Category Archives: Book

A Chance In The World

Steve Pemberton is an AMAZING person. He endured horrific abuse in the foster care system. Thanks to the kindness of a neighbor, he found hope and the possibilities of a different future through reading books.

His memoir and the recent movie, A Chance In the World, are both well worth it! I highly recommend them.

I had the good fortunate to meet Steve at an event. He has made it his mission in life to ensure all people are included and valued.

The video clip includes some thoughts on narrative arc and the great job Steve did of hooking the reader and keeping them turning the page.

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Fathers and Daughters Special Father’s Day Tribute: Fathers and Daughters

As Father’s Day approaches, it’s a great time to reflect on the impact our fathers have had on our lives.

My parents had three daughters and one son. My dad strongly believed that his daughters would go to college at a time when families were investing in their sons’ college education and weren’t always sending their daughters to four-year universities. My dad is an ardent believer that girls and boys can be anything they want to be. He has been my biggest lifetime cheerleader.

In 2013, Harvard Business School conducted research about the role mothers and fathers have on career choices of their children. The research found that fathers are the “gatekeepers” to their daughter’s career dreams. Fathers who are egalitarian in their beliefs and actions around housework and childrearing have daughters who envision themselves with a career.

Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico, Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup, and Denise’s sister, Maggie Wilderotter, CEO of Frontier Communications, credit their fathers with the career success they have achieved. All three have publicly stated that their fathers had a continual message and belief that their daughters could accomplish anything they set their minds on achieving.

Father’s Day is a day spent thanking our fathers and appreciating the love and sacrifice they have made for us. As a reciprocal gift, fathers should continue to be a contributor and champion of their daughters’ dreams by demonstrating true partnership at home.

One of the most powerful true stories about the bond between a father and daughter is Standing Up After Saigon. Thuhang Tran was diagnosed with polio as a toddler and became separated from her father for 15 years after the Vietnam War ended. After reuniting with him in the US, she had surgery that enabled her to stand upright after crawling on the ground for 17 years. Her father is her biggest advocate and now he follows her career by moving whenever her job requires it.

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Northwest Arkansas Magic

My co-author, Thuhang Tran, and I have been busy the past five days in Northwest Arkansas. Both of us used to work for Walmart, so it seemed fitting that our book journey would start in NWA.

On Saturday, we held a book signing in front of the Walmart Museum. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the Farmer’s Market was in full swing. We had many friends and colleagues stop by and buy books and ask for autographs. We also had several Vietnam veterans stop by—we appreciate their service for our great country!

We had fantastic speaking engagements at Shopper Events, the Bentonville Rotary Club, and Walmart. People were RIVETED when Thuhang shared her story. There were audible gasps and laughter at various times.

Tomorrow is the last stop on the NWA tour train. From 5 – 7 pm, at The Center for Nonprofits there is a wine and author event hosted by Inseitz Group. The wine is free—that is awesome! Hope to see you there!

Birthing a Book

Launching a book is similar to birthing a baby. There has been much anticipation, preparation, fretting, planning, and hoping.

It is a new beginning with fresh possibilities and it also seems overwhelming!

Thuhang Tran, my co-author, and I met in a coffee shop in November 2016. We had never met before. Her personal story captivated me and we put together a plan to write a book about her unrelenting challenges related to polio, war, death of her father, Communist policies, poverty, famine level food rationing, and immigrating to the U.S.

Thuhang’s story inspired me because she continually reinvented herself. I have never faced the type of insurmountable obstacles she overcame. Her story empowers each of us to face our problems head on.

In the final 30 day stretch before the book launch, I had many grandiose plans about how to market the book. Then my son tore his ACL while skiing and needed surgery and a Mom to take care of him. My daughter arrived home for Spring Break along with her boyfriend—they had broken up on the flight; the two of them spent 9 days with us post-breakup. Then my husband needed shoulder surgery. While taking care of my son in Seattle, my kitchen flooded due to a leaky valve. Water traveled down hallways and into a bedroom looking for an escape route.

Yet all these challenges I faced pale in comparison to the situations Thuhang encountered. I treat my problems like a walk in the park compared to Thuhang crawling at ground level for 17 years.