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Knowing the Flow and Slaying It!!

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By Cheryl Minnette


Editor’s Note:

In an ongoing effort to increase awareness on sight loss/blindness, Bold Blind Beauty contributor Cheryl Minnette will be inviting readers into the world of what it’s like to live with severe sight loss. These articles are created with the intention of continuing meaningful conversation while further connecting blind and sighted people. We hope you will enjoy these quarterly pieces that will be published under Beauty Buzz and tagged “Awareness & Sensitivity.”

Initial thoughts…

“Oh no…!!”

“I hope I can do this.”

“A little more variety from the color palette would have helped.”

There are so many beautiful colors in the world, such a vast rainbow to observe. In addition to the many shades, you have your pales, your brights, your darks and your lights. Any color, any hue that you can imagine is some type of blend. So what happens when the color choice is just one? One single color, with no other. No other color to compliment it. No other color to offset it. No other color to contrast with it. How does this single hue appear to you? 

Knowing the Flow and Slaying It!!

Come along with me on a journey that will allow you to gain some mental insight into someone else’s world. Indulge me a moment by closing your eyes as I walk you through a scenario. Are you ready? Let’s go!

All are chatting away and excitement is in the air, electrifying it, as everyone is escorted through the venue. Anticipation peaks as a pair of highly arched, white French doors swing open to reveal the outdoor wedding reception. Immediately you step onto the first of a limited number of oversized white steppingstones, that wind throughout the beautifully manicured lawn. With the sun shining brightly overhead, you may just barely be able to see the tables that are spectacularly decorated off in the distance. 

The first thing you must do is get from point A to point B while trying to appear as graceful as possible. The steppingstones may not be too much of a problem, but look out for those unseen changes in the terrain. A beautiful scene, but not the most ideal place for a blind girl in her stilettos. As the maneuvering continues, all are wondering what will take place when the festivities begin.  

Getting situated at your table and meeting the other table guests is always an interesting process. As you get closer, you hear people marveling at the beauty of the vision before them. There are all-white tablescapes that start with a tablecloth that gently drapes down to kiss the lawn, and chairs that have been stylishly dressed with white chair covers that are snatched with a rear bow and shimmering with crystal and pearl embellishments. As you approach the seating area, the multiple tablescapes appear to be a large white danger zone, an accident waiting to happen. Your mind now begins to race as it is searching and wondering, ‘How on God’s green earth will I get through this?’ Caution becomes the word of the day, as you proceed very cautiously to ensure that minimal damage occurs, but hoping there will be none at all. The challenge here is that, although you pretty much know what should be on the table, you just don’t see it. 

For instance, you may know there’s a place setting, but what type is the question. One must consider what their entire place setting consists of. You know there will be silverware, but the number of pieces is the variable, since there may be between three and eight. Did you know that in this setting the reflection from the sun can cause silverware to disappear, as they can appear to be white? Having a clear item on a sunny day like crystal stemware adds another layer of challenges. You know it’s there, but where and how many is what you need to figure out before they are inadvertently knocked over. 

Note that without any contrast, sun or no sun, everything on the table can blend together as one. So with the place settings, silverware, and crystal stemware, rounding out these tablescapes are large green and white floral arrangements in a tall crystal vase, which is set upon an octagon-shaped mirrored centerpiece. White pearl strands are swirled around the table with crystal accents sprinkled all around.

With this scenario, I’m sure you can understand the pitfalls that would be challenging for someone with severe vision loss and contrast challenges. Is the scene beautiful? Yes, it is. Could it become a tragic scene? Yes, I could. Can one acquire the skills to move through this scenario with poise and grace? Yes, one most definitely can!

These are some of the things that one has to process and work through as part of their day to day life style.

On the one hand, if you are sighted, this monochromatic display may be a breathtakingly picturesque sight to behold. On the other hand, for someone whose visual challenge deals with contrast and severe vision loss, having this tablescape could be like walking a bull through a China Shop. The bull may not demolish the shop, but some damage will definitely occur.  

Give us your thoughts as you comment below as to what you became aware of, what you would like to know, and what you were able to relate to. Your insights and expressions are appreciated.

Believing you are capable
is the first step, But
taking action is the ultimate step.

~Cheryl Minnette

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A pair of silver wedding bands tied together with white satin ribbon on

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What is Investing with Impact

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Editor’s Note:

As Bold Blind Beauty continues to evolve our content offerings will expand as well. This content will include a broad range of topics we believe will be beneficial to our community. As such, I am pleased to introduce you to one of our newest contributors, Gena Harper. I met Gena a couple of months ago and was immediately captivated by her sparkling personality and her story. We will be featuring Gena in an upcoming edition of Beyond Sight’s Women On The Move however in the interim she will share her financial expertise with us. Enjoy! ~Steph

What is Investing with Impact

Courtesy of: Gena Harper, CIMA, Senior Vice President, Investing with Impact Director, Senior Investment Management Consultant.

You can help create economic, social and environmental change through your investment portfolio without sacrificing financial performance.

Investing with Impact represents a vibrant and fast-growing approach to investing for individuals and institutions that want to have a positive impact on environmental and social issues.

Enthusiasm for this type of investing is growing. A recent Morgan Stanley study found that 85% of investors are interested in impact investing. Among Millennials, that number is even higher: 95% of next generation investors are interested in putting money into companies that are affecting social and environmental change.1

What’s New About Investing with Impact?

Each of us has individual priorities when aligning investment decisions with larger societal or environmental concerns.  Some wealth management firms use different definitions and structures to support these goals.

Morgan Stanley has designed a framework that includes four different approaches: Restriction Screening; Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Integration; Thematic Exposure; and Impact Investing. This framework provides a range of options for integrating the potential for societal and environmental impact into your portfolio:

  • Restriction Screening: The goal is to abstain from investing in companies and industries that go against the moral or ethical values of certain investors. For example, some investors want to avoid investing in tobacco, gambling or weapons companies.
  • Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Integration: The goal is to proactively invest in companies with sustainable corporate practices, including efficient natural resource use, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, & employee and customer treatment and governance.
  • Thematic Exposure:  The goal is to invest in companies with products and services targeting solutions to key sustainability goals such as alleviating poverty, community development, & climate solutions, among others. 
  • Impact Investing: The goal is to affect specific social and/or environmental change at a direct, targeted level by making investments in private enterprises. There are periodic offerings for qualified investors. 

Each of these four approaches across the framework outlined above are differentiated by their process around shareholder engagement, as described below.

  • Shareholder Engagement: The goal is to drive positive environmental, social, or governance-related change through active and continuous dialogue with corporates. Examples of engagement include proxy voting, dialogue with company executives, and participation in shareholder meetings.  
  • No Need to Sacrifice Earnings

Many people think that choosing investing with impact means accepting subpar investment earnings. However, Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing has found that the returns of sustainable mutual funds are no different than traditional mutual funds, while offering investors comparatively lower downside risk—as well as impact on a broad range of environmental, social and governance issues.2 Looking at one specific thematic area, Morgan Stanley Research also found that the top third of companies in terms of gender diversity experienced 3% higher average relative returns than other companies in their region.3 

The good news is that as more companies report on their environmental and social initiatives and as more data becomes available, the positive link between ESG factors and stock performance is getting easier to demonstrate.

A Win-Win for Investors

Companies that actively pursue strong sustainable corporate operations through their environmental, social and governance criteria can potentially mitigate their financial and social risks, and build trust among their shareholders, employees and customers. The result: A positive impact on companies’ stability and earnings over time.

When you invest in companies that embrace sustainability in their corporate operations as well as the products and services that they offer, it can also help you with achieving your long term financial objectives. You can also feel good knowing you are using all your available resources to have a positive impact on causes you care about.


1 Sustainable Signals, Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, September 2019

2 Sustainable Reality: Analyzing Risk and Returns of Sustainable Funds, Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, August 2019

3 Introducing HERS: Employing Diversity Pays Off, Morgan Stanley Research, August 2019 

This material does not provide individually tailored investment advice. It has been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it. The strategies and/or investments discussed in this material may not be appropriate for all investors. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC recommends that investors independently evaluate particular investments and strategies, and encourages investors to seek the advice of a Financial Advisor. The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. This material is not an offer to buy or sell any security or to participate in any trading strategy. Asset allocation and diversification do not guarantee a profit or protect against a loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Investing in the market entails the risk of market volatility. The value of all types of investments may increase or decrease over varying time periods.

The returns on a portfolio consisting primarily of sustainable, ESG-aware, or impact investments may be lower or higher than a portfolio that is more diversified or where decisions are based solely on investment considerations. Because sustainability, ESG-aware, or impact criteria exclude some investments, investors may not be able to take advantage of the same opportunities or market trends as investors that do not use such criteria.


Article by Morgan Stanley and provided courtesy of Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor. 

Gena Harper is a Financial Advisor in Oakland at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”). She can be reached by email at or by telephone at (530) 601-8800. Her California Insurance License # is 0A36919.  Her website is

This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. The information and data in the article has been obtained from sources outside of Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley makes no representations or guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of the information or data from sources outside of Morgan Stanley. It does not provide individually tailored investment advice and has been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it. The strategies and/or investments discussed in this article may not be appropriate for all investors. Morgan Stanley recommends that investors independently evaluate particular investments and strategies, and encourages investors to seek the advice of a Financial Advisor. The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”) and its Financial Advisors and Private Wealth Advisors do not provide any tax/legal advice. Consult your own tax/legal advisor before making any tax or legal-related investment decisions.

Gena Harper may only transact business, follow-up with individualized responses, or render personalized investment advice for compensation, in states where she is registered or excluded or exempted from registration,

© 2020 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC. CRC 2851679  12/19

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Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020!

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Did you know…

that 70% of the web is inaccessible to people who are blind or visually impaired?

“Accessibility allows us to tap into everyone’s potential.”

~Debra Ruh, Ruh Global Impact

Today May 21st, 2020 marks the 9th annual celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD started with a single blog post written by a Los Angeles-based web developer, Joe Devon, and Jennison Asuncion, an accessibility professional from Toronto. This accessibility holiday is a global event that helps drive awareness for those who are new to accessibility.*


Deque Systems


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CoVid-19 TOTD #1

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Editor’s Note:

OOTD short for “outfit of the day” is a well-known fashion abbreviation or hashtag. We considered using a similar tactic with CoVid-19 but thought “C-19TOTD” might be a bit over the top. In view of this dilemma, we settled for TOTD (tip of the day) following ‘CoVid-19.’ Our newest contributor, Cheryl Minnette, recently featured as a Woman On The Move in Beyond Sight Magazine will share some of her tips and insights with our readers. Thank you Cheryl! ~Steph

CoVid-19 TOTD

Here at Bold Blind Beauty, our goal is for you to enjoy life, but be well while doing it. During #CoVid-19 we want to assist you with that, So here is our CoVid-19 Tip of the day. 

As we go out and about, then return home, even if we wore gloves, ‘Are we SAFE?’ Maybe not if you forget about this. Most of us navigate with our subconscious mind, so at times we forget about the smallest details, like our keys! 

We have become so accustomed to grabbing, tossing, and using our keys without a thought, but it’s time to think about sanitizing them. #CoVid-19 can live on the metal surface of our keys. As you continually touch and relocate them, you can be transferring the coronavirus to other places. 

What precautions can be taken? 

  1. Be mindful of where you place your keys during use and non-use. At home, designate a spot for them.
  2. When you come inside and wash your hands, wash your keys, also
  3. Spread keys out on an appropriate surface and spray them with a virus-killing disinfectant spray, like Lysol. Allow to air dry.
  4. Wipe keys down with a virus-killing disinfectant wipe, like Clorox wipes. Allow to air dry. 
  5. Do not rest keys on surfaces when out, such as tables, counters, shelves, etc. 

In order to stay safe, we must know and understand the process.