Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Ruling Gives Gay Couples Hope for Financial Equality
by Tara Siegel Bernard
Originally Published: May 31st, 2012

"A federal appeals court ruling on Thursday gave same-sex married couples hope that they may be closer to receiving the same federal benefits and recognition as their opposite-sex peers. But ultimately, the Supreme Court will have to decide.

Here are the details: A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit unanimously ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act  – the 1996 law signed by President Bill Clinton that defines marriage as between one man and one woman — was unconstitutional. The appeals court upheld a lower court’s 2010 decision, where the plaintiffs in two separate cases,  which involve seven couples and three individuals, had been denied federal benefits like Social Security payments and the right to file taxes jointly.

The reason the decision is important to gay couples is that it is the first challenge to the anti-gay marriage law, known as DOMA, for the Defense of Marriage Act, to reach a federal appeals court, just a step away from the Supreme Court.

The ruling has been stayed for now, which means it has been delayed since an appeal is likely, according to Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, who represented the plaintiffs. In fact, if the latest ruling were not stayed, the unions of same-sex couples in the appeals court’s jurisdiction — which covers Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine and Puerto Rico — would have been recognized by the federal government. That means that same-sex couples in just one corner of the country would have been eligible for the same federal benefits that heterosexual married couples receive, a messy situation."


Toronto woman wins second victory ordering government websites accessible to blind
by Laurie Monsebraaten
Originally Published: May 31st, 2012

"A Toronto woman’s 2010 legal victory ordering Ottawa to make government websites accessible to the blind within 15 months has been upheld by the Federal Court of Appeal.
In the decision released late Wednesday, a three-judge panel upheld the earlier Federal Court finding that Ottawa had discriminated against the woman and others with vision disabilities due to its lax and obsolete online accessibility standards.

More than three million Canadians are unable to read print due to blindness or partial blindness, the court heard.

Donna Jodhan, an accessibility consultant and one of the first blind people in Canada to earn an MBA, launched the constitutional court challenge five years ago after she was unable to apply for government jobs or complete the 2006 census online. She argued that her equality rights had been denied.

Federal lawyers argued its information was accessible in person, by phone or by mail.
People with vision disabilities typically use screen readers that convert text into voice or Braille. But the technology doesn’t work if websites aren’t programmed properly. That was the problem with most government websites when Jodhan launched her case in 2007.

Jodhan was surprised the government appealed the earlier ruling, but was relieved at this week’s decision.

“It is gratifying and humbling to know that the court has ruled that there is discrimination,” she said. 

“My biggest concern now is that the government does what it is supposed to do and doesn’t find any more excuses.”

Jodhan’s fears are real, said her lawyer Meryl Zisman Gary of Bakerlaw."

Older workers feel discriminated against by flexible working rules
by James Hall
Originally Published: May 31st, 2012

"Almost a third ofolder workers think that their employers put colleagues with young childrenfirst, leading to tensions in the workplace, new research shows.

People aged between 45 and 54 think that the flexible working hoursgiven to people with children mean that younger workers receive preferentialtreatment over everybody else.

The perception can lead to “workplace conflict” and cause a drop inproductivity among those who feel badly treated, according to a poll of over2,000 people by Croner, the workplace information company.

The poll found that almost a fifth - or 18 per cent - of older workers‘agreed’ and nine per cent ‘strongly agreed’ that the needs of employees withchildren are put over the rest of the workforce.

Under employment legislation that was introduced in 2003, employees whohave children have the statutory right to ask to work flexibly. An estimated 10million workers can ask their employers to work flexibly if they have a childunder the age of 17.

But that right is denied to people who no longer have – or who never had– family commitments."

Seven Ways To Get More Women In Politics
by Emily Loewen
Originally Published: May 31st, 2012

“If you’re a womanand a city councillor, running for office or tweeting about city hall you arein the minority. In Toronto, and most of the country for that matter, men stilldominate the political field. The new organization Women in Toronto Politics(WiTOpoli) is trying to change that — or at the least make people talk aboutit.

Last night at the Centre for Social Innovation WiTOpoli hosted TheFront Page, a panel about how the media discusses women in politics. CityCouncillors Kristyn Wong-Tam and Shelly Carroll shared their experiences asfemale politicians in Toronto. Hamutal Dotan, Torontoist Editor-in-Chief, andJse-Che Lam, a high school English and civics teacher, rounded out the panelwith their thoughts on tweeting about and observing politics in Toronto.

The group, moderated by Alison Loat founder of Samara Canada, alsohad a lot of thoughts on how to increase the number of women participating inand talking about politics.
These are seven of their ideas:

1. Call out sexism onTwitter
As councillors who tweet regularly, both Carroll and Wong-Tam haveexperience receiving insulting and sexist comments. Both said that Twitterallows the public to call people on bad behaviour, something we should do more.

“I think it’s where we should be having this conversation aboutthe role of women,” Carroll said, but she wishes that people would respond tobullies more aggressively. “I’m always surprised at how short-lived callingsome of our colleagues on sexist or misogynist remarks is, it happens quicklyand in short bursts and then it’s over.”

Wong-Tam believes that Twitter allows the public to respond tobullies who used to be more private. In the past when she received threatsnobody else knew about it. The public nature of social media, however, allowsthe public to see those negative attitudes and respond. “That is the power ofTwitter that you also get to expose the nasty bits of people that are outthere.”

2. Get involved inthe Toronto Regional Champion Campaign
The TRCCmentoring program partners young women with women on council, and helpsthem learn about the life of a city councillor. The campaign hopes to encourageyoung women to get involved and form their own initiatives by providingfirst-hand experience.
“Show them your lives, show them what it is you do and they willtake it from there,” said Carroll.  “A next generation of municipalpoliticians may take a different approach to it, but at least they’ll have someframework to look at.” “

Internet-obsessed Gen Y is changing traditional HR practices
by Sarah Mitroff
Originally Published: May 31st, 2012

"Those who belong to Generation Y — teens and twenty-somethings, including myself – are shaking up human resource departments, according to data from Salesforce Rypple. Young professionals born in the 80s and 90s are much more social than previous generations, are obsessed with their laptops, and hold the Internet on a high pedestal.

Twenty-something employees have flocked to social networks to connect with our coworkers and superiors. Seven in 10 Facebook users have friended a coworker or supervisor and 68 percent of Twitter users have followed a coworker or superior. I can attest to this as I’m friends with and follow many of my coworkers and my boss.

One in three college students and young professionals feels the Internet is as important as food, shelter, water, and even air according to a Cisco 2011 Connected World Technology report. We apparently breathe for the Internet and feel it’s a crucial part of our jobs.

While at work, we can’t stay away from our social networks. Checking Facebook ranks third in the top activities done at work, behind checking personal emails and checking company emails. However, 54 percent of businesses surveyed don’t allow employees to check any social networking site while at work at all."

Read the entire article from here:

Invest in Immigrants: Good for States, Good for America
by Ali Noorani 
Originally Published: May 31st, 2012

"The minority is about to become the majority, and with this change come challenges and opportunities. If we invest in the integration of new Americans, the benefits far outweigh the costs.
According to recent census figures, for the first time in history, children from minority backgrounds make up 50.4 percent of children born in the United States, compared with 49.5 percent who are non-Hispanic white.

The growth in minority births is being driven by the nation’s Latino population, which grew by more than 3 percent to 52 million from 2010 to 2011. Latinos now make up nearly 17 percent of the nation’s population. Asians were the second-fastest-growing group with a surge of 3 percent to 18 million.

This is not the first time America has changed. Nor will it be the last.
How do we harness the opportunities that lie in this shift?
Michigan is an example of how to proceed.

The Great Lakes State ranks first among the states in production of motor vehicles and parts, and the state's broader manufacturing sector is growing once again after decades of stagnation. Job growth brings steady improvement in unemployment numbers.

But unemployment is still high, and at times like this one would expect an ugly immigration debate in Michigan. Instead, Michigan can brag about bipartisan support for immigrants and immigration, with Republican Gov. Rick Snyder leading the way. He even proclaimed himself “probably the most pro-immigration governor in the United States."

As a former business leader, Snyder understands that the recruitment of a skilled workforce — across the labor market — is nothing without retention of that workforce. At a speech he gave at Chrysler headquarters, he said, "I think we need to go back to what made us a great country, which is encouraging people to stay in the U.S."

Moreover, Snyder has invested political capital in the public policy debate. Snyder launched the Global Michigan Initiative to attract entrepreneurs and foreign talent to live, work, and invest in Michigan.""

Read the entire article here:

Grow Great Leaders Organically: 7 Tips
by Michael A. Olguin
Originally Published: May 31st, 2012

"How do you grow smart thinkers into excellent leaders? Use these seven tips to hire and retain the best talent.

Throughout my tenure of managing people, I have come to conclude that most employees' business motivations change very little from the time that you hire them to the time they leave your organization. If they are smart and aggressive, they will always be that way. However, if they have a bad attitude, are always looking for short cuts or are generally unmotivated, this too rarely changes. So the question is how do you ensure that you find and nurture talent to ultimately grow into excellent leaders? Our simple process is as follows:

1. Hire smart people

Some people say you must start from the top to have excellent leadership. I maintain that you need one or two smart people at the top to set the pace and guide the philosophy of the organization, but more importantly you need smart, young people from which to grow your organization over time. I tend to agree with Microsoft's hiring philosophy: "hire smart people and they will figure it out."

2. Good grades outrank experience

When hiring recent graduates, it's far less important what they studied in college than how well they did. A high GPA translates to somebody who is good at applying his or her intellect to any subject matter, and this would likely carry over to produce similar results in the workplace. Furthermore, students who balanced a busy college life (i.e., Greek system involvement, student government, organizations and clubs or athletics) with academics should be considered because it shows the individual understands the value of time and the importance of managing it."

The value of diversity
by Cheryl Walker
Originally Published: May 31st, 2012

"Wake Forest is an intellectually and culturally diverse place where interfaith programs, the new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Queer (LGBTQ) Center and a variety of guest artists and speakers reflect the University’s commitment to cultivating an environment which fosters the inclusion and engagement of everyone, regardless of individual differences.

“If we can promote being part of a rich Wake Forest culture and enjoy a more inclusive and diverse campus, while still maintaining our own identities and culture, then we will have lived up to the University’s motto of Pro Humanitate,” said Kevin Smith, who graduated from Wake Forest in May.

During the 2011-2012 academic year, Associate Chaplain for Muslim Life Khalid Griggs led an interfaith journey to the Holy Land. As the students visited sites in Israel and looked at them from Christian, Jewish and Islamic perspectives, Griggs said he saw many of them become energized about interfaith work. “Nowhere else in the world is the message clearer of why interfaith cooperation is so important,” he said. Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, emphasized the importance of bringing together people of all religious identities to form a bridge from religious intolerance and misunderstanding to a new reality focused on the common good during a Voices of our Time lecture on campus.

Angela Mazaris was named the first director of Wake Forest’s LGBTQ Center in September. This spring, political science and law professors provided background information and analysis regarding the vote on North Carolina’s same-sex marriage amendment.

In February, Wake Forest’s Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Barbee Oakes was nationally recognized for her personal interest in and steadfast commitment to initiatives that promote pluralism and foster community. Diverse Issues in Higher Education named Oakes one of the “25 Women Making a Difference.” This spring, Wake Forest kicked off a yearlong celebration, “Faces of Courage,” that will run through the 2012-2013 academic year. The initiative marks the 50th anniversary of Wake Forest’s historic decision to integrate and how it shaped the University."

Read the entire article from Wake Forest University here:

16 honoured at Burlington’s first accessibility awards
Originally Published: May 31st, 2012

"More than 200 people gathered at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre yesterday for Burlington’s first Accessibility Awards.

Organized by the city’s accessibility advisory committee — — the event celebrated 16 businesses, service providers and community members that have made significant steps toward improving accessibility for people with disabilities in Burlington.

“Today we applaud and thank those who have become champions of accessibility in our community,” said Mayor Rick Goldring.

“The collective actions of this year’s 16 award recipients signal that our city’s residents and the local business community are ready and committed to making Burlington a more inclusive and accessible city for all residents and visitors.”

The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario attended the awards and provided a keynote address, praising recipients for their efforts in making Burlington a more accessible city.
Awards were handed out in the following categories:

Catherine Hawkins: As a special education teacher, Catherine Hawkins has worked with children with special needs for the past 30 years. Outside of the classroom, Hawkins works tirelessly as a community co-ordinator for Special Olympics Burlington.
Through her work with local sport and community organizations she and the Special Olympics Burlington Community Council have created 10 new sports teams, introducing more than 150 children, youth and adults with special needs to sport.
Fundraising events organized by Hawkins and the Special Olympics team has allowed them to purchase new uniforms for all the teams and lowered the registration costs for the athletes and their families. She has effectively broadened her positive influence by creating an environment of leadership, respect and enthusiasm that compels people to participate as spectators, volunteers, athletes and friends.

Longo’s - Fairview Street: For more than 20 years, Longo’s has employed persons with intellectual disabilities in their chain and this particular store has led the way with four employees with disabilities currently on staff.

More importantly, these employees have the opportunity to pursue a career as opposed to just a job.
Employees are able to move within the store to work in a department that best suits their abilities.
Longo’s works with schools and an employment agency to offer internships that can lead to permanent employment after successful completion of the program.

Two new interns are scheduled to begin their internships this summer."

Hiding true self at work can result in less job satisfaction, greater turnover
Originally Published: May 31st, 2012

"Hiding your true social identity -- race and ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation or a disability -- at work can result in decreased job satisfaction and increased turnover, according to a new study from Rice University, the University of Houston and George Mason University.

"The workplace is becoming a much more diverse place, but there are still some individuals who have difficulty embracing what makes them different, especially while on the job," said Michelle Hebl, Rice professor of psychology and co-author of "Bringing Social Identity to Work: The Influence of Manifestation and Suppression on Perceived Discrimination, Job Satisfaction and Turnover Intentions." The paper appears in the Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology journal.

"Previous research suggests that employees who perceive discrimination or are afraid of receiving discrimination are more likely to fall into this category of individuals who feel the need to suppress or conceal their identity," Hebl said.

The study examined the behavior of 211 working adults in an online survey and measured factors such as identity, perceived discrimination, job satisfaction and turnover intentions.

"This research highlights the fact that people make decisions every day about whether it is safe to be themselves at work, and that there are real consequences of these decisions," said Rice alumna Eden King, study co-author and associate professor of psychology at George Mason University.

The study also showed that suppressing one's true identity might result in exposure to co-workers' discriminatory behavior, as people are less likely to care about appearing prejudiced when they are not in the presence of an "out" group member. On the contrary, the research finds that expression of one's true identity in a workplace can have positive impact on their interpersonal relationships.

"When individuals embrace their social identity in the workplace, other co-workers might be more sensitive to their behavior and treatment of individuals like them," said Juan Madera, a University of Houston professor, Rice alumnus and lead study author. "And quite often, what's good for the worker is good for the workplace. The employees feel accepted and have better experiences with co-workers, which creates a positive working environment that may lead to decreased turnover and greater profits."

Canadian Family Businesses 'Overwhelmed' By Succession and Governance
by Attracta Mooney
Originally Published: May 31st, 2012

"Family businesses are the bedrock of Canada’s strong economy, but many are “overwhelmed” by succession and governance challenges.

That’s according to Beverly Johnson, partner and national chair of KPMG Enterprise and the Centre for Family Business, who was commenting after research found that almost half of Canada’s family businesses expect next-gens to take over management or ownership within the next five years.

However, 80% of respondents had no formal plans in place to manage succession, said the study by KPMG Enterprise and the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise."

Read entire article from @CampdenFB here: 

Why this group threw the book at Bay Street
by Dana Flavelle
Originally Published: May 31st, 2012

 Adopt the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s approach and send senior executives for “unconscious bias” training.
  Follow the Campbell soup company’s example and replace managers who score poorly on employee engagement, trust, honesty and integrity.
  Tear a page out of Goldman Sachs’ employee handbook and train a group of managers how to evaluate which high-performance women are ready for advancement.

These are among the suggestions in a 72-page guidebook for Canada’s investment banking industry on how to improve its dismal record of hiring and promoting women.

The book is to be released at a high-profile luncheon Wednesday by Women in Capital Markets and Catalyst Canada, two non-profit advocacy groups dedicated to advancing the interests of women in business.

Called Women and Men in Canadian Capital Markets: An Action Plan for Gender Diversity, the timing couldn’t be better.

If women’s perception of the investment banking industry was a “boorish exclusively male culture” before the financial crisis of 2008, recent events haven’t helped.

In the wake of Lehman Bros. collapse and the massive financial industry bailouts south or the border, the industry’s image has taken a beating, the organizations acknowledge."

Saudi girls find freedom in cleats
by Christa Case Bryant
Originally Published: May 30th, 2012

"As the evening call to prayer rings out across Riyadh, a pack of teenage girls eating cotton candy and popsicles erupt in cheers, drowning out the muezzin.

Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah United all-female basketball prepares for a friendly game against Jordan’s Al Reyadeh in Amman.

"Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" they shout in English, jumping up and down for the yellow-clad Challenge team, long black curls flying. "Chall-ENNNNNNNNNge!!!"

The victory is larger than one goal, however: The college students facing off in tonight's tournament are female, a rarity in this male-dominated society where women have traditionally been kept in the background.

These girls – among them aspiring surgeons, lawyers, and investment bankers – are part of a small but growing group challenging this society's strictures on the distaff side.

While they are still forced to practice and play largely in secret – no males, not even fathers, can attend their games – the trend is part of the growing momentum for women's rights here. It is cultivating their ability to excel not only on the field but in school, society, and the workplace – and fostering the kind of teamwork needed if this country is to develop stronger institutions."

Read entire article from @csmonitor here:

South Korea celebrates gay pride
by Anna Leach
Originally Published: May 31st, 2012

South Korea will celebrate gay pride on Saturday with the Korea Queer Love Festival (KQLF) in Hanbit Media Park in central Seoul. According to the website, this is the 13th KQLF in Seoul.

Indicating the stigma around homosexuality in South Korea, people at the festival who don’t want to be photographed will wear a ‘no photography’ sticker and a red band. Only press will be permitted to take photographs and videos of the festival, and they must get permission of the individuals captured before publishing.

In the run up to Saturday’s event, the festival included an art exhibition, Living with Red Ribbon, that tackles the negative perceptions of people with HIV and AIDS in Korea. ‘We hope this is useful to get right information about HIV/AIDS and a great opportunity to represent the activists’ opinion on this subject,’ the festival organizers said.

Tonight the festival is holding a discussion about anti-gay discrimination in South Korea, following the protests against Lady Gaga’s concert earlier this month."

Disabled woman’s $1.25/h wage was discrimination, lawyer tells tribunal
Originally Published: May 30th, 2012

"Systemic discrimination underlies the case of an intellectually disabled woman who was paid a $1.25 an hour at her job, her lawyer argued at a Human Rights Tribunal reconsideration hearing.

"This is one of these areas that there needs to be a message that this isn't OK," Kate Stephenson of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre said Wednesday.

"This is a pervasive area of ongoing discrimination and stereotyping."

A panel of three adjudicators convened in St. Catharines to hear arguments that a human rights decision back in January on Terri-Lynn Garrie's case was incorrect in law.

That decision upheld that Janus Joan Inc. discriminated against Garrie on the basis of disability when the long-time employee of the bottling company was fired in 2009."

Read the entire article from @SunNewsNetwork here:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vancouver's unsheltered homeless population doubles
Originally Published: May 30th, 2012

"The homeless population in Vancouver is holding steady, according to the city's annual head count, but the number living without shelter on the street has nearly doubled.

The results were delivered in a report to city council on Tuesday, and point to an increase from 152 unsheltered homeless people in 2011 up to 306 in 2012.
Mayor Gregor Robertson responded to the striking shift by calling on the B.C. and federal governments to help prevent "an alarmingly higher number" of homeless people from being forced to sleep outdoors.
"We need significantly more provincial support for stable low-barrier shelter beds and permanent supportive housing," Robertson said in a press release.

There are 74 fewer low-barrier shelter spaces this year than last, according to the report, and another 400 are scheduled to close in 2013 at the Dunsmuir, Bosmon and Scattered Sites projects.
Officials estimate the number of unsheltered homeless will take a massive jump up to 1,128 the following year if nothing is done to provide additional space.

Measures such as increasing supportive housing units, making hundreds of temporary shelter beds permanent and maintaining current shelter space could create an equally dramatic shift in the other direction, the report estimates."

Japanese-Canadians to receive UBC diplomas 70 years later
Originally Published: May 30th, 2012

"On a spring day in 1942, Roy Oshiro wrote his final, first-year exam at the University of British Columbia, where he’d enrolled with dreams of becoming a teacher.

The next day, he and his family were ordered to leave Vancouver, caught up in an internment that sent thousands of Japanese-Canadians to sugar beet farms or road crews in the Canadian government’s response to Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor and Hong Kong in December, 1941. 

On Wednesday, 90-year-old Mr. Oshiro will be back at UBC, as one of 76 Japanese-Canadian students whose studies were derailed when they were exiled in 1942 and will finally receive their caps and gowns.

For Mr. Oshiro, who’s traveled from Japan to Vancouver for the occasion, the tribute will be a milestone on a lifelong journey of forgiveness. 

“This is one thing that will happen once in a 1,000 years,” he said Tuesday in a telephone interview, warning he might throw his arms up and shout “Hallelujah” when he takes his turn across the stage.

“Never mind watching for me,” Mr. Oshiro said. “It’s the people who started all this – they’re the ones who should get all the credit. We’re just the recipients of their goodness.”
The seed for today’s tribute was planted in 2008, when retired Vancouver teacher Mary Kitagawa – who was sent to camps with family members during the war – wrote to UBC to suggest the school grant honorary degrees to students affected by the internment."

8 Leadership And Management Lessons Onboard The Starship Enterprise
by Elish Bul-Godly
Originally Published: May 30th, 2012

"If you are aStar Trek fan, you will know that it’s a franchise borne from GeneRoddenberry’s 1960s vision of an utopian society. It was based on a coherentset of  idealistic principles the background to which; were the emergingpolitical tensions within American Society during a phase of economicexpansion, the Cold war and the Civil Rights movement. It encapsulates aprogressive and optimistic take on the future that had great faith intechnology.

If you are nofan at all, this article will partly explain why it has such a large fan baseand captured the imagination of many. Either way, read on to discover how the principles and tenets behind this episodicscifi franchise present some useful lessons in both leadership and management.

# 1. “To Boldly Go where No One has Gone Before”
Thishistoric motto best identifies the Star Trek franchise. It encapsulates in onephrase the essence of visionary leadership. It’s no coincidence that theFlagship vessel is named ‘Enterprise” after all, implying an element of entrepreneurial risk-taking in the drive to expand our knowledge.
  • In business terms,  true leaders develop and expand their businesses by boldly taking educated risks and charting unmarked waters.
  • On a marketing level, its the need to seek out gaps and leave no stone unturned in the search for new opportunities."