Speaker and Consultant: Diversity, social impact and organizational change. Rare Disease Warrior. www.profoundhopeindustries.com
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Photo by Maximillian Conacher on Unsplash

Social Issues

I once lived in Levittown, Pennsylvania for a few months. My tiny accessory dwelling was barely an apartment. I do not even remember whether it had been a garage that had been turned into living space or a section of the home that had been converted. The unit was a miniature studio, much too small for a bed. It was furnished with a futon, and when pulled out there was barely space between the end of the mattress and the wall in order to walk. The kitchenette did not have a stove, just a countertop with an electric hot plate and a microwave. My landlord was going through a separation and was overly concerned with what I was doing in the unit. I hated the apartment, and did not really like the town. It was an interim stop in my last year of college after leaving a bad living situation in Philadelphia. …


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Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Social Issues

I was raised in a quiet, three bedroom home on a tree-lined street in the Chicago suburbs. During my childhood and teenage years, I rarely thought about why we lived where we lived. Back then, I never had reason to question our choice of community. My parents had been born in the same county I was, and lived their lives there just like me. My grandparents had well established lives in the nearby towns they had chosen to reside. I moved from the suburbs to Chicago almost twenty years ago, after returning from college in Pennsylvania. When I bought my first home, I learned the extent to which White flight is part of my story too. …


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Photo by Anthony Fomin on Unsplash

Social issues

I do understand that neighborhoods can only gentrify one time. My husband and I bought our first home only four years ago. We were slightly older than the typical age of most first time homebuyers when we decided to start shopping. We delayed our home purchase because we were fortunate to rent a nice, big apartment very affordably on a beautiful tree lined Chicago block. Our Puerto Rican landlord and his family had purchased the three-flat building thirty years prior. When they lived in the property decades before we did, drug dealing and prostitution were visible and gang bangers owned the corner at the other end of the street. When we signed our lease, the neighborhood was only hinting at the possibility of gentrification. …


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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Leadership

Chicago, Illinois is the place I call home. The Windy City is recognized for its hardball politics and organizing history. In the late 1800s, the Pullman Strike led to major advances in improved labor law. Saul Alinsky, a well known community activist, spent his career in Chicago. He authored Rules for Radicals, still a popular handbook for organizers. His work with Chicago Industrial Area Foundation in the Back of Yards neighborhood catapulted him into organizing notoriety. Alinsky later helped found The Woodlawn Organization, a key player in the 1960s Chicago civil rights movement. …


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Photo by Nathalia Segato on Unsplash

Leadership

Owners, executives, and bosses hold their own businesses back. That statement might hit a little hard if you fit the description. You might protest and say, “No, it’s the market!” or “it’s the competition!” or “it’s our lack of ___________(fill in the blank with your most frustrating operational challenge!” Conversely, you might agree with this statement and shake your head and think — “of course, that is why I hire people.” But this is not about the technical skills you lack and hire other people to perform.

Your blind spots are your own personal human weaknesses. They show up as character traits like stubbornness, perfectionism, micromanagement, grandiose thinking or insecurity over big decisions. We all have some of these types of issues, and we can all see them more clearly in other people than we can in ourselves. If you have a high functioning team, it is because you know how to place people where they shine best. Good managers and bosses know where their best players fall short and utilize that knowledge to help both the individual and the team perform more effectively. …


Rare Disease

Never apologize for accommodating your own illness

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Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

I recently decided to quit my job and work for myself. I am a professional speaker. I want to share my own message, build my own vision, impact more people, and eventually make more money. But rare disease is one of the major reasons I chose entrepreneurship. I have phenylketonuria (PKU), which means my body is not able to break down protein on its own.

The first time I was invited to speak in a professional context I was thrilled someone recognized my expertise was strong enough to teach a group. When I stood in front of the audience, I immediately knew I loved speaking. As they say, the rest was history. Words are powerful; we often underestimate their impact. …


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Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Organizational Culture

Brands are people. This statement might defy how we technically think about brands. We identify brands by their iconic symbol, a slogan, name or colors. We all know a ‘swoosh’ symbol stands for Nike. The phrase ‘taste the rainbow’ brings a package of colorful Skittles to mind. We know Coca Cola’s colors are red and white. But even the best brands are no more than their reputation. Pause again to think about the word ‘Nike or ‘Skittles’ or any name of your favorite company. Without the concepts, consistency and reputation behind the name, the individual words are strange. …


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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Today, a number of well-known influencers have risen to status by building a platform on a variation of the message: “you can do hard things.” The encouragement is alluring and attractive. It offers the possibility of changing behaviors and mindset in such a way that radically alters a person’s whole life. The notion of altering a hard situation is hopeful. And this message survives because there are elements of truth to it. At times, we are our own biggest obstacles. Everyone has fallen into the trap of algorithms and gone down the rabbit hole of social media instead of reading a book or working on a business idea more times than we can count. Logically, if we traded some of that wasted time for making a home-cooked meal or doing a twenty minute workout, our lives could and should improve. …


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Photo by niu niu on Unsplash

I am a White woman and I have thought long and hard about social justice for many years. I was introduced to racialized poverty twenty-two years ago and it was eye opening. I built a career around it. In my early twenties, during the stage of life when people are figuring out who they are, my jobs were short term. I was employed at an inner city church working in urban youth ministry, worked in a residential treatment center, and held an internship as a community organizer. Each of these roles showed me something different about how systemic racism works based on environment and context. I worked in a corporate sales environment for a short stint because I needed work at the time and realized I was fairly good at talking. …


How I am coping with a major medical event

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Photo by Stefan Vladimirov on Unsplash

I spent my life alternately trying to wish away or cope with my chronic illness. I was born with phenylketonuria, a rare metabolic disorder that has historically been treated with an extremely rigorous medical diet that limits protein intake. I was allowed to consume only 7g of protein per day; about 10% of what an average American eats on a daily basis.

When I did not follow my protocol strictly, I experienced neurocognitive and executive functioning problems. Seven grams of protein looks like extremely limited amounts of fruits and vegetables. Nuts, seeds, soy, dairy, meat, poultry, fish, legumes, and most grains were completely off-limits. Medically modified bread and pasta could be purchased for a price in order to supplement calories without added protein. I also drank an unpleasant medically prescribed protein supplement. …

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