Giving Back

Episode 10 with Cecilia Haynes I If We Limit Ourselves We Risk Seeing Where Other People Go When They Grow Up

Cecilia Haynes is a Third Culture Kid, freelance writer, editor, and photographer, and a published author. Her article “Anything is Possible in India” can be found in The Places We’ve Been, a travel anthology. A diplobrat, she was raised in India, China, the US, and the Philippines. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a degree in Foreign Affairs and History, she taught English in Hong Kong. The last few years have been spent bouncing around China, India, and Turkey. She currently lives in Florida, but continues to plane hop and country jump.

Blog: www.ceciliahaynes.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/unsettledtck

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UnsettledTCK

Google +: https://plus.google.com/+CeciliaHaynes

The Places We've Been: http://theplaces35.com/books/fiction-and-nonfiction/the-places-weve-been-field-reports-from-travelers-under-35

She is also one of the co-hosts of #TCKchat which is a bi monthly event on Twitter that brings together TCKs to discuss issues relating to multi cultural individuals on Wednesdays at either 10am EDT or 10pm EDT.

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Interview With Ambassador Tal Edgars

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Today’s interview is with H.E.Dr. Ambassador Tal Edgars. Ambassador Edgars is the President, Founder and Group Chairman of GGKAfrica, GBSH Consult, Edgars International, Tal Edgars Media Franchise, Poetry over Music Network, and an author of several books. Some of his many awards include the Strategy Meritus Award 2012, the 2011 Yahoo Voices Visionary of the Year, and the Who’s Who’s Historical Award in 2009. He sits as an African Justice Foundation Honorary Advisor & Member to Board of Advisors under Cherie Blair CBE, QC, Global Strategic Advisor to the African Women Entrepreneurship Programme under Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Executive Director to Sandown Corporate UK, ProDiverse Legal Nigeria. Mentor on board the Outside Counsel and Everwise San Francisco in which his role involves inter-alia the promotion of dialogue and partnership building for sustainable development with governments, the international community and other major key stakeholders. His personal and business sphere of influence includes Presidents and Heads of States across several continents to whom he provides confidential strategic advisory services. In addition to being the Global Ambassador to the Nation Builders International in Yaoundé and UN MDG Task force Cameroon & Security Council, he holds a Doctorate in Strategic Foresight, Diplomacy & Security Intelligence.

Tayo Rockson:  First of all, it is an honor to be interviewing you right now Ambassador Tal Edgars.

Ambassador Edgars: The pleasure is mine. I’m happy to do it.

TR: Now you are a man of many talents. I am going through your list of accomplishments now and they could honestly fill this page. Why don't you tell me who Ambassador Edgars is? How would you describe your self and what is your story?

Ambassador Edgars: Thank you Tayo. First and foremost I consider myself a global change agent who transforms mindsets into the potential we have in business, government and personal capacity. I am truly fascinated by what Africa offers and what it can do but unless we start actioning the pervading dynamics in our political, social and economic pillars then we suffer the result. I am a champion for alternative leadership which is firmly rooted in the youth and building their capacities to understand what the future for Africa which is the next frontier holds for them. Above all I am all about mentoring and inspiring others into unlocking their potential.

TR: Great, love it. Going back to some of your accomplishments, I noticed that you do a bit of everything from working with Sub Saharan countries to brand strategy to consulting, what is your goal in life? Take over the world? Haha

Ambassador Edgars: A bit of everything is a bit too much Tayo (laughs). My goal in life is to use my position and capacity to empower others but also becoming a solution to what we all can do. There lies acres of diamonds under everyone’s feet and my goal is to show them how to mine them. In doing so, I hope to encourage them to become leaders and not followers.

TR: What is the best way not to fall into the "Jack of All Trade" trap? By this mean how can one build so many skill sets and abilities while simultaneously mastering them?

Ambassador Edgars: I believe that there can never be a “Jack of All Trades”. Simply, one must be introspective and identify how their current roles go with skills they offer. That way they build a strong connection of how each role brings specific advantage to the industry.

TR: Agreed. Being a fellow African I especially admire your commitment to growth in Sub Saharan Africa; what would you say is the biggest hindrance to growth there now?

Ambassador Edgars:  Sub Saharan Africa has come a long way and even with each upcoming threat to growth. What you must admit is that we have all learnt and are using those problems to suit up to new solutions.  Most countries are showing signs of economic progress, reflecting the implementation of better economic policies and structural reforms. These countries have successfully cut domestic and external financial imbalances, enhancing economic efficiency. They have given greater priority to public spending on health care, education, and other basic social services. In addition, there has been a growing movement toward more open and participatory forms of government that encourage cooperation between the state and civil society.

Several underlying factors can affect the rate of output change. Key among these are the rate of investment, increase in the size of the workforce, and changes in economic policies. A country's macroeconomic policies will affect its growth performance through their impact on certain economic variables.

For example, a high rate of inflation is generally harmful to growth because it raises the cost of borrowing and thus lowers the rate of capital investment; but at low, single-digit levels of inflation, the likelihood of such a trade-off between inflation and growth is minimal. At the same time, highly variable inflation makes it difficult and costly to forecast accurately costs and profits, and hence investors and entrepreneurs may be reluctant to undertake new projects. Likewise, given that financial resources in the form of domestic savings and foreign grants and loans are limited, a larger budget deficit will mean that more of those limited resources must be devoted to financing the budget deficit. Fewer resources will thus be available for the private sector. If the fiscal deficit increases to an unsustainable level, private investors' perception of country risk is likely to become increasingly negative and hurt private investment.

Finally, outward-oriented trade policies are conducive to faster growth because they promote competition, encourage learning-by-doing, improve access to trade opportunities, and raise the efficiency of resource allocation.

The evidence for sub-Saharan Africa suggests that the recent economic recovery was underpinned by a positive economic environment influenced.

TR:  That was very deep and insightful. I am going to transition into a lighter topic here as this interview comes to a close. With your position as an Ambassador, you must speak a lot of languages. How many do you speak?

Ambassador Edgars: To be honest I have not been keeping track but I speak fluently 12 languages 

TR:  12?! WOW!

Ambassador Edgars: Yes and still counting.

TR:  Very impressive!

Ambassador Edgars: Thank you very much

TR:  So it can't be all work for you, what do you do to unwind?

Ambassador Edgars: I exercise body, mind and soul frequently so as to keep at ease with all that I do. I read a lot. Engage with intellectuals when I can. I spend time with my kids and give back by mentoring others. Also I love good old music Tayo.

TR:  Haha you can’t go wrong with that! When it is all said and done, how do you want to be remembered?

Ambassador Edgars: That is a very good question. I want to be remembered as the man who did not stand by to effect change but believed that together with others he could effect change regardless of the condition and so evidently lived by the saying “Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ― Shannon L. Alder

TR:  Love it! If you could give a younger version of yourself any piece of advice, what would it be and why?

Ambassador Edgars: I think I would tell a younger version of me… Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Most times when you have been through the cycle of the business world you get to second guess your next move not knowing that sometimes the light is worth the candle. I usually tell a person the best test to know that your idea is great is when it scares the hell out of everyone. Watch the likes of Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg. The list is endless. Their initial thoughts on what they were building might have sounded close to sheer madness.

Also I would not tell the younger me to not wait to change the world but start by changing that which is within your reach. 

TR:  Fantastic! What are you working on now and where can we find out about what's next for you? 

Ambassador Edgars: Well Tayo as you asked earlier I refer back to "am working on taking over the world" (laughs). Anyway to find out more on what I am working on find me on www.linkedin.com/in/taledgars/ orhttps://twitter.com/TalEdgars or www.gbshconsult.com

 

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Juan David Aristizabal Ospina: A Colombian Social Entrepreneur With A Vision To Change The World

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Juan David Aristizabal Ospina is a 24 year-old social entrepreneur who was increasingly fed up with how the Colombian media sensationalized violence and corruption instead of highlighting the positive things Colombians were doing. He then created Buena Nota which is a platform that highlights social entrepreneurs and Colombian citizens doing positive things and raising awareness about social problems that need to be fixed. He is essentially creating a movement for positive change in his country. He has also been recognized by Forbes as one of the top 30 under 30 year old social entrepreneurs. He has a pretty fascinating story as you can see below:

Tayo Rockson: What is your story? How did you get to where you are today? 

Juan David Aristizabal Ospina: Three experiences greatly influenced me to become a difference maker. The first experience occurred when I visited my grandfather's farm as a boy. I used to ask him why I could go to school but others couldn't remembering the time I had spent with farmers and their families growing up. I asked because I did not understand what the difference between me and the farmers was. So as a seven-year-old boy, I decided that I wanted to tell their stories. I jotted down notes, recorded their stories, and then took them to my school to be published in the school newspaper. My proposal was rejected, but I did not give up. Since my plan with the school did not work, I got a group of students in my school to gather stories of other workers in the community and we eventually managed to successfully publish 30 stories in the school newspaper, including those about the farmers I had written earlier.

The second influential experience came from lessons that my parents taught me. My mother is an artist and my father is an engineer —a very strange mix— but they each instilled in me different, but valuable perspectives and skills. They always asked me one particular question that stuck in my mind for good and that was "how are you going to serve the world?” This question has driven me to not be content with the status quo in society. As a result of this, I do not see being young as a weakness, and I told myself that I would not stop until real, widespread change has occurred.

The third experience that shaped who I am occurred when I was 13 years old. At school one day, the principal called me down to his office to tell me that one of my best friends was tragically killed by a gang. This event had an enormous impact on my life. When things like this happen, I believe that everyone has three possible ways to react. They can put on their headphones and block out the world, seek revenge, or use the experience to be a difference maker. What I decided to do was turn my fear into hope and strive to do that for others as well by helping them make a positive impact in their communities.

TR: Wow! Quite the story. I especially love how you turned that negative event into a positive experience for yourself. 

JDAO: Thank you. I really appreciate your kind words.

TR: You are very welcome. Your experiences obviously led you to venture out on your own and start Buena Nota. I am curious; when you hear the word entrepreneurship, what do you think of?

JDAO: Doing something that shakes and changes the world.

TR: You know I have been posing that question to other entrepreneurs for a while now and I have to say that I have never heard that response before. I love it! 

JDAO: Thank you Tayo!

TR: So with your journey as an entrepreneur, what are the essential skills you have found crucial to know?

JDAO: Three things.

Listening: It is very important to listen, you have to  be able to listen to communities, sponsors, and customers. Also you have to be able to listen for problems. An entrepreneur/leader has to be able to connect with people and a great way to do so is by listening.

Do! Be a go getter. You have to follow your dreams. “Dreams without actions are delusions”

Surround yourself with a team and by that I mean create and have a team of people that are better/more skilled than you in several areas.

TR: Why do you think it is important to give back?

JDAO: I believe that the world and life should be about seeing the best in others, when you see the best in other people, you see the best in yourself. I believe when you give back, you are giving the best of yourself. You are sharing your talents, and for me that is a necessary ingredient to having a successful life. 

TR: What advice do you have for other fellow young entrepreneurs out there?

JDAO: Just be yourself, work hard everyday and be grateful.

You can also follow Juan on Twitter.

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An Interview with the Multifaceted Matt Childs

Matt  Childs is in charge of Sales and Strategy at VidCaster. Prior to VidCaster, Matt was an early evangelist for enterprise business applications, and a well known experimenter with social media. He is best recognized for founding DreamSimplicity, a popular tech blog and video channel devoted to the enterprise cloud. His background growing sales organizations in early stage startups for the past 7 years, is fueling rapid customer adoption at VidCaster. Additionally, Matt has been instrumental in writing, directing and deploying over 1000+ videos for use in highly targeted B2B social media campaigns worldwide, his expertise is in creating and deploying interactive media to targeted audiences on the social web.

Check out my interview with him below:

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