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Personal Statement

I am passionate about bringing out the best in people and their organizations. I truly enjoy working with people to help them see their lives, work, thought patterns and behaviors in new ways, to build competencies and to make positive and healthy changes in their lives and in their organizations. I feel satisfaction when I can help people to communicate more clearly and compassionately and to influence positive changes that spread beyond individuals and into families, work places and communities.

Music and Dance

Music, dance, theatre and the arts in general have been a large part of my life and influence my current work. As a child I studied ballet from Madame Kadrina and then modern dance from Toscha Mundstock and Merilee Smith all in Santa Barbara, CA. Another influential person early on in my life was my high school drama teacher, Bill Black. I loved taking theatre and dance classes, performing in high school and college dance and theater productions and during the summer in Youth Theatre Productions. I also enjoyed folk dancing and continued this form of dance into adulthood along with Salsa, Brazilian, contra, swing, and Cajun and zydeco dancing. It was at a zydeco dance that I met my husband. Today, I continue to love dance and now practice yoga and Pilates on a regular basis. My knowledge of movement informs my coaching as I help people to find balance and grace in their lives.

I love music of all kinds and find it is a wonderful entry into learning about other cultures. In my travels, I always seek out opportunities to experience music and dance events that represent that culture. As the Executive Director of Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, I had the great privilege of hearing and dancing to music from all over the world. As a vice president at Backroads, Inc, I traveled widely and some of my fondest memories involve music and dance: hearing a xhosa choir in South Africa, watching a gamelan orchestra and dancers in Bali, and enjoying a fado singer in Portugal. The arts have always been and will continue to be a major part of my life.

In the summer of 2013 my husband and I traveled to Bali to study Balinese dance and gamelan with the wonderful teachers at Cudamani.

Writing

I love to write. Each month I look forward to writing a story to include in my monthly e-newsletter that I send to subscribers. I also write Oak Communications blog on an irregular basis.

It was after completing an eight-day silent Zen retreat, that I began writing my book about both my inner and outer journeys.

I invite you to open the cover of The Key to the Castle: Zen and Travel Stories of Trust and join me on this adventure of discovery.

My most recent book is Cultivating a Mindful Life available as an e-book.

For my current writing project, I am working on a play. I am enjoying exploring this new form of creative expression.

Cultivating Compassion

One of the most significant events in my life was taking care of my mom during the early and mid stages of her dementia and diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease and then coming to terms with her disease and eventual death. It was a lesson in compassion – for my mom, for my family and myself. It was at this time that I began practicing Zen more seriously. Zen has now become a way of life for me, and it is a practice that I share with my husband.

I also cultivate in my garden. I enjoy working in the garden, planting flowers and vegetables, weeding, and tending. And then there is picking the harvest and making apple crisp or pesto, ratatouille and tomato sauce. I love the beauty found in my garden and in nature and enjoy hiking and kayaking.

Lifelong Learning

Learning, reading, researching, traveling, experiencing new things and ideas are important to me, as is giving back to the community. I volunteer as a coach for LeaderSpring, a wonderful organization that provides leadership training and support to Executive Directors of non-profit organizations. I have also volunteered for the Mindful Schools Project which teaches elementary age children mindfulness practices. I currently volunteer at Hospice of Acadiana and assist the International Coach Federation Gulf Coast Chapter with projects following my previous board service. I am a volunteer for VITA, a literacy program in Lafayete, LA.

Some of my current areas of interest include study of the mind and brain and how to keep it sharp; what does it mean to be a leader; how non-profit organizations can most effectively focus on their missions and programs; what does it mean to be fully present in life, and live a creative life.