August 14th, 2015

Months of planning.  Weeks of anticipation.  Days of excitement. “Your passport is expired” are not the words you want to hear at the airport.  ”Excuse me?” I said.  ”Your passport is expired,” the agent at Chicago O’Hare replied.  I quickly realized that our family trip to Italy was in jeopardy because my eyes couldn’t decipher a 5 from a 6.

Sure there was a part of me that wanted to sit on the floor of the airport and cry.  Yes, I was mad – at myself for making such a mistake, but I knew I had a choice in how I was going to react in the moment.  So instead I asked, “What can I do?” My son anxiously waiting for the answer too.

The agent slide a piece of paper across the counter and said I could go to the Federal building downtown and try and get a new passport.  She generously put us on a flight for the following day and wished us luck.

It was 1:15 pm.  Downtown was an hour away by train and the office closed at 3:30.  Luggage in tow, we ran to catch the train.  After clearing security, I approached the window and was asked, “Do you have your form?” Right.  A form. I completed the form and returned to the window.  ”Do you have your photo?” No I did not and to get one I had to go back out and down the block to the UPS store. More running.  At 3:29 I slid my form and photos and got the last ticket which meant I would get my passport.

I still marvel at the fact that in a mere few hours I had a new passport and we only missed one day of our trip.  And boy, did we have a story to tell when we got there and met the rest our our group.

Life is full of moments where things don’t go our way.   We can either let that set-back get us down or we can take action to do something about it.  This is the heart of resiliency.  I see this travel debacle as a teachable moment for my son, whom when faced with adversity, I hope will seek help, look for options, be resourceful and believe his actions can achieve his desired result.






August 11th, 2015

I had an amazing meal at CLASS Kitchen a new pop-up restaurant in  Costa Mesa, CA  that serves excellent food and delivers an exceptional dining experience that is operated entirely by  high school culinary students. Yes kids – 16 and 17 years old who have come together to gain valuable work experience and offer their community something unique and inspiring. photo 1

Austin January and Noah Rosen, juniors at the Orange County School of the Arts (OSCA) utilized their skills learned in school to make their dream a reality. For the past five weekends. their team of over a dozen other students served a 4-course prix fixe menu to a sold out crowds.

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It was a pleasure and a joy to watch this group students who could have just as easily been at a beach bonfire, cooking and serving their patrons with smiles and a shared passion for food.  I couldn’t help but note the extreme effort and professionalism that they exhibited as individuals and a team.  If these are our future leaders and entrepreneurs, we are fortunate indeed.

From a shared vision, to clearly defined roles and working as a team these students are shining examples for us all.  This experience provides them perhaps the most important lesson of all – resiliency.  There will always be set backs in business and in life, the trick is to learn how to overcome them.

That night one of their two ovens didn’t work impairing their ability to make their famously know popover appetizer.  So instead each guest was served a salad and the soup (which was one of my favorite courses).  Adjust, be resourceful, solve the problem and take action – they nailed it.

Don’t miss out on their encore weekend.  Book your reservation now for August 14 and 15.

American Red Cross

June 18th, 2015

The American Red Cross helps people affected by disasters big and small providing relief, comfort and hope.  Whether they are providing life saving blood, health and safety services, disaster relief or support to American military families, they are there for us when we need them.

I have the privilege of working with the leadership team for Region serving Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside and the Coachella Valley as they prioritize and plan for the coming year.  Clarifying priorities, identifying ways to collaborate and create even greater impact in the communities they serve is part of our work together. It is easy to love my work when I partner with organizations like Red Cross.

Their network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world.  See the difference the have made in this video. If you’d like to help simply text the word redcross to 90999 to donate $10 to Disaster Relief through your mobile carrier. Charges will apply to your mobile phone bill next month.*




The Alumni Advantage

June 18th, 2015

At campuses across the country caps are flying in the air to the joyful cries of college graduates.  I remember the feelings of  exhilaration and terror mixed together as I struggled with what to do next.  Will I get a job? Will I like it?

I decided to make my new start in Orange County some 500 miles away from my hometown. I had a friend with a room, so with a roof over my head I jumped into the labor pool.  Landing a job seemed easy enough, but it proved to be a lesson in all the things to avoid in a new job.  I certainly learned to be more discerning about my next employer which led me to a long and prosperous career.

As I was contemplating how the 2015 graduates might be feeling, I want to encourage them to reach out, seek advice, support and referrals for jobs and contacts from their fellow alumni and if they want to continue to develop their leadership skills then consider volunteering with the alumni association or other nonprofit board.  Serving on various Board of Directors throughout my career has contributed to my growth as a leader in the community.

I currently serve as the President of the Brandman University Alumni Association and I am excited to welcome our newest graduates.  We emphasis staying connected, building relationships and expanding opportunities for our alumni. It’s free to join and we have many ways to get involved. The talents and energy of new alumni are always welcome.

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