Time, Money, Values, Impact

Make It Better Founder Susan B. Noyes speaks at Money, Values & Impact

Make It Better Founder Susan B. Noyes speaks at Money, Values & Impact (Photos by Erica Barraca)

We all have complicated relationships with money. We need it, but we don’t want this to overtake living our life well.

Fortunately, there is growing awareness that aligning our values with how we earn, invest and spend our money can allow us to earn greater profit as we also contribute to greater social impact that makes the world better too.

Impact Investing — to improve your finances and your philanthropy — is a growing, powerful, positive change agent for you and the world.

But there is one thing even more powerful and valuable: our time. Our minutes, hours and days are most precious indeed. That is why I am particularly grateful to our sponsors and our audience who attended March 1’s Money, Values, Impact event at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Thank you!

For those who missed it, please watch for the Powerful, Positive, Connecting content soon to follow from Make It Better. You can also read all of the live updates we posted from the event.

Make It Better President and CEO Francia Harrington with Money, Values and Impact speakers J. Steven Auston of Morgan Stanley and Kathy Roeser of The Roeser Group.

Make It Better President and CEO Francia Harrington with Money, Values and Impact speakers J. Steven Auston of Morgan Stanley and Kathy Roeser of The Roeser Group.

Pies provided by Mrs. Green's Natural Market

Pies provided by Mrs. Green’s Natural Market.

Random Acts of Flowers provided the centerpieces for the event.

Random Acts of Flowers provided the centerpieces for the event.

Make It Better Associate Publisher Michelle Morris with Money, Values and Impact sponsors Tony Perry and Anthony Perry of A. Perry Homes.

Make It Better Associate Publisher Michelle Morris with Money, Values and Impact sponsors Tony Perry and Anthony Perry of A. Perry Homes.

Money, Values and Impact guests read through the day's program.

Money, Values and Impact guests read through the day’s program.

Morgan Stanley's J. Steven Austin welcomes attendees to Money, Values and Impact.

Morgan Stanley’s J. Steven Austin welcomes attendees to Money, Values and Impact.

Kathy Roeser of The Roeser Group gives the Money, Values and Impact audience a month by month timeline for their finances.

Kathy Roeser of The Roeser Group gives the Money, Values and Impact audience a month by month timeline for their finances.

Annette Findling and Leslie North of Stonebridge Wealth Advisors

Annette Findling and Leslie North of Stonebridge Wealth Advisors spoke about insurance.

Tony Perry of A. Perry Homes talked about Home Trends and Solutions that Protect Wealth.

Tony Perry of A. Perry Homes talked about Home Trends and Solutions that Protect Wealth.

Susan B. Noyes with Hilary Irby of Morgan Stanley.

Susan B. Noyes with Hilary Irby of Morgan Stanley before the Garden Side Chat.

Perika Sampson of Morgan Stanley

Perika Sampson of Morgan Stanley

Forefront President and CEO Eric Weinheimer addresses the Money, Values and Impact audience.

Forefront President and CEO Eric Weinheimer addresses the Money, Values and Impact audience.

Make It Better Editor-in-Chief Genevieve Lill moderates a panel with Make It Better Founder Susan N. Noyes, Forefront CEO Eric Weinheimer and Make It Better President and Chief Strategy Officer Francia Harrington.

Make It Better Editor-in-Chief Genevieve Lill moderates a panel with Make It Better Founder Susan N. Noyes, Forefront CEO Eric Weinheimer and Make It Better President and Chief Strategy Officer Francia Harrington.

Why I’m Grateful for Make It Better’s Powerful Audience

Make It Better August September Best Of 2015 IssueDear Make It Better Readers,

You—our audience—curated our August/September magazine issue and our online “Best of 2015” content. You chose well, too. Thank you.

You cast over 105,000 online votes to choose the Best Of 2015 winners. To be precise, you cast exactly 105,617 online votes. Those are extraordinary numbers!

It’s my great pleasure to present the Best Of 2015 winners to you in the August/September issue, online at makeitbetter.net/bestof2015 and at our Best Of 2015 Celebration at the Chicago Botanic Garden on September 1. (By the way, please be our guests for this music-filled night under the stars in Chicago’s most beautiful outdoor venue by registering at makeitbetter.net/bestofcelebration.)

In the August/September issue though, you didn’t just curate the Best Of 2015 list. You also influenced much of the other content too, because we “reverse publish” from online into print what our audience finds most engaging. This includes content about food, family, fun, fashion, money, love, home, fitness and ways to make a difference.

I’m also particularly proud to share two other newsworthy facts with you:

Fact #1
Make It Better Cofounder Mindy Fauntleroy and I recently received Top Women In Media Folio Awards.make it better folio award top women in media

We were given these awards as Most Inspiring Entrepreneurial Women in New York City on June 8. We were the only regional publishers to win. Other winners included the New York Times, Hearst, Financial Times and the Harvard Business Review. In the publishing world, this was a bit like winning an Oscar. Pretty cool, right? You can see the video at makeitbetter.net/mibtv/folio.

This award was only made possible because of the outstanding quality of our audience. Remember, we reverse publish what you tell us is important to you. Fortunately, because you are smart and have great values, you intuitively create or support win/win scenarios. So following your lead takes us in inspiring and successful directions. Again, thank you very much.

Fact #2
94% of our audience reads our magazines cover to cover.
The Circulation Verification Council (CVC) audit data we recently received proves that our audience keeps our magazines three months or longer, refers others to our content, and intentionally supports our advertisers.

CVC LOGOThis is powerful data. And, again, that is because of you. You are powerful for us too.

Therefore, please keep engaging with Make It Better Media. If you don’t yet do so, please follow us online by subscribing to our biweekly “Better Letter” email newsletter, watching MIB TV videos, joining our vibrant social networks listed below and coming to the events we sponsor.

But, even more importantly, please keep telling us what is important to you. Because you are important to us.

Thank you, very much.

With Warm Regards,

Susan
susan@makeitbetter.net

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Working With, And Leading, Greatness

The not-so-secret sauce of Make It Better’s success is our people. Many great people – talented, kind leaders all – laid a strong, trusted, valued and valuable community foundation when we launched makeitbetter.net on May 1, 2007. Watch that story here.

Susan B NoyesMany more have been building greatness upon this foundation ever since – particularly our staff, savvy advertisers, outstanding nonprofit partners and smart, engaged audience. I thank and celebrate each and every person.  But, most of all, I thank and celebrate my partner (and sister in a former life), Mindy Fauntleroy.

Two days ago, in New York City, Make It Better’s unique success was recognized nationally – when we received Folio’s Top Women In Media Award as Inspiring Entrepreneurs.

Other Folio Award recipients included publishing superstars from the New York Times, Hearst, The Atlantic, Financial Times, The Economist, Forbes, Time, Glamour, Meredith, Guggenheim, Harvard Business Review and Slate. Here’s the full list.  See #FolioTopWomen too. So we were in delightful, inspiring company. You can watch the story on this video.

Not Me, But WeFolio Top Women in Media Awards

Others often comment to me, “Can you believe how much you’ve done with Make It Better – and so quickly?”

My response, “It’s not what I’ve done, but what so many others have done.  And it doesn’t feel fast to us!  It’s been – and continues to be – so much work.”  Again, it’s only because so many talented, great people have worked well together that Make It Better has grown.

Yes, it was my brainchild.  But it’s taken a very large village to raise it – and grow our most trusted, easy to use community resource. Again, Mindy is at the heart of this success.

More than 10 years ago, I took her to lunch and invited her to be my partner launching a website for North Shore women.  Mindy has all the organizational skills I lack and an even bigger make it better heart.  She’s the perfect ying to my imaginative, self-deprecating yang. With four young children and a husband who travels a lot, Mindy only agreed because she thought this meant we were starting a little neighborhood blog.Mindy Fauntleroy

Ha! Little did Mindy know.

Now we’re a full service print, online, video and events media company with an annual audience of at least 75,000 engaged, unique online users, 150,000 print mag readers, 1000s of event attendees. And we create virtuous circles as fast as we can. Oh yeah, and along the way we also launched a Foundation.   And soon we will officially launch our Shop For Good eCommerce too.

Whew!

We’ve attracted great people to help with every new initiative.  Talented writers, videographer, sales reps, marketers, nonprofit leaders, social networkers, audience members and more. I love them all.  No hyperbole.

Our world is ever more complex and interconnected; so, it will be ever more important for people, brands and institutions to work together to solve problems, share their passions and joy, and to lift each other up. That’s why the mission of Make It Better is to be the most trusted, easiest to use community resource that helps you make your life and the lives of others better by connecting you to the businesses and resources you support – online, in print and in person.

Thanks Mindy for living our mission so well, helping us attract and work with great others together, too.

“If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.” African proverb

Living The Dream: Everyone Deserves One Good Chance

Harvard College GraduationImagine how magnificent our world would be if every person got at least one good chance in life and made the most of it.  It’s easy for me to envision this right now, after I spent last week attended Harvard graduation events. The speeches, the exemplary lives honored and the hope for the future on display everywhere inspired this.

I was at HarvPatricia Grahamard’s commencement to celebrate with the Honorary Degree recipients. The group of ten included two of my friends, who also have been featured in Make It Better : Patricia Graham and Renee Fleming. A third recipient – Honorable Deval Patrick. – has a strong Chicago connection. He descended from slaves, grew up on the south side and was the first person in his family to attend college. After completing his eight year tenure as Governor of Massachusetts last year, Deval dove into the innovative and hopeful field of social impact investing at Bain Capital.

Of course, the other honorary degree recipients were inspiring too.  The entire list also includes:

Svetlana L. Alpers

Robert Axelrod

Wallace S. Broecker

Linda B. Buck

Denis Mukwege

Deval L. Patrick

Peter Salovey

Bryan Stevenson

Harvard College Honorary Degree Recipients 2015“We got our chances and lived up to them.” -Honorable Deval Patrick’s acceptance on behalf of all honorary degree recipients.

This is the statement that got me thinking about the possibilities inherent in our American society to give every person around the world at least one good chance in life.  We have the wealth, freedom, democratic structure and abundant good intentions to realize this magnificent dream – sooner, rather than later.  The dream to give every person at least one good chance, every family at least one good resource to help, and every child a caring village of support.

Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick

Every child should have at least one person who sees their potential and helps them develop it.  Every family should have at least one good community resource to help them with whatever struggle they face. Some type of committed, loving community should be available to everyone.

Our country’s vast resources can and should more readily align around the most effective problem solving programs and institutions to accomplish this.  Honorary degree recipient Patricia A. Graham serves as an example of someone who has consistently worked towards this and has had great impact.

“She not only illuminated the history of education, she made it.” – Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust’s comments about Patricia A. Graham.

I couldn’t be more proud of my association with Pat Graham.  I’m so fortunate to have her as my Godmother.   She is also a role model for everyone else, as well. Her career as a teacher, historian of education, federal agency director, author, first female dean of Harvard, president or chair of multiple foundations, corporate board member, highly prized education expert nationally and internationally is extraordinary. She used each role to create more opportunities for women and the indigent while she also helped the politically displaced receive a better education while exercising common sense and wisdom on behalf of each institution.  She lifts up each person and program she touches.

Pat’s vision and influence is intertwined with America’s growing determination to better educate every child. It was particularly delightful to hear President Faust declare Pat a maker of history. Pat’s example continues to inspires me in my own life and my Make It Better publishing journey.  I hope her extraordinarily well-lived life will inspire you too.

“She is both diva and divine, known for her arias, but not for her airs.” Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust comments about Renee Fleming.

Opera star, literacy advocate, National Medal of Arts recipient, author, crossover singer, teacher, fashion icon, champion of new music, TV host, Creative Director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, proud mother of two.  Renee Fleming is all of this and more.

She describes her work as “beauty, humanity and history every day, combined with the joy of singing.” This may be true of all great opera singers.  What inspires me about Renee is what makes her different from other divas – her focus on including the most meaningful facets of a well-lived life that aren’t related to singing, despite the demands and opportunities of being “The Voice.”   Renee once explained to me that few international opera stars marry, have children and enjoy a great relationship with their offspring; they are too busy enjoying the opportunities and demands of an international career.

Renee FlemingRenee has always prioritized her kids, given back, focused more on others than herself, taken risks, tried new things and helped others.  She’s a natural collaborator and an out-of-the-box thinker, working ever smart to grow new audiences for the music she loves and new opportunities for the next generation of artists.  This is exactly the type of thinking and opportunity creating we need to achieve my dream of giving every person at least one good chance in life.

“It’s much better to fail while daring greatly than to be a bystander.” Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean Jim Ryan, quoting Teddy Roosevelt. Watch his speech here.Dean James Ryan, Harvard

It’s such an exciting time.  New technologies accelerate our knowledge and our ability to connect every day.  Good people can spread good ideas faster than ever too. For this reason, in my own small way, I have dared greatly too – with Make It Better Media. This has been a journey inspired by a belief that paying good fortune forward is the best way to grow something of enduring value.   With the help of so many good people and the inspiration others like the honorary degree recipients, I’m living a worthwhile dream.

As Make It Better Media accomplishes its’ mission to be the most trusted, easiest to use community resource and magazine that helps our audience make their lives and the lives of others better, we’re growing a valuable network of good. More good people, finding more good ways to help, giving at least one good chance in life to those who need it the most.

 

 

Christopher Knight – Consumate Make It Better Man – Joins Skin For Life 2015

Typically, we think of females as the Make It Better stereotype – multitalented, multitasking, creators of win/win scenarios, re-inventors of self, fundraisers. Rarely do we think of males the same way. However, there’s someone you probably know coming to Chicagoland to raise money for skin cancer research, who clearly earns the title “Make It Better Man” –Christopher KnigChristopher Knightht, child star of the Brady Bunch

Knight will share his peripatetic, curiosity fueled, multiple career, remarkable life story at Skin For Life 2015– benefiting The Skin Cancer Foundation – at the Deerfield Hyatt on May 28th.  This should be entertaining as well as rewarding.

Knight earned his childhood Brady Bunch gig despite being an extreme introvert.  He was even more interested in how things work, science and business than acting. So he’s also studied, worked or started businesses in geology, technology, home furnishings and dermatology (including  founding the world’s leading tattoo remover “Dr. Tattoff.”   He fit in a few reality tv shows in recently, too.skin for life

Dr. Amy Forman Taub, a dermatologist who founded the state of the art clinic Advanced Dermatology and skinfo Specialty Skincare Boutique in Lincolnshire and Glencoe, launched the Skin For Life fundraiser 5 years ago.  Using her heart and entreprenskin for lifeeurial spirit this way definitely proves Taub is a Make It Better woman too.

The energy, entertainment, inspiration and good intentions on stage May 28 should make your life a little better if you attend the 5th Annual Skin For Life.  Added benefit – you’ll be contributing to finding a cure for skin cancer too.

Ala’a Basetneh on the #FreeSyria Movement Need Your Help

ala'a Basatneh #freesyria“Your social network needs to know about the innocent Syrian children, women and other citizens being imprisoned, tortured, killed by their own government.” – Chicago’s Ala’a Basetneh,

Ala’a Basetneh prefers pink.  It predominates her attire and the décor of her suburban Chicago bedroom in the home she still shares with her parents. Even her fingernail tips are sometimes pink.  But don’t let this deceive you. Basetneh is made of steel. Courageous, compassionate, composed, determined steel.

By age 19, as a college freshman and despite death threats, Basetneh was facilitating protests within Syria of its repressive regime – via social network from that quiet suburban pink bedroom, in between classes, during breaks from a full-time job. Since then she also has lobbied or worked with appropriate officials at the United Nations, White House, UNICEF and other international organizations.  Basetneh even convinced her father to accompany her on two secret trips to Syria to deliver humanitarian aid.images-3

Four years on, the protest continues.  A full 75% of the people Basetneh has worked with in Syria have been killed – including a Fulbright Scholar journalist from Syracuse University, Bassel Al Shahade

Mainstream media attention has moved on from the Syrian government’s atrocities against its own people to ISIS atrocities within Syria against the world.

Fortunately though, others can still learn about the Free Syria movement and Basetneh’s extraordinary efforts through the documentary “#ChicagoGirl.” 

Thanks to the Family of Women Film Festival  at the Wilmette Theatre, which opened with this film and a Q&A with Basetneh, last night, a sold out North Shore audience was informed and inspired. Including me. When asked how we best could help, Basetnet’s answer was simple – and it reminded me how powerful your personal online voice can be.free syria movment with ala'a basatneh

 “Please, just share our story – #freeSyria,” she said. “Your social network needs to know about the innocent Syrian children, women and other citizens being imprisoned, tortured, killed by their own government.  When you share an online post about our struggles, we see and are inspired by this support.”

The Film Festival continues through the weekend with two more films I recommend to you too:

“India’s Daughter”

Saturday, April 11, 7 p.m.

“The Supreme Price”

Sunday, April 12, 2 p.m.

But, before you see these, please take a few moments to share your support online for Chicago’s own Ala’a Basetneh and those struggling for freedom and democracy in Syria:

On Twitter: #freeSyria

On Facebook at : https://www.facebook.com/Ffree.Syriaa

Thank you.

Food, finance, fashion, smart females to fete. We’ve come a long way baby!

If you don’t already subscribe to Make It Better’s twice weekly “Better Letter,” you should.  It’s really good – easily scanned, up to the minute articles, tips, trends and recommendations that will make your life better – and easy ways for you to help others, too.

Our recent Better Letter from March 4th really proves my point.  Every article, every recommendation, every Sec in the Suburbswriter – just great!  I’m particular proud to see tv & radio stations working our Val Haller, who launched Val’s List in tandem with makeitbetter.net, and our super talented Sex & The Suburbs columnist Marjie Kileen highlighted in it.  And please note that Val included a video of a band singing about “Making You Better” in her appearance too.  Of course, I enjoyed the CNBCSusan B. Noyes on CNBC Closing Bell opportunity too.

But I also need to give big call-outs to EIC Julie Chernoff for her cooking class with the pros article.  Brilliant idea.  Want to do every one of these classes with family or friends!

And aren’t we all proud to see that our own Maura Flaherty not only remind us of International Women’s Day.  She recommends celebrating it by honoring other smart, inspiring females that have smashed glass ceilings at work, like Crate & Barrel’s Carole Segal and the first female chair of the University Of Chicago’s Astronomy and Astrophysics Department, Angela Olinto.

We’ve come a long way baby.  Women and Make It Better Media.

Please subscribe now for Make It Better Better Letter.

Thank you.