THE GODDESS SPEAKS - YOU SHOULD LISTEN

  • When “saving lives” isn’t enough

    By Sara Veltkamp —   Our country is experiencing a cultural shift in how we think about addiction and the people who use drugs. Seattle and King County are at the forefront of this change, and we see it happening through the current heated debate over the piloting of safe consumption sites – locations that … Continued

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  • Foreign aid debates – it’s not all about me

    By Joy Portella — I’m a moral argument girl. I get queasy when I read persuasive pieces about how the United States and other wealthy countries should provide international assistance because it increases our national security or provides jobs back home. Here’s a recent article that illustrates that line of thinking. I know that framing … Continued

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  • 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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  • “Show up. Dive in. Stay at it.”

    By Amanda Clark, Intern, Minerva Strategies—   Like many Americans, I watched President Obama’s farewell address last week with a mixture of awe and sadness. While I am apprehensive of the proposed policies and rhetoric of the incoming administration, Obama encouraged the nation to embrace inclusive change and gave the upcoming generation of Americans his … 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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  • The New Year’s resolutions I’m not going to make

    I love the promise of the New Year. It’s one of my favorite holidays as it celebrates the things on which I thrive – uncertainty, hope, starting over, and novelty. I do not know what’s going to happen this year, but I am hopeful about the possibilities; I get to wipe my proverbial slate clean … 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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  • 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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  • Balancing the Olympic Torch

    By Kelly Boudwin, Minerva Strategies – It is exactly 41 days, 23 hours, 48 minutes, and 17 seconds until the 2016 summer Olympics commence in Brazil. And it’s not just the athletes racing against the clock to prepare; the host country is balancing the added pressures of the Olympic torch amongst the issues of its … Continued

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  • How an oped led to an international incident

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies – I have often counseled clients not to pursue opinion pieces written by two authors. I’m not a big believer in the power of dynamic duos. Opinion pieces, generally, are tough to get right. Clients agonize over them, and after multiple rounds of review and numerous layers of approvals, … Continued

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  • International Day of Men’s Razor Burn

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies — The typical global health communicator’s editorial calendar is jammed with cause awareness days.  These are days that nonprofits around the world try to galvanize supporters around a cause that is meaningful to their organization. They can be a very effective tool to motivate people to take action – whether that means … 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 to make a healthy country in four easy steps

    By Kayla Albrecht, Graduate Assistant, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, MPH Candidate, UT School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus— South by Southwest (SXSW) is just around the corner in Austin, Texas. Soon the city will be packed to the brim with tech gurus, music aficionados, and camouflaged celebrities. But at the UT School of … 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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  • Why is Flint dealing with developing world problems?

    By Sara Veltkamp, Sr. Associate, Minerva Strategies ̶ Flint, Michigan seems to have been misplaced on the global map.  While clearly within the confines of a Midwestern state of the wealthiest economy in the world, the situation of the city, slowly deteriorating since the 80s, is better suited to a humanitarian disaster zone, or a post-conflict … Continued

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  • Disruptive Development

    By Sara Veltkamp, Sr Associate, Minerva Strategies — I consider my attendance at Global Washington’s Annual Conference this year an act of self-care.  If you’re not familiar with Global Washington’s conference, it is a gathering for organizations working in global health and international development to learn from each other and get inspired to do their work … Continued

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  • Is “a letter to our daughter” any better than a press release?

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — In the week since Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan announced that they will give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares – about $45 billion – everybody in the world of philanthropy has opinions and questions. What causes will the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative champion? Will it engage in lobbying? … 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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  • Black Friday campaigns compared: “Thanksgetting” vs. “OptOutside”

    By Katy Penrod, Minerva Strategies ̶ The modern American Thanksgiving has become a celebration of consumption that is a far cry from the original pilgrim feast of giving thanks to God for simple things like not dying aboard the Mayflower, say, or to the Native American tribes for helping the settlers harvest enough corn to … Continued

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  • The problem with “evil”

    By Sara Veltkamp, Sr. Associate, Minerva Strategies — Like many people, I’ve ranted and raved this week.  Tragedy affects people differently, as does helplessness in the face of tragedy. When I feel helpless, I get angry. As expected, the vast majority of that anger is directed at the Islamic State, the group that Arabic speakers … Continued

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  • Why I am jazzed about NYT VR

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies ̶ As a communicator who deals with global issues, I constantly struggle with how to convey the work of our clients to people who will never see that work firsthand. I’m not talking about trying to construct victims’ narratives. I want people to understand and respond to the plight … Continued

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  • Trevor Noah and the key to capitalizing on change

    By Katy Penrod — Minerva Strategies On August 6, 2015, the world (or at least the world of comedy television) was irreparably altered. Jon Stewart, host of one of the best political commentary shows on television – satirical or otherwise – ended his tenure.  Stewart took the reins at The Daily Show from Craig Kilborn … Continued

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  • You can’t spell slacktivism without activism

    Katy Penrod — Minerva Strategies Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Unless you use social media very infrequently or not at all, you likely saw at least one video in the past year of a friend or acquaintance being doused in icy water for the sake of ALS – short for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a … Continued

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  • Brian Williams and the Importance of Integrity in Communications

    By Katy Penrod, Minerva Strategies – In the past year, Brian Williams’s career as an NBC news anchor has fallen far, fast. This plummet is due to the fact that, over the past decade, Williams has been telling a continually-evolving story about his experience while reporting on the Iraq war in 2003. In its most … 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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  • 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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  • Take time and celebrate the UN International Day of Happiness

    By Sara Veltkamp – “Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.” – Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin lied, or at least was mistaken.  Despite the commonly held conception that happiness is a choice, for most people, overall happiness is a feeling brought about by tangible, measurable factors. Not that choosing … Continued

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  • With Open Arms: Supporting Our Newest Neighbors

    By Erin Ewart, education consultant – America has long been a nation of immigrants. Yet attitudes and support for new arrivals to our country have shifted over the years. Some Americans viewed President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform as a welcome and much needed step, while others found it deeply controversial. The debate … Continued

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  • Un joven argentino y un invento que podría salvar millones de vidas en todo el mundo

    By Andrea Joseph – Minerva Strategies works with partners and clients around the world. This week we’re pleased to post our first Spanish-language blog, from Andrea Joseph, our partner in Argentina.  Read this post in English. Nicolás García Mayor pasó en pocos años de vivir en las ruinas de una clínica abandonada a convertirse en … Continued

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