Stories…we all tell stories. Stories were handed down from generation to generation long before a person put reed brush to papyrus or chisel to stone. The tribe gathered around the campfire to remember, record and reflect.

This week marks my 3 year anniversary since my breast cancer surgery. I feel it’s finally time to tell some of those stories – the lessons I learned, the silver linings that emerged from an earth-shaking diagnosis – a time that upended our family’s life and forced me to make important decisions like family vs work. I am sure you know exactly which I chose.



The story is on my mind for two reasons. The first, Robin Gelfenbien’s Storytelling Fun 01, I went into full knowing. My goal was to learn how to tell stories. It’s work but so much fun. We have a fascinating small group who meet late into the night in Manhattan.

The second storytelling opportunity was a bit of a plot twist. I participated in Brynn Breuner’s branding retreat at her family home right on the shore of Lake Tahoe. I have wanted to work with Brynn for several years and the location was an added bonus.

In order to get to the core of our brands, Brynn had us write our stories. For those of you who think I spent the weekend lounging by the lake with her adorable pup, I can assure you that writing down over 70 stories from my life was no easy task. The upside is a boy now do I ever have some good material for Robin’s class!

One story is about construction sites. As a child, I loved walking them with my parents. What a thrill to climb up into an unfinished home. Were we trespassing!?! Oooo… Well if I’m with mom and dad it must be ok. I would fly from room to room stating exactly what each was. See the pipe here and the electrical there? That’s the laundry room. Oh look they’re putting a fireplace in the bedroom – must be the master bedroom. Wow, can you imagine a fireplace in the bedroom!?! Etc… I was fascinated with putting the puzzle pieces together, figuring out how things were made and how people would want to live (still am).



Confession – there was a construction site on my morning walks at Lake Tahoe. I diligently checked that the sign didn’t read No Trespassing. It read At Your Own Risk. Yup, I’m good. After all I’ve traipsed through more than one construction site in my lifetime. I waited for the traffic to go by then snuck in not once but twice to check it out. Every room had elevations (drawings that show what goes where on the walls). And I admit while it was interesting to see what the designer had chosen, I was a tiny bit bummed not to imagine it on my own just as I did as a child – the thrill of the hunt, flights of imagination.

There are patterns in our stories and Brynn’s first goal was to sleuth these out like a human hound dog. It’s her gift. It was clear to her as she viewed my life through her lens (we all have one – think rose-colored glasses), that I am the keeper of the hearth. And it deeply resonated with me. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t making somewhere a home.

From there we integrated our respective purposes (think Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’) then crafted a positioning statement which we had video recorded by Marcia O’Malley of Mindful Media. My video is coming soon to my website!



How does helping busy executives up level have anything to do with being a keeper of the hearth?

All of my clients are interested in creating a space that serves not only their clients but their employees. Through my cancer journey, I realized what I knew deep down all along, in order to do great work we must have an environment that supports us not just at home but at the office.

When you remove the piles and papers from your office you make space for what you want – inspiration, more responsibility, more time. When you can put your hands on that piece of paper when the boss walks in your look (and are) competent. Having an optimal office allows you to step into your highest potential, however you define that. I want my clients to be comfortable, supported and successful – masters of their work. And I want that for you.

Our stories mold us, they define us and we have the opportunity to bring our lens, our meaning to each. What’s your story?

If you are ready to take your office space and your work to the next level, I would be honored to help you. To schedule an appointment, click here – Optimal Office Appraisal.

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