Leadership Reading: Books to read for your Leadership Development Journey

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Part of your leadership development journey is changing up the way you educate and learn new things. Although change can be a great thing, getting back to the basics can be just as effective. Reading is a great way to education, encourage and inspire! If your goal is to cultivate change for your community, start by cultivating change within yourself.

One of my favorite books on personal development I have read is Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza. When I think of cultivating something beyond the self, I think that we first have to align ourselves with what we believe is worth cultivating. Yet in our current age of technology, conditioning, and bad habits; putting our best foot forward to become the leaders we strive to become, can be difficult. This book offers a combination of fundamental principles of neuroscience, psychology, and necessary knowledge to change any aspect of yourself. The beautiful result of what you can obtain is that your mind shapes your reality! Therefore by changing your thought process, how you view the infinite possibilities available to you, within your quantum field, you can create your desired reality. I think this book provides an in-depth look behind the meaning of ‘anything is possible’ if you position your mind to believe in the possibility. Part of cultivation is creating. As a developing leader, unpacking the foundation of your morals and values can be beneficial in your presentation to the public. If you aim to teach others what it means to create a better community for all, it helps to first understand for yourself, the look of a better community. What does it mean? How can you manifest that community? How does it benefit the members? Can the members instill faith in your vision?

BGood Collaborations: Partners with buildOn for a School-Build Haiti Project

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Non-profit collaborations have been a means for organizations to accomplish similar goals in a big way! The boost gained from such short-term or long-term collaborations can increase the overall efficiency and community outreach goals set by your organization.

Our efforts to collaborate with other entities who share the same passion, vision and purpose, is one of the ways we create a strong positive social impact. With our B The Light program, we focus on providing access to the highest-quality leadership development experiences in order to empower the next generation of local- and global-leaders.

To support our mission, BGood Worldwide’s first step has been to partner with buildOn, a nonprofit organization who works to combat the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through global-service and education. Through the engagement of our young professionals in groups, The School-Build Haiti Project efforts will result in the construction of one primary school in Haiti. This school will serve over 400 children and adults from a rural community; acting as a catalyst for sustainable and positive community development.

This collaborative project is open to a variety of young professionals who seeks to 1) receive mentoring and leadership development guidance; 2) engage in their local community and; 3) use their acquired resources in a global group service trip to build a school in Haiti. This spring, we will begin recruiting students from Nyack College
(along with other young professionals) to participate in our B the Light program. We encourage those who seek to make a positive impact on their communities, to get involved!

Nyack College is an educational institution well known for being diverse and creating ‘difference makers’ ready to take on the world. Focusing on five core values (academic excellence, global engagement, diversity, personal transformation and social relevance), Nyack College has been able to integrate faith-based and spiritual learning into a community of mentorship culture amongst faculty and students. They strive to produce community leaders who seek change and are divergent in their efforts to produce that change.

Nyack College Students

This journey to completing the construction of a school in Haiti starts well before breaking ground in the winter/spring of 2020. There is personal development and academic growth to be done along the way. That is why those who participate, will begin their training in the spring of 2019.

During which, they will receive 30 minutes of online mentoring and leadership education courses, each week. Our curriculum focuses on skill-building in four content areas; communication, problem-solving, technology, and resource acquisition. Our young professionals will also complete a one-hour weekly community service effort in their community where they may apply the skills gained from the leadership development curriculum.  We believe the combination of leadership development resources and local community service, offers our young professionals consistent support to develop their unique leadership skills. This also provides an opportunity through The School-Build Haiti Project mission trip, to use those skills directly in a global community.

Our hope is that by partnering with various college and university student such as Nyack College students, this project will make a positive impact for not only our young professionals but in their local communities and the Haitian community, that will benefit from the construction of a primary school.

buildOn: buildOn U.S. and Global work to combat the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through global service and education. Their program tackles critical issues within their surrounding communities, contributing services, and taking an ongoing commitment to immerse participants in a cultural experience. buildOn puts an emphasis on leadership and team building by engaging students in dynamic cultural workshops, deep reflection activities and thorough explorations of issues facing their host community.

To learn more about the great accomplishments of our partner buildOn, please visit their website at www.buildon.org .

This project and partnership is made possible by the generous contribution by a grant, from the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation and knowing ‘what needs to be done’.

Ellis L. Phillips Foundation: The Ellis L. Phillips Foundation is a small family foundation dedicated to the ideals of Kathryn and Ellis Phillips, to identify “what needs to be done” and provide strategic investments in projects that serve as catalysts for the greater good. Their grants aim to make a sustainable contribution to charities and organizations, in which they have special knowledge and interest. As collaborators, the foundation makes investments in various industries such as environmental, human services, visual and music, historic preservation, philanthropy, and foundation- initiated projects.

A Virtual Learning Experience

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We know that an amazing adventure awaits you when exploring the unknown. When you know what your purpose is and what you can provide to the world on your journey. Even if you know where you would like to go or even if you have no idea, we can start by helping to navigate the ins-and -outs the best version of yourself.

Currently, the market is filled with various educational materials on leadership. BGood Worldwide’s B The Light program curriculum will use Google Suite for Education to compile a comprehensive curriculum to teach leadership through various mediums.  It will track five main themes that constitute the foundation of BGood Worldwide’s mission: Integrity, Friendship, Dreams, Forgiveness, and Honor.  BGood believes these fundamentals are critical for any community leader.  

Using an online platform as an educational tool allows participants to constantly have access to the curriculum materials at all times. It creates a space for discussions to be documented, participants can review and critically responds without missing a beat. The online platform will use interactive video, imagery and writings to push the boundaries of leadership education.  The curriculum will also require participants to upload their own content to personalize the experience and create strong bonds with their fellow teammates. BGood will evaluate the curriculum yearly to ensure that the content remains up to date in addressing certain pressing current issues.

As a result, each lesson will use these themes to highlight important concepts and teach the best practices for how to maximize each participant’s leadership abilities. Our curriculum will be designed to be both challenging and rewarding to participants of all backgrounds.

Uniquely designed to utilize a virtual space, we have combined online leadership mentoring and education delivered through applications which allows participants to engage in their leadership education anywhere, anytime. Specifically, using Google Suite products such as Gmail, Hangout, Blogger, Youtube, Calendar, Drive and more, as the communication hub, are powerful and easy-to-use tools available across  access all mobile, tablet and laptop devices.

Team members receive interactive leadership workbooks that lessons and assignments with rich video, imagery and writings about leadership concepts.  Each workbook enables team members to load personalized text, pictures, and video to fully customize each team members’ experience. The workbooks are completed independently and should take each team member approximately one hour per week.  

Each team will be assigned a team leader, who would utilize Hangout, Google’s video chat and messaging tool, to connect with each team member for approximately thirty minutes per week to help support the team members throughout the program.

A Morning Routine Aspiring Leaders Should Do

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Our day-to-day habits can be hard to build and break. Being young allows us to try and understand what is interesting yet beneficial for us. Whether you dedicate just a few moments a day or a few hours a day for your own self-development, you are setting the tone needed to produce productivity and creativity.

Start by planning your day the night before. Leadership is about having a vision. And developing a vision requires a plan of action. Good leadership skills are essential to advancing your individual development, but leadership is much more than simply being in charge.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”


John Quincy Adams

If you can effectively translate your vision enough to inspire others, this is setting the example. Having an idea of what you would like to get done in a set a framework for smooth functionality. Be sure that the task and strategies you have come up with, contribute to your vision both long term and short term. Make these strategies realistic and measurable so you can monitor your progress.

Then, time for sleep! Getting proper rest is key to revitalizing the body and mind. You want to be able to tackle the day full of energy, with a great attitude. A good night’s’ rest should consist of at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep.

After getting your proper rest, rise up early enough to ‘get the worm’. One of the ways to succeed in getting the best possible start to winning your day-to-day is by setting rituals or routines so you can avoid the scrambling of putting together a to-do list. If you can make such routine more of a habit, you can create a positive momentum of proactive behavior. There are numerous studies that link individuals who begin their day in the early morning hours to more positive traits such as being proactive, having better attitudes, more likely to be kind to others, and tend to be smarter. An early start creates time for self-development. It provides more time for reading, meditation, prayer, recollection, making a nutritious breakfast, even getting some exercise. Including a means of higher learning, health, or creativity at the beginning of the day, redirects your energy into being more doing rather than reacting.

While in this momentum of ‘doing’, completing small tasks such as making your bed is a success habit of ‘getting things done’; followed by feeding your second brain, the stomach. After waking up, drink glass of water, orange juice, or apple juice to help replenish and awaken your body, activating your nerve cells for the day.

Once you are awakened, you should take at least 10 to 15 minutes for mindfulness. Mediation, reading or writing are great ways to center and focus your mind and energy on producing a clear space for the day. This also helps to relieve the excess tension that might have remained after getting your 8 to 10 hours of sleep.

With a refreshing start to your day, you are now in a more positive space to begin your day. It is important to carry a positive, can-do attitude during your daily interactions. Others can gain a sense of inspiration simply by way of conversation or working alongside of you. The best way to strengthen these interactions is through more communication. Getting the opportunity to build relationships with your family, peers, or colleagues to learn more about what their interests or concerns are, creates conversation full of depth and meaning. For any individual, active listening is a great trait to build upon. Someone who listens to suggestions, ideas, and feedback from other people, and provides the same for others in return, it all about building advancing in your self development as well as aiding in someone else’s self development.  

Another thing that individuals naturally do is learn. Engaging in your surroundings by taking in the knowledge of everything you experience from your day, can be shared with your peers and members of your community. Learning is one of the major keys to success! It keeps your mind sharp, and your skills fresh.

It prepares you for new challenges that may come your way. In leadership, this is someone who can see learn from an obstacle and see the bigger picture enough to later anticipate problems before they occur. This is a valuable skill to have when handling complex problems. The ability to foresee and provide suggestions for avoiding potential problems also helps you recognize opportunities that others overlook, which will certainly aid in your self-development.

A great way to reflect upon your day is to dedicate more time to mindfulness, specifically sitting in silence or journaling the events of the day.  Reflection helps you to discern the value of your day, whether your behaviors, energy, focus were enough to contribute to your vision. Everything you do acts as a building block to how you intend to become what you have envisioned for yourself. By following these daily habits you can take the grunt work out of you self development journey and focus on the real work to achieve your vision.



It All Started with a Question

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It’s funny how when you’re young you have this idea of how your life will turn out and then as you get older you realize that life had a completely different plan. At least that’s been partially my experience. I always imagined I would go into finance because that’s what my mom did and she was my role model. Hey, it could still happen, but probably not and that’s okay. 

Life did have one definite plan for me though, and that was to go to Temple University. All the people I love and looked up too went there; my grandparents Harvey and Selma went to Temple, my mom went to Temple, my step-father went to Temple, so naturally, after I graduated from boarding school I went Temple. I had it all figured out too. I would study International Finance in the Fox School of Business and in four years I’d graduate and go work for some international firm. But after one course and a question from a ten-year-old boy that all changed.

In business school, and I imagine they still do this, you’re required to take a public speaking course. My professor charged the class to select one topic to research and give speeches on that topic for the duration of the semester. After of year and a half of business courses, I felt bored and I choose to research something out of the box for me; I choose the Philadelphia School District. I hadn’t gone to public school in Philadelphia, I knew I never wanted to be a teacher or work in a school, but I remember not hesitating at all. Something drew me in.

At the time, the high schools in the district were nicknamed “failure factories” because the graduation rate lingered just above 50%. That is to say, 50 of 100 high school seniors graduated with a diploma, if they even made it to senior year.

During that same time, I was working part-time for Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education teaching tennis at local recreation centers, mostly in North Philly. It was a tough sell some afternoons trying to get kids excited to play tennis when other kids were playing basketball on courts just twenty feet away. Even tougher was getting the kids in the program excited about completing the educational workbooks and activities we were required to teach before they even got on the court. It was an incredible period in my life, tough, but incredible.

This one afternoon I had a particularly bad practice. It was a Friday afternoon, my co-worker was a no-show, the tennis net had been torn down the night before, and I was short on patience. I ended the educational activities early and figured I’d at least get the kids on the court to play some games. Or so I thought. I lost six or seven of the kids just walking out to the courts and could tell the remaining ones were thinking about making a dash for it. So there I am with five or six kids left trying to be the best coach I can be, trying to be excited so the kids could feed off that energy, but just failing miserably. After about ten minutes of trying to “force” excitement about tennis practice one boy said, “Coach Ben, we never gonna be good at tennis. Why should we even try?!” That question hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember looking at that boy, looking around the court, and trying to put myself in his shoes. He had a point. Why try? Why try to excel at anything?

Back in my public speaking course, my speeches changed their focus as the semester progressed. When the course started my speeches reflected a business minded student. I was researching and talking about staff structure, training methods, teachers evaluations and compensation, success rates of new programs, working within constrained budgets, and trying to get the most bang for your buck. By mid-semester my focus changed. I became less concerned about specific data on student test scores or how different programs impacted the district budget and became more concerned with why would students try to succeed in a failing school system considering all of the other trauma and adverse circumstances they face? Why try at all?

Finally, the semester was coming to an end and I had one last speech to give for my course. I didn’t talk much about the school district at all. Instead, I spoke about that ten-year-old boy. I spoke about the community he grew up in, about his mother who sometimes yelled at him during practice from the outside of the courts but loved him dearly, and I spoke about this natural charisma he had which influenced the other kids in the program so effortlessly. Four weeks earlier that boy challenged me by asking Why try? Why try to excel at anything? I didn’t have the answer then, and it’s been over ten years now that I’ve been in the pursuit to find it. But that question changed my entire thinking about how I wanted to spend my time. At the end of that last speech, knowing I was going into unknown territory, I closed with, “And that’s why I transferring to the College of Education next semester.” I did and never looked back.

That boy continued to challenge me and am happy to say I’m still in touch with him. He was part of that program through middle school, joined the high school leadership program I use to run, traveled with our team nationally, and even internationally on a school build mission to Haiti. I watched him graduate from high school, enter college, the reserves, and the workforce. That young man is incredible and with many other young men and women and some truly talented staff, we learned together the answers to that question of why try.