Episode 25 – Productivity with Business Strategist Deana Kalakay

The ever elusive concept of productivity is explored with Workflow Management Strategist and Productivity Coach Deana Kalakay on this episode.  Deana has been helping professionals and businesses build confidence and take action using the science of consistency and workflow mastery.  Her clients overcome chaos and inconsistency by getting organized, becoming confident and taking the massive action required to meet and exceed their objectives.  To learn more go to her website at https://www.bepowerfullyproductive.com/

Episode 24 – Pursuing Your Passion with Student Guests

Passion is a difficult concept to articulate for most people let alone follow towards a career or vocation.  On this episode, Jerrid explores what it takes to pursue one’s passion with student guests Todd Bernard, Robert Manfreda, and Tatiana Fritz.  The Valencia College students, participated in the live radio podcast, while their classmates tuned in to the broadcast live from the classroom via Facebook Live. Students also enjoyed communicating during the program through Facebook’s chat feature, engaging in witty, fun and informative banter.

Episode 23 – Building Supportive Networks

In this episode of Teaching Change, Courtney and Jerrid discuss the importance of having a supportive network. Supportive networks involve a person or group of people you can rely on for comradery, advice, or just a simple sounding board.

Courtney immediately mentions her Toastmasters club as a major supportive network in her life. When Courtney sought to further develop her leadership and communication skills, she joined Weekend Toastmasters. Her club, which is a part of Toastmasters International, provides a nurturing environment of learning and ongoing opportunities to become your best self. Every Sunday Courtney takes on roles such as the prepared speaker, evaluator, timer, and counter while receiving valuable feedback and, yes, the support she can use to improve for the next meeting.

Jerrid brings up the competitive aspect of Toastmasters and asks if this colors her experience when she doesn’t win. Courtney assures Jerrid that the contests are all in good fun and are meant to be learning tools as well. For each meeting, a member is awarded a certificate for best speaker, evaluator, and table topics speaker. Even if she doesn’t win, Courtney is able to gain valuable insight into her skills as a communicator and to observe the good speaking qualities of others.

Courtney reveals that Weekend Toastmasters is also a good support network for her because it is outside of her professional workplace and allows her to interact with people on a different level. Instead of having on her librarian hat, Courtney is able to engage other areas of interest. Jerrid agrees with this particular aspect of supportive networks. He once was a part of a close-knit group at work that would hang out on their personal time. Ultimately, their conversations would turn to work-related matters and Jerrid felt like he was still on the clock. Therefore, this particular network did not provide Jerrid with the downtime he needed away from his daily job duties.

Luckily, Jerrid has since built other supportive networks that give him the community and guidance he needs. As previously discussed, Jerrid is a husband and father of three children. Thanks to his lovely wife Deana, who sets Jerrid up on husband dates, he is able to connect with other husbands to exchange stories and seek advice. This is just one type of supportive network for Jerrid. He has also found networks that help him care for his aging parents, guide him through professional decisions and many other life situations where it is of benefit to have a second opinion.

This episode marks the end of Courtney’s stint as co-host on Teaching Change. She thanks Jerrid for giving her the opportunity to explore the world of social entrepreneurship and to share her own experiences with the audience. As a fan of the show, she is looking forward to listening to future episodes of the podcast.  

Episode 22 – Self-Care

 

On this episode of Teaching Change, Courtney and Jerrid discuss the importance of self-care. This is a buzzword that has been bandied about lately because it is vitally important to check in with yourself to make sure everything is okay. By self-care, the Teaching Change hosts are referring to taking the time to nurture your well-being both mentally and physically to ensure you are being mindful of your own needs. People in the social entrepreneurship field are driven by their passions to improve the lives of others and their communities. So much so, that they may not pause to do a self-assessment of what they need to function at the most optimal levels. This could lead to burnout.

While Courtney has never ventured into social entrepreneurship, she had her own bout of burnout as a middle school Language Arts teacher. Her downfall was that her unique circumstances did not allow for adequate downtime in which she could rejuvenate her mind and spirit and gear up for the next day. As a public school teacher, Courtney felt like her work followed her everywhere and thus she was constantly on the clock. Whether it was grading papers, preparing lesson plans, or classroom management, her teacher responsibilities took over her identity until there was room for little else. Thus, she burned out after only two years.

Your career choice and workplace can greatly affect opportunities for self-care. Jerrid recounts a work environment where employees felt they needed to work long hours in order to demonstrate their value to the employer. This did not quite mesh with how Jerrid wanted to live his life as a dedicated father, husband, and family man. He made the difficult decision to quit, which carried its own pressures so he could lead the type of life he’d envisioned for himself. This turned out to be a great decision on his part. It was, after all, one of the roads that led him to Valencia where he feels very fortunate to have landed. At his current place of employment, Jerrid has the freedom to explore his varied interest and still maintain a healthy work-life balance.

The show concludes with Jerrid’s account of a friend who suffered years of unfulfillment at the job before he’d finally had enough. Although the friend was making a six-figure salary, the company’s culture and mission were not aligned with what he needed to be motivated in the work. Twenty years later the friend finally resigned from the position and began working for a nonprofit that fits better with his purpose. Although Jerrid acknowledges the friend probably took a sizable pay cut, the purging of a toxic work environment and philosophy more than made up for the difference.

Would you be willing to make that decision? Questions such as this one are important to consider as we continue the conversation. Difficult decisions and sacrifices may have to be made in the name of self-care. For if we don’t take care of ourselves first, we won’t be of any use to those we aspire to help.

Episode 21 – Dealing with Setbacks

People welcome setbacks like they would a trip to the dentist or a flat tire. In other words, they do not. Setbacks are understandably viewed as impediments to progress and dream crushers. Yet they are an inevitable part of life. We cannot all be perfect one hundred percent of the time, can we?

On this week’s episode of Teaching Change, Jerrid and Courtney talk the good, the bad and the ugly of setbacks. Setbacks are awful by their very nature and are often accompanied by feelings of disappointment and failure. Yes, setbacks suck! This is something most of us know from life experience. Due to the negative connotations of setbacks, we try to brush them off as quickly as possible and move on with our lives. However, as Jerrid and Courtney discuss in this episode, it is vitally important to acknowledge the setback and to embrace the emotions it solicits. On the surface, this may make people uncomfortable. No one likes to feel down in the dumps if they can help it. Nevertheless, confronting the emotions head on allows you to process what happened and to forge a clearer path forward.

Courtney divulges that she is not above a good, old-fashioned pity party. Darken the room, pop in a sad movie and she is all set. This is Courtney’s cathartic way of working through her emotions so that she can gear up again and tackle the issue at hand from a more wizened, informed perspective.  

 

In their discussion of setbacks, Jerrid shares Thomas Edison’s quote, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” This quote highlights the silver lining in weathering a setback. Jerrid explains that we will all eventually fail at something in our lives but it is how we react to those failures that make all the difference. Jerrid recalls an interview he conducted while working on his dissertation. An entrepreneur depended heavily on a government grant for his business operations. The grant was rescinded, and he was forced to lay off a sizeable portion of his work force. This experience taught the entrepreneur that more diversification was needed in his funding sources to prevent the same situation from happening in the future.  

This is where the ability to reflect becomes an essential business and life skill. Both Jerrid and Courtney believe reflection is an important component of achieving success: review what happened, analyze cause and effect, and devise a plan of action. Courtney mentions the traditional business reflection tool SWOT which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Jerrid mentions the point system which derives from the creative design philosophy. He also discusses the traffic light activity. After a program or project, Jerrid and his team place their observations into three categories: green, yellow and red. Anything that went fantastically well goes in the green column. Things that were okay but could be improved are reserved for the yellow column. The red column is for items that need to be totally rethought or reworked.  

Ultimately, an organization that presses pause and allows time for reflection will build resiliency in its system. Thus, mistakes and setbacks will be viewed as part of the process and not the end.

Episode 20 – Change

Change is afoot on this episode of Teaching Change as Jerrid and Courtney tackle the effect of social entrepreneurship on society. By their very nature, social entrepreneurs are disruptors of the status quo as they work to solve the issues that plague the world. Thus, change is a colossal horizon that looms in the minds of social entrepreneurs and provides plenty of fodder for conversations on how to make it happen.

One of the underlying missions of most social enterprises is to create positive social change which will assist in the overall advancement of society. Therefore, burgeoning social entrepreneurs are observant and inquisitive as they assess their surrounding environments. As a result, these innovators can firmly grasp perennial issues such as income equality or harmful environmental practices and chip away at these problems.

As we may be all too aware, change does not happen overnight nor may it be well received. For this reason, change may be difficult to measure and its value challenging to quantify. The seeds of change that are being planted today through social enterprises such as Clean the World and Downtown Credo may not bloom until many years from now. While the incremental change in their respective fields has most certainly been achieved, eradication of the issues being addressed may not happen within our lifetimes. The evolutional change of our culture and attitudes typically takes a long time.

Added to the challenge of change taking a long time is that people, at some level, are resistant to change. Sure there are always those few who are early adopters that may enjoy the chaos of rapid change, but for the most part, we tend to be comfortable in our routines and beliefs as human beings. To overcome this innate resistance, change makers should move slowly and deliberately towards their goals. For if they move too fast, they run the risk of the change not being permanent and the situation boomeranging back to where it was at the start.

Ultimately, social entrepreneurs are held to a higher standard—ethically and morally. Sound change is a result of growth. As long as social entrepreneurs plan purposefully, reflect on their progress and adjust accordingly, the journey towards change will be a steady one.

 

Episode 19 – Mentorship

Mentorship is an excellent combination of hindsight being 20/20 and paying it forward. As we traverse our professional lives and interests, we learn the lay of the land through stumbles and hopefully even more successes. Finding someone to show you the ropes is an invaluable connection that helps minimize pitfalls and anxiety-induced moments.

Courtney and Jerrid have both been lucky to be on the receiving end of the mentor-mentee relationship. For Courtney, one of her mentors was her supervisor at her very first job out of library school. This supervisor went above and beyond the typical call of duty. Having been in the profession for quite some time, her mentor knew essential milestones Courtney needed to achieve to make herself marketable to a broader audience.

Jerrid attributes his academic and career trajectories to a whole team of mentors. He counts off a sizable list of names to demonstrate that mentorship can take all shapes and forms. It does not necessarily have to be the whole shebang from just one person. Along the way, Jerrid has picked up pieces of wisdom that cater to specific talents of each mentor. In turn, he was able to forge an informed path that led him to reach his goals.

A mentorship is a vital tool in social entrepreneurship where stakes are high, and there is little room for error. Finding a mentor may mean checking your ego at the door and putting yourself out there. All too often we like to go it alone and not ask for help, but in the business world, a mentor may save you time and money. The hosts encourage you to humble yourself. If you ask for advice and guidance, most people are willing to give it to you. A good start would be to look for people who are doing something similar to you and see what you can learn from them.

Although the mentor-mentee relationship may be established through a formal process to fit your needs and interests, more often than not it happens naturally. As Jerrid reflects on his mentors, he realizes that he may not have thought of them as mentors at the time. However as he reflects back upon those interactions, he understands how these associations have benefited his life.  

The hosts then flip the coin to talk about the times they have been in the role of mentor. Jerrid was involved in the creation of the Leadership Ally program at Rollins College. Students in this program attend conferences related to leadership and devise projects based on this topic. Upon their return, students are paired with faculty so that faculty may help them develop an action plan. Jerrid recalls that these pairings increased student productivity and follow-through.  

Jerrid and Courtney wrap up the show with a discussion of the teacher-student relationship and how closely (or not so closely) it may parallel that of the mentor-mentee relationship.

Episode 18 – Responsibility

The word responsibility may not incite visions of carefree, fun-filled days but it is an important term that we all face throughout our daily lives. Whether it is taking care of your family, work, or paying bills, responsibility guides our decision-making process. The same can be said of the professional world where businesses and organizations strive to reach their goals and earn a profit. Along the way, these entities will formulate plans and operating philosophies that may have a profound impact on society and the planet. In this regard, are considerations such as the three Ps (e.g., people, planet, profit) tangential or integral in the running of the business?

Determining the responsibility of businesses to their communities, employees, and customers is a major concern in social entrepreneurship. After all, these are major avenues towards social value creation—a bedrock of the field. Still, there are some schools of thought that say a business’s number one responsibility is to its shareholders and that there should be no added impetus to better society.

Jerrid brings up Starbucks as an example of a business that is generally on the right side of the responsibility debate. Starbucks has generated goodwill through its fair trade programs that pay coffee growers a living wage. Arguably, the wages could be more, but Star Bucks is on the right track. Starbucks also pays for part-time employees to have health insurance and have partnered with Arizona State University to offer its employees the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s degree. While Starbucks is not a social enterprise, its actions show strives to be socially responsible.

The question is why. Why do companies such as Starbucks invest time and money in their employees and societal betterment when others do not? There is no responsibility overlord dictating what must be done so what gives them the onus?  For one, today’s consumers even more so than previous generations are more concerned with the planet, treatment of people, and the well-being of their communities. Therefore, it makes business sense for companies to be mindful of issues that are important to their customer base. Courtney, for one, would pay an extra buck or two for a drink Starbucks to support the company’s social value endeavors.

 

With that being said, not all companies have made the shift to social responsibility. This may be a matter of short-term versus long-term business goals. If a business is focused on the short term, the treatment of its labor force may not be as paramount as long as profits are good.

However, this type of philosophy has a shelf life. Eventually, fissures will appear as morale declines and outside forces such as the environment and economy come to the forefront. At this point, external pressure may force the company to reevaluate its responsibilities.

In the end, it is society’s responsibility to look after society’s needs. If we, the people, place value on the three Ps of people, profit, and the planet, businesses will ultimately follow our lead.

Episode 17 – The “ASK”

In this episode, Jerrid and Courtney tackle the topic of the “ASK”.  It is the moment when you finally speak up and ask for what you feel you deserve whether it’s a loan, partnership, raise, or promotion.  The ASK is one of the most stressful and anxiety causing things that social entrepreneurs have to conquer to gain success.  In any situation in which there are two or more parties, there is an underlining ask waiting to happen.

Sometimes we are too afraid or too shy to get to the ask, and thus we lose out, and other times we do not structure the ask probably and lose out as well.  In many cases, though the ask gets us exactly what we were hoping for and more.  All social entrepreneurs have to master the art of the ask to move their enterprise forward and toward success.

The ASK could come in all different forms from asking for a new partnership with sales to collaboration to gaining a loan or a million other types that a social entrepreneur may need it to take on.  The more developed the ASK and the confident and comfortable you are in asking the easier it is for the other party to give you what you want.

When was the last time you struggled with an ASK?

Have you ever missed out on something because you didn’t ASK?

When has your ASK gotten you what you wanted?