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Hello 2015

Hello 2015

Hey there everyone,

As we embark on another year I wanted to provide a quick update. Below is the content from my most recent newsletter. Here's wishing the very best to you and yours as we reflect on last year and move forward into this one.


I am currently living in upstate, NY working on a contract with a consulting firm who does culture change through diversity and inclusion. We’ve been working together to do some interesting things with both large and small organizations, as well as in the community. The contract goes through February 4 and we’ll see where the journey goes from there. I’m excited to see what 2015 will bring.


On of July 10, 2014 My sister Jessica and her husband Michael II made me a very proud uncle after they brought Michael III into the world. After four months I met the nibbling (gender-neutral term for nephew/niece) over Thanksgiving. Uncle Michael loves you M3.

11222014_M6_M3_005_BW 1.jpg

Current Projects

The pilot for the “Peace by Piece” empathy journaling project has officially launched. Five people have committed to serve as the initial beta group and all have received their journals. The purpose of this project is to allow people to take their time to share and reflect their inner thoughts, experiences, and feelings with others with whom they may not normally share time and space. I mail a journal to each person and ask them to fill the pages in whatever way suits them.

After 30 days I’ll email each participant a prepaid shipping label for them to return the journals. Then each person will receive somebody else’s journal along with a blank one. At this point, they will be asked to reflect on the other person’s entries for thirty days. Only after both journals have been returned will each person learn who they’ve been sharing with.

The pieces will be viewable online and I'll be working with various places to display them physically as well. If you're interested in participating, let me know and I'll send you a journal as well. Also, if you know anybody who might be interested, please feel free to share with them. I'm hoping to get enough feedback to modify the process, increase its effectiveness, grow the scale, and build series around various themes.

What I'm Reading

Big thanks to Dyana Valentine for sending me I Wanna Take Me a Picture by Alexanra Lightfoot and Wendy Ewald. I’m currently doing my first read-through and am enjoying how it’s making me think more critically about how I approach photography, visual literacy, and sharing in learning. Plus it’s just a fun read.

Another book I’m reading is To Be A Slave by Julius Lester. It’s a relatively short collection of first-hand accounts of slavery—actual stories from the actual slaves—not recreations. I’ve found it is difficult to read and while also providing me with a great sense of pride and hope. I've been losing a lot of sleep over what’s been going on around Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The events and our responses have given me a lot to think about. This book is one that reminds me just how resilient we can be. Plus it has inspired a project I hope to do in partnership with the African American Museum in Seattle.

Friend Brag

Nina Carduner

You may have seen the “100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute” video around the Internet recently. It was a collaboration between some very talented women with a well-executed concept. What you may not have seen, though, is the person who takes center stage in the video, Nina Carduner, is not only a model, but holds her MBA from Bainbridge Graduate Institute, has been very involved in the startup and technology movement in the West Coast, and is currently working in sustainability efforts. Plus she’s a fun person to be around. Get it Nina! Congratulations!

Stacy Flynn

This year I’ve had the honor of spending more time with Stacy Flynn, creator of The Future Resource Collective and Evrnu. I’ve truly found her tenacity and resilience inspiring. 2014 was both a challenging and rewarding year for her. After putting just about all of her time, energy, and soul into bringing her concept to reality, she received first place in the SVP (Social Venture Partners) Fast Pitch in Seattle, presented at the Cradle-To-Cradle Conference in NYC, and ran a successful $25,000 Indiegogo campaign. Watch out for this one. She’s on a mission to change the apparel and manufacturing industries specifically, but aims to create processes that can change the way we fundamentally do business. I’m proud of you Stacy!

Free Photo

I promised that with each newsletter I’d be giving away a free download of one of my photographs. Here’s one that many have expressed interest in. I hope you enjoy. Download link is below.

Links From This Newsletter

• I Wanna Take Me a Picture

• To Be A Slave

• Nina - Carduner 100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute

• Stacy Flynn - Future Resource Collective

• Free Photo - Seattle Boats

What's new in your world? Best wishes the beginning of your 2015!


How To Deal With Setbacks

Inevitably there will be times when you have setbacks or things don t go your way. Maybe you didn't get a job you thought you were sure to get. Maybe you lost a job unexpectedly, didn't win a contract, or lost a major client. Your car always seems to break down right after you've had some other unexpected expense. These kinds of situations immediately place us in crisis. They don t feel good, but sometimes they re what we need in order to grow. The beautiful thing about crises is that they force us to take a step back and reevaluate what s going on in our lives and rediscover what we truly want and need. When we get over that initial shock and feeling of disappointment, we might realize that maybe that job wasn't really the best for us anyway. Maybe, just maybe, that wasn't what you really wanted to spend your life doing. Maybe that friend was holding you back instead of pushing you forward. The way I deal with crises of these sorts is simple: If something doesn't go my way professionally, I try to create a situation that would be more rewarding than the situation originally planned. A while ago, I was offered a job that looked very promising. After I accepted the offer, they pushed the start date back three times, later informing me (via e-mail) that they wanted to bring me on in the near future but I should feel free to explore other options. I was extremely disappointed. I felt disrespected and angry, but decided to make the best of the situation and follow my dream of working internationally. I then flew to Santiago, Chile and had great professional and personal experiences I wouldn't have had otherwise. Later, reflecting back on the original opportunity, I realized that working for a company that avoids a start date three times and then can t pick up the phone to explain the situation is probably not where I need to spend my time. Use setbacks as an opportunity to put your goals in order and act on them. In the moment, it s difficult to look at a setback as temporary, but they are. They happen to everybody. It s how you respond to them that will determine how they affect you.

Learning To See

Learning To See

Until last week, it had been almost a year since I’ve remembered having a dream. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I had four very intense, very vivid dreams in the same night. They weren’t the kind of dreams I’m used to having either. They didn’t recap a day in my life, or anticipate tomorrow’s. They were much more meaningful, suspenseful—almost scary. In fact, after the fourth dream that night, I couldn’t bring myself to go back to sleep. In that dream, I was transported to Nazi Germany where I was an aged, worn, and dying Holocaust victim entrapped within a concentration camp. The sky was grey and gloomy. It was cold and drizzling. In the dream, the cold was intensified by tattered clothing, diminished health, a bleak outlook, and an overwhelming feeling of despair. I won’t go into everything else that happened, but that dream definitely served as a catalyst of deep thinking.

So what’s changed? Recently I was reminded of how valuable and fragile life is. Within a week, I lost a close friend, Jeremie Border, who was serving in Afghanistan and a family member, Vanessa Washington. A day prior to my Vanessa’s death, the alleged murderer of my cousin Trenod was sentenced to 25 years in prison. At the same time, I found myself forced to make difficult decisions. The day my cousin Vanessa died I was scheduled to photograph the Women in Innovation Summit 2012. I was notified of the news at 6:02 a.m. and was supposed to be at the conference at 8:00 a.m. What decision did I make? I photographed the event. Dealing with the conflicting emotions and constantly asking myself if I’m doing the right thing placed me in a period of reflection in which I had to come to terms with a few truths…

I love the work I do. But in dedicating almost every waking hour to it, I’ve essentially neglected the side of myself that is creative, exploratory, and inquisitive. Yes, I exercise those attributes in the context of work, but not in the context of my greater being. I thought back to the time I used to write poetry, read things unrelated to business, and listen and make music, and walking with the intention of arriving wherever I ended up. I decided to open myself back up to those things. Instead of not having time for…, I decided to again make time for…

As I continue this blog, it will become more of an exploration and personal narrative. Although I have always been my authentic self on, I will share more of the “me” as a person. I’ll be sharing more art, music, and reflections. Don’t worry; there will still be commentary on business, marketing, and leadership. But my goal is to provide a more intimate experience with you, one in which you will get the full me. I encourage you to participate, as the reason I started this blog in the first place was to have a place where we can engage in conversation, learn, experience, and grow together.

Mile 3

It felt so good to hit the streets and run again. There’s something about lacing up the running shoes, stepping outside, and putting feet to pavement that helps me see the beauty in everything around me. There was no particular path I planned to take, no specific distance I needed to cover (well, I wanted to hit at least three miles), no time goals… Just run I told myself. Just run…This is what I saw at mile 3.