When I was sixteen and a junior in high school, I felt extremely stuck and uninspired. I had, as I paraphrase to my kids, “made some bad choices” about my lifestyle, and saw a very bleak and even dangerous future if I continued on the same path.
One day at school, we had a visit from a group of exchange students from Youth for Understanding, and the instant I heard them talk about their experience, I knew that path was meant for me. So even though my family did not have the resources to pay for the trip, we scrimped and saved, and applied for scholarships, and the next summer, I was on a plane to Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where my life changed completely by spending my senior year of high school as an exchange student.
A few years later, I felt a similar inexplicable call, when I saw my first Afro-Brazilian capoeira class in a gymnasium in San Francisco. The art form transfixed me, and from that moment, I never missed a class for the next 10 years. I experienced deep joy diving into the art, and helped to build a huge school, including the Community Action Project, that served over 250 youth in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Years later, inside a teepee in Flagstaff, Arizona, I met a quiet and kind (and let’s be serious, incredibly handsome) Navajo man named Darryl. Once again, the deep call whispered in my ear that being with him was not only a powerful and safe feeling, but also part of my destiny. Fifteen years, two kids (together, plus a wonderful bonus son), three dogs, a house and a wonderful life later, I am so glad I heeded that call.
10 years ago, while pushing my son Josh around my neighborhood in a stroller, I felt the strong call again, this time, pushing me to write a blog post to corporate leaders around the world, warning them of losing great talent to entrepreneurship if they did not change their ways. The resulting Open Letter to CEOs Across the Corporate World quite likely changed the course of my life, and business. After sharing it with Guy Kawasaki (unknown to me at the time), who then shared it on his blog, the floodgates opened, and suddenly my work was on the world stage.
A little more than two months ago, the call returned. After visiting my friend Ivan Martinez in downtown Mesa, I suddenly realized that my destiny was to open a space downtown where I could support and grow my local small business community, as well as supercharge my virtual training programs.
As you might have gathered from my patterns over the years, once I got it in my head that it was meant to be, I plunged full-steam ahead.
Two days ago, we signed the lease on a brand new space.
After amazing input from my community on Facebook, and a last-minute nudge from a good friend to choose a name that reflects my family’s background, we have named the space “K’é.” (prounounced “keh”).
In my husband’s Diné (Navajo) language, K’é means “system of kinship.” It is the basis for the clan system, and how you know your specific relationship to others in the tribe.
In my experience, K’é is the feeling you have when you are deeply connected to others, you feel your kinship, and you treat each other as family. This has been the way that I have run my business for 20 years. It is my deepest value as a community builder, and my deepest prayer as a human being. When you know you are related to others in your community, and you build things together, everyone thrives.
So with great pride, overwhelming exuberance, and my strongest calling, I invite you to participate in my brand new project:
I know, with every part of my being, that this project is going to create amazing, fun, unforeseen, magical, historic and massively impactful change in the world.
Thank you for sharing the journey with me, and being a beloved part of my community!