Thank you...Founder, Monica Davis
Extraordinary Profiles 66
Cover Story— Ashlee Kleinert–Changing Economic Outlook for Out-of-Work Senior Executives
Pete DeLorenzo—An Amazing Entertainer and Humanitarian
The Griffith Observatory–To Infinity and Beyond
Joyce Robinson Agu—An Amazing Race
You Can…If You Believe You
The Lighter Side 93
An App a Day Keeps the Productivity Away
Writers and Contributors
Cover photo by Chris Ghanbari
When your goal seems distant, use the compass of faith to guide you and keep you on course.
Ashlee and Christopher Kleinert Changing the Economic Outlook for Out Out--of of--Work Senior Executives While Building Sustainable Charities
EIA is based in Dallas, Texas, but the Kleinerts believe that the program can be duplicated in communities across the country and it's their vision that it will become a reality. The founder of Exceptional People Magazine was delighted to speak with Ashlee Kleinert about their innovative ideas. Monica: Tell me about yourself and your husband and how you came up with the idea about Executives in Action.
Contact Crisis Line
From CEOs and executives, to secretaries, auto mechanics and other professions, it is pretty safe to say that most of us know of someone who has lost their job or who have experienced a cut in pay due to the state of the economy. On the bright side, one couple is determined to change the outlook for unemployed executives. Through their non-profit organization, Executives In Action (EIA), Ashlee and Chris Kleinert’s vision is twofold. They are helping unemployed senior executives to rebuild self-esteem and providing them with hope for the future by utilizing their talents and skills while they are seeking employment. Secondly, they’re helping non-profit organizations become self-sufficient in their mission to sustain their communities.
Ashlee: To give you some background, my husband works in an investment business. So he does some venture capitalist work and investments in small companies and struggling businesses. He often receives resumes from people he knows, or referrals because of the nature of his work. He knows that people believe we may have a source or know of a company that’s looking to hire someone. In November of 2008, an inordinate amount of resumes came across his desk and a lot of them were from people who were hard-working individuals who had lost their jobs through no fault of their own. I serve on a couple of boards in town, and had just come from meeting with a non-profit organization in Dallas. At that time the economy was really starting to tank. The nonprofit agencies in Dallas and elsewhere were really struggling because the demand for services was increasing, while donations were decreasing. One in particular that I was concerned about was a crisis line, a phone line that people call anonymously and especially in times like this. The volume had increased by 30 to 40 percent. They were going to cut a staff member because they didn’t have the funds, the donations were down, and it
With the implementation of two powerful ideas, EIA is making a tremendous difference, by pairing out-of-work senior executives with non-profit organizations. EIA is impacting the unemployment crises, not only on an economic level but also at a grass roots level. The executives are interviewed by non-profit organizations to work on projects. Once they are hired, they work a maximum of two days per week. A project can usually be completed within 90 days. Several executives who have been brought on board have been hired full-time by the non-profits or they have joined the EIA Board of Directors.
Teaching Trust May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 67
was just tragic. So we were talking about the two situations, and wondered if we could find a way to fund the surplus -- the excess of these great individuals with a lot of talent, and place them with non-profit agencies that had an immediate need but didn’t have the funds to hire anyone. We contacted an entrepreneurial foundation and inquired whether they thought this idea was crazy or if it would work. They thought it would work, and they put us in contact with someone. We did a pilot at this particular crisis agency. It was the first non-profit agency that we worked with. We put an executive there and he did a marketing plan for them, three fund raisers and three mocks. It just blew them away. The board was so impressed, that they hired him. We thought this might work and that’s how it got started. Monica: To date, how many consulting projects have Executives in Action launched and executed? Ashlee: We’re over 200 projects now. Monica: Can you briefly talk about one other example in which and EIA had an impact on an organization? Ashlee: The executives we have attracted to the program have been those that are strong in developing marketing plans, strategic plans and financial audits. But there’s another one in particular that’s a little different, and it was an executive we placed at Genesis Women’s Shelter. Genesis Women’s Shelter is one of two really strong shelters in the Dallas area for domestic abuse, and it houses women and children who have nothing but the clothes that they're wearing and they have to start over. The staff is overworked and understaffed and we had an executive who was interested in helping them. He was a wonderful gentleman who was going to do a marketing plan for them.
He had many different skills, including marketing and editing, and he knew people in the business. Within three months he helped them write the book and he found an illustrator and a publisher. It’s based on a true story of a little boy who lived at the shelter. His name was Noah, and the book is called Noah’s Magic Shoes. He didn’t have any shoes when he arrived at the shelter. He had never owned new shoes. When he arrived with his mom, they gave him a pair of red high top sneakers that had been donated and they were new. He was on the slide on the playground, and the traction of the shoes made him stick to the slide. He called them his magic shoes because they would help him stick. That’s how the name of the book came about. It is expected to bring in $30,000 of revenue that they would not have had otherwise. I’m not quite sure, but it may have brought in $30,000 already. Capital One Bank bought books and put them in the hospital beds at Children’s Medical Center. Every child who checked in over the holidays had a Noah’s Magic Shoes book on their bed. It’s like the community rallied around this book, and that all happened because of this one executive. It was a dream that this executive director always had, to have this children’s book, but they couldn’t hire anybody to make it happen because they didn’t have the resources or the time or the contacts. Monica: That is such a wonderful story. You’re making a difference on an economic, as well as a humanitarian level. Ashlee: Well, it’s everyone doing it. It’s really neat to see – just watching what other people are doing. Monica: How do you find the executives that are unemployed?
But the executive director said, “We’ve had this dream of having a children’s book." Another way to bring finances in -- there are so many agencies that need finances right now. What could be done differently at Genesis to bring more funds in, to tap a group of people that hadn't been tapped? She’d always had an idea of a children’s book. Our executive, Rob Kitesman, said, “I know how to do that. I can help write a children’s book.” Family Outreach—Dallas 68 | Exceptional People Magazine | May-June 2011
We knew a person who had gone through the program, and whose children were in high school. One was applying to colleges and was concerned about not being able to attend college because the father had lost his job. EIA connected him with a non-profit organization. The father was able to get dressed, go to this project and he received a small stipend. It was like a job and his children thought, “My dad’s employed again.” It gave him purpose. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s enough to demonstrate that their services are valued. Monica: Is this program only limited to the Texas or Dallas area? Genesis Women’s Shelter
Ashlee: That’s a great question. We have a screening process. Sometimes people ask, “Why does it have to be a C level executive? Why can’t it be somebody right out of school or someone that’s not at that level in their former place of employment?” Job title is part of it, but we conduct background searches and discuss skills because the projects that we’re seeking from these non-profits are high-level projects, requiring the expertise of executive level people. There’s nothing wrong with it, but we’re not there putting food in boxes at the food pantry or stuffing envelopes and mailing them; it’s really high-level work that they would not be able to afford or hire out. We do a face-to-face interview with each executive. They are given access to our website so they can review all the projects that are open. If they find any that are of interest and that meet their skill set, then they go on an interview at the non-profit agency. The executive director of the non-profit agency will select whomever they feel would be a good fit for them.
Ashlee: That’s funny that you should ask that. We are in the process of hiring a national expansion director. We were trying to work out the kinks and like any start-up we had kinks to work out. We needed to streamline the system and determine who we are, what we were doing and what we were not doing. We’ve done the strategic plan and we really feel like we’ve got it down now. We are going to be taking it to other cities. It’s not about Chris and me at all. It’s about the fact that anyone can do this. Hopefully, we can present a proven model and share that with others. Monica: There are five pillars that you focus on, business planning, finance and accounting, marketing sales, human resources and technology. Ashlee: Yes. Those are the areas where we’ve found our greatest strengths, and we’ve attracted executives who seem to be able to contribute a lot in those five areas. I think that would be one thing that we could share. Also,
Monica: Once that executive is hired and begins work with the non-profit, they are paid a stipend. Ashlee: Exactly yes. It’s a small stipend, maybe several thousand dollars -- actually a couple hundred dollars a week if they go three days a week. It's not meant to replace a salary by any means, because we don’t want this to become permanent employment. It is meant to help pay some bills, carry over some things, and represent a sense of value for their time and effort. Texas Trees Foundation May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 69
we’re going to focus on some corporate giving. We don’t want to compete with our non-profits, even though we think we can leverage pretty much an average ten-to-one donation. We can make it go very far with the expertise and the level of executive help that they’re receiving. We believe that some corporations could back this, and maybe we could become part of their exit plan. It makes sense as corporate America becomes more involved in the cities and giving back, if our non-profits are stronger in our city, then our city is a better city. Our social services are doing what they were intended to do, uplifting people. We think it makes better sense for the corporations within other cities to become part of the process as well. Monica: What are the requirements for the non-profits to benefit from what you have to offer? Ashlee: That’s a good question too. This is one of the things we learned throughout the process since November 2008. A number of non-profits applied, from those in the backroom of someone’s house to one of the largest one’s in the Gulfport are. So we’ve had projects all over the map, in all different sizes. We can do any size, but we screen non-profits. We’ve started doing on-site visits, so that we really understand what they do, who they’re trying to reach, and where they really need help. Sometimes they’re so underwater and so overworked that they know they need help, but they don’t know what they need. A lot of times it’s a matter of going in and watching, spending a couple of hours and interviewing and saying, “Okay we think we can help you.” We can’t become a permanent staff member, so it really is meant to be a high impact project in which we tell the non-profits if you’ve got something specific like a plan or an audit, we can definitely help because there’s a starting point and an ending point.
real time cost would be, real money to the agency. That helps us, and it helps them know the value. Non-profit agencies sometimes are not aware of the value of the services they've received, because it was not previously within their realm of possibility. Monica: What is the overall impact that EIA is having on the community from an economic stand point by hiring unemployed executives? Ashlee: I hope from the executives' standpoint that they are feeling valued at a time when they’re out of work because through no fault of their own, all of our executives have been terminated on good terms and good will. So we really hope that it’s an encouragement to them and we’ve heard personal stories from some who say this has changed their lives. They previously never had time to volunteer, never knew how to become involved. They were so busy on their career tracks. We have several people who joined the board of their nonprofits. We have two that have been hired by the nonprofit. So we hope that we’re bridging a gap between the executives who were on the fast track in the business world but are now moving to the non-profit side and are recognizing their value in filling that gap while they’re unemployed; while they’re in transition looking for employment. And then from the non-profit side -- I know it’s a cliché, but a rising tide floats all boats. Some of them are recognizing the value of a business model. A number of these organizations started from a great desire to help people and a lot of executive directors and staff members come from the social services backgrounds. They may not have a business background, so for them to see the value of viewing their non-profit agency as a business, we’re hoping that sticks as well.
Monica: I realize that every non-profit is different, but is there a baseline that's used to measure the results once the project has been completed? Ashlee: We’re working on that right now. We’ll go in and figure out what we did there, and then we'll price our service and determine our value. We have an impact profile that we began keeping for every project. We keep track of the hours, what was done and determine what the 70 | Exceptional People Magazine | May-June 2011
Ashlee: Correct. We have not turned any agency down unless they weren’t prepared to have someone come in and do a strategic plan or an audit, or if it was because of the capacity versus the mission of the non-profit. Monica: I understand that some executives have become so excited about being able to participate in such a wonderful program that they have turned down their stipend.
Monica: What advice can you offer non-profits who are struggling to build sustainable organizations? Ashlee: I think -- and this is just from my very humble experience -- planning and taking the time to road map, plan strategically, know who you’re reaching, know what your goal is, know who you’re trying to reach, and then be purposeful about how to facilitate the process. How do you help the people you’re trying to help? What’s the best way to reach donors? And another thing, during this time when the first things that get cut are marketing, advertising and promotion, it's the time when they really need to be visible.
Ashlee: That’s right. One of our first executives was placed at Girls, Inc., here in Dallas. She was enjoying her project so much and felt that it was such important work that she turned down a job offer. Thankfully she was offered another job shortly thereafter. But she now serves on our board and she has wonderful perspective, because she was an executive who was in transition. She is employed again; she sees it from all sides and has great insight. Monica: I truly appreciate all that you’re doing to help the economy by hiring executives, as well as helping nonprofits that are benefiting others. Your mission and your vision are two-fold. Ashlee: It is. That is exactly right, it’s two fold, yes. Thank you.
Monica: What is your vision for Executives in Action, and how can the public help? Ashlee: Our future vision is that we in Dallas will become stronger and larger and hopefully we will be able to expand to other cities. Any city can do this. So, we’re just hoping to simplify it, make it easier for others and have this concept grow. The way that people can become involved is to refer executives. At this time we don’t advertise for executives, it’s all word of mouth. And we have wonderful people. We have a waiting list right now. If someone’s involved with a non-profit or knows of a non-profit, is on the board of a non-profit or serves as a volunteer where assistance is needed, please consider referring Executives in Action to them. Monica: From the non-profit side of things can it be any type of non-profit? The Family Place May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 71
When it comes to determination and commitment to his craft and helping others, Pete DeLorenzo is a champion. You never fail until you stop trying. He lives by those words. Dubbed as a star of the stage and screen, DeLorenzo is an outstanding entertainer. He has achieved great success as a comedian, actor and singer, yet he has made a lasting mark on his community as a humanitarian. His acting credits include feature and independent films such as: Regenerated Man, Negative Influence, Insidious and Sopranos. His involvement as a humanitarian includes working with Jerry Lewis and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), the ASPCA, DELTA Rescue, and other animal activist groups. DeLorenzo spoke about his passion for helping others and his life as an entertainer. EPM: Tell me a little bit about your life while growing up. Pete: I would have to say that I was very blessed to come from a loving family. As a child I said, "When I grow up and have a wife and children, I wouldn't want them to question what love is." I wanted my children to feel their parent's love. I mean, there's no perfect family. And that's also conveyed in my film that every family has flaws and experiences trials. In my family there was God, there was love, there were morals and I'm very blessed in that respect. So I had a very good childhood. I had three older brothers. Two of them have passed away. We were very family oriented. On Sundays we were all at my grandma's for dinner. My father 72 | Exceptional People Magazine | May-June 2011
Pete DeLorenzo An Amazing Entertainer and Humanitarian
came from a family of ten and when he met my mom, it was like they knew in their hearts they were meant for each other. At that time people didn't play the games that are played today, there was always respect. My father taught my brothers and me to treat people in the manner that we wanted to be treated. I thank God that I came from a wonderful family. EPM: You have been involved in the entertainment industry for many years. What piqued your interest in an industry that is so challenging and difficult? Pete: I grew up with music in my life and I love music. My mom was born in Italy and she loved country music.
I grew up around country music and R&B. My uncle was a professional musician. He was a wonderful guitar player and he was big on country music. At the tender age of five I was sitting on his knee learning a few chords on the guitar and a little bit of piano and singing. By the time I graduated from high school, I had my own band. But the flare for comedy was always there. At the tender age of seven when I was at an Italian feast with my dad -when you're a child, you don't know the value of money or fame. It doesn't affect you. My father encouraged me because I used to watch Elvis and grew up on Elvis' music. So he says, "Oh, youâ€™ve got to see him do Elvis." And at that point he encouraged me and I started doing Elvis impersonations on the street corner. A crowd gathered around. They were smiling and they were throwing money. There was a pile of money on the ground but that didn't faze me. I was watching the crowd and seeing the smiles on their faces. I said, "This is what I want to do -- to make people happy". EPM: Have you had any mentors?
Pete: I could honestly say I looked up to my parents. They were my mentors. They set an example that made me who I am today. In the business sense, Mr. Joe Franklin was a mentor and I would say Mr. Harry Hirsch has always mentored me in music. First, on top of the list is our Lord. There were a lot of people who touched my life. I had an uncle who taught me a lot about good values. EPM: The entertainment industry, as you know, is full of disappointments. How have you handled rejection? Pete: I guess I would have to say pretty well. Nobody likes to be rejected, whether it's an agent saying, "Well, we don't think you're right for this gig," or whether it's when you go for a part, you're pounding the pavement and you're not getting work. In the early years, there was much of that; you're the newcomer, the new kid on the block. But I think that when you go into this industry, you have to be ready for that because it's a matter of stepping up to the plate and proving yourself. So any artist would have to bear in mind that it's a due process, as is in anything in life. You could be very, very talented and very creative at what you do but sometimes, people don't get discovered because they aren't seen by the right people. EPM: What are some highlights of your career? I would say there were so many wonderful points in my life. One was definitely -- which I did not expect -when you do charity work, you don't do it for recognition, you do it from your heart. I was honored to be selected as the national spokesperson for Healing the Children for two years. We worked with children in
May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 73
the United States and from all over the world. We had children from the Dominican Republic, from Africa, from the Gulf of MĂŠxico and these are countries where people were destitute, with children eating from dirt floors and out of garbage cans, no running water. These children didn't know about groceries or toy stores. I am honored to say that as their spokesperson, I raised a lot of funds and touched 101 lives for two consecutive years. We did an expedition to MĂŠxico that gave a new lease on life to 55 children who needed cosmetic surgery. I was recognized with a humanitarian award presented by former President Reagan and that was a surprise. It was truly an honor.
EPM: Are you mainly focused on helping to raise funds for various causes? Pete: Yes, it's always been a big part of me. I always say, "My success will be that of others." I mean, I'm not a celebrity that's loaded. I don't feel that money is success. If you work hard and you climb the ladder and you've accomplished much -- and there's been a lot of wonderful people I've met throughout my life and career and things that I've accomplished. I count that as success. But I take much of my time to give to worthy causes, absolutely. I do that pro bono because it's just my way of giving back.
When I was 20, going on 21, I was diagnosed with a hyperactive lower intestine. And when you're 20, you're thinking like, "Whoa, I got the whole world by the reigns," not that I was young or cocky but you believe that nothing is ever going to happen to you. You're the picture of health, you're never going to get sick. I think every younger kid thinks like that. And I wound up on my back in the hospital. I had major surgery and nine feet of my lower intestine was removed. And by the grace of God, I stand here. So that had an impact on me and I made a vow to the good Lord up above that He spared my life and it wasn't for going out and doing what I wanted to do, being self absorbent or selfish. So it was my way of giving back. Being in the arts, you're in the public eye and you're aware of many things going on in the world. I just try to make the world a better place to live, whether it's with a major organization or charity or even oneon-one. I've helped families and children and even animals one-on-one. EPM: If more people did that, can you imagine what this country and the world would be like? Pete: You took the words right out of my mouth. It doesn't cost much to render a kind thought or a kind deed and for the right reasons, not to pat oneself on the back or for the recognition. Not that I judge others but some people do it for that reason. Some of them do it for the right reason. But there's no greater gift to me, all the money in the world, all the fame in the world, whatever people can imagine, the mansions, the cars, the bling in Hollywood -- that's why they call it tinsel town, I guess. I had an offer to move to Hollywood and I turned it down because I said I don't have to live out there.
74 | Exceptional People Magazine | May-June 2011
EPM: What does success mean to you? Pete: I believe success is anything that you truly love, that you have a passion for and that you ardently desire and put your all into. There are different levels of success but success, to me, means even if you don't totally achieve your ultimate goal, if you've gotten three-quarters of the way or half of the way, you're still a success. As long as you don't quit and give up on yourself and others, then you're a success. And also, success is to have peace, peace of mind, peace in your heart that you're going through this world only once and you will make the best of it. Touch other people's lives. Share with others, whatever it may be, whether it's a thought, knowledge or financial. If you're not sharing it with others, it's all in vain.
Pete: To become a great entertainer one must believe in oneself and be true to oneself and others will believe in you. You must learn to put your ego aside, be assertive but not abrasive. You must also be prepared to sacrifice to achieve your goals. You must have the stamina necessary to survive in this industry and be prepared to accept rejection. Great artists in our business have paid their dues and none of us are exempt from doing so. The most important ingredient is to acknowledge God in everything that you do.
EPM: How would you like to be remembered? Pete: For the man, rather than the artist. I would like to be remembered for the man that I am, the person. I want to let people know that when all is said and done, as I walk through this world, I tried to make it a better place and to share the love, spread the love.
EPM: What can people learn from you regarding your commitment to following through on what you've started? Pete: I would say whether they're in the arts or not, but especially in the arts, you must have stamina. If you approach things with complacency, no drive and no perseverance, or give it a shot and then quit -- you can't be a quitter in anything in life, especially in this industry. Believe in yourself. There's a fine line between self confidence and ego. You have to dispense of ego and you have to believe in yourself, look in the mirror, like what you see and thank God for what he's given you. Put that to use and be persistent, be honest, be humble, do things on the up-and-up. Don't step on anyone's toes. Don't stab anyone in the back to get ahead. EPM: What do you believe are the qualifications necessary to become a great entertainer? May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 75
And so begins an impassioned poem, entitled “You Should Have Sent a Poet,” composed by science fiction writer Catherine Grant, whose thought-provoking rhetoric in this instance explores the sempiternal
Grant, a reputed socio-cultural anthropologist who lives in Ballinclare, Ireland, is bewitched by astronomy and other principal disciplines on which ground-based observatories are constructed.
It is the allmighty telescope, that complex instrument of intricate, manmade design, that positions mortals frontrow center for the most spectacular show Catherine Grant, a socio-cultural anthropologist from Ireland and author of that which of “You Should Have Sent a Poet.”
mysteries of the universe from a poet's point of view.
You Should Have Sent a Poet
has already existed, currently exists and will exist. It is an ever-evolving performance which attracts families daily to some of the more historic institutions on the planet, like Griffith Observatory – where more people have seen the live, magnified face of the sun on the observatory's pioneering solar telescope than any other place in the world. Griffith Observatory, a popular tourist attraction, rests majestically like a sovereign hacienda on the southfacing slope of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, where it commands a view of the 35 mile-long Los Angeles Basin; a picturesque cityscape, featuring LA's central business district; the hustle and bustle of historic Hollywood; and the serenity of the Pacific Ocean, the largest of Earth's oceanic divisions.
By Catherine Grant You should have sent a Poet, the colours could not be; Their varied hues, this shade of blue, I wish that you could see Infinity that moves along the harmony in space; Timelessness and weightlessness give God a different face...
GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY: By Sharon Raiford Bush
To Infinity and Beyond
It is at this
“eyeball to the universe” where more human beings than any other location on this third planet from the Sun have had the opportunity to witness the 1986 apparition of Halley's comet; the 1994 scars inflicted on Jupiter by comet Shoemaker-Levy 9; the spectacular comet HaleBopp in 1995; and Hyakutake, the 1996 stealth comet.
“On one hand, it is what you can see above with the help of telescopes, and on the other what you can't,” said Grant. “This gives people hope that there is far more to heaven and earth than what we sometimes care to consider.
“I feel that all too often modern life takes away that hope for whatever the reason. Places like Griffith Observatory help to keep that hope alive.” Since it opened 75 years ago this year, more than 73 million eager stargazers have been mesmerized and fulfilled with intelligence and hope for the future by the observatory's multitude of offerings. Some of its most recent enhancements were made possible by a poet, actually, by the name of Leonard Nimoy.
“By observing the sky and pondering our place in the universe, people gain a new perspective on their daily lives," said Leonard Nimoy, an actor, poet and one of the greatest humanitarians in modern-day times.
Nimoy is a visionary who has carried with him throughout his lifetime on Earth a brilliant mind, a heart of gold and unswerving dedication to the arts, public astronomy and education.
May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 77
Nimoy is an actor, director and philanthropist whose public notoriety rests on his playing the unforgettable role of Spock in “Star Trek,” a television series and motion picture enterprise that made the catchphrase, “Space, the final frontier,” one of the more repeatedly-used slogans in the history of cinema. Since its ribbon-cutting in 2006, hundreds of thousands of people have entered the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon, a 200-seat multi-media theater that has broadened Griffith Observatory's programming and educational capabilities. This second of two theaters was made possible due to a substantial seven-figure contribution by Nimoy and his wife, actress/philanthropist Susan Bay-Nimoy to the ob-
Since Griffith Observatory had a guest-starring role in "Rebel Without A Cause," a monument to honor James Dean sits near the entrance of the famous observatory.
servatory's $93 million renovation and expansion campaign. Nimoy appears in and narrates “The Once and Future Griffith Observatory,” a short film about Griffith Observatory and its renovation and expansion project. Visitors who flock to Griffith Observatory from a multitude of countries around the globe never know which star under the stars they may encounter. Because the observatory was featured in a number of scenes in the James Dean film, “Rebel Without a Cause,” a bust of the actor greets each guest. The observatory has enjoyed co-starring roles in nearly two dozen major motion pictures, including “The Terminator,” “Dragnet,” and “Transformers.” 78 | Exceptional People Magazine | May-June 2011
Griffith Observatory has also made guest appearances in numerous television episodics, including “24,” “Mission: Impossible,” and “Star Trek: Voyager.” The observatory hosts an array of special events and programs which places guests up-close and personal with their favorite book author, astrophysicist and celebrity, both onscreen and off. Its pleasant hospitality always forthcoming, the observatory is distinguished for allowing its general public to meet and greet storied 20th and 21st century scribes of speculative fiction, like the unrivaled science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, author of “The Martian Chronicles” and “Fahrenheit 451.”
Ray Bradbury, science fiction writer and genius, feeds the minds of those visiting Griffith Observatory's Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon. More than 20 filmed dramatizations have evolved from Bradbury's works, including “The Twilight Zone.”
Bradbury represents many science fiction writers, filmmakers, philosophers and poets who serve as connecting rods between the arts and the cosmos. “Both space exploration and the arts have the capacity to free the imagination,” explained Catherine Grant. “Perhaps the quest to understand the self lies at its core for everyone.” Within the central part of one's being does, in fact, exists the power of owning a fertile and active mind. It is between early childhood and age 10 when children, in particular, are able to not only imagine new and interesting situations to enhance their lives, but learn from what the mind had just conceived or been fed.
This is why adults are not the only ones being taken by Griffith Observatory to places where few humans have dared to venture.
seven million the number of people who have placed a wide, curious eye to the 12-inch telescope since 1935. It is a figure that grows by the hundreds on a daily basis.
“We host about thirty-thousand school children a year in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon as part of the fifthgrade morning school program,” said Dr. E.C. Krupp, who held positions as a lecturer and curator before assuming the position of Griffith Observatory director in 1972.
Designed for nighttime viewing, the telescope targets the Moon, planets and some of the brightest wonders of our galaxy. It is a popular public destination when special celestial events occur. It is here where families bond, cultures unite, wedding anniversaries are celebrated and Cupid does not mind drawing back his bow.
Griffith Observatory has done a phenomenal job maintaining pace with changing times. It is now a 21st century masterpiece. Burrowed within its traditional art deco design is a comprehensive, integrated educational program that utilizes many of the observatory's new resources; it is
“We just want people to be moved by their encounter with earth and sky and the place where they meet and to take another step of personal transformation,” added Krupp. “Astronomy at Griffith Observatory relies on our intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic response to inspire wonder
“In the future, as now, Griffith Observatory will continue to do what it was designed to do 75 years ago - put our eyeball to the universe for a direct experience of nature, the sky, and the cosmos,” said Griffith Observatory director Dr. E.C. Krupp.
The Zeiss telescope attracts as many as 600 people on a good night.
and a passion for discovery, to activate the imagination and liberate the heart.”
based on fifth-grade California state science standards. “These students now experience a structured encounter with exhibits, instruments, an interactive demonstration, and a live planetarium show,” said Krupp. Krupp's appreciation of the observatory's vibrant history and its need to perpetuate the knowledge that is generated by large telescopes and the space program is infectious. “Griffith Observatory transforms visitors into observers of the sky, nature, and the universe, and alters perspective through personal experience,” said Krupp. “More people have looked through the Zeiss refracting telescope on the observatory's roof than any other telescope on earth.”
Adds science fiction writer Daisy Martin: “One of the most romantic things my husband did for me was show me the moon, stars and other heavenly bodies like I've never seen them before. We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary staring at Venus, the planet of love. I then looked around and saw happy families, young folks out on a first date and seniors holding hands and cuddling. Griffith does that. It snatches from the cosmos the love and beauty it sees and puts it into your private universe.” So it is not, really, just the free parking and other complimentary amenities that help the observatory carry the distinction of being the most-visited public observatory in the world. The reason is far distant, beyond infinity.
The Zeiss telescope, mounted in a copper-clad dome, serves up to 600 visitors per night – bringing the total to May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 79
Some of the answers seem within reach inside the pristine Samuel Oschin Planetarium where visitors are charged a small admission price for an in-your-face, recliner-chair performance that puts some Hollywood movie releases to shame. The planetarium comes with grace, charm, celebrity and history. During World War II, it was used to train pilots in celestial navigation. It was also the place in the 1960's were Apollo program astronauts were trained for the first lunar missions. When 'night' creeps in, visitors are taken on a journey of a lifetime.
“Maya calendar fancies, flying saucers, ancient astronauts, Bermuda Triangles, Jupiter effects, and all the rest of the romantic notions that command all-night apocalyptic radio are really just reflections of our desire to retain room for the miraculous in our perception of the world,” said Krupp. “But what is really miraculous is our ability to understand, with accuracy, the universe and our place in it. That is certainly...why Griffith Observatory takes on the challenges of flawed reason and assertions without evidence.” Griffith Observatory summons those with vivid imaginations to help stimulate the flow of accurate information. That is why it has teamed with The Boeing Company, the aerospace experts, to produce an annual competition for writers.
“The planetarium is intended to induce the cathedral effect that drops the jaw, lifts the eye, and persuades the
U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history. Photo Courtesy: NASA
"Griffith Observatory...is a Los Angeles icon, one which we need to ensure will be here for generations to come," said Leonard Nimoy.
mind you are looking into infinite space,” explained Krupp. “The advanced all-dome digital animation dynamically immerses audiences into realms beyond everyday experience.”
“The contest is intended to encourage scientists and science writers to communicate material of current or historical interest in astronomy, astrophysics and space science to the public effectively and engagingly,” said Krupp. “In doing so, they also enrich the character of Griffith Observatory's noncommercial monthly astronomy magazine, the Griffith Observer.” Cash prizes range between $50.00 and $1,000.00.
Every program is presented live by a professional voice talent or actor who forges a human connection, through vivid storytelling, with the universe and beyond. In actuality, the entire observatory, said Krupp, is activated by the principle of "the building as instrument." It is filled with both archaic and cutting-edge devices that let everyone observe, ponder, and better understand the sky. Another powerful mechanism Griffith Observatory shares with its visitors is critical thinking, particularly in the wake of 2012 and its viral doomsday prophecies. Krupp is quick to put those fears to rest in an idyllic sort of way. 80 | Exceptional People Magazine | May-June 2011
And, who knows? Your thoughts, ideas, research and life's work just might be seen and discussed by some of the more accomplished leaders on the planet. Or you may want to just be grateful that you are given a chance to interact artistically with one of the greatest shows on Earth that sits literally at the top of its game.
You Should Have Sent a Poet By Catherine Grant You should have sent a poet, the colours could not be; I wish that you could see infinity that moves along the harmony in space; timelessness and weightlessness give God a different face. You should have sent a poet; they’d capture in a line the concept of forever, devoid of signs in time; a sound that knows no volume, a smell without a scent, an atom’s relativity, a galaxy now spent. You should have sent a poet, a mirror for existence; proof that there was life out there, a sort of life resistance; control to the experiment, not one, not two, but three; for no one will believe the truth because there’s only me. You should have sent the poet, for the litany of maths is really for the expert; to the layman, it sounds daft; numbers at an angle, planets, Heaven knows, Pythagoras and his followers, a sound wave’s highs and lows.
You should have sent the poet, as they will understand a galaxy rotating round a theory based on sand. Can you quite grasp these thoughts in words, the ones that make it real? Without it, space does not exist. You will not see or feel. You know you sent the poet, but they misunderstood the concepts held within the words were really spirits' food. They could not see the stars that shone, for they mistook the light; for something in an eerie past that crept out of the night. So next time send the sceptic; their soul alone is free. You should not send the poet; I know for that was me.
Joyce Robinson Agu
An Amazing Race
How many of us can say that we won a contest and became a better person, physically, emotionally and spiritually because of it? For Joyce Robinson Agu and her husband Uchenna Agu, it was more than just a contest. Up to that point it was the most challenging goal they had ever set for themselves. They were winners of CBS’s Amazing Race, Season 7. A daring spirit, risk-taking attitude, and the thrill of excitement inspired them to enter the contest. Patience, teamwork, faith, humility, understanding and tolerance are what they learned during the contest. An unstoppable attitude is what they gained after winning.
Do you have a winning attitude? What risks are you willing to take? Agu enthusiastically talked about her life as an actress, and shared her experience about getting on the show, being a contender in the contest and receiving the ultimate prize as the winner. Monica: You've had much success as an actress. Talk about some of the roles that you have taken and why you decided to play those roles. Did they lead to more successful roles? Joyce: Well, I've always considered myself to be a very creative person, and so acting was something I always wanted to do, even though mom wanted me to go to school and get an education. But I did find some success in soap operas, which is strange. I was actually on The Bold and the Beautiful, and at one point – this is how old I am – I was on a black soap opera called Generations. I had a recurring role on that show. So I kind of got my acting career going a little bit later in life, but in my first role I played a teenager. I played a 16-year-old girl, and it was great. It's led me to other roles. I've done movies, I've done Coming to America, Demolition Man, and I was also on Star Trek: The Next Generation. That was a role in which I made recurring appearances.
Strangely enough, of course, when the show The Amazing Race started, it brought me back to Hollywood. It's strange how that happened. Monica: What piqued your interest in The Amazing Race? Joyce: Well, when I first watched the show, they were looking for people to be on the show. They were searching for people who wanted an adventure of a lifetime and who would be able to travel around the world. And when I saw it, I thought oh my god, this would be amazing – a really great way to travel around the world with someone else picking up the tab. I thought this would be a trip of a lifetime. I didn't know that it would be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I thought it was going to be the most amazing thing and it attracted me. Little did I know how difficult it would be to get on the show, but it was the beauty of the places that they were going and the idea that I could fulfill an item on my bucket list to be able to travel around the world.
From being stripped of their finances and belongings to begging for money to pay cab fare, this team had a cohesive attitude and the determination to win.
It was a wonderful career. I was never truly famous for acting, and I decided to give it up when I got married and moved to Texas. I thought I would pursue another field and go in a different direction. I thought it was a great career at the time and it was fun while it lasted, but it was time to move on.
Monica: What difficulties did you experience in trying to get on the show? Joyce: Well, it's funny because like so many things in life you have to show up, and I remember thinking I wanted to be on the show but I had no idea how I was going to do that. We ended up applying on three different occasions to three different shows. The first time we sent the video and application in and we never heard from them. May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 83
The second time we sent it in we actually heard from them, and we got through the interview process. Once they interview you, they send you to Los Angeles to meet with network personnel, and you go through a two-week interview process. At the end of the two weeks they decide whether you're in or not. They sent us home at the end of the second week. We were out of luck and out of our vacation time from our jobs. So we applied one more time â€“ well, actually, they called us back and asked, "Are you still interested?" At that point my husband was thinking, "I'm done with this, because these people keep calling us back and we keep going through this process and they don't pick us." We went back a third time, and we had to appear before network executives so that they could assess our personality. They want to see who you are, if you're going to fit in with the show, or bring anything to the show. The third time was the charm, so yes, it was a lengthy process. It probably took us about a year-and-a-half to actually get on the show. Monica: What are the most unique challenges you encountered after you were selected for the show? Joyce: There were many, but the first challenge I think was the reality of the show. The show on TV -- it looks so fun because you go to all these different locations around the world. You take on really cool challenges and there are also mental and physical challenges. But what you don't see is the time that it takes. Sometimes it could take 12 hours on a flight to get to the location, and after you get to the location, you still have to go through the challenge. Some of the challenges can take up to eight hours. What you see 84 | Exceptional People Magazine | May-June 2011
on TV may be a couple of minutes or a few seconds of the time that it actually takes. The most difficult part is going to foreign countries and dealing with the cultural differences and the things that we, as Americans, take for granted, like language barriers. I never considered that to be a problem until I had to ask for directions from someone who didn't speak English. We shouldn't expect it but I believe, as Americans, we think that everyone should speak English. Another challenge involved exchanging currencies. I remember being in some remote locations where some of the people had never seen American currency. If you haven't taken the time to exchange your currency while in their country, you're going to have difficulty making purchases and paying for services. They will not accept American currency. Having to drive on the opposite side of the street was an additional challenge. Also, in some countries people don't want to speak with you if you have a camera in their faces because when they see cameras, they may associate that with government
intervention or some other type of issue. No, people run away from the cameras and they don't want to be bothered. Another thing that people don't know is that whenever you ask for directions or stop to try to talk to someone, your camera crew has to get that person's approval to have that shown on TV -- a release form. And everything has to be shown on TV because it shows your quest and it shows the route you've taken to get where you are. Oftentimes there's a language barrier with regard to the release form. They are hesitant to sign anything, because some people think they're signing their lives away.
The challenge noted that in India, for good luck and good fortune, people will shave their heads once in their lifetime. In order to complete this task you must shave your head. That was my biggest fear ever. My husband was already bald, but all eyes were on me. Everyone was wondering what I was going to do because I not only had long hair, I had extensions and I had big hair. So the idea that I would shave my head for a TV show just horrified me, but I said, "Just do it. I'm not going to think about it anymore." But as soon as they began cutting my hair, and they started cutting it right from the front, my feelings were hurt. I kept thinking wow, they could have started from the back then, maybe, I could have changed my mind if I decided to do that. But they started right in the front and they started with scissors, and before I knew it, everything had been chopped off and then a razor was used. I was shiny and bald, just like my husband. Then I thought, oh my god, it's just hair, it will grow back. I thought about a saying: for good fortune and
It had a strange effect on me after my head was shaved because afterwards, my husband said, "Wow, you suddenly became like a soldier." He said, "I've never seen you this way." I had never felt that strong before. I felt like I could do anything. Monica: With the lesson that you learned from that one experience in shaving your head, what inspirational message can you offer other women? Joyce: I'd say that you can increase physical results through your mental fitness. I think that mentally you're stronger than the exterior that you present to the world. I felt that I was no longer going to hide behind being a weak female. I felt that everything I am, I have to present to the world. There's no reason for you to live for other people's expectations. I felt like, why not be the powerful woman that I am. Who cares if it offends someone? Some men are intimidated by very strong women. I know I personally used that to my advantage. I don't want to intimidate anyone. I want them to help me, I want to get promoted, and I want to move ahead. Sometimes, even with other women, you may feel intimidated because you don't want to offend people. But I thought, why do I care about other people's perception of me, because then I'm living through their eyes, I'm not living up to my potential. I say be who you are, with no apologies for being yourself.
There are mental and physical challenges. The objective is to get to the next stop without being eliminated. Usually the last team gets eliminated. Occasionally they do something called a fast-forward, which basically allows you to do something that they've conjured up. It's usually really physically or mentally tough, and if you complete this challenge, then you can usually skip the other challenges and go straight to the pit stop, which most times puts you in first place. Well, at one point, we decided to go for it because we had been coming in very close to last for most of the race at that point. We were in Jodhpur, India. We went to a location in India where we had to find a person who was sitting on the edge of a river in the mountains, and he was sitting in front of a temple.
good luck, people do this once in a lifetime. And I thought, you know what, just relinquish all that you hold on to, all the ideals about who you are, it's just hair and you are more than just your hair.
Monica: Compared to the challenges that you faced, how does that affect your views regarding the adversities experienced by the people in the countries you visited? May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 85
Joyce: What I feel is that as Americans, when we go to other countries, we feel superior because some of the places we visit aren't as advanced as we are in America. And it's so easy to say this sucks, or we have the best answer to everything. But what I realized is that in some countries they don't have the diseases that we have, they don't have some of the issues that we have, because in America we create so many issues that we develop other problems. So I respect them and their cultures for what they are. Monica: How has working together as husband and wife impacted your relationship? Joyce: Well, we are divorced, but when we were on the show -- before we went on the show we really thought that -- we weren't sure if we were going to stay together, because we had gone through the demise of the companies that we worked for. Our careers were crumbling and we were trying to figure out how we were going to overcome our difficulties. So it affected our relationship a little, and I think by the time we went on the Race, we couldnâ€™t decide if we were going to stay together, or not. But when we were on the Race it was really strange how amazingly perfect we worked together. We respected each other and we didn't blame each other for the choices that were made. It was almost like when you're at home, it's easy to be nitpicky about all the things that you have in your controlled world. But when we were experiencing new things together, we clung to each other. We looked to each other and thought, should we do this or shouldn't we do that â€“ it was amazing, our teamwork. We had such camaraderie that people thought, oh my god, these guys are such a great couple.
86 | Exceptional People Magazine | May-June 2011
So we felt that we could maintain this perfect partnership because we worked so well together, and it really helped us move ahead in the game. Of course, when you return home, you return to your normal habits and creature comforts. Monica: Near the end of the race, the two of you had to ask for money to pay the taxi driver. What was going through your mind at the time? Did you think someone else might win? Joyce: Well, before we even got there, (for people who didn't see the show during our particular season) if you came in last and it was a non-elimination round -- which they do maybe once or twice on the show -- on our show the penalty we had to pay was to give up our money, our clothes and all of our belongings. So we were traveling with a plastic bag with our passports, our medications and no money. Boy, I can really relate to people who have come from absolutely nothing, because when they took that
away, we thought, okay, you're taking everything away, but you didn't take our brains and you didn't take our hearts.
But we decided to stay there and attempt to beg for the money. One guy actually told us, "Begging ain't the way to do it, brother." And that's where it became interesting for me. I developed a different viewpoint, and now when I see people begging on the streets, I wonder about their story. You never know what their story is. I knew people had no idea what my story was, but I couldn't explain why I needed cash. I remember there was a lady who was watching us from her apartment window above, and she must have been watching for a while. Any cars that pulled up, we'd try to get them to give us a couple of dollars, and we'd get a couple here and there. The lady came down the stairs and she asked why we were raising funds. We couldn't disclose that we were doing a show, but we could tell her we were in a race. We said we're in a race, we can't pay our cab fare, and we need a few more dollars. She gave us -- I don't remember if it was $20 or $40 but whatever it was, that was all we needed to pay the guy, and it was awesome because when this lady showed up, it changed everything. Then we were able to run in and, like I said, we didn't know whether we were first or second or third, but we got there and we were told that after 40,000 miles and 25 countries, you guys are the winners of the race. It was awesome. It was the most amazing feeling ever because it was one of the first times where I felt that I had truly completed something. I stuck to my intentions, even though throughout the race there were many times when I
I didn't like the way people looked at me. I remember some people told our production personnel that we stunk. We were dirty and we had to get on a plane smelling and looking bad. At that point I was bald and wearing a scarf on my head. I'm sure I looked more like a street person. It was very humbling. From the whole experience I realized the things that you don't need in your life to be successful. We had nothing and we still managed through the kindness of others, through good karma, because we always tried to make sure that we didn't hurt people along the way. All you need is your brain, your thoughts, your intentions, your drive and desires, and you would be surprised what you can come up with. So it was a real testament to willpower and the power of your intentions. It was an awesome lesson. Monica: How are you applying some of those lessons that you learned from the race to your life experiences today?
So we still had a belief that we could win, even though it was difficult, because the other teams were given about $250 and we had zero dollars. We had to travel from one point to another. It was about a 250-mile round-trip and they were able to ride, while we had to walk and find other means of travel. We became very humble, thankful and grateful because we had to rely on the kindness of others. We had to talk to people and appeal to their human side. Boy that was the most humiliating thing. At one point, my husband offered his wedding ring. He was told, "I don't want your ring. I need cash. Iâ€™ve got to pay bills. I have a family." So we thought at that point we had a choice. We could have finished the race, or we could stay there and try to earn the money, which was crazy, because we didn't know whether we were first or last.
thought I can't do this anymore. I can't go on. I want to quit, I want to stop because this is too painful and this is too hard. I am too hungry. I didn't like being broke, I didn't like being bald and I didn't like being dirty.
Joyce: Well -- and it's funny, because life is difficult. I know all the things that I've learned and I know all the things that have made me successful and somewhere along the way, like my relationship, things have changed. I haven't stayed with that belief. But now what I am doing is writing a book and we're beginning to do motivational speaking to tell people how you can come from nowhere, you can do it with nothing and yet you can live in the present, in the now. You don't have to wait for another time to be happy. You don't have to wait to have a lot of stuff before you can be happy. I May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 87
am becoming the person that I want to be. So what the Race has taught me is to extend my beliefs, my imagination and knowledge. It has expanded my awareness.
Monica: It has opened up an entirely new world for you. Joyce: It really has. It really has, and you don't know what you don't know. So make it your business, make it a point to get out there and learn what else is in your world. The world is so much larger than the little things that we ask for, the little things that we are hoping to change. Monica: If you had to sum up your experience and what you gained from The Amazing Race, what would it be? Joyce: I would say that my complete and total awareness in my small world has just expanded. I've gained a new appreciation for the world, for my life and I feel that the possibilities are endless. So my life is much more exciting now. I love traveling and I love considering the other possibilities that may be out there when you stretch your limits. I'm still growing. When you get to the end of your rope, when you reach your bottom, then obviously you need to do something different. You have to change your thought process. You have to try something outside of your comfort zone. At that point, you need to grow. Sometimes we become focused on trying to resolve issues by using the same thought process that caused the problem. At that point, it's time to look at things differently. I think that's the time you have to say okay, Iâ€™ve got to step outside of my world. Read something, learn how others are doing things, or just talk to people. Sometimes we get stuck in our own way of 88 | Exceptional People Magazine | May-June 2011
doing things when there's outside information available that can help us. Live fully and beyond your fears. I think that fears keep people stuck. I know that I still have fears, but sometimes you have to expose yourself and not be afraid to be uncomfortable. Comfort is overrated sometimes. You've got to have a goal. You've got to have something that you're looking forward to, something that you're aiming for. So you don't always have to know the answers to how you're going to accomplish something, you just need to have the desire and the intent. Once you do, it's amazing how things will change. So I say have a plan, have an intention and whether or not you know how to achieve something, or whether or not you know how to get where you want to go, things will change.
You Can… If You Believe You By Catherine Galasso-Vigorito
Let us live our highest vision. Do not say, “what if,” act, “As if.” Behave ‘as if’ you are the person you want to be, doing all that you want to do. Believe in it, have faith in it and accept it as true. Act ‘as if’ it were already yours… What do you want out of life? Will your goals benefit others? There is a tendency to become what we visualize. Images plant seeds and those seeds will eventually flower, so see your goals in your mind’s eye and act ‘as if’ they will come to pass. Most people believe only the possible, but extraordinary people visualize not what’s just probable, but rather what is impossible. The world is full of paradoxes, a giant tree hidden in a tiny acorn, the ugly duckling becomes a beautiful swan and the lowly caterpillar turns into a glorious butterfly. All things are truly possible.
90 | Exceptional People Magazine | May-June 2011
I am a big believer in persistence. If you have faith, a vision, you believe in it, and are willing to work hard, you can achieve your goal. There is a special quality in a person who has a steadfast determination, and unwavering courage. They have an exceptional glow about them, and there is warmth in their presence. This kind of individual demonstrates the ‘hold on’ type of pure faith. They believe in what they want to do, and refuse to entertain the thought of giving up. If you fall behind, never quit. Keep the words persistence and patience in the forefront of your mind. A reader said, “All good things come with time.” Every obstacle offers a teaching, look for the lesson and let it make you stronger. Let dead ends reroute the road to success. Take chances based on all you have to gain, rather than all you might lose, the glass is half- full, not half-empty. Booker T. Washington wrote, “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles he has overcome while trying to succeed.” All our aspirations can come true, if it would help others, and we had the courage to pursue them. James Allen once said, “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind, next to honor.” Courage is to be brave in the face of hardship, rejection, and difficulty, and to face adversity with confidence. It takes courage to follow your heart.
We must not let obstacles deter or discourage us. Writer Ernest Hemingway would write for six or seven hours everyday standing up because he had a bad back and was in pain if he sat down too long. Beethoven wrote some of his greatest music when he was completely deaf. We must keep focused and not let anyone rain on our parade, not letting external events rob us of our heart’s desire. Rejection is nothing personal. Let it go in one ear and out the other. If someone says something negative or hurtful, it says something about the other person, not about you. Some like it when you are down. It makes them feel superior. Forget about it, and encircle yourself with those who are kind and inspire. Be patient, and work with the belief that you will be blessed, and have good success. Keeping a constant stream of positive experiences flowing in our lives requires strength of character. Make the choice to always be affirmative, optimistic and encouraging. Do at least three things each day to work toward your goal. If you tried to write a book and each day wrote three short paragraphs, eventually the book would be completed. Consequently, we must keep on striving, with faith, and belief and acting ‘as if’ our vision will be achieved.
May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 91
The Lighter Side
An A pp a Day Keeps the Productivity Away by Angie Brennan Every once in awhile I scroll through my ever-growing collection of iPhone apps and marvel at the sheer volume and variety of information available at the touch of a finger. Then I promptly ask myself what on earth possessed me to get them in the first place. For example, I currently have an app that explains, step-by-step, how to tie a mind-boggling array of knots. Theoretically, I should now be able to: tie a mountain climbing-style hitch knot capable of supporting a load on a vertical rope, lash two poles together to make a really long pole, and create a knot ideal for underwater conditions---say, towing a boat. Granted, I’ve encountered few situations which required me to lead a boat-towing effort, much less haul myself (or someone else) up the face of mountain. Also, if I needed a very long pole I would simply order one off the internet. Still, you never know when these skills might suddenly come in handy. Another app I don’t use often contains a database of recipes. The thing is, I don’t enjoy cooking. At all. So browsing through dozens of ways to prepare and serve creamed potatoes is not high on my priority list. Still, the family has to eat. So the other day I opened the app to see what meal inspiration might be had. I should mention that, in addition to searching by ingredient or meal type, the app also offers a search based on cook-
ing ability. One menu selection says “I Cook Like a Pro.” Another, “I Can Barely Cook.” I selected the latter. The first recipe that popped up was entitled Pimiento Mac and Cheese. The pimiento part made me wary, but, then again, any variation of mac and cheese should be fairly basic. Right? Not this one. The ingredients list included panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), Peppadew peppers (in brine, no less), and gemelli (it’s okay; I'd never heard of it either). Now, I don’t expect every recipe I stumble across to call for ingredients I already have on hand. A trip to the grocery store is inevitable from time to time, especially for the culinary non-enthusiast whose stash consists of little more than flour, sugar, peanut butter, a just-expired carton of milk, and leftover pizza. Still, I wouldn’t expect a recipe for the “I Can Barely Cook” crowd to require panko, much less gemelli (and vice versa). There’s also the handy Level app (with a simple swipe, I can measure angles, roof pitch, or, if circumstances required, the inclination of an aircraft or a ship) and an app that will flash morse code signals. Should come in handy, along with the rope-tying app, for that mountainclimbing trip I’ve yet to plan. On second thought, maybe I’ll stay home and learn how to make table lamps out of discarded oboes. I'm sure there’s an app for that.
A husband and wife came for counseling after 25 years of marriage . When asked what the problem was, the wife spoke of neglect, loneliness, and feeling unloved. As she spoke, the therapist stood up, embraced her, and kissed her passionately. Then he turned to the husband and said, "This is what your wife needs se ven times a week. Can you do this?" The husband thought for a moment and replied, "Well, Doc, I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on the other days I play golf."
May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 93
The Beholder A man woke up from anesthesia after surgery, and saw his wife sitting by his side. His eyes fluttered open and he said, "You're beautiful!" Then he fell asleep again. His wife had never heard him say that so she stayed by his side. A couple minutes later his eyes fluttered open and he said "You're cute!" She said "What happened to 'beautiful'?" He replied, "The drugs are wearing off!"
Life's Little Truths Age is a high price to pay for maturity. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you have never tried before. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity. A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming. Junk is something youâ€™ve kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it. Experience is wonderful. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it. Someone who thinks logically is a nice contrast to the real world. Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused.
94 | Exceptional People Magazine | May-June 2011
Profile Resources Part One Jerricho Cotchery, Pg. 4, Devoted to Family and Community http://www.cotcheryfoundation.org Heath Evans, Pg. 10, A True Champion for Childrend Around the World http://www.heathevans.org/Home.aspx Dr. Keith L. Black, Pg. 16, A Medical Champion and Innovator http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Cancer-Center/Expert-Team/Neuro-Oncology/ Keith-L-Black.aspx Walethia Aquil, Pg. 24, Grace and Charm http://graceandcharmblog.com/ Rich Van Engers, Pg. 30, A Stellar Reputation for Customer Service http://www.sturdiproducts.com/4111/xcart/home.php CJ Scarlet Walters, Pg. 36, Toughness, Tenacity and Compassion http://www.rovingcoach.com/ Cover Photo Credits Jerricho Cotchery— Dean Micheals Studio Heath Evans—Nora Silva Photography, http://www.norahsilvaphotography.com/ Other Photo Credits Jerricho Cotchery—Pg. 4, Dean Michaels Studio Dr. Keith L. Black—Pg. 16, Head Shot, Cedars Saini; Pg. 19, OR Photo, Mark Hamel Walethia Aquil—Pg. 24, Dawn Chricton, Chricton Creations, LLC CJ Scarlet Walters—Pg. 36, Trisha Bristow Rawle Andrews Jr., Esq.—Pg. 58, Jim Burger
Part Two Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Pg. 66, Changing the Economic Outlook for Out-of-Work Senior Executives While Building Sustainable Charities http://www.executivesinaction.org Pete DeLorenzo, Pg. 72, An Amazing Entertainer and Humanitarian http://www.petedelorenzo.com/ Griffith Observatory, Pg. 76, To Infinity and Beyond http://www.griffithobservatory.org/ Cover Photo Credits Ashlee and Chris Kleinert—Chris Ghanbari Additional Credits Graphics: Jeff Hayes, http://www.plasmafiregraphics.com
May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 95
Sharon Raiford Bush West Coast Bureau Chief
King, Charlie Rich, Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Sharon called upon actors Blair Underwood and Ronny Cox; American race car driver Dale Earnhardt, Sr.; and wrestling champion Randy Savage, among others, to help her raise money to feed and clothe thousands of impoverished children throughout the Carolinas. She worked side-by-side with President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter in helping to establish the Carolinas' inaugural Habitat for Humanity project. The first home built in that area contains nails and lumber put in place by Sharon, actress/activist Jane Fonda and a host of other volunteers. Multi-award-winning journalist Sharon Dahlonega Raiford Bush helms our West Coast Bureau, located in Los Angeles, CA. Sharon is best known for being the nation's first African-American female TV weather anchor of prime time news. It was an honor bestowed upon her by President Gerald R. Ford when WGPR-TV began broadcasting in Detroit, MI. The former freedom fighter, who participated in peaceful civil rights demonstrations as a child with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., further helped desegregate news anchor desks for ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates in North Carolina and Tennessee. Sharon is a dedicated public servant. She co-hosted the St. Jude Children's Hospital's annual telethon with Danny Thomas to raise money for cancer research and treatment. To help Memphis, Tennessee's struggling blues community, she executive-produced the National Blues Music Awards, a stellar show that brought together the exceptional and collective talent of B.B. King, Albert 96 | Exceptional People Magazine | May-June 2011
Sharon's contributions to American history have been archived by the Charles H. Wright African American Museum in Detroit, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. She provides Exceptional People Magazine with uplifting stories about artists who are giving back to their communities and making a difference in the world around them. “I delve far beyond the reaches of entertainers' resumes and lists of credits,” said Raiford Bush. “I want to know what makes them tick, what really makes them an exceptional human being.” She is married to veteran actor, Grand L. Bush, the recipient of the 1994 Gil Garcetti Courageous Citizen Award for saving the life of a shooting victim. Most recently, Sharon helped organize the Donald Trump Celebrity Invitational Golf Classic and Awards Banquet to raise money for the Salvation Army's youth-oriented programs. Contact Sharon by sending an email to: EpmagWest@aol.com.
Writers and Contributors
William R. Patterson
Ranked as the #1 Business Motivational Speaker by Ranking.com, William R. Patterson is a three-time award-winning lecturer and international bestselling author who uses his trademark approach, THE BARON SOLUTION™, to coach, train, and motivate business leaders, sales professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors. His breakthrough book, The Baron Son, has been translated around the world and featured in the Forbes Book Club and Black Enterprise. William is an internationally recognized wealth and business coach who has been a featured guest on over 500 television and radio programs. William's website, BaronSeries.com, is winner of four 2009 Web Awards including: Best Speaker; Best Male Author; Best Business Advice Site; and Best WealthBuilding Site. For more information, visit http://www.baronseries.com
Annemarie Cross is a Career Management & Personal Branding Strategist, Speaker, Consultant, Radio Broadcaster, and Author of ’10 Key Steps to Ace that Interview!’ She is also the founder/ principal of Advanced Employment Concepts – Career Management and Corporate Career Development Specialists offering powerful programs for people striving for career success and fulfillment, as well as savvy companies committed to building and retaining their most important asset – their staff. Widely considered a personal change agent and success catalyst, Annemarie has distinguished herself as being people-focused, caring, inspirational and life-changing in her approach. Annemarie can be contacted at www.a-e-c.com.au email: email@example.com.
Catherine Galasso-Vigorito’s nationally syndicated weekly column, “A New You,” has endeared her to readers worldwide for over 15 years.
James Adonis is a people-management thinker and the author of three books including his latest, ‘Corporate Punishment: Smashing the Management Clichés for Leaders in a New World’. Thought-provoking and entertaining, James's keynote presentations and workshops show companies how to solve staff turnover, engage all generations, and win the war for talent. He has presented to audiences across Australia, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, with an impressive list of clients including McDonald's, American Express, CocaCola, Qantas, and Gucci. www.jamesadonis.com.
Known for her ability to uplift and encourage, Catherine has become America’s most beloved inspirational voice. Catherine is the founder and CEO of her own company, A New You Worldwide, developing and designing inspirational products. Her mission is to instill hope in the hearts of people everywhere, inspiring them to live a better life. She makes her home on the East Coast with her husband and three daughters. Visit her website at www.anewyouworldwide.com Searching for inspirational gifts - visit http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/app.nav/ params.class.K990/walk.yah.0101-K990.
May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 97
Writers and Contributors
Dean G. Campbell
Mr. Campbell advises clients throughout the country and is licensed in securities and insurances in many states.
Dorothy Rosby is an entertaining speaker and syndicated humor columnist whose work appears regularly in 30-plus newspapers in eleven Western and Midwestern states. She is also Community Relations Director for an organization which supports people with disabilities. She lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with her husband, son, mother, and hamster. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or see her website at www.dorothyrosby.com.
Dean G. Campbell is President of Campbell Retirement Planning Centers, Inc. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan with degrees in Finance and Economics. While attending college, he also taught business applications. Simultaneously he began attaining licenses to transact business in Securities and Insurances. Upon graduation, he worked for an independent brokerage firm then moved on to IDS Financial Services, now Ameriprise. After becoming a top producer at Ameriprise, Dean worked as a Financial Planner for Empire of America Bank in Buffalo, New York. He later became a Financial Planner for First of America Bank where he also for a period worked as the financial consultant for the bank’s customers at fourteen branches. Thirteen years ago Dean started Campbell Retirement Planning Centers, Inc. To date he has personally helped over 2,500 people with planning there financial futures. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Eastern Michigan Better Business Bureau and was recently appointed for his fourth term. Through the business and personally, Dean donates to several charities, helping those who are less fortunate. Visit his website at http://www.campbellretirement.com. Securities offered through Sigma Financial Corp. Member FINRA/SIPC
98 | Exceptional People Magazine | May-June 2011
Angie Brennan Angie Brennan is a humor writer and illustrator from Maryland. Visit her website at www.angiebrennan.com for cartoons, spoof advice, and more.
Greg Williams Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator, is an internationally sought after speaker/trainer. He provides negotiation expertise to corporate and individual clients that seek to maximize their negotiation efforts, at the negotiation table. You can sign up for Greg’s free negotiation tips at www.TheMasterNegotiator.com – You can also view his Negotiation Tip videos at http:// www.youtube.com/user/ TheMasterNegotiator - Greg’s motto is, “Remember, you’re always negotiating”.
Writers and Contributors
Recognized as The Voice of Child-Centered Divorce, Rosalind Sedacca is a Certified Corporate Trainer and founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network for parents facing, moving through or transitioning beyond divorce. She is the author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook™ Guide to Preparing Your Children – with Love! which offers a unique approach to breaking divorce news to your children based on her own personal experience. Rosalind is on the Board of Directors of ChildSharing, Inc. and WE Magazine for Women. She writes monthly columns for several divorce and parenting websites. She is also the 2008 National First Place Winner of the Victorious Woman Award. Rosalind shares her expertise through TV, radio and print interviews, newsletters, teleseminars and coaching.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a noted public speaker, bestselling author, workshop leader, relationship expert, and Inner Bonding® facilitator. She has counseled individuals and couples, and led groups, classes, and workshops since 1968. She is the author and co-author of eight books, including the internationally best-selling Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?, Healing Your Aloneness, Inner Bonding, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?
As a Certified Corporate Trainer and Business Communication Strategist she provides consulting, speaking, training and Executive Coaching services to organizations nation-wide on marketing, public relations and business communication issues. She specializes in gender-related dynamics, marketing to women and employeemanagement collaboration in the workplace. In addition, Rosalind is a partner in a new business membership site for women, Women Helping Women Mastermind, where women can network, promote their businesses, access help and advice, find resources for accelerating their careers and enjoy free weekly teleseminars, a free weekly newsletter and much more. Basic Membership is also free to women around the world at www.WomenHelpingWomenMastermind.com. To learn more about her book, free ezine, programs and other valuable resources on creating a positive ChildCentered Divorce, visit www.childcentereddivorce.com and www.howdoitellthekids.com. For more information about her customized programs, audio and videotapes, and other services, contact Rosalind at 561-742-3537 or Talk2Roz@bellsouth.net.
She is the co-creator, along with Dr. Erika Chopich, of the Inner Bonding® healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette, and featured on Oprah, and of the unique and popular website www.innerbonding.com. Their transformational selfhealing/conflict resolution software program, SelfQuest®, at www.selfquest.com, is being donated to prisons and schools and sold to the general public.
Sue Urda Sue Urda is an Author, Speaker, Inspirer and Co-Founder of Powerful You! Women’s Network, She was named twice on Inc. Magazines list of the 500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies. Sue’s vision is to contribute to a global consciousness of women helping women succeed in business and in life and to open them to truth of who they are. www.sueurda.com.
Dawn McCoy Dawn McCoy is author of "Leadership Building Blocks: An Insider's Guide to Success" http:// flourishleadership.com/store/ index.html She is also is president and CEO of Flourish Leadership, LLC which provides coaching executives, public servants, and youth leaders. For author and speaker details, visit http:// www.flourishleadership.com. May-June 2011 | Exceptional People Magazine | 99
Published on Jun 3, 2011
Published on Jun 3, 2011
The Premier Personal Development and Self Improvement Magazine Providing Inspiration, Personal Power, Influence and Wealth Building Strategi...