Years ago, when I was married to the President of a Fortune 500 company, I went to a black-tie event at the San Francisco De Young Museum. For whatever reason, it had been a bad day. As I walked into the reception, the first people I came upon were two of San Francisco’s A-List socialites who I thought, in my naïveté, were friends.
The tagline of my business is “Your values, vision, and money,” which makes the first question I ask my clients natural and obvious: “What are your values?” Ah, you say, what do you mean by values? Values are the fundamental beliefs a person holds, which can serve as a guiding force in one’s life.
A few weeks ago, I attended the AiP conference (Advisors in Philanthropy) for business professionals engaged in various philanthropic advisory practices. For two days, I was among others in the space in which I now live – helping people engage in philanthropy. I was surprised by two things:
You are a busy person. You juggle so many balls in the air, you could join a circus with your prowess. You are highly networked. You are also a philanthropist. You advocate for causes important to you. YOU are exactly the person I would ask to join my board if I was a nonprofit.
When asked what one of the bigger personal challenges a philanthropist faces, the answer often is “saying no when asked for funding, board participation, or a time commitment.” At The Philanthropy Workshop, where I am an alumna, we refer to this as the investment of our time, treasure, and talent.
Lately, I have been talking about the noise and clutter that exists in the world and its distraction from what we need/want to pay attention to. The ruse of loudness and the promise of possessions has let our eyes and minds veer from our priorities.
A year ago, my 95-year-old father called me and said, “I’m dying, come here.” This call was a surprise as he and I have been estranged for years and I thought that someone else would be telling me this news. I surprised myself by saying, “On my way.”
In June of 2013, I did a TEDx talk about the combination of principles and passion in one’s philanthropy. It was titled “The Evolution of a Passionholic.” The word “workaholic” didn’t seem to be the best description of someone who is fully engaged, so I coined the word “passionholic.”
We lost many iconic figures in 2016 – the list seems longer than usual. The fact that I am on the tail-end of middle age and thus aware of more famous people has something to do with my perception. While many of the deceased crossed generational boundaries, Carrie Fisher’s death – and her mother’s, Debbie Reynolds – seemed to be the two that hit many the hardest. The tribute to only them on the Golden Globes illustrated the point.