Happy International Women’s Day!
Here’s to all the women who live life to the fullest, those who have paved the way for increased opportunity in the past and present, and those men who have chimed in with their undying support. It is my wish for women worldwide that we continue to raise our voices, proudly work and raise families if we choose, and celebrate our unity and spirit.
Read more about celebrations, history, education and advocacy happening today around the world.
This is a well-selected bunch of TEDs. Watch one a day for a reenergizing prescription!
General news article with related legal memos. Is venting online similar to venting around a water cooler, or much more?
My view: own whatever you say regardless of where you say it. And, note that sarcasm and tone are not always apparent; plan on someone ‘not getting it’.
Resolutions: checking in and checking out (reprisal)
Here’s how this went last year.
And now, checking in on those resolutions made for 2012:
Do awesome photo projects
Started the Brooklyn Bathroom Blog and have been going on fun photo outings. Also bartered grantwriting help with a photography lesson. Definitely giving space for photography exploration, though I’d like to enjoy what I do in physical form instead of just digital, too.
Maintain strong connections with important friends and family
Very much so! I was proud of doing a better job than ever making space for people I wanted to spend more time with and spending that time in what I felt were meaningful ways. CARRY FORWARD the goal to continue this!
Continue to explore professional and personal growth opportunities
Did a lot of informational interviewing (aka chatting with people who do cool things about what they do), so that was exciting. Big victory too was developing and teaching four courses at the Brooklyn Brainery that have been successful as professional classes and also for me personally. I went to a few workshops and conferences to build professional skill sets, and jumped on various consulting opportunities that came my way. Oh, and I think getting a blogger profile with Huffington Post is a positive thing!
Function better in unplanned, last-minute scenarios or blips in plans
Yes. I like that this was a goal, and I think I overall executed. I got a bit less crazy when people were late, and went with the flow more in general. Accountability buddy Sam was a key part of this, and I hope to keep that partnership in place in the coming year.
Make this blog or another writing venture something more public, as long as I keep enjoy doing it
See two bullets up. Also, I think more people read this blog than I think, because people randomly mention a post that stood out to them in conversations. Also, on the point of “as long as I keep enjoy doing it,” I am 1) aware that this was not an example of good editing and 2) still very much enjoying writing, and have realized that I love it because I can write in the exact style I’d like and about the exact content that strikes me. For now at least, this is the primary type of writing that excites me. I will CARRY FORWARD a more polished version of this goal!
Wear makeup a little bit more, but never spend more than 120 seconds on it.
Fail. And fine with it. Though I have taken more time to put together ‘a look’, which accomplishes a similar thing.
Take more improv classes, and continue to formulate what I want to do with it as it relates to longterm goals
I took Level 3 at Magnet and was also on a team this Fall. I continued to guest on PreRecorded.com as it worked with my schedule. I think the aspects of improv that are most appealing to me are groupwork, listening skills, creativity, and sincere fun. I’d love to integrate improv that truly embodies each of those elements into my life this year. Also, I took a storytelling class this year, which was profoundly impactful both because of the people I met and the power of the craft. I want to grow stronger roots in that this year.
Become a member of a nonprofit board
Sadly, no. Silver lining #1: wouldn’t have had the fair amount of energy to give to it this year. I’m currently on my last planned year of co-chairing Young Friends of Tufts Advancement, which will hopefully free up some time for board membership. Silver lining #2: I spent a lot of time thinking about what my ideal role on a board would be, and what sort of organization that would work best at. CARRY FORWARD!
Cook more in cost effective, healthy, and fun ways
Embarrassed to say no. I think I didn’t accomplish it because I had no real driver and truly didn’t make the time for it. Chalk it up to city living?
Work on building a sustainable skillshare of some sort among friends
Didn’t end up doing, but mostly because of the wonderful community I found at the Brainery.
Get Anderson Cooper to come for dinner
Let’s just leave this one alone.
- Maintain strong connections with important friends and family
- Explore and activate professional and personal growth opportunities
- Continue writing, publicly and privately, with enjoyment and while pushing limits of what I think I can do
- Be more vulnerable
- Seek out improv and storytelling opportunities that capitalize on personal creativity and fun, or that allow for meaningful group work
- Send more snail mail to friends
- Become a member of a nonprofit board
- Travel at least once for me (and not just for four incredible weddings)
- Read books in time that is otherwise wasted online
- Exercise regularly while pushing myself a little bit harder
- Learn to fix a bike if something simple goes wrong
Cheers! Happy New Year!
It’s official: my staycation through the end ofthe year has begun! I’m hoping to use this as a sort of Jen Bokoff company retreat, where I look at what’s been accomplished this year and determine a strategy for the future across all aspects of my life. It’s a one-person entity, but as you know, I thrive off of the energy of the people around me and recognize that I operate in a much larger ecosystem. So, I always welcome your feedback and thoughts on, well, me. Constructive comments about stuff you know about - maybe my blog, my career path, my productivity/organization, my personal strengths and weaknesses, my ‘extracurriculars’ - are all really great for me to hear and build off of. So, email me or call me or track me down in Brooklyn. Thanks! I’ll now commence my retreat with an icebreaker…
For staff members to feel empowered, they need to believe that management communicates a clear direction for the future, that they are working in alignment with the CEO and board, that the foundation cares about them, and that their performance reviews are fair and helpful.
One of the key findings in the recently released study by the Center for Effective Philanthropy: Employee Empowerment: The Key to Foundation Staff Satisfaction.
As always, CEP put together a thoughtful report that is well-researched and helpful for guiding best practices in the foundation world.
This machine allows anyone to work for minimum wage for as long as they like. Turning the crank on the side releases one penny every 4.97 seconds, for a total of $7.25 per hour. This corresponds to minimum wage for a person in New York.
This piece is brilliant on multiple levels, particularly as social commentary. Without a doubt, most people who started operating the machine for fun would quickly grow disheartened and stop when realizing just how little they’re earning by turning this mindless crank. A person would then conceivably realize that this is what nearly two million people in the United States do every day…at much harder jobs than turning a crank. This turns the piece into a simple, yet effective argument for raising the minimum wage.
Really great piece. Though, I wonder, what amount would be the tipping point that makes cranking the minimum wage machine worth it? Does minimum wage ever feel worth it? And, is there a way to re-frame / enhance / change the piece to change how people perceive minimum wage jobs?
Sesame Street answers the question ‘What is a career?’ with the help of Sonia Sotomayor.
Pros: Cool profession, breakout from gender roles, dream big
Cons: Teleprompter reading, settling on one career, no substantive information about how getting into law school isn’t easy and costs a lot of money and might not even result in a job as a lawyer let alone a judge
Insight: Adults should not be watching Sesame Street
A new set of 10 recipes, cooking tips, and kids fun has arrived! Get your free digital copy of the NYC Green Cart Fresh Food Pack here, or see if you can snag one at your local Green Cart vendor. And, if you cook any of the recipes, let me know how it goes!
This has been a fun project to work on through my job at the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund in collaboration with the James Beard Foundation. Here’s to health and cooking fun!
The value of an intern.
People complain that interns are too much to manage and they screw work up more than they help. However, I think that if you really take the time to hire the right person, treat them with respect, and train them well, they can be an enormous asset to a team. I was fortunate to hire and work with a phenomenal intern this past year who brought a fresh energy, intuitive understanding, and a strong work ethic to our small but mighty office. For me, she was a gift; I could delegate tasks and know that they would be completed well, and I valued her second set of eyes on many of my own tasks. Today is Tahira’s last day, and I wanted to share this quote from her extremely insightful reflection:
I’m leaving with a new understanding that philanthropy is not just about the money; the money facilitates the action and its spark inspires change.
What I love about this - besides that she hit the nail on the head with what I, too, love about philanthropy - is that Tahira was hired as an office intern but was able to intuit so much more. It’s a reminder that those of us fortunate to have a stable job have a unique ability to mentor an intern; we can place them in an environment where they can be both an asset and an active observer. It’s a win-win.
Brainstorming: A History and Future
I really liked this infographic and experiment. Below it, I’ve included a few more brainstorming exercises that I think work well. I don’t think there’s a catch-all answer.
Brainstorming about Brainstorming… more exercises to try
These are a few from my experience; please add yours, too!
- Pitch Not-Your-Own Idea: Write your idea down on a sheet of paper. Mix the ideas up and distribute randomly. Every person pitches the idea they now have (likely not theirs), meaning they have to own it and do whatever they can to support it in front of the group. It forces people to challenge their own biases stemming from who pitched an idea or how it was pitched, and everyone contributes. (via MaxFunCon 2011 workshop with Kasper Hauser)
- Stickywall: People contribute ideas (either outloud or written) that are then literally stuck to the wall. The facilitator can then physically rearrange and cluster thoughts. It’s a great visual tool and a way to include as many ideas as exist in a room without being overwhelming. (via Rachael Swanson from my time on the LIFT student advisory board.)
- Build-the-Idea: Someone gives an idea. Someone else builds on it through acceptance of the idea and addition of information. Still another person builds on that by again accepting all pieces of the idea and then adding to it. Each idea should go through at least 3 iterations before moving onto the next. This allows the group to really play with possibilities of an idea, support oneanother, and have some fun. (via my improv classes and inspired by an earlier post).
But social entrepreneurs alone cannot change the world. They need artists, volunteers, development directors, communications specialists, donors, and advocates across all sectors to turn their groundbreaking ideas into reality. They need fundraisers, supporters who can change policies, someone to create a brochure describing their work. If everyone wants to start a new organization, who is going to do all the work?