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9/11 Insights

On September 11, 2001 I was living on a remote Colorado mountain ranch and enjoying my high energy three year old daughter doing cartwheels in the family room and happily feeding my always hungry three month old baby son. LIfe was wonderful! Knowing I don’t watch tv, my friend Kurstin called to tell me to turn it on. Watching a plane fly into the Twin Towers and all of the flames, my brain flashed to the legendary radio hoax of Orson Welles’ “War of the World” that created real life pandemonium. I was instantly upset over what I thought was a tv hoax and said “This is NOT funny!”

To this day, it seems impossible the events of 9/11 really happened. My brain and heart still don’t want to accept it as truth. 

The truth is, there is a always a choice between … 

  • Right and Wrong
  • Unity and Division
  • Optimism and Oppression

That day, I learned about the power of unity as I watched law enforcement, fire fighters, and medical personnel working heroically to save as many people as possible. 

Soon after, I witnessed our military vow to face oppression and through their actions, as a nation we renewed our optimism and commitment to freedom both here in the U.S. and for people on the other side of the world.  

What 9/11 taught me is that we are all connected to each other in more ways than we realize. It also reinforced in me a dedication in my parenting, professional work, and personal legacy to do the right thing which is typically always the harder thing, to find ways to be united with others even when frustrated with them and it would be “easier” to be divided, and to always work to manifest optimism in my mindset, words and actions so that any form of oppression doesn’t stand a chance.

Little did I know back then that both of those two sweet, little faces and silly antics of my children would one day take what I taught them about doing the right thing, standing in unity, protecting each other, and living with an optimistic mindset, and go on to earn what is never given, the title of United States Marine. 

Another reminder and full-circle of 9/11 came into full focus a few weeks ago when my son called and said “You won’t be hearing from me for nine days and I can’t tell you where I’ll be.” Four days later Marines were at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. I swear I didn’t breathe until I got the call from my son that he was back safe and sound. A handful of days later 13 Service Members (11 Marines) were killed by an attack. I felt an unexplainable close connection to my fellow military families and especially the moms. I continue to cry and grieve for our Gold Star families. I also felt overwhelming waves of emotions for my Veteran friends and colleagues, especially those who served post 9/11 and struggle with the price they paid and the 20 year later outcome not matching their vision. They fought so future generations, like my kids, wouldn’t have to. And my kids fight so future generations, won’t have to. That is the spirit that connects us from people to people and generation to generation and is what keeps Freedom alive. 

For me, 9/11 reminds me that at our best:  

  • Americans Are People Who Do the Right Thing 
  • We Stand in Unity & Speak Out Against Division
  • We Foster Optimism & Fight Oppression

Thank you to all who work diligently to stay connected and fight the good fight. It’s a life worth living. It’s a legacy that matters. 

If you are struggling with your experiences of 9/11, you are not alone, connect with a friend, reach out to me, call a crisis line (see below) but do not face it alone. It is right to get support. We are in this together. There is always a hope.  

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Memorial Day & Remembering

Wounded Warrior Project says “The greatest casualty is being forgotten.”

Memorial Day is to remember and pay respect to those who died during active duty. It’s often a difficult time for Veterans as they remember the sisters and brothers they lost.

Saturday was our “Healing & Empowerment” workshop #4 for the Wounded Warrior Project. Army Veteran Paul Peng and I co-teach tips and techniques customized for Veterans to prevent and overcome triggers they may feel, especially on Memorial Day.

Please consider how you can honor the sacrifices made by so many and keep alive the names and memories of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Some ideas include:

  • Call, text, email or visit a Veteran, active duty service member or Gold Star family as a Buddy Check. They all have someone they know who has died while serving plus with an average of 22 military suicides a day. Let them know they matter to you and they are not alone in remembering their loss.

Meaningful Connections & Supportive Relationships


  • Visit a cemetery and leave a coin on the headstones of military. A penny means you visited. A nickel means you trained at boot camp together. A dime means you served together. A quarter means you were there when the service member was killed. Coins will be collected to help off-set the cost of washing the headstones, maintenance of the grounds, etc.

Honor Others: The Fallen & Their Families


  • Fly the American flag in a sign of unity to say we honor the sacrifice of generations of Americans who gained and secure our freedom. Yes, these flags fly at my home 24/7. Click here for short blog on this photo.

Unity


  • Visit a military museum or Veteran Memorial park. Read the names listed and have a moment of silence. I did this on the anniversary of USMC Cpl David M. Sonka’s killed-in-action. A local Marine I never met but as a mom of Marines, I feel a special connection to him. This dog park is named in his memory.

Never Forgotten


  • I am Denver’s Veteran Engagement Coordinator for Team Red, White & Blue. I lead weekly workouts for physical challenge and mental inspiration. Come join us if you’re in Colorado on a Thursday evening! If you want leadership and team development training with a twist – contact me about our new Adventure Retreats. We take people out of their comfort zone to create enhanced leadership skills and team productivity.

Empower Each Other


For more details on our Healing & Empowerment workshop, please this past posting or contact me for a two minute video. This specific program is customized and available for Veteran non-profits.

Click for more information on Paul Peng of Sentri Institute. He provides courses in firearms, security and speciality certifications.

Paul Peng is an Army Veteran, as an ex-military policeman of nine years and two combat tours to Iraq, he possess extensive experience in the realm of security operations. His work with foreign dignitaries, heading training programs for various police stations in Iraq as well as being the head section leader of his squad-based unit, has provided him the leadership and practical experience to teach effective courses on firearms and local security operations. 

“Wanted to let you know that even with decades of therapy, this was actually the first time in a very long time I’ve felt hope and felt empowered.” – Wounded Warrior Project Alumni & Veteran, Brooke


Thank you for remembering that …
Freedom Isn’t Free

WE REMEMBER & I CARE
If you find yourself struggling or wanting an open ear, please contact me. I truly care and am here for you.

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Authentic Sharing

Three of the many wellbeing topics we identified as common issues among the 40 warriors at recent Wounded Warrior Project workshop are…

SELF-ISOLATION

ANGER

STRUGGLE WITH SLEEP

It’s completely to be expected to feel this way! Trauma will do this to a person. Trauma can include combat zones, traumatic brain injury (TBI), post traumatic stress (PTS) as well as loss of a marriage, losing a job, going through health complications, Covid, overcoming childhood abuse and so much more!

We provide wellbeing tools and a safe environment where authentic sharing helps everyone not feeling alone and gain new resources to heal and thrive. Spouses and caregivers are also included!

Grateful to Wounded Warrior Project for sponsoring this monthly workshop! If you’re a WWP Alum, please join Army Veteran Paul Peng and me at our next WWP workshop.

Contact me for details or to bring this healing and empowerment workshop to your Veteran non-profit.

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We all have a choice.

My son has faced many tough adversities including his father walking out when he was two, in high school when his best friend, in an attempt to save another close friend who fell through ice and couldn’t swim, both tragically died (on Martin Luther King Jr’s day) and a long fight to overcome crippling dyslexia to accomplish his dream of being Marine Intelligence.

This fine young man, he choses to serve our country and protect others.

One of my son’s favorite motivation quotes is…

“Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.” – G. Michael Hopf

It reminds me … we all have a choice.

I chose to relentlessly move forward and be one of the strong ones. Won’t you join me as our country and fellow citizens need brave hearts, stoic thoughts and relentless love.

For transformative, engaging and empowering workshops, training and event speaking, contact me. Working together we change lives by making a choice and commitment to create “good times” a possibility for everyone.

Join our newsletter network!

Get insights from our network of stellar colleagues and updates on our exciting speaking events, podcasts, workshops and more! Always happy to discuss our customized programs for corporate, CEO leadership, military and veteran non-profit organizations. *You can unsubscribe at any time and we will never share your information.

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The Power of Seeing People and Putting Fear in its Place.

Please meet retired pro-baseball player and now mental skills coach, RJ Hively! I appreciate him for his for positive attitude, encouraging others (including me!) and his heart-felt conversations, including this one we had on his podcast. Some highlights include:

* Step out of your comfort zone
* Show your face and speak your voice
* Fear and failure are good for us, they are wake-up calls
* Through struggle comes strength
* Better Me = Better We
* Fight the good fight – help other people!

If you have a podcast and would like me as a guest, please contact me. I’m happy to have a conversation and share your message with my network of fabulous people!


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Get insights from our network of stellar colleagues and updates on our exciting speaking events, podcasts, workshops and more! Always happy to discuss our customized programs for corporate, CEO leadership, military and veteran non-profit organizations. *You can unsubscribe at any time and we will never share your information.
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Together We Create Empathy and Healing!

What is your constructive response for wounded veterans when people say or leave a note “You can’t park here – you’re not handicapped!”

In our Wounded Warrior Project workshop, this came up as an issue even with disabled veterans’ license plates.

Wounded veterans reported this also happens inside stores and restaurants regarding their service dog and being told they don’t look like they need a service dog.

Not all wounds are visible. Not everyone sees that.

Your insights could help educate others on invisible wounds and empower those who have them.

Army Veteran Paul Peng and I are teaching this Wounded Warrior Project workshop monthly. If you are a WWP Alumni, please sign up for this proven workshop – Mindset: Healing & Empowerment Through Marksmanship.

Please contact me if you would like more information or to bring this powerful workshop to your organization or non-profit.

Together we make a positive difference in changing assumptions and people’s minds. Together we create empathy and healing.


Join our newsletter network!

Get insights from our network of stellar colleagues and updates on our exciting speaking events, podcasts, workshops and more! Always happy to discuss our customized programs for corporate, CEO leadership, military and veteran non-profit organizations. *You can unsubscribe at any time and we will never share your information.
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Why, How, When and Where

SITUATION = rise in harassment and sexual assault

PROBLEM = same approach perpetuates the same dismal outcomes

SOLUTION = innovative Preventing and Empowering Training

Authenticity and Storytelling – This custom curriculum is based on real-life examples and self-reflection that authentically create self-awareness and cultural understanding of the root reasons WHY, HOW, WHEN and WHERE harassment and assault start and grow. It wraps up with powerful actionable skills of WHAT to do to report, stop and best yet, prevent it from happening in the first place.

When you’re ready for training that works….contact us.

+ Virtual and in-person workshops for military and companies
+ Digital workbook and resource guide
+ Option of additional follow up programs and coaching

Together we create safe, unified and empowered workplace environments where everyone can thrive!


Join our newsletter network!

Get insights from our network of stellar colleagues and updates on our exciting speaking events, podcasts, workshops and more! Always happy to discuss our customized programs for corporate, CEO leadership, military and veteran non-profit organizations. *You can unsubscribe at any time and we will never share your information.

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Coming Up This Saturday

Join us Saturday April 17th for our Healing and Empowerment Through Marksmanship Workshop

We are honored and humbled to provide tools to improve the lives of warriors and those who love them.

Co-taught with Paul Peng, an Army Military Police Veteran and security operations and shooting expert, this workshop is a new approach to building Resilience, Growth and Personal Empowerment.


We help warriors and their families:

This workshop is FREE to all Wounded Warrior Project alumni!

In addition to our Veteran workshop, we offer customized workshops and programs for corporate, CEO leadership, military and non-profits.

Please contact us for more information or to register for an upcoming event.

We learn, heal and grow stronger together!


Join our newsletter network!

Get insights from our network of stellar colleagues and updates on our exciting speaking events, podcasts, workshops and more! Always happy to discuss our customized programs for corporate, CEO leadership, military and veteran non-profit organizations. *You can unsubscribe at any time and we will never share your information.
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Love of country. Love of family.

On this evening … all I want to say is, from my home to yours … thank you for loving this wonderful country and our fabulous citizens!

FYI, this photo taken by a Navy veteran from my living room waiting while I was on the phone helping a new Marine family whose child is leaving tomorrow for boot camp. Something I’ve been through … twice.

We are truly ALL in this together.

Love of country.

Love of family.

I truly care about you, your family and our country. If you have someone you love going into the military or through a career transition to civilian life, it can tough. Please feel free to reach out to me and I’ll do my best to be of insight, value, support or encouragement. No charge. Just authentically caring and sharing what I have learned as a military family.

With love, we unite!


If you’re interested in our work, we offer customized workshops and programs for corporate, CEO leadership, military and veteran non-profits. Please contact us for more information or to register for an upcoming event.

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Get insights from our network of stellar colleagues and updates on our exciting speaking events, podcasts, workshops and more! Always happy to discuss our customized programs for corporate, CEO leadership, military and veteran non-profit organizations. *You can unsubscribe at any time and we will never share your information.
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Grazie to Italy!

Thank you Italy! Over the past several months I’ve been honored and happy to work in Italy! Due to Covid it has all been remote but I am optimistic and looking forward to working in-person with my new Italian colleagues.

All of this has been possible thanks to my stellar colleague and friend Richard Hotchner. A big shout-out of gratitude for Rick!

Here’s a peek at some of the work …

Abitudini Per Una Maggiore Produttivita = Habits For Higher Productivity

I taught “Habits for Higher Productivity” to students at Free Mind Foundry Academy in Catania, Sicily. It was a productive learning environment and fun cultural exchange. Thankfully all the students spoke fluent English!

Lorenzo Vetrano | Project Manager Instructor and 12 students

We took an authentic look at habits that HURT Project Managment productivity including:

* blaming others and not taking responsibility
* lazy (lazy or is it really fear, depression or self-sabotage?!)
* imposter syndrome
* negative mindset
* lack of loyalty
* overly sensitive to comments and criticism
* judgmental
* react vs respond
* procrastinate and miss deadlines

And… then we took POSITIVE STEPS for healthy habits for increased productivity:

* deeper self-awareness and self-accountability
* tips on transforming a negative into a positive
* healthy habits to ensure productive professional and personal outcomes

Fun and meaningful conversations create positive learning experiences and outcomes!


Project Management Institute in Southern Italy

Rick and I co-taught “Empower Your Soft Skills, Gain Your Hard Power”

Please meet Rick Hotchner! He uses examples of the leadership skills he honed after retiring from the CIA in 2018 as a member of the Senior Intelligence Service after 28 years of service in the Directorate of Operations. He served as a Deputy Chief of global counterterrorism operations in the CounterTerrorism Mission Center, and was the senior deputy of a national, strategic program with a billion-dollar budget and thousands of personnel. I personally always find Rick to be authentically caring, approachable, empathetic and an excellent listener. He is a leader I respect, trust and am honored to work alongside.

Course Objectives: Build your own path. Communicate effectively. Deal with complex situations.

SOFT SKILLS = emotional intelligence, advanced communication and working toward self-mastery.

I share my academic education in cognitive, social and behavioral studies with real-life examples of successes and failures and their consequences and valuable lessons learned.

HARD POWER = servant leadership that is inclusive, inspiring, decisive, empathic, powerful and productive.


A special thanks to Vincenzo Vitiello e Davide Maniscalco for these two interviews in Italy.

AFECA – Capitolo di Roma: Interview Questions – 1st Round

Abbreviated Questions:

  • Rick, In assessing the challenge of Islamist terrorism and the need to build capacity to counter it, how important for strategic success is the counter-ideology component?
  • Rick, will you please talk about your approach to leading officers and teams working the counterterrorism mission?
  • Abigail, in addition to being a mother of two United States Marines, you work with the U.S. military and in the corporate environment to develop individual skill sets and team culture. Will you please discuss how you see the role of soft skills as it applies to both the military and the workplace?
  • Abigail, are there any take-aways you can share from your work that illustrate how leaders can leverage soft skills to enable and empower their teams to achieve mission success?


AFECA – Capitolo di Roma: Interview Questions – 2nd Round

Abbreviated Questions:

  • Rick, could you give us a sense of how your leadership philosophy worked in practice?
  • Rick, what soft skills did you need to be a successful leader at the Agency? Can you give us a few anecdotes?
  • Abigail, could we talk, also for the pandemic and its consequences, about PTS? And how is it possible to cope with such an extensive, deep discomfort that, from the beginning of 2020 until today, still does not see a reassuring light at the end of the tunnel?
  • Abigail, is it already possible to define and identify post-pandemic behavioral categories for different types of individuals, especially in the professional field, and where the answer is affirmative, what are the approaches adopted in this regard?
  • Abigail, can you give us your overview on how these two concepts (soft skills and hard power) are combined in social life and how these toolboxes are used in your professional activity, especially in working with national security agencies?

To bring this content to your Country, Company or Command – please contact us for details!


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Get insights from our network of stellar colleagues and updates on our exciting speaking events, podcasts, workshops and more! Always happy to discuss our customized programs for corporate, CEO leadership, military and veteran non-profit organizations. *You can unsubscribe at any time and we will never share your information.