Girl Geek Networking Dinner

August 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Last Night I attended a Girl Geek dinner and networking event. It was absolutely wonderful and inspirational. GirlGeeks.org, encourage women to develop their careers in technology, as well as:

Develop GirlGeeks content for training via classes as well as online and video-based seminars.

Even “after the bubble”, the world is a new place, and technology for communication and community-building are more important than ever. Girl Geeksensure that women and other often-overlooked groups have the freedom, motivation and resources to participate in this new world.

Organised by Morna Simpson founder of FlockEdu.co.uk she introduced the illustrious panel by saying that today the Tech Community in Scotland has developers from a range of backgrounds.  Alongside maths, physics and computing graduates, I know linguists who love natural language programming, fine-artists who are into open-source sculptors who develop physics-engines and weavers who do front-end development.

But the digital sector is made up from many more people than that. There is a place for marketing, sales, designers, and a host of others too.At heart many of these people are motivated and united by the idea of building new things that can change the world for the better.

Don’t forget the heroes of digital technology are all visionaries who saw the potential of digital technology to democratise knowledge, create better economic systems and a fairer society.

Girl Geek Scotland is a place where we hope to bring together all of kinds people for inspiring discussion and productive networking.

We are delighted to bring such an influential group of WOMEN together to share their knowledge with Scotland’s current and future entrepreneurs. Now I told you I would give a more detailed introduction to our guests. But honestly each person has such an extensive CV that it could take all night. So instead I have tried to select some highlights for you.

Heidi Roizen, Venture Partner with Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Director for TiVo, Eventful, TrustID, ShareThis and XTime

She is a Venture Partner with leading global venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. She is also currently a

corporate director for TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO), DMGT (LSE:DMGT), Eventful, TrustedID, ShareThis and XTime. Her prior board experience includes Great Plains Software, the Pacific Exchange, the Software Publishers Association and the National Venture Capital Association, in addition to numerous academic and non-profit boards. Roizen also currently teaches the class “Spirit of Entrepreneurship” in the engineering department at Stanford University.

Karen White, President and Chief Operating Officer, Addepar

Karen has spent over 25 years in the technology industry as a successful operating executive and investor focused on enterprise and business software. Karen was most recently CEO and Chairman of Syncplicity, where she grew the company to more than 30,000

business customers over 3 years. Previously, Karen led worldwide corporate and business development at SolarWinds, a top network management software company. She joined the team while they were still privately held and the company debuted its successful IPO in May 2009. Before SolarWinds, Karen served as managing director at Pequot Ventures, a private equity firm with $1.8 billion under

management, where she established and led the software investing team in Silicon Valley.

Ann Winblad, co-founder and Managing Director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners

Ann Winblad is the co-founder and a Managing Director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. Hummer Winblad Venture Partners (www.humwin.com ) is a leading venture capital firm focused on software investing and manages over $1 billion in cumulative capital. Since Hummer Winblad Venture Partners’ inception in 1989 the firm has launched over 100 new software companies.

Wendy Lea, CEO of Get Satisfaction recognised as a Top 100 Woman of Influence in Silicon Valley

Wendy Lea is the CEO of Get Satisfaction. Wendy currently serves as an angel investor, strategic advisor and board

member for a long list of startup companies. Wendy serves on the board of Silicon Valley Social Venture Capital (SV2.org) and Corporate Visions. She has been recognized as a Top 100 Woman of Influence in Silicon Valley and was awarded the Watermark’s “Woman Who Made Her Mark” award.

Dr. Suzanne Doyle-Morris – Chaired the session and 

is author of both’ Beyond the Boys’ Club: Strategies for Achieving Career Success as a Woman Working in a Male Dominated Field’ and’ Female Breadwinners: How They Make Relationships Work and Why They are the Future of the Modern Workplace’.

She is a Saltire Fellow has recently founded a new tech company, inclusIQ uses gamified e-learning to help managers reduce unconscious bias in the workplace to create smarter and more competitive teams.

At the end of the night there wasn’t one person who didn’t feel a little more energised, a little more determined to succeed with their venture.

Well done Girl Geeks and well done Morna. I am very much looking forward to the next event.

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Scientists link obesity to gut bacteria

December 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Scientists link obesity to gut bacteria

By Pippa Stephens in London

Obesity in human beings could be caused by bacterial infection rather than eating too much, exercising too little or genetics, according to a groundbreaking study that could have profound implications for public health systems, the pharmaceutical industry and food manufacturers.

The discovery in China followed an eight-year search by scientists across the world to explain the link between gut bacteria and obesity.

 Researchers in Shanghai identified a human bacteria linked with obesity, fed it to mice and compared their weight gain with rodents without the bacteria. The latter did not become obese despite being fed a high-fat diet and being prevented from exercising.

The bacterium – known as enterobacter – encourages the body to make and store fat, and prevents it from being used, by deregulating the body’s metabolism-controlling genes.

“This is a very important phenomenon,” said Professor Zhao Liping, who with a team at Shanghai Jiao Tong University carried out the research. “It is the last missing piece of evidence bacteria causes obesity.”

Other academics not linked to the project were quick to seize on its potential implications.

Dr David Weinkove, lecturer in biological sciences at Durham University, said: “If obesity is caused by bacteria, it could be infectious and picked up from some unknown environmental factor, or a parent. It might not be behavioural after all.”

Dr Weinkove said Prof Zhao’s research paved a way to intervene in obesity and could allow new drugs to be developed for treatment.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal of the International Society for Microbial Ecology.

Governments around the world are grappling with an obesity pandemic. Chronically overweight people are at a greater risk of suffering from a heart attack, cancer, and diabetes.

According to government and academic studies, nearly 50 per cent of all adults in the US and UK will be obese by 2030.

The UK government estimated that the total cost of obesity – the cost of healthcare as well as the wider burden on the economy – could amount to £50bn a year by 2050 if the pandemic was left unchecked, according to a report by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Although the Shanghai research was on a small scale, it is bound to add to a heated debate between the health profession and food and drink manufacturers and fast-food chains over responsibility for obesity.

Prof Zhao said treatment with a specially developed diet could be cheaper and more effective than surgery for the morbidly obese and could be available within three years.

There are 10 times more microbes than human cells in our bodies and they can be beneficial. There are between 200 and 300 different species in a typical person.

The Shanghai team fed a morbidly obese man a special diet designed to inhibit the bacterium linked to obesity and found that he lost 29 per cent of his body weight in 23 weeks. The patient was prevented from doing any exercise during the trial.

Prof Zhao said such a loss in an obese patient using this diet was unprecedented. The patient also recovered from diabetes, high blood pressure and fatty liver disease.

The diet of whole grains, traditional Chinese medicines and non-digestible carbohydrates changed the pH in the gut which limited the bacterium’s activity.

Enterobacter also release chemicals, called endotoxins, which cause insulin resistance and a slower uptake of glucose from the blood after eating. Patients take longer to feel full, so they eat more.

A control for calorie intake was not possible as administering the diet with normal bacteria would cause unsustainable hunger, as the bacteria stops fat stores being mobilised and satiating the body, Mr Zhao said.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/0b7af978-493a-11e2-9225-00144feab49a.html#axzz2FSbEakR0

 

For info on how to get fit go to   http://www.hypnosis-glasgow-scotland.co.uk/articles.html

 

 

A Lovely Post from Psychologytoday.com

December 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Mindfulness Training and the Compassionate Brain

Meditation cultivates concentration, empathy, and insight at a neural level.

Published on December 18, 2012 by Christopher Bergland in The Athlete’s Way

There is a gamut of recent neuroscientific studies that support the transformative power of mindfulness and compassion meditation. Different types of meditation are being shown to create different changes in the brain. In this entry I will compare different types of meditation and look at the science behind how they cultivate concentration, empathy, and insight at a neural level. 

In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings, we are all looking for ways that we can stop the violence and bloodshed. One angle that I see is to demystify ‘meditation’ and teach young children simple techniques for practicing mindfulness and compassion directed thought.

The weekend after the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut the Dalai Lama spoke to a gathering of Thai Buddhist monks in New Delhi, India about “Reaching the Same Goal with Different Paths.”

The Dalai Lama said that “In the twenty-first century, even in countries with no previous tradition of Buddhism, interest is growing among ordinary people and scientists. The ethics and discipline described in the Vinaya are the foundation for training both in concentration (shamatha) and insight (vipassana). He clarified that with the help of concentration our mind has the ability to remain still and by applying analysis we achieve understanding.”

“However,” he said, “we must remember the rest of humanity. If we can create a more peaceful world, everyone benefits. And to achieve this I think we need to take a more secular, rather than a religious, approach to fostering ethics. Compassion really brings about inner peace and inner strength. Those who practice compassion become calmer and less subject to fear.”

He backed this up by reporting that scientists have also found that when you have compassion, your physical as well as your mental health improves. In recent years multiple studies have come out showing the benefits of mindfulness and compassion meditation.

Mindfulness Training and the Compassionate Brain

Cultivating empathy through compassion meditation affects brain regions that make a person more sympathetic to other peoples’ mental states. Richard Davidson, the William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a pioneer in this field of meditation as a tool for brain plasticity.  Davidson and associate scientist Antoine Lutz have been working on this research for years.

“Many contemplative traditions speak of loving-kindness as the wish for happiness for others and of compassion as the wish to relieve others’ suffering. Loving-kindness and compassion are central to the Dalai Lama’s philosophy and mission,” says Davidson, who has worked extensively with the Tibetan Buddhist leader. “We wanted to see how this voluntary generation of compassion affects the brain systems involved in empathy.”

Davidson and Lutz’s work suggests that through mindfulness training, people can develop skills that promote happiness and compassion. “People are not just stuck at their respective set points,” Lutz says. “We can take advantage of our brain’s plasticity and train it to enhance these qualities.”

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain imaging shows that positive emotions such as loving-kindness and compassion can be learned in the same way as playing a musical instrument or being proficient in a sport. The scans revealed that brain circuits used to detect emotions and feelings were dramatically changed in subjects who had extensive experience practicing compassion meditation.

The research suggests that individuals — from children who may engage in bullying to people prone to recurring depression — and society in general could benefit from such meditative practices, says Davidson.

The capacity to cultivate compassion, which involves regulating thoughts and emotions, may also be useful for preventing depression in people who are susceptible to it, Lutz adds.”Thinking about other people’s suffering and not just your own helps to put everything in perspective,” he says, adding that learning compassion for oneself is a critical first step in compassion meditation.

The researchers are interested in teaching compassion meditation to youngsters, particularly as they approach adolescence, as a way to prevent bullying, aggression and violence.

“I think this can be one of the tools we use to teach emotional regulation to kids who are at an age where they’re vulnerable to going seriously off track,” Davidson says. Compassion meditation can be beneficial in promoting more harmonious relationships of all kinds, Davidson adds.

“The world certainly could use a little more kindness and compassion,” he says. “Starting at a local level, the consequences of changing in this way can be directly experienced.”

Various techniques are used in compassion meditation. Controls in the Davidson and Lutz study were asked first to concentrate on loved ones, wishing them well-being and freedom from suffering. After some training, they then were asked to generate such feelings toward all beings without thinking specifically about a particular individual.

Creating Educational Video Games That Foster Empathy

In 2010 Richard Davidson challenged video game manufacturers to develop games that emphasize kindness and compassion instead of violence and aggression.

With a recent grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Davidson is working with Kurt Squire, an associate professor in the School of Education and director of the Games Learning Society Initiative, to design and rigorously test two educational games to help eighth graders develop beneficial social and emotional skills – empathy, cooperation, mental focus, and self-regulation.

“By the time they reach the eighth grade, virtually every middle-class child in the Western world is playing smartphone apps, video games, computer games,” says Davidson. “Our hope is that we can use some of that time for constructive purposes and take advantage of the natural inclination of children of that age to want to spend time with this kind of technology.”

The project grew from the intersection of Davidson’s research on the brain bases of emotion, Squire’s expertise in educational game design, and the Gates Foundation’s interest in preparing U.S. students for college readiness-possessing the skills and knowledge to go on to post-secondary education without the need for remediation.

“Skills of mindfulness and kindness are very important for college readiness,” Davidson explains. “Mindfulness, because it cultivates the capacity to regulate attention, which is the building block for all kinds of learning; and kindness, because the ability to cooperate is important for everything that has to do with success in life, team-building, leadership, and so forth.”

He adds that social, emotional, and interpersonal factors influence how students use and apply their cognitive abilities.

The project will focus on designing prototypes of two games. The first game will focus on improving attention and mental focus, likely through breath awareness.

“Breathing has two important characteristics. One is that it’s very boring, so if you’re able to attend to that, you can attend to most other things,” Davidson says. “The second is that we’re always breathing as long as we’re alive, and so it’s an internal cue that we can learn to come back to. This is something a child can carry with him or her all the time.”

The second game will focus on social behaviours such as kindness, compassion, and altruism. One approach may be to help students detect and interpret emotions in others by reading non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, tone of voice, and body posture.

“We’ll use insights gleaned from our neuroscience research to design the games and will look at changes in the brain during the performance of these games to see how the brain is actually affected by them,” says Davidson. “Direct feedback from monitoring the brain while students are playing the games will help us iteratively adjust the game design as this work goes forward.”

Their analyses will include neural imaging and behavioural testing before, during, and after students play the games, as well as looking at general academic performance.

The results will help the researchers determine how the games impact students and whether educational games are a useful medium for teaching these behaviours and skills, as well as evaluate whether certain groups of kids benefit more than others.

“Our hope is that we can begin to address these questions with the use of digital games in a way that can be very easily scaled and, if we are successful, to potentially reach an extraordinarily large number of youth,” says Davidson.

THE BEST WAY TO GET FIT – A Scientific Approach

October 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

For many decades, scientists have been conducting research into fitness and how best to achieve it. Largely, the findings make their way to peer reviewed journals and not as far as the general public other than in dribs and drabs. What’s interesting is that scientists have actually broadly reached a consensus. This article looks at the do’s and don’ts of fitness and busts a few myths along the way.
One of the first studies of fitness was published in 1953. They looked at bus conductors and bus drivers. The results published in the Lancet (vol 265, p1053) showed that the conductors suffered half as many heart attacks as drivers. The link between the sedentary life of the drivers vs the constant climbing of stairs and health was made.
These days, the advice is 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. Studies suggest that only one third of adults achieve this. This, in spite of fitness and exercise being implicated in the prevention of strokes, cancer, diabetes, liver and kidney disease, osteoporosis, brain disease, dementia and depression.
For the full article follow this link – Hypnosis Glasgow

Glasgow Women’s 10K 2010

May 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

I would just like to say a big congratulations to all my clients who completed the 10K today.

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Confidence Building

February 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

 

If you have little confidence you may recognise this kind of self talk – I really don’t want to meet these people, I don’t know them, they probably wont like me, what if I say something stupid, what if they reject me…. and so on. My goodness your poor unconscious mind. No wonder its terrified. You have just mentally rehearsed a number of scenarios where the evening went terribly. You weren’t just politely ignored, you were wholeheartedly rejected and probably they were extremely rude and told you to your face. The chances are that you have never ever been treated so dreadfully in your adult life, ever. Chances are, you may have been rejected verbally and unkindly in school and that’s when this particular pattern of your behaviour began. However as adults we have grown out of being so blatantly rude in company but our unconscious mind is still that rejected seven year old and hasn’t grown up. That’s because we learn conscious polite social behaviours but do next to no work on our unconscious mind, we let it just run riot, thinking whatever it wants and not reining it in to serve our purposes.

Put it this way, if you had a seven year old child who was going to a party and you talked to them the way you talk to yourself what outcome would you expect. ‘Darling, at the party today, everyone will probably hate you, they will think everything you say is stupid… have a lovely time.’ You just wouldn’t do that would you and we really don’t need to explain why, it’s pretty obvious. And yet that is the way so many of us mentally prepare for job interviews, public speaking, meeting new people. Brilliant! 

The thing you need to know about your unconscious mind is that it doesn’t really know the difference between a real and a vividly imagined event. So if you daydream about an event going badly your unconscious mind thinks it actually  happened to a very large extent. You may repeat that process many times during the day so by the time the real event happens as far as your unconscious mind is concerned, you have had a number of similar experiences which went so badly that you ended up feeling awful, so no wonder it’s seriously concerned.

How many times have you come away from a situation which you had been worried about thinking how well it went compared to how you had imagined it. May I suggest that you change your pattern of behaviour and see what happens. Make a deal with your mind to only imagine a positive outcome for an upcoming event. You do not have a time machine, so you can’t ever know how something will turn out. You have two choices, think well of it or not. Which of those choices is going to make you feel better and give you more resources? If you do something successfully ten times then you relax and feel confident, it’s a natural response. Whatever choice you make it’s a fantasy so you may as well fanaticise in a way which leaves you better prepared.

 This is about training your mind and not letting it run riot. You have had negative thoughts in the past which have become a habit  and that needs to change now and it can with a little effort initially.

Imagine a musician preparing for a recital who plays one wrong note whilst rehearsing because that note is  easier to play than the one written. Would they carry on rehearsing playing the wrong note because it was easier or would they spend the rehearsal time perfecting playing the right one? Sometimes its easier to think about all the things which could go or have gone wrong because that is the habit we have developed. But I am suggesting making the effort to make pictures in your head of all the things which could go well, speak to yourself in a positive way and feel in your body the feeling of a successful outcome. And when reviewing a past event only think about the things which went well. After a party for instance, only think about the people who made you feel good and completely ignore the others.

Give it a go for a month, a week , what have you got to loose. notice the difference it makes. Then please post a comment to let me know what happened.

Motivation

April 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

Motivation – tips for success

Do you need motivation to get something done, loose weight or get a new job? Why is it that some people just get on with it and others can’t get out of their own way? Well the people who get things done are using a combination of strategies which makes it easier for them to achieve their goals.

I would like to share a number of techniques which may help you as much as they help me and my clients get moving. So here are my top tips.

1. Time travel

So when you think of an odious task what happens? Just pause for a minute and think about something you need to do but have been putting off. What’s happening for you as you think about it now. You probably make pictures in your head which are those associated with the unpleasant parts of the job. You may have some sounds associated with it perhaps along the lines of ‘Oh no, I hate doing this job’ or ‘ what’s the point in starting that you know it won’t be very good’ or ‘you didn’t manage to do it the last time so what makes you think you can do it this time’ ( whoever is saying these things, I’m never going to employ them as a coach that’s darn tooting!).

Then you probably have a sinking feeling somewhere in your body or a black cloud descends or perhaps it’s a lead weight feeling. After all this, not surprisingly, you decide to go to the pub instead.

Now try this. Go forward in time to a point when you have successfully completed the task. See what you would see, hear what you would hear and feel how great it feels to have done the job Really take the time to enjoy how great it feels to have done it. Notice how much more energy you have right now.

This technique really appeals to your unconscious mind in that it focuses on all the reasons for doing the job as opposed to all the reasons not to. And think about it, if you were encouraging a child to do something which you knew was good for them but which they didn’t necessarily want to do, what language would you use? You certainly wouldn’t dwell on all the reasons not to do it. Rather you would concentrate, hard, on all the really good things about it. Parents learn, usually the hard way, how to take their children along their timeline to a point when they have successfully completed whatever it is and are enjoying the ‘treat’ at the end of the process.

So try treating your unconscious mind like a seven year old and see how well it works for you!

More top tips coming soon.

For more information on NLP see www.mindschange.com

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