A Different Kind of Sustainable Growth: What’s Happening in the Promega Garden

Tomatoes growing in the Promega garden
Tomato season is ending soon, and Mike has already harvested 2,500 pounds from the Promega garden.

Summer is winding down at Promega Madison. Kids are heading back to school, sunset is creeping earlier, and a new cycle of academic research projects are ramping up. However, in the Promega garden, Master Gardener Mike Daugherty is still hard at work harvesting fresh produce that will soon become delicious meals in our cafeterias. As the seasons begin to change, I stopped by to learn what’s happening on the farm. Here are a few highlights that Mike shared.

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Take a Break, Take A Walk!

Elderly father adult son and grandson out for a walk in the park.

For many of us, we’re used to getting our steps in when walking from one meeting room to the next. However, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we shifted to new communication modes. Meetings transitioned to simply clicking from one zoom to the other, increasing the amount of time we stay sedentary. For those who are still working remotely, this is a reminder to make time for movement! Contrary to how long periods of sitting have negative effects on the body, walking has a long list of benefits. In the spirit of National Walking Day, here are some reasons why you should take a break and take a walk.

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Cultured Meat Viability Increases in Biotech

Cultured meat grows in a plastic dish in laboratory conditions.

The biotechnology industry has been powering through barriers standing between the lab and the dinner plate as cultured meat advances toward the market. Challenges like scaling up the technology and getting products to the market are significant, but future food demands are an even bigger obstacle. Earth’s population is projected to reach 10 billion people by 2050. Our current agricultural practices will not be able to meet the food demands. Therefore, we need to find alternative ways to produce food–like “growing” it in the lab.

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Our Future is at Hand; Global Handwashing Day

Each year, on October 15th, we celebrate Global Handwashing Day. This day aims to raise awareness about the critical importance of handwashing as well as educate and encourage people around the world to handwash with soap.

Keeping hands clean is one of the easiest, most effective, and cheapest ways we can prevent germs from spreading. As we continue to fight COVID-19, we need to leverage the lessons learned from our pandemic response and prioritize proper hand hygiene.

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Awakening From Despair to Awe: 2021 International Forum on Consciousness

Banner for the International Forum on Consciousness 2021

Each year, the International Forum on Consciousness draws thought leaders from around the world to explore important, and often challenging, topics related to the exploration of consciousness. The theme for this year, Consciousness of Connection: Awakening from Despair to Awe, is an invitation to broaden curiosity about connection and take a closer look at the variety of connections that we forge in our lives.

Participants will examine the kinds of connections that transcend our individual selves and reach our inner desire to be part of an interconnected world, perhaps to transform our current sense of the individual, community, and society, from independent to interdependent. More specifically, the Forum will examine connection across the primary aspects of our lives with:

  • Self, and the many selves in our amazing neural networks
  • Others, and the multiple communities we intersect
  • Nature, and the breadth of life forms that surround us
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The Power of Vulnerability

Today’s blog is written by Malynn Utzinger, Director of Integrative Practices, and Tim Weitzel, ESI Architect.

If we want to reignite innovation and passion, we must rehumanize work.

-Silicon Valley CEO of Several Start-ups

If we want to rehumanize work, we need to be more human in the workplace.

-Promega’s ESI Bootcamp

Vulnerability is the birthplace of intimacy, trust connection, creativity, innovation. For leaders, it is the birthplace of trusted influence. But it is not permission to overshare.

-Brené Brown

Myths of Vulnerability

It’s important that we start off by making a few things about vulnerability crystal clear:  being vulnerable is not about over-sharing, being emotional—or worse, gushy. It is not about sacrificing necessary boundaries or letting go of all discernment when speaking. Vulnerability, as we intend it, is about being real with others. It is about being clear and honest enough within yourself that you can use courage and clarity to state a need or a perspective. Quite the opposite of requiring tears or grand displays of emotion, vulnerability can be expressed with utter command of one’s emotions, so that the clarity and authenticity of the message is what remains.

Vulnerability is also knowing that you cannot know everything or do your work perfectly or even to your full satisfaction sometimes, and it is having this same understanding and acceptance for others. It is being able to speak to that honestly so that we can build sustainable bridges between ourselves and others. We call this speaking our truths–with discernment.

Finally, vulnerability is knowing that while we must give our best efforts where and whenever we can, we must also know what we can’t control.  In most cases, what we cannot control is outcomes.  Therefore, vulnerability is embracing the uncertainty in how things will go in our relationships and in our work if we risk emotional exposure.  We cannot always know how others will hear what we share, but we can learn to take that risk and speak in service to a common goal.  For example, we might decide to share that the reason we are being so obsessive or insistent on a process is because of a past failure (perceived or real) that we still carry with us.  Even though we cannot control what others will think of our story, we trust that the sharing may help them share a need of their own or to hear our own need differently, so that we can all work together.  This is true in every relationship of our lives, where we learn to share something true for the sake of allowing another human being to know us as we are. 

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Three Pillars of ESI Mastery: Part Three

A Future Vision that Shapes Today’s Behavior

Today’s blog is written by Malynn Utzinger, Director of Integrative Practices, and Tim Weitzel, ESI Architect.

In one of our earliest blogs, we shared one of our favorite parables about a stonecutter. it went as follows:

In medieval times, a traveler happens upon a stonemason and asks him, “What are you doing?” The stonemason says wearily, “I spend long, hard days cutting and laying stone.” Further down the traveler encounters a second stonemason and asks him the same question, “What are you doing?” This stonemason, more energetically, replies. “I’m building a wall. I am blessed to have work that allows me to support my family so well.” Again, walking on, the traveler encounters a third stonemason doing the same work as the previous two; yet this stonemason is beaming with life. When the traveler asks what he is doing, he spreads his arm wide and exclaims, “I am building a cathedral that will uplift countless lives for centuries to come!”

ESI Mastery Part Three

The last pillar of Emotional and Social Intelligence (ESI) Mastery that we explore in this three-part series is the importance of identifying a vision or writing a future story. This vision or story shapes how we behave so that we can live into it.

In short, stories drive our lives. However, too often, the wrong story causes us to become stuck in a version of reality that cuts us off from giving and receiving the best of ourselves and of life.

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How the Pandemic Changed Us

This past year has been a challenging one for most of us. The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the way we live. We are working from home, our kids are learning online, we can’t gather with friends and family, we are wearing masks, we no longer attend in-person events. All of this change around us has profoundly affected us in many ways.

We asked our Promega colleagues how the pandemic changed their lives and how they adapted. How are they feeling? What keeps them going? What lessons have they learned? And what good has come out of it? Here’s what they said.

Photo credit: Johanna Lee
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Adapting Holiday Traditions: COVID, Customs and Cookies at Promega

Adaptation: In biology and ecology, the process or state of adjusting or changing to become more suited to an environment.    

Holiday traditions are certainly taking new forms this year as we all determine how to safely celebrate during a pandemic. It goes without saying that it’s been a tough year. Customs and rituals, large and small, bring peace and comfort. We need those more than ever now, so the challenge becomes finding new ways to honor valued traditions.

Chuck York, VP Manufacturing delivers individually packaged cookies to R&D Scientists on the Promega Madison Campus, adapting this holiday tradition to the life during a pandemic.
This year’s cookie delivery happened with a twist. Chuck York, VP Manufacturing delivers individually packaged cookies to R&D Scientists on the Promega Madison Campus.

Today, we would like to share how one dearly held Promega Madison tradition was able to endure in our COVID-19 world. Adaptation is key. And butter and sugar help, too.

Elaine Day

Promega employees this week were surprised and deeply moved to find that their beloved “Elaine Day” had not become yet another casualty of the pandemic.

“This has been such a difficult year,” says Senior QA Scientist Sue Wigdal. “I had assumed, sadly, that Elaine Day would be cancelled, but to be able to have it and all the thoughtfulness and deliciousness that it brings, was amazing.”  

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