Some Thoughts on Leadership

Beautiful Cercedilla. I can’t wait to go outside again!

One of the blessings I’ve noticed lately is that I have been speaking a lot more with people I hadn’t heard from in a long time. Including my sisters and brothers. Since we can’t be together physically, we’ve all been stepping up our communication game.

Since I’ve been working with Epikus, I’ve been learning a lot about leadership development. Some things I already knew, some things are completely new. Speaking with my sister last night, we were talking about how businesses are handling their human resources right now. If you’re ‘non-essential’, are you not worth investing in?

Sis sent me two articles. The first is this one, from Forbes, which gives some information about changes CostCo implemented as the Covid-19 virus began spreading in the United States. The second is from The Intercept, and tells the horror story of Whole Foods at the same time. Taking the courage to bite the bullet and ensure the well-being of your employees is what distinguishes excellent leaders. In a time of crisis, do you invest in your people, or pull back out of fear? What about when we’re on the other side? What do you do when you find yourself needing to hire again and your Glassdoor reviews are negative, good luck finding the best talent. Now is a time for reflection and growth. And investment in people will only make leaders better in the long run.

I’ve been tempted to apply for a job with Amazon. But I don’t like their values. I’ve worked for companies that I won’t name that paid a ton of money, but treated me like a machine. I know I’m not the first one to say this, but isn’t it interesting that now people who don’t make minimum wage are our ‘heroes’? I hope business leaders in the U.S. are receiving the messages. We know the government isn’t!

While I’m not in the U.S. and I’m not sure how things are on the ground, what my friends have told me is that looting has begun and people aren’t taking things seriously. I am happy to report from Spain that people here are being very respectful, at least where I am in Cercedilla. While grocery trips are full of nerves, I notice strangers saying hello, and neighbors yelling out windows just to check in.

This was kind of a boring post. I saw this this morning and it made me laugh, so enjoy. Too bad I don’t have a dog!

Reporting from Spain (again- I’ll probably keep doing it)

Just missing the ocean…

Today the snow is melting and it’s rainy out. Beef stew is on the stove. It’s freezing cold, which is bonkers considering I was tanning just two months ago in January. It’s the end of the month so I imagine a lot of people are experiencing intense anxiety. Payroll, bills, and how long can we make it?

I wanted to share some entertainment. The first is a video that makes me laugh out loud. The second one makes me cry with tears of hope and joy. This can also be considered a language lesson.

I’m learning how to produce subtitles on YouTube. What a great way to spend a quarantine! But apparently technology is not cooperating with me, maybe due to an overload of users. So instead of timely subtitles, you’ll have a transcription.

1. This is the one that makes me laugh out loud!

This guy is awesome.

I’m spending time on social media and I’ve heard messages that are very surprising like that of Cristiano Ronaldo saying ‘stay at home’. Or Vin Diesel, also saying ‘stay at home’. Our President Nito Cortizo, and various Ministers have told us to stay at home. OF COURSE! You live in a mansion!! Stay in my house!! It’s been 3 days and I’m about to go insane!!! It seems like the north pole because all I have left is ice!! Stay in MY HOUSE! Your house is like a country. It has tennis courts and golf courses. STAY AT HOME.

So yeah, at least I have more to eat than just ice. This next video is the one that gets me teary. I hope it resonates with you as well. Thanks to my friend Dianne in Florence for sharing it with me.

This guy is also awesome.

Just to be clear, I am NOT taking credit for these beautiful words. I just wanted to share them with a larger audience. I will look for a way to link back to the author.

“I’ve been reflecting a lot the past few days, trying to give some meaning because there must be meaning to this crazy situation we’re experiencing. I imagined that the virus could speak. I imagined what it would say in a letter if it could write one. These are the words I was able to put down on paper.

Hi. I’m Covid19. Many of you will know me as Coronavirus. Yep, it’s me. Sorry for not being able to tell you when, where or how I’ll introduce myself to you. Why am I here?

Let’s just say I was tired. I was tired of seeing you ruining yourselves. I was tired of you treat the planet. I was tired of how you treat each other. I was tired of your violence. Of the wars. Of your interpersonal conflicts and your prejudices.

I was tired of your social jealousy. Your hypocrisy and your egotism. I was tired of how little time you spend on yourselves, and your families. I was tired of how much you ignore your children. I was tired of your superficiality. I was tired of the importance you give to superfluous things, at the cost of the things that are essential.

I was tired of your continued search for the most beautiful dress, the newest phone, or the best car just to appear successful. I was tired of your lies. I was tired of your misinformation. I was tired of the little time you spend communicating with each other. I was tired of your continued complaining when you do nothing to improve your situation.

I was tired of watching you fight for futile motives. I was tired of the risks cause by governments making bad decisions. I was tired of seeing people insult each other over a soccer game.

I know. I’ll be tough on you. Maybe too tough. But I’m not after anyone in particular. I’m a virus. My existence will cost you lives. But I want you to understand something. You have to change for your own good.

The message I want to give you is simple. I wanted to illuminate the societal limits that you are living with. Because you can eliminate them. I wanted to stop everything on purpose so you can understand what is important and where to devote your energy. And it’s simple: LIFE. Your own, and those of your children. Think about what is absolutely necessary to protect it, nurture it, and share it.

I wanted you alone at home. Away from your parents, from your grandparents, your children and grandchildren. So you can understand how important a hug is. Human contact. Dialogue. A handshake. A night with friends. A walk in town. A dinner out. A run in the park.

Everything needs to restart from here. You’re all equal. Don’t differentiate yourselves. I’ve shown that distance doesn’t exist. I’ve run kilometers in little time without you even noticing. I’m here in passing.

But the feelings of closeness and collaboration that I have created among you in so little time should remain. Live your lives as simply as possible! Walk. Breathe deeply. Do good, because good will always come back to you with interest. Enjoy nature. Do what you love and create conditions that allow you to be independent.

When the party starts, I’ll already be gone. But remember, don’t be better people only when I am around.”

It’s a lot to read, and I’m sure people will have issues with my translation (not perfect), but I hope the message is sent. How can we learn from this?

God bless you and stay safe!

Reporting from Spain

Reporting from Spain

What else to do now but write, right?

I am sitting in my apartment in Cercedilla, Madrid, Spain. It’s snowing outside and the kids upstairs must know I work in this space because it seems like they stomp over me on purpose.

NPR is discussing Contagion. I haven’t seen it yet, but I will have to watch now.

Boyfriend is at work. He is a landscaper, and here in Spain, that is an essential job at the moment. The way the government has handled this situation here has been absolutely crazy. I can’t ride in the car with another person, but we can all go to the supermarket at the same time. The fried chicken joint up the street is still open. Everyone is wearing gloves and masks, and the way people look at each other is truly devastating.

Cercedilla Today

I’m currently working on two exciting projects: one CV inspired, the other just a blessing at a difficult time. The main project is Epikus. This is a company dedicated to helping people understand the psychology behind how we react to situations, and how we can master ourselves to control those reactions.

I’m really interested in the program because it resonates with me, especially given my history and all of the psychological tools I’ve been able to take advantage of due to the best available in healthcare. I think a lot of people could gain tons by spending three days in a Delta Plus leadership workshop.

The second project is through a collaboration with Matt Bleakley. We want to provide a space that is CV-19 free. The idea is to provide entertainment, practical tips, and remote working strategies. If you’re interested in participating by providing a video, definitely get in touch.

Another bright spot is I’ve been honing my cooking skills. Yesterday I made Naleśniki for the first time. They actually turned out pretty well, and it’s good to know that with just flour, eggs, and milk, you can eat amazing pancakes!

Who do you consider essential? How are you coping? Did you watch the Tiger King? Reach out and help me stay sane! I wish everyone the best.

They tasted better than they look!

They were good I swear.

This is a poem by Cameron Bellim that my Aunt Ellie posted on Facebook today that brought some tears to my eyes. Remember how lucky you are. And if you’re not, reach out. Maybe I can help.

May we who are merely inconvenienced
remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our world,
let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of the great spirit for all our neighbors.

Que nosotros, que simplemente enfrentamos inconvenientes,
recordemos a aquellos cuyas vidas están en riesgo.
Que nosotros, que no enfrentamos factores de riesgo,
recordemos a los más vulnerables.
Que nosotros, que nos damos el lujo de trabajar desde nuestra casa,recordemos a aquellos que tienen que elegir entre preservar su salud y pagar la renta.
Que nosotros, que tenemos la flexibilidad de cuidar
a nuestros hijos cuando sus escuelas cierran,
recordemos a aquellos que no tienen opciones.
Que nosotros, que tenemos que cancelar nuestros viajes,
recordemos a aquellos que no tienen un lugar seguro a donde ir.
Que nosotros, que estamos perdiendo nuestro dinero marginal
en el tumulto del mercado económico,
recordemos a aquellos que no cuentan con ningún margen.
Que nosotros, que tenemos que quedarnos en casa en una cuarentena,
recordemos a quienes no tienen una casa donde ir.
Cuando el miedo hace presa de nuestro país,elijamos el amor.
En estos tiempos, cuando no podemos abrazarnos físicamente,
encontremos formas de ser el abrazo amoroso
de Dios para nuestros semejantes.

Read this for some strength.

Firenze Marathon 2018

I’m in Galapagar and it’s freezing and raining. Glad I got a mountain run in this morning. Here’s where I went Friday in the hills where I’m currently residing!

El Escorial

This year’s Asics Firenze Marathon is November 25, 2018, and I’m already looking forward to it!! I’m in contact with the organizational team who are all already working really hard to prepare for all this year’s exciting running events in Florence, and elsewhere.

Check out the video they made:

The events I hope to be physically present at are the Firenze Multistars athletics competition to be held April 27 – 28 at the Firenze Atletica Luigi Ridolfi Stadium, the Guarda Firenze scheduled for May 6, Corri la Vita (my first race and dear to my heart) scheduled for September 30, and of course I’ll round out the year with the marathon on November 25. This year I’ve also put together a special RUN THE RENAISSANCE travel package!!

As my role with the organization continues to grow (THANK GOD!), I have the super exciting opportunity to go to the Zurich Marató de Barcelona in about two weeks! I’ll be there together with Fulvio Agresta from the Firenze Marathon management, as well as César Corral from Running Travel. I am so thankful to have a good reason to get back to one of my favorite cities and will definitely be posting about the experience manning the booth at the Expo — the largest sports fair in Spain, and one of the most important in all of Europe for running, trail and triathlon. It is going to be a really great time.

In all my excitement, today I registered for the EDP Madrid Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon coming up on April 22! I guess this means less hashing and more serious training…although I do intend to keep up my Sunday fun runs now that I’m settled into more of a routine here in the Sierra.

What are your fitness goals for this year? Have you registered for any races yet? Drop me a comment I’d love to hear what you have planned! And if you want to go to Florence, be in touch!



Running in Florence: Corri la Vita, Sunday, September 24

Autumn in Florence brings many positive things to mind: sagre, olio nuovo, vendemmie, and for me, the Corri la Vita, the most important charity run in all of Italy, which takes place the third Sunday in September every year since it began in 2003. Proceeds from the race benefit LILT Firenze, which is the Florence branch of the Italian League for the Fight against Cancer.

I first ran the Corri la Vita in 2010 when I had just arrived in Florence as a student. I wanted to participate in something that would help me get to know some locals and feel like an active participant in my adopted city. It was actually the second race I had ever registered for (the former being the Charleston, SC Cooper River Bridge Run), and I remember being really nervous but also really excited. I wholeheartedly recommend to students in Florence that they participate in this exciting event!! And if you don’t plan on participating, don’t bother trying to move around the city. We’re all involved!

This year’s 11 km race begins and ends in Piazza Vittorio Veneto. Registration is open until September 22: for EUR 10 you receive an official Salvatore Ferragamo T-shirt and bib number; for EUR 15 you can receive a bib number with microchip to register your race time.

Last year the race hosted over 35,000 participants and raised EUR 550,000.

You can download the registration form here and bring it to any of the following registration points:

LILT Firenze Viale D. Giannotti, 23 – Firenze, tel. 055 576939
Firenze Marathon Viale Fanti, 2 – Firenze, tel. 055 5522957
L’Isolotto dello Sport Via dell’Argingrosso, 69 A/B – Firenze
Universo Sport Piazza Duomo, 6/r – Firenze

See you in the Piazza on the morning of the race!