March 29, 2012
Photo above: Hugh Herr
An experience in our life that can appear at first to be "tragic" or "negative" can often be the impetus that leads us to transformation and perhaps even down a path that changes the world and improves the lives of millions.
Such is the case of MIT Professor and double amputee Hugh Herr, whose story captivated me when i saw it recently featured on a CNN Medical/Innovation segment.
An avid adventurer and mountain climber, Hugh Herr had a "tragic accident" while in his twenties on a mountain climbing adventure.
During what was supposed to be a one day climb, he got caught in a blizzard and when the rescue party reached him 4 days later, frostbite cost him the loss of both his legs.
Hugh Herr went on to create "Bionics," an interplay of science and design that has revolutionized the field of prosthetics. Bionics are replacements for "broken body parts" using the latest generation of robotics that not only seamlessly integrate with the body, but outperforms the natural body part.
March 28, 2012
If you’ve ever wondered if you’re too old to reinvent your career, follow a dream, or learn how to surf, tap, fly, yodel, knit, or you-name-it, this story’s for you.
Once upon a time, (actually, last year), I was peacefully walking my dog, Lucky in the neighborhood.
But then, the voice of Edna, my Inner Critic, interrupted the calm with: “When are you going to give up that pipedream of yours? You’re not getting any younger, you know.”
March 27, 2012
As I scrolled through my Twitter feed the other day, I came across a tweet mentioning the campaign to end the derogatory use of the R-word. This tweet triggered my own memories and thoughts about my experiences working with students who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Throughout high school I had the privilege of working as a teacher’s assistant in Mrs. Baker’s multi-needs classroom, Room 507. As a highlight of my high school experience, I looked forward to this class period every day.
March 27, 2012
Design and the arts have been lifelong passions of mine. After college, I started a career as a business executive in the fashion industry, working for Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Traveling to Europe for business and wearing couture to work was exciting. However, I was not fully satisfied because what I really wanted to do was to be on the creative end.
After four years, I decided to pursue that dream – I enrolled at the Interior Design program at UCLA Extension and moved to Los Angeles.
The first year was the hardest, having to give up a “glamorous” job and be a student again. No more Paris six times a year, or the newest “It” bags. But having a vision of what I eventually wanted helped me stick to my plan.
March 27, 2012
In 1994, my husband Paul and I – armed with dreams of starting a senior-care business – opened our first office in my mother-in-law Catherine’s living room.
Not long before, Catherine had invited her 89-year-old mother – Grandma Manhart – to live with her for what seemed would be the last year of her life. It worked out well because Paul could keep a close eye on Grandma during the day while Catherine worked.
It proved to be a dramatic training ground for our business model and provided insights into the role that millions of families fill each day as caregivers of aging loved ones.
March 23, 2012
Last night, I had the pleasure of speaking at the launch event for the California Arts Council's "Create a State" Arts Plate campaign here in Los Angeles.
California is second-to-last in in the United States in arts education funding per capita, and the Arts Plate is the primary source of California's public arts funding.
Our goal is to get one million Arts Plates on the road, which will generate $40 million annually for arts education and local arts programs for children, schools and communities.
Having a chance to mingle with so many artistic thinkers (including the legendary architect Frank Gehry!) inspired me and got me thinking.
March 23, 2012
As caregivers, we want the very best for our families, and when it comes to their health, we want them to eat the healthiest food available—at least most of the time. But what about those times when we’re looking to satisfy a sweet tooth or spoil our kids with an edible treat?
I remember one particular family gathering when my son was just three years old. As I watched him slyly gravitate towards a huge table full of candy, my initial maternal reaction was to say “no way” and point him toward some coloring books.
Unfortunately, as all mothers understand, three year olds can be rather persistent. Of course it didn‘t help that his junk-food-loving grandpa (my dad) begged me to “let him live a little because he‘s a kid.”
March 21, 2012
When we read about the lives of the most successful women, we feel inspired, but we may ultimately think that their level of growth and success is beyond our reach.
But by demystifying the essence of leadership, we can begin to see that we too can be exceptional leaders. Having researched the lives of an international group of visionary women for my book, Pioneers of the Possible, I now see that these women were indeed extraordinary because of a set of traits they all had in common.
Pioneering women, or women who are able to rise and lift themselves to greater heights, are what I call “everyday mystics”. Many of their unique qualities fall in the realm of spiritual and personal attunement, which allows them to be both great visualizers and actualizers.
March 20, 2012
It is interesting how life whispers to you, hinting at what your story should be, or maybe, how your story should change. My story changed with the birth of my daughter. It took my having a girl child to recognize that in 2006 not a single infant tee in all of humankind showed a girl flying an airplane.
This was a problem for me because my child is named for Amelia Earhart, and I wanted a cute little outfit for her to wear as she met my extended family for the first time. I was adrift in a sea of pink and princess.
March 20, 2012
I was born in the late 80’s, which means I’m a generation Y kid.
Perhaps it’s different for everyone, but when I think about what marks my generation as separate from all the rest, I come up with this: the willingness to nonchalantly accept the status quo. That might not sound like my generation, but let me explain.
I was born right around the time when the Berlin Wall was torn down, and by the time I was “mature” enough to learn about it, the internet and the glory that was Ask Jeeves appeared upon us and immediately I knew more about the Berlin Wall than had my grandparents who lived through the Great Depression, my parents who lived through Vietnam, or my next door neighbor who lost an eye to WWII.
When 9/11 happened, I was just on the brink of adolescence and all the big, tall people leaned their heads down to me and said, “This will be the thing that you will remember forever.” Immediately, the experience of 9/11 became something where the future was pre-determined; like the history books that I had read front to back, 9/11 became a chapter in the textbook, from which many more bad chapters would follow.