Oak Communications • Biography
• 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, 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
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.
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.
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.
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.