My passion centers around providing access. When I was growing up in the early 50s, girls were not expected or encouraged to plan a life that centered on interest in science, in discovery, invention and innovation.
Yet, I was glad I was a girl, because I could wear nail polish. I was only 4 when I figured that out.
I grew up in suburbia on Long Island. My grandparents on both my mother’s and father’s side were immigrants and entrepreneurs. Fortunately my family believed in education, set the expectations high and provided a rich environment while we were growing up. My father kept a large dictionary in the kitchen and would put a “Word of the Day” up in our breakfast area. We were expected to use the English language and use it properly. My mother was Hungarian.
She was really smart, beautiful, and outgoing. Creativity came naturally to her. My father is 91 years old, still an athlete, still a lover of the written language.
As I grew up, my resistance to the 50’s role of a middle class white girl also grew. There were spankings in those days, so I had to bide my time. I did.
Now I am more filled with gratitude and less concerned about what I did not have earlier in my life. My life now centers on listening and working with people, young or old who are “On fire”. We know who we are. I have exchanged biding my time, for passion and purpose. It is not possible to forget, nor do I want to forget what it was like to be powerless and poor; to have only my ideas and my abiding self-confidence. Through my work, and with the help of many, I am able to help provide access to those who have ideas and passion and who are willing to ask for help. My passion is to provide access, to a job, an internship, a person, a place or even to space. My life now is filled with opportunity – opportunity to help, to add value, to create something out of nothing. All the people who helped me saw beyond my limitations. They made my limitations irrelevant for the most part. I have learned how much I need and enjoy depending on my friends, colleagues and family. Self-confidence had to be honed by discipline and humility. Achievements replaced humiliation with humility. Now I am in the position to influence, to lead. So I do. My purpose is to provide access, opportunity. I am able to forget myself and be passionate about my purpose. Passion gives me freedom to forget myself for a time.