Advice from Community Experts

Connect is a place we share stories with, ask questions of, and learn from each other. The Connect Blog highlights your stories, ideas, and insights. Do you have something you’d like to contribute? Apply here or contact Community Manager Quinn. 

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Connect community: if you are interested in building your skills and developing your talents – and who isn’t?! – then (newsflash!) you are interested in being a part of the culture of learning. All of us need to keep learning and growing – as volunteers, community members, and professionals – and being part of Connect can help you do that. It has been fascinating for me to witness the current shift towards building a learning culture. Back when I first entered the corporate workforce, the “on-the-job training” I got was the same as any other. Training, as it was called, was handled by Human Resources (HR), and it stressed uniformity. It was a sort of “check-the-box” ...
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I don’t think of myself as creative per se. I don’t paint. I can’t sing or dance (although that doesn't stop me). And I don’t play an instrument. But then I look around the condo we’re renting, and I see creativity in every choice I’ve made to design a home that we love. Creativity encompasses so much more than the obvious talents. Creativity is the ability to tap into our right brain to create a joyful life. Whether we’re cooking a meal for a loved one, photographing a sunset on the beach, or planting a garden, we’re expressing ourselves creatively. Creativity and innovation also help us solve the challenges we encounter in our personal and ...
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This week is World Immunization Week (24–30 April), which the World Health Organization and other partners celebrate annually to highlight the importance of vaccines and how they protect people of all ages against preventable diseases. This year’s theme is “Long Life for All: In pursuit of a life well-lived.”In the years before the coronavirus pandemic and the race to invent and administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the masses, World Immunization Week tended to focus more on childhood diseases that were once common, like polio and measles. Before the pandemic hit, it was hard for me to understand the fear these illnesses struck into the hearts of American ...
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Earth Day is April 22. And to me, it’s the granddaddy of all “days.” There are so many UN and other official “days” that sometimes it’s hard not to become numb to them. They are all important. And they all bring needed awareness to a humanitarian plight or human condition that deserves our attention. But Earth Day has always had a special place in my heart since I became aware of it in the late 1980s (which was more than a decade after the first-ever Earth Day in 1970). It sounds cliché, but simply put—we all live on this planet and Earth is our home. If we mess this up, it’s going to be bad for all of us. I like the theme of this year’s event, #InvestInOurPlanet ...
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I believe that strong relationships make a company successful and that open connections can go a long way in supporting everyone’s happiness on the job. I also recognize that these types of enriched relationships are best built through honest communication that flows both top-down and bottom-up. I’m sure many of us have experienced the reverse of this. Maybe we’re sitting in a brainstorming meeting where ideas, some good and some bad, are flying back and forth at the table. Yet no one in the room feels they can speak up and provide feedback on those ideas. This happened to me and the result was terrible. The event we were trying to plan never happened, and ...
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I’ve been drawn to Abraham Lincoln since I was a kid both as a mythical figure and as a very real person. And there is something alluring about our nation’s greatest president spending most of his life only a few hours away from where I have spent most of my life. Some people are naturally great leaders, and some become great by studying the work of others. As I rise into leadership positions in my field of work (I’m a teacher), I find myself looking to Lincoln for guidance. There are so many ways he exhibits leadership skills, and I love to use him as an example with my colleagues and students. Here are some lessons I’ve taken from Lincoln that I think ...
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One hot September day, I showed up ready to volunteer for a fundraiser. Like the other volunteers in yellow t-shirts, I was psyched to make it a success! But as the day progressed, things began to fall apart. The catering service was running late, the PA system broke down, and we ran out of water. Worse, some volunteers seemed overworked, while others were standing around with nothing to do. Yikes. When it comes to event planning, we think a lot about the venue (the where), the date (the when), and the budget (the how). But we sometimes forget about the who: it’s the volunteers running the show behind the scenes who will make or break a fundraiser or event. ...
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Setting out to write about a topic like Autism Spectrum Disorder requires a certain amount of caution. You can have the best of intentions and still find yourself unintentionally stirring up controversy. That thought was very much in the back of my mind as I approached researching and writing a blog post for World Autism Awareness Day , which kicks off a whole month of observations for organizations that support individuals on the spectrum.In recent years, there has been a movement among parent groups and advocacy organizations to rebrand the focus of the month from awareness to acceptance. The move is born out of a desire to shift the conversation away from ...
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For nearly 30 years, the United Nations has recognized March 22 as World Water Day to encourage people around the globe to think about water consumption. Admittedly, that’s about 24 hours more than I usually spend thinking about it. Unless worrying about how many ounces of water I drink in a day counts—and I don’t think it does. But for many people – particularly women and girls – water, sanitation, and hygiene are always top of mind. In some communities, getting clean water is an all-day affair. Going to the bathroom is neither safe nor private. And choosing between purchasing tampons or buying food for their children is a very real decision. According ...
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I used to think happiness was only available on the other side of a milestone—graduate high school and then happiness will come. Get through college and happiness will be on the other side. Start making money and paying off debts. Buy a house. Just get through this difficult week. Take a nice vacation. … and then find happiness. … … right? However, as I’ve experienced life, I’ve found that happiness is available to us at any moment. All we need to do is choose it. International Happiness Day was Sunday, March 20. It provides us a great opportunity to recognize where we can cultivate greater happiness in micro-moments each and every day! Here are three ...
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March is Women’s History Month and today, March 8, is International Women’s Day . The day is dedicated to celebrating inspiring women in our communities and around the world with the United Nations putting its focus on gender equality in 2022. The first official International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. By 1975, all 134 countries that are part of the United Nations recognized the holiday. I always feel empowered when I see messages promoting inspiring female leaders who are creating change now. Recently I started wondering about the people who aren’t necessarily household names and the roles they ...
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Have you ever sat down to write out your professional goals only to find yourself staring at a blank piece of paper for what feels like hours? Or maybe you’ve created your list, but you’re having a hard time reaching your goals? Creating your goals by using the SMART framework may help you break through when you are stuck. Each element of the framework is meant to support a carefully planned, clear and trackable list of steps to get you to your goals. The SMART Goal Framework Specific – choose a concise goal that is clearly defined What exact steps do I need to take to achieve this goal? Why is this valuable to my professional ...
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Think about the work you do. Do you know if it’s considered formal or informal work? As I've learned recently, that designation may influence everything you experience while on the job, including company culture, scheduling, benefits, and even your tasks and responsibilities. The United Nations is putting the spotlight on formal employment this year, starting with World Day of Social Justice , which was February 20. What’s formal employment? Formal employment offers employees some type of official working agreement, whether written or verbal. It also typically provides a consistent schedule, regularly paid salary or hourly wage, and benefits including ...
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Every February, we celebrate Black History Month. If we’ve learned anything from the events of the past two years, we know one month isn’t nearly enough time to fully understand the Black experience in America. But it’s a start. And for some people – myself included – it’s a reminder that white people need to be better advocates for people of color. Because for every step society takes toward a more equitable world, there’s someone trying to force us back to the status quo. Books are published about race and anti-racism. And just as quickly, they’re added to the list of banned books . Black athletes are tested for drugs and banned from participating ...
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Some of the best mentoring matchups I have been fortunate enough to have throughout my 25-year career in TV news, developed with my co-workers. My equals. My peers. My co-anchor, for example, was a friend outside of the studio, but we offered each other some terrific peer mentoring while on the job. As equals, we shared past experiences to learn what would work best in our current situation. And we supported each other in finding ways to advance our careers. It was challenging, rewarding, and the long-term effects of our peer mentorship continue to supply life and work benefits for both of us. Here’s what I’ve learned from my peer mentoring ...
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Have y’all seen @Elisa Meggs’s post in the Black History Month Events thread ? She invites folx to, in her words, “create and share "book reports" for Black History Month.” I was so inspired by this idea, and the work she’s done to put it all together, so I asked her if she’d mind sharing a bit more about herself, and about the project. QD: Wow, Elisa. This is so cool. I’m excited to get to know more about the project, but first, can you tell us a about yourself? EM: Well, I’m Elisa! Nostalgic Jill of many trades. My hobbies include drawing, bird watching, DIY projects, making lists of things I will never get to, trying to make things grow. ...
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When I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s, it wasn’t unusual to see people throw trash from their car windows or while walking in a park. No one thought anything about it. The roadsides and waterways were littered with trash of all kinds. I don’t know who we thought was cleaning up after us but eventually, someone realized it was everyone’s job. Today, littering often comes with hefty fines. We’re shocked when we see someone throw trash on the ground. ( I'm even shocked when I see it on TV! ) It took time — and some legal pressure — to change attitudes, but it (mostly) worked. Sadly, the effects of the modern world on the planet and its people now go far ...
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Do you have exercising and saving money on your resolutions list for 2022? How’s it going so far? As I was doing a little research on resolutions last month to get inspired on setting some of my own, I came upon an article that said most people say they feel lucky if their New Year’s resolutions last into February, let alone March. The article also mentioned that 42% felt they failed because they were trying to give up something they enjoyed. What if we flip the script on resolutions that make you give up something you like by instead setting a meaningful resolution that encourages you to give back? It’s the perfect time to get started too, and I’ve ...
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I recently read that the most important employee engagement question [I’m not] asking is , “are you feeling fulfilled at work?” In the same article, I learned that the follow-up question is equally important: “what would make you feel more fulfilled?” Framed as questions that “will help leaders understand how to engage and motivate teams,” these got me thinking more about the smaller, more frequent conversations I have with my boss. Because while I agree that the above dynamic question duo is engaging , I think they come across as intense if you’re not ready for them. If my boss asked me these in a one-on-one, I might say, “yeah, sure” to the first, and ...
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My worst enemy is a blank document with a blinking cursor. I want to write, I set aside time do to it, I poured my coffee, cleaned off my desk, and then… nothing. I imagine this happens with other creative mediums as well: painting, drawing, graphic design, speech-writing – all of it. I feel like any time I want my brain to do something creatively, it’s like, “nah, I’m cool. Wait ‘til you’re just about to sleep, and then I’ll come up with something good.” If that resonates with you, perhaps this quick list of things that have helped me, may help you as well. Give yourself time If I’m up against a deadline, I see time as a countdown and ...
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