29 Gifts Book Launch Party


Saturday was my friend Cami Walker‘s book launch party for her New York Times bestseller 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life.  At the event, her spiritual guide Mbali Creazzo, who gave her the 29 gifts prescription, shared some words of wisdom and her mediation teacher Angel Stork led us in a visualization.  Then Cami read us one of her favorite chapters about the gift she gave to her grandmother.


The 29 Gifts Boutique launched at the party, too.  The booth was brimming with so many inspiring goodies including this mandala print by Eileen Bradley of Sacred Circle Art.  The online store will be up soon, so check the 29gifts site for more info.


Here’s my sweet friend Kate Prentiss who designed many of the darling gifts in the boutique including the handmade ceramic birds and a gorgeous giving journal where you can document your daily gives.


It was so great to see Cami and catch up with good friends.  And most of all, it was very uplifting to see the amazing, positive impact of this worldwide giving movement that has now reached 38 countries and nearly 7,000 givers!

P.S. – You can see more of my photos from the event here.

Creativity in Business Conference in D.C. 10/4

On Saturday, October 4th, I’ll be presenting at the groundbreaking Creativity in Business Conference in Washington D.C.  When conference founder Michelle James approached me to speak, I was beyond thrilled for the opportunity to be in community with fellow creative entrepreneurs who really get the value of creativity in the work world!  Not only am I excited to lead a break-out session on the Right-Brain Business Plan, I’m also looking forward to a full day of experiencing and learning innovative approaches focused on individual, group & organizational creativity in business.

Creativity is widely considered the new capital of 21st century business.  New ideas, new innovations, new systems and new structures depend on accessing novel levels of creativity — for everyone, not just the creatives or “artists.”  Everyone is creative and everyone could use an extra creative boost, especially in the world of business.  At this event, we’ll explore different facets of creativity as the key driver in navigating and thriving in the new work paradigm.

This event is for entrepreneurs, leaders, managers, learning/innovation officers, trainers, consultants, coaches and anyone who wants to be more innovative and adaptive in the changing world of work.  I bet that’s YOU!

I’m also excited that author Sam Horn will be a panelist.  I love her book POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd.

Here’s the lowdown:

CONFERENCE from 9:00AM-5:30PM: Lively, Content-rich, Experiential Break-out Sessions each with a different focus related to the theme of Applied Creativity in  Business; Engaging Thought Leader Panels explore the creativity-centered work paradigm through the lens’ of leadership, social media, adaptive strategy and creative thinking.

FESTIVAL from 5:30PM-7:30PM: Comedy, Music, Networking, Book Signings, Give-Aways and hors d’oeuvres from Mie N Yu  restaurant.

Register today! Early bird discount through August 31: $149 ~ Regular rate after August 31: $197

I can’t wait to be back in the D.C. area.  I was out there last year as a Circle Coach for CTI’s Quest program and had a blast making new friends on the East Coast.  This visit, I’m looking forward to doing yoga at Tranquil Space and connecting with my D.C. friends!

Family Matters and Personal Legacy


What do you know about your family history?  How far back does your family tree go?  Unfortunately, my family doesn’t have a whole lot of information about my relatives beyond my grandparents.  And even that is fairly sparse, especially since my grandparents didn’t talk to much about their pasts when they were alive.

Fortunately, last year my auntie discovered some old family photographs on my dad’s side.  Above are my dad’s mom’s parents.  The Nishioka’s owned a barber shop in Seattle.

When my parents were visiting last week, I asked them what else they knew about our family history or who was in these photos.  I wish that they knew more.  This makes me appreciate the blogging world even more as it captures our day-to-day routines, our thoughts, our dreams.  We get snapshots into each other’s lives and read the stories that go along with them.

Here are my great-grandparents again a little older along with my grandmother (the younger girl) and her sister.  The females are wearing traditional Japanese kimonos.


This is a photo of my dad’s dad, Howard Lee, and his parents.  My grandfather is the tallest boy standing in the back right between my great-grandmother and great-grandfather.  This was taken in San Francisco’s Chinatown.  My parents had a hard time identifying who all the other children were in the photo.  Despite not knowing much about who these people were, I’m grateful to at least have these family portraits.


A few years ago I created an art book in honor of my grandpa Ernest Fukuda (my mom’s dad).  He was the first Japanese-American to be employed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.  We’re fortunate that my grandpa wrote up his life story and was interviewed in 1991 by the L.A. DWP for a series of oral histories of the DWP.  Along with the interview transcripts are several letters from 1943 through 1984 documenting how the internment impacted his career and how he advocated for reparations for Japanese-Americans who were sent to internment camps during the war.  My grandpa worked with then councilman Tom Bradley on a charter amendment which was passed in 1967 to permit the DWP retirement plan to honor years of continuous service for four Japanese-American employees, including my grandpa, who were removed from their jobs during the war.

I started this post yesterday and actually did a search to see if there was anything written online about my grandpa.  I discovered a photo of him in the Japanese American National Museum archives which my family had not seen yet.  And as I worked on this post today, I realized that yesterday, July 14th, was his birthday.  I didn’t even realize that until now.  He passed away 10 years ago and would’ve been 106 yesterday.

He closed his life story with, “I ask for nothing more than peace for all mankind.”

What legacy do you wish to leave?  What are the stories you want future generations to know about you?

I *Heart* Heart is Hot

Sahara Damore inspires us to pay it forward with her ingenious Heart is Hot hearts.  I discovered Sahara on twitter recently and totally dig what she is up to.  Sahara created these beautiful recycled glass hearts as a way to help us follow our hearts, create connection and change the world.

You can purchase a heart online and then pass it on to someone in an inspired moment.  Each heart has a unique number (the one I just bought is #918) that you can log and track on her site.  If you receive a heart, you can re-gift it to someone else when you’re so moved.  As the heart passes from person to person, you can follow the story of how this heart touches each individual’s life.  There’s one heart that has been passed 10 times and there are even hearts in Australia, Spain and Brazil!

I loved learning about what sparked this heartfelt idea and how Sahara turned that moment of compassion into a brilliant entrepreneurial venture with social change at the heart of its mission.  She also donates a portion of the profits to charities.

I look forward to gifting my heart to someone very soon and to seeing the heart go on its journey.  Plus, I’m going to be ordering more to have on hand at home and on-the-go (in my Butler Bag, of course!) for when I’m inspired to show my appreciation to someone, to let someone know I’m thinking of them or simply to brighten someone’s day.

What are some ways that you pay it forward?  How has it impacted you and the other person?

Action + Vision = A Positive Difference

Last night I read this quote from Joel Barker to my Incubator group, “Vision without action is a dream.  Action without vision is simply passing the time.  Action with Vision is making a positive difference.”  We talked about how important it is to have a clear vision of where you’re headed and how that vision makes it easier to continue moving forward with focused action even when times are challenging.

One of my dearest friends, Brighid, exemplifies how action with vision makes a positive difference.  As an avid advocate for mental health, she founded the non-profit Cheryl’s Dreaming Big to shed light on mental illness.  Through theatre performances, sharing personal stories and facilitating dialogue, CDB is breaking the stigma of mental illness, generating awareness and having a positive impact in schools and communities in the Chicago area.

The other day, I watched the Cheryl’s Dreaming Big video above.  I was so inspired to see Brighid’s vision come to life in such a profound way.  A couple of years ago, I co-designed and co-led a CDB leadership program with Brighid.  I learned so much through partnering with her and being a part of CDB.  I learned how mental illness can impact people when it’s not addressed openly. I learned that there’s such a spectrum of mental illness and that there are probably times when many of us, myself included, have danced at the edge.  I learned to have deeper compassion for those who struggle with mental health challenges.  I also learned the power of having a big dream and mobilizing people to take action and create positive change.

I can’t wait to see Brighid’s vision for mental health awareness and education spread across the country and the world.  She is truly an amazing person up to amazing things!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a cause that has hit close to home.   I’ve lost an aunt to this disease while my mom, another aunt, one of my cousins and my sister-in-law are all survivors.  Fortunately, these strong ladies are all doing well.

I was excited to find out that the 29 Gifts cause of the month is to support breast cancer survivor Elysia Skye. Elysia was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer soon after her 24th birthday.   Throughout this ordeal, Elysia shows her strength and humor.  One of her mantras is “Die From Laughing. Not From Cancer,” which she has emblazoned on t-shirts for sale to benefit her cause.

She needs to raise a total of $30,000 for a necessary surgery.  Please join me in donating to Elysia’s surgery fund at elysiaskye.org. Checks can also be mailed to: Elysia Skye Breast Cancer Organization * PO Box 4573 * Valley Village, CA 91617.

Thank you to Cami and 29 Gifts for letting us know about Elysia’s story.  If you haven’t started the 29 Day Giving Challenge yet, please consider doing so.  With the tough times we’re facing in our world right now, it’s movements like this that can help sustain and promote hope and goodwill.  Also, Cami recently landed a book deal and is looking for story submissions.  What a great opportunity to spread the giving love.

Below, I’ve posted a few photos from the three Breast Cancer 3-Day walks I’ve done over the years.

During the very first Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk in 1998, I walked 60-miles from Santa Barbara to Malibu with USC Annenberg grad school friends Shanti, Karen and Toni.

The 2000 San Jose to San Francisco 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk with friends Heather and Deb.

Brian and I walked together in honor of my mom in 2002.  Each walk was truly an amazing and inspiring experience.  If you’d like to take steps in the fight against breast cancer, check out the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer or the Breast Cancer 3-Day benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure to find a fundraising walk near you.

What causes are close to your heart?  How do you show your support?  I’d love to hear your story.