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Fighting Poverty- Gina Kay Landis

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Blog Action Day

Today marks the second annual Blog Action Day in which the goal is for all bloggers to be focusing for one day on a single cause, this year it’s fighting poverty in an effort to raise awareness and encourage a global discussion.

Gina Kay Landis

Gina Kay Landis is one of those rare people who will stop everything she’s doing if someone else is in need, no matter how small that need. Need a recipe? She’ll stop what she’s doing to share her secret family recipe. Going to an orphanage to do charity work? She’d probably go with you! Today, I’m highlighting just a PART of her volunteer work as it pertains to poverty, but I have no idea how she practices real estate given the amount of charity work she does. The goal was to highlight one activity per person, but in this case, I’d like to highlight several, not so Gina Kay gets kudos (she’s very humble and is not comfortable receiving them anyhow), but to ask that if you have any money to give to any of the several missions that you do so. THAT is the best way to recognize these efforts.

Gina noted that she’s a “Member of the Care Team at Stillwater United Methodist Church. This team cares for the Body of Christ (i.e. church membership) when there’s a need. Whether emergency food or other needs, meals for our pastor (married with 4 kids), trips to church or doctors, and even joining with other churches to help with an outreach to the local ministry focusing on exotic dancers, this team has a wide range of caring efforts it puts forth.”

She also devotes time to the local food pantry at her Church, “I provide dessert for the HIV/AIDS food pantry ministry. Monthly, the local HIV/AIDS support organizations’ clients come to our food pantry to pick up supplies and food. Some of the clients are homeless, some are moving into and out of shelters, and their lives are often spare and somewhat depressing as they deal with this difficult illness.

It offers them great joy to have someone love them as they are, offer them food they likely could not afford to buy, pick them up and take them to and from the pantry and help them put their groceries away. The social workers are also grateful for this extra help that helps stabilize the often uneasy and unstable lives these people lead, as they are ostracized by their family, friends and others. Before I began working full time, I was able to join in the food pantry day for them, helping them shop in our Choice pantry and just talking with them. I miss it so I want to at least offer a goodies for dessert so they have sweet memories of a caring time.”

Yes, there’s more that she does to fight poverty, she is “currently attending a Community Reinvestment Institute, hosted by the City of Dayton’s Human Relations Council. This program not only helps people understand the underlying thinking behind the Community Reinvestment Act (where banks and lending institutions are encouraged to reinvest in communities where they are situated, either with housing loans or with assisting in building out services for area residents), the Institute also helps us understand how we can tutor low-to-moderate income people on becoming more financially secure, where assistance in various ways can be gained, and basically helping to improve people’s lives.”

Okay, we’re half way done now… Gina Kay also gives everything she can to the “Tiajuana Christian Mission. We support with our dollars this Mexican orphanage that has taken in many children, loved and cared for and raised them to young adulthood. Every year they visit our church for a fundraiser dinner. Some of the children come to visit also and entertain us with song. It seems a remote ministry, but our church has been quite involved with mission visits to Tiajuana and we feel they are more like family.”

Like some of our other poverty fighters, she’s involved in orphanage work (at The South African orphanage). “A gentleman who has HIV/AIDS was tossed out of his church when he let them know he and his fiance were thus diagnosed. He saw many adults die of the disease, thus leaving their children behind. Our church ministers to this orphanage by our dollars and also ministry trips to South Africa.”

Gina Kay Landis also helps several local non-profits with their marketing, press release distribution and even helping with events. She is an extremely generous person with her time, talent and treasure and is a shining example of what we can do with our time and money. Gina Kay, you have moved me personally and I feel lucky to know you- your humility and grace are amazing and the entire AG family thanks you for your devotion to others and to fighting poverty!

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Mark Eibner

    October 15, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    we’re at it again Fighting Poverty- Gina Kay Landis: Time flies when you\’re commenting.. https://tinyurl.com/3tju22

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Opinion Editorials

4 ways to stand out against the competition in today’s job market

(EDITORIAL) Are you trying to figure out how you can stand out to recruiters and hiring managers in this job market? Look no further than these 4 steps.

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Woman doing a job search on laptop in the hot job market.

Are you trying to figure out how you can stand out to recruiters and hiring managers in this job market?

Recruiters often have aggressive hiring goals and are sorting through many resumes to discover the hidden gems that will help organizations achieve their business transformation and growth goals. If you have had a non-traditional education or career path, or have a resume gap due to a layoff, being a caregiver, or any of a multitude of other reasons, it’s important that you know how to share your story in a way that will empower recruiters to advocate on your behalf in this job market.

When I’ve mentored diverse job seekers through the years, these are the four key steps I recommend they follow:

  1. Develop your personal brand

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If so, when is the last time you audited it? Is it telling the story of who you are now and where you want to go?

It’s important to make the most of the eight (8) seconds that recruiters are spending on your profile. Because, on average, and as lazy as ‘we’ recruiters sound, unless in that time we can tell what you do, who you are, etc., we might not keep reading on.

  1. Tell your story

You have probably heard the phrase “elevator pitch,” but did you know this doesn’t just apply to businesses? As a job seeker, you need to know your story and how it aligns with the roles you are looking to get hired for. If you were to record yourself and tell YOU how great YOU are, would you hire you? If not, remember what value and experience you bring (no matter how seemingly small), your story is you and some of the best stories can be told badly, and some of the most challenging stories can become the most inspirational. Only you have the power to decide what you want your story to be.

  1. Build your network

Your network is your net worth. The more contacts you have, the more chances you create, and the single hardest part of the journey is just to start. Have you built a network in the job market that has the type of job you want? If not, how do you? First, go and find hiring managers. Start by searching on Linkedin, use “job title” and “hiring” in the search bar. Then connect with the people who have posted that they are hiring, sending them a message about your interest, and/or asking them for help (industry tips, thought leaders to follow, who else is hiring). People are generally very open and friendly, and in this landscape, they will be willing to either hire or connect you with someone else. If they don’t, is that someone you would want to be connected with anyway?

  1. Focus on your goals, your “why”

The most important thing! Focus on your WHY. No matter what, job searching can be one of the most challenging things in the world! So don’t just focus on the results, because you will get a job; focus on why you are doing this. Remember you are going through a journey and that you will have a good day, and you will have a bad day, and the best advice I can give (which I repeat to myself ALL the time!) is this… “You either WIN or you LEARN.” Make sure you remind yourself of this and remember WHY you are doing this because the why will keep you going and the experience is something you should embrace, no matter what.

Job seeking can often be all about the numbers and let the saying “Your network is your net worth” be inspirational to build your personal brand and grow your network daily. You will be amazed to see the kinds of opportunities that the network will open for you!

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Opinion Editorials

Finances in my 20s: What I wish I knew then that I know now

(EDITORIAL) They say money makes the world go round. So, let’s discuss how to be smart with finances before it’s too late.

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finances

Being in my early twenties, something I’m still getting used to is the fact that I’m making my own money. This is not to be confused with the babysitting money I was making 10 years ago. Twice a month is the same routine: I get my paycheck and think, “Wooo! We goin’ out tonight!” but then I snap back to reality and think about what that money needs to be put towards. The smallest part of it going towards fun. It’s been tricky to really start learning the ins and outs of finances. So, I do what I usually do in any type of learning process? I ask for advice. I used to be fixated on asking those more advanced in age than I what they wish they knew when they were my age. Now that I’m determined to learn about finances, that question has been altered.

I reached out to a few professionals I know and trust and they gave me solid feedback to keep in mind about building my finances, about what they wish they had known in their 20s. However, I don’t think this only applies to those just starting out, and may be helpful for all of us.

“It’s important to simply know the value of money,” says human resource expert, Nicole Clark. “I think once you start earning your own money and are responsible for your housing, food, etc. you realize how valuable money is and how important it is to budget appropriately and make sure you’re watching your spending.”

Law firm executive director, Michael John, agrees with Clark’s sentiments. “I wish I had kept the value of saving in mind when I was younger,” explains John. “But, still remembering to balance savings while rewarding yourself and enjoying what your efforts produce.”

There are so many aspects of finance to keep in mind – saving, investing, budgeting, retirement plans, and so on and so forth.

In addition to suggesting to spend less than you make and to pay off your credit card in full each month, Kentucky-based attorney, Christopher Groeschen, explained the importance of a 401k.

“Every employee in America should be contributing everything they can into a 401k every year, up to the current $18,000 maximum per person,” suggests Groeschen.

“401ks present an opportunity for young investors to 1) learn about investing and 2) enter the market through a relatively low-risk vehicle (depending on your allocations),” he observes.

“An additional benefit is that 401ks also allow employees to earn FREE MONEY through employer matches,” he continues. “At the very least, every employee should contribute the amount necessary to earn the employer match (usually up to 4%) otherwise, you are giving up the opportunity to earn FREE MONEY. Earning FREE MONEY from your employer that is TAX FREE is much more important than having an extra Starbucks latte every day.”

Whether we like it or not, money is a core aspect of our daily lives. It should never be the most important thing, but we cannot deny that it is, in fact, an important thing. It’s tricky to learn, but investing in my future has become a priority.

This editorial was first published in May 2018.

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Opinion Editorials

Dopamine detox to rewire your brain from internet addiction (it’s common!)

(EDITORIAL) So, you’re addicted to the internet. Whether your drug of choice is scrolling, posting, or interacting – it’s time for a dopamine detox.

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Upside down photo of man holding iphone case saying "social media seriously harms your mental health" representing dopamine.

Ah, smartphones. The best friend we can carry around in our pockets. This small device that’s nearly glued to our hands gives us instant access to many worlds.

It’s exciting to see what’s up on Instagram, take up to six stabs at Wordle, and scroll recipes you’ll never make on Pinterest. It’s also a place where we can share the highlights of our life and, in return, get validation through likes.

With that validation comes a small rush of dopamine, something we’ve all become accustomed – and some of us addicted – to.

While I’m not addicted to posting, I would say I have an addiction to scrolling. I can’t make it through a 50-minute episode of “Dexter” without picking up my phone to check an app or two.

And there is that dopamine rush with it, where you feel like you’re the most up-to-date you’ve ever been. But what about when this becomes too much and we’re overloaded with information and feel bogged down by the constant updates?

First, we need to understand what dopamine is.

It’s a neurotransmitter that works in two spots in the brain: first, its production helps us begin movement and speech. Second, we feel it when we receive or expect a reward. It even creates a kind of “high” similar to what’s found in nicotine and cocaine.

So, if we expect these dopamine hits from social media and we don’t get those results, the dopamine crashes to the ground creating burnout.

Well, this can cause burnout. And, while tempting, the solution isn’t as easy as just deleting all of your social media and walking away clean. Additionally, “take a break” features are too easy to swipe away.

So what can you do?

Mana Ionescu at Lightspan Digital recommends a Dopamine Detox.

While breaking an addiction takes longer than a day, Ionescu recommends starting there and tailoring it to your needs.

Here is what she describes is necessary for a detox:

  1. Turn off all notifications on your phone. ALL of them. You will be looking at your phone every 10 minutes as it is. You won’t miss anything. We lose endless hours of productivity because of those pings.
  2. Tell people to call you if it’s urgent. And teach them the difference between urgent and important. So do keep call notifications on.
  3. Stop over-messaging. The more you message, the more you’ll get responses.
  4. Shed the pressure to respond right away to messages that don’t need a response right away.
  5. Take detox days. Nothing but calls, confirming meetings, and using the GPS is allowed on those days.
  6. Put your phone on sleep mode at night. You can, at least on iPhone, set permissions so that certain phone numbers can get through, in case you’re worried about mom.
  7. If you’re dating, remember that texting is for laughing, flirting, and confirming plans. Please pick up the phone and talk to that person to get to know them. I will not take you seriously if you just keep texting.
  8. And yes, we all know the game, whoever looks at their phone first over dinner picks up the bill.

This won’t be easy, but your brain will likely thank you in the long run. And, when you’re back online, hit up the comments and let us know how the detox went!

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