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The Economic Case for Social Responsibility

Posted By TIAW Administrator, Monday, June 16, 2014

I remember with fondness a dear friend who often said “what goes around comes around”, usually in response to something smart that I’d said to him, 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, and unfortunately the reverse is also true.

Many public organizations, including the United Nations, describe social responsibility as the “Triple Bottom Line” of people, planet and profits.  In other words, businesses 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).  Social responsibility is always tied to ethics, or how a business operates with regard to the prescriptive of law and in the absence of it (e.g. when social values are at issue).  I believe there is a perfect correlation between socially responsible companies and economically viable companies.

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.  I do not have their reasons for disagreement, but I can give you mine.  Consider the view of Peter Drucker, who argued that businesses do not exist to maximize profits but to minimize costs, “costs of doing business and costs of staying in business; costs of labor and raw materials, and costs of capital; costs of today’s jobs and costs of tomorrow’s job and tomorrow’s pensions”.  Just as surely as we invest in raw materials and pay wages to create products, we also invest in our people and their well-being and by extension we invest in the sustainability of our communities. This is just good business.  I like the way that the founder and CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, expressed this thought when he 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.  The Micro Credit Program of The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) has followed the Grameen Foundation idealogy by funding Village Banks all over the world.  The women who have received micro loans through these banks have a reported 98% repayment rate. Their economic empowerment is contributing to economic expansion in their villages.  Women who learn and earn are less likely to live in poverty.  

There are very clear benefits of social responsibility to the business.  For one, it is differentiating and can even result in preference by customers given equal prices or products from competitors.  For another, it leads to an internal good will among employees that frequently ripples externally as these employees model similar behavior.  It also builds a culture that is justifiably proud and recognized as doing the right thing.

Leaders, your path is clear.  Do that which is in the common good, and it will come back to you.

Lisa Kaiser Hickey

Tags:  business ethics  Developing the Leader Within You  economic empowerment for women  effective leadership  empowerment for women  entrepreneurial success  social good of leadership  social responsibility  social responsibility of business  women entrepreneurs  women entrepreneurship  Women Leadership 

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The Leader Within

Posted By TIAW Administrator, Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Although women represent about half of the world’s talent, our talents are not enlisted in equal numbers. Our challenge is to build our own capacity for leadership, put ourselves forth as capable candidates for leadership, and educate the organizations seeking leaders to connect with us as a viable talent pool.

 

At TIAW, our Women’s Leadership Network is bringing forth some excellent tools to help you develop and market your leadership potential. 

 

First, you can work on building capacity through TIAW’s partner project, the Global Women’s Leadership Summit, which is expected to be the world’s largest forum for professional women in the world.  GWALS is a collaboration of the world’s pre-eminent leaders to forward the advancement of women on a global scale. 

 

Ready for the next step?  TIAW makes it easy with live links on our web site to become qualified as a Global Board Ready Woman. Once qualified, you can enroll for free in AESC’s BlueSteps program, which helps you craft your resume and market your skills for the job or position you seek.  

 

Finally, learn what is happening around the world in leadership.  TIAW membership brings you free subscriptions to Dialogue, a global publication for CEOs.  We also bring you the benefit of an annual subscription to the international version of Enterprising Women.  Just open your email and enjoy!

 

Own the challenge to achieve your potential.  We know you can!



Lisa Kaiser Hickey

President, TIAW

Tags:  Developing the Leader Within You  econeconomic empowerment for women  effective leadership  empowerment for women  Leadership  natural leaders  women entrepreneurs  women entrepreneurship  Women Leadership 

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Passion and Leadership

Posted By TIAW Administrator, Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Seventy five years ago, the founder of Douglass Signs was an artist and creative spirit who thoroughly enjoyed figuring out any challenge.  It was L.J. Douglass’ passion for solving problems for others that led him to react to literally every sign request with a “Can Do!” approach.  When he was asked to mark gas water heaters, he learned how to make decalcomanias (water slide decals), which led to the formation of the screen printing division of the company.  He employed a young artist to help him design the new line of decal products.  Within a few years, that artist – my dad, Tom Kaiser – faced a choice between incorporating the screen printing division at L.J.’s retirement or losing his job.  Although there were many things he did not know, he, like L.J., was resourceful, passionate, and determined to succeed.

Do you love what you do?  Think back to the times that you made choices about jobs, education, or volunteering.  The choices that lasted were most likely those with which you engaged with passion.  Perhaps you had a particular talent; perhaps you just really believed in the organization or subject as one of value.  Whatever your initial reasons, the more you experienced success the more likely you were to also develop other passions and ultimately significance as a leader in that organization or subject.

It was my dad who helped me find my passion.  He knew that I was not happy in my first year of college, and urged me to think about what I really loved to do.  Considering that, I decided to major in fine arts and switched schools accordingly.  The switch gave me a chance to work with my dad, and I learned the commercial side of art and design – and figuring out anything – under his tutelage. Years later, as I became the third artist-owner of the company, I yearned to give back to the arts.  First was a decision for all charitable contributions to go to the arts and exhibit leadership with community arts programs such as Swansation and Kaleidoscope.  Next was a decision to begin a serigraphy (fine art screen print) collection at the Polk Museum of Art. Currently, Douglass Screen Printers helps underwrite Kids Tag Art, a program started by the Polk County Tax Collector’s Office enabling fifth grade students to design their own license tags and help raise arts monies for their schools.  The program has since spread into multiple Florida counties.

I believe my love for the arts stemmed originally from the joy that comes from creativity and expression.  However, following this pursuit also forced me to continue to be a student. There was so much I did not know -- but had to know – in order to successfully run a business.   As certain subjects were mastered, others arose that seemed equally urgent to know.  Learning soon became a new passion.  Realizing that one of the best ways to learn was to teach others, yet another passion emerged.  I now find myself seeking every opportunity to use the things I have learned so that I can make a positive difference for others.   I am not sure I would have made a choice when I was of college age to be a servant leader, but that is where my passions have led me.

Do you live your passions?  Consider what you love to do and how it fits with your talents.  Are there things you need to learn to be more successful, and do you know where to start to get the education you need?  One of the best ways to learn about success is from someone who is exactly that, and can act as a role model to you.  Once you’ve connected thought and consideration to your passion, set lofty goals that keep you motivated.  Apply discipline and single-mindedness in pursuit of these goals, but always be open to other opportunities along the journey.  Give of yourself when you can, and it will return to you ten-fold.

One of my favorite sayings is a small poem by Rabindranath Tagore, who deftly expresses the concept of servant leadership with these words: “I slept and dreamt that life was joy, I awoke and saw that life was service, and behold, I discovered that service was joy”.

It is my joy to serve the world’s women through the work of TIAW.  I promise if you look for your passion, and you will find your joy.  If you’d like to learn more about servant leadership, investigate the life work of Robert Greenleaf.

 

Lisa Kaiser Hickey

President, TIAW

Tags:  economic empowerment for women  entrepreneurial success  Leadership  passion and leadership  passionate leadership  servant leadership  Women Leadership 

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Life Learnings

Posted By TIAW Administrator, Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I often reflect on the wisdom imparted to me during my adolescent years and recently decided that there were two really important maxims that my dad certainly lived by and find that I now live by:

                “Never, never give up”

                “ALWAYS do your best”

Along the way I developed my own list of things that I found to be important and valuable, both to me and to others.  It is often difficult as a woman to develop the competence and confidence to get things done through others, to tell our story, and to become fearless.  I shared them with my daughter as she took over as the president of my company when I retired, and I’d like to share them with you.

  • Be connected, and connect others
  • Be confident, never worried that failure might happen.  It will.
  •  Be courageous
  • Be cordial; everyone likes to feel better by having spoken with you
  • Be compassionate; caring about others returns 100-fold
  • Be clear.  As the late Dr. Stephen Covey said, “seek first to understand, then to be understood”
  • Be creative; it always conquers the impossible
  • Be convicted; let people know what you stand for and never give in to what you don’t
  • Be consistent.  Nothing is as fair as consistency or as predictable as its results.
  • Be constant.  There’s no off-duty for servant leaders.

Remember that ‘doing’ is always easy; it is ‘being’ that takes great care and steady development.

Building leadership capacity is a large part of what we help you do in TIAW.  Take the opportunity now to qualify as globally board-ready and join the GBRW LinkedIn group.  From there, all you have to do is ‘be’ the leader you are.

 

Lisa Kaiser Hickey

President, TIAW

Tags:  confidence in women  empowerment for women  life lessons  women leadership 

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Uncommon Leadership

Posted By TIAW Administrator, Friday, May 16, 2014

My friend Martha Mayhood Mertz, who founded the Athena Foundation in the United States, has studied the thousands of women that have moved through her Athena program to develop their business and leadership acumen. She has identified eight recurring things these women all have in common:

  • Live authentically
  • Learn constantly
  • Advocate fiercely
  • Act courageously
  • Foster collaboration
  • Build relationships
  • Give back
  • Celebrate

Confirming Martha’s internal survey, author John Gerzema studied 64,000 men and women for his newly released book Athena Doctrine.  Mr. Gerzema ‘discovered’ what we already knew as women – that our collaborating, nurturing, synergistic styles are highly prized. 

You may be surprised to know that many of the traits in Martha’s list are not things to be learned - many of us know or have these traits innately – but to be DONE in order for these traits to be manifested in leadership success. 

I often reflect on how I came to know the things I know.  Do you?  As a Girl Scout at the age of six, I discovered learning different things was fun, became competitive as I sought to have the most badges or sell the most cookies, and perhaps most importantly of all, unconsciously grounded myself in the very principles I hold today.  It is astonishing now to look back and realize how the very simple words of the Girl Scout Law have influenced my path for so long:   

“I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to respect myself and others, respect authority,
use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout”

Today, the Girl Scouting experience is defined as being leadership-focused and is grounded on three simple core concepts:  discover, connect and take action.  These principles are timeless to leaders of every age.  When we understand ourselves and have a clear internal compass, we are ready to DISCOVER new paradigms.  The more we experience, we learn that caring, serving, and inspiring others is how we CONNECT in our immediate local circle, but also in our community and world at large.  As we learn about other cultures around us and in the world, we know that embracing those that are different from us is not only the right thing to do, but the only way to breed mutual understanding, respect, and good will. If we couple our tools of discovering and connecting, we will TAKE ACTION to better ourselves, others, and the world. 

Discover, connect and take action.  I can’t think of a better way to start than to join TIAW. 

 

Lisa Kaiser Hickey

President, TIAW

Tags:  Athena Foundation  Martha Mayhood Mertz  Women in Business  Women Leadership 

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About Us

Who are We?

The International Alliance for Women is organized as a 501(c)3 foundation in the USA. We are a global community of economically empowered women across all continents that welcome you to our members’ cities and countries, connecting you with their networks of business and community professionals.

What's our Purpose?

The International Alliance for Women connects leading women’s organizations worldwide to leverage their reach and resources, creating a global community of economically empowered women.

Through our Global Programs we seek to make a difference in the world for those women who are not empowered economically.