Legacy Arts | Issue 7 | August 2016

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On Mentoring Yourself




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Note from the Editor

Weddings and legacy, insights from industry leaders, special updates, our new Facebook page and looking towards the future.

Paying It Forward

How Mark Ganz, President and CEO of Cambia Health Solutions, is building his legacy through intense focus, kindness and a little serendipity.


Meet as Many Diverse People as Possible (and Learn From Them)


When a Celebration Becomes a Legacy

Why Mark Cover, CEO of Hines’s Southwest Region, believes he can learn from every single person he comes into contact with.

Interview with Jodi Moraru: Planning a wedding with the journey in mind.


On Being Your Own Mentor

Documenting your past for a better future.

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Confronting Spirituality

Interview with Kelli Corn: How a wedding becomes a catalyst for defining who we are.

Finding the Soul of the Spectacle

How Event Designer Kristin Banta transforms a couple’s unique legacy into art.

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Pushing Past the Minutia to Create an Unforgettable Event

How Thomas Bui Brings to life the “fairy tale” magic from his childhood in Vietnam.


Women and the wealth of their storytelling.

Timeless Wisdom: The Danger OF SELF-EXAMINATION

Eleanor Roosevelt’s thoughts on humility.

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ISSUE 7 | August 2016

Paragon Road PUBLISHER Laura Roser EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Brian C. Hailes ART DIRECTOR Marko Nedeljkovic DESIGN Matthew Roser CONTENT EDITOR

Mark Ganz, President and CEO of Cambia Health Solutions Mark Cover, CEO of Hines’s Southwest Region Jodi Moraru, Founder and CEO of EVOKE Kelli Corn, Founder and CEO of Kelli Corn Events Kristin Banta, Founder and CEO Kristin Banta Events Thomas Bui, Founder and CEO Thomas Bui Lifestyles Emily Bouchard, Family Meeting and Dynamics Specialist at Wealth Legacy Group

Mike Bishop Amanda Kelly Rachael Rifkin Laura Roser Matthew Roser

Cambia Health Solutions Hines Paragon Road Charity Navigator

Share your product or service with thousands of financial professionals around the world through our digital magazine and main website. Email: advertising@paragonroad.com

Have a good idea for an article, feedback or suggestions for our magazine? Email the editor directly: editor@paragonroad.com

What is Legacy Arts Magazine? Legacy Arts is dedicated to the journey of developing a great legacy and passing on non-financial assets (such as beliefs, values & wisdom). It is produced by Paragon Road, the leader in meaning legacy planning. There is an old Chinese Proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Whether you are young and have many years in front of you or at the sunset of your life, your legacy is important. We find there are several typical turning points or catalysts to creating a legacy plan. One of those key turning points is a wedding because when you join your life with someone else, that is a time you are defining a new adventure together and creating a joint legacy that could impact future generations. So, for this issue, we interviewed some of the top wedding planners in the nation about their thoughts on not only the celebration, but also creating a lasting marriage that is supportive of individual and joint growth. I’d like to extend special thanks to Emily Bouchard for her excellent article about women and their contributions to the family legacy as well as Mark Cover and Mark Ganz – both exceptional business leaders who have used their resources and influence to positively impact many lives.

Note from the Editor Are You Living Your Legacy?

Also – be sure to check out our new Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/legacyartsmagazine/

It is truly a wonderful gift to be in this business. I feel so much love and gratitude for the people I am able to meet because of this magazine and our n every issue, we try to focus on a theme. For exceptional team of designers and writers. July, that theme was philanthropy. This month, the theme is all about how to live your life with All the best, your legacy in mind. It’s never too early to start. Your vision of how you are going to contribute to the Laura A. Roser world and your family is like a lighthouse directing Editor-in-Chief of Legacy Arts and CEO of Paragon Road your decisions throughout your journey.


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Does Something Bother You About This Magazine? We are constantly trying to improve the quality of our communications and would love your feedback if you find something that bothers you. How are the graphics? Is everything clear? Is the magazine easy to read? Is there something that would make the magazine better? Are there specific topics you’d like to learn about relating to legacy? Email laura@paragonroad.com with your comments and suggestions.

Bug Fixes From July Feedback:

Last month, we had the following comments. Here’s how we’re addressing them: Comment: “Can I get your magazine in printed form?” – from Jared, Jason and Bethany

Fix: We currently post our articles on our blog at http://paragonroad.com/blog/ as well as on social media. Either on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin. Fix: Currently the magazine is in electronic form. com/in/lauraroser) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/ This allows us to offer it for free because there are LauraRoser). We could do a better job posting the no costs associated with printing. We do understand, content on other platforms and more consistently. We however, that some people are more than happy are considering a few other publishing platforms to to pay in order to receive a printed version. If you enhance the reach of our articles and have hired the would like to have a printed version of any issue of the talented Stephanie Steinbach to oversee posting and magazine, we can offer a print-on-demand version distributing articles in the future. Our new Facebook that looks really stunning – our team just had one sent page, specifically for the magazine, is also up (https:// to the office to make sure the quality was up to our www.facebook.com/legacyartsmagazine/). Make standards. The cost isn’t too crazy – $5.00 or so per sure to “like” us (you know, if you’re into that sort of issue plus shipping. Another option is to download thing). Watch for more options to view our content as the magazine as a pdf and print it on your printer. If we enhance our online presence in the future. Thanks you’d like to order a printed version, email our team at Mike! legacy@paragonroad.com. ----Comment: We’ve had several people make Comment: “I enjoy reading each issue and this comments about the Ben Franklin article. That one was engaging for me especially. Seems like one was particularly popular last issue (to see it, go it is getting better and better and it is really beautiful here: http://paragonroad.com/benjamin-franklinin its outlay. The only suggestion I might have is that ancient-wisdom-ben-franklins-list-essential-virtues/). the article on Philanthropy was a little hard to read because of the dark background and dark font.” – Fix: This isn’t really a fix to address someone’s Randall critical feedback, but, we are going to change the wording of the section “Ancient Wisdom” Fix: We will pay special attention to future to “Timeless Wisdom” in order to encapsulate issues to ensure the text has enough contrast philosophies from more modern great people, such compared to the background. Thanks Randall! as Franklin (not quite “ancient” yet). In this issue, the “Timeless Wisdom” article focuses on teachings from --Eleanor Roosevelt. Comment: “Do you have the magazine in any other formats other than the ‘flip page’ app?” – Mike

A big thank you for everyone’s feedback last issue! And, if you have any comments, email laura@paragonroad.com.

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Paying It Forward

How Mark Ganz, President and CEO of Cambia Health Solutions, is Building a Legacy Company with Intense Focus, Kindness and a Little Serendipity

by Laura A. Roser


y dad was a family doctor of the old-fashioned variety,” says CEO and President of Cambia Health Solutions, Mark Ganz. “He truly took the time and really cared about knowing his patients completely. He tended to their spirit as much as he did their body because he knew there was an inextricable link.”

During his school years Mark worked in his father’s office and got to experience the impact his father had on patients. Mark says he always had an interest in health care, but he made the decision in college that he didn’t want to become a doctor. Instead Mark went to law school and graduated with a specialty in health care law. “But after 6 years in health care litigation, I knew I wasn’t making a difference,” he says. So, he joined a nonprofit health plan, Pierce County Medical (which would later affiliate with other companies to form The Regence Group regional health plans), as their general counsel, which he enjoyed. Then in 2001, he got a phone call one night from a board member of the company who asked him if he was going to put his hat in the ring to take the CEO position that had just opened up. “I totally didn’t expect it.” He laughs. “In fact, I’m not quite sure how I ended up where I am.” Mark says he’s always followed the philosophy of transforming the job you were hired to do way beyond what the person who gave you the job ever thought it could be. Mark says often people make the mistake of never being satisfied with what they’ve got. They always want more. They are always looking for the next job or the next opportunity. But that has never been Mark’s approach. He has always focused intensely on the job at hand and made it the very best it could be. It is this commitment to excellence that led him to define the company’s cause – to be a catalyst for change, transforming health care to be more person-focused and economically sustainable.

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To accomplish this mission, he’s evolved the company from a traditional health plan to a total health solutions company squarely focused on the needs people and their families. As CEO of Cambia Health Solutions (formerly The Regence Group), Mark’s teams are focused on developing and investing in products and businesses that are making improvements in the health care system, impacting the ease and efficiency of health care for everyone. Since Mark’s appointment as Cambia Health Solutions CEO in 2003, he has always remembered those patients his father served, and been inspired to do better by those his company, Cambia, serves..

Mark B. Ganz is the President and CEO of Cambia Health Solutions. Transforming the way people experience health care is the cornerstone of his vision for the industry and Cambia. Since taking the top post in 2003, he has guided the company along a path of re-imagining and reshaping the health care system to one that is accountable to individuals and families.

Mark strongly believes the health care model needs to change and he’s fighting for that shift. “In the “The danger of focusing on other opportunities,” says current system,” he says, “you get people who come Mark, “is that you take your eye off the ball. You spend into work and they become a doctor or nurse and they all your time looking at what you want, instead of making really want to help other people, but all the economic signals cause them to make seemingly logical business what you have incredible.” decisions that actually lead to suboptimal results for the people they are there to serve. It’s the model that’s Caring for Patients’ Bodies and Spirits the enemy. Not the people working in it. That’s what Like his father, Mark is very much about improving the we want to break and replace with a more virtuous lives of individual patients. It is their wellbeing, not the cycle.” institution, that he puts as his highest priority. It’s that mission that gets Mark out of bed every day. “I want my children and grandchildren to live and to have a journey in health and in fitness from birth to completion of life where it is all seamless and transparent.” That, he says, is a legacy worth leaving. A legacy that he spends every fiber of his being pushing towards. What makes it even more fulfilling is that Cambia has compiled a team and board of directors who are on fire about this vision.

One Act of Kindness Can Make All the Difference

Mark tells the story about when he was a student at Georgetown University and had financial troubles that would not allow him to continue going to school. Mark was friends with a Jesuit priest connected with a school singing group he belonged to. He began telling the priest about his inability to pay for his education. Even with some loans Mark was able to secure, he still wasn’t able cover the gap. A day or two later, Mark received a call from the University President’s secretary asking if he could meet with the President. When he met with the President, he told Mark that he had been told about his situation and asked Mark if he was okay. Mark told him he was fine. Then the President asked about Mark’s financial situation. Mark explained that he had some loans secured, but there was still a gap. “What’s the gap?” the President asked. Mark told him. He looked at Mark and said, “We’ll take care of it.” “What do you mean?” Mark asked, in shock. He told Mark he had been a great student and they wanted him to be successful. So, the school would pay for the gap. Mark’s assumption is that they’d give him a loan and started asking about who he needed to talk to about paying back the amount. The President chuckled. “No. You don’t get to pay this back,” he said. “We’re taking care of it. Because I know you’re going to be successful, the way you get to pay this back is to pay it forward. Make a difference in others lives as you grow older.” Mark has never forgotten that kindness and has made a commitment to pay it forward ever since. n

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Our Cause: To serve as a cataly transform health care, creatin person-focused and economica sustainable health care system


yst to ng a cally m.

Meet as Many Diverse Pe Possible (and Learn From Why Mark Cover, CEO of Hines’s Southwest Region, Believes He Can Learn From Every Single Person He Comes Into Contact With by Laura A. Roser


he measure of a person,” says Mark Cover, “is not only how many people show up at his funeral, but how much variety there is in the group of people who show up.” The more variety, the richer the life. “I’m not sure where I learned this,” he continues, “but somewhere in my twenties, I realized that I could learn from literally every single person I came into contact with. I think a lot of lives get short changed because many people don’t believe that.”

he would become the CEO for a division of a multibillion-dollar real estate development firm. He jokes that when he first graduated from college, all he had was a couple polyester suits, a smile, and debt. It is that humble beginning that taught him about the many opportunities available to someone with an open mind and a willingness to learn without preconceived judgments.

Mark came from a rural farming community. Growing up, he had no idea what a real estate developer even was. No one would have ever predicted that

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Although, at this point in this life, it would be easy for Mark to limit his contacts to business colleagues, investors and neighbors in his affluent neighborhood, he goes out of his way to cultivate relationships with diverse groups of people he wouldn’t typically run into in the normal course of a day. Every Sunday, he and his wife drive 35 minutes to a church that is in a neighborhood very different from their own. Sure, they could go to the church that is

People as om Them)

Mark A. Cover is the CEO of Hines’ Southwest Region, which includes Mexico/ Central America, where he is responsible for key investment partner relationships and oversees all development and acquisitions. He is a member of the firm’s Executive and IT Steering Committees. Cover graduated from Bob Jones University with a BS in Accounting and is a retired certified public accountant.

holders are “frozen in fear.” They are afraid they will mismanage the money and ruin their family’s legacy. “That’s why,” he says, “I’m a big believer in enabling young people with a sense of wonder, excitement and optimism for their personal opportunity and ability to accomplish things that matter to them.” He also believes that parents must reflect respect for their children from an early age and that is how he raised his four children (now adults). Mark and his wife had a parenting philosophy in which they only a few minutes away. But, Mark doesn’t believe he openly talked with their children, shared insights and can serve or learn as much close to home. wisdom and “always gave them a little more rope than they expected.” For example, in Texas, you can Parenting, Money get a learner’s permit when you are 15. So, Mark and a Learner’s Permit says he pushed each one of his children to get their One group of people Mark has had the pleasure of learner’s permit as close to their fifteenth birthday as learning from are private wealth holders. Because of his possible. Lots of other parents were terrified to have career, Mark has had the opportunity to meet the ultra their children start driving in the big city, but Mark affluent and financially savvy. And he’s observed what has always viewed things from the other side. “It’s wealth can do to family dynamics. Inheriting great sums your life,” he says. “It’s short. Go out and grab it by the of money doesn’t always lead to more freedom. In fact, horns. As long as it doesn’t hurt yourself or someone Mark says many second- or third-generation wealth else, go for it!” n

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Intelligent Real Estate


Building on Gerald D. Hines's legacy of successful partnerships in innovative, high-quality real estate investments.

We build smart investments on decades of Real Estate experience.


On Being Your OWN MENTOR

Documenting Your Past for a Better Future by Laura A. Roser


e’ve been doing some organizing,” my mother announced. She pointed to cardboard boxes resting on their basement floor. “That’s your stuff. Figure out what you want to keep.”

I sighed. This is not how I wanted to spend my family visit. I begrudgingly opened one of the boxes. It was high school: year books, dance photos, art projects, research papers, debate trophies. I gazed at my prom photo from junior year. There I am – red dress, corsage on my wrist, stately up-do – with David – gray suit, black hair poking out from the sides of his head. Oh David, whatever happened to you? We’d spend hours talking about random topics in art class – his year traveling abroad on a boat with his mother’s rich lover, our aspirations to leave Utah, rumors about the crazy gym teacher. I pulled out the larger picture of us. Damn it, I’m half closing my eyes. So embarrassing! I flip through a yearbook, reading comments from friends. At least five people wrote, “Never change.” For a brief moment, I wonder why anyone would ever want to stay the same. And then I come upon a journal. It’s one of those cheesy ones with pastel flowers printed all over the front framing an inspirational quote. I open it and read a passage I wrote on July 14, 1997. There’s a sticker of a cartoon giraffe in the corner. It starts out, “Tomorrow’s the big day. Jenny is going in for surgery at about 6:00 am.” The journal entry goes on to explain how strong my parents had been through my sister’s health issues, which led to my sister having open heart surgery at 2 years old. The entry was short. One page. Five paragraphs. But, it made me proud to read those words and remember that time. It made me proud to see the kind of teenager I was and the kind of character my parents showed.

Learning From Your Wiser Self I hate to admit this because, as a legacy planning expert, you’d think I’d have stacks of journals. But the truth is, I didn’t begin serious journaling until a few years ago,

which is why it’s rather amazing I actually had a journal that captured the day before my sister went into surgery when I was seventeen. Mostly, I just let life happen and didn’t document any of it. There is, however, a great power in documenting your life. Even experiences I’ve had as little as a week ago teach me great things when I look back and read what I wrote. It’s easy to get distracted or forget how far you have come. Without a tangible record, your memories fade and that learning is lost. Last night I read something I had written four years ago when the world was falling apart around me and it gave me strength to realize how much I had learned and how far I had come. Happy times can also be a great inspiration. When times are dark or I need to switch my brain out of a negative mode, it helps to look at photos of loved ones or read what I have written about fun experiences. In a world of ongoing distraction, getting clarity is difficult. I have moments where everything is clear and then, like a vivid dream that disintegrates upon waking, the clarity is wiped away by fear, daily stresses or input from others. If I can look back at my journal or personal mission statement, it brings the clarity back. “Oh yeah,” I think to myself, “that’s my goal. That’s my purpose. That’s what I learned.” And it gets me back on track.

Marcus Aurelius’s Notes to Himself One of my favorite texts is Meditations, written by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius from 161 to 180 AD. The reason I think it’s so powerful is that Aurelius did not write these notes with an agenda. There was no outside audience to appeal to. No reason to write other than for the purpose of improving himself and

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Laura A. Roser is the founder and CEO of Paragon Road, the #1 authority in meaning legacy planning. For more information about meaning legacy planning services, visit www.paragonroad.com. documenting wisdom he had learned throughout his life. Meditations is not a recounting of events, but a mental exercise of self-analysis and an exploration of stoic philosophies. Like Aurelius, I believe we should journal with the intent to extract deeper meaning from events in our lives, books we are reading, lessons we are learning and so on. Although, it’s better if we go back and read what we’ve written at some point, the process of writing something down (even if we never look at it again) dramatically increases the likelihood that it will be remembered.

5 Ways To Enhance Your Journaling Experience


Keep It Truthful. Be vulnerable. Tell the whole truth. Admit to your dark side. Don’t hold back. (Sometimes telling yourself the truth can be hard.) Here’s the exception: if you are writing for an audience – like your children or future generations – then you may want to keep some things a mystery. So, determine the purpose of your journal before you start. Because self-analysis is so powerful, I’d suggest having a journal that is only for that purpose (your eyes only) and then one that is for your family to read.


Keep It Private. In order to be truly vulnerable, you need to be sure no one is reading your words. Whether this means you hide your journal or have an insanely secure password for a digital journal, is up to you.

3. 4.

Date Each Entry. I have notebooks where I’ve written things that I wish I had dated.

Write In Your Own Voice. Don’t try to sound distinguished or literary. Write how you would talk with a friend at a coffee shop.


Review Your Writing. Every once in a while, go back and read what you wrote. This will give you insights and deeper appreciation. Sometimes your interpretation of an experience can be completely different when looking back.

Avoid That Hole Below is one of my favorite poems:

There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk “I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost... I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place. But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes me a long time to get out. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in. It’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. I walk down another street.” Portia Nelson, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery When we record our thoughts, self analyze and look back at what we have learned, it gives us the emotional resources to walk around that hole, avoid it the next time or, at the very least, have empathy for people who keep falling into the same hole (because so do we). n

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ENDURING There are families of enduring greatness. They have achieved excellence in times past, yet continue to pursue what made them great. They have stories to tell. They embody high character, are celebrated throughout history and loved by all who know them.

What’s your legacy?

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When a Celebration


Planning a Wedding with the Journey in Mind


odi Moraru is always excited whenever she hears a bride and groom exclaim, “We can’t wait to get married and spend our lives together!” In her 26 years of planning weddings, Jodi has seen many successful marriages, but one of the most important indicators of future marital bliss is the couple’s focus on the journey of developing a legacy of love. Ceremonies with a stronger impact manifest from the couple’s understanding of their identities. There should be a sense of self-reflection in the wedding. It ought to represent family history, tradition, and the unification of two unique lives and their families. “Whenever I meet with a new potential client,” says Jodi, “I like to ask the question: What is important to you?” A wedding is a time of celebration for not only the bride and groom, but also their loved ones. “A truly meaningful wedding expresses the values of the community,” Jodi explains. Neighbors, friends, and family have been a part of the lives of the bride and groom and participating in their wedding is a rite of passage that forms a deeper connection for everyone. It is the ability to create those precious

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Jodi Moraru has planned events for 26 years. She started her own Washington D.C.-based event design, planning, and management firm, EVOKE, 17 years ago. While she isn’t planning luxury events, Jodi loves to spend time with her family and travel. To learn more about Jodi’s company, visit www.evokedc.com

memories and connect with the community that differentiates a great wedding from a mediocre one. Jodi recalls a particularly powerful wedding that she planned during the previous Fourth of July. The bride was busy finishing her teaching degree, leaving Jodi to work closely with the groom. This was to be an Orthodox Jewish wedding with celebrations spanning over the weekend. “We planned the ceremony and the groom continually commented on how he was so happy to have found his partner in life.” The groom’s happiness resulted in an infectiously joyous celebration. “Everyone was laughing and dancing,” Jodi continues, “there is no denying the energy and spirit that enveloped the entire ceremony.” Of course a beautiful dress, decadent cake, and the right venue matter. But Jodi enthusiastically reminds us, “always keep sight on the most important thing: creating a memory.” n

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How A Wedding Becomes A Catalyst For Defining Who We Are by Matthew Roser


wedding is the one time in your life when everyone important will be present,” says Kelli Corn, lead designer and creator of an events company of the same name. Gathering each of the influencing players in our life story ultimately leads to very strong implications. The wedding, after all, shares many similarities with graduations, spiritual ceremonies, and other evocable moments. These occasions celebrate the cumulative values and knowledge that defines our character. But the wedding is more than a source of personal reflection and revelry: it becomes a solution to the unanswered questions that we all must confront. What future do we want? What is our identity? And how will we mend the past? Kelli explains that both bride and groom must come to terms with their spirituality, especially in inter-faith marriages, and contend with their spouse’s differences. Religion and spirituality force the couple to think of their

future and what steps they will take to arrive at that destination. These answers include what rituals the family will observe and the values that their children will learn. Of course, these strong decisions begin to put the new family’s identity into perspective. What aspects will they carry on from their families? What traditions will they create of their own? And how will these all fit into a meaningful legacy that their children will inherit? The wedding becomes one of the starting points, if not the first, where the couple may define themselves as not two individuals, but one whole. The very nature of the wedding is a representation of the bride and groom through design, choice of guest list, and the very ceremony itself. Yet, perhaps the most markedly powerful answer the wedding can give is its ability to satisfy the unclosed chapters of our past. Kelli recalls a wedding she planned for two men. After the ceremony, one of the fathers stood up and toasted the newlyweds. He explained how he was very uncomfortable when his son first brought his boyfriend home, but he was so glad that the two had stayed together. Or in the father’s own words, “I couldn’t imagine you with anyone else.” If there ever was a time when someone close to us showed a lack of support, the wedding is a way to wipe the slate clean and renew that bond. Kelli can vouch for the power behind the wedding. She sees the way that it affects her clients, and feels the energy as it dances along the chapel walls. It is more than a mere party. She becomes the counselor and advisor to the future legacies that boldly march into that unknown future. n

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Kelli Corn is a Boulder, Colorado native who began her career in event design by working in Hilton’s Austin location. She eventually worked with ClubCorp before a seven-year stint with Palmetto Bluff, earning her the title “The Bride Whisperer.” With a bright vision and a desire to push the boundaries, Kelli Corn Events was founded over three years ago. To learn more, visit www.kellicorn.com.

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Finding the Soul of the Spectacle How Event Designer Kristin Banta Transforms a Couple’s Unique Legacy Into Art by Matthew Roser


magine walking under the shadow of a silken canopy that drapes over a grand dining hall. The sun flits in and out, creating an iridescent dance of color and wonder. Exquisite sets line the tables and rich mahogany warmly invites the many guests certain to come. Close your eyes and the fragrant roses carry their honey-scent on a light breeze, gently calling you inside. This beautiful setting is no fairy tale, but a handcrafted experience that Kristin Banta regularly brings to life. Kristin began her event planning career over 15 years ago when her focus primarily surrounded fashion and music. But she soon realized that events could draw upon a limitless repertoire of inspirations. This niche to create unforgettably bold events became Kristin’s passion.

“I never create the same thing twice,” she confidently says. Part of this boast’s credit is due to Kristin’s creative tenacity, but the other lies in the nature of events. That is, every event is unique and each wedding celebrates a unique couple. Harnessing this “one-of-a-kind” component is the key to an unforgettable wedding. Kristin explains that it is her job to find the appropriate materials and designs for a wedding. She will help the couple transform their desires out into a tangible beauty, but her clients must first find that special component. Kristin commonly refers to this as the “soul of the spectacle.” One such spectacle was in a Heaven and Hell themed wedding. Kristin stated that she had her reservations when first hearing the proposed idea, but eagerly went to work after understanding the

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Kristin Banta is the creator and head of Kristin Banta Events. With a 15year background in event production, entertainment and fashion, as well as a background in catering and interior design, Ms. Banta has poised herself as a unique player in the event planning industry. She commonly serves as a keynote speaker for numerous conferences and is widely known for her Bravo show, “The Wedding Party.” To learn more about Kristin’s company, visit www.kristinbanta.com

couple’s story. The groom had found his partner, or in this case, “angel”, and felt that his partner had rescued him from the dark life he was living before they had met. This wedding became focused on redemption and grace and drew from many inspirations, such as Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. The celebration quickly veered from Heaven and Hell, and in reality, became a very special way to tell the story of happiness found in the embrace of one’s soul mate. However, Kristin did warn of third-party distractions. She explains that almost every couple must contend with a third-party influencing their wedding plan. This may be an overzealous parent, the financer of the wedding, or even the event planner. If this distraction

is not reigned in quickly enough, the wedding will lose its intended purpose: which is to tell the story of the couple marrying. Many of Kristin’s clients who must deal with this problem often lament over the loss of their wedding’s identity. Kristin acknowledges that she is commonly hired with the thought of only directing the design and preparations for the wedding. But her other duties consist of pulling out the inspiration, as well as keeping the focus relevant. Even if her clients must make room for a third decision maker, Kristin continually steers the conversation in the couple’s favor. After all, a wedding is the one time to tell your special story. The truly unforgettable weddings are those with the most spirit. This soul cannot be mimicked or told by another voice. It is your story to tell. n

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Pushing Past the Min Create an Unforgettab How Events Designer Thomas Bui Brings to Life the “Fairy Tale” Magic From His Childhood in Vietnam

by Matthew Roser


homas Bui began his life under the heavy influence of European customs. He learned French and witnessed extravagant events hosted by his family, many of which dignitaries attended. This “fairy tale” setting inspired a young Thomas and quickly gave him the desire to plan events of his own. Unlike most leaders in his industry, however, this is where the similarities end. At only eight years of age, Thomas and his family were forced to flee their beloved home of Vietnam. They and a small handful of families escaped the country only one day before communist revolution. And unfortunately, the road back to a normal life was long and arduous, forcing Thomas to see many terrible things. Yet, the beautiful parties and happy memories stuck and became the driving force for the man he is today. Thomas believes that a meaningful event requires calmness. Every couple desires the perfect wedding, for example, but the reality is that some of those fine details are sure to go wrong. Thomas says that you should ignore

hiccups and focus on what really matters: celebrating the love you have created with your other half. “A wedding is not about the new trends, but incorporating your own personal style,” he says. The more that you and your partner can pull from yourselves, the more meaningful your ceremony will become. Thomas cautions that focusing too much outside of yourself diminishes the beauty of your wedding. He goes on further, casually remarking that if something goes wrong, the worst case scenario is that your linens may be cream colored instead of white, or your flower arrangement might not be quite as full as you had wished – hardly life or death. If these problems upset you, then the wedding becomes focused on the details of design instead of the spiritual union of marriage. When asked about memorable weddings, Thomas emphatically replies that he is fond of destination weddings. These types of events are the most work, of course, “but everyone invited to the ceremony is there for a reason,” he explains. Each person on the guest list

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nutia to able Event

has contributed in some special way to the lives of the bride and groom. Thomas also speaks of the power of the wedding, citing that he has seen parents stricken with terminal illnesses fight their afflictions to witness their child’s wedding. Thomas reminds us that calmness and surrounding ourselves with the right people will enrich the wedding, but we must not forget the purpose of that sacred ceremony. The true key to a happy wedding is the genuine love between two people. If that love is strong enough, it will outshine the minor mistakes that are bound to happen. And it will lay the foundation for a strong resistance against the unexpected confrontations found in the future of living as husband and wife. Thomas Bui is the founder and lead designer of Thomas Bui Lifestyles, a San Diego-based events company that specializes in extravagant and unforgettable memories. Thomas commands the ability to speak French, Vietnamese, English, and medical Spanish. Mr. Bui also holds multiple degrees in the life sciences as well as an M.B.A. Thomas’s website is thomasbuilifestyle.com. n

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How Will You Change Th Make The Most Impact With Charity


l Animal Rights, Welfare, and Services l Wildlife Conservation l Zoos and Aquariums


l Early Childhood Programs and Services l Youth Education Programs and Services l Adult Education Programs and Services l Special Education l Education Policy and Reform Scholarship and Financial Support

Community Development l l l l

United Ways Jewish Federations Community Foundations Housing and Neighborhood Development

Arts, Culture, Humanities l Libraries, Historical Societies and Landmark Preservation l Museum l Performing Arts l Public Broadcasting and Media

Resources for Intelligent Giving: www.charitynavigat

he World?



l Development and Relief Services l International Peace, Security, and Affairs l Humanitarian Relief Supplies


l Environmental Protection and Conservation l Botanical Gardens, Parks, and Nature Centers


l Diseases, Disorders, and Disciplines l Patient and Family Support l Treatment and Prevention Services l Medical Research

Research and Public Policy

l Non-Medical Science & Technology Research l Social and Public Policy Research


Human and Civil Rights l Advocacy and Education


l Religious Activities l Religious Media and Broadcasting

Human Services

l Children’s and Family Services l Youth Development, Shelter, and Crisis Services l Food Banks, Food Pantries, and Food Distribution l Multipurpose Human Service Organizations l Homeless Services l Social Services

Herstory: Women and the Wealth of Their Storytelling by Emily Bouchard

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n families, women play an important role as as abstract principles, but as lived experience, they storytellers, and as educators of their children have the power to move others too.” (Resource: and grandchildren about the family’s legacy. http://workshops.350.org/toolkit/story/) Knowing how to discover, share, and preserve your family’s history is an essential component to your overall plan for future generations. As a trusted colleague, Amanda Weitman, from Wells Fargo Private Bank puts it: “What you’ve learned is as important as what you’ve earned, and your wealth planning should include consideration of all of your assets”, especially the intangible ones.

Why Storytelling? During a recent presentation to ten women, we started out by asking them to think back to their grandparents and what their names were. We then had them think further back to their great grandparents and asked how many women there could give the full names and details about the lives of these eight people. Only two of the women could recall full names, and even then, those names were only for two of their great grandparents. This is very typical – and completely avoidable. Our legacies live on long after our names, in the lives and in the stories in the family. The best way to have our lives matter is through the use of stories.

Capturing Your Stories

At Wealth Legacy Group, we specialize in capturing legacies for families and for organizations in a way that honors the past, celebrates the present, and furthers the vision for future generations. We work collaboratively with clients and their advisors to bring a depth of context and relevance to our work Kristi Hedges wrote in Forbes that “Stories grab through interviews, trained analyses, and historical us. They take us in, transport us, and allow us to referencing. live vicariously and visually through another’s experience…[and]…shared stories accelerate When working on legacy projects, our purpose is interpersonal connection. “ to capture and honor the intangible aspects of a life well lived, including accomplishments, challenges, Storytelling connects loved ones to the emotions and nuances of decision-making at significant choice and the worldview that shaped the values that are points. Our goal is to capture and contextualize most important in your family’s history, and that you the underlying core values that are highlighted in want future generations to draw upon as they make stories, words, actions, and pictures. We bring them important decisions. According to a website aimed to life to maximize the likelihood of those values at supporting leaders in getting their message out providing guidance and direction for current and and heard, “Emotions inform us of what we value future generations of leaders in the family and/or in ourselves, in others, and in the world, and enable organization. us to express the motivational content of our values to others. In other words, because we experience How to Capture Stories values emotionally, they are what actually move us Seven-year-old Sarah watched her mother prepare to act; it is not just the idea that we ought to act. a roast for their family’s Shabbat dinner. She became Because stories allow us to express our values not curious about why her mother cut off the end of the roast before putting it in the pan. Her mother explained “that’s how my mother always did it.” So Sarah went over to where her grandmother was playing with her little brother and asked her, “Grandma, how come you cut the end of the roast before putting it in the pan?” and her grandmother smiled and said, that’s how my mother always did it.

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Sarah then went to where her great grandmother was sitting quietly watching the family gathering and asked her “Little bubbe, why do you cut the end off a roast before putting it in the pan?” The eighty-two year old woman smiled as she answered with her thick Russian accent, “because when we came to United States we had nothing and we all lived together in a tiny apartment with the smallest oven you ever saw. The pan we used was tiny and no whole roast could fit in it!” When working with families on the concept of storytelling, they find this apocryphal anecdote helpful to get the ball rolling. It inspires them to include multi-generations, and to be curious about practices, idioms, and experiences that are so often expressed and copied without understanding the context behind them.

Over the years, we have learned about a cousin’s trip to India, another cousin’s climb up Kilimanjaro with her father, and an uncle’s role on the medical team that cared for president Reagan when he was shot. As a result of this annual tradition, our blended family became much more cohesive and connected, and our conversations became more rich and satisfying, as we discovered shared values, and learned more about each other.

Multimedia Story Project: In another client family, a mother wanted to bridge the gap between the younger folks who seemed to always be on their phones and ipads and the older generation who were unable to connect easily with their grand (and great grand) children. With our support and coaching, she approached the teens as leaders of their generation Examples of Family Rituals and asked them to research and determine the best that Incorporate Storytelling ways to record the stories and memories from their Annual Reunion: I’ve been told in the past to use grandparents and great grandparents at their next personal stories more generally - I’m wanting to step family function. She specifically requested both video, out more fully and openly about what’s my family audio, and photos, and whatever else they discovered. stories vs. client stories: The teens worked with a facilitator to take on the challenge and got their younger siblings and cousins I’ve experienced the power of storytelling in my own family. We had some challenges with involved. They came to the next reunion prepared blended family dynamics and living far from one to interview their elders, with the goal of creating another. My stepmother and father took the power a multi-media presentation for the whole family of storytelling to heart and made it a ritual at our at the end of the event. They used simple apps on family’s annual reunion. Every year the whole family their phones, with tripods for setting up the video, gathers together during Thanksgiving, and everyone and high quality microphones they researched now knows in advance that there will be storytelling and tested beforehand, and they worked with the time between the main meal and dessert. The only matriarch who set this in motion to come up with guidelines are that the stories be relevant to the questions and prompts that would capture the person’s life who is presenting and that they share kinds of memories that would be cherished for generations to come. One of the younger cousins what the story means to them. was an aspiring photographer and took beautiful still shots of their elders with the younger interviewers to add to the presentation. As a result of this project, not only did the family end up with archived materials about how their family business was started, what were the biggest challenges and set backs, and what were the accomplishments their elders were most proud of; they ALSO empowered their rising generation to work together, produce a result, build leadership abilities, and make decisions together, all while learning new technologies and how to have them all interface with each other. The end result was more than powerful storytelling, as this family laid some important foundation of values and empowerment for the future of the family’s legacy and impact.

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Storytelling Tips to Get You Started During our lifetimes, we have a number of ways in which we can capture our own stories, and also recreate the stories from our ancestors, both those we have met, and those we never knew. 1. Stories from Your Ancestors We are fortunate to live in an era where accessing data and dates, and memorabilia has never been easier. Familytree Magazine (http:// www.familytreemagazine.com/article/25-bestgenealogy-websites-for-beginners) offers their top 25 sites for beginners in family genealogy (be forewarned as this expedition into the past can be addictive). If you find yourself wanting to go back in time in this way, we recommend taking on the approach of an archeologist or sociologist, where each piece of evidence gives you clues and insights, and where there will be lots of dead-ends and minutia to sift through to get to the real gems (which can be frustrating at times). Some women hire historians who can do the more mundane research and add rich materials to the backstory they want to tell. 2. Telling Your Own story We all have stories that have significant meaning for us. You have stories about why you chose to go in one direction vs. another. You have stories about particular events that had a dramatic impact on who you are. You have stories about your childhood and your parents that share volumes about your family values and the legacy of your parents, and their parents as well. Sharing these stories in compelling and engaging ways, while ALSO sharing why the story matters to you, is a great gift to give to your family. One of the best resources for excellent storytelling is the Moth Radio Hour and they give great tips on what to do and what not to do for people who want to tell a story on their show: https://themoth.org/ share-your-story/storytelling-tips-tricks

Emily Bouchard has worked with wealthy families and couples since 2004 and has facilitated over 130 family meetings. Trained as a social worker, she is passionate about doing what she can to strengthen family relationships and decrease unnecessary suffering and heartache. A leading expert in the field, Emily has been featured on numerous TV and Radio shows including The Today Show and NPR, and has been quoted in print around the world, in publications such as Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. To learn more, visit www.wealthlegacygroup.net

You can also find great tips online for how to tell and share compelling stories. Kristi Hedges’s article in Forbes on “How to Tell a Good Story” has some excellent recommendations. http://www.forbes. com/sites/work-in-progress/2013/12/11/howto-tell-a-good-story/#68bfd5335dae 3.Some Resources to Get Your Family Stories Flowing The organization 21/64 http://2164.net/ has some wonderful resources including cards with prompts to get you asking questions of each other – some with words, others with pictures. We highly recommend these to mothers and grandmothers looking for fun and creative ways to capture family legacy through stories.

Storytelling is for Everyone Consider for a moment your favorite family story and what makes it so meaningful for you. Now, think of a family story that you want to know more about. I invite you to use some of the ideas in this article to take one small action towards developing one of those stories more fully so that they can be passed along with your values for generations to come. n

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Timeless Wisdom: The Danger


Eleanor Roosevelt’s Thoughts on Humility by Laura A. Roser


bout a month ago, I read Eleanor Roosevelt’s autobiography, You Learn By Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life. I found myself highlighting various passages and writing notes on index cards. In one section of the book (around page 63), she discusses maturity. Her first tenant of becoming a mature person is self-knowledge.

Eleanor writes: “One must be willing to have knowledge of oneself. You have to be honest with yourself. You must try to understand truthfully what makes you do things or feel things. Until you have been able to face the truth about yourself you cannot be really sympathetic or understanding in regard to what happens to other people. But it takes courage to face yourself and to acknowledge what motivates you in the things you do. This self-knowledge develops slowly. You cannot attain it all at once simply by stopping to take stock of your personal assets and liabilities. In a way, one is checked by all that protective veiling one hangs over the real motives so that it is difficult to get at the truth. But if you keep trying, honestly and courageously, even when the knowledge makes you wince, even when it shocks you and you rebel against it, it is apt to come in flashes of sudden insight. “Oh, so that is why I did that!” or “Why didn’t I realize that I didn’t mean that at all?” or “Now I see why I was afraid to do that!”

Self-Examination Isn’t Always Good I love how humble Eleanor’s views are and how she tempers herself. In the very next paragraph she writes: “There is a danger in this self-examination. Some people become so interested, so fascinated, by this

voyage of self-discovery, that they don’t come out of it again. They remain completely absorbed in their selfstudy.” I think this is an interesting comment because I’ve had my own periods of major self-analysis as well as periods of complete avoidance, where I distracted myself from the pain of looking at my own actions. Certainly, the self-analysis led to better outcomes and getting out of painful situations, but I can understand how one could become stuck and I’ve seen it plenty of times. People who focus on issues with their childhood, seeking praise from others, or evaluating every piece of food they put in their mouths. There comes a point where you get tired of yourself or you create an isolated insanity by trying to work on overcoming emotional pain that would, most likely, go away on its own if you were serving others, working on making your relationships more healthy, diving into a passion project or otherwise living your life. I’ve learned through experience that much more insight comes from interacting with many types of people, pursuing dreams or curiosities, and observing yourself in these various situations. It helps you get familiar with your strengths, pinpoint your weaknesses and appreciate others. In regards to weakness, I love this phrase from Eleanor: “So it is a major part of maturity to accept not only your own shortcomings but those of the people you love, and help them not to fail when you can.” Wouldn’t life be so much better if we surrounded ourselves with friends, family and loved ones who helped us not to get stuck in the downward spiral of our own shortcomings? n

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