Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Pamela Positive: “When Hunger Begins to be Satisfied…Conversation Commences” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

“[When] hunger begins to be satisfied, reflection begins, and conversation commences.  The person who, hitherto, had been a mere consumer, becomes an amiable guest.”  — Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 19thcentury French gourmand

Brillat-Saverin points to the importance of feeding our minds and bodies before we can feed the rest of the world.

While Brillat-Savarin is speaking solely about the community around food, we can certainly relate it to poverty.  He speaks of how food was something that helped one’s guests be kind and relaxed, furthering conversations which are positive and enlightening.  (If one didn’t feed one’s guests, then the consequences could be a close-mouthed, irritable inhabitant of one’s home!)

And yet, whether we are wealthy or poor, the situation is the same. To lift people out of poverty, and for them to lift themselves out, we must first start with the basics. Sometimes, we jump ahead to provide jobs and ‘more advanced’ development.

But no one can work, go through job training, study or even think about the future…unless they can think in the present moment.  And that means providing critical ‘basics’ such as nourishment of water, food, health and sleep.  Before we can even think about advancing ourselves, we have to be able to think in the present moment.

“When hunger begins to be satisfied…conversation commences.”   Let’s get the conversation going about a world free from limitation and poverty.  That begins with one person, one meal, today.  Here are some ways you can start your conversation…

Give $75 to feed a homeless child for a month

Give $150 to feed a family

Give $200 to feed 500 children

The Pamela Positive: The Perseverance of James Dyson

James Dyson perseveres.  After 5,127 prototypes, he created one of the most successful bag-less vaccuum cleaners, with offices in nearly fifty countries.  One might even call him the Thomas Edison of our time–it took Edison approximately 10,000 experiments to perfect a light bulb.

One of Mr.  Dyson’s greatest passions is in the pursuit of continual excellence.  What drives him every day is improving what we’ve already built.  “It’s a much harder intellectual process than flitting from one thing to another.”   Dyson’s life is a testament to building value based on the relentless quest for improvement.

He’s also a big proponent of technology and the education that supports it.  “If you look at school children, in subjects such as design and technology, they love it and they’re brilliant at it….  But somehow, that gets drilled out of them, and children are missing out on something they could have enjoyed.”  Dyson points to the fact that Exeter produced a study demonstrating engineers are some of the most content professionals.

Dyson thinks it’s because it’s all-absorbing.   Dyson’s absorption has clearly allowed him to make a profound impact.

Sir James Dyson is a British industrial designer, best known for his bag-less vaccuum.  He has studied art and engineering, and is the inventor of a number of other products, including the Dyson Airblade fast hand dryer.  The James Dyson Foundation encourages young people to study engineering.

The Pamela Positive: “Stay in your lane and don’t change you.” – Randy Jackson

“Stay in your lane and don’t change you.”  — Randy Jackson

That’s what Randy Jackson, musician, executive producer for MTV and American Idol judge, told Scotty McCreery when he asked for advice.  Scotty, American Idol’s seventeen year-old tenth season winner, considers this the best advice he received on the entire show.

It’s a simple statement.  Yet while simple, it’s something we need to remind ourselves of often.

Be who we are; we are beautiful as-is.  When we try to be someone else, we lose the “unique us” we bring to each situation, each person.

“Stay in your lane and don’t change you.”

Read more in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Randy Jackson is a musician and television personality.  He produced MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, and has been a judge on American Idol since its first season in 2002.  He has worked and performed with many well-known musicians and bands, including Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, Madonna, and Bon Jovi.

Scotty McCreery is a country singer from North Carolina, and the winner of American Idol‘s tenth season.  At seventeen, he is the second youngest American Idol winner to date.

The Pamela Pensive: “What Would Have Been If We Had Been Born Under Different Circumstances” – Freada Kapor Klein

“I think that’s the real challenge…to ask all of us to be a little bit more self-reflective of what would have been if we had been born under different circumstances.  Would we be here?”  —Freada Kapor Klein

Freada Kapor Klein is a pioneer in organizational development and human resources.  She founded the Level Playing Field Institute, a non-profit focusing on the promotion of fairness in higher education and the workplace.

We Don’t Just Work to Stay Late

This is a recent message I sent to the UniversalGiving team, after a team meeting.  It highlights many key aspects of UniversalGiving’s culture.

Dear Team,

Thank you so much for an enriching meeting yesterday…I so enjoyed reading the notes on all that you are doing to help our global communities through UniversalGiving, and to eradicate poverty.  I know we can be a strong part of the solution toward that end.

We’ve talked about, and will continue to address, our values as a key part of our culture.  Please feel free to bring them up and speak about them in whatever context you think is appropriate.  Weaving them into our day-to-day action is so helpful to make them “alive.”

I woke up this morning with a strong thought that I wanted to communicate.  I recognized a team member yesterday for staying late and working on a proposal for a client.  Sometimes, this is necessary.  However, I want to reiterate the importance of balance.  We should have clear objectives, clear planning for each day.  In that way, we should be able to leave on time, and have a balanced life.

It’s very important to our culture that people feel their days are filled with purpose and peace.  We don’t want to burn out, and “working to work late” is not why we are here.  We’re working to be purposeful, and then we stop our work to enjoy other aspects of life.  This principle allows us to be thoughtful, creative and joyful in each day that we devote ourselves to the vision of UniversalGiving.

Thank you again so much, each one of you, for your helpful contributions.  It is my honor to have you on the UniversalGiving team.  A wonderful, balanced, and peaceful weekend to you all!



The Pamela Positive: “Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan” – Vince Lombardi

“Plan your work, work your plan.” – Vince Lombardi

Plans are active.  Great football coach and winner of five NFL Championships, Lombardi knew this.

You come in prepared.  You set your goals — and your mind and your heart to achieve them.  Mobilize, inspire your team… and you’re off!

But plans change. Plans are meant to be active, changed, and updated, because we are always learning.  We are growing, experiencing life and absorbing important lessons which impact our plans.  So “work your plan” and make  sure it works for you!

Vince Lombardi was a legendary football coach, who led his team to five NFL Championships.  He coached for Fordham University, Westpoint, the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins and, most famously, the Green Bay Packers.  He was an early proponent of equal rights during the era of the Civil Rights Movement.  He has sometimes been described as the greatest coach in football history.

The Pamela Positive: A Great Reminder from Lao Tzu…

To become learned, each day add something.
To become enlightened, each day drop something.

–Lao Tzu

What are you going to “drop” today?

Lao Tzu was a mystic philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching. His association with the Tao Te Ching has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of Taoism (pronounced as “Daoism”). He is also revered as a deity in most religious forms of the Taoist religion, which often refers to Laozi as Taishang Laojun, or “One of the Three Pure Ones”. Laozi translated literally from Chinese means “old master” or “old one”, and is generally considered honorific.

According to Chinese tradition, Laozi lived in the 6th century BCE. Historians variously contend that Laozi is a synthesis of multiple historical figures, that he is a mythical figure, or that he actually lived in the 4th century BCE, concurrent with the Hundred Schools of Thought and Warring States Period.

A central figure in Chinese culture, both nobility and common people claim Laozi in their lineage. Throughout history, Laozi’s work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements.