Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advice for Life After Yale (or finding your footing in the real world)

Published by Yale College Undergraduate Career Services, Life After Yale: A Survival Guide for the Class of 2009, features information regarding taxes, health insurance, the transition to the "real world," and career resources available to the class of 2009 after graduation. While this type of information is critical for the recent graduates who wonder if it's important to keep receipts, don't understand how credit cards work, or how to balance a checkbook, I'm convinced that the more compelling wisdom in this survival guide is the advice shared by recent alumni about making the transition to life after Yale. One particular gem comes from Steven Klein, Class of 1998:
"It is confusing to go from a world with identified authority figures who regularly give you grades to keep you aware of the status of your accomplishments…to enter a world with no consistent metric of success and no clear authority figure to ask for your grades. You are not the only one feeling this and a million other fears, insecurities, confusions, doubts, etc. My five-year reunion was a profoundly uplifting experience as I listened to old friends with myriad interests and career paths all share the same sense of wandering and learning and fear and joy. We all laughed at how much easier our past five years would have been if only we’d been strong enough to admit we spent a lot of it feeling unsuccessful and small. Don’t think that your over-achieving self needs to have it all figured out all the time—none of your classmates do, either! And there is much joy and growth to be had in sharing your difficulties and learning from those of your peers.

One of the most important adjustments I’ve had to make is one of timeline. In your years as a student you are accustomed to measuring growth and progress on what are in reality very short timelines. In college you are expected to be 25 percent through your Yale learning curve (or, culturally, even more) in just one year. And I know that I and many of my classmates expected to make similar leaps of achievement, learning, and growth in each year of our life in the real world. It’s more accurate to suggest that each decade of life (or even more) is equivalent to one year in college. You’re going to be a freshman in the real world for all of your 20s. (After all, your ‘senior’ citizen years don’t come until 40 years after college!) Rather than bemoaning this in the name of wanting to reach your highest goals now, try to focus on the joy and ease of this idea. Take the time to learn and value the journey along the way to your goals and focus on building your wisdom along with your résumé. You cannot rush wisdom, and it’s the wisdom that deepens life and its meaning. It’s easier to say than do, I know, but it’s a lesson I’ve learned through cracking a whip over myself for a good four or five years before figuring out it was neither necessary nor particularly effective.

...In fact, I’ll even go further and say I started achieving more as soon as I started focusing on learning over achieving per se. (And I want to attribute a lot of these lessons to my friend Tyson Belanger, also MC ’98, who was featured in Yale’s magazine. He’sa first lieutenant in the Marines, and his journey in the military has taught me much about this. In the military, you cannot rush up the ranks, no matter who you are. You must pass, rank by rank, up the ladder, and you will not move up without first learning very concrete lessons at each level.) There is much wisdom in this... as smart people, we often think we can reason our way into the wisdom of someone considerably older. We cannot. We must make the journey. So we might as well enjoy it."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Apply to join the 2010 Emerging Leaders Network of Minnesota!

Minnesota's Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) is a program that identifies potential leaders in public health and provides them with information and experiential learning opportunities that enhance their leadership skills and help build the confidence needed for leadership roles. ELN goals focus on building a diverse workforce and providing the stimulus for emerging leaders to expand professional networks to accomplish public health goals. While most leadership training programs recruit people already in leadership positions, the ELN intentionally seeks those with leadership potential, regardless of their current job title.

As a 2007 graduate of the Emerging Leaders Network and a current member of its governing Collaborative Council, I'm excited to announce that we are recruiting for our 2010 program! The ELN program is unique in that it seeks those who have leadership potential but who may not yet be in leadership positions. It also seeks diversity in its applicants in race/ethnicity, professional background, age, gender and geography.

Application materials and a short recruitment video can be found on ELN website. Please consider applying for this program and/or encourage colleagues, staff or others with public health leadership potential to apply. This is a great opportunity to develop future leaders for public health in Minnesota. If you have any questions about the application or its submission, please contact Nicole Parsons at or at 651-201-3890. The deadline for applications is 4:30 pm Monday, December 7, 2009.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Call for Applications: Young Turkey Young America Professional Exchange

The Young Atlanticist Program is currently seeking applications from exceptional Turkish and American young professionals, aged 22-30. The program targets individuals who have started careers in the fields of public policy, business and journalism, who possess a strong passion for international engagement and have demonstrated leadership abilities. Academic or professional experience in Turkey (for American applicants) or the United States (for Turkish applicants) is helpful, but not required. The program will be paid in full, and participants will not need to incur any costs.

Young Turkey/Young America: A New Relationship for a New Age

The Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS), in partnership with the Istanbul Policy Center (IPC) at Sabanci University, is administering a dynamic exchange program designed to connect and build constructive relationships between future leaders from the United States and Turkey. This initiative, the Young Turkey/Young America: A New Relationship for a New Age, will work towards the vital task of renewing and reinvigorating the important bilateral relationship between the two nations.

The exchange will take place in mid-2010, and will last for nearly one month. Most of the two-week U.S. segment will be held in Washington, DC, and will also include a visit to a major regional center with strong international connections, such as Atlanta, Georgia. The Turkey session will open with two days in Ankara, and following a homestay weekend, move to Istanbul for three days.

We are currently seeking applications from exceptional Turkish and American young professionals, aged 22-30. We are targeting individuals who have started careers in the fields of public policy, business and journalism, who possess a strong passion for international engagement and have demonstrated leadership abilities. Academic or professional experience in Turkey (for American applicants) or the United States (for Turkish applicants) is helpful, but not required. The program will be paid in full, and participants will not need to incur any costs.

Program participants will build enduring connections through hands-on activities, vigorous discussions, web-based interaction (facilitated by, and joint follow-on projects. Meetings with government officials and independent experts will prompt serious explorations of foreign policy issues. Through seminars and small working groups, along with a crisis management simulation, the participants will build leadership, negotiation, and mediation skills while delving deeply into complex policy matters and processes. Social events with other young leaders’ organizations and alumni of past exchanges will encourage the building of wider networks, while home stays will provide participants with an intimate glimpse of life on the other side of the Atlantic. This combination of activities will help to forge lasting personal and professional relationships between participants.

To be considered for this program, interested parties should contact David Kirk, Associate Director of the Young Atlanticist Program, at, for more information.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Overcoming Adversity: Stories from the headlines and stories from the field

In the midst of the current economy and challenging political environment, we could all use a little bit of good news. I invite you to join the National Association for Asian American Professionals - Minnesota (NAAAP-MN) for a timely and exciting conversation with HLN news anchor, Richard Lui, and local community leaders. RSVPs requested to Diane at by Friday, November 13.

Overcoming Adversity: Stories from the headlines and stories from the field
In these challenging times, examples of past perseverance inspire hope for overcoming adversity. HLN news anchor, Richard Lui, will share about his personal and professional leadership journey, which spans several sectors and continents. The panel of community leaders to follow will speak about local stories of leadership and overcoming adversity in the midst of this challenging economy.

Friday, November 20, 2009
4:00PM - 6:00PM
Free and open to the general public

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Campus
2701 Wells Fargo Way
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Richard Lui is a news anchor for HLN, serving as an anchor for the network's late morning programming and as a news correspondent for "Morning Express with Robin Meade." Based in CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta, Lui joined CNN in 2005 as an anchor for Prior to CNN, Lui worked at Channel NewsAsia, an English-only news network reaching 21 Asian countries and territories. Before joining Channel NewsAsia, Lui spent 15 years in business, most recently serving at Blink Mobile, where he and his co-founders developed a patented process for the launch of the first bank-centric payment routing network. Since 1985, Lui has volunteered at community organizations including the American Indian Family Healing Center, the Red Cross and the YMCA. He is also a pro bono management consultant to non-profits through an organization called Community Consulting. Lui received his bachelor degree in rhetoric from the University of California-Berkeley and holds an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Minnesota's number one rankings: More to the story

By all accounts, Minnesota is number one. Released November 2, the Minnesota Civic Health Index 2009: Integrating Civic Engagement into Community Life, indicates that Minnesotans vote, volunteer, attend public meetings, donate to charitable organizations, and more, in higher numbers than the rest of the country. 

Number one in more ways than one 
 On Monday evening, I participated in a panel discussion about the report's findings with Gary Cunningham of the Northwest Area Foundation, Bill Blazar of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and Harry Boyte of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College. The conversation in the room centered around the stories that are untold merely by looking at the numbers. Despite Minnesota ranking so high in so many indicators of health and wealth, we also rank high in the disparities between the mainstream population and people of color or of lower socioeconomic class. These achievement and access gaps are social and racial justice issues that aren't brought to the fore in the midst of celebrating our first-place rankings. In this vein, I shared that the first Citizens League event I attended was a breakfast meeting in 2005. From what I could see, I was the only person in the room under the age of 40 and the only person of color other than the videographer. What kept me around and encouraged me to join the Citizens League that morning, however, was the fact that in response to the state demographer and state economist's presentation about the changing demographics of Minnesota, I heard genuine concern amongst members in the room about whether or not Minnesota would be able to provide for its increasingly diverse children as it had its older citizens in the form of good jobs, affordable post-secondary education options, and a high quality of life. I was convinced those people, the members of the Citizens League, were truly interested in tackling the issue. Four years later, I've come to learn that the Citizens League is not only a think tank, but also an action tank. I'm now co-facilitating the Quantum Civics leadership development course for emerging leaders, active with the young adult Action Groups, and a member of a board of directors that more and more resembles the diversity of our great state. We have much more work to do in becoming the kind of organization that can help shape the kind of state we envision, but if the past few years have been any indicator, we are well on our way. 

Perpetuating the civic tradition 
 Much has been made of the rising Millennial generation. We’re closer to our parents, want to ensure that the work we are paid to do is connected to our life’s purpose, and have been engaged with service-learning and community service opportunities through school and religious organizations since we were young. This seems to translate, among my peers, into pounding-the-pavement activism, joining book clubs, volunteering at nonprofits, or fanning causes on Facebook. And if not that much action, then at least socially conscious discussion and decision-making on issues ranging from recycling to what kind of coffee to buy or whether to eat organic and how large a carbon footprint one would leave as a result. Page 8 of the Minnesota Civic Health Index states, “One important finding of the national Civic Health Index points to the importance of widely communicating stories about civic traditions and current practices. Knowledge of the existence of a civic tradition turns out to be a powerful predictor of civic engagement. People who know that there is a civic tradition are much more likely to be civically involved.” If a sense of a strong civic tradition and actual civic engagement are truly linked, I'm compelled to keep sharing my perspective of our local history. I spoke positively on Monday evening about the community of young people that I see engaged in Minnesota and working to develop its citizens and civic infrastructure. While that put me at risk of sounding naive or overly-optimistic, I'm proud to be a part of this great civic tradition in Minnesota and want to continue telling that story. This story, of course, celebrates the fact that our civic tradition now includes a whole host of new cultures, ethnic groups, and ways of engaging across them.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Integrating Civics & Public Policy in High School STEM Classrooms

The Citizens League & SciMathMN Invite High School STEM Teachers To A Roundtable Discussion:
Integrating Civics & Public Policy in High School STEM Classrooms

The Background
With a critical achievement gap in math, new standards in science, and continual emphasis on STEM curriculum, high school math and science teachers are facing new challenges. How can achievement in STEM be improved and maximized for students? Integrating civic skills and citizenship education into STEM classrooms is a unique approach that has the potential to enhance STEM instruction and at the same time revitalize declining high school civic education. By utilizing civic and public policy issues as a context for math and science problems students would not only understand technical concepts, but improve communication and team work skills, realize their individual political power and develop a deep awareness of the real world interconnectedness of STEM and policy.

The Roundtable
If civics and public policy are something you would like to integrate in your math or science classroom please join us for this roundtable discussion where we hope to create a casual atmosphere to discuss, exchange ideas, share lesson plans, listen and learn. Our aim is to further reflect on the possible benefits of integrating STEM subjects and civic education, brainstorm curriculum ideas and discuss how this concept fits with existing academic standards and how it could be incorporated into future standard revisions.

If you are interested in participating or have questions please contact Erin Larson at or (952) 210‐9197.

Monday, November 2, 2009

GiveMN launches today to transform the way Minnesotans experience giving

They say it costs money to make money. Today, 16 Minnesota foundations and the United Way launched GiveMN, hoping to reduce how much local nonprofits need to spend in order to support their charitable operations.

GiveMN touts itself as "the smart way for Minnesotans to discover, support, and engage with charities." The new website, powered by, offers individual donors the opportunity to support their favorite local nonprofits through online giving. Dollars donated through GiveMN go directly to the charity of choice, while the gift of the philanthropic partners is to cover the $4.75 (Network for Good) transaction fee to process each donation. GiveMN offers Minnesota nonprofits an online fundraising vehicle that effectively reduces the amount of overhead required for individual organizations to raise and process donations.

Individual donors will benefit from several features of the online community, including:

-Tracking gifts and donation history through an online charity portfolio

-Organizing individual fundraisers, such as requesting friends and family donate to a favorite nonprofit instead of giving birthday or wedding gifts

-Assisting donors with assessing charities through providing links to Charity Navigator, Guide Star, and the Charities Review Council

As stated on the GiveMN website, "Minnesota has long been a leader in philanthropy and civic innovation, and we believe it is poised to revolutionize e-philanthropy." Check out GiveMN today to stake your claim in the next phase of collaboration and giving for the common good in Minnesota!
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