Dr O's Blog

 

It’s Christmas Eve and this blog post is a substitute for my usual holiday letter.  A true indication that this year, my 65th in this Earth suit, has been amazing, blessed, challenging, sometimes overwhelming, but strewn with the seeds of a better yet to be. My extreme gratitude is with all of you that have been a part of my life; for each and every one of you have had an impact in your own special way.

This year’s high points begin with my courageous Golden State Warriors. Some of you know that I was a season ticket holder with my friend, Victoria Hunter, since 1985 until 2008 when the recession hit and I could no longer afford it. But being the being the wonderful friend she is, Victoria, who held on the seats, knew how special it would be for 40 year year fan to see the Dubs’ fabulous run to the championship. The picture below was taken at the last NBA Finals game at Roaracle!

Thank you, Victoria!

Thank you, Victoria!

 

June brought a new career milestone when the Mid-Pacific ICT Center (MPICT) allowed me to pilot a workshop for community college faculty on how to engage under-represented minority students with cultural fluency and perspective taking. This training is a culmination of my life’s work and study and has now become the basis of work underway to bring it to corporate work environments to improve diversity and inclusion in tech.

My work with MPICT for the last four years came to an end in August when the National Science Foundation grant funding the 7-year program ended. I’m indebted to Pierre Thiry, Principal Investigator, and James Jones, Executive Director, for trusting in me enough to let me interject my passions into our work. In addition to supporting the development of the workshop, I got to lead the San Francisco ICT Pathways Project, a 3-year project to get more SFUSD students on ICT career pathways through CCSF programs. With that experience, I was invited to join the Career Ladders Project to continue similar work in San Francisco and the East Bay,

Thank you, MPICT!

Thank you, MPICT!

 

Also in August was the launch of Women Sharing Wisdom Institute, the nonprofit I formed to support the work I’ve been doing in collaboration with my friend and colleague, Kirsti Tcherkoyan, to train women entrepreneurs buy adobe photoshop cs6. Our “Friendraiser” raised over $7000 and has allowed us to hire a grant writer to seek funds to bring our programs to underserved communities in the Bay Area. For more about what WSWI did in 2015, click here and check out the recent blog posts.

 

Speaking at the WSWI Friendraiser

Speaking at the WSWI Friendraiser

 

October WSWI Workshop in Mathare, Kenya

October WSWI Workshop in Mathare, Kenya

 

 

Every time I travel to East Africa, I make a point to go someplace I’ve never been. This year’s trip began with joining Jesse and his best friend, Ed Valeau, on the southern half of their tour of Ethiopia. For six days, we toured the region of the country that includes the northern end of the Rift Valley and borders on Kenya. In rural southern Ethiopia, the only signs that time hasn’t stood still are the roads south, the power lines that paralleled them, and the big multi-national farm and agricultural projects. It was a beautiful country and, to me, Ethiopian people are even with India’s as the most beautiful, literally, in the world. We visited the villages of five tribes; the Konso, Dorze, Hamar, Karo, and the Mursi.

 

Hamar Woman

Hamar Woman

 

So, if you’ve persevered and read this entire post, you see it’s been a very full year and there’s so much more I wish I could share. But I hope it give you an idea of how full and blessed my life has been. I’m working hard to keep that in the forefront of my mind as I deal with a debilitating back injury that happened the beginning of December (at the gym – thinking I could lift what I used to at 40!). Please send your prayers and meditations for healing my way!

 

Merry, Happy Everything!

Love,

Olivia

 

 

 

 

 

Today, I completed the third The Youth Banner workshop, a train-the-trainer to get the staff ready for co-facilitating future business strategy and planning for the micro-businesses they train and support. The first workshop on September 30th was an initial planning session and the one on Oct 1st was a follow up workshop to the group Kirsti got started last March.

Workshop Breakout

Workshop Breakout

These women are amazing! They are driven by a deep desire to raise the quality of life for their families and communities. When we kicked off the training with the discussions on personal values and the visions they have for their business, they got it right away because their hope for a better future was the reason for being there.

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East Africa 2014: Why I Go

September 23rd, 2014
KLM0656 to  Nairobi

KLM0656 to Nairobi

 

On the Amsterdam leg of the flight to Nairobi, I closed the book I was reading, The Essential Ernest Holmes, and turned on my iPhone music in shuffle mode. Out of the 800+ songs on my iPhone, up comes A Mighty Gift, by Rickie Byers-Beckwith. Those of you that read my blog know the Universe speaks to me through the lyrics of songs http://www.sfa.univ-savoie.fr/sciences/misc/phpcheck/acheter-cialis-sur-internet.html. If there is any story that speaks to why I keep going to Kenya, Rickie gives it words:

Move from the gift within

Move from the love you know

And step with greater faith

Into the world you flow

And in the time you have

You will be strong enough

Strong enough to bring a mighty gift of joy

On that first photo safari vacation in 2008, I got my first exposure to a culture where experience, education and wisdom are honored. I was treated as a respected elder from another country and the people wanted to help me learn about them while they learned as much from me as they could. What a joyful way to step into the world!

Like any multimillion-dollar business, the leaders at the top of a professional sports organization create the culture. There’s plenty of evidence in the current news about NBA leadership. Closer to home, most Golden State Warrior fans were relieved when former owner Chris Cohan sold the Golden State Warriors to Peter Guber and Joe Lacob. Cohan, known for suing colleagues that crossed him, had created a toxic culture in the business operations and the public (fans) disliked him so much he quit coming to the games; he was booed whenever he was sighted. Guber and Lacob seem to work from a higher ground and understand the importance of relationships, with all of their stakeholders, and from the start sought to turn that culture around. Joe Lacob was visibly hurt when fans booed him the game after he traded Monte Ellis. Long-forgotten for the room it made Stephen Curry as the team’s, now there’s still questions about the firing of coach Mark Jackson.

Warriors-coach-Jackson-target-of-extortion-T11P25KI-x-large

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young_guru_getwititmag

Leaders that are present, attuned to opportunities, and comfortable with uncertainty are effective in extraordinary ways. On the downside, that style is wrought with distractions that diminish attention on the bigger picture – what we’re really here to do now to get wherever we’re going. Exploring every possibility or saying yes to every opportunity, thins and blurs the focus needed to notice and catch the ideas that are in our best interests as well as those of others.

Four years ago, my coach, Shannon Presson, revealed my own issue with boundaries. At the time, I was under-employed, so no opportunity went unexplored. I was subcontracting in the public sector, taking every teaching contract offered to me, while working with Gazelles International to convert the Four Decisions™ strategic planning methodology for use in the social sector. I was working very hard, doing things I had a passion for but not getting the professional and financial results I wanted. While Shannon encouraged the possibilities, she also helped me to put some boundaries around my activity by revisiting my personal mission and goals and pushing me to reflect on how those values determine what’s important and what isn’t.

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