Ode For Intelligent Optimists

enlightened organizations: global trends: inspiration: best practices

Ode Magazine
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Ode (from the Ancient Greek) is a form of stately and elaborate lyrical verse[Wikipedia]. Ode magazine is included in our list of Enlightened Organizations for its commitment and success in lyrically focusing on what there is to celebrate in the world!

This month Ode magazine honors the heroes whom they call Intelligent Optimists:

“Intelligent Optimists, individuals who aren’t famous yet but should be because of the work they’re doing to bring positive change to their communities, their countries and the world. That’s how we got 25 reasons to be optimistic in these challenging times.”



Ode magazine, first published in 1995 in the Netherlands, is the only magazine I have ever read every article and every ad from cover to cover. Editor-in-chief, Jurriaan Kamp says when they were looking for a name the word Ode struck him one morning when he was in the shower (isn’t that the birthplace of all great ideas?). He felt the word defined the magazine, which was to be dedicated to a celebration of life.

“We cherish beauty, joy, friendship, and love. We look for possibilities and opportunities. We want to make things cleaner, greener, healthier, more just and sustainable – and more fun.”


With the belief that difficult times more than ever, require optimism, Ode decided it was time to create  their first annual list of the top 25 Intelligent Optimists. And here is who they found, with a brief description of their varied contributions:

1.  Michelle Chan, Campaigner, Friends of the Earth, San Francisco, California
Since 1995, has worked with this environmental organization as a watch dog of banks and corporations to ensure greater accountability and transparency in investing in projects with the environment in mind. At the  age of 23 her first foray into this realm was the struggle over the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River. Although they did not persuade the Chinese government to abandon the project, she found her passion.

2.  Susan Davis, President Capital Missions Company, Wisconsin
Helped to found the community bank, Shorebank: the Committee of 200; a group of women business owners; and Investors Circle, a national network of social venture capital investors. Having given up  on Wall street, these organizations  are launching an electronic stock exchange exclusively for socially responsible investors.

3.  Katya Andresen, Chief Operating Officer, Network for Good, Maryland
This website showcases a million charities and 36,000 volunteer opportunities making it easy for non-profits to recruit donors and volunteers via the internet.

4.  Rinaldo Brutoco, Founder and President World Business Academy
In 1987, founded this think tank to develop and articulate a new paradigm for business based on the over-all well-being of society, encouraging managers to see beyond short-term profits and to look for sustainability all aspects of their businesses.

5.  Ola Altera, Vice-Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Communication, Sweden
An influential leader of a multidisciplinary team that took Sweden from a 90% dependency on fossil fuel for its power plants in 1981; to 90% use of alternative sources of fuel by 2001.

6.  Shai Agassi, Founder, Better Place, California
Is working with Renault-Nissan and the Israeli government, to produce an infrastructure for electric cars that will use solar energy to recharge batteries (in Denmark using wind power) and provide roadside charging stations.

7.  Albina Ruiz Rios, Executive Director, Ciudad Saludable, Peru
Created Ciudad Saludable (“healthy city”) in 2001, as a pioneer in cleaning up cities in 20 Peruvian cities and is developing Peru’s first national waste-management program.

8.  Martin Vossler, Advocate, Solar Energy, Switzerland
A physician and activist for solar energy and reduction of emissions; to demonstrate his commitment he has abandoned automobiles and flying.

9.  Bob and Kelly King, Founders Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance and Pacific Biodiesel, Hawaii
Converting restaurant waste into biodiesel to fuel the landfill generators -  has expanded to Maui, Ohau and several US cities.

10.  Willie Smits, Nature Conservationist, Indonesia
Concerned about the illegal, deforestation of the rainforest in Indonesia, is planning to build his own rain forest and fulfill his greatest passion – the protection of orangutans and their natural habitat.

11. Bilquis and Abdul Sattar Edhi, Founders Edhi Trust, Pakistan
Starting from scratch, this couple have built a 10 million dollar organization to take care of abandoned women, abused children, rape victims, and survivors of natural disasters in Pakistan.

12.  James Kass, Founder and Executive Director, Youth Speaks, California
Encouraging youth to use their poetic voices to speak out for social change.

13. Marta Gabre-Tsadick, Founder Project Mercy, Ethiopia
Working with infrastructure, education, micro-loans and agricultural innovation, this program seeks to free a community of 74,000 people in Ethiopia from dependence on foreign aid.

14.  Tony Recasner, Principal, Samuale Green Chjarter School, Louisana
In the cleanup of his school following Hurricane Katrina, he created an Edible Schoolyard that teaches kids about nutrition, agriculture and ecology by having them grow and cook their own food.

15. Madieng Seck, Member Slow Food, Senegal
Promoted a food education project for schools to promote the Slow Food cause.

16. Ruth Camargo, Inspiration, Columbia
Saved from the sewers of Bogota, scarred from facial burns and on the verge of suicide, Ruth is an inspiration with her testimony that the most important thing in life is to find your inner peace and love that lies within our own hearts.

17.  Pierre Rabhi, farmer, environmentalist, France
Teaching  rural people from Africa, Maghreb and Eastern Europe how to cultivate difficult soil without the use of fertilizers.

18.  Victoria Maizes, Executive Director, Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, Arizona
Making connections between body and mind, East and West, physician and patient – and binding the principles of integrative medicine to contemporary clinical practice.

19.  Amit Sood, Director of Research, Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota
Using Ayurvedic, Chinese and traditional medicine, he uses healing methods that restore well-being rather than just treating illnesses.

20. T. Colin Campbell, Author “China Study”, New York
Advocate of a vegan diet to contribute to a healthy lifestyle with a diet based on plants and whole or natural foods – a position outlined in his book, “The China Study” published in 2005.

21.  O. Carl Simonton, Founder and medical director, Simonton Cancer Centre, California
Author “Getting Well Again” chronicles his belief that how we think and feel is influential in establishing and maintaining good health.

22. Acacio AQugusto Castro DA Paz, Owner Pension Peredgrinando, Spain
Left a lucrative career in Brazil to set up an inn for pilgrims who have walked from Saint Jean Pied de Port in the French Pyrenees, to Santiago in Spain.

23.Gay Luce, Founder Nine Gates Mystery School, Califrnia
Opened this school to teach adults and now teenagers, skills like meditation, creating a sacred place, self-hypnosis, emotional release, and non-violent communication.

24. Angela  Rackstraw, Founder, Community Art Therapy, South Africa
A nurse who trained to become an art therapist when she saw the horrors children were experiencing in the townships of South Africa and who now runs an Art Therapy program in Nyanga where she works with women and children.

25. READERS CHOICE – Robi DAmelin

Due to the nature of this individuals work, we will tell their story in our Friday blog on Consciousness… be sure to come back!


Organizational Behaviour Consultant
author: Imagine Your Soul Abudant: Attracting Success, Fulfillment and True Happiness
more about: www.corporatemindshift.com www.soulabundant.com
Judy’s book can be ordered from her website www.soulabundant.com.  Special prices for bulk orders upon request. Seminars and retreats customized to the needs of your group or organization.

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3 Responses to “Ode For Intelligent Optimists”

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