THE GODDESS SPEAKS - YOU SHOULD LISTEN

  • Disconnection and mattering

    Header photo © Joni Kabana By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies –   Disconnection has become a national challenge. Much of the political polarization plaguing the US is a result of Americans not feeling connected to each other. People on our coasts and in major cities have radically different world views than those in the middle … Continued

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  • A Global Need for Ethical Leadership: Lessons from Ashesi University in Ghana

    By Amanda Clark, Intern, Minerva Strategies— U.S. President Donald Trump’s winning campaign promised to jump-start the American economy, and end a corrupt “pay-to-play system” in Washington by “draining the swamp.” A month later across the Atlantic, Ghanaian president John Mahama conceded his country’s election to Akufo-Addo, whose campaign also focused on fixing a stagnant economy … Continued

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  • Connection – not prison – is the solution to the opioid epidemic

    By Sara Veltkamp, Account Manager, Minerva Strategies— Death from drug overdose is a major problem in our country and around the world. According to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 55,403 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Opioid addiction – to both … Continued

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  • I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer but…

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — If you’re like me, the next month is going to be gluttonous. It already started with Thanksgiving. My husband and I rolled home from three straight days of eating on the East Coast and there was only one thought in my mind: I cannot eat another thing. Until … Continued

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  • 3 tips for crowdfunding #likeaboss

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies — The outdoor gear company MSR has just ended the active phase of their crowdfunding campaign to raise money to distribute their Community Chlorine Maker, a device that uses a car battery to turn salt and water into chlorine that can treat water from unsafe sources. We’ve been pleased to partner … Continued

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  • Checking in with the bold, global vision of the UW

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies— Intellectual Ventures CEO and famed patent holder Nathan Myhrvold recently proclaimed to Geekwire that, “Seattle is absolutely the Silicon Valley of saving the world.” That’s a bold claim. Some might call it hyperbole. But in a world where fact-checking is a dying industry and fake news can tip presidential … Continued

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  • My short-lived surgical career

    There I was, donning full operating-room garb, watching an accomplished surgeon begin the one-hour procedure that would change a woman’s life. The patient was a 35-year-old mother of six children – five living, and one stillborn after an obstructed labor several months earlier. That harrowing experience left the mother with a fistula, a hole between … Continued

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  • Fostering the right kind of restlessness in Ghana

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies –   More than ten years ago I came across an Aquarius horoscope that I cut out of the Anchorage Press, a weekly paper published in Anchorage, Alaska, where I was living at the time. The clip has been lost in my subsequent travels, but the suggested “mantra” for the … Continued

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  • What the opioid epidemic and war history have in common

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies – I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve been in recently about heroin use. It’s a big topic in the Seattle area and around the country. Through our work with Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS), I’ve learned more about the heroin epidemic, opioid use disorders, and forms of treatment than … Continued

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  • Getting hit by a car after winning the lottery

    Sometimes when we talk about being born in the United States, we talk about it as “winning the lottery” – as the wealthiest, most powerful country with robust economic opportunity, how lucky to be born here.  But what if many of those opportunities could never be enjoyed because of early death or disease? What if … Continued

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  • Why we’re thinking about nutrition this Mother’s Day

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — It’s almost Mother’s Day, and Minerva wants to give a shout-out to all of the hard-working moms who manage to raise kids, hold down jobs, keep home base running, and not totally lose their minds in the process. You’re our heroes! We’d also like to tell you about a … Continued

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  • How journalists can compassionately cover the opioid epidemic

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies  ̶ I recently attended the Association for Healthcare Journalists Conference in Cleveland Ohio – #AHCJ16 if you want to see highlights from Twitter.  With the exception of the less than balmy conditions, the conference was excellent.  Panels dissected and analyzed wide ranging US health topics from obesity to maternal mortality rates … Continued

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  • Choking on coal in China

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — I remember visiting China for the first time almost ten years ago. I woke up in the morning, stood at my hotel window, looking down on the streets of Beijing and saw…nothing.  I could barely discern the outline of the building across the way, and off in the distance … Continued

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  • Wrestling with Seattle’s Homelessness

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies— “Look – there’s one. No three!” We saw a person. His large size indicated it was a man, and he was slumped over in a wheelchair and draped in a blanket. At his feet were two other people. We couldn’t discern their genders. They were huddled and “sheltered” in … Continued

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  • Going the Ultimate Distance for Women’s Health

    By Caroline Myran, Minerva Strategies — Hamlin Fistula board member competes in the World Marathon Challenge What lengths would you go to help someone in need? How many miles would you run? You hear about people running races for a cause all the time – relay for life, race for the cure – there are hundreds … Continued

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  • Heroin, AIDS, and Stigma

    By Sara Veltkamp, Sr. Associate, Minerva Strategies — Heroin use can bring out the worst in people, and I’m not talking about the users.  Try this experiment: Google “heroin overdose deaths,” locate the first media story, and then scroll down and read the comments to the article. You’ll discover that the stigma toward heroin use is … Continued

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  • Using data to work medical miracles

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — Last week, Rwanda’s health minister, a trained pediatrician, won a major global health award called the Roux Prize. Awards can be a dime a dozen, so I want to put this one in perspective: Between 1990 and 2013, life expectancy in Rwanda increased by about 15 years and … Continued

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  • Celebrating 20 years of invention

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies— Recently, Minerva Strategies helped our client The Lemelson Foundation celebrate their 20th anniversary in Washington, DC. It’s always rewarding and exciting to work with a client through a major milestone, but this was more than just a birthday party; it was an opportunity to bring together generations of inventors … Continued

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  • Community isn’t a dirty word

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — Community \kə-ˈmyü-nə-tē\: a group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood); a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc. “Community” is one of the most overused words in the lexicon of nonprofits. It’s often employed as a … Continued

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  • In-country storytelling for out-of-country communicators

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies — Domestic is different Communicators for U.S.-based international development organizations are often put in a tough spot.  We’re in the U.S., busily drafting content for websites, brochures, and social media posts about how the work of our organization or our client’s organization is changing the world for the better. However, … Continued

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  • “What ails you isn’t what kills you”

    By Joy Portella The global health sector is obsessed with what kills people. Most studies, not to mention disease advocacy groups, proclaim the death tolls of cancer or HIV/AIDS or malaria. But not many studies talk about what makes people sick. That’s unfortunate because the fastest growing health problem isn’t death – it’s sickness. As … Continued

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  • Our Opioid Addiction Learning Curve

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies— Minerva Strategies has been working with our client Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS), which provides medication-assisted treatment for people in Western Washington who struggle with opioid addiction, for more than one year. I’ll admit that we knew embarrassingly little about this topic when we first got involved with ETS. I … Continued

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  • Spring Fundraiser Winning Moments

    It’s spring fundraising season in Seattle, which means that it’s time for gala events and auctions. Let’s face it, some of these events – even for the most heartwarming causes – can be snoozers. As a communication professional, I tend to be particularly critical; I have a very low tolerance for rubber chicken, wandering speeches, … Continued

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  • The one book – and seven billion stories – you need to read about global health

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has been a Minerva Strategies client for more than two years. During my first meeting with IHME’s Communications Director Bill Heisel, we sat at a table with a pile of Excel spreadsheets in front of us. There were data as far … Continued

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  • REACH: Fostering Change in Seattle’s Law Enforcement

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies — Seattle is on the cutting-edge of social justice and human rights policies.  We have a $15 minimum wage in Sea-Tac (and coming for Seattle proper), a strong advocacy community for LGBT rights, and numerous dynamic city programs for tackling difficult public health and safety issues like drug abuse, prostitution, and … Continued

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  • Geeks of Gaza

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies – Many in Seattle are trying to make it in the tech startup world.  Better use of device data, a better way to create stellar presentations, you name it, Seattle is trying it. Some groups, like Buddy.com and FlowVella linked above, are succeeding, but not without difficulty.  It is a … Continued

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  • I Want to Invest in Aid that Works

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies – I’m that kind of aid skeptic. I scowl at the idea of child sponsorship. I wag my finger at people who want to send t-shirts or shoes or bicycles to kids in Africa. I yawn at sappy victim narratives that other people find heartwarming. But I am optimistic, … Continued

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  • Born in the USA

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies – This past Sunday I had the privilege of supporting good friends of mine through the labor of their second child, a baby girl.  I struggle to find words that describe the experience; it was stressful, intense, exhausting, and without a doubt the most beautiful and inspiring thing that I … Continued

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  • A Healthy Train of Events

    By Kayla Albrecht, MPH Candidate, University of Texas Health Science Center – School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus- Chronic disease is king nowadays. With diabetes and heart disease on the rise, exercise and balanced nutrition are among the best medicines for securing a longer, healthier life. Yet our days are busier and workspaces more sedentary than ever … Continued

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  • Happy New Year! Now it’s time to get healthy…

    By Joy Portella, Minerva Strategies — Like many people, my New Year’s resolution includes a health kick: better eating and more exercise. This is almost a relief after the gluttony of the holiday season, but here’s another reason to put down those chips, or that cigarette, or that beer: They might kill you. I’m not … Continued

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  • Real stories of real recovery

      By Dan Sadowsky, Storymind Productions – Who doesn’t love a comeback story? It’s hard not to root for the person who’s lost something important but fights against a powerful force to reclaim it — especially if that powerful force is themselves. Redemption and recovery are the themes of two videos Minerva Strategies recently commissioned me … Continued

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  • Veterans Day musings from a non-veteran

    By Joy Portella, Minerva Strategies – I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never paid much attention to Veterans Day. Every year I call my dad, a Korean War vet, to thank him for his service, and I feel inspired by generations of veterans gone by – men who served and sacrificed in World War II, … Continued

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