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Creating a Mo’vement at Erwin Penland’s Food For Thought

At Erwin Penland’s seventh annual Food For Thought, an “unconventional convention” in Greenville, S.C., we were treated to amazing, inspirational speakers – from the Mayor of New Orleans to the founder of Movember and so much more. In addition to being served delicious food the content has really given us something to think about.

On Wednesday, April 30, the first full day of the event, Adam Garone, CEO/co-founder of Movember took the stage to tell us about his mission to raise awareness of men’s health and eventually cure prostate and testicular cancer. Movember had humble beginnings—it started among a group of friends in Australia, grew to 30 supporters, and within the first year, had 450 participants.

Today, Movember is an established, global organization that has used the power of conversation starters – yes, those crazy mustaches we see throughout November – to create change and support men’s health issues.

Garone shared his Top 10 tips and lessons in creating a thriving organization:

1.Do something you love. Passion creates persistence and infectious enthusiasm

2.Naivety is a good thing.

3.Be disruptive

4.Strong leadership with a clear vision and great team are essential

5.Technology is a core asset and key accelerator

6. Word of mouth is the most effective way to build a brand people love

7. Inspire your customers to be your ambassadors

8. What you say ‘no’ to defines you more than what you say ‘yes’ to

9. The art of storytelling is key

10. Never underestimate the power of a room full of people

Moustache + November = Movember

I am not a man (hopefully that goes without saying), but I imagine that shaving one’s facial hair isn’t necessarily a favorite pastime. So what could be better than having a legitimate reason to go “au naturel” for a whole month? I know that for some baby-faced men out there it may not be the most exciting way to celebrate November, but for seasoned veterans like Tom Selleck there really couldn’t be a better way to stand up for one’s fellow man.

For those who don’t know, Movember is a month-long awareness and fundraising campaign for men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer and depression. The program originated in Australia, and now has its own web sites across the globe, with a strict set of rules for participants:

  1. Once registered at Movember.com each “Mo Bro” must begin the 1st of Movember with a clean shaven face.
  2. For the entire month of Movember each Mo Bro must grow and groom a moustache.
  3. There is to be no joining of the moustache to your side burns. (That’s considered a beard.)
  4. There is to be no joining of the handlebars to your chin. (That’s considered a goatee.)
  5. Each Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true country gentleman.

Since its inception, many have reinterpreted and expanded Movember to include “No Shave November” and “Novembeard,” but no matter how men choose to show their pride and support the cause, it’s hard to deny that Movember is one health campaign that has truly gone viral (see what I did there?). In 2010, Movember’s numbers nearly doubled across the board, with more than 440,000 new registrants (men and women—Mo Sistas) and raised funds of more than $80.7 million. Overall, the campaign has raised $174 million and has 1.1 million registrants since it was officially established in 2004. As we near the end of 2011, and the middle of Movember, the brotherhood shows no signs of slowing down.

Movember is proof that campaigns infused with humor—despite the circumstances—can help make the word a better place. So Mo Bros, get out there and flaunt your finest facial hair. Or if you can’t grow your own, there are always these Mo Sista favorites.

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