Normal / On / Re – Poem II during a time of COVID-19

The incredible healthcare workers in Italy
Up again at 4am
My new normal
Normal?
It has always been one of those words that make me question or cringe
It's not a lovely word like pillow, soup, kind
Friend
Normal
I look at my couch, my dogs, my kitchen, my view, my cupboards, my books, my family
Normal
So far
TV. On. Computer. On. Instagram. On. Twitter. On.
Brain. On. Heart. On. 
Not so normal
Not so normal at all
I keep thinking. Asking.  “Why is this all so surprising”? 
Do you?
I am not into blame and shame
But I am into
Leadership, responsibility, accountability 
It’s a big deal to have NOT been better prepared 
In all the big and obvious ways
And in all the invisible and hidden ways
A very big deal
This is about some people in particular
Those with big titles, big salaries, big platforms, big influence, big teams
But most of us
as well
It’s a big deal to witness and unpack and understand what all of this exposes.
It will also be a big deal to respond
rethink, regroup, rebuild, reconnect
now
and especially
When the droplets settle and disappear

Maybe / Who / Next – A Poem in the Time of COVID-19

Park City, Utah

As published on March 14th on LinkedIn Influencers

Up again at 4 am
Head spinning, tears flowing, tummy bouncing
Wondering, questioning, pleading, praying
Stop
We are connected to one another
We have always been connected to one another
But maybe we did not pay attention
Or feel it
Or know it
Or perhaps we turned away not wanting to
Feel it
Or know it
But the evidence has always been there
Hasn’t it?
The news, the voices, the warnings, the alarm bells, the numbers, the heat maps, the lines, the people, the experts, the markets, the pain, the anxiety, the fear
It’s everywhere and constant and loud
And maybe it’s appropriate
And maybe it’s too much
And maybe we are over reacting
And maybe we are not
And maybe this brings out the worst in our humanity
And maybe it brings out the best in our humanity 
Maybe …………………..
I find myself thinking about choice
Who has it, and who does not
Who can drive their SUV to Costco, whip out their AMEX and who
Can’t 
Who can hunker down indoors and do jigsaw puzzles while watching Netflix and eating kale salad with dried cranberries and lemon zest
And who
Can’t 
Who is facing the decision on who gets laid off and who doesn’t because of cancelled
Everything
Who gets pushed out of their college dorms with nowhere to go because of travel bans, quarantines, money 
Who has to tell their young child what pandemic means and why they can't see their friends right now
Who fears they will get arrested if they go to get tested
Who can't get access to their life saving medication 
Who gets a pay check 
Who goes without any food let alone good food
Who must go to work to ensure the rest of us can stay home
Who cares for the sick while risking their own well being
Who already suffers from depression and anxiety and this truly feels like too much
Who is old and scared and sick and alone and may not make the cut. May not make the cut. 
Who?
Head spinning, tears flowing, tummy bouncing
Wondering, questioning, pleading, praying
Stop
Stop
Let us all do the next right thing
Let us all do the next kind thing
Let us all do the next hopeful thing
Let us all do the next generous thing
The next compassionate thing
The next wise thing
The next rational thing
The next loving thing
The next safe thing
The next calm thing
And then
Do it again and again
We are all connected. 
We always have been.
We always will be. 
(may heeding the call to 'social distance' be the force that actually draws us closer together)

…..

I used to write a lot of poetry and I recently started again. This is my third poem. All were written before the sun came up, and all were written quickly, in one sitting. As stated above, I woke up at 4 am and could not go back to sleep. I was tempted to turn on CNN or go to the NYTimes online, but I didn’t. I wrote this instead.

500 Reasons to Support International Women’s Day

As published on LinkedIn Influencers on March 8th, 2018.

Every March 8th, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, a celebration first held in 1909 in New York, but which was formally declared an annual international celebration by the United Nations in 1975 during the International Women’s Year. Today, March 8th is officially a public holiday in numerous countries around the world, including Cambodia, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Nepal, Mongolia, Ukraine, and Belarus, and there are events scheduled to mark this occasion in nearly every country across the globe. International Women’s Day is both a celebration of the accomplishments of women worldwide, and a call to action for gender equality and world peace, and I hope you all join me today in celebrating the incredible women in your life.

Every year, the United Nations picks a theme for the celebrations, and this year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Time is Now. I can’t think of a better mantra coming off of the year we’ve just had. Incredible strides have been made, yes, but we still have so much farther to go. Gender inequality is not yesterday’s business, it is today’s. The Time is Now. This past year was, for me, the year that moments became movements, and movements are about people moving together towards a better future.

So what makes people move, individually and collectively? Many things, including personal experiences, values, stories of others, and yes, data. Prior to my extensive work in philanthropy, I worked in the finance industry as a trader, and I relied on numbers, statistics, and data to inform my decisions and my actions. As I transitioned out of the financial sector and into the philanthropic space, I brought this mindset with me. Though I personally did not need evidence to prove what I know to be true; that a more gender balanced and inclusive world will be a better world for all, when I truly dug into the research, I learned the depth of the need, the depth of the inequities, the depth of the opportunities, and the depth of proven interventions in need of resources. A road-map for positive change is in the research. It is not hypothetical, it is real. So not only did I search out, collect, and aggregate research and studies, but I shared them. Last year, in honour of International’s Women’s Day 2017, I published the Top 400 Reports on Women and Girls. 

The response to this publication was fantastic, and over this past year it has been an invaluable resource on more occasions than I can count. However, it quickly became clear that 400 reports, as high a number as that may seem, did not nearly encompass the scope of the research available. I continued to collect and gather research, studies, and reports, and before I knew it, that list had grown to 500 reports across 20 different categories, including Arts, Entertainment, Film & Media, Impact Investing with a Gender Lens, Philanthropy, Violence Against Women & Trafficking, Entrepreneurship, and Political Representation. There’s even a section for Masculinity and Engaging Men in Gender Equality.

I cannot promise that this list will be updated and republished every March 8th to celebrate International Women’s Day, but I’m hoping it will, so please send me any missed or new reports for inclusion in future editions to @researchonwomen and #researchonWandG on twitter, or post the link below.

Happy International Women’s Day!