5 posts categorized "Worth the Read"

March 10, 2011

Change the World with Service Learning

Screen shot 2011-03-10 at 1.22.59 PM Katy Faber who authored Non-Toxic Kids and Why Teachers Quit and How We Might Stop the Exodus has added another solution for the world's ills with her new book, Change the World with Service Learning

"Service learning is a learning tool to empower students to solve problems in their own communities, or even globally. It is a student-driven process, where students learn about a particular issue, place, or problem, then figure out how to take action in a positive way. Then they actually do it." [emphasis mine] Katy goes on to tell how students do the research, make calls, write letters, and solve problems... ultimately sharing the outcome with their communities.

What business person wouldn't want to hire a kid who came to them with those skills? I told a friend recently that I wouldn't hire someone with a four year degree because they have no real-world skills even after four years!

And that's the point, service learning teaches a wide range of functional skills while at the same time instills empathy, compassion, and confidence. As a potential employer, I want that in my employee as well -- someone who doesn't have to be micro-managed because I know they'll make the right decisions. 

And yet too many schools don't offer a program like this or if they do, it's as an elective afterthought. Katy is taking the stand that service learning needs to be an embedded part of public education. 

A young neighbor of mine attends a school with "service days," a full day for the kids to go out into the community and help others. Each time she comes back from one of these experiences, you can see the change. Think about what kind of citizens we could grow if all schools carried the full program that Katy outlines in this book.  

Katy's research has discovered that service learning can increase standardized test scores, improve GPA and attendance, reduce drop out rates, increase civic responsibility, create community connections and even (gasp) improve teen angst. Again, what's not to love. 

This isn't an awareness book, however, this is a step-by-step workbook as the subtitled says showing how to organize, lead, and assess service learning projects. 

Katy puts out a call-to-action to her teaching peers to get this program started in their schools. I would add that this is a program in which local businesses and non-profits should also read and partner with the schools. 


August 26, 2010

Women Count with Susan Bulkeley Butler

Screen shot 2010-08-26 at 9.28.00 AMIt is both ironic and a privilege that I would have the opportunity to review Women Count: a Guide to Changing the World by Susan Bulkeley Butler and attend Jill's Konrath's Sales Shebang meeting in Chicago in the same week.

Women Count is a book that's part women's history lesson and part "let's get to work," inspiration. Younger women will be stunned at what we seasoned types have literally worked through these past decades. Those of us on the far end of the work-life-cycle, with scars of self-preservation to prove it, will appreciate the reminder of how far we have come. Conversely, the younger crowd will be able to read and jumpstart their careers. 

Susan, who also wrote Become the CEO of You, Inc., makes her second book personal by including her own experiences as she rose through the business ranks to become the first women partner at the company that became Accenture. Her life anchors the book which highlights the work of many female benchmark setters. 

Once the history lesson is captured, she then switches her focus on what women have left to do to let their values and their ideas become the norm instead of the afterthought. To underscore the unbalance she reminds us that only 3% of the Fortune 500 have women CEOs and yet 50% of the population is made up of women. That shouldn't matter if men and women made decisions the same way, but we don't, if we did there would be no need for women's groups to be forming by the thousands. Clearly we get something from business relationships with each other that we cannot get in a mixed crowd--for example, the Sales SheBang meeting is an all women event.

Perhaps the most useful part of the book comes at the end where Susan addresses how to put a plan of action together. She has seen many great ideas die without this critical first step accomplished. 

If you're at a crossroads in your life and need a shot of pride in your past along with pragmatic next steps, Women Count will help you change your own world first. 

March 31, 2008

The Power of the Big Green Purse


It's getting to be such a small green world out there. I opened up my Green Biz email today and in the top section, my friend Coral Rose is linked to for her Organic cotton info. The next block of copy featured Diane MacEachern who is on tour with her new book, "Big Green Purse." While in San Francisco she met up with an old acquaintance, Joel Makower the co-founder of Greener World Media. The following is their conversation covering Diane's recommendations she gives to women consumers who want a greener world. You can catch the full interview over on Green Biz Radio. 

Even thought I've featured Diane many times, hearing her talk is something to experience. She makes me feel like anything is possible and if we just approach in a calm, methodical way, we can change things for the better. It's an insightful conversation at how to think about green products from both a consumer and a manufacturer's point of view. 

March 01, 2008

The Soccer Mom Myth Revealed

Soccer_momHolly Buchanan and Michelle Miller take on the one-market-fits-all-women myth in their first joint effort book - The Soccer Mom Myth.

For those who haven't explored the inner workings of the women's market, they give you plenty of ideas to kick around, but they save the very best for the last part of the book - word of mouth marketing.

"A woman values relationships more than almost anything else in her life. This is absolutely key for word-of-mouth marketers to understand. She will not do anything to jeopardize these relationships. She will not pass along information unless she truly trust you and feels your product has the true benefit."

I totally agree and that is going to become a bigger issue as women question if a product not only has a true benefit, but is truly green as well.

They give the following conditions needed to foster word of mouth:

  • Be authentic and ethical. (critical in the green market as well)
  • Be relevant (it better be Sustainable for the eco-market)
  • Create a remarkable product.
  • Be 100 percent accountable. (also critical in the green market)
  • Listen.
  • Keep your promises. (no greenwash, no misleading)
  • Make it easy for her to pass along the message.
  • Give her exclusive access. (first to know)
  • Provide value not only to the referrer, but also to the referee.

Holly and Michelle also warn on negative word of mouth and how companies should make absolutely sure customers have a way to contact them immediately with a problem. "Women are tired of being ignored or made to feel like they are unimportant." They then give more tips on reaching the women's market through social media and websites.

The Soccer Mom Myth is loaded with examples that will have you saying, "Of course, that makes so much sense"! It picks apart stereotypical marketing and replaces it with resonating strategies. 

I love that they stress authenticity, trust and accountability. Those terms are also the tenets of the emerging Sustainable market. The good news? What works for women, works for green women (and men) as well.

February 13, 2007

One Planet Living, what the U.K. can teach us

If Climate Change has taught us one thing it's that we have to think outside our borders. One country may lead the way and that country just may be the U.K.

He_header Kristin Darguzas, a Canadian whom I met through BlogHer, told me about Turn Up the Heat. It's a book not yet available in the U.S. by George Monbiot. He also has a blog by the same name that takes corporations and individuals to task. George throws the first challenge and ultimate issue with:

"My fear is not that people will stop talking about climate change. My fear is that they will talk us to Kingdom Come."

He has a point. First people become aware, then they change a light bulb and then they begin to feel the enormity of the problem and throw words at it.

George throws words too, at those who are running their solution through the greenwash cycle. His critical thinking made me think. He takes on Richard Branson and his multi-million dollar offer to anyone who can come up with a solution, while his own Virgin Airlines continues to fly. To George, that's greenwash. "Spin does not become a substitute for action." Meanwhile, back in the states, the NY Times shows Branson and Gore together in a climate exchange as Branson offers his $25 million to world of science. I assume he flew to the states on one of his jets.

It makes you think, just what am I willing to personally give up to save the future of the human race? Is that trip to Ireland now off the dream list? Maybe. How much do I cut back and what do I just cut out?

The Stern report, another U.K. initiative from HM Treasury department, projects what will happen if we don't get our climate under control. To start with, storms the size of Katrina will bankrupt insurance companies. Add in the floods and famine and you have the makings of a full economic collapse. That tells me that cutting out, should supersede cutting back.

One_planet_living_logo Keeping both ecological and economic worlds and in balance is the ultimate solution. Again, we can turn to the U.K. for a look at who is leading the way. One Planet Living has joined forces with global thinkers to find the ideas that put us in balance, quickly. They issued 10 guiding principals which START with bringing down CO2 emissions. There's no point in cleaning up the water if the climate above it is killing off the planet.

I like their approach. I like that they bring solutions to the site from every country. While Monbiot is busy holding holding the green torch to corporate toes, this group is championing those who are doing the right thing, right now.

It's inspiring to read what's on their agenda - One Planet Products UK, One Planet Economy, One Million Sustainable Homes... you get the idea. If you are at all interested in forming a global, sustainable society, One Planet Living is well worth bookmarking.