Want to be a Strong Leader? Be Hopeful

20 09 2013

By Barbara Morris

Do you want to know how to improve your leadership potential one skill at a time? The first tip is to exemplify hopefulness.

Are you surprised to see “hopefulness” described as a leadership skill? Think about it for a minute. It’s hope that enables us to cope with life’s obstacles and problems. It’s hope that encourages contestants to audition for Canadian Idol, propels sports phenoms to new records, drives workers to achieve goals.

Team and organizational leaders who are hopeful tend to visualize positive future outcomes and are able to resolve problems and achieve goals with less effort than their gloomier counterparts. Leaders who exemplify hopefulness for their teams can instill positive thinking about the future and motivate team members to pursue ideas and solutions. Personifying hopefulness to others also helps them recognize they are adaptable and offers reassurance that they can overcome difficulties.

In fact, leaders who don’t have this skill often waste valuable reserves of energy getting employees back on track. One manager, for example, was awarded a team of four people and six months to complete a key company project. One individual on the team was a “complainer.” His thinking soon affected the others. Within a few weeks, all of them were expressing negative comments about the work. Progress inched ahead slower and slower. It was only when the manager started guiding the group firmly toward a clear and hopeful vision of the future that she was able to arrest the negativity. Keeping her team focused on a positive outcome enabled her to push them to be better.

The hopeful team is a powerful team. And this is why exemplifying hopefulness is an essential skill for effective leaders. It’s also a skill that can be learned. Start by personally practising hopeful thinking and practices. Here is a list of them.

  • Remember that risk-taking is a critical part of learning and developing leadership capabilities. Therefore when you experience losses or failures, think of them not as setbacks, but as learning opportunities by reflecting on what you would do differently next time.
  • Be aware of your own negative thinking and make a conscious effort to visualize positive outcomes. When handling a task for example, create a mental image of what the end result looks like. Then visualize yourself succeeding.
  • Pursue daily opportunities for laughter (people, activities, books, movies) – especially when times are difficult. Inject humour into conversations.
  • Care for yourself; fatigue plays strong role in negative thinking. Get enough sleep and exercise for at least 30 minutes every day; your body’s endorphins will support a hopeful outlook.

When working with employees, project teams and customers the following strategies can help you project hopeful thinking.

  • Make an effort to develop a reputation for positivity.
  • Hire positive people who are supportive.
  • On your way to work every morning, spend 10 minutes deciding how you’re going to convey hopefulness during the day. For example, be proactive and enthusiastic about your responsibilities, accept challenging goals with the anticipation of success; and communicate your expectations of others with optimism and confidence.
  • Appreciate the power of the messages you communicate – focus on being the leader who believes 100 per cent that the future will be better and communicate this with confidence to your employees and team members.
  • Set clear, achievable organizational and team goals that are meaningful to those who must accomplish them. This means defining goals in a way that enables others to feel they are making a valued contribution, rather than simply working. You can do this by ensuring that goals contribute to the vision and mission – and are challenging but also realistic. Energize group members by engaging them to develop creative strategies for achieving targets.
  • Accept bad news with equanimity. Don’t point fingers; instead, encourage your teams to learn from the experience and to identify specific ways to prevent the situation from reccurring or learning how to do better next time.

Whether you’re leading a large organization, a small company or a small team, by exemplifying hope you can engage, motivate and succeed. And remember, it can feel lonely to be the one who bears the burden of reality while helping others stay positive. So check in regularly with someone you like and trust to celebrate your progress developing this important leadership skill.

One final suggestion: keep in mind Superman’s (Christopher Reeve) words, “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”

Barbara Morris, president of Elevate Organizations,is a leadership development specialist and coach who helps individuals and organizational teams optimize potential and achieve goals.

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/careers-leadership/want-to-be-a-strong-leader-be-hopeful/article11790784/


True Leaders Need Connection, Vulnerability, Courage, Gratitude And Authenticity

15 09 2013

by johntwohig

Why should true leaders display Vulnerability, Courage, Gratitude and Authenticity? Who in their right mind would allow others to know that they are vulnerable? Well on the night of his second US Presidential Election, POTUS Barack Obama showed his vulnerability by declaring his love for his wife Michelle in front of the whole world. Vulnerability is one of the many factors that got him re-elected. Women in particular respond to this, with the majority of women voting for Obama.

True Leaders are all about Connection

Connection is intrinsic to everyone, without connection we cannot live. Connection brings meaning and purpose to our lives. Without connection we as people cannot survive. We fear disconnection; deep down inside it is our greatest fear. Our fear is that something we have done during our lives is so shameful that this will cause disconnection from our loved ones. Only psychopaths can survive without connection. A True Leader will have the ability to connect with people in abundance.

True Leaders are all about Vulnerability

We have all heard that voice in our heads, our ego, saying you are not good enough! If we get past that, the next question is, who do you think you are? The majority of C-Suite executives in America were polled and their greatest fear was they would get found out.  They believed they were not good enough to hold the high powered position they had worked up to.

Accepting your Vulnerability is fundamental to you as a person. Brene Brown in her TED Talk speaks of how Vulnerability is the birth place of Joy, Creativity, Belonging and Love. By accepting that you are enough, by ignoring your ego. Accepting our own faults and failings we listen better and our authenticity shines through. We become far better leaders for our authenticity and vulnerability.

True Leaders are all about Courage

Courage to be imperfect, courage to be vulnerable, just like Obama on election night. Courage means from the heart. Courage to be compassionate to ourselves, because if we cannot be compassionate to ourselves how can we be compassionate to others. If we are not compassionate how can we have connection or have empathy with other people. An understanding for others’ strengths and weaknesses is paramount to a leader. How can you do this if you have not got the courage to accept your own imperfections?

True Leaders are all about Gratitude

I wrote a few years back that Gratitude is one of the Universal Powers. Gratitude if practised every day helps you to remain grounded to your beliefs and values. You do not lose touch with your courage or your compassion. By having an Attitude of Gratitude as part of your daily routine it helps you to be accepting of what is going on around you. Both the things you can control and those you cannot.

True Leaders are all about Authenticity

Authenticity shines through like a beacon and people see this. Richard Branson is a living example of how to remain authentic in business. When you hear him speak he remains congruent to his values and principles. This is a very difficult thing to achieve but the true leaders do so intrinsically. Nelson Mandela, despite his time on Robin Island, never let his ego dictate how he dealt with the “White Minority” after he was released. In fact it made him all the more courageous as his compassion to them was incredible and his Authenticity shone brightly.

What is actually happening in today’s world?

In referring to Brene Browns TED Talk earlier she also says that we “Numb” ourselves so we cannot feel emotions. Americans today are the most indebted, obese, addicted and medicated generation in American history. It is a similar story here in Ireland. We want to block the trails and tribulations of everyday life. So we “Numb” them with food, drink, drugs and over spending.

The difficulty with that is we also block, joy, love, gratitude and happiness when we “Numb”. The “Numbing” process also brings another difficulty, we want to make everything certain. We want to blame everybody else for everything that is wrong with our lives. The right wing politics in America is evidence of this, I am right you are wrong, now shut the f**k up. This is a way to discharge pain and discomfort and we pretend that what we do does not impact on others.


People need Leadership, something sadly lacking in Ireland. What I wouldn’t give for a person to stand up like Obama did two weeks ago and proclaim loudly, I am vulnerable and I am happy. Today’s Leader needs all the above attributes and when he/she gets this right the resulting community will run through “Brick Walls” to work for this Leader. By understanding vulnerability, courage, gratitude and authenticity you become the photo fit of the True Leader. Do you agree?

Watch Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iCvmsMzlF7o


Co-Founder at the Ahain Group. The first blogger to name the MDEC Model. A social business enthusiast and looking to learn something new every day. Which is not difficult to find online. Keen golfer and Munster Rugby supporter. http://www.ahaingroup.com

Source: http://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/2012/11/21/true-leaders-need-connection-vulnerability-courage-gratitude-and-authenticity/

Think Your Organization Is Compassionate?

8 09 2013

By Emiliana R. Simon-ThomasEmily Nauman

Are you part of an organization—whether a workplace, religious congregation, or volunteer group—where people comfort one another and lend a hand when times are tough? Do your leaders seem to care about their members, and help with real-life challenges?

The answers to these questions aren’t just important for feel-good reasons. Recent research suggests that more compassionate workplaces reap substantive benefits when it comes to employee wellness, creative problem solving, productivity, and the bottom line.

In April, the Greater Good Science Center partnered with CompassionLab and the University of Michigan’s Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship to develop aCompassionate Organizations Quiz, asking readers about their experiences of compassion in an important organization in their life. Here’s what we learned.

The kind of organization matters. People in community service organizations and educational institutions rated their organizations as higher in compassion than people in other areas, including government, legal/criminal justice, business, charity, and health care. Curiously, people who chose “Other”—their organizations did not fit into any of the options listed—also reported more compassion.

At the other end of the spectrum were media organizations, which ranked lowest in compassion. This finding is consistent with another recent study conducted by CareerCast.com; out of 200 careers that were rated based on factors such as stress, work environment, and salary, Newspaper Reporter was designated the worst job in America.

Your age matters—and so does whether you have felt compassion from other people in your organization. 18-29 year olds and people over age 60 overall rated their organizations as more compassionate than people in other age groups. Though there were fewer survey takers across these age groups (approximately 200 total) compared to the 30-60-year-old range (approximately 800), this pattern suggests that people very early and very late in their lives harbor a more pro-social perspective toward the organizations they’re engaged with.

There’s an alternative “bright future” interpretation, of course: that the younger generation is in fact more compassionate, and this bleeds into the organizations to which younger people belong.

Then, the data show a drop for 30 year olds, which raises some big questions: Do their life circumstances—e.g., increasing career demands, new family additions, mortgage payments—make it harder for them to feel compassion, to extend compassion toward others, or to sense compassion from others? In a quiz like this, do people in their 30s become more likely to focus on their workplace as their “organization” as opposed to other, “extra curricular” organizations that may place more emphasis on care/support?

Regardless of the reasons for the drop, we can take heart in seeing that compassion in organizations seems to slowly inch back up over the lifespan, eventually surpassing that level people experience in young adulthood.

Another, perhaps unsurprising finding is that people who reported never having felt compassion from others in their organization rated their organization as less compassionate. For you to see your organization as compassionate, some co-worker has likely extended compassion toward you at some point or another.

Interestingly, this “felt compassion” experience affected the relationship between age and ratings of organizational compassion: When we consider only people who never received compassion, 18-29 year olds gave the lowest compassion ratings. This could be a tragic story of wasted potential: Nurtured with compassion, young people readily embrace their workplace or other organization as compassionate; deprived of compassion, their perceptions of it plummet.

The size of your organization matters. In general, people in smaller organizations—who probably run into one another, and talk about personal life details more often—reported greater levels of compassion than people in larger organizations.

As we saw earlier, however, this pattern changes when we take into account whether people had been targets of compassion themselves. For people who had never felt compassion directed toward them, medium-sized organizations (those with 101-1,000 people), were rated highest in compassion, while the smallest organizations were rated least compassionate.

While these findings merit further study, one possible interpretation of this data is that people in smaller organizations expect more compassion from co-workers than people in larger organizations, rendering a lack of personal experience with compassion more problematic in smaller organizations. If people haven’t experienced compassion in a smaller organization, that omission might sting more.

Where you live might matter. While people in the American Southwest tended to rate their organization as more compassionate, geographical location did not make a big difference in general. This finding is interesting in light of the results of our Love of Humanity quiz, on which we reported last month. This quiz, which looked at readers’ tendency to extend a sense of common humanity toward people in their local communities, citizens of their own country, or people around the world, pointed toward a similar trend in the Southwest: Those residents tended to report greater love of humanity than quiz takers from other areas of the United States.

Two factors we examined didn’t seem to have any systematic influence on peoples’ ratings of compassion in their organization: their gender and for how long they had been a member of the organization. Given certain cultural assumptions about gender differences in compassion (on which we reported last week), these findings suggest that gender does not systematically drive differences in how people experience and express compassion, particularly in organizational settings.

And while we might assume that the longer people belong to an organization, the more intimate—and perhaps compassionate—their social dynamics become, these data suggest otherwise. There is no time limit for organizational compassion. The time is now!

Overall, these quiz results begin to paint a picture of whether and where compassion figures into organizational cultures, and suggest how important it is for people to feel compassion from others in order to see their organizations as compassionate.

Though compassion is a relatively new field of scientific interest, research increasingly associates it with improvements to health, psychological well-being, and interpersonal functioning. With that being the case, these results raise questions worthy of deeper scientific inquiry into how organizations might foster compassion and how compassion might benefit organizations, especially workplaces. Stay tuned for more from our colleagues at CompassionLab and the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship on this important front.

Compassionate Organizations Quiz

Take our Compassionate Organizations Quiz–and learn about the benefits of compassion at work.

Source: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/think_your_organization_is_compassionate

The Power of Gratitude

7 09 2013

When a thank you is more than a reflex gesture it can make a powerful and lasting impact.

A friend–a normally very cynical friend–received a thank you note from Beth Stern he can’t stop talking about.

First some background: When they were still dating in 2002 Howard Stern and his wife Beth got their English bulldog Bianca.


Howard is a radio personality, America’s Got Talent judge, and the king of all media. Beth is a model, TV personality, author of the bestselling guide to choosing and caring for canines Oh My Dog, and an extremely active spokesperson for the North Shore Animal League, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption agency.

Let’s just say that if this was a trial, all parties would immediately stipulate her credentials as an animal lover and activist.

Sadly, Bianca the bulldog died in July. North Shore set up an In Memoriam page to mark Bianca’s passing and recognize her efforts as a spokes-dog and fundraising calendar model. Since the shelter is a non-profit charity that relies on donations to fund its operations, the page also includes a link visitors can use to make a donation in Bianca’s honor.

According to North Shore, hundreds of people have done so.

My friend is one of them. He gave a contribution, felt good about it, and–as we often do when we make charitable donations, however heartfelt–he forgot about it.

Until he received a card in the mail.

On the cover of the card was a photo of Bianca. Inside was a handwritten note from Beth. Her thank you wasn’t canned or formulaic; she was obviously touched by his expression of sympathy and donation and took the time to reach out in a personal and individual way.

“I still can’t believe it,” he says. “I’ve donated to plenty of causes. I’m not looking for recognition, even though I appreciate when an organization sends a thank you card. But for her to take the time to handwrite a note to someone she doesn’t even know and will never meet… that just blows me away.”

It was a simple gesture, one he and hundreds of other people will never forget, since Beth personally thanks everyone who makes a donation in Bianca’s honor.

It’s also a simple gesture that provides a great business lesson.

Say you land a new customer. Appreciation is the one thing that should never be scaled or automated. If you’re truly grateful (and you should be!) why not take the time to personally express your gratitude in a heartfelt, genuine way?

You’ll be memorable, if only because so few people do. And you’ll spark a real connection and take a huge step towards building a lasting business relationship.

A sincere thank you isn’t just good manners–even though good manners is reason enough.

It’s also good business.

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden

Source: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/the-power-of-gratitude.html

The Best Talent Is Bringing Out Talent in Others

4 09 2013

“A superior leader is a person who can bring ordinary people together to achieve extraordinary results.” Many years ago, an entrepreneur told me that. He was right.

But this isn’t just true of leaders. It’s true of all human beings.

I’ve come to believe that the most valuable talent is being able to recognize hidden skills that others possess. Why? There’s only one you, and you only have so much time. But if you can bring out the best in others, you gain remarkable leverage.

So very hard…

I’m not just talking about recognizing talent. I’m talking about being able to recognize a look in someone’s eyes that tells you something valuable is burning inside that person.

I’m talking about realizing that if you take Jake’s drive, mix it with Julie’s intelligence and Dave’s creativity, then you will transform three mildly effective people into a spectacular team.

I’m talking about looking past what’s “wrong” with others, and instead seeing what’s special about them in very pragmatic and actionable terms.

How do you do this?

Here’s a short list of ways you can bring out the best in others:

1.) Let your gaze – and your attention – linger. Instead of rushing past a person, or barely acknowledging their existence, you could choose to stop and really look into their eyes. Look at their body language. Consider what they are NOT saying and NOT doing. Ask yourself why.

Consider two possibilities. One is that they have more value to add, but are unwilling (yet) to show greater initiative. Another is that they lack the confidence to utilize their “hidden” talents in a public fashion. Then look for ways to offer motivation and support.

2.) Magnify the quietest voices. Money, power, and influence often flow towards the loudest voices in an organization – but sometimes the quietest voices possess the best answers. Can you think of a way to magnify the quiet voices?

For example, I once visited an organization and was greeted by dozens of outgoing, warm people. But one young woman sat quietly in a corner, studying a book. It turned out she had recently moved from China, and did not yet have a strong mastery of English. But she was a genius, had performed at Carnegie Hall as a teenager, and had both a broader and deeper perspective than virtually everyone in the room.

Think about ways you can identify and encourage these quiet gems.

3.) Mix things up. Watch for opportunities to create non-intuitive combinations of people, ideas and circumstances. You can do this through social events, discussion groups, or even a carefully orchestrated meeting. You can do this by introducing people via email, and giving them a reason to interact.

Many times, we make the mistake of waiting for others to initiate change. You might be thinking: this isn’t my job, I’m not head of the department/division/company. Anyone can do this, and no matter who does it, that person is cultivating the amazing skill of bringing out the best in others.

4.) Look past your own biases. Most of us are drawn to certain types of people. They might be like us, or they might simply be people who like us.

If all you do is to follow your natural instincts, then you will be blind to most of the talent on Earth. You need to cultivate an appreciation for people who think, act, and feel differently than you. This is a tremendously difficult challenge.

One way to start is to make others feel important by listening, really hard – with 100% of your attention – to what they have to say. Then repeat back what they told you, so that they know you understood. It’s a small step, but an important one in the right direction.

If you only interact with people who are within your comfort zone, you will seldom achieve anything great. Almost by definition, spectacular progress requires disparate ideas and talents to come together in unprecedented ways.

Become one who cultivates talent in others. It will enrich your life and supercharge your career.

Thanks for reading this.

About Bruce: For nearly two decades, Bruce Kasanoff has advocated the idea that companies should help individuals – both customers and employees – get what they want and need. He is the co-author with Michael Hinshaw of Smart Customers, Stupid Companies and author of Making It Personal. You can download his free ebooks at Kasanoff.com.

Follow@NowPossible on Twitter.

Image credit: This is complicated. Some years ago, I photographed a single string, rotating, and superimposed that image on a photo of a woman. I have no idea who took the original photo.

Source: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130516122628-36792-the-best-talent-is-bringing-out-talent-in-others?goback=%2Egde_1407537_member_24274124

Simple Acts of Kindness as a Leadership Tool

3 09 2013

by Michele Price

In a world of constant changes, whether in our family or professional lives, everyone appreciates the salve of kindness.  How can we find continued ways in which we can express and share kindness to better each others experiences?

Being an interviewer at heart, I have found asking good questions will lead you to better answers.  Like my mentor Tony Robbins teaches; if it is better results you seek, then you need to ask better questions.  With this in mind, my post today will revolve around us asking ourselves better questions and lead our brains to uncovering answers that benefit all mankind.

1. Saying with genuine interest

How are you today?

2. Asking from a place of love

Can I help you?

3. Looking with your heart

Where do you want support?

4. Envisioning with your inner eyes

How can I see your perspective?

5. Shift the anger and proclaim kindness

Can I see past the situation with love?

6. Human relationships thrive on kindness

Where can I offer up generosity?

7. Looking through the pain

What door can we open to provide illumination?

8. When selfishness generates kindness: a quick leadership lesson

Can I take that on for you?

9. Reputation for kindness is deeper than words

How can I give the experience?

10. Combining Faithfulness and Kindness

When is quiet peacefulness welcomed?

11. Kindness is its own motivation

I serve myself while serving others

12. Kindness can feed the soul

I can choose kindness when fondness is out of reach.
When will we each make the choice to be kind in our journey through both our professional and personal lives?

Will we be willing to look at our behaviors in a honest way with kindness?

Bashing ourselves usually is what keeps folks from wanting to be honest.
How can you support yourself in this self discovery mode?

Where will you play a role in using Kindness in your business as well as personal life?

As you can see this topic brings up a lot of questions, which is good, it gives us space to explore and evolve together.

You ready?

Michele Price is the host of Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio and Women in Business Radio. Being a natural creator of strong, loyal, and profitable online communities, bringing the power of PR, interactive marketing, and social media to local businesses, literary talent, and speakers is how she serves in her business. Michele has been an entrepreneur for 30 years and she has used creative marketing since the 80‘s, before we had social media platforms. Michele gives emotionally powerful keynotes on community building marketing, Mobs with Megaphones ™ online branding and Viral Velcro ™ social media communications. Michele won her first Toastmasters speech out the gate and now focuses on delivering messages that hit home for businesses.

Source: http://12most.com/2011/08/30/12mos-simple-acts-kindness-leadership-tool/

Profit and Values: Unitus Seed Fund

2 09 2013

Essay by Will Poole, co-founder of Unitus, a venture capital firm focused on accelerating innovation and positive change. Unitus Seed Fund is unequivocally committed to delivering both profits and social impact for our investors. We’re confident that this is the only way to drive sustainable positive change for low-income populations. Our model for delivering profits is described more fully in our private placement memorandum and other investor materials. There are three ways in which we maximize the positive social impact of the seed investments we make:

  1. Company Selection. We invest only in for-profit companies that primarily serve a largebase of the economic pyramid (“BoP”)populations, providing product and services that improve their lives. We do not invest in entertainment, vice purveyors, or any company we do not see making a sustained commitment to positive social impact to the BoP through their operations.
  2. Impact Metrics. Working with the CEO of each portfolio company, we develop a small number of measurable impact goals which are monitored at least quarterly. These goals are closely aligned with their business operations and success. For example, a village education services company tracks how many students are enrolled and whether they are reading at grade level.
  3. Policies to Align Values. For every investment made in 2013 and after, we have discussed and agreed on a set of core company policies and guiding principles which are memorialized in various corporate documents, employee handbooks, and policies.

Company Selection and Impact Metrics are self-evident. To ensure values-alignment with each portfolio company and execution of appropriate policy and adherence to principles, our investment documents  include affirmative agreements by each portfolio company as follows, which we call the “Profits and Values Approach“:

  • include the Profits and Values Approach in all business strategies and operations;
  • acknowledge that compliance with the Profit and Values approach might not lead to long-term profit maximization and/or could impact ultimate economic value for shareholders;
  • ensure a continued focus on providing goods and/or services that primarily benefit the BoP;
  • provide USF with reasonable access to all information necessary to monitor and evaluate the Company’s compliance with the Profit and Values Approach and attainment of social impact goals;
  • conduct the Company’s business operations in accordance with assessments of all environmental, health and social risks, including efficiency in resource usage, prevention of pollution, and ensuring community health, safety and security;
  • follow responsible employment practices such as payment of fair wages; providing appropriate insurance coverage; ensuring prohibition of child labour; providing equal treatment of men and women regardless of race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation; offering clean and safe working conditions; and
  • comply with principles of applicable laws; pledge not to accept or offer bribes including requiring employees to pledge to do the same; be transparent, ethical and accountable, including adhering to the principles of good corporate governance, in all business operations.

We’re confident that by focusing on both profits and values with companies that have been carefully-selected for their potential to deliver positive social impact to large BoP populations, we and our ecosystem partners will drive a wave of sustainable change that improves the lives of millions of people in India.

Will Poole is a Social Technologist and angel investor, focused on improving ecosystems that bring social and economic opportunity to low-income populations.  He serves as Chairman of NComputing, a leader in low-cost, low-energy computing and co-founded Bangalore-based Pengala Learning, whose mission is to change the way India learns.  He leads Social Venture Partners Seattle’s initiatives around social entrepreneurism including Social Innovation Fast Pitch, serves on the investment committee of the W-Fund, co-founded SVP Bangalore, and serves on three nonprofit boards. Will was previously a corporate vice president at Microsoft where he led several businesses, including Windows. His career started by founding two startups at the dawn of the PC era, working in the early days at Sun Microsystems, and pioneering e-commerce at eShop which was acquired by Microsoft in 1996. Will advises Western Governors University and Brown University on technology and is a Trustee of Bainbridge Graduate Institute. Will received a degree in Computer Science from Brown.