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The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. This is the third installment in Learning from Difference, a five-part series on diversity at Harvard.Harvard College rising junior Julius Wade ’20 can measure the friendships he’s nurtured with his seven blockmates in Pforzheimer House by pointing to his waistband: the expanding reflection of Burek meat pies from Bosnia, fried potato pancakes, and Jewish pastries called hamantaschen.“We try to get together and make food once a month, or sometimes eat at restaurants,” said Wade. “They are pretty nice moments of exchanging pieces of our cultures.”Learning about their different backgrounds through a shared love of food has been a joyful part of Wade’s time at Harvard, but also a critical aspect of a broad-based education that grows through small moments outside of the classroom. Wade, who is African-American and grew up in Miami, said his housemates’ diversity crosses race, geography, socioeconomic status, concentrations, and even extracurricular interests.“I hoped and expected the environment to be a melting pot, but I didn’t expect it to be as celebrated as it is,” said Wade.This enriching experience for Wade is how College administrators hoped residential life would unfold when they decided to implement random House selection for students who had chosen blocks of friends with whom to live. Harry R. Lewis is the former dean of the College (1995–2003) who co-chaired the Harvard structure committee’s report that prompted the change. Lewis, the Gordon McKay professor of computer science, said the mission of a residential college stems from the belief that education goes on 24 hours a day and, conversely, self-selection limits learning opportunities.“As human beings, our natural inclination when we make a choice is that we don’t seek out the person we know least,” he said. “But a lot of the time that is exactly what we should be doing because it encourages us to learn something from people who can share stuff we don’t know.”Angie Torres ’19, who lives in Lowell House, said the House environment often creates those opportunities. The rising senior studying integrative biology recalled, as an example, talking to a housemate from South Korea while studying one night in the dining hall.“It’s a place I’d never thought about or considered, and I’ve never been to East Asia. But we had this long conversation about society and social norms in South Korea, where he was from,” she said. “Because of the community, I talk to people I never would have run into in another situation. There’s no class or club overlap, but everyone here is passionate about something or other, and I can still learn about them and broaden my horizons.”Initially, Thomas Dingman, who was associate dean of the College when he helped implement the plan, said it had its skeptics. Dingman, who retires as longtime dean of freshmen later this month, remembered naysayers who feared that randomizing the process would “create bland, cookie-cutter images and ultimately reduce student satisfaction.”“But the opposite happened. The Houses, filled randomly, did amazing things. They mounted their own dramatic productions, participated fully in intramurals, and had their own music societies,” he said. “If what keeps people from working together where there are pronounced differences is ignorance and fear, the more we can get them to understand people as human beings, the better shot we have for solving some of the world’s problems.”The success of the current House model helped prompt Michael D. Smith, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, to support a sweeping campaign for House renewal, with one goal being a deepened sense of community. The completion of Lowell House’s reconstruction in the summer of 2019 will mean the College has renewed half a dozen Houses since Quincy reopened in 2013, creating residential spaces that are as accessible and welcoming as the communities flourishing inside.“Students tell me all the time that it’s the people who most make their Harvard experience meaningful. House renewal was imperative because it takes 100-year-old buildings and aligns them with how students live and learn together today. That change has a powerful impact on the student experience,” said Smith.Rising junior Michael Gao ’20 lives in Dunster, the first full House to be renovated, with friends he met through classes and clubs. Though they “lean STEM” in academic interest, they come from such diverse backgrounds as Vietnam and Ohio, and the 19-year-old molecular and cellular biology concentrator described the diversity he finds in Dunster as “osmosis.”“You just get immersed in that kind of environment,” he said, adding that one of his most poignant lessons came by way of his blockmate, Nathan Grant, whose brother Nik has Hunter Syndrome.“It’s an important part of his life. Nathan talks a lot about sibling care. I had known people in passing with some type of disease, but meeting and getting to know him better was a pretty formative experience,” Gao said.Similarly, Jack Deschler ’19 described his tightknit House experience as “one of the best things to happen to me at Harvard.”“There’s something to be said of a shared experience of 300 people that wouldn’t happen if everyone lived off campus or if we could choose where to live,” he said.So passionate about Cabot House life is the rising senior studying computer science and government that he co-chairs of the student House committee, which helps create programming such as Cabot’s theater program and House-wide events such as formals and weekly study breaks.“The committee itself is pretty diverse, with a majority women, and that’s informed the decisions we’ve made in positive ways,” said Deschler, 21. “Having those voices in the room when we’re discussing things makes me feel better when we’re making decisions.” Tom Conley and Verena Andermatt Conley, who have been faculty deans of Kirkland House for 18 years, are present when most decisions about residential life are made. Sitting in their living room with Max and Bella, two of their three Bernese mountain dogs, they pored over Kirkland directories from 2003 and 2017.“There is so much more diversity now. The transformation has been absolutely fabulous,” said Verena, a long-term visiting professor of comparative literature and of Romance languages and literature.Added Tom, the Abbott Lawrence Lowell Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of Visual and Environmental Studies, “We take it as our task to make it a very level and lush playing field. Biases are reduced through the art and act of living and of making a community.”The Conleys expect to steward nearly 400 students in Kirkland through meals, seminars, theater performances, and other activities next year.“Our mission is to make a House where people feel comfortable, where they can meet with people from a variety of backgrounds,” said Verena. “Mutual respect and understanding have led to much more interaction between different races, nationalities, and cultures than there had been when we first arrived. The microcosm of the House is really the world of tomorrow.”
It looks like our Broadway boyfriend (just let us have this, OK?!) Aaron Tveit is sticking to the small screen. The Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winner will star in BrainDead, an upcoming comic-thriller for CBS involving an extraterrestrial takeover in D.C. The series is scheduled to premiere next summer.The news follows the cancellation of Graceland, the USA drama which also features fellow stage alum Daniel Sunjata. Tveit has no problem hopping across networks; he is also set to star as Danny Zuko in Fox’s live Grease telecast on January 31, 2016.Tveit will play Gareth in BrainDead, a witty and no-nonsense Legislative Director to a top Republican senator. The series will also star Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Laurel as a fresh-faced government employee. Oh, and there are aliens who have invaded earth and are eating the brains of multiple congressmen. We probably should have led with that.Here’s hoping Tveit’s brains stay in tact and alien-free! View Comments
Related Shows Chicago’s got a heartbreaker coming to the Ambassador Theatre! Paul Alexander Nolan, who was most recently seen on the Great White Way in Bright Star, will step into the razzle-dazzle role of Billy Flynn beginning on October 31. Current Chicago star Jason Danieley is scheduled to depart the Tony-winning revival on October 30.In addition to playing the leading man in Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s Bright Star, Nolan has appeared on Broadway in Doctor Zhivago, Once and Jesus Christ Superstar. He was also featured in off-Broadway’s Daddy Long Legs. Nolan’s regional credits include Aida, Jesus Christ Superstar, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, As You Like It, The Grapes of Wrath, Cyrano de Bergerac, West Side Story and The Who’s Tommy.Nolan joins a cast that includes fresh face Veronica Dunne as Roxie Hart, Lana Gordon Wright as Velma Kelly, Raymond Bokhour as Amos Hart, NaTasha Yvette Williams as Matron “Mama” Morton and R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine. Chicago will officially mark its 20th anniversary on November 14. View Comments Paul Alexander Nolan(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser) Chicago Star Files from $49.50 Paul Alexander Nolan
Amazon signs biggest corporate solar PPA in Australia with developer Canadian Solar FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Global online shopping giant Amazon has revealed that its previously announced contract to buy 105MW of output from an un-named Australia solar farm is with the 150MW Suntop facility in New South Wales.Amazon has pledged to power its operations with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, reach net zero emissions by 2040, and CEO Jeff Bezos has also pledge $US10 billion to a establish a new fund to support climate change efforts.The deal with Suntop solar farm – located about 10km from Wellington in the state’s central west region, is believed to be one of, if not the biggest, single power purchase agreements between a corporate customer and a solar farm in Australia. (Some bigger contracts, such as that signed by Neoen and CleanCo for the Western Downs solar project in Queensland are between developers and energy retailers).Suntop, being developed by Canadian Solar, will in fact have a capacity of 150MW (ac), and will sell just over two thirds of its output to Amazon. It was first announced in late 2018 when Photon Energy held a 25 per cent stake in the project, since sold to Canadian Solar. Photon is still looking to develop a bigger project next door, known as Suntop 2.It is the second deal struck between Canadian Solar and Amazon following the announcement that Amazon would buy 60MW of output from in Canadian Solar’s 110 MW (ac) Gunnedah solar farm, also in New South Wales.The five new renewable energy projects announced by Amazon in May added a total of 615MW of contracted capacity, or around 1.2 million megawatt hours of additional renewable output, to help power its retail operations and data centres. In total, it has announced 31 utility-scale wind and solar renewable energy projects and 60 solar rooftop installations on its centres across the globe, with a total of more than 2,900MW of contracted and installed capacity and more than 7.6 million MWh of renewable energy a year.[Giles Parkinson]More: Amazon signs biggest corporate solar PPA in Australia with Suntop project
I recently returned from a business trip where I had the opportunity to meet with a financial institution that had grown significantly beyond its original roots over the past few years through a combination of hard work and acquisition.These were good, hard-working folks who were very much invested in their organization and had risen through the ranks – many of them working their way up the organizational ladder into positions of leadership.Our purpose in meeting with them was to discuss how upgrading their current technology platform could help automate and help keep them competitive in today’s ever-changing technology market place.We took the time to listen to their issues, met with front line staff on what they hoped upgrading their technology would help them with, and reviewed with senior management the results of our interviews. Management politely listened as we outlined what we had discovered during our visit and laid out our strategy, time frames, and technology recommendations to accomplish these objectives.When we had finished our discussions, we were asked to return with a formal pricing proposal and a more detailed plan that would accomplish the requisite tasks discussed – along with a realistic time frame to do so.After much discussion with our tech and project management teams, we prepared our proposal. We factored in the time, technology, and budget costs and scheduled a call to review the proposal with the senior team.During the call there were many questions – along with concerns over costs, time frames, and worry of meeting all objectives. As we worked our way through each area of the project, it became apparent that their senior team really lacked a thorough understanding of today’s technology. In fact, we were floored when one of the team members actually posed the question what the costs were to simply pull out the technology all together and just revert back to manual processes.To say we were stunned would be the understatement of the century. I simply bit my tongue and in the most unemotional response I could think of I simply said this, “It would cost you your jobs and your financial institution. Simply put, it would be impossible to go backwards, period.”We ended our discussions and our team sat in complete silence and bewilderment that a senior management team would even think that reverting back to manual processes could be a possibility.We received a few “private” phone calls over the following weeks from other members of their management team assuring us that not all felt that going backwards was an option. They were also working on “educating” the other members of their team on what really needed to happen to remain competitive and truly serve their staff and members best interests.What was interesting is that the few senior team members who were the “hold backs” were ones that had earned their stripes coming up through the ranks but had never really taken the time to have a mindset of continual learning or self-improvement. Furthermore, because they had never worked anywhere else, they had never really learned the value of looking to the outside for best practices and simply assumed they had all the answers.I compare this scenario to a friend of mine who owns a very successful printing, production, and manufacturing company that is continually investing in making sure their equipment, business processes and people are always in a state of modernization and continual learning.In fact, although it’s a family business, the owner insists that there only be one family member as a senior management team member. And even before they are allowed to work in the company, they must work for others in the same industry for a period of about 10 years.When I asked why such strict rules, he simply told me this: “Our company has been in business for over 100 years. It is imperative that we maintain our edge in our technology, our people, and our methodologies.“If we simply allowed the same old things to go on as they always have, we would be out of business in a few years. If we allowed family members to think they would be taken care of without investing in their own education and skill sets, they would simply fail as human beings, as well.”I thought that was a pretty blunt and to-the-point response. But it is pretty hard to argue with someone who has an Ivy League education, was forced to go through the same apprenticeship as was his father, and now, in turn, has continued the legacy with his own son. Other family members do not work there.After we had discussed his operation and I shared my experience with him about our recent engagement, he looked me right in the eye and said, “Fire them. They are not worth any more of your time or your company’s efforts.”He was most direct in his further rants as to why – which I will spare you but can be summarized as follows:“This organization has failed to properly develop their people through ongoing education and by allowing a culture to exist where mediocrity was acceptable, status quo was the norm, and position given based on tenure instead of performance. Furthermore, to even think about going backwards with its technology shows a complete lack of vision and will most certainly be rewarded with failure in the future.”My first reaction was: Wow, that was incredibly harsh. But in reality he was spot on.I must admit that during the 30 years I have worked in this industry, we have had our fair share of engagements where management teams really didn’t have the knowledge or background needed to properly execute their technology objectives. But to their credit, they retained subject matter experts who were able to help them develop their long-range goals and objectives and set up programs that would bring them along with the staff up to speed. They also were able to convince management that bringing in qualified outside people and ideas would help ensure their long-term future, as well.As I have thought about these recent experiences, there are a couple of conclusions I would draw on not only from my personal experiences but also those that come from my relationships with a number of highly successful entrepreneurs and business people.Here are my top 10 thoughts:Hire good people and provide them with the tools and ongoing education to keep them viable. Do not settle for status quo or mediocrity.Invest wisely in your technology and keep moving forward. It is Ok to look back and learn from your mistakes, but no one ever crossed the finish line going in reverse.Look to your industry peers and be willing to adopt new ideas, processes and technologies to stay ahead of your competition.Adopt of culture of listening. That is, one where you value what your employees, members, and vendors are saying to you. They are the ones who will usually spot trends, problems, and opportunities first.Be agile! Be willing to implement new ideas if they make sense. Do not procrastinate too long as opportunities tend to pass by quickly – that is not to say act without thought or investigation. But once a decision is made, go for it!Insist on continuing education for everyone. Look for industry, technology, and self-improvement programs to name a few. Many of your vendors offer excellent educational opportunities for little or no cost and, although obviously slanted toward their solutions, are still broad enough to be of value to you.Create member, vendor, and employee focus groups that can help you set your long term strategies.Make a decision. I have said it many times: Good decisions take care of themselves, bad decisions can be fixed, but indecision will kill you.There is a huge difference between price and cost. Price is what you pay for something. Cost is what it means to your organization, your members, and you personally.ROI is worthless unless you can define what it means. It is not strictly tied to money. That would be called investment and would fall under a completely different scope of measurement. What we are talking about here are improvements in your organization and they may be tied to your ability to stay in business, growing your company, improving processes, etc. But it is rarely tied to what you pay for something and a CFO who must be able to “cost justify” every decision. Won’t happen; get over it.I can give you one final personal example of this very lesson from my own life. When my wife and I were first married and struggling with balancing our incomes against our home improvement needs, we were faced with having to balance our budgets against the “Price vs. Cost” conundrum.We could purchase a complete set of furniture at a discount warehouse against purchasing well-made components from a quality manufacturer but would only be able to afford one or two components at a time and spread out over a few years.Our parents were products of the depression and they told us that we would be much happier buying quality and doing with less than saving a few dollars on the front end but paying more in the long run.We should have listened. We chose poorly. We opted to buy cheap furniture so we could have it all.What we learned and later put into play was that making rash decisions based on emotion and “Price” left out the most important aspect: “Cost.”We ended up throwing most of the furniture away a few years later as it simply fell apart and did not last. We ended up buying quality the next time around – even though it meant taking several years to complete the project. That furniture has continued to last through today. And because we bought quality and knew the style would remain viable, it has and was the right decision.So what does furniture and technology have to do with each other?Simply this: Don’t be put off by price. Look down the road, do your research, and invest the time to make sure you are making the best decisions you can. Where appropriate, consult with others who know more than you do and be willing to heed their advice.Happy Holidays! 5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Scott Cowan Over the past 25 years, Mr. Cowan has held Executive Technical Sales and Management positions with several Fortune 500 companies including: Fiserv, Qwest Communications and Nokia Internet Communications, Network Security … Web: www.mviusa.com Details
I’ve written before about the importance of knowing your limits. As the head of an organization, we need to be aware of how our company is running, but that doesn’t mean we need to do it all. Accepting that we don’t know everything and trusting others to share the load are important attributes of a leader.That’s where delegation comes in. Each employee plays an important role in the success of the company – so long as responsibilities are distributed based on individual strengths and the value we create. However, there are effective ways to disperse tasks and responsibilities that create employee buy-in.Leadership development specialist Julia Felton explains that “there is a spectrum to delegation.”“At the end of the spectrum are task-based activities that team members are asked to perform, with little understanding of the context of that task; whilst at the other end of the spectrum, delegation becomes empowerment that ultimately morphs into Shared Leadership,” she writes. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »
ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » As the smaller, not-for-profit siblings of financial industry giants, it’s no surprise that winning the hiring competition can feel daunting. Credit unions have fewer resources than many other institutions, and it can be confusing to figure out how to make the case to top talent that they should opt for a lower salary at your credit union compared to the one they’d get working for a big bank.Thankfully, many job seekers are looking for more than just a paycheck. By highlighting the full array of benefits that come from working at your credit union, especially during this challenging time, you can set your organization up to win over the best and brightest talent.Below we share three key strategies that can help your credit unions stand out to potential new hires in the war for talent. If you emphasize these things in your recruitment process, you’ll more accurately convey the full value that comes from working at your credit union and you’ll be a lot more likely to get the kind of talent that your company needs to thrive.
Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionSupport Johnstown sports, bus serviceTwo years in a row, only 60 percent of the school system’s budget was approved.Cuts were made and as a result our kids’ education rights were watered down.This year, our sports programs were dropped except for the transportation costs.Other important non-sports programs were also dropped or curtailed.A sports booster group is trying to raise $311,000 to resurrect sports on an “all-or-nothing” basis.Our student-athletes won’t have the means to properly develop like at other schools.A fundraiser is scheduled on Aug. 24, but fall practices start before then.I strongly suggest Johnstown fans and friends to get out a check right away to Johnstown Purple and Gold, 1 Sir Bill Circle, Johnstown, NY 12095.If our sports opponents could agree that Johnstown play all games at home, for this year only, put the approved transportation funds towards the $311,000 required.We could reciprocate by playing all away games in the near future.No scheduled bus service in Johnstown is also an issue. Johnstown refused to pay the Gloversville Transit System’s increased annual charge.Buses run through Johnstown, but there are no scheduled stops. The two mayors of both cities have said they would study the situation, but nothing has happened.The Fulton County Office of the Aging runs buses for qualified people, with limited service.The Gloversville Transit System runs one para-transit bus, but only for qualified people.There are two taxi companies in Gloversville that come to Johnstown.Can someone help?Tom FarnanJohnstownWhitney brought her light to manyCreative Magic Sunshine. That is my name for Marylou Whitney.I met Marylou, briefly, at the champagne flight of the Concorde in Schenectady. I won a Concorde flight for the celebration.Later, I received an invitation to her summer gala at her Cady Hill Estate and a copy of her husband’s book, “A Year with a Millionaire.”Many readers are jealous of Mrs. Whitney. They call her “a media headlines glutton.”I defended her in print. Her kind deeds (charities) make many a heart glow.Creative Magic Sunshine is Mrs. Whitney’s name.Rob CurtissSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?
Torben Möger Pedersen, CEO, PensionDanmark“We submitted our application on 3 July this year,” he said. As yet, however, the DKK172bn pension fund is not listed on the organisation’s signatory database.The moves mean that all six Danish pension funds who left the PRI in 2013 have now become signatories once more.Four of the six funds – PKA, PFA Pension, ATP and Sampension – announced in December 2016 that they were signing up again. At the time, they said PRI chairman Martin Skancke had listened to their criticisms and the organisation had changed policies and management structure, making its plans and decisions more visible.According to the signatory database, all four rejoined between 3 January and 11 January 2017.In February 2015, following an 18-month independent governance review, signatories approved a new board governance structure for the PRI.When the six pension funds quit in 2013, they said would remain dedicated supporters of the organisation’s six founding principles, and continue to report individually on how they worked with responsible investment – including their compliance with the principles. According to the PRI’s signatory database on its website, the DKK250bn (€33.5bn) provider signed the principles on 10 July 2019.Fellow labour-market fund Industriens Pension has also decided to return to the ranks of PRI signatories, a spokesman for the scheme told IPE. Two of Denmark’s biggest pension providers have returned as signatories to the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), reversing their 2013 walk-out staged in protest over the organisation’s governance.PensionDanmark and Industriens Pension both confirmed to IPE this week that they had rejoined the PRI. Four other Danish funds that exited in 2013 rejoined in January 2017.Torben Möger Pedersen, chief executive of PensionDanmark, said in a statement: “PensionDanmark can confirm the membership of PRI. We are looking forward to taking an active part in PRI’s actions for responsible investments.“This is particularly regarding the efforts to measure and benchmark investors’ impact on investments that meet the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals and the central aim of the Paris Agreement to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.”