Bio for Dave and Dara Feldman
Dave and Dara Feldman are a passionate wife-husband team of social entrepreneurs who seek to positively uplift as many lives as possible. They lead Virtues Matter and have developed the Virtues Cards App, an easy-to-use tool designed to help people strengthen virtues and lead lives of joy, meaning, and purpose. Dara is the self-proclaimed CEO (Chief Enthusiasm Officer) of Virtues Matter while Dave is the CEEO (Chief Everything Else Officer)!
Dara is the author of The Heart of Education: Bringing Joy, Meaning and Purpose Back to Teaching and Learning. She is an ASCD Whole Child Faculty Member, a Certified Jack Canfield Success Principles Trainer, a Virtues Project Master Facilitator, a Restorative Practices/Justice Trainer for IIRP.edu, an Expert Consultant to Character.org, and a Coach for The Positive Schools Center at the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work.
Dara won the Computerworld Smithsonian Award in Education and Academia in 2000. Honored as Disney’s 2005 Outstanding Elementary Teacher of the Year, Educator of the Year for the National Association for Self Esteem in 2009 and Maryland’s 2015 Mother of the Year, she is one of 10 teachers featured in the book One on One with America’s Most Inspiring Teachers.
Dave is a social entrepreneur, community builder, thought leader and international speaker on a range of topics including sustainable communities, entrepreneurship, and leadership development. He is currently a strategic advisor with the Virtues Project International Association. In 2009, Dave was named one of ‘The 25 CEOs You Need to Know’ by The Gazette of Politics and Business and ‘Innovator of the Year’ by The Daily Record. In 2010, the Montgomery County Council named him one of the ‘40 Environmentalists in 40 Years’.
Dave and Dara Feldman, having achieved the heights of success in their individual careers, launched a project which would help align the world to universal virtues. Listen in on the journey which led them to unearth the hidden gems in every human being.
- “Caring is giving tender attention to the people and things that matter to us. It is being a compassionate witness, listening to another whole heartedly and without judgement. We show that we care with thoughtful acts and kind words. When we do a careful job, we give it our best effort. We are not indifferent to things that matter. We care deeply about the principles we believe in. Caring is a sign of love. When we care for others, we notice how they feel and what they need. When we care for ourselves, we have more to give to others. Caring is a gift from the heart.”
- “One who cares, listens to the practice of caring. I take an interest in others and listen deeply. I love the ways to be considerate and helpful. I am gentle and loving with anyone and anything placed in my care. I give excellence to whatever I do. I am passionate about my beliefs. I take good care of myself. I am thankful for the gift of caring which helps me to express my love.”
- “Often times… as women, we’re told to be of selfless service and to give and to give and to put ourselves last and there is this analogy or metaphor about putting our own oxygen masks on and really being able to give from a full cup.”
- “It’s really essential for us to have self care before we can give to others in order to be sustaining in that caring way.”
- “It takes a lot of patience and patience and more patience to help others to know that they, that we, have all these virtues in us.”
- “The practice of virtues is really… a guide to bring people together and help us look at what this new world will look like. It’s about who we are as people and who we can become going forward.”
- “When we do a virtues pick… people all over the world have felt that their connection to themselves, to the other person and anything bigger, greater than themselves is even deeper and stronger. You can use it in a networking way, but it’s more than just ‘what do you do’, it’s really about who you are and what brings you joy, meaning, and purpose.”
- “Doing a daily virtues pick helps to develop… the fluency to be able to see, witness and notice the good in others, and that’s going to help change behaviour for the positive more than any kind of begging, pleading or threatening that you can do.”
- “Virtues are just universal positive qualities of character and the way they are expressed may be different from culture to culture; however, the essence of the virtues… [is] the same.”
- “There’s a pretty standard statistic that talks about that what people want more than anything else in their business – appreciation.”
- “Virtues are going to spread virally around the world, uplifting humanity and helping people remember who they are.”
Virtues Pick – Daily Reflection on Universal Positive Qualities
Dara explains a virtues pick as an important practice to remember our inherent nobility and to be able to understand ourselves and one another. Making a habit of picking a daily virtue also helps lay the foundation “to see through the lens and speak through the lens of the virtues.”
In this podcast, Dave and Dara used the virtual version of Virtues Reflection Cards, shook their phone, and received ‘Caring’. Each virtue card contains quotations from many wisdom sources, six ways to practice each virtue, an in-depth description based on research in the world’s diverse sacred traditions and an affirmation to guide and inspire your activities.
Dave says that caring manifests in his life as keeping all those working hard to make a difference through the pandemic in his thoughts, because they care about what they do. For Dara, caring shows up in her life as self-care, that this virtue is an invitation to us to take better care of ourselves.
The Journey to Virtues and Making Them Matter
A contemporary of Dara introduced her to the Virtues Cards, which led her to order the pack and educator guide to use in her class. She also used the family guide at home, and in both situations, she experienced a “total transformation”. She went on to become associated with The Virtues Project as Director of Education.
When Dara shared about this project with Dave, he appreciated its effects but was skeptical about applying them in his work. However, when he observed the life-changing experiences Dara and other facilitators were responsible for, he jumped at the opportunity to contribute to creating a mobile app, which laid the seed for Virtues Matter.
Using Virtues in Dave and Dara’s Daily Life
Dave says he does a daily virtual pick, using the reminder in the app to help him take time out of his day to ground himself. Dara and he do it together before they begin a meeting or a date! He credits the virtues for helping them both explore principles important to each other and for bringing them closer. “It’s not always an easy thing to work with your spouse but having this kind of openness as a ground rule is really key”, he remarks.
Dara confesses that she would do a virtues pick with any familiar face she ran into and let them keep the card. Using the app has ensured that she always has the full deck to choose from! She does a virtues pick each morning, and any time she needs to feel inspired or motivated. “If you don’t want to be happier, healthier, more productive, more connected, just please don’t read a virtues card because they have magic powers”, she quips.
Using the Virtues for Business
Dave recommends employing a virtues pick before beginning a business meeting. Defining a business’ core values and culture are the foundation and the virtues cards can help encourage their adoption and growth in the workplace. “If you can actually point to ways and acknowledge people for how they are implementing those values, then there’s a lot of opportunity for businesses to really grow and improve their performance”, he remarks. Dara suggests giving 5 positive affirmations before any feedback to tap the potential for virtues which exist within each person.
More great insights from our guest!
Dave and Dara ask to “share the love, the language of virtues, everyday, everyone, everywhere” using the virtues cards. Their program ‘Share the Love’ is aimed at bringing forth positivity and peace and asks each person to begin a chain of acts of love.
They are also offering a course on learning the language of virtues and bettering your relationship with yourself and others. An interactive, engaging, and hands-on workshop, Dara promises that it will “change the way that you see the world and the way that you show up in it.”
Being of service through caring: A couple of social entrepreneurs shows us how to build our lives around virtues, elevating positivity, and uplifting humanity in the process.