I am surrounded  by amazing women who I have worked with in the past, and now do good work in their next chapter of a (giving back) career, and contribute to the lives of others and their own fulfillment in so many ways.  It’s spring in Napa,  California, and I had the pleasure of being there this weekend to see friends and celebrate Judi, my dear retail colleague, in her retirement from Crate after 35 plus years building the business on the west coast. It was a celebration of everyone’s contribution to this accomplished team, with Judi’s leadership, at her home in the hills of Oakland.  But the inspiration for me was the incredible things my friends were doing who were NOT WORKING…and the many plans they have for the future.  Spending a day in Napa was a jolt of warmth, sun, and happiness too…not too shabby…pinch me!

Dogwood in April

Mary was on her way to the Alzheimer”s Annual Convention in Washington DC this week where Candy Crowley CNN will be keynote speaker as her family is affected with this disease also.  Mary is doing training and development with the team of the Alzheimers Foundation of California.  Cherry blossoms should be at their height in DC.

Barb is spending time interviewing children for “Make A Wish Foundation”  for their selection for their wish, excitement and family support. Another way to share her spirit of giving and love of children.

Karen's roses in Sacramento

Karen’s roses in Sacramento

My friends Karen and David are mentors to former students for business and life in general with an energy for art and language (and motorcycles too) that is contagious and inspiring.

Karen's garden favorite

Karen’s garden favorite

What resonated to me at the event is the number of people that thanked all of us retirees for the opportunities that have been given to them.  Christina, who was an assistant to the VP of Development, was invited to meetings to give the presentations to the top level executives that she created, was able to observe the interaction, agreement, disagreement, respectful debate, and have the ability to have a more comfortable relationship with the executives she just saw in the hall.  Barb then tapped her for additional responsibility,  because she was aware of her, and because of that now Christina has a key position in charge of social media for CB2 as well as running a store.  Christina talked about how powerful that was for her. This kind of opportunity does not exist in a flat line organizational plan, but with creative exposure to people, ideas, employee development can happen just by being invited.  An inclusive structure, personal, and open…(does not have to be an elaborate matrix) has more impact than we sometimes realize.

Leadership in the News:

No matter what you think about former president Clinton he is an amazing communicator.  This month’s issue of Fortune Magazine,  Fortune Worlds 50 Greatest Leaders  Bill Clinton talked about what leadership means to him.

“Leadership means bringing people together in pursuit of a common cause, developing a plan to achieve it, and stay with it until the goal is achieved…Clearly articulate a vision of where you want to go, develop a realistic strategy to get there and attract talented committed people with a wide variety of knowledge, perspective, and skills to do what needs to be done.  When leaders practice inclusion and cooperation rather than authoritarian unilateralism there are positive results… common sense to listen to others and involve them.”

Women in the News:

I follow Arianna Huffington and just bought her new book, “Thrive“.  She is speaking in NYC this week at a women’s conference with other women leaders ( Bobby Brown will be there too whom I also adore) about the next chapter of a fulfilling life after working like mad dogs.  Redefining what success is in today’s world, taking care of ourselves along the way, reaching out to others, pause to wonder, and connect to a place from which everything is possible.  Cannot wait to read it!

And cannot wait to follow all the amazing women, my friends,  who are developing their next chapters…

Motto of the Week: 

Good Manners will get you though anything” 

“I don’t retire, I inspire” …Andy Rooney