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Why The Second Amazon Headquarters Should Choose Raleigh

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Raleigh, North Carolina has been in the spotlight ever since they were listed on the top 20 short-list for the second Amazon headquarters. North Carolina’s capital city is currently competing against 19 other cities for HQ2. Although this was an unexpected city to reach the list, Raleigh is one of the few that makes sense. Raleigh is also definitely the city that Amazon should choose.

The bid for the second Amazon headquarters from Raleigh, North Carolina have been kept private currently, while other cities have publicly announced the billion dollar tax break to Amazon if they were picked. Raleigh is the only city that does not need to buy their way to Amazon’s heart like Newark’s $7 billion financial incentives. 

Raleigh is often scored first for best quality of life due to the thriving tech community. The monthly median house price is $1,051 with an average commute time of 26 minutes. This offer is not detected anywhere in New York, New York. Additionally, the weather of North Carolina is the ideal condition for transportation and living. Traffic is often not heavy, as compared to other cities on the top 20 shortlist. The area is simply a comfortable region to expand and conduct business nationally.

The city already accommodates tech companies like Citrix and Red Hat. The region is not new to working with tech, even to one as massive as Amazon. Possible sites include the Wake, Durham, and Chatham counties for the second Amazon headquarters if they are chosen. Second Amazon Headquarters

Amazon’s arrival will grow the job market and expand the city’s economy through technology advancement. Even if Amazon does not pick Raleigh, the city is rapidly expanding already. “Raleigh is a thriving community that would be attractive for any business, large or small,” Mayor Nancy McFarlane said. “We are proud of the investments and partnerships we’ve made that enhance our many attributes, such as our world-class university system, well-trained workforce, diverse economy, strong infrastructure and emerging entrepreneurial spirit.”

The absolute advantage that Amazon has is the potential tax reimbursement for up to 100% of the new jobs created for the next 25 years. The second Amazon headquarters would be given about $50 million for infrastructure in rail access, water, and more. Additionally, the tech company could be qualified for another program called the One North Carolina Fund for $5,000 per year in the next 5 years.

Small businesses and agencies within Raleigh are able share their professional insight to Amazon now as well. Many advocate for Amazon to choose Raleigh and they even share what the community has to offer. 

“The thought of Amazon potentially bringing 50,000 new jobs to The Triangle excites me. The Triangle is always on the US best places to live list. It has a wealth of restaurants, great schools including three colleges, and great accessibility from all of the US. I think the installation of this type of business would have an even greater effect across the community as other companies would then also be attracted by the area”. -Neil Boyd of Neil Boyd Photography INC.  This is why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Raleigh.

If you are an agency from Raleigh, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmag.com/need-talk-marketing-pr-agencies-amazon/

*Sponsored by Penji

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Business

Best Apps for Blogging

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Internet Live Stats estimates that there have been more than 400,000,000 blogs written this year. You can expect more bloggers to publish more posts to add to the growing number of blogs each day. While blogging platforms have made it accessible for writers to post their blogs, apps have also become necessary to their blogging efforts. But which apps should you use when you write, publish, and even promote your blogs? Check out our list below.

Blogging Apps: Writing, Editing, and Reading

1. Grammarly

Grammarly should be every blogger’s best friend. Before you publish your blog, it’s important to edit it for your readers to enjoy. You want to publish a well-written blog for your readers, and with Grammarly’s help, you can do that. Fortunately, the editing software isn’t only available on the desktop. You can download the app and edit anytime when you’re out. 

Plus, one of the best things about Grammarly on your phone is it has a built-in keyboard. You can edit as you write.

Download the Grammarly app here.

Price: 

  • Free, 
  • Premium (starts at $11.66/mo)
  • Pro (starts at $12.50/mo)

2. Evernote

Sometimes the writing muse comes at random times, and you don’t have a pen or paper to write down your thoughts. Fortunately, you can use a note-taking app without getting stressed over finding a pen or paper. While a built-in app could do the trick, what if you download an app that will sync your notes anywhere? That’s where Evernote comes in. You don’t need coherent thoughts when you jot down notes. Let them all flow, and access your notes again on your computer when you’re ready to write them down.

Get the Evernote app here.

Price: 

  • Free
  • Premium ($7.99/mo)
  • Business ($14.99/user/mo)

3. Pocket Thesaurus

Another blogging utility app you should have on your phone is a pocket thesaurus. Sometimes, when we write blogs, it can be challenging to find the correct word. And you should have a thesaurus ready to help you find the best words for your blog. With the many thesaurus apps available on any app store, the Pocket Thesaurus is a must-download. You can access this offline. Plus, it’s not heavy on storage since the app is less than 20 MB.

Get the Pocket Thesaurus here.

Price: Free

4. Pocket

Any blogger knows that reading is essential when writing. Not only will it make you become a better writer, but it broadens your knowledge about a particular topic. Pocket is one of the best apps you’ll download on your phone. Not only will it curate the topics you need, but you can save articles that you would have no time to read in a snap. You can even listen to articles as you go.

Add Pocket in your smartphone here.

Price:

  • Free
  • Premium – Annual ($44.99/yr)
  • Premium – Monthly ($4.99/mo)

5. Quora

One of the many techniques bloggers use to find topics is through Quora. You can find relevant questions there and get inspired by what users post on the site. Who knows, their next question can become your new blog post? Perhaps you’re writing a blog post and need to source answers from other people. You can go there and possibly use their responses as the content for your blog.

Get the Quora app here.

Price: Free

Productivity

6. Trello

Organize your blogs by using a kanban board like Trello. You can monitor your blogging process by moving cards to different lists on one board. But, if you want to get more out of Trello and integrate apps on it, you can upgrade to their plans.

Get the Trello app on your phone here.

Price: 

  • Free 
  • Business Class ($12.50 billed monthly; $10/mo billed annually) 
  • Enterprise (ask for a quote here)

7. Focus-to-Do: Pomodoro Timer & To Do List

Distractions can hinder our blogging. Whether you have a deadline or need to publish a new blog soon, a Pomodoro timer can keep you motivated. This one by Focus-to-Do isn’t only a timer, but it’s also a to-do list. Here you can list down the tasks you need to do for the day. From there, you can start the timer and focus on completing that task. Plus, to make sure that you’re blogging, you can even block apps that distract you.

Focus on writing your blog by downloading the Pomodoro timer here.

Price: Free

8. IFTTT

Automate your blogging efforts by using IFTTT. Let IFTTT work its magic because, in one click, you can let IFTTT publish and promote your blog. Write without any distractions as IFTTT helps automate other processes that might take time when done manually.

Make blogging easier by downloading IFTTT here.

Price: 

  • Free
  • Pro ($3.99/mo)

Utilities

9. Google Drive

Bloggers may not know it, but cloud storage is an essential app for blogging. After all, you don’t want to store your documents, but you might need to upload photos that you’ll use when you upload your blog. And one of the best cloud storage applications out there is Google Drive. All you need is a Google account, and you’ll get 15GB worth of storage. Plus, you can access your Google Drive anytime and anywhere you’re writing.

Get Google Drive here.

Price:

  • Free (15GB only)
  • 100 GB – $1.99/mo
  • 200 GB – $2.99/mo
  • 2 TB – $9.99/mo

10. Rev Voice & Audio Recorder

If taking notes isn’t your favorite thing to do, you can record what you want to write on the Rev Voice & Audio Recorder. Your phone will have another voice recorder, plus the app has a transcription service available. You will have to pay for it, though. But if you need your thoughts transcribed before writing your blog, it’s a nifty feature when you don’t have the time to transcribe on your own.

Download the Rev Voice & Audio Recorder here.

Price: Free (Transcription service: $1.25/minute)

11. Hootsuite

After publishing your post, you should promote your blog so readers from other platforms find your blog. What’s great about Hootsuite is it has a free option, where you can connect three social media apps. You can even schedule up to 30 posts on the Free plan as well.

Promote your blogs by downloading Hootsuite here.

Price: 

  • Free
  • Professional ($19/mo)
  • Team ($99/mo)
  • Business ($599/mo)
  • Enterprise (Custom pricing)

12. Canva

Images are important to your blogs. In fact, any blogs with images get more views than those that don’t. And you need a design app on your phone like Canva. You can edit photos, choose royalty-free images, and create graphics for your blog.

Download the design software here.

Price:

  • Free
  • Pro ($9.99/mo)
  • Enterprise ($30/mo/person)

You can also check out our list of the best Canva alternatives.

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Business

Lincoln Project Co-Founder Accused of Online Harassment

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John Weaver is widely known as a longtime Republican strategist and co-founder of the Lincoln Project. However, at the moment, he’s also known for online harassment. According to 21 young men, Mr. Weaver sent them provocative messages online, often mixed in political talks. 

For anyone, it’s a great feeling to be noticed by the person we admire, not until the conversation makes us uncomfortable. In this case, a prominent figure messaged his young followers, offering help to work in politics. That sounds great. Not until he makes sexual remarks to the young men. If that line is crossed, it’s time to raise red flags. 

‘Victims’ Comes Forward

Several young men confessed they felt preyed upon after experiencing an exchange with the influential older man. It turns out Mr. Weaver sent sexual messages to at least ten young men. In a more explicit message, he would offer professional and personal assistance in exchange for sex. A message shows Mr. Weaver wants to “give advice” in exchange. He says, “you help me … sensually.” 

Last summer, social media posts surfaced about Mr. Weaver being involved in relationships with men. However, John Weaver, who has a wife and two children, denied the claims. After the allegations gained public attention in mid-January, Mr. Weaver released a statement acknowledging “inappropriate” messages that he had sent. He also apologizes to the men for the uncomfortable experiences. 

However, John Weaver says that he believed all of the interactions were consensual. He further added that he wouldn’t return to the Lincoln Project from the medical leave that began in the summer. Despite Mr. Weaver’s claims, his online behavior based on interviews with the young men and screenshot was not “consensual.” In many cases, it only shows aggressive and unwanted messages.

Different Encounters with the Influential Lincoln Project Figure

A 14-Year-Old

One of Mr. Weaver’s solicitations involved sending messages to a 14-year-old, asking questions about his body while in high school. This exchange continued for four years, turning into more pointed comments after he turned 18. 

It all started when Cole Trickle Miele was 14 when he followed John Weaver on Twitter in 2015. Colin admits that at a young age, he was interested in politics. At that time, Cole supported the Republican Party. After following Mr. Weaver, he quickly received a direct message. Cole admits he was semi-starstruck when John Weaver engaged in a private conversation with him. 

During that time, he did not think of anything suspicious. But as the exchange between them continued, he became uncomfortable. The conversation often involves Cole’s looks or body. However, in March 2020, when Cole was 18, Mr. Weaver sent a message about wanting him to come to vegas. The older man offers to buy Cole dinner and drinks, wanting to “spoil” the boy. He also asks Cole to resend him his stats, or he can guess for “fun.” 

“Politics”

Another case involves Cody Balts, a recent college graduate looking for a job in politics. It also started on Twitter, where he replied to one of Mr. Weaver’s tweets. To Cody’s surprise, he received a direct message in return. Their conversation involves traveling to Chicago and mostly politics. But at some point, Mr. Weaver asks Cody what he does in his spare time. 

After answering, he ran in marathons, Cody received a suspicious reply. Mr. Weaver replied, “at least whatever we end up doing, you do it multiple times in a row.” For Cody, the exchange felt like he was exploiting his power. 

Speaker Invitation

Kyle Allen shares that his exchange with Mr. Weaver includes questions about his weight, height, clothes, and whether he’s circumcised. This type of conversation started from 2016 to 2018. Mr. Weaver also kept repeatedly pushing for an invitation to speak at the University of Ottawa, where Kyle was studying. Also, he would often use sexually explicit language to express his desire to visit. 

According to Kyle, he always tries to steer the conversation to politics. However, he says that John Weaver would always find ways to bring the conversation back to “sexual stuff.” 

Work Offer in Lincoln Project

At least two cases involve Mr. Weaver’s offer to work with Lincoln Project as he mixes in suggestive messages. One of the men, Anthony Covell, said that Mr. Weaver started messaging him last July 2019. The exchange gradually lessened, but two weeks before the Lincoln Project was announced, Weaver invited him to join the initiative. 

Anthony says that John Weaver was looking for young people who were “creative” and “invested” in the coming election. This offer got Anthony interested. However, Mr. Weaver suggested that Anthony post a “thirst trap” or send him a pic. He also asked the young man to call him for more details on the project. 

After receiving those kinds of messages, Anthony shared that something was telling him that this setup was sketchy. In the end, he decided not to call. 

To Wrap It Up

After receiving specific questions about the allegation, Mr. Weaver repeated his previous statement. He says that he’s so “disheartened” and “sad that he brought discomfort to anyone.” He further commented that he thought those were mutually consensual discussions. 

John Weaver also shared that living in a deeply closeted life, he allowed his pain to cause pain for others. He expressed his apologies to the men involved and for “letting so many people down.” 

As for the Lincoln Project’s reaction, the initiative released a statement condemning the co-founder. In the statement, they say that Mr. Weaver is a predator, liar, and abuser. 

For other interesting content, explore Owner’s Mag!

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Business

Black History Month: 10 Black Fortune 500 CEOs

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If you think there aren’t enough African American CEOs around, you’re not mistaken. According to statistics, only one percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are black. And, in addition to that, the trend has been plummeting down over the past ten years, in contrast to the rising numbers of Asian-American and Hispanic CEOs.

With more attention being paid to diversity in the workplace, why aren’t there more black CEOs in various industries? There are several factors at play. 

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, former Black CEO of Aetna Ron Williams says the opportunity is not equally distributed. According to Williams, there are many promotions that are informally decided even before the jobs are even posted. As a result, other talents, including Black employees, don’t get a fair chance to compete.

This Black History Month, let’s take a look at some of the influential African American Fortune 500 corporate leaders.

1. Roger Ferguson Jr.

Roger Ferguson Jr. is the current President and CEO at TIAA, a Fortune 100 financial services organization. Being an executive of the leading provider of retirement services in academic, medical, research, and cultural fields is not easy. Still, Ferguson has been doing a great job at it since 2008. 

Ferguson is also the chairman of The Conference Board. He also serves as a member of several boards. These include Alphabet, the Institute for Advanced Study, General Mills, International Flavors and Fragrances, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

2. Kenneth Frazier

Kenneth Frazier is the chairman of the board and the Chief Executive Officer of Merck since 2011. Frazier’s leadership guides the firm as it continues to be one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. 

According to Merck’s website, its current CEO has substantially increased the business’s investment in research. In addition to that, he has also refocused Merck’s efforts to launch and grow products that benefit society. Frazier joined the firm in 1992 and rose from the ranks. He held positions including General Counsel and President on his way to being the top executive. And for that, he earns a spot here at our list of CEOs for Black History Month.

3. Marvin Ellison

Marvin Ellison is the current President and CEO at Lowe’s Companies, Inc. and has been so since 2018. Prior to being Lowe’s chief executive, he has also served as the chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney Co. from 2014 to 2018. During his time at the firm, he guided the team to deliver sales growth, reduce debt, and earn adjusted earnings per share. 

Ellison has also held senior-level operations roles in big companies within the retail industry. His experience includes stints at Home Depot Inc. and Target Corp. 

4. René Jones

René Jones is the chairman and CEO of M&T Bank and has been so since December 2017. Jones takes pride in leading a firm that aims to make a difference in society. In the same vein, he strives to lead the bank to play an active role in making communities better places to work, live, and grow.

In his LinkedIn account, Jones described M&T Bank as “a community bank and a bank for communities.” He guides the firm to be a “glue” that binds people and fosters social change and progress.

5. Jide Zeitlin

Jide Zeitlin was appointed CEO of luxury goods firm Tapestry in September 2019. Also the chairman of the Board at that time, Zeitlin led the parent company of Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman backed by his over three decades-worth of experience in the global financial industry.

Not even a year in the position, however, Zeitlin left the corner office in July 2020. He resigned as chairman and CEO following misconduct allegations.

6. Kenneth Chenault

Kenneth Chenault served as the CEO of American Express from 2001 to 2018 and was one of the first African Americans to become a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Initially joining the multinational financial services firm in 1981, he worked his way up to Chief Operating Officer and President in 1997 before becoming the CEO in 2001. Chenault’s hard work landed him on the C-suite at a time when most companies are yet to exert efforts to address employee diversity.

7. Ursula Burns

Black History Month and Women’s History Month come one after the other, and Ursula Burns is the perfect person to recognize for both. Serving as CEO of Xerox Holdings from 2009 to 2017, Burns was the first African American woman CEO of a Fortune 500 firm. 

Burns joined Xerox in 1980 as a summer mechanical-engineering intern, back when she was taking up her master’s degree at Columbia University. She rose from the ranks, and when she finally reached the C-suite, she helped the firm generate $18 billion in revenue.

8. Don Thompson

Don Thompson was the CEO McDonald’s Corp from 2012 to 2015. Thompson held the reins at such a challenging time. When he sat down as CEO in 2012, he had to face the challenge of leading the company to add to almost nine years of sales gains at established stores. However, just two months into the job, the firm reported same-store sales to decline with various issues at hand, including political troubles in Europe and food safety concerns in China.

9. Rodney O’Neal

Rodney O’Neal served as the CEO of Delphi Automotive from 2007 to 2015. O’Neal’s time at the helm was not an easy ride – he took charge of the firm halfway through its massive restructuring in federal bankruptcy. Despite all the hardships, he was able to lead the firm through. Delphi got out of exited bankruptcy, returned back to the stock market, and grew sales at 45 percent during O’Neal’s final year. 

10. Clarence Otis Jr.

Last but not least on our Black History Month CEO list is Clarence Otis Jr., who served as the CEO of Darden Restaurants from 2004 to 2014. For the most part, Otis led the company’s growth that owned Capital Grille, Olive Garden, and LongHorn Steakhouse. 

While restaurant operator top execs typically come from the food and beverage industry, Otis’s background is unconventional. Before working for Darden as a treasurer in 1995, he was a securities lawyer and a JPMorgan Chase manager.

For other business related stories, you can read more here in Owner’s Mag!

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