Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Frank Coulson - A Man Who Truly Made A Difference

Last Friday I was travelling home from New York City and started a conversation with the man sitting next to me. In short order we figured out that he was a good friend of the daughter of a dear friend of ours. A few minutes later another connection was made. A colleague travelling with him used to work at Goldman Sachs in the Philadelphia office. In chatting with this gentleman the conversation quickly went to someone I knew we both knew well from that office, Frank Coulson.

Frank was a partner in the fixed income division and a truly legendary bond salesman. I told my new friend that I would very likely not be on this plane, not be doing what I am doing now, if it were not for Frank Coulson. I went on to tell him the story about the largest single trade I ever did as a mortgage backed bond trader at Goldman, and that trade was with Frank. The story of that trade is forever captured in the book “More Than 85 Broads: Women Making Career Choices, Taking Risks, and Defining Success on Their Own Terms.”

The story contrasts how two men treated a young woman (me) on the trading floor one particular day, doing her best to be the best trader she could be. Frank was the hero of the story. Frank was the hero because on that day he trusted me, despite my inexperience, to execute a huge trade for his best client when he could have easily gone over my head. That day, that trade, that TRUST truly changed my life. It was that day I realized I could survive and maybe even thrive as a Wall Street Trader.

After sharing that story I went back to my seat, grabbed my journal and started writing about Frank. Today I heard that Frank Coulson passed away. My deepest condolences go to Frank’s family. He was a spectacular man and I am grateful to have known and worked with him. He really did change my life.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Jennifer Buffet and Women Moving Millions

(From www.jackizehner.com November 13th)

I have the honor and pleasure of knowing and working with one of the most noteable women philanthropists of our time, Jennifer Buffet, President of the Novo Foundation. Today I am off to Washington, DC, where I am Co Chairing a Women Moving Millions event with her and the equally fabulous Ambassador Swanee Hunt, President of The Hunt Alternatives Fund. This is our final event of the year and it promised to be amazing. Guest speakers include Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, Treasure of the United States Rosie Rios, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Barbara Lee - Founder and President of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation and many more.

We are focussing on three main topic and issue areas: Advocacy - what it is and how to do it, Women Stopping War and Economic Security Through a Gender Lens. I will be sure to report back.

A fabulous friend and philanthropic consultant Tuti Scott ( of Imagine Philantrhopy) shared this with me yesterday about Jennifer. Very much worth sharing. Jennifer we love you and appreciate all you do to make the world a better place.

Jennifer Buffett – 10 Concepts worth Sharing

By Tuti B. Scott ( Imagine Philanthropy)

Jennifer Buffett will change the world. You may not know her now, but when all is said and done I believe she will own the title, The First Lady of Women’s Social Change Philanthropy. Jennifer is the life size symbol of NoVo – to alter, invent. The NoVo Foundation she created with her husband Peter is based on the premise that if you give a girl an opportunity, she will become a successful woman who will in turn create successful communities, businesses, and families. Jennifer’s story is just that.

After deep examination of the focus of their philanthropy and a personal examination of her own expression of her values and influence, Jennifer is speaking around the world sharing her personal story and experiences. She and her husband Peter spent years examining the interrelation between systems, culture, and relationships to determine place of impact and opportunity for change before launching the largest foundation serving women and girls, the NoVo Foundation. Jennifer has incredible perspective to offer activists, social change drivers, and philanthropists and after hearing her recently, I distilled these ten concepts that are worth sharing;

1. Look at the roots of the problems, examine patterns and themes and find the programs and the stories that rule the world and which ones make sense.

2. Acknowledge two conflicting truths: 1. Girls and women are the primary drivers of change. 2. Cultural attitudes and systems put girls in a vicious cycle; blaming them and affirming that they are not valued. The girl effect demonstrates that if you invest in a girl, her family thrives, she contributes to her community, and eventually her country succeeds.

3. Invest in places where value is held and not yet recognized. Note: there are 600 million adolescent girls living in the developing world who are currently ‘undervalued assets’.

4. Value balance and partnership and affirm feminine values.

5. Encourage women to use their voice, say what is want and needed, take credit, and invite men to join as equal partners and co-creators.

6. As a woman, choose to be seen and heard and work to change the course of the boat named Earth Community.

7. Improve gender dynamics by recognizing that the qualities in the masculine ‘toolbox’ - force, hierarchy, punitive, and a focus on head not heart - are learned, normalized, and internalized.

8. Honor and showcase the characteristics found in the feminine toolbox; listening, connectedness, experiential learning, honoring innate cycles and rhythms, and wholeness.

9. Establish learning environments that allow for inquiry and participation.

10. As conduits of feminine energies, allow the most precious qualities of clarity, strength, knowing and vulnerability of yourself to come into full light.

Thank you Tuti. Well said.

( Pictured with Linda Basch - President of the National Council for Research on Women, Jennifer Buffet, Lisa Witter - Partner, Fenton Communications and author of "The She Spot", yours truly)

Evelyn Lauder - Honoring a True Wonder Woman

On November 12th the world lost a very special woman and one of the leading philanthropists of our time, Evelyn Lauder. The cause of her death, at the age of 75, were complications of non-genetic ovarian cancer. She is survived by her beloved family: husband Leonard A. Lauder, her two sons Willian and Gary and five grandchildren. Though I could not attend the funeral as I was at a Women Moving Millions event in Washington, my thoughts and prayers were with her family. This week, while in New York City, I did have the opportunity to meet with Myra Biblowit, the magnificent President of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I left the BCRF board last year when I moved to Park City, but what an honor and a privilege it was to serve on it alongside Myra and Mrs. Lauder.

Mrs. Lauder’s life is a remarkable American success story. Born in Vienna, Austria, her parents fled from Europe with her during the Nazi occupation, eventually settling in New York City. Asleep when the ship bringing them to the United States arrived in New York Harbor, she awoke to see the Statue of Liberty. Mrs. Lauder would remember, and be inspired by, that symbol of hope for the rest of her life.

Mrs. Lauder was a philanthropic leader in New York City. She served on the Board of Overseers atMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and on the boards of the Central Park Conservancy and the Evelyn and Leonard Lauder Foundation. Many other charities also benefited from Mrs. Lauder’s thoughtful guidance and renowned generosity, including nonprofits devoted to health and human services, education and inner-city schools, the environment, women’s causes, and the arts.

The public perhaps best knew Mrs. Lauder for her work in bringing global awareness to women’s health, a passion that stemmed from a personal experience with early stage breast cancer. In 1992, she co-created the Pink Ribbon, now recognized as the worldwide symbol of breast health, and launched the Estée Lauder Companies Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign (www.bcacampaign.com). Each year, the BCA Campaign raises funds through its brands, employees, and retail partners around the world to help support breast cancer research. Mrs. Lauder founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) in 1993 to provide crucial funds to breast cancer medical and scientific researchers around the world. BCRF (www.bcrfcure.org) has raised more than $350 million and supports 186 researchers globally. She believed wholeheartedly the the prevention and cure for breast cancer resides in funding innovative research.

I would be hard pressed to name a woman who more fully used her resources - her money, her heart, her corporate affiliation, her business savvy, her network, her time - to make a difference in the lives of others. She boldly stepped out in front to be a leader in this movement to find a cure for all kinds of cancers. After sharing many stories about Mrs. Lauder over coffee at the Palace Diner on 57th street with Myra we ended thinking that "so many have great ideas, but only a small percent act on them, and an even smaller percentage result in sustainable action." Without Mrs. Lauder there would be no pink ribbon, their would be no BCRF, and the movement to end breast cancer would not be one of the most well funded movements of our time.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Evelyn Lauder Founder’s Fund, 60 E. 56 St., 8th floor, New York, NY 10022, or www.bcrfcure.org . Please consider a donation. Blessings...............

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Koinonia and a "Luv-o-lu-tion"

Koinonia. Up until this morning I had never heard of this word. It is a greek word that appears in the bible which in translation means deep fellowship. Not fellowship as in “let’s hang out at the bowling alley together,” but rather fellowship as in “I will lay down my life down for you.” It means caring so much about the relationship that it leads to a profound shift in both attitudes and behavior.

Who are you in Koinonia with? God? Your spouse? Your kids? Your friends? Think about what it would mean to our world if we were in Koinonia with everyone. The world is in deep need. People are in deep need. Maybe you are in deep need. The solution to need is easy in principle, but hard in action. The solution is generosity. The solution is a Luv-o-lu-tion. ( noun: A dramatic change in the way love works)

Needless to say I had myself a little church this morning, ( K2 in Salt Lake City to be exact), but this message goes beyond my church. This message goes beyond any church. In a world of injustice and pain and suffering and poverty and us versus them and war and terrorism and “Occupy Wall Street” this is a solution.

My 14 year old son is skeptical. Though he admits we should all try to do something good, to be good, he feels it will not collectively make a difference. I respectfully disagree. If we all “ do what we can with what we have where we are” it will make a huge difference. For me giving up on each other is really not an option. Feeling insignificant is not an option. I aspire to live a generous life which my pastor put this way:
- Take time to acknowledge all you have. Give thanks and live in that “attitude of gratitude.”
- Once you have given thanks, no matter how much or how little, but especially if how much, release your grip on it. We are stewards not owners.
- Try to live in “Koinonia.” Live in fellowship and love with one another and be as generous as you can be to each other. Respond to those in need. “Do what you can……

I am sharing this not as a teacher, but as a student. I am not as generous as I can be. I am not as kind as I can be. I am not alot of things I want to be but I can promise you I wake up every day and try. Greed and fear and privilege and entitlement are demons I reckon with ever day. For me, it will be my love and relationship with God that helps loosen their grip.

May you have a blessed day.

We sang the song “I Will Follow You” by Chris Tomlin at church today. It is one of my favorite gospel tunes. If you want to listen click here.