Unlisted Posts & Pages

What Are Soft Skills?

When Red first heard the phrase "soft skills" she didn't know what it meant. So, Black explained that it was a term used to describe essential skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, communications, and conflict management (vs."hard skills" which refer to tangible and technical skills). Black then mentioned that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) often refers to them as "21st Century Skills" – sarcastically adding how she's old enough to remember they were important in the 20th Century, too.

The soft skill topics list below are important for students ranging from middle school to adult education, as well as all employees. That's why we included them in ALL of our Career and Technical Education curricula. What's more, unlike more traditional curricula, they've been developed to allow students to see the relevancy of each topic and how these skills are transferable – between their personal lives and the workforce, and from industry-to-industry.

But don't believe us, check out a few samples! We've linked the high school versions of Money & Math, Motivational Interviewing (Red's favorite because of the worksheet), and Teamwork and hope they'll give you a better feel for our approach.

  1. Introduction Of Red & Black … And Life's Detours
  2. Appearances
  3. Career Opportunities
  4. Communications
  5. Conflict Management
  6. Constructive Feedback
  7. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
  8. Diversity
  9. Education
  10. Employability Skills
  11. Intellectual Property
  12. Interpersonal Studies
  13. Leadership
  14. Money & Math
  15. Motivational Interviewing
  16. Negotiating
  17. Policies & Procedures
  18. Project Management
  19. Relationships
  20. Resume & Professional Portfolio
  21. Rights Of Employees & Responsibilities Of Employers
  22. Safety
  23. Teamwork
  24. Technology
  25. Values & Priorities
  26. Vocabulary


Warm and fuzzy? Yes, and proud of it, too. After graduating with a degree in Theater Arts, Tina Pennington (aka “Red”) met an Englishman, fell in love, and traveled the world. His career took them everywhere, with stints in the Netherlands, England, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, until they moved to Texas in the early 2000s.

With two red-headed children, Sawyer and Natasha, and one red labradoodle, Red had the picture-perfect suburban life. That was until … her husband got fired. What had seemed like a fairy tale life soon unraveled to reveal something far from it.

Years later, it ended up having a happy ending, as Red says, “It was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

If you think today’s politics are ugly … let’s talk about a man who named himself “dictator for life” of the Roman empire, and is then assassinated by a group of senators, including his best friend. (However, there’s a “pretty” part – Cleopatra was his mistress.) Food trivia and leadership lessons aside, the fact July is named after him is the perfect excuse to rerun one of Red’s favorite Banter Bites

Quick! If someone says "Julius Caesar," what comes to mind?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Almost everyone has heard of Julius Caesar, but how many of us really know much about him, or at least that's what Red starts to wonder when she receives the usual flippant, but still accurate, reply from her sister, after feeling very proud that she knew that July was named after the famous Roman.

Keep Reading ...Show less



Pragmatic and blunt? Yes, with more than a hint of sarcasm. Unlike her sister, Mandy Williams (aka “Black”) is all business. With an MBA in International Finance from NYU and London Business School, Black was a driven executive who retired from the male-dominated oil and gas industry before she was 40. Boredom quickly set in, so she began racing Porsches, then Ferraris, and became the first woman to race the road course at Indianapolis.

Living in Texas, Black has been involved with the local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation for decades and has raised over $1 million.

Black often says, “You have two choices in life – you can be the passenger along for the ride, or the driver and steer where you want to go.”