Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! The Zehner family is heading to Mexico tomorrow where I hope to reflect, write, and spend quality time with the family. 2011 will be a very exciting year. I know it.... Blessings to all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Collective Impact" - Mark Kramer

A couple of weeks back (click here from FB) I was sitting on a plane catching up on my reading and read an article this article in Stanford Innovation Review. The article is called "Collective Impact" by John Kania and Mark Kramer. I was so moved by the article that we arranged a call and just spent the past hour on the phone with Mark to talk about how this thinking could be applied to the Women's Movement. The topic of the article - "Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations."

Here are my highlights from the article but PLEASE read it first!!!

- About isolated impact - "despite the dominance of of this approach, there is scant evidence that isolated initiatives are the best way to solve many social problems in today's compex and interdependent world."
-This point - "social problems arise from the interplay of government and commercial activities, not only from the behavior of social sector organizations. As a result, complex problems can be solved only by cross-sector coalitions that engage those outside the nonprofit sector."
- The FIVE CONDITIONS of Collective Success - love it!
- "The expectation that collaboration can occur without a supporting infrastructure is one of the most frequent reasons why it fails." !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- "Funders' reluctance to pay for infrastructure and preference for short term solutions."
- The Story of STRIVE - that has a $1.5 million annual budget but is coordinating the efforts and increasing the effectiveness of organizations with combined budgets of $7 billion." Refer to the upper point. Funders don't like to fund infrastructure and yet the leverage that could be created by funding infrastructure is HUGE. We need to fund this infrastructure in a this Collective Impact manner.

"Until funders are willing to embrace this new approach and invest sufficient resources in the necessary facilitation, coordination, and measurement that enable organizations to work in concert, the requisite infrastructure will not evolve." !!!!!!!!!!!! This is a call to action !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rising Rates

Over the past few weeks US interest rates have risen dramatically. ( click here from FB) For example 10 year US treasuries have gone from a low of about 2.30% t0 3.32 %. That is a 30% rise!!! This is a problem for a country that is addicted to very low cost money. This has occurred despite hundreds of billions of purchases from the FED ( I cannot imagine how much money they lost). The FED's famous QE program met with much scrutiny, especially from free market players who see this as massively disruptive. The big question is what next? Further what are the reasons for the rise? Is it the economy is improving or that investors are demanding higher rates from the US because of concerns about lack of fiscal discipline? I have more questions then answers but when I step back what remains somewhat shocking to me is despite the rise, how low interest rates are. Despite this, despite it, we are not experiencing any real growth. Yes savings rates have gone up dramatically but we are still a country that is way to indebted. ( household and government) The corporate sector fairs better but investment on their part does not make sense unless the demand is there. How can there be demand when the consumer remains over-spent? I continue to think it will be a slow road to recovery for the US with the potential for some major bumps along the way.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More Women on Boards

Happy Sunday! I have so much to write about TED, so much. But for now a quick hit on an important topic, getting more women on corporate boards. Read this in the New York Times from yesterday. Within a few weeks I hope to have a dedicated section on my web-site ( ) that will feature a brief about why the time is now to move for the "Critical Mass Principle" - a voluntary goal for public companies to have a minimum of 30% women on their boards. That brief will feature the many research reports and arguements for why greater diversity on their boards is good business!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TED - Women are Heros a film by JR

Last night at the TED opening I had the opportunity ( click here from FB) to see the documentary film "Women are Heros"- a film by JR, and the 2011 TED Prize Winner, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It was an extraordinary film of a street art project come to life in the communities in which it was born. Click here from YOUTUBE trailer. I am off to a Women Moving Millions breakfast, a tour of the museum and by first TED conference. What a day!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Off to TED Women!

This is going to be a GREAT week. ( click here from FB) I am off to Washington to attend the first ever TED Women Conference. The line up is nothing short of spectacular and it includes a number of amazing women I know well. To name a few...

Halla Tomasdottir - co-founder of Audur Capital in Iceland.
Courtney Martin - Blogger, Writer and Internet Entrepreneur
Jacqueline Novogratz - Founder of the Acumen Fund
Lisa Witter - Chief Strategy Officer of Fenton Communication and writer

Other speakers include Madeline Albright, Eve Ensler, Donna Karan, Nancy Pelosi, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - President of Liberia, Ted Turner and it is hosted by one of my fav people on the planet - Pat Mitchell, President of the Paley Center for Media. The whole two days is available by WEBCAST - click here for more information.

If you have not heard of TED before this is what it is..
"TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences -- the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK each summer -- TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and Open TV Project, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Women are more Generous!

It's official, women give more. ( click here from FB) This is the conclusion of a recent report by "The Center on Philanthropy" at Indiana University. They studied the giving behaviour of single men and single women and reached this powerful conclusion. Why does it matter? Because it highlights" that women play a distinct and powerful role and philanthropy."
To download the full report click here.
This finding is deeply connected to my work with Women Moving Millions, an initiative to encourage million dollar gifts to organizations that support, promote and include women and girls. Why? Because for the first time in history women are starting to fund women and girls and this report highlights the growing power of women to give and drive social change and all income and wealth levels. Look for more, much more, on this initiative on PursePundit.
on the report...
- WSJ reports on the study.
- blog post from the Case Foundation on why it matters.
- CBS news on the report.
on Women Moving Millions
- press release from The Women's Funding Network
- NYTimes on WMM by Lisa Belkin