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Archive for the ‘Personal Empowerment’ Category

From ‘good to great’ – Greenville Daily News

Posted: February 1, 2021 at 6:48 pm

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SIDNEY TOWNSHIP With a history spanning more than five decades to its founding in 1965, Montcalm Community College (MCC) has long served the community as an institution of higher learning.

Throughout that history the college has also grown and expanded, from offering new educational courses, placing a focus on community programs and even expanding outside its boundaries of Sidney with a campus in the city of Greenville.

With a firm grasp of that history in one hand, the college continues to look ahead, reaching out to the future with the other.

As the first step to solidify that focus on the future, MCC has unveiled its official 2021-2024 Strategic Plan to the public today, solidifying a number of goals to accomplish in both the short and long term.

For MCC President Stacy Young, developing the new plan involved a balancing act of both respecting the colleges past and embracing a progressive future.

I think about the people who started the college, the foresight they had to know the college would impact the community in such a positive way and it takes my breath away, she said. Whether it be making sure more of our students go to the college full time or that our facilities are more up to date, thats what this plan is about to make sure everyone is taken care of and that we continue to grow and serve the community.

Vision, mission and values

The plan places renewed definitions on the colleges core focal points vision, mission and values.

According to the plan, the colleges vision is to focus on community inspiration, exceptional education and personal empowerment.

Its mission is outlined as transforming lives through quality education, and in establishing values, the college will place an emphasis on student success, empowerment, relationships, visionary, inclusion, community and excellence.

Its that last list regarding values that has Young most excited, as it was designed by college Board and Foundation members, as well as students, to create an acronym spelling out SERVICE.

Servant leadership and serving others is very important to me, Young said. We are rolling out a year of service in the community and challenging our employees and students to 10,000 hours of community service in the year.

Young said in her year of experience as the colleges president since being hired in January of 2020, shes witnessed enough to believe the goal of reaching 10,000 hours of community service by Dec. 31 of this year is well within reach.

We hope these 10,000 hours allow us to be out in the community more than we are now, she said. We are there to serve our community, whatever that looks like, be it providing a place to learn or go on our nature trails. Our hope is, and we believe we already have a great relationship, but were looking to go from good to great.

Young said she believes the college already impacts the greater Montcalm County community well beyond the walls of the college and she hopes those efforts only continue to increase as outlined as a priority within the plan.

Increased enrollment

Within the strategic plan are four specific goals that have been established: Increase enrollment, improve student success and access, enhance facilities and (increase) community engagement.

The subject of increased enrollment is one that will likely be most challenging, as community colleges across the state and country deal with a current decline in students amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

With enrollment hovering around 1,400 students for the current spring semester, that number of students is among its lowest recorded at the college in the past 20 years down about 15% over the past two years.

However, Young is confident those numbers can begin trending upward once again, with her personal goal to see enrollment climb back above 2,000.

The last time MCC had a fall semester with enrollment surpassing 2,000 students was in 2012 the last of nine consecutive years, beginning in 2004, in which enrollment was at least that high.

My goal is 2,000, but its going to take us a while to get there, Young said. Enrollment is key, but its not just about getting new students, but making sure our current students progress and graduate. We want to make sure they take as many classes as they can and try to move to full-time status.

According to Young, of the colleges entire student population, 76% of those students only attend the college on a part-time basis (less than 12 credits per semester).

Were actually trying to flip that, she said. Most of our students are 18 to 22 years old, and while we know they have certain life circumstances, we really want to help them get in and get done. The faster they get done (with MCC), the faster they can transfer on to another college or begin supporting themselves and their family.

Young said shes hopeful that with the development of a Strategic Enrollment and Marketing Plan, as well as promoting a better awareness of student scholarships, those numbers will begin to trend upward in the near future.

Improve student success and access

In looking to improve student success and access, Young said a number of steps will be taken, including the implementation of a concierge service for students, along with new efforts toward improving diversity, equity and inclusion through the curriculum.

Additionally, the plan calls for more hands-on learning opportunities, as well as a goal to have the college adapt more to the needs of students.

We know we have some work to do there, but we want to lead in this area, Young said. So were starting with our faculty and staff. That concierge service is really something that weve already started the first steps of and its just about helping people who dont know what to do, who dont know what that first step might look like.

Young said those first steps could be as simple as questions about how to buy textbooks or working to overcome early struggles in class.

In looking to add more hands-on learning opportunities, Young said studies have shown that is exactly what the current and upcoming generation of students are looking for in a college environment.

This generation (Generation Z) likes to be involved. They want to help and we want their input, she said. I think thats going to make us stand out among other schools were going to be very hands-on. In a dream world, wed have a student-run coffee house where they are not only managing it, but the marketing class is preparing the marketing materials and the accounting class is handling the books.

Enhance facilities

One of the more costly goals, looking potentially within the next year and also further years down the road, is renovations of current buildings and the potential to construct on-campus housing facilities.

First on the agenda, according to the plan, is to renovate the Kenneth J. Smith Instructional Building.

The Smith building includes classrooms, laboratories and instructors offices and serves as a primary instruction area for the colleges health-care programs.

As one of the founding buildings of the Sidney campus, the Smith building consists of two levels, is approximately 24,752 square feet in size and was originally built in 1966 and was last updated in 1999.

According to Young, renovating the facility is crucial if the college wants to continue offering competitive, modern instruction for its students.

All of the buildings on our campus get rated every year and this one definitely needs some work, she said. Even with COVID, 766 students took classes in that building last year, so we know its a super important building on our campus. It hosts classes for some of the hottest careers and industries right now, including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and nursing, so we need to provide our students some up-to-date upgrades.

Young said those upgrades would include new learning spaces, laboratories, and most importantly, important upgrades to allow for nursing simulation programs.

We need to show the community that we have these resources, to show the hospitals that we have them, she said. If you have the equipment, you can simulate actual medical issues and replicate it in the classroom, whereas if you go to the hospital to do your clinical rotation, you may or may not have the opportunity to experience some things.

Young said initial estimates at this time call for approximately $5 million in total renovations to the building.

Thinking a little more outside the box regarding new facilities, Young said the college will also open up conversations regarding potential on-campus student housing.

Community engagement

In regards to the last of the four goals, Young said a focus on community engagement means improving upon current relationships with the community.

Additionally, she said that means exploring more fundraising and grant opportunities for future college projects, as well as educating the community at large on the value of the college.

Young said the new 10,000 hours of service project will be a big part of stressing the colleges focus on community engagement.

I dont want to say that community is important to us, I want to show that it is, she said. We are there for the community as much as it is there for us community is in our name.

In having reviewed the plan, members of the Board of Trustees said they are not only on board with the initiatives and goals going forward, but impressed with the efforts it took to draft the plan in a year engulfed in the coronavirus pandemic.

The enormous upheaval caused by the COVID-19 crisis affected nearly every facet of everyones life, Board Treasurer Kurt Peterson said. The strategic plan that was in place at MCC was not spared. The members of the new strategic planning committee led by President Young did a fantastic job of reprioritizing the schools most important needs and objectives on our campus in light of the Pandemic and developing a new short-term strategic plan. The board was kept well informed and supports the revised plan.

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From 'good to great' - Greenville Daily News

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February 1st, 2021 at 6:48 pm

New and Forthcoming Titles on Women, Girls and Empowerment – Publishers Weekly

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The following is a list of books focused on women and girls' empowerment and titles related to the achievements of, and equal rights for, women, young women and girls.

Main feature



Bookish Broads: Women Who Wrote Themselves into History

Lauren Marino, Feb.

Illuminates the lives of the greats as well as the literary talents history has wrongfully overlooked.


Jacinda Ardern

Michelle Duff, Apr.

Delves into the New Zealand Prime Minister's beginnings as a nose-ringed teen fighting for equality and her own identity in a devout Mormon family.


Women Dont Owe You Pretty

Florence Given, Apr.

A vibrantly illustrated primer on modern feminism for the Instagram generation.


The Second Bell

Gabriela Houston, Mar.

A reimagined popular folktale where a headstrong young striga finds herself in a life- threatening situation that tests the bonds between mother and child.


The Home Stretch: Why Its Time to Come Clean About Who Does the Dishes

Sally Howard, June

The author combines history and fieldwork with her own personal story.


As A Woman: What I Learned about Power, Sex, and the Patriarchy After I Transitioned

Paula Stone Williams, June

The author pulls back the curtain on her transition journey and sheds light on the gendered landscape that impacts many in the LGBTQ+ community.


Expect More: Dare to Stand Up and Stand Out: A Guide for Women on Reaching Their Potential

Muffet McGraw, Feb.

The retired head coach of the Univ. of Notre Dame womens basketball team guides women to expect more in their careers and family lives.



Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Feb.

Urges a generation to gather their courage, embrace their ambition, and commit to the hard work of following their dreams.

The Soul of a Woman

Isabel Allende, Mar.

The bestselling author offers a passionate and inspiring meditation on what it means to be a woman.

The Bohemians

Jasmin Darznik, Apr.

A novel imagining the wild 1920s in San Francisco that awakened photographer Dorothea Langes career-defining grit, compassion, and daring.


Black Girl, Call Home

Jasmine Mans, Mar.

A poetry collection inspired by the authors own life explores the intersection of race, feminism, and queer identity.

A Special Place for Women

Laura Hankin, May

A funny novel about a clandestine womens-only social club and the reporter who sets out to expose its secrets.


The Body is Not an Apology

Sonya Renee Taylor, Feb.

From PWs review: Poet and activist Taylor (A Little Truth on Your Shirt) packs important ideas into this concise volume on body empowerment.


To the Greatest Heights: Facing Danger, Finding Humility, and Climbing a Mountain of Truth

Vanessa O'Brien, Mar.

A memoir by the record-breaking American-British explorer who became the first American woman and the first British woman to successfully summit K2, and was named Explorer of the Year in 2018 by the Scientific Exploration Society.



Melissa Febos, Mar.

A set of stories about the forces that shape girls and the adults they become.

The Mysteries

Marisa Silver, May

An intimate story of two young girls, joined in an unlikely friendship, whose lives are shattered in a single, unthinkable moment.


The Gift of Self-Love: A Workbook to Help You Build Confidence, Recognize Your Worth, and Learn to Finally Love Yourself

Mary Jelkovsky, Mar.

Build confidence, boost self-esteem, and overcome body image issues using this interactive self-help book for women.


The Next Smart Step: How to Overcome Gender Stereotypes and Build a Stronger Organization

Kelly Watson and Jodi Ecker Detjen, Feb.

A guide to understanding the challenge of gender imbalance, implementing solutions, and offering tools to ensure positive and enduring change.


Besharam: On Love and Other Bad Behaviors

Priya-Alika Elias, Apr.

Essays by a lawyer and a feminist writer that touch on themes of family, culture, body image, sex, and feminism.

The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams

Jonathan Ned Katz, May

Uncovers the forgotten story of radical lesbian feminist Eve Adams, and her long-lost book Lesbian Love.

Open Skies: My Life As Afghanistan's First Female Pilot

Niloofar Rahmani, July

The true story of the authors determination to become Afghanistan's first female air force fighter pilot.

We Are the Baby-Sitters Club: Essays and Artwork from Grown-Up Readers

Edited by Marisa Crawford and Megan Milks, July

A nostalgia-packed, star-studded anthology exploring the lasting impact of the Baby-Sitters Club series.


Chicken Soup For the Soul: Be You

Amy Newmark, Apr.

Contributors from all ethnicities and the LGBTQ community celebrate their strength and individuality.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Im Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truth In 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope

Amy Newmark and Breena Clarke, June

Black women share their dreams, triumphs and failures, and their lives, which have unique challenges and hardships that are not well understood by others.


She Holds A Cosmos: Poems On Motherhood

Edited by Mallory Farrugia, illus. by Karolin Schnoor, Mar.

Thirty poems exploring motherhood in all its dimensionsfrom pregnancy and birth to the joys, struggles, and hilarious moments that come with raising children.

Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspirations, and Influences Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers

Hannah K. Chapman and Luaren Burke, illus. by Kaley Bales, April

Unexpected and inspiring stories behind eighteen women writers from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries.


Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions For Success at Work

New and Forthcoming Titles on Women, Girls and Empowerment - Publishers Weekly

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February 1st, 2021 at 6:48 pm

Letter: Why are we wasting our time with impeachment? –

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We are wasting time trying to impeach our former president. So, why are we going through the motions? What a waste of time and effort!

We are wasting all that time and effort, IMO, for one reason. That reason is to get each and every person who has a vote in the matter recorded for posterity in black and white, on an immutable and permanent paper. So that there is no equivocation as to their intent and action.

We've suffered 4 years of dedicated mismanagement from a man who has no religion but himself. Who has no goal other than personal empowerment and monetary gain. Who destroys the lives of those who fall from his favor. Don't think so? Read Michael Cohen's book.

We do not need to re-elect people who will openly condone treason against our country, who are willing to promote domestic terror against our electors and citizens. And that, dear people, is why we are wasting time.

Dave Knecht, Zumbro Falls

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Letter: Why are we wasting our time with impeachment? -

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February 1st, 2021 at 6:48 pm

Bring back the beat: Music you missed this January – Daily Trojan Online

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Its 2021. After almost an entire year of isolation and zero festivities, music brings solace to the mind and soul. An elegant melody accompanied by elaborate lyrics, occasionally adding energetic choreography and a colorful music video, music dominates the world.

Its time to forget about the physical isolation and discomfort. In the first month of a new year, why not allow yourself to fully immerse in music, be taken captive in the unlimited possibilities of lyrical wonders and heavenly harmonies?

January resonated as a fresh start for all. Lets pick up the highlights of this month.

Drivers License by Olivia Rodrigo (Jan. 8, 2021)

Ready for some heartbreaking love feuds? In a time of cold isolation, we definitely need a fiery spirit of passionate love stories or breakup stories. Ranking No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Global 200, Drivers License marked Olivia Rodrigos extraordinary debut unlike any other. Listen to this Gen Z gently recite her broken heart as she drives past the suburbs, without the guy she thought was the one.

Skin by Sabrina Carpenter (Jan. 22, 2021)

Could this be her response to the blonde girl remark in Drivers License? Beginning softly, Sabrina Carpenter doubts the gravity in the words [they] write. But she soon launches into her blinding spotlight of a life, flaunting her long career in the music industry, slashing back at haters and softly responding to the newly-licensed-teenage-driver. While graceful lyrics discreetly tackle the injustices Carpenter faced, her strong yet majestically faltering vocal cords convey a sense of pride and utmost confidence that no one can get under [her] skin.

Lie Lie Lie by Joshua Bassett (Jan. 14, 2021)

Listen to this sharp farewell to an ex-best friend from the Disney+ star of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Despite much speculation from fans and the coincidentally corresponding release dates, Joshua Bassett sings about a betrayal from a long time friend, utterly irrelevant to the love triangle. Frequently revealing snippets of this song while working on it this past year, his dedication to the lyrics and music notes appear evident in the upbeat melody of the newly released Lie Lie Lie.

De Una Vez by Selena Gomez (Jan. 14, 2021)

Selena Gomez sings from her jeweled heart about her emotional growth through intricately weaved Spanish lyrics, poetically reciting self-empowerment. Proudly establishing her Latin American heritage, she immerses heartbroken listeners with precise words of healing encouragement, enticing a sense of empathic unity and compelling independence. After all: Soy mas fuerte sola, she asserts, I am stronger on my own.

Nobody Is Listening by Zayn (Jan. 15, 2021)

It looks like the coronavirus blues penetrated the musical blues by Zayn. His sad voice weakens into mumbles in his latest album, Nobody Is Listening. Unfortunately, Zayns intuition from naming his album stands uncorrected. The dismally isolated nature of his tracklist slowly rolled off the iTunes Top 100 into Calamity before barely balancing on the Tightrope at No. 22. Perhaps it was the overlapping dismay of the times that shrouded listeners from the potentially profound intent of creating personal music. Indeed, Zayn appears proud and accomplished to release music based on his creative journey as a solo artist for the first time. Despite the harsh chart records, it is never too late to appreciate the artistic value of Zayns intimate storytelling that resonates with purpose.

The Good Times and the Bad Ones by Why Dont We (Jan. 15, 2021)

True musicians, singers, instrumentalists tune into this new album consisting of heartfelt songs personally written and composed by the band members of Why Dont We during their tour and through coronavirus outbreaks. For an honest account of the good times and the bad ones, listen to the optimistic vibes of their new playlist.

What I Said by VICTON (Jan. 11, 2021)

Voice To New World (VICTON), these former romanticists are back with piercing vocals to celebrate their fourth anniversary. Adopting a unique Latin pop sound, these K-pop idols mix in brass instruments to create a dynamic dance hit. In the music video, VICTON fills the stage with powerful choreography, proudly claiming that the future is now. All seven members worked on this perfectly potent album, reflecting their accomplishments as artists and potential as future leaders of K-pop.

Anyone by Justin Bieber (Jan. 1, 2021)

What about another sweet song for a golden 2021? The striking melody contrasts with soft lyrics dedicating his love for his wife, insisting that if its not you, its not anyone. Needless to say, the admirably pleasant nature of the lyrics address a heartfelt companion. Justin Bieber goes even further to don silk boxing shorts to fight for his love in this new music video.

Life Rolls On (Audio) by Florida Georgia Line (Jan. 15, 2021)

Is there a more wonderful way to address the times? To those anticipating the obvious, life proved unsettling after the sudden coronavirus pandemic. But as these country singers declare, the best alternative is acceptance of the highs and the lows and the yes and the nos. After all, life rolls on.

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Bring back the beat: Music you missed this January - Daily Trojan Online

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February 1st, 2021 at 6:48 pm

Resources available to support student wellness and mental health – Penn State News

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. Penn States Senior Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Ben Locke has seen something of a cultural shift in recent years as mental health and wellness awareness has become a greater and greater part of the national dialogue.

Over the past decade, Locke said there has been a significant increase in students turning to counseling services at campuses across the nation. At Penn State, the number has increased by more than 50% over the last 10 years. Thats actually a positive sign, Locke said. That increase doesnt mean there are suddenly more people dealing with mental health issues, but rather more people are reaching out for the help they need.

Penn State has made significant investments in mental health and wellness resources for students in recent years, including a substantial CAPS funding increase from President Eric Barron in 2017, as well as support from the 2020 and 2016 senior class gifts. The University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) has also helped create and lead the Red Folder Initiative, which aims to educate faculty and staff members at all campuses on how to identify signs a student might be struggling with their mental health or wellness, as well as resources available to benefit them.

Locke encourages all Penn Staters to take an active role in looking after their own health and wellness, and to also look out and care for their fellow Penn Staters.

If youre struggling, seeking help is absolutely a sign of strength, not weakness, Locke said. And if you see something, do something. If you think a friend or peer is struggling in some way, check in, ask them how they are, or reach out for a consultation with a trusted source, like CAPS.

Were all Penn Staters, and we as a community have to recognize the role we all play in providing support, assistance and encouragement to each other.

Mental health and wellness resources

There are many wellness and mental health resources available to support and empower Penn State students, including:

Additional crisis resources

For those in immediate crisis, services through CAPS are available without a wait. Locke says a crisis can include thoughts of harming oneself or others, loss of housing, a recent death in the family or any other traumatic event that profoundly and negatively impacts ones day-to-day life and ability to function.

If you want to connect with a mental health professional in the event of a crisis:

Students in crisis may also connect with theOffice of Student Care and Advocacy, which works with students struggling with everything from medical emergencies and hospitalization to food or housing insecurity. Student Care and Advocacy works with partners across the University to empower students impacted by medical issues, mental health crises, food and housing insecurity and more. Students at Commonwealth Campuses may also benefit from services offered by the Office of Student Affairs at their individual campus.

Mental health and wellness tips and strategies

Locke acknowledged that college students across the country have experienced emotional, social, career and academic losses throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and continue to experience insecurity or doubt in their lives.

Many students are struggling with uncertainty about next steps, how unknown events will continue to affect them, and what to do when these things happen, Locke said.

Anxiety is your bodys way of communicating with you that something worrisome is happening and that you should pay attention, he said. While not all experiences of anxiety or stress require professional help, I encourage students who are experiencing anxiety to give yourself a little bit of time to see how things change. If you find that youre not making progress and continue to feel anxious, nervous or upset on a regular basis -- that is when you should reach out for help.

James Dillard, distinguished professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State who researches how people experience and manage fear of infectious diseases, said that while feeling unsure or even fearful in uncertain times is normal, there are also strategies you can use to help regulate your emotions.

As the semester begins, Dillard said that taking breaks from the news and social media can help manage stress and boost an individuals well-being. Individuals should gauge the impact the news related to the pandemic has on them while being mindful of factors such as how important it is for them to be up to date on the latest COVID-related research, and adjust their media intake and interpersonal communication on that basis, according to Dillard.

Dillard and Locke both also shared that taking proper care of your body and overall wellness can help contribute to positive mental health. TheCDChas advised people to continue to exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, eat well-balanced and healthy meals at regular intervals, as well as avoid consumption of alcohol and drugs.

It is important to be honest with yourself and others in your life about what youre going through, what your needs are, and how youre struggling rather than trying to shut those feelings down, said Locke. As we continue to live through these uncertain times, it is so important to make space and time in your life to stay connected to your friends and family, hobbies and interests that are important to you, and your connection to a bigger purpose in the world.

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Resources available to support student wellness and mental health - Penn State News

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February 1st, 2021 at 6:48 pm

Yemen: Delivering COVID assets through the project’s chain – World Bank Group – World Bank Group

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One of the key challenges of expanding coverage to new beneficiaries under the World Banks Yemen Emergency Crisis Response Project (YECRP) was accessing data to assess household needs. The project team did this by hiring consultants from the localities being surveyed in order to protect against spreading COVID-19 between different communities.

All of the enumerators used personal protective equipment (PPE) and practiced physical distancing. Their survey was used to raise awareness of COVID-19 among tens of thousands of people. The Social Fund for Development (SFD) hired health advisers and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) specialists to ensure that the enumerators and beneficiaries were protected. They developed data collection applications that synchronized data with project servers to minimize the use of paper while providing information in real-time.

Data application systems were adapted to capture behavioral changes. The data tracks farmer behavior and records patterns in production, the prioritization of grant utilization, knowledge sharing on productivity, and raising awareness about COVID-19.

Approximately 50% of adult Yemenis do not possess a national ID; in the poorest districts this number is closer to 70%. The project used enrollment to help cash-for-works beneficiaries obtain an ID by including the time taken to do so as part of their hours worked. This amounted to 5% to 10% of the entire payment.

Onboarding beneficiaries included continuous awareness of OHS and COVID-19. Each day, workers temperatures were taken and those with high temperatures were advised to stay home and rest. Field consultants are undertaking more advanced OHS training, and SFD has launched the first Yemeni online OHS training course allowing thousands of field engineers and consultants to hone their skills.

Regarding payments, the program has adopted a dual strategy. Smallholder producers were encouraged to open bank accounts to receive electronic transfers. Where this was not feasible, the team requested financial service providers to work with the Ministry of Health to produce COVID-19-sensitive cash transfer procedures.

Payment procedures include creating additional payment sites, calling together smaller groups through improved scheduling, physical distancing measures using ground markings, and PPE. The financial service provider introduced clean bank notes and instructed recipients on the safe handling of cash. At each worksite, workers were hired to disinfect surfaces.

An adaption specific to the cash-for-nutrition project was to change the payment schedule in order to pay cash benefits in advance to minimize in-person transactions. Instead of monthly payment gatherings, beneficiaries received cash for an entire quarter. This was particularly timely given that Yemen's COVID-19 transmission was expected to peak during the economically stressful period between the two Eid holidays (late May to late July). Getting larger than usual cash assistance during this period was crucial to beneficiaries.

Yet, beyond cash transfers, more was needed to protect communities.

Making 100,000 masks, replicating success

Women in Yemen make up the larger part of the workforce and shoulder most of the burden of care. The project prioritized women and children through cash-for-nutrition interventions. As a result, SFD managed to raise additional funding from the government of the United Kingdom for this important component as an emergency response to COVID-19.

Importantly, the project works to empower communities through Village Cooperative Councils (VCCs), where women are given more prominent roles alongside men village council members. Out of 23,600 elected councilors, 50% are women who have actively participated in community self-help initiatives, including the production of 100,000 face masks.

The Small and Micro Enterprise Promotion Service (SMEPS) (a subsidiary of SFD) support to women, particularly rural livestock breeders, has significantly helped avoid the use of negative coping strategies. Some 2,656 women livestock breeders have been supported with cash grants to buy food items and hygiene materials on the condition that they and their households attended the door-to-door awareness raising sessions on COVID-19 prevention, and a refresher on hygiene.

End line data for this sector shows a sustained increase of 185% in income, productivity increase of 129%, and a reduction in negative coping strategies. Main indicators for the coping strategy were: 75% decrease in the selling of assets and 50% increase in daily food intake. Women supported with cash grants used them to procure food (33%), hygiene materials (9%), productive assets (38%), preventive materials (4%), and clothing (16%).

The price of PPE, particularly face masks, has skyrocketed by 640%, which risks pricing the poor out of the market. SFD's community empowerment program has been working with 2,360 VCCs to support community initiatives to combat COVID-19. A common initiative has been producing high quality, reusable face masks. District health offices are buying locally produced masksan illustration of community competitiveness and resilience.

Communicating these successes is causing a replication effect.

Working with young, social media savvy professionals, the Yemen ECRP has produced a wealth of high-quality communications content, including 25 videos, 15 radio flashes, and printed materials, under the campaign titled #LetsFightCorona. These have been published online for download by other humanitarian and development agencies in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Thus far, this content is estimated to have reached more than 40 million people, with strong penetration amongst internet users in Yemen. Within a few days of launching the first COVID-19 video, local and regional TV channels had aired these messages at peak viewer times to an estimated several million people.

Finally, the projects team leaders would like to highlight our strategic partnership with the World Banks international Development Association and UNDP, which has been vital in the effort to provide services to Yemenis across the country. We will continue our concerted efforts to stave off famine by providing support to nutrition interventions, cash for work, vital services, and small businesses.

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Yemen: Delivering COVID assets through the project's chain - World Bank Group - World Bank Group

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February 1st, 2021 at 6:48 pm

Your Guide to Surviving Mercury Retrograde in 2021, Based on Your Zodiac Sign – HYPEBAE

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If youve been undergoing a series of miscommunications lately, that can only mean one thing: Mercury retrograde is upon us. To put astro-terminology in simple terms, Mercury moves backward from its orbit three to four times a year, resulting in a series of unfortunate occurrences. Known to be the planet that represents communication, travel and technology, Mercury allows us to convey our thoughts by filtering what we say, as well as how we absorb information from others on a regular day. With that in mind, during these unpredictable times, you may want to remain vigilant when it comes to conveying your feelings to the people you care about, or even when sending out simple texts or emails.

In 2021, this cosmic event will only take place three times, with the first Mercury retrograde starting on January 30. Below, astrologer Julia Modorsky of the Sanctuary app breaks down all the different dates you need to look out for this year, as well as what to expect based on your zodiac sign.

Aquarius offers progress that will aid the future, and tends to bring on new discoveries and sudden realizations. During Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, you will retrace your steps to come to a better understanding of these new insights. Due to the Aquarian influence, you may want to back up your tech devices or save some files as Mercury slows down consciousness here on Earth.

Find where 2629 to 1101 Aquarius is in your natal chart. This is where Mercury will appear to move backward for you, where you will be introspective for three weeks.

Introspective about friendship, community and hopes, dreams, visions of the future. Some will experience this reflection in the area of career, goals and public presence.

Introspective about career, how youre recognized publicly in the world and your goals in life. Some will experience this reflection with where they feel free in life or with their philosophies and beliefs.

Introspective about exploration (new perspectives, worlds and philosophies). Some will experience this reflection on the deeper meanings in life, intimacy and vulnerability with others, and personal empowerment.

Introspective about your transformation in your life, where you feel powerful, and diving deeper into a topic or practice. Some will experience this reflection on relationships, connections and balance.

Introspective about your partnerships, support systems and how you feel centered. Some will experience this reflection on health, personal healing, daily routine, or services they can provide that can help others in some way.

Introspective about your day-to-day, healing, your job (not career) or even your coworkers. Some will experience this reflection on creativity, self-expression and how they shine.

Introspective about your creative expression, your playfulness or romantic life, your courage and exuberance, or what really brings you to life. Some will experience this reflection on their area of home (what feels like home), family, comforts or emotional nature the core of the being.

Introspective about home, family, foundations as well as your inner world, intuition and heart. Some will experience this reflection on their ideas, voice (speaking, writing) or anything theyve been learning.

Introspective about the voice, speaking, writing, sharing your ideas, how you communicate, or the messages youve been receiving. Some will experience this reflection on where you find grounding and security in life, what your values are (including finances), your patience and your bodys natural rhythm.

Introspective about what you find valuable in life personal, spiritual, financial values, self-worth, self-care or grounding. Some will experience this reflection on who you are, your sense of self, your persona and presence or independence.

Introspective about your independent nature, connecting more deeply with who you are, and what comes naturally to you the energy you embody. Some will experience this reflection on their spirituality, psyche, psychic knowing, sleep cycle, meditation, compassionate or soulful nature, or feeling of oneness in the greater whole.

Introspective about your dreams (can literally be your dreams at night), your spiritual connection, higher self, deep inner knowing, releasing potential subconscious blockages you may feel or become aware of. Some will experience this reflection on their dreams of the future, ideals, brilliant new insights, or friendships and community.

With Mercury retrograding in Gemini, now is the time to slow down with your words, and breathe deeply and consciously. In addition, consider being more mindful and thoughtful in communication, processing and integrating what youve been learning. This will also be a great time to revisit past writings and go deeper with them, or to further your studies in an area. Feel free to reconnect with someone youve had on your mind before Mercury began to retrograde, as long as it was a healthy parting or if you just lost touch with an old friend youve been missing.

Find where 2443 to 1607 Gemini is in your natal chart to see how this can particularly influence your life.

When Mercury retrogrades in Libra, balance, weighing your options, relationships, what you love and find beautiful in life, and your sense of justice come into play. This will also be a time to deepen your connection with your partner. However, be mindful if you will reconnect with an ex. Be discerning with why things didnt work out in the past and ask yourself, Was it situational or personality? This can actually be a wonderful time for closure if needed. Additionally, this will be a great period to slow down and deeply reflect on and enjoy what you love. Keep in mind where you find support, cooperation, beauty and balance in your life.

Find where 2528 to 1007 Libra is in your natal chart.

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Your Guide to Surviving Mercury Retrograde in 2021, Based on Your Zodiac Sign - HYPEBAE

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February 1st, 2021 at 6:48 pm

Meet the Human Design Coaches to watch in 2021 – GlobeNewswire

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February 01, 2021 07:27 ET | Source: Bloom Communications


Human Design Coaches to watch in 2021

London, Feb. 1, 2021 // As human beings, each and every one of us is unique yet so many of us rely on universal methods to thrive in our lives and businesses, and feel disheartened when things dont go as wed hoped.

Human Design allows us to understand ourselves on a deep level and shines a light on the simple and bespoke strategies we can use to embrace our magical uniqueness and flourish at work and at home.

According to Bloom Communications, finding expert guidance and support on your journey of self-discovery and transformation is of the utmost importance take a look at our top Human Design coaches leading the way.

Danielle Eyman (@hdbydanielle)

California-based Danielle Eyman launched her business after living according to her design for 3 years a process that saw her wean herself off antidepressants, narcissistic men and friendships, leave a toxic job as a Registered Nurse and repair her relationship with her children.

She said: Ive seen the power of Human Design at work in my own life and its a privilege to see so many of my clients experience these huge shifts too. At the beginning of our journey together, many of them are at rock bottom often with no idea how they got there and they know they need to do something different if life is ever going to feel successful.

Working and experimenting with Human Design means gaining control of your mind and managing your thoughts and thats exactly what we do together with unbiased support and accountability. I help my clients align to and trust their own authority in just three weeks and I have seen results from business transformations to quitting drinking alcohol and boosting self-confidence it truly is incredible to see what we can achieve when we realign to the truth of who we really are.

Danielle is committed to making Human Design more accessible to all and works with her clients through monthly masterclasses, individual chart readings and 1:1 coaching support for women looking to truly embody and integrate the practice into their lives.

Victoria Jane (@victoriajane.hd)

Victoria Jane is a 6/2 Splenic Projector and non-specific manifestor in Human Design. Her mission is to empower growth-oriented folks to live with less hustle and more flow.

The Human Design coach and educator said: Its possible for you to live the life you desire and fulfill your dreams with ease instead of struggle. The reason that Human Design is so amazing is that it gives you a unique blueprint of how your energy works the best part is when I hear from clients who have experimented with living their design the incredible success, confidence, and fulfillment they experience.

After hitting several rock bottom moments including chronic health issues and burnout, Victoria recognised these signs from the Universe and took the leap to start her own business. Working from her home in Oakland CA, Victoria now runs the Human Design Coaching Certification and works with one-on-one clients to uplevel their career and relationships by following their human design.

Victoria added: In addition to the 1:1 work that which I love, what Im most excited about right now is the HD Coaching Cert - because Ive seen Human Design allow coaches to get their clients better results...You literally have a roadmap to how someones designed, so you can give more relevant and personalized guidance to your clients. Plus the community we have, where we are always discussing and going deep on human design topics is the best!

Kyla Derkach (@hathaastro)

Women feeling lost, stuck and hoping to discover their purpose and direction in love, life and business will find their perfect match in Palma De Mallorca-based Kyla Derkach. With a strong background in astrology and certified through the AFA, this Human Design Coach, Modern Astrologer and NLP Practitioner in training has a deep understanding of the patterns and unconscious programming of her clients.

Kyla said: I love working with bold, entrepreneurial, self-aware women who are committed to transforming anything holding them back from living their highest vibe life and making an impact on the world with their unique gifts. Keeping it real with my clients is important and my goal is to take the eye roll out of this stuff.

Kyla works with her clients through a range of consultations and programs across Astrology and Human Design, as well as her online course, Aphrodite Rising, which brings women into deeper alignment with their feminine nature. In 2021, she is launching a group coaching program and mentorship opportunities to help other women learn more about these modalities and how to incorporate them into their own businesses.

Kyla added: Ive been on a real healing journey throughout my life, which saw me pack up my party-filled, glamorous corporate life in Vancouver and set myself up on a majestic little island in the Mediterranean.

I tried many different things to stop getting in my own way you name it, Ive tried it! but it was only when I started integrating my knowledge of Astrology and discovered Human Design that things really started to shift. My mission now is to inspire others to beat self-sabotage, discover who they really are, and create a life and business they love too.

Taylor Eaton (@tayloreatoncoaching)

Washington-based Money Mindset and Human Design Expert, Taylor Eaton, is on a one-woman mission to heal societys relationship with money.

She explains: I dream of seeing our entire society shift away from the toxic patterns we currently have around money and showing people how they can harness the power of abundance for good. I want to create a new paradigm around this energy and help others to approach money in a way that empowers them.

Taylor offers private Human Design readings as well as programs and trainings that help individuals identify their unique blueprint for financial abundance, create aligned strategies for success, and shift their mindset to set them up for effortless income and impact.

Taylor adds: Learning how we are each uniquely designed to make money allows us to welcome more money into our lives with ease and heal blocks that keep money from flowing.

Ive helped countless clients scale their income on their terms and seeing them achieve this never gets old! I love blowing the old ways of doing business and money out of the water and helping people to learn to trust themselves and their own inner guidance.

Corinne Winters (@serveyourmuse)

Creative Living Mentor, Corinne Winters, uses a combination of Human Design, inner work and everyday tools to help creatives own who they are and release the pressure to conform.

Corinne said: Theres nothing more rewarding than helping clients embrace all parts of themselves, especially the things they once saw as quirky or unacceptable, and seeing how the full expression of who they are contributes to their work in the world. Thats why I advocate for Creative Living over self improvement, which implies that we have to change who we are to be good enough. My work is all about reconnecting people with the latent qualities within them originality, depth, courage, authenticity and resilience and helping them live from the inside out.

As a multi-hyphenate creative, Corinne has also spent two decades honing her craft as an internationally acclaimed opera singer, and now uses her expertise and love of teaching to help other curious and introspective people from artists and creatives to parents and entrepreneurs to navigate the same blocks that shes encountered in her journey so far.

People looking to let go of perfectionism, imposter syndrome or self-sabotage can work with Corinne through a variety of 1:1 sessions, interactive group workshops, made-to-order products tailored to their Human Design chart as well as a range of free resources.

Kendra Woods (@SoulfulSuccessByDesign)

Kendra Woods is a Human Design Business Alignment Coach on a mission to help ambitious, heart-centered, high-achieving women in business create success on their terms.

Kendra said: I spent over a decade in the corporate world and completely burned myself out so much so that I began to suffer from anxiety, bouts of depression and several physical health issues. When I finally woke up to the fact that something needed to change, I realized that my truth was that I wanted to life my life on my terms and for me and there was no other way to do that than to start my own business and create my own reality in a way that felt good for me.

The Alabama-based coach works with her clients through a range of services including high-level private coaching, courses, Human Design readings, Business Alignment Blueprints and masterclasses, all designed to help women in business to create success on their terms and in a way that is in alignment for them, creating more ease and flow. She is also the co-author of bestselling book, Girl Get Up and Win.

She added: Its such a blessing to be able to witness the beautiful transformations that my clients experience when we work together. I absolutely love what I do and Im passionate about helping others overcome confusion, self-doubt, low confidence and feeling defeated so that they can create lives that truly light them up.

Tiffani Purdy (@newparadigmbizbestie)

Florida-based Marketing Strategist and Human Design Teacher, Tiffani Purdy, helps coaches, consultants and service-providers to escape the burnout cycle and build businesses that fit in with their ideal life.

Tiffani said: Im all about helping entrepreneurs to get seen and sell their products and services with ease. When we finally drop the comparison and hustle culture and learn how to do things our way according to our Human Design, we can create businesses where we can freely express ourselves, have a lot of fun and make even more money.

Its my dream to see a world where more people have control over their lives and their income. I want Human Design With Tiffani to ultimately contribute to ushering in a new era of business where everyone gets paid well no matter what kind of job theyre doing.

Business owners can work with Tiffani in her signature program, The ENRICH Formula, where theyll learn the basics of Human Design, a therapeutic process to use and apply it in a personal development format, and how to use it to build a business that makes sense for their energetic design.

Cat Skreiner (@cat.skreiner)

Cat Skreiner started her entrepreneurial journey when she was seeking more balance in her life after becoming a new mother. Despite intending to return to her corporate role in digital for a global beauty brand after maternity life, she knew it was time to follow her true purpose in life and has never looked back.

Today, the Perth-based coach is now on a mission to help women in business to truly understand how they best operate in this world and what theyre here to do in their lifetime.

Cat said: I fuse more than 14 years experience in the Digital Marketing industry with Human Design to help my clients catapult their business success and drive massive impact through the integration and embodiment of their unique energetic gifts.

Whether Im working with female entrepreneurs through coaching and mentoring or personal readings, I use a combination of Human Design, Gene Keys and Team Energetics help them to create a business that is more intentional, aligned with their design and allows them to share their greatness with the world in a way that feels easy, fun and abundant.

Alexandra Danieli (@alexandra.danieli)

After years in the corporate and tech industry following leadership that wasnt in alignment with her values and vision, Alexandra Danieli took the leap to pursue her soul purpose supporting people in their spiritual growth and helping them to create the life they desire in their wildest dreams.

Working from her home in California, she now works with her clients through a range of private 1:1 and group coaching programs, as well as through the Ultimate Deconditioning System which she co-founded with her business partner and close friend.

Alexandra said: I work with people who are determined not to settle for a mediocre life theyve decided they want to live in abundance, confidence and have a supportive and harmonious romantic relationship. Theyre ready to finally implement the missing piece of the puzzle.

As we work together, I support them to activate their confidence, step into their authentic self, implement healthy relationship patterns, and call in the money they want to make consistently. This is about getting to know the Self on a deep level and transforming what doesnt work anymore upleveling in all aspects of life.

Leslie Collins (@wholeheartedbeing)

Leslie Collins uses Human Design, astrology and self-reflection to support her clients in digging deep to build an intricate understanding of their problems when navigating their partnerships, families, work, friendships and more.

Leslie commented: Wholehearted Being is here for anyone looking for the empowerment to show up authentically in their lives no matter who you are or what your background is. My work is focused on providing my clients with a safe and impartial support system whilst they develop the knowing, understanding and acceptance of themselves, which then equips them to show up fully in their lives.

Leslie offers counseling and coaching sessions to her clients to work on the major pillars of relating and life: Understanding, Communication, Boundaries, Confidence, Clarity and Mindset.

Leslie added: Prior to our sessions, I research everything I can about my clients Human Design, enneagram, love languages, astrology All of this knowledge helps me to be the best support provider I can be, helping them to understand why they are who they are, as well as how they interact with the people in their lives too.

Nadia Gabrielle (@_nadiagabrielle & @projectorsinvited)

Nadia Gabrielle is a multifaceted entrepreneur working at the intersection of business and wellbeing, merging her background in Design Thinking, Service Design and business building with more than 12 years of experience working in the wellness & self-development space.

Nadia said: All of my work is Human Design-informed. By looking up every single clients chart prior to working with them one-on-one, Im able to understand their energetic blueprint; their needs, strengths and areas for us to zoom in on, which makes our time together even more impactful. I work with all types, though being a Projector myself, Im particularly interested in Human Design Projectors, and offer specific Projector Coaching to integrate the mechanics, beauties and particularities of their aura into daily life and work.

Clients can work with Nadia on a 1:1 basis to build subconscious capacity and confidently embody who they wish to be in their lives and work, or in a group setting to learn proven strategic frameworks to create ease, profitability and longevity in their businesses.

Nadia also teaches regular classes on varied topics such as Human Design and the Subconscious Mind, or the Projector Aura in Business, as well as taking service-based business owners like coaches, consultants, creatives and practitioners through her annual Service Design School curriculum that teaches them to design spell-binding service experiences for their clients.

Nadia concluded: Im so lucky to get to work with so many incredible clients and students from all over the world. As a service-based entrepreneur, I get to build strong relationships with the people I work with, and seeing them have real and lasting results and making big strides in their lives and businesses is my favourite thing.

You can keep up with each of these inspirational coaches curated by Bloom Communications on their journeys by following them on Instagram.

Media Details Contact: Amy Williams Email:

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Meet the Human Design Coaches to watch in 2021 - GlobeNewswire

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February 1st, 2021 at 6:48 pm

Brain hacks to boost productivity with music. Should you be listening to more ABBA? – TechRepublic

Posted: November 18, 2020 at 9:56 pm

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We spoke with a neuroscientist and other academics to understand the principles and neurochemistry to help craft a personal productivity playlist.

Image: iStock/kerkez

The manipulated audible sheets of airwaves we call music can have profound impacts on human behavior. Studies have shown that the tempo of the music played in stores can affect the amount of time shoppers spend inside. Similarly, additional work suggests that certain modes could also boost retail sales. Other studies have shown that music can increase cognitive function including memory.

To understand whether it was possible to use this premise to craft a playlist for productivity purposes, to in essence hack the neurochemistry of our brains for a given task, we spoke with a neuroscientist and other academics. It turns out that the notion is theoretically possible and the ideal playlist may need a healthy dose of ABBA and less Wagner.

SEE:TechRepublic Premium editorial calendar: IT policies, checklists, toolkits, and research for download(TechRepublic Premium)

"The effects of music to introduce stimulation that will increase focus is not generic. Meaning that a playlist to create focus would need to be tailored to the person. Of course, background calming music that lets the mind focus is a good place to start. However, what could be calming to one person could be irritating to another," said Paula E. Bobrowski, a professor of health administration at Auburn University, via email.

Bobrowski, who holds a doctorate in marketing and international technology management, emphasized that there is no standard formula for this productivity hack and that it's best for individuals to first consider the principles promoting focus and relaxation. To do so, a crash course in neurology and the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine is a helpful starting point.

Kiminobu Sugaya, a professor of medicine and head of neuroscience at the University of Central Florida, explained that certain types of music can increase dopamine levels in the brain to enhance productivity. However, there are myriad factors at play and the optimal mixtape will entail careful attention to rhythm, beat, preference, lyrics, and more.

For those seeking a productivity boost from their playlist, Sugaya advised against listening to music with lyrics, explaining that lyrical music activates the language center and this could have productivity drawbacks.

"When you think about something, you're using your language. If the language center is occupied by the background music with lyrics, then your productivity should be reduced," Sugaya said.

Interestingly, some types of instrumentals may also reduce productivity with similar stimulation. For example, certain types of instrumental music, namely highly complex orchestral arrangements, may require the language centers to analyze them and limit the productivity of certain people, according to Sugaya.

Finding the ideal balance of complexity and productivity can be challenging. Citing studies surrounding theMozart effect, Sugaya said that playing students Wagner recordings did not produce much of an increase in brainpower, however, Mozart arrangements, especially more complex two-piano concertos led to a 50% increase in frontal lobe function.

"That means that some complexity is necessary," Sugaya said.

Rhythm is another input to consider and it's important to focus on the rhythmic baseline and beats-per-minute (bpm) first and foremost. Deviating from this base level bpm could increase or decrease productivity.

"If you use the 60, 70 [bpm] such as lullaby, which is comfortable for babies because of mimicking their mother's heart beat, your brain is resting. Your brain gets more alpha wave, the easy waves, but you don't get much faster or gain the more productive brainwave. So then definitely, you want to have the higher beat, but, of course, not too high, but the higher beat is necessary," Sugaya said.

The bass of a track and a sense of personal empowerment may play a role in perception and productivity. We also spoke with Professor Derek Rucker at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In a recent study, Rucker and colleagues sought to better understand whether music could cause individuals to feel more or less empowered.

"The short answer is, indeed it can. The paper has specifics, but in brief we found that certain types of music, certain songs can imbue some people with a greater sense of power," Rucker said.

But what does power have to do with productivity?

Rucker explained that previous work by researchers Pamela Smith, Nils Jostmann, and Adam Galinsky showed that executive cognitive functioning was negatively impacted in lower power states.

"If you want to maintain executive functioning, being in a state of power can facilitate that," Rucker said.

In a study by Rucker and colleagues, Queen's "We Will Rock You" caused people to feel empowered, whereas Fat Boy Slim's "Because We Can" did not cause individuals to feel as powerful.

When asked for his personal pick for his own productivity purposes, Rucker said Alkaline Trio and Chvrches were his go-to's.

SEE:5 Internet of Things (IoT) innovations (free PDF)(TechRepublic)

While rhythm, bass, and lyrics are certainly factors to bear in mind, preference and musical taste will also affect one's response to a track. Sugaya posed a rhetorical question to make this point.

"[Do] you know the difference between the noise and the music?" Sugaya asked.

After all, what sounds like music to one person may sound like noise to someone else.

"For me, rap music, that's definitely noise. My brain [tries] to ignore it as a noise," Sugaya said.

These proclivities may vary generationally and differ markedly from individual to individual. For example, a study found that people no longer follow the latest popular music by the time they've reached their early 30s. As a result, the en vogue musical styles of an era could impact musical preference and, in turn, response.

While tailoring a playlist based on rhythm, bass, a lack of lyrics may be a good idea, if a person simply does not like a particular song or genre, inserting such a track on a productivity playlist could have a largely negative impact.

"I grew up with disco music. That's one factor," Sugaya said.

Sugaya explained that disco music, with an emphasis on rhythm, helps him stimulate dopamine and also increase his emotional arousal. However, personal preference should be the overriding factor in the end.

"Of course, the most important part is [to] use your favorite [music]. If somebody likes rap, that's fine, but, in general, those rhythmical, constant rhythm, that's a nice way to stimulate," Sugaya said.

When pressed to name a specific track or artist for productivity purposes, Sugaya stayed true to his stated disco preference.

"Anything like ABBA."

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November 18th, 2020 at 9:56 pm

76% of Shoppers to Conduct Majority of their Holiday Purchases Online – Stockhouse

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CHICAGO, Nov. 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TransUnion’s (NYSE: TRU) newly released 2020 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report found that three in four consumers (76%) plan on conducting more than half of their holiday shopping online this year an increase from the 57% who said the same last year. The rise in online shopping is coming partly at the expense of traditional in-store holiday shopping events such as Black Friday.

The report found that only 21% of consumers said they plan on shopping in-person for Black Friday events and deals. Additionally, one-third of consumers (32%) said they will be shopping less at brick and mortar stores this Black Friday shopping season compared to last year. TransUnion’s Holiday Shopping Report includes insights gathered from an online survey of 2,620 adults conducted in late October. This is the third iteration of the report, which has observed consumer shopping preferences during the holiday season between 2018 and 2020.

As the prevalence of online shopping continues to grow, the report found that consumers have high expectations for retailers. Consumers indicated that they want retailers to provide convenient and secure shopping experiences as well as multiple shipping and pick-up options, promotions and coupons. Retailers providing such resources are already at an advantage as 45% of consumers said they started their holiday shopping in October or earlier; another 45% said they will begin in November with the remaining 10% starting in December.

The holiday shopping season has traditionally kicked off during Thanksgiving week, but it’s clear that a combination of factors has led nearly half of consumers to begin shopping in October or earlier,” said Shannon Wu-Lebron, senior director of retail in TransUnion’s diversified markets business. Much of this can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the greater propensity to conduct shopping online, but savvy retailers also are working to provide better online experiences and promotions to entice consumers to their websites earlier in the season.”

More Holiday Shopping Is Expected to be Conducted Online This Year


Consumer s Seeking More Convenience This Holiday Shopping Season

The report highlighted how important convenient interactions are for many consumers. For the first time since TransUnion has conducted the survey, more consumers will be using their mobile phones to shop online than other devices such as laptops and tablets.

About 78% of consumers said they will use their mobile phones for online holiday purchases this year up from 73% last year. Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X were the biggest users of mobile at 84% each, with Baby Boomers at only a 65% usage rate. About 71% of consumers said they will use their laptop or desktop computers and 32% will use their tablet. It’s evident the shift to mobile is continuing in full force and this means retailers must be equipped to offer shoppers with convenient and low risk mobile shopping experiences,” said Wu-Lebron.

With more mobile phone use, features such as pre-filling” a consumer’s personal information are becoming more important than in the past. About six in 10 (61%) consumers said it is at least moderately important to have some of their personal information pre-filled at the time of checkout. This was particularly important for the youngest generations (Gen Z 68%; Millennials 67%).

While shipping costs (58%) were the No. 1 reason consumers abandon their online shopping cart, payment issues (28%) and too many steps to make purchases (25%) were also cited by a good proportion of respondents.

And when ranking what is most important to them when shopping online, having multiple shipping and pick-up options ranked first (32%) followed by merchants who provide safe and secure shopping options (30%). These were followed by buying from familiar merchants (18%); merchants with lowest prices (11%); and free or low delivery fees (9%).

Online Fraudulent Activity Continues to Worry Consumers

Convenient transactions are clearly important to consumers, but security and fraud prevention are of particular concern for many shoppers this holiday season. Nearly half of survey respondents (49.6%) said they are concerned with being victimized by fraud this holiday season. This was a slight increase from last year when 46.4% were concerned.

Many consumers also do not mind going through a few extra steps to ensure a secure transaction. About 58% of respondents said they view additional identity validation steps during the check-out process positively.

Nearly 52% of respondents said account information and credit card information security are equally important to them during the holiday season. Approximately 22% of consumers prioritized protection of login ID and password while 23% said validation of credit card and identity information at checkout was most important.

Half of respondents said they would be more willing to make an online purchase from a retailer that provided two-factor or multifactor authentication rather than just username and password.

As the pandemic progresses, it’s clear that this is going to be an unusual holiday shopping season. However, some things do not change. Consumers continually want to have more convenient interactions with retailers without foregoing security. With more and more online shopping choices, it’s critical for retailers to meet these ever-growing consumer needs,” concluded Wu-Lebron.

For more information about the 2020 TransUnion Consumer Holiday Shopping Report, please click here .

About TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) TransUnion is a global information and insights company that makes trust possible in the modern economy. We do this by providing a comprehensive picture of each person so they can be reliably and safely represented in the marketplace. As a result, businesses and consumers can transact with confidence and achieve great things. We call this Information for Good.®

A leading presence in more than 30 countries across five continents, TransUnion provides solutions that help create economic opportunity, great experiences and personal empowerment for hundreds of millions of people.

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76% of Shoppers to Conduct Majority of their Holiday Purchases Online - Stockhouse

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