I just finished reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. She made one of the best contributions to science and medicine when her cells were taken during a cancer biopsy in the 1950s. These cells became known as “HeLa” and were the first immortal cells to be grown in labs for research. The cells were mass produced and distributed across the world and are still being used today. Her cells were used in many medical breakthroughs, played a role in three Nobel prizes, and have been used in museums as artwork. One important thing to note is that the cells were used without consent, which Federal law prevents today. Overall, it was a great book and gift I received.
Growing up in “small town” Nebraska, I had a wonderful history teacher that instilled a love for studying World War II. Since then, my number one bucket list item has been to backpack Europe and include Holocaust tours in my travels. This brings together my passions for travel and history, which has so much wisdom to offer us today. As Winston Churchill once said, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
I would have to say the internet is the most important invention of my lifetime. It has changed the way we communicate, learn, work, game, and shop. However, I would have to say my coveted BlackBerry (a.k.a. CrackBerry), was my favorite innovation. I remember getting my first email on my BlackBerry, the upgraded QWERTY keyboard, and of course the BBM (BlackBerry Messenger). I still have an old BlackBerry or two (or three) in my tech graveyard.
It’s one of two things: coffee or my huskies. They are some of my favorite things in life. Having that first sip of coffee in the morning is like heaven to me, and I drink it all morning long. Most mornings, though, it’s one of my two huskies, Bullet or Skyy, getting me out of bed. They are my two talkative, energetic, hiking buddies. At this point, I’m sure many of my colleagues have met them on Teams or at least heard them opening my office door (yes, they both can open doors in my home, and the doors slam as they come prancing through). They don’t like to miss a meeting.
If I won the lottery, the first thing I would do is donate to the husky rescue that I support. Huskies are beautiful dogs, but too many people purchase them without understanding the breed and dump them. There are thousands of huskies (and all type of dogs) sitting in shelters and rescues, waiting for their forever homes. I would also use the money to advocate for better oversight of breeding and shutting down puppy mills.
If you take one thing away from this interview, I hope it’s this: Adopt, don’t shop!
Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection. We all have room for improvement, but we need to be self-aware, which can be tough. I find writing down personal and professional goals assists with continuous improvement. I let myself be guided by the question: “How can I be better today?”
To me, communication is the most important Synergy core value. With strong communication, you build relationships, teamwork, and most importantly, trust. You can’t build a great product without cross-functional communication and exceptional listening skills. Always keep the lines of communication open and be transparent.