In the guest chair:

Tarsha McCormick and Dana

Tarsha McCormick & Dana Barrett

Today, Dana had the pleasure of welcoming Tarsha McCormick as her Women on Wednesday guest. Tarsha, Head of Diversity and Inclusion for ThoughtWorks is a certified, poly-skilled HR professional with over 14 years of strategic and hands-on experience. ThoughtWorks is a software company and community of passionate, purpose-led individuals that specialize in software consulting, delivery and products. They think disruptively to deliver technology to address our clients’ toughest challenges, all while seeking to revolutionize the IT industry and create positive social change.

Alex Horwitz & Dana Barrett

Alex Horwitz & Dana Barrett

Alex Horwitz, VP of Public Relations for Comcast’s Big South Region dropped by the studio to give his thoughts on customer service and customer experience. Comcast Cable is the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses. Comcast has invested in technology to build an advanced network that delivers among the fastest broadband speeds, and brings customers personalized video, communications and home management offerings.

Kamyar Faron, CEO of ZippyApp phoned in to give us the scoop on how his company can help you find your next job. ZippyApp is the first online marketplace for employers and hourly workers that leverages mobile technology and social media to upgrade the hiring and job-search experience for hourly wage jobs.

In the headlines:

  • Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan say they will give away 99% of their shares in the company to good causes as they announce the birth of their daughter Max. The couple say they will donate their fortune to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative because they want to make the world a better place for Max to grow up in. The donation amounts to $45 billion at Facebook’s current value but will not be donated immediately, but rather over the course of the couple’s lives. In case you were worried…if Mark gave away 99% of his shares now, he would still possess hundreds of millions of dollars. And that doesn’t count his wife’s worth which has not been documented.
  • After decades of bad news on the health front, finally some good news… the number of new cases of diabetes in the United States has finally started to decline. The rate of new cases fell by about a fifth from 2008 to 2014, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first sustained decline since the disease started to explode in this country about 25 years ago.
  • The Coca-Cola Co. funded non-profit, Global Energy Balance Network is disbanding. The organization and Coke was blasted by the media several months ago after suggesting that Americans are overly fixated on calories and not paying enough attention to exercise. Progress on the hotel project at the Georgia World Congress Center. Boston, Mass.-based Drew Co. has emerged as a front-runner to develop the new 800ish room convention hotel. Negotiations to finalize a deal could start in the next few weeks.
  • Thank you smart shoppers for voting with your dollars – Volkswagen said U.S. sales plunged 25% in November in the wake of the German automaker’s massive emissions cheating scandal.
  • Do your smartphone habits determine your creditworthiness?  Apparently they do. A handful of Silicon Valley-backed startups are looking to revolutionize lending in the developing world, where banks are scarce and many would-be borrowers have no credit history. Experts say that smartphones can dramatically reduce the cost of lending because the data they generate indicates thousands of subtle patterns of behavior that correlate with repayment or default. Even obscure variables like how frequently a user recharges the phone’s battery, how many incoming text messages they receive, how many miles they travel in a given day or how they enter contacts into their phone say something about whether or not you’ll pay back a loan… For example if you use first and last names when you enter a contact, you are more likely to pay back money you owe.
  • A european pregnant scientist was booted from conference lineup in a clear discriminatory move by Voice of Researchers Initiative and the European Commission.   And… yeah… you can’t get away with that kind of thing in the days of social media.  The scientist took the issue public on Instagram last week saying “As I am sure you are aware, one of the key hurdles facing many women in science and entrepreneurship is the desire to start a family, and how this will fit in with their career plans,” she wrote. “Turning away a pregnant speaker, who is in excellent health and has voluntarily agreed to travel … seems to me to be the perfect demonstration of why this is still such an issue.”
  • When it comes to hiring women, Microsoft became a slightly less diverse workplace this year, according to data the Redmond company released on Monday. The company’s female workforce declined to 26.8 percent of Microsoft’s overall workforce, compared with 29 percent this time last year.

Other stuff:

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