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Walk the Dog and Workout at the Same Time

woman jumping

According to the 2019-2020 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 67% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 84.9 million homes. Of the 67% of pets, a whopping 63% are dogs. That means that 6 out of 10 people reading this have a dog and have probably taken their canine companion on a walk. I’m going to walk you through the full-body workout that I engage in each morning with my dogs.

I am the mom of 3 German Shepherds. If you have ever lived with one, then you are aware that they are known for their courage, loyalty, and guarding instincts. They also need a job to do so they don’t succumb to boredom and chew the leg off your kitchen chair or empty the stuffing out of your sofa cushions.

My German Shepherds have taken the initiative of creating a job for themselves by waking me up each morning at 7:15am. They have a process of licking my face and burrowing their heads under my head until I regain consciousness. This job happened organically, and I eventually transitioned from using my phone as an alarm, to completely relying on my dogs to wake me up.

Another job they have is reminding me that it’s time for their morning walk. After I’m finished drinking my coffee at my desk, the dogs start nudging my arm while I’m answering a barrage of emails from the night before. They are persistent and will not stop until I harness them up.

Squats

My morning workout starts with squats. As I clip on each harness, I’m squatting down, while at the same time, using my balance to stay on my feet as the other 2 dogs wildly jump around, bump into me and bark in my ears, as a product of their excitement and anticipation of our walk.

Bicep Curls

Next, I move to bicep curls. We calmly walk out the front door, where we are greeted with all the wonderful morning smells and beautiful Florida weather. Immediately the 2 white German Shepherds, named Lily and Bella, make a beeline into the bushes to eat the leaves, while my other dog, named Aidan, pulls in the opposite direction to check out the front yard for intruders. For about one minute I engage in yanking Lily and Bella with my left arm and Aidan with my right arm to finally guide them down the sidewalk to start our walk. All of this yanking equates to about 10 bicep curls per arm. By this time, I have pools of sweat under my arms and across my forehead.

Knee Lifts

Knee lifts are next and can be accomplished walking down the sidewalk. Actually, knee lifts are mandatory because Lily and Bella get distracted easily and run after anything that moves. Chasing a squirrel or a butterfly ends up with my legs getting tangled up in the 3 leashes. Each entanglement requires at least 5 knee lifts per leg, per instance.

Core

My core or abdominal muscles are engaged the entire time that we are walking. I call it walking, but I’m guessing that bystanders would call it being dragged. It takes all of my concentration to keep one foot in front of the other without falling on my face.

Forearms

Lastly is my forearm workout. Bella and Aidan have a never-ending competition to see who will lead the pack, which forces me to constantly correct them by pulling backward and yelling “stop pulling!”. If I don’t have a firm hold on their leashes on the pull-back, they will just continue moving forward with the persistence of an Olympic runner at the finish line.

20 minutes later, we make it back into the house, where the dogs immediately jump into the pool to cool off. I fall into a chair to catch my breath and unwrap the leashes from around my ankles. Did I mention that walking is good cardio?

 


As the Founder and CEO of World For Good, Jennifer Moreau-Chick helps readers learn about how to elevate social and environmental sustainability in the business community so companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors. She has been featured in Conscious Company Magazine as a leader in social impact and has worked as a Marketing Director for 3 certified B Corporations for the past four years. Visit her blog here.

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6 Amazing Gift Ideas for a COVID-free Mother’s Day

Happy Mothers Day Card with Magnolias

Can I get a head nod or a “YASSS” from every mom that has found herself doing the jobs of teacher, chef, nurse, IT department, as well as being the mommy for the past two months during the stay at home order? And don’t forget that you have a full-time job that you are barely hanging onto because your employment hinges on whether your employer is approved the for PPP loan. That’s a lot of plates in the air. It’s not easy, but us moms get the job done. Miraculously all homework gets finished, bellies are full and there are enough clean socks for tomorrow. Mother’s Day couldn’t have come at a better time. Mom’s everywhere have been running full throttle during COVID-19 and it’s time to slow down, if only for a day.

We’ve come up with some ideas that will help moms forget about the pandemic for a little while. If you are a mom, share this article with your family. Give them some ideas on how you can take all the hats off of your head and revert back to only being mom.

Photo by Derick McKinney on Unsplash

  1. Virtual Tours
    Grab an iPad or laptop and get cozy. Spend a few hours taking virtual tours of places that you have always wanted to see. Choose from museums like The Louvre or the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, take a tour of a zoo or aquarium like the Atlanta Zoo or the National Aquarium or check out the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. If you want more excitement, you can take a tour of SeaWorld Orland or Disney. Just google “virtual tours” and see what pops up.
  2. Commitment Free Tattoos
    Do you have a love of art? Lift your spirits by creating commitment-free tattoos. Creating art stimulates your creative side and gives you a space where you can use colors to describe your mood. You can make a washable tattoo with liquid or pencil eyeliner and hairspray to waterproof it. You can also order a henna kit online that includes stencils and henna paste.
  3. Listen to the World Around You
    Be present and listen. There are so many roles that moms are playing right now, and it seems almost impossible to do everything and be everything for everyone. This is your time to slow down and notice all the wonderful behind-the-scenes activity going on around you. Things like the hum from the refrigerator, the leaves shaking, an engine knocking or a squirrel eating an acorn. Keep a list of all the sounds you hear.
  4. Wear What You Want
    Give yourself permission to wear whatever you want today. Stay in your pajamas, try on your partners clothes or wear that fancy dress in the back of your closet. What feels good on you?
  5. Dance All Day
    Now, more than ever, we need to tap into the joy that dancing brings us. Keep the music going all day and sporadically break into crazy dance moves that make you laugh. Laughter eliminates stress and lifts your spirits. If dancing isn’t your thing, go ahead and do something calmer like yoga.
  6. Online Cooking Class
    Try an online cooking class. It doesn’t matter what level or how much experience you have. You can even get everyone in the house involved in this one. One person collects the ingredients, one person preps the food, one person mixes, etc. You can find some good cooking classes online for around $10.

 


As the Founder and CEO of World For Good, Jennifer Moreau-Chick helps readers learn about how to elevate social and environmental sustainability in the business community so companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors. She has been featured in Conscious Company Magazine as a leader in social impact and has worked as a Marketing Director for 3 certified B Corporations for the past four years. Visit her blog here.

 

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How to Protect Children From COVID-19 Predators

child in dark forest

Child predators love the stay at home order.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced almost all children to be exposed to more online communication than what they have been used to. Spending more time in the virtual world can leave children at all ages, genders and colors vulnerable to online sexual exploitation as predators take full advantage of the stay at home order. Kids are now using digital technology as, pretty much, the only way of keeping themselves connected to friends and teachers for learning, entertainment and some sort of connection. Not all kids know how to keep themselves safe online.

As a mom of two boys, I make sure that our firewall is secure and that our privacy settings are updated. But all that “protection” means nothing if the predator is invited into my son’s virtual world as a friend or a friend of a friend. And believe me, these cyber stalkers are smart. They know precisely how to gain trust and maneuver their way into your child’s life organically.

“Under the shadow of COVID-19, the lives of millions of children have temporarily shrunk to just their homes and their screens” said Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The lack of face-to-face contact with friends may lead to heightened risk-taking, such as sending sexualized images and also there is a greater risk of cyberbullying.

Parents may think there is no harm in their children partaking in direct messaging or group chats, but stalkers are using this, and other digital opportunities to build on our children’s trust and to exploit their vulnerabilities. Once the child trusts this person, they will unknowingly share personal information such as if they are sad or if they have any pictures to share. The trafficker will slowly build a profile of vulnerabilities and a plan to exploit.

The trafficker is only interested in making money. He may plan to “take” their prey after the pandemic lifts and the kids swarm to the malls or parks. Or he may coerce your lonely daughter to send him videos that he can sell online. Most kids won’t know that they are being groomed for human trafficking.

Photo by Oleg Magni on Unsplash

 

Human trafficking is a growing problem worldwide

  • 2nd most common criminal activity behind the illegal drug trade
  • 40 million + victims of human trafficking worldwide
  • 3 million victims right here in the US
  • 300,000 US children are at risk for child trafficking before COVID-19
  • 5 billion children and young people affected by school closures worldwide that are all online for most of the day because of COVID-19

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

 

What can be done to keep kids safe?

  1. Talk to your kids about the possible personas of predators

They will seem overly friendly, and in some cases, the predators may even be people that the child knows.

  1. Predators are not just on social media, but also in the gaming world.

Games like Fortnite are great for playing with friends because there is a chat and voice function, but these same functions will be used by predators to gain your child’s trust.

  1. Use digital devices in a common area.

Check-in on your kids sporadically to monitor who is talking to them.

  1. Get to know the list of apps that predators have the most success at.

Knowledge is power. This app list changes frequently, so check it many times and compare the list to your child’s phone or ipad apps.

This pandemic is extremely hard on your kids. They have been thrown into a brand-new routine that is foreign to them – which drives them to actively looking for someone familiar to talk to each day. With increased internet usage comes an increased risk of encountering sexual predators online. The most important thing for parents to do is to have open and honest conversations with their family about risks, how to minimize exposure and how to handle dangerous situations. The hard part for parents will be to find the right blend of your child’s need to for connection and your child’s need for safety.

 


As the Founder and CEO of World For Good, Jennifer Moreau-Chick helps readers learn about how to elevate social and environmental sustainability in the business community so companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors. She has been featured in Conscious Company Magazine as a leader in social impact and has worked as a Marketing Director for 3 certified B Corporations for the past four years. Visit her blog here.

 

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Our “new normal” demands a triple bottom line

graffiti wall walking woman

This month we watched hotels, restaurants and other non-essential businesses close their doors and lay off staff. Business owners must now analyze how the global pandemic disrupted “business as usual” to create space for systematic change in the operation of companies. When the economy resumes, businesses have a unique opportunity to evaluate operations and pivot to a triple bottom line approach. Because when companies value people, planet, and prosperity over profit alone, we all win.

After working as the Marketing Director for the only bank in the Southeastern United States that operated with a triple bottom line, I can attest that companies that are purpose-driven gain more trust and lasting brand supporters in their industry than any other.

 

The Triple Bottom Line

The triple bottom line (TBL) was coined in 1994 by John Elkington and is a framework or theory that recommends that companies commit to focusing on social and environmental concerns just as they do on profits. The idea was that a company can be managed in a way that not only earns financial profits but which also improves people’s lives and the planet.

If a company focuses on finances only and does not examine how it interacts socially, that company cannot see the whole picture, and thus cannot account for the full cost of doing business. A wholistic approach is essential to running a business when you want to increase your consumer base and your profit.

 

People + Planet is the same as Social + Environmental Resiliency

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Companies should be working in tandem in three areas:

  • Prosperity: The traditional measure of corporate profit
  • People: Measures how socially responsible an organization is
  • The Planet: Measures how environmentally responsible an organization is

By focusing on these three interdependant elements, triple-bottom-line reporting can be an important tool to support a firm’s sustainability goals.

 

A Company Will Be Non-Existent Tomorrow if the Triple Bottom Line isn’t Baked into the DNA of the Company

What’s Holding You Back?

Cost

Sure, it can be challenging to switch gears between priorities that maximize financial returns while also doing the greatest good for society. For example, it’s hard to justify the cost of implementing a living wage to all employees in the short term, but when you take a step back and give it a chance to marinate, you’ll see that the benefits far outweigh the initial cost. You’ll find that employee turnover will lower, causing the company to save money on recruiting, onboarding and training new talent. According to a benchmark report from SHRM, the average cost per hire across organizations and industries is well over $4k.

Shareholder Hesitation

More than ever before, board directors and CEOs find themselves with a unique platform and an expectation from growing numbers of employees and consumers to shape societal discourse, going beyond traditionally defined Corporate Social Responsibility.

When you share how potential investors view CSR, your board of directors and shareholders will likely react favorably to the triple bottom line principle. In an article in Corporate Board Member, they report that “there is a growing number of socially conscious investors who see positive environmental, social, and governance issues as critical for investing, in addition to meeting financial performance goals. Today’s investors are not only avoiding putting their money into industries that do not align with their values (fossil fuels) but are also using their influence to push for positive corporate change with a broader scope of social impact.”

 

Change Your Business For Good

Easy wins to get started on your purpose-driven pivot.

The University of Scranton recommends evaluating your business’s initial triple bottom line with the following measures:

Economic measures

  • Average incomes
  • Local Supply Chain
  • Revenue by sector

Environmental measures

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Amount of waste generated
  • Use of post-consumer, recycled material
  • Water and electricity consumption
  • Fossil fuel consumption
  • Waste management

Social measures

  • Company-wide community volunteer hours
  • Employee healthcare
  • Diversity & inclusion
  • Job growth rate

 

Greenwashing is not acceptable: Companies need to build and maintain trust with all stakeholders

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

Measure What Matters

Of the three branches of the triple bottom line, only one is easily measured, which is one of the leading complaints about this approach. Profits are measured in dollars, but how do you measure social capital? Or the environmental impact? Plus, consumers in post-pandemic will not be looking at your profit line, but rather your commitment to your stakeholders.

There are two globally accepted standards for the measurement that encapsulate the three categories – The B Impact Assessment (BIA) and the Sustainable Development Goal Action Manager (SDG AM). Both assessments are created by B Lab, both share fifty percent of the same questions and aggregate the answers into each other. Both of these assessments are very credible, but I’m more familiar with the BIA, so that’s what I’ll touch on.

In an interview with Fast Company, Andrew Kassoy, co-founder of B Lab stated “I think one of the greatest hurdles is knowing where to start. There are so many ways a company can make an impact and so little direction on how to measure and manage social and environmental performance. However, with bimpactassessment.net, we hope to encourage all businesses to measure what matters using the free and confidential B Impact Assessment.”

The BIA was created in 2006 as a DIY tool for measuring company impact in five categories: workers, governance, community, environment, and suppliers. Today, over 70,000 companies use this tool to benchmark and track performance. Businesses that have already adopted the triple bottom line and are ready to take things to the next level may want to consider becoming a Certified B Corporation.

You answer a series of questions to evaluate your company and learn ways you can improve. It will also reveal how your company stacks up against the competition. You can take your score in each of the five categories and compare them to other Certified B Corporations, like Patagonia or Ben & Jerry’s.

To qualify for B Corporation certification, your organization needs to score at least 80 out of 200 points on the B Impact Assessment. The information is self-reported, but each year, B Lab randomly selects 10% of its certified companies for onsite reviews. Over 3,285 companies in 150 industries and 71 countries have achieved certification as a B Corporation.

Companies making decisions to benefit not only their shareholders, but also their employees, customers, suppliers, and the community more broadly will over the longer term maximize both stakeholder and shareholder value. This is the triple bottom line, and this is what consumers are expecting from companies in our “new normal”.

 


As the Founder and CEO of World For Good, Jennifer Moreau-Chick helps readers learn about how to elevate social and environmental sustainability in the business community so companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors. She has been featured in Conscious Company Magazine as a leader in social impact and has worked as a Marketing Director for 3 certified B Corporations for the past four years.

Visit her blog here.