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June 16, 2015

It’s Amazing What We Can Do

We all need a purpose in life.  Sometimes it’s a matter of redirecting our talents to a new project – or having someone find the path for us.  Marisol Bello with USA Today wrote a very compelling article about using the skills of injured veterans,  specifically members of elite special forces, to catch child molesters. The Director of the National Association to Protect Children brought the concept to Homeland Security with the idea that this skilled group of people are perfect for this type of investigation. They know what it’s like to take on very difficult jobs. The program is off to an incredible start – eliminating backlog and catching predators. When you think about it, we all have roadblocks in life, some which seem insurmountable. But sometimes all it takes is a fresh pair of eyes or a belief in our greatness to help us forge a new path – part of a movement to change the world – one person, one incredible idea at a time.


 

May 29, 2015

I had the privilege of meeting Mohammed Murad of Dubai, the International President of Toastmasters Int’l. He was a warm, gracious humble man with an exceptional resume. He was the keynote speaker for the Arizona District Conference which took place May 15-17, 2015 in Scottsdale AZ. It was a wonderful presentation filled with great humor and storytelling – two hallmarks of an experienced Toastmasters speaker. The theme of the conference was “It’s a Small World” which seemed even more fitting after meeting Mohammed. Even though people and countries can physically be miles apart, Toastmasters are all connected by the desire to do better, to serve the world and to lead.


 

March 17, 2015

Speaking Up and Speaking Out

I was honored to be a judge for the speech portion of the State Competition for the Arizona Decathlon, a program of academic competitions for high school students of all scholastic achievement  levels. Forty teams advance to the state competition out of 80-100 teams at the regional level.

Students compete in 10 areas such as math, science and speech. Each team of 9 students needs to include 3 “A”, 3 “B” and 3 “C” students. Each level competes against other students within that level with medals for each category and scholarships going to the gold medalists. The State Champion goes on to the United States Academic Decathlon National Finals in April. I am proud to say that Arizona’s team regularly places in the top 5 nationally.

After listening to the speeches, what impressed me the most was the depth of the content delivered by these students.  Some of the topics covered were the importance of S.T.E.M. programs for girls, anxiety & family issues faced by students and the importance of mentoring in a student’s life. After hearing these talks I am convinced the world will be in good hands with these future leaders.


 

Jan. 30, 2015

Ed Masley of the Arizona Republic newspaper interviewed Idina Menzel about her singing of the National Anthem for the Super Bowl XLIX. The reporter asked her if she would draw on the unforgettable performance of Whitney Houston from Super Bowl XXV. Menzel said she listened to that performance “a million times.” She listens and learns from other people but in the end “it’s going to be original because it’s me.” I wanted to know more about Menzel so I Googled her name and found out about her critics when she missed some notes singing Let It Go in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Her response was that “you can’t get it right all the time, but you can try your best.” …”accept your shortcomings and have the courage to overcome them.” What a great message.  No matter who we are or what we do, there will always be critics. We must resist the temptation to react to others but rather concentrate on the things that are worthy of our time and attention.