Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blog Action Day 2014: Inequality

This year’s Blog Action Day (BAD) theme is “Inequality” and thousands of bloggers and different organizations from around the world will be writing about it for the 7th annual Blog Action Day on October 16, 2014. Every year Blog Action Day raises awareness about a specific theme and it is always a learning experience for me and all of the participants.  This year is no different.

I’ve been taking part in Blog Action Day since the first one back in 2007 and I’m happy to continue this tradition. I read about the theme that was selected a few months ago and I was thinking about it when I recently gave a speech about the famous Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “I have a dream” speech. I briefly thought about recording myself doing a version of that speech and making it part of my efforts for this year’s theme, but I decided to put that on the back burner for the moment so that I can do an article that is still timely and relevant.

What got me originally thinking about Dr. King’s famous speech was driving in my car one day with my family I heard part of this speech through our car’s speakers, but I was quickly surprised to hear that the speech had been put to dance music and was now a popular pop song in Germany (maybe other parts of Europe for that matter, but I can’t say at this moment). While I was listening to the song, I was thinking how cool is this that a big message from the 60’s was being picked up and taken by a new generation. I don’t know what will happen with this song and what the impact will be but the possibilities are endless, when you consider the inspirational and motivation aspects and what effect that they can have on people and incorporating this into a popular song has that much more possibility to spread the message.  One point of my speech was the torch of Dr. King and his message in the 60’s being picked up by another generation and made a new.

In his famous speech delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963 (now more that 51 years ago), Dr. King says I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.“ Doesn’t this speak to parents everywhere, we all want a better world for our children? Dr. King’s speech hits on civil rights, discrimination, and inequality. I think that if were giving the speech on Blog Action Day (October 16, 2014) he would probably mention the following things as well.

  • People are often treated unfairly because they’re older or younger
  • People are chastised because of who they love
  • Society today is a lot more polarized with people not willing to listen to other people with different beliefs
  • Religious toleration is at an all-time low
  • People are unwilling to consider new information that might conflict with their personal dogma
  • College education (and education in general) has become so expensive that it becomes more and more out of reach
  • Women and African Americans tend to earn a lot less for the same work as white males
  • Money has long be a divider, but today we’re living in the time of the 1%. Add to this the statistic that the world’s richest 85 people own as much as 3.5 billion people of the world’s poorest people was a big topic of conversation at Davos earlier this year (Richard Fuentes mentions this here)
  • He might even have a few other things to add
Duncan Green, Senior Strategic Advisor at Oxfam wrote an interesting article about inequality. He tells about a few years ago when he was promoting a book of his “From Poverty to Power” in the U.S. and he had to replace “redistribution” with “rebalancing”, because it had become so politically loaded in the U.S. Unfortunately, this is not the only word that has had its former meaning hijacked only to put images in people’s minds that will almost stop any positive discussion and turn it into a heated political discussion where many people will immediately tune you out. Sadly, there are many topics that we can hardly have a sane conversation about any more.

Mr. Green mentions that inequality should not just be equated with income (or money) but views it as “the division of the world into haves and have nots is at its root about power” and the gap between those that have it and those that don’t. He also suggested that we need to be better telling the story of inequality and where the fight has been and is being won. You can think about the abolition of slavery and women getting the right to vote. When we claim to profess and embrace Democracy in much of the world, then we should stop ignoring inequality and so much of the world’s population.

When I think about "Inequality" today, I realize that it means so much more than ability to vote, be hired for a job, eat in a restaurant, or to sit wherever you like on the bus. I encourage you to have a look around the Blog Action Day website, to look around the web to see what people are doing for Blog Action Day 2014, you can also look for #BAD2014, #Bad14, BlogAction14, #inequality, and Blog Action Day as hashtags and keywords. There are some good ideas of how you can participate at the Blog Action Day website, which also links to conversations that they’ve had with some of the sponsors of this year’s event (like Oxfam, All Together Now, and Global Voices).   


The Future is not yet written, Let's build it together!


Monday, September 15, 2014

PMI Virtual Professional Development Symposium 2014

If you're a Project Manager and a member of PMI (Project Management Institute) you might have received an email telling you about the PMI Information Systems "Virtual Professional Development Symposium 2014" which was held September 12, 2014. If you missed it, the sessions are available "On Demand" for the rest of the month. This is an excellent opportunity to get up to 6 PDUs (Professional Development Units) toward your recertification and there was some excellent information provided.

If you're not already registered for the event, you should be able to register for it here.

There are 6 sessions plus Opening Address (Welcome and Introduction from Marke A. Langley, President & CEO, PMI) and Closing Comments. The six sessions are:

  • Keynote Address:  Secrets of the Thoroughbred Leader...Are You One?
  • Session 1: Strategies for Project Sponsorship
  • Session 2: The Two Human Factors that Drive or Oppose Change
  • Session 3: Understanding Opportunities, Challenges and Strategies to Build Your Career in Project Management
  • Session 4:  How to Best Embrace Change as an IS Professional
  • Session 5: Identifying the strategic Value Drivers for Change, through value Stream mapping

I was able to watch the Opening, Keynote, and sessions 1, 3, and 4. I found all of them to be valuable. In the Keynote Dana Brownlee discusses how Project Managers as leaders tend to be Task or Relationship Focused, but it is the a third type, that she refers to as Thoroughbred leaders where we really want to be. Peter Taylor talked about the role of Project Sponsors and why it is so important for organizations to provide the proper training and support to Project Sponsors. Ricardo Vargas gave a really practical and inspiring session on developing your career as a Project Manager, he organized his presentation with practical recommendations for "Beginning My Career", "Career Transition", and "Expanding Horizons". Dr. Ginger Levin shared what she has learned about embracing change as an IS Professional, and she has been involved in some very interesting project in her long and storied career. I plan to check out the other two session before the On Demand period is over.

I attended  the International Project Management Day last November for the first time, so I already had experience with an international virtual conference. There were some good possibilities to network while the event was live. There was a running chat during each session where people could make comments and ask questions. It was interesting to see where everybody was from. I hope that other PMI groups will get a chance to do something like this again. Everyone of the speakers from the sessions I've attended so far encouraged attendees to connect with them, which I've already done with some of the presenters. I'm also intetested in connecting with fellow Project Managers out there, feel free to connect with me in the various Social Spaces. You can find my various profiles here. I'd would appreciate something indicating some kind of context when you connect with me (or anyone else). So why not indicate that you attended the conference?

One thing that I really appreciate is that all of the presentations were made available for download in the "Resources" tab at the website. They can be saved to your "Briefcase" and downloaded from there (this will vary depending upon which web browser you use). This allows you to review the material provided later on.

I hope that you'll take advance of this excellent opportunity to get up to 6 PDUs. I also hope that you'll attend the 2014 International Project Management Day being held on November 6th and maybe we'l run into each other there. Thank you to the PMI Information Systems for organizing this event!

The Future is not yet written, Let's build it together!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Darryl Heron's 2013-14 Presidential Farewell Speech for Toastmasters

Changing of the Presidents (Darryl 2013-14 Club President & Patrizia 2014-15 Club President)

On June 25th, Word Weavers, my Toastmaster club held out Induction Ceremony, where the 2013-14 Officers handed over the reins to the 2014-15 Officers.  What follows is the speech that I wrote and delivered as I ended my term as club president.


Darryl’s 2013-14 Presidential Farewell Address

My fellow Word Weavers, we come here tonight to end an era and to start a new one. We come here to say thank you to the officers who served us proudly in the 2013-14 Toastmaster year and to welcome those that will be leading and serving us in the 2014-15 year.

I started my presidency with an inaugural address and I’m ending it with a farewell address. I’m a student of history (as well we all should be) Mark Twain has said that while history doesn’t repeat that it does sometimes rhyme and we should take the time to learn the lessons that we can from the past. There have been some famous farewell addresses through the years and we can indeed learn a lot from the giants of human history as well as the many unknown and unrecognizable people.

As many of you know, I lost my job in October, and through my self-discovery and job searching, I’ve been able to be the President of Word Weavers, even when a big part of my life was in chaos, this was certain and gave me dignity and the ability to lift my head and carry on with a purpose.  Thank you, everyone for placing your trust in me and giving me this opportunity.

I’ve learned a lot this past year, as I have since joining Word Weavers and Toastmasters.  I’d like to say thank you to all of the officers and of you, I can’t take credit for this past year, I’d like to share it with all of you.  I’m happy that we have a beamer that the club can continue to use for years to come (even if we still need to work out the screen problem). I’m excited to have great flyers that we can use to promote the club. A great big thank you to Karin and her husband for all their work on this! I’m also proud that club is Select Distinguished for the 2013-14 Toastmaster year.  While I wanted to be President’s Distinguished for the third year in a row, being Select Distinguished is the 2nd highest honor that we can achieve from Toastmasters and there are lots of clubs that don’t achieve this honor and it means that a lot of members achieved educational awards this year (like Carsten and his Competent Communicator, not to mention Ron and Regina both getting their DTMs this year).  In fact, the club was recognized by the district for achieving the most educational awards in our division for the first 6 months of this Toastmaster year! In life, we sometimes we fall short of our goals, but if we didn’t have goals we would achieve very little. Now, Patrizia and the other officers won’t be pressured to 4 peat and will be able to determine what they want to achieve.

2013-14 Officers
I’d like to call up Patrizia to help me recognize all of the officers from the 2013-14 TM year.
Served as our Sargent at Arms for half the year before her non TM life called her away.  In this time she led the search for a new meeting location that brought us here.  For this I cannot fully express my gratitude.
Thank you for taking over as Sergeant at Arms, it isn’t easy to take over a role that someone else has started or learning about the role half way into it.
She has served as Secretary for two years. She has also done a lot of work with organizing and running our club contests for the past two years.

The club depends on you and can count on you to fulfil the treasurer role. You submit everything in a timely fashion and were a key part of us being Select Distinguished this year.

Karin really helped to take the officer goal of having new flyers and made it a reality. 

You joined our club about this time last year and you’ve brought all your TM knowledge to the club. I’ve really appreciated being able to pick your brain for ideas this past year. You’ve inspired me to know that our club can achieve so much more and we can have fun while we do it.

Thank you for serving as our Immediate Past President. After serving a term as president, I realize how much work you put in when you were president, so thank you for that and for offering me your consul this past year.

I really appreciate the enthusiasm that you brought to the officers group. I fondly remember when you and I were at the American Information Evening at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt. We talked quite a bit when you were president 
Everyone, can I get a big hand for the 2013-14 Club officers!  To all of you and to all of you, I thank you for helping to make this an unforgettable year.

George Schultz, the creator of Peanuts said, “Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn’t work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos

Gilda Radner said, “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next

Dr. Seuss said, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

I’d like all of the 2014-15 Officers to come up here. I hope that you’ll all support the officers and help them to achieve the goals that they will seek. I’d also like you all to seriously consider being an officer in the future, when you’re asked or you can even volunteer.  It is an indescribably rewarding experience.  We get out of Toastmasters what we put into it, so I challenge you all to put your hearts into it, you won’t be disappointed.

Helen Rowland said that, “A man never knows how to say goodbye; a woman never knows when to say it.

That being said…Dale Evans said, “Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue. It’s the way you ride the trail that counts…Happy Trails to you, until we meet again.“

Everyone, please welcome the 2014-15 President of Word Weavers, Patrizia!


I’ve been very honored to have been able to serve as the President of Word Weavers this past year.  I would encourage others out there to think about being officers in your Toastmasters clubs and other organizations.  The world is in need of good leaders, this is an excellent opportunity to practice and learn leadership.  

Note:  All of the quotes listed above were found at Quote Garden.

Picture credit:  The picture above can be found at the Word Weaver Flickr group.