Good Advice, Good Mentors

Lisa — educational consultant extraordinaire
Lisa and I have actually never met in person, but she’s been a fantastic sounding board over the past few months as I’ve been adjusting, coping, learning here.

“No matter what you do, I am certain that you will be contributing, so become an advocate for yourself. If there is something else you want to do within the organization, ask them how you can make that happen. [...] Maybe it’s time to be a little selfish and think about your own goals…..like I said, I am certain that when you are doing what you want to be doing, you will probably be contributing even more.”

Chris — brilliant education innovator & co-founder of the African Leadership Academy
Chris and I met in 2005 working on a project with Linda Darling-Hammond in the Stanford School of Education. A personal hero.

“If it makes you feel any better, I spent 5 years after college with basically no idea what I was going to do and chalking up random experiences – and then all of the sudden it came together and made sense and I have relied on each of those experiences in my current capacity. So. . . I think you will be fine.”

Yoli — passionate advocate of youth and overall awesome person
Yoli took me on as an assistant in 2005-06 on a project called ADAPT at McClymond’s High School in West Oakland. Beautiful, authentic and passionate and completely inspiring.

Diana — social entrepreneur in Cambodia; founder of Bloom Bags
I’ve never met Diana, but my half-Singaporean self feels a strange kinship :) My dream is to start a social enterprise as well, but back in the States, and I love her ideas and her passion.

first 7 tenets of her Bloom Manifesto:
“1. We believe in the right of all people to a decent life, free of poverty and with access to education
2. We believe you will be enriched helping the poor
3. We believe workers should always be paid a fair wage
4. We believe if you knew the truth, you would not be an accessory to the exploitation of workers
5. We believe exploitation is evil
6. We believe in the power of good over evil
7. We believe in the power of the individual to bring about change…”

Barbara — Kingsolver, that is. Author of (among other things) Small Wonder
Perhaps it’s just the case that my open mind’s just the perfect size and shape at the moment, but her essays struck a timbre in me and shook me down in a way that will definitely shape the next few steps in my life. Oh, to write like that.

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