A Challenging Climate: 2020 is a Defining Year for Climate Change and BCM

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A Challenging Climate: 2020 is a Defining Year for Climate Change and BCM

Join me May 14/20, as I talk with internationally recognized industry and risk expert, James Green. We’ll talk to James about how ‘2020 is a Defining Year for Climate Change and BCM’ professionals. Considering the current global environment and activities, BCP practitioners must start acting ‘beyond’ the usual risks that impact our organizations. It’s a very informative episode!



Glenn Entis, Former CEO DreamWorks Interactive, Shares His Vision & Insight

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Glenn Entis, Former CEO DreamWorks Interactive, Shares His Vision & Insight

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Glenn Entis recently. Glenn co-founded Pacific Data Images (PDI), a leading graphics/animation house, led DreamWorks Interactive as CEO, and developed some of the most popular video games worldwide while Senior Vice President and Chief Visual Officer at EA.


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When Glenn first started in computer graphics, very few companies paid any attention to the blooming medium. So, Glenn founded PDI with Carl Rosendahl and Richard Chuang. The three built the company into a booming business that has since won numerous awards.

Glenn always had his heart set on making and programming graphics. Suddenly, he and his fellow founders were managers. They had to negotiate salaries, consider career paths and direct the future of the company. Yet Glenn’s love for computer graphics and his commitment to PDI allowed him to smoothly enter the role of COO of PDI. “My core passion for computer animation has never gone away,” he explained, it simply “manifested” into a new role.

The future had yet another unexpected manifestation: video games. When given the opportunity to lead DreamWorks Interactive, Glenn jumped at the opportunity. In some ways, it seemed more daunting than computer animation – video games require interaction from the player and so creators must think of far more variables and challenges than in pure entertainment mediums like computer animation. Yet, in other ways, it freed Glenn to be more creative. Video games lacked the massive hierarchy of film and thus, Glenn had finally been granted the opportunity to lead his teams with little restriction.

Throughout Glenn’s career, one thing remained apparent: Glenn’s job title didn’t involve managing products, instead, his career revolved around managing people. The talent to get people together, to get them to create and to get them to innovate does not change no matter the place, the time or the industry.

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Author’s Page – Amazon
World According to G


Doozers We Dig Spring! – Unique Story Lines Based On STEAM Topics

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Doozers We Dig Spring! – Unique Story Lines Based On STEAM Topics

Doozers: We Dig Spring! – Living at the edges of our world and right under our noses are Doozers. Just who are the Doozers? They’re green, they’re cute, they’re three inches tall, full of energy, ideas, and enthusiasm they’re AWESOME! Doozers love to create, build, and innovate. Doozers are DOERS they put their ideas into action! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “The stories follow four green Doozers that love helping wildlife and building things.  Doozers are little green, cute and energetic creatures – two boys and two girls.  Each one has a unique talent. For example, one has the power of science, another has technology, the third one has engineering and the fourth one has arts and math.  All together it equals STEAM (science, technology, engineering arts and math).” See his full review below.


Doozers We Dig Spring!
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

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I like Doozers We Dig Spring! DVD because it is very entertaining, even for an 11-year-old, like me.  This animation has very unique story lines in every episode.
The DVD has six episodes, each about 11 minutes long. The stories follow four green Doozers that love helping wildlife and building things.  Doozers are little green, cute and energetic creatures – two boys and two girls.  Each one has a unique talent. For example, one has the power of science, another has technology, the third one has engineering and the fourth one has arts and math.  All together it equals STEAM (science, technology, engineering arts and math).  In every adventure they learn something new such as the stages of a butterfly, what bees like or how to work together.

My favorite episode is Oh Beehive where one of the Doozers is hungry and goes to a bakery to get something to eat.  When he is about to go inside, a storm of bees swoops in front of the bakery’s door so the owner has to shut the bakery down.  The Doozer calls his friends to come and help him.  All four Doozers together think of a genius plan so they can stop the bees and remove them from the door.  The animation is cute with vibrant colors.  The voice-overs are all by kids and their voices fit each character perfectly.  The theme song is very energetic.  Each episode is a different adventure and they don’t necessary follow a sequence.  My favorite catch phrase they say is, “Doo, doo, doo…” and, right after that phrase, they start working together as a team to resolve a situation or to build something.

The moral of Doozers We Dig Spring! is “team work makes the dream work,” because in all six episodes all four Doozers team together to solve situations or to build something and they always put their ideas together to make things happen as a team.

I give Doozers We Dig Spring! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 4 to 18, and adults can enjoy this DVD as well.  This DVD is available now so go get it before it runs out!


Floogals: Investigation Station * Funny, Original, Always Teaching Kids Ways to Explore

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Floogals: Investigation Station * Funny, Original, Always Teaching Kids Ways to Explore

Join the Floogals on a mission of discovery as they explore Earth and the funny “hoomans” who live there! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like Floogals Investigation Station because it is very funny, original and creative… I like that it is not just animation, as some parts are real life graphics.  I also like that it is always teaching kids to explore and experiment in every episode.” See his full review below.


Floogals Investigation Station
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

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I like Floogals Investigation Station because it is very funny, original and creative.  It captured my attention the whole time.  I like that it is not just animation, as some parts are real life graphics.  I also like that it is always teaching kids to explore and experiment in every episode.
This DVD is about three purple lookalike aliens called Floogals – Captain Fleeker, First Officer Flo and Junior Boomer.  The Floogals learn new things and report back to their boss to inform him what they have learned on Earth.  This DVD contains six episodes about experimentation, discovery and observation.  Each episode has about 11 minutes of adventure and funny situations.  One of the funniest things of this show is that the aliens call the humans “hoomans.”

My favorite episode is “Project Popcorn.”  This episode is about the Floogals discovering a food called popcorn.  When a human accidentally lets go of the popcorn, it falls and the dog eats it, so they think it is dog food.  Later they start to realize what popcorn is.  Another one of my favorite episodes is “Project Sleep” which is about how a “hooman” girl invites her friends over for a sleepover.  The Floogals spy on the girls to see what a sleepover is all about.  The Floogals slowly learn about and process the word “sleepover,”  The Floogals do not realize that the whole time they are actually part of the sleepover.  The graphics are real live backgrounds and the Floogals are little animated aliens.  The animation is neat and very colorful.  The voiceover talent suits each character.  I like Junior Boomer’s character the most, because he is clumsy, funny, and always curious about learning new things.
The moral of this show is: don’t ever let someone stop you from doing what you desire.  Don’t allow anyone to discourage you from doing what you are capable of doing.  For example, Junior Boomer investigates this thing call “popcorn” and Captain Fleeker tries to stop him, but Junior Boomer still investigates.
I give Floogals Investigation Station 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 6 to 18, plus adults.  By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.


Leaders Must Now Think Like Scientists

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Leaders Must Now Think Like Scientists

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

The following blog is a republish of an article appearing in Forbes written by Maureen Metcalf. It is a companion to the interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on Tuesday, November 26, 2019, titled Sustainable Disruption.


During the industrial revolution, leaders managed effectively using command and control and leveraging best practices to solve problems that were common across multiple industries.

Now, however, the most effective leaders work more like scientists. They scan best practices, but also create competitive advantage by creating new and innovative solutions in the face of chaos.

Take Bill, a recent client who runs a mortgage firm in the U.K. June’s vote to exit the EU has thrown the British economy into uncertainty. Rates are dropping and the forecast is uncertain. Bill doesn’t know which direction the market will go, how fast, and what actions will be most effective. He looked to thought leaders before the vote and learned that a true Brexit was unlikely. Well, it happened, and now he needs to move forward and make the best of the uncertainty. The change might even be good for him if he makes the right calls

Many leaders, like Bill, are facing unprecedented challenges. In the past, they could look to best practices and study what others in their industry were doing. Now, in many situations, leaders need to respond immediately, but there is little time to study and no prior model with the same level of complexity that provides a low-risk solution. As leaders, we weren’t trained for this. We were trained to set a vision, build a plan, and work the plan.

With the advent of such changes, companies are responding with strategies like “cross-functional” teams, “early delivery,” and “continuous improvement.” Terms such as “fail fast” — which tell us we need to experiment and learn faster than our competition — have become popular. Learning fast differentiates us from our competitors who are still looking for the best practices. In reality, we are the ones creating the next round of best practices.

But many of us are still stuck between the old ways and new ways of leadership. We haven’t fully embraced what it means to be a leader today and now. First and foremost, we need to rethink our role. We need to change our mindset and behavior from directing to experimenting while realizing that as leaders in complex times, we are creating new solutions rather than drawing from the past. In many situations, history will determine what was right, but if we expect to know it before we take action, we will be paralyzed.

So, what do we do?

One of the most difficult challenges for leaders isn’t changing behavior (that’s the easy part) — it’s changing how we think of ourselves. It is easy to say, “I will act like a scientist,” but when someone comes in with a challenge and the leader has no idea how to proceed, this is a moment of truth. The leader without an answer will likely feel embarrassed and frustrated. The scientist, on the other hand, might actually be excited about the challenge.

As we begin to change our mindset, we begin to approach our leadership as a scientist. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Get the best people together for specific opportunities.The members will be dictated by the challenge. It is critical to have people with differing points of view. The people who disagree are often the most important to help identify blind spots and unanticipated challenges. The size of the group and the duration of discussions and evaluation will depend on the time required to respond. The participants should be from multiple geographies, functional departments and organizations.
  2. Formulate a hypothesis. The group pulls together all of the perspectives and crafts a clear hypothesis of how to proceed to generate the best overall outcome given the resources, goals and constraints.
  3. Formulate experiments. Using the hypothesis as the foundation, it is time to craft experiments that test the hypothesis. Experiments should be designed to prove or disprove the initial hypothesis and give enough information to support taking informed action going forward. The goal is to position the organization to take timely action, minimize risk, and maximize positive impact and learning and scale intelligently based on learning.
  4. Conduct the experiment. Once the experiment is crafted, it is time to execute. This usually looks like implementing a well-defined pilot with clearly articulated metrics designed to prove or disprove the initial hypothesis. This is also the opportunity to identify barriers to proper execution.
  5. Evaluate, learn and refine. One of the keys to experimentation is to learn as much as possible from each experiment to build success. This is where you will harvest your learnings form the measures as well as barriers or challenges that arose.

I work with a client who formerly worked as a physicist for NASA and now runs an organization heavily impacted by technology change. The culture of his organization is one of experimentation because it is natural to him. When I walk into his office, I see remnants of physical experiments, like a part of a drone, and the tone of the entire organization is open and excited. The physical space is one of the worst I have seen, so it isn’t the architecture but rather the tone of the leader. The leader’s mindset permeates the culture and the organizational systems. People are rewarded for launching new programs and eliminating those that are less effective.

Moving toward this mindset of experimentation allows us to master transformation and build the capacity for ongoing “renovation” of our organization. If this ability to respond quickly becomes a core competency of the organization, because of the mindset of the leader and the resulting culture, organizations are positioned to thrive. For leaders who take on the mindset of the scientist, experimentation becomes fun, they drive interesting innovation, and they inspire others to do the same.

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

Maureen Metcalf, CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is a renowned executive advisor, coach, consultant, author and speaker.

Photo by ThisIsEngineering

Disasters: A Sociological Approach (and using Covid-19 as an example)

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Disasters: A Sociological Approach (and using Covid-19 as an example)

Join me May 7/20 – Disasters are disaster because they impact society; the way we mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover from negative situations, including the Covid-19 pandemic. We speak with globally recognized sociologist, researcher and author, Professor Kathleen Tierney, as we discuss her book “Disasters: A Sociological Approach” with a slant to the Covid-19 pandemic. Prof, Tierney will talk to us about the social aspects of risks, preparedness and recovery. We’ll also chat about how Covid-19 is challenging different societies with their response, as there is no ‘blanket’ approach to the pandemic. Prof. Tierney will also talk to us about how our responses, including those related to Covid-19, differ from the perceptions that many falsely believe. Disasters impact society and Prof. Tierney opens our eyes about how we need to look beyond our usual disaster fears and address disasters using a sociological approach.



Gardening is NOT Canceled!

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Gardening is NOT Canceled!

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By Cynthia Brian 

“We have it in our power to begin the world again.”

Thomas Paine

What a difference a day makes! Who could have ever predicted that as the vernal equinox approached in the Northern Hemisphere the entire world would be mandated to stay home, pause, and practice social distancing?

Are you in compliance? As adults, we have the ability and the responsibility to be role models in keeping ourselves and our families safe and healthy whilst we are housebound. Thankfully, spring has sprung and our garden can be our protective sanctuary and our personal oasis. Although we can’t share our gardens personally with others, we can go outside to exercise, dig in the dirt, and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.  It’s time to develop our green thumbs as gardening is open and we have the time.

In the weeks since I’ve closed my StarStyle® Productions LLC office to shelter-in-place, my garden has been my refuge and my workplace. Although I won’t be consulting or coaching in person, I am working for hire via SKYPE, ZOOM, and phone to offer assistance when needed. I’ve decided to reframe this crisis as a positive time-out to rebalance, readjust, rejuvenate, and rest. Instead of rushing to cross items off my to-do list, I can pace myself and enjoy the process of weeding, sowing, planting, pruning, cleaning, and repairing. The fruit trees in my orchard are gloriously full of blooms, while spring-flowering trees and shrubs are triumphant in their abundance of pretty petals. It’s been a joy to stroll through the landscape shooting photos of the emerging rebirth. Every day something new sprouts and I am so grateful to be able to witness Mother Nature in action. Taking snips of branches in bloom and flowers unfurling, I am filling my indoor spaces with hope for a healthy future.

When one of my girlfriends, Nancy Roetzer, retired from school teaching, she began taking flower arranging classes through the adult center. Her bouquets and arrangements are inspired by her hikes in the woods, and especially by the many waterfalls, she has experienced. Her waterfall style floral design shows movement, flow, and layering. Featured in this issue is a spectacular showstopper using tulips, roses, carnations, cushion spray chrysanthemums (Dendranthema), cone bush (Leucadendron), ferns, vines, and moss. 

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What a terrific idea to experiment with creating floral displays during these dark days! Whether we cut a few stems and add them to a whimsical vessel or decide to be more formal with our innovations, this is an opportune moment to get our ingenuity fueled and fired. 

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We do have it in our power to begin the world anew. Listen to and abide by the mandates of the experts. We may not be able to predict the course of the virus, but we do have agency over our actions and reactions. My April Gardening Guide provides a plethora of ideas to keep you occupied, safe, happy, and healthy as we navigate the next month together and apart. 

Enjoy the blossoms, bouquets, and the colorful photos of our developing spring, a reminder that life goes on. Gardening is NOT canceled.

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for April

  • SOW seeds that will attract birds to your garden. Suggestions include coneflower, anise hyssop, bachelor’s button, Mexican sunflower, cosmos, and black-eyed Susan.
  • SHOOT photos of the abundant flowering trees including tulip magnolia, crabapple, peach, plum, prune, cherry, pear, and apple.
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  • CLEAN debris from berms and drainage ditches to prevent flooding. The soil and leaves can be added to your compost pile.
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  • PULL weeds while the ground is soft.
  • PLAN your vegetable garden for the foods you love the most. 
  • PLANT seeds of greens, beets, carrots, and turnips now.
  • CUT a branch or two from your favorite flowering trees or shrubs. Redbuds, crabapple, plum, and peach are glorious in vases.
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  • INTRODUCE plants that will make you smile. I planted sunflowers, sweet peas, nasturtiums, and purple hyacinth bean. 
  • TAKE a garden class on-line or watch YouTube videos with gardening tips. 
  • MAKE teas and cocktails from herbs you grow including mint, rosemary, sage, and fennel.
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  • REPOT houseplants.
  • BOOST your immune system with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, and fatty fish. Adopt a Mediterranean style of eating.  
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  • WALK around your garden to admire the spring growth.
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  • BUILD a planter box.
  • ORDER gardening books to read. Be inspired and motivated by Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers available at 
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  • INHALE the perfume of fragrant plants. Roses are blooming and fruit blossoms are delightful.
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  • LOWER your stress by strolling alone in the outdoors amongst trees and on trails.
  • MEDITATE in your garden, or on your balcony, patio, or porch.
  • LISTEN to the birds, frogs, and insects as they begin their spring songs.
  • NOURISH your spirit by sitting by a fountain or pond. 
  • EAT plenty of fresh citruses, especially homegrown, to increase your vitamin C intake. Oranges, tangelos, tangerines, grapefruit, and lemons are ripe and ready for picking.
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  • EXERCISE includes all gardening chores: raking sweeping, weeding, lifting, pruning, planting, digging, fertilizing, and chopping wood. Workout outside.
  • TAKE a nap and on a warm day, get your z’s outside in the fresh air.
  • SHARE your garden skills with your children. Let them plant seeds of vegetables and herbs they want to eat. 
  • FERTILIZE lawns. Lawn food is available at your local hardware store.
  • GROW your own bouquets. Create a stunning arrangement with a variety of roses, stock, tulips, iris, calla lilies, and mock orange. 
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  • BEE friendly by planting three or four types of native wildflowers to attract the honey gatherers as well as pest-resistant varieties of flowers, shrubs, trees, and vegetables, thus eliminating pesticides. I’ve sown California poppies, lupines, bee balm, and morning glories.
  • WATCH the blossoms in the breeze float to the ground like snowflakes. 
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  • PREPARE your garden patches to sow seeds of potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant by rotating these crops. For best production, do not plant these in the same place every year.
  • ENJOY a peaceful Passover and Easter without an in-person gathering.
  • STAY informed about Covid-19 depending only on reliable information. Visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at; 

The World Health Organization at; 

State Department:; 

Contra Costa County Health Department at; 

Contra Costa County Office at

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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and more:

Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia Brian 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 upbeat 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 Brian books banner.jpg. 


Hire Cynthia for writing projects and virtual garden consults or lectures.

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Managing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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Managing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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

The following blog is provided by Carrie Spell-Hansson. It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Diversity Training Then and Now: What Has Changed? that aired on March 31st, 2020.   This interview was part of the 12-week series from the International Leadership Association.


We can all agree that technology has made the world appear smaller. Managing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) remains a significant challenge for many organizations. To succeed in today’s environment, organizations must commit to developing an inclusive culture.

Increasingly, companies are working with and managing people who are spread out not only within countries but also across borders and oceans. Managers are managing people from more diverse geographies, cultures, demographics, and backgrounds than ever before. People from a variety of backgrounds must work together— one-on-one and in teams—across locations that may or may not be formally linked.

Organizational leaders need additional skills to manage this changing, diverse workplace. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion experts have the task of teaching the inclusive leadership/management skills needed in today’s multicultural work environment. Our job is to prepare leaders and managers to value differences among employees, external clients, and customers so that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

In an article in SAGE Open, Patrick & Kumar define diversity as “a set of conscious practices that involve understanding and appreciating interdependence of humanity, cultures, and the natural environment; practicing mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own; … recognizing that personal, cultural, and institutionalized discrimination creates and sustains privileges for some while creating and sustaining disadvantages for others; and building alliances across differences so that we can work together to eradicate all forms of discrimination.”

Building a diverse workforce along with an equitable and inclusive culture requires real change and implementation of proven best practices. From my years of experience and research I’ve learned that organizations whose DEI efforts has achieved the greatest impact have all found that the initial three best practices are:

  • Leadership commitment– Many organizations have relegated the task to HR or newly developed roles and/or departments entitled Chief Diversity Officer or manager. Chances are they are qualified to create great DEI programs for the organization. I have found in most organizations without senior leadership support lasting change will not happen. Through the commitment of the leadership, organizations can give those departments assigned to the task the backing to ensure DEI initiatives rise to the level of priority needed to affect change.
  • Establish a solid foundation around the commitment and importance of DEI – Leadership must develop a clear position on DEI. DEI commitment requires communication and is an organization-wide change initiative.  A clearly defined position is essential. Many organizations have established diversity committees and/or task forces to move the DEI vision forward. These groups represent all facets of the organization including senior leadership. One of the many tasks they may be chargedwith is to develop the organization’s diversity statement.
  • Metrics for success– The most effective way to help move an organization forward and provide a measurable, long-term impact is centered around what I call the Three A’s: “Analysis—Assessment—Action.” Here’s a look at each element:
    • Analysis. This stage isn’t just about asking questions. It’s about asking the right questions. The initial goal is to capture the issues, concerns, and barriers currently existing within the organization and use that knowledge to develop a strategic diversity plan to address them. The plan should outline the specific steps necessary to reach the agreed-upon organizational goals.
    • Assessment. Generally, an organizational climate study, cultural audits, self-assessments, and one-on-one, and group interviews are beneficial in capturing the existing climate. Both quantitative and qualitative measures of the D&I climate should be used.
    • Action. Based on the analysis and assessment, the organization decides the appropriate proven best practices to implement. Some examples include:
      • Conduct organization-wide training tailored to each level—that is, leadership team, managers, and employees. When possible, separate the groups so that each feels free to open up and discuss relevant issues.
      • Provide data to help leaders and managers see the correlation between DEI and productivity and employee engagement
      • Develop a consistent operational definition of diversity and inclusion.
      • As part of the organization-wide training, include a discussion of perceptions and how our perceptions unconsciously shape how we treat and respond to others.
      • Illustrate the positive impact of cultural differences, an area that is commonly overlooked.
      • Acknowledge differences, define what the differences are, and leverage those differences within the organization.

Achieving a high-performing, inclusive organization is a journey. The DEI expert and the leadership team must develop milestones and target dates to assess where they are (actual) with where they want to be (projected). With that information, they can develop SMART goals for reaching the desired destination.


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

Carrie Spell-Hansson is the executive director and founder of The Folke Institute for Transformative Learning and an expert in diversity and inclusion. TFI provides training and development, coaching, and research in diversity and inclusion, communication, cross-cultural and gender competencies, and leadership and management development both domestically and internationally. She is a sought-after speaker and a top-rated facilitator of communications, management, and leadership courses for American Management Association. She draws on her extensive years of experience in the field, using both professional and personal insights in her dynamic workshops and presentations. Spell-Hansson has been the subject matter expert on D&I for several organizations, including AMA.

Photo by Anemone123–2637160 

Building a High Impact IT Leadership Development Program Leveraging Technology

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Building a High Impact IT Leadership Development Program Leveraging Technology

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 shares the case study of the IT Leadership Development Program co-created by Innovative Leadership Institute and Expedient. More can be learned about this program on the Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future podcast with Steve Gruetter titled Building Aspiring CIOs and ‘C’ Level Leaders.


The Challenge/Vision: The Central Ohio CIO Forum identified a gap in the number of leaders ready to step into CIO roles for the projected regional growth. To address this opportunity, they partnered with Expedient and the Innovative Leadership Institute to build an IT Leadership program that meets 2.5 hours per month, including six in-class learning sessions with pre-defined topics, roundtable executive presentations, and discussion sessions, and two networking events.

According to the American Society of Training and Development, US businesses spend more than 170 Billion dollars on a leadership-based curriculum, with the majority of those dollars spent on “Leadership Training.” According to McKinsey, “there is no silver bullet for successfully developing leaders—more than 40 key actions must be taken to increase chances of success to 80 percent”. As a leader interested in developing or as an organizational leader interested in developing people working for you, it is essential to have useful information about how to select a leadership development program. There are plenty of opportunities to spend your money from one-day classes to online programs to comprehensive university programs. How do you make the best decision to ensure you are investing your time and money wisely and that you have a high probability of success from your investment?

Goal: elevate the quality of IT Leadership in Central Ohio to support succession planning, economic development of the region, healthy business growth, and business financial success, improve employee engagement, and attract and retain top technology talent to the Central Ohio region.

Solution: The program is co-delivered by Innovative Leadership Institute and Expedient that leverages best leadership models and content, leadership assessments, learning technology, and learning methods and processes. The image below reflects the combination of tools and approaches. Listen to participant feedback 5-minute video to learn more about how participants describe their involvement and impact.

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Program Design

ILI, in partnership with Expedient, designed the program to meet the outcomes and desired learning experience based on CIO Forum goals and designated topics. This section describes the details of the approach to designing and delivering the program.

  1. Identify the best leadership models and materials to meet the learning goals.
  2. Identify the best learning approach based on leading research focused on the most effective method for leadership development. The approach leverages
    1. In-Class Program content – In-class activities 2.5 hours/month (six content sessions and four expert round table discussions (moved to Zoom during shut down). Programs are updated regularly based on trends and leadership research.
    2. Round tables – Local CIOs provide insights from their professional experience to help IT Leaders build business understanding as well as perspective about the journey to becoming a senior leader. These sessions are very open and candid. Jeremiah Gracia, Economic Development, City of Dublin, Ohio, leads a roundtable talking about workforce development. The City of Dublin is a co-sponsor of the program.
    3. Networking events are a crucial element of the program. A strong community requires leaders to build a network to share information as well as support one another in navigating the challenges technology leaders face.
    4. Assessment – Participants take pre and post-session Innovative Leadership behavior assessment powered by SkillNet (some with Boss feedback). Participants incorporate this feedback into learning assignments. Read the blog by Mike Kritzman, founder of SkillNet A Proven 5 Step Approach to Solve Skill Gaps and listen to his podcast SkillNet: Personalized Learning Framework for Your Company. We invite you to take a free mini-ILI Competency assessment.
    5. Parallel path complete leadership workbook activities presented in six modules: leverage International Award Winning Innovative Leadership workbooks, podcasts, and videos delivered by the Kajabi Online Platform. Kajabi Online Platform podcast with founder Travis Rosser. Read the blog post based on Forbes article Leveraging Technology To Improve Leadership Development.
    6. Create accountability by submitting the leadership workbook activities as deliverables and receive feedback: track deliverables and attendance for certification.
    7. Strengthen network and support community by sharing assignments with learning partners (matched using Position Success Indicator to identify the best match) Position Success Indicator podcast with Founder Mark Palmer. Read the Blog by Mark Palmer The Position Success Indicator (PSI): Your Job Fit Solution for the Future of Work.
    8. Challenge previously held constraints by the class participants on how to be a leader and show leadership traits
    9. Build a network of like-minded peers in each cohort, a group of technology professionals whose opinion they can trust, based on class interaction
    10. Evaluate progress by soliciting participant and CIO feedback on participant’s development progress.
    11. Collaboration by Slack (Advanced Leadership Program Only).
    12. Certification for participants who complete all requirements successfully earn an Innovative Leadership Certification. Muskingum University recognizes this certification for its Master of Information Strategy and Systems Technology (MISST) program for three credit hour leadership class.

The basis of this learning approach is 15 years of experience teaching leadership development to MBA students. You can learn more by listening to a podcast with Steve Gruetter and Maureen Metcalf discussing the program in depth.


  1. Participant success
    1. 200 participants in the first four cohorts, representing 104 Central Ohio organizations
    2. 45 of the first 150 participants (30%) have had a promotion since the first cohort started (per LinkedIn)
    3. 8 participants promoted to a C-Level role – CIO, CTO, CISO, Chief Strategy or Chief Transformation Officer
    4. 82 of the first 150 participants have earned a certification of completion
    5. 8 participants advanced to participate in the Advanced Leadership Development Program Pilot
    6. $44,000 raised so far for the Central Ohio CIO Forum Scholarship Fund from the first four cohorts
    7. The last three cohorts had 32%+ women participants
    8. The previous three cohorts have had 32%+ minority participants
    9. Participants are taking advantage of the Muskingum MISST program three credits course waived for course participants
  1. Survey results
    1. Results from IT Leaders Program as measured by CIOs they report to – answers provided reflect a 1-5 scale:
    2. How much have the participant(s) individual leadership skills and/or performance improved over the last year attributable to what they have learned by being in the program? 4.5
    3. If the participant(s) currently leads a group, how much has the culture and/or performance of their group improved over the last year attributable to the participant’s leadership? 4.5
    4. How much better prepared are the participant(s) for additional leadership responsibilities/promotion in the future? 5.0
  2. Approximately 50% of participants meet the rigorous requirements for certification.
  3. Community successIT Case Study 2.png
    1. Better prepared leaders for additional leadership responsibility (see survey results).
    2. Program enrollment remains substantial and increasing – companies continue to enroll the maximum number of participants in the class. Over 75 companies have registered their employees. Cohort five has the most significant number of participants well in advance of program kick-off. 25% enrolled six months in advance of program kick-off.
    3. Promotion of local leaders – companies fill senior roles with local talent.
    4. ILI continually updates content – content remains fresh to address community requirements. ILI adds refreshed content and value to each successive course.
    5. Diverse leaders – programs continue to attract increasing rates of women and minorities, thereby improving the quality of leadership because of a more diverse pool of candidates.
  4. Watch a 5-minute video of participants describing the impact in their own words.

Conclusion: The best leaders elevate their leadership quality because they actively participate in well designed and effectively delivered leadership development programs. The IT Leaders programs involve a range of activities that include participants learning key frameworks, building skills, practicing new behaviors, reflecting on new skills and self-awareness activities, and feedback. We created the program to leverage the latest research on leadership development for adult learners. One defining feature of this program is that it heavily leverages technology to support learning outcomes. When the State of Ohio was on work from home requirements, the IT Leaders program helped its participants in building the leadership skills they needed to navigate the complex and uncertain territory of leading during a pandemic. Future classes will continue to build on the success of the past four years.


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

Maureen Metcalf, CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is a renowned executive advisor, coach, consultant, author and speaker.

Photo by Christina Morillo

There’s No Place Like Home

Posted by presspass on
There’s No Place Like Home
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Miracle Moment®

“There’s no place like home” Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz


MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

cyn barnHow are you doing? How is your family? Are you safely ensconced at home? How is that going? In our lifetimes, there has never been a global pandemic like what we are experiencing with the coronavirus Covid-19. Hang in there! We will get through this.

One of my all-time favorite films is The Wizard of Oz. The book and the movie have so many critical life lessons and one of the most important is to appreciate what we already have.

In California, on March 19, our Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to establish consistency across the state in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order outlined a few essential services that could remain open including medical facilities, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, laundromats, and some government agencies. Schools and universities are closed. Most companies, restaurants, stores, and businesses are shuttered.  Freeways are almost empty, many parks, trails, and beaches are closed. Everyone is mandated to maintain a personal distance of six feet from another person. Living in the Twilight Zone has become a reality.

Our Be the Star You Are!® and StarStyle® offices closed on March 12 and will continue to be closed until the shelter-in-place decree is lifted. There is financial loss and, like others, I am concerned about paying the rent, utilities, and expenses, personally, professionally, and for Be the Star You Are®. However, I am grateful to have a comfortable home office and library from which I can work. The numerous personal projects on my To-Do list are finally getting attention. Because I am spending so many hours in my garden, it has never looked better, and my barnyard of adopted animals keeps me very grounded and occupied. Farm chores are never-ending. Home is where my heart is and I am thankful, despite the dire circumstances, to be spending time in peaceful isolation.

Not everyone is happy about the command to remain at home, especially if it is not possible to work from home. We all miss seeing family, friends, and co-workers. We yearn to go out to dinner, theater, events, and parties. Life has changed very suddenly and each day can be scary, confusing, and debilitating.

My husband’s office is closed. He wants to go to work. He worries for his patients, staff, and the people. Income loss is a major stress point and he fears that his practice may not survive this crisis. It is hard when the work one does is not doable remotely,

Everyone is in the same predicament. This morning the publisher of the wonderful newspaper for which I write, The Lamorinda Weekly, announced that this week’s publication will be the last until advertising revenue return.  All of my in-person speaking bookings have been canceled. Many companies have or may have to close their doors, never to reopen.The trickle down affects each of us negatively. Employers and employees are struggling to find equitable solutions to survive this emergency.

As a literacy and empowerment non-profit, we want to do our part to provide resources to entertain, instruct, and uplift you during these very challenging and stressful times. Reading is a relaxing and rewarding way to pass productive time while at home.

Publisher’s Weekly said it best, “As more families shift to manage their studies and work remotely, and Americans seek both information and escape, we are proud and heartened to find books are the source that will sustain us through this challenging moment. From the authors, agents, publishers, and everyone who helps create them, to the readers who turn their pages, we’re grateful for you all.”

Here are FREE RESOURCES that will help sustain you and your family through our home stays.

1. Books for everyone from the Association of American Publishers:

2. Book Reviews written by our volunteers for all genres of books to help parents, librarians, and teachers:


3. From our literacy partner, The Reading Tub, book reviews and recommendations, bringing literacy home to families:

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4. From our favorite kids author,Brooks Olbrys, a narrated video for ages 4-8 of the first five chapters of The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob#1- A Journey Begins:

“Decide what you love, what excites and inspires, 

then make that your purpose and watch what transpires.” Doc, the Turtle 

Blue Ocean Bob

5. If you love nature and gardening, a plethora of gardening articles:

If there was ever a time to stop and smell the roses, that time is now!

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6. For teens, by teens, Express Yourself!™ Radio hosts and reporters continue to interview fantastic guests. Listen to 9 years fantastic interviews :

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Recent guests include Mega Best Selling Author Dr. Bernie Siegel, Start-Ups guru Trevor Blake, Branding Expert Priya Florence Shaw, and coming April 5, author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong will discuss Pop Star Goddesses with 35 of our favorite musical stars.

For information on new weekly episodes and guests, visit

7. Lifestyle radio programming at its best, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® offers you 728 hours of LIVE uplifting, informative, empowering broadcasts showcasing celebrities, authors, successperts, and the pioneers the planet.

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Tune in on April 8th for a celebration of Passover and Easter and a stroll through Monet’s Garden.

Beginning on Wednesday, April 15 at 4:30pm PT, join us for Wine Wednesdays with sommelier, Heather Brittany. Each week we’ll raise a glass and learn about a different varietal. We can all use a little vino during this down time and Heather Brittany brings us the party to put the bloom on the doom. It’s Wine Time! Salute!

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New LIVE shows every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT:

8. Find simple ways to bring joy to others with Karen Kitchel’s Scattering Kindness, a short blog that reminds you to smile.

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9. Get inspired with audio and video interviews about purpose, passion, and possibilities:

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Other Resources

If you or your business is in need of financial help, low-interest emergency loans are available through the Small Business Administration.

For factual information about Covid-19 visit these sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

The World Health Organization at for updates.

For California:

As Mr Roger’s said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

I and everyone affiliated with Be the Star You Are!® are helpers. We are here to support you through this struggle.  

Our prayers and gratitude go out to all of the medical workers, first responders, and those on the front lines who are risking their lives to save others. We also send our thanks to the companies and individuals who are stepping up to help procure supplies and to those who work in essential services that must stay open to the public. Make sure to show your appreciation in whatever way you are able to these unsung heroes.


Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay sane. Meditate and Breathe!

Remember, “This, too, shall pass.”

Sending virtual hugs, elbow bumps, and wellness wishes.

Enjoy springtime as you harbor at home!

redbud in bloom in the rain

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

P.S. During the lock-down, I am available for consultations, webinars, interviews, or speaking via on-line sources only. If interested, email or visit


BTSYA High Res Logo Read Lead Succeed

“Read, lead, succeed. To be a leader, you must be a reader.”


The May 9th Moraga Community Faire and Family Fun Booth of Be the Star You Are!® have been postponed until the Coronavirus and personal distancing is over. We will keep you posted when a new date has been scheduled. In the meantime, please visit the website of our generous SuperStar Sponsor, GreenAir, your energy solutions company, GreenAir did the solar installation for Cynthia Brian several years ago and she highly recommends this company. Become sustainable,. Go GREEN!

Green Air Logo Face painting and Reading

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Be the Star You Are!® is committed to the highest level of transparency! Our organization earned the 2020 Platinum Seal of Transparency from Guidestar, showcasing the progress and results we’re making toward our mission! We’re proud to use GuideStar Platinum to share our full and complete story with the world. To reach the Platinum level, we added extensive information to our Nonprofit Profile.

About GuideStar: In February 2019, GuideStar joined forces with Foundation Center

to form Candid, a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Today, GuideStar is a service

of Candid. Every year, millions of nonprofits spend trillions of dollars around the world. Candid finds out where that money comes from, where it goes, and why it matters. Through research, collaboration, and training, Candid connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to do it. Candid’s data tools on nonprofits,foundations, and grants are the most comprehensive in the world. Learn more

at and on Twitter @CandidDotOrg.


Make a tax-deductible donation today!

“Communicate, Collaborate, Innovate!”


Since we need to stay at home and only go out when absolutely necessary, these are on-line shopping portals that will sell you what you need, offer discounts, and assist our mission as a nonprofit. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials,


1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases

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2. Discounted books at Amazon:

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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

Home is where the heart is and right now our bodies need to be there, too. There IS no place like home. Stay heathy. Stay HOME.

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Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

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

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