Monthly Archives: June 2016

Globalization and the Beautiful Game

Soccer Ball

The biggest sports story in the world at the moment is Leicester City Football Club (LCFC).  They beat odds of 5000 – 1 to win the 2015 -2016 English Premier League title.  The LCFC story is a microcosm of globalization.

LCFC is an English football (soccer) club owned by a Thai businessman. The coach is an Italian. The defensive unit consists of an Austrian, a German, a Jamaican, and an Englishman. The goalkeeper is Danish and his back up is an Australian. The lead strikers (goal scorers) are English, Argentinian, Japanese, and Algerian. The midfield is run by two Englishmen and a Frenchman.

This trophy winning team wouldn’t exist without globalization. A global market place allowed the players and coaches to freely sell their services.  Free trade allowed a Thai businessman to invest in an English company that thrives on a local fan base. The Thai owner, like all sports team owners, used the investment to enhance his company’s global brand. Thanks to the title run, we’ve all heard of King Power even if we don’t know the product or service sold under that name.

But future business deals like the Leicester City team are threatened by a rising tide of anti-trade and anti-globalization.  Across Europe and in the U.S. populist politicians spew anti-trade messages to voters who feel left behind by global trade deals.

Globalization is scary.  Global trade may lower costs for services and products which is good for consumers, but global trade also means that workers at all skill levels face lower wages and job losses as their jobs are automated out of existence or moved to lower cost countries.

I’ve been losing jobs to globalization since the 1980’s when I was downsized from a factory job because overseas competitors could provide the same product at half the American cost. I remember being angry at the factory owners for shutting down the factory and at competitors in countries that didn’t seem to care about worker safety, a living wage or product quality.

Of course, I also remember the grim pre-global trade days of the 1970’s with high inflation, trade barriers that raised the cost of goods and services, protected jobs for insiders and stagnant wages or unemployment for everyone else. So as much as I once hated globalization for dumping me in the unemployment line, it was an opportunity. It gave me an incentive to complete a university education that made me more employable.  I continue to scramble to improve my skills and knowledge to stay relevant as the market place changes.

It would be a shame if trade deals are abandoned in a wave of fear about job losses and “unfair” competition. Abandoning global trade would mean a loss of opportunity for new products and services and higher prices.  It would also ruin the beautiful game of soccer because we’d miss out on Leicester City FC using a global workforce to win a major sports trophy.

About Norma Shirk

Norma started her company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, to help employers create human resources policies for their employees and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to have structure without bureaucracy. Visit Norma’s website: www.complianceriskadvisor.com/.

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Artist Tech

Renee's Tomatoes

Spineless? Never!, 8” x 10” oil, © Renée Bates

As a painter, I use technology for capturing the light, or a moment in time.  I work as a plein air and studio painter.  Plein air is a term defined as pertaining to a manner or style of painting developed chiefly in France in the mid-19th century, characterized by the representation of the luminous effects of natural light and atmosphere as contrasted with the artificial light and absence of the sense of air or atmosphere associated with paintings produced in the studio.  Plein air can also be defined as designating a painting executed out of doors and representing a direct response to the scene or subject in front of the artist.  Lastly, a plein air painting is defined as having the qualities of air and natural light.

The business of “chasing the light,” as the sun moves across a scene, can make an artist crazy or in the least, make for a poor painting.  The “values,” or light and dark bits, are what make the thing read, even more than the color.  If you cannot capture it all quickly, you will lay out a painting, work it for a bit, then take a photograph and finish in the studio.  Technology is most helpful here.  The artist of former centuries had to work fast, or they had photographic memories.

I am probably most grateful for cell phones with quality cameras. A photography instructor recently said, “The best camera is the one you have with you.”  True. I regularly capture wildlife shots and beautiful horticulture with my phone camera. While it doesn’t get great detail at far distances, it does afford me many action shots.

When setting up plein air, I will often look through the lens at a scene for scale or, take a photograph and use the cropping tool to decide how I want to lay it out on canvas.  Back at the studio, with Photoshop and similar software, I will sometimes punch up the color in an image, or blur it for a more impressionistic effect.  I will work from a print or use the computer monitor to view as my source. I like to blow up flowers with the cropping software to achieve an abstract view.

When a painting is nearly there, I will take a photograph to see how well I have communicated with the lights and darks, and I’ll always find areas that need tweaking.

Using photos to electronically market on websites and social media is current practice for most artists.  The technology with these platforms has improved dramatically in the last couple of years.  I created a website in just eight hours.  I look forward to seeing how much better technology will be in five years.

About Renee Bates

Renee is an artist focused on growing a newfound ability to express herself through oil painting, recently leaving her role as executive director of the non-profit Greenways for Nashville to pursue art and product development.  Renee likes being in nature, hiking, birding, and working in the garden. Married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, a 3rd generation business begun in 1932. Renee admires the fact that it was begun by a savvy woman, Bessie Bates.  Renee’s art may be enjoyed from her website or followed on Facebook.

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The Other Side of the Couch – Memorial Day

Memorial Day
This past Memorial Day weekend was perfect in its blue-sky, cotton-cloud beauty, in its breezes that tamed the almost 90-degree heat in Nashville, and in its opportunities to gather with friends and family.  This ushering-in-of-summer weekend, this celebration of all the things like watermelon and burgers and kids running around and fireflies and even fireworks, seemed light-hearted in its easy and breezy fun.

And yet – and yet – this day also carries undertones and overtones of other days, days that were darker, full of other kinds of feelings and memories.  This is a day the origins of which are disputed, but no matter where it began, it in some way began as a remembrance of those who died when this country was rent by civil war.  Whether begun by Southern women, freedmen, or Northern generals, the day evolved over the years into what it is today:  a memorial to those in this country who lost their lives in defending the lives of others.

I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s.  As a child I read the Cherry Ames: Student Nurse Series enthralled by the tales of bravery involving WWII.  As a young teen I read Janet Lambert’s series focusing on the Parrish family, whose parents were military and whose young men aspired to join the service and attend West Point.  As I entered college, our country was beginning to face the struggle of Vietnam, and my patriotic ideals began to become mixed up with the war protests that were common in my northeastern college.  I was uncertain about what to think about the whole idea of the military.  For a time I turned to pacifism, but then I realized that if attacked I could not condone doing nothing.

These confusions continue, but what I know today is that I hold in high esteem those men and women who choose to serve their country by joining one of the services.  I am thankful for these men and women, and I hold the memory of those who died in the service of others with gratitude and thanks.

At the same time, I continue to struggle with the need for war, the reality of war.  Although I was never a great fan of Dwight David Eisenhower, I have recently come across some things that he said, and they make really good sense.

Eisenhower said, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.  War settles nothing.”

He also said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”

I hope that the words of this old soldier will be heard.  At a time when war seems endless, let’s remember that, as Ike said, war settles nothing.  In the meantime, we remember, and we are grateful.

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP:

Susan is a communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, and proud native Nashvillian. She has been in private practice for over 30 years. As she says, “I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts.”  Contact Susan at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com

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Leadership Lessons:  It’s Not All Fun and Games

Fun and Games

 

I am, at heart, someone who loves to have fun and enjoy myself.  This does not mean I can’t be serious when the situation calls for it.  In fact my family members have been known to tell me to lighten up, take things easy, chill out.  But spending my time doing things that are meaningful and fulfilling, that add value to the world around me, brings me joy and pleasure.  I am also, by nature, an optimist and an extrovert.  This makes me, for better or worse, a natural cheerleader and people-pleaser.  Whether it’s encouraging my kids or spouse when they face challenges or telling a member of my leadership team that they should just “go for it,” when they have an idea for a program or fundraiser, I just can’t help myself.  The glass must always be half full, darn it!  Thankfully, I have a spouse and others in my support network who are realists and who can bring me down to earth when it’s time for some tough love.

This brings me to the hardest leadership lesson I’ve learned so far.  Sometimes it is out of my control to make things fun and joyful, for me and for those around me.  There are difficult decisions that must be made and not everyone will be happy with the outcome.  Being a leader means shouldering the burden and being willing to face criticism, and to answer for your actions or the actions of others.

I recently had to make such a decision, for the good of the organization.  I did my homework, consulted advisors both inside and outside.  I listened to opinions on both sides of the issue.  In the end, I made a decision that disappointed and hurt someone I care about.  I’m not going to lie, it sucks!  I do not like being that person who can’t please everyone.  And while I stand by my decision and feel confident I did the right thing, it has been tough going.

During the worst of it, someone whose opinion I trust and whose insights I value, said, “Being a leader is not all fun and games.”  An obvious thing, really, but that simple statement brought me comfort.  It gave me perspective and the permission to not please everyone all the time.  It also helped me to see that making a good decision, the right decision, can be satisfying on its own.  Even if I have to disappoint people, something I abhor, there is some pleasure to be had in taking the long view, in stepping up to lead an organization and knowing that this too shall pass.

This latest trial has left me with some scars and bruises, but I feel stronger and more confident as a leader.  I know that next time, and there most definitely will be a next time, I will be better prepared for the pain.  And while leadership isn’t all fun and games all the time, it is an experience I treasure and one I truly enjoy.

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation.  The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors.  Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com.  If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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