The 100 Most Influential Women in Financial Markets

Can anyone shine in the financial markets amidst crisis?

Not “anyone” of course, but it’s 100 accomplished women from all over the world who paved their way into the business world and made it to the top, fighting against the global economic recession. In trying times, you can still be “optinistic”! In an attention-grabbing article published in Wall Street Journal on September 14, the spotlights are on ten remarkable women where their achievements and success are emphasized. To read the whole article click here:

An Indian way of life!

Need rehabilitation amidst this recession that seemed to affect every aspect of our lives? No, the answer is not an aroma therapy in a SPA resort.

The solution might rather be in looking up to a mysterious indigenous tribe, almost cut off from the world, yet happy and peaceful! David Romanelli read about Christopher McDougall’s research on the Tarahumara Indians and wrote, on Friday September 4, 2009 a remarkable article stating 3 tips to improve daily life and get rid of the everyday unavoidable stress. Read it all:;_ylt=Ahe02vv0DmnvBLU.yiHo7bZqbqU5

Pursuit of Happiness?

“Happiness, whether in business or private life, leaves very little trace in history” (A French historian, Fernand Braudel).

“A very little trace”? Maybe, but it could be a very significant one, especially if joy is sought by tourism addicts who really know where to go and what to do. Visiting one of the happiest cities of the world is not that undoable after all! Zack O’Malley Greenburg suggested 10 names on September 2, you can always choose one address (or more!), pack, and go to the “pursuit of happiness”! Click here to read full article:;_ylt=AomUyTcykaORkE.HdZxgAIFabqU5

Raise, please!

A colleague shared with me a nice article about raises during crisis.

You can still be positive during the crisis, and yes, ask for a raise! This is what Kim Fusaro thinks, inspired by Libby Gill, an executive coach and the author of You Unstuck. But the question here is how will you do it without realizing in a blink of an eye that you became a desperate “unemployed” crisis victim? The key idea we think you should always remember is: “Even if you’re not thrilled with your job, you’ll be a lot worse off without one”. Read the whole article published on September 1,;_ylt=Arxti08IsMwyW3rAm4jUDdxabqU5

Roadmap for Recovery: Five Ways to Help Your Company Survive Now – by Ravi Sawhney

Very interesting article by Ravi Sawhney published in Fast Company on June 4th about ways of helping companies survive and recover in difficult times.

The author highlights five ways “in which design thinking can provide a roadmap that will help you position your company to not only survive the recession, but thrive through the recovery”.

He shares ideas ranging from business opportunity mining within each consumer problem. He talks about creativity in doing business, flexibility in the offering, adjustments in the marketing mix and pitch, and also about the importance of communication “with honesty and optimism that is essential to building and maintaining brand loyalty” along with the use of interactive and social media to establish and maintain a two-way communication with the consumer.
The author supports his ideas with examples from Apple iPhone, Dell, etc.

Click here to read the full post on the Fast Company Design Reach Blog.

Entrepreneurs can change the world

Excellent video found on . Quite recent and inspiring. I think it is time for entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity and most importantly, once again, resilience. Enjoy!

The opportunity cost of financial rewards during crisis

Political carnage set apart, headlines of recent papers and online properties are crammed full with unemployment statistics flaring in blaze alongside bonus cuts. Let us not linger too much on the top CEO’s interminable zeros, as they are equivalent, on average, to 296 employees further down the hierarchical chain of command. Smirking? Do not, it is coming your way.

Budget cuts, be it justified or not, will reach each and every organization of this world. The perfect excuse is laid out in the open, these are matters of crisis, and priority is given to survival. First start with reducing headcount, and then reduce your marketing budget. Why spend on marketing and advertising during crisis? (Kindly read this last sentence on a sarcastic tone).

Still smirking, knowing that you will probably – certainly – not be warranted a bonus this year? Well, it remains advisable to prepare yourself ahead of time and eradicate any potential disappointment. It is either this, or be an adept of unemployment, which is unfortunately, ravaging all industries. This is your opportunity cost, that of your survival.

2009 stress gotcha? Look to your family!

Are you worried about your job future in 2009…or past 2009? Is it considered tentative in this upset market time? Is the stress building to crescendos not seen in a Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture? Look to your family. Your family may also be getting vibes from you and are worried too! Take that extra moment and spend time with them. If you do not have children and are married or are in a relationship, curry your partner with no expense favors. Give him or her some time and about your frustrations…he or she are probably having similar upsets. The conversations can lead to a new strength in the relationship. The key word is not just to talk but to LISTEN. Your partner may have the one key idea that might offer a release or the gambit needed to resolve your quandary.

You may have children…give them a chance to see you in a new light. Make an interesting change in your habits with them. A piece of time, a game, a trip to the park. It doesn’t cost anything but some time. A fun game that I used to play with my son and daughter when I was going through extremely rough times in a divorce, was to take them to the Dollar store once a week. Each week I gave them a dollar, plus tax of course, and we had a stratagem each week. One week would to find something that you thought the other person would like. The next week was something for the kitchen, something goofey..the idea is endless. My kids are now 17 and 20…and we did that this Christmas time. Not only was the time fun, but the remembrance of past times were heart warming for us all!

It may not seem like this is time for trying to set new free time standards as we are all sweating out new CHANGE. I’ve been told change is good…many times it hasn’t been as it upset the comfort I was used to. However CHANGE is inevitable, and CHANGE we must. Let CHANGE work for you in your personal time. Resilient we are!

The Greatest Generation

Tom Brokow is convinced that the Greatest Generation was that of the people that had endured the The Great Depression and then fought in WWII.

I hail those people, and my parents were of that generation. I am who I am because of that generation. I am also from the middle of the Baby Boomer generation…the ones that were coddled and told that they were to achieve greater strengths than those that came before us. We were the Viet Nam veterans, the new sex and drug generation that supposedly changed the world for all time. We were the Haight/Ashbury generation…The Beatles and Rock and Roll! We were also the largest generation in the history of the world thanks to returning soldiers going home to their families and their special girls after WWII.Apparently, The Greatest Generation forgot about the 1920′s…the sordid behaviors of the Flappers…the Speakeasies that were formed underground as the 18th Amendment prohibiting alcohol in the US. Yes they forgot the hash and heroin dens too. I remember those of The Greatest Generation telling my generation how worthless we were, that we will never amount to anything. However, we were also the generation of assorted souls that attended and graduated from colleges all over the world in number never seen and probably never will again. My generation is the one that is now at the top of government control over every country in this world. Yes, we have made mistakes…but many of those mistakes were inherited from The Greatest Generation. The division of countries of the world after
WWII- not by historical religion or tribe- but by the Colonial Powers of the 18th and 19th centuries. Yes, the Greatest Generation instituted the Marshall Plan…NATO and SEATO…but also the Iron Curtain and Communism. The Greatest Generation also gave strife again to the Middle East by making a new country for displaced people now known as Israel.
All sort of regional improprieties were now the seed for Nationalism in many regions of the world. Continuing killings in Ireland, Middle East, South East Asia, Central Asia, Soviet Union, China, the Koreans…unabated strife in Africa. These are all the problems handed to MY generation from the Greatest Generation.

World hunger, continuing social problems, religious strife, over population and yes…the OIL question. Energy consumption by the US and European countries, developing Third world economies and the economies of India and China bring us to the 21st century. How MY generation handles these complex problems and how MY generation hands future generations these problems…and with what consensus do MY generations see our children? We raised you and gave you unforeseen opportunities and definite abilities. This world has problems that seem uncontrollable or even intolerable. You, the youth of the world now have instant communication, by voice, picture and print. You have new abilities in this vast new opportunity of communications, to pass along ideas that even 20 years ago was unheard of. You have the ability to talk to people that you would never have been able to meet in a normal course of life.
You have the ability to talk about new ideas, solve problems and institute change. You have the ability now to change the course mankind…without strife or war. Educate yourself in this new era.
Education is power…the power to and the ability to set a new course of the 21st Century.

Yes, The Greatest Generation did change the world and they did it with the tools at hand in their generation. They made mistakes…they didn’t have the tools and knowledge that is garnered in todays world. With all that is available to us now…you…the youth of the world have the ability to NOT make the historical mistakes of the past. You have the ability to make the common man and his family realize that we are a common man. Our wants and needs are similar from nation to nation. We can live together in this world without the historical hatreds. YOU however will have to overcome that one commonality that still separates mankind. HATRED! HATRED has to be eradicated! Eradicate misconceptions and you will be well on your way to eradicate hatred. Eradicate hatred and Tom Brokow will have to edit ‘The Greatest Generation’ the Great Generation’ because YOU will be “The Greatest Generation!” That is your assignment for the 21st Century. Are you up to it?”

Did You Know?

Fantastic and very inspiring video on the progression of information technology, researched by Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod, and Jeff Bronman.

A good friend sent me this video late November, and since then I’ve seen it many times and shared it with a lot of colleagues and friends. It had on me and on all people I have seen watching it the same impact: “Amazing!” A lot of thoughts and reactions came but they can all be summarized by a strong feeling of responsibility to maintain a progressive pace in life and to aspire to make a good use of each and every single moment in it. Crisis or not, we should be properly investing our time in 2009. Downturn or not, we should face all challenges and thrive to identify new opportunities.

2009 beholds signs of behavioral change

Yes, bitter memories from 2008; pessimistic about 2009? Be not, for it will inflict behavioral changes, stirring you away from bad habits – hopefully that is.

Too many installments left on your Italian-design-Japanese-conception-China-made egg stirrer? Still feeling soreness on your lips’ job leasing? That hand-tailored suit weighted a bit too much on your earn-free-air-miles-credit card?

2009 will compel you to live within your own means.

Credit crunches will restore reason. We shall accept to drive cars less than five meters long with a hood ornament. Our children will skip obligatory attendance in each and every club around town. Fancy clothes will have to go without the three to four digit tag. It will be fine not to apply for a loan each and every time LCD screens grow an inch.

Behavioral change often inflicts painful resistance with a significant compromise on certain lifestyles we lead. We tend to worry about our “social image” and invest beyond our means to maintain stature. Try investing in culture, for a change, or have they not provided loans for it yet?

No, this will not drive consumption down, but rather oblige society to spend its hard earned income with much caution, and most importantly, within its means. If the demand for salmon pizza goes down, so will its price, and then you will be able to savor it, without credit card abuse.

This change will not occur overnight, and will take time. It should serve as a lesson to be learned, for times to come (wishful thinking).

The big three back on track?

A while ago, the world was anxiously awaiting the US government decision on bailing out three historical giants from the auto industry. We shall rhetorically label them as, giants.

Let us talk about history; history has learning we should be keen on drawing conclusions from. History repeats itself too.
There was a time where large fins, chromed bumper and extravagant designs encapsulated dreams. That was in the fifties. A Chrysler 300C or a Chevrolet Malibu made youngster fantasize about cars. Those were fond memories, and we all remember them as well the infamous Black Thursday and the oil embargo. Sounds familiar, does it not?

Then came the muscle cars era, with big blocks and outraging performance, after which a pause in time. The American automakers were quite satisfied of their enduring success, though limited to the American soil. Short on ambitions perhaps?
Other mortals in the rest of the world had a vision, but they were labeled all sorts of tags, fridges, dinky toys, just to name a few.

GM, Chrysler and Ford persisted with their prehistoric philosophies, ignoring the dynamic changes surrounding them. It is not a mere coincidence to see today’s soulless 300C’s and Malibu’s stockpiling alongside mammoth SUV’s at dealerships all over the world. Those same designs that crafted reveries half a century ago are now loathed by new generations of tech-savvy, demanding youth.
This is the price to pay when you do not listen, to your customers, and to market exigencies. This amounts to roughly 15 billion USD, the cost of survival. On a positive note, the auto industry avoided a 200 billion USD blasphemy.

American automakers ignored soaring oil prices, environmental concerns and sustainable development. They abandoned their original oath and got eroded by Japanese quality and the European understanding of sheer driving performance and pleasure. Comparing a Chevrolet Aveo (ex-Daewoo) to a Toyota Yaris is similar to buying your kid a Chinese plastic brick-set instead of an authentic Lego. Corvette and Porsche? Think gatling gun versus guided missile. Folks, the alarm has sounded, and you just got served your morning coffee to start a fresh brand new day.

The industry has exceeded the benchmark of optimism, this is more of a miracle. For over three decades, giants were resting on their laurels. It is now prime time to start a new era, look forward with much anticipation and predict what the future may hold. Alternative energies, ergonomics, contemporary design and features, this is the language to speak. Enough spurious replicas from your European subsidiaries, grab the winds of change and propel the industry forward. The Volt is a start, the Fusion reflects the will, yet there are many other areas to resurrect.

Look up to your future, GM, Ford and Chrysler, a brand new day announcing the era of change awaits.

Financial Crisis….. an Outsourcing opportunity!

Midst this global financial turmoil that is creating doubts for economic growth, businesses tend to explore more cost efficient ways to do business, outsource their non-core businesses to cut cost and become more competitive.

By outsourcing, enterprises leverage skilled workforce of external professional service providers to do tasks that should have been otherwise performed in-house. This enables them to focus on their core business and focus their resources on areas of core competence.

Business segments typically outsourced include, to name a few: information technology, human resources, accounting, call center, customer support, facilities management, market research and web presence development.

While this leads to layoffs and we have all heard of major ones recently; however, new opportunities for the outsourcing industry is looming.

Today, 95% of the world’s top 1,000 companies have adopted offshore service outsourcing strategies. A recent survey suggests that global expenditure on service outsourcing totaled US$120 billion.

So for outsourcing service providers it might be a good time to pitch in and for those losing their jobs, join outsourcing service providers or, even better, kick-start your own outsourcing business venture.

While in the short-term you might be pressured to lower your prices, shrink your margins and go for short-period contracts, it is a seed that your are strategically planting for the long run, as the economic climate improves and if your services are valued, significant growth could be your next best thing!

Lebanon Optimistic About 2009 and Former Bankers in Wall Street Unleashing Surprising Talents…

Two articles drew my attention today from Naharnet and the New York Times, they are not related at all, but interesting in the context of this blog:

HR crisis or HR opportunity?

The past few days, I’ve been hearing speculations about the number of expatriates that will be forced to leave their jobs in the Arabian Gulf and return to Lebanon in the coming months.

Expatriates’ possible return has been painted as dramatic because they are expected to flood the local job market and face difficulty seeking work. However, I see things differently. My personal thoughts on this – regardless of the number of returning expatriates and their potentially precarious situation – are…

While I wish everyone a profitable year and solid retention of their jobs and positions, I also invite them to look at the possible positive outcome and hidden opportunities created by any change they find themselves forced to face.

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