Seeing Emotion: Google Glass and IEEE Advances Technology for Autism


“Google Glass” or “Glass” was introduced in 2013 and is a brand of wearable computer Seeing Emotion Google Glass IEEE and Autismsmart glasses that adds information next to what people see. It has an optical head-mounted display that fits onto glasses. Since its inception, it has many applications across industries. It even takes pictures.

Recently the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Spectrum posted a breakthrough article called: Upgraded Google Glass Helps Autistic Kids “See” Emotions

It’s exciting and continues the growing narrative that shows how engineers, scientists, and doctors continue to make significant advances to healthcare and technology. Social media and technology continue to thrive, innovate, and grow, which is a great thing for humanity.

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Feel free to comment below.

Moving Forward, Conversations about Social Justice, Remembering #PhilandoCastile One Year Later


July 14th, 2016 the line and the wait was long to get into the doors at the Cathedral of St. Paul before the funeral of Philando Castile.  There are no words for what it was like to go in and walk past the body of this man I watched take his last breaths in real-time on the internet.

Laying someone to rest does not make the pain go away. Over the past couple of years, we continue to hear crowds chanting; “No Justice, No Peace.” But what is justice? What is it supposed to look like? If we examine the synonyms for the word, it seems to lead to more questions about what has happened. Here are a few that came to mind.

  • Is there anything fair about what happened here? No
  • Was impartiality exercised in any part of this situation? There are many who would say no
  • Did it feel like the way this played out was done objectively? There are many who would say no
  • What about principles regarding the distinction between right and wrong,  or good and bad behavior?
  • Where is the morality in all of it?
  • Are the voices of the people crying out about continued injustice we witness in our communities being heard? Most would say no

It is too much repetition, people are traumatized, and tired. Yet still, we press forward. I am passionate about service, community and social justice. In conversations, it is okay to agree to disagree on points of view, and when we engage in civil conversations, it can provide new perspectives and insights for all participating in dialogue.

Philando Castile’s death was one of many events that led to the Women’s March in February of 2017, when women all over the world came together in what could be considered the greatest movement in the history of the world to speak out about treating ALL people fairly, including:

  • Refugees
  • Undocumented workers
  • People of all faiths
  • The GLBTQ community
  • Women’s
  • Black, and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC)

Building bridges, not walls pulls communities together, one person at a time, one conversation at a time. Mutual understanding can put us on the road to mutual understanding and healing. Aren’t we all better when we seek to understand, asking others to tell us more about their perspective?

In July of 2016, I wrote a post that was a poem and a prayer for Philando Castile and his family titled:

“Look Up: What Was Entrusted to you? Pay Attention.”

As a tribute, I invite you to share it with others and ask what they think about it.

Perhaps it could be a constructive tool as we continue to lift the Castile Family and others like his up in prayer.

Thank you for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, or, if you prefer to ask some questions confidentially, let me know and I will be happy to respect your privacy and respond one to one.

People as Transition | Social Justice and Bridging Communities One Year Later


After Philando Castile was killed in Saint Paul, Minnesota, many people were called to action because they saw no other option. It was the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Who said; “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

We can agree that where there is no justice, it is just us,” people coming together in a grassroots effort for a greater good, one person at a time is just part of the solution. Often, we feel a call to action, but aren’t sure where to start. Conversations can be one area of focus, but with so many varying points of view, many may not be willing to engage.

I came across a source published in The Harvard Business Review called How to Have Difficult Conversations When You Don’t Like Conflict, which seems to offer some good suggestions.

Learning how to have civil conversations when there are differing viewpoints is a step towards the call. Curiosity combined with active listening are important skills. Seeking to understand how people come to conclusions about these types of occurrences is a great start. We also have to learn to accept others where they are without casting judgment.

Imagine all the possibilities if each of us did a few things to get involved. What can you do to play your part? Below are a few examples to consider that might help pave a path forward.

Ways to support social justice initiatives in meaningful ways:
  1. Educate yourself about a specific movements, or for words you aren’t clear about
  2. Visit the Social Justice Resource Center website
  3. Community action: be a volunteer or join a nonprofit board
  4. Seek to understand. Listen to alternative points of view
  5. Visit Change.org/petitions to see if there are petitions to sign that support your principles and values
  6. Seek the information about the generational trauma that exists in the lives of the Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC)  communities.
  7. Call government representatives, ask them where they stand on these issues
  8. What questions can you ask others to engage in dialogue if they are open?

No matter how big or small, these are the things that could be done collectively to make a difference. That is how we bridge communities. It’s all about fellowship and remember that we can’t do it alone. Let us forge ahead with these thoughts and continue to lift the family of #PhilandoCastile and others like his, like ours, up in prayer.

Thank you for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, or, if you prefer to ask some questions confidentially, let me know and I will be happy to respect your privacy and respond one to one.

Justice and”Just Us.” Remembering #PhilandoCastile


….“equal rights, fair play, justice, are all like the air: we all have it, or none of us has it. That is the truth of it.”   -Maya Angelou

A year ago my friend, Alberto Monserrate, was continuously posting a video that I could not ignore. She called him ‘Sir’‘ while her boyfriend,  Philando Castile, was groaning and taking his last breaths. She could not console him, nor could she explain what was happening to her four-year-old daughter in the back seat. Even I could not process what I was seeing right away. But I do remember the feeling of disbelief and the questions spinning in my head.

  • How could this happen?
  • Why wasn’t someone coming to help?
  • Why was he pointing the gun in her direction?
  • Where was the compassion for this couple and their child?
  • Why was no medical assistance provided immediately?
  • Why did the police officer fire SEVEN times?
  • Where is the humanity we assume should happen in a situation like this?

No one was coming to his aid and I still can’t grasp it. I have written blog posts about unjust violence in the past. But this time, it happened so close to home in my city and presented a view that directly has an impact on me and my family in ways I can’t even begin to explain.  

BlackLivesMatterPhilandoCastile

To honor the memory of Philando Castile, my next few blog posts will have pictures I took during the two weeks following his death, where many came together to bridge the injustice that could not be ignored or understood. 

People felt called to action and gathered to mourn, grieve, and to try to make sense of what happened. Incidents like this have occurred for a long time, with dialogue has been circulating for years in Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) communities. What is new is technology provides the tools to film and be streamed to social media.

How many more times will we see this repeated in the media before action is taken? The idea of brushing it under the rug with the hope it will go away is no longer an option. We should cease the antiquated idea; “If we don’t name it, it can’t exist.” Uncomfortable conversations about the “undiscussables” are necessary to move towards healing.

It won’t feel normal at first. Practicing a new narrative until it feels familiar will mean being open to controversy without defensiveness. Everyone matters and has a voice. At the end of the day, people want to feel seen, heard, regardless of their perspective.

There can be beauty when we agree to disagree without being combative because when different ideas come together, it creates new knowledge, and that is a good thing.

Here are ways to support social justice initiatives in meaningful ways:
  1. Educate yourself about a specific movements, or for words you aren’t clear about
  2. Community action: be a volunteer or join a nonprofit board
  3. Seek to understand. Listen to alternative points of view
  4. Visit Change.org/petitions to see if there are petitions to sign that support your principles and values
  5. Seek the information about the generational trauma that exists in the lives of the Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC)  communities.

It starts with one individual, because community is at the core of how we come together. Let’s remember that as we continue to lift our families, communities and other families who face social injustice up in spirit and prayer.

Thank you for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, or, if you prefer to ask some questions confidentially, let me know and I will be happy to respect your privacy and respond one to one.

Look Up: What Was Entrusted To You? Pay Attention


Philando Castile The System Is Broken
This blog post was inspired by “The Weekly Photo Challenge
Look up and see those who are coming from the north. Where is the flock that was entrusted to you, the sheep of which you boasted?” -Jeremiah 3.2
A Prayer and a Poem for #PhilandoCastile & Family

Look up and notice

with open minds and open hearts
Put yourself in the shoes of an opposing view
Pay attention and listen to those sharing their reality
They have something to say. Their experiences are real.
Their voices matter. They are suffering in despair
They deserve to feel heard. To be heard.

Are you listening?

Because when someone says “I am hurting
The only appropriate response is; “Tell me more, I am listening
Be patient; consider that the first story may not be the whole picture
Be open to new information, in a world full of endless possibilities
These things together will expand minds, hearts and our world

Look up and look around

We continue to see repeated patterns we know exist
Minimizing them torments our intelligence
The idea “if we don’t name it, it can’t exist” is excruciating denial
Inaction leaves us feeling stuck in perpetual wait
What are these patterns trying to tell us?
They are saying that idly standing by is no longer enough
They are directing us to take a stand and to do something
They are making it clear that we have so much more to learn from one another
When different views come together, they merge to create new knowledge, and that is a good thing. I have never known a time when we didn’t need ideas to continue to evolve

Entrust: to give someone the responsibility of doing something or of caring for someone or something  (Merriam-Webster)

  • Police officers are given the responsibility of protecting people, property and the law
  • Humanity is given the responsibility of being kind and compassionate to one another

Look Up2Lookup:  Today, Philando Castile, who was killed last week in Minnesota by a police officer, will be laid to rest.

Castile is not the first and sadly, will not be the last. The greater good in society happens as we work towards coming together and leaving our differences behind.

Pray for these families, because they are our families. Our families are hurting.

Pray for parents of young black men and women, who are faced with presenting a complex yet balanced view about systemic injustice, because the dialogue can be confusing for many. May they be given the words to adequately conduct constructive discourse in a loving manner so that it leads all of us towards the right solution, together. It is time to set our differences aside because we owe it to ourselves, and one another.

I want to hear from you. Thank you for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, or, if you prefer to ask some questions confidentially, let me know and I will be happy to respect your privacy and respond one to one.

Sparkles, S’mores and Land that I Love | Happy 4th of July


Smores Fourth of July NostalgiaI love the Fourth of July (or Fourch of Guly as I said when I was little), it makes me feel a bit nostalgic. One of my first 4th of July parades I remember being sad because I wasn’t fast enough at getting candy and I’m sure there were one or two thoughtful kids & parents who saw that and walked over to make sure I had some. Then there was the first parade I was in with my sister where we both wore costumes and tap shoes from dance lessons. My mom told us to march holding our batons with one hand lifting them straight up and down with each step and of course, we thought it was a great idea.

As we grew older, we were blessed enough to spend the first two weeks of July up north with my dad and dear friends at Crane Lake in Voyageurs National Park on the Canadian Border. The only way to get to the cabin was by boat. Imagine hauling 3-5 adults, 5-7 kids and a dog, 2 weeks worth of food, clothing and fresh water for drinking. Sometimes it would take 2-3 trips and the boat would be so heavy the waterline was about a foot below the top. While we did have a short wave radio to hear the closest weather reports and listen to the international time, we did not have phones or television and we actually learned to appreciate that.

It was there we explored the chain of lakes where water is so clear you can look 15+ feet straight down and see the bottom. We learned how to water ski, responsibly shoot guns at targets, become great fishers and use a filet knife to clean and prepare our catch. At night, my dad would bring Crane Lakeout his guitar and we sang songs together around the fire, roasted marshmallows for S’mores and later hear the cracking and snapping of the fresh burning wood. Some evenings we would go out “on the rock” and enjoy the sunset, seen in the picture to the right. I would close my eyes and take in the fresh smell of the Norway Pine trees and burning fire. I would listen to the water lapping up on the shore, loons, seagulls or a boat humming in the distance. It was heaven on earth.

After fourth of July celebrations in the small town across the water, we would take the boat to the middle of the lake, cut the engine, watch the fireworks and have rich conversations about freedom, life or whatever was on our minds. It was there we discovered breathtaking views where stars are so clear you could see them sparkle right down to the horizon. In a good year, we could see the northern lights dance, displaying colors of green, blue and red.

I’m grateful for the people and all of those memories we created together. It shaped me in growing a deeper appreciation for this land where we live. Today, I think about so many people around the world who don’t have the same choices we do. At the same time,  we can not forget those who have gone before us and those still fighting for our freedom because they have laid much of the groundwork for us.

I also will not forget that there is still more work that needs to be done.

Regardless, I celebrate the fact that we are so fortunate to be citizens in a country where we have the freedom to express ourselves, choose to practice our faith, celebrate diversity, practice servant leadership,  be educated and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Wishing you a very happy Fourth of July. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences about how this day has shaped you. Please share below and thanks for visiting my blog!

“I AM” and “SPIRIT” In Sync With One Another #FierceForward


Fierce Forward - I AM and Spirit = Parters

I AM – two of the most powerful words you could ever declare to yourself. This is your declaration, your choice to stand in your power and allow your vision to come to reality/ #FierceForward

SPIRIT – Your truth. Freedom is found when you live your truth and let your spirit live out loud. Do not hide. Do not deny your truth. Do not let her stay quiet. Go forward, fiercely and let your SPIRIT lead the way. #FierceForward

Knowing who we are and being grounded in our truth are at the core of what teaches us to be great leaders and even better human beings.

These bracelets are handmade using African Trade Beads to support women in Africa. They are special because they support a worthy cause and they were an authentic gift from someone whose friendship means a great deal to me.

This post is inspired by The Weekly Photo Challenge themed: Partners: Whether two of a kind or ten, give us subjects that are in sync with one another – show us partnerships.

Learn more about #FierceForward at fierceforwardforlife.com

Interpretations for Gathering


GatheringOver at The Daily Post, the theme for this week’s weekly photo challenge is posed by Krista, who asks us to document a gathering and share our interpretation of it.

Consider the different ways we can think about the word; Gathering as in material things we can see and touch. Gathering as in knowledge or information we get from various sources. Gathering as in symbolic ritual like celebrations or at places of worship. Gathering as in shared experiences like school plays or concerts. Gathering as in complex systems, where everything is related to everything else. Many may argue that there are interdependencies and that we can’t refer to one type of gathering without taking into account all the others.

Regardless of the kind of “gathering” we refer to, each person gets to decide which definition (singularly and collectively) is the most important to them.

In life, we gather things that we don’t get to take with us when we leave this world.

At work, we gather reports and data. We gather at meetings or to network.

In change management, gatherings are significant because they are considered as a type of symbolic ritual that can help bring a group of people together and move them through transition, from one stage to another.

In communities, we gather to celebrate, to educate, to worship, to grieve, and to share experiences.

Mentally we gather knowledge and information.

Emotionally we gather our thoughts.

At home, we gather as families to make sense of this world. We come together to teach, learn, share, grieve, grow, pray, laugh and to love. We create memories and meaningful experiences that leave legacies.

Do your organizations use the concept of “gathering” as a symbolic tool to move people through change? My wish for you; may your gatherings bring significance to whatever is important in your personal and professional lives.

Please feel free to share your thoughts below and thanks for visiting my blog!

Interpreting “Humanity” in a Click


As part of the weekly photo challenge, Thirdeyemom asks us to decipher the theme “humanityInterpreting

So thinking about what it means to be human, poses more questions than answers.

The plural definition; “humanities” takes on more complexity.

Merriam-Webster defines humanities as;

…”the branches of learning (as philosophy, arts, or languages) that investigate human constructs and concerns as opposed to natural processes (as in physics or chemistry) and social relations (as in anthropology or economics)“[1]

This photograph taken at the National Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC is a great metaphor for this week’s assignment. A young man’s image reflected in front of the wall etched with more than 58,286 names of soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam war for the sake of freedom. My challenge to you is to look at this picture, ponder its meaning and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How did we get here?
  • What makes us who we are today?
  • What was life like for those who went before us?
  • How did they live?
  • How did they die?
  • How did they want to be remembered?
  • In what ways can we translate these questions to look inward and ask how we can be of service to others?
  • What is our purpose and how can we make an impact?

It only takes one person to make a difference. So reflect, and ask yourself how you will make yours?

And while you are at it, if you know someone who served, reach out and thank them.

I appreciate you visiting my blog, please feel free to make comments below.

A Random Act of Kindness for Wordless Wednesday


When was the last time someone reached out to you and performed a random act of kindness? I was pleasantly surprised when a complete stranger recently did something thoughtful for me just when I needed it most. As a result of her good-hearted deed, I plan to honor her by paying it forward.

WholeHeartedThankYou

As thought leaders, we sometimes forget the view, taking a moment to acknowledge the people around us via random acts of kindness can go a long way. We get so caught up in our calendars, goals, and tasks and only see the road ahead. But when we slow down a little to enjoy, pleasant surprises seem to come out of the woodwork.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, this past Monday, has been deemed a day to encourage making a difference in communities. As I wrote in a previous post called: Servant Leadership: Facts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. King was a strong proponent of servant leadership, so whether or not you took action this week, I would like to propose a challenge.

What can you do to make a difference for someone this week? Please make the effort, then come back here and share your story below. I’d like to hear what you did, the response you got and how it made you feel. I look forward to hearing from you.

A Journey With No Direction


 A nomadic lifestyle is one of wandering around from one place to another with no sense of direction and no fixed pattern of Nomad, a journey with no destinationmovement.

When I saw today’s Daily Prompt, the question posed was; “If you could live a nomadic life, would you? Where would you go? How would you decide? What would life be like without a “home base”?.

It seems like an easy question at first glance. An intriguing idea because I have a natural curiosity about possibilities in the world. I love to travel, explore different cultures, learn how people use resources and spend their days.

If I lived a nomadic lifestyle, there is humorous irony in the fact that I can’t really say where I would go, or how,  because, isn’t that the point of being a nomad?

But that doesn’t mean I can’t IMAGINE what it might look like…..  I would be a wandering soul, trusting the next destination would unveil itself at the right time and that I would get everything I need. The driving force would be faith as an optimistic learner seeking to do good in the world, make a difference, touch lives. That would be my legacy. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

I have seen the saying; “Everywhere you go there you are,” play out in the lives of people I know. I suspect being a vagabond would change the meaning of community and home.  It is easy to IMAGINE a romanticized life different from what we have. But doesn’t dealing with issues faced by other people mean limited connections or ties with anything or anyone? Wouldn’t it involve observing a community, but not fully being part of one?

I think it is all in how we choose to frame it because what works for one might not be right for another. We have relied on others to get to where we are today and there is something to be said for that. I like the idea of home, community and being part of something larger than myself. I’m grateful for that.

How about you? Please share how you might answer or what you think about the questions above. Thanks for visiting!

 

Why You Should Know About The World Economic Forum


Capitalism, in its current form, no longer fits the world around us. A global transformation is urgently needed and it must start with reinstating a global sense of social responsibility.”         -Klaus Schwab

World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013This past week over 2500 of the most important business, political, religious, academic and other leaders in the world gathered for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF). The World Economic Forum is an international non-profit organization that addresses important issues, some of which include economic growth, environmental sustainability, financial systems, health, humanity, ecosystems, gender equality, social development and more.

I would be fascinated to attend this event someday and have put it on my bucket list of things to do before I die. In today’s business environment, it is more important than ever to be informed about issues that affect and influence economies, our environment, human rights, etc. I believe anyone who works in strategy or management would benefit by paying attention to the many issues being discussed at the World Economic Forum and use the rich research issues, reports and studies it produces.

Read more of this post

Transparency And the Journey to Truth


Transparency, it’s an interesting concept. How much about ourselves and our lives should we share online, in public, with another human being, and as leaders?Slice of Transparency by Kakie Fitzsimmons

The truth is there is no answer because it is a decision we must seek individually. The most important person in the world that we ought to be transparent with, is ourselves.

Recently I found myself re-watching the movie; “Eat, Pray, Love,”  based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert and there is a quote in the movie that rings true for all of us.

It discusses how the Physics of the Quest is a force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity and it goes something like this:

If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.

So what are your thoughts and feelings about transparency online? I really want to hear from you so please, share below what this means for you and let’s talk!

NF Walk for a Cure @ Minnehaha Falls Sunday 07-29-12


Meet Jacqueline this Sunday, July 29, 2012, along with the Children’s Tumor Foundation to raise funds and find a cure for Neurofibromatosis. A day filled with family fun, community service that will nourish your soul, and a walk @ Minnehaha Falls. Dance with the Radio Disney Road Crew, Play Laser Tag, Enjoy Face Painting and more! If you can help, please donate to Jacqueline’s Team Walk Away HERE!

I will let Jacqueline tell you her story below! Let’s help her feel empowered!

Spread the word and THANKS for your support!

  • 8:00 –    8:45 AM        Check-in / Registration
  • 8:45 –    9:00 AM        Opening Ceremony
  • 9:00 – 11:00 AM         1.5 Mile Walk

Location: Wabun Picnic Area, Minnehaha Park,4655 46th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN, 55406

More about Kakie Fitzsimmons

Join us to Take a Step & Cure A Genetic Tumor Disorder for this Four Year Old


Regular readers of my blog have met her before. This is a picture of Jacqueline, myself and that is her mom in the background. The photo was taken recently after we attended The Blue Men show where she caught a huge marshmallow shot out into the audience. Everything about Jacqueline appears normal, but she has a genetic tumor disorder called Neurofibromatosis.

There are many side effects that come along with this disorder where nerve tissue grows tumors for life and there is no cure. Symptoms can include bone deformities, blindness, nerve pain and more. Among symptoms we know of that Jacqueline has the include the following:

  • Myopic glioma, tumors that grow inside the brain and could result in visual impairment or blindness.
  • Abnormal masses (one on her tongue and another on the back of her head.
  • Bone issues: Her bone from her elbow to her wrist is curved.

Jacqueline is charming and imaginative and loves to dance. She is really good at it too! Today I am asking for your help to share Jacqueline’s story so we can create awareness about neurofibromatosis.

Register to join us this Sunday, July 29th at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis along with the Children’s Tumor Foundation for Jacqueline’s Team Walk Away to help raise funds to find a cure.

Being of service to others can be a healer, connector, teacher and friend for all people involved and always results in something good. I believe it is an important aspect of leadership.   If you are unable to join the event, please donate to Jacqueline’s Team Walk Away in her honor and help make a difference.

Thank you again for your ongoing readership and support.