I have been on the parenting frontlines for twenty-nine years; I’ve also been working in the hospitality and tourism industry for forty years. Believe it or not, they have something in common: there are three things you can’t make another person do: pee, eat, or sleep. My career is a testament to my persuasive abilities to entice people, from complete strangers to my own children, into feeling comfortable enough to do all three in a place of my choosing.
As a teenager, eager for financial freedom and tickets to rock concerts, I started babysitting, which was when I started reading parenting books. At the time, it was like reading a foreign language, but I kept reading for the parts about how the babies were made. Other youthful employment stints included being a sandwich maker in a deli, and then at SeaWorld, which employed me only when a uniform my size became available.
While attending San Diego State, I left the sandwiches behind to work in Sea World’s education department as a bilingual tour guide and narrator for the park’s public programs and shows. Eventually, I became one of the PR department’s most requested VIP guides, escorting celebrities and dignitaries such as Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans.
I progressed the sales department, where I oversaw and managed all private events in the park producing programs from whale and dolphin shows to fireworks for up to 10,000 people. My favorite client was the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. I moved on up to manage the international market and I traveled the globe bringing thousands of clients to the park.
As hard as it was to leave Shamu the Whale, I couldn’t resist what was to become an esteemed career for the next decade in the hotel industry as director of sales and marketing for many resort hotels.
And then I got pregnant and my life was never the same again. After the birth of my first daughter, I took six weeks of maternity leave and decided not to go back. Two more daughters soon joined the family and I redirected my many talents and skills toward being a full-time, stay-at-home mom for 13 years. I started playgroups, field trips, and babysitting co-ops while running a large meditation center and coordinating nine meditation centers in California. I also co-produced two global meditation conferences for 5,000 people in the Catskills, which led to a yearlong family sabbatical living in a meditation community where I created programs for young people.
Our family moved to Sonoma County, California I worked in the girl’s classrooms, helped run the P.T.A., and started an after-school support program for the seventh grade girls. I restarted my career as executive director Santa Rosa Convention and Visitors Bureau. I worked for a decade to create many new initiatives from pro-cycling to working with the Charles M. Schulz team on innovative Peanuts promotions.
I moved on to become the President/CEO of the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce where I earned the national designation as a Certified Chamber Executive.
During this time, I began my writing practice with my teacher Maia Danziger. I hopped on a plane and flew to Africa to spend a week at a writer’s retreat on the Indian Ocean where I fell in love with writing.
I now own my own company and consult for iconic tourism destinations including Sonoma County, Santa Barbara & Santa Monica and direct the operations for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.
My right brain is currently on fire as a singer, actor, and writer stepping into the world with a confident voice.
The lists that are shared back will be curated and shared without global audience. Thousands of inspired lessons will spark both child and adults to open the channels of gratitude in their home and schools.
Lives will be changed, love will be shared, hearts will be opened, millions and millions…….
1. Always respect those around you no matter what their life circumstances may be.
2. Never think that something is unachievable you just haven’t opened the right door.
3. Life is too short not to laugh and enjoy.
4. Cooking is whatever you make it to be, be bold and explore new ideas.
5. You are only as old as you feel inside.
1. Planning and hard work can lead to a successful life no matter where you start.
2. Be proud of your achievements.
3. Don’t drink your calories, unless its good booze.
4. It’s never too late to mend or build a relationship, it may be one of the best decisions you make.
5. Staying active leads to health longevity; seek the outdoors.
1. How to cook and feel confident in the kitchen.
2. I am beautiful and worthy of love no matter the size of my body.
3. A loving, devoted mother can also be committed to work that is creative and challenging and helps others.
4. The pleasure of making guests welcome in your home and having it be a gathering place.
5. Life is better if you can laugh at it, and also pause to note the beauty of life as it comes.
I love you mom! Happy Mothers Day!
This is about giving and receiving so go for it and be confident that when you ask your child or student or brother or sister they will be HAPPY to share what they have learned from you. For the young people reading this, choose a template, write down your life lessons and surprise the people who mean the most in your life. Mother’s and Father’s Days are perfect but any day is a good day to say ‘thank you.” And remember to share your list on Instagram #AskandTell!