Let the Sun Shine In!

Posted by presspass on
Let the Sun Shine In!

Acacia in full bloom.jpg

“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy” 

Henry Ward Beecher 

It’s been at least seven years since we’ve enjoyed a warm, sun-filled February. Being accustomed to cold, dreary, gray days in the months of Aquarius and Pisces, this year buoyed my spirits immensely even though I know that we need rain. I admit I thoroughly lapped up those 70 plus degree days spending hours in the garden weeding, pruning, and planting with a break to Bodega Bay to ride a bike on the beach, inhale the salt air, and watch the glorious sunset. If winter is going to be mild and bright, why not enjoy it?

The tulip magnolias, peach, plum, and pear trees are in full bloom. The bees are busy buzzing their business in the blossoms. Sweet scents of narcissi, stock, and freesia fill the air. Oxalis, also known as shamrock, carpets vineyards, trails, and roadsides. Wisteria and lilac are budded, ready to burst any day. Early spring erupted in mid-February, a full month ahead of schedule. In many Northern California areas, temperatures have been in the mid-80s. If it wasn’t for water shortages and the rising trajectory of global warming, we could all be rejoicing. Instead, we may need to chant and dance for rainfall to ward off another summer drought.

field of oxalis.jpg

Compost will be your most important gardening ingredient this season. By turning organic waste into humus, you will be feeding your plants in the same manner that Mother Nature has been nurturing the planet since the beginning of time. Compost will help your plants retain moisture, curtail erosion, maintain a constant temperature, and it will enrich your soil. It’s so simple to make that everyone can easily do it. 

Recipe for Compost

In an open pile or composting bin, add both green and dry plant matter plus eggshells, coffee grinds, tea leaves, and fish bones. Green matter includes grass clippings, vegetables, weeds without seeds, peelings, and green leaves. Dry matter includes paper, straw, twigs, fall leaves, and dried stalks. Don’t add any animal feces, diseased plants, or meat products. Moisten everything without soaking it and turn with a pitchfork at least weekly. Worms may be added for speedier results. The compost will cook and steam. Add water as necessary if the pile is too dry. Your compost is ready to return to your garden when it smells earthy, sweet, and looks like a crumbly chocolate cake. I recommend creating two or three different piles as they will finish at different times and you can always have a batch cooking. Making your own compost is an excellent way to recycle with almost zero waste. As an added bonus it is FREE plant food!

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for March

CREATE simple arrangements with branches cut from blooming peach, pear, or plums. Add a few daffodils or freesias.

peach-daffodils bouquet.jpg

BLOW the “angel” seeds of dandelions if you want dandelions growing in your garden. (This was a favorite past time as a child, although we weren’t allowed to blow “angels” into the lawn.) Dandelions are nutritious and delicious in salads and sautés and they attract quail.

Dandelion Angel seeds.jpg

PICK lettuce, parsley, arugula, Swiss chard, and baby mustard to add to meals.

red leaf lettuce.jpg

MAKE an artful wall-hanging using a variety of succulents.

succulent art.jpg

ADMIRE the tulip magnolias as they emerge or cut a stem to enjoy indoors.

tulip magnolia in full bloom.jpg

WATCH for aphids, moths, slugs, and snails on artichoke plants as they mature. Blast the leaves with water if you see any infestation.

baby artichokes.jpg

TALK to your doctor if you are experiencing pollen-related allergies. Pollen fertilizes plants but causes misery for sufferers. Acacia trees are beautiful in bloom but may trigger hay fever or asthma.

AERATE and de-thatch lawns if necessary. Be prepared to scatter seeds and fertilizer before a rain.

SHOOT lots of photos of spring unfolding. 

flowering peach in bloom.jpg

BEFORE recycling empty milk cartons, fill with water to use on houseplants. The residual calcium is good for the plants and it also rinses clean the cartons for the bins.

BUY your favorite seed packets in anticipation of sowing.

SPREAD alfalfa pellets mixed with diatomaceous earth around your rose bushes to promote large blooms and healthy plants.

The vernal equinox is still three weeks away. The sun is shining on our gardens and for all of us. It’s playtime. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing!


Photos and more:

Cherry Plum tree in bloom.jpg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia 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 StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at

Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at 

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

cyn-bike-doran beacn.jpg

Five Ways to Activate the Plural Sector

Posted by presspass on
Five Ways to Activate the Plural Sector

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is provided by Erica Fowler. It is a companion to Henry Mintzberg’s interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, Rebalancing Society: Radical Renewal, Beyond, Left, Center, Right which aired on 1/21/20.


The International Leadership Association (ILA) held its global conference in Ottawa, Canada, in 2019 with the theme ‘Leadership, Courage Required’. Maureen Metcalf, an ILA fellow, hosted a series of live-recorded interviews with global leadership experts to explore their research, best practices, and expert view of the complex issues facing us today. In this interview, Henry Mintzberg discusses his recently published book ‘Rebalancing Society: Radical Renewal Beyond Left, Right, Center’ and the key to uniting and mobilizing our fragmented leaders.

There is no denying that today’s political and social climate is polarized. It is often described as a pendulum that swings back and forth, gravitating to each extreme, a large swath of people or issues frozen in the middle. Presently, the pendulum seems as if it is at greater risk of breaking in half than swinging to one side or the other. In discussing this polarization, Mintzberg illustrates the unrest with figures from the most recent ranking of democracies by The Economist. Less than 6% of the world population lives in a full democracy. The United States ranked #25 as a flawed democracy, and the global score was the worst since the rankings began in 2006. Despite the downward trend in recent years, all is not lost.

In his book, Mintzberg discusses the need to ‘rebalance society’ on its three pillars. Two we well know, the public (government) and private (privately held businesses and corporations), but the third isn’t as obvious to some. He calls this missing piece the ‘plural sector,’ and it’s comprised of the community, member-owned co-operatives, foundations, and most importantly, you and me. The plural sector mobilizes grassroots efforts and large-scale social change.

Similarly, in the well-known book Good to Great, Jim Collins discusses the concept of the flywheel. Under the right conditions, an exemplary leader, a shared passion, and a common goal, companies that steadily exert the pressure of their collective efforts can manifest change that builds quietly over time and finally reaches a tipping point, gaining momentum and breaking through barriers. In Jim’s book, years of perseverance under these circumstances often led to stock market returns that were many times higher than that of the average market or competitive companies.

Like good-to-great companies, grassroots efforts require the plural sector to unite behind a common cause and, as Mintzberg says, ‘put teeth into’ that cause. It demands action with not only their unification, their protests, and their words – but with their own sustained and focused action. The plural sector is the force or the pressure needed to turn the flywheel and elicit action from the public and private sectors.

In his forthcoming research, Mintzberg is exploring how to mobilize the plural sector to rebalance society and offers some hints in this interview.

    1. Responsibility: Mintzberg insists that we must recognize that change starts with us. Technological advances, like the smartphone, have made it easier than ever for us to escape into our palms and ignore not only the needs of the surrounding community but ourselves. Pay the extra dollar. We are complicit in perpetuating polarization when we rejoice in the affordable consumption of goods that are manufactured by those that do not make a living wage.
    2. Relevance: Integrating into the plural sector allows issues facing the community to become relevant before they become personal. Mintzberg discusses relevance in the context of climate change. Melting ice caps and the plight of the polar bears is not proximal enough to most people’s daily lives to impact them in a meaningful way. But when the river next to their home rises enough to flood the basement, the changing climate is not as easily dismissed.
    3. Focus: Globalization and social media have ushered in freedom of choice and expression in ways unprecedented in human history. Our efforts are fragmented, and the pressure needed to enact change does not have the limitations needed for it to build up and breakthrough. Taking responsibility for issues that are relevant to your community allows critical mass to form behind an issue to build sufficient pressure.
    4. Perseverance: Change on a large scale or on the deep-rooted issues that drive polarization may require years or even decades of pressure. Instant gratification is a reality in so many facets of our life that we expect it in every interaction or endeavor. We become impassioned by new causes frequently and lose the focus and momentum that could, if sustained, breakthrough as real, meaningful change.
    5. Accountability: Hold accountable those who push to imbalance society for personal gain. Mintzberg recognized that Occupy Wallstreet was fine as a protest, but no meaningful change came from it because the behaviors behind closed doors remained unchanged. It’s a start, but it’s not enough to peacefully protest with our feet and our voices. We must also protest with our votes and our actions.




To unite the plural sector and manifest change through the public and private sectors we must immerse ourselves in our communities, recognize that we are required to become the change we want to see in the world, and peacefully fight for what we believe in with our votes, our voices, and our actions.


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 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.


About the Author

Erica N. Fowler, Ph.D., is a strategy and analytics professional with a profound interest in developing data-driven solutions to improve health and business outcomes. She studied Public Health specializing in social epidemiology at The Ohio State University and holds ten years’ experience melding industry experience with academic discipline. Her experience includes analytics product development, measurement strategy, database operations, business intelligence analytics, and statistical modeling.

Dr. Fowler’s passion is professional development consulting as a certified Birkman Method consultant. She uses the Birkman Method, enhanced by her analytic skillset, to develop individual and group programs that foster emotional intelligence to improve communication skills and productive teamwork.

Her day job is Product Manager for the Applied Data Science and Omnichannel Experience teams at Syneos Health, the first end-to-end integrated pharmaceutical solutions organization. She serves as a contributing faculty member to the Health Education & Promotion program at Walden University, where she oversees the dissertation process for doctoral students. In her spare time, Dr. Fowler enjoys traveling the world, yoga, reading, and spending time with her family.

Photo by Pixource


Resilience: It’s NOT About Bouncing Back

Posted by presspass on
Resilience: It’s NOT About Bouncing Back

When a disaster or crisis strikes, the wish of many organizations is to bounce back from the situation. However, Resilience is not about bouncing back, it’s so much more.
We talk with best selling authors Jennifer Eggers & Cynthia Barlow and their international best-selling book “Resilience – It’s Not About Bouncing Back”.
Cynthia and Jennifer will talk to us about where our resilience comes from and how we can make ourselves and organizations, resilient.
Jennifer and Cynthia will also give us insight on where resilience comes from; it’s not what you might think.
A truly enlightening episode on Resiliency not to be missed.



The Business Analyst and How They Help BCM and DR

Posted by presspass on
The Business Analyst and How They Help BCM and DR

No Business Continuity Management (BCM) professional can know everything about business operations, as there’s just so much to know. However, a BCM professional can learn allot about an organizations operations by speaking with a Business Analyst (BA), whether they be Business or Technical in focus. We speak with experienced BA expert Bill Baxter who will speak to us about the roll of the BA and what we can learn from them to help us understand business – and technical – operations. When building our continuity plans we need the input of skilled and knowledgeable resources to make our plans strong, viable and usable, and the Business Analyst is one of the key roles to help get the right plans in place.



The Call of the Wild * An Amazing Film, Based on Jack London’s Book, Some Disturbing Images

Posted by presspass on
The Call of the Wild * An Amazing Film, Based on Jack London’s Book, Some Disturbing Images

Buck is a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life gets turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon in the 1890s. As the newest rookie on a mail-delivery dog sled team, Buck experiences the adventure of a lifetime as he ultimately finds his true place in the world. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ruby A. comments, “My feelings about this movie are quite mixed. On one side, the use of CGI helps to portray the strong emotions of the dogs. On the other hand, there are many scenes containing brutal animal abuse that many audiences will find disturbing and unsettling.” Jolleen M. adds, “The Call of the Wild has such wonderful sets, cinematography and CGI. Although the film is pleasing to watch, the plotline itself is predictable and redundant. There are so many films out there about a man’s best friend and there is nothing in The Call of the Wild that sets it apart from them.” Damon F. wraps it up with, “The Call of the Wild is an amazing film based on a book with the same name by Jack London that follows the story of a massive, clumsy dog named Buck, who gets taken away from his master, is forced into slavery and struggles trying to discover his true destiny.” See their full reviews below.


The Call of the Wild

By Ruby A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>


My feelings about The Call of the Wild are quite mixed.  Mainly because of how effective the CGI is in portraying the strong emotions of the dogs—that is fine except when the dogs are abused, and that could be disturbing and unsettling for some audiences. However, overall the storyline of the movie is incredibly well-structured and detailed.The Call of the Wild is about Buck, a fearless, strong dog who has been through so much in his life. After being shut out on the porch of his California home, Buck’s name is called and he finds himself in the hands of a dog seller, who locks him inside of a box for transport. A while later, he is recruited to pull a dogsled that delivers mail in Alaska. After a journey full of twists and turns, Buck discovers a whole new world with someone he loves and trusts by his side.


Some of the lead characters include John Thornton (Harrison Ford) Perrault (Omar Sy) and, of course, Buck. What really stands out is the CGI that is essential to express the emotions of the animals. It is really effective—the dogs look almost human! With such emotion in their eyes, and their actions, there is barely anything that humans can’t relate to. (Except for the furriness!) The difference the CGI makes is in the emotional impact and how it helps the audience feel attached to the characters, and love for them, too. It improves the quality and aesthetic of the film, which makes the viewing experience vivid.The Call of the Wild strongly conveys a message of how perseverance can make anyone a stronger, more intelligent person who can take on more difficult challenges than ever before. The film is successful in signifying this empowering lesson through symbolism and emotion. Audiences should beware of some aggressive behavior toward animals, and between other characters. Several weapons are used, such as a whip, a bat, and guns. Minimal amounts of blood are shown. There really isn’t any bad language, however.


I give The Call of the Wild 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can find The Call of the Wild in theaters on February 21, 2020.


The Call of the Wild

By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>


The Call of the Wild has such wonderful sets, cinematography and CGI. Although the film is pleasing to watch, the plotline itself is predictable and redundant. There are so many films out there about a man’s best friend and there is nothing in The Call of the Wild that sets it apart from them.Based on the novel by Jack London, the storyline follows a dog named Buck who is stolen from his home on a ranch. He is sold to become a sled dog to deliver mail. Buck has many encounters with a man named John Thornton who eventually becomes Buck’s owner. They become very close and John takes him on a trip to the other side of the mountain in honor of his late son, because it is a trip that he would have loved. Unfortunately, another man named Hal, whose judgment is clouded by greed, believes that John is taking this trip because he knows where the gold is. Hal follows him with ill intentions. Because of this whole journey Buck, in the end, finds where he belongs.


Harrison Ford, who plays John Thornton, embodies his role and shows the audience the bond that Thornton develops with Buck. It’s almost as if he sees Buck as his own son. The dog that plays Buck is named Buckley. He was a stray dog in Kansas and director Chris Sanders and his wife adopted him because he was the same breed as the dog in the novel. Buckley went from being on the streets to starring in a movie where he gives an amazing performance.The story is set in Alaska where the scenery is quite beautiful. They capture the majesty of the frozen mountains and even the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. The CGI for the dogs is photorealistic. It is super cute how they show the dogs’ emotions by their facial expressions.


My favorite parts of this film are the various shots of the scenery. It really looks so beautiful in both the daytime and nighttime shots. I loved seeing it and it makes me want to visit those places.The message of this film is about realizing that life is a journey and will be full of challenges, but through these challenges you will find your place. If Buck wasn’t kidnapped from his home on the ranch he never would have truly been happy. Without the challenges that he faced, he would have never gotten his freedom in the wild. Everything happened for a reason, from being tortured to meeting John Thornton.


I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. Even adults might enjoy this film. The Call of the Wild comes out in theaters on February 21, 2020, so check it out!


The Call of the Wild
Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>


The Call of the Wild is an amazing film based on a book with the same name by Jack London that follows the story of a massive, clumsy dog named Buck, who gets taken away from his master, is forced into slavery and struggles trying to discover his true destiny.When the movie begins, Buck is taken away from his home and must adapt to his new environment in the wilderness. I really like the way the movie shows him changing to fit in. They use a giant, black, shadow of a wolf with glowing, yellow eyes. Every time Buck needs to make an important decision, the wolf is there leading him to the best path.


The animation and CGI in this movie are great; all the dogs look incredibly realistic. There is a dog fight between Buck and another dog that is very intense and the dogs act just like normal dogs act when fighting each other. The cinematography, with the visual effects, is really outstanding. Each different landscape has thousands of small details that showcase the amazing power of Mother Nature, which is exactly what the movie wants to show to us.My favorite character is Buck the dog; he is playful, kind, funny and all-around relatable character. Buck is the main character in the movie, even though he doesn’t talk. My favorite scene is when John Thornton, Buck’s final owner, is trying to drink his bottle of whiskey and Buck keeps knocking his glass out of his hand. Eventually, Buck steals the bottle and buries it in the yard. This scene was hilarious and it made me think that Buck was saying, “no drinking.”


There are two different messages that this movie offers. One is, “you don’t need to hurt people to be a leader; be kind and you will get your best team.” The second is, “Mother Nature is powerful, don’t try to take too much from it, only take what you need so the world can stay as beautiful as it is today.”I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to18 because some jokes most kids won’t understand. This film comes out in theaters February 21, 2020. Look for it.





Emma * A Cheerful Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Beloved Novel

Posted by presspass on
Emma * A Cheerful Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Beloved Novel

Jane Austen’s beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending, is re-imagined in this film. Handsome, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse is a restless queen bee without rivals in her sleepy little town. In this glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing up, Emma must adventure through misguided matches and romantic missteps to find the love that has been there all along. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Emma is a cheerful adaption of Jane Austen’s beloved novel. Readers of Jane Austen can rejoice as her characters come to screen.” See his full review below.

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

Emma is a cheerful adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel. Readers of Jane Austen can rejoice as her characters come to screen. Others might not find this to be their cup of tea.
In this adaptation the “handsome, clever and rich” matchmaker Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor Joy) pursues her adventures through matches and romanticism to find love.
Anya Taylor Joy, as Emma, gives the best performance. Anya has grown from a being newcomer and this demanding performance proves that, allowing for eloquent speaking and characterization. Her conversations with other characters are straight out of the classic Victorian tale; keeping in mind, she is American. Her love interests are Johnny Flynn as Mr. Knightley, a dashingly critical friend, and Callum Turner as Frank Churchill, a rich gentleman. I also enjoyed Mia Goth as Harriet, as she helps Emma find her match.
Director Autumn de Wilde is artistic, but the pacing could be tighter. This is a slow movie as several scenes are long, drawn-out conversations. I feel this aspect is best achieved in books, though some movies can capture the audience’s attention like that. This movie really must be your forte for it to be enjoyable. The character’s parlance is always olden English, and there is a loss of stakes. The score by Isobel Waller-Bridge is authentically Georgian capturing the grounded roots of genteel women living in England.
The message of this film is to not rush love, as Emma and Harriet let time prove its worth after hasty pursuits. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, due to brief nudity, even though younger kids might not be interested in watching this. The movie releases in theaters on February 21, 2020, so check it out.

The Eldercare Advocate: Age Discrimination In The Workplace

Posted by presspass on
The Eldercare Advocate: Age Discrimination In The Workplace

The Eldercare Advocate

Age Discrimination In the Workplace

Phyllis Ayam Banner 01092020.jpgThe Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, was meant to provide protection to anyone over 40 years of age from being discriminated again on the basis of age in hiring, promotions, discharge, compensation of other term, conditions or privileges of employment. Until that time, there were no protections in the workplace against people as they increased in age. The history of the legislation harkens from creation and passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and specifically Title VII, which made it illegal for employers to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. What was missing from these protections were those based on age. After a government sponsored study, it was determined that the reality of age discrimination for a large percentage of the American population was a growing concern. This led to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. in 1998 the Workforce Investment Act was passed which protected all applicants and employees from discrimination based on age as well as discrimination due to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, political affiliation or belief.

However, the protections afforded to people who fall into this age group were whittled down by the Supreme Court in 2009 when the ruling made it more difficult for people to sue their employers for discrimination on the basis of age.

In today’s society, many employers are aware of the need for an inclusive and diverse work force. They may even take extra pains to ensure their hiring practices reflect modern trends in hiring and employment practices. However, one area which has lagged behind in awareness for diversity is intergenerational diversity. Many companies force older workers into early retirement, lower the age for them to receive disability or pension benefits, laying off older workers or intentionally promoting or hiring younger persons to oversee the work of the older employee or move them into a more obsolete position in an effort to force them out of the workplace.

It may be true that younger workers are more versed in newer trends, philosophies or applications in particular areas. However, the wisdom and experience that the older worker brings to the workplace cannot be underestimated and should definitely not be undervalued in its importance.

The young person has much to learn from their older counterpart not only in the workforce, but in society and in life. This is consistent with our negative attitudes towards and treatment of elders in our society.

The federal government is as guilty of age discrimination as the private sector. It is the largest employer in the U.S., with roughly 4.2 million workers, which includes postal workers and persons in all branches of the military who wear the uniform. There are mandatory ages for many federal employees. (i.e., there is mandatory retirement for federally employed law enforcement officers at the age of 57 and air traffic controllers at 56) This is based on a previously held assumption entirely without merit or validity that physical and mental abilities decline at those ages.

According to John Grobe, president of Federal Career Experts, a consulting firm that advises government agencies and their employees about retirement, the purpose behind these mandatory retirement ages to maintain “‘a young and vigorous workforce. ” But as we all know, this is a gross misconception. I’m sure we all know someone who may appear older than their years at 40, while others are alert, active and vital well into their 80’s and 90’s. In 2015, a vibrant 102 year old German woman, denied the ability to continue her education as student in her 20’s because she was Jewish, received her PhD in Hamburg, Germany on the subject of diphtheria. While this case may be atypical, is certainly speaks to the possibilities. Yet our words often reflect our biases without even realizing it: we say someone is over the hill, slow as molasses in winter, not a spring chicken, etc.

Some hard facts about age and the workforce.

According to AARP, 61% of older workers of people 50+ years of age who remain in the workforce have noticed or have first-hand experience with age discrimination. Of those who reported experiencing bias based on their age, 95% view it as a common occurrence in the workplace. The article reports that those who are at least 45 years of age foresee the potential of losing their job within the next year and one third of them believe it will be due to their age. According to a joint study conducted by ProPublica and the Urban Institute, It is estimated that approximately 56% of older workers experience at least one involuntary job loss after age 50.

Age discrimination is so ingrained in our culture, and in each of us, that after reading an AARP article on this very subject, I realized that as an older person, I am guilty of participating in, or reinforcing, negative stereotypes about age. I have joked about younger people being more savvy with technology, about my own adult children ridiculing me for not being up on the latest app or being able to problem solve technology issues and how younger people relying on texting or their inability or unwillingness to write a letter, a thanks you note or send a Hallmark.

Conversely, most companies have missed out on the important reality that older workers possess a depth of knowledge and experience that is worth the investment, is not easily replaceable and can be tapped into in many different ways. In essence, they are the workforce wisdom keepers.

Paul Rupert, the founder and CEO of Respectful Exits, a nonprofit consulting firm that is raising corporate awareness about age discrimination says, “People walk out of companies now with an enormous amount of intellectual property in their heads. They know things that are essential to the company’s success, and if that knowledge is not captured and transmitted to the next generation, that company is losing a tremendous chunk of capital and it’ll eventually pay a price.” He goes on to say, “It’s a sad phrase, but companies view their workforce the same way they view their capital equipment. You buy it, you assume it has a certain shelf life, and then you get rid of it and replace it with a new model.”

According to a July, 2019 article in BuiltIn by Bailey Reiners the average age of retirement was 63 in 2001 and jumped to 66 by 2018. Most people expect to live at least 20 years after retiring, most have less than $250,000 in retirement savings. With those numbers, those who retire with that amount of money in savings person can expect to live off $12,500 each year for the last years of their lives. This is just above the poverty level for a single person under the age of 65. AARP cites that 29 percent of U.S. households headed by someone age 55 or older have NO retirement savings or pension, meaning they’ll have to continue working or rely on Social Security to survive. The future is bleak for those persons who are only able to access a job requiring little or no skill offering a minimum wage. Only about 1 in 10 of those workers who lose their jobs involuntarily ever earn as much per week afterward, the report found. Is this the best we can offer to our Elder Citizens who spent a lifetime contributing to our economy, our country, raising their families and essentially giving birth to the next generation?

It is well known that without a sense of purpose or feeling of usefulness an older person experiences a negative impact on their physical, emotional and psychological health and well-being. This is a basic human need. This is corroborated by a 2007 study in the Journals of Gerontology which found that without a sense of purpose, older persons are three times more likely to develop and disability and four times more likely to die prematurely. When a person is involuntarily and suddenly cast aside after being a contributing member of the workforce, they are essentially being told they are not worthy or have anything to contribute. One cannot deny the negative impact this represents to a person’s well-being and sense of self.

By the time people arrive at their late sixties, only 10% population is working That is in contrast to 20% of those age 55 years of age. It is uncertain if they voluntarily retire, are forced into retirement of leave because of situations associated with age discrimination. What is significant about these statistics goes back to an earlier statement. This number represents the fact that people with the most knowledge and experience are no longer in the workforce. How can the pendulum change in the opposite direction? Certainly, by passage of age discrimination laws. In mid-January 2020, the House of Representative passed The Protecting Older Americans against Discrimination Act protecting workers from age discrimination with bipartisan support. It’s fate rests in the Senate which, despite bipartisan support, it is expected not to make it to the floor for a vote. Senators Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, and Bob Casey a Democrat from Pennsylvania, have sponsored legislation in the Senate which they are hoping will be advanced.

However, age discrimination is often a silent but accepted reality.

As the number of older people in the population increases, the number of older people in the labor force is similarly increasing. According to AARP, By the year 2024, there will be roughly 41 million Americans ages 55 and older working — up 8% increase from current figures.

About 35 percent of the U.S. population is now age 50 or older with those numbers expecting to rise precipitously. According to the US Census Bureau, by the year 2035 the over the 65 years of age population will outnumber those 18 and under. in 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which monitor’s the nation’s workforce It concluded in its report on age discrimination that even though 50 years had passed since Congress outlawed the practice, “age discrimination remains a significant and costly problem for workers, their families and our economy.”

The December 30, 2019 AARP article “ Workplace Age Discrimination: Still Flourising in America” quoted Frank Cania, president of Human Resources Compliance Experts. Cania believes that human resource departments in organizations view ageism as equal with other types of workplace discrimination. He claims that personnel in HR departments are not as aware of it as they should be and that age discrimination is inherent in the wording of job advertisements. (i.e., “fast-paced environment, energetic, technology ‘ninja’ or ‘We work hard and party harder.”) Laws are passed to provide sexual harassment or cultural sensitivity training, but nothing aimed at ageism or age discrimination.

Some of the worst offenders are in the technology arena which may not be surprising to many. In 2007, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that “young people are just smarter,” Silicon Valley is a youth work culture. So much so that in 2019, Google agreed to an $11 million settlement for the claims of more than 200 job applicants who said they were discriminated against because of their age.

Older tech companies are also not immune to the problem. A 2018 ProPublica investigation reported on other tech companies who are more entrenched in American Culture. It is alleged that IBM within a five-year time period, intentionally manipulated the early retirement of an estimated 20,000 employees over age 40. “

An AARP survey found that only three percent of older employees have ever made a formal complaint of age discrimination to a government agency or someone in the workplace, which means there are probably hundreds of thousands more older person who merely accept job rejections, shrug it off when they are passed over for a promotion, turn the other cheek when experiencing workplace harassment or take an early retirement offer..


In the December 2019 article, AARP outlines some of the ways they are fighting age discrimination and assisting those older citizens who need help.


  • Attorneys at the The AARP Foundation are defending the rights of older adults against age discrimination all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.


  • AARP has supported legislation in the US Congress and is spearheading laws in various states throughout the country which will make it more difficult for companies to discriminate against hiring older workers.


  • AARP works with companies to help them realize and understand the value the older worker presents in their workforce. They are doing this through the Employers Pledge Program and have been successful in securing public pledges from over 1,000 companies to work in the fight against age discrimination.If in need of a job, AARP has a job board where the companies that have committed to the Employer’s Pledge post jobs.


  • With the Back to Work 50+ Program, AARP advises and assists persons over the age of 50 with appropriate training in order to compete in the competitive job-market. To find out more about this program AARP encourages you to visit: call 855-850-2525 to register for a workshop.


  • AARP works with TopResume to assist people with modifying their resume to make it more difficult for perspective employers to discount an applicant based on age. They offer a complimentary resume review and discounted pricing to AARP members for professional resume writing.


Visit for additional information and advice on age discrimination in the workplace.






Key Findings from a U.S. National Survey About Leadership

Posted by presspass on
Key Findings from a U.S. National Survey About Leadership

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is provided by Lynn Shollen and Elizabeth Gagnon of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. It is a description of the top line findings of a survey about leadership that they conducted last year. You can read much more about the project on their website. The blog is a companion to the interview with Sam Wilson and Lynn Shollen that aired as part of the 12-week International Leadership Association Interview Series on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. The interview aired on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 titled Research Findings on Attitudes About Leadership.


A new, annual national survey of attitudes about leadership in the United States uncovered widespread and increasing dissatisfaction with U.S. leaders, along with skepticism about the preparedness of younger generations to lead into the future.

Key findings from our scientific online survey of more than 1,800 people include:

  • Only 28 percent of those surveyed believe leaders in the U.S. are effective
  • Leaders are seen as less effective now than compared to 20 years ago (60 percent)
  • Leaders are regarded as too removed from the experiences of ordinary people (74 percent)
  • Many believe it is too risky in today’s social climate to be a leader (46 percent)
  • Many believe that unless they are at the top of an organization, they may not be able to be influential even if they try to lead, because leaders at the top are so powerful (49 percent)
  • Younger generations are not widely seen as being equipped to lead (57 percent)

These results are discouraging because we know that effective leadership is crucial if we’re to thrive socially, politically and economically. We do detect a few reasons for optimism, but overall, our findings have to be worrisome for our country’s leaders, for leadership educators and for all who care about the quality of leadership now and into the future.

The 1,849 respondents comprise a nationally representative sample based on gender, ethnicity, age, income and other factors. They were asked to think broadly of leaders and leadership rather than focusing on specific leaders or situations. We are not seeking opinions about Donald Trump or Bill Gates. The survey isn’t intended to examine perceptions of how specific leaders are performing, rather how people view the effectiveness of leaders and leadership generally within the U.S.

The survey defined leadership as the process of influencing people toward achieving a common goal, and leaders were defined as people who achieve that goal. Regardless of whether you have a formal title, you can be a leader. Leadership happens everywhere, not just in the most obvious places, such as government or business.

But in many places that leadership happens, it is seen as lacking. Fewer than 25 percent of the respondents say leaders in education, religion, national politics or the environment are effective.

Even as they criticize current leaders, survey participants say they are reluctant to step forward. Only 15 percent of the respondents claim they are involved in leading their community (although they may indeed be leading and not identifying their contributions as leadership). Further, it appears they don’t have high hopes for future generations. Nearly 60 percent of the respondents say younger Americans are not ready to lead and only 33 percent voiced confidence that young people will be able to steer the nation through the challenges ahead.

There is another cause for concern. When the morality of the leader is considered, half (50 percent) claim it is more important that a leader works for major issues that align with those the respondent supports than whether the leader adheres to high moral standards. Thus, half of the sample does not value leaders upholding morality as much as leaders supporting particular issues and agendas.

In terms of what respondents are looking for in leaders, 74 percent believe that the best leaders understand the experiences of ordinary people. About two-thirds believe leaders at the national and local levels should create an environment that supports diversity, considers perspectives of diverse people when making decisions and seeks to take care of the natural environment.

About half also say they’re comfortable with a leader who is different than them in gender/sex (56 percent), race/ethnicity (56 percent), sexual orientation (49 percent) or income level (48 percent). Fewer say the same about religious beliefs (43 percent). Political differences are a bigger sticking point, as only 28 percent say they are comfortable with a leader who holds opposing views, and only 34 percent would follow such a leader.

Participants were also asked where they went for information about leaders and how reliable those sources are for evaluating leaders. Television is the number one source sought for information (55 percent), trailed by non-social media online sources (44 percent). Half (50 percent) of respondents claim that social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) does not provide them with adequate resources to make accurate evaluations of public leaders, whereas, just over half (53 percent) claim that traditional media (e.g., newspaper, television, radio) does provide them with adequate resources.

The results of the survey were first discussed at the 2019 annual conference of the International Leadership Association in Ottawa, Canada. The researchers received helpful feedback there and plan to delve into the nuances of the data by examining the results by demographics such as gender/sex, race/ethnicity, geographic location, religious beliefs, political affiliation, sexual orientation and income level. These results will be released as they become available. The survey will be conducted annually to track trends and to add questions relevant to contemporary issues.


For additional survey results and information, please visit or contact the researchers at

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 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.


About the Authors

Dr. Lynn Shollen is Associate Professor of Leadership Studies and Department Chair in the Department of Leadership and American Studies at Christopher Newport University. She earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy and Administration at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include the faculty to administrator transition, identity and perceptions of leadership, leadership identities construction, and teaching about women and leadership. In addition to numerous journal articles, she co-authored the book Faculty Success Through Mentoring: A Guide for Mentors, Mentees, and Leaders.

Dr. Elizabeth Gagnon earned her PhD at Old Dominion University. She is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Leadership and American Studies at Christopher Newport University. She teaches courses in civic engagement, social entrepreneurship, leadership theory and ethics and values in leadership. Journals publishing her research articles include the International Journal of Leadership Studies and the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement.


Be Kind and Share the Love

Posted by presspass on
Be Kind and Share the Love

BTSYA Innovate logo -bookend.jpg

Click to view this email in a browser

Miracle Moment®

“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love,”  William Wordsworth


MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

Cynthis Brian bowerCall me superstitious, but I’m excited to send this newsletter out exactly on 2-20-2020 at 2:20. It feels like a new beginning!

With February being the month of love, here at Be the Star You Are!® we are spreading love and kindness. Karen Kitchel who penned two chapters in the book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World, and is a dedicated volunteer with BTSYA, writes a blog, Scattering Kindness. She advocates that kindness is contagious, When we find simple ways to spontaneously bring joy to others, we bring joy to the world. ( How true this is!

With love in the air, we want to remind each person that she/he is unique. You are a gift to the world. There is no one on this planet that can match your talents, skills, and heart. You are enough just the way you are. You are deserving of love.

We are so excited to have been honored as one of the first non-profits to win the TOP NON-PROFIT award for 2020. And we are super thrilled and grateful that GreenAir, your energy solutions company, ( will be our SuperStar Sponsor for our Family Fun Booth at the Moraga Faire this May 9th. Read more below.

Our appreciation is extended to everyone who makes a tax-deductible donation to Be the Star You Are!® via PayPal or check. If you want to make automatic donations, we can set you up to deposit your donation directly into the charity bank account. Every dollar makes a difference in continuing our outreach programs. Give plenty in 2020.

Thanks for being part of our STAR galaxy. Communicate, collaborate, innovate. Everyone counts.

Be your unapologetically authentic self every day. You are a STAR. Share the LOVE!

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556


2020-top-rated-awards-badge-embedThis is the honor we received from Great Non Profits in partnerships with Guidestar, The Huffington Post, Techsoup, and VolunteerMatch,


You’ve won a spot on the 2020 Top-Rated List!

Congratulations! Be The Star You Are Inc has earned a spot on the 2020 Top Rated List! Your community has shared their inspiring stories about your work. We congratulate you on all of your accomplishments.

We appreciate all of your contributions!

A few abbreviated quotes from reviewers:

“My volunteering experience had a profound impact on me, and continues to inspire me in my career as an author. This selfless organization should be recognized and lauded for the incredible impact it makes daily.” 

Dani Wong

dani wong-millennial book

“The organization participates in a diverse set of efforts and initiatives that promote positive media messaging, support natural disaster relief, and empower youth. Absolutely a great nonprofit worthy of five stars!”

Joven Hundal

joven hundal book

“Incredible as always, every year! Cynthia Brian and Be the Star You Are reach so many people in need of positivity and support. I’m proud to call myself a volunteer and I hope to see BTSYA continue its great work for many years to come!”

Brigitte Jia

Brigitte close up-violin

“I am forever thankful for everything BTSYA has offered me over the years. This organization deserves all the recognition and support!”

Rachel Glass

Rachel Galss 2018


Our two Be the Star You Are!® radio broadcasts provide entertainment, information, and empowerment in every hour of power.Inspiring guests are lined up to motivate you to attain your goals and live a positive, uplifting life. Listen LIVE to StarStyle® every Wednesday from 4pm PT at or catch us on iTunes at!/id669630180?mt=2

For a young adult look at life, listen to Express Yourself!™ Sunday’s at 3pm PT  at on iTunes at!/id481894121?mt=2

Read all about the Be the Star You Are!® Radio broadcasts, guests, reporters, hosts, and more at

2016 Promo Banner bothshows-no pics


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

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases

2. Discounted books at Amazon:

3. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash at 3500+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA:

& buy from your favorite stores.

4. Search and GoodShop: Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too!

5. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE:

6. BTSYA Logo Store:

7. Buy or Sell on EBAY:

8. Designer Clothes to Buy or Sell:

9. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” T-shirts and tanks $19.99 at StarStyle® Store:

10. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle.

We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at

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


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

Positive Results:

About Us:


How to Help:



Contact us:



2019-platinum-seal-guidestar BTSYA Innovate logo -bookend

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:

Classified Ads:

If you’d like to advertise your service or product while supporting Be the Star You Are!®, we are now accepting approved ads that will benefit readers. Contact for details.

BTSYA High Res Logo Read Lead Succeed

Share the LOVE! Scatter KINDNESS!

valentine heart

Give plenty in 2020!

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

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





Stars of the Garden

Posted by presspass on
Stars of the Garden

hedge of bonica roses.jpg

“Won’t you come into my garden? I would like my roses to see you.” –Richard Sheridan

It’s only mid-February, yet it feels like spring. As I write this article, the thermometer in the shade reads 71 degrees. The sun is shining, the skies are clear, and it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Historically the average daily temperature in our area for February is 46.4 degrees. I’m accustomed to dreary Februarys, yet this year is full of cheer. Although we still need more rain, I am delighting in this weather as I finish pruning my roses and grapevines.  

Roses are the ultimate garden stars, complementing classic and contemporary landscapes. Many varieties are repeat bloomers, extravagantly fragrant, and easy to maintain. The thorns are a nuisance, yet, sometimes we have to endure a bit of pain to savor the pleasure. As I’m pruning, I’m wearing two pairs of thick gloves. The thorns still pierce the leather and I find myself extracting tiny pieces of barbs with tweezers from my fingers after an afternoon amidst these stellar actors. 

thorns on roses.jpg

If you haven’t started or finished your annual heavy pruning, you’ll have about two more weeks to accomplish the task to have blooms by mid-April.  Roses anchor a landscape offering unrivaled diversity of colors, shapes, and sizes. From ten-inch miniature roses to twenty-five-foot rambling and climbing roses, there is a variety for every preference. The scents that emanate from these stunners can be musky, fruity, sweet, and indescribably powerful. In our region, once established, roses will bloom a full ten to eleven months as long as they are regularly deadheaded. Although roses prefer a sunny location, shade and even poor soil are tolerated.

David austin roses with cornflags, glaiolus communis.jpg

It’s best to plant roses from January through May and make sure the root has plenty of space to grow. Re-hydrate bare root roses in a bucket of water before planting. If planting from a quart or gallon container, remove the plant carefully. Sprinkle roots with Mycorrhizal Fungi to stimulate root growth. Place the stems of bare root roses about two inches below the top of the hole, and for a potted rose, position the plant level with the ground.  Backfill with the original soil and lightly tap it with your foot. Water deeply. My secret to rose success is to scratch a scoop of alfalfa pellets in the soil around each bush in March. Every morning, I stir my used coffee grounds into a carafe of water to nurture a different rose daily. They love their jolt of java. Feed your roses according to the instructions that you receive when purchasing. Never over-fertilize. Add mulch or compost to retain moisture. Contrary to popular belief, roses are not fussy. Feed, mulch, water, deadhead, and enjoy.

bare root david austin roses.jpg

A shining star of the winter garden is the daffodil. Every year daffodils signal that spring is around the corner as they salute the skies with their bright trumpets. Daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus. The over 50 species come in all sizes with colors ranging from the ubiquitous butter yellow to pure white, peach, and combinations of yellow and orange. They are perennials, popping up to surprise us just when we need a boost of encouragement. Many varieties will naturalize when planted in a sunny place with slightly acidic soil and plenty of mulch. The deer and wildlife won’t eat them, so they are great bulbs to plant everywhere the deer and rabbits roam. Bulbs planted in fall are now blooming. There is no need to remove the bulb after the flowers fade. Cut back the stems when the foliage is yellow and potato chip crispy. If you insist on digging out bulbs, wipe the dirt off, store in onion bags or pantyhose, and hang in a cool location. Bulbs require air circulation to survive or they will rot. Many of the smaller daffodils, also called narcissi are very fragrant. They make marvelous cut bouquets brightening any room.

daffodils (1).jpg

The heart-shaped cyclamen is a tuberous perennial that is honored with garden star status. Shades of pink, red, salmon, and white flowers with silver-marbled leaves adorn winter borders and indoor rooms. Cyclamen require almost zero care and very little water. They go dormant when temperatures rise towards summer and return in glory when winter arrives. When grown outdoors, like the daffodil, when you are least expecting to see a riot of color, the cyclamen unfurls its pretty petals. Hardy cyclamen sold in nurseries are to be planted outdoors. Tropical cyclamen for décor as a houseplant won’t tolerate temperatures above 68 degrees or below 40 degrees. 


Our shining garden stars may only twinkle during certain times of the year, yet they are always here. Planting and appreciating them helps us grow into kinder humans. Saunter into the garden to say hello.

magenta rose.jpg

Cynthia Brian’s Mid-Month Gardening Guide for February

  • TAKE 15% off all orders of David Austin Roses before March 6, 2020 with CODE UKA at or call 1-800-328-8893.
  • Olivia  David Rose Austin.jpg
  • CARE for your trees. With the recent heavy winds, limbs and trees have toppled. Make sure to prune dead branches, mulch to suppress weeds and pest infestations, deep soak when the weather is hot, and protect shallow roots from lawnmowers. Call an arborist for help when in doubt.
  • INSPECT lawns for dandelions. When you see the yellow flower, snip it off to avoid the flower going to seed. Dig out the roots if possible but be aware that dandelions have long taproots. Do not put in the compost pile.
  • CHECK irrigation systems for broken or damaged pipes. Weeds and lawns often cover sprinkler heads. This is a good time to prepare and repair for spring.
  • WATER lawns and gardens as needed. This is the first February in decades that I’ve had to turn on sprinklers. Rain is not forecast until March. Global warming? 
  • CUT a branch from flowering pear or peach trees to use as an indoor decoration. Pear trees are in full-bloom, peaches are in bud.
  • ornamental pear blossoms.jpg
  • PLANT summer bulbs including gladiolus, cannas, dahlia, and caladium towards the end of the month as the soil dries.
  • WALK barefoot on a blanket of soft moss to connect with Nature.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing!

Photos and more:

cynthia Brian-February outdoors.jpg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia 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 StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at

cyntha brian with books.jpg

Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at 

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email