But, as luck would have it, I grew up in a time when girls weren’t encouraged to be welders. So I went to college instead, earning a B.S. in chemistry and physics and a M.S. in physics. But don’t be so quick to write me off, ‘cause I’ve got marketable skills, too! For example, I earned a marksman’s ribbon while in the U.S. Air Force right after high school (I used my G.I. Bill money to pay for college), where I learned to repair electronics equipment. And I spent 10 years working at HP in various engineering and technical jobs, including one which involved a long stretch of explosion testing and other destructive testing of lovingly hand-crafted one-of-a-kind R&D prototypes. (My motto was “When it absolutely, positively has to be destroyed overnight – bring it to me!”) I got bored with all of the stability and job security of HP, so I quit and joined a series of failed startups (not all my fault!) and then started my own consulting company during the dot-com bust of 2001, not exactly the most hospitable environment in which to launch a business. I lurched fitfully forward to 3 long years before my big break came – a chance to work in Japan with my Japanese “sister”, Yuko Shibata of ALC Education, Inc. starting up their Global Management Consulting Group.
Now I do more than half of my consulting work in Japan, traveling there every month with a team of people who deliver intensive workshops which enable participants to achieve what seems impossible but is merely difficult. (That’s my specialty!) These global leaders emerge from these programs with new eyes to see the opportunities in which we are all swimming, a global mindset, and the determination to solve global problems profitably – for their companies, and for the sake of all people of the world. It’s like a dream come true for me, and my experiences have ranged from hilarious to deeply moving.
I’ve been really lucky to live during a time when opportunities for women expanded greatly, and I’ve had the support of many scrappy gal pals along the way. I honestly believe I would have given up without their encouragement, and the guidance of the many mentors, both men and women, that I’ve enjoyed along the way. And if I’ve traveled farther than my sisters of previous generations, it’s because they hacked out a path for me to make my journey easier, experiencing challenges I’ve never had to face, and bearing burdens that I can’t even imagine. I can see my own future possibilities, and those of future generations of women, because I’m standing on their strong shoulders. I hope this web site will be a fountain of inspiration from which millions of women will drink, and a platform from which they gain the courage to leap boldly into their own futures. Wahoo!