It would be easy to write an entire piece on Roger Royce and leave out the charitable portion of his professional and personal life. Likewise, it is easy to fill an entire piece on his charitable efforts and touch only briefly on his education and professional life. If idle hands lead to mischief, Roger has nothing to fear.
Roger Royse is an attorney with a B.S. in accounting and an LL.M. in taxation. He has been admitted to practice in Nevada, California, New York, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, the U.S. Tax Court, and the U.S. District Court for Northern California. A Super-Lawyer, and published author of Dead on Arrival: How to Avoid the Legal Mistakes That Could has also founded his own law firm — the Royse Law Firm.
After all that, it would be easy for an accomplished attorney to rest on his or her laurels, write a check or two to charity and be done with it, but such is not enough for Roger Royse. He began the Royse Foundation — a 501(c)(3) organization that supports charitable causes through fundraising, events and donations. Roger is actively involved in the foundation and has partnered with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is engaged in revolutionary and cutting-edge research focused not only on blood cancers, but in developing treatments that can be used against other types of cancers as well. It is Roger’s belief that the incredible work done, research accomplished, and technology used by the LLS will one day not only cure Leukemia, but be also used as a basis for curing many other cancers as well. Roger is not sitting back and writing checks – he is actively engaged with LLS through the Foundation, has met with many individuals who have had their lives changed by the research done by LLS, and was recently honored with their nomination for Man of the Year.
The Royse Foundation created the campaign “Motion to Dismiss Cancer,” an aggressive campaign design to raise funds for life-saving LLS research.
Additionally, Roger works with Goal4.org, an organization dedicated to reducing infant and child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa by using education, technology, and funding to provide simple, life-saving measures.
On December 12th there will be an Oscar’s Night Holiday Party by Trendy Lime in order to raise money for Goal4.org. If you will be in the San Francisco area, it would be an excellent opportunity to contribute in a significant way while enjoying a night out or, you can simply give at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1441796 if you are so moved.
Attorney, philanthropist, charitable organizer, author. Roger’s heart for helping others has raised support for the sick and scared, as well as for those too young to say ‘thank you’ in a poverty-stricken land thousands of miles from home. That spirit of giving – not expressed in just financial terms, but of time, effort, and spirit.
For more information on the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, the Royce Foundation, or Goal4, please see below.
On November 7, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines and became the most devastating typhoon to ever hit the area. The storm killed more than 5,000 people and left tens of thousands of people injured. More than four million people were displaced from their homes, forced to take shelter in schools and other emergency shelters. Others, especially those that are living in the poorer areas of the country, are living in damaged buildings, or are even living without shelter. The need for assistance is great. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways that you can help the survivors of this storm.
There are many challenges facing survivors of a catastrophic storm like Haiyan. In the short term, everyday necessities that we take for granted, such as shelter, clean water, and food, are difficult to come by. To make things even worse, the country is being hit by heavy rain, which is making life even more miserable for those that are forced to live outside or in inadequate shelters.
Even after these short-term needs have been cared for, the communities will still have their fair share of struggles, as their livelihood has been impacted by the storm. Farmers have had their sugar cane crops destroyed. Those that depend on harvesting coconuts for a living may have had many of their trees destroyed. The fishermen are the lucky ones: once the water begins to settle, they will be able to go out and fish again.
Organizations like CARE.org are in the area giving support. They are helping survivors by providing them with food, tents to provide shelter, and other needed items that might have been destroyed in the hurricane, like kitchen supplies. While CARE and other worthy organizations have already been able to help a little, the disaster is so widespread and the need is so great, that they can use all of the help that we can give.
A2Q2 has been actively involved in helping the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan. Kim Le is providing matching funds for donors who wish to help.
The end of the year is a time when people often turn from themselves and focus on the needs of others. It is truly a “Season of Giving”. Throughout the month of December, A2Q2 will be focusing on some of the worthwhile charities that need your help, not just at this time of the year, or when there is a disaster like a major Typhoon, but throughout the year.
A Value Reminder
Most people probably don’t realize what they are worth, to themselves and others, which has led to a serious self-esteem deficit and can further lead to depression and bad life-choices as a result.
As we go into this holiday season, here is a reminder – applicable to most of us – to treasure what things we do have.
• If you are not visiting a sick child in the hospital, whose only wish is to become healthy for Christmas, you ought to count your blessings.
• If you yourself are not battling cancer or some other debilitating disease, and your only wish is to become healthy for the Holidays, you ought to count your blessings.
• If you can walk, run, jump and dance, count your blessings.
• If you can see these words and don’t need to have someone read them to you, count your blessings.
• If you have a home to go to – it doesn’t have to be large or fancy, it’s just shelter – count your blessings.
• If there is food in the cupboard – count your blessings.
• If all of these things apply to you – you have no idea how lucky you are and what a tiny percentage of the world’s population you fall into.
Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once told a story about a woman who lost her legs in an accident and was told by an insurance company that they would pay her one million dollars for each leg. He then asked how many in his audience would trade one of their legs for a million dollars. Would you?
He told the same story with the arm, the hand, and the eyes. Do you realize how lucky you are – if you are one of the lucky ones reading this – to have full use of your limbs and senses? If you would not trade $1,000,000 for the use of an eye, or your arm, or your leg, then exactly how much are you worth? It doesn’t matter whether you are unemployed or have an employer that pays you minimum wage or millions of dollars a year, the people around you depend on your health your liveliness, and someone, somewhere would love to see you smile.
That’s value. There are blessings everywhere – even if you are in the hospital or cannot dance, you have extraordinary value. Pledge to make one of your overworked nurses smile today, then sit back and imagine her carrying that smile as an infection to the next patient she visits. As we go into yet another Holiday Season, we’d like to remind you to take more than a superficial look around to count your blessings. Realize your extraordinary potential – and extraordinary value to those around you.
Stay smart. Stay safe. And Happy Holidays.
Even as this article was being prepared for publication, news of the disastrous Typhoon in the Philippines reached us at A2Q2. We are eager to help and have given through CARE at http://care.org/. All of us urge you to do what you can, donate or volunteer to help those who have been affected by this tragedy.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
A few weeks ago we wrote about how businesses can find themselves Breaking Bad by irresponsibly seeking after higher profits or more fame at the expense of conscience. On the other side of that coin is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which is when a company concerns itself with building a sustainable, responsible corporate conscience and culture which aims to contribute positively to society. This is not as simple as it sounds to either implement or execute. For some businesses, they feel their CSR has been met when they present a nice, fat check to the community every year as a percentage of their profits. For others, the more private decision of choosing one less harmful manufacturing method over another is the extent of their CSR. True Corporate Social Responsibility goes further.
According to the Institute for Corporate Responsibility, CSR includes not only philanthropy, but touches on the marketing, development strategy, pro bono efforts, volunteerism, and the interaction between a business and its employees and vendors, as well. Corporate Social Responsibility isn’t a pretty face your company slaps on once or twice a year when the newspapers are coming to do a story on your donation to a charity, or when you allow your employees’ children to shadow them at work for the day; true CSR is a full-cycle, constantly engaged, cultural norm that pervades every area of your business.
Why Corporate Social Responsibility?
The reasons for the growth of CSR are many and varied depending on who you ask and what business is instituting them. Some think that many large companies engage in “greenwashing;” which is CSR without honest intent, rather it action just to appear socially conscious and concerned. Whatever the intent behind it, as a company does more than seek to increase profits, including in their efforts a desire to be socially responsible and aware, everyone benefits. Corporate Social Responsibility provides a business with zero financial growth – in fact CSR efforts are often a financial drain – and it yields rewards in other ways such as the improved sense of community and goodwill from the populace. This is the best part of Corporate Social Responsibility – getting out and serving in the community.
Finally, good CSR is also about sustainability. Gone are the days when businesses, large or small, could concern themselves only with the bottom line at the expense of the environment or the wanton use of limited resources. Today, CSR challenges young minds and fresh thinkers to consider the future and develop strategies that will ensure responsible business continuity for the foreseeable future and for future generations to come.
I am a fairly new team member to A2Q2. Even though I have been on board with the team only a few short months, I have already assumed many responsibilities (all of which I am excited for!), and am still juggling another job and a full-time class load.
Last weekend, I went to Las Vegas to run in a race that I had committed to before I had even begun working with A2Q2. When I went, I thought it could not have come at a worse time. I had an online midterm for a class due that weekend, a paper due, and the regular series of chapters to review for upcoming classes. In addition, my primary trainer at A2Q2 had just gotten back from vacation and I was eager to learn more things from her.
The day I arrived in Las Vegas, I followed my friends to Excalibur. While they were eating buffets, drinking, and shopping, I found the nearest Starbucks, bought my much needed caffeine fix, and opened up my laptop. The only table I could find was stuck out in the traffic of pedestrians. All around me things were happening. Kids and adults were screaming, shopping, playing slots and eating. A few times, people even bumped my chair walking by. And there I sat: answering emails, reviewing notes, and taking a two hour midterm.
Somewhere in the middle of all that, just when I was feeling like I was the lamest person in Vegas, a stranger reminded me that it was all for a reason. While walking by, he dropped a fortune on my table. It read: “Keep up the good work. You will soon be rewarded.” When I looked up he was already almost lost in the crowd. He gave me a thumbs up and just kept walking.
Last month my boss told me to take 5 seconds an hour to look at the big picture and remind myself of why I was working so hard. Just when I was forgetting to do this, it took a stranger to remind me. Because of that stranger I was able to stay on task all weekend and I do not feel like I missed out on anything. Looking back, I think that there was a reason that I went to Vegas: so that I could prove to myself that I can juggle things and prioritize what is important to my growth and my future.
AMC’s mega-hit show, Breaking Bad, just recently wrapped up the series with a finale that seemed to satisfy most fans of the show. For the millions of Americans who did not watch (but most certainly heard of) Breaking Bad, the series followed a poor, disgruntled high school chemistry teacher (Walter) who, when diagnosed with serious lung cancer, turns his knowledge of chemistry into making money for his family by cooking methamphetamines.
At first Walter, who is something of a bumbling middle-aged nerd, has ‘noble’ intentions – to make enough money to leave behind for his family after he is gone. But over the five seasons that the series spanned, the lure of money and power leads him down a dark path where he causes harm, death, and destruction to many of those around him. By the end of the fourth season, he is pretty well established as a little-known, but very successful drug lord in complete control of his product: a meth recipe so pure that the drug comes out a crystal blue color. In short: Walter becomes an Anti-Hero. With a great product and culture, he is seduced into doing dark and negative things, but manages to maintain a loyal following of viewers and fans cheering for him to the end. The trouble with antiheroes is that we are lured to like them despite their intense failings. They commit actions that we abhor and would tell our children not to emulate, yet we can’t help secretly (or openly) rooting for them.
Many American businesses that we know and love, follow the same Breaking Bad pattern. Google, Wal-Mart, Facebook, Apple, etc.; all were begun with noble intentions, great product(s), a good culture, which has over the years turned to darker, displeasing things. Nevertheless they are cheered on and followed by a loyal base. They are business Anti-Heroes.
Google began as a simple search engine. They became the best with their great product, developed a great company culture, and then, they began selling everyone’s search and e-mail information to marketing companies, and even turning some of that information over to government. No one likes that they do this, but their following and power continues unabated. Why? Great products, great company culture.
Wal-Mart began as a simple store promoting American made products and American values. “Roll Back America” was their slogan as they grew massive in the 1980’s and 90’s. They treated the customer well and their employees even better. Then they began getting their product from China, as many businesses did. ‘Made in America’ became nearly impossible to find in their stores. Employee feel-good diminished rapidly, yet America still shops there en-masse even as they grumble and gripe about jobs shipped overseas. Why? Great products, great company culture.
Facebook followed the same general pattern as Google – great product, great company culture, until the lure of advertising dollars led them on a whirlwind campaign of claiming ownership of all products and posts on their site, even personal photos and selling much of that personal information on users to the highest bidders. Facebook users don’t like it – they don’t like it at all according to their nonstop status updates on the subject. Why do they stay and keep cheering on this business Anti-Hero? Great product, great company culture.
On and on you can go in America, with many of the largest and greatest having noble, inauspicious beginnings, then turning darker and more selfish, Just like Walter White, who still managed to maintain loyal followers’ cheers – even as he dissolved his enemies, (and one unfortunate kid) in acid baths, or blew them to kingdom come – actions we don’t approve of at all but come on…it’s Walter White! It’s Disney! It’s Apple! It’s Google!
The positive business culture and great service or product does not always have to go the path of the Anti-Hero. To keep from turning to the Dark Side, it is up to the company’s leaders to put values over growth. It may mean that the company stays a little smaller for longer, but contributing to a better world by being a truly great company is a benefit all to itself.
On Saturday, October 5th, I had the opportunity to attend the National Association of Asian American Professionals leadership conference in San Francisco with CEO Kim Le. Being my first business conference, I was beyond excited. Not only was I covering my first event for A2Q2 as their Marketing/Social Media intern, but I was getting the chance to network with at least 200 other professionals.
While The1stMovement’s CEO Ming Chan delivered his keynote on what makes a leader, I realized that there was more knowledge in that room than could ever be contained in lecture. Don’t get me wrong, my business professors have years of experience and insight to offer, but because my university is so small, I’ve taken the same seven or eight business professors’ classes and heard the same stories since my freshman year. I knew this conference would be my gateway to new perspectives, and sure enough, it was. I also walked away with a new understanding about why business students should go to such conferences.
Gain more insight than what is provided at your school
As soon-to-be college grads with more tools available (like the Internet) to make our dreams come true than past generations, we have much more to learn than what is in the text books. Unfortunately, at school, we are exposed to only a limited number of perspectives on business theory, management, leadership and the like. Unless a speaker visits to tell about his or her experience, the only perspectives we hear are from our professors, which usually include long histories of firm-switching and teaching.
This is where conferences come in – they attract business professionals of all ages and from all industries, and provide panel discussions on what’s current. At the NAAAPSF conference, Louis Vuitton’s Stefanie Tsen led a discussion on being an Asian woman in today’s business world that included A2Q2 CEO Kim Le and of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Senior Vice President Sonia Delen. (I learned that if I want to figure out my work-life balance, I’ll first need to “marry well”!) Then there was another discussion called “Win-Win Negotiations” in which EthnoConnect’s Michael Soon Lee explained how to successfully secure a win every time you walk into a negotiation, using the teachings of martial arts. Each of the ten panel discussions that day offered business perspectives that were clearly far from the “vanilla” view of business.
Learn tips and tricks on how to get started
It’s kind of obvious that you’ll learn a handful of tips and tricks to getting on the right track to business success at a conference, but because you’ll be around the same set of tips and tricks the whole day, they become engrained in your mind and force you to reflect on (and maybe even apply) them. Later that evening after the conference, I noticed that the notes I took all had a similar theme from one discussion to the next.
- Be confident. Know what you are passionate about and follow your passion with a passion.
- Learn how to communicate. You can’t get what you want if you can’t voice your desires.
- Network! Connect with those who might be a good source of mentorship or support for you.
These are really just the basics of being a person, but we often forget to own what we have or to voice our opinions or even to associate with people who will benefit our personal growth. Conferences serve as reminders to reevaluate ourselves and to make sure we are doing what is in our best interests.
Start making a name for yourself in the business community
You probably won’t make headlines and you most likely won’t score the personal email addresses of the biggest CEOs in the tech industry after one conference, but you will make small talk with those who write the headlines and with those who make up those CEOs’ vital company structures. In fact, talking to the people at the top probably won’t help you much. The professionals who work to support the top, like the head of HR or the managing director, are much more interested in you than the CEO will be. It’s not to say that CEOs are cold-hearted and don’t care about the “lowly” interns, but the big guys aren’t particularly concerned with hiring interns while at a conference. The CEO isn’t in charge of hiring – that’s why Human Resources departments exist.
During lunch, I was able to grab a seat at Michael Soon Lee’s facilitated mentoring table – he was the only CEO I spoke to that day and he offered great advice when I started telling him my story. Everyone at the table made an introduction and the eight of us got to chatting. If I had only focused my attention on getting Mr. Lee’s words of wisdom, I would not have ended up talking with his wife for half an hour about how she became a successful business woman or with the woman sitting next to me about what a firm switch feels like. By talking to the people around me who didn’t have others hawking for their attention, my name is now somewhere in the minds of at least ten more people than when I first walked into the conference.
There is nothing to lose
Conferences are meant to be awkward unless you already know other attendees – they force you to socialize with others and to be on your best behavior. Many of those interactions with others will end with business card exchanges and handshakes. On the other hand, you might not get to talk to the person you wanted and you might have to figure out how to excuse yourself from a conversation or two that make you uncomfortable. As long as you have some interest in what other professionals have to say or where they came from, you can learn quite a bit.
Previously, we let you in on the take-away messages of this year’s dynamite northern California Ascend conference. In case you missed it, you can still check out the post here: Want to get to the top? You better learn how to leverage.
There was quite the line-up of awe-inspiring panelists this year, but there are few people who embody the success of this approach more than the conference’s keynote speaker, Emmy-Award-winning journalist Thuy Vu, particularly in utilizing the first two leveraging opportunities: networking and your personal brand. With a list of accolades that could potentially leverage their own way into the Guinness Book of World Records, it’s no question Thuy has the chops to back her advice up, and lucky for us she also had the eloquence and charisma to present her experiences in an accessible and humorous manner. Read more
If you’re like me, the last thing you want to be doing at 7:30 AM on a Saturday is ascend anything. In fact, staying quite motionless while snuggled under the warmth of my soft quilt is my main objective. And leveraging? Forget it. The only thing I’m leveraging is my arm to hit the snooze button one more time. But as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and approached the registration table at this year’s Ascend conference, “Leverage: Driving Exponential Outcomes!”, I couldn’t help but suddenly feel energized by the infectious buzz of excitement in the air. Looking around to take it all in, it was clear that I had just entered a room full of some of our brightest professional leaders standing alongside the next generation of eager minds primed to charge their way to the top, all mixing together to exchange ideas, build relationships, and collaborate on how best to shape the future of business. Read more
Of all the finance executives I have talked to so far, Alex Buehler, the current CFO of Energy Recovery Inc. (ERI), took the most circular route to becoming a CFO.
Get a Tom aka Sponsor
When I asked Alex on the secret to becoming a CFO of a public company, he laughed and jokingly said: “The short answer is, I know Tom.” Alex was referring to Thomas S. Rooney, Jr., the current President and CEO of ERI and Alex’s mentor and sponsor (a mentor teaches you to dance; a sponsor lines up your dance partners).