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Meet Olaf, Darrin and Marloes: Leading Grassroots Change in Banking From Community Development Solutions to Occupy and Innovation Movements

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Meet Olaf, Darrin and Marloes: Leading Grassroots Change in Banking From Community Development Solutions to Occupy and Innovation Movements

With the launch of the Building Banking on Values, a new VoiceAmerica radio series I’m hosting that goes behind the scenes to tell the stories of the people, passion and positivity within the values-based banking and financing sector; I thought to introduce you to some of our guests. Listen to the show episodes right here!

Meet Olaf Weber: Author, Professor, and Program Director of the Master’s Program (MES) in Sustainability Management, University of Waterloo (Canada)

Olaf is the director of the master’s program in Sustainability Management and a CIGI Senior Fellow. His research and teaching interests centre on the connection between financial sector players, such as banks and sustainable development, and the link between sustainability and the financial performance of enterprises. Olaf works on research questions like:

  • What are the current and potential impacts of banks on sustainable development and what may banks do to influence sustainable development in a positive way?
  • What is the role of voluntary and regulatory mechanisms for the financial sector to become more sustainable?
  • How do social banking and impact investing contribute to sustainable development?
  • How do businesses manage environmental risks such as water risks and conflict minerals and how do their management practices influence their financial performance?

Currently, Olaf supervises Sustainability Management students and PhD students working on the three research questions and teaches courses in Environmental Finance, Sustainability Accounting and Reporting, and Theories and Tools for Sustainability Management. Olaf also collaborates with banks, such asChina Industrial Bank on Green Finance.

Olaf’s latest book, Sustainable Banking introduces business leaders and students to the many ways in which financial institutions can manage their environmental and social impact and meet the needs of the current generation without compromising the needs of future generations. Olaf Weber and Blair Feltmate go beyond the business case for sustainability: how managing environmental, social, and governance risk can contribute to a bank’s bottom line – to make the sustainability case for banking: how banks and other financial institutions can make a positive impact on society.Book discount.

The book also explores the key aspects involved in making a financial institution sustainable: how to manage the direct and indirect impacts of banking activities on the community and the environment, how to minimize and mitigate the environmental footprint of internal operations, and how to account for various types of environmental and social risk in lending and project finance. They also introduce sustainable banking products and strategies being adopted by industry leaders, such as responsible investing, social finance, and impact lending.

Meet Darrin Williams: Chief Executive Director of Southern Bancorp, Inc. (USA)

Meet Darrin Williams: Chief Executive Director of Southern Bancorp, Inc. (USA)
Darrin Williams’ career is a unique combination of law, business, and politics. Presently, Darrin serves as the CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc., where he oversees the activities of all three of Southern’s companies. Southern is one of  the most effective and largest community development organizations in the United States, as well as a model for an entire industry of mission-focused financial institutions known as Community Development Financial Institutions. Southern is a $1.2 billion asset organization with over 80,000 customers and 43 branches located primarily in underserved markets in the Mid-South.  Prior to joining Southern, Williams served as Speaker Pro-Tempore in the Arkansas House of Representatives and as the managing partner of the law firm of Carney, Williams, Bates, Pulliam & Bowman, PLLC, where he focused on representing aggrieved investors and consumers in class action litigation against some of the nation’s largest publicly traded companies. On the web at www.banksouthern.com

Williams also served three terms of elected office in the Arkansas House of Representatives, serving as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and Speaker Pro Tempore of the 89th Arkansas General Assembly. He has been recognised nationally for his legislative work, including being named a 2013 Champion of Small Business by the National Capital Coalition, an Aspen-Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership by the Aspen Institute, and selected as one of 12 state legislators from around the country to watch by Governing Magazine.

In 1986, then Governor Bill Clinton and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation announced an initiative to end decades of economic decline in rural Arkansas by creating new trends of investment in people, jobs, business and property. Southern Bancorp, a community development bank holding company, and its family of nonprofit development affiliates would emerge from that initiative. A consortium of private foundations, governmental entities, corporations and concerned individuals would come together later that year to incorporate Southern Bancorp. Learn more.


Meet Marloes Nicholls:  Senior Fellow, Finance Innovation Lab, and Program Manager with Meteos (United Kingdom)

Marloes has been Programme Manager, Finance (Meteos), Director of Money Comms Lab and lead researcher for BankingFutures. Marloes provides advice to campaigners and students working on alternative finance and economics. Marloes has conducted workshops and lectures in a variety of fora, including the International Cooperative Alliance World Expo, the Pisa Internet Festival, OIKOS, the Skoll Centre for Entrepreneurship, and a number of financial institutions.

Marloes has a wealth of experience working on social change, including co-founding the campaign Move Your Money UK and working at Oxfam on global campaigns and policy. At Oxfam, she was a divisional project manager and supported the development and evaluation of major high profile campaigns, including work on Oxfam’s climate change policy and campaigning.

Marloes continues to participate in grassroots, creative activism in the UK, and is particularly interested in drawing on the arts and community organising to provide accessible ways for the public to engage with money and the financial system. Marloes is also an active member of the New Economy Organisers Network (NEON) and guides Occupy London Tours of Mayfair.

In 2015, Marloes was invited to become a Senior Fellow of the Finance Innovation Lab, in recognition of her work towards creating a more democratic, fair and responsible financial system.

An economist by training, Marloes graduated from Nuffield College, University of Oxford, with a Masters of Philosophy in 2011 and received a first class bachelors in Philosophy and Economics from the University of Bristol in 2008; where she specialised in Game Theory. She worked as a research assistant for notable professors and politicians during this academic period. Learn more.


Don’t forget to tune into Building Banking on Values. My VoiceAmerica radio show airs on Thursdays 15:00 PDT on the Business channel. Learn more.


#BankingOnValues @CatalystWarrior @bankingonvalues @VoiceAmBusiness @MarloesNicholls @MeteosFutures @thefinancelab @southernbancorp  @repwilliams










CIO Tomorrow – Managing Your End-Users’ Appetite for Disruption

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The following post was written by Thai Lee as part of the Columbus Business First’s CIO Tomorrow Conference. Ms. Lee is one of the featured speakers in the Voice America Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations interview aired on April 26, 2016.

As “disruption” challenges “cloud” for IT buzzword supremacy, line-of-business owners (and the end-users they manage) are hungry to deploy new “disruptive” technologies in the workplace. While CIOs are eager to support the innovation that follows disruption, most are well aware that longtime, traditional IT partners still play an irreplaceable role in keeping their network and infrastructure available and secure. Today’s CIO works in the middle of legacy IT and user-driven disruptive technology.

Working in the IT channel since 1989, SHI was born and lives in the “middle.” We currently help over 17,000 IT organizations understand all the information they need to quickly evaluate, acquire and deploy traditional, disruptive and hybrid IT solutions that meet their technical, security and business needs. Based on that experience, here are three things we have found effective IT organization do to support end-user demand of disruptive technologies:

– Manage IT Assets – all the time. IT Asset Management: it’s not just for audits anymore! Any business case for deploying disruptive technology must survive a direct comparison to both your install base and your existing volume licensing entitlements. Despite their enthusiasm to roll out a new SaaS application, line-of-business owners (Marketing, Accounting, Sales) are rarely aware of an existing contract or “shelfware” that can exist elsewhere in enterprise and possibly be re-deployed to their group. An effective IT asset management program can empower IT staffers to immediately respond with an alternative solution that may make better business sense or provide tangible cost-savings.

– Normalization of consumption billing. Utilizing today’s disruptive technology often means resolving unpredictable consumption billing, which can be confusing and time-consuming. In addition to the difficulties in budgeting for varying usage levels, difficult-to-read invoices associated with consumption billing might mean unexpected lost cycles for someone within a business unit to resolve. IT organizations that can help normalize and interpret consumption billing provide a valuable service to the business units they support.

– Communicate early and often with line-of-business owners. Much like a CIO, line-of business owners are pushed by increasingly educated end-users to deploy the latest and greatest in disruptive technologies. Scheduling regular meetings with line of business owners to understand their goals and strategies (while explaining your need to remain secure and compliant) can help eliminate a political fight down the road over “who owns what.”

Never before has such powerful technology been so readily available to every level of an organization. But by supporting the effective acquisition and consumption of disruptive technologies when it makes sense for your organization ensure control, compliance and security can remain where it belongs: with IT!

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.

Thai Lee is described by Forbes as “the modest tycoon behind America’s biggest woman-owned business” and includes Thai on their top 20 self-made women list. Ms. Lee has been the majority shareholder, President and CEO of SHI International Corp since 1989. With projected 2016 revenue of over $7 Billion, SHI International is one of the largest privately owned technology companies in North America. Under her leadership, SHI transformed from a $1 million “software-only” regional reseller into a global provider of information technology products and services. SHI provides IT procurement, IT deployment, asset management and cloud computing solutions to tens of thousands of organizations around the world.

Innovate How You Lead: Create A Business Advantage by Maureen Metcalf

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Leadership cc Olivier Carre-Delisle

What does innovating leadership really mean?
Let’s start with the definition of leadership as a uniquely human activity that is intended to move an organization forward such that it improves the lives of the people it serves and simultaneously takes into consideration the rightful interests of the organizational members.

It is important to note that each individual leader will lead in a manner that is authentic to his or her unique skills, abilities, personality, beliefs, values, and other influencing factors such as brain chemistry. Effective leadership encompasses both the science of leading and the heart of the leader. It requires heartfelt care, compassion, and authenticity to be truly effective. This does not mean leaders are soft, but rather they demonstrate compassion when taking tough action. Being a good scientist and understanding the theory is a good start but insufficient if the leader does not demonstrate deep care for the people being led and the people being served.

Innovating leadership cannot be applied as a monolithic theory, or as a simple prescriptive measure. It occurs through your own intellect and stems from your own unique sensibilities.

Let’s build a foundation from which to explore both innovation and leadership, which means talking about them in an entirely different context.

Leadership is a process of influencing people strategically and tactically, effecting change in intentions, actions, culture, and systems to move the organization forward such that it improves the lives of the people it serves and simultaneously takes into consideration the rightful interests of the organizational members.

Leadership influences individual intentions and organizational cultural norms by inspiring purpose and creating alignment. It equally influences an individual’s actions and an organization’s efficiencies through tactical decisions.

Innovation, as an extension of leadership, refers to the novel ways in which we advance that influence throughout the organization.

Innovation is a novel advancement that shapes organizations personally, behaviorally, culturally, and systematically.

In our experience, leadership and innovation are innately connected and share a deep commonality. In addition to linking the relationship of leadership to innovation, notice that we’re also revealing it as an essential part of our individual experience. Just as with leadership and innovation, the way you uniquely experience and influence the world is defined through a mutual interplay of personal, behavioral, cultural, and systematic events. These core dimensions that ground leadership and innovation also provide a context and mirror for your total experience in any given moment or on any given occasion. Optimally, then, leadership is influencing through an explicit balancing of those core dimensions. Innovation naturally follows as a creative advancement of this basic alignment.

Therefore, marrying leadership with innovation allows you to ground and articulate both in a way that creates a context for dynamic personal development—and, dynamic personal development is required to lead innovative transformative change.

Innovating leadership means leaders influence by equally engaging their personal intention and action with the organization’s culture and systems to move the organization forward such that it improves the lives of the people it serves and simultaneously takes into consideration the rightful interests of the organizational members.

Though we are defining innovative leadership very broadly, we are also making a distinct point: The core aspects that comprise your experience—whether it is Leader intention or action, organizational cultural, or systems—are inextricably interconnected. If you affect one, you affect them all.

Innovative leadership is based on the recognition that these four dimensions exist simultaneously in all experiences, and already influence every interactive experience we have. So if, for example, you implement a strategy to realign an organization’s value system over the next five years, you will also affect personal motivations (intentions), behavioral outcomes, and organizational culture. Influencing one aspect—in this case, functional systems—affects the other aspects, since all four dimensions mutually shape each other. To deny the mutual interplay of any one of the four dimensions misses the full picture. You can only innovate your leadership by comprehensively addressing all aspects.  In sum, leadership innovation is the process of improving leadership that allows already successful leaders to raise the bar on their performance and the performance of their organizations.

An innovative leader is defined as someone who consistently delivers results using:
• Strategic leadership that inspires individual intentions and goals and organizational vision and culture
• Tactical leadership that influences an individual’s actions and the organization’s systems and processes
• Holistic leadership that aligns all core dimensions: individual intention and action, along with organizational culture and systems

A balanced approach to leadership and innovation is transformative for both you and your organization, and can help you to respond more effectively to challenges within and outside the enterprise. Innovating your leadership gives you the means to successfully adapt in ways that allows optimal performance, even within the continual change and complexity of an organization.  Conceptually, it synthesizes models from developmental, communications, and systems theory, delivering better insight than singular approaches. Innovative leadership gives you the capacity to openly recognize and critically examine aspects of yourself, as well as your organization’s culture and systems, in the midst of any circumstance.

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.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Olivier Carré-Delisle

You can tune in live every Tuesday at 11am to Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations

Every Company Must Be Innovative: Is Yours?

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Every Company Must Be Innovative: Is Yours?

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According to Steve Jobs, “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”
Dr Yoram Solomon, founder of Large Scale Creativity, will tell us how to unlock innovation on the individual and organizational level on this week’s podcast of The Business Edge

He discusses how to create an environment for creativity and innovation that costs little and leads to big results. His firm belief, like Steve Jobs, is that everyone has good ideas to increase productivity and profitability; the challenge is to tap into the brainpower of your people and turn their ideas into reality.

Listen and learn the answers to these questions:
Is creativity the same as innovation or are they different? Why are start-ups more innovative than mature companies? What role does culture play in fostering or restricting innovation? How does trust affect innovation? How does innovation affect trust?  Who’s responsible for coming up with and implementing great ideas? Is it management’s fault for not accepting great ideas or is it something else?

Are Your Company’s Values Making An Impact?

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Are Your Company’s Values Making An Impact?

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Many companies have a values statement on the wall. But ask employees or even top managers what these values are and, yes, some can rattle them off. But then go further and ask this question: How would I know it if I see it? Then you probably will get a blank stare of some mumble jumble answer.

So how do you bring life to the values in your company?

CPR: is the Answer. Here’s How!

1.Describe Your Values
Organizations often tout their values – accountability, innovation, integrity, quality, respect, teamwork – but when is the last time you asked if these values have been defined in behavioral terms? Do the people know for example what, “respect” looks like, feels like or smells like?

In a leadership development program for a growing hospitality company, each training module included an exercise called “Values in Action”. Here’s an example. Your customers would see “integrity” because you would:
• Deliver what‘s advertised – “don’t feel scammed”.
• Attentively listen to complaints and move to solve the problem.
• Do what you say you were going to do – and if you can’t, say why.

2. Practice Your Values
This involves actually doing what you say you value. A critical part of strong leadership is the degree to which what you profess and what you practice are in alignment. Here’s an exercise to do each week.

• Pick one value you want to practice. Don’t be an over-achiever and try to accomplish more. Start small and then build.
• Ask how can I demonstrate this value? For example, if it’s “respect”, then who are the folks I want to show respect to and how will I do it? It could be as simple as not interrupting Mary when she gets long winded.
• Assess the end of the week what specific things you did to exemplify this particular value? What might have been opportunities you missed? For example, when Joe came in to my office and said…. I could have said this…..
• Pick another value and go through the same process the following week. What you’ll find is awareness plus focus plus motivation leads to change.

3. Reinforce Your Values
Reinforcement involves recognition and possible reward for specific behavior. This can be done through positive feedback when you see an employee treating a customer with integrity; or it could be part of the annual performance appraisal process. And it can be by storytelling – a powerful way to communicate what we value and how we behave around here.

The $125,000 Thank You
All companies go through tough times but it’s the way they handle it that makes a difference. For example, Armstrong International, a number of years ago, had to put a wage freeze into effect to get through what looked like a very difficult year. Right from the start, management was up front with the employees talking about how they plan to handle this challenge.

He then lifted the sheet and everyone saw, to their amazement, a table covered with $10 bills; some 12,500 of them – stacked two feet high. One by one, each employee came up and was told, “Thank you for your understanding and commitment to Armstrong.” Each walked away with forty crisp, new $10 bills

This story has been told over and over again by employees and by the media because it demonstrates very clearly the values of the company – Honesty – Fairness – Respect – Trust – Loyalty.

Smart Moves Tip:

Values are important. They describe how you relate to your staff, customers, investors and suppliers. Numbers tell you how much there is of something, not if it is right. Values tell you whether something is right for you and your organization. And when values have been defined in behavioral terms then you, as a leader, can manage the people and processes more effectively

Marcia Zidle:

The Business Edge with Marcia Zidle, your Smart Moves Coach, delivers practical advice to help business leaders take the growing pains out of growth. Are you facing overwhelming demands on your time? Are costly mistakes eating into your profits? Are you facing increased expectations from customers and clients and the need to strike a better balance in your life? Now’s the time to stop spending your energy managing problems and start doing your real work: growing your business to the next level and beyond. Learn to create a growth agenda to get your business on the right track and keep it there. Rev up your growth engine with exceptional talent. Develop the right kind of leadership to move it forward fast. Start by tuning in to The Business Edge, airing live every Wednesday at 11 AM Pacific Time.

VoiceAmerica Announces Launch: Version 3.0 of Promotional E-Card

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VoiceAmerica Announces Launch: Version 3.0 of Promotional E-Card


The new innovative design will increase the reach and scope of live and on-demand episodes as well as increase visibility and SEO online to support VoiceAmerica hosts connecting with new guests, their distribution channels, as well as help listeners connect with the new talk content. The new design and technology enables delivery to mobile and desktop destinations and contains the most requested features by hosts and listeners. Some of the highlights include a new streamlined look and feel, direct share support for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, plus an “Add This” function which allows listeners and hosts to share e-card 3.0 with over 300 of the world’s social media networks. Additional features to e-card 3.0 include:

– One click access to html coding for integration with third party e-mail services such as leading service providers Constant Contact, AWeber, Mail Chimp, and many other professional e-mail services.

– PDF format export as well as the standard HTML styled display, adding versatility for those e-mail recipients that wish to have or require different formats for the cards.

– Calendar features to add show reminders through the most popular calendar programs, such as Outlook, Google Calendar and iCalendar.

– Enhanced outlay to spotlight guest bios and photos,

– Links to the VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network’s mobile apps for iOS, Android and Amazon Kindle tablets and devices.

– Each individual e-card is also hosted on a dedicated web page, allowing e-cards to be shared to social media and other services directly from a web browser.

“We continue to reinvest in technologies which we feel create value for our hosts and listeners, commented Jeffrey Spenard, President of VoiceAmerica. “We believe our 3.0 design and functionality will serve our millions of monthly listeners and enable them to, discover, interact, and engage with our hosts.”


About VoiceAmerica
VoiceAmerica is the world leader in online media broadcasting and the largest producer and distributor of live internet based talk radio , delivering over 300 hours of programming weekly on its VoiceAmerica™ talk radio Network. Broadcasting to seven niche community based channels: its flagship VoiceAmerica™ Variety Channel, Health & Wellness Channel, Business Channel, Sports Channel, 7th Wave Channel, Empowerment, and VoiceAmerica Kids Channel. VoiceAmerica is one of the pioneers in internet broadcasting, producing and syndicating online Live and on-demand talk radio, offering an innovative, effective and comprehensive digital broadcast platform. Digital Publishing through its 15 years of broadcast and media experience along with our seasoned staff of Executive Producers, Production and Host Services Group, VoiceAmerica.com provides an internet radio platform for new, emerging and veteran media personalities to expand and monetize their business and brand in an online digital medium.

Tim Wu “Father” of Net Neutrality, on Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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Tim Wu “Father” of Net Neutrality, on Entrepreneurship and Innovation


Join me for an interview with Tim Wu, the “father” of Net Neutrality, author of “Master Switch” and democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York. It’s a wide open discussion on policy and politics impacting entrepreneurs, innovation and the fight for free and open networks and economies. Who does control the Internet? Could the Internet come to be ruled by one corporate leviathan in possession of “the master switch”? Is the borderless world an illusion? As the U.S. FCC ends its review, what is the fate of Net Neutrality? How should EU and U.S. governments shape competition and antitrust laws to nurture creative, innovation economies? Entrepreneurial economies? Is political corruption an innovation killer? What policies and regs help small businesses thrive? Should information be a public good? Can we have an open internet and “paid prioritization? What is the future of internet governance? How can you impact the formation of policies that impact your business?


Tim Wu is best known for his work on Net Neutrality theory and as a force in the fight for free and open networks and economies. He is author of “The Master Switch,” “Network Neutrality,” & “Broadband Discrimination.” Wu is a policy advocate and professor at Columbia Law School, who is currently seeking the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor of New York alongside, Zephyr Teachout. He writes also about private power, free speech, copyright and antitrust. In 2013 he was named one of America’s 100 Most Influential Lawyers; He is a fellow at the New America Foundation, and contributing editor at The New Republic. He previously served as a senior advisor to the Federal Trade Commission, Chair of Media reform group Free Press, as a fellow at Google, and worked for Riverstone Networks in the telecom industry. He was a law clerk for Judge Richard Posner and Justice Stephen Breyer. He graduated from McGill University (B.Sc.), and Harvard Law School.

We are all operating in a dynamic global marketplace, whether we reach across borders to find new customers and fresh ideas or face overseas competitors in our home market. Global Reach embraces the opportunities and challenges we encounter when operating in multiple countries and cultures. We talk with entrepreneurs and executives about their strategies for winning in fast changing world markets: cross-cultural communication, global branding, media and marketing, transportation and manufacturing, the future of finance, alternative investment strategies, innovation and IP protection.Global Reach interviews thought leaders about 21st century megatrends that impact international entities: trends like the business and politics of sustainability, the morphing nature of competitiveness, globalization, global companies vs national governments, worldview and growth prescriptions, emerging markets issues, and the corporate impact on society (governance, ethics and leadership).

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