Tag Archives: Business

President Clinton Announces Impact of Commitments Made at the Second Annual Clinton Global Initiative America Meeting

AscentiveBusiness news from the Ascentive team

President Bill Clinton announced the impact of the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America), a meeting dedicated to forging collaborative solutions to the United States’ most pressing economic challenges. This year, CGI America attendees, who include leaders from government, business, and nonprofit sectors, made more than 50 new commitments valued at more than $1 billion that will create 32,000 jobs and fill more than 500,000 vacant jobs in the United States.

“This year’s CGI America participants have formed creative partnerships and come up with inventive strategies to accelerate employment, start new businesses, and prepare Americans to take the jobs that are open in the new U.S. economy,” said President Clinton. “From nearly $176 million of new capital that will go to small or medium enterprises, to the nearly 150,000 students who will gain access to STEM education opportunities, this year’s meeting has demonstrated the important advances we can make when working together towards a shared prosperity.”

Throughout the meeting, attendees generated Commitments to Action: new, specific plans to address an economic challenge facing the United States, such as job creation, small business development, clean energy, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, housing recovery, and workforce development. Some of the commitments announced today will provide underserved young people with skills in digital media and construction, give women and minorities opportunities for entrepreneurship, and transform foreclosed properties into affordable housing.

When fully funded and implemented, the 58 new CGI America commitments aim to positively impact the lives of nearly 3.9 million Americans in the following ways:

  •              More than 32,000 jobs will be created, including 6,600 green jobs.
  •              More than 500,000 jobs will be filled by veterans and their family members.
  •              Nearly 68,000 people will receive improved access to capital or financial services.
  •              More than 117,000 people will benefit from access to job training and certification.
  •              Nearly 760 million kilowatt hours of energy will be saved.
  •              More than $84 million of new capital will be invested in green initiatives.
  •              More than 12,000 people will gain increased access to health services.
  •              More than $640 million of the total value of the new commitments will address housing recovery, including returning distressed single-family housing to productive use, retrofitting homes in 25 new cities, and developing affordable housing units for low-income individuals.

President Clinton concluded the two-day meeting by encouraging leaders to find ways to create an innovative and sustainable tomorrow. In the final session, “What’s Next? Towards a More Perfect Union,” Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Regina E. Dugan, senior vice president of Advanced Technology and Projects at Motorola Mobility; Duncan Niederauer, director and CEO of NYSE Euronext, Inc.; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director of Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History; and Mark Vachon, vice president of Ecomagination at General Electric, spoke about the importance of STEM education, supporting American innovation, and the future of the American economy.

The second day of the CGI America meeting opened with the “Sustainable Finance” plenary session, where Donna Gambrell, director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund; Lisa Hall, president and CEO of Calvert Foundation; Ted Howard, executive director of the Democracy Collaborative; and Jim Koch, chair and founder of the Boston Beer Company, Inc., discussed sustainable access to capital to both grow existing businesses and finance new ventures.

Equal opportunity in employment and entrepreneurship was the topic of the second plenary session, “Pathways to Opportunity,” which featured Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Peter G. Peterson, chairman and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation; Chelsea Clinton, board member of the Clinton Global Initiative and William J. Clinton Foundation;  John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman, and CEO of Operation HOPE, Inc.; Kyle McCollom, founder of Triple Thread Apparel; Ai-jen Poo, director of National Domestic Workers Alliance; Jerry Sue Thornton, president of Cuyahoga Community College; and Joan Walker, executive vice president of corporate relations at Allstate Insurance Company.

CGI America is sponsored by J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, Allstate Insurance Company, The Dow Chemical Company, ExxonMobil, The Joyce Foundation, The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and APCO Worldwide.

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United Way Brings Together Greater Philadelphia Business Leaders for Celebration of Women and Leadership

AscentiveBusiness news from the Ascentive team

United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Women’s Initiative hosted its annual gala last evening to celebrate women leaders in philanthropy and volunteerism. Presented by Independence Blue Cross, proceeds from the gala support the work of United Way’s Women’s Initiative, which focuses on programs for at-risk women and girls, including Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow (GTLT), a program that helps at-risk adolescent girls develop self-esteem and leadership skills.

The gala, attended by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter and members of the business community, was co-hosted by Sherryann Plesse, principal and chief learning officer at Vanguard and Renee Rhem, vice president, customer service at Independence Blue Cross.  Sixth and seventh grade girls, who are part of the 2012 Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow class, were featured in the program which also recognized Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown as the 2012 Women’s Initiative award winner.

“The mission of United Way’s Women’s Initiative and that of Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown is the same,” said Jill Michal, president and CEO, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. “We’re both committed to ensuring the success of women and girls in our region- I know we all left the event feeling inspired by her leadership and passion.”

“The Councilwoman leads by example and her life commitment to women’s issues is evident,” added Amy Frazier, Marketing & Sales Leader at Pricewaterhouse Cooper and Chair of United Way’s Women’s Initiative. “As women, she challenged us to continue to do more for our girls, and our community.”

The Women’s Initiative is comprised of many of the region’s top professional women who give, advocate and volunteer in support of at-risk women and girls. Through United Way’s Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow program, girls participate in community- and school-based activities that help them build self-esteem, honor their bodies and maintain healthy relationships with their peers.

The United Way Women’s Initiative is a leadership network committed to philanthropy and volunteerism in the Greater Philadelphia area. The Women’s Initiative is bringing positive change to our community by increasing the impact of women donors, increasing the number of women volunteers, and strengthening programs serving at-risk women and girls.  The Women’s Initiative’s signature program – Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow – is changing the lives of at-risk adolescent girls and supporting area agencies with proven success in serving this vulnerable population.

United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania is part of a national network of more than 1,300 locally governed organizations that work to create lasting positive changes in communities and in people’s lives. United Way engages the community to identify the underlying causes of the most significant local issues, develops strategies and pulls together financial and human resources to address them, and measure the results. United Way is advancing the common good in southeastern Pennsylvania by focusing on education for children, income for families and health for seniors.

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Verizon Wireless Introduces Educational Programs, invests in New Jersey’s Wireline Communications

AscentiveEducation news from the Ascentive team

On Monday Verizon Wireless announced that it has launched “A Day in the Life of a History Maker” program to celebrate Black History Month. The program, a partnership with the UNCF, Teacher Planet, and Get Schooled, was developed to inspire and motivate high school students across the Philadelphia Tri-State Region by highlighting some of today’s most influential African American history makers.

Students in the Philadelphia Tri-State Region are encouraged to participate in the program by submitting a 500 word essay about how they plan to make history.  Entries will be accepted through March 31, 2012, at the Verizon Insider website. Five lucky winners will receive a chance to meet and spend an afternoon with Amber Riley, star of the hit TV series Glee, in New York City.

Students can also nominate their high school through February 29, 2012, to win a special visit from Ms. Riley. Voting is unlimited and the school with the most votes wins. Additionally, the actress is scheduled to star in five webisode vignettes on topics like education, empowerment, innovation, leadership and inspiration. The vignettes will coincide with themed Lesson Plans of past and present history makers that teachers will be able to download for use in their classrooms.

To further support the program, Terrence J., the star of BET’s 106 & Park, will be participating in a meet and greet on Thursday, February 23 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless retail store located at 4650 Jonestown Road, Harrisburg, Pa.

“Education and diversity are incredibly important to Verizon Wireless,” said Mario Turco, president of Verizon Wireless, Philadelphia Tri-State Region. “We worked hard to make this multifaceted program relevant to today’s students, and we hope that it inspires them to become great history makers themselves.”

More than 1,000 schools are expected to participate, with more than 1.4 million students and 328,000 educators.  Verizon Wireless will also support this program on Facebook and Twitter.

Investing in New Jersey’s Wireline Communications, IT Infrastructure in 2011

Verizon also continued to bring communications and computing innovation to the state’s consumers and businesses in 2011, investing more than $732 million in its wireline communications network and IT infrastructure throughout the state.

“The communications industry is vital to New Jersey’s economy, and Verizon is the state’s leading private investor in network and IT infrastructure,” said Dennis Bone, president of Verizon New Jersey.  “Verizon’s advanced networks serve as fundamental drivers of economic growth and innovation, providing a solid foundation for businesses to innovate, students to learn and people to stay connected.”

“Technology has forever changed the way we communicate, dramatically transforming our business in new and exciting ways,” Bone said.  “Verizon is facing these challenges and opportunities head on, but our future capital investments in New Jersey will be shaped by how well the state’s public policy evolves to create a positive environment for investment and innovation in our industry.”

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Quick-fix Layoffs Strategy Could Hinder Long-Term Economic Recovery

AscentiveBusiness tips from the Ascentive team

Companies relying on short-term measures to deal with current economic conditions, such as cost-cutting by way of layoffs for a potential increase in return-on-assets, risk long-term decline, according to Deloitte’s 2011 Shift Index, released today by the Center for the Edge. In fact, the Index reveals that corporate economic performance in the United States has been declining over time as even the highest-performing companies struggle to maintain strong ROA rates while increasingly losing market leadership positions.

ROA is an indicator of management’s efficiency at using assets to generate earnings. It is calculated by dividing a company’s annual earnings by total assets. Despite labor productivity gains of nearly 250 percent, Deloitte’s study finds that public companies in the United States have experienced a 75 percent drop in ROA over the last 40 years.  The negative ROA trend is playing out across virtually all industries tracked in the Shift Index, suggesting a long term decline caused by deep structural changes.  If companies remain too focused on the current economic conditions and the implementation of short-term solutions such as layoffs, they can be vulnerable to even greater competitive challenges in the long run.

“A profound structural issue weighing on our economy began well before the current economic downturn and likely will continue for the foreseeable future unless business leaders address the underlying challenges,” said John Hagel, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP and co-chairman, Center for the Edge. “In this recessionary period, companies risk making decisions, such as layoffs, traditionally seen as prudent quick fixes that instead weaken their workforces and disrupt the flow of important knowledge, leaving them highly vulnerable amid intensifying global competition.”

According to the Shift Index, a more effective approach for companies may lie in shifting their view of employees from cost items to be cut as pressure mounts to a powerful form of asset capable of delivering greater and greater value over time. Companies that invest in their workforces under tough economic conditions may be able to drive greater returns during periods of recovery.

The Impact of the Super-Empowered Individual

Deloitte’s report indicates that super-empowered individuals are driving companies to be more transparent and find new approaches to cultivate brand preference and loyalty among consumers. Technology provides individuals with the power to drive short-term market fluctuations and is allowing them to leverage digital tools to organize in ways that previously were not possible. The Consumer Power survey (the basis of one of the Shift Index metrics) finds that 49 percent of consumers strongly agree they have more information about brands and products than ever before thanks to the Internet and social media tools. As a result, consumers wield greater power via social networks and sharing information in real-time. The survey also found that consumers trust businesses less often and seek out information via alternate sources rather than “buying in” to traditional advertising, manifesting in greater brand disloyalty.

Companies have the opportunity to use these same digital tools to draw new consumers to their offerings.  According to Deloitte’s analysis, social software also can be used within companies to cultivate a passionate workforce and tap into critical knowledge flows at all levels in order to reverse declining performance.

“Super-empowered individuals and passionate workers connect with like-minded people through social media to advance dialogue, learn and collaborate,” said Hagel. “Organizations should tap into both when seeking champions for a particular cause or product.”

Tapping the Passion of an Aging Workforce

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

The U.S. labor force is projected to reach 166.9 million by 2018;

This represents an 8.2 percent increase from 2008, with an increasing proportion of older workers;

Workers aged 55 years and older are anticipated to leap from 18.1 percent to 23.9 percent of the labor force during the same period.(1)

As the workforce ages companies should consider how to engage workers of all ages and enable them to tap into diverse knowledge flows to deepen their experience and allow for increased collaboration. The 2011 Shift Index suggests that fostering effective participation among workers of all ages can be a key driver of performance improvement as companies draw upon the deepest set of knowledge and skills.

“The ability to ignite and sustain the passion of older workers is becoming more and more important as the labor force ages. Organizations should explore options to retain retiring employees as advisors within the company,” said Hagel. “Passionate older workers could be assigned roles where they can focus their energies on taking on performance challenges that have a measurable effect on a company. They often have well developed networks of relationships both within and across companies that can be very helpful in sustaining more robust flows of knowledge, accelerate learning and improve performance.”

(1) United States Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition

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New Electronic Waste Recycler Opens in West Philadelphia

AscentiveTech News from the Ascentive team

On Monday, Covanta Energy Corporation, a world leader in the development and operation of Energy-from-Waste (also known as EfW) facilities and other renewable energy projects, announced the launch of a new business to responsibly recycle and dispose of electronic waste (also known as e-waste). ECOvanta, located on 58th Street in West Philadelphia, is a state-of-the-art recycling facility that properly recycles electronic waste such as computers, monitors, mobile phones, printers and televisions. The facility safely manages end-of-life electronics using a combination of manual disassembly and an automated shredding system to separate materials into commodities for recycling.

Numerous studies show that E-waste is the fastest growing segment of the municipal waste stream in the U.S. with over three million tons of electronics generated each year of which only 14% is recovered for recycling. The rest typically ends up in landfills. Electronics should not be disposed of in the trash because most contain heavy metals such as lead (avg. monitor contains 4-7 lbs. of lead), mercury and cadmium.

“It’s important to properly recycle electronic waste to ensure we protect our environment from potential harm. I’m happy to see that new businesses like ECOvanta are coming to Philadelphia. They are not only providing a solution to this issue, but they are also creating new investment in our community,” said Carlton Williams, deputy commissioner of sanitation, City of Philadelphia, Streets Department.

ECOvanta has successfully passed audits and has been recommended to receive the R2 and ISO 14001:2004 certifications.  These rigorous third-party certifications ensure that e-waste is being recycled responsibly and sustainably. Everything that comes through the ECOvanta facility is sold or recycled as a processed commodity according to R2 standards. ECOvanta also audits all downstream vendors to ensure that they too are recycling correctly.

“We are excited to be launching this new venture into e-waste recycling. It is a growing market and we see a great opportunity to a provide proper, responsible way to recycle and dispose of these materials as more and more people become aware of its importance. In addition, we are proud to be providing new green jobs in the City of Philadelphia,” said Seth Myones, Covanta Americas president.

ECOvanta also offers secure destruction services for customers who require assured and certified destruction of their electronic equipment. Customers can follow the secure chain of custody process to track and identify material as it moves through the system. The process eliminates risks to information integrity by completely sanitizing hard drives or other storage media using a leading software program that meets all regulated destruction standards prior to manual disassembly and shredding.

The facility serves customers throughout the Mid-Atlantic, New York/New Jersey and New England regions.

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More Social Media Marketing Tips

AscentiveBusiness tips from the Ascentive team

Social Media Marketing is a style of online marketing that enables businesses of all sizes to get the word out about their product or service, as well as boost brand awareness, build loyalty, and attract and retain customers. You want to use Social Media Marketing to increase your visibility, improve your search engine results, and drive more traffic to your company’s website.

Without a doubt, Social Media Marketing has become a crucial element of successful online marketing and brand building. All content that adds value and markets a business, directly or indirectly, can be considered a form of Social Media Marketing. The material can be distributed in long form (blogs, articles, and eBooks), short form (Twitter updates, Facebook updates and images), or through conversations and sharing (start or join Twitter conversations or share content in a forum comment). Social Media Marketing allows you to build lasting connections with influential customers who in turn share your content and your message.

Here are some more easy ways to integrate your Social Media Marketing efforts and surround consumers with branded experiences:

•   Always include social media icons in your blog’s sidebar.

•   Provide links to your branded online sites in your email signature.

•   Place your branded online destination links in your forum signatures.

•   Add links to your online content in the comment forms whenever you publish comments on blogs.

•   Always put links to your content in your ads.

•   Include links to your content on your business cards.

•   Insert links to your content in your email newsletter.

•   Incorporate links to your content on your sales receipts.

•   Include Facebook social plugins on your blog or Web site from Facebook’ Developer suite.

•   Include Twitter widgets from the Twitter Resources section of Twitter.com on your blog or Web site and other points of entry.

•   Add your YouTube videos on your Facebook page and profile.

•   Feed your blog content to your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles, your Facebook page, and any other social networking portals where you have a profile.

•   Share your blog’s content in LinkedIn groups that pertain to your niche.

•   Use the SlideShare app to display your business presentations on Facebook and LinkedIn.

•   Include links to your blog in your online profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other Social Networking Portals.

•   The bio you include in guests posts for other people’s blogs should include links to your online content and destinations.

•   Include LinkedIn plugins from the LinkedIn Developers Community on your blog and Web site.

•   Include the URLs to your online content in brochures and other marketing materials.

•   Always list the URLs of your online content in your store or event signage.

•    Feed your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook updates to your company’s blog.

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Google+ Tips for Businesses

AscentiveBusiness tips from the Ascentive team

If you are an entrepreneur, you know that Social Media plays a big part in marketing your business. Google+ has now opened itself to the public, but it is asking businesses to hold off on creating profiles until the search engine giant has released an upcoming set of features that will better support businesses. In the meantime, there are a few things you can try out with your personal accounts in order to get your feet wet and prepare your business for the eventual rollout:

Use Your Business’ Actual Name

No matter what, you’re going to want to stick with your businesses’ actual name when you create your Google+ page. Although you may want to acquire pages that have keywords that are related to your niche, this technique will likely be against Google+’s future policy. Just concentrate on making your Google+ business page your business’ home away from home, and a back link for search engine optimization.

Add Information to Your Pop-Up Window

You may have noticed that a pop-up window appears when you hover over your profile picture with your mouse. This window is an area that enables you to add information about your business, so be sure to fill it out.

Use Circles for Privacy & Security

Due to the Google+ sorting strategy, social connections through the portal are a bit more efficient than Facebook. Circles enable Google+ users to organize their connections into groups such as Family, Friends, and Work Colleagues, in order for users to decide which circles get access to which posts. Users can create a circle for any type of group they want and connect with whomever they want, including people outside of their normal group. This makes it much easier to control that has access to what information.

Use Private Posts for Brainstorming

Just like a blog, you can use Google+ to brainstorm posts without all your followers reading a work in progress, as Google+ offers the users the ability to disable sharing on posts. If you have posted something that you would like to keep private for now, click on the drop down menu are at the top right of the post and select “disable reshare.” This will also disable the “+mentions” in the comments of your post, even if you want to mention another Google+ user who has commented before you disabled the reshare.

Use Hangouts for Video Conferences

You may not have realized it, but Goggle+’s built-in multiple user video chat tool can also double as a conferencing platform. Instead of contacting people and then triggering a conversation on the phone or on Skype, you hang out in a room that displays you via camera stream. If no one is available to chat, you simply let the application run in the background while you continue your work.

Integrate your Other Apps

Finally, when your business is invited to have it’s own Google+ profile, you should integrate your other Google applications with it, including Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar.

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