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Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Green Jacket and all it stands for…..

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I have to admit the whole Augusta National Golf Club and female member thing stopped me in my tracks.   It seems so surreal somehow.  This issue has arisen because of a tradition by the club to give IBM’s CEO club membership solely based of IBM’s status as key corporate sponsor as well as other ancillary contributions…….and since Augusta does not grant membership to females they are in a bit of a pickle given that IBM’s new CEO is female.  The reality of course could be that Ms. Rometty may not personally care two hoots about being bestowed membership at Augusta……either because she may not be a golfer (now that would be a refreshing change for a business leader in general) or because the “honor” of this membership may  just not that important to her. 

 However, in principle boys and girls, we have a huge issue.  If the club departs from its norm of practice with IBM and IBM allows that to happen what does that say about the big picture of what rules the day in terms of the company’s respect and diversity position.  In addition, this is not simply a private matter whatever Augusta Club leadership may say about it being a private entity.  The sheer magnitude of the money that comes in from the Masters is staggering…..so they cannot be disingenuous.  And as for CBS, other media, corporate sponsors, the golfers themselves, golf as a sport, the public itself…………come on ya’ll let’s get real on this issue.   Exclusion because of one’s gender…….we are way beyond the time to let that one go…..

What’s the point of getting together anyway?…..

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Every business meal I attend, and there are many of them, generally result in a bunch of people sitting around looking at their pdf gadget of choice……a quick glance around the restaurant shows a similar trend.   Is it that we are soooo important that we simply don’t have time to listen, converse, network, build relationships without 90% of our attention being on “the gadget”  Often being the only female at the table, I take great pleasure in telling the guys to put away their toys….which they generally do with a laugh and in good humor…for a short time…….but then I realized that they think it is a tad strange that I don’t seem to have a buzzing pdf…..I do… I just silence it for the occasion!

Moving on; I have a wonderful close circle of friends.  A bunch of women, we are like sisters, and we really enjoy our evenings out once a month and quick catch up for coffee etc. in between……Guess what, everyone has IPhone etc.  in hand and in constant motion.  Sigh!!

Final straw…you guessed it ….my kids.  We cannot have been together without IPhone, IPads etc. ruling the scene.  The other day I say my oldest daughter coming out of the house to go for breakfast with her IPad, on top of which sat her work Blackberry, her work phone and her IPhone…..UH?  So full circle……apparently the reason she has all of these gadgets with her is because……wait for it………her many bosses are constantly on their gadgets and if she gets a message and doesn’t respond then there is some backlash as to commitment…………..true story.  Regardless, I’ve told them all to turn everything off.  Meal time is for being together with humans not social media

I-Sheep…….

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Over 3 million IPads were sold on Friday, March 16th in the U.S.   Why?  Supposedly the pictures are so crystal clear and there is a much excitement about pixels which I won’t attempt to explain which apparently create this amazing never before had experience.  I did a side by side with the “old” IPad 2 and the new one….couldn’t really tell the difference….certainly not enough to make me buy a new one…..but 3 million people did.  So the answer to the question why is simply……..We have become I-Sheep.

The real cost of war………

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When the news first came out about the massacre of 16 innocent Afghan citizens by and American soldier hit public conscience I am sure I reacted like many people…..shock, horror, a shudder as to how an American soldier sent to protect and preserve could do this…..

 As the days have gone by another story has emerged.  A more personal one which makes one wonder who is really responsible for this crime…..the hand that committed it or the system that put him there?

 A little while ago, on her personal blog, which she said was created as a time capsule for their children, Mrs. Bales, with a relocation away from combat expected, wrote:  “I am hoping to blog about it and look back in a year, to see how far we have come from right now”…..Heartbreaking that the reality was so starkly different then the hope that was in their minds……..The sadness of what has happened to that family and to the families of those killed in Afghanistan is so profound.  We should go back to the system that put the wheels in motion that led to the horror that took place………for clearly something is badly broken.…

“DETACHMENT” – the movie……..

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If this movie doesn’t get nominated for an Oscar and Adrien Brody nominated for Best Actor I’ll eat my hat, as they say.   I have close friends (you know who you are) who have taught in the toughest public schools in the country and they do it with such dedication and I quite frankly don’t know how they stay committed.  They do it for the kids and the difference that a dedicated teacher can make in a young person’s life…..or I suppose more realistically the HOPE of helping many kids “make it”. 

 My daughter’s Godmother, Peggy, (https://asimull.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/sink-to-dishwasher-a-tiny-step-or-a-chasm/) taught for over 40 years in the Philadelphia public school system and still substitutes…….I know she does it to make a difference and it’s not easy for her, let me tell you!   So the movie Detachment is an amazing portrayal of our public school system, the kids within that system and the challenges of a teacher who substitutes to stay “Detached” but……well you have to see the movie.

 This movie should be a catalyst to bubble up to the top of the agenda  more vocal and determined actions to enhance and improve our education system in the U.S.  There is a saying “you can’t boil the ocean”……..so to our leaders:  let’s pick a few issues, this being THE one, and invest disproportionality so that we can impact our most important legacy…..the generations to come.

The best use of Air Force One is………..

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“Taking a visitor to an NCAA game”……..umm, well OK that sounds lame.  What if the guest is the British Prime Minister who apparently has NEVER seen a live basketball game……..actually that sounds even lamer…..basketball being hugely popular in the UK and Europe, oh but wait…..not popular among the toffee nosed elite in Britain….ok then!! Moving on.

 So a couple of nights ago, President Obama flew David Cameron to Dayton, Ohio to watch Western Kentucky take on Mississippi Valley State…..great game by the way.  They then exited, stage left, and missed an amazing game BYU/Iona…..those poor kids I think they assumed the President would be there to watch them but that was not to be.  So why burn fuel and fly the big plane to Dayton? The answer:   POLITICS!!!  VOTES!!!  

 The President said he wanted to show the Prime Minister the heartland of America…..seriously?  To do that you gotta stay a bit longer than the length of one basketball game for sure.

 A long time ago a very senior colleague told a very young me:  “Perception is at least 80% of reality”.  Perception last night, Mr. President?……not so great for many reasons.

Does “Luck” just happen?…….

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Does luck stem from the “magic genie”, a four leaf clover, a good luck charm or do we have control over “our luck” in life?….I’m quite superstitious but I do believe that we can control our luck.  I don’t always practice what I preach in this regard, rather I simply “preach” to family, friends and colleagues on the matter. As we all know that is so much easier to do.   I’ve decided to take my Pollyanna personality and try it on myself!

 There is a Persian saying,”Go and wake up your Luck”.   That of course implies that you personally have control in the matter.   Winning the lottery….that is sheer luck…assuming of course you buy a ticket.  For the rest of it, yep, I do think we each have control over our own luck and destiny, with of course some good fortune and timing thrown into the mix.  This is true of work, relationships, and life in general. 

 Think about it:  if you challenge yourself every day to do something that is outside your comfort zone, or you speak to someone at the coffee shop/train/airplane/school/work without using your electronic gadget of choice as your companion, or you are in a difficult situation and you think about how much worse it could be (instead of bemoaning your fate)…….who knows what could happen!!!!

 I see people I know, and more often read about people I don’t know, who are successful, creative, fulfilled and so on and I think to myself “lucky them”. The reality is that behind each story is a lot more than meets the eye.  These are generally people who are positive, willing to take the plunge, open to risk and their glass is generally always “Half full”.   So, I’m going to practice what I preach and see what happens……..and yes, I know, it’s not going to happen in 24 hours!!!