Which Are Better, Banks or Credit Unions?

by: M. Afsheen Noorbakhsh

People have always asked the question: Which is better, a bank or credit union? In this article, I will attempt to differentiate between the two in an objective manner. Naturally, there are pros and cons to each, and the final decision is simply a personal one. Either way, there are significant differences you should know as to whom you should use as a primary financial institution. This will be a simple overview.

A major difference between a bank and a credit union is the business structure. The larger banks, such as Wells Fargo or Bank of America, are some of the biggest companies in the world and are leaders in the financial sector. Banks have incredible reach, with thousands of branch locations across the nation. For example, Wells Fargo has over 8,700 branches and 13,000 ATMs across the country.

Credit unions are significantly smaller in size and are structured to serve a particular region, city or group, such as members of the military (e.g., PenFed), or employees of a particular state (e.g., NCSECU). Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU) has only 12 branches in North Carolina. However, just because most credit unions have fewer branches does not mean they cannot have a similar reach as the big banks. Many credit unions join a network designed to expand the reach of credit union ATMs. For example, Navy Federal Credit Union members have access to over 52,000 ATMs nationwide.

Another difference is that banks are in business to make profits for their shareholders. A shareholder’s voting power is based on how many shares held; therefore, the largest shareholders have the most power.

Conversely, credit unions are nonprofit entities, and customers are considered members. A member’s voting ability is not based on how much money is deposited. Each member gets an equal vote, which can directly impact the leadership of the credit union. Some credit unions are also very specific on who can apply for membership. Others have an open membership that requires a membership fee.

When comparing the two structures, most consumers are under the impression that credit unions cannot service the public like a bank. Banks have more locations, which is good for customers who like in-person service by visiting any branch location in the nation. Credit unions have considerably fewer locations than most banks, but branches are located in close proximity to most members.
Banks are beneficial for consumers looking for a financial institution that offers a wide variety of products and services. Banking clients are not as concerned with low fees and rates but are more concerned with the convenience of nationwide branches and more advanced online and mobile technology.

Credit unions are for consumers looking for a financial institution with basic banking products and services. But with less variety. Credit Unions are for individuals where lower fees and lower interest rates are a high priority, and the overall number of branches is not a primary concern. Also, credit union members typically experience more personalized customer service when visiting a branch where the employees know their name.

So, which is better? The answer falls in the eyes of the beholder. As a consumer, one must evaluate his or her needs and decide which financial institution is the best choice for various services. One can also consider having certain types of accounts at a bank, and other types of accounts at a credit union.

Sometimes the answer isn’t about financial products as much as social responsibility. There is a clear difference between a not-for-profit, membership driven organization, and a for-profit entity. However, deciding upon the best option(s) is entirely a matter of your personal needs and preferences in relation to the financial services that may be available to you.

Mohammad “Afsheen” Noorbakhsh is a Financial Service Officer at Latino Community Credit Union, Entrepreneur, and family man.  Afsheen is also currently enrolled in the Master of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University.  Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact.  Copyright 2017 by Mohammad Afsheen Noorbakhsh.

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Struggling Readers

I often hear on the news and in discussions with other educators that we are approaching a reading crisis among our young students in America… or maybe the crisis is already here! I recently read an article from the National Center for Education Statistics that said in 2013 sixty-five percent of fourth graders in the United States read at or below the basic reading level and that almost fifty percent of Black, Hispanic, and American Indian students read below the basic level. This same article also emphasized that “summer is a critical time when students either leap ahead or fall behind.” I fear the fall behind group is the larger of the two and if we do not take care of this problem now, it will only get worse.

I feel that a great need for a business / program, would be a non-profit group that works with underprivileged children K – 3 that struggle with reading. Schools have pull out groups for reading, but some of the things that they read in these groups are boring or don’t make sense to a struggling reader. I would like to develop a business that focuses on the needs of these struggling readers and provides them multiple resources to help develop a love for reading.

This program would be especially beneficial during the summer when school is out. I would have a different approach with it though. Rather than having them think of it as school, I would turn it around and make it fun. For example, I would have them read a book that is also a movie. Once the book is completed we could either go to the movies and watch it or have a movie day at the facility where this program will take place. I would also deck the facility out with character clothing and a small stage so that students could act out the stories they read.

I also think it’s important to read aloud to the kids. Even my middle school students still love the idea of being read to and per Karen Tangersley, in her book, Literacy Strategies for Grades K-8, children who were read to when they were younger have visually seen and heard more words than students who were not as fortunate to have someone read to them.

“It is certainly no surprise, given their years of frustration, that struggling readers typically are anxious about school (Tangersley, 2005). They tend not to be very motivated, and often lack self-confidence regarding their ability to read (Kos, 1991).” Motivation is a big part of the process that these struggling students lack and if I can help motivate them, I can help possibly turn things around for them.

I feel that this program would have to have multiple varieties of books, computers, tablets for audiobooks. I also believe some students are turned off because they can’t read the books of their choice. That wouldn’t be a requirement for me. These children would pick what they want to read without feeling the pressure of a classroom reading class. It would be a pure learning / development environment, but a learning environment that lacks the focus of testing. I feel that a program like this would be beneficial to all counties and could help decrease the gap for these struggling students.

 Works Cited
Tankersley, Karen. Literacy Strategies for Grades 4-12 Reinforcing the Threads of Reading. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005. Print.

Jann G Haynes is a 6th grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher. Jann  is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Education Special Education (Gifted, Creative, and Innovative Education) at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Jann G Haynes.
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Crowdfunding and the Gender Gap: Democratizing Entrepreneurship

The gender gap is alive and well in nearly every realm of the business world, with fewer women in leadership positions than men, inequities in venture capital funding for and investment, and persistent and pesky stereotypes that persist within the industry. According to Access to Capital by High-Growth Women-Owned Businesses, research commissioned by the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), female entrepreneurs start companies with 50% less capital than male entrepreneurs.

Why is this a problem? Besides the fact that gender equality should be a given in a modern democracy, women start business at twice the rate of men. Because of these astonishing numbers, organizations such as the World Economic Forum identified women entrepreneurs as “the way forward” at their annual meeting, while Saskia Vossenberg, of The Maastricht School of Management describes women entrepreneurs as the New Women’s Movement, asserting, “Forget aid, focus on foreign investment in women entrepreneurs as key drivers for growth and development.”

Amid this dreary outlook for women, crowdfunding is a bright spot. Fundraising through online platforms skyrocketed to $16.2 billion in 2015, a whopping 167% increase from the previous year, according to Massolution’s 2015 Crowdfunding Industry Report. Female entrepreneurs are almost ten times more successful in raising capital with online platforms than with conventional banks, according to CircleUp. Not only do women make up 44% of businesspersons on Kickstarter, but the Wall Street Journal found that 37% of female-led projects on Kickstarter were successful in reaching their funding goal compared to just 32% for male-led projects.

The reasons for female success on these platforms are not clear, though academics have theories as to how the gender gap is closing online. According to Andrea Gorbatai, an assistant professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Management, “women are better at telling a story that resonates with potential crowdfunding investors.” In part, this has to do with the unique writing styles and social constructed roles between the genders. Women are more often willing and able to express themselves emotionally and write about their personal lives, including relationships; this approach is generally more successful in persuading readers to donate to a project than what men write. Gorbatai, along with her co-author Laura Nelson from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, found that female-created pitches were less likely to use dry, impersonal business language and more likely to convey positive feelings, inclusiveness, and liveliness.

Jason Greenberg of New York University and Ethan Mollick of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School have a different explanation for female success with crowdfunding. They believe the key is unconscious gender bias: men are more likely to associate with men, and women with women. While this dynamic is problematic in the conventional financial arena of banks, venture capitalists and angel investors, most of whom are male, online crowdfunding platforms are open to any and all people, vastly increasing the number of women who can help fund fellow females.

However, the news is not all positive. Only 22.5 percent of male investors’ funds went toward women-run projects, which seems to reinforce Greenberg and Mollick’s claim of gender bias. Moreover, while women did have more success than men in meeting their fundraising goals, this could be because females set their goals thousands of dollars lower than men. Female-led projects had a mean of $6,890.50 while men-led goals had a mean of $12,175.90.

Crowdfunding has become an intriguing way to potentially democratize the field of entrepreneurship. However, it is not a silver bullet for fixing the deeply engrained and institutionalized gender biases that exist in the business world.


Margaret McAlister is completing her doctorate in business degree this May, a management and health professor, and a researcher. She is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact.  Copyright 2017 by Margaret McAlister.




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Attention Deficit Disorder; Can It Be Used As An Asset For Entrepreneurs?

All of the following people have something in common; Sir Richard Branson owner of Virgin Airlines, David Neeleman owner of JetBlue, and Paul Orfalea founder of Kinko’s and a serial entrepreneur. They all have some form of ADD/ADHD. A few other entrepreneurs have another learning disability, dyslexia, and find ways to overcome; Charles Schwab and Alan Meckler of WebMediaBrands. But not everyone has successful results. About 4% of Americans have Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Disorder Hyperactivity (ADD/ADHD). Many in the general public think this disorder revolves around being lazy or having no get up and go, but this could not be further from the truth. This disease is a real disorder and can be paralyzing if the individual does not learn some coping strategies. For someone with ADD/ADHD, everything is a distraction! It is like being the crazy chef in the kitchen with every burner and cooking device being used or having 30 sessions open on your browser. From the ticking of a clock, the cell phone notification noises, the sound of your partner chewing, a bird flying by, a sound of something falling from upstairs, television from the family room, family discussion, laughter, all while trying to write a research paper – yes, this is where I live!

If I shared with you the amount of money I have invested in planners and online planning systems, it would make you blush. All purchases were made with good intentions because I want to be organized. But the systems usually break down within the month with more money wasted.

I have been told I have a lot of energy and that is what people love about me but harnessing that power and putting into production is what I need to be doing. I talk with my hands, and I am very animated. I am also a toe tapper, finger roller and noise maker.

Ask the ones who actually know me and love me, I will be telling a story and right in the middle of it forget why I am even telling the story. Now put that in the perspective of giving a sales pitch or board room presentation, would you really want this person to be the one ‘working’ with your company?

There is treatment in helping you focus on tasks at hand, but sometimes this can turn into what is referred to as hyper-focus. This is dangerous for me! When I am working on a project and getting into this mode, granted I should be in bed each night at 9:30-10 pm so I can wake up at 3:45 am, but the next time I look at my watch, it’s midnight, and I am only going to get 3 hours of sleep. Or a family member comes into the study area and asks why you are awake and do you know what time it is?

I have had this learning disability all my life, but back when I was in elementary school, I was told I was slow and behind my classmates. Hum, how did I go from doing 5th-grade work in 3rd grade while I lived in Virginia to being put a level behind when I moved to Georgia? It was ADHD and dyslexia. But instead of learning coping skills, I became the class clown and entertained everyone! At one point in college, I was ready to quit, and my sister explained, “…sometimes a C is okay – it means average, you can’t be excellent in everything!” That is where I started taking pressure off myself, and by my senior year, last semester, I was making A’s. I bought a voice recorder, and it came to class with me every day. Each night, I had to review my notes with the recorder while everyone else went out to socialize, but I learned and retained the material.

Sometimes we forget details, have anxiety and may seem like a terrible friend. These will be all the thoughts you have about our friendship, but because we are friends, you snicker and love us anyway. We might need your extra set of eyes to review our idea or project. A mind buzzing with activity can start to think negatively and next thing you know, we are in a downward spiral and anxious over something that probably won’t even come true. And as your friend, our minds will drift while you are talking and we will forget about lunch dates or appointment times we set up but just know we will feel awful about it!

I have used some of the following tips to avoid killing my productivity and getting tasks done;

I can only ‘control’ my thoughts, my energy, and actions into being the best that I can be. Trying to please others can be exhausting.

I have to take breaks to trick my brain and reward it for staying engaged! I am always playing a game of 30 minutes of focus and then 15 minutes of reward. Varying the tasks is an excellent way to keep my brain engaged while giving me something to look forward to.

I try to focus on the task at hand and know eventually; I will be able to work on another task. I try not to allow the current or future task to become a distraction from the current project.

I try and let colleagues know how to best communicate with me. I hate email and do not want to get stuck in the email zone – it is boring and disengaging. Calling or sending me an app message allows me to respond quicker getting through the task individually or as a responsible team member (my text message service reads it to me).

I have tried to stop being Wonder Woman. I try to not set myself up for disappointment by thinking every task on my list will be completed, or the project I have envisioned will turn out exactly as I pictured it. Tomorrow is another day. I try and stay focus on the ‘must accomplish today’ items. When completing the task, the sense of accomplishment decreases stress and releases all types of good endorphins and hormones into the body.

When I have a large project, I have to make a plan; putting so many 30-minute focus task blocks down per day, then piecing the days available for that type of work. If I do not accomplish what is on the daily and weekly schedule, I reschedule and try again. Each day gets me closer to completing the task. Easier said than done for someone with ADD but tomorrow is coming, and you need to be ready.

I try not to get lost in the details and try and re-evaluate every 15 minutes (half of my 30-minute timer). Perfection is great if you have the time, but I usually do not. When I really need to get things accomplished, I always work with a timer.

The last point is a perfect lead-in for trying not to become, what I call, a perfectionist procrastinator – both keep you from completing your work. To get a task started, I come up with a simple outline plan and then add details. If I get worried about the project not being sound or possible failure, I try and run it past my inner circle (one of the reasons I am late with this assignment).

I catch myself talking about a project, a form of procrastination, when all I really need to do is take action on a project, even if for just for 10-15 minutes. I find when I get started, the whole anxiety of getting started starts to go away.

I need to avoid big, long to-do lists. They only get bigger and make me feel depressed. I try and put things on my calendar, and if it has to get done that day, that’s right, it get’s put on a timer! I drive my family crazy at times, but they know these strategies work for me.

So why do I share these things? Psychiatrist Ned Hallowell has written that people with ADHD are “natural entrepreneurs.” He has said he sees the condition not as a disorder, but “as an advantage. The reason: Individuals with ADHD possess innate energy, grit, creativity, originality, insight and interpersonal skills. And these are the ingredients of entrepreneurship.”

“The most important skill successful entrepreneurs learn—by instinct, consultation, education, experience or practice—is the skill of maximizing the benefits of their assets while minimizing the internal damage. I’ve learned that what separates successful from frustrated entrepreneurs is their ability—or inability—to capitalize on this. The great entrepreneur learns how to harness and direct mental power, while the frustrated entrepreneur spends life trying to learn how. Entrepreneurs and those with ADHD who find the pot of gold are the ones who learn how to master their minds, rather than letting their minds misdirect.” Dr. Hallowell goes on to explain, and I have experienced, that the mind of someone with ADD/ADHD, the brain is always in go-mode. It’s hard to ‘put on the brakes’ or ‘keep the filter in place’ with the mind going in 15 different directions. The ADD/ADHD entrepreneur must learn to slow down, focus and set up a plan. Easier said than done!

I actually hired Heather MacMillian, an ADD/ADHD coach, and worked with her from January 2016 through April 2016. She also worked with my daughter and my husband (my daughter has ADD and my husband PTSD/traumatic brain injury)! She taught me that the brain can be retrained and will believe what you tell it and what it sees. For instance, when you are watching a movie or playing a video game, and the video image comes to the edge of a tall building, you start to get feelings of scared, queasy, or an adrenaline type rush in your body. Why? The brain does not know the difference in the image and reality. If you stop and think about it, there is no danger, why does our body react this way? Our brain’s primary goal is to protect us, so we have to ensure that the brain has all the facts and keep the misperceptions to a minimum. Heather taught me some tactics of helping my brain retrain the way it perceives threats and rewards that drive my behavior. She explained to me our reaction patterns using the SCARF model. Dr. David Rock describes the SCARF model in a video link listed in the sources section below, and I have put together this brief write up about each of the items.

S (status) – Status is your perception of where you are in relation to those around us. If a person feels a drop in status, the brain activates the same circuit as if experiencing pain. Feedback can be perceived as a threat especially if negative.  And an increase in status activates a reward circuitry, almost the same as receiving a monetary reward

C (certainty) – ambiguity of any kind sets up a threat response. Providing information, details, dates can provide clarity and help lower a threat response perception

A (autonomy) – People need to know they have choices. When a person experience stress but has choices, this increases one’s leave of autonomy. And vice versa, a lower level of autonomy when you feel you have no choices

R (relatedness) – brain perceives those we do not know as threat (foe vs. friend) so when working in team created a common bond

F (fairness) – A fair exchange activates the reward circuitry, and an unfair exchange activates a danger response

Brain research explains the brain is looking to minimize danger and maximize reward. So when a threat response is perceived by the mind (sometimes we are aware, and sometimes we are not aware) the amygdala (emotional brain) sends a message, and the limbic system gets triggered into a Flight, Fight, or Freeze mode. The pre-frontal cortex shrinks because the body is now in protection mode and is sending blood away from the brain and to the limbs. Our executive functioning ability lessens, leading to poor decision making (which is a limited resource to begin with). As opposed to when someone makes us feels good (Status), we know the task and what to do (have Certainty). We can then think about the options and make our own choices (Autonomy), feel connected with individuals or a team (Relatedness) and feel treated fairly (Fairness).

Some tools to use when you notice a threat response (i.e. overwhelmed and can’t make a decision, feel threatened, want to ‘escape’ watch TV, have a list but are not working):

1)  Label it – say it out loud if appropriate – I am really overwhelmed/stressed/exhausted/feel hurt or demeaned etc

2) Take a few deep breaths and attempt to bring corners of mouth up in a slight smile (even if angry) because a smile sends a signal to the brain that everything will be okay.

3) Reframe the thought or statement or tell your brain even though I am overwhelmed, I am okay (no tiger charging at me – I am safe).

4) Ask yourself, what is one simple thing I can do right now, just one thing and take action.

5) FOCUS and get yourself in action to do that one thing.

6) Tell yourself, this is my brain, not me, and I can manage my ADD/ADHD.

Entrepreneurs – if this resonated with you, I challenge you to make an appointment with yourself once per day for a 30-minute focus session. Pull out your timers, stay focused and you will not believe after a week, how much work you have accomplished on your project.

I would love to get your feedback! 

Tabitha Myler is currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. She has owned multiple businesses and been employed in a variety of industries; finance, marketing & advertising in destination marketing, insurance, and athletics. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Tabitha M Myler. Speaking engagements requests and contact information can be found at http://edupreneurships.com


Dr. Ned Hallowell. Success. July 18, 2014. February 17, 2016 (date of access).  <http://www.success.com/article/do-all-entrepreneurs-have-adhd >

Neil Patel. Entrepreneur. January 13, 2016. February 17, 2016 (date of access). <https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/252231 >

Heather MacMillan. ADD/ADHD Life Coach. hmaccillan@upei.ca email address. Resource shared during coaching session; SCARF MODEL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isiSOeMVJQk by Dr. David Rock

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10 Innovative Remedies to Use at Home or In the Woods

Below is a list of remedies to treat seasonal colds, allergies, and minor scrapes, cuts, and burns that may happen around the house or outside. Try each innovative remedy for yourself or someone you love.

  1. Strep Throat and Coughing – gargle with salt water for throat and then you can drink heated pineapple juice with honey to ease coughing
  2. Allergies – eat local honey – usually a spoonful a day
  3. Stomach Bug – eat blueberry or blackberry pie filling (helps coat the stomach) canned blackberry juice can also help ease your stomach
  4. Cuts – Super Glue
  5. Bruises – place banana peel on bruised area and leave for about 5 minutes
  6. Small burns – Aloe (Aloe plants are easy to raise and take up little space)
  7. Bee Stings – Ragweed or baking soda paste eases the pain
  8. Poison Ivy – Rub touch-me-not (a type of plant) onto your skin to stop the itch
  9. Baby Cutting Teeth – bull nettle necklace (DO NOT consume)
  10. Splinter – tape or glue (press and peel)

As a mother and outdoors enthusiast, I like to use natural remedies when I can instead of purchasing over-the-counter drugs to treat common colds, allergies, minor scrapes, cuts, and burns. Many of the tips and advice came to me when I had my first child. It seemed to be a rite of passage that other parents share their secrets with you. Sometimes it can be irritating to be flooded with some much information and make you doubt yourself as a new parent. I embraced the new knowledge and found it to be very helpful.I also found it helpful to use when being outdoors because the bull nettle, ragweed, and touch-me-not can easily be found outside. I hope that you found something useful to try next time you have a common cold, allergies, or a minor scrape, cut or burn. I keep my pantry stocked with the chicken noodle soup and blackberry pie filling, and my medicine cabinet stocked with bandages and other medical remedies. I have also try to keep super glue, small cans of pineapple juice, pie filling, honey, and baking soda on hand.

It is better to plan and prepare for one or a few of these ailments by having items on hand. The question is not what might happen to you, but when! We are all susceptible to seasonal colds, allergies, and minor scrapes.

Note: The above recommendations are just some of the remedies that I have found helpful. They may not be suitable to treat your needs. It is best practice to seek medical attention and advice for severe situations.

Sabrina S. Arch is a Native American member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Enterprise Development Specialist, and is interested in helping others. Sabrina is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Sabrina S. Arch. Visit her website at http://www.cherokeepreneurship.com/.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Sabrina_Arch/2382069
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Education is Where Our Future Lies

Education has always been one of the most important aspects of my life. Striving for more knowledge, even outside of my comfort zone, is what I try to work towards on a daily basis. There are certain things in my life that help me with that, such as famous quotes. Just about everyone has some sort of line that has been stated by an individual they view as great (whether that is a friend, family member, someone famous, or a complete stranger, is completely up to them). There are no rules for who we, as individuals, view as important or influential in our lives. For me, one of those people would be Maria Montessori.

Have you ever read one of her many thoughts on how we should educate children?

She is one of the biggest factors as to why I chose to pursue an education degree as an undergraduate. Education is one of the most important factors for any society or group to be able to progress forward into the inevitable future. Education should be viewed as a starting point, or foundation, regardless of what it is for (i.e. individual, community, country, etc.). Unfortunately, in many cases, school can end up becoming viewed as a mundane task. Which is why so many essentially “give up” and just do the bare minimum to get by. Which is how we end up with such a gap between basic knowledge and understanding as a population.

The way students are taught, along with what they are taught as they develop, will be their foundation for the rest of their lives. From what I have seen and experienced, though, we are not achieving that with every student within our schools. What we are having them develop is a rocky surface that is impossible to build on without the necessary tools; an unfinished foundation that they no longer have the means to finish it.

I say this as someone who always felt like an outsider in public schools. I finished my last six years of K-12 schooling in public schools but started at a private Montessori school, so my foundation is from before my 7th-grade year. My understanding of why there are so many individuals with such rocky foundations is this:

Public schools are controlled by so many required tests to develop statistics, that it is crippling the current and future generations. What good are these tests if the ones taking them are not really benefitting from them?

Students are being taught a broad scope of information, regardless of interest or necessity, while we leave hardly any room for exploration within topics for personal and developmental growth, which is how we end up with eighth graders that ask questions along the lines of, “Is France in Italy?” Montessori environments can teach you everything a public school can, but at the same time, leaves so much room open for individuals to learn on their own.

One of the many concepts and beliefs that come from Maria Montessori is creating a learning environment where the students have been guided [by their teacher], but have continued their learning and exploration without the teacher “holding their hand” every step of the way. That is when she (Maria Montessori) felt the teacher has truly succeeded.

So, in order for education and our future to succeed, we need to stop with this whole, “proving a subject is truly worthwhile to have in schools,” and, “teaching to the test,” mentalities. Because, if we really allowed a teacher to do the job they are most passionate about, without having all of these mandated tests, I feel our future and educational system would be that much brighter.




Chelsea Miller is currently an employee out at the Jackson County Green Energy Park, working as the Program Assistant. She graduated from Western Carolina University (WCU) in December of 2014 with a B.S.Ed. and a BFA and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at WCU. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Chelsea R. Miller.


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Why the Mindset of an Entrepreneur Is Important

By Tosh R. Comer

Various emotions and thoughts cross your mind when engaging in the idea of owning your own business. Many entrepreneurs get a sense of excitement while also feeling overwhelmed. You relish in the idea that you can be your own boss, which writes and cashes your own checks. However, shortly after all the initial excitement has passed, you begin to wonder, will my product or service work, will it sell, or will I be able to take care of myself? With so many questions that you establish a great response for, doubts and uncertainty often formulate an antithesis in the shadows of your mind. Preparing and reframing your mindset about yourself and your business will determine how you operate and make your business successful.

I once heard Bishop T. D. Jakes say in his sermon entitled “A Changed Mind,” you can never change your reality without first changing your mind. This statement has stuck with me ever since. It sounds so simple, but when you think about it, it is powerful.  How often have you had preconceived notions about someone or something until you interacted with it or them, and all a sudden, your perception is no longer the same from before your encounter? For instance, getting on a roller-coaster is frightening (especially the Fury 325 at Carowinds) but once you get on and scream to the top of your lungs when it stops most people want to ride it again. It wasn’t that the ride got less scary it’s just your mindset changed. What you believe will determine how you respond. If you’re constantly thinking, I cannot do this or I know “it” will fail, it is more likely that you will not be successful. It’s not because you did not have a good idea, or you weren’t capable, but you could not see past your doubt to see the success that could have been.

When starting a business, you must understand that there will be natural deterrents that may arise, whether it be a lack of capital, office or storage space, or even market potential if you are trying to create a demand. Nevertheless, how you view these obstacles makes all the difference. Having limited capital may require you to utilize every possible resource you may have. Do not be afraid or too prideful to ask for help. Not having enough office or storage space will make you strengthen your organizational skills. Creating a demand for your product or service will cause you to be more creative than you ever been. It’s all how you perceive a challenge to be. Even with the unknowns do not allow fear to cripple you, instead let it be a motivator. We have an innate ability to fight or flight in any given situation. Choose to fight! Refuse to give up because of your past mistakes. In fact, reframe those mistakes as learning opportunities and never doubt your ability to break bad habits.

I would also like to stress the importance of having confidence in yourself. Think of it this way, if you had to buy a product or service from Eeyore or Tigger (characters from Christopher Robbin’s Winnie the Pooh) who would you patronize? Eeyore, the humdrum individual who was not sure of himself and finds every opportunity to tell you how miserable his life is or Tigger the jovial, outgoing, charismatic who loves to laugh and have fun even when working? I would go for a Tigger every time. How you view yourself is how others will view you. Be your own motivator and surround yourself with cheerleaders. Having a good support system is very integral in the pursuit of turning your dream into a reality.

Finally, as the adage goes, birds of a feather flock together. Surround yourself with successful entrepreneurs. Glean from their past business mistakes and triumphs. Read entrepreneurial magazines and books, network by joining professional groups or clubs, and engage and talk with potential customers about the product or service you are trying to offer. Most importantly, be unyielding in your pursuit of changing your mindset when it comes to yourself and your business. What you believe is how you will succeed. Believe the best, speak life into your business, and shut down the voice of your insecurities. After all of that take the leap of faith and fly.

Tosh R. Comer is a proud graduate of North Carolina Central University, presently working at Fayetteville State University, and actively building EPICS Small Business Consulting. She is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Tosh R. Comer. You can reach her via email at epicssbc@gmail.com or her website www.epicssbc.com.

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The Power of Failure

The Power of Failure 

Failure is necessary for success; yet, it’s something we all fear.  Failure means we’ve messed up, failure means we are wrong, failure means we weren’t successful, and in most cases, failure leads to an end.  However, that is where as a society we are wrong.  Failure does not mean the end; it is simply a new path and a new way.  

Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper, Edison failed 1,000 times, Van Gogh sold one painting in his lifetime, the Wright Brothers crashed many times; yet, today they are deemed some of the most successful and creative people.

When students ask, “Is this good enough” the question breaks my heart.  They are asking this question because they want to be done with a task.  They are not asking the question because they see the assignment as a valuable learning experience or a place to figure out what they do not know.  They do not see it as an opportunity to correct their mistakes and a way to learn more.  They ask if it is good enough because they do not have a growth mindset.  Their focus is not on growing their brain.  Students with a growth mindset are motivated to learn, are persistent, resilient, and focused because they believe that their ability will develop with effort.  They know that their neurons can make more connections.  

Dr. Carol Dwek’s research has led to the discovery that students with a fixed mindset want to look smart in front of their peers whereas students with a growth mindset want to learn.  These students with a growth mindset are more likely to accept challenges, persevere, and learn from their mistakes (The Impact of a Growth Mindset).  Disney, Edison, Van Gogh, and the Wright Brothers had a growth mindset and they used their mistakes to drive their next attempts.  These innovators understood the power of “yet.”  

Edison had not created the lightbulb yet, the Wright Brothers hadn’t become airborne yet, and Disney had not found success yet.  Just like, I have not run a marathon yet.  Adding this one simple word to your phrase helps to change your mindset from a fixed mindset of a goal you cannot reach to a growth mindset of a goal that just hasn’t occurred at this time.  

Dr. Dwek also encourages teachers not to reward the success of an activity but to reward the effort put into the activity (How Praise and Feedback Impact Student Outcomes).  Teachers can tell students, “I see you using your strategies, keep it up,” “You can learn to do it, I know it’s tough but let’s break it down so we can figure it out,” or “I’m proud of you for not giving up.” This language empowers students and supports the process they are going through.  It reminds them they are doing more than simply looking for a right or wrong answer.  By harnessing the power of yet and carefully providing feedback, teachers can help students and adults be less afraid to fail and more likely to see the opportunities that failure provides for growth.  

So, the next time you hear someone tell you that you failed at a task show them your excitement to grow and teach them the power in “yet.”

Erin Roberts is a Middle School Academically and Intellectually Gifted Specialist.  She is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Education Program focusing on Gifted and Talented learners at Western Carolina University.  Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact.  Copyright 2017 by Erin Roberts.  


“Decades of Scientific Research That Started a Growth Mindset Revolution.” The Growth Mindset – What Is Growth Mindset – Mindset Works. Mindset Works, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2017. <https://www.mindsetworks.com/Science/Default>.

“How Praise and Feedback Impact Student Outcomes.” Teacher Practices. Mindset Works, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2017. <https://www.mindsetworks.com/Science/Teacher-Practices>.

“The Impact of a Growth Mindset.” Science Impact. Mindset Works, n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2017. <https://www.mindsetworks.com/Science/Impact>.


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Plants As A Metaphor For Change

David Bowie wrote a song about it. Barnes and Noble has numerous books about it. And, Netflix has at least 30 movies that promise you will do it after watching them.  What is the subject that a musician, a book seller, and a streaming service all have in common? Change.  I’ve heard it said it takes 21 days to change a habit – maybe, maybe not. Change, in and of itself, is reality and there are many ways to cope with change.

How do we see change in our own lives?  Sometimes change can be so small that it feels as though nothing is happening. Think – losing weight or quitting smoking.  It can feel like you take five steps forward and 10 steps backward.  Other times, change can be brutal and fast. Think –  an unexpected death, illness or visitor from one’s past.  Perhaps one of these situations has resonated with you and has created change in your life. Many of us know how to measure change in life: pounds lost according to the scale, the number of smoke free days, how many days of exercise, etc. etc.

But what about the change that is happening around us all the time? How can we see it and how can we use it?  In January 2011, I started aggressive chemotherapy and was in denial of what the drugs would do to me.  I knew I’d lose my hair and although I read about all the other side effects, I thought, “nope, I’m in good shape, this is not going to happen to me.”  I was wrong.  About one month after starting treatment I received a nine-inch potted plant from a friend in Minnesota. He was in his 80s and taking care of his wife who had Parkinson’s disease.  The planter contained four different species of plants, and it was green and perfect for my small apartment.  I placed the plant on a table by the window and watered it every Sunday.  As I continued treatment, the plant thrived and eventually flowered.  I, on the other hand, was not thriving. Of course, all the hair fell out, then the neuropathy started, followed by ringing in the ears, loss of taste and extreme fatigue.

The plant became my metaphor for change.  The sicker I became, the more it thrived. I found it uplifting to see beauty in such a small container.  As years passed, I noticed the plant was struggling. I tried different locations in the apartment, more water, less water, more sun, less sun, yet nothing seemed to work.  It was still alive, but with little growth. It went a few years without even flowering.  Simultaneously, I was changing too. My hair grew back and, like the plant, I struggled to stay above the dirt.  When I moved to a new apartment, I repotted the plant thinking it needed more room for the roots.  It stayed alive but still did not flower and did not sustain much growth.

Four years after receiving the plant, I moved to a house and put it in the front window.  It had finally found its happy place.  Today, six years after receiving the plant, it sits in a 12-inch pot, still in the front window.  It is 24 inches tall and extends out into a 55-inch circle. The plant flowers at least once a month. The man who sent it to me lost his wife and about a year ago, I lost him. The last time I saw him, I shared the story of the five-year-old plant, but I think he barely remembered he had sent it.   The plant that had served as my constant reminder that change is right in front of us, always. The plant did well, then struggled, then did okay, then struggled and now, is flourishing. The plant had served as my constant reminder that change is right in front of us, always, and that as humans, some days (weeks, months, and even years) we may flourish, and others we may struggle. Sometimes I just stand by the plant and look out the window.  As it stands tall, I stand tall.  I am amazed by its beauty and its persistence despite the odds against it.  This fall, I looked out the window and saw a tree in the front yard covered in the most spectacular orange leaves I had ever seen and I almost cried. It was right out of a Vermont postcard and I live in North Carolina.  Now it is February and there are no leaves, just empty branches.  Like the plant, the tree changes too.  I remind myself that it will soon have new leaves. The tree, like my plant, is yet another illustration of how change is right in front of us, if we only take the time to notice it.

The plant has become my metaphor for change.  What will your metaphor be?  What around you can inspire you to make, cope with, accept and embrace change?

Cece Abby Krelitz is a Certified Hospitality Educator with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.  She is currently employed as a chef instructor, at Johnson & Wales University, in the Baking and Pastry Department. Cece is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a degree in Hotel Administration. She also is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, with a degree in Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts. Cece is currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission if this article is used in its entirety, attribution is given and the author’s information and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Cece Abby Krelitz.  https://ckbakesblog.com

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