Dear colleagues and friends,
the passing of dearly loved friends I find myself recalling the impression they
made on my life. One in particular often
said "what goes around comes around”, usually in response to something smart
that I’d said, and his words always provoked a laugh because I knew he’d
eventually exact revenge. I think his
words aptly address the nature of our actions:
when we do that which is good, it comes back to us and usually in
greater volume than the original act. In
organizations, this premise is expressed by the words "social
responsibility”. But individuals like me
and my friend (and you!), can also be socially responsible. We can give our time and our talents as
volunteers in the effort to help our sisters and daughters around the world. When we do, our efforts return to the world
in the form of educated women and girls, thoughtful new leaders and burgeoning
The United Nations describes social responsibility as the
"Triple Bottom Line” of people, planet and profits. In other words, organizations must take
responsibility for the impact that their actions or products exact on the
environment (planet) or their community of stakeholders (people) while
maintaining their ability to be a sustainable organization (profitable).
U.S. economist Milton Friedman wrote in 1970 that "there is
one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and
engage in activities designed to increase its profits…” Although I admire and
respect Friedman’s work, this was a point with which I simply could not agree.
So, I conducted my own poll on Facebook, and was not surprised that 100% of the
respondents disagreed with Friedman. Rather,
we agreed with the words of Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey, who said
"It is the function of [company] leadership to develop solutions that continually
work for the common good.”
Advancing social responsibility can change the world. Recently interviewed by Rotary International
about The Gates Foundation’s goal to change the world through giving, Bill Gates
mused, "if each company can think about how 5% of their innovative power could
focus on the needs of the poorest and how we could tap more scientists, more
resources, more abilities…it can be very energizing”.
TIAW exists to change the world by expanding the economic
empowerment of women. Each individual
and association member is a passionate advocate that helps us all achieve this
goal together. I am a firm believer in
the childhood maxim that "inch by inch, everything’s a cinch”.
Friends and fellow leaders, your path is clear. Do that which is in the common good, and it
will come back to you.
Lisa Kaiser Hickey
by Phyllis Reardon, M. Ed
TIAW’s mission is to connect leading women’s
organizations worldwide to leverage their reach and resources, creating a
global community of economically empowered women.
Economically empowered women become self empowered and
self empowered women can change villages, cities, communities, the world.
does this mean to you, the professional woman, the business woman?
This global community of economically empowered women for
the most part is achieved through the work of volunteers. The majority of us
have volunteered in some capacity throughout our life be it at school, work,
church or community. Many times it was for reasons related to cost saving for
We have all heard the African proverb, ‘it takes a
village to raise a child’ well I believe that ‘one woman can empower a
village.’ You can be that one woman.
- One woman can empower a village.
- One woman can change a community.
- One woman can positively influence generations to come.
- One woman can make a world of difference.
- You can be that woman through volunteer work.
Research shows that a community approach to volunteering
produces powerful results. TIAW uses this approach in their volunteer programs.
You can be that woman but you ask what do I need to make
that difference? Ask yourself these questions.
1. Do I have a skill set that has created the
business/professional woman I am today?
2. Do I have a desire to make a world of difference for
It is your skill, knowledge and desire to make a
difference that is needed.
You have the power to
positively impact the lives of other women.
To the world you may
be one person, but to one person you may be the world.
Plan today to follow up with TIAW to see how you can be
that ‘one woman’.
Volunteerism Mean to People With Disabilities?
by Sefakor Grateful-Miranda Komabu-Pomeyie
This is a very important topic in the life of people with
disabilities since most of them enjoy
serving people without looking back for
any reward. Most of them believe they
can play their part in the world by using their expertise and skills anywhere
they find themselves. They work very assiduously to make great changes despite
all odds. Most of them are always guided by their passion, personal experience, and are mission focused rather than profit driven and above all, they focus on
transformation. We need to learn from this type of full commitment or
dedication to mankind.
This reminds me of Joshua, one of my best friends who was
blind and from a very worthy family. After our secondary school, he went to
volunteer with a health non- governmental organization. He was their IT
(Information Technology) officer who was loved so much by many for his
dedication to work. Many of his colleagues at work were always eager to learn
from him especially about his satisfaction he got from his work.
Very ironically, he became very seriously sick because of
change in the weather and other cultural shocks from nature. Although, his family
tried in so many ways to bring him back home for treatment; he refused. He was
very firm in informing them that he preferred to die at a post as a volunteer than to be
sent home for a luxurious life. Indeed, he died at post where he was buried.
This is how far people with disabilities can go if they are ready to make a
change. Joshua always comes to mind when we talk about volunteering and I guess
you will learn at least one reason for volunteering and share it with other friends.
Volunteering Abroad: How My Experience Changed Everything
by Nicole Harber, Volunteer with Cross Cultural Solutions
This past December, I volunteered in Tanzania teaching
a group of supremely lovable 10-13 year olds. It was important to me to
contribute to a project that was community driven. I wanted to address a real need
identified by local people, and with Cross-Cultural Solutions, all partners with
whom CCS volunteers work are locally run. The community identifies a need, and
CCS volunteers provide supplemental support.
So how was the need for volunteer English instructors identified? Well, in
Tanzania, primary school is taught in Swahili, and students learn English
casually. However, in order to move on to secondary school—taught exclusively
in English—students have to pass a test administered in English. So you can see
how the community determined that fluent English-speaking volunteers like me
could help students achieve English proficiency. As a volunteer, I also freed
up staff so that they could focus on the 1000 other tasks that go into running
a school. While I was in front of the classroom sharing my favorite Dr. Seuss
book, staff members were able to sew bags to be sold to raise money for
But the experience is more than a series of
acts or lessons, or words taught. I was
left with a deep connection both to this school, the community of Moshi and the
individuals I spent each day with. Every morning, before
leaving the CCS Home-Base I would get ready for my volunteer assignment by
putting on my kanga—a colorful piece of material that can be worn
as a skirt. And
everyone morning when I arrived at school, 13 year old girl named Hope would re-wrap my kanga so it looked right. On
my last day she pulled me aside and handed my camera to another student.
"Can you video tape this?" She said, " You don't know how to
wear a kanga and I won't be there to do it for you when you go home, so let's
tape me putting it on you so you can do it yourself." All of this time, I
thought I was the one looking out for her, but in that moment, I knew it went
After just two weeks in Tanzania, it was clear
to me that my efforts were an important
link in a very long chain of CCS commitment to the community. Cross-Cultural
Solutions completely changed my capacity to understand—and to be a part
of—making a difference. My experience taught me that real change is happening
around the world. But the face of effective international development isn't big
and bureaucratic. Instead, it can be the smiling face of a dedicated and
passionate local person. And it can be me, if I want it to be. The people I met
volunteering—both my fellow Cross-Cultural Solutions volunteers and the staff
at the organizations—remain heroes of mine. I feel less cynical, more
empowered, and infinitely lucky. There is never a reason to feel helpless.
Three Biggest Benefits to Volunteering
by Lisa Marie Platske
Last month, I had the pleasure of
delivering the luncheon keynote at the 15th Annual Women in the Black Women's
Business Conference in Harlem.
My topic was about leadership but
my message was about knowing who you
are, boldly claiming what you want, and choosing to lead your life with the priorities that are most important to
shared my story in the opening part of my presentation, I spoke about two
What it is and what it isn’t.
I’ve learned through my work in
leadership that the word "leadership" can conjure up all sorts of
images and thoughts - and it's easy to get trapped into thinking that it's
about a title and you're either "born a leader" or need an MBA or
extensive training to learn the skills of leadership.
is about influence and you are either influencing where you want to go or being
influenced by external forces.
Using Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem
entitled, "What is Success?” To know one life has breathed easier because I have
lived, this is to have succeeded.
Success has always been about
making a difference in the lives of the people I meet on my journey.
And, it is directly related to
One of the ways in which I find I
can have the biggest impact in making a difference is through volunteering.
In 2011, the United Nations did a
report on the social effects of volunteerism. What they found was evidence that
volunteering affects three key areas – economic development, social inclusion
contributing to safer, stronger communities, and the personal impact that
volunteers receive from giving of themselves without expecting monetary gain.
A study form the Johns Hopkins
Center for Civil Society Studies 2011 found that "approximately 140 million
people in the 37 countries engaged in volunteer work represent the equivalent
of 20.8 million full-time equivalent jobs contributing around $400 billion to
the global economy annually.”
I’ve seen it impact education,
diffuse conflict, and I know that when I give back and share my time, talents,
and treasure the organization which I am serving grows as well as my own
perspective and overall health and well-being.
I believe the three biggest (3)
benefits that you get when volunteering that will enable you to make a
difference in the world are:
1. Building Community –Volunteering
allows you to be part of a larger community of individuals who share the
same passion and can serve as powerful force in facilitating change.
2. Being a Visionary – When you
volunteer, you are often challenged to identify solutions and see new
3. Leaving a Legacy - As you
become a bridge builder for
others, your impact will ripple far beyond your immediate circle of
The world is in need for difference makers.
And, remember, you're either
influencing or being influenced.
What will you do to reach out and
make a difference through volunteering today?
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