Sergey Shnurov, one of the most successful content producers in Russia, is now general producer of the international Russian-language television channel RTVI. In his new position, Sergey will participate in the implementation of the channel’s key objective – uniting millions of Russian speakers around the world through topical content based on a common system of linguistic and cultural values.

“Throughout my life I’ve been working with the collective image of a Russian person, the topic of our mentality has always been the center of my attention. In my work, I try to maintain a connection between our culture and language. Leading the RTVI team, I plan to develop a platform for discussing the most pressing and relevant issues on the international agenda that directly affect the political and social life of Russian speakers around the world”, – said Sergey Shnurov.

As the new General Producer, Sergey Shnurov will develop the channel’s general creative strategy and will take part in creating new program concepts. He will also work on renewing RTVI’s positioning and promoting the brand.

“While working on expanding our business and increasing our audience, striving to keep the ties with Russian culture, we studied best practices and decided to create a new position and offer it to Sergey, who’s well known both in Russia and abroad. Sergey frequently visits countries with a high concentration of Russian-speakers and perfectly understands the mentality of our diaspora. We are sure that with Sergey coming on board RTVI will develop a new unique voice”, – said Mikayel Israelyan.

RTVI is an international Russian language multi-platform media with headquarters in New York. Founded in 2000, RTVI’s outreach is 225 million people. RTVI is a multimedia platform available through over 200 providers in 53 countries, including: USA, Canada, Israel, Belarus, European countries, Armenia, the Baltic countries and the former Soviet Union. RTVI bureaus are located in 13 cities around the world including New York, Los Angeles, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Riga, Yerevan, Tbilisi, Kiev, Tallinn, Paris, London and Vilnius.



Making Sure Good Parenting Doesn’t Stop with a Pandemic

Many children are developing their brain function, body function, and many other psychological factors during the pandemic. No parent has ever had such a catastrophe occur during their own childhood, which is why it can be confusing, frustrating, or scary for many families. How are children going to gain social skills if they aren’t allowed to play with their friends? How will a toddler be safe in public if they won’t wear a mask? What if the parents get sick from coronavirus and who will keep the children safe? The questions are what run through most parents’ heads on a daily basis. Supermoms like Rachel Harow have started listening to their children’s needs more because they are different then they used to be. 

As children develop into adolescence a lot of key factors are important for them to obtain or learn. Social skills, self-awareness, and how to take care of themselves are very crucial. Many children give off singles or subtle ways that they need something. Listening to body ques and not just words are why moms are superheroes. If a child is merely showing signs of discomfort, they can pinpoint what tit is without asking. However, it might get harder to know what children want if they are struggling during the pandemic. For example, allergic reactions don’t always have a crazy, unexpected, dramatic effect. For some kids, just itching and being a grumpy mood are signs of a reaction.Many masks are made with fabrics that don’t always allow the best ventilation. That is fine because the kids are safe, however, some children with sensitive skin can have rashes and acne if there mask isn’t changed once a day. Rachel Harow invested in cloth masks so that she can throw into the laundry every night to ensure they are germ-free and clean for the next day. Certain lotions may also help their skin calm and ensure happiness. Masks are still new and by 2021 there are sure to be allergy-friendly masks. Nevertheless, until that moment presents itself, wash masks as much as possible to keep kids safe. Remember to always aks what your child is feeling and be an open listener to their requests.

Higher Ed and Coronavirus: What SCAD Provides Students During a Worldwide Pandemic

As universities across the nation reopen in Fall 2020 for virtual online instruction, students and parents are curious as to how their SCAD tuition dollars will continue to be spent in a meaningful way. Many institutions are looking to add and strengthen existing resources in order to deliver the education expected by their faculty and staff. For some universities, changes are slow to come, while others were well down the road to incorporating online learning long before it was a necessity.

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has been offering online degrees and remote instruction for over 12 years. The Savannah-based institution is the first art and design university to receive the Instructional Technology Council’s Award for Outstanding Distance Education Program, and the rank of “Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Teaching and Learning” from the Online Learning Consortium.

SCAD, led by visionary leader Paula Wallace, saw the benefits of online instruction long before the COVID-19 global pandemic made these changes necessary across the nation. In a recent communication to her community she wrote, “There’s good news for students beginning at SCAD this fall. The unforgettable intellectual, creative, and social engagement that defines #SCADlife is alive and well online and awaiting first-year Bees this September.”

Wallace and other SCAD leaders have been hard at work over the summer to use SCAD tuition resources to broaden the already award-winning online offerings. Beginning with the implementation of Guests and Gusto, a virtual series of conversations and digital content with the creators and innovators remaking culture. Leaders from Karla Martínez de Salas to SCAD alum Christopher John Rogers to Carrie Mae Weems have hosted conversations with students regarding their careers, work, and expectations for the post-Covid world.

SCAD Guests and Gusto conversations have given students direct access to creative professionals in a way universities have only dreamed about in the past. Students, professors, and professional creators are able to collaborate, ideate, and learn from the current moment in a vibrant atmosphere geared toward career development.

The university has also implemented virtual SCADfit workout classes and online “Bee Well” group sessions to help students engage in casual conversation with other Bees about their lives, what they’re working on, and how they’re keeping organized in the new normal. “It’s long documented that learning thrives when students are not only intellectually engaged, but physically and emotionally healthy and happy,” Wallace wrote. “Actions, not words, evince an organization’s priorities, and I know that Bee Well’s virtual transition clearly communicated to our students that we care about their welfare and are committed to creating healthy environments in which they can learn.”

Lastly, professors at SCAD are leading SCADextra workshops focused on helping students launch their businesses in a post COVID world. SCAD enthusiastically supports entrepreneurship in all forms, and these workshops are geared at increasing the viability and longevity of their students’ dreams.

All of these programs have been put in place to ensure SCAD students are receiving the education, connectivity, and experience SCAD has become famous for. Parents and students can rest assured that Paula Wallace and her team are putting tuition dollars into meaningful programs that will enhance employment opportunities.

Jack Plotkin, Former Goldman Sachs Banker, on Cryptocurrency Investing

With all the media focus on the stock market and its remarkable upward trajectory, it is easy to miss the reemergence or cryptocurrencies. Even during its 2017 peak, many established investors dismissed Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as nothing more than a speculative bubble. The euphoria indeed subsided in 2018, with Bitcoin’s price dropping six-fold. However, cryptocurrencies have been surging again recently and Jack Plotkin explains why.

Jack Plotkin has more than a decade of experience as a Goldman Sachs investment banker and financial strategist and has been following the markets for twice as long. He is considered an authority on financial markets. “The crypto inflows are not surprising,” says Jack Plotkin. “Stocks have come untethered from gravity while bonds are offering extremely low yields. In this unpredictable environment, investors are hungry for alternative asset classes.”

“Unlike traditional currencies, crypto does not have a physical form,” explains Jack Plotkin. “You can’t pull Bitcoin bills out of an ATM. It is also not issued by a government but rather created by an algorithm. That makes it something of a hedge against inflation because a government can’t just decide to print a billion more Bitcoins and dilute all existing owners.”

What is cryptocurrency?

The concept of cryptocurrency was first conceived by American cryptographer David Chaum in 1983 and the first implementation was DigiCash in 1995. Bitcoin did not come until more than 15 years later in 2009. What made Bitcoin so powerful is that it was based on a system known as blockchain that makes counterfeiting largely impossible. Blockchain assures the validity of each unit of cryptocurrency by using encryption that is based on each preceding block, which makes it impossible to insert a fake unit of cryptocurrency as it would invalidate the algorithm.

“Crypto has introduced some groundbreaking concepts into the mainstream,” notes Jack Plotkin. “Blockchains, digital wallets, crypto mining. Many people have heard of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Libra, but there are actually more than 5,000 different cryptocurrencies out in the market right now.”

Cryptocurrencies have met with a great deal of skepticism since Bitcoin’s debut in 2009. They have been described as “pyramid schemes”, derided for the use in black markets, and characterized as an economic bubble. Several of the world’s most respected investors and economists, including Warren Buffett, George Soros, Alan Greenspan, Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, and Robert Shiller have publicly spoken against the risks of cryptocurrencies. 

“With the Federal Reserve printing money like it’s going out of style to buoy the economy, investors have to be legitimately concerned about the specter of inflation,” says Jack Plotkin. “When I was at Goldman Sachs, we closely followed the Fed’s actions in the aftermath of the dot com bust and during the subprime mortgage crisis. But their quantitative easing program back then was far less than the current pump being applied to the monetary supply and the markets.”

Historically, when governments have printed more money, they caused the money to become less valuable. The direct impact was an increase in prices, meaning each unit of currency had less purchasing power. In economic terms, this is referred to as inflation. Usually, inflation in the United States is slow and grows at around 2% per year. However, when the government floods the market with an oversupply of dollars, inflation can increase at a much faster pace, as occurred in the 1970s.

“How do you protect your hard-earned dollars against inflation?” asks Jack Plotkin. “You invest in things that maintain their value, like gold. Given that Bitcoin cannot be artificially inflated, some investors are thinking of it as a sort of digital gold.”

Getting started

Jack Plotkin points out that there are several ways of gaining exposure to cryptocurrency. “There are a lot of exchanges where you can buy crypto directly and many digital wallet services that let you store and spend that crypto outside the exchange,” he says. “You can also invest in crypto mining companies or buy exchange-traded funds that invest in crypto. However, this is not a risk-free investment. Because cryptos are not backed by a government authority or supported by underlying asset values, they are only as valuable as the market deems them to be. Compared to major currencies, they are still very new. This makes them highly volatile. For these reasons, cryptocurrencies should only be considered in the context of a diversified portfolio.”

Because cryptocurrencies only exist in digital form, investors are also exposed to risk related to computing reliability and security. Since the emergence of Bitcoin, large sums of cryptocurrency have been lost due to storage failures, hacking attacks, and misplacement of digital keys. 

Despite its risks, the prevalence and usage of cryptocurrencies have grown over time. Beyond offering a value store, cryptocurrencies also make it easy to transfer funds without requiring the use of traditional banking institutions. “As long as there is demand for crypto, there is going to be an investment market,” Jack Plotkin says. “With regard to whether that market is appropriate for any given investor, it comes down to their sophistication and risk tolerance. My final advice? Tread carefully. Ease into this market, stick to well-known names like Bitcoin, and carefully calibrate the extent of your commitment.”

Creditors and Life Insurance: What You Need To Know from Symmetry Financial Group

Dealing with debt as part of life, retirement, and estate planning isn’t always easy. Though many financial experts recommend taking on as little debt as possible later in life, this isn’t always an option.

Debt can lead to tricky situations that can’t always be easily resolved, and this often leaves people asking an important question: can creditors take their life insurance proceeds?

The answer isn’t a definite yes, but in most cases, many retirees can rest assured knowing that life insurance proceeds are exempt from creditors. However, there are exceptions to this, and it is worth knowing about them to ensure that your assets will be protected.

This short guide from Symmetry Financial Group outlines the basics of life insurance policies and how individuals can ensure that assets reach their intended beneficiaries. 

Why beneficiary designations are so important

When people enroll in a life insurance policy, it is critical that they name at least one beneficiary. A beneficiary can be an organization or an individual who gets their death benefits in the event that they die while the policy is enforced. The insured individual can name multiple individuals and groups who will receive their death benefits and must also indicate whether or not they want all beneficiaries to get the same percentage of the death benefit in the event of a payout.

The insurer must pay out proceeds to the named beneficiaries, and the beneficiaries own them upon the insured’s death. This means that these assets do not go through probate court, and that creditors do not have access to them in most cases.

What happens when the estate is the named beneficiary

If someone does not name a beneficiary, the life insurance policy will be made payable to their estate. Unlike beneficiaries, which cannot be held responsible for debts, estates can be. This means that when someone names their estate as their beneficiary, valid debts can be collected based on select protections and state laws. This is sometimes done deliberately in order to make sure that the estate does pay off any necessary debts.

What happens when the beneficiary is a spouse

Life insurance proceeds are not exempt if they are payable to spouses or other individuals with whom the beneficiary shared financial obligations. The amounts owed and what debts are eligible to be collected are again subject to state laws. Assets such as mortgage loans, personal loans, and credit cards, to name a few financial obligations, may be paid out through life insurance benefits.

A beneficiary’s creditors can collect life insurance proceeds

Though life insurance policy proceeds may exempt the beneficiaries from the policyholder’s creditors, debts, and obligations to some capacity, they can be collected by the beneficiary’s creditors. This is because when a life insurance policy is paid out, the proceeds contractually become the property of the beneficiaries.

As soon as this happens, if the beneficiary owes money to anyone, creditors are able to collect the life insurance proceeds to satisfy these debts so long as there isn’t an exception, which typically only happens under state law.

How life insurance empowers individuals to create lasting, meaningful financial legacies

Many people purchase life insurance in order to provide for and protect their families in the event of their death. This can prove to be helpful, especially if they have extensive debts, as creditors typically cannot collect from this money.

However, there are many exceptions, and it is worth making time to talk to an insurance agent and an estate planning specialist to best determine how to protect your family for decades to come. Symmetry Financial Group, for example, can provide you with a free quote and help to build a plan that uses life insurance to help you achieve your long-term financial goals.

Young Living Comes Together With Community Through Relief Efforts

The global pandemic resulting from the emergence of Covid-19 has created massive losses for communities of all kinds. Along with the devastating health impacts of the virus, millions of people have lost their jobs, supply chains have been interrupted, and public services have been overwhelmed with the increased need. While it’s important to understand the tragic impact of this virus, it’s also important to look to signs of light that show individuals and organizations coming together to fight it. One story we wanted to shed light on is the efforts of Young Living, a leading essential oil company, as it works with its community and contributes to relief efforts.

Alleviating child poverty

Children are often the hardest hit by situations of instability. Unable to provide for themselves, children living in poverty or other hardship conditions can be amongst society’s most vulnerable when the additional burden is placed upon them. This reality has become even more apparent through the emergence of Covid-19. With job losses running rampant through the country, many families and children have been forced to deal with unimaginable levels of hardship. This has been compounded for those children living in poverty who were already dependent on systems that have since become bogged down with handling unprecedented increases in unemployment.

To help contribute to relief efforts in this space, Young Living has worked extensively with the non-profit known as Baby2Baby. The organization states its mission as “providing children living in poverty, ages 0-12 years, with diapers, clothing, and all the basic necessities that every child deserves.” In recent years, the organization has worked to distribute over 100 million items to children in domestic violence programs, homeless shelters, foster care, and other precarious situations. The essential oils company has worked alongside the non-profit in recent months to help support its ongoing effort to serve children impacted by the global pandemic. This work has included the donation of items valued at over $800,000. Donated items include baby wipes, toothpaste, soap, and more.

Food contributions

One basic need that is ever-present for individuals in vulnerable situations is the need for a reliable source of food. Understanding this need, the essential oils company has been engaging in efforts to support its local community through these difficult times via the donation of food items. As stay at home recommendations were put in place, the company realized that it had plenty of food on hand at its cafe that would be available for donation. It quickly joined forces with the Utah Food Bank and was able to donate 400 pounds of food for distribution to those experiencing food insecurity.

The company’s efforts in this realm continued after that initial donation and remains a focus of its ongoing relief efforts. This work has manifested through its partnership with the non-profit Utah Community Action. Founded in 1965, the non-profit has become nationally recognized for its dedication to serving its community. It does this through six core programs focusing on education, social services, nutrition assistance, and aiding families in finding safe shelter. The essential oils company has contributed to the non-profit’s drive to provide nutrition assistance by donating food to its local programs. To date, Young Living has provided more than 4,000 pounds of food to the organization for use in feeding in-need children, adults, and seniors in the local community.

Contributing supplies

As the CDC and other health organizations have come out with recommendations as to how to keep communities safe, many institutions have found it difficult to assemble the supplies needed to satisfy requirements. Without ready access to masks, sanitizer, and other items of importance, these organizations risk jeopardizing vulnerable individuals in their community. With an understanding of the need to progress forward in a safe and measured manner, the essential oils company has worked with local organizations to help provide them with many of the supplies they require in order to reopen in a responsible manner.

One example of this is the company’s work with the YMCA of Utah, an organization that plays a critical role in its community, serving over 225 residents each night. This community service is important at any time but has become even more critical during the pandemic when many of the country’s most vulnerable people are bearing the brunt of gaps in infrastructure and support. In order to support the YMCA in its ongoing efforts to serve this population, the essential oils company has donated personal hygiene products, socks, and 500 bottles of hand sanitizer. This contribution has aided the organization in serving its community in a safe and responsible manner.

About the company

The above efforts from Young Living are perhaps unsurprising for those who know the company well. With roots that date back to before it was officially founded, it has long been a fixture in its local community. Those roots reach back to its humble beginning as a personal project of D. Gary Young and Mary Young as they sought to grow and extract their own oils for personal use. As the quality of their oils became widely known, however, the couple decided to embark upon the journey of opening their process up to a larger business venture.

That journey has seen the company grow precipitously over the years but has also seen it maintain a connection to the individuals and organizations which it serves. The company cultivates many of its plant materials locally in Utah and Idaho and makes sure to work responsibly with farming partners from around the world. Beyond its relief efforts tied to the current pandemic, it has long maintained a humanitarian presence in the areas of education and poverty alleviation through its charitable foundation.

Though the emergence of Covid-19 has thrown the world in disarray, there have also been stories of triumph that have emerged from the chaos. As we’ve seen in this article, community-minded organizations, such as Young Living, have used the opportunity to come to the aid of individuals and institutions across the country. As tragic as the pandemic has been, these stories of humanity help to remind us all that there are still many people and organizations actively working to make the world a better place.

Red Flags of a Loveless Marriage, According to the Relationship Experts at Relish

All relationships experience rough patches that can stretch months and years. If you are in the middle of a rough patch, it can feel like there is no end in sight, so this is an excellent opportunity to evaluate your needs within the marriage. In many instances, more than a perspective is required so it is important to look for red flags. The following is a list of several important red flags to look for in a loveless marriage. When reviewing each of these points, do so with an objective and honest lens. This will be a difficult task, but it is easier than staying in a relationship in which neither of you is happy.

Cannot Remember the Last Date Night

Dry spells of a month occur because you are on a tight budget, cannot find a babysitter, have a packed calendar, are exhausted, or are going through a home renovation, to name a few. However, simultaneous dry spells are beyond what is acceptable.

Constantly Criticizing

Nagging your partner to fold the laundry or get a haircut is one thing but attacking their sense of self is another. If nitpicking has become involuntary, you must distance because you are criticizing too much.

Have Sex Less than Once Per Month

While you will not experience the same sex as the beginning of the relationship, abstaining completely brings the relationship to a halt. Sex is a physical expression of love so if it has moved to the back burner for too long, you must reprioritize intimacy.

Preoccupied with Other’s Issues

A great replacement for your issues is reviewing and criticizing the problems of others.

Pulling Away from Friends and Family

If you have canceled more than a single dinner last-minute because you do not want to face them then this is a red flag. If you are afraid of not liking the person in the mirror, then this a problem that cannot be ignored.

Unable to Fill the Silence

If you realize that together time passes in silence and nobody attempts to fill the conversation, there is a problem. A flowing dialogue will not occur every time you are together, but the opposite is unhealthy.

What is Relish?

Relish is the leading relationship training app that thousands of individuals and couples have joined to experience more affection, an improved connection, and more intimacy with their partner. The app features unlimited 1-on-1 coaching with a qualified coach, customized lesson plans, interactive quizzes, and tailored activities for couples and individuals. Relish is highly recommended by marriage therapists and relationship counselors and can be used as a maintenance tool or as a complement to therapy. Each week, you received a new lesson plan related to the topics you need to focus on.

Ryan Seacrest Explores Signs of our Current Times

Every period in history carries with it its own unique set of characteristics that set it apart from other times. Though this is always true, it does seem, to many, that our current time is especially packed with details that single it out. This has become a guiding topic of note in the recent work of Ryan Seacrest. As the radio and television host has continued his work to bring people access to topics of current importance, it was unavoidable that he’d touch on the specifics of the age in which we live. Below, we’ve taken an opportunity to highlight some of his efforts and shine a light on the unique nature of current world events.

Entertainment industry

Ryan Seacrest has been dubbed by some as the “Ultimate Hollywood Insider.” Through his work on shows like American Idol, On-Air With Ryan Seacrest, and Live with Kelly and Ryan, he has developed a reputation for being in the know on issues of importance within his industry. This has come, in part, from the constant contact he maintains with other entertainment professionals through friendships, professional events, and live interviews. Due to this high degree of knowledge, it makes sense that many of his insights would center around the entertainment industry itself, a topic of interest to large numbers of people around the world.

Of course, due to current quarantine guidelines related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the entertainment industry, like many other fields, has seen its status quo heavily upended. This is very apparent when it comes to the actual act of producing both film and television. These productions typically require a large number of people working behind the scenes to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch. Traditionally, production sets can include camera crews, lighting professionals, makeup artists, wardrobe designers, production designers, writers, directors, producers, on-set talent, and many other people working in tandem towards a common goal.

Clearly, these production paradigms are not able to exist within current quarantine guidelines which, in many areas, prohibit the gathering of large groups of people. While these guidelines might seem like they would make it nearly impossible to carry on with production at this time, many television shows have found ways to adapt to continue bringing their content to their fans. The radio host took some time recently to shine a light on these efforts in order to showcase how his industry is innovating to keep its work moving forward.

Bachelorette production

One show that has become a staple among American viewers in recent years is “The Bachelorette.” The reality tv show follows a main female contestant as she decides between a group of male contestants, selecting one for potential romantic interest. Though the show remains popular at present, it’s easy to see how such a program could be challenging to produce given present-day constraints. However, rather than let these constraints deter them, the show’s production team is getting creative in order to continue on with its mission.

In this case, the show has flown contestants out to the filming location in Palm Springs and is having them quarantine for two weeks to ensure all contestants are free of any signs of Covid-19. This will provide a controlled environment where production staff can then test contestants as they leave quarantine to ensure that they are safe to proceed to set. As a backup plan, the production team has also flown additional contestants to the location and is keeping them in quarantine as well. If one of the main contestants were to test positive for the virus, the production team plans to swap them out with one of the backup options.

This plan will also incorporate pared-down on-set production crews wherever possible, which has led some to wonder how the show will tackle the myriad of needs that go into typical production. Though it remains to be seen how this will unfold in practice, there is an assumption that the show will look a bit different than it has in years past in order to work within the constraints of its new reality. One aspect of the show that is likely to remain the same, however, is the “confessionals.” These economically shot interviews with contestants already work within the context of a pared-down crew, making them an ideal point of focus for the show as it seeks to push forward.

Broadcasting from home

Of course, Ryan Seacrest himself has continued his own shows throughout the quarantine so he also makes for a great case study as to how radio, film, and television productions can continue onward despite current constraints. The radio and television host has been recording from his home in Los Angeles, utilizing in-home equipment to broadcast with the same high-quality that fans have come to expect.

As one might expect, however, there are a fair amount of bumps in the road when transitioning to a new broadcasting setup, especially in the midst of the confusion that has accompanied aspects of the global pandemic. While this has caused a few on-air technical difficulties, it has also been the source of some light-hearted moments that have helped to provide levity during a time when many people are experiencing numerous challenges.

One such moment has come courtesy of an engineer that has been on hand to help the radio host with his technical setup, should he encounter any difficulties while broadcasting. The moment came during the recording of Live with Kelly and Ryan, when Kelly Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos, appeared in the background of her shot with his shirt off. That moment in itself was good for an on-air laugh, prompting Kelly to goad Ryan into taking off his shirt as well.

While the television host refused, his in-house engineer was happy to oblige. In a moment that is truly a sign of the times, the engineer flexed on-air, shirtless, while still wearing his mask. The turnabout gave Kelly a good laugh and had the engineer celebrating with a beer in recognition of his unique appearance on national television.

Giving interviews

While the television host is usually the one conducting interviews, he and his co-host, Kelly, recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! which gave another opportunity to see how the entertainment industry is evolving at present. The episode, which was guest hosted by Sebastian Maniscalco, featured the host quizzing Ryan Seacrest about his typical daily routine amidst all the changes that have been going on.

Seacrest gave a rundown of how he’ll usually wake up at 4:30 am in order to accommodate the disparate production schedule between his home on the West Coast and East Coast television realities. In order to support the demanding schedule, he joked that he’s careful to supplement with plenty of caffeine throughout his morning. The television host recounted that he’ll usually start with a tea before having a couple of cups of coffee and more tea if needed. He also noted that he has a green juice in the evenings, making some good-natured comments about the “fluid” nature of his diet these days.

Discussion during the interview also turned to the trials and tribulations of broadcasting television shows from home, with Kelly noting that internet usage is always a challenge. Since she has three to five adult children in the home at any given time, competition for the limited resource can be fierce. But, she joked, that the person on camera gets priority so she’s usually able to monopolize the internet while she’s filming.

Though the show’s future production schedule is still uncertain, the two television hosts did relay that there are preliminary plans in place for a return to in-studio filming. At the moment, the tentative plan is to return to these operations in September, though, like many other aspects of life these days, that plan is subject to change.

Back to school

On the topic of making plans for eventually exiting quarantine and resuming more normal activities, how and when to return to school has become a focus for parents around the world. Like the entertainment industry, many aspects of the educational experience moved to a virtual environment in the wake of stay at home restrictions. Though virtual classrooms were able to make the best of a difficult situation, many parents have reported a reduction in the quality of the learning experience for their kids, if for no other reason than the lack of focus that can accompany such a change.

As such, many parents and children are eagerly awaiting news of how a return to more traditional education methods will be accomplished. Though such a return is hotly anticipated by many, there is, of course, the ever-present need to so in a safe and responsible manner. How to do that has remained a question, but an emerging technology just may have an answer that can help. Ryan Seacrest and his co-hosts recently showcased the technology on their radio show.

The technology in question comes in the form of a lanyard that emits a warning when it comes within six feet of another lanyard. In practice, this would mean that if all the students at a school were wearing the new tech, they’d be able to be notified when they were within six feet of another student and could take corrective action to create enough space to effectively social distance.

Technology in practice

When discussing the technology on the show, the radio hosts debated the pros and cons of how the innovation might contribute to the ability of schools to resume teaching. The hosts agreed that it would likely be most effective with younger children, who may need more constant reminders of how much distance to keep between themselves and their classmates. This may be especially relevant at the beginning of the school year when students might be excited to see their friends and eager to reconnect.

The co-hosts did also discuss, however, how the technology only addresses some of the concerns that could crop up when considering a return to a traditional schooling environment. While classroom education could likely be conducted with students sitting six feet from each other, other activities that we consider normal for school life may prove more difficult. Recess, for instance, may not be feasible in its previous form under current social distancing guidelines.

Extracurricular activities represent another hurdle when it comes to the reintroduction of kids into their previously normal environments. For instance, many sports would likely be impossible to engage in while maintaining proper social distance between athletes. On this topic, the radio host gave the example of football, which requires a high degree of contact and would bring large groups of athletes within close proximity of each other. Another host mentioned that she was planning to keep her own children out of dance class for the foreseeable future, even though they were eager to return, since she couldn’t see a way that such an activity could be handled safely.

Levity in quarantine

Though the above concerns do loom for many people around the world as the future remains uncertain, many individuals are still finding plenty of reasons to laugh in their current circumstances. One example of this came from an interview Ryan Seacrest recently conducted with actress Tracee Ellis Ross. Star of the new film “The High Note,” Ross recounted a story that is all too relatable centered around toilet paper and the early days of quarantine.

“So when everything started, I usually keep a good stock, but I was like — We’ve got to get some toilet paper!” said Ross. “So on Amazon I ordered what looked like a 24-case of toilet paper and it took me 2 and half months to get it and it finally arrived. I’m not joking you, it was for a dollhouse. These teeny little rolls of toilet paper. I’ve never seen anything funnier.”

The story is all too relatable as toilet paper has become a major focus of many during their time at home. As more and more people stocked up on toilet paper during the beginning of that time, stores experienced massive shortages. When people then turned to the internet to make orders of toilet paper, plenty of stories emerged of people placing orders without noticing the fine print.

The radio host could relate to the predicament, stating that he too had had his own mixups when ordering items online. One example he gave was of an ice bucket he ordered that he was expecting to be able to hold a large number of items at once. However, when it arrived, he found the bucket was hilariously small. It barely fit a single water bottle. The actress could relate, also recounting an instance when she thought she was ordering a single packet of Jello but ended up with a 24-pack. The takeaway for both the host and actress was that they’d do well to read product descriptions more in-depth before placing an order, otherwise, you never know what could arrive.

This truth was underscored for the radio host when he recently ordered a red, white, and blue shirt online for use in conjunction with the fourth of July holiday. Though the shirt arrived in time for the festivities, the radio host had a surprise in store for himself. Having thought he had ordered a small or a medium, he opened his delivery to find that he had, in fact, ordered an extra small. He showcased his gaffe on-air, giving his co-host a laugh and proving that he had a sense of humor about it. It seems that the need for caution when placing online orders is ever-present in the radio host’s life.

Additional home-based activities

While talking with the radio host on the show, Ross also provided some additional relatable moments that fans were able to connect with. She spoke on the topic of her houseplants, which have become a welcome outlet for the pent-up energy many people are feeling while navigating stay at home orders.

On that last point, she showcased her handiwork on camera — a beautifully healthy fiddle leaf fig. The actress noted that she and the plant had become best friends and that she regularly engages it in conversation to pass her time at home. In return the plant had helped her unearth her latent aptitude for plant care, showing her that she did, indeed, have a green thumb. Though the plant was neglected prior to the quarantine, it has since thrived under her newfound abilities.

The actress also spent time on the show detailing her latest project, which is streaming on-demand. “The High Note” details the fast-paced world of the music scene in the entertainment industry. The release of the film serves as a welcome distraction for many looking to focus on events beyond their own homes.

The actress noted that the release could excel in this role, calling it a “feel-good movie.” “This is what it’s going to give you — some good music, some great fashion and some feel goods,” said Ross. “It’s a story about no matter the phase, the place, the time of your life, it’s never too late to go for your dreams.” A welcome message indeed as we all navigate a particularly turbulent moment in world history.

More about Ryan Seacrest at

James River Capital Has Four Ways To Delight Workers in Summer 2020

James River Capital knows that summer is normally a time for vacations, family dinners, and relaxation. However, 2020 brought a global pandemic to America’s doorstep, casting a dark shadow over the joy normally associated with summer. 

Today, your employees are likely working from home. The kids are out of school and cooped up in the house. Families are fearful and on edge as COVID-19 case numbers continue to climb. 

While you can’t take on all of your employees’ challenges, you, as a leader, are uniquely equipped to support employees during these trying times. Effective remote leadership and flexibility are the most important, but you can also treat summer as an opportunity for much-needed relaxation. After all, your employees are probably juggling a lot right now. While still working their full-time jobs, they’re juggling childcare, health concerns, economic stresses, and more. Give your employees some breathing room with perks that help them feel appreciated. 

This isn’t just about goodwill, either. Flexible summer perks, like summer Fridays, are proven to improve employee morale. In some businesses, these perks even boost productivity and retention. If you support your people with a few easy summer perks, they’ll support you. 

Not sure what summer perks will work for your business? Learn from other leaders and offer perks that your employees actually want. In this article, we share 4 summer perks from Paul Saunders, CEO of James River Capital, and how they can boost morale during a pandemic. 

About Paul Saunders & James River Capital

James River Capital

Paul Saunders and his business partner acquired the company James River Capital in 1995, where Paul currently serves as Chairman and CEO. Through James River Capital, Paul uses his 30 years of finance experience to improve investment returns for investors. 

James River Capital helps investors put their money toward alternative investments, like commodity trading, out of its Richmond, Virginia headquarters. These alternative investments give investors more options and freedom with their portfolio, adjusting for the market, and for risk. 

4 effective summer perks for employees

Paul’s been a manager at James River Capital for over 25 years. While he hasn’t led his team through a pandemic before, he knows how to boost employee morale in trying times. Try his 4 perks to raise your team’s spirits during the summer of 2020. 

Summer Fridays

Summer Fridays were a popular summer perk pre-COVID. And with good reason: 52% of employees consider flexible hours the best summer perk. 

Summer Fridays can take several forms, including: 

  • Paying your employees for the full week but taking Fridays off. 
  • Working 10-hour days Monday through Thursday and taking Friday off. 
  • Working 8.5-hour days and taking every other Friday off. 
  • Just working half-days on Friday. 

The more generous you can be, the better. But it’s scary for managers to reduce workable hours. There is the concern that productivity will suffer if you switch to a four-day workweek. This isn’t necessarily true, though. Studies suggest that your employees will remain just as productive with four workdays instead of five.

James River Capital beach

That sounds counterintuitive, but it’s not actually that surprising. The principle of Parkinson’s Law says that humans adjust tasks to fit a window of time. In other words, whether you give an employee two hours or four hours to finish a task, they’ll use all of that allotted time for the task. If employees know they don’t have Friday for work, they’ll work faster and more efficiently with their time. 

You don’t have to worry about decreased productivity with limited summer hours. If you can swing it, James River Capital suggests offering 32-hour workweeks during the summer (with 40-hour pay, of course). In its experience, Summer Fridays make employees feel more valued. It’s also a much-needed breather for busy parents juggling work and childcare during these unprecedented times. 

Unlimited PTO

Unlimited paid time off sounds expensive, but when executed correctly, it provides much-needed flexibility for your employees without breaking the bank. 

Since your employees aren’t able to travel this summer, they might not be using their PTO. But because of the pandemic, childcare worries, and general stress, they really should use their vacation time. 

In fact, James River Capital recommends that employees take full advantage of their PTO in the summers. Unlimited PTO sounds irresponsible at first—what do you do if all of your people are out of the office, but when monitored and respected appropriately, it breeds accountability and trust between managers and employees. 

Some unlimited PTO boundaries include:

  • Selecting backups when an employee is out of the office.
  • Allowing a set number of employees out on PTO at once. 
  • Requesting PTO schedules at least a week in advance, if possible. 

And if you’re worried about people taking advantage of the system, don’t worry. Research shows workers with unlimited PTO actually end up taking fewer days off. 

Trust your employees to be adults. Instead of gating their PTO, manage your team well by leaning on their output and KPIs. If the work gets done and everyone is performing, there is truly nothing to worry about.

Education credits

Online schools are booming right now. Some employees might want to go back to school for a certification, continuing education, or degree. If it makes sense for your employees, offer to sponsor a number of educational credits. 

It’s no secret that school is expensive. That’s why offering this awesome perk removes a layer of stress from your team. Plus, if their course of study relates to your industry, it can make them more valuable to the company for the long haul. 

If you’re not able to finance someone’s college education, you could also offer an educational stipend. Give every employee $100 a month to use on:

  • Online courses
  • Certifications
  • Books
  • Classes

… or any educational resource that improves their skills. This is a modest investment, but experience suggests it can reap dividends in talent development and retention. 

Fun perks

It’s hard to engineer fun right now, and your employees are likely feeling the cabin fever. Try boosting their spirits with other fun, unusual perks. Depending on your culture, consider:

  • Delivering margaritas to employees’ doors every Friday afternoon. You can also deliver non-alcoholic teas, smoothies, or slushies. 
  • Ordering lunch, delivering it to your employee’s homes, and eating together via Zoom. It’s not the same as a “normal” team lunch, but the bonding and camaraderie are nice. 
  • Paying for a Hulu or Netflix subscription. Your employees can’t go anywhere this summer, so entertain them for a modest fee with a streaming subscription. 
  • Scheduling an ice cream truck party. These trucks can deliver ice cream (and music!) directly to your employees’ driveways in a safe, socially-distanced way. 

Depending on your area, it might be safe to visit a park or lake as a team. If it’s appropriate, consider scheduling small, outdoors get-togethers that allow for social distancing. That could be hiking, kayaking, or a picnic in the park. Follow your local regulations and employee comfort level here—make sure all outings are 100% optional, too.

The bottom line

2020 has been difficult for everyone. While you can’t take away the challenges of living through a pandemic, you can certainly lighten your employees’ emotional load. Offer amazing bonuses for the summer like Summer Fridays, unlimited PTO, education credits, and fun perks to keep up the team’s spirits. We don’t know what the future holds, but leaders can certainly offer levity and flexibility during these hard times. 

Connect with James River Capital: LinkedIn | Twitter | Crunchbase | | Medium

Who and What You’ll Find on Zynn, the Short-Form Video Sharing Innovator

Are you tired of constantly flipping past cookie cutter videos from a small group of social media influencers? Are you growing bored with limited customization options, sterile algorithms, and clunky interfaces on your social media platforms? Would you like to see more diversity, authenticity, and community-based focus in your short-form video sharing platforms? If so, newly launched Zynn is the short-video sharing platform your dreams are made of!

Introduced to the United States and Canada in May of 2020, Zynn quickly became the most downloaded free app on the Google Play Store, and the Apple App Store. Unlike any other content sharing platform, Zynn’s mission is to provide diverse content, champion the community spirit by matching users with creators in fields of interest, and foster creativity by allowing creators to easily generate eye-catching videos. Through a bespoke algorithm that disseminates varied content to users, Zynn fans have the opportunity to discover unique, meaningful, and entertaining content, while creators have the opportunity to gain traction, regardless of follower count. So, who and what will you find on Zynn?

Variety Starts at the Top

As the newest release from innovative content sharing platform leader Kuaishou Technology, Zynn focuses on presenting a wide variety of content for user entertainment. Zynn’s parent company, Kuaishou Technology has mastered the art of using forward-thinking user recommendation algorithms throughout the company’s apps to create a robust user experience. With a belief that every creator’s story is important, and that diversity is a key element of life, Kuaishou has dedicated resources to become a leader in modernizing the social media experience.

Types of Videos

With a focus on providing entertainment, instruction, and inspiration for all interested viewers, Zynn’s creators generate fresh content in a plethora of fields. From beautiful snippets that highlight ancient cultural traditions, to straightforward instructions for making vegan-friendly quesadillas, Zynn’s myriad of videos reach across all categories. Showcasing important milestone moments, and the wildly relatable everyday moments in between, Zynn’s videos often highlight humor in everyday fails, champion small victories, and explore meaningful human connections that make up milestones. Bringing viewers closer together through a shared sense of understanding, these everyday-life snippets are the cornerstone of the content found on Zynn. After all, you can probably find the humor in being locked out of your apartment, the sweet surprise of finding a forgotten bill in your freshly washed jeans, and the life changing effects of watching a child take his or her first steps.

In addition to these broad life related videos, Zynn harnesses the power to connect individuals through niche subjects. From showing off super concise skills, to sharing tutorials for hyper specific items, Zynn’s variety of videos highlights niche topics, allowing interested parties to gain insight, knowledge, and entertainment through targeted videos related to those topics. From gaming videos to specific recipe tutorials, and even romantic stories, every subject can be found on Zynn.

In addition to providing users with the opportunity to learn, be engaged, and be entertained through this plethora of topics, Zynn’s diverse platform also champions creators to show off their creativity, individuality, and talent. With a robust percentage of creators posting performance videos, mastered skills, fashion and makeup profiles, and other creative measures, Zynn provides a creative outlet for all individuals, regardless of race, financial status, or any other factors. From traditional craftsmen showing their dedication to hand-made masterpieces, to rural farmers showing off their largest crops of the season, Zynn leverages the power of community to showcase creators’ achievements, talents, and proud daily moments.

Challenges and Camaraderie

Championing interaction and conversation, Zynn fosters community spirit through various challenges. Not only does participation in Zynn’s interactive challenges provide users with the opportunity to interact with other creators who share similar interests and competitive edge, it provides an activity to partake in for individuals, friends, and families. Building a following, and highlighting user-led challenges, Zynn utilizes the power of cross-platform social media advertising to draw attention to the aptly named “Zynn Challenge”, inviting users to have fun, nail those trick shots, set new records, and incite others to play.

Through Zynn’s #zynntalent incentive, creative Zynners are highlighted, spotlighting the app’s robustly talented user base. Not only does this incentive provide visibility for various users, it inspires others to follow suit, enriching the overall diversity of content available across the platform. You’ll find award-winning flutists playing classical hits to their dogs, gymnasts seamlessly flipping over elaborate obstacles in specially created courses, and DIY gurus making effective face masks from readily available refrigerator products. These talented individuals not only share their own skills, but inspire an entire generation of users to follow their own dreams, no matter what those dreams may entail. On a bigger picture spectrum, the supportive and inspirational nature of these interactions adds to Zynn’s authentic community spirit.

There’s a Home for You

Whether you’re a social media newbie, or a seasoned vet who is simply searching for a more meaningful experience, Zynn is the short-form video sharing platform for you. Welcoming in nature, and supportive of a customized user experience, you are bound to respond to Zynn’s call to be seen, be heard, and be you. With so many talented creators already sharing their skills, interests, and milestones on Zynn, the proof is in Zynn’s already tightly-knit community. Since the brand new app’s May 2020 launch, Zynn has gained a loyal following from countless individuals, and has received vastly positive feedback from innovative users who seek to be themselves, celebrate individuality, and maximize their social media experience. Who and what will you find on Zynn? The possibilities are endless!