Mentors – Mellody Hobson

Do you love having mentors?  Do you love learning from others? I always have.  Lately I’ve been curious about what life is like from a black person’s perspective. Actually, I always have been interested in multiculturalism and learning from others. I have lots of mentors and have been wanting to make friends with people who are different from me – in my beliefs and from the way I look and live. I am curious about everyone and want to learn from others, and lately I’ve been wishing for a close, black friend with whom to share conversations and ideas.

Today I happened to be on Facebook after work, and was alerted to a live presentation by Sheryl Sandberg, featuring a brief Lean In interview with Mellody Hobson.  I fell in love and found my virtual friend.  Isn’t she beautiful?  Smart too!!

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Mellody Hobson photo by Joi Ito from 2007

Photo By Joi Ito – http://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/1075661871/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22374568

After all the crazy talk at the Oscars about race and lack of diversity and racial tensions, seeing and “meeting” and hearing from and about Mellody Hobson today was refreshing. HER story is actionable and real and dynamic and beautiful. And yet, have I been living under a rock? How come I have never heard of her before? I wish her story and those like hers were celebrated and in the news more often.

Part of why I write HERE I AM is to change our collective story and to share examples of positive living, just now, in the daily moments of life.

Mellody knows how to live it up and her story is remarkable, from what I know after just less than an hour of reading and research.  I want to meet more women like her.

From the brief interview I listened to with Sheryl this afternoon, here is what I learned about Mellody and what I wish to share with my daughter and others:

  • Be Authentic.
  • Speak your truth.
  • Work hard.
  • Be BRAVE!
  • Be comfortable as you are. Accept who you are and unapologetically BE what you are.
  • Be rooted in extreme confidence, yet be humble and stand up for yourself.
  • Build your team and trust them to stand up for you.
  • Be curious about others.
  • Actively work together.
  • Be a magnet and draw others in by being wonderful.

Mellody worked hard to become the President of Ariel, a money management company in Chicago. She was raised by a single mother who taught her to help herself. She is married to George Lucas, and has a 2 year old daughter, named Everest.

To read more about her, check out this link to a Vanity Fair article about my new girl crush, Mellody:  Vanity Fair Article about Mellody Hobson.

nAMaste

 

 

 

Diversity

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image credit: http://boulderjewishnews.org/

 

What does diversity mean to you?  This seems like such a buzz word and one that was part of a discussion we had today.  It sometimes feels taboo to discuss, yet sounds popular to say we welcome and accept diversity. But what does this mean?

When I was at Cal Poly, I was part of the Ethnic Diversity committee, trying to bring diversity to our predominantly Caucasian campus. Diversity was about race and affirmative action and equal opportunity and making sure that we were open and accepting and inviting others and making them feel welcome and a part of “us”.

I think the definition of diversity has broadened over the years and includes not only race and ethnicity, but also sexual orientation, life experience, beauty, knowledge base, body image, abilities, socioeconomic levels, language, religious beliefs, age, popularity, geography, neighborhoods where we live and more.

I think we need to be aware of our differences and at the same time acknowledge how we are all more alike than we are different and to focus our energy on our connections and commonalities versus our diversity. I think we need to find ways to connect through our love for one another and by being curious about each other.  I think we need to be good listeners and always be kind to everyone, especially those who are different than us. We can change the world and make everyone feel welcome and invite them to come sit with us and share lunch, a cup of coffee, or conversation.

Be curious. Be kind. Be loving. It doesn’t cost a thing and that’s how we can celebrate our diversity and oneness. One Love, BeLoveRs.  We can change the world, together. Let’s hold hands.

nAMaste.

My Little Sunnyvale

IMG_6202I live in a nice, semi-little town of 147,055 people.  After all, it’s called Sunnyvale, which conjures up great images of a sunny little town, doesn’t it? It fits my personality and I love living here for so many reasons.

It’s not fancy and it’s not pretentious. It’s the Heart of Silicon Valley and things work really well here.  The city streets are nicely laid out and it’s easy to get around the 24 square miles that make up this city, even at rush hour. There are beautiful parks and public tennis courts and golf courses, a library, and a quaint, little downtown. If you need emergency assistance, help is on it’s way literally within minutes.  The CalTrain runs through the downtown and connects all the cities up and down the South Bay, Peninsula and into San Francisco.  There is a lot of growth happening around the city and hopefully one day our downtown will be completely revitalized. We’ve been waiting for over 10 years for them to finish the project and hopefully the lawyers finally figure out how to call a truce and get on with things that are long past due.

We have great community sports teams, schools, churches, theaters, public services and places to shop.  We have great diversity, with 26 different languages spoken at home from our elementary school students.

I love my neighbors and knowing that we all support one another and watch out for each others’ kids. We carpool together and have potluck dinners and our kids play in the park together.  We work together to teach our kids right from wrong and support one another when there are disagreements. We tailgate together at Stanford Football games and go to each others’ kids events.  We share stories and learn from each other, because there isn’t a parenting manual and usually our friends know best or have been there, done that, or going through it right now too. I love that we’re going through this life journey together.

In the heart of Silicon Valley, there are still good old fashioned families like ours, who love being home and hanging out and BBQing, volunteering in our schools and in our community, and driving kids to and from their various events.

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The parents enjoy chatting with each other and catching up on the field, on the courts and at the school events, and even waving as we pass each other.  Even though we’re busy, we still make time to connect and help one another, and for this I am thankful.

I am thankful for all the moms and dads who share the journey with me and help me to raise my kids. Like the dad who brought Charlie home from practice tonight and came in my kitchen to discuss whether we should let our boys bike to practice or not. I enjoyed the discussion and sharing ideas about whether this was a good idea or not. I liked that we listened to each other and decided to wait giving them this freedom and to continue carpooling to protect their safety.  I love that Juliana went to a friend’s house to bake cookies for another friend’s birthday today. And I love that Christian got a ride home from a friend after his practice.

I am thankful for the public schools and the teachers and administrators who are very passionate and willing to help teach our kids and go the extra mile, even sponsoring and chaperoning trips to Japan! How cool is this?

I love that Sunnyvale is our home and that we have built a foundation here, filled with love, neighbors and a community of friends who I enjoy seeing and running into across town everyday.

What do you love about your community and where you live? What part do you contribute to making your town great?

I hope you had a good day and are living it up, right now, right where you are.  Are you??  😉

I Am White

I am white, privileged they say. I am so much more than my skin color and so are you. I never refer to myself as white except on forms, and it’s uncomfortable to me to talk about race because I prefer to think of us all as humans, part of the human race.

I think I was the only white girl in my yoga class today in Silicon Valley. I was aware of our differences and being a minority, but this is normal to me where I live as there are 26 different languages spoken at the homes of the children in our local school.

At the end of our class, our teacher asked all 20+ of to sit in a circle. As it’s the week of Thanksgiving, she wanted us to take a moment to say our name and introduce ourselves to one another and share one thing we are thankful for. There were people of Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Indian,and European descents, that I could recognize and I’m sure there were more.

As we went around the circle, several names I cannot remember as they are different from the names I am familiar with and have never heard before. What was the same between us though, were our gifts of gratitude. We all expressed thanks for similar things such as family, health, love, our work, our beautiful lives and being present and thankful for our yoga class and instructor.

I Am privileged because I was surrounded by all these wonderful people who are different than me and yet we are the same. I felt a connection in our little, diverse yoga community. I see these people every week, but we don’t usually speak to one another, as it’s a one hour yoga class and I do not know the others. Sitting in this circle and sharing something about ourselves made a connection for me and for this I was thankful.

I Am in love with humanity and all that is good in all of us.

I Am sad for all who are in pain and suffering, and especially those in Ferguson.

Love sees no color.

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We all want the same things and we need to do the work to create the things we love. I want us all to be on the same team.

I Am sad that there are inequalities and unfairness in the world.

I was listening to Dj Boogie D from St. Louis this morning on NPR, as he was responding to the unrest in Ferguson. He said that we need to change and look forward, despite what has happened in the past, and he didn’t know what that change looked like just yet and was using his airways on the radio station to let peoples’ voices be heard.

I want to be part of the positive change in this world. We can celebrate our oneness, our sameness by embracing and seeing the good in each other and changing the conversation to lift each other up, to forgive one another and to help one another. I think we can take care of each other by being kind, loving, and respectful to ourselves and to each other, always, even when someone hurts us. I think this change comes from being curious about each other and wanting to know more and looking for the connections in our shared values and interests.

I wish for love and peace and justice in this fragmented world, BeLoveRs.

Namaste…the light in me honors the light in you.

Diversity and Silicon Valley

I love where we live, however I miss where I grew up because my family is still there. I long to move back so that we can share Sunday family dinners and be close to each other to help one another and share in each others’ daily lives. That was part of my dream when I was younger.

But what I love about what we are giving our kids just by where we are living, is an appreciation and integration with diversity, with many aspects.

Yesterday at our first soccer practice, we met new friends who are Indian, Chinese, Caucasian and Mexican, as well as other ethnicities I could not identify. I loved seeing everyone kick around a ball and learn new foreign names. Being at the the meeting was symbolic of the place we live and this is my kids’ normal. I love that they are growing up with people who look differently than they do, who have different cultures and norms and religions than we do and that we all can get along and play together and appreciate one another. This is a true education.

Tonight at our final back to school night at our local elementary school, I learned that there are 26 different languages spoken, and that 32% of the students are Caucasian, 32% are Asian, 23% are Hispanic, 4% are African American, and 5% are Philippino, while the rest chose not to disclose there ethnicity. This is an education in itself and I love that our community supports one another and honors our unique differences. Diversity is normal to my kids and expected and I love it. Everyone fits in because we are all different and at the same time the same. We all respect one another and our differences and celebrate and honor the uniqueness in one another. We are curious about each other. This is our normal and we are so lucky. It works.

I am thankful for our incredibly diverse and friendly community and wonderful public schools. We have so much to learn from each other And my kids are truly lucky to be growing up and living in a multicultural society. We are ONE.

Namaste.

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I Love You?

I recently made a connection between several friends that many don’t say I love you within their family.

It’s just not something that is said and this was so surprising to me.

I am obviously openly expressive and love that there are people that love and express themselves differently than I do.

This absolutely fascinates me. I’ve always appreciated diversity in it’s many forms – race, sex, social status, religion, politics, interests, culture, love, etc.

I strongly feel and believe and say I love you all the time and really mean it. When a few of my friends expressed that their families don’t say that to each other, my jaw dropped. I just never thought of not expressing my emotions. This made me curious and of course I asked questions.

It’s not that those who don’t say I love you don’t love their friends or family, they just don’t use the words.

I learned that to some, saying those words is uncomfortable. Others never heard the words in their family, so it felt strange for them to use them with their family. Some just don’t say it just because they don’t feel like there is a need. And others think that only husbands and wives should say those words to each other.

This love thing is just so symbolic of our differences and ways of communicating, experiencing, believing and expressing ourselves. One is not better than the other. It’s just that we’re different and I really love that!!

Namaste.

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