What’s Right?

Right, wrong, and somewhere in between.  How do we know sometimes what is right?  Over the last few days, all of us have been barraged with words and images of what is happening on the other side of the world.  Some of the images have been heart breaking. Others have been uplifting.  Many have been disturbing. Some have simply been sad. 

 believe in the goodness of peopleI’m not gong to fill this page with the images and words that have been moving across the airwaves, the blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.   You know where you can find them if you choose to search. 

Even before June 12th, I had been reading about the Iranian elections.  When violence erupted, I got the first news, like many others through my Twitter stream. The news was frightening.  That first night I stayed up  until the wee hours of the morning re-tweeting information on basic first aid, what embassies were open for the wounded, and other information.   As the days went on, the stories grew more disturbing and the tweets more frequent.  I definitely was not alone in my efforts.  Many others were doing the same. 

At first I rotated through my multiple Twitter accounts, but soon the number of tweets were still too much.  On Monday, I set up a new account (@JKWphx) dedicated to only sending #IranElection, #gr88 or later #Neda oriented messages. 

At times the information was so sad or disturbing that I needed a break or a pick me up.  Some of my friends, who knew what I was was doing, would tweet me with happy thoughts, inspiring quotes, or silly sayings.  At other times, I would turn and pull out a book for a short reading break. 

On Monday, I pulled out a dog eared copy of The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and began to read the words of someone who lived and died decades ago.  She was living in hiding during times of fear and oppression and telling her story through a her notebook journals.Anne Frank's Journals

Here are some of her words:

It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.” Saturday, 15 July, 1944, pg. 237

As I write this Thursday evening in Arizona, the sun has already risen on the people in Iran.  I have no idea if any of the people I was trying to help ever saw the words I sent to them. 

I know the Iranian government agents did — THEY sent some lovely notes. I wonder if it would frustrate them to know the satisfaction I got each time I went in and BLOCKED them?

But either way, I did what I could to help because I thought it was right.  At the end of  the day, that’s all any of us can do.

Thanks for stopping by, and if you get a chance today, say a little prayer for the people in Iran.

Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Photo and other information from www.annefrank.org and the Anne Frank Museum, Amsterdam.

Quote, from The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Are we there yet… Focus on the Four P’s.

June is a favorite month for happenings like big weddings, local golf tournaments, and vacation car trips. What do all of these things have in common? They’re fun, of course, but equally important, making them the best they can be calls for the four P’s – Planning, Partnering, Patience, and Persistence.

PlanningIt's @Shannon_KB and her husband Sean

Getting ready for a big event takes planning. Who will be there? What will we need? Where will we go? When will we do it? The ubiquitous who, what, where and when are the essence of any plan. It allows us to map out a journey, plan an event, or set a new goal for our business. When we start to plan, we are setting goals for achievement and budgets that establish our limits. Each is important if we are to make the project succeed in the long run. Our goals allow us to stretch, taking a vision or dream and concretely establishing steps that will make it come true.

In planning a big summer wedding, the process begins long before the big day. We set the date, reserve a place for the reception and start to spread the word to family and friends. They’ll want to join you. We decide who will be in the wedding party; choose gowns and tuxes, order flowers and interview photographers. Hundreds of details, large and small have to be considered from what the menu will be to how many guests we will invite. Our budget, as the event boundary, will come into play as we make these decisions. The number of guests and type of reception we have is a function of the costs of the options we choose multiplied by the number of guests. According to the research done by The Wedding Report (www.costofwedding.com), on average, couples getting married in my neighborhood will spend $54,940.00 for their wedding. And, this does not even include cost for a honeymoon, engagement ring! (You can put in your Zip Code to see what people around you are spending.) Add these in, plus the cost of a bridal consultant or wedding planner, if you want professional help, and the cost could reach $72,845.00! When you are looking at this size of an investment, planning within the boundaries of a budget becomes very important.

But it is not just weddings. Even simpler events like a family car trip or a hike through your local state park needs to be planned out. How long will you be gone? What do you need to take along – what resources will you need to make this special time with family or friends most enjoyable and free from problems. Plan it out. Like anyone who’s ever taken a long car trip with a child can attest, sooner or later, the question arises. “Are we there yet?” If you have not planned out where you are going and how you will get there, you will never have the answer.


Ever heard of a BHAG? Pronounced bee-hag, it is shorthand for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Tackling a big goal can seem daunting especially if you are trying to do it all on your own. Partnering is the key to pulling off a really big success. A great example of this is the holiday celebration that has become a hallmark of our community, the Festival of Lights. What started as a promotional device to draw potential customers into the Foothills, has become a holiday tradition that draws people from all over the valley. But when development was ended and the developers were through, there was a big problem. How would it continue? Who put up and take down all the lights? Who would pay for it? This tradition might have been lost if not for a group of community residents and businesses that came together in partnership to keep the Festival of Lights burning bright. Today, the Festival of Lights is a year round community partnership including the Kick-Off Party, the Mile of a Million Lights Display on Chandler Blvd., the Hay Rides on December Saturdays, the Golf Tournament and Wine-Tasting Event in June – are all the efforts of community member volunteers dedicated in keeping the tradition alive. Neighbors and businesses throughout the Ahwatukee Foothills area to come together in the spirit of fun and partnership as they support a common goal. These partnerships continue through the year and create great business and community connections.


Patience is a virtue. But then, I never claimed to virtuous. Yep, that was me, the annoying child in the back seat who was asking “are we there yet” every five miles or so. And, if you asked my family and friends, they would tell you some things never change! When we are working towards a big goal, it is often hard to be patient. We can see the end result in our mind. We are excited about it. We want to get there. NOW! But, the old saying is also true that good things happen to those who wait. When we have a project, event or goal we are working towards, things take time. We need that time to follow through on all the little steps, to pass the mile markers that will get us to where we are ultimately going to be. So reach down and find the patience. Don’t give up or get discouraged about how long it is taking. Before you know it the big day will arrive.


At last we reach the end of our list. Last, but not least, is the power of persistence. My grandmother often told me the dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. (Yes, I have seen this quote attributed to everyone from May Smith to Vince Lombardi – but I’m quoting my Grandma here.) 

Persistence is the quality in us that keeps us going toward our end goal. When we take on that big hairy audacious goal, there are times along the way when things don’t go as we planned. Maybe we get a flat tire on that car trip or the hotel we’ve chosen for that special get away is sold out. If we’re planning a wedding, we might get discouraged when friends and family are not being as cooperative as we would like. As we laid out our plans, there might have been so many things we had to do along the way that it just doesn’t seem worth it. At other times, as we are moving along our path, obstacles get in our way and make it seem too hard to keep going.

One of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill. He said “success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” As we plan our big summer activity, we need to keep moving forward, over and around the little failures or bumps in the road.

Flexibility is the key to success. Making small adjustments can help us to reach the end goal if we just stick with it. When things get a bit hairy, keep in mind what about your plan or goal got you excited in the first place. Reach down and find the enthusiasm that got you started on this path in the beginning and use it to fuel your power of persistence to follow it through to the end.

We’re here!

Finally, we’ve arrived. Following our four P’s – planning, partnering, patience and persistence, we reach the end of our journey. Now comes the best part – to enjoy arriving at our destination. When I got married, many years ago, we had a big wedding – lots of guests, lots of details, thousands of last minute things to keep track of. We planned and budgeted. We partnered with great people. It took us over a year to pull it off and we over came little obstacles with persistence and enthusiasm. But, by the end, I was so wrapped up in making sure that everything was perfect that I was making myself crazy.

I almost lost sight of what was really important – the celebration of the new life we were starting together. Lucky for me, my husband Chris is a much smarter person that I am. He didn’t lecture me or tell me what I was missing. Through his actions, he reminded me – pulling me onto the dance floor, visiting with friends, and of course, smearing wedding cake ALL over my face. And, being the calm, collected, rational person I am, I retaliated in spades! It’s hard to take things too seriously when you have just had a food fight in front of hundreds of people! So while you focus on the end goal, don’t forget to enjoy the journey. Use the four P’s to help you along the way, enjoy the ride, and CELEBRATE when you have arrived.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

-Joan Koerber-Walker

Why #BeOriginal?

Over the weekend, a Twitter friend challenged me to be more original in my tweets.  Another excellent article talked about the importance of authenticity across social media and had me thinking about my own authentic voice. The result was my Sunday night blog post, To Quote or Not to Quote- That is the question. 

Image Copyright CorePurpose, Inc. 2003.  All Rights Reserved.

Little did I imagine that my social media musings would garner so much attention. It turns out that for some, the quoting of philosophers, motivational speakers, Presidents and other luminaries is a hot topic across the twitterverse.  That post has become the most widely read and re-tweeted post I have ever written thanks to my friends who passed it on to their friends, and so on and so on.  It even got picked up on WordPress Quote  of the Day and other sites that people go to to find quotable quotes.    Who knew?

To be clear.  

I love a good quote. I use quotes in my speaking, in my writing, and in my day to day conversation. 

Meaningful quotes are part of my personal style of communication.   But as I used social media more and more, it was much easier to quote others than it was to develop and share my own original thoughts.   Even more, I was beginning to question whether what I was putting down in 140c was my own idea or someone else’s and would have to Google a quote first to see if it was original or need attribution.  (And, rumor has it, I am not alone.)

So – I challenged myself to really try to mix it up a bit and share original ideas throughout the day in between sharing interesting articles, blog posts, and other Twitter tidbits.  And like most challenges, I found that it was not that easy. 

“There are no original ideas. There are only original people.”

Barbara Grizzuti Harrison  (14 September 1934 – 24 April 2002) (other quotes)

So on Monday night, I decided to try something new.  I would tag my original quotes with #BeOriginal and invite some friends to do it too. I have some very smart and witty friends that I follow on Twitter and who follow me back across my various Twitter profiles.  I reached out to see who was on line and sent a few messages that went like this: 

JKWinnovation: Quote break – Followers – Do you have a personal quote to share at #BeOriginal. I need to practice.

 JKWinnovation: @______- Want to come out and play at #BeOriginal

JKWleadership: @______ I’m learning to #BeOriginal – Gotta quote to share?

  As I  invited friends to join in, a few notes came back privately asking questions.  Why should I do this?  How can I do this?  You are asking me????  I  even had a few deeper Twitter conversations

Then slowly but surely, a few joined in and we got some great original, quotable ideas.  Soon others were re-tweeting those too.  When they did, I sent them a note inviting them to share their original ideas.  This experiment is very new and there is not much there yet, but hopefully the concept of “What are you thinking? will become as popular as “What are you doing ?” 

You can do a Twitter Search using #BeOriginal to see how this experiment is evolving.

So, why #BeOriginal? 

Perhaps, a better question to ask is “Why not?”  Let’s try tagging our original ideas be they serious, humorous, or simply every day thoughts.  Claim them with your name – just as you would a well known quote and don’t forget to add the #BeOriginal so it will end up on the running search list.    If we do, soon we can look at that list and see a world of new, original ideas – make connections – and maybe even put some of these great ideas into action.

Are  you ready for the challenge?  Send out an original idea of your own including your name and #BeOriginal.  It will be interesting to see what develops over time.

Thanks for stopping by…Stay tuned.

– Joan Koerber-Walker

To quote or not to quote – That is the question.

First and foremost – I am not a social media expert.  Not even close! I’m just a business person trying to learn how to communicate across an evolving medium.   Lucky for me, I am surrounded by people who know a lot more about it than I do.  I won’t call them experts.  They’d shoot me if I did.  You see, social media is changing too fast .  No one is really an expert.  Some just know more than others and have been at it longer.

I got some good pointers from Twitter friends this weekend. 

The first was from Tyler Hurst. 

A Bit of Books from my personal collection


I obviously over did it Saturday night.

The second was from an article posted by Brian Solis about authenticity and authority in social media.  A Soliloquy: The Language of Social Media by Brian Solis (@BrianSolis)

I loved Brian’s article and sent it out as a RT.  The feedback I’ve been getting back all day is that  authenticity should be the goal every time.

Now, I tweet quite a bit, and across multiple profiles as you can see on this page.  My personal profile description is ‘an eclectic mix of ideas’ while the other four are focused on innovation, leadership, growth, and business success.

So perhaps I should take another look  at those quotes I tweeted…

image joankw “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ~  Dr. Seuss

Hmmm.  Perhaps I need to think a bit more about what I am doing?


JKWgrowth “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” ~ Dr. Seuss

So taking a page from Dr. Seuss – I looked around my twitterverse to see what I could see.  Since the twitterverse is huge, I took a note from the Beatles and got a little help from my friends… by looking at what they do.


@MarkIsMusing is one of the tweeters I have followed from day one.  Yes, he tweets everyday stuff, but when he starts musing he’ll treat the 26,000+ people who follow him to a string of quotes he is ‘musing’ about.  He also has a great newsletter and a blog I now subscribe to. Plus he splits his time between Calgary and Maui AND remodels his own bathroom.  What’s not to like?


 @StartupPro is a friend and favorite.  No quotes from Marty Zwilling.  An entrepreneur and investor, he’s a blogger who posts every day!  Not only does his blog have a great following but he has almost twice Mark’s Twitter following with nary a quotation in sight.  Great content, predictability (count on a new blog post EVERY morning), and sharing business insights is his secret to success.

image@WBAustin is a running news stream of ideas and articles.  It works for him and his close to 100,000 followers.  Bill’s wife @KatheeSue handles the local beat with @EVLIving while chatting with friends as KatheeSue.

image@Hardaway (Francine Hardaway) Co-founder, Stealthmode Partners, helping entrepreneurs succeed.  I won’t be showing her ‘recycled quotes’ she rarely if ever does that. Her tweets are as authentic as they get as she reports on her life, ideas, and activities throughout the day.  As my friend and mentor, she always tries to keep me out of trouble.  Sometimes I even listen. 

image @Amilya (Amilya Antonetti) an award winning entrepreneur,Green Pioneer Bestselling Author, Media Personality, Advocate and Mom is a conversationalist on Twitter.  She loves to twitter chat with @TomVMorris who is one of the best.  I’ve never had the pleasure of tweeting with Dr. Morris on Twitter, but I love to read his occasional quotes from the great philosophers as well as his own insightful quips.  Who knows, maybe some day.  ;o) 

The funny thing is, Twitter asks “What are YOU doing?”  When I was pulling those quotes – I WAS reading  Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.  It’s the tall skinny volume in my bookshelf between Norton’s Anthology of Poetry and The Holy Bible.    I love books and read a lot more than I tweet.  The picture above is of the bookshelf my playroom that stands next to the pool cues.  My library/office is filled with business books, and in my bedroom closet, hundreds of novels.  (I may have more novels than Amilya has shoes!)

imageJKWleadership My Favorite Leadership Books – Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss~ Read it to your kids… Read it for yourself.

I had pulled that book out after a long day of struggling through business plans, financial models, and other stuff that the Twitterati would probably find a bit boring – not to mention, the stuff is all under NDA and I can’t talk about it anyway.  And why, you might ask, did I make such a switch in reading material just then.  Simple. I saw the quote on Twitter from Robert Baines that read:

imagescreamingeagle1 “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.” ~ Dr. Seuss. 

It reminded me of just what I needed to clear my brain.

image “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!” ~ Dr. Seuss

So, as my friend Amilya says, “it’s time to ‘noodle.” 

Here’s my lesson learned this weekend.  If authenticity is important,  then you just have to be who you are.  I am just what my personal profile says… an eclectic mix.  Not to say that I can’t learn to be better.  I’ll follow Tyler’s advice and perhaps use some more of my own quotes more frequently rather than quoting someone else.  Francine and Marty have encouraged me to write/blog more.  (Francine even told me that my writing has improved.  But that’s for you to decide.)  I’ll keep reading and sharing the articles, news stories, and bits that I think have value because that is what I authentically do.  Share things of value with others is what I do everyday. I’ll chat more, broadcast less,  AND – I’ll try to mix it up a bit more so as not to be annoying.  Oh, and I am suspending my auto link for @joankw from Seesmic to Facebook.  According to my husband, my in-laws have hidden me because I send out too much stuff!

So, is this the right strategy?  Well, we’ll see. There was a great quote this weekend by Victoria Holt – my favorite author during my teen years.  (No laughing – love, adventure, suspense AND a happy ending.  What’s not to like.  I still own every single one of her books in paperback.)

image“Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.” Victoria Holt (1906-1993) British writer (via @successsecret) AKA: Mike Hanes (@MikeHanes)


Thanks for stopping by – and reading to the end.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Credits:  Photo – Joan Koerber-Walker – If you don’t believe me, you can come check in my play room.  Tweets – as of this writing at 5:48 PM (pacific) on June 14,2009 – everything shown here was visible via the public feeds on Twitter.

Collaboration Drives Growth

I have long believed that working together with others has an amazing effect on growth.  My experiences this week have reaffirmed it. 

j0433027[1]The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “collaborate” like this:

  1. : to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor
  2. : to cooperate with or willingly assist an enemy of one’s country and especially an occupying force  (OK this one probably does not apply to our discussion here.)
  3. : to cooperate with an agency or instrumentality with which one is not immediately connected

To me the definition is simpler.

Collaboration is people helping people to reach new heights.

Six months ago, I started actively using Twitter, and as my understanding of the power of this collaborative tool grew, I used it more.  Today I have five different profiles in Twitter, each one for a specific collaborative purpose.

Through Twitter I developed online friendships with Marty Zwilling (@StartUpPro) and Zane Safrit (@ZaneSafrit).  This gave me an opportunity to collaborate with them in sharing ideas on entrepreneurship and growth, two of my personal passions.   Each offered the opportunity to work with them in different ways and as it turned out they both wanted to do so on Wednesday June 10th.

Marty offered the opportunity to work with him on his popular imageblog – Startup Professionals Musings as a guest author.  The goal was to add a little of the woman’s perspective on entrepreneurship and to have a little fun.  Together we published “Women Entrepreneurs – Running the Race in High Heels”.  Since all entrepreneurs are different and all women are definitely not the same, I added a little extra collaborative energy and asked two friends (Francine Hardaway (@hardaway) and Amilya Antonetti (@Amilya) if I could use them as as examples in the post.


Zane has a popular show on Blog Talk imageRadio.  As we got to know each other, we thought it would be fun to do a broadcast together.  We put our heads together to see what the audience might enjoy and scheduled the show for Wednesday June 10th.  This link will take you to the 1 hour replay of the show.  We had a blast exploring ideas about entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, and strategies for building solutions.  And we’re planning to do it again in the future.


So does collaboration bring results?    The more I collaborate, the more people I can connect with, converse with, and hopefully engage with so that together we can reach new heights.  It seems to be working all around.  Each of my Twitter profiles has different audiences and different messages – but they are all growing and making their way up the lists.  (At least in my little corner of the world.)

There are so many opportunities to collaborate happening all around us.  I am lucky enough to get to touch a wide variety of them.

Working with an incredible network of talented executives at CorePurpose.

Working with RiboMed Biotechnologies to help Dr. Hanna and the team develop the resources they will you to launch new diagnostic technologies and products for early cancer detection.

Working with inspiring entrepreneurs like Francine Hardaway and the team at OTEF to produce the 4th Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference on November 12, 2009 in Phoenix. (We need sponsors -if your market is entrepreneurs – give me a shout!  All of the proceeds help at risk populations develop their own business ideas.)

Engaging in new discussions every day with companies that are launching innovative new products and services.  (Those are still secrets but they are really cool deals and you will hear more about them soon. )

Watching my friends @LonSafko, @StevenGroves, and @AmandaVega work together as The Social Media Bible is gaining popularity nationwide.

And learning the ins and outs from my friends at Metro Studios on  how to navigate, promote and collaborate in the new online marketing world.  It’s always productive when I collaborate with Clay (@CSMetro), Lisa (@LisaJMetro) and all the @MetroStudios folks.  (They’ve been my partner for years!)

I’m looking for that next great opportunity to help a company grow.  I know it’s out there.  That is why I keep collaboration as a key strategy on the top of my to-do list every day.  Put COLLABORATION on the top of YOUR to-do list and watch the magic happen.

Thanks for stopping by…Stay tuned.

-Joan Koerber-Walker

Twenty-four years ago today

I married Chris Walker on June 8, 1985.  Now for some that may seem like a long time ago, but to me it feels like yesterday.  

weddingThere were some that probably wondered about us.  We’re very different people in some ways. But where it really counts, we’re a lot alike.  We share the same values, the same love for family, and most of all, over the years we’ve learned to work together to build something we both believe in, a great family of our own.

We both came from families of five kids and were blessed with great parents.  If you think 24 years is impressive, both my parent’s and Chris’ will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this year in August!

I was talking to some friends over the weekend about marriages. 

No everyone has been as lucky as I have in picking partners.  And that is what it has to be, a partnership.  Just as in in business, picking the right partner makes all the difference.  No partnership or marriage is always neat and easy.  Family GradSometimes things get messy.  But every time changes came, whether it’s packing up at a moment’s notice so that I could take on a challenging new opportunity on the other side of the country far from family and friends, doing it again a few years later for another one, carrying the extra load at home with the kids while I worked and went to grad school, putting up with the ridiculous hours I tend to work when I get caught up in a project, or  supporting my decision to leave the corporate world and take the leap into starting my own business, his answer was always the same.  “If that’s what you want to do – go for it.”

Together, we’ve raised two great kids and built built a life where we can pursue very different interests while celebrating each other’s successes.  Most importantly of all –  at the end of the day, we have someone we love to share it all with.

I’ve heard it said that hindsight is 20/20.  Well looking back, I have to say, for me, picking Chris Walker to be my partner was a great decision.  Wouldn’t you?

Thanks for stopping by… Stay Tuned

– Joan Koerber-Walker


Ethics, Integrity, Leadership, and Change

We live in times of change.  In good times and in bad, change is the one true constant.  But in any era and any economy, there are some  human characteristics that, when we hold true to them, form a solid foundation that we can build on. 

Business challenges fill the Twitter streams, the papers and the airwaves today along with the fears these changes bring to the people living through them. 

As I read about and experience the changes of our times, I draw on the lessons my grandparents taught me in times long past.

John Carmichael, c.1965The first lesson was learned from my Grandpa Carmichael when I was probably about five years old.  We were looking at a picture book and I asked him what a word  meant.  He took me by the hand, walked me down to his home office, and pulled a Webster’s dictionary from the shelf.  Opening the book, he said “let’s look it up and then we can talk about it.”  And so we did.  The word that day was dromedary.  A bit easier to define than complex issues like ethics, integrity, and leadership.  But the lesson still holds.

 Ethics: definitions from Merriam-Webster Online

  1. the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation
  2. a set of moral principles : a theory or system of moral values 
  3. the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group
  4. a guiding philosophy
  5. a consciousness of moral importance
  6. a set of moral issues or aspects (as rightness)

Integrity: definitions From Merriam-Webster Online

  1. firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values
  2. an unimpaired condition
  3. the quality or state of being complete or undivided

Leadership: definitions  from Merriam-Webster Online

  1. the office or position of a leader
  2. capacity to lead
  3. the act or an instance of leading

William G. Koerber and Ida Mae Koerber MassnickLater that evening, we visited my other grandparents at their home on Port Drive in Detroit.   Sitting in Grandpa Koerber’s lap,  I held out my favoite picture book.  Pointing to the picture, I asked.  “Grandpa – what’s this?” “A camel” he told me.  “No Grandpa, it’s a dromedary – see only one hump.”  “Why you are right, Miss Smarty Pants, it is a dromedary after all.”

Grandma told me, a few years later when we went back for his funeral, that Grandpa told that story to all his friends.  He would laugh and brag about how amazed he was to be learning lessons about dromedaries from a five year old girl.  But what stuck with me from that long ago night was what both Grandma and Grandpa had explained to me.  “It’s not just what you know that is important.  It’s what you do  with it.”

So as we look at the definitions above, we know what the words mean.  The question is not what we know – but what we do with it.

As I look at the definitions above and think about my own experiences and what’s changing in the world around me, I still draw on the skills my grandparents taught me. 

Studying the the words, as defined by Merriam-Webster, a definite and interrelated pattern emerges that allows me to synthesize my own understanding and beliefs.

Ethics becomes simply knowing what is right.  Integrity is the act of then doing what is right – even when it is inconvenient or uncomfortable.   Thus, leadership is taking the personal responsibility to step out in front while basing your decisions on your own ethics and integrity as you move forward. 

My grandparents must have also known this.  For during their lives, each was a living example.  They taught these values to their children and their grandchildren. Just as I am trying to pass them on to mine.   I guess some things don’t change that much after all.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

– Joan Koerber-Walker

Strength and Aspirations

Friday night I was feeling kind of down.  It had been a week of highs and lows.  The highs were a mix of positive discussions with friends about new business starts, watching a community come together to support one of their own, and work on an exciting business proposal.  The lows  included some personal challenges that were soon grossly over-shadowed by two separate tragedies that touched the lives of my friends.

Joan Koerber-Walker, Phoenix, AZAs I sat at my laptop, sending #FollowFriday thank you notes on Twitter and posting articles and other tidbits to friends, I pulled a quote from my quote file (a mix of things that I have collected over the years)and shot it out on @JKWGrowth.  The post read…

The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations. ” ~ Adam Smith

It was meaningful to me.  I had seen examples repeatedly in over 30 years of volunteer work.  True poverty often breeds despair and with it the death of peoples’ aspirations. 

Can you imagine living in circumstances where you lost the desire or the belief that you could achieve something high or great?  Is that not a tragedy?

When logging in Saturday morning, I gained a different perspective from two readers who saw it quite differently.  There was yet another reader who, having read their tweets in response to mine, ‘respectfully’ asked if I could prove that Adam Smith had said that with a citation.   

So, I stopped what I was doing, went upstairs to my office, pulled out my copies of Adam Smith’s books and other historical economics texts and started looking.  Two hours later I had no citation to quote.  Just numerous websites and references to the quote but no citation of where it had originated from.  Maybe he said it.  Maybe he did not.  (Unfortunately, much of what Smith once said and wrote is lost.  He lived well before the age of recordings and instructed that many of his private notes and writings be destroyed shortly before his death.)  Time for a retraction and, in one case, an apology.

You may be wondering, why bother with an apology.  Well, one of the people upset by this quote took what I wrote very personally.  Here is some of what she wrote to me in a string of tweets on Twitter after reading this quote. “Having been homeless, in foster care for poverty, lost hearing due 2 untreated infection…”  “Then earning my PhD w/ expertise in poverty… In other words, actually getting it, I know how to spot a derogatory quote.” (These notes still appeared in her public twitter stream at the time of this writing. )

Her short story (via tweets) was inspirational. Not only did she rise above her own challenges to pursue her PhD, but she did so in a field where she can make a difference for others in a similar circumstance.  Case in point, her story is a testament to both her strength and her aspirations.

I  responded to her tweet as a direct message with an apology. It failed. She was not following me; perhaps because of the tweet or perhaps she never was.  So I tried again later, and then when that too failed, sent it as an @Reply.  Maybe she’ll read it – and maybe she won’t.

So, what have I learned:

  1. Read what you tweet carefully and think before you send.  What makes sense in 140c to you, may be read very differently by others.
  2. Check credible sources – the quote or fact you have heard for years may not be entirely accurate or supportable.
  3. As a courtesy – if you engage in a conversation with someone on Twitter, be sure you are following them so that they can respond to you privately if appropriate.

But most of all, I was reminded, that no matter what your circumstance, holding on to your aspirations, continuously looking up to a higher goal, and having the strength to make that goal a reality is what success is all about.

Thanks for stopping by…Stay tuned.

– Joan Koerber-Walker

Off and Running…

I try to get a blog post off every Wednesday, and today will be a busy one.

The day started early, reading up an what is happening in the world and the business arena in general.  It used to be that I had a pile of newspapers to plow through.  Today, tools like AllTop, Woodstock Wire, and  RSS subscriptions to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, bring the information to my laptop.  It’s a big time saver, but  you still Koerber-Walker-021have to read the articles.

With a big day ahead of me, I check the fridge for some breakfast.  Hmm.  What to choose?  There’s milk and cereal, or chocolate pudding.    Let’s see. Both are about the same calories but chocolate pudding is a lot more fun.  Guess that breakfast turned out to be?

Breakfast with the laptop by the pool and a quick check in on Facebook and Twitter to see what folks are thinking about and tweeting.  Some good stuff from Twitter friends @Amilya, @CSmetro, @Hardaway, and @GuyKawasaki, gets tweeted out along with a few articles I found of interest from my morning reading on line.  I use multiple Twitter profiles so that the right information goes out to the right friends and I don’t clog up everyone’s stream.

A comment on Facebook pops up in my Seesmic DeskTop telling me that my friend Gloria (@heartfeldt) thinks my breakfast choice was ‘sensible’.  🙂 A little validation never hurts.

Social Media is all well and good, but the most important part of it is what you do with the connections you make on it.  Today, I have five items on the agenda, all that are connected though my social media or online networks. 

  • Lunch with a friend and possible future business partner I got to know  through Linked In.
  • Some work on the laptop – probably at Wildflower at 101 and Frank Lloyd Wright to put the finishing touches on a business plan for one of my dearest Twitter friends.
  • Check in with RiboMed’s CEO on the latest developments with the companies we are talking to about international distribution.  And yes, they found us online too.
  • 4PM at Starbucks Keirland with Ron Bell – and yes – we confirmed the meeting yesterday via Twitter.
  • 6PM dinner on the patio at Sol Y Sombra with Brian Callahan and a group of entrepreneurs and investors I have not seen in a while.  Oh and how did I meet Brian – who lives in California?  He found me on Linked In.

So for those of you who are wondering if Social Media is a game or just a major time-sink when it comes to business.  Here’s your answer. 

Whoops, got to run!  Thanks for stopping by and please… Stay Tuned…

– Joan Koerber-Walker

What shall I be?

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite games was What Shall I Be? The Exciting Game of Career Girls. (Selchow and Righter, 1966).  My Mom gave it to me for my eighth birthday.  Frequently, I would negotiate with my friends to trade off Barbie time for game time when we got together in my parent’s basement. 

Careers for women – how cutting edge was that?  Our choices:  Airline Hostess, Ballerina, Nurse, Model, Actress, and Teacher.  For a review of this edition and the 1976 edition (much more enlightened but still a ways to go) see Deanna Dahlsad’s  Blog.

My friend Jeanne Craft was very focused and almost always chose the nurse.  She wanted to help people.  Maybe the game was a bit prophetic.  Today, Dr. Jeanne Craft is a five star rated physician practicing Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.  Her courageous quick thinking in diagnosing and saving  a baby with infant botulism brought her to international attention when she was profiled on Roma Downey’s “It’s a Miracle.” 

As for me, I never could decide on just one career. I would pick a different one every time.   The choices were not exactly what I was shooting for but some of the roles had things that I liked about them.  The funny thing is that over my own career I did end up exploring a few of these roles.  Modeling turned out to be a great way to earn extra money when I was in college.  Community Theatre helped me forge a closer relationship with my future mother-in-law early in my career. (A great actress I was not and will never be.)  As the Mom of two active boys,  I’ve nursed my share of bumps and bruises. In 2008, teaching graduate courses on Leadership at Innovation at Grand Canyon University was both challenging and enlightening.  And, my love for travel by air was satisfied when my role as a corporate executive had me flying around the world 13 times in a 3 year period.  Never did master the ballerina thing.  That was way too much hard work. 

While my feminist friends probably shudder at the very thought of this game, I remember those days fondly.  It was a simpler time and a simpler place.

If I was redesigning this game today, my game would have choices like CEO, Entrepreneur, Investor, Author, Mom, and Speaker.  You see, that’s what I grew up to be.  I’m enjoying being a ‘career girl’. It is exciting.  I wonder what’s next.  Time to roll the dice.

Thanks for checking in… Stay Tuned –

Joan Koerber-Walker