What does it mean to be a connector?

EndocrineWhile I didn’t realize it at the time, I began my career as a connector when I started working as the managing editor for international peer-review medical journal, Endocrine. In order for scientific discovery to move forward, scientists perform experiments, write up the results which they submit to a peer-review journal so that other people in the same field of study can review their work.

Before the dawn of the electronic age, the manuscripts were sent to three reviewers; once email and Word docs became the norm, the manuscript was often sent to five or even six reviewers. The importance of delivering timely results to the authors was one of our main goals. The reviewers review on a variety of criteria: thoroughness of the study, accuracy. and they make recommendations.

The goals were these: Deliver quick feedback (2 weeks) to the authors from a panel of experts in the field.

It was my job to identify appropriate reviewers for each of the manuscripts that was submitted to the publication. If a clinical thyroid study was submitted, who should see that? Who would be a good fit? The peer reviewer needed to not only be knowledgable about the topic, but he probably wrote articles that were referenced in the manuscript. That being said, the two should never have collaborated on a project or even worked in the same lab.

So you had to know the basics, areas of expertise, as well as peripheral knowledge about the individuals. Who would make a good fit?

Fast forward to today. Whenever I meet anyone I always think, whom should this person meet? Who would benefit from knowing this person? Who do I know that this person could help?

If you really knew me, you’d know that…

behind the curtain

  • I make good things better.
  • I’m not the best writer I know, but I’m a great editor.
  • I love being the girl behind the scenes. Some people covet the spotlight. That’s not me. I prefer to be the wind beneath that person’s wings.
  • I deconstruct everything, even sitcoms. One of the side effects of being an English major.
  • My super power is that I see the rock star in everyone and mirror it so they can see it too.
  • I’m an introvert, but I play an extrovert most of the time which means I’m an Oscar-worthy actress.
  • Whether Klout recognizes it or not, I have a lot of influence. When I talk, people pay attention and take action.
  • I’m a third culture kid. When I was nine our family spent a year living abroad in France and Austria.
  • I intuitively know people.
  • I hate jelly beans, amusement parks, scary movies and Vegas.
  • My strengths, as identified by Strengthfinders, are Maximizer, Discipline, Developer, Relator and Individualization.
  • I’m magnetic; people are drawn to me.
  • I can talk to anybody.
  • I’m the ultimate connector. My friends say I’m what you want LinkedIn to be.

P.S. I obviously need someone to edit my writing. Thanks, Pup.

I’m grateful to be overwhelmed.

Anyone care to guess why I might be feeling a wee bit overwhelmed today?

Yes, my monitor sits on an old Webster’s Dictionary.

While I was blissfully chatting up like-minded people and crafting a nonconventional life for myself at World Domination Summit last weekend, artifacts, most representing to-do’s, have steadily accumulated on my desk, visual cues that I’ve got a crap-ton of piddly-ass shit to do. It’s not that everything is important; in fact very few things are meaningful “big rocks.” But I’m a girl who craves sparse minimalism and needs space, so this kind of visual clutter is overwhelming.

My post-conference modus operandi is to take the day after off to follow up with people I’ve met, review my notes and set action items for myself. And, of course, the desk gets cleared. This system works for me and is one of the methods I use to prevent overwhelm after attending events.

Enter the monkey wrench.

As you’ve probably heard, Chris Guillebeau and the WDS team found that not only did they make money at this year’s conference they were approached by an anonymous donor, so they decided to combine the money and invest it in this year’s participants to the tune of $100 each. Yes, you read that correctly. WDS returned $100 to each of this year’s participants.

So today I find myself overwhelmed. I’m grateful for the faith the WDS team has in me. I’m thankful for the opportunity to do something exceptional with this seed money. I’m gobsmacked at the prospect of so very many options. And I’m terrified of doing the wrong thing.

This is what overwhelm looks like today:

On the Importance of Wearing White Pants

The infamous white dress pants

I didn’t wear white pants for years. Years. And it’s not, as you might imagine, that I didn’t like white pants. On the contrary. I gazed enviously at women who wore them, longing for a pair of my own.

I dog-eared pages in Real Simple and Vogue, examples, I thought, of white pants worn well. I repeatedly presented them to my besties who never failed to remind me, “You know you can’t wear white pants.” Of course not. No size 12 woman should ever wear white pants. Their unwritten rule became mine.

Until one day I snapped.  Continue reading

Food: It’s about More Than Just Sustenance

My sister and I, sharing a meal with friends in Fez, Morocco

Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook know that I’m a foodie. I love everything about food: carefully choosing the ingredients for a lovely meal, the appearance, the aroma. I love food. Love it.

And so I tend to think about it and most certainly micro-blog about it often. Some would say too often.

So I get a lot of flack for my “tweets” that reference food. And so I started to think about why I’m so chatty about  food. I’ve come up with two reasons.

First of all, everyone thinks about food and everyone eats, probably just as much as I do. They just aren’t posting about it. They may even eat some of the “odd” (others’ words, not mine) things that I choose to prepare and/or eat. But again, they’re not blogging about it like I am.

But the second, and more important, reason that food holds a near and dear place in my heart is in its significance. It’s about more than the food. It’s about the experience. The thought and care that I take is because I am providing memorable meals for myself and my family. We probably only sit down and eat dinner together five nights a week. I want to cherish those moments. And food is an integral part of the equation.

Laughter, joking, smiles, and music often accompany the meals that we enjoy, but there’s something about preparing and savoring a wonderful meal that brings people together.

Maintenance, and I’m not talkin’ cars

Why is it that as a woman ages “maintenance” time and cost increases?

As teens we started shaving underarms and legs. We graduated to wax and then started work on the nether regions and the brow. Mid-thirties arrive and the waxing now includes upper lip and chin. And then there are the “strays” that appear, unannounced and uninvited, every couple of days.

And that’s just the hair we don’t want. Continue reading

Perfection: It’s Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be.

Raised by woman who spent three years of her early adulthood preparing to be a nun, there are many things I learned to be true:

1. There’s only one right way to do many things: folding towels and cutting onions are among them. Now chances are pretty good that a couple of moms would fold towels the same way that I do, but onions? I cut them the same way every time. And I can tell you with a great deal of certainty that my mother, who lives 2,000 miles away, is cutting them the same as I am. Continue reading

Happiness is…

When I was 12 I thought that someday I’d be happy when I had breasts. Or when I was allowed to wear pantyhose or make-up. Or when I no longer lived “at home.” But when that didn’t happen I thought maybe when I had graduated from college. Or when I was married. Or when I had a mortgage. Or when I was out of debt. Or at least when I lost “the weight.” Continue reading