Photo courtesy of Nora Clougherty Members of the TOMS club at Saint Mary’s Skyped with TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie during his TED talk Thursday.The TOMS company, through its “One for One” model, donates a pair of shoes to the poor in third-world countries every time someone buys a pair of its shoes. When someone purchases TOMS eyewear, a part of the profit goes to help restore sight to those who are poor. A new addition to the One for One organization is TOMS tote bags. Every time one is sold, a new bag, along with a safe home birth kit, is given to a pregnant mother in need of one.“For a long time, TOMS just provided shoes,” Mycoskie said. “We now have factories in Haiti and Kenya. We try to continually stretch the boundary of our company to create jobs.”Martin Burt, the founder and CEO of Fundacion Paraguaya (FP), which receives and distributes donated shoes, also Skyped in with Mycoskie and the Saint Mary’s club.“We are using TOMS not as charity but as self-help,” he said. “It is self-help and self-reliance that gets people out of poverty.”Burt, who founded FP in 1985, works to provide education in entrepreneurship and microcredit to students in Paraguay. At the moment, he is creating schools specifically for rural youth who are chronically unemployed, as well as developing the “Poverty Stoplight,” which uses technology to help poor families understand their economic position and work to improve it.“Our bottom line is impact, not poverty,” he said. “We try to design ways to diminish poverty.”TOMS club president Nora Clougherty said it was rewarding to speak to both Mycoskie and Burt, whose foundation, as a TOMS giving partner, directly uses the shoes.“We were not only able to witness how the shoes are being put to use, but we also got to talk to someone who was directly impacting TOMS,” she said.In response to a question from the Saint Mary’s club, Mycoskie said the biggest challenge was just making the shoes while keeping one question in mind.“How do you preserve a culture of giving as you scale a big business?” he said.Mycoskie said another major obstacle was keeping in mind the purpose of TOMS creation.“The challenge was in keeping the whole organization excited and focused on why we do what we do,” Mycoskie said. “More important is the mindset that we’re changing.”Burt said a partial obstacle to eliminating poverty is that people sometimes forget that poverty exists.“It’s not that the poor are invisible — we do not see,” Burt said. “We can transform the world and end poverty in one generation just with the TOMS shoe example, but it is impossible for people to see the solutions that are right under our nose.”Burt said TOMS is a good model because it can be applied beyond just shoes.“This is about social innovation, taking what works in one industry and applying it to another industry,” he said.Clougherty said the conversation inspired the club to continue to spread its message.“My goal is to one day see everyone on campus wearing TOMS so that we can see the change a simple purchase can have,” she said.Another club member, Delaney Hunt, said talking to Mycoskie helped her to consider the service aspect of business.“Talking to somebody that has that reputation and is so well-known makes it more real,” she said. “It makes me believe in their mission even more — it makes it more personal. The business model itself is interesting in that you could apply it to anything. It gives me ideas on what you can do with a normal business major.”Club member Tori Wilbraham said Mycoskie’s talk was particularly impactful as she prepares to graduate.“He inspired me to follow my passions rather than pursue a career for money,” Wilbraham said.
JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoThough Wisconsin dropped its rivalry game against MarquetteSaturday, head coach Bo Ryan believes that with the aggressive all-aroundscoring, stamina and key leadership within the team, the Badgers played with adetermined mindset.”You’re always trying to put your players in the bestposition to be successful,” Ryan said during his Monday press conference. “Younever want to overburden anybody, and nobody has ever done that with anybodyelse.”Despite a valiant effort against the Golden Eagles, theBadgers lost, 81-76, snapping a 28-game home winning streak. However, Ryan ispleased with the way the team played.”We did a pretty good job … we got the clock stopped,” Ryansaid. “Actually, it couldn’t have played out any better for having a chance tocome from behind.”Scoringcontinues to stay balancedOne of the key trends for UW this season has been thebalanced scoring pattern throughout the team. In each of the last seven games,eight different players have scored in double figures. Saturday, Brian Butchled the team with 17 points, shooting 50 percent from the field. Trevon Hughesadded 16 points and four assists, while Michael Flowers chipped in anadditional 14 points in his first start of the season.When asked if this teamwork was an accurate display of thetype of squad he is coaching this season, Ryan was quick to defend his AlandoTucker-less team.”A guy doesn’t have to go on the floor and feel that he hasto get 20 points,” Ryan said. “We can get five or six guys scoring betweeneight and 14 and still end up with very good production. We still want guys tobe aggressive with scoring, looking for their shots, improving with theirindividual moves, being able to deliver … of course we want all that.”Additionally, Ryan emphasized distributing the basketball.”You have to think about yourself as a player so that youcan deliver when it is a good shot and it is a good opportunity. But also, howto get somebody else an opportunity: draw in help, finding the open person,kicking it out,” he said.Reboundingdeters BadgersDespite another aggressive scoring effort for the majorityof the game, the Badgers struggled against Marquette in other areas. For thefirst time this season, the team was out-rebounded 41-34. The Badgers onlyconverted on 60 percent of their free throws, while the Golden Eagles hit sevenof their last nine free throws of the game to hold on to the lead.”You have to believe in your players — that they want to dothe right things the next opportunity they have,” Ryan said of the struggles.”Sometimes you’ve got to get knocked upside the head … figuratively, where youstumble and you’ve got to get up.”Ryan looks toseniorsWith a tougher schedule in the near future, Ryan is lookingto the older players on the team to set the tempo. Senior Brian Butch ranksthird in the Big Ten in rebounding, averaging 8.6 boards a game, while seniorMichael Flowers is averaging 9.4 points and shooting .444 (28-of-63) from thefield. Junior Joe Krabbenhoft is second on the team in minutes, and tied forsecond in rebounding and assists. To Ryan, the offensive contributions thatthese players bring to the team come secondary to the overall impact theyhave.”If you have success doing certain things early, when youunderstand the process, it is really about not trying to do things that youcan’t do,” Ryan said. “From my 30 years of experience, that’s what we try todo. We try to get people to set examples. And sooner or later, the younger guysget it.”Leuer’s playreflection of teamForward Jon Leuer hit two big 3-pointers against the Eagles,but Ryan made it clear that these offensive opportunities can be directlyattributed to an overall team contribution, not just the growing play of thefreshman.”It could have been him (Leuer) in that position, it couldhave been J-Bo (Bohannon), it could have been Michael Flowers,” Ryan said.”Balance … we’re going to need that. You can’t always refer to what has been,but how many explosive players do you find like Alando Tucker that can createsomething on his own? They’re rare. A lot of times then, you might have a teamthat might have to make one more pass.”