JENNIFER ZAHGKUNI, A CELEBRATION
THE FORGOTTEN INTERNATIONAL
10th YEAR ANNIVERSAY

It is my great pleasure to celebrate The Forgotten International’s tenth year anniversary with a reprint of Jennifer Zahgkuni’s interview. As you may recall, Jennifer received the Remarkable People 2015 tribute for her work with The Forgotten International. TFI is an important non-profit foundation working to alleviate extreme poverty especially among women and children who live at the edge of life and death.

It goes without saying that TFI will appreciate your donation (click here to donate). Enjoy Jennifer Zahgkuni’s interview below and read TFI’s 2015 Year In Review:

Jennifer inherited a passion for doing the right thing. She has a legal mindset, is a professional administrator, a developer of Foundation and Fellowship Programs, a relationship builder, and an astute and compassionate humanitarian. She is a worldview treasure.

2015 Photo by Thomas Nazario, San Francisco, CA. USA.

Jennifer believes that lasting change can be achieved if everybody acknowledges a responsibility to repay a communal debt or pay one forward. She says, “You never know when you will be the one who needs help! It shouldn’t be from a place of guilt or obligation, but rather from a collective sense that we are all one; that we are all connected.”

“Life often isn’t fair, and terrible things happen to good people, so we must ensure a balance whenever we can.”

Source: Postcard from the Near East Foundation Archive
View more images

A lineage of compassion…
Jennifer shines a familial light on such kindness that came in 1915. The Near East Foundation was created to address the extreme refugee crisis in Armenia during the First World War. Their model of “citizen philanthropy” allowed everyday people to get involved in the relief effort, and in the coming years, they saved over one million lives that otherwise would have perished.

Jennifer’s grandfather was one of tens of thousands of orphans from that still unrecognized genocide.

That was then…
Caption: 1915, Armenian deportees – women, children and elderly men. Woman in forground is carrying a child in her arms, shielding it from the sun with a shawl; man on left is carrying bedding; no other belongings or food noticable amoung effects being carried. All are walking in the sun and on an unpaved road with no means of shelter from the elements. Location: Ottoman empire, region Syria.

© Armenian National Institute, Inc. courtesy of Sybil Stevens

Jennifer said, “While a century has passed, and much is forgotten, the outpouring of compassion should not be lost in the chronicles of the historical record and should remain alive in every new generation. I very much believe that I am here today because a hundred years ago complete strangers helped my family simply because it was the right thing to do. It is always the right thing to do.”

And now…

Source: Yannis Behrakis, REUTERS

A Syrian refugee kissing his daughter while walking toward Greece’s border with Macedonia. Today’s refugees are flooding into Europe for safety from violence and persecution… eerily similar to Jennifer’s grandfather’s flight from the Armenian genocide exactly 100 years ago.

“Of course, it is distressing to see humanitarian disasters on the news day after day; nevertheless, I hope our shared response to suffering will always place compassion and kindness first.”

MARY OLSON: What kind of work were you doing before you joined The Forgotten International?

JENNIFER ZAHGKUNI: I worked for TFI on a volunteer basis when we were first starting the organization in 2007. Now that I think back on that period, I don’t quite know how I managed it while engaged full time elsewhere. I worked in educational administration for over 12 years before being able to devote myself fully to our nonprofit.

I met Tom Nazario, the founder of TFI, at the University of San Francisco School of Law. He had just returned from his first trip to India and what would be a life-altering meeting with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. One of the first big projects we worked on together was helping to coordinate a visit to USF by His Holiness to receive an Honorary Degree from the University in 2003.

Source: The Chauntra School. Tibetan students in India with Jennifer Zahgkuni

The following summer I left USF to live and work in Dharamsala, India, as a volunteer English teacher at one of the Tibetan schools established by the Tibetan Government in Exile. We didn’t know it at the time, but this is how TFI’s Fellowship Program began, and we continue to send skilled volunteers abroad each year to Dharamsala and four other sites around the world.

It was also the beginning of our work with the Tibetan community. We have been fortunate to have several opportunities since to host His Holiness at various events in the Bay Area and even more fortunate to be able to help Tibetan organizations in the U.S. and abroad.

2014. Tom Nazario, HHDL and Debra Fischer, Los Angeles, CA. USA.
Presenting Tom Nazario’s book, Living on a Dollar a Day: The Lives and Faces of The World’s Poor, to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama for which he penned the introduction.

MO: How would you characterize TFI when you first started working with the Foundation?

JZ: When Tom [Nazario] envisioned TFI, it was always with the intention of helping those in need that were underserved and otherwise forgotten (hence our name, The Forgotten International).

We used our early years to learn how to build and deliver truly invaluable programs and manage our commitments to the very first NGOs. Listening to those in need has made all the difference in our work abroad and at home. What has changed over time is the “how” of what we do.

Our personal connection to the programs now facilitates closer relationships with our donors who feel more involved with the projects they support. They also know that we give 100% of donors’ funds to their designated programs or projects.

© 2010 Renée C. Byer, Pulitzer Prize Winning Photojournalist, Sacramento, CA.
In Agbogbloshie, Accra, the capital city of Ghana, Fati, 8, works along with other children who live on the edge of life and death in a toxic eWaste dumpsite. Her condition was recently remedied by the TFI Children’s Fund that introduced a better life including food, a bed and school.

MO: You touch every aspect of the Foundation in one way or another. What facets offer the most creativity…the places where you add your imprint?

JZ: I enjoy wearing many hats at TFI as it gives me the opportunity to see how all the pieces fit together and what is needed where. It also makes clear the realities of running a business and the importance of being as resourceful and efficient as possible. The most satisfying part, without question, is the giving.

Whenever we make a gift of any amount, even to an organization we have supported for years, it is the most joyful feeling, even addicting, I would say. Whenever anyone has the opportunity to give, they should jump on it. Nothing feels better. If you give, either a gift of time or money, to a person or an organization that really needs this help, you see the impact, I predict you won’t be able to do it just once.

Our Fellows learn this when they go abroad to volunteer with our programs. They all tell us how enriching the experience was personally and professionally, and when we follow up with them even years later, they say their time abroad through TFI remains on of their most treasured and unforgettable life experiences.

Jennifer Zahgkuni and Tom Nazario with Dawa Dorjee USF Graduate.
Celebrating the USF graduation of a Tibetan student from India who was chosen to come to the University of San Francisco on a scholarship program Tom Nazario had started as part of the visit by His Holiness to the University.

I, for one, would never give up the two months I spent teaching in India for anything. I carry the memories of that experience with me still, and it influences all aspects of how I do my work.

MO: What do you envision for the Foundation going forward? What opportunities do you see for yourself going forward?

JZ: With TFI closing in on eight years of operations this year, my hope for the organization is that by being diligent, we have earned a reliable reputation for service to the poor. I would like to see these efforts bear fruit in increased collaborations with larger foundations and corporations that want a trusted organization to partner with so that together we can create a greater impact on our shared mission of helping more people rise up out of crushing poverty.

I would like to see my role gradually expand to be more involved in the field. With current technologies making it possible to work from anywhere, I feel more confident about stepping away from my desk from time to time whenever it makes sense for me to do so. I look forward to visiting more of the programs TFI supports and meeting the people we work with around the world. It makes all the difference to be able to spend time with the communities we try to serve and strengthen the relationships between our organization and the NGOs we work with abroad.

Download PDF version of this blog.

Contact The Forgotten International:
Email Jennifer Zahgkuni
Visit Website
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Donate

REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2015
MARIANA ANTINORI
THE REAL ALCHEMY OF FASHION IS NOT ABOUT BRANDS

I recently met with Mariana Antinori to learn how the most prescient leader of Italian fashion on Madison Avenue established her remarkable design niche. I also wanted to know how she evolved her beautiful reputation and the strong bonds and relationships that her friends and customers value.

Please accept my invitation to stop in and visit with Mariana Antinori. When you visit her shop, you will find a warm welcome and see that every exquisite hand-selected piece is unique.

The story about how Mariana’s reputation came about is remarkable. She descended from a great Florentine family where cultural and familial bonds have always been strong among Italy’s oldest families. As a family insider, Mariana has access to private network of elite designers and craftspeople, long proven elusive to outsiders. As a result, her exclusivity, insights and discerning taste became the cornerstones of her legendary name.

Photo by Raoul Didisheim, 2013

Mariana knows the alchemy of luxury and understands that real luxury trades on two attributes, speciality and exclusivity.

In 2012, Mariana introduced New Yorkers to the most stunning new generation of Italian jewelry and accessory designers virtually unknown in America.

She is one of a kind. She has the finest eye for style and design in Manhattan, sources the most exclusive fashion accessories, is a trusted advisor, and an ultimate storyteller. Her collections are a direct reflection of her design philosophy.

Mariana Antinori is fashion’s best friend to women who value discerning uniqueness and are looking for sophistication for special lifestyle moments.

Mary Olson: What do you recommend for women who would treasure something uniquely special for the holidays?

Mariana Antinori: Well, the mission of our shop is about speciality, but some interesting items that are new for the holidays include woven leather evening clutches with semi-precious stones from Capri. We also have some wonderful new collections of fine and costume jewelry pieces that I’m excited about.

OLSON: How do you see your collections evolving for the spring of 2016?

ANTINORI: I will continue to support Italian design by bringing smaller yet exclusive merchandise and evoking a highly personal shopping experience, but will expand the fine and costume jewelry. I think this is a special niche that is lacking in the market.

OLSON: Your trunk shows are important events. What are your thoughts as you build your following?

ANTINORI: I carry items that can’t be found elsewhere, and the trunk shows augment that. They allow designers the opportunity to expose their creations and give my customers a chance to see new things that they are not going to find in other stores. There is a great wealth of talent that I have access to, and I enjoy being able to share it.

OLSON: How important is understated luxury to you?

ANTINORI: To me, understated luxury means quality of life. It refers to beauty and style, original design and patterns, fabrics and the right proportions. It’s not about brands. That’s what my customers understand.

Contact:

Mariana Antinori
1242 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10128 USA
646-476-5108

Email: info@marianaantinori.com
Website: http://marianaantinori.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mariana.Antinori.Inc/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marianaantinori/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/marianaantinori/

Interview by Mary Olson
Email: maryolson@maryolson.biz
Phone: 917.656.1856
Blog: maryolson.biz/blog
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maryolsonbiz

REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2015
NANCY COHEN, ARTIST

My interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2015 includes experts in technology, the arts, transformative business innovation, and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of humanity and social responsibility; others are creating game-changing paradigm shifts in their respective fields.

Nancy Cohen has an MFA from Columbia University. Over the past twenty-five years, Nancy Cohen has explored sculptural formations and created installations, glass drawings and works on paper. She has established a compelling body of work from small sculptures to large installations. The range and application of materials are explored here. She is also a collaborator, most recently with environmentalists, and lectures widely.

The following interview with Nancy Cohen is available as a multi-channel user experience. The format for your exploration and engagement is entirely up to you.

Nancy Cohen, Hackensack Dreaming, Traveling Exhibition, 2015-2016

PDF Version: Remarkable People 2015 – Nancy Cohen
Recent Digital Catalog: Hackensack Dreaming

Mary Olson: How has your work emerged?

Nancy Cohen: "Over the years my work has emerged in two parallel directions and through two rather distinct approaches to creating art.

This first one is very personal, and I think of as being related to the body – to how I/we as human beings exist and survive in the world. In the 80’s I was making an abstract sculpture that I thought of almost as characters in a short story – engaging with each other in various situations. Those pieces were juxtapositions of opposing materials, textures, forms, etc."

The next group of work was more evocative of particular aspects of the body – internal organs – cellular or breast forms. About 15 years ago I began making work that I thought of as containers or some kinds of support systems for the body. I began with a Chariot form and then moved on to Hammocks, Wheel Chairs, Gurneys, Chaise Lounges, Cradles, Scooters, and Crutches and am now working on Walkers.

CLICK HERE to READ FULL ARTICLE

REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2015
INHERITING COMPASSION AND
DOING THE RIGHT THING
WITH JENNIFER ZAHGKUNI

My interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2015 includes experts in technology, the arts, marketing, and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of humanity and social responsibility like Jennifer Zahgkuni; others are creating game-changing paradigm shifts in their market segments.

Please meet Jennifer Zahgkuni of The Forgotten International (TFI) whose transformative work alleviates extreme poverty especially among women and children who live at the edge of life and death.

Jennifer inherited a passion for doing the right thing. She has a legal mindset, is a professional administrator, a developer of Foundation and Fellowship Programs, a relationship builder, and an astute and compassionate humanitarian. She is a worldview treasure.

2015 Photo by Thomas Nazario, San Francisco, CA. USA.

Jennifer believes that lasting change can be achieved if everybody acknowledges a responsibility to repay a communal debt or pay one forward. She says, “You never know when you will be the one who needs help! It shouldn’t be from a place of guilt or obligation, but rather from a collective sense that we are all one; that we are all connected.”

“Life often isn’t fair, and terrible things happen to good people, so we must ensure a balance whenever we can.”

Source: Postcard from the Near East Foundation Archive
View more images

A lineage of compassion…
Jennifer shines a familial light on such kindness that came in 1915. The Near East Foundation was created to address the extreme refugee crisis in Armenia during the First World War. Their model of “citizen philanthropy” allowed everyday people to get involved in the relief effort, and in the coming years, they saved over one million lives that otherwise would have perished.

Jennifer’s grandfather was one of tens of thousands of orphans from that still unrecognized genocide.

That was then…
Caption: 1915, Armenian deportees – women, children and elderly men. Woman in forground is carrying a child in her arms, shielding it from the sun with a shawl; man on left is carrying bedding; no other belongings or food noticable amoung effects being carried. All are walking in the sun and on an unpaved road with no means of shelter from the elements. Location: Ottoman empire, region Syria.

© Armenian National Institute, Inc. courtesy of Sybil Stevens

Jennifer said, “While a century has passed, and much is forgotten, the outpouring of compassion should not be lost in the chronicles of the historical record and should remain alive in every new generation. I very much believe that I am here today because a hundred years ago complete strangers helped my family simply because it was the right thing to do. It is always the right thing to do.”

And now…

Source: Yannis Behrakis, REUTERS

A Syrian refugee kissing his daughter while walking toward Greece’s border with Macedonia. Today’s refugees are flooding into Europe for safety from violence and persecution… eerily similar to Jennifer’s grandfather’s flight from the Armenian genocide exactly 100 years ago.

“Of course, it is distressing to see humanitarian disasters on the news day after day; nevertheless, I hope our shared response to suffering will always place compassion and kindness first.”

MARY OLSON: What kind of work were you doing before you joined The Forgotten International?

JENNIFER ZAHGKUNI: I worked for TFI on a volunteer basis when we were first starting the organization in 2007. Now that I think back on that period, I don’t quite know how I managed it while engaged full time elsewhere. I worked in educational administration for over 12 years before being able to devote myself fully to our nonprofit.

I met Tom Nazario, the founder of TFI, at the University of San Francisco School of Law. He had just returned from his first trip to India and what would be a life-altering meeting with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. One of the first big projects we worked on together was helping to coordinate a visit to USF by His Holiness to receive an Honorary Degree from the University in 2003.

Source: The Chauntra School. Tibetan students in India with Jennifer Zahgkuni

The following summer I left USF to live and work in Dharamsala, India, as a volunteer English teacher at one of the Tibetan schools established by the Tibetan Government in Exile. We didn’t know it at the time, but this is how TFI’s Fellowship Program began, and we continue to send skilled volunteers abroad each year to Dharamsala and four other sites around the world.

It was also the beginning of our work with the Tibetan community. We have been fortunate to have several opportunities since to host His Holiness at various events in the Bay Area and even more fortunate to be able to help Tibetan organizations in the U.S. and abroad.

2014. Tom Nazario, HHDL and Debra Fischer, Los Angeles, CA. USA.
Presenting Tom Nazario’s book, Living on a Dollar a Day: The Lives and Faces of The World’s Poor, to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama for which he penned the introduction.

MO: How would you characterize TFI when you first started working with the Foundation?

JZ: When Tom [Nazario] envisioned TFI, it was always with the intention of helping those in need that were underserved and otherwise forgotten (hence our name, The Forgotten International).

We used our early years to learn how to build and deliver truly invaluable programs and manage our commitments to the very first NGOs. Listening to those in need has made all the difference in our work abroad and at home. What has changed over time is the “how” of what we do.

Our personal connection to the programs now facilitates closer relationships with our donors who feel more involved with the projects they support. They also know that we give 100% of donors’ funds to their designated programs or projects.

© 2010 Renée C. Byer, Pulitzer Prize Winning Photojournalist, Sacramento, CA.
In Agbogbloshie, Accra, the capital city of Ghana, Fati, 8, works along with other children who live on the edge of life and death in a toxic eWaste dumpsite. Her condition was recently remedied by the TFI Children’s Fund that introduced a better life including food, a bed and school.

MO: You touch every aspect of the Foundation in one way or another. What facets offer the most creativity…the places where you add your imprint?

JZ: I enjoy wearing many hats at TFI as it gives me the opportunity to see how all the pieces fit together and what is needed where. It also makes clear the realities of running a business and the importance of being as resourceful and efficient as possible. The most satisfying part, without question, is the giving.

Whenever we make a gift of any amount, even to an organization we have supported for years, it is the most joyful feeling, even addicting, I would say. Whenever anyone has the opportunity to give, they should jump on it. Nothing feels better. If you give, either a gift of time or money, to a person or an organization that really needs this help, you see the impact, I predict you won’t be able to do it just once.

Our Fellows learn this when they go abroad to volunteer with our programs. They all tell us how enriching the experience was personally and professionally, and when we follow up with them even years later, they say their time abroad through TFI remains on of their most treasured and unforgettable life experiences.

Jennifer Zahgkuni and Tom Nazario with Dawa Dorjee USF Graduate.
Celebrating the USF graduation of a Tibetan student from India who was chosen to come to the University of San Francisco on a scholarship program Tom Nazario had started as part of the visit by His Holiness to the University.

I, for one, would never give up the two months I spent teaching in India for anything. I carry the memories of that experience with me still, and it influences all aspects of how I do my work.

MO: What do you envision for the Foundation going forward? What opportunities do you see for yourself going forward?

JZ: With TFI closing in on eight years of operations this year, my hope for the organization is that by being diligent, we have earned a reliable reputation for service to the poor. I would like to see these efforts bear fruit in increased collaborations with larger foundations and corporations that want a trusted organization to partner with so that together we can create a greater impact on our shared mission of helping more people rise up out of crushing poverty.

I would like to see my role gradually expand to be more involved in the field. With current technologies making it possible to work from anywhere, I feel more confident about stepping away from my desk from time to time whenever it makes sense for me to do so. I look forward to visiting more of the programs TFI supports and meeting the people we work with around the world. It makes all the difference to be able to spend time with the communities we try to serve and strengthen the relationships between our organization and the NGOs we work with abroad.

Download PDF version of this blog.

Contact The Forgotten International:
Email Jennifer Zahgkuni
Visit Website
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Donate

REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2015
INSIDE MARKETING WITH LIZ NIGHTINGALE

My interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2015 includes experts in technology, the arts, marketing, and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; others are creating game-changing paradigm shifts in their market segments.

I recently had a chance to speak with Liz Nightingale, the ultimate expert in relationship marketing.

You can trace Liz’s marketing mindset to every touch-point of a brand experience. I mean, personally and emotionally direct to people.

It doesn’t matter if the market segment is B2C or trade. In the end, it’s people who respond to her remarkable marketing touch. A quick look into her magical toolkit reveals strategic planning, PR, advertising, brand marketing, emotional branding and brand experience.

Philosophies, processes and creativity are the driving elements of Liz Nightingale’s world of marketing. Although she has been the ultimate leader in luxury marketing from legendary brands to global influences, everything is about building and valuing relationships.

I asked Liz recently, “You are at the top of your game. Every brand you touch increases by double digits. What’s next?” She replied, “I envision opportunities to collaborate at the C-suite level with business visionaries who understand the value of relationships. Marketing has never been as competitive as it is today. But it is not just about appreciating how to simplify complexity or creating and managing data, but about understanding and creating a relationship with your market on a personal basis.”

Liz is the ultimate example of a professional who integrates a love of relationships with digital technologies.

A deep look into Nightingale’s world and you find a master strategist who loves creating world-class brands and building lasting relationships with customers—With digital data.

I mentioned the widely held belief in the marketing world that what you knew two years ago is no longer true today. Nightingale dispelled that notion with a twist when I asked, “What do you think about the impact of technology on C-suite marketing careerists?”

She said, “It is likely that the CMO role shortly will transition to the Chief Marketing Technologist. But, remember, CMT’s need interpersonal skills and a deep and authentic respect for people. Process-wise, relating to people won’t change.”

Liz Nightingale Profile (PDF)

Liz Nightingale on LinkedIn

REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2015
JANINE ST. GERMAIN PUBLISHES CUBIC FOOTNOTES,
THE HIDDEN STORIES IN ARCHIVAL COLLECTIONS

Janine St. Germain, the American archivist, recently launched a world-class blog, CubicFootnotes.com. Her new media venture is an extraordinary treasure trove of stories and insights into collections only an archivist of St. Germain’s standing and experience could produce.

Cubic Footnotes premieres with a variety of conversations with fellow archivists, artists, fans and frequent users of archives, as well as a few individuals whose life work was preserved in archival collections.

St. Germain’s first blog produces a palpable sense of experiencing a variety of voices when the first “untouched” box is cracked open. Some posts are quiet, some are edgy and hold new insights to notoriety.

Janine’s most recent archival projects include Vassar College, Papers of Dr. Antonio Marquez, Adelaide deMenil, Papers of Edmund Snow Carpenter, Association of Cultural Equity, and Papers of Elizabeth Lomax Sturz.

Her extensive body of work includes the documentation of Frederick Law Olmsted’s designs of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and the performance work of theater artist Robert Wilson. Janine’s work also includes artist archives of Robert Kushner, Christopher Knowles, Henry Darger and Nancy Holt and a variety of corporate archives ranging from Colgate-Palmolive and Campbell’s Soup.

Janine’s extensive portfolio also includes the personal archives of legendary Americans, including NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Debbie Harry.

I am pleased to add Janine to my annual list of REMARKABLE PEOPLE (2015).

It is my great pleasure to recommend Cubic Footnotes, by Janine St. Germain.

Learn more: www.cubicfootnotes.com