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Weekly Wisdom

Weekly Wisdom

Weekly Wisdom

I write Weekly Wisdom as the Executive Director of Human Resources at Central Washington University. Having an eye for meaningful things, I include my own observations and thoughts, ideas I've recently encountered, and/or topics that are of current importance. I like to think that others will find reading Weekly Wisdom worth their time.

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Pat Summitt

USP NCAA WOMENS BASKETBALL: GEORGIA AT TENNESSEE S BKC USA TNPat Summitt died on Tuesday (6/28/16). I didn’t like her much, but I respected her.  I hated watching her coach. She was firey, yelled at her players and the referees.  She was the women’s basketball coach at Tennessee for 38 years. Her lifetime win percentage was an astonishing 84% (1,098-208). She was the winningest basketball coach, male or female, of all time. President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, recognized, with the Congressional Gold Medal, as the nation’s highest civilian awards.

 

According to USA Today, “Pat Summitt is our John Wooden,” Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey said in comparing Summitt to the legendary men’s basketball coach at UCLA. “No matter how many national championships (other coaches) win, there will never be another Pat.”

Summit had begun to worry about her health during the 2010-11 season when she drew a blank on an offensive set during a game, then sought a diagnosis at the renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Washington Post columnist 

Sally Jenkins — who wrote biographies with Summitt  and considered Summitt her best friend — wrote that the coach almost punched the first doctor who told her she was beginning to experience dementia. When a second advised her to retire immediately, Summitt said, “Do you know who you’re dealing with?”

She learned to shoot hoops in a barn loft with her brothers, became an All-America basketball player at the University of Tennessee-Martin and won a silver medal on the 1976 U.S. Olympic team. When Summitt coached the USA to gold at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, she became the first in U.S. Olympic basketball history to play on and coach medal-winning teams.

This is, in my opinion, the most impressive stat I saw yesterday…The graduation rate for Summitt's players who completed eligibility at UT is 100%.

Wow!  Just w

ow!

 
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Calling the names…

 

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

 

I spent Saturday handing out programs to 
families and friends of our graduates. As their names were called, graduates ascended the stage, shook hands, and celebrated…smiles, tears, and overt excitement.
In my mind it stands in stark contrast to
hearing the names of the victims of the Orlando attack…
and my imaging of their last moments of fear and anguish.
May their lives have mattered. May they rest in peace.
 
 
 

I write Weekly Wisdom as the Executive Director of Human Resources at Central Washington University. Having an eye for meaningful things, I include my own observations and thoughts, ideas I’ve recently encountered, and/or topics that are of current importance. I like to think that others will find reading Weekly Wisdom worth their time.     Staci Sleigh-Layman

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Making a Difference

I grew up in the 1960s. I remember, as a youngster, the Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinations, freedom marches in the south, Vietnam, landing on the moon…and Muhammad Ali. Ali was something! He was loud, brash, a person that went along with “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eye can’t see.” I was aware he converted to Muslim, changed his name, refused to be drafted during the Vietnam War, and ultimately won his case before the Supreme Court…just bigger than life all around.

I read an article by Sports Columnist Matt Calkins yesterday in The Seattle Times (available at http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/:

What recent sports figure has blended fame, dominance, charisma and courage like “The Greatest”? Who has managed to rail against the establishment without sacrificing an inch of his global reach? Who has had it all and been willing to lose it all for the sake of principle?

   And within a couple of minutes, it became clear the answer was “nobody.”

He concludes the article with:

One of my favorite Ali stories involves a cancer-stricken boy he visited just before the Foreman fight. Hearing the kid was on death’s door, Ali repeated the phrase “I’m gonna beat George Foreman, and you’re going to beat cancer.” Replied the boy: “No, I’m going to meet God, and I’m going to tell him I know you.”

It’s hard to think of another athlete who would elicit that type of reaction today…“The Greatest” will be an accurate title for years to come.

The HR Leadership Team also listened to a TED Talk interview with Norman Lear, the creator of such iconic TV shows as The Jeffersons, All In the Family, Sanford and Sons, etc.  At 93 years old, Lear believes it’s the little things that everyone does every day for other people that really changes the world.  There was "An Evening with Norman Lear" within the last year where Lear and a group of hip-hop impresarios and performers were on stage together.  Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Records was among seven on the stage. “And when he talked about (Lear’s) shows, he…was talking about a simple thing that made a big…impact on him. He saw George Jefferson write a check on The Jeffersons, and he never knew that a black man could write a check. It changed his life.”

This single statement has challenged me to find a little something to do every day for someone else…that could change one life, maybe even mine.

 

I write Weekly Wisdom as the Executive Director of Human Resources at Central Washington University. Having an eye for meaningful things, I include my own observations and thoughts, ideas I’ve recently encountered, and/or topics that are of current importance. I like to think that others will find reading Weekly Wisdom worth their time.     Staci Sleigh-Layman

 

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For those of you who read my Weekly Wisdom of last week, you know that I had taken the opportunity to clean my office using the 5S (sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain) model. I ran into lots of little slips of paper with various quotes. Here are some of my favorites:

“So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains;
And we never know we have the key.”

-Lyrics form Already Gone, The Eagles

Sometimes, It’s ok to step back and admit you’re being ridiculous.

-Unknown

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths,
But the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”

- Anne Frank (from one of those desk calendars, August 20, 2009)

Sometimes burning bridges isn’t a bad thing…it prevents you from going back to a place you should have never have been to begin with.

Two things define you:
• Your patience when you have nothing, and
• Your attitude when you have everything.

Yesterday
I was clever,
so I wanted to change the world.
Today
I am wise, so I am changing myself.
                                           -Rumi

Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart, try to love the questions themselves.
Do not seek the answers that cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them and the point is to live everything.
Live the questions now;
Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it,
Live along some distant day into the answers.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Turn your wounds into wisdom.
  Oprah

 

I write Weekly Wisdom as the Executive Director of Human Resources at Central Washington University. Having an eye for meaningful things, I include my own observations and thoughts, ideas I’ve recently encountered, and/or topics that are of current importance. I like to think that others will find reading Weekly Wisdom worth their time.     Staci Sleigh-Layman

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For the past month or so (and for many months ahead), HR has been participating in a process called Kaizen. Kaizen is a process of continuous improvement. “One of the most notable features of kaizen is that big results come from many small changes accumulated over time.” For a full explanation visit www.kaizen.com.  One component of kaizen is five-S. The 5 steps are: sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain. According to Gwendolyn Galsworth, “Visual order is the foundation of excellence…When (everything) is in its place…, work gets done efficiently and effectively. When it is not in place, work still gets done – but at a level of cost that is hard to justify.”

      I spent part of last Friday doing 5S. To bring you up to speed, I have moved offices seven times since 2011. Many of the moves were done very quickly; once I wasn’t even involved. Colleagues packed and moved my stuff because my time was committed elsewhere. While I had purged a lot of stuff, there was still lots of paper that had been accumulated. I found myself struggling to find things both in paper files and electronic files. I spend time searching for things and then, often, I would have to recreate the document. So, I welcomed the opportunity to sort through my file cabinets. And boy, did I! I filled one and a half huge blue garbage cans with recycling paper. I identified two drawers of paper for shredding. I organized six file drawers of files that are used by a variety of people and are frequently provided in response to public record requests. I can’t tell you have liberating it is to have made such progress. Although I ran across a few items that were historically significant, most of what I examined was not worth keeping. I’d suggest to anyone that they take the time to “sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain.”

      On another note, I was lucky enough to participate in SOURCE last week. I attended a talk by Mitchell Thomashow on his book, “The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus.” The nine elements include:

Infrastructure

Community

Learning

Energy

Governance

Curriculum

Food

Investment

Aesthetics

Materials

Wellness

Interpretation

 

        Dr. Thomashow was passionate about sustainability and challenged us to think broadly about it. “We succeed and stumble together. We develop expertise while reminding ourselves of the daunting and complex challenges. It is too grandiose to think that we can save the world. But we can do our best to construct thriving communities in our place and time.” Cleaning my office was the first step!

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4 Lessons for Aspiring Leaders

            I have reworked an article that appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, May 13, 2016 (chroniclevitae.com/news/1379-4-lessons-for-aspiring-administrators). I used the writer’s (Kevin Gannon) lessons but interpreted them in my own words. I know. I know. Many of us don’t have aspirations to actually be an administrator, but I think these lessons are applicable to everyone. Everyone has the potential to be a leader.

Not every disagreement is a call to arms. While each of us has responsibility for our own work, maybe even a unit, we also must make an effort to see the larger, institutional picture. We have to make an effort to see what others are struggling with, what creativity is being used to solve interesting problems. Regardless of our position, we have to know what issues are “weighing on colleagues across the university and are, therefore, larger institutional priorities.” It also give us insight into what issues don’t get that attention. Just because a few people are committed to a specific cause, doesn’t mean that it warrants institutional support.  Central Today, talking with co-workers, attending meetings, even keeping abreast of meeting agendas and minutes can give you this perspective.


How and when I use my voice matters. We have a responsibility to advocate for our areas of responsibility. “Sometimes that means speaking truth to power; other times it means speaking truth to colleagues.” Being a leader means a) finding your voice and b) using it for good.
 
I think one of the most important ways that each of us should use our voice is in the area of equality for people of color and women. “Structures of power and privilege are real, they're insidious, and they're all around us." It is incumbent on all of us to know institutional policies and procedures on discrimination, bullying and workplace harassment, to walk the talk, and to implement them at our individual offices and work units. And when they need to be changed, leaders work to make those changes.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Leaders don’t know everything. Managing multiple projects, budgets, and programming, juggling calendars, remaining prepared for committee work and other meetings…all these things require expertise. Ask for help. “I had to fight the instinct to fake it until you make it.”

No one likes to acknowledge weakness, but honesty is imperative, especially when you don’t know something.” There are always people who are willing to help.


Be good to people (including yourself). Our work lives are really in the details.  But we don’t have to be “involved in every task force, project, or conversation.”  We  need to trust people around us. Minutiae is deadly. ”Leadership has become a matter of knowing and respecting my colleagues all over campus, (and) appreciating it.”
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One of my favorite things on the weekend it to watch Sunday Morning (7-8:30am on CBS). I always learn something; the stories are off-beat and interesting. This past Sunday, I assume in honor of Mother’s Day, there was a story called, “A Trip Back Home to Bettyville.” You can find the entire video and transcript (an interview by Mo Rocca) at www.cbsnews.com/news/the-trip-back-home-to-bettyville/.  But here’s a part of the story:

For twenty-five years, George Hodgman was one of the publishing industry's top book and magazine editors.

Rocca asked him, "If ten years ago someone had said to you, 'You're gonna go back to Paris, Missouri, to take care of your mother,' what would you have said?"

"Oh, I would have said, 'What other tragic thing can happen to me on this planet?'" 

But five years ago, he found himself far away from New York -- back in his hometown of Paris, Mo., taking care of his widowed mother, Betty.

"I've had this terrible fear all my life that I couldn't do this," Hodgman said. "I was an only child. I was gonna be alone with this. And it involved all kinds of things that made me terribly uncomfortable -- taking over my mother's taxes. I can barely do my own taxes! I thought the 'Medicare donut hole' was a breakfast special for seniors.”

He began to write, for therapy. "It was a way to not feel sad, and kind of get it out of my head."  The writing became a book, "Bettyville," a best-selling memoir.

"When dealing with older women, a trip to the hairdresser and two Bloody Marys goes further than any prescription drug. I was able to write the book, because I didn't hear New York talking to me," Hodgman said. "If I'd gone to them and said, 'I want to write this book about a fat man and his 90-year-old mother,' I would have been laughed at."

The book is about Betty and George. But it's also about George coming to terms with the town where he was raised. "I thought of this place as kind of church territory, and as a gay person, I was not so comfortable," he said.

 

In the end, Betty dies and her son stays in Paris, Missouri…the place he calls home.

My own parents are 90 and 82, live by themselves in a little cabin in the woods. I call three mornings each week; my dad has become more silent, my mom more childlike. My dad had a 24-hour flu bug earlier this week and Mom found it easier for me to tell Dad to eat his chicken soup, than telling him herself.

I know it’s a cliché, but I have become the parent in our relationship.  To be continued…

Treasure every moment.

 

I write Weekly Wisdom as the Executive Director of Human Resources at Central Washington University. Having an eye for meaningful things, I include my own observations and thoughts, ideas I’ve recently encountered, and/or topics that are of current importance. I like to think that others will find reading Weekly Wisdom worth their time.  

Staci Sleigh-Layman

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I saw the musical, Newsies, at the Seattle Paramount on Saturday.  It was inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899.  Young newspaper sellers, working for Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Heart’s newspapers, purchased newspaper bundles, 100 for 50 cents. In 1898, the publishers increased the price by 10 cents to 60¢. A large number of the newsboys refused to distribute newspapers at the new price. They demonstrated across the Brooklyn Bridge; requested support from the public; and when Pulitzer tried to hire older men to do the work, the men wouldn’t do it. They supported the boys. Eventually, while the newspapers didn’t lower the cost, they did agree to buy back all unsold papers, satisfying the Newsies and ending the strike after about 2 weeks.

Lyrics from Seize the Day

Open the gates and seize the day
Don't be afraid and don't delay
Nothing can break us
No one can make us
Give our rights away
Arise and seize the day 

Remember a movie where young men were encouraged to seize the day?  Answer: John Keating (Robin Williams) in Dead Poets Society.  He taught the Welton Academy boys about more than just poetry — he taught them about making the most out of life. 

Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Don’t be resigned to that.  Break out! Carpe, carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.

I read an article this week about Sally Field, the actress. I’m old so remember her as The Flying Nun…7:30pm on Friday nights. In those days prime time began at 7pm!  The article was published in The Magazine, published by AARP (don’t judge!). Full article available online at http://pubs.aarp.org/aarptm/20160405_PR?folio=48&pg=50#pg50. She talks about her new film, Hello, My Name is Doris. The interviewer, of course, asks about roles for an aging women and aging in Hollywood.  The director of the film, Michael Showalter, says about Sally,

The cast and crew were in awe of Field…she established for everyone involved a bar about the kind of work she was going to want to do. She didn’t have a trailer; she sat on the floor between takes. She was all about the work she did in front of the camera. We were all really inspired by that.

Sally herself says, “Doris doesn’t see herself as older.” (Field) can relate to that perception. “I’ll be walking down the street in New York and I’ll get a quick mental image of me at 25 and go, What wait! Hold on! How old am I? I forget, and I will even go, OK, I’m not 25, OK, wait, I’m --- oh my God!  You forget because inside you stay the same.

May our age not define what we can accomplish. Seize the day!

 

I write Weekly Wisdom as the Executive Director of Human Resources at Central Washington University. Having an eye for meaningful things, I include my own observations and thoughts, ideas I’ve recently encountered, and/or topics that are of current importance. I like to think that others will find reading Weekly Wisdom worth their time.  

Staci Sleigh-Layman

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 he passing of Prince didn’t affect me personally as much as the deaths of other musicians in the last few months. Last Thursday, I was traveling to and fro from WSU in Pullman with HR colleagues when the news broke. I listened in on the conversations about times where Prince’s music provided the background…Prince was the first live concert for some.  It made me want to do some Internet noodling to learn more about him. 
 

From The Guardian:  www.theguardian.com/music/2016/apr/22/prince-obituary

Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis. His father, John Nelson, was leader of the Prince Rogers jazz trio, and met his wife-to-be, Mattie Shaw, when playing at community dances on Minneapolis’s North Side. The couple named their son after John’s stage name, though the boy was nicknamed “Skipper” when he was growing up. His parents’ musical leanings rubbed off on him, and at the age of seven he wrote his first song, Funk Machine, on his father’s piano.

His parents separated when Prince was 10, and he would alternate between living with his father and with his mother and her new husband, Hayward Baker. It was Baker who took the boy to see James Brown perform, an event that profoundly influenced Prince’s approach to writing and performing.

Wisdom from Prince:

“I don’t really care so much what people say about me because it usually is a reflection of who they are.” 

“A strong spirit transcends rules.”

“Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people.”

“As long as I do not take myself too seriously, I should not be too badly off.”

“Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.”

 

From CNN:  www.cnn.com/2016/04/21/entertainment/prince-dead-    obit/  Prince's music transcended genres and generations. There were songs you could sing every word to, ditties that drove you to dance and ballads so poignant in their descriptions of love and life that anyone could relate.  Simply put, not that anything with the mercurial musician was simple, Prince had more hits       than most musicians have songs in their catalogs. Writing and producing music in five decades, he touched and inspired artists all along the musical spectrum, from Madonna to Beyonce, from Stevie Nicks to Foo Fighters, from Public Enemy to The Roots and from George     Clinton to The Time.

He stood out in other ways.

In 1993, Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, which was also the title of his latest album. He became known as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince," which he shortened to "The Artist," and his career underwent a setback after Warner Brothers dropped its distribution deal with Paisley Park Records.  According to Eric Deggans, NPR media critic, “He could talk very knowledgeably about the music business. And was very witty. Also a little shy. Had two twin assistants dressed exactly the same who trailed after him. And we met in a conference room that had doves in it, so it was quite an interesting experience."

For me, it’s another life ended too soon…another talent gone.  It makes me sad to think about celebrity and isolation, about our culture and how those we idolize sometimes die alone.  I hope he’s at peace.

 

I write Weekly Wisdom as the Executive Director of Human Resources at Central Washington University. Having an eye for meaningful things, I include my own observations and thoughts, ideas I’ve recently encountered, and/or topics that are of current importance. I like to think that others will find reading Weekly Wisdom worth their time.  
     Staci Sleigh-Layman

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The last few days have been glorious…sunny, about 80 degrees, and no wind (shhh…!).  Exposure to affects our moods and our health, both positive and negative.  According to healthline.com,

…too much of the sun’s warm rays can be harmful to your skin, (but) the right balance can have lots of mood lifting benefits.  Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin…associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.
At night, darker lighting cues trigger the brain to make another hormone called melatonin. This hormone is responsible for helping a person feel sleepy and go to sleep.
Without enough sunlight exposure, a person’s serotonin levels can dip low. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression that is triggered by changing seasons.
A mood boost isn’t the only reason to get increased amounts of sunlight. There are a number of health benefits associated with catching a moderate amount of rays.
The sun’s benefits also include helping you fight stress, increasing your vitamin D levels to assist with bone health, preventing some forms of cancer, and healing skin conditions…more research needs to be conducted before sunlight can be a conclusive treatment for these and other conditions.

I Walk in the Sunshine

Adeline Foster
I Walk In The Sunshine
You live in the night
You're not where I'm going
My future is bright
I'll live in the sunshine
I've chosen the light.

Take a walk!

Getting away from your desk or workplace can boost your mood and prepare you for the afternoon ahead. And researchers from the University of Edinburgh say that taking a walk in the park—or any green space you can find in your area—can lessen your brain fatigue and frustration.

On these great sunny days, get out and take a walk!  Brighten your mood!  Get some sun!  Enjoy the day!

http://www.fastcompany.com/3034661/the-future-of-work/the-new-habit-challenge-take-daily-walking-breaks-to-refocus

 

 

  

 

I write Weekly Wisdom as the Executive Director of Human Resources at Central Washington University. Having an eye for meaningful things, I include my own observations and thoughts, ideas I’ve recently encountered, and/or topics that are of current importance. I like to think that others will find reading Weekly Wisdom worth their time.  
     Staci Sleigh-Layman

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