Best Books (aka What's on My Nightstand): The Love Lies

I read Debrena Jackson Gandy's first book, Sacred Pampering Principles, over 20 years ago when I was in college. So reading her latest, The Love Lies, was like a Sage Mentor whispering in my ear, though the truth telling she does is far from faint. In fact, the book begins with a bold warning: "This book could be hazardous to the insane love relationship beliefs you've come to hold as true." And it does just that. The Love Lie that most hit home for me was #6: "Having Expectations Gets Me What I Want from a Man," because you could replace "a Man" with "People" and most of the chapter still holds. She beautifully describes the "spiraling downward" of a relationship plagued by women's unrealistic unmet expectations, which I had to admit I have at the office, too. This book is highly interactive. You'll need to #droptheball on multitasking in order to fully experience all of the exercises. But if you do, it will, as the subtitle suggests, transform your relationships and enrich your love life.

A Peek Inside My Village: Keisha Smith-Jeremie

I have a deep affection for applesauce (as in, I eat an entire jar with a spoon in one sitting). So I was over the moon when I discovered that one of my Peer Mentors, Keisha Smith-Jeremie, makes the best ever with exotic flavors. I've been picking up jars from her doorman for months and am thrilled to announce that with the launch of her new company, sanaía, you can indulge, too. When I asked Keisha how she was able to launch her applesauce empire while simultaneously slaying as Chief Human Resources Officer at News Corp, she let me in on her ball dropping strategy: "I elevated members of my team to manage several projects that I had seen to fruition over the years. If it wasn't a new or complex project, I placed them in the drivers seat with me providing critical advice and insight along the way. It would never have been possible to launch sanaía in 6 months had I not given myself permission to do this." Our tastebuds are loving you, Keisha.

We Get the Job Done

I sat at my laptop for half an hour trying to come up with an insightful response to the President's latest misogynistic Twitter rant, but there truly are no words. So I'm turning my attention to what has most energized me this week: Lin Manuel's release of an incredibly moving video for "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)," a track from The Hamilton Mixtape. In the same week that the President executes a partial travel ban against our Muslim brothers and sisters, this video and its accompanying campaign is a reminder of the importance of our vigilance and activism in advancing social justice. My favorite lines are delivered by the female lyricist Snow tha Product: "We're America's ghost writers, the credit's only borrowed." Let's cash America's check on our next election day.

How My Dad Taught Me to Kick Butt

When I was in the second grade, a bully named Lionel put a tack in my desk chair...and I sat on it. As Mrs. Tonema was pulling the tack out of me I caught Lionel snickering from the corner of my eye. My embarrassment turned to fury as I looked at him and mustered up the biggest threat I could imagine: "I'm gonna go get my daddy!" During recess I left the school grounds and ran a mile to the church where my father worked as the pastor. He used the handkerchief from his suit pocket to wipe my tears, then he walked me back to school.

In the end, I was disappointed that I only got to see my father talk to Lionel's parents and a bit miffed that he scolded me for running away (he said it was dangerous). I would have much rather seen him kick Lionel's butt. But the point is that for my entire life, whenever I'm threatened, my first impulse is to run to daddy. Of course, I don't anymore. He taught me how to kick butt myself. But the fact that his devotion and protection of me has helped me be brave in the world is why I'm forever indebted to Harrison Gaston. It's also an important reason for women to drop the ball, so that men can meaningfully engage in their children's lives. This week I was thrilled to wish all of them a Happy Father's Day.

 

 

And the Mentee Award Goes to...

Judy Joslow Quintana should write a book on how to be the best Mentee on the planet. We've been working together for over a year (we were assigned to one another through a formal mentorship program) and it has been the most rewarding Mentor experience of my life. Let's start with the fact that her first task was defining the relationship: She would solicit my insight over Google Hangout once every other month for 30 minutes. "Great! I can totally do that," I thought. Since then, she never clutters my inbox with requests for us to meet. She goes directly to my scheduler and her name just appears on my calendar. I love this.

Next, Judy is relentless about soliciting the tough feedback she really needs to hear and not just the flowery feedback she wants to hear, so I can be completely transparent and honest with her. This makes me confident that we'll get a return on the investment we're making and that our 30 minutes is being used in the most effective manner possible. Finally, there are the agendas that she sends 24-48 hours in advance of our Google Hangouts that are broken down into two sections: "Updates since our last conversation" and "For discussion." It reminds me the past advice I've given her and helps hold both of us accountable to ensure she's progressing. But here's the thing. She's managed up to me so beautifully that I feel like I'm progressing too! I'm telling you ladies, the best way to snag a Mentor is by being the kind of Mentee any Mentor would die to have.

Judy and me on our last Google Hangout.

Judy and me on our last Google Hangout.

Tiffany's Epiphanies: Be Specific With Your Ask

When I asked a group of interns what they wanted to get out of their summer internships, the majority responded with vague answers about new opportunities. But one intern stood out and caught my attention: She stated her specific goal and told me exactly what she wanted next. I happily helped her make it happen, and it made me realize this: If you want specific help, make a specific ask.