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Monday, December 19, 2011

Congrats to Josh Marcuse '04 - Named to the @brazencareerist 20 Young Professionals to Watch in 2012 List

We're happy to share that Dartmouth alum Josh Marcuse '04 has been named as one of 20 young professionals to watch in 2012 by Brazen Careerist

Marcuse is the founder and President of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, "committed to fostering the next generation of foreign policy leadership." He advises individuals and institutions on how to engage and interact with young professionals in the foreign policy community, and frequently speaks to students and recent graduates about careers in international affairs, leadership, management, entrepreneurship and civic participation.

Josh has been affiliated with Rockefeller Center programs both as a student, and then as an alum.  He has come back to campus as part of the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows "Word of Advice from Alums" session, and has been a great resource for students in Washington, DC for our Civic Skills Training program.

Congratulations to Josh Marcuse.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

PRS Students Present Carbon Tax Research to the Bi-State Upper Valley Sierra Club

On May 11, 2011, four students from the Policy Research Shop at the Rockefeller Center were the invited guests for the bi-monthly meeting of the Bi-State Upper Valley Sierra Club comprised of citizens from both Vermont and New Hampshire interested in environmental justice issues. The students, Alexi Pappas '12, Lindsay Brewer '13, Marissa Greco '12, and Zachary Schwartz '11 presented the results of an analysis of carbon tax implementation strategies, reviewing New Hampshire's current energy policies as a part of a comprehensive climate change plan. Engaging with case studies where carbon taxes were implemented at the producer and consumer level, the students demonstrated ways a climate tax could be designed and effectively utilized in a New Hampshire setting.

The Policy Research Shop is supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) program.

PRS Student Presents Research on Renewable Energy Incentives to the Lebanon, NH Energy Advisory Committee

Rockefeller Center Policy Research Shop student Brian Freeman '11 speaks with a member of the Lebanon Energy Advisory Committee in Lebanon, NH on May 19, 2011.

On May 19, 2011, Brian Freeman '11, a student researcher at the Policy Research Shop at the Rockefeller Center, presented an analysis of renewable energy incentive programs to the Lebanon Energy Advisory Committee. The report assesses the suitability of two renewable energy incentive programs, property tax exemptions and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), for Lebanon. Using data from 83 New Hampshire municipalities that have enacted property tax exemptions for renewable energy installations, the report projects that the fiscal impact of enacting the exemptions in Lebanon would be minimal. The report also describes how municipalities have modified the PACE loan program in response to a legal challenge by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The report was authored by Brian Freeman '11, Jason Goodman '12, and Christine Souffrant '11. 

The Policy Research Shop is supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) program.

Women's Fund of NH Guest Speakers Lead MLDP Session on Fundraising

Marianne Jones, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of New Hampshire, led a recent MLDP session about fundraising. Marianne was joined by her colleague Lindsay Hanson, Associate Director of the Women’s Fund of New Hampshire after working as the NH Women’s Vote Director for Obama for America. Jones has over twenty years of leadership experience in philanthropy and nonprofit management, including expertise in grant-making, fundraising, and long-range, strategic planning. Ms. Jones has worked in philanthropy and nonprofit management in New Hampshire as well as in the Seattle and Boston areas.

First, Ms. Jones described the Women’s Fund, which serves women and girls at risk and uses money raised from individuals to provide grants to enact social change and improve the lives of women and communities. She then discussed the origins of philanthropy in the United States and how it is actually a concept unique to our country, partially because of the existence of tax write-offs. Though the Women’s Fund of New Hampshire only works with a small endowment of around one million dollars, most philanthropic organizations across the nation owe their endowments to early twentieth century capitalists like Carnegie and J.P. Morgan. Therefore, fundraising, for any philanthropic organization, is the oil that makes the wheels turn.

We then went around the room and each participant discussed their personal experiences with fundraising. Responses ranged from students who had no experience, to many who had raised a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for school sports teams and activities, to a few who had raised thousands of dollars for charitable causes. Jones then told the participants that one of the most important parts of fundraising is that it is really no different than asking somebody for something. The only way that one will be able to succeed is if they are passionate and are able to display that emotion and sell and potential donor. She highlighted the fact that large donors have causes asking for aid left and right, and the only way to ensure that your cause will receive funding is if you can target your pitch down to thirty seconds, distill your issue, and create an emotional hook. Lindsay Hanson discussed the difference between the fundraising that the WFNH does and the type of fundraising that she worked on during the most recent presidential campaign. Political fundraising has recently made large use of social networking and going for the masses and relying on millions of small donations. However, a campaign is a time limited issue. Fundraising for the WFNH and other philanthropic groups relies on building a foundation and relationship with donors that will last for years and result in multiple donations.

Jones discussed the four “A’s” of fundraising: Acquisition, Acknowledgment, Affinity, and Appreciation. First, one must come up with, or acquire, a cause. The next step is finding a group of people who can empathize with the cause, or a group who as an affinity with the cause and would be willing to donate. Targeting a specific group will bring the best results. For instance, women from the ages of 45-75 are the highest benefactors of environmental causes because they are thinking about the lives of their grandchildren. The two most important parts, if there is going to be any sustained, long-term funding for the cause, are acknowledgement and appreciation. Jones said, to the surprise of the participants, that when someone donates, they must be thanked at least seven times. Whether it is by phone call, newsletter, personal letter, or an invitation to a banquet, donators must be thanked so that they will continue to donate. In addition, donators must know where each of their dollars is going so that they know they are actually helping the cause. Unorganized philanthropic causes have been brought down by corruption and unaccountability. Donators should be invited to come see their money at work so that they know their donations are actually making a difference.

Jones concluded the session by telling the group that giving in the U.S. has been stagnant for the past forty years. The average charitable donation is two percent of one’s salary. She highlighted the fact that contrary to popular belief, the rich give a smaller percentage of their money than the middle class. Everyone can contribute. Joshua Lee ’13 summed it up when he said, “Now I feel much more confident about the fundraising process and making sure everyone is involved with it. Everyone can help.”

You can “Like” the Women’s Fund of New Hampshire HERE

 - Sam Lewis '13

MLDP Participants Reviewed Strategies for Event Planning and Stress Management

Keely Ayres is the Senior Production Manager at the Hopkins Center and she delivered a presentation to MLDP participants about “Event Planning: Steps to a Successful Presentation.” Productions that Ayres has managed for the Hop have included, President Kim’s Inaugural “Dartmouth and the Performing Arts” performance with Rachel Dratch and Buck Henry and the 2007 MSNBC Democratic Debate. The session started as each of the participants discussed any events they might be planning in the near future. Events ranged from information sessions for activities, to a gender and sexuality conference, to discussions with political candidates for the 2012 campaign. Next, Keely laid out the objectives for the evening, which were Steps and Tools to Plan Events, Indentify Leadership roles, and GANTT Charts. Keely stressed the importance of organized and detailed planning and ensuring that you leave nothing to the last minute. She then outlined the five stages of event planning: identifying the event, conceptualizing, planning (and continually reviewing, presenting, and then reviewing and discussing what went well so that you know for next time what worked and what went wrong.

The group then brainstormed what the logistics and components might be for any event. A few suggestions were finances, audio/visual, advertising and marketing, and capacity. Keely added that, especially for college events, obtaining permits is a vital part of planning any event. Next, we discussed who should be members of an event planning team. Keely stressed the need for strong leaders to motivate and delegate to team-members, but to never micro-manage. The core team needs to be people that you trust. When planning an event, some people might be in different cities or even different countries, so even though Skype may help for a time, it is important that at least once all the members of the planning team are in the same physical room. As for marketing or advertising, one must know their target audience. Social media is a good bet for teenagers, but snail mail and magazine ads still need to be used for those who might not use social networking. A treasurer is an integral member of the team because he or she will make sure the event never surpasses its budget. Other important positions are a volunteer coordinator, logistical coordinator, and a decorator or artist who can transform a space to be exactly what you want for the event.

Next, we moved onto tools that can help with organization when planning an event. Keely said that any planning meeting one runs should have an agenda so that you stay organized and ensure that you do not forget to talk about any necessary topics. To stay focused throughout the duration of a planning cycle, GANTT charts allow one to have a long-term plan and guarantee that tasks are at the right time. Right before an event, a checklist helps with the “nitty-gritty” and minimizes crisis management at the event.

The session concluded as we split into our small groups and each planned an event using a GANTT chart. Each group presented their respective event, which ranged from an alumni appreciate dinner to a Quidditch match on the green. Keely thanked the group for their attention and enthusiasm and offered her help for any events that the participants might plan in the future.

In the following hour, a session about Stress Management was led by Kari Jo Grant, the Health Education Coordinator in the Health Resources Office at Dick’s House. She serves as the trainer and advisor to 3 peer health advisor groups: Sexperts, Eating Disorder Peer Advisors (EDPAs) & Peer Education Action Corps (PEAC). She also advises the COSO-sponsored groups “Active Minds” and “ST. LUKE”. She has worked at Dartmouth since Fall 2004. Kari Jo began the session by defining stress. Contrary to the beliefs of most of the participants, there is such a thing as “good” stress. It is when your body reacts to something good, such as getting into college, and then stresses and scrambles about all the tasks that now must be done. Of course, there is also “bad stress.” However, your body cannot tell the difference between “good” and “bad” and therefore reacts the same way.
Next, we went around the room and each discussed what our personal reactions and responses to stress are. Responses ranged from headaches to tight muscles to binge eating to erratic sleeping habits to acting out. Kari Jo assured us all that in our very stressful college environments, these responses are all normal and expected. However, there are ways that we can alleviate stress and make ourselves both mentally and physically healthier. The benefits of relaxation not only include improved health, but allows one to take in new information more easily, it facilitates creativity, increases positive emotions, and “just makes the brain work better,” as Grant said.

To conclude the session, we spent thirty minutes using one of the relaxation exercises available on the Dartmouth Health Education website. Each of the participants said they felt much more relaxed. Grant thanked the group and offered her advice and help if we had any questions in the future.

You can access the relaxation exercises online.

-- Sam Lewis '13

Developing a Global Mindset at MLDP with Dickey Center's Chris Wohlforth

Chris Wohlforth, Associate Director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding, joined the MLDP group earlir this month to lead a session on developing a global mindset.

Before the lecture, Sadhana Hall, Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and Social Sciences, also made a visit, telling us that in order to be global leaders, we must “seek to understand first than to be understood, and differentiate if the other side was intentional, or if one was misunderstood.”

Wohlforth started the session with an exercise of imagining ‘what it means to have a mindset of something,’ and thinking back to the time when you felt like an outsider. She offered a personal story of her experience as an exchange student in Belgium. She took the wrong bus and went to the end of the station. The driver kindly drove her back, but she said there was a feeling of alienation and embarrassment.

This led to her lecture, as she told us that we must be aware of our strengths and limits to navigate new environments, and we must pay attention to our surroundings and our reactions to such.

She outlined 4 goals for the session: 1) develop an understanding of what a global mindset is and how it can enhance effectiveness in cross-cultural settings, 2) learn to recognize cross-cultural experiences, and associate them with learning opportunities, 3) explore different ways to prepare yourself to be effective in a cross-cultural environment, and 4) create a customized road map to assist you in improving your cross cultural sensitivity.

She pointed out that global leadership is distinctive because we must adjust how we interact with people. That means adjusting our presentation, communication, and teamwork styles. Skills that we are trying to develop at MLDP depend a lot on values and context. This means culture affects a lot of the skills that we want to learn.

We then watched video clips of different students who immersed themselves in different cultures and felt disappointed.  Professor Wohlforth pointed out that a lot of the disappointments come from our own cultural biases. This is in fact very natural, because everyone has assumptions. We just have to be sensitive to the surroundings such that we understand them better.

Wohlforth defines intercultural sensitivity as how one experiences difference. It is a function of interest in other cultures, sensitivity to notice cultural differences, and willingness to modify behavior as an indication of respect for other cultures. Intercultural sensitivity comes at a continuum as well: 1) denial (perception that one’s own culture is the only real one), 2) defense (belief that one’s own culture is better), 3) minimization (belief that all cultures are the same at their root), 4) acceptance (recognition that different cultures are equally complex, but different), 5) adaptation (ability to shift perspective from one world view to another), and 6) integration (ability to experience sense of self in and out of different cultural contexts). The goal is to go towards integration. There was a discussion on how individuals match in their spectrum, and how we can get towards integration.

There are also some caveats that Wohlforth brought up. Personal transformation of having a global mindset is neither linear nor predictable. The preparation does not guarantee you to be a global leader. A lot of training programs might also be culturally biased, so we must be aware of them. We must be attentive, listen a lot, and be aware of what is not being said, contextulizing what’s going on.

The group then discussed what some factors would be to consider when developing sensitivity. The group mentioned: 1) age based relations (how older treat younger people, and vice versa), 2) gender relations (within gender and across gender, understanding what is normal in that environment), 3) class dynamic (socio-economic interaction), 4) appearance (what is normal in terms of dress, how acceptable is it to wear the same clothes day after day), 5) authority relations (how people in authority are treated by subordinates in context of work, religion, and politics), 6) individual vs. group dynamic (issue of privacy), 7) taboo (what’s appropriate, how frank can you be, public vs. private setting), and 8) body language (how you carry/present yourself).

After the discussion, we broke down to small groups analyzing cross-cultural dialogs. We quickly realized that it is not the problem of the language, but about realizing the others’ culture. For additional resources, Wohlforth recommended: “Culture Matters: the Peace Corps Cross-cultural Workbook.”

As a review, using SWOT analysis (strengths, weakenesses, opportunities, threats), we drew up our plan for enhancing our intercultural sensitivity and global leadership skills.

Michael Sanchez, ’13, commented: “Professor Wohlforth did an excellent job stressing the importance of developing a global mindset in this increasingly connected world. Most of the students at the session, myself included did not realize how different cultures can have so many different norms and customs from our own. The session was a great eye-opener, and a good way to start thinking of yourself as part of a global community.”

Joshua Lee, ’13, commented: “Professor Wohflorth’s lecture was a great opportunity for self-reflection, in that she made us think about ways to improve our global leadership skills. Many of the facts that she brought up were common sense, but often times we do not have enough time to reflect on them. Her combination of lectures and discussions helped me reinforce key ideas.”

-- Josh Lee '13

UNH Law Professor John Garvey speaks to MLDP students on the art of negotiation

Professor John Garvey, the Director of the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, facilitated the MLDP session on “Negotiation.” He is leading a first in the nation program that will prepare law students for admission to the bar based upon rigorous evaluation of their practical legal skills as well as substantive knowledge of the law. Garvey began the session by asking the participants if they had ever participated in negotiations before. Everyone raised their hands and responses ranged from discussions with parents to roommates to professors. Garvey stressed that the need to think intentionally when negotiating. If you do not think intentionally, you will be caught by surprise and you will lose the upper hand. Whereas many think about so-called “hardball” tactics where one side draws a line and says the other must follow, such as with the current NFL labor negotiations, Garvey said there is much more to negotiating than using hardball tactics. Every day life involves a lot of negotiation even if we do not realize that it does. To make today’s session on time, Professor Garvey had to tell the participants at a session he was mediating that he needed to leave at 4 P.M. the latest without any possibility of change. Other examples of negotiating with others, or even negotiating with oneself, include making decisions about classes, deciding on a TV show or movie, or even what to eat.

For any sort of negotiation to work, the two parties must have some sort of shared interest. For both sides’ respective goals, there must be some sort of intersection of a common goal. The wants and needs cannot be parallel lines, otherwise neither side will want to give up anything for something they do not particularly covet in return. After showing a clip from the film The Untouchables, Professor Garvey discussed the problems that can get in the way during negotiations: your reaction, their reaction, their intractable position, getting stuck, and power. To get around these problems, one must: go to the balcony position and take a step back, put yourself in your opponents’ shoes, reframe the discussion, and help objectify the situation. Professor Garvey especially stressed the need to take the balcony position at some point during the negotiation. The balcony position means observing the negotiation from an outside perspective above the fray. Using this perspective, one can gain more appreciation and knowledge of the situation and make better decisions and proposals.

Though negotiation more often than not leads to progress for both sides, it is also necessary for participants to have a BANTA, or a Best Alternative to a Negotiating Agreement. Sometimes, you need to know when to say no if what is proposed is not the deal that you want to enter. Knowing the point going into a negotiation at which you will back out is necessary, said Professor Garvey, because it ensures that you will not give up more than you want to and make a decision that you will later regret.

Next, Professor Garvey gave us an exercise to practice our negotiating skills. In our small groups, the participants brainstormed possible situations where advanced negotiating skills might help. Situations that the groups used to practice ranged from discussing responsibilities between executive board members of a campus group organizing an event to a conversation between roommates about playing music at certain times. During the group exercise, participants took turns playing each side of the negotiation and observing from the balcony position. After, each discussed how their emotions and thoughts changed at each position. Dylan Payne ’13, who recently experienced difficulties with other executive members of a campus group about responsibilities for a campus event, said that he used the negotiating exercises later that day to resolve the situation for not only his benefit, but for the other group members and the group itself.

After the exercise, the groups came back and discussed what they learned. Professor Garvey concluded the discussion by showing the final scene of Reservoir Dogs and a humorous means of showing how not to negotiate. Professor Garvey thanked the participants for their interest and input.

- Sam Lewis '13

Marty Jacobs speaks to MLDP about "Turning Dreams into Reality: The Power of Strategic Planning and Systems Thinking"

Marty Jacobs ’82 led the May 17th session entitled “Turning Dreams into Reality: The Power of Strategic Planning and Systems Thinking.” Jacobs, president of Systems In Sync, has been teaching and consulting for almost twenty years, applying a systems thinking approach to organizations. She currently provides strategic planning and Policy Governance expertise for the Vermont School Boards Association and has worked with several school districts to engage them in community conversations. The session began with Jacobs telling the participants what your biggest fear a consultant should be: you make a whole and what you feel to be a complete plan, but then see as it “gathers into cob webs.” To show us what this meant, Jacobs gave each small group a balloon and told us to blow it up and not let it fall on the ground. “It seemed like a simple enough task, we just stood in a circle and took turns,” said Maxwell Sloan ’13. However, Jacobs changed the game by adding in another balloon, which unbeknownst to the groups at the time contained a marble that caused the balloon to sink quickly. “We had to react quickly and change our plan for keeping the balloons afloat,” said Joshua Lee ’13.

The groups then came back together and discussed what happened with the balloons. Using the balloon activity as a jumping off point, Jacobs introduced the group to systems thinking, which is the study and use of structure and behavior. To master a task, one must understand interrelationships of organizational systems and realize that it is a process and not a single event. By learning over time, one can look for trends and patterns, and use these lessons to adapt while still completing a task. Jacobs then introduced us to the main concepts for strategic planning: Mission, Vision, and Values. The “Mission” is the organization’s purpose. The “Vision” is the picture of the future the organization seeks to create. The “Values” are the guiding principles that the group uses to complete tasks. To maximize efficiency with these concepts, Jacobs introduced the participants to two methods of analysis: the force field model and the SWOT memo. A force field memo allows a group to assess the current reality compared to the desired outcome. Next, the group must fill in the space in between the two with propelling forces, which send you forward towards the desired outcome, and hindering forces, which set you back. The SWOT memo allows for organizational assessment by forcing the group to clearly layout the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, or SWOT. Jacobs then gave each of the groups a series of different forms of systems thinking from different real-life organizations. The groups looked through the memos and Jacobs asked what the best memos had to offer. Many agreed that beyond the actual content, how an organization presents information is half the battle.

The participants then split up into the small groups to come up with their own organizational plans for hypothetical events using systems thinking. Once the small groups came back together after a half-hour of planning, we realized that a few of the groups created potential events/organizational plans for MLDP. Jacobs moderated a discussion between the groups about how to best advertise the MLDP program, which gave great ideas to the students currently working on attracting students to the program for next year.

Jacobs, after bringing the session full-circle by re-connecting what the participants learned with the initial balloon activity, concluded the program by thanking the participants for their work and interest during the session. 

-- Sam Lewis '13