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3 Customer Experience Equations – Math You’ll Actually Use

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3 Customer Experience Equations – Math You’ll Actually Use

This blog is provided by Dave Cherry, as a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview Boring Retail is Dead. Long Live the Customer Experience Industry aired on 10/15/19. Photo by Clem Onojeghuo.

Like many of us, I took Algebra in school. My daughters, now in high school and middle school, are now doing the same. And they’ve asked me the same question that I asked many years before: “When will I ever need to solve a linear equation or calculate the slope of a line in real life?” The answer, for many of us, (with apologies to Mrs. Curry – my 9th grade math teacher), is never.

But today I’ll share 3 simple equations that are critical to success in the customer experience industry:

CONTENT + CONTEXT = CONNECTION

IDEATION x EXECUTION = VALUE

INSIGHT + INTUITION = IMPROVED DECISIONS

First, let me define this new industry, which actually isn’t new at all. It is a singular composition of all B2C and B2B companies that have customers. The hard lines between different segments (e.g. retail, banking, insurance, energy, etc.) have become blurred as customers (that includes all of us) engage with providers across this spectrum. As we do so, we use both the excellent and poor experiences that we have with each provider to influence our future expectations from the next one. So, companies like Starbucks, Uber, Target, Marriott, Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom, Walmart, Nationwide Insurance, Chase and more are all competing against one another in delivering customer experiences that are meaningful and memorable.

Amid constantly rising customer expectations, companies must develop a Customer Experience Strategy that is Enabled by Innovation and Informed by Analytics to stay competitive in today’s customer experience industry. Below I’ll discuss the critical equation for each element:

The Customer Experience Equation: Content + Context = Connection

A great customer experience starts with a relevant product or service that you offer. This is Content. Content comes in many forms, both tangible (e.g. a reliable, stylish watch) and intangible (e.g. insurance coverage that provides confidence and security). It also comes with a minimum level of quality as a baseline. Using the watch example, if it is not accurate, then the content of that product becomes irrelevant – it does not serve it’s intended purpose.

But content is not enough. It requires the addition of Context. You must provide the product or service to the customer in the right setting at the right time. The richest, most delicious cup of hand-crafted artisan hot chocolate isn’t that appealing on a 100-degree day in the summer. Even though the content in this example is exceptional, offering it in the wrong context diminishes the customer experience.

But when Content and Context combine in a relevant and meaningful way, you create a Connection with your customer that delivers on their experience expectation. When Uber delivers a comfortable and clean ride, combined with the convenience of a frictionless checkout when you are in a rush to get to the airport on time for your flight, the combination of Content + Context delivers a Connection between company and customer. It generates affinity, loyalty and ultimately profitability.

The Innovation Equation: Ideation x Execution = Value

Once you understand the goal state customer experience, there are bound to be gaps for two reasons. First, no company is perfect. So, whether due to legacy systems, suboptimal prior decisions or tactics, or some other reason, most have some gaps in capabilities. Second, even if you by chance have no gaps today, customer expectations are constantly rising and gaps will appear soon enough.

To close these gaps, we start with the relatively easy and fun task of Ideation. Brainstorming, thinking, riffing and imagining the future are fun activities. And more often than not, result in large numbers of possibilities (usually depicted by 100s of post-it notes covering conference room walls). Following ideation comes some sort of prioritization (e.g. dot voting) that results in a roadmap.

Now comes that hard part…Execution. Delivering on the promise of the future is a challenge because it requires changing the present while at the same time operating in the present. And when obstacles arise (which they will), many lack the resilience and confidence in their convictions to keep pressing forward. It is only through successful Execution on top of Ideation that significant Value (hence the multiplication) can be delivered.

Back in 1993, AT&T delivered some amazing Ideation. In their “You Will…” campaign, they asked these questions:

  • “Have you ever borrowed a book from 100 miles away from the library?”
  • “Have you ever crossed the country without stopping to ask for directions?”
  • “Have you ever sent someone a fax…from the beach?”
  • “Have you ever paid a toll without slowing down? “
  • “Have you ever tucked your baby in from a phone booth?”
  • “Have you ever opened doors with the sound of your voice?”
  • “Have you ever carried your medical history in your wallet?”
  • “Have you ever attended a meeting in your bare feet?”
  • “Have you ever watched the movie you wanted to the minute you wanted to?”

Each of these items have two things in common. First, we all utilize and enjoy all of them almost daily. Second, none of them were delivered by AT&T. They had great Ideation, but their Execution was flawed, incomplete or too slow. Hence the Value that we all derive from these experiences were ultimately delivered by others.

The Analytics Equation: Insight + Intuition = Improved Decisions

The primary purpose of analytics is to deliver Improved Decisions by increasing the decision makers confidence. This is achieved through identifying patterns in data to uncover anomalies or Insights that were previously unknown.

Insights must be both timely and relevant to the decision at hand. Yet even when this is achieved, we don’t yet get to optimal decision-making confidence. We must add Intuition, or as it is also known, experience or gut. There is value in experience. There is also value in gut, which brings elements of context, risk and strategy into the analytical equation. Given identical data, a more aggressive or conservative risk posture could lead you to different decisions – take the blackjack player who “feels lucky” and takes a hit on 16 when the dealer shows a 5 as an example. The player may have confidence in pulling a 5, though most analytical models would recommend staying. And regardless if the player wins the hand, they made a better decision by knowing the odds (data) and incorporating their feeling (gut) and risk posture (context).

So, when will we actually use these equations? Potentially daily, and often, multiple times each day. Consider the “Decision Modeling” approach described below, that can be leveraged for both large scale strategic decisions as well as daily important operational decisions.

Start by identifying an Action (or Decision) that may help improve the customer experience, creating a Connection. Then acquire the data/information to uncover the Insights that will improve your decision-making confidence. Combine those with your Intuition to make a decision and set the course of action. Finally execute well, and you’ll realize the Value desired by your organization and required by your Customer.

 So, in the end, there’s a fourth and final equation:

(Content + Context = Connection) +

(Ideation x Execution = Value) +

(Insight + Intuition = Improved Decisions)

——————————————————————–

= Customer Experience Success.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

About the Author

Dave brings over 20 years of strategic consulting experience focused on strategy (digital, customer experience, innovation) and advanced analytics. He has worked with and for leading organizations such as LBrands, Polo Ralph Lauren, ascena Retail Group, Journeys, DSW, Disney, Alliance Data, Nationwide Insurance, AEP, Huntington Bank, Cardinal Health, OhioHealth, Deloitte Consulting and Price Waterhouse. He holds a BS in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, serves on the International Institute of Analytics Expert Panel and also as an Advisory Board member for the Women in Analytics Conference and CbusRetail.

Contact Dave on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/cherrydave/ , Twitter @davecherry or check out his website: www.cherryadvisory.com.

Check out this and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

Aging: Future Possibilities, Fulfilling Life, Brain Health

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Empowerment
Aging: Future Possibilities, Fulfilling Life, Brain Health
Longevity is an accomplishment. Continuing to live a fulfilling, active lifestyle as we age is fundamental to our emotional, mental and physical well-being.
The decline in physical ability and mental acuity as we age are realities of the aging process. And, in the case of dementia, the cognitive decline* can be even more precipitous and pronounced. But can we engage in activities that promote physical, mental and emotional well-being, help us continue to live a purposeful and fulfilling life, as well as stave off or lessen the effects of decline. The answer is a resounding, YES!!
Furthermore, remaining active and engaged in our advancing years is an important legacy to future generations about the meaning of future possibilities.
1. GET UP AND GET MOVING: Regular exercise that elevates your heart rate increases the flow of blood to the body and the brain, sometimes referred to as breaking a sweat, has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Studies throughout the years have found there is a link between increased physical activity and reducing the risk of cognitive decline. This can include a regular schedule of walking, running, swimming, or another form of exercise of your choice. Even a slow but steady exercise for extended periods, like gardening, has proven to be helpful. Maybe this is the ideal time to commit or recommit to your fitness goals.
You can also find a new passion or explore an old one.
A 2017 article in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience reported that older people who routinely partake in physical exercise can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, but that dancing had the most significant effect.
The results were reported as a result of a study which compared people whoparticipated in dancing and endurance training. The lead author of the study, Dr.Kathrin Rehfeld, concluded that dancing is a “powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age.”[1]
2. GET HEARTY: Taking care of your heart should be a priority. The same risk factors that we know causes cardiovascular disease and stroke, namely obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, can also be risk factors for cognitive decline.Therefore, adjust your lifestyle in accordance for a healthy heart and you may be helping your brain at the same time.
3. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Eating a diet lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit may help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. This is not as evidenced based as other areas, however, people who live in countries eating what is known as the Mediterranean diet, and many other people who have adopted it around the world, as well as another version known as the Mediterranean-DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), are said to experience a reduced risk of cognitive decline.
4. GET BOOK SMART: When the brain is actively engaged in learning it is not only merely keeping it more healthy and vibrant, it could reduce the risk of decline. There are many adult education classes suited to almost any area of interest. They are offered at local colleges, high schools, community centers, libraries or even online. This also helps staying socially engaged by connecting with others who have similar interests.
5. GET REST: As we get older, it is not always easy to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep. However, one should still try to get enough sleep so they feel rested. Lack of sufficient sleep can result in memory and thinking problems.
6. “DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY”: The words in the song convey an important message. There are studies that draw a direct connection between
depression and cognitive decline. It is important to be able to recognize if you are experiencing depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. If you are aware of having these issues, know you are not alone. Speak with your physician or seek treatment through other avenues. If a friend or family member recognizes that you are having these symptoms and opens up a discussion, it means the symptoms are significant. Appreciate the fact that they are concerned and are doing you a great favor!
7. GET FRIENDLY: The importance of staying connected with others cannot be overstated, whether it be family, old friends or making new ones. Finding activities in your community that you enjoy will help you stay socially engaged. A few examples: Always loved photography? Consider joining a photography club, Hiking or nature? There are many groups that offer nature programs. Walking? There are even mall walking groups, Singing? Join a choir, Teaching? Consider tutoring young people at an after-school program. Planting or flowers? Consider a local florist, botanical garden, greenhouse. Consider joining a book or cooking club or starting one of your own.
Volunteering is another way to remain engaged in your local community. it is also a way to give back while simultaneously achieving a sense of joy and gratification. A few examples of places to volunteer include:
· Libraries
. Political parties
· Hospitals; Nursing Homes
· Animal shelters
· Food banks
· Day care centers
· Places of worship: churches, temples, mosques
· Cultural groups
· Non-profits organizations
Consider seeking out an organization that is close to your heart. e.g., Diabetes Association, Cancer Agency, Alzheimer’s, AARP. Many websites list volunteer positions and provide training as needed. Opportunities to get involved are endless and many organizations offer info and sign-up forms online.
If one cannot get out as often as they would like or is possible, online activities is another a way to connect with others. This can reduce a feeling of isolation which can be tremendously beneficial. Connecting with family, friends, and online groups help to provide a sense of community. Social networking sites like Facebook help people stay active and engaged. online are other ways that seniors are keeping themselves active and engaged.
8. QUIT SMOKING: There is ample evidence that smoking increases a person’s risk of decline in physical well-being and cognitive function. The earlier one quits smoking the sooner the risk is reduced to the same level as a person who has not smoked.
9. PROTECT YOUR HEAD, LITERALLY: Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Protect yourself against falls, always wear your seat belt while driving and use a helmet if bicycle riding or participating in a contact sport.
10.BRAIN TEASERS: It’s important to keep your brain active. Learn new games or play your favorite ones: jeopardy, bridge, dominoes, backgammon, scrabble, chess, bridge. Work on puzzles: from crossword or jigsaw. Join clubs that highlight these activities. Learn to do something new in which you were always interested: a new language, playing an instrument. There are groups or clubs for many of these which would also keep you socially engaged.
10.BRAIN TEASERS: It’s important to keep your brain active. Learn new games or play your favorite ones: jeopardy, bridge, dominoes, backgammon, scrabble, chess, bridge. Work on puzzles: from crossword or jigsaw. Join clubs that highlight these activities. Learn to do something new in which you were always interested: a new language, playing an instrument. There are groups or clubs for many of these which would also keep you socially engaged.
If just beginning to consider these areas, it may be unrealistic to think of adopting all of these habits at once. Pursue those that feel the most likely to be accomplished from an interest, scheduling or availability point of view. Participating in these activities should be enjoyable and fun. If they are effortful and seem like work, it will defeat the purpose.
ENJOY!!!!!
*Cognition – Cognition is a mental process which includes thinking, knowing, remembering, reasoning, judging and problem solving.
[1]“Dancing Can Reverse the Signs of Aging in the Brain”. Frontiers of Human Neuroscience August 25, 2017.https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-reverse-aging-brain.html

A Proven 5 Step Approach to Solve Skill Gaps

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A Proven 5 Step Approach to Solve Skill Gaps

This blog is provided by Mike Kritzman, as a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview SkillNet: Personalized Learning Framework for Your Company aired on 7/23/19.

 We’re in a Skill Revolution where Skills are the new currency

SkillNet Pic 2.png

According to a McKinsey study, “Sixty percent of global executives expect that up to half of their organization’s workforce will need retraining or replacing within five years. 

More than a third said their organizations are unprepared to address the skill gaps…”

Feb 2019

 

This white paper presents a proven 5-step process to help your organization conduct a Skill inventory to identify and solve skill gaps. This approach is backed up with years of data from hundreds of organizations trying to pinpoint and cure their organizational skill gaps.

There are dozens of reasons to focus on skills because skills are the building blocks to improving staff performance, regardless of role. Any organization in search of higher performance can follow our approach and accomplish major progress in a few short weeks.

Step 1. Define your key organizational knowledge, skills and abilities, (KSAs)

While constructing the required KSAs for your organization, start with what’s expected from all positions. General KSAs like company culture and communication standards work well. Longer term, it’s useful to get into specific KSA’s for each role, but it’s not possible to do this quickly, particularly when trying to imagine future KSA requirements. It’s also useful to establish proficiency targets on each KSA to set a baseline expectation for different role levels.

Step 2. Inventory your staff with a KSA survey

An accurate database of KSA capabilities and insights are vital for organizational agility. For most firms, skills, knowledge and workforce capabilities are difficult to measure and even harder keep current. We recommend using a 5-point Likert scale and starting with self-assessments. Manager assessments are very important because they observe staff performance. People are complicated and constantly learning and adapting, so data needs to be refreshed more than once a year. Ideally data is refreshed at the time a new skill or capability is ready.

Skill data accuracy depends on who and how you ask, so take care defining questions and the rubric.

Step 3. Analyze data and study gaps between self-ratings and manager ratings

Determine how you want to view the data. Study gaps between self-perception and manager ratings which are key ingredients for alignment, feedback, and goal setting. Transparency is the only way to drive improvement. We suggest one-on-one meeting to review results within weeks.

Step 4. Expand your KSA Survey to include specifics for each job and re-inventory

By this point, you’ve built a definition for the common organizational skills. You’ve also populated the database with accurate data and have plans to keep it current.

The next step is to evolve the database to include KSAs for key roles which requires clarity on what’s expected from each role. It’s often useful to work in teams to define the KSA model for each role and structure topics carefully as this exercise will set role expectations for staff.

This can be a difficult step because there can be many different roles and each role may have different requirements or expectations. For example, a junior salesperson has a similar role as the senior salesperson, but the senior has higher proficiency expectations. Despite the challenge, it’s important to build a clear understanding of staff matches against their job requirements.

The results from detailed individual gap assessments are well worth the extra effort.

Step 5. Create personalized development plans, PDPs, to solve the gaps.

The final and most important step in the process is to construct personalized development plans for each person to solve their unique gaps. An effective PDP lists gaps, defines improvement steps, links to learning resources, sets target dates, and monitors progress.

KSA Examples

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities are an organization’s fundamental expertise in specific subject areas. KSAs define organizational capabilities and distinguish an organization from competitors.

KSAs can be grouped into categories such as:

  • Professional skills: The skills needed by all staff to be successful regardless of role.
  • Leadership skills: The skills needed by those in leadership and management positions.
  • Occupational skills: Job-specific skills like finance, customer service, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing.

Conclusions

Defining, measuring, and solving skill gaps is critical for organizational performance. We’d like to hear from you, discuss your situation, and demonstrate how our platform automates the 5-step process described in this post.

About the author

Mike Kritzman – Founder, CEO, and Board Chair at SkillNet Technologies, is a serial entrepreneur, sought-after expert in skill management, microlearning, and trends that transform organizations.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out this and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

The Leaf

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Empowerment
The Leaf

The Leaf

Fly CatcherI had several choices of where to go and what to do, but I was drawn to the river that day. I was going fishing. At least that was what I had in mind when I headed down to my favorite stretch of the Musconetcong.

The “Musky,” as it is called by the locals, is a sweet little river with riffles sparkling in the sun. It had been a while since I’d cast a fly rod, since in the recent past I’d only been Spey fishing. Technically speaking, a Spey rod is also a type of a fly rod but it is a totally different, two-handed system. The singlehanded rod felt light and vaguely unfamiliar in my hand and I feared I might be a tad rusty.

On this particular day, the sky was dotted with clouds so the light through the trees was intermittently sun dappled and then diffuse. It was early spring with chartreuse leaves unfurling in the trees. The air was still and the soothing sound of water played in the background of my senses. The water is still cold at that time of year, so I was geared up with polar fleece and heavy socks underneath my waders and boots.

Quietly I moved down the gentle sloping bank until I stood in the river at about knee depth. Line pulled off the reel, an attractive little fly attached, I made my first cast…and then the next and the next, as I rhythmically made my way downstream, one step at a time with only the wildlife to mark my passing.

A fox eyed a pair of Canadian geese, sizing them up for a potential meal. Birds flew about the canopy, and a merganser duck swam upstream. It was too early in the season for the duck to be trailed yet by a dozen or more chicks.

As I made my way down to the farmhouse stretch, a cheerful little riffle where the water dances its way over rocks before emptying into a pool, I caught in my periphery a small leaf hanging from a high branch, fluttering in the wind.

How odd, I thought. There isn’t any breeze today.
I looked more closely.
Is that a bird? Is it snagged up somehow?…Yes –Yes it is!

Fly Catcher with FlyThe branch with the frightened bird was hanging over the far side of the stream, too high for me to reach. I waded ashore, leaned my fly rod on a bush and picked up a stick. Wading back out beneath the limb I used the stick to snag the branch, pulling it down until it was within my grasp. Snapping the entire thing off, I turned my attention to the little creature that was fluttering wildly now. The bird appeared to be a small flycatcher of some sort: gray with a black head and tan sides. But I didn’t take much time to gather details as it quickly became apparent the source of its plight.

Someone else had obviously been to this fishing hole before me. Not surprising, of course, as this stretch of the Musky is part of the fishing club to which I belong. The angler that came before me had also been fishing with a single-handed rod and had clearly made a “bad” cast as his fly had landed in the trees rather than in the spot that was his intent. It’s easy to snag a tree or bush when the limbs hang over the river unless you make your cast just so. I’ve been to some places where the trees look ready for Christmas all year round, decked out with bright colored lures and flies left by anglers over the years.

By this point the little bird was understandably in a panic, flapping and flittering it’s heart out in an attempt to get away. Of course from his perspective I was a huge predator. Gently I closed my hand around him smoothing his frantic wings against his sides so that I could get a closer look at how he was trapped against this branch – at what was preventing his escape. The problem was tiny, oh-so-tiny, yet-oh so-strong.

The angler who came before me had left a little “trico” upon the limb, likely on a size 22 hook, so small as to be almost unseeable, with minuscule translucent white wings that imitate a trico fly. The bird had obviously been fooled by this imitation as he had attempted to catch a meal and had been caught instead.

I could feel the frantic beating of the fly catcher’s tiny heart as I gently eased the hook from his beak. I flung the offending branch and fly into the bushes and looked into the eye of the wild creature and as I opened my hand, he took wing.

By now it was dusk, the magic time when trout often surface to catch a meal. But I had thoroughly disturbed the pool where I was standing and no rising fish were in sight.

That’s alright, I realized as I waded ashore to retrieve my rod. Today’s catch and release wasn’t about trout. I had just thought I was going fishing. If I hadn’t been there to see the “leaf” fluttering when there was no wind, that little bird would have died.

Breathing deeply as day turned to night I headed for home, feeling quietly satisfied at an afternoon well spent.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Butchart Gardens

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Empowerment
Butchart Gardens

Buchart Sunken Garden.jpg

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

O Canada! 

After a hot summer of weeding, pruning, mowing, cleaning, composting, and tidying my plots, traveling to Victoria in British Columbia was a welcome respite. Despite the cold and inclement weather on Vancouver Island, we set out to explore the extraordinary National Historic Site of Canada in Brentwood Bay known as The Butchart Gardens. 

Entrance to Buchart Gardens.jpg

In 1904, the Butchart family built their home amongst sheltered Tod Inlet surrounded by forests and fields in an area where there were limestone deposits, the perfect conditions for establishing a cement plant. They named the location, “Benvenuto”, meaning “welcome” in Italian.  Mr. Butchart’s first barge-load of cement sailed from the inlet in 1905 for sale to Canadian cities. As rocks were gathered and piled in select locations and soil was brought in by the wagonloads, the quarry soon metamorphosed into the show-stopping sunken gardens. Every site for planting was meticulously chosen and a lake was created from the deepest part of the quarry, fed by a waterfall and stream. 

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Still owned and maintained by the Butchart family, the 55 acres of gardens continue to evolve, expand, and attract.  Over a million visitors a year flock to this oasis of calm and beauty. Today separate gardens include the Rose, Italian, Mediterranean, Japanese, and Sunken Garden. Numerous waterscapes abound. There are boat tours at Butchart Cove, fireworks in the evening, restaurants, tea time, and even a Carousel with thirty hand-carved animals that delight children and kids-at-heart alike.

Although I was enamored by the entire landscape, it was the Sunken Garden that captured my imagination. As an avid and very diligent gardener, I can only imagine the amount of labor that was involved in creating a lush and elegant horticultural masterpiece from a rough, grim, grey quarry of jagged rocks. As I meandered around the paths admiring the handiwork of years of devotion from hundreds of talented plant smiths, I was thrilled to see that the gorgeous flowers blooming in the beds and cascading over the stone banks, were plants that I grow in my California garden. Dahlias, roses, begonias, New Guinea impatiens, cannas, camellias, salvias, rhododendrons, geraniums, petunias, hydrangeas, alliums, acanthus, astilbes, arums, snapdragons, zinnias, euphorbias, fuchsias, heliotropes, hostas, lantanas, marigolds, and even an entire swatch of deep green shamrocks, also known as oxalis, blanketed this serene environment. It was such fun to pass a grouping and be able to answer my husband’s constant question: “What is this called?”  

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But one plant truly stumped me. I had never seen it before and although the entrance ticket includes a small flower and plant guide to the most popular species in the garden, I didn’t know what this plant was. Thankfully, The Butchart Gardens has a Plant Identification Center with knowledgeable plant people. I snapped a photo and showed it to the expert. “This is a tropical plant that we will soon put in the greenhouse to overwinter. It’s called a “Popcorn Plant” because it smells like buttered popcorn.” How marvelous to learn something new every day!

tropical popcorn plant.jpg

The camellias and rhododendrons were budding but not in bloom and I can only imagine how sensational the grounds must be when they burst into flower. Every season brings new annuals and bulbs. Spring is filled with tulips, crocus, and daffodils reflecting a love for the Netherlands. There are over 900 bedding plant varieties, 26 greenhouses, and 50 full-time gardeners. 

A forest of trees including maples, madrones, dogwoods, magnolias, flowering cherry, weeping sequoias, poplars, beeches, and Golden chain trees anchor the scene. There were two unusual and unique trees encased in a rock-walled garden, the Monkey Puzzle Tree, definitely a conifer, but not one I’d seen before. 

Monkey Puzzle Tree with cones.jpg

Wherever I travel, I seek out gardens that will inspire and instruct me to be a better steward of our earth. Butchart Gardens is exquisitely and elegantly designed. With a plethora of water features including streams, lakes, waterfalls, and fountains, I was transported to a place of sheer joy and tranquility. Totem poles, bronzes, statuary, and whimsical moss-covered wire sculptures offer a nod to the artistic value of landscaping. To walk in the footsteps of those who lived a hundred years ago knowing that they lavished love on this land, preserving it for posterity as well as the enjoyment and education of the general public was simultaneously humbling and enlightening. 

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Life was created in a garden. A garden is life unfolding. I returned to my California countryside as October beckons with the changing of the foliage wardrobe and, motivated by my sojourn, immediately got to work with a spark of a new beginning for digging deeper. Although my property will unlikely ever be a Butchart or Giverny, it is my personalized refuge of sweet repose. 

lily pond, buchart garden.jpg

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1316/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-Guide-for-October-Benvenuto-to-Butchart-Gardens.html

O Canada, thank you. Benvenuto October. 

Cynthia Brian’s Garden Guide for October

CONTINUE watering your yard. Your plants need the moisture now more than ever.

VISIT a public garden for inspiration and ideas.

REFRIGERATE your spring bulbs for the next six weeks.

RAKE falling leaves to add to your compost pile.

PRUNE fruit trees after the harvest.

FERTILIZE begonias, dahlias, and roses.

dahlias at butchart gardens.jpg

 

READ a garden book. May I suggest, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, available at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book copy.jpg

TAKE a break. The tough landscaping projects start in two weeks!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and article: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1316/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-Guide-for-October-Benvenuto-to-Butchart-Gardens.html

cuphea(cigar plant), angelonia (blue), begonia.jpg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

BE StarYouAre_Millennials to Boomers Cover.jpeg

Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

hanging basket, Buchart gardens.jpg

 

Women And Leadership – Reflections On A Leadership Journey

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Business
Women And Leadership – Reflections On A Leadership Journey

This blog is a guest post by Parminder Vir and is the companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on Voice America called FOCUS on Women and Leadership. It is based on a panel discussion at the International Leadership Association 4th Annual Women and Leadership Conference in June 2019 focusing on Building Solution, Harmony and the Greater Good

 

Reflection On My Leadership Journey From A 40-Year Professional Career

In my keynote presentation, I shared my leadership journey and insights from a 40-year professional career dedicated to positively impacting and transforming lives through my work in philanthropy, entrepreneurship, film and television production, arts and culture, and investment funding. Throughout my multifaceted career, I have put my skills and expertise in the service of the work I care passionately about and the different voices and communities represented in my work.

The response from the audience gathered at the Women and Leadership conference was overwhelming to something I had taken for granted. People always remember how you made them feel and not what you said, and it was a privilege to be given the time to reflect and share my leadership journey learnt on the job with the gathering at the ILA conference.

  • The Early Years

Passion, vision, integrity, deliberate audacity, and enduring optimism are qualities that lie at the heart of my leadership style and achievements. My leadership character and qualities have been learnt through practice from my first job in 1979, at the age of 23—when I was sent to launch the Minority Arts Advisory Service regional office in the Midlands to support ethnic minority artists of Afro Caribbean and Asian descent.

The power of art as a force for political and social change ignited my passion and spurred me to spend the first decade of my professional career from 1979 to 1986, empowering Black and Asian creativity through funding, cultural programming, and policies to mainstream our creativity and our cultural contribution to Britain.

In 1982, as the Head the Race Equality Unit in the Arts and Recreation Department of the Greater London Council, I managed a grant aid programme, funding a wide range of ethnic minority artists and organisation, many of who are internationally renowned today. I established policy initiatives for the development of minority arts; created training schemes in arts administration for ethnic minorities; and ensured the representation of ethnic minorities on the bodies of the major arts organisations in the UK.

This period marked the start of my 40-year career of self-directed learning and defined my leadership style which is characterised by my willingness to take risks, initiative and self-discipline, embrace responsibility, persistence, learning from failure, intrinsic motivation to learn new skills, time management, and goal setting.

  • Storytelling – Film and Television

In 1986, I took all this learning as I pivoted into a career as film and television producer. The accepted wisdom in early 1980’s Britain was that it’s impossible for someone like me – a working class immigrant – to break into the film and television industry. The spark to make films was lit in 1982, when I organised a Festival of Black American Films in London. Watching these films and listening to the struggles of African American filmmakers to tell their stories fueled my imagination to do just that in the UK.

My desire to make films was born out of a passion for telling compelling untold stories from around the world. From 1986 to 2004, I generated a body of work that challenged the mainstream of film and broadcast media to open itself up to perspectives that emerge from the margins, where cultural innovation so often begins. As a storyteller, I believe there are many truths, just as there are many faiths and many voices. The role of film and media is to respond to these different voices. My work is to present the truth from places that are not recognized.

In addition to making films, I also led the campaign to reflect, represent, employ and develop ethnic talent on and behind the screen in British film and television. This led to the formation of the Cultural Diversity Network, an alliance of UK broadcasters and film industry committed to increasing the range and diversity of talent on and behind the screen.

As the founding Board Director of UK Film Council from 1999 to 2005, I contributed to the development and implementation of its international strategies which embraced the film industries of emerging markets through new co-production treaties with India, South Africa, Morocco, and China. I played a pivotal role in ensuring that equality and diversity commitments were fully integrated into every aspect of the organisation’s activities.

Working in the Arts and UK film and television industry for over three decades, I was never interested in positional equity or formal authority. What drove my passion was the need to use my position to bring about institutional and mindset change which in turn would fuel the influx of marginalized talent into the mainstream.

  • Philanthropy & The African Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

In April 2014, I made the move from film to philanthropy when I accepted the invitation from Tony O. Elumelu to join the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s leading philanthropic organisation based in Lagos, Nigeria. As the CEO, I brought my unique mix of skills, talent and imagination to design, develop, and launch one of the most ambitious entrepreneurship programmes on the continent – the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor, and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs from across the continent.

Since 2015, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has empowered 4470 African entrepreneurs, across 54 countries to institutionalize luck and democratize opportunity. In 2019, the programme scaled to select 3050 African entrepreneurs!

To support them on their entrepreneurial journey, the Foundation has given them the tools, the networks, the mentors, and the funding to transform Africa. Today the Tony Elumelu Foundation is at the forefront of technology innovation and recognized as a thought leader on African Entrepreneurship around the world. Over the five years that I lived in Nigeria and travelled across 50 of the 54 African countries; I met Africa’s exceptional talent, pursuing incredible dreams, re-imagining history, entrepreneurial pursuits, and humanitarian work across the continent.

Under my five-year leadership, the Foundation cemented its role as the principal advocate for African entrepreneurship, empowering thousands on their path to economic and social transformation. In retrospect, I feel Africa was my destiny and everything I had learnt and achieved before in arts and culture, film and television production, film finance and business consulting was leading me to this.

In Conclusion

I believe leadership begins with one’s self, at home. My most precious assets are my two amazing daughters. I have wanted nothing but the best for them; education, opportunities, experiences, challenges, to give them wings so they can fly. As a leader, I want to be judged by the quality and values of my children.

Over my 40-year professional career, I have endeavored to do the same in my working life. My business and personal values are transparent to the organisations and the people I work with, devoid of separation or duplicity.

Leadership is a choice. It is not a rank, role or a title; it is a responsibility. Leadership is about building trust with shared common values and beliefs. Great leaders work for the greater good. They are transformational. They shape and change cultures of the organisations they work with. They take risks, break rules, constantly tread new roads and meet new challenges. They embrace conflict as an asset because they recognize there is no movement without friction. They build trust with teams and give credit to those who made it happen. They sell the vision because they live the vision.

To the aspiring women leaders, I say always stay focused on the “why” and not the “what” of your chosen field. When you lose sight of the why, your passion for what you are doing will be diminished and it is impossible to inspire or to lead. Always remember the why, because it is the light that will be your energy and your guide to achieving the impossible. Leadership is a journey of life, just make sure you are making this journey with integrity.

About ILA

For twenty years ILA’s mission has been to advance leadership knowledge and practice for a better world. Through this platform, they organize events and conferences assembling talent across sectors, cultures, disciplines and generations.

For the 4th Women and Leadership conference, over 200 participants including teachers, scholars, researchers, students, consultants and coaches, gathered from over 14 countries and seven US states. A community of like-minded women and some men, young and old, spent three days discussing, debating, and reflecting on ways in which women’s leadership potential can be developed, energized and liberated for the ‘greater good’. It was a platform for sharing depth of knowledge, perspectives, ideas and good practices, building professional and academic connections with common values and a unifying belief that women in leadership positions matter.

About the Author

Parminder Vir OBE has dedicated herself to positively impact and transform lives through her work in philanthropy, entrepreneurship, film and television production, arts and culture, and investment funding. She served as the CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Africa’s leading philanthropic organization based in Lagos, Nigeria from April 2014 to April 2019. She designed and launched one of the most ambitious entrepreneurship programmes on the continent – the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor, and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs from across the continent. Under her five-year leadership, the Foundation has cemented its role as the principal advocate for African entrepreneurship, empowering thousands on their path to economic and social transformation.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview to this blog and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the ILI LinkedIn.

 

Harvest Festival

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Empowerment
Harvest Festival

autumn grapes.jpg

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/d954fcb4f2/288055965/ac7221bc2f/

Miracle Moment®

“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” Oscar Wilde

MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

Having grown up on a farm, autumn always heralded the arrival of the harvest. Even as daylight hours dwindled, our work continued well into the late night and early morning hours.  Pears, apples, figs, grapes, and walnuts all needed to be picked at the right time and delivered. I looked forward to accompanying my Dad to the wineries in our 18 wheeler where the musky smell of the crush filled our nostrils. Although it could get chilly, I enjoyed working in our big barn dehydrator sorting the green hulls from the ripe walnuts. 

This Saturday, September 28th, from 11am-3pm Be the Star You Are!® charity will once again have a booth at the Pear and Wine Festival at the Moraga Commons Park in Moraga, California. Our teen director, Siri Phaneendra is in charge and is planning a fun afternoon. In honor of the harvest, BTSYA will be selling freshly harvested from our orchards organic Asian pears and bee-kissed tangerines. The event is FREE yet donations are encouraged to help BTSYA continue its outreach programs as we begin our 21st year as a 501c3. With every donation, you get heirloom hollyhock seeds that will thrive in your garden. The festival will feature food, music, wine, beer, pear pie eating contests, a petting zoo, inflatable jumpies, games, prizes, and more. 

Booth at Pear Festival with C.jpg

If you are seeking an afternoon of family friendly fun, we hope to see you at the Moraga Pear and Wine Festival. Look for the canopy that says “Lamorinda Weekly”  (our sponsor) and you’ll find our Be the Star You Are!® volunteers and activities. We’l;; be located along the path in the park closest to Moraga Road across from the DJ booth and not far from the inflatables.

Collapse into fall and enjoy autumn by celebrating the bounty of the harvest.

“Communicate, Collaborate, Innovate!”  Join us!

Blessings and Gratitude,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

 

cyntha brian with books.jpg

DISCOUNTS & MORE

 We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

Checks can be sent to PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556

Other easy ways that assist our mission and don’t cost you a penny!

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

2. Discounted books at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity

3. Buy or Sell on EBAY:http://givingworks.ebay.com/charity-auctions/charity/be-the-star-you-are-501-c-3/1504/?favorite=link

4. Use GoodSearch to search the web & buy from your favorite stores. Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too!http://www.goodsearch.com/goodto-go/be-the-star-you-are

5. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE: http://www.iGive.com/BTSYA

6. BTSYA Logo Store: http://btsya.rylees.net

7. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash back at 3300+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA:https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

8. Designer Clothes to Buy or Sell: https://www.unionandfifth.com/charities/be-the-star-you-are-moraga-ca/shop

9. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” T-shirts and tanks $19.99 at StarStyle® Store: https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store

10. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle. http://ow.ly/cYs130iN6n4

___________________Asian pears.jpg

Direct Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

Positive Results: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/positive-results

About Us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/about_us

Programs: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/programs

How to Help: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/how-to-help

Blog: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/blog-1

Events: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/events

Contact us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/contact

GREAT NON PROFITS REVIEWS: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/be-the-star-you-are-inc/

GUIDESTAR: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/94-3333882

We invite you to volunteer, get involved, or make a donation. Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

___________________

With leaves turning golden and fires being lit, autumn is the perfect time to settle down in a comfy chair.  You might enjoy some poetry and a glass of wine for company.

wine-Leoness.jpg

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

All donations are 100% Tax Deductible according to law. Thank you!

https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

See the Newsletter: 

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/d954fcb4f2/288055965/ac7221bc2f/

Siri Phaneendra.jpg

 

Is Your Organization Building Innovation Into Its DNA?

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Business
Is Your Organization Building Innovation Into Its DNA?

The following blog is a republish of an article appearing in Forbes written by Maureen Metcalf. It is a companion to an interview conducted with Tony Saldanha, author of Why Digital Transformations Fail, Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on Tuesday, August 20th titled Why Digital Transformations Fail.

Change is accelerating on all fronts across all industries. Each organization will be faced with different types of change and at different rates. The commonality is that everyone is facing opportunities and strains because of the current business ecosystem. Companies are regularly facing a broad range of risks, such as cybersecurity attacks, where the question has changed from “Will we be hacked?” to “When will we be hacked?” On the positive side, robotic processes automation, machine learning/artificial intelligence and a wide range of applications are making the tight labor market more productive.

With rapid change as the backdrop for the foreseeable future, it has now become imperative for leaders to build innovation into their personal leadership “operating system” as well as into the DNA of their organizations. Innovation is imperative for long-term survival and success.

While many people associate innovation with special people who come up with creative ideas, it is more accurately nurtured by building a company that embraces innovation as part of its core DNA. The real question is what does that look like, and how do you make it happen?

  1. Leaders’ beliefs set the tone for the organization, whether these beliefs are conscious or just habitual. They need to ensure they value innovation. To act with integrity, our thoughts and deeds need to be aligned. As a leader, this starts with evaluating what you prioritize. Do you value both delivering on current commitments and concurrently innovating to take advantage of new opportunities and approaches? Do you have a growth mindset? Do you value curiosity and appropriately paced change over stability?

Many leaders don’t take the time to look within and evaluate their values. When we are busy, we often run on autopilot. Now, it is time to schedule time to reexamine your views and see if the thoughts and beliefs that made you successful will support your future success.

  1. Leaders’ actions set an example for all employees to follow. As a leader, are you creating a culture and systems that support successful innovation as a way of doing business, or is it a one-off activity during times of challenge? Leaders who create an ecosystem where innovation is part of the organization’s DNA model behaviors such as participating in innovation projects with their time and budgets. They talk about the importance of innovation as a core competency of the organization, just like they talk about delivering products and services on time and making a profit. Leaders must be engaged in innovation! Lip service and delegating innovation to special people or an innovation department is no longer sufficient. Having worked in quality improvement programs for several years, I have learned that everyone can have innovative ideas. The value is only realized when the leaders and the organization align around supporting innovation as a key to business success.

 

  1. The culture must promote and support innovation as everyone’s responsibility. If we think of culture as our agreements within the organization, we can make deliberate agreements that explicitly indicate that innovation is key to our strategic success. It is a key part of everyone’s jobs. Additionally, the organization needs to define the specific qualities of an innovative culture that match your industry. For some companies, this can include ideas such as:
  • We continually test new ideas and learn quickly from these experiments.
  • Everyone is expected to contribute to innovation.
  • We share ideas transparently and openly and collaborate to enhance innovative approaches.
  1. Goals, systems and processes should all promote innovation as a key strategic objective and value. As mentioned, to truly build an innovative organization, it needs to be part of everyone’s jobs. People need to have time to invest. This can be a charge code for organizations that track chargeable hours; it can be a set time of the week, like Friday mornings; or it can be a periodic hackathon. The main point is it needs to be integrated into part of the job responsibilities. It needs to be measured and rewarded. Lack of attention to innovation must also be acknowledged. We understand that some people are more creative than others. That said, innovation also includes a very disciplined process of thinking and evaluation. I worked as part of an innovation team to design new stud welders. As a management consultant, my contribution was evaluating the business impact of the changes. I also got to use the welding tools, but my main role was not designing new circuits; it was contributing my expertise to the projects.

Organizations need to innovate. Some large organizations have budgets and staffing to dedicate to this. Others need to find ways to build innovation into their DNA and still meet ongoing business requirements. Being part of the DNA means addressing leader values and behaviors, culture and systems and processes and ensuring they are all aligned around the company’s key strategic differentiators and values, including innovation.

Without taking a systematic approach, innovation will be sporadic and the probability of remaining healthy long-term declines. These elements are interconnected. What can you do to make a small change in each area that will move you toward building an innovative DNA into your organization?

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out this and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the ILI LinkedIn.

About the author

Ms. Metcalf – Founder, CEO, and Board Chair of the Innovative Leadership Institute (formerly Metcalf & Associates) is a highly sought-after expert in anticipating and leveraging future business trends to transform organizations.

 

 

 

 

THE WISDOM KEEPERS – GRANDPARENTS

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Health & Wellness
THE WISDOM KEEPERS – GRANDPARENTS

THE ELDER ADVOCATE

 

THE WISDOM KEEPERS – GRANDPARENTS

 

National Grandparents Day was declared an official holiday on August 3, 2978 by President Jimmy Carter. It is celebrated on the Sunday following Labor Day as representative as the “autumn” years of life.

 

The history of Grandparents day is the epitome of grassroots advocacy initiated by the tireless efforts of one woman with unwavering support from her husband. It was not conceptualized as a commercial holiday as so many others, with sales of cards and flowers, but rather for a threefold purpose: a day for grandparents to be honored, to build awareness and appreciation for the knowledge and guidance grandparents can offer to children, and also a specific time for grandparents to bestow love on their grandchildren.

 

Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade was as woman of extraordinary compassion and empathy. She and her supportive husband, Joseph L. McQuade had 15 children, 43 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. She credited her interest and passion for older adults as being inspired by her own grandmother who, after spending working long hours each day working on the family farm, would end her day by visiting elderly people in the community. She wrote in later years that she would often tag along with her grandma and always enjoyed the visits talking with older people. She credited those visits as the root of her love and respect for older people.

 

Mrs. McQuade always described herself as a “housewife”. Having no experience or training in advocacy she began her journey to establish Grandparents Day as a national holiday at the community level in 1970. She was unending in her resolve working tirelessly with civic, business, church and political leaders. As a result, in 1971 she was elected Vice-Chair of the West Virginia Committee on Aging which was followed by being appointed as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging. Among other involvements and appointments, Mts. McQuade went on to serve as President of the Vocational Rehabilitation Foundation, Vice-President of the West Virginia Health Systems Agency, and was appointed to the Nursing Home Licensing Board. In 1973

In 1972, as a result of Mrs. McQuade’s work, President Richard Nixon proclaimed a National Shut-in Day and in 1973, her home state of West Virginia, declared Grandparents Day an official holiday. However, her work was not done. She was persuaded and encouraged to persevere in her work towards a larger goal. Her dream was realized when President Jimmy Carter declared the official holiday in 1978.

 

The proclamation for Grandparents Day reads in part:

 

“Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us. Whether they are our own or surrogate grandparents who fill some of the gaps in our mobile society, our senior generation also provides our society a link to our national heritage and traditions.

 

We all know grandparents whose values transcend passing fads and pressures, and who possess the wisdom of distilled pain and joy. Because they are usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations.”

 

Canada established Grandparents Day in 1995 to acknowledge the critical contribution of  grandparents to “the structure of the family in the nurturing, upbringing and education of children”[1] Including the US and Canada, Grandparents day is celebrated by 18 countries around the world.

 

A Canadian member of parliament spoke in support of the motion from a personal perspective with the following poignant words:

 

I do not hold grandparents to be glorified babysitters but rather as parents’ surrogates who bring love, a continuance of generational values, and a sense of the child’s worth to the integrity of the family… I was brought up by a grandparent. My parents both worked outside the home for most of my life. They needed to for economic reasons. It was my grandmother who nurtured me, gave me a sense of worth and molded in many ways the course my life was to take. My grandmother was my role model, my mentor, and my confidant.

 

The article mentions that an omission or oversight in the way the holiday is written actually serves a greater purpose. While Mother’s and Father’s Day both have apostrophes, there is no apostrophe in Grandparents day. Mrs. McQuade felt this was appropriate in that apostrophes convey possession and it was not her intention for the day to belong to grandparents. Rather, it was meant to be part of the greater good and social consciousness; a day on which the entire family celebrates and honors grandparents and a day to connect the generations, from the young to the elder and for the elder to the generations that follow them.

 

Several of Mrs. McQuaid’s children, grandchildren and great children remember her work and follow in her legacy.

 

Within the family unit, Mrs. McQuade’s vision included family gatherings, reunions or community events. However, on a National level she wanted the day to be a public declaration of the important role grandparents play in the family. Additionally, it is meant to be a day of giving, sharing oneself and imparting hopes, dreams and values to younger generations. The true meaning of legacy. Mrs. McQuaid’s vision for Grandparents Day has truly come to pass. It has gone beyond families. Schools and community groups are organizing Grandparents Day events but other organizations have begun to organize Intergenerational Day events at various times throughout the year so that children can not only show love and appreciation towards their grandchildren but show that same love and appreciation towards other older adults in their families and communities.

 

Generations United is a group out of Washington D.C, that encourages people of all ages to be involved in intergenerational civic oriented projects for the entire week following National Grandparents Day.

 

The Legacy Project www.legacyproject.org is a valuable resource that offers a Grandparents Day Activities and Planning Guide as well as a range of activities to promote intergenerational relationships.

 

Our elders, our grandparents, are a valuable natural resource. They are the true wisdom keepers and thus, deserve respect, dignity, quality treatment and caring. Our Loved Ones Matter….Indeed, they are our future selves.

 

References:

https://legacyproject.org/guides/gpdhistory.html

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-93/pdf/STATUTE-93-Pg1533.pdf

[1] https://legacyproject.org/guides/gpdhistory.html

 

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