GroundFloor Media (GFM) is truly incredible when it comes to encouraging employees to find a work/life blend. They absolutely walk the talk of allowing team members to work whenever and wherever – as long as they get their work done. That being said, as a working mom, I still find that “the juggle” is very real and, at times, overwhelming. I start strong at the beginning of every week, but am typically exhausted and dragging myself across the finish line by Friday. So, I recently embarked on a personal journey to try to find a way to remedy that – so that I can be better at both of my jobs (PR and mom).
I love great ideas! Especially the ones that start out small but then revolutionize an industry. In 2007, a like-minded group of individuals, including Pam Warhurst and Mary Clear, wanted to find a way in which everyone could help improve their own community. Their solution: They taught their local residents to take control of their community through gardening and eating.
“The answer was food,” said Warhurst in her TED Talk. “Everyone understands food. Food gets people talking; even better, it inspires people to take action.” They started with small herb gardens and community plots in a Northern England town called Todmorden. Then they planted corn in front of a police station, fruit trees on the sides of roads, vegetables in front of the senior center, and even planted gardens in the cemetery, where “things grow really well because the soil is really good!” Read more after the jump…
My September began pretty typically, with a host of meetings with companies preparing their 2017 budgets. This year, one of them stood out.
I had just reconnected with an old friend from high school, and he and I sat down to talk about the important work he was doing with a Colorado-based nonprofit. He was anxious to find out if our team at GroundFloor Media and CenterTable might be able to amplify his team’s efforts.
The meeting went well, and we were in the process of scheduling a follow-up to get leaders from both our teams in the same room. Then the emails and phone calls stopped. Earlier this week, I found out that my friend had tragically lost his life.
I didn’t know this young man nearly as well as others. And as my social newsfeeds overflowed with messages mourning his passing, I quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to eulogize him as beautifully or as fittingly. I wondered if I should say anything at all.
It was our final chat that ultimately empowered me to write this message.
Read more after the jump…
I’ve just had the opportunity to take advantage of GFM’s generous sabbatical policy… After 10 years, employees are encouraged to take one month off to “undertake activities that promote individual rejuvenation and personal benefit.”
I did so by participating in a yoga retreat in Croatia with six Brits and a Norwegian I’d never met before, taking a two-week vacation in Croatia and Italy with my boyfriend, and then spending a week re-acclimating and getting organized at home in Denver. It was an absolutely wonderful experience and as I sat at lunch savoring my last few days off, I jotted down some of the lessons I learned that may prove helpful should you ever find yourself in the position of enjoying a month off.
1. Modifying isn’t cheating
As a former gymnast (AKA perfectionist) I feel the need to be able to bend forward and touch the ground with hands flat and legs straight when I’m practicing yoga. Thanks to a hamstring issue, I’m not currently able to, which has been driving me crazy. On this yoga retreat, our instructor encouraged me to bend my knees deeply in forward bend. Doing so not only enabled me to put my hands flat on the ground without pain, it also produced an amazing stretch that felt great. My preconceived notions of what “success” looked like in that pose and the expectations known only to me (no one else was watching to make sure I kept my legs straight) had been holding me back from true success.
Futurism, leadocracy and nanosecond culture were just a few of the big terms and even bigger ideas discussed during the TEDxMileHigh Values & Instincts event at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House on this past Saturday. The annual event welcomed approximately 2,000 curious minds from across the Denver metro area. From more traditional leaders like Roxane White, who serves as chief of staff to Governor John Hickenlooper, to promising stars such as Easton Lachappelle who is tackling the challenges of prosthetics and wireless robotics at the ripe old age of 17, the day did not disappoint.
I participated in the first half of the event and came away inspired, but also a bit numb. In the moment, it all seems possible that “love” is the only “currency” we need to solve our problems both big and small. And sometimes I do experience the realities of “scarcity” in our community that cannot only be solved with “reciprocity” alone. (Yes, this is oversimplifying of few of host Tim O’Neill’s quick references.) So in reality, what are actionable next steps for a committed citizen?
I’m one of those people. I see a documentary, get excited about the cause, swear I’m going to do something to help, and then move on to the next item on my to do list and forget to spread the word about the issue. Not this time…
Thanks to Hunger Free Colorado, I had the opportunity to preview the documentary, “A Place at the Table,” which opened nationwide on March 1. It was alarming to learn that while the United States is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, 50 million Americans do not know where their next meal is coming from.
As someone who is passionate about healthy eating and active living, the real eye opener for me was the link between food insecurity (hunger) and childhood obesity. But when you stop to think about it, it makes perfect sense. Children who don’t have access to food – especially healthy food – are likely to eat unhealthy food without proper nutrients. And the childhood obesity rates in the U.S. are alarming! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: more than one third of American children and adolescents in 2010 were overweight or obese. Something has to be done to stop this epidemic.
Lauren Cook is attending this year’s The Colorado Health Symposium “Health Equity: Bridging the Divides.” In the first discovery session about Food Deserts, a correlation was drawn between a community’s access to healthy food options and its overall health.
Not surprisingly, there’s a direct connection between the type of food being sold in a neighborhood and the neighborhood’s health. Access to fresh, diverse, and healthy food is a challenge for many Americans. With better access to healthy food comes better eating, better health and a critical lowering of our country’s obesity rate.
To read more of Lauren’s story,check out the Symposium’s blog.