buckingham-palaceRound-up news from across the Atlantic . . .

Greece has kept the top spot in the EU news this week as it once again rejected its international creditors’ bailout extension proposals. The 5 month extension worth €15.3bn, was dismissed on account of its conditions being perceived as overly draconian by the Greek government. Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras is currently on route to Athens to revise his strategy - in the meantime, all we can do is sit back, expect the worst, and hope for the best.

A document has leaked following a meeting between the European leaders, revealing that David Cameron has a “firm aim” to keep the UK in the European Union. The Prime Minister promised a referendum on whether the UK would exit the EU during his election campaign; however, it is now clear that he would rather the UK reform its relationship with it, than to exit completely.

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Anyone who knows me knows that, much like Taylor Swift, I am a huge fan, user, and purchaser of Apple products.  I think they are progressive, artist-friendly, and pro-creativity.  So I, much like Taylor Swift, was shocked by their decision not to pay artists during the trial period of Apple Music, their upcoming streaming platform that has the potential to rival iTunes as Apple’s next killer app. All similarities between me and Ms. Swift end there.

I was absolutely thrilled, however, to read her open letter to Apple on Sunday taking the company to task for not remunerating artists during the aforementioned three-month trial period of, Apple Music.  It was a well written letter, penned (one would hope) in some part by Swift herself.  I couldn’t argue with a single point she made, and by the time I was done reading it, I shared the righteous indignation that she put forth.  Dammit, small artists need to be compensated!  This is unfair.  This is an outrage!

I went to bed more convinced of Swift’s media and cultural dominance, seeing how the Interwebs were alight with conversations about how “Taylor was taking a stand,” and how Apple was being cast, even by its most ardent supporters, as singing off key (sorry) on this one.  Righteous indignation, indeed.

I awoke to a complete one-eighty by arguably the most successful company on earth over the last 10 years.  They had done a total about face!  Tim Cook and Eddy Cue, the man responsible for negotiating Apple’s deals with the record labels, had conferred, and decided, “Dammit, we are going to pay.  It’s the right thing to do. We are going to give the artists and the producers and the labels their cut.  We are going to be good corporate citizens and partons of the arts.  We are pro-music, and we are sorry we were short sighted.”

Everybody wins.  Except . . .

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DolezalAuthenticity, transparency and honesty are words often used to describe great leaders. We expect that they will embody these characteristics in order to properly guide our organizations, our companies and our country to greatness. But, what happens when leader allegedly misrepresents herself as in the case of Rachel Dolezal?

What happens is a bit of chaos and uncertainty, particularly for those who looked up to and worked alongside that leader, and no matter how effective the leader was in that role, there’s a significant loss of trust. And, while many have been attacking Dolezal over this firestorm, they have also conceded that she was indeed effective as the president of the Spokane, Washington, NAACP Chapter. However, certain inconsistencies and misrepresentation of facts in Dolezal’s past, such as a discrimination claim against Howard University for not giving her a position because she was White and falsely identifying another man as her father, has called into question her credibility as a leader, and perhaps even her character as a person. The major issue here when examining this from a leadership lens is not what Dolezal “allegedly” lied about, but it is the mere fact that she lied.

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Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

A reflective week of news in the US focused on the Charleston shooting at the Emanuel AME church, where nine black parishioners died at the gun of Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white man who has been charged with nine counts of murder and one of possession of a firearm (amid calls for the death penalty).  Jon Stewart’s somber remarks on The Daily Show, which was widely shared, was one of the most discussed pieces because of its out-of-character no-jokes tone; President Obama said he refuses to act as if this were “the new normal”; and Mitt Romney – somewhat surprisingly – and others called for the Confederate flag to be taken down in the South Caroline capitol.  The church was planning to reopen Sunday.

Elsewhere:

  • The EU/Greece talks seem to be in either a stalemate or tailspin ahead of the country’s potential default on an IMF loan repayment at the end of the month as Greeks begin making heavy withdrawals from banks;
  • The Pope issued a widely awaited and shared (a little too early with a well-published who-dunnit leak) encyclical on the environment (“On Care for Our Common Home”) that supported scientist claims (big kudos) but came down on some market practices (carbon credits, for example) that did not make everyone happy;
  • The Fed said rate hike kinda likely near year end (this is the slowest slow jam ever);
  • That was blamed in part for a slip in the markets late that capped strong gains earlier with the Dow up just 0.7 percent for the week to close Friday at 18,015;
  • NBC downsized Brian Williams to a cable guy (is that a downsize in today’s market) to MSNBC in a new role as a “breaking news” anchor (isn’t that what they are supposed to be anyway?) and Lester Holt will retain the interim chair as NBC Nightly News anchor (way warm welcome by many on Twitter);
  • Jimmy Lee, the JP Morgan’s banker’s banker, unexpectedly died and tributes poured in from around Wall Street with full-page tributes in the nationals;
  • Martha Stewart is selling her media and housewares company to Sequential Brands and “isn’t that nice”;
  • Golden State Warriors and Chicago Blackhawks happened; and
  • Cristiano Ronaldo gets a galaxy named after him called CR7, changing the definition of sports star.

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event1Mexico’s mid-term elections on June 7th sent mixed messages to the Mexican people with the first-ever appointment of an independent gubernatorial candidate, Jaime Rodriguez Calderon (aka “El Bronco”). While the dominant parties—President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and National Action Party (PAN)--once again won the most seats, they lost some ground to emerging opposition groups.

But beyond giving way to a fresh political party, the race was seen more as a protest against party politics in an election tarnished with bouts of violence.

On June 16th, Prosek Partners, in partnership with the Mexican Chamber of Commerce in New York, hosted an event in New York City that opened a discussion to experts on Mexico's political, economic, and media landscape. Panelists Maria Hinojosa, Host of NPR’s Latino USA; Daniel Bases, Senior Correspondent at Thomson Reuters; and Rafael de la Fuente, Chief Latin American Economist for UBS, shared their views on the election results from a U.S. perspective.

Initial themes throughout the conversation touched on the ongoing violence, insecurity, and corruption in the Mexican government. Panel participants were pleased to report corruption has been down recently, but acknowledged that large-scale challenges do remain. Continue Reading »

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