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Life Derailed

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Empowerment
Life Derailed

I host a radio weekly internet radio show on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel called Life Altering Events (https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/3902/life-altering-events). People often ask me what exactly is a life altering event? I tell them this – It can be something we choose or something that is thrust upon us that dramatically alters the trajectory of our life.

On August 20, 2019 my guest was Latachia Morrissette Harper who is a truly remarkable and inspirational women. You can hear the conversation at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/116498/life-derailed.

Latachia is the author of the book Life Derailed, A Divorced Mom’s Survival Guide. Her inspiration to write this book was to recover from a very traumatic divorce and let other women and men know they are not alone. Latachia addresses that your emotions, feelings, grief, sense of loss, how will I pay my bills, fear of the future are not unique. If you have not read this book – do it today!

Latachia is also a public speaker, writer, and entrepreneur. Her passion is to motivate and inspire women, especially women with children impacted by divorce. Being in an abusive relationship is a life altering and divorce can be terrifying and debilitating but which is worse? She equips women to find their independence and strength, learning how to find their voice and love themselves first.

Now men, don’t see this title and think “This is a chick book.” It’s not. Latachia provides a common sense approach at time when common sense is often absent. This common sense applies equally to both men and women.

One powerful piece of advice from her book is:

In dealing with the sorrow of divorce or a major loss in your life/family, take one breath at a time, make one decision at a time, and focus on just the current day and what you can achieve. The saddest thing for a child is to be in your presence and you not really being there. Be in the moment, embrace them. You control more in life when you don’t let the issues, things control you.

Another statement she wrote that I loved and wish I had followed is “Stop Saying you are OK.”

Stop saying you’re OK. Seriously, it’s OK to not be OK. Wait till the kids are away and SCREAM, cry and then get out a piece of paper and write it all down, random thoughts, fears and ideas. Get it out, it’s OK, you have a right to be in this place.

Remember divorce is a legal process. It is a legal process to become married and a legal process to end the marriage. It is a huge mistake to rush through the process or say to your ex “Just get the papers and I’ll sign so we can get this over.” Don’t ignore this step. There are too many important issues regarding finances, property and most importantly the needs of your children. Get it in writing up front because promises made prior to divorce often change afterwards. The children certainly don’t need to re-live these battles over and over.

Another major issue you will likely face is “the call” from your ex, suggesting you try again. Stop! Proceed with caution. Think about why things will be better or different if you jump back in. Really stop and think about it or you may find yourself in a worse situation in the next year or two. Why is your ex asking to get back together when they were so eager to leave?

Picking up the pieces is not easy. It will be the most difficult thing you will ever do, but keep this in mind, stop looking behind you, you’re not going that way. There is nothing new to see in the past so keep moving forward. Believe it or not, better times and better people will come into your life.

Changing the Odds

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Empowerment
Changing the Odds

As someone who interacts directly with over 50 Angel and Private Investors I am going to share some information with you.

INC magazine reported than one in five Americans would like to own a business. That is 2nd only to home ownership, as part of the American dream. However, more times than not, this dream of owning a business becomes a nightmare.

This is from Forbes magazine – 50% to 60% of small businesses fail within three years. 80% fail with 5 years. 70% of SBA loan applications are rejected.

What is going on here? Obviously, something is seriously wrong with the process of preparing entrepreneur’s. But how can that be when there are dozens and dozens of organizations, be they, Government, nonprofit, or for profit that have classes or seminars or webinars whose intent is to assist business owners through this very process.

So you would think that with all these programs and organizations designed to help, the odds of success would be better. They’re not.  We meet with so many people, who attended these programs and leave less than satisfied. The three statements we hear most often are:

  1. Most of the presenters have never started or owned a business
  2. They present theory not reality
  3. They provide very basic information on WHAT to do, but little to nothing about HOW and WHY to do it

The bottom line is – Far too many small business owners are not adequately prepared to navigate the land mines of becoming a business owner.

If you made it past the five year mark – congratulations! You have beaten the odds. You achieved some degree of success. What did it take?  More than likely you have been working 80+ hours a week; are juggling every crisis alone; have missed far too many family dinners and some of your children’s events just trying to survive. Not thrive, just survive.

Now if you were like me, you might think, Wow, I made it to 5 years, I can finally take a breath & relax.   Well not so fast, nothing stays stagnant in business.

If you made it to 5 years, you are about to enter yet another unknown area.  You are or will be soon in a position where you have to grow or expand or merge or scale, or sell or acquire. Regardless, you are going to need capital again. Now what? More bad news, Enterpreneurs.com reports that 50% of businesses fail after 5 years and 70% fail after 10.

Why is there so much failure? It’s not that the ideas were terrible or the owner was not capable. It is quite the contrary. The real problem is you don’t know what you don’t know, and you don’t know where to go to find out what you don’t know.

So what do you do? You talk to friend who knows a guy; or your CPA or lawyer or banker. If you’re lucky, they will be supportive but it’s not their business on the line – it’s yours.

Did you ever talk to your banker or CPA when you were at a cross road? I did turn-arounds of failing companies for over 15 years. I had more of these conversations than I cared to have. The conversation went like this: they nodded at the appropriate places, but when I looked in their eyes, they weren’t engaged. They were thinking, “Oh no, if this thing fails, we have a huge loan out to this guy”; or “We are going to have to raise the interest on his credit line.”

Their primary concern when you are facing a cross road is what happens to them, not you.

Too often when we reach a cross road, we tend to wait to make a decision. We say to ourselves, “I need more data, or “I need to see next month’s report.” As we wait the situation goes from concern to crisis, then crisis to panic. What happens in panic mode?  We either make no decision or a poor decision.

We flounder around hoping to catch lightening in a bottle. Other than Megan Markel, how often does than happen?

As I mentioned, I did turn-arounds of failing companies for several years. These were companies who had some degree of success. All had made it past five years, some past ten. Then they had reached a cross road they had not and were not prepared to address. They found themselves in crisis mode. Far too often this is when they call for help.

Of all the companies I worked with, here is what I found in every case.

  1. They admitted in hindsight they should have bitten the bullet early in the process and engaged with an organization that could have helped them avoid the land mines they stepped on.
  2. They had convinced themselves that they didn’t have the time or the money to bring in help, BUT they would have time as soon as they finished this one last project. Then another last project. You know the story.
  3. While they didn’t have the time of the money to work with someone who has been there and done that, they did have the time and money to hire a fitness trainer or a life coach, or go to three more conferences.

Something must change or this pattern of failure will get worse. So what are you going to do? Consider this!

My associates and I have all started, and successfully operated businesses for decades. We have since sold our companies and are now sharing our 130 years of combined business knowledge and experience. We have developed a four step plan, called “Changing the Odds.” Where we work directly with business owners to guide them through the process of defining, creating, and most important, sustaining a successful business.

Now, you should be saying, “Yeah, yeah Frank, why is this different from the other programs?”

First and foremost we have been there and done that. We know what it takes to successfully run businesses in the real world. Second this is not a class. We don’t present theory and give you reams of paper and send you on your way. We work directly with you through all four steps.

What are the four steps?

  1. Strategic Direction – We help you define WHY you want to start this business and if you are already in business why do you want to take this next step– what value does it provide.
  2. We create a business plan and multiple contingencies. Because no matter what the rules are today – they are going to change.
  3. Branding/Marketing/Positioning – We build you a marketing program, not a campaign, a program, which will differentiate you from the herd.
  4. Fiscal/Financial – We prepare a detailed investor strategy which works for the business and our investor. If we secure funding we stay with you to implement the plan. This will give you the greatest chance for success.

Ladies and gentlemen, we all know, insanity is continuing to do the same old tired processes and expect a different result.  Regardless of where you are in your journey, do yourself a favor and work directly with people who have been there and done that before you put your company and life savings at risk.

Let me leave you with this, the secret to walking on water is to know where the rocks are. We can show you where the rocks are. Call me, let’s talk, I’ll help you.

Commitment to Civility in Phoenix

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Business
Commitment to Civility in Phoenix

Commitment to Civility

Phoenix, Arizona , June 18, 2019 – A true commitment to civility has become priority for a group of professionals and entrepreneurs taking Phoenix by storm.

Dr. Vernet Joseph, World Civility Ambassador, National Statesmen, recognizes the gravity of responsibility relating to public life and befitting a citizen. Not taken lightly a necessity to be solution influenced by shifting increased division coarsening our culture too often fueled by vitriol of politics and public discourse.

Vernet, entrepreneur productivity speaker, best-selling author and the Founder/CEO of Live To Produce Enterprises, LLC energized the city as a world wind this year. The 3rd Annual Productive Business Summit positioned in Phoenix, at the Salvation Army Joan and Ray Kroc Center was a game changer. Attendees were startled with awe when City of Phoenix Mayor, Kate Gallego, issued a proclamation deeming June 8th as Phoenix Day of Civility, presented by the Mayor’s Director of Community Relations.
This day filled event encompassed speakers ranging from the My Financial Home CEO from California – Dr. Cozette M. White – who stressed the five biggest mistakes business owners make, and Arizona Financial Planner Ashley Folkes, who provided practical tips about being mentally, physically and financial fit, to World’s Best Connectors’ founder Denise Meridith, Crown Life Enterprises Founder Marquez Hughley, whose talk focused on increased levels of productivity, Mindset Changer CEO Jamal Cummins, whose message was “Don’t quit!” and PITCH Investors Live representatives who introduced a new innovative way for business owners and entrepreneurs to gain exposure and obtain funding.
The Productive Business Summit & Golden Rule Global awards is a collaboration with Dr. Clyde Rivers, the Honorary UN Ambassador at Large of the Republic of Burundi. Rivers has earned innumerable awards, including, in 2017, the United States Presidential Life Achievement Award for over 4,000 hours of serving the nation and humanity. He is also the Founder and President of iChange Nations (ICN), which improves the quality of life throughout the world by emphasizing honor, trust, dignity, and civil discourse. Cities and states are encouraged to join the cause. For example, communities throughout Indiana celebrated their fourth Annual World Civility Day in April, 2019.
Award recipients this year from the Productive Business Summit were presented by Dr. Vermet Joseph and Dr. Wil Moreland of Wil Moreland International. The recipients were:
IChange Nations World Civility Award (Danielle Williams),( Dr. Aikyna Finch), (Tasha “TC” Cooper),( Houssam Makki), (Bennie Randall), and (Dr. Stacie N.C. Grant)
IChange Nations Challenged Champions and Hero’s ( Anthony Ameen)
IChange Nations Women Add Value ( Dr. Cozette M. White), (PeShon ALLEN), ( Dr. Robin Hollis), (Roslyn Williams), ( Diana Gregory), (Beverly VanTull), (Nisha Witt), (Nakisha Graves King), (Dionne L. Archibald), (Pollyana Neely), (Chelsea Mandello), (Tammy Phipps), (Suzie Mills), (Johnnie Lloyd)
IChange Nations Community Ambassador (Harry Garewal), (Abraham James), (Anthony Ameen), (Sheriff Mark Lamb), (Ghazi Muhammad), (Derrick Smith), (Diana Gregory), (Denice Williams), (Dionne L. Archibald), (Pollyana Neely), ( Johnnie Lloyd), (David Winkler)
IChange Women of Global Solutions (Denise Meridith), (Tammy Phipps), (Marchelle Franklin)
Productive Business Global Agent of Change (Clarence McAllister)
Productive Business Agent of Change (Tara Laurie), (Larry Ross), (Christie Ellis)
Productive Business Community Game Changer Award (Harry Garewal), (Cozette M. White),(Sheriff Mark Lamb), (Sheriff Joseph Alvarado), (Ron Williams), (Dr. Aikyna Finch), ( Ron Williams) (Dr. Stacie N.C. Grant), (Beverly VanTull), (Dionne L. Archibald), (Johnnie Lloyd), (Denice Williams), (Pollyanna Neely), ( Houssam Makki), (Marchelle Franklin)
Productive Business Warrior Hero’s Award (Anthony Ameen), ( Tammy Phipps)
Productive Business Sustainable Developement Award (Chelsea Mandello)
Productive Business Award (Nakisha Graves King)
Productive Business Innovators Award ( Nisha Witt)
Productive Business Media ICON Award (Daniel Williams), (Roslyn Williams), (Derrick Smith), (PeShon Allen), (Javier Soto)
Productive Business Economic Developement Award (Diana Gregory)
Productive Business Entrepreneures (Abraham James), (Ghazi Muhammad), (Tamala Daniels), (Pamela Slim), (Robin Reed), (Suzie Mills)
Productive Business Philanthropy Award (Diana Gregory – Black Philanthropy Initiative)
Productive Business Volunteer Service Award (Robin Hollis)
Productive Business Veterans Award (Quincy Milam), (David Winkler)
Productive Business City of the Year – City of Phoenix

Another highlight of the evening was an attendee making an impromptu decision from the audience to enlist in a real live pitch contest for $10,000.00. Three minutes later Darryl Gooden of www.keepteachersteaching.org pitched an initiative to support teachers around the world inside and outside the classroom. The vote was unequivocally unanimous to award Gooden the grand prize.

When Joseph was asked what were the aha’s or moments that took his breath away? Joseph proclaimed, “Experiencing the power of relationships and collaboration with partners flying in from around the world.” Topped off by “Mayor Gallego’s proclaiming June 8th Phoenix Day of Civility.”

Civility lives on.

PBS All Awardees.jpg

Shift. Shine. Inspire.

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Empowerment
Shift. Shine. Inspire.

It was such a pleasure to have Viviana Lahrs Gesyuk and Tahil Gesyuk, founders of Heart Source in Berkeley, as guests on SacredExploration (November 30), sharing their experience and wisdom about creating extraordinary relationships. We usually think of issues around ‘shining bright’ as an individual challenge or fear. But, one of the things that came up in our discussion was that even couples can be afraid to experience unknown levels of happiness, ecstasy, and prosperity. Naturally, before the couple can achieve new levels of experience, each of the individuals within it must own their own ability to shine bright. Following is a blog written by Viviana in 2016, illuminating the journey around recognizing the fact that we are all free to shine bright:

Shift. Shine. Inspire.

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Who will give me permission to shine? My whole life, for as long as I could remember, I had this ever present, unseen, unconscious feeling that I had to have permission from something or someone to let myself be seen, to shine, to get big, to follow my dreams and create and do what was my calling. Yet I didn’t quite know what my calling was or know that I was even waiting for permission.

One day about 9 years ago I was sitting in a huge hotel auditorium in Burlingame. I was a real estate agent and attempting to build my small empire of real estate sales. In this two day seminar, we were being shown how to manage our lives, our business and, most importantly, how to bring in clients, keep clients and make them happy. We learned minute details like what color our flyers should be for maximum visibility, how to make a weekly schedule to have successful time management, what kind of questions to ask… some good stuff, yet I found much of it boring. Then, on the last day in the last hours, we got to what lit me up. You know that time of a big seminar when the presenters invoke inspiration, joy, and hope? Tucked in the side flap of our folders was a card with a poem on it. We were asked to get that out and read it. In that moment, as tears started to build in my eyes, my body took a deep breath in and out, and I was inspired. I felt a bell ring and I resonated with it. This lit me up! This is what I wanted. This feeling. This knowing that I could shine and that I was allowed to do so. I had permission! I didn’t need to wait for anyone to tell me it was ok. And not only was it ok, but that by me shining, others would have permission, too! You mean that I can help others shine? I can give them permission? Whoa! This is good stuff! This is what I want in my life.

Fast forward almost 9 years. Here I am. Tingling energy rushes through me now as I write this, simultaneously experiencing that moment of aha 9 years ago and feeling where I am today and seeing where I am, how far I’ve come. Tears of gratitude. I am sitting in my Berkeley kitchen with inspiring music running in my living room while I work on my laptop. My beloved, Tahil, partner in life and business of nearly 6 years, doing his work in our bedroom. We are about to open up a new workshop center that is all about heart based workshops and trainings that offer skills and resources for having more love and light in life and relationships. I am sitting in front of people daily to inspire, influence, and offer them support in creating the lives they want. I do this through teaching yoga, writing our book, coaching clients and creating a center full of inspiring offerings for healthy, vibrant, love filled lives. And this lights me up. This feels good. And it’s my life.

I took the path that came before me, one hint, one poem, one therapy session, one coaching session, one yoga class, one training, one breakdown, one breakthrough, one aha, one decision at a time. It wasn’t an easy path. Much muck was waded through with old defiant patterns dug up, dissected, and eventually loved and let go. I let go of a lot. And I’ve learned so much. There is so much gratitude. It’s not easy to stand up to old grooves of family patterning and social stigmas. And I did it, still often looking around for permission… Can I do this? Really it is OK. I am doing it. I give myself permission. I do it. And so it is.

And so now, here I write, here I stand. Shining.

What was that poem that I read nine years ago?

You probably know it. If you do you know it, you know that it never ends to inspire. If you haven’t, let me introduce you. Either way, enjoy:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Thank you for reading this post. I am honored to be seen in this way. And in whatever way you are inspired or whatever you notice when you read my writing or this precious poem from Marianne Williamson, I welcome you to share, write to me, post a comment. For when we share, we allow a piece of us to shine, be seen and inspire another.

Shine bright. Love fearlessly.

Much love and light,

Viviana

Viviana is a therapeutic yoga teacher, life and relationship coach, workshop facilitator, and co-founder of Heart Source. Her passion is supporting your self care while holding space and presence for growth and change. She teaches how to access and learn from the darker times in life for more resources, balance, and choice now. She weaves neuroscience and holistic body-mind wisdom to help you rewrite unwanted patterns and live in your full expression! To learn more about the offerings at “Heart Source” in Berkeley, please visit www.heartsource.center. Tahil and I are super happy and excited to shine here and offer space for others to shine even brighter.

Note: Since the time of Viviana’s blog, she and Tahil got married! Talking about shining bright!

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Leaders Must Now Think Like Scientists

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Business
Leaders Must Now Think Like Scientists

This post is a companion to the Voice America show, Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations. An important foundation of the radio show is curating material that allows busy leaders to stay current with minimal time investment and encourages you to experiment with new behaviors each week. It is these small experiments that will allow you as leaders to stay up to date in a world that is changing so quickly. If you have not listened to the show, we invite you to sign up for notifications and listen to the next one that you find interesting or look at the range of speakers and topics and find one you want to learn more about.

This article is a reprint of the Forbes.com article from September 2016. 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, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills. You can download the first three chapters of the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers for free.

About the author Maureen Metcalf, CEO and Founder of Metcalf & Associates, is a renowned executive advisor, author, speaker, and coach whose 30 years of business experience provides high-impact, practical solutions that support her clients’ leadership development and organizational transformations. Maureen is recognized as an innovative, principled thought leader who combines intellectual rigor and discipline with an ability to translate theory into practice. Her operational skills are coupled with a strategic ability to analyze, develop, and implement successful strategies for profitability, growth, and sustainability.

Harmonizing Work & Motherhood: Can We Afford Not To? By Dr. Kas Henry

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Empowerment
Harmonizing Work & Motherhood:  Can We Afford Not To? By Dr. Kas Henry

Harmonizing Work & Motherhood:  Can We Afford Not To?

 

Women are an integral part of the global work place.  They are parallel thinking multi-taskers alongside their sequential thinking male individual taskers. Men and women solve problems differently and women are more prone to natural collaboration and seeking assistance.  A good balance of both male and female perspectives to ideas and solutions are needed for business success and the brain function studies seem to affirm that much needed gender balance.

 

Research shows that

  • Fortune 500 Firms with women Board members outperform their peers by 53% greater ROE
  • Women make up half of the U.S. workforce and comprise $5 trillion in purchasing power
  • Women make up a majority of the single parent households with children in the US
  • 80% of all US healthcare decisions are made by women
  • 70% of all major financial decisions in the US households are made by women

 

 

 

Women are daughters, mothers and wives.  As such they are the care givers of their families. They are required to juggle work, family, social obligations and taking care of themselves.  Women are considered “stay at home” and “not working” when they are not employed for wages but expend energy working for the family from morning till night for no pay.  When women work for wages, they take on a second job, a job outside of the home.  This job may not pay equal wages for equal work when a male and a female perform that same job, even in developed first world nations like the US.  In a system like the US, women are actuarially valued to be higher risk for healthcare as those naturally endowed to give birth.  So, we create a perfect storm, placing women to juggle work, life, family while making lower wages and paying higher insurance alongside making majority of the financial decisions and carrying a greater financial burden.

 

 

 

Other nations like Canada places high value in motherhood and gives mothers time off to care for their new born and support the family.  Those countries value early mother-child bonding and strong family as a foundation for building a stronger society that is socially engineered for lasting and prospering.

 

 

 

 

Then there are other nations across the world, like India, that cannot even assure the safety of the woman in the workplace where women could be sexually assaulted by her co-workers.

 

This is the spectrum of women in the workplace in our global economic environment.

 

No doubt, women have come a long way in the workplace, but there is more to be done and much continue to remain a conundrum. Women not staying in the workforce and leaving to raise families while be unemployed or under employed is not healthy for business or society.  Attracting, developing and retaining women in the workforce is important for the organizational succession plan.

 

How do we support women in the workplace?  How public policy, employers, co-workers, families and society as a whole come together to create harmony of work-life-family where women can bring their best to each situation is of utmost importance today, then ever.  Because, today we have a female workforce that is more educated than their male counterparts and we have more families with single mothers across the world.  How we support working women is the foundation for how we are preparing to groom our future generations being raised by these women.  

 

As the millennial generation and Gen Zs come of age, we are also seeing more men comfortable with the stay at home role as women with their better education become the primary bread winners.  The approach to dealing with the Women in the workplace will also need to be applied to the gender reversal we see emerging. Please join me and my guests, Allison Robinson and Christine Coyle of The Mom Project, to explore how best to harness the value of women and mothers in the workplace and continue to build that into the optimal approach for supporting families.

Unleashing the Feminine Energy to Shaping Our Tomorrows By Kas Henry

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Empowerment
Unleashing the Feminine Energy to Shaping Our Tomorrows By Kas Henry

Mother Earth.  Mother Nature. Mother Land. Mother Tongue.  All that nurtures and sustains our very existence as well as communication is referred to as ‘Mother” because as a human society, deep down at the core of our souls, we know that feminine power is undisputable.  Female power is necessary for shaping all that is around us.

  As a Hindu child, I was raised to believe that being a woman is powerful and comes with great responsibility.  Responsibility to nurture and support a family.  Be the energy and vitality that anchors both home and society.  For Hindus, God is part male and part female where the female aspect of God is called “Shakthi”, translated in English to mean Energy.  Therefore, the strength of a woman is expected.  The energy and strength of a woman brings each of us into this world. Without women, there is no life and most species will become extinct, including humans.  Given this undisputable fact, I continue to contemplate why women’s rights and women’s empowerment is something we have to take on as a cause?  Why is it looked upon differently than a Man’s given right?

 

I had the added advantage of being born and raised in Sri Lanka, a nation that gave to the world its very first female head of state from a modern democracy, Sirimavo Bandaranaake, in 1960.  Women were heads of households and women can be heads of states was my childhood reality.  However, as I grew older and travelled the world, I began to realize that was not the case everywhere.  I began to realize there were those who were into empowering everyone including women and then there were those who controlled everyone including women.  

That meant, I as a girl growing into a young woman, needed to learn how not to give over control of my very being and take charge of my journey in life.  A gift of life given to me by my God, who embodies the female energy, cannot be surrendered to insecure human beings who saw their path to success as controlling others.  Instead, I needed to seek the mentorship and support of enlightened human beings to help me fully reach my full potential.

Being an empowered woman means owning one’s journey and empowering others, both men and women, along life’s journey.  It is not about looking at anyone as the enemy but treating everyone as fellow travelers with a shared purpose of leaving this place, any place, better than we found it.  Empowered women ennoble others.  They bring out the noble qualities in everyone they touch.  Empowered women shape their path by continually transforming themselves and those around them.

Growing up in South Asia, it was engrained as part of our basic education that serving others in our free time is not optional or resume building but duty to society.  We were taught that our civic duty is what earned us rights in a democracy for self-determination.  This meant, I had the opportunity to engage in educating and empowering women as the pathway to empowering families and communities.

Basic literacy, finical literacy and other means of empowerment were activities I had the honor of participating in.  I must admit, those activities prepared me more for life than anything else because it gave me the opportunity to learn empathy, walk a mile in another person’s shoes and partner with them to strategize a better future.  I found my humanity and calling in that process.

With a young Dodderi Village girl during University Vacation where I spent the summer building a school and teching.  Dodderi village is located in the State of Karnataka, India.

 

The true wealth of a society is not measured in currency or material assets, but in how the women of that society are treated.  Be it education, healthcare, career choices, or life choices, when women are not free to make their own choices, the underlying society is not free and it is not truly capable of realizing its collective potential.  Should women get equal pay? Should women have the right to make their own choices with regards to their own bodies? Should women be punished when their bodies were violated? Should women’s reproductive health matter? Could women pursue any career they want without hazing or retribution? If these questions are asked in a society, it is an indication of that society not yet being free in the factual sense of the word.

 

Supporting women, empowering women and celebrating women is not solely dependent on the men in a society. Good and strong men already do this because they know that they need a strong woman by their side to face their own challenges. Alongside these good men, we women should stand shoulder-to-shoulder and pull each other up.  We can never forget that we hold our destinies in the palm of our own hands.  This week, my guest will be Traci Campbell, the Founder of BIBO, an organization focused on recognizing empowered women, celebrating their positive social impact and laying the foundation for a collaborative effort to magnify the goodness to make it contagious. Please join me on the show and call in with questions.  This is our world and it is our lives that we are transforming.  Let’s get engaged!

Financial Freedom through Responsible Capitalism By Kas Henry

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Empowerment
Financial Freedom through Responsible Capitalism By Kas Henry

When Adam Smith prescribed a modern economic framework to free the world of the oppression of Colonial Economy, he saw Capitalism as a process of wealth building for individual nations. He saw Labor as the true wealth creator and Capital as the seed money that was necessary in the process of converting raw material into finished products to drive the economic engine.  Regulation was seen as the referee to insure neither those investing the capital nor the ones expending labor had the upper hand, so as to maintain the required equilibrium for building the “Wealth of Nations”.  Responsible capitalism understands the need for equilibrium.  It uses regulations sensibly, to effectively utilize labor and capital in the pursuit of wealth creation.

 

  In our modern global economy, capital ought to be understood in its totality if we are to successfully seek our individual and collective economic empowerment.  Capital is not just money. Capital is assets that enable all economic activity.  Manufactured capital, financial capital, social capital, human capital and natural capital are all to be understood and synchronized in mindful economic pursuit. On our first show we talked about the importance of focusing on the Triple Bottom Line (TBL), Profit, People and Planet.  The successful pursuit of TBL requires the comprehension of capital in its entirety as illustrated here.

 

Educating members of society on how the economy works and how one could actively engage in the economy to shape their own economic wellbeing should not be optional.  Societies that value its citizenry view such an education as basic investment.  Home, school, and self-learning all have a role in laying the foundation for such an impactful knowledge pursuit.  This is the kind of knowledge that prepares a society for life, innovation and self-determination.

 

One does not need to start with financial capital to attain financial freedom.  I say this based on my personal experience.  I came to the US in 1995, as a working adult professional to earn my MBA.  I had accumulated 3-months of paid time off and withdrew my Provident Fund (Retirement Fund) to start a new chapter.  My employer, Standard Charted Bank, gave me the option, in writing, to come back if things did not work out or once I finished my MBA.  That was my social capital at work by an employer who valued its human capital.  When I converted my Sri Lankan Rupees to US Dollars, at the rate of more than 100:1, I knew how far my financial capital could go.  Not far enough for a full semester and not far enough in most American communities where education was 1/3 the cost while cost of living was 2/3.  I researched and found a University with the highest MBA accreditation but with one of the lowest cost of living in the US.

 

I chose Indiana State University at Terre Haute, Indiana, and started my graduate program in the shorter Summer Semester.  I put my financial asset to its optimal use. Then I demonstrated the value of my human capital to the Department of Continuing Education and negotiated a Graduate Assistantship in automating and managing the university Summer Session and Annual Continuing Education Program Budgets. That paid for my MBA and gave me a cost of living allowance.  When I graduated, AT&A hired me and moved me to the Chicago Market.  I relocated to Chicago in the car of my best friend, taking with me all my worldly possessions.  My books, a $9 used mattress I had purchased from a Chinese student and 2 plastic chairs I purchased from Dollar General for $10.  My real wealth was my knowledge, my social capital comprising of my lasting relationships and my deep appreciation for the collective human capital.  In the 20-years I have lived and worked in Chicago, I have been able to seek my own economic empowerment but it was not accomplished alone.  Countless relationships have helped me get here and I have kept the Triple Bottom Line and shared prosperity in perspective in building win-win partnerships.

 

Today, I educate others as a professor, consult for business as a practitioner, and volunteer through organizations as a responsible citizen to share my experience to help others seek their own economic freedom.  Our modern global economy is market driven.  That market has 75 – 100 Million of the world’s population at the top of the Economic Pyramid making over US $20,000 in a year; Over 4 Billion people are at the bottom of the pyramid making US $1,500 or less.  This tells us that the businesses that have a sustained economic value creation capability, over the long haul, are those that serve the 4 Billion at the bottom of the pyramid through responsible capitalism to give these people dignity and choice by delivering high quality, low cost goods and services in small quantities accessible through local markets.  This is a strategy formulated by Dr. C. K. Prahalad, taught in Business Schools and put into practice by global corporations like Unilever.  

 

 

 

Institutions like Grameen Bank, started by MBA students in Bangladesh, have given the world access to Micro Credit.  Practices such as these are enabling economic empowerment and social entrepreneurs across developing nations in Asia and Africa to make financial freedom possible to countless communities.  This model for developing nations can find application in various under developed communities of developed nations.   This model can be utilized by any community, to transform their economic status, through collaborative partnerships with businesses, local governments, non-profit organizations and motivated social entrepreneurs.

 

        

 

Financial freedom through economic empowerment is possible, with the shared transformational journey in one community at a time.  For communities to seek this economic empowerment successfully, the women and men in the communities should be equally empowered.  This week, I will engage Jonathan Gripe, Financial Advisor from Edward Jones, in a conversation of how individuals and families can build their way to financial freedom.  Financial freedom has to start with being open to learn, grow, pay ourselves before paying others and re-thinking the definition of capital and market in our modern global economy.  Individual and community transformation is needed for this journey, with an approach of all hands on deck.  The good news is, together we can do it!  Please join me in exploring how we can take the necessary steps towards this financial freedom!

More Here!

Are You Ready? The Information Economy IS Here! By Dr. Kas Henry

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Empowerment
Are You Ready? The Information Economy IS Here! By Dr. Kas Henry

Last week we explored the role of education in shaping the transformational journey needed to compete successfully as a knowledge worker in today’s information economy.  This week, we will delve into what it takes to plan ahead to succeed in careers given the information economy. As the global economy evolves, we need to continue our own evolution to remain relevant if we seek economic empowerment.  Therefore, to sustain ourselves, change is inevitable.  The ability to change and deal with that change is the underpinning of transformation. You may have noticed that this show deals with empowerment as a continued journey of transformation.  Nowhere is this more aptly captured than in the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

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  I can speak from personal experience that change is scary, especially change that grabs you and thrusts you into a totally unplanned and unexpected situation where there is no easy way out.  Such unexpected change showed-up in my life by way of a civil war shattering my expectation of home, family and all that is seen to be save and comforting….  Through no choice of mine, I became a refugee child in my own island nation, Sri Lanka, at the time I was in 8th grade.  I had to work through finishing up my O/Ls (10th Grade in the British system of Education) in my mother-tongue, Tamil, before leaving home, family and country to continue my education in India.

 

My whole world had changed, including the language I spoke.  I was in Bangalore, India, with no friends, family or anything familiar.  Just like the caterpillar, I had a task ahead…. A task of planning and executing my personal transformation so that when I emerged as a butterfly, at the end of that metamorphosis, I was ready to take flight.  So, I sat in my classes, took notes fanatically in my mother-tongue; using the dictionary and glossary of technical terms translated into English class notes. My daily learning was not limited to the subjects covered in class but the need to think, understand, write and communicate in English after doing all that in a different language up until then.  Was it scary? Certainly!  Did I have a choice? No!

I made strategic choices in my selection of specialization and elected to pursue a triple concentration in Computer Science, Math and Physics because they were subjects that used numbers and logic giving me freedom from language limitations.  This triple major also helped me plan my career options suited for the information economy from the very city that planned to become the seat of global technology, Bangalore. While in Bangalore, I developed the art of building lasting relationships, worked together with my peers for a successful shared journey and built a support system rooted in human kindness.  Bangalore is the city that helped me become the “butterfly” I am today.  To this day, I cherish my friends, extended family and countless caring human beings from various walks of life made my todays possible.

Change is not a threat but an opportunity to seek new possibilities.   Preparing for the information economy jobs in most parts of the world is not as traumatic as mine was but it can be challenging.

Just because the old era jobs no longer exist does not have to stop us from seeking new skills.  We are only limited by our own lack of imagination and tenacity.  Technology is disrupting every industry including Healthcare, Accounting, Finance, Retail, Business, Manufacturing, Communication and even human relationships.  Robotics and Bots are part of our lives and it is time we understood them.  Approaching technology as the enemy is not the prudent way to become empowered.  Embracing it and evolving to effectively utilize it is the pathway to success.

 

       

 

This week, we will engage in an exciting discussion with young professionals who have taken different routes to get to their current role as knowledge workers in the information economy.  Their diverse backgrounds and insights will help the listeners of “Unleash Your Inner Goldilocks: How to Get It Just Right” glean pointers in shaping their own transformational journey.  You will be surprised at the different ways one can pursue career success as long as the passion for pursuing success is alive.  Come join our conversation this Thursday and be a part of embracing the information economy for our shared success!

Big Choice, Big Change By Heather Nichols

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Empowerment
Big Choice, Big Change By Heather Nichols

Have you ever had a sense that it’s time for a big change? Many of us do, yet often it can seem too enormous to take that first step. You may put off change many times – perhaps thinking that it would just be too difficult or you will get to it someday when the children are older or you have more money at hand. And unlike someone who desires things to always remain the same, you have made smaller changes.  Do bigger choices seem intimidating? . Perhaps it could be leaving a job you have outgrown, beginning or ending a relationship. Maybe you would like to move to a different country or begin a new business or even finish a college or high school degree. What if it didn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming? What if it didn’t mean working harder, longer and suffering to create an extremely different life for yourself? What if you had some profoundly powerful tools that could create a different reality with more ease than you have ever thought was possible? Join Heather Nichols and Blossom Benedict as they share some of their favorite tools create those big changes in life with ease, speed, a sense of joy, creativity and potency!

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