Category Archives: ethics

Reputation Management and Appropriation, Lessons in Ethics from Edmond Dantès

My study of communications and public relations was taught by passionate adherents to Ivy Lee’s Declaration of Principles – that it is the ethical responsibility of a public relations practitioner to offer uncompromising truth to the public on behalf of one’s clients. Perhaps because of this, and despite working in high tech for 16 years, it should be un-surprising that I view the use of technology in the form of bots exponentially deployed during the United States 2016 presidential elections, let alone anywhere else, as abhorrent.

My various social media accounts address the complexities of my person; Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram serve as outlets for my professional existence while Pinterest and Facebook are more intimate expressions – at the intersection of these social platforms is my blog. While I have a blog I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself ‘a blogger’ (it is not a commercial venture). Yet my writing on this platform, having gone viral, has had impact – in part responsible for shifting public policy and the proposed exploitation of the pristine waters of the Adriatic in 2015/2016.  While building my own Instagram presence I admit to being thoroughly perplexed as to how (with the quality of photos and nominal content offered) fellow travel specific accounts could possibly have earned followers approaching 100,000 in less than a month. Thus, the clarity offered in reading Jess Gibson’s Dear PRs post referencing ‘bot-gate’ was genuinely appreciated, and it’s also why I take a particular delight at the failure of Instagress.

The truth has always found a way to be revealed, in our connected world discovery of appropriation, fraud or illicit behavior comes down to days, minutes or even seconds with a few keystrokes and keen intelligence. Throughout history there have been individuals whose jealousy, ruthlessness, greed and sloth have risked fortunes and reputations for (perceived) gain or retribution – Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo anyone? Just as Edmond Dantès took full advantage of his time falsely imprisoned to learn every skill imaginable in developing a faultless reputation and re-branding himself, every effort in thought leadership and in garnering a dedicated follower base, and fostering epic levels of engagement takes considerable patience, skill and acuity.

Beyond the Instagram bloggers’ ‘bot-gate’ other more widely known unveilings of deceit relate to appropriation of the resistance movement by Pepsi and State Street of New York City’s iconic bronze sculpture created by Arturo Di Modica.

The Tate Modern offers this essay on appropriation,

[…] to create a new situation, and therefore a new meaning or set of meanings, for a familiar image. Appropriation art raises questions of originality, authenticity and authorship…

All great art is subversive, a commentary manifest with physicality. Co-opting the passion found in resistance to injustice in its many forms, feminism, racism, environmental stewardship, and its related arts for commercial gain by the advertising industry has a vast history in the United States.

Fearless-girl-vs-arturo-di-modica

I don’t like what Fearless Girl ‘is’ specifically because she is contrived by Mad Men to gender-wash their clients’ bottom line. The $2.5 trillion (under management) State Street Global Advisors opted for a publicity stunt on International Women’s Day of instead of doing the long overdue ‘hard work’ of creating a work environment of equality and gender partity or proactively investing in education for girls on a global basis. For the unaware allow me to point out that advertising (in which both Pepsi and State Street engaged) is only related to public relations as it is a part of the greater communication functions in general. It seems to me if you are retained to represent the interests of a seven or eight figure client your responsibilities should include candid risk assessment to any proposal you present. Ultimately this all comes down to proactive reputation management versus putting your client in the rather costly position of damage control through crisis management.

With so much to lose why take a chance in the first place?

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

 

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The only oil that goes with a Croatian bikini is olive!

German translation of the following here, and the Croatian translation found here, and now in Japanese here.

*** VICTORY! 22 January 2016 The new Croatian government announced a cessation of any further plans to drill for hydrocarbons in the Adriatic.

On the morning of 29 July it was announced that Marathon Oil had returned 7 of the 10 concessions for drilling for hydrocarbons in the Adriatic had been returned to the Croatian government.

In the interest of full disclosure, since writing this post in December 2014, and it subsequently going viral (nearly 125K reads in the original English version alone), I have been invited to join, and now serve the Clean Adriatic Sea Alliance as their Chief Strategy Officer.

Every link in the following post is VERY PURPOSEFULLY chosen toward education and action, I AM ASKING YOU MOST SINCERELY TO ACT on all three efforts embedded within this post (read on, don’t get caught up with the girl she’ll still be here when you finish)!

17 March 2015 UPDATE: http://www.croatia-split.com/blog/what-s-happening/adriatic-drilling-casa-replies-to-oil-agency-boss-barbara-doric.html

17 February 2015 UPDATE – the Croatian government is being sued for its illegal activities around drilling in the Adriatic. (I don’t agree with all that the HCSP stands for but…)

“This decision reacted by the Croatian Pure Party of Rights (HCSP).
Press Release signed by the President of HCSP, Josip Miljak in its entirety:
“A criminal decision of the Croatian government to announce an international tender for a fictitious oil and gas exploration in the Croatian economic zone is a crime which, if not prevented, Croatia could cost you dearly. If you sign contracts with foreign companies, a group of experts has already prepared two lawsuits, one Court for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, ie. The UN Security Council and other State Attorney’s Office.”

If you care about the seas and oceans and clean water for all, renewable energy, the environment, cultural heritage, vacationing at the beach, water sports, sailing, boating, eating seafood, Croatia’s (or Italy’s) Adriatic and a quality of life based upon harmony with our planet in the face of greed and violation then this end-of-the-year post (originally written on 30 December 2014) is for you! No apologies, it’s a long one. I ask you to share it widely on all social media platforms. (Efforts are underway to translate it into multiple languages – hyperlinks will be offered in this paragraph as completed.)  Many thanks for an amazing year to all my readers. Sretana Nova godina, Happy New Year.

——————–

I think about consequences – all the time (including how many people I might piss off as a result of writing this, and how).  I am not (though perfectly capable to be) a corporate consultant of scenario planning. I see inter-dependencies in ways that most people rushing through their lives never consider. What stimulates me must be for a greater good, and my heart and head must find a perfect balance for me to say – YES!  A lot of things ignite my passions and expertise but for me to engage it always comes down to integrity and authenticity.  This post is about the Venn Diagram offered by the convergence of the Croatian economy, its environment and how the manipulation of European Union regulations could have a devastating and far reaching effect. This is about shortsightedness, immediate gratification for individuals and how their greed, if one thing goes horribly wrong, will destroy one of the greatest treasure troves of untouched historic, ecological and economic value in the world and the livelihoods of a people who have depended upon the Adriatic for tens of thousands of years.  This blog post is about finding a way, with all of your help (please, PLEASE SIGN THIS Change.org PETITION as well as THIS Avaaz petition and then SHARE BOTH with friends), to turn back and make things as the Croatian tourist board says, “The Mediterranean as it once was”, and keep it that way for all of us but make it better economically for Croatians.

The Travel Channel references Croatian Bikinis (a Croatian bikini, btw, way is nude) and cliff diving, and if only once everyone wants to enjoy the freedom of laying on perfect golden sand and swimming in the sea waters ranging in colour from cobalt to aquamarine naked – and Anthony Bourdain is talking about the food and how beautiful it is here, well, expect those numbers to grow. It would be an understatement to say that the impact of tourism is huge and should be amongst the greatest market segments to be cultivated in Croatia.  And yet, the right hand doesn’t seem to know what the left hand is doing here (not unique to Croatia) or they would have blocked this effort. Don’t Croatian ministers actually strategise in their cabinet meetings?

I am in Croatia because I am trying to determine if I can make this my permanent home. (Now back in the United States unhappily let me say I actually found a home in Croatia.) Save for the fact that I am here in the dead of winter, I was drawn here largely because of the Adriatic – just as some 11.5 million people who came in the summer of 2012. Put that into perspective, a narrow band of Dalmatia hosting nearly 4 times the population of the entire country within a three month (between June and August).

(Emphasis in the following is my own.)

The first page of Lonely Planet’s guide to Croatian music festivals reads:

Sonus Music Festival

http://www.sonus-festival.com/ Pag Island Croatia August 2015

“Croatia’s music festival scene is flourishing, with exciting new events popping up each summer. A lovely natural setting is pretty much guaranteed, with idyllic beaches, lakes, meadows and forest clearings hosting crowds of delighted festival-goers.”

Rough Guides best of the Croatian coast landing page reads:

When it comes to beaches in Croatia, the best advice is to head south: it’s on the Dalmatian coast where the most seductive sandy shores, pebbly coves and sun-fried rocks are to be found. Indeed all of the beaches that made our list are in Dalmatia, except for one (the bewitchingly sandy island of Susak in the Kvarner Gulf). A sizeable collection of swoon-inducing destinations has been left off this list, largely for simple reasons of accessibility: islands like Korčula, Vis and Šolta boast any number of heavenly bays […].”

Croatia has been named the #1 world travel destination on the rise according to Fodor’s. The value of tourism to Croatia’s economy (like so many things here) is subject to wide ranges of statistics – the EU says 15%, while locals estimate that it makes up as much as 40% of the entire Croatian annual budget.  Croatia’s Minister of Tourism,  Darko Lorencin, said that the first six months of 2014 totaled € 2.12 billion, which was 2.2% more than the same period last year.  Estimates put 69% of the Croatian economy coming from the services industries – things like renting sailboats, bar and restaurant trade (offering seafood from the beautifully clean waters) and yes, those taking care of all those sheets and towels. If you take words of The World Bank’s front page on Croatia’s economy as sacred, then:

DSCN9906

Drvenik Channel, the Croatian Adriatic, view from my balcony 30 December 2014 to where I have been swimming for the last two months.

Croatia remains an ecological treasure in Europe, with 47% of its land and 39% of its sea designated as specially protected areas and areas of conservation. Croatia boasts 19 National and Nature Parks, with some- such as the Plitvice Lakes National Park – designated as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites. Croatia’s natural beauty draws in millions of tourists each year, with tourism revenues representing around 15% of the country’s GDP. Preservation of the environment is high on the development agenda and has been a requirement for European Union membership.”

BP over Adriatic

This map, provided by Richard West, shows the scope of the BP Gulf Oil Spill, aka Deepwater Horizon spill, as overlaid against the Adriatic; it wouldn’t ‘just be’ Croatia impacted but also Italy, Slovenia, Montenegro and Albania.

So, after two months of swimming in these pristine waters the fight for keeping the Adriatic clean is now VERY PERSONAL to me! WTF!? Why, oh WHY!?, would anyone think that drilling for gas and oil in these waters is a good idea? Even if there isn’t an environmental catastrophe on the scale of the (British Petroleum) Gulf Oil Spill (I wish someone would overlay the map at left against a similar one showing the whole of the Adriatic to see what might happen) from one of the ten platforms currently licensed to operate in Croatian waters, the impact on the developing film industry (Game of Thrones et al), tourism, fishing – Eurostat figures for 2013 put the export value € 115.2 million, archaeology (at the bottom of the sea) and culture, and yes, the preservation of these rare dolphins, let alone the livelihood of more than 50% of the Croatian population from even the smallest accident could be catastrophic. To which point I was just (8 Feb) introduced to the technical expertise and wisdom of Croatia’s internationally, and highly, educated Nenad Duplančić.  If you are Croat read this from Dignitea Hvar in your language, if you are from any place else I BEG YOU to use a translation tool to grasp the importance of his commentary on the proposed drilling in the Adriatic.  For the rest of you new drilling platforms have been banned in the United States since 1969 so you start to understand why (to maintain corporate earnings and salaries) multinational oil companies are looking at impoverished countries to exploit and destroy (unemployment here in Croatia is above 23%).

Barbara Doric

Barbara Dorić – perhaps someone should be checking her bank accounts?

As I see it the Ministers of the Croatian government who should be fighting this with every fiber of their collective being include: Ministry of Culture, Ministarstvo culture, Mrs. Andrea Zlatar, Ministry of Economy, Ministarstvo gospodarstva, Mr. Ivan Vrdoljak, (who SHOULD BE looking at wave, wind and solar technologies and ditching petrochemical energy altogether because as Duplančić points out this industry is near it’s logical end), Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection, Ministarstvo zaštite okoliša i prirode, Mr. Mihael Zmajlović, Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Ministarstvo pomorstva, prometa i infrastrukture , MPPI RH, Mr. Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministarstvo poljoprivrede, Mr. Tihomir Jakovina and, of course, the Ministry of Tourism, Ministarstvo turizma or MINT, Mr. Darko Lorencin. So ask yourselves why a company blocked from exploration on the Italian side of the Adriatic should be given reign to do so by the head of the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency, Barbara Doric? (Who, quite frankly, should be stripped of her citizenship and exiled to a very dirty beach for her role in promoting this debacle.)  Croatians are hardly indifferent to the beauty and life provided by their location – when so often you hear them express “who could buy this?” with a broad sweep of their arms across the vista offered by their Rivas and the Adriatic. Could it be that the Italians actually understand all that is at stake better than the Croatians?  

Saudi Arabia is manipulating the oil markets to keep the price of crude artificially low to discourage the further development and expansion of renewable energy, and with croatia nudethe established dangers of hydraulic fracturing to obtain natural gas it should be clear to everyone that petrochemicals are the very last thing that should be anywhere near a Croatian bikini.

This isn’t my country, yet I am supremely indignant about this and I hope all of you reading this are too.  Haven’t we seen enough destruction and war over the greed and insatiable consumption that comes with oil and gas? Climate change scientists indicate that a rise of sea levels will wipe out coastal communities around the world, hello? has anyone looked to see how much of Croatia’s population lives at very nearly sea level? In Europe climate change is expected to magnify regional differences in natural resources and assets. Negative impacts will include increased risk of inland flash floods and more frequent coastal flooding and increased erosion (due to storminess and sea level rise) and is projected to worsen conditions (high temperatures and drought) in a region already vulnerable to climate variability, and to reduce water availability, hydro-power potential, summer tourism and, in general, crop productivity.

oil croatia

Photo source: Croatia Week online magazine

It needs to stop – now. 16 February is the deadline for open comments to the Croatian government, the form required for submission is found here.  It has painstakingly been translated into English to the right of the original Croatian so, REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU LIVE, non Croatians who care about our seas can also submit comment. Please do! As you can imagine this fight is going to get expensive from a legal perspective, please “help with the heavy lifting” by making a contribution to the Clean Adriatic Sea Alliance.

Croatians have a real chance to set a world standard for clean energy working in tandem with the rest of their economy but it takes all kinds of people, everywhere, to put their ‘big boy and big girl pants on’ and say NOT HERE, NOT NOW, NOT EVER, and cap those wells and dismantle those ten platforms.  Join me?

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Politics, NOT as usual, Croatia’s presidential candidate Ivan Vilibor Sinčić

Hrvatska verzija slijedi engligh.

sunset over TrogirEach day starts with a unique promise – to change something about ourselves or the world around us.  I don’t think most people give this too much thought, but it’s always there, the possibility.  For six days I had been trying to break through the first line of contact to offer both my professional communications skills as well as leveraging my political campaign experience to the aspirations of a young man running for president of Croatia – yesterday an early morning Facebook text conversation netted me a phone number, and a path to Split.

civil disobediance

Lead by example – taking on “the system”

At the end of my day I wrote on my Facebook wall, and posted pictures:  “Interesting day. Honour your skills when you’ve no clue what to do and all of the sudden a MESSAGE is really loud. I was invited to share lunch with Croatian presidential candidate Ivan Vilibor Sinčić by members of his campaign team including Jakov Perica on Split’s Riva this afternoon.” As someone with a past history of serving as the finance director for three Congressional races in the United States it takes about two minutes for me to weed out ‘real deal’ vs. ‘fraud’ – Sinčić is the REAL DEAL. Thoughtful and articulate in a way that allows me to express Croatia would be VERY LUCKY to have him (especially because of his youth and track record on human rights and economic issues) as their next president. I don’t believe that I am here by chance over this – I am here because my friend Marijan expressed to me over a year ago “my country needs people like you”. Well, LET ME HELP and then let me make Croatia my permanent home.

Friends know that I never say, nor do I write, anything I don’t mean, and I am in sincere in this Tweet:

@TeresaFritschi #Croatia‘s Prez candidate Vilibor #Sinčić is like #ThomasJefferson #Robespierre

I am sure it is nearly impossible to imagine the intellect and incorruptible nature of two of the 18th centuries’ greatest minds existing in a single man today – but John Vilibor (Sonny) is such a human being.

Corruption is nothing new – every society has been victim to a percentage of its population that always demands more than is ethical, fair or just. On the bus to Split I was informed that Al Capone was actually of Croatian ancestry (keeping in mind that the Italians – specifically the Venetians were here when Marco Polo was a child).  For 800 years (or more) with further and bankfurther influence and decimation of society has come in the form of those behind global banking interests (oh DO watch this ½ hour video to understand that this is not simply in the United States but impacting people across the globe).

Ivan at foot

Touching the toe of Ivan Meštrović’s colossal sculpture of Gregory of Nin for luck

So like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Saunders in the United States Croatia’s presidential hopeful Ivan Vilibor Sinčić gets it and he wants nothing to do with this influence in his country. He has built a record, as President Barack Obama did in his youth, of functioning as a champion of human rights, of being a community organizer deploying small efforts designed to thwart illegal evictions of homeowners by building a ‘living wall’ of protection and both knowing and leveraging the laws of Croatia. He is outside ‘the system’ which makes his efforts underdog in the extreme. He is a quiet presence in the throng of humanity, listening, touching an arm, posing for pictures – a very shy, very sincere, smile gracing his face.  Despite his stature he doesn’t take up much space – that is until he speaks and then he owns the room, fully and completely with his passion, and thoughtful rhetoric. Perhaps it’s because I have worked for my whole adult life making other people look good that in witnessing authenticity of this caliber my breath went completely out of my body – I don’t speak Croatian yet I understood exactly what he said.  But people see it.  Croatians feel at a cellular level and respond to Ivan as if crossing a desert and finding an oasis to quench their thirst. They seem ready to rise up and reclaim their lives and make their whole society better in the process; maybe all of our societies in leading by example. By what those of Nguni Bantu term roughly translating to “human kindness” but most literally means that you cannot rejoice if your neighbor has none – Ubuntu.

My friend Ken Herron has chided me for three years about my unwillingness to prostitute my skills to survive. He knows, because I inherited his role as a chief marketing officer, that I am perfectly capable of making crazy money “doing what we do” but I have never been able to do this. If I believe I will give of myself until I drop, but nothing can induce me if I don’t respect you, your product or your mission.  It’s been less than 20 hours as I write this since posting a 2:30 segment of Ivan’s speech yesterday from Split on Twitter and on Facebook, even as a seasoned communications professional I am stunned by the rate of viewership.

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” 
― Anaïs Nin

I truly had no intention of ever returning to politics, so traveling 4400 miles to discover that the skills of my lifetime could possibly realise real value for 4.3 million people is at once a stunning revelation, and like slipping back into my most authentic skin. We seek other states, connect with other lives and other souls for resonance, and authentication of who we are at our most elemental. We travel to give of ourselves and to receive. We travel to leave the world and ourselves better than we were before we leapt into the void of the unknown.  I seem to have come home to myself.

Svaki dan počinje s jedinstvenim obećanjem-promijeniti nešto u vezi sebe ili svijeta oko nas. Mislim da puno ljudi o ovome niti ne razmišlja, ali ona je uvijek tu, mogućnost. Šest dana sam se pokušavala probiti  do prvih kontakata kako bih ponudila svoje profesionalne  komunikacijske vještine kao i da svojim iskustvom u političkim kampanjama podržim težnje mladića koji se našao u utrci za predsjednika Hrvatske. Zahvaljujući jučerašnjem ranojutarnjem dopisivanju na Facebooku  došla sam do telefonskog broja i našla se na putu za Split.

Na kraju dana napisala sam na svojem zidu na Facebooku, uz popratne slike: “Zanimljiv dan. Pohvali svoje sposobnosti kada ne znaš što bi i odjednom je PORUKA  vrlo glasna. Pozvana sam na ručak na Splitskoj rivi ovo poslijepodne s predsjedničkim kandidatom Ivanom Viliborom Sinčićem. Pozvali su me članovi njegovo tima uključujući Jakova Pericu .

Kao netko tko je u svojoj prošlosti radio kao financijski direktor u tri kongresne trke u SAD-u, treba mi oko dvije minute da prepoznam tko je pravi a tko lažan- Sinčić je PRAVI.  Promišljeno I artikulirano na način koji mi dozvoljava da se izrazim, Hrvatska će biti vrlo sretna što ga ima (osobito zbog njegove mladosti, ali i dokazanoj borbi za ljudska prava i ekonomske probleme) kao svog sljedećeg predsjednika. Vjerujem da nisam ovdje u ovome slučajno- ovdje sam jer mi je moj prijatelj Marijan prije više od godinu dana rekao: “moja zemlja treba ljude poput tebe”. Pa, dozvoli mi da pomognem, a onda i da Hrvatska postane moj trajni dom.

Prijatelji znaju da ja nikad ne govorim niti pišem ništa što ne mislim i da sam iskrena u ovom Tweetu :

@TeresaFritschi #Croatia‘s Prez candidate Vilibor #Sinčić is like #ThomasJefferson #Robespierre

(Hrvatski predsj. Kandidat Vilibor Sinčić je poput Thomasa Jeffersona i  Robespierrea)

Sigurna sam da je teško zamisliti intelekt i nekoruptivnu prirodu dvojice velikih umova 18. stoljeća  u jednom jedinom čovjeku-ali, Ivan Vilibor Sinčić je baš takvo ljudsko biće.

Korupcija nije ništa novo- svako društvo je bilo žrtva određenom broju populacije koja uvijek traži više nego li je etično, pošteno ili pravedno. U autobusu prema Splitu saznala sam da je Al Capone zapravo bio hrvatskog porijekla (imajući na umu da su Talijani-točnije Venecijanci bili ovdje kada je Marko Polo bio dijete. 800 godina (ili više) sa sve većim i većim utjecajem na društvo i njegovim desetkovanjem, ono je palo pod utjecaje globalnih bankarskih interesa. (Svakako pogledajte ovaj polusatni video kako biste shvatili da ovo jednostavno nije samo u SAD-u već utječe na ljude diljem globusa). Stoga, poput senatorice Elisabeth Warren i senatora Bernia Saundersa u Sjedinjenim Američkim državama, Hrvatski potencijalni predsjednik Ivan Vilibor Sinčić shvaća i ne želi imati ništa s ovim utjecajem u njegovoj Zemlji. Stekao je dosje, kao što je  predsjednik Barack Obama u svojoj mladosti, djelujući  kao prvak u borbi za ljudska prava. Ivan V.Sinčić je  suorganizator zajednice koja je uvođenjem malih napora stvorena kako bi spriječila ilegalne deložacije kućevlasnika, praveći “živi zid” zaštite,  poznavajući i koristeći zakone Hrvatske. On sam je “izvan sistema”  što čini njegove napore u krajnosti uzaludnima.

On je tiho prisutan u gomili ljudi, slušajući, dodirujući ruke i pozirajući za slikanja- vrlo sramežljiv, vrlo iskren, s osmijehom koji krasi njegovo lice.  Unatoč svojem statusu, on ne zauzima puno prostora-barem dok ne progovori, a tada je prostorija samo njegova u potpunosti, s njegovom strašću i  promišljenom retorikom.  Možda jer sam tijekom cijelog svog odraslog života radila čineći druge ljude da izgledaju dobro, svjedočeći autentičnosti ovog kalibra moj dah je potpuno napustio moje tijelo–ne govorim još hrvatski, a ipak sam razumjela točno što je rekao. Ali, ljudi vide. Hrvati osjećaju na baznom nivou i reagiraju kao da su prelaskom pustinje naišli na oazu koja će im utažiti žeđ.  Čine se spremnima uzdignuti se i ponovno preuzeti svoje živote u svoje ruke te učiniti cijelo njihovo društvo boljim u procesu; možda i sva naša društva, prednjačeći kao primjer.  Jedan od Ngunu Bantu izraza je ugrubo preveden kao “ljudska dobrota” ali doslovnije znači da se ne možeš radovati ako tvoj susjed nema ništa- Ubuntu. Moj prijatelj Ken Herron me tri godine korio zbog moje nevoljkosti da prostituiram svoje vještine kako bih preživjela. On zna, jer sam ja naslijedila njegovu ulogu glavnog marketinškog službenika, da sam ja savršeno sposobna stvoriti velik novac “čineći to što radimo” ali, nikad to nisam mogla učiniti. Ako ja vjerujem, ja ću dati sve od sebe dok ne svisnem, ali ništa me neće natjerati ako ne poštujem Vas, Vaš proizvod ili misiju. Prošlo je manje od 20h kako ovo pišem, a otkako sam postavila dio Ivanovog jučerašnjeg govora u Splitu na svoj Twitter i Facebook. Čak i kao iskusna komunikacijska profesionalka, zapanjena sam brojem gledanja

“Mi putujemo, neki od nas zauvjek, kako bismo vidjeli druge države, druge živote, druge duše. “― Anaïs Nin

Zaista nemam namjere se ikada vraćati politici, stoga putujući 440 milja kako bih otkrila da bi moje životne vještine  mogle možda realizirati stvarnu vrijednost od 4.3 milijuna ljudi odjednom je zapanjujuće otkriće, i  poput klizenja natrag u moju najautentičniju kožu. Tražimo druge države, povezujemo se s drugim životima i drugim dušama zbog reznonancije i autentifikacije  onoga tko smo u našoj srži. Putujemo kako bismo davali sebe i primali. Putujemo kako bismo ostavili svijet i same sebe boljima nego što smo bili prije nego li smo uskočili u nepoznato. Čini mi se da sam došla k samoj sebi.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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The shifting trajectory of kisses

“You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart.”
— Louise Erdrich

For the first time since 2005 I am dating again. No, I wasn’t in a long term relationship. No, I didn’t have a traumatic (or tragic) experience. And no, I don’t hate men. I have been on OKCupid for a bit shy of two years now. But in the last two weeks, finally being in Croatia after a year of deliberation, I have migrated from online and video Skype conversations to actually sitting with a man face-to-face over hot chocolate, over dinner, and going for walks.  I have kiss quotekissed all four of these men. Nine years is an awfully long time to have not done so, some I wanted much more with, with some, perhaps the kisses were actually too much to have shared.

This morning the (very loving) husband of a dear girlfriend, in the most subtle way imaginable, expressed his energetic protection for me. In my new life’s chapter, taking place far from practical intervention and rescue should such be necessary, David’s love is not the kind of love I am unaccustomed to having in my life; at first I was puzzled by why he would choose to Tweet the content and Cc me on such.  This dating thing is fraught with perils that every woman experiences, even when you are in a committed relationship rape happens. David’s genuine concern expressed for both myself and my best friend (as we were both mentioned in the Tweet and are both now actively dating again for the first time in many years) is soft focused and filled with light in a world with harsh realities. So David, I am sending you a huge hug, and a slightly insufficient thank you – message received.

Back to the dating thing.

In the last year a very wise man, and an equally wise woman, have both expressed the same thought about applying caution to sharing our physical space, and (any kind of) our energy with others. Every encounter with another (physically and energetically) leaves residue on the participants and in the domain of space inhabited, as such it’s incredibly important to understand this before sharing either with another. I suppose, if I am truly honest, protectingintentions myself from giving too much of myself away, harming another against their future or having the negative energies of others zap me has kept me from dating, and eventually becoming intimate, for so long. Because I noticed, boy-oh-boy have I noticed, how I have felt after each encounter with these four very different Croatian men. Not that it is all important but it is of merit to note that each of these men is at least 14 years younger than I am.

With the first man it was like ‘coming home’. Safe, protected, a sense of continuity that felt ancient, comfortable in both silence and in conversation, with him (and this is hard to explain) I kiss youfelt an extension of my greatest self, perhaps, because in many regards we are both rather unconventional. And when it came to expressions of passion, the kiss I will remember and draw energy from for the rest of my life seemed ripped from a romance novel. The second man to win my kisses had, by his own admission over the Thanksgiving dinner table, not kissed (or done anything else with) a woman in six years. There was considerable alcohol involved and some energetic ‘egging on’ because another man nearby was being dismissive of the former man’s rationale and (what I sensed) deep pain and his own admitted fear on behalf of his son. And so, initially I shared three, not passionate, kisses with him to remind him of the pleasure that can be had from such. He seem both confused, delighted and ‘warmed’ by this – eventually taking the initiative and seemed to enjoy himself to the point that he asked to have me spend the night with him. (um, no.) Man number three, one of my two dates yesterday, is exactly half my age – still a man in chronological years, and sufficiently so to have actively pursued a date with me. We had fun. Enjoyed amazing hot hot chocolatechocolate together on the Riva in Grad Trogir. He (easily) agreed to my request to rescue the remaining pomegranates on the tree in front of the abandoned house in Trogir in which I have fallen in love.  I now have a lovely bag full of these jewels which otherwise would have found themselves rotting on the ground as a result of yesterday’s Bura and todays’ rain storm.  He is very sweet, and earnest, but in many ways he really is too young in terms of life experience for this to be ‘anything’.  My second date yesterday is 18 years my junior, but sufficient experience to not feel any lacking. His candor and overt sexual interest in me was palpable from moment one.  He kissed me within 15 minutes of our meeting (and he was really very good at it). The best kiss of the evening took place against a 400 year old stone wall in a narrow alley of Seget Donji – his hands both cupping my face and then in my hair (where, as a great many terrific lovers know the nerve endings in our scalp make us particularly sensitive to erotic stimulation). His sexual energy is very much like that of Mickey Rourke in this scene from 9 1/2 weeks too dangerous to maintain one’s sanity and certainly not sustainable.

One thing is for certain, I need to recalibrate as I can tell that my trajectory has been influenced by the sharing of this tender intimacy in ways that are very uncomfortable to who I am. Like a hangover for my energy I have allowed myself to get swept up ‘in the moments’. Making up for lost time? Squandered resources? No, not either. I feel very much like the meme above about kisses being like drinking salt water. I can’t undo this, and some I most certainly would not change because in these experiences have offered me a greater cognition, and with such I come closer to completion. Still, a little discernment going forward would be a very good idea and a practical consideration worth embracing.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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About cows, milk, and the “all natural” lies told by Chobani to build brand loyalty

For those of you who are regular readers of my blog my writing about cows may seem off brand – it’s not, please stay with me

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The gentle lovely things we assume will always be such when we are children take on a different level of clarity (or denial) as adults.  If you (I, we) hold onto your childlike wonder – a good thing in many regards – there are some rude awakenings to be encountered.  I have a theory that any kind of awareness, real thoughtful and thought provoking awareness, sneaks up on you and then slaps you upside the head. And, then, YOU GET IT! (Thank you PETA advocates for all of your efforts for so many years!) 

“The only way I can pay back for what fate and society have handed me is to try, in minor totally useless ways, to make an angry sound against injustice.” ― Martha Gellhorn

containersWhen I was in 1st grade my beloved teacher Mrs Dwyer took us on a field trip to a dairy farm (well at least I only remember the cows, there might have been other animals). I distinctly recall the aqua blue and white insulated container that my mom put my favourite lunch in, leftover chicken croquettes, for the trip. And, I remember the smell of the cows, pfew-y! But what I also remember was the way that the farmer introduced us to them, each one, a name (like us) not a number on a yellow tag hanging on their ears. I had forgotten about this until recently but it’s important to our collective connection to other sentient beings and our food systems and global food security.  

milkWhilst many prefer soda pop (diet or otherwise) I am a milk drinker, never so satisfied as a tall glass with a couple of ice cubes to make it even colder to drink. I also recognise the benefit this beverage of choice has made on my bone density and my teeth (at 53 still not a single cavity or filling, nor root canals).

As a native of New York state the homegrown Chobani once had my unwavering patronage in purchasing its yogurts (particularly Blood Orange, Passion Fruit and Pomegranate flavors) – and then the dedicated and passionate folks at Whole Foods and the Sum of Us outed Chobani for using milk from cows fed GMO grain (consider signing the petition) and my heart sank, and then outrage kicked in. I used to think ‘watchdogs’ were unnecessary – naïve, I know. But greed does stupid things to some people and taking the long view of impact on our planet, our health and that of the welfare of the animals with whom we are so indebted seems irrelevant when faced with ‘untold and vast riches’.  So, a product developed to not only create jobs, positively impact local economies, promoted as being “all natural” and generally leveraging its brand in positive ways (Olympic chobanisponsorship, Shepherd’s Gift Foundation) turns out to be another big corporate lie designed to build brand loyalty!  When you reach a level of success such as Chobani there is a moral imperative to do the right thing, and in doing so legitimately earn even greater brand loyalty in the process: I don’t take Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability lightly – in for a penny, in for a pound. If Chobani were really serious about “nothing but good” and the impact on our health they would also be concerned about the sourcing of the milk used for their yogurt, and driving an industry shift back toward the healthful origins of yogurt – something founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya purports to have mirrored in the creation of Chobani (yet another lie?) This isn’t (entirely) about Chobani’s business decisions, it’s really about cows – and us.

cowI go back to my experience as a six year old, blue skies and sunlight, a split rail fence and a beautiful cow’s eyes meeting my own and snuffling my hand; how a cow should live – foraging on sweet green clover, alfalfa and hay, a salt lick nearby and a cool stream of water to drink.

On Facebook recently someone posted a video of a man in Spain and a cow – it was so beautiful it unhappy cowsmade me weep (it turns out that Santuario Gaia is an animal rescue not-for-profit).  The contrast to the cows (in the picture at right) and the cows of my childhood and the rescued cow at Santuario couldn’t be more extreme.  In Germany, Kuhrettung Rhein, a thoughtful group dedicated to rescuing cows who would be destroyed when their milk production vs the cost of maintaining life ‘forces’ a farmer to make economic decisions – if you haven’t seen their “cows out of the barn videos” you simply must!  

If we as consumers and those working in the food industry do not recognise our extreme power to foster change – why not? This is old “news” as Upton Sinclair wrote in The Jungle:

“Into this wild-beast tangle these men had been born without their consent, they had taken part in it because they could not help it; that they were in jail was no disgrace to them, for the game had never been fair, the dice were loaded. They were swindlers and thieves of pennies and dimes, and they had been trapped and put out of the way by the swindlers and thieves of millions of dollars.” 

We must be the change we want to see, each of us must “make an angry sound against injustice”.  If we desire sustainable practices then we must vote with our wallets and yes, make hard choices (at least for now) to purchase products that are more expensive yet GMO free, that can be documented as being free of cancer causing recombinant bovine growth hormone, aka (rBGH) whose words of “all natural” and “organic” means just that and aren’t simply slick taglines developed to foster brand loyalty. To which end Chobani will never again find its yummy flavours in my shopping cart, Stonyfield’s will be getting my yogurt business once more (Whole Milk French Vanilla) and my milk drinking business (yes, I am hemorrhaging at the price of a 1/2 gallon) is going back to whole, organic and based on the ethical treatment of the cows themselves with the hope that my (drop in the bucket) changes will be met with those of others whose awareness precedes my own, and those of you who might just join us as a result of reading this post.

 

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Greenwashing does not make your company a pillar of #CSR or sustainability! – Guest Blog for Ethical Value

ev logo Guest post for Ethical Value, co-published simultaneously

The Coca-Cola Co. ‏@CocaColaCo  “We believe investing in women is the absolute key to economic growth.” Charlotte Oades @USCCFBiz4Good #5by20. #Inspire2Act #IWD2014

cry TweetShortly thereafter came this retweet ‘love’ from a very smart man that I respect (who will remain nameless):

RT @CocaColaCo Fm producers #suppliers #distributors #retailers & recyclers we aim to empower 5M women http://CokeURL.com/l2me8  #Inspire2Act

I saw these Tweets and my stomach convulsed.  Not that empowering women is a bad thing, no, THAT IS A VERY GOOD THING, but, as Collective Evolution (and many other sources) so aptly points out:

“Coke uses “public relations propaganda” to convince consumers and entire nations that it is an “environmental company” when really it is linked to pollution, water shortages, and disease.”

‘The smart man’ I mention, in RTing this particular Tweet, seems to have bought into the green-washing of Coca-Cola courtesy of their marketing team (as do hundreds of millions of people on a global basis), and this not only stuns me because it is so contrary to “his brand” but also makes me sad and angry.  But it is this sentence, from Coca-Cola’s own website, that pushed me over the edge:

“As we move toward our 2020 Vision of doubling our business by 2020, enabling the economic empowerment of women will undoubtedly be an important contributor to our success.”

Let’s be clear, Coca-Cola’s #5X20 initiative isn’t REALLY, altruistically, about lifting women out of poverty it’s about market share, doubling their business, and in doing so, contributing to the health decline of 80% of the worlds’ populations whose average household income is less than $10 (USD) a day! Think about that for a second when the vending machine at your office is likely asking $2 for a single 20 ounce bottle of Coke! So I Tweeted:

#CSR? @CocaColaCo’s #5X20 is actually #causerelatedmarketing NOT #empowerment for #women! #LiesToldOnTwitter

coke_vs__pepsi_by_mandypandy4291-d4qhbue

Artwork by Miranda Coss

Just so we are clear this isn’t a prejudice based in a Coke versus Pepsi (or any of their respective other beverage brands) preference; I am not and have never been a big cola drinker, while I do enjoy the occasional Dr. Brown’s, Izze or Orangina I would be willing to bet that my consumption of these amounts to less than a total of ten 16 ounce servings in any given YEAR. I think you should read this about what drinking Coke and Pepsi actually do to the body, and I can only hope you start to view your habit with a little more caution toward your health (or that of your kids and grandkids.

But I digress; this post is not primarily concerned with our beverage choices but the use of public relations to obfuscate the reality of Coca-Cola (and other multinational corporations) when it comes to legitimate social responsibility practices.  By leveraging social media, optimization of search engine results with technical acumen, strategic thought  and proactive and diligent management Coca-Cola is, to a large degree, successfully controlling its message.  To underscore my point, I just did a Imagesearch on Google “Coca-Cola environmental impact” of the 3.3 million results, (Google is the most popular SE in terms of use – see graph) on the first page of results ‘above the page break’ Coca-Cola has ensured their placement in three of the top five results – Wikipedia comes in at the #2 spot and at #5 is KillerCoke.org. (According to MarketShareHitsLink.com, October 2010, 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results, which is why having a strategic communications plan that includes Web 2.0 for brand enrichment is so critical in our hyper-connected world.)

So what results are you, the consumer or a journalist doing research, going to get when a desire suddenly seizes you to learn more? Unless you are willing to dig deep – you would never discover that despite their “plant based” bottle PR campaigns that the resulting Imagebottles which both Pepsi and Coke are hyping as being eco-friendly are STILL chemically the same, absolutely identical to the polyethylene terepthalate, or PET, and high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, that regular plastic bottles are made of: these carry the same negative human health and environmental impacts as plastic made from fossil fuels. And yet the messaging makes those of you drinking the 14 (yes, fourteen different) billion (USD) brands from Pepsi   or the 108 (yes, ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT!) beverage brands from Coca-Cola with all those plastic bottles going into the environment, all those trillions of empty calories being consumed, all the resources used and subsequent negative impact on the planet – in particular water use feel a bit righteous in your consumer choice – my darlings you have absolutely no reason to!

“Drinking” water in Ghana

I am not anti-Capitalism, but I have never, ethically, been able to use my skills and passion to promote an employer or a client whose business I did not fully respect (ie, prostitute myself for a paycheck).  I recently had a conversation with the CEO and founder of a technology firm whose platform is designed to help (genuinely) lift the bottom 3 billion of humankind out of poverty – the same number who also do not have access to clean drinking water or basic sanitation, the identical target market for doubling Coca-Cola’s business by 2020 for whom it will actually be cheaper to drink a cola beverage than to drink clean water! It’s fine to make money, it’s fine to make money in emerging markets, it’s a noble and wonderful thing to give a hand-up (rather than a hand-out), but in my mind’s eye it’s NOT FINE to sugar-coat actual objectives to make them more palatable to your consuming public and distort reality.  If Coca-Cola and Pepsi and the rest of their beverage industry brethren REALLY WANT to help empower women then I suggest taking 8% of their annual profits and fund opportunities for education previously unknown to all but a few of the bottom 3 billion of our neighbours or the various efforts to provide clean water around the world, their philanthropic and CSR departments can one stop shop for worthy projects at Charity Water, Water or in this blog post from Huffington .

Corporate Social Responsibility and the companion sustainability protocols are not ’cause related marketing’ (which is what Coca-Cola’s #5X20 actually is), what CSR ‘should be’ truly is the heart and soul, conscience and character of doing the right thing within a corporate environment.

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Thou shalt not steal [Intellectual Property (IP)]

A half truth is a whole lie. ~Yiddish Proverb

Ultimately greed is what brings a society to its knees.  It might be one person or a conspiracy involving many but all the covenants with God,  regardless of religion, include the basic tenets of faith  and counsel against ‘stealing’; this is at the core of the 10 Commandments and that of thousands of years of philosophical thought leaders. To look in the mirror or into your soul and know that those nebulous grey areas that allow corruption to populate do not exist, this is integrity.

cheat

Face value – not just taking things at face value, not the value of the face staring back at your in the mirror but also the perceived value of saving face.  We, global citizens, seem to be consumed by the latter – not so much the first two of my ‘face value’ examples and that is the crux of what is going so wrong with our world.  Cheating is essentially stealing and stealing is a lie we tell ourselves to somehow justify when the inconvenient truths of our actions are pointed out to us.  The failure of admitting wrong, taking responsibility rather than casting blame or manifesting righteous indignation in response to being revealed seems to be mounting in our experiences. Who and what to believe? When to question? To intervene, expose or to simply walk away? (And if walk away, where to hide from the insidious nature of corruption?)

I am a ‘face value’ person – even if I could ‘help it’ I wouldn’t want to change.  I genuinely prefer, Marcus-Aureliusas my new Croatian friends Zeljka and Dubravko have each mentioned in their uniquely individual phraseologies, to get my fingers burned rather than to take a ‘wait and see’ attitude and assess people over time.  But, in truth, it has been happening with greater frequency of late – about once a month if I am honest.  At some level I wish to understand why my ‘depth perception’ seems to be blind to ulterior motives, nuances of (lacking) ethics, and outright criminal activity (until it slams me upside the head as it did last week).

About seven weeks ago I was asked (by someone I love and who has been a friend for a very long time) to do a favour for someone I don’t know.  It seemed a benign thing, help this third person to save some money by purchasing something in the United States and then forwarding it to them in Southeastern Europe. On the basis of the friendship of 15 years I agreed and frankly didn’t think much about it; thankfully my naïveté comes complete with an ‘intervention goddess’ because my ‘good deed’ effort was thwarted by a very sensible company policy to only ship product to their existing customers (which when I asked my friend for a name I was informed there wasn’t a name to provide).

Night Cove

Zyken Night Cove Alarm Clock

Like one of those alarm clocks with the light and sounds that gradually and gently wake you, I have just started to process that in our desperate global economic times I very nearly became a co-conspirator in the theft of Intellectual Property! It’s not a pleasant realisation.

According to the various persons with whom I have communicated via phone conversations and email exchanges (amounting to several hours of time already)  since the 8th of February if I am lucky this should be reconciled sometime between the 4th and 7th of March, it is not lost on me that all of these resulting entanglements impacting my bank account, my time and energies and (I fear) the loss of the cherished friend are serving as poignant lessons in ’cause and effect’.  It’s ironic (somehow) that I have always been quite vocal to friends who think buying fakes is okay (the whole argument spanning human rights violations to the cost of developing a branded product, marketing it and protecting it which often fell on ‘lalalala’ conveniently deaf ears).  As a marketing communications professional part of my responsibilities are to work with legal counsel to “protect the brand”, its assets (product portfolio) and the jobs that come with creating said products. I have been quoted in general business and trade publications, and interviewed on the radio and for inflight news programmes specifically about protecting Scotland’s indigenous products, namely Harris Tweed and Fair Isle Knitwear. So, I think it’s somewhat reasonable to be angry about almost being duped into violating everything I hold true.  Still, I want to BELIEVE with my whole heart that my friend didn’t understand what was being asked of me – this is our most basic human instinct to protect what is precious to us. Yes, even as I shared my concerns and asked to speak outside of business hours to clarify what was and wasn’t known there has only been CYA email in response – oh, how my heart is seizing up!

So this is a blog post about the larger issue of morals and ethics and our global marketplace and the nuances of doing business in other cultures (and our own regardless of where we live) and the grey areas which exist as a result.

Yarmouk refugee camp

Photo credit: Reuters

I am currently reading Jack Cashill’s Ron Brown’s Body, How One Man’s Death Saved the Clinton Presidency and Hillary’s Future for two reasons: it looks like Hillary’s bid for The White House is imminent and Ron Brown’s death in Croatia was never fully investigated. Suffice to say that at Chapter 10 Cashill is still outlining Brown’s assent (and not yet his fall) but the scope of the ‘dealing’ is really quite extraordinary. And as we (the world) hold our collective breath over the Ukraine’s future and what Vladimir Putin might do in concert with Viktor Yushchenko to remain the regional Alpha Dog (while Yushcenko is clearly Putin’s bitch) I am struck by how the powerful will do a great deal to stay in power at the peril of ordinary citizens caught in the crossfire and personal interests. The New York Times was given special access to the “Museum of Corruption” (the apt moniker assigned to the 140 acre – notably 1/2 the size of the country of Monaco – compound which is called Mezhyhirya) and what’s striking is how (relatively) quickly Yushchenko was able to create an environment of personal enrichment while bankrupting his country – and how desperately Putin wants his puppet (Yushchenko) to remain in power even at the possibility of inciting World War III.  Equally so we bear witness to the enormous human suffering (as well as resilience, dignity and patience) of the Syrian people – this image – above left – published in The Guardian earlier this week and the revolt of the Venezuelan middle class – I doubt that the population of any “average American city” likewise confronted with such hardship would be such a model of decorum or equally get up off their complacent asses (as long as video continues to stream and junk food is accessible) to make an effort to improve some tiny aspect of our collective experience.

Our future is being bankrupt by theft, from the attitudes of Nestle Corporation related to the privatisation of the worlds’ water to infidelity in relationships, from a seemingly simple request by a friend to purchase two of “something” and ship it (wherein the second of each of these presumably would be reverse engineered and thus have me be an accessory to international corporate espionage) to the current violations of sovereignty happening (as it has many times over 2000+ years) in the Crimea with its valuable access to the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara, and subsequently, global shipping lanes to the poisoning of our planet with fracking and big oil pipelines.

“Men kill for many reasons, they steal but for one-greed.”
― Sharon Kay Penman, Falls the Shadow

While I agree with Ms. Penman’s words some version of death always also accompanies theft.

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