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Passion + Perspective = Purpose


I had the honor of speaking at the National Summit on Family Philanthropy yesterday. The plenary was entitled, “Journey Through Trauma,” and for the first time, I was given the opportunity to speak about the relationship between personal trauma and philanthropy.  At first glance, they may seem quite unrelated, but for me, trauma and philanthropy have very often been inextricably linked. My heart, my memory opened up, and began pulling forth those examples of where the two have intersected in my life, from the moment I was asked to speak on the matter.  The first and most profound memory that my [...]

Passion + Perspective = Purpose2019-04-25T15:36:57+00:00



After visiting my surgeon yesterday, I found out that I will have to have another procedure on my knee. A myriad of different emotions washed over me as I was briefed on the impending operation, especially because I am still newly post-operative from the total knee replacement. Self flagellating thoughts of failure, disappointment, weakness thrashed my mind, my heart as I sat in the doctor’s office. Based on my lengthy list of surgeries past, I started quantifying what I would ‘lose’ in terms of recovery time, pain level, stir craziness, athletic confidence—and it struck me that all I could measure in [...]




I have been laid up now for what has felt like an eternity. From my vantage point, I have watched those around me perform—at times—the most grueling, sleep-depriving, complicated care-taking choreography. Among moments of levity, helping me get through this particular knee surgery has been messy, painful, erratic, surprising, off-schedule, and especially inconvenient. Caring for another life on this planet—loving them, looking after them, being there for them—it can be incredibly, and exhaustively, inconvenient.  Whether you are the proud parent of human off-spring, little four-legged animal  varieties, or have those in your family or friendship steed for whom you feel responsible [...]




Happy KNEE Year, All! My first order of business after waking up in 2019 was to have a full-blown total knee replacement. In theory, I had been wanting to go through with this surgery for quite some time. After playing volleyball for both the Air Force Academy and the University of Notre Dame, having eleven subsequent major knee surgeries, and two shoulder surgeries, after years of feeling the brutal, PTSD-fueled, physical manifestations of a victim mindset, after navigating love, loss, violation, betrayal, physical, emotional and sexual  assaults, after finding my soul’s bruised and battered rudder, embracing it with loving care—still straight [...]




Resolution.  The crystal ball fell closer to Times Square in seemingly slow motion; bright as the surface of an LED sun, dripping with the rain that had been gully-washing unrelentingly all night. I watched from an indoor refuge as the time tick, tick, ticked down, inching closer to the beginning of our new year, 2019. Long after the requisite festivities had come to their confetti’d culmination, I closed my eyes. I let my heavy eyelids fall like the ball only to feel my mind, my body, my spirit alive with a euphoric buzzing. I could feel myself on the cusp of [...]




I returned to my midwestern hometown last week for a family foundation board meeting. I have been living in New York City for over a decade, and the change in pace gave me whiplash the moment I stepped off the plane. From retrieving my luggage, to getting coffee, the friendly, deliberate, congenial purveyors made my errands feel like they were in slow motion compared to the frenetic pace of the big city. As I finished my errands, I drove straight to my meeting realizing that I was running 10 minutes behind my desired schedule. I could feel the jolt of cortisol [...]




A dear friend of mine, and brilliant comedian, passed away last week. As those of us closest to him gathered, shellshocked, over to his favorite haunt, an inspired few began to speak. One by one, friends mentioned his keen eye for what was truly funny, his stand-offish, hard candy shell of an exterior, his deep and sometimes rigid sense of duty and honor unique to his own ethical code. They mentioned his well-worn, deeply trodden routines and patterns of behavior, of thought. One by one they stood and spoke about their wishes for him; that he would have seen his own [...]




A friend of mine was putting on an acting workshop a while ago, and he had asked me to collect everyone’s payment leading up to the seminar, while he was out of town. His litany of instructions for collecting cash, checks; expecting delays, pushback; and other folly regarding inevitable money orders, saving the actor’s spots and other rigamarole was extensive. His email was nearly two pages long of how to navigate the entire situation, and all I could think of at the time was that his approach to the favor he had asked of me was overly analogue in what could [...]




I took my perch high on the twentieth floor of our Florida vacation spot, anticipating the warm sunshine on my face while meditating. Before I settled in, however, my eyes landed on a flurry of fluorescent clad construction workers climbing the half-built plot nextdoor. They were putting together a nineteen story high rise resort and spa next to ours, and the progress that they had made during our thanksgiving break had been astounding. Each morning they would arrive on site, come together as an enormous group, talk, put their harnesses on, grab their tools, then ascend the skeleton structure to their [...]




I stepped into an elevator early this morning, on my way down to the gym. There was a mom with her little girl already inside, and as I reached out to punch the floor button, I felt the little one staring at my bare arm. She pointed to my scar and with all of her angelic, open-hearted, innocent compassion asked, “oh my gosh, what happened?” My mind, my heart flashed back to the razor sharp blade that cut through my dulled sense of being. Ironically, my skin seemed to be the path of least resistance to awaken my numbed, dissassociative self [...]