Tag Archives: listening

The Classic Pamela Positive: Don’t Ever Give This Up: Humble Will

peak-299011_640Don’t ever give this up.  Your Humble Will.   It’s your commitment to persevere.

Business models will change and do change. Systems change, marketplaces change, technology changes.

But your Humble Will to persevere cannot.  Your organization relies on it; your team must know it. And you must found this commitment to persevere deeply within your soul and daily execution.

Please note I add “humble will.” It’s a listening commitment, a listening perseverance. You can’t just bulldoze ahead….. You have to be in touch with your marketplace, sector, clients, board, partners, team in order to know the best way to go, each moment, each day. And that takes humble listening.

Don’t ever give up your Humble Will to persevere.

The Pamela Positive: Listening – A Business Bliss

When getting involved internationally, it’s so important to listen to others. Respect the person, the culture, and their local community.  To do so is to honor the unique wisdom and presence they bring to the world.

Listening, and striving to understand other people, is the right thing to do. It will also open your business up to new opportunities. When you honor people and their local customs, they will want to work with you.  And you will love working with them!  Listening is mirrored in Respect,  which is a type of “business bliss.”

The Classic Pamela Positive: Start by Listening

the magic flute.jpg

“My goal is to extract a design that emerges from the essence of the music rather than to decorate its story…   This process usually takes two to three months of immersing myself in the opera by listening to it 200 to 300 times.” – Jun Kaneko

Master designer Jun Kaneko provides the design for the San Francisco Opera’s production of The Magic Flute…and what a powerful way he envisages how to create this vision for us all.  It’s synergistic, based on pulling all elements together and starting with one of the most important qualities…listening.

Jun Kaneko is a Japanese-American visual artist, with sculptures and other artwork in more than 50 museums.  He has previously worked on opera productions for Madama Butterfly and Fidelio.  He was the Production Designer for the San Francisco Opera’s production of The Magic Flute, in June 2012.

Goodnet: How to Donate Your Time and Money to the Right Cause Part II

This is Part II of our series from Goodnet, a socially conscious magazine, with an article on “How to Donate Your Time and Money to the Right Cause.”

Missed Part I? Read it here!


4. What inspires you?

Every day I’m inspired by stories of individuals’ and communities’ incredible resilience in the face of adversity. Two things especially inspire me. First, I’m “causeless.” Someone goes without a meal.  A little girl doesn’t have a roof over her head. Maybe there’s a natural disaster. Whatever the situation, we want people to live happy, peaceful, “whole” lives, in every meaning of that word. They should have homes, food, education, and health… the ability to choose the jobs they want, their partners in life, and essentially to be loved and have love in their lives. Therefore we care about every cause.

Secondly, I really believe in local leaders on the ground. That’s why we know that the work that UniversalGiving’s partner organizations do to serve communities is invaluable. The Rural Development Center aims to improve food security in rural households in Cameroon by developing and teaching an environmentally-friendly approach to agriculture and health. BiblioWorks builds and maintains libraries in communities in Bolivia in order to develop long-term literacy among children. By really listening to the people of the community, they are able to make a meaningful impact.

5. Who’s your favorite good doer figure?

I have to give an honest answer – it’s my mom.  She’s just a tireless figure for good. I don’t mean in all the time she spends volunteering. It’s simply in being a kind, giving person; it’s in her gracious demeanor, her kind heart, and her presence.  Almost every time I call, she picks up. You know she is there for you!

Another woman with an incredible story is Olga Murray, founder and CEO of the Nepal Youth Foundation. Olga founded the organization in 1990, she experienced first-hand the poverty facing Nepali youth. Each year she expanded the organization’s services until they were providing a full range of services: housing for impoverished children and orphans, educational scholarships, medical care, and daily meals. Now the organization even intervenes to help young girls from being sold into bonded servitude by their impoverished families. That’s a great, on-the-ground leader.

6. What is the best part about your job?

Every day I am so grateful for all of the wonderful people I have the opportunity to work with. That’s really it. You have to have a great team, board, and clients. Our people truly believe in and live our mission. One of my favorites is staying in touch with our UniversalGiving Ambassadors. These are people who have “graduated” from UniversalGiving – they worked for us, interned, or volunteered – and still want to stay in touch and help. What a community we have.

Another UniversalGiving partner, GVN Foundation

Another UniversalGiving partner, GVN Foundation, inspires learning, innovation and action in international communities (UniversalGiving)



Be on the lookout for our next installment this Friday! 

Can’t wait? See the full article here.

Goodnet: How to Donate Your Time and Money to the Right Cause Part I

This is Part I of our series from Goodnet, a socially conscious magazine, with an article on “How to Donate Your Time and Money to the Right Cause.”


So you want to pitch in and make the world a better place, but you’re not quite sure where to start? With thousands of volunteer organizations around the world working on various projects, and just as many charities taking donations, it’s really no wonder. How are we meant to know where our hours or our dollars would be best spent?

Enter UniversalGiving, the award-winning nonprofit that allows people to donate and volunteer with top performing, vetted organizations all over the world. In this week’s 10 Good Questions, the organization’s founder and CEO Pamela Hawley tells Goodnet about how UniversalGiving guarantees social impact, what makes their model different, and her biggest good doer inspiration – her mom.

1. What is your organization’s mission?

At UniversalGiving, we connect people to quality giving and volunteer opportunities worldwide. Our web-based platform allows donors and volunteers to connect with nonprofit organizations working all over the world! To date we have matched more than a $31 million dollars worth of volunteer hours. All projects are vetted through UniversalGiving’s proprietary Quality Model™.

UniversalGiving CEO Pamela Hawley

CEO Pamela Hawley talks giving with a UniversalGiving board member 

2. What makes you guys different from the rest?

We’re unique in that 100% of every donation made through UniversalGiving goes directly to the cause. We’re financially sustainable through UniversalGiving Corporate, which assists Fortune 500 companies in scaling their global CSR programs worldwide. Some of our key clients include Cisco, Gap, BHP Billiton, and RSF Social Finance.

3. What three words describe your organization?

At UniversalGiving, we constantly work towards and emphasize our core values: Listening, Measurable Results, and Inspiration. We take time to listen sincerely to each person whether they be a team member, client, NGO partner, corporation, or board member. We consistently measure our results to ensure we are meeting all goals and objectives. And perhaps most importantly, we believe in being inspired and inspiring others through joy, graciousness, and goodness in our daily work.

The UniversalGiving Team takes a break from doing good

The UniversalGiving Team takes a break from doing good



Stay tuned for the next installment of Goodnet: “How to Donate Your Time and Money to the Right Cause” this Wednesday!

Can’t wait? See the full article here.


A Time to Talk [NOT ON YOUR CELLPHONE] by Robert Frost


Living and Giving Team, I am asking you to talk today, and not about work. Talk to someone for joy. Talk to them for fun. Talk to them to give support.  And, do it live. There is nothing like slowing down, being present, and listening to another’s heart. Remember, it will change your life, too.

Lovingly, Pamela


“When a friend calls to me from the road

And slows his horse to a meaning walk,

I don’t stand still and look around

On the hills I haven’t hoed,

And shout from where I am, What is it?

No, not as there is a time to talk.

I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground

Blade-end up and five feet tall,

And plod: I go up to the stone wall

For a friendly visit.”


RB in the hauz

A native San Franciscan, Robert Frost is a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner in poetry.  His work mainly focused on making sense of complicated social and philosophical themes of rural life. He had six children with his wife, Elinor. Sadly, 4 of those children died at a young age. Consequently, Frost had a very difficult personal life, and he wrote powerful literature. Soon after moving to England with his family, Frost published his first book of poems which did very well. When he returned to the states, he was well received by the literary world. His works were so popular that he was soon published by those who had rejected him before his move to England, including The Atlantic. 

Frost was best known for his ability to depict rural life and the countryside. His first book of poems, A Boy’s Will, was published in 1912. Shortly after, he published North of Boston. One of his most famous individual poems is “The Road Not Taken.

Frost then became a professor at several colleges. At Amherst College, they named their main library after Frost. Throughout his life he received more than 40 honorary degrees.  He was asked to write and recite a poem for the John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, a huge honor.  His legacy still lives on today as he is one of the most famous poets.

Early On In Inner City: Keep on Loving, Keep on Believing

inner city post

Very early on in my inner city work, I was a volunteer buddy for a person in the projects.

It was East Palo Alto. My buddy was a 22 year old woman. She had five children from five different men. They lived in a two-bedroom apartment in a complex with wire grates on every window.

At the time I was 16. Fairly nascent in my volunteer work, I was eager to jump in and help. I was still shocked by all the poverty, only 2.1 miles away from my home. The word “UNACCEPTABLE”  was spelled foremost in my mind. It’s what drove me everyday.


We would meet to discuss life. To just spend time together. This time, I had made an effort to bring her a casserole that I had made for her family. We had agreed to the time. I figured as a busy mom that she would really appreciate the meal. I was now here and knocking on the door.


I knocked.


I waited.


I knocked again…. again.

The casserole rested warmly in my hands, as I shifted its weight to knock.


This time, I knocked a little bit louder. “Gloria”? I asked.


I waited a little bit more.

It was 6 p.m., and awfully silent around the projects. There was some blaring music coming from a far-end apartment. Then it would stop, silent…it was a bit eery. I wondered… were people sleeping? Working?

I waited some more.


I knocked again and called her name. I waited.


I knocked again and said, “Gloria, this is Pamela. I have our dinner… would you be able to open up?”


The response was silence. I left the lukewarm casserole on the doorstep, hoping that it would be received and walked away to my car.

I didn’t hear form her.

Every day I tried to call her.



Weeks later I heard from her. On this phone call, I learned a lot:

“Gloria, how are you? I stopped by for the dinner the other day as we agreed but you weren’t there?”

“No, I was there.”

“You were there?”


“Gloria, what happened? We decided that I was going to drop off dinner… I was excited to have that there for you.” There was silence.

“I didn’t feel like it,” said Gloria.

“I just didn’t want to open the door.”


Gloria taught me a lot that day.

When you are a volunteer, one of the most important things to do is to not to force a situation.

You are not there to make happen what you think should happen.

You are there to serve.

This is service in an entirely different way. Service does not always mean accomplishment of the task. Some of us Americans are very “doer-oriented.” We want to accomplish. That’s what our founding fathers based our society on: We had to conquer the West. We had to be very resilient and resourceful. In many ways, we still are.


With that resourcefulness comes a strong will. That will sometimes prevents us from listening to others or listening to the situation.

As a volunteer, you think, I am supposed to serve the meal. But we don’t know what was going on in Gloria’s mind. She was a mom, twenty years old, with five children. Her jobs went in and out — as did her family.  I can’t imagine how overwhelmed she must have been.

As volunteers we need not to focus “on our side of the story.” “I am doing a good thing. I made all this effort to make a meal. Why wasn’t she there?”

All those thoughts are wrong.

The thought we must have as volunteers everyday is:

“I am here to serve in a way that makes my buddy the most comfortable, with a sense of kindness, listening and love.”  

That does not always mean that you get to complete the delivery of a meal. That does not mean that you get to finish building the house, constructing the well or cleaning up the river.

Sometimes it means being present with someone. Sometimes it means making 6 phone calls before you get in touch with someone. Sometimes it means backing off and giving them space. Sometimes it means showing up on the doorstep with warm casserole, knocking, never hearing a response, and not knowing if they ever ate it. You leave your agenda behind.

To be a volunteer is precious. You listen, you serve, you focus on being present. You love, and don’t judge.

No matter what happens when you serve, you Keep on Loving and you Keep on Believing.