Archive for November, 2011

Good Media = Good Business

Posted on: November 10th, 2011 by social venture network No Comments

Laura Flanders best-selling author and host of NPR’s “The Laura Flanders Show”, led a discussion with 40 socially responsible business leaders, media outlets and media buyers at Social Venture Network’s Fall conference last week in Philadelphia. The session was co-facilitated by Andy Shallal, entrepreneur and Founder of Busboys and Poets, who’s created a unique, multi-media platform through his restaurants, and Carol Atwood, Principal at Spartacus Capital.

Challenges posed to the group were how media, business and investors can work more closely together, and how media can better report on the sustainable business world to help invigorate positive change in business and society. Big take-aways:

1) The right advertisers with the right media can be a big win for all: Media purchasers make their decisions by the numbers: which outlets can provide the most impressions per ad dollar. Independent media, by definition not owned by a big media outlet and by nature generally smaller and more focused, is disadvantaged. How can independent media deliver? One answer is the Media Consortium, a membership organization of several independent media outlets. Together, they can provide the heft necessary for independent outlets to compete with the metrics of mainstream media.

2) The whole IS greater than the sum of its parts: With organizations reliant on media to tell their story, and media reliant on big advertisers to fund that effort, will the stories of the socially responsible business ever get told? Such businesses that have “made it” big enough to afford advertising on mainstream outlets generally don’t advertise, they have such a loyal following. And let’s face it: advertising is too expensive for most socially responsible businesses. One answer: Social Venture Network! In the same way that the Media Consortium can deliver a big-outlet’s worth of eyeballs to advertisers, SVN can potentially be the vehicle that delivers advertisers – on behalf of all member companies – to the big outlets.

3) People don’t give up culture unless there’s someplace else to go: Culture plays an important role, and we need to provide a viable alternative. Conservative media makes statements as if they are fact, thereby capturing culture. Fox News figured out early that they could not change the government, but they could change the culture. The socially responsible business community uses terms like ‘common good’, for example, but this vague statement means different things to different people. We need to create a cultural shift through consistent messaging and media if we’re going to have an impact.

4) Get the message across via professional media training: Many socially responsible business leaders find themselves in a position to be interviewed for media, but don’t know how to craft their message. SVN and Laura Flanders are considering offering media training to member companies so that messages get out to the public in the way intended.

The conversation about the new economy that we all are trying to build needs to convey the urgency, both ecological and social, that goes beyond politics and indeed permeates our culture and forces a shift.

2011 Social Venture Network Fall Conference Call-to-Action Roundtable: Change the World, Change the Media: Find out how independent media can help you reach your goals

Co-Hosted by Laura Flanders, The Laura Flanders Show, Andy Shallal, Busboys and Poets, and Carol Atwood, Spartacus Capital.

Written by Erin Roach Director of Marketing and Recruitment Social Venture Network

Photos courtesy of Nancy Jo

Good Media = Good Business

Posted on: November 10th, 2011 by social venture network No Comments

Laura Flanders best-selling author and host of NPR’s “The Laura Flanders Show”, led a discussion with 40 socially responsible business leaders, media outlets and media buyers at Social Venture Network’s Fall conference last week in Philadelphia. The session was co-facilitated by Andy Shallal, entrepreneur and Founder of Busboys and Poets, who’s created a unique, multi-media platform through his restaurants, and Carol Atwood, Principal at Spartacus Capital.

Challenges posed to the group were how media, business and investors can work more closely together, and how media can better report on the sustainable business world to help invigorate positive change in business and society. Big take-aways:

1) The right advertisers with the right media can be a big win for all: Media purchasers make their decisions by the numbers: which outlets can provide the most impressions per ad dollar. Independent media, by definition not owned by a big media outlet and by nature generally smaller and more focused, is disadvantaged. How can independent media deliver? One answer is the Media Consortium, a membership organization of several independent media outlets. Together, they can provide the heft necessary for independent outlets to compete with the metrics of mainstream media.

2) The whole IS greater than the sum of its parts: With organizations reliant on media to tell their story, and media reliant on big advertisers to fund that effort, will the stories of the socially responsible business ever get told? Such businesses that have “made it” big enough to afford advertising on mainstream outlets generally don’t advertise, they have such a loyal following. And let’s face it: advertising is too expensive for most socially responsible businesses. One answer: Social Venture Network! In the same way that the Media Consortium can deliver a big-outlet’s worth of eyeballs to advertisers, SVN can potentially be the vehicle that delivers advertisers – on behalf of all member companies – to the big outlets.

3) People don’t give up culture unless there’s someplace else to go: Culture plays an important role, and we need to provide a viable alternative. Conservative media makes statements as if they are fact, thereby capturing culture. Fox News figured out early that they could not change the government, but they could change the culture. The socially responsible business community uses terms like ‘common good’, for example, but this vague statement means different things to different people. We need to create a cultural shift through consistent messaging and media if we’re going to have an impact.

4) Get the message across via professional media training: Many socially responsible business leaders find themselves in a position to be interviewed for media, but don’t know how to craft their message. SVN and Laura Flanders are considering offering media training to member companies so that messages get out to the public in the way intended.

The conversation about the new economy that we all are trying to build needs to convey the urgency, both ecological and social, that goes beyond politics and indeed permeates our culture and forces a shift.

2011 Social Venture Network Fall Conference Call-to-Action Roundtable: Change the World, Change the Media: Find out how independent media can help you reach your goals

Co-Hosted by Laura Flanders, The Laura Flanders Show, Andy Shallal, Busboys and Poets, and Carol Atwood, Spartacus Capital.

Written by Erin Roach Director of Marketing and Recruitment Social Venture Network

Photos courtesy of Nancy Jo

Labor Secretary Solis Talks Green Jobs and Jobs Bill At SVN Gathering

Posted on: November 4th, 2011 by social venture network No Comments

Written by Suzi Parrasch November 4, 2011

When Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis spoke at Social Venture Network’s Fall Conference in Philadelphia last Friday, it was a homecoming of sorts. Prior to her 2009 appointment as the first Latina cabinet member, Solis was a four-term California congresswoman at the forefront of the green jobs movement. One of her crowning achievements in Congress: the 2007 Green Jobs Act, which provided funding for “green collar” job training for veterans, displaced workers, at risk youth, and individuals and families under 200% of the federal poverty line.

As Secretary of Labor, Solis remains focused on her vision for a green economy across all sectors. Last January she announced $150 million in “Pathways Out of Poverty” green jobs training grants. The awards support programs to help workers in disadvantaged communities gain access to jobs in industries such as energy efficiency and renewable energy as part of the Recovery Act.

“I was able to invest about $500 million that was given to the agency for the first time so that we could jumpstart the green jobs initiative and that was to help create jobs and get business and spur business and make those investments with partnerships at the community level so that we could begin to train people in their local clean energy sector. Anit keeps growing,” Solis told Oceana‘s Dianne Saenz at the SVN conference.

When Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis spoke at Social Venture Network’s Fall Conference in Philadelphia last Friday, it was a homecoming of sorts. Prior to her 2009 appointment as the first Latina cabinet member, Solis was a four-term California congresswoman at the forefront of the green jobs movement. One of her crowning achievements in Congress: the 2007 Green Jobs Act, which provided funding for “green collar” job training for veterans, displaced workers, at risk youth, and individuals and families under 200% of the federal poverty line.

As Secretary of Labor, Solis remains focused on her vision for a green economy across all sectors. Last January she announced $150 million in “Pathways Out of Poverty” green jobs training grants. The awards support programs to help workers in disadvantaged communities gain access to jobs in industries such as energy efficiency and renewable energy as part of the Recovery Act.

“I was able to invest about $500 million that was given to the agency for the first time so that we could jumpstart the green jobs initiative and that was to help create jobs and get business and spur business and make those investments with partnerships at the community level so that we could begin to train people in their local clean energy sector. Anit keeps growing,” Solis told Oceana‘s Dianne Saenz at the SVN conference.

As she discussed the Administration’s plan for incentives to hire young people ages 16 to 24, Solis appealed to the SVN audience. “We need to do something so that we do not lose that talent, lose that power and the potential that young people have,” she said. “I would urge you to consider thinking about how you might be able to work that into your own programs to hire young people either on your own or through incentives through federal government,” she continued.

Solis spent time listening to SVN members discuss their businesses and ideas for sustainability and jobs creation, and she offered up her own story as an example. “I go back to my own roots, how my parents came here, worked very hard, left poverty to come here and they didn’t want a hand out, they didn’t want to get in line to ask for welfare. They came here to contribute, and to offer something up, that the American public and everyone embraced at that time. And some of us still embrace that. We honor diversity and we honor the contributions and talents of the many people around this world,” she said.

“I am very optimistic. A lot of people ask me – Secretary why did you take this job? With the highest rate of unemployment in history that you’ve ever seen, why did you take this job? Well I didn’t look at it that way. I looked it as the glass was half filled not half empty. And I thought there’s still a lot in there that I can do. And this President has given me the opportunity to help him with that vision.”

Read more here.

2011 Social Venture Network Fall Conference Plenary October 28, 2011

A Conversation with U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis interviewed by Dianne Saenz Oceana

Written by Suzi Parrasch November 4, 2011

Source: http://www.care2.com/causes/labor-secretary-solis-talks-green-jobs-and-jobs-bill-at-svn-gathering.html

Photos courtesy of Nancy Jo.

Am I afraid of my brand?

Posted on: November 4th, 2011 by social venture network No Comments

Written by Michael Higgins

I walked into the “Building Your Personal Brand” session at the Social Venture Network fall conference yesterday with a lot of negative feelings about the word “brand.”  I guess I had starting thinking back to the idea of branding cattle: the word has this connotation of a painful mark you apply to show ownership.

Of course brands are really useful and powerful, and there are plenty of brands I trust.  Still, it’s hard to escape the feeling that at best they are a bit calculated and at worst you wind up smelling the odor of burnt leather on your backside  I was not certain I wanted a “personal brand.”

The session was led by Andy Shallal and featured Josh Baran, Amber Rae, and Marta Flynn. Josh comes at the question from a more traditional communications perspective, Amber is in the whole social media thing, and Marta is in the public speaking world.

Having reflected on some of the questions raised by Andy and the audience, and the panel’s answers, I think some of my discomfort with the branding idea isn’t because the idea itself is distasteful, but because it requires me to do things I’m not necessarily good at or comfortable with. For instance, one of the questions we kept coming back to was separating your personal brand from your company’s brand.  I know I’m very sensitive to this, and it causes me to do a lot less personal writing. Years ago I maintained a detailed personal blog with lots of details about things like my dating life and my political thoughts and what I had for breakfast.  You know, the usual fascinating stuff. I do far less of that now.
Part of it is that I’m older and my life is more routine.  But mostly, it’s that I’m running a company and I don’t want people to associate my weirdness with my company.  (Well, at least, not all of my weirdness.)

There was a vocal contingent in the audience that felt that you should really try to own who you are, and put that out there, and it’s fine. I’m not sure that’s always appropriate — some people work with kids, or have a therapeutic relationship with their clients, or need to hew to very precise personal ethical boundaries.  But I could do it, and maybe I should do it. I just don’t know if I want to.

It’s a lot of work to cultivate an image that is honest, but doesn’t do a disservice to your official role.  It’s probably valuable, but you are always walking a line: picking out little interesting tidbits about yourself that are true and representative, but not inappropriate.

L-R: Andy Shallal, Josh Baran, Amber Rae, Marta Flynn

I think the key, for me, if I want to develop this kind of public persona, is to just be brave and not worry too much about how things reflect on the company and other people. I’m going to have to work up to it slowly.  One tweet at a time, right?

2011 Social Venture Network Fall Conference Interactive Workshop “Building Your Personal Brand” with Josh Baran, Baran Communications, Marta Flynn, Speaking for Good and Amber Rae, Unreasonable Institute; Facilitated by Andy Shallal, Busboys and Poets

Written by Michael Higgins Before starting Rhiza Labs, Mike worked for MAYA Design. He has published papers in pervasive computing, distributed systems, information visualization, and user experience design. He has contributed to the design and development of numerous products.

Photos courtesy of Nancy Jo

Can W.I.E. Do It – Yes W.I.E. Can!

Posted on: November 4th, 2011 by social venture network No Comments

Written by Adriaan de Man

Call to Action Roundtable: Building a European World Improving Entrepreneurs (W.I.E.’s)

The conclusion of this vivid and lively dialogue with Europeans and Americans is very much in line with JFK’s ‘ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ As Leen Zevenbergen, chairman of SVN Europe, stated “SVN Europe should become more of a platform for Exchange: Ideas, Inspiration, Business and Trustful Relations on sustainability.”

So what does SVN Europe have to offer World Improving Entrepreneurs (W.I.E.’s) in Europe and all over the world? How can we create an inspiring meeting place and business platform for social venturists from Europe, the US and beyond? And why should we aspire to this? Maybe you know about the concept of ‘The Golden Circle’ coined by Simon Sinek?

The ‘why’ is easy – we want to create a better, more beautiful and sustainable world for ourselves, our children and their children.

The ‘how’ will come naturally. As Engbert Breuker, chairman of SVN Netherlands, describes it: “If your head starts feeling and your heart starts thinking, your hands will do the right thing.”  So it’s all about passion, doing the things that raise your heartbeat. Treat people the way you would like to be treated and work on building long-term trustworthy relationships. It’s important to work on keeping this passion alive and to ensure so called ‘professionalism’ doesn’t get in the way.

In June 2011, SVN Europe organized an international conference called ‘Get on the Dancefloor’ (www.svnnederland/svneurope). And in May, 2012 we will have our second edition.

Do we need a Marshall Plan for SVN Europe?

Perhaps, but on a different level. We certainly could use your support in identifying people who are interested in becoming involved in rebuilding this platform, as conference participants, sponsors and/or members of SVN Europe. A number of people already told us they would like to join us in May for our 2012 conference in Amsterdam.

So with your help, W.I.E. Certainly Can Do It.

by Adriaan de Man (SVN Europe and proud World Improving Entrepreneur)

email: deman@nu-verder.nl

2011 Social Venture Network Fall Conference October 29th, 2011 Call-to-Action Roundtable led by Leen Zevenbergen, Chairman SVN Europe, and Engbert Breuker, Chairman SVN Netherlands

Photos of Adriaan (top) and Leen Zevenbergen (lower) courtesy of Adriaan de Man

Star Power and Silly Power at Social Venture Network

Posted on: November 2nd, 2011 by social venture network No Comments

Written by Carl Frankel

You’ve heard about strange bedfellows, right? Well, how about strange book ends? Because I’ve got a pair for you.

Let’s start with this: have you ever seen a Rhodes Scholar cry? I hadn’t, until Friday night’s Innovation Award Winners ceremony. One of the honorees was Eric Greitens, a man with list of credentials so long and impressive, including a Rhodes Scholarship, that he sounds more like a superhero than your ordinary mortal. Among his credits: Navy SEAL in charge of a team charged with tracking down mid- and high-level members of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Greitens is the founder of The Mission Continues, which helps wounded and disabled veterans reintegrate into their communities with a sense of purpose. There came a point during his brief speech, as he was thinking back on wounded veterans he has known, when this strikingly poised man choked up and couldn’t find words. It was an unlikely and moving moment, a raw and pure display of the passion beneath the poised and professional package. Thousands of years ago, Plato wrote about the “good, the beautiful and the true.” It was all on display in that moment.

I will skip over the other honorees for only one reason: lack of space. What an amazing, powerful, dedicated group of social innovators! It was genuinely humbling to be sharing a space with people who are doing such magnificent and, yes, heroic work.

2011 Social Venture Network Fall Conference Plenary: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, in conversation with Deb Nelson, SVN

And then, on Saturday night, the legendary Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s shared the stage. For much of the time, they told war stories (of the entertaining, not Iraq, kind) and were their usual genially avuncular selves. But they had a trick up their sleeves. Towards the end of their allotted time slot, Ben pleaded sudden illness and left the stage, only to re-appear moments later dressed as an Indian swami and carried aloft by acolytes who during their off hours, I believe, were doubling as conference attendees. After much silly ado, Ben was laid between two chairs, a cinder block was placed on his exposed (and impressively fit!) belly, and Jerry brought down a sledgehammer and smashed it (the cinder block, not the belly) into smithereens.

One of the refrains one hears at an SVN conference is that this isn’t your normal business conference. Ben & Jerry’s Silly Show proved this in spades. My hunch is that you won’t see this sort of carrying-on at US Chamber of Commerce gatherings.

Meanwhile my Serious Hat is off to Eric Greitens and the rest of the Innovation Award honorees.

2011 Social Venture Network Fall Conference SVN Innovation Awards Ceremony hosted by Laura Flanders, The Laura Flanders Show October 28, 2011

Photos courtesy of Nancy Jo

Written by Carl Frankel Carl is the former editor of Tomorrow Magazine. He is now a US correspondent for Green Futures (UK).