Power, popularity, peaceful protest – how one artist is mixing them all together

“My exhibition, called ‘Power & Pop,’ is portraying the use of a celebrity’s face as a vehicle not just for popularity but also as a symbol of protest, and freedom of speech. All the subjects in my work are celebrities who have been arrested for lobbying for freedom of speech, such as Martin Luther King Jnr, John Lennon and Jane Fonda. I’m interested in the notoriety that celebrities have and their ability to influence a larger audience. Take John Lennon for instance. His anti-Vietnam stance and ‘Imagine Peace’ campaign was a protest on a global scale. Closer to home Midnight Oil are a great example. Why is it that the Government was not able to say sorry to the Aboriginals, but a popular musician can do it without fear? I am intrigued at how these celebrities can cut through the nonsense and make a point.”

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The Double-Life of a Comic Book Store Owner and Modern-Day Superhero

“A little kid came in the other day but he didn’t have much money, so I didn’t sell him anything. When I came home that night, I reflected on what happened and I realized I should have given him something more. I always give stuff away for free but I get surprised and disappointed in myself if I am not more giving. The following day, I was hoping he would come back, but he never did. If someone did that for me as a kid, it would have made my day, and I would remember it even when I grew up. I’ve always wanted this business to be a personal endeavor upon myself to make people happy. That is why one of my main goals is to build up Zumps, my toy line, and then have it tied in with every local hospital, so when I sell Zumps the proceeds go directly to caring for hospitalized children.”

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Starting A Revolution, One Tea Leaf At A Time

“I was working at the Senate in 2013 and the traffic in Manila went from bad to worse. I was spending two to three hours driving to work everyday, and that’s on a good day.   I was stressed out and almost psychosomatic. But in December that year, I bought a pack of loose leaf tea.  Unlike brewing tea bags, you have to measure one teaspoon for each cup, you have to be mindful of the water temperature, as well as the steeping duration.   As I was making it, I discovered what I now recognize as a Zen moment. I found a quiet space inside me and all the stress disappeared. Long story short, I started looking forward to that ritual every day. That moment actually led me to become a tea business owner and a student of Zen practice.”

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This is what a medical student can teach salespeople

Doctors are very effective when prescribing drugs because they see what the patient needs without snatching control. They ask, ‘Do you want to do this or not?’ They give their patients the option to choose. So, when I am selling my products, I take the pressure out of it, and make it personal. If I notice that my products will really benefit them, then I strike up a conversation about my business. Otherwise I don’t bring up the topic at all. In the end, I don’t think of it as selling. I just think of it as helping people.

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When money is not the most important thing in business

“I’ve thought about converting my business into a franchise, but I feel that if I franchise it, I will lose so much of what dog-walking is; it becomes less about the dogs, and more about making a lot of money. Dog-walking is a great lifestyle. You can easily get by and there is money to be made, but you have to draw the line between trying to become a millionaire and doing what is best for the dogs; between getting rich and doing what is ethical. I think having an ethically responsible business is more important than making money. Ultimately, I walk dogs as a business, not to make tons of money, but to give dogs the opportunity to exercise and socialize with other dogs and to interact with people who truly care for them.”

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Reimagining Indigenous Jewelry

“Nawa means many things in T’Boli… one’s character or emotions. It could also mean ‘breath’, and in Tagalog it can mean ‘Amen’ or ‘let it be’. We created Nawa to showcase the amazing talent that comes from handmade Filipino jewelry. Around the Philippines, there’s so much talent to be tapped.”

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School Teacher Creates Toy Line To Help Fund Mother’s Cancer Treatment

 “My proudest moment is the time we were featured on TV. And when we watched the show, with my mom and dad beside us, my mom was just staring at the TV. I think she was thinking, ‘Are these my daughters? Are they really there, talking about our story?’ My parents really felt like we were doing something good.”

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How to drive a business by creating a people-centred workplace

“Back when I started the business, it was pretty tough. I was really just getting by and at the time I had a young boy to support. Actually, quite honestly I could have made more money more easily by working for someone else, but this didn’t matter because I was doing what I love. I love books, and I love the sort of interaction that I have with people here. I used to work really long hours. When you own a business, you really are at risk of it becoming your whole life. So I began to pull back and develop more systems for training staff. That was when I came to understand that well trained staff are a powerful asset.”

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