Monthly Archives: May 2010

When I Walk In, My Mom Beams

From April 2010

While the following situation takes place in church, these values apply to all aspects of life.

Beaming with a Special Light of Honor

It’s now nearly 4 months later. I’ve made a sincere and strong mental commitment to be on time and it’s working. And I say that humbly because every day is a new day and I need to prove myself. Prove myself and my commitment to respect others, and in this case, my beloved mom.

You want to get to church on time, then this is what you have to do. Back it up and figure it out. I start preparing to leave work at 4:30. I actually don’t end up leaving until 5:30. Things come up. An extra email needs to be answered. A team member has a question. I want to finish a proposal. But now I have a bit more of the space to tie things up.

And often times I don’t or can’t tie it up. And I leave anyways. I am making that commitment, and it is working.

There are times when I leave past 5:30. I know what happens then.

I know you are tired, but you’ve left later. And in order to get there on time, you’re going to have to run. That’s right, bags and all. So I end up running for 30 minutes to get home (it takes me about 50 minutes to walk home.) I’d say right now this happens about 50% of the time. So not great, but I still get to church on time.

A Mom Beaming with A Special Light of Honor

I wish you could see my mom. She’s at the front of the podium….. And when she sees me walk in a few minutes before the service….she is just beaming. Beaming with a special light. It’s almost a special light of honor. I can see it’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve given her. The gift of not just my time, and not just being on time. The gift of respect and true presence.

I have to say here my mom has been amazing. Not once has she mentioned a word to me about being late. She just moves forward working on her own life, not criticizing at all. She is a beautiful leader in her own and different right. I can see, feel and know that she trusts I am growing, too.

So I am starting to see my energy change in other ways, too. And, even my positive view of myself. I have a deeper respect for Pamela. I feel less burdened.

Walk Upright

There is such a relief and joy to not slink, but to walk upright into a beautiful church and congregation. By honoring my mom I am honoring myself. I often think when we take a strong stance for something principled, more good and strength come to you in ways you’d not imagined.

It’s a wonderful thing. Growing, Respect, Caring. And yes, being on time. 🙂

Of course, I’ll keep checking back. Every day is a new day. A new day to be on time, to respect, and to allow someone else to beam.

<< See the previous installment of How This CEO Needs to Grow, “I’d Run in Halfway Through”

See the next installment of How This CEO Needs to Grow, “I Choose to Run”>>

Blending Forprofit and Nonprofit

I just joined another excellent discussion on Social Edge.  “It Doesn’t Take an MBA–Or Does It?” discusses how we can combine the strengths of liberal arts students (passion and contribution) with the strengths of business students (resources and expertise) to create a social entrepreneur.  Here were my thoughts in response:

***   ***   ***

Thank you for a wonderful position towards both a strategic and a compassionate mindset. I would say that that holistic view is something we are already moving quite steadily towards. The biggest question recent graduates ask companies is what they do to help the community. Even if they go work for a forprofit, they want to know what is being done to help, and the positive footprint being created.

I would also say most people aren’t so polarized anymore. I come from both a forprofit and nonprofit background; I hope, that I do think ‘both ways.’ It is, true, a balancing act. We have to switch back between profitability and mission; between efficiency and compassion.

But companies are doing this by adhering to a bottom line, and, producing positive products for the community. And it’s not just for companies producing sustainable wind power or other benevolent products. For example, Pepsi is committing to improve the health of its products, with target dates for reducing sugar and sodium, and offering healthier alternative products. They are reinventing themselves, regearing towards the marketplace, towards health. They have self-opted out of providing softdrinks in schools and will be removing the drinks themselves. An inspiring shift!

Pamela Hawley
Founder and CEO

I’d Run in Halfway Through

From December 2009

While the following situation takes place in church, these values apply to all aspects of life.

I’d run in halfway through.

But I showed up, didn’t I?

My mom is a reader at our church every Sunday morning and Wednesday night.  It is such a joy to hear her read the Bible and I make every effort to hear her, twice per week. I think I have missed maybe 5-10 times in the past two years, only due to travel.   It’s one of my top priorities. I make it.

But I am always late.

I told myself: “Something came up at work.”  “I couldn’t leave in time.”  “Church is too early.”  “I am happy hearing the second half, that’s enough, it’s something.”

It’s something.

But it’s not the whole thing.  And I wasn’t making a commitment.  Why was I always late?

Respecting My Team

I have consistent weekly meetings with my team, both 1-1s and as a whole.  I’d say 95% of the time I am on time.  I make it a point. We said we were going to meet, and I want to honor the team member, and honor our time together. I’m quite simply not late.

Respecting My Mom

So why then does the principle not translate? Why is it Okay to be late for my mom?

How would you feel if you were the leader of your church and your daughter came late everytime?  How would you feel?

Respecting Church

So why then does the principle not translate? Why is it Okay to be late for church? And if I am really going to push myself, late for God?


When I’d come in to church late, people would say, “Oh you had a long commute from San Francisco to Palo Alto!” Or “How good of you to come”, “What a great daughter you are”  or “You are so busy, of course….”

Not of course.  There is no excuse I can think of that puts work above Mom and Church.  Tell me one. I’ll listen but I can’t believe you.

Talking with Pamela

Worry, Rush, Slink, Apologize.

So I had to sit myself down. I had to think about why I was letting this happening.  I was enabling myself to be late.  My inner talk said: “It’s hard to leave work at 5. It’s hard to commute down. It’s hard to….”

Actually, when we think about it, it’s harder to be late. Think of the energy. You worry about being late. You rush in your car. You slink in, tiptoeing in the church with slumping shoulders and guilty “sorry excuse me” whispers to those present.   Then, you need to apologize to your mom. Overall, you just feel badly.

Worry, Rush, Slink, Apologize. It actually takes a lot of energy to be late.  Energy that can be better used elsewhere, for good!

So I am working on this.  I’ll check back with you.  I don’t like this feeling anymore, and I am not doing more for the world by being late, dishonoring my mom and my church. 

It’s not good enough to show up.
You have to show up on time.

Apply the principles of respect across the board.  Especially for moms.

<< See the previous installment of How This CEO Needs to Grow, “From How I am Growing and Learning”

Introduction to: How This CEO Needs to Grow

This is one of the hardest areas for CEOs, or at least for me. “How This CEO Needs To Grow.”

We all have areas in which we need to grow. And since CEOs are often under the light (which they should be because they are leading something of importance), it’s often hard to come forth with how you are growing.

As CEO you already face tough challenges, unknowns, crises. And if you are good, you try to shield your team from them, engaging them only where they can provide value and insight. Otherwise, it’s your job to handle these situations. Let your team focus and thrive on their goals, objectives and aspirations. At least, I hope that is what CEOs try to do.

CEOS already receive a lot of criticism. Good CEOS also know that they don’t and can’t know everything that their external partners or team is thinking. No matter how great a relationship you have with someone, there are parts of your style, execution or communication that they’d like to change… but will probably never tell you.

So you do your best, staying the course in trying to live to the highest levels of integrity you can each day. We watch ourselves, examine ourselves and try to determine our patterns. Laud the good and self-correct the less than stellar.

Then: Keep at it.

At the end of the day, soothe yourself with all you are grateful for. Attain your needed rest.. .and then we start the day again on a quest for continuous growth not only for our organizations, but also for ourselves. I have to say I find this an exciting way to live, a life of continuous appreciation of what it means to be aware, to grow.

As I write this, I’ve found that I believe leadership transcends all levels of your life. I am not sure we simply separate professional and personal, work and home, colleagueships and friendships. There are certainly extremely different dynamics, relationships, means of communication in each realm. But the values remain the same. With this, I am not saying that someone who makes mistakes, or doesn’t live up to their values in their personal life can’t be a good professional executor. But I can’t believe they are reaching their highest level of leadership. To achieve our highest level, our values have to synergize between work, home, play.

So we’ve designed this section How This CEO Needs to Grow to try to be as transparent as we can. Some of the areas might not seem to relate to work at first. But it’s all related: How can we practice the values we hold closest to us, in a way that is consistent? Across all situations…all people….?

As I read that I have to say I took a silent and mental very deep breath, as the times I haven’t been consistent come to my mind. It hurts to think about them. It’s a large undertaking to live honestly, and be honest about how you live. To really exist in accord with your highest sense of right, moment by moment.

So this is one effort toward transparency and the revelation of values in my life. I hope others will be able to grow and learn– from how I am growing and learning.

Warmly, Pamela

See the next installment of How This CEO Needs to Grow, “I’d Run in Halfway Through”

36 Hours in Cambodia [Part 7 of 7]

This is the last of a seven part series entitled 36 Hours in Cambodia. This is an unedited account of a personal journey and will be followed by stories from a few more of my international volunteer trips. Many of the experiences on these trips would become the impetus for founding UniversalGiving™.

June 16, 2002

Looking Ahead, and Corporate Social Responsibility


Looking ahead, Sophary from DigitalDivideData sees agriculture and  industrialization as the mainstays for the economy.  Agriculture being rice, corn, beans.   I think cashews as well.  There also numerous factories, even a “Canadian Industrial Park.”  Look down the row and you will see a factory complex of more than 30 warehouse, uniform.  They are all factories.  Thirty of them.  It’s white ribbed tin metal buildings; heat waves molt back and for between them in this hot sun day; it’s pure it’s stark it’s white it’s unwelcoming, it’s factual, clear, and amidst this burning heat, cold.

Sophary asked if I wanted to see the living conditions and talk to the people.  How I could never have done this without him!  Not just language barriers, but intruding in people’s lives.

We stopped by a roadside, and walked down a row of ”homes.”  People lived amongst wood slabs as walls, and slept on a wood covering.   Because the salaries are so low — $45/month, and rent is $30/month, they share a room, 4-5 per.  I asked questions and Sophary translated.  They work 6 days a week and overtime you get paid 1000 riel per hour.  That’s 25 cents.  If you don’t want to work, they “dismiss you.”

Positives are that while they don’t have vacation, they are paid the equivalent of one month’s salary for vacation.  They do have a lunch hour.  And, from what I saw in El Salvador, the living conditions in Cambodia are definitely much, much better…..Not that it means that these conditions are right.

I asked which companies were better to work for.  The people stated it didn’t matter. They were all the same. Sophary says that from his perspective, the Chinese companies are the worst. They don’t have respect for people’s lives, only profit.  Many dislike the Chinese for their ability to get rich quickly and not care about the process.  However, Japan is providing money for roads, businesses, NGOs and is regarded very favorably because they are investing and building areas of Cambodia that affect all aspects of society.

Sophary has run the gamut on striving for justice in the corporate arena.  He is a dynamic, very kindly, absolute expert on street smarts and pushing the channels for change.  He’s brilliant.

He’s helped organize the people to fight injustice through the proper channels, while finding out about the background of the company.  Often there are companies called “parachute” companies.  They seem to come from nowhere and he can’t find out the owner.  Usually this means the company has been allowed in by the government as it is receiving a major kickback.

If a company is doing something unjustly, he finds out what stores buy from them, and will contact them about the company.  Or such as with the case of Gap, Nike and Walmart, they so have local codes of conduct which they strive to abide by.  They also have local offices with whom he can meet.  The local offices are interested in keeping relations positive in order to be profitable for headquarters, so there is a good check there.

If Sophary can’t get good responses, he sends emails copying the Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Finance, the NGOs and the company.  He could indeed be a dangerous man for the Cambodian government.  And he is the most smiley, kind person as well as incredibly street smart and entrepreneurial!

Another accomplishment is regarding contracts.  The U.S. will set up contracts for clothing from Cambodia. The operators will import them from Vietnam and Laos very cheaply, and then sell them to the U.S.!  But Sophary is taking a stand for the purity of these contracts, which will cut out the middleman, and in truth provide jobs and increase productivity within Cambodia and for its people…

Because of all these skills and negotiating tactics and working of the channels, he was offered a job by the International Labor Organization (ILO) for $600/month which is a lot.  His role would be working on all of these types of labor issues, which really deals with corruption.  He accepted Digital Divide’s $300/month as an opportunity to create more jobs and train people, and is more excited about his work.  The ILO presented more money, but only the opportunity to fight a system, rather than to create…

Early Social Entrepreneurship: Accountability and Revenue Generation


Sophary was already having ‘good’ trouble with the government.  Some colleagues offered to have him come to a meeting about money given from the World Bank.  The World Bank would be giving more money in a five year period.  But Sophary asked, “First, can we review what has happened in the past and how we have used the money?”

The agreement was that 65% of the money would go to the rural sector; 35% to the cities.  The reverse occurred.  Sophary established that they DON’T want money in 5 year installments.  They want it for the first three months, and to evaluate how and where it was spent.  Subsequent to that there will be 6 month checks.  In essence, he is putting his government in check about how the money will be spent.  He wasn’t asked to a second meeting.

As opposed to the U.S. nonprofit mindset –often wanting the money WITHOUT frequent checks – here he was requesting it.  This is good as far as wanting accountability; sad that they have to put their own country in check for abuses, politics and corruption.  For the U.S. part, I think some nonprofits are totally legitimate in wanting to control their work and focus on achieving results rather than making long reports tailored to a government agency; on the other hand, if someone is giving money, they have every right to request results and accountability.

Another key aspect of social entrepreneurship which is being introduced is revenue generation.  Much earlier in their NGO history, they are putting together revenue generation schemes.  Donors not only will not always be around — they are not necessarily around NOW.  The process of attaining government monies is arduous as often it gives way to corruption.  So related to the mission or not, many NGOs are generating revenue in order to survive.  Awesome!

Regarding DigitalDivideData (DDD), their work is wonderful.  They are helping people, often who have not been trained or had any opportunity of any sort, to help execute on data entry and digitization (working with transforming text to images and vice versa).  Kathryn is from the mid-West and is spending a year there to help them on the social responsibility side. For example, right now she is trying to set up a healthcare system for them.  First, the insurers want a list of everyone who has an arm or leg missing, in order not to have any false claims (due to so many people losing limbs from the war and landmines).  Second, they only have crisis insurance — nothing for ‘regular’ checkups, pregnancy, dentistry, etc.  So she is looking into working with one doctor who might provide a group rate. Fascinating the entrepreneurship one takes hold of when systems we take for granted aren’t in place!

I really enjoyed speaking with Nary.  She is the director of operations at DDD, and works with all the employees, training them, handling employee issues, holding meetings, measuring progress.  She herself has little training, but she is ‘all natural’ — she just gets it.  She knows how to instruct people, how to encourage them, tell them how to do their job better, in the best way possible.   She is excellent at what she does and it shows.   It just shows that people who don’t even have a great amount of experience, but have the motivation, appreciation of opportunity, heart and gut instinct, can make tremendous differences.


How grateful I am to have experienced this beautiful countryside, inordinately kind people, and growing government and people.  To have people so recently affected, willing to speak about their history, themselves, and their future…I am honored by my stay here…


You can take action.

Give $20 to provide gardening tools to a Cambodian family.

Give $25 to clear landmines.

Give $100 to support economic development in Cambodia.

Volunteer with an arts center in Cambodia.