Bessie Coleman’s High Altitude Passion

bessie-coleman-2American civil aviator Bessie Coleman was the first female pilot of African American descent, the first African American woman to hold a pilot license and the first American woman to hold an international pilot license.

A public library in Chicago was named in Coleman’s honor, as are roads at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Oakland International Airport in Oakland, California, Tampa International Airport in Florida, and at Frankfurt International Airport.

A memorial plaque has been placed by the Chicago Cultural Center at the location of her former home, 41st and King Drive in Chicago, and by custom, black aviators drop flowers during flyovers of her grave at Lincoln Cemetery. Several Bessie Coleman Scholarship Awards have been established for high school seniors planning on careers in aviation and the U.S. Postal Service issued a 32-cent stamp honoring her in 1995. In 2006, she was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame and in 2012 a bronze plaque with was installed on the front doors of Paxon School for Advanced Studies located on the site of the Jacksonville airfield where Coleman’s fatal flight took off.

What will be your legacy?

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Recruiting Dilemma: Matching the Journey to the Job

2017-hiring-outlookThe Execu|Search Group has released its 2017 Hiring Outlook: Strategies For Engaging With Today’s Talent And Improving The Candidate Experience. It bilaterally offers professionals information regarding deciding whether to apply for a job, join a company or leave what they’re doing now while giving employers suggestions for attracting and retaining top-notch candidates in a job seeker market.

The survey found that 50% of employees plan to stay at their current company for only two years or less, not surprising in this millennially mobile career era. Let me present the bigger picture: 80% of workers in their 20s want to want to change careers, 64% in their 30s and 54% in their 40s with only 14% of workers feeling that they have the perfect job, according to a Harris Survey for the University of Phoenix. A recent Gallup “State of the American Workplace” report produced the disconcerting statistic that 70% of Americans surveyed either hate their jobs or are completely disengaged from them. A report by the Conference Board, a New York-based nonprofit research group, revealed that 52.3% of Americans show up for work unhappy.

The crisis we are facing in the American workplace is less about the legitimate need for some companies to improve their hiring process and create a culture of engagement and opportunity and more about the need for individuals to find, free and follow their true passion for what it is they want to do and to create and adhere to a personal definition of success.

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While the scope of the 2017 Hiring Outlook no doubt precludes diving deeper into the American career crisis, job dissatisfaction reasons like lack of advancement opportunities, lack of salary growth, negative work-life balance, and poor corporate culture may be masking the true reasons why 427,000 resumes are posted on Monster each week by workers looking for meaning in their work lives. Until we can get the journey-to-job match right, even the best recruiting efforts will retain short-term vision on guarantees and conversion periods at the cost of true employee engagement.

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Cargo Cults and Entrepreneurial Baggage

cargo-cult-7During World War II, a small population of indigenous Melanesian islanders was direct witness to the largest war effort ever mobilized. The vast amounts of military equipment and supplies airdropped by the Japanese and then the Allies introduced drastic changes to the lifestyle of the residents. Many had never even seen outsiders before, let alone the likeness of a massive Black Friday drone drop of goods and people.

Since modern manufacturing was unknown to the islanders, they attributed this influx of manufactured clothing, medicine, canned food, tents, weapons and other goods to their deities and ancestors. By such attribution, the foreigners could no longer be seen as the source of these gifts but rather had to now be regarded as having unfairly gained control of these objects through malice or mistake creating the expectation that spiritual agents will, at some future time, give much valuable cargo to the cult members. Many of these cults adopted certain unspecified American deity names such as “John Frum” or “Tom Navy” who they claimed had brought cargo to their island during World War II and who they identified as being the spiritual entity who would provide cargo to them in the future.

cargo-cult-1With the end of the war, the military abandoned the airbases and stopped dropping cargo from the heavens. To encourage the deliveries of food, arms, Jeeps, etc. , cult members imitated the same practices they had seen the soldiers, sailors, and airmen do. They performed parade ground drills with wooden or salvaged rifles, carved headphones from wood, waved landing signals from fabricated control towers, lit signal fires and torches to light up runways and lighthouses and actually built life-size replicas of airplanes out of straw parking them on new military-style landing strips hoping to attract more gift-giving airplanes. The cult members thought that the foreigners had some special connection to the deities and ancestors of the natives, who were the only beings powerful enough to produce such riches.

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One of the reasons so many persons fail to find, free and follow their destinies is that they succumb to the weight of well-intentioned parents, teachers, coaches and significant adults who influence them to “be realistic” and abandon their heartfelt aspirations of being a dancer or an artist or a small business owner in favor of taking the conventional “adult” route of “grown-up” careers. So, like the  indigenous Melanesian islanders, they sadly place value on the commercial goods they’ve been “delivered” by others and mimic happiness in the ever-dimming candle of hope that they’ll one day be saved by generous bosses who reign from above and actually care about who they are as people. Maybe that’s why the castaways never got off Gilligan’s Island.

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Ingrid Graham on Design You

Welcome to DESIGN YOU~
The show about people pursuing their passions.

img_1679Garrison’s guest in this segment is classically trained dancer, choreographer, mentor and educator Ingrid Graham. Ingrid has  performed and presented choreography at the Edinburgh Festival, Merce Cunningham, Dance Under The Stars Choreography Festival, California African American Museum and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She danced with the Pacific Northwest Ballet and as a guest artist at Stephen Sondheim’s Gala Benefit in NYC. Ingrid’s commercial dance clients include Victoria’s Secret, Pharrell Williams, Latin Grammy Awards, Nike and Saks Fifth Avenue among others. She produced and choreographed several dance films that have received honors and screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, ADF International Screendance Festival at Duke University and the Los Angeles Movie Awards. She is a former Hadar Foundation scholar and ballet award recipient from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Ingrid has also appeared in Vogue, Glamour and Vibe Magazine.

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Listen to Garrison’s interview with Ingrid Graham:

Check out Ingrid Graham’s website and follow her on Instagram and Twitter

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A Drink from the Wisdom Well with Dorie Clark

dorie-clarke-1Like a great classic book or symphony, Dorie Clark is one of those cornerstone branding experts who beckons you to keep going back to the wisdom well for a fresh drink. Listen to my podcast interview with Dorie and relish her insights!

Find out why Stand Out was named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. magazine. Check out Dorie’s website and follow her on Twitter

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Life’s most persistent and urgent question

mlk2You know me by now as someone who is a passionate evangelist for people pursuing their vision and living an authentic life. It is the only path to true fulfillment. Yet, the litmus test for whether or not we’ve found our way to self-declaration is the extent to which our genuine self has served others and been validated by the depth of our existential reach. The art of true selfishness is the antithesis of what Dr. Martin Luther King referred to as “hardheartedness” and the “shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance.” Each of us must dig  deep inside to find our own answer to Dr. King’s profound question: “What are you doing for others?”  

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An Entrepreneurial Lesson from Death Cab for Cutie

death-cab-for-cutie-with-blue-ribbonsWhen Death Cab for Cutie wore blue ribbons to the Grammy Awards a few years back to protest Auto-Tune abuse in the music industry their courage to step out was exceeded only by their relevancy to a wider audience.  Auto-Tune is a pitch-correcting recording technology that gives tracks that special, not-really-real sound correcting atonality not just on vocals but instruments such as keyboards, drums and guitar. In essence, Auto-Tune can put even the most out-of-tune vocalist or musician on key, in tune and even on the charts.

So many people auto-tune their lives and careers, always seeking to follow the prescribed path of conformity, acceptance and approval rather than performing a bit out-of-tune so as to improvise around their own uniqueness, dreams and true ambitions. Tribute bands try to perfect sounding and looking like their idols but only originals make the charts. The same goes for life and career. You can either resolve to merely ‘fitting in’ or step out and leave your legacy.

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