Monday, December 1, 2014

Intermediate Excel Tips & Tricks (guest blog by Stephany George)

Intermediate Excel Tips &Tricks presented by Stephany George at a Socializing for Justice ProfDev (low-cost professional development). SoJust is a cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community, network and movement based on the philosophies of abundance and radical inclusion. Learn more and get connected at

Microsoft Excel is a program we all love to hate.  Sometimes you swear that getting Excel to work the way you want is magic, especially when you see someone zoom through a spreadsheet without pause.

As a self-professed Excel nerd, when I see something new that I can't do, I have to find out how it's done.  My skills have been self-taught and learned by struggling through online tutorials.  Some of this information can be found on Microsoft's training website.

We've all experienced the trauma that comes from trying and failing to get Excel to work with us instead of against us.  Here are some tips that will guide you through several basic skills every Excel user needs and introduce some intermediate techniques you can use to impress your boss, friends and family. 

Conditional Formatting - Ever been jealous of how someone has color-coded their spreadsheet? Now you'll be able to do the same.  Makes it easy to visually reference data.

VLookup - This tricky formula will help you find that one piece of information you need without having to scroll through the entire data set.  Look for a specific piece of data in a column.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Speaking Peace - An Introduction to Nonviolent Communication (guest blog by Gail Carroll)

Presented by Gail Carroll at a Socializing for Justice ProfDev (low-cost professional development). SoJust is a cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community, network and movement based on the philosophy of abundance. Learn more and get connected at

Developing and practicing the skills of NVC has changed my life, because it has changed my relationships – all of my relationships: in work, with my daughter, with my partner, and yes, as the holidays are soon coming – also with extended family!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Making the Most of Volunteers (guest blog)

By Lori Tsuruda, Guest Blogger
Presented SoJust ProfDev: Effective Volunteer Management on October 6, 2014
We can’t afford to waste time, ours or that of potential volunteers, so we must strive to attract, identify, and support people best suited to help us further our charitable missions.

Like the hiring process for paid workers, charities need to identify what we seek in terms of attitudes, skills, interests, availability, etc. captured clearly in Position Descriptions, but since no paychecks are involved, we must seriously consider the needs and motivations of volunteers best suited for our organizations and our needs.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

8 Steps for Successful Networking

Presented by Robbie Samuels as part of the Socializing for Justice monthly ProfDev Series. SoJust is a cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community and network based on the philosophies of abundance and radical inclusion. Learn more and get connected at

Forming and cultivating relationships is at the heart of any successful fundraising campaign, volunteer drive, committee effort or community building activity. Foster and grow new networks with these practical tips and best practices to engage someone in a conversation, keep it rolling, exchange information and wrap up. Attend my Art of the Schmooze training for an interactive fast-paced and fun tutorial.
1. Say hello. Shake hands, say your name and affiliation.

Has the following happened to you? You've done your homework and know a particular bigwig connector, funder, donor, etc. will be at a networking event. You see them and freeze. What had you planned to say? Were you thanking them? Soliciting them? As your brain tries to put together a coherent sentence, they move out of view and the opportunity has passed. Let's keep this simple. Just shake hands and say, "Hello, my name is (insert your name here)." The rest of your elevator pitch can come later, but to build a relationship, you need to start by making the connection.

2. Ask questions. People like to talk about themselves.

Now that you have their attention, follow up with an open-ended question. Why open-ended? You're looking for them to share a story, which won't happen if your question can be answered with a yes or no response. Follow Dale Carnegie's timeless advice in "How to Win Friends & Influence People" and "allow the other person to do a great deal of the talking." In other words, make fewer statements and ask more questions. For example, "How did you hear about this event?" or follow up with
"How did you end up in your line of work?" 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Build and Get Out of the Way: How SoJust Got Started

This is the first in a series of blogs about Socializing for Justice's philosophy and practice. Learn more and get connected at

Socializing for Justice - a grassroots, cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community, network and movement in Boston -  is the brainchild of community organizer, fundraiser and event planner, Robbie Samuels. Since he moved to Boston in early 2000s, Robbie has been a leader within Boston’s progressive community. He has been recognized for his efforts - his birthday was declared "Robbie Samuels Day" by the Boston City Council in 2011. In creating SoJust, Robbie has combined fun, socializing and cross-issue mobilization as never before.

The vision for SoJust comes from Robbie’s first-hand experience. He wanted to address what he was repeatedly finding in his work – that individuals, organizations, and campaigns stunted their effectiveness by focusing solely on single-issue work. He believed he could get people representing multiple progressive issues into a room, connect them based on their shared values and thus help them more effectively fight for social justice. He saw a need for a cross-issue progressive movement.

What is SoJust? Our Philosophy

At the core of it, Socializing for Justice has been a great big social experiment. In the early years, SoJust’s Co-Founders Robbie Samuels and Hilary Allen intentionally built it and got out of the way. While they had some sense of what was possible through SoJust, they didn’t focus on one end goal. This allowed everyone who attended events to bring with them new possibilities that expanded the sum total of what SoJust could achieve.

SoJust is not focused on a specific identity group, culture or issue. Their strength is their ability to bring together passionate progressives from different neighborhoods, countries and cultures. To accomplish this, SoJust hosts socials and
ProfDevs (professional development trainings) that draw progressives of all stripes that share common values, but may work on different issues. In 8 years they’ve hosted 185 events. From the very first event, Robbie and Hilary were concerned about the group being quickly labeled “that” group - which would have limited who would feel welcome to attend events.

To counter this likelihood, they purposely hosted a wide range of events in venues across the Boston metro area. Bowling for Justice in Alewife, Roller Skating for Justice in Mattapan, Knitting for Justice in Forest Hills, Thrifting for Justice in Kendall Square, and Cocktails for Justice in Central Square are just a few examples of the range of events that were held twice a month during the first few years. As a result, event attendees have been all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, levels of activism and professions. Some just moved to Boston and others were born here. A few years in, “cross-cultural” was added to their mission statement to emphasize the importance of weaving diversity efforts into all that they do. Their goal is that you see someone like yourself at their events and meet someone you otherwise wouldn't have.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Socially Responsible Investing? (guest blog)

The following is a guest blog by Joby Gelbspan, who has led ProfDev trainings on Socially Responsible Investing hosted by Socializing for Justice. SoJust is a grassroots, cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community, network and movement in Boston based on the philosophies of abundance and radical inclusion.

SoJust draw progressives of all stripes that share common progressive values but may work on different issues. We create social spaces in Boston that allow for the possibility of cross-issue connections and run a monthly ProfDev Series, hosted by The NonProfit Center, which provides affordable professional development trainings to increase our individual capacity for movement building. I co-founded SoJust in 2006, our 8th anniversary party is on September 11th. Learn more and RSVP at

Socially Responsible Investing?
Here is Joby's PowerPoint from her 2014 presentation.
A life immersed in activism and movement-building has blessed me with an abundance of friends who are smart, thoughtful, and committed to making the world a more just and safer place. From employment decisions to daily purchases, most of them understand that their economic choices have important social consequences. But I am frequently surprised by how few progressives and activists feel empowered when it comes to savings and investment – to building wealth.

Whether it’s the intimidating jargon or feeling overwhelmed, or an understandable mistrust of Wall Street, the temptation to check out and keep one’s money under the proverbial mattress is all too common. But the mattress will, of course, not even keep up with inflation. Sustaining a movement requires that we support ourselves and those who depend on us. Refusing to invest is not necessarily the most constructive choice for building a sustainable future personally, or for advancing your vision more broadly.

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Copyright 2010-2011 by Robbie Samuels. Contact me Robbie @ Creative Commons License is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.