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What is Karma?

By | ckarma marketing, Featured, Food for thought | No Comments

Every thought and action creates energy, positive or negative. Pema Chodrin, an American Buddhist nun has a good definition of karma.  Her writings teach Buddhism for daily life for ordinary people.  From Comfortable with Uncertainty, 

karma symbol

“karma is basically what happens in your life is somehow a result of things that you have done before. That’s why you are encouraged to work with what happens to you rather than blame it on others. This kind of teaching can be easily misunderstood. People get into a heavy-duty sin and guilt trip. They feel that if things are going wrong, it means they did something bad and they’re being punished. That’s not it at all. The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings you need in order to open your heart. To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, now you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of life. Your life gives you everything you need to learn how to open further.”

Do you believe that your actions, intention and attitude directly impact the quality of your life? What about your job? As a marketer I decided I while ago to do my best to create good karma with all that I have.


Living in Nairobi, the daily challenges of traffic, insanely mad drivers, corruption everywhere, abyssmal service and people who try but somehow just don’t get it made it really difficult to stay calm.

I feel positive energy and connection when i’m doing something that maybe just maybe I make a positive difference. The synchronistic events and non-coincidences that happen become more profound when I’m plugged in and present to the positive. Karma means we attract exactly the right people and circumstances that nudge our heart and learn what we’re supposed to learn.

Practicing yoga for umpteen years encourages good karma. I bring my questions and challenges to the mat. As I move and breathe my body into a posture, I lighten up. I get centered. Answers to puzzling questions drop down. ahhhhhhhh.

namasteWhen irritated, disappointed, or frustrated, instead of going on a self-righteous spree, if i remember to breathe,center myself  and respond in a way that honors myself and that person; I change.   When I am irritated, I ask myself “how would the person I want to be respond in this situation?”  I get out of myself and give the person a break. I breathe and think about how grateful I am for my life and remember that I can change my view of everything in an instant.

When you are open, the right lessons and teachers show up. Seek to find out what is in your own heart and soul.  You will be guided on an incredible adventure towards something way bigger than yourself. Be prepared for a wild ride. Let me know how it goes. Namaste.


Junk Food to Soul Food: ckarma story

By | ckarma marketing, KickStart International, Marketing Strategy, social enterprise, social entrepreneur | No Comments

“Where do you see yourself five years from now?” What a strange question. It would never have been a plan or a pipe dream that I’d be sitting in a coffee shop in Nairobi writing a blog about living in Africa using marketing to improve people’s lives. This is part of my story, from an advertising executive in Chicago to entrepreneur in Denver to social enterprise specialist in Africa. masaick

One: Hitting Bottom at the Top

My first job after graduate school was in the vibrant and “windy” city of Chicago, as part of the agency teams in the 1990s that built McDonald’s global brand. I was a cog in the wheel of the machine that developed the advertising and promotions to sell burgers, fries and kids meals (TOYS, burgers, and fries). As a young account executive I learned from the inside how a company with thousands of restaurants, hundreds of franchisees and 800,000 employees stays one of the most known brands in the world.

With a desire to learn, willingness to work long hours and a few good mentors, I advanced up the ranks to be part of the team that developed the Disney/McDonald’s movie promotions and toys that led kids to beg their moms… “Can we go to McDonald’s?  I learned from the best of the best how to think like a brand and act like a retailer. Multiple trips to Disney world, meeting the creators of movies like Toy Story and Little Mermaid, and the summer Olympics were awesome. But, I reached a point where my soul was deeply conflicted. As exciting as it was working with one of the worlds top brands, I was peddling saturated fat laden junk food and chemical filled carbonated drinks that were contributing to obesity and disease. I wasn’t a junk food junkie.  I was a pusher.

I hit bottom by getting  sick. Recovery led to a healthier lifestyle.  I got a job at an agency in Denver, where the sun shines and the mountains beckon. I became more conscious of what I was putting in my body and what I was creating in my life and work. As I practiced yoga and played in the mountains, working in advertising did not feel right. I wanted to help causes and companies who needed marketing strategy not TV commercials.

With a deep breath and leap of faith I started ckarma, a boutique strategy firm and committed to doing work for products and services I believed were making a positive difference. We applied big agency branding, strategy and thinking for small businesses and nonprofits. I was free to recommend  solutions without any predisposed media or tactic in mind.
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Anyone Can Make a Difference in Climate Change

By | Marketing Strategy, social enterprise | No Comments

“Kerosene is costly, it smells bad, the light is dim, the smoke hurts the eyes. It was that or darkness.”

When her uncle bought a solar lamp, Cynaidah Mideva from Nairobi, Kenya, discovered the dangers of climate change and what can be done to halt it.

SunnyMoney solar seller “Before I worked for SunnyMoney I was not so aware of climate change or its global impact.”

Mostly I thought about how much I wanted to get a job to improve my situation in life and help my family. In Kenya, 85 per cent of the population do not have access to electricity – or they can’t afford the connection fees, which are as high as $500. In the rural area where my family lives, there was no source of power. My grandmother used kerosene or firewood. Children study using a kerosene lamp. Kerosene is costly, it smells bad, the light is dim and the smoke hurts the eyes and poisons the house. It was that or darkness.

My first solar lamp

“I was with my uncle who lived in Kibera town, a slum in Nairobi. He bought a solar light from a lady at a SunnyMoney kiosk selling solar products. We started using that light at my family homestead in Western Kenya. I saw what a difference it made for us to have clean light with no fumes. We stopped buying kerosene and saved that money. My uncle told me that the people selling solar lights were from an NGO, SolarAid – and I should ask them for a job. I got the email address and applied. I was finally called for an interview with SunnyMoney, a social enterprise operated by SolarAid.”

When I started working at SunnyMoney, only then did I realise how solar lights can change and impact lives in villages like mine.

Now I know I have a role to play in changing the direction of climate change. Can you imagine my neighbours come to me and say “I want to be like you?”

Awareness of climate change starts within the community

At SunnyMoney we sell a range of portable solar lights and phone chargers to people in rural Kenya. I work in customer care and I’m an Agent Specialist: I answer the calls from people who hear about us from our school campaigns or from seeing us in the media. I tell people where to buy, or how to become agents. I am proud that our products are high quality and come with two-year warranty: people are cautious to buy something new until they see it for themselves and are convinced it will be good value and will last a long time.

I love hearing from customers who have bought solar lights – they tell me they are saving money every week and no longer buying kerosene. The environment in their home is safer and the air cleaner since they are free from toxic fumes and the open flame. The children study for more hours; they have improved in their education, which means they may get into better schools

No more kerosene lamps by 2020, one solar lamp at a time

People say their lives are getting better! They are telling their friends and church members. When people see our solar lights they are often interested, but the problem remains that few people know. We have sold 290,000 lights, but there are 44 million people in Kenya. We have a long way to go for everyone to know they have a right to clean light from the sun.

My message to global leaders and responsible policy makers is: please help direct funds and resources to helping organisations like SunnyMoney reach more people in Africa. Our aim is to create a world where everyone has access to clean and safe energy. The mission of SunnyMoney and SolarAid is to eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa by 2020. It can happen. We need to go to more countries and build more awareness.

Cynaidah Mideva, 25, is a solar light customer service agent at SunnyMoney in Nairobi, Kenya. SunnyMoney is a social enterprise created by the international charity SolarAid. SolarAid distributes solar lights to rural Africa through the SunnyMoney trading arm.

Thank you to The Elders for editing and publishing this blog.