United 173: “Miracle in the Midst of a Tragedy”



I’m sharing a story with you that I wrote for KOIN 6 — it’s about a United Airlines flight that crashed 40 years ago in the middle of a Portland neighborhood. While there aren’t any memorials or landmarks as a reminder of what happened there, it’s considered to be a watershed moment for safety in the airline industry.

I don’t do much writing these days in my current role, but I felt that it was an important story to tell because of all the lessons learned, including teamwork, leadership, and meaningful change — not just in the airline industry, but in companies around the world. As one author put it, while 10 people died in the tragedy, “the learning opportunity saved many thousands more.”

A special thanks to all the talented KOIN staffers who helped put this story together — further proof of the critical importance of teamwork.



RBG & The Challenge of Change



I finally had the opportunity to watch the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary “RBG” — and I wanted to share a point that really stuck with me. I also wanted to share support for RBG after her injury this week.

About halfway through the movie, we get a sense of just how challenging it was for RBG as a lawyer (not yet as a SCOTUS justice) to argue cases involving gender rights to a then all-male court. It’s not that the justices necessarily disagreed with her… it’s that they really didn’t seem to know what she was talking about. This was the first time they had heard compelling arguments in favor of gender equality in this way. So in their attempt to understand and argue the cases, they often made comments that seemed degrading and sexist. So how did RBG react? Variety sums it up well from the movie:

“She said, ‘Well, I didn’t get angry. That would be self defeating.’ She understood that the way to make her case was not to get angry but to be smarter…”

Change can be hard, especially enduring change. It’s hard at home, at work — and in this case, the course of American culture. Ginsburg also said in the documentary: “In our society, enduring change happens one step at a time.” Change can’t always happen overnight… it takes time for complex concepts, ideas, and practices to take shape in a way that impacts us all. RBG noted that she felt like a kindergarten teacher during this time in her career; it took a lot of patience and diligence to enact the kind of change she wanted to see in the world.

As a leader, do you find it hard to enact change? When people don’t seem to understand what you’re trying to do, do you ever find yourself getting frustrated or angry? If so, you’ve probably noticed how self-defeating that kind of reaction can be. RBG is a good example of someone who found a way to make change by tailoring her message in a way that helped people to understand her vision and by taking patient, incremental steps to make it happen. A good lesson for leaders in all industries!


Using Data To Tell A Visual Story


Data isn’t inherently visual; it’s often a bunch of numbers, facts, and figures. But when you can find a way to use that data to help tell a story, it can be unforgettable — especially here in the case of Hans Rosling. It’s a great watch from beginning to end, and it’s a reminder that no matter what industry you’re in, be sure to find the best data to help tell the greatest story you can!

A Formula For Happiness


happiness equals

A lot of people are looking for ways to “crack the code” on how to be happier — but one man has actually created an algorithm for it! Mo Gawdat writes about that effort in the book “Solve for Happy.” I haven’t read it yet, but based on this story from ABC’s Good Morning America (CLICK HERE TO WATCH), I hope to soon.

Remembering Mary Tyler Moore



“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” 

Mary Tyler Moore passed away today; she was 80 years old.

As someone who has worked in television newsrooms throughout my whole career, I don’t know many people who haven’t been influenced — directly or indirectly — by “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Her performance as a lovable and tenacious associate news producer is easily one of the most memorable television roles of all time.

My respect for Moore went to a new level after I saw her in “Ordinary People,” a powerful and heartbreaking role that earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar nomination. Sometimes comedians deliver the best dramatic performances; if you haven’t seen her in this film, you should… it’s a testament to her range and her talent.

The world is a slightly more enjoyable place thanks to what Mary Tyler Moore brought to it; her spirit, laughter, and energy will be missed.



TUESDAY TUNES: “Helplessness Blues,” Fleet Foxes



It’s been nearly six years since the Fleet Foxes album Hopelessness Blues was released, and yet their sound and lyrics don’t seem any less poignant. I had the opportunity to see them on tour, and I’m glad to say they’re a great band to see live.

Perhaps my favorite song is the title track, which seems to address the realization that while we may not be as significant as we think, that shouldn’t diminish the passion with which we live. In fact, one website even said it may be the anthem for an entire generation.

If you haven’t taken a listen already, here are the lyrics:

Helplessness Blues

I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me
But I don’t, I don’t know what that will be
I’ll get back to you someday soon you will see
What’s my name, what’s my station, oh, just tell me what I should do
I don’t need to be kind to the armies of night that would do such injustice to you
Or bow down and be grateful and say “Sure, take all that you see, “
To the men who move only in dimly-lit halls and determine my future for me
And I don’t, I don’t know who to believe
I’ll get back to you someday soon you will see
If I know only one thing, it’s that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I’m tongue-tied and dizzy and I can’t keep it to myself
What good is it to sing helplessness blues, why should I wait for anyone else?
And I know, I know you will keep me on the shelf
I’ll come back to you someday soon myself
If I had an orchard, I’d work ’til I’m raw
If I had an orchard, I’d work ’til I’m sore
And you would wait tables and soon run the store
Gold hair in the sunlight, my light in the dawn
If I had an orchard, I’d work ’til I’m sore
If I had an orchard, I’d work ’til I’m sore
Someday I’ll be like the man on the screen
Songwriters: Christian Wargo / Nicholas Peterson / Robin Pecknold / Skye Skjelset / Wesley Wescott
Helplessness Blues lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.