Sandi Aitken – Success To Me
Oct 24 2009

I interviewed Sandi Aitken (pdf) for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, for an article that was published in the Sep/Oct 2006 issue.  My writing partner, Pam Losefksy, and I pulled these articles together a while back and you can see them on the Success Profiles page of this blog.  You can see the full article on Sandi by clicking HERE (pdf).  I haven’t connected with Sandi since the interview so I’m not even sure if she’s still at Freescale, but here’s an overview:

Sandi was/is a benefits manager for Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. in Austin.  Previously she was Director of Wellness and work/life programs for Motorola and health and fitness coordinator for Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp.  She was also health and fitness program coordinator, director of nursing, critical care instructor, and director of the cardiac rehab and pulmonary education center for St. David’s Community Hospital.  She was awarded Texas Nurse of the Year and held a Chair position for the Seton Cove board of directors.  She received her MS from UT Austin in Nursing.

She shares:

Success has a lot to do with being true to your life’s purpose, vision, and goals. Often, that means running counter to what our culture’s definition of success is, because so often in our society, success is defined by your material worth or the initials behind your name. Making money is  important on a certain level, but what’s really important is to know your heart, to find your passion. Shakespeare wrote, “To thine own self be true.” Like so many things in life, it seems so simple, but there’s probably nothing harder to do.

She goes on to say:

Finding that alignment between your head and your heart, while at the same time not getting caught up in external pressures, is critical.

Oh, if everyone could be true to themselves, what a world this would be.  But as Sandi noted it is so hard to do because being true to ourselves doesn’t always go over well with other people in our lives.  Aligning head and heart is something I struggle with as do many others because what your heart/passion wants you to do in your career and life doesn’t always mesh up with what is practical given life’s responsibilities and other people’s expectations.

I’m working on trying to mesh some of my passion/heart’s desires with life’s practicalities.  Today I scheduled a make-up voice lesson with my voice instructor, Gene Raymond, who I really enjoy working with, and brought the kids with me.  I’ve brought them to a lesson once before.  I bring them coloring books and they color without fussing at all.  I think they think it is funny to hear mommy sing scales and do vocal exercises.  Some of the vocal exercises are quite funny.  :-)

A few of the songs I’m working on right now are Killing Me Softly With His Song (Roberta Flack), Play Me (Neil Diamond – changing the ‘she’s’ to ‘he’s’), and The Rose (Bette Midler).  I have the opportunity to take a lesson with a teacher at a level higher than Gene in this particular style of coaching called Speech Level Singing in a couple of weeks.  This teacher has sung with Bette Midler and trained several American Idol singers.  I’m looking forward to it and hoping I don’t choke!

Author: | Filed under: music, singing, success, success story | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Liz Carpenter on Success
Feb 18 2009

Now for the next highlight of one of the people I interviewed for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, on Liz Carpenter that was published in the March/April 2005 issue.  You can check out the post I did on Mort Meyerson, former CEO of both EDS and Perot Systems, for some background information.

My writing partner, Pam Losefksy, and I pulled these articles together.  You can see them on the Success Profiles page of this blog. The series started as Success To Me and during the middle of last year we changed it to Self Starter to focus more on entrepreneurs.  When we told them we weren’t able to continue due to our other commitments, they brought the series in house.  You can see the full article on Liz Carpenter by clicking HERE (pdf).

Liz received her BA from UT in 1942.  She was the White House press secretary to Ladybird Johnson.  She is the author of several books and uses humor extensively not only in her writing but also in her speeches and day to day conversations.  One of her first books was called “Start with a Laugh,” which was a first hand account of writing speeches during her white house years.   She would be about 88 years old right now and was an active supporter of the women’s movement.

We started the article with this quote by Liz:

To me, being able to use your time, hopefully profitably, doing what you want to do, and finding happiness in it, is success. I think the keys to success are sharing and having a generous heart and a sense of humor. Another trait of successful people is that they are aware — they have inquiring minds.  And finally, people who are successful are committed to taking risks and to walking through open doors. If you don’t trust yourself to take a risk, you’re likely to be left out of greater success.

She then went on to say.

There’s an old quote from the women’s movement: “Men are made anxious by failure. Women are made anxious by success.” I think women have gotten much braver since the start of the women’s movement in this country, and it thrills me that now we are not so anxious with success. We now help each other achieve it.

I agree that many women (myself included) don’t really feel comfortable with success outside the home environment.  I know that sounds strange, but I’m still on the cusp of the generation of women who grew up with mothers (who may or may not have worked outside of the home) who were still ‘programmed’ to think about life, womanhood, wife hood, and motherhood in a certain way.

There have been many changes in society since we were children and as women we have many more opportunities than our mothers had (without having to worry as much about the glass ceiling and with having no help from our spouses), but many of us still struggle with defining our roles.  I imagine the same is true for men who now find themselves much more involved in child care than our fathers were.  With many more women working (by choice sometime during their children’s lives) than ever before, men have to be more involved in the day to day business of house management and child care because we often don’t have the nearby family support system that used to exist.  Our mother’s who had to work or chose to work in many cases had to do everything without much support from their spouse.

So it’s no wonder we sometimes still feel residual anxiety about success because with success comes worry about how we will manage the rest of our lives with kids…because I think it’s already been proven that although we can have it all, we can’t have it all at the same time!

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Mort Meyerson on Success
Jan 11 2009

I used to co-write articles for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine called The Alcalde. It was one of the things I had to give up when I started a day job.  My writing partner, Pam Losefksy, and I enjoyed doing them but it took more time and didn’t pay enough money for either of us to  justify being able to keep doing them in either of our schedules going forward. The articles are listed on the Success Profiles page of this blog. But we had a good run with the first article on Mort Meyerson (pdf) running in the Jan/Feb issue of 2005 and the last one in the Sept/Oct issue of 2008. The series started as Success To Me and during the middle of last year we changed it to Self Starter to focus more on entrepreneurs. They have apparently brought the series in house or found someone else to continue the series which goes to show you everyone is replaceable!

I blogged about a few of the more recent ones we did but not some of the initial ones, so I am going to start from the beginning and do some posts on the older ones where I highlight a quote or two from each article. You can see the full article on Mort Meyerson by clicking HERE (pdf).

Mort is the former President of EDS and former Chairman & CEO of Perot Systems. He currently leads 2M Companies and the Morton H. Meyerson Family Tzedekah fund. He received his BA in 1961 in Economics and Philosophy. He was at Perot Systems from 1992 to 1998 when the company went from $100 million to $1 billion in revenue. He was at EDS from 1975 to 1986 when the company went from $200 million to $4.4 billion.

We started the article with this quote by Mort:

When I first retired in 1986 at 48 years old, I asked myself the question, “Is this all there is to life?” I had been a CEO, I had financial security, I had great friends and a devoted family. I wasn’t unhappy, but I didn’t feel fully successful given my financial and work success.

He then went on to describe his philosophy on giving which is based on the framework of the Jewish philosophy of tzedakah.

So now our foundation strives to be a node in a neural network called the greater community of human beings trying to help each other. I am a connector. It’s interesting that that’s what I did in business for 40 years. So, I have been applying part of my business expertise within the tzedakah perspective, and I find it very rewarding. Through the concept of tzedakah, I’m beginning to feel more whole, more successful, than I did in 1986 when I retired from EDS and in 1998 when I retired from Perot Systems.

I (Aruni) have always found it interesting that in my search for meaning I have run across so many others with far more financial and material wealth than I certainly have who are searching for the same thing. I meet many with much less material wealth searching also for understanding and peace. I have run across very few people who are completely OK with who they are and where they are in life and 99.9% of those people are kids.

There is always something in between the black & white lines in an article, a newspaper feature, or a TV story that can never be accurately conveyed to the listener or the viewer. Most of us know this, yet we still make assumptions about people and situations as if their inner essences are completely different than ours…but are they?


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Self Starter – Kirby Allison of The Hanger Project
Sep 27 2008

I co-write articles for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky.  You can also see more of our write-ups on the article page of this blog.  The last article that we did for the Self Starter series for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Kirby Allison (gif).  Kirby is a recent graduate and the founder of The Hanger Project.  He built the business nights and weekends in school and even after graduating while he held a day job!

Sadly, interviewing these interesting entrepreneurs and writing about them with Pam was one of the things I had to remove from my very full plate of things to do.  Both Pam and I took on other commitments ranging from my day job and her additional writing work, that we decided we couldn’t continue to do it and do it well.   We’ve been doing articles for The Alcalde for over 3 years now and we really enjoyed working with each other and the editor, Avrel Seale.  Life is full of hard decisions and this was one of them.  Who knows, we might write for them again when it works for all of our schedules…

I’ll do full posts on past articles we’ve written that I haven’t done one for yet…so keep an eye out for those.  An image of Kirby’s article is below and an interesting highlight from his article follows.  

Last fall a confluence of opportunities – a complimentary product review in the Wall Street Journal and a major order from a luxury men’s store in Guatemala – propelled the popularity of Allison’s hangers.  He found himself scrambling to air-freight new inventory to meet the Christmas demand.  His little side project had become The Hanger Project, a recognized leader in premium hangers.”

 

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Self Starter – Bart Knaggs, Founder of Capital Sports and Entertainment
Aug 17 2008

I co-write articles for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky.  You can also see more of our write-ups on the article page of this blog.

Our most recent article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Bart Knaggs (gif).  Bart is the founder of Capital Sports and Entertainment which brings us the annual, highly popular Austin City Limits Festival.  Here is an interesting quote from his interview:

There are ways you want to manage opportunities, but mitigating risk, I think takes you down the wrong path.”  Instead of thinking that you might lose so you’d better prepare for the crash, Knaggs says you must believe you’re going to take off, so you’ll only prepare to fly.  “You have to commit 100 percent to powering the engines and getting up to speed.  You have to rally your people, you just have to know you’re going to fly.”

Bart has two kids.  After getting his undergraduate degree, he became a competitive cyclist – “a form of self-employment in which the sacrifice is monumental and the payoff only accrues to an elite few.”

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One more article in the Self-Starter series will be coming out soon, so sign up for free email updates and you won’t miss it!

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, father, success, success story, working father | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Self Starter – Gay Gaddis of T3
Jul 26 2008

I co-write articles for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky.  You can also see more of our write-ups on the article page

One of our latest articles for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Gay Gaddis.  Gay is the founder of T3 – The Think Tank, the largest women-owned advertising agency in the US!

Here is a thought provoking quote from Gay’s interview:

You get knocked down a couple times and your confidence gets busted and you draw back a little bit,” she says, “but you have to allow yourself the mistakes and the rejection and not let them eat you up.

I agree with Gay that many entrepreneurs give up is when they let their mistakes eat them up instead of learning from them and moving forward.  I struggle with limiting thoughts often.

Gay has 3 kids and came from a long line of entrepreneurs so she saw the reality of how it is to build a business.  She started helping her mother with her kindergarten program when she was 13 years old after her father died!     

 

There are more articles to come, so sign up for free email updates to get them right in your inbox!

 

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Success To Me – Jim Nolen
Feb 13 2008

As some of you know, I co-write articles on the topic of success for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky. Our latest article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Jim Nolen.  Jim  is a UT Distinguised Senior Lecturer of Finance and President of CFO Services.  He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards.

Our goal with this endeavor was to get people thinking about what success means to them by reading stories on how others define success.  Please click here to see more success profiles.  One of the key things he said that resonated with me was:

“Thomas Edison said ‘I’ve never had a failure — I’ve found 10,000 things that didn’t work.’  It’s that mental attitude that really translates into success in the end — never thinking about failure, but saying instead, ‘I’m going to be successful.  I may take a lot of detours, but I don’t have a problem with that.'” 

It’s all in how we frame it, isn’t it?  Life is one big university where we continue to learn and grow!

The editor has since asked us to focus on entrepreneurs for future articles and of course I am thrilled since I love meeting and talking with entrepreneurs!  So after the next one, the series will be called Self Starter and we will be interviewing exclusively entrepreneurs from The University of Texas at Austin.  Hook ‘em Horns!

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Success To Me – Leilah Powell
Nov 22 2007

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels to everyone!

As some of you know, I co-write articles on the topic of success for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky. Our latest article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Leilah Powell, Government Relations Manager for Bexar County, Texas and former Assistant to the Mayor of San Antonio, Texas. 

Our goal with this endeavor is to get people thinking about what success means to them by reading stories on how others define success.  Please click here to see more success profiles.

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Success To Me – Robb Lanum
Aug 31 2007

As some of you may know, I co-write articles on the topic of success for university alumni magazines with my wonderful writing partner Pam Losefsky. Our latest article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is about Robb Lanum, a husband, father of two and a writer with published script credits to his name. Robb blogs at the Robblog.  Our goal with this endeavor is to get people thinking about what success means to them by reading about how others define success. Click here to see additional articles we have written.

A correction: The Alcalde gave me credit for taking the picture of Robb, but I did not take it since I live in Austin, TX and he lives in sunny CA.  We conducted the interview over the phone.  His lovely and very talented wife, Michelle Campion, took it. :-D

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Success to Me: Marc Seriff, founding CTO of AOL
Jul 10 2007

As some of you may know, I co-write articles on the topic of success for alumni magazines with my wonderful writing partner Pam Losefsky.  Our latest article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is about Marc Seriff, founding CTO of America Online.   Our goal with this endeavor is to get people thinking about what success means to them by reading about how other people define success.  Click here to see other articles we have written.  We’d love to hear your thoughts…

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