This will be my first year of saying no

For as long as I remember, I was proud of being someone whose default response was YES. It was the right mind frame for my teens and 20s. But I turned 30 last year. And I now I want to get better at the other side of that spectrum: saying no.

So I made it one of my 2017 resolutions: to say NO more often. Though I hope to do lots with that perspective, it will come down to focusing my attention.

This is my pledge to myself that I will say no, that I will limit what I do and agree to so that I only focus on what I can do well. That means I will have to say no to things I care about.

One of the clearest ways I’m doing that is by dropping and limiting my existing extra curricular activities, while being far choosier about any I add. Understand: this does not mean I don’t have interest in these or other issues. This means I’m focusing on what I can provide unique value to and fits me now.

I’m aiming to take this more into my day job (so I don’t let my office get as cluttered and messy as it was in the header photo from early 2015) but for the first clearest way to show my progress, I wanted to share what I’ve already set in motion.

Continue reading This will be my first year of saying no

A few leadership lessons I was reminded of during an afternoon with Outward Bound

Leadership development and team building programs are full of small-scale physical challenges that require collaboration. Though they’re mostly just simple puzzles that follow similar models, having just participated in another a few weeks ago, I can say there are many lessons worth being reminded of.

Outdoor education nonprofit Outward Bound is one of those groups best known for these corporate training affairs, and LEADERSHIP Philadelphia, one of the older local civic training nonprofits in the country, had me again take part in an afternoon of such activities as part of a program of theirs I’m in. I want to share some of what I left the event thinking about back  on Sept. 18.

Continue reading A few leadership lessons I was reminded of during an afternoon with Outward Bound

Leadership Philadelphia called me one of 55 young ‘keepers’

The half-century old Leadership Philadelphia civic service nonprofit named me recently one of 55 young leaders in the region worth “keeping.” I’m among more than a dozen local tech leaders included.

Those of us named are said to be future leaders of Philadelphia that should be connected with more established leaders to ensure we remain invested here. It’s the same group that organizes the 10-month long leadership fellowship I proudly completed in 2013.

True to form of Leadership Philadelphia, led by a mentor of mine Liz Dow, this is not just a vanity list. Over the course of six monthly networking events, we’ll be paired with more established leaders to foster mentorship relationships outside of our existing communities. The series started last week with an event at the historic Union League.

It’s both a true honor and an incredible opportunity to meet people I will work with for years to come.

My experience taking the 10-month LEADERSHIP Philadelphia core class

LEADERSHIP Philadelphia is a more than 50 year old civic society development nonprofit that has been the model for similar groups around the country. Among its programs, its furthest reaching is the annual Core Class, which selectively takes 110 mostly mid-career candidates from corporate, philanthropic, institutional and community groups and takes them through a 10-month program about Philadelphia, leadership and civil society.

Since 1993, Liz Dow, the well-connected, well-regarded, clear leader has been the nonprofit’s executive director, and I was blessed to come to know her in the past three years. It’s through that very meaningful relationship, with someone whom I have come to consider a confidant, that I was offered the chance to apply for and be accepted into the 2013 Core Class.

As the next class gets settled, I wanted to digest what I learned from the experience.

Continue reading My experience taking the 10-month LEADERSHIP Philadelphia core class

Fairhill Square Park Pay it Forward Project

My Leadership Philadelphia class prompted the work, and I’m so happy I got the encouragement.

Asked to do a ‘Pay it Forward’ project in which we committed some volunteer time to a neighborhood in Philadelphia that none of our team members lived, worked or already volunteered in, we ended up cleaning, mulching, picking up trash and other work in Fairhill Square Park near Kensington ahead of a rededication for a beautiful piece of art.

Puerto Rican artist Rafael Ferrer dedicated his “El Gran Teatro de la Luna” in the park at 4th and Lehigh after 14 years of it being in storage.

I asked a friend at the city’s Parks and Rec department, who put me in touch with another staffer who directed me to a community leader who had been organizing a friends group for the newly updated park. Some of my teammates and I went to one of their community meetings, then helped with the park’s clean up day and then were a part of the park’s big art re-dedication yesterday, complete with more than 100 kids from various youth groups.

See our project notes here, and below find our presentation back to our other classmates.