50 Days to 50 Years, Day 04: Breakfast at Bea Bea’s with Larry Oya

28 07 2016

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Bea Bea’s appears to be the favorite in-between spot for this Los Angeles city-dweller and my West San Fernando Valley friends. And why not? I can always go for some Thai Tea pancakes!

Larry Oya, his wife Shirley, and kids Jennifer and Allison are also longtime friends from the Congregational Church of Northridge. Larry was a pivotal part of Tuesdays with Transitioners, the career group I ran at CCN until 2014. He had weathered that particular career transition, and now he was going through another. Larry recently went through major spinal stenosis surgery, and was in the midst of rehab/recovery. He had attempted to go back to work, but corporate workplaces are all types of interesting when you’ve suffered a setback; so he stepped away again in order to continue his recovery. He had some time to come out to Burbank and hang for the morning, and it was delightful spending  Day 4 of my 50 Days to 50 Years over coffee, pancakes, and conversation.

We talked about his surgery and recovery, being on disability, and his career plans once he is able to get back at it. Larry is very wise, creative, and sagacious, and gave me some good insight into the male psyche and how to approach it.

We brainstormed about some entrepreneurial ideas that he had brewing, and I put on my Tuesdays with Transitioners/Reinvention hat to encourage him to pursue these avenues, especially since he had some space to explore.

Bea Bea’s was starting to develop it’s usual lunch crowd, and we had occupied the seats for some time. I had to prepare for one more class to teach, as well as pack for my fun weekend, so we said our goodbyes and headed to the different poles of the city.

Thanks, Larry, for being a pivotal part of my life, and helping me celebrate 50 Days to 50 Years!





50 Days to 50 Years: Day 12, SweetSalt with Susan Baker and Mihret

20 07 2016

“Treat every connection, communication and collaboration as part of a continuous relationship.” ― Kim Chandler McDonald, Flat World Navigation: Collaboration and Networking in the Global Digital Economy

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It was so great on Day 12 to reconnect with The Escape Hatcher Susan M. Baker, and her little girl Mihret at SweetSalt in Toluca Lake.

I met Susan through Douglas Welch, a friend and new media professional. Both Susan and Doug were pivotal parts of the career group I used to run called Tuesdays with Transitioners, and it was through New Media Mastermind, a group that Doug formed which included myself, Susan, Jennifer “Jungle Jenny” Michaels, Danielle Gruen, and Tracy Pattin, that the first CareerCamp in 2010 was born!

Doug, Susan, Danielle and I were the first co-chairs, and the Congregational Church of Northridge, which sponsored Tuesdays with Transitioners, was the location. That was an exciting time, where we spearheaded three other Careercamps (L.A., South L.A. and Santa Clarita). We had a great time in the Mastermind group learning how to use new media to better promote ourselves and our endeavors, bouncing ideas off each other, and seeing how we could be instrumental in helping each other’s visions come to fruition. Susan also ran a group called Nohopreneurs, which brought local entrepreneurs together for lunch and networking.

Both our lives have changed tremendously over the last six years. In 2010, Susan was in the process of adopting beautiful Mihret from an Ethiopian adoption agency, and had her in arms that next year. So for Susan, careers and reinvention took a back seat to new motherhood (of course). For me, the Yoga reinvention happened, and life has been a series of rollercoaster rides, a few of which I am still on.

Susan was beautiful and glowing, so motherhood definitely suits her. Mihret was energetic and curious, as any six year old is, and exceptionally gorgeous—modeling should definitely be in her future.

SweetSalt was a new find for me, and I will be back! Not only was the Duck Confit sandwich quite tasty, but they have natural sodas that rival any you would find in the grocery store.

We caught up on our lives, discussing Yoga, travel, what was happening with the reinvention industry, writing, relocation, and education. Susan was involved as a volunteer at Mihret’s school, and I discussed my role on the CAAN National Board. She wanted to be an example to Mihret and emphasize through action the importance of education and being involved in its potential to change lives and allow students to flourish.

I enjoyed the meeting of minds, particularly in the area of careers and reinvention. Susan is exceptionally smart and resourceful, and it hearkened back to our time in the Mastermind group—with the addition of interruptions from a bright and bouncy six year old.

Thank you, Susan, for being a part of my 50 years: enriching my life with connection, vision, and also being a shining example of reinvention and new beginnings in the second half of your life. I hope we get the opportunity to collaborate again one day soon.

 

 





In My Orbit: Bryan Cranston’s Advice to Aspiring Actors

7 10 2013
Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This sage advice from one of my favorite actors can be applied to any profession. Shine. Be who you are. Honor the space. The outcome is not up to you…

Bryan Cranston\’s advice to aspiring actors

via Bryan Cranston’s Advice to Aspiring Actors.





In My Orbit…

6 09 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Girl has been turning faster than usual lately in the thick of planning two Career events.

The first is a Social Media and Your Career panel on Wednesday, September 21. We are a featured part of Social Media Week Los Angeles this year! The Panel includes yours truly, Douglas E. Welch, Susan M. Baker, and Marla Dennis. We will be moderated by Colton Stenke and Denise “The Oracle” Cook.

Registration opens today (Yay!) and I have linked this Event in the sidebar, or you can click here.

I can’t believe that CareerCamp #5 is about to happen on Saturday, September 24. This brainchild of Douglas E. Welch, founder and Chairman Emeritus, continues to grow, and the Girl enjoys being an active part of it!

CareerCampSFV (San Fernando Valley) is back where it all started, in beautiful Northridge, at the Congregational Church of Northridge. For those not familiar, CareerCamp is an unconference dedicated to “helping you build the career you deserve”. The day will include speakers, ad hoc presentations and breakout sessions on all aspects of building your career.

It doesn’t matter whether you are employed or not–the day is for anyone who wants to build and/or improve their career. However, if you are in between successes, CareerCampSFV is right up your alley!

Registration is in the sidebar, or click here.

This testimonial video was created by Sizzle in the Middle‘s Tracy Pattin. It highlights the unique benefits of CareerCamp from the mouths of the attendees.

And here a link to the video from my CareerCampLA discussion, “Building an enduring Career Reputation” back in March. It’s a taste of what you can expect from The Girl at both the Social Media and Your Career panel, and at CareerCampSFV.

These Events are FREE–so if you’re in Los Angeles, clear your schedule and make your way out to Social Media and Your Career on September 21, and CareerCampSFV on September 24!





In My Orbit..

16 07 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here with a bunch of great people, discussing “Blogging Effectively” at Career Camp SCV.

Jennifer Oliver O'Connell discusses 'Blogging Effectively'. Photo courtesy of Teresa Howard

CCSCV Attendees listen to 'Blogging Effectively'/ Photo courtesy of Teresa Howard





In My Orbit…

21 06 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Girl is prepping for a Tuesdays with Transitioners meeting today with Karen Hudson, a Costume Designer and Supervisor who has worked in television, film, theatre, opera, and print.

She’ll talk about First Impressions and Creating the Character you want People to See–a knowledge topic that will benefit the career seeker, entrepreneur, or any average Joe or Jane.  If you have the time, come on by–12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Details are here.

And I find it humorous that everyone is all a-twitter over Jon Stewart appearing on Fox News Sunday. Both the left and the right see it as a coup for their side. Moe Lane writes over at RedstateChris Wallace schools Jon Stewart“, while HuffPo felt the win was in Stewart’s corner as he slammed Fox for wrongly editing his interview. Newsflash: Everyone edits to suit their agenda, CNN does it, ABC does it, and The Daily Show definitely does it–so why this faux outrage?  But I digress…

I read the transcript and saw the interview, yawning over both. I am no fan of either Wallace or Stewart–both are waaay too full of themselves for me to care about their opinions. But a quote that both sides are jumping on is the one Stewart made to prove his “expert opinion”:

“‘Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers?’ Stewart shot back, his voice rising. ‘The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll.'”

The great fount of hard-hitting journalism, Wallace, failed to challenge him on this. I’m glad that Politifact decided to take up the gauntlet, with interesting results.  Give it a read: The Truth-o-Meter.

My opinion: Fox, The Daily Show, and other outlets get ratings and exposure no matter what they talk about, which three-quarters of the time, isn’t much. Most of it is Echo-Chamber Theater depending on which side of the agenda you’re on. Hey, I’m writing about it, and I rarely tune in to either show!

Stewart is no purist hero representing his side, and neither is Wallace–it’s all about the money and the ratings. So both sides need to step off the soapbox.





D.C. Bound Part 2: The Main Event

25 05 2011

Awesome view of the Capitol!

I arrived safely in Washington, D.C. and find the veneer of the city to be old world professionalism  and polish, coupled with understated modernism. This sense is not dissimilar to my years in Chicago trolling Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. Reagan International Airport is quite stylish, but in an understated way, without a flash or corporate overkill. Most of the food kiosks are regional (no Chili’s Too or Starbucks that I could see!), and since I have to be at the airport quite early tomorrow for my return flight, I plan to stop by one of them for breakfast!

The people of D.C. are quite friendly and helpful, exhibiting a practical, about business sense of style; from their sensible shoes (because, like Chicago, you walk most everywhere) to understated dress. A total antithesis to Los Angeles on a number of fronts.

Our gracious lodging hosts

My lodging hosts, Rev. Paul and Mary Sherry have been more than gracious, and we have had great conversations about the state of the employment market and the importance of the work done through Tuesdays with Transitioners and other job clubs. Steve Colella, who runs a job club in Rhode Island, is also staying at the Sherry’s home, and we got a chance to get better acquainted as we walked from their Capitol Hill brownstone to My Brother’s Place, a well-known D.C. pub, which was the chosen place for a Monday night mixer for all the job club leaders.

Rev. Phil Tom, Director of the Department of Labor’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Associate Director Ben Seigel, and Coordinator Ashley Gerwitz hosted this great opportunity to get acquainted outside of the conference calls that had been conducted over the past month or so. I appreciated getting more inside baseball on the Center’s vision for partnering with the job clubs, as well as the opportunity to hear what fellow coordinators Joy Maguire-Dooley (Lisle, IL), Ken Soper (Grand Rapids, MI) and David Mackoff (Washington, D.C.)  were up to in their groups.

Joy Maguire-Dooley, Steve Colella, Tracy Washington and the DOL team

The DOL’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Team

Vera Hurst, Diana Miller, and Tracy Washington

Today’s main event was beyond expectation, as we all got to meet and network with other Department of Labor personnel. Diana Miller, Vera Hurst, and Tracy Washington (job club coordinators  and speakers who came in that morning from Ohio), presented further opportunity to hear about the joys and challenges of helping others get back to work. Diana created a powerful video featuring stories from members of her group, and the work she is doing through the Stow Community United Church of Christ Community Job Club is quite inspiring!

And what a privilege to meet U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and Assistant Secretary Jane Oates. Secretary Solis presented us with a gift of a pin featuring the official seal of the Department of Labor, then spoke briefly about how important the job clubs are to the work the DOL is trying to accomplish. That is an honor I never would have imagined, and it will be a cherished memory.

The Live webinar has been posted at the Department of Labor website, and I encourage you to give it a listen, as there was so much information and wisdom shared. To see the magnificent work and commitment that so many in our faith communities and nation are employing to see their fellow Americans locate work is both encouraging and energizing.





D.C. Bound Part 1: Airline Purgatory

23 05 2011

 

I'm leaving, on a jet plane--a lot of them.... Photo: Bobby Mikul/PublicDomainPictures.net

The Girl’s work through Tuesdays with Transitioners has reaped a big reward: I have been invited with other job club leaders across the nation to participate in a webinar forum on Job Clubs and employment ministries, sponsored by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on Tuesday, May 24 in Washington, D.C. “Tech Tuesday” has become a model in helping 20th Century workers get up to speed with 21st Century technology, and this information will be helpful to other job clubs. So I was given the honor of speaking about this.

Through a generous grant from the United Church of Christ (my church’s denomination), I was able to secure an airline ticket and have a bit of traveling money–so I am very excited!

Having never been to D.C., I thought I would try to squeeze in a few hours of city exploration before the forum on Tuesday. So, I booked a Sunday red-eye flight in order to arrive in D.C. by Monday, early morning. Once there, I had planned to drop my bags and meet my guest host (former UCC President Rev. Paul Sherry), then spend the rest of the morning/afternoon roaming the Capitol.

Mother Nature effectively derailed those plans. Storms and tornadoes out of the Midwest first caused a cancellation of my original flight, and I was booked on a later flight scheduled to leave after midnight. When I got to Los Angeles International, I found out this flight was delayed, and we would not be boarding until 12:50 a.m., departing at 1:20 a.m. By the time we left LAX, it was after 2 a.m., and all bets were off in making my original D.C. connecting flight in Dallas/Fort Worth.

I haven’t traveled by air in a few years, but am happy I still maintain some travel savvy. When I first learned of the first flight’s delay, I asked the attendant to change my connecting flight to one that I could potentially make. She gave me a choice between a flight at 7:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m., giving me reassurances that the flight from LAX would probably make it in time enough to get me on the 7 a.m. connection.  I chose the latter time, as I detest rushing from place to place in any airport. I also recalled from past travels that DFW wasn’t the easiest airport to navigate, and not knowing what gate I would be leaving from, I’d rather have a cushion.

Boy, was that ever prescient! Not only did we not arrive in time to meet the 7 a.m. connection, but the 7 a.m. connection ended up being cancelled! I breathed a sigh of relief, while sympathizing with all the other passengers (who had traveled from further parts than Los Angeles) who had no idea what flight they would be rerouted to, and what time they would get home. Despite cutting into my tourist time, I was blessed that I at least was getting to D.C. in a reasonable time frame.

The differences in the country’s airports are always striking. I left the slick and modern Bradley International Terminal at LAX, and now sit in the drab and dreary DFW. Functional, definitely–but for sure no bells and whistles. It’s only concession to glamour is a large flat-screen video display of international cities like London, Paris, and Dubai. Save for the same standard kiosks like Chili’s Too and Starbucks, it’s a stark contrast. Even the attendants look different: less makeup, less flash and polish. Until I’m outside of L.A., I forget how the city’s image and veneer seeps into every aspect of life, including air travel.

Looks like my connection is boarding soon.  It will be interesting to see what type of presence permeates Reagan International.





In My Orbit…

8 03 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So despite an interim agreement that will carry us through March, the country could still face a Government shutdown if Congress and the White House cannot come to a budget compromise.

I am no economist, but I fail to see why it is so difficult. For starters, pulling funding from National Public Radio (NPR) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) would save us billions. These are both progressive darlings, and I have always wondered why they needed the funding to begin with. They could earn more from their supporters in Manhattan and Beverly Hills than anything the government gives them. I say let’s give them that chance. If I made lots of money, I’d support the causes I believe in and ensure they are kept alive. So why can’t they siphon money from those who believe in what they do? One of the reasons I stopped watching public broadcasting was their incessant pledge drives–where does all that money go?

NPR head Vivian Shiller was on Capitol Hill Monday, defending her firing of Juan Williams and why NPR should continue to receive government funding. A quote from her testimony:

“‘We take [federal defunding] very, very seriously,’ she said. ‘It would have a profound impact we believe on our ability – of public broadcasting’s ability – to deliver news and information.'”

I have listened to NPR from time to time, but don’t consider myself a fan. It has some interesting bits, but most of it is pretend high-brow intellectualism with a fully political agenda. Don’t get me wrong: I’m fine with political agendas, just don’t pretend or claim that you are above it. NPR is fully a pretender.

So isn’t it convenient that fresh off Ms. Shiller’s turn before the Congressional committee, James O’Keefe rolls out another sting video, this time involving former NPR executive Ron Schiller (different spelling and no relation to the current head) and Betsy Liley, NPR’s director of institutional giving.

The video pretty much shows that NPR does indeed have an agenda, and despises the unwashed masses of conservatives who do not side with it. While much of the rightosphere saw the smoking gun in the fact that Schiller all but admitted that they don’t need the government funding, and his calling the Tea Party racist (that’s original), what I found most egregious was his waxing eloquent about the lack of education, and a campaign of “anti-intellectualism” that supposedly infests the nation. One quote from the video has him saying that what he is:

“most disappointed by in this country, which is that the educated, so-called elite in this country is too small a percentage of the population, so that you have this very large un-educated part of the population that carries these ideas.”

I have two degrees: a Bachelors and a Masters, both from prestigious institutions. People who never ask me about my politics assume by virtue of those degrees, my conversational prowess, and that I am a black woman who wears dreadlocks that I must be a part of this “educated, so-called elite”.  So like Schiller in the video, they feel at liberty to say the most ugly, demeaning, and dare I say, anti-Semitic things about those who do not hold their views. I have had comments said to me that would make even my weighty dreds stand on end!

In my pursuit of education, I have managed to avoid the delusion that people who do not pursue higher education are stupid and uneducated. I also don’t assume that just because certain people choose to live in other parts of the country and listen to Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, that they are automatically racist and xenophobic.

But what I most strongly reject is the belief that intelligence and education will solve all the worlds ills, and it has always befuddled me why a good majority of the professors and students I encountered in my own journey see these as a cure-all.

It definitely solves some, otherwise I would not have bothered to get two degrees. But if education and intellect were truly the solution, do you think I would be unemployed for over two years and scraping to earn a living? My degrees and intellect should solve that problem for me, shouldn’t it? People should want someone as erudite and accomplished as myself on their payroll, don’t you think? And not just me, but the many members of the Tuesdays with Transitioners group that I lead, who are equally- if not more- intelligent and accomplished, yet are having difficulty landing full-time work.

And how about what’s going on with the Middle East? Our highly educated and very intellectual President is dithering and ineffective by many liberal and conservative accounts, issuing half-hearted warnings with not a clue on how to resolve the issue.  Shouldn’t his degrees from Columbia, Harvard Law, and that Nobel Peace Prize be a guarantee that he knows exactly what to do and how best to bring about a resolve to the situations in Egypt, Libya and Palestine?

And finally, if Mr. Schiller is so damn smart, then how did he get caught on camera with his pants down?

Video below for those who are interested.

 





Reinvention

23 02 2011
Dramatic Sky
Vera Kratochvil/Public Domain Pictures.net

If there’s one thing you can count on…
if there’s on thing you can know for sure.
If there’s one thing you can count on…
things are gonna change.

Bryan Duncan, “Things are Gonna Change”

All change is inevitable, but not all change is welcome. Two years ago, I did not like the change of being downsized from a job I thought I would possibly retire from. But me being me, I wasn’t immobilized for long, using the now-free time as an opportunity to reinvent on many levels, and craft a different career path.

I’m still on that path of Reinvention, and a new part of the journey is assisting others with theirs.  Today, I will be taking my wonderfully healing practice of Yoga and deepening it through a Power Yoga Teacher Training at CorePower Yoga-Sherman Oaks.  The commitment: eight weeks of intensive physical, emotional, and spiritual transformation–an endeavor that will not only benefit my Orbit–but the worlds that orbit around me.

For the past two years, I have led Tuesdays with Transitioners, a career resource and support group. The beauty of being in the midst of such a group is seeing people transform and reinvent in terms of the way they view their lives and vocation. Some have moved on to full-time work again, others have decided that transitioning to a new career or their own entrepreneurial pursuits is the right thing to do. In all of this, Reinvention is at work, in large and small ways.  With encouragement from marketing success coach Marla Dennis, I am honing my focus and increasing the work of helping others Reinvent.

Early this year, my friend Douglas E. Welch invited me to blog and talk about this very subject at his Career Opportunities site. Give it a read or listen to “No Better Time to Reinvent“, and consider whether it may be your time!

It’s amazing what happens when you make a decision and set an intention. Those opportunities that match that intention begin coming across your path.  I’ll be writing about some of those in this space, so stay tuned…








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