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Who’s the Bravest of Them All? Single Moms

Several years ago I worked with a company that specialized in marketing to moms. They were very good at what they did. When one of the...

Friday, April 12, 2019

Who's the Bravest of them All? The CEO of Patagonia


Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia, is donating her companRose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia, is donating her company's $10 million tax break circa President Trump's tax cuts to climate change organizations. Can you imagine if other CEOs had the courage to do this?
“Based on last year’s irresponsible tax cut, Patagonia will owe less in taxes this year—$10 million less, in fact,” CEO Rose Marcario writes. “Instead of putting the money back into our business, we’re responding by putting $10 million back into the planet. Our home planet needs it more than we do.”   
She referred to the government’s own newly released report on climate change, which warns that unless significant changes are made, we could be facing catastrophic and irreversible changes to our planet by 2050. 
I don't know about you but I have kids who will have kids and they will all be here in 2050. The planet my generation and those before are giving them will be nothing like it was before and  not much like it is today.
“Far too many have suffered the consequences of global warming in recent months, and the political response has so far been woefully inadequate—and the denial is just evil,” she wrote in a letter explaining the reasons for her decision. 
The future of our country depends upon the bravery of all of us - and thank you to Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez for The Green New Deal. Although it has been attacked what she did took guts and I commend her for it.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. The tax cuts put more money in the richest people's and company's pockets. But you cannot buy your way off a rapidly dying planet people. I'm getting off my soapbox now. 


y's $10 million tax break circa President Trump's tax cuts to climate change organizations. Can you imagine if other CEOs had the courage to do this?
“Based on last year’s irresponsible tax cut, Patagonia will owe less in taxes this year—$10 million less, in fact,” CEO Rose Marcario writes. “Instead of putting the money back into our business, we’re responding by putting $10 million back into the planet. Our home planet needs it more than we do.”   
She referred to the government’s own newly released report on climate change, which warns that unless significant changes are made, we could be facing catastrophic and irreversible changes to our planet by 2050. 
I don't know about you but I have kids who will have kids and they will all be here in 2050. The planet my generation and those before are giving them will be nothing like it was before and  not much like it is today.
“Far too many have suffered the consequences of global warming in recent months, and the political response has so far been woefully inadequate—and the denial is just evil,” she wrote in a letter explaining the reasons for her decision. 
The future of our country depends upon the bravery of all of us - and thank you to Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez for The Green New Deal. Although it has been attacked what she did took guts and I commend her for it.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. The tax cuts put more money in the richest people's and company's pockets. But you cannot buy your way off a rapidly dying planet people. I'm getting off my soapbox now. 



Friday, March 8, 2019

Who is the Bravest of them All?

The answer just in time for International Women's Day is us.

The women that I've known throughout my life have influenced who I am, what I believe and why I believe it. So here's a salute to a few of them.

My mother Catherine has been described by women I knew as a child as the kindest person they ever met. At a time when many women didn't, she went to college, worked at Gimbels, and then fell into the more traditional role of wife and mother. She is the reason that I am a good person.



My stepmother Robin was brave and learned very young that she always had to take care of herself. In her 70s she was still making cufflinks for Saks Fifth Avenue out of old time pieces, a business she started 10-15 years before. She was smarter than she gave herself credit for and a really Brave Woman. Before she died when my life was a mess she said "Aimee you will land on your feet, you always do." She was right and the reason I am successful at what I do.

My high school English teacher who was the first person to tell me I was a good writer, and is the reason for what I do today.


My dear friend Susan who grew up in a family that was addicted to drugs and alcohol and made her life count. She became a nurse, spent five years in the Peace Corps in Africa and Papua New Guinea working on women's health issues. Now she is a researcher in neuroscience. She is the reason I am never afraid.

My former boss Arlene who taught me so much about business and believed that I could be a successful journalist. And she helped me stay on track and do well in the cutthroat world of Manhattan.

My other friend Susan who was a rock when I was going through a painful divorce and to this day is still there when I need her.



My neighbor Riva and her amazing daughters who picked up their lives after disaster struck and went on to become some of the best people I know.

My friend Laura who is married to a former commander in the Navy and whose husband once said something like "Men I serve with don't get why I am with her because she is so independent."

My daughter Katie who is so brave and works so hard. She understands more at 19 than I did in my late 20s. And anything she does, she excels at.

Brave Women all over the world who we honor on this day.




Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Who's the Bravest of Them All? Why Nancy Pelosi Duh!

Image result for nancy pelosi with JFKNancy Pelosi

The media coverage of Nancy Pelosi’s “The Other Guy Blinked” moment with Donald Trump sucked. Cartoonists depicted her wiping the floor with the president, pundits discussed how she damaged or removed his cajones, writers talked about . .. does it really matter? All the talk was of a woman beating a man at his own game. What didn't it do? Acknowledge her for the powerful, smart, incredible woman that she is.  

Basically Nancy Pelosi got Trump to end the government shutdown by being stronger than he is.  Why is there no depiction of a strong woman who got what she wanted by sizing up her adversary (who may be president but is admittedly weak) and outsmarting him. Could this be intelligence in a woman who operates in world where she knows her own power? Heaven forbid.

When the issue was first raised about Nancy Pelosi becoming Speaker of the House again, women I know and who should know better played into the media firestorm of “she’s too old, we need fresher ideas, give someone else a chance,” yada, yada, yada. I said, we need an experienced leader who knows how to get things done and is relentless in getting what she wants. People scoffed. Then they came out of the media bubble and started to think about it. Women began to realize that she is exactly what our country needs in these perilous times. Her age doesn’t matter. Her red dresses don’t matter. Her polished look doesn’t matter.  What matters is that she takes no prisoners and does a remarkable job of dealing with a spoiled brat, incompetent president and playing good cop, bad cop with Charles Schumer. 

To say that Nancy Pelosi is a brave woman is an understatement. She has been around for a very long time in politics. Recent photos of her have surfaced in black and white – with President Kennedy from when her father ran Baltimore – and with a variety of others over the years. Bravery takes time and she’s had enough of it to know what she wants and to go out and get it. Let’s give her the credit she deserves and excoriate the media for turning this into a “she beat the man” story. She is the most accomplished female politician of our time and she deserves our support without making it a horse race. 

Let's be proud of her and watch her do the rest. You go girl. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Who Is the Bravest of Them All? Michelle Obama Still Becoming


I just finished Michelle Obama's book Becoming and it took far longer to read than expected. The story of her life from blue collar beginnings on Chicago's South Side was so rich with detail, so stirring, that I found myself savoring it after every section. The early part of her life was set up so carefully, a childhood on the top floor of a relative's home, lessons from a battered piano, her mother's determination that her kids would grow up confident and self-reliant. Remembering what we had in the Obamas -a role model family who loved and cared for each other and their country deeply - was a haunting evocation of what life used to be.

I raised my children during the Obama years and they grew up in a diverse area in the very blue state of Maryland. Their childhood mimicked mine in the 1960s, exploring the neighborhood, getting into minor scrapes with neighbors, the freedom to just be kids. The Obamas were always present but part of our lives in a peripheral way.  Michelle Obama spoke at my kids' high school, my daughter caught a glimpse of the president while playing basketball in the White House, she heard tales from club soccer teammates of Malia at their parties and what the secret service let them get away with. President Obama did a PSA for us when we launched the first USA Science & Engineering Festival.

The Obamas had a strong sense of family. Even though I was a single parent and our family cocoon was badly damaged, our country's first family was a role model we could count on to prevail. My kids grew into better, more hopeful people because of it.

Michelle Obama is the bravest of women on many levels mostly because she is willing to tell the world that she was not always Brave.  She, like every woman I know, had to get past that nagging voice in the back of her head repeating that she was not smart enough, good enough, pretty enough, strong enough, mother enough - or Brave enough - to be successful in what she decided to take on.  Work harder, the voice told her, organize yourself, set goals and exceed them. She writes of holding herself to a higher standard - that as the first black FLOTUS her every move was scrutinized and dissected, mostly from the right, but from others as well. She could not make mistakes and when she did there was no time to dwell on them. As she put it, there is no handbook for first ladies.

But her drive for perfection didn't overcome her. Becoming is written through a lens of optimism and often amusement at the role she found herself in. One anecdote from 2009 talks about bonding with Queen Elizabeth II over the pain of wearing heels. After weeks of schooling in royal protocol, Michelle put hand on the Queen's shoulder as they commiserated, an unconscious gesture and a royal  OMG, that stunned the Brits and got damning press. The Queen was a sport about it and responded by briefly placing a hand on Michelle's waist.  How hard it must be for Michelle to see herself replaced by a woman who openly does not want the honor of first lady, and says "I really don't care, do you?"

The food industry was cowed by Michelle's bravery. The first six months of her stint in the White House she created a vegetable garden with the help of local school children, to begin teaching families about healthy eating. When Barack ran for president family meals were often take-out and after a pediatrician warned her that Malia was at risk for diabetes based on BMI levels, her relationship with food underwent a transformation. The garden would morph into a national movement and after extensive negotiations, the food industry would redesign school lunches and ingredients to make the foods of childhood healthier. The data, which is detailed in Becoming, is impressive and was not shared widely enough at the time. A lot of her victories were about reducing salt and sugar content, and the national conversation about better nutrition are ongoing.

There are moments in Becoming when I just want to hug Michelle Obama, not the way she almost hugged the queen but a big bear hug, the kind that makes troubles go away. Michelle was a hugger and  she used hugs to diffuse discomfort and immediately show empathy.  I wanted to hug her when she talked about her South Side of Chicago upbringing, that when she got into a tough spot her mother would listen carefully and then tell her to figure out the answer for herself. I wanted to hug her when she discussed the slow decline of her father's health and mobility from multiple sclerosis, which I  watched with my own mother. As young teens we both saw them go from vibrant people to losing their ability to walk, control their limbs, to be who they were.  And I especially wanted to hug her when she talked about Barack, about learning to accept him as a man with a higher purpose, and the loneliness and frustration that it brought.

Becoming is not a perfect book, some sections area bit too long while the final years of Barack's presidency are glazed over with less discussion of what it all meant.  But unlike the trite, ghostwritten missives of other former first ladies, it does tell the truth from the first page to the last. One of the most interesting parts for me was about raising her two girls under the shadow of the White House and trying to give them as normal a life as possible. Instead of parading their children in front of the media, the Obamas made their Portuguese water dogs media stars, with Sunny often brought out to pose for photographers. They had nightly family dinners, decided in counseling when the girls were young, and a staple of their home that my family barely managed once a week. 

Read Becoming. It's the story of a Brave woman who is not afraid to admit how hard she worked to be Brave. Absorb her optimism. Find your connections to her challenges. And most important remember, Brave women go high when they go low.