Registration Open for Summer Music, Theater and Dance Camps, Classes

first_imgNews release from the Ocean City Theatre Company:The Greater Ocean City Theatre Company will be offering an exciting array of camps and classes this summer. The lineup includes programs that are designed for the youngest students and serve as an introduction to the performing arts, as well as, classes for students with an extensive performing arts background.“Our arts educational programming continues to grow into a rewarding part of the Greater Ocean City Theatre Company” says Michael Hartman, OCTC Artistic Director. “Students who participate in summer programming experience the perfect balance of learning and fun while being exposed to a professional and creative environment.”Below is a listing of class offerings that are still open. Enrollment is limited! To sign-up or for more information, visit www.oceancitytheatrecompany.com or call 609-398-1118.MUSICAL THEATRE INTENSIVE: JULY 21-JULY 25, 2014OCTC is excited to offer an opportunity for students to work with theatre professionals and develop key skills for theatre auditions on a local, school, collegiate and professional level.GUYS AND DOLLS MASTER CLASS FOR STUDENTS IN 6TH – 12TH GRADES: JULY 10, 2014Learn the actual Broadway style choreography from the Greater Ocean City Theatre Company’s professional Mainstage production of “GUYS AND DOLLS” right on the set, from our professional choreographer.THEATRE CAMP SESSION 2: JULY 21 – AUGUST 2, 2014Casting will begin the first day of camp as students prepare for a rewarding theatre experience performing the fully staged production RAPUNZEL. This show is not a musical so it is a great way to feature kids who do not like to sing/dance and allows kids who have a musical theatre background the opportunity to experience a play! This camp is open to students in 3rd – 8th grades.DANCE WEEK 2014! –  GRADES 5TH – 12TH: JULY 28 – AUGUST 1, 2013Each day will start with a group warm up and then the camp will split based on ability level and age.  Various professional dance instructors, choreographers and dancers will teach the class so the kids will be exposed to a wide form of dance stylesIMAGINATION STATION THEATRE CAMP FOR K-2ND: AUGUST 4-8, 2014New for 2014! This one week camp is geared for younger performers looking to gain experience in a fun, safe and imaginative setting. This creative time is perfect for your little one who already has aspirations of being a star.  Kids will experience creative movement, improvisational skills, mime, theatre games, storytelling, reader’s theatre and much more in this jam-packed, high-energy camp.  There will be an informal presentation at the end of the camp. The future stars of OCTC will have a chance to perform for their families at this informal show in our rehearsal studio.APPEAR IN OCTC’S PRODUCTION OF THE ORIGINAL BROADWAY MUSICAL SWING!  FEATURED DANCE ENSEMBLE FOR DANCERS IN 9TH-12TH GRADES AS OF FALL 2014Have the chance to work with a professional production team and professional cast of musical theatre performers/dancers in SWING! OCTC is casting a small-featured dance ensemble of High School dancers to appear in our Broadway musical with the Ocean City POPS Orchestra and our cast of NYC performers.  This featured dance ensemble will appear in a few special numbers during the show. With songs like Sing, Sing, Sing! and In The Mood this ensemble will have a blast learning the swing/jazz style that brings this musical to life. Partner that with the chance to appear with a professional orchestra at the historic Ocean City Music Pier and you will create a very special memory!JOIN THE PROFESSIONAL CAST OF JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT AS A MEMBER OF THE “JOSEPH CHILDREN’S ENSEMBLE”New for 2014! Kids in grades 3rd – 6th grades will have the opportunity to appear along side our professional cast of performers in the Broadway Smash – JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT. Kids participating in this energetic and colorful production will be featured in the Children’s Chorus of the show. The chorus will be highlighted during the entire production with fun staging, riser choreography and lots of singing!  Participants should have some experience with vocal music.PRIVATE ACTING LESSONS Grades 6th-12th GradeExperience one-on-one private acting lessons to perfect acting technique with trained instructors who have experience working to prepare for college auditions and school auditions. Develop personalized skills to make you a stronger, more confident performer. Private coaching can be generally technique based or targeted toward a specific role, monologue and/or upcoming audition preparation.PRIVATE VOICE LESSONS Grades 4th-12thExperience one-on-one private vocal lessons to perfect vocal technique and singing skills with trained music instructors who have experience working to prepare for college auditions, school singing, musical theatre, classical music and choral works.JUNIOR COMPANYOCTC’s Prestigious Junior Company will be split into two groups for 2014. The Junior Company is select group of students with a passion for musical theatre. Members of the Jr. Co. rehearse and star in a fully staged Broadway musical each summer. The 6th-8th Grade students will present THE MUSIC MAN Junior and 9th – 12th Grade students will present a musical that can not be announced at this time due to restrictions! Auditions will be held on May 4, 2014. Learn more about the requirements and audition process on our website.OCTC will once again collaborate with the City’s Recreation Department to present the annual two-week theatre camp that has become so popular over the years. Registration for the camp with is done through the City of Ocean City’s Recreation Sign Up process on May 1, 2014. This camp usually fills up within the first hour of registrationThere is limited enrollment for all camps and classes so we encourage early sign ups to reserve your space. Last year most camps filled up before May! To learn more about the company, visitwww.oceancitytheatrecompany.com for more informationlast_img read more

PBC Charter Schools Will Not Get $20 Million from Tax Hike

first_imgThe Florida Legislature, in a sudden about-face, has decided not to allocate $20 million in voter-approved local money to charter schools in Palm Beach County.Last November, 72 percent of local voters approved a $200 million annual property tax hike. About 10 percent of that was to go to the county’s 49 charter schools.Palm Beach County School Board Chairman Frank Barbieri issued a statement on Saturday that reads, “Thanks to your advocacy efforts, lawmakers in Tallahassee ultimately decided to respect the will of the voters. We sincerely appreciate all of the community stakeholders who chose to advocate on behalf of the District, and more importantly, on behalf of voter rights.”Some of the $200 million is also earmarked for teacher raises. Another $50 million will go toward additional school and mental health measures, while the remaining $50 million will continue to fund art and physical education teachers and those who work in choice academies – a total of 650 teachers.Voters last fall approved property tax increases in order to improve education’s bottom line in numerous Florida counties, including Broward. On the Palm Beach County ballot, however, the charters’ exclusion was spelled out.Republican Senator Kelli Stargel, of Lakeland, argues that charter schools are public schools, since they receive public money but are usually run by private operators. She explains, “I’d hate for me as a taxpayer to have a referendum on the ballot, and my kids are going to a charter school, and I’m paying the taxes and those dollars do not go to my child’s public school, because someone’s picked it out and said it’s a charter school.”In response, Democratic Senator Gary Farmer, of Fort Lauderdale, says, “We keep giving more and more to the charters, and we just don’t quite keep up with what we give to the traditional public schools.”The bill, which still needs Governor DeSantis’ signature, passed in an 81-25 vote in the House and a 23-17 vote in the Senate.It is also intended to provide $121 million in tax breaks such as sales-tax “holidays” on back-to-school items and hurricane supplies.The Legislature kept open the possibility of sharing funds in future referendums across the state.last_img read more

GFA Elmina venue media officer passes away

first_imgThe GFA’s venue media officer at the Nduom Stadium in Elmina Aminu Mohammed (Zylla) has passed away.The sudden death of the Takoradi based radio presenter occured whiles he was on his way to Elmina to perform his official duties for the Ghana Premier League match between Sharks and Hearts of Oak.The experienced broadcaster has been the GFA’s venue media officer for the past three years at the Essipon and Nduomstadium until his untimely death.The Ghana Football Association wishes to extend its sincerest condolences to the bereaved family.Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this difficult moment. May God grant our dear brother eternal peace.last_img read more

Simmons shines in 76ers trump Hawks

first_imgPierce said Spellman was making an impact, even with spotty minutes.But not every hoops fan in Philly is part of Nova Nation. One fan yelled out, “Spellman, you’re a D-League player!”UP NEXTHawks: Play Tuesday at Cleveland.76ers: Play Tuesday at Toronto.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title MOST READ “He’s passionate. He’s got energy all the time,” Pierce said. “He cares about the players.”Pierce said he’s kept in touch with Brown and former players who have wished him well in his new gig.“These guys are happy I’m in the position that I’m in,” Pierce said.Brown said having a coaching tree was one of the responsibilities of the job.FULTZ FOCUSFultz, the No. 1 pick of the 2017 draft, had a nice spin move and hit an 8-footer in the lane in the second quarter and seemed most confident running the show and not playing with Simmons.“There is zero doubt in my mind that it’s his best position now,” Brown said. “What can he be? What he can grow to? I don’t know. But his position now is with the ball and as a point guard.”FAMILIAR FACESHawks rookie Omari Spellman is coming off a national championship at Villanova and third-year forward DeAndre’ Bembry from Saint Joseph’s both had plenty of local fans in the house. Pierce said Bembry is playing with confidence after missing chunks of his first two seasons with injuries.“He’s happy he’s getting an opportunity to play,” Pierce said. Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college View comments Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Simmons made 5 of 6 shots in the third and hit all five free throws for 15 points and helped the 76ers outscore Atlanta 31-13 in the third.“I think we just needed a spark and I was able to provide that for the team,” he said. “I told the guys to keep running with me and I’ll find them.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissWithout a major roster addition, the Sixers had played little like a team that won 52 games and a playoff round a year ago. Simmons and Joel Embiid have been solid and are making early cases for All-Star berths. But Philly’s distinguished duo had little help and the Sixers had won their last two games by one and two points, respectively, and needed this win just to move above .500 (4-3).“I think everybody gets caught up in last season. This is a different team,” Simmons said. Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew LATEST STORIES Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons, right, of Australia, shoots the ball against Atlanta Hawks’ Kent Bazemore, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 113-92. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)PHILADELPHIA  — After yet another slow start by the 76ers, Ben Simmons gave restless fans and a slumping team a needed reminder of just good they can become in the East.Simmons had 21 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, and turned the game around in the decisive third quarter to lift Philadelphia to a 113-92 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.ADVERTISEMENT Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Here’s how much expectations have soared in Philly: The Sixers were booed by fans, who showed nothing but love in the early days of “The Process,” as they trudged off the court tied at halftime.Simmons turned everyone around.“He has a second gear a lot of people in this league don’t have,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said.He got some help in the third from the oft-maligned Markelle Fultz. Fultz, desperately trying to join Simmons and Embiid as a cornerstone trio, had a sweet stretch during which he buried an open 3, crushed a one-handed dunk in transition and had an assist on an Embiid jumper for a 78-60 lead.Fultz had season-highs with seven baskets (on 16 attempts) and 16 points in 23 minutes.ADVERTISEMENT Klay Thompson breaks Stephen Curry’s record for 3s in game “I’m a great basketball player,” Fultz said. “I think I can do pretty much anything. I can pass the ball, I can pull up the 3, I can get to the rim. I just think I have an all-around game.”That was enough to help send Atlanta to its second straight loss. Kent Bazemore led the Hawks with 18 points.“We still had energy, but it’s their own court and they definitely fed off the energy from the crowd, made a few shots, and got on a few big runs,” Hawks guard Trae Young said. “We weren’t able to stop them.”The Sixers aren’t much more than Embiid and Simmons and some needed 3s from JJ Redick. The Hawks sagged off Fultz most of the game and dared him to shoot jumpers. Dario Saric, one of the early parts of “The Process,” has seemingly lost his shot, much the same way Fultz did. Saric missed all seven shots in the first half (including four 3s) and finished 1 of 9 overall for four points.“He looked heavy-legged to me,” coach Brett Brown said.TIP-INSHawks: The Hawks were outrebounded 64-47. … Hit just eight 3s. … Shot 37 percent from the floor.76ers: Brown said Wilson Chandler’s return from an injured left hamstring is not far off. … Movie director M. Night Shyamalan was at the game. … Mike Muscala hit four 3s.WELCOME BACKPierce made a homecoming of sorts after spending five years on Brown’s staff with the Sixers. Pierce said he owed Brown so much for helping him become a head coach. Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

LETTERKENNY STRENGTHENS ITS LINKS WITH……..TAIWAN!

first_imgSome of the students in Taiwan.A DELEGATION from Letterkenny recently returned from a major international youth conference in Taiwan which has further strengthened links between the two regions.International Education Manager at LYIT, Ms Jill Murphy led the group comprised of St Eunan’s College students Dylan and Evan McCroary, along with LYIT student David Hegarty who is currently on an education exchange in Taipei and recent graduate Terence Heeney.The Youth Development Association of Taiwan, and the Taipei representative office Ireland invited the Letterkenny delegates to take part in the conference entitled the ‘Seminar on Youth Participation and International Humanitarianism in the Age of Globalisation’ organised by The Taiwanese Ministry of Education. The seminar gathered students from around the world including Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Israel, Dominica, Japan and Korea, to discuss youth participation in public affairs and voluntary service.Speaking to the Donegal News Ms Murphy explained that the strong Donegal presence on the eight-person ‘Team Ireland’ was a great reflection of the links which have been created.“The other Irish delegates were from Trinity College and DIT. However, it’s safe to say that LYIT has been at the forefront of forging links with China and Taiwan over recent years.”During the ten day visit Ms Murphy also met with three major universities there to discuss the possibilities of signing Memorandums of Understanding which would open the doors for further collaboration between Ireland and Taiwan. “We are in the process of having these signed with the universities in Taiwan and once completed this will get students moving in both directions.Twins Evan and Dylan McCroary have been learning Chinese for more than three years and recently completed Level 4 evening classes at LYIT.Evan said he found the conference to be an amazing experience. “I learned so much about Taiwan and met people from all over the world. It was particularly impressed by the use of technology for immediate translation which meant that the same speaker could be heard in a number of different languages.”Dylan continued: “While the conference was really interesting, we also got to do a lot of sightseeing. I was amazed at how similar in some ways Taiwan is to Ireland. We left Taipei and travelled to Tainan which would be the same as going from Dublin to Donegal, they were very different.”The recent visit to Taiwan is the most recent development in the ongoing work between LYIT and the Taipei Representative Office in Dublin. Currently a number of LYIT students are studying in Taiwan as part of a scholarship programme offered by the office. LETTERKENNY STRENGTHENS ITS LINKS WITH……..TAIWAN! was last modified: November 8th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalletterkennyTaiwanlast_img read more

Fast Protein Fine-Tunes the Ear

first_imgRemember prestin?  It’s a motor protein in the inner ear, discovered in 2001 (03/27/2001), that acts so fast – within millionths of a second – its discoverers named it after the word “presto!” (02/21/2002).  Scientists have been studying its role as a volume adjuster (07/31/2007) that allows it to amplify sound 10,000-fold (09/19/2002) .  New evidence suggests that prestin also fine-tunes the pitch across the audible range.  A paper on this appeared this week in Current Biology.1    The human ear responds to volume differences over 12 orders of magnitude – a phenomenal dynamic range, allowing us to hear the faintest whisper of a breeze to the roar of a jet engine.  If the cochlea had the same sensitivity throughout the dynamic range, the result would be literally deafening.  The cochlea has, therefore, both fast-adaptation and slow-adaptation mechanisms to quench overpowering sounds.  An analogy might be to a sound system that instantly cuts off ear-piercing feedback then adjusts the volume level by a slider.  Prestin has been implicated in fast-adaptation.  It stiffens the outer hair cells to prevent loud sounds from blowing them over, but loosens them to respond to gentle vibrations.    The authors began their abstract, “The remarkable power amplifier of the cochlea boosts low-level and compresses high-level vibrations of the basilar membrane.”  This means your ears have a high-tech device, familiar to audio technicians, called a compressor-limiter.  You’re not hearing what is really “out there” in its raw form.  Your ear is protecting your brain by delivering processed sound.  It automatically turns up the volume on the soft sounds, and turns it down on the loud sounds.    The authors of this paper agreed that prestin is the prime contender for the power amplifier, but then found something even more amazing: prestin tunes the pitch, too.  They found to their surprise that mice with prestin knocked out were just as sensitive in the high-frequency range – but heard sounds a half-octave too low.  There appears to be a trade-off between volume sensitivity and pitch accuracy that prestin, somehow, solves.  To do this, the motor protein must be able to parse the frequency spectrum of the sound wave.  Here it is in their technical jargon:We propose that the absence of prestin from OHCs [outer hair cells in the cochlea], and consequent reduction in stiffness of the cochlea partition, changes the passive impedance of the BM [basilar membrane] at high frequencies, including the CF [characteristic frequency].  We conclude that prestin influences the cochlear partition’s dynamic properties that permit transmission of its vibrations into neural excitation.  Prestin is crucial for defining sharp and sensitive cochlear frequency tuning by reducing the sensitivity of the low-frequency tail of the tuning curve, although this necessitates a cochlear amplifier to determine the narrowly tuned tip.1.  Lagarde, Drexl, Lukashkin, Zuo and Russell, “Prestin’s Role in Cochlear Frequency Tuning and Transmission of Mechanical Responses to Neural Excitation,”Whatever is going on inside your head, when it works, it works extremely well.  The mechanisms at work to provide such exquisite sensitivity to the tiniest of air vibrations are still being figured out.  This paper shows that the initial models of how prestin works are too simple.  Their experiments on mice with and without prestin “provides further indication that neural tuning is not a direct consequence of BM [basilar membrane] tuning but depends on complex interaction between the various elements of the cochlear partition,” including prestin and the arrangement of the hair cell bundles.    Everything works as a functional unit.  Did you hear anything about evolution?  We hope not, because they never used the E-word once in their entire paper.  Their language was the lingo of auditory engineering: microphones, characteristic frequencies, amplifiers, compressor-limiters, thresholds, dynamic range and frequency response.  Ask a sound technician if he operates by random mutation and natural selection.  You are likely to get an earful.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Junk-DNA Stock Tumbles

first_imgThose investing credibility in the concept of “junk DNA” suffered more losses this week.  Repeated hits to the paradigm that portions of non-coding DNA are useless leftovers of evolution make a recovery unlikely.    In Science,1 researchers from Princeton and Indiana University reported a function for transposons and the genes that act on them, “previously considered selfish DNA or part of the dispensable genome.”  A small eukaryote microbe uses enzymes called transposases extensively during development.  “Through an exaggerated process of genome rearrangement, Oxytricha trifallax destroys 95% of its germline genome during development,” they said, resulting in the elimination of all transposon DNA.  What’s going on?  “We show that transposase gene expression occurs during germline-soma differentiation and that silencing of transposase by RNA interference leads to abnormal DNA rearrangement in the offspring,” they said.  “This study suggests a new important role in Oxytricha for this large portion of genomic DNA that was previously thought of as junk.”Update 05/20/2009: PhysOrg reported on this paper and said, “researchers from Princeton University and Indiana University who have been studying the genome of a pond organism have found that junk DNA may not be so junky after all.  They have discovered that DNA sequences from regions of what had been viewed as the ‘dispensable genome’ are actually performing functions that are central for the organism.”  At the end of the article, PhysOrg said, “The term ‘junk DNA’ was originally coined to refer to a region of DNA that contained no genetic information.  Scientists are beginning to find, however, that much of this so-called junk plays important roles in the regulation of gene activity.  No one yet knows how extensive that role may be.”    Another press release from Rockefeller University upset a common idea about micro-RNAs, those ubiquitous little snippets of RNA that have been found to play many important roles in the cell.  Some of these microRNAs are highly conserved (i.e., unevolved) between distant life-forms.  The assumption has been that they play similar roles; “The na?ve assumption is that if we understand what these microRNAs do in a fish or in the frog, we can extrapolate to humans,” Ali H. Brivanlou, the head of the embryology department, said.  That assumption appears to be flawed.  They found that the counterpart in humans targets different activator proteins.personify evolution as a bumbling yet personal inventor:“When evolution has lucked into efficient solutions for life’s most fundamental problems, it adopts them as invaluable family heirlooms, passing them down as one species evolves into another.”“Although the microRNAs are evolutionarily conserved, their target changes across species,” said Brivanlou.  “These are genetic tools that nature has invented, much like the screwdriver, to build different things for different species.” 1.  Nowacki et al, “A Functional Role for Transposases in a Large Eukaryotic Genome,” Science, 15 May 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5929, pp. 935-938, DOI: 10.1126/science.1170023.Replacing one myth with another is not progress.  Junk DNA is a Darwinian myth that intelligent design theory could have prevented.  Geneticists looking through their Darwin-tinted glasses have misinterpreted the genome, because they expected to find waste and disorder.  An ID geneticist would face the problem differently: we don’t understand what the microRNAs and non-coding DNA segments are doing; therefore, we will discover what they are there for.    The Darwinists have not learned their lesson.  Instead, they are retreating into their usual Charlie & Tinker Bell fairy tale.  Tinker Bell zaps genes with her mutation wand, and Charlie, the bumbling junkyard engineer, looks for scraps to cobble together into family heirlooms.  This adds the fallacies of naive assumptions [i.e., glittering generalies] and extrapolation to their logical sins.  It takes intelligence to invent a tool and use it for multiple functions.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South African banker soars in Australia

first_imgGail Kelly Image courtesy of the AustralianBroadcasting CorporationJanine ErasmusThe South African diaspora has excelled across the world – in sport, medicine, literature, filmmaking and business. And one of its top achievers is Gail Kelly, appointed head of Australia’s fourth-largest bank, Westpac, in February.Having started out as a teller at South Africa’s Nedbank in 1980, Kelly is now Australia’s highest-paid woman executive. (Allan Moss of Macquarie Bank, the country’s highest-paid male executive, is also South African.) Kelly is also ranked 28th on Fortune’s global list of the most powerful women in business – and now and then makes it onto an Australian list of worst-dressed executives.Kelly moves to Westpac from St George, Australia’s fifth-largest bank. Even though she is Australia’s first female bank CEO, when news of her appointment broke Westpac shares rose 43 cents, while St George’s fell 10 cents.From Latin to high financeBorn in Pretoria in 1956, Kelly’s initial education was worlds away from high finance: she studied Latin and history at the University of Cape Town, training to become a teacher.After marrying Alan Kelly in 1977, she spent a few years teaching in Zimbabwe and South Africa. But she felt unchallenged, and in 1980 switched careers to become a teller in the Nedcor group’s banking division, Nedbank. Her potential was immediately evident, and she was swiftly moved into an accelerated training programme, completing an MBA in 1987 while expecting her first child.Her second pregnancy, in 1989, produced triplets. But Kelly coped just fine: when they were only five months old and she still on maternity leave, Nedcor appointed her head of human resources.Australia’s gainIn the mid-1990s the family decided to emigrate. Kelly flew to Sydney in June 1997 for interviews with three major banks, and was snapped up by Commonwealth Bank a month later. Her first position there was as general manager of strategic marketing, but it wasn’t long before CEO David Murray appointed her to his executive team.Australia has a large expatriate South African community, who are readily employed there. “South Africans are sought after by Australian firms because they possess a high standard of education along with a good work ethic, proficiency in English, and excellent industry or corporate training,” says Mike Stowe, the head of Australian migration specialist firm Oz-LifeStyle.com. “Australian employers also know that South Africans adapt well to the Ozzie lifestyle and culture.”By the time Kelly left Commonwealth she was head of the customer service division, accountable for sales, service and distribution across the bank’s retail branches, business banking centres, contact centres and electronic and internet channels.In December 2001 Kelly was appointed CEO of St George Bank, becoming MD in January 2002 amid fears that the bank was a takeover target. When her appointment was announced the bank’s market capitalisation rocketed by A$97-million almost overnight.In her six years at the bank Kelly transformed St George “from a sleepy mortgage lender into Australia’s fifth-largest bank,” says Fortune magazine. The New South Wales-based bank’s market value rose by almost A$3-billion.Headhunted for top jobIn February 2008 Kelly took up a position as CEO and MD of at the Westpac banking group, a company recognised by the Dow Jones sustainability index as the world’s most sustainable bank for the fifth consecutive year.Her Westpac appointment – regarded as one of Australia’s top corporate jobs – followed an extensive search conducted by the firm’s board at home and abroad. Kelly says of her appointment that she was “looking forward to working with the team to take what is clearly a very strong organisation to the next stage”.And the organisation clearly agrees. Ted Evans, Westpac chair, says Kelly is “a proven chief executive whose values are closely aligned to the Westpac culture. It is clear she has the energy, skills and experience we need.”Kelly is also a director of Melbourne Business School Limited, a member of the Financial Sector Advisory Council and the Australian Bankers’ Association Council, and a senior fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australia.Gail Kelly may have made it big in Australia, but she hasn’t turned her back on her home country. She returns to South Africa regularly to enjoy game parks and visit friends.Useful linksSt George BankWestpacNedcorDow Jones Sustainability IndicesFortune magazine’s global power list of women in businesslast_img read more

Nedbank comes to community’s aid

first_imgRay Maota Nedbank donated 200 blankets to the Little Stars and Poelano early childhood learning centres. Afro-Pop sensation Zahara, Councillor Siphiwe Mshaisa of Ward 2 Orange Farm, Flory Nxumalo of Poelano, Kone Gugushe of Nedbank, Josephine Mofokeng of Little Stars, and, Dennis O’Donnell, station manager of SAfm, were on hand to celebrate the occasion. Kone Gugushe of Nedbank is confident that this year’s campaign will be successful. Lebogang Ntsoereng, a housing beneficiary, helping to build her new home.(Images: Ray Maota) MEDIA CONTACTS • Nkosinathi Msiza  Nedbank senior communications manager  +27 11 295 5360 RELATED ARTICLES • Needy pupils kitted out for school • Career guidance initiative launched • Nedbank achieves carbon neutrality • Nedbank invests in water projectBanking group Nedbank kicked off its annual winter campaign for this year by giving blankets to young children in Orange Farm, in the south of Johannesburg, and building houses for the area’s motivated volunteers.Now in its third year, the programme was launched at Stratford Ext 2, an area of the township that has a high unemployment rate, on Tuesday 5 June.Bringing hope where there is littlePupils at Little Stars and Poelano centres, who were given a total of 200 blankets to get them through the chilly season, were only too happy to receive some reprieve from the cold weather.The no-fee centres take in orphans and children whose parents cannot afford to pay crèche fees. Little Stars looks after 98 children while Poelano has 48 pupils under its care.Later in the day came the unveiling of a housing project in which Nedbank partnered with insurance companies Old Mutual and Mutual and Federal as well as non-profit organisation Habitat for Humanity to build 11 homes for some of the special residents in the area.The beneficiaries of the houses, which are near completion, have helped build houses for other disadvantaged families since the start of the campaign in 2009.“There are 533 stands here at Stratford Ext 2 in Orange Farm and Habitat for Humanity has built 233 houses,” said Michael Mamabolo of Habitat.How does it work?Habitat, which was founded in 1976, builds houses for communities living in poverty in South Africa, by focusing on simple, decent designs that are also practical to live in. They have branches in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.The initiative has several criteria for choosing beneficiaries within their volunteer programme. Some of the prerequisites are that:• the total monthly income for the family must be no more than R3 500 ($415);• the famliy must be living in sub-standard housing, but own the land on which the house will be built as per the standards of the housing department;• they must qualify for a government housing subsidy; and• family members must perform sweat equity in terms of Habitat standards – this involves spending a minimum of 60 hours helping other families to build their homes.“Sweat equity means they must have worked at least 60 hours helping build other homes before they can be helped to build their own,” said Mamabolo.Why Orange Farm?Orange Farm is a relatively under-developed settlement that lies 50km south of Johannesburg. It was initially established by residents who settled in the area in 1988 and grew exponentially before its status was turned into that of a formal township by the City of Johannesburg two years later.Residents were then given ownership of the land and were free to build their own homes if they wished to do so.The area has a 50% unemployment rate and an average income per household of about R1 500 (US$170).Nedbank and Old Mutual are both sponsoring the building of five houses each, and Mutual and Federal is sponsoring one. Habitat’s involvement comes in the form of gathering volunteers to do the actual building.This year Nedbank is investing R500 000 (US$59 373) towards its nationwide drive and is further encouraging its employees, clients and all South Africans to donate blankets, which can be dropped off at Nedbank branches across the country.Multi-award winning singer Zahara, who is also Nedbank’s financial fitness ambassador, made an appearance, along with the municipality’s ward councillor for the area, Siphiwe Mshaisa.Nedbank’s executive for corporate social responsibility, Kone Gugushe, said they are honoured to be able to make this contribution to the community of Orange Farm.“Social sustainability is the key to a prosperous nation,” she said, adding that over the past two years, the company has received amazing support for its winter project.Through the generosity and support of Nedbank employees, its clients and ordinary South Africans, she said, this year’s campaign will be an even greater success.National radio station SAfm, which is the media sponsor of the campaign, was represented by station manager Dennis O’Donnell, who said: “It gives SAfm great pleasure to partner on a campaign of this magnitude.“We look forward to bringing you live coverage from the nine provinces that we will be visiting where people will be telling their stories that will awaken us as a society to do more in our communities.”Zahara, who expressed her familiarity with the conditions in which disadvantaged families live, recounted a childhood for her and her siblings in which they sometimes had to go to school with no shoes.“That’s what makes me so happy to be part of a campaign that makes a difference in the lives of ordinary people.”The next stop for the campaign is the Free State, one of the coldest provinces in South Africa.last_img read more

Greater Than Experience

first_imgIn most cases:Attitude: I would hire for attitude over experience. Someone with the right attitude can quickly gain experience. The person with a good attitude is a better hire than an experienced person with a poor attitude.Skills: I would also hire for skills before experience, too. Especially people skills. Someone who knows how to work with people is a better hire than someone who has experience but extremely poor people skills. Most of us produce results through and with other people.Character: A person with high character is always a better hire than someone with bad character, regardless of their experience. Severe character flaws eventually cause serious problems. Character flaws always eliminate any value in the person’s experience.Work Ethic: A person with a great work ethic is always a better hire than someone who is lazy. A hustler with little skills will outproduce an experienced person who refuses to do the work. Lazy people are never a good hire, no matter how much they know.Coachable: Coachable people are better hires than people who believe they know enough and have no real need to learn anything new. The coachable person can grow, but the non-coachable person will stagnate, becoming less effective over time.Willingness: The better hire is one who is willing to do whatever it takes over someone who is unwilling to do what is necessary. This is true even when the unwilling person has great experience. The experienced person may know what needs to be done, but not doing what needs to be done is the same as not knowing.When Experience MattersIn 1992, I had a brain surgery. In this case, I wanted the best person in the world for the operation I needed. I cared deeply about their experience with this particular type of surgery. I chose someone with extensive experience and a history of massive successes. I didn’t care about his attitude or his coachability.There are some cases where experience matters a great deal and some where experience outweighs almost any other factor. But most of the time, experience shouldn’t be weighted as heavily as it is in hiring decisions.last_img read more