Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Winners Get Up and Go

Bonnie St. John, the first African-American to win Olympic medals in ski racing in downhill events at the 1984 Paralympics, captivated a packed ballroom at the Girls Scouts Annual Success to Significance luncheon last week.  She is an accomplished speaker, trainer and author, who radiates enthusiasm and possibility. The story of her Olympic medal races provided insight for everyone.  She was number one after her first run, and in sight of the finish line when she fell during her second run.  The icy course had caused many racers to fall.  Bonnie earned an Olympic medal by getting up and finishing the race.  The gold medalist also fell, but got up more quickly.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Today was a great day for DePelchin Children's Center. A Board Strategic Planning Retreat produced marvelous alignment in board and staff priorities.

Multiple constituents, much research and many internal and external experts were included in the process leading to today.  Passion, commitment and balancing resources drove the consensus for our strategic initiatives.

Alignment is a beautiful thing!

Friday, April 26, 2013

No Limits!

This month has been a blur of positive energy, successes, possibilities, encouragement, advancements, challenges overcome, teamwork, creativity, initiative, compassion and innovation.  Though there are countless things over which we have no control, this reminds me that there are no limits to the way we react, respond or take charge of the situations we encounter.

I've previously shared insights from several of these events, but feel inspired to share some thoughts from some of the exceptional women I've been privileged to hear in the past two days:
  • Kathrine Switzer - 1st female Boston marathon runner
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison - 1st female to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate
  • Sheryl WuDunn - 1st Asian-American Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Dr. Bonnie Dunbar - Astronaut who flew the first docking flight between the Russian Space Station and the Space Shuttle
  • Bonnie St. John - 1st African-American ski racing Olympic medalist
Each of these remarkable women has chosen to use her accomplishments and wide public acknowledgement to become positive, outspoken role models and change agents.  

My loving parents encouraged me from birth hat I could do and be anything.  So many of our young women and men need external encouragers.

When we positively pursue our passions with hard work, commitment and obsession for excelling, there are no limits!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Now and Next

Regardless of our passions, age or experience -  we owe it to ourselves, families, communities and careers to consciously consider what we are doing now that excites us, or brings us joy, or makes a difference.  (Ideally these things will converge.) And with those answers, we must consider how we will invest our time, talent and treasure to insure that what we do next will continue to make a difference to us, those we love and those we aspire to help.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What is a Volunteer?

There are countless descriptive definitions and examples of volunteering.  Volunteers make priceless impact every day.  As I was running this morning, in a volunteer t-shirt, I thought of a simplistic way of depicting what ideal volunteers are:

  • Valuable
  • Open
  • Listening
  • Understanding
  • Needed
  • Talented
  • Empathetic
  • Energized
  • Resource
Thank you to each of you for making such a difference in so very many ways!

Monday, April 22, 2013


I've long loved a quote I originally found attributed to Shiller, but have subsequently found as Louis Pasteur's (though "favor" replaces "luck") - "Luck favors the prepared mind."  It so inspired me that I created and framed this counted cross stitch quote.

Years have unfolded and I've created my own version - "Luck favors the curious, optimistic, caring and prepared!".

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Just Enough

Over a year ago I purchased special note cards to present lucky pennies, without a plan for their deployment.  I'd also procured glue dots for my lucky penny experiment, and used most of them.  This past week, I found the perfect deployment for 24 messages of luck and love.  Unbelievably, I had just enough cards, glue dots and shiny lucky pennies (I still have a supply of non-shiny lucky pennies).

So often, we worry about supply.  It thrills me when just enough is perfect!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What Animal Would You Be?

This week, I had a chance to participate in an icebreaker exercise, in a group of 13, where the facilitator asked for a topic.  I suggested, "if you were an animal what would you be?".  The option spontaneously occurred to me, and when the facilitator chose this query, the answers were revealing. The answers also opened additional conversations.

The answers included cats (domestic and large, wild), chameleon, eagle, blue bird, Big Foot, elephant and dog. Each respondent's reasons for their choices, added another dimension to the group dynamics.

Sometimes, an unexpected query can spur creative ways of thinking and learning.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Creativity, Heart and Passion

One of my Comerica Bank colleagues, Dawn Allen, has abundant energy, limitless creativity and unbridled passion to make a difference for nonprofits in our community.  She has created 25 professionally presented baskets for our internal March of Dimes Silent Auction.  Thanks to her initiative, we will raise significant funds toward our $51,000 goal.  She saw a need and volunteered her incredible talents to raise much needed funds for March of Dimes.

When we are receptive to ideas, input and platforms for success from our broad networks, we often identify key contributors whose skills we might not otherwise realize.

Creativity, heart and passion are priceless!

Human Diamonds

Many of the most resilient people I know are human diamonds, all the more empathetic and special because of their trials and tribulations.

Human diamonds are strong, beautiful, brilliant, multi-faceted, treasured and revealed through volcanic action.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Easy and Priceless Impact

There's no stated cash value, yet potential priceless impact for blood donations. Each whole blood donation has the potential to save 3 lives. Yesterday, was my 63rd blood donation to the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.  In 8 weeks, I'll reach a personal 8 gallon milestone.

If you are healthy and have an hour to commit to saving lives, please consider making a potentially priceless (and practically painless) donation with no out-of-pocket impact.

Each of us can make a difference in so many ways - this is one important one!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dressing from the Dryer

Infrequently, I have the double pleasure of dressing from the dryer.  Regardless of the outdoor temperature, our home is comfortable for my polar bear family members and nippy for some guests.  When I'm drying a load of clothes before my morning run, that includes running attire, it's fun to grab and wear dryer warm clothes. (Those who know me well will be relieved to know that I don't dress from the dryer for my work and community responsibilities.)  The second part of the pleasure includes the elimination of the folding and stowing process for these clean items.

This is a reminder to myself and others that we have many seemingly insignificant chances to bring good cheer to our days.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Time to Care

Now is our only given.  How we choose to invest our time differs for each of us.  Thankfully, many generous Houstonians voted with their time and financial resources to make the first "fun"draising and "friend"raising luncheon for The Rose a tremendous success!

The Rose's mission is to reduce deaths from breast cancer by providing screening, diagnostics and access to treatment for all women regardless of their ability to pay.

My friend, Donna Mittendorf and I were honored to chair this luncheon, and thrilled that so many friends helped increase funds and additional friends for this amazing organization.

Our stellar media celebrity panel: Melanie Lawson, Andrea Watkins and Debra Duncan beautifully moderated by Ernie Manouse, vividly highlighted the importance taking time to care for ourselves.  Melanie's MS, Andrea's breast cancer and Debra's brain aneurysm brought to focus the reality that health issues don't wait until we have time to address them.

Unless we take time to care for ourselves, we won't be able to give our best to others.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Easy or Impossible?

Most things are easy once we know how to do them well.  And many things seem almost impossible when we don't have any idea how to do them.

It's important to remember this distinction when we are learning or teaching.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Enemies of Learning

Yesterday, Houston's Nonprofit Leadership Collaborative featured another remarkable speaker , Julio Olalla, founder Newfield Network.  He shared 14 Enemies of Learning and I will add two more:
  1. Inability  to admit that we don't know
  2. Blindness to blindness (we don't know what we don't know)
  3. To live in permanent assessing (judgment)
  4. I don't have time
  5. The lack of inclusion of somatic learning (body)
  6. The lack of inclusion of emotion in learning
  7. Gravity (inability to laugh/play)
  8. Triviality (joke at the expense of others)
  9. Confuse having opinions with knowing
  10. Belief that gathering information is equal to learning
  11. I can't learn because of who I am
  12. Inability to grant others the  authority to teach us
  13. Only asking how and why questions
  14. Addiction to answers
I add:
  1. Lack of interest
  2. Addiction to success
He emphasized the importance of learning by sharing that until we expand what we know, we will continue to do more of the same actions and continue to receive the same results. That's a compelling case for continuous learning!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Transported by Scent

 The marvelous honeysuckle aroma that filled my being during an early morning run transported me immediately  back to fun-filled  summer days of my childhood.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Practical Impracticality

My life is so full of doing what is expected, practical, and multi-faceted.  I was shocked at our running shoe selections, when Julia and I visited one of Houston's premiere running stores during Easter weekend.  My young, multi-half marathoner daughter, chose a sedate shoe.  Surprisingly, I chose the hot pink running shoe!

My normal shoe purchases are basic colors which go with everything in my wardrobe.  Even my first running shoes coordinated with most attire.  However, this year I decided to be practically impractical, and chose hot pink running shoes.  Though I'll often clash with my running attire, my bright happy feet will bring another terrific reminder that sometimes impracticality is amazingly practical.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Powerful Pauses

It's a big deal when an action oriented person acknowledges that pauses can be powerful.  

During my morning run, I encountered construction obstacles which would have rerouted my course.  However, the freight train that stops traffic multiple times per day on three of Houston's busiest north/south streets: Westheimer, San Felipe and Richmond provided me safe passage today.  

For most of my adult life, these traffic delays have been an unwelcome nuisance as I'm racing to and fro.  Today, the train that I've always willed to speed through the intersection and allow me to quickly reach my destination, became my safety net to complete a few steps of my morning run on one of these busiest streets.

It was marvelous to be vividly reminded that there are usually at least two valid ways of viewing a situation.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Shred, Recycle and Nourish

There are many experiences that excite us, and Comerica Bank's First Shred Day Houston event on April 6 exceeded my expectations by every measure.  This event originated in Michigan, migrated to Dallas 3 years ago and debuted in Houston last Saturday.  Comerica Bank partnered with Iron Mountain to offer free shredding and recycling. We partnered with Houston Food Bank to encourage grateful recipients of secure shredding and recycling to contribute food to Houston Food Bank   Houston delivered beautifully on all fronts!  We welcomed 1,757 cars, shredded and recycled over 103,000 pounds of paper (a mere 8,000 pounds shy of the Guinness record) and collected 7,276  pounds of food (which will provide 5,597 meals) and raised $6,842.70 in monetary donations (which will provide 20,528 meals for hungry Houstonians).

Each of us has the opportunity to make a difference for others every day.  I'm thrilled that I had a chance to be part of the team that helped prevent identity fraud, kept over 50 tons of paper out of landfills and provided the equivalent of more than 26,000 meals for our hungry neighbors.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Expect the Best!

I'm continually thrilled when others go above and beyond the great things I expect!