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A pragmatic model to conserve land

first_img Harvard researchers probe environmental shifts on Martha’s Vineyard shore Related So, the battle is not to be fought in the woods. The battle is to be fought at the point of entry of pests and pathogens. The Harvard Forest-based Science and Policy Exchange released a study of all of this. It showed how — to put it in Trumpian terms — we really should be building a wall. But that wall should be at the point of entry for insects and pathogens. And that wall should be built by the countries and the industries that are actually introducing those pests and pathogens, on wooden pallets or on imported plants or imported soils or imported fruits.That’s the only place you can actually hope to stop pests and pathogens. Doing it in the woods is almost impossible. And nature has this phenomenal ability to cope with the actual impacts. We shouldn’t be fighting the manifestations of these problems in nature, and we shouldn’t be bringing this attitude that we’re in a position to help nature, to improve nature.GAZETTE: So even a well-conserved natural world, 50 years from now, will look different. The population of trees will shift, the insects we see in the forest will be different, probably more so close to roadsides and urban areas. You’re embracing a landscape that is inevitably changing?FOSTER: Absolutely. If you go back to the day of Henry Thoreau, when between 60 and 70 percent of Massachusetts was in farmland, the transformation that has occurred from that time to the present — the numbers are flipped, we have about 62 percent forest now, about 10 percent farmland — that transformation is both phenomenal and much greater than anything that climate change or pests and pathogens are going to do.And we’re still in the midst of that change, because all of these forests are young. Even if we do absolutely nothing and the climate doesn’t change and pests and pathogens don’t come in and we just stand back, our landscape’s going to be transformed just by the ongoing changes that are occurring in every forest and every untended field and shrubland. You absolutely have to embrace change.GAZETTE: Near the end of the book, you talk about the “Wildlands and Woodlands” vision that Harvard Forest has developed, embracing multiuse, close-to-nature activities like farmlands and woodlots from which wood products are extracted, as well as lands conserved as purely wild. How important is the acceptance of a diversity of landscape uses in successful conservation in New England and perhaps around the world?In a 2012 research trip, Foster snaps photos to document erosion along the Wasque coastline in Chappaquiddick on Martha’s Vineyard. File photo Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerFOSTER: That kind of integrated approach, in which you combine a wide range of uses of conservation land along with setting aside true nature preserves, can be modified to work in every landscape. And I think that is really the direction that conservation everywhere is headed.It helps to recognize the value that nature provides to people, including native people. It keeps them on the land, deriving resources. It also recognizes the value that nature gives to all of society. If people are able to be in nature, use nature, derive resources from it, there is this thought that they’ll value it more, they’ll recognize where resources actually come from — which we do less and less — and so keep it intact.GAZETTE: Is that also related to the concept of “illusion of preservation” that you talk about in the book, which I hadn’t heard before?FOSTER: That’s actually a wonderful story, because that’s an undergraduate thesis from Harvard University, produced by a former student, Mary Berlik Rice, who is now a great medical and environmental researcher at Harvard Medical School and the Center for Health and the Global Environment [at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health]. It’s a notion I had thrown out in my forest ecology class in the ’90s, and she picked up on it and said, “Let’s actually see how that would play out.” So she wrote a senior thesis about it, and we published it together, and it’s been used ever since.“The illusion of preservation” argues that the tendency in a place like New England, where people have — relatively — a lot of money and a long history of importing things, is to say, “Let’s protect that and not do anything to it. Then let’s get our wood from Canada or our wood from the tropics or our wood from, well, we don’t know where it’s coming from and we don’t really care. Because we’ve protected our back yard.”So her argument and our argument and the argument in the book is that no, it’s actually better to derive many resources — like wood and food — locally so that our kids will grow up thinking of these coming from local forests and farms, and they’ll value these for something beyond their beauty and nature and so on.GAZETTE: As we talk about the regrowth of New England’s forests, are we in a moment of opportunity for conservation here?FOSTER: History has given us a second chance to treat the forests of New England well. The first time we cut them all down and turned them into farms. When we abandoned those farms, they came back. Now we’ve got these magnificent forests, which are not just beautiful but are cleaning our water and cleaning our air and are storing carbon, which is mitigating climate change. So, they are doing all this wonderful work for us. We should treat them better in the future and retain them and derive many values from them.I think there’s also a general opportunity. I’ve been out here on the Vineyard giving talks about the book. I try to make the point that we’re in a time when individuals can do things locally — in terms of conservation, retention of forests, of policy that influences taxes that affect conservation — that translate into real global benefits.You focus on a place like Martha’s Vineyard not just for the benefit of Martha’s Vineyard but for the fact that the message pertains elsewhere. This is a story that is much bigger than one island. Five miles off New England’s southern coast, Martha’s Vineyard is known as a summer getaway for wealthy tourists, but the island’s year-round residents are the ones who have set a conservation example that can be instructive across New England and beyond, according to a new book by Harvard Forest Director David Foster. Since the 1970s, island residents have set aside 40 percent of the island for conservation, a feat that took planning, cooperation, and a bit of fear, sparked by a red-flag report from consultant Metcalf & Eddy in the 1970s. Now, the Vineyard is in the enviable position of thinking not only about saving what’s vanishing, but about how to add to its conservation legacy. It’s an achievement that, Foster said, parts of New England will have the opportunity to surpass in the years to come. The book, “A Meeting of Land and Sea: Nature and the Future of Martha’s Vineyard” (Yale University Press, 352 pp.), provides an exhaustive natural history of the island, detailing its creation as essentially a pile of sand and gravel pushed south by glaciers. That beginning gave it and similar islands off southern New England a unique geography underlying an environment different from the rest of the region. In his book, Foster discusses the people who have inhabited the island, beginning with native tribes 10,000 years ago, to the first European settlers, to the current permanent residents and tourists. It’s impossible, he says, to understand the island today without understanding its people, or to conceive of successful conservation strategies without understanding the long-term relationship of the people with the land. Foster spoke with the Gazette about his book and what there is to learn from the island’s example.GAZETTE: You hold the Vineyard up as something of a conservation success story. What have been the biggest conservation challenges there?FOSTER: The first challenge was just motivation. Fortunately, one island board commissioned this Metcalf & Eddy study that just scared the hell out of everybody.GAZETTE: That was in the ’70s?FOSTER: That was in the ’70s. They were just lazing along with rudimentary planning tools and very poor environmental oversight. There was open dumping of septic waste into pits in the middle of the landscape, and those kinds of things. This report came out, and people took one look at it, and it suddenly dawned on them that they were going to become Long Island, or New Jersey, or Cape Cod, which everybody on the Vineyard or Nantucket or any of the other islands dreads as much as anything.The other thing was [U.S. Sen.] Ted Kennedy, who had a conservation passion. He proposed a federal solution of zoning and purchasing Vineyard land which was going to usurp local power. So it was the people who were scared of development and the people who were scared of government takeover who got together and said, “We’ve got to do things locally, and do it now.”GAZETTE: And that combination over the last couple of decades has proved effective, right?FOSTER: It has proved effective. Then the state and large organizations — Nature Conservancy and Trustees of Reservations — came in and helped. The biggest problem right now — and this is actually what I spent the last couple of days talking to people about — is how do you sustain additional land protection? How do you sustain it when you’ve been so successful?You’ve got 40 percent of the landscape conserved. There’s a whole group of people who say, “Well, we’ve accomplished it.” But 30 percent of the landscape is quote “up for grabs” right now. It’s extraordinarily expensive, so the question is: How do you advance conservation in a landscape where the normal players, the state agencies and so on, no longer can be effective because they can do so much more elsewhere with the equivalent amount of money?Foster (left) leads freshmen seminar students through conservation lands on a recent research trip to Martha’s Vineyard. Photo by Laurie ChiassonGAZETTE: Is it out of the question that more land be conserved?FOSTER: No, there’s very active land protection being done by this [Martha’s Vineyard] Land Bank, financed by a 2 percent transfer tax on every real estate transaction. The beauty of that, of course, is that the money it generates is commensurate with the actual prices of real estate, so they can do significant work. And their work is focused on both protecting land and making things accessible: making wonderful trails, making the shoreline accessible, making ponds accessible, and beautiful views accessible.GAZETTE: Is this kind of mechanism — a tax, an additional percentage on the land transfers — possible elsewhere in Massachusetts? Is it already being done?FOSTER: The legislature actually came up with this solution, or some individuals here and on Nantucket came up with this solution and presented it to the state legislature. The legislature established these kinds of land banks here and on Nantucket. There was an effort on Cape Cod to do it, and it ended up morphing into something that is related but different, which is statewide in Massachusetts. That is the CPA, the Community Preservation Act, which allows towns to add an additional tax on property. And something on the order of 140 towns in Massachusetts have done that, with the money going for conservation, affordable housing, and historic preservation.But the basic idea is actually germane anywhere. You’ve got to come up with multiple avenues to advance and fund conservation. You can have your conservation organizations and your state and federal agencies, but you’ve got to come up with changes in the tax code and alternative sources of funding. And the way to do that is, of course, to show how critical the land is to supporting people as well as nature itself.GAZETTE: In the book, you mention change being an inevitable part of the landscape. How much should people just accept sea level rise and invasive pests, if they are inevitable to some extent, and shift from fighting them tooth and nail to managing them?FOSTER: The point I’m making is a little different from that. You have to identify and pick the place to do that fighting, and you’ve got to recognize that there’s a whole series of battles that aren’t worth fighting or actually have negative consequences.The way to fight sea level rise — and I’m not talking here about downtown Boston — is not to put up big barricades all along the coast. Sea level rise is going to happen at a faster rate, and it’s going to erode Martha’s Vineyard. You fight climate change, not the manifestations of climate change.The same thing is true of invasive pests and pathogens. There’s tremendous money going to try to control these things in the landscape, or, even less wisely, to go into the woods and try to fix the problem in the woods. You hear, “These are unhealthy forests, so we’re going to go and cut down the trees.” Yes, it gets rid of the trees that are dying and the forest looks more healthy, but it actually doesn’t do anything to address the problem. And, in fact, the forest is much more capable of recovering if you just leave it alone. A forest washing into the sealast_img read more

Meet Hamish Linklater, John Noble & the Cast of Doug Wright’s Posterity

first_imgA playwright and a sculptor wage war in Posterity, a new play by Pulitzer and Tony winner Doug Wright premiering February 25, 2015 at the Atlantic Theatre Company. Directed by Wright, the production stars Hamish Linklater as sculptor Gustav Vigeland and John Noble as playwright Henrik Ibsen, as well as Dale Soules as Greta Bergstrom, Henry Stram as Sophus Larpent and Mickey Theis as Anfinn Beck. Check out this Hot Shot of the cast taking a break from rehearsal, then catch Posterity, opening March 15! View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on April 5, 2015 Posterity Related Showslast_img read more

Watch The King and I’s Kelli O’Hara Sing ‘Getting to Know You’

first_imgOh Kelli O’Hara, you are always precisely our cup of tea! The 2015 Tony nominee brought a touch of 1860’s Bangkok to Live! with Kelly and Michael on May 12, singing a perfect rendition (naturally!) of “Getting to Know You” from The King and I, surrounded by her young charges from the show. Check out O’Hara performing the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein number below (warning: it will be on your brain for the rest of the day), and then the Tony nominated revival, which has recently extended indefinitely at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater. The King and I Related Shows View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on June 26, 2016last_img read more

Odds & Ends: Al Pacino Eyes Broadway Return This Season & More

first_img Star Files Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Al Pacino Eyes Broadway Return This SeasonWe’re relieved the somewhat mixed reception to China Doll didn’t put Al Pacino off the Great White Way! The acting legend is still on track to return to Broadway as Tennessee Williams in God Looked Away. Directed by Robert Allan Ackerman, Pacino recently took part in an industry reading of Dotson Rader’s autobiographical play opposite Judith Light and Miles Gaston Villanueva. According to Showbiz411, the search is now on for a Broadway theater for a run either at the end of this year or in spring 2017.Laura Benanti to Make Café Carlyle DebutLaura Benanti will make her Café Carlyle debut next month. The Tony winner—and mom-to-be’s—musical revue, Tales From Soprano Isle, is scheduled to run September 27 through October 8 and will feature songs from her career along with humorous anecdotes and experiences that she has encountered on and off the stage and screen. No word yet if Melania Trump will also swing by. Other stars tapped for the upcoming season include Ana Gasteyer, Judy Collins and Christine Ebersole.Leslie Odom Jr. Circles Orient Express & MoreSince departing Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. has been keeping himself busy! The Tony winner’s in negotiations to star in Kenneth Branagh’s remake of Murder on the Orient Express, Variety reports. Before that, he’s booked for the U.S. Open’s opening night ceremony on August 29, where he’ll perform a duet with Phil Collins in Arthur Ashe Stadium before singing the national anthem. Game, set, match, Odom Jr.!Laura Osnes & Max Crumm Reunite at #Ham4HamWe got chills, they’re multiplying! It was a case of way back Wednesday for former Grease costars Laura Osnes and Max Crumm, who teamed up for Hamilton’s #Ham4Ham on August 17. Check out the pair’s rendition of “You’re The One That I Want” below—these summer days are really drifting away! Al Pacino(Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images) Leslie Odom Jr.center_img View Comments Laura Osneslast_img read more

D.W. Brooks Lecture and Awards

first_imgAuthor and international development expert Robert Paarlberg has spent years dismantling the oversimplified narratives surrounding global hunger and its remedies.It’s not enough to encourage more plant-based diets or bolster local markets, and it’s not enough to rely on modern agricultural technology to deliver evermore-productive grain crops, he says. The answer, Paarlberg asserts, is somewhere in the middle.Paarlberg will bring his message of evaluating ideas without labels to the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education & Hotel at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 as part of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ annual D.W. Brooks Lecture and Awards.The D.W. Brooks Lecture is held each year in honor of college alumnus and Gold Kist, Inc. founder D.W. Brooks and is accompanied by the D.W. Brooks Awards for Excellence. The awards recognize college faculty and staff who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the college’s missions of research, instruction and extension.Paarlberg’s talk, “Foodies vs. Aggies: Compromise for a New Food System,” will challenge the dichotomy between “sustainable” and “intensive” food systems. We need a food system that is both, he insists.“No one group has the monopoly on good ideas, and we’re not going to solve the world’s looming food crisis unless we consider multiple perspectives,” said Sam Pardue, CAES dean and director. “Robert Paarlberg has studied agricultural policies and their ramifications around the world for the last 30 years. He’s witnessed the ways the different narratives built around agriculture have hindered efforts to build a more resilient food supply. “We don’t have the luxury of siloed thinking anymore,” he added.Paarlberg is an adjunct professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, a visiting professor at Harvard College, and an associate at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. From 1976 until 2015, he was a professor of political science at Wellesley College.He is the author of three books on the promise and peril of the modern food system, including “Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know,” “The United States of Excess: Gluttony and the Dark Side of American Exceptionalism,” and “Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa.”In addition’s to Paarlsberg’s talk, which is free and open the public, CAES will be presenting its D.W. Brooks Awards of Excellence at a ceremony after the lecture. This year’s awards honor some of the college’s most dedicated and creative researchers, teachers and Extension leaders.The 2018 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Research will be presented to Qingguo “Jack” Huang, professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, whose research into the remediation of organic compounds in polluted soil and water has gained international attention.The 2018 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Teaching will be presented to Kari Turner, associate professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Science, whose focus on inspiring undergraduates has helped to earn the department its excellent reputation for student-centered instruction.The 2018 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Global Programs will be presented to Yen-Con Hung, a professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology, whose commitment to international outreach and collaboration has helped to build safer food systems around the world.The 2018 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Extension will be presented to Dan Suiter, a professor in the Department of Entomology, who has developed training programs for structural and urban pest management professionals that have been used across the Southeast and around the world.The 2018 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Public Service Extension will be presented to Lisa Jordan, the Family and Consumer Sciences program development coordinator (PDC) for UGA Cooperative Extension’s Southeast District. Before being appointed PDC, she spent almost two decades working to expand the reach and reputation of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in Chatham County.For more information about this year’s event, visit dwbrooks.caes.uga.edu.last_img read more

100-year-old Exposition Worker Wins National Award

first_img100-year-old Ray Jenkins NamedVermont’s Outstanding Older WorkerESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. – H.F. ‘Ray’ Jenkins, who turns 100 years old on Tuesday, July 18, has been named Vermont’s Outstanding Older Worker by the Experience Works Prime Time Awards Program.The honor, presented to one working individual over age 65 in each state, is given by the non-profit organization, based in Arlington, Va., to highlight people who are still contributing to their communities and keeping themselves healthy by working.The announcement of the award was made by Vermont’s Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie on Saturday, July 15 at a special open house held at the Champlain Valley Exposition held to honor Jenkins as he approached his century-mark birthday.These award recipients are selected through an extensive grassroots effort in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Selection committees look for individuals who best reflect the characteristics of leadership, lifelong learning, mentoring and community service, and who continue to make meaningful contributions in the work force.Jenkins, who lives in Colchester, retired as an engineer from IBM when he was 65. He has worked at the Champlain Valley Exposition for 27 years and is currently Maintenance Coordinator, working 40 hours a week as a seasonal employee (March 15-October 15). He oversees the work of three employees and coordinates the efforts to maintain the Exposition’s fleet of trucks, tractors, mowers, golf carts and other maintenance equipment.Jim Gometz, Director of Operations for the Exposition, described Jenkin’s work ethic as amazing. His ability to see the whole picture, isolate a problem and then come up with a workable solution is one of his greatest strengths. Gometz spearheaded the nomination effort earlier this year and feels the Experience Works made the right choice. “Ray has truly earned this honor. He is loved and respected by all his fellow workers and the community of friends he has made over the years working at the Exposition.”The Outstanding Older Worker awards will be presented to Jenkins and winners from the other states in Washington D.C. in October.For more information about Experience Works,visit www.experienceworks.org(link is external)last_img read more

Closing time: I’m going home

first_imgLast month I discussed being Under Contract: Committing to the Millennial Market. The month before, I explored How I Met My Lender. Based on my experience applying for a mortgage and going under contract, I explored lessons for credit unions in regards to marketing mortgages to millennials. As a millennial myself, I offered perspective on how you can refine your efforts in areas such as advertising, technology, follow-up, and education. This month, I wrap up the series with my closing experience, bringing you the single most important lesson which helped me get through the mortgage process with confidence. Everything came together leading up to closing. Maintaining a high level of communication throughout the process – especially near the end – is essential to keep the process on schedule and keep your borrower informed. Just as in How I Met My Lender and Under Contract, proactive communication is a recurring theme.And, as I mentioned in the previous two articles, millennial borrowers, in particular, require complete transparency throughout the process. My credit union was in contact via email just about daily in the weeks leading up to the closing; this was crucial to keep me reassured. In my case, there were a couple of documents they needed in order to close the file, over which I had no control — the new roof inspection report, for example. The credit union kept me up-to-date on the latest information, which was essential to keep me calm and keep the process on track. But communications didn’t end there. While my loan officer was unable to make it to closing, he did take the time to walk through the documents page-by-page via phone before I closed. These communications leading to closing kept me reassured despite the stress of making what had been up to this point the single largest purchase of my life.The closing process was well underway when I arrived at the title company. They did their part and the entire event was quite painless overall. After signing an encyclopedia’s worth of paper, closing was done! The keys were mine, and the house was mine. Finally, all of the efforts of the past weeks came together – all of the documents I sent in, all of the credit pulls and personal information and statements, and all of it was worth it. Ongoing communication by my credit union enabled me to close with confidence – creating a positive experience overall. Clear explanations, transparency, and proactivity meant a great closing transaction.After closing, the credit union kept in touch. For one thing, they were servicing the loan in the interim before its sale to a private investor. I received a personalized letter from someone in the servicing department. It included a self-addressed, stamped envelope for me to send my payment in, and again thanked me for my business. This was a nice, personal touch. And finally, after the loan sold about a month later, I received a final thank you card from the credit union, which included a gift card to a home improvement store. These seemingly minor gestures cemented my relationship; by demonstrating that they really cared about my experience, they have now gained a new member for life. Although it requires multiple touches throughout the process, paying close attention to these details improves your customer service overall, as well as maximizing opportunity when it comes to serving millennials. Just as advertising is extremely important to initially attract millennial borrowers, your communications after the loan closes require care and attention to keep them coming back. From application, to processing and underwriting, to closing, the process was a long one. My credit union was a big help. There were times where I wanted to quit because I was so overwhelmed. There were times where I wondered if there had to be an easier way. While I don’t have an answer to that last question, I do know that my credit union is right on track to ease new borrower through this process. Now, I feel confident in having the knowledge I need to buy another home in the future. Most of all, I’m now a homeowner. 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Michelle Oliphant Michelle Oliphant is a member of the marketing department at Accenture Mortgage Cadence, a position she has held since 2012. She focuses primarily on product marketing, helping to shape the … Web: www.accenture.com Detailslast_img read more

What live user testing reveals about credit union homepages

first_imgAs part of our Financial Digital Marketing Blueprint engagements, we perform an assessment of our clients’ websites based on certain criteria. The primary element of this assessment involves an in-depth review of their current website in which we evaluate various website components, including their homepage, key product pages, website content, calls-to-action, heatmaps, and overall website architecture.We compile our findings in a report and provide our clients recommendations detailing how they can fix and overcome their current website’s shortcomings.And while our clients benefit from our recommendations, we find that it is sometimes more compelling for them to hear feedback directly from consumers.A key component of our website assessment includes performing live user testing of our clients’ current websites. These recorded sessions, in which we have a random sample of users complete various tasks, strip the rose-colored glasses so many of our clients view their current website through and provide an unfiltered perspective for our clients.With no previous exposure to our clients’ websites, these users in various demographic groups make blunt statements and honest judgments. The sessions are recorded and usually last for 20 minutes, but for the sake of sanity (hearing “um” every three seconds becomes very agitating after a while), we cut these sessions down to five-minute highlight reels for easier viewing consumption.And the results are typically brutal and squirm-inducing for many of the financial executives in the room.At the conclusion of our Financial Digital Marketing Blueprint recommendations, we always ask our clients, “What was the most helpful takeaway of today?” Undoubtedly, someone always mentions the live user recordings because of the unbiased insights they bring.Over the past 18 months, we have observed recurring patterns among the live user tests for the majority of bank and credit union websites. Below is an analysis of bank and credit union website homepages from the perspective of both current members and live user testing.A Digital Bulletin BoardThe most glaring issue we continue to find with credit union homepages is the overabundance of various messages. In fact, I explored this topic in great detail last year.In short, the average credit union website has nearly 28 different calls to action (CTAs) above the fold on their homepage. That’s like having 28 different doors on the outside of your branches.There’s a logical explanation for this occurrence, too.We have found the 80-90% of all of credit union website traffic goes directly into online banking. And to catch the attention of these online banking users, financial institutions use the homepage as a digital bulletin board for any and all announcements for their products and services.Have a new promotion? Put it on the homepage.Introducing a new product offering? Cram the announcement next to the rates table.What about the latest TV spot? Throw it up on the homepage.And how about that credit union rewards program? Yes, put that mandatory graphic up there as well. After all, it’s just one more thing.In essence, credit union homepages are used primarily as a communal dumping ground of various, and sometimes random, messages for current customers.And with the abundance of different messaging and visuals on credit union homepages directed at current customers, new visitors to these websites are subjected to cluttered and bloated homepages.Is Your Website Professional and Secure?Because this is the first time users have interacted with our clients’ websites, the first question we ask in our live user testers is, “Do you trust this company?” to assess the user’s’ initial thoughts and judgments about the homepages. This question is quickly followed by our second question, “How does this website make you feel?”While we have user tested numerous credit union websites, the two primary characteristics consumers identified as important when answering the question about trust were the following:ProfessionalismSecuritySubconsciously, user testers were asking and answering the following questions:Does this look like a professional website?Do you believe this is a safe and secure website?If the user testers could answer “Yes” to the above questions, confidence in the credit union website would therefore be established. And that confidence would translate into trust.What User Testers Have SaidThe user testing portion of our Financial Digital Marketing Blueprint engagements is always the unique variable of our delivery.While we can narrow down the field of potential users based on certain demographics, the inherent variety and scope of the internet ensures a colorful assortment of users will end up testing our clients websites.And the results are always insightful.Here’s are a few quotes from a previous user testing sessions that specifically address this idea of trust:“This website doesn’t look very professional.”“There’re too many colors, and it looks a lot less professional than my current bank’s website.”“I don’t feel 100% confident it’s that safest website.”“There’s a lock next to the login, which is reassuring.”“I don’t see this page and initially think, ‘I’m going to find a loan.’”“No, I don’t trust this company. If you’re a reliable company, you’ll have a better website than this.”“Do I trust this company? This is something I’m going to look into because of the initial impression of all the colors.”“Yes, I sort of trust them, but I will need to research this company a bit more.”There are numerous variables on a credit union website that can move a consumer one way or another, such as layout, color scheme, font selection, and dozens of other design elements. However, it’s necessary that your credit union begin to address these underlying concepts of professionalism and security for first-time visitors to ensure a memorable digital first impression.What would live user testing reveal about your homepage? 5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Jonathan Lay As Senior  Advisor at CU Grow, Jonathan Lay helps banks and credit unions use digital marketing to tell stories that sell. He brings over a decade of digital marketing experience … Web: www.cugrow.com Detailslast_img read more

I couldn’t repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder

first_imgThis has been a pretty rough June so far. I think it is safe to say that we breached the limits of positive monetary policy effectiveness about two years ago. Now, we are in a world where the major central banks are doing well if they just make a lot of noise without actually doing things that harm the global financial system—like Negative Interest Rate Policy (NIRP) and new iterations of Quantitative Easing (QE). In last week’s post, I spoke about my jaw dropping upon seeing the 10-year German Bund fall to a yield of three basis points. This week that yield is now negative 2.5 basis points. The Japanese 10-year government bond currently yields negative 20 basis points. Can you even use the word yield if it is negative? Maybe it should be called “the take” or something like that.It was a pretty humbling beginning of the month for the Federal Reserve (the Fed). After some influential reserve bank presidents spoke of monetary shock and awe at the end of May, the Fed had to take a few steps back when the May employment figures came out shockingly weak on June 3. The weak employment report led to what was widely viewed as a very “dovish” Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement on June 15. The Fed was forced to backtrack on their labor market optimism when they said, “The pace of improvement in the labor market has slowed. Although the employment rate has declined, job gains have diminished.”You could have heard a pin drop after that statement if it were not for the screaming of traders trying to buy anything that resembled a Treasury note or bond! Traders promptly took all FOMC tightening out for 2016 and essentially pushed them out well into 2017. The five-year Treasury note got as low as 1.06%, which implies a Federal Reserve on hold until sometime in 2020! This Thursday, the 10-year Treasury note dropped as low as 1.51%. continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Ivan Toney interview: Brentford striker on exceeding expectations, proving doubters wrong and competition with Marcus Forss | Football News

first_img Image:Brentford have won four of their opening 11 Championship fixtures  Image:Toney scored eight goals in just six games in October But it’s competition by name only, insists Toney.“If I can help him in any way then that’s the kind of person I am. If he scores a goal, I’m just as happy as he is for me. As long as we are both doing well, that’s all we can do. We bounce off each other and it helps. The manager has a choice to pick a striker; it’s me at the moment and it’s just up to me to keep my shirt.“As a striker, you want to score as many goals as possible and the more games there are, the more goals you can get. I’m excited for the next period and I just want to get more goals under my belt, as well as three points, to push us forward to getting promoted.” 1:58 Following news that Brentford had agreed a fee a few days prior, Sky Sports News travelled to Posh’s training ground to gauge Toney’s thoughts. “I want to play at the highest possible level – the Premier League,” he said. “I feel like my ability will get me there, whether it’s now, next season or whenever.”A short clip of the interview subsequently did the rounds in the increasingly volatile social media environment and what followed was a significant outpouring of vitriol, with his attitude and ability quickly called into question. It was mid-August and, with just weeks until the start of the 2020/21 campaign, speculation surrounding the future of Ivan Toney was beginning to ramp up.Peterborough had missed out on a place in the Sky Bet League One play-offs on a points-per-game basis and, having scored 26 goals in 39 games, the striker’s stock was at an all-time high. Scottish champions Celtic were among a host of clubs with a reported interest.- Advertisement – Toney stated his future Premier League ambitions in an interview with Sky Sports News in August – Advertisement – Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Brentford and Middlesbrough. “People are going to have their opinions and just because it’s their opinion to have, it doesn’t mean it’s factual,” he says.“I see myself as a Premier League player. If I see myself as a Championship player, that’s not good enough. You have to aim higher and if you come just short then it’s not too bad. You must have high ambitions and high ambitions scare small-minded people. I’m excited to be in the Championship and I’m sure I can play a big part in taking Brentford to the Premier League.”When the dust had finally settled, the move to west London materialised on August 31, with the Bees forking out an initial £5million for his services, rising to a maximum of £10million including add-ons. Ollie Watkins was still on the club’s books at the time, though Toney’s arrival paved the way for his record-breaking move to Aston Villa.center_img Peterborough United striker Ivan ToneyImage:The 24-year-old scored 26 goals for Peterborough last season preview image 1:39 “It wasn’t much of a shock to the system, it was more excitement. When you are excited and you want to do something, you don’t really care how your body is. You look past that and just enjoy it,” he says.“I would never have thought I’d be in this position at the beginning of the season but I did believe in myself and I know what I’m capable of and it’s starting to really show. I’ve believed in myself, and the manager, all the staff and the players have helped me.“I feel like everyone is a team player; there’s no individuals or standouts. I know I’ve been scoring the goals but without them I wouldn’t have been able to score them. Everyone wants the same goal at the end, which is to get promoted.“It’s pretty much the same squad as last year, obviously taking out two players [Watkins and Said Benrahma]. I’m sure the whole team knows what it is like to be so close and then not make it. They don’t want the same heartache they had last year and we want to put things right.” Nonetheless, Watkins’ boots would take some filling. In his first season since moving in from the wing last summer, the 24-year-old had made the No 9 role his own, with 26 goals in 50 appearances. It represented a wholly daunting prospect for some.“I was just excited to take the challenge on because I like proving people wrong. Without blowing my own trumpet, I feel like I completed League One a few years ago,” Toney adds, with a smile.There were nerves when his first four games ended without a goal. But then one away at Millwall was followed by two against Preston, two against Coventry and two more against Sheffield Wednesday. Eight in six games in October saw him named Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for October. Needless to say, the naysayers vanished.Even more impressive was the way he picked up where he left off last season, as if the six-month break before his Bees debut never happened. As he speaks to Sky Sports, however, it doesn’t take long to realise that his statement was somewhat misconstrued.- Advertisement – Meanwhile, jostling with Toney at the top of the Championship scoring charts is Blackburn’s Adam Armstrong. The pair were under contract at Newcastle from 2014 to 2018, though neither managed to break through to the first team on a regular basis. “I think we both have a point to prove,” Toney continues.“When I went to Newcastle, Adam was out on loan, but we did speak and said we should both be playing up front together. It was never to happen but he is a great striker who knows where the goal is, for sure.”There’s competition closer to home, though. Fresh from a loan spell at AFC Wimbledon last season, Marcus Forss has forced his way into head coach Thomas Frank’s plans and currently has four league goals from his eight appearances – all have which have come from the bench – which represents an incredible average of one goal every 35 minutes. Not to mention the fact he scored on his senior debut for Finland earlier this week, against world champions France, no less. Peterborough striker Ivan Toney– Advertisement –last_img read more