Special Teachers Are (Story) Gems

I vividly remember the day in third grade when a teacher touched my life. Done with my classwork and tired of staring out at the dreary landscape of late fall in Wisconsin, I wandered over to the bookshelves to browse the books. When Mrs. Athnos came over, I thought I was in trouble … for leaving my desk … for Continue reading

From Peaceful Evening to Stormy Night

After enjoying a pleasant picnic on an island in Lake Minnetonka, our friend Cindy and I gathered up dinner gear as the sun slipped into the horizon, leaving a splash of color behind. Busy chatting as we set up for a campfire and tucked gear away before dark, we didn’t notice that the sky had changed. We were startled when Continue reading

Sunset and Fireworks Mark Key Milestones

When I got home after receiving my lay-off notice from General Mills, I tossed my severance packet on the couch, joined my husband on the porch with a glass of wine, and started brainstorming names for the business I wanted to start.   After working on the naming challenge for about six weeks, I was telling our friend Doug Benson Continue reading

Passport to Rainbows and Waterfalls

As he eyed three passports and a Minnesota Driver’s License, a Canadian Customs Officer asked me (the driver) why a Brit, an Australian, and two U.S. citizens (from Georgia and Minnesota) were traveling together across the border at Niagara Falls? I replied that we were attending a conference at the University of Buffalo and wanted to visit the falls. He Continue reading

Resting Logs Kept Little Legs Moving

Jay and I paused at the crest of a foothill overlooking Boulder to the east and the Rocky Mountains to the west. According to my iPhone Activity App, we had climbed 71 floors. We decided to rest on a fallen log. While we soaked in the vista, Jay recounted a memory about hiking in the woods of Northern Wisconsin with Continue reading

Nevertheless She Persisted in Wellness

Snow covered the grounds of the Cooper Aerobic Center in Dallas, TX, when Georgia Kostas arrived for her interview with Dr. Kenneth Cooper in 1977. Tip-toeing out of the cab in her winter-white suit and pink floral blouse (with a flouncy bow), Georgia’s heart was set on getting this job.  A few years earlier, Georgia had become inspired to work Continue reading

Drowning in Data? Pitch with a Story!

At the close of an intense month of immersion and ideation on a new opportunity, my client was in a rocky place about the next steps in their project. Like most deep dives, the process had surfaced new questions and many possibilities. Valuable marketplace, consumer, competitive, and technical data had been collected and reviewed. The team had generated a plethora Continue reading

An Exhilarating Career Experience Became a Book

Tech check was done … 15 min countdown ticking. Equipped with a clicker and a wireless mic, Chris Quam stood on the stage of a cavernous ballroom in the Las Vegas Convention Center. His heart sunk with dread that people might not come. Nervous, but not scared, his confidence soared as the audience started to fill the hundreds of seats Continue reading

“From Grinch to Our Neighbor” Inspires Imagination

We dreaded the arsenic hour … 5:00-6:00 pm, the first hour that Abby was home from day care. She would melt down and become inconsolable over small things. After a series of tantrums, she would retreat to her room (or be sent into a time out) and re-emerge with a new outfit … often dressed as a character. Princess, bride, Continue reading