• November 2014

The Business of Counting Your Blessings

What are the top three blessings in your life? Your children and family? Your business? Your health? How about your human rights? For many of us, our freedom is an inalienable right. But for so many around the world, that is not the case.

We couldn’t think of a better person to talk to about human rights than Karen Hanrahan, who works in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Hanrahan has long been a member of our Inkandescent Speakers Bureau, and for years we’ve had the privilege of talking to her about the work she does internationally.

What exactly are human rights? And how can small-business owners make an impact and a difference? Scroll down to read our Q&A with Hanrahan, and click here to listen to our podcast interview with her on the Inkandescent Radio Network.

And don’t miss insights on the science of gratitude by Stanford professor Dr. Emma Seppälä. “Research suggests that, in general, we actually have three times more positive experiences than negative ones,” she says. “However, burdened with the problems that we inevitably face in life, we often fail to remember the blessings and give too much importance to the problems in our lives.” Psychologists have found two reasons for this habit. Click here to learn more.

Also in this issue:

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, our columnists take stock of the many blessings in their lives and businesses, including:

  • Estate Planning attorney Lisa Hughes teaches us how a trust is different from a contract, and answers the top five FAQs about trusts.

In celebration of Compassion Week, November 10-16, we leave you with this parting thought from “Do It Anyway,” “People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.”

Here’s to your incredible, indelible, Inkandescent success. Happy Thanksgiving! — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent.com

Human Rights Are About More Than Values; They're Strategically Important to Global Security

COVER STORY: NOVEMBER
2014

Obama appointee Karen Hanrahan believes that human rights are at the core of the human experience and that human rights consist of fundamental rights and freedoms that every person is inherently entitled to—simply by virtue of being a human being.

By Hope Katz Gibbs, Publisher
Be Inkandescent magazine

Photos courtesy of the US Department of State

The doctrine of human rights has been highly influential within international law, and within global and regional institutions.

But what, exactly, are human rights?

And why are these rights too often nonexistent for so many women and girls, and other populations, around the world?

To better understand this issue, we turn to Karen Hanrahan. An appointee in the Obama administration serving as deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Hanrahan began her work for the administration working with the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke as the US coordinator for International Assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

From there, Hanrahan went on to design and run the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She also served as the chief innovation officer for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in London.

We met Hanrahan back in the spring of 2008—before she had stepped into these top jobs. Looking back at the years since 2008, she explains that the common denominator for all of her work has been her goal to help US government agencies improve the plight of people around the world.

Scroll down for our Q&A. And click here to listen to our podcast interview on the Inkandescent Radio Network.


Be Inkandescent: By definition, human rights are moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behavior, and are regularly protected as legal rights in national and international law. How do you define human rights, and how are they defined by the US government?

Karen Hanrahan: Human rights are at the core of the human experience. They are the basic rights and freedoms we are entitled to just because we are human. They protect all people, regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, language, or other status.

Human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and freedom of expression; and social, cultural, and economic rights. These include the right to participate in culture, the right to food, and the right to work and receive an education.

The most basic rights are laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and they are protected and upheld by international and national laws and treaties.

These rights and freedoms provide the foundation for human dignity, and they belong to all of us. Where these rights are not protected or respected, abuses occur, including torture, discrimination, slavery, rape, killings, and other forms of injustice. These things are happening all over the world, despite the strong legal framework and system that defines and promotes human rights.

I would also change at least one part of the definition you cite above. Human rights are not just moral principles, and they are not just about values. They are strategically important to global stability. We in the Obama administration, and particularly under the leadership of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, recognize that human rights are both a value and a critical element of our strategies for international security, stability, and prosperity.

The past decades have shown us that people rise up and fight when they reach their limit of injustice and abuse. Particularly in today’s interconnected world, people are learning about their rights, organizing and taking action to demand better treatment. More governments are challenged today than ever before by popular uprisings rooted in a demand for justice, equality, and a better life.

Be Inkandescent: The plight of women and girls, and the millions of other groups who are persecuted around the world, is a daunting issue to understand, let alone solve. How are you working to help?

Karen Hanrahan: Women and girls do face particular challenges around the world—from sexual and gender-based violence, child marriage, and trafficking to systematic discrimination. The problem is particularly acute during wars and conflicts, and I encourage everyone to learn about the situation of women and girls in the world, including the critical positive role they play in pulling societies out of poverty and out of conflict.

That said, violence and discrimination against women and girls remain a major challenge, even in our own country. A few months ago in Kenya, I spent an afternoon at a clinic for victims of sexual violence.

Half of them were girls, one only 10 years old. Their stories reminded me of all the hurdles we and they have, including cultures where rape is not viewed as a serious crime, nor punished as such; and systems that continue to victimize women and girls when they seek help.

In most places, in addition to women and girls, most minority groups have an uphill battle to avoid abuse and secure their rights. These groups includes ethnic and religious minorities, the disabled, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, to name a few.

How can I make a difference? Every day on the job, I have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to educate, to influence, to support, and to mobilize voices to advance human rights around the world.

Don’t stop now! Read more of our interview with Karen Hanrahan. Listen to our podcast on Inkandescent Radio. And dive into the Science of Gratitude.

What Can Entrepreneurs Do to Fight for Human Rights? Karen Hanrahan Explains

TIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS: UNDERSTANDING HUMAN RIGHTS

“I spend most of my time shaping US government policies, influencing foreign governments and businesses, providing support to human rights advocates and civil society, and crafting solutions that will increase protection of human rights around the world,” explains Karen Hanrahan, an Obama administration appointee who serves in the State Department as the deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

“Every day on the job, I have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to educate, to influence, to support, and to mobilize voices to advance human rights around the world.

“Almost every one of the foreign policy issues you see today is impacted by an issue of human rights and democracy—including the battle against ISIS and other terrorist groups, violence in the West Bank and Gaza and Africa, Russia’s actions in Ukraine, protests in Hong Kong, and more.”

Why does Hanrahan feel that advancing human rights is a critical aspect of US foreign policy? Scroll down to read more.


Be Inkandescent: What do you like best about your job?

Karen Hanrahan: The best part of my job is getting to work with the courageous advocates who defend human rights around the world, even under the most dangerous conditions.

Sometimes these are organizations and professional human rights advocates, but increasingly I’m seeing individual citizens taking action and joining with others to demand their rights and better governance. It is these local voices on the front lines that I work hardest to support.

I’m also working more and more with large companies to try to synchronize efforts to advance certain rights, including labor rights and the rights of women and girls. Businesses play a key role in the treatment of citizens abroad—both in their own workforces and in the broader communities and countries where they do business.

Some of these companies have integrated solutions into their businesses models, from hiring more women and other minorities and outsourcing ethically, to institutionalizing strong labor practices and ensuring their private security services are well-trained and that they protect human rights.

But there is a long way to go to leverage all that such businesses can do in this realm. For example, Bangladesh has proven to be a challenge for many major apparel companies over the past two years. Poorly run and unsafe factories, some of which are used by global brands that most of us buy, have resulted in thousands of deaths.

I’ve worked with a number of companies to build a collective effort to make factories safer and to protect workers, goals that also protect the brands of these companies. More recently, I’ve been engaged with a number of companies in Myanmar to try to get responsible investment practices in place from the start as US companies begin to invest in that country.

Be Inkandescent: In the decades that you have been working on human rights issues, have you seen any improvement?

Karen Hanrahan: When I look at the human rights movement historically, I see great progress over the past century. Even over the past few decades, particularly now when people are so connected, I also see progress.

I’ve seen more people who are learning about their rights and demanding them from governments; I’ve seen more laws and constitutions enacted that enshrine human rights protections; I’ve seen women and girls gain status in governments and societies; I’ve seen accountability mechanisms bringing former leaders to justice for war crimes and atrocities; I’ve seen an increasing number of everyday citizens organizing and demanding justice and more democratic governance; and I’ve finally seen, under this administration, greater attention being given to the rights of LGBT individuals.

At the same time, the world is full of challenges, and there is much work still to be done. Women and girls—and children in general—continue to suffer severe abuse, discrimination, and injustice. I am troubled by the rise in the number of new laws that limit free speech and attempt to weaken civil society. I’m also troubled by the conduct of security forces around the world that regularly commit human rights violations, increasingly in the name of fighting “extremism” or “terrorism,” and often fuel such problems. Conflict and terrorism generate major abuses, and I do not think we have figured out how best to address such violence in a sustainable way. We have much work to do to understand how to prevent terrorism and conflict.

Be Inkandescent: Our audience of small-business owners are often altruistic in their thinking, but when it comes to human rights, the topic seems so overwhelming. What are some steps that SBOs can take to help make a difference?

Karen Hanrahan: The first thing businesses can do is to examine their own business models, products, services, supply chains, and practices to ensure they are not part of a human rights problem. Sometimes companies are not even aware that they are buying components from or outsourcing to another company that exploits its labor or gets materials in unethical and abusive ways. Large and small companies are already finding ways to integrate socially responsible business practices into their business models.

Another great way to contribute is to help raise awareness among your customers, suppliers, and others about human rights issues relevant to your industry. Also, look for campaigns to stop global slavery, protect women and girls, or other causes, and contribute in any way that you can—financially, or by spreading the word, contributing products, sponsoring events, etc. If you’re feeling ambitious, join forces with others in your industry to try to make a difference on an issue.

There are also well-established human rights organizations that always need funding and sponsorship, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, as well as niche organizations that cover a narrower set of issues, such as the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Be Inkandescent: What do you see as the future of human rights—domestically and abroad?

Karen Hanrahan: I am optimistic about the situation of human rights in the world. The human spirit cannot be held down for long. An increasing number of people are engaged in human rights issues around the world, particularly young people. But given the tough challenges that remain—from autocratic rulers and conflict to widespread discrimination and corruption—strong leadership is needed. The United States must continue to play that leadership role, but so must average citizens.

The future of change lies with ordinary people. Particularly in a world that is increasingly connected, change will be driven by organized, popular movements of individuals who know their rights and demand protection of those rights from their governments. These kinds of movements cannot be ignored for long.

Along with citizens, I think that businesses will also play an increasing role in human rights. As the world has become increasingly interconnected, business is affected by the stability, prosperity, and the human condition in other countries. Thus, companies have already been getting smarter and more creative about their role influencing positive change. And I can’t talk about the future without mentioning technology.

I think there is great untapped potential in the use of technology to empower people and to help address human rights abuses. We’re already seeing great things being done to track trafficking networks, to permit anonymous reporting and information sharing, to allow visibility in places that have historically been impossible to see, and more. At the same time, we are seeing some worrisome trends in technology, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, biological weapons, and robotic technology—all advances that need to be debated and regulated.

Be Inkandescent: How does the United States rank when it comes to human rights? Are other countries more active in defending human rights around the world?

Karen Hanrahan: The United States remains a global leader in the promotion and protection of human rights. It ranks high when it comes to human rights, but it does not have a perfect record. Fortunately, many organizations and institutions in the United States, including the press, act as watchdogs and work to hold our government accountable.

These include organizations that seek to influence foreign policy. My colleagues and I hear regularly from American organizations—from churches and NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) to organized citizen groups—that try to influence us to take stands and make policies that support the human rights agenda. We are regularly questioned by our free press about the decisions we make and the stances we take. The questions they ask often help direct our attention to a particular political prisoner or abusive situation.

Be Inkandescent: Talk a little about your background. What inspired you to want to work in the field of human rights, and what gives you the most hope about what you are seeing worldwide in this area?

Karen Hanrahan: I was fortunate to know at a relatively young age that I was interested in international justice. I’ve always been attracted to working on protracted conflicts and problems in the world that seem impossible to solve. And I’ve been motivated by the people I’ve met along the way who show tremendous courage and leadership in fighting for freedom.

My mother taught me at a young age about social justice and equality. She introduced me to figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Betty Friedan, and others. This and some formative travel experiences, including to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, instilled in me a clear sense that I wanted to be part of the human rights movement. The educational and professional choices I’ve made since then have been driven by this desire to be part of the historical movement that is advancing equality, justice, and freedom.

Do you have questions for Karen Hanrahan? Send her an email.

A lot of people have ideas, but few decide to do something about them now. Not next week. But today.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Atari

Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.”

– Albert Einstein

4oz tequila + 1oz TripleSec + 2oz lime juice + 1oz simple syrup (sugar=water), 1 cup crushed ice. Shake + dance around the kitchen.

– Avenida Margarita

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”

– Leo Jozef Suenens

Speaking more than one language is no longer just an asset in today’s job market; it is a requirement.”

– Tom Adams, CEO, Rosetta Stone

We are perfectionists. We are hungry to work all the time. We are entertained by every aspect of business and we never want to stop working.”

– Suzy Welch

If you want to be busy, keep trying to be perfect. If you want to be happy, focus on making a difference.”

– Lisa Earle McLeod

The journey is the reward.”

– Greg Norman

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens?
A terrible thing: no one to blame.”

– Erica Jong

The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Chuck E. Cheese's

I always maintained that the greatest obstacle in life isn’t danger, it’s boredom. The battle against it is responsible for most of the events in the world — good or ill.”

– Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter

Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”

– E.B. White

The music is all around us. All you have to do is listen.”

– August Rush

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

– John Quincy Adams

The awakening to the mystery of life is a revolutionary event; in it an old world is destroyed so that a new and better one may take its place.”

– J.J. Van Der Leeuw, The Conquest of Illusion

But all the while I was alone, the past was close behind, I seen a lot of women, but she never escaped my mind, and I just grew, tangled up in blue.”

– Bob Dylan

Remember that it’s okay to ask for help when you’re stumped, because sometimes you really can’t be expected to handle everything alone.”

– Martha Beck

There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

– JFK

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which obstacles vanish.”

– John Quincy Adams

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly,
 what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”

– Henry Miller

My job is my hobby. I come to work to play.”

– Uli Becker, president, Reebok International

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

– T.S. Eliot

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.”

– Charles Dickens

The good ideas are all hammered out in agony by individuals, not spewed out by groups.”

– Charles Brower, Advertising Hall of Fame

Never never never never give up.”

– Winston Churchill

Success is about finding a livelihood that brings joy, self-sufficiency, and a sense of contributing.”

– Anita Roddick

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make Me Feel Important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”

– Mary Kay Ash

An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.“


– Roy Ash, co-founder of Litton Industries

A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.”

– Carlos Castaneda

I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.“


– Thomas Edison

It is to no purpose to turn away from the real nature of the affair because the honor of its elements excites repugnance.

– Carl von Clausewitz, On War

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

– Carl Rogers

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.”

– Jalaluddin Rumi

The follow-your-gut mentality of the entrepreneur has the potential to take you anywhere you want to go or run you right out of business.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

– Leonard Cohen

If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.”

– Joseph Addison

I don’t do very well without fear. There needs to be a part of me saying, ‘That’s going to fail,’ so I can prove myself wrong.”

– Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe

If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more.
 If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”

– Oprah Winfrey

History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”

– John F. Kennedy

Find somebody to be successful for. Raise their hopes. Think of their needs.”

– Barack Obama

My task is really not to change myself but to become familiar with who I am.”

– Maureen Cook

What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?”

– Jim Butcher, White Night

Ripeness is all.”

– William Shakespeare

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”

– Leon Joseph Suenens

A people who mean to be their Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

– James Madison

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

– William Butler Yeats

A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

– Bob Dylan

Books

The Blessing of Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture"

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand,” said computer science professor Randy Pausch in the last lecture he gave before he died of pancreatic cancer in 2008. Here’s his advice.

Read more...

Estate Planning

A Trust Is Like a Contract That's on Steroids

“While a contract is an agreement between two parties that sets out the rights and responsibilities that each party owes to the other,” says Estate Planning attorney Lisa Hughes, “a trust is a contract on steroids.”

Read more...

Food

Is Butter Good for You?

If you have been avoiding butter to stay slim and healthy, you may be surprised by the results of a new research study showing that butter elevates blood fats after a meal considerably less than olive oil.

Read more...

Great Spots to Work

Linden Row Inn, Richmond

Linden Row Inn is a relaxing spot to work when you are staying at the hotel, making it a good option when visiting Richmond for business, and it’s a great spot for local entrepreneurs looking for an in-town getaway to recharge.

Read more...

Hiring

Giving Thanks for Your Professional Network

“Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for my network of colleagues and friends,” says Hiring and HR expert Barbara Mitchell. “Of course, this network didn’t come together overnight.” Here’s how she did it, and how you can, too.

Read more...

History

The Blessing of Being a Grateful American

What does it mean to be a Grateful American? Gilder Lehrman President Jim Basker interviews David Bruce Smith on why he founded the Grateful American™ Foundation—and how he hopes to make it fun for kids to learn about history.

Read more...

Intuition Rules

Do It Anyway

Are you looking for personal meaning and deep happiness in a crazy world? Then you’ll enjoy Kent M. Keith’s book, “Do It Anyway.”

Read more...

Live Love Laughing

Why Giving Is Good for You

Holding on to some of your money is prudent, but hoarding is not, insists philanthropist Tim McCarthy. Here’s why.

Read more...

Networking

Did You Know That Networking Can Make You Smarter?

It’s true, networking makes you smarter, according to Andrea Kuszewski, who recently wrote about the topic in Scientific American.

Read more...

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PR Rules

The Blessing of Great PR

Did you see our interview about “PR Rules” on “Let’s Talk Live?” Many thanks to reporter Sonya Gavankar and News Channel 8.

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Public Speaking

Embracing the Blessing of Criticism

“Even though criticism can sting, it is also a gift,” insists Public Speaking expert Hilary Blair. “One thing is certain: We must be open to criticism in order to improve.”

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Inkandescent Radio

Tom Shroder Talks About the Surprising Healing Properties of LSD in "Acid Test"

LSD might help veterans with PTSD, and those struggling with depression, alcoholism, and stress-related disorders.

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Retirement

The Five Scariest Financial Mistakes People Make

“I really enjoy a good scare; in fact I used to love horror movies,” says CFP® Howard Pressman. But now “what scares the pants off” of him are the common financial mistakes he sees people make.

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Self-Help

Is Your Body Language Sabotaging Collaboration?

“Most leaders today are aware of the need to look confident, powerful, and assertive, but fewer understand the impact of empathy and warmth. And this may be more of a career-limiting factor than they know,” says Carol Kinsey Goman.

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Speakers Bureau

What Do You Need to Know About PR?

What do you do? Why do you do it? How do you do it? Answer these three questions to harness the power of your PR campaign.

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Inkandescent TV

What's New on: ARTiculate TV

Are you ready to unlock your public speaking potential? That’s the question Hilary Blair and Robin Miller ask—and answer—in each monthly episode of “Studio Time With Hilary & Robin,” on ARTiculate TV. Don’t miss an episode.

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Truly Amazing Women™ Who Are Changing the World

How Can Women End Domestic Violence?

Employment is the key for abused women to regain dignity and independence, says Ludy Green.

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Wealth

The Financial Power of Giving Thanks

What are you doing this holiday season to share your wealth with others? Wealth Management expert Rita Cheng offers some ideas on how you can give back.

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Andrew Carnegie

To learn more about becoming a client of Inkandescent Public Relations, or becoming a Be Inkandescent Magazine columnist. send an email to publisher and founder Hope Katz Gibbs at hope@inkandescentpr.com.

Here’s to your incredible, indelible, Inkandescent success!