There is always a “why”… Your why is your drive…your catalyst…the reasoning behind the tenacity….it’s why you started and you would do wise not to forget it.

My “why” came abruptly in the mail one day. My husband had opened bank accounts for his grandchildren and the statements came in the mail. I will never, ever forget that day. It was a wake up call that if I wanted to leave an inheritance for my grandchildren (we are a blended family) that I had better get busy or quite frankly I would be I direct disobedience to directives in the bible which clearly state to leave an inheritance to your children’s children. Now yes it will be more than money, (I have all sorts of stuff planned for them) but that startling realization jerked me into action.

My lil heirs…are my why.. They are the reason that “I am a gladiator, and I don’t get to run”. They are why I go into to work at 6am and sometimes work until 8pm…they are why I go to four meetings a day, overnight conferences, business trips, read and research until 3 am..luncheons on tops of dinners, spend weekends at fund raisers and collapse in bed fully dressed.

When I watch what I am building for them…it’s worth it. Every meeting I dread, or conference call I trudge through….every project I tackle I remember my why..and I smile …they are why I started….I’m telling you…one day they will write books about their Nanee’ …the next 7 generations are blessed!


At our executive leadership retreat in Nashville. Great opportunity to lead by example…Even in the retreat, there was a lot of work, a lot of brainstorming and team building BUT we also took the time to unwind, relax and just enjoy each other’s company. Balance is KEY. Work hard…BUT take time to unplug and relax…your mind is clearer and developing relationships is just as important as staying up all night working on a proposal. Value time AWAY from the grind as time crucial to grind success!

Was talking about this just the other day…at some point…you MUST take (taking requires action) responsibility for what you have done, or not done. Pointing fingers, blaming others, dipping and dodging is for children. Grown ups own their issues and work to reconcile them. As a a leader don’t allow your team to shift blame or sweep problems off to others …hold them accountable and lead by example. Questions like how do I fix this? Or how can I make it up to you require maturity.

Spent the afternoon At an event featuring Mayor Mike Duggan, new mayor of the City of Detroit. He has a knack for operations and processes. I also like that he has asked businesses in the area to loan him their executives that specialize in lean management and six sigma principles to help the city restructure and reorganize. I learned much just listening to how he has managed his first 90”days and his plans going forward. His chief of staff was his former opponent in the primaries. #SMARTman He understands the value add of this key position and strategically used what could have been a great lost in talent into a ally and team member. (Pictured Mayor Duggan on the left and Keith Crain of Crains Detroit on the right)

from where I sit…
This may look like a horrible seat to watch the taping of my CEO ‘s PBS special. But it isn’t …it’s actually quite fitting.

This is what I do. I help to create opportunities…I navigate the logistics…I manage the chaos and I execute results…but all of this goes on behind the scenes, away from the spotlight and out of the purview of an audience. The director, camera people, the producer, the interviewer..barely notice I’m here.

Lesson: The viewers won’t see me on the show….BUT my boss knows if she turns around I’m right there. She knows if something is said or done that is questionable or shady I will interject immediately. She knows I have her wallet, her keys, her phones and her lipstick. Because she knows I have her world under control, she can focus on her assignment with confidence. My role matters. A chief of staff is an administrator like none other. Are you up for it?

Working with Michigan leadership to strategically plan our comeback story… The first step in any major paradigm shift is changing what you are saying about an issue. It’s no longer to be viewed as a problem…it’s an opportunity. Now your job is to design a plan to make the most of the opportunity. This idea was inspired by Candy Chang and her “before I die…” series….