access to immense opinions, demands, and ideas could influence decision making and act as metric for market research.

Social media is an avenue where the exchange of information between two communicating sources is made seamless. The social channel has proven its efficiency in collecting, sharing, and managing information useful to the members involved. Often the benefits are mutual, for instance, a marketer values accessible prospect data within their marketing scope. While a customer benefits in finding resources that they are willing to purchase.

You have worked with several big and small businesses. Do you adopt an entirely different approach while working with a big company or the fundamentals remain the same?  

Well, for me, every business big or small is treated with the same professionalism and we deliver the best service to get their social media efforts profitable at all times. We always start with a strategy and follow up with reports, meetings and tweaking to fit the company’s budget.

How challenging marketing and sales have become these days for organizations and how can they deal with the new challenges? 

Nowadays most marketers are facing inevitable challenges as the online space become even more competitive with the influx of new online businesses worldwide competing with brands.

Generating traffic and leads and providing ROI are the leading challenges most marketers will face.  Clearly, marketers are struggling with producing enough demand for their content. And as the years progress and competition stiffens, this will only become truer. With so many options of platforms for marketers to publish their content and even more ways to promote it, it’s hard to know where to focus your efforts.

When it comes to creating content that produces enough traffic and leads, marketers should ask themselves two questions: Are you truly creating high-quality content — the type of content people would pay for? And, do you know the type of content your audience actually wants?

Once you know you’re creating the type of content your audience wants, the focus shifts to promoting it in a way that makes your audience take notice. More than ever before, people are being flooded with content. Consumers don’t have to use a search engine to find answers. Instead, articles fill their news feed or buzz in their pocket via mobile notification

Any suggestions you would like to give to aspiring entrepreneurs. 

As a business coach, I would love to share my experience with anyone wanting to start a new business. Even if it is just a dream, I can help you get it into reality. Business is there to stay, social media is there to stay, the online world is only getting bigger and wider day by day, if you do not take your share of online real estate now, well in a few years, there will only be regret. So just get started!

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An Interview with Miami based Marketing & Communications Expert Julian Narchet



Julian Narchet interview timesofstartups

Julian Narchet is a marketing and mass communications professional, and a Communications Manager at the University of Miami. He has extensive experience in customer service, market research, academic research, research administration, social media, public relations, and event management. He is passionate about making a difference in the lives of others through cooperation with non-profits and healthcare organizations.

Julian, Thank you for doing this. Tell me about your best and worst days at work.

My best days involve seeing my work come to life, whether in the form of content going live or speaking to a new group about the research project I work on and getting immediate interest and sign-ups from new participants. In marketing/communications, a lot of work can sometimes go unnoticed, so it is always great to see an impact. There aren’t many bad days, but I would say those involve getting bogged down by multiple projects, poor results from a recent campaign, or rapidly approaching deadlines. However, I feel there is always a light at the end of the tunnel with those days because with those deadlines comes a new opportunity to see my work in action again.

What are the projects that you most enjoy working on?

I work as a Communications Manager for the All of Us Research Program in my current role. I really enjoy speaking engagements with audiences and sparking their interest in the research program. Our research program aims to push healthcare forward for generations to come, so it is great to see people get involved and truly contribute to the future of healthcare.

What was the biggest ‘a-ha’ moment in your career?

In my career, my biggest a-ha moment was realizing my passion for the healthcare industry. Over the years, from interning at a hospital system to a public relations agency to now joining the University of Miami, I continually stepped further into the healthcare realm and increasingly became happier with my work.

What has been the most important part of your professional journey?

The most important part for me was realizing how much relationships matter. Whether the relationships are with clients, partners, coworkers, or managers, I believe having a strong relationship with those around you makes work more enjoyable and easier. It’s always great when I can pick up the phone and call someone in a department I rarely work with, but we already have a rapport, and we are happy to help each other out with whatever the issue may be.

What risks is your industry facing?

An obvious threat to the healthcare industry is the current pandemic we all face, COVID-19. The rampant spread of COVID has forced us to stop seeing research participants on-site at times which greatly hinders the research program for short periods of time. I believe COVID has also created or added to the distrust that some have for the healthcare industry as a whole. We have to work to earn the community’s trust and show that those who work in healthcare genuinely have their best interests at heart.

What would you do with unlimited resources?

Two causes that mean a lot to me are making healthcare and education available to everyone. With unlimited resources, it would be great to find a way to make high-quality and safe environments available to people from all walks of life where they can get a great education or the healthcare they may need.

When was the last time you totally lost yourself in doing something?

Occasionally that will happen with my work, and I need to remind myself to take a break or call it a day. As I’m sure many others can relate to, working from home has been an adjustment. I have personally embraced it, but I also have to remind myself that I don’t have to start working the second I wake up, I can take lunch breaks longer than 15 minutes, and that I don’t have to work all these extra hours just because I’m home and I feel that “I might as well.” It’s easy to assume that working from home can lead to a lack of productiveness but for some like myself, it’s important to remind yourself to take breaks and call it a day at an appropriate time.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

When I am not working, some of my interests include watching sports, movies, exercising, or gaming. I am a big soccer and football fan and somewhat of a movie buff. I am always interested in watching a good new movie or re-watching an old favorite.

How do you feel you make a difference in the world?

I feel lucky to be in my current role as part of a research program truly aiming to change the future of healthcare. Raising awareness and spreading the word about the All of Us Research Program is extremely rewarding. Every research participant who signs up contributes to a better future for healthcare where treatment can be tailored to each individual. This tailored approach can lead to better outcomes for patients from all walks of life in the future. It’s gratifying to contribute to this unique research program that will genuinely make a difference in the world and the future of healthcare.

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An Interview with Paulette Chaffee



Paulette Chaffee Intrerview times of startups

Paulette Chaffee is a teacher, speech therapist, and attorney deeply involved in the Fullerton community. As an educator and member of various non-profit boards, her focus has always been on providing children with the highest quality education. Ms. Chaffee holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Redlands, a California Lifetime Teaching Credential, and is admitted to the California Bar.

Paulette, Thank you for talking with us. In what ways can a school support a student struggling with mental illness?

There are so many ways schools can support their students. On the ground level, educators should know the warning signs of mental health problems, and there should be a set chain of command of who to inform and what resources are available. In addition, teachers should promote healthy social and emotional development and recognize students who are at risk.

Schools need to create a positive and safe environment; this includes encouraging students to be active and help one another. Finally, there must be increased awareness and education on all levels. Developing and implementing school-based mental health programs is essential while also providing counseling. If a child needs additional assistance, parents should be informed that 504 plans and IEPs (individualized education programs) are available.

How has the spread of the recent Omicron COVID variant affected students, teachers, parents, and other staff?

For a brief time, students and teachers returned to in-person learning; however, the rise in cases due to Omicron has forced many school districts to consider returning to online learning. The schools that want to stay open have difficulty keeping sufficient staff. And although it may seem like online learning is a simple solution, it is more complicated than that. Parents have to make adjustments to their work schedules and childcare. There are concerns of more significant educational disparities when remote. On top of that, many students are falling behind academically, and there has been an increase in emotional and behavioral issues. Many students need the balance of education and extracurriculars like sports, which has become challenging to maintain.

The pandemic has shown us how quickly we can be in the middle of a crisis. What should schools do to prepare for crises that may arise in the future?

The first thing should be to create a crisis response team that responds to major events. This team should create a crisis response plan that outlines who is in the response team and their responsibilities. In addition, it should include protocols on what to do for unique situations and natural disasters. The last part of this plan should consist of how to communicate with outside sources; this includes media, parents, and the community. There should be plans and processes on every level, including school, district, and regional.

How can transparency be created when discussing education budgets with the public?

Implementing a SBB (student-based budgeting) funding system is the first step. It goes by many different names, but this type of funding system is one where the dollars are based on student needs. This type of budgeting relies on three pillars: equity, transparency, and flexibility. To create transparency, it’s crucial that the public has access to the budget and reports and that there are standards in place to maintain the integrity of these documents. In addition, allowing the community to participate in the process creates trust and inclusiveness. When the general public feels like they know what is happening, it can generate quality and accountability in school budgeting.

How can the community get involved in budget decision-making, and how can school districts make this accessible?

Develop a process that allows everyone to be heard before making a major decision. Having open forums for the public to attend to ask questions and voice concerns can be one way of doing this. Also, make an online survey available to give feedback and quick input for the people who cannot participate in a forum. Make sure when developing the budget and other accompanying documents and reports they are “public friendly” and easy to understand. School staff must be prioritized in budget discussions and district communications as many students and parents will likely get their information from staff.

There are a variety of hardships and disparities a student can face. What can schools do to ensure there are resources and support systems for these students to improve equity and inclusion? Should there be resources for parents as well?

There are endless things a school can do to improve equity and inclusion. Start with increasing staff training and reviewing the hiring process to allow equity and inclusion to start at the top with a more diverse staff. In addition, changing procedures is essential, such as eliminating 0s for late work or removing more challenging prerequisites for AP and Honors. More often than not, these procedures adversely impact and create barriers for disadvantaged students to succeed.

On that same note, reviewing the curriculum and making sure it is accessible is critical. Speaking with the students can help schools identify what they need and gaps. This also means identifying and providing systematic help to those falling behind to prevent grade repetition.

Finally, parents and families should be resources because students’ education doesn’t stop when they leave school. Therefore, there needs to be a strong link between home and school, and support should be provided to families who need additional assistance. Also, family engagement should be encouraged and provide ways to close the gap for parents struggling to help their children at home.

Is it essential to provide implicit bias training to teachers and administrators? Could you expand on that?

Yes, but it can’t simply be one session. A school needs to have an overarching plan, and implicit bias training should be integrated. It should review policies, practices, and structures and work to make them as unbiased as possible. There should be reasonable and attainable goals set to address needs and problems and active changes made to reach them. One of the most important things to note in the training is that discussions about bias are difficult for everyone. Provide the tools on how to handle these conversations and manage emotions. This plan also needs to have specified training for teachers, guidance counselors, security, etc.

What are the biggest accessibility challenges you see schools facing, i.e., transportation, access to the internet and technology, etc.?

Concerning transportation, this is where I see some of the most significant challenges. It becomes a complex regulatory landscape for drivers to function between federal and state laws. Funding has been relatively stagnant, which creates various issues. One is environmental harm and safety due to not updating buses and outdated technology. Also, so many more school choices and students not going to their zone schools have created the need for a new bus system. However, lack of funding slows this necessity down. With COVID, there are additional safety, staffing, and funding issues to consider.

Regarding the internet and technology, budget limitations lead to outdated network infrastructures and unreliable or outdated software and devices. As a result, there is a resistance to this change by teachers and typically a lack of training. In addition, there usually needs to be an updated curriculum that integrates these technologies.

Students with disabilities struggle with unique accessibility issues. Physical inaccessibility in schools can make it difficult for students to get around. It isn’t uncommon for there to be a lack of individualization and specialists. Unfortunately, disabilities come with stereotypes and biases from students and staff. Typically, a student must request accommodations, which can be slow, including the dispute process.

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An Interview with Steve Sasson, Inventor of the Digital Camera



Steve Sasson changed the way we capture memories when he invented the digital camera in the 1970s. The popular technology speaker believes that every workplace should invest in its inventors and innovators, and the only way to disrupt your industry is to experiment – even if that tempts failure. In this exclusive interview for Times of Startups, Steve reflected on his experience at Kodak and offered advice for the inventors of the future.

In the workplace, why should business leaders allow for experimentation and inventing?

“If you’re leading some sort of corporate entity or something, not only should you allow it, but you should also encourage it, because what do you think your competition is doing?

“It’s the lifeblood of the future of a company, you know? And so most companies, they’ll basically say they really like experimentation, they like innovation, until it happens to them and then it becomes a challenge to them rather than an opportunity. And I think that’s the danger sometimes.

“You should definitely encourage that in your organisation, discuss it and make it part of your everyday. Not an unusual thing, it should be part of the everyday discussions. And it doesn’t have to come from a research laboratory! It’s basically people challenging the established processes in order to see something new, and you’ll see a lot of failures.

“You’ve got to basically celebrate the failures a little bit, say, ‘listen, we didn’t succeed here, but we did learn the following and that’s a success’. So I think we have to make innovation and experimentation more an everyday, ordinary thing as opposed to some exceptional event.”

Having disrupted the photography industry with your digital camera, why should businesses strive to disrupt their own markets?

“I will tell you that digital photography was something that occupied me and a number of people at Kodak for well over three decades before it happened.

“In the case of photography, it was a technological revolution that took place – silicon technology, light and digital technology came together and offered another pathway. And by the way, that pathway was well known and practised by a whole bunch of other companies that never considered photography as part of their business. You know, the Sony Corporation wasn’t considered a photographic company back in 1980, for example.

“You have to constantly think about how you can disrupt, how your business could be disrupted and how you can anticipate that. You know, the old expression, ‘only the paranoid survive’, I think is very, very apt. I don’t know if you have to be paranoid – in the case of Kodak, I think a little bit more paranoia would have been helpful, but it would have been pretty trying to exist in a paranoid state for 30 years.

“You should be the devil’s advocate, try to disrupt your business and have real honest conversations and empower the change agents within your organisation to make powerful arguments. Lots of times that change comes in and says, ‘hey, we could do it differently’, and they’ll say, ‘yeah, well, we don’t want to do it this way’. We had that.

“I had that argument for many decades with Kodak. You know, ‘why would anybody want to look at that picture or a television set? Prints, people love prints. People have been doing prints for a hundred years, what do you have that says that they don’t want prints?’

“[I would say] ‘OK, well, tell me the two or three things that would change your mind about this. If this was developed, if that was developed, if the cost of this got down to that point, then would you consider it’. Then you get down to the specific breakthroughs that might change their mind.

“You’ve got to empower people who think differently and give them a chance to have really valid arguments.”

What advice do you have for the inventors of the future?

“Start now. Don’t be afraid of failure, failure teaches you a lot. I got very comfortable being wrong, I know it’s a sad thing, but get comfortable being wrong because you’ll learn a lot. And then you do your calculations, do your experiment, and all of a sudden you see something you never expected. And that is kind of thrilling to me.

“You know, it humbles you and excites you at the same time. I don’t worry much about reputation, and I recommend you don’t do either – start young when you don’t have a reputation. And then if you’re old and you have a reputation, put it on the shelf and use it when you can.

“There’s a lot going on. Things move faster than ever before. Innovators, just be curious, be comfortable with failures, learn from them and just keep going forward.”

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