Posts tagged ‘community’

August 9, 2011

Spotlight On Social Good » » @amandalindhout » Amanda Lindhout » #Somalia

At Chalkboarder our mission statement clearly states we build and nurture interdependent villages. Today, we’re launching a new weekly bulletin that shares brief profiles of others around the world who seem to share this vision. Please join me in connecting with and supporting these folks and organizations. Jeff Kingman, CEO, Chalkboarder

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Amanda Lindhout

Founder, The Global Enrichment Foundation – Advancing Somali women’s leadership, building stronger communities and promoting peace.

I’m actually quite surprised that I haven’t noticed Amanda Lindhout prior to yesterday, as I’m a complete news junkie very interested in geo-affairs.

Amanda was interviewed by Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN’s AC360 last night, standing in the largest refugee camp in the world, Dadaab Refugee camp in Northern Kenya.

On August 4th, Amanda participated as a leader in delivering, by convoy, food to feed 14000 Somali refugees. Amanda has history with Somalia, but I’ll ask you to go find that on your own.

Amanda, if you read this, welcome to a broader community. Your courage and leadership are inspiring.

On Twitter, you’ll find great community in the hashtag #UsGuys, #PRSCamp and #LeadershipChat, amongst others.

Stay safe out there!

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June 24, 2011

I Like It Rough And Slow

Written by Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO of Chalkboarder

Yes, you read the title right. I like it rough and slow. I’m a little different that way. Perhaps hardcore might be another descriptive term. Or.. someone might say “he has an appreciation for the unusual”.

You see, I find opportunities where others might discount none to be. I look for the little clues that signal these potentialities. I’m willing to venture through unusual circumstance, that others would shudder at, to perhaps find that rare gem of an opportunity.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not talking about sex. Yes, I was leading you on; intentionally.

Rough Riders

I’ve always been a traveler – a bit of a nomad. I grew up that way and it in large part defines me. I feel trapped, or better, caged and bound, if I am unable to experience new vistas and experiences. I meet interesting folk this way. Sometimes, the people I meet have ability to transform and positively impact not only me, but the opportunities before Chalkboarder.

As I write this, I am up all night, at Boston South Station, waiting for the final leg of a six day journey across the USA. I boarded Amtrak Empire Builder in Oregon five and half days ago. We were almost a full day late into Chicago. Let’s look at the results from enduring lack of showers, lack of beds and lack of sleep this week.

  • Amtrak Regional Operations Director – Pacific Northwest. I bumped into this gentleman at the hotel they provided me for a half day in Chicago, between trains. An excellent representative of great customer service; honestly inquiring to my welfare and comfort. We’ll have coffee sometime later this summer.
  • Amtrak Empire Builder Cafe Car Attendant – Actually, someone I have had twice before using Amtrak between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. We remembered each other’s names and chitchatted at length. He owns a restaurant in Milwaukee, WI and I gave him pointers on his social media.
  • Harvard Behaviorial Health Professor – my seatmate from Chicago to Boston; one heck of a conversation, culminating in contact info trade and the possibility of reconnecting for coffee on Harvard’s campus.
  • Al Jazerra English Senior Technical Producer, London UK – this young gentleman and I had an outstanding conversation in Chicago, and have already traded tweets. I’m a big news junkie and he was grilling my opinions on the political landscape of the USA. Perhaps the most solid connection of this trip, and my introductory relationship to the Arab World.
  • Brooklyn Latino – this father and daughter made the trip with me across the country. His daughter, same age as my littlest, and I shared quite a few giggles. The father, while not fluent in English, and I got to know each other and have made plans to hang in Brooklyn sometime soon, where he will introduce me to his ethnic neighborhood.
I met others, such as the young gentleman who shared the very early morning hours with me here in South Station, who is from Worcester (pronounced Wooster in these parts) and just transformed a layoff from National Grid into an excellent new opportunity. He checked out Chalkboarder’s website and immediately referred four local Boston/Worcester businesses to me.
This is why I like it rough and slow. I am most definitely in need of a shower (I stink!). I need to do laundry. I’m coffee’d out. My ass hurts from sitting. My right knee is killing me with an arthritic dullness from not walking. I took a nap on the marble floor of South Station just before writing this..
Travel by airline, as the majority of travelers do, simply does not provide you with these opportunities to connect. It simply can’t. Why?
  • Everyone is stressed out.
  • You hurry through the system in lines.
  • Time is rushed. Get here, get there, don’t talk to others – such a isolating experience and yet so ironically, all together.
  • You can’t move about and randomly get into conversations with your other travelers.
So… how do you like it? Fast quickies with strangers? Or taking the time to get to know people?
October 11, 2010

It Takes Two

It Takes Two

It takes two to tango is an idiomatic and well-worn expression in the United States. Often spoken when describing personal relationships, it is also used to describe peer or business relationships. As brands have jumped on the social web express, how many have signed contracts with or hired web community managers and assumed that these individuals or outsourced providers can take the ball and run with it, without support?

We’ve learned at Chalkboarder that some clients are a “bear” to fully collaborate with. It seems no matter how many times a week we seek raw content from these clients, it’s damn difficult to get collaboration. The reasons are varied, of course. Some clients are simply so busy managing day-to-day operations that social community management and content production is a big after-thought.

Other clients have assumed that, since they have a community manager, that’s all they need.

I’ve spoken with other social web managers who’ve experienced this as well. One, a mentor and friend, recently told me one of her clients cut short the relationship, stating that they were going to do it on their own. My friend described to me how the former client had, in her estimation, only used her minimally, despite repeated requests for raw content and collaboration.

If you’ve hired a web community manager, are you giving them all the tools and ingredients they need to do outstanding work for you? Take a look at this – don’t assume that just because you hired a manager that the social media show is a wrap. Hiring a web community manager without providing collaboration and raw content is a lot like a restaurant hiring a talented chef into a well equipped kitchen, but then not supplying food ingredients for them to work with.

If you truly desire to take advantage of the social web, you have to provide good quality raw content to your community manager. Better yet – flood them with good raw content. They’ll generate wildly distinctive and effective dialogues, build communities and drive sales if you do.

I’m curious how many other web community managers struggle with this?

September 4, 2010

Restaurateurs Have More Right Than Ministers…

Leah Chase stood in the middle of her restaurant in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, pounded her fist into her palm and flatly stated “By God, I’m going to reopen.” Six months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, fifteen feet from this life-long restaurateur, I watched her eyes, full of fire, grit and bull-dog determination.

Leah Chase

Leah Chase

Leah Chase apparently never ran her restaurant to get rich. When I met her that early spring, she was aged, standing in the utter ruins of a neighborhood with rich history – a history full of music, food and long relationships. As we stood in the chaos of a blown-out restaurant, jumbles of electrical wires and naked framing abundant, the smell of mold and decay rampant six months after destruction, Leah told us stories of the restaurant.

Two of these stories illustrate clearly a thesis I propose to you. The first is from the civil rights era in the sixties. Leah and her restaurant were much younger then and as we stood there in her bombed out establishment (with no federal or state relief in sight), Leah related how she cooked for and served Martin Luther King several times a week, often joining his table for the post-dinner strategy sessions. MLK built community. He was one of those rare ministers that crossed theological divisions to build community in a tour de force display of will. Leah, with her abilities in food and service, helped sustain that effort, and through that work, built local community in Lower Ninth Ward that crossed theological, and political, divides across five decades.

Her next story is more poignant. Within 72 hours of Katrina lashing the Lower Ninth Ward in demolition furies, Leah and a few of her crew gathered at the restaurant. Within a week, Leah and some of her crew were making food for those residents of Lower Ninth Ward that had stayed behind. By the end of the first week, people were gathering at Leah’s restaurant, pinning notes to the beams, searching for those they knew; striving to come together in community again. Leah’s restaurant became the gathering place in Lower Ninth Ward to find your neighbors. Her restaurant was the focal point of rebuilding in tragedy; so much more effective than safety agencies, churches or other entities.

My thesis is this. Restaurateurs and Chefs have more legitimate right to be called “community builders” than ministers, politicians or nonprofits do. In this industry, our establishments are places where people gather; coming together across theological and political fences to celebrate each other’s joys and achievements, mourn each other’s losses and provide comfort and companionship, laugh with friends and family, assist and counsel peers. Our restaurants, from the coffee shop to the neighborhood bar to the casual fast-food to the best dining spots in the world, embody this age-less tenet of our business. We are humanity’s sacred gathering spot.

Since the age of hunters and gatherers, humanity has gathered around the fire. We are the only specie that has gathered around fire and used it to prepare food. Each time humans have done this, we have reinforced the basic building block of community – sharing with each other; sharing sustenance, not only in meal, but also in gathering together.

Today, in this society, it still occurs. It happens every day in our one million plus restaurant locations in the USA. Our specie still gathers and communes with each other in joy and compassion. While often the fire is tucked away in the back of the house – it remains the gathering place. I think as hosts, we often forget this, in the daily struggle with staffing, equipment, suppliers, et al.

How much more village can restaurateurs and chefs build by keeping their right as community builders closer to the chest? How much deeper connections can we assist in forging by recognizing each table as a unique and singular moment of opportunity to strengthen the bonds of community and humanity? And to be frank, wouldn’t a restaurant that pays attention to this enjoy the benefits of greater sustainability?

Three years after standing with Billy Shore, Mary Sue Milliken, Floyd Cardoz, Ron Ruggles and others on that Share Our Strength expedition to Katrina-devastated New Orleans, Leah re-opened her restaurant. I’m humbled that I was able to meet her. I hope my daughters have 1/100th of her spirit and determination in their lives and that they too – are community builders, no matter what their profession.

As always, I welcome your feedback, critique and observations.

Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO ~ Chalkboarder

@JeffreyJKingman



July 25, 2010

Nurturing Village

Cross posted on Kitchen Dances.

Tribe
Zulu Tribal Dance

Lately I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Paul Barron’s Tribe concept. Paul spoke about this at People Report’s Summer Camp in Dallas this past June. Here’s a small recap of what he said:

“What will your tribe mean to your brand, to your industry and to your future. Learn why now is so important to build your tribe why others will try to do it before you.”

And here’s a quick video from Paul that outlines what “Tribe” meant to us there at #PRSCamp (the hashtag you can find our tribe on in Twitter).

I’ve been talking with Paul about One Tribe since late in 2009. I’d like to share the evolution of what One Tribe means to me – that it is all about nurturing villages.

 Maalula Village
Maalula Village

We, as humans, live in diverse villages. There’s the village of our family and friends, the village of our peers, the village of our customers/clients and the broader villages of our associations, churches, charitable organizations, towns, cities and regions.

My thoughts have centered on nurturing my villages. Taking time to care for and nurture my connections; giving what I am able of my resources to further the dreams, goals and objectives of villagers in my communities.

Village Interconnectedness
Village Interconnectedness

I figure by doing so, I’m strengthening and developing to greater sustainability and stability all of the people and organizations in my communities, in my world. By focusing on this, I’m helping to develop strong and healthy communities and relationships.

Further, by focusing on nurturing my villages, I bring people together, weaving deeper connections and relationships between my villages, creating community.

Flower of Life
Flower of Life

This theory is not new in human experience. Theologists and spiritualists have talked about this for generations.

Nicaraguan Village
Nicaraguan Village

This.. focusing on my villages as my One Tribe, is responsibility.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this..  Jeff