Coca Cola vs. Pepsi: Who dominates?

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Both of these Cola brands have become very successful and popular over the years, both growing in profits and both excelling in a common position. But, going forward, I think one of these companies has the advantage on the other.

Some say Coke is better, and some say Pepsi is better. Some say either or. Coca-Cola and Pepsi, the very popular brand war, have been competing for almost a century. These “cola wars” began in the 1980’s when Pepsi first came in the picture. Coca-Cola was already selling a million gallons per year by the time Pepsi came to be 1893. With their creative and entertaining commercials and advertisements, this “Cola War” has captured the world’s attention making it of the world’s biggest and most famous business rivalries. These advertisements are quite entertaining I must say. These two companies have involved the digital world as social media gets bigger and bigger, but Coke seems to be progressing better so far.

It’s a close fight. But Coke beats Pepsi in taste.  Pepsi comes pretty close as both their tastes are almost alike. When consumers get a hold of a cup or can of Pepsi, they are expecting the sugary, citrus flavor rush and when other consumers grab a cup of Coca Cola they expect the vanilla and cola taste of the soft drink. But, taking that first sip of a cold can of Coke is so crisp and refreshing. There really isn’t anything like it. Pepsi is a bit sweeter as it almost tastes flat. Coke has the right balance of sugar and cola flavor. So there really is no comparison when it comes to the two. The ingredients of these products also can be separated as Pepsi has a little more sugar, caffeine, and more calories while Coca Cola has a little more sodium. This makes Pepsi less-healthier. (Not exactly saying Coca Cola is healthy for you.) Either way the two are un-healthy for you. Yet, Coke is still tasty. It’s alright to have a nice cold cup of Coke once in a while.

Not only is taste better, but so is the way they market their products with entertaining commercials and advertisements. Coca Colas brand displays happiness; it is diverse, fresh, classic, and refreshing. Pepsi would appeal more to the younger crowd with its great number of celebrity supporters. I would describe Pepsi as more of a fun and fresh brand. Being their advertisements are pretty entertaining. Displaying a good list of famous celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, and most recently added endorser the singer Beyoncé. These types of advertisements draw mostly the younger crowd, as for Coca Cola, they target more towards family and more diverse crowd. They’re brand is timeless.

On the other hand, Pepsi Cola does not only have their attention on soft drinks and beverages. Though Pepsi’s drink products may not be as solid, its snack food business is bringing in a huge amount of income with mainly its food and chip products which consist of Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos, Lays, and Tostitos (to name a few). Being a big Cheetos fan, Pepsi takes my vote in the food snacking industry.

Today, the Coca Cola brand is worth about $79 billion in comparison to Pepsi Cola, which is only worth $17 million. Whoa. With that being said, I think Coke is the big winner here though Pepsi is equally as successful. This ongoing competition has captured the world and has everyone talking. Which one is better? Everyone will always have their opinions on which of the two are better. Will the “Cola War” ever stop? Probably not.

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Social Learning: A case for informal collaborative learning in a Millennial-filled, Web 2.0 world

The New Water Cooler

The New Water Cooler

Sage on the stage. “Tell’em what you’re going to teach them, teach them, then tell ’em what you taught ’em.” Ah, the learning paradigms of my 1970’s and 1980’s education through public school. The quote above came directly from my instructor in the Air Force during basic training in 1989. My initial college career in the early 1990’s followed the same pattern. Attend the lecture, furiously scribble notes, read the books back in the dorm room, make flashcards. Memorize, memorize, memorize, then take the exam.

My how things have changed, and that is a very good thing. With the rise of Web 2.0 and social media over the last decade, combined with Millennials (also known as the Net Generation and Digital Natives) entering the workforce, learning via the “digital water cooler” is finally gaining some long-overdue acceptance. Internal corporate wikis have been around for quite some time, but the real shift in paradigm comes from corporations investing in and deploying enterprise social media platforms that support chat and secure FaceBook-like sharing among employees.

Don’t get me wrong, social media in the workplace can become a complete time-suck and plummet productivity if it is used for just “rah-rah-ing,” gossiping, or griping about issues. Granted, rah-rah-ing is great for morale, especially when managers or colleagues bring attention to great work or wins. When it comes to complaining, isn’t it better (for the company) to express workplace opinions, for better or for worse, on an internal system rather than on a public venue where bad news could go viral? Internal social media systems also can provide a release valve for the more hot-headed employees, although issues really should be addressed in a timely fashion before escalating to the point a team member feels the need to vent.

The real ROI from social learning via enterprise social media tools comes from harnessing the collective mindshare of a group when solving a problem or developing an innovation. I have personally found this to be true and especially relevant when colleagues are dispersed around the globe and social media provides a common place for them to collectively brainstorm. At this digital water cooler, someone would post about a problem or issue he was having. Someone else would chime in, “hey, that’s happening to me, too” and an issue could be identified as well as its impact analyzed. Both experienced and newer colleagues would collaborate to produce a work-around, test it in various systems, and deploy it. At the same time, once the issue was identified, it was escalated to the proper group for correction and the short-term solution served to keep business going while a permanent fix was being planned. Despite being separated by yawning geographical distances and large time zone differences, a powerful sense of camaraderie was established from shared problems and collaborative problem-solving. Although it can be challenging to calculate the ROI from social learning, I have observed that employees’ efficiency and effectiveness are increased by the sharing of time-saving tools and the activity of group problem solving to overcome work-stopping issues.

My observations while working for a mid-sized software company that employed enterprise social media are as follows:

  • The technical and administrative groups seemed to leverage social learning via social media most effectively.
  • Social learning included sharing tools, time-saving tricks, quickly answering “where do I find this” queries, and identifying the subject matter experts to whom a questions should be escalated.
  • Colleagues started with relatively informal queries via social media but quickly took the initiative to move problem solving to a more formal level via creating documentation, instructions, and conducting online meetings to further collaborate.
  • There was an astounding lack of ego involved; no one seemed afraid to admit he didn’t know something or to ask for help.

Upon reflection, one thing that strikes me is that I observed all of this egoless, collaborative social learning and initiative-taking by regular, worker-bee type employees. That is to say, I did not observe the employees who were managers or executives collaborating in the same way, i.e. openly seeking each others’ input and assistance. 

recent article by David K Hurst asked “Is management due for a Renaissance?” This impels me to ask, does the US have a culture of siloing of managers which prevents them from benefitting from social learning? Is raising a question or asking for help in a public forum (even if only internal to the company) by a manager a terrible transgression? If you, the reader, are a manager, have you asked for help? From whom did you ask it? Have you ever asked a direct report for help? If not, why not? What (if any) is the perceived threat of management engaging in social learning? I also wonder if the Millennials, who are in the workforce but have not yet spent enough time in it to have become the generation which holds the majority of the managerial and executive positions, will bring open collaboration both within management and across with the lesser ranks as they rise to positions of power?

For an excellent summary of the evolution of workplace social learning via social media, check out David Kellys slideshare presentation, Social Media and Social Learning for Learning Professionals. He also wrote an excellent article on the role of reflection as a learning tool. When comparing the learning paradigm of my youth with today’s creative and collaborative one, I must admit that what I have learned through social learning is more “sticky.” That is to say, I barely remember anything I learned by rote, but by being an active participant in issue identification and problem solving, not only am I embracing the necessary change to solve the problem, but also what I’m learning is added to my professional repertoire. However, one thing does remain the same: long ago I was advised that the best way to learn something is to teach it. Whatever your generation, radio-ager, baby boomer, Generation X, Millennial, or beyond, that truth remains self-evident, and social learning serves as an excellent vehicle for learning via the act of instruction.

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Pinterest & My Dream Wedding

The Proposal

Exactly one year after I met my amazing husband, he proposed under the same willow tree where we shared our first kiss. He woke me up in the middle of the night, blindfolded me took me for what seemed to be the longest walk of my life. When he took the blindfold off, we were under the willow tree, surrounded by neutral colored Japanese lanterns and white Christmas lights. It was breathtaking. Although we were surrounded my nature, it felt like we were the only two people in the world as the tree majestically engulfed us. Elated, I said, “Yes!” and immediately started planning the wedding, to be held exactly one year later.

Getting Started…and Overwhelmed

My head began to spin as I would walk into my apartment, now becoming filled with wedding magazines, printed out Facebook pictures from friend’s weddings, articles and planning checklists from the Internet. Some may think of me as controlling under certain circumstances; but I just wanted everything to be perfect. Am I wrong in that? I wanted to be the lead on everything and know every little detail of everything and anything that was to be included. (Luckily my husband just wanted to stand at the end of the aisle, look pretty and say “I Do”).

The Wedding Planner Decision

I quickly learned that although I didn’t necessarily think I needed a wedding planner at the time to plan my dream wedding, I did need some sort of help. What I soon found that all I needed was Pinterest! Oh yea, and a wedding planner. Luckily my husband talked some sense into me as he showed me the luxury of delegation so we actually did end up hiring renowned wedding planner, Mindy Weiss[1], to help make our happily ever after less stressful. Pinterest however, was the leading social media channel where I got most of my ideas—through the thousands of pictures organized by topic or keyword.

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I researched and viewed pictures of potential locations and venues, vendors, different invitation & stationary styles, colors fonts (you name it), wedding photos and photographers, floral arrangements and their respective florists, seating arrangements, menu designs and graphics, food and respective catering companies, entertainment and so much more! I’m exhausted just thinking about how much effort went into planning our wedding and I had help! I think the part that was most exhausting was the fact that although I had lots of help, I also had lots and lots of ideas.

Location, Location, Location!

We chose to have an intimate yet elegant ceremony at The Country Club At New Seabury-Popponesset Inn in Cape Cod—specifically Mashpee, MA. My Husbands best man’s wife owns Shining Star Photography, located in Massachusetts, and they took both pictures and film of the wedding ceremony, the reception, even my husband and I getting ready before the wedding. We both loved seeing the moments of that day that we didn’t get to share together just as much as the one’s where we shared our first (and poorly practiced) first dance—it was definitely a treat for the audience and we were so in love we didn’t know which way to move our feet or where to turn. It was captured in still photography quite beautifully and always makes us smile and laugh when we pass that photo in our dining room. Although we knew the photographers, the location was found on Pinterest!

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Invitations & Floral Arrangements

These were the two dreaded tasks! Only because I literally spent hours on Pinterest looking at SO MANY different and amazing options to choose from or combine to make our own. Once we picked our color scheme, which was fairly neutral, this was something I was happy to delegate to the wedding planner. However, in the end, we circled back to an invitation very similar to the “Ivory Romance Box Invite” I found on Pinterest.

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I don’t know about you, but I love freshly cut flowers all over my home. My husband does not, however, since he is not allergic his only rule is “No Flowers In The Man Cave”. I think I can live with that. Haha! Because of my love of flowers and how many different ways they can be incorporated into the ceremony, Pinterest was my go to site! Like I mentioned, there are so many beautiful table arrangements, bouquets, flower archways etc. it was so hard to decide. As I’m writing this and reliving my wedding planning process I don’t think I’ve ever loved my husband more than the moment he convinced me to hire a wedding planner because boy was Mindy worth every penny! By the time we were talking about flowers, she had been in our home, seen my arrangements, seen what I “pinned” and “liked” on Pinterest and had a feel for my style. The arrangements she chose to present us were so elegant and perfect for the wedding.

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The Holy Grail—The Cake!

This was the one area my husband suddenly found interesting. He himself actually looked all over Pinterest to see “cool” cake designs. I had never seen him so invested and so locked in on my iPhone before that moment. My sister-in-law actually has pictures of him from this because he was so “in the zone” for lack of a better term, that he didn’t notice she was taking tens of photos of him. I wasn’t thrilled with his cake topper idea at first, but he was like a kid in a candy shop, smiling ear to ear because he thought he was so funny. I finally caved. I think his eyes lit up more when he saw the cake at the reception than when he saw me walking down the aisle!

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Seating Arrangements

Pinterest was a huge help with the seating at the wedding! I actually saw this sign (like the picture below) at a friends wedding and we decided to do that as well. There was no mandatory “Bride’s family on the left seating” however, both of our parents sat in the traditional way and when people saw others who they knew they went over and sat with them, but there was so cross over which we liked and encouraged. We also did the same seating arrangement at the reception to save time and energy and to unite both families as one.

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Final Touches

There is so much more that went into this wedding, like the food, the menu, the catering company, entertainment, the dress, the list goes on… but a few things that we had at our wedding that we loved was the photo booth, sparklers and releasing white lanterns into the sky after dark and sailing from the wedding to the reception with our “Just Married” sign. It really was a fairy tale and although I had ideas of what I might want my wedding to look like, I could have never brought the ideas to life with out the help of Pinterest! It is such an amazing tool. I’m a total Pinterest fan and I think my husband is too! ;)30acd7e991a67ef151844a9f1f5f2d7b1 e4f92b92f385c42ff85666cb579f4800

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[1] http://mindyweiss.com

 

Note: All of these photos are from Pinterest.

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Helpful Tips For Social Entrepreneurs: An Interview With John Prendergast

Today there are more problems in the world then there are answers. For some this means nothing but despair, for others opportunities to capitalize, but for all of us it means change. For social entrepreneurs these problems are their business. They are the people who set out in the world to not just fix a problem by putting a Band-Aid on it, but instead, set out to change the world so that there will never be a problem again. We see these people in life and in history books all the time, people like Russell Means, Martin Luther King Jr, or Gandhi. We see their lives, how they lived, and what they did and are humbled. For most of us, that’s where the road stops; at least until their fight becomes your fight that is.

Myself, I have always thought of it as our fight. From a young age I understood, living on a farm in a small community with a working widowed mother with cancer and a younger brother, that anything and everything I did not only reflected upon me but affected them as well.

If I didn’t prepare to do well in school and wake up early to feed the animals and make sure there was breakfast on the table, then the animals wouldn’t get fed all day until I came home and my little brother wouldn’t have time in the morning to eat and be fit for the day. If I didn’t tend to the fields and water and till the beds, then we wouldn’t have food and vegetables to feed our animals or ourselves.

During times of bounty we would save what we could and share the rest with those in the community whom were more in need then we were. Everything had a purpose, and as such everything I did had one as well. When I didn’t live up to those responsibilities, we all had problems.

So it became natural for me to think divergently about any problem and to think of them as our problem. This necessity drove me to be more socially oriented and desire to do, to be, more. It drove me to go out and get my hands dirty and connect with people and try and touch their hearts and minds to do the same and say enough is enough.

As a result, I have found myself deeply embedding philanthropy work in my life. Giving me both purpose and passion to continue on and to spark the hope for a better life that exists within all of us. My mission is to shift the philanthropic paradigm of “giving” to charity to “investing” in charity. Over the years I have set out to slowly accomplish this goal and hopefully as you read this WE get one-step closer every line.

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Working with and observing different NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and charities in the past like NARF (Native American Rights Fund), Miracle House, and FWAB (Friends Without A Boarder) I have come to gain a basic understanding of how these philanthropic organizations operate and some of the most important things to know in going out and being successful on your own.

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After using the oldest and most notable of tools from the old marketers handbook, networking. I was able through a mutual friend to come into contact with John Prendergast, former advisor to Bill Clinton on African Affairs, and co-founder of the Enough Project, which actively works toward ending genocide. Over the course of a phone interview, I was able to talk to John about what he felt differentiated the Enough Project from similar endeavors by others and what made him the successful resident expert that he is.

Here is part of our correspondence and some of the helpful tips that every social entrepreneur should know, courtesy of John:

Hi, John, how are you doing? Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to talk with me Mr. Prendergast.

I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions to gain a more explicit understanding of your work and The Enough Project?

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I know that the Enough Project has a very active social media presence, with the #CAR, #Congo #DDR, and others.

What roll would you say the media and in particular social media plays for you as a tool and as a challenge to bringing these issues to the public to light?

John: “Getting in the important publications that are more insider related is important. We have just hired a new communications director and are revamping and expanding, quite substantially, our social media activity. Especially for young people; students, which we view as one of our core constituencies, we try to really invest in having a dynamic online presence so that your interesting enough to young people to take a second look, to see what your writing about, to see what your encouraging them to get them engaged in.”

“I think it’s important to try and diversify. You try and put all your eggs in one basket, you put all your eggs in Twitter, then no one who reads the New York Times knows anything about us, you put all your eggs in the New York Times then no one who’s ever on Twitter would ever know who you are. So you have to spread your wealth a little bit and get people who know what there’re doing in each of those spaces and try and to maximize them.”

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How do you choose which projects or issues to address?

John: “So we started about seven years ago, and at the time, and still to this day, I think we can safely say that the deadliest region in the world—the deadliest by violence, by war, by famine—is the region that runs from the horn of Africa to East Africa through Central Africa, that region of the continent of Africa is the deadliest in the world. So we decided to focus our intention, our efforts, on the objective of preventing and responding to terrible mass atrocities like genocide and figuring out ways to prevent and resolve it. That led us to the biggest wars in the world at the time in Sudan and the Congo to be our primary focus countries at first.”

“We’ve slowly expanded a bit—South Sudan has now gone back into conflict sadly—we’re focusing in on that whole region from the Central African Republic all the way down to the Congo, which is an interconnected network of drivers of violence that include gold smugglers, ivory poachers, blood diamond dealers, and a bunch of dictators and rebel groups all of which use violence to achieve their own ends.”

“So our slowly evolving objective is to go after the money. Who and how are these guys funding themselves that is enabling them to commit all these terrible human rights abuses? Where are they stealing it from, where are they stashing their resources and assets and how can we most effectively counter them and go after those resources to cripple their ability to commit these terrible atrocities, to use violence to achieve their objectives.”

“That’s our evolving objective for the organization. As we learn more and more, as you scratch harder and harder, and look beneath the surface, you see greed is at the bottom of so many evils and it’s no different here. People want to make money and they will do anything to acquire wealth, including genocide. So you have to counter by hitting them in the wallet. So that is our approach now.”

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I did some research and think the differentiating factor for the Enough Project is that you approach specific issues within targeted regions on a more macro political/economic scale. Like your work in the Congo on the DDR initiative where you state in a letter to the World Bank, “Reintegration must not be approached as a technical solution to a political problem. The process must be seen in the context of wider political processes that address the underlying causes of conflict in eastern Congo.

Do you agree? And what would you say separates The Enough Project from other companies like it? Like International Alert or World Vision which co signed the aforementioned letter with you, or even the World Bank?

John: “Well first to compare the apple to the apples and to try and figure out who’s an orange. There are governmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and intergovernmental organizations. The World Bank is the intergovernmental, so we’re not really like them. The other one’s mentioned are nongovernmental, and some of them in the nongovernmental sector are humanitarian and developmental programs and organizations like World Vision. So they are on the ground in these countries and providing assistance to either relieve suffering or support development.”

“That’s not what we do either, we’re an advocacy group that tries to get to the root causes of these issues and tries to end them through a variety of policy approaches. In terms of our differences, there are very few groups that are as multidimensional as us. Most groups are one dimensional, for example, Human Rights Watch, rightfully so, looks at human rights abuses. They observe the human rights abuses that were committed and document them to say this is how we can stop these abuses by reporting them and telling governments that they should respect these human rights, and that is a perfectly legitimate approach.”

“We are wider then that, we try and get at the root of it and figure out what is causing these human rights abuses and try to then work to address the causes of things, whatever they are, as they are different in every place. So there is no standard model. You have to really go in and do the field research and understand what is happening on the ground and then you can start making policy proposals to the powers that be to say that if you really want to do something—I mean if you just want to put a band aid over it, go ahead—but if you really want to do something about it, these are the things you have to think about doing.” 

“Then we try and get students and celebrities and faith based groups and others to push the government to do these things. So we try, and are, more holistic then most of the groups that we work with. While we partner with all of these guys, our approach tends to be more comprehensive and go more to the root of things.”

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What would you say are the companies core ideological values, by which I mean, what things will you continue to do no matter what changes in the world around you?

John: “Our core mandate is focused on the prevention of and response to genocide and crimes against humanity, and that is not going to change. No matter what happens, we’re going to continue to keep fighting, to keep battling, and try and go after getting accountability and after these people committing these horrible atrocities, and that’s our modus operandi, that’s our raison d’etre, that’s what we’re here for, and were not going to change that no matter what.”

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Being the resolute expert NGO in conflict mitigation and genocide prevention, what would you say gives you this expert status, and what have you done along the way to cultivate that.

John: “Well I think that my co-founder and I, between us, at the time that we founded this place had about 50 years between us, so about 25 years apiece, experience working in these war zones, or on the policies related to these war zones. Straight from the field in Africa to the white house; so we have this unique mix of experience that often you don’t get, if you just stay in the field or conversely strictly in the government. So the idea we had was to build something were we could see something from both perspectives; through the eyes of the grassroots people out there and from a policy makers position. This gave us a unique handle on things.”

“On top of that we also hire individuals with excellent field experience to root ourselves in personnel that have been deeply engaged in these places and are very committed to seeing better outcomes. So its mostly about the passion and commitment of the staff.”

I know from my own experience in Cambodia and observations in South East Asia that there can be many political issues in negation and operation between NGOs and foreign governments. How would you say that politics and political instability affects your work within the Enough Project?

John: “It is 100% of what we are trying to deal with; the politics that results from the greed that undermines any form of progress towards a better future for many of these countries. The politics are usually very dysfunctional, very violent, and divisive and problematic. The ways the political processes are conducted in this region are often an impediment to progress rather then a vehicle for it.”

“But governments are required for nation building. So you have to spend the time to build and provide assistance towards building the institutions of government that will eventually allow for the rule of law and economic opportunity and peace and stability to take root.”

“I think that, that, is really the basics right there, to understand the function of the state and try to support it even as you try to contain it form making terrible mistakes and committing human rights abuses against some people.”

“We believe the keys to overcoming the issue of aggressive dysfunctional politics, however, are popular movements.”

“When you look at the history of the United States and ask what has really changed things, you have the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the labor movement, the environmental movement, the LGBT movement, all these different things that have actually impacted and affected the course of history.”

“So we really have invested a lot into student related movement building so that people who care will eventually build a constituency of consciousness that cares about genocide, that cares about these kinds of human rights issues and will do something about them that impacts politicians. So I think its important to have an understanding of human history in order to try and change it and create these popular movements.”

I know that you’ve worked at the National Security Council as Director for African Affairs and serve on the Advisory Board of the International Peace and Security Institute but if you could start your career over again, what would you do differently?

John: “Well one thing that I would definitely do the same would be to get out into the field early and stay out there. What I learned later, working in the U.S. Administration and congress is that because I had so much experience, people referred to me as the man who knew what to do because I was the one who had been out and been there. So I think going out and doing that. I probably would have gone and figured out even better ways of doing that for even more diverse experiences and for even longer.”

“When your young you have to take advantage of things, because life gets complicated over time, so this is the time to run and get out there and do your thing and learn about what really does makes change and I think the only way you can do that is to go out there and do it not just read about it.”

In doing research I discovered that you (John Prendergast) really became interested in changing the world after going on a journey, leaving Georgetown U at 19, traveling to San Francisco and meeting three people (Head Goggins, Father Paul Kamiski, and most influential Johny Mahhar).

This personal journey is something I deeply relate to in my own experience with my late godfather Russell Means and my relationship with NARF and my mentor Kenro Izu and my trips to Cambodia with FWAB.

How would you say that you personally evolved from these experiences and how has the Enough Project evolved in kind over its’ history?

John: “I guess because I was rooted in the field, I got my marching orders, if you will, from the people in refugee camps. I didn’t get my orders from professors in the classroom only. So I became very early on very committed to these issues, it was visceral, it was very emotional, and it got my heart and motivated me.”

“I was hooked, early on 19-20. Africa and these issues, and the idea of living in the most powerful country in the world, I tried to bring to bare my own influence as a citizen to affect U.S. government policy, thinking that’s probably the place I could have the most influence. So that’s what drove me, the emotion, the anger at the injustice, and the concern for the people who were in dire straights enabled me to sustain a commitment to people in the region for decades.”

What is the single largest problem facing your organization?

John: “Fundraising. If your expanding, your trying to build a staff, your trying to do more then you did last year, you want to grow and growing requires resources. So I think that that’s probably our biggest challenge.”

“Especially as the person who is trying to lead an organization to be able to make sure that I have all the money raised so that all the people can get paid and so that operations can occur, campaigns can be run, and all the things we do can be done. We have a new senior team that I’ve put into place as we prepare ourselves for this next stage of growth and I think the personnel is really strong so now its just a matter of time and getting out there doing some fundraising.”

What would you say is the Enough Projects greatest strength and greatest weakness?

John: “Our strength definitely comes from the personnel we’ve hired. The people in the field in Africa and the people we have here are young and extremely dedicated to the cause and willing to work long hours to accomplish our goals. We’ve been able to cultivate a great dynamic between commitment and our mission.”

As our conversation came to a close John offered one last piece of insight. He calls out to everyone to put their money, so to speak, were their mouths are. He speaks about getting up and getting out there and showing your commitment to yourself and whatever it is that interests you. Urging everyone to venture out and gain an understanding of an issue, figure out what they don’t know, and form an opinion on the matter and then to use that knowledge to actually do something to change the world.

John: “My strong opinion in the long run is that you have to go out and get into the field, wherever that interest takes you. Narrow it down and go out there and accumulate time on the clock so that when you go out into the work force you can get the job you really want. More importantly, when you go out and just do it, your creating your own understanding of what you’re really interested in and want to do to develop your own opinions and come to understand what you don’t know. It humbles you at an early age when you start to learn how complicated and big these things are and when you start to go out and learn them for yourself it is an incredibly empowering thing.”

For more information on the Enough Project please visit their website at: http://www.enoughproject.org

For more information on the Native American Rights Fund and Friends Without A Boarder please visit their websites at:

http://www.narf.org

http://www.fwab.org

For more information about the author of this article please contact me at:

Hungar1991@gmail.com

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An easy, breezy, beautiful summer!

I’m sure most of us have become annoyed with the excessive media coverage of the life of Kim Kardashian- most recently her multi-million dollar wedding extravaganza to rapper Kanye West. While I make my best efforts to ignore the news regarding the infamous celebrity and her lavish lifestyle, there was one little detail publicized on her recent nuptials that I found hard to ignore: the $10 L’Oreal lipstick used to complete her wedding look. Despite this minor detail of Kim’s wedding chaos, an influx of articles regarding her makeup artist’s decision began to appear on the web.

kim kardashian

In my opinion, true beauty comes from the inside and makeup is just a fun fashion accessory.  Kim Kardashian certainly isn’t worthy of being glorified for her life decisions, but I am impressed by the elegant look that her makeup artist created.  This news proved to me that a refreshing summer beauty trend really can be created without splurging on high-end beauty products.

Beauty & Media Culture

Whether it be a celebrity wedding style or insider tips from Michelle Obama’s makeup artist, the media has made sure to deliver makeup trends for women to follow.  Tips and tricks regarding beauty never fail to receive my attention, especially as I grew up the little girl who would hide in the bathroom and secretly try on all of her mom’s makeup. Later on, I began to follow makeup trends based on my favorite celebrity looks and advice given in fashion magazines. Instyle, Glamour, and Vogue are popular in their articles featuring makeup advice or trends.  Perhaps one of the most memorable makeup brands is Covergirl, especially with the brand’s catchy “Easy, breezy, beautiful” slogan.  The brand has recently increased its spokeswomen selection to include actresses and other pop culture figures like Sofia Vergara, Ellen DeGeneres, and Pink to appeal to a greater variety of women. Covergirl is just one of the many drugstore makeup brands that attempts to create looks acceptable by the stars but obtainable by the average American woman.

covergirl

Makeup is a way for me to embrace my girlish interests and social media has further satisfied my desire to creating a trending beauty look for various occasions.  While home primping on Friday nights, I often find myself experimenting with makeup after watching makeup artist tutorials on YouTube. News outlets report makeup tips and trends, whereas celebrities and makeup artists themselves are now sharing makeup tips and tricks on social media. Many celebrities post pictures of their red carpet looks and tag the makeup artist responsible on their social media accounts. This has lead to greater exposure for makeup artists, and has boosted the followers of their Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram accounts. As a result, girls like me are now able to learn tricks of the trade.

The Look for Less

While living on my college student budget, I try to avoid getting hooked on expensive products sold at makeup wonderland, Sephora. The luxurious makeup aisles when you first enter department stores like Macy’s or Nordstrom are also areas I consider danger zones. However, I still have difficulty parting with some beloved beauty products. For example, my Benefit “Erase Paste” concealer ($26) is something that I have always sworn by to remove those pesky dark circles that appear when homework takes priority over sleep. Additionally, my red Smashbox Be Legendary lipstick ($20) is something I always deem necessary for a night of dancing in my little black dress.

Despite occasionally fulfilling my guilty pleasures by splurging, I tend to look to drugstore products for creating trending beauty looks of the season. Drugstore makeup brands deliver professionally recommended products that are capable of earning the seal of approval by celebrities. Additionally, these brands have expanded their product lines to include fashionable shades and hues based on makeup trends from New York Fashion Week and red carpet events. Kim Kardashian’s wedding day makeup was created by using a variety of products, but her choice in lip color shows how a summer trend like pale, pink lips can be obtained for less. Kim’s makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic chose L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Lipstick in “Extraordinaire”, along with a liquid lipstick version by L’Oreal named “Nude Ballet”.

In addition to trying out Kim’s affordable L’Oreal lipstick, I am especially excited to look for affordable ways to re-create Carrie Underwood’s look at the Country Music Awards.  Her bronzed complexion, smokey eyes, and pale, peachy-toned lips resulted in positive beauty reviews from critics.  Bronzer, peach lip gloss, black eyeliner, and charcoal hues of eyeshadow are essential products to look out for to achieve Carrie’s glow.  If L’Oreal or “easy, breezy, beautiful” Covergirl haven’t worked for you in the past, there are still many affordable brands like Maybelline, Neutrogena, Revlon to try out.  Women should follow in Kim K’s footsteps… Well, at least in creating summer beauty looks on a budget!

carrie underwood

 

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Dream Job or Reality? – Public Relations

Imagine waking up every morning, not only not having to fear the next 8 hours of your life, but actually wanting to go spend most of your day working! Crazy, right? I know! Almost all of us have heard of these elusive lifestyles, but many of us have never experienced it. Why is this? Could it be a lack of passion? Opportunity? Chance? Not quite, it has more to do with finding what it is that you love doing. Once you figure out what that is for you, you will be more apt to living that so called “dream” that we all want.

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I am lucky enough to have already figured this out. There is nothing more exciting than generating the buzz for products and people. We always hear stories and “promotions” for products and even celebrities, but who publicizes these stories? Who generates them and even plans “accidental” publicity stunts? PR agents, that’s who.  If this sounds interesting to you (how could it not), there are many skills that you must have or fine tune if you want to be successful in the world of public relations. The class of 2014 has just graduated and now most of the fresh new graduates are twiddling their thumbs, not really sure what to do next or even how to go about figuring it out. For all of you journalism, marketing, or English majors who are interested in PR, here is a list of helpful attributes and skills.

Let’s be realistic here. It is pretty obvious that the most important skill to have deals with communication, have it be written or verbal. When I talk about written communication skills, I don’t mean the abbreviations or slang words that we have become so accustomed to, due to the rise in interest with social media and texting. Don’t get that confused with the type of grammar you would use with a potential employer. If you will “brb” or even “c me sumtime tmrrow”, then it may be time for you to fine tune your vocabulary and your grammar skills.

how-to-improve-communication-skills

Internship experience or any on the job experience is a huge bonus. Although this is not always mandatory, it is without a doubt something that will place you towards the top of the applicants. When trying to obtain a job at a PR agency, it is crucial for you at the very least to be able to show previous work. Any stories that you have generated or pieces that you have covered are going to be able to set you apart from everyone else.

internship

Any and all exposure and experience with social media is huge in public relations. The ability to be able to use social media websites is very important in this field. Many clients will want you to be able to leverage social media to help promote them or gain exposure. A lot of candidates will have very strong writing skills and a solid internship history. Social media skills may be the deciding factor that separate you from a similar candidate.

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Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to have multimedia experience. It is one thing to have a blog of your own, but it is another to have a blog that you manage that actually generates some sort of revenue. Knowledge of photoshop is also a huge plus seeing as how image editing software can be used for public relations. Knowledge of SEO is a huge bonus, and knowing how to conduct keyword research and helping people how to discover content on websites. Although not at all required, it is always a HUGE bonus if you know how to code.

If you are looking at this list and you realize that it doesn’t fully apply to you, no need to worry. All skills aren’t necessary, but the more you have the better the prospect you become. Good luck during your own personal journey!

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The Tender Bar

I started my career in the service industry working for Pine Brook Country Club in Weston, Massachusetts. Pine Brook ranked among the top 5 most prestigious Country Clubs in eastern Massachusetts hosting the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Tom Brady, Larry David and the list continues. Working in Weston introduced me to something I had never been familiar with; BIG MONEY. Hedge Fund managers, high volume traders, and Chief Executive Officers of fortune 500 companies were a dime a dozen here and after seeing the lifestyle they lived; I wanted it. I applied to the Isenberg school of Management on the investment track assuming the money appeal was enough to keep me interested the 4 years I was attending. Turns out it wasn’t. It wasn’t for lack of intelligence, just so happens I was doing just as well as the smartest students in the school when applying myself; applying being the optimal word in the previous statement. Fast forward 5 years and here I am taking 2 online classes because I couldn’t finish them while I was at school. I truly figured out what i wanted to do in the middle of what was supposed to be my fourth and final year; work in the hospitality industry.

I started in the kitchen at Amherst Brewing Company June 28th of 2012 as an expediter, the first kitchen and restaurant I had ever worked in. At the time it was simply a job that paid my bills and supplied me with a little extra spending cash. Turns out working at a privately owned brewery where you can drink after work and becoming best friends with a few of the bartenders has its perks as well (perhaps another reason I am still looking to finish my 4 year degree after more than 5 years). Following a long stint in the back of the house (kitchen) finally got promoted to serving tables and never looked back. Became one of our top servers in a very short period of time (not without a few minor mishaps; two glasses of red wine, one glass of white wine, and a beer down a guests back). Following several months I moved up to the bar and the rest was history. Combination of helping people and dealing with one of my favorite things in the world: Beer. I was happy for the sole fact that I got to deal with the two things I had a passion for; customer service and craft beer. The people I worked with however had an ego like they were ‘cool’ because they were behind the bar. Wait, what? It’s a job! Get over yourself. I was passionate about it, wanted to get better at it, and wanted to make good money. That being said however, if it was about the money I would have stayed in the position I was in head banquet serving, dwarfing the amount of money bartenders made. If anyone deserved an ego it was my girl Antonia and I; killing it. No body listens when ownership and management does not care.

It was cool being behind the bar because it was something I enjoyed doing. I didn’t care I was behind the bar, my ego wasn’t boosted, it was just a job, granted more fun, but all it did was pay the bills. If anything, a little pathetic pursuing bartending as a potential career following spending close to $100,000 on school and nearly 5 years of my life studying subject matter I didn’t care that much about. I was good at tending bar and had a passion for doing. It combined 3 things I have come to enjoy over the past few years: an appreciation for beers and spirits; providing good customer service; and most importantly, combining the two to make a lot of money. Fast forward a few months and several dozen episodes later of Bar Rescue later I got fascinated, borderline obsessed with the concept of flair bartending. Flair bartending is the practice of bartenders entertaining guests, clientele or audiences with the manipulation of bar tools (e.g. cocktail shakers) and liquor bottles in tricky, dazzling ways. Aside from making more money and getting customers to come back, its is a phenomenal way to get phone numbers. In the spotlight in front of hundreds of people just dominating shows extroversion, passion for entertainment, and ability to perform in high pressure situations while still maintaining a sense of professionalism.

Another little tidbit on entertainment bartending and bartending in general. Despite doing it for tips and the possibilities of phone numbers, it is a show to make sure customers are happy and are enjoying themselves. It will be done regardless of whether or not tips or numbers arrive. With that being said, here is the bartender rant, composed by bartenders for customers. Take note:

1) Our names are NOT “Hey” or “Yo”

2) We know you are there. Wait your turn.

3) Do not say, “When you get a chance.” When we get a chance, you will know!”

4) Do not touch me.

5) Do not tell us you bartend! We will know.

6) If you ask for a strong drink. It will be weak.

7) $1 is not taking care of us.

8) It is rum and coke. Not coke and rum.

9) We are working. Show respect. I do not bug you are work.

10) Last call is last call.

The journey getting to where I wanted to be was a little bit difficult but well worth the abuse and long hours. Hopefully I’ll find myself becoming one of better entertaining bartenders in the future but time will tell. If nothing else, no doubt I will be making decent drinks for you!

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