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This category includes articles about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), typically including donations to or other support for nonprofit organizations.

Overstock’s Byrne Offers Advice To Social Entrepreneurs

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Overstock’s founder and CEO, Patrick Byrne, is himself an accomplished social entrepreneur. Overstock’s lesser known affiliate Worldstock was an early entrant in the social enterprise space.

Worldstock sources artisinal products from around the world, largely from underprivileged women, and makes them available to people in the U.S. and elsewhere in the developed world at prices that provides fair earnings to the artisans. All Worldstock orders ship “carbon neutral” to the customer.

Byrne offers three key observations to help social entrepreneurs.

  1. Entrepreneurship is key: “The key to elevating the standard of living in developing countries is not through foreign aid, but through encouraging entrepreneurship. Part of that calls for engaging in fair trade with the actual producers in these nations. Overstock’s fair trade division, called Worldstock, began doing this before fair trade was even a popular concept.”
  2. Free enterprise must be defended: “Our nation’s future growth depends on fair and robust capital markets, without which, free enterprise is condemned to stagnate and wither. To that end, we must strive for an economic meritocracy, where the best ideas are rewarded and regulators act to protect all market participants, not just the biggest players.”
  3. School choice is key: “Our nation’s future growth also depends on access to intellectual capital, which in turn requires a strong education system. When schools are failing their students, it’s our moral obligation to give those students options, including the ability to attend better performing schools. School choice is of paramount importance.”

On Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 6:00 PM Eastern, Byrne will join me for a live discussion about his insights for social entrepreneurs and change agents. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Overstock:

Twitter: @overstock

We are an online retailer. Founded in 1999, gone public in 2002. First year revenues of just under $2-million, today revenues approach $2-billion. Over 1,500 employees. We were initially created as a liquidation channel for the first waves of failed dotcoms. Today we’ve evolved into a first run retailer selling everything from toasters to patio furniture.

Patrick Byrne, courtesy of Overstock

Patrick Byrne, courtesy of Overstock

Byrne’s bio:

Twitter: @OverstockCEO

Patrick M. Byrne, CEO, launched Overstock.com in 1999 with revenues of $1.8 million. In 2014 Overstock.com had revenues of $1.5 billion and net income of $8.8 million. Forbes magazine named Overstock.com the No. 9 Best Company to Work for in the Country for 2010, and Byrne the CEO with the highest employee approval rating (92%). Byrne received the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

In 2001, Byrne began Worldstock Fair Trade, an Overstock.com division selling handcrafted products from artisans in developing nations. The department distinguishes itself by returning 60-70% of the sale price to artisans (over $100 million has been paid to Worldstock’s artisan suppliers). In addition, Worldstock net profits have been donated to fund philanthropic projects in several countries. Worldstock and Byrne have funded the building of 26 self-sustaining schools internationally that currently educate thousands of students.

A “classical liberal,” Byrne believes that our nation’s success depends on a sound educational system and healthy capital markets. Since Milton Friedman’s passing in 2006, Byrne has served as chairman of The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, an organization leading the national debate for school vouchers.

Towards the goal of clean capital markets, in 2004 Byrne (as a citizen-journalist) began a vigorous campaign against abusive Wall Street practices, focusing on regulatory capture, hedge fund “expert network” (insider trading) schemes, settlement system failures, systemic risk, and the possibility of economic warfare against the US by organized crime and foreign governments. His stance quickly caught the attention of Wall Street analysts and reporters, becoming a point of high controversy and ridicule until the economic crash of 2008, occasioned by the very things Byrne had warned of. Byrne’s website DeepCapture.com has received much recognition, such as Weblogs Award “Best Business Blog” (2008), Business Pundit’s “Best Business Investigative Journalism” (2009), and Xmark’s “Top Site on Corruption in the USA” (2010).

Before founding Overstock.com and serving as chairman, CEO, and president, Byrne held the same three positions at Centricut, LLC, a manufacturer of consumables for industrial plasma torches, and held the same three positions at Fechheimer Brothers, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, manufacturing police, firefighter and military uniforms.

Byrne received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and Asian studies from Dartmouth College, a master’s in philosophy from Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar, and a doctorate in philosophy from Stanford University. He has taught at the university level and is a frequent guest lecturer discussing internet commerce, capital markets, Wall Street practices, education, leadership and ethics.

In 2014, Byrne’s political philosophy, mathematical training and concern over corruption on Wall Street combined to move him to create Medici, Overstock.com’s financial technology subsidiary building platforms for digital asset exchange on the same technology that powers bitcoin. In 2015, Byrne became the first person in history to purchase a digital bond, using Medici’s t0.com private debt equity trading platform.

Branson’s Virgin Unite Launches ‘100% Human At Work’

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Virgin Unite describes itself as the “entrepreneurial foundation” of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. It is a registered nonprofit and the part of Virgin focused on social impact. Branson, not typically labeled a social entrepreneur, sure seems to be one.

Recently, I’ve connected with Virgin Unite President Jean Oelwang to learn more about the organization and about its work.

A quick perusal of the website will tell you that Branson is concerned about a wide range of social issues from the oceans, to youth unemployment and homelessness, and from AIDS and TB to rural transportation for health workers (motorbikes).

Oelwang is championing a new initiative that addresses broad, global issues, called 100% Human at Work” led by The B Team, a global nonprofit incubated by Virgin Unite.

“We live in a world in which change is happening faster than ever: environmental pressures, population growth, massive advancements in technology, and significant shifts in the demographic of the workforce to name just a few,” Oelwang says.

“This has inevitably sparked changes in the ways in which we work and people’s aspirations and desires for their work are also shifting. This is an amazing opportunity for companies to be at the forefront of change and to start to build purpose-driven organizations that prioritize people and planet alongside profit,” she adds.

Oelwang explains, “The B Team’s vision of the future is a world in which the purpose of business is to become a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit. Its mission is to help develop a ‘Plan B’ that puts people and planet alongside profit. Plan A – where companies have been driven by the profit motive alone – is no longer acceptable.”

“One area that the B Team is focusing on is the way in which businesses treat their employees. The B Team has developed an initiative called ’100% Human at Work’ which was driven by the belief that it is time for businesses to stop looking at people as resources and to start seeing them as human beings,” Oelwang continues.

She says, “We have also collaborated to identify the five elements that define a 100% Human company: Respect, Equality, Growth, Belonging, Purpose.”

“Through partnerships and collaborations we also want to inspire business for the next generation, so that together we can make our workplaces 100% Human. We want to turn work upside down to become a place where people can contribute to society, the planet, their company and to their own personal growth,” Oelwang concludes.

On Thursday, November 19, 2015 at Oelwang will join me for a live discussion about building a “100% Human” company. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Virgin Unite:

Twitter: @virginunite

Virgin Unite, the entrepreneurial foundation of the Virgin Group. We unite people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world. We believe disruption is at the heart of entrepreneurial thinking – to defy the status quo and turn challenges into opportunities.

How do we do it?

  1. We shine a spotlight on unacceptable issues and great entrepreneurial approaches. Using the strength of the Branson family and the brand’s convening power, we leverage our 53m customers, 20m social media followers, and 65,000 Virgin staff, to raise awareness of and take action around important issues.
  2. We create disruptive collaborations. We bring together the best people and organisations from all sectors to change business for good, protect the planet (and beyond!) and create better global governance.
  3. We empower entrepreneurs to change business for good. We help them get the skills, support and funding access they need to succeed, while showing how to put people and planet alongside profit at the heart of their business.

In all that we do, we are uniting a powerful global community of entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and inspirational leaders, who share our belief that entrepreneurial ideas, together with the right people, can create change around the world. Why not take a closer look at what we’ve done over the last 10 years!

Our overheads are covered by Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, meaning that 100% of all donations received go directly to the frontline.

Jean-Oelwang-1200x800

Oelwang’s bio:

Twitter: @jeanoelwang

Jean Oelwang is President and a Trustee of Virgin Unite, the entrepreneurial foundation of the Virgin Group.. In 2003, Jean left her post as joint CEO of Virgin Mobile Australia to begin working with Richard Branson and the Virgin staff from around the world to create Virgin Unite. Over the last 12 years, Jean has worked with partners to create new approaches to social and environmental issues, such as the Branson Centres of Entrepreneurship and a global platform to support budding entrepreneurs. She has helped incubate a number of global leadership initiatives such as The Elders, the Carbon War Room, The B Team and Ocean Unite. In addition, Jean has been instrumental in working with Virgin’s businesses and others worldwide to put driving positive change at their core.

In her previous life, Jean lived and worked on six continents helping to lead successful mobile phone start-ups in South Africa, Columbia, Bulgaria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and the US.

Jean has long explored the overlap of the business and social sectors and has been involved in both, having worked for the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife in Australia, and in numerous volunteer roles, including a stint as a VISTA volunteer where she worked with – and learned from – homeless teens in Chicago.

She sits on the Advisory Council for The Elders and the Boards of the Carbon War Room, Ocean Unite, Ocean Elders and Just Capital. She is also a Senior Partner in the B Team.

Three Questions To Help Organizations Find The Right Nonprofit Partner

This is a guest post from Simon Taylor, senior vice president and general manager of Comtrade

Giving back to those less fortunate is an important mandate for for-profit organizations. In 2014, corporations donated nearly $18 billion to nonprofit organizations in the U.S., an infusion of money that helped support important initiatives. Not only do corporate donations and volunteerism result in a more vibrant nonprofit sector, but companies with well-aligned charitable partnerships often see a stronger workplace culture characterized by engaged employees and stakeholders.

Choosing a nonprofit partner that is a good fit for an organization can be challenging, especially with more than 1.5 million choices in the U.S. alone. Comtrade, a global software engineering company based in Central Europe and specializing in monitoring, backup and software integration, approached the idea of a nonprofit partnership in a deliberate and methodical fashion. Although Comtrade has partnered with many charities in Europe, the organization wanted to find an American organization that aligned with Comtrade’s values, ideals and goals when it decided to make a bolder move into the U.S. market.

(L - R) Simon Taylor, senior vice president and general manager, Comtrade System Software & Tools, Mark Culliton, CEO, College Bound Dorchester, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Sean Curran, board chairman, College Bound Dorchester

(L – R) Simon Taylor, senior vice president and general manager, Comtrade System Software & Tools, Mark Culliton, CEO, College Bound Dorchester, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Sean Curran, board chairman, College Bound Dorchester

The nonprofit College Bound Dorchester – a scrappy, innovative organization that counteracts gang violence to improve some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Boston – seemed like the right fit, but the management team at Comtrade wanted to be sure. Before partnering, management asked three key questions:

  1. Would the partnership benefit both parties?
    In addition to its U.S. focus, Comtrade wanted a partner that would give its employees a mission to get excited about and rally behind. The workforce is the best advocate, and it was hugely important to the management team that the staff could see the link between the two organizations, get involved and see the impact the company was making. Many companies write checks, but fail to educate the team about the philanthropic mission, making it difficult to generate enthusiasm and garner internal goodwill. Comtrade’s partnership with College Bound sends a message to its employees, and therefore builds a stronger company.
  2. How does the charitable partner’s mission and goals align with our own?
    College Bound’s mission is to engage gang members and encourage them to attend community college, and in so doing, move active gang influencers off the streets and into positive roles. Ultimately, by breaking apart gangs and reducing their effectiveness, the neighborhood improves. During the vetting process, Mark Culliton, CEO of College Bound, visited the Comtrade offices in Croatia to educate the company stakeholders about his organization. He spoke about adapting to change and dealing with challenges in extreme environments, a message that resonated with the leadership team. Similarly, Comtrade solves some of the most challenging situations in enterprise IT, and it does so by proactively addressing major potential problems within a complex IT environment.
  3. Can we make a real difference with this organization?
    Many companies select big name, recognizable charities because it builds instant credibility, but they miss out on the opportunity to work with a smaller organization where they can make a definitive impact as the partner scales. College Bound regularly provides its partner with impact metrics on a hyper-local level that are an accurate representation of Comtrade’s investment at work. Seeing exactly where corporate dollars are going and how they are making a difference empowers both organizations and employees alike.

About Simon Taylor:

Simon Taylor is senior vice president and general manager of System Software & Tools at Comtrade, where he is responsible for the overall vision, strategy and execution of products, the product development services business and the technology roadmap.

Toyo Tires Presents Meals on Wheels America with Donations and Tires To Help Reach Seniors During Harsh Winter Conditions

This is a guest post from Julie Sediq, senior manager of marketing communications at Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.

Last year the Boston area set a record for the most snow in a year. One storm in Detroit meanwhile was the third worst on record with over 16 inches of snow and at points during the winter, snow covered more than half the nation. As a company that makes tires, safe and effective travel in this weather is important to us and it’s even more important if your job is to deliver meals to the home bound elderly.

That’s why we are proud to partner with Meals on Wheels America to help deliver meals to local communities around the nation. We have committed to help the programs be successful in showing up and assisting with the safe and reliable delivery of critical meals and safety checks on homebound seniors across the nation.

Meals on Wheels America is a community-based service that provides fresh, nutritious meals delivered directly to the homes of seniors and individuals with disabilities. In addition to regularly providing healthy foods, caring staff and volunteers provide social connections that helps meal recipients remain living independently in their own homes. In some communities Meals on Wheels is expected to deliver as many as 90,000 meals in the upcoming year.

In October, Toyo Tires started making $5,000 cash grants and equipping 14 local programs with a new set of tires so drivers can safely make those important deliveries this winter. Most of the vehicles will be equipped with a set of Toyo Celsius variable-conditions tires–a just introduced tire that has better ice and snow traction than the all-season tires that are found on so many cars. They are especially helpful in communities where drivers face tough winter conditions. The grants will help the local programs prepare and deliver more meals, offset equipment costs and expand programs.

Here’s what some of the programs have said:

“Funding from Toyo Tires would allow Metro Meals on Wheels and member programs to continue to serve our mission to assure every senior in the Twin Cities who needs a meal receives one. Specifically, this funding would help to fund the food, assembly and delivery of 10,000 Blizzard Box’s for 5,000 seniors in the Twin Cities. This opportunity also opens up 80 volunteer spots to assemble boxes and make deliveries to those in need. Often times the daily delivery over lunch hour is hard for working professionals to commit to, this opportunity gives those who want to give back a one-time opportunity to do so.”

– Metro Meals on Wheels–Minneapolis, MN

“Being able to keep a vehicle on the road meals that 80 seniors will receive their MOW delivery each day.”

– Kit Clark Senior Services–Dorchester/Boston, MA

“By using this gift to offset the equipment repair costs outlined above, we will not need to pull out that money away from our food funding. For the $5,000 that will continue be available to us for food expense, we will be able to provide food delivery for four days of approximately 225 meals for seniors, per day.”

– Burlington Meals on Wheels–Burlington, VT

So far Toyo Tires has made donations and delivered tires to Meals on Wheels America affiliates in Detroit MI, Boulder CO, Kansas City MO, Salt Lake City UT, Green Bay WI,  Waukegan IL, Philadelphia PA, Burlington VT, Hartford CT, Dorchester MA, Providence RI, Scarborough ME, Holyoke MA, and Minneapolis MN. We hope to expand the program next year.

About Julie Sediq:

Julie Sediq is senior manager of marketing communications at Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. She manages public relations, advertising, promotions and social media for the company.

 

CSR, Say Cheese!

Here’s how your Funds could create nutritious Cheese, help Autistic children, save the livestock people of Rajasthan (India) and their Camels.

PROJECT BY: Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan & Camel Charisma

ABOUT: LPPS is an NGO that supports traditional livestock keepers in Rajasthan, and indirectly all over India.

WORKING SINCE: 1996

THE CONCEPT IN A NUTSHELL: Introducing Camel Cheese to India – this Project aims to develop Camel Cheese into a value added product that creates income for Camel breeders, provides economic incentives for conserving the Camel, and provides therapeutic support to autistic children. Some studies have proved that camel milk is a health tonic, especially useful for Diabetes patients and autistic children.

WHY THIS PROJECT IS GOOD FOR THE WORLD: The benefits of this project relate to camel breeders in Rajasthan (who currently have no income from their camels) and to consumers who get access to a healthy product that provides the nutritional and health benefits of camel milk in a less perishable form.

FUNDS REQUIRED: $80,000/INR 50 Lakh, for three years

WATCH HOW CAMELS BRING HOPE TO THE PEOPLE OF RAJASTHAN:

A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE OPERATIONAL STRATEGY: The project will encompass the following steps:

  1. Development of a premium Camel Cheese product that suits the Indian palate
  2. Training of members of Camel breeding families in Cheese production
  3. Development of a Marketing Strategy
  4. Promotion of the product, through linkages with Hotels, Chefs and Specialty Shops in the Metros

SOME FACTS AND FIGURES

Duration of Project with Proposed Funding requirement: 3 years

Number of people who will benefit from the Project: 500 Camel breeding families and potentially thousands of autistic children

Area of operation and direct impact: All of Rajasthan

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHY THE LIVESTOCK PEOPLE NEED YOU:

Want to Fund this Project?

Write to us at editor@csrlive.in and we will assist you with the process. 

 

The Benefits of a CSR Program

This is a guest post from Sean Bergin, Co-Founder and President of APTelecom

Any company can earn a profit. However, not everything about running a business should be for-profit. There’s more to life than just work and there’s more to work than just business. That’s why it’s essential for businesses to implement a strong Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. A CSR program allows businesses to give back and do social good for a cause dedicated to its founder’s personal beliefs. The charity for a CSR program should be selected on the idea of it aligning with the company’s overall mission. By showing its passion for something other than a bottom line, a company can use a CSR program to show its customers and employees its human side while also raising funds and awareness for a good cause.

Some ‘Scrooge’ entrepreneurs may not like the idea of a CSR program, as they might feel like it takes away time spent on earning new business and improving company revenue. A business owner might also feel like it is difficult to maintain the overall company vision when he/she has to spend time focused on a CSR program. It’s actually the opposite on both counts. A Verizon and Campbell Soup study called Project ROI proved that CSR programs can increase revenue up to 20%. The same study also went on to conclude that CSR programs increase shareholder value and improve employee productivity. A study by Nielsen found that 67% of consumers prefer to work for socially responsible companies and 55% will pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. The ‘Scrooges’ of the world, have it wrong; they are actually hurting their business and bottom line by not having a CSR program.

Sean Bergin

Sean Bergin

When we started APTelecom, we decided to make supporting charitable program and our commitment to CSR a foundation of our company’s vision. Our aim is to continue to support charities that are in our neighborhood. This means a continued focus on assisting programs operating in emerging markets in which we operate, such as SE Asia, Africa and Latin America. We consider this a double win. We are able to receive the opportunity to support worthy causes in markets with socio-economic challenges, which ties to our core business of assisting the telecommunications industry establish new submarine cables into countries lacking access to these capabilities. While the challenges faced by each developing country in the markets in which APTelecom operate are largely determined by its local cultural, political, and economic conditions, APTelecom has found that enabling Internet access always has a profound & positive impact.

In line with this vision, APTelecom recently continued its mission by supporting underprivileged youth in several international markets. Most recently, APTelecom provided donations and ongoing support to Friends-International, whose mission is to save lives and build futures of the most marginalized youth and children in Southeast Asia. With a strong focus on doing business in emerging markets, APTelecom has a genuine desire to support charities as a way of acknowledging the support that we have received from these markets as we have grown.

We have seen the benefits of a CSR program firsthand, and have recommended that all of our customers, partners, and vendors follow suit and implement a program that is meaningful to their principle owners and values. It is part of our responsibility as business owners to lead the way on improving the way of life for those not as fortunate. With the holiday season coming up, now is a great chance to organize the foundation of CSR program and help others while also improving your bottom line, customer base, and employee morale. What’s their not to like?

About Sean Bergin:

Sean Bergin is based in APTelecom’s Asian headquarters in Cambodia and has been instrumental in building APTelecom into a globally recognized leader in telecom and fiber consulting, elevating it from a start-up business to an award-winning global organization which has generated over US $195 million in sales for clients.

Media Consultant Offers Insights For Impact

Your Mark on the World Center sponsor Mike Schwager is a media consultant who focuses on impact in all he does. He operates MediaMavens.com and TVtraining.tv, helping people prepare for appearances on television.

Mike explains his philosophy, “Serve companies that tell the truth about the products and services they deliver, that minimally don’t hurt anyone; and optimally serve the public good and interest. Who you represent is an extension of who you are.”

He works to choose his clients carefully, noting, “The best companies value people above profits, encouraging human development as the cornerstone of quality products and services.”

Mike offers some important advice about promoting a client that applies equally to those promoting themselves, “In promoting a book, a product or service, or an organization use news to make news; think ‘impact,’ think ‘timeliness/immediacy,’ think ‘novelty,’ think ‘relevance.'”

Like all communications professionals, Mike helps people face public relations crises. He offers this advice to others, “Organizations should admit mistakes, offer constructive solutions. Tell your clients the truth in confidence, even if they may not want to hear it.”

Mike sees real strategic value in adding a meaningful social impact to a for-profit business; he advises, “Help your for-profit clients see the value of allying themselves with worthwhile causes that can enhance their own reputations, and do some real good in the world as well.”

On Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Mike will join me for a live discussion about his career and insights for public relations. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about Worldlink Media Consultants:

PR/Media Relations firm specializing in: speech writing, publicity, marketing communications, media interview and crisis training, creative marketing consulting and reputation repair on behalf of authors, non-profit and humanitarian organizations, companies invested in cause-related marketing, politicians, celebrities and countries.

Also advance issues such as dialogue, self-empowerment and motivation, animal advocacy, global poverty solutions, alternative energy via two websites: www.Enrichment.com, and www.EnrichOurWorld.net – and my radio show, “The Enrichment Hour” on WSRadio.com.

mike_schwager-pic

Mike’s bio:

Twitter: @MikeSchwager

As a writer for CBS Audience Services, media specialist for Burson-Marsteller, as president of Michael Klepper Associates, and as head of his own two media relations firms – The Media Relations Group and Worldlink Media Consultants – Mike Schwager has been an accomplished media relations/public relations executive, with a track record of building reputations for non-profits, associations, companies, governments and authors.

His publicity efforts have helped raise millions for humanitarian enterprises; and he has successfully put organizations such as CURE International, Opportunity International, Geneva Global, National Spinal Cord Injury Association, KidsPeace, The John Templeton Foundation, The United Negro College Fund, Magazine Publishers of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of America in the public spotlight. He has introduced China to America as Director of Public Relations for The Exhibition of the People’s Republic of China, and has gained increased respect for Mexico in the American mind by developing television news stories on behalf of the United States-Mexican Development Corporation. He has spearheaded successful p.r. campaigns for such companies as Kelloggs, Data General, ABC/Capital Cities Publishing, Tadiran and World Color Press.

He has also implemented promotional campaigns for best-selling books such as Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, and created successes for such other books as You Can Heal Your Life; For Entrepreneurs Only; Remembering America: A Voice from the Sixties; The Hidden Pope; A Billion Bootstraps: Microcredit, Barefoot Banking and the Business Solution for Ending Poverty; The BEST In Us: People, Profit and the Remaking of Modern Leadership; and The Evolution of an Entrepreneur: Featuring My 50 Best Tips for Surviving and Thriving in Business.

Mr. Schwager is an acclaimed counselor to CEOs, and as a media interview trainer has prepared many CEOs, diplomats and authors for appearances on national television. He is also an accomplished writer of Opinion Editorials and speeches for executives and politicians.

As he’s travelled on his journey, Mike has come to see himself as a healer through communications. In addition to serving humanitarian organizations in media relations, he
became host of a spiritual/humanitarian radio show, “The Enrichment Hour” on WSRadio.com, and he created two websites, Enrichment.com, an idea envisioned on a walk down a Soho street in Manhattan during the winter of 1990; and EnrichOurWorld.net. Within this vision was the sense that as the world converges technologically, so is the time also ripe for a convergence and new integration between people, races, genders, religions and cultures…coming together and finding common ground through dialogue and heart-felt expression. The time is also fertile for increased opportunities for human fulfillment, and the growth of human potentiality – through service to the Earth and humanity, vocational/entrepreneurial growth, and creative/ spiritual insight, growth and self-development.

It is hoped that his radio show, The Enrichment Hour, Enrichment.com, and EnrichOurWorld.net, will inspire and help enrich people’s lives in building the better world!

In development are the creation of a new radio channel, called “The Enrichment Channel” and a new website, “United Friends of Earth.”

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Microsoft Welcomes Windows 10 With $10 Million Gift To Charity

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

[Note: I own an embarrassingly small number of Microsoft shares.]

Today, Microsoft is kicking off its launch of Windows 10 with a $10 million give-back campaign. Nine nonprofits have already been chosen to receive a portion of the $10 million and a tenth will be chosen by people using the hashtag #UpgradeYourWorld on social media.

“Giving back and supporting non-profits is a cornerstone of our company culture. Microsoft and its employees collectively give thousands of hours, and donate more than $1 billion each year to nonprofit organizations around the world,” Elisa Willman, Senior Manager Marketing Communications, Corporate Citizenship & Public Affairs for Microsoft, said.

“Microsoft is proud to work with more than 86,000 nonprofits around the world every year to provide them with affordable access to the technology they need to support their work in local communities, and to leverage technology to help them be more efficient, effective and innovative in doing their important work. Whether it is through our software donations, technology solutions for nonprofit problems, or Office 365 Nonprofit, we strive to help nonprofits do more good,” she added.

Dave Forstrom, Director of Communications, Windows, said, “Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”

On Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Willman and Forstrom will join me for a live discussion about the $10 million #UpgradeYourWorld give back program. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Microsoft:

Twitter: @Microsoft, @Windows, @msftcitizenship

Microsoft is a services and devices company with the goal to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. We aim to reinvent productivity and business processes, build the intelligent cloud platform and create more personal computing.

elisa-willman

Elisa Willman

Willman’s bio:

Twitter: @ElisaMWill

Elisa Willman has spent her career at the intersection of philanthropy, marketing and business. Currently Senior Marketing Communications Manager for Microsoft’s Corporate Citizenship & Public Affairs team, she leads global campaigns for the company. Prior to Microsoft, Elisa worked as Executive Director of a high profile children’s charity in New Zealand and as a cause marketing consultant. She has extensive experience in sponsorship and partnerships and enjoys applying her background to cause strategy at Microsoft. When not at work, Elisa is passionate about travel, family adventures and her role as a mentor through the Global Give Back Circle.

Forstrom’s bio:

Dave currently holds the position, Director, Windows and has been with Microsoft for more than seven years where he focuses on “reimagining Windows” in our constantly changing technological world.

 

Can You Make A Difference And A Profit? Estee Lauder Does

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

The Estée Lauder Companies, working through its MAC’s VIVA GLAM Lipstick, has become one of the leading funders in the fight against HIV/AIDS around the world, donating over $350 million total over 20 years reaching over $40 million per year recently.

Nancy Mahon, Senior Vice President, Global Philanthropy and Corporate Citizenship, explains the company’s passion for working so diligently to end AIDS, “We can only end AIDS if we test and treat everyone at risk of and actually infected with HIV. As only half of the people in the world who need HIV testing and treatment can get it, and funding for the epidemic is declining… we desperately need corporation’s business acumen and resources — including the ability to market and sell ideas — to tackle the world’s biggest problems, including ending AIDS.”

“The people behind many corporations are incredibly skilled at defining and efficiently solving many of the key business and resourcing issues, which also stand in the way of issues like equitable access to medical care.,” she continues.

“While science has now made it possible to end AIDS, it’ll only become a reality if we get a realistic and achievable business plan in place,” she concludes.

On Friday, July 10, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Mahon will return to my show here to talk about measuring return on investment for The Estée Lauder Companies in leading the fight against AIDS. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about The Mac AIDS Fund:

Twitter: @macaidsfund

The MAC AIDS Fund (MAF), the heart and soul of MAC Cosmetics, was established in 1994 to support men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS globally. MAF is a pioneer in HIV/AIDS funding, providing financial support to organizations working with underserved regions and populations. Recently recognized by Funders Concerned About AIDS as the top corporate giver in the arena, MAF is committed to addressing the link between poverty and HIV/AIDS by supporting diverse organizations around the world that provide a wide range of services to people living with HIV/AIDS. To date, MAF has raised more than $340 million (U.S.) exclusively through the sale of MAC’s VIVA GLAM Lipstick and Lipglass donating 100 percent of the sale price to fight HIV/AIDS. For more information, visit www.macaidsfund.org.

Mahon’s bio:

Twitter: @nancy_mahon

Nancy is Senior Vice President, Global Philanthropy and Corporate Citizenship, for The Estée Lauder Companies and Global Executive Director of the M·A·C AIDS Fund. In this role, she is responsible for Estée Lauder’s global corporate citizenship strategy, encompassing all philanthropic, cause-marketing, employee engagement, and product donation programs. Nancy also oversees the strategic direction and day- to-day operation of the M·A·C AIDS Fund. Currently, the Fund gives away $44 million annually throughout the world, particularly in the 72 countries in which M·A·C has affiliates.

In December 2011, Nancy was appointed as the Chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). PACHA provides advice and recommendations to the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on programs and policies intended to promote effective prevention of HIV disease, and to advance research on HIV disease and AIDS.

Prior to joining M·A·C in June 2006, Nancy was Executive Director of God’s Love We Deliver (GLWD), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of life-sustaining nutritional support services for people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses.

Nancy is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale University and New York University’s School of Law, where she was an editor of the Law Review. She and her partner reside in New York City with their two children.

Lululemon CEO Helps Nonprofit Give Gladys In Nicaragua New Home

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Lululemon (Nasdaq: LULU) CEO Laurent Potdevin recently joined with other employees of the apparel firm to build something completely different: a house.

Working with the nonprofit organization Giveback Homes, Potdevin helped fund the construction a home for a needy family in Nicaragua.

He shared his experience with me:

In the process of selling my home in Manhattan Beach, I was introduced to Giveback Homes through my real estate agents, Brigitte Pratt and Colleen Cole. They are both Giveback Homes Realtors and informed me that they would be donating from the transaction of selling my home to build a home for a family in Nicaragua.

I asked how much they were planning on donating and matched their donation. Between both of our donations we were able to build an entire home for a deserving family in Central America.

One of my favorite things about Giveback Homes is that they work to make sure their Realtors and clients feel a connection with the people they are helping. With every home built, the Realtors who donated to make that home possible receive a summary and photos of the family they helped and in some cases, the Realtors will join Giveback Homes team members to physically build the home.

The home we built was for Gladys and her family. Gladys was abandoned as a child. She’s now married with two children and works as a tortilla maker, her husband sells bread on the street and their combined monthly income is $200.

Before we built Gladys’ first home, she was living in a makeshift shack with dirt floors and walls made of wood scraps. When it rained, the floors in the house would turn to mud. It was my honor to help build her dream home; her first real home. Gladys is a hard worker, self-taught entrepreneur and a fighter. She fights every single day to give her children the life she wished she had, the life all children deserve; a safe place to call home and parents that love them.

I’m so thankful to my philanthropic real estate agents for introducing me to this wonderful organization. Buying and selling homes through these philanthropic agents is an easy sell in my opinion.

On Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 3:00 PM Eastern, Potdevin will join me for a live discussion of about his experiences helping to build this home. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Lululemon:

Twitter: @lululemon

lululemon athletica inc (NASDAQ: LULU) is a yoga-inspired athletic apparel com pay with products that create transformational experiences for people to live happy, healthy, fun lives. Setting the bar in technical fabrics and functional designs, lululemon works with yogis and athletes in local communities for continuous research and product feedback.

What We Do: Elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness. Our purpose gets us out of bed in the morning. Elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness is about holding ourselves and others to our highest possibility. This is our promise to the world.
How We Do It: Our products create transformational experiences for people to live happy, healthy, fun lives.
Our mission os how we live into our purpose. The products and transformational experiences we create aren’t limited to Luon–we design technical gear, throw kick-ass events and support our people with the intention of brining happiness, health and fun to our communities.

Lululemon on Youtube.

laurent_potdevin

Laurent Potdevin, CEO, Lululemon

Potdevin’s bio:

@laurentp1

Laurent Potdevin, CEO, brings more than 25 years in the retail industry to this role and a deep understanding of premium brands, athletic apparel, technical products, innovation and best-in-class customer experience.

Laurent previously served as President of TOMS Shoes, where he built a world-class management team, led global expansion, and broadened the company’s strong cultural identity. Prior to TOMS, Laurent spent five years as President and CEO, at Burton Snowboards where the business grew significantly under his leadership, expanding across product categories and creating international scale by always focusing on providing the best consumer experience.

Laurent first gained experience in premium, luxury brands through his tenure at LVMH where he identified the potential of the Berlutti footwear brand early on and then became Director of North American Operations for the company’s premier Louis Vuitton brand where he was integral in optimizing the brand’s North American supply chain.

As an avid snowboarder, you can find Mr. Potdevin carving it up on the mountain during the winter and on catching waves on his surfboard in the summer.

More about Giveback Homes:

Giveback Homes is a trusted network of real estate professionals dedicated to creating social change through the act of buying or selling a home. By simply choosing to work with a Giveback Homes real estate agent, mortgage broker, home builder or interior designer, you will help build a home for a family in need. People want to work with people who are doing good, and we are making it easy to find them.

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