Monthly Archives: May 2011

a bright new marble: the ‘rva creativity roundup’!


Good evening ladies and gents! I am delighted to share a new fun find from our increasingly creative Richmond collaborators from RVA Creates! If you haven’t checked out the story behind this growing group – you can give it a read here at “About RVA Creates”

I’ve posted a snapshot of the events listed in today’s roundup below! Check them out, get involved, keep the ideas and connections coming! *For the original site and links, please visit RVA Creativity Roundup: 5/31

RVA Creativity Roundup: 5/31
By RVA Creates | Published: May 31, 2011

Each week here on the RVA Creates blog, we’ll bring you a roundup of creative happenings in and around Richmond. If you have something to submit, send it to rvacreates@gmail.com, leave it in the comments or post it to our Facebook wall.

That is RVA—The Chamber’s ‘i.e.’ initiative, which kicks off on June 23rd with a TED-style all-day conference, has a schmancy new website at ie-rva.org.

Broad Appetit—Broad Appetit is this weekend, and Richmond.com has the full rundown of participating restaurants.

Food Revolution?—Jamie Oliver’s TV series is based on the lack of quality, healthful food in our schools, but one area start-up is doing something innovative about it. Read about Green Monkey in the RT-D’s Metro-Business section.

Fostering Entrepreneurs—RichmondBizSense reports on New Visions New Ventures, a group that helps potential new business owners.

Top School—Washington Post High School Challenge 2011 recently highlighted Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies as one of the 24 top-performing public schools in the nation.

New Edition—Our friends at RVA Magazine recently rolled out their new edition. Read about it here, and look for it around town.

Thanks to everyone who has sent in their suggestions, and keep checking here and on Facebook for more examples of creativity and innovation in RVA.

To interact even more, you can connect with RVA Creates on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RVACreates and follow them on Twitter at @rvacreates.

Cheers,

Sara

what i didn’t know about picasso


Saturday, May 15th marked the last day of the “Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musee’ National Picasso, Paris” exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. As crowds swarmed to the museum to get either one last glimpse of this impressive exhibit, or scrambled to sneak a peek before it left our city – I felt fortunate in being able to say that I wandered through each room with my husband and a few close friends only a few weekends ago.

Portrait of Dora Maar

Courtesy of SeattleMet.com

I have been to museums and exhibits before. They have interested me and made me think about the history, artist, or pieces displayed. But none quite so much as this particular exhibit. I entered expecting to see several similar looking paintings – reminiscent of the well-known Portrait of Dora Maar (Portrait de Dora Maar). Much to my surprise and ultimate delight, this tour included a vast array of drawings, paintings, sculptures, and photographs created and inspired by Pablo Picasso – all of which had more different stories behind them than I expected to discover.

As I walked through the first room, clinging to my informational booklet, I wasn’t quite sure what to look at first. The exhibit rooms were set up in a way that took patrons through a timeline of the year 1900 through the late 1970s, from the Blue Period, to Cubism, to Politically influenced works. As an aside: I am somewhat embarrassed to admit, I had no idea how many periods of time and styles of art Picasso contributed to our history. But then, it proves we are never too old to learn.

La Lecture

Courtesy of WorldGallery.com

Of the many halls and rooms full of well-displayed and secured pieces, a favorite of mine was Reading (La Lecture). Perhaps it was the drastic change from the look and feel of the rooms leading up to the one that held this and related pieces from this time period (1925-1935), but upon stepping in front of this painting – I was taken by the shapes, colors, and change in emotion from the previously “bland” colors and drawings in comparison. Here, my tour booklet comes back into play as I was curious if there was a reason for this heavy transformation. I was not disappointed as I read that during this time period, Picasso experienced a new infatuation with a mistress (Marie Therese Walter) who was only 17 years old when he met her. Her strong features, blonde hair, and voluptuous body can be noticed throughout this period until his next drastic change in emotion – politics.

A direct quote from the tour booklet that expresses well the tone of the exhibit and perceptions of his life’s work read, “It is tempting to see his career as a series of phases with one style giving way to another. In fact, at any given time he worked in a variety of pictorial modes simultaneously.” I feel honored to have visited this special exhibit and learned that, in fact, my own expectations were exceeded.

Newly inspired by this artist – whose work was so emotionally influenced and who seemed to spend his life striving to find his own way and express his own visions, despite the opinions of fellow artists and critics – I’d like to leave you with this quote from the man himself:

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso

As always, thanks for reading and please share your thoughts!

Yours,

Sara

PS: Remember to support the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts!!

does confidence equal success?


Professional Development find!!

Check out this article written by Amy Gallo about the importance of finding and keeping your confidence on your path to success. Great advice and insight – and you can check out the original article with case studies towards the end of this post!

Stay tuned for new posts ahead and thanks for reading.

Yours,

Sara

How to Build Confidence
9:48 AM Friday April 29, 2011
by Amy Gallo | Comments (36)

Very few people succeed in business without a degree of confidence. Yet everyone, from young people in their first real jobs to seasoned leaders in the upper ranks of organizations, have moments — or days, months, or even years — when they are unsure of their ability to tackle challenges. No one is immune to these bouts of insecurity at work, but they don’t have to hold you back.

What the Experts Say

“Confidence equals security equals positive emotion equals better performance,” says Tony Schwartz, the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything: The Four Keys to Transforming the Way We Work and Live. And yet he concedes that “insecurity plagues consciously or subconsciously every human being I’ve met.” Overcoming this self-doubt starts with honestly assessing your abilities (and your shortcomings) and then getting comfortable enough to capitalize on (and correct) them, adds Deborah H. Gruenfeld, the Moghadam Family Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior and Co-Director of the Executive Program for Women Leaders at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Here’s how to do that and get into the virtuous cycle that Schwartz describes.

Preparation

Your piano teacher was right: practice does make perfect. “The best way to build confidence in a given area is to invest energy in it and work hard at it,” says Schwartz. Many people give up when they think they’re not good at a particular job or task, assuming the exertion is fruitless. But Schwartz argues that deliberate practice will almost always trump natural aptitude. If you are unsure about your ability to do something — speak in front of large audience, negotiate with a tough customer — start by trying out the skills in a safe setting. “Practice can be very useful, and is highly recommended because in addition to building confidence, it also tends to improve quality. Actually deliver the big presentation more than once before the due date. Do a dry run before opening a new store,” says Gruenfeld. Even people who are confident in their abilities can become more so with better preparation.

Get out of your own way

Confident people aren’t only willing to practice, they’re also willing to acknowledge that they don’t — and can’t — know everything. “It’s better to know when you need help, than not,” says Gruenfeld. “A certain degree of confidence — specifically, confidence in your ability to learn — is required to be willing to admit that you need guidance or support.”

On the flip side, don’t let modesty hold you back. People often get too wrapped up in what others will think to focus on what they have to offer, says Katie Orenstein, founder and director of The OpEd Project, a non-profit that empowers women to influence public policy by submitting opinion pieces to newspapers. “When you realize your value to others, confidence is no longer about self-promotion,” she explains. “In fact, confidence is no longer the right word. It’s about purpose.” Instead of agonizing about what others might think of you or your work, concentrate on the unique perspective you bring.

Get feedback when you need it

While you don’t want to completely rely on others’ opinions to boost your ego, validation can also be very effective in building confidence. Gruenfeld suggests asking someone who cares about your development as well as the quality of your performance to tell you what she thinks. Be sure to pick people whose feedback will be entirely truthful; Gruenfeld notes that when performance appraisals are only positive, we stop trusting them. And then use any genuinely positive commentary you get as a talisman.

Also remember that some people need more support than others, so don’t be shy about asking for it. “The White House Project finds, for example, that many women need to be told they should run for office before deciding to do so. Men do not show this pattern of needing others’ validation or encouragement,” says Gruenfeld. It’s okay if you need praise.

Take risks

Playing to your strengths is a smart tactic but not if it means you hesitate to take on new challenges. Many people don’t know what they are capable of until they are truly tested “Try things you don’t think you can do. Failure can be very useful for building confidence,” says Gruenfeld. Of course, this is often easier said than done. “It feels bad to not be good at something. There’s a leap of faith with getting better at anything,” says Schwartz. But don’t assume you should feel good all the time. In fact, stressing yourself is the only way to grow. Enlisting help from others can make this easier. Gruenfeld recommends asking supervisors to let you experiment with new initiatives or skills when the stakes are relatively low and then to support you as you tackle those challenges.

Principles to Remember

Do:
•Be honest with yourself about what you know and what you still need to learn

•Practice doing the things you are unsure about

•Embrace new opportunities to prove you can do difficult things

Don’t:
•Focus excessively on whether you or not you have the ability – think instead about the value you provide

•Hesitate to ask for external validation if you need it

•Worry about what others think — focus on yourself, not a theoretical and judgmental audience

If you are interested in reading more from this Author, please visit her orginial article at http://blogs.hbr.org/hmu/2011/04/how-to-build-confidence.html

exciting news for richmond’s creatives!


New article from RichmondGRID.com !! Check it out!

Lead by Example: Branding RVA as a Creativity Hub
Greater Richmond Chamber Launches ‘i.e.’

Over the course of discussions with various community and business leaders—including Andy Stefanovich with Prophet, Richmond Times-Dispatch publisher Tom Silvestri, the Creative Change Center’s executive director Chrystal Wake, John Sarvay of Floricane and West Cary Group partner Moses Foster—the Chamber has set the groundwork to promote RVA’s creative community.

The initiative called i.e. (innovative excellence) will focus on ideas and ingenuity found in the regions’ arts, business, bio science and higher education sectors.

By celebrating Richmond’s unique abilities, i.e. wants to “create a local culture supportive of uncommon thinking which will drive successive innovation,” according to Stephanie Phillips, Director of Member Value and Engagement for the Greater Richmond Chamber.

The first project will kick off on June 23rd with i.e.’s all-day, interactive, launch event similar to the TED conference that will feature as many as 36 local innovators who will be invited to talk briefly about their projects.

With plans to be held in Downtown warehouse space, the event will offer a unique networking luncheon, to be followed by afternoon breakout sessions.

According to Philips by “highlighting current sources of new thinking, i.e. hopes to encourage new innovation, help speed the pace and exponentially grow new thinking.”

Beginning June 1st, one new featured presenter for the i.e. launch will be announced daily on http://www.ie-rva.org/. Ticket sales and a lottery for free tickets will launch soon on the same site.

“why” | what a concept


WHY add to “A Jar Full of Marbles” every week? The idea behind this blog is to share interesting finds, books, ideas – you name it! Well, recently, I stumbled upon an interesting new marble indeed.

This one recommends that we ask “Why?” Not a foreign concept right? If you have kids, I bet they ask you “why” a million times a day! If you don’t – I’m sure you remember BEING that kid that drove your parents insane with repeated questioning!

(Sidenote: Think for just a moment how difficult it is to sometimes come up with an answer to “why” – do we too often falter to the default answer “because, that’s just how it is”?)

So, let’s shine some light on this new find. I came across a tweet that offered a quote from Simon Sinek. It read, “Success is when reality catches up to your imagination.” Intrigued, I looked into who this Simon fellow was (late in the game compared to some – but my curiosity was just recently peaked).

The first thing to appear upon typing his name into Google is the following website: http://www.startwithwhy.com/ Nothing extremely fancy, but my eyes clicked on the clear and to the point message which is found front and center, “All organizations and careers function on 3 levels. What you do, How you do it and Why you do it. The problem is, most don’t even know that Why exists.”

I plan to revisit this post to elaborate, but in the meantime – I invite my readers to consider this question of all questions. Why?

Why do you do tasks a certain way at work each day? Why do you complete chores around your home a certain way? Does the answer to ALL of your Why’s still make sense, or is it time to change things up and take on a new approach?

Just something to think about! As always, I invite and encourage your comments! Thanks for reading!

Your fellow thinker,

Sara

%d bloggers like this: