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4 Strategies For Freelance Success

By Michelle V. Rafter, Next Avenue Contributor

Whether you’ve freelanced for years or are contemplating a late-career switch to becoming a self-employed freelancer, there are a few ways to boost your chances of success.

According to data from the recently released report, Freelancing in America: 2019, from Freelancers Union and the online freelance platform Upwork, nearly a third of U.S. workers over 50 freelance either part-time or full-time. (Next Avenue published an earlier article with detailed findings from the freelancers survey.)

Most 50+ freelancers do so by choice. That was the case for 60% of people ages 50 to 64 surveyed who freelance and 73% of those age 65 and older.

Also on Forbes:

Here are four ways to maximize your freelance earning potential by taking advantage of current freelance trends:

1. Use Your Existing Skills

The most common type of work done by freelancers of all ages, according to the survey, is providing skilled services — things such as consulting, marketing or programming. And skilled freelance work pays more than unskilled freelance work. The survey found freelancers providing skilled services earn an average of $28 an hour, compared to $20 an hour for unskilled work.

Some skilled freelancers make a lot more. Some of the highest-paid work on Upwork, for example, is in accounting and finance. People with experience in corporate restructuring, bitcoin or international accounting bill more than $200 an hour.

So, if you spent a career honing your skills in a specific field, it’s worth considering using them as a springboard to freelancing.

2. Network, Network, Network

There’s another reason to do what you know when you’re a freelancer. The Freelancing in America report noted that personal networks are the top source of assignments for freelancers who do skilled work. Personal networks include previous freelance clients, friends and family, and professional contacts.

Older freelancers have a leg up here, since they’ve been in the workforce longer than people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Meeting and working with more people over a longer span of time creates a larger network, and those connections can pay off, said Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel.

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the second most important sources of freelance work. But it’s not enough just to have an account, especially on LinkedIn, which is focused on business.

“There’s a big difference between being on LinkedIn and knowing how to master it. You have to be in the groups and communities” pertaining to your field, said Jeri Sedlar, author of Don’t Retire, Rewire.

Freelance websites are another source of work. If you’re consider creating profiles on freelance platforms to put the word out that you’re available, try generalist sites like Upwork, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, and Freelancer.com.

But don’t overlook freelance sites for a specific industry, such as Axiom, for the legal profession, or sites run by staffing company TrueBlue for people seeking on-demand, temporary or freelance work in manufacturing, construction, transportation, hospitality and other industries.

3. Invest in Training

It’s especially important for older freelancers not to get complacent about what they know. “If you’re a freelancer in marketing, you need to train yourself on digital marketing and social media. You have to show potential clients you’re competitive,” Sedlar said. “If you can’t, you can’t establish yourself as a money-making freelancer.”

According to Freelancing in America: 2019, 73% of skilled freelancers believe that skills training is essential to their work and 71% update their skills to ensure they stay marketable as ways of working evolve. What’s more, 65% of skilled freelancers have done some kind of skills training in the last six months.

Freelancers can keep their digital skills current through free online training from vendors of office software. Or they can sign up for paid classes online through sites such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy or from local community colleges.

Don’t neglect soft skills, such as being able to communicate or connect with other people, work on a team, or negotiate. In fact, the percentage of freelancers who feel it’s very important to have soft skills is almost equal to those who feel that way about hard skills, according to the report

Soft skills are a big part of working as a freelancer because you need to know things like when it’s okay to push back during a negotiation and when it’s not, said Kasriel.

4. If You’re Thinking of Becoming a Freelancer, Ease Into It

Kasriel recommends people considering working for themselves do so slowly and gradually. That’s because there’s a lot to learn when you’re becoming a freelancer. In addition to finding work, you need to learn how to negotiate fees, budget for unpredictable income, find health insurance and pay estimated taxes.

Start by moonlighting or work on a project or two on a freelance basis outside your day job to see how it goes.

According to the report, freelancers spend 53% of their time on billable work and the remainder on things that can’t be billed to a client, like marketing. So, if your sideline freelancing work grows to the point where you’re billing 20 to 25 hours a week — the rough equivalent of a 40- to 50-hour workweek — that’s an indication you’re making enough to go freelance all the time, Kasriel said.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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Bungalo Real Estate Now Includes Paranormal Home Inspections, Sort Of

Bungalo is a residential real estate company serving many big markets in the southeast. Unlike most realtors, however, Bungalo claims to vertically integrate the entire house-buying process, including a thorough inspection process prior to selling any home. Well, to make sure people really understood how thorough their inspections are, they turned to the paranormal. Because, hey, Halloween.

I love the idea, but worry the brand didn’t take the idea far enough. Here’s a short film on the idea and then I’ll break it down.

Exaggerate the point to make the point.

It’s not an uncommon strategy to exaggerate your key point in order to make sure people really get it. Skittles has done it with the colorful “Skittles” dots all over kids’ faces. Tyson Chicken did it more explicitly with its “Powered by” campaign many years ago, where superhuman feats were happening as a result of Tyson’s protein “power.” And there were many others.

What I like about the Bungalo example above is that the exaggeration, while paranormal in nature, is not completely out of the ordinary. There are psychics with TV shows, countless ghost hunting shows, paranormal podcasts like The Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold, blogs on the paranormal, YouTube Channels. Paranormal is everywhere. And the concept and intrigue of a “haunted house” is etched in our psyches.

So a paranormal inspection is not a ridiculous exaggeration. Some who believe in such things might even call this new service useful. But regardless, this idea is great because the paranormal story is juxtaposed to the everyday Bungalo-man conducting his thorough “normal” house inspection.

We are left with the impression that if Bungalo would go to such lengths to “inspect” the house with psychics, then the everyday inspection must be incredible. Nice.

Sadly, this paranormal idea doesn’t quite make it to the other side.

If you’re going to come up with a great idea like this, then don’t just sorta do it, really do it. When I first saw the film above I was excited to go to the web site to see how they paid it off. But there was nothing at the top of the page, so I scrolled down. Nothing. Scrolled all the way to the bottom. Nothing.

Not one word about the “Paranormal Inspections” that I could easily find. So I clicked around trying to find it on other pages. Took a few clicks to finally find a blog post on the idea. A blog post. That’s it.

But in reading the blog post I got excited again because it included what looked like a real Paranormal Inspection report (the house in question was clear of any evil spirits) and then said, “You can view the full Paranormal Inspection Report for any of our home listings (and all other inspection reports) at bungalohomes.com.”

With that promise I clicked around to 4-5 homes in the Atlanta area expecting to see their respective Paranormal Inspection Report, but found nothing but a normal real estate page with normal real estate information. It was nicely designed with lots of information on each house, but nothing paranormal about it. Maybe I missed it, but I was actively looking for it and found nothing. I imagine that’s what others who are less motivated than me will also find.

Bungalo has a great idea here and there’s still time before Halloween to make it more than a blog post. Include the theme on the homepage–that’s easy. Add paranormal reports to every listing on the site–less easy, but you said it was on all of your listings. Offer free paranormal reports to anyone looking to list a house for the first time. Light up your listed homes with scary lights every night. Hold open houses on Halloween night and give away candy to the kids trick-or-treating (kids whose parents following along might want to look around at the house real quick). Publicize a house that actually has some honest-to-goodness paranormal readings from honest-to-goodness psychics. Might actually sell it quicker, but will generate more buzz.

In sum, if you’re going to do something interesting and provocative like this, don’t park it on a blog post. Do it up big.

Otherwise, even a great idea like this will seem like nothing more than an apparition.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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7 Ways To Offer Flex Work At Your Company

By: Allison Matejczyk

Flexible work is way more than just working from home. There are now five generations of employees in the workforce, each with different work-styles and needs inside and outside of the office. In order to retain talent and attract new talent, companies need to foster an inclusive culture and encourage a work environment where you can have both a career and life that you love.

At a recent Ellevate Network D&I Roundtable, senior business leaders from across industries which included law, financial services, management consulting, technology, and education, shared their flexible work best practices and policies. Here’s what we learned.

Establish Core Working Hours

An example of core hours can be from 10am–4pm or 9am–3pm depending on your industry and time zone. Employees are asked to book important department and cross-team meetings during this time only. Hours outside of this window could be used for individual contributor work.

Suggest Days Out of the Office

Yes, you read that correctly. Suggesting working outside of the office one or two days allows time for head space and undistracted time to think, which could lead to more creativity and innovation. Forcing or mandating people to do this may not work, since many prefer an office environment or routine. Another way to structure this benefit would be to encourage a balance of working from and away from the office each week.

Work From Anywhere You Want

I have yet to find a company that doesn’t have an empty desk or two in one of their offices. Give employees the option to explore a new city or country through a location change that is either temporary or permanent. If your organization doesn’t have offices in different locations, you can also offer the option to work remote full-time.

[Related: Commute Optional: Building Flexibility into Your Company’s Culture]

Red Days

These are days each month that everyone needs to be in the office and happen around 1-2 times a month or more. Meetings that are best to do in-person should happen on a “red day.” Red days can also be used for full team and company retreats, or culture building activities. If possible, employees should avoid scheduling doctor appointments or other personal commitments on red days.

9-80s

9-80s are where you work 80 hours in 9 days and have every other Friday(or another day) off in a two week period. I often see parents who return to work after having a baby transition to this schedule to allow for an extra day home with the child. However, under this structure, it’s best to keep your day out of the office consistent(every Friday, every Tuesday, etc.), and put your working hours in your email signature, which will help others stay in the know.

Flex Holidays

As I write this article, it’s Yom Kippur and the Jewish community is observing a day of fasting, repentance, and worship, while others go on with their daily work routine. Many may have had to take a vacation day to observe the holiday. And in less than three months, many people will be off for Christmas. For those who don’t observe Christmas, Good Friday, or other religious holidays, employers can make these flex holidays and give employees the option to do whatever is best for their personal situation. A day working when the majority of the company is off could turn out to be one of the most productive days.

Sabbaticals and Career Breaks

A 2018 Gallup poll found that two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job, which can have a significant negative effect on performance. Our “always-on” and connected society is significantly contributing to this, and a career break or sabbatical could be the way to hit the reset button and focus on yourself. However, most companies do require a specific tenure with an organization before this benefit kicks in.

[Related: How I Negotiated For Remote Flexibility]

These flexible work arrangements will not work for all companies, teams, industries, or roles, and it may require a bit more planning ahead. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to trust. Leaders and managers must trust their employees and give them the freedom to make their own decisions. It’s important to ​have open and honest conversations with your employees about how you will reach your goals and deliver quality work, while having flexibility. Setting clear objectives, outlining policies and scenarios in a guide-to-working-remote toolkit, and providing good telecommuting tools will be key for setting your employees up for success. And remember, flexible work cannot be seen as a negative, and needs to be inclusive for ALL employees, not just for caregivers or parents.

Allison Matejczyk is Director of Corporate Partnerships at Ellevate Network and is responsible for generating new business with national and global companies and overall management of Ellevate’s partners and sponsors. With a BS in Finance from The Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, Allison previously worked among top executives at leading financial and wealth management institutions throughout her career. She served as an Executive Administrator to a C-Suite Executive at Citigroup and Bank of America, and was AVP of Sales & Marketing for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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Get Ready for the Next Recession Using This Magician’s Secret

A recession is inevitable; the only question is when it will happen. Many economic commentators are already predicting a crash point based on textbook leading indicators like the declining gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of key economies such as the United States.

Award-winning magician, author and Vanishing Inc. Magic cofounder Joshua Jay agrees a recession is inevitable, although he looks elsewhere for proof. In 2009, he founded retail business Vanishing Inc. Magic with friend, and fellow magician, Andi Gladwin. Today, it’s one of the largest online magic stores in the United States.

“The things I observe happening now are things that happened before the last recession,” says Jay, who has performed in over 100 countries and holds a Guinness World Record for card tricks.

During prosperous periods, a large corporation might spend up to $100 thousand on a lavish holiday party with ice sculptures and entertainment such as magicians. That changes when the company faces uncertain economic conditions.

“Now the company event planners have to tell me as a magician, ‘I’m sorry we can’t have you this year,’ or, ‘Last year we had you do two shows and walk-around magic. This year, we only need you to do walk-around magic,'” he says.

“Secondly, we have seen a slowdown in magic sales because, for most of the amateurs and hobbyists that make up a large portion of the magic community, magic is purchased with disposable income. So we aren’t seeing a total overall slowdown in numbers, but we’re seeing ramped-up marketing efforts result in the same sales numbers. And to me, that spells, not doom, but certainly a potential slowdown.”

How To Prepare for the Recession

Jay worked through the 2008 recession by growing multiple areas of his business, including book sales and his retail business. He has presented lectures and keynote presentations in countries around the world, written several popular books, including Magic: The Complete Course, and even has his own residency show in New York City called Six Impossible Things.

“I had outlets that were under my control,” he says about the recession of 2008. “The guys that really suffered in the last recession were the guys that relied on calls from clients. They relied on work to come into their phone and their inbox, and those people really suffered because those things dried up.”

Prepare For The Crash Through Diversification

It’s easier than ever for professionals to diversify their income streams. Jay advises entrepreneurs to find outlets of work under their control and grow them now, before the next recession arrives.

“I went out and contacted [magicians in] Dublin and Belfast and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to be in your area. I’m going to do a magic lecture. Let’s negotiate a price, and let’s put a tour together.’ I’m able to say, ‘Let’s put out magic and market it to magicians and have them come to us.'”

A nonfiction author, for example, could offer a high-end speaking package complementing one of their books. A musician could teach music online alongside performing and streaming their materials. A corporate executive could spend five or ten hours a week building a side hustle with the help of freelancers and outsourcers.

An executive might find this approach easier than a creative. The latter often rails against business, believing it detracts from the quality of their books, music or art. Jay finds time for both, although he admits it’s challenging.

“They always say, ‘It’s a business. It’s show business,’” he says. “As my career grows and expands, I am more and more needed on the business side of things, but I am not always comfortable in that role.”

He advocates hard work, finding a team and blocking out time for creative projects.

“What I want to be doing is writing, creating, testing, performing,” he says. “There just comes a certain point when I know my inbox is exploding. I know that our team, which is about 12 people, are in need of me for different things, but I will just literally turn it off and go, ‘I’ve got to spend two hours rehearsing, or building or developing.’”

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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The Next Frontier In Impact Investing: Investing in Refugees

The world is seeing the largest displacement of human population since World War Two. In the developed world, the influx of refugees has largely been seen as a burden. But with every crisis comes an opportunity. A few impact investors are betting on the imperative of unleashing the economic potential of refugees, and are pioneering a movement of refugee lens investing.

Refugee lens investing is defined as the deployment of capital toward refugees and the communities hosting them. According to Refugee Investment Network, the term refugee “refers to an inclusive group of people who are externally or internally forcibly displaced, whether through armed or political conflict, ethnic tension, systematic discrimination, climate change or natural disaster, or the displacement of indigenous communities.”

At the Global Impact Investing Network conference in October 2019, gathering 1,000 of the world’s leading impact investors, a panel of experts discussed the rationale behind refugee lens investing. There is a strong business case – for example, several research publications have demonstrated that refugees tend to be more entrepreneurial – in the U.S., the rate of entrepreneurship among refugees is 4% higher than that among US-born populations; in Australia, they were twice as likely to be entrepreneurs as the wider Australian population. 

“When we first conceptualised refugee lens investing, we took a lot of lessons learnt from gender lens investing,” says John Kluge, Founder and Managing Director of Refugee Investment Network. They have defined six different ways by which investments can qualify as a refugee investment.

David Bohigian, from Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is an early supporter of the gender lens investing movement by signing up to the 2X challenge, to mobilize $3 billion by 2020 for investing in businesses that will benefit for women. He agreed with this approach of cross-fertilisation to build the field. “We hope that in a few years, we will be able to catalyse supply of capital towards refugee lens investing, as we did for gender lens investing,” said Bohigian.

Refugee lens investing is a relatively new topic being discussed in impact investing, and the movement is barely two years old. However, a lot of activities are already underway. Kois Invest, an impact investor based in Belgium, are designing a social housing fund for low-income refugees. 17 Asset Management, a global impact investor with an office in Jordan, are launching a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Jordan Growth Fund, a $100 million investment vehicle, focused on driving sustainable job opportunities for refugees, women and youth.

“If you combine all the refugee groups in Jordan, 1 in every 3 people in Jordan is a refugee. We believe that investing inclusively and intentionally in refugees can help push us forward. As part of the SDG Jordan Fund which is a blended finance SME investment vehicle, we will be prioritizing investments through a refugee lens and as part of our focus on SDG 8 our intention is to assist portfolio companies in extending employment opportunities to refugees into their operations,” says Mary Nazzal-Batayneh, Founding Partner of 17 Asset Management and Head of MENA.

Refugee lens investing is a nascent movement, but it has potential to address one of the biggest political and social crises of our times. “In the absence of political leverage, economic leverage can work to create change,” says Kluge when reflecting on his vision for the movement.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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How The NHL’s San Jose Sharks Are Leading The Way To A Digitally Transformed Sports Experience With Doug Bentz -Podcast

The world of the fan experience is about to be revolutionized because franchise owners have recognized three essential things that are happening. One is a shift in the main generations attending sporting events. Millennials and younger means what qualifies as great entertainment is now being compared to a vastly different media and entertainment landscape that mattered ten plus years ago. Food taste, immersive experiences and overall entertainment needs elsewhere are driving what we expect in the stadium and at the game. Secondly, the vast array of new technologies in AI, 5G and others means fans get more immersed than ever before. Finally, how sports teams decide to make money as entertainment centers and not just sporting venues is a subtle but vital change in the way the economics of sports franchise ownership is being defined.

Doug Bentz is the VP Marketing for the San Jose Sharks. They are one of the most innovative franchises in sports entertainment and what they are doing and thinking about.

Doug takes us to some fascinating places where the definition of the fan, the experience and even what a sports team and franchise will or could feel like in ten years is eye-opening. For example, buying a ticket to the game will not be the same as buying an experience going to, being at and after the game. It’s a great discussion. Doug talks about the new must-haves, not the new nice to haves for the best end to end experience for fans, 365 days a year and not just 30+ games a year and even where teams might also have their own OTT networks.

As far back as 2014, sports fans spent about 7.7 hours consuming sport. Imagine taking even half of what Doug talked about as near- term realities and then imagine what that consumption, engagement and the nature of that relationship could be. Those consumption habits could be vastly more extensive and different in ten years. This all feels like it will arrive even faster than before because it will occur in both the digital and physical spaces.

Doug’s view on the future of the sport, it’s economics, the uses of technology on and off the ice and the idea of experiences and not just the game are intriguing. Sports are still going to be a major concern for media, our lives and digital water cooler conversations for years to come. It’s a two-part podcast about the world of sports and entertainment you and our children should be able to experience in the next ten years.

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The world of the fan experience is about to be revolutionized because franchise owners have recognized three essential things that are happening. One is a shift in the main generations attending sporting events. Millennials and younger means what qualifies as great entertainment is now being compared to a vastly different media and entertainment landscape that mattered ten plus years ago. Food taste, immersive experiences and overall entertainment needs elsewhere are driving what we expect in the stadium and at the game. Secondly, the vast array of new technologies in AI, 5G and others means fans get more immersed than ever before. Finally, how sports teams decide to make money as entertainment centers and not just sporting venues is a subtle but vital change in the way the economics of sports franchise ownership is being defined.

Doug Bentz is the VP Marketing for the San Jose Sharks. They are one of the most innovative franchises in sports entertainment and what they are doing and thinking about.

Doug takes us to some fascinating places where the definition of the fan, the experience and even what a sports team and franchise will or could feel like in ten years is eye-opening. For example, buying a ticket to the game will not be the same as buying an experience going to, being at and after the game. It’s a great discussion. Doug talks about the new must-haves, not the new nice to haves for the best end to end experience for fans, 365 days a year and not just 30+ games a year and even where teams might also have their own OTT networks.

As far back as 2014, sports fans spent about 7.7 hours consuming sport. Imagine taking even half of what Doug talked about as near- term realities and then imagine what that consumption, engagement and the nature of that relationship could be. Those consumption habits could be vastly more extensive and different in ten years. This all feels like it will arrive even faster than before because it will occur in both the digital and physical spaces.

Doug’s view on the future of the sport, it’s economics, the uses of technology on and off the ice and the idea of experiences and not just the game are intriguing. Sports are still going to be a major concern for media, our lives and digital water cooler conversations for years to come. It’s a two-part podcast about the world of sports and entertainment you and our children should be able to experience in the next ten years.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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Johnson & Johnson Beats Earnings Expectations Amid Lawsuits

Thousands of consumer health-related legal battles have not distracted Johnson & Johnson from posting higher than expected earnings this quarter, citing booming drug sales that perked up revenues. 

“As we look ahead, we remain confident in the strength of our broad-based business model,” said Alex Gorsky, the company’s chairman and CEO, which in recent months has maintained a focus on its sales of prescription drugs and cancer treatment drugs and has also received approval on six new medications.

Revenues grew nearly 2%;  U.S. pharmaceutical sales increased 4% since last year while consumer sales grew at 1.7%, most notably its Neutrogena beauty products. Baby care sales, however, fell 24% year over year, which includes sales of its baby powder product that was the subject of thousands of lawsuits brought against the company since 2018.

Late last year, consumers began alleging that Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based baby powder contained asbestos and was causing ovarian cancer. In December, the New York Times reported that a federal judge ordered the company to pay a group of 22 female plaintiffs $4.69 billion in damages, which it then appealed; a Missouri judge affirmed the award. Share prices shot down 10% following the verdict.

Since then, thousands have filed suit against Johnson & Johnson, even blaming the company for its alleged role in the opioid epidemic; earlier this month, the company announced that it settled with two Ohio counties that sued for inappropriate marketing of opioid products, paying them a total of $10 million and promised to donate $5.4 million to an opioid crisis-related charity. The settlement, the company stated, would help them avoid “the resource demands and uncertainty of a trial.”

A week later, it was hit with another $8 billion in Pennsylvania for a similar claim against the company’s marketing practices in relation to an antipsychotic drug that caused young boys to grow female breasts, Bloomberg reported. Unlike Wells Fargo, the company did not report its third quarter legal expense accrual related to the lawsuits. 

Share prices have gone up 2.25% since markets opened this morning following the release of the earnings results, as investors were reassured by the company’s continued sales growth, despite legal troubles.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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UNICEF USA BrandVoice: The Battle To End Undernutrition, Obesity And Hidden Hunger

One-third of the world’s children under age 5 are malnourished. Here’s how UNICEF is taking on a broken food system to help children thrive.

Poverty, urbanization, climate change and poor eating choices are leaving an alarmingly high number of children malnourished, according to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2019 report, “Children, Food and Nutrition: Growing Well in a Changing World.”

Globally, at least 1 in 3 children under age 5 — 200 million — is undernourished or overweight, and 1 in 2 suffers from hidden hunger due to a lack of essential vitamins and minerals. The greatest burden of all forms of malnutrition falls on children and young people from the poorest and most marginalized communities, perpetuating poverty across generations. 

Without healthy, nutritious food, children cannot grow up to reach their full potential

“Despite all the technological, cultural and social advances of the past few decades, we have lost sight of this most basic fact: If children eat poorly, they live poorly,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Millions of children subsist on an unhealthy diet because they simply do not have a better choice. The way we understand and respond to malnutrition needs to change: It is not just about getting children enough to eat; it is above all about getting them the right food to eat. That is our common challenge today.”

“The way we understand and respond to malnutrition needs to change: It is not just about getting children enough to eat; it is above all about getting them the right food to eat.”

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore

Almost 2 out of 3 children between 6 months and 2 years are not fed food that supports their rapidly developing bodies and brains. They may survive, but they will not thrive.

Overwhelmingly, mothers said the main barrier to feeding their babies well was financial. “I cannot even afford to give my baby unhealthy foods because we do not have the money,” said a 20-year-old mother in Zimbabwe. Though breastfeeding can save lives, only 42 percent of children under 6 months are exclusively breastfed and an increasing number of children are fed infant formula, which is more expensive and less nutritious than breast milk.  

As children grow older, they are bombarded by inappropriate marketing and advertising of unhealthy food, and inundated with ultra-processed food, fast food and highly sweetened drinks. As a result, overweight and obesity levels are increasing worldwide. From 2000 to 2016, the proportion of overweight children between the ages of 5 and 19 doubled from 1 in 10 to almost 1 in 5. Ten times more girls and 12 times more boys in this age group suffer from obesity today than in 1975.

From 2000 to 2016, the proportion of overweight children between the ages of 5 and 19 doubled from 1 in 10 to almost 1 in 5

Meanwhile, the number of severe food crises caused by climate-related disasters continues to rise. Floods, storms, drought and extreme heat around the world have collectively doubled in number since 1990, with devastating results. Drought, for example, is responsible for 80 percent of damage and losses in agriculture, dramatically altering what food is available to children and families, as well as the quality and price of that food.

Nutrition has long been at the core of UNICEF’s work. In 2018, UNICEF:

  • helped provide lifesaving therapeutic feeding for 4.1 million children with severe acute malnutrition
  • improved the quality of diets for more than 15.6 millin children through home-based fortification
  • supported programs to prevent anemia and other forms of nutrition for 58 million adolescent girls and boys
  • ensured that more than 300 million children received services for the prevention of stunting and other forms of malnutrition

To address this growing malnutrition crisis, UNICEF is issuing an urgent appeal to governments, the private sector, donors, parents, families and businesses to help children grow healthy

To address this growing malnutrition crisis in all its forms, UNICEF is issuing an urgent appeal to governments, the private sector, donors, parents, families and businesses to help children grow healthy by: 

  • Empowering families, children and young people to demand nutritious food: Demand creates supply. When healthy options are affordable, convenient and desirable, parents and caregivers make better food choices for children. 
  • Driving food suppliers to do the right thing for children: Sustainable, healthy food must be available, affordable, safe and convenient. Governments must create a level playing field for food producers and suppliers. 
  • Building healthy food environments for all children: Mandatory front-of-package labeling and protection against exploitative marketing practices can help children make nutritious choices.
  • Mobilizing supportive systems to scale up nutrition results for every child: Health, water and sanitation, education and social protection systems must work together to help ensure that children and families have access to healthy diets and that children receive the nutrition services they need to develop to their full potential.
  • Collecting, analyzing and using good-quality data and evidence to guide action and track progress: Accurate and timely data on the diets of children, adolescents and women will help governments understand malnutrition and respond with effective policies, strategies and programs.

“We are losing ground in the fight for healthy diets,” said Fore. “This is not a battle we can win on our own. We need governments, the private sector and civil society to prioritize child nutrition and work together to address the causes of unhealthy eating in all its forms.”

Please support UNICEF’s work to help children and adolescents survive and thrive.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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Fixing The “Broken Rung” Could Add 1 Million Women To Management Positions

1 million women may become managers in the next five years. A new study found that the biggest obstacle women face to advancing to leadership positions is the first promotion to manager and provided solutions for removing the barriers that hold women back. The fifth annual “Women in the Workplace” study by the consulting firm McKinsey and Company and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s non-profit Lean In surveyed more than 68,500 employees and 329 organizations and looked at five years of their previously collected data to understand the gender leadership gap in corporate America and how to fix it.

The “broken rung” is holding women back

For every 100 men promoted or hired to a manager position, there are 72 women given that first promotion, the study found. This “first promotion gap” is more pronounced for women of color. For every 100 entry-level men promoted to manager, just 68 Latina women and 58 Black women are given the same opportunity. Similarly, for every 100 men hired into a manager role, 57 Latina women and 64 Black women are hired for that level. The researchers call this discrepancy the “broken rung” and explain that the ripple effects impact representation at all levels of a company.

“Since men significantly outnumber women at the manager level, there are significantly fewer women to hire or promote to senior managers. The number of women decreases at every subsequent level,” the researchers wrote, “So even as hiring and promotion rates improve for women at senior levels, women as a whole can never catch up. There are simply too few women to advance.”

The “broken rung” isn’t widely recognized

People don’t realize that the promotion to manager is one of the biggest challenges to reaching gender parity. Instead, a majority of the human resources leaders and other employees surveyed said that the main barriers are that women receive less sponsorship, that there are too few qualified women to promote and that women and men are evaluated on different standards.

More than half said they think that their company will reach gender parity in leadership positions in the next 10 years, which is more optimistic than the researchers projection that it will take decades at the current rate, and might not happen at all. 

The “broken rung” can be fixed

The researchers propose that there are five primary solutions companies can take to fix the “broken rung” and achieve gender equality sooner. That includes setting a goal for the number of women promoted to first-level management, requiring that a diverse slate of candidates is considered for every position, making hiring managers go through unconscious bias training and establishing a clear hiring and promotion process to prevent bias. It is also critical for women to have the experience and support necessary to be ready for managerial positions, such as leadership training and access to high-profile assignments and mentor and sponsor relationships.

The good news is that the report finds that if women are promoted and hired to first-level management positions at the same rate as their male counterparts, there will be 1 million more women in management positions in corporate America in the next five years.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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UNICEF USA BrandVoice: UNICEF Urges All Parties To Protect Children In Syria

As violence escalates in northeastern Syria, many children are at imminent risk of injury, death and displacement.

An estimated 70,000 children have been displaced since hostilities in northeastern Syria escalated nearly a week ago. UNICEF is providing emergency assistance to children and families in 33 emergency shelters, mostly schools and unfinished buildings. UNICEF can confirm the deaths of at least 4 children, with 9 injured, in northeastern Syria. Seven children have reportedly been killed in Turkey.

An estimated 70,000 children have been displaced since hostilities escalated in northeastern Syria  

To support internally displaced persons in the vicinity of Hassakeh city, UNICEF and partners have trucked in 95,000 liters of water and installed 12 water storage tanks. Ten thousand family hygiene kits are en route to Hassakeh, to be delivered by UNICEF partner Al Yamama for distribution. 

An additional 4,300 winter clothing and hygiene kits have been dispatched from Damascus to Hassakeh, with an estimated arrival of October 19. UNICEF is working with partners to deliver water to Al Hol camp, where the UNICEF-funded reverse osmosis plant remains functional to ensure access to safe drinking water. 

“I urge all parties to protect children and the civilian infrastructure on which they depend, in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “The use of explosive weapons in populated areas causes unacceptable harm to children.”

Some of the displaced people are reportedly heading towards Ar-Raqqa city, while the majority are heading toward other locations including Amouda, Al Derbasiya, Tal Tamer and Hassakeh city. Internally displaced persons in Hassakeh city are mostly being hosted by friends, relatives and the local community, in addition to the collective shelters.

In Ras al-Ain, the Alouk water pumping station reportedly came under attack on October 10. This station provides safe water to at least 400,000 people in Hassakeh governorate, including displacement camps. Technical and operational staff have not been able to get to the water station to repair it due to ongoing hostilities.

In Tel Abyad, two schools have reportedly been taken over for military use. UNICEF’s partners in Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain have had to stop most of their work in the area. Many of their staff and volunteers are among the displaced population.

Many UNICEF partner staff and volunteers are among the displaced population

Child protection programs have been suspended in Ras al-Ain, Mabrouka camp, Tal Halaf, Sulok and Tel Abyad. Health and nutrition response in Ras al-Ain and Mabrouka camp have also been suspended. Schools in these areas have been closed and the water supply has been impacted.

UNICEF continues to maintain a presence in Qamishli through its staff, facilitators and partners and has stockpiled health, nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene supplies covering the needs of 45,000 children and women for one month in addition to seasonal clothes for children under the age of 5, with additional supplies in the pipeline.

UNICEF continues to maintain a presence in Qamishli and has stocked up on health, nutrition and WASH supplies

An escalation of hostilities in the area is likely to have serious consequences on the ability of humanitarian actors to provide protection and assistance to thousands of vulnerable children. UNICEF urges all parties to: 

  • Avoid attacking areas where civilians, including children, may be found.
  • Prevent children from being separated from their caregivers.
  • Allow unimpeded access to independent humanitarian organizations to deliver lifesaving assistance to children and families affected by the conflict.

UNICEF reiterates that the only solution to the brutal conflict in Syria is a political solution. The protection of children in northeastern Syria and across the country must be prioritized at all times.

Please help UNICEF’s work to save and protect vulnerable children. 

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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