Living and Giving

Living and Giving Throwback: I Told Harvard Business School I Take Walks, I Take Naps

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October 3, 2011

I returned from an amazing Harvard Business School event, called the Dynamic Women in Business Conference. They have maintained the highest levels of leadership, and dynamic examples of women leading such diverse and wonderfully fruitful lives.

I was honored to present with other strong women leaders on our panel on Social Entrepreneurship, which had almost no standing or sitting room. People wanted to soak up social entrepreneurship, caring so deeply about living lives devoted to the good of our community. What an inspiration to see.


What I found so amazing throughout was the diversity of women\’s lives. There was Lillian Lincoln, the first African American woman to graduate from Harvard Business School in 1969. A 53-year-old gay woman from Microsoft, Anna Collins, adopted 13 month old twins, balanced with leading a major department at Microsoft.  Single mom Annette Pelliccio was a pioneer in the organic gardening industry, while also taking care of her two children. There was the effervescent Sarah Endline from SweetRiot’s confections who incorporated community by sourcing from indigenous people, and featuring local artists on the labels. As you can see, a feast of women living productive, meaningful lives.

Just reading the above paragraph makes me filled with awe at the productivity and devotion of such active women. They are doing so much good for the world, and yet many of them are also maintaining families. It\’s not an easy balance. I think it will be one of the most challenging questions women face as we strive to lead meaningful lives at home and with work.

Work and Life Balance most certainly came up. At first there was a groundswell that it wasn\’t possible. I had to venture in here, delicately so, as I am not a mom yet, but do aspire to be. I can speak about my balance today, but not yet for the future. I hope I will make peaceful, wise, inspired decisions that bless all the people in my life, when that time comes.


So for my life today, I had to tell Harvard Business School, \”Sometimes, I take naps.” And let me tell you why.

Every Sunday I go down to the Peninsula to be with my cherished parents. They have been together 48 years and are what I would call \”best friends with a spark.\” It just works. They are kind and loving and caring, consistently. I talk with them both most every day, if not multiple times.


We just, quite simply… enjoy being together.

It\’s a profound statement, I believe, not to be overlooked.

I keep telling myself, precious, precious—that\’s what time with my parents is. Don\’t take a moment for granted. Cherish your time.

So I do. Every Sunday I head down to church to hear my mom read, as she currently leads the service. It\’s very precious to hear her speak about a spiritual foundation and to be read to by your mother. As adults, we don\’t often get that luxury of a mom reading to you, which is so precious during childhood.


Then we come back and we have lunch together. We may talk outside on the patio in the sun, or, take their Golden Labrador Daisy for a walk around the block. Or, we might go take a nap.

That\’s right.

If UniversalGiving, the organization I lead, grows slower because I choose to spend my weekend with my parents that way, then so be it. I cannot sacrifice that time together, in the name of our community, in the name of social entrepreneurship. These are the people I care about most. I love the most. Who have loved me the most. Who kept me going and inspired during the most challenging of startup days.

Then we then usually have dinner together, and I head back up to the city.

It\’s blissful.


It is exactly right to state that \”I am who I am because of my parents.\” And so I am going to take that peaceful time with them as precious, and guard it like a type of spiritual gold. It’s what “makes me run,” and it’s what makes UniversalGiving succeed. Protect your time with whoever is family to you.  No email can compete. Don’t let it.