My expectations for Day 1 of my new job were insanely high & they were exceeded in every way. See the hearts in my eyes?! All the side hustling & creative struggle for all these years were absolutely worth it. And I’m so grateful. I’ll find a way to pay forward this joy. Thank you to all of you who have been on this ride with me. Your constant support means more to me than I have words to express.
I’m absolutely THRILLED to share that I’ve been offered & accepted a new job as a Development Manager at a TV & film production company in New York City to develop, produce, and write. I’m over-the-moon excited about this new adventure and dream job. I’m literally pinching myself to make sure this is really happening! A year ago I never would have believed this was even a possibility. It’s been a huge lesson for me that if we live our passions and share them, our lives can change in ways we can barely imagine.
This week is perfect for establishing goals. This week I’ve been writing a business plan that uses science and biomimicry as a basis to develop sustainable products, systems, and processes while helping at-risk youth, reducing recidivism, and providing training and jobs to people with low incomes. I’m working hard to roll everything I love into one endeavor without compromising and helping as many people as possible. You’d think I’d be scared to start my own company again, to try my hand at entrepreneurship knowing how hard it is and having suffered my fair share of hard knocks the last time. But I’m not. I’m not afraid at all. On the contrary, nothing fills me with more hope.
This is adulting at its finest: what opportunities we don’t see in the world we must make for ourselves. Grad school round 2 starts in less than a month – this time getting a Masters of Science in Biomimicry. In the past week, I’ve registered for classes, ordered my books for those classes, and applied for scholarships (waiting to hear back). Honestly, this gift to myself is what I’ve wanted for many years and is only now possible with this new program at ASU and my clear-eyed view of the next chapter of my career to combine my work in product development, business, storytelling, invention, history, and sustainability with my passion for science and endless sense of curiosity. Like all the best gifts, it’s one that gets better with time.
Excited to share this podcast episode where I talk about everything I love in my career: product development, science, biomimicry, the arts, writing, my book, storytelling, technology, and the power of our imagination coupled with curiosity. Thank you to host N.B., and to Carolyn Kiel for recommending me! You can listen at this link (www.crosspollination.co) and wherever you get your podcast feeds!
A few months ago, I asked myself the question, “In 5 years, what would I like to be doing in my career on a daily basis?” I could only think of 1 answer: I want to spend more time with animals. While animals have always played an important role in my life, they’ve only once been a (very small) part of my career. I thought about working at a museum, zoo, animal hospital, or a nonprofit like the ASPCA or Wildlife Conservation Society. I explored those ideas and found that the jobs that match my experience are all administrative, and that’s not what I wanted. I wanted actual work with animals.
I care deeply about making our cities sustainable, living, breathing, joyful places. They aren’t now, and I think my passion for changing this coupled with my experience in product development and management, and business is not only helpful but critical.
So I began to think about how to bring my profession in business and product, and my passion for science together. Biomimicry—the study of biological structures and processes, and the application of their wisdom to our built environment—is that answer to my question. Biomimicry involves learning from the wisdom of all six kingdoms of life: animals, plants, protists, fungi, archaeans (single cell organisms found in extreme environments like boiling water), and eubacteria (single cell organisms mainly found in soil and other organisms).
This reflection was part of what prompted me to think about getting some formal education in biomimicry. That’s how I found the online graduate program, Master of Science in Biomimicry at Arizona State University. I’ve applied and am waiting to hear if I’m accepted into the program. They only take a small handful of people every year. Despite the odds, I put my best foot forward in my application. And in the meantime, I’m reading and learning everything I can about the field and its application.
I continually evaluate my life and career. Every day I ask myself if I’m happy, and I then I answer the question why or why not. This reflection holds me accountable to me. And even better, it also helps me find and follow my dreams.
Yesterday, I did an interview for a podcast called How Humans Change. I spoke with hosts Josh Chambers and Leiv Parton about change, transformation, death, trauma, writing, mental health, choices, poverty, technology, career, the passage of time, therapy, science, dinosaurs, biomimicry, super powers, and how healing, while difficult, is the best motivator of all. It’s my most personal interview to-date.
Some people who hear it will be surprised, and others will have answers to some long outstanding questions that I have rarely discussed in the past. I’m making a more concerted effort to address these topics thoughtfully, authentically, and often.
I always love meeting members of my tribe and these guys are definitely part of it. Thank you to my amazing friend and mentor, John Bucher, for connecting me to them. I’ll share the episode link when it’s live. Until then, give their first season a listen by clicking here.
“It’s business, not personal” is BS. Businesses are made of people; they’re inherently personal. I recently got very emotional over a business issue because I care. Some people took issue with that. I’d do it again. Leaders need to see their team members as people first, employees second.
Being a heart-centered, empathic leader is what helps teams grow healthy and strong. Take care of your people and they will take care of your customers who will take care of your investors and shareholders. It’s that simple—give a damn and show it through your actions and words.
Last week, I wrote about my interest in going back to grad school to pursue a Master of Science in Biomimicry. I intended to do a *little* work on my personal statement this weekend and then just couldn’t stop myself. I wrote the whole dang thing in one sitting. And I cried because A) it means that much to me and B) I am a big ol’ sap. I had a good night’s sleep, got up early, edited it, and sent it off. So now, we wait. I feel insanely happy that I’ve taken this step. I can’t wait to spend my days learning from nature so that I can literally build a better world for all beings. I still feel like I’m dreaming a bit that this is actually going to happen (provided the application process goes well), and that’s okay with me. I’m fine with having a life that is the stuff of my dreams. Thank you all for sharing in this process!
Some news. Shark mucus sounds like an odd inspiration. Stay with me. After the podcast Ologies released its shark episode, I re-examined biomimicry as a way to marry my product development, business, and storytelling experience with my love for science. I owe host Alie Ward and Chris Lowe, who was the shark expert on the episode a million thanks. Here’s why:
I always loved science and actually started college in the engineering school. After a professor told me I didn’t “have a mind of physics”, I believed him and left all my dreams of working in science behind. I changed majors entirely and have always wondered what might have been if I hadn’t let this professor get into my head.
Fast forward a number of years. I’ve continued to learn about science and its applications. Over the years, I’ve thought about different ways that I could have a career that combined science with all my other experience & interests. Enter Ologies and sharks…
Shark mucus acts as a built-in antibiotic bandaid that allows sharks to rapidly heal. This may contribute to their long life spans of – wait for it – up to 470 yrs! We should apply this to our own medical research, right? We do! In the field of biomimicry.
Biomimicry is an applied science field in which the wisdom of the natural world plants and animals is studied and applied to the human-built world of products & environments in a sustainable way that benefits all beings.
After some research, I learned there’s a Masters of Science in Biomimicry through Arizona State University Biomimicry 3.8 that’s a dream program. Multidisciplinary, online, created for working professionals, and with a travel research cohort component. Best of all, it leverages ALL my prior experience.
I’ve been a fan of Janine Benyus‘s work since reading about her 10 yrs ago. She founded this program. It’s exciting how much the field has grown & how vital it will be to use design + business + science to build a better world for all beings as we grapple w/our changing planet.
I’m now in application and scholarship hunting mode, hoping to begin the program in 2019. Finding the work we’re meant to do is a long and winding road. I hope my story inspires you to stay curious and to keep reaching for a life fueled by passion and goodness. The world needs us.