Half the Sky Movement

How I Can Be a Better Half the Sky Ambassador

Half the Sky movementI FINALLY have a private screening for Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide scheduled for this weekend. Granted, it's only a partial screening of the economic empowerment section, but it's a chance to educate people and to engage them in discussion and action on a very critical women's rights issue. I wouldn't be able to do this without the help of the St. Louis chapter of the Young Ambassadors for Opportunity. They're an organization that promotes micro-lending and insurance for small business owners in developing countries. Partnerships are critical to being a good Half the Sky Ambassador or in any other activism and non-profit work. However, much more than partnerships are needed to effect change for women around the world or in any other issue. Here's a few things I could do to accomplish more and to be a better ambassador for women's rights and equality:

Write More Articles on the Subject

Writing is one of my best and biggest assets and one that I need to leverage more in my ambassadorship. I haven't written any articles yet on the issues, at least not as a Half the Sky Ambassador, and I certainly have the ability to do so. Outlets such as International Political Forum, Daily Globe, my personal blog, Technorati, and the Amnesty St. Louis blog are all perfect places to cover the many issues addressed in the book and film and to encourage action. I just need to make the time to do the necessary research, to come up with good topics, to pitch the articles, and to get them done. Easier said than done, sure, but I can do it. What I should do is connect these issues with current events where possible, bringing attention to them because there's demand to learn about the current event while offering a different angle to these stories that hasn't been covered before.

Work on That Fundraiser

After the St. Louis Amnesty International chapter read the book and watched the film, we were inspired to do something. Women's rights are human rights and many of the issues portrayed in both are issues that Amnesty is also working on. Our plan was to have a fundraiser and raise money for one of the organizations in the film. However, as an Amnesty International chapter, we learned that we couldn't raise funds for anyone other than Amnesty International. It's part of the organization's rules. So, we couldn't do the fundraiser under the organization's name, although our group leader offered the opportunity for someone to take the reins and to manage the project on their own.

This is something that I should work on and plan a fundraiser for April or May when the weather is nicer and people aren't hung over from the holidays and all that spending. I think it would be fun to do a silent auction/trivia night, where it's a cheap entry fee of $5 but most of the fundraising money come from purchasing entries for the silent auction. The hard part will then be getting enough prizes for the silent auction and getting prizes that are good enough to auction off. But, I think if I start now and plan for an April or May event, it could be a really awesome fundraiser and something that I could at least get the Amnesty International group to attend or to set up a table to collect signatures.

Make Time for Strategy

The main reason why I'm not all that good an ambassador is because I don't make time for it. I just hope that I have time for it eventually, somewhere during the day. But, I never do because the time always goes toward things that I make time for, which is usually work stuff and video games. I think what I should do is plan for one screening for one-half of the documentary while preparing for this really awesome fundraiser.

3 Things I Could Do to Come Out of My Comfort Zone

comfort zone and september goalsIn a previous post, I discussed how I was supposed to do something that takes me out of my comfort zone. I did that something, but felt like I could have done something more or better. I still feel that way, but I haven't taken any time since then to think about the risk I should take. So, I'm taking that time now, and like with my to-learn list, I'm going to commit to one of them and come up with a short action plan to take this risk. Below are a few ideas:

Learn to Drive Stick with My Fiance

I hate driving. I really hate driving. I hate driving more than cleaning up my cat's poop. My fiance has offered several times to teach me how to drive stick so that I can use his car when I need it. I haven't taken him up on the offer because I hate driving. If I learn how to drive stick, then going to the bank wouldn't be such a hassle. It would also be easier to get to new coffee shops and to review them.

Work at the Library

I got to the library regularly, but only to borrow books. I've never actually gone there to spend a few hours getting some work done. This would be something new for me, and would be out of my comfort zone because I'm afraid the library might be too quiet. When it's too quiet, research has shown that it's not good for creativity and concentration. The library is probably not that quiet, but it's worth a shot to work here, especially since I don't have to buy anything to stay awhile.

Organize a Private Screening of Half the Sky

As a Half the Sky Ambassador, one of the things that I'm supposed to do is organize a screening of the movie. I'm in the middle of doing that now with the St. Louis chapter of Young Ambassadors for Opportunity, but I do need to do a screening on my own. I think I could do a private screening with a few friends, or with my old business coach and a few others from that network. Or, I could break the mold even more and do a public screening.

What I'm Going to Do to Come Out of My Comfort Zone

I think I'm going to do the first one: Learn to Drive Stick with My Fiance. I think it's the one that I need to do the most, and at least with this one I get to do it with someone. Once I get used to driving stick, then perhaps the next thing to do to come out of my comfort zone is to drive to the office or to drive out to the county to review a coffee shop. Or, I could drive somewhere at night. I haven't driven at night for a really long time.

I've Completed One of My September Goals!

Now that I've gotten through the tough stuff, let's talk about the fun stuff. Last week, I made a list of my September goals. I've made progress on some of the, but I actually completed one of them: I have over $100 in my poker bankroll! I've moved up in stakes and it's a wonderful feeling. Creating those charts has helped, and I've made one per day for the past few days. I think I only have one left, and I still haven't created a chart today, so once I finish this chart I can continue reading Harrington on Hold 'Em. It's awesome to accomplish goals.

I Passed My Inbound Marketing Certification Test!

success stories of the weekEven though I'm moving away from the inbound marketing/content marketing business, I started my inbound marketing certification from HubSpot way back in April. It's a program where you watch a series of nine webinars, or classes, on the various topics. Once you finish the classes, you can then take the test for the certification. I've finally completed the classes and took the test today. I'm excited to say that I passed, and part of my reward is that cool little badge to the right there. It's one of my several successes of the week.

Other Success Stories of the Week

Opportunity International

Last night, I attended a neat little networking event with Opportunity International and the Young Ambassadors for Opportunity St. Louis chapter. The chapter is new, and the organization is about economic empowerment and providing micro-loans, both of which I am all about. I do like that the organization also works on building savings and providing insurance, instead of just funding loans and getting people to start businesses. Sometimes, getting the loan and having the successful business isn't enough because factors outside of the control of the owner can cause the business to fail.

Since the chapter was new, part of the point of the event was to have some sort of a meet-and-greet and to do something to build awareness for the chapter and the organization. When we think of micro-lending organizations, we think of Kiva.org and the Grameen Bank. However, Opportunity International was one of the first organizations to work on this issue, and it's great to encounter an organization that's actually working on some of the issues featured in Half the Sky. Up until now, it seems like these groups existed by were located somewhere other than St. Louis.

Speaking of the which, what's also great is that this chapter and this organization are going to partner with me on showing a screening of the Half of Sky documentary (of course, it would be a screening of the economic empowerment section). It turns out that Opportunity International is a partner organization of the Half the Sky movement, so this upcoming screening should be a huge hit.

Although, part of the success of last night was the peppermint patty cocktail, which was absolutely delicious. It had brownie batter vodka, peppermint schnapps, something else, and the glass was lined with chocolate sauce. The drink was absolutely amazing. Since the event was at Cafe Napoli, I recommend asking for the peppermint patty cocktail the next time you visit.

Amazing Pizza!

A brand new, very tasty pizza place opened up down the street from me the other day. It's called Papa Murphy's, and they make the pizza in front of you and then you take it home and put it in the oven. We tried it today and it's absolutely fantastic pizza! I ate the gourmet vegetarian, which included neat toppings like zucchini and artichoke hearts, and the entire thing was yummy. Fortunately, I have a whole bunch of coupons, so next time I can get their Hawaiian pizza, or their smores pizza for dessert, or their normal vegetarian pizza (the gourmet one has creamy garlic sauce instead of normal tomato sauce, and has a different combination of vegetables on it). I'm excited about it, and especially like the idea that you can buy it and you don't have to eat it right away.

It's Friday

It's always a success if you can make it until the end of the week without dying, or having a total meltdown, or losing everything you have. Cheers to that! I'm going to spend my night playing a little bit of Wii, reading a little bit of book, playing with the kitty, and perhaps getting some work done. There's always fun work to be done.

Another Big Fat To-Do List

lots of things to doI need to do another one of these because I'm at that point where I have a lot of things to do in life, and a lot of things to do for work, so it's getting very difficult to keep track of all it. The only time the personal stuff actually gets on a list is on the weekend, since I do less work on the weekends, but usually the personal stuff is the same. There's always laundry, vacuuming, grocery shopping, bathroom cleaning, and video game playing. But, I have to remind myself to mail my father's day present, and to work on Half the Sky stuff, and to organize my social outings (I'm going running on Thursday. Can you believe it?) I have no idea why I agreed to that idea.

The To-Do List

Anyway, here's the big fat to-do list, a general list of bigger things I need to do. Things that can't be done in one day or would need to be broken down into smaller steps. I've segmented it so that it's a little more organized and easier for me to track, to use, and to have everyone keep me accountable on these things.


  • Type/Scan Business Breakthrough Homework - I need to send Tiffany my debt document, my brand identity, my CEO identity, and my list of strategic partners.
  • Research Ideal Client Avatar - This is the next step in my business breakthrough homework. I need to do the research on who my ideal customer is. I need to find out how many "ideal customers" are out there and if I would be satisfied with a one percent market share. I also need to figure out the market value and the lifetime value of one customer. This might be hard because I'm doing the coffee blog, and the definition of customer might be wonky. It also might differ depending on the kind of customer I get from the blog (purchasing something vs. speaking engagement vs. fan vs. other service/product)
  • Do at least one coffee blog post next week  - I am going to do the coffee blog. It is going to be great. I am going to review the coffee shop within walking distance from my house.
  • Microsite activism challenge - My business coach has issued me a CHALLENGE! For one month, I am to make progress on building one site based on my activism idea, and to report back the results that I have. My first step is to get the site together.
  • Make Changes to Stirring Media Site - I have a whole list of pages that need to be redone, added, and deleted. I need to get on this since I am changing direction with my business, and I don't want my site generating new leads or advertising something that I no longer want to do. I'll delete first, then add and redo. Some of the pages that need deleted can simply be rewritten too.


  • Continue reading books - I have two or three chapters left in The Business of Baby. Then, I'll move on to The Road of Lost Innocence.
  • Get my Father's Day gift ready for the post office - Father's Day is coming up already.
  • Do first Half the Sky newsletter - I created the email list, and that's about it. I said the first issue would come in June too.
  • Reschedule and plan Half the Sky screening - I planned one, and then didn't do anything to advertise it and prepare for it. I need to get on this as it is a huge part of being an ambassador.
  • That Fun Facts list I mentioned - I did say in a previous post that I need to do a fun fact list of sorts, so that I can write a really good bio for this blog. It's one of the last things I need to do for this blog, besides write every day. I do need to do this for the coffee site as well, and perhaps for the Stirring Media site so that the "About Us" page has a little more personality and originality.

Where Has the Time Gone? This is Ridiculous

where did the time goI have not blogged in a really long time! I promised that I was going to blog while I was in Las Vegas, and after Las Vegas, and I got sidetracked and I didn't do any of that. That was almost two months ago, and so much has transpired over that time. Essentially, what's happened is that I lost money playing poker, I got really busy with the business, now the business doesn't have a lot of money, so I think I need to rethink my life or something. Actually, I probably need to rethink a lot of things. Except the poker, as I'm slowly making my money back online.

Blogging Case Study

Obviously, this is out the window. I've long past the deadline at the end of the quarter to evaluate where I've come with the blogging. I've probably lost most of the ground I made in the first 70 days or so of the year. I also need to come up with a whole new list of blog post ideas and a brand new goal for this blog and all that other good stuff. I could just shoot for turning this thing into a business and becoming famous online or something, but then I feel that's what every blogger shoots for.

Oh no, I need to think about this like how technology evangelist Ramon Ray does. I am a publisher, although I'm not quite sure what I publish yet. That goes with the figuring out blog topics, new blog goal, maybe something else to study. I don't know. While I am at it, I should come up with a cool title, like how Ramon Ray is the "technology evangelist." I don't know what I am yet.

Saving the World Mission is Still Here, Though

Besides the fact that everything else has gone to garbage, I am now the St. Louis Community Ambassador for the Half the Sky Movement. The movement is based off the book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (which is a great book that everyone should buy/borrow and read), and is about ending oppression for women and girls worldwide. I think I'm going to be devoting some content to that, promoting documentary screenings (the book was then turned into an AMAZING PBS documentary, which you should watch after you read the book) and thinking of other awesome initiatives to do to encourage action and to end oppression. This falls right into line with the 'saving the world' mission, which was cornerstone to this whole blogging thing. Can't forget about saving the world! What's the point of life if you are not going to save the world?

So, What's Next?

Good question, after two months of my life has gone by so very fast. So very, very fast. I do have to plan my first Half the Sky screening, which is planned for June 6 at 5:30 p.m. It is going to be about economic empowerment, but that's all I know so I need to work on that. I also want to do a business blogging class, which I think would be valuable to potential customers. I think I could charge $15 for entry or something. I do need to make changes to the services that I offer with Stirring Media, since I think I need to change direction with the business. I might need to revert back to freelance writing, or focus my services a bit more on just a few verticals or something. Not sure yet. I'm going to work on the new service pages, take a way a few services that no one wants, and see how much of a difference that makes.