My friend, Chris Brogan, has started a biography meme, so I thought I’d give it a try so you can learn a bit more about me.
The Thing Most People Know me for is:
Well, here’s a tricky thing. Online, People know me as the producer of the LD Podcast, a podcast about learning and learning disabilities. I also helped organize PodCamp NYC and am one of the lead organizers on PodCamp Philly, Sept. 7, 8, & 9th at Drexel University. I also regularly contribute to the GNM Parents Blog, which has more readers than my podcast has listeners.
In “real” life, I’ve written a book on Public Assembly Facility Law, helped design the NFL’s Americans with Disabilities Act compliance program, and have been the teasurer of the Junior Board, a major fundraising and service organization for Christiana Care Medical Center in Delaware. Then there’s always the stint as Chair of the Community Education committee and CPA President at Centreville School, while my kids were still there.
So what I’m most known for largely depends on who you are talking to and which hat I was wearing at the time.
The people I associate most with are: Well, there’s my family, the parents I work with on PTO projects like the Book Fair, close friends, many of whom have kids with LD, and neighbors. I have a few close childhood friends who I see when I go to visit my Mom in Rochester, NY, but Ive been developing more and more close friendships with people I’ve met in new Media and Social Media, including Chris Brogan and Chris Penn, CC Chapman, Linda Mills of Podcast User Magazine, Paige Heninger, Dennis Gray from 101 Uses for Baby Wipes, John Havens, Kathryn Jones, Eric Skiff, Howard Greenstein, Laura Allen, Jason Van Orden (Podcamp NYC Organizers) and others.
People who have influenced my life most are:
* Steve Roth– Chair of the Biology Dept. at Penn and founder of Neose Technologies, a biotech firm. Steve was one of my first mentors, and told me words that stick with me to this day: “If your choices in life are whether to get a PhD in Biology or go to Law School, you have no problems.” The bottom line being- do what your best at, and don’t get hung up on anything in particular. Let your talents guide you.
*The children, parents, teachers, and experts who have spoken at Centreville School. It’s seeing parents and children in emotional turmoil about school issues- parents desparate to help, but not sure what to do; kids frustrated with school; teachers dealing with children and parents who are emotionally exhausted and fragile, and experts who come in and try to put all of it in perspective. They are why I started writing the book and later, my podcast. Anything that can be done to help people help their kids succeed and avoid false hopes and promises is worth doing. period.
*Chris Penn and Chris Brogan. Through PodCamp, I started to come out of my shell. CBro, or as I call him, Obi Wan, not only started Podcamp, he has helped me get started blogging, introduced me to many people who are now close friends including Megin and Stu from GNM Parents, has helped me get paid work in new media, and has been an overall inspiration. Chris Penn is my mac guru, a smart, thoughtful guy I feel VERY fortunate to call a friend. We also share project together, a young college student who was in Boston and now lives near me. It kinda feels like I have shared custody of this young person with Chris. After meeting the Chris x 2 in Boston, my life has changed utterly for the better, and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Thank you, both of you. What a cool year it’s been. Love you guys like family.
One Challenge I took on and overcame: I think the biggest has to be deciding I would stop talking about writing and write; then deciding that I wouldn’t let others stand in my way of voicing my thoughts and opinions, leading me to start the podcast. It has meant becoming less shy and more outgoing, which after years of being largely a housewife, took a whole lot of courage and has been scary as hell. I love it, but I still get freaked out occassionally about the enormity of it all. When I get emails from the other side of the world, thanking me for helping someone and their child, I feel like my life is worth living every day. It makes having gone through everything to help my own kids worthwhile, to see that these experiences can help others as well. But it means not playing it safe all the time anymore, which is not always easy.
My early years, before you probably got to know me were: I grew up in Rochester, NY. I went to a small, private high school with 40 kids in my graduating class. I was a bit of a geek, building digitizers for early Apple Computers, for my science fair projects, back when hi res graphics was a really big deal. I played squash, and was nationally ranked at age 16. I went to the Univ. of Pennsylvania as an undergrad, where I met Matt Hoffman, now my husband. One of our best friends in college is now the head software designer at Pixar, a guy we used to tease when he’d show us animation using “real world coefficients of friction” and we’d say- “That’s nice -Can we go to dinner now?” Who knew?
I worked in an electron microscope lab, for Steve Roth for a year doing research, and then decided I wanted to try law school. I moved to Gainesville, FL where Matt was in med school, and worked as a legal secretary for a few years before starting law school. I was a geek there, too- wrote onto law review and got an award for research.
You might not know this but: I was once seriously considering med school. I love science, cognition, psychology and the like. That’s been a really good thing, in terms of understanding how the brain works in general and especially with kids with learning disabilities.
I’m Passionate about: My kids. Learning. Books. Helping others. Knitting. New media. Connections you make to others and how seemingly small actions can change the world. Seeing people use their native talents to excel. Really excel. That’s cool.
In the next year or two I hope to: Well, this is hard, because I could never have imagined I would be where I am now one year ago. that does not mean there is no diretion, it just means that heading is constantly being subjected to fine tuning and new opportunities coming down the pike. I’ve considered working for a law firm consulting on new media, but that seems so limiting in some ways. I want to develop a better work flow, explore new oportunities and hopefully get to a point where I can expand the business to employ others. That would be terrific.
So, that’s me in a nutshell, or what matters, I suppose. What about you?