Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Latina Justice For A New Time

Tuesday May 26, 2009 will forever be imprinted on my mind. I quickly text messaged several friends and family members as I watched, while standing in line at the bank with my mouth wide open, the President announce his Supreme Court nomination. My text message read, GREAT NEWS...The President nominated Sonia Sotomayor 2 the Supreme Ct - Making history again!!!

Several minutes later I called my mom from Miami to tell her that the Jueza Puerto Riqueña from the Bronx had been nominated by the President. She already knew.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Era of Responsibility

As today's events unfold, I reflect on major breakthroughs and the long journey to social justice and racial equality.

Quality education for minority students and the desegregation of schools were contended in the city of Boston long after the 1954 landmark Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education.

In 1974, a federal district court judge ordered students to be bused city-wide to integrate the Boston Public Schools. In his ruling, judge Garrity said the school committee had consciously maintained two separate school systems.

I was too young to remember the politics and the players involved. But I do remember the consequences of judge Garrity's decision; the ominous, unsettled feeling in our neighborhood, and of course--the riots. We were bused across town to the “better schools,” and escorted by the police inside the school buildings.

We have come a long way since then. Yet, continuing challenges to equal educational opportunities remain.

My early American experience pales in comparison to that of our inner-city kids who day after day go into overcrowded classrooms, in under-funded schools, and are taught to the test because of senseless policy-making by politicians, not by educators.

Today I celebrate a new dawn, and an amazing triumph. I also look ahead at the challenging work that is still needed to improve our children's education, such as: strengthening our public education system, help ensure that disadvantaged students have access to quality educational programs, reduced class size, support schools in development, and innovation through new technology.

I am hopeful and inspired. A new era of change and responsibility has come to America. I know significant, real change can happen, because I've seen it happen.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Page In History

Today our generation and our children have a new hero...and a new leader of hope.

The people of our country have spoken, not as individuals, but as a collective inspired voice... Yes we can!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day 2008!

Today we are witnessing history being made in our country. I can't wait for the election results!!

This was the picture across America as voters waited in very long lines to cast their vote.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Asking Powerful Questions: How better questions lead to better solutions

Yes, I'm still around. It's been a while. Life has taken a series of interesting turns in the last few months. The road has been bumpy but all the while experiencing the twists and turns of life, I know that ultimately, the landing though bumpy, will be a good one.

I will share more with you on future posts.

In the meantime, here's a great article on how to come up with solutions by asking powerful questions. Although targeted at managers and business-minded individuals, they are useful in any life situation. They're a great tool to have in your skill box. Learn and apply them in business and life!

I love to hear from you and always enjoy your comments and feedback. Drop me a line. Let me know you're there :)

I'm sharing this article with permission from the Center for Creative Leadership. It is from their July 2008 issue of Leading Effectively e-Newsletter.


Faced with too much information and not enough time, today's managers are pressed to make quick decisions. The downside to honing this skill, says CCL's Chuck Palus, is that people typically spend about 90 percent of their time solving a problem and only about 10 percent examining the problem and its context. "Often this means that they end up solving the wrong problem."

People take "mental shortcuts," acting on what we expect to see, says Palus, coauthor of The Leader's Edge: Six Creative Competencies for Navigating Complex Challenges. But we can learn to see past the façade or assumptions of an issue to examine the underlying situation. One way to do this is to become a master of asking powerful questions.

A powerful question is one that, in some way, fundamentally shifts your perception and changes your understanding of the situation.

Five types of questions

To help you see what you and your team may have overlooked, start asking different questions. Palus describes five categories of powerful questions:

R-mode questions (so named because they are associated with the right hemisphere of the brain) promote patterns, synthesis, visual metaphors, emotions or intuitions:

- What are the patterns?
- What is interesting, unique, beautiful or unusual about this situation?
- What is one hope you have regarding this situation? What is one fear?
- How do you feel about this at a gut level? What is your intuition saying?
- What questions are we neglecting to ask?

What-if questions help you break out of the rut of traditional analysis by encouraging imaginative thinking:

- What if we deliberately tried to make this challenge worse?
- What if we asked people why they did it this way in the first place? What would they say?
- What would be the positives if we failed?
- What would happen if we threw everything away and started over?
- What if I disappeared for a month and my team handled this?

Wild-card questions focus on scenarios that are highly unlikely or stretch our sense of reality:

- What are the most important wild cards for my organization, my customers and me?
- What would wipe us out?
- What are three future trends that could totally change the way we do business?

So-what questions get at the underlying assumptions about purpose and value: Why do we value this? Why is this more valuable than that? What is the essence of what we're trying to achieve? The "so what?" line of questioning pushes you to understand your context at a deeper level. For example:

What's so important about this challenge?
What's so great about this new product?
Our new product has more bells and whistles on it.
So what?
This will enable the customer to play more music on it while she works.
So what?
She will feel happier working.
So what?
If she's happier working, she will be more productive.
So what?
If she's more productive, the company will value her more.

And so on.

Appreciative questions offer a way to focus on what is going right, rather than looking for problems. Appreciative (or positive-frame) questions ask:

- What are we doing right?
- What are our strengths?
- To what do we aspire?

Seeing with new eyes

Many organizations stay in the rut of asking the same questions and getting the same answers, but it doesn't have to be that way. As a team leader for a chemical products company told Palus:

"This company is famous for collecting more data. My team would collect the data and look at it with the same set of eyes all the time and ask the same questions and get the same answers. We learned to look at the same data in a different manner. Once we learned that, it opened up other avenues to looking at different sets of data that the team wouldn't even have considered before."

The Context of Questions

Powerful questions can have pitfalls, too, if you ignore the context. CCL's Chuck Palus advises leaders to

Cultivate openness. Create an environment where asking and responding to powerful questions is invited, supported and expected. When you cultivate openness, the discussion can be less about having the right answers and more about the situation and its possibilities. Ideas can come from anywhere and anyone.

Avoid using questions as weapons. Asking powerful questions is not the same thing as grilling someone about what they are doing or why. Questioning is not a strategy for criticizing how things are done or for slamming the ideas and skills of others. Be careful not to use questions as weapons or to intimidate. Instead, build an environment of trust and a context of exploration.

Slow down at critical times. When faced with complexity or challenges with high stakes, slow down and pay attention so that you notice more. Asking questions allows you to dig deeper and consider new perspectives. But don't rush or look for a final answer immediately; instead, let the process emerge and lead the way during critical times.

This article is adapted from The Leader's Edge: Six Creative Competencies for Navigating Complex Challenges, by Charles J. Palus and David M. Horth (Jossey-Bass, 2002).

Monday, January 7, 2008

2008 Greatness Plan

I want to wish you all a prosperous and wealthy 2008!

I expect this year to be the best ever. How is yours so far?

I've been working on my 2008 greatness plan. I really enjoy this exercise and I look forward to it every year. A friend of mine commented how she was sure it took me a whole day to complete it--to which I laughingly replied, "it actually takes me a couple of weeks!"

Seriously, I like to take my time with it. I start by reflecting on the previous year's accomplishments and giving thanks for all my blessings. I then take inventory of where I am personally and of my business, followed by the things I still need to work on and my new projections. Of course, this is all accompanied by actions and benchmarks.

I try my best to stay balanced. So I work on a comprehensive plan that includes relational, spiritual, health, business and financial areas. I always feel satisfied with the end result. This whole process serves not only as preparation for the year, it also gives me the momentum and inspiration to go forward. By the time I'm done I sort of feel like a Superwoman :-)

Last year I wrote an inspirational short article on goal setting that serves as a guide. Look it up on: http://ezinearticles.com/?Goal-Set-Your-Way-To-Wealth-And-Success&id=443249

If you know me and are a regular reader of this blog, you know how much I value the planning exercise/process. I consider it a must for entrepreneurs and those in leadership positions.

The late Peter Drucker said it best: "Plans are worthless, but planning is invaluable." Why you ask? Because it's all about the process! It is about what happens with and to you when engaged in a process of reflection, visioning, planning and action.

So if you haven't already, I encourage you to take time out to work on your 2008 "greatness plan" so you can be ready for the best year of your life!!
What do you do to prepare for the new year? I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a line in the comment section.

Favorite Quotes

  • "...the man whose sole object is to acquire wealth must be prepared to make great personal sacrfices before he can accomplish his object..." - from "As A Man Thinketh" by James Allen
  • "Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows." - Proverbs 13:11 NLT
  • "The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil." Thomas A. Edison
  • "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas A. Edison
  • "Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing." - Thomas A. Edison
  • "I shall seize Fate by the throat; it shall certainly not bend and crush me completely." - Ludwig van Beethoven, July 1801
  • "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." - The USA Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
  • "Little minds have little worries, big minds have no time for worries." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "...the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world." - 1 John 4:4 NLT
  • "Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." - Proverbs 18:21 NKJV
  • "What you are comes to you." - Ralph Waldo Emerson