Published July 28, 2014 by

Girls, Women, Leaders


In the last few years, I have been exposed to some cultural realities facing young women from various ethnic groups. I have been tutoring low income teenagers at a few locations throughout NYC. Although my sample size is not scientific, Hispanic women, on average, are the majority of the top students. They are poised, pleasant to speak with, and often have well thought out ideas about what they might do for a career.  Many of them excel academically while simultaneously learning to speak English during their four years in high school.

I was surprised to learn that depending on their nationality, many of these girls may not go to college. Many of their families believe strongly that women should stay close to home and prepare for nurturing and care taking of the family. I know this is just my limited observation but apparently this is not uncommon.

What might this tell us about the future progress of women in the workplace? I keep wondering how many other social norms like this exist among other ethnic groups. Could similar cultural norms among an increasingly diverse US and European population demand more creativity as we seek to equalize women and men in the workplace?  I believe that real change for woman (and men) can only be sustained if we start from the bottom and then “lean” over, up, in, and all around.

Son of a Postman

Diversity - Women

Published July 24, 2014 by

The Downers, Turn A Cheek, Forget It


I have a mental list of people with whom I have had significant relationship challenges.  I am mindful of keeping this list very short even if it means constructively moving some people out of my life.  I try to learn from poor relationships to see what I could have done differently. I appreciate those who have passed through my life causing great challenges for me.  Some are positive and some are not.

Most of my toxic people taught me patience and how to turn a cheek, but some just caused pain. The pain typically comes from words meant to judge negatively.  Toxic people aren’t challenging for everyone, it’s just situational.  I am sure my toxins are all loved by someone, perhaps their mothers?   Nonetheless, I consciously rid myself of my toxins and foster new relationships with happy positive people.

Most of those who challenge us have inflated senses of their own importance usually fueled by their own insecurities. Most feel the need to insult and embarrass others primarily to make themselves feel better. Many avoid looking you in the eye when speaking to you.   The latter is a sure sign of trouble. Doesn’t it all sound just like the schoolyard when you were a kid? It isn’t that much different.

I believe you should respect everyone in your life and dig deep to respect people who may be different than you.  It is better and healthier to focus on the good things people achieve.  The positives of my life and career certainly have far outweighed any downers.

You know, it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere and time to cleanse and renew.  You should rid yourself of those toxins and encourage those you lead to do the same.

Son of a Postman

Best Practices Conflict

Published July 22, 2014 by

Vacation, Holiday, Give Them A Break


In a previous post, I wrote about the importance of taking time off from your daily routines and truly resting your mind and body.  We all know these times as vacations or holidays.  I urged managers, coaches, and parents to remember the importance of these breaks.  Make sure that those you lead, or parent,  get real true breaks.   Leaders of all kinds can sometimes forget the long term benefits of people truly shutting off.  Everyone is too focused on the short term.

Today I am repeating that message and sharing a note I received from a reader.  It is a message not just for leaders but for everyone.

“I guess I am “one of those people” [who don’t shut down] but you have not heard from me because I have decided to be less electronic this vacation.  Twice per week for work e-mail and I answered only three of them….one was to my boss and the others to colleagues.  This is one thing that you never touched on…supporting your colleagues when they take time off so they can actually relax and know that their clients and work are being looked after.”

It feels good that some people hear my pleas and “help me help you” more broadly.

Son of a Postman

Best Practices Teamwork

Published July 17, 2014 by

Wrote A Book, Masked Identities, Slept Better!

UnknownWriting a book that is based on your life and career experiences can be tricky.  You want to tell a good story and you   want your characters to be real and rich with details.  I chose to mask the identity of those who didn’t sound so positive, ethical, fair minded, or just not that nice.  We all know people that we wished we hadn’t encountered in life and work. I was not insulated from these experiences in spite of the charmed life and career that I have had thus far.  It is healthy to be mindful that all experiences represent learning and growing experiences.  You move on.  You let go.

When I wrote my first book, I tried very hard to mask the identities of everyone except my family members.   There are a few individuals in my life, and discussed in my book, that were so challenging that they still make me cringe.   I continue to strive to accept each one as a valuable learning experience.  This isn’t always easy, but it is healthy to just let it all go!

A good friend recently sent me a quote related to this exact topic.  My friend wasn’t aware of my admiration for the work of this particular writer, Anne Lamott.   Perhaps Ms. Lamott would have given me contrary advice about my story telling?

“You own everything that happened to you.  Tell your stories.  If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.”

HA!  Touche!  Namaste!

Son of a Postman

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Best Practices

Published July 15, 2014 by