Posts Tagged ‘Esther Havens’



The title of this post is a Simon Mainwaring quote that has had me thinking since the moment I heard it. And by thinking, I mean squirming. It’s one of those lines that in one way makes you wish that you hadn’t heard it, but in another way makes you want to work harder. I heard it last week when some members of the Love In Stereo crew (Brad, Kristi, and Jonathan – that’s me) were at Plywood Presents: Social Innovation, a one-day conference at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta that I was so grateful to be a part of. Produced by the good folks at Plywood People, the event was all about sharing ideas, inspiration, and bringing a room full of big-picture thinkers and doers together to experience the powerful things people are doing around them.

So many stand-out things were said, but to keep this short, my plan here is to give you the lines that sent me back in my chair and made me think, and just like the quote above, have had me thinking ever since.

“We have the resources in every community to meet the needs of that community.”
– Blake Canterbury, Founder of beremedy, @beremedy

This idea is so true (some call it crowdsourcing or collaborative consumption) and is being achieved in a powerful way by beremedy, an Atlanta-based non-profit that uses social media to announce a need and almost always sees that need met by the end of the day. I love the idea, I love the simplicity, and I’m looking forward to watching beremedy grow. (I’d love to help.) The take-away here: Start looking to your friends and neighbors to share more than just a spot in line at Target and start looking to meet the needs of each other on a community level. Bonus points for using a program like beremedy to get started.

“Throw limitations out the window.”
– Scott Thomas, Designer, @simplescott

Scott said this in relation to the book he created documenting his design work for Barack Obama’s successful presidential campaign. He knew he wanted to compile the book, and in his words, “If I had thought about the amount of work this book would be, I probably would have never started.” Throwing the limitations the book carried with it out the window allowed him to consider the importance of the work, focus on the end goal, and get going on what needed to be done. He reminded me that every project will have limitations, so get used to it, and start building.

“Push big brands to do more.”
– Simon Mainwaring, Author of “We First,” @simonmainwaring

I’m paraphrasing Simon a bit here, but love them or hate them, big brands are here to stay, and they have the capability to do so much more than just make a gigantic profit. What if we, the little consumer, could tell them how we wanted them to act? News flash: We can. Brands have no choice but to listen — and some already are. As he noted, “86% of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business interests.” It’s our job to get them to hear this, and we can do this simply through what we buy. The simple idea here: Start making product decisions with a purpose.

“Who we are is not our circumstances.”
– Esther Havens, Humanitarian Photographer, @estherhavens

Esther led her talk with this idea, mentioning it in relation to the struggles she had seen and photographed in Africa while working with charity:water. Previously, people had seen places in need of clean water as places without hope, but she realized that where these people were was not who they were. They are proud, they are capable, they are strong, and we are all equal.

Well, there you go, four nuggets of brain power to get you thinking. Take some time, give each some thought, then decide that now is the time to get them out of simply being a write-up you read online and start making things happen.

Together we’re louder.

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